Redemptorist Spirituality

Thought for the Day
Fr. Brian Johnson, C.Ss.R
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Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Monday, September 7th
Today we celebrate Labor Day in the United States.  It is a day when we as Catholics are called upon to look at daily labor in a new way.  All of us have been graced by God with a call to help him create a better world.  Our labor is not just a way to get money to support our families.  It is a way that we can use our lives and energy to make the world a more comfortable and hospitable place.  No work is less important than other work.  All our work is our way of cooperating with God in building a world of peace and happiness.  How does your work do this? 

Tuesday, September 8th
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Mary's birth becomes one of only three births that we celebrate in the church year, along with Jesus and John the Baptist.  In celebrating her birth, we celebrate that her life was very important for the spreading of God's kingdom.  Mary was a woman always open to God's will.  For her, what God wanted in each situation of life was what she wanted and worked for.  It is because Mary was willing to accept the shame of being pregnant outside of marriage, (a horrendous shame in her society) that Jesus was brought into this world.  Throughout her life she was always willing to do what God wanted, no matter how painful or rewarding it might be to her personally.  But, the same is true for each one of us, or at least can be true!  If we live for God and not for our own selfish wants, we will be a huge source of growth of the Kingdom of God in our world.

Wednesday, September 9th
Today we celebrate the life of St. Peter Claver.  St. Peter was a Jesuit priest who, although born in Spain, labored as a priest in Columbia.  Cartegena, Columbia was one of the major hubs for the slave trade in the Americas.  Ships carrying slaves would come ashore there and be shipped to other parts of the Americas.  Peter was abhorred by this abuse of Africans.  He insisted that their human and spiritual rights were being abused.  He would meet each boat as it arrived, and would tend to the needs of the Africans who had been taken from their homes and families by the slave traders.  He wanted to let them know that there was at least one person who saw them as human beings.  He wanted his brothers and sisters arriving on these boats in a state of hunger and weakness to be able to eat and have any medicines that they needed.  He tried to teach them that even though they may have been immorally separated from their families, God had not abandoned them.  There is a beautiful prayer that St. Peter taught to them:  "Jesus Christ, Son of God, you will be my father and my mother and all my good.  I love you much.  I am sorry for having sinned against you.  Lord, I love you much, much, much."  As Christians, we too must challenge ourselves to see all people as our brothers and sisters, no matter what their race, creed, or sex.  We must challenge ourselves to overcome our various prejudices and to simply love.

Thursday, September 10th
In today's Gospel, Jesus issues a very demanding and challenging call to us.  He insists that if we are truly his followers, our lives must be different and look different from the lives of nonbelievers.  Nonbelievers demand vengeance and punishment for those who hurt them.  Ordinary people lend money to others expecting to be paid back, even with interest.  Jesus tells us to forgive and to lend without demanding repayment.  As Christians, we are called to serve others, not to dominate over them in any way.  Life must be about God's will and the welfare of our brothers and sisters around us, not about enriching my own joy or fulfillment.  To overcome selfishness in the way we treat others is difficult indeed.  Yet, God is always there, reaching out to help us to love, if only we will allow him to do so.  With God's love active in our lives, we can be transformed into people who live for others.  Why not ask for this transforming grace today?

Friday, September 11th
Today in the first reading for mass, St. Paul says: "I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible.  I have become all things to all, to save at least some." Paul's life was always focused on others.  He would do anything he could do to help a brother or sister.  He has forgotten all about his own safety or joy, and is focused on others and how he can help them!  Maybe Paul's self description can challenge us as to how we view our lives.  Are we more important than others?  Or do we see others and their lives as being just as important, (if not more important), as our own?  God help us to love, to put others first!

