Father’s Daily Reflections

Daily Reflection – Tuesday May 26, 202

Readings: Acts 20:17-27, Ps 68, John 17:1-11

Dear Parish Family,

 

    Our Gospel today continues with the words of Jesus captured by St. John that we call the Last Supper Discourse.  Today and for the next couple of days we will be bringing the sermon to a close with what is called the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus as He raised His eyes and His words to the Father.  Jesus first thanks the Father for giving Him authority.  As we see often in the Gospels people were astounded as they witnessed Jesus speaking and acting with authority.  We have so many human examples of people in authority misusing the power that has been given to them; such that often authority is viewed with negative emotions.  Not so in its original meaning.  

 

    I have talked and written much about God revealing Himself to us as “Being” itself.  God reveals Himself as the Great I AM.  I Am the one who is, the one whose very nature is TO BE.  The etymology of the word “authority” is closely related to this as it literally means “from the Being.”  So Jesus, the eternal Word Made Flesh, connects with the source of His Being, His Father.  When Jesus says, “As the Father has sent Me, so I send you,” He is telling us that He is sharing with us His divine life.  He is giving us a share in Being.  In the creation story God took the clay of the earth and breathed into it His life breath and man became a living Being.  In the Upper Room that first Easter Sunday Jesus breathed that life breath on the apostles.  Next Sunday at the feast of Pentecost God will breath that life breath on us!

 

    Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of us Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your love.  Fill us with Love, Joy and Peace. Amen.  

 

    In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Daily Reflection – Friday May 22, 2020

Readings: Acts 18:23-28, PS 47, John 16:23-28

 

Dear Parish Family,

    Our Gospel today from St. John is a continuation of the Last Supper Discourse of Jesus.  It has always amazed me just how many times the word “Joy” appears.  It was a very stressful time for Jesus who was about the face His Crucifixion.  It had to be a very difficult time for the apostles as well, as Jesus is telling them what is about to happen and that He would no longer be with them in the same way.  Yet, near the end of His Sermon Jesus says: “I tell you all of this so that My joy might be in you and your joy be complete.”  

 

    In my business years I had several associates who were not happy people.  Have you ever noticed how often unhappy people seem to want you to be unhappy as well?  The expression “miserly loves company” is a common phrase that describes a part of human nature.  In his book Happiness is an Inside Job, Fr. John Powell makes a clear distinction between happiness and joy.  Joy comes from within, as it is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.  Happiness can come and go, but if we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit, joy becomes a part of who we are and no one can take it from us.  Nothing outside of us, no one can take that joy away.  Furthermore, if you are filled with joy than happiness naturally flows.  So the choice is ours!

 

    Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of us Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your

love. Fill us with Love, Joy and Peace. Amen.

 

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Daily Reflection – Wednesday May 20, 2020

Readings: Acts 17:15, 22-18:1, PS 148, John 16:12-15

Dear Parish Family,

    In our first reading today from the Acts of the Apostles, Paul is in the Areopagus in Greece and is surrounded by statues of dozens of Greek gods.  He observes in the people a great sense of reverence and devotion.  He quickly points out to them the statue of the “unknown god.”  Obviously the people of the time could posit the existence of God, the reality of a higher power.  What they lacked was knowledge of the One True God.  It is interesting to note that their great philosophers like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, etc. taught the reality of God as the One.  They knew instinctively from their own God given ability to reason, that there had to be One who created all things from nothing.  They taught the reality of the superior Diving Mind of God, which they called the “Logos” or as we translate it the “Word.”

     St. Paul now uses the opportunity to bring the people knowledge of the Word made flesh, the One True God who took on flesh and became one of us.  He reveals to them the reality of God who can be known and wants to be known, who wants to be in a personal relationship with us.  In time the wisdom of the Greek philosophers would become a foundation for further articulating the Truth of the One True God, who is the Divine Mind (Logos) who created all things from nothing.  Paul brought them the missing piece of their “puzzle.”

    Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of us Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your love.  Fill us with Love, Joy and Peace. Amen.  

    In Christ Jesus our Lord,

 

Daily Reflection – Tuesday May 19, 2020

Readings: Acts 16:22-34, PS 138, John 16:5-11

 

Dear Parish Family,

    In our first reading today from the Acts of the Apostles, Paul and Silas are beaten with rods and thrown into prison.  It is a fulfillment of the warning of Jesus to the apostles that they would suffer much on account of His name.  That evening there was a violent earthquake that broke open the prison gates.  In the wake of the earthquake the guard falls to his knees in awe.  When he realizes that Paul and Silas made no attempt to escape he is moved to listen to them and he and his family come to the Lord and are baptized.  It never ceases to amaze me how God brings something good out of a bad situation.  

    We all are affected in a negative way by the Covid-19 pandemic.   And yet, we are surrounded by people doing heroic things in difficult situations.  Lives are being changed by little acts of kindness.  People are giving selflessly of themselves and God continues make His love known.  Evil and darkness are a part of this fallen world that we live in.  Maybe the Light of Christ is most vivid when it shines through the darkness.  

 

    Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of us Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your love.  Fill us with Love, Joy and Peace. Amen.  

 

    In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Daily Reflection – Monday May 18, 2020

Readings: Acts 16:11-15, PS 149, John 15:26-16:4

Dear Parish Family,

     Our Gospel today continues to come from the Last Supper Discourse of John’s Gospel and our first reading continues to be the story of the early Church from the Acts of the Apostles.  I have always said that during this Easter Season we should read the Gospel first and then the firstreading, because chronologically the Gospel scene predates the Acts of the Apostles. (If I ever get to be pope I might make that change.  lol)

The Last Supper Discourse of St. John captures the powerful words of Jesus as He was about to enter into His Passion.  They are sort of final instructions to His disciples and to us.  He is preparing us and challenging us to persevere in faith. He is NOT promising an easy road, in fact, just the opposite.  He does not promise freedom from the storms of life, but peace amid the storms.  He does not promise a life free of disappointment and loss, but joy amid the struggles, etc, etc.  He promises to love us unconditionally.  He promises to forgive us without limit.  But most importantly of all He promises to be with us always, in good times and in bad.  So, “Be not afraid, I am with you always!”

 

    Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of us Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your love.  Fill us with Love, Joy and Peace. Amen.  

 

    In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Father Glenn’s Daily Reflection – Thursday May 14, 2020

Readings:  Acts 1:15-26, Ps 113, John 15:9-17

Dear Parish Family,

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Matthias.  St. Matthias was the one who was chosen by God to replace Judas who was lost.  The theme of our readings today is the reality that each of us is chosen by God.  Jesus reminds us in our Gospel today: “It was not you who chose Me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain…”  This particular Gospel passage had a profound life-changing influence in my own life journey.  On Saturday evening as I was making my Cursillo weekend I heard the call to priesthood in a very powerful way.  That entire evening I lay awake thinking of reasons why God was mistaken, or surely I was mistaken somehow.  I most have heard wrong.  The next morning during Morning Prayer, I heard those words from our Gospel today, “It was not you who chose Me, I who chose you to go and bear fruit that will remain.”  I felt Jesus speaking again to me and those words changed my life forever.

