May 27:

Fr. Don here.

To be consecrated in the truth, as St. Paul encourages his disciples to be, in Acts 20:28-38, we would be free to live a life of complete freedom and abundant joy. Living and speaking the truth offers the freedom of knowing that we are always doing what Jesus wants us to do. No more looking over our shoulder to see who is listening and who is watching. To speak the truth means no more worrying about what version of the story I told to each person. Living in truth means that there is a clarity about life, even though there may be discomfort, pain and suffering. The truth will set us free, give us clarity and put us in right relationship with Jesus. What portion of the truth are we sacrifices for the sake of fake unity, looking good in other’s eyes or trying to maintain something that is out of my control. May truth be the center of our lives today!

May 26:

Fr. Don here.

In Acts 20 St. Paul begins to say goodbye to all those he had lived with and taught. He wishes them well and does an analysis of his on life. He declares that he has held nothing back and given his all for the sake of Jesus and his good news. Today might be a good day to take a look at our own lives. What or how are we holding back from giving our all for the sake of Jesus? Do we believe that Jesus will provide for everything we need? Since Jesus believed that every person was worthy of giving his life up for, are we of a like mind or have we decided that some people deserve to be saved and loved and some don’t? What are we holding in reserve just in case Jesus doesn’t live up to his promises? Have we run the race and finished the course? What will our deeper walk with Jesus look like today?

May 25:

Fr. Don here.

Today we remember and pray. There are those who have given their lives in service to our country. We remember with gratitude their willingness to stand in the way of violence and hatred so that we can be free. We pray for those who are currently serving in the armed forces. We ask God to keep them safe and help them create a world where they will no longer be in harm’s way. Let us remember that we are capable of doing much better than do right now. We can, with God’s help, create a world where all are one, acting as sisters and brothers. Find a way today to honor our brothers and sisters who have given their all. Remember and live so that the reign of God will be established on the earth. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

May 24:

Fr. Don here.

Just had a glimpse of the rising sun, reminding me that all things are made new and renewed through the love and mercy of God. Take in that breath of fresh air. There is no need to carry into today the regrets or achievements of yesterday or to try to manage was hasn’t even happened yet. The beauty, the surprises and the disappointments of today will happen and we will walk through them one moment at a time. We will have what we need at that moment just like we have every other moment of our lives. Overtaken by grace, allowing God’s guidance to lead us and trusting that we are being used as an instrument of healing and compassion sets us on this journey. Enjoy and embrace each moment confident that a Jesus walks with you and lives you deeply.

May 23:

Fr. Don here.

I am so aware of how my chosen attitude toward each day colors my expert of that day. This morning I have chosen to “enjoy the adventure.” I’m not sure all that this day holds in store for me, but I am choosing to embrace it, take it in. I will experience joy and sorrow. Some events will flow smoothly and some will be more turbulent. Setting off on an adventure means that I am trying to live in this moment. I am trying to relax, unclench my jaw, expect delightful surprise, and look for the telltale signs of God’s presence everywhere. I look forward to learning, growing, forgiving, enjoying, wondering and wandering. Where will this adventure take me? I know that this day offers me the possibility of being closer to Jesus. I’m excited about that. How about you?

May 22:

Fr. Don here.

During this isolation, and with the help of others, I have become a gardener. Initial excitement and some work at tilling the soil got the garden ready. Seeds and plants are in place and the daily routine of weeding and watering is in place. Some days to rain water helps with watering. But now it is waiting and believing. The seeds and plants, I believe, have the potential for giving fruit for the table. I have faith. How much more, since God had promised and been faithful, can we have faith in the situation that is still difficult, the person who is still messy and the promise that is still unfulfilled? Notice the small signs of life, not what is missing. Rest on the promise and not on fear.

May 21:

Fr. Don here.

Tonight we celebrate our great 8th graders and their completion of their education with us. This is another celebration which will happen but not as we planned months ago. We are learnings every day that we are called to live in the present moment, celebrating as we can. We mourn the loss of what is lost and also claim that which has not been lost. Do not let loss or pain or inconvenience rob you of what is still true and always will be. No virus can take away God’s love for us, our oneness with each other or our call to be God’s presence in the world today. Choose virtue not vice as you make your way through the day. Choose to be a light and not darkness. Choose what is instead of what was or what is to come. Make that call, take that quiet moment of prayer or send that tweet to the one who needs a shot of light and hope in their life today. We are each other’s sisters and brothers!

May 20: 

Fr. Don here.

God’s faithfulness is on my mind and heart today. As I remember being ordained 42 years ago today, I know that it is only through God’s Grace that I am a priest. Many of you know the story of the letter I was given at my ordination. It was written by a cousin of mine, telling me that for several generations the women of our family have prayed for a priest to come from our clan. Stunning gift to receive but also humbling. Had I known about that ahead of time I would have felt pressured. Instead I feel gifted by her and them. It seems that is how God works. The road for our lives is prepared by God through the people of God. We can remain faithful through the prayers and support of the people of God. I rely on God’s Grace that comes to me through the Eucharist and the people of God. Thanks to all of you for being a constant reminder of God’s faithfulness. May you be blessed to receive God’s faithfulness and to remember and give thanks.

May 19:

Fr. Don here.

Gradually embracing a new normal necessitates doing something gradually. That means taking our time, being observant, noticing what is happening and how it is affecting us. It means understanding what we need and how to blend that together with what others need. It means noticing the most vulnerable and needy, since they might not have as many options as we do. It means setting aside denial and embracing what we have come to know about life. It means taking a breath and allowing our relationship with God reflect our deeper understanding of grace, loss, pain, suffering, death, gift, and freedom. Am I free to love another as Jesus has loved me, if that other involves suffering, sacrifice or inconvenience?

May 18:

Fr. Don here.

