Thursday, April 20, 2017
At Easter we are asked to renew our baptismal promises and state strongly and clearly what we believe as Catholics. We take it for granted don't we? I do, I do, I do...how often do we pause to think about what we are giving our assent to?
Do I reject sin and Satan and all that tries to keep me away from God? Sure if I knew it was something bad and harmful--I'd stay away from it! But more often there's a subtlety to how sin takes root in my heart and leads me to question everything I thought I believed. My ego can rise up so quickly that I'm choking on false humility before I know what happened. It's then that I hold on with both hands to God and beg for help to be my best self.
Do I believe in God? Creator-Redeemer-Sanctify-er? Of course I do! I mean, I think I do...but when I reflect on my actions, well, sheesh, sometimes I act like the future of the entire world rests on me...on choices I make and what I do. The world has been redeemed already by Jesus, and I need to remember to get out of God's way sometimes.
Do I believe in the Church? When I listen to the first reading from Acts of the Apostles, the story of the early church, how everyone came together and shared what they had in common. How they listened to the stories of Jesus and prayed and worked together for the good of all. Heck, yes! That's the church I believe in with all my heart.
I feel blessed to say I think this is the image of church we try and create here at St Francis de Sales. Sure we get some of it wrong sometimes, because we're human. For the most part though, I think God is using us to create a vision of parish that is extraordinarily welcoming to all in our neighborhood. We are many ages, ethnicities, and personalities gathering to pray each weekend for the good of our world. We look for new ways to be disciples of Jesus in our city. We invite others to join with us in both prayer and actions for the good of others.
The gospel today about Thomas feels bittersweet to me. How embarrassing and painful it must have been for Thomas to be 'called out' by Jesus about his lack of faith. I think I would have crumbled right then and there. Somehow Thomas remains whole, even when confronted with his weakness. It doesn't appear as if Jesus intends to shame him, but rather Jesus challenges him to move through his doubt into a stronger faith and life of witness.
That is my prayer for each of us this Easter season. That we will have the faith to rely on Jesus in our moments of doubt and confusion. That we will hold on tight with both hands to the God who continues to call us and love us into newness of being. That we will feel the glory of the Easter Alleluia down to our very souls. That we will forgive ourselves for our failings and be grateful for our moments of grace. Do I believe in the resurrection and new life in Jesus? I do! Do you?
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Weather beaten and work worn. Tired and calloused. Lined and arthritic. Hands and feet that have seen so much of life. They speak of struggle, of love, of length of days.
Young and pink. Fresh and supple. Ready to clap, to dance, to play, to celebrate. Hands and feet that are hopeful and open to new adventures. Wherever God may lead.
Grant me the wisdom and grace to look beyond the hands and feet I shall see this week. Let me see their longing for you in their lives. Let me see their hopes and dreams and regrets and sorrows, their fears and their prayers.
Help me be fully truly present as I find you in the hands and feet of your sons and daughters. And I beg you, as I reach out to touch them, I pray you use them to touch me.