Saturday, September 12th
Today, we have a very special day for several of our parishioners.  Today several of our children from our Religious Education program will make their First Communion.  For the first time, they will receive Jesus into their lives as their nourishment and strength.  In this wonderful Sacrament, we are reminded of how much Jesus loves us.  As he comes to us in the form of bread that is shared, we should be reminded that we are all one in Christ Jesus.  We are all called to give our lives for one another just as he does.  That's who Jesus always is in the Gospel; the one who gives himself away for others.  Are we challenging ourselves to remember this and live as He did, or do we just go through a meaningless routine when we receive the Eucharist?  The Eucharist is meant to be a reminder of who Jesus is, of who we are called to be, and the source of our ability to be "other Christs" in the world.

Twenty-four Week in Ordinary Time

Monday, September 14th
Today, the Church celebrates "The Exaltation of the Holy Cross."  It seems a rather strange Feast.   After all, the cross was not an instrument in peoples' lives that brought exaltation and gladness.  No, it always brought sorrow, humiliation, and great shame.  Yet we as Christians are called to look beyond all that shame and disgrace and see that Jesus' death on that cross ended up transforming it into an instrument of salvation.  Today is the opposite of Good Friday, if you will.  On Good Friday, we remember the pain and death that the cross brought to Jesus.  Today, we remember that Jesus' faithfulness to the Father led to his death being the passageway to life and redemption for all of us!  It is similar with our own lives.  We can all remember moments of great pain that we were forced to travel through in our lives.  Somehow, when we remained faithful, when we refused to be conquered by depression and hurt, the suffering ended up making us stronger, making us better people.  It is that mystery of pain and death transformed by the love of God that we celebrate today!

Tuesday, September 15th
Today is the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.  It is fitting that this remembrance of Mary's sufferings as she walked through her life, especially the horrendous pain of watching her son suffer and die, should be celebrated the day after we remember Jesus and his transformed suffering!  Sometimes we like to think that because God loved Mary so much, he must have protected her from pain and death.  However, the opposite is true:  God loved Mary so much, that she was granted the ability to grow in her faith and in her humanness by entering into human suffering.  God's hand was with her, holding her up each step of the way, just like he does for us.  Mary is the woman of faith who did not let the feelings of abandonment that come with suffering ruin her peace and strong faith that God was always with her, supporting her and leading her.  Mary is a reminder to all of us that although we too have to walk through darkness and suffering, and even death, we need to keep reminding ourselves of God's love for us.  Our faith will carry us to a resurrection experience!  I also can't help but to think that we are all called to walk with others who are suffering, to support them and help them to cling to their faith in a loving God always with them.

Wednesday, September 16th
Today, we celebrate two men who suffered and died for their faith.  We celebrate St Cornelius (pope) and St. Cyprian (bishop).  Both of these men were put to death because their love of the church led them to stand in witness to the church against civil authorities.  Their willingness to die for the church should make us pause and think.  St Cyprian made the statement, "He cannot have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother."  Love for God cannot be separated from love of the3 Church that is led by His Spirit.  No, the Church is not perfect.  No organization made up of sinful humans can be perfect.  But, Cornelius and Cyprian remind us that even though that is true, God is present and guiding his church.  He gives us this great gift to guide all of us deeper and deeper into the truth.

Thursday, September 17th
In today's Gospel, we have the story of the sinful woman who comes to Jesus and lets her tears fall on his feet, and wipes them away with her hair.  The Pharisees who witnessed it say" “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.”  It was appalling to these holy men of Israel that anyone would be involved in the life of a sinner.  They saw contact with such a person as a being a destruction of one's holiness.  The good would" catch" the evil of the sinful one.  But, Jesus saw things differently.  When he touched such a sinner, he saw the sinner "catching" his goodness and being changed into a saint.  He never condemned sinners as such.  He always invited them to move from sin to love.  You and I, we have nothing to fear from Jesus.  Though we are always sinners, he is always there to "touch" us with his forgiveness and cleansing love!

