Third Sunday in Ordinary Time 2020: Prayers of the Faithful

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January 26, 2020

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Let us pray for all who preach the Good News and all who lead us in faith. May we adhere to our call to follow Christ Jesus with love for all people.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray to lift up those who are bent down in grief and loss, those who cannot face the day because of depression or fear, and those who face illness and disease.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for all who are burdened by addiction and the family members who are burdened by such a disease. May God offer us a net of healing.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for our government leaders and officials that they may offer hope for all who are burdened by life. May we learn from people who need a net of compassion.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for courage and strength to answer the call of Jesus to live in the depths of faith and trust. May we be called into service for people who most need us.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for our beloved dead, for our family members and friends who have reached the eternal shore. In this Mass…

We pray to the Lord.

 

 

 

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time 2020: Cover Art and Column

Jan. 26, 2020 Bulletin Cover

Sunday January 26, 2020

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Followers of Jesus,

In Matthew 4:12-23, Jesus invites Peter and Andrew to follow him. This stark conversation illuminates the beauty and simplicity of Jesus’ desire to reveal his mission among the people. This short narrative also shows us how convincing Jesus must have been to those men, for they left everything in order to follow him.

They immediately left their father and their nets in order to follow Jesus. This means they left their blood relationships, their heritage, to inherit a new set of relationships that had yet to be outlined or revealed. They also left their livelihood. The questions of financial support or how they would survive with Jesus are not asked here. Jesus’ invitation must have been incredibly convincing. This encounter among Jesus and Peter and Andrew is a great mystery. It seems beyond our comprehension.

Following Jesus is more than white knuckling life. We don’t adhere to Church teaching out of fear. Our fear will not redeem anything or anyone. Only love redeems. Jesus’ invitation for us is to offer our lives, including our fear into the mystery of his presence. Faith is reliance on God. Faith is not reliance on our control. Faith is not creating our lives that seem more pietistic or better than our neighbor. Faith is not about comparing our lives to those who are different from us.

Faith is allowing God to reveal within our heart that we are loved and forgiven. Faith compels us into relationship with others. Faith offers love and tenderness within our hearts that create community, relationships and peace. Faith does not harm or put down the stranger. Faith does not create divides. Faith does not hold fast to the past. Faith opens us to the beauty and wonder of life. Faith is surrender to God in our lives, in our times and relationships.

As we reflect on our faith and trust in God in these first few weeks of Ordinary Time, we are challenged to see how the first disciples of Jesus left everything in order to follow him. Our stories are not as stark. Our stories are told over the course of years and even lifetimes. We do carry many responsibilities. We have to support children and elderly parents and pay the rent and buy groceries. However, our faith in real life helps us find love in every action and in every child. God’s love is often hidden in the place we least expect, in the gift of our own human heart.

Faith generates gratitude and witness. We are compelled to give away what we discover in following Jesus. Love overflows within us if we are rooted in the heart of Christ, and in the hope of our Church. There are many obstacles in life, but faith helps us see and hear the love of Christ that changes everything. All things are possible in God. Sometimes we are called to allow God to be God, because we finally come to the realization that we are not. How beautiful to leave the nets of the past on the seashore and follow the person of Christ Jesus.

Blessings,
Fr. Ron

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rev. William Neidhart, CSC (1924-2020)

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Rev. Bill Neidhart, CSC

Fr. Bill Neidhart, CSC has died.

Fr. Bill was a genuine leader. He understood his skills and talents as well as his shortcomings. He relied on the faith and leadership of his parishioners. He led with a great sense of humor but more importantly with a deep and honest faith and humility. He served as pastor in the Congregation of Holy Cross for over twenty consecutive years in three parishes in Indiana and California.

He also was a lot of fun to be around. I was one of his associate pastors in Burbank, California. He always teased me about sports, especially after I picked the winner of a Kentucky Derby. We laughed out loud at dinner tables and in sacristies. He came to me for advice and I came to him for wisdom. We prayed for healing among our parishioners and we shared abundant food, laughter and kindness at our evening meals. He loved his priesthood. He loved the People of God. He loved the vision of Vatican II and he took seriously his preaching and beauty of the gospels. He was a man of prayer and sought the consolation and teachings of spiritual directors. He loved God and I still pray that I might love leadership and people has he did.

I am so grateful to be counted among those who served with Bill Neidhart. Be at rest, my brother. Be at peace, now and forever.

