Thirteenth Sunday Cycle B

June 27, 2021

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Jesus healer

 

We have all been created to live forever and sometimes we can forget this, thinking that it is only today that matters.

This Sunday we focus, not only on our life today, but on the fact that God wants to continually  heal us and give us life, eternal life.

 

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The first reading from the Book of Wisdom speaks of
 God's great love for us.  

Even when we forget this and go our own way in sin God always wants to heal us.  But we have to reach out for that healing.

 

 

Jesus-healer

 

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The gospel talks of healing. The most important healing God can give us is not healing of the body, but healing us from spiritual death, sin.

 

Recall that for the people of Jesus time, the belief was that physical illness was because of sin.

Sick 1

Sick2

  Sick3

Sick4

All we need to do is to reach out to Jesus and touch Him.  We begin to reach out when we know and admit our sins, no matter how great or small and that is not always easy.  Often we want to blame someone else.  But to truly recognize our sin is when we reach out for Jesus's healing, compassion, mercy and forgiveness.

Then we can be healed and begin eternal life now.

 

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In the second reading Paul gives the Christian Community in Corinth a look at what is eternal life. That certainly involves our treatment of others. For most of us, at times, we all fail at this, and we die spiritually. We even make excuses for our sin of not reaching out to others, saying things like:

...no one would put up that person

...or that person has not got it together

...or it's not me, it's that person who drives me to sin, etc.

Week ahead

As we go through the week ahead, let's pray for the gift to see our sins, and to not blame others. Then we will be ready to reach out to Jesus for healing.

 

 

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12th Sunday ordinary time cycle B

June 20, 2021 ???

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When things are going badly...

...do we trust God?


Book of JobWe have all heard the ancient story told about Job; that he  trusted God even when things were going badly, how could they get any worse and they do.

His friends tried to convince him  that he had done something wrong to displease God and that was why he was going through all of his sufferings.


But Job did not believe them, and remained faithful to God in spite of all the problems and difficulties in his life..

We hear the words of God telling that He is in control of everything.

 

21275-stormy-ocean-1680x1050-artistic-wallpaper (1)

 

These words can help each of us in those times of suffering and difficulty.  

Do we believe that God is in control? 

St. Francis of Assisi and Saint Theresa Lisieux  both  believed that in order to find God, it was necessary to discover Him in those times of not being in control, in times of doubts, fears, difficulties, and struggles.

Certainly that was also true in the story of Job.

 

Is-Mark’s-Gospel-an-Early-Memoir-of-the-Apostle-Peter

We are given the story of when the the apostles were in a boat and Jesus had fallen asleep.  Suddenly a severe storm came up and they were terrified, thinking that they were going to to  die.

 

In our own lives the severe storms, problems, struggles, sufferings, are all around us.

Asleep

We are like the apostles, fearing for our lives when difficulties arise.  We wonder if Jesus, like in this Gospel, is asleep as we pray when our sufferings seem out of our control.

 

Disciples_jesus_storm_boat11


They awaken Jesus, who then calmed the storm and asked them why they were terrified?  Where was their faith?

 

Jesus_calms_storm-1

 

The apostles were given a good lesson in trusting the Lord even when he to seemed not to be in control of things at the moment.  Where was their Faith???

Perhaps in the storms of our lives we will come to discover that, at moments, we have very little Faith and then know that Faith is what we need to pray for.

 

2-Corinthians225x2251

 

 

Saint Paul wrote his letter to encourage the Corinthians, and this letter can encourage us when life seems so hard.

 

 

 

Like the Corinthians, we too have been called by God in our baptism.  We, too, have been made new.  

 

2cor all new

 

 

Trust

 

 

Increase-my-faith

 

What discoveries will we make

about our spiritual selves this week???


