Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pentecost Sunday: Our God is Near!

Remember Grover from Sesame Street?

The sketch that always comes to my mind when I think back to those days is the explanation of far and near. He would come right up to the camera and say "near!" and then run (or whatever it is that muppets do) across the room and yell back, "far!"

We quickly get the point.

It is a concept that we learned even before Grover taught us. A toddler may not know what the words "near" or "far" mean, but you better believe they have an understanding of it!

They want mommy and daddy near. At a baptism at Mass when I was first ordained, I called up the parents and the newborn from the first row. The older brother, maybe 2 years old, did not like the fact that his parents were so far away.
In our lives we want our loved ones near. We don't like it when they are far from us. Likewise with God, we want him near.

Perhaps the greatest struggle we have in life is thinking that God is far. He is out there somewhere, beyond our reach, beyond our sight, beyond our understanding.
It is a struggle in that we attempt to then live life without God.

Today's feast of Pentecost-the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church addresses this. God is not far, he is near. He has made his dwelling among us and continues to dwell within each of us and His Church.

That is what Paul and John are both telling us today.

Why does God dwell among us?

To love us and through that love to empower us and guide us.

We are drawn into the mystery of God, to become a friend of God, to be intimately bound to him.

We don't go into the world by ourselves. We are not alone when faced with difficult problems or tasks we have to deal with.

Today's readings challenge us to open our eyes, to remind ourselves of His love and presence and to seek His help.

The Cathechism of the Catholic Church tells us that through this gift of the Holy Spirit, the mission of Christ becomes the mission of the Church, of all of us. (CCC#730)

It is the working of the Holy Spirit within us that motivates us to seek forgiveness, to restore us to friendship with God, to be true to ourselves, that we may then become instruments of this God in drawing others to Him, letting those we interact with know that God, the creator of the universe, of our world and all that is good, is indeed near us.

When we are in a seemingly permament state of stress, angry, frustrated, annoyed, etc., we are not living in union with God. In those times it is all about us, we are seeking to live life on our own and eventually even for ourselves. Peace and happinness cannot be secured by working more hours, spending more money, etc.
Peace only comes when we are able to walk with God in our daily lives, the good days and the bad days.

That only happens when we take the time to connect with Him daily, when we are nourished with the Eucharist weekly (or more), when we go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation to allow Him to remove the cluter from our hearts.

We are then tuned in to Him and are able to live our day knowing He is near.



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, April 15, 2013

Prayers for Boston

This has been an unbelievable day. I would like to share with you the letter that I sent out to the Catholic students this evening and have posted on the campus ministry blog:

April 15, 2013


Dear Friends,

Once again we are witnesses to just how cruel human beings can be towards others.  Patriots Day is a day of great celebration in our beloved Commonwealth.  We look forward to the Sox, the Boston Marathon and the Bruins. Many go to Boston to be a part of this great day first hand.  Today’s tragic events have hurt us all. We pray for those who lost their lives or who were injured.

I am mindful that as I am writing this, many of you are still awaiting word from loved ones who went to Boston today.  It will be a long evening as our family and friends finally make their way out of the city and are able to reestablish communication with us.  If you have not been able to reach somebody please be aware that cell towers in part of the city have been shut down for safety purposes.  If you know of somebody who was running the marathon, you can call (617) 635-4500 to get information.

As this event is still playing itself out, I invite you to take some time this evening to say a prayer for the victims of today’s attack, the first responders and all those who are searching for their loved ones.  Tomorrow evening (Tuesday) a special Mass will be offered at 8PM in the Reflection Room.  You are invited to join us as take some time as a family of faith to pray for the victims of today’s violence as well as for an end to such violence.

If we can be of any service to you, please do not hesitate to contact us.  The office number is 508-999-8872. You can also reach us through Facebook or by cell.  Go to www.umassdcatholics.com. 

This time of the semester is already a stressful time and today’s events can certainly make things seem overwhelming.  As Catholics, we are mindful of Jesus’ words in Matthew’s Gospel “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt. 18:20).  In times like this we come together to support and encourage one another, to remind us that the darkness that exists at times in our lives will not have the ultimate say.  Please make use of this family of faith so that we may persevere as a people of faith and joy even in this time of darkness.

Peace,
Fr. David

Sunday, April 14, 2013

2000 Years of Eucharist

 

This is an interesting read.  I posted this over at Catholic Corsairs, the blog for Catholic Campus Ministry at UMass Dartmouth.  It contains the text from the Office of Readings for the 3rd Sunday of Easter from Justin Martyr:


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Entering the Door of Faith, Part Three

Thanks SFX for your prayers and hospitality this past week! Be assured of my prayers for you all. -Fr. David

