Saturday, November 13, 2010

Descriptive & Prescriptive not Predictive


I was thinking about this weekend's Gospel passage for Mass from Luke 21:5-19.

While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, "All that you see here--
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down."

Then they asked him,
"Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?"
He answered,
"See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
'I am he,’ and 'The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end."
Then he said to them,
"Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.

"Before all this happens, however,
they will seize and persecute you,
they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons,
and they will have you led before kings and governors
because of my name.
It will lead to your giving testimony.
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives."



Here is where my mind went:


Just a cursory reading of history reveals that there has  never been an age without trial and turmoil.
What century has not seen wars? 
Each generation has experienced plagues: leprosy, bubonic plague, small pox, polio, aids.
And there has never been a time when a true Christian has not been ridiculed and rejected, whether by friends, family, or state.
One of these days, those who predict the end of the world will be correct.  So far, they have been wrong about 2010 times.


So what does this Scripture mean for us?  Well, it describes the situation at the time of Jesus, the time of Luke and all times until this current age.  The signs are always there and fall into two categories. The first category of signs is the evidence of evil,  it's many manifestations, and the suffering it causes.  The second category includes the many signs of God's loving presence and the peace, deliverance, courage and salvation He brings.


These scary readings in the Bible, known as apocalyptic literature, are meant to be words of encouragement to a persecuted people.  They contain hope as they proclaim the presence of God and His ultimate victory.  That ultimate victory is ours if we remain faithful.  They help us move from our suffering to finding the finger of God in our lives.  We can read the signs of the times and ask, "What is God saying in each event of our lives."


Then they prescribe the antidote to the ills of the world.  The antidote is One-- Jesus!  No philosophy, no government, no quasi-spirituality, no guru, no false religion can cure those ills.  Democracy, Republicans, Democrats, Capitalism, psychology, psychiatry, socialism, globalism, boycotts, unions, laws, communes, diets, hypnotism, paradigm shifts, treaties, lower taxes, higher taxes, protestantism, positive thinking, exercise programs, military might and technological advances have done little to change human nature and the "signs of the times".


Let us turn to Jesus each moment of our lives.  Fly to Him in the Blessed Sacrament.  Approach Him with confidence.  Ask for His forgiveness and the grace to persevere.  Hand in hand with His Mother, Mary, enter His most holy Presence in the Sacrifice of the Mass.  Let Him heal your pain, your memories, your thoughts and your opinions.  There is one antidote.  The antidote is One -- Jesus.  Become One with Him.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

TTFN

LOURDES, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 13:  Pope Benedict...Image by Getty Images via @daylife


I am about to begin a new chapter in my life.  It is nothing unusual in the life of a priest, but that does not mean that it is easy.  I have been transferred from Our Lady of Lourdes parish to St. Michael Parish.  St. Michael the Archangel Parish is about an hour away from my current location.  It is also about an hour away from the nursing home where my Grandmother has resided for the past 8 weeks. I have been her primary care giver for the last 16 years.  Dementia and a bad fall necessitated her move to a place where she would have continuous care.  It broke my heart, but I now know it was the best thing I could do for her.

So now that I no longer have charge of her day to day care, the Bishop has asked me to take this new assignment.  It will be the first time in my priesthood that I have not been associated with a church dedicated to our Lady.  I have had a strong devotion to St. Michael ever since I was around 3 years old when I learned "St. Michael the Archangel was named after me".  I also thought sunny days meant that God was shining His love directly on and only for me!  I outgrew that notion some time in my late 40's...

Now I know it is directly on me, I can share it with others without any loss of light, warmth, love or attention.  Amen.

Please pray for me that I will be a good pastor.  Please ask God to give me strength and zeal for the task and protection from the wickedness and wiles of the evil one.
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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sadducees...

The Sadducees were sad, you see
They didn't believe eternity...

A bit of a rough week for this poor sinner.  My grandmother is in congestive heart failure.  My nephew was arrested and jailed for breaking and entering, and I refused to post bail.  I am packing for the move to my new assignment.  And I am saying what seems like an endless barrage of goodbyes.  Emotionally, I am on a roller coaster.  One moment I am near tears as I comfort someone who is upset that I am leaving.  The next moment I am so excited to be going to my new parish!  Then I feel guilty that I am so excited!

What a nut!  Between those silly and sad Sadducees and my own goofiness I am sure to keep laughing!

But, unlike the Sadducees, I do believe in eternity.  "For the Christian, life is changed not ended."  So, when it comes to Granny, I know she is ready to meet the Lord.  Compared to me, her time in purgatory will be very quick.  I have had the comfort and the privilege of giving her the Sacrament of the  Anointing of the Sick several times.  Personal pain and grieving are a given.  Glorifying and thanking God for this wonderful woman is assured.  Life is temporal and eternal.  God's love is Immortal!

As for my nephew, pray, pray, pray!  He is basically a pretty sweet young man.  He is usually kind and considerate.  But... no church, no real faith, and a sense that he has a right to anything he wants.  I suspect drugs, but it is just a suspicion.  He was, however, caught red-handed breaking in.  Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

While I am on the subject of prayer, I would like to ask any readers (if there are any LOL) to pray for several women who have asked for my intercession.  These women are beautiful, faithful young Catholic wives who have not been able to conceive.  I have prayed over many women to conceive, and God has granted that request 13 times so far to woman who were told that they could only conceive by artificial insemination if at all.  All 13,  as well as the current women for whom I am praying, have refused morally unacceptable means in favor of trusting God and His will in this matter.  What an inspiration they are to me!

That is it for now...  God Bless You!