Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 6/28

In my little corner of the world
you've given summer a beautiful beginning, Lord:
warm, sunny days topped off with cool evening breezes,
just right for sleeping with the windows open,
just a sheet for a cover...

Of course, I know this will change.

There'll be hot, hazy humid stretches
and folks will be complaining, asking,
"When will this heat wave end?"

And it will.

And it will come again.

And maybe yet again, Lord,
before summer starts to nod
and  mild days and cooler nights return
and we'll be asking,
"Where did summer go?"

Oh, yes...  we'll make it through the summer
and welcome autumn's beauty,
while hoping that the winter
won't be hard on us this year...

Would that I might weather the seasons of my life
as well as I endure the heat, the sun, the cold, the snow
and move through seasons changing,
trusting soon enough my favorite time
will come 'round once again...

Touch the changing climate of my days and years
with hope, Lord, with trust in you,
with faith, as seasons come and go,
that none will last forever,
that seasons change to offer me:
rest and joy in summertime,
a brush with death each fall,
the long, cold sleep of winter's dark
and new life every spring
to raise me up and bring me joy again...

As I live through the seasons, Lord,
help me live through my life:
tasking every season's gifts,
trusting through the dark of night
til a new day comes at dawn...



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Monday Morning Offering: 6/27

Morning Coffee by George Mendoza

Good morning, good God!

It’s summer, Lord:
the days are warm and the nights are, too.

It’s a time to be grateful for the AC
in so many places,
cooling to comfort the spaces where
we live and work and rest and pray…

But sometimes I run too quickly from the heat,
from how the summer soaks
and seeps its way through my pores,
through muscle to bone,
through bone to the marrow of my soul,
warming me through and through
until, from the inside out,
I’m baked in a light from light years away…

Draw me from the shade and shadows, Lord,
and warm me in your love
as you warm me in your summer's sun:
soak and seep your way into my soul;
pass through the cool comforts shielding me
from the brilliance of your light,
the heat of your presence,
the burn of your desire for my own…

Bake me in your love
until I sweat from every pore
the moist anointing of your presence…

Bathe me in the warmth of your grace
‘til I am tanned by your light touch
within and without…

Warm my heart’s desire for you
and let no cool shade keep me from the peace
your heart burns to give…

I offer you these summer days
when all creation warms to know
the light that knows no dark…

In the heat of the noonday sun
keep me mindful, Lord, of others
whose thirst I might slake in your name…

So comes my morning offering, Lord,
this summer’s day and all this week…



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Homily for June 26

Homily for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

"Technical difficulties" with my recorder today - I can't find it!
So no audio for this homily.

There’s a lot in the news these days
about how individuals “self-identify” and what descriptors they use
to know and understand themselves.
This homily isn’t going to address any legislation on these matters
but rather will help us look at how we self-identify as believers,
- because that’s what these scriptures are about today.

Before a man or woman is married they are known, they identify
as  son, daughter, sister, brother, nephew, niece,
cousin, aunt, uncle, friend.
Once they’re married, they add a new relationship, a new identity,
to all the other descriptors that apply to them:
they are now known, they now identify as husband, as wife.
And their relationship as married persons
becomes their primary human relationship.
Of course, they are still
son, daughter, sister, brother, nephew, niece,
cousin, aunt, uncle, friend to others
but their spousal relationship influences, colors, modifies and changes
their other relationships and identities.

Something like this is at the heart of today’s scriptures.
It’s a change in relationship that causes Elisha to ask
if he might go back and bid his parents farewell.
Up to  this point has identified himself and has been known as
- his parents’ son.
But now he’s to be known as Elijah’s apprentice
and the Lord’s prophet: two new identities.
He’s taking on a new relationship status
and it’s beginning to make a qualitative difference
in all his other relationships.
The same is true in the gospel.
Three individuals here present themselves as potential disciples:
they stand on the threshold of changing their relationship status
by following Jesus.

• With one, the Lord is more demanding than Elijah
 (who gave leave to Elisha to go home to kiss his parents goodbye).
Jesus answers the same request, saying
 “once you put your hand to the plow, once you begin to follow me,
you must leave what’s behind you - behind you.”
Relationship modifies identity and perspective.

