Sunday, October 20, 2019

Seeking Faith

It is not surprising when so many people seem to have so much - money - friends - technology - that many feel that they have a large void in their life that needs filling.  Most try to fill that void with the obvious - sports - hiding at work - out side interests - drugs - none filling that void they way they hope.  Finding it difficult to fill that void some turn to things that will only lead to further disappointment.  A few turn their sight heavenward - seeking God in an attempt to see if He can fill that void. 

Many people have found that what they thought was so difficult a task was in reality an easy one.  God is always there - waiting - sending His Holy Spirit upon all.  Not everyone will respond - to those who do - untold peace - joy -  a void perfectly filled.  Seeking faith - not always easy - once done - always rewarding.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Clean Mind Clean Body - Take Your Pick?

Many years ago there was a joke going around - "clean mind - clean body - take your pick" - the implication that either your thoughts - speech  could be nice and your body would be vile - nasty or just the opposite.  The reality - you can have both - it is not an either - or - option.  In today's scripture the focus seems to be almost completely on a clean body - that is being cleansed from leprosy - either by bathing in water or through the words of Jesus.  Leprosy was a disease without a cure in the time of Jesus - a disease which could be easily passed from one person to another - thus the need to separate those afflicted with the disease from the remaining community.  It was feared so much that an infected person - when out walking - had to shout "unclean unclean" to warn anyone nearby to pass on the other side - to avoid contamination. Although disease ridden - one could still be a very faithful person - unfortunately cursed by separation from others.  That meant no contact with family - friends - anyone - condemned to isolation from loved ones - unable to earn a living - dependent on the generosity of others.

Today people in the same situation no longer condemned to isolation. Now with better healthcare and information - the need to be isolated no longer necessary.  Today the issue is not coping with a skin - body issue - rather the mistaken idea that one has to be clean - physically - morally - spiritually - before God will welcome you into His home.  The truth is that God - Jesus welcomes you - just as you are - just where you are.  You do not have to wash your face - clean your mind - or anything.  All one needs is to be open and approach Jesus with an expectant heart.  Clean - dirty - Jesus stands there - arms outstretched - waiting for you to come to Him.  Once you ask Jesus into your heart - you will be changed - your life will change - anything that needs improving will get better.  Clean mind - clean body - you will have both.  Jesus stands waiting...

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Flame Throwers

A flamethrower is a mechanical incendiary device designed to project a long, controllable stream of fire. First deployed by the Greeks in the 1st century AD, flamethrowers saw use in modern times during World War I, and more widely in World War II.  Those who use flamethrowers are also sometimes referred to as flamethrowers.  Normally a flamethrower is used as a weapon - to either consume a target by aiming the stream of flammable propellant at an object or person - other times used as a defensive weapon to start a controlled fire of flammable objects such as buildings as in warfare - other times when fighting large fires in open areas - to burn a defense line to contain an otherwise out of control forest or brush fire.  Flamethrowers may be considered evil or good depending on their use.  

In today's Scriptures we were told "I remind you, to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands" - to freely share the fire of faith that one receives when they were prayed over and were baptized in the Holy Spirit. A reminder to all of the baptized that your baptism was not a gift from God for only your personal use - rather a gift to be freely shared amongst the people at large.  Jesus urges each of us to become flamethrowers of His Holy Spirit - to use the power of God living inside of each of us - to spread His message of love - forgiveness - acceptance - healing.  Each is called to become a flamethrower.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Leaping Lizards

Walking any path - unobstructed - straight - smooth - easy for most everyone.  Walking a path that crosses a body of water - an open space below - also - easy as long as there is a bridge.  Walking a path that goes from one region over a giant chasm - impossible - unless a giant bridge exists - to allow the journey to continue. Quite often when the open space in the path is small enough - one may leap over - to the other side to safely continue onwards.  Too often - large spaces - too large for leaping lizards - even the most athletically gifted to attempt - a total barrier.  Perhaps one - like the Famous Evil Kenieval - might attempt the crossing on a motorcycle or other vehicle to propel themselves across.  For the majority - time to turn around - go back - attempt failed.

In today's Gospel we heard about the rich man - tormented in Hell - begging Father Abraham to allow poor suffering Lazarus to cross the chasm that separated them - for help.  Unfortunately - his fate sealed by his own selfish actions while alive - Lazarus being rewarded with the gifts of eternal life in Heaven - because he suffered quietly at the rich man's door.  A pointed reminder that how we live our own life will determine if we end up in Heaven or Hell.  For all of us - difficult - so easy to sin - easy to leave others out - to speak an unkind word - to close the door when it should have been opened - to spend a few minutes with the lonely - sick - homebound.  For those of faith - we trust in Jesus - through His Cross - the bridge that enables us to walk over those times - spaces - in our lives when we were not as good as we should have been.  The Wood of His Cross - the Forgiveness that He offers each of us - the Bridge to bring us from wrong to right - from selfishness to sharing the Gift of Faith that we received freely - to share with others among us. For God all things are possible - for all - a leap of faith.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Root Of All Evil

If I asked you what is the root of all evil - most would say - money.  That would be incorrect.  The root of all evil is the excessive love of anything - money - sports - study - food - gaming - music - art - knowledge.  Anything that is done to an excessive level - anything that takes our attention away from - God - is evil. Evil in the sense that we have allowed ourselves to become obsessed with - things. 