 

 

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time 2020: Prayers of the Faithful

Version 2

January 19, 2020

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Let us pray for harmony and hope within our Church. May we know with full hearts our connection to Christ Jesus in the waters of our baptism.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray that baptism may wash away our sins of hatred, violence and hopelessness. May we rest in the deep waters of hope and courage.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray that our Church in every land and nation may be built upon our fidelity of prayer and service, welling up within every Christian on earth. May we seek the unity of all Christians and live with fearlessness on earth.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray to listen more attentively to God’s invitation to work for justice in our world and to renew our efforts to seek the lost and offer hope for the weary. May we respect the dignity of every human being.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray to offer comfort for the sick and consolation for all who grieve our beloved dead. May hope be born in the Holy Spirit. In this Mass…

We pray to the Lord

 

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time: Bulletin Cover Art and Column

January 19, 2020 Bulletin Cover

Dear Followers of the Christ,

Christians around the world celebrate the Week of Christian Unity, January 18-25. This year’s theme is: They Showed Us Unusual Kindness. (Acts 28:2). The Week of Christian Unity promotes themes of becoming one through our foundational sacrament of baptism. The unity of all Christian churches, the hope for a better world, the work of justice and peace, and the integrity of all human life, become themes for us to reflect upon in our search for Christ Jesus in our world and times.

This year’s theme reveals our common call to serve people. We reveal the love of God in all human life. This theme renews our challenge to work for the common good. We witness to the dignity of people, including the immigrant, the worker, the child in trouble, the elderly confined to illness, the prisoner in confinement, the persons living on the streets, and the teen sold for sex. All people, regardless of who they are or what they own, are shown kindness and love under the banner of baptism.

Today’s gospel, John 1: 29-34, states that John the Baptist baptizes Jesus so to reveal him to Israel. John’s role is to reveal the person of Jesus. This action of John is key to our own baptism. The Church baptizes us so to reveal Jesus and his love in our midst. Baptism reveals community, forgiveness and hope for all people.

Our baptism is not a club membership. The sacrament that unites all Christians reveals Jesus and unites us in his work on earth. Baptism is about mission as well as creating community. The mission of the Church is based on our baptism that hope is for every human being on earth. Baptism becomes a herald of hope for those who need God. Baptism on earth reflects the beauty of heaven.

Baptism establishes God’s authority on earth. In our sacrament of baptism, God reveals the gift of the Holy Spirit within our lives. The Holy Spirit teaches the hope of heaven. The Spirit unites; it does not divide. The Spirit offers hope for people, not violence or conflict. The Holy Spirit reveals love and not hatred or war. The Holy Spirit creates community and union, not separation and injustice. The Holy Spirit does not hoard power nor is it racist or misogynist. The Holy Spirit does not separate nor does the Spirit work only to keep love only for the well deserving. The beauty of heaven is revealed within every baptismal font on earth.

I invite you to pray for the unity of our Christian heritage. In our world where Christianity is waning, we call on the Holy Spirit to invigorate the Church and instill hope within all who are baptized. Our mission on earth is offer healing, consolation and hope for all people. May we create a new understanding of such a heavenly gift. May our compassion for the poor, for our children and for the neglected, serve us until the Second Coming of Christ Jesus.

 

Response: Behold the Lamb of God

 

When we face hatred and violence…

When fear enslaves us…

When hopelessness melts our futures…

 

When discouragement forms our perspectives…

When faith seems empty…

When love becomes fear…

 

When unity dissolves into jealousy…

When power ignites hatred…

When we face war and despair…

 

When love rises from water…

When hope is lifted up…

When beauty of people is revealed…

 

When baptism unites…

When faith is given voice…

When integrity renews…

 

When we work for justice…

When voices are heard…

When we seek the unity of love…

 

Amen

 

 

Blessings,

Fr. Ron

The Baptism of the Lord 2020: Prayers of the Faithful

Version 3

January 12, 2020

Baptism of the Lord

Let us pray that our baptism in Christ Jesus may speak boldly of God’s compassion within the Church. May we work for justice and peace within our world and bridge all strained relationships with compassion.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray to ignite hope within the depths of our baptism for all who are lost and wearied by life. May we reveal to every human being their dignity and worth here on earth.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for people who suffer depression and loneliness in these winter months. May we spark love and connection for those who feel most alone and those threatened by fear.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray to renew the gift of our own baptism so we may continue the mission of the Church here on earth. May we learn to listen more attentively to the Holy Spirit and live in communion with our neighbor.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us work diligently for those without clean water, adequate education, and sufficient health care. May we work for the basics of life for people in need.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us remember our beloved dead. Let us grieve with hope as recall their memory. In this Mass…

We pray to the Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Baptism of the Lord 2020: Bulletin cover and column

Jan. 12, 2020 Bulletin Cover

Click here for our complete parish bulletin

January 12, 2020

Dear Believers in the Christ,

Today, we celebrate The Baptism of the Lord. His cousin, John, baptized Jesus in the Jordon River. This baptism initiated Jesus into his public ministry. After this moment in the Jordon, Jesus enters the lives of people to bring healing, forgiveness and peace into people’s lives. Jesus becomes the living embodiment of love, the love only the Father can give from his Kingdom of Heaven.

