Prayers at Mass revisited! Priestly Ponderings, back from the past!

Prayers at Mass revisited! Priestly Ponderings, back from the past!

Months ago, I wrote about some of my favorite prayers at mass the 1missalexemplify what we believe.  Even though I have to practice them and they don’t ever seem to roll of the tongue, they have some real beauty and meaning.

This next Sunday, being our Festival is a great coincidence as the prayer after communion for this week was one of the prayers I love.  It forced me to look deeper into the new prayers many years ago.  Since, that blog was in the early days and wasn’t read by very many, I decided to revisit this one.   I hope more read it and find my love for the prayer after communion this weekend.  Hopefully also an insight into the rest of the presidential prayers.  You need to read the blog however to see why.

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Hell, How can a loving God allow Hell to exist?

Hell, How can a loving God allow Hell to exist?

17411586-heaven-and-hell-devils-and-angels-good-or-bad-god-or-satan-road-sign-arrow-with-text-stock-photoI hear all the time, how can a loving God allow Hell to exist?  Easy, it has to exist.  So the shortest blog ever.

Not really, but that is the correct answer or there is no purpose to life.  We have to let kids make mistakes to learn.  I can remember a friend with a new baby letting her pull a place-mat off the table and all the stuff on it fell all over her daughter.  I asked, why didn’t you stop her.  She responded that she has almost pulled place-mats off the table many times with knives and glass on them, so she tried to set up a safe way for her to learn the consequences.  It worked, but we are not always that lucky.  We should learn by our mistakes.  And then there is free will!

Free will is the crux of this whole thing.  We have the Adam and Eve story explaining this to the generations.  God gave us free will and with that there has to be a hell.  What does life mean if we all end up in heaven?  If no matter what we do, without remorse, we still end up in heaven, why bother?

Another simple truth is the Cross.  What does the Cross mean without Hell?  Simple answer NOTHING!  So the fact the Jesus died for our sins is also proof that there has to be hell.  Why would an all knowing God go to such great lengths to show us the promise of salvation, if Hell were not a real option?  What would happen to the redemptive power of suffering or our own crosses if there is no Hell?

In Short;

If there is no Hell, we really don’t have free will and the Cross loses its meaning.  If we have free will and all end up in heaven, why bother, the end is the same.  The Cross is the ultimate sign of God’s redemptive Grace and why would God do that if the promise of Hell were not real?  For heaven to mean anything, Hell has to exist!  God doesn’t send us, we send ourselves.

Homily 25th Sunday Ordinary Time Sept 18th 2016

Homily 25th Sunday Ordinary Time Sept 18th 2016

The readings for today from the USCCB website are AM 8:4-7  PS 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8  1 TM 2:1-8 LK 16:1-13

The Gospel is troubling as the Steward cheats his master and is rewarded.  I never write out my homilies.  My process starts on Sunday and I read the readings for the next weekend, Monday and maybe Tuesday.  I just start praying with them and Wednesday we go through the readings with staff.  If I don’t have a direction by Thursday I start reading commentaries or like for readings like today, I read the commentaries a bit earlier.

That said my homily develops each time I give it.  Sometimes the first time is the best, sometimes the last, I never know.  I do know that at this point in my life, that I am able to let go and let the Spirit guide me.  Some days like today, what I think I am going to say and what comes out are very different.

Many people today asked for a copy, so here is my attempt to write what I preached this evening.  This extra step will probably really change tomorrows message.

Last Sunday I was watching some mindless TV, don’t ask I will not tell, and the door bell rings.  A priest friend was at the door.  He enters and I say, “I hope you are not here for money”!  My fiend laughed and wasn’t there for money, but lets say I don’t have nearly as much vodka as I did earlier that Sunday.  He sits down and says, so what are you preaching one next weekend?

Knowing I had read the readings and knew that the main point was a dishonest steward being rewarded for his stealing.  He offered to let me preach for him, but didn’t offer to take my masses.  I joined in on the second drink, to be polite that is.  As you know I rarely avoid the tough topics, but this week the Amos reading was looking more and more attractive and a Deacon mentioned that if I lost my voice that was his plan.  Then Wednesday with the staff I realized that I had to deal with this reading and its implications, especially in today’s world.

