Bishop-Elect William Wack, CSC

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(Left) Bishop-Elect Bill Wack,CSC

Click here for the article from Catholic News Service

Click here for the article from Diocese of Austin

Bill Wack, CSC is a former associate pastor here in Colorado Springs, CO in the Tri-Community of Sacred Heart Church in Old Colorado City, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Manitou Springs and Holy Rosary Chapel in Cascade, CO.

Please pray for Bill, a wonderful priest and gentle servant.

The Ascension of the Lord

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Dear Believers in Christ Jesus,

We celebrate the Ascension of the Lord this weekend. The gospel (Matthew 28:16-20) invites us to let go of Jesus one more time. Jesus calls the disciples to go to a mountain. This mountain brings back the image of Jesus teaching the Beatitudes on the hillside and even his death on Calvary. This mountain becomes another moment of transition.

Jesus calls the eleven disciples together. They worship him and yet they doubt. This combination of love and uncertainty combines together in the Easter season. Thomas, together with others, have witnessed Jesus’ miraculous life and yet hold moments of doubt and questioning. Now the eleven stand on the mountain uncertain about the next step for Jesus and especially the future of their own lives.

Jesus says that all power is given to him. All during the Lenten and Easter seasons, we have heard of Jesus’ connection to the Father. His authority is shown to the disciples one more time. Like reluctant grown children leaving their parents’ home, Jesus now pushes the eleven disciples out of the nest. He sends them into the world to baptize and claim all people for God. Jesus sends them empowered by the Holy Trinity. He commands that they not be fearful or dormant, but courageous in their efforts to proclaim Good News to all people.

The Ascension is not about looking up in the sky and adoring the presence or absence of Jesus. This feast is a command to put our faith into practice, to preach and baptize, to offer peace and harmony, to satisfy the longing of people in their empty hearts. The gospel reveals the mission of the Church.

We live this mission at every Mass. We take the Real Presence of Christ Jesus into the fragile and lost world. We live the mission of hope and peace, of reconciliation and comfort. The Mass is not an end in itself. Even the word “Mass” comes from the word “dismissal.” We are sent with a new imagination, with a new discovery of how our baptismal lives flow into the mystery of our humanity and searching.

The Ascension invites us to get moving, to put into practice what we have discovered in our lives of conversion and change this Easter season. We know that the Ascension leads to Pentecost. We are not alone. We are not orphans. We are not selfish and isolated. We are people who practice our faith, first encountering the person of Jesus in our baptism and the celebration of Eucharist.

Faith means being sent into a harsh and often uncaring world. I invite you to reflect on the mission of our faith that rests in your heart.

What do you understand of Jesus sending the disciples into the world? How is this moment in the gospel an act of hope and a moment of fear? How does the Ascension shape your faith and your service in our world?

Blessings,

Fr. Ron

Art Show At Brookdale Skyline

Pictures of our art opening at an assisted living facility in Colorado Springs. The Brookdale Skyline invited me to participate with a dozen of my works because our parish serves that community with Mass and pastoral care from several of our parishioners. The show will last for two months. Twenty artists participated. Photos by: Professional photographer, Rusty Kern

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Art Opening: May 18, 2017 Photo by: Rusty Kern

Fr Ron Raab and Echo Gates greet show attendees

Art Opening: May 18, 2017 Photo by: Rusty Kern 

Sixth Sunday of Easter: John 14:15-21

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Dear Followers of the Resurrected Christ,

This weekend we celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Sister Mary Link, FMA. We celebrate the work of Jesus Christ in the life and vocation of Sister Mary. I am so grateful for her life of prayer and her ministry here in the TriCommunity for these past six years. I rejoice with all of you in her 50 years dedicated to God and her ministry of education. Blessings to you, Sister Mary!

Today’s gospel (John 14:15-21) invites us into a true communion with Jesus Christ. Love is what binds us to Jesus and to the Father and to the Holy Spirit. This love unites us in faith also with people. Jesus says that he will not leave us orphans and will not break the bond that he established with us while he was on earth.

