From the Pastor

For Whatever You Want

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

Throughout my years of ministry, in places near and far, always I come to a place of amazement when persons in trouble, grieving, in need, and broken in spirit find consolation in hearing the 23rd Psalm. For thousands of years this has been true, even to this very time. The imagery is antiquated, the meaning ever new.

The great Jewish King David, author of many of the Psalms and the author of Psalm 23, was once a shepherd boy. In this Psalm, he places the image of the shepherd at the center of his prayer and casts God in the role of Shepherd: “The Lord is my Shepherd.” The opening line is so familiar that when I quoted it at Sunday Masses, the congregation quickly recited the subsequent line using the most popular translation: “There is nothing I shall want.”

The Psalm continues on with the image of each of us as a sheep and God as our Shepherd. David, in a most profound and simple way, outlines a simple yet complete set of circumstances that address our human journey and needs. Our physical needs are well cared for: “green pastures and still waters.” Our very beings are refreshed and restored, and our direction in the journey made right: “He restores my soul. He guides me along right paths.”

Even in dangerous times, we are freed from fear because of the presence of the watchful, able Shepherd: “Though I walk in the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for You are with me.” Accompanied by The Shepherd, the journey holds amazing promise of blessings and even reconciliation with foes: “You set a table – perhaps even for my enemies to join me and my cup overflows.”

David concludes this prayer with an absolute profession in his belief in God’s loving care for him – and for us as we pray, “Indeed goodness and mercy surround me all the days of my life – and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” The simplicity of Psalm 23 almost obscures how very sublime it is. The prayer speaks to the depths of the human heart.

While the popularity of the Psalm is widespread, it seems that the actual appropriation of the Psalm is very limited. By that I mean so many of us are fraught with the challenges of everyday life and have a sense of the heaviness of living. The worries and the stress, the long hours of work and planning, the saving and earning, the struggle to be healthy and finally to find happiness are part of the life of us all. Some of the younger members of the community feel this more intensely than others, for no one is exempt from the challenges of life.

So how can it be that we profess, “The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want”, but are not able to hold on to this reality in the midst of our struggles? Where is the disconnect?

It seems our faith and our prayers are put aside when we step into the reality of our lives. And yet it is precisely there in the come-day go-day movement of our lives that our faith is most needed. If, in those difficult moments, we embrace and internalize the actual meaning of the psalm, then we will truly feel and comprehend what it means to have the Lord as my Shepherd and to want for nothing.

And we will understand why Psalm 23 has been loved and prayed for so many centuries.

Fr. Ronan

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 16/17, 2021

In today’s Gospel Jesus teaches his disciples that whoever wishes to be great among
them must be a servant, just as he came to be a servant. Good stewards know that their
“greatness” is found in God, and is affirmed by a serving heart, a Spirit-filled life, a
humble walk and a commitment to acting in ways that glorify God.
The “greatness” we feel about ourselves is rooted in a proper view of God in our lives and a proper view of
our place in creation. It is from here that we derive our sense of identity and our belief
that human life is particularly valuable. Not to be a servant of the Gospel and others would be poor stewardship.
In what ways do we serve the Gospel in our daily lives?

A Force For Good

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

When a young mother and her three children moved Charlestown, her four year-old was shocked by the change of scenery. Their new apartment had two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a living room. Their last home was a shelter. They were happy to find a home but faced a serious problem: they didn’t own a single piece of furniture, not even a mattress, and lacked the money to buy any. This is one of the many scenarios that the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, a quiet force for good in our community for 138 years, addresses in their work among the poor.

Saint Vincent de Paul built a network of missions and confraternities for those in need beginning in the 1600s. His foundation for a global charity system now operates in 142 countries. In America, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul comes to the aid of millions of people. Vincentians hail from all walks of life and work for a noble purpose: in addressing the needs of the poor both spiritually and materially, they see the face of Christ.

