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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!