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.