Fr. Kevin’s Column 8/1/2021

Dear friends of God,

Faith can be a challenging word for many of us. A traditional definition from theology by the great scholar St. Anselm is that theology is “faith seeking understanding.” That might seem far removed from our everyday experience. I don’t think many of us think about theology: the study of God. But we are always marinated in God’s presence. For me to think about God’s presence and action is both an occupational hazard and a gift as a priest and preacher. As a parish priest, I have the gift of meeting so many different people in our parish and our local community. I have found this benefit of ministry in each of my assignments. I am better for the people that I have met in my years as a priest for our diocese. I met some of them in their death. That might sound strange, but being present to families and having them share their grief with me has taught me so much about God and how God calls each of us to faith in our unique ways.

 

Recently, some thoughts about faith came to my mind as I was preparing a funeral homily. I want to share some of these thoughts as I continue to understand the impact of faith has on my own relationship with God and neighbor, and as I minister as a parish priest.

 

  • Faith is active and It might be personal, but faith is never a private endeavor – just about God and me. It is so much more than that. As Catholics we see faith as a relationship: our relationship with our God and with our neighbor.

 

  • A friend of mine suggested something that continues to challenge and inspire me every day: “Faith is a way of seeing, and consequently, it is about a way of ”

 

My wise friend didn’t mean in a “holier than thou” way. Have you met those folks who think that they are better than anyone else because of their church membership? They attend church but then become mean spirited people

  • Faith as lived by Jesus means that we love with a love that breaks down walls and barriers.

 

  • Faith as loving how Jesus loved means that we ought not be afraid to

 

  • Faith is knowing that God is always for

 

He continually has our backs; we as disciples of Jesus are to care for those who have “their back against the wall.” People who have “their backs against the wall” are those who society seems to have forgotten, those who are left behind in the successes of the world. That might seem like a new idea, but I would suggest that is where Jesus’ placed his priorities. He lived what the church calls the “preferential option for the poor.” If we are to follow Jesus, we need to live the same way. Look around our world, our nation and our neighborhoods and find those who have the roughest time in our society. These are the people who have had their backs against the wall and we need to cover them with our active love.

 

These are simply thoughts crossing my mind in my own spiritual life and the growing relationship that I have with God and neighbor and my life as your priest.

 

May God bless us with a deeper understanding of faith as we stumble along the way of the Kingdom of God as followers of Jesus Christ!

 

Much love,
 
Fr. Kevin


Fr. Kevin’s Column 7/18/2021

Dear friends of God,

 

July 11th is the traditional day that we as Catholics remember the great Saint Benedict. I came across this lovely homily from 2014 given by a Camaldolese Benedictine from Big Sur, California. The preachers name was Father Robert Hale, OSB Cam. He passed away a few years ago, but his words still ring true.

 

“St. Benedict is a towering and ecumenical saint, celebrated on the Catholic, and also the Episcopal/ Anglican, and also Lutheran Calendars. And he is reverenced in the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Without him the Camaldolese wouldn’t be—we Benedictines who follow St. Benedict’s Rule. Nor would our Oblate family be, since our shared charism is also Benedictine.

One thinks of the thousands of abbeys, monasteries, convents down through the 1500 years following the Rule of St. Benedict, the hundreds of thousands of monks, nuns, sisters, Oblates and others influenced by his spirituality.

Many hundreds of books and articles have been written about Benedict’s spirituality as expressed in his Rule. Where does one begin in exploring that spirituality?

 

The highly reputed scholar of St. Benedict, Fr. Terrence Kardong, O.S.B., recommends that we begin with a foundational theme of the Rule, that is there all the way through, explicitly or at least implicitly. He terms this: ‘The Divine Approach, the Presence of God.’ He notes that St. Benedict stresses this Divine Presence in every aspect and element of the monastic day (and night), in every nook and cranny of the monastery. We would hold that this would also be true of every Christian home and life. So we are called, the Rule teaches, to open our eyes to the ‘deifying light’ and the ears of our hearts to ‘the voice from heaven which daily calls out to us: If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.’ It doesn’t depend just on our efforts to remain open to this Presence, but primarily to God who is constantly reaching out to us, anticipating our yearning. And so St. Benedict quotes Isaiah quoting God: ‘And even before you ask me, I will say to you, ‘Here I am.’’ Not just there I was, or will be, but right now, right here, here I am. And this echoes the great I Am of God’s self-revelation to Moses in Exodus, and to Jesus’ several revealing of himself as ‘I am.’

