Sunday, June 27, 2021

Do Not Be Afraid


Today’s gospel comprises two distinct stories with no particular connection between them.  First, we have the raising of Jairus’s daughter to life and the second is the healing of the woman with the hemorrhage.  There are two miracle stories in this long extract from Mark and they demonstrate an important theme and characteristic of this gospel. The first thing we notice is that the story of the raising of the daughter of Jairus begins the sequence, but then is cut off as we consider the woman with the hemorrhage.  It quickly becomes apparent that the overarching theme is the need for faith. In the story of the woman, her willingness to trust in Jesus is total but by contrast the people in the house of Jairus laugh at him when he suggests the child is only asleep. Jesus tells the woman who touched him that her faith made her well, and to the people announcing the news of the death of the little girl he says: ‘Do not be afraid, only have faith.’ We have only already learned through the preaching of Jesus and his parables that the kingdom is present in his ministry and that it is both a gift and a challenge. Living by faith is the challenge but it is also the way to healing and new life for those who embrace the message with trust and confidence.

Someone once wrote to the poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, asking how he could come to know God. Hopkins wrote back with the simple answer: ‘Give alms.’ The God who wills us to live eternally cannot be known in theory or theology — he can only be truly known through love. That is our calling as Christians.' If we understand that we have been made rich through the poverty of Jesus, then we cannot but reach out to others.  Let us always reach out in love and allow God’s love to fuel our lives.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Father's Day


Happy Father’s Day!! Let us pray….

Loving and faithful God, as we celebrate Father’s Day, we not only give thanks for our fathers, we ask you to bless them Keep them close to you and to St. Joseph. May Joseph’s example and prayers give them the continued strength to live out their vocation of fatherhood faithfully. Help us never to take them for granted and to be patient with their imperfections.

For our deceased fathers, give them eternal rest.

For our fathers, weighed with burdens, give them peace and hope.

For fathers who have buried a child, give them consolation.

For those who have caused pain for their children, give them a new heart.

For those who wish to be a father but cannot, give them hope.

Loving God hear our prayers and help us to give respect and love to our dads as we lift them to you, through Christ our Lord.  Amen

Happy Father's Day to all fathers, father figures.  May this day be richly blessed!

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.