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Wednesday of the First Week of Lent (February 21, 2018)

Inclusive Lectionary Text

Readings: Jonah Chapter 3 verses 1-10 / Psalm 51 verses 1-2, 10-11, 16-17 /

Luke Chapter 11 verses 29-32

“…because they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.” (Luke 11: 29-32) Friends, as most of you may have heard, today the well-known evangelist Billy Graham passed away at the age of 99. In my brief existence of 46 years, I can remember hearing the evangelist preach doing what he did best, announcing the good news of Jesus the Christ. Rev. Graham with guidance from God, of course, brought many back to God. All who may have felt lonely, rejected, and unknown, they came to the awareness that someone loved them.

Jonah preached to the people of Nineveh to have the people change their ways. Jesus does the same, not necessarily meaning that he was greater but by having everyone understand that the kingdom of God is here now. Jesus makes clear that one can no longer wait to come to God when they are perfect, or when they have more time, or when they retire. The kingdom of God is in the here and now. One is greater here now because the mission continues. Preach the good news.

Who is it that I go to who helps me center myself back to God? Is it my priest/pastor? Is it my bishop or someone in my congregation, community or family? Who is my spiritual guide? Do I allow myself to listen to others with an open mind? Am I able to speak to others without wanting to put my own thoughts and views?  Do I refrain from being judgmental and self-righteous?

Let us be mindful that we may see the signs of our times and the prophets and prophetess walking among us. Are you leading people back to the One source?

rev. Michael Theogene

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Tuesday of the First Week of Lent (February 20, 2018)

Inclusive Lectionary Text

Readings: Isaiah Chapter 55 verses 10-11 / Psalm 34 verses 3-6, 15-18 /

Matthew Chapter 6 verses 7-15

Sisters and brothers as we read in today’s psalm, ‘…let us exalt God’s Name together! I sought Our God, who answered me and freed me from all my fears.’ (Psalm 34: 3-4) How do we talk to God? Do we only talk to God when there are stressors in our lives? How often do we keep the conversation going? Do we feel scared or embarrassed to talk to God?

My dear friends, for those among us that may not believe in talking to God as often or are unwilling or unsure let me simply say that it doesn’t take much. The Our Father is a universal prayer that sings the praises of the One Source. The many names of God, as we have all often heard them, show us the countless many names on how we respond to God. Jesus’ relationship with the Father shows his intimacy with knowing who he was and whose he was. Jesus showed who he belonged to. Jesus shows us that, as the Father was very close to him, in the same manner we are to make God close to us. Abba God, my dearest, my love, God as mother and father, the source of all life. In essence, daddio, dad, the Creator is how Jesus address our God.

So when we pray, do not babble like the others. Work on your intimacy even more, so when you say God, our father, our mother, Creator God, Creator Spirit, Spirit God, God- our mother and father hallowed be your name, etc..,say it with meaning, slowly reflecting on the gift that our God has given us.

As Pope Francis has recently encouraged Christians to do in especially praying the Our Father is to revise the part that says ‘…and lead us not into temptation.’ but instead to say ‘…and let us not fall into temptation…’. How can God lead us into temptation?

Remember from the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday the priest or minister while signing your forehead with ashes stated, “Remember that you are beloved and to love you shall return! Thoughts to ponder! Be blessed!

rev. Michael Theogene

Monday of the First Week of Lent (February 19, 2018)

Inclusive Lectionary Text

Readings: Leviticus Chapter 19 verses 1-2, 11-18 / Psalm 19 verses 7-9, 14 /

Matthew Chapter 25 verses 31-46

Matthew 25. This reading is well known that is synonymous with all of our everyday travels and encounters.  In essence it is the corporal works of mercy and when we fail to do it for our struggling sisters and brothers, not only do we disappoint God but we are short siding ourselves. We all know that at any moment many of us are a check or two away from being homeless.  Giving away our money may not be what we all can do but we can all give our time to help whether it is a neighbor or volunteering. If we keep focused on the needs of the world around us, we can always find someone who needs our love.  Even if someone selfishly wanted our attention and really didn’t need it, we still should minister to that person. As the Venerable Mother Catherine Elizabeth McAuley (foundress of the Sisters of Mercy) said, “It is better to relieve a hundred imposters, if there be such, than to suffer one really distressed person to be sent away empty.” God bless you!

rev. Michael Theogene

First Sunday in Lent (February 18, 2018)

