Trinity Sunday- June 16, 2019

On the feast of the most Holy Trinity we read from the Gospel of John. It is quite interesting that the word “Trinity” is not mentioned at all in either the Old or the New Testament. Trinity comes from a Latin-based word meaning the number three or triad. Although in the New Testament there are many texts that speak of God as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; there is never a direct reference to the Trinity.

Gospel Acclamation: Rev 1:8

Glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; the God who is, who was, and who is to come.

Unknown.jpegOn the feast of the most Holy Trinity we read from the Gospel of John. It is quite interesting that the word “Trinity” is not mentioned at all in either the Old or the New Testament. Trinity comes from a Latin-based word meaning the number three or triad. Although in the New Testament there are many texts that speak of God as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; there is never a direct reference to the Trinity.

Today’s reading is where Jesus, the Son, is speaking making references to the Spirit and to the father. There is a dynamic relationship between each of the three persons that the Trinity represents, and it is expressed in a variety of ways throughout the various different scriptural passages. Today’s particular gospel from John gives us a hint of the relationship that will be explored for many centuries.

The passage today we experience the notion of the “Spirit of Truth” rather than the  “Holy Spirit” that we all are very Unknown.pngfamiliar with.  This Spirit of Truth has a particular task that is bestowed upon them, which is to guide the disciples through the truth—bringing to them the message that is heard from the Father, Son, and Spirit.   The Spirit of Truth also functions to glorify the Son—and to then take from the Son, whom has everything the Father has—declaring it all to the disciples—HOW WONDERFUL!

images-1.jpegWe run into problems is the fact that we are given several different reference points to try and explain the Trinity.  One of the most popular is the shamrock—followed closely by the image relation of using the sun.  God is of course more than a leaf on a clover, and more than the sun [Father the sun itself, Son is the light, and Spirit the heat].  No matter what image that you use, all of the references lack in some way, creating an incomplete and problematic approach to trying to explain the presence of the Trinity.  It is, of course, best to go back to the Scripture for the understanding.

KEY PHRASE:

Everything of the Fathers is mine—and from mine will be given unto you!

Focusing on the Gospel today we see that the three people are relational.  The Son have obtained everything from the Father, while the Spirit functions as a commutator relaying the message of fullness and unity of the Father and Son.  Within God there is shown a completeness, and a relationship between the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.  We see that all are necessary to complete the outpouring of everything among them. Because we are made in the likeness of God, we are called to participate in this community.  To pour everything from within—to be then filled with the mercy, forgiveness and love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

In the readings we are introduced to a figure of “Lady Wisdom”.  In the first reading the Lady sings a song of self-revelation.  This hymn tells us of a long-lived relationship that developed over time.  It was a relationship of Joy.  It is a complete relationship that is of mutual respect.  It is a relationship of dependence.  It is a humble gift that should be met with humility and JOY!

 PSALM:

O Lord our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!

images.jpegTaking a look at this mystery we can see that it is nearly impossible to fully understand it.  The mystery of the Trinity is not something we can understand in this world, and we should not try to understand it.  We should engage in a deeper relationship to get to know God the Father, and God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  There is no distinct answer that can ever be given, but then why would you want to solve that mystery.  By maintain the mystery of the Trinity we care thus called into a developing relationship.  We can be continually filled with wonder and LOVE!

Let us take His message out and breathe new life among all God’s disciples.maxresdefault.jpg

St Maximilian Kolbe, PRAY FOR US!

Deus lo Vult!

†lvm†

Pentecost Sunday — June 9, 2019

Let us take His message out and breathe new life among all God’s disciples.

Gospel Acclamation: John 7:37-39

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.

We are now several weeks from Easter [50 days] and that is fitting as Pentecost is a season of celebration [in the Jewish religion], that is also known as the Feast of Weeks, or New Harvest depending on where in the Jewish world you find yourself.  We mark this particular day because we find the message in the Bible [LEV 23:16] that ye shall count the days after the feast of Passover and call it Pentecost, which is a Greek word meaning “50”.Unknown.jpeg

When looking at the Acts of the Apostles we find that it was on this Jewish date that the Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles and gave them the strength and courage to go out and preach to Israel.