There is a phrase in John 16:4 which says “when the hour comes.” That phrase is used to remind us that daily faith practices are not just for emergencies but so that we might be prepared for the hour when we are presented with difficulty, danger, suffering, insight, opportunity and trial. Daily practice of prayer, meditation, rosary, service, self-emptying and stillness till the soil of our minds and hearts. In Acts 16 we meet Lydia, a disciple whose life has prepared her for the moment she hears about Jesus through Paul. She has been practicing generosity and kindness, Godly virtues even before she is baptized. She has prepared her heart for God to go deeper with her. What will you practice today to till the soil of your mind and heart?

May 17:

Fr. Don here.

Anticipation can either ruin us or give us hope. It can be a way to live in the future and try to escape reality. All that comes out of that is anxiety and regret. But we are given a promise that God will be revealed in every moment of our lives. This leads to anticipation that is grace-filled. As you pray this morning, as we share Eucharist together live streamed and as we live in each moment today, we do it with anticipation and hopeful expectation. This is a new day to be filled with God’s self-revelation. With listening hearts and wide open eyes we stand ready to see God. We have food and drink. We have shelter and clothing. We have safe drinking water and more besides. Have we become numb to the faithfulness of God revealed in those gifts? Do we really believe that we earned these gifts? Notice the wonder of your body. With such love you were created! Can you see that in the mirror or in the eyes of those who share your isolation? Rain, gardens, blooming trees and flowers reveal the Creator, not just the gardener. Be ready and breathless as God is revealed to you today.

May 16:

Fr. Don here.

Acts 16 talks so much about St. Paul following the prompting of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s promptings were so strong that it compelled him in one direction and prevented him from going other places. You may be picturing so other worldly spirit grabbing ahold of his tunic and yanking him back and forth. Probably not what happened. Paul was knocked to the ground and blinded at the beginning of his conversion. He became so close to Jesus that he “bent” his will so that he could follow the will of God. Can I say that most of us already know what the Spirit of God is asking us to do?  I think so. For the most part, we simply don’t want to change. We don’t want to “bend” our will to do what The Spirit is asking us to do. Take one of the following words and contemplate it. You will hear the promptings of the Spirit. Question is, what will you do?  Generosity. Compassion. Forgiveness. Fearlessness. Understanding. Patience. Faithfulness.

May 15:

Fr. Don here.

We are chosen. But that’s not all there is to it. The initiative has come from God. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. No or else, no conditions, no expiration date. We are chosen forever. God has made a choice to love us no matter what. The key to living in the footsteps of Jesus is to let that truth infiltrate your whole being. That truth will have to purify us of other”truths” which are really lies. Listen to your never ending doubts and fears which allow you to not believe that you are eternally chosen. Failures, sins, feelings, thoughts actions do not have the power to change God. God has made an eternal choice to love you. Let that melt away all your arguments. The more we let this gift be given to us, the greater is our capacity to make a choice for love.

May 14:

Fr. Don here

St. Matthias, whose feast we celebrate today, was a substitute called in to be an apostle when another one quit hoping in Jesus. Try to imagine the years that led up to his being chosen. In sports it would like “riding the bench.” He was there witnessing the living, dying and rising of Jesus but never counted among the 12. Many of us might feel like we’re all dressed up with no where to go. We keep preparing to be used by God, to make a difference, to move up a notch, but it doesn’t seem to happen. Waiting, being attentive, continuing to learn and grow’ these are all great characteristics of a disciple of Jesus. Whether we are highly visible and ranked high or we await God’s next call to action, we are all doing God’s will by waiting in trust. Much has been postponed or delayed on our lives. Let us wait, watch and learn in fruitful ways.

May 13:

Fr. Don here.

One of the stained glass windows in our sacristy depicts the Immaculate Heart of Mary. On this Feast of Our Lady of Fatima we are encouraged to pray for our world, for ourselves and especially for all who have lost their way and are involved in destructive behavior either toward themselves or others. Sometimes it becomes difficult to pray for those who are public sinners without hating them or judging them. Judgment is God’s work, not ours. This kind of prayers is about “leaving the 99 to find the lost one.” This is to be done out of sheer love and care, with a willingness to lift the other up and carry them home. Think of a person you know who needs this kind of love. Reflect on Mary’s Heart, pierced so that thoughts of many heart may be laid bare. Her love, even to those who killed her Son, is our example to meditate on and follow.

May 12:

Fr. Don here.

God’s in dwelling Spirit allows us to have a share in divine life. We are given the inheritance of life that never ends. This assurance, coupled with the assurance that “He walks with me and He talks with me” each and every moment of our lives ought to fill us with joy no matter what each moment asks of us. What is it that keeps us from allowing those truths to set us free?  Momentary pains, insecurities, wants and fears tempt us to believe and act out of them, rather than the facts of our eternal destiny. Could today be the day when we choose to live in the reality of our gift of life eternal?  Take each temptation or question of the day and put it up against the gift of life we have each been given. What has staying power and what doesn’t?  Don’t leave anxious questions unanswered, floating around in your mind and heart. Can you live in truth today?  Not for every day but for today?  Enjoy your eternal inheritance as it breaks into your day today!

May 11:

Fr. Don here.

Reading Acts 14:5-18 reminds us of the blessing and curse of being disciples of Jesus. We are given the opportunity to do great things in the name of Jesus. God works through us to bring life and renewal in our relationships and in the world. Healings, reconciliations, great acts of generosity and astounding depths of forgiveness can happen through us when we become God’s instruments. For those who are hungry, lonely and in need we can look like gods. But we must remember that it is God who works through us. We are not God. Arrogance and self-righteousness are two of the greatest hindrances to hearing and following Jesus. Today is the day to do great things in the name of Jesus and give all the glory to God.

May 10: Mother's Day

Fr. Don here.

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms and prayers for any who experience any pain associated with this day. Today we lift up a certain esteemed group of people who have been entrusted by God with the privilege of bearing human life and bringing us into the world. Praise God for those who cherish and care for us from the beginning. Although no mother is perfect we do get a glimpse of God in moms. The virtues of generosity, compassion, faithfulness and love exude from most moms. They protect us and give us birth, they serve us when we are completely dependent, they nurture us into full humanity and then free us to live our adult lives, with the only hope being that we will be the best people we can be. If you find yourself unable to be grateful for your mom today, look for the unforgiven part of your past experiences. Isn’t it time to forgive and move on? If you regret something you did or are doing as a mom, seek forgiveness and move on. And to all moms, worry doesn’t change a thing. Free yourself and set your mind and heart on what you can change. Love only as you can love. That is the greatest gift you can give. Thanks moms!