11th Sunday ordinary time cycle B

June 13, 2021

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Up until the year 597 B.C.  Ezekiel had been  the priest in the temple in Jerusalem. He was among the first of those who were taken into the Exile to Babylon. For those in Exile, he told them that the Exile was because of their sinfulness. He also gave them hope that God would not desert them.

 

Deodar-Cedar_1

He gave them words of encouragement that better days were to come. He gave the image of how God can trim the top of a giant tree and replant it.  So it would be with this failed people.

 

God-will-ever-give-up-on-you

 

That same story is true for us.  Even in our darkest moments, God will not give up on us.  He will take our difficult moments and replant them into something wonderful.  The real problem we have is that we usually want God to act right now.  We are part of an instant culture.

 

God not give up

At our Baptism we are called to make Christ present in the world, and for sure, at times, we failed, but God will never leave us.  He encourages us to begin again and again. He gives us a chance to experience His great mercy.

 

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St. Paul writes this letter to encourage the Christians of his time.  We know that God has called us and given us the gift of faith.  We are to hold on  to this gift.  

 

Paul says we need to remember that we...

...walk by faith not by sight.

God is working in all the ups and down of our lives.  Often we need to pray for the patience to allow God to work in His time and ways not ours.

 

  We-walk-by-faith-not-by-sight-i-dont-want-to-be-scared-of-living-like-Christ-2-cor-5-7

 


We are to use the events and situations that we are placed in to make God's love present to the whole world.
For sure we are called to walk by faith not by sight.

 

The-Gospel-of-Mark


The people Jesus addressed were a people who believed that the Messiah would be a political leader to lead them to freedom from Roman domination. So 
Jesus spoke in parables, using words which related to them and their agricultural mentality.

 

Parable-of-the-Sower-10-11-13-620x350


Jesus gives this parable of a sower to help us to see how God works.  As with seeds planted in the dry earth and depending on nature for water, the process was, at times slow, and God often works in our lives in the same way.

Are we willing to allow God to work

in His ways

or

will we give up on God

and try to do things our ways???

  


Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ Cycle B

June 6, 2021

 

 

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The name of this book of the Bible means coming out; it describes the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.

 

Moses was to be their leader, and God made a covenant, a pact, a promise, with the Israelites. 

He was to be the one between the people and God, to make sure that what they promised to God, to follow the various commandments and  laws of God, were followed so they would reach and obtain, the Promised Land of Canaan.

 

Blood

 

 

 

 

 

Blood, the source of life, was used to seal a covenant, a pact, a promise.  And so Moses, after the people agreed that they would follow what God had revealed to them, sprinkled blood on them to seal this covenant, pact, promise, agreement.  

 

 

 

 

 

 We know that those people broke the covenant again and again.  But God never gave up on them.  

Remember, when being taken out of slavery in Egypt, they were called to mark their door frames, lentils with blood so that death, sin, failure, etc would pass by them.

 

3-5_passover-blood-of-the-lamb

Again, and again,

God's great love and mercy for his people.

 

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Saint Paul wrote this letter to this community to reassure them that the body and the  blood of Jesus Christ sealed the covenant between God and human beings, so that sins could be forgiven and eternal life had.



Gospel of Mark

This proclamation describes the events of the Last Supper when Christ instituted the celebration of the Eucharist, the Mass, so that the sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ at Calvary, is renewed and is with us in every Mass as long as the earth exists.

 

That means that we have Christ who intercedes for each of us and continually offers his body and blood for the forgiveness of our sins. We are a part of that once sacrifice of his Body and Blood at Calvary,  the Mass...What a miracle and what a gift.

Mark-14-12-26b

 

Again, this is the covenant that God has made with each of us so that our sins can be forgiven.

 

Catholicism-post08-communion

Cup


  God will never give up on us!

His mercy is unbelievable!

 


Trinity Sunday Cycle B

Trinity sunday

May 30,2021

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After the 50 days of celebrating Easter...

We now begin, liturgically, Ordinary Time

 

 

 

 

 

Father son spirit

 

 

How would you explain the Holy Trinity?

