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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Feast of the Holy Family ~ Today

Christmas, celebrating the nativity of our Lord has come on a Saturday this year. The Church calendar brings us the Feast of the Holy Family on the Sunday after Christmas. This brings us a weekend of profound richness in the graces of our Lord.
The day after Christmas is, for many, an anti-climatic end to the intense pressures and demands of the holiday season. For many with the presents now all open, the feasting fulfilled there can be a sense of let down.
Let's take at least these few moments to simply let the Holy Family be with Let us allow them to come down from the plaster pedestals of piety that have been created and allow them to be, themselves, holy, and wholly human and fully surrendered to God the Father's Love. And let us listen to what they just might share with us.

Joseph, what would you say as you sit with us? " Work well and faithfully in the gifts God has given you. And in the times of struggle and uncertainty that we all share, Rest. And let the angels of god guide your dreams and conquer your fears. And always, with me honor and protect my beloved Mary and follow her Son."

Mary, What words would you share with us this Christmas over 2000 years since Bethlehem? "Hold close in your heart the gift of my Son. Listen to Him. Do as He says. Allow Him to unwrap the beautiful gift of who He created and redeems you to be. And never, never fear to say Yes to Him".

Jesus...from the baby in the manger we now see you, the young man who will carry the cross and conquer the tomb. We are perhaps afraid to look to You. Yet Your Spirit lifts our souls to look into Your eyes. We hear you speak...our name and hear..."Come, follow Me.

And Mary and Joseph smile. The greatest gift is being opened.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Prayer

A Christmas Prayer

Joseph, thank you for caring Mary and her Son.
May I follow your example of love, courage and faith.
Joseph, pray for us.

Mary, Blessed Mother, thank you for bringing Jesus to us.
May I follow your steps of yes to the Word and Will of the Father.
Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us.

Holy Jesus, Eternal Son of God the Father,
seeing you in the manger I pray.

Touching your infant’s feet, to be pierced by the nail, I pray,
guide me in your pathway,
out of sin, to your holy, healing embrace.

Taking your tiny hands,
soon to work the carpenters tools,
but, more, that will heal , and also
will know the nails piercing,
take my hands,
make them yours
for your work.

My finger touches your tiny rosebud lips,
from which will soon be heard,
Living words of life, eternal, rich.
Help me listen in humble silence,
and share in gentle boldness.

And, now, as Your Mother places you in my arms,
I feel your tiny heart beating, so close to mine.
To grow in strength and holy love to send our fears fleeing.

Sweetheart of Jesus,
be my love.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Prayer Warriors

{Liturgy of the Word, 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time: Ex. 17:8-13; Ps: 121:1-2, 5-6,7-8; II Tim. 3:14-4:2; Lk. 18:10-8}

"When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?" While we do not know when Christ will come we can answer whether or not He will find faith in our hearts when He calls us home. But to do so we must be truly follow Christ, have faith in Him, His Word, it is a battle. This is perhaps most powerfully realized in prayer. And it is why God seeks for those who will be His Prayer Warriors.

In our reading from Exodus we hear of the people of Israel in battle with the Amalekites. Moses, leading the Hebrews led them victoriously, while his arms were raised. Yet in his human frailty, with the long battle...his arms, his prayers weakened. Unless helped, held up, by the fellow servants of God, the prayers of Moses would falter.

In the gospel Jesus shares the story of the stubborn widow, teaching us to persist in prayer and not to give in the doubt, fear or weariness.

God's inspired Word issues the summons to all who would heed the call to be Prayer Warriors for God. To be a Prayer Warrior we must be willing to:

Heed God's Word, His call to prayer. This means being sensitive to the Holy Spirit to "pray without ceasing" in the middle of our daily tasks, in the cloister of our heart. Praying in response to the nudge of His angels, to pray, trusting God to answer. Praying for our family, church, a nation at war, or the unborn baby...fighting the battle of faith in prayer.

Being a Prayer Warrior means we must be willing to support and be supported in prayer with God's servants. Perhaps it may be a fellow believer sharing a rosary. Or the real but unseen help of His angels awakening us to pray for a special need, God supports those prayers and those in prayer for His Kingdom.

Especially, to be a Prayer Warrior we must be willing to Persist in Prayer. Like Moses in the battle, like the stubborn widow, all true prayer Warriors will persist in a faith rooted in love to the point of knowing God has heard and has answered. We will persist when weary, we will be strong in faith, when weak in body, we will be stubborn in faith when assaulted by doubts. We will be prayer warriors.