Long time ago, in a diocese that none of you would ever connect me with a local priest that probably has been dead for 10 to 30 years now came to confession.  He starts out that he wants me to hear is confession for two reasons.  First he said I seemed like a good young priest and he felt his confession would be a cautionary tail and second he didn’t want to confess to a priest he knew.  He confessed that he had stolen around $30,000 from the Church.

This was one of the senior iconic priests of the diocese I was visiting.  I of course didn’t respond and he continued, it started with a quarter for the Coke Machine, then it was $5.00 for lunch than $100 to help parishioners or help with bills.  It was never more than a hundred and at that rarely $100, but he added it up and he believed the total was around $30,000.

Who would ever fault you for a .25 for the parish Coke Machine?  I was a very poor priest in a poor parish he said.  He then said to me, no one would ever fault you for the .25, but that .25 changed me forever.  I lost a bit of my integrity till I was ok on occasion taking $100.   He told me, never cross that line, once you have crossed to is to easy to stay over there.

I remembered this guy reading these readings.  In the time of Jesus there were not credit cards or ATMs.  People either had a bunch of money or no money and those that had no money bartered things of value they produced for things others produced.  The servant had no skill like that, he had been in his master’s care.  His fate was sealed, he was getting fired and the option he had was to make deals at his masters expense.  That was his only way to survive.  The “praise” he gets is more like a back handed compliment, his fate was already sealed, he had crossed the line.

Like the priest, he probably started small and as he got away with it it grew until he lost his livelihood.  We do that too.  How many white lies have been told to ease a situation and only lead to bigger problems in the future?  Once we tell one lie the second one is so much easier.

The first reading is at a time in Israels history where everything was going well.  They had started to lose their need for God. They were crossing the line and Amos is calling them back before as we know the pendulum comes back and things are not as easy.  The second reading is also calling them back to the straight and narrow, to the one mediator and the Truth.

Life would be much easier if we lived in a black and white world, we don’t.  Just turn on the news and see all the tough choices people have to make. Today’s readings as a culmination of the previous weeks of readings are calling us to the straight and narrow path.  Warning us that if we allow the gray of the world to permeate our souls, we lose.  When it comes to that integrity of self, we have protect our integrity.  We have to live the life God has called us to!

The world may be full of gray, but our faith isn’t, we are entrusted with the bright white light of Christ to be kept burning brightly from our baptism.  We have that light to keep us from the darkness of sin.  In this world, we have to be that light of Christ.  We have to live with integrity, that is really all we have left in a world that has far too many shades of gray.

Be That light

With all the turmoil in this world, you have to leave here to day and be that light.  We have our ministry fair, go and sign up for any of our ministries to help the Church be the light that this world is in dire need of.

Live with Integrity

We have many tough choices, we have to live beyond reproach.  We have to be that pillar of truth.  It only took a quarter for this priest to change his destiny, stay on the side of the light and protect your integrity at all costs.  As I tell our kids, if you always tell the truth, you never have to remember the story you told, we have to also model that integrity for our kids to see it at work in our lives.

Mercy is our Cross

Mercy is our cross.

I have heard this a few times and it take me back each time.  Mercy is defined as compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.  That is according to Mr. Google.  How do you get from there to Mercy is our Cross.Year of Mercy

This tells me that I have to have power of the person to whom I show mercy, is that true?  I don’t think so.  I had a person in power over me that was trying to block something I desperately wanted and those around me were all in support of me doing.  This person was convinced that I was not supposed to follow path I was one and didn’t what what in his power to stop or at least slow process down.  This person had power over me.

I found myself getting very angry and spouting off at people who tried to tell me that things would happen in God’s time.  Exhaustion set in emotionally.  I had enough of this man’s apparent grudge and he wasn’t going to let go.  He never called me, he never wrote for clarification, just took a 20 year old idea of me and pushed forward.  Not a single person in my life thought it was fair or just.  My mood soured.

I saw what is now my Archbishop on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  He told me to pray and ask Mary for mercy.  I sort of heard him, but not till after Christmas and my mood was frazzled that I realized that realized I just had to pray for mercy for the person blocking me.  Every day I prayed for God’s Mercy.  I prayed that both of us would know God’s mercy.  After a few days of praying for this person, my anger dissipated, I found compassion and was truly open to God’s will working through his people.  Consequently and amazingly, a month later the long process was over.

Mercy goes both ways, to be merciful and just can be a cross, but our God and our Pope this year are calling us to Mercy.  It will change you.  Life is too short to allow things hampering the way God created us to be.

