Friday, January 20, 2012

Sunday January 22nd Reflection

God’s Call to Action

By Rev. Robert Johnnene OFD

Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent you, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15”)

Today I would like to suggest that every individual who believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God as proclaimed in Luke 3:22 “And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my flavor rests on you”., Every person who believes in the God of Abraham, Isaac, Isaiah, Jacob and David and the God who told Moses "I AM WHO AM, needs to turn to back that God with devotion and prayer.

We need to ask God, in His infinite mercy, love and compassion for all His children, to bring an end to the forces of evil that are dividing nations, churches, and families and causing great pain and suffering to innocent children and adults all over the globe. “And Jesus said to them, Come you after me” (Mark 1:17)

In the last decade the forces of darkness have become increasingly more intent in the battle between good and evil causing consecrated religious to abandon their vows and commit heinous deeds in violation of their vows. Families have been torn apart by divorce and parents, bothers and sisters have disowned their children over a child’s sexual orientation and not something criminal that they did.

Discrimination against people because of their skin color or national origin has destroyed so many and still divides communities in spite of the progress that the United States has made in electing the first African American president.

Sadly there are still subtle signs of discrimination that have crept out in the recent debates by those who would like to unseat that African American President and some of the supporters of those candidates.

Children are starving throughout the world. Seniors have to decide between the medicines that will keep them healthy and active or food and decent shelter.

Trillions have been spent to sustain a war that is Religious and tribal at its core and has raged since the time of Christ, which no amount of military could win.

People who claim Abraham as their father are trying to eradicate each other.

The time is now to put aside the things that have divided us and look toward the things that we have in common and find ways of living in peace and harmony thereby giving honor, glory and praise to the creator of all things.

God allowed Satin to tempt Job in an effort to have Job deny God but Job remained faithful in spite of all Satin did.

I believe today the world is being tempted in the same way and sadly far too many have gone over to the dark side because of their desire for wealth, fame or power.

This greed, which has always been one of Satins best tools to tempt people away from God, has caused financial ruin and great loss to so many poor and middle income people all over the globe with the loss of jobs, homes and the basics of life.

I believe that we need to take an active part in defeating Satin, just as so many prophets and saints who preceded us in the past have taken, we need to plead for God’s help and the guidance of the Holy Spirit on our nation’s congressional leaders and those who are seeking the position of President of the United States to find ways of assisting the poor, homeless and unemployed and not cut the programs that do provide relief.

I believe that the times are calling us, whether we call the creator of all things by the name of God, Yahweh, or Jehovah, to turn back and give the devotion we were instructed to do when Christ was asked what the greatest Commandment was. Christ replied; “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your entire mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself, All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”. (Matthew 22:37-40)

I would like to suggest that everyone set aside ten minutes twice a day, every day for the coming year, to give recognition toward God by not only asking for things, but thanking God for the things you do have.

We need to turn ourselves over to God and petition God to inspire, not only the world leaders and all who hold positions of power in Government, Religion, Education, Health Care and our local communities, the means to end those things that have caused so much pain and suffering to so many all over the world. I offer this prayer as a possible prayer of petition and dedication of yourself to doing the work of God here on earth.

Prayer of Petition and Dedication and Love to Almighty God

Almighty and merciful God, open my mind, my heart and my soul to your infinite mercy and love.

Guide me in the knowledge of your truth and help me to live in accord to your will in all things.

Guide me in all of my daily actions so that I might reflect the light of your truth toward all I encounter.

Inspire me and those who have been placed in positions of influence in Governments and Religions to find ways of settling the divisions that has caused so much grief to so many.

Inspire families to love and care for all children and to recognize and accept the diversity of God’s plan.

Inspire all your children regardless of their race, or creed; whether they are Christian, Jew, Hindu, Islam, Sikhs, or Buddhist; to gather together in brotherhood and peace for the sake of the entire human race.

Guide those who believe that Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah of the ages and our redeemer and savior to come together as one body of faith living as Jesus taught with Kindness, charity and goodwill toward all the world.

We call upon you, O Lord because we acknowledge that all things begin and end with you.

You are the Alpha and the Omega.

In humility and love, we plead with you knowing all too well how we have failed to follow your ways in the past and we ask your forgiveness and mercy.

