5/28/17

Monday Morning Offering: MEMORIAL DAY

Image: George Mendoza

Good morning, good God!

I'm praying today, Lord:
remembering those who died,
who passed through death
to life with you, their Maker
and lover of their souls...

I'm praying today, Lord:
remembering those gone long ago,
marked with the sign of faith,
marked as your own in ways unknown
to me and others' grief...

I'm praying today, Lord:
remembering those who gave their lives
without a thought of self,
who laid down all that I might stand
in freedom dearly won...

I'm praying today, Lord:
remembering selfless souls and
hearts with purple courage true,
so sure and brave on danger's roads
where I'd not dare to tread...

I'm praying today, Lord:
remembering love in sacrifice
so freely, fully given,
so easily forgotten by just the ones
for whom the gift was made...

I'm praying today, Lord,
and offering you my gratitude
for those who loved as you loved us
by giving all
for all who stand in need...

I'm praying today, Lord:
receive my morning offering
and grant the courage I may need
to sacrifice for others
that they, too, might be free...

Amen.






   
Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments 

Homily for May 28

Image source
Homily for the Seventh Sunday of Easter
(Scriptures) for today's Mass)

Audio for homily


Have you ever wondered what Jesus does all day in heaven?
Does he have a job? some chores?
There’s a church document on worship
that offers us one answer to this question:
Christ Jesus, high priest of the new and eternal covenant,
taking human nature, introduced into this earthly exile
that hymn which is sung throughout all ages in the halls of heaven.
He joins the entire community of humankind to Himself,
associating us with His own singing of this canticle of divine praise.
(Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, no. 83)

In other words, the risen Jesus stands forever before his Father
singing his thanksgiving  in a canticle of divine praise,
praying for us, for you and me, the community of humankind.

Jesus prays for us.
He said that in the gospel we just heard:
 “Father, I pray for them and for all those you gave me.”
You and I have been given to Jesus
by the Father of us all.

Of course, we pray to Jesus - but I wonder how often we remember
that Jesus prays for us, that he intercedes for us,
that he’s always putting in a good word for us and our needs.
He prays for us…

When I stand confused and threatened and frightened
in the face of terrorism and pray for an end to all my troubles -
Jesus is already praying for peace in the world and in my heart.

When I’m knocked down by illness (my own or others)
and I pray for healing -
Jesus is already praying for our health to be restored.

When I’m on the verge of falling for some temptation
and I’m praying to avoid it
(even if part of me really wants to go for it!) -
Jesus is already praying I have the strength to walk away
from whatever’s trying to seduce me.

When I find myself at odds with family members or friends
and I pray for the others to see that I’m right -
Jesus is already praying for my eyes to be opened in humility.

When I’m stressed, angry and short-tempered
and haven’t thought about praying at all -
Jesus is praying for me to calm down and ask for help.

When I’m carrying a grudge or resentment
and secretly hoping something bad will happen to another -
Jesus is praying for me to forgive the one who has hurt me.

When my prejudice and bias are blinding me to wisdom and truth
and I can’t see clearly between right and wrong -
Jesus is praying for heart to turn around
and my mind to open up.

When I’m about to bend or stretch the facts
to make things easier for myself -
Jesus is praying for me,
for my fidelity to the truth that sets me free.

When my heart is torn by loss and grief
and I think I might never be happy again -
Jesus is praying for me to let go and open my heart to be healed.

When I’ve screwed up big time, made the worst mistakes,
and I’m afraid to acknowledge what I’ve done -
Jesus is praying for me to pray to him
for his mercy and pardon.

When I’m lost and confused but refusing to ask for help and direction,
when I’m stewing in a corner I can’t seem to escape -
Jesus is praying for me to take his hand and follow him home.

When I realize I haven’t prayed for ages
and now I really have something to pray for -
Jesus is already praying for me
and for everything I truly need.

When I’m feeling hopeless and thinking God has forgotten me,
when I don’t know if or how I can go on -
Jesus is praying for me to know that he holds me in his arms.

And if I haven’t been to church for a long time
but find myself here today
then Jesus in heaven is singing that canticle of praise to his Father,
for me, because today - I came to pray.

So you can see that all of us are keeping Jesus pretty busy,
giving him more then enough things to pray for, for us -
as he stands before his Father in heaven.

And in those times, on those days, when I’m not sure how to pray,
or not sure what to pray,
I can always turn to Jesus and say,
 “Lord, I know you’re already praying for me.
and since I know you only want the best for me,
help me know what you’re praying for me
so I can join you in that prayer.”