May 9:

Fr. Don here.

Public masses will be happening in several weeks but it won’t be like it was I hope. Yes there will be more restrictions. Limited number of people per mass, masks compulsory and no touching. But I hope for a change that is deeper. Will we rush to make sure I get what I want or do we have a concern for the common good? Will we get angry and frustrated when things don’t go smoothly or will I be more patient and forgiving? Will I need to be first because I come first or have I learned that we are all connected? Is my hunger for the Eucharist authentic or am I reasserting that I want what I want when I want it? I hope we are learning these mighty lessons of love. They are lessons that Jesus learned through living, dying and rising. May we follow in his footsteps.

May 8:

Fr. Don here.

When you opened your eyes and saw how cloudy and rainy it is how did you feel?  We all have inner reactions almost instantaneously. Once we acknowledge those we have a choice. How will we respond, what attitude will we choose to carry with us today?  Imagine Jesus. How many emotional reactions he must have had to the people and events he encountered. We know that he was deeply troubled, angry, felt love and compassion, felt abandoned and afraid, was filled with joy and gratitude. His choice about life was always the same. He chose to love, in word, attitude and action. Have fun with the variety of immediate reactions you will have today. If you listen carefully and observe yourself you will notice some emotional patterns. You may have some habitual behavior attached to certain feelings. Remember. You have a choice to be fully human, in the pattern of Jesus. Observe, acknowledge, examine and choose. You know the way.

May 7:

Fr. Don here.

Learning and growing are exciting experiences for me. It feels like I’m not stagnated if I am deepening my understanding of things or people. If I am encountering something that makes me uncomfortable I have a tendency to quickly call it bad and try to escape it. Stay in the midst of being stretched by growth takes courage and trust. Right here and right now is a situation I would have never chosen. How about you?  Any part of you want to escape the learning, growing, insights and stretching that is happening?  Are you practicing any “numbing” behaviors that keep you from feeling and growing?  Any want in you to rush back to what was instead of awaiting what will be?  Are you now equipped to value silence, family, connectedness, dependence on God or sharing your excess with the most vulnerable?  Or is there still more to learn as we wait humbly to be moved into deeper life with Jesus?  Don’t rush away just because you’re uncomfortable. God is with us.

May 6:

Fr. Don here.

It is so uplifting and liberating to be given an understanding of the mind and heart of God. What is God’s attitude toward us?  Throughout the gospels we get hints about that through the words and actions of Jesus. We are told that God is love so we can assume that God is always acting out of love. God’s invitation to live in light and not in darkness is motivated out of love. Notice where you tend to live in self-hatred or hatred of others. Notice where you live in denial rather than truth. Notice where you live in cynicism rather than hope. Notice where you find security in things and not in love from God. When you notice a tendency to live in some darkness remember the hand of Jesus reaching out to you and saying “Step out into the light. Do not be afraid. And even if you are afraid, step into light.”

May 5:

Fr. Don here.

I come to you this morning with a new knowledge that my dad, at 92, is positive with Covid 19. I literally stand with millions of you whose family members are suffering without their family present. Thank you God for those who stand with our loved ones and love them and care for them. For their sake and for the sake of the most vulnerable, we isolate and stay somewhat distant. Many are asking if it’s worth it. Many are asking is our inconvenience and suffering is worth it for the sake of others. It seems that many of us are unknowingly carrying this disease without symptoms. To whom do any of us want to give it?  Let us ask Jesus to give us the humility and courage to act as if our every action affects others. Help us to act prudently and to uphold the life of every human being, especially the most vulnerable.

May 4:

Fr. Don here.

Every 24 hours the earth moves around the sun, giving us sunrise and sunset. Every day we are given what we need, through our work and the support of others. Every day we and others experience the Paschal Mystery of living, dying and rising. We have been given this cycle of life by God and all human being and all of creation embraces this cycle. Where are you today in this Paschal Mystery. Probably a little of all three. There is usually some living, some dying and some rising in each day. We have done this all our lives. God has given us an example in Jesus about how to do this. In all things we should be anchored in our relationship with Jesus. He accompanied us every step of the way. Always has and always will. Necessary losses, abundant living and blessed resurrections. This is the privileged path of the children of God. One step at a time. Trust that it has been, is and always will be.

May 3: Good Shepherd Sunday

Fr. Don here.

Finding a trusted confidant, a good listener, an honest source of wisdom and a good example to follow is one of life’s most important tasks. Today in the scriptures we are offered the example of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. His example and His endless love are gifts we have been given, unearned and endless. But how do we recognize His voice and how do we know the path that He wants us to walk. Growing in trust of Him and setting aside our own egos, our own fears, our own need for surety before we follow and our want to be in control. We have all wandered off the path and yet He still calls our name and carries us home when we wear ourselves out on other paths. Jesus is calling each of us. Listen to His voice and follow where He leads.

May 2: 

Fr. Don here.

Turning away from the hard truths seems to be a temptation in all of us. In the scriptures today, John 6:60-69, we hear Jesus insisting that we “eat his body and drink his blood.” Many walked away because that was too much for them. What is the “too much” that God is asking of you right now that you are being tempted to walk away from or reject? Is God asking of you a deeper concern for others, even those who hate you? Is God asking a deeper level of self-giving even in the midst of your current insecurity? Is God asking you to love yourself more deeply even though you have struggled with that all your life? Is God asking you to quit pretending that you are all-powerful and know better than everyone else? Is God asking you to quit hiding out of fear or anxiety and share yourself in little and great ways? Will you say yes or walk away?

May 1:

Fr. Don here.

