Sunday, June 13, 2021

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Jesus said to the crowds:  “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how.  Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.  And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.”  He said, “To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it?  It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.  But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”  With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.  Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.  Mark 4: 24 – 36

God speaks to us in many ways including our Sunday scriptures.  In today’s Gospel reading we are given two parables to think about and pray over.  First, we read the parable of the seed followed by the parable of the mustard seed.  I had the experience a few times of planting a garden.  Growing up in the Bronx I did not have a space that I could dedicate to a garden.  When if first decided to take on this endeavor I remember reading on how to prepare the space and what would be the best seeds to plant.  In planting I made the usual amateur mistakes.  Having not portioned out the plot of land I proceeded to plant the seeds and watered them faithfully and waited.  It seemed like an eternity before anything showed signs of growth.  All of a sudden, the growth happened, and we had zucchini, tomatoes, beans, eggplant and a host of herbs.  What I learned from this experience was the importance of patience and perseverance.  As I watched the garden each day, I found myself getting anxious that nothing would grow and was so relieved when the garden came alive.  In fact, at one point the garden was so prolific that I was giving the harvest to anyone who wanted some of the yield.  It was a true learning experience and I remember being so happy with the outcome.

As we live this day let us remember that “we walk by faith and not by sight.”  We are invited today to continue the journey and to grow in God’s abundant love for us.  May we always be willing to accept God’s invitation to a deeper relationship and grow in the love of our God.



Sunday, June 6, 2021

Solemnity of Corpus Christi


Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, also known as the Feast of Corpus Christi, is a celebration of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. On this day, we recall the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper.   In the United States, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ is celebrated on the Sunday after Trinity Sunday. 

While the Last Supper is also commemorated on Holy Thursday, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ focuses solely on the gift of the Eucharist. The mood is also more joyous than that felt on Holy Thursday, the day before Christ's passion and death.

The feast is often marked by eucharistic processions, during which the Blessed Sacrament is carried in a monstrance through the church and into the streets. Many also spend time in Eucharistic Adoration on the solemnity.  As a child I recall participating in the Corpus Christi procession in my parish.  We processed from our parish Church throughout the neighborhood behind our pastor who held the monstrance.  I recall that it was an honor to be part of the procession.  As the procession went through the streets many people joined and followed along.  Last year amidst the Covid pandemic one parish in the Bronx did not want to disappoint its parishioners.  The Corpus Christi took on a new look as the pastor stood in the back of a pickup truck and was driven through the neighborhood.  Parishioners stood on their porches and bowed and waved as the truck drove past.

However, you mark this day let us recall the gift of the Eucharist.  May our hearts be filled with gratitude for the gift we received. 



Sunday, May 30, 2021

Trinity Sunday

 

Happy Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.  This week we return to the liturgical season of Ordinary Time. This Sunday and next Sunday, however, are designated as solemnities, special days that call our attention to the central mysteries of our faith. Today, on the first Sunday after Pentecost, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. This feast invites us to consider what we believe about God, who has revealed himself to us in the Trinity, one God in three Persons.  The Gospel for this Solemnity is taken from the Gospel of Matthew.

The final commission of the disciples is given on the mountaintop.  In today’s Gospel, the eleven disciples go the mountaintop in Galilee, as Jesus had instructed them through Mary Magdalene and the other Mary. They see Jesus, and they worship and doubt at the same time. Jesus approaches them and commissions them to baptize and teach.  In this final commission, the eleven are told to go to all nations. The mission of Jesus is now to be taken to all people, and the task is to baptize and to teach.  As baptized Christians, we share in the life of the blessed Trinity and seek to invite others to share in God’s love.

Many people have attempted over the years to explain the Trinity – three persons in one God.  St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain it to the people of Ireland.  Others have used the image of the three musketeers.  Their life mantra was “one for all and all for one!”  However, we are able to understand the concept let us be faithful to our baptismal call and live as disciples called by Christ to be there for one another.

A song which has always helped me to understand the Trinity is All Haile Adored Trinity.  I have included the text of it below.  I invite you to spend some time reflecting on the words and the message behind it.

All hail, adored Trinity; All hail, eternal Unity; O God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit, ever One.

Three Persons praise we evermore, One only God our hearts adore;

In Thy sure mercy ever kind May we our true protection find.

O Trinity! O Unity! Be present as we worship Thee; And with the songs that angels sing
Unite the hymns of praise we bring.

John David Chambers(1805-1893)




Sunday, May 23, 2021

Pentecost Sunday

 

Pentecost is considered the birthday of the Church, the day when that first community of believers were baptized with the Holy Spirit and sent out to tell the world about the Risen Christ. The storm of the present pandemic is inviting all of us, whether we like it or not, to rethink how we live in this world. It’s also beckoning us to reimagine ourselves as Church, as that community of baptized believers who are sent to recreate the world.

