Thursday, January 24, 2019

We are one body in Christ

This Sunday’s second reading from the letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians is one of his better known messages, one that many of us have heard on numerous occasions but I think often times don’t contemplate what it fully means.  We hear Paul say:

Brothers and sisters:
As a body is one though it has many parts,
and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body,
so also Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.

But what does that really mean?  How does that affect me or change my life?  What does it mean that we are all part of Christ’s body?

I think there are two important ways to look at this passage; one that is easy and pleasant to think about and one that is a lot harder and potentially more painful.

Let’s start off with the easy, pleasant thought – We are all part of Christ’s body and when we come together we work as Christ would.  We all have different talents and abilities that God has given us and we are called to use them to the fullest.  When we do that, everyone thrives: the Church thrives, the community thrives, we are happy.  No matter who you are: the 3 year old that is having trouble sitting through Mass, the teenager that doesn’t know if they really believe in all of this “Jesus stuff”, the high school or college student who just had an amazing retreat experience who thinks they have it all figured out, the young married couple who just had their first baby, or the couple who is struggling with infertility, the old married couple who just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, the family who just went through a painful divorce, the varsity athlete, the shy introvert, the person struggling with their sexuality; the list could go on and on, but no matter who you are or where you are at in life, you have a special gift to contribute to the body of Christ. And that is awesome.  Together we all make up Christ’s body, no matter how different we may be, we are one in Christ together.

Now comes the hard part of that message: 

            “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it.” 

When one of our brothers or sisters is hurting, we hurt.  That is why social justice issues are so important in the Church.  When we see people struggling with hunger, we hurt.  When people are homeless, especially in these freezing temperatures, we hurt.  When someone is killed before they have a chance to be born, we hurt.  When someone is bullied or ostracized at school, we hurt.  When a child is kicked out of their house because they tell their parents they are gay, we hurt.  When someone is sick and can’t receive medical care, we hurt.  When an elderly person isn’t seen as having any value or worth, so they are tossed to the side and left to die, we hurt.  When a person is persecuted because of the color of their skin, or country they are from, or language they speak, or religion they practice, we hurt. 

So what do we do when part of our body hurts?  We try to help it heal and feel better.  That is what we are called to do for our brothers and sisters in Christ and it all starts with love.  Love one another.  Give generously, not only out of your surplus but your need as well.  If you see someone being bullied or persecuted, stand up and say something.  Be the voice for the voiceless.  Fight for those who can’t fight for themselves.  March for those who can’t march for themselves.

If we really want to be a part of Christ’s body, we must care for all members of his body and love like Christ loved.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Thoughts on the Wedding Feast of Cana

Imagine the scene… everyone is rocking out to the latest re-mix of The Horah. The bride and groom are getting their groove on in the center of a circle of happy party-goers. Delicious trays of dates, figs and lamb kabobs are everywhere.  Heaps of hummus and olives entice the guests. And then- THE WINE IS GONE!

The hosts of the party would be disgraced. The celebration would end. The wedding would be ruined.

So, being the quintessential Jewish mom, Mary looks at Jesus from across the room and beckons Him with one finger (as only your mom can).  Jesus sees his mother and begrudgingly tells His friends to, “Hold that thought!” and he trudges over to Mary.

“Mom! I was talking to my friends,” He bemoans.
Mary smiles and says, “They have no more wine.”
Jesus looks at her and thinks, “And…” 
Mary does not say anything else.
Then Jesus realizes what she is saying.
Here? Now?  He thinks to Himself.
“But, Mom! No way! That is not my problem! Nuh-uh!  It is not time yet!”
Mary smiles at Jesus. She looks at the servants and tells them, “Do whatever He tells you.”

Jesus could never deny His mom. His love for His mother is so great.  Even though He might not have wanted to perform His first miracle at the wedding-He did. He saw that it was for the good of the bride and groom and it was what His mother wanted.

