From the Pastor

In An Instant

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

All of us have seen or heard of this example: a child wants something seen at the store and insists a parent purchase it – say a candy bar. The parent patiently explains that it is close to dinner and there will be no candy before supper. After the child sulks and whines, the parent offers to purchase the candy, but the child cannot have it until after supper. The child’s anger and insistence on being given the candy bar – right now – is on display for everyone to see in the check-out line at the supermarket!

A recent television commercial promises that if you act NOW, this new carpet will be delivered to your home tomorrow. Another promises a new flat screen T V can be had with super speed. And yet another indicates that with just one click of the mouse, one can have much faster internet service and instant access to …. The whole
culture of “instant” and “faster access” to whatever seems to be spreading to everything, and I wonder what it means.

And are instant mashed potatoes really that good? Remember the term delayed gratification? The whole point seemed to me to be about realizing that something good was going to come one’s way – but only after waiting, working, saving, studying, learning …. And instant gratification is all about having that “good thing” right now!

Is it just me or do we seem to have slipped into a culture where instant gratification is now becoming the only norm?

Why does everything have to be faster? Who has placed this high value of everything happening in an instant? Who or
what is pushing this illusory truth? And at what cost do we have “faster and instant”?

One of the dangers of this immediate gratification mentality is that we can find ourselves dismissing as of little value or
reducing to irrelevant achievements, knowledge, institutions and people who do not conform to the philosophy of the immediate. If something cannot be summed up in a sound bite, it is boring or insignificant. If persons cannot satisfy
our “perceived” need in the twinkling of an eye, then they become disposable.

Let’s stop and take some time to reorient ourselves. All around us we delight in God’s creation – nothing too instant about that. People – you and me and everyone else – we are not instant. Relationships and experiences, growing and learning, working and sweating brought you to be the person you are. A friendship is a precious jewel and gift – not an instant thing. Love – while the culture might say otherwise – is an infinite, mysterious, overwhelming and wonderful experience that takes work and grows over time – never instant. Infatuation, yes, that is instantaneous; love is another matter.

After the year we have all lived through, perhaps it is a good thing to pause and savor the moment instead of looking for the next “thing” coming down the pike. This summer more than ever, take time to value the people we love, the experiences we cherish, the accomplishments we have labored to achieve. In this post-pandemic time, stop, reflect, assess, and take account of what is truly important in life instead of getting high on the newest fastest whatever. Some parts of life require immediate action yet many more might be at risk if not given the time and attention they truly deserve.

Is it possible that one of the reasons why “instant and faster” often leading to busier and busier have become normative is because so much of what occupies us is not enough? We are always moving forward and seeking more – I believe God wires each of us this way! We are touched by this truth when we pray, turn to God and live in love. For example, often people speak of the peace found when they go to church, sit in quiet and pray. Exactly. Saint Augustine said it best: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee”.

Fr. Ronan

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 10/11, 2021

In his Letter to the Ephesians, Saint Paul teaches that God, the Father, has established a divine plan to bring all of creation to Christ and that He has blessed us with an abundance of divine gifts to help implement that plan.
Christian stewards know what their gifts are and remain committed to using them in the service of the Lord.
Do we know what our gifts are?
Do we believe that God has given us these gifts?
Are we committed to using our gifts to serve the Lord?

July 4, Independence Day !

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

When we as a nation were still reeling from Covid and the vaccine was just on the horizon, President Biden held out July 4 as the goal when Americans could once again safely gather with family. The freedom from the fears of the pandemic, he hoped would fade and healing of the nation begin. And so it is we can celebrate and remember all of the countless blessings we enjoy on this cherished July 4.

Some of the earliest memories I have of summer fun include July 4 celebrations. Most often we were at a big old house in Peabody, high on a hill and the view from there was great. The fireworks could be seen from miles around and so folks would come up the hill and relatives and friends as well would arrive for the FIREWORKS on the 4th of July. Being too young to stay up till long after dark meant I had to plead for the privilege, and often my pleas were successful. Only problem was, I think I still fell asleep with the excitement of the evening, before the fireworks began.

