Fr. Kevin’s Column 6/13/21

Dear friends of God,

This weekend we celebrate the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time. We are back to the “ordinary” of Ordinary Time. We call this time “ordinary” time not because it is boring and unimportant. The name simply comes from the fact that the weeks are counted. Ordinary comes from the word ordinal which means number. After the fifty-day feast of Easter, we celebrated two Sundays that were solemnities or feast days of the Church. These were our feast day of Holy Trinity and this last week we celebrated the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ or Corpus Christi. I was speaking to a woman from our community last weekend who said that as a parish when you were discerning names for our parish, she had suggested the name Corpus Christi. Even though I love our name Holy Trinity, I connect deeply with the understanding that as a parish and as baptized people we are invited into the life of the Holy Trinity to become a community of love. I also have a deep appreciation for Corpus Christi. We are fed by the Word of God and nourished by the Body and Blood of the Lord to become the Body of Christ for the life of the world. Just as we celebrate the body of Christ broken for us and his blood outpoured for us, we are called to share the unity of Christ even amidst our fragmented world. Either name would serve as a reminder that God is continually making us his own out of love for each one of us and the community that he has called us to be in this time and place.

It is difficult to believe that I just celebrated 20 years as a priest for our Church of Saginaw. June 10th was a particularly hot Sunday afternoon at St. Mary Cathedral. That was before the renovation of the Cathedral and the use of air conditioning in the church. Surrounded by my family and friends, as well as brother priests and people from around the diocese, Bishop Ken Untener ordained me for priestly service. I am an emotional person and I cried for much of the Mass. They were definitely tears of joy. That day continues to inspire me in my call to ministry.

In these years of ministry, I have served across the diocese but I have primarily been assigned to the west side of the diocese with three different assignments in Midland, once as an associate pastor and twice as pastor. My first assignment as a pastor was in Gratiot County in Alma and St. Louis. The parishes were the Church of St. Mary and Mt. St. Joseph. I also served as a pastor of the school in Alma. It is always a special gift to pastor a Catholic school. I am fortunate to serve here in Pinconning with our own marvelous school. In Gratiot County, I also had the opportunity to minister at Alma College as well as the state prisons in St. Louis. I learned so much in those six years from all the experiences that I was graced to have as a younger pastor. Bishop Ken told me before he died that there was sometime particularly important about a priest’s first assignment as pastor, and that those experiences would continue to affect the priest for all of his years of ministry. I have found this to be true in my own life.

The beautiful gift of any ministry and this is certainly true of parish pastoral ministry, is that I continue to encounter opportunities for growth. Each parish has taught me something important about what it means to be a priest, a Catholic Christian and as a human being. Any call to ministry flows from our baptism into the life of Jesus Christ, and Jesus is always present to us in the gift of the Holy Spirit. In a real way, Jesus is the teacher within each of us calling us to be his students and to take up our own crosses and follow him. Thank you for the gift of following Jesus with each of you as Holy Trinity Parish.
 
Much Love,
Fr. Kevin


Fr. Kevin’s Column 6/6/21

Dear friends of God,

This weekend we celebrate Corpus Christi Sunday, which is also called the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle is believed by some to have said, “we are what we repeatedly do.” The funny thing is that he never actually said it, but that wisdom is found in different ways in his writings, but never in those exact words. That happens to many historical people. Words they did not actually say are frequently attributed to them. We might have heard that George Washington said, “I cannot tell a lie.” If you were told that our first president said that, you were told a lie. Words have power and some were even spoken. This is why coming to Eucharist every week is essential to our discipleship: we believe the true words that Jesus spoke.

We come together weekly because of words that Jesus spoke two thousand years ago before his death and resurrection: “Do this in memory of me.” The oldest words of the Eucharist that we have come from St. Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians:

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.” (1 Cor 11:23-26)

As Catholic Christians, we take Jesus command to do this in memory of me seriously because we understand that Jesus has given us his Word and his Body and Blood to be consumed to nourish us on our own journeys into the freedom that comes in serving God and our neighbor. God has not given us the Eucharist as a prize for being good but as medicine for our sinful struggles and failings in neglecting God and our neighbor. None of us is worthy to receive the Eucharist, but we all need the Body and Blood of the Lord to heal our sin sick souls.  We cannot stand in judgment towards anyone coming in humility to the Table of the Lord. If we are judging others, we really block ourselves from understanding the gift that comes to us in the Eucharist.

