Father Kris' Korner

Father Kris' Korner

Father Kris

Father Kris’ Korner

June 18, 2017

We are getting accustomed to having things delivered to our door: newspapers, packages, Chinese food, pizza and yes, even Holy Eucharist is delivered to you but only if you are too infirmed to come to Mass. You can’t order it online, you can’t get it at a drive through, you can’t bake it at home and you can’t get it from the local liquor store. This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. The Body and Blood are brought to reality by the Holy Spirit through the priest and the prayers of the community solely within the context of the Sacred Liturgy. Each time we receive Holy Communion, we respond Amen which means “so be it” or “truly it is.” But have you ever spent time reflecting on Holy Communion? The Eucharist (which means thanksgiving) feeds our bodies and souls, unites us, and empowers us to feed others through our words and actions. If you know of a loved one who hasn’t received the Eucharist in a while, please use this opportunity to mention it to them. If they are unable to come to Mass, call the office to have someone bring it to them (or perhaps even you could bring it to them!) One of the Church’s greatest mysteries is that through the Eucharist we touch God! Let’s all say AMEN to that!

 

June 11, 2017

Have you ever tried to explain the HOLY TRINITY to someone? The Trinity is the most cherished of all the mysteries of the Church. Our human minds can barely understand the Father and the Son, but to wrap our minds around the Holy Spirit is far more difficult. Some describe the Holy Spirit as the tangible love/fellowship between the Father and the Son; a love so dynamic that it created life out of nothing. Over the course of over 2000 years, the church has tried to understand and teach the mystery of the Trinity, and even though we accept it by faith, our human minds are unable to fathom its totality. Ah, if St. Patrick were alive today, he might use a modern toy to explain the Trinity rather than the shamrock.

Have you seen a Fidget Spinner? It is a toy with three arms that spin around a central hub. Here is a diagram of the Trinity that I’ve found that helps a bit (it looks a lot like one of those Fidget Spinners). In the simplest of explanations, God is a community of persons - a dynamic community of love. All three persons are equal, yet all three have very specific roles in the relationship.

We too are called to be in relationship with others. Each of us has a variety of roles in our lives… son, daughter, spouse, parent, sibling, friend, teammate, boss, employee, parishioner and the list goes on and on. We cannot discover our true being or destiny without relationships. "How have you experienced love from God – i.e. from the “Divine Community? And how have you experienced love from the human community?"

 

June 4, 2017

Come, Holy Spirit, come. At his Ascension, Jesus said his earthly goodbyes to his disciples and promised to send the Holy Spirit to dwell within them so they would not be abandoned. This weekend we celebrate Pentecost, the third most important day in the life of our Church when the Holy Spirit set the apostles free from fear and filled them incredible passion to spread the Good News. Yet most Catholics know very little about the Holy Spirit. The Church uses symbols to represent it: fire, wind, water and the dove. Fire calls attention to the strength and force of the Holy Spirit who sets hearts and souls on fire. The wind that appeared at Pentecost was reminiscent of the wind (Ruah in Hebrew) that blew over the waters at the beginning of Creation. The wind calls attention to the Holy Spirit who continues to breathe life into the Church. Water signifies birth and life. From a faith perspective, it represents the cleansing and life-giving action of the Holy Spirit at Baptism. The dove descended upon Jesus at his baptism and affirmed him when a voice was heard saying “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!"

The Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, offers us incredible strength, courage, passion, guidance, affirmation and wisdom. It is through the Holy Spirit that we are able to defend our faith. It is through the Spirit that we are cleansed from sin and guilt thus enabling us to forgive ourselves and others. Have you ever shown great inner strength and courage? Have you exhibited wisdom beyond your years? Have you made great sacrifices for those you love? Have you chosen love and forgiveness rather than hatred and revenge? If you answered YES to any of these questions, you have the Holy Spirit to thank.

