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Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent (April 8, 2017)

Inclusive Text- Readings- Ezekiel 37: 21-28 / Psalm: Jeremiah 31: 10-12ABCD, 13 / John 11: 45-56

Think back to a time when you coordinated a project, knew something was wrong but could have gone right, messed up by others, but decided to take the blame and fall on the sword. You may have been involved to some degree knowing that everyone contributed their best but no other course could have been taken. It didn’t mean you had to suffer and die for it but perhaps you avoided going to the end because of fear. Something so minor in that sense, but what would happen, we would get through it, right?

On the other hand, as we know, Jesus had to go through it. Jesus in essence had to fall on the sword because so much was at stake. The soul of humanity was at hand. Jesus could have turned back and leave God, but he knew deep down inside it had to be done.

What were the times in our lives when we could not turn back? What forced us to make the decisions that we had made when it came to others?  Could we have turned back? If we did, why? When we didn’t, what gave us the courage to speak up for the cause?

rev. Michael Theogene

Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent (April 6, 2017)

Inclusive Text- Readings- Genesis 17: 3-9 / Psalm 105: 4-9 / John 8: 51-59
Sisters and brothers, do we know God? Do we know Jesus? Do we know ourselves? How well do we know ourselves? Friends, I believe that as we journey in this life trying to know ourselves, in some small part we can learn about ourselves through our interactions with others. Whether good or bad, people are placed in our paths for one reason or another. Sometimes we learn from them and at other times they learn from us. Why were they there in the first place? Not a coincidence, a God incidence.
If we have found it hard at times to be free from persons in our present or past lives, I think we need to ask ourselves, who is it that is placed in our life that we must learn from? Who is it that I have allowed to help me shine or whom have I allowed to smother the light within me. What must we learn?
The people placed in our paths will always remind us of the positive or negative lessons in our lives. The question is my friends, what is it that we can carry further along with us on the journey and what is it that we are afraid to take and what must we leave behind?  
rev. Michael Theogene

Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent (April 5, 2017)

Inclusive Text- Readings- Daniel 3: 14-20, 91-92, 95 / Psalm: Daniel 3: 52-56 / John 8: 31-42

Friends, as I mentioned yesterday, remember at one time or another when you may not have felt welcomed. I am sure it has happened to us at one time or another. At the risk of sounding prideful, I have always felt that I can get along with anyone. However, there have been times when I was not welcomed, perhaps because of my friendliness. No matter what I thought of my actions in those moments, it was important not to take it personal and be aware of my lack of sensitivity to others needs in those situations, not my feeling of being unwelcome.

It reminds me of when two people are dating and it seems good and one party decided to break up the relationship, and states, ‘it’s not you, you are great, it’s me.’ Right away we blame ourselves for the breakup but in reality we are being called to live up to the real love of God in our lives and not blame ourselves or others and accept change.

rev. Michael Theogene

Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent (April 4, 2017)

Inclusive Text Readings- Numbers 21: 4-9 / Psalm 102: 2-3, 16-21 / John 8: 21-30

Not with standing all of our faults, sisters and brothers, have you ever felt that you did not belong? Perhaps at some point in your job or among family, you may have felt that you did not belong. Sisters and brothers, when we lift up Jesus, the Son of Humanity, then and only then will we realize it is Jesus who serves at our feet. Jesus was able to accomplish this only with the help of the Father. Jesus’ willing sacrifice to suffer for all of humanity is the gift lasting forever. This gift freely given should never be taken lightly. Jesus knew who he was and whose he was. Do we see ourselves as Jesus saw himself? Do we see ourselves in the same manner as Jesus saw himself with God as part of creation? My only wish for myself is that I hope that I am living and walking as Jesus did. By being a testimony of the life and resurrection of the beauty of creation and our place in it. I hope I am living fully the gifts I have been given. For what is given freely, I give back freely to creation as best as I can to all I encounter. Are we the face of God? Are we paying it forward?

rev. Michael Theogene

Reflection for Thursday of the Third Week of Lent (March 23, 2017) Cycle A

Inclusive Text- Readings- Jeremiah 7: 23-28 / Psalm 95: 1-2, 6-9 / Luke 11: 14-23

Sisters and brothers, who is it that we rely on for our strength? Do we put our desire for strength in other humans or do we come and place our trust in the one who created us? Sometimes trust in others whether it is close friends or family can be good, but what happens to our trust when those individuals may put us down? This may not always happen but it can because we are only human. What happens to the trust we put in the Creator? Have we found ourselves disappointed?