Those early Christians did not know how to be church. When Jesus of Nazareth left the future in the hands of his followers, he did not present them with a handbook of how to do it. But he promised them his own Spirit to dwell with them and in them to be their hope, their comfort, and their guide. All they had to do was listen to the quiet, gentle voice in their heart of hearts that spoke of love and truth and mercy.

The most powerful message we preach to the world is in the way we treat each other, especially at times like this when we are afraid and tired and confused. “By this shall they know that you are my disciples: by the way you love one another.” This is where Pentecost begins. This is how we become the church.

On this Pentecost Sunday I share with you one of my favorite songs Dan Schutte’s, Send Us Your Spirit.  It is based on the Veni Sanctus Spiritus and offers tremendous hope.  Let us always remember and trust in the Spirit’s love and guidance as we seek to live as faithful followers.  Happy Pentecost Sunday.  

Send Us Your Spirit

Send us your spirit O Lord. Evening enfolds us and holds us too near.  Wake the morning light.  Make our living bright.  Shine on our darkness O Lord.

Hold us with mercy O Lord.  Sorrow has spoken, has broken our hearts.  Clothe us in your care.  Be the life we bear.  Feed us and fill us O Lord.

Teach us your wisdom O Lord.  Shadows have clouded, have crowded our sight.  Give us hearts that see.  Set our loving free.  Hear us and help us O Lord.

Send us good summer O Lord.  Winters have chilled us and stilled us too long.  Give us love’s own fire.  Be our true desire.  Send us your spirit O Lord.

© Daniel L. Schutte and New Dawn Music, 1985.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miW1IBX3CTs





Sunday, May 16, 2021

Laudato Si Week

 

Laudato Si Week (May 16-25) is a global event sponsored by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and supported by the Global Catholic Climate Movement in collaboration with about 150 Catholic organizations.  There are many resources available to use to increase your knowledge and pray for our common home.  Below are some resources provided by our Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation group.  Let us pray for one another and our common home not only during this week but everyday.



Pope Francis’ Prayer for Our Earth 

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest creatures. You embrace with your tenderness all that exists. Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty. Fill us with peace, that we may live as bothers and sisters, harming no one. O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes. Bring healing to our lives, that we nay protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction. Touch the hearts, of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth. Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey toward your infinite light. We thank you for being with us each day. Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle For justice, love and peace.

For other resources visit our website:  usaromanunionursulines.org 






Sunday, May 9, 2021

Happy Mother's Day

 

Today we celebrate Mother's Day!  May all mothers and mother figures be blessed this day and everyday.  Whatever you do this day may we all take a moment to remember our mothers and say a little prayer of thanksgiving for the gift they are to us.  Happy Mother's Day to all!


Good and Gentle God,
we pray in gratitude for our mothers and for all the women of theory who have joined with you in the wonder of bringing forth new life. You who became human through a woman, grant to all mothers the courage they need to face the uncertain future that life with children always brings.

Give them the strength to live and to be loved in return, not perfectly, but humanly.
Give them the faithful support of family and friends as they care for the physical and spiritual growth of their children.

Give them joy and delight in their children to sustain them through the trials of motherhood. Most of all, give them the wisdom to turn to you for help when they need it most.

Amen.



Sunday, May 2, 2021

Fifth Sunday of Easter

 

Jesus said to his disciples: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.  He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.  You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.  Remain in me, as I remain in you.  Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.  I am the vine, you are the branches.  Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.  Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”  (John 15: 1-8)

Today’s reading from the Gospel of John is part of Jesus’ discourse at the Last Supper.  John tells the story of Jesus’ Last Supper differently from the other Evangelists. In John’s Gospel, the Last Supper begins with Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. Jesus explains to them how they must treat others.  He instructs the disciples that they need to follow everything He has taught them.  Jesus tells his disciples about the importance of following his example of love and service, about the gift they will receive when Jesus sends them the Holy Spirit, and about their relationship with Jesus and with the world. The Last Supper discourse concludes with Jesus’ prayer for his disciples.

Today’s Gospel reading is taken from middle of the Last Supper discourse. Jesus speaks about his relationship to his disciples.  He promises His disciples that their relationship will not end after His death as He will remain with them always.  Jesus makes the same promise to us – the Holy Spirit will enable us to continue Jesus’ work.  Like the disciples we are called to love and service.  We are called to be Christ for one another, and we need to allow the Holy Spirit to fill us with all we need to commit ourselves to Jesus.  Let us take time each day to allow that relationship to grow and develop.