 

May 28, 2017

Saying goodbye to someone you love is never easy and some goodbyes are harder than others; some goodbyes turn out to be our unexpected final goodbye. I would have never imagined that my phone call to my sister Lynn on March 13th of last year would be the last time I would hear her voice. Thank God my family is in the habit of saying “I love you” every time we say goodbye! In today’s Gospel, Jesus is saying his final prayers before He ascends to the Father once and for all. He made it a point to pray specifically for his beloved disciples.

Like most people, I used to think that I wanted to die quickly, but as I’ve gotten older and have been with people as they pass away, I now want to be conscious during the process. I want to be able to experience the poignant goodbyes. I want to be able to tell each and every person how much I love them and what they’ve meant in my life. I want to hug and kiss them, hear their voice and hold their hands. I want to share my faith in Christ and His resurrection. I want them to know I have no fear as I make my journey home. And as my mind and body slip from this world to eternity I want to be in prayer. Please do not take your loved ones for granted or wait until it is too late; pray every day for them with the dedication of a young child praying at the foot of its bed with hands clasped.

 

May 21, 2017

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Sonnet 43 by Elizabeth Barrett Browning is one of the most famous poems in the English language. How do you love those whom you truly care about? Think of the many ways you show them. I’m sure you have ways that come naturally to you but hopefully you work at other ways that don’t come so easily. Remember experiencing the joy and excitement that came from doing something special for a loved one. However, we all know that we can damage loving relationships if we simply just stop trying; if we stop saying “I love you,” or if we allow tempers to fly, or if we disrespect each other, or if we become concerned solely about ourselves and fail to make sacrifices for others.  

Let’s just change one word in Sonnet 43… “How do I love God? Let me count the ways.” In what ways do you personally and uniquely show God that you love Him? We all have our ways that come naturally, but we can always improve by challenging ourselves, thus showing God the depth of our love for Him. Jesus said to his disciples: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Following the commandments is a solid foundation but Jesus also challenges us with his teachings and parables, the Beatitudes, and the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy. So, please take this week’s challenge and improve the count by doing something special for your loved ones and for God!

 

May 14, 2017

Rejection causes incredible emotional damage to human beings. In evolution those that were rejected had very little chance of survival if they were ostracized from the tribe; thus rejection is deeply engrained in the human psyche and we avoid it at all costs. Yes, you will find lots of quotes about how rejection actually makes some people stronger but the pain it causes is real and difficult to overcome and even harder to forget. Today’s second reading contains the phrase, “the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” Jesus, the Son of God, was rejected by the people of his time. He came to help us to know God and to understand God’s ways. He told us that we can know God by looking at Him. He treated everyone with respect. He saw goodness in sinners. He never judged. He forgave those who sinned against him. He was patient. He protected the weak, the marginalized, the poor and the lowly. He gave strength and purpose to those who had lost hope. He even performed mighty miracles to prove his authority. Jesus gave His ALL for others even allowing himself to be crucified for us. Yet still people rejected him then and they continue to reject him today. Jesus never compromised who he was or what he taught. He stood his ground even though He knew others were plotting to kill Him. How does fear of rejection by your peers play a role in your life when it comes to living out your faith? How does rejection influence the way you act or speak in general? Yes, even as adults we succumb to peer pressure; how far are you willing to go before the approval of others becomes more important than your faith, morals and values? Ultimately, we will all stand before God and give an account of our lives and we certainly don’t want to be rejected by HIM!

 

May 7, 2017

Sheep need constant protection; they have no natural defenses, plus they aren’t that bright and often lead themselves into perilous situations or are stolen away by thieves. So to gain his flock’s trust, a good shepherd will hold his lambs at their birth. The shepherd’s voice is the first human voice a lamb hears, thus it will follow only him (imprint on him) for the rest of its life. In today’s Gospel, Jesus, the Good Shepherd knows us, his flock, and as we follow his voice he protects us with his life. As much as we would like to be obedient and good, we too lead ourselves into perilous situations and allow ourselves to be lured away from Jesus. When might have you been led astray by someone or some temptation? Praise God that the Good Shepherd somehow rescued you from the peril and carried you lovingly on his shoulders safely home where there is abundant life.