Today God's call for Prayer Warriors is more pressing than ever. This Respect Life month our prayers are needed in the battle for life on many fronts. Your prayers are needed for vocations, for young men to hear and respond to the call to the priesthood and for men and women of all ages to the Religious life. Those orders, especially focused on real prayer and service for Christ are seeing a resurgence in vocations.
Prayer Warriors are needed with the parents, and adults, students of all ages who are willing to let their faith grow strong and stubborn in prayer for Christ.

When the Son of Man comes..will He find faith, find prayer in us?

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Release & Receive

[Cyber-version~Homily for 23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time. Mass Readings: Wis. 9:13-18b; Ps. 90:3-4,5-6,12-13,14-17; Phmn. 9-10,12-17; Lk. 14:25-33]

The words of Jesus in today's Gospel are perhaps some of the hardest to receive. In speaking to the crowds who were following Him Jesus lays out in clear terms the price of being His disciple. We could, as many did then and have done over the centuries turn away or hide behind our human explanations of these words..."carry your cross...follow me...renounce all of your possessions (including your relationships) if you are to follow me".

Yet Christ spoke the simple truth in love. Whatever possessions we cling to, unless given wholly to Christ, hinders us from taking the cross, with Him. Whatever we fail to release to God restricts our ability to receive Him and all He longs to be and give through our lives. Perhaps a fire hydrant may help us understand.

One day, back when I working in the fire department, I was inspecting some hydrants in an area of new construction. I had with me an engine and crew and we set about checking the flow of the new hydrants that had been installed. The first few checked fine. However when we came to one at the end of the street we discovered it would fail the flow test without even turning it on. Upon removing the cap from the discharge we found that the inside was packed with sand, gravel, plastic sheeting and other construction debris. The hydrant that should have been able to quickly flow hundreds of gallons of water could not even flow a drop. The hydrant was full of all the stuff of which it was surrounded. It was not able to flow that for which it had been designed.

God designed us to be filled and flowing with life, with love. This includes relationships, this includes the things we need to live life here on earth. Yet when we start to hold onto..possess any of these things the flow of life, of God, of love is hindered. We parents do not possess our children, they are God's gift for us to love and nurture. Spouses do not possess each other..they are couples through which the course of life and love is meant flow and share. The things we do...or have for our work and life,some of great beauty and value, all are talents and treasures of God's placed in our lives for the stewardship of His purpose, His plans. Even the very dust we strive to clean away from our things, our relationships, is given by Him to remind us that only that which is from Him will last.

Our Lord longs for our lives to be filled and flowing with peace that lasts beyond possessions, with love that satisfies beyond lusts; with the riches of Heaven, even here on earth. The simple truth of today's Gospel is ours to discover every moment, every time we release to Christ that which we think we own...and receive His Cross, receive Him who gave all on the Cross to be our love forever.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Humility ~ Self and God ~ A walk in the garden

Mission Garden ~ Carmel California

[Cyber version 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time
Bible Readings: Sir. 3:17-18, 20,28-29; Ps. 68:4-5,6-7,10-11; Heb. 12:18-19,22-24a; and Lu. 14:1, 7-14]

Humility....Our society today does not approve or welcome this virtue...well maybe sometimes in others but not much in our self. Concepts such as humility, self-criticism, self-responsibility, self-denial or self-control are disdained in a culture that ruthlessly embraces SELF (and will shove others (including God) out of the way in that embrace). Entitlements of..Self-expression, self-assertion, self indulgence, self-improvement and the ever important..self esteem are the premier philosophies and religions of today.

To better realize the purpose, power and beauty of God's Word for this late Summer weekend we should go for a walk in the garden. The Word of God today would focus our lives on the virtue of humility. Perhaps in the garden we can better allow the blessing of this grace to be vibrant in our lives. For it is one of the great paradoxes of God that in true humility we can discover our true self but, and also the most important...God.

As we walk through the garden this late summer weekend we will enjoy the late summer roses, the vibrant Zinnias, Cosmos, Sunflowers and Marigolds and the sturdy borders of Fibrous Begonias. We will also perhaps pick a ripe sweet peach or apple from the garden orchard. We will also be stopping to pick some beans, ripe red tomatoes and Zucchini. Looking over the garden fence we can see harvest beginning in the vineyards with the promise of the lush grapes being crushed into wines to bless body and soul.

