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Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 5/14

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(I've posted this prayer several times before
but these days I need to pray it again - and again)

Every day, Lord,
I check my calendar,
I check my email,
I check my voice mail,
I check my snail mail,
I check my texts,
I check my Tweets,
I check my FB messages...

Well, "every day" isn't really accurate:
I should have said,
"three, four or more times" every day...

I do a lot of checking in, Lord,
and some days it seems I check in
with just about everybody
- except you...

So today,
(especially when I'm checking in
at one of my regular check-in spots)
today, Lord,
help me find a quiet time, a quiet place,
at least once today, just to stop
to check in with you,
and to pray...

Amen.


 

   
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Homily for May 12


Homily for the Fourth Sunday of Easter
Scriptures for today's Mass 


 
For the past 25 years, at every First Communion Mass,
I’ve introduced the children by name, as I did today.

By the 5:00 Mass next Saturday,
our last First Communion for this season,
I will have introduced over 1500 boys and girls
as newcomers to the Lord’s Table and the Eucharist.

These introductions are remembered for years, for decades,
by the children - and by their parents and families,
by the people of our parish.

Let’s face it:
we all like to be recognized;  we all like to be singled out;
we all like to be called by name.

Jesus knows that about us, too
which is part of why he tells us in the gospel today:
 “You are all my sheep…  I know you… I call you by name…”

Think of the difference between shopping in a store
where the clerks don’t know you, don’t know your name,
and shopping in a store where you’re “a regular,”
where the clerks know you and call you by name.

Think of the difference in the two experiences…

Or maybe it’s a restaurant or a bar you frequent.
Remember the opening lyrics for the sitcom,  “CHEERS”?
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name…

Jesus knows the name of every single person here today -
not just the First Communicants - but every single one of us.

And - he never forgets our names.

Even if it’s been years, decades
since we answered when he called us by name;
even if it’s been so long that we’ve forgotten
what his voice sounds like -
Jesus never forgets us,
never forgets the sound of our voices
and never stops calling each of us by name.
Because no mater what we’ve done or failed to do,
he, Good Shepherd that he is, will never stop calling us
- and calling us by name.

With Jesus, it’s never just,  “Hey, you!”  No.
It’s always by name:
Austin  Steve    Jane  Chad   Kara    Dan    Kristin    Frank          
Kerri     Matthew     Clare     Mike    Cettina    Euan   Carolyn
Frank      Lisa     Gustavo    Leny    Sean     Jillian.

Always by name…

But Jesus adds this, too:
My sheep follow me because they recognize my voice…

And that’s where you and I might, like sheep, go a bit astray.

When we don’t answer when the Lord calls our name,
when we don’t listen to his voice,
when we let other voices and sounds and noises distract us,    
we may actually forget the sound of his voice
even if he never forget us or our voice.

Perhaps today, this First Communion Mass
is a time to listen again for the Shepherd’s voice,
in our hearts and in mine
calling each of us by name.

And if you do, be aware of this:
sometimes the Lord disguises his voice.

I wouldn’t be surprised at all if you came here today
because the Lord called your name
in the voice of a little boy or a little girl.

I wouldn’t be surprised at all if, when the Lord called you
to come here today - he sounded just like
Charlotte or Aisling or Lillian or Penelope or Ivy or Fiona
or Grace or Aleah or Harper or Lochlan  or Chloe or Gabriella.

The Lord calls each of us in many ways, in many voices,
but he calls us all the time -
and he calls us each by name.

So here we are.
He called, we came,
we’re gathered at his table, the Shepherd’s table
where he wants to feed and nourish us
with the sacrament of his Body and Blood,
for these girls and boys for the first time,
for others of us for the umpteenth time.

He nourishes us with his mercy to restore our innocence
with his peace to calm our hearts
and with his joy to lift us up when we’re down.

He has called each of us by name!

Listen and listen carefully
because there’s not a day of your life or mine
that passes by without the Shepherd calling all of us with love
- and each of us by name.





 

   
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MONDAY MORNING OFFERING: 5/13

Morning Coffee by George Mendoza

With yesterday's gospel
still in my thoughts and prayers,
I offer you, Lord, my need, my prayer
that you shepherd me
through all the ups and downs,
the joys and sorrows,
the temptations and grace
of every day of my life...

Shepherd me, O God, from here to there,
from where I am to where I'm meant to be,
from this moment to the next,
from today into tomorrow,
from my past into my future...

Shepherd me, O God,
from yesterday's problems
to tomorrow's solutions...

Shepherd me, O God,
from the memories I'm stuck in
to the ones I've yet to make...

