October 8, 2017
It is certainly very appropriate that we begin this Thanksgiving weekend with celebrating the Eucharist which comes from the Greek word eucharistein which means thanksgiving. The Eucharist is the high point, the center of a Christian’s spiritual life and not only our spiritual life but really our human life. After all, it reminds us of the source of our life, of our being, of the gift we have received and which we are called to let unfold on our journey in life so that we may journey towards happiness and peace. That happiness and peace and fulfillment is not only our own personal fulfillment but also to the fulfillment of the humanity of all humans throughout the world. After all, that is our call on our human journey: our own happiness but also the happiness of those close to us, our family, our community, our nation, our world.
When Jesus instituted the Eucharist at what we have called the “last supper” he did so by calling together his community for a meal of thanksgiving, in thanksgiving for what the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses had done for his people and for what God did in him, in his life. And the first thing Jesus did at this meal was to become a servant, to wash the feet of his followers telling them to do the same for others, “do this in remembrance of me”: to serve, to wash and heal, to nourish and to fulfill. Jesus gave his own very self so that we might be nourished and fulfilled and then asked us to do the same. So when we come together and “do this in remembrance of me” we remind ourselves that, yes we are nourished by the gift of God’s Word and by the bread broken, Christ’s body. We first let ourselves be challenged by listening to the Word of God broken open so that we as individuals and as a community of faith might become servants and the Body of Christ. That Word of God in the Sacred Scriptures is already the real presence of Christ; that community of faith gathered together is already the real presence of Christ. That real presence of Christ comes to fulfillment when we say AMEN on receiving the Body of Christ in the bread broken and the cup shared. But our AMEN also means that: “Yes, I, we, are willing to become the Body of Christ” in the world we live in.
St. Theresa’s prayer says it all:
“Christ has no body now—but yours. No hands, no feet on earth—but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on this world.
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.
Yours are the hands with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands
Yours are the feet
Yours are the eyes
YOU ARE HIS BODY…”
How to observe thanksgiving:
Count your blessigns instead of your crosses; count your gains instead of your woes; count your friends insetad of your foes; count your smiles instead of your tears; count your courage instead of your fears; count your full years in stead of your lean; count your kind deeds instead of your mean; count your health instead of your wealth; count on God instead of yourself. Author unknown.
Happy Thanksgiving, Shalom, Fr. Rolf, OP
WHEN PAIN DOES GOOD TO SOMEONE
September 24, 2017
A tourist lady was visiting the mountainous country of Switzerland.
One day, she walked up to a sheep pasture on a hillside. There she saw a shepherd, with his flock of sheep lying at a rest around him. Nearby on a little pile of grass lay a sheep which seemed to be in pain. It was, it had a broken leg. The lady asked the shepherd how it happened. To her amazement, the shepherd answered, "Missus, I broke the sheep’s leg." He went on to explain: "Of all the sheep on this flock, that one was the most disobedient; it would never obey my voice. It always wandered off and led the rest of the flock astray. I had this problem before, so I knew how to cure it. I broke his leg to save it and my other sheep. "
On the first day I went to it with food, and it tried to bite me. I left it alone for a few days and it got hungry. Then I went back to it. Now it not only takes the food but licks my hand."
"Let me tell you something: when this sheep is well again -- as soon as it will be – it will be the model sheep of the flock. No sheep will hear my voice so quickly… None will follow so closely at my side."
Our reward is according to our spiritual works by the grace of God. If we have a heart that is disposed to serve the Lord, He will find spiritual work for us to do for the glory of His kingdom. Seek righteousness and receive the mercy of God. Keeping in mind what has been said, there is a lesson to learn from this. If we want to shine like stars forever and ever, we should not ask what the Church can do for us, but rather, what can we do for the Church. Jesus did not place His angels on earth to evangelize. He placed us here, that is you and me, as lights in the world so that His glory may be manifested through us.
This week, let us reflect upon our Divine calling to evangelize. Let us ask ourselves,
"What am I doing for the Church?"
"How can I bring others to the Church in the name of Jesus?"
"How can I help the Church flourish by the power of the Holy Spirit so that the
Heavenly Father will be pleased with my actions?"
~ Father Thomas
Pastor’s Corner (Father Thomas)
September 10, 2017
Emperor Frederick the Great (1712-86) of Germany, once visited a town school in Branderburg. When he entered into a classroom, the teacher was giving a geography lesson to the children. The emperor called on one of the boys and asked if he knew where his town was located.
"In Prussia," the child replied. "And where is Prussia?" continued the emperor.
"In the world."
"And the world?"
The boy thought for a moment, but at last looking right at the emperor, replied: "The world is in the hands of God."
This is an answer from a child; but how true it is – ‘The world is in the hands of God.’ It means that we all are in God’s hands and are totally dependent upon him. That is to say that we are under God’s loving providence and that he greatly loves us, takes care of us and protects us; He is always with us and never abandons us.
God is always faithful to His people and to His promises. Even when we turn away from Him and place our trust in ourselves or in other persons or in money or material goods, He will not abandon us but remain faithful. He loves each one of us as if there is only one of us. He always cares for each one of us but relationship of love can only be founded upon trust, upon fidelity. We are a worrying people, we are a weak people, were are people with fears, we are people with limitations, we often falter in our struggles and meet with disappointments. We need God to overcome all this. Without Him, we can do nothing. With Him, we can do anything.
God calls us to rest in Him. He created us to be united to Him forever in perfect rest, to behold Him face to face in the beatific vision. He will never disappoint us and will always do what is best for each one of us.
BLESSED IS HE WHO PLACES HIS TRUST IN THE LOVING PROVIDENCE OF GOD.
~ Father Thomas