Current Status: Regular Schedule

ADORATION CHAPEL: 

Regular Schedule Is:

Open: Sundays 12:00 PM – Thursdays 11:59 PM Fridays 9:00 AM – Saturdays 9:00 AM.

Closed: Fridays 12:00 AM – Fridays 9:00 AM and Saturdays 9:00 AM – Sundays 12:00 PM

CHURCH OFFICES:

Holiday closings:

  • July 3, 2015 (Independence Day)

  • September 7, 2015 (Labor Day)

  • November 26 – 27, 2015 (Thanksgiving)

  • December 24, 2015 – January 1, 2016 (Christmas Holiday)

  • March 25, 2016 (Good Friday)

  • March 28, 2016 (Easter)

  • May 30, 2016 (Memorial Day)

Ave Maria Radio clips about the Protestant Reformation

The following segments are from Ave Maria Radio about the Protestant Reformation, broadcast this year:

OCT 17-Hour 2 – “Meet the Heroes of the Reformation (2 segments)” (Phillip Campbell): https://avemariaradio.net/audio-archive/kresta-afternoon-october-17-2017-hour-2/.

OCT 3-Hour 2 – “Heroes of the Catholic Reformation: Saints Who Renewed the Church” (Joseph Pearce): https://avemariaradio.net/audio-archive/catholic-connection-october-3-2017-hour-2/.

SEP 21-Hour 1 – “How the Reformation Rebelled Against Luther (full hour)”:  https://avemariaradio.net/audio-archive/kresta-afternoon-september-21-2017-hour-1/.

SEP 21-Hour 2 – “Kresta News Roundup – The Reformation and Christian Unity”: https://avemariaradio.net/audio-archive/kresta-afternoon-september-21-2017-hour-2/.

SEP 13-Hour 2: “Luther, the Pope and the Reformations – Questions you never thought to ask (full hour)”: https://avemariaradio.net/audio-archive/kresta-afternoon-september-13-2017-hour-2/.

May 24-Hour 2 – “The Reformation: The Most Significant Event of the Millennium”: https://avemariaradio.net/audio-archive/kresta-in-the-afternoon-may-24-2017-hour-2/.

May 18-Hour 1 – “Why did the Reformation Happen?”: https://avemariaradio.net/audio-archive/kresta-afternoon-may-18-2017-hour-1/.

May 9-Hour 1 – “Tour the Sites where the Reformations Began (2 segments)”: https://avemariaradio.net/audio-archive/kresta-afternoon-may-9-2017-hour-1/.

APR 26-Hour 1 – “Kresta Comments: Was the Reformation a Success?” & “Catholics and Protestants – What Can We Learn From Each Other? (2 segments)”: https://avemariaradio.net/audio-archive/kresta-afternoon-april-26-2017-hour-1/.

When you get any Archived “Kresta in the Afternoon” program on your screen, when you click on a segment name (it begins with a plus-sign) the window expands, giving more information about the guest & the topic.  Also within that segment window which opened, you should find another sound bar.  That sound bar is that particular interview separated from the rest of the program, to make it easier to find the interview.

Video

A Guru or Jesus Father Joseph-Marie Verlinde

September 24, 2017

JMJ

This Friday is the feast day of the Holy Archangels. Although there are many angelic traditions coming from many different faiths throughout history, we will limit our comments to our own Catholic tradition. It comes from Scripture, both Old and New Testament, and is supplemented by various angel stories that have come down to us through the years.

We typically refer to the big three: Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael. Sometimes, a fourth archangel, Uriel, gets mentioned. He’s in the Old Testament book of Ezra. In the Book of Tobit, the archangel Raphael introduces himself and says he is one of seven. Gabriel and Michael get mentioned in Daniel but also make appearances in the New Testament. Gabriel, of course, is the one who visited with Mary to give her a message, the good news of her being chosen to be the mother of God. I think it’s also Gabriel that visits with Joseph in a dream and with John the Baptist’s dad, Zechariah, to give him the bad news that he would be struck dumb for not believing the angelic message.

Michael, in the Hebrew language means “Who is like God?” or “Who is equal to God?”. St. Michael has been depicted from earliest Christian times as a commander who holds in his right hand a spear with which he attacks Lucifer/Satan, and in his left hand a green palm branch. At the top of the spear is a linen ribbon with a red cross. The Archangel Michael is especially considered to be the Guardian of Christians and a fighter against heresies. The most famous mention of him is in the Book of Revelation, chapter 12, where he is depicted as being in battle with the dragon, the ancient serpent, the devil and Satan. There are many artistic depictions of him defeating the devil, including the one here in our church. There are also many churches and shrines dedicated to him, perhaps the most famous being Mont-Saint-Michel off the coast of France.

