Vincentian Reflections2019-02-19T18:29:31+00:00
1105, 2022

May 15- Fifth Sunday of Easter

From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

May 15 – Fifth Sunday of Easter

Our gospel finds Jesus giving final instructions to the apostles as he prepares for what is to come.  “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified with him!”  The final victory is soon to be won, when there will be “a new heaven and a new earth.”  The Son of Man, our Lord Jesus Christ, earns the victory over sin and death for all of mankind.  It is all His doing – a victory earned not by us, but for us, that we might share in the new hope that is eternal life; if we but believe in him.  St. John’s vision in Revelations paints for us the picture of the new heaven and new earth, where sin and death are overcome.  By the power of His Resurrection, selfishness and sinfulness, pride and greed, hatred and jealousy – indeed all that is contrary to God’s love has been eliminated.

New life, lived side by side with God and all the angels and saints is our destiny in the New Jerusalem.  But ours is not a passive role of simply waiting.  God instills in us an innate desire to seek life with him.  That desire is awakened at our Baptism and fed throughout our lives in a particular way by the Eucharist and the other sacraments.  God looks for our continual transformation, and a receptivity to an on-going adoption of a life lived in harmony with Jesus Christ.  Our life here on earth is preparation for our life in heaven.  He calls us to resistance of the evil which surrounds us and the sinful tendencies we inherited, that we may be made new in the mode that Jesus has given us.

 

“I give you a new commandment:  love one another.  As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”  Jesus’ message is straight forward and to the point!  Love one another!  No equivocation!  No conditions!  Not just love God and love your neighbor – but love as Jesus loved!  No qualifiers!  Just love one another!  At the end of the day this is the greatest need any of us has – to be loved!  God made us for love.  To love Him, to know Him, and to serve Him!  We come to know Him through one another, for we are made in His image and He resides in each of us.  We serve Him by serving one another, as He calls us to do in and through the gospels.  We need to set aside our pride, our anger, our selfishness, our judgements and our fears.  In their place we foster humility, patience, kindness, gentleness, forgiveness and compassion; for these are the places where we find God and His love for us.  When we love in this way,

 

As Vincentians, this is the very essence of who and what we are.  We come to those who we find hurting and in need.  First and foremost we are called to bring them the love of Christ, making His hope for them evident through the spirit we come in.  We look for the presence of God in each person, recognizing that we too have many ‘poverties’ to overcome.  Together, we lift one another up glorifying God by our love for each other.  How do I truly walk in humility, setting aside pride and judgement that I may bring the hope and love of Christ to those whom I encounter?

Lord Jesus Christ, let me love as you have loved!  Let me walk humbly, seeking your face in all I encounter.  Let me embrace those who are in so much pain, so much need, so much uncertainty with the loving embrace of your presence, hope and mercy that they may be lifted into your light!  If it be your will, allow me to be your vessel of love to another in need this day.   We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

 

Deacon Mike

305, 2022

May 8- Fourth Sunday of Easter

From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

May 8 – Fourth Sunday of Easter

 

This week we hear about a voice that is truer and sweeter, more powerful and strong, steadier than any other voice – the voice of the Good Shepherd – the voice of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He is the Good Shepherd.  Our shepherd into eternity!  From our very birth He begins to call to us.  He is our shepherd leading us, teaching us, and protecting us through life.  He calls to us, if we but listen.  He guides us and encourages us.  Most importantly, he walks beside us, leading by his humility and example, and as we are reminded every Easter season, he sacrificed his life that we might live.  As our Psalm says, “we are his people, the sheep of his flock.”

Jesus tells us “My sheep hear my voice…and they follow me.”  We are called to follow in his footsteps boldly proclaiming the Good News as Paul and Barnabas do in our first reading.  He calls each of us to be a light to all we encounter that we might be an instrument of salvation.  The challenges of the past few years have reminded us of our total reliance on our Good Shepherd.   It has humbled us as we have recognized that we are nothing without Him and everything with Him.  We are each called to care for one another, but all we do is because of, and through Jesus the one true shepherd.  The shepherd has ‘our back’ and is always there for each of us.  This is how Jesus leads us.  We are the ministers working for the true Shepherd.  We need to let His voice ring out through the work we do in His name!  Our joy must be our witness to his name!

As Vincentians, we are called to be the presence of Jesus to our neighbors AND ONE ANOTHER.   Patience, compassion and trust in God must be our steadying influences.  As Jesus walks with us, we are called to walk with others listening to their stories and offering them the calm and the hope of our Lord Jesus.  We listen for the guidance of our Shepherd that we might help others find their way in life. We help them to come to know the Good Shepherd and to trust in His will for them.  How do I truly look for His guidance in the decisions I make daily for myself and my neighbors?  How do I bring comfort to those I minister to?  How have I made my ministry even more grounded in prayer as I have been forced to find new pathways?  How do those around me come to see the Good Shepherd through my presence?

Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd in whom I trust.  Help me to overcome my fears during this time.  Let me draw ever closer to you in prayer.  Open my ears that I may hear your will for me in all decisions I make.  Give me the courage to hear and share the truth of your words.  Allow me to submit humbly to all you call me to, and all you ask of me.  Allow me to take the time to seek your wisdom, listening constantly that I may not go astray. Give me the grace to spread your calm and your hope to all I encounter. Give me the courage to now step out in renewed faith, engaging with others that we might bring glory and honor to your name. Make my heart burn with the desire to do your will always.  We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

Deacon Mike

2604, 2022

May 1- Third Sunday of Easter

From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

May 1 – Third Sunday of Easter

Last week we celebrated the overwhelming mercy of our God.  His mercy is poured out for us by the blood and water shed by His son on the cross as he paid the price for our sins.  His mercy continues to be showered upon us even to this day as he gives us his son in the Eucharist to nourish us and his Spirit to guide, strengthen and protect us.  For the apostles who were still in shock from the events of the day, his mercy came in his very presence in their lives.  Last week he appears to them behind locked doors and works to alleviate their fears.  This week, he meets them at the sea shore where he cooks for them and offers another example of his great mercy.

“Peter, do you love me?”  Three times Jesus asks the question.  This parallel’s the three times Peter denied Christ, showing the full and complete measure of His mercy – a mercy that wipes away the sins of the past totally and completely.  Peter says, ‘Yes Lord, you know that I love you.’  Jesus responds “Feed my sheep.”  Jesus shows both his love and mercy to Peter – and to us.  It calls us to focus only on the possibilities of the future.  It is a mercy given without condition other than a desire to receive it.  It is the mercy we are called to show others.  For Jesus continually extends His mercy to us, even when we don’t deserve it.  His only real question to us is “Do you love me?”  If we do, then he asks that we care for one another.  He knows that we will stumble and fall in our journey – just as Peter did – to love him and follow him.  When we do, he patiently waits for us to rise and continue the journey.  Surely if His mercy and forgiveness extends so deeply to those who abandoned him at his time of greatest need and suffering; it extends to us as well.  He does not condemn nor ask for an apology.  He asks only for love – the love which he first gives to us.

 As Jesus came to sit with the apostles at the sea shore and feed them, he comes to sit with us every time we come to the Eucharistic table.  He nourishes us that we might then go out and provide the food of hope to others we encounter.  We are called, as Peter and the others were, to continually ‘feed his sheep’ with forgiveness, mercy, hope and love.  We are to be the very face of Christ to others, for indeed, he reminds us; “what you do for one of the least of these, you do for me.”  He asks us “Do you love me?” and invites us into the mercy that is his love so that we might become that love and mercy to those around us.

As Vincentians, we are called to have the same patience, mercy and love.  Especially when our neighbors in need may stumble, we must redouble our efforts to show our love and care for them.  In so doing, we reflect the light and joy of Christ that they might feel the warm embrace of his unending mercy.  How do I act with patience when things go awry?  How am I compassionate, not condemning, but reaching out even more when I am called to?  How do I humbly seek to lift up those I minister to?

Lord Jesus Christ, who is Mercy Himself, give us eyes and a heart directed toward the poor; help us to recognize you in them – in their thirst, their hunger, their loneliness, and their misfortune.    Enkindle within our Vincentian Family the fire of your love that burned in St. Vincent de Paul as well.  Allow us to be vessels of the food of your hope in the service we give.  Allow us to act with mercy and compassion in all that we do.  Strengthen us, so that faithful to you, we may contemplate you and serve you in the person of the poor, and may one day be united with you and them in your Kingdom.  Amen

 

Deacon Mike

1904, 2022

April 24- Divine Mercy Sunday

From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

April 24 – Divine Mercy Sunday

Alleluia, He is Risen!!  As we enter into the season of Easter we are reminded once again of the mercy of God on this, Divine Mercy Sunday.  It can be hard to see the mercy in a society and world that seems beset by chaos though.  Our doubts and fears can paralyze us as we wonder “where is God?  Why does he allow this?”  Like the disciples who struggled to understand, we can sometimes struggle to see beyond the chaos of our lives.  We are called – particularly in times of struggle – to see beyond our fears and recognize the hope of our Lord Jesus.  Jesus is patient with us as he was with Thomas. He understands our doubts and calms us with His words “Peace be with you!”   He calls us past our doubts even in the face of fear, uncertainty and suffering.  He calls us past the suffering of the cross, out of the tomb, and into new life lived in faith, full of hope, and wrapped in his everlasting love and mercy!

Easter is a season of faith and faith is all about belief.  Belief in something greater than us.  Belief especially in the face of adversity and fear.  Belief when all is darkness and there is no reason to believe!  Belief that leads us out of darkness to hope and joy!   We have faith because we have experienced the Love of God in our lives as individuals and as a people. We have faith because we have felt His Love within us at various times in our lives, usually when we least expect it.  God’s mercy is so extensive that we can never be out of reach for his mercy.  His love, His mercy, His hope never ends! “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting!”  He suffered for us that we might see and believe in him.  He pulls us past our doubts and fears that we might testify to him with our lives.  At Easter, Jesus turns on the lights of hope again!

Jesus longs for us to take a step outside of ourselves and our wants, past our doubts, and recognize our need for His Presence in our lives. He calls us as he did the apostles, to minister to those who are hurting.  He calls us past our fears to stand up and proclaim his love, his mercy, his hope!  He calls us to become one with him in new life as children of God.  He calls us to proclaim the ocean of graces he pours out to those who seek his mercy and inexhaustible love for us.  We have faith because Jesus has given us life.

As Vincentians, we minister to those who are hurting and suffering in life. Especially now, we encounter neighbors who have not faced such concerns in the past. As we minister to them and help them to see the hope of tomorrow, we look to grow in holiness by overcoming our own woundedness, fears and prejudices.  We are the wounds of Christ that they may see His love and goodness through us and rejoice in the hope he brings them.  In the strength of their faith, we are reminded of Christ’s call to us to live in faith even when it is difficult.  Together, we say to one another, “Peace be with you!” and we offer the assurance of Christ’s abiding and enduring love and mercy.   God never quits on us – how do we have the same passion for our neighbors in need?  How I am patient with those I minister to, as Christ is patient with me?  How am I merciful to others as He is to me?  How does their faith and woundedness help me to be strengthened in my faith and trust in God?

Lord Jesus, help me to overcome my doubts and fears, trusting always in your goodness, mercy and love.  Allow me to be the wounds of your cross, which help strengthen the faith and hope of others.  Help me to minister with patience and humility, always helping others to see you in all things.   We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

Deacon Mike

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