We too are called to be good shepherds – vigilant caretakers of each other, of our children, out “neighbors,” especially the poor and vulnerable among us. How seriously do you take this responsibility? Who trusts your voice? Who needs your touch?

 

April 30, 2017

On that first Easter morning, before the disciples truly understood that Jesus had risen, two of them were walking to the town of Emmaus. On the way, they encountered a stranger who wanted to know all about this Jesus of whom they were speaking. They taught the stranger all they knew about Jesus and in turn, the stranger began to teach them by explaining all the scriptures that foretold of the Christ. (Of course, we all know now that the stranger was Jesus Christ himself.) After Jesus had left them, the two said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” Many people tell me after Mass that my homily spoke to them directly as if I knew exactly what they needed to hear. I have enough experience and humility to know it had nothing to do with me but that the Holy Spirit was completely responsible. I learned in seminary to Preach the Gospel and thus all the Gospel to do what it does best – speak to people’s hearts. I have witnessed those special moments when the scriptures suddenly make sense to a person. I have witnessed heavy burdens being lifted instantly. And I have witnessed despair turn into hope. My constant prayer for our parishioners is that, at some point in each of their lives, their hearts will burn within them as they have that profound moment of faith revelation. If this has not happened to you yet, pray that it will happen; seek and ye shall find, ask and it shall be given unto you.

 

April 23, 2017

In today’s Gospel we encounter Doubting Thomas. I usually say, “poor Thomas;” he had one moment of doubt and now, for all time, he is defined by this one uncertainty. Thomas had to see the risen Christ for himself; he simply wouldn’t trust the testimony of others. Jesus Christ, in his infinite patience, was not at all insulted by Thomas’ doubts. In fact, He invited Thomas to touch his wounds to help him believe. Thomas is a lot like today’s modern skeptics who need scientific proof for nearly everything in whom there is no room for religion or spirituality. Miracles happen every day and there are those who believe in them and there are just as many who immediately denounced them or attempt to dismiss faith in general. Let us model ourselves after Christ and instead of being perturbed by another’s unbelief or antagonism, let us rather invite them to dialogue about faith and truth. Someone may come to believe in Christ because of your humble teaching and witness. This year, in particular, our Easter Celebrations were very well attended and at St. Augustin’s there were many families with young children in attendance. It was wonderful to see young parents passing on their beliefs to future generations. Keep up the Good Work by spreading the Good News! Help someone in their unbelief.

 

April 16, 2017

On Easter morning children will be scurrying around looking for hidden Easter eggs, devouring the chocolate in their Easter baskets, and hoping to get a glimpse of the Easter bunny. Sadly, for some, this is all they know of Easter; in their homes there is no mention of Jesus dying on the cross and certainly no mention of his resurrection. For many adults, the holiest day of the year is just another occasion to get together with family and friends. Four years ago on Easter, my father had a massive heart attack and with only eight more days to live, he said he was honored to his heart attack on the holiest day of the year. On that first Easter morning, all time and eternity changed, all sins were forgiven, the gates of heaven were opened, and a completely new way of being was ushered into existence through Jesus Christ. Have you tried to delve into the f fullness of what Easter is all about? Have you taken time to reflect on how the Paschal Mystery (Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection) affects you personally? It takes work to make sense of it and to make it part of our lives; for most, it takes a lifetime…a lifetime of faith. May this Easter change your life forever for the Loris is risen!

