A Holy Encounter!

Thursday of the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Romans 12:9-16

Luke 1:39-56

 

 

On this Feast Day of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth, we celebrate an encounter. We celebrate an encounter of epic proportions. Mary, the young virgin, barely old enough to conceive, and she do by the gift of the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth the elder, past her childbearing years yet she also is with a child. These women celebrate the children in their wombs as each child will have a lasting impact on the world for generations to come.

 

We celebrate an encounter that would appear to be a random encounter, but this encounter was predicted from the beginning of time. An encounter made possible because both these women are in tune with the movement of God in their lives.

 

We celebrate an encounter where both women are filled with gratitude for what God is doing in their lives, even though what has been done is beyond their imagination.

 

We celebrate an encounter that touches our lives even as we sit here today. John the Baptist who herald the coming of Christ and Jesus who brings salvation into the world. May we bring this same spirit into our encounters this day?

 

 

 

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We are ransomed by Christ!

 

Wednesday Eight Week of Ordinary Time

I Peter 1:18-25

Mark 10:32-45

 

Did you catch the story of Rachel Newberry and Ben Robinson going to prom together? Ben has Down syndrome, and when her proposal went viral, she got comments like, “What a nice girl she was for asking Ben.” Rachel’s response to this was, “I did not do it to be nice, “Ben is my best friend!” You see, Rachel and Ben have gone to school together and Sunday school together their whole lives.

 

Our readings once again challenge us to be a servant to each other, but not for the reason because it would be nice, but because we have been ransomed by Christ. Do we fully understand what that means?

 

In our first reading, the writer says, “Realize that you were ransomed from your futile conduct handed on by your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver and gold but with the Blood of the Lamb.” He would go on to say, “Love another, with a pure heart.” We are to love with a pure heart because it is the right thing to do!

 

In our Gospel, James, and John want to be the greatest, but they too need to know what that means. Jesus tells them they are to be a servant to each other because he has ransomed them. Their lives have been paid for by Christ.

 

Yes! We are to be a servant to all people, but not because it is the nice thing to do, but because Jesus Christ suffered and died for us on the cross and there should be no other way to live but to be a servant. To be nice is a decision we make, to be a servant is what we are called to do because we have been ransomed by Christ.

 

 

Holy Trinity help us in our relationships!

 

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Deuteronomy 4: 32-34, 39-40

Romans 8:14-17

Matthew 28:16-20

 

It is the best day ever! Why because it is the holiday weekend, and although I am glad you are here, you may be thinking, “Can you hurry this along, I have things to do?” The other reason is, we celebrate the Most Holy Trinity, which is a mystery, so I will never be able to explain it! So, this could be the shortest homily ever! What we celebrate is three persons in one God; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. That is it! It is all I got, to explain the Holy Trinity because it is a mystery. That is ok, with me, because I want a God who is bigger and more than me! I want a God who can understand me because sometimes I am a bit of a mystery. Now even though I cannot explain the mystery, we can know the mystery because the Holy Trinity is all about a perfect relationship, and since we are created in the image and likeness of God we are called to live in the relationship and to strive to be like the Holy Trinity. Our readings speak to us about the Holy Trinity through this perfect relationship.

 

In our first reading from Deuteronomy, Moses is giving a homily to the people encouraging them to remember this intimate relationship God has had with them. Moses says, “Can you remember a time when God acted in your life? Never forget it, let it burn in your memory.” Are we able to remember a time when God helped us in a relationship and he helped us to move that relationship forward?

 

St. Paul to the Romans speaks of a very intimate relationship where now the Holy Spirit is reminding us that we are sons and daughters of God. Paul says, “If you can remember a time when God acted now look for the times that the Holy Spirit is acting in our lives right now?”

 

In our Gospel, we heard, “When the disciples saw Jesus, they worshipped him, but they doubted.” It is really not a bad place to be, because it is where we are many times in our spiritual life! How often do we see Jesus, we come and give him worship, but we doubt! I think it happens a lot. It does not mean they did not have faith; it just means their hearts and their heads were not in the same place. Let’s try this for example, “Who can give me a list of things why you love someone or something?” Who can give me a list of things of the most beautiful thing they have ever seen? Who can give me a list of things that describe holding your first child or first grandchild?” These things are all much bigger than us, and we experience something so wonderful, but we cannot make sense of it all. 

 

My friends in Christ, we may never unravel the mystery of the Holy Trinity, but we can know of its effects in our lives. The closing line gives us the promise we need to know as he says, “I will be with you always, until the end of time.” May we be strengthened by this perfect love to be like the Holy Trinity in all of our relationships? In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. 