Father John Williams brought the Conference of St. Vincent de Paul to Boston in 1861. The Society flourished over the city when Fr. Williams became bishop. Charlestown had the benefit of three conferences, one for every church. Each group was operated by dedicated laypersons and relied upon the donations of parishioners. St. Mary’s Conference—which runs in our parish today—began in 1876 under the auspices of Msgr. McMahon.

Through the donations received they were able to supply shoes for children and offer food to the unemployed. Vincentians respond to a variety of issues throughout Charlestown every week. Some need help with rent, utilities, and furniture. Society members engage by listening to their stories, determining their living situation, and assisting in whatever way they can.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society also has a furniture warehouse in Stoughton. Financial donations from our parishioners allow our local Conference to purchase needed items from their warehouse and have them delivered to local residents. Without donations to the St. Mary Conference of the Society, this assistance would not be possible. Please prayerfully consider placing a donation in one of our StVdP collection boxes found in back of the Church, or sending a donation earmarked for St. Vincent de Paul, to our Parish Center at 46 Winthrop Street.

We should strive to keep our hearts open to the sufferings and wretchedness of other people, and pray continually that God may grant us that
spirit of compassion which is truly the spirit of God.”
— St. Vincent de Paul

Fr. Ronan had spine surgery on Friday, September 24th and is progressing in his healing.
Please keep him in your prayers for a full recovery and a speedy return to the Parish life he loves so well.

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 9/10, 2021

Jesus offers a hard lesson regarding wealth and possessions in today’s Gospel.
The rich man whom he encountered could not part with his possessions as a condition to becoming a disciple of Jesus.
Would our response be the same as the rich man?
Do we place our trust in our money and possessions instead of trusting in God’s generosity?
Do we seek security in our possessions?
Good stewards realize that their possessions must not possess them, lest those possessions block their relationship with the Lord.

Faithful

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

Winter in Andahuaylas means a deep and dry cold that only diminishes as the brilliant Andean sun rises and blesses the landscape with warmth and light. It was July, and I had been at the parish there for only six weeks. I arrived by bus after two days of travelling from Lima. The air is thin and the altitude is around 8,500 feet above the Pacific coast. The entire reality was beyond anything I had ever known or imagined.

At 7 o’clock morning Mass began, and I arrived each day around 6:30. Slowly the parishioners would come into the darkened church building, shuffling in sandals made from old truck tires, warmly wrapped in ponchos. Some women carried a child or two. Many were elderly, and women always wore their hats with long braided hair flowing behind. They are a beautiful people, these Peruvians, whose ancestors have lived in these regions for countless generations.

Each day in a few benches in front of me, an elderly woman would slowly come down the aisle saying her prayers and sit down. Very shortly after, an old dog would sort of tip-toe down the aisle and go to her. She would immediately shoo the dog away. The dog would obey, sort of, for he would simply step back and lie down under the bench behind her. I watched this game go on for months until one day the woman did not arrive.

Later that day, I heard she was ill and shortly after we celebrated her funeral. A few days passed, and one morning I sat in the half-light of the dawn in the church when I heard the unmistakable sound of the dog’s approach. Wagging his tail, he went to the bench where he always found the old woman. He looked around everywhere and even came over to me. Finally, he stretched out under her bench and with a sigh, waited for her return.

I recall the story vividly and continue to be touched by the beauty and the faithfulness of a dog. We have seen other accounts as well, sometimes of dogs who serve in the military and display astonishing faithfulness toward soldiers in life and death. Yet all of us who are blessed to be accompanied by a pet have our own stories and we know.

The pandemic prevents us from having our traditional Blessing of the Animals service. It is a beautiful service offering prayers and blessings on the gathered animals and all present who share the day. But the pandemic does not prevent each pet owner to offer their own blessing for their faithful pet. Here’s one sample that you can edit and make your own:

In Your infinite wisdom, Lord God, when You created the universe you blessed us with
all living creatures. I especially thank you for giving me my pet who is my friend and who
brings me so much joy in life. Kindly bless my pet. May my pet enjoy good health and be
given length of years.. May the love I have for my pet and the love my pet offers me remind
me of Your love for me. In the name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.


