Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time: Prayers of the Faithful

Version 3

February 24, 2019

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Let us pray to silence the clutter of division and gossip in our lives, especially the voices that ring out fear. Let us listen instead to the love God has for us, even among those with whom we disagree.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for our Universal Church in these times of distress. For our leaders, for all clergy, that they speak the truth, be accountable for their wrong actions, and seek to lead with justice.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray to be generous with our words and more kind in actions toward our enemies. Let us recognize the beauty of life even among those who challenge us. Forgive and you will be forgiven.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for people who are weary from grief and loss. We pray for members of our families who suffer from cancer, from depression and from the turmoil of stress and misfortune. We pray to measure only with love and hope.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for miracles of unity and generosity. Let us come to terms with people who dispute our faith and our perspectives on life. Let us believe in the graciousness of all life and in the Divine love for every person.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray on earth for our loved ones in heaven. We pray for all who have died in our families and communities. At this Mass…

We pray to the Lord

 

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time: Bulletin Cover Art and Column

Feb. 24, 2019 Bulletin Cover

Dear Followers of Jesus,

Today’s gospel, Luke 6:27-38, is quite the challenge for us. We are called as those who first followed Jesus, to love our enemies. These words from Jesus are straightforward and he minces none. The mission of Jesus’ presence in the world and for our very own lives is to bring us together, to unite us in the message of peace. Where there is division, he hopes that his presence can heal and satisfy. Even in our complicated lives, harmony can happen.

Luke’s gospel always begins with what is real and honest in our lives. He says to those who have more than one coat, make sure that your extra ones will help keep another person warm. Our possessions, no matter what they may be, should be shared for the wellbeing of people. Even these items of clothing become a sign and witness to the Kingdom of God. We share our extra clothing today because these items help protect the body of another person, a sign of God’s everlasting Kingdom, a sign of unity on earth and of what is to come in heaven.

Jesus begins with the tangible, like a cloak, because that is the easier thing to share. He gets down to the nitty-gritty when he mentions “being merciful” or “stop judging” or “offer forgiveness.” These are the things that we struggle with the most in our own lives. These are the things that demand real change for us, real commitment on our part and yet have the most potential to bring us to Jesus’ side in heaven. These real and human obstacles to unity take work, energy and time.

We live today creating various enemies. We easily create tension in a black and white world. People are either on our side or they are our enemy. We immediately use violent hand gestures when someone cuts us off in traffic. We think people are our enemies when they vote differently than we do. We immediately are at odds with folks who believe the Church should go in a direction that we think is wrong. Our enemies in our nation are liberal or conservative, right or wrong, rich or poor. People with skin color different from us and languages of strangers threaten the status quo. Enemies become “we” when healing can happen. Enemies remain at odds only when we vilify people, thinking that their real identity is made from what we disagree with. People are more than the one opinion that makes us crazy.

“Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give, and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and over flowing, will be poured in to your lap. For the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.” These words of Jesus offer us his real presence both in prayer and in action, when we finally are able to believe in Him who is our real life here on earth. These words should be copied and taped to our bathroom mirror this year. These words deserve our attention today and every day of our lives.

Be at peace, with your self and your enemy.

Fr. Ron

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Prayers of the Faithful

Version 3

February 17, 2019

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Let us pray to trust the goodness of one another. We pray to respect and to befriend our differences. We pray to live on the rich ground of integrity.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray that we may seek level ground where justice makes a home in our society, in our neighborhoods and within our own hearts. We pray for the right use of all of God’s resources.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray to seek level ground where our poor are cared for, where honesty is valued in our families, where tenderness breaks through in our fragile lives. How blessed are those who love the Lord.

We pray to the Lord

Let us pray to place our fear at the feet of Jesus, where he protects the ill and suffering, where true healing may flourish in our time and place. How blessed are those with pure hope.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for a common ground where our Church leaders may act with genuine love in days of uncertainty and neglect. May our prophetic voices be amplified and full-throated.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for God’s healing touch in our grief and loss. We pray for our loved ones who have died. In this Mass…

We pray to the Lord.