Acts 9:1-20 Study the character named Ananias. Imagine being asked by God to assist a person whose mission it is in life to imprison or kill you. Imagine what courage and trust it would take to say yes. Now combine that with the feast of the day, St. Joseph the Worker. Another person in scripture who is asked to set aside a planned and secure way of life for something much more risky, loss of reputation and standing in the community. Let us be conscious today of the ways that God is calling us to trust more deeply, even when we ourselves feel threatened. How often does our reputation or getting our own way or staying in the security of our planned life get in the way of responding to God’s invitation to trust more deeply and say YES?

April 30:

Fr. Don here.

Our mission today is to live in such a way so that when anyone encounters us they encounter Jesus. What a grand and glorious mission we have been given. So our examination of consciousness ought to be about an awareness of what eminates from us. What do our words and gestures communicate about Jesus. Is our inner heart purified of those hatred and prejudices that cause us to act in hatred, selfishness, cynicism or shame? Can we glimpse the Light of Jesus in each voice we hear and each person we encounter, even the one we see in the mirror? Can we choose to see Jesus in those most in need, for Jesus is present in our need as well.

April 29:

Fr. Don here.

Because today is the feast of St. Catherine of Siena courage comes to mind. We sometimes use the word fortitude as well. One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, it is given to us in order to serve God more faithfully and love God more deeply and honestly. St. Catherine had holy courage, not ego driven blisters of false pride. She spoke truth to power but always with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, not what made her more important or to get her way. Have courage today. Be brave enough to believe that you can do what God is asking you to do. Thinking of others as much as ourselves is courageous. Helping with one more day of long distance learning takes fortitude. Deciding to look at the possibilities in this day to see and receive light and not darkness takes a person filled with the Holy Spirit. Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful. Fill us with the fire of your love and courage!

April 28:

Fr. Don here.

Don’t rush on to the future. It hasn’t happened yet. Live this moment and day. Sometimes we are so anxious to get out of the present circumstance that we act like we are living in the future. We know that isn’t a healthy mental, emotional or spiritual way to live. Besides that, we miss the experience of real living and the wisdom of the moment. Many of us have had to give up some things we were really looking forward to. But now we have already started planning for the future. Have we learned anything? The present moment is always real and is always happening. See the eyes that look at you today. Hear the voice that speaks to you day. Acknowledge the present blessings of food, clothing, shelter and God’s presence. What the future brings we know we can not predict. We do know we can live one day at a time. Practice well today.

April 27:

Fr. Don here.

I love to cook. One preparation for a meal can be marinating some part of the meal so that it soaks in the flavor of the marinade. That image can be used for our own lives. If we soak in a marinade of love and charity our lives will take on that flavor. If we marinade in indifference or selfishness that becomes our flavor. Children are great perceivers. They can tell the intention of the heart no matter what words we say. They absorb the mood and attitude of their surroundings. People can eventually pick up our authenticity or our facade. Let us choose to soak ourselves in the love and charity of God toward us. We will then take on or absorb that flavor and can give it to others. Use your power of choice to draw near to charity and love and not hatred, division and suspicion.

April 26:

Fr. Don here.

Even though separated by distance or sickness I look forward to walking the journey with all of you today. I am consciously of our connection with one another. I pray for us that we learn the lessons of this time and not rush through this or numb ourselves along the way with passing things. I would love for us to begin speaking about the lessons we are learning and hoping we never forget. I would love for us to all be wiser and less reactive. Has our attitude toward inconvenience, vulnerability and suffering changed in any way? Has our understanding of being connected with one another deepened or made us more divided? Are we growing in compassion or suspicion? We are doing this journey together. Let us walk by faith and not by sight!

April 25:

Fr. Don here.

In 1 Peter 5 we are told to “clothe yourself in humility.”  Waking on a cloudy, rainy day it seems already heavy and dark. Hearing about humility seems to be piling on. Haven’t we already had enough?  Aren’t already carrying a heavy enough load?  Taking on humility shouldn’t be “another load.”  In fact, it should be freeing for us. Humility means being ourselves honestly and truly. It means being the person I am able to be today and being assured that that is the greatest gift I can dedicate to God today. God has formed us and molded us in God’s Divine image. Our humility is to look like the humility of Jesus. We are to give what we have and depend on God to increase the “loaves and fishes.”  In all humility, what is it that you awaken with today and how can you authentically offer that in honor of God. Enjoy the freedom of humility!

April 24:

Fr. Don here.

Are we all victims?  It seems that each time we are deprived of something or someone our first reaction is to find someone to blame, to fight or to condemn. This first reaction seems to keep us from feeling the pain of the moment or even dealing with reality. In this moment and during this day there will be some things that happen that are out of our control. Let it be. It is real. Believe it or not we are not all powerful and not everything is in our control. Turn to the unmovable anchor in life. Jesus has chosen to love you and me no matter what. Just as Peter and John felt privileged to suffer for the name of Jesus(Acts 5:34-42) maybe today we might feel privileged to suffer for the sake of the community, for the sake of not infecting others, for the sake of not overtaxing hospitals and health care workers and for the sake of the common good. Are we victims or are we choosing to inconvenience ourselves for the sake of others?  That is in our control!

April 23:

Fr. Don here.

Isaiah 55:10-11

“Just as the rain falls from the heavens and does not return until its work is accomplished, so it is with the Word of God.”

Look out the window and take this rain as a sign of God’s faithfulness. This rain will nourish us and all on the earth. It has a purpose. It will do what it is meant to do. We can not live without it. So too with God’s Word Jesus. He comes to us today in His Risen power. He shows us His wounds. It is impossible not to see the wounds of the Body of Christ, especially in our brothers and sisters in our own neighborhoods and throughout the world. Just as the brokenness of Jesus conveyed Love so can our individual choices to voluntarily empty ourselves for the sake of others. How will we help bring to fulfillment the purpose of Jesus’ presence in our world today?  What is your God-given purpose today and how will you bring it to completion?

April 22: 

Fr. Don here.