The Eucharist is not a weapon but a gift of love. Pope Francis stated this clearly in his Apostolic Exhortation known as the Joy of the Gospel Evangelii Gaudium, the Eucharist is “not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak” (#47). The Eucharist is not a prize but pure gift. It is the gift that empowers us to become people of compassion and love for our neighbor and for all of creation. Through it, we become wounded healers.

The Church teaches that the Eucharist is the source and of summit of our spiritual lives as Catholic Christians. Pope Francis said this last year on this The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ:

The Eucharist brings us the Father’s faithful love, which heals our sense of being orphans. It gives us Jesus’ love, which transformed a tomb from an end to a beginning, and in the same way can transform our lives. It fills our hearts with the consoling love of the Holy Spirit, who never leaves us alone and always heals our wounds, ….

Every time we receive him, he reminds us that we are precious, that we are guests he has invited to his banquet, friends with whom he wants to dine. And not only because he is generous, but because he is truly in love with us. He sees and loves the beauty and goodness that we are…
 
I thank God for the call to serve our community and to preside at the Eucharist that we share together in our lovely
community of faith that we call Holy Trinity. 
 
Much Love,
Fr. Kevin


Fr. Kevin’s Column 05/30/2021

Dear friends of God,

Happy feast day! I have repeatedly said that I am glad that we as a parish community chose the name Holy Trinity for our parish community. The Holy Trinity is a community of love with the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Coming from three parishes and over time merging into one parish community has its challenges, hurts, and frustrations. It might seem like purgatory going through this process, but is has the potential for an amazing catharsis. That is, a release from so many different emotions that gives us the energy to create something new out of the giftedness of these three different faith communities: three that are now one. It is a reminder that God is always One even when we think of God in terms of the Trinity. Imagine what we might be able to accomplish for God’s Reign as the community of love that God has called us to be as his disciples, his students, in our time and place.

 

There is hope in our call but there is also a biting challenge. We are to act with the love that we desire to receive from God. We are to embody the love that God embodied in his son, Jesus Christ. Love that is living in such a way that the fruits of the spirit will continue to bear a bountiful harvest for the life of the world. St. Paul reminds us what the fruits of the spirit are in Galatians 5:22-23: “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

 

To say it another way: we are to incarnate the words of the Lord’s Prayer. St. Benedict wrote of our hearts being pierced. Just as Jesus shared his wounds with his disciples. We are meant to share the love wounds of our hearts for the life of the world.

Our Father, Who art in Heaven.
hallowed be Thy name; Thy
Kingdom come, Thy will be done on
earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this
day our daily bread; and forgive us
our trespasses as we forgive those
who trespass against us; and lead us
not into temptation, but deliver us
from evil. Amen.

 

We are judged by the world not by our words or our theology or partisan bickering but by the way that we love. Recently I came across the following quote and it is spot on, but I can’t seem to find the source. This doesn’t take away from the truth that it shares. “This is criterion by which the Church is to be judged, not by the forms of its doctrine or ritual, but by the reality of the reality of the love which it manifests.” We are to be seen as people of love in both word and deed. Our actions need to reflect the God of love and the community of love that we have been created to be as Holy Trinity Parish.

 

God knows that we struggle in love, and God doesn’t abandon us in the mystery of love that is God. God continually invites us to enter into the love that is the Holy Trinity. Franciscan Richard Rohr put it this way:

 

The Mystery of God as Trinity invites us into full participation with God—a flow, a relationship, a waterwheel of always outpouring love. God is a verb much more than a noun. Some Christian mystics taught that all of creation is being taken back into this flow of eternal life, almost as if we are a “Fourth Person” of the Trinity, or as Jesus put it, “so that where I am you also may be” (John 14:3).

 

We are to be where Jesus is: in the life of the Holy Trinity. In that community of love with whom all things are possible.

Again, happy feast day!
 
