6th Sunday of Easter- May 26, 2019

Gospel Acclamation: John 10:23

Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord, and my Father will love him and we will come to him.

 

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“I AM” by Akiane

The Gospel this Sunday comes from John—more specifically it is from the Last Supper.  Even though we are nearing the end of the Easter season we are brought back to an event happening in Lent.  It is here that we hear words of wisdom from Jesus.  This is also a point of foreshadowing for what is to come in two short weeks—Pentecost—as Jesus tells the disciples that the Father will send the Holy Spirit as an advocate in the name of Jesus.  The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to teach the disciples and to remind them of Christs message; simply put, to become an advocate of Christ. THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A GIFT FROM THE FATHER!  This gift was something meant for all Christians through all generations.

 

There are other gifts given to us—like that of Peace.  Though we are reminded that it is Christ that gives us Peace and not the world.  The Peace that Christ gives us is something that completes us wholly in our interior.  We should be at peace internally.  We should let go of anger, aggression, anxiety, the pursuit of ill-gotten gain.  By creating a sense of Peace, we are able to fully live in harmony with Christ.

KEY PHRASE: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.

Jesus knows that the disciples and all Christians are soon face turmoil.  Christ is able to offer them Peace as one final gift in His human form. When Christ rises, and sees the peace_1474.jpgdisciples huddled in the Upper Room, He again reminds them that Peace should be with them.  He reminds them: “Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”  Christ NEVER tires of offering this offering of Peace.

Christ always wants Peace to be with us.  When we are faced with rules and decrees, or anything that places burdens upon others, we need to take a moment to reflect back to see if it is truly the will of Jesus that wishes to burden His people—or if he wishes for peace.  This can be found in the reading today from Acts of the Apostles.  The early church is struggling with the process of how to allow Gentiles to join the Church.  Paul and Barnabas head to Jerusalem to discuss with the Apostles to see if circumcision should be required for Gentile Christians.  It is through the prayer and discernment of Peter and James with the Holy Spirit that they rule in favor of not requiring circumcision for Gentile Christians and write a letter to the Gentile churches explaining that they do this to place the Gentiles with a Peace of Mind and clarify that they do not wish to place undue burden upon them.

PSALM: May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you!

We see this spread all throughout the messages today.  In the readings, today we see the 8408653.jpgGentiles receive the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection and are brought into the early Church with their Jewish brothers and sisters. Then we are given a vision of the Holy City [Jerusalem], becoming a beacon for the world and all nations to “walk by its light”, and to be shared to all peoples.

Can we find how we experience the Peace of Christ in our daily lives?  How can we take God’s direction to Be Not Afraid, and not allow our hearts to become filled with fear and troubled?  And how can we bring the Lord’s light into our life and allow it to shine within us?

O Heavenly Prince of Peace, PRAY FOR US!

Deus lo Vult!

†lvm†

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Good Shepherd Sunday

I am the Good Shepherd, say the Lord; I know my sheep, and mine know me.  ALLELUIA!  This Gospel Acclamation sums up what we are all working towards in life.  To open our heart and accept Jesus as our shepherd. When He speaks, we should open our ears and listen.

I am the Good Shepherd, say the Lord; I know my sheep, and mine know me.  ALLELUIA!  This Gospel Acclamation sums up what we are all working towards in life.  To open our heart and accept Jesus as our shepherd. When He speaks, we should open our ears and listen.

Drawing our attentions to the Gospel reading, though short in nature, it is simple and pure–one that we should take special attention to:

John 10: 27-30 L51C

Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.  No one can take them out of my hand.  the-good-shepherd-by-nathan-greene-5-options-available-15.jpgMy Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.  The Father and I are one.”

We should focus on the key phrase of:

No one can take them out of my hand.

From the readings, we are able to understand and form the image of Jesus—as the Good Shepherd.  One who calls out among His sheep; each by name, taking care to guide them to safety and to deliver them from all evils.  Though the message is short this week, we are able to gather that this relationship with Jesus is ESSENTIAL and of GREAT importance.  It is a message of an unbreakable bond between ourselves and that of our Shepherd.  We are told that we should listen to the call and message of Jesus, and that we should listen to the message with great care.  That this message will allow us to never have fear, and that we shall never experience a separation from God, as nothing can break the bond, nor remove us from the palm of His hand.lost-sheep

Our second reading: from Revelation.

