August 2018

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“I am the bread of life,” Jesus said to those who sought him after the multiplication of loaves and fish. “The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” In many ways, Jesus’ words are as confounding now as then. The crowd was not sure what to make of it all. Some left. Others were filled with awe. Simon Peter spoke for the Twelve when he said, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” (Jn 6:24-60)

Like the disciples who gathered on the hillside, we, too, may be confounded by the Lord. Every time we participate in the Eucharist, we hear the Lord’s voice in the proclamation of the readings and the homily. We share in the Lord’s presence in Holy Communion. 

How is it possible that the bread and wine become Christ’s body and blood? How can we, unworthy though we are, receive this precious gift? 

Those who remained with Jesus did not allow themselves to stumble on the incredible mystery of God’s love they experienced in Jesus, but rather risked putting their faith in him. Even though they did not understand, they reflected on what they saw and heard, the moments of forgiveness, healing, and love, and trusted that their experience was real and true. They became convinced that Jesus is the Holy One of God. We can learn from them and do likewise. We can reflect on what we hear and experience in the liturgy and the goodness that surrounds us, and put our faith in Christ, the Holy One of God, who gives himself for the life of the world.

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July, 2018

God provides. 

Even when things get difficult or look bleak, God provides, and does so generously. Pay attention.

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The Sunday readings this month invite us to see the abundance of God in our midst - life, knowledge, faith, love, honesty, conversation, healing, vision for the future, grace, forgiveness, mercy, and even things like weakness and humility. On July 15, St. Paul tells the people of Ephesus, and each of us, that we have already received part of our inheritance. Did you know that you have an inheritance? Our inheritance is the gift of the Holy Spirit, the advocate, the guide! We see this gift in so many ways - skills and talents in the right moments, inklings and promptings for which we cannot quite finger the source, and of course the little “God moments”, “God-incidences” or as our pastor likes to call them “God winks.” Through the power of the Spirit, we more readily recognize the abundance of Christ’s life and love and share it with others.

Jesus instructs the disciples in the Gospel, and us, to go out to the community to preach and teach, taking nothingWe must trust that our heavenly Father will provide for our needs through those we encounter. At our parish this summer, our council decided to welcome the local homeless program COTS (Churches Providing Temporary Shelter) to use our facility to shelter individuals sheltered at another local facility during the winter. Staffed by the shelter staff and volunteers, we, along with about 10 other local churches, provide overnight shelter for 5-15 guests. Individuals who stayed with us shared how much they appreciated our beautiful grounds and our hospitality. Our little village board was “inspired” to discuss their welcoming and readiness to accommodate the homeless in our midst – something they have not had to reflect on as we are some distance from the downtown area typically frequented by the homeless population. Our overnight guests came with nothing other than what they carried and all we offered was an empty space for sleep. Yet the Lord provided so much beauty and unique opportunities to know God’s abundant love, for the recipients of care as well as those offering it.

Our God is a God of great love. God knows our needs, our wants, and our most intimate desires. In this month of vacations, popsicles, family and fresh sweet corn, take a moment to notice and note God’s abundance. If this month is one of challenge, spend an extra few minutes with the Sunday scriptures. Pay attention! Let the words of God’s consistent and reliable legacy of love, even in times of difficulty, wash over you.

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