Think about those times in your life when you have felt inspired to something really great. Where does that inspiration come from?
The Holy Spirit. God inspires us to do great things with our lives.
----Matthew Kelly

Sunday, January 24, 2016

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

I thought it was very interesting how the 2nd Reading (1 Cor 12:12-30) coincides with the feast of St. Francis de Sales. I definitely saw the connection between this patron saint of the deaf and teachers, (among others) and this Reading. When one part of the body is weakened (or taken away completely), another part of the body carries the burden. For the deaf, hearing is taken away, yet the hands take up the role of communication. Isn't it amazing that God made us that way?
During the Homily, Father spoke of imagining what it was like for Jesus to preach in his hometown...to people who saw him grow up. Personally, I know if I tried to do that, I don't think very many people would take me seriously. Not that I was a handful, but I did have my issues. Father put to us this question: How could they not see who He was? 
We have to wonder what Jesus was like as a boy. Was there any mischief in Him at all? He was human, after all, but then again, He was also Divine. Free of sin. (Is mischief a sin? I guess it would depend on what kind of mischief He got into.) I can imagine that if either of my older brothers (especially the youngest of the two) went into town, unrolled a scroll, and declared that the passage is fulfilled, he'd be taken to the nearest hospital.
It's easy for us to look at the Gospel and question how they couldn't see Him for who He is, but it must have been very difficult for those that actually lived the Gospel. Surely they must have known there was something special about the family...about Jesus. But would they believe that He was the Son of God? Would they believe that He was put on earth to save humankind? They were expecting a prince...not a carpenter's son from their town.
Try putting yourself in their places. Think of the nicest family in your town that you know. Now think of their son (if they have one). Could you ever believe he could be Jesus?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

----The Wedding at Cana-----
Let me say this before I move on: this Homily totally blew my mind. Even though I'm in my 50's, my faith is still in the child-like stages. I'm learning things weekly that I feel I should have known before now, but never made connections. Maybe I never really paid attention to what Father was saying, even though I thought I was. Writing down key points of the Homily is definitely helping me see connections and relations, as well as pointing me in the right direction of how to live my life.
Obviously, when Mary tells Jesus the wine is running low during the wedding celebration, He doesn't argue with her. He doesn't look at her and make noises; He simply reminds her that it isn't yet His time. And, Mary doesn't argue with Him; she simply looks at the servants and tells them to do whatever He tells them to do. 
That was my first 'aha'. She tells them to put their trust in Him, listen, and do what He tells them to. Isn't that what we should be doing in our Prayer Life? Or, better yet, in our life
I thought this passage was just conveying Jesus' first miracle. And that was all it was conveying. A wedding? How nice. As Father said, everyone wants weddings to be perfect, but they never are. There's always one little hitch; this one just happened to be running out of wine. Mary shows us that she is a mom...she's worried about running out of wine!
What did Jesus use? He used the jars that they used for washing their hands and feet. Then He did a little miracle of turning the water into wine. (Apparently it was the good stuff, too!) The water that cleansed the people was turned into wine, just as the wine is turned into Jesus' blood...that cleanses us. Father said that as they witnessed the water turned into wine, so we witness the wine turn into blood. 
AHA! The light came on! 
Do you keep a Mass Journal? What "aha" moment did you have during Mass or your service?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Baptism of Our Lord

Synopsis of Homily:
Jesus' Baptism kicked off his public ministry. John showed us the need for all of us to prepare the way to Jesus through his life. After Jesus was baptized, He prayed. The heavens opened and God spoke to him. Jesus marveled at people doing small things with great love. Obedience and humility begins with prayer. These days, the world scoffs at these things, but it is essential to have these things in your life in order to follow in Jesus' footprints. All of these things begin with Baptism. We are wiped of original sin through our baptism, but must call sin what it is: SIN. As Catholics, we have the blessing of having sin removed through Reconciliation.