I have always loved this story.  It is my favorite in the whole Bible. When I was young, I loved it because I thought Jesus was being cool and did not want the party to stop-LOL!

When I became a mom, the significance changed as I felt Jesus’ overwhelming love for Mary through my babies.

And now?  Now I love this this story even more and I reflect on it often. I know with absolute certainty that when we bring our prayers and petitions to Mary, she will bring them to her Son. She will tell Him what we need and if our petitions are for our good, Jesus will not deny His mom’s requests.

If Jesus can turn water into wine, imagine what He can do for us when His mom asks.  

Reflection by: Jackie Halpin Curran

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Baptism of Jesus

Baptism of Jesus

I don’t know about you, but as a child growing up and being the youngest and only one still in our family home, when my mother or father spoke with authority, I definitely listened and sometimes shook wondering what the message was going to be this time.

As we read in Luke’s Gospel on the feast of the Baptism of Jesus, he hears the voice of the Father.  In the Entrance Antiphon this weekend, the message is even stronger……‘the voice of the Lord thundered’!  God had Jesus’ attention without a question of a doubt.  And the message you ask?? 
“This is my beloved Son, with whom (you) I am well pleased.”

Now if my parents had proclaimed such an outspoken affirmation to me, I think I would have fainted on the spot.  However, even though my loving parents were not big on verbal expressions of affection, the love was always there.

I re-read the scripture for this feast, and each time kept coming back to the Father’s words to his Son.  Jesus, being fully human, must have LOVED that message. Only God knew what Jesus was on earth to do.  To suffer and die in order to save us.  So the Lord gave his Son a very loud loving message so Jesus would know just how much he was loved for all that he was going to sacrifice for us. 

The message this weekend is one of gratefulness.  The Father proclaimed his words of love and thankfulness to Jesus.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if we heard God say to us, ‘with you I am well pleased’. Strangely enough, as I began writing this blog, I found buried on my desk a reflection that began, “A friend dared me to start counting one thousand things I love……one thousand gifts, one thousand graces…… Before I knew it, thankfulness to God began fully to change me… usher me into a fuller life, one of joy.” 

The year is new. Plenty of time to start afresh. My youngest granddaughter gave me a “gratitude box”, filled with small note paper and a little pen and said she had one also, writing a note each day for something she was thankful for. She encouraged me to do the same.  With Brooke’s encouragement and the words of God in our readings this week, I will start anew – once again. 

“We are his and he forever is our God and he alone”     (Christ the Lord, by Sarah Hart)

By Mary Keefe


Thursday, January 3, 2019

National Migration Week

This Sunday, the Church in the United States marks National Migration Week (January 6 – 12).  It usually coincides with the Feast of the Epiphany when we celebrate the time when the three strangers from the East came to do homage to the newborn King, Jesus.  I share with you below information from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website about this week.

For nearly a half century, the Catholic Church in the United States has celebrated National Migration Week, which is an opportunity for the Church to reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants, including immigrants, refugees, children, and victims and survivors of human trafficking.  The theme for National Migration Week 2019, “Building Communities of Welcome” draws attention to the fact that each of our families have a migration story, some recent and others in the distant past.  Regardless of where we are and where we came from, we remain part of the human family and are called to live in solidarity with one another.   Unfortunately, in our contemporary culture we often fail to encounter migrants as persons, and instead look at them as unknown others, if we even notice them at all.  We do not take the time to engage migrants in a meaningful way, as fellow children of God, but remain aloof to their presence and suspicious or fearful of them.  During this National Migration Week, let us all take the opportunity to engage migrants as community members, neighbors, and friends.  To do so, we will look at the important role that foster care plays in the lives of unaccompanied immigrants and refugees, highlight MRS’ Parishes Organized to Welcome Refugees, and examine local initiatives that are making important contributions in this regard.  For more information, visit:
Fr. Bob

Hope Does Not Disappoint!

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