Saturday, September 5, 2020

America The Beautiful

The beginning of September - Labor Day weekend upon us - the corn starting to turn brown - signaling that harvest will soon be upon us.  And in this year of 2020 - the pandemic still very present in our lives.  Face masks - restrictions on gathering in groups - cancelled vacations - students returning to school - the threat of the Corona virus still with us - numbers of those infected still growing - people confused with fake - false news - where do we turn for help?  The President - governors - local authorities - just as clueless as the rest of us.  It is unbelievable in the midst of a pandemic - which has affected the entire world -  conspiracy theories fly around us like a swarm of murder hornets - that it is all political.  It does not matter which party one belongs to - lies flying out of their mouths like bees as seen in so many horror movies.  Concern for others - down the toilet like so much other political waste - where does it end?  The end begins with us - you and me - responsible people who act - not react - act with common sense - study the information published by reliable sources - understand what we read - what the numbers really mean - not what others tell us they mean.  A recent report stated that only 6 percent of those who died recently - only died from the Corona virus. So that means that 94 percent who died in that same time period did not die from the virus - false!  The majority of people who die always die from multiple causes - drunk driving - car accident - was only one factor the cause - no - two causes.  I have seen plenty of people who were drunk or in car accidents who did not die from either - same with diseases that affect multiple parts of the body - a virus that affects the structure of the lungs - lungs that fail to properly absorb oxygen - it is called cause and effect.  Was it lung disease - virus infection - both?  Many people have multiple medical issues who contract the virus and do not die - so what gives?  Different people - different levels of health - no two exactly the same.  The answer - all take precautions to guard yourself - others.

When God created the world - all was good - then evil entered and sickness followed.  As People of God - we have been blessed with all that we need to live productive - helpful lives.  In times of trouble - we are called to be messengers of hope - healing.  The healing begins inside us - spreads to others - as we share faith that we will survive - as will many others.  With common sense - taking reasonable precautions - caring for each other - this pandemic will eventually end.  It takes time - faith in each other - faith in God.  A prayer here and there wouldn't hurt either. 

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

In His Time

When we consider God and what He has in store for each of us - we must remember - In His Time.  This has been a very rough year for everyone,  Even the elite - cannot be guaranteed that they will not be touched by the pandemic that we are experiencing.  It has been two months since my last post.  In that time away from blogging - I have been occupied with - little things.  Mowing the lawn - doing minor repairs - completing small projects that had been set aside for a better time - filling the empty hours - with stuff.  Free time can be a gift - or an enemy - depending on how one uses it.  On the plus side we were able to freshen up our outdoor deck - making it comfortable for ourselves and visitors - the people we normally socialize with and entertain.  That will not happen this year.  So many events cancelled - family reunions - the annual chili cook off - family gatherings - bocce games - all on hold for some future date.  In the midst of all this - time to sit on the deck - to reflect - pray - talk to God.  

Luckily for us - we have been blessed by God with a peaceful view from our deck.  Nice landscaping - a field of corn standing tall reaching upwards to heaven.  Each tassel gently waving in the wind - as if God's angels were saying hello - our flag waving in that breeze - reminding us of the promises to each of us that on this planet we have the right to live and worship as we choose with promises of equality for all - a promise still not quite a reality - one day soon we pray.  We realize that there are those who may not enjoy those promises yet - but through prayer and actively helping those that we can - it will become a truth - not just a dream.  With God - all things are possible - in His Time

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Flesh and Blood

Today around the world - Churches everywhere are celebrating the Feast of Corpus Christi - The Body and Blood of Christ.  In the early Church - even in the time of Jesus Himself - many followers walked away - from Him - His message - His teachings - when He said that He - Jesus of Nazareth - was the Bread come down from Heaven - referencing the Manna - Jews had eaten - lived upon in the desert.  Those followers - not comprehending - understand this statement - elected to distance themselves from Him.  Unfortunately too many people today - including Catholics - do not understand the concept of - the Real Presence in the Eucharist.  This is a confusing concept that many struggle with - the fact that during the words of consecration - the communion bread and wine - become transformed into Christ's Body and Blood - while remaining to look like ordinary communion wafers and everyday wine.  To believe - takes a step of faith - faith in Jesus' own words spoken at the Last Supper with His disciples.  After offering the bread and wine to His Heavenly Father - He said "take and eat - this IS my body and in similar words this IS my blood"  - as people of faith - we believe.

