Sunday, October 17, 2010

Needing Help

The lectionary is constructed so that for Sunday's the first reading goes with the Gospel. Usually this connection seems fairly obvious. In today's reading this is not so clear.
In the gospel we have the story of the unjust judge, and the first reading a battle.
One connection can be seen if we start with the opening line, Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity to pray always.
Do I really need to pray ALWAYS? Why?
There's where the first reading comes in. What figure in the Old Testament is greater than Moses?
And yet in today's first reading he needs help. By the end of the reading he cannot stand on his own two feet, literally. He has to sit on a rock. Aron and Hur have to hold his arm up for him.
In the New Testament even Christ did not carry his cross alone.
Of all God creatures is there any other that develops more slowly than us. We now know that the brain is not fully developed until 25. How old are we before we can take care of ourselves?
We start life lying in a bed needing someone to feed us and change our diapers and if we live long enough we end up the same way. And the thought of that terrifies most of us. We think of it as a fate worse than death.
But why?
Because we've bought the lie—The great lie of independence.
God built us to need Him and to need others.
"It is not good for the man to be alone."
We are created in the image and likeness of God who is one, but also three.
We must pray always because we are always in need of help. The food I eat, grown by someone else. The clothes I wear, made by someone else. How many people does it take to produce the electricity that powers all my stuff, and bring it to my house and keep it working?
None of us can function our own.
Most of all I need God, all day every day, who gives me life.

The woman in the gospel kept going back to the judge because she knew she needed his help. She could not do it on her own.
Are we constantly aware of our need for God.

Pray always

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Make a choice

The section Paul's letter to the Galatians we are reading now can come across as a Conde,nation of the Jewish faith. What Paul is really saying to the people is that they must decide. They cannot live with a foot in each world choosing from the old and new covenant the parts which seem to hem more attractive. If they want to be Jews then they are bound to the Torah in its entirety. If they are going to follow the new covenant in Christ then they must trust completely in it. But the bottom line is that they must make a choice.
Do we truly trust in Jesus Christ? Do we trust that his kingdom will come? Do we trust that in the end God wins? Do we trust that God's justice will prevail?
If we do, then why so much talk of stress?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

God works in mysterious ways

Today we celebrate Our Lady of the Rosary. No other prayer is more associated with Catholics throughout the world. While praying of the rosary has fallen off in some places, something curious has happened. Several people who work in the education field have reported seeing non-catholic young people wearing the rosary like jewelry, with no idea what it means.

While our gut reaction may be to see this as a sign of disrespect, perhaps it is something else. Each of us is created with a soul and a conscience that knows God, even if we try to deny that truth. The "image and likeness of God" in us draws us toward not just some abstract notion of God, but toward a relationship with God and all that is part of the larger spiritual reality we call the kingdom of God.

When I see a kid wearing a rosary, oblivious to its meaning, at least on a conscious level, I recall the mustard seed.

On this feast of our lady may we Catholics rediscover the power of this devotion, and may every rosary carried or worn this day be an instrument of God's grace, causing the mustard seed no matter how small to grow into a true faith.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

No perfect Church

The first today reminds us that there never has been a moment in the history of the church when it was perfect. We say it is one, holy catholic, and apostolic; but we have never claimed perfection. This did not however keep Paul from going to the hierarchy of the church at the time, to be sure that the gospel he was preaching was correct.

There has always been struggle within the church, because it is filled with people. Rather than making me disillusioned it only serves for me as more proof that ultimately it is the Holy Spirit who guides us, and has held us together despite our best efforts to tear ourselves apart.

The struggle can be good. It can help us to clarify what we believe. And it will probably continue until the moment when we reach perfection in heaven.

- Fr. Wayne

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The more things change....

Many of us are familiar with the French saying, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." Most often it is said with a sense of resignation, and cynical hopelessness. In today's first reading we see, however, how something or someone can remain fundamentally the same and yet change.

Paul describes his former life of persecuting Christians as one driven by extraordinary zeal. We might call him today a fanatic. What is worth noting is that God did not remove this quality from his personality he simply redirected it. Paul remained to the end of his life as zealous as he ever was. The zeal was simply redirected.

The same is true with each of us. The more we come to understand the human person, the more we come to understand that we are not infinitely malleable Our basic personality stays the same. This does not mean however that we have permission to simply throw up our hands and say,"Well, that's just the way I am."

Are you a person who sees every little mistake? Then perhaps that attention to detail can be turned to seeing the presence of God in every little thing, or offered to assist people who find detail oriented work overwhelming, helping the needy deal with the mountain of forms they often have to fill out to get assistance.

Do you find yourself on the phone constantly gossiping? Maybe that talkativeness needs to be directed to the good, and you should be in charge of the phone tree.

Today's first reading offers us an opportunity to look at our own personality and ask which of our basic personality traits do we still need God's grace to redirect.

Will change happen overnight? Probably not. Will we find ourselves slipping back into old patterns? Probably, from time to time. But with time and grace, conversion will happen.

Monday, October 4, 2010

St. Francis

Today we celebrate the memorial of St. Francis. It strikes me as providential that this year this feast coincides with the opening of the supreme court. For the virtue of justice, when I studied canon law, we had ulpian's definition drilled into us:The perpetual and constant will to give to each person their right(ius sum).
We often hear People say, "justice is blind." It should be remembered that the first depiction of justice as blind only dates back to the 16th century, in Switzerland. In the Catholic tradition the role of the judge is not mere referee but the one who is charged with knowing the law and applying it to each case before him/her, recognizing that no two cases are absolutely identical. From the Catholic perspective plaintiffs and defendants are not interchangeable widgets. Each person from the moment the are conceived is a unique creation of God whose life is by its very nature holy, and to be respected.
Today's saint was one who could see the sanctity of every human life that stood before him. May our justices have that same wisdom and true insight as they carry out the awesome task with which they are charged.

- Fr. Wayne

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Guardian Angels

After a few incredibly busy days, I'm back.
If someone asks where are guardian angels in the Bible, the clearest answer is found in the gospel.

In the gospel of Matthew we read "Beware that you don't despise a single one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father.*

The Church continues to teach not just a belief in angels in general but in guardian angels specifically, purely spiritual beings whose role it is to watch over us.

I would simply remind you of the simple prayer:

Angel of God, My Guardian Dear to whom God's love commits me here.
Ever this day be at my side to light and guard and rule and guide. Amen.