Not long ago a friend gifted me with a simple image of a black lab and a prayer that read: Lord, make me as good a person my dog thinks I am”. Indeed

Fr. Ronan

Fr. Ronan had spine surgery on Friday, September 24th.
We’re told that he is doing well.
Please keep him in your prayers for a full recovery and a speedy return to the Parish life he loves so well.

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 2/3, 2021

In today’s Gospel Jesus teaches us about the sacredness of marriage;
a covenant that is a gift from God. Our relationships with our spouses, family, friends, coworkers, and those in our community of faith are all gifts from God.
Jesus reminds us today that it is the hardened heart that damages or breaks up relationships.
Good stewards understand the holiness of relationships and pray for the love, patience, understanding and kindness necessary to sustain those relationships.
Take time out to prayerfully reflect on your relationships this week.
Is your stewardship of these relationships as God intended?
What relationships need to be healed and reconciled?

The Greatest Hunger

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

The greatest hunger of humankind is peace.

That means a peace that is not simply the absence of war – but so much more, the absence of violence in all of its forms. Now this sounds like so much abstract theory – and in a sense it is. At the same time, it is very close to each and every one of us, for the cornerstone of all peace is in the realization of the worth and dignity of every human person and of the sacredness of all human life. Men and women of faith believe that life is a gift from God, the Creator of all. No one person has more value than an other and indeed, in our great nation, “All are created equal”.

Yet there is so much that pushes back against this simple tenet about human value and equality. Inevitably, it is our own self-interest devoid of a greater vision of life and God’s plan for us all. So powerful is this self-directed interest that I believe we can only get beyond it by a very conscious choice to ask for God’s Grace to enlighten us about God’s view for all of humankind. The longing for peace, among socio-economic classes, ethnic groups, races, languages, religions, cultures, and all the rest is useless unless it leads us to prayer.

That sounds pretty stern – yet I think peace, true and authentic peace, in homes, cities, borders, and between nations and all peoples is ultimately a gift. Humankind can only reach the capacity for peace as we reach for God and see the value of all life, and recognize the justice needed to bring peace. I think we need to pray.

Our prayer needs to be very intentional and genuine – we need to implore our God for the gift of Peace. There are no armies, social programs, developmental agencies or economic policies that will bring us peace in themselves. The energy for peace will flow from the hearts of all people as we look at one another and see the miracle and beauty that are our lives as God’s creation. Recognizing that, each of us needs to accept that these lives are simply too precious to ever experience and/or receive violence. Arriving there, by God’s Grace, peace is possible.

October is Respect for Life Month and Domestic Violence Month. And the Church chose October 7th and, apparently by extension, the month of October, to honor Our Lady of the Rosary. Please pray the rosary throughout the month of October for the dawning of a true and lasting peace; respect for all of life from conception to natural death, and for an end to violence in all of its forms so that all may live in harmony as God created us to be. And please consider praying for these intentions each and every day.

Fr. Ronan

Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 25/26, 2021

St. James warns us about accepting the standards of the world
and assuming that what is normative in society needs no countercultural challenge.
The temptation to hoard riches and make sharp bargains at the expense of the powerless is pervasive
because these things are generally done and look respectable enough.
St. James points to God’s judgment on these attitudes and actions
of amassing wealth and comfort at the expense of others.
How might we be better stewards of the material blessings we have been given?
How might we use our wealth with compassion toward others?

Serving and Leading

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

It was a long flight from Washington to Dallas, and through a series of coincidences I was seated in first class. Just before the door closed, a gentleman boarded and sat beside me. As we introduced ourselves to one another, the man revealed he was the CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation. The conversation turned to leadership and what qualities my new acquaintance looked for in choosing executives in his company.

We discussed at length a theory of leadership popularly known as “servant–leader”. Simply put, the theory would suggest two models: leading by serving or serving by leading. That may sound like semantics; however, the difference is profound. It can be understood best by considering the emphasis: in one instance the emphasis in on serving which results in leading. In the other, the emphasis is on leading which is defined as serving.