 

By Words???

 

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By Art???

 

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or some other way??

Holy trinity sunday


We all know that the Trinity is ONE GOD

-THREE PERSONS-

FATHER

SON

HOLY SPIRIT

 

The readings for this day give us a little insight into the love for us of the Trinity, which is itself love

 

Book-deuteronomy-one-books-bible-38715902

 

In the first reading, Moses is addressing the people just before they cross over into the promise land.

 

 

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He assures them that God will give them a land and calls them to be faithful to the One God.  

 

Sometimes, like the people in the scripture, it is so easy to forget or to really appreciate   God's love for us humans.  The Trinity is love and that love is given to each of us.

 

  Romans


In the second reading we see how much God loves each and everyone of us.  He calls us His child, His children.

We can always call out to Him, ABBA, Father.

 

Romans 8-15

 

His love, making us a child of God, is the greatest gift we could possibly receive, and along with Eternal Life.  

Wow!  

What love.  

He will never give up on us.  

We can call out to Him again and again.  

ABBA, Father.

 

He will always welcome us back to Him with mercy, compassion, and forgiveness, after all each of us are His Child.

 

Matthewgospel

Jesus gives his followers a mission.

 

 

Commissioning

 

That same mission is given to each of us.

 

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Each of us, at our Baptism, was commissioned to go out to the world and let others know of God's great love, the love of the Trinity, that we are to make present in the today's world.

  Go make

For most of us, our actions speak louder than our words.  It is amazing what a smile can do, or opening the door for someone, or saying thanks, or offering help,or just saying a few words to a stranger, etc.

These are only a few of the ways of making God's love present to others.  

Of course we need to pray for the gift and courage to make the unconditional love of God, even to the stranger, even to the enemy, present to all we daily encounter.

 

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We are now in... 

Ordinary time

 

 

 

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Pentecost Sunday Cycle A B & C

May 23, 2021

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  Pentecost sunday label

 

For some fifty days we have been daily celebrating the Resurrection of the Lord, Easter.  In spite of our times of spiritual failure, the Lord has shone us that death, sin, has been overcome.  There is always a way to find forgiveness and to once again move toward the gift given freely to us, eternal life.  So, why wouldn't we celebrate for some fifty days? 

Alleluia, Christ is Risen.  

Pentecost will end this season of Easter as the Paschal candle, the sign of the Resurrected Christ, is removed from its place in the sanctuary, and on Monday we begin the season of Ordinary Time.

  

 

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The first reading tells of the Holy Spirit coming in a mighty wind from heaven and then tongues of fire that  would change the lives of those in the room when it happened.

 

The Apostles did not really understanding what had happened to Jesus. In spite of all they heard, experienced or been told, they were filled with doubt and fear.

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The rough times in our lives that cause doubt and fear can seem like a strong wind,  and often it is only in retrospect that we recognize God, the Holy Spirit was working in our lives.

 

The psalm that we sing on this Sunday reminds us to always ask for the Holy Spirit, especially in those times when we doubt what God is allowing in our lives

Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.

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Come Holy Spirit

The words of this chant can be prayed over and over as a way asking for the Holy Spirit.

 

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In the second reading, Paul writes to the Corinthian community and tells them that they all have received gifts from the Holy Spirit and they are to use them to make God present in the world.  

Each and everyone of us has been given gifts to use to make God present, but how hard it seems at times to see our gifts.  They can be the most simple things like patience, forgiveness, compassion, a willingness to listen, a word of support, a smile and a "hello" even to a stranger, going out of our way for the other, even when it is not convenient, etc.

But we often think to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit is something spectacular.

Rarely, does God let us see the gifts we possess. And sometimes we even don't believe we have any of the gifts of the Spirit. What a lie.

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Recognize that Jesus comes to us often, saying, " Peace be with you."

