CACINA

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

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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

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 January 28, 2018 the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time at Holy Trinity Parish, Herndon, Va

Posted in Called, christian, Christianity, Eucharist, Faith, homily, inspirational, saints, Spirit, Uncategorized by Fr Joe R on January 28, 2018

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To Hear God’s Voice

Posted in Called, christian, Communion, ethics, Eucharist, Faith, homily, inspirational, Psalm 95, scripture, Spirit, Uncategorized by Rev. Martha on January 27, 2018

4th Sunday Ordinary Time

Deut 18:15-20; Psalm: 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9; 1 Corinthians 7:32-35; Mark 1:21-28

Our 1st reading today starts with a reminder of when Moses brought down the 10 commandments from the mountain (Exodus 20: 10).  There was thunder and lightening.  The earth trembled, the clouds were thick, and there was a sound like trumpets blasting.  It was scary; the people were afraid.  They believed that they could die from getting too close to God.  They never again wanted to hear the voice of God.

We believe God loves us, “and we long to see his face.” But have you ever wondered why God does not speak to us directly?  Have you ever said, “I wish God would just tell me the answer to my problems”? We complain that God does not communicate with us clearly, making it hard to know the right thing to do.

In Moses day, there was an answer to the problem – people were called to be “prophets”. A prophet does not foretell the future; a prophet just relates a message clearly and accurately from God to a person or a group of people.  Of course, that was no guarantee that anyone would do what the prophet said.  The Old Testament is filled with the stories of people who found God’s message too difficult, or found the advice of other people more appealing, which always lead to humiliations and hardships.

Our Psalm mentions one of the occasions when this happened. While traveling from Egypt to the Promised Land, God gave Moses and the Israelites manna and quail to eat.  But when they camped at a place which had no water, the people quarreled and rebelled against Moses’ leadership.  They still failed to trust when Moses told them that God would provide for them, even after they had eaten the manna and seen God’s strength lead them out of slavery in Egypt!  They rebelled against both God’s message and the prophet who brought the message.  That is why the place was named Massah (quarrel) and Meribah (rebel).  Once again, their fear had stopped them from hearing God.  The Psalm is a prayer that we might to be able to hear God without a messenger.

Finally, our reading from Mark follows immediately after Jesus calls Peter, Andrew, James and John from their fishing to follow him. It is the first time Jesus teaches in a local synagogue and does a healing miracle.  They know Jesus only as the son of Joseph, a carpenter.  The amazement of the people is somewhat skeptical.  How is Jesus able to speak and teach with more understanding and knowledge than even the scribes, who are educated, who read and write with ease?  Why is Jesus so sure of himself and teaches as one with vast experience and understanding? He is like a prophet who confidently announces words which come from God, and heals, too!

The unclean spirit in the man recognizes Jesus’ authority. The spirit cries out, literally shrieks in fear of Jesus, as Moses’ people had feared God.  The spirit is unable to disobey and leaves the man. The people debate among themselves, trying to understand what they have witnessed.  But they cannot deny what they have seen, and the news spreads rapidly.  The fame of Jesus builds as the people recognize, even if they do not name the source of it, his authority and his power.

If only Mark had recorded the teaching! We do not know what he said, only the stunning impact he created on the people.  It is hard not to wish we had been there to experience what amazed the people so. We also wish we had the clarity of Jesus’ teaching and his presence among us.

But we do! We have 4 Gospels, 4 different and fascinating records of the life, teaching, and miracles of Jesus.  We also have all the letters by Paul and others that have been saved. We have some 2000 years of church history and Tradition.  Many wise and faithful Christians have left their legacies, their lives, their writings, their studies for us.  It is an incredible and vast collection to help us grow in the faith.  We no longer have to wonder who Jesus was.  Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit; we have the Spirit indwelling in our hearts to guide us.

But what if we fail to read or study the teaching of Jesus? We are like people who read only the first paragraph of each chapter of a book and think they are ready to attend a book club discussion. We would be like students who don’t read the assigned text book, expecting a couple of important bulletin points to be emailed to them by the professor.  Hearing just short passages on Sunday robs us of the crucial settings and background of why, for example, Jesus told a particular parable.  Jesus often refers to Moses and Abraham – how can we understand those references unless we know those characters and their stories?

Have you ever been pressed to explain or defend baptism or the Eucharist, and had difficulty? Do we take the Traditions of the church seriously? Do we learn all we can about why we pray as we do, why we have the sacraments and the depth of their meaning? No wonder we are so hesitant to tell other people about our faith and what it means to us.  Our message to others will only be attractive when we include our knowledgeable and personal experience with God as Creator, Brother, and Friend.

Perhaps we think God is silent because we are silent about God. Perhaps we have stopped listening to God and focused on all the “thunder and lightening” of our culture instead.  Perhaps we still fear God, because we do not yet know God.  Oh, that today we would hear God’s voice!

 

Homily October 29, 2017- the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted in Called, christian, Christianity, Eucharist, Faith, homily, inspirational, religion, scripture, Word by Fr Joe R on October 26, 2017

30 sunI think today’s gospel is one of the most familiar to all of us. Again a Pharisee scholar sets out to trap Jesus with what he thinks is a trick question. Jesus is ready for him and answers that Love is the greatest commandment. To love God with our whole heart, soul and mind and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself. It means that within our 30 sun 4self we give all we are to God and what it means to belong to him. It is the means and purpose for which we live. And in living, we must love others as we love ourselves. This or more properly these commands are no small matter. I think that for the most part whether consciously or not all of us look out for ourselves or love ourselves very much beyond just the point of self-preparation. As children we learn to love from our parents and others as we grow older. However, you expand our circle of love is something we must learn and be willing to do as part of our faith and love of God. To reach out and accept others as God has done for us is not always easy in this world in which we find Good and evil present as we go forth. But loving our neighbor also mean being ready to forgive just as God does. Love is not always easy as I am sure married couples will tell you. No one 30 sun 3except God is perfect, and even a loving couple has their moments of disagreements. Yet in any loving relationship, the giving of the whole self makes possible the resolution and coming together after conflicts.

We know that the greatest act of giving of self was Christ’s death on the Cross. In one-act, for all time, he brought God’s mercy and forgiveness to all and made possible for all of humanity to be united to him forever. This is the chief and only reason for giving ourselves body and soul and it will bring us to him forever.

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Today’s Homily at Holy Trinity Parish, October 15, 2017- the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted in Called, christian, Christianity, Eucharist, Faith, homily, inspirational, scripture, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on October 15, 2017

Today’s Homily at Holy Trinity, September 3, 2017-the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time–Vocations