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The Holy Spirit Will Teach Us Everything!

A reflection for the 6th Sunday, Easter, Year C. The readings are Acts 15:1-2, 22-29; Psalm 67; Revelation 21:10-14; 22-23 and John 14:23-29.

“The Holy Spirit will teach you everything and will remind you of everything that I have spoken.”

That’s what I want to talk to you about today.

I suspect that most of you don’t usually pray to the Holy Spirit. Most of us pray to God, the Father, “Dear God”, “Father in Heaven” or “Our Father”, or we pray to Jesus, “Dear Jesus”. But how often do we pray to the Holy Spirit? “Dear Holy Spirit”? And when we pray to God or Jesus, how often do we ask for them to send us the Holy Spirit? Unless we are Charismatic, we probably don’t usually do that.

But we should. Every day. If you don’t remember anything else from today, I want you to always remember this. Pray for the Holy Spirit, every day. Everyday ask God to send you the Holy Spirit, to guide you, to inspire you, to move you.
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Thank God it’s Friday!

A reflection for Good Friday. The readings are Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Psalm 31; Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9 and John 18:1-19:42.

Detail of Crucifixion with Mary and St. Dominic and Mary Magdalene by Fra Angelico, circa 1437-1446. Museum of San Marco, Florence.

This doesn’t usually happen to me, but the last couple of weeks, for some reason, I’ve found myself counting the days of the week until Friday. I guess a lot of us do that. We can’t wait for the weekend. And when we get there we say, “thank God it’s Friday!” We even have a little sticker that we can text to each other or post on social media, “TGIF”; thank God it’s Friday.

And then we get to this week, and to this day – thank God it’s Friday – this day that we call “good”. This day that should be called “black Friday” or “terrible Friday”. I guess the official name is “Friday of the Lord’s Passion.” Good Friday.

In my head I get it. This Friday is good because it leads to Sunday. Without the death, there is no resurrection. We honour the Friday as “good” because it leads to a victory.

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We Are Citizens of Heaven

A reflection for the 2nd Sunday in Lent, Year C
The readings are Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18; Psalm 27; Philippians 3:17-4:1 and Luke 9:28b-36.

La Transfiguration by Peter-Paul Rubens (1577-1640), Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy, Lorraine, France.

I went out to dinner with an old friend the other night. We’ve known each other since we were in high school.  She doesn’t believe in God and undoubtedly the conversation turned to the Church and the sex abuse scandals. We spoke about how sex abuse happens everywhere where there is opportunity: in sports, in dance and gymnastics, in the film industry, healthcare, the army, schools, camps – most commonly in the family – it’s not just a church thing and certainly not just a Catholic Church issue (You may be interested in reading this article from Psychology Today).

We sadly agreed that it seems to be part of our human nature.

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Deep Waters

A reflection for the 5th Sunday, Ordinary Time, Year C. The readings are Isaiah 6:1-2; 3-8; Psalm: 138; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 and Luke 5:1-11.

I just came back from World Youth Day in Panama. If you don’t know what WYD is, it’s a gathering where young people from all over the world come to meet with the Holy Father and with each other.  Each WYD has a theme and this year it was from the first chapter of Luke; Mary’s response to the angel: “I am the servant of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word.” This is clearly a Marian theme; but it is also a vocational theme: It’s about the call of Mary.

And that’s what the three readings today are. We can say that this is “call” Sunday. First we heard about the call of Isaiah; then about the call of St. Paul. The Gospel was about the call of Peter.

And for many young people, World Youth Day is about the call. So many young people get called to go to WYD. There were some 100,000 young pilgrims from around 140 countries who went to Panama. Once they get to WYD, many of them receive a more specific call..  I can trace my call to the diaconate right back to WYD 2002 in Toronto.

My experience of WYD Panama has very much been one of “call”. Preparing for this WYD has forced me to look back at my life and consider every moment where God called me, as a young child, growing up in Panama, through to calling me to come to Canada; to go to Theatre school; to marriage and parenthood, to work at Covenant House; to work at WYD 2002 and then on to Salt + Light Television, to being called to the diaconate. Needless to say, these “lessons in vocational discernment” could fill the pages of a book, which I may one day write. (If there are any publishers out there interested in learning more, please don’t hesitate to contact me.)

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