Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What is in the way of your relationship with God?

MARK 9: 38-48

SEPTEMBER 27, 2009

I just bought shiny, colorful, new running shoes courtesy of my running club. I can't wait to run in them. They are advertised as shoes that will make me run faster without training! What a deal. I love to run. Each morning I get up very early, like a good monk, and spend time prayerfully with God in solitude and silence. Then I meditate on a little bible passage. After this I get on my running gear and go to meet my friends in our running club.

What if I went to bed at night and felt too tired to get up early for prayer? "Oh, I will sleep in and skip the prayer, so that I will have more energy for running," I might say to myself. Would this be a sin? If sin were just the Ten Commandments, it would be no sin. But the saints see sin as bad habits that keep us from growing in our relationship with God. Such bad habits became known as the Seven Deadly Sins. One of them is sloth or laziness. The others are pride, avarice, envy, anger, lust, and gluttony. With sloth I am either too lazy or too disinterested in prayer to get up early and practice it. Running has become more important.

The Gospel seems to say that I need to cut out running because it is getting in the way of my spiritual growth. Running has become important to me, much like a hand, or foot or eye. Jesus is not saying that we should mangle our bodies, but rather that whatever gets in the way of our relationship to God is usually something we see as essential or necessary.

In the Gospel John believes that everyone ought to belong to John's particular group if they are going to be "true" followers of Jesus. John is what today we might call a "fundamentalist." My group is right and every other religious group that says it follows Jesus is wrong. Jesus challenges this narrow view. Jesus is more inclusive. John's view might be very precious to him. He might have a deep need to be exclusive. So it will be like cutting off a piece of his body for him to give up this way of thinking. What is so valuable to you that you would let it get in your way of attending to your relationship with God?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Whoever receives one child...

MARK 9: 30-37

SEPTEMBER 20, 2009

When twelve men get together to argue about who is the greatest, we call this "trash talking." I belong to a running club, and this is what the guys do. We tell the other persons that we are so much better than them, and sometimes do it humorously. It is a thing guys do, not only in sports, but in business too. "My product or service is better than yours." It is all to boost the ego.

Consider how this would play out if you were suggesting that people sign up or volunteer for some church work, or any list of chores for any organization. For a church, people might be very willing to become an advisor on how the parish should spend its money. That looks like a leadership job. Maybe people would find popular, a chance to say what adult or children's religious studies should be, including picking content and textbooks. But would anyone sign up to clean the kindergarten room after children had gotten sick on the floor or crushed their treats into the carpet? This does not look like an important job. It does not stroke the ego. It won't get much attention.

Jesus brings an unimportant person into the center of the leadership group. A child is an outsider when it comes to "adult" leadership. A child does not have much expertise. Talents are not developed yet. They should be quiet and maybe do menial tasks. They are rather powerless, like Jesus was on the cross. Don't ignore them. Welcome them as Jesus does. Make them important. The last shall be first. Make yourself unimportant. The first shall be last. If you want to be a leader, a follower of Jesus, then do the jobs that don't puff up your ego. Do the things that you think are beneath you. It might be in those tasks that you will most encounter Christ.

I always hated to take out the garbage. I still do. But that is why I need to do it, and do it with a smile. It just might be the way that I will be most like Christ for me. It will shrink my ego and make room for God.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fr. Terry's local schedule

SHJ, Sacred Heart of Jesus, 14th and Mapleton, Boulder, CO

Lyons, Lyons Community Church, 350 Main St., Lyons, CO

Occasionally there's a last minute change in the daily mass and there's no time to notify you, but any changes/additions that can be notified, will be!

Don't forget his WORKSHOP next Saturday (the 26th) at Sacred Heart of Jesus (Jubilee Hall - enter on 14th St.) Coffee & goodies begin at 9am. Talk begins at 9:30 and lasts until noon. Suggested donation is $10.


SUNDAY, Sept. 20 - 10:30 am
12:15 pm - Spirit of Christ, 7400 W. 80th Ave., Arvada (just east of Wadsworth on 80th)

Tues., Sept. 22 - 12:10 pm - SHJ
Wed., Sept. 23 - 8:15 am (school mass) - SHJ
Thur., Sept. 24 - 12:10 pm - SHJ

SATURDAY, Sept. 26 - 5:30 pm - Lyons

SUNDAY, Sept. 27 - 6:00 pm (Life Teen mass) - SHJ

Mon., Sept. 28 - 12:10 pm - SHJ
Tues., Sept. 29 - 12:10 pm - SHJ
Tues., Oct. 6 - 12:10 pm - SHJ
Wed., Oct. 7 - 12:10 pm - SHJ
Thur., Oct. 8 - 12:10 pm - SHJ
Fri., Oct. 9 - 7:00 am - SHJ

SATURDAY, Oct. 10 - 5:30 pm - Lyons

SATURDAY, Oct. 17 - 5:30 pm - Lyons

SUNDAY, Oct. 18 - 7:00 am
8:30 am - Spirit of Christ, Arvada

[Gone to San Francisco for 6 weeks]

SATURDAY, Dec. 5 - 5:30 pm - Lyons

SATURDAY, Dec. 12 - 5:30 pm - Lyons

SATURDAY, Dec. 19 - 5:30 pm - Lyons

THURSDAY, Dec. 24 - 5:30 pm - VIGIL OF CHRISTMAS - Lyons

FRIDAY, Dec. 25 - 7:00 am
8:30 am - CHRISTMAS - Spirit of Christ, Arvada

SATURDAY, Dec. 26 - 5:30 pm - Lyons

SUNDAY, Dec. 27 - 7:30 am - St. Thomas Aquinas, 14th & Aurora, Boulder

Monday, Dec. 28 - 5:10 pm - St. Tom's

THURSDAY, Dec. 31 - 5:10 pm - VIGIL MARY MOTHER OF GOD - Lyons

FRIDAY, Jan. 1, 2010 - 10:00 am - SOLEMNITY OF MARY MOTHER OF GOD - St. Tom's

SATURDAY, Jan. 2 - 5:30 pm - Lyons

SUNDAY, Jan. 3 - 7:30 am and 9:00 am - St. Tom's

Monday, Jan. 4 - 5:10 pm - St. Tom's

Tuesday, Jan. 5 - 5:10 pm - St. Tom's

Wednesday, Jan. 6 - 5:10 pm - St. Tom's

SATURDAY, Jan. 9 - 5:30 pm - Lyons


Saturday, Sept. 26 - 9-noon - Sacred Heart of Jesus, 14th & Mapleton

Saturday, Oct. 10 - 9-noon - St. Thomas Aquinas, 14th & Aurora

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Find silence and solitude

Mark 7:31-37
Jesus is presented with a man who has a speech impediment and was deaf. Sometimes we have a speech impediment. We talk too much. We have a hearing impediment. We listen too little. We may hear just fine, but we aren't really listening. We are thinking about what we want to say in response, or just thinking about something else beside what someone is saying.

Jesus' solution is a very monastic one. He takes the fellow away from the crowd to be just with Jesus. This is a big part of what I do in a monastery. I need solitude and silence, so I might begin to listen to God and not listen to my running commentary in my mind. Jesus touches the man's ears first, and then his tongue. I need to learn to listen before I go around talking.

I need to be open to God, to a world beyond my own head. Ephphatha! "Be opened," is what Jesus says. Take in the divine presence and be quiet about it for a while. Find silence and solitude. It is the first step in being open in ears and tongue.

Do you presume to know God?

Luke 5: 1-11
I sense some whining! Peter is frustrated and tired from working all night with zero catch of fish. No income today for the fishing partners. Jesus is wise and interesting, but he is a bit of a nuisance. Peter has to wait in the boat, a little out from shore while Jesus teaches. Is it a bit like being in church "in a mood" i.e. tired and cranky?

If it were not for his boat, Peter does not seem to have much to offer to Jesus. It is then that Jesus asks for even more! What bad timing this is for Peter. He whines about being at work all night, but then reluctantly, pulls into the deep. Peter is now the least open to anything deep within himself or in the water. The miracle happens. Peter's attitude and demeanor has nothing to do with it. The abundant catch is all Grace.

God's action does not depend on our virtue, or good mood, or faith. We can't manipulate God, though we try at times. The abundant change of fortune for Peter brings him to realize what a cranky person he has been. "I am a sinner." He does not figure himself worthy to be in the company of Jesus. He is right. None of us are worthy in the sense that we earn God's love, or attention.

Peter and his partners realized that God's love did not depend on them. It was free and unconditional. For this they left all the fish on the shore for others to eat, free of charge. So, when you feel that God has abandoned you, or is ignoring your "needs" realize it is just your opinion. Do you presume to know God?