Brothers and Sisters, God has a plan: to sum up all things in Christ in Heaven and on earth. The incredible reality is that we are part of the plan of God and have been graced and called to be partners in that plan.
We hear of the powerful grace given to us in the Ephesians reading.
- WE have been given spiritual blessings.
- Destined to be holy, to be adopted Children of God in Christ Jesus.
-WE have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, forgiven of sins.
-God had given us the understanding of His law.
-We have been given the Holy Spirit so we can fulfill our call to give glory to God.
The challenge of course, is that we are like Amos, we are unlikely candidates to share in the plan. But none the less we are called to do so by our sharing in the redemption and by our faith in Christ we are called to continue his work. There is a certain way to do it. As the gospel details for the twelve: We do it with detachment and freedom, with a simple openness to all God had to offer us, not bogged down with the stuff of the world, not with all kinds of needs and expectations, but a simplicity that keeps our hearts free to prose God, point to Christ and see the opportunities given to proclaim Christ by our acts of love that are a proclamation of God’s salvation. The prophet Amos is indeed our role model today. He was unwilling to back down, unable to remain silent when the truth demanded to be proclaimed. Amos is offered to us to mentor us towards similar strengths and commitment. We can do the same with God’s grace.Read More »
From the Economist comes the following:
ACCORDING to the ancient rule laid down by St Benedict in the sixth century, monastic communities must be self-supporting. Usually, the sale of goods produced by monasteries—cheese, eggs, mushrooms and, in Europe at least, liqueurs—brings in sufficient income to support the holy men. But what happens in an economic downturn? In that event, how about opening a columbarium?
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In the early evening of Sunday, June 17, the monks, with friends and benefactors, dedicated the Columbarium at Mepkin Abbey. Almost 200 people attended the event, including many who have purchased niches.
Fr. Guerric Heckel presided at the dedication ceremony which included music by a brass ensemble, and remarks by Susan Conant, lead designer for the project; Thomas Campbell whose wife is inurned in the Columbarium; and Abbot Stan. The ceremony concluded with the brass ensemble leading the congregation down the Columbarium path while playing “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
After the dedication, Jim Rozier, Columbarium manager, said that almost all of the niches in Phase 1 have been sold and plans are being made to begin the second phase.Read More »
Remarks and blessing by Abbot Stanislaus Gumula
Today is a day so longed for. It means that a dream that was conceived many years ago is finally about to see the light of day. Many were the conversations that Father Francis Kline, Mepkin’s third abbot, and I had about this dream.
He once told me over the phone as he lay in his bed at Sloan Kettering that he had come up with the design of the rooms he would like to see at the new Retreat Center. On another occasion we agreed on the architect we would ask to put this dream on paper.
And just over a month before his death in August, 2006, we were talking about it and he said he just didn’t have the energy to do the fund raising that would be required for such an undertaking. Looking him straight in the eye, I told him: “Don’t take this wrongly, Francis, but your death will bring us the funds for this project.” And looking me back straight in the eye, he responded, “I know. But as long as I am alive, I have to worry about this.”
He need not worry any longer. The outpouring from his friends assures us that this project will indeed be finished. We are here today to begin the final phase.Read More »
What we celebrate liturgically on this feast of the Most Holy Trinity is the interrelatedness of God the Creator, the Redeemer and the Holy Spirit. Our second reading today (Romans 8:14-17) gives one indication of how the Three-in-One work together. Paul speaks of God as Abba Father. The role of the first person of the Trinity is a divine parent. All who believe are sons and daughters of God. How so? The Spirit lives in us and testifies with and thru us that we belong to God’s family. Having been made children of God by the working of the Spirit, we become siblings to Christ and fellow heirs of all that Christ has. What we inherit is both a share in his glory and his suffering.
But how does this relate to the everyday concerns that face us. The main thrust of this second reading is not so much to explicate the theology of the Trinity but to draw us into the family of God. The focus of today’s reading is the role of the Spirit drawing believers into God’s family.
Everyone senses a need to belong. Community is about the experience of belonging. It is about the feeling of coming home or being at home as opposed to thinking that wherever I am I would be better off somewhere else. We are in community each time we find a place where we belong. To belong is to be related to and a part of something greater than oneself. It also has to do with being an owner. To belong to a community is to act as a creator and co-owner of that community.Read More »
1st rdg Acts 2:1-11 all were filled with the Holy Spirit
resp Ps 104 Lord send out your spirit and renew the face of the earth
2nd rdg Gal 5:16-25 live by the Spirit/fruit of the Spirit is love, joy …
gospel Jn 20:19-23 as the Father sent me so I send you/ receive …
To be sent by Jesus, as he was sent by the Father, is our life in the dynamism of becoming the church here – now – in the Spirit poured forth upon us. Isn’t this what Jesus is telling us today? To celebrate Pentecost is to celebrate the church being brought into being by God. Not for another time or place. Not in memories of what was or the hope of what will be, but in the awesome understanding of God ennobling us, today, at this very moment. When Luke tells us in the Acts of the Apostles: “all were filled with the Holy Spirit” we must remember that they were as we are – limited, uncertain, struggling for understanding, wavering of heart. They loved God with no less a desire and no greater a desire than we do. Their faith moved in fits and starts, more developed through time, but imperfect, messy and in need of the reconciliation mentioned at the end of the gospel we just heard. Truly they persevered through their imperfections, knowing as Paul tells the Galatians, that they were to “live in the Spirit.” And by living in the Spirit of God they discovered the blessing of gifts lovingly given – not earned, acquired by writing a dissertation, or purchased – but gifts that were the fruit of a life of fidelity to prayer and ardor for the way of Jesus.
Sometimes we romanticize faith and the church. Often we fail to dwell upon the reality of how deeply we are loved by God, how unremittingly God engages us in coming to understand that we were brought into existence to be loved by God for all eternity. We don’t remember that the heaven toward which we live this life is not a reward, not a merited prize but a gift, of which, if we really understand God’s will, we want to be deserving. The sign that we are wanting to be deserving is that the pattern to which we try to conform our activities, our goals, our undertakings is the way of Jesus. We can only come to the Father by living in his Spirit. Church becomes so much more than “I’m going to church’, “canon law says”, “let me look in the catechism” – when our profession of faith is the way that we live even more than what we say.
As a parish priest, I was teaching a religion class in our parish elementary school and a young student asked me where can I see the Holy Spirit? So often artists depict the Spirit hovering over a group whose eyes are turned upward. I took the opportunity to ask the students as a homework assignment to go home and look for the Spirit and tell me where they recognized the presence of God’s Spirit. One young girl told me she recognized the Spirit in her grandmother who took time every morning to sit quietly and pray. Another student spoke of a neighbor who always stopped and asked an elderly lady who lived alone down the block if she needed anything from the store. A boy said that his uncle worked in a soup kitchen twice a month. A girl spoke about the man who forgave her for crushing the flowers in his flower bed when she chased her ball into his yard. Then one student spoke about receiving first holy communion and another said something about a time he really needed to go to confession and the priest was unexpectedly kind. There was diversity in the experiences but an awareness that each person had experienced a valid encounter with the Spirit of God. For homework, take some time to call to mind your own history of encountering the Holy Spirit in your life, of being gifted by the Spirit for your own good or for the good of another.Read More »