Thursday, April 29, 2010

Why We Have Our Ministry

Why We Continue With Our Ministry
By Rev. Bob Johnnene OFD
Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy

I am often asked why does Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus and the Franciscans of Divine Mercy have a ministry that is welcoming and affirming to the GLBT community and sponsors a booth at Boston Gay Pride Festival?  
The answer is that we do so because we feel obligated to minister to the GLBT community, their Families & Friends who have been driven out of the Catholic Church by a homophobic sermon or congregation or something they heard from Rome or a local bishop or the condemnation of a priest when they went to confession.
Some have been so deeply hurt and wounded that they have not only turned against Church but they have turned against God. They actually say, "If God hates me (my child, my friend), then I hate God." These people do not want to risk being hurt again. Others ask, "Why should I remain in a dysfunctional relationship with a dysfunctional church that claims we are "intrinsically disordered"
The mere presence of our booth at the Pride festival may help them to begin to question their perceptions of the difference between God's love and the human failings of some who are supposed to represent God here on earth. 
Over the past 5 years we have received praise and thanks for being at the various Pride Festivals  and we know we have actually brought some back into the Mystical Body of Christ, The Church.
There are those within our faith community who are concerned that our ministry and the Old Catholic Church of New England is seen as supportive of the so called "gay lifestyle." as if such a lifestyle existed.   There are some who insinuate that our ministry condones a "hedonist lifestyle" of over-indulgence in booze, drugs and promiscuous sex.  In actuality, if you watch some of the more popular Television shows and movies you will notice that the "hedonist lifestyle" is more accurately the "hetero-lifestyle" and promiscuity is more prevalent in the heterosexual community even among those who are married and there are many more heterosexual bars, drug addicts and brothels and promiscuous behavior often among the most homophobic individuals who are the loudest to condemn the GLBT community.  Just look at some of the elected officials who ranted and raved against any laws that would protect GLBT people and then were caught with "their pants down having an illicit affair".
We do not condone or subscribe to a hedonist lifestyle but do support those who have made a commitment to a partner in a loving and monogamous relationship.
We strive to let every person we encounter, straight or gay know that God loves them and want the to know, love and feel free to approach him through participation in liturgy and prayer.
We desire to act as Christ acted and bring the Light of God's truth into their lives just as Christ did with the prostitutes, tax collectors, and even the Samaritans as well as some Gentiles.
We feel obligated to let people know that God is a loving, caring, forgiving and compassionate God and try to bring the Light of Christ to them.
We want those who have been made to feel inferior and unwanted know that we are there to actually minister to all those who have been hurt by rejection or the negative actions of those who claim that they are Christians.
We want those who have been told repeatedly God does not love them to know that "GOD LOVES THEM AS HE CREATED THEM.", which is our slogan.
A true Christian Community is one where every child of God is welcomed regardless of their race, nationality, marital situation or sexual orientation just as Christ accepted all who came to him.
We need to have faith communities which are truly welcoming, and willing to work with
people who need to rediscover and reconnect to their spiritual side.
"Why do we have a booth for Catholics at Pride events in spite of the costs which strain our resources?"
It all comes down to spreading the good news of salvation and God's infinite love and acting as we know Christ would have acted if he were here on earth today.
If we don't reach out to the people who attend Pride, who will?
By having a booth for the last six years we have done what Christ commanded as found in Luke
15:4 "What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it"? and in Matthew 22:9: "Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find".
That is the reason we will have a booth at the Boston Pride Festival on June 12th on City Hall Plaza and why we hope you will stop by and say hello if you are in the Boston area on June 12th. And if inspired to do so you will help us pay for the booth and the materials we distribute by making a donation to our ministry.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Judge Not Lest You Be Judged, a Reflection for May 2

Judge Not, Less You Be Judged

A Reflection for the 5th Sunday of Easter by Rev. Robert Johnnene OFD

Mission Sts. Sergius & Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy


This week I am digressing from the suggested readings for the fifth Sunday after Easter to address an issue that has been causing pain and suffering to me and to the work of the ministry. It seems that many people have forgotten the message of Matthew 7: 1-5;   "Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye".


