Monday, July 21, 2014

Marianist Monday

What does it mean for a Marianist Brother to be on fire with Christ?

Our life is unassuming and is one of witness, less by words and more by actions. A life of being in relationship with each other and young people for the sake of the Gospel. Those who know us well can identify who we are even when we are not wearing our suits or vestments.

For we(as well as all Marianists throughout the world) wear the gold ring not on our left hand as men do in marriage, but on the right hand as a threefold sign representing:

1. our total self gift to God.

2. our alliance to each Brother in Community.

3. and our pledge to be Sons of Mary like Jesus for the salvation of the world.

In a way, a single Marianist is like a small burning coal, but when we join together as a Community for the glory of the Most Holy Trinity, for the honor of Mary and to follow Christ more closely in His saving mission, we set the world on fire and encourage others to be on fire for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Sunday Word

This summer is like no other in the production of weeds. Recently I’ve been spending a lot of time pulling weeds and thinking about ways to prevent new weeds from taking over the landscape. Weeds are prominently featured in a parable Jesus shares with the crowd in Matthew’s Gospel today. I have always appreciated the parables Jesus shares and although I believe the intent is to help an abstract concept be more concrete, the parables do not necessarily make concepts simpler for me. The farmer in the parable is clear that the weeds will be gathered and burned while the wheat will be taken into the barn. At first glance this is so straightforward that sinners burn in hell and true believers go to heaven. Yet I know that the delineation is not so clear.

The other readings today speak to me of the paradox of justice. In Romans we are reminded that we are not alone and the Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness. And the book of Wisdom describes God’s loving engagement of power “but though you are the master of might, you judge with clemency and with much lenience you govern us.” My prayer around the phrase “those who are just must be kind” brings me to reflect upon restorative justice which engages the paradox of accountability and compassion.

My prayer leads me to ask: When do I judge another person harshly? How do I demonize another person? When do I show compassion? How can I strive to ask what are the needs of members of my community? Committing to the principles of restorative justice helps me live my Catholic faith in the image of our loving and forgiving God.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Pope Benedict XVI said, “The Scriptures can only be interpreted through the lives of the saints.”

There is a profound mystery here. The Scriptures are somehow fulfilled and brought to life through the whole communion of saints’ lives.

In the Old Testament stories of men finding their brides there is the hint of the bride-bridegroom symbolism. Then the OT prophets declare that God himself will be the bridegroom of his people Israel. Then Jesus speak repeatedly in parables about the bride and the bridegroom and speaks about the virgin bride being ready for the arrival of the bridegroom and he refers to himself repeatedly as the bridegroom. The liturgy for the day of resurrection refers back to the psalms and pictures the Lord rising from the tomb being like the sun which is like a “bridegroom emerging from his chamber.”

Then Saint Paul refers to the church as “the bride of Christ” and says the Church “is presented one day to the Lord as a glorious Church without spot or wrinkle, as a bride adorned for her husband” Then in the Book of Revelation the life of heaven is likened to the “marriage supper of the Lamb.” In heaven the bride, the Church is at last one with the bridegroom in the consummation of the feast.

This is therefore why the Church honors female virgins as she does: because they picture the whole Church as the bride of Christ. They indicate a present and future reality and the reality that applies to each one of us as individuals and to the whole Church: that we are called to be finally made pure and spotless and ready for the bridegroom.

How can this be when so many of us are so wrapped up in sin, anger, violence and weakness?

This is the mysterious miracle: that through the working of grace and our cooperation with grace we are actually called to achieve this perfection. The destiny of each one of us is to be finally purified and made just as pure and clean and sparkling again as the virgin saints were in their mortal lives.

By being who they are they show us what we shall be.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Sunday Word

Sunday's Gospel parable goes like this: a householder sows good seed in his field, and then an enemy comes and sows weeds among the wheat. It’s a nasty little case of agricultural terrorism.

When the plants come up and bear grain, the weeds appear as well. And the slaves of the householder come to him and say, “Master, we’ve got a problem. Weeds among the wheat. Do you want us to go out and pull up the weeds?”

This seems like a logical response, but the householder gives them a very different command. “No,” he says; “for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest.” The master senses that a full-scale attack on the weeds would disturb and possibly even destroy the good wheat, so he instructs his slaves to do nothing about the bad seeds now. At harvest time the householder plans to tell the reapers, “Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

Jesus takes a totally non-aggressive approach to rooting out evil.  Jesus is committed to preserving the weeds until the wheat is fully developed. He doesn’t have any desire to rush to judgment, preferring instead for nature to just take its course.

The point of this parable is not that Jesus is going to go easy on the weeds. No, he fully intends to put evildoers into the furnace of fire, “where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Leave the weeds to me, says Jesus. You just worry about growing up as wheat. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Prayer

Too easily and much too often, Lord,
I take you for granted...

I take for granted your Spirit,
always moving in my mind and heart
and stirring me to do what's right and true...

And when I do what's wrong and fail the truth
I take for granted the mercy you so freely offer
when from my faults and sins I turn away
and seek your pardon...

I take for granted how you're always with me,
that not a moment of the day or night would find you
anywhere except right by my side...

I take for granted all the ways
your wisdom whispers in my thoughts
and how your counsel echoes in my conscience,
always moving me to live as your word calls me...

I take for granted that you've heard me say a thousand times,
"I will! I pledge! I promise!"
and yet you offer me another chance when once again,
I fail to follow through...

I take for granted all the people in my life,
each one a gift from you:
those who hold me up when I'm bowed down,
who are my strength when I am weak,
who give me hope when times are hard...

I take for granted how you're always there
to hear my mumbled, stumbling prayer,
to listen to my problems, to wipe away my tears,
to take away my fear and to share my every joy...

I take for granted how you love me as I am
and how patiently you wait for my becoming
all you created me to be...

I take for granted how faithful and abiding
is your gracious love for me
and how there is no end to your compassion,
your understanding and your kindness...

I take for granted, Lord,
how you never take me for granted...

Help me take to heart what I have prayed here, Lord,
and not for a moment take for granted the grace
of being in your presence,
of knowing that you listen to my prayer,
of trusting that you hear what my heart speaks...
H/T A Concord Pastor Comments