Fr. Rick’s Pastoral Messages 5-29-22

‘Unlocking the Mystery of the Bible’:  We will continue our study this Thursday, June 2, at 8:40 AM with Session 3.  Questions? Ask Fr. Rick.

Bishop’s Appeal, aka Diocesan Development Drive 

We seem to be stuck at just above the half-way mark with 10 households so far chipping in.  Our tiny community simply doesn’t function without the many administrative and educational services provided by the Diocesan Pastoral Center.  Also, the total salary and insurance package for your ‘ooool local Padrecito is completely funded by the Diocese.  What a deal!!!  Please chip in.

“To make progress the world must have action, but it must also know why it is acting, and that requires thought, contemplation and silence.”                 Bishop Fulton Sheen.

Hospitality Remember that we are a ‘Hospitality Parish’ with a major outreach to our many visitors along with providing sacramental and social opportunities for our primarily ‘retired’ local parishioners.  Please sign up to help host our Sunday morning Coffee and Muffin gathering.  Sign up list is in the gathering space.  You might even be tempted to discuss some deeply insightful and inspiring point from the fabulous homily!

Homily Reflection:  Preaching to the Nations “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day
and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” Lk. 24:46-47

‘Repentance from sin’ means to acknowledge our failings and change from our sinful ways of living to righteous lifestyles.  I’ll give us all some credit today and presume that most of us are not deliberately malevolent or wicked people.  Yet we are not perfect and certainly not part of a perfect society or world.  Somehow all we good righteous people are passing along a very violent and destructive world to those grandchildren we all love so much.  So what’s the problem? The biggest effect of sin, I think, is confusion.  We are so fogged in and overwhelmed by all the information and sensate stimuli that is NOT from God, that we are just unaware of what effect we are having on ourselves and each other.  Ephesians (1:18) tell us today, “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened” There is a Divine way of ‘seeing’ that we are capable of if we follow the direction offered by the Church.

Consider today’s first reading from the beginning of Acts of the Apostles.  We have been reading from Acts during the weekdays of Easter Season and we can see the whole trajectory that Christ has sent us on.  All the apostles have met Jesus in person, they spent time with Him and got to know Him little by little.  They followed Him.  They came to know each other and talked at length about their encounters with Jesus and how that changed them.  They shared their stories and experiences with many others and shared the reactions (good and bad) they received from the people who heard their stories.  They met regularly with the other apostles to compare stories and experiences.  When confused about this very new and mysterious life they asked for clarification from fellow disciples and the elders.  They were sent out ‘to all nations’ to share their experience with a wide variety of people who had not yet known Jesus.  The regular gatherings of disciples strengthened them, educated them and reinvigorated them.  These relationships with Jesus (even more personalized by the Holy Spirit) and with each other became the most important, meaningful and interesting experiences they had ever known.  The destructive and chaotic world they had come from was simply not alluring to them. They continued to go out despite the costs and ‘preach repentance’, i.e., to live in accord with the ‘eyes of their hearts.’  They changed the world.  We can and must do the same.

Please see our website for more practical ways to ‘teach the nations’.

Book Recommendations:  For those of us who live in or visit Southern Utah, there is a particular allure to the big vista and the big quiet.  Surely the scenery is a pure pleasure to behold, but there is something else happening.  I have recently been rereading the book, The Solace of Fierce Landscapes: Exploring Desert and Wilderness Spirituality, by Belden Lane. This scholarly but very personal reflection helps us understand the desert and wilderness motifs which run through our Scriptures and those of the other great world traditions.  The desert is a place of purging, enlightening, strengthening and transition.  In a biblical sense this place of barren emptiness is essential for new beginnings, true freedom and the abundant life that Jesus promises us.  If you are just visiting, please consider slowing down as much as possible to feel the power in this sacred place and hear the quiet.  You might even read this book before your return visit.  This book could almost be considered required reading for Catholics living in this sanctuary.  A future book discussion??!!