Thursday, June 29, 2017

Where Is Your Center?

I find myself wondering again, where the time goes when presumably the schedule should be a bit lighter now that the Spring Sacraments are done. It is true though that there is never a dull moment in parish life.

So, when Elisha visits the 'woman of influence' in the first reading on Sunday, how kind is she to set up a place of respite for him? Someone else would be trying to get rid of a guest who overstays their welcome! Not her, she is most hospitable and her goodness is rewarded magnificently.

I had an opportunity last weekend to meet a group of people who could not have been more welcoming. They were so very gracious. They told us over and over again how much they were moved and touched by the hospitality that was offered to their son and daughter at our parish of St Francis de Sales. It reminds me that our 'influence' can be far reaching. A kindness offered to someone on Sunday becomes the seed of great faith when given the time and love to blossom.

The beginning of the Gospel always unnerves me. Does Jesus really mean those harsh words? Or was he just trying to catch our attention so that we could hear the truth-that God must be in the center of our lives. Our decisions need to be considered from a heart of faith. This I can understand and pray with. I know when God is my center, there is a peace beyond all understanding even in the midst of the turmoil of my life.

My prayer for each of us as we enter into the summer months is that we keep God in the center, in the good times and the hard, at work, at the beach, in the everydayness of grocery shopping. May we remember that God is with us in it all, and may we stay centered in God's love.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Where is the Spirit calling you?

I am realizing the day is getting away from me at a rapid pace as we try to prepare for our Parish Pentecost Event this Sunday. We are also hosting the Last Class Party for our families in Religious Education classes as well as welcoming two young men into the initiation process. Busy? Absolutely! The Spirit is working overtime here at St Francis de Sales for sure!

As we approach Pentecost I find myself thinking about the folks who were in that upper room with the disciples. Last week's reading said Mary and the other women were there too. They are not mentioned at all this Sunday in the account of the Spirit's coming. I wonder why....

I'm reading a book now called "Everyone Leads" by Chris Lowney. It is one more idea of how we need to revitalize our beloved church in order to continue to grow and serve the world in the next century. He has me fascinated with a quote by Pope Benedict (!!) who is referencing back to the documents of Vatican II when he states that the laity are called to be not only collaborators in leading the church but more truly that we are CO RESPONSIBLE for the LEADERSHIP of our church. To hear that the church believes that WE are  (co) responsible for our future is quite a lot to take in. I'm pretty sure this is news to most of us on both sides of the aisle.

But not so much here at St Francis. I do think that we are on the cutting edge of believing that we are leaders in our church and are excited about preparing ourselves and each other to be the most responsible, most creative, most welcoming Catholics around 96th St. There is an energy here that is exciting to be a part of.  Today I received a compliment about how welcoming, well spoken and kind our maintenance man is! I am proud to say we all share a vision of how we want St Francis de Sales to be a place where people learn how to "LIVE JESUS" and his message of peace in the midst of our crazy city lives.

As we prepare for our Pentecost event I am hopeful that our time together will be filled with great conversation on how to seek creative ways to bring the message of Jesus and the church into our neighborhood. I anticipate much laughter, the seeds of new friendships planted and a renewed sense of hope for our parish. We have much to be grateful for. We have much work to do for the kingdom. 

Aren't we all called by the Spirit of Pentecost to change the world? 
Let us go forth into the world, blessed by the gifts of the Spirit, to renew our corner of the earth.