The apostles of Jesus were in a debate as to which one of them was the most important, the first leader on the team after Jesus. Jesus brings them together and instructs them about servant leadership: “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” (Lk 9:35).

In these times, it may appear that we do not see many servant leaders in our world. Yet one characteristic of servant leaders is they are not always visible! So I believe there are more servant leaders than there would seem to be. I say this with confidence because there are so many organizations, big and small, not-for profit and commercial, that are very successful and where employees are proudly loyal and devoted.

Jesus was the first expert in organizational behavior to teach servant leadership, in His own life and by His words. I am always surprised and excited to witness this leading by serving kind of leadership because not only does it yield the very best results for everyone, it is grounded in the dignity and worth of each person.

My traveling companion on that American Airlines flight was unaware of servant leadership yet could see how it could change a lot of things in his company. Employing it in our own daily lives also changes how we think about one another as it diminishes barriers and opens us to the unique gifts and beauty of others.
Little wonder that Jesus teaches it as a way to be number one!

Fr. Ronan

Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 18/19, 2021

In today’s Gospel, we learn that the disciples of Jesus had been discussing among themselves who was the greatest.
Jesus is about to turn their idea as well as our society’s idea of “greatness” upside down.
He embraces a child and tries to help the Twelve understand that to be great is to be focused on something other than themselves.
Jesus teaches that true “greatness” lies in being a good steward of those who are not great:
welcoming one who is not viewed as great by our society’s standards, like the child, the innocent, the vulnerable, the suffering,
those who are outside our comfortable circle of family, friends, companions and colleagues, those who need a welcome.
Jesus redefines our notion of greatness. How do we define greatness?
Is our notion of greatness consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ?

LISTENING …

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

In the course of any parish priest’s day, there are many varied activities. Really, from concern over some item of the buildings to time spent with a family grieving the death of a loved one, the spectrum is broad and deep – and I love it! Often the activity that is the most important and precious is listening. We priests are good
listeners – at least we try to be! Now that might not sound like “heavy lifting” – yet there are many times when it is! It depends on the matter being discussed. If it
is about the future of a cherished quarterback for the New England Patriots, that is one thing; if the subject is a family coping with a loved one diagnosed with a
terminal cancer, that is something else.

Listening, in any event, calls one to offer complete attention to the other – and often we do not listen that way! As we hear another speaking, we are inclined to
anticipate what the individual will say and then formulate our response before the person has finished speaking! At other times, one’s mind is elsewhere while
another is speaking. Many of us have done this and have been in conversations where this is common, and when we reflect on it we come to realize that this is not true listening.

Some years ago, Carl Rogers, a noted psychologist and prolific author, introduced a new way of looking at effective therapy. Among other things, he suggested that what he called; “Unconditional Positive Regard” was crucial to effective psychotherapy. Rogers was talking about how we listen. He taught that healing can
take place when, in an encounter, a listener gives his/her entire attention to the other in a positive and nonjudgmental way, allowing the person to speak and accepting without judgment whatever is said. A person’s hurts, brokenness, shame, anxiety, fear, inferiority, confused identity, and so much more can improve. On
the one hand, it sounds so elementary and yet, in truth, it is so profound.

This very experience happens all the time, among friends, spouses, colleagues, and teachers …. It is that phenomenon of one human being caring for another; caring in such a way as to make it possible for another to experience and grow in love and, at times, to help another to open up and unburden all kinds of trouble and pain that is within. We all need such opportunities, and everyone is healthier because of them. At the same time, we all know there are some parts of life, some experiences, choices, and actions that are very difficult and cannot easily be spoken about. Sometimes a priest can help.

Actually, it is better to say, all the time, God can help. And God has chosen, for God’s own reasons, to be present to us in countless ways. A very specific and deeply helpful way in which God is present is through the Sacraments of the Church. The Sacrament of Reconciliation often referred to as “Confession”, is one of these Sacraments. The fact that few use the Sacrament in these days does not diminish its value and its availability to be a source of Grace and healing for those who approach this precious gift.