Being focused one hundred percent and more on anything is not good.  Even obsessive attention to God - would not be good - in the sense that in order to live life as intended by Our Creator - we must live life to the fullest.  Our priorities must be in correct order - first God - second our spouse and children - third family - fourth our occupation - fifth the church - and beyond that all the other areas of our lives.  We cannot allow ourselves to become so obsessed with - things - that we fail to pay attention to the others. Focussing obsessively on money - work - sports - takes our attention away from other things in our life.  How many people who are workaholics - moan the loss of their marriage - relationship with children - all because the focused all their energy on work?  How many people who were always at church - attending meetings - worshiping constantly - destroyed the relationship with spouse and children because they were never home?  The key to the wealth laid before us by God is balance.  Balancing all the things in our lives - keeping our priorities in correct order - so that none is ignored - that none becomes the only focus of our lives.  Jesus - God loves all the love and attention they can get - not at the expense in the others gifts He has given you. 

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Clean Sweep

A clean sweep in any contest refers to a complete - overwhelming victory.  Doing one's best - going far beyond the expected - winning against all odds - proving to the naysayers that victory is possible.  Clean sweeps are claimed often by sport teams - people running for election - anyone going against the odds.  In some situations - a strong dominant team - person expected to win - hands down.  In others where the competition is not dominated by anyone - clean sweep a sweet victory.

In today's Gospel we hear of the woman with ten coins who lost one - searched diligently - sweeping the floor - until she found it - rejoiced with others over her good fortune.  Also the shepherd who noticed one sheep missing from the flock - desperate to locate the one who was lost - eventually bringing it back to join the flock.  As we celebrated Holy Mass this weekend - our pastor - the leader of our flock - shared a story via an interview with one who had been wandering lost for years - now brought into the flock of believers.  His story as one on the outside - apart from the community of believers - having been invited numerous times to join the flock - finally - through circumstances beyond his control - forced to contemplate his relationship with God - finding in that time - all that had been missing in his life.  Now a member of the community enjoying all the benefits of Christian unity - a clean sweep in his life.  God calls each of us - Jesus - stands at the door of our heart - knocking (Rev 3:20)  - patiently waiting to be invited in.  In time - all will experience the joy of Christian fellowship - the biggest clean sweep - in anyone's life.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Celebrating Life

Life is definitely worth living - living to the fullest - enjoying all that the world has to offer - all that nature offers - all that God offers.  In today's Gospel - it appears that Jesus is telling us to abandon all that we have - even ourselves - in order to follow Him - to become His disciple.  In typical Jewish tradition - what you hear - what is spoken - has to be clearly understood - to get at the real meaning.  Some might call it double speak - saying the opposite of what you mean - answering a question with a question - using misdirection to get others to focus on the real subject at hand. In writing - a literary tool - in speech -  like in magic illusions - making people think outside the box - going deeper - looking at what is not clearly seen.

To die to ourselves - to forget about others - is not dying - not forgetting - rather redirecting our attention - first to what is truly important - our relationship with Jesus - with God.  Once we have refocused on God - we will see that following Jesus as His Disciple - our attention has to be focused on others - their well being - their comfort - helping them before we help ourselves. Our needs can wait - be put on hold - while we help others to see value in their own lives - to bring them closer to God - to appreciate every day of their life.  All too often we only celebrate life after someone has died - the reality - we need to celebrate all lives - everyday - while they - we - are living. 

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Getting High

Nobody likes feeling low - down - depressed - unhappy.  In a similar vein nobody enjoys being the last to be picked for the team - the last in line - the final one to be served. Being last almost always creates a feeling of unworthiness - being less than than you would like.  Everyone appreciates being lifted up - made to feel better - important - recognized - sitting in the place of honor.

In today's Gospel that is exactly what Jesus was talking about - humble yourself and take a less significant place at the table with the possibility that you may be called forward - to join others at the head table - being recognized as special.  It is not only the host at a dinner or party that has this responsibility - this is something that falls on each of us.  As we go though our day - each of us is asked to notice those who have been left behind - ignored - cast to the side. Not only notice them - also to do whatever is in our power to help raise them up - to elevate their spirit - to welcome them - to raise them up to a higher place.  In doing so we not only raise that individual up - but ourselves also as one who appreciates the value of others.  To get high - raise others up - just as Christ was raised by God His Father - we too - through our acts of kindness - can also - get high.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Heaven's Gate

In today's Gospel Jesus instructs us to strive to enter by the narrow gate - not an easy task for most.  His reference to the different sized gates surrounding the city.  During daytime the large gate - suitable for both people as well as pack animals - camels loaded with large baskets - open to all - closed at night for security.  Once closed only the very small gates - passages - available for passage - people only - no baggage - no goods.  To get into the city one can only enter with the clothes on their back.  

When it comes to any of us entering the gates of heaven - very similar - we enter as we are mostly naked - no possessions - nothing extra.  That includes the excess baggage we all carry with us - sins - guilt - fears - doubts - anxiety - unbelief.  To enter heaven freely - one has to trust in the Lord - give up everything and enter just as one was born - naked - trusting completely in the Mercy of God - trusting that He will heal - forgive - accept us - just as we are.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Fire In The Hole

This Sunday we heard about Jeremiah being thrown in a cistern that was full of mud - no water - bad design - bad plan - king couldn't stand the heat Jeremiah was putting on him to treat his subjects properly as God demanded - Jeremiah on fire to move the king to action.  In the Gospel Jesus says He has come to set the world on fire - to get people motivated to follow His Father's plan.  Both the heat from Jeremiah and the fire from Jesus - not literal - rather a metaphor - seeking to stimulate people into action.

In Jeremiah's case - thrown in a hole - into a cistern .  With Jesus - attempting to kindle people from complacency to action.  The fire in the hole - the fire on Earth - all actions of the Holy Spirit.  The goal of these scriptures in the Liturgy today - to stir the fire of the Holy Spirit - in all of us to become active disciples of Jesus.  To move ourselves from a place of comfort to a place of discipleship - where we go out and share  the Good News with all we meet. God calls all of - to spread His fire that is inside us.

Deacon Dale