Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Faith of John the Baptist

John the Baptist spoke out about the injustices of his time and knew the price he could do for doing so.  As a result he paid the ultimate price and was beheaded by Herod. After hearing the news of his cousin’s death, Jesus, withdrew to a deserted place to pray and mourn the loss of John.  Jesus knew what was ahead of him and went to pray for the strength to continue the mission.

Our world in many ways if faced with very difficult and heart wrenching stories.  We are shaken by senseless violence and often feel powerless in the face of opposition.  As followers of Jesus, we need to remain faithful.  We need to be willing to make the changes needed to follow the good news.  Our call is to be agents of change in any way we are able to. 

As we answer God’s call to be agents of change we will be strengthened by our faith.  Our God of abundant love will always light the path for us.  Let us face this challenge with the same perseverance that John had.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Who do you say that I am?

Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and 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."   Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.  Mathew 16: 13 – 20

Today’s gospel happens to be a personal favorite of mine.  It is the gospel that I used for my religious profession some thirty years ago.  The question that Jesus posed to Peter is one that we often struggle to answer.  I believe that it is Peter’s response that gives us hope to persevere in the quest to follow Jesus.  Peter is the disciple who Jesus loved and chose to be our first Pope.  I don’t believe that Peter ever thought that Jesus would make him the leader of the new Church.  Peter proved his love and admiration of Jesus many times and at other times seemingly came up short.  As we look at this question today let us take time to formulate our response to Jesus’ question of who do you say that I am?

Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, August 25, 2017

True Love

Today’s scriptures speak to us of the great call to love.  In the first reading we have the beautiful story of Ruth and Naomi.  Ruth’s love for her mother- in-law Naomi surpasses tradition and personifies the meaning of commitment.  Ruth’s husband dies and this leaves her and Naomi all alone.  Not having anyone to care for her mother-in-law Ruth makes the decision to stay with her and care for her.  Ruth utters the beautiful statement, “Wherever you go, I shall go, wherever you live so shall I live.  Your people will be my people and your God will be my God too.”  This reading epitomizes true love and is often used at weddings.  Ruth’s dedication and love for Naomi is the kind of love that truly builds up the kingdom of God.  Take some time today to count your blessings and see where you are called to spread love.  Perhaps it will be a kind word for someone who has hurt you, an act of random kindness or the decision to promote love and kindness wherever you go.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Feast of the Assumption of Mary

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  It is a very special day for many people and cultures.  I have fond memories of the procession I participated in as a child.  All the little girls would put on their best white dress and be given a simple blue cape to wear as we walked in solemn procession behind the statue that the men carried.  I remember always trying to go to the ocean on this day to dip my feet into the water.  There are often gatherings at the beach on this day to bless the water and place a wreath out in the ocean.  As we pray this day let us recall what a great blessing our Lady is for us.  She has promised to intercede for us and will always be with us.  O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse in thee.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, August 11, 2017

St. Clare of Assisi

Today the Church honors St. Clare of Assisi.  St. Clare left her comfortable life and in secret left her home and family to follow St. Francis.  She shed her regal clothes for the coarse habit of Francis’ followers, cut her hair and embraced a totally new identity.  Clare sought the contemplative life and knew the importance of prayer.  She praised God in her actions and sought to live the gospel message.  Clare taught her followers to pray, to be engaged in the world and to live the gospel message.  Let us follow St. Clare’s example of praying for the needs of the world.  Right now our world certainly needs prayers of healing and conversion of heart.  Let us pray for world leaders to seek peace and justice rather than weapons of destruction.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Transfiguration

“Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother John and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. He was transfigured before their very eyes. His face became as dazzling as the sun, his clothes bright as light.  Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him.” – Matthew 17.1-3

I always love this part of the Transfiguration story as it provides such a vivid image of what was happening that day.  To think that Jesus took Peter, James, and John up the mountain to be part of an experience that had to be life changing for them.  They had a glimpse of Jesus in glory, his divinity shining through his humanity.   They are overcome with fear and awe and they fall to the ground.  Words fail but faith prevails.  They are empowered by this experience for the mission that was ahead of them.  May we have the faith of the early disciples in our daily living as we seek to be inspired by such an overwhelming event. 

Pat Schifini, OSU