The Canaanite Creed, 2022. Reflection on Matthew 15:21-28

The Canaanite Woman. Painting 2017

Read today’s gospel here

Canaanite Creed

I believe the Canaanite woman’s plea for pity.

I believe Jesus overthrows demons.

I believe we all wait for Jesus to speak.

I believe the marginalized are still silenced.

I believe her faith in three words: Jesus. Help. Me.

I believe people are lost until found in his presence.

I believe a scrap of faith is enough.

I believe the outcast teaches us how to believe.

I believe in ripping down barriers between peoples.

I believe in the healing breath of Jesus.

I believe his words remain for all people.

I believe we become whole listening to the weary.

I believe the mind of Jesus was changed by her love.

I believe her daughter’s healing is a miracle.

I believe we have nothing to prove when we ask Jesus for love.

I believe that hour is now.

Tuesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time. MT 14:22-36. Reflection, August 2, 2022

August 2, 2022

MT: 14:22-36

Jesus walked on the stormy sea. He told his followers, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” In the chaos comes the presence of Christ.

In baptism, we all drown to earthly life and rise to new life in Christ. We are immersed into divine love. We let go of old ways and patterns of thinking and being. We rise into Christian life. We live in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This initiation does not leave us, it does not dry up or is not washed away in old age. We belong to him, always.   

Peter was fearful of the storm. He desired to walk on the water, imitating the Master. Jesus invited Peter to come to him. Jesus invites Peter to walk across the unknown.

Even the storms of our hearts, the ones we seem to carry our entire lives are calmed in the person of Jesus Christ. God offers us trust and remedy.  In the storms of overwhelming loss, fear, grief and uncertainty, we all are called to journey across the chaos and into the love of Jesus, our Savior and Way of Life.  

Jesus invites us to himself. No storm can keep us from him. We come back to him daily so we may know him in chaos and in every gift of life. Our hearts are vessels of God’s love and care. We are also called to reach out and catch those who are fearful of the restless storms within them.  

 “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Matthew 14:13-21. Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, August 1, 2022

August 1, 2022

Mt 14:13-21

One line in today’s gospel opens my heart. When the disciples are tired and afraid, when they realize there is not enough food, they tell Jesus about the five loaves and two fish. Jesus then says, “Bring them to me.”

Jesus has already demonstrated abundance of healing and love. His presence is already more than what people expected. His heart was moved with pity. He cured the sick. This would have been story enough. His actions among the sick were food enough.

Everything that becomes abundance in life is first the scarcity we bring to Jesus. Our egos will bring us scarcity. However, our hearts will bring us abundance and grace. His presence, his voice, his love, his abundant mercy is the source of all we do and become. We bring our worry about the future, our concern about illness, disease, climate disaster, poverty, injustice, to the name and person of Jesus Christ.   

Then, look what happens. People are fed. People are satisfied. The disciples come back with baskets full of leftovers. It is the same in our prayer. First, however, we must bring all that is in our hearts, all the scarcity, to him. In Jesus Christ do our hearts dwell.  

They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over, twelve wicker baskets full.

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 31, 2022. Luke 12: 13-21

July 31, 2022

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today, Luke 12:13-21 is proclaimed in our sanctuaries. This gospel tugs at our conscience. It helps us explore our attachments here on earth. We have been reflecting on a series of gospels in these summer months that teach us to proclaim the Kingdom of God as we examine our possessions here on earth.

I invite you today to step back from your life. Take a moment and breath into the mystery of God’s fidelity in you. Our attachments on earth can cause great anxiety within us. We know deep earthly responsibilities of caring for our loved ones, paying bills, learning new things in order to survive. We live grounded on the earth and we need many earthly things to flourish. Yet, we gaze above, to glance into the face of God, knowing our home is ultimately more than our possessions, more than what we control, more than our own human dreams.

I began a new ministry in Texas last week. However, a few days ago, it was clear that the position was not suitable for my life and gifts. So, I will be moving yet again. I will spend some time at Notre Dame, IN, until I figure out my next move.