Since my Ordination as a Priest in June 1982 to this present day, I am in awe of how God uses this sacrament to bring His love to people in these moments. Further, while I am well aware of the effectiveness of counseling and therapy – the listening that happens in this Sacrament occasions a time of Grace: God is present and the Priest serves only as an instrument of this Grace in ways that are far beyond understanding.

A priest is available every Saturday afternoon from 3:15 – 3:45 in the Confession corner in the upper Church. In addition, any person can contact the Parish Office to set up an appointment to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Rogers is right – lovingly listening to another can be a wonderful and healing experience. Imagine how much more such a moment can be when one seeks God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the fruits of that are forgiveness, healing, and consolation.

Fr. Ronan

Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 11/12, 2021

St. James asks what our love for Jesus Christ can possibly mean if it does not result in action on behalf of, and to benefit, our neighbor.
He suggests that faith in Jesus Christ is demonstrated most profoundly in our care for the needy, the suffering, and the underprivileged.
Stewardship includes proclaiming the Good News by putting our faith into action on behalf of others.
In what ways have we been willing to make sacrifices and renunciations for the sake of Jesus Christ and our neighbor

This September

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

Last year at this time, we looked forward to this year imagining that the pandemic would be over and life would return to some semblance of normalcy. However, we are all, once again, entering into the fall with sketchy plans and wondering how this is all going to play out. Educators are feverishly working to put in place good experiences for their students. Parents are searching to find solutions for too many problems, whether working remotely or dealing with the uncertainty of their children’s safety in returning to classroom learning. Everyone is anxious about masks, vaccinations, the delta variant and its spread in the weeks ahead. Yes, this continues to be a stressful and unpredictable autumn.

Is there a place to go to find relief? Is there a formula that makes dealing with all of the ambiguities and challenges possible? I think there is. It begins with an examination of our expectations: why what we think is important really is important. It continues with carefully reviewing what truly matters the most and why it does.

This process means locating our lives and that of our families and friends, in a bigger picture that moves outside of the box of our usual customs and familiarities and perhaps our comfort zones. For example, this morning a young dad, in
responding to my question about how his family is doing, replied a lot was very uncertain and worrisome. However, he had a job and so they are blessed. The young mother and father then explained how grateful they are that their three
beautiful children are healthy and happy and that the Sunday morning is beautiful.

I believe that one of the most potent resources we have to respond to this terribly hard time is gratitude. That may seem a paradox and I guess it sort of is one. Nonetheless, gratitude flows from a wisdom that recognizes that God is active and present constantly and is always close at hand. “Count your Blessings” is not a simplistic piece of advice from of old. It is an enduring piece of wisdom.

Often, to be implemented, it requires placing our moments in a context bigger than our private expectations and thus
recognizing God’s fingerprints on everything. For myself, such an awareness causes me to utter, “thank you!”

Fr. Ronan

Pope Francis writes: “Life is often a desert, it is difficult to walk, but if we trust in God, it can become beautiful and wide as a highway. Never lose hope; continue to believe, always, in spite of everything. Hope opens new horizons, making us capable of dreaming what is not even imaginable.”

Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 4/5, 2021

St. James teaches that those who are perceived to be poor in the eyes of society are the ones who have been chosen to inherit the Kingdom of God. Indeed, we are saved because of our poverty and redeemed out of our need, not because of our material wealth or achievements that the world finds praiseworthy. St. James also suggests that we are stewards of others, especially the poor and it is how we respond to the poor and needy that will define our relationship with the Lord. Can you identify the poverty, whether spiritual or material, that is in your own life? How can that “poverty” be redeemed? As stewards of others, how do we respond to the poverty that exists right in our own parish.

What Next?

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

I think most all of us were looking forward to September bringing in a new era of hope and returning to a style of living around the city free from the challenges and hard restrictions imposed by the pandemic. And now as we need to
start wearing masks again and the news from near and far is so grim, everyone has to dig deep to find a positive energy. On the one hand, one could look around and see people who are suffering in unimaginable ways, for example, in Haiti and in Afghanistan. On the other hand, every person and family searches to find his or her footing given our current reality.