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

March 12

From the Cathechism: ARTICLE 2 "AND IN JESUS CHRIST, HIS ONLY SON, OUR LORD" I. Jesus 430 Jesus means in Hebrew: "God saves." At the annunciation, the angel Gabriel gave him the name Jesus as his proper name, which expresses both his identity and his mission.18 Since God alone can forgive sins, it is God who, in Jesus his eternal Son made man, "will save his people from their sins".19 in Jesus, God recapitulates all of his history of salvation on behalf of men. 431 In the history of salvation God was not content to deliver Israel "out of the house of bondage"20 by bringing them out of Egypt. He also saves them from their sin. Because sin is always an offence against God, only he can forgive it.21 For this reason Israel, becoming more and more aware of the universality of sin, will no longer be able to seek salvation except by invoking the name of the Redeemer God.22 432 The name "Jesus" signifies that the very name of God is present in the person of his Son, made man for the universal and definitive redemption from sins. It is the divine name that alone brings salvation, and henceforth all can invoke his name, for Jesus united himself to all men through his Incarnation,23 so that "there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."24 433 The name of the Saviour God was invoked only once in the year by the high priest in atonement for the sins of Israel, after he had sprinkled the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies with the sacrificial blood. the mercy seat was the place of God's presence.25 When St. Paul speaks of Jesus whom "God put forward as an expiation by his blood", he means that in Christ's humanity "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself."26 434 Jesus' Resurrection glorifies the name of the Saviour God, for from that time on it is the name of Jesus that fully manifests the supreme power of the "name which is above every name".27 The evil spirits fear his name; in his name his disciples perform miracles, for the Father grants all they ask in this name.28 435 The name of Jesus is at the heart of Christian prayer. All liturgical prayers conclude with the words "through our Lord Jesus Christ". the Hail Mary reaches its high point in the words "blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus." the Eastern prayer of the heart, the Jesus Prayer, says: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." Many Christians, such as St. Joan of Arc, have died with the one word "Jesus" on their lips.

March 13

Monday, March 11, 2013

March 11

Dear Brothers and Sisters, In this Christmas season let us reflect once again on the great mystery of God who came down from heaven to enter our flesh. In Jesus God was incarnate, he became a man like us and in this way opened for us the road to his heavenly Kingdom, to full communion with him. In these days the term the “Incarnation” of God has rung out several times in our churches, expressing the reality we celebrate at Holy Christmas: the Son of God was made man, as we say in the Creed. But what does this word, so central to the Christian faith, mean? Incarnation derives from the Latin incarnatio. St Ignatius of Antioch — at the end of the first century — and, especially, St Irenaeus used this term in reflecting on the Prologue to the Gospel according to St John, in particular in the sentence “the Word became flesh” (Jn 1:14). Here the word “flesh”, according to the Hebrew usage, indicates man in his whole self, the whole man, but in particular in the dimension of his transience and his temporality, his poverty and his contingency. This was in order to tell us that the salvation brought by God, who became man in Jesus of Nazareth, affects man in his material reality and in whatever situation he may be. God assumed the human condition to heal it from all that separates it from him, to enable us to call him, in his Only-Begotten Son, by the name of “Abba, Father”, and truly to be children of God. (Go to the website)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

March 10: Jesus Christ

(Sorry for the missing posts. Did not have access to the internet for a couple of days)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

March 7

Cathechism of the Catholic Church #1: God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Saviour. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

March 5: "I believe in God"

In this Year of Faith, today I would like to begin to reflect with you on the “Creed”, that is, on the solemn profession of faith that accompanies our life as believers. The opening words of the “Creed” are: “I believe in God”. It is a fundamental affirmation, seemingly simple in its essence, but it opens on to the infinite world of the relationship with the Lord and with his mystery. Believing in God entails adherence to him, the acceptance of his word and joyful obedience to his revelation. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “Faith is a personal act — the free response of the human person to the initiative of God who reveals himself” (n. 166). The ability to say one believes in God is therefore both a gift — God reveals himself, he comes to meet us — and a commitment, it is divine grace and human responsibility in an experience of conversation with God who, out of love, “addresses men as his friends” (Dei Verbum, n. 2) speaks to us, so that, in faith and with faith, we are able to enter into communion with him. -Benedict XVI (http://www.annusfidei.va/content/novaevangelizatio/en/benedetto-xvi/catechesi/20130123.html. Accessed March 5, 2013)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday March 4

Each day until the start of the mission on Monday March 18, a video, link or quote will be posted here.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Entering the Door of Faith!

The “door of faith” (Acts 14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church. It is possible to cross that threshold when the word of God is proclaimed and the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace. To enter through that door is to set out on a journey that lasts a lifetime. It begins with baptism (cf. Rom 6:4), through which we can address God as Father, and it ends with the passage through death to eternal life, fruit of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, whose will it was, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, to draw those who believe in him into his own glory (cf. Jn 17:22). To profess faith in the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is to believe in one God who is Love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8): the Father, who in the fullness of time sent his Son for our salvation; Jesus Christ, who in the mystery of his death and resurrection redeemed the world; the Holy Spirit, who leads the Church across the centuries as we await the Lord’s glorious return.    (Benedict XVI, Porta fidei, #1)

In announcing the Year of Faith, the Holy Father challenges us to pause and reflect on our own lives and relationship with the Lord.  If we are to a pilgrim people, a people who are on mission, we must be rooted in God, otherwise the message we proclaim isn't His.  This is quite a challenge. How to remain rooted in God while facing the realities of life in this world.  We can't hide from the world, we are called to live in it, but not to be of the world. 

To remain rooted in God in our day to day lives requires that we take time to be with God.  To be aware of his presence, to communicate and commune with him, to learn how to listen for his voice and how he continues to reach out to us through the Church.  It requires personal time in prayer, gathering with the family of faith for prayer, sharing faith, Mass and the sacraments.  It means taking time from the usual demands of life to rest with him for a while.

We will do this March 18, 19, 20, as we gather to reflect on the opportunity God has presented to us and how we ought to respond.  Join us at St. Francis Xavier Parish for the celebration of the Eucharist at 12:10PM or 7PM.  In addition, the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available Tuesday and Wednesday from 4:30PM to 5:30PM.

In the 2 weeks leading up to the Mission, there will be daily thoughts posted on the parish Facebook page, here and on my Twitter feed (with the hashtag #faithdoor) . These will serve as a kind of preparation for the mission.

I invite you to join us.  Together we will pause to reflect on this God who loves us so and recommit ourselves to not only entering the door of faith ourselves, but helping others to do so as well.

(Design by Sarah Miele, UMD '13)