If we think about it, none of us chose to be born into this world.  It was God who, in His love, chose to share His life with us.  It is God who does not want a world without each and every one of us.  Life is a gift from God.  What we do with our lives, how we live our lives, is our gift to God.

Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of us Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your love.  Fill us with Love, Joy and Peace. Amen.

 

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

 

Daily Reflection – Wednesday May 13, 2020

Readings: Acts 15:1-6, Ps 122, John 15:1-8

Dear Parish Family,

    Our Gospel today from St. John is the beautiful Vine and Branches metaphor of the Last Supper Discourse of Jesus.  It is a beautiful image when we recall our middle school science.  The life giving water drawn by the roots flows up the stem out into the branches feeding the leaves and the fruit of the vine.  Think of God’s grace as the life giving water and Jesus as the conduit of that grace.  Obviously if the branch is cut off it would dry up and wither, but connected it lives and bears fruit.  Moreover, it is when the branches collectively draw the water together that the vine is most vibrant, one branch would not have the strength to sustain the vine.  So together, connected to Jesus, rooted in faith, we are the most vibrant living body.    

.    I have mentioned several times in homilies that I looked at this metaphor most of my life in an incomplete way.  I always saw Jesus as the trunk or the stem of the vine and we as branches connected to Him.  The word however, that we translate as “vine,” is a word that describes the entire vine; i.e. roots, stem, branches, leaves, fruit, etc.  So if Jesus is the Vine and we are the Branches then we are a part of Him.  

 

   In San Clemete Church in Rome there is a beautiful 12 Century mosaic depicting this beautiful metaphor. It fills entire high altar.  At the center is a large brown cross and from the cross the Vine appears to be growing. The entire Vine is teaming with life.  It appears as a living vibrant organism giving life to all around it with the Cross as the source of this life.  This is my vision of the Church as the living vibrant Body of Christ here on earth.  

 

    Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of us Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your love.  Fill us with Love, Joy and Peace. Amen.  

 

    In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Father Glenn’s Daily Reflection – Tuesday May 12, 2020

Readings: Acts 14:19-28, Ps 145, John 14:27-31a

Dear Parish Family,

    Our Gospel today continues with the Last Supper Discourse of the Gospel of St. John.  In this difficult time Jesus continues to calm and reassure His disciples as He says: “Peace I leave you, my peace I give you.  Not as the world gives do I give it to you.  Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”  The word that Jesus used for peace is “Shalom”.  The Jewish understanding of this word is that God is the source of this inner peace.  It is an inner peace that is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.  A couple of days later on that first Easter Sunday evening that it is the first word that the Risen Lord spoke to His apostles in that same Upper Room.  He said, “Shalom, peace be with you.”  He then breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” 

 

    The peace that Jesus gives us is not peace as the world knows it.  As the serenity prayers says, it is not freedom from the storms of life, but peace amid the storms of life.  In our first reading today St. Paul is stoned and left for dead.  In the next paragraph he is back up preaching, calling us to persevere in faith.  As we travel through this pandemic it is good for all of us to reach down deep to anchor into the inner peace that the Risen Lord wants to share with us.  “Only in God is my soul at rest.”  “Be not afraid, I am with you always.”

   

    Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of us Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your love.  Fill us with Love, Joy and Peace. Amen.  

 

    In Christ Jesus our Lord,

 

Father Glenn’s Daily Reflection – Monday May 11, 2020

Readings: Acts 14:5-18, Ps 115, John 14:21-26

Dear Parish Family,

    I have often been amused by people in ministry who become narcissistic.  Unfortunately is seems to happen all too often.  When the Holy Spirit is working in a powerful way through someone, our fallen human nature often becomes prideful.  Early on in ministry I learned of this pitfall and have tried very hard to avoid going down that road.  I know for certain that if something I do in ministry is of God I know who to give credit to.  I know that it is not me, but God working through me, and so I always point to the Holy Spirit, the source of all.  In our first reading today a man crippled from birth is healed by God though Paul and Barnabas.  The people who witnessed this miracle turn their attention and want to raise Paul and Barnabas to the position of divinity.  Paul and Barnabas quickly confess that it is not them, but the Risen Lord working through them.  

 

    Each one of us is being called and sent by the Risen Lord to bring His love into our environments.  It is Jesus who wants to work in and through us, His Mystical Body here on earth.  As He works through you remember to point to Him.

  

    Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of us Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your love.  Amen.  

 

    In Christ Jesus our Lord,

 

 Daily Reflection – Friday May 8, 2020

Readings: Acts 26-33, Ps 2, John 14:1-6

Dear Parish Family,

   For several years now I have been preaching about the fact that we are called to be Spirit filled, Spirit led, and Spirit giving people as the body of Christ.  This notion seems to parallel the statement of Jesus in today’s Gospel, “I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  Jesus in the I AM statement is revealing Himself as God.  Within God are Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Doesn’t Genesis tell us that we were created in God’s image and likeness?

    Jesus does not reveal Himself as one way among many, or as one truth among many, or as one life among many.  He reveals Himself as the only Way, as Truth itself, as Life itself.  Scripture reveals to us that all Life comes from God.  God breathed His life breath into the clay of the earth and man became a living being.  The only way to life is to remain connected to the source of life.  There is no other source and therefore no other way.  Jesus is the Way.  Jesus is the mediator of life that flows from the Father.  He is the common union (Communion) of human and divine life.  He humbling Himself to share in our humanity and so we are drawn to share in His divinity.  All things came into being through Him and all things are sustained in being by Him.  There is no other Way, no other Truth, no other Life.

 

    Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of us Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your love.  Amen.  

 

    In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Daily Reflection – Thursday May 7, 2020

Readings: Acts 13:13-25, Ps 89, John 13:16-20

 

Dear Parish Family,

 

    In our first reading today from the Acts of the Apostles St. Paul gives the people of Antioch a history lesson.  St. Paul was a very learned Jew.  He was very much at home in a Jewish Synagogue.  Standing up in the synagogue he reminded the people of the powerful acts of God in their history and he announces the fulfillment of that history in Jesus. It was Jesus who was sent by their God, in fact was the God of their salvation, who entered into our humanity precisely to save us.  In his discourse he brings all of their history to fulfillment in Jesus.  In this truth the people can see that this is not some knew movement but the fulfillment of centuries of their longing and their hope.

 

    Our Gospel scene is the Last Supper and Jesus has just finished washing the feat of His disciples.  He said, “As I have done for you, you now must do for others.”  He then assures them that being sent in His stead, “Whoever receives the one I send receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives the One who sent Me.”  Remember that each time we reach out to someone in need, it is Jesus Himself who is reaching out through us.  If God puts someone on your heart today, reach out to them.  To steal the Nike slogan, Just do it!  

    Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of us Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your love.  Amen.  

    In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Father Glenn’s Daily Reflection – Wednesday May 6, 2020

Readings:  Acts 12:24-13.5, Ps 67, John 12:44-50

Dear Parish Family,

 

“I AM the Light of the World, says the Lord, whoever believes in Me will have the light of life.”  Jesus does not say that He created the light of the world.  Everything came into being through Him.  God said: “Let there be light and there was light.”  So, Jesus could say that He created the light of the world.  He could say that He came to bring light into the world, but He does not.  He says, “I AM the Light of the World.”  This statement, like the other I AM statements, has eternal significance.  He IS the Light, He IS the Gate, He IS the Way, He IS the Truth, He IS the Life, He is the Bread of Life, He is Love, He is Being itself.  He is EVERYTING!  So remaining connected to Jesus is the only thing that is.  Disconnecting from Him is Nothing.  It is what scripture calls lack of faith, darkness, emptiness, death, and eventually eternal death or Hell.  Faith, therefore, is everything, and means to remain connected, in communion with Jesus who IS.

 

Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of us Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your love.  Amen.

 

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Father Glenn’s Daily Reflection – Tuesday May 5, 2020

Readings:  Acts 11:19-26, Ps 87, John 10:22-30

Dear Parish Family,

Our first reading today from the Acts of the Apostles continues a narrative of the early Church.  It is the time shortly following the stoning to death of St. Stephen, the first martyr of the Church.  With his death the persecution of the Church intensified.  In this intense persecution the disciples were forced to dissipate.  In effect it forced them to get moving and bring the Gospel to new territory.  Some 500 years earlier there was similar persecution of the Jewish community at the hands of Babylonians.  Jerusalem and the great temple were destroyed, the leaders were carried off to Babylon as slaves, and the rest were forced to scatter throughout the Middle East and beyond.  It is often referred to as the Diaspora (great scattering). The result was that pockets of Judaism were established all over the area.  Now the disciples are forced to disperse and the found these areas of Judaism in Gentile territory and this becomes the stepping stone for the spread of the Gospel.  It always amazes me how God uses these times of distress to bring good.

 

The question for each of us as we journey through this pandemic might be:  “What is God asking of me in this difficult time?”  Or, “What does God want us to learn from this?”  Certainly we have plenty of opportunity to bring light into this darkness, peace into turmoil, assurance into confusion, faith into doubt, etc.  If we don’t listen and respond to God then we are missing this opportunity that God is giving us.  As always we ask the Holy Spirit to guide us as we pray, Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of us Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your love.  Amen.

 

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

 

Father Glenn’s Daily Reflection – Monday May 4, 2020

Readings:  Acts 11:1-18, PS 42, 43 John 10:11-18

Dear Parish Family,

The Jewish people saw themselves as the chosen people, rightfully so, because they were chosen by God.  “I will be your God and you will be My people.”  The problem lies in that it fostered exclusionary thinking.  Many thought that the only way to stay holy and pure before God was to avoid contact with the Gentile world.  In reality they were chosen by God for a purpose, to be a conduit for God entering our world.  God chose to reveal Himself through the Israelite community, through the Law and the Prophets.  When the time was right God sent His Son into our world, born into a Jewish family, in a Jewish community.  God chose the Jewish people for a reason, i.e. to reveal and mediate His love and His life to the whole world through Jesus and His Church.

Our first reading today from the Acts of the Apostles reveals a time in the early Church where the apostles are opening up to this reality, the truth of an all inclusive Church.  St. Paul has been chosen to bring the Good News to the Gentiles.  In our reading today the disciples see the Holy Spirit being poured upon everyone, Jews and Gentiles alike.  They are starting to see the mission of the Church as a mission to the whole world.

 

Our Psalm today confirms the universal longing of all of humanity, a deep thirst for the living God.  In our Gospel Jesus reveals that He is the Good Shepherd who will lay down His life for the sheep, and the flock that is His includes all of humankind.  Jesus reminds us that “there will be one flock, one shepherd.”  There is one flock and there is one Shepherd and we are all the sheep that He shepherds.   Come Holy Spirit, fall afresh upon us, and make us one mind and one heart in Christ Jesus.  Amen.

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Daily Reflection – Friday May 1, 2020

Readings: Acts 9:1-20, Ps 117, John 6:52-59

Dear Parish Family,

    Our first reading today is the story of the conversion of St. Paul.  Saul, as he was called prior to his Christian awakening, was arguably the most ardent persecutor of the early Church.  He was literally going door to door looking for people of The Way and dragging them out to be beaten.  One has to wonder why the Risen Lord chose him of all people to be the Apostle to the Gentiles.

   I suppose Paul in good faith saw the people of The Way as a threat to his beloved Jewish faith.  He saw this new Way, the Resurrection People, as another way instead of the fulfillment of all of his faith.  I think that Jesus chose Paul for the same reason that He chose Peter.  It was his burning passion and relentless energy that Jesus would harness and direct.  Transformed by the experience of the Risen Lord, St. Paul went on to be the great evangelist that he was.

 

    I have to mention one of the most significant lines of all of Sacred Scripture.  When the Risen Lord appeared to Saul he said to him:  “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting ME?”  He does not ask: “Why are you persecuting My Church?”  Jesus makes no distinction between His Church and Himself.  It is good to remember that we are the Mystical Body of Christ here on earth.  It is His indwelling presence in us that makes us the incarnate manifestation of God in our world.   We are called to live our lives accordingly.  Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of us Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your love.  Amen.    

 

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Father Glenn’s Daily Reflection – Thursday April 30, 2020

Readings:  Acts 8:26-40, Ps 66, 6:44-51

Dear Parish Family,

Our first reading today is the story of Philip being led by the Holy Spirit to bring the Good News to a very specific person that God was leading him to.  It was an Ethiopian man who was searching.  An angel appeared to Philip and gave very specific instructions and then the Holy Spirit took over and guided Philip the rest of the way.  In the encounter the Holy Spirit filled the heart of the Ethiopian man and he was baptized into the faith.

 

The lesson for us is clear.  God wants to work through each one of us.  He puts people in our path for a reason.  God wants to reach people through us.  Every time God puts a nudge on your heart to call or reach out to someone, do it!  If you do it, it will be God touching them through you.  We experience God’s presence through each other.  God loves the world in and through us.  If we don’t respond to God’s prompting than a part of God’s plan goes unfulfilled, a part of His glory goes unseen.

 

Our role as the Body of Christ is to be Spirit filled, Spirit led and Spirit giving people.  So come Holy Spirit fill the Hearts of us Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your love. Amen

 

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

 

Father Glenn’s Daily Reflection – Wednesday April 29, 2020

Readings:  Acts 8:1-8, Ps 66, 6:35-40

Dear Parish Family,

As Jesus shared the depth of His heart at the Last Supper, He said: “I tell you this so that My joy might be in you, and your joy be complete.”  He knew exactly what he was about to face later that evening and the next day.  Yet, He is talking about joy.  The same thing is happening in our first reading today from the Acts of the Apostles.  They just buried St. Stephen and now this terrible persecution is happening, and we are told: “There was great joy in the city.”