The prayer we pray to St. Michael after Mass came to us from Pope Leo XIII in the late 19th century after he was granted a terrifying vision of Satan being given power to tempt the world for a period of 100 years. The Pope ordered that the prayer be prayed after every Mass throughout the world, and it was. I remember it from childhood. But, after some time it got put on the back shelf. In recent times, however it has reappeared; I think, in many cases, beginning with 9/11, 2001. It was already in place when I arrived here at Holy Spirit 10 years ago.

As we reflect upon this past century, more significantly in recent days, it becomes ever more apparent of the need to pray for protection by the Angels, and as the St. Michael prayer says, he is “The Prince of the Heavenly Host”.

Beginning next week, I’ve decided we will say the prayer to St. Michael at the beginning of Mass; we are already doing it at the weekday school Masses. The reasoning behind this is to, hopefully, thwart off any evil doers (like what happened last year to Fr. Jacques Hamel in France), particularly during the Holy Mass.

O, BTW, there is another great story involving the Prince of Angels that came out of the Korean War. Check it out. It’s sure to bring a tear to your eye. You can Google it. The story is titled, “Incredible Miracle: U.S. Marine Saved by Saint Michael”.

The prayer from that story is the one that follows. You can add this to your repertoire of angel prayers.

Michael, Michael of the morning,
Fresh chord of Heaven adorning,
Keep me safe today,
And in time of temptation
Drive the devil away.

Amen.

Next week will celebrate our guardian angels  and,  of course,  many  of  us grew up reciting this prayer:

Angel of God, my Guardian dear,
To whom God’s love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side,
To light, to guard, to rule and guide.

 At some point in my adult life I was given this addendum to the angel prayer from my friend Fr. James Downey, a Benedictine monk.

“Oh holy patron pray for me, teach me ever to follow thee.”

Amen

~Fr. John

Addenda: 

Prayers to the archangels are certainly a big part of our Sts. Simon and Jude Healing/Deliverance Ministry, particularly the prayer to St. Michael. A reminder that we now have a number of prayer cards at the back of the church that are there for your use. It is a “Customized” prayer to St. Michael to be prayed by parents over their family for deliverance from demonic influence. I’m hearing good reports about the success of this prayer.

Did you know that we have pillowcases in our bookstore / gift shop, one of which is Saint Michael the Archangel?  I personally think this would be a great gift idea for our teens, reminding them to pray it before they go to bed.

And on the feast of the Archangels (September 29), my dad would have been 100 years old. He was born during the time of the Bolshevik revolution which began Communism, World War I was winding down, and the Miracle at Fatima was only two weeks away. Fr. J

 

September 17, 2017

JMJ

I hope some of you were able to join us for The Knights of Columbus Breakfast this Sunday morning. We Knights are an organization of Catholic men, along with the support of their families, who are social, patriotic, and service oriented. It’s an international organization that was founded in the 19th century by an American priest, Fr.  Michael McGivney from Connecticut.

The “K of C ” has accomplished many great things over the years. Locally, they have supported seminarians (myself included), provided assistance for the poor and marginalized, supported youth activities, purchased ultrasound machines for pregnancy help clinics, and helped our church in many different ways. In addition, the Knights were instrumental in getting Columbus Day designated a national holiday and were also influential in adding the words “under God” to our Pledge of Allegiance.

You may have heard that our namesake, Christopher Columbus, the great Italian explorer, has been getting a pretty bad rap lately. In fact, there has been a movement afoot for quite some time now to no longer celebrate Columbus Day, maybe even to remove his statue from public squares. Many maintain that he and all those who followed him were a bunch of scoundrels who mistreated the indigenous peoples,  brought diseases with them, and forced Christianity down their throats.* In addition, there is also evidence that he was not the first one to discover North America. The Scandinavians claim that they arrived much earlier by way of the north, advancing as far as the area we now call Minnesota.

I can’t dispute these claims, but I can say that those who protest a bit too much, about this and many other things, are all too often quite shortsighted, choosing to cling to their own “myths” while condemning those of others.