Recently, I was writing to families of school-age children regarding our religious education program. Conscious of how very stressed parents are as the opening of school fast approaches, the last thing I wanted to do was to increase anxiety with a list of to do’s. As I think about these times, it seems to me that preparing ourselves and our children to grow more deeply in their faith is really not a task on a checklist, it is more a gift and a rich, valuable resource.

Standing with people who have undergone profound losses and setbacks throughout my many years as a priest has often offered me moments of inspiration, even edification. For it is when we find ourselves in some of our deepest holes or facing the steepest of mountains and feeling helpless that our faith can often lead us forward. It is, in fact, a tapping into the faith knowledge of the infinite power of God manifest in God’s unconditional love for each of us.

For the person of Jesus Christ is meant to be that ineffable resource and strength for anyone who so chooses to accept such a friendship. I fully realize this perspective does not make sense and is not an empirically verifiable way of living. Nonetheless, it is a truth.

The story of Jesus Christ has been known for more than 2000 years and prophesized long before. Christ represents an entire absolute truth that is not a relative or subjective one, rather absolute. This truth is not a history story, although it certainly has a deep history. It is an ongoing, alive reality deeply enmeshed in the lives of men and women every day.

Now we look to September 2021 with an uncertainty we thought we had left behind and yet it is back. For me, this uncertainty, which could easily induce fear and anxiety, worry and stress of every form, can also become an invitation. It is an invitation to turn towards my relationship with Jesus with deep confidence and abiding trust.

I do not know, and no one of us knows how this next chapter of the pandemic will unfold in Boston or in the world. However, we have resources both materially, medically, and more importantly, in our faith. This faith opens a landscape of traditions, values, teachings, and relationships that can and will sustain us no matter what comes next.

Fr. Ronan

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 28-29, 2021

In the reading from the letter of St. James we are urged to be “doers” of the Gospel, not
just listeners. Being a “steward” of God’s Word is a matter of listening to the Good
News, embracing the Good News and putting the Good News into action in our day-to
-day lives. And whenever we are uncertain as to what decisions to make or actions to
take as good stewards of the Gospel, St. James reminds us:
We can never go wrong if we resist popular values that are not compatible with the Gospel,
and we come to the aid of those who are burdened, distressed and poor.

There is More to It

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a friend who had recently returned from a family vacation. Of course, I asked him how the vacation was and how everything went. He explained that the weather was poor, rainy and often very hot and humid. The cabin they were staying in wasn’t very comfortable. He said the beds were poor and he slept badly, the children were usually unhappy and one of them fell and cut her knee that became a big deal. He went on
to speak negatively about his weeks’ vacation and concluded his answer by exclaiming that the toaster had burnt his English muffin that morning.

Well, we all complain and often we have a good reason for doing so. Sometimes it’s just to let off steam after some nasty traffic or a bad experience at the dentist or what have you. Yet we all know some of us can be experts at complaining and seem to delight in emphatically whining about all kinds of things to whomever will listen.

In the Bible, there are a number of instances of people complaining, – usually complaining to God. Sometimes the complaining is really dramatic like, “I’ve had it God, let me die rather than continue like this”! Sometimes the complaining is in the form of a question from one of the apostles to Jesus like: “We have given up a lot to follow
you, what’s in it for us?”

As I think about the times I have been complaining, I now start to see them as moments when everything is about me. That is, I want to tell you about times when I was uncomfortable, dissatisfied, frustrated, and inconvenienced. However, as I look back on those times there is always more to the story. There is something bigger than my issues at play in whatever is happening in my life. Some of it is the adage – glass half full or glass half empty metaphor which is excellent. In addition, it is about what we choose make of circumstances in which we find ourselves. For example, you may have heard the expression, “If you’re dealt lemons, make lemonade! “

I think complaining is not ever a satisfying response to the issues in which we live every day. I believe God knows about those issues and absolutely has a bigger plan in mind— but I need to be open to it and get out of my own way and my
own self-absorption. There can be opportunities that are amazing and truly delightful, often new approaches, experiences, and people available when my complaining ceases and my wonder at the possibilities increases.