• And to another who ‘s interested in following the Lord
- but wants to wait  until after his father has died -
Jesus warns that the time is at hand and nothing should keep us
from walking in his footsteps right now.
To identify as a disciple 
is to answer the gospel’s demands in the moment.

• And to yet another, one who’s full of bravado
 (“Lord, I’ll follow you wherever you go!”)
Jesus cautions that following him change your lifestyle
because you’ll be following one who hasn’t so much
as a place to lay his head at night.
A relationship with Christ identifies you as one called to live
as he lived and that will likely impact, modify
and change one’s identity.

Of course Jesus wasn’t and isn’t anti-family or in any way opposed
to all those wonderful relationships in our lives
through which we come to know and love God.
But he is speaking a hard saying and it is this:
Among all the relationships we enjoy in our lives,
none is more important than our relationship with the Lord.

Among the many identities
by which we understand and know ourselves,
none is more important than our identity as children of God.

So, let’s put a practical edge on all of that
and ask ourselves a few questions.
In the week just past,
in what ways, in what relationships, situations and circumstances
did I know, understand  and identify myself
as a follower of Jesus?

And, were there times in the past week when in some ways,
in some relationships, in some circumstances,
I subtly, quietly denied my identity as a follow of Christ?

And one more question…
In the week ahead of me, in what ways
and in what relationships, situations and circumstances,
will I have the opportunity to know, understand and identify myself
]as a disciple of the Jesus?

The Incarnation, the mystery of God becoming one like us in Jesus,
]is the ultimate expression of the Divine identifying as human,
taking on our flesh and blood
]and offering the same on the Cross, for us,
]shared now at this altar in the Bread and Cup of Communion.

Jesus, who has so totally identified himself with our humanity
]invites us to take into ourselves, into our bodies, his identity,
]his holy presence in Communion.

May what we celebrate and receive here help us know ourselves,
]understand ourselves and identify ourselves
as children of God and brothers and sisters of Christ Jesus,
our Lord and Redeemer.


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Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 6/26

Lord, sometimes I look back upon the last few days, the week just past, and catch a glimpse or two (or more) of how your grace has brought me to this day, through trials and troubles that seemed, just yesterday, impossible, irreparable, impassable...

But, here I am, Lord, and with your help I made it through the dark of night and to the dawn of this new day.   I made it, Lord - but only by your grace... 

I so often miss your helping hand, the ways you reach out to encourage and support me: to lift me up when I am down, to lead me on when I hang back, to draw me out of my resentment and self-pity...

I let myself get in the way, Lord:  I look down instead of up, I look in instead of out, I think the worst and not the best, I give up hope when hope's just what I need the most...

I get in the way and close my eyes and ears, my mind and heart to all the ways you're there, right by my side to guard and guide me...

I get in my own way, Lord, and trip myself on disappointment, fear and worry.  I get in my own way and fail to see you're there for me in just the ways I need you.  I get in my own way, Lord, and miss the many ways you call for me to wake up, get up, shape up, grow up, step up, face up to the challenges before me...

One day at a time is all you ask of me and every day is just how often you reach out to me to bring me through the troubles and trials that seemed, just yesterday, impossible, irreparable, impassable...

Lord, sometimes I look back upon the last few days, the week just past, and catch a glimpse or two (or more) of how your grace has brought me safe thus far...

Keep me out of my own way, Lord: help me follow on the path where your love heals and lifts me up.  Give me glimpses, even now, Lord, of your presence and the grace you always offer me: each day, every day, one day at a time...

Word for the Weekend: JUNE 26

Bronze sculpture by Naomi Spier

June 27 finds us at the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time. The first lesson (1 Kings) and the gospel (Luke) offer similar stories of a call to discipleship and its cost. We first see how Elisha leaves everything (even destroying his livestock and farming equipment to offer a sacrifice) to answer the call of the prophet Elijah. The elements of the Elisha story clearly inform the imagery in Jesus' call to his disciples. The question we need to ask is this: what price are we willing to pay to follow the Lord?

Between these two similar scriptures comes a message from Saint Paul on the freedom that is ours in the Spirit of Christ.

Texts of the scriptures and commentary on them are here and if you're shepherding young ones to Mass this weekend, you'll find hints on helping children prepare to hear the Word here. (Adults may find this link helpful, too!)


