May 22, 2022
My grand nephew Owen and his classmates were on top of their school in Clarence on Tuesday as they watched Air Force One flying over bringing the President of the United States to address and comfort a neighborhood, a community in deep pain, sorrow, and anger. You are not alone in your grief. Hatred has no home here.
At the last supper in the Gospel according to St. John, Jesus says to his disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” Jesus then “gives his word” to his disciples and says, “Whoever loves me will keep my word and my father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.” Jesus wants to make it clear when he goes to prepare a place for them with the Father, he is not abandoning them, but coming back to take them to himself. “Where I am you also may be.” When the disciples “keep his word” the Father and Jesus will come and dwell with them in mutual divine love.
Jesus promises that the Father will send “the Advocate,” the Holy Spirit, in my name who “will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” The Holy Spirit opens our hearts and minds to the presence and teaching of Jesus and guides us to make the justice and mercy of the Gospel a reality in our own time and place.
“Shalom” is the farewell gift of Jesus. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.” Christ’s gift of peace is not the absence of trouble or hostility in the world but the inner peace of pursuing everything which makes for the highest good. The disciples will come to understand that the ways of the world are often bracing and cruel and that it is necessary for them, for us, to undergo many hardships. And yet, there is a space for calm and comfort within each hardship. It is the peace Christ promised, a peace beyond suffering.
Our 2nd reading contains verses from the Book of Revelation. It was written during a time of suffering and persecution after the destruction of the Temple and City of Jerusalem by the Roman army. John “the seer” is in exile, isolated on the Island of Patmos. An angel of God takes John in spirit to a great, high mountain and shows him the holy city of Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. This vision surely instills hope within churches, believing communities, who are facing persecution and mourning the deaths of members martyred for their faith. Along with the vision, John hears the voice of the One who sits on the throne. “Behold, God’s dwelling is with humans. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away…Behold I make all things new.”
Words alone are insufficient. At the last supper, Jesus takes off his outer garment, puts on an apron, takes a towel, jug of water and basin, and washes the feet of his disciples. Jesus gives them/us an example. Words and actions must align together as we express our solidarity like the Buffalo Bills serving up lunch on Jefferson Avenues near the desecrated TOPS supermarket. Next week in the bulletin, Bishop Mike Fisher is offering suggestions to us to sustain the mission of the church in East Buffalo by supporting Catholic Charities, the Response to Love Center and the Saint Teresa Home. We also have a special parish bond with St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy. Norm and Linda Paolini’s daughter was working as a pharmacist at the TOPS and her head was grazed by a bullet. In the bulletin this weekend, there is an opportunity to help legal immigrant families at our Lady of Hope Church on the westside of Buffalo.
Our response to this tragedy, must be one of prayer, of “keeping the word of Jesus” by following his example of sacrificial love.
The play “To Kill a Mockingbird” is on stage at Shea’s. Gregory Peck won an Oscar for playing Atticus Finch in the movie. Harper Lee depicts Atticus, a lawyer, the hero of her book, as honorable, brave, respectful, compassionate, and smart. The type of advocate we would want especially if the outcome were death by stoning. Can we image Atticus defending the woman cau... READ MORE
Chapter 15 in the Gospel according to St. Luke, begins with Jesus engaged with the pharisees and scribes who object to his association with public sinners, outcasts, and despised tax collectors. He tells three parables: a shepherd leaving 99 sheep to find the lost one; the woman searching her house for a lost coin; and the father waiting and watching for the return of h... READ MORE
March 19 is the Solemnity of St. Joseph, the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We honor Joseph as the husband of Mary and the earthly father of Jesus, as our protector and defender. Joseph took Jesus to the synagogue. Jesus is remembered as the carpenter’s son. Perhaps another skill Joseph taught Jesus is caring for the vineyard and orchard trees in and around their&nbs... READ MORE
What a light and sound show! Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up the mountain to pray. Jesus prays. The disciples fall asleep. The face of Jesus changes and his clothes become dazzling white. Moses and Elijah, pillars of the Jewish faith, come and converse with Jesus about his coming Exodus. Peter, James, and John wake up. Peter, not knowing what to say, proposes to erec... READ MORE
Lent lends itself to personal introspection as we take a closer look at ourselves and decide on sacrifices of prayer and fasting to shape our souls for Christ. We tend to think of what we can do as if my/our holiness is a task of self-improvement. Lent isn’t about me; it’s about accompanying Jesus into the desert to learn the deeper meaning of his and my/our baptism. J... READ MORE