Friday, September 18th
Today's Gospel mentions a group of women who traveled with Jesus as he moved about the Holy Land.  It further states that these women "provided for them out of their resources."  If not for these women, and their financial support, Jesus' mission and its impact on the world would have been lessened.   Jesus depended on these women to keep his mission rolling.  This is a great reminder to all of us that God has not chosen to act alone in Salvation history.  Rather, he chooses to work through the people who accompany him with financial and other resources.  We cannot be passive and figure God will provide.  God is counting on you and me to share with our parish community and with our world-wide Church.  We are partners in this project of building up the kingdom of God in our world.  We must share our gifts, whatever they may be.

Saturday, September 19th
In today's gospel, we have the parable of the sower and the seed.  Jesus' explanation of this parable speaks of differing responses to the seed of the word being tossed out by the sower.  Some grow, some don't grow.  However, I like to think of this parable in a different way.  Notice that the sower does not really care where the seed ends up.  He simply tosses the seed into the wind and lets it go where it may!  I think that is very important for us to notice!  We have been asked to sow the kingdom of God in our world.  So often, we can make judgments about where we will sow.  We will see some people as unworthy of our time and love because we don't like them.  There will be some who we see as beyond hope.  However, our job is not to decide who we will love, who we will treat with respect.  Our job is to simply throw our love out there to all we meet.  Whether or not it takes root is not our concern.  We simply are called to let our love and service land where it may

Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Monday, September 21st
Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist.  Matthew, tax collector was called by Jesus to be one of the 12.  What is so amazing about this is that the Jewish Authorities considered tax collectors to be the lowest of the low.  They were traitors to their people because they worked for Rome.   But, Jesus was different.  To him, all people were holy and precious in God's sight.  This is a very powerful and important thing to challenge us today in how we view people.  The Black Lives Matter movement that is all over the news today reminds us that there are no second class citizens.  We can't just say that all people matter, because that leaves us open to continue life as we have been living it.  The challenge is not to see people as white, black, Hispanic, Asian, etc., but to see each and every person as worthy of honor and respect not because of the group he or she belongs to, but simply because he or she is a human being.  Jesus' call of Matthew reminds us that every person is valuable, no matter the sex, race, and religion.  For God, it is not a matter of "all lives matter," but of "Each Life Matters!"

Tuesday, September 22nd
“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”  These words come from today's Gospel.  Family is the closest relationship most of us have.   Family identifies us and grounds us.  It defines us as to who we are.  For Jesus, this designation of "family" was much wider than just his nuclear family of Mary and Joseph.  For Jesus, all people are family, because all people are children of God and seen as precious in His eyes.   Even those people we might consider evil or less than ourselves are part of that family and loved deeply by God.  The question is never whether God loves us or not, but whether we open ourselves to accept the love that is offered.  It is in hearing and acting on God's word that we open ourselves to the wonders of his love.  It is in following him that we can truly love everyone.  Without an openness to His Word, we are simply blind people who are headed for false goods and false happiness.  We are called to hear and to live as Jesus' brothers and sisters.

Wednesday, September 23rd
Today, we celebrate the Memorial of St. Pius of Pietrelcina, more commonly known as Padre Pio.    Pio is best known for the mysterious gift of the stigmata that was given to him.  He is a reminder that pain and suffering are simply part of the human life.  He treated his illnesses and pains, as well as the unwanted attention his stigmata drew to him with great patience and calmness.  He accepted that pain and even death always lead to life.  He carried a visible reminder of Jesus' passion and death upon his body.  Yet, we, even without the stigmata, still carry the passion and death spiritually within us, (as St. Paul so often points out), remembering that even in suffering and death, we are being formed by the Spirit of God into his people.  Pio reminds us that suffering, even though it is something unwanted by most of us, is a good that can lead us closer to God and so closer to life.

