Monday, August 26, 2013

Daily Point for Prayer

Click here for the Scripture readings.

Jesus seems to use rather harsh words in an attempt to call the Pharisees out of their hypocrisy and be transformed by His Gospel. St. Paul tells the Thessalonians today that it the Power of the Holy Spirit that has transformed them into Christians and Disciples of Jesus Christ.

So, our point for prayer today: how will we allow the Gospel to transform us today? How will we allow this Word and Eucharist to transform us from the inside out? The Power of the Spirit is that which animates and lifts things Up to the Father. How will the Holy Spirit animate and lift us Up today?


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

On Pope Benedict's Resignation

An article I found on NPR.

Daily Point for Prayer

Click here for the daily readings.

Notice the way in which the landowner is lavish, almost foolish, with his own money. If we apply this parable to our God and Father we can reflect on how remarkably generous God is to us, His Beloved Sons and Daughters.

So, two points for prayer today:  sometimes the greatest thing we can do in our relationship with the Lord is to receive the gifts He is constantly giving us. As we go about our day today, let us be aware of the things and blessings and ways in which is giving to us. And may we have receptive hearts. Secondly, let's pray too that we might have an opportunity to be generous like Him. May we share the good things that God has given us by being generous with our time, our Love, our forgiveness, our compassion. In these two ways we mirror our God and Father who is madly in Love with His Beloved Sons and Daughters. May we receive that Love and share it.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Homily for the 19th Sunday of the Year

[This homily was given at the 12:15pm Mass on Sunday, August 11.]

Click here for the Scripture Readings

I love Peter’s question here in the middle of our Gospel, “Jesus, is this parable meant for us, or for everyone?”

In my imagination I see Peter asking this question with some hesitancy, not quite sure he wants to hear the answer. Jesus uses this opportunity to talk about something that everyone will experience: the one universal that no one will escape- death. Now, we already now that Jesus wants us to be detached from our possessions: there’s nothing wrong with having money or material possessions: we just don’t want our possessions to possess us.

But Jesus then goes on to talk about the certainty of dying and the challenge of having stored up, what Jesus calls, “treasures in Heaven”. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a bank account: I’ve got a savings account and I’ve even got a retirement account. Granted there’s not much in there, but I put a little money away each month and then I get a statement telling me that the thing is growig. But what I don’t see is my statement for the treasures I’ve stored up in Heaven. No monthly statement; no earning statement at the end of the year. It’s hard to know how much treasure I’ve got stored up there in Heaven. I’m hoping for a lot.

Listen to this: Katherine Drexel was born in 1858. Her dad was a banker and made a fortune.  When Katherine was 29 her father died and left his estate, totally $250 million in today’s money, to his four daughters.  Katherine took her share of that money and put it into a trust; she then moved out of her mansion in Philadelphia, gave away her personal belongings, and started a religious order of nuns that would be dedicated to serving African and Native Americans. Over 60 years, she spent close to $20 million dollars building schools, health clinics, and chapels for Native and African Americans in 16 different states.  She was hated and loved by many- what she did for racial equality in the first half of the 20th century would not be made law until the Civil Rights Act was passed in the second half of the 20th century.

A question: do you think St. Katherine Drexel had stored up some treasure in Heaven? Did her acts of service, kindness, generosity, tolerance, compassion, forgiveness, faith, hope and Love contribute to her Salvation and Redemption?

Answer: you’d better believe it.

Here’s the thing: St. Katherine Drexel did these things because she Loved Jesus and was convinced that her call to Discipleship mandated that she serve those who were in need. Her Faith in the Eucharist taught her that God’s presence among us in invitation to make Him known through acts of Love. She knew Jesus’s word were true: at the moment of her death, only one thing that mattered. And that is Love. Only Love.

So, we circle back to Peter’s question: is this parable meant for every one or just for us? Answer: yes, both.

