Presbyters, Priestly Prayer: Tuesday, May 26th, 2020
Jesus consecrated Himself?!: Wednesday, May 27th, 2020
Last Daily Masses in the Easter Season!: Thursday, May 28th, 2020
On September 19, 2013, Pope Francis used a phrase that is very timely today: "I see the church as a field hospital…". Why I remembered that line many years ago, what a prophetic image for us today.
Pope Francis' image of our church during this Covid-19 brought my imagination for our "field hospital." Doing so, I will be offering those in our spiritual journey as a priest.
To start, I think about prioritizing, prioritizing, prioritizing! For instance, is national news needed right now? Nope. How about Facebook beyond a new way of evangelization? Nope. How about small issues in my life? Once again, no! Please, prioritize your life, especially as we are experiencing challenges, staying home for many weeks, new spiritual directions, distance learning for children, and more.
Again, Pope Francis spoke about our church to look first to those with triage situations. For me, I must take the time and place to support those who are close to death. Whether this is in a hospital, nursing home, or someone's home, that is one of my prioritization. I must pray and quickly analyze via the Anointing of the Sick, confession, and their last communion (or viaticum, which means "food for the journey"). As a priest, that was, and still is, a triage, number one.
My next focus is to see who God puts to me for His mission. These may occur in many ways, which keeps each day different. Some have tough times in their lives or seeking a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ or those who need some encouragement and prayers.
Typically, my next level would be the day-to-day opportunities for my vocation: Mass, checking up with our team, discerning ways to seek growth for our parishes and school, communication with you, community members, our diocesan supporters and more.
Finally, we each need to find time to seek God's peace in our lives. For me, this consists with a nap every day since my stroke, time to pray, time to exercise, time to catch up with my family and friends. To all the above, I seek God's mission, and while sometimes this fills my plate, which leads to stress, I need to discern how to stay healthy to succeed what God has asked me to do.
Once again, another weekend to check in via my bulletin, and let's continue to walk minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, and hope we may come back together at the best time: Mass!
The Ascension of Jesus Christ
Earlier this week, I enjoyed the Gospel according to John before the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
and again a little while later and you will see me.”
- Now, we know the story, right?
- But be in the minds if you were a disciple of Jesus in about 30 year AD
- I’m guessing that I too would be thinking with my buddies, after I left my family, job, area
§ So some of his disciples said to one another,
“What does this mean that he is saying to us,
‘A little while and you will not see me,
and again a little while and you will see me…”
- Only to realize that you, like St. Thomas the doubter, saw him!
Now we are in the 7th week in the Season of Easter, and where are the disciples in their story?
The Ascension = Boom
that the Father has established by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
throughout Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”
When he had said this, as they were looking on,
he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.:
But we, like the disciples, must once again think “Wait, what?”
How do we evangelize today? Find a connection!: Wednesday, May 20th, 2020
How do we evangelize today? Find a connection!: Wednesday, May 20th, 2020
"The Lord takes delight in his people...": Monday, May 18th, 2020
The Walk on Emmaus: Thursday in the Easter Octave
Happy Easter! For this article, I would simply like say once again, Happy Easter, and offer my homily from last weekend as we began the eight days—the Octave—of the most sacred days of the year.
Hope you enjoy it and know of my prayers for all of you during this powerful but challenging times in our lives!
“‘Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her, ablaze with light from her eternal King, let all corners of the earth be glad, knowing an end to gloom and darkness’” (Exultent).
“Happy Easter, brothers and sisters! Happy Easter.
“I hope that as we gather together spiritually, that we can be physically with each other soon. The donut sign is still where the donuts will be back as soon as possible, though after the Eucharistic!
“I also bet that our students will also be excited that Lent is over, and they will receive candy after they memorize their Bible verses, and they will already have a pile of them as they were gone.
“I am so glad for Easter. And we get to celebrate, not just this evening, not just one day, but for 8 days…8 days!
“Jesus said in the Scriptures: ‘I am the light,’ and THE Light destroys darkness!
“I have noticed that the importance of light, both in our world, but more importantly in our spiritual world. The sun lights later each day. Our porch lights going around the country every evening at 9:00pm. The Lighthouse on Lake Superior has been lightening as we strive to fight against the coronavirus. There are lights around the country, lights on stadiums, for the prayers for our students.
“Once again, many people recognize these lights for the coronavirus, but we know that it is Jesus Christ is THE light!
“And if you haven’t already, please turn on every light in your house! I know we did as I need some sunglasses in our true home!
“As I am beginning to read the City of God by St. Augustine, I am realizing that we are always fighting against the City of the World. The former is built on the Light of Jesus Christ. The latter is hit by sin, evilness, and darkness.