The above reading is one that many people need to reflect on since it clearly tells us that we, mere humans, are in no position to make judgments as to how God is going to judge people and we need to be careful about how we judge the actions of others especially when they are not designed to hurt anyone or promote any activity that might be illicit or profane or illegal.

In today's society it seems everyone is ready to make judgments on the daily lives of everyone else. This is especially true when it come to GLBT individuals and divorced people and individuals from foreign countries. 

Every week I receive at least one email condemning me for my ministry and the weekly reflections and I am certain that this one will also receive the same.   They do not like that I am advocating justice and equality for every individual on earth especially those who are rejected by so called Christians because of their race, nationality, divorce or sexual orientation instilled within them by Almighty God for reasons known only to God. 

People have accused me of being a pervert, a sick individual, and have condemned me to the deepest recesses of hell and called me a disgrace to the priesthood and all who hold views the same as mine.  It has even been suggested that I engage in actions that are inappropriate for a member of the clergy because of the ministry.

Some have claimed that every priest, Bishop and Cardinal will be joining me in Hell including Pope Benedict "The Whore of Babylon" because he allowed pedophiles to exist and work with children, a grievous mistake certainly but which God may forgive if those who were guilty of such actions seek God's forgiveness.

People have taken on the role of God's judge and jury and decided that they know what God will do.

By doing this they have assumed the role reserved only for God and by doing so have committed a far greater sin.  They obviously do not understand the infinite mercy of God and His willingness to forgive those who seek His forgiveness.    The church will not even go so far as to say that Judas or Hitler is in Hell since we humans can not assume the role of God or know if they sought God's forgiveness for their sins and crimes.


 I once received a wonderful letter which made some very excellent explanations as to why we minister to those children of God who are divorced or of the GLBT community.  It related the following reasons we do and why we preach God's infinite love and mercy for Every human being regardless of their marital or sexual orientation.

It answered the question of "Why  would  a  Christian  pastor  like  you  support  gay  rights  and  marriage  equality?", by stating that  they believed what Dr.  Martin Luther King said; "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

I would add that no where in Holy Scripture can you find the word Homosexual since it was not even in existence until the mid 1800's when an English man created it.  I also point out that the two passages often used by people to condemn homosexuality refer to using sexual activity in the worship of false Gods which is what the Sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was in addition to the sin of inhospitality which is one of the sins found in Leviticus. 

The reference often quoted in Romans also refers to sexual acts as part of a religious ceremony.


Christ never rejected anyone who came to Him and Christ broke many of the "rules" of the hierarchy of the Jewish faith in His time.    If we clergy are to be the hands and feet of Christ here on earth as His chosen ministers we need to reach out to all of God's children no matter what race, creed or sexual orientation they are and proclaim the message of God's infinite love for all His children.  We need to proclaim loudly how God forgives any sin if the sinner is truly sorry and ask His forgiveness. 

Love between two people is not a sin but a great gift from God to be cherished and nurtured no matter who it is between.   If there were more love in this world and less hatred, judgments, and discrimination we would not have all the violence and dissentions that are tearing apart communities, nations, churches and families.


This ministry has suffered distain and rejection, even by members of my own family, because of its primary focus.

Contributions that could help us to sustain the mission and assist in our reaching out to those who have felt unwanted and rejected and financed the necessary maintenance to the mission's car so we can continue to make the visits to people of all ages, races and orientations who are hospitalized, in nursing homes or who are shut-ins because of disabilities and illnesses like Parkinson's Disease or AIDS do not meet the monthly costs of the ministry.  


The time is now for each and every person to stop judging people for who and what they are but judge people by their actions and how they respect their neighbors and live their lives in relation to the great commandment given us by Christ, found in Luke 10:47 " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself" and this statement from Paul's letter to the Romans; " Nothing can come between us and the love of Christ, even if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted, poor, elderly, threatened or even attacked. These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of Almighty God who loved us."   Romans 8:35 - 37 AMEN

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Good Shepherd Sunday Reflection

Good Shepherd Sunday 2010

by Reverend Robert Johnnene OFD

Mission Saints Sergius and Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy


The message found in all the readings for the fourth Sunday in Easter have but one message and it is of God's unending love for His children. In the Gospel Christ compares the entire human race to sheep who know their masters voice and respond to it. 