Perhaps you and I don’t have vast fortunes we can give away. It’s likely that God is not calling us to abandon our responsibilities as providers for our families to give away everything to the poor and live in poverty. You and I are not called to be St. Francis of Assisi, St Louis and St. Katherine Drexel. But Jesus is talking to us to day: he’s talking to you and he’s talking to me.

So, the question this week, for our prayer: what can I do, or continue to do, to store up treasure in Heaven? In my own way, given the circumstances of my life, how can I imitate the heart of St. Katherine Drexel in storing up treasures in Heaven?

My friends, I’ll give you a hint: it has a twofold beginning: minimize sin and maximize kindness. That’s the place to start. So, as we pray and live and love this week, where can I minimize sin and maximize kindness? Is there a vice or habit or sin that I need to cut out like a cancer? Is there gossip, judgmentalism, intolerance or envy that’s rotting my insides? Can I start spending less time wasting time? And then where can I maximize kindness? How can I reach out to those in need, especially the poor and hungry, the sick and the lonely? Can I share kind words with friends and coworkers? Can I pour a little more effort into my relationships with my spouse and kids?

Jesus is speaking to all of today: he wants us in Heaven, with Him, for all eternity. He is inviting us to make vast contributions to the treasure store waiting for us in heaven. This week, my friends, through our acts of Love, service, and kindness, lets call upon God’s grace to inspire and move us. This week, we move closer to our own sainthood. Our community can be full of disciples of Jesus Christ; full of saints-in-the-making.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Is He Calling You to Become Catholic?

An Invitation to all Non-Catholics and Unconfirmed Adults

Are you or someone you know being called to join the Catholic Church? Do you desire to be a member of our vibrant faith community, the Catholic Church and St. Joseph’s parish?  If so, our Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults session is beginning with an introductory and informational session on Tuesday, September 3, 2013 at 7pm in the St. Joseph Room in church. The RCIA is about encountering Jesus Christ, learning about His Church, His Word, His Sacraments, and our invitation to Discipleship. Father Craig Holway will explain the RCIA process, the resources used, and the great beauty of being Catholic.

If you or someone you know is interested in joining the Catholic Church, please contact Father Craig Holway at (636) 441-0055, ext 109 or or join us on September 3rd at 7pm in the St. Joseph Room.

Daily Point for Prayer

Click here for the daily Scripture readings.

Notice all the rebuking that's going on: first Peter to Jesus, and then Jesus to Peter. In Greek, the word used for "to rebuke" means to put back into place. First, Peter tries to put Jesus back into place. But that's not gonna work. So Jesus has to put Peter back into place.  In all the bravado, Peter has placed himself in front of Jesus. So that's why Jesus says, "Get behind me!"

The point here is that Jesus wants to go to suffering and death before Peter. No doubt, Peter will have his time of persecution, suffering and death. But before then, Jesus has to go!  Jesus is going to do it before Peter!  Get behind me Peter! Let me do it first! That's what Jesus is saying.

Today, we can live in this awareness. That as we confront the difficult parts of our live and relationships; as we confront the difficult parts of our vocations, our discipleship, our striving to be holy and be with the Lord, we can rest assured, with trust and confidence that Jesus is going before us! He is already leading us even though we may be unaware.  Let's stay behind the Lord today- let's allow him to do the heavy lifting and fighting for us. May we remain faithful- following close behind!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Homily from 18th Sunday of the Year

[This homily was given at the 10:30am & 12:15pm Masses on Sunday, Aug 4]

Click here for the Scripture readings.

I'm what they call a "late vocation". That means I worked out in the corporate world before entering the seminary. I worked for 4 years, three of those with a company in St. Louis. That company got a new CEO and when he arrived, he called the staff down to the conference room so he could introduce himself. He did: telling us he was married with grown children. He'd moved around a bit for his work and then he said something that I will never forget. He said, "I don't really have any hobbies or anything. All I do is work." And I can remember thinking then, as I do now, with a great deal of compassion in my heart, how sad.

Hold onto to that for a minute.