 

April 9, 2017

At Palm Sunday Mass the crowd experiences a tremendous shift in loyalty. At the beginning we hold up our palms as we shout “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is the he who comes in the name of the Lord.” But when we read The Passion our mood turns very dark when we all shout “Let Him be crucified!” In just a few days the crowds turned completely against Jesus; at first they gave him a king’s welcome and soon after they crucified Him as a common criminal. Why were the crowds so fickle and why were they so easily swayed? If you were there in that crowd, what would you have shouted… “Crucify Him or Free Him?” Are you loyal to Jesus? Do you live by your faith only when it is convenient or benefits you in some way? Are you able to resist sin especially when it seems fun or immediately gratifying? Do you make conscious decisions based on your faith, or does your faith not even factor into your daily life choices? Our faith maturity is a lifelong process; but face it, at some point we must grow up and put aside childish ways to become a consciously dedicated disciple of Christ. What grade would you give yourself as a loyal follower of Jesus? What grade as a practicing Catholic? Jesus expects us all to reach for an A+!

 

April 2, 2017

In today’s Gospel, we witness the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Jesus appears to be quite insensitive because he did not rush to Lazarus (one of his close friends) when he got word that he was near death; in fact, he delayed traveling to see him for two days! Who of us would not run immediately to a loved upon hearing they were near death? But why did Jesus wait? By the time he arrived, Lazarus had been dead for four days! Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, told Jesus that their brother would not have died if Jesus had gotten there in time. A great crowd of people were wailing and causing a commotion; some of them criticized Jesus for not saving Lazarus. Perturbed at all the nonsense, Jesus wept. Jesus assured the sisters that He is the Resurrection and the Life and Martha declared “I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Hopefully we all know that the situation ends on a miraculously happy note. Jesus commanded Lazarus to come out of the temple. Lazarus came forth still bound by all his burial cloths and Jesus commanded that they untie him; symbolically releasing Lazarus from the bonds of death – foreshadowing Jesus destroying the bonds of death once and for all by his own resurrection. The death of a loved one can cause unfathomable sorrow but Jesus cautions us to not grieve like those who have no hope. Jesus still weeps because death and evil seem to prevail at times, even though he has conquered them once and for all. He weeps that we still do not fully trust and hope in the resurrection. May we, one day, declare with our whole hearts and souls that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the Resurrection and the Life!

 

March 26, 2017

In today’s Gospel, we come across a very unlikely hero; a man, blind from birth, whom Jesus healed.  One might think, “Praise God, a blind man has been healed;” however everyone turned against the blind man; some accused him of being a fraud, others threw him out of the temple, and even his parents would not come to his defense.  All this did not deter the blind man from courageously standing up for himself and for Jesus.  For, not only had the man’s sight been restored, he also was given the gift to ‘see’ with a new found faith.  No one, no hardship, no threat, would ever be able to take his faith away from him.

I suppose the question for us today would be: how willing are you to defend your beliefs?  In today’s world there is so much pressure to denounce one’s faith and religious practices because the Church is viewed as out of touch, irrelevant and oppressive.   Do you back down in arguments when others criticize our Catholic beliefs or even faith in general?  Do you share your beliefs with love and confidence – in word and deed?  The light of faith is one of God’s most precious gifts to us; don’t let anyone intimidate you or attempt to dim your light!  Shine so all may see the glory of God.

 

March 19, 2017

In today’s readings we hear about “living water;” water that not only refreshes temporarily but forever quenches our thirst. I’d like to ask you two questions: 1) Can you remember a time in your life when you were incredibly thirsty? And 2) Can you remember a time in your life when you were incredibly thirsty? You must be saying there is mistake; that I repeated the same question twice, but there are two meanings of the word thirsty. Here are my two stories… I hiked the Grand Canyon with my nephew Jeremy and we had a map that showed all the places we could get drinking water. So we each just brought one bottle of water certain that we could refill them along our journey. However, each of those locations was either dry or contaminated. Our water supply was running out as we were being baked in the hot sun.   Never have I been so thirsty and scared for lack of water. And now the other story… I was always a good kid and had deep moral convictions. In high school, I started hanging around with a bad crowd simply for the sake of having friends. After being semi-involved in some vandalism, I told God that I would rather have no friends than to become someone that I didn’t want to be. I thirsted for friendship and I also thirsted to please God; but I could not allow the two thirsts to be in conflict.   That summer on a retreat, I was introduced to Jesus who quickly became my best friend. God, in His own way, quenched my true thirst - that inward desire for love, friendship and fulfillment. Jesus, in the story of the ‘Woman at the Well,’ used both meanings of thirst to explain what he meant by “living water.” The Samaritan woman understood what he was offering, and her life and the lives of her friends and neighbors were forever changed. So, now with this new understanding, please ask yourself the question again. When and for what have you thirsted and how has God quenched that thirst?