The entrance antiphon proclaims "The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord; by the word of the Lord the heaven were created, Alleluia"

The first reading is from the Acts of the Apostles chapter 13 verses 14 and 43 through 52 and tells the story of Paul and Barnabas's preaching in Antioch in Pisidia. When the Jews in the temple rejected their preaching they then said to them; "We had to proclaim the word of God to you first, but since you have rejected it, since you do not think yourselves worthy of eternal life, we must turn to the pagans, For this is what the Lord commanded us to do when he said: "I have made you a light for the nations, so that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth".

Clearly the message is that the salvation obtained through the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was for the entire human race and not just a chosen few but for every person who welcomes the message and truths preached by Jesus and continued through time by those God called to His service.         

Over and over the teachings of the Apostles as written in Holy Scripture proclaim the Good News of Salvation through Jesus Christ.  Over and over we are told of the infinite mercy and love of God for all His children.  We are reminded again and again that all good comes from God.  The sad part is that we, mere humans, often take God's good gifts and turn them into something bad.

The Gospel reading from John chapter 10, verses 27 through 30 and proclaims the following; "Jesus said:

'The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life;

 they will never be lost and no one will ever steal them from me.  The Father who gave them to me is greater than anyone, and no one can steal from the Father. The Father and I are one".

Christ has told us that through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit we will learn the truth concerning sin and righteousness.  Sin is nothing more than not trusting and believing in God.  We have been told that only the ruler of this world, the only true ruler, Almighty God, makes all judgments, not mere mortal men.

 In other words any human who claims to make judgments against someone, saying they are condemned to hell, is speaking out of turn and is committing a grievous sin. 
God is 

a just, loving, merciful and compassionate God who know that we humans are not perfect and are prone to sin but in his infinite mercy he forgives us if we but acknowledge Him and seek forgiveness.

God is more than willing to forgive anyone for their transgressions if they but ask Him.

God's goodness, love, mercy and compassion is unlimited, unconditional and infinite for all who come to Him. 

As the Gospel reminds us and this Sunday is called Good Shepherd Sunday because God is like a Good shepherd who seeks out every one of his sheep even those who have become lost.

Christ has instructed us on how we are to live our lives and by His example. 

The mercy, love, and compassion of Almighty God is unending and extends to all who believe in Almighty God The Father, The Son, Jesus Christ our redeemer and savior, and The Holy Spirit the enlightener.

To believe is to trust totally in God and accept what He has created and make the most of our lives as He created us.

We need to honor God with prayer, works of charity, compassion, and forgiveness of the wrongs others commit against us, and extend love toward all of God's children regardless of their race, nationality or sexual orientation as Christ did to all he encountered when he walked this earth. 

We especially have to extend love and forgiveness to all those who hurt us by their actions and words and we need to pray for them. Christ forgave those who crucified Him as he hung from the cross with these words; "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do".  Again, by His example Christ taught us what we need to do.

God is good! All things created by God are good! We have the goodness of God instilled within us if we but seek to find it and then live it. We become living, breathing outward signs of God and True Christians, by seeking the good in others and living in a way that displays our faith in word, deed and action to all we encounter.

By attempting to live in this manner, we become the fulfillment of Christ here on earth and a disciple in this age. If we "Love one another as Christ loved us" we will be numbered among the heavenly elect and be one of those that John described in the second reading from Revelations 7:9,14-17; "These are the people who have been through the great persecution, and because they have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb, they now stand in front of God's throne and serve him day and night in his sanctuary; and the One who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. They will never hunger or thirst again; neither the sun nor scorching wind will ever plague them, because the Lamb who is at the throne will be their shepherd and will lead them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away all tears from their eyes". May God give us the courage and the strength to live our life in a manner that pleases God and reflects God's mercy and love to all we encounter.  AMEN 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Reflection for Sunday April 18th

