Monday, November 28, 2016

A Fresh Start

     There is a great tendency in our lives to run from one thing to the next, to seek after the novelty, the new thing of the day, or to wander aimlessly in life.  Our reason to be is all too often rooted in the fleeting.  There are occasions when we follow a particular way for awhile, resolving to "stay on course" [ as a new subscriber to Netflix, I have spent my free first month committed to watching past seasons of two tv shows that I never watched before - five seasons of the one and now three of the other - so that I can be caught up ].  But even with that I will lose interest and move on to something else, which is okay, since I have a clear idea of my reason to be, and it is not founded on being current with tv programs or the latest things.

     The season of Advent began yesterday with a call to commitment, perseverance and vigilance on our quest toward our ultimate goal, not a thing or experience or hope, but rather the concrete reality of a life giving relationship to Jesus Christ.  In that relationship we are embraced by the Father of all creation and possess the Spirit of love that belongs to the Children of God.  It has been revealed to us that the Father has chosen us to be his own. He has called us to life and holiness.  And when we struggled to find our way, he sent his Son, Jesus, as friend and brother, to show us the way home.  Jesus came in time, born in Bethlehem of Judea two thousand years ago, taught us, healed us, loved us, and died for us so that we may live.  He gave us his Spirit as our strength, and his Church as our family, and a promised return as our hope.

     Advent reminds us to renew our journey toward Christ.  We are to prepare to celebrate his birth those many years ago, but we are more importantly to welcome him each morning, actually each moment, into the depth of our hearts.  And we are to ready ourselves for that moment of encounter when he comes at the end of time to walk us into the promise of an eternity of joy and gladness.  He will come in glory to judge each of us and all of humanity with an embrace of love.  Advent reminds us that our daily journey is a pilgrimage to the mountain of the Lord, and that his Spirit is our strength and his Church is the rope line, the thread, that makes sure that we do not lose our way. 

     May this Advent be a time of renewal and blessing, and a source of peace.

     Our bishop, Bishop Edward Malesic, is on facebook, and his reflection yesterday was great.  Check him out - Bishop Ed Malesic - on fb.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanks for Giving

     On this Thursday morning, November 24th, we are into our Thanksgiving Day celebrations.  Many of our parish family joined me at morning Mass to celebratre Eucharist, our greatest act of thanksgiving as members of the Body of Christ.  Along with our morning prayers, it is a wonderful way of beginning the day, and of celebrating this National Holiday.  The parades are on tv (90 years for Macy's), turkeys are in the oven and foods are being prepared, families will be gathering to break bread, to share fellowship, to watch football or holiday programs, and to ready ourselves for shopping.  We will be tempted to binge, but hopefully we will do everything in moderation.  And most especially we will pause somewhere during the day or before digging in to give thanks to the Lord, personally and as family, for His countless blessings.

     Our reason to do so is rooted in a deep seeded need, one that we may not even be aware of ... to give thanks to God for his countless gifts of love and of his infinite goodness.  Our prayer is that our hearts be open to have, as the Collect of this day says, "concern for every man, woman, and child".  The proper Preface of the day reminds us that with the gifts of God given to us comes a responsibility and commitment to think of others, to advance their dignity, and to share with them "the good things of time and eternity".

      One of my personal practices and traditions is to express my gratitude to people, to say "thanks".  I thank the people at Mass for their attendance and prayers, and often hear people say "you don't need to thank me for being here ... it is what I want to do or it is my responsibility".  But I take nothing for granted, and I want them to know that they are a gift to the Church and to me.  Saying thanks is such a little thing, yet such a powerful recognition of how aware I am of the blessing that have come my way.  And those blessing originate with our loving Heavenly Father.

     The ads for St. Jude's Hospital are a great reminder to "Give Thanks" for all of our blessings.  Our Diocese has a Thanksgiving message that highlights the lessons learned and the love shared in this past Year of Mercy - the theme of which is "Thanks for Giving".  And the conscious awareness of just how loved and blessed we are and how much the world needs reassurance of that love and care of God, prompts us give of ourselves for the glory of God.

     HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all on this day ... and THANK YOU for your Faith, Hope and Love shared with me and with your sisters and brothers.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A milestone for this blog

     Recently JOURNEY THOUGHTS has reached another milestone - surpassing the 100,000 pageview mark.  The count as of this moment stands at 100,425.  As I have mentioned before, this author is astounded and humbled at the number of readers, frequent and occasional, that have surveyed the sight over these years.  I often encounter readers in the most unusual of circumstances telling me of their loyal following of this blog.  To all who have sought out these thoughts, thank you!