 

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Bulletin Cover Art and Column

Feb. 17, 2019 Bulletin Cover

Dear Followers of Jesus,

Today’s gospel invites us on level ground to listen to Jesus speak to us. Luke 6:17, 20-26, tells of Jesus’ teaching about what the Kingdom of God is for us. We are to be poor enough to listen and rich enough to understand. We are to be hungry for something more and satisfied with God. In our weeping, we shall discover the healing of Christ Jesus.

Luke’s version of the Beatitudes is different from Matthew’s version. The obvious difference is that Luke has Jesus speaking on level ground. Matthew collects the disciples in the story on a hillside. I think this simple difference means a great deal. Jesus comes to us where we are, speaking to us face to face. This posture of Jesus and the disciples can be seen throughout the entire gospel. The level ground is the place where real life happens. This level ground means that everyone is the same, including the authority of Jesus.

The level ground is also the place where the disciples can be seen by one another by not allowing any of them to be higher or above the group. The level ground is not haughty, above the fray or otherworldly. Level ground is not about self-righteousness. This level ground is also a place where we long to be with Jesus. His authority is rooted deeply in our own lives, in our pain and fear. This grounding is significant. I believe it is also the place where we need to encounter Jesus in our own lives. It is also the place where we stand when we learn how to serve others, by not looking down on people. Our grounding in God and being with one another has much spiritual significance.

Being on level ground also has much to say about the authority of the Church. This challenge to reform our lives also starts with being on level ground with people, seeing them eye-to-eye. This challenge is particularly real in dealing with the sex abuse issues of our Church today. We have much work to do for all clerics to see their ministry not above people, not below people, but being on the same ground of faith, integrity and understanding. I am becoming weary of the effects of the abuse on our Church and I pray for a deep and profound humility from our bishops and leadership. I fear that the grounding of superiority will never change. I question on some days what it means to believe in the Beatitudes of the Church when our hierarchy remains on higher ground.

Woe to those who cling to such power. Woe to those not willing to remain on level ground of faith, hope and love. Woe to those who trust in power. Woe to those who believe they are separate from the poor and suffering. Woe to those whose lives are filled with richness now. Woe to those who cannot conceive of being wrong about any issue. Woe to us, who stand upon higher ground and look down upon others.

Blessings,

Fr. Ron

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Prayers of the Faithful

Version 3

February 10, 2019

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Let us pray that we abandon fear and follow Jesus with greater hope and integrity.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for a deeper life of prayer and experiences of divine healing and comfort. We pray for all who struggle with doubt, that we may unite our hearts with Christ Jesus.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for wisdom, for all the times we stumble over what it means to live under the same roof and call one another family. For all who struggle with finances, difficult life decisions and trying to make ends meet.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for our ill, for our friends and relatives who are bedridden or disabled, those who lean on a cane or those whose memories are fading.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for our abandoned poor, those who search for food and clothing, those who ache to belong back into society and those who live in depression and addiction.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for parishioners and family members who have died. For people who live in grief and who cannot forgive themselves.

We pray to the Lord.

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Cover art and column

Feb. 10, 2019 Bulletin Cover

Dear Followers of Jesus,

In today’s gospel, Luke 5:1-11, Jesus invites a few men to follow him. However this invitation is not just for Peter, James and John. Jesus invites us into a deeper communion, into a deeper union with him. This is the message we hear in these opening weeks of Ordinary Time. Now that Christmas is past, we are to explore this invitation in our own lives, to expand our understanding of who Jesus is for us and who we are for the world.

In these initial weeks of Ordinary Time, the gospels call us to reflect on Jesus’ authority on earth. We listen again to his beginning stages of ministry after his baptism. These chapters unfold in delight for people who most need healing, love, acceptance and hope. We are no different. We need the same things from Jesus in our lives and in our relationships.

