Saturday, July 20, 2019

                                                             Martha and Mary

This weekend we will hear a familiar story. Jesus is invited to Martha and Mary’s house for dinner.  Martha’s nose gets out of joint when Mary isn’t helping her in the kitchen.  Mary, on the other hand, is enjoying herself just listening to Jesus.  

Martha’s about ready to throw in the towel! And Mary has no idea why Martha’s upset. On the other hand, what does Martha expect? That Mary should leave Jesus sit by himself while she helps Martha dice the onions?  

Meanwhile Mary assumed the position of a disciple by sitting at the master’s feet. She was focused on Jesus.  And it’s true that she chose the better portion, since Jesus was the only Rabbi in His time who had women disciples!

Do you have a little bit of Martha in you? Do you get ‘anxious and distressed’ by the chores at hand? (Martha could easily be my patron saint!) Or are you more like Mary?  Focused on people, but not noticing unattended details…like the lamb becoming a burnt offering!

The good news is that there is room for both Marthas and Marys in Jesus’ life.

We don’t hear the end of the story…but being a good Rabbi, Jesus would have concluded the meal with a prayer of thanks for the food…and for the good company too.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

                                                         What Is Your Mission? (2)

This weekend’s gospel tells the story of Jesus sending 72 disciples on a mission trip. (Luke 10:1-9) Their work was to care for the sick and announce the coming of God’s Kingdom.  So it was a mission that included both talk and action.   

So I can’t help but think of the 18 youth from St. Patrick, St. Richard and St. Edward parishes who are currently on a mission trip in Knoxville Tennessee. We had a commissioning ceremony for them and their chaperones last Sunday at the 9:00 am mass at St. Patrick’s Parish. They left for Knoxville on Monday. 
These young people are an inspiration for an old goat like me!  They have an enthusiasm and a spirit of adventure and probably they’ve got a little anxiety too. But my guess is that they will return with stories to tell and experiences that they will never forget. 

If you were going on a mission trip at this point in your life, where would you like to go and what would you hope to do?  What gift do you have that would help you change the world? If you would ask God what your mission should be, what would He say?

Saturday, June 29, 2019

                                                           What’s Your Mission?

You may have noticed that recent blog posts have taken a new turn.  In the past, many posts were reflections on the previous weekend's Gospel.  Now the posts will tend to be a preparation for the coming weekend’s message. Let me know if this is helpful or not.

In this weekend’s Gospel, Jesus is determined to go to Jerusalem…knowing that His mission is to suffer and die there. So Jesus is a ‘man on a mission’! But He did't want to travel alone. So He sought disciples who would be companions on His journey. Unfortunately He encountered resistance from the excuses of those would-be followers. 

At this point in your life, what is your mission?  What does God expect of you?  Are you accomplishing it?  What excuses do you make for not fulfilling your mission? Who are your companions on the journey?  Pause a bit to think about these things. 

Going on a mission is risky business. There’s always the possibility of failure…and I have known enough of them!  But as Mother Teresa says: “God does not require that we be successful, only that we be faithful."  Lord, help us be faithful to our mission this week! 

Friday, June 21, 2019

                                    “Give Them Some Food Yourselves.”  (Luke 9:13a)

This weekend’s Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ is linked with Luke’s account of the feeding of the 5000 (Luke 9:11b-17). . As the day unfolds, the Apostles tell Jesus to dismiss the crowd so that they can buy something to eat.  The Apostles only have 5 loaves and 2 fish with them. But Jesus says “Give them some food yourselves.”   

Just prior to this event the Apostles had returned from their first missionary journey. They were excited because their journey was so successful. And they had just been recipients of the hospitality of people who wanted to know Jesus.      

So it’s no wonder that Jesus tells the disciples to give that crowd something to eat. It’s about offering the best hospitality they can give to those 5000 people. It doesn’t matter how much they have to give, it’s about their willingness to share whatever they have.   

Not only that, but sharing their food with that big group is a specific way to ‘Feed the Hungry', which is the first corporal work of mercy.  Feeding the hungry and sharing the Eucharist cannot be separated.  

Jesus saw the the connection between those 2 things and He hopes that we and the Apostles can see that link too.  

Friday, June 14, 2019

                                                       Trinity – A Community of Love

The Sunday after Pentecost is always Trinity Sunday.  From a priest’s standpoint, it’s a tough weekend to prepare a homily because the Trinity is pretty much inexplicable!

But key to understanding the Trinity, at least a little bit, is to see the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as a ‘community of love’. This ‘community of love’ is at the heart of God and everything God does. The result is that all creation is rooted in love, for love and of love.    

The problem is with our free will which bollocks up the whole thing.  The remedy is to remember our roots in our triune God of love.

Have you seen the rise of ‘nationalism’ in recent elections?  Have you noticed the divide between rich countries and poor ones? Are you shaken by increasing gun violence? Do you lament the lack of attention being paid to working for the common good?

Lamenting these things doesn’t help. But putting our love into targeted, daily action can make a difference.  Have you heard the song: “Go Make a Diffrence”? It rouses us to do something to change our world and reconnect us to our roots in God’s love.   

Name something you can do today that reflects the Trinity’s Community of Love.

*The lyrics of ‘Go Make a Diffrence’ were written by Steve Angrisano and Thomas N. Tomaszek.  Go on line to view their YouTube performance.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

                                                      Be a Kintsugi Practitioner

Recently I saw a picture of a gorgeous piece of pottery that had golden veins running thru it. The veins of gold were made of a special lacquer, dusted with powdered gold, which mended a broken piece of pottery. 'Kintsugi' is the name of that Japanese art of reconstructing broken pottery pieces. 
It strikes me that Jesus’ mission was to develop a spiritual form of Kintsugi, repairing our broken hearts and wounded souls with the golden seams of His forgiveness and love.
In the end there is a deeper beauty in the broken and mended pottery that we are too. Lots of parents, grandparents and children have learned the art of healing broken hearts and wiping away the tears of those whose who weep.

Think of someone who has mended your heart. Whose words or actions formed the golden seams that glued you together when you've fallen apart? Who loves you without conditions? Whose heart have you recently mended?  Whose soul have you lifted up? 

Healed hearts and souls are always the most beautiful ones. Be a kintsugi practitioner.  

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

                                                                 Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety occurs when someone is afraid of being separated from a particular person.  It is quite common when young children can’t cope with moms who have to go to work or when a child starts to go to school. When they learn they're not being abandoned and that they'll see their moms later in the day, their anxiety usually subsides.
As the Easter Season comes to an end, Jesus and His disciples have to deal with their own kind of ‘separation anxiety’ as Jesus prepares for His Ascension.
Consider these verses in John’s Gospel. Jesus says: “My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.” (John 13:33)  And He follows that by saying: “I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always.” (John 14:16)  And then He says: “I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you.” (John 14:18)

The Disciples don’t know what to make of all this…until Jesus ascends…and shortly thereafter the Holy Spirit comes to them on Pentecost. Then they knew that Jesus had not abandoned them…He was still with them, but in a whole new way!  

How has your relationship with Jesus changed since you were a child?