Monday, May 21, 2018
Listen to the homily here.
Listen to the homily here.
Pentecost: 50 days…Holy Spirit
Puzzle at our Clergy Retreat
· It had 1,000 pieces and I think that I added 1
· As I try to learn and teach with different images, I am thinking about a tricky puzzle with the Holy Spirit
Now, I over the last couple of years, I think I helped two puzzles, one with these priests, and another with a four year old, and she was better than me
But I do know two things about a puzzle, from the child to the adult professionals
· First, flip the puzzle pieces over so you can see it!
o One advice, do that in our spiritual life…flip over things like sins, the scriptures, prayers…so you can see what is going on in our faith
· Second, find the four corners!
o Today I would like to propose four “corners” of the image of the Holy Spirit
#1: Our power for our discipleship
· Acts 2:1-11: The Holy Spirit with tongues of fire with strength, power and even other languages to preach from other places
· But today I would like to read some of other images from the Scriptures
· Similarly, remember Moses who saw a bush on fire?
o Exodus 3:2: “And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and lo, the bushwas burning, yet it was not consumed.”
· This is a solid belief in the Holy Spirit within our mission
· Genesis 1:2-3: “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.”
· The Holy Spirit is like the wind in our physical world, our cosmos, our lives and our job
#3: God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
· John 15: “Jesus said to his disciples:‘When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father,the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father,he will testify to me. And you also testify,because you have been with me from the beginning…’”2ndReading
· 1 Corinthians 12:3b “Brothers and sisters:No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.”
· Romans 8:26: “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to prayas we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.”
· Come Holy Spirit, come Holy Spirit, come Holy Spirit
Now, this puzzle is an analogy
As I write this article, I am soaking into the end of this gracious day. Today our family (parishioners at St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Columban), Fr. Albert Wugaa (one of my best friends and brother), Bishop Paul Sirba (our shepherd in our diocese), eight juniors (who were confirmed), their sponsors and their own families, Mass, a glorious nap, biking and having dinner with a parishioner’s house, Mother’s Day, Ascension and the opening fishing season: thank God!
I am also wrapping my mind around our three events that are connected with our liturgical and national moments: Confirmation on the Ascension of Jesus Christ, first Communion on Pentecost, and the Baccalaureate Mass during Memorial Weekend. I could write a lot more about this, put these influences in your thoughts!
Finally, I just bought an intuitive book within my own life: “beauty in the broken places: a memoir of love, faith, and resilience” by Allison Pataki. Let me give you an elevator description. A young married couple was going to travel to Hawaii to spend time together on a “babymoon” trip as the wife was pregnant. As they were in an airplane 35,000 feet up, the husband had a stroke. He was 30 years old, studying in medical practice, was athletic and received this on June 9th, 2015. As they walked through his recovery, and their relationship within their marriage (and a baby on the way!) my heart has simply lifted through Allison Pataki and Dave Levy sharing their lives during “good times and in bad, in sickness and in health," and I recommend this book to anyone who has had tough situations yourself, or with your loved one.
As we conclude this year in the Easter Season in Pentecost and reenter our Ordinary Time, spend more time each day to marinate the depths of your life, your family’s life, our parishes life, our Catholic Christian life and the gifts that we receive from God every moment.
Listen to Bishop Paul Sirba's homily here.
Congratulations to Blaine, Derek, Chad, Amelia, Sarah, Ashley, Melissa and Grace as you will be receiving the sacrament of Confirmation. I am proud of each of you with your different talents, gifts and charisms that God has given you in your life.
As I will not have a microphone at your Confirmation, nor will I offer “a couple of announcements,” you can read this, whether it is shorter or longer!
When I am congratulating you in our spiritual lives, remember that this is not graduating from faith formation. I hope that this is not the end, but a new beginning in your relationship with Jesus Christ.
Last weekend I preached about the ability of friendship. Always know that Jesus Christ is your friend, your best friend as “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Now you will have more power, more gifts and more fruits from the Holy Spirit. When you experience similar events in your life, the most exceptional opportunity is with your time for God.
I know that I have told you this joke, and I will again: “If you want to get squirrels out of your church (or I guess bats at St. Thomas Aquinas), confirm them as then they will leave”. While this is a joke, it is sad as in our culture today: only 25% of our parishioners go to Mass weekly.
I challenge you to spend time with our best friend, especially at Mass and in your personal lives.