John 3:16. God so loved the world that He gave us His Son so that we might have eternal life. Our gospel reading for today calls us back to the truth. The virus and the ensuing restrictions and losses have put before us things we don’t normally like to think about. Our own mortality, our vulnerability, our dependence on others, our connectedness with the whole world, and how afraid we are of inconvenience and suffering. We are tempted to either reject what the gospel tells us this morning and call Gods Word into question or to just grit our teeth and put up with this life until we get all our goodies in heaven. Jesus taught us the only way that fulfillment this gospel. “While we were still sinners.” Jesus found a way to live abundantly while there was vulnerability, death, suffering, dependence and loss. How can we live this day abundantly in the same pattern that Jesus did, not just waiting for heaven or rejecting the promise of God but living in this world with love, forgiveness and compassion knowing that God is blessing us and in turn we can bless others. What will that look like today?

April 21: 

Fr. Don here.

How is living in the belief of the Resurrected Christ changed how you live? Our current step away from community can give us time to glance more deeply into our inner life and see how our beliefs and values mold our choices and behaviors. Are we being so quick to go “back to normal” that we will miss the wisdom we are learning now? That fact that our life on earth is limited and our time here leads to death is not a new piece of information for any of us. Maybe the removal of our conveniences help us see that more clearly. But what will we carry with us out of this virus time into our “normal” times? Even though we are social distancing now are we one people of God or not? If I am made in the image of God is everyone else too? If my life is precious and each moment important is not each person’s life important? Is this pandemic threat causing me to close in on myself or opening me up more deeply? Do I need an enemy to blame for my discomfort or can I embrace discomfort and uncertainty and live more deeply? We are all being cracked open. Will we heal together from the inside out or quickly cover up any sign of vulnerability? Follow the pattern of Jesus!

April 20: 

Fr. Don here.

Yes. It is Monday. Many of the ordinary markers of Monday might have fallen away. Rushes to get out of the house to our many destinations are gone for most of us. For those of you who still do the essential work of our society, thank you. Please be safe as you can and know that our prayers and gratitude go with you. We are much like those who live in contemplative communities. We are staying within our walls, doing our domestic necessities and praying for the rest of the world. Pick out one particular group of people that you would like to pray with today. Keep them in mind and heart throughout the day. At meals, as we arise and go to sleep, every time we purify our hands, and whenever we experience frustration because of limitations and rules, remember those who don’t have the luxury of staying home and being safe. We hold them in prayer and love.

April 19: 

Fr. Don here.

Show Me. Most Missourians are familiar with this phrase. Our state motto. Prove it. Show your receipts. We have different ways of saying the same thing. Doubt and disbelief are part of our human condition. Given that, how do you treat your doubt? Do you pretend as if it doesn’t exist? Try to cover it up or numb it with repetitive behaviors like cynicism or exaggerated bravado? Turning toward God rather than away from God is the proper response, is the right thing to do, but so difficult. For those of us so blessed in life and faith find in hard to accept that we would ever doubt God’s love and mercy. But we do! Since that is true, especially in times of difficulty, let us trust in God’s mercy. God’s Covenant response is to love us always and to fill us with mercy rather than what we think we might deserve. How would life be different if our first choice was to bring our doubts to Jesus rather than pretend as if we are all knowing, all loving and perfect believers? Try it! You’ll like it!

April 18: 

Fr. Don here.

“Sunshine on my shoulder makes me happy. “. This quote from an old song describes what it felt like at sunrise this morning. I am so grateful for rich, full and radiant sunlight today. I look forward to seeing and feeling the Light of Christ in this day. I wonder how God will meet every one of my needs. I know God will. I just hope I’m not so calloused to the fullness of my life that I fail to notice how God is working each time that I breathe, each time I can move my body, each thought that I have and each moment of awe and beauty that I experience. Take the time today to look out and up. This is no time for “navel gazing.” God is working in our midst and through us. He is Risen as He said. Alleluia!

April 17:

Fr. Don here.

How did you react to the announcement of further time in isolation? Are you still inwardly fighting against these limitations or maybe you’re sinking deeper into cynicism or hopelessness. Is peace and calm possible? Can we remain hopeful and loving? Can we choose to live life abundantly? You bet we can but we must face some truths that have always been true but are accentuated during this time.

We are not in control of everything that affects our lives and we shouldn’t be. We are, have been and always will be dependent on others. We will experience discomfort, inconvenience and suffering. We are, have been and always will. Life, death and resurrection is the pattern of our lives. The Paschal Mystery. Going back”to normal” could mean pretending these things aren’t true or we could learn the lessons of these times and embrace them rather than try to live in a fantasy.

God is with us in living, dying and rising. Alleluia!

April 16:

Fr. Don here.

Rugged individualism is a myth. We might pretend that we can pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps but it simply isn’t true. It seems to be a reaction against our disappointment when someone doesn’t live up to our expectations or isn’t as faithful as they said they’d be. Sometimes we’d rather be alone than risk the pain of disappointing love. Companions on the journey are essential if we are to stay the course. Some are essential for part of the journey and then depart. Some are with us for most of the journey. The Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead is a living companion with us always into eternity. Acknowledge that Spirit’s Presence in your life today. Converse and debate, question and ponder, experience awe and wonder, boredom and humdrum. We are not alone and are not meant to act like we are. The Spirit of God is with us!

April 15:

Fr. Don here.

This ancient icon of the Emmaus Story shows us the guts of our gospel today. Wherever we are, on whatever road we walk, in whatever situation we find ourselves, He walks with us. He will listen patiently as we tell Him our circumstances. He will try to connect the dots for us if only we listen. How does all this work “for the glory of God?” We usually only know this in hindsight. Right now we need to live day by day, in trust that He walks with us. Why would we be exempt from suffering? Has any other human being been exempt? Do we deserve to live a pain free life? Suffering, embraced with trust and faith, is a rich source of compassion.

April 14: 

Fr. Don here.

