Vincentian Reflections2019-02-19T18:29:31+00:00
2311, 2021

November 28- First Sunday of Advent

From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

November 28 – First Sunday of Advent

“May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all…so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father.”  These are Saint Paul’s words to the Thessalonians from our second reading this week.  He is looking toward the final judgment and making clear what is most important in the eyes of the Lord – love for one another leading to growth in holiness.  As we begin the season of Advent, we look forward to both the birth of a tiny child AND that final coming as well.  We enter with a sense of anticipation, but also with a warning in the gospel to stay vigilant – to not become drowsy.  Advent is a season not only of anticipation, but also of preparation.  We prepare our hearts to receive the hope which Christ brings to us.

As Vincentians, our entire ministry is a response to that call to holiness by responding to God’s love for us by loving our neighbors in the same way.  We bow humbly before the Lord recognizing the great gift that He is to us and the hope that He brings to all.  This is a time for us to prepare our hearts and souls.  What changes do I need to make in my life?  How do I reflect the hope of Christ to those who I come into contact with?   How do I lift my soul to the Lord daily?

Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of salvation.  Help me to stay vigilant.  Allow me to walk humbly, serving you at all times.  Help me to abound in love for others so as to be blameless in holiness before God.  Give me the grace to prepare fully in anticipation of the hope which is to come.    We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

Deacon Mike

1611, 2021

November 21- The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

November 21 – The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

As we enter the final week of our liturgical year, I am filled with gratitude for the great gifts God has graced us with – especially our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ –who we are reminded this week has provided all that we need – he is our “Alpha and Omega.”  I am also filled with great gratitude for your prayers for Joyce and I during this time.  Many of you know – and some do not – that I have been diagnosed with kidney cancer.  God has blessed us with identifying the cancer while it is still contained in my right kidney.  The kidney must be removed in the near future.  Once done, our prayer is that the cancer will be gone.  I ask your prayers as we journey over the next several months that God give me the strength, courage, and will to accept this suffering, recognizing that many others go through far worse, and that all of our sufferings combined still are nothing compared to what Jesus took on for us.

The last week in the hospital has given me time to reflect on a couple truths.  First, God is in control.  He gives us everything that we need, and we can do NOTHING without Him.  As medicines and pain took effect on me, I found the words of my prayers slipping away to the point where my only prayer was “God help me.”  My greatest pain was the loss of these words.  My greatest joy was the realization that I did not need them.  Your prayers sustained me, and Jesus provides all that we need.  Even our prayers come first from God and are a gift for us to return.  We sometimes can work so hard to earn our salvation and make the case for our will to God.  We cannot earn anything though, for it is God’s mercy which provides all we need.  Our only focus should be on love for God who is love itself.  Jesus is our “faithful witness” and heavenly advocate.

The second truth is that Christ is present all around us.  I saw Him in the doctors, nurses and aides who cared for me.  I saw Him in my primary care doctor – and friend – who came and spent over an hour with me on his day off.  I saw Him in the housekeeper who cleaned my room with a smile and a “God loves you!”  I saw Him in the food service worker who helped me select my meals.  I saw Him in the pastoral care team who brought me Jesus in the Eucharist – and in their presence – never in a hurry to leave.  I saw Him in my wife, my rock, my advocate, my ‘Mama bear!’  He was all around me, lifting me even when I wasn’t aware.

As Vincentians, we need to be that presence to one another and to those we encounter.  I have felt the love of my Vincentian family which reflects the love of my God.  We need to help others who are hurting to feel God’s love; for His love is all that we need.  How do I focus fully and completely on my love for God which comes from the Source of all love?  How do I help others to do the same?

Lord Jesus, you are all I need – my Alpha and Omega.  I love you Lord.  I turn my life over to you Lord.  God, help me!  Amen

Deacon Mike

911, 2021

November 14- Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

November 14 – Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

At first glance, our readings this week can be quite jarring as they seem to talk about doom and gloom.  They talk about distress, darkness, collapse, and times of tribulation.   These readings though, are actually about hope – the hope of Jesus Christ!  The writers of both Daniel and Mark’s gospel are speaking to a people who have been facing these very challenges.  They speak to us as well, for even today we find ourselves increasingly faced with a society that is hostile to our values and beliefs.  The pandemic has created times of uncertainty financially, emotionally, health wise and spiritually. We do not know what tomorrow is bringing as a nation or individually.  It can be scary!  Especially for those of us who like to be in control.

