On the Margins: Matthew 10:37-42


On the Margins from Mater Dei Radio, Portland, OR


Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Matthew 10:37-42

Gospel MT 10:37-42

Jesus said to his apostles:
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,
and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
and whoever does not take up his cross
and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

“Whoever receives you receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet
will receive a prophet’s reward,
and whoever receives a righteous man
because he is a righteous man
will receive a righteous man’s reward.
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones to drink
because the little one is a disciple—
amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”

Litany for Locking of the Doors for Restoration at Sacred Heart Church

We are beginning the restoration of Sacred Heart Church this week. Yesterday, was the last Sunday Mass in our building until February, 2018. I gathered folks after Mass at the doors of the church and prayed this litany in gratitude for these last 95 years and the hope for our future. (Photos: Fred Nelson)

Litany for Locking of the Doors for Restoration

Sunday June 25, 2017

Noon at Sacred Heart Church

Text: Ronald Raab, CSC



Response: Restore our hearts, O God

In gratitude for our 95 years of prayer in this building…

In gratitude for silent prayers and tears shed…

In gratitude for the generations of families who prayed…

In gratitude for the priests who stood at this altar…


In gratitude for baptisms, confirmations and weddings…

In gratitude for funerals and memories of our deceased…

In gratitude for mercy received in moments of confession…

In gratitude for the squeaky pews and the duck tape on the carpet…


In gratitude for the architect, engineers and construction workers…

In gratitude for our benefactors and believers…

In gratitude for patience and determination of our councils and committees…

In gratitude for all of our gifts and talents and songs of praise…


We close this door in love and memory…

We lock this door so something new may be revealed…

We lock this door in trust that you will restore our hearts in prayer…

We lock this door in preparation for a new generation of believers…


We lock this door trusting that the Heart of Jesus will thrive within us…


For tomorrow…

For tomorrow…

For tomorrow…







Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time


“You are worth more than many sparrows” Painting by: Ronald Raab, CSC

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Dear Believers in Christ Jesus,

I recently sat at the bedside of an elderly couple married for 66 years. They were almost paralyzed by fear, the deep fear of one spouse losing the other. They were confused about their conversations with doctors and feared what the nursing home attendants were telling them. I reached into the oil of the Sacrament of the Sick and touched their foreheads and their fear with love and understanding.

Presence in darkness is a balm of hope. Jesus says that all will be revealed. This couple’s fear covered their day in darkness. Our conversation brought light. I wanted to shout from the rooftops that for a moment their fear dwindled on that summer afternoon.

Today’s gospel, Matthew 10:26-33, calls us into a deep trust. Jesus says that we are worth more than sparrows. During my conversation with the couple, I wanted them to see their value the way Jesus does, as much more than the tiny birds in the cage in the lobby. People get lost in old age and illness. People lose their way from divorce, mental impairment and a lack of insurance. Sometimes it is up to us to bring light and a simple presence to people.

We are all worth more than the sparrows. Sometimes we lose sight of our value when we can no longer fly free like the birds and feel the fresh air of the morning. Sometimes when our children betray us, when our bodies are stiff with arthritis, we no longer feel cared for or valued. We may feel Jesus forgets us when our money runs out and our ability to walk is gone.

Jesus says to all of us again, “Do not be afraid.” We find our freedom when we sing like birds in the Mass, when we pray through our fear, even in times of great darkness. Our prayer does not stop in our church. Our prayer is taken deep into the darkness of a nursing home with the drapes closed. Our prayer is taken into jail cells, to the starving people of the Sudan and into the centers where people recover from meth and heroine in our city. Our prayer, offered as light and hope, is seen well beyond our churchyard and the confines of our supper tables.

Our faith is lived deeply in our world. No matter our education, no matter how much money we have earned, no matter what neighborhood of our upbringing, we are called to extend our prayer deeply into the human condition. We do so because so many people need to know once again that they are cared for more than sparrows. Jesus shows his care through our efforts to help others.