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Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 6/25

Image source

Yesterday I was the bearer of some bad news
to a group of wonderful, hardworking people...

And yesterday I was the bearer of good news
to a friend hoping for just the message I delivered...

When it comes to good news/bad news, Lord,
I'd much rather herald
the happy, uplifting word...

But when the difficult message is mine to deliver,
give me the strength I need to bring it
and others the strength to receive it...

All the same, Lord:
keep the good news coming
as much as you will
- and bad news in short supply...


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Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 6/24

what will you ask of me today?
   - my time?
   - my forgiveness of someone who's hurt me?
   - a change of mind?
   - a change of heart?
   - a change of habit?
   - outreach to someone in need?
   - a return to the path I belong on?
   - a little more honesty with myself?
   - some time in prayer with you?
   - something known only to you and me?

Help me know what you ask of me today, Lord,
   and help me do it - today...

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Pause for Prayer: 6/23

Image source

Yesterday afternoon I was at the beach, Lord,

soaking up the sun’s warmth

while a cool, onshore breeze

gently washed over my face and limbs…

The combination of the two

lifted my spirits and lightened the load

of all I carry this week

in my thoughts and in my heart…

I was consoled by the sun and the breeze

and brought to a place deep within

where I knew, with confidence,

that all shall be well ,

yes, all shall be well indeed…

And the warmth and the cool, Lord,

put me in mind of your consolation:

of the respite you give me

from worry and fear and anxious thoughts,

when you lead me by hand

to a peaceful place where I may trust

that all shall be well,

that all manner of things shall be well…

Too soon, then, did the sun set, the breeze die down

and the hour pass:

consolation is not forever

but rather a gift to be treasured

as it’s given, as it comes,

deep in one’s heart of hearts…

Open me up, Lord,

to those consoling moments

that bless my life and give me hope:

and visit my friends who long for your peace,

for the warmth of your presence

and the breeze of your Spirit

washing gently over their souls…


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Pause for Prayer: WEDNESDAY 6/22


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Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 6/20

Image source

In my part of the world, schools are closing this week and kids will be off on their summer vacation. I remember childhood summers that seemed to have no horizon: a time and place as close to heaven as any young heart might ever dream.  A child’s summer joy comes, I'm sure, a gift from God: a taste of timelessness, a promise of perpetual play, a season of sun and unreasoned joy. Only God might offer such a gift! Oh, but where have those childhood summers gone? Have I lost my hope in summer's promise? If I don't believe in summer, how will I believe in heaven where summer's joy must surely never end, where summer's timeless stillness calms with peace all other seasons' grief?

Let’s pause and pray…

Come summer with me, Lord,

come summer deep down in my soul…   
Restore my faith in summer’s time, in rest, in joy, in play, in you. Summer in my heart, Lord, and dwell there as if the summertime would never end, as if all time were a child’s time, eternal time, when school is always out and joy is ever in...

Come summer with me, Lord,
come summer deep down in my soul…  
In these long-awaited days, Lord, slow me down and give me time for nothing to do but to be with you and to know again that you're with me.  Help me put the brakes on my merry-go-round-go-nowhere pace... Slow me down… Let any summer doldrums lull, calm and call me to a place of peace, of prayer, of meeting you again -- as if bumping into an old friend, on the streets of my vacation...

Come summer with me, Lord,
come summer deep down in my soul…  
Help me relax, Lord, and find a peaceful pace and place where I can meet you face to face.  Remind me of the times you took your own rest, Lord: leaving the city and crowds behind, going out into the desert, up the mountain, across to the opposite shore and off by yourself - or away with just a few friends, to pray...

Come summer with me, Lord,

come summer deep down in my soul…   
Slow me down, Lord, and let the busyness that runs me and the work that runs me down settle to a pace and peace that lets me be, just be with you, in a quiet shade where my heart speaks to yours and yours to mine and I can hear your word. 

Come summer with me, Lord,
come summer deep down in my soul…      
Even if my summer time is crowded with work and things to do, even if vacation time is short or not at all in sight, even if responsibilities burden as the summer's heat - even then... Come summer with me, Lord, come summer deep down in my soul every day: as the sun comes up at morning and disappears at night... As the stars shine bright by the moon light and soft rains fall upon me - come summer with me, Lord, come summer deep down in my soul...

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