The more meaningful part of the celebration wasn’t the show, or the special foods, as well as the ice cream and other good stuff. The most meaningful was that we all were together to share this special evening. Brothers and sisters, mom and dad and cousins with uncles and aunts and assorted other friends and family all found their way to the hill for a beautiful summer evening of food, fun celebrating and sharing. And of course, what we were really celebrating is that we were free to do precisely that.

The freedom you and I enjoy every day as Americans is precious and comes to us at a very high price. This holiday is so special and necessary because it helps us remember, and not take for granted the gift of our freedom and the cost our forbearers and many of us have paid for it. Yes, service in the military is one such cost. However, it is more than those of us who were servicemen who paid that cost. It is all of the families – mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters and countless friends who gave their family and friends, either for some years or forever, in service to the country. It is all those who have labored to keep peace, order and security within the country who have paid a price. It is also the
countless citizens who work hard and pay heavy taxes to support the country and her mission who also contribute.

Freedom, as the saying goes, isn’t free. Many have paid the cost and continue to do so. On this Independence Day weekend, when we gather with friends and family to celebrate and share, gratitude ought to be the emotion in our hearts, and prayers for those who continue to pay the cost ought to be on our lips. Let us remember in prayer also those who do not enjoy the liberty that is ours. And of course, ultimately let us be thankful to God for the countless blessings we share in this great land.

The work of this great nation is not complete. We are a work in progress. There remain challenges of poverty, ignorance, racism, and countless prejudices that separate us one from the other. Our greatness will most brilliantly shine not in our economic accomplishments, but rather when we truly stand,

~ Fr. Ronan ~

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 3/4, 2021

Today’s Gospel reveals Jesus being amazed that the people in his hometown of Nazareth do not accept
his teaching and ministry; he is amazed at their lack of faith (Mk 6:6).
Good stewards recognize and participate in Christ’s teaching, reconciling and healing presence in their community.
Are we good stewards of our family of faith?
Do we value and support the ministries that take place in Christ’s name?
Are we attentive to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our parish and encourage those who work to enhance our life of faith?

Don’t be afraid

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

It seems to me the most powerful motivation in our daily lives is fear. I’m not speaking about the kind of fear that is nail biting and panicking, rather it’s much more subtle and it shapes our decisions and frames our daily choices and actions. One of the delightful things about children is they are often fearless and while that can be, of course, dangerous in one sense, it is wonderful to watch their freedom to explore, inquire and enter into all kinds of moments.

As we mature, we learn we have to measure up both to our own standards and expectations of family, teachers, employers and the broader community. Of course, it is a learning process for all of us and a beautiful one that includes successes and failures. On one level, fear is excellent in keeping us safe and helping us reach our goals. On another level, it can be crippling, holding us back and leaving us feeling incomplete and unsatisfied.

In all of this, one other critical intersection is between faith and fear. That is, to face our fears, consider what having faith really means, seek an appropriate balance, and step forward guided less by fear and more by faith. In the life of Jesus, He often urges people not to be afraid rather to believe.

This weekend we read the story of the father whose daughter is gravely ill, he seeks out Jesus and begs him to come and heal her. Naturally, he is afraid for his daughter’s life and Jesus counsels him not to be afraid rather to have faith. Every one of us has been in crisis moments when fear has gripped us and yet we wondered what role faith might have in such moments. Seems to me the fear is based upon our expectations of what ought to be, what we hope to be or in some way directed toward our desired end. On the other hand, faith may call us to let go of that end and trust that going forward will lead us to a place that will be all right whether or not it is the place we thought we ought to be.

Here in the first days of summer 2021, after the most turbulent year in the nation’s history everyone is seeking to return to some place of normalcy. At the same time we’re not sure what normal is going to look like in our work, in our
family, community, nation or the world. How can a person of faith look towards tomorrow? Can I look towards tomorrow, uncertain of the details and/or the outcomes, nonetheless with hope? I believe that is the gift that our faith offers each of us; not to hold on tightly to the script we imagine to be the right one, rather to trust that God will see us through tomorrow whatever that might be.

Father Ronan

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 26/27, 2021

In today’s second reading, St. Paul teaches the community at Corinth about a spirituality of giving. He urges them to give and helps them understand that through their generosity, they will in turn be recipients of a spiritual abundance. They will receive from those who are the beneficiaries of their own giving a reciprocal gift that amounts to an equality of giving that deepens their relationship with Christ Jesus.
A good reflection this week would be to think of the ways your own life has been enriched by your generosity.
How might you have reaped a spiritual abundance through your own generous behavior?