Where do you roam when your life has unanswered questions or life throws you a curve? Each of Jesus’ disciples roamed for a while. Some went to hidden places behind locked doors. Some walked away from Jerusalem toward their homes. Some went to his grave. In the roaming they find Jesus. He comes to them. He is with them. He speaks with them. These days our roaming is confined. Most of us are roaming in our thoughts or daydreams or fears and anxieties. Expect to meet Jesus although you may not recognize Him. Engage and converse. He will love you, console you and call you by name. He is with us. He is Risen. Alleluia!

April 13: 

Fr. Don here.

This is just the beginning of the Easter Season not the end. To carry the message of Jesus of Life over Death will take the rest of our lives. Plant the seeds of life in you so that they grow and bloom in deep and rich soil. Your seeds of Resurrection are meant to be fruitful, 100-fold. This is creativity time. Think of daily ways to share the fruit of your faith in the Resurrection of Jesus. Although isolated and distanced we are not separated. We are all God’s people. How will you share joy, hope, faithfulness and love? Don’t act like this is a sprint. This is a lifelong marathon, day by day giving witness to Jesus. What will that look like for you today?

For now with love.

April 12: Easter Sunday

Fr. Don here.

Love has many forms but it is undeniable that faithfulness in the face of infidelity is one of the strongest examples of love. Jesus loved us and chooses to be with us always. No denying His choice. We can see it on the Cross and we see it in the Empty Tomb. Love comes to us today and asks us “ Do you think that this virus would be the time when I would quit walking with you? Do you think I would leave you alone NOW?” Have you answered that question? Do you still keep going back and forth with “is God with us or not?” Live today, the beginning of our Resurrection Season, in hope and truth. Your hope will give you vision and the truth will set you free from worry and fear.

For now in love!

Easter afternoon:

Fr. Don here.

I've posted my Easter Message on the website www.allsaints-stpeters.org.

I want to thank everyone who continues to support the parish financially. A number of households are experiencing some financial hardships right now and I don't want to impose on them but if you are in a position to help, we greatly appreciate that. In fact, we want to help you as much as we can. Reach out to us and we will make it through this together. If you can, would you please mail in your donation or give online https://allsaints-stpeters.org/Resources/Online-Giving If you would like to make a donation to the Easter Collection it can be also be made online here https://secure.egsnetwork.com/donate/3ADF8D1708A345D

Let us continue to pray for each other and our suffering world and may the glory of the Risen Christ fill us with hope now and always. The mission of the Church continues.

April 11: Holy Saturday

Fr. Don here.

Since we have no place to rush to, let’s settle in to this day of reckoning. Just like the early apostles and disciples we are confronted with tombs filled with bodies of friends and dreams and plans that seem to have been lost. Mayor occasions in some of our lives are postponed or cancelled. Employment has evaporated and savings are dwindling. This is the empty tomb, just like the one that held the body of Jesus. Don’t rush to cheap faith and don’t hide your face from one you said you loved. Stay in the midst of your anger, bargaining, denial or quick solutions and shallow faith. Who has rule in your mind and heart? What is true even if you stand before the grave of seemingly broken dreams? You know the Creed, spoken so many times unthinkingly. Do you believe? Is your life journey chosen by these truths? Stay and watch!

April 10: Good Friday

Fr. Don here.

Turning away from love. Great sacrifice, given for our sake, is difficult to behold! While we are still sinners, Christ died for us! Behold the wood of the Cross! We have all day to contemplate this Love. Don’t turn away from the Gift. Don’t gloss over what was embraced for your sake. Allow the deepest part of your being to experience what real love looks like. Let Love burn out any fear, doubt, shame, embarrassment, unbelief, callousness, indifference, self-centeredness, and leave more room to say YES to Love in a deeper way. Look into the eyes of Love and drink in the Gift. This Good Friday offers a unique chance to NOT BE diverted from or distracted from Love.

April 9:  (Holy Thursday)

Fr. Don here.

“What I have done for you now you must do for others”. With those words and the choice to wash his disciples’ feet, we are given our direction of life and mission on earth. Holy Thursday reminds us that our humble posture in life must include washing the feet of those who betray me, deny me and wish to kill me. “What good is there in loving those who love you back? Even pagans do that.” Who are those people in our lives? Peter almost refused to let Jesus wash his feet. Was he embarrassed? Was he feeling shame for his own denials and missteps? Was he unsure he could do the same for others? You might be stuck in the house and service for others, even those you love, is hitting your limit. Imagine Jesus kneeling in front of you. He wants to wash your feet so you can continue to serve. The basin and the towel. Instruments of revolutionizing our minds, our hearts, our bodies, our churches, our communities and our world. Are you on board?

April 8: 

Fr. Don here.

The betrayal of Jesus by many around him must have been excruciating to him. After having f isolationloved so deeply they walk away, deny they know him or sell him for money. And still He loves. What does it take to be betrayed and to continue to love the other? In small and large ways we have all been hit by betrayal. Sometimes we choose revenge and retaliation, wanting the other to hurt as bad as we do. Holding hatred in our hearts and refusing to forgive eats away at us from the inside out. In these days of isolation and distance, is there any of this rising to the surface in you? Any chance you might regret the current state of your life and make a step toward forgiveness and purity of heart?

April 7: 

Fr. Don here.

“I will make you a light to the nations” (Isaiah 49:6). Usually when we hear the word nations we think of large groups of people. And in these days we are seeing nations be a light to others. Sharing respirators and masks and learning from others how to fight this virus. Health care workers shifting into more dangerous positions for the sake of healing and cashiers in grocery stores putting their lives on the line so that others may eat. Light in the midst of darkness for the sake of others. Who is your nation for whom you are a light? Is it your spouse and children? Do you see yourself as a light to them? That person you call just to say hi. Is that your “nation” to bring light to? Those you are praying for. Are they the “nation” for whom you are the light? Claim whatever connection you have outside yourself. Choose to be light today. Don’t try to do tomorrow. It doesn’t exist yet. You are a light to the nations!

April 6: 

Fr. Don here.

