We have lots of encounters to this day a God moment.

 

Tuesday of the Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Romans 12:9-16

Luke 1:39-56

 

 

As we celebrate the Feast Day of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth, we celebrate a visit; a blessed visit as Elizabeth proclaims, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” We celebrate a God moment, a God encounter.

 

The visit between Mary and Elizabeth is a God encounter, a God moment, but what we do not know is if Mary has ever made this journey before and who might she be traveling with since she is a young teenage girl and she is traveling some 80 to 100 miles. What we do know is Mary has been given great news that she has been chosen to be the Mother of God. Mary travels in haste, that is to say, she traveled with great excitement as you would imagine with the news that she has been given.

 

Mary also travels as a prophet, she has received a calling, she has responded to that calling, God has told her what he wants her to do, and she goes in haste to her cousin Elizabeth to bring her this good news.

 

When this God encounter happens more good news happens as the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaps for joy and Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth is given the revelation that Mary is already with a child who will be the Savior of the world. The two women proclaim the goodness of God and both of them are filled with joy. 

 

All of us will have plenty of encounters this day, and plenty of opportunities to make these encounters a God moment. We will have the opportunity to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to someone, and the Holy Spirit will be available to lead us to truth. May the Eucharist we share help us to know the encounter Jesus is trying to have with us right now, may our lives be different because of this encounter.

 

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How has God acted in the past and now?

 

Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Acts 20: 17-27

John 17: 1-11

 

 

As I celebrate my tenth anniversary of my priesthood on Friday, I look back on these years and thank God for leading me to some of the most fulfilling days of my life. As I look back I can see the hand of God leading me through tough times and good times. I am filled with gratefulness of God’s mercy and love. In our readings today Paul and Jesus are looking at back on their lives as they now get ready to leave.

 

In our first reading, St. Paul looks back as he is preparing to leave Ephesus and return to Jerusalem and sees that he has served the Lord faithfully. He has spread the gospel message to the Jewish people and the Gentiles. He is not sure what going to happen, but the Spirit has warned him that hardships and imprisonment are coming. Paul says, “I consider the life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace.”

 

In our Gospel, we get an example of Jesus at prayer as he looks back upon his ministry. Jesus prays for the mission he began, he prays for the disciples, and he prays for all who will follow after him, which is us.

 

As we look back on our lives what do we see? What do we regret doing? What needs to change? What do we give God glory and praise for happening?

 

The Eucharist we share is our remembrance of God’s goodness to us.  

 

God’s Great Commandment!

 

Ascension

Acts 1:1-11

Ephesians 1:17-23

                                                                 Matthew 28:16-20      

 

We celebrate the Feast Day of the Ascension, and we need to know what that will mean for us in our lives, but before we get to that question, we need to answer another question. We need to answer, “Who is Jesus for us in our lives today?” Why did you come to Mass, it is a holiday, and it will be the only nice day of the holiday weekend? What do you hope to get out of Mass? A person who knows Jesus knows it not what we get out of Mass, it is what we put into Mass. Jesus has already acted in our lives, and now we praise Him and thank Him. In our hearts we need to answer the question of who Jesus is, then the Ascension will make a whole lot more sense.

 

In our Gospel, the Ascension is given to us as a very interesting story. Jesus is at a mountain, and anytime he is at a mountain something big is about to happen. Jesus is back in Galilee where his ministry began by calling disciples by the sea shore. In this story Jesus does not leave, by ascending into the heavens, Jesus leaves behind something very important, the Great Commandment.

 

The Great Commandment has a statement of the truth is that Jesus has been given all power in heaven and on earth. Jesus possesses power that overcomes all evil. It is not a power of armies, economics, or politics; it is a power to be able to go to the cross, caring all of our burdens to the cross.

 

The Great Commandment has two instructions are first to be baptized; baptism gives us the spirit to do what we are called to do. Baptism gives us a running start in life to live in faith. You have done this! Congratulations! The second instruction is to go and make other disciples. Congratulations, you have also done this, we do our best to raise our children Catholic, and I know this is hard, but never give up. We do this by being people of forgiveness, patience, compassion and understanding. We are instructed to do this for a lifetime.

 

The Great Commandment promise comes in Jesus tells us, “I will be with you always.” We know Jesus because he is with us!

 

My friends in Christ is there no surer way to give evidence that we do not know Jesus or understand the Ascension, the Great Commandment than when we do not forgive when we do not love when we do not show patience and understanding. We show that we do know Jesus and we do understand the Ascension when we speak of love and live it. When we are people faith and healing, and when we are people of forgiveness.

 

Who is Jesus and what does the Ascension mean? May we live what it means this week in our lives. 

 

 

God is in our beginnings!

 

Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter

All School Mass

Fr. Philip Neri

Acts 18:9-18

John 16:20-23

 

 

Who from the 8th graders can tell me how many days you have left before graduation?

Who can tell me how many days left in this school year?

Who is happy school is almost coming to an end?

Who is sad that school is almost over?

Who is happy and sad that school is almost over?

 

Our readings are all about how when things seem to be coming to an end there is a new beginning.

