Thursday, January 28, 2016

Gracious Words?

Last night a group of us in the parish gathered to meet and chat and pray with Scripture together. We reflected on the Gospel for this upcoming Sunday. Several different thoughts were shared but the idea that grabs my attention today is how the crowd in Luke's Gospel goes from being amazed at Jesus' 'gracious words' to being so angry with his challenging words that they want to hurl him off a cliff. That's a pretty drastic shift!!

We've been talking too about what it means to be a be someone who doesn't just listen to the Word on Sunday...but to be someone who is inspired to DO, to ACT, to really deliberately live out ones faith in action. We're talking about how to inspire our brothers and sisters who sit next to us each Sunday in these pews, to step more deeply into their faith and be strong enough to invite others to walk this faith walk with them.

We have had the pleasure of talking one on one with some of our young families about how they try to live their lives of faith in the world. What an inspiration you are! And our teens...I'm so proud of who they are growing to be...young people who are finding their rightful place in our assembly! Young people who aren't ashamed to say "I like coming to Mass now...I feel more comfortable here... I understand what's going on now..." How I wish we could get them to witness to the rest of the assembly!

So as I look at the reaction of that crowd to Jesus, it makes me a bit nervous. I don't think human nature has changed all that much. If I were to ask us to think about what our faith really means to us once we walk out the church doors, if we were to look at how we offer our selves in service to others, both here at St Francis and in our work lives daily, would we be proud of our answer?

Everything we do as a parish should find its roots in our prayer together as a Eucharistic community. We know that in our heads, but sometime we fail at putting that belief into action. So, I want to be brave enough to ask you... have YOU found your place in this community yet? What are YOU doing to help others find a welcome here? How are YOU helping to 'set the table' both literally and figuratively?? And if you haven't decided to step up and serve in some way at Mass on Sundays, then WHY haven't you? What are you waiting for? You know we need you. You know we value you. What's stopping you?

And even as I ask these questions I think about how that crowd wanted to hurl Jesus down a cliff because they didn't want to be challenged out of their comfort zone.

So, with a deep breath...I challenge you!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Don't be quiet!!

Ok, when I saw this on Facebook, I thought it was funny. I chuckled! When I saw the gospel for this Sunday, how could I not use this??

But I digress...
Yes, the gospel is the story of that first miracle of Jesus's at the wedding at Cana. I wonder who was getting married? Who were the bride and groom? Were they Mary's friends? There's a lot of great imagery in this story that can really get your imagination going! And it's really one of the few times we see someone telling Jesus what to do! If he's not going to listen to his mother...well then, I don't know who he'd listen to?!! Mary sees a need in front of her, and out of concern, she doesn't stay quiet!

I connect this back to both the first reading from Isaiah, and the the memorial our country celebrates on Monday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King jr.

Isaiah says for the sake of the people he will not remain silent. He will speak of the injustice he witnesses. Isaiah declares that when things have been set right, 'desolate' will become 'delight' and God will rejoice in his children.

How can we not reflect on the life of Martin when we hear these words? I can only imagine that it had to cost him something dear to begin to gather his courage to the point where he could speak loudly of the injustices evident in the world around him. Of course we know what it cost him in the end. We know what it cost Jesus to speak out against injustice.

What is being asked of us today? Most likely, no one will put us to death for what we believe. What does it cost us to speak up in the face of injustice really? An uncomfortable moment at a dinner party? The loss of a friendship?  Do you really want to be friends with someone who thinks injustice is OK?

Isaiah says...don't be quiet!! I'm not saying we should speak without thinking...but we should definitely try to find the courage to speak up in the face of injustice around us.

God grant our world more folks brave enough to speak for peace!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Search Diligently

The beginning of the new year is just getting away from me faster than I can manage to keep up...but I wanted to jot a few thoughts down before my work week ends.

From last week's Gospel, the words that still poke me are "search diligently"...I think for me, the gift of working with RCIA folks each year is to help them discover how to search diligently for God in their own lives, and it reminds me each year to continue my own search. I am grateful when God is easily found...(yay! a parking space! Thanks God!) and challenged when God seems more obscure. But to take a deep breath every day and look again, it's all good!

And from this week's feast of the Baptism of the Lord...I know the scripture says that God was well pleased with Jesus, his beloved...but I've also learned along the way that God feels that way about each of us...that we too are called his beloved. That's just breathtaking to me. God has lots of things to do and lots of people to care remember that EACH of us are called his beloved...well, it really doesn't get any better than that does it?

Ah...the challenge is to ACT like God's beloved! And so, we move into a new year!