Our Gospel reading today seems to have two parts. On the first we have two brothers approaching Jesus and asking him to arbitrate their division of their father's estate. Jesus declines. And then he goes into a second, but related, part in which he tells a parable about a rich man and his wealth. The lesson here, the moral here, the easy homily here is don't put too much effort or stock into material possessions or wealth. It's ok to have wealth and possessions, we just don't want our possessions to possess us. But as I reflect a little more deeply with our Gospel reading, I'm struck by this line: "Tonight, your life will be demanded of you." And when I pray about this, I think about Charles Dickens, and more specifically, A Christmas Carol.

You know the story: Ebeneezer Scrooge always working and always concerned about himself and his money. Visited by Jacob Marley and told, "Scrooge, tonight your life will be demanded on you!" Visit by the ghosts of past, present and future; eventually transformed by this experience. And while Dickens wasn't a Christian and the story having only vague Christian tones, we can glean a lot from it. I wonder if at some point Scrooge didn't come face to face with regrets. I wonder if the man in Jesus's parable didn't come face to face with regrets when told his life would be demanded on him. I wonder if my old boss wouldn't be filled with some regrets. Regrets: acts of love left undone; words of love left unsaid; mistakes left un-redeemed.

So, this is one invitation from Jesus this week: have we spent so much worrying about and concerning ourselves with other things, that we may have regrets about the life we lived and are currently living?  Have we spent too much time building bigger barns and accumulating stuff that we've allowed a fog to come between us and the people in our life? Do we have regrets? Acts of love left undone; words of love left unspoken; past mistakes left un-redeemed?

This week, the Divine Physician offers healing.

This week, lets ask the Lord to ever so gently reveal those regrets to us. May he set them before our mind's eye in only the way he can. May we then ask for the Spirit's gift of courage to take positive steps to heal them and be forgiven and reconcile with God and any persons He brings to our hearts. This week we ask the Lord to heal regrets and so make us ready to hear those words that, no doubt, will one day be spoken to each us, "Tonight, your life will be required of you."

May we go with nothing left undone; nothing left unsaid; all sins forgiven; and peace reigning in our hearts, and in our homes.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Some Fuel for Prayer

"God loves us more than we realize or can ever repay Him. Remember weakness is no hinderance to love: in our relations with God it is even an enormous strength. Let us remain, then, united in weakness, in prayer, and in the desire to belong wholly to God" (p 120.

"Believe, the, that in this topsy-turvy world in which we have to live, in this world so bereft of peace and so far from God- above all in our soul, that soul so crushed- GOD IS PRESENT: loving, giving Himself, pouring His peace into souls of good will... Believe this, I say, not trying to understand it nor seeking to feel it. For to believe is precisely to gives one's assent to a word without understanding or feeling. Believe" and that very Word, the Word of God, will transform us into Himself, and make us partakers in His Life" (p 19).

[From They Speak by Silences, by a Carthusian Monk. Gracewing Press: Herefordshire, 1955.]

Thursday, August 1, 2013

George Saunders at Syracuse University

George Saunders in a fiction writer who has a deep, deep humanity. The link below is the commencement speech he gave at Syracuse University this past spring.  I'm not sure if Saunders in a Catholic, or even a Christian, but this short speech is worth the read.

My favorite line: "What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness. 
Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded…sensibly.  Reservedly.  Mildly."

His Commencement Speech

Daily Point for Prayer

"The first question to be considered is what order we should follow in our prayers. This has been decided in principle long ago. The order to follow is God's order. We must ask for all that may contribute (and in the measure in which it will contribute) to His glory, and the advancement of His kingdom. That is why the first and essential object, and the one we must never lost sight of, is our eternal salvation and our union with God. This is the end of all prayer and of every movement of the soul: to praise God, to be united with Him, to be transformed into His likeness forever; to become forever His image and His child."

[From The Prayer of the Presence of God, by Dom Augustin Guillerand. Sophia Institute Press: Manchester, p. 36.]