Much love,

Fr. Kevin



Fr. Kevin’s Column 5/16/2021

Dear friends of God,

We hear the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles this weekend. The book of Acts was written to someone named Theophilus. I find that name intriguing. In Greek it means “lover of God.” That book was written for each of us in our own desire to “…love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)

 

This week we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. Most of us will remember Ascension Thursday, though now we celebrate it on the Sunday before Pentecost. Bishop Ken Untener spoke of the Ascension “…as more than a footnote.” Unfortunately, many of us don’t even think of it as a footnote. We likely don’t think of this feast and what it represents at all. Collectively, as Catholic Christians, we need to regain our heritage and the depth of meaning that we are called to live as students of Jesus.

 

Sister Mary M. McGlone wrote the following last year on the Feast of the Ascension.

Rarely is something as simple as it seems. After Jesus invited Thomas to touch his wounds, all the disciples had become bona fide Christians, right? Not quite.

 

With the feast of the Ascension (formally celebrated on a Thursday), we’ve completed 40 days of Easter — the same amount of time we spent in Lent. Unfortunately, in the Western church we don’t give this season of joy the same kind of attention we give Lent. It’s a little like our wedding traditions: after putting immense emphasis on preparing clothes and rings, flowers, attendants and the reception, the years the couple spends verifying the truth of their vows get treated like a ho-hum sequel. So, too, the Easter season: Even if we spent hours celebrating the Vigil, Easter Monday comes and most of us carry on as if we were living in ordinary time in a pre-Resurrection world.

 

That is exactly what we have done. We have carried on with our lives not realizing that everything is different because of Christ’s death and resurrection. All of creation has been renewed and we are commanded by Jesus to go “…into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” We need to challenge each other and ourselves to see with “Easter eyes.” The same eyes with which our forebears in the faith saw Jesus return to the Father with the promise to return. The vision of Easter sees in such a way that we are all called to participate in the building up of our new world that leads to the Kingdom of God when the fullness of God’s life will be shared with each of us and all of creation reflects to beauty of God’s Spirit. Maybe we can start in simple ways, or not so simple, acting like Jesus did after his Resurrection with words of peace and acts of compassion.

On Friday, May 14 we celebrated the Apostle St. Matthias. He wasn’t one of the original Twelve but was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot after his betrayal and death. I have always had a fondness for St. Matthias. He was the saint that my childhood parish was dedicated to in Sterling Heights. It was the community where my call to the priesthood was nurtured in the quiet of my heart and the love of that parish community. It was the place that I saw ordinary people like us do extraordinary things for God and for our neighbor. That is what we all ought to strive for in our ordinariness realizing that all things are possible for God. St. Matthias, pray for us!

 

In these waning days of the Easter season may we embrace that new life that we are called to live and the renewal of all of creation with joy, laughter and openness to the gift of God’s Spirit in the present moment.

Easter peace!
Much love,
 
Fr. Kevin


Fr. Kevin’s Column 5/2/2021

Dear friends of God,

This weekend we share communion with some of our young ones who are receiving Eucharist for the first time. There is something special about this moment and I am sure that many of us can picture our First Communion whether we were in second grade or it occurred later in our lives. I can picture myself in a First Communion picture clutching a rosary and looking almost angelic. There is something particularly beautiful about those innocent moments. It is a reminder of how God sees us with divine eyes of compassion. God always recognizes our original innocence. May these children remember this day fondly as their First Eucharist among many in their lives. May God strengthen them in Word and in Sacrament to share the divine life given to them for the life of the world.

 

I am more and more convinced that we as Church need to be more proactive in teaching prayer to members of our community. God has given us many ways to be in relationship with him. The difficulty is that prayer might seem inaccessible to us or we might not even know where to start. I know in my own life how I struggled with prayer until I found meditation in our Christian tradition. For me, that has brought life to every part of my life including my own public and private prayer. Meditation has shown the Spirit of God to me in my life and in my world.

