Thursday, April 28, 2016

Where Do You Find Peace?

In Sunday's Gospel Jesus speaks very clearly about PEACE...and just as clearly states that the peace that he will leave with us is not at all what our world would recognize as 'peace'. Which makes me wonder what the difference might be.

In these pre election months in our country it is often very disturbing to watch all the news coverage of those who would be running for office. It is very unsettling to me to listen to them, hear their speeches and ponder what kind of world will I be living in if this one or that one gets elected. Will they work for peace? Exactly what is their idea of peace?

This past Monday evening in our RCIA group we had the opportunity to learn a bit about "centering prayer".  After an explanation of the process we sat quietly for 20 minutes in silence.

For some of us this was a great challenge...especially when we are so used to the noise and busyness of our lives, taking care of our children, running for the train, multitasking on our smartphones...20 minutes of sitting still, thinking about nothing, trying to listen to what God might want to reveal...well, none of us came out of the experience saying it was easy. Some felt rather anxious about the whole thing.

Can I feel peaceful in the midst of the chaos of my life?
How does God share God's peace with me?
Where do I even begin to look for that peace?

Look at the cherry blossoms while I'm walking down the street. The sun on the water as I try to get that walk in around the reservoir. The little one talking to their mom on the train or bus. That elderly couple walking slowly hand in hand. The sun setting over the river. (cause I'm not up early enough to see the sunrise!!) Sitting on the stoop watching folks on their commute home from work. The feeling of gratitude I have that I get to 'work' in a field I love, that I am so lucky to be in ministry at St Francis de Sales. Gratitude. Gratitude for family and friends who will help me keep it together when chaos threatens to overwhelm me.

That's where I find peace-- In gratitude. When I can pause to be grateful for all that God has blessed me with, that's where I find God's peace. The world doesn't have to be perfect around me, I just need to remember to say Thank you for the good things that are a part of my life. When I recognize the goodness, I find God's peace within me.  What are you grateful for today?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

God Dwells with Who? With Us!

Image result for google image love one another

The Gospel this week is short, sweet and too the point: Love one another. What more do we need to say about that? 

The truth of this is fleshed out in the other readings, and in our lives every day....we are called to recognize that God has indeed chosen to make his dwelling with us! To live in our midst, to wipe our tears away, to shelter us from storm, support us in our sorrow and rejoice with us in the moments of gladness. That's what we hear in Revelation. 
The HOW of that...I suspect is what Paul is referring to in a slight line in that first reading that we can so easily missed...he and Barnabas 'strengthened the spirits of the disciples ... and commended them to God'.
I think that is the we know God is present in our lives, by how we love and care and support one another...
In baby showers and weddings, at funerals and in lonely moments. When we struggle to accept illness and loss of vitality, when we are frustrated by thoughtlessness...when we are overwhelmed by the daily worries each of our lives contain. If we're lucky, that's when we find God in the support of those around us.
I am grateful that I am lucky...that I do find God in the love of those around me. I am glad too, that I can sometimes be the face of God for others. I pray I always let God shine through me, let God do the work God wants to do with me. I hope I never get in the way of what God is trying to do.

Happy Sunday to all...and may we each try to be the face of God for others.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Can We Help One Another

I thought I'd have more time today to gather my thoughts...but alas...that was not to be.

I was reading a great book in the car this morning, while waiting for parking to be legal, (you have to own a car in NYC to understand what that means...) and I am captivated my this book. The title is Accidental Saints by Nadia Bolz-Weber. It was loaned to me by a friend and I can see it is going to be the source of much prayer and reflection for me. You should find it and read it. I especially love the title of the second chapter...just saying...

Looking quickly at the Gospel I see we're talking about sheep again. And I can hear Fr Tony quoting the Pope and saying that the shepherd should smell like the sheep. (yuck!) I get it though...and I agree wholeheartedly!

I know that my inclination is the opposite of that...I don't like getting messy and dirty and dealing with the hard stuff of life. Most days I can push myself to overcome my hesitation and enter into another's reality. I need to ask God to help me do that more often and more graciously. How about you? Can you enter into another's suffering and comfort them? We all need someone to hold our hand or lend a shoulder when life gets tough. We are lucky when we can help each other.

God bless us all as we celebrate the wonders of this weekend!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Sunday Brunch with Jesus

We who are NYC dwellers know the joys of Sunday Brunch! How lovely is it to go to Sunday Mass with your friends and family, then head off to one of the many great local restaurants to continue to celebration.

I once heard this gospel referred to as 'Jesus' bbq on the beach'! Who wouldn't love that!! Jesus is so aware of what the disciples need in this story, I am so touched by his care for them.

The story starts with Peter saying: "I'm going fishing"...I can only imagine in the confusion after Easter, and his trying to process his feelings of guilt over his three fold denial, that some time on the water, fishing, is the thing he thinks will sooth his soul. Then there is the frustration of catching absolutely nothing. There is Jesus telling him how to do his job again, 'throw the net over the OTHER side...' like that should really make a difference...and then, oh nuts, tons of fish...more than they can haul in...what do you do with all these emotions-the sorrow, the guilt, the joy the fear and frustration, the doubt, the hope the longing...oh, it is all so very human.

Then Jesus cooks for them. Feeds them. How absolutely lovely. (said this Italian woman!!) How better to express his love for them then to prepare a hot meal? At the end of the meal he gives Peter the opportunity to begin again, to walk into the future with a clean heart. Yes Lord, you know that I love you.

What do I do, what do we do when we are overwhelmed with the emotions and the real demand on our time. How do we breath in the midst of all the multitasking our society is demanding of us? How is Jesus looking to feed us in spite of all the craziness in our lives? Do we even notice when God is trying to touch us?

The Easter stories are great reminders to us to look for Gods' presence in our everyday lives. We say He is everywhere. Do we believe that he is with us in the midst of that unexpected root canal? The car accident? The springtime hail storm? The unexpected death of a loved one? Both the traffic jam and the forsythia blooms give us an opportunity to be grateful for the love of God in our lives.

AA has the great treasure of "One Day At A Time". When life gets too hectic, I try to live by 'one moment at a time', trying to slow down and pay attention to each person, each event as best I can because I know that the potential to find God is present in each interaction.

I hope for you, in the midst of this never ending winter...and as we await our second springtime, you can slow down and look for God in whatever happens today. When summer finally comes and I go to that first bbq, I'm going to remember Jesus loved his friends enough to grill some fish for them. How cool is that?

Happy Sunday!