So, I am confronted with all my possessions before me. I realize nothing I own will create a path to heaven. No possession will deepen my soul’s quest for God’s love. Nothing in these boxes give me identity or purpose on earth. Still, I want to cling to what I know and to what I have, to what is familiar.

As I pack up this week, I am deeply aware of my utter dependence on God. I need my heart and life to be centered in his will for me, to rest fully in his providence and his healing remedy. I desire a place in this life where I can be free enough of my own interior baggage and know within my heart that my real possession is the person of Christ Jesus.  

God give you peace.

Thus, will it be for all who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 24, 2022: Bulletin Cover from Sacred Heart

Sunday July 24, 2022

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 11: 1-13

Jesus invites us into deep prayer. We can’t imagine God’s love when we are bombarded by doubt, deadlines and endless demands. Jesus surrounds us with the invitation to call out to the Father. In fact, he reminds us to say, “Our Father.” This is not whimsical or fanciful. “Our” invites us to know that all people belong to God. God is the source of forgiveness, kindness, and mercy to everyone. We belong to Him. He belongs to us.

Jesus invites us to ask for what we need. This invitation goes deep into our souls. We so often don’t trust that invitation when life confronts tragedy or duties beyond our expertise. The word, “ask” sometimes feels like a four-letter word. It carries with it a heavy weight, yet we know it would bring relief if our ego allowed. It remains heavy on our hearts when we don’t trust the invitation.

As I make this important transition in my own life, I am struggling to ask the right person for help, who is Jesus Christ. I reach out to others when I don’t know new technology or when I fail already at deadlines and getting up to speed in a new position. I need this week, to recall, to remember and to realize the gift of Jesus Christ is already within me. I have much asking to do and much to let in to my heart. I am confident that doors will open as I remember just last week when an important door in my life closed.

I know in my heart that God the Father will not offer me a snake or a scorpion. I am in the Father’s heart and everything I need is already there.

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive…”

God give you peace.

Farewell. A final embrace after Mass on Sunday July 17, 2022

After the last Mass on Sunday, an embrace of farewell with Bishop James Golka from the Diocese of Colorado Springs.

This past weekend was a highlight of my priesthood. We celebrated 100 years as a parish with prayer and wonderful parties. We dedicated the sculpture of Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows and Saint Andre House. We welcomed Bishop Bill Wack, CSC from Florida and former associate pastor at Sacred Heart. We welcomed Bishop Golka for two Masses. We welcomed a new pastor, Fr. Jarrod Waugh, CSC. And, I said goodbye.

I am deeply touched by the outpouring of tears, embraces, smiles, handshakes and moments of silent appreciation. I have been privileged to share many stories, personal sufferings and loss, and moments of profound wonder and joy. I continue to lift you in prayer, always.

Farewell.

God give you peace.

Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows: Dedication and Blessing, July 16, 2022. Sculpture by Joel Ernster

After our celebration of Eucharist for our 100th Anniversary of Sacred Heart Parish, Bishop Bill Wack, CSC, dedicated the sculpture of Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows. Joel Ernster, parishioner, designed and crafted the large image for the outside of Sacred Heart Church. Our Lady of Sorrows is the Patroness of the Congregation of Holy Cross.

100th Anniversary of Sacred Heart Parish: Fr. Jarrod Waugh, CSC, Bishop Bill Wack, CSC

Last evening was the first day of celebrations for the 100th Anniversary of Sacred Heart Church. Four hundred people gathered for tours of the church and the opening of Saint Andre House. We shared a meal from two food carts that ran out of food. The weather provided clouds to shade us from the strong sun. We welcomed Fr. Jarrod Waugh, CSC as the new pastor and welcomed Bishop Bill Wack, CSC who will preside this evening at Mass.

Today is the actual day of our anniversary. On July 16, 1922, the church building was dedicated. I am so grateful to have been part of the history of this parish community.

This photo captures a moment of transition. Fr. Jarrod, our new pastor, myself ending nine years, and Bishop Wack.

Pray for us all in these days of transition, change and celebration!

Sacred Heart of Jesus, console us.