 

As Christians, Scripture and the Mass need to be at the center of our lives of faith. Coming to celebrate Mass and receive the Eucharist, like our children this weekend, reminds us of who we are and also what are capable of being as God’s children. Scripture shows us how God continues to speak with us through his Word. In our faith, there are a number of ways of praying with scripture. One that can be particularly fruitful and is quite easy to “do” comes from St. Ignatius of Loyola. Jesuit retreat centers around the world teach this process to those who seek spiritual counsel. I want to share this experience with you as it is found in the book Finding God in All Things: A Marquette Prayer Book.

 

Here is a way of engaging in this prayer form which is relaxing and rather easy.

 

  1. Select a passage from one of the Gospels in which Jesus is interacting with
  1. Recall what one is doing in engaging with the Word of God and what one desires from this encounter. God is present and because God is present one relies on

 

  1. Read the Gospel passage twice so that the story and the details of the story become

 

  1. Close one’s eyes and reconstruct the scene in one’s imagination. See what is going on and watch the men and women in the scene. What does Jesus look like? How do the others react to him? What are the people saying to one another? What emotions fill their words? Is Jesus touching someone? As one enters into the scene, sometimes there is the desire to be there. So a person can place oneself in the scene, perhaps as an observer, as one lining up for healing, or as one helping others to Jesus.

 

  1. Some people’s imaginations are very active so they construct a movie-like scenario with a Gospel passage. Others will enter the scene with verbal imagination, reflecting on the scene and mulling over the actions. Vividness is not a criteria for the effectiveness of this kind of prayer. Engagement is and the result is a more interior knowledge of Jesus.

 

  1. As one finishes this time of prayer, one should take a moment to speak person to person with Christ saying what comes from the

 

I would encourage all of us during Easter Season and honestly for the rest of our lives, to sit with God in Scripture and begin to understand the Kingdom that he is calling us to enter and to see how we can find God in all things. When we see God’s Presence we can more easily see who we are in God’s eyes.

 

Much love,
Fr. Kevin


Fr. Kevin’s Column 4/25/2021

Dear friends of God,

Happy Easter! The Saturday of Palm Sunday weekend was the 17th anniversary of the death of Bishop Ken Untener. Bishop Ken was our bishop for 24 years. He was the Bishop that welcomed me to the diocese and ordained me for service as a priest of our beloved Church of Saginaw. This weekend we celebrate what has become known as “Good Shepherd Sunday.” We hear these words from our reading of John’s Gospel this weekend: “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Our Gospel passage begins at John 10:11. The verse directly before that: John 10:10 says “.I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” I am struck by that passage as we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday since the motto of Bishop Ken was “That They May Have Life.”

 

All bishops have mottos that reflect their ministry. The idea that Jesus came to bring us life more abundantly is a lovely idea of how God works in our lives. God didn’t come to bring death but to bring life and even through the gift of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, even our own lives don’t have the last word. We have a God of life who shares his life fully with us.

 

Before Bishop Ken became our bishop, he was Father Ken Untener in the Archdiocese of Detroit. He wrote a reflection to be used by Cardinal Dearden, who was the Archbishop of Detroit at the time. It was written for a Mass for deceased priests. It is called Prophets of a future not our own. It is a beautiful reflection to share on this Good Shepherd Sunday.

 

It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, It is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, Which is another way of saying that The Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that should be said.
No prayer fully expressed our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, Knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produced effects far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything,
and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
An opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future that is not our own.

 

Each of us is called to be a prophet. It is part of our baptismal call. We are workers of God’s kingdom, not our own. That gives me perspective on my own ministry as our call to live as workers for the reign of God as Holy Trinity Parish.

 

This weekend is also the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Each of us has a call to serve and each of us has a role to play in the Kingdom of God. May this day remind us to pray for all baptized believers to follow the way of Jesus, our Good Shepherd who came to give us life in abundance.

 

Much love,
Father Kevin


Fr. Kevin’s Column 4/18/2021

Dear friends of God,

This past weekend I shared the following reflection at Mass. I have decided to share it in the bulletin as well for those who might not yet be headed back to Mass because of COVID- 19.

The other day I read something that really touched my soul: “The initial evidence of receiving the Spirit is not speaking in tongues; it’s embracing the gospel of forgiveness.”

