Saturday, July 11, 2020
Saturday, July 4, 2020
Sunday, June 28, 2020
Back in those happy days of full churches, a man came to Mass wearing a hat. The ushers asked him to take it off, but he refused. Several folks in the nearby pews did the same, but the hat stayed on.
Friday, June 19, 2020
Our parish is blessed this summer by the presence of Joseph McDaniel, a seminarian with the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. A gifted teacher and speaker, Joseph offered the following reflection after Mass this morning. I hope you will find it as inspiring as I did.
He also presented a beautiful half-hour devotion to the Sacred Heart that you can view here on our parish YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyE-qWkAgkM
We give our hearts to our spouses, our children, our friends, our careers.
To give our heart to someone, to something, is to give of our life and our love, and hopefully, to receive love and life in return.
But we also know that, sometimes, when we give our heart to someone, to something, we do not receive love and life in return.
We receive a wound instead.
We know this from our own experiences, or the experiences of those close to us.
We know of relationships grown cold because of indifference, dashed upon the rocks of betrayal, or ended prematurely because of death.
It seems that when we give our hearts to someone, to something, our hearts sometimes become emptied, through both our own voluntary giving and the involuntary bleeding that ensues when they become wounded.
It sometimes seems that the greater the love, the greater our self gift, the greater the possibility of being wounded, and the more it hurts when it happens.
When feel like we have nothing left to give, we may ask ourselves,
“Why bother give my heart to anyone, to anything, anymore?”
“How can I possibly give when my heart has been emptied?”
It is precisely at these moments of emptiness when Jesus says to us,
“Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest...for I am gentle and humble of heart” (Matthew 11:28).
When we are feeling hardened and empty of heart, Jesus invites us to draw near to his gentle, humble heart, because he knows exactly what it is like to give of one’s heart to another and to be wounded for it.
When God willed the human family, when God willed each of us into existence, Jesus foresaw each of the many great and small ways in which our sin would wound his own heart, even unto the nails of Calvary.
Yet, he chose to love us anyway, to give us his Heart anyway, even to the point of “emptying himself” on the Cross. And it is from that Heart, as St. Bonaventure writes, that flows the power of the sacraments of the Church “to confer the life of grace” (Office of Readings, Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus). It is to that Heart, that Love of God to whom we bring our own hearts, from whom we can drink “a spring of living water” to refresh us when our own hearts feel wounded and empty.
It is that Sacred Heart of Jesus, who gives Himself to us, here and now, until the end of time, as the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation.
As we approach the Sacred Heart of Jesus, may we come before Him singing for joy, praying together, as St. Francis de Sales wrote at the conclusion of his Treatise on the Love of God:
“O love eternal, my soul needs and chooses you eternally!
Come Holy Spirit, and inflame our hearts with your love!
To love - or to die! To die – and to love!
To die to all other love in order to live in Jesus’ love, so that we may not die eternally.
That we may live in your eternal love, O Saviour of our souls, we eternally sing, “Live, Jesus! Jesus, I love! Live, Jesus whom I love! Jesus I love, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.” (Book 12, Chapter 13).
Sunday, June 14, 2020
"I'm back! Did you miss me?"
When your spouse, parent, child or friend asks that question after returning from a trip, there's only one right answer. Yes!
But what if, deep down, your answer isn't really yes? What if you realize that you didn't really miss your loved one all that much?
If that's the truth, that's the truth. It doesn't mean you're a bad husband or wife or parent. But it does mean you've got some work to do on the relationship.
(Although when I used the line on Father Jeff when I'd been away for a week before the pandemic, he replied "well, it was rather nice to have the rectory to myself"!)
Some of us, if we are really honest with ourselves, might realize that this long absence hasn't been particularly painful. It's made for relaxing Sunday mornings watching Mass on-line, or not even watching Mass at all.
Of course many parishioners have really suffered deeply from being deprived of the Eucharist. But what if you realize you haven't missed going to Mass all that much?
That doesn't mean you're a bad Christian or a bad Catholic. But it does mean you've got some work to do on your relationship with the Lord.
It could even be a blessing to know just how you feel about the Sunday celebration--an invitation to start thinking and praying about it.
In our first reading, Moses tells the people that God humbled them by letting them hunger. He tested them to know what was in their hearts. Might that not be what God has done with us, during this long Eucharistic fast?
Even for those who truly longed to get back to Mass, the opportunity to receive the Body and Blood of Christ can be a time to reflect on the place that the Eucharist has in our lives--and in our parish.
In the months before the pandemic hit, the parish team worked hard to create a graphic that would show the life of Christ the Redeemer parish in a simple way. Here it is (you'll need to click on it to see the full image):
You can see the various stages through which we move as we grow as disciples, and as a parish. But notice that all those circles revolve around a symbolic Host. At the center of our parish life is the Mass, to which everything tends and from which all these invitations flow.
Let's think today about what is in our hearts as we begin to return to church, taking stock honestly and humbly, knowing that the Bread of Life will draw us ever closer to him and one another as parish life resumes.
Sunday, May 31, 2020
"To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good."