Tag Archives: Change

11th Sunday of the Year – Growth & Change – Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

Nature teaches us that little seeds lead to big things.  Life is a process of growth and change, and from the Gospel reading we can consider two points:

  • Do we choose to grow every day?
  • Do we face challenges with God’s help?

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a seed – it starts small but keeps growing!  May we do the same, as individuals and united together, to grow in faith, hope, and love.


11th Sunday of the Year – Little Seeds Become Big Trees

tree

Study:  Recall a time of profound change and growth in your life.  What helped you become better?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for the grace to face difficult challenges and embrace them.

Serve:  Who in your life is confronting change right now?  How can you help them?

11th Sunday of the Year Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

Now that June is in full swing the color green is flourishing across the upper Midwest.  Summer delights the eye with growth and life, and from my view along the shore of Lake Superior this is most evident in the beauty of trees.

I have walked Wisconsin forests my entire life, and I find a peace and serenity among the grandeur and power of trees.  They anchor the soil, provide habitat for wildlife, shade for the weary, and a renewable resource for humanity’s handiwork.

Yet for the majesty of trees, they all start small – from a pine cone or an acorn, a “helicopter” seed or a shoot – massive trees have humble, tender beginnings.

Just like our faith.

We know from our own experience that all good things take time and effort to develop; growth and change occur through new encounters.  The process reminds us of two key points:

  • We have daily opportunities to grow.  Every day provides new ways for us to develop the gifts and talents God has given.
  • We are works in progress.  While we might lament that we are not where we want to be, we can face the challenges before us with the grace of Christ

In the first point we recognize opportunity and growth; in the second point we face obstacles with hope that these challenges will teach us new insights.  Growth and change are part of life.  What’s more, this change almost always begins from a small and humble beginning.

Where in your life do you have opportunities to grow?  Where do you see challenges that will require new ways of thought and action?  Take time to seek the Lord – to start small like a little seed – and grow in these moments into a new creation, guided and empowered to become more fully alive.

Now matter where we are in the journey of faith, may we open our hearts to God’s grace as we grow in faith, hope, and love as disciples of Jesus Christ!


Ascension of the Lord – Navigating Change – Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s Ascension of the Lord Homily Podcast

This homily was given on May 16, 2015 at St. William Church in Foxboro, WI.

Change and transition are part of human life as seen in graduations, new jobs, relationships, and situations.  Like the Apostles on this feast, we can face our changes by keeping in mind three basic concepts:

  • Observation – looking & listening to our new reality
  • Reflection – by ourselves, with others & God’s guidance
  • Application – putting our thoughts into action

As the Apostles embraced their transitions the Holy Spirit empowered them to change the world.  May we continue to open our hearts to the Spirit and face the changes that come before us.

 


The Feast of the Ascension

393px-Francisco_Camilo_-_Ascension_-_Google_Art_Project

Study:  Reflect on a moment of profound change in your life.  What lessons did you learn?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for guidance to proclaim the Good News in your current situation.

Serve:  Do you know someone who is experiencing great change right now?  How can you help them?

Feast of the Ascension Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

About this time of year students experience transition.  The academic year is coming to a close, classes are wrapping up, papers are written and exams taken.  It is a time where one can clearly see change: teachers and classmates conclude their studies and look to new opportunities and experiences in the summer.

For some it might be work; others might attend summer school; still others might experience a move to a new location.  Change takes many forms, but through it all some key points emerge:

  • New People
  • New Locations
  • Opportunity to apply learning to life

The Feast of the Ascension is one such moment of profound change in the early Church.  Rejoicing with one another over the Resurrection, the apostles were flying high – the Lord is risen!  In this moment of enthusiasm and hope, the Lord (truly in the role of Teacher) shares with them a new lesson – it’s time to change and grow.

Now they are the ones who must teach; they are the ones chosen to proclaim the Good News; through their efforts the Holy Spirit will empower them to heal and drive out demons.  Simply put, the Ascension of Jesus clears the way for the disciples to apply the Lord’s teaching in their own lives as they continue Christ’s mission in the world.