Jesus masterfully used the two meanings to make his point.

 

March 12, 2017

The following Fr. Kris’ Korner was written last year just days before my sister, brother and friend passed away within 11 days of each other. It was our hope in Christ’s resurrection that kept my family going and it is life’s happy memories that continue to help us laugh rather than cry. So in light of all that my family and I endured, I’d like to share it with you again as it still holds true.

Some moments in life feel like they should go on forever; those times of great joy, love and happiness that you never want to end. In today’s gospel, Jesus’ three best friends, Peter, James and John, witnessed something truly spectacular – “the Transfiguration” – when Jesus became dazzling white. It was made clear to them that Jesus was truly the Son of God. They wanted to stay put in that place and build a monument. They wanted to capture those feelings of wonder and excitement forever. But alas, they had to descend the mountain and go on with daily life with all its burdens and sorrows.   Life is a mixture of highs and lows, of celebrations and sorrows. In times of mourning and distress, we often draw strength and hope from happy memories. Jesus showed himself as the Son of God to give them hope to endure the upcoming horror of his passion and crucifixion. Basically, he was showing them the light at the end of the dark tunnel to come; lest they fall into deep despair. This light, this hope is given to us also. When you find yourself in a dark tunnel, please remember that there is always a light beckoning you out of the darkness towards the life giving love of God – the resurrection of Jesus. So let us embrace all that Lent has to offer; we learn many life lessons from struggling through life’s dark moments. It is precisely those dark moments that help us to fully embrace the light of Christ.

 

March 5, 2017

In the first week of Lent we read that Jesus is tempted by the Devil yet He resisted Satan’s lies by quoting scripture. Jesus was in the desert for forty days and was starving because he had been fasting; Satan first tempted jesus by encouraging Him to turn stones into bread. How many of us get into trouble when life gets dire or we greatly desire something and we take matters into our own hands; turning to sinful solutions rather than trusting in God’s good care. Next Satan offered Jesus power and glory. Think of the many lives that have been ruined or destroyed by someone abusing power; from bullies tin the playground, threats via social media, to drug lords, terrorist and dictators. The desire for (and misuse of) power can be subtle but left unchecked can grow into an all-consuming monster. Lastly, Satan encouraged Jesus to test God by putting Himself in danger to if God would save Him. We’ve all heard the saying “Don’t play with fire or you’ll get burned.” Satan lures us to sin, but once we cross that line of temptation there is no turning back – the sin has been committed, the dame has been done, evil has caused havoc, loved ones have been hurt and lives have been ruined. Please be careful, Satan knows every trick in the book to lure you from holiness. Pray the Our Father at the first sign of temptation so that you may be able to resist by the grace of God. When we pray the Our Father we say “And lead us not into temptation…” however, it is never the Lord who leads us into temptation; we do a great job ourselves!! It is our Father who helps us to resist sin and also helps us repair its harmful consequences.

 

February 26, 2017 

Do not let tomorrow’s worries rob you of today’s peace. A few years ago it had become apparent that my mother could no longer live on her own due to her dementia. My father was already in a nursing home with intense pain that racked his failing body. My mother needed to be placed in a nursing home immediately; however, there was no room at my father’s nursing home. As you can imagine, my brothers and sisters and I were at our breaking point. I spent nights awake worrying about everything until one night we all simply decided to pray and trust in the Lord. I’m pleased to let you know that everything worked out; that very night four rooms became available! My mother and father shared the same room at the nursing home for a month before my father’s death and those few days were such a tremendous gift to us.