Recently, I had a meeting with Bishop Gruss regarding complaints that he has received concerning me. Our meeting was quite one of care for me and our community. I have been praying for our community in a particular way for healing since meeting with the Bishop. I want to say that if I have offended or hurt you in any way, I am sorry. That is never my intention. I have felt a deep sense of love for our community since I was asked to come here two years ago.

I have realized that we are still getting to know each other and COVID has made that even more challenging. Something to realize about me is that I am outspoken. That is both a gift and a deficit in my personality. Whenever I preach, teach or speak, I always come from a place of love. The hard part is that I come from a place of truth in love. Truth as I have understood it in our faith tradition and flowing from my own prayer and relationship with God.

The analogy of family is helpful here. You may not always agree with me and I might not always agree with you, but that doesn’t mean that we stop being the people of faith and the community of love that God calls us to be here in Pinconning. We are a faith family. It is my hope that if you have concerns or issues come directly to me. Like any family we need to always talk it out.

I want to add one more word. Please remember that no one in the Church takes anonymous letters seriously. Anonymous letters are an obstacle to growing in relationship with one another. If it is important enough to share what we are feeling, it is important to claim ownership of those feelings. Easter is a good time for us to move forward. We might not always agree, but God has called each of us here to this family of faith.

This weekend from Acts we hear St. Peter say this at the end of our passage: “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away” (Acts 3:19). For a moment it seems like we are back in Lent. All this talk of sin and repentance. Remember that repentance comes from the Greek word metanoia which means to change your mind. As someone suggested, it means “…to turn our minds toward God.” What the early church knew in their bones, but so often we have forgotten is that there is “…no turning toward God without turning towards one another.” St. Anthony of the Desert offered this saying: “Our life and death is with our neighbor. If we win our brother, we win God. If we cause our brother to stumble, we have sinned against Christ.” Our lives as Easter people builds on our call to conversion that we journeyed through during Lent. Love of God and love of neighbor are intertwined by their very nature. Easter is about seeing God’s love manifested in our lives and in our choosing to love in a world that so often rejects love. To see with “Easter eyes” inspires us to live as a community of love, that is a communion of one mind and one heart.

Our Gospel this weekend from Luke (24:35-48) reminds me that I have so much further to go in my own discipleship. Our Lord was betrayed by those closest to him, tortured and killed. He came not with retribution and fiery wrath but with compassion: “Peace be with you.” It is a reminder that Jesus was both human and divine. There is nothing violent in God. God is love and God’s very nature is non-violent. We are made in the image and likeness of God. We are to follow Jesus’ nonviolent path. If we went through what Jesus experienced, most of us would react with violence. We need to model our lives on Jesus and learn to respond the way that he responds to life. To be Easter people means that we are to be women and men of compassion in thought, word and deed.

Easter Peace!
Much love,
Fr, Kevin


Fr Kenvin’s Column 4/11/2021

Dear friends of God,

This weekend we continue to enter into the Easter Mystery. In our Catholic Tradition, we do not think of the word ‘mystery’ like we do a ‘who dunnit,’ and we don’t use the word ‘mystery’ in a way that is ‘a cop out’ for a moment when we cannot answer a question of faith. We refer to Jesus’ death, Resurrection and Ascension as the Paschal Mystery. Paschal reminds us that Jesus has passed from this life to fullness with the Father. We believe that he has taken each of us with him. He came for the benefit of all of humanity and even all of creation.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Paschal Mystery is described in these ways:

Christ’s work of redemption accomplished principally by his Passion, death, resurrection, and glorious ascension, whereby “dying he destroyed our death, rising he restored our life” (1067; cf. 654). The paschal mystery is celebrated and made present in the liturgy of the Church, and its saving effects are communicated through the sacraments (1076), especially the Eucharist, which renews the paschal sacrifice of Christ as the sacrifice offered by the Church (571, 1362–1372).

Every time we gather for the Eucharist, we enter into the Paschal Mystery. In some way that is beyond our imagining, we are celebrating the Eucharist with Christ 2,000 years ago, we are in the present moment here in our church, and also celebrating the Eucharist in the fullness of God in Heaven. That is the mystery of life with God after the death and resurrection of the Lord.

