The Synod

The Synod on Marriage and the Family has received a great deal of media coverage. The subject matter is of importance and interest to so very many people.

The Holy Father has asked for open and honest discussion and this has been very evident. Some comments have created hope for many while they have raised concern and consternation among others.

What sometimes gets overlooked is that this topic will be the subject of the Ordinary Synod to be held next year. There will continue to be study, discussion, and above all much prayer during the coming months.

Pope Francis continues to speak so often of mercy, of a welcoming Church with open doors. He talks that our laws, our structures must lead people to Jesus. Intimacy with Jesus is always what the Church is intended to foster.

I believe that our focus on Jesus should bring us deep peace. Sometimes we forget that Jesus is the Savior,that the Church is His! Let us put our trust in Jesus. Certainly Pope Francis gives us a constant example of this trust.

May God continue to bless and guide you.

Pardon and Mercy

The collect for the Eucharistic Liturgy for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time is remarkable and powerful. It provides an opportunity for continual reflection.

“O God who manifest your almighty power above all by pardoning and showing mercy…” God’s power is shown above all by pardoning and showing mercy! I have never thought of God’s power as shown above all, first and foremost, by the loving gentleness of forgiveness and mercy. And yet, what is more characteristic of God.

Jesus empties Himself to become fully human to suffer and die for us. This Good News is so overpowering. All I can do is to say Thank You.

God bless and keep you.

The Good News

How often do we take to heart the reality that the Gospel is the “Good News”? We read the Gospel or hear it read each week at Liturgy, we find many familiar passages, but how much does it impact our lives?

The message is there for us: God loves us, we have not been abandoned, Jesus has been sent by the Father to bring us salvation, eternal happiness!

These are not merely nice sentiments, they are profound truths. Do we reflect on them regularly? They bring us hope and reassurance in the midst of so much “bad news” which bombards us.

Please, please read, listen to the message of the Gospel. Pray over, meditate on God’s living word to us. This is not merely history but the Gospel is as current as today’s news. God continues to speak to us in the here and now.

Take heart, my friends, we are loved, we are a people of hope. Let us live and share this Good News.

God bless and keep you.

Violence in Our World

How terrible and disheartening it is to see on television newscasts or to read in the newspapers the accounts of so much violence.

On the international scene there were the barbaric beheadings of the two American journalists, the savage persecutions of so many Christians, and the continual fighting in Ucraine, the Holy Land, Iraq.

Domestically, there are so many shootings, beatings, physical attacks on persons. There is a lack of respect for human life and dignity.

Our Holy Father constantly prays and asks our prayers for peace, for a greater reverence for all human life. Prayer is so very necessary that hearts and minds may be touched with sensitivity and care for all human life.

Each one of us must daily read and reflect on the Gospel. Jesus’ words must penetrate our minds and hearts: “Love one another as I have loved you”.
As followers of Jesus we cannot be indifferent to His words, to His presence
In each of us. We must examine our lives and root out any inclinations to violence,to prejudice, to disrespect for any sister or brother.

Let us ask Jesus for the grace of conversion in all hearts.

Pope Francis’ Ability To Relate

I followed closely Pope Francis’ recent trip to Korea. He was so well received there and he made a profound impact on the people. A prominent man who is a self-proclaimed atheist wrote an article extolling Pope Francis and remarking that there was a tangible sense of the holy with the Pope’s presence and he remarked especially on Francis’ striking humility.

As I thought about his impact on the people despite the difference in culture and Francis’ not speaking Korean ( he gave several talks in English but most of his talks were in Italian), it struck me that Francis communicates much more with his heart, his whole being rather than with words. His demeanor, his gestures, his smile all reflect his loving care for others.

In a very real way, I think that Pope Francis embodies the Incarnation of Jesus. That sharing of a common humanity with its joys and sorrows, it’s suffering and healing, it’s fears and it’s trust communicates Francis but it also communicates Jesus!

May each of us learn that quiet, humble, holy eloquence.

May God bless and keep you.

Catching Up

For a variety of reasons I haven’t written anything in a while. Thus the title.

I have always appreciated the Gospel passage about the storm at the Sea of Galilee and Jesus walking on the water toward the Apostles in their storm tossed boat.

I can very much identify with Peter who says ” if it is you Lord tell me to come to you on the water”. And Peter steps out of the boat and begins to walk toward Jesus. He is fine as long as he focuses on Jesus. But then he begins to look around!