Inclusive Lectionary Text

Readings: Genesis Chapter 9 verses 8-15 / Psalm 25 verses 4-9 / 1 Peter 3:18-22 /

Mark Chapter 1 verses 12-15

Friends, as we must remember in light of recent events, we must hold fast and secure to the thought that our God has not and will not forsake us in light of these recent tragedies. The 17 lives lost in Parkland, Florida, a horrific tragedy as someone said to me recently, “we have become so desensitize to it’. As many have voiced, when is this going to stop? Not taking away from this, but it brings to mind all those who die each and every day due to some kind of violence. Violence in our major streets, violence done to women, people dying in worn torn countries, when does it end? Also past mass shootings in our country that have occurred at concerts, night clubs and schools. Everyone everywhere is asking that same old question, “Why?”

Watching the local and national news, I have been very impressed by the young students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas H.S. who, not only going through this tragedy, but have become student ambassadors for change. This is not only for themselves and the community but for the country. They are trying to make a difference the best way they can or know how.  They are challenging not only themselves, but politicians on all levels.

I agree, as some of you may be thinking, not one entity or individual or party is to be blamed but the blame, the onus is on all of us. We all have a part in it. Maybe we all have allowed it. God has promised to shield us by not letting such occurrences happen from God’s standpoint. The rainbow has been the covenant that we are God’s and God belongs to us. The rainbow has not protected us from each other, has it? Where there is complacent behavior, disaster is sure to follow. When and where it comes or in what form doesn’t matter, but it finds its way to us.

This does not mean that we must live on pins and needles but to be mindful more than ever before of the climate we are in today. As the psalms tell us God’s ways will ultimately prevail. Sisters and brothers we must continue to be faithful not only to God but to ourselves and others.

One student in particular David Hogg has been a vocal voice, if you have noticed him on the news circuit. A student at the school, David obviously has not been complacent. It doesn’t matter where they all were before but they have all unfortunately become immersed into this debate. To me David has shown outstanding leadership by working as a team in organizing along with other students and parents taking a positive action to make change. In the scriptures, it shows that the example we are to be following as a community. Is the example of Jesus, doing, living and working together in community making a difference. Even Jesus himself knew that he couldn’t and wouldn’t be able to do it alone. He needed the help of others and God.

rev. Michael Theogene

Saturday after Ash Wednesday (February 17, 2018)

Inclusive Lectionary Text

Readings: Isaiah Chapter 58 verses 9-14 / Psalm 86 verses 1-6 / Luke Chapter 5 verses 27-32

Friends, as we all remember recently in our political climate, especially for the last presidential race, how we were all making disparaging remarks. Mostly everyone was at opposite ends on who should be the next president. Whether you were Republican, Democrat, or Independent, etc., it was hard at times to hold a conversation without beginning to reach at someone’s throat. People found it easier to only speak politics with those who agreed with their thoughts of view.  What good was that?

Sisters and brothers, I don’t profess to have been perfect at this, but I think I may have done better than some, certain times. At work, where my office was divided on both sides and on multiple issues, I recall that we would have conversations on issues in a peaceful manner. What I remember most was that we would force ourselves to do it in a patient manner giving time for the one speaking to really voice their concerns. Besides me, other co-workers would help facilitate this. Sure we had at least one or two who were really fiery and at odds with everyone else, but we managed to do it.

Where is the middle ground? All our intentions should have moral values and the focus should be “What is best for our people, not our party”. We are not going to be able to get everything we want. Can we find compromise? Can we listen to the other who has a different point of view? Is it possible that I may learn something different and perhaps open my mind or add more information to what I may know already?

We can’t just stay with those who just think like us. We have to go not only to the ones we feel comfortable with, but also to the ones we do not agree with. No one person or party is to blame, we all are sinners, we are all virtuous, we are all righteous and yes, we are all called to repentance. A change of not only heart, but also of mind and then and maybe then we not only focus on big stuff or little stuff but on everything that needs our attention.

This seems that what I have said does not go with the readings but I believe it does.  We all need a “physician”. Let’s stop blaming others. Maybe we have no one else to blame but ourselves for allowing the things that go on. Maybe something to think about?  What do you think? Lenten Blessings!

rev. Michael Theogene

Friday after Ash Wednesday (February 16, 2018)

Inclusive Lectionary Text

Readings: Isaiah Chapter 58 verses 1-9 / Psalm 51 verses 1-4, 16-17 / Matthew Chapter 9 verses 14-15

Friends, what is it that God simply requires of us? I think what God requires of us is to love and do justice. We are called to live in the present moment and to be grateful for what we have now, and to celebrate what God has given us. We need to be mindful of those in our lives and not take them for granted, regretting it after they are gone,

So often we are complacent, doing nothing. It is time for us to be mindful and by prayer to listen what it is God is asking us to do.