 

It might seem odd that in the Gospel reading from John today that it appears that the Apostles know nothing of the feast of Pentecost.   The story that is delivered this weekend is one coming from Easter Sunday when the now Risen Christ come upon the disciples to give them the gift of Spirit and peace. It is at this moment that the disciples are given the task of forgiveness of sins.  It was here that it is established that it was Christ that conquered sin, and that the task of the disciples was to act on an individual level to forgive sins.  Even though this is seen as the sacrament of reconciliation in terms of the Church—we are called to as sinners ourselves to forgive all those around us that have sinned.

KEY PHRASE: As the Father has sent me, so I send you.

images.jpegSeeking forgiveness is a sign of humanity.  This is something we do not always seek to do, which is why we often find ourselves in situations that are hard to control, full of grief and ultimately difficult for us to understand.  But a even bigger task that we are given is to not only seek forgiveness, but to forgive those who have done wrong unto us… That one sure is hard for most EVERYONE to do! But that forgiveness of others is in fact the pathway to salvation.   Do not seek to admire Christ by asking for forgiveness, seek to be a follower of Christ and deliver that forgiveness!

 

PSALM: Lord send out your Spirit and renew the face of the earth.

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We have come to the end of the Easter season.  Here is where we are given our mission—Go forth as Jesus did in His ministry and make disciples of people of all nations; PROCLAIM the redemptive love of God.

We find in the readings that Christ gave the gift of the Holy Spirit through breathing on the disciples. In the readings we hear “the mighty acts of God” and “Jews from every nation inder heaven.”  Yet, is it not amazing how every person is able to hear and understand the message in the own native tongue?  This is better explained in the second reading where we come to find and hear that the works of the Holy Spirit  is given to us through the many different gifts the God confers unto us. The Holy Spirit’s work is universal, so why wouldn’t the language be?  The mission is simple, UNIFICATION! As the Father has sent me, so I send you.

Penetcost-Mural-924x600.jpgDo not compare the gifts that each of us have.  They all come from the same place.  What a boring world it would be if we all had the exact same thing [though we do in the redemption of Christ].  Instead of comparing, let us look toward asking ourselves how we can use the gifts that we each have for the good of ALL GOD’S PEOPLE.

Let us take His message out and breathe new life among all God’s disciples.

St Norbert and St Boniface, PRAY FOR US!

Deus lo Vult!     †lvm†

StNorbert.jpg   Rethel_Bonifatius.jpg

7th Sunday of Easter- June 2, 2019

images.jpegGospel Acclamation: John 14:18

I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord.  I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice!

Scholars of Theology will often tell you that while looking at the Gospel of John, that it takes about 3 chapters for you to see that God and Jesus are doing just fine.  And if you look at the Gospel reading for today’s you can see where that inside joke among the scholars come from.

You will see that the message today is essentially straight theology, Jesus and the Father are ONE, and this is conveyed and repeated several times in the few short verses.  We get a strong sense of the message of unity, but the message of unification and that of being one does not cease with just the Father and the Son.  We will see that Christ incudes all.  Not only those that are in the moment following Him, but also those that “believe in me through their word.”   Simply put, Jesus is praying for us to become one.  But we do not have to venture out far, or even look very far to know that Christs’ message and prayer has not become fully realized.  Just think about all of the different split churches (i.e. denominations), beliefs about women’s roles in the church, ethical practices, doctrinal practices, etc.  We should take comfort in knowing that this is not just a problem that we realize in our world today, because we know that the Early Church also found themselves faced with this reality as well.  You might wish to look at it in this light:  As long as there have been Christians, there has been disunity—we should work harder to strive to trust Jesus and the message He brings.  For if we BELIEVE in the message that Christ brings to us, then the world will be set in a position to better find and experience the message of God, and unity as ONE body of Christ.

KEY PHRASE:

That they might be brought to perfection as one.

One thing that we as humans do well is spotting those things that are different.  Jesus-prays.jpgIn fact, we often do this too well!  It is easier for us to want to believe that things should all blend in and be the same.  We are then able to find those things that are different and easily call them out. But have we forgot that Christ did not pray for us to be the same?  He prayed for us to be united.  If we actually looked closer at what we felt were different we might actually see that they have more in common than they often do different.  IF we spend more time trying to find that common ground rather than trying to find ways to set people, and even groups, apart, then we will actually find ourselves in a position to better understand and fulfill Christs prayer for all of us.

PSALM:

The Lord is King, the most high over all the earth.

In the Acts of the Apostle we see division and enmity.  We hear of Stephen, the first Martyr, brought to the Sanhedrin for judgement and punishment. After being condemned to be stoned, we hear the call of Stephen for unity.  For the sins of those who cast the stones upon him to not be held against them.  It is this message that shows us the compassion of Stephen combines with the ability to show and experience “perfect love” granted by God towards those that wish to bring him harm—that they might come to experience unity with him through the forgiveness of this sin.  It is here that Stephen comes to once again remind us of the possibility of reconciliation through the sacrifice of God, and through God alone.  As we come to the conclusion of Revelation which we have been reading throughout the Easter season, we find the hope and wish for fulfillment through Christs desire for unity: Jesus invites us , “Let the one who thirsts come forward, and the one who wants it receive the gift of life giving water.”

Unknown.jpegIn the psalm we find Israel worshiping among other nations who serve other gods.  In present day, idols are not foreign gods, but rather the things that we allow to take a higher place than God in our lives. Chaos and despair are bound to rule when we allow things such as:  money, power, fame, drugs, pornography, hate or anything “thing” come before God or take a place above God.  When we can find the personal will power to place all of these things below God, and submit ourselves to the powerful God—allowing him to become: “Most High over All the Earth”; it is THEN that we will find peace and unity among all the nations.

St Jude of Impossible situations, PRAY FOR US!

Deus lo Vult!

†lvm†

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.

Make no Mistake EPIPHANY is the same thing as IMMIGRATION

So, what is Epiphany (also called Three Kings Day, or the Twelfth Night)? In its simplistic form, Epiphany is the immigration of individuals to see a native place. Around about the 4th century, the celebration of Epiphany  was the association of three visiting Magi (what we call the Three Kings) traveling to visit the newborn Jesus in the manger nestled in Bethlehem. With them, as we all know, they bring gifts;  gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh.  [The gifts have meanings Gold=Royal Standing; Frankincense=Divine Birth; Myrrh=Mortality.] But even better is the fact that the word EPIPHANY itself is Greek [not Hebrew] meaning “manifestation’.  Already full of irony– the word is not native, but rather a term that was in a sense “immigrated in.”

So where does this lead us to? Well the fact that as the region of Bethlehem was becoming a “sanctuary” for the Magi and even Jesus, the nation itself was in the middle of welcoming refugee and others into their lands. United by their belief that the King of Kings had been born; we see in Christianity’s first moments, the beginnings of what has become Human Days of Dignity–where one group (or one nation) was called upon to welcome others from the outside who bear gifts and have a great gift to bring to this new “nation” united by Christ.

It is fitting that today in the Archdiocese of Louisville we celebrated a Migration Day of Prayer—presided over by Archbishop Joseph Kurtz; and the fact that we also begin to usher in the celebration of Epiphany. As part of those 5 days of Human Dignity (which are scattered thorough this liturgical season) we are called to become more inclusive, to welcome those who come seeking a place of sanctuary as an opportunity to potentially have an encounter with Christ; for it is known through Catholic teaching that we should meet everyone as if they were Christ himself, for we never know if it might be him coming to visit us.

So what should we do? We should welcome all of those into our “nation” that wish to enter. We should find ourselves full of love and embrace for those seeking nothing more than what you or I have. We should realize that it was Mary and Joseph (along with Jesus) that opened up and accepted visitors from all over to live united under the Messiah. We should not be greedy, but instead should offer to share what has been so generously given to us by God, through his one and only Son-born of the Virgin Mary. It is through the acceptance of those who wish to come into the house of the Lord (into our communities) that we may find ourselves close to walking hand-in-hand with Jesus.

So in the end, Epiphany is nothing more than (not minimizing the significance of the event) a remembrance of our call to accept all those that have been called to the feast table by God; and to treat others as we would want to be treated!

So not only Happy Epiphany but HAPPY IMMIGRATION DAY!

Lawrence V. McCrobie

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