Saturday, October 25, 2014

Protection in our Weakness

As each day comes to a conclusion and we look back on what transpired, how we behaved, the good things we did, the things that make us cringe, and see that somehow God was present in it all, we realize that without his protection, faithfulness, forgiveness, and strength to find resilience, we would be a sorry lot indeed.  By taking time to reflect on our lives, we see what needs to be done by way of improvement but we also see how present God is, never quitting on us. even when we might want to quit on ourselves.  With his help we can pull it together as we saw in the Central Catholic vs Chelmsford football game last night.  Central was behind 31-21 with 2:44 left to go.  Pretty bleak, but in a rousing three play drive, the Raiders scored, got an onside kick, scored again along with a two point conversion, and won 35-31.  The team never gave up.  Yes, it's a football game, but a real life example of what we can do when we feel overwhelmed or even defeated by our persistent weakness.
It is when we admit our weakness that we are strong, for God's protection against our weakness is always there.
Bro. Rene

Friday, October 24, 2014

Living Worthily of the Call

In a familiar passage from his letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul urges us "to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace; one Body and one Spirit as you were called to the one hope of your call; one Lord,one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." (Eph 4:1-6). Paul's enthusiasm carries him passionately from one idea to another, quoting even a hymn, (one Lord, one faith, one baptism), and lumping everything together till he sums up the perfect pattern for a way of life and for a perfect community.  Each phrase deserves reflection and application to our own situation.  How humble,  gentle and patient  am I in dealing with myself, let alone with others?  Is there division between myself and another person?  If so, what will I do to reconcile with that person?  Do I see God as Father?  Do I allow Jesus to keep me close and give me what I need, or do I stand apart and aloof, thinking I can do it all on my own?  There is much food for thought in today's slice of bread. Let us not swallow it too quickly, but digest it slowly.
Bro. Rene

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Able to Accomplish Far More

It's normal to look at our talents and accomplishments and wish that we were capable of far more.  We're told to accept ourselves as we are and not be too hard on ourselves.  True, but even with that advice we still look for more.  St. Paul told the Ephesians that we can do more. be more, accomplish more, not by our own power, but through HIM who "is able to accomplish far  more than all we ask or imagine by the power a work within us." (Eph 3: 20).  St. Marcellin's life is can certainly attest to this, for he might in today's language be considered "an over-achiever."  He accomplished far more than what seemed to be possible for an under-educated farm boy. His legacy spans 80 countries and millions of students educated in the Marist Tradition.
Today's  Saint,  John of Capistrano also attests to the power of God's grace at work within him. Born in 1385, he was trained in civil and church law, but left this career behind to become a Franciscan friar noted for his powerful preaching.  Later the Holy See tapped his talents to handle some delicate diplomatic situations and, most amazingly, at the age of 70 to lead a crusade against the Turks at Belgrade. The campaign was successful under the flag bearing the Holy Name of Jesus and the example of this old man (70 was OLD at that time!), who is now the patron of those who work in the judicial system and of military chaplains.  Americans associate him with the California mission, San Juan de Capistrano, made famous by the return of the swallows every March 19th and the song, When the Swallows Return to Capistrano.  May we never underestimate the power of God that opens the door to unlimited accomplishments.
Bro. Rene

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Be Not Afraid

Today as we honor St. John Paul II, we recall the first words he uttered as he addressed the throngs in St. Peter's Square right after his election:  "Be Not Afraid."  He repeated this theme throughout his 28 year papacy, even to his last days.  He had learned to put his total trust in God, and certainly in Mary, our Good Mother, as he grew up in Poland, having lost his mother at an early age, and later his father.  Being so "orphaned" he learned to rely more and more on God and was never disappointed.  He studied for the priesthood secretly, and eventually was made bishop, archbishop, cardinal and pope.   What a journey!
We saw his charismatic figure everywhere, from circles of learned theologians and philosophers, to the huge gatherings of young people at the World Youth Days he initiated.  His energy was unstoppable, even after his bullet wound in 1981.  He visited 124 countries, wrote 14 encyclicals, 5 books and canonized 482 saints!
He was an evangelist, defender of life, peacemaker, promoter of authentic human freeddom and friend and inspiration of youth.  St. John Paul..pray for us.
Bro. Rene

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Jesus Wants Us!

We are familiar with the image of Jesus knocking at a door with no outside doorknob from the Book of Revelation.  It's a door that must be opened from within; only we can open it.  Today's Gospel from Luke (12:35-38) also uses the image of door as the servants await the return of the master from a wedding.  Jesus knocks, longing for the door of our hearts to open to him so that he might regale us with his present and lavish gifts.  Picture the wedding feast at Cana or the Last Supper:  the joy, the intimacy, the outpouring of his love to prevent embarrassment to the bridegroom and bride, to share his very body and blood as the food of eternal life.  How he takes care of even material needs, and more importantly, those spiritual.  We have the opportunity to feast with Jesus at every Mass we attend, but also in his daily knockings through the people and events that come our way.  How he wishes to share himself and take care of us, to feed us, to draw us into closer union with him.  May our ears and hearts be open to the knockings we hear today, and may we not refuse to open!
Bro. Rene

Monday, October 20, 2014

Not Possessions

As we live through the years to the afternoons and evenings of our lives, we begin finally to realize as Jesus admonished us:  "one's life does not consist of possessions."  Indeed, we "can't take them with us" and the question arises "what do we do with them?"   Sudden death leaves the decision to others, but not everyone can bank on that.  We can focus on what does make us happy...family, healthy relationships, enjoying the good events and people who come into our lives each day.  These are the "possessions" which count.  The more of these we have, the less we will be dependent on the material, and can find the freedom to dispose of them and pass them on to those who could use them. 
Bro. Rene

Sunday, October 19, 2014

World Mission Sunday

Collections will be taken up in parishes across the globe to supply funds for the 1,100 parishes considered to be mission parishes.  Pope St. John Paul II set the date for the collection as the second last Sunday in October, but this year it coincides with what would have been the Memorial of the North American Martyrs: St. Isaac Jogues and Companions.  Because Sundays take precedence over feasts and memorials, the Mass for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time is being used. However, their missionary spirit still serves as an example to us.  It is also the day when the Extraordinary Synod on the family ends and Pope Paul VI was beatified.  Pope Paul VI in his encyclical, Evangelium Nuntiandi set the tone for missionary work in a Post Vatican II Church.
With these powerful "mentors" giving impetus to Mission Sunday, we might consider how we can be missionaries ourselves.  The easy way is to donate to the collection, but more than that, can we live more fully the message of Jesus, by professing our faith through kindness, service to the needy, listening to others, forgiving ourselves and others and welcoming all into our circle?  We preach by example, by deed, more powerfully than by words. May we come to see ourselves as this kind of missionary as we take part in our Sunday and weekday activities.  We need to keep reminding ourselves that we too have a mission right here; we don't have to go abroad.
Bro. Rene