Friday, May 17, 2013

Pentecost–Year C 2013

The Disciples were filled with fear.

They were afraid of the Jewish and Roman Authorities .
They didn’t know what the future would hold for them or their families.

And some of them even feared that somehow they had been duped or tricked.

They doubted all of the incredible things that they had experiences with Jesus who they had thought was the Messiah.

And so they locked themselves in a room together and allowed their fears to paralyze  them.

Sometimes it seems that we have a lot to be afraid of too.

While the economy seems to be recovering so slowly many people have been left out and others are afraid to trust again. 

Our society seems stuck in fast forward or fast backward depending on how you look at it.

So many things are changing.

We seem almost cavalier when we throw away things we have believed for centuries, like our traditional understanding of Marriage.

Bishop Mansell warned the priests  at a recent Presbyteral Council Meeting that there are legislators who are advocating for assisted suicide in Connecticut. It was just approved in Vermont this week.

God forbid if assisted suicide is ever approved in Connecticut. Where it is the law of the land our poor and our sick and our elderly will be encouraged to end their lives because it is too expensive or burdensome to care for them. 

And even if no one encourages them to commit suicide some will feel guilty for even being sick and needing care.

Many especially in the Northeast of our Country only have the experience of what appears to be a diminishing Church. That’s easy to understand .

Since 1966 the Church going population here in the Archdiocese of Hartford has diminished by 1/2

Racked by scandals and empty churches there are those who are afraid that we really are becoming a post Christian / post religion culture.

And many of us face significant challenges in our own personal lives or in the lives of their loved ones.

I could probably keep on talking about our fears but you get the point.

What happened ?

What allowed the Disciples so consumed with fear to boldly step out into the world with the power of the Gospel?

What allowed the Church (that little community of frightened believers) to almost literally explode onto the world scene.

We find our today’s celebration of Pentecost

Somehow through God’s grace and mercy the Apostles were able to allow God’s spirit in their lives.

They opened their hearts to the Holy Spirit and they were never the same.

They realize that they were not alone.

They understood that their fears were not and could not be stronger than God’s love

With this realization they were finally able to accept the gifts of the Holy Spirit







and the fear of the lord

These gifts created them anew.

The feast of Pentacost  challenges us to accept the gifts of the sprit and recognize the presence of God in our live.

Yesterday 90 of our teenagers were confirmed by

When I spoke to them some of them understood what was happening and some of them didn’t

That’s OK God never takes back a gift which he has given.

I am convinced that when they seek the Holy Spirit will be there for them even if  they didn’t understand on the day of their confirmation.

So good people

What are we going to do ?

Stay locked in  the room our fears and insecurities  of our past failings and doubts,

or  are we going to let go of all of that stuff and welcome the Holy Spirit into our lives like the Apostles finally did.

As Jesus said in the Gospel Do not be afraid .

Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of your love.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Seventh Sunday of Easter Year C - 2013

“That they might be one as We are one “

These words spoken by Jesus remind us that unity is part and parcel of being a follower of Jesus.

They remind us that working towards unity is an essential responsibility of all of us.

Jesus wants the best for us so he wants us to have...
unity in our families,
unity in our society.
and unity among all those who call themselves Christian.

God wants us and calls us to be of one mind and one heart.

We live in a very divided world.

That’s no surprise to anyone in this Church.

Washington is so divided that nothing gets done, our country is poorly served, and both sides blame each other.

Our society is becoming more and more polarized on all kinds of issues, important fundamental issue,s which mold and shape our society.

Even our Church often appears divided between liberals and conservatives.

Most sadly the Body of Christ itself  is divided into countless denominations which continually give up on building communion when they cannot find common ground on an issue.

I read on the internet that during the depression a man... went to Knoxville for some business and for the first time saw a refrigerator which made ice in the summer.

He returned to his little church in the hills of Appalachia and told his friends, some believed him and some didn’t and before you knew it the church split over the issue and a new Church was founded called the  “No Ice in the Summer Baptist Church.”

In a world so divided such as ours you can understand why people ask themselves if unity is possible.

Our faith teaches us that working for unity is indeed possible and important because God himself is one.

That’s what the word unity means to make things one.

And because God is one there is only one truth.

What’s true for you is true for me and what’s true for me is true for you.

We  don’t live in our own worlds with our own truths no matter what some would say.

Truth is not ours to create rather it is ours embrace.

This error is one of the biggest obstacles to the unity that God longs for us to have.

Many believe that truth depends not on God but on each and everyone’s personal opinions.

For them truth is not based on God’s will or on natural law but on what we believe.

Pope Benedict called this belief the dictatorship of relativism.

Those who subscribe to relativism believe everything is relative to themselves.

