From the Desk of Deacon Richard… June 28, 2015

June 28, 2015

Dear Parish Family,

Our Pope Saint John Paul the Great Perpetual Adoration Chapel has brought many graces to the parish. Thank you to everyone who has committed to an hour or more of adoration each week. For those who have not yet committed, I would like to offer the following thoughts for you as you prayerfully consider committing to adoration at Our Lady of Lourdes:

  • “The Church and the world have a great need of eucharistic adoration.” — Pope St. John Paul II, Dominicae Cenae
  • “My joy, my pleasure, my delight is to be with you.” — Prov 8:31
  • “Our communal worship at Mass must go together with our personal worship of Jesus in Eucharistic adoration in order that our love may be complete.” — Pope St. John Paul II, Redeemer of Man
  • “Jesus waits for us in this sacrament of love.” — Pope St. John Paul II, Dominicae Canae
  • “I myself am the living bread come down from heaven.” — Jesus Christ, in Jn 6:35
  • “Let us be generous with our time in going to meet Jesus and ready to make reparation for the great evils of the world. Let your adoration never cease.” — Pope St. John Paul II, Dominicae Cenae
  • “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive honor, glory and praise.” — Rev. 5:12
  • “Christ is reserved in our churches as the spiritual center of the heart of the community, the universal Church and all humanity, since within the veil of the species, Christ is contained, the invisible heart of the Church, the Redeemer of the world, the center of all hearts, by him all things are and of whom we exist.” — Pope Paul IV, Mysterium Fidei
  • “Could you not watch one hour with me?” — Mt 26:40
  • “Our essential commitment in life is to preserve and advance constantly in Eucharistic life and Eucharistic piety and to grow spiritually in the climate of the Holy Eucharist.” — Pope St. John Paul II, Redeemer of Man

Peace,
Dcn. Richard

Homily for Sunday, June 21, 2015 – the 12th in Ordinary Time

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First, let me say Happy Father’s Day to all fathers, both natural and spiritual. Today we are reminded that our relationship with our father or those who have played the role of father in our life can in many ways be the foundation of our relationship with our Heavenly Father. It is through the love of our parents that we should first experience love and begin to realize that it is in our nature to love. It is through the love of our father or of a father figure in our life that we can begin to contemplate a perfected and eternal fatherly love, which is exactly what God the Father offers us.

I hope everyone is aware that our Holy Father, Pope Francis, released a new encyclical last Thursday. An encyclical is a teaching document from the Pope to a specific audience that clarifies or extends Church teaching. The most recent encyclical, On Care for Our Common Home, extends the Church’s social teaching in the realm of environmental responsibility.

I am not going to preach about this new encyclical today because I have only read about half of it. It wouldn’t make any sense to comment on a document that I have not had time to fully read, reflect upon, and understand. To do that would be foolish.

That said, there seem to be an awful lot of people out there commenting on a document that they have not had time to fully read, reflect upon, or understand. I encourage everyone here to obtain a copy of the encyclical either online or in printed format and read it. Some might be surprised to find that the encyclical written by the Holy Father is not at all the encyclical predicted by some of the more panicky, hysteria-prone commentators.

I hope in the coming months to put together a series of sessions on what Catholic environmental stewardship is and how we should all be practicing it. This is something I have been planning for more than a year and actually had hoped to do it this summer, but once I heard that the pope was writing on the environment, I put my plan on the back burner to await the Holy Father’s teaching and to ensure that everything I might say was completely in line with the teaching of Holy Mother Church.

Storm-on-the-Sea-of-Galilee

In today’s Gospel reading, we encounter Christ and His disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee. It is night, and a violent storm rises. Christ is asleep in one boat; other boats are making the crossing with Him.

The disciples are afraid; they wake Christ and ask him “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Our Lord then rebukes the storm just like He might rebuke a demon, telling it: “Quiet! Be still!”

And the storm ends. Calm returns.

This is not merely a story of something that happened long ago and demonstrates God’s authority over the wind and rain. This Gospel account has meaning for us today. Recall that there were many disciples; those are different than the Twelve Apostles. Multiple boatloads of disciples were making this crossing with Christ. It would not be a stretch to say that this flotilla represents the entire Christian community.

Understood in that way, the storm represents uncertainty. Adversity. Things happen that we do not expect; we find ourselves in mortal danger, and where is God? Is He asleep? Has He abandoned us?

Of course not. He is with us. I would suggest to you that the disciples were never in any danger; they merely perceived themselves as in danger because they did not fully understand or appreciate the power of God. Christ did not so much save them from the storm as He saved them from their own fear.

We are never in any danger when Christ is with us. The question isn’t one of whether or not Christ has the power to save us – we all know that He does. The question is how much faith do we have in Christ to act on our behalf… to save us from adversity… to protect us from all dangers, be they physical or spiritual.

Padre-PioNo one gets through life without having to face some fear… some danger… some adversity. In the words of St. Padre Pio: pray, hope, and don’t worry.