Thursday, September 24th
Mark Link, in his series Mission 2000 tells an interesting fact.  He writes that "children have bad manners... They no longer rise when elders enter the room.  They contradict their parents... and are tyrants over their teachers."   Now, a lot of people would agree with that picture.  However, that description of children was actually written nearly 2500 years ago by Socrates, the famous Greek Philosopher!  Indeed, Qoheleth is right when he says in today's first reading that nothing ever changes!  Human beings are and always will be human beings.  Bad choices, selfishness and sin will always be a part of the world.  All of us, though we strive with all our might, will fall into sin like every human being before us.  But that is not a reason to give up or despair.   Rather, it shows us that we cannot save ourselves.  Only through the strength and power of God and his love can we be saved.  Our job is to keep reminding ourselves that God is in charge, not us.  We can follow the commandments, celebrate the sacraments, strive to be good people all we want, but that will never end up winning salvation for us!  It is only by opening our lives to God's free gift of love that we are saved.  Yet, the paradox is that unless we put ourselves in the path of grace by following the commandments, and doing these other things, we will not be open to His grace.  We will foolishly think that we can do it on our own.  While good actions are not saving us, they are reminding us that we need to open our hearts and our lives to God and his grace so we may not get sucked fully into the vanities of life of which Qoheleth speaks

Friday, September 25th
In today's first reading Qoheleth writes, "There is an appointed time for everything."  He speaks of "a time to laugh and a time to cry."  None of us wants a time of crying, a time of loss or pain.  Yet, what we have to learn, I think, is that even in our suffering, God is with us.  He never abandons us.   If we let him, God will bring good out of our time of suffering.  I remember so well a day when I was simply worn out, tired and depressed.  I went out for a walk, hoping that it would clear my head.  A young lady who I had never seen before, passed by me and said, "good morning!"  What a change then happened inside me.  All of a sudden the black cloud was gone and everything was sunny again for me.  I recognized God's gift that came to me in my suffering.  If I had not been so down, the greeting of that girl would probably have meant absolutely nothing to me.  But, now I experienced God working through her to bring me back to the light.  Suffering, even though we don't like it, can be a source of the revelation of God's love and care for us through others.  Indeed, every time and experience of our lives can be times of grace.  We just need to be patient.  God's love is stronger than all else!

Saturday, September 26th
Today we celebrate the Memorial of Blessed Kaspar Stanggassinger.  Fr. Kaspar was a Redemptorist priest.  When he was ordained, Kaspar was looking forward to being a missionary and spreading God's word to the world.  However, his superiors had other plans for him.  Fr Kaspar was sent to the seminary to work as a teacher of the seminarians.  Fr Kaspar accepted this as God's will and fully gave himself to this task.  He would frequently preach at neighboring parishes, calling the people to a great love of the Eucharist, and taught that through the Eucharist God offered strength to those who were needy or anxious.  As we celebrate this Redemptorist Blessed, he challenges us look at our own life.  Do we seek to follow God's will, or do we cling to our own will?  How is our relationship with Jesus in the Eucharist.  Maybe we can call on Fr Kaspar to help us grow in these areas.  

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Monday, September 28th
Today, we begin to read the Book of Job at our weekday masses.  In today's selection, Satan tells God that Job is only God-fearing and holy because God has spoiled him with many good things in life.  God disagrees and allows the Devil to mess with Job's wealth, family, and friends.   Will Job be angry and resentful towards God?  There is a story of an angel that that present s a similar thought.  An angel is seen carrying a bucket of water and a lighted torch.  He claims that the water will put out the fires of Hell, and that the fire from the torch will burn down the mansions of heaven.  The angel states that then we would know who truly loves God.  This is a great thing to contemplate!  Do we claim to love and follow God only because we fear hell, or we want heaven?  Either way, if we can say yes, then we don't really love God.  Love is not based on anything but the object of love.  There cannot be an ulterior motive for true love.  Yes, we come to know of God's love for us through the gifts he gives us in life (if we are really looking).   But we are called to love him for himself.  We will see that Job stripped of everything, still praises God.  Where do we stand in our love?