During Mass, in the Eucharistic prayer we pray one of these as the Mystery of Faith:

  1. We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your resurrection until you come again.
  2. When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come
  3. Save us, Savior of the world, for by yourcross and resurrection you have set us free.
 
Right now, the third option is my favorite: the idea that God has come to save us. So often, Jesus is saving us from ourselves. It is in God’s unconditional love that we enter into the true freedom that comes to us from our love of God and love of our neighbor.

 

As followers of Jesus, we are invited by God to “contemplate” the mystery of God’s infinite love for each of us as uniquely and a love for our whole world. To contemplate is to enter into God’s temple of love within our hearts as well as in heaven. God is continually basking us in his love. To contemplate is to open our hearts and eyes to be more and more aware of this love

and our call to enter into that love. Fr. Iain Matthew shared this insight in this way: “To be a contemplative is to be a watch in the night for the approach of Mystery. And it is a readiness to be transformed in an engagement with that Mystery.” To say it another way, the mystery of God that we are called to by Jesus’ death and resurrection, is transformed love and conscious love: love of God and love of our neighbor.

Fr. Malcolm Guite is an Anglican priest in England and a poet.  I would like to end this Second Sunday of Easter column with this lovely sonnet for Easter Dawn. It touched my heart as I read it on Easter morning, and I hope that it touches yours as well. It delves beautifully into the mystery that is Easter.

He blesses every love which weeps and grieves
and now he blesses hers who stood and wept
and would not be consoled, or leave her love’s
last touching place, but watched as low light crept
up from the east. A sound behind her stirs
a scatter of bright birdsong through the air.
She turns, but cannot focus through her tears,
or recognize the Gardener standing there.
She hardly hears his gentle question ‘Why,
why are you weeping?’, or sees the play of light
that brightens as she chokes out her reply‘They took my love away, my day is night’
and then she hears her name, she hears Love saythe Word that turns her night, and ours, to Day.
 
Easter peace to each of you!
 
Much Love
 
Fr. Kevin


Fr Kevin’s Column 04/04/2021

Dear friends of God,
Happy Easter!

 

Because of the bulletin company schedule, I am writing this after I just completed celebrating the Mass for the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. This is the feast day where we remember the angel Gabriel coming to the very young Mary and announcing that she would give birth to Emmanuel-God is with us. The angel was sharing the good news that God was breaking into our world with the Incarnation of the Word of God. “And the angel said to her in reply, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God'” (Luke 1:35). The angel challenged Mary to leave her fears aside and to realize that with God nothing is impossible.

 

Jesus came to us to show us the way of love that comes to us from the Father. Jesus is our King of the Universe. The love of the Father and the Son is what we call the Holy Spirit. This infinite love is without boundaries and truly universal. In Jesus’ birth, life, death and Resurrection, God invites us to share in the mystery of his saving desire. In Jesus, we enter into God’s universal and infinite love. As Father Bede Griffiths says in his book The Cosmic Revelation: “The more universal you become, the more deeply personal you become.” In other words, as we enter into Christ’s life and ministry and especially into his death and Resurrection, we are called to share God’s unconditional love with all those around us, even those whom we struggle to love. Maybe, especially those people. We have so many that preach hate and fear. That is the great burden that we carry, but as children of the God of love and as the sisters and brothers of the Risen Jesus Christ, we need to incarnate what St. Francis de Sales peached and lived himself: “Do all through love, nothing through fear.”

 

As people of Resurrection, we are to live the same mantra that the angel Gabriel gave tothe mother of Jesus at the Annunciation: “Do not be afraid.” Imagine the fear that the first disciples had at the execution of their teacher and the anxiety that St. Mary of Magdala had when she found Jesus’ tomb empty. Her dread had to be palpable. Yet, she found within herself the courage to share the news of the empty tomb. This was the same courage that she was able to muster inspired by Jesus, her teacher within her, to be the first to preach the Good News of Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead. This is why the early Church spoke of St. Mary Magdalene as the Apostle to the Apostles. She was the first one to preach the Good News of the Resurrection. May St. Mary Magdalene and all of the women inspire us in our lives who have shared Jesus with us, to live the gift of the Resurrection and God’s Reign in our lives. Remember to leave fear aside because nothing is impossible for God and that God is always with us.