 

In our first reading, St. Paul is in the city of Corinth, and he is being harassed for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord says to him in a vision, “Keep talking, do not stop talking about me!” Paul ends his time in Corinth and leaves for Syria where things will go much better for him.

 

In our Gospel, the disciples are sad that Jesus will be departing from them, but he tells them they will know joy after he is gone.

 

Soon our eighth graders will be leaving us, and we will be sad for they have been outstanding examples of what a young Catholic person is to be. That you! As they move onto High School, they go with God’s blessing. The Eucharist we share reminds us is that Jesus comes to us when life seems to be coming to an end and brings us life so that we can begin again.   

 

 

 

Consolation and desolation!

 

Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Acts 18:1-8

John 16:16-20

 

Today our readings are about consolation and desolation. Consolation is anything that brings us closer to God or brings us to a better understanding of God. Desolation is anything that can happen that has us feeling the absence of God. Desolation can happen for no reason at all. Perhaps a story to illustrate these points.

 

One day a farmer’s prized horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said. “Maybe, maybe not” the farmer replied. The next week the horse returned, bringing with it three wild mares. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “Maybe, maybe not,” said the old farmer. The following day, the old man’s son tried to ride one of the untamed horses. The son was thrown and broke his leg. The neighbors again offered their sympathy. “Maybe, maybe not,” answered the farmer. The next day, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing the son with the broken leg, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good fortune. “Maybe, maybe not,” concluded the farmer. Consolation and desolation happens in our lives all the time, we need to see it as God’s calling us.

 

In our first reading from the Book of Acts, Paul experiences desolation as he begins to preach the gospel full time to the Jews in Corinth and is rejected. Paul experiences the absence of God. Paul experiences consolation as he now turns his attention the Gentiles and they embrace him, and he comes to know consolation. This consolation is confirmed when the Titus Justus and his family who are Gentiles all become believers, and they take Paul into their home.  

 

In our Gospel, the disciples are in desolation as Jesus is trying to prepare them for his departure. They cannot imagine life without him let alone the better life that Jesus is talking about after he is gone. Consolation comes as Jesus tells them their grief will turn to joy.

 

In consolation or desolation, it is all about staying the course and enduring the test. The Eucharist is given to us to endure any desolation and to come to consolation this day.  

Maybe it is me?

 

Sixth Week of Easter Wednesday

Acts 17:15, 22-18:1

John 16: 12-15

 

“Maybe it is me?” Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and said, “Maybe it is me, who does not get what Jesus is trying to tell me.” Hopefully, our readings can help us with this complex.

 

In our first reading, Paul is in Athens, it the center of the world for intellectual thought and philosophical discussion. Paul is in the Areopagus, a building where men sit around all day talking about intellectual and philosophical things. Paul is intrigued they know there is something more to life than what we can see, and they search for truth. Paul is invited to speak, and he informs them that the one true God made the world and all that is in it. They are intrigued, but when he begins to talk about Jesus Christ rising from the dead, they can no longer believe because it cannot be reasoned.  

 

The choosing of our Gospel is perfect because it begins with Jesus saying to his disciples,” I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.” The disciples do not have the Spirit this is why things do not make sense, this is why they are afraid, and this is why they are filled with doubt. The task of the Spirit is to penetrate the disciple’s hearts and the Spirit will give them the courage they will need to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.

 

The disciples did not have the Spirit, but we do! So, why are we filled with confusion, doubt, and fear? The Sprit has been given to us. What should give us great courage this day is the last line of the Gospel, Jesus says, God will take from what is mine (Holy Spirit) and give it to you.

 

Maybe it is me, to believe right now as we have never done before.

 

The assurances of God.

 

Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Acts 16: 22-34

John 16: 5-11

 

How are we assured of God’s presence in our life today? Did we hear his assurance in the birds singing outside the door? Did we hear the assurances of God in the voice of a loved one? Did we hear the assurances of God in the calm of the morning? God was trying to send us this message did we catch him? How do we know him and believe? Our readings are all about God reassuring us that He is with us and things are going to be ok?

 

In our Gospel, Jesus is assuring the apostles that it is better for them if he goes to the cross, rises from the dead, because then the Holy Spirit will come and transform their lives. Jesus will no longer be bound by time and space and will be present to them in an intimate way. The apostle’s lives will be filled with hardship, and they will need to be reassured of his presence many times.

 

Our first reading is all about God giving assurances of his presence to Paul and Silas. Paul and Silas are beaten and put in jail, and the time was midnight. Not much good happens after midnight, but it the spiritual many good things happen, for it is the assurance of the dawning of a new day. Paul and Silas were praying; they are in worship to God. There was an earthquake; this is the assurance that God is going to act in a powerful way. The prison doors are open, and the chains and shackles fall from Paul and Silas. The chains and shackles are an assurance that nothing can chain down the Word of God. The jailer is ready to commit suicide because he thinks Paul and Silas have escaped but they stopped him. The jailer immediately asks, “What must I do to be saved?” He believes and invites Paul and Silas to his home where he and his family are baptized. The man goes unnamed because this is re-assuring us this could be us.

 

The assurances of God are all around us today. How will we respond when God acts, we need to be ready, because the Holy Spirit is going to be moving?