Monthly Archives: February 2016

Lenten Message 2016

Brothers and sisters: There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another, the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another, faith by the same Spirit; to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit; to another, mighty deeds; to another, prophecy; to another, discernment of spirits; to another, varieties of tongues; to another, interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.
– 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

As we take a moment to reflect on our lives during this season of Lent, let us focus our thoughts and prayers on the unbounded Love and Mercy of Jesus Christ. Pope Francis has proclaimed this Year of Mercy to remind us of the ever present Love of Jesus and the many ways we can receive His Mercy.

Now, This year I’m not going to give you a long list of things to “give up” for Lent. Many of us will choose to limit our, or eliminate certain extras or luxuries as an offering of mortification. Rather, I’m asking you to take up a spiritual work of Mercy as your Lenten focus.

We learned the Spiritual Works of Mercy remember? Admonish the sinner, Instruct the ignorant, Counsel the doubtful, Comfort the afflicted, Bear wrongs patiently, Forgive offences willingly, and to Pray for the living and the dead.

I invite you to take a moment to reflect on these works and prayerfully consider taking one as your daily Lenten practice.

You may consider comforting the afflicted. How many different kinds of people there are in your life who are touched by sadness. And it’s not just a matter of going in with armchair psychology. It’s a matter of entering into their lives with the kindness and the compassion of Jesus Christ, comforting those who are afflicted. Expression of the problems or the difficulties in their lives and an awareness of your ability through the kindness and Mercy of Jesus Christ, to meet them.

These are just a few examples of how you can focus your Lenten time.

The culmination of your Lenten spiritual journey should be Holy Week. Starting with Palm Sunday, we remember how our lives have been forever changed. You might want to attend one of the special Masses or Liturgies that are unique to Holy Week, especially if you’ve never done so before.

My prayer for you this Lent is that the limitless Love and Mercy of Jesus Christ will transform your life, moving you closer and closer to a life filled with grace and the richness of his unconditional Love.

Blessed Lent to you – And I’ll see you at Sunday Mass!

Justice and Peace—Eternal Themes

The beautiful words of Psalm 85 verse 10 and following convey great sentiment and profound meaning for today’s world stunned as it is with headlines of sadness and speculation for the future. The simplicity of the psalm reads: “Kindness and truth have met; justice and peace have kissed.” From a spiritual vantage point there is little irony wasted on supreme courts and Supreme Justice.

I don’t know if it matters or not, but up until just a few days ago, the Supreme Court Justices numbered nine: the count was six Catholics and three Jews. Amazingly enough that is a rather significant grouping of people of faith!

On Saturday, that count changed significantly, not only from the numeric vantage point of men or women or religious denomination—Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a prominent Justice, a man and a Catholic, has died. His death, at this time, is historic and, as we shall see, it is an event that will have great significance for our country.

The fact that we are embroiled, once again, in a campaign that will result in the election of a new President for our beloved country, the vacancy of a seat on the Supreme Court will create a new sense of urgency for civic awareness and Constitutional correctness. Scalia’s death will demand an awakening on the part of many Americans who are only now trying to come to a conscious and genuine decision about whom, in fact, should assume the highest position in the Executive Branch of our government. Presidential appointments to the Supreme Court are one of the most important and basic components of our system of government.

Our Constitutional form of government continues to liberate minds and hearts to pursue the common good for all men and women who look to the United States of America as the light of liberty and justice. The Supreme Court, in spite of some of its more flamboyant decisions in recent months, has struggled to remain unaffected by politics. This is a profound element of our freedom and our way of life as Americans.

Justice Scalia has been one of the more outspoken defenders of the Constitution—its meaning and its historic point of view. Major cases now await the decision of the Supreme Court. Many of those decisions deeply affect issues having serious consequences for Americans who are also people of faith. Decisions regarding abortion, the HHS mandate and the decision regarding the Little Sisters of the Poor, immigration, to name a few, are easily points of law where the voice of Justice Scalia will be seriously missed. His death is a major loss of a measured and reasonable voice in a time when such voices are desperately needed to speak truth to power in our age of secular relativism.

People of faith are always urged by conscience and by the moral order, to pray for our leaders and to be mindful of the challenge to liberty and justice. It behooves us, certainly to pray for the repose of the soul of Justice Scalia by virtue of our common faith and support of one another in the light of our faith. It behooves us further, in this time of faithful citizenship, to be aware of the election of a new President who has the awesome responsibility of providing those who will serve in the leadership of those who will guarantee equal justice under the law.

We can recall the psalmist’s sentiments leading us to ponder the meeting of epic concerns as a reality of kindness and truth meeting and justice and peace kissing lead us to pray: eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine on him. May his soul and the soul of all the faithful departed rest in peace.