A few nights ago I listened to an interesting discussion on EWTN between Raymond Arroyo and Bill Donohue of The Catholic League. Bill is a scholarly guy who looks deeply into questions like these and makes sure that everybody is exposed to all the facts, and to a hopefully more balanced perspective. One of the points that he made was that nobody is innocent; everybody comes with a history (to put it biblically, “all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God”). So then, he said, why not celebrate history for what it is; history, truthfully, honestly, with all of its blemishes, be it good or bad?

I don’t know if Robert E. Lee had slaves, but I do know that Thomas Jefferson did, and he even fathered a child with one of them. Will they, that is the mob of protesters, next demand that the Jefferson Memorial be dismantled? And how about many of our country’s other dignitaries, politicians, presidents, generals, and yes, even some very prominent religious civil-rights leaders? Many of them had secret lives that were not very commendable.

And as badly as the indigenous peoples were treated in the early years of our country, we should not forget how badly they treated each other. The Aztecs used to sacrifice their slaves by the thousands to their pagan gods by cutting out their still-beating hearts. The Spanish conquistadors, accompanied by Franciscan missionary priests and with a lot of help from The Lady of Guadalupe, brought that ghastly practice to an end and introduced Christian values to the New World. And at least we Catholics still think that was a good thing to do.

Yes, indeed, we are in politically correct times, but we can look forward to Jesus sorting this all out when He comes again. And I’m thinking that more and more people are now wondering if that is going to be sometime soon.

But remember this, when that Great and Terrible day comes, the secrets of everyone’s heart will be made manifest for all to see.

*The Catholic priest/historian Bartolomé de las Casas wrote of these things back in Columbus’s times.

~Fr. John

Addenda:

Congratulations to all-around-good-guy, Chuck Dumiller (pictured above), for being this year’s recipient of the Stella Maris Award.

We had a great picnic last week. Thanks for coming, everyone. Thank you, Jesus, for the wonderful weather. And thank you Bev St. Thomas and crew (including our Parish Council members) for all the hard work that went into making this such a special event.

Our Knights of Columbus council are currently recruiting new members. If you are interested, please talk to a Knight at the breakfast or drop in on a meeting the first Wednesday of the month. Fr. J

September 10, 2017

TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

JMJ

With Labor Day come and gone, summer is unofficially over. Family vacations are complete, the kids are back in school, and we look forward to this final stretch of Ordinary Time leading up to Advent.

This will be a pretty busy month for celebrating feast days of Mary and some popular saints; Padre Pio and St. Vincent DePaul among them. And, of course, this Monday we will remember that tragic Tuesday in September of 2001. And then, at the end of the month, we will be recalling the feast of the archangels, Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael, followed shortly thereafter by the guardian angels, those messengers that Jesus said constantly “look upon the face of the Father”.

I was reminded of the angels last week at the air show at Willow Run Airport. I went with Fr. Lobert and we ran into many of you as well. Most of us were guests of parishioner/aviator, Tony Pequeño, who works the C-47 exhibit of the Yankee Air Force and provided us with many free tickets.

I think that many people have a love of airplanes and flying. I know Fr. Richard and I both do. Father was a licensed pilot for a few years, and I at least soloed (at Willow Run) and got my ‘cross-country’ requirements in before having my flying career interrupted by a “higher” calling.

But I  have always enjoyed the bird’s-eye view of earth from airplanes, sometimes letting my imagination get the better of me, seeing the landscapes below more like an angel might.

Many of you who are my age might remember back in the day when, at the end of the TV broadcast day, they would sometimes play a video called High Flight. It was based on a poem by a WWII aviator named John McGee, Jr. who died in a mid-air crash over England in 1941. I sometimes read it at funerals of individuals who had a love of flying. It might be good to read on the feast of the archangels.

“O, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds,  and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of. Wheeled and soared and swung,
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
 
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.”

 ~Fr. John

 

Addenda:

Our new Business Manager, Mike Kanny, started last week. He comes to us with 37 years of experience at Ford Motor Co and has been very active at Holy Spirit the past 12 years having served on the Finance Council and School Advisory Board along with being a school parent. Please stop by to give him a warm welcome!

I look forward to seeing all of you at our Parish Picnic this Sunday at noon.

Fr. J

 

September 3, 2017

TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

JMJ

The verses in the box below reportedly were written on the wall of Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta, India, and are widely attributed to her.


People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.

Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.

Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.

Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.

Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.

Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.

Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.

Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.

Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.

It was never between you and them anyway.


Some sources say that the words were found on the wall in her own room. In any case, their association with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity has made them popular worldwide, expressing as they do the spirit in which they lived their lives.

They seem to be based on a composition called The Paradoxical Commandments, originally penned by Dr. Kent Keith, who wrote them when he was still a college student. In the Mother Teresa version, much of the second half has been re-written in a more spiritual way. I decided to include these here today because every now and then I think it could be helpful for people on both sides of the fence (if you know what I mean).

My comments about vocations at the end of Mass a few weeks ago were reflective of my feelings about individuals in our world who are the naysayers and purveyors of fear and negativity.

Negative comments frequently come to me indirectly as rumors, but sometimes more directly as with letters found on my office door- signed and unsigned.

The most recent piece of mail was actually an article from the local newspaper. Apparently some young fellow exposed himself to a girl in the park not too far from us. The comment attached to the article was, “I hope this kid doesn’t learn about our ‘Trinity Trail’ prayer path”. Well, I presume this person’s concerns about safety would naturally extend to the retreat house idea as well. But my question for this concerned individual would be if it also extends even further to Eucharistic Adoration. Every hour on the hour for over 15 years now individuals have come to our church in the dark hours of the night, often by themselves, to do adoration. To the best of my knowledge, nobody has ever been assaulted, insulted, raped, murdered, molested, mugged or even “mooned”.

Nevertheless, if there’s anybody out there who feels we should discontinue Eucharistic Adoration between dusk and dawn, please make your feelings known at a Parish Council meeting and we will discuss it at length.

I have always had an open-door policy and yes, some people do come and talk to me personally. My door is always open to discuss any of your concerns and I try to be as gracious as I can, but in the case of unsigned letters I think it’s fair that the concerns expressed therein may be discussed publicly.

~Fr. John

Addenda:

Please join us at Mass this coming Tuesday night on the Feast day of St. Teresa of Calcutta.

I am also looking forward to seeing you at our Parish Picnic next Sunday, especially those of you who have not ever been to one—please come! Join us!

The men of Holy Spirit Parish are invited to join the men of St. Mary’s in Pinckney on their annual Retreat at St. Paul of the Cross in Detroit on Sep. 22-24. If interested or for more info, call Dale Pepper 734-878-9454 or Kevin Wiley 517-219-7112.  Fr. J

August 27, 2017

TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

JMJ

Because I wanted to ‘sermonize’ about something other than the readings today, I thought that I would say something about them here. Actually, the Matthew 16 passage is one of my favorites. It talks about the apostle/fisherman, Simon, son of John, as our first pope. The way the scene unfolds, I think, is fascinating, and reflects the eternal planning of heaven in preparing for this high office in the Church.

In the first reading from the Old Testament, Isaiah speaks about that office being taken away from someone and given to another. This passage demonstrates the layers of meaning that Bible stories can have. It had a particular meaning for the first audience, but it also has a meaning for those of us in the New Testament era, as well. The authority of those teaching from the ‘Seat of Moses’ has been replaced by the authority of the one sitting in the ‘Chair of Peter’. By their rejection of Jesus, the Jewish people relinquished their first place as ‘the chosen people’ of God so that the foreigners, (remember I spoke about them last week-as us) might be grafted into the family of God.

Now having been a high-school shop teacher, I have always seen Jesus as taking his students, the apostles, on a field trip so as to make a specific point and to teach a particular lesson. He took them well north of Galilee to Caesarea Philippi to experience something special. They were standing there at the foot of a giant rock upon which was built a temple to a pagan god. It was there that Jesus posed the big question and got the big answer. “Who do you say that I am?” he asked his students. Simon raised his hand, (and maybe jumped up and down a little bit) and said “I know, I know. You’re the Messiah.” Jesus commended him for the correct answer, but told him he got some help. God the Father in heaven had whispered the answer in his ear (so to speak).

And Jesus went on to give authority to Simon and even changed his name. He changed it to Cephas, which means rock in Aramaic. That was eventually translated into Greek and we know it now, in English, as Peter.

And Jesus said, presumably in contrast to the pagan temple up on the top of that rocky mount, that “upon this rock” -namely Simon Peter- He would build His church.

And he did. And in 2000 years, the gates of hell have not prevailed against it.