I have always been intrigued what is referred to as the “theology of martyrdom.”  We are blessed to have a lot of reflections of various martyrs as they were willingly or otherwise going off to be killed.  So often they talk about the joy of giving their life for Jesus and for their brothers and sisters in Christ.  There is a joy in the surrender, the laying down of one’s life for another.  Jesus said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend.”

 

I think we all can experience a portion of that joy as we help others, especially in this difficult time.  In the midst of this pandemic, in the midst of suffering,  I am hearing of so much joy.  “Let all the earth cry out to God with Joy.”  It is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.  Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of us Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your love.  Amen.

 

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Father Glenn’s Daily Reflection – Tuesday April 28, 2020

Readings: Acts 7:15-8:1, Ps 31, John 6:30-35

 

Dear Parish Family,

   They said that his face glowed like an angel.  The Holy Spirit was very visible in him.  And now St. Stephen becomes the first martyr as they stone him to death.  There is a darkness in our world that opposes love and life.  There is an apposing team that the Holy Spirit encounters everywhere.  It is the devil and his legions.  The same darkness and evil that we experienced on Good Friday is now evident in the murder of Stephen.  St Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, stands in the person of Jesus now and bears his cross as he is stoned to death.  Like Jesus he forgives his enemies and willingly surrenders his Spirit.  

    At the end of the story Saul enters the scene.  We are told: “Now Saul was consenting to his execution.”  Apparently from this moment forward Saul went forth on a rampage of persecution of the early Church.  That is, until the Risen Lord intervened and appeared to Saul.  Jesus said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”  Jesus makes no distinction between Himself and His Church.  If anyone persecutes His Church he is persecuting Jesus Himself.  Therefore, it was Jesus Himself standing there that day being stoned to death.  

 

    We are the living, vibrant, Mystical Body of Jesus here on earth.  It is an amazing gift and an awesome responsibility that we all have to stand in the stead of Jesus.  In good times and in bad know that He is standing with us.  Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of us Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your love.  Amen.

 

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Father Glenn’s Daily Reflection – Monday April 27, 2020

Readings: Acts 6:8-15, Ps 110, John 6:23-29

Dear Parish Family,

   In our first reading today St. Stephen is preaching the Risen Lord and he is filled with the Holy Spirit.  People heard his powerful preaching, they saw wonders performed in the name of Jesus, but they also saw something more in him.  They somehow saw that he was filled with grace and power.  They said that his face glowed like an angel.  The Holy Spirit was very visible in him.

 

    One of the gifts that I have experienced in recent years is to see, feel and recognize the Holy Spirit in people.  For better or worse I often see and sense a dark spirit in certain people as well.  Often times when the face of a horrific criminal is shown on the news I can see “darkness in their eyes.  The point is that the Spiritual realm is discernable in the here and now.  The Holy Spirit is a power that we can see and experience in ourselves and in others.  Opening ourselves daily to the Spirit is the Spiritual food and nourishment that Jesus is talking about in today’s Gospel.  It is the food that endures for eternal life.   God is both the giver and the sustainer of life, real life, the fullness of life, life eternal.  

 

    We are so blessed to have so many Spirit filled, Spirit led and Spirit giving people in our parish family. For that we give thanks and we pray, come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of us Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your love. Amen.

 

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Daily Reflection – Friday April 24, 2020

Readings: Acts 5:34-42 Ps 27, John 6:1-15

 

Dear Parish Family,

 

   Our Gospel today is the beginning of the beautiful Bread of Life Discourse.  St. John captures one of the miraculous stories of Jesus feeding a multitude of people.  These stories appear six different times in the Gospels and they all have a common theme.  A large crowd gathers around Jesus, twenty to twenty-five thousand people.  They are all hungry.  Jesus takes a small gift of bread and a few fish, gives thanks, says the blessing, breaks the bread and gives it to His disciples to give to the crowd.  They are all satisfied and fulfilled, and there are always either 7 or 12 baskets of leftovers.

 

   There is a detail in John’s account that is there, I believe, for a reason.  We are told that there is a young lad with five barley loaves and two fish, but Peter asks: “But what good are these for so many?”  That is the typical response when there is a little bread and a few fish.  What good are my meager gifts when so much is needed?  Barley bread was the food of the very poor.  So, here is a young lad carrying perhaps all that his family has to eat, and he gives it all to Jesus.  Jesus feeds twenty-five thousand people who have all that they can eat and there are twelve baskets of leftovers.  Cultural norms would dictate that the leftovers first go to the person who contributed the food. Now this poor family has more than they can eat so they must give away more than they had before.

 

   I am hearing story after story of people in our parish family helping others in need and the common theme that I am hearing is that they always receive more than they can give.  That is the lesson for the day, if we give all that we have to Jesus, our resources will never run dry, because there are no bounds to God’s love.  Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of us Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your love.  Amen.

 

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Father Glenn’s Daily Reflection – Thursday April 23, 2020

Readings: Acts 5:27-33, Ps 34, John 3:31-36

 

Dear Parish Family,

 

   For most of my life I thought of the idea of eternal life as some future time, sometimes referred to as the afterlife.  I am sure that that is how many of you think of it as well.  What God reveals to us in Scripture is in fact the afterlife, but much more.  The word in Greek is Zoe, pronounced zo ae.  There was a different word in the ancient language to describe life as we know it, i.e. biological life.  Sometimes the word Zoe is translated as fullness of life, abundant life, and sometimes eternal life.  The word can be traced to the creation story when God breathed His life breath into the clay of the earth and man became a living being.  God is the source of this life, so it is life everlasting because God is everlasting.

 

    In our Gospel today, John says: “Whoever believes n the Son has eternal life.”  Please note the present tense.  John is not talking about some future event after this life.  He is talking about here and now!  In a similar vain, St. Paul talks about “eternal life already begun in us but not yet complete.”  Being alive in the Spirit is a present reality.  Opening ourselves to the Holy Spirit is a life changing experience.  We are able to experience life on an entirely different level of reality.  It is about really living and not just existing.  It is about being filled with the gifts and fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, etc.

 

   I think we all need a little deep inner peace right now.  Remember, a virus has a finite life, it dies, but God is forever and therefore life is forever.  Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of us Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your love.  Amen.