But in our appreciation and enjoyment of the garden we cannot afford to ignore the soil. For therein lies our lesson of humility. St. Thomas Aquinas reminds us that humility comes from the Latin...humilatas, the root of which is the word..humus. It is the rich humus fed soil of our garden that God uses to bring to us the beauty and joy of the roses, Marigolds, Tomatoes and beans. It is the decay and dying of the old that the newness of life is to be found. It is in our dying to self, our humbly recognizing our faults and failures (we Christians call this repentance and contrition) that God can bring a rich life of the true self. It is in deep rooted humility that healthy, genuine self-esteem can grow and mature.

It might be helpful to also take a walk in the local discount store. It is within the Walls of the Mart we can see the lush plastic flowers alive under the glow of fluorescent buzz. We can smell the rich scent of artificial plastics nurturing the empty esteem of self-indulgence. It is in the lush pride of possessions we can build the empty clutter of discontent.

We now return to the garden. As we allow the Master Gardener to prune away the dead clutter of this world in our lives we find the source of abundance He has created us to share. In the garden we share with Him the humble prayer.."Thy will, not mine, be done". From that place we discover the help of the angels to embrace the Cross and then know the Life of Him who has risen from the dead.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

St. Claire of Assisi ~ Feast Day 11 August 2010

On August 11, 1253, St. Claire of Assisi went home to be with Christ.
Claire, a personal friend of Francis shared with him his desire to live simply, powerfully for Christ. She renounced great wealth and position to become the first woman to enter into the early Franciscan order. She would continue to become the servant~leader of the Poor Claires.
Claire, then and now, give us a powerful example and lesson of a human soul who understood it was not about position or rank, status or wealth. She did not fret that her Church did not allow her to be a priest or bishop. It was not about any of was not about....Claire. With Francis she understood and realized the greatest of any vocation was to follow Christ in whatever life He has for us. She also realized that all the wealth, the status of the world was nothing more than waste that came between her and God.
May the life, friendship, example of Claire helps us all to draw closer to our Lord.

"Totally love Him, Who gave Himself totally for your love." St. Claire

St. Claire, pray for us.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Where your treasure is...

Cyber-version of my homily for the 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Mass readings for this Sunday:
First Reading: Wis. 18:6-9; Psalm: 33:1,12,18-19,20-22; Second Reading: Heb. 11:1-2,18-22; Gospel: Lk. 12:32-48 {}

If we could just understand, if we could but see and compare the promises of God compared to the poverty of our worldly longings...we might begin to grasp the infinite longing of our Heavenly Father to bless His children. In that realization we can come to grow in the eternal bounty of treasure that is for those who will allow God to bless.

Jesus speaks in the Gospel of "Where your treasure is there also will be your heart.."
For all who seek to follow Christ, to serve He who's heart was pierced in holy love for all creation, this statement brings us to seek the light of His Word, the fire of His Holy Spirit to search us, to heal our hearts and to open our eyes to see His Heavenly see Him.

For those seeking His will this prayerful inventory, with eyes of faith, is one of the great joys of mercy we find in His grace. The writer to Hebrews speaks of this faith that brings us to look well beyond what we may see. With the touch of those hands that felt the nail pierce through we can see through the mirages of the desert of this world. We can see past the dry, empty promises of futile sensuality or the dust storms of worldly treasure to the true treasures of Heaven. We can see in the simple host and chalice of wine the true Presence of His Body, broken for us, His Blood shed for us. We can see beyond the divisions in His Body and our lives to the wholeness, the holiness in love He calls us to... to Him

With the healing dynamic whisper of His Word in our hearts we can silence the strident clamor of the noise of this world. We can hear God calling in simplicity of love and faith to follow, to serve, to know Him whose love Heaven's choirs sing in endless chords of powerful majesty.

