Fr Bob Writes – Pentecost

The readings of Pentecost are full of new life. This is truly a birthday. Without Pentecost, Christ’s work would have been incomplete. His death may have proved his love for us, but it would not of itself improve our lot. We would be able to admire him at a distance.  But there would be no effective following of him, nor the right to call Christ “brother,‘ or God ‘Abba.‘  It is the Spirit of Pentecost that makes all of that possible. But today’s celebration is not just personal; it is communal as well. Today the church was launched on its mission. It celebrates two millennia of life. And the church is the mother who accompanies us from the cradle to the grave.

Unity and diversity – both are so pronounced in today’s readings. In the Acts of the Apostles, there is a clear foretelling that an open door policy will be followed. The church is open to all people. There are to be no distinctions of race, gender, nationality or social status. We find our unity in one Lord one faith and one baptism. But unity does not mean a measured marching to the same tune. There are many ways in which life is lived and service is rendered in the church. We have diverse liturgical expressions in the church, different approaches to theology, different forms of government. All of this goes hand in hand with a unity in faith. Conformity is not necessarily a virtue. The Spirit breathes where and as it wills. Pentecost reminds us of that.

 

Mammoth Garage Sale – May 12, 2018

Treasures Galore!  So much to chose from!   On Saturday May 12th, the Knights will again be participating in the Richmond wide Community Garage Sale.  We have it all:  tools, sporting goods, books, toys, games,  small kitchen appliances, glassware, small furniture, etc. Rain or shine, in the parish hall.  Funds raised will be used for the Knights’ charitable causes.

Fr Bob Writes – May 13, 2018

This Sunday we celebrate the feast of the Ascension. The ascension brings the mission of Jesus to a close. It gives us a bit of respite, the chance to look back and reflect before moving ahead. How often, after the death of someone loved and admired, we are renewed in reviewing his or her life. So too the disciples in prayer had their moment of silent reflection. But Jesus, true to form, moves our attention forward as well. We are not to spend excessive time gazing heavenward. He will not leave us orphans. And so he reminds us, as we reflect on his life and teaching, to prepare ourselves for the next phase of God’s interaction with the world. This is the meaning of Jesus’ refusal to answer directly the question of the disciples in today’s first reading about when he was going to restore the kingdom to Israel. He tells them not to focus on such questions, but to concentrate on their mission, which will begin when they are clothed in the power of the Holy Spirit, to preach the gospel to all nations. And the two men in white, who appear to the apostles at the end of the first reading, tell them not to waste time staring into the sky. Jesus WILL be returning at some point in time, but for now we have work to do for the kingdom of God.

Pentecost is on the horizon. Memory and hope are two vital features of the religious experience- a leavetaking with a promise.

Fr Bob Writes – May 6, 2018

In today’s second reading and gospel, you will hear the word “love” a total of eighteen times! Not for nothing is St John called “the Apostle of Love!”

In the gospel, Jesus “commands” us to love.  You can’t command emotions and attractions, but agape love is based not on emotions but is rather a conscious wilful choice to do good for God and others.  In its perfection it is selfless, yet it bears the fruit of joy for the one so loving.  We often go after joy and happiness as our goal…Jesus would have us know that the greatest joy and happiness do not come from seeking them directly but as by-products of seeking to do good, to make a positive difference, to see others blessed as a result of our efforts.

In the gospel today, Jesus calls us “friends” rather than slaves or servants.  In the Old Testament, Moses, Joshua and David were called slaves or servants of God.  Only Abraham was called God’s friend.  The language gets a bit challenging here, for obedience to commands seems more appropriate in a servant-master relationship than a friendship.  If we are going to strive to be like God, however, we are invited into an intimate relationship and made co-workers, not just servants, in the mission.

Who chose who?  We do make a choice to follow Jesus, but the image of being chosen by God reminds us that we are invited into a plan bigger than of our own making.  Imagine football, baseball or basketball players being chosen in the draft.  Before choosing a player, a team has an idea of what position that person will play and how he or she will best fit into the overall plan for the team.  I believe that God has a specific role for each of us to play in his eternal plan.  The more accurately you and I discern our roles in God’s great plan and strive to live according to that plan, the more God can accomplish through us…and the more we will be filled with the side blessing benefits of greater satisfaction, joy, happiness, and peace in our lives.