Saturday, February 25, 2012

Visual symbols of Lent - Feb 25, 2012

Lent has many dimensions as it calls us to fast, pray and give alms. One way we express the many dimensions of the Season is through our Church environment. The following is a reflection from our Environment Committee:

Lent is upon us, and guidelines stress the solemnity of the season. That is why we do not ordinarily celebrate the joyful sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, First Eucharist, or Confirmation) or the Sacraments of Service (Matrimony or Holy Orders) during this six-week period. Decorating guidelines also remind us that we are not a department store window to be dressed and adorned, regardless of the season. During Lent even funeral flowers are removed when the Liturgy is concluded. Environment should always point to the Liturgy of the Word proclaimed at the lectern and the Liturgy of the Eucharist celebrated at the altar. This Lent we are attempting to highlight visually one symbol from each of our Sunday readings. Please notice that symbol, listen for it in the readings, and take the image home with you to practice during the week. When the dawn of Easter arrives, hopefully our hearts will burst with grace and reflect the loveliness of the flowers that once more will surround our environment. In ancient times the narthrex, or what we today call the vestibule or gathering space at the main entrance of our church, was a place for penitents and candidates for Baptism to remain until they were able to be fully catechized into the faith. Here at St. Luke’s we use our main entrance as a transition area from the pressures of the outside world into the peace of the spiritual life found in our worship. At various times in the liturgical year (notably Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter) we try to help in this transformation with banners or flowers. As we turn our hearts more fully toward God this Lent, we hope the environment helps check out our cares and sins at the doors as we enter and enable us to go forth back into the world prepared to fast, pray, and give alms with a happy heart.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Our Common Humanity - Feb 19. 2012

Last Friday I went to see The Merchant of Venice at Trinity. What touched me profoundly was the speech given by Shylock where he refers to our common humanity.
“Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”
So often a world seems to be divided by class, race, religion. So often we accent what sets us apart. We find it so easy to stay in our camps. So as we look at our world we see chaos in Greece, turmoil in Syria, a budding nuclear conflict between Israel and Iran, the occupy movement in our country. Maybe our world would be a lot better if we could celebrate our common humanity. This then could be the springboard to work for justice which is the basis of peace.

Fr. Bob Hawkins

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A tension within me - Feb 11, 2012

It’s Tuesday morning and a deadline to get this Pondering finished is looming. In a half hour I will be in church preparing for a funeral. So, as always, I’m preparing. There is always a tension within me when I preach. You would think after 36 years this angst would lessen. Yet, as I think, this doubt and tension is a good thing. It means I am aware of my own limits and the need I have for God’s grace. So as I pray may my words today be God’s words. May my words communicate to someone the compassion and awesomeness of God. The following is a reflection of Karl Rahner on the priesthood. He says things more eloquently than I.

“The priest is not an angel sent from heaven. He is a man chosen from among men, a member of the Church, a Christian. Remaining man and Christian, he begins to speak to you the Word of God. This word is not his own. No, he comes to you because God has told him to proclaim His Word. Perhaps he adulterates it. Perhaps he filters and stammers. Accept him as the messenger of Christ. Let your hearts and minds swell with the grace of God so as to hear in his human words -- in his humbling, miserable, colorless and often repetitious words, – the holy, blessed and powerful Word of God, the Word that brings God Himself and His eternal life into our midst. Pray for him. Carry him so that he may sustain others by bringing to them the majesty of God’s love revealed in Christ Jesus.”
Fr. Bob Hawkins

Saturday, February 04, 2012

A typical day in the life of Jesus - Feb 5, 2012

We have been working our way through the first chapter of Mark’s Gospel these past few weeks. Scholars call this Chapter a typical day in the life of Jesus. Here He teaches with authority, casts out demons, heals many sick people including Peter’s mother-in-law. Then at the end of the Chapter we hear these words: “Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.” Amidst all the activity Jesus felt time to be alone with God. It was from His God that He received the strength to do His ministry. When I think of Jesus I think of this story about St. Anthony.
Fr. Bob
Once the great St. Anthony was relaxing with his disciples outside his hut when a hunter came by. The hunter was surprised and mildly shocked and rebuked Anthony for taking it easy. It was not his idea of what a monk should be doing. But Anthony said, “Bend your bow and shoot an arrow.” And the hunter did so. “Bend it again and shoot another,” said Anthony. And the hunter did, again and again. The hunter finally said, “Abba Anthony, if I keep my bow always stretched, it will break.” “So it is with the monk,” replied Anthony. “If we push ourselves beyond measure we will break; it is right from time to time to relax our efforts.”
Rev. Bill Bausch, in A World of Stories for Preachers and Teacher

Gather, share the faith, and build community - Jan 29, 2012

One of the benefits of our two days of evangelization is that many good ideas have surfaced. One of them was to sponsor simple soup suppers in Lent. This would provide a way for people to gather, share their faith, and build community. So on the March Mondays in Lent (March 5, 12, 19, 26) we are inviting people to the Novena prayers at 5:30 p.m., followed by Mass at 5:45, and a simple supper at 6:15. On a few occasions we might invite a guest speaker. As you know, we had our mission back in October when Father Jeremy Rodrigues came to discuss the new translation of the Mass. This will be another way to deepen our faith during the Lenten season. Look for more details as Lent draws near.
Fr. Bob