As we seek God to fill our hearts and lives we grow to know the riches of Heaven. The tears of our sorrows God will touch to be the diamonds of His hope. The woundings of this world He will unite with His sacred wounds to bring healing, to us and to those He brings into our life. The sins and failures we may know, with His mercy and grace can become the cornerstones of forgiveness in His healing work for this world. The life he blesses each of us with He will lead life eternal with Him the treasure of holy love.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rich in What Matters to God

Homily for the Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Our Bible readings for today speak powerfully on the temporal futility of worldly riches. They provide clear warning and affirmation of the lesson our Lord has sought to share in our recent times of economic upheaval. God seeks us to be wise and faithful stewards of the things of this world. Yet God seeks to bless us in ways, in riches well beyond that what we may see, feel, or lose to earthly decay. Our Heavenly Father, calling us to be co-heirs with His Son calls us each to be rich in what matters to Him.

That which matters to God can be found shared throughout Scripture and in the lives of the saints. God's Word and the lives of the servants of Christ speak with clarity and power of the wealth of Scripture itself. They share, too, of the eternal graces found in faith, obedience, humility and especially in His love. It is important and essential that we as God's people invest our lives in these treasures of Heaven.

But of all the riches of Heaven there is one, a hidden lost treasure, that is perhaps of most value to God. It's value and wealth is greater than any treasure lost and hidden in the deserts or seas of this earth. This lost treasure is, in fact, so great that the Father sent His only Son to seek and find these priceless gems. Over the ages saints have labored and given their all to share this holy quest of God. This treasure is distinct. For to find and discover this eternal gem it takes all the other riches of God to attain. Faith, obedience, humility, and most profoundly, the Love of God are all essential to overcome the obstacles that come in this holy quest.

Throughout the Gospel Christ sought to bring His followers to see this treasure and to equip them with all they would need in their quest for Him. For the fishermen to leave their nets, or Matthew his money, for the woman at the well and her many failed relationships, Jesus called them all to find what truly matters. He called them and He calls us from our futile, temporal priorities to share in that which matters most to Him. Souls.

May we bring to God, with and through His grace, our souls. May we invest in our children not just the gadgets and gizmos of this techno-obsessed age but may we invest in our children, Christ, prayer, faith...LOVE. May we too, seek to speak, to touch, to live,as to bring those who are lost to know the eternal love and mercy of our Lord. No matter the cost, the effort, may we simply bring to Christ, those for whom He died and rose again. May we bring to God what matters. Souls.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

"Lord, teach us to pray"

Cyber Homily ~ 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time ~ 25 July 2010

teach us to pray"
His disciples sought,
And seek we too today,
for Heaven's glory wrought.

When you pray, shared our Savior,
give praise and worship to God our Father.
From hearts of faith and love,
So He did implore.
For so will, with angels help,
our prayers, our hearts,
to His Presence soar.

Pray in humble thankfulness,
for blessings felt and seen,
and for those hidden behind Heaven's screen,

And in sorrow for our sins,
God's mercy, His holy grace, to seek.
To cleanse away sin's wounds and stains,
to quell and silence the accuser's blame.
Then, in God's forgiveness sought and found,
may our forgiveness so abound.

In prayer, with each other, then,
to at His holy wounds attend,
and discover,
that one,
through His sacred Body,
and His Blood,
the power of His love to send.

Then in the sacraments of prayer,
in those sacred places, shared,
with God,
we draw near.
In God's Presence,
His strength to know,
empowered in His love,
to grow,
strong to pray,
as long as needed;
for seeds of grace to swell,
all evil for to quell.

Teach us to pray,
and in You grow.
Make us bold,
Your love to show.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Martha? Mary? or both?

For the 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Cyber-version homily):

This weekend our Bible readings bring us a rich lesson from both Old & New Testaments. God's Word also enlightens the sometimes conflict between work and prayer, the hunger and needs of this world versus those of the spirit and soul.

The Scripture from Genesis (Gn 18:1-10a) shares the account of the visit of the Lord and two angels to the house of Abraham. It goes on to show the ancient and sacred place of hospitality in the Mid-east. It was through this lifestyle of justice and hospitality, the WORK of the hands and hearts of Sarah and Abraham that they both entertained God and His angels but also received the promises and graces of God.

This brings us to the Gospel. From Luke (Lk 10:38-42) we read of the visit of Jesus to the house of Martha and Mary. Over the centuries this story has the extolled the prayerful listening of Mary versus the care and toil of her sister. Most Christians today, if asked, would probably say it would be better to "be a Mary" rather than a Martha. This may well miss the point that Jesus was seeking to make. It is important to notice that Christ never rebuked Martha for her service, her work. He only replied to her question and concerns. It also overlooks the context of the rest of the Gospel account of Martha's life. It was Martha who got up and sought the Lord when her brother Lazarus died. It was Martha to whom Christ shared the revelation of the resurrection.

Jesus seeks us to listen to and rest with Him. The call of prayer and contemplation is sacred, holy and urgently needed in the rush and noise of this world. Our call to follow the example of Mary cannot be ignored. Yet we are also called, as our Epistle (Col 1:24-28) reminds us to fill up in our flesh, that is the actions , WORK of our hands and life, the sufferings of Christ. We are also called to serve our Lord, in the example of Martha, Abraham and Sarah. In our simple acts of cooking, cleaning tending to the chores of this life we can know and hear the voice of our Lord as we also make our tasks, acts of prayer.

In the work that God gives our hearts, and hands may we hear the voice and take the hands of He who carried the wood of our salvation in love for each of us.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Laborers for the Harvest ~ Our Vocation

The cyber-version of my homily for the Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, 3 July 2010

It is the season, here in fertile valleys of the wine country, that we start to enjoy the fruits of the harvest. The simple blessed pleasure of a vine-ripe tomatoe, warm and fragrant from the summer sun; or the soon to come intense labors of crush as our fertile vineyards yield the fruit of the vine to the press and process of becoming fine wines all teach us the lesson of harvest. These blessed fruits could not be shared without those who labor, and labor hard and long. This reality, often taken for granted, is essential to remember and apply..if we are to eat,

This lesson is shared by our Bible readings today. The people of Christs's time well knew that necessity of laboring for the harvest. Whether one worked sowing seed, tending an orchard or harvesting the fruits and grains they all knew, if they were to eat..they were to work. They understood their shared call, their vocations to labor for that harvest.

Christ's Kingdom, represented here on earth by His Church, is no different. To know the abundant beauty, power and blessing of the Church, the new Jerusalem expressed by the Prophet Isaiah takes consecrated effort of holy love and faith to nourish, protect and bring to fruition the graces of Christ in our midst. There are many dangers and assaults against the people of God and against His servants. There are many intended evil ravages of God's harvest of grace. Some would through up their hands in dismay and dwell upon these challenges. But those who are willing to heed God's call would DISCERN, DISCOVER and RESPOND to the call of the Crucified to serve in His Church.

GOD IS CALLING. Christ is seeking men and women, the young and the old, the strong and the infirm to DISCERN His call and serve in His grace and power. It is as we learn to LISTEN to the dynamic whisper of the Holy Spirit amidst the clamor and collapse of this world we RECOGNIZE the voice of Christ, crucified and risen. As we pray and seek the Kingdom of God, seeking His will we live a life of ongoing discernment, growing in the discovering of who we are called and created to be in and through the holy love of God.

Heeding God's call we DISCOVER in the daily ongoing adventure of life, love and faith that is ours as we follow the Shepherd of our souls. It is my firm belief that here in the Parish of St. John the Baptist, and in our Church world-wide, there are many vocations to the priesthood, to the religious life expressed by faith-filled nuns, religious priests and brothers, and to the diaconate. I speak not only of those of us who may be seeking to live out these varied vocations. I speak of men and women of all ages who are sensing the call to be consecrated in a life of courageous service to the Church. There are likewise those who are called to many other vocations of good and holy work in service, medicine, education, family life and so much more. I believe we as a parish are called to be and become a community that encourages and nourishes those rich vocations in God's will. The awesome work and beauty of the wines made by so many of you are but a symbol of the spiritual fruit we are called to nourish among us. This discovering of our vocations is a life time of faith and obedience. Perhaps the first steps may be to serve as an altar server, lector or extraordinary minister of the Eucharist. As our education ministry grows you may take first steps into even greater ministry as a teacher, or helper in a classroom or project. Together we discern and discover God's call and purpose in our lives.

As we discern His vocation for us we discover the plan and purpose of God's designs. This discernment, this discovery, brings us to RESPOND. We may feel or sense our inadequacies. We may fear the costs and unknowns our yes to God may bring. We may well know our own inabilities and weaknesses fear to fail the God we love. Yet the nail-pierced hand of the Shepherd will lead us through all our fears and we but allow Him to. It is as we say our yes to God we grow in our discernment and discovery of the Presence, power and purpose of His holy love. The true joy of those harvested tomatoes, that glass of fine wine, those are all but a hint of the joy of sharing in the call of the Harvest of His holy love.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Feast of St. John the Baptist

Today is the Solemnity of the Birth of St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of our parish here in Healdsburg. In the graces of Christ shared in the Communion of the Saints we can ask St. John what he would share with us today, over 2000 years since he first sought to "prepare the way of the Lord".