Tuesday, September 29th
Today we celebrate the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels.  As a parish named after St. Michael, this is a big day of celebration for us.  The angels are Gods messengers to the world.  Michael shows us God's protection of us (Michael battles Satan), Gabriel communicates God's plan of redemption (Gabriel visits both Mary and Elizabeth to tell them that God's plan for redemption are at hand), and Raphael shows us God's love which seeks to bring healing to our lives (Raphael accompanies Tobias in the Book of Tobit   and brings both physical and spiritual healing).  When we celebrate the archangels, we really celebrate God's love for us.  However, we also must realize that pain, sickness, death are part of the natural world.  God will not protect us from every instance of these negative realities, but he will always offer the grace and strength to get through those times.  Suffering will always remain a mystery for us, even as we see in the Book of Job.

Wednesday, September 30th
Today we celebrate the Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church.  Jerome's feats in life are mainly 2.  First, he had a deep love of scripture.  He is renowned for translating the entire Bible into Latin.  He uttered the famous line. "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ."  He spent his whole life studying scripture, so as to know God better.  Secondly, Jerome is known for his charity.  He was living in Bethlehem when refugees from all around were running there to escape persecution.  He put aside all his study to help them.  He said, "For today, we must translate the words of scripture into deeds, and instead of speaking saintly words, we must act them."  Love of God and love of neighbor always go together.  How much do we avail ourselves of the privilege of reading the scriptures?  How good are we at translating the scriptures into actions of love?  St Jerome gives us much to think about!

Thursday, October 1st
 Today is the Memorial of St Therese of the Child Jesus, popularly known as The Little Flower.  St. Therese is best known for a spirituality that is expressed in her autobiography.  This is the 'little way."  As she was trying to discern her vocation in life, she came to a realization: not everyone can be a prophet, apostle, or preacher.  She found her own vocation in love.  She could simply love and serve those around her.  This path led to her being recognized as a great saint.  In fact, Pope Pius XI called her "the greatest saint of modern times!  Maybe her path of loving others (putting their needs first), is also the way that God has set before us to make us saints!

Friday, October 2nd
Today we celebrate the Memorial of the Guardian Angels.  God's love for each one of us is so great, that he has assigned angel to watch over us!  Isn't it wonderful to recall that even with all our sins, God's love remains and he sends us the protection of the angels?  God's love is not earned by being good.  He loves us because his very nature is love.  If there is a soul in hell, that person is still loved by God.  They simply have refused to accept his love into their lives.  This memorial always makes me reflect on how well I open my life to God's love, through reading scripture, through prayer, or through loving others.  Even if I have not done a very good job at this, God's love and my guardian angel are there to help me.  It is never too late until we die.  How about you?  Do you have an open heart to receive God's love? 

Saturday, October 3rd
In today's readings, we have the completion of the book of Job.  Throughout all his loss and suffering, Job has stayed faithful.  Though he is forced to accept the fact that he will never be able to understand the mysteries of God and how he works, his love for God continued.  Job is a wonderful reflection on the mystery of evil in our lives (How can a God who loves us allow us to suffer?).  If anyone tries to tell you how this all works, you can rest assured that he is wrong!  We will never be able to answer the question of evil existing in our lives.  But, we don't need to.  All we need to do is to keep our Faith in God's love for us, no matter what happens in our lives. 

Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Monday, October 5th
Today we celebrate the Memorial of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos.  Fr. Seelos is a redemptorist priest who is especially known for his tireless and dedicated work in New Orleans with people who were suffering from yellow fever.  Seelos gave himself wholly to this ministry with the sick, even though he knew he stood a great chance of catching the disease himself.  He tried to be  a faithful minister of the healing Jesus.  His selflessness inspired the whole city.  Eventually, Fr Francis did die of yellow fever.   We too are called to follow Seelos's example of humility and service, no matter what the cost to us.  As we celebrate this great Redemptorist, let us ask God to give us his spirit of selfless dedication to the people around us.