It seems that it is us who can disappoint God which we know that is never the case. God sees and knows our potential but yet is always patient and gracious towards us and allows us to find our way. Hopefully with God’s help, we can find a way to be able to listen to God’s voice. Listening with the ear of our heart as St. Benedict reminds us. We may be waiting for the lightning bolt to show us what to do, but if we truly quiet our hearts and mind than we can get a glimpse of the whisper of what God is actually trying to tell us.

You have heard it said, God’s delay is not God’s denial as we are reminded by so much in the first and second testament writings. I sometimes believe that if we live without expectation then we will be truly blessed because we will never be disappointed.

rev. Michael Theogene

Homily August 30, 2015 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted in Called, christian, Communion, Eucharist, Faith, homily, religion, scripture, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on August 25, 2015

22sunAs we listen to today’s gospel, we get almost a picture of some kind of lesson in hygiene. Through the centuries, the rabbis and the pharisees had developed many types of rituals for the purpose of being cleansed and to properly present themselves in the temple. Many of these rituals they had passed on to the people as laws to live their lives. One of these numerous laws was the notion 22suof washing hands and anything that they were going to eat. In actuality, none of these prescriptions were a part of the mosaic law, and were actually added on by men and were far from the authentic law. Christ was harsh with the Pharisee’s criticism, for they were more concerned by what was the traditions of human origin than what was the actual law and revelation of God.

As an example growing up, I can remember back many years to first communion and the perception and teachings of my youth. I remember going to Mass when maybe twenty or thirty people went to communion out of a congregation of several hundred. People going to communion was so infrequent, that everyone had to be reminded of their Easter duty, which meant that everyone was obligated to receive communion at least once a year which was called their Easter Duty. . If we recall the last several weeks of John’s theology of the Eucharist, and the need for nourishment and food both physically and spiritually for our journey and for eternal life, Some where the authentic message of Jesus came to be seen differently over some centuries, and the real presence of Christ in the 22sundEucharist led people to conclude that they were not worth to receive it, when Christ’s message was that the Eucharist is what would make us worthy. It was clearly a case where human perception and human tradition lost the authentic teaching or at least a better understanding of it.

What this tells us is that we must closely look and pray and search out the Spirit to know that what is authentic comes ultimately from Christ and his Spirit who dwells within us. It is important always to avoid putting the human things before the Word and Spirit. Human laws and interpretations, while perhaps necessary, are human and finite. Christ calls for openness to the Spirit knowing truly what calls for our love and 22sundayattention. Human things, thoughts, desires and other distractions can deprive us of a truly spiritual and fulfilling life. Human refinements and institutions and laws, while convenient for some reasons, are not always faithful to the Law of Christ’s love, nor quick to resolve issues with his forgiveness. History proves that following Christ can be easy, but at the same time it is challenging because it means giving up ourselves to love as he did. Life in the Spirit is hopefully what we do.

Reflection for Friday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time (Year 1)

Friday of the Twentieth Week of the Year (August 21, 2015) Inclusive Lectionary Texts

Readings- Ruth – Chapter 1 verses 1, 3-6, 14-16, & 22 / Psalm 146 verses 5-10 /
Matthew – Chapter 22 verses 34-40