 

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Father Glenn’s Daily Reflection – Wednesday April 22, 2020
Readings: Acts 5:17-26, Ps 34. John 3:16-21
Dear Parish Family,
Our Gospel passage today begins with perhaps the most well known and quoted verse
in all of Sacred Scripture, John 3:16. In fact our Gospel for today might be the original
good news – bad news story. The Good News sums up the Gospel, which literally means
“good news”: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that
everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.” As a little
pre-school child once told me, “It don’t get no gooder fadder.” God is love and out of
love God chose to send His Son into our world to save us! That is the Good News of all
of God’s revelation to us.
The bad news follows just two verses later: “And this is the verdict, that the Light
came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were
evil.” Love has to be free or it would not be love. We have the freedom to accept and
respond to God’s love or not. God puts before us life and death, goodness and evil, light
and darkness, and we have to make the choice. The choice of life is to open our hearts to
the life that God wants to share with us. It is really that simple, yet we are weighed down
by the pull of original sin, a force that we have to overcome. The gooder news is that
God will give us the Grace to overpower that obstacle too if we ask. So we pray, come
Holy Spirit fill the hearts of us Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your love.
Amen
In Christ

Father Glenn’s Daily Reflection – Monday April 20, 2020

Readings:  Acts 4:23-31, Ps 2, John 3:1-8

 

Dear Parish Family,

St. John the beloved disciple was a soul mate of Jesus.  St. John knew the heart and mind of Jesus and therefore the heart and mind of God as no other human person other than perhaps Mary or Joseph.  It is therefore not surprising that St. John’s Gospel is the deepest and most spiritual of all of Sacred Scripture.  As St. John writes in his later years, filled with the Holy Spirit, he is writing in the light of the Spirit.  Through Spiritual eyes he sees the reality of the Spiritual world.  From that vantage point of the Spiritual world he sees a Spiritual battle going on, a battle between good and evil, spirit and flesh, light and darkness, faith and ignorance, etc.

 

In our Gospel passage today, Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night.  He is living in darkness and searching for the light of faith.  In his searching he approaches Jesus, The Light of the World.  Jesus tells him that he must open himself to receive the Holy Spirit.  He assures him that it is only through new Spiritual sight that he will be able to see the Kingdom of God.  In that sight he will be born again.  Newness of life will overtake him and change him forever.  Like Nicodemus each one of us must open ourselves to the Holy Spirit.  Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of us Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your Love, Amen.

 

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Father Glenn’s Daily Reflection – Easter Friday, April 17, 2020

Readings: Acts 4:1-12, Ps 118, John 21:1-14

Dear Parish Family,

Our message for the day can be found, as is so often the case, in our Responsorial Psalm: “The Lord is God, and He has given us light.”  The Gospel scene is the appearance of the Risen Lord to the apostles along the Sea of Galilee.  It is now two or three weeks after the resurrection and the apostles are out fishing.  One could presume that it may have been their favorite fishing spot, perhaps where some of them first met Jesus three years earlier.  As usual without Jesus they have fished all night and caught nothing; something I can relate to!  Now with Jesus there their nets are full and overflowing, 153 large fish we are told.  Did you ever try to count a pile of flopping fish?  St. Jerome, one of the Church Fathers, and a renowned scripture scholar, taught that there were 153 known species of fish at the time, so the fish represent all of mankind, people of every race and nationality.  Jesus promised that He would make the disciples fishers of men.  

 

   The Sea of Galilee is relatively shallow and known for its turbulence.   It is a dark and murky.  So not only are the Apostles now catching men but they are bringing them out of darkness into the light of day.   The movement of faith is to move from darkness to light, from blindness to sight.  Our role as followers of Jesus is to move to the Light and bring other to the Light, Jesus, the Light of the World.

 

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Father Glenn’s Daily Reflection – Easter Thursday

Readings: Acts 3:11-26, Ps 8, Luke 24:35-48

Dear Parish Family,

 

    Our Gospel scene today takes place on that first Easter Sunday evening.  The two disciples, who were leaving Jerusalem and heading toward Emmaus, have returned and joined the community gathered in the Upper Room.  It is now dinner time and the apostles had to be mindful of the Last Supper that they had shared with the Lord just 3 days earlier.  Now there is an empty chair at the head of the table.  It had to be a sad and confusing time for them.  We are told that the doors were locked out of fear.  Now two disciples tell this incredible story that they had encountered the Risen Lord on the way.  The others recount their experience of an empty tomb and of angels in white robes.  And now the Risen Lord Himself appears to them.  As they were gathered together in His name there He was now with them again.

 

Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit on them and said “Peace be with you.”  He showed them the wounds in His hands and feet.  I once asked the question at a school Mass:  “If the Risen Lord now has this wonderful glorified body, why did He still have the wounds in His hands, feet, and side?”  A little girl answered (without being called on) “Because He wants us to remember how much He loves us!”  It was a better answer than I was looking for.

 

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Father Glenn’s Daily Reflection – Easter Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Readings: Acts 3”1-10, Ps 105. :Luke 24:13-35

Dear Parish Family,

Our Gospel today is the famous Road to Emmaus story that is unique to Luke’s Gospel. The entire Gospel of Luke is about the Road to Jerusalem. Jesus’ face is set like flint on Jerusalem, He is resolutely determined to accomplish the mission for which He came into the world, to suffer, die, rise and ascend to the Father. All of this happens in Jerusalem. Our Gospel scene takes place on that first Easter Sunday afternoon. Two of His disciples are going the wrong way, they are leaving Jerusalem. They are on a journey to Emmaus which is seven miles west of Jerusalem. In their sorrow and confusion they are going the wrong way and the Risen Lord appears, walking with them. They invite Him to stay with them and He does. Against all cultural norms of the time the invited becomes the host. He takes the bread, blesses it, breaks it and gives it to them. They recognize Him in the Breaking of the Bread, the Eucharist.

Whereas Jesus instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper, this is now the first Eucharist of the Church and the Risen Lord is the host as He is today. Moved by their participation in the Eucharist the two disciples find their hearts burning within them and they are enlightened by the encounter. Now they return to Jerusalem and join the others in the Upper Room where Jesus will appear again in the community gathered in His name. I too long for the time when we will once again gather in the name of the Lord and the Risen Lord will be the host and our hearts will burn!

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Father Glenn’s Daily Reflection – Easter Monday, April 13, 2020

Readings:  Acts 2:14-33, Ps 16, Jn 28:8-15

Dear Parish Family,

I mentioned in my homily on Sunday that one of the real anchor points of my faith is the transformation that takes place in the apostles and others that witnessed the Risen Lord.  Our first reading today from The Acts of the Apostles does sort of a fast forward to the event of Pentecost.   St Peter is beginning his famous speech.  As we have just witnessed Peter during the Passion denying that he even knew Jesus, we really see his human weakness.  He and the other were then hiding in the Upper Room that first Easter Sunday and the Risen Lord walked into the room although the doors were locked out of fear.  Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit upon them and from that moment on they were different people.  They became the bold and joy filled Apostles that became the foundation of our Church.

Perhaps our Psalm today sums up the main theme: “You will show us the path to life, fullness of joys in your presence.”  Please notice this little nuance, i.e. You will show us the path TO life, and not the path OF life.  The Light of the Holy Spirit shows us the path to the fullness of life IN the Spirit.  Then in that same Spirit we become Spirit filled, Spirit led and Spirit giving people, as the Mystical Body of Christ here on earth.