"Come Follow Me" 3rd Sunday of Easter Season 2010
A Reflection on readings from  Acts 5:27-41;  Psalm 29:2,4-6,11-13; Apocalypse 5:11-14; John 21:1-19
 By Rev. Fr. Bob Johnnene OFD, Mission Sts. Sergius & Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy
"In reply Peter and the apostles said, 'Obedience to God comes before obedience to men; it was the God of our ancestors who raised up Jesus, but it was you who had him executed by hanging on a tree. By his own right hand, God has now raised him up to be leader and savior, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins through him to Israel. We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him".'
These words from the first reading for this Sunday explain clearly the glorious event that God allowed in order for every human being who professes the love of God to attain everlasting life with God and forgiveness of our sins.
The second reading from the book of revelations that is usually called the Apocalypse gives the reason that we need to give God honor, glory and praise.
"The Lamb that was sacrificed (Jesus Christ) is worthy to be given power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and blessing.' Then I heard all the living things in creation – everything that lives in the air, and on the ground, and under the ground, and in the sea, crying, 'To the One who is sitting on the throne and to the Lamb, be all praise, honor, glory and power, for ever and ever.' And the four animals said, 'Amen'; and the elders prostrated themselves to worship."
In the vision of Saint John, who is called the beloved apostle, all of heaven and earth even the animals bow down in reverence to Almighty God.
So often in life we spend more time complaining about things than recognizing the good things that God has given us.
The gospel story tells us how Christ appeared for the third time and it is here that Christ gave the Apostles and all the priests who were to follow through the ages the way they should fulfill their vows as servants of God. Christ asked Peter;  "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?' He answered, 'Yes Lord, you know I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my lambs.
.' A second time he said to him… do you love me?' He replied, 'Yes, Lord… Jesus said to him, 'Look after my sheep.' Then he said to him a third time….do you love me?' Peter was upset that he asked him the third time, 'Do you love me?' and said, 'Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my sheep." I tell you most solemnly, when you were young you put on your own belt and walked where you liked; but when you grow old you will stretch out your hands, and somebody else will put a belt round you and take you where you would rather not go".
How often as we grow old o we find we have to rely on others to go where we desire and often we are forced to go where we would rather not be but again it is a lesson in humility and accepting God's will.
The illnesses we have to deal with are a means for us to offer them up to God as our offering to him and for us to partake in the sufferings Christ endured for us.  The Gospel reading ends with the words "Follow me."
If we are to really follow Christ and be his servants here on earth, we need to look after every individual on the face of the earth as well as all of God's creation. If we actually live in accord with the teaching of Christ to "LOOK AFTER MY SHEEP, FEED MY SHEEP" we would never allow any person to be abused, go hungry, suffer illness needlessly because they could not afford proper medical care or become homeless.
To follow in the footsteps of Christ means to denounce war and homelessness, to give all we encounter the kind of love Christ showed when he walked the earth and the kind of love God has for us to have sent his only son to earth only to suffer for our sake in order that we could have forgiveness of our sins and everlasting live.
To show God how much we really love Him and desire to follow the teachings of Christ we need to reject the materialistic world of today where fame, power and wealth are considered signs of success and instead we need to begin to show compassion and good will toward all we encounter.
We need to speak out against injustice wherever we see it even if it is found in the highest levels of our government, churches or nation. Christ admonished the moneychangers in the temple and the hierarchy of the Jewish faith and suffered willingly for it. Recently the clergy who spoken out against the abuses in churches have suffered rejection and censure for speaking out but by their doing so they have followed Christ faithfully and are truly "Looking after His sheep".
Pray for all those who have heard the call to follow Christ that they will be worthy of God's calling them and care for Christ's sheep as Christ would care for them.  AMEN
Divine Mercy

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thank You for Your Prayers

I Thank God and all of you who offered prays for me.
Yesterday I had a cystoscopy and received a clean bill of health, NO CANCER.
The next check will be a year from now and if that is clean then it will be every 2 years.
I now can concentrate on preparing for our booth at the Boston Pride Festival on June 12th.  There is printing to get done and I am also hopeful that I can get to make more visits to members of the mission now that the weather has improved and the car holds up.
I am also praying that more donations will come in to reduce the huge deficit of more than Three Thousand dollars.
Again I want to thank all who prayed the the cancer had not returned and let you know that you are all held in my prayers and thoughts daily. 
May God's infinite love and blessings fill you with comfort and peace. May you have an abundance of joy, love, peace and good will for you your family and friends.
Fr. Bob Johnnene OFD
Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus
Franciscans of Divine Mercy
All Materials are copywriten (c) Franciscans of Divine Mercy

