CACINA

Homily November 8, 2015 Holy Trinity Parish for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted in Called, christian, Faith, homily, inspirational, scripture, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on November 8, 2015

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Homily October 18, 2015 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted in Called, christian, Christianity, Faith, homily, inspirational, scripture, Spirit by Fr Joe R on October 13, 2015

29thsundToday’s gospel has two parts, the request of James and John and secondly what was required of a follower of Jesus to be a leader. The request of the disciples who were relatives of Jesus would be kind of a natural request of the two in the group following Jesus and seeking the messianic times. But, Jesus throws two roadblocks at them tight away. First, he tells him that he is the Messenger and position or rank is not his to give for eternity. Then he gives the clincher and wants 29thsuto know if they can drink the cup he will drink. Clearly, he is telling them that to be a follower, suffering and even death must enter in. As Christians, we know there is always an element of sacrifice and at times even suffering in fulfilling our faith. History has shown in every century that faith has led at various times and places to suffering and even death for men and women of faith. In our own time, religion and its practice is forbidden or restricted or controlled in many countries. The triumphalism of one faith over another is still prevalent in some parts of the world. The cup Jesus offered keeps filling up and is being emptied even as we pray today.
Which comes to the second part, that so many marvel at the concept and application, but seem to miss the point. Jesus didn’t come to confirm what was, but to give a whole new insight to God and seeking him out. Leadership wasn’t a throne and servants and armies and power. No, it was in loving, in serving, in caring. He was about people, all people and he cared and looked after each one as much as he could. More than anything he wanted his disciples to work together, to share their common faith not in a 29thsundayhierarchical way but as a functioning body that works as one. All is a part of his command to love one another as I have loved you. It is hard for us to get it as we are so used to being governed or served from the top down. But in serving all, Christ is telling us each of us has something to contribute and has reason too to hear, listen to his sisters and brothers. Christ’s life, his ransom was his gift to give us the way, the truth and the life.

Homily at Holy Trinity Parish September 27, 2015 – 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted in Called, christian, Christianity, Faith, homily, inspirational, scripture, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on September 27, 2015

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Homily September 20, 2015 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted in Called, Faith, homily, inspirational, scripture, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on September 16, 2015

25sundayToday’s gospel has Jesus telling his disciple for the second time that he must suffer and die at the hands of the chief priests and scribes. The idea of suffering and an angry God is a notion that somehow became prevalent and the notion that suffering was very much a necessity for a christian the whole concept of redemption. Taking up one’s cross came to mean to suffer in some painful way to make up for our sinfulness. It became almost that Jesus came only to suffer and die. But then, what of his teaching and preaching, his love and his service and God’s mercy shown through him? God sent his son into the world to confirm his relationship and love for us, especially the lowly, the deprived, the ones who most 25sunneeded his love. Love certainly involves sacrifice, as in giving of yourself to another you are sacrificing some of what you are and giving it to another. God in giving Jesus was giving his very son, love itself so fully, that the inevitable abuse of that love would lead to his suffering and death. Jesus knew the inevitability of his death, yet, he did not desire it or seek it out, but as we know, he accepted it for the carrying out of His father’s will and for the service of God’s love and mercy to all. While love ad mercy might at time lead to suffering and even death, god is not angry or vengeful but loving and merciful for all who reach out to him. Those who call out to him are the poor, the suffering, the marginalized. The self-sufficient don’t need God, wouldn’t recognize him if he reached out to him. In Jesus’ time the chief priest, the elders, the scribes were so self contained that they could not see God acting in their midst. Their eyes could not see.
A way to understand God’s love is to look at the love in marriage. The love is a 25sugiving, a sacrifice of self to become a we, one in a new union with love as the center and reason for life together. In sacrifice and love and giving, two grow and mature and live together in a new and different way. The joys out weigh the sorrows for the most part, but in the end, love holds it all together. Their relationship is steeled and strengthened through many good things and through the hard and bad things as well. So it is God’s love reaches out and shares itself with us in all things, God’s love never fails, unless we fail in our love for him.

