Tuesday, August 19, 2014

St. Michael's News Connection - Week of August 17th

Points to Ponder

Here are just a few points that I like to remember throughout my day

-Jesus asked his disciples "who do people say that the son of man is?" Jesus does not want us simply ask who he is but rather he wants us to look inside and consider what Jesus means to us.

-Jesus will give us the keys to his kingdom as long as we live this life as his true disciples.

-Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, says the Lord, and I will raise you up on the last Day!

-Our Lord was good and forgiving and so we must follow in his foot steps.

-Forgive and forget. Love thy neighbor and forgive all who have injured me!

-We need to turn the other way when we hear people gossiping about one another.

-Have Jesus in your heart always and you will have life eternal!

-What can I do to have Jesus seep into my heart even more?

-Pray, forgive and pray some more!

-Janice Griffing

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


This week, I decided to write a reflection on the Gospel for two reasons. The first is that I often struggle with doubt in my own life; the second is that at Mass at the parish I went to they had a guest bishop talk about the needs of his diocese. I thought that a thorough reflection on the Gospel would be a fun and beneficial experience, and I hope you enjoy it.

Doubt is something that creeps into the minds and hearts of many believers. Its roots can come from a variety of sources: perhaps a lack of knowledge about something, maybe an event that didn’t turn out like you’d hoped, or maybe you’re just going through cynical mood that turns into something more. Whatever the reason, the experience of doubt is one that can either bring us closer to Christ or take us down into the depths of sin into places of disgust, despair, and dejection.

This week’s Gospel shows us Peter to whom I can so often relate. Peter’s problem in this passage is much like a main problem in my own life. Peter saw who he thought was Christ, his teacher, the God-man who had taught him what is good, true, and beautiful, out on the water. Then he like many would, asks the question, “God is that really you?” When Peter got a positive reply he began to follow. As he followed he stepped out of his comfort zone and moved toward his teacher, his master, all that was good, true, and beautiful. Focused on Jesus, Peter even did the impossible, he walked on water. He, through the power of God, was able to take part in a divine conspiracy against the laws of nature to demonstrate the power and faithfulness of God when we trust him.

But then, notice what happens. God doesn’t change. Peter, many of us… like me, changes. He takes his eyes off of Christ and looks to the world around him. When he looks to the world around him to try and process all that is going on rather than focusing on simply walking toward Christ, he begins to be afraid. What was a miraculous and powerful display of God’s power working through his disciple turns into a sad example of a man sinking in the doubtful waters that surround him.

When we focus on things other than Jesus and his great and gracious love for us, we become like Peter, fearfully worrying about ourselves and sinking into the many depths of doubt and despair… Christ, however, would not have it that way… In his mercy and grace Jesus is there the moment Peter cries out, “Lord, save me!” Christ then admonishes Peter, not to condemn him, but to invite him to learn from what has happened. “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Later, after Christ’s Resurrection we see Peter do more astounding things through the grace of God and a renewal of faith. Peter, like all disciples, needed to go through a process to get to that point. But the main lesson I’ve learned from Peter is his persistence in his pursuit of Christ. From this point in the Gospel to his martyrdom in Rome, Peter pursued Christ with a passion! He stumbled, and he fell… many times! But in the end he was triumphant in letting go of those things holding him back from Christ. Those humanly ways of thinking of, “What are others going to think of me?” or, “Oh my gosh, I can’t be walking on water, that’s not possible!” all went away when he finally allowed Christ to be God in his life. The grace of God took over and gifts abounded all the more for Peter even to his martyrdom.

We, like Peter, have that same vocation: that call from Christ to live lives of faith, hope, and love, in and through the God of the universe who WILL take care of our every need. So in times of doubt let us learn from Peter. Do not rely on your own efforts to get us to faith. Rather, let us keep our eyes focused on Christ and ask for the gift of faith He wants to give us! Whatever part of ourselves, or our environment, might get in our way and cause us to doubt, let us give it back to Christ. If irrational, Christ will simply allow it to dissolve in truth and grace. If legitimate, Christ will help lead us to an answer so that faith can grow even more! But let us always remember to not let doubt lead us away from Christ. Christ allows us to bear things so that a greater good can come from them! May God grant us the wisdom and grace to know and participate in Him always!

In Christ,


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Lots of Firsts!

An experienced priest told me a few weeks before my priestly ordination, “Once you begin your ministry as a priest, the learning curve goes up!” While he was certainly right, the learning process has been a joyful one. In my six weeks of being the assistant pastor here at St. Michael’s, I’ve experienced a lot of things in ministry for the first time: my first wedding, my first anointing, my first funeral Mass, my first time singing the Eucharistic prayer, and many more.

Many beautiful memories are being etched in my heart here at St. Michael’s, thanks to Bishop Cirilo for the assignment, to Fr. John for his mentorship, to the staff and the whole parish community for the support and warm welcome, and, of course, to our Lord Jesus Christ for the gift of the priesthood.

For the first time in my life, as a priest, I feel most alive.

Fr. Lauro