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Living for the Lord

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"None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and we die for the Lord; so then whether we live or die, we are the Lord's."

I cannot think of a more fitting scriptural reading as we honor the diaconate gifts given to us in the ordination of Kurt Peot and the farewell to Deacon Jim Matthias. both are great gifts to us and our larger church. Before I go further, I ask you to keep both of them in your prayers. Which brings me to the idea of prayers themselves. We often are told to pray for one another, we pray for those who are sick in the community, we pray for the "poor souls" in purgatory, we pray for the unborn.

Prayer is our communication thread with God and all the community of saints. Recently, I have emphasized we must see the world with one eye on earth and one in heaven. It is the only way our fractured society will  ever heal. With that in mind, we have those who specifically dedicated themselves to be examples of "living for the Lord." Let us remember that ordained deacons serve in a special way, as heralds of the gospel: to bring good news to the sick and poor, to preach words of life to our family of faith. When we join with them in prayer, we too are living for the Lord and with the Lord.

When a deacon is ordained, he is ordained to serve. What this means is that a deacon is willing to open his heart to those who he serves. This is a calling, this is a gift. We at St. Dominic Catholic Parish have been graced not only with many deacon vocations, but with men of extraordinary character and willingness to serve. May God bless our deacons and all deacons of our archdiocese.

in Joy, Trust

Starting from Zero Again and Again

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This year, due to the coronavirus, we had to wait until the gradual reopening process allowed us to celebrate our Baccalaureate Mass for our eighth grade class. Even with the Mass, attendance was limited to parents only. As I thought about the limitations we are working under, and my belief they are here to stay for an extended period of time, I was contemplating what the average Catholic psyche is right now. 

This tragedy of the pandemic, has unfolded like a slow moving accident. If an asteroid would have hit our planet, we would have all responded quickly and in unity. But with the nebulous spread; broad, yet unsubstantiated restrictions, and unproven reopening, I am not sure what everyone is feeling. In a recent poll taken, well over half of Catholics do not yet feel comfortable attending public Masses, even with the accommodations. The haunting question is when will they? I borrowed the title of this reflection from an article I read a while back. It was from a young missionary, who described her experience of learning Spanish in Bolivia, re-learning the dialect in Peru, and having to learn administrative skills in her new job. She remarked on how she had to adjust to starting over again and again.

Maybe that captures our feelings best. In this atmosphere, more than ever, we ask ourselves, is God in control? If we answer ‘yes,’ we approach each day with confidence and joy. If we answer with doubt, we approach each new day with fear and trepidation. This young missionary put her complete trust in God in a new country, with a foreign language, and an insufficient skill set. She now has friends, speaks the language, and leads with confidence. Our situation is not even near as complex, can you put all your trust in God, starting today? 

The Need to See Some Skin

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There is this delightful story about a four year old child who awoke one night frightened by a dream. She could not fall back asleep, and her mind convinced her that there in the darkness of her room, lay in waiting, an assortment of monsters and ghosts.

Alone, she ran to her parent’s bedroom. Her mother calmed her down and taking her by the hand, led her back to her own room. Her mother put on the light to dispel the demons and reassured her child with these words, “You needn’t be afraid, you are not alone here. God is in the room with you.”

The girl replied “I know that God is here, but I need someone in this room who has some skin!”

This is what the apostle Thomas is, in essence, asking of the resurrected Jesus. He’s saying,” I need to see some skin.” This is the best explanation for our whole experience with Jesus, since his announcement to Mary by the angel Gabriel - until this moment.

This Easter is unlike any I have ever had. How about you? I long to celebrate with someone who has some skin. Maybe this Easter we can celebrate knowing Jesus came in the flesh, died, and then rose again. He sits at the right hand of the Father and is with us here on earth. We have been accustomed to our relationship with Jesus without some skin, and today, I ask you to unite with our entire St. Dominic Catholic Parish family…unite in love. Unite in the power of God’s love.

I ask you to close your eyes and think about being with people you enjoy, family, friends…Now open your eyes. How do you feel when you think about spending time with them? Now close your eyes again and think about stuff you have. Now think about spending time with the stuff…How does that make you feel? Which of the two feelings would you like to experience more often? That’s the power of God’s love.

This Lenten season, you were to tame your desires for stuff, to strengthen your will against things you thought you needed. This at-home experience is showing us what we really need, and to see the power of God’s love, the same love which raised Jesus from the dead…for us. To see again with new eyes. To see with the eyes of Jesus. His eyes see the value in relationships.

Have a blessed Easter. Until we can see each other in the flesh.

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