Tuesday, October 6th
The Response to today's Responsorial Psalm is , "Guide me Lord Along the Everlasting Way."  Psalm 39, which is the psalm being read today is one of the most beautiful of the Psalms.  It talks about the closeness of God to us, the intimacy that He has in the lives of his children.  It might be a great activity to read Psalm 39 in its entirety.  We should always remember how precious we are in God's eyes.  Is is comforting to know that we can indeed count on this God who loves us to guide us along the road of life, which leads to himself.  We only need to listen for his call every day within our own lives!

Wednesday, October 7th
Today we celebrate the Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary.  The rosary is meant to help us to remember the life of Jesus that Mary participated in to such a high degree.  It is not just meant to be a repetitious mumbling of the Hail Mary.  Rather, we should try to keep our mind focused on a particular event of Jesus' life that is remembered in each decade.  A tradition that I learned in high school is a good one for helping me to focus better on each mystery.  I add a little phrase to the end of the first half of the Hail Mary about the mystery.  For example, the first joyful mystery is the Annunciation, so I will pray "blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, whom you conceived by the Holy Spirit."  For the first glorious mystery I will add "who rose from the dead."  By adding those short phrases about the mystery, I find that my wandering mind wanders less.  Give it a try.  Make up your own tags for each mystery and see if it doesn't help you to pray!

Thursday, October 8th
In today's first reading, St. Paul says that he was encouraged by Peter, James and John to always remember the poor.  Paul states that he always did that.  We too need to be concerned with the poor.  It was to the little ones in society that Jesus reached out to most often.   He was always seeking to bring God's love to the hungry, the sick, and to sinners.  As followers of Christ, we must always strive to live as he did.  We must realize that every single person in the world is important, even to poor ones!  In helping them, we show forth our belonging to Christ.  Especially in our world today, with so many people whose lives have been torn apart by the corona virus,  we must reach out to assist as we are able.  There are so many people who rely on food kitchens so that they can eat.  There are so many people who need the help of other various social services.  If we share by donating to these services, God will surely reward us!  Reach out today and help the poor around you to survive today!

Friday, October 9th
In today's Responsorial Psalm, we respond "The Lord will remember His covenant forever."  This idea of covenant is at the center of the Judeo-Christian Faith!  Yet, so often, I think people don't really understand it.  A covenant was a very special kind of agreement between people.  It was an agreement that made two different city states one people.  It's whole point was to make two unrelated parties "family."  In entering a covenant with us, God has in fact made us His sons and daughters.  We are family with Him and with each other.  There is no human being who exists outside of this family.  It is only our own free will that can break the covenant bond and leave us outside of God's family, not because God excludes us (he never does!), but that we refuse the grace that God offers.  The covenant brings us into a very intimate relationship with God.  We are His!

Saturday, October 10th
Today in the Gospel, Jesus says, "Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it."  So often, we can think of God's word as something which adds a burden to our lives.  After all, so much of his Word can be a challenge to our own actions.  Yet, God's Word never seeks to burden us.  Rather, it always seeks our freedom and happiness.  True happiness does not consist of having all our needs and desires fulfilled, no matter the cost to those around us.  Rather, true happiness and peace are only found when we all respect each other.  Sometimes we need to run a truth to the extreme in our mind to understand it.  For instance, God tells us, "You shall not steal."  Yet, many can only see themselves "happy" if they possess what belongs to others.  Now, this may solve our immediate need for something, but what would happen if everyone was totally free to take the belongings of others?  Would any of us really be happy if we had to constantly look out for others who had every right to steal our things?  No, the world would be a place filled with suspicion and worry.  God's Word always calls us to a happy, and caring world where we all respect each other.  It is only in such a climate of covenant and family and respect that all of us can achieve true happiness and peace!

Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Monday, October 12th
Today, we celebrate Columbus Day.  Meanwhile, our neighbors up in Canada celebrate Thanksgiving today.   Columbus is a figure who is criticized much these days.  Indeed, he had some really bad character traits.  Perhaps he is similar to all of us.  After all, we too have bad character traits that afflict us.  Yet, we are all loved by God for the good that we have in us.  In his mercy, he turns his gaze from our sins.  Maybe that is something that we can use to celebrate with Canada today!  Let us be thankful for God's great love and mercy for us, in spite of our sins.

