Salt & Light

Youth Ministry BLOG

Finding Jesus in the Temple

Another Monday, and yet, heavy for all of us. The waves of emotion that I feel given the shooting in Las Vegas are powerfully numbing. I feel connected and yet very disconnected from all who are affected. I went about the morning with Abby, getting breakfast going and hearing Abby explain to our girls what had happened. I don't think it even registered with them. They just looked confused. And shouldn't they be? The world is so broken and a dad sometimes wants his children to just be sheltered from it. How do we explain these things, when the loss and tragedy just seem senseless?

After the hustle-bustle of dropping off out children to school, Abby reminded me that we are invited to the Rosary challenge during the month of October and that she is going to devote time to this. We each went on our way, Abby to work and I for a run.

Somewhere along my 2nd mile I began to think about the power of prayer and Abby's invitation to pray the rosary more and so I turned off my music and began praying the Rosary with the Joyful Mysteries:

The Annunciation (humility) The Visitation (Love of Neighbor) The Nativity (Love of the Poor) The Presentation (Obedience) Finding Jesus in the Temple (Joy of finding Jesus).

As I ran and prayed each decade, allowing the words of the prayers to dance through my mind I saw the people and situations in my life that seem most on my heart. I also thought about the people and their families affected today (and way too often in our country and in our world) and I began to feel very small in my concerns, even in my place in the universe.
As I meditated on the virtues for each mystery I became aware where I was living them and also missing them in various degrees, which was a great Examine. But the 5th mystery. WOW!

The phrase, "Finding Jesus in the temple," transported me to the scripture 1 Corinthians 6:19, "Do you not know that bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, who you received from God. You are not your own."

This hit me in a completely new way! Thanks Mary! I was reminded that the Lord dwells within my temple and that I am not my own. Not alone. Not ever. No one is really ever alone. And we have nothing to fear.

But what do I do about this? And on days like today, where do I take my sadness, my anger and my confusion?

Do I go searching along roads leading elsewhere or along more outward-familiar ground? I'm sad to admit I do sometimes. Like our Mother who lost track of the Christ-child, as I search everywhere but where I should. I experience a loss and missing Him, I search among the people - I become fearful and begin to lose hope. Being separated from Him reminds me that I need Him.

Finally I'm reminded that I need to retrace my steps. I must return to the City of Peace and find you Jesus, at home in my temple teaching my old scribes and experts who pridefully think they know it all -There I hear you speaking sublime, simple, and beautiful love to my heart which needs softening.

Mother Mary, pray for us and with us that we might keep our hearts soft with your Son's presence. We are temples of the Lord. We are not our own. Today is a day to sit with the Christ Child and let Him speak to us. May we be ready to listen.

The Father's response to The Lord's Prayer

the lord's prayer.jpg

My children with whom I am in love:

We can grow closer each day! All you need to do is call my name, talk to me, and then listen.

I have given you your life on earth and I have made you my own for eternity in Heaven. You are my precious sons and my daughters.

My kingdom comes to life when you love like my Son.

My will is done when you invite Him into everything you do.

I’ll give you everything you need today at the right time. For time is something I made as a way to bring you closer to me.

I want you to remember that when you stumble, all you need to do is call and I’ll come pick you up.

There isn’t anything you can do that will make me love you less. And when another one of my sons or daughters doesn’t treat you as the masterpiece I’ve created you to be, when they haven’t loved you like my Son, remember that my Son loves them too.

And so begin to forgive them and if possible, let me heal your relationships. Ask me for help because I love to bring healing and wholeness where things have gone wrong.

You’re never alone and every time you call upon me, I am overjoyed and simply love the time we spend together.

So, when it becomes difficult to see the light or you feel tempted to forget just how loved you are, remember you have a Father that’s ready to provide, ready to pick you up, ready to remind you of your value, and ready to lead you away from harm.

Amen, I believe in you!

All you have to do is call.

Holy Friday, 2017

Cries of agony, darkness and Death. And in the midst of it all we hear our Lord say, "Forgive them for they know not what they do." And then the last breath comes as His eyes meet the eyes of His Mother Mary, our mother too.

Jesus our Savior, the Son of God who walked among us and who was present at the moment of creation itself, has been murdered for our sake.

All is lost. Or so it may have seemed.

On this rainy Good Friday I was able to join a group of our parish family, young and old, women and men, in moving the cross from the side of the altar to a new place for our Friday night Veneration of the Cross. This is Jesus' cross and it is heavy.

We placed it between the Baptismal Font and the Altar. We stood back and took it in. We are young and old; women and men, and we realized: This IS Jesus' cross. But something else is different, not just the location but something deeper called to us. It calls to us this evening.

The cross now awaits us between two realities, our rebirth in the waters of Baptism and our continual food for the jouney, the Eucharist. We had to move this cross together as women and men, young and old. This is not just Jesus' cross.

Truley, it IS Good Friday. We will remember His death today. We will approach His cross. What will we bring to this instrument of Jesus' death tonight, between the place of rebirth and thanksgiving?

What needs rebirth in our life? What needs thanksgiving? Do things look lost, defeated or lifeless? We carry the cross and it is heavy. We carry it as the young and the old, and as women and men.

Jesus has been, and awaits us, wherever and within any experience we may journey. He goes before us ALWAYS. Through His death and Resurrection He has promised to make "all things new." May we remember this evening, that this is our cross too.

Holy Thursday, 2017

You are salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see... The Gospel According to Matthew 5:13-16*

Jesus was not beige. We've all seen the color beige, or maybe it's that we see it so much that we're not aware of it. It's that tanish- off-white color that you find throughout big buildings, schools, hospitals, and businesses. Have you ever wondered why this is or who made the decision that this particular shade should be used so frequently? There is a simple answer:
It goes with everything. Jesus was not beige.

Our Salt & Light Blog was inspired by a fantastic passage from the Gospel According to Matthew. It has a lot to say about our presence in the world and perhaps provides something to pray about the next three days of Holy Triduum. We are not called to be beige - to "go along" with bland situations or to contribute to darkness in the world. We are salt and light, says our Lord, but what does that mean? We are called to be salt which brings FLAVOR, and called to be light which brings VISION and GUIDENCE.

Tonight at our Holy Thursday Liturgy we will experience the tenderness and mercy of foot washing, either directly or by witnessing and watching. We do this because Jesus did. And when we "remember" something in our Catholic faith, we are in a sense making it present again. We will love each other as Jesus loved his 12 Disciples and as He loves us!

Do you remember the story of Jesus washing his Disciples feet from the Gospel According to John 13:1-20? Do you remember Peter's reaction, his resistance to Jesus washing him? Jesus responds by telling Peter that unless he is washed by Him, he will have no "inheritance." And later he tells them that he has given them a model to follow. Here's the shocking truth that we sometimes miss in this story: In Jesus' time, a Rabbi would never wash his disciples feet! Jesus' model goes against the expected. Jesus is not beige. The "inheritence" Jesus speaks of is LOVE so pure, so radical, and so unearned and unexpected, that the world will experience it as SALT and LIGHT! Flavor and Vision that bring life and guidence into our schools, work places, activities and most importantly, our homes.

As we journey these next few days leading to Easter, may we embrace our call to be vibrant, not beige; to be salt and light! Perhaps this starts with small and unexpected acts of service at home?

Three suggestions: A floor swept without being asked, so someone else can relax. A family outing for ice cream, just because. A hand-written letter to your sibling, mom, dad, or friend, who does that?

Can you think of some more ways to be salt and light? Please do comment below and share ways that we can bring flavor, color, light, and love to each other.