 

And this Divine Presence isn’t a severe, judgmental Presence, God’s spiritual voice not terrifying for the committed monk (and Christian). St. Benedict insists: ‘What, dear brothers, is sweeter than the voice of the Lord calling to us?   See how the Lord in His love shows us the way of life.’ Of course, Christ Himself is that ‘way, truth and life,’ and so St. Benedict’s injunction that ‘nothing is to be preferred to the love of Christ.’

 

All this is not always evident at first, but St. Benedict assures us that with our effort and God’s grace, this awareness and spirit becomes more ongoing in our lives: ‘As we progress in this way of life and faith, we shall run on the path of God’s commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delights of love.’ This resonates with Christ’s first great commandment, to ‘love God with all our heart…’ and with Christ’s invitation, ‘abide in me, abide in my love.’ And with the basic New Testament affirmation that ‘God is love.’”

 

Last weekend I mentioned Father Henri Nouwen. Here are the titles of a few of his inspiring books. I would encourage you to check his writings out to see the how it might touch your faith.

 

The Return of The Prodigal Son
Reaching Out

In the Name of Jesus Adam

 

Much love,
Fr. Kevin

 



Fr. Kevin’s Column 7/4/21

Dear friends of God,

I remember when I was much younger, and I would sit too close to the television.   One day, a boyfriend of one of my sisters said, “Kev, if you sit that close to the TV, you are going to go blind.” I laughed it off. Well, I do need my glasses really badly now. I am blind as a bat without them. When I was growing up, television time was a real issue for many of us. At this point in our technological life, we need to pay attention to all of our “screen time.” With our “smart” phones, tablets, computers and televisions, we spend a lot of time watching something on a screen. Here is something instructive that I found online about our tv habits. Minimalist author Joshua Becker recently wrote the following on his website Becoming Minimalist:

“According to Nielsen, the average person watches 4 hours, 35 minutes of television each day. And the average American home now has more television sets than people. That threshold was crossed within the past two years. There are 2.73 TV sets in the typical home and 2.55 people. In the average American home, a television set is turned on for more than a third of the day—8 hours, 14 minutes to be exact. We are literally sitting on the couch while life passes us by. Experiment with owning less televisions. As a result, you will watch less. And when you do, you will be more apt to do it together as a family.”

That is simply the amount of time that we spend in front of the television. Again, it doesn’t include our other “screen” time.   We spend so much time in front of our screens that our ability to pay attention is being killed. I have to continually remind myself of the wisdom that we pay attention to that which we love. Philosopher Simone Weil speaks of attention in terms of generosity. She wrote, “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” In the 1980s there was a book published that tells us something insightful in its title, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. Without a doubt, this book was prophetic. We have amused ourselves to division and to death. We are murdering our capacity to pay attention to the others in our lives, especially the “others” in our world with whom we disagree. So much of our “screen” time is used by those who realize that hate sells as a way to market the diabolical division that we are experiencing in the present moment in our American culture. We need to open our hearts to each other with a generosity of compassion that connects us with each other through the heart of God.

We are failing to see with the eye of the heart. We are sitting way too close to our television, and we have been blinded.   We have become blind to God’s love for us and our call to love each other. It is time for us to pray for healing and reach out to Jesus, our Divine physician, who can bring us our sight again. As a people we need to admit our transgressions against our neighbors whom we are to love as our very selves. It is only through the love of God that we can see the world as God sees it in the unity of our one god and one human family. It is in loving that we can bring ourselves to live the Kingdom of God that we have been created to live in this life and the next. Let us not waste the time that we have been given. It is time to love our screens less and God and neighbor more.

Much love,

Fr. Kevin



Fr. Kevin’s Column 6/27/21

Dear friends of God,

I neglected last weekend to thank you for the kindness that you shared with me as I celebrated my 20th anniversary as a priest forour Diocese of Saginaw. These years have been such a gift for me. I thank God from whom all blessings flow for the gift of ministry.

For my column this week, I would like to share below the homily that I preached last weekend. I know that I have had storms in my own life that I needed to remember to allow God to quiet my fears and call me to stillness. Maybe you can relate to this experience.

In Mark’s Gospel, we have Jesus rebuking the sea.

“Quiet, be still.”

The Sea of Galilee is really a lake.   It isn’t even that large. It is much smaller than our Great Lakes. You can even see across thewater. It is known for storms to come out of nowhere.

It can be a perfectly sunny and lovely day and out of nowhere comes a storm that makes it impossible to safely navigate and to seewhat is right before your eyes.

On Monday I was driving to Midland and experienced a storm just like the one there we hear about in the Gospel.

I couldn’t even see the road ahead and feared that I was navigating myself right into a ditch.

At that moment, I wished that I had the ability to rebuke the storm and quiet the thunder.

I didn’t, I just muttered along and hoped for the best with my hands on the wheel.

It is reminiscent of Psalm 46:11 “Be still and know that I am God!”