Most people in the Church were baptized as infants. We never understood this transformation, this new life. We have relied on others to witness on our behalf of such a transformation. This feast is an opportunity for us to live the mystery of our own baptism. Jesus’ life, his passion, death and resurrection become the life into which we are initiated. We belong to him because of our baptism. We are God’s adopted children. We are rich in the presence of Christ Jesus through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our baptism. God’s love is thoroughly within our lives, our bodies and our souls.

Because we belong to God in baptism, then we also belong in the Church. We belong to one another. In baptism, we understand our relationship with one another. The waters of baptism in many ways become thicker and more relational than the blood of our relatives. The unique connection we have within baptism connects us to the lives and needs of other people.

Baptism is not a private sacrament. Baptism is not a sacrament of privilege. Baptism is a radical understanding that we belong to Christ’s redeeming love and to the real life world of the Church. We belong to one another. This is why people in the Early Church shared their gifts, their money and their goods. Baptism is an equalizer. Baptism does not put one person on pedestal.

There are several items used in the ritual of baptism that become images for our Christian lives. Of course, water, becomes an image of washing, cleansing from sin, and initiation into the lives of the community. In water, the old has been washed away. The Light of Christ, a candle given to godparents becomes an image of life, of renewal and hope for the child or adult who is baptized. The light reveals Christ when darkness covers our path. The white garment is also given to a child. This garment may be the white gown or clothing worn. This garment, however, is really important. It signifies that we are clothed in Christ Jesus. The garment found in the empty tomb becomes the garment we all wear. This garment is revealed again in the pall at our funerals, that we are all one in Christ. We are one in the Mystery of Heaven here on earth.

In today’s gospel, Matthew 3: 13-17, we hear the voice of God the Father, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” This is a profound sentence for every Christian under heaven. We are sons and daughters of our loving God. We belong to Him. We are cherished and given new life in Christ Jesus. Pray this sentence with love this week. Pray this sentence because our lives depend upon such grace and tenderness.

We are one in Christ Jesus,

Fr. Ron

 

 

Saint Andre Bessette 2020: My Reflection from FaithND

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Click here to read my reflection in FaithND for today’s memorial of Saint Andre Bessette. FaithND is a commentary on the gospel for each day of the week from the University of Notre Dame. Sign up for daily email here. 

Saint of the Day from Franciscan Media is also another resource for daily Mass and the celebrations of the saints. Click here for an audio reflection of Saint Andre Bessette.

Click here to view my commentary in the documentary from Salt and Light Media from 2010. This is used with permission.

 

Here is my prayer from yesterday’s parish bulletin:

Saint Andre,

Welcome me at the threshold,

When I am lost.

 

Offer me tenderness and solace,

When I am tired.

 

Remind me I belong

When I am orphaned.

 

Guide me to Saint Joseph

When I am far from home.

 

Bring forgiveness to my heart

When I feel most unworthy.

 

Reveal Jesus’ healing touch

When I hurt and am alone.

 

Touch my pain,

When I wait to be healed.

 

Saint Andre Bessette, pray for us!

 

Blessings to you,

Fr. Ron

 

 

 

Epiphany 2020: Prayers of the Faithful

Version 3

The Epiphany of the Lord

January 5, 2020

Let us pray to open our eyes to the splendor of Christ Jesus. Let us put away our deeds of darkness and uncover hope for all people on earth. Let us use our gifts for the well being of others.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for the healing mission of the Catholic Church. That we may learn to touch our human suffering of physical hardships and mental illness, where Christ Jesus shines on our poor and forgotten.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray to live the prophetic life of the Gospel. Let us wake up from our human complacency and bear the mystery of justice and love for all people. May hope live on our earth.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for our pilgrimage of faith on earth. Let us learn to follow the light of Christ Jesus when darkness overwhelms us. Let us journey to Christ with service to our neighbors.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for the Congregation of Holy Cross and the intercession of Saint Andre Bessette. Let us offer our suffering to the Cross of Christ. When we are weak and tired, let us cling to God’s healing love and mercy.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us find comfort and consolation as our loved ones journey to the light of heaven. We pray for all our beloved dead. At this Mass…

We pray to the Lord.