God sent His Son - Jesus - that we might have life and live it to the fullest.  That means enjoying all the benefits that this life gives us - along with the evil that surrounds us.  He never said it would be perfect - with His help - better than many would expect.  To complete the gifts He gives - the gift of Himself in Holy Communion - Eucharist - at every Mass we participate in whether in person - or now online - live streamed.  Jesus is Lord - now and forever.  Amen

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

A Rising Son

Sunday - The Ascension of the Lord - leaving His disciples - going to Heaven - to take His seat at the right hand of his Father.  Like we mere mortals - after spending some time in apprenticeship - we move from student to crafts person - educated in the ways of whatever craft we have selected.  Spending some thirty - three years living among His people - God experiencing humanity through the life of Jesus - better prepared to understand how people - think - feel - tick.  Although God has all knowledge - His gift of Free Will - a variable He could not know - until He became man himself - experienced it for Himself in daily life.  In that time - He listened - reasoned - debated - with the very people He gave life to.  Completing His apprenticeship - His time on Earth completed - time to return to His Father. 

Deacon Don - Father Dan - Deacon Jerry - Deacon Dale at Deacon Jerry's Ordination

So it is and will be with us.  Our lives are short - compared to time itself - each one of us is here - on Earth - living lives as full as we chose to fill them.  Some end their lives - relatively empty - having acquired little while they were alive.  Others - like my good friend - Deacon Jerome Heitschmidt - who died May 15th - left this life completely filled.  Filled with the  experiences he shared with his family - his wife - his friends.  Deacon Jerry was a leader - filled his personal life and the lives of all who knew him with prayer - joy - celebration of all that God gives each of us.  Because of Deacon Jerry - many programs were started - given new life - because of the energy he brought into those programs.  The lives he touched - all better now because he took the time - interest - in others.  Deacon Jerry - now ascended to his heavenly reward - definitely used his gift of Free Will to accept Jesus as his savior - freely choosing ordination to become a deacon - freely electing to serve God's people in Illinois - California - Internationally.   To Deacon Jerry I owe many thank yous for encouraging me to travel to Israel with him which led to a pilgrimage ministry which has flourished over ten years.  It was on pilgrimage to the Holy Land - when we walked in the steps of Jesus - along with our wives and during our private pilgrimage to Poland where we discovered churches in Poland not normally visited when on pilgrimage.  His constant smile - a gift to all - will remain with each of us.  Like Jesus - our brother Deacon Jerry now - rising to heaven to take his place at the altar of the Lord.  Rest in Peace - Good and Faithful Servant - until we meet again.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, May 10, 2020

The Way

In the earliest days of Christianity - before the official Church was established - those who followed Jesus - the earliest disciples - did not identify themselves as Christians.  They were Jews - Jews when Jesus called them by name to follow Him - Jews in their observance of Jewish laws - customs - Jews after the crucifixion.  It was not until later - after Jesus' death - that they were challenged by authorities to define just who they were - Jews or some new cult.  As Christ followers they were still Jews and as such bound by Jewish laws.  In an effort to honor Jesus' words at the Last Supper - they had to find another time - place - where they could - "do this in memory of me".  At first they attended Shabbat - the recognized Jewish time and place of worship of God on Saturday.  Adding the commemoration of the Last Supper - moved onto Sunday - to avoid conflict with existing Jewish law.  For a time - they attended both services - eventually leaving Shabbat - attending only the developing service worshiping God trough Jesus' teachings.  This new worship - still not labeled as Christianity - became known as the - Way.  Initially because of extreme persecution - a new cult - not an established religion - an underground movement.  Those seeking to learn - attend services - under whispered breath - asked how - where - was The Way.

In today's Holy Scripture - Jesus once again - tells His disciples that He is The Way.  Simple enough - hard enough to comprehend - understand fully - just what that meant - still means to us today.  Jesus told His disciples - no one could come to the Father without first coming to Him - The Christ.  Plain and simple - no alternatives.  Many seek Him - not all find Him.  Distracted by worldly concerns - money - material possessions.  For those who seek earnestly - He is there waiting - silently - for them - you - to accept Him as the Lord of your life.  Today would be a good day to do that - say yes to Jesus - make mom proud.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Back To The Future?

So many people - during the Coronavirus pandemic - praying to go back - to the way it was - unhappy with the world right now.  For myself - praying that we do not go back - restart a world that was broken - not working - unfair practices - too much negativity - too many rich - too many poor - too many hungry - struggling to exist.  With so much money in so few hands - wealth most cannot imagine - standing next to personal warehouses filled with all sorts of toys - collections - millions of dollars of things - benefiting no one.  Empty buildings that could house the homeless - people starving while food products go to waste - sitting on shipping docks - rotting.  Human beings deprived of water - not just clean water - no water at all - villages with no electricity - while millions of homes run enough electricity through their meters that could power a village.  I pray that we don't go back to a normal that was broken - did not work.  There must be a better future - for all - as we rebuild our world.
While they were walking on their way to Emmaus - two disciples talking about the Resurrection Event - encounter Jesus - not recognizing Him at first.  As they walked together - their eyes opened - finally - understood everything Jesus had told them.  Jesus disappeared - they turned - back to where they had been.  Sharing the joy - news - new knowledge gained from that short time with Jesus.  From that meeting - a new normal - not going back - rather forward - knowledge gained - guiding future events - benefiting all.  It is true - once you encounter Jesus - you cannot continue to walk the same path - your journey changed - now heading in a new direction.  With faith we walk with Jesus - God at our side - as we move now to a new - better - normal.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Immersion Therapy

When we think of immersion therapy - a psychological technique which allows a patient to overcome fears - phobias - can also be used for anxiety and panic disorders.  Very often when we realize that we have a fear of something - better to immerse ourselves in study - learning all we can about what we  fear.  Once we know our enemy better - the easier it is to fight that enemy.  It is said that knowledge is power - proven to be true over and over again.  More information places additional tools in our storehouse - to help us battle what we fear. 

When we learn that even with a full tool box - many issues - impossible to battle on our own.  That is when we call on God - His Son - Jesus - to help us.  Our first - most important tool - connecting with God.  Once connected we see the various tools at our disposal - relaxed breathing - calming - prayer - meditation - contemplation - compassion - service.  As we learn about these tools - as we immerse ourselves in the knowledge - given by God - study the teachings of Jesus - we become better prepared to cope with life - all that life throws at us.  Immersed in the knowledge - God always with us - we stand armed to fight any battle we may face.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, April 19, 2020

My Lord And My God

It wasn't until doubting Thomas saw Jesus after His Resurrection - placed his fingers in His wounds - exclaimed - My Lord and My God.  According to Scripture this happened a week after His resurrection - after the other disciples had already seen the Risen Lord.  If we count time in a similar vein - this Sunday - the Second Sunday of Easter - the same time - 2000 years later - one week after Easter Sunday.  Very often we do not make the same connection to God - the timeline with Jesus - until we stop and consider what the scriptures are telling us.  It is no wonder then that Saint John Paul II - designated this Sunday - Divine Mercy Sunday.

For many this is a history lesson - to be digested - studied - debated over.  For those of Faith - a very significant day - another day when Jesus revealed Himself to His disciples - today to modern day Christians - a reminder of God's Mercy - Love - Hope.  This Sunday - Divine Mercy Sunday - we praise God that He is truly merciful - a day when our hearts - minds - souls - touch the Divine

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Living in Boldness

In today's reading from Acts 4:13-21 we notice that Peter and John were observed by the Jewish leaders as - living in boldness.  At first sight they assumed that Peter and John were uneducated people - surprised when they heard them talking about the resurrection - the story of Jesus - His life - death - rising from the dead - people being healed in His name.  It is not surprising when we observe those who are famous - athletes - political figures - movie stars - boldness their middle name.  Even when they are clueless about certain issues - freely open their mouths - speak with authority of which they have no knowledge.  

In our case - modern day disciples - those who have made a commitment to serve The Lord - a definite need to be well informed - to speak boldly - to freely share the Gospel with all we meet.  On occasion - peer pressure - judgement by some - we might hold back - shrink from our duty - to do as we have been commanded.  Gathering strength - reminded of our personal commitment - called to ignore those who judge us - to go boldly where none have gone before - reassured  that Jesus - always with us - we go forth - living in boldness - just as Peter and John did,

Deacon Dale 

Friday, April 17, 2020

Building Blocks

Psalm 118:22 - The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone - Jesus - the Christ - The Risen One - rejected by the priests - Sadducees -  would not accept the fact that Jesus had risen from the dead.  The disciples - filled with the Holy Spirit - could not keep quiet about the resurrection - as word grew - these few disciples - sharing their message with hundreds - thousands - grew the Church.  As all buildings have a cornerstone - that first brick - rock - creates the starting point that additional bricks follow.  As in all construction - be it a building - any project - there is always a starting point.  The Church was no different - Jesus - that starting point that led the way for the Christian faith.  

For those of us who call ourselves Christians - as our lives were formed - developed - at some point our spiritual formation was begun.  Most as young children formed by the faith - efforts - of our parents.  As we grew - the point in time finally arrived when we continued the process started for us - growing into mature adult Christians.  Each step of the way - building blocks added - to the point where we are today.  The first stone - laid by parents - the next stones - blocks put in place by relatives - family - friends.  Finally - blocks added by the Church - its ministers - a community which helped form us into  the faithful people that we are today.  An old African saying - it takes a village to raise a child - same for our development as a person of faith - it takes a faith community to raise us to maturity in our beliefs.  As we look back on our development - we see that first stone - laid for us - thousands of years ago - by Jesus.

Deacon Dale