Homily at Holy Trinity Parish September 13, 2015 The 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted in Called, Faith, homily, inspirational, scripture, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on September 13, 2015

August 2, 2015 Today’s Homily at Holy Trinity Parish

Posted in Called, Christianity, church events, Eucharist, Faith, homily, inspirational, scripture, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on August 2, 2015

May 31, 2015 Homily on the Holy Trinity at Holy Trinity Parish

Posted in Called, Christianity, church events, ecclesiology, homily, religion, scripture, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on May 31, 2015

Homily May 31, 2015 Feast of the Holy Trinity

Posted in Called, Christianity, homily, inspirational, religion, scripture, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on May 27, 2015

trinity3In the course of human history, humanity has advanced in its knowledge and understanding of its world and universe. Each century has seen advances and growth, none more than the last century. Yet, it seems as we grow in knowledge, we begin to understand that there is much we don’t know or understand. It would seem that our innate nature drives us to question, to seek answers, to know. Throughout the centuries it has served us well as we advanced in our living conditions. But, how much has our knowledge changed humanity and what we are? As people we are fragile and exhibit the strengths and weaknesses of our ancestors. Disagreements, wars, broken families and all the trinity2complexities of life remain after all the centuries before us. Sure Christ came and planted is way into the world and revealed the Spirit and his Father to the world. This God the Trinity is known to us, but, still today remains a mystery to us. The early church argued and discussed the Trinity and tried to understand it as best they could. They gave us the Nicene Creed which contains our understanding even to today. To the Jews, God would not even give himself a name, saying only that “I am who I am” thus the name they called him “Yahweh” meaning “I am”. Today we call on God, Father, Son , Holy Spirit. He is one God, three persons.

trinity 4What we can’t understand, we seek to investigate to know, to unfold the mystery. Yet, what boldness we exhibit to try to find and explain God, one above and beyond and embracing all of creation, much of which we are only now beginning to see with our technology. What we see is our smallness and our life in a very small limitless universe. Yet, in our smallness, God comes to us, is a part our life, has a way to be united to him. Thus as we consider, God, the Holy Trinity we should give thanks for his presence to us and for his being in our life. We are not past a time when Awe and Reverence are things of the past. We marvel at science and new things, but really we should remember that all is possible only because we are in God’s presence.

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Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on December 31, 2011

Gospel reading of the day:

John 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’” From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.

Reflection on the gospel reading: The Prologue from the Gospel of John seems to be a hymn of the Johannine community that members of that community sang as part of their worship. There is strong evidence that John’s gospel enjoyed the benefit of one or more editors, and that an editor took the hymn and added it to the start of the gospel. In any event, what can we make of this hymn and, indeed, the testimony of the other gospels except that people who were very near Jesus in history, who enjoyed the testimony of people who had walked with Jesus, had a very high opinion of him?

We are used to conciliar statements about Jesus’ nature, statements removed by centuries from the Lord’s life in Palestine and made dubious in the minds of skeptics because of their remoteness in time from the flesh and blood Jesus, but here at the start of John’s gospel, there are some extraordinary claims made about who Jesus is. These claims relate closely to an experience of him by people who saw him, heard him, touched him, knew him. Added to this testimony the willingness of many of those who saw, heard, touched, and knew him to go to their deaths for what they had seen and what they had heard, claims such as those which we have in the Prologue seem to me to be very powerful indeed.

We close another year fully conscious that God has blessed us but also aware that human nature always admits of failure. We trust God to wipe away every tear and make all things new again. Joy to each of you in the new year 2012. May we all love the Word, the man Jesus, who is our divine Lord, still more dearly next year on this day than we do this year on this day. That journey into the love of Jesus begins right here, right now. Praised be Jesus Christ!