Shepherd me, O God,
from all that haunts me from my past
to a future I've yet to experience...

Shepherd me, O God,
from my failings, sins and errors
to the grace of a new beginning...

Shepherd me, O God,
from daydreams and fantasies
to life that's real and mine to lead...

Shepherd me, O God,
far from my foolish ways
and closer to the path of wisdom...

Shepherd me, O God,
from selfishness and greed
to a giving, generous spirit...

Shepherd me, O God,
from my prideful arrogance
to humble self-knowledge...

Shepherd me, O God,
from the lies I've come to believe
to the truth that sets me free...

Shepherd me, O God,
from all that's less than pure
to what's clear and clean and chaste...

Shepherd me, O God,
from my habits of laziness
to work that satisfies and serves...

Shepherd me, O God,
from mindless wandering
to the path you'd have me walk...

Shepherd me, O God,
from flirting with temptation
to doing what is right...

Shepherd me, O God,
from prejudice and bias
to understanding and acceptance...

Shepherd me, O God,
from wasting what I have
to sharing all that's mine...

Shepherd me, O God,
from hopelessness and fear
to trust and confidence restored...

Shepherd me, O God,
from feeling sorry for myself
to being grateful for my life...

Shepherd me, O God,
from doubts that cloud my thoughts
to faith that fills my soul...

Shepherd me, O God,
from here to there,
from this moment to the next,
from today into tomorrow,
from my past into my future...

Shepherd me, O God,
from all my wants,
from all my fears,
from death into life...

Amen.

Shepherd Me, O God by Marty Haugen



 

   
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Happy Mothers Day!

Photo by Kincaid

Mothers will be celebrated by their families this weekend in special ways. There will be flowers and sweets; phone calls from children who live too far away for a visit; cards and gifts; breakfast in bed or brunch or dinner at a nice restaurant.  Keep a place in your prayer this day for all the mothers who will rejoice with their families this weekend...


Some women will spend this Mothers' Day in anticipation of the birth of a child they're carrying - perhaps their first child - a child whose ultrasound image has already won the hearts of mom and dad. Other expectant mothers are making their way through the long process of adoption - or perhaps the arrival of their adopted love is just around the corner! Keep a place in your prayer this Mothers' Day for those who are expecting the arrival of a child - and pray that both mother and child will be healthy...


I lost my mother in August of 1994. I love her and miss her but I can't say that Mothers' Day is an especially difficult day for me. More difficult than the second Sunday in May are all the times through the year when wonderful things are happening in my parish and I think, "I wish mom could be here for this!" Open a place in your heart to pray for those who miss the wonderful mother God gave them...


Some mothers have and raise children with no spouse to help and support them.  Some mothers have chosen this path but others have not. Let's keep a place in our prayer for those who know the burdens of single-parent mothering and, when able, open ourselves and our homes to offer what company and help we might give...


My heart goes out to women who want very much to be mothers but who, for any number of reasons, are unable to bear a child... I know this day can be difficult for them, even as they celebrate their own mothers with love and devotion. Let's keep a place in our prayer for women who long for a child with all their heart and soul...


I think of mothers around the world who live in abject poverty, who have no food for their children, no clothing, no health care, no decent shelter... I don't pretend to know or understand what must be the depths of their pain as they hold a malnourished child in their arms with no food to keep them from dying... Pray with me for change in our world to ensure that no mother, no child need face such desperation... And pray for those who even now work to bring food, clean water, clothing and shelter to those who have none...



Part of my ministry is to serve the bereaved... Just recently I celebrated the funeral of a wonderful woman, a fine mother, a woman with faith as great as it was simple, as beautiful as it was profound. Her family grieved and prayed for her and I know this Mothers' Day will be especially difficult for them. Let's keep a place in our prayer this weekend for those whose grief over losing their mother is fresh in their minds and hearts...


We live in world where children are born to families able and ready to care for them and we live in a world where millions of children will be hungry this Mother's Day.  We live in a world where some nations limit the number of children a couple may legally have.  And we live in a world where many champion the "right" to end the life of a child already conceived. For the mothers of all these children, and for their children, let us keep a place in our prayer this weekend...


Some children have mothers who failed to care for them. Their sons and daughters understand deeply the lyrics of that old song, "Sometimes I feel like a motherless child." And some mothers will be burdened today with memories of how they missed the signs of harm being done to their own by others.  Let's keep a place of prayer in our hearts for those whose hearts are heavy today...


Some mothers today will be forgotten by their children: no visit, no card, no call, no candy or flowers. Some mothers this day don't know where a son or daughter has gone or what has become of them. A mother's heart aches on this day for the child of her womb who has forgotten her or who has disappeared. Pray with me on this Mother's Day for women who wait for a call that will not come...