 

I want to say a word of thanks to those of who have contributed to the beauty of our church and the loveliness of our liturgies. There is so much that goes into these holy days that makes things challenging at times. God’s grace, our love for our faith and a sense of humor assists in times of preparation for these holy days. I have not been happier as your pastor than praying throughout these days with you. Even though this is my second year as your pastor, it is my first to preside at these sacred liturgies with you. It is a blessing to be here, and I am looking forward to the fifty days of Easter as we continue to celebrate the gift of Christ’s Resurrection and our own resurrection as well.

 

Again, Happy Easter! May these 50 days inspire each of us to preach Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead and his words of Easter peace.

 

Much love,
Fr. Kevin


Fr Kevin’s Column 3/28/21

Dear friends of God,

This weekend we celebrate Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion. It is the beginning of the holiest week of the year in our Catholic Christian Tradition. It is such a sacred time that we even call it Holy Week. This Holy Week will look slightly different because of COVID-19 but we will come together in prayer and care for each other.

 

This Sunday we remember Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem. After our palms are blessed, we will hear a Gospel before the procession. We are in the year of Mark, so we will have Mark 11:1-10 proclaimed for us. In that Gospel, we will hear the crowds say, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come! Hosanna in the highest!” Later that week, we will hear some of those same people call for Jesus’ death. That might be a reminder not to follow the crowd in our world. A crowd can easily turn into a bloodthirsty mob. We will hear the passion reading twice this week. The first time is this weekend when we will proclaim the passion from Mark’s Gospel. On Good Friday, we will hear the passion from the Gospel according to John. Even though the passion reading rotates every year between Mark, Matthew and Luke on Palm Sunday, we always hear from John’s Gospel on Good Friday.

 

Before we get to Good Friday, we celebrate Holy Thursday. This is the day that we remember the Institution of the Eucharist. On the night before Jesus died for us, he gave us his very self in the bread and wine of the Eucharist which we believe to be his body and blood. He gave us himself to empower us to serve each other and our human family and to live in God’s Kingdom in all of creation. Pope Francis describes the Eucharist in cosmic terms in his encyclical Laudato Si: “.Indeed the Eucharist is itself an act of cosmic love: ‘Yes, cosmic! Because even when it is celebrated on a humble altar in a country church, the Eucharist is always in some way celebrated on the altar of the world'” (236). Our altar in Pinconning is cosmically connected to both heaven and earth. That is the great gift of the Eucharist for the life of the world. That is what we will honor on Holy Thursday.

 

On Good Friday, we gather around the cross with regret for our sins and sorrow at the level of human violence that would lead to us killing God. I came across the following reflection that I use every Good Friday. The funny thing is that I do not remember where it came from, but I have used it for a number of years.

 

Adoration of the Holy Cross is an act of prayer through which we think about the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross. The word “adoration” comes from the Latin word adore. When we adore the cross, we are focusing our deep respect toward what the cross means for us. We come forward and show our strong devotion, respect, and honor for the loving act of Jesus dying on the cross. We are honoring not the wooden symbol, but rather the saving act of Jesus’ death on the cross. We are sorrowful because the cross itself was used to execute Jesus in a humiliating, painful, and shameful way. But we honor the image of the cross because it reminds us of the love Jesus had for us by allowing himself to be sacrificed on the cross that way. We know that death on the cross was not the end. We are thankful for the cross on which Jesus triumphed over death. And so we adore the Holy Cross.

 

The cross reminds us the lengths that God will take to bring us back to himself.

 

On Holy Saturday, we gather in the evening for the Easter Vigil. We gather in the dark to hear about our salvation history. We listen to these stories of faith for the generations when God continually reached out to his children to bring them back into loving relationship with him and with our neighbor. At the vigil, we enter deeply into the death and resurrection of the Lord. It is the beginning of our 50-day celebration of Christ’s Resurrection and our own resurrection as well. We begin to see that God came to save the whole human family and all of creation.

 

May these Holy Days be a time of deepening love for our God of radical mercy as we enter into Jerusalem with our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Much love,
Fr. Kevin