Saint of the day: Saint John Francis Regis, S.J. was born January 31, 1597. He was born in Fontcouverte, Aude, Languedoc, France. His father, Jean Regis, had recently been ennobled as a result of service rendered during the Wars of the League. His mother, Marguerite de Cugunhan, was of a noble family. He was educated at the Jesuit College of Beziers. At the age of eighteen, Regis considered a conversion to Buddhism. In his nineteenth year, however, he reassessed his situation and entered the Jesuit novitiate at Toulouse on December 8, 1616; he took his vows two years later.

After finishing his course in rhetoric at Cahors, John Francis was sent to teach grammar at several colleges: Billom (1619-1622), Puy-en-Velay (1625-1627), and Auch (1627-1628). While he was teaching, he also pursued his studies in philosophy at the scholasticate at Tournon. Owing to an intense love of preaching and teaching the Faith, as well as the desire to save souls, Regis began his study of theology at Toulouse in 1628. Less than two years later, in 1630, he was ordained a priest at the age of thirty-one. The following year, having completed his studies, Regis made his Third Probation.

Regis was now fully prepared for his lifework and entered upon his apostolic career in the summer of 1631. As a newly ordained priest, he worked with bubonic plague victims in Toulouse. From May, 1632, until September, 1634, his headquarters was at the Jesuit College of Montpellier. Here he labored for the conversion of the Huguenots, visited hospitals, assisted the needy, withdrew from vice wayward women and girls, and preached Catholic doctrine with tireless zeal to children and the poor.

Regis established the Confraternities of the Blessed Sacrament, which organized charitable collections of money and food from the wealthy. He also established several hostels for prostitutes, and set up girls as lacemakers to give them an income.

In 1633, Regis went to the Diocese of Viviers at the invitation of the local bishop, Monsignor Louis II de la Baume de Suze, giving missions throughout the diocese. From 1633 to 1640 he evangelized more than fifty districts in le Vivarais, le Forez, and le Velay.

Regis labored diligently on behalf of both priests and laymen. His preaching style was said to have been simple and direct. He appealed to the uneducated peasantry and numerous conversions resulted.

Regis longed to devote himself to ministry to the indigenous people of Canada, but he remained in France all his life. His hardships were so incredible as he endured all for his apostolic journeys over rugged mountains in the depths of winter. He would not allow anything to stand in his way in the salvation of souls. John Francis had succumbed to illness during the winter of 1640, while he was contemplating the conversion of the Cévennes. He died of pneumonia on December 30, 1640, at Lalouvesc (now in the Department of Ardèche), Dauphine, France.

Spiritual reading: Every part of the journey is of importance to the whole. (The Way of Perfection by Teresa of Avila)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on December 30, 2011

Gospel of the day:

Luke 2:36-40

There was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

Reflection on the gospel: Anna’s presence in the story about Mary, Joseph, and Jesus’ encounter with Simeon doesn’t add any specific themes to the narrative. After all, Anna does what Simeon does, that is, prophesies about the child. Luke, however, in his gospel makes a point of the role of women in the unfolding of Jesus’ story, and whenever he introduces a man, he introduces a woman as a counterpoint. Anna serves this role in the gospel: to make sure we understand that God works through women just as God works through men.

There also is an interesting conclusion to this narrative: Jesus commences his first hidden life. We see it punctuated when the young Jesus speaks with the elders at the Temple in Jerusalem before he begins his longer hidden life. All we know about his first 12 years is that he grows, becomes strong, is filled with wisdom, and God favors him. It might seem there is no moral in this account for us, but we too live lives that are hidden, and God calls us, like God called Jesus, to grow, become strong, be filled with wisdom, and be favored. The project, when we consider the expanse of our lives, may sound daunting, but surely we can do it just for today.

Saint of the day: Born of royal blood in the 7th century, Egwin entered a Benedictine monastery and was enthusiastically received by royalty, clergy and the people as the bishop of Worcester, England. As a bishop he was known as a protector of orphans and the widowed and a fair judge. Who could argue with that?