I sense his message would be essentially the same, yet with an added urgency. As we struggle in this age of information inundation and sensory addiction St John would probably call us to..repent and seek the Kingdom of Christ. That is, he would urge us to slow down...simplify and listen to the Holy Spirit, through God's Word, through His Church, through, even the quietness of God's creation. With the same fire of holy love that drew the crowds to him in Judea, that same holy love would urge us to listen to, to know, to receive and follow Christ.
In the pattern and simplicity of John's life we can know the pattern and path to ON-GROWING faith and communion with our Lord. John proclaimed the Word of God..the Gospel in his words but even more profoundly in his life. Yet his message was to prepare the way of the Lord. Baptizing Christ in the Jordan John would, in essence, share Christ, God's Son, in the flesh with the world. The world would come to realize in the course of Christ life, death and resurrection the grace and call to know..receive Christ, The Living Word of God and His Sacred Body and receive and grow to be..the Body of Christ, His Church. The simple ministry of John would be a precurser to the liturgy we celebrate at Mass. As we gather we renew our commitment to be a people alive in the Spirit of repentance, with the penitential rite. This is followed by the Liturgy of God's Word where we listen to Scripture from the holy roots of the Old Testament through the Psalms, the New Testament Epistles and the crowning grace of the Gospels. With God's Word proclaimed we then confess our faith anew and share, as God's children, our prayers. It is then we bring to His Altar our gifts and share in the mystery and miracle of knowing the bread and wine consecrated by the power of the Holy Spirit into the very Body and Blood of Christ as He Himself promised in the Gospels. From this rich feast of God's Kingdom we are renewed and empowered to grow on to share the Ways of the Lord.
This day, remembering, reflecting with St. John the Baptist, may we each seek and follow Christ in the power and mercy of His holy love.
St. John, pray for us!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ascension 2010

Here is the cyber-version of my homily for this Ascension Sunday:

"God mounts His thrones with shouts of joy..." So rings the refrain from our Psalm for this Ascension Sunday. After giving them their quest and His promise he ascended to the Heavens to return to His Father. God the Father reunited with God the Son, to thus send the fullness of God the Holy Spirit. The joy in Heaven is beyond words. If we think of s loved one we have not seen for some time..perhaps one who has died...yet we are now reunited with them..this joy we would know is but one grain of sand from an ocean beach, compared to the joy of the reunion between God the Father, and God the Son.This lesson of the Holy Trinity is also a vital lesson of this same quest and promise given to the Apostles and all believers to this day, a quest and promise to:

The Land of Promise ~ The Kingdom of Christ
Called out of limits and sins of our humanity, our understanding and boundaries of this world. Called from the culture of doubt, fear and judgment to be one people of forgiveness, mercy and healing hope. We are called to cross the Jordans of self, pride, fear and doubt to enter into and proclaim the Gospel of Christ and Risen hope, healing mercy and empowering holy love.
Called to all nations in the quest, the work of the Gospel of peace. Called to learn and share in the discovery of the joy of His Kingdom, in, with each other and our self as we focus, together on Christ and heed, not just our own human wisdom and insights but the will of the Father. With those same shouts of joy with which God mounts His throne with His Father so we too can know the same joy as Christ ascends the throne of our hearts, homes and lives.
Yet..we know it is impossible. We know our limitations. This world of sin, pride and sensual excess would mock this feast, our Lord and our own quest to follow Jesus. But it is in that reality..the same real world Jesus spoke to His early followers, He gives to us the Promise of Pentecost. Next Sunday we celebrate the promise and outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the early Church. That same Spirit of Christ, given just last week in the holy sacrament of Confirmation would give to us the power to become followers enflamed and empowered for our own quest into the truth and place of Promise , the Kingdom of Christ.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day & Christians

Today is Earth Day. Many Christians seem troubled by this and while there are those who carry their devotion to the earth to pantheistic extremes it does not mean we are to reject this opportunity to remember we are both a part of creation and called by God to be faithful stewards of this earth. Perhaps the reflections of St. Francis of Assisi may help us to clarify our place and priorities before God, each other and creation.