When tragedy hits, like those who lost their lives and the injured in South Florida, caused by the lack of love resulting in gun violence,  too often we have seen this in our nation. Whether directly or indirectly we are all affected and want to find something to do to make it better. Wanting to go there and help, donating money to a “Go Fund Me” page, giving blood. We all mourn with those innocently lost. We feel helpless yet even a simple prayer could be what is required.

rev. Michael Theogene

Thursday after Ash Wednesday (February 15, 2018)

Inclusive Lectionary Text

Readings: Deuteronomy Chapter 30 verses 15-20 / Psalm 1 verses 1-4, 6 / Luke Chapter 9 verses 22-25

Sisters and Brothers, we know what happens to us when we get out of sync. We get out of touch, maybe becoming complacent drifting away from God at times. We lose our steps but eventually find ourselves back on track again. As our readings tell us, it is a matter of life and death in choosing life we are prosperous. Happiness to delight in God is by remaining in conversation with God knowing that God’s justice is really God’s mercy and compassion. God wishes to continue the conversation, never forsaking us leaving us to our own failures, if we choose it.

I am reminded by family and friends who are in recovery when I am present as a support member. As I have attended past celebratory meetings when a coin is attained, at the end of the meeting when all gather together embracing each other, shoulder to shoulder, the following is recited “Keep on coming back. It works if you work it, you’re worth it. Keep coming back.” After all, it’s kind of hard for God to keep a one way conversation going. Do the step work, talk to God!  Do the steps. It doesn’t require much. You may not be in recovery but allow God to challenge you, it works.

rev. Michael Theogene

Homily February 18, 2018- the 1st Sunday of Lent

1lent1Over the years we have learned that living in the middle east, the culture was tribal and family centered. A person’s home town was like an anchor or stake that centered or protected a person in a world where a single or unattached person was seen to be in danger. We see today in the gospel and from the last few weeks, that Jesus has left Nazareth. He has encountered John the Baptist(and been baptized, but not in Mark’s gospel) and now we see Mark say the Spirit drove Jesus into the desert. In Mark, there is kind of urgency for Jesus to get to the desert. It is as if in those forty days, Jesus was communing and preparing with a different1lent3 family. Spiritually he was preparing his ministry, being attended by the angels and in his new family meeting Satan and what that entailed. Perhaps, his first encounter with Satan away from the protection of his earthly family. But with his time of preparation done and John having been arrested, Jesus went to Galilee and began to preach: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

As we ponder that today, I would like to say we all have busy schedules and not a whole lot of time for lent. But most of you have smart phone and tablets or computers and email. I would suggest for lent that you can get the daily Mass readings for lent in an email every day simply by signing up at the catholic bishops site on-line. It is free and you can read it where ever you read your email. In this way you can receive a thought each day as Easter approaches. The link is below.1lent6

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021818.cfm

ASH WEDNESDAY (2018) Cycle ABC

Inclusive Lectionary- Joel Chapter 2 verses 12-18 / Psalm 51 / 2 Corinthians Chapter 5 verses 20- Chapter 6 verse 2 / Matthew Chapter 6 verses 1-6, 16-18

Friends, we hear the message of prayers, fasting and alms giving every lent. For good reasons because it invites us to check ourselves as a yearly reminder that it’s not all about me but about all of us. God shows us continually to leave our egos at the door. Sisters and brothers, God reminds us that we can’t do it alone. We can’t only be about me and not the other person. It also does not mean for us to solely rely on others or have others rely on us alone. God is speaking as God has continually spoken to send the message as often as God repeatedly does, that without God, we can do nothing.

God who is non-pressuring, who wants to be fully engulfed, engaged in all matter of being, wants us to know that, yes, God is present, whether we want God or not. If we do wish to meet God where God meets us, at any level, we will find God waiting to embrace us to be one with God.

As hectic as life becomes, even if we may have felt drawn away, it is never too late to reconnect with the source of all being. Lenten Blessings, God bless!

rev. Michael Theogene

Homily at Holy Trinity on February 11, 2018- the 6th Sunday in Ordinary time

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