Monday, February 20, 2012

Are humans like ogres?

In the first installment of the Shrek film series there is a scene where Shrek and Donkey are going to rescue Princess Fiona from the clutches of the castle with the fire breathing dragon. Along the way Donkey asks Shrek, "What are ogres like?" to which Shrek proceeds to tell Donkey, ogres are like onions because they have layers. Perhaps the same could said of us, can it not?

Each of us has layers, different elements that make up who we are, from our personalities to our personal experiences and within all this there are layers to us that everyone knows, just like the outer layer of an onion is exposed and evident to the inner most layer, perhaps the layer only we ourselves and God know. In between the outer and inner layers there are those layers that are known to some and not others, those that we freely share, and still others that we keep guarded.

During the season of Lent it is about peeling back the layers, examining what is there and growing. There is a lot of talk about what we sacrifice in Lent but there should also be equal talk about what we will take on as a means of growth. Reflecting upon the layers in our lives should help reveal where we need to grow.

Just as in the Gospel this Sunday where the friends of the paralytic broke through the roof to lower their friend down into the presence of Christ so too we are called to peel back or break through the layers of our lives in order to place ourselves into Christ's presence in a deeper way. This may mean we have to let our guard down, to let the walls in our lives come down. This may mean not only taking in and examining what perceive about ourselves but also listening for the truth in what others say about us.

It is not easy to expose and open ourselves up to change and transformation. Sometimes it is easier to stay in the comfort of where we are, even if where we are is not exactly where we want to be, need to be, or is the best for us. As St. Paul reminds us that God has put the Spirit into our hearts and with that a "Yes," reminding us that indeed through God's grace all things are possible, not easy, but possible.

During Lent let us not be afraid to examine the layers of our lives, and with courage, honesty, faith, and an open heart, allow the Lord to transform and bring us to new life through His life, death, and resurrection, i.e. The Paschal Mystery.

Sunday's Mass readings:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

James 1:19-21

"Know this, my dear brothers and sisters:
everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger
for anger does not accomplish
the righteousness of God.
Therefore, put away all filth and evil excess
and humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you
and is able to save your souls."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Ss. Cyril & Methodius Day!

Christ is The Love we share. Yes, in our commercial world it is none other than Valentine's Day and if you are a Clevelander like me, you know how busy the drive thru booths at Malley's Chocolates will be today.

However, truthfully speaking, today is actually the feast day of Ss. Cyril and Methodius. Cyril a monk, and Methodius a bishop are brothers who ministered to the Slavic people and in particular in translating liturgical texts among other things they did.

My brothers and sisters, we know that when we share Christ with others, like Ss. Cyril and Methodius, we share Love. In the spirit and memory of Ss. Cyril and Methodius, while the world shares cards, chocolates, and roses may we share the Love of Christ which ministers to every human need, endures for all eternity, and is the fulfillment of our earthly desires and short comings as the Gospel relates to us today.

Prayer After Communion
O God, Father of all nations, who make us sharers in the one Bread and the one Spirit and heirs of the eternal banquet, grant in your kindness on this feast day of Saints Cyril and Methodius, that the multitude of your children, persevering in the same fatih, may be united in building up the Kingdom of justice and peace. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

To learn more about Ss. Cyril and Methodius go to:

Today's Readings:

Monday, February 13, 2012

Reading the Signs

In today's Gospel the Pharisees seek a sign from Jesus and yet Jesus says no sign will be given this generation. Why? It is because Christ Himself is the sign and there is no need for another.

How often do we ask for a sign? Seek a sign from God? What is so important about signs? Well first, we are called to recognize the signs of God's presence in our lives but to seek a sign is another matter unto itself. For seeking a sign indicates we are seeking proof to validate a belief and/or a point whereas recognizing a sign is a matter of simply growing in an awareness of what God is revealing all around us, not that we seek it but it's that we grow in awareness.

What can we say about signs? When we talk about signs that help us recognize God's presence do we only look to the positive? A time when we had a warm fuzzy or someone reached out to us or did something for us unexpectedly? But! How about the negative?

For example when our faith and/or the practice of it is tested, like what is taking place in Congress and the the controversy over abortion and contraception, or we are being persecuted for our faith; when we persevere and conquer, is that not a sign too? A sign of strength?! A sign of courage?! A sign of a faith that is active and will not settle for that which is contrary to it?!

May we recognize the signs all around us, through the thick and thin, through the positive and challenging times.

Today's readings: