Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Walls and Barriers I Have Met

Walls are structures designed to keep something - someone - out or in. Constructed of various materials - steel - wire - wood - concrete - cement blocks - they provide enough structure to contain or repel - various things - people. In our Arizona community each subdivision - neighborhood - surrounded by cinder block walls - six foot tall walls - most solid block - a few - iron fences - allowing a view of the desert terrain. There are many reasons for these walls - protection from desert animals - coyote - bobcats - bears - mountain lions - snakes - scorpions - nosy neighbors. For all intents and purpose - privacy the primary reason - followed secondly - safety from the danger lurking in the many Arizona swimming pools - keeping - especially - young children out. These barriers - although beneficial - a roadblock to creating relationships with neighbors. Those who cannot be seen - difficult - to communicate - build a relationship.


Jesus told us that He came to remove barriers - to tear down walls - especially - between people. Today we have a common problem - barrier - between all people - fear of the unknown - fear of gender - fear of ethnicity - fear of beliefs - fear of cultures - fear of language - fear of whatever exists - on the other side of those walls. One of our wall sections was starting to lean - Homeowners Association to the rescue - removed and rebuilt that section. A new wall - a new - renewed barrier. Lucky for us we already have relationships - with those on the other side - no barrier with them. In Lent the Church asks each of us to look - not outwards - rather inwards - to barriers that exist - between us - Jesus - God. Thankfully - Jesus - always there - hand outstretched - helping us to overcome any barrier we have - with Him - His Father. This week - this day - we pray - Lord - remove any barrier that keeps me from having the best relationship possible with you - Your Son - Amen.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Bible Study

During Lent - one of the options that many people elect - is to join a bible study group. Gathering with people of like minds to study Holy Scripture can be very beneficial - learning what is written - who the author was - the target audience - the culture of the people of that time. On occasion - studying scripture may become very confusing - especially if someone schooled in scripture is not in the group.  Although well intentioned - errors may be introduced into the bible study - misinformation shared - faith disturbed. In these groups - best if a person who knows what they are talking about - leading the group - at least using a proven study guide.


God gives us many tools in order to get to know Him - His Son. Learning words alone - does not guarantee legitimate education. There is also a difference between head knowledge - heart knowledge. Many people trained in scripture study - know only the words - may be able to quote chapter - verse - without fully understanding the real meaning behind the words. To best learn about God - His plan for you - how His Son relates to you - a study of the heart more than that of books. Prayer - one of the best tools in this case - developing a personal relationship - a prayer life - before delving into the written word. Faith inspires education - education fortifies faith.  In all - prayer the best tool to use.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Lent 104 - Rose Day

The Fourth Sunday of Lent - Laetare Sunday - half way through Lent - when the priest and deacon wear rose colored vestments. Laetare from the Latin - to rejoice - a happy marker in this Holy Season. Happy because this season of fasting - discipline - alms giving is half over - half way to the celebration at Easter. Changing from the typical purple/violet color to a more cherrie rose color - reminding everyone that in all seasons of life - you can find joy. As the Second Sunday when the scrutinies are observed - checking with those preparing for baptism at Easter - seeking full reception into the Catholic Christian community. 


Last week - this week - next week - from a long drawn out observance of the baptism liturgy. Reminding all that with the Water of baptism - they experience the Light of Christ - New Life - a new birth into God's family. The real focus of Lent - new life in Christ - not just for those to be baptized - also for all of us already baptized. Reminding us to celebrate the awesome gift received when we officially became children of God. 

Deacon Dale 


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Who Am I - The I of God

Who am I - I am me - you - us - as an individual - I exist as I and I alone. I live my life - I choose how to act - respond. I make decisions - commitments - honor such - fail on occasion. My  intent is to live an honorable - productive life - following the rules - once in awhile - I am unable to follow through  - make mistakes - choose to do wrong. I think - speak - keep quiet - sometimes - periods of silence. No matter what I do - it is I alone who makes that decision. I am not you - you are not I - unless you choose to be the I - then I become the you. In all of this I am an individual - me - myself - I.
God created me - to be an I - an individual. He did not make me to be a copy - an alternate version of myself. As such He loves me just as I am - since He created me to enjoy my personal relationship with Him. I am His creation - I am - I worship - adore - my creator. I draw myself closer to Him - in Lent - I seek - to be found - to become all that I may be. I am I - the I of God.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Holding Hands

Holding hands - parent with child - caregiver with patient - lovers - young and old - just dating - longtime married. Holding hands with another person is possibly one of the easiest ways to say - I care - I love you. I love to see people holding hands with each other - it reminds me that in spite of all the bad stuff in the world - there is always hope - always the chance that somebody cares. 


In Isaiah 41: 13 we read   "For I am the Lord, your God, who grasp your right hand; It is I who say to you, Do not fear, I will help you". Just as our parents held our hands when we were children - just as caregivers offer us their hands in support - just as those close to us - spouse - children - lover - holds our hands in times of need - so to does God. As we slowly work our way through Lent - Jesus - is there - offering you His hand - helping to guide you through this Holy Season.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Partners

According to the dictionary a partner - person who takes part in an undertaking with another or others - especially in a business with shared risks - profits. Selecting a partner takes time - patience - developing a relationship - learning to trust - establishing ground rules - operating under the same ideals - goals. Many business ventures fail due to poorly thought out - created - partnerships. Rushing into a partnership - failing to properly plan - poor communication - sets the stage for failure. Many marriages - relationships - a partnership. Following some basic ground rules - keeps lines of communication open - ensures a long lasting partnership.