The word “orphan” is important in this gospel. We are all the Father’s adoptive children in baptism. Baptism forms us in Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection. We belong to God. God belongs to us. One of the key aspects of being human is to “belong”. Belonging feeds the deep hunger of our lives to be in community and to have our own lives acknowledged, cared for and loved. Our very being aches to have such a home in our world and in God.

Being an orphan is to be separated from what we most desire. Jesus says that will never happen because he will send us an advocate, the Holy Spirit, when he leaves the earth. This gospel is preparing us for the celebration of Pentecost in a few weeks. The role of the Holy Spirit is to bind us further into the mystery of love. The Holy Spirit teaches us this union will never be broken. We are washed clean, forgiven and adopted in the Trinity in our baptism. This bond will never be changed or bruised. We are God’s. God’s love is within our lives forever. We will never be orphans again.

This message of our bond with God is then lived out in our world. We are called to offer this same bond to other people, especially people who most need love, hope and encouragement in our world. We move out in our world to unite a lost child back into our families. We reach out to befriend people who do not have human families, especially the orphans and widows. We blend our families with people who are strangers, immigrants and people who are ill and in need. This bond of love that is established with God and God’s people remains the source of hope for many who are lost and forgotten in this world through the faith that is lived within our lives, families and parish communities.

Live in the bond that God has established within you. Live God’s love toward a world where people are lost, alone and afraid. No one shall be an orphan.

Blessings in this Easter Season,

Fr. Ron

Fifth Sunday of Easter 2017

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Fifth Sunday of Easter: Painting by: Ronald Raab, CSC

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Dear Followers of the Risen Christ,

We proclaim this weekend’s gospel (John 14:1-12) hearing Jesus say that he is the way, the truth and the life. Not all the disciples hear this message with a full heart. That is why Jesus first says to his disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

Even in this Easter season in the afterglow of Resurrection Light, we can easily slip back into our troubled hearts. I appreciate the gospels in these Easter days that show us that being human is both the way in which we encounter Jesus’ new life and the obstacle toward receiving such news.

It is easy to focus upon our troubled hearts even in these Easter celebrations. Life continues on and we simply do not always receive the new life we are asking for in Jesus Christ. Sometimes we are not looking in the right places. Sometimes we ignore the change of heart in our prayer or how grace is really changing our lives, maturing our spirits, insights and healing us in our deepest wounds. Again and again, we offer our troubled hearts to the miracle of God’s fidelity toward us in the Eucharist and the sacraments.

Thomas is helping us work through our uncertainty. He asks Jesus about where he is going and if the disciples can follow him. Thomas is often the spokesperson for questioning Jesus and he really speaks our truth as well. The point of Jesus’ new life is to show us the way to the Father. Our true home is in the Father’s fidelity and that new home begins here on earth. Our troubled hearts get the best of us when we forget that we are connected to the Father’s love. We also become troubled when we think that the Father’s love is for certain people and not for others. God’s fidelity is here for us to behold and experience. With the Father’s love we pray more fervently.

Even though our hearts may be troubled, we find our path to Jesus as the way, the truth and the life. I invite you this week to continue your prayer with honesty and integrity. Sometimes our hearts are more troubled by not living the truth of how our lives unfold. We are nudged into living others’ lives and not our own. Sit with the Living Christ and offer your heart to the God who shows us the way, the true path and the real life to the Father’s love. Our Creator wants the best for us all.

Here are some questions to consider this week: How is your heart troubled in this time in your life? How can you rest in the truth of Christ Jesus? How are you being drawn into the Father’s love for you?

Mother’s Day is this weekend and I want to wish all mothers—grandmothers, foster mothers, stepmothers, birth mothers, God mothers and all the women who are in some way a mother to others— a gracious and happy day. Please know of my prayer and hope for all your work, energy, time and commitment in your vocations of love, tenderness and faithfulness.

Blessings in these Easter Days,

Fr. Ron

Fifth Sunday of Easter: “Do not let your hearts be troubled”

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“Do not let your hearts be troubled” Painting by: Ronald Raab, CSC

Gospel JN 14:1-12

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way.”
Thomas said to him,
“Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you know me, then you will also know my Father.
From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him,
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.”