The Reboot LIVE event at St Juliana Parish, Wednesday, October 16, 2019 7:00pm - 9:30pm HAS BEEN CANCELLED
Letters from a Pastor to His People- October 13, 2019
I shared a quote from author Ruth Burrows last week on prayer. Allow me to share another one with you. She writes about how most of the time our prayer isn't authentic prayer because it's more thinking, self-reflection, and just expressing our own desires, which aren't always things that would be good for us (i.e., not God's will). "We may want a 'spiritual life', we may want 'prayer'," she writes, "but we do not want God."
Someone asked me recently how he could not be sure he was not currently living in Purgatory. (I think he was a White Sox fan.) The lament made me think, upon later reflection, of the classic piece of medieval literature, The Divine Comedy. (Pope Francis, by the way, has encouraged Catholics to read this during the year.)
The First Reading is taken from the Second Book of Kings. The scene in today’s reading reveals not only Naaman’s cleansing from leprosy, but also his transformation from arrogant resistance to humble acceptance, and his new faith in the God of Israel. As a man of means, Naaman desires to offer gifts to Elisha. But Elisha refuses because he wants to make it clear to Naaman that it is God, not he, who is the source of his healing. This story is intended to show God’s concern for non-Jewish persons, which is also a central theme in today’s Gospel.
The mythology surrounding superheroes is fascinating to me. Take the superhero, Superman, for example. The mythology is not only great, it’s unique. Quentin Tarantino, I think, has a great insight into the character of Superman:
Letters from a Pastor to His People- October 6, 2019
Praying is my favorite activity. Yes, more than watching sports. When I see, hear, or read something that even comes close to the topic of prayer, I want to discuss it. These readings, in my opinion, can be connected to prayer.
The first reading from the prophet Habakkuk is itself a prayer, and a beautiful one at that. The author is in a difficult situation and authentically calling out to God for help. The Lord answers him, basically telling him to hang tight and trust.
The Road to Emmaus was filled with trickery, bravery, blood, and victory. No, I am not talking about that Road to Emmaus. I am talking about the encounter of Judas Maccabeus and the Gentile army from the Old Testament (cf. 1 Maccabees 3-4). It occurred about 175 years prior to the risen Christ meeting the two disciples on the same road (cf. Luke 24:13-25).
In my pilgrimage to Israel this past spring, through Mundelein, I encountered our brothers and sisters of the Orthodox Church. It was mesmerizing to walk into their churches. The Orthodox share the responsibilities as custodians of the holy sites with the Catholic Church, such as the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem and the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.
The First Reading is from the Book of the Prophet Habakkuk. This prophet accuses God of not listening to his cry for help and not intervening in the face of violence. Habakkuk’s cry for help should not be interpreted as a sign of despair but as the lament of one who has known the love of God and yearns to heighten the experience of that love in the midst of desperate circumstances. Because of Habakkuk's sincerity, God answers his prayer, not with immediate relief, but with encouragement to wait and be patient as the end is not far off.
Fr. James with the SPRED group. SPRED will be serving Mass this Sunday at 11am
Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 29, 2019
One message in this haunting story of the rich man (sometimes called 'Dives') and Lazarus is misfortune. By the way, this isn't technically classified as a parable, since many think it was a true story (parables are fictional accounts).