Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Repentance and the New Evangelization

Psalm 15, our reponse to the first reading, begins with verse 2.  In verse one we would read:
“O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy mountain?”

In verse 2 and 3 we get the response: “He who walks blamelessly and does justice; who thinks the truth in his heart and slanders not with his tongue.”

The Scriptures are continually calling us back to God. Common to human beings, we become distracted and stray. 

As the Gospel reading today tells us, God always calls us back. Jesus’ whole mission was “to seek and to save what was lost.”

In a sense, the New Evangelization isn’t new; it is living out today’s Gospel.  The New Evangelization is different from the Church’s mission to Evangelize.  The New Evangelization is the proclamation of the Gospel to those who have already heard it and have strayed or who have—most commonly and in the words of St. John today “grown lukewarm”.

Christ’s purpose for reaching out to Zaccheus was to invite him back, to allow him the opportunity to repent and to recommit his life to God.

Zacchaeus would then be an example spoken of in Psalm 15, he would then inspire others to live the same faith.

That is how the New Evangelization feeds the Church’s mission to evangelize.

We open our hearts and minds to God’s compassion, receive His forgiveness, renews ourselves with God’s love and recommit ourselves to our faith and relationship with Christ.

Then, we become living examples of the Gospel in everything we do and others, seeing our example, may be drawn to Christ.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Witnessing and Telling: the actions of a Christian

Yesterday’s Gospel presented us with a key component of the Christian life: one of action.  It is not possible to be a Christian without nurturing a relationship with Christ and sharing our faith with others.

This is emphasized today by the patron saint of our parish: John “gives witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ by reporting what he saw.”

We are called to do the same thing.  However, we can’t witness to that we haven’t heard nor tell of things we haven’t seen.

That is why prayer is so important.  It is the opportunity to sit down and to focus of God alone, to communicate with Him.  Not just telling him about our day and our needs, but—most importantly—listening to Him.

In addition, we gather here to be nourished not just by His Word, but by His body and blood in the Eucharist.  The graces we receive here not only nourish us, but also heal us that we may see with the eyes of faith.  That is what allows us to see how Christ is at work in our lives and in our world.  Then, we are able to truly report what we have seen, that others may be encouraged to listen and to look.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Living as Christ

This week we have been challenged by the Scriptures to (in the words of St. Leo the Great) “surrender to Christ”.  The Christian life is a process of conversion of mind and heart, focusing totally on Christ.

In this process, we also continue to do the work of Christ in the world. St. Paul this morning reminds us that we are to help one another in living the Gospel. We do so:

1.      By the example of our own lives
2.      By encouraging others
3.      And when necessary lovingly challenging others.

The Gospel today calls upon us to recognize the opportunities that we will have today to serve Christ himself. This emphasizes the importance of what we do here at this moment as well as our individual daily prayer.

It is through our prayer, our hearing the scriptures, our prayer together as a family of faith and the reception of the Eucharist that our ears are tuned to the voice of the Lord, our eyes opened to see with the eyes of faith.

We are then able to recognize Christ in those we come across and in very simple ways, and perhaps bigger ways, show our love for Christ in our acts of charity and service.

These actions are not to make us feel good (although that may happen) or simply to create order (another possible side effect). They are the minimum expectation of the Christian and an extension of our prayer to God.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

From the Pastor...

Dear Friends,

It has been a very interesting week! 

Monday, even though a holiday, was quite busy in the morning.  In addition to the regular 7:30AM Mass, there was a funeral at 9AM and then the monthly Mass at Bourne Manor.  Please keep in your prayers Joseph Ransom and his family. 

Once a month I go to the Bourne Manor and the Cape Cod Senior Residences to celebrate Mass.  In addition each week there are volunteers from our parish who visit these places to offer the residents a brief prayer service and the opportunity to receive the Eucharist.  It is one of the ways that we reach out to those who cannot join us at the Table.  There are also volunteers who go out throughout the week to those in who are homebound because illness, age or disability.  If you or someone you know is homebound, please call the Parish Office to let us know.  We want to be sure we are taking care of everyone in our family of faith.