Jesus is the Lord of creation. He can even calm storms and call them to stillness.

Remember that we are a part of creation as well and there are storms in our own lives.

…God created the Human in his image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

God has created everything through the evolutionary process and that everything includes us.

In the book of Genesis we are reminded that God has divine authority over the chaotic waters (Genesis 1:1).

And we know from the book of Exodus that “God divided the waters to allow the people to pass from slavery to freedom.” (Exodus 14-15)

God continues to liberate us from bondage to slavery.

God calls us forth from our own fears into his wonderful light.

So often we get stuck in our fears while God is calling us to the freedom of his love.

We are always living with God in whom we live, move, and have our being.

 

We can easily forget our life in God and get trapped in our own heads with its storms and the tribulations of our own lives.

As Caryll Houselander wrote decades ago: ”There is only one cure for fear — trust in God.”

Now so often that trust is easier said than done. To trust in God is to take a leap of faith. Faith at its root is the capacity for love.

The capacity to experience God’s bounteous love and to share that love freely in return.

Thinking again of our Gospel and let us visualize the story of the calming of the sea from another vantage point.

Maybe Jesus wasn’t simply calming the chaotic waters of the sea of Galilee.

Let us imagine that Jesus is calming the turbulent reaction of those disciples and calling them to a calm mind.

“Quiet, be still.”

Maybe we can sit with those words on days when our lives seem like they are going to capsize:

During those moments, simply close your eyes and hear Jesus say to you as your fears seem to drown you in the waters ofdaily life:

 

“Quiet, be still.”

 

May God bless each of us in these beautiful summer days!

 

Much love,
Fr. Kevin


Fr. Kevin’s Column 6/20/21

Happy Father’s Day!

May those men who have loved us as our fathers and father figures receive love in return for all the love that they have shared with us. And may our fathers who have passed from this life to the next share life forever with our Eternal Father in Heaven. Of course, we will prayer for our dads this weekend and bless them for all the good that they have done for us.

In our second reading this week from St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, we hear these words: “The love of Christ impels us…” St. Paul continues by telling us that because of what Christ has done for us by his life, death, resurrection, ascension, and the gift of the Holy Spirit, we no longer live for ourselves. This is such a challenge in our culture when we make the tragic mistake in thinking that we are the center of the universe. We have forgotten that God ought to be at the center of our lives just as God is at the center of each of our own hearts, whether we know it or not. Letting go of ourselves is only way to follow Christ. Jesus continually tells us to leave our selves behind as we take of our cross of discipleship. Jesus has shown us the path of leaving aside all those things that hinder us from experiencing Divine love as we journey into God.

This Sunday, June 20th, is the June solstice. This is the beginning of summer based on the solar calendar, although many of us think of Memorial Day weekend as the beginning of our Michigan summer festivities. During the year of Michigan’s particular weather woes, I suspect that all of us look forward to summer days of warmth and sun. As we enjoy our time this summer, I would encourage all of us to take time for silence and stillness in our prayer. Lawrence S. Cunningham is a retired Professor of Theology at Notre Dame University. In his book, The Catholic Faith: An Introduction, he reminds us about the importance of silence in our lives and in our prayer:

“Silence, both external (a silent place) and internal (the quieting of the heart and mind), is a prerequisite to genuine prayer.

It is not simply a question of removing exterior noise but a disciplined willingness to shut off the distractions of the environment, even ‘good’ distractions, in order to listen to the promptings of God in the heart.

Silence, in the tradition of prayer, means nothing more than alertness or readiness to receive God; it is another form of saying ‘yes’ to the promptings of God’s self-gift.”

In our world of distraction, taking time to let go of our thoughts and to enjoy the free gift of God’s love is just what we need in our lives. I find the morning is the best time for me to take time for silence and stillness. The Martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer shared this insight prior to execution by the Nazis: “We begin the day in silence because God should have the first word. We end the day in silence because God should have the last word.” For me, that is in the practice Christian Meditation. Not everyone is drawn to meditation, but we all do need time for silence in our days. When we begin and end our days in silence, it is the best way to give God both the first and last words. This is good for many of us who desire to have the last words in our relationships, even our Divine ones.

More than that, when we take time for silent prayer in our lives, we allow ourselves to be enveloped in God’s unconditional love. God basks us in his love, but we are so busy talking and running in every direction that we barely notice God’s loving Presence. God desires to be in relationship with us. God draws us closer to himself in the silence. Franciscan Father Richard Rohr put it this way: “Love lives and thrives in the heart space.” Our hearts, our bodies and our souls yearn for silence. Please give yourself the gift of silence. You won’t regret it.

Enjoy these summer days! 

Much love,

Fr. Kevin



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