And when I’m not sure what to pray
for someone I’m worried about  -
I can do the same, I can ask,
 “Jesus, I’m not sure what or how to pray for you-know-who,
so whatever you’re praying  for him, for her,
add my prayers to yours.”

And now we go to the altar - to pray -
and when we do we’ll find Jesus already there,
praying for us.
And not just praying for us but feeding us, nourishing us,
with his Body and Blood,
first offered for us on the Cross
where he stretched out his arms and pleaded,
“Father, forgive them, for the know not what they do,”
on the Cross where he stretched out his arms
and prayed -
for you and for me.

                                               
           


 

     
Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments 

Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 5/28

Photo by CP

I'm not sure why, Lord,
but this spring
I'm really taken with pansies!

Something about them catches my eye,
holds my attention
and draws me into their simple beauty...

I don't know why,
after all these years, all these springtimes,
suddenly pansies have my heart
- but they do, Lord, indeed they do!

And I'm grateful, Lord,
to be open to a new love,
new beauty, new ways of finding you
in the world around me...

Keep my heart opening
to the beauty around me
and to new loves
that open my heart...

Amen.


 

   
Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments 

5/26/17

Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY of Memorial Day Weekend




Some call Memorial Day the "opening" of the summer season - a notion not at all related to Memorial Day's origins and meaningMillions will mark the day with time off and a cookout but fail to pause to honor those who gave their lives in service of their nation.

Here's a prayer I wrote some years back for my town's Memorial Day Exercises.  You might want to bring it to your own Memorial Day festivities and call others to pause for prayer in the spirit of the weekend, of the day...

Memorial Day Prayer

In the quiet sanctuaries of our own hearts,
let each of us name and call on the One whose power over us
is great and gentle, firm and forgiving, holy and healing...

You who created us,
who sustain us,
who call us to live in peace,
hear our prayer today.

Hear our prayer for all who have died,
whose hearts and hopes are known to you alone…

Hear our prayer for those who put the welfare of others
ahead of their own
and give us hearts as generous as theirs…

Hear our prayer for those who gave their lives
in the service of others,
and accept the gift of their sacrifice…

Help us to shape and make a world
where we will lay down the arms of war
and turn our swords into ploughshares
for a harvest of justice and peace…

Comfort those who grieve the loss of their loved ones
and let your healing be the hope in our hearts...

Hear our prayer today
and in your mercy answer us
in the name of all that is holy.

Amen.



 
Memorial Day Prayer
     
Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments 

5/25/17

Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 5/26

Image source

There are many ways to sin, Lord,
and I sin in many ways
but no sin is greater
than the failure to love and honor
a person you have made...

So I ask for your mercy today,
I ask for your forgiveness for the times I've failed
to love my neighbor
in my own family and household,
in my neighborhood,
at work and at school,
in my parish and my community...

Forgive me when I fail to love
(through my prejudice, anger and envy)
any group or race of people
whom I may or may not personally know...

Forgive me when I speak and act
as if my politics and opinions
give me freedom to hate someone,
regardless of how fateful might be
the words and deeds of others...

Forgive me when I see only others' faults,
others' sins, others' weaknesses
and fail to see and love in them
what you, Lord, see and love in them...

And, Lord, forgive me when I fail
to love myself...

Forgive me when I fail or refuse to see
and to honor and reverence whatever in me
you see and love...

Forgive me when I fail to hope and trust
that I am yet a work in progress
in the studio of creation,
where you, the finest of all fine artists,
continue to mold and shape me in your image,
to work on my rough edges,
and bring out the beauty of your love in me,
your presence in my soul...

Forgive me when I fail to love my neighbor, Lord,
and forgive me when I fail to love myself
for when I fail to love my neighbor or myself,
I fail to love you, Lord,
whom I should love above all people and all things..

Give me mercy and pardon, Lord,
and teach me to love...

Amen.


 

     
Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments 

Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 5/25



Sometimes, even often, I feel powerless, Lord,
just plain powerless..

I'm powerless over peoples' illnesses
powerless over the days of their pain and distress
and their waiting for relief
that doesn't seem to come
   so I join my prayers to theirs, Lord
   and hope that you'll be powerful
   where we are so very weak...

I'm powerless, Lord, over peoples' grieving
the abuse of the innocent,
over terrorism and the fear it brings
   so in prayer I as do we all
   that your power will bring healing
   especially where peace is slow to come...

