Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Body and Blood of Christ


Study:  Read John 6; Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:15-20.  Note that Jesus defines what this is and commands us what to do.

Pray:  The next time you receive Holy Communion, take an extra moment to recognize Christ in the Eucharist and welcome Him into your life.

Serve:  We need food for physical strength and we require spiritual food for spiritual strength.  What tasks are before you right now that require God’s grace and help?

We all know people who love to cook and serve food.  They are the ones who always have something on hand for company, and they delight in offering a “little something” when visitors stop by.  Often in conversation sooner or later the question will be asked, “Are you hungry?  Would you like something to eat?”

Feeding people covers a variety of human needs.  Whether it is for our  hospitality, or gathering for a celebration, or simply nourishing our bodies, food is a central part of our existence.  It is one of our most basic and regular needs.

To ask someone, “Are you hungry?” not only recognizes this fundamental need, but it reveals our desire to serve another out of love.  Hunger is a universal experience, and our willingness to feed others shows our practical concern and our solidarity with those around us.

Experience teaches us that food is not the only nourishment we require.  Besides sustenance for our bodies we are also aware that we need spiritual strength as well.  Friendship, fellowship, prayers, and the support of a community and family are essential to our health and well being.

Jesus knew that people were hungry.  The Lord fed thousands with bread and fish.  He fed multitudes with hope and comfort through his teaching.  He fed the hearts of people in need of forgiveness and peace by his healing.  And on the night he was betrayed, he left his disciples with a way that they could be nourished through his body and blood for all time.

God knows our hunger.  In our need God comes to us with an abundance of life and goodness, inviting us to come and feast that we might have life.  In the Eucharist we proclaim that out of love the Lord Jesus is among us so that the community might receive the nourishment needed for our journey through life.

At Mass we proclaim this mystery.  Through the power of Christ, bread and wine become the Lord’s body and blood for our spiritual food.  As we receive communion the words “the body of Christ” state not only what we receive but what we become.  For as we receive the Lord in holy communion, we become the Body of Christ – empowered to share the Lord’s love in our world that others who hunger might be fed.

The Most Holy Trinity

iPhone 082

Study:  Recall a time when you had an experience of God.  Consider how you have changed because of this encounter.

Pray:  Is there something or someone in your life who is in need of an encounter with God?  Are you grateful for an encounter you have witnessed in your own life?  Take this to your prayer.

Serve:  How can you help others encounter God in their lives?  What can you do for others to remove obstacles and allow them to experience God’s grace?

Here in the North we are blessed with an abundance of natural resources.  Forests, lakes, rich farmland, beaches, trails, and countless other treasures comprise the bounty of our countryside.  Many of these resources are easy to take for granted, especially for those of us who live among them all year long.

Take water for example.  The lakes and rivers of Wisconsin inspire and relax people throughout the seasons.  From fishing to water skiing, the activities surrounding water are endless.  Indeed, when compared to other places around the world, our supply of fresh water is a priceless commodity.

Of course water does come in different forms.  As a solid, liquid, or gas water is both useful and easily recognizable.  The different forms help us to understand that one substance can be revealed in a variety of ways; something can be the same while appearing in a different or even contradictory fashion.

The Holy Trinity is one of the central mysteries of our faith.  At its heart lies our belief that there is one God who is revealed to us in three different ways:  the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  These three Persons, who we invoke every time we make the sign of the Cross, are part of the experience of faith which the followers of Jesus encountered.

As the disciples listened to the teaching of Christ, they understood that Jesus was the Father’s only Son.  They accepted the promise that Jesus, who rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, would ask the Father to send the Advocate – the Holy Spirit, to guide them and give them strength.  It is through our faith in Christ that we come to this knowledge, for God is revealed to us through these three Persons, who are in complete and inseparable unity.

Yet the Trinity is not only a mystery which teaches us about God; it is a mystery for our own lives as well.  Just as the Father sent the Son, and later the Holy Spirit – we, too, are sent to reach out to our sisters and brothers with the knowledge and hope that we have received.  We are invited to both live in unity with those around us, even as we work to bridge the divisions and hostilities which separate us.

The Trinity is a mystery that reveals to us the love of God – through the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  May we respond in a similar fashion, reflecting the love of God to those around us.