“We began this liturgy with the Easter Candle, and listen some of the powerful words again, (and perhaps you didn’t hear me, or understand my singing). Or, it is odd this year, but most years you may remember how this one light, when it is passed to others, can light up a room.
“‘This is the night of which it is written: The night shall be as bright as day, dazzling is the night for me, and full of gladness. On this, your night of grace, O holy Father, accept this candle, a solemn offering…’
“Let us live in the light of Jesus Christ, not only in the fight against this virus, not only in the fight against sins against evilness, against this temporal world, but: ‘May this flame be found still burning by the Morning Star: the one Morning Star who never sets, Christ your Son,
who, coming back from death's domain, has shed his peaceful light on humanity, and lives and reigns for ever and ever. AMEN!’
“And happy EASTER!”
“Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her,
ablaze with light from her eternal King,
let all corners of the earth be glad,
knowing an end to gloom and darkness.”
Happy Easter, brothers and sisters! Happy Easter.
of which it is written:
The night shall be as bright as day,
dazzling is the night for me,
and full of gladness.
On this, your night of grace, O holy Father,
accept this candle, a solemn offering…”
Let us live in the light of Jesus Christ, not only in the fight against this virus, not only in the fight against the sins and evilness in this world but
the one Morning Star who never sets,
Christ your Son,
who, coming back from death's domain,
has shed his peaceful light on humanity,
and lives and reigns for ever and ever. AMEN!” And happy EASTER!
6th Sunday in Easter Season
We have been talking A LOT of our hands!
As this has some important information to curve the Covid-19, in this “short time period” (which also feels like forever), could you think about how much we use our hands?
Start with Mass
As we continue to experience some tough times in many levels around the world—the pandemic, a tough economy, and our communities with new obstacles for spirituality—I praise God that it is spring. Why? Not only for enjoying the season of nature, but also another way to give gratitude back to God. Here are some ways in which I am so grateful for this spring, in which you can do something similar:
If you have some time, with your kids, family, or personally, take a few moments to bring your gratitude back to God in this gorgeous new season in nature. And yes, I typically smile and chuckle with some humor, as each season does that as well!
5th Sunday in Easter
Happy Mothers’ Day
Fascinating story of time
but chosen and precious in the sight of God,
and, like living stones,
let yourselves be built into a spiritual house
to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices
acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
§ “Therefore, its value is for you who have faith…”
- “…but for those without faith
- “The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,
A stone that will make people stumble,
and a rock that will make them fall.
They stumble by disobeying the word, as is their destiny.”
Finally, that analogy with that bird…
3rd Sunday in Easter
This weekend, the third Sunday in Easter, allows us to continue to follow the path of Easter, a path that will conclude this homily as I would first like to speak about our readings
Our readings throughout Easter Season focus on the crucial Words of God in the Scriptures
§ And we hear about evangelization and proclamation of the Good News
· The Gospel’s with the Resurrection of Jesus as he himself preaches, as the best teacher
- Cleopas and a friend walking away from Jerusalem
- Jesus added to his presence in this walk
- Did you notice that they were downcast?
- Jesus must have chuckled when they asked if he was the only one who didn’t know what had happened
- “Oh, how foolish you are!
How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!
Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things
and enter into his glory?”
- Jesus then said “He offered bread, and disappeared, because he was still there, in the bread!
Now, many of us, both we priests, and our families, we do believe in the Eucharist, but we may be sad, not being able to go to Mass, to receive Communion
And this weekend we heard some encouragement in Psalm 16
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
- Always listen this! Jesus is always with you!
“Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;”
- Be confident in God!
“You will show me the path to life,
abounding joy in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.”
- My favorite part is that simple phrase: “you will show me the path to life”
Keep running this marathon to show the path of life, not only on earth, but for the finish line to get to heaven
God is good, and God offers his dominion.
Last week I occurred one of those beautiful experiences with not only God's gifts, but also the ministry of a married couple, an individual facing difficult situations in his challenging life, and two priests.
And what an image of God's fruitfulness when our brothers and sister need help, ASAP.
As I will keep the names of the couple and the individual will be anonymous, so let us imagine Jill and John, who in their lives have served many people who have been homeless, hungry, addicted to drugs, spending time in jail. As giving the gift of missionary services (who I do know them and listened to many of their fantastic services), they were facing a tricky spot.
As they knew for many years (as I will call him Jim), he was almost "adopted" in Jill and John's family. In some ways, they put him under their wings to protect and provide him as Jim has lived through a tough life.
