Sunday, March 31, 2019

A Blind Eye

During this period of Lent - The Church makes special use of the Third - Fourth - Fifth Sundays of Lent - particularly when it is blessed with those seeking Baptism - Confirmation - Holy Eucharist.  Although we are currently sharing the Scriptures from Cycle C of the Liturgical Year - those parishes with Catechumens - now called the Elect - have the option to use the scriptures from Liturgical Cycle A on these three specific Sundays.  In order - the Scriptures focus the attention of the Elect on the Rite of Baptism - Living Water - Light that opens the eyes - New Life - offered to all who claim Jesus as the Lord of their lives.  Lent has been designed as the Final Retreat for those seeking to enter into full communion with the Holy Catholic Church to be celebrated at the Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday.  Those of us - already full members of the Church - travel along with the Elect - supporting them in their quest with our prayers - they in turn - supporting us with their exuberance - excitement - at the Gift they will soon receive. 

It makes no difference if this Sunday you hear the Gospel proclaimed by the deacon - sharing the story of the Man born Blind - or alternately the popular Prodigal Son.  With our hearing the words effectively spoken - each of us acknowledges the blindness in our own lives - the times we failed to see - failed to act in humility - asked for more than was due us - charging ahead following our own plans - ignoring the plans laid before us by God.  Thankfully - Jesus waits for each of us - giving us time to wipe the fog from our eyes - dropping our heads in humility - acknowledging our failing - weakness - as we return - back to the embrace of our Heavenly Father. In Lent - we thank God for His Divine Mercy and praise Him for His patience with us.  With God - there is always time.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Bearing Fruit

Fruit - in botanical terms - the seed bearing structure in flowering plants formed from the ovary after flowering.  Most people hearing the word fruit - think of apples - oranges - grapes - berries - easily harvested from various plants.  Less often - the product of any concentrated effort - the fruit of hard labor - the outcome of concentrated effort.  Before fruit of any kind can be harvested - much work - effort must be invested.  Soil needs to be tilled - seeds - planted - nurtured with nutrients - water from above - sweat from the brow - warmth from the sun - no one ingredient more important than the other.  After many long hours - results finally seen.  In time - all bear fruit.

In today's Gospel - the story of the fig plant - barren - not producing any fruit.  The impatient owner suggesting to dig up - remove the plant - to stop putting additional effort in an attempt to harvest fruit.  The gardener - refusing to comply - willing to invest more time - energy into the plant - wisely knowing that all will eventually produce if given enough time.  So often we see the same situation with people - people who appear to be going no where - taking up space - non productive members of society.  God knows differently - even with the worst - willing to give each of us all the time we need - to grow - to learn - to blossom into the gifts that we can be.  Each of us is a promise - a possibility - to untold greatness - in small - grand ways.  In this season of Lent - we seek that which will nurture us - prayer - fasting - giving to others.  There is still plenty of time this Lent to bear fruit in your life - for yourself - for others.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Building Bridges & Tents

The Second Sunday of Lent and most are attempting to have a meaningful Lenten experience.  Praying more - fasting - making sacrifices - giving alms - basically doing the right thing.  Most are doing this - not all.  For some - no interest in participating in any sort of spiritual exercise - others - too many other issues they are coping with - more important at the moment.  None of us has the right answer - all doing the best we can - at the moment to face our individual lives - praying - hoping that we are on the correct path.  

Mount Tabor - Church of the Transfiguration

God calls each of us - to discipleship - to be aware of His presence - in our daily lives - the things we experience - see - hear - observe.  When Jesus' disciples saw Him standing with Moses and Elijah they had no idea what they were seeing.  Peter wanted to erect tents - one for each of them - his immediate reaction to what had been observed.  There is no mention what John and James wanted to do - caught up in the moment - processing in their minds what they had seen.  Just like them - all of us - standing at their sides - in the beginning of the Second week of Lent - sorting out what we need to do - how to accomplish what we are suppose to do.  With Jesus at our sides - not to worry - in His time - we will figure this all out.  In the meantime - eat less - drink less - give alms - pray like there is no tomorrow - build bridges with others - if you have time - erect a tent.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

In The Beginning

In the beginning - God created man - male and female He created them - to dominate and rule the World.  All was good - for a time - then - things changed.  Utilizing the Gift of Free Will - man began to think - that is when things started to change.  Men and women thought - communicated - developed ideas - most good - some not so.  Over time wrong thinking invaded God's World - clashed with the good - created tension.  Tension as such can be good when utilized to create - develop - advance society.  Tension between individuals - the opposite effect.  

Because of the development of society - how people interact - mankind allowed itself to drift away from God's Plan.  Rather than seek what God intended - people started overly focusing on what they wanted - whether good or bad.  In the course of time as religion became formalized - as moral codes developed - the need to pause and examine one's life - what they were doing - where they were headed - how they had fallen short of life's goals - drifted towards the selfish side  - the need for Lent became obvious.  Thus - today - we observe the First Sunday of Lent - the first of many Sundays and an entire forty day period to do a self examination - to help each of us to get back on course - to guide our lives in the proper direction - to make our life meaningful and of value to the world in which we live.  With Jesus - the God who walked this Earth - it is a task that can be undertaken with joy and peace.  May your personal Lenten experience be one filled with a multitude of blessings.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Smudges & Smears

When working with different media many artists intentionally allow smudges and smears to enter into their work - others go to extremes to avoid anything that looks like a smudge or smear in  their works.  Through their efforts - the artist is seeking to convey a message to the observer - tell a story - share an emotion.  The final product accomplishes this otherwise the efforts was in vain.

Most clergy are not artists - on Ash Wednesday - as seen above by @BillDonaghy - the ashes imposed on the foreheads of the faithful take many various forms.  As an artistic effort - most clergy fail - their goal not an artistic feat - rather an act of love - imposing ash from the previous years palms used on Palm Sunday - to bring the faithful closer to their faith - their belief in the death and resurrection - their own sins - their opportunity to look deeper inside to what they need to do in order to worthily celebrate Jesus' resurrection on Easter Sunday.  As we enter Lent - we pray for ourselves - each other - that Jesus will truely be the Lord of our lives.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Pancake Day - Pączkis Day - Fastnacht Day

Pancake Day - Shrove Tuesday - Mardi Gras - Karnival - Fat Tuesday - all the same observance on the Tuesday immediately preceding Ash Wednesday - by Christians everywhere - in particular Anglicans - Lutherans - Methodists - Roman Catholics.  This observance in current times no longer limited to people of these groups - Christians of numerous denominations everywhere now - officially - unofficially - preparing themselves for the beginning of Lent - eventually Easter.  Today is celebrated as the last day when one may indulge in excesses - food - drink - partying - as they embrace the solemn days of Lent.  In England the custom of eating pancakes - in Germany fasnachts - in Poland pączkis - in the USA  - almost any pastry depending on your cultural heritage.  Parties are common with fun and fellowship.

On this day - wherever one may be - time should be spent with family and friends - celebrating all that God has blessed us with - rejoicing in the lives we live - preparing ourselves through prayer - fasting - giving to others - for the days of Lent when we look inside to see who and what we are - who and what we should be - in God's eyes.

Deacon Dale