Saturday, June 27, 2020 at 3:37 PM
Parishes on the Navajo Nation will remain closed until at least the month of August.
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Reflections

THIRTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, June 28, 2020
[II Kings 4: 8-11, 14-16; Romans 6: 3-4, 8-11; Matthew 10: 37-42]

“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation;
announce the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”

The quote above from the Alleluia Verse seems to be very appropriate as we celebrate this week of July Fourth.  We have been chosen, through our baptism, to announce the Good News as disciples. This week, especially, we give thanks to God for the many privileges we enjoy, and the freedom that we have to live the life we believe we deserve to live.  Perhaps that is what makes it so difficult during this time of being “TOLD” what to do in order to protect ourselves and others.  We struggle with this feeling of freedom…or lack thereof.

It is possible to become very self-centered about the good things that we have.   Sometimes we think of our freedoms in a selfish way and take them for granted.  It is good to reflect on the second part of the verse above: “Announce the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”  In this way, we give credit to God, who always cares for us.  In these dark times, we have the Light of Christ showing us the way.

In the Gospel, Jesus talks about the dangers of loving only mother, father, our own families and relatives and forgetting about God who is the one who began the whole love process.  God calls us to use and learn from the love we feel for those closest to us.  With that love as our model, we are to expand our love and concern to all.  Jesus gives us in the example of the ‘cup of cold water’.  Even the smallest efforts can bring good to other people. Maybe wearing masks and social distancing are some of those small efforts?

Finally, St Paul in the Second Reading encourages us: “… so that just as Christ was raised from the dead, we too might live in newness of life.”   We thank God that we have the freedom and grace to always begin anew in living and using the New Life of God.  Let us pause for a moment in this week to thank God, our Creator, for the many freedoms and “lights” in our lives.

 

TWELFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, June 21, 2020
[Jeremiah 20: 10-13; Romans 5: 12-15; Matthew 10: 26-33]

“Lord, in your great love, answer me.”

Jeremiah, in the First Reading, faced hatred, hostility, and many challenges.  He finds comfort and the answer he needs when he is very much alone: “The Lord is with me.”   Jeremiah’s words prepare us to hear and be comforted by the consoling words of Jesus in the Gospel: “So, do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  Everyone who acknowledges me before others, I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.”

Our Gospel today is from Jesus’ “Mission Gospel”.  He is sending the apostles out on mission to share the Gospel message.  “The Spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord, and you also will testify.”  Jesus prepares the apostles, and us, for some of the challenges that we can face in a hostile world.  Jesus’ words sound very familiar to us today.  We have been witnessing violence, murder and hostility, every day.  There has been looting and destruction of businesses, people’s livelihoods; much anger physically expressed.   Yet, we have also witnessed peaceful protests searching for positive solutions to the injustices confronting us.

Through our baptism, we have been commissioned to share the Gospel message of love and forgiveness, to acknowledge and witness to Jesus in all that we do and are.    This is our mission, and we are not alone, because the “Spirit of Truth is the one who testifies through us.”

It is easy to get caught up in these dark times … to see only injustice, dishonesty, deceit…  Jesus reminds us that He is with us.  “Do not be afraid…Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.”   There is light when we walk with the Light of Christ in our hearts.  “Lord, in your great love, answer me.” …and He DOES!

 

SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST, June 14, 2020
[Deuteronomy 8: 2-3, 14-16; I Corinthians 10: 16-17; John 6: 51-58]

“I am the living Bread come down from heaven, says the Lord;
whoever eats this Bread will live forever.”

We have yet another very powerful and moving Feast connecting us with the very inner Mystery of God.   Last week we celebrated the Feast of the Holy Trinity.  We recognized and remembered again the plan of God Who wants to share the very life of the Trinity with us.

Today we are reminded in the readings that God continues to nourish us on the journey.   In the First Reading, Moses tells the people to recall when they were fed in the desert with the Manna; they called Manna the “Bread from Heaven”.  They remembered being refreshed with water from the Rock.  These were life-saving events for the people in the desert.

Jesus tells us, “I am the living Bread come down from heaven, says the Lord; whoever eats this Bread will live forever.”  Jesus again is there to nourish us and to give us strength for the journey.  In these days of spiritual communions, we find ourselves longing for that physical “living Bread”.  When can we attend Mass again as a family?  When can we receive the Body and Blood of Christ?  When can we be nourished at the table?

We do not have those answers today, but we do have the promise that God will always continue to journey with us and to nourish us.  The Eucharist is a sign of unity…of thankfulness…  Let us celebrate today our union with Christ and with one another, and our gratitude that we have been given that opportunity to do so.

 

SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY, June 7, 2020
[Exodus 34: 4-6,8-9; II Corinthians 13: 11-13; John 3: 16-18]

“Glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit;
to God who is, who was, and who is to come.”