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Father Glenn’s Daily Reflection – Holy Thursday April 9, 2020
Readings: Ex 12:1-14, Ps 116, 1 Cor 11:23-26, Jn 13:1-15

Dear Parish Family,
Three weeks of social distancing for me as a single person means almost total isolation. After three weeks of solitude I strangely enough feel more connected with my parish family than ever before. The solitude has caused me to travel deeper into the heart of Jesus. In time of quiet prayer I find myself closer to the Lord than I have ever experienced. In His Heart I find myself connected to all of you. I would call it a common union or as we say Communion.
In all circumstances I always ask myself where God is leading me, where is God leading us as a community of faith. Could it be that God is leading each one of us to Himself? Sadly most Catholics admit to not having a personal relationship with Jesus. Coming from this state of solitude and contemplation, I am moved to see the coming events that we call the Triduum, the three days, the Paschal Mystery of the dying and rising of Jesus, as Jesus drawing each one of us to Himself. This call is personal and the response must be personal. He is drawing us into His Sacred Heart.
This evening we celebrate the Feast of the Lord’s Supper. We celebrate the institution of the Eucharist. The readings begin with the story of the first Passover meal. The community is gathered together to celebrate the memorial of their salvation. In our second reading from his First Letter to the Corinthians St. Paul recalls the Last Supper as described to him by the apostles who were there. Our Gospel today is John’s account of the Last Supper. Again the community is gathered together. The apostles are gathered around the table with the Lord. The occasion is the Passover Meal, only this time Jesus Himself will be the Sacrificial Lamb. He is the perfect unblemished Lamb who will be the Sacrifice to end all sacrifices.
Even though the focus is on community gathered together around the Lord, it comes down to a personal response. Jesus will put a towel around His waist and wash the feet of each one of the disciples individually. When He comes to Peter, Peter is first refusing to have his feet washed. Jesus responds, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” Jesus is saying, unless you allow me to love you, unless you allow me to wash away your sins, you will not share eternal life with Me. The gift is personal. A gift is not a gift unless it is received. It remains only an offer of a gift. Each one of must allow ourselves to be loved. We must allow God to embrace us. We must allow Jesus to wash our feet.
This evening as I celebrate the Lord’s Supper at St. Louis the King, the doors will be locked, but no one can lock the door of God’s grace. The moment Jesus died on the cross the temple veil was torn from top to bottom and that door was opened forever. No one can lock that door except you. The lock is now on your side of the door. I challenge all of you to open that door and leave it open.
You will be on the altar this evening with the Lord and I will be holding each one of you in my arms. As I hold up the Body of Christ I am holding you!

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

ParishLetter042020001

Litany of Trust
April Newsletter 2020

Father Glenn’s Daily Reflection – Wednesday April 8, 2020

Readings:  Isaiah 50:4-9, Ps 69. Mt 26;14-25

Dear Parish Family,

Our readings again today focus on the inexorable determination of Jesus to accomplish the mission for which He came into the world, to come to the hour for which He was born, the Cross; and He journeys into darkness of denial and betrayal that are in the air.

 

My prayer this morning caused me to focus on the reading for Morning Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours.  The reading is Romans 5:6-10.  The particular passage that I was called to is Verse 8: “God proves His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”  This sort of sums up the Mass readings for the day, it seems to me.

 

John Newton, the author of the song Amazing Grace, was a British naval officer who captained a ship in the triangular slave trade route that brought African slaves to the United States.  His father was an Anglican preacher and Mr. Newton became sort of a preacher of sorts while he was the chief officer of his ship.  One day as he as sitting in his father’s church he heard those words from St. Paul proclaimed from the ambo: “That while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”   He was overwhelmed by a flood of grace and he sat in that church after everyone had left and penned his famous song.  “Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.  I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see…”  John Newtown resigned his position as naval captain and began a movement that ended the slave trade.  In a flash of light he saw the sins of life, heard the voice God, felt the embrace of love and was changed by Amazing Grace!

 

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Father Glenn’s Daily Reflection – Tuesday  April 7, 2020

Readings:  Isaiah 49:1-6, Ps 71, Jn 13:21-38

Dear Parish Family,

Our Gospel scene today is the beginning of the Last Supper and the beginning of the Last Supper Discourse in John’s Gospel.  It is a story of denial and betrayal.  Judas Iscariot and Peter are the betrayers and deniers.  I can relate to both of these characters in that I have betrayed and denied the Lord often in my life.  The only difference between Judas and Peter is that Peter did not give up on himself and Judas did.  In that sense I can relate more with Peter.  Judas could not live with himself and so went out and hung himself.   He did not have faith in the power of Jesus to forgive and Peter did.  He did not have faith in the power of love and Peter did.  

 

We often think that God’s love for us has something to do with what we say or do.  It has nothing to do with that.  It has to do with who God is.  God IS love. God is mercy and forgiveness.  Nothing we can say or do can earn God’s love.  We don’t have to earn God’s love.  God’s love is before us.  Before the foundation of the world God loved each one of us.  Nothing we can say or do can change that.  A couple of weeks after His resurrection the Risen Lord took Peter aside and asked him one question, but He asked it three times: “Peter do you love Me?”  That is the only question God will ever ask us.  But He might ask it multiple times during our lives… like every moment of every day!

 

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

 

 

Father Glenn’s Daily Reflection – Saturday April 4, 2020
Readings: Ezekiel 37:21-28, Jer. 31, John 11:45-56
Dear Parish Family,
Our first reading today is a passage the immediately follows the famous Dry Bones vision
given to the Prophet Ezekiel. The prophet had a vision of a desert plain filled with
scattered dried up human bones. He sees this as his own people who had become lifeless
as they had strayed from God and turned toward idols. They were a people existing but
not really living. In cutting themselves off from God, the source of life and love and
unity and peace, they had effectively cut themselves off from each other as well. God
promised that if they turned back to him that He would once again put His Spirit in them
that they may live.
In our first reading today God’s promise goes one step further: “My dwelling shall be
with them; I will be their God and they will be my people.” Our Psalm today confirms
that promise: “The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock… He now gathers
them together. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who is with us to draw us to Himself and
gather us together. As we are like sheep now scattered on the “hillside” of social
distancing, perhaps the Good Shepherd is drawing each one of us to Himself. In doing so
He is gathering us together onto Himself. “Father may they be one as You and I are
One.”
In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Daily Reflection – Friday April 3, 2020

Dear Parish Family,

It was a dark and stormy night…  If you followed the Peanuts cartoon as I did over the years you would know that Snoopy was writing mystery novel.  Over the 50 year duration of the cartoon as far as he ever got was that opening line: “It was a dark and stormy night…” As I prayed with the daily Mass readings today I had a very deep sense of the darkness and turbulence of life at times.  We live in a world in need of healing, a world in need of a savior, a world in need of goodness, peace and love.  Jesus entered this stormy world of ours, and now he enters into the darkest days of humanity and we can feel the tension mounting in our Gospel today.  Jesus is nearing the darkness of Calvary and he is surrounded by people who are trying to stone Him to death.  