How can you enter more deeply into Jesus’ care and tenderness for you? What do you need to admit to or let go of to discover whispers of hope from Jesus? What is concealed in your life that needs to be revealed? How are you being called to show others that God cares for them?


Fr. Ron

On the Margins: Matthew 10:26-33


On the Margins from Mater Dei Radio, Portland, OR

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time, June 25, 2017


Gospel  MT 10:26-33

Jesus said to the Twelve:
“Fear no one.
Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light;
what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul;
rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy
both soul and body in Gehenna.
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?
Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.
Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Everyone who acknowledges me before others
I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
But whoever denies me before others,
I will deny before my heavenly Father.”

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart 2017


“The Sacred Heart” Painting by: Ronald Raab, CSC

Today is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, an image at the core of our religious community, The Congregation of Holy Cross. I am also privileged to serve as the pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Colorado Springs, CO. Today is a deep celebration of love, of being loved. Prayer text: Ronald Raab, CSC

Gospel MT 11:25-30

At that time Jesus exclaimed:
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to little ones.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”


Prayer: Heart of Christ

Our imaginations rise from our weakened hearts

To find a flow of love that will calm our pain.


Come and settle into our brokenness

In the ways we set up house in the only chaos we know.


Invite us to

Walk and learn,

Sit and pray,

Admit our self-sufficiency.


Into the rapid beating of your heart,

Help us experience the patient rhythm of hope,

A life greater than our own.






Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ


“Corpus Christi” Bulletin cover for June 18. Painting by: Ronald Raab, CSC

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Dear Believers in Christ Jesus,

Today we celebrate a feast that focuses on what we do as Christians every day, the belief in the Eucharist. This feast becomes a treasured moment when we truly reflect on Christ’s real and continuing presence among us. We are not alone in our faith, but sustained in the reality of Christ’s presence in His Body and Blood.

The gospel today, John 6:51-58, offers us the invitation to follow Jesus, not only on earth, but also toward the gift of eternal life. We are bonded in Jesus’ life through the celebration of the Eucharist. We shall be united with Christ for all eternity as we remember him on earth.

This feast now culminates the series of celebrations before we enter into Ordinary Time. Pentecost, The Trinity and Corpus Christi all remind us of our renewed faith in Lent and Easter. Today, we are aware that we belong to Christ, our true identity.

We celebrate the Eucharist daily as a reminder of our connection to Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection. This is the core of our faith. The Eucharist feeds us in our weariness, in our hunger for justice, hope and security in the world. The Eucharist changes our hearts and attitudes, our perspectives and our identities. We are loved and the depth of that love takes us a lifetime to ponder and to live in our world.

The Eucharist brings to humanity much mystery. The mystery is God’s enduring love for his people. We worship God in the Eucharist. However, we also break open the hardships, misfortunes and apathy that we experience living here on earth. Why is humanity so important within the Eucharist? This is where the mystery lies. God’s unique love for us must be given a home, a resting place within the human soul. We cannot believe in God in the abstract. We must be able to find God’s love in human transformation.

When we discard human need of the Eucharist, we disembody God’s love. We are to become what we eat. We are to live in our world in fidelity and trust. We must find the mystery within our human hunger and discover God who feeds us. We must scrape injustice from our world and let God into all human suffering. The Body of Christ is not a static notion and not just a host we adore, but the reality that we are called to bring such love in our world and relationships.

Today, many people of our young generation do not believe in the Real Presence of Christ. Some have a difficulty because they do not see us older folks believing and living out such a reality in the world. We must practice what we preach, believe what we profess and live what we celebrate. The Eucharist is grounded in deep human need and longing. This is where the mystery lives.

How can you pray in your personal prayer the deep meaning of the Eucharist? What does it mean for you to live the Eucharist in the world?

Blessings in the Body of Christ,

Fr. Ron

Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ


“Body and Blood of Christ Jesus” Painting by: Ronald Raab, CSC

Sequence — Lauda Sion

Laud, O Zion, your salvation,
Laud with hymns of exultation,
Christ, your king and shepherd true:

Bring him all the praise you know,
He is more than you bestow.
Never can you reach his due.