Friends, that’s it. These scripture readings seem to say it all. It’s all about the unconditional love that God has for us. The love shown to us by God is a deep immensity that we try to imitate. A love that is shown in the same way Jesus shared in his love to the Father. We can most definitely find this difficult at times. We see the example of Ruth towards her mother-in-law Naomi. In this same instance God does the same with us. Wherever we go, wherever we dwell and where we will die, Jesus ensures us that God will always be with us. To come to worship God in God’s presence everywhere and anywhere, God meets us where we are. God touches us when we least expect it. Hopefully, if we are really doing what is required of us and loving our family our neighbor as we would ourselves, sums up the entire Bible, in my opinion. Being challenged to love unconditionally, even those whom we may have conflicts with is what the message is about. The God who comes to us in the good and bad, when sad, depressed, and lonely, excitedly happy and overjoyed, God suffers and laughs with all of creation. God will always be with us, on our side, just the way we are, not the way we think we should be. God will take care of whatever has to change in us. All we have to do is say “yes Lord” and God will do the rest.

rev. Michael Theogene

Reflection for Thursday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time (Year 1)

Thursday of the Twentieth Week of the Year (August 20, 2015) Inclusive Lectionary Texts

Readings- Judges – Chapter 11 verses 29-39 / Psalm 40 verses 4-9 /
Matthew – Chapter 22 verses 1-14

Friends, although the readings seem to be harsh, the message I get from them is that Jesus shows us that God deals with us compassionately and we should be dealing compassionately with others. God invites us to be in relationship with God. Our relationship with God can be seen through so many different lights. God always takes the opportunity to reach out to us speaking to us through people, situations or events. God relentlessly seeks us. It is not God, for God’s sake that we pray and seek God, but it is for our sake, for our salvation that we pray to God. We pray to God by any of the many different paths that bring us to the Light. God yearns for us to be part of God’s creation, as a parent wishes to be involved with their child. The Creator of course leaves us with free will. The Great Source of all Being, the lover of the living. Here is a story that was told to me by my First Testament studies professor. He shared that there was a Rabbi that was talking to God. The Rabbi asked God, “God do you pray?” God responded that “…of course God prays.” … “I pray that my need for mercy is outweighed by my need for justice.” Sisters and brothers let us deal with each other mercifully, truly living the kingdom now and not later.

rev. Michael Theogene

Reflection for Wednesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time (Year 1)

Wednesday of the Twentieth Week of the Year (August 19, 2015) Inclusive Lectionary Texts

Readings- Judges – Chapter 9 verses 6-15 / Psalm 21 verses 2-7 /
Matthew – Chapter 20 verses 1-16

Dear friends, we see that Jesus shows us the example that blessed is the one who lives without expectation, for they won’t be disappointed. We see this so much in the secular world. Even in my place of employment, I hear coworkers say that they should be paid more comparing themselves with workers of equal status who they feel have less work obligations then they do. Instead of being so jealous or resentful, we should rejoice in the fact, that yes our neighbor has been granted something equal or better than us. This reinforces Gods unconditional love for all of us and helps us to be open for the many blessings that are waiting for us. This is what makes us children of the Kingdom of God that is here and now.

rev. Michael Theogene

Reflection for Tuesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time (Year 1)

Tuesday of the Twentieth Week of the Year (August 18, 2015) Inclusive Lectionary Texts

Readings- Judges – Chapter 6 verses 11-24 / Psalm 85 verses 8 & 10-13 /
Matthew – Chapter 19 verses 23-30

Dear friends, God speaks to us over and over again through people or situations. God wishes to give us God’s peace. God’s peace surpasses all understanding beyond our own knowledge. Peace comes with letting go of our idea of what true peace is. It is within. When we let all the walls down and listen to the small voice within, peace gently enters our heart.
If we are truly poor in spirit, worldly possessions will not faze us. We will be able to share everything we have without feeling we need those things. If we place all our hope in material things then we will never understand about the kingdom of heaven. It is easy to say, but letting go of our possessions is difficult for most people because it is a false security. Holding on to things, people, places, ideas etc, prevent us from truly being poor in spirit. When Jesus was talking about the rich person’s difficulty attaining heaven, he was not saying we couldn’t have things, he was saying that if we let those possessions rule our life; they would block us from having true peace. So let us open our hearts and free ourselves of all that prevents us from loving and sharing.

rev. Michael Theogene