Conversion

Conversion is at the center of Christ's preaching.

Conversion is something that we are called to throughout our life but it is also not something that we do on our own. A description of conversion is found in the catechism.

"This endeavor of conversion is not just a human work. It is the movement of a 'contrite heart,' drawn and moved by grace to respond to the merciful love of God who loved us first."

As we work on conversion, we allow ourselves to be molded into the image of Christ. Through the prophet Isaiah, God warns us that we should not think of it as the opposite as if God should conform to us.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts."

May God continue you to bless us and mold us into the image of His Son.

Prayers for the Beginning of School

It is that time of the year again when the summer time is coming to a close as schools are starting up again.

We pray for all of the children and families of our parishes as they start the new school year that this may be a year filled with joy and grace.

“And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.” - Luke2:5

May we grow in wisdom, age, and grace after the example of our Savior.

May our families reflect the Holy Family.

May God Bless us all. Amen.

Starting a Fire in Us

One of the common phrases I remember hearing from coaches while playing sports was, ‘we need to light a fire under all of you’. This message would usually come when we had given a lackluster performance in a game or given into mediocrity in practice. Maybe the coaches were familiar with the following Gospel passage….

"Jesus said to his disciples: 'I have come to set the earth on fire,

and how I wish it were already blazing!'"

Just like when competing in a game in the spiritual life, we must continue to be aware of the times we might be becoming complacent or not giving God our all.

In recognizing this human trait, we must also focus on how we can fan the flames. We have an opportunity to learn how to grow that flame for Christ at the Youth & Family Event that will be held on August 18 at Prairie Star Ranch. Noelle Garcia will speak directly on the message of “Starting a Fire” in our lives that will burn brighter, changing our lives and the whole world. What a wonderful message and you don’t want to miss it!

May the Holy Spirit which came down on the Apostles at Pentecost as tongues of fire also be the fire that makes our hearts burn for the Lord.

May God Bless us all.

The Lord is Always Attentive to Our Prayer / Knocks on His Door

"I tell you, if he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence. And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." - Luke 11: 1-13

The Lord gives us the great example of a friend showing up at midnight to knock on a door to receive assistance to help us see the persistence we are called to have in prayer. It reminds me of receiving calls on the phone in the middle of the night. Sometimes it isn't until a second or third call that I get the phone answered.

The difference being that the Lord is not asleep or too lazy to get out of bed to heed our knocks on the door through prayer but rather is one who is at all times attentive to our needs.

It does show us the need to never give up on prayer. Through our persistence we deepen in our humility and trust in the Lord. It can also, at times, allow our prayers to be molded and transformed into desiring what is really best for us and in accordance with God's will.

God bless you all.

Mass Intentions

The Mass is the highest and most powerful prayer that we have and it is a true blessing and gift to have Mass offered for someone.

The Mass intentions are directly related to my ability to offer the Mass. I cannot take on more than 1 year of intentions. If I get more than a year of intentions I have to send the intention and the offering to another priest who has availability to offer the intention, which usually involves sending them to a mission priest.

If you would like to have an intention offered on a particular day, I would advise an email, phone call, or just give me a note so I can check on availability before you send the money in so that we know it is a possibility to have the Mass offered.

If you do not care where the Mass is offered, feel free to send in the intention because many of our mission priests are in need of intentions and the offering with the intention is also very helpful to them and their ministry.

Thank you again for recognizing the greatness of the Mass and please do not hesitate to ask questions if you have any concerning the intentions or anything else.

God bless you all.

Following the Commandments

Moses encourages the people today as he invites them to keep the commandments and statues of the Lord and to return to God with their whole hearts and souls.

One of our teachings of the Church is about the natural law. It is the law that we receive from our very nature. The Decalogue (Ten Commandments) is the law revealed by God to Moses but it is also the same law that is written on our very hearts by being made in the image and likeness of our creator.

That is why in the first reading today Moses tells the people this Law of God is not as we might say a pie in the sky but it is a law that is already in our mouths and hearts.

Let us look to the revealed commandments of God and see how they are reflected in our very nature and hearts.

May we have the strength to follow those commandments and statutes. Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ....Now and Forever!

Are you willing to help in the harvest?

“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;

so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”

One of the things I was surprised with by visiting the Holy Land is that in the current time there are many fruit trees in the area. I think fruit trees are a good thing to reflect on to understand the abundant harvest in the analogy today.

Recently I was talking to someone who had a cherry tree that did exceptionally well this year. The person was frustrated though because when they ripened they did not have the time needed to properly harvest them. They reached out to others as well who also did not have enough time to harvest them. It was frustrating for them when they had to watch as a portion of the excellent cherry crop became over-ripened and fell to the ground.

The Lord lets us know that the harvest is abundant. Are we willing to help in this harvest? There are many who are ripe for the harvest. They are searching and longing for God and a life of Blessedness and Happiness but need someone to show them the way to Christ and to a life in Christ. Let us be attentive to the harvest around us and help the Master of the harvest to reap the fruit so that none of the harvest is lost.

4 Parish Sponsored Rural Youth & Family Event

I am really excited about an opportunity we have coming up where our four parishes will be assisting the Rural Youth Ministry Office in hosting a youth and family event at Prairie Star Ranch.

“The Start a Fire” event will be held Sunday, August 18 in the early afternoon and evening. Please mark your calendars to attend. Our four parishes will be assisting with various positions and we will be asking for a variety of volunteers to help with this event.

We will have sign-up sheets together soon so that people can sign-up for the different areas we are looking to staff or need help / donations. Noelle Garcia will be the guest speak for the event and there are many other fun activities scheduled for the day. Please see the bulletin insert for more details.

Thank you in advance for all who will help with this great event.

Feast of Corpus Christi

Today we celebrate Corpus Christi, which is Latin for the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.

We thank God for the gift of the Eucharist. Father John H. Hampsch wrote a book called, The Healing Power of the Eucharist. In the book he reflects on us being body, mind, and spirit.

Jesus Christ revealed to us that he has come that we may have life and have it more abundantly. Jesus also revealed to us the Eucharist is the bread of life.

When we are in need of physical, emotional or spiritual healing or for more abundant life we need only to pray with Jesus in the Eucharist and to receive the Eucharist. One of the great gifts we have is our Adoration hours of the Blessed Sacrament!

Lord please continue to heal us as we spend time with you and receive you in the Eucharist.

May God Bless us.

Contemplating the Trinity

Father Cantalamessa, who has been the preacher for the Papal household, wrote an excellent book Contemplating the Trinity. He devotes part of the book to the place we encounter the Trinity. He focused on the indwelling God has in us. Jesus describes the indwelling in the Gospel of John.

"Jesus answered and said to him, 'Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him." (John 14:23)

Fr. Cantalemessa also quotes St. John of the Cross to describe the indwelling of God. St. John of the Cross in his Spiritual Canticle states:

God "raises the soul most sublimely, and informs her that she may breathe in God the same breath of love that the Father breathes in the Son...God grants her the favour of attaining to being deiform and united in the Most Holy Trinity, wherein she becomes God by participation."

How can we be anything but amazed at the fact that God has decided to dwell within us and through that indwelling we become like God by participating in His life?

May God Bless us.

Pentecost

Pentecost Sunday is the day we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit to each of us. The promise Jesus gave that we would not be left orphaned or alone by God.

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity and brings us the love God has poured into our hearts.

With the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are called to live and walk in the Spirit of God - to grow in His love and share that love with everyone we meet.

Come Holy Spirit, Come!

May God bless us.