Pentecost – Finding our Strength

Holy Spirit - St. Peter's

Study:  Reflect on a time when you felt God’s strength.  Was it with the help of others or in a particular situation?  How did God help you?

Pray:  We all need strength to face challenges in life.  Ask for the power of the Holy Spirit to face what lies ahead.

Serve:  How might the Holy Spirit be working through you to help another?  How might the Spirit call you to serve someone else?

Pentecost Readings:

Where do people find their strength?  As a priest I have had the privilege of walking with families during moments of trial and difficulty.  At times when pain and struggle seem too difficult to bear, I often witness people who face incredible obstacles through their faith, which sustains them in truly amazing ways.

Faith gives life, guidance, meaning, and strength.  Yet what makes our faith possible?  How does God empower our faith in the midst of the activity and demands of daily life?  The answer is simple:  The Holy Spirit.

The feast of Pentecost celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Church after Jesus ascended into Heaven.  Through this coming the Apostles were transformed – their hearts were on fire, blazing with a desire to live as Christ taught, and sharing what they had received with others.

Pentecost was an amazing event!  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Church gained courage and strength that it had not previously experienced.  Disciples (who had formerly been afraid and doubtful) were now fearlessly proclaiming the Good News – facing even persecution and death.

Something happened.  Something powerful and life changing.  Something that could not be attributed to a human cause.  Through Pentecost God intervened in the lives of people, and from this moment the Church has been on fire.

Yet Pentecost was not a one-time event.  Indeed, the power of this feast continues through the whole Church.  The Holy Spirit, promised to us by Jesus, is sent by the Father so that this same strength is ours as well.  It is the Spirit which dwells within us, guiding and empowering us in our moments of need.

Every saint, every person of faith, every heroic and Christ-like act of goodness – is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.  For whenever we open our hearts, asking the Spirit to dwell in our lives, God will send the Spirit to give us the strength we need.

This is our promise!  We stand in the same tradition as the Apostles, and we seek God to be with us.  Just as God sent the Spirit upon the early Church, so too will God send the Spirit upon the Church today.  What is needed is an invitation:
Come Holy Spirit!
    Kindle in our hearts the fire of your love! 

7th Sunday of Easter – Ascension


Study:  Transitions are a time of uncertainty.  Consider a time when you experienced a transition: how did it feel?  How did you face it?

Pray:  When faced with the unknown we come to the Lord for direction.  Pray that the Holy Spirit will send both wisdom (to know what to do), and strength (so you can do it).

Serve:  Who in your life is alone right now.  How might you walk with another in a time of transition and uncertainty?

7th Sunday of Easter – Ascension Readings:

There are moments in life when it is difficult to say good-bye.  Whether it is a relocation through work, the completion of school, or the death of a loved one, we know that these events challenge us to move on with the transitions in life.

The Feast of the Ascension marks one of these transitions in the Church.  This feast demands that we ask the question, “Now what?” as the Lord is taken from our midst.  The disciples must now discover the new ways that God is at work in their lives – especially now that Jesus is no longer with them.

But unlike other transitions, where people pass out of our lives and are separated from us by physical distances or death, Jesus leaves his disciples in a different way.  By ascending into heaven he does not move out of our lives, but rather he comes into contact with all life.  Through his ascension the Holy Spirit comes upon all people, and Jesus touches our lives in a new and mysterious way.

The mystery of the Ascension is closely connected to the Resurrection of Jesus.  The early Church recognized that the saving work which God did through Jesus included both of these events.  We say in the Creed, “…he rose from the dead…(and) ascended into heaven…” in the same breath – for these two events show that the Lord’s work is unlike anything else ever done before.

Through his Resurrection, death and sin no longer have power over Jesus Christ; his sacrifice on the Cross offers hope for the whole world.  Through his Ascension, all people can know Jesus and the Spirit; taken up to heaven, the Lord is now present to all people regardless of time or space.

This feast reminds us that Christ does not abandon his people.  The Lord is near, and we enjoy his presence even though we cannot touch him as the disciples did.  We know that God walks with us, and we trust that the Lord will give us the strength to carry out the mission of the gospel through the transitions we face in this life.

%d bloggers like this: