Monday, August 29, 2016
Do you ever get lost in something you are doing, and forget the time even where you are? Its like passing through a door into a whole other world that absorbs us. Would that it was like that in our life with Christ!
Jesus uses two metaphors: sheep gate and shepherd to describe himself;
I am the sheep-gate - enter through me
I am the good shepherd I know mine and mine know me.
If I enter through the sheep gate, I acknowledge that he is boss, He is in charge.
We are entering his domain. That is scary, and seems to require that I relinquish
my freedom, my inner desire to use my talents and gifts as I think best.
But since my shepherd knows me, he wants the best for me.
And there is the rub. Much of what I want for me is - when I face it - self serving,
self-congratulating, self-centered, and that iss not all necessarily bad, for I want
to do good in the world, However, it is a good that I have predetermined.
The “I” in this way of living and thinking, is in control, not the Lord that I have
come to trust, to know. If I know him, the “I” wants what he wants more than
what I want.
Do we enter willingly through His gate or are we like Augustine for much of his
early life: busily building his own earthly city? He himself tells us his biggest
struggle was not over sexual desires and temptations, but dealing with human
Even after he was a bishop he writes about his struggle with desiring human
respect and ambition - to be recognized - which he felt would satisfy some inner
need. How is the shepherd challenging you, what is the gateway you don't really
want to enter because it will make you change what you are doing or what you
want for yourself? When Augustine committed himself to Christ, it was a
conversion of heart, more than mind, and that is what the man from Hippo holds
out to us, for once we allow our heart to be set on fire, converted, then
our minds will catch up and the whole person will be ready to be open
to the God who loves all of who you are.
Lord, will only a few people be saved? When we think of natural disasters like the terrible flooding in Louisiana or man-made disasters - the thousands of people fleeing their native countries to save their lives; as well as the problem of violence against police or against unarmed people of color, will only a few be saved? To these crises confronting our society many in our parish are facing serious health issues of loved ones been diagnosed with terminal illnesses, will only a few be saved Lord?
We can get overwhelmed as we think of these terrible problems. I ask you to
mediate on the acts of goodness that you have also witnessed in the recent past.
Think about how God has been guiding you to the narrow door. Do you help that
door to be open to all? It is never closed to anyone, but the pathway is narrow,
and some don’t want to venture down it. That’s where you and I as people of faith have a great gift to offer to others.
You as a believer are to help others to seek the narrow door which is Christ.
This week at Kaiser there was a room filled with grieving family as they gathered
to say good bye to a dying relative, a young male nurse said, I’d like to pray with
all of you if I may. He was opening the narrow way. It only took a moment; he
could have just kept silence.
Jana Akan left last week to join the Augustinian sisters in Racine Wisconsin,
choosing another narrow road.
What narrow road will you choose this coming week? Please reflect on how God
has been guiding you to the narrow door, He may be using you to invite others
The Gospel today begins with Jesus saying:
“I have come to set a fire on the earth and I wish it were already blazing for
there is a baptism with which I must be baptized and how great is my anguish
until it is accomplished.”
We know that the baptism he is speaking of is his actual death and rising from
the grave. It is through our being washed in the blood of the lamb that our sins
are removed, forgiven. Our Lord's baptism is a baptism of suffering; it involved
pain and anguish, but concluded with his risen glorified Body.
We human beings throughout the world endure suffering, yet Christians find
meaning and encouragement by uniting our suffering to Christ's. Through Him
we have the grace to do this, and in the process He sanctifies us for he identifies
- he sees himself in us, for we are one in him. Facing this baptism of fire, which
is human suffering, we open ourselves for spiritual growth, for deepening our
love of this Christ who so loved us even when we were not worthy of his love.
(Today we are honoring GenevieveKolenowski who faced life and kept faith in
the depths of debilitating pancreatic cancer. She faced it with faith and courage.
Her family gathered in San Diego for prayers and her burial on the 31st.
I promised her I would offer Mass here at her home parish for 70 years, since
she was so active in helping with our many fund raisers all that time. For months
she knew she was dying and that nothing more could be done, so she calmly with
inner peace let many know of her situation, and on the 25 died in her apartment. One of the great unsung blesseds of our parish.)
Can we ask the Lord to give us a similar inner strength, a calmness without fear,
especially in times of trial and tribulation, depression, illness, suffering and even
when we have to face and endure the suffering of others. This is very trying
- when there is little or nothing we can really do to alleviate the pain of others,
yet to be with them confirms that they are not facing this alone.
Try to come to church Monday, Our Lady’s Feast Day, or at least give some time
in reflection on the truth of what Our Lady's Assumption into heaven reveals
- that we too one day will have our glorified body with us in Heavenly glory.
May you have a happy Feast Day.