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord! All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing. To you, alone, Most High, do they belong. No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.


Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him. And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them, precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, and clouds and storms, and all the weather, through which you give your creatures sustenance.

Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten the night. He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you; through those who endure sickness and trial. Happy those who endure in peace, for by you, Most High, they will be crowned.

Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whose embrace no living person can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Happy those she finds doing your most holy will. The second death can do no harm to them.

Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks, and serve him with great humility.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Knowing God

This Sunday marked my first Sunday at my new assignment as Permanent Deacon at St. John the Baptist Church in Healdsburg California. Here is a cyber-version of my homily:

As we worship and serve our Lord with you here at St. John’s we will come to know each other much better. We are grateful and excited at this privilege and opportunity. These simple realities of our human relationships help us to understand the lesson we have this Second Sunday of Lent from God’s Word.

Lent…many see this just as a season of the Church year in which we fast, abstain or perhaps share in extra works of prayer and charity. And that is what Lent is. But while it is a season it is even more so a season in which the Spirit of God seeks to renew our hearts and lives in these acts of ongrowing conversion and grace, throughout all seasons and days of our lives. Lent is a special time to renew our relationship with God. It is a time to know in new and deeper ways, to awaken to Christ in our hearts, homes and Church. Our Bible readings this day help us to understand that this “knowing” comes about as we…

LISTEN to God…with our ears, mind and heart as Abram did on the journey of faith God led him upon. We are invited to be LISTENING & LOOKING upward to Christ and His dream for each of us as individuals and as His Family, the Church. We are called to listen to God with and through His saints. The Mount of Transfiguration is a profound lesson of the Communion of the Saints, in Heaven with God and with each other here on earth. Hearing….heeding the promises of God the Holy Spirit will arouse within our hearts to dream with God and from there to follow to the fulfillment of those plans and promises.

FOLLOWING God we discover that the promises, the plans, the dreams God has for us are the very beginnings of a life of faith and fulfillment, of love and grace. But it is also a path of dedication, at times struggle and suffering. It is a path up the mount of transfiguration. It is the path of Christ’s Cross that may allow the struggles and sorrows we encounter to bring upon us anew His mercy, His strength, His Love as we enter more deeply into the embrace of the Crucified.

This journey then of Listening.. of Following and then KNOWING Christ, is the path of discovering, anew the glory and beauty of Christ crucified and risen. As we allow God to lead us up the mountains of our life we may well face exhaustion, and even fear. But it is in those times and places we discover, we experience His love that brings His courage. It is His holy love that awakens us to see, hear and know anew Christ and hence to know and become that person and the people God has created, called and redeemed us to be.

May we, together, get to know more of each other as together we learn more of God in our work and worship, shared in His Church. And together may we grow on to know the treasure of Christ in His Word, the Holy Eucharist and in the works and worship of His Kingdom.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednseday

Ashes placed upon the forehead,
mark the time of Lent begun.
Ashes placed upon the forehead,
Are the sign of penances sung.

From deep within our heart.
may we heed the call,
from our sins to turn away.
and in His Love find our all.

May we hear and heed
God's Gospel to believe.
May His truth in mercy
sow redemption's seed.

May we grow beyond,
these forty days of counting,
of things given up,
for Lent's surmounting.

May we grow to know,
freedom real and lasting
in the Crucified Lord's
embrace of love surpassing.

And in His Wounds of love,
Our wounds of life to share.
May His Cross point the way,
His Easter Light to share.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Blessed Are You

Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

14 February 2010

Homily ~ Cyber-version


This last Sunday before Christ leads us into the graces of Lent our Bible readings are richly seasoned with a word that permeates both Scripture and our Christian path.

Blessed. For many Catholics this word may be used as a noun as meaning those recognized by the Church has having lived lives of beatific grace. As an official step on the formal path to sainthood the blessed are seen as models of those whose lives resonate with Gods favor.

Also when we hear this word we often think of the meaning that God has blessed us. Perhaps there has been a special answer to prayer, a healing, a financial or economic blessing, a restoration in a relationship or a grace-filled spiritual experience. This concept is rooted in Old Testament times and has grown through the Christian world to mean blessing as a sure sign of God’s favor. Today in many contemporary Christian circles the teachings of the “prosperity gospel” have been refined to preach spiritual formulas for both soul and especially material success and prosperity.