God is holding us to a higher standard!

 

Friday Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

James 5: 9-12

Mark 10:1-12

 

Our readings today challenge us to a higher standard of living which is different then what worldly ways would tell us. 

 

Students – Tell me what the secret to a lasting relationship is?

 

In our first reading, the writer encourages us to be patient not to complain, and not to be judgmental.  He goes on to say, “Let your “yes” mean “yes,” and your “no” mean “no.”    

 

Anyone who is married – Tell me what the secret to a lasting marriage relationship?

 

Our Gospel today has Jesus talking about a special relationship that he has created, and it is called marriage. Jesus says that God the Father created a man and a woman are to leave their mother and father, and the two will be joined as one flesh. This is the ultimate relationship because marriage is a reflection of God’s love for his people.

 

What makes a relationship with God last?

 

In this Eucharist, Jesus is doing all he can to have a relationship with us by sharing with us his Body and his Blood. May we live, so others know of this relationship and see Christ reflected in us.

 

What defines us?

 

Thursday Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

James 5:1-6

Mark 9:41-50

 

It is a constant struggle of mine to not think of myself and to think of someone else first. I like when the conversation is all about me. I like it when I get my way. I like it when I get to do what I what to do. All of this is very natural, it is the way we are designed, but at some point, there needs to be a switch that says, “Ok, Mayday! Enough about ourselves, it is now time to think of someone else.” Our readings will challenge all of us to try and think of others needs before ours.

 

In our first reading, we hear if we only seek to store up treasures here on earth then we need to examine our lives. We may think this does not apply to us? How many pair of shoes doe we own? How many shirts, pants and coats do we own? We probably have more than we need! We are wealthy, by the worlds standards!  

 

 In our Gospel, Jesus says, “If our hands, your eyes, your feet, if anything takes out attention away from God and not on others, cut it off.” This is extreme, but it is meant to be to shake us up and to get us off the seat of complacency.

 

All of our success stories and those things we have accomplished is great, but we are not to let those things define who we are. What defines who we are those things we do for others, this is our greatest challenge.

 

 

Give our list to God!

Wednesday Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

James 4:13-17

Mark 9:38-40

 

What are reminded today of our readings of a very important spiritual truth that is so easy to get away from and that is to give everything to God because God is in control? How centered are we in Christ today? How centered on ourselves are we today?

 

In our passage from James, the writer gives us a very good example of what can happen in our lives. The writer says, “How often do we spring out of bed and have a list of things to do for the day and not give that list to God?” The writer cautions us to pray over our list and to give that list to God and let God control our list of things to do?

 

In our Gospel the disciples are only thinking of their belly buttons. The disciples witness someone expelling demons, and they try to stop the person from doing so. The problem is not that the man was not following Jesus, it is that the man was not following the disciples. The man had given his list of things to do to the Lord, and we hear about the result of his actions. The disciples are hanging onto their list and not wanting to give it to the Lord.

 

What is on our list today and what on that list have we given to the Lord? One thing I do is every Monday, I pray over my weekly calendar, and every day, I pray over my daily calendar. I make sure I pray over the empty spaces because that is where God can act the most.

 

 

 

Are we the greatest?

 

Tuesday of the Seventh week of Ordinary Time

James 4:1-10

Mark 9:30-37

 

 

Who are people with think are the greatest in the world or in our society? Princess Harry and Meghan Markle certainly got a lot of coverage this past weekend! It is the ones who are well educated, wealthy and powerful. They tend to be popular and good looking. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of these until it is at the exclusion of someone else. Our readings will challenge us on how we define greatness in our spiritual lives.

 

The writer in our first reading understands the human condition very well as they caution us about following our passions. The writer does not say it wrong to have passion but to be cautious of what passions we follow. Some of our passions can lead us to think we are the greatest.  

 

The Gospel Jesus overhears his disciples arguing which one of them is the greatest. I can almost imagine Jesus shaking his head back and forth and wondering what is he going to do with these guys. He decides to show them by a very good visual aid, by taking a small child into his arms and letting his disciples know that they need to become like children if they want to be great. Children were insignificant, powerless, poor, often hungry and sick. Now you can almost see the disciples shaking their heads wondering what Jesus is talking about. Jesus is inviting his disciples to welcome this child and make a better place for this child to live.

 

Jesus never came to make a place comfortable for himself; he came to make a place for others to live. In the spiritual life, we never really make our place in this world for ourselves, we are to create a place for others. Jesus is asking us to do the same.

 

How are we working to make a place for others to live?