Fr Bob Writes – July 30, 2017

“Give me an understanding heart …” (1 Kings 3:8)

Because Solomon asked for the gift of wisdom to serve God and his people, God granted him wisdom and understanding.  These gifts are among those listed in Is 11:2 and known as “The Gifts of the Holy Spirit.”  With whatever gifts we are entrusted by God…discernment, intelligence, personal talents, wealth, position…they are not given to us as personal possessions.  We receive them not as owners but as stewards.

It is extremely tempting, however, to lose the perspective of being stewards and begin to consider our gifts as personal possessions.  This can be a recipe for disaster as one’s gifts can become twisted into instruments for self-aggrandizement to the detriment of those who should be the beneficiaries of our gifts.  Take Solomon, for example.  Enamored of his wisdom, he turned a deaf ear to God’s guidance through the prophet Nathan (1 Kings 11).  Solomon believed he was wise enough to form a better plan than what the prophet offered.  He was not to marry outside of his own Jewish faith, but Solomon thought it wise to form alliances with other countries… alliances cemented by marriage.  In the process, Solomon married many a non-Jewish woman and then further offended God by building temples to their gods in the hills surrounding Jerusalem.  At the end of his life, Solomon was rejected both by God and the people he ruled.

Thank God for the gifts you have received.  Remember they are entrusted to you as a steward, not as the owner, and you will share in greater blessings.

Fr Bob Writes – July 23, 2017

Fr Bob writes: “The Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings…” (Romans 8:26)

“Have you ever wanted to express some powerful emotion in your heart but just couldn’t find the words to do so?  Think on the many times you have expressed joy, sorrow, frustration or other emotions without words, bypassing the mental process of formulating thoughts into meaningful  words and phrases?  Hugs, tears, laughter, shouts, cheers, sobs and groans expressed what was within your heart far more effectively than words could ever do.

It is said that, during times of private prayer, Pope John Paul II could often be heard emitting low groans.  Whatever he was placing before God at the time, he was bypassing words and letting the Spirit bring his prayer directly before the Lord.  St Paul describes such communications in today’s second reading as “inexpressible groanings.”  It is from the heart rather than the intellect that the most profound prayers proceed. Often wordless, they are emotive expressions which other people may not understand but God understands perfectly.”

(thanks to Fr Denny Dempsey for the above comments) 

Fr Bob Writes – July 13, 2017

A sower went out to sow …”(Matthew 13: 2  . So begins the first of the “agricultural” parables in Matthew’s gospel passage this Sunday.  The word “parable” comes from two words in Greek “para” (towards or alongside) and “bole” (to throw up). A parable presents an image which is “thrown up alongside” some aspect of the kingdom of God to throw light on its meaning. Speaking to a rural community, Jesus naturally uses images that would have been understandable to them.

In Jesus’ time, grain was not planted in rows but broadcast by throwing handfuls of seed around. With a sack of grain slung over one shoulder, the sower would reach into the sack, grab a handful of seeds, and scatter them.  Some seeds landed in weeds, some on the footpath, some in shallow rocky ground.  Ploughing took place after the sowing.  While a fair amount of seed might be wasted using this technique, that which landed on good soil would produce a generous harvest on a good year.

God scatters the seed of his word and blessings about.  Not all seeds come to fruition. The word is often met with indifference or opposition.  Nevertheless, the harvest will be plentiful where people receive the seed of God’s word as the good soil in the parable.  If we are truly open to that word, allow God to weed out what does not belong, get the word below the surface as with ploughing the field, by letting God soften our hearts to receive it, then that word can take root, grow and be productive.

What type of soil represents the state of your heart towards the gospel message of Jesus?

12 Hour Vigil of Eucharistic Adoration – 7pm Saturday July 8 to 7am Sunday July 9

12-HOUR VIGIL OF EUCHARISTIC ADORATION  TO PRAY FOR THE  RELEASE OF PRISONERS JOSHUA & CAITLIN BOYLE & THEIR CHILDREN             From 7pm Saturday July 8 to 7am on Sunday July 9 at St Philips —join us in praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament for the release of Joshua (from Smiths Falls), and also the release of his wife Caitlin and their two children (born in captivity).  Please sign up (in church entrance) to sit with our Lord for an hour.

 

Fr Bob Writes – July 9, 2017

The following is excerpted from an article in last month’s issue of “Columbia” by Archbishop Lori:

“St John Paul II once wrote:  “The Church and the world have great need for eucharistic worship. Jesus awaits us in this sacrament of love.  Let us not refuse the time to go and meet him in adoration, in contemplation full of faith, and open to making amends for the serious crimes of the world.  Let our adoration never cease.” (cf Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1380)

Once we have welcomed the eucharistic Lord into the depths of our hearts, nothing remains the same.  Christianity becomes not a sideline but a way of life.  What we say and do, the choices we make, the way we treat others – most especially the poor and the troubled- all are shaped by our repeated encounters with the Lord.  United deeply to Christ our life, we commit ourselves to the Church’s mission of spreading the Gospel.  We see the Church not merely as an institution but as the Body of Christ, of which we are living members.  We want everyone to know Jesus and to welcome him into their hearts.  We want the Church to be strong and unified so that others may believe.

Who knows what graces will be ours as we unite in prayer before Jesus in the Eucharist?  How many hearts will be touched with the truth and beauty of the Gospel?  How many vocations to the priesthood and religious life will be fostered?  How many sinners will be converted?  How many sins atoned for?  How many bodies and souls healed of physical and spiritual infirmities?  How many lukewarm Christians converted into ardent followers of Christ? ”

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament will continue throughout the summer months on Mondays from 2pm – 6:45pm.

There will also be a special 12 hour prayer vigil before the Blessed Sacrament to pray for the release of Josh and Caitlin Boyle, prisoners of the Taliban in Afghanistan for four years. The vigil runs from 7pm on Saturday July 8th to 7am on Sunday July 9th.