Over the last few weeks, Jill has asked me to offer prayers for Jim as he was stuck in Oklahoma, hungry, with no money, and no place to stay overnight safely. We did pray. Some doors were opened for him with some food and a hotel for a few days.
Last week, Jim was not out of the woods, continuing to live day-to-day, hour-to-hour, as so many people face these lives around our community, our country, and our world. And how were we to support this man?
Well, shouldn't people ask help for our Catholic Churches? In fact, YES. We are the most prominent organization around the world that serves most people who are homeless, hungry, thirsty, naked, lonely, in jail, in hospitals, and must be buried.
Thus, Jill asked me one question: "Do you know anyone in Oklahoma?" and my response was quick: "I know one man in Oklahoma that I knew in the seminary many years ago, and I haven't chatted with him from many years. But I do know he is a priest in Oklahoma. His name is Fr. Michael Pratt. Check out his name on Google."
Do you know where Fr. Pratt served as his parishioners? Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, the same suburb that Jim was seeking support. I mean, I only knew one priest that I knew in the whole state of Oklahoma, and there is one of my brothers in the priesthood.
It was touching to speak with Fr. Pratt after many years, and it was great to check up with each other as we both serve God's will in different places. And one of his classic lines by the end of our conversation: "We'll take care of Jim."
As this was so powerful, it shows how we disciples serve God's Kingdom. May we support other people? Of course! Can we serve better? Yes! But at the end of the day, I praise God, because that is what God does. We must listen for our missions from God, and we must believe in faith, hope, and love. As God IS love, He is also in control even when we do not understand it.
Finally, I believe in faith. I do not want to be proud, but I did know in my heart that God will take care of the situation with Jill, John, and Jim. So why don't we believe in God's providence no matter what we face in our lives?
Good day to our parishioners at St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Columban! Once again, happy Easter as we continue to celebrate this season, as well as our beautiful weekend of Divine Mercy.
This weekend I would like to offer my gratitude as we continue to provide our time, talent, and treasure as a family, and how essential our family is! I mean, we may be focused on this coronavirus, but do you remember just a few months ago? We had concluded bankruptcy of our Diocese of Duluth, and each of our parishes paid it off to support our Diocese. Praise God and know of my thanksgiving.
Then comes COVID-19, and there we go again, though in a different challenge! Within this situation, I continue for us to follow our mission as disciples and as stewards. First, we must continue to use our time. As many of us have more time in our homes, let’s continue to grow our time with prayer. Offer prayers for those who are suffering from this virus, and other physical or brain challenges. Take some time to make phone calls for those who are homebound, in a hospital or nursing home.
How can you use your talents? I am so proud of our employees at our parish and school, serving our parishioners, students, and our community. While this is part of their jobs, they are showing their gifts to share with many people. Again, what charisms has God given you during this time?
How can you support all of the above with your treasure? Whether it is for a few coins, a regular donation, or offering other ways to support our family.
Finally, I am proud of each of you as our financial is A-Okay because of your generosity and prudence of our finance committee. For instance, remember that we sold our last huge rectory? We have a large chunk of that in a CD. We are also working for two other opportunities to support our savings during this trying time. The first is the Payroll Protection Program from our Federal Grants, which may be possibly free. The second is now private, as I want to make sure that it comes together for another tremendous gift, and I will announce that as soon as I can.
Again, I am proud of you, brothers, and sisters, as this period is a marathon. Keep pacing well with the Lord, with your time, talent, and treasure. God is in control of what is going around the world, and Jesus Christ is our shepherd.
God Bless and know of my prayers!
The Wolf vs. the Shepherd: Monday, May 5th, 2020
Holy Spirit on the way and Paul and Silas being arrested!: Tuesday, May 19th, 2020
4th Sunday in Easter
The sheep and the Shepherd
- But I think it is quite clear, as this coronavirus began, we were seeking, yes, as God’s servants, but to TRULY know THE Shephard: Jesus Christ
St. Peter wrote in his first letter he taught, like Jesus, to those who became scared after Jesus Christ died on the cross
§ His disciples were locked in an upper room, terrified to be killed, like their leader
§ Imagine their fear for three days having no clue what was going on, especially as they gave up their jobs, their families, their houses
§ And what quickly occur?
- “…but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.”
§ Jesus was back!
- And here is where our true Shepherd always protects us, feeds us, and laid down his life for us
- Therefore, we really have only two options
- The first is what we heard in John 10: “A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy…”
§ How are we not focusing to our Shepherd, or the thief: evilness, sin, the world, vices, or sins?
- Or, honing into Jesus own words? “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
We must follow THE Shepherd