I wonder how this might have played out differently if instead of waking Jesus and shouting, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” if instead the disciples had simply gone to Christ and said, “Lord, we know you have the power to save us. Please act on our behalf.”

I’m not trying to pass judgement on the disciples and say what they should have done… merely wondering how things might have worked out differently. Certainly, Christ would not have asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”

Our faith should always be placed in Christ, who has the power to save us. We need not fear when we trust in the Lord; we need not be afraid. Storms will come; adversity will come. Those cannot be avoided. But they shall pass.

The question is not whether or not Christ will protect us from adversity, because adversity is a part of life. It comes to the Christian and the non-Christian. The difference is in how we face adversity. Do we face it with terror, or with the calm assurance that Christ will not abandon us?

Our faith can sustain us even in the most difficult times. Let us pray always for the grace to face the storms of life not with terror but with a calm certainty that Christ is with us and will sustain us, and even at the end of our life will never abandon us.

From the Desk of Deacon Richard… June 21, 2015

June 21, 2015

Dear Parish Family,

I survived almost 4,000 miles of driving; ten days in a conference hotel in Portland, Oregon; and getting lost in Lincoln, Nebraska. I am glad to be back, glad that trip is over, and am very much looking forward to being back at Mass in my home parish this Sunday. I am also far too exhausted to write anything intelligent for this column, and so I present the Sunday Bulletin’s first ever color-your-own “From the Desk of Deacon Richard” message:

BVM Coloring Page

Please, though! No coloring during the homily.

Peace,
Dcn. Richard

From the Desk of Deacon Richard… June 14, 2015

June 14, 2015

Dear Parish Family,

I am writing this letter from a hotel room in Portland, Oregon, on Sunday afternoon a week before the Bulletin in which this will be printed. I’m in Portland on a business trip and I went to Mass this morning at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, which is a Dominican parish near the hotel in which I am staying. I will be here all week, and will start the long drive back to Raytown next Sunday after their 7:00 am Mass. I’d actually like to get on the road earlier than that, but there is no way I’m starting the drive back without going to Mass first.

Holy Rosary parish is a very nice, traditional Catholic parish with an altar rail, a marble altar, and stained glass windows that feature a Dalmatian in each one. I enjoy visiting other parishes when I’m away from Lourdes, but there is no parish like your home parish and I am always glad to come back.

It is important when travelling to find a Mass to attend on Sundays; simply being away from home in no way removes the need or the obligation to attend Mass, and it’s always fun to see what other parishes might do a little differently than we do it. The Internet has made it very easy to find Masses to attend when away from home, and smart phones make it even easier. Most every parish has a website with their Mass times listed, and the Masstimes.org website and app serves as a central point providing information on parishes all around the world.

To find Holy Rosary, I simply used the “Parishes Close to Me” feature on the MassTimes app and found out that the church was only a ten minute walk from the hotel. Two more button presses, and my phone was guiding me to the parish. It is a good idea to verify with the parish’s website that the Mass times listed in the app are still the Mass times offered at the parish.

When you’re away from Lourdes this summer on vacation or travelling for business, please take the time to find a Mass to attend if you are away on Sunday. We all need Mass just as much when we are away as we do when we are at home… in fact, we might even need it more.

Peace,
Dcn. Richard

From the Desk of Deacon Richard… June 7, 2015

Dear Parish Family,

2009064804In my homily last week, I said that Christ would never leave us, His disciples, alone. He is, as the Scriptures state, with us forever, until the close of the age. One way He is truly with us is His presence Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist.

Today is the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ — Corpus Christi — and on this solemnity we remember in a very special way the institution of the Holy Eucharist by Christ at the Last Supper. This day, traditionally celebrated on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday and one of the ten traditional Holy Days of Obligation but observed on Sunday in the United States and in some other territories around the world, calls to our mind Christ gathering with His apostles in the upper room where, as today’s Gospel recounts, “He took bread, said the blessing, broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take it; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.’”

eucharist

As Catholics, we take very seriously Christ’s words; when Our Lord says of the Eucharist this is My body and, again, this is My blood we do not believe anything other than exactly what Christ told us: The Eucharist is His body and blood.

Recall that Christ had told his disciples previous to this institution of the Holy Eucharist that unless they ate His flesh and drank His blood, they would have no life in them. Many were repulsed by such an idea and left Him; He did not go after them to assure them that He was speaking symbolically. He let them go.

There is no doubt that this can be for some a challenging tenet of the faith, especially in today’s skeptical world where the miraculous is so quickly dismissed out of hand. Still, it is central to our faith. Vatican II calls the Holy Eucharist the source and summit of the Christian Life.

Without Christ present to us, we would be in a sad state indeed. Our Lord is truly present to us Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist, which nourishes us and sustains us and gives us strength for our journey toward Christ.

Peace,
Dcn. Richard

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