The encounter between Mary and Elizabeth offers and example where faith and fellowship intersect. We support each other in so many ways…how can we lift each other up to God today?
Tag Archives: fellowship
The people in the readings were tempted, even as they were striving to follow God. They show us that we need to be vigilant against temptation as we engage our faith in Christ with the support of one another.
The well known parable of the rich man and Lazarus offers a powerful reminder that we have been given what we need to know the Lord. May we draw up these great gifts: Church teaching, Scripture, Sacraments, Prayer, Fellowship, and the example of the Saints!
Jesus teaches in the Gospel today that all who do God’s will are part of his family. Through prayer, Scripture, sacraments and fellowship we become spiritually fruitful as we offer our lives to the Lord.
Jesus offers a parable, reminding us to stay awake and alert so that we are always prepared for whatever might happen in life.
The reading from the Acts of the Apostles reveals the unity of “one heart and mind” that the early Church practiced in the days following the Lord’s resurrection. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, the first followers of Jesus Christ shared their goods in common, worked together, and dedicated their efforts to building up one another. What a great image for us to keep before us in our lives today!
I have begun to include podcasts of my homilies and talks. Forgive me if the formatting is a little awkward…I am learning!
This Advent reflection was one of the talks given at a retreat that was offered on December 6, 2014. Six categories are touched upon in this talk:
These areas are meant to help us do two things:
- Grow in our ability to see the Face of Christ
- Strengthen us to loving serve Christ wherever we see him
Click on this link below if you wish to hear this 40 minute presentation.
Study: Recall a time when you were a stranger – at school, work, or in a new community. How did it feel? What was it like when someone welcomed you?
Pray: Seek the Lord for guidance, especially to recognize and respond to those in search of a place to fit in.
Serve: Who do you know right now who would benefit from a simple welcome? How can you practice hospitality to someone today?
One of the things I enjoy whenever I go on vacation is the opportunity to pray at other parishes as a parishioner. I put on a pair of slacks, a button down shirt, and I walk in as a stranger. Nobody knows that I am a priest, and so I have the privilege to see a parish firsthand – like an ordinary visitor.
I find many insights when I walk in. I try to keep my ears and eyes open, observing how people react to one another. Do they smile? Do they go out of their way to welcome? Do they take the time to greet and help one another in their need?
As a stranger in these parishes I am an outsider, unknown without history or recognition. I have no connections to families, businesses, or authority. In other words, hospitality is often the only reason why anyone would speak to me; they have no other practical reason to do so. Sure, they might want a new parishioner, but you can usually distinguish between sincerity and a sales pitch: one comes from the heart, the other goes for the wallet.
When I encounter a welcoming parish, I always take mental notes. What can I bring back to the Cathedral? What actions already affirm what we do? I usually scribble my notes on a piece of paper, saving them for a special opportunity to put them into practice.
Hospitality is a central part of the Christian life. We reach out to strangers, visitors, and guests, because throughout time people of faith have discovered God’s presence whenever they have reached out to others.
The readings today have a common theme. While God has spoken through a particular people (namely Israel), God calls all people – even strangers and foreigners – through faith to prayer and worship. The gift and call to the Jewish people is “irrevocable” as Paul writes today. Yet through this call people have seen the saving power of Christ and responded with life and joy as they welcome family, friends, and strangers to fellowship.
Practically, we live this theme whenever we reach out to one another. When we recognize that God calls all people, we discover that we are part of a vast and rich family – fellow inhabitants on this rock we call planet Earth.
This is why we go out of our way to welcome one another. This is why we take the time to introduce ourselves, greeting and meeting fellow members of a much larger family. Whenever we take the time to reach out to one another, we live out our most basic call – welcoming one another with the hospitality of a people of faith.
Study: Name three people who have had a real influence in your life. What did they do or say that made the difference?
Pray: In your daily prayer, when you pray for people call to mind their faces (preferably smiling!).
Serve: Who can you help today? How might you be the living witness of Christ to someone God places in your path?
In the Gospel today Jesus chooses seventy-two disciples to go out and minister to the people. They journeyed to every town Jesus intended to visit, proclaiming the Good News and healing the sick.
I’ve often wondered about this commission. Why did Jesus do this? We know through the Scriptures that Jesus performed countless miracles, so why did the Lord pick out certain people to share in his ministry? He certainly didn’t need them, yet they were empowered by Jesus to participate in his work of redemption.
Simply put, God works through people. The Lord chose these seventy-two individuals to be conduits of grace. As instruments of God’s power, these disciples not only furthered the ministry of Christ, they became coworkers of God’s plan for the Kingdom. These people, chosen by the Lord, proclaim the Word of God with a human voice.
Furthermore, God works through people to build a human community. We do not walk through life alone. The Lord not only invites us to reach out, but the Lord supports his people in their service. This is why the disciples went out in pairs; they were able to strengthen each other in difficult moments and celebrate in their joys.
For these reasons the Church exists today. God calls us to grow together – reaching out to those in need and supporting one another as we follow our path of discipleship. This is the purpose of our sacraments, our prayer, our Eucharist, and our lives in the larger community.
For when we realize that God works through people we discover that God works through us. The Lord invites us to be open to the Spirit of Christ. As we imitate the example of Jesus by the practicing the love he proclaimed, we continue the Lord’s saving work here on Earth. Our hands and feet carry on the service of Jesus so that healing and hope might continue.
The sending of the disciples reveals that God intends to give us an opportunity to participate in this wonderful work. May we be open to this invitation, sharing the many gifts and talents we have received as we offer our lives to help build the Kingdom of Heaven.