Tuesday was “back to work” day.  Like most Tuesdays I was at UMass Dartmouth in the morning and celebrated a noontime Mass at the Law School.  Instead of heading over to Bristol Community College in the afternoon, I stayed at UMD to attend a Roundtable with various faith leaders from Southeastern Massachusetts to discuss substance abuse and addiction.  There is a growing awareness of the issue and an acknowledgement that addiction happens in all families and all communities.  It crosses all of the socio-economic lines and the response needs to include everyone.  Over the past year, I have been in conversation with staff, parishioners and others in regards to the topic and we are looking at some possible ways to be a greater support and resource, not just for the person who is struggling with an addiction, but also for their friends and family so that they may be a source of love and support as well.

We now have the ability to archive and post video from past activities in the Church.  The plan is to post at least the homily on Facebook and the entire Mass on the blog.  I am still learning the technology, so please bear with me.  There have been some questions about the stream going down and sometimes getting broken up.  Occasionally we have found it necessary to reboot some of the equipment to reestablish a link. That usually fixes the issue of the stream being down.  As you may be aware, this part of the Cape gets of a lot of power fluctuations (brown outs, outages, etc.).  Generally, technology does like these fluctuations.  We do have a top of the line lightening suppression system protecting the sound system and the streaming equipment and that helps greatly.

In terms of the broken stream, it isn’t an issue on this end.  Usually it depends on the strength of the signal getting to your computer.  If it is a slow internet connection or a lot of activity on a router, things slow down and it will affect video.

Pray for our Confirmation II Candidates on retreat this weekend as part of their preparation to receive the sacrament this Spring.  We are very proud of our youth and want to be sure we are as supportive as possible.

I will not be here Sunday morning for masses.  Instead, I will be at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River with Bishop da Cunha and other priests of the Diocese for the annual Red Mass.  The Red Mass is a tradition that marks the kick off of the “court year”.  Each year faculty and students from UMass Law at Dartmouth participate.  Let us all pray for those who serve in the legal profession, that they be motivated to work for truth and justice.

Fr. David

Sunday, July 27, 2014

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Solomon is a young man who has just been given a great responsibility: he has been made king.  In the first reading today from 1 Kings we see Solomon true self.  He is truly seeking to be a king who loves and cares for his people.  When asked what we would like from God, he doesn’t ask for anything for his own gain. He asks for an understanding heart. As a result, God praises him for seeking wisdom and not power or riches. His request is the fruit of a heart focused outside of himself. It comes from a place of great humility.

Think of what our world would be like if more people sought to understand than to gain things for themselves. To seek to understand is a humble act because it puts one in the position of admitting that they may not have the answer to a particular situation.  An understanding heart leads one to listen to another and then respond.  An understanding heart is very important for the life of a Christian because while we are in the process of conversion, we are also missionaries of the gospel.  To most effectively share the gospel, we need to listen to others.  What are their concerns, their fears, their source of happiness? What is it that they desire? What is there understanding of the way things are?  This allows the gospel to be shared in a way that is best understood by them.  We don’t change the gospel message, we adapt how it is delivered. 

Throughout the gospels we hear Jesus doing just that.  He uses parables, stories and real life occurrences as a means to introduce a teaching to his followers.  It then encouraged those hearing the teacher to think, to realize the relevance of God’s message to them in their lived experience and helped them to strive for something greater than what they could attain on their own or what the world could offer them.

The parables in today’s Gospel also challenge us to realize just how important what God has to offer us is.  Do we desire the kingdom of heaven? Do we desire God?

Faith tells us that Truth in its fullness is found in God.  It tells us that Love is found in its perfection with God. It tells us that lasting hope and joy come when we live in union with Him.

St. Paul understands that love is a critical characteristic of the Christian.  The one who claims to be a follower of Christ desires and loves God above all else which results in an ever growing love of neighbor.  In addition, the one who loves God is meant not just to be a person that reminds others about Jesus, but is to be “conformed” to Christ, that is to be Christ to others.

A few weeks ago we celebrated that Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.  We celebrated God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, a community of Persons in union as one being, united in a perfect bond of love.  We, made in the image and likeness of God, are meant to live in participation of this divine life.  How do we do that? Love.

Love leads us to look outside of ourselves. It opens our hearts and minds to something greater than ourselves.  Love unites us to God himself and allows us to look upon the world with the eyes of faith, to see how we can put love in service to others.  Through such service, we invite others to experience the same love, to come to know God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit and join us on the journey to that God.