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Get into the ring! How this works...

This is easy! Each week on Thursday I post my homily main focus for preaching this coming Sunday. What I am hoping for is a reaction from people in the pews. Does my "focus" connect with your daily life, faith, and experience? Or not? Either affirm the direction I am going in (by giving me an example from your life) or challenge me, ask for clarification! Questions are the best! Reaction rather than reflection is what I'm looking for here. Don't be afraid, get in the ring. Ole!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

He's Got the Whole World......

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 8:00am and 12:30pm on Sunday

Carved on the Palm of His Hand

I hear the words of Jesus referring to the sheep of the flock as those who can not be "snatched from the Father's hand". It reminds me immediately of that Glory and Praise song, Isaiah 42 "I have carved you on the palm of my hand." I used to love that song on weekend renewals when people would experience the tender care and closeness of God in their lives. Tears always accompanied that song.

If there is a tragic feature to people's spiritual lives today that I notice it is the lack of being held in the palm of God's hand. Everyone seems so vunlerable and frightened, abandoned and on their own, forced to defend and protect themselves, against everyone else, fighting for a limited amount of God's blessings for themeselves.

That is a spiritual sickness in our generation. Very few people seem blessed by the Providence of Almighty God.

On this Good Shepherd Sunday I am praying that all of us might experience the conversion of heart that would reassure us that God has us carved on the palm of His hand, there is no snatching us away from Him. No matter what life brings us, we and God can manage it together.

As a pastor of souls, I would expect that believers would experience this providential, tender care in and through the Church. That was Jesus' idea and intention in establishing the Church. Communion (yes in the Sacrament and in the Church) is "to be safe in the embrace of our loving God".

Are you open to that embrace? Is that security expressed in your life by calm and peace? Can you trust the Church to imperfectly provide that embrace in daily life?

I'd be interested to know why or why not.


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Anonymous said...

Oh Father,

Feeling that providential,tender and loving embrace of God right now, I would like to comment that my whole life I found this in His Church. Like a sweet embrace of God upon my life.

And may I say too Father, as you are Pastor of souls, how beautifully you embrace and fulfill the role of Jesus himself in His idea and intention in establishing the Church. You are a great provider of this awesome gift of God's tender providence.

anon 1 said...

I think I see many witnesses to the truth of this reflection.

I think about the apostles and the earliest believers who gave their lives to developing the Church. We can be sure that so many would only give up their lives – literally – for something they knew to be true, and worth giving their all. Their deaths were witness to the resurrected life of Jesus Christ, and their lives contributed to providing us today with a community and Tradition that has survived over 2000 years of radical struggles of life in the world.

Likewise, I think about people today who suffer tremendous grief and hardship: anything and everything from a horribly tragic loss of most precious loved ones, to living in the poorest of conditions, to being personally ridiculed, persecuted, or even physically harmed. There are many people around the world who are burdened in some extreme way – and yet they do not give up. Why is that? I think these are people who courageously witness to the truth of which the Matador writes here this week. Some may be able to articulate it, others not – but I think these are people who know of God’s embrace. They know that even though they are so heavily burdened, there is something more for which they live. They believe. Some have to bear it without the benefit of the Church; but I see many IN the Church who weekly bring their hardships through the communal doors, make the sign of the cross with the waters of Baptism, join their lives with the others there and place them on the altar. It’s a worthy sacrifice – and God holds them tenderly. And because of that they are able to endure and hold onto some kind of hope.

JoyFuralle said...

I see that your assessment of spiritual sickness and the tragic feature to people's spiritual lives is accurate, right on target. We have been more immersed & formed by the culture than the Church and Jesus. We believe the talk-show Geraldo-Oprah-Phil-Sally- ABC-CBS-MSN and worse catechesis of our time. EVERYBODY has an opinion! It is much easier to believe and see how awful we are, how tragic our lives, the state of this country, etc., instead of how loveable we are, the goodness of God's Care. Not because of ourselves insomuch as because of GOD, WOW . . . we are loved by God and loveable SIMPLY because of Him . . . DOUBLE WOW!!! God loves us because He IS love . . . . once I began to realize this only a smidgen, it’s an incredible and powerful Grace that keeps growing.

I agree with Anon1’s reflection of people who keep on and endure in the face of extreme difficulties & tragedies. Yes! But I don’t know that people reflect on and know of a God who is with them with every heartbeat and who longs to be with us in every joy and sorrow.

Lately, I've had to endure family who love to be around me, they enjoy the joy in me, appreciate how I give my all to the cares of my life, yet have to remind me with sharp criticism of what I could do better, ways I can change for the better. Sigh. If I would not know the Lord intimately, that He is within me, encouraging me, loving me, forming me, I would be a very different person, I would allow my focus to be on people’s criticisms and my shortcomings instead of the Truth that God’s Love and Presence form and shape my life.

Fr. Barron said something that struck me in his video (No. 7) of how as we come to love the Father, Son & Spirit we come to love ourselves more fully. I don’t know that we have learned well enough the basic commandment of Love the Lord your God with all your heart & mind & soul & your neighbor AS YOURSELF.

Can’t wait to hear this homily.

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