His popularity didn’t hold up among members of the clergy, however. They saw him as overly strict, while he felt he was simply trying to correct abuses and impose appropriate disciplines. Bitter resentments arose, and Egwin made his way to Rome to present his case to Pope Constantine. The case against Egwin was examined and annulled.

Upon his return to England, he founded Evesham Abbey, which became one of the great Benedictine houses of medieval England. It was dedicated to Mary, who had reportedly made it known to Egwin just where a church should be built in her honor.

He died at the abbey on December 30, in the year 717. Following his burial many miracles were attributed to him: The blind could see, the deaf could hear, the sick were healed.

Spiritual reading: What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like. (St. Augustine)

What do you believe? Part 6

Posted in Uncategorized by fatherjimb on April 26, 2009

One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church

One of the arguments posited for a true church is that it be one, holy, catholic and apostolic but what does that mean? Being one is sometimes confused with being in union with the Pope in Rome. Depending on whose side you are on in any division within the church you will get a different perspective.

The church is one in Christ for it is Christ who calls us to himself. It is our sinfulness of pride that separates us from one another believing we each have the whole truth. It is we, not God, who places limits on being one. The church is one because Christ is the church and we as members of the Body of Christ find our oneness in Him alone despite our separateness from each other.

The church is holy? Again, we are often caught up in our own self centeredness when we feel we are the arbiters of what is holy whether we couch this in our interpretation of scripture or tradition. In the Benedictine Rule we are told to treat the pots and pans of the kitchen with the same reverence as the vessels of the altar. Why? All things are made holy not because they are set aside for “holy” purpose but because they instruments we can use for the purpose to which they were intended, the service of others. The church is holy when we act in concert with Christ in service to one another.

Catholic (with a little “c”) means universal but also refers to those who use symbols and signs to plumb the mysteries of who God is. The church is catholic because it transcends individuals and locations for Christ is the church and we are members of the body which is Christ.

To be Apostolic is more than identifying a linear descent from the apostles. The church is also Apostolic in that the individual communities are devolved from the apostolic communities established centuries ago. It can be said that it is Apostolic from the top down and the bottom up. However, for the church to be apostolic it must dare to preach the Word fearlessly. There are many fine examples of individuals and groups who have exemplified this.

(to be continued)

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What do you believe…

Posted in Uncategorized by fatherjimb on February 21, 2009

For us and our salvation…

The creed talks about Jesus coming down from heaven and by the power of the Holy Spirit becoming human for us and our salvation. Two questions come to mind, the first is Why did God decide to come down from heaven? The second might be from what do we need saving?

We recently completed celebrating the Feast of the Incarnation when God took on our humanity. Here is a God who wants to become so intimate with us that he shares the very life of his creation. What love must God have for us that he would diminish himself so that he could enter into our time and space, share our challenges and joys, eat with us, walk beside us and experience the one thing we all dread – death. His love is not just for us humans or for our world but for all of creation.

We are saved, rescue, ransomed and redeemed by a God who understands our humanness. Why? We are our own worst enemy, our egos, our desire to be more than we can ever be get in the way of being who we really are. We need saving from ourselves. Dickens, in “A Christmas Carol” portrays Ebenezer Scrooge as an individual who rejects the love of others concentrating all his efforts on achieving his own personal goals. As Marley’s ghost tells him each of us creates our own hell cutting ourselves off from God’s creation. We, like Scrooge, are unable to break away from our self centeredness alone. Christ needed to come among us to show us the way and to be the way.

So God’s very Word of creation became human through the power of the Holy Spirit and a virgin. He then grew into our lives being fully human, loving so strongly that he made the ultimate sacrifice to show us the depth of his love. Not only did he suffer and die like us, he went one step further. Through the same Holy Spirit of God the Father raised Jesus to life, not a resuscitation of a battered body but a transformed body, the kind of body we too will have when he comes again. His judgments will be fair and loving calling all who know him into a loving embrace forever.

