Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Refelction for Sunday 2/20/2011

7th Sunday of Ordinary Time Reflection

By Rev. Fr. Bob Johnnene OFD

Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy

Divine Mercy Parish, Franklin, MA

This week’s readings are about how we are called to be holy and explain very simply what being holy is.

Being holy all revolves around LOVE, MERCY, KINDNESS, COMPASSION, CHARITY, FORGIVENESS and being flexible.

In our first reading from the book of LEVITICUS which is the book of laws, we hear these words; “You will not harbor hatred for your brother. You will reprove your fellow-countryman firmly and thus avoid burdening yourself with a sin. You will not exact vengeance on, or bear any sort of grudge against, the members of your race, but will love your neighbor as yourself. I God have spoken.”

The Gospel repeats the same idea when it tells us to; “if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; if someone wishes to go to law with you to get your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone requires you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give to anyone who asks you, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away. You have heard how it was said, You will love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say this to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; so that you may be children of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on the bad as well as the good, and sends down rain to fall on the upright and the wicked alike.”

God expects us to be holy persons, which means we must not seek what is fashionable in the world, but must extend to every person we come across the same kind of love as Christ showed to all who came to him.

We need to worry about those who are hungry, homeless, unemployed, sick and reach out as best we can to help them, even if they have done something to hurt us or have shown us disdain.

This is certainly not easy and totally opposite the norms of society but it is possible if we turn to our creator and ask for the graces to be Holy and to emulate Christ, St. Francis, Mother Therese of Calcutta, Father Damien of Molokai, all of whom gave totally of themselves to work and live with the poor, the sick, lepers, all those who society usually distains and rejects.

Last Monday we celebrated Valentines day, a day that is supposed to be dedicated to lovers but many have no idea who St. Valentine was and why he is associated with that day. St. Valentine was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius the second. He was arrested and imprisoned upon being caught marrying Christian couples and otherwise aiding Christians who were at the time being persecuted by Claudius in Rome. Helping Christians at this time was considered a crime.

Notice that Valentine was HELPING those who society had deemed unwelcome and unworthy of having their love committed in Marriage. This was an act of being HOLY.

To actually live a life of holiness is extremely difficult especially when today’s society is so self centered and consumed with acquiring material things, fame, power and wealth, all of which are opposite what being HOLY is about and a life style exactly like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were living and we know what happened to them for NOT living a holy life.

What we need to do is ask God for help and the prayer I find addresses the goal and attributes of Holiness is what we call THE PRAYER OF ST. FRANCIS. Let me close this reflection by inviting you to say the PRAYER OF ST. FRANCIS with me.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sunday February 6th Reflection

You Are The Salt of the Earth

A Reflection for the 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time 2011

By Rev. Fr. Bob Johnnene OFD, Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus/ Divine Mercy Franciscans

Divine Mercy Old Catholic Parish, Franklin, MA

“You are salt for the earth. But if salt loses its taste what can make it salty again”, Our Gospel reading began with these words and they are more than worth pondering over.

Think about the attributes of salt. Without salt most foods are bland and have little taste. Salt is an essential part of our body. Our tears and sweat are salty. Salt can melt ice and when mixed with certain chemicals can cause and explosion. When Christ tells us that we are the salt of the earth he means that without us, the world would be bland and tasteless.

The Gospel goes on the tell us that salt when it looses its flavoring ability; “is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled under people's feet.” Like salt, if we loose our flavor for God we become worthless as disciples of Christ and messengers of God‘s love.

The next passage of the Gospel proclaims; “You are light for the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

The meaning of this passage is very clear, you can not hide your faith and trust and love of God from other but you need to be proud and wear your faith like a badge of honor.

Paul in his letter to the Corinthians explains that he is not a great orator nor did he use mystery and high faulting language but simply explained the truth of Christ’s message and God’s love for all His children. He explains that he came with fear and trembling and with the full recognition of his weakness and his failings. In other words he recognized that he was a simple human being that God picked out to proclaim the Good news of Salvation to all he encountered.

He did not use Great theological, philosophical and psychological language but the simple language and Christ’s words to let people know that Christ came for Everybody on the face of the earth.

Paul makes it clear that we can not depend on human knowledge and man made rules and regulations to earn the kingdom of heaven but we need to listen to that inner voice which is usually the Holy Spirit, guiding us and leading us to a deeper knowledge and love of God.

We need to put complete faith and trust in God and continually ask God to assist us in getting to know , love and serve Him and to have the courage and the strength to “Let our light of faith shine brightly for all to see”

We have to be like Salt and give a wonderful flavor to our message of God’s power, love, mercy by letting the light of our faith in God shine forth every day having our daily actions emulate the Beatitudes that we heard last week and the Great commandment Christ gave us; “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law of the Prophets hangs on these two commandments.”

We must always remember that; “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 Jn 4:16).

Remembering this we can always have the courage and not be afraid to let our Faith and love of God shine forth like a beacon to keep away the darkness and despair that often can overtake people who have lost their faith or who have never known the Good News of Salvation that Christ earned for us.

We can be the spice of life and a beacon of faith to lead others to the promised land of everlasting life in heaven with the creator and all the heavenly elect. AMEN