Many mothers will remember today a child they've lost to sickness, addiction, an accident, war or other violence, miscarriage or abortion.  A parent's grief for a child can be unfathomable - and a mother's grief is deeper than any. We Christians pray and believe that one day we shall see those who have gone before us and enjoy their love again. Keep a place in your heart for mothers who need the consolation of such faith and pray they'll trust that the Lord will indeed keep his word...


Some mothers today will not know or recognize their children when they come to visit. Time has robbed them of their memory of even those they love the most. Keep a place in your prayer today for mothers who may know their children in their heart of hearts but are unable to remember or speak their names. And pray for those sons and daughters who tell their mothers of their love, hoping that a mother's heart will hear what her mind no longer holds...


This Mothers' Day, we turn our hearts to Mary, the Mother of God, the Mother of Jesus and Mother of us all: Christ's sisters and brothers. With a mother's care she raised her Son and lived the joys and the grief that only a mother's heart can know. Whatever our spirits on this Mothers' Day weekend, the Mother of Jesus embraces us all, so let us pray...

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.




 
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Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 5/12

Good Shepherd by Duncan Grant

Good Shepherd of us all,
I thank you today for all the good shepherds in my life
and for all the ways you've shepherded me
through their love, their watchful presence,
their devotion and protection...

I thank you for my parents, my first shepherds;
I thank you for their protection, for the shelter of their love,
and for all they sacrificed for me
to help me grow...

I thank you for other shepherds in my family
and for all my friends
who comfort and challenge me,
who dry my tears and make me laugh,
who stay faithfully close by my side...

I thank you for all the shepherds
who taught me in school,
who counseled and directed me,
who shaped me and helped me to become
the person I am today...

I thank you for shepherds
whose names I don't know, who stand in harm's way
'round my town and 'round the world,
keeping vigil through the night to keep me safe,
standing guard that I might sleep without a worry...

I thank you for the shepherds you've called home,
especially those gone much too soon,
whose gentle shepherd's crook I miss,
whose presence still abides within my heart...

I thank you for those shepherds
who remember me in prayer,
who keep me in the sheepfold of your grace,
lifting up my name and needs to you:
to you, my good and gentle Shepherd,
Good Shepherd of us all...

Amen.





The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all I need,
He makes me lie down in green meadows,
Beside the still waters he will lead.

He restores my soul, he rights my wrongs,
He leads me in a path of good things,
And fills my heart with song.

Even though I walk through a dark and dreary land,
There is nothing that can shake me,
He has said he won't forsake me,
I'm in his hand.

He sets a table before me in the presence of my foes,
He anoints my head with oil,
And my cup overflows.

Surely, surely goodness and kindness will follow me,
All the days of my life,
And I will live in his house,
Forever, forever and ever.

Glory be to our Father, and Brother,
And to the Holy of Holies,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
Life, without end.  Amen.


Here's another setting of Psalm 23 that brings me much peace...




The Lord is my shepherd,
Therefore can I lack nothing,
He shall feed me in a green pasture
And lead me forth beside the waters of comfort,
He shall convert my soul,
And bring me forth in the paths of righteousness,
For his name's sake,
Yea, though I walk through the
Valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
For thou art with me,
Thy rod and thy staff comfort me,
Thou shalt prepare a table before me
Against them that trouble me,
Thou hast anointed my head with oil,
And my cup shall be full,
But thy loving kindness and mercy
Shall follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell In the house of the Lord, forever.

And yet another setting, one which is part of my morning prayer
every day of the year...




 

   
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Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 5/10



For the gift of people who listen to me,
for the grace of folks who forgive me,
for the wisdom of all who correct me,
for the arms of those who hold me, 
for the favor of friends who endure me,
for the grace of all who pray for me,
for the hands of those who guide me, 
for the strength of those who support me,
for the care of all who love me,
or the grace of all who pray for me:
   I thank you, Lord!

In return, Lord, help me 
listen, forgive, correct, 
hold, abide, guide, support,
care and pray for others
as patiently, as faithfully 
as I'm so generously love and blessed...

Amen.
  



   
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In anticipation of Mothers Day this weekend, for those who might want to share this with others...

Photo by Kincaid

Mothers will be celebrated by their families this weekend in special ways. There will be flowers and sweets; phone calls from children who live too far away for a visit; cards and gifts; breakfast in bed or brunch or dinner at a nice restaurant.  Keep a place in your prayer this day for all the mothers who will rejoice with their families this weekend...