Tuesday, October 13th
In today's gospel, Jesus advices the Pharisees to give alms, so that they may be made clean.  Why give alms?  Almsgiving, basically sharing what we have out of concern for others, takes our attention off ourselves.  It is selfishness which tends to be the beginning of sin in many cases.  We are meant to be like God, that is, loving people who give themselves away for others.  Almsgiving help us remember this fact.  When our minds are bent on helping others, we are free from our own self-centeredness.  Bu being who we were created to be, people who give up their own good for the sake of God and neighbor, our actions become love, not sin.

Wednesday, October 14th
When St Paul looks at Baptism, he takes it very seriously.  When we are baptized, we die to sin.  We are clothed with the very life of Jesus Christ himself.  Therefore, Paul constantly challenges people to live with the life of Christ shining through their actions.  In today's reading, we see Paul listing works of the flesh and works of the Spirit.  Paul calls us all to give up sin and live the life of Christ with which we are reborn in Baptism.  That is our Christian life: a struggling to give up selfishness and sin, and learning to love instead.  None of us are perfectly living the new life of Baptism, but God in his mercy gives us his grace so that we may grow each day in our ability to live as Christ.  Perhaps today we can admit our own vices which pull us into sin, and call on God to help us to let go of these vices and truly "put on Christ."

Thursday, October 15th
Today we celebrate the Memorial of St Teresa of Jesus, also known as St Teresa of Avila.  As a young teen, Teresa was very much like all of us when we are young!  She was full of vanity.  However, as a nun, she later went on to dedicate her life to prayer.  She wrote three books on prayer and the mystical life.  She founded a new group of Carmelite nuns, who were dedicated to strict prayer.  Teresa reminds all of us that life is not about us.  It is about God and about us opening our hearts to him in a determined and conscious way.  Let us ask St. Teresa to help us become more serious about prayer and union with God.

Friday, October 16th
Today we celebrate the Memorial of St Gerard Magella, a Redemptorist Brother.  St Gerard is especially known today as "The mothers' Saint."  He is prayed to by women wishing to get pregnant and by women who are in troubled pregnancies.  Many a mother testify that Gerard's prayers for them saved the lives of their children, and even of the mothers themselves.  Gerard is also remembered as a sickly young man, who by opening his heart and life to God , was able to do great things in his ministry as a Redemptorist.  He reminds us that all people are valuable and necessary.  Even the poor and weak can be great in the eyes of God.   Gerard reminds us that by humbly sharing our gifts and abilities with others, we can grow in holiness.  Gerard was one who could read the heart of another person.  He always encouraged growth in our love of God and neighbor.   Let us pray today to St. Gerard, asking him to help us to be fully invested in our Christian life.  As one who always sought out the glory and honor of God, he will help us!

Saturday, October 17th
Today, we will be celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmation with some of the young people in our parish.  We will ask the Spirit to fill them again with his power and love, so that they can go out and live the life of service to which they were called in Baptism.  They are sent forth to be priests (by offering prayers and sacrifices for others), prophets (by their sharing of the good news of Jesus' love and redemptions with others), and kings (by being persons of service, which was the purpose of kings in God's plan).  In confirmation, the power of the Spirit, which has been dormant in their lives because of their being children, is switched on in their lives.  It is similar, perhaps to us flicking the light switch in our home to let flow the electricity, that was always there and available, loose.   Let us pray for all those being Confirmed, and also for ourselves, who have already received this great Sacrament.  May we all let the power of Christ, who is within us, shine forth for all the world to see!

Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Monday, October 19th
Today we celebrate the Memorial of Sts. John Brebeuf and Isaac Jogues and their companions.  These are a group of Jesuits who labored in Northern U.S. and Southern Canada among the Native American populations.  This was the very first group of missionaries to preach the gospel in the new world.  Eventually, they were all tortured and put to death.  However, it wasn't long before the Native Americans started to convert and welcome other missionaries.  One fruit of their martyrdom is that 10 years after the death of Fr Jogues, the future St. Kateri Tekakwitha was born in the same village.  The death of these martyrs really was the seed of the faith.  Somehow, God's love was stronger than the viciousness of the deaths.  Such is always the case: when things get tough, God's love and grace and stronger still!

Tuesday, October 20th
In today's Gospel, we read, "Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival."  As we enter into this season of autumn, we begin to prepare for "the end time."  Jesus was always encouraging people to live a life of faith every day.  In these days, we should not grow slack, thinking that we have plenty of time.  By living a loving life every day, we will be sure to be in a state of vigilance at the end.  Being ready simply means that we are saying yes to God's invitation to Life each day of our lives.

Wednesday, October 21st
Once again, today's gospel presents us with a call to be ready.  Jesus uses the figure of a owner of a house who knows when the thief is coming.  Again, with our own death or the end of the world being an unknown, the smart thing for us to do is to simply live the Christian life that we are called to live each day.  We will be ready for death or the end if we are ready NOW!

Thursday, October 22nd
I was looking at a staircase in the rectory.  The steps connected the first floor with the second.  But, I wasn't sure if those same steps went up or down!  In much the same way, Jesus' teachings will bring both peace and happiness to those who follow, but bring anger and fury to those who disagree!  Jesus is the same, the message is the same, but the result very much depends on us.   How do I let the message of Jesus effect my life?

Friday, October 23rd
In today's first reading, Paul begs us all to "bear with one another through love."  It would be a totally ridiculous thing for us to think that we will always see things the same as everyone else.  People may hold beliefs that differ from ours.  That's human nature.  The big question is, "why can I not accept such differences?"  Human life, human interactions are always going to be murky.  Paul has a point when he tells us that if we want peace, we need to bear with others.  After all, they have to bear with us too!

Saturday, October 24th
Today's gospel is one I feel is very relevant for many people today.  It speaks of bad things happening to people.  Jesus says that these bad happenings do not mean that they were bad people.  The things that happen in our world are not so simple.  Good people often suffer.  Does this mean God is punishing them?  No!  It simply means that life has taken a bad turn on them.  Such things as sickness, loss of job, loss of a relationship, or death, are not punishments from God.  They are ordinary parts of this imperfect life that we live here on earth.  A life of perfection will only come later, when we are home with Christ.

     

Redemptorist Spirituality
Fr. Greg May, C.Ss.R.

Saints and Blessed (8)
May 23, 2020

Founding of the Congregation (7)
May 16, 2020

Mary Our Model (6)
May 7, 2020

Proclaim Plentiful Redemption (5)
May 2, 2020

Participation in the Redeemer's Family (4)
April 25, 2020

Redemption OT (3)
April 18, 2020

Christian Spirituality (2)
April 12, 2020

Easter Joy
April 12, 2020

Importance of Spirituality (1)
April 5, 2020

Introduction to Spirituality Workshop
March 27, 2020

 

Integrating Your Spiritual Self
Fr. Tom Santa, C.Ss.R.

Integrating Your Spiritual Self
April 17, 2020

Integrating Your Spiritual Self
April 16, 2020

Integrating Your Spiritual Self
April 15, 2020

Integrating Your Spiritual Self
April 14, 2020

Integrating Your Spiritual Self
April 13, 2020

Integrating Your Spiritual Self
April 8, 2020

Integrating Your Spiritual Self
April 7, 2020

Integrating Your Spiritual Self
April 6, 2020

Integrating Your Spiritual Self
April 3, 202

Integrating Your Spiritual Self
April 2, 2020

Integrating Your Spiritual Self
April 1, 2020

Integrating Your Spiritual Self
March 31 2020

Integrating Your Spiritual Self
March 30, 2020

     
 
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