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Something is Happening

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Every Pentecost Sunday the most compelling of the three readings for me is Acts 2:1-11 These slow-to-get-it, doubtful and frightened Apostles received the Holy Spirit as tongues of fire and became Courageous. Something Happened.

The Apostles had one native language when they left the upper room to speak to the crowds, who were from many nations with different languages, but everyone who heard the Apostles understood each word that was proclaimed.
Something Happened.

Lately in America, doesn’t it feel like we’re speaking a foreign language to more and more of our neighbors?   Doesn’t it feel like in the era of more diverse ways to communicate,  our communication with each other is breaking down and failing?

Changing definitions for generations-old established words and totally invented new words are leading to divisions. People talk while simultaneously scrolling social media,  which means that attention is divided and this leads to misunderstandings.  Our families, neighborhoods, communities, country lost the ability to talk civilly with those we don’t agree with. We all can name people in our lives who no longer speak to each other, and we are increasingly divided. Something Happened

We could spend hours dissecting and theorizing the “why’s.” We could point to politics, social issues, media, and technology. Pointing fingers and straining to pinpoint the exact event or time that it fell apart and place blame is a waste.

This is not that complicated. America is no longer a Christendom. And we Christians often stay silent rather than proclaim Christ’s message of repentance, redemption, forgiveness, and love.

The antidote to Anger and Hate is Forgiveness and Love. Jesus proved this as He died for our sins on the cross. We who are followers of Christ must speak as we are able and trust that the Holy Spirit will give us the words that allow others to hear. We who are followers of Christ , when faced with a debate about some divisive topic, must talk about Christ and proclaim His message. It begins with talking with those closest to us.  We must find courage to Cross the Great Divide. (“Cross” reference intended).

What happened in Jerusalem on that first Pentecost was a miracle; born of the Holy Spirit to bring the Resurrection and Truth of Jesus Christ to the world.

Come Holy Spirit. Give us all the Courage to Make Something Happen.

 

A Mother's Love

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You can never repay a mother’s love.

While it may not occur as often as we would like, there are some homilies we never forget. For me, one of these homilies was given by Fr. Ken Omernick, pastor of St. Charles in Hartland. His opening words were: You can never repay a mother’s love.

It’s true, our mothers do so much for us that it is impossible to repay them. They give us life itself, nurture and raise us, support us, perhaps most importantly, worry for us and give us a glimpse of what unconditional love is.

That is why when I heard from Fr. Ken that I could never repay my mother for her love, a lightbulb went on in my head. Because I had been trying to repay her, I bought gifts, dinners, flowers, chocolate, all trying to repay the debt, to get even, but nothing I did ever seemed to bring me closer to that goal of repaying my mother for her love.

Mothers provide a revelation and experience of God no other person can provide: being loved by someone unconditionally and whose love I did not earn or deserve, but is freely given. A love that cannot be paid back. Mothers in a unique way give us the love of God. In this mother-child relationship they prepare us to receive the unconditional love of God himself, which can also never be repaid. Mothers prepare us for relationship with God.

Which is why it is fitting to celebrate Mother’s Day in the month of May which is dedicated to our heavenly mother Mary. Sadly, some of us may not have had a mother as we would have hoped. A broken world will have broken mothers, if we never experience the unconditional love of a mother, we will never fully receive the unconditional love of God. We will spend our life trying to repay, to get even with God. Our relationship with Him will always be transactional.

So God gives us a mother, his very own, Mary. Who loves us as only a mother can do, unconditionally, without our deserving of it. That is why Mary is so important in our Faith and in our life, she prepares us for God. The more we grow in our relationship with Mary and our love for her, the more she will lead us closer to God. Mary provides us the unconditional love of a mother we may not have had in our own life.

This is the love we celebrate this weekend. Whether we receive this love from our biological mother or our spiritual mother, the love is same. A love that is life giving, nurturing, supportive, sacrificial, unconditional, and maybe even with a touch of worry, in short, we celebrate a mother’s love, a love that can never be repaid.

 

in Hope, Joy, Jesus

The Joy of Easter

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How is your Easter going? Are you still celebrating the joy of this season?

Sometime I think we, as a Catholic church, don’t put enough emphasis on the Easter season. The same is true of the Christmas season. We put so much emphasis on the preparation, the repentance, the waiting of the purple seasons. We fill our calendars to the brim with ways to engage Lent, to dive in and dig deep. And then the Day comes – Easter, Christmas – and it’s over and wrapped up like a wedding day. No more programing. No diving in or digging deep together. Just life as usual, as if nothing happened. As if nothing changed. As if we hadn’t changed.

That’s not the way it is supposed to be, right? Lent is not more important than Easter. But the way we engage the two would suggest that it is. We only “do” Lent for the purpose of better “doing” Easter. We practice repentance to allow our hearts and spirits to more fully embrace the fullness of Easter…that is all seven weeks of it. Easter is almost twice as long as Lent. So why do we treat it like it is a single day?

It is the fifth week of the Easter season, but I invite you, challenge you even, to look at how well you are celebrating – or not celebrating – the Resurrection. You have a few more
weeks to go. What is something you can do to reignite the joy of Easter and celebrate Christ’s victory over sin and death? What were the practices you took up for Lent? How have you seen a change in yourself through those practices? How can you carry that transformation forward throughout the Easter season and beyond?

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