Sunday, September 15, 2013

Let Mercy Come Alive in our Hearts.

Today's readings bring us to another consideration of the importance of mercy in our lives.  Likewise, for me, hearing the word "mercy", I am reminded that Pope Francis has made mercy a frequent mentione in his homilies and other speeches.  Surely, mercy is in short supply at a time when there is a genuine shortage of this virtue.

In the gospel reading today, we confront an ever so prominent example of mercy: the story of the prodigal son, his father and older brother.  As you read the account in Luke's gospel, or as you simply recall the impact the parable had had in your life, perhaps it might be spiritually helpful if you consider which of the roles you believe to be yours:  the father, the son or the older brother.  Without doubt, I am  certain, most of us have been in circumstances where we may have had the heart of each of the three men in our own heart.  In my life for sure, there have been days when I know I am no better than the prodigal son.  I have been extraordinarily forgiven by God.  And there are those days when I have been called upon to deal with others just as God has dealt with me, just as the father has dealt with his returning son.  And, of course, there have been moments when I have been no better than the older brother in the parable.

Back to the first thought:  and where is mercy in my life?  How have I reached out to those who have offended me, others or God?  Have I put myself above those people who failed in one way or another?
Has mercy been a part of my life?  Do I truly understand what "mercy" is?

It is with these thoughts that I bring to a close what has been a wonderful experience for a goodly period of my life, since October 6, 2006.  Little did I ever imagine that I would be publishing my spiritual thoughts on an international medium.  Little did I ever consider that my prayer and reflection would be of some inspiration to men and women in so many different places.

Well, I have come to a time when I need to absent myself from the blogasphere for a time.  Of course there are immediate questions like "Why?" and "Are you okay?"  There are more than a few reasons that have brought me to this decision.  At the moment because of several other obligations that have taken up much of my time and with the prospect of moving from the area in the not too distant future, I have decided it was time to stop "Prayer on the Hill."  

I have always enjoyed challenging myself with the work of the blog.  It is because of this enjoyment that I mentioned that I would be absenting myself "for a time."  After several months away from the blog project, it is my hope to come back to the public writing, renewed, refreshed and charged with new excitement for such a project.  As a priest, I have always been grateful to the responses that have come forth from the reading public of this blog.  It has been humbling to say the least.

Your attention and support has been a gift that few experience.  You will always be in my prayers as I pray, as I read, as I preach.  May I ask that you occasionally take the time to offer a prayer for me.

May God bless each of you each and every day of your life.  As I learned while a Jesuit:  "Oremus pro invicem!"  Let up pray for one another!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Alert. Be On The Alert.

[1 Thes 5:1-6, 9-11]

The first reading to today's reflection is the final reading from Paul's letter to the Thessalonian for this Liturgical Year.  We will return to this letter about the same time next year.

Paul is concerned that the people of Thessalonica have a proper understanding of the subject of the Lord's coming.  This reading can be summarized in single words such as "watchfulness", "alert", or perhaps that word "times and seasons."

The Day of the Lord seemed to be a major concern among the people of Thessalonica: some were trying like folks of our generation to set the day and the time when they would experience the return of the Lord.  Others had given up work because for them there was a surety that the Lord was expected any day soon.

Paul's writing was to scotch [a cob-web word I found in the dusty corner of my dictionary!] such an idea or expectation.

"The Day of the Lord" is rooted in Amos 5:18.  For the OT folks it was a time when God would come again and this time put before us judgement or blessing.  It stands as the final moment of and for all things.  Paul believes this moment of the Lord will only come when folks believe all things are quiet and peaceful.

Paul teaches that we should not forget that we are children of the light.  Christians are for each other and all others children of the light.  That mean we should be wiewidede awake and alert and have control of our senses.

Today we need to be in balance between being ready to be called at any moment of any day but at the same time we should not be burdened by worrying about when and how we will be exiting this life on earth.  We can best be prepared by living always in the present moment:  "seeking, finding and responding to God in every person and in every experience of every moment of every day."  Do this and there will be no surprises!!!  Deo Gratias!!!