Monday, April 24, 2017

The Reward of Patience...Music for the 3rd Sunday of Easter

Hello St. Francis,

So, over the past few years I have spent a bunch of time reflecting on the Gospel of the Road to Emmaus that we will hear this weekend.  I was pretty sure I covered it from every conceivable angle. But, as Scripture tends to do, a new thought entered my mind.  In case you did not know, I am the proud father of two incredible children.  I remember people telling me before they were born how difficult being a parent is.  I thought I understood until I actually became a parent.  Don't get me wrong, being a parent is the most amazing and rewarding thing in my life, but that doesn't mean it is simple.  I think I have boiled down what makes it difficult to a few things, one of which I want to talk to you about this week.

I know that it is true for me and I assume that most parents feel the same way, if we could, we would try to take away all of the things in our children's lives that would cause pain.  As a parent, the concept of trial and error and "let them figure it out for themselves" with your kids is so difficult.  I mean, who wants to see their children struggle.  If it were up to me, I would download all of the stupid mistakes I made and all of the experience I have gained over the course of my life directly into my kids.  I want them to have the answers and, maybe selfishly, I don't want them to struggle with the questions.

So this brings me to Emmaus.  Here is the point.  Why didn't Jesus just tell them who he was?  Why did he go through the entire dissertation?  Why not just download the faith they needed to see into their minds and hearts?  Why the struggle?

It occurs to me that the really solid foundations in my life were developed over time when I eventually came to my own revelation, in my own time.  Jesus knew that the impact of this moment could only be realized on their time...not his.  He recognized that just telling them who he was, just giving them the answer would not profoundly change their lives the way that it did when they came to the understanding on their own.  He was patient, he let them reflect, contemplate, just be.  In the end, their eyes were opened as much by their own epiphany as by the breaking of the bread.

And so it is with us.  I think sometimes we seek the answers so quickly, we may forget the profound nature of the question.  When I wish for my children not to have to grind over the questions that I had to, I do not offer them the same power in the decision that they make.  Of course we want life to be simple, and 1+1 will always still equal 2, but, in our struggle, with patience and perseverance, we too can recognize Jesus, we too can be transformed by the miracle of the epiphanies in our life that can only come with time.

Jim

Processional - Standin On The Promises
Psalm - 16 Keep Me Safe
Offertory - Bless That Wonderful Name
Communion - In The Breaking of the Bread
Meditation - Worthy Is The Lamb
Recessional - Rejoice

Monday, April 10, 2017

We are all a part of the power of our prayer?

Hello St. Francis,

So, we have made it.  It's almost time for the Easter Bunny to come and relieve you for your Chocolate deprivation...or whatever else you gave up for Lent.  I hope that these few weeks have been ones filled with digging deeper into your faith and finding God more clearly in all things.  Lent is a time of preparation that allows us the time to discern what Jesus' gift of the Eucharist, his passion and death, and resurrection mean to us and how seriously we take our call to discipleship and to carry our crosses with grace and dignity.  We know how the story ends, triumphantly!!!  But, the only thing that makes a happy ending better is when we understand the struggle that had to be overcome to reach that ending.

We have been so blest in many ways at St. Francis.  As I think about what we enter into this week, my thoughts turn to the example we have been given in the person of Fr. Neil.  At St. Francis, we had the opportunity to grow in our faith by participating in Fr. Neil's witness, but, we also got the great privilege of walking with him on his road to Calvary.  It was our mission to comfort and strengthen him as he carried his cross of sickness.  The only thing is though, even though we all knew he was sick, weak and struggling, you would never know it when you engaged him in conversation or celebrated liturgy with him.  That voice filled with such power and that faith that just spilled over and enveloped each person he celebrated with. This week we will hear about  the suffering Jesus had to endure on his road to the cross.  For many years, I thought of this story in a pretty dark and dim way.   There was guilt, sadness and a real sense of disconnection from God.  Now, having thought about this and having experienced the powerful witness of faith given to us by Fr. Neil, I see the cross, I see Fr. Neil's cross and I see my cross as a wonderful privilege.  One that will lead me and hopefully others by my example to the revelation of God's unending love for all of us.


So, this week, make a real effort to come to your parish home as we remember this story.  The story of Jesus' cross, the reality of our own crosses and the faith of Fr. Neil which lead him, and us to resurrection.  Let the words, the scriptures, the music and the community itself open our minds, and our hearts to know how much God really loves me and you.  Really know it!!!  Because, it is when we realize how much God loves us, that we will truly realize the purpose, the vocation and the ministry of Fr. Neil.  A vocation fixed on love.  A mission that brings to reality the ultimate truth.  God Is Love.

Blessings!!!  Pray for someone this week!!!
Jim