Show Mercy!  Mercy is our Cross!

Abortion in Faith! New amazingly evil ad in SA Express News!

Abortion in Faith!

A full page ad in today’s San Antonio “news” paper has an attractive woman in a bright red dress (or should it be blood red) proclaiming she believed in an Abortion in Faith.  Asking for equality for woman.  I realize that as someone in a position not open to woman, runs a great risk here, but I have no idea how abortion is an equality issue.  Unless things have really changed it takes both sexes to create new life, granted one does substantially more work!   More importantly, how can someone say anyone can have an abortion in faith.  Do she abort her faith first?

In my life so far, I have talked to at least 30 women that have had abortions, not one has ever tried to justify it as something good or something that changed their life for the better.  Some have even been non Catholics coming to me because they hoped I would understand how awful they felt.  As a guy, I will never know, but the raw pain these woman come in with is heart wrenching.

One woman was so upset at everyone telling her how brave she was and it was her choice when she realized that not one of the pro abortion people had ever had an abortion or knew anyone that had.  She wondered how they could fight for something they had no clue about and no clue of the damage that abortion caused emotionally to those that had them.

This election in my opinion shows that we have a great need to stand up and make a difference.  We need to be the light to the nations that the Gospel calls us to be, we need to react in a way that every person, Catholic or atheist will think twice about running an ad about being a prochoice Catholic.  I should say pro-abortion Catholic.

Abortion by Faith!  Catholic for Choice! Hell NO! Not in this life!

We are all pro-choice by birth.  God gave us free will to decide our own destiny.  We also have the divine imprint on our soul.  What are we doing with that?  How are we using the gifts we are born with and develop through over a decade of school to make this world a better place?

All of us, former fetuses, former unsustainable life again are Pro Choice by the fact of Free Will.  A gift from God that enables us to determine our own destiny.  By the very nature of the Gift, by the very sanctity of life it self our choice has to be LIFE!  Always, LIFE!

Click Link or Picture for other official responses

Texas Prelates Response

Link to Page
Knights of Columbus

Time for Everything even Mercy

There is a Time for everything even Mercy – Mercy revisited!

After the pilgrimage to Ireland post which was meant to go off schedule and then my Funny Marquee signs going early and another draft idea getting published.  I wanted to get caught up and a bit ahead.  I figured it was time to Visit another earlier post that didn’t get much traffic, but I feel could be used again.  So in this year of Mercy, we revisit Mercy, I say we, but only if you click the link!

Mercy Revisited

 

 

The Mass Part III

The Gifts

The Mass Part III is obviously the 3rd in a series of posts taking much of the information from a teaching mass and putting into written form.  You can click these links to see Part I and Part II.  I think the Mass Part III delves into a part of the Mass that we frequently buzz through and miss the importance of it.Universal Prayer of Church

After the homily we end up at the Profession of faith. Continue reading “The Mass Part III”

Funny Church Marquee Sign s

Funny Church Marquee Signs

I thought it was time for a laugh…

My sign now says as we have an uproar of the way the local school district is teaching Sex ed:

We teach our kids to pray!

A friend in Denver had a recurring one,

One week w/o Prayer makes one weak!

Others…  (Typed as they appeared)

Why didn’t Noah Swat the Mosquitoes?

Choose the bread of life or you are toast!

Honk if you love Jesus, Text while driving if you want to meet him.

Gotta see this one!  No way to write it out!

funny-church-signs-faith-church

To who ever stole my air conditioners, you are going to need them, God.

Congradulations Graduates

Do not criticize your wife’s judgement – see whom she married!

Do you know what Hell is?  Come Hear our Preacher!

From up north -> Too cold to change sign! Message inside.

Have to write this one as on sign:

Best Sausage Supper

In St Louis 

Come and Eat

Pastor Thomas Ressler

There are some questions that can’t be answered by Google

OUR PRAYERS ARE WITH THE BLACK FAMILY.  (I Hope the last name is Black)

And  Church trying to lose their tax exemption:

Go Bush Go

Praise the Lord

Pass the Ammo

God wants full custody, not just weekend visits.

Wisdom has too parts. 1 having a lot to say 2. not saying it

Revival Canceled due to DEATH.

Get behind me, SATIN!  (Sheets or PJ’s)

Don’t be so open minded your brains might fall all!

Finally this one needs a visual:
churchsnowsign