Hear Us O God and answer our prayer. AMEN

© Rev. Robert Johnnene OFD, Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Reflection for January 15th 2012

Here I am Lord

A Reflection for the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

By Rev. Bob Johnnene OFD of Mission Sts. Sergius & Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy

“Speak, for your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3) How often, when we hear that inner voice calling out to us or inspiring us to do something that would benefit others and not just ourselves do we cry out with these words; “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

The readings for this Sunday are all about answering God’s call to serve Him.

They also remind us that we are one with Christ and Almighty God by being of service to God.

One might ask, “Exactly what is service to God”. Serving God or being of Service to God, means that we are mindful of the needs of all those around us. It means reaching out to those in need with compassion and generosity. Being of service to God is living Christ’s instructions found in the Sermon on the Mount often called THE BEATITUDES.

Another way of saying, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” Is “Here I am Lord, I come to do your will” which is the response for the Psalms of the Mass.

Often I hear people ask, “What is the Lords Will? Or How do we know what God wants?” and the answer is quite simple and is found in all four gospels, “LOVE THE LORD, YOUR GOD, WITH YOUR WHOLE HEART, MIND, SOUL AND BODY AND LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF.” (Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:20, and John 11:3)

I have come to the conclusion that one of the problems we face today in carrying out this will of God is that far too many people do not love or respect themselves.

Too many people are always trying to change the way God created them rather than accepting how God created them and making the most of it.

People show they have disrespect for themselves by maltreating their bodies which, as the second reading for today states, “The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body; God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power, Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one Spirit with him. (1 Corinthians 6)

Far too many people today indulge in risky sexual practices, overeat, misuse alcohol, and so many other behaviors which would seem to indicate they do not appreciate how God created them or that they love themselves.

Far too many other people show disrespect to Almighty God by rejecting some of God’s children because of their skin color, nationality, sexual orientation or economic situation and refuse to allow some of God’s children to participate in the worship of God even denying them the sacraments because of the previously stated man made standards.

Sadly, more than once, I have heard of children being refused Baptism because they were born out of wedlock or the person who was denied membership in a faith community because they could not afford the prescribed financial contribution to the church.

This is not serving God, but as scripture reminds us serving wealth and man made things. "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Matthew 6:24) & (Luke 13).

Paul’s letter to the Corinthians ends with these words; “You are not your own property; you have been bought and paid for. That is why you should use your body for the glory of God.

To use our body for the glory of God means simply that we do not indulge in anything that might bring about the destruction of God’s temple, our bodies, and we use the gift of sex, as an example, as God intended it to be used in a committed loving relationship and not just for our own self gratification.

To answer God’s call is to be totally giving of ourselves just as Christ was totally giving of Himself, even to accepting death on the cross so that we could have forgiveness of our sins and life everlasting.

When we answer God with; “Here I am Lord” we need to be willing to give ourselves over completely to God’s will for us and to become God’s hands, feet, mouth in the service to ALL God’s children.

I want to close this reflection by sharing a prayer I wrote in 1997 which tells God how we give ourselves over to him.

Prayer of Commitment

By Rev. Robert Johnnene OFD, August 1997

Mission Saints Sergius and Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy

Almighty God, I give you my hands to do your work; I give you my feet to go your way; I give you my eyes to see as you do; I give you my tongue to speak your words; I give you my mind that you may think in me;
I give you my spirit that you may pray in me; Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in and through me all with whom I come in contact with each and every day. I dedicate myself to doing your will in all things and to becoming an instrument through which you might bring peace and harmony to all your children here on earth..            AMEN
Oración de compromiso

Por el reverendo Robert Johnnene OFD,

agosto de 1997

Dios Todopoderoso, te doy mis manos para realizar su trabajo; Le doy mis pies tu camino; Te doy mis ojos para ver como haces; Te doy mi lengua para hablar de sus palabras; Te doy mi mente que usted puede pensar en mí; Te doy mi espíritu que usted puede orar en mí; Sobre todo, te doy mi corazón que usted puede ama en y a través de mí todo con quien entran en contacto con cada día. Me dedico a hacer su voluntad en todas las cosas y a convertirse en un instrumento a través del cual usted puede traer la paz y armonía a todos tus hijos aquí en la tierra. AMÉN