We’ve all had the experience of lying awake at night worrying; our minds racing and deprived of sleep. The song “Don’t worry, be Happy” advises that we simply do not worry about anything, however, that advice isn’t sufficient because life can be complicated and overwhelming; there may be things out of our control which cause us great distress, and anxious thoughts play over and over in our heads like a broken record. Jesus doesn’t simply tell us not to worry, he tells us to trust in the Lord. “Your heavenly Father knows what you need. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Today has enough troubles of its own." Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all things will be given you.

 

February 12, 2017 

I’ve heard confessions from people who tell me that they have no real big sins to report because they have not disobeyed any of the Ten Commandments. I try to explain that just obeying the commandments to the letter is not enough; for example, perhaps one has never committed adultery, but fantasizing about it is just as bad. Perhaps one has never murdered someone or given false testimony in a court of law, yet killing another’s reputation through gossip and slander is still a grave sin according to Jesus. Jesus said these warnings to keep us humble, lest we think of ourselves as having obtained holiness on our own merit. He did not intend to make us fear obsessively that we may have sinned with every thought, but rather to assist us with a healthy self-examination of conscience.

So, let’s say even after a healthy examination of conscience, one still has trouble identifying one’s sins of commission…”in what I have done,” then the next step would be to ponder one’s sins of omission…”in what I have failed to do.” When I stand before God, my fear is that He will point out all the things I could have done to help others, but did not because I was too distracted by my own agenda, I was too lazy or simply apathetic. Failing to be charitable and compassionate is a sin even when we are not aware of it. There is no excuse for apathy because the needs of our brothers and sisters, especially the poor and lowly are so great that we should always be mindful of them.

Continue asking yourself, “What have I done (or thought about doing) and what have I failed to do?” Perfect holiness may never be obtained in this life but that does not mean that we never stop trying!

 

February 5, 2017

“Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked.” – Isaiah 58:7

“Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” – Matthew 5:16

In today’s world it seems it is advantageous to “toot your own horn.” You’ve got to draw attention to your own accomplishments if you want to climb the corporate ladder or simply to keep from being laid off. In this new “Selfie” absorbed world, we post to social media everything that we do and some even do this to make others jealous. It’s all about “look at me, me, me.” Jesus advises the opposite; when our light shines before others and they see our good deeds, we must give GOD the glory and not want the attention for ourselves.

For many years now, local and state governments have been considering whether or not to tax religious organizations such as hospitals, churches, schools and community centers. There is no appreciation for the work we do in our local communities; no appreciation for the thousands and millions of people that we have helped with clothing, food, shelter, medical needs, guidance and hope.   What religious organizations do, we do for the Lord – not for the glory of men and women, and certainly not for tax breaks! It is God’s abundant love that fuels St. Mary’s and St. Augustin’s to care for our community. We are merely stewards of God’s good gifts – all that we are and all that we do is for the glory of God! So, this week we ask ourselves individually, do we do good deeds for the praise and admiration of others, or do we do them to glorify our Heavenly Father?

 

January 28, 2017

How would you rate yourself on a holiness scale? How do you even measure it? In today’s Gospel, Jesus is preaching the Beatitudes, i.e. guidelines in holiness… "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land….” When my sister died in March of last year, my family chose the Beatitudes for her funeral reading. Lynn truly lived by them; she was a living saint, always putting others first, truly humble and merciful, always a peace maker and she reached out in love to everyone she encountered. My family was distraught over her unexpected death but we simply could not be sad for her for she was finally released from her long suffering of neurological pain from Lyme disease that ravaged every part of her body. The final words of the Beatitudes keep us going… “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.” Jesus did not simply offer these words to placate the poor and the lowly; he truly meant that those who endure any kind of suffering, that those who intentionally try to lead holy lives will be rewarded. And the paradox is that those who truly embrace the Beatitudes do not do it for the reward, they simply embrace them as a way of life. Please look closely at the Beatitudes to see if they are evident in your life and perhaps you might just learn that you are indeed on the path to holiness.

