Thursday, February 23, 2017

Spring

Spring has sprung!  It seems that way at least.  The past few days we have seen a rise in temperature and the sky has been beautiful.  There is a renewed sense of hope with the birds singing and returning after being away for the winter. If you look closely you may even see new life emerging in the grass.  This is the promise of the gift that our loving God gives us each year.  Each year the beauty of spring replaces the dullness of the chill of winter.  Take some time to relish the newness of life these days as the warmth of the sun continues to shine gently on us.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Chair of St. Peter

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter.  This feast commemorates Christ’s choosing Peter to sit in his place as the servant-authority of the whole Church. This feast brings to mind the mission of teacher and pastor conferred by Jesus on Peter, and continued in an unbroken line down to the present Pope. We celebrate the unity of the Church, founded upon the Apostle.

In today’s gospel we read, “When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"  They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."  He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"  Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."  Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.  For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.  And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.  I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.  Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matthew 16: 13 – 19)


In this exchange Peter answered each of Jesus’ questions correctly.  He answered without reservation or fear.  Peter was truly human and was aware of his short comings.  Immediately following this passage Jesus rebukes Peter for not responding as he should have.  As we celebrate this feast let us recall that we are all called to serve one another and live in the light of Christ.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

First or Last

In today’s gospel, St. Mark, tells us, “They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, and he began to ask them, "What were you arguing about on the way?"  But they remained silent.  For they had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest.  Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all."  Taking a child, he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them, "Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me." (Mark 9:  33 – 37)


This is one of my favorite scripture passages because the disciples were engaged in a very ordinary discussion and Jesus brings them right back to reality by using the analogy of a child.  For a child is often perceived as the most innocent and beautiful of all of God’s creation. Jesus sets before all of us the challenge to become childlike and to always remember that we are called to share love and joy with all.  Let us always remember that life is truly not about who is first or best it is about loving God and loving our neighbors.  We are called to treat everyone with respect and compassion for this is what we are called to.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Monday, February 20, 2017

President's Day

The third Monday in February has become the day we celebrate Presidents Day.  It began as a way to honor our first president, George Washington’s birthday but now includes all the presidents as well.  As we celebrate this day let us remember the important values of our country – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Let us mark this day as a day of compassion and a commitment to help others in their daily needs.  Each one of us has the ability to do small things with great love as St. Teresa once said.  Celebrate this day and every day with a grateful heart and a heart full of love.
Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today we celebrate the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time.  Yet our scripture readings for this day are not ordinary.  Each of today’s readings, in one way or another, asks us to remember who we are, to whom we belong, how to act as brothers and sisters and not to use others’ behavior as an excuse for our own! Though written long ago for a people half way across the world, these speak to us today, right now.

So often in life we are asked to remember who we are – in our families, in our communities, in movies, in books, in school and even in our friend groups.  We often find our daily encounters with a gentle or not so gentle reminder to remember who we are.  Many times we are called to look at our roots and our scriptures remind us to do so.  In Leviticus we read: “You are holy, because I, your God, am holy…”  In our responsorial psalm we hear:  “the Lord is kind and merciful.”  In St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians:  “You are the temple of God… the Spirit of God dwells in you…” and in our Gospel from St. Matthew: “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of God…”  In each of these readings we are reminded of God’s abundant love for us.  May we live this week in the knowledge that we are loved and cherished by God.
Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, February 18, 2017

God Moments

Today we read in the gospel of St. Mark the familiar story of Jesus transfiguring Himself before some of His apostles, on the top of Mount Tabor.  This was a profound moment for the disciples and they wanted to stay there with Jesus forever.  They did not want to leave.
In our daily lives we sometimes experience this kind of “God moment” when we can truly sense God’s presence in our lives.  Our God is a God of unconditional love and when we truly feel God’s love we don’t want the experience to end.  These “God moments” can be at the expression of a small child, going to Church, praying, seeing an old friend or a conversation with a trusted confidant.
These moments are truly a gift that help us to renew our inner strength.  It is in these “God moments” that we are able to renew our commitment to following the path that God has set before us.  We are able to once again choose life that we may live in the abundant happiness of God.

God love for us is infinite! God knows exactly what we need, and when we need it, so during times of trouble or great joy, let us always be ready for the gift of “God moments” in our lives.
Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, February 17, 2017

Carrying Crosses

In today’s gospel, “Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it.”  (Mark 8: 34) This passage speaks to me of the upcoming season of Lent.  In less than two weeks we will begin the Lenten Season. 

As I reflected on this passage I was struck by the number of “crosses” each one of us bears daily.  We never fully know what someone else is carrying in their heart.  Our world is in terrible pain and many are very distressed over this.  People are ill and dying which is another source of pain.

There are times when I find myself getting upset over little things.  Being late for an event, missing a deadline, getting the wrong meal at the drive thru and forgetting something can push me to my limit.  Once I have calmed down I find myself questioning was it really worth all the energy I wasted being upset?  Did it really inconvenience me or ruin my day?


This is when I can hear Jesus telling me to stop getting so upset over little things and to think more of others.  It is the invitation to learn a lesson from the little crosses in life and see the bigger picture.  I know that I have the ability to carry these crosses but that I can only carry them peacefully with Jesus’ help.  Remember to pray for those who have greater crosses to bear.

Pat Schifini, OSU