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Divine Mercy Sunday Reflection

Divine Mercy Sunday 2010

From Readings:, Acts 5:12-16, Psalm 118, Revelations 1:9-11, John 20: 19-31

By Rev. Robert Johnnene OFD

Mission Sts. Sergius & Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy


 (Like new born children you should thirst for milk, on which your spirit can grow to strengthen, alleluia, alleluia) these are the opening words of Mass for this Sunday.  It is a beautiful simile for the grace and love of God.  Milk without guile, meaning without cunning, craftiness or deceit. A milk that is sweet and nourishing and with which a new born can grow healthy and strong. That is what the grace of God can do for those who seek it out.


The liturgy for this Sunday is dedicated to Divine Mercy of Almighty God.  The image of Divine Mercy shows Christ glorified with rainbow rays emanating from His Sacred Heart and His hand raised in blessing.  It is a graphic picture of how God's heart is filled with love and mercy for all of His children with no exception.

Today is also the anniversary of the founding of our order Franciscans of Divine Mercy.


Most of us grew up with the image of a vengeful God who weighed our good and bad deeds and always seemed ready to condemn us to the fires of Hell if I but made one small mistake. I lived in fear as a young man that I would die and go to hell because I masturbated or told a lie.  It never dawned on me that as a mere human I would always be found wanting and never become perfect because only God is perfect.

The God proclaimed by Christ in Scripture a God of infinite mercy, love, forgiveness and generosity somehow did not sink in possibly because all the preachers ranted hellfire and damnation instead of mercy and love.


It wasn't until I began to really study scripture and take my courses in Theology that I began to see a God who  shattered all the laws and ideas of not only mere mortals but of the Jewish tradition that He grew up with.

Christ introduced a new path to follow, a path of forgiveness, mercy, compassion, understanding, love and of grace. The path to God was one of caring for our brothers and sisters, of being the Good Samaritan to those we found in need.  God's Grace is given freely to us all we are required to do is turn to Him and request it and try to live as Christ instructed us.

It is truly appropriate that the Sunday after Easter be dedicated to the Divine Mercy of God through Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

God is "the God of all grace".   Throughout all the New Testament we find affirming words concerning God's grace.  "But Jesus said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:19) and "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—(Ephesians 2:8) and "But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. (Ephesians 4:7) "But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (James 4:6)


Let us not be like the Apostle Thomas in today's Gospel and the two men on the road to Emmaus who did not recognize God until he broke the bread.  Don't wait to believe in Him until he shows us His wounds or performs a miracle for us.   "We have seen the Lord!"   But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." John 20:25  

Let us rather proclaim the words of Thomas out of faith and trust in God.  "Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." John 20:28-29

The Grace of God is freely given, there is nothing we can do to make God love us more, and nothing we can do to make God love us less. It means that we, who as most humans, are sinners but through the Divine mercy and Love of Almighty God are invited to take our place at the table in God's family. 

We gain that place at table by praying to God for His mercy and forgiveness which He also gives freely and by loving one another as God Himself loves us, unconditionally and with forgiveness and compassion for all God's children regardless of their race, creed, sexual orientation of marital status.


Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Greeting

Resurrected Christ.jpg


May the blessings of the Resurrected Christ bring you peace and may the knowledge of God's infinite love for you giver you comfort and peace.

May your Easter basket be filled with the gifts of Health, happiness, love, prosperity and a long life surrounded with family, friends and companions.

A Blessed and glorious Easter to you from

Rev. Bob Johnnene OFD

Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus

Easter 2010 Reflection

Be Not Afraid, He is Risen
Readings: Acts 10:34-43, Psalm 118, Colossians 3:1-4, Corinthians 5:6-8, John 20:1-9
A 2010  Easter Reflection by Rev. Robert Johnnene OFD
Mission Saints Sergius and Bacchus