 

January 22, 2017

Sometimes in life we do not have the luxury of considering all options before making a major decision. I think about the gentleman who threw his own body over a woman during the Ft. Lauderdale airport shootings. As he lay over, Tony Barosiewicz, a 70-7ear-old retired electrician from Rochester, acted as a human shield during the attack, and said to her, “I will protect you.” What enables people to make these sacrificial snap decisions? Perhaps it is a lifetime of putting others before oneself and being ever-ready to answer God’s calling.

In today’s gospel from Matthew, Jesus calls the first disciples to follow him with the famous words, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” What was it about Jesus that inspired those men to immediately drop everything and follow Him? Or perhaps we should ask; What was it about those men that enabled them to follow Him? They gave up their fishing business, their livelihood, to commit themselves totally to Jesus. Each of us has made many commitments throughout our lifetimes: school, sports, music, job, spouse, friends and family, just to name a few. But have you ever thought about your commitment to your faith? Do you stand firm in your commitment to Christ even when it proves to be inconvenient or difficult? Why not start every day with a very simple prayer like this, “Lord, today I commit my life to you.” Sound scary? Go for it!

 

January 15, 2017

Today we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus. He was not an infant when it happened; in fact, he was 30 years old. But why did Jesus want to be baptized when baptism is for repentance? He had nothing for which to repent; he had no sin! Even John the Baptist was perplexed and told Jesus “You should be baptizing me!” Sometimes we forget that Baptism is not only for the wiping away of original sin.   Jesus’ Baptism was his official endorsement by the Father at the beginning of his mission for the salvation of the human race. In the waters of Baptism, Jesus’ showed us that he identifies with sinners; so much so that He will take the Sins of the World upon his own shoulders at his crucifixion. Today, at baptisms we are welcomed into God’s family and we officially begin our own missions on earth; we also recognize the dignity of each person as PRIEST, PROPHET and KING. As “Kings” we are reminded that we are God’s children – members of his royal family with riches promised to us beyond our wildest imaginations. As “Priests” we are called to offer God our prayers, intercessions, as well as our daily sacrifices. As “Prophets” we are called to speak out against injustice with the truth of faith and to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. What do you believe your missions on this earth have been up to this point in your life? Can you predict any future mission that God has in store for you? We just never know what a new year will bring!

 

January 1, 2017

This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God and thus we are called to reflect on our own mothers, fathers and families. Even though my own family is somewhat unique in many ways, we are also just like everyone else; we’ve faced difficulties, trials and tribulations, celebrations and far too many sorrows recently. Yet, like a Timex watch, we keep on ticking. Laughter has always been a big part of our family dynamic; we choose to see the bright side of life rather than the dark. We grant forgiveness quickly rather than hold grudges. We never compete or compare, rather we rejoice in each other’s accomplishments, gifts and talents. We rally together to support someone in crisis. And never do we part, in person or on the phone, without exchanging an “I love you.” Our love comes from a deep abiding connection to God and this love overfills and extends to others who aren’t as fortunate to have a loving mother, father or family. Our blessed Mother continues to remind us that the grace of God is offered to all families – functional or dysfunctional – we simply have to ask for God’s help.

What life’s lessons have you learned from your own mother and father? What are/were your family dynamics? Are there long running feuds? Is forgiveness quickly granted? Do you complain rather than count your blessings? What can you do this coming year to help heal divisions? What can you do to express more love? If your family has unhealthy vicious cycles, then make the decision that they stop now with you!! Your family deserves the very best – seek god’s grace! And most sincerely, if your family simply cannot offer you the love you deserve because of dysfunction, then turn to the Blessed Mother and the Holy Family for wellness, love and healing.