I often lead group prayer with similar words: "Give us the wisdom to know Your will for our lives and the courage to follow it as we seek to make our community a clearer reflection of the Kingdom of God." The words acknowledge that we need to be about God's will, not our own, and in that journey, we will bear greater witness to the transforming power of Jesus Christ.
We talk about how we are called to live a stewardship way of life and that we have been given many good gifts, but it is never truly about us. We are never the main thing. In the same manner, it is never really about our parish. Our combined stewardship may lead to many fruits, like an increased offertory or more vibrancy in parish life. However, it is always about the Kingdom of God and the King, Jesus Christ.READ MORE
Ascension Sunday (Lk. 24: 46-53)
“He parted from them and was carried up into heaven.” Lk. 24: 51
Jesus after fulfilling His mission, in the presence of His Disciples ascended into heaven. The Ascension signaled the culmination of His salvific mission. Jesus the High Priest blessed His disciples and entered the place of the Father with His human nature receiving the glory it deserved. At the same time lifting human nature to share the glory of God the Father in Him. The Lord’s Ascension lifted the troubled spirit of the disciples, finally, they are filled with great Joy. There is great joy when our human nature is elevated up into heaven, raised above all the heavenly beings, higher than Archangels, raised to the height that human mind can’t even imagine to fathom, until the Son was received by the Father, and led to the chamber of glories sharing the divine nature of the Godhead, as His only begotten Son. (St. Leo the Great, Sermo I de ascensione Domini, 4)READ MORE
The concept of hospitality is fundamental discipleship. When we envision hospitality, we naturally think of offering a sincere and warm welcome — to those new to our parish, for instance. We picture inviting them in and making them feel at home and at ease in our presence, communicating to them that they are highly valued.
Today’s Gospel reading from John invites us to think of hospitality in a slightly different way. We hear Jesus speaking this to his disciples: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.”READ MORE
In our Small Christian Community we often discuss how simple and straight forward Christ’s instructions are. How easy His directives are to understand. And despite this; how challenging they can be to follow and live. This week’s Gospel is a prime example. Jesus tells his disciples, and by extension each of us: “My children, I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”
Now, Christ’s love isn’t puppy-dogs, rainbows and unicorns. Christ’s love means putting the good of the other above your own. It’s sacrificial. It’s heroic. This is why I say discipleship is an action word. It’s not thinking. It’s doing… doing His will.READ MORE
Throughout the Easter season, our readings have given us glimpses into the life of the newborn Church and the bold witness of the early disciples in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to all who would listen. These disciples were the first to live a stewardship way of life and their example is as relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago.
In the First Reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, we catch up with Paul and Barnabas in Antioch. While they certainly have some success in reaching many people there with the message of salvation, others are downright infuriated by their words and send them packing. Yet, we read that “the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.” Overall, it seems as if Paul and Barnabas had failed in Antioch. But this seeming failure has not robbed them of their joy. What’s more, they are filled to the brim with the abundant gifts of the Holy Spirit. How is this possible?READ MORE
In our lives, many of us have somehow bought into the notion that there is so much in the world that can take us away from God. We believe that worldly values, immorality, or evil itself can take us away from God's love and protection. But there are few greater lies than this. The reality is that if we find ourselves far away from God, the only force that carried us away was our own choices.
In John's Gospel, Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me...No one can take them out of my hand." Yes, we are tempted at every side, but no temptation can take us away from him. Unfortunately, sometimes after initial choices, we find ourselves in addiction or dependency, making our reconciliation with God impossible without the help of friends and loved ones. But make no mistake, no one or nothing can take those who are His sheep away from God.READ MORE
You’re correct; technically, it’s not a verb but bear with me… As we move through the Easter season we see a transition in how the risen Christ instructs the disciples.
The parables, metaphors and symbols have been replaced with clear directives. He "opened their minds to understand the scriptures" making known the connections between his own words and deeds and "everything written about [him] in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms."READ MORE
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” Peter is a favorite apostle for many people. I wonder if it is because of his flawed, relatable humanity. Today's Gospel takes place after Jesus appears to the disciples and breathes the Holy Spirit upon them. And yet, Peter finds himself returning to his old way of life, to comfortable habits he formed long before following Jesus. Is something still lingering in him? Is something still lingering in us? Lent is over, and we should be rejoicing! But do you feel like you're still holding onto something? Or perhaps you had an excellent Lent. You encountered Jesus in a new way and grew in faith. But as the weeks since Easter have slipped by, some of your newfound devotion has begun to waver. The closeness you felt in your Lenten commitments has given way to humdrum status quo or turn-of-the-season busyness.READ MORE
I am struck by how Jesus addresses the disciples in the 21st chapter of John. They have been fishing all night, and when the dawn comes, Jesus asks, "Children, have you caught anything to eat?" They hadn't caught a thing, so he tells them what to do to finally fill their nets. These children thought they knew best, but they couldn't get the job done until they listened to Jesus. Like a child who needs a parent, these early followers of Jesus were learning that real maturity of faith requires trusting in and listening to the Teacher.READ MORE