The Gift of Dad

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

Fathers’ Day is a wonderful moment to pause and recall the immeasurable gifts our fathers have given to us.

Growing up the youngest in a large family, it was easy not to notice how my wonderful father so influenced me
as I grew through childhood to adulthood. When I try to remember details of exactly and specifically what it is that my father “did” to make him a really great parent, the list sounds simple, even trite. Point being, our fathers do, of course, shape and help us in countless ways and a major impact they have on our lives is their example in daily life within the family. In fact, the most powerful and lasting impression a father of a family can make on his children is how he treats their mother.

Research is unequivocal on this point. When a child sees a father as a husband who is loving, supportive, respectful, and truly attentive to his wife, their mother, this has the most powerful influence for good on the development of a child. It surely was the case in my life and that of my brothers and sisters. The relationship between our parents was so obviously loving, that everything else flowed from that and shaped our entire family life.

When Jesus responded to His disciples’ request that he teach them how to pray, likely they were surprised with His answer. The Our Father is the most revered prayer in Christianity. The words teach us a truth that is enduring and inspiring; we are all God’s children and God is the loving Father of us all.

Some of us have grown up without a Dad. Others may have memories of a father that are hurtful. Seeking out positive ways in which to heal is so essential. And developing a meaningful relationship with our God who loves us unconditionally can be one profound source of healing. In addition, God’s Spirit can guide us to wholesome mentors who can aid us in our quest to grow into mature adults who are able to form a variety of supportive and loving relationships.

On this Fathers’ Day, we offer a profound prayer of gratitude to God for the gift of God’s unconditional love for us. And we can offer thanks for all our fathers and those who have been like a father to us, living and deceased.

Grateful too are we for those men who are role models to the children of our community: they are teachers and coaches, police and firefighters, family members and friends. Our children are precious and deserve the very best we can offer – and that includes the experience of unconditional love in the home and in our

Fr. Ronan

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 19/20, 2021

In today’s Gospel we listen to Jesus’ disciples crying out in fear of a great storm.
Their cry echoes the cries of people around the world during the pandemic.
It is the ultimate cry of fear, doubt and abandonment.
It is a parable of the situation of all of us when cast adrift in the storms of our lives, seemingly without God’s presence and care.
But God is with us.
Jesus does calm the storm for his disciples.
Good stewards have faith that they do not live in a world where they should live in fear and chaos, seeing themselves alone and abandoned by God.
Reflect this week on your own faith in the promises of Jesus.
Do you believe Jesus is in our midst and can calm the storms in our lives?

A Father’ s Day Prayer

God our father, we give you thanks and praise for all fathers young and old , especially our own fathers.
We pray for young fathers, newly embracing their vocation; may they find courage and perseverance to balance work, family and faith in joy and sacrifice.
We pray for fathers around the world whose children are lost or suffering; may they know that the God of compassion walks with them in their sorrow.
We pray for men who are not fathers but still mentor and guide us with fatherly love and advice.
We remember fathers, grandfathers, and great grandfathers who are no longer with us but who live forever in
our memory and nourish us with their love. Amen

To Wonder

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

I do not know exactly when it began; although I know it was many years ago, I became fascinated with the act of “wondering”. Living here in this great city with such developed commerce, banking, education and health care, to name a few of our resources, we are really very good at figuring things out. We are unsurpassed in areas such as research and scholarship with internationally recognized centers for education and science.

With all that, how good are we at wondering? To wonder usually means to encounter something unexpected, beautiful or inexplicable such that one responds by being astonished, amazed, stands in awe and is dumbfounded. Such an encounter in my experience is evocative and draws me out of myself. In fact, it seems that wonder might be the stepping stone to recognize the transcendent and openness to God.

There is so much we simply do not understand. In a busy, “productive” life it seems often the case that much goes unnoticed. This seems the more so as folks walk around plugged into some device barely noticing the traffic passing or the beauty of a child’s giggle or the scent of a Lilac tree in bloom. I wonder if the pandemic is changing this.