I had a vantage point yesterday that you did not. From a window in my room I saw cars pulling up all day to receive one of the blessed palms. All day long. Distance and separation has not destroyed our oneness. This Holy Week is a meditation on Oneness. Jesus continues to hold all in His heart as he walks the walk. Just like our current state of life we fight about who you agree or disagree with. Jesus holds us together as one. Try to notice today any ways we might be betraying our oneness. Talking about someone else behind their back, holding a grudge that should be forgiven, judging because of skin color, religion, country of origin, sexual orientation or economic status. In our separation, with the longing to be connected, can we use this time to get rid of anything that separates us, even when the virus finds its hidden place again?

April 5: 

Fr. Don here.

A procession of honor and adoration mixed with suspicion and hatred. Welcome to Palm Sunday. Instead of finding the culprits and heroes only in the narrative of the Passion of Jesus let’s also take the time to find the hero and culprit in ourselves. How are we adoring and lauding Jesus with one part of ourselves and doubting and accusing with the other part? Isolation and quiet and disconnection from the normal can lay bare many hidden parts of us. Have you quit trying to be so busy and start paying attention to what needs attention in you? Let Jesus process into your heart now. No matter who you are He wants a home in you.

April 4: 

Fr. Don here.

Not a single one of us is without some loss during this pandemic period. For some the loss is huge. Postponed weddings, loss of jobs, worried sickness, and our own patterns of living have all been lost to this virus. It shouldn’t surprise us that we are going through the stages of grief. Anger, denial, bargaining and surrender are some of the predictable reactions to loss and grief. Where are you with your losses? As Christians we believe that Jesus is our pattern and model of behavior. In the midst of his loss and grief how did he act? Did he get angry, have questions, try to bargain to make the difficult things go away or surrender and refuse to be the victim? As we prepare to walk through Holy Week trace the steps and choices of Jesus. We have had our hearts cracked open this Lent, deeper than any of us planned. Invite Jesus, our model of life, to walk us through this deeper walk of loss and pain. Though I walk through the dark valley .....(Psalm 23)

For now in love.

April 3: 

Fr. Don here.

“They picked up stones to kill Him.” killing the messenger when the words are too difficult to hear is a familiar reaction. You might even notice in yourself in the present situation. We push away reality rather than embracing it, especially if it isn’t what we want to hear or is making my life inconvenient or seemingly impossible. Who’s voice are you wishing you could silence? Remember the Serenity Prayer. Is it even in your control to make a person or circumstance go away. The more out of control we feel the more stones we want to throw. Who of us is without sin? Cast the first stone. Embrace reality. It gives us more freedom to see as things really are and to invite into our reality and not just into our anger. It allows us to stay connected in prayer to God rather than hiding behind our anger or fear.

For now in love.

April 2: 

Fr. Don here.

Avoiding contact is a lifesaving action. Imagine the change of mind and heart that it takes to believe that and let that be the rule of life for us now. But wait. Mathis is not a call for isolation from connections with others but only the ways of connecting that threaten the lives of others or our own. We are one and we are all connected. We are learning hopefully how connected we are. Take some quiet moments today to reconfirm what God says is true. We are one. We are one with our relatives in hospital, in care facilities, in other cities and countries, of other religions and races and ethnic origins. Why do we seem to need to find an enemy to blame for our pain? We are one. Let us heal not hurt. Let us bind rather than divide. For now in love.

April 1: 

Fr. Don here.

April Fools Day. Usually a day of pranks and jokes. This might be a good day to check out our sense of humor and joy. There are plenty of dark and ominous things going on. That is true. But that is not a good reason to abandon joy. Breathe in some humor today. Choose to spend some time today noticing the funny things in you and around you. Some people call this “taking a break from reality.” Not true. This is simply living in the entirety of your life. All is not doom and gloom. God’s intention and dream for us is to “have life and have it more abundantly.” Notice the abundance of life that God gives you today. Have a good laugh. Take in the whole of life not just the darkness. For now in love.

March 31: 

Fr. Don here.

Jesus shows us that being out of control, our own powerlessness, is greater than we wish to admit. As the layers of false security are stripped away what are we left with? The temptation is to say we are left with nothing. But that is far from the truth. We remain precious in God’s eyes and no circumstances will change that. The current shedding of false securities is essential for us to recognize our sheer dependence on the love of God. Today make a conscious effort to freely let go of false securities, things like the future or the past. Notice how available you are to notice God working in you and through you today. Draw near to the Loving One, our true security.

March 30: 

Fr. Don here.

Good morning. I wonder if you have established your routine for the day. Us humans thrive on routine. Set patterns, healthy set patterns, give parameters for good living. When our normal patterns are interrupted by outside forces we get to set new patterns, ones within our control. When will I pray, not if. When will I sleep, not if. When will I exercise, not if. When will I connect with others, not if. When will I eat healthily, not graze eternally. We still have the power to live healthy lives. God’s love is with you today. Choose to connect. Choose to take it in. Choose to pass it on.

March 29: 

Fr. Don here.

The path of Lent continues. From the desert to the mountaintop to the well to the Temple and now to a grave filled with stench and grief. At each step along the journey a similar question is asked. “Do you believe?” No matter what “Do you believe?” Not asking ultimately about how you are feeling or what are your current circumstances but do you believe. What is the immovable foundation on which you stand? Taking account of our emotional state is important as so is our real and present situation but life is so unnecessarily unstable if we alter our fundamental truths by how we feel or what we see. What foundation do you stand on as you find yourself facing the grave filled with grief and stench?

March 28: 

Fr. Don here.

Empty church, empty parking lot, don’t touch, stay six feet away, no more than 10, same faces day after day. This is our new routine. In whatever way we are wishing that it wasn’t, it is. Stop running from it, stop fighting it, stop filling it with unnecessary busyness or clutter. Welcome the detachment, welcome the sameness, welcome the closeness of God. Listen for the “still, small voice,” who does not extinguish the “smoldering wick” or break “the bruised reed.” Welcome God’s gentle Spirit into this new empty space.