We are given the image of a “great multitude.” Something that is beyond our comprehension [size wise].  It is full of a message that this “multitude” is the body of Christ.   That the group comes from all nations, race, tongues—composed of those that suffered and survived great distresses; those that washed themselves in the Blood of the Lamb.

Jesus-and-His-followersThose in the early Church were faced with great adversity.  Even our Apostles suffered greatly [John is the exception as he died from old age on the island of Patmos] –they were martyrs of the violence inflicted unto Christians by the Romans.  Because of this persecution, many people would have had reason to doubt Jesus, to doubt the word of God—to flee from His promise of Salvation.  Yet, He gives us the message that NO ONE can take them from the palm of His hand.  Even in death, we are not separated from our Heavenly Father.  Our Good Shepherd gives us Eternal Life, something that NEVER changes.

Psalm 100: 1,2,3,5

Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.

Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.

The LORD is good:
his kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.

This Psalm is an invitation for all to come to the Lord and to do so with a great sense of Joy and Thanksgiving.  We are joyful and thankful because we come knowing that we are jesus-and-the-lost-sheepGod’s people, that we are a community with Him.  That we cannot be taken from Him.  Even though we receive the call individually, we come to our Lord as a community.  As a GROUP of disciples that are there to listen to the Lord and to go forth and bring others to Him.  In this multitude we experience diversity, knowing that ALL are welcome.

Holy Family, PRAY FOR US!

 

Deus lo Vult

 

©2019 Lawrence V. McCrobie  |   http://www.LawrenceMcCrobie.com   |   http://www.OneStepCloserCatholic.org

 

Terror in the Modern World: The Church in the Target Zone

There is terror everywhere we turn.  It is almost as if we are not able to make a move without hearing of tragedies that ultimately could have been avoided.  We live in a world that is becoming increasingly full of resentment, hate, and consumed with acts of violence.  This is NOT the message that Christ wanted for us.  But make no mistake this is the work of Satan and we must find strength to resist it.  Now we hear of terror all year long, and most of the time the Catholic Church is swift to come to the aid of those affected, as this is what our faith is founded upon—CHARITY!  But when the terror and act of violence comes around the Holiest of Days to the Christian faithful, we must see it for what it is.  It is nothing more than the Satan’s attack on the Christian Faithful.

Creating fear and destruction is Satan’s way at getting to us.  It is a way to distract us from the message of God, brought to us through Christ our Lord.  We must find ways to center ourselves towards the message of the Gospel.  We can do this through unity.  The Unity with our Brothers and Sisters in Christ.  The best way to find this unity is to share in the celebration of the Eucharist.  By attending the celebration, and through participation in the most Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist, we develop a strong sense of faith.  Through this growth in faith we are able to build up defenses that enable us to guard off and conquer the attacks that Satan sends forth.  It is through this personal development that our witness to Christ becomes seen in the community around us.  It is from that that we evangelize and bring others to the moving and powerful message of God.

Terror will always exist.  It existed in the days of the Early Christians, ending with extreme violence—something that we see echoed even today.  However, we cannot let the terror win.  We must build our defenses through prayer, meditation, and spiritual growth/development.  Only then can we begin to walk the path of defeating the evil and wicked attacks of Satan upon the world.

Please join with me in prayer for those affected by terror and attacks on the Catholic Christian faithful, and Christians all around the world:

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.  May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.


Amen.