The readings this weekend invite, even challenge us to stop and notice. How does seed sown in the earth grow to become an abundant crop ripe for harvest? How does it come to pass a tiny seed grows to a shade tree and home for families of birds?

At a university research center, we could analyze these questions, research and experiment and prepare scholarly papers for scientists to debate. We would have answers, sort of. However, if we wonder about these questions, our conclusions will be far different from those of the scientists.

The numbers of parents of newborns with whom I have spoken confirm unequivocally that new moms and dads especially are drawn into wondering in a most dramatic way. Oh they marvel at the gifted medical services they receive
and realize that medicine is not the cause of the new life they so cherish.

Abraham Joshua Heschel, a brilliant Jewish theologian, once wrote: “Wonder rather than doubt is the root of all knowledge”. Saint Paul in examining our human journey puts it this way: “We walk by faith not by sight”. In my thinking true understanding of our human journey can never be achieved apart from wondering and faith.

Some have argued that faith and intellect are opposed to one another. That is not true; they are not opposed, they are complimentary.

Coming into summertime seems the most perfect time to slow down and wonder more. And if you need a little help, ask a child. Children are experts on wondering, a talent adults seem to put aside and replace with reasoning. So, remember, it is not either/or, it is both/and. Abraham Heschel also once noted, a person who never wonders cannot find God.

Fr. Ronan

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 12/13

In today’s Gospel, Jesus compares the beginning of God’s kingdom to a mustard seed. This tiny seed, which fits in the palm of a hand, can grow to fifteen feet with sprawling branches. Like the mustard seed, the Christian community had a tiny, seemingly insignificant beginning. The church, which began with about 120 followers, added three thousand people on Pentecost Day following the descent of the Holy Spirit. Since then, the number of Christ’s disciples has grown incalculably and continues to grow throughout the world. Good stewards go about God’s business of “planting seeds” among all those they encounter. What will we do this week to “plant seeds” and add to God’s kingdom?

The Same Answer

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

In the early 1950’s, there were probably close to 150 second grade children receiving their First Holy Communion at Saint Peter’s Parish in Dorchester. I remember getting new clothes and shoes and a haircut. There were the rehearsals, I think a number of them. Additionally, folks inside the family and around the neighborhood would be asking, “When are you going to make your First Communion?” All of this and more prepared one for something big!

We learned that we would be receiving Jesus and that he was truly present in the little round white piece of bread that we would receive on that special day. Now I think children have wonderful imaginations and are rather good at thinking outside the box. It seems only later in life that we are constrained by logic, reason, education, and life experiences. Nonetheless, I had to wonder why Jesus would do this, namely, become a piece of bread so that he could come to be with me and all the other kids on this remarkable Sunday of our First Holy Communion.

That simple question of wondering why Jesus would do this is one that I’ve asked myself now for decades. I think it’s a really good question and, while I thought I would have bigger more theologically profound answers to the question
today than I did 70 years ago, I’m not sure that I do. For me, the answer then and now is found in Love.

God is love and love of its very nature is giving. Just as the Father gives self to the Son and the Father and Son give selves to the Spirit bringing about the Trinity, so Jesus gives himself fully to us in the Church and in and through the sacraments, most particularly in the Eucharist. The self-gift of Jesus in the Eucharist is the greatest proof of Love.

In our culture and our Church, all too easily we can mingle the question of worthiness and sin with the truth of God’s love. Just as we cannot merit the love of God, we cannot earn, qualify or ever be worthy of such immeasurable love. In
fact, it is not about our goodness or badness. Rather it is about the reality of the unconditional love that is God – a relentless love that seeks union with you and me.

The Eucharist is a gift of immeasurable proportion. The body of Christ is offered time and again in selfless sacrificial gift to nourish, heal, and unite the people of God. It is everything we need to become whole. That is, it is the essence of love for which every human heart longs.

In addition to receiving Holy Communion, spending time in quiet presence before the Most Blessed Sacrament is a wonderful practice. Through the years, we have had such opportunities in our Parish, often called “Eucharistic Adoration.

With all restrictions easing we will begin once again to offer times for Eucharistic Adoration. This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) and we will have a brief period of Adoration after each of the Masses. Additionally, each Friday afternoon from 3 – 5, we will have Adoration in the Chapel at the Parish Center at 46 Winthrop Street. Anyone is welcome to come by for a visit of whatever length during those hours.

