Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Man in natural state

the natural man does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God

Some philosophies of the past exalted the "natural man", "the noble savage". In today's first reading, St. Paul reminds us how the gospel runs contrary to our natural inclinations. There are certain survival instincts that are hard wired into us. they served primitive man well. We seek to avoid pain. We seek our own protection and defense. We seek sex to propagate the species. We repeat things that are pleasurable.
In themselves these things are not evil, but misdirected or unchecked they lead to sin. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and properly directed they lead us to God.A true Christian at times must sacrifice pleasure and embrace pain; puts other ahead of self and reserves sexuality for the sacred bond of marriage. All these are contrary to the natural inclination and require the grace of God.

- Fr. Wayne

Location:N 25th St,Richmond,United States

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lord, I love your commands

Which of us likes to be told what to do?
One of the first words we learn to say as children is NO and we cry when we can't have what we want. We call it independence, or freedom.
The paradox of the gospel is that we are created for union with God, and the only true path to freedom is surrender,"thy will be done." Only by coming, not only to accept what God commands us to do, but to embrace it and love it do we find freedom that gives us lives of peace and joy.
God built us and only God knows precisely how the body mind and soul are meant to work in union with grace and the Holy Spirit to produce the perfect result, the peace of Christ which is beyond all understanding.

- Fr. Wayne

Sunday, August 29, 2010

God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor.
The refrain from today's responsorial psalm.
You can't turn on the news these days without seeing news about housing and the economy. We are blessed at St. Patrick's to be in a neighborhood that is experiencing a revitalization. While we celebrate, not just the psalm but the gospel today reminds us that we cannot loose sight of the poor in our midst.

All to often revitalization in reality means displacing the poor as the housing in the neighborhood is replaced with housing that they can no longer afford to live in. We confuse the criminal with the poor and we mistakenly believe that to rid the neighborhood of one we must rid the neighborhood of the other.

We pray for the poor, but our prayer is reminiscent of the rabbi in Fiddler on the Roof. When asked, "Rabbi, is there a blessing for the tsar?", he responds, "May the good Lord bless and keep the tsar (pause) far away from us."

We should never forget that St. Patrick's was founded by poor, unwelcome, Irish immigrants.

- Fr. Wayne

Location:N 25th St,Richmond,United States

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Holy and Sanctified

From my childhood growing up as a non-Catholic I remember hearing the phrase "holy and sanctified" and it was often used in a somewhat mocking tone in reference to our Pentecostal Holiness brothers and sisters. As we see. In today's first reading, Paul addresses his 1st Letter to the church in Corinth "to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy."
It is worth noting that he speaks of sanctification in the past tense,"have been sanctified" and then looks forward with "called to be holy."
We are sanctified by the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ which we are full participants in by virtue of our baptism.
Paul's instruction to us is, then act like it. We are "called to be holy." This call to holiness is a daily call to every Christian. It must be rooted in prayer, daily conversation with Christ, that will then direct our actions.
Being holy doesn't mean constant seriousness and lack of fun. On the contrary, when we truly understand the incredible gifts God has given us we can find beauty joy and fun all around us and we can live stress free. Email lasts for ever. Practically every phone has a camera, and google logs your every search. But if you're living a holy life it doesn't matter. Holy and Sanctified and Happy.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Catholics know the Bible

There is this mythology that Catholics don't know the Bible. The Catholic liturgy is replete with texts from the Bible. In fact almost every word said at Mass is a Bible quote and our lectionary cycle insures that hear not just the parts of the Bible we like the most but the parts that challenge us as well. Even the simple greeting at the beginning of mass is taken from those used by Paul in his letters, as in today's first reading.
Knowing chapter and verse numbers is not what makes us better Christians, but living the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

-Fr. Wayne Ball

Monday, August 9, 2010

Slippery Slopes of morality

Today we celebrate the memorial of St. Teresa Benedicta neƩ Edith Stein. Born to a Jewish family in what was then part of the German Empire, she converted to Christianity and entered the Carmelite order.
The National Socialists Party came to rise in a time of political and economic crisis, and slowly without most ordinary Germans being aware developed into what we think of when we hear the word Nazi. Their initial steps seems reasonable and logical.
They did not begin by exterminating Jews. They began to slowly redefine who was really German.
In the end being born in the empire was not enough to make her German, and by their new strict standards her baptism did not make her Christian. Slowly over time they had refined German to mean only people like them, and in their eyes she was a filthy Jew foreigner. She was picked up, deported and died in the concentration camp at Auschwitz.
Today we turn to St Teresa and pray that through her intercession every shadow of racism may be eradicated from our world.