Thursday, June 22, 2017

Prayer

Jesus said to his disciples:  "In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them.  Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.  "This is how you are to pray:  'Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.'  "If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."  (Matthew 6: 7 – 15)


In today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray.  It is a prayer that is one that is so familiar to us all.  We often say it in times of need and distress.  I remember as a young child learning the Our Father.  My mother taught me the words by having me repeat them after her until I learned to say them with her.  I can imagine that the disciples learned it in much the same way by repetition.  Prayer truly is a conversation with God and is the way of building our relationship with God.  Our God hears our prayers no matter what form of prayer we use.   The most important thing is to listen as well as speak.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

National Migrant and Refugee Day

Today we celebrate National Refugee and Migrant day.  Let us pray a prayer provided by the USCCB for all those who have been displace by war, violence and oppression.

Lord Jesus, when you multiplied the loaves and fishes, you provided more than food for the body, you offered us the gift of yourself, the gift which satisfies every hunger and quenches every thirst! Your disciples were filled with fear and doubt, but you poured out your love and compassion on the migrant crowd, welcoming them as brothers and sisters.

Lord Jesus, today you call us to welcome the members of God's family who come to our land to escape oppression, poverty, persecution, violence, and war. Like your disciples, we too are filled with fear and doubt and even suspicion. We build barriers in our hearts and in our minds.

Lord Jesus, help us by your grace,
To banish fear from our hearts, that we may embrace each of your children as our own brother and sister;
To welcome migrants and refugees with joy and generosity, while responding to their many needs;
To realize that you call all people to your holy mountain to learn the ways of peace and justice;
To share of our abundance as you spread a banquet before us;
To give witness to your love for all people, as we celebrate the many gifts they bring.


We praise you and give you thanks for the family you have called together from so many people. We see in this human family a reflection of the divine unity of the one Most Holy Trinity in whom we make our prayer: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Jesus' Challenge to Love

Jesus said to his disciples:  I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.  "You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.  But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, 'You fool,' will be liable to fiery Gehenna.  Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.  Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."  (Matthew 25: 20 – 26)


Today’s Gospel is one where we really see how difficult it is to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.  Jesus has raised the measurement of our love for one another for sure.  As I read it over this morning I was struck by the magnitude of what Jesus is asking of us.  If we take Jesus’ words literally then we are faced with the reality that Jesus is calling us to a complete transformation.  Jesus wants us to not just go through the motions of showing our love, he wants it to be real and genuine.  It is a task that becomes easier with God’s love for us.  It’s a simple yet radical way to live.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Peace

Peace can only come about when we learn to treat each other as brothers and sisters and recognize our shared vocation as children of God.

“Peace is not merely the absence of war; nor can it be reduced solely to the maintenance of a balance of power between enemies; nor is it brought about by dictatorship. Instead, it is rightly and appropriately called an enterprise of justice.”  Gaudium et Spes, Vatican II


As I reflected this morning I was struck by the recurring notion of peace and as the day unfolded it became more obvious how desperately we all need to embrace peace in our daily living.  The event in Virginia this morning has left a tremendous shock on our nation and further reinforces that violence is never the answer.  As we live this day in God’s love let us remember that we are meant to be bearers of peace and reconciliation and not hate and pain.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

St. Anthony

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua.  For generations, Saint Anthony of Padua was the go-to saint for finding lost items. But what few realize is that this beloved Franciscan saint was a fiercely intelligent, holy friar who lived what he preached. He was a theologian, a teacher, and a holy religious who gave his life to God.  I have fond memories of celebrating this Feast on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx as a child.  We would go to the Feast Day Mass and then attend the procession before enjoying the games and food that was everywhere.  As the youngest in my family I have the fond memory of pinning a dollar on the St. Anthony statue that was being processed through the neighborhood.  It was a fun time, a family time and a time that centered around faith.  In recent years St. Anthony has definitely become my “go to person” for lost objects – “St. Anthony, come around, something is lost that must be found” is frequently uttered.  As we commemorate this great saint today let us remember that he was more than a great “lost and found!”

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Trinity Sunday

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.  Our God clearly is a God of relationship.  God sent Jesus as a sign of his love for us.  There are so many signs of God’s abundant love for us – a newborn baby, flowers, a beautiful blue sky, a colorful sunrise, a cardinal or a butterfly.  God’s love overflows in our relationships with one another.  Our God is not a distant God who doesn’t care about us.  Our God is a loving and generous God who continues to show us his love and compassion despite our short comings.  God’s love will last forever and his faithfulness till the end of time because he is a God of love and compassion.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Two Great Commandments

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, "Which is the first of all the commandments?"  Jesus replied, "The first is this:  Hear, O Israel!  The Lord our God is Lord alone!  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.  The second is this:  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no other commandment greater than these."  The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher.  You are right in saying, He is One and there is no other than he.  And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."  And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God."  And no one dared to ask him any more questions.  (Mark 12: 28 – 34)


In today’s Gospel, Jesus reaffirms the two great commandments – love of God and love of neighbor.  These are the two that we need to live to the best of our ability.  If we do this then we are doing what God has asked us.  Jesus makes it clear in these commandments that love is greater than sacrifice.  Let our love be great in these days where our world is suffering greatly.

Pat Schifini, OSU