As I have grown older, my childhood question of why Jesus would come to us in such a way yields the same answer, yet it is so very much bigger!

Fr. Ronan

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
June 5/6

Today’s Gospel gives St. Mark’s account of Jesus gathering his disciples for a last supper, revealing to them a new covenant established through his own blood that would be poured out as a sacrifice from them.
Every time we participate in the Eucharist, we make a pledge to renew and deepen our participation in Christ’s covenant in practical ways.
For those who exercise stewardship of Christ’s covenant, that means making daily, personal sacrifices to strengthen this covenant relationship such as deepening our relationship with the Lord in prayer, supporting our parish, and giving comfort to the poor and those who suffer.
As we begin to see our way out of the COVID pandemic, it is a good time to reflect on how we
might renew and strengthen our covenant with the Lord and our community in practical ways.

The Truth

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

Reading a good novel that includes some real twists and turns in a courtroom drama has always been enjoyable. If you listen and/or read carefully about the moment the prime witness is called forward to give important testimony, there is that swearing-in moment. “In the testimony you are about to give, do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you God?” The judge, the jury, and the entire courtroom are seeking to arrive at the truth.

The emphasis placed on the whole truth and nothing but the truth is powerful, to say the least. I cannot make up the truth, I cannot repeat something often and, because of my saying so, it becomes the truth. The truth is exclusively and
totally the truth.

The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the one whom Jesus promised to send remains as a force and an ongoing reality in Christianity. In fact, Jesus would say that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth and the Spirit’s reason for being among
believers is to give testimony to the truth.

So what is the truth about God? What is the truth about God’s role in creation and, in fact, in and for each one of us? How has God revealed the truth to us? The underlying truth to which the Spirit testifies is that God is love. It is a simple
phrase heard in sacred Scripture and in religions of the East and the West. God is love. The entirety of creation, all of us, are expressions of this truth.

The continuing movement of the Spirit of truth draws us more and more deeply into the concrete manifestation of this truth, found in Jesus Christ. For while we can know about the truth, it is another thing to live the truth. The life, the teachings, and example of Christ show us how to live the truth. It is a truth so profound that embracing it alters the landscape of life. It can define us, allow us to find our true purpose, and show us how to live out our purpose.

Telling the truth enables us to live with integrity. Living in the truth enables us to be good models of what it means to be a follower of Christ for others, especially our children and the children of others.

If for whatever reason one does not seek to live the truth, one can find oneself living a lie which manifests itself in so many of the classic illnesses of our time: loneliness, destructive excesses, pervasive searching, discontent on so many levels, an unhappy restlessness, the deterioration of societies, demonization and denigration of one another as persons and as countries, violent conflict and more are all manifestations of not living the truth.

That God is love and we, each of us, are expressions of that love, called to live that truth in our daily lives with one another, is the foundation of everyone’s true purpose in life as is the responsibility to identify and challenge lies. So, perhaps when things become out of sorts and life is closing in on us, reaching out and grasping the truth and all that it means for each of us every day can not only be a lifesaver, but a soul saver – the soul of humanity.

Fr. Ronan

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
May 29/30, 2021

In today’s Gospel and in the reading from the letter of St. Paul we hear of the gift of the Triune God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
In our devotional life we make the sign of the cross and recite the “Glory Be” as an expression of our faith as a Trinitarian people.
But what does it mean for Christian stewards to accept in a practical way the experience of God in this threefold gift?
Is it not a call to share our own life in community, with compassion and love,
and to work for healing, justice, peace and unity?
Is it not an invitation to invite others into fellowship with us in the unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? (800) 352-3452 International Catholic Stewardship Council

We Need a Lawyer !

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

There are all kinds of lawyer stories and jokes and a lot of them are good. Some of them use different words to describe a lawyer like “mouthpiece”, “counselor”, “defender” and “advocate”. We all know that if we are in trouble and if we need some special help with a problem, we want a good lawyer – someone who will take our side and advise us about how to get through a tough time; someone who will stick up for us in a fight and help us win a just, fair and peaceful solution to our problems.

