Sunday, August 31, 2014

Angry Prayers

Have you ever just wanted to yell out in anger?   
To scream in frustration?  To cry out in anguish?  
To use language your kids probably shouldn't hear?

In fact, as we saw with Jeremiah this weekend, those very impulses can sometimes be a form of prayer.  To read more on this subject, check out Brendan Busse, S.J.'s article in The Jesuit Post, "Angry Prayers (Parental Advisory - Explicit Language)" by clicking here.  (And yes, please do be aware that some of the language in the article is, well, explicit.)  
We recommend you read to the end so that the writer's entire argument is clear.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sunday Gospel Reflection, August 31, 2014 - Like a fire burning in my heart...

Pain can be an obstacle to long-term vision.

The prophet Jeremiah is in a bad space.  Rejected by everyone in sight, having prophesied for twenty years to no apparent effect, Jeremiah is angry with God: You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped.  God had told the prophet that he would be a wall of brass, but Jeremiah is feeling all too human, broken, defeated – nothing is working.  And yet what does he discover, even as he spews angry prayers at God?  That even when he tries hard not to speak God’s name, it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones…  For all he tries, Jeremiah cannot reject God, cannot separate himself from him.  Even at the depth of his pain, Jeremiah’s intimate union with God is not something he can escape – he simply has to live it, recognizing, as the psalmist does, that God is his help and allowing his flesh to pine for God and his soul to thirst for him, his voice to praise him (Psalm 63).  Jeremiah, in his anger, isn’t there yet – but God is with him, nonetheless, and will be, forever.

In Matthew's Gospel Sunday, Peter seems to have a similar problem when Jesus informs him that soon he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly and be killed.  Peter’s response – God forbid, Lord! – demonstrates that Peter is caught up in the short-term, limited run of things.  Jesus promises salvation, redemption, but Peter is focused on the imminent pain and suffering; he wants Jesus there with him, forever -- he doesn't realize, of course, that that is exactly what Jesus has planned...

Like Jeremiah and Peter, we can get caught up in our focus on self – but faith is not about you, or me, or any individual!  Christ calls us all to commit ourselves in the totality of our person to God, offering our bodies as a living sacrifice, as Paul tells the Romans, dedicated to giving praise and conforming to God’s plan, no matter how painful it might be, remaining open to change, to transformation.  Let that fire burn in your heart, embrace it, and perhaps you will be able to bless the Lord while you live, no matter what kind of obstacles get in the way…

This post is based on Fr. Pat's Scripture class.
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Monday, August 25, 2014

Be the Church

Our spiritual journey does not end when we find our way home to the Church.  The One whom we had been pursuing and who pursues us without ceasing calls us to holiness.  It is not enough to be IN the Church.  We are called to BE the Church.  We are called to be fierce guardians of the holy and mysterious scandal that is Christ.  We are called to bear witness to the reality that God obliterated the line between mutable and immutable, vulnerable and omnipotent, mortal and immortal, human and divine in Christ.  We are called to give joyful testimony that this obliteration is an act of the God of love who wants to be close to us for all eternity.
--Caitlin Kennell Kim

Busted Halo
For the complete article (focused on St. Hilary!), click here.
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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sunday Gospel Reflection, August 24, 2014: I will give you the keys...

What would you do with the keys to the kingdom?

In our reading from Isaiah this Sunday, Eliakim, son of Hilkiah, is master of the palace; as such, he has access to the storerooms, from which he administers grain, and also to the king’s treasury.  But when God places the key of David upon his shoulder, Eliakim’s most significant role becomes his control over access to the king himself, and through him, to God; his duty is to facilitate access to those in need.  It is a huge responsibility…

We hear echoes of this notion of access in our gospel reading from Matthew as well, when Jesus – the Key of David incarnate – gives Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven, telling him, Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven… Why entrust these keys to Peter?  They are a gift, as is the revelation to Peter that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.  Because of his very openness, Peter can be seen as a stable basis upon which to build a church, a foundation capable of giving people access to God.  Peter understands that God is at work in his life, and proclaims the Good News; he is thus an open conduit through whom others may find access to God.  It is not up to Peter to understand the gift – Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!  How inscrutable are his judgments, Paul tells the Romans.  It’s not up to Peter to seek power in some hierarchy, either; it’s about his willingness to grow toward the depth of meaning Paul is suggesting, toward the unfathomable depth of God’s love for him, expressed in God’s kindness and truth (Psalm 138).  From that place of eternal love, Peter can be rock, strength, foundation… like Eliakim, a peg in a sure spot, the consummate source of stability through whom access to God is open and reliable.

We, too, have been entrusted with the key
  -- we, the Church, must provide access to God, and to salvation, to all who seek it.  And so perhaps we must each ask ourselves, what are we doing with the keys to the kingdom?  Are we a solid foundation, grounded in the eternal and boundless depths of God’s love, providing access to that love for all?

This post is based on Fr. Pat's Scripture class.
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Monday, August 18, 2014

Radiate Love

Each time anyone comes into contact with us, they must become different and better people because of having met us.  We must radiate God’s love.  By our living and working together as God’s family, we proclaim that unity in the Church, as well as by working with all people, serving all people, of any religion, colour, caste or race.  We have been created in order to love and be loved.

Love does not measure… it just gives.
--Mother Teresa
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