We are part of that mission.  We received our faith from those who came before us, and today we have an opportunity to proclaim the Good News to those in our lives.  Here are some thoughts:

  • Family – who often see us in unguarded moments
  • Friends – sustained and strengthened by our efforts
  • Coworkers – witness our character and conviction
  • Classmates – supported and encouraged in learning
  • Neighbors – perceive our actions and effort
  • Strangers – 1st impressions that point to Christ
  • Enemies – encounter justice and mercy with forgiveness

The Good News takes many forms, and in our moments of transition we are given new opportunities to act.  May the Ascension of our Lord inspire us to look for change in our own lives and seek ways where we can live joyful lives as disciples of Jesus Christ!

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Ascension, Francisco Camilo; 1651, oil on canvas, 81.5 x 53.94 inches, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelonia, Spain.


6th Sunday of Easter – Transformed by Love

Love tasks

Study:  Recall the people in life have loved us unconditionally.  How did their love help you change and grow?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for the grace to recognize the people in our midst we are called to love.

Serve:  Love takes many forms.  What can I do today for another person out of love?

6th Sunday of Easter Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

For the last few months the eyes of the world have directed to the words and actions of Pope Francis.  It has been a time of extensive media coverage on the Church and its message of hope to a new generation.

During this time many people have experienced the rich treasure of Roman Catholicism.  The history, symbolism, and global significance have helped provide a deeper understanding of the internal structure of the Church.

Many people have responded to the Pope’s teaching and example.  It is an exciting time to participate in the Church, and I personally am renewed and energized in my desire to grow in my  vocation to the priesthood – even in the midst of transition and change.

Change is a part of life.  Through our experiences and encounters we develop and discover new perspectives and resources within our lives.  Change happens when we open our hearts to those around us and put into action our new insights.

In the Gospel Jesus states that to love him means to keep his commandments.  There are two:
1.  Love God
2.  Love one another.

It is important to note that these commands are not just about being busy.  To love means to be in relationship with others; love invites us to grow in our awareness and understanding for one another.  This knowledge leads to greater respect and value for all life.

In the Gospel love is a verb.  It must be acted upon, practiced, and carried out in all parts of life.  To love means to work at a relationship – and thus be open to spend the time and effort necessary.

Yet when we open our hearts to love we are changed.  As we experience love, as we work at it, we discover that our hearts get stretched.  We become challenged to grow, to make room so that we can love more deeply, more completely.

Jesus promises that we will have help.  As we open our lives to the power of love, the Spirit will come to help us and guide us.  Transformed by love, we trust that God will continue to direct us, until the cycle of love and change brings us one day to the Kingdom of Heaven.


Baptism of the Lord

Baptismal Font

Study:  When have I experienced a life-changing moment?  How has this helped me to become a better person?

Pray:  Ask God for guidance to face new challenges with courage and strength.

Serve:  How can I help someone in the midst of great change?  How can I support them?

Baptism of the Lord Readings

There are moments in life which transform us forever.  During these times we experience profound and lasting change, and from these moments we find that we are a different person with new insights and awareness.

Sometimes this process of change can take a protracted period of time – weeks or even months may pass while we are in a period of transition and renewal.  Sometimes, however, the transformation takes a single moment; an event or encounter can completely alter the course of our lives.

The baptism of Jesus was just such a life changing experience.  This event is the first step in the adult life of Christ.  Here is a simplified review:

* Jesus (as an adult) is baptized by John
– the Father and Holy Spirit are present!
* Jesus goes immediately to the desert
– he spends 40 days in solitude
* Jesus is tempted by Satan
– he confronts 3 tests of faith
* Jesus begins his ministry
– he preaches, heals, and picks disciples

John’s baptism initiates a series of events that lead to the transformation of the adult Jesus.  Outside of the birth narratives in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, nothing is really known about the Lord until this moment.  Indeed, it is from this point on that Jesus must confront the revelation of his mission on earth.

Some scholars argue that after his baptism Jesus became fully aware of his ministry and ultimate sacrifice on the Cross.  It was at this point that he began to understand the fullness of his Father’s plan.  This is why he went to the wilderness immediately after his baptism – he needed to think things out!  This is why the devil came to him there – in hope that Jesus could be tempted NOT to fulfill his mission.

It was his baptism – a public event – that allowed the Lord (and other people as well) to see the plan of salvation.  In a single moment history changed as Jesus begins his earthly ministry.

Our own transformations can be equally vivid.  May we see in the Lord’s baptism a sign that we too can change, growing closer to God, aware of how our lives can bring life and hope to others.