In the last days of Jesus’ journey on earth, He explained that He had to leave and he would send to us an advocate, in fact a lawyer. This advocate would explain all that Jesus had done and taught and further, would be like Jesus’ mouthpiece for us. Jesus promised that this Paraclete would never leave us alone and through this Spirit, who would have incredible power, we would find the strength to accomplish all kinds of things in the name of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is this Advocate and special envoy.

This is Pentecost Sunday. This is the feast of the Holy Spirit. This is the day when Christians everywhere celebrate the arrival of the One who has been sent from the Father and the Son and Who represents them, and in fact is united
with them to form One God. Our God is a Triune God: Father and Son and Holy Spirit. And it is the Spirit who remains with the Church and with you and me. It is the Spirit whom we receive at Baptism and the full gifts of this Spirit that we receive at Confirmation. It is the Spirit who animates us, guides us and inspires us. The very word INSPIRATION, means, of course, filled with the Spirit.

Well, we need a good lawyer, not only right here in Charlestown and Boston, but across the United States and throughout our world. Not just an average lawyer – you know the kind they call an “ambulance chaser” on TV. We
need one of those really committed, honorable, wise, self-assured, experienced, compassionate, articulate, and persuasive lawyers. Fact is, we need the Holy Spirit – no one else will do!

As you know, there are so many challenges facing the Church and society, both local and global, that I simply do not have a clue as to how we are going to find good, fair, honest and equitable solutions that can address all that needs to
be accomplished. There is anger, hurt, sadness and disappointment out there. There is violence, oppression, greed and injustice. There is no small measure of righteousness, selfishness, arrogance, and pride. And, there is indifference, apathy, and ignorance, which may be the most toxic of all. Human beings alone, whether lay, religious, clerical or otherwise cannot solve these complex challenges. And while I have a joyful confidence that Pope Francis holds the keys to some of what is needed, it is definitely a job for the Holy Spirit.

So what can we do? I firmly believe that if this weekend and going forward, each and every one who believes, implores the Holy Spirit to transform our hearts and every heart disposed to fueling the problems that exist, we will be on our way to mending our brokenness. This Spirit of God can and will come and enlighten the hearts and minds of this local Church and of all people, thereby guiding us out of the destructive behaviors and patterns that afflict our community and our world.

If you believe this, and I believe this, and we all believe this, and pray for this gift – Look Out! Be prepared to receive the gift, and the surprises and joy to follow.

Fr. Ronan

Pentecost Sunday
May 22/23, 2021

Today we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit, the birth of the Church and the beginning of its mission in the world. Pentecost Sunday reminds us that our lives are filled with the Holy Spirit and that God has accomplished creative things in us through this gift.
We have been entrusted with this great gift of the Holy Spirit. This great gift empowers us to be bold proclaimers of the Gospel in word and deed. It urges us to speak truth to power. It encourages us to use words and exhortations and even arguments that are meant to heal, show care and compassion and to reconcile.
Now is a good time to ask: Are we being good stewards of this gift of the Holy Spirit?
What creative things have we done to glorify God’s accomplishments in us?

Trust Me

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

Do you recall the old parlor game when at a party a person was blindfolded and then asked to fall backwards without being able to see if anyone was there to catch them? Usually there was a fair amount of hooting and encouraging, and
amidst all that, someone was saying, “Don’t worry, we won’t let you fall and get hurt!” I was always amazed at how some people were completely loose and fell backward, apparently without any alarm. Others, in spite of assurances, only eased backward, never completely giving up control.

What does it take for one to grow to trust another person? I like to think of myself as a trusting guy, maybe at times even gullible. When younger, sometimes I expected another to meet unrealistic expectations—trusting they could, when maybe the expectations were unrealistic. Now a bit wiser, I hope I am more inclined to ask a person what he/she feels is a realistic expectation and in discussion, arrive at a point of trusting that the plan is a good one. So it might be accurate to say, one’s experience shapes how one trusts others.

In relationships, when a man or woman has been through the ending of a marriage in divorce very often coming out of it, learning to trust another is a slow process. The other day a parishioner asked to speak with me about a young man
who as a teenager had a painful experience in a Catholic School. Now, 20 years later, the man is still angry and untrusting of anything to do with Church. No doubt, you can think of a number of other examples. Once our expectations are unmet and/or our encounter is painful or unpleasant in any form, trust is damaged.