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We hear this in the Gospel, and also that we are being sent into the world everyday and in every situation to make the mercy of God present to all we encounter.  Even in the most trying time and situation, we can pray that we will recognize Jesus is with us, giving us peace and the promise of the Holy Spirit, but like those in the the readings, we must wait. 

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Let's hope this Pentecost will be, for each of us, a time to see the Holy Spirit inspiring us in all the events in our lives.

The Spirit is there even showing us our sins and giving us courage, time after time, to seek God's mercy and forgiveness, which will always be there.

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Here are the words to the Sequence we will hear before the reading of the Gospel.  They can be another source of courage for each of us.

Sequence – Veni, Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!

Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.

You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul’s most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;

In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.

O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!

Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.

Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.

On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your seven fold gift descend;

Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen.
Alleluia.

 

 

Pentecost will end this season of Easter as the Paschal candle, the sign of the Resurrected Christ, is removed from its place in the sanctuary, and on Monday we begin the season of Ordinary Time.

 

Ordinary time

 

 

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THE ASCENSION Cycle B

Celebrated the Ascension on Sunday May 16, 2021

 

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As we look at the readings for the Ascension, let's try to place ourselves in the mindset of the Apostles. They do not understand why Jesus has to suffer and die. That is not what they expected the Messiah to have to go through. The Messiah was to take away all their worldly problems, solve all the political problems of that day; to rid them of the Roman control and to become a political leader.
Review the Readings

I find myself, at times, in the same mindset, especially when God does not work in my life as I think He should. No more problems, no more conflicts, no more...etc.

 

Acts 1 1-11

This first reading was  to remind those early Christians of the promise of the Holy Spirit, who would  give strength and courage.  

Why do we fear?

Why do we doubt?

 

It is so easy to forget, or to not believe, that we  too, have been given that same promise.  

So we can, at times, just wait around for God to work as we expect Him to act.

A good reminder for us are the words of the angel to those watching the Ascension of Jesus,

"Why do you stand there looking up?"

 

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Don't we do the same thing when we find life difficult, and when God does not seem to work in the way we expected?

 

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Paul's letter is his prayer for the early Christians; that they would become more  open to how God works, even in suffering and persecution.  You

That prayer is also for each of us, especially when life presents us with people and situations that are difficult and are not what we expected.  

So again...

Why do we fear?

Why do we doubt?

 

 

Mark 16:15-20
The Gospel let's the Apostles and us know that we have been sent to make Christ present in the world, to bring...

...His mercy,

...His compassion,

...His patience,

...His understanding

...to all, even to the enemy.

 

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Why do we, at times, doubt?

 

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"I am with you always," He says.

 

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Alleluia, Christ is Risen!

 

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Go into the world of our daily life!

Make Christ present!

 

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Sixth Sunday Easter Cycle B

May 9, 2021

 

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  6th Easter

 

 

 

 

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At the Last Supper Jesus talks with his Apostles.

What were they talking about???

 

The answer is ...

Love

Sometimes we think only in worldly terms as to what it means to love.  We all know how easy it is to love the person we respect, or the person who looks nice and dresses well, or the person who goes along with what we think and believe.  

Right?

 

  Bible readings

But this Sunday's readings challenge us to move in another direction;  to love those outside our own comfort zone.  

This is something that at first seems impossible.

 

Acts

In the first reading we hear of Peter going out of his comfort zone.

Shortly before this reading, he has had a vision, showing him that what God has made clean he must not reject.  This was dealing with what his Jewish background taught him about food.

 

 

 

 

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Peter now goes to the household of a Gentile, a non Jew, Cornelius, a Roman centurion. Everyone knew that you do not associate with these unclean gentiles, yet Peter goes to speak with this household, much as Jesus associated with the dirty, the gentiles and the sinner, with everyone.

 

Peter experiences the great faith that Cornelius, a gentile, and his household have and Peter sees that they are to be baptized.