Some women will spend this Mothers' Day in anticipation of the birth of a child they're carrying - perhaps their first child - a child whose ultrasound image has already won the hearts of mom and dad. Other expectant mothers are making their way through the long process of adoption - or perhaps the arrival of their adopted love is just around the corner! Keep a place in your prayer this Mothers' Day for those who are expecting the arrival of a child - and pray that both mother and child will be healthy...


I lost my mother in August of 1994. I love her and miss her but I can't say that Mothers' Day is an especially difficult day for me. More difficult than the second Sunday in May are all the times through the year when wonderful things are happening in my parish and I think, "I wish mom could be here for this!" Open a place in your heart to pray for those who miss the wonderful mother God gave them...


Some mothers have and raise children with no spouse to help and support them.  Some mothers have chosen this path but others have not. Let's keep a place in our prayer for those who know the burdens of single-parent mothering and, when able, open ourselves and our homes to offer what company and help we might give...


My heart goes out to women who want very much to be mothers but who, for any number of reasons, are unable to bear a child... I know this day can be difficult for them, even as they celebrate their own mothers with love and devotion. Let's keep a place in our prayer for women who long for a child with all their heart and soul...


I think of mothers around the world who live in abject poverty, who have no food for their children, no clothing, no health care, no decent shelter... I don't pretend to know or understand what must be the depths of their pain as they hold a malnourished child in their arms with no food to keep them from dying... Pray with me for change in our world to ensure that no mother, no child need face such desperation... And pray for those who even now work to bring food, clean water, clothing and shelter to those who have none...



Part of my ministry is to serve the bereaved... Just recently I celebrated the funeral of a wonderful woman, a fine mother, a woman with faith as great as it was simple, as beautiful as it was profound. Her family grieved and prayed for her and I know this Mothers' Day will be especially difficult for them. Let's keep a place in our prayer this weekend for those whose grief over losing their mother is fresh in their minds and hearts...


We live in world where children are born to families able and ready to care for them and we live in a world where millions of children will be hungry this Mother's Day.  We live in a world where some nations limit the number of children a couple may legally have.  And we live in a world where many champion the "right" to end the life of a child already conceived. For the mothers of all these children, and for their children, let us keep a place in our prayer this weekend...


Some children have mothers who failed to care for them. Their sons and daughters understand deeply the lyrics of that old song, "Sometimes I feel like a motherless child." And some mothers will be burdened today with memories of how they missed the signs of harm being done to their own by others.  Let's keep a place of prayer in our hearts for those whose hearts are heavy today...


Some mothers today will be forgotten by their children: no visit, no card, no call, no candy or flowers. Some mothers this day don't know where a son or daughter has gone or what has become of them. A mother's heart aches on this day for the child of her womb who has forgotten her or who has disappeared. Pray with me on this Mother's Day for women who wait for a call that will not come...


Many mothers will remember today a child they've lost to sickness, addiction, an accident, war or other violence, miscarriage or abortion.  A parent's grief for a child can be unfathomable - and a mother's grief is deeper than any. We Christians pray and believe that one day we shall see those who have gone before us and enjoy their love again. Keep a place in your heart for mothers who need the consolation of such faith and pray they'll trust that the Lord will indeed keep his word...


Some mothers today will not know or recognize their children when they come to visit. Time has robbed them of their memory of even those they love the most. Keep a place in your prayer today for mothers who may know their children in their heart of hearts but are unable to remember or speak their names. And pray for those sons and daughters who tell their mothers of their love, hoping that a mother's heart will hear what her mind no longer holds...


This Mothers' Day, we turn our hearts to Mary, the Mother of God, the Mother of Jesus and Mother of us all: Christ's sisters and brothers. With a mother's care she raised her Son and lived the joys and the grief that only a mother's heart can know. Whatever our spirits on this Mothers' Day weekend, the Mother of Jesus embraces us all, so let us pray...

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.




 
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Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 5/9

 


Do you roll your eyes in frustration, Lord,
   when I don't pay attention to you, to your truth,
      to my own common sense?

Never.

Would you like to dope slap me, Lord,
   when I miss the better decision,
      staring me right in the face?

Nope.

Do you walk away when,
   for the thousandth time,
      I make the same mistake?

Uh-uh.

Instead, Lord,
   you show me again and again what I've failed to see...
   you look with mercy on me and all my foolishness...
   you forgive my sins and offer me a fresh start...

Patient, kind and compassionate Lord,
   be gracious to me today as you always are
      and help me grow in your grace...

Amen.








   
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From last night's First Communion rehearsal







 
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Pause for Prayer: WEDNESDAY 5/8



 

   
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