In the end, we are all the work of God’s hands, hands that are loving and want only the very best for each one of us. This does not mean that suffering, setbacks, inconveniences, and losses are not part of that journey; and all of our lives include those experiences. Nevertheless, I believe it does mean that God is never absent and the more we lean into God’s love and mercy the more our complaints might just yield beautiful surprises.

Fr. Ronan

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 21-22, 2021

In today’s Gospel, we hear that a number of Jesus’ followers left him because his
message was too difficult for them to accept. In essence, they did not believe in him.
He then asked the Twelve if they wished to leave as well.
Peter responds by making a profound profession of faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
The Twelve made a choice and stood by their choice, remaining loyal to their commitment to Jesus.
A good question for our reflection might be this:
Are we satisfied with the stewardship we exercise over our baptismal commitment?
Are we just “along for the ride?”
Are we keeping Christ in front of us as we make decisions about our daily activities, our
relationships, our parish, issues in the workplace, issues such as peace and justice?
What is the quality of our stewardship

The Treasure Within

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

One of the joys in which each parent delights is the discovery of the different talents and gifts of his or her
child. The discovery of learning a new word, growing another inch, and getting a new tooth are all celebrated with
loving pride and admiration by doting parents—and rightly so! When I visit the homes of young parents in the Parish, I always enjoy the conversation which, for the first moments, always is about their beautiful and remarkable new baby.

I suspect that God looks on us with a similar joy. The One who created us and gave us all we have and are, delights in each of us. The talents and gifts, our bodies and aptitudes, all are gifts from God. And we are created in the image and likeness of this very God, too.

There is not one person reading this article, including the one who wrote it, who has not received an abundance of gifts too numerous to list and imagine. It is so easy to think that all we have is ours or that we have enabled it to come about on our own. But if we stop and really take some time to reflect, we will realize that nothing we are or possess would have come about without the grace of God. How well have we used all that we have received? Have we taken the time to acknowledge the One who has given to us all that we have?

Time, after our health and our faith, is, perhaps, the most precious commodity we have. How do we use the limited amount of time that has been measured out by God for each of us? Do we take time for granted? Do we waste time or behave as if we have all the time in the world to get to what we know is most essential in life? How can our days be transformed into time well spent?

It seems to me the only way to do this is through daily prayer. Daily, each of us could do well to offer the day ahead to the God who gave it to us. This used to be called a “morning offering”—a simple and a good prayer. Surely, if this is our prayer and our sincere intention—to use every moment of the day ahead in service to the God who has given it to us—the day will be well spent. And such a day will delight the One who has given us all out of love.

Fr. Ronan

A Sample Morning Prayer

All that we do without offering it to God is wasted.”
– St. John Vianney

Faithful and loving God, thank you for keeping me safe through the night
and for giving me the gift of this new day.
Today, may each thought, word, and deed of mine be a reflection of your divine life within me. Amen.

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
August 14-15, 2021

In today’s Gospel we hear Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, bestow the gift of two blessings on
Mary when she greets her. Elizabeth blesses Mary not only because she believes that
Mary is the mother of the Lord, but also because she recognizes that Mary has complete
faith in God’s promise. When Elizabeth prophetically pronounces Mary “blessed …
among women” and proclaims that the fruit of Mary’s womb is blessed, she uses the
same term that Jesus uses to bless people in the Beatitudes.
Good stewards recognize the Spirit-driven love and courage that inspired Elizabeth’s hospitality toward a young,
unmarried, pregnant woman and the honor Elizabeth bestowed upon Mary who would ordinarily be shamed for bearing this child.
In what ways can we extend the blessings we receive in the Eucharistic celebration to others in order to honor them and offer them God’s hospitality?