I'm powerless, Lord, over peoples' plates
already piled high with fears and disappointments,
anxieties and worry,
and I'm powerless over the long days and nights
that only add to the burdens they already bear...
   so I join my prayer to the pleas of the weary
    that you will bring rest and relief
   for those bent low, weighed down by their waiting...

I'm powerless, Lord,
over questions I can't answer,
problems I can't solve,
pain I can't relieve
and concerns beyond my reach...
   so I pray for truth and the courage to speak it,
   for wisdom and gentleness in sharing it
   and for a healing touch when it's mine to offer...

I'm powerless over much, Lord,
but not over everything
and so I ask you to help me know what I can do
as well as I see what what's beyond my reach
- and for the power to do what I'm able to do...

Show us your power when we're powerless, Lord,
and help us find our strength in you...

Amen.


 

     
Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments 

5/24/17

Ascension Thursday

Ascension by Salvador Dali

The perspective of Dali's Ascension never fails to draw me in!  The earthy feet of the Risen Jesus ascending into heaven to reign for ever at the Father's right hand in the power of the Holy Spirit!

In my part of the vineyard the Ascension is still celebrated on Thursday of the sixth week of Easter (this year on May 25).  Much of the Catholic world, however, now celebrates this feast transferred to the Seventh Sunday of Easter.  In the US, the Ascension is celebrated on Thursday of the sixth week of Easter only in the ecclesiastical provinces of Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, and Omaha In all other US dioceses, the celebration of the Feast of the Ascension is transferred to the following Sunday, May 28, 2017.

Regardless of which day you celebrate the Ascension, the readings are the same and can be found, with brief commentary, here.  If you're bringing children to Mass with you, hints for helping them prepare to hear the Word are here.





     
Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments

5/23/17

Pause for Prayer: 5/24



 

   
Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments 

Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 5/23

Photo by CP

Simple, splendid pansies grace my porch door
where they wait each day
for me and for my watering can
to quench their thirst,
refresh their roots,
to strengthen them
lest they wilt and droop
and die...

I get this, Lord.
I know they're thirsty
and I know they wait on me
to wait on them,
to feed their beauty,
to refresh them
to withstand the heat of day...

I visit my porch door friends each day, Lord,
to shower them with my attention
and slake their thirst for what they need
for life
and in return they grow, they bloom,
they flourish and brighten
all my comings and my goings,
these portal pansies waiting for me
to wait on them..

My soul is thirsty, too, Lord,
and waits each day for me to water it
with my attention, care and prayer
that it might grow, bloom, flourish
and brighten all my comings and goings,
this soul of mine waiting on me
that I might wait on you, Lord,
that I might wait on you...

Amen.





   
Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments 

5/22/17

Monday Morning Offering: May 22

Morning Coffee by George Mendoza


Good morning, good God!

I offer you my praise
for your patience
when I think I'm too busy
to make some time for prayer...

I offer you my thanks
for your understanding
when I'm confused and I'm unsure
of where to turn and what to do...

I offer you my praise
for your mercy
when I fail to love
in thought, in word and deed...

I offer you my thanks
for everything you've given me,
especially for gifts
that I have yet to find and use...

I offer you my praise
for seeing my friend's face
across your holy table,
for our being one in prayer...

I offer you my thanks
for all the grace you offer me
more often than I know,
in more ways than I can count...

I offer you my praise
for all the people in my life
who care for me and help me
when I'm very much in need...

I offer you my thanks
for the faith I have in you,
and the trust I have in others:
the hope that keeps me going...

I offer you my praise
for always being there for me
when trouble's at my door
and I'm feeling all alone...

I offer you my thanks
for my memories of joy,
those souvenirs of grace 
that mend and heal my heart...

I offer you my praise
for the words you speak
in scripture, in my prayer
and on the lips of wiser friends...

I offer you my thanks
for your abiding love,
so freely, fully given
and with not a string attached...

I offer you my praise
for interludes of peace 
that come between rough patches
and keep me on your way...

I offer you my thanks
for your strong and gentle arm
to help me when I'm weak
and when I'm ready to give up...

I offer you my praise
for your Spirit, always moving,
in my mind and in my thoughts,
in my heart and in my soul...

I offer you my thanks
for your calling me
to stretch and grow and deepen
my relationship with you...

And I offer you my praise and thanks
for all the times you stay by me
when I forget to offer you 
all my thanks, Lord, and my praise...

Amen.


  

     
Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments