General Parish News

Fr Bob Writes – March 10, 2019

The message of Lent: 

To accept Jesus as Lord is to put him at the centre of our life, to see Christ as the great gift of our existence.  It affects commitment, marriage, family, work and play to accept him, and him alone, as our Savior, and a willingness to confront and master temptation at every turn. 

In our second reading this Sunday, the first Sunday of Lent, St Paul reminds us that salvation in Christ is personal, deeply internal, a question of heart and lips.  Salvation, for Paul, consists in a personal appropriation of what Christ has done for us.  What Paul means by faith is a deep adherence and commitment to the Lord Jesus, who alone justifies and saves.  This is a salvation open to all people, not the Jews exclusively.  This is the individual dimension of salvation. 

 In our first reading this Sunday, Deuteronomy sets forth the collective dimension of salvation.  We are saved as a people, as a community, as a family, not just as individuals.  The Hebrew believer presented a part of the annual harvest to the Lord as an expression of gratitude for all that God had done for him and his people.  The credo which the offeror recites blends appreciation for personal benefits with those received by Israel as a whole.  The identification of the individual with the larger community is central to covenant faith. 

We go into the desert experience of Lent not just as individuals, but as part of a family, a community.  How can I best live this experience of Lent in both dimensions: collective and individual?

Fr. Bob Writes – March 3, 2019

“Its fruit discloses the cultivation of a tree; so a person’s speech discloses the cultivation of the mind” (Sirach 27:6)

Our words and actions are a true index of character.  Action flows from what we are.  As our lives and thinking are fashioned, we will act.  Crime is not overcome by arrest and incarceration but by formation in values.  The home, as the most formative element in our lives, will always retain its primary importance.  We can expect the disintegration of moral and social values when parents abdicate their responsibility for formation. 

Speech is one of the most powerful tools for good or ill.  We hardly realize all that it discloses.  To experience the tragic loss of speech through illness, with all its attendant frustrations, makes us aware of how vital this avenue of communication is.  God chose to reveal himself through human language.  Jesus taught in words, and that teaching was captured by writers in word.  The scriptural languages – Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek – are the language of God.  Jesus Himself, God’s Word, is the incarnate language of God.  Speech is essentially revelatory.  It is a window on the soul.  It can reveal courage, honesty, gentleness, and thoughtfulness, or it can reveal cowardice, duplicity, irreverence, lust and deception.  A physically unimpressive person after a ten minute conversation becomes an inspiration.  Contrariwise, a very striking and attractive person reveals in the same length of time that looks are not everything.  Our words and deeds can lead others astray, or they can elevate the human spirit.  That is no small responsibility.

Fr. Bob Writes – Feb 24, 2019

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given you ” (Luke 6:36)

We are all aware that there are physical laws governing the universe.  The law of gravity, the law that says “To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction,” and so on.  It does not matter if you believe and accept these laws or not; they do not depend on your acceptance to operate.  Whether or not you believe in the law of gravity will not stop you feeling the effects of its operation if you were to step off the roof of a tall building!

The same is true of spiritual laws.  There are spiritual laws that govern the way our lives are run.  They are invisible, but no less real for all that.  In our gospel today, Jesus sets out some of these laws: see the quotation at the top of this essay.  Others are found at different places in the Bible: “Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long and that it may go well with you in the land” (Deuteronomy 5: 16) – with the implication that, if you do not honor your father and mother, it will not well with you.  Also “As you sow, so shall you reap ” (Galatians 6:7), and “You sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind” (Hosea).

Again, it does not matter whether or not you choose to believe these laws, they will still operate in your life. If you are experiencing negative situations in your life, frustration that things are not going as well as you hoped, or a lack of joy or peace, etc, try looking at these spiritual laws and see if you are in fact transgressing them in some way and reaping the consequences.  If so, bring your judgements, lack of forgiveness, etc to the sacrament of reconciliation and receive in return the promise of forgiveness (another spiritual law, see above) and a return of peace and joy in your life.