The storm is evident in our Psalm today as well.  The psalmist cries from the storm: “The breakers of death surged round about me…  My God my rock of refuge, my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”  We all need a Rock of Refuge in this turbulent world of ours.  We all need an anchor point.  Christ is that Rock!  He is the Rock of our salvation.  He is the immutable anchor that we need most especially in the turbulent times like what we are experiencing now.  The stark contrast between the empty streets of once bustling cities and the war like tumult of ground zero in New York City exemplify our need for a Savior, our need for healing.  As we journey toward the Cross of Calvary may we always be mindful of the words of Saint John Paul II, “As the word turns the Cross remains constant.”  May the Cross of Jesus, the steadfast love of God always be our Rock of refuge.

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Father Glenn’s Daily Reflection – Thursday April 2, 2020

Dear Parish Family,

In our Gospel today we have perhaps one of the most profound I AM statements of Jesus: “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.”  Jesus came into our world, sent by the Father, to reveal and mediate God’s life and God’s love to us.  He also came to reveal to us who God is and who we are as His beloved children.  In doing so, He reveals to us a world beyond the world that we can see.  “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (Is 64:4, I Cor. 2:4)   As I have shared in many homilies, several years ago I was inspired in prayer to a very profound experience of this reality.  From that moment on I see all of Sacred Scripture as the revelation of a world beyond the world that we can see right now.  Although, as we hear at the ascension of Jesus, “He was taken beyond their sight,” we still experience His presence with us.  And so we experience the world beyond with Spiritual Sight.  The timeless has been placed in our hearts by God.  We were made for eternity and so the deepest longing of the human heart is for eternal life with God.  I pray that that deep sense of immutability will get us safely through this turbulent time on earth.

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Father Glenn’s Daily Reflection – Wednesday April 1, 2020

Dear Parish Family,

Our first reading today takes place at a time when it was illegal for the Israelite people to practice their faith.  If anyone would not bow down to the pagan god of King Nebuchadnezzar they would be put to death.  Three young men, known for their colorful names, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refuse to abandon their faith and bow to a foreign god.  They are sentenced to be burned to death.  As they are seen dancing in the fire unharmed a fourth person is seen with them, one that looked like the Son of God.  Those who witnessed the scene realized the power of the one true God and witnessed that the True God was with his people.

Jesus reminds us in our Gospel today that He was sent by the Father.  He is truly Emanuel, God with us.  As I have preached many times, Emmanuel means to be in deep solidarity with us.  God is with us now, in solidarity with us.  He is closer to us than we are to ourselves.  As we journey together through this difficult time He is walking with us.  He is in the “fire” with us.  And because he is with us we will not be harmed, and we should not fear.  As long as we are united with Christ nothing can harm us or separate us from His love.  I pray that you all feel His loving presence this day and every day!   .

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Daily Reflection – Tuesday,March 31, 2020

Dear Parish Family,

As we turn toward Palm Sunday and Holy Week we start to focus more and more on the Cross of Jesus.  Our first reading today is taken from the Book of Numbers.  It is the story of the Bronze Serpent.  The people are on the journey through the desert to the Promised Land.  On the journey they are complaining about the hardships that come withthe desert; heat, lack of food and water, etc.  To make matters worse they encounter some rather aggressive little snakes with a painful bite and lethal venom.  They ask Moses to pray to God for them that He might take the serpents away.  Moses prays and although God does not take the serpents away he gives them an antidote.  He instructs Moses to make a replica of the serpent and mount it on a pole.  God promises that if the people gaze upon the lifeless bronze serpent they will live.  The literal translation of the word “gaze” means to look upon with faith.  The snakes remained and the people were still bitten.  However, to those who looked upon the bronze serpent with faith, the bite had no power over them and they lived.

In our Gospel today we are reminded to gaze upon the Cross of Jesus.  The Cross reminds us that the victory over sin and death has already been won.  All we have to do is have faith in the Crucified and Risen Lord and death has no power over us.  As St. Paul says: “O death where is your sting.”  As we journey together through this pandemic, as we move toward Holy Week may our focus be on the Crossand the Glory of the Resurrection that follows.  Remember that it is “Friday”, but Sunday is a-coming.

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Father Glenn’s Daily Reflection – Monday March 30, 2020 Dear Parish Family, Both of our readings today are centered on the sin of adultery. Our first reading today taken from the Book of Daniel is the long story of Suzanna who was attacked by two elders and then wrongfully accused of adultery and sentenced to death. God intervenes by inspiring a young man named Daniel to bring the accusers to trial. He catches them in their perjury and the innocent Suzanna is exonerated and set free. In our Gospel today the people bring to Jesus a woman caught in the act of adultery. She is sentenced to be stoned to death. They bring her to Jesus in an attempt to entrap him. Jesus bends down and writes in the sand and then straightens up and He tells them that the one among them without sin should cast the first stone. One by one they walk away. The only person to stay with Jesus is the woman caught in adultery. Jesus tells her to go and sin no more. There a lot of imagery in sacred scripture that speaks of our God that seeks to espouse us. We have a God who longs to be in a deep personal relationship with each one of us. Jesus prayed at the Last Supper, “Father may they be One as You and I are One.” There is also a lot of imagery and examples of us as being an adulterous people, a people who quickly turn from our loving bond with God and turn our hearts and minds to other people and things that attract us and pull us away from the bond of love with God. We are told at the start of today’s Gospel that Jesus came down from the Mount of Olives to the temple area. A day or two later He will be back on the Mount of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemani. There is a line in the Passion story that always struck me as a little odd: “He withdrew from them about a stones throw away.” The woman caught in adultery was about to be stoned. Could it be that Jesus took her place? In doing so did he not take our place as well? In Christ Jesus our Lord,

App Features

Daily Reflection – Friday, March 27, 2020

Dear Parish Family,

Our first reading today is taken from the Book of Wisdom.  Wisdom seems to reveal very clearly our fallen human nature.  Our reading begins: “The wicked said among themselves, thinking not aright, ‘”Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us.”’  I have often been amazed at how often criminals seem to be very comfortable in their own skin.  Somehow they seem self justified in their evil actions.  They seem to have little concern or empathy for those they have hurt, even as the pain suffering of their victims is often atrocious.  Our self-centered inward looking nature does not see aright.  We need God’s self giving love, His Grace to enlighten us. We live in a fallen world, a world in need of a Savior.

 

Our Gospel today, taken from the 7th Chapter of John, exposes a growing movement to put Jesus to death. As I was praying with the scripture this morning before I celebrated Mass, the Holy Spirit led me to Third Chapter of John’s Gospel: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” John 3:19   Wisdom highlights our fallen human nature and our need for a savior.  We need Jesus, The Light of the Word, to guide our way through this ever murky road that we are traveling.  Let us pray that Jesus will lead us through this difficult time to rise with Him to New Life!