As you continue to grow in academics, sports, jobs and hobbies, you are probably busy in your day-to-day. And if you are busy today, you will be busy tomorrow.
When I was in college and Seminary, I too was swamped, with classes, exercising and watching sports. After eight years (four years in college and four years in Seminary), I made a new decision in my life: relaxation on Sundays. As it was against the current, I became better with my grades, my strengths and my discipline both physically and spiritually by merely relaxing on Sundays. As I have few regrets in my life, I wish that I would have taken Sundays easier when I was younger.
As you are young in your lives, you can begin a new and essential type of life to follow our Savior by putting him first. Open your hearts through the sacrament of Confirmation, and you will only grow. Jesus told his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Luke 10:2). Our Church, our family, your family and yourself have a real harvest that God Has gardened in our lives, and it needs you.
Listen to the homily of Fr. Albert Wugaa here.
Listen to the homily by Fr. Albert Wugaa here.
Listen to the homily here.
This is my favorite passage in the New Testament, and I loved learning about its structure
· My Masters Thesis was titled “Friendship in the Scripture”
· More important than that, is the Scriptures itself
Only two individuals were given the title “friend” with God
· Everyone else were called a servant: David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, kings
Then there is a powerful passage in Sirach
· Sirach 6:14-16: “A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter: he that has found one has found a treasure. There is nothing so precious as a faithful friend, and no scales can measure his excellence. A faithful friend is an elixir of life…”
Then, come to our reading today that I want to comment on 15:12-17
· “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.”
o In the Gospels, Jesus was asked what the most important law (out of the 613 laws)
o “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
· “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
o And this is what Jesus Christ did for us—his friends!
· “You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.”
o We have the map, the key, the knowledge—in the Bible!
· “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain…”
o God seeks for us
o Many people today are on a spiritual journey to try to find their life
o It turns out, God is already looking for you
o And, God chooses the
· “…so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.”
· “This I command you: love one another.”
· Friends are the best, both physically and spiritual relationships
· And Jesus should be your best friend
Earlier this week I listened to a commentator about millennials and baby boomers. His presentation was both engaging and funny, and it made me think about how we Catholics should work together.
One of my first thoughts was when millennials were categorized from the ages 19-34. I thought to myself, “Why am I in the millennials box anyway?” I mean, my parents are baby boomers, and they use technology like Facebook and smartphones more than me!
While I chuckled with this presentation, the commentator also said there is a “Generation clash…”
This weekend, I want to share how important it is to work with each other through our different ages. For instance, our different spans throughout the priests in our Diocese enjoy joking with each other for our generations. I am still a “baby priest,” our at least a “young priest” with our brothers. And yes, we can chatter back to them.
I praise God that we young priests can seek experienced priests with wisdom, experience and counsel. On the other side of the coin, many of my wise priests enjoy our energy, “new blood,” and new ideas. The best here is that our Diocese is very blessed as we brothers walk together toward Jesus Christ.
Then, when I was assigned to St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Columban, I noticed a new event through our school. Pat Bjorum set up an activity with young students at our school with wise parishioners from our parish. Each parishioner received one or two students, and they prayed together, listened to the Scriptures and watched the little ones make a picture for their story. That made a lovely relationship through different generations, and I hope that we can do that project again!
Here are a couple of thoughts for you about growing connections between all of our ages together.
· Students: how can you learn from an adult that is beyond your parents, grandparents, teachers or coaches? Do you notice a parishioner that inspires you at Mass? If so, introduce yourself to them and mention that you are thankful for them. Or, could you take some time in a nursing home or a parishioner that is lonely? Your presence could simply make their day!
· Adults: how can you go beyond your children for other students in our parishes or community? Your acknowledgment at church, athletic events, concerts or more can inspire the younger generations. Or, have you ever noticed a student at Mass that serves, plays the piano, reads, is confirmed or receiving their first communion how proud you are for them?
As we are a family at St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Columban, it is always better to grow with each other and enjoy some food for thought this week.God Bless!
Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Listen to the homily here.
21 Ecumenical Councils
· Names usually from where it took place
o Nicaea = Nicene, Constantinople
· Most of them were about condemnation, meaning wrong, or heresy
· Vatican II for 1961-1965
o Modern World and what do we offer?
Jerusalem: First general gathering
· First General Gathering = Jerusalem
· Covenant with God and Abraham
· What to do with the Gentiles?