Friday, April 30, 2010

Finally in Jerusalem and real internet

We are finally in Jerusalem and have real internet. When I get back I will have to post a series of entries to talk about the previous days.  Today as always was a whirlwind.  We started off in Cana at the place Jesus first miracle.  The most surprising piece was to see what a wine jar of the time would have looked like.  Nothing like what I would have imagined. Then we end the day at the house of Caiphus.
I continue to play for the people of both my parishes and other friends at each site.  Today in Bethlehem I picked up crosses for all the children making their first communion as well.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cana and Nazareth

Would be blogging but expensive Internet here. Look for full reports when I return.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The welcoming of the Gentiles

It is easy for us as 21st Century Christians to fail to appreciate the historic significance of where we are in the reading of the Acts of the Apostles.  Throughout the life of Jesus and until this point in the story what we now call Christianity was merely a sect of Judaism with no sense of being or ever becoming a unique religion of its own,  and no desire on the part of many disciples change. The idea that the gentiles would ever "take over" was crazy.

To understand the mixture of feelings in the community, we have only to look at the feelings of Catholics in the US as the Catholic Church shifts from being white western European, or European, to Latino or Hispanic.  On the one hand parishes are glad to have the numbers, on the other hand the lose of control, change in language and custom causes great anger and confusion.  I recently read an article about angry parishioners in Pennsylvania going so far as to call the closing of Eastern European Catholic Churches as "ethnic cleansing." Nevermind  the fact that the churches in question are all but empty and there is no new way of immigrants from those countries to fill them. Such logic is lost.

In our heads we can quote the gospels about love and unity, but in our hearts the desire to cling to  what we think is rightfully ours takes over.  We forget that it is not "our Church" or even less "my Church"  The Church belongs to God and in every time and place it changes according to his will.
 The Hebrew church Jesus founded transformed into the Greek speaking, and later into the Latin based church we think of in the US as the predominately Latin Rite Roman Catholic Church, the Holy Spirit continues to transform us, until the return of Christ.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I will not reject anyone who comes to me

Of the changes to the English translation of Mass coming, among the most surprising may be the change of the text for the consecration of the wine "for you and for all" will become "for you and for many."
The reality is that the Latin has not changed. It was always "pro multis." Some mistakenly will see in this a sense of Jesus not dying for all, or the church rejecting some. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In reality it is an acknowledgement of free will. While Christ rejects noone, but there are those who can and will reject God. Our relationship with God is one of love and love can never be forced. It must be freely given and accepted.
Christ died for the salvation of all and we
pray that all will accept that gift.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

whoever comes to me will never hunger

As many of you know, I own a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, they are a beautiful breed of dog, with only two problems that I have encountered in these 10 years. The first is that they shed incessantly, messy but not deadly. The second problem is that they will, if allowed, eat incessantly, literally until they become so obese they die.  As  his master I control what he eats because he can't. He lacks the gifts of intellect and will God has given to us as human beings.

Reports now suggest that 1 in 3 children in the US are overweight or obese, and as of January 2009 the number of obese Americans actually exceeded those who are merely overweight. This usually gets addressed from either a physical or mental health perspective, but I would suggest that there is a spiritual component as well.

We try to fill the spiritual void in our life with food, when it is an anthropological fact that human beings are spirit and matter, body and soul; and only there is a void in us that can only be filled by God. We need to fill it with prayer, we need to fill it with the grace of the sacraments especially the Eucharist.

In today's gospel Jesus states as simple fact "whoever comes to me will never hunger."  The problem is some people read this as a once in a lifetime event.  The reality is that we have keep coming to him, keep asking "Give us this day our daily bread."  Like the manna in the desert the people were required to go back day after day to be fed by God.

The next time we reach of the physical food we don't need stop, and ask yourself, "Would I be better of just taking a minute to pray for spiritual food?" Unlike the dog, we have the intellect to know the truth and the freedom to choose rightly.

Friday, April 16, 2010

It's Back

I've been away for to long. I was reminded that it was time to get back to the blog. Stay tuned for regular posts.