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God Sightings

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Fall in Wisconsin is one of the most beautiful things to encounter, in my opinion. There are so many great outdoor activities to do by yourself or as a family that remind us of how great God truly is. We have the opportunity to pick apples, get lost in a field of corn, witness the sunflowers in their glorious peak, take a hike, find the perfect pumpkin in the patch, and sit around a bonfire and enjoy the warmth of the flame. I am grateful to be able to do these things and so much more with my family and adore and appreciate what He has given to me.

During Vacation Bible School we talk to the kids about God Sightings. We ask the participants (adults and children alike) to keep their eyes open for ways God is present in their lives. We make a conscious effort to acknowledge that God has placed people and things in our lives that bring joy, beauty, and comfort. Sometimes there is pain or anger as well. We look to God in and through all things. Keep your eyes open for your God Sightings. Who or what has God placed in your life this week to help you grow closer to him?

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.

Sounds of the Spirit

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Stop! I want you to just stop. Take a moment and feel where your mind is. Are you thinking of what you need to yet get accomplished for Christmas? Are you thinking of the food and house you must prepare? Are you thinking, who gets what and did I forget anyone?

Can we stop and just listen to the sounds of the Spirit breaking through? One of my favorite lines of any of the many Christmas songs is from O LIttle Town of Bethlehem.

The hopes and fears of all the years are met with thee tonight.

It seems paradoxical, fear is the enemy of hope. This one line reveals the incarnation as something that bridges these two opposites. God becoming human changed the world and everyone in it, from the joyfully hopeful to the dreadfully fearful. And in this little place called Bethlehem, in this little stable, from this unremarkable couple, came this epic event.

God unsettles us with his opposites, choosing a humble beginning instead of a majestic entrance. This baby Jesus is visited by lowly shepherds and three kings. The birth of Jesus appears to do nothing, yet everything is changed. This year, I have thought of the gifts I have been given by being pastor of this parish. I have spent time thinking about those who clean our church, plow and salt our driveways, pay our bills and answer our phones. I also remember having all three pastors here for Holy Thursday, and having Archbishop Listecki for the dedication of our Risen Christ statue. I remember the baptisms, weddings and funerals. This place, our parish of St. Dominic is a place where the hopes and fears of all the years are met with thee tonight. It is what makes us family.

Have a blessed Christmas season and New Year,
Fr. Dennis Saran

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