Relationship…. What IS the relationship between God, the Father…God, the Son, …God, the Holy Spirit?  Three in one?  The Trifecta?  This Sunday, as we focus on the Holy Trinity, we might be asking just what does this all mean??  I believe it will always be about mystery, faith, trust in God’s presence in our life…even in those times of darkness.

Moses was called by God.  He did not have to answer that call, but he did.  He chose to trust and to believe that God is “The Lord, The Lord, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger, and rich in kindness and fidelity.”   Moses recognized that and bowed down to worship.  Do we hear God’s call in our lives today?  Do we answer that call and too, bow down to worship?

In the Gospel today the message proclaimed: “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”  Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, being with the Father of One Divine Family, share the message of love and salvation.

Today we celebrate God’s love for us and the knowledge that He came to bring peace from chaos.  In these days of peaceful protests for equality and justice, angry and violent protests for some of the same beliefs and sometimes for other reasons, a pandemic with Covid-19 outbreaks, a time of social distancing…may we remind ourselves, “Brothers and sisters, mend your ways. Encourage one another, live in peace, and the God of Love and peace will be with you.”    Since our Baptism, we are and have been children of the One God.  We have therefore the grace, and the call, to follow the Family tradition of love for ourselves and one another….relationship.

 

PENTECOST, May 31, 2020
[Acts 2: 1-11; I Corinthians 12: 3-7, 12-13; John 20: 19-23]

“Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love.”

We have been well prepared for this feast of the Holy Spirit.  The last few Sundays Jesus has been talking to us about the promised sending of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate. 

Today, in the first reading, we hear again about the First Pentecost, the gifting of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, and we see the great difference it made in their lives, in the community, and in the church, which was really founded that day.

We recall this event because it reminds us of what is still going on in our lives now.  We receive the gifts of the Spirit so that we also can give the gifts of the Spirit.

1) Jesus Himself begins the process.  Jesus gives the Gift of Forgiveness, a gift badly needed by the apostles, who had all deserted Him.  Jesus then gives them the responsibility to also share the gift of Forgiveness.  The gift applies to the Sacrament of Confession, reconciliation. However, it also applies to each of us: “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them; whose sins you retain are retained.”  Therefore, if we accept the gift of God’s forgiveness, we are to share what we received, become a forgiving people.  Each time we recite the Our Father we pray … “forgive us our trespasses as WE forgive others…”  That line can wake us up when we realize we are holding a grudge or angry thought against another and not being very forgiving!

2)St. Paul reminds us again of what it is all about: “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given, for some benefit”.   We become an important part of the divine process.  It is not just for us.  It is not a selfish process.  We are a key part of the Divine plan for the world.   As with the forgiveness of Jesus, we are part of a great movement.  We are to give what we receive.  This is God’s way of gradually changing the world.  This is the conversion, the New Evangelization that we hear about.  We are the working of the Holy Spirit in our world.  Mercy, understanding, forgiveness, wisdom of God, are the daily ‘tools’ of our Christian vocation.  “Lord send out Your Spirit and renew the face of the earth” through us.

May we pray to the Holy Spirit for continued renewal of Wisdom…Courage…Understanding…Knowledge…Right judgment…Reverence…Wonder and awe in God’s presence.  During these times of hardship and difficulties may we truly be refreshed and hope-filled that we always have the graces of the Holy Spirit in our midst.

THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD, May 24, 2020
[Acts 1:1-11; Ephesians 1:17-23; Matthew 28:16-20]

“Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

We were well prepared in the readings last Sunday for the Feast of The Ascension today.  Last Sunday we had Jesus’ promise that He would send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to be with us always.

Today, Jesus gives us His parting words as he Ascends into Heaven, back to the Father.  He commissions us to do what He was doing while on earth: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit...And behold I am with you always until the end of the age.”

It is for us to always remember that we are called to be People of the Spirit.  Jesus promised to be with us in His Spirit.  St. Paul tells us today: “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the Hope that belongs to His call…”

We need not just remember about our call in the Spirit.  We need to live and act as people OF the Spirit.  Like the First Christians, we need to trust in and work with the Life of the Spirit.  The angels said to the disciples after Jesus ascended into heaven: “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking up at the sky?”  Paraphrasing what Fr. Gilbert said about this event, “What are you looking up at the sky for?  Get to work!”  In other words, you now have the calling and commission from Jesus to be about the work of His Spirit.  We have the same commission, and the same promise of Jesus’ presence with us.  We are not alone.  We now have the call of Jesus: to go with the help of the Spirit and bear fruit. 

In these days of Covid-19, we have much work ahead of us…helping one another using what time, treasure, and talents we have been given to serve as People OF the Spirit.  “What are we looking up at the sky for?  Get to work!