Alleluia, Alleluia "This is the Day the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad" (Psalm 118:24). "Do not be Afraid, You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified, He is not here, He has risen" (Mark 16:6). "Why do you search for the living among the Dead" (Luke 24: 5 ) "He is not here, He has been raised, exactly as He had promised" (Matthew 28:6). "Rabbouni (Hebrew for teacher) ….I have seen the Lord" (John 20:18).
These words taken from the four gospels telling of the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ should have special meaning for us and fill us with hope and trust in God.
The first phrase, one that I especially love and keep deep in my heart, is "Do Not Be Afraid" simply put, if you have faith in God and the truly believe the promises of Jesus Christ, there is nothing in life that you need to be afraid of.  By placing your trust in the will of God and believing that everything in life has a God given purpose, even the dissention that causes  separation, bickering, and the power seeking of all those who profess to be followers of Christ.  In these days where division seems to be all around us in government and even faith communities we need to seek out what the root cause of it is.  At the heart of most of the discourse is the desire for power, control and most of all, MONEY.
How foolish are we mere mortals, we allow our pride, greed and envy to cloud our eyes so that we forget the message proclaimed by Jesus through His resurrection. The message that with God, all things can be conquered, even death.  We also seem to conveniently forget what Christ has taught us by His life, words and deeds. "Love one another as I have loved You"  Christ proved His love for us in the ultimate way, by willingly accepting death, not just any death, but the ignominious death of crucifixion. What greater love can a person have but to be willing to give up their own life for another.
Christ not only conquered death, he conquered our sins because by His overcoming death and with His resurrection he brought us forgiveness for our weaknesses and gained for us the promise of everlasting life.
Jesus came to us from Almighty God to be a "Rabbouni" teacher to us. He came to teach us the way to our own salvation and glory. The sad thing is, all too often, we are either not willing to truly hear the teachings of Christ or if we do hear them we choose not to follow them because they are inconvenient for us.  All the proclamations of Halleluiah, all the prayers, all the ceremonial trappings and fancy vestments are for naught if we do not follow them through with actions.  If we do not assist the poor and needy, speak out against injustice and discrimination and share our gifts with those who are less fortunate.   We need to affirm, as Mary Magdalene did when she proclaimed "Rabbouni" that Jesus was the teacher and we learned His lessons and follow them.
Jesus was, is still, and always will be the head of the church. He is still directing those who believe through the Holy Spirit, "the giver of life who proceeds from the Father and the son. With the Father and the son, is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the prophets." (Nicene Creed)  He speaks to each and every one of us who desire to know His truth and seek it out.  He does not just speak to the hierarchy but to all who, through Baptism, have been called to "priesthood" not just those who have been consecrated as "Presbyters".  Each and every person who has been born again in Baptism need to open their own hearts and minds to listen  for the voice of God speaking within us and judge how what we are feeling and hearing complies with what Christ taught us in not only His words but by His actions.
We need to acknowledge Christ by seeking the truth as found in His teachings. We need to act in our daily lives in the manner that Jesus instructed us.
"Why do you search for the living (Jesus) among the dead? "He has been raised, exactly as He promised"
Jesus is alive; he is alive in the hearts and souls of all those who have been reborn through Baptism and who faithfully live according to His instructions. Christ is alive in every person who partakes of the "living Bread" he gave us in the Eucharist.
He gave himself to us, died for us and rose from the dead to conquer forever death from sin.  Jesus taught us the way in order  for us to know how to carry on His work here on earth while he and the Father watch over us.  On this Easter day, we need to believe and accept God's will as taught by Christ in words, deed and actions and emulate them in our life.
On this glorious day when we celebrate the resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Let each of us who believe in Him and accept the call to "Come Follow Me" (Luke 18:22) work together to bring all who believe in the message and teachings of Christ together. Each and every one of us needs to make a concerted effort to repair the breaches that have torn us apart into separate factions, usually over some man made regulations that were instituted for the purpose of gaining control, power or political gain and which have nothing to do with God's will.
There is only one God. There was only one Jesus Christ.  Christ, though His Apostles established one church, one faith.  It was not until that church, for political gain under Constantine, began to selectively pick and choose the teaching that fit their agenda and objectives that separation began and culminated when one Bishop decided that He, and only He was infallible and those who were supposed to be his equals were now subservient to him.
 Every Baptized Christian is called to be His servants, His disciples. All of us are called to live our faith and the teachings of Christ in our thoughts, words, and actions and not just by giving lip service.
We need to not only talk the talk but we need to Walk the walk.
Those of us who have been called to be shepherds and presbyters of His flock need find ways to work together with one voice just as Jesus spoke with one voice. We need to stop the name calling and jockeying for power and financial gain and come together in unity with  one message, the message that Christ claimed was the two greatest commandments, "Love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, mind, soul and body and the second is like unto it, Love your neighbor as you love yourself"
By living that way when we proclaim Easter Sunday morning, "Alleluia, Alleluia, This is the Day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be Glad, Jesus Christ has risen, Jesus is alive. Alleluia, Alleluia." we are saying that Jesus lives today in each of us and we are carrying out His way each and every day.
Let us pray; "Give praise to the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endures for ever. Alleluia, Alleluia. Send down Your spirit of love upon us and through your goodness make us of one mind who you have bless with the Paschal Sacrament.  All glory honor and praise be yours, now and forever".  AMEN.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Good Friday Reflection