 

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What a change from what the Jewish traditions of the first Christians insisted upon that you have to follow the Jewish religious laws. It is interesting that this became a dividing point for the primitive Church.  

The Christians who have converted from Judaism were insisting that gentiles who want to follow the Christian way, must first become Jews and follow Jewish ritual.  

 

In fact, the first Council of Jerusalem gathers and were inspired to say no to this idea.  

Council jer

All could become Christian and follow Christ without becoming Jews.  This change must have been difficult for many, just as today we have seen that changes are difficult for many.  

But the Holy Spirit continues to lead the Church, now as it did in primitive times.

What a great example of showing love to those gentiles, that in the Jewish society of the time, were considered unclean and rejected.

 

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In the second reading St. John, tells the community that it is this love that Jesus has given them that makes God present in the world.  That love is to be for everyone, even the enemy, even the one who wants to destroy us, whether physically, mentally, or spiritually.  That becomes the real challenge for all of us.

 

 Video Clip on the Gospel..Rev. Greg Friedman-Franciscan

 

 

John 15

In the Gospel reading, which is part of the discourse that Jesus gave at the Last Supper, speaks of love and how important that is for his followers.  He demonstrated with his Passion and death, what this love really is.  A love that to the world would seem ridiculous; love to all, even the enemy.  

 

You can't be serious!

How is this possible for us?  

 

We live in a world much like that of the primitive Church, in the respect of thinking that it is stupid to die for the enemy.  

Certainly, many could not understand how Jesus, after hours of suffering could forgive and love those who were the enemy.

Love-your-enemies

Yet, Jesus clearly says that He has chosen the Apostle, and also us, to make this love present in the world even today.  

 

To die for the other may not be a physical dying, but a psychological dying.  

To show compassion, forgiveness, mercy, tolerance, patience, etc, can at moments, be ways for us to die for the enemy, e.g. the one we find difficult at the moment.

 

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For sure, there will be moments we fail at this love, but the way to grow in this direction is to recognize that we don't love the enemy, and not to just dismiss the lack of love by thinking, well, no one could love in this way, after all, I am not Christ.  

But wait one moment.  In our baptism we, like the Apostles at the Last Supper, are called to make God present in the world by the same love that Christ demonstrated.

Body of christ

When we fail, and we will at times, but it is important to continue to pray for our own conversion, so that on our deathbed we can forgive and love even the ones who have hurt us.

We can and will do this because....

 

Christ is Risen, Alleluia

Christ is Truly Risen, Alleluia

 

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Fifth Sunday of Easter Cycle B

May 2, 2021

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Fifth Sunday of Easter Cycle B

 

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Acts 8:26-31
This reading deals with Saul, later to take the name of Paul, and his trip to Jerusalem several years after the death of Jesus Christ.

 

 

We have all heard the story about the conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus.  

The-conversion-of-st-paul-1528

 

It is important to remember that, as a youth, Saul (Paul) studied Mosaic law and he did become a rabbi.

 

We know, too, that he persecuted the early Christians, and thought that Christianity needed to be overcome.

Stpaul

 

He began preaching Christianity after his conversion, and finally went to Jerusalem to join up with the disciples.
Needless to say, the disciples of Christ were all afraid of him because of his persecution of Christians in the beginning, before his conversion.


This certainly is a story of conversion, and also a story of how God can work in each of our lives today.  At times we may think it is impossible for us to change, and that's exactly what they thought of St. Paul.

Conversion

All of us can have sins and failures in our lives, and we may even get to the point of thinking that we will never change, never convert.


But the story of Saint Paul is also a story for each of us to give us courage.  We all know that nothing is impossible with God.

 

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This letter, written to the early Christian communities gives us, today, the same message... that our Christian faith is not just not just in our words, but is must be also in our actions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Are we able to love the one who is difficult or seems impossible to deal with, in other words, the enemy?

