Friday, June 29, 2012

Ordinary Time 13

This week we celebrate our nation’s independence. The Fourth of July is a birthday of a great idea - not merely the idea of independence, not merely the idea of the rights of the people, but a profoundly idealistic and profoundly influential charter of liberty and freedom. What a gift to be able to pray and worship without being persecuted or arrested. But we also know that we still need to pray that our freedoms may be protected and preserved.

As we gather as family, neighborhood, community, and nation to celebrate this day remembering the profound freedom that our nation’s ancestors signed with their lives, we also gather each Sunday as a community of believers in Jesus Christ, the true giver of freedom. Jesus laid down his life that we may be liberated from the slavery of sin, and through His resurrection He opened the gates of heaven. Let us not forget the first and great giver of liberty and freedom - Jesus Christ.

As you celebrate the Fourth of July, Fr. Malcolm and I will be on vacation paying our respects to our presidents at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Nativity of St. John the Baptist

It is six months before Christmas, and today is honored as the celebration of the birth of John the Baptist to fulfill the biblical timeline that is announced in St. Luke’s infancy narrative. When the angel Gabriel comes to Mary he tells her that Elizabeth her kinswoman is now in her sixth month, pregnant with John. And so we honor today the Forerunner, the one who will announce to the world the Lamb of God, baptize and points out Christ, something each of us is called to do by our very lives.

I also welcome to our parish Fr. Malcolm McDonald. Fr. Malcolm is the prison chaplain for the Allegheny County Jail. He is now living in residence in our parish house. He was living at St. John Vianney Manora residence for retired priests. With the diocese selling the Cardinal Dearden Center in Oakland, six retired priests living there needed a place to live, so the non-retired priests at the Manor needed to move out. Since Fr. Malcolm is a buddy of mine, the diocese asked me if I would provide him a place to live. I gladly said yes. Since he is a full-time chaplain, you might see him at our 7:15 AM Mass. Welcome, Fr. Malcolm!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ordinary Time 11

I recently met with a father who is greatly concerned about his ailing daughter. You can feel the concern and the love. Last Saturday I went to my home parish to celebrate a 25th anniversary Mass. While I was there I saw parents of grade school classmates of mine. One such couple, I commended for their heroic actions of taking care of their son, my classmate, who died about two years ago. Now the husband is taking care of his wife who is in a wheelchair. There are some great men who are quietly loving and taking care of their loved ones. As we gather this day to remember and honor our fathers, let us thank God for the fathers in our lives. We remember how they have shared their love to us.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ

Today, as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, we are reminded that Jesus makes himself truly present in the Eucharistic Mystery, which is renewed on every altar in the world. Pope John Paul II reminded us that in commemorating this solemnity, the Church “does not only celebrate the Eucharist but solemnly bears it in procession, publicly proclaiming that the sacrifice of Christ is for the salvation of the whole world.” We rejoice in this expression of our Eucharistic affection in order to deepen out attachment to the unique and unending vent that transforms our lives. As the Sequence for Corpus Christi begs: “Jesus, of Your love befriend us, You refresh us, You defend us, Your eternal goodness send us in the land of life to see.”

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Most Holy Trinity

Every time we make the Sign of the Cross, we are reminded how our faith rests on the great mystery we know as the Holy Trinity. This great mystery of our faith is about three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – in one God. Many images or symbols have been used to help us understand one of the deepest mysteries of our faith, the Trinity: the three leafed clover, water in its three stages. The Trinity is the central mystery of our faith. As with any deep mystery, we can probe the mystery, and have some understanding about it, but we will never have complete knowledge of the Trinity. We can even have a similar experience of the life of the Trinity: our own personal experience of human love that mirrors God’s love. But we will never approach the fullness of love that is God. Our faith keeps seeking understanding, until the day when we see God face-to-face.