By the Cross, Christ Redeemed the World
A Reflection for Good Friday by Rev. Robert Johnnene OFD
Mission Saints Sergius and Bacchus/Franciscans of Divine Mercy
"We Adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the World" these words we say during the Stations of the Cross are a powerful affirmation of what this entire Lenten season, especially what we commemorate on Good Friday, is all about. Without Christ's death, we would not have the gift of redemption. When Jesus went to the cross, he did so willingly. He knew that he was taking all the sins of the world with him. That by the shedding of His blood, Christ made peace by reconciling everything with God according to Saint Paul. By Christ's death, a new light was brought to all men.
By his death, Christ asks us to emulate him and willingly pick up the crosses we are burdened with and to follow him.  In today's society there are many crosses being offered for us to take up. Can we carry the cross of speaking out against injustice even though it may bring us scorn and reproach by friends and family? 
Can we speak out against acts of discrimination and bigotry even though by doing so we may find ourselves in the minority?
Can we have the courage to speak out against Government leaders who are insolent and refuse to serve the will of the majority of people they are supposed to represent? 
Do we have what it takes to allow ourselves to be stripped of all our pretensions and allow the world to see our true selves? 
Can we give of ourselves enough to be of assistance to those who are not able to provide the basic necessities of life for themselves?
All these are things that require us to give of ourselves and deny ourselves of being comfortable.
By Christ's offering himself up as the sacrificial lamb on the cross we have been given the promise of Salvation, peace, compassion, love and triumph. Without the cross, the tree that gave us the promise of everlasting life, we would still be floundering around in the darkness of sin and confusion.
The Cross becomes a symbol of triumph, the triumph of Christ over the power of evil.  The completion of the mission to overcome the forces of evil is now in our ballpark.  Are we up to the challenge?
The triumph of Christ is not something of the past, it is a living thing. It is something we are called to live every day. When we are faced with oppression, illness, rejection, alienation we need to recall that all these were faced by Jesus Christ. By his life and death, Christ made holy every aspect of the human experience. We need to look upon our lives and live them with that in mind. Our lives are holy, they are holy if we are willing to work hard to live by the example Christ gave us.
Christ spoke out against injustice, so must we. Christ welcomed the outcast, so must we. Christ challenged the rules of the High Priests and the Sanhedrin and government of his day, so must we. When our government is wrong and creates laws that are oppressive, we need to speak out loudly against them.  When a government our Religious leaders insist on mandating anything that is contradictory to the teaching and example that Christ gave us we need to be willing to challenge them as Christ did.  
By living in this way we sanctify Christ's passion and relive it daily by our willingness to take up our crosses and carry them willingly.
The cross is a symbol of Christ's triumph and this Paschal Season is our liturgical means of participating in Christ's gift of redemption.  Our challenge is to live it every day of every year.
On Good Friday we celebrate the love of God; a love so great it allows us, even urges us to be co-workers in Christ's great act of love by sacrificing Himself on the cross for us.  Let us then celebrate Christ's willingness to suffer the indignities of the passion and a criminal's death on the cross, which brought us the forgiveness of our sins and our salvation and make it ours by being faithful to Him and living daily carrying our crosses proudly for all the world to see. AMEN