Yet we may struggle with the familiar teachings of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount and today’s Sermon on the Plain wherein Jesus shares a clear yet challenging litany by which we care called to know and share the reality of being Blessed by God. But it is in these essential teachings of true Christian discipleship that Christ confronts the narrow paradigm that the Jews of His day and many Christians today seek to use to restrict the Blessed to their limited vision of physical and spiritual success. To better understand this Gospel truth it will be helpful to, as always, look at the context of our message. In Luke 6 the brief, entire context reads:

[17]And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases.

[18] and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured.

[19] And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came forth from him and healed them all. [20]And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” It is important to note this is the same context found in Matthew 5, the Sermon on the Mount.


Blessed…favored by God, happy: {Psalm 1} YES! Our Lord longs to have our lives filled with the life and graces of His..Love, Joy, Peace, Goodness, and…yes..Patience, Gentleness, Meekness, Self-control, Faith, Courage. Allowing the Spirit of God to lead will allow God’s Spirit to also empower us to follow and live the journey He has consecrated for each of us.

Blessed …to be the consecrated…the hallowed, not just places, things or those who have gone on to eternity. It is also..the poor ..the Kingdom of God is theirs,

the hungry..they will be filled..the weeping..they will be comforted, the hated, excluded..insulted..denounced as evil on account of the Son of Man..rejoice..leap for joy for it is in those very real suffering we are called, consecrated…we are BLESSED to share His sufferings to enter into the very wounds of love our Lord suffered for us.

This season of Lent as we received the ashes of penance and conversion we must remember we are entering into a season in which we can know the promise of God shared by Isaiah the prophet to know a beauty for ashes that only the Blessedness of God can bring.

III Blessed are you…each of you…blessed is this parish. And as we each seek to follow our Lord in the journey before us may we seek to share His Blessing of healing touch and hope with the hungry, the hurting, the lonely as He looked upon and called His followers that day on the plain…Blessed are you!

Monday, January 18, 2010

St. Sebastian

St. Sebastian ~ January 20th is the Feast of St. Sebastian. In this 21st century the call to martyrdom, in the fullest literal sense and in the daily spiritual sense is just as real. May the love of Christ call us to follow our Lord in His holy and sacrificial love. St. Sebastian, pray for us.

by Harry Martin

Body broken, pierced by arrows,
Sebastian knew and felt the sorrow.

Called by God to simply trust,
Faced the hate that doubt did thrust.

Roman soldiers, courage known,
Sebastian something more did own.

Called to serve the King of Kings,
A holy joy his life would sing.

Strength, courage, faith he shared,
with those cringing under persecutors glare.

Strength and character much admired,
the Roman court was inspired.

“Honor Rome, the world is yours”,
Sebastian faced the tempters throne.

Pleasure, pride, senses heed,
let your noble flesh be pleased.

While admired, sought by men,
to serve and be their pleasing friend,

Sebastian heard a greater need,
from the soul of men did plead.

“Fill the empty void I know,
while pleasure, power, pride do flow”.

Empty hearts do ache and long,
for love, for purpose, to belong.

Sebastian heard the desperate plea
and to Christ he did flee.

Finding there Love’s full embrace,
he found the courage with to face.

Doubts and fears, hatred strong,
for those denying Satan’s song.

Called to choose whom to serve,
Sebastian for the Christ did yearn.

Doubt in hate the arrows lust
for his body with killing thrust.

Left to die the martyrs death,
arrows failed his life to quench.

Holy care a sister gave,
life remained, courage brave.

Doubt and hate, pride did hear,
so chose to attack again their fears.

Clubs assailed, the body pierced,
crushing breaking his noble face.

Sebastian’s holy body died.
Sisters, brothers , faithful cried.

Tears of love they did know,
tears of joy even more so flowed.

Sebastian brave, in holy love
shared with us his martyrs blood.

Bringing to all who will,
the hope, the love of Christ to fill.

Persecution still does flow,
from doubt and hatred’s brutal blows.

Called to Christ to love, to live,
in simple faith and courage give.

Our lives in trust and love for Him,
who frees us from the chains of sin.

Free to follow, serve and fight,
in the quest for holy life.

Saint Sebastian for us pray
that with courage we may stay,

Close to our Holy King
So His praise and love to sing.