Notre Dame Cathedral Fire

What took place on April 15, 2019 [USA TAX DAY] in Paris with the partial destruction of the Cathedral is something that is emotionally jarring.  As I sat watching the fire slowly chipping away at the 850-year history of Christianity in France, I couldn’t help but think of how the Catholic Christians of the Parish would continue.  Would they be able to pull through losing something that meant so much to not only the people of France, but people all over the world?  How could this be overcome?IMG_1484

Throughout history we are able to see that whenever tragedy strikes that we are met with a call of “renewal”.  This call of renewal is also met with a call to REBUILD MY CHURCH!  In many cases, if not with all of them, the rebuild my church sentiment is not mean to be something of a structural rebuild [ though in this case that will be done as well], but rather a call to begin repair the spiritual lacking that has occurred among the people.  I think that this case is just one more example of this.  As the fire raged on you couldn’t help but see people banding together in prayer, in the singing of hymns, and embracing each other through tears.  IMG_1485God does in fact have a powerful ability to draw people to what is important.  Of course, the structure of the Cathedral itself is important-but what is more important is the powerful lessons that are found within. The message, mercy, meaning, and love of God is what is important, material things can be replaced.

It will take time to rebuild structurally the church building, but the Church itself is already strong and repairing itself.  What joy we can find in the people coming to pray for the rebuilding.  What beautiful imagery that we have from this event.  God is with us always. God has a plan for all of us. This is a time of RENEWAL. This is a time of REBUILDING.  This is a time of REFLECTION.

HOLY WEEK: Personal Meaning

It is during this time of the year that I am given a renewed sense of hope!  Not only is this period a time for reflection, observance, and adjustment of life—it is also a time of great renewal of humanity.  Look around you, there are many things that are changing. The weather should be the first thing you notice—in fact in the Midwest it changes in what seems like an hourly fashion.  But also, the attitudes of people are changing.  People are excited about getting toUnknown come out of their winter sleep, they are excited about Spring Break trips—pre summer planning—The release of new movies, the thought of a HUGE Easter Feast, and for our youth the prospect of Prom and Graduation.  SPRING IS A RENEWAL OF LIFE!  A symbol that life moves forward.

For me all of these things are true.  Though my time for prom and Graduation are over, I am able to look at our youth and see great hope. hope It is. Through their living and life that I am reminded that God always provides a path.  This Holy Week is a period when I see the change at its greatest.  I look at all of the movies that are being released, and how through the popular activity of going to the movies and seeing the latest MOTION PICTURE that we are given a tool of change.  This year we were given a tool through UNPLANNED; a movie that provides us with an insight of the evils of abortion.  The false truths that are given to cover the fact that we in fact are committing murder every time we allow an abortion to happen—through this act we diminish life. SHAZZAM! This movie is powerful in showing that family is important to get through tough times. Families often change, but what remains constant is the love and support they provide.  The seven deadly sins are portrayed in the movie and show that they in fact can be overcome if we work hard.  Prayer is also a central theme in the movie.  BREAKTHROUGH.  Though I have not yet seen the movie, it is built around the unstoppable power of prayer.  That through trust in God that anything is possible, and how that prayer can bring us all together.

But Holy Week is so much more.  It is a time of great Liturgy.  We enter into the Chrism Mass where the priestly vows are renewed, and the sacramental oils are consecrated for the upcoming year.  We have the preparation of the Paschal Triduum, a period of reflection on what is to come. And finally, we have the Death and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.easter triduum

Even though it is a busy period, it is a time filled with so many tools for change.  Tools of reflection, and tools of preparation.  HOPE is alive around us, renewal is alive and well, and God provides all of it for us.  Our job is simply to LOOK for it, and to open our HEARTS to it.  For me Holy Week is a time to prepare our lives for what is to come. Personally, my life is changing, and God is fully at work in me—But the great news is that HE too is at work in YOU!

 

Have a Blessed Easter!

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Happy Easter To All!

Happy Easter, from all of us at Lawrence V. McCrobie, llc.
On behalf of our ministry, we wish you, your families, and those near and dear to you a joyful, holy, and blessed Easter.

During the Easter season, we invite you to reflect on the meaning of the Cross, via a recent article, “Christianity, when properly understood, is a religion of losers.” While a provocative and “click-bait” title, it helps us to understand what we truly lose and what we gain in the Cross of Christ, and in the Resurrection, during Easter. Three short paragraphs are below for your reflection:

unnamed“Christianity, properly understood, is a religion of losers – the worst of playground insults. For not only do we not want to be a loser, we don’t want to associate with them either. We pointedly shun losers, as if some of their loser-ness might rub off on us. Or rather, more honestly, we shun them because others might recognize us as among their number. And because we secretly fear that this might actually be true, we shun them all the more viciously, thus to distance ourselves all the more emphatically. And so the cock crows three times.unnamed-2

But it is true. Deep failure, the failure of our lives, is something we occasionally contemplate in the middle of the night, in those moments of terrifying honesty before we get up and dress for success. Ecce homo, said Pilate. Behold, the man. This is humanity. And the facade of success we present to the world is commonly a desperate attempt to ward off this knowledge. At the beginning of Lent, Christians are reminded of this in the most emphatic of ways: know that you are dust and to dust you shall return. Those who used the period of Lent to give things up are invited to live life stripped bare, experiencing humanity in the raw, without the familiar props to our ego.

But here’s the thing. The Christian story, like the best sort of terrifying psychoanalysis, strips you down to nothing in order for you to face yourself anew. For it turns out that losers are not despised or rejected, not ultimately. In fact, losers can discover something about themselves that winners cannot ever appreciate – that they are loved and

unnamed-1 wanted simply because of who they are and not because of what they achieve. That despite it all, raw humanity is glorious and wonderful, entirely worthy of love. This is revealed precisely at the greatest point of dejection. The resurrection is not a conjuring trick with bones. It is a revelation that love is stronger than death, that human worth is not indexed to worldly success.”

Today we rejoice, for we who were lost are today found.

For His Mercy Endure Forever! Alleluia, Alleluia!

Lawrence

 

My Weekend was full of Signs…..

This past Sunday we celebrate Laetare Sunday, which is a Sunday in Lent where we celebrate the Mothering of Christ.  It is a time of Joy within the season where the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church celebrates by wearing of Rose colored vestments (or if you want to rile up a priest PINK!!!) The wearing of rose signifies an ancient tradition of the blessing of the “golden rose;” which was a rose that was sent from the Pope to those sovereigns that were Catholic.

The Introit states:

“Lætare Jerusalem: et conventum facite omnes qui diligitis eam: gaudete cum lætitia, qui in tristitia fuistis: ut exsultetis, et satiemini ab uberibus consolationis vestræ. Psalm: Lætatus sum in his quæ dicta sunt mihi: in domum Domini ibimus.”

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Pope Benedict

“Rejoice, O Jerusalem: and come together all you that love her: rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow: that you may exult and be filled from the breasts of your consolation. Psalm: I rejoiced when they said to me: ‘we shall go into God’s House!'”

 

What beauty we find in this. We rejoice the fact that Jesus himself will soon rise.  And through this act we have great joy.  But that happened on Monday March 12, 2018 was a sign from God that through the rejoicing of Laetare Sunday we can find ourselves Baptized in the love and spirit of Christ.  And just want sign did God give us of this purity found within Christ?

Well of course it would be snow!  Many people do not like the aspect of snow.  But

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     Photo Credit:       Tom McGrew

remember that everything we experience here on earth is something that God himself gives to us.  Personally, I look at snow as a symbol of the white garment that we are all given at the time of our baptism.  A garment that reminds us that we are born into a life of purity.  So, this white is something that we should look at as a sign from God!   The Earth is something that can also become pure and full of renewal for our lives and for the lives of those around us.  Just think… We sprang forward in time, celebrated Laetare (JOY), and ended it with a symbol of God’s purity for us.  WHAT A BEAUTIFUL WEEKEND!

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On The Last Day

But with all of these wonderful signs and gifts from God, do you personally still feel as if there is something missing.  Could it be right if front of you?  Could it be happening to you right now and you do not know it?  As we prepare forEaster, know that one must continue to look for the signs that Christ has placed before us on the path that we are walking.  From those signs we will each be able to reach the end destination that God has written for us.  Some will get there faster than others, but ultimately we will all arrive on the Last Day!  And won’t it be JOYOUS!