In today’s gospel, Jesus goes to the lake. This is the place where Simon makes his living. The lake is all these men know, since they have been catching fish their entire lives, for the livelihood of their family. Jesus goes to them, standing by them in what is familiar to their daily routine. If Jesus did such a thing for Simon, he will do the same for us. Jesus always moves into what we know first to get our attention. Perhaps this is the year for us to finally understand that Jesus wants the best for us. He wants to heal the rift and mend the relationships where we think Jesus will never show up. Let’s think again about all the ways our lives need God and his love and healing in our lives. Jesus shows us when we are resentful because we have to change another diaper or cook another meal for some pretty unappreciative family members. He shows us in our woodshop or the family business. He makes his way to the machine shop or the accountants office. Just look again and he might very well be standing there along your side.

We can just imagine how Simon must have rolled his eyes at Jesus’ request to cast his net into deeper water. They understood how fishing worked. However, they did not understand how Jesus’ request would change them.

Jesus challenges those initial followers that their future would reside in catching people not fish. Their eyes and expressions must have popped. Well, we are called to use our lives as examples to help people find Jesus, to find them selves and to find love in our world. This is quite the catch and the challenge. We can’t be lax about why we come to church or why we pray. Life is not about our own needs. Our relationship with God is fuel for us to help other people. Nothing less will fit in our nets.

Let us not be afraid to offer our lives to Christ Jesus. Let us not fear when he whispers in our ears to be an example for others.

Blessings,

Fr. Ron

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Bulletin Cover art and column

feb.32c2019bulletincover

Dear Believers in Christ,

I urge you to read and reread these three scripture texts today. Most people are lost in faith and yet they do not know how to remedy their lives or how to find God. We have all shapes and sizes of excuses not to pursue God or not to pray or not to learn more about the Church. Many people believe that showing up to Mass is the fix that will lead to heaven. In the meantime, we may remain lost. The scriptures are a school of love so that we can all learn a prophetic voice for our world.

The first reading today from Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19, speaks to us of our creation in God. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” God appoints Jeremiah to proclaim justice and hope for people. Well, God has similar things in mind for us. He wants us to remember that we already belong to him. And from this belonging, comes great responsibility. God wants us to speak out on behalf of people who most need us, people who ache for new life and wholeness. God desires to be in communion with all people.

This desire of God to find every heart so that love may be at home is shown to us in our second reading today. From 1 Corinthians 12: 31-13:13, we hear once again about the spiritual gift of love. This love is not romantic; it is not about a fleeting love that makes us feel good or attracted to intimacy. This is the love God has for us by creating us in the first place. It is the love that forms us into becoming prophets to proclaim justice, protection and hope to people. This is the love that enables us to fall in love with God and then to learn how to live this love in the world by hard choices, strong decisions and courageous acts. This love changes the world and all of us because God alone initiates it within us.This love is our response to God for creating us, for loving us in the first place.

God’s love never fails. This is the love that enables us to grow up. This love gives us a prophetic place in our world. This love is not flimsy, whimsical or fleeting. It is time for us in the Church to put childish ways aside. It is time for all of us in the Church to grow up in wisdom and courage.

The gospel, Luke 4: 21-30, reveals to us that the scriptures are fulfilled in our hearing. The grace from these texts are opened up for us when we hear them at Mass. For our common worship cracks open grace for each us to understand them, if we are truly present to them with our hearts. I encourage you to take this set of scriptures seriously. We all desire integrity and wholeness. What we desire is found in our scripture readings and our common worship at Mass. Please pray with these passages this week. Sit in silence after reading them. Listen to their challenge and their consolation. Please allow love to find you this week.

In peace,

Fr. Ron

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time: Prayers of the Faithful

Version 3

January 27, 2019

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Let us pray to use our gifts wisely in order to create harmony and concord, hope and respect among people of every race and nation.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us learn to listen carefully to the scriptures and receive the grace that is meant for us in order to follow Christ Jesus. May our hearts grow in faith, charity and in Christian unity.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us walk among people lost in despair, those who question their place within the Church, and those whose minds are clouded by doubt.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for people who are vulnerable and weak, those surviving disabilities, those who struggle to make ends meet, and those who wait for others to accept them.

We pray the Lord.

Let us pray for family members who await surgery or who fear a new diagnosis. We pray for all the sick, especially those who are homebound.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for our beloved dead and those who grieve on earth.

At this Mass…

We pray to the Lord