Now he is in trouble. He becomes conscious of the wind, the waves, the water and he begins to sink. Then comes the panicked cry, “Lord, save me”.
And Jesus does. He rescues Peter and chides him for his weak faith or better for his lack of trust.

I can so identify! Yes,I step out in faith but I begin, after a short time, to be distracted by other things around me. And it is so easy to be distracted!
And I find myself sinking and floundering.

I suspect that I’m not the only one who experiences this reality. The challenge for each of us is to have the humility of Peter and to turn back to Jesus and cry for help. Sometimes I’m a little slow to do so; pride and stubbornness get in the way. Help me Jesus! Keep me from drowning in my
own agenda,in my own foolishness. May I always focus on You.

The Feast of Mary’s Assumption was celebrated on August 15th. What a wonderful reunion of Son and Mother. I reflect often on Mary’s patience.
That is such a wonderful virtue to have. She certainly wanted to be with her Son, Jesus, but she submitted to God’s timeframe. And while waiting she continued to serve the emerging Church.

Mary is so real. We can sometimes lose sight of that in failing to recognize her humanity. Mary is a mother with all the gifts and qualities that we love in our mothers. How beautiful is that relationship, that unity of Jesus and Mary,
of a Son with His Mother.

May each of us share in that unity! God bless and keep you.

The Holy Name of Jesus

I have been reflecting on the name of Jesus. His name is a constant part of my prayer especially when I am praying while driving or sitting in a doctor’s waiting room( which I do often).

The name Jesus is itself a prayer. It can be a supplication for assistance, a murmur of thanksgiving, a humble whisper of adoration.

Jesus is a tender acknowledgement of our intimate relationship with Him as our brother. That familial naming reminds us of it and it strengthens that bond. When I use that name I am drawn closer to Him.

There is a joy in being able to be so familiar with our God and Savior! We are truly blessed to have such an intimate relationship, to be on a first Name basis with Jesus.

God bless and keep you.

A Loving Heart

Pope Francis certainly has a loving heart! He demonstrates it in so many ways and on numerous occasions. How often he kisses babies with smiling tenderness. The Pope has gently and reverently embraced with a loving kiss the sick, the deformed, the crippled.

I was touched by Pope Francis’ heartfelt cry for peace that he uttered after the Angelus yesterday. With all his heart he begged for an end to hostility and killing in Ukraine, Iraq, and The Middle East.

With deep emotion, the Pope spoke of the children who are victims, losing the joy of childhood, their futures put in doubt. The children orphaned by senseless killing, having only the rubble of war for toys, all these children fill the Holy Father’s heart and prayers. And he begs, “no more war!”

How can I, how can we have hearts that truly love? We have to empty ourselves of our own self interest, of our selfishness. We have to reflect on the Heart of Jesus Who invites us to love one another as He loves us. We have to pray that we will grow into that love: “Jesus, meek and humble of heart make our hearts like Yours”. Please believe that this prayer will be answered!

God bless and keep you.

Pray For Peace

We are being overwhelmed by television images of death and destruction in
Ukraine and the Holy Land. We read about Christians under attack in Nigeria. There is continuing unrest and terrorism in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

There have been various attempts by government officials and diplomats to broker peace talks and cease fire agreements all of which are failing.

All the people involved in these tragic events are children of God Who loves all of us. They are our sisters and brothers. We cannot be indifferent spectators to these events. Yes, these seem far away from us but we cannot be uninvolved. We are not diplomats or skilled negotiators but we do have a way to be involved effectively.

The power of prayer should never be underestimated. I believe that constant prayer with trust in God’s love and desire that we live in peace does bring about what we ask. Prayer is never futile. Prayer draws us ever closer to God and makes more aware of our relationship with those for whom we pray. Prayer is not political but it deepens our love for God and our sisters and brothers.

Please pray for peace! God does hear us.

God bless and keep you.

The Grace of Dialysis

I am writing this while undergoing my dialysis treatment. I have dialysis three days a week ( Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) for four hours and fifteen minutes a treatment.

Why do I call it a ” Grace”. Dialysis provides me with a time to pray and reflect; I use the time to keep up on Church news and especially the statements and various talks of Pope Francis.

For me the greatest gift of of dialysis is the constant reminder of a great truth. I am tethered to the machine which draws out and purifies my blood.
This is what keeps me alive. This is a constant example and reminder to me that I must always be tethered to God in order to have eternal life.

What a vivid and continuous call! Remain always connected to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. My treatment becomes a prayer: Dear God keep me always
attached to You, with You is eternal life. Thank you for this continuing reminder, the Grace of Dialysis. Amen.