If you ever go to Rome and visit the church named after Saint Peter, plan ahead and try to go on The Scavi Tour. It takes you directly below the altar which is directly below the dome, to the reputed tomb of Peter, The Rock. The guides invariably conclude their tour by commenting that what was just seen and experienced should give new meaning to the passage from Matthew, chapter 16. “Upon this Rock I will build My Church!”

~Fr. John

 

Addenda:

Welcome back to our students as we begin our 2017/18 School year, and a special welcome to all of our new families.

Remember that new Mass times (8am) start Wednesday (through Friday) with the first school Mass on August 30th.

Please come to the parish picnic on September 10, preceded by the Rosary at the Serenity Court.

Remember that our second Saturday movie is The Case for Christ (in Blu-ray HiDef with surround sound). Attendance is mandatory. Pizza, pop and popcorn will be available. Fr. J

 

 

August 20, 2017

TWENTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

JMJ

This year, from May to October, we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. The Blessed Mother asked the three shepherd children to always come on the 13th of the month where she would appear to them above a small oak tree at a place called the Cova da Iria, which they faithfully did. The August apparition, however, did not happen because the children had been thrown in jail. Publicity about their special encounter had grown, much to the consternation of the authorities. The government of Portugal was anti-church at the time, and arrested the children and tried to force them to recant their testimony. They did this with threats of boiling them in oil, but the children were courageous and steadfast in sticking to their story. Meanwhile, back at the Cova, The Lady made her presence known subtly to those who had gathered. No one could see her, but there were indicators that she was there. Several days later, on the 19th of the month, having been released from jail, the children did receive a belated visit from the Mother of God, along with a message for the world. And the message was that they should pray much and offer sacrifice for sinners. The children were very faithful to this request in that they said the rosary daily and offered various mortifications for the sinners of the world.

Little Jacinta, the youngest of the three, actually had to be advised to ease up and not afflict herself so much; so seriously she had taken the Mother’s admonition.

Aside from the messages of Fatima, the courage and determination of these three children should be a great inspiration to the rest of us. If we are honest with ourselves, we would have to admit that the major concern of our day is to seek the path of least resistance, with the least amount of discomfort. This is all natural, of course, but we should be reminded that Jesus, and all who would be his disciples, are called to be “signs of contradiction” in the world. This means the daily “taking up the cross” that Jesus told us about. And this could be something as simple as saying a Hail Mary, or 50 of them, as in praying a rosary.

And so, this summer anniversary serves as a necessary reminder of what was asked of us believers 100 years ago by Mary, our sister, who became our mother.

~Fr. John

Addenda: 

Whew, we had quite a busy time around the Parish last week, and there’s still more to come as the summer winds down. We can look forward to the Labor Day weekend, the opening of the new school year, and our Parish Picnic on September 10th.

I still have some tickets for anybody who wants to go to the air show at Willow Run. It’s a three day event on Labor Day weekend, sponsored by the Yankee Air Museum, and it’s called Thunder Over Michigan. Thanks again to Tony Pequeño for his generosity in providing the tickets.

One of my practices when doing weddings is to take the first picture of the new bride and groom. This is parishioner Emma and her new husband Dominic, who were married at Old St. Patrick Church last Saturday.

And to the left are parishioners Rob and Jill and their children caught reading their bulletin in Poland.

And speaking of bulletins, some have accused me of “doctoring up” the picture of me reading the bulletin in last week’s edition. Well, (maybe) it was just one of those …..”coincidences”.  Fr. J

 

 

August 13, 2017

JMJ

Sometimes I think I spend more time channel surfing than actually watching full TV shows. Maybe it has to do with the dearth of good programming these days. But in any case, sometimes I stumble upon something that is very interesting. Take, for instance, last Sunday evening. I caught a little bit of the American Ninja Warrior TV show. Now you have to admit, it’s pretty fascinating to watch these young, and sometimes not so young, men and women competing with each other on those incredibly difficult and challenging obstacle courses. It’s exciting and nerve-racking, and even exhausting just watching them.

The competitors can be very diverse; an interesting collection of characters who portray themselves in some unusual ways. My timing in tuning in was perfect – the competitor being introduced was wearing a warm-up jacket that had what looked like the Papal insignia; the Pope’s coat-of-arms! It was Sean Bryan, a young man from California who is very Catholic and not the least bit shy about sharing his faith publicly. In fact, as part of his introduction, they ran a video clip about him and his private life. It showed him at his work with the Salesians, interacting with priests and religious, and even praying before the Blessed Sacrament. And during the actual competition it became very apparent that he was praying his way through it. I should add that he completed his course successfully and will move on to the next competition in Las Vegas, which, incidentally, is referred to as “sin city”.