March 27:

Fr. Don here.
Friday in Lent. How do you respond to being asked to give up something when life is already inconvenient? Have you noticed that sometimes our emotions about this current situation leak out unconsciously in our lives? We don’t like being deprived or told what to do or not to do. That is frustrating, sad and can create anger in us. Are we attending to those emotional reactions? Are they part of the gift we present to Jesus today? Today can we “glory in our weakness” and let God be strong on our imperfections?

March 26: 

Fr. Don here.

During this time of isolation and distancing most of us are taking stock of our lives more deeply. When deprived of some things we re-examine what is or should be most important and of highest value. If you believe that you need to reestablish some former values and virtues that you have neglected, do so starting today. Don’t waste time with self-hatred or “if only” musings. Take today, the day the is given to us, and live out those values and virtues that have been clarified in this isolation. Become the person God has called you to be. No virus has the power to keep us from doing that!

March 25: 

Fr. Don here.

“Let it be done to me according to Your will. “

Today is the Feast of the Annunciation. 9 months til Christmas. Imagine the encounter Mary had during what must have been her regular time of prayer. Just like us she chose to spend time nurturing her relationship with God. Dedicating her day to God and asking for God to reveal the direction for the day. This day she hears that she is to be the mother of God, the tabernacle of The Word Made Flesh. Surprise, questions and the wonderful YES that she offered. Let us follow her example today. Oh God, what is your will for me today? How should I act in your name? How can you be manifested through me today? Let it be done to me according to your Word. YES!

March 24: 

Fr. Don here.

My hope is that we are settling into this new phase of our reality. It will not last forever. It is necessary for the sake of our most vulnerable. Take some time today to remember someone you know who is in the most vulnerable group. They could be old but might be a child with a compromised immune system. They may be in our church community or family but maybe not. Remember them when you are inconvenienced. Dedicate that choice to shelter at home to their well-being. As Christ gave His life for the sake of us who are sinners we can give these days of our life for the sake of the most vulnerable. Choose Life for others!

March 23: 

Fr. Don here.

What happens when the initial novelty of things wear off? Stuck, bored, frustrated, angry, depressed, worried, fearful? Make sure you don’t hide all that from Jesus and others. Enjoy being loved by him when you don’t feel your best. How? Use some bit of your quiet and isolation to remind yourself of God’s faithfulness to you. Remember. Revive those memories. Renew your awareness of God’s generous promises that are still true in this moment. One day at a time. Blessings on your day. God is with you right now!

March 22: 

Fr. Don here.

I just finished my private prayer time and am refreshed for the day ahead. I look forward to celebrating the Eucharist with all of you over live stream starting at 8am. To prepare, notice any blindness or short sightedness you may have in your life right now. Bring those to our prayer time together this morning. You are all in my mind and heart. We are ONE.

March 21: 

Fr. Don here.

God is asking us to live out what we believe. God wants us to be one and to live as if we are one. We have more time on our hands than ever in recent memory. Has this virus and all the consequences helped you experience our oneness? Or are we still looking for someone to be our enemy? Have we deepened our sense of community with the whole world or are we looking for and circulating conspiracy theories? “That all May be one”. That is the dream of God.

March 20: 

Fr. Don here.

Abstaining from meat. Seems like such a small sacrifice now compared to everything we are being asked to abstain from. No hugging, no touching, no gatherings. Doing without for the sake of family, friends and the world. Seems like quite a good spiritual practice on this Friday of Lent. Live stream mass at 8am. 28 min from now. Maybe see you then🙏

March 19:

Fr. Don here.

I am so conscious of our being connected, if not physically. Today, the Feast of St. Joseph, has already been a fruitful day for prayer for me. Imagine the scary choices Joseph made, trusting God’s promises. He took Mary into his home already pregnant. He fled with his family to protect his child. He, an older man, gave such great guidance and nurturing to Jesus. Imagine the words and gestures he was able to do during their time of running for their lives. Can we imitate the hope and trust in our day today? St. Joseph, teach us and guide us! I think of all of you a lot.

March 18: 

Fr. Don here.

Sorry for the delay on posting this morning. I just finished a meeting at Kenrick-Glennon seminary. Some of you may not know that I teach the preaching classes there for the men studying to be priests. It is such a privilege to be with them as they learn how to share and reflect the Word of God to others. The seminary is closing down for the semester but we are being asked to continue our classes online. Being 69 years old, that creates it's own challenge for me. But I am learning. But how about all of you?

I would like to offer a scripture that any of us could use for meditation, either private or even as a family prayer. Luke 24:13-35 It is the familiar Emmaus Story. Take that walk with the disciples and with Jesus. Insert yourself into the journey and have a conversation with Jesus. He wants to know what you are thinking and feeling. He also has some things to remind you of and he wants to bring back some memories. Enjoy.

March 17:

Fr. Don here.

Take a deep breath. Allow God to be with you today. As you become aware of your uncertainty or fear, invite Jesus to walk into it with you. You are not alone. Do you have what you need for today? If so offer your gratitude and check on someone who might be in a more fragile situation than you. If you don’t have what you need for today reach out. We are here. Call the parish office. 636-397-1440x221. There are thousands of us who share this life with you. You don’t have to carry this alone.

March 16: 

Fr. Don here.

We just received a letter from Archbishop Carlson telling us to cease offering mass immediately. All other activities on parish grounds are also cancelled. We will have the church open for private prayer from 9 am til 3 pm ever day. No more than 10 people can be in church at one time.

To read the archbishop's letter, click here https://allsaints-stpeters.org/Coronavirus

March 15: 

Fr. Don here. 

Just wanted to offer my encouragement to take hold of this day through faith and not fear. There might be chaos and confusion around you. You might feel more out of control than usual. Those are outside influences. What decision are you making about yourself? Are you being led by faith or fear? One of our parishioners shared an apt scripture with me. 2 Corinthians 5:7 We walk by faith and not by sight. It doesn't mean we ignore what is going on around us. We do see and live in the world. But we are guided by Godly wisdom and not our fears! Let us love one another as God has already loved us. Choose to live fully today!