Special theme for glad thanksgiving
Is the quick’ning and the living
Bread today before you set:

From his hands of old partaken,
As we know, by faith unshaken,
Where the Twelve at supper met.

Full and clear ring out your chanting,
Joy nor sweetest grace be wanting,
From your heart let praises burst:

For today the feast is holden,
When the institution olden
Of that supper was rehearsed.

Here the new law’s new oblation,
By the new king’s revelation,
Ends the form of ancient rite:

Now the new the old effaces,
Truth away the shadow chases,
Light dispels the gloom of night.

What he did at supper seated,
Christ ordained to be repeated,
His memorial ne’er to cease:

And his rule for guidance taking,
Bread and wine we hallow, making
Thus our sacrifice of peace.

This the truth each Christian learns,
Bread into his flesh he turns,
To his precious blood the wine:

Sight has fail’d, nor thought conceives,
But a dauntless faith believes,
Resting on a pow’r divine.

Here beneath these signs are hidden
Priceless things to sense forbidden;
Signs, not things are all we see:

Blood is poured and flesh is broken,
Yet in either wondrous token
Christ entire we know to be.

Whoso of this food partakes,
Does not rend the Lord nor breaks;
Christ is whole to all that taste:

Thousands are, as one, receivers,
One, as thousands of believers,
Eats of him who cannot waste.

Bad and good the feast are sharing,
Of what divers dooms preparing,
Endless death, or endless life.

Life to these, to those damnation,
See how like participation
Is with unlike issues rife.

When the sacrament is broken,
Doubt not, but believe ’tis spoken,
That each sever’d outward token
doth the very whole contain.

Nought the precious gift divides,
Breaking but the sign betides
Jesus still the same abides,
still unbroken does remain.

The Solemnity of The Most Holy Trinity

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“The Most Holy Trinity” Painting by: Ronald Raab, CSC

Dear Believers,

The Church celebrates The Most Holy Trinity, the foundation of the relationship among the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This feast at first glance seems abstract, yet this is the foundation on which we build our lives, our faith and the Church.

In today’s gospel, John 3:16-18, we hear again that God loves us from the beginning of the world. We are created in love in order to love. During these past months, we have celebrated the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Last week, we ended the Easter season with Pentecost. This feast summarizes what we have been living and celebrating.

Our sacramental lives celebrate the Trinity. We are all baptized in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our lives of faith come from this foundation of love from the Father. We are recreated and born again in Jesus’ resurrection. We are also given ongoing hope and purpose relying on the Holy Spirit.

This concept of faith is lived out in our daily lives. When we enter our church buildings and dip our fingers into holy water and bless ourselves, we are living out the meaning of the Trinity. When we begin a meal prayer or receive absolution in the confessional, we receive the blessing of the Trinity. When we pray the Liturgy of the Hours or even the Rosary in the privacy of our home, we are connected to the life-giving action of the Trinity.

We live with courage under the banner of the Trinity as we mark our human bodies Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Living our faith daily in the events of turmoil, misunderstandings, hopelessness and ill health, we take action in the Holy Trinity. We summon the force of God’s love, compassion and hope when we believe, actively pray, and publicly witness the mark of the Trinity, not only on our bodies, but also within our human hearts and actions. Summoning the Trinity on our human bodies as we enter the church door is an act of defiance against despair. God’s love is manifest when we take this courageous step to admit our faith and live it with intention.

Here are some questions to ponder on this Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity:

Take a moment to reflect on how you begin your prayer. Do you mark your body with the Sign of the Cross? What does that action mean to you? Can you take some time this week to simply use that action for your prayer? If you pray from this sign, it might be the only prayer you really need.

Take some prayer time to reflect on how you bless others. When you tuck in your children at bedtime, do you bless them with the Sign of the Cross? What does this mean when you entrust your children with this sign of love? This is the Holy Trinity in action.

Blessings to you all— Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Fr. Ron

On the Margins: John 3:16-18


On the Margins from Mater Dei Radio, Portland, OR

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The Holy Trinity

Gospel JN 3:16-18

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.