 

 

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The gospel reading is an excerpt from the farewell address that Jesus delivered at the Last Supper on the eve before his death.
His words were to encourage and help them to persevere after his Passion and Death.

He encouraged them to stay close to his teachings, and in effect to stay close to him.

 

 

VINE

That same message is for each of us, especially in those moments that we are taking in with the ways of the world, which say that the most important thing is to think of ourselves first.

Me

However, we all know that the message of Jesus Christ is to love the others as ourselves, which is not the message of the today's world.

Jesus gave his disciples the image of the need to stay connected to Him and to his teachings.  He is the vine and we the branches.

John-15-5-vine-and-branches2

 


Jesus was willing to give his life for the other, and that same call comes for each of us every day, even when we are dealing with difficult or even impossible people.


We are called to love the other with our patience, our understanding, our compassion, our forgiveness, even to the enemy.

 

 

Love enemy

This is a good time for each of us to look and see in the events that happen today; are we staying connected to the vine with our love for the other or have we separated ourselves and are only thinking of ourselves first?

For sure, there will be moments we fail at this, but that is not the time to give up.  It is a time to pray for our own conversion, our own wake up call.

 

Fifth Sunday of Easter Cycle B

 

 

 

Video Clip on the Gospel...Fr. Greg Friedman...Franciscan

 

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Fourth Sunday of Easter-Cycle B


April 25,2021

 

 

4th-Sunday-of-Easter
Good Shepherd Sunday

 

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Sometimes when we see our own stubbornness, our own selfishness, our own sin,

it is difficult to believe that God will not get us or punish us.  

Yet that is so far from the truth.  

He often allows things that will bring us back to His Love.  

We can look at how much he loves us and, that means everyday and in all situations and difficulties.  

Unbelievable?  But true.

 

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In the second reading we are hear  what the early Christian community was told, as we are today, that we are always loved by God and our Baptism made us His children.  

 

We may at times, need to pray for the grace to believe this, especially  when we are faced with having to carry the cross, facing a difficulty in our life.

 

 

I remember well when my spiritual director told me that the crosses in my life were God kissing me, and I remember asking him to tell God not to kiss me so much.  But as I look back on what were difficulties, what were the things I rejected, the crosses, at the time, now they seem to make sense and I can see that God was calling me to see who I really was and that He does deeply love me .

 

Photo Apr 19, 5 10 23 AMIn the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Peter is addressing the crowd after they had seen the crippled man from birth cured.  Peter tells them that it was through Jesus, the promised messiah,  that the crippled was cured, yet few of them can believe.  They wanted a messiah who was a political figure, one who would make life easy for them.  

Aren't we the same at times?

We want a messiah who will take away all our problems and struggles.


Rejected stone

 

The crosses that we reject may well be  the corner stone of our lives.

That should help us to look at what we reject.  

Perhaps that rejection is trying to show us something about ourselves.  

Do I really believe that God is looking out for me;  that he is the Good Shepherd coming finding  me? 

Maybe the answer at this moment is no.  

I don't trust and I am not sure that at times  I believe.  

 


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The gospel was written for a people who knew about sheep.  They knew how stubborn they could be.

 

 

 

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Yet, in spite of the stubbornness of the sheep, the Good Shepherd will always seek the lost one, the stubborn one, the one wanting to be on his own, and at times that is each of us.   

 

 

 




 

 

 

In every event, He is seeking us out.  

That is easy to accept when all is well, but how difficult it is when the problems appear and are rejected by us.

Wasn't that true for those who could not believe the messiah had to carry the cross, suffer and die? 

 

Photo May 02, 1 30 33 PM
Amazing that God will never give up on us.

He is constantly seeking us out.  

How stubborn are we today?

No matter, He is seeking us out

 

Alleluia, Christ is Risen

Alleluia, truly Christ is Risen 

 

 

 

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Video Clip Fr. Greg Friedman Franciscan