They posit that there is no common or ultimate truth.

This error goes against everything thing revealed to us by God and causes our society great harm.

Put simply We don’t make the truth... God does.

How can we work toward the unity  in a world so divided?

How can we make our homes, our families, our society, and our Church more united as God would have us do?

The first and most important thing we need to do is humbly seek to understand God’s truth and God’s will.

All of us have an obligation to read the scriptures and to study the living tradition of the Church and once we have done so to humbly submit to it.

After having tried to discern God’s will and surrender to it when differences arise we must listen to each other and respect each other.

Especially when different people see the same reality in different ways.

Unity is not something that just happens.

Sometimes, most of the time, in fact unity doesn’t just happen, it takes effort and patience and humility.

Experience has proved to us that friendship and relationships built on trust and respect are much more fertile grounds for unity that bitterness and discord.

Let’s put down our boxing gloves and let’s listen to each other

Let us respect those who look at things differently

Let us listen to them and patiently share our understanding God’s will and God’s truth with them.

Jesus knew that unity would not be easy to create so He gave his Body the Church the Ministry of Peter or his successor the Pope.

Catholics have the consolation of knowing that when all else fails, when a common understanding of truth cannot be found we can turn to Peter or his successor the Pope and  ask for his help.

Jesus said you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church.

The Petrine ministry guarantees the unity of the Church

Peter has the final word.

As St. Ambrose said. “Where there is Peter, there is the Church

This is an incredible gift which keeps our Church from splitting over and over the again.

Let us not give up on building a united society.

Let us discern God’s will and God’s plan for ourselves and our Church and our world.

Let us humbly submit to God’s plan

Let us patiently refrain from hitting each other over the head when we don’t agree on things.

The challenge of unity, a communion of heart and mind, to work for.

For as we heard in the Scriptures Jesus longs for us to be one as He and the Father are one.

Happy Mother’s Day

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Sixth Sunday of Easter Time Year C - 2013

And Jesus said to his disciples.
“Whoever loves me will keep my word”
Our world is filled with words. Words are the primary way we communicate with each other.
We use words to express our deepest hopes and our most sincere convictions. Think back to the first time you heard someone say “I love you” besides your Mother.
Those 3 words probably changed your life.
Words have the power to build up and to inspire. Sadly, they also have the power to destroy and alienate.
Because words are so powerful, because they can do so much harm, and so much good, it is very important that we must consider not only the meaning of the words spoken to us. but also the person who speaks them.
Only when we consider the source can we really understand how important words are.
For example, the media is a very powerful force in contemporary society. We all know it tries to guide our lives and shape public opinion. The media is famous for shaping the truth rather than simply reporting it.  So often there is a hidden agenda when people communicate with us.
We have continually to ask ourselves  whose words do we want to trust?
Whose words do we want to mold and shape the lives of our children?
Whose words do we want to shape the lives of our grandchildren?
Do we trust the New Testament or the New York Times?
If we want to keep God’s Word as Jesus asks us, it is important for us to do three things:
First, we have to listen to God’s Word with a pure heart.
We should never try and use God’s word for our purposes or our agenda.
Some are of the opinion the Church has to update what we preach or get with the times. They are of the opinion that we have conform God’s Word to our modern culture.
I’ve read that and heard it over and over again.
Lots of Churches have done this and most of them are empty.
When people say something like this, it becomes crystal clear to me that they don’t understand our responsibility is to respect God’s Word.
The moment we change it for our purpose, the moment it ceases being God’s Word and becomes our word.
The Word of God is not ours to rewrite, even when the culture changes or the tide of public opinion moves in one direction or the other.
We must be faithful to God’s word and God’s will in season and out of season no matter what the rest of the world thinks.
Second, We have to listen to it and allow it to prune and shape our lives.
This requires time, it requires a significant investment in time.
If we are to use to Word of God to shape our lives we have to be familiar with it.
God’s word has to be on our fingertips ready to guide us when questions arise.
Speaking frankly there is a lot of room for growth here in our Church.
Yes, we have a Scripture study that meets periodically in peoples’ homes but we have to do more in this area.
And it can’t always be from the top down.
It can’t always be the priest feeding the parish.   Every Catholic has the responsibility to step up and feed themselves.
Finally, if we want to keep God’s words we have to be willing to give it away, or proclaim it.
Our appreciation of God’s word can’t be a just a personal thing something we keep for ourselves.
We have to be willing to share its
It is the responsibility of the Church, and each one of us to proclaim the Words given to us by God and the truths they contain without fear and without compromise not matter what the cost.
Let us keep God’s Word  by being faithful to it .
Allowing it to change our hearts and proclaiming it without fear.
For Jesus said “Whoever loves me will keep my word,and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.”