My thoughts:
I'm the kind of person who does little things, but in all honesty, it seems like I just don't do enough. I know people who do big things and get noticed for it. But, is that really what it's all about? As Father said in his homily (quoting Blessed Mother Teresa): Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.  It's not up to us to do "big things". It's the little things that will be remembered. A smile, an encouraging word, or just to listen to someone. I find myself being selfish in so many ways, and I hear myself thinking, "I just don't have time." As my husband says quite frequently: we all have 24 hours in a day. It's your decision on how to spend it.
I've been doing a lot of soul searching lately, and realize things need to change. I need to do more "small things" and let other things go.
Obedience: as Catholics, obedience doesn't just mean going to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days. It means living our lives as Christians, and having people we see every day or have just met know that we are Christians by our words and actions.
Humility: Is there anything we experience more humbling than confessing to another human being? I'm far from perfect in going to Reconciliation. It's hard, isn't it? To go to your parish priest and bare your heart & soul, to let him know that you are far from perfect? But what relief we feel when we leave the confessional and receive absolution for our sins.
Prayer: When Father said that after Jesus prayed, the heavens opened up and he heard God speak, my thought was that it was exactly how it is for us: God speaks to us through prayer. It isn't one-sided; we have to be open to hear him. He may not say exactly what we want to hear, and he may speak to us in different ways, but he does speak to us.
I don't believe in coincidences. I truly believe what people perceive as a coincidence is God speaking to us. Just yesterday I received this in my email after making the decision to link this blog on my personal blog:
We have to be Brave. We have to be Obedient. We have to be Humble. And, we have to Pray.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Epiphany

Today we celebrate Epiphany...a few days early. Epiphany is actually on Wed.; the Church moves the celebration up to the Sunday prior. It makes me sad to see pictures on Instagram & Facebook of people taking down their decorations the day after Christmas. Christmas begins with Christmas Day. We spent Advent getting ready for the birth of our Lord; we take the 12 days of Christmas to celebrate his birth. We are called to not get sucked into the commercialism of Christmas but to rejoice that our Savior is born.
The star took center stage during today's homily. The star that the 3 Wise Men followed from the east, looking for this little baby who would save mankind still burns bright for us today. We are called to follow the light toward Jesus.According to the Priest, the Kings needed to witness God in the world. In following the light toward Jesus, we are to 1) look for the Lord, 2) follow the light, and 3) see the reality of God.
The 3 Kings brought gifts with them. The gift of myrrh caught my attention. The other Priest in our parish said that without Easter there wouldn't be Christmas. The gift of myrrh goes right along with that quote, since myrrh was used for burials. How did the Kings know what to bring as gifts? Rather prophetic, I'd say!
To end, Father left us with this statement and question:
We are called to be a light or a star and to lead others to Jesus. When someone looks at me, do they see the light of Christ?

Friday, January 1, 2016

Solemnity of Mary

Last week, I was a bit surprised when I saw that Sunday was the Feast of the Holy Family. For some reason, I always thought that 01 January was it. I guess you're never too old to learn something!
I chose to attend 9:00 a.m. Mass this morning because I figured that there wouldn't be very many people in attendance. There were a lot of cars in the parking lot, so I was pleasantly surprised. I guess our church is bigger than I thought, because when I walked in there were a lot of empty seats. 
During the homily, Father told a story about Jesus walking around in heaven where people passing told him "Good Morning". Jesus is looking around, wondering why some of the people were there. He was sure that they weren't supposed to be there yet. He went to the Gates & asked St. Paul about it. St. Paul told him that when he told them they couldn't come in yet, they would walk to the back door & Jesus' mom would let them in. 
Many non-Catholics have the idea that we worship Mary and question why we hold her in such high esteem. I think it's a no-brainer. Obviously, Mary is not on the same "level" as God or Jesus, but she did say "yes" and was Jesus' mother. And, since Jesus is the Son of God and is "True God, true man", of course she is the Mother of God. This is not about Mary, but rather about Jesus. Mary is the sign and symbol of Mercy.
Like most mothers, she never stopped believing in her Son, even when she was at the foot of his cross, watching him die. I can't even imagine what that must have been like, or how it really "pierced her heart". There are times when my boys have hurt me deeply by the choices they made, but there just isn't any comparison to what Mary must have felt. I just can't even imagine knowing that your son was put on this earth to sacrifice himself for humans who aren't worthy.
We shouldn't get caught up in "who should & shouldn't be", but just give it all to God. This is something I struggle with daily. The injustices of the world, heck, of life in general, get to me sometimes. Why does someone get away with not following the rules when there are those of us who insist on being "rule-followers"? Why do some people at work do the minimal when others are busting their butts to be better educators?
One of my goals this year is to "let go & let God". I find myself in church, judging other people: Doesn't that woman know that she's not supposed to be chewing gum during Mass? Why did those parents let their teenage daughter wear spaghetti straps to Midnight Mass? I have to leave all of that to God & focus on what I'm doing; how I'm living my life. That is one of the major things I'll be working on this year.

What is something that you will work on changing this year?