The fundamental question for anyone to consider is how much do I trust this God whom I love and serve? It is one thing for me to speak and write about this—that’s easy. It is another for me to put into practice an essential posture of
deep trust. What enables me to do so is remembering my own history, recalling all of the times through so many years when this all-knowing and merciful God has been there for me, comforting, guiding, forgiving, nourishing and calming the troubles of my mind and heart.

And how about you? Maybe your story is similar; you too need to remember your history, how much and how often God has been there in amazing and wonderful ways. It will be no different tomorrow! Sometimes in a moment of trouble, we are inclined to forget this precious history. Don’t do that! Remember that you are God’s precious child who lives and breathes because of God’s will and love. Moreover, never forget that you have a destiny to live with your Creator God forever. God would never want it otherwise.

At the dawn of each new day, I wonder if God is saying to each one of us, “It’s OK–go ahead, get up and get your feet on the floor and don’t be afraid! I’ve got your back. You will not fall and get hurt … trust Me.”

Fr. Ronan

The Ascension of the Lord Thursday, May 13
or Weekend of May 15/16, 2021

Before he ascended into heaven, Jesus instructed his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all
of creation. In the first reading, after Jesus’ ascent, the angels ask his disciples “Why do
you stand here staring at the skies?” The angels want them to look around themselves and
be assured that Christ is working through them.
The Ascension does not memorialize Christ leaving us. But instead, Christ working through us, his mystical body, his church. As stewards of this legacy, we too are called to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our
words and actions; in how we live and how we treat others.
Are we sharing the life of Christ with others in our day-to-day lives? In what ways do we see ourselves proclaiming
the Gospel? In what ways can we do better.


150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

The other morning I was walking out of the lobby after the 8 o’clock Mass and a class of children from Good Shepherd School was ahead of me. It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm, and the teachers were taking the children to the park. The children were holding hands, and one little girl explained that the girl beside her was her friend. Their sweet affection for each other was evident.

Friendship is a subject about which everyone has experience and comments. The brilliant Dominican friar, St. Thomas Aquinas, once said: There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship. From Sacred Scripture to philosophers, scholars, saints and everyday folks, friendship is valued as precious. While the use of the term “best friend” is more common among children and teens, an adult who has a best friend is blessed beyond measure.

In the Gospel of John proclaimed this weekend, Jesus calls us friends. Imagine. He qualifies His use of the noun: You are my friends if you do what I command you. The command of Jesus is that we are to love one another as He has loved us. Further He explains: I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. Friends do that. They are honest, forthcoming and trusting of one another. They do not rush to judgment. They are patient, loyal and always seek what is best for their friend.

And yet we all know too well that friends also make mistakes, misjudge, speak ill and can be hurtful. Indeed, friendship can be complex and hard work because love is hard work. In fact, love is the work of God for we hear this weekend that: Because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.

If love is of God, than surely forgiveness must also be of God. Because of love, we can forgive. Without love, forgiveness is merely practical and efficient, potentially self-serving and thus, not of God.

In this fast-moving city and time, everyone seeks friendship. It seems authentic friendship can be more elusive then in what are perceived as more simple times. In truth, I do not know. Yet I am certain every soul seeks a soul mate, not just in terms of a life partner, but also in terms of a true friend. For me, the place to start in such a search is in friendship with Jesus. Here one finds the path to authentic love and friendship, and from there the path can open to friendship in
countless ways and places.

Lest we think that each has to “make” this friendship happen, somehow, Jesus clarifies that misconception and self-centered position: It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you.

Fr. Ronan

Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 8/9, 2021

In today’s Gospel, Jesus commands his disciples, whom he calls “friends,” to love one another as he
loves them. Jesus uses the word “love” as a verb or a noun nine times.
He also employs the word “command” or “commandment” five times. His command to
love one another is explicit. Those who understand the depth of Christ’s love
for us have reason to be joyful. We are called to be stewards of this loving
friendship; to love one another as Jesus loves us.
Do we give serious attention to what this love requires of us?
What is the price of this friendship with the Lord?
Are we willing to pay this price to keep Christ’s friendship?