(to be continued)

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What do you believe?

Posted in Uncategorized by fatherjimb on January 28, 2009

I’d like to share a few thoughts on the meaning behind the Creed we say each Sunday. Too often we rattle through it without much prayerfulless. The creed has a history behind it and is also a statement of who we are as Christians. Perhaps this will give you food for thought, and so we begin:

We believe in one God.

One God? There was a recent newspaper article that talked about a group of women who worked together on a project, some were Christian and others were Moslems. The writer of the article stated that these individuals were able to work as one even though they worshiped different Gods. Of course there was a retraction of this statement since God, by whatever name we give, is still God, the one and only. In our new multicultural society the monotheistic presumption of our youth has been turned on its head by believers in multiple gods that are strange to Western ears. Despite this, there is still only one God by whatever name or names we call God.

Even in the early church the concept of one God caused problems. If there is only one God how can Jesus be God or the Holy Spirit be God? Councils were called. The very existence of the entire Roman Empire was at stake since religion and the state were so closely linked. It was in Nicea that a statement of beliefs we recite each Sunday was created.

Who is God?

Human definitions of God vary. I suppose you would get a different answer based on each person’s perception of who and what a God is if we believe in God’s existence at all. In a sense, God is created in our own image since we have no words to describe an existence. When Moses asked God by what name the people of Israel should call their God, God simply answer “Tell them I am who I am.”

What is it you believe about God?

Georgetown university decided to open a campus in the gulf nation of Qatar. They determined that their class offerings would be the same as those in their DC campus and sent Jesuit Fr Ryan Maher, SJ to teach his Comparative Religions course. “Do you think you will be going to hell, Father?” There was a pause after which the other student said “Yes.” And then “Sorry Father.” It was then that Fr Maher began to reflect on what he was teaching. In the US his The Problem of God class was just another academic subject. He expected his students to study, debate and regurgitate the correct answers to the exams questions. Here, however, he was faced with an entirely new variable, students whose belief systems were not an academic exercise but part of who they are. “It’s not that we don’t know bout religion, it’s that we don’t understand faith and its life shaping power, ” noted Fr Maher in discussing his two year experience. How many of us can say that about our faith?

Its all about the Iced Tea.

Henry from a small town in Mississippi was the parish maintenance man. Being a true southerner from a rural area he was not as sophisticated as we might expect. Henry drank his milk right from the carton and left a spit of iced tea in the pitcher even though he knew there wasn’t enough for his wife. His wife of three years was slowly working to change Henry to get him to think about his actions.

One day Henry was leaving for work and decided that a nice glass of iced tea would be just the thing he needed to jump start his day. Like usual Henry poured himself a glass and placed the nearly empty pitcher bag in the refrigerator. He headed out the door, started his pickup and was about to put it into gear when he had an epiphany. He realized that not only was leaving a nearly empty pitcher going to rive his wife crazy he realized he really loved her. So, he turned off the car, went inside, washed out the pitcher and brewed a new pot of tea and even sliced up some lemons. Henry knew that if he truly loved his wife he needed to demonstrate it by his actions.

When we say we believe in God that belief should not just be an academic pursuit but one which permeates our thoughts and actions. When I am at work, do I act in a loving and caring manner? Do I treat my neighbors with respect even when I disagree with them? Can the poor and those in need count on me to place their needs before my desires? Does my desire for more money, a better position, a bigger house and more personal recognition become the rule of my life? Are my spouse,children and parents first in my life or does work or hobbies crowd them out?

Belief in God is an action statement not just a declarative one. Will I fail in my belief? Yes, the Apostle Thomas didn’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead. Perhaps our prayer should be like the father of the child possessed who sought Jesus’ help: “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)

(to be continued)

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