Archive for April, 2011

h1

Easter Sunday

April 24, 2011

PRACTICING FOR HEAVEN

When we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, we celebrate the end of our reason for fear.

It means we no longer have to be afraid.  Our lives are no longer defined by what we do here on Earth, for now there is always hope beyond what we cannot understand through our senses.

And yet we remain afraid.  We remain afraid because it is so hard to believe you are worthy of this gift despite your “failings”.  But you see that is why you are here tonight – to practice being worthy.

The truth is that it is simply good practice for heaven.  Here, we practice accepting each other for who we are, with all our faults and failings.  We practice being a part of a community.  We practice asking others for help and saying thank you.  We practice sitting still and finding comfort in the silence.

We practice accepting Christ in our own hands in the Eucharist.

We practice conquering our fears that we are unworthy because we are worthy to welcome Christ out of the tomb and into our own lives.

CLICK HERE for the Readings for Easter Sunday: (10:34a, 37-43; Colossians 3:1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8; John 20:1-9 or Matthew 28:1-10 or Luke 24:13-35)

h1

Good Friday

April 24, 2011

NECESSARY SUFFERING

St. Paul tells us that Jesus is the one who can sympathize with our weakness, but one who was perfected precisely because of that weakness.  His obedience, his willingness to give up control made him perfect.

It is for this reason that we have a crucifix in the center of every Catholic Church.  Not just a cross, but a crucifix.  Do you know the difference?

Because the crucifix reminds us that we cannot keep our ego and the Gospel alive in our hearts at the same time.  This is the earliest form of psychology and long before Jung, Piaget or Erickson – there was God who reminded us that the only way to really embrace life is to let go of our concept of it so that we can receive something much greater.

It is the necessary suffering that we all need.  And not suffering in the limited sense that we normally think about, but suffering in a bigger sense, which is simply anytime we don’t get our way.

Today we are reminded that most of what believe to be so necessary for our life, is not.  We have to give up our control and give ourselves over to a deeper reality.

CLICK HERE for the Readings for Good Friday: (Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9; John 18:1-19:42)

h1

Lenten Mission: Renewing Our Relationship

April 21, 2011

PLURALISM:  A JOURNEY WITH ALL

The last part of a four-part Lenten Mission concludes with a conversation about pluralism – the Catholic relationship to the different religions of the world.

Together, we will face the difficulties of believing in the ‘one, true Church’ while living in a world filled with other reigions that also profess a ‘right’ path to holiness.

How do Christians admit that Jesus Christ is the only path to salvation while also recognizing the goodness of other religions?  How can such a claim be anything else but in tolerant?

And how are our everyday relationships within a community impacted by such claims?

Join us for this final installment of Renewing Our Relationship just before the Easter Season.

h1

Palm Sunday

April 17, 2011

THE SPAN BETWEEN JUDAS AND PETER

Most of us think of Judas and Peter as opposites, but not always for the right reason.

It is not sinfulness and holiness that mark them as different, but the inability and ability to accept forgiveness for their sins.

Judas is marked by betrayal; Peter by denial – both equally as great and so very much the same.  However, Peter found forgiveness while Judas did not.

This week, we are called to remember that the Passion of Christ is all about forgiveness and so we must find in ourselves such an ability to accept what Jesus offers.

NOTE:  There are two parts two today’s entry:  one before and one after the Gospel.

CLICK HERE for the Readings for Palm Sunday: (Matthew 21.1-11; Isaiah 50.4-7; Philippians 2.6-11; Matthew 26.14-27.66)

h1

OCSOA Keynote Address

April 15, 2011

This address and homily were given at the Ontario Catholic Supervisory Officers Association Annual Meeting in Windsor, Ontario.

MOVEMENTS TOWARD HOLINESS

In his book, In the Name of Jesus, Henri Nouwen posed a primary question in regards to ministry and leadership:  ‘Are the leaders of the future truly men and women of God, people with an ardent desire to dwell in God’s presence, to listen to God’s voice, to look at God’s beauty, to touch God’s incarnate Word, and to taste fully God’s infinite goodness?’

If we, as educators, are to go after the ones who are lost, then WE must be willing to be lead to those places we would rather not go.  This requires a movement from the moral to the mystical; focused on God’s saving grace in the midst of the burning issues of our day

Together we will explore the role of failure; the challenge of acceptance and gratitude; and the difficulties of expectations as the four “secrets” of the spiritual life.  These secrets are not so because they are unknown to us; rather, that as leaders they prevent us from successfully managing the movements Nouwen identifies and Jesus demands.

CLICK HERE for the Readings for the Fifth Friday of Lent: (Jeremiah 20:10-13; John 10.31-42)

h1

Fifth Sunday of Lent

April 10, 2011

THERE ARE REASONS

The story of Lazarus is one the often brings up a few questions; specifically, why Jesus would delay in responding to the needs of his friends?

Each of us has experienced the seemingly unresponsiveness of God, and it leaves us just as frustrated as it left Martha and Mary.

And while we can accept that ‘everything happens for a reason’, it does not make our suffering any less difficult to endure.

But there are several lessons for us in this story – one is that our suffering does not go unnoticed.  When Mary went to Jesus, Jesus saw her pain and wept.

Our challenge is to see the bigger picture and trust that God is indeed moved by our struggles.

CLICK HERE for the Readings for the Fifth Sunday of Lent: (Ezekiel 37.12-14; Romans 8.8-11; John 11.1-45)

h1

Lenten Mission: Renewing Our Relationship

April 7, 2011

EUCHARIST:  A JOURNEY WITH FAMILY

The third part of a four-part Lenten Mission continues with a focus on the Eucharist.

It may be the ‘source and summit of our faith’ but most of us are very confused by the Eucharist.  In this discussion, greater clarity is given to the metaphysical realities of this mystery; as well as a deeper understanding of Eucharist as sacrifice.

But it is our communion with each other and God that makes the Eucharist so essential, and it this way it is much like a family dinner.

So join in for another opportunity to renew your relationship with God and each other.