At one point, Sean had entered formation to become a priest but eventually redirected, at least for now, to pursue other goals while still remaining very, very close to his faith and the religious community where he works. In a recent interview with Word-On-Fire Ministries, he admits that his life as a competitor serves as an evangelistic tool. His mission in competing is to bring his faith into the public arena, and to show that faith in God is cool and that it should be celebrated. He even used the term “intentional discipleship”, and I would say that he is very intentional in what he is trying to do on behalf of the kingdom.

You can find the full interview very easily by just googling “papal  ninja”.

I hope you enjoyed your time with Fr. Nduka last week. I thought he was not only a very bright and interesting young man, but also quite holy as well. Before he left, we went to the Heavenly Cruz Car Show where he had his picture taken with a very interesting automobile. Not only that, he got a short ride in it as well. It was very loud. As he was about to leave, he fell to his knees there in the field, and asked for my blessing.

God bless Father and his work with the St. Paul Mission Society. And I’m going to make a prediction. Someday, he will be a bishop. Any further donations to Father’s missionary order can be sent to MSP missions Missionary Society of St. Paul PO Box 300145 Houston, TX 77230–0145.

~Fr. John

Addenda:    

Next week is the Bishop’s dinner for potential seminarians. Are any of you young men interested? Have any of you parents, or grandparents, or friends extended an invitation to a good young man to at least consider the possibility?

You remember a few months ago that there was a movie, based on a book called The Case for Christ. The movie is going to be released on DVD this week. We have pre-ordered a copy and intend to show it at the September movie night. I want you all to see it. Period.

The Feast of the Assumption of Mary into heaven is Tuesday. It’s one of those holy days of opportunity.

 

August 6, 2017

FROM THE DESK OF DEACON GERALD BRENNAN

Traditionally, we especially honor God the Father on the first Sunday of August. Sometimes I think we parents have a particular burden because our children, the next generation, in some way shape or form sees the Father through our parenting skills and weaknesses.

In past homilies, I have mentioned the distorted view of fatherhood that one could see with the young men at Maxey Boys Training School or working with recovering addicts; sometimes their view of their father provides an image of a harsh, unforgiving parent and we end up assuming that the Father, the Father we all share, is distant and cruel.

This concern can be compounded if we have a childish perspective of God the Father; if we see Him as some sort of “sugar daddy” who gives us whatever we ask for rather than what we need or what is good for us.

Jesus comes in large part to model what the appropriate relationship should be between a loving child and a loving Father. He does this in many ways. First, He establishes that He is the Messiah, the Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity. Without establishing this foundation, if He were just a good preacher to some extent, we could take or leave His message. When Jesus says “I AM”, the name that God gives as His own when speaking with Moses, Jesus leaves us only two choices – He is either crazy or He is God. As Paul says, the Resurrection is proof that Jesus is who He says He is. It is proof that He is the Christ. If we try to look at the Father as Jesus teaches us, maybe our view will not be as distorted by imperfect parents.

Jesus teaches us that the Father is a God of mercy. He heals, He calls the blind, the lame, the deaf. He expels demons. He eats with tax collectors and prostitutes. He heals on the Sabbath because the Sabbath is made for man not man for the Sabbath. He is obedient unto death. He is one with the Father.

Some say that the God of the New Testament is different than the God of the Old Testament; more forgiving and loving. It would be more accurate to say that we get a different understanding of the Father’s mercy in the New Testament. Reread the Old Testament in light of the New, the Covenantal Love of the Father for us, the Father who is always true to His promise and to His truth no matter how many times we turn away from Him and fall. We see someone who is not harsh, but is merciful.

If we look at the many parables in the Gospels this summer, we also see a God who wants a relationship with mature children. There will be a judgement, the weeds will be separated from the wheat, those who do not provide a rich home for the Word will wither, the bad fish will not be kept at the harvest.

The Father loves us, He really does. No matter how many times we make mistakes, He will accept us back. This love, the Kingdom, is the pearl of great price.  We should sell all that we have for this relationship.

We should strip away our own pride and anger to provide the same relationship with family members who are estranged. Remember as Jesus told us at the Last Supper, I have given you a model to follow.

~Dcn. Jerry

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