Mark’s intention though, isn’t to frighten us into submission, but to give us hope and confirm the hope of Jesus Christ.  These readings reveal God’s plan and final purpose for us.  Pain and suffering will not have the last word.  Persecution and hatred will not have the last word. The weak, the vulnerable and the poor – including us – will not be held down! Satan will not have the last word!  We do not know when the end time is, but we do know the way to salvation.  For we know with certainty that Jesus is victorious and has opened the doors of salvation for us.  Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life.”  We are to follow him.  He is made present and evident through us and our actions.  When we follow God’s call and His word through our actions, we help to usher in the second coming.

The vision we hear in our readings involves our participation.  God chose prophets to call people back to just living and the cause of righteousness.  Jesus called the apostles and disciples to go out to announce God’s Kingdom rooted in love; to heal people’s hurts, and to reconcile enemies.  The readings call us to faith, trust in God AND following where God leads us.  Our second reading reinforces that Jesus is our model and salvation – nothing more is needed.  We hear in Daniel, “Those who lead many to justice will shine like the stars forever.”  This is where the readings about the end of time become less about something we hope will be in the far future, and more about the way that we are living our faith now.  We need to lead the many to justice.  We are called to lead others to justice.  We are called to help them see His Presence in our actions, our care for the poor, the struggling, the sick, and all who are dependent on our compassion.  We are called to live our faith, reflecting the love of Christ here and now, that we might shine like the stars.

As Vincentians, people who are struggling, people who are in need, people who are frightened come before us every day. Jesus calls us to make his Truth, his Mercy, and his Hope visible to all.  He comes for us in power and glory to provide us the strength and wisdom if we will but faithfully follow him.  He gives us his angels and saints to guide and defend us.  Do I trust in God’s will, and the victory of Jesus over demonic evils?  Do I let my prayer life form my actions and lead me to compassion and mercy for the poor and struggling?   How do I make the victory of Jesus evident to those I encounter every day?

Saint Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle.  Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil.  May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into Hell Satan and all the evil; spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.  We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

Deacon Mike

211, 2021

November 7- Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

November 7 – Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Jesus is in teaching mode this week, but you can easily miss his primary lesson, especially if you read only the short version of the gospel.  He has been in the temple area preaching since his entry into Jerusalem.  Pay attention to what catches his eye – what impresses him. Many people focus on the widow who put in everything she had and the attention and praise Jesus gives her for doing so.  You may see it as a call for all of us to give more – kind of a fundraising program – but that’s not really his point.

This lesson is about a contrast between scribes and the poor widow (aka the weak and vulnerable).  What caught his eye?  Not the high social standing or religious airs of the scribes.  They caught his ire, for their treatment of others as he noted “they devour the houses of widows.”  Jesus saw what others would have missed, a poorly dressed, sad looking woman with grief written on her face, coming to the Temple. She wasn’t important to others and in fact would have been pushed aside.  But she was rich in faith and had deep roots in trust for the Lord.  What she gave was not just sacrificial, but more importantly, came from the heart.  She gave not just of her material self, but she gave completely of herself in total to God.  Jesus calls us not only to notice the vulnerable, but to become their advocates condemning the actions of those who diminish them.

As Vincentians, we are often confronted with those who have been mistreated and discarded in society. Many are victims of social injustice and an economic system which disadvantages them. We are called to be their advocates, to notice them, and to not let them be discarded.   Despite the obstacles, so often we see great faith and generosity in those who are vulnerable as well.  How many times I have heard it asked, “Why did they gave that money away when it could have helped them?”  And the reply is so simple – because someone else needed it.  We would do well to learn from the poor, – faith and generosity grounded in trust in the Lord.  A faith born out of humility and a deep desire to do the will of God.  How do I call out the systems and practices which work against the poor improving their lives?  Am I swayed by the glamour, power and pretenses of those in positions of influence, or is it the needs of the poor that catches my eye?  How do I look in the right places to become rich in faith?

Lord Jesus, help me to see the injustices of society and help me to work against them.  Help me to see beyond the glitz, glamour and power of some in society to notice those who are hurting.  Grace me with the ability Lord, to see beyond the surface into the hearts of those in need.  Allow me to be a conduit of your love lifting them up that they might feel your warm embrace.  Make me an advocate with others that I might in turn become rich in your love.  We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

Deacon Mike

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