 

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Father Glenn’s Thursday, March 26th, Reflection

Dear Parish Family,

Our first reading today is taken from the Book of Exodus.  The story takes place rather early in the journey of the Israelite People set free from slavery in Egypt and being led by the light of God to the Promised Land.  Just think of what the people had just experienced.  They experienced the saving hand of God in all of His power and might.  Think of the cataclysmic events that led Pharaoh to set the people free.  Think of the power of God opening the Red Sea for the Israelites to pass through and the engulfing of their pursuing enemies.  And now in a very short span of time they have turned from God and turned toward the glimmer of idols.  

There is an interesting exchange between Moses and God.  The Lord said to Moses, “Go down at once to yourpeople…”  In response Moses turns it back to God: “Why, O Lord, should your wrath blaze up against Your own people, whom You brought out of the land of Egypt…”  This reminds me of the older son in the Prodigal Son Parable when he replies to his father, “This son of yours…”   He refuses to acknowledge his own brother.  

We are God’s beloved children.  “I will be your God and you will be My people”

It is time to cast off idols and return to Him with our whole heart, our whole mind, our whole being.  It is a time for us to live as children of God!

In Christ Jesus our Lord,

Wednesday, March 25th,  Reflection from Father Glenn

Dear Parish Family,

Hear I am Lord, I come to do Your will!  Today we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord.  The focus is on God’s initiative in Salvation history and humanity’s response.  God announces to Mary that He is going to enter into our humanity through her, and Mary responds with her famous fiat: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to Your word.”

I wonder if Mary had other plans.  We know that she was already betrothed to Joseph of Nazareth.  I am guessing that they had made a lot of plans for the future.  Even though she was only a young girl it would seem that her future was already pretty clear to her.  And now everything is changed.

Many of our plans are at best on hold for now.  What is God asking of me here and now? Maybe the current pandemic that is affecting all of us would be a great opportunity for each of us to respond:  “Hear I am Lord, I come to do Your will.”

Mary Queen of Peace…. Pray for us!

In Mother Mary and her beloved Son Jesus,

Father Glenn

Daily Reflection – Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Dear Parish Family,

Our first reading today is that famous passage from the 47th Chapter of the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel. It is the vision of the life-giving water that is flowing from the sanctuary of the temple. The water is giving life to all in its path. It is of course the vision or visible sign of God’s life-giving love flowing into our world. The water has a beginning, a source, but is has no end. It transforms everything in its path, life sprouts forth and salt water is made fresh. It is teaming with life. The fruit is bread for the world and the leaves are the healing salvation of God. St. Paul reminds us that the Rock that Moses struck in the desert, from which life-giving water flowed, was Christ. From the Cross, the heart of Jesus was pierced for our sins and life-giving water flowed upon the world. Each one of us is being drawn to the water of life.

In our Gospel today a man crippled for 38 years is lying near the water of the pool of Bethesda. Jesus enters his life and asked him if he wants to be healed. He tells Jesus that he has no one to bring him to the life-giving water. He does not yet know that Jesus is the source of the life-giving water, the source of life and healing and love and mercy. Jesus tells him to rise and pick up his mat and walk and he is healed. One can only imagine the joy that the man must have felt to be cured after 38 years of illness. I wonder how we will feel to be set free after 30 days of isolation?

In Christ,

Pastoral Letter to Our Parish…March 22, 2020

Dear Parish Family,

It is Sunday, March 22, 2020, but somehow it feels more like Good Friday than Sunday.  A few moments ago I celebrated Mass in the solitude of my chapel at home in Flat Rock.  I celebrate Mass for you my parish family, living and deceased.  Holy Mass transcends time and space.  Heaven and Earth unite and living and dead are present, for to God all are alive, and the heavenly liturgy and our liturgy here on earth are one.  And so you are all present.  You are in my mind’s eye and in my heart.  Perhaps that is what it means to put on the heart and mind of Christ.

Although you are all present to me spiritually, it is just not the same.  We are living through an historic time, a sad historic time in world history.  I would guess that in the 65 plus years of our parish history this could be the first time that a public Mass was not celebrated on Sunday.  And so there is a deep longing in our hearts for each other as a family, a family that cares for each other, in a way that I have never experienced before.  I pray that we all experience and cherish that love for each other, united in Christ.

Lent calls us to journey with Jesus to Calvary.  If we die with Him we will live with Him.  Real death of course is separation from God, separation from love and life itself.  The real passion is the pain of separation.  Jesus must go there for us.  He must travel to the depth of God forsakenness for us.  Jesus cried out from the cross: “My God my God why have you forsaken Me.”  To put on the mind and heart of Christ, to truly journey with Him, means to unite with Him and to journey with Him into His passion and death.  That is the Good Friday that I am now experiencing.

The first Good Friday that I was with you, I told of an experience that I had many years ago on Good Friday. This was long before I was a priest.  I was in Jacksonville Florida on business.  It was Good Friday and we were trying to wrap up our meeting and head home.  It was late morning and we were still in tense mediation.  At noon I excused myself and headed out to find a church.  I came across a large church with a full parting lot and so I went in. As I found a place in the crowed church and looked around, I soon realized that I was in a Southern Baptist Church. They had just started the reading of the passion. I had never experienced such a dramatic and intense proclamation of the passion, people were sobbing and wailing.    At the end of the Passion there was silence except for the sound of sobbing.  A very short black pastor made his way to the ambo.  Wiping his eyes he said very quietly, “It’s Friday but Sunday is a coming.”  Then more silence and he said it again.  Then someone cried out “preach it brother”.  This went on for 30 to 40 minutes and it is all that he said, “It’s Friday but Sunday is a coming.”  It is all that he had to say.  He said it all.

And so I say to you today.  It is Friday but Sunday is coming.  Easter Sunday always follows the Good Friday’s of our lives.  The victory has been won.  Jesus conquered sin and death.  Two thousand years have come and gone and the tomb is still empty.  There is nothing that this world can throw at us that we cannot overcome.  But maybe we have to experience pain of separation and the darkness of the tomb before we can really experience the bright light of Easter dawn.

It certainly makes sense that social distancing is the only way to stop the spread of the virus that is invading our world.  If we stop the spread, than we stop the virus.  Like evil itself it only has the life that we give it.  Let us all pray for a quick end to this pandemic.  My prayer is that this will be the best Easter for all of us as a parish family.

Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of us Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your Love.  May Your indwelling love keep us safe and protect us from all evil.  St. Michael the Archangel defend us in battle.  Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil.  May God rebuke him we humbly pray.  And do thou o prince of the heavenly host by power of God thrust into hell Satan and all the other evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.  Amen.  Mary Queen of Peace, pray for us!

Yours in Christ,

Father Glenn

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