When Jesus enters our lives - He offers us a chance to become partners - in our future. How we will live - control - manage our lives - relationship with special others - with God - number one priority. As in all partnerships - failing to plan - planning to fail. All relationships must be well established - thought out - nurtured - in order to survive. The time we invest in our partnership - one of the best investments we can make. Jumping in - both feet - whole heart - becoming one hundred percent involved - the right way to proceed. Even if you have not yet begun to focus your life on Lent - there is still plenty of time. Make a commitment - now - with God. Join His team - Jesus waits - to be your partner. 

Deacon Dale 



Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Taxing Times

It is mid March and high time to get working on the yearly income taxes - a much dreaded task. I know some of you have already received and spent your tax refunds - then there are those - like me - who wait until the end gets close.  I have always done my own personal taxes and as much as I hate doing them - would never think of paying somebody else to do a task that I can do myself.  There are so many good tax preparation programs available these days - should be a simple task for most. It amazes me - the number of people with only a W-2 and claiming the standard deductions - who pay others to do their annual taxes. Perhaps the whole concept scares them - dealing with the government - making an annual recap of income and expenses.  Perhaps one day - tax time will be eliminated - a straight tax - equitable deductions for all - weekly - monthly deductions from paychecks - would bring relief to a very large number of people. Until that time - a task to be completed.
It is not only the annual income tax reporting that creates taxing times for people. Money - a big issue - relationships - with family - friends - neighbors - God - another. So many different issues with which to contend - cope - solve - improve.  Relationship issues - often much greater than money.  How we relate to each other - how we speak - think - act - respond - depends a lot on emotions - versus facts. When overly emotional - excited - angry - communication comes to a halt - progress stops - situation develops. As with all things worth doing - improving our relationships - a top priority. In Lent we seek to work on our relationship with God - His Son - Jesus - The Holy Spirit. We are asked to go to a quiet space - to focus our complete attention on the - Divine. Although difficult for many - a task that is possible - with eyes - ears - open wide - hearts open to the impossible - minds ready to accept the unbelievable. In quiet meditation - contemplation - your relationship with God - need not be - a taxing time.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dancing With The Stars

Dancing With The Stars is a very popular television show - well trained dancers partnering with various celebrities in an effort to win the dance competition. Some celebrities - much more celebrity than dancer.  Some are awesome dancers - others - not so much. Last night Chicago Cubs fans got a peek at former Cubs catcher David Ross as he attempted to convey his 2016 World Series home run hit into a world class score on the dance floor. It will take a few weeks to see how well he sustains last night's performance. For the average guy or gal - dancing with the stars - a real treat.


When God enters your life He takes control - guides you across the dance floor of life. There will always be dips and twirls - slow baby steps - fast tippy toe movements - as you adjust to your new relationship with Him. As you grow and evolve in your relationship with Him - you will quickly learn that His moves are smooth - gentle - helping you constantly along the way. Dancing with God - you have to let Him take the lead - He knows all the best steps - steps to move you from where you are to a better place in life. What better way to observe Lent - than dancing your way into God's heart.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Dinner Date

One of the pleasures of adult life is the - dinner date - taking your special companion out for dinner - just the two of you - together - alone as a couple. The two of you sharing a special time - together - at a favorite - new - restaurant - eating favorite entries - exploring - new menus. Perhaps an evening celebrating a special event - an anniversary - birthday - new job - promotion - date night - away from work - kids - spending needed time alone as a couple. All couples need a time of respite - time away from obligations - rediscovering each other - reconnecting as individuals.


Jesus loves dinner dates - especially when it is just the two of you - Him - you - together - gathered around His table - altar - sharing bread - wine - Mass - celebrating His gift to you - the world - to all who call Him Lord. Unlike other couples - you can meet Him on a daily basis - always there waiting for you.  As we continue in Lent - as we pray - fast - we look forward - in these special days - when we can share His meal - together.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Lent 103

The Third Sunday of Lent - Water Divine - a precious resource - available to all - for free - unless you buy it bottled. Water rains freely from the sky - anyone may collect it - use it - drink it - bathe in it. Our bodies are 50% - 60% water - the rest is all the good things - bones - muscles - fat -brain tissue.  Although seen as insignificant - we cannot live with out water. We can skip meals - avoid food - but we can only last so many hours without water - before serious damage sets in.  Water is the oil - grease in our joints - the liquid that lubricates our eyes - makes tears - aids digestion - controls our inner furnace - fuels the thermostat of our bodies. It is so important - divinely inspired - that we use it constantly in our daily lives.  In our spiritual traditions - water - used to cleanse - baptize - purify - wash away sins - impart blessings - nourish our spirits - souls. 


For the people of God - water gushed forth from rocks in the desert - saved the people fleeing Egypt - washes away impurities - sins - prepares one for prayer - to name a few. Water is an important element in many religious practices. In Lent - specifically the Third Sunday - water points to the baptism of converts to be celebrated on Holy Saturday when they will be baptized at the Easter Vigil Mass. Water - one of three major focuses in Christian baptism.  As we begin our third week of Lent - we who have been baptized - reflect on what our baptism means to us. For those looking forward to baptism at the Easter Vigil - the focus is on hope - a new life in Christ.

Deacon Dale