Partners’ Forum

Scripture Reflection for Sunday, September 14, 2014

by Dave O’Donnell

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” (JN 3:16-17)

 

IMG_0035This passage for me begs the question: “Who is this Jesus Christ?” Jesus most often when referring to himself in scripture calls himself the Son of Man. Christians call Him the Son of God. I see him as both of those in the role of teacher—best identified as the great emancipator—teaching a practical and spiritual way of life that when implemented in an individual’s life leads to radical freedom.

 

In the early church before being called Christians by others they called themselves the people of the way. “The way” suggests to me that they recognized they were on a journey to transform their lives as they put into practice the commandments Jesus gave them. These commandments are love God, love your neighbor, do not judge, forgive always, pray for your enemy, pick up your cross daily and follow Jesus.

 

Doing these, I believe can lead to a radical change in ones life—from sin, fear, compulsions, ego, to a life of freedom and a rebirth in spirit—what St. Paul calls the gifts of the Spirit, peacefulness, generosity, kindness, patience, joy.

 

I leave behind the curses of the ego, hostility, conflict, jealousy, anger rivalries envy, competitiveness, identifying the other as a problem. What I have discovered is a radical interdependence and identity with the whole. Life is very good when I realize the dance is with everyone. If there is someone out there who wants to kick me in the chins, I believe this insight will equip me to recognize them and be able to stand far enough away so their toe can’t reach my chin. I consider myself a Christian because that message has transformed my life from fear to hope and peace.

You Be the Judge

 

What is it like growing up as a son of an immigrant? Colin Grant, an English historian and Associate Fellow in the Center for Caribbean Studies at the University of Warwick, tells us his experience in this TED Talk. While I found his story fascinating, even more revealing were the comments that followed. Some suggested he did a great job, especially in his seeming ability to forgive his father. Other responses condemn him as an ungrateful son who should realize how lucky he was. All this makes me wonder who is right? Which response is the compassionate one?

Love to Work? Or, Work to Love?

Father Sebastian McDonald, C.P.
Father Sebastian McDonald, C.P.

While we are still in the shadow of Labor Day, we probably notice that we are paying more attention to work at this particular time, than we do at other times of the year. It’s not that we disregard work throughout the rest of the year—an almost impossible thing to do, unless we are retired—but we consider it in other terms, that is, more in terms of scheduling and programming than in terms of appreciation or reflection.

A significant question for us, when we have the time, is to ask ourselves: do I love to work, or do I work to love, that is, to show my commitment and dedication to those dependent on me? That is, am I really fond of my employment, enjoying it, looking forward to every Monday of the week, so that I can get back to my workplace and my associates there?   Am I glad when vacation time is over, allowing me to return where I really find my fulfillment and satisfaction—in the office, factory, classroom, department, counter or desk? Is it because of that paycheck that I can regularly pocket or bank, that enables me to purchase what I have set my heart on, or retire a debt hanging over my head? These all seem to be worthwhile ambitions that can explain why I love to work.   In all these eventualities, work is the consummation of my desires, and the thought of eventual retirement is depressing, so much so that I may look for part-time work when I retire, or rethink my work habitat and develop a hobby, perhaps in the basement workplace, or in the sewing room in the upper floor. Work has been, and remains, the goal of my life, though, with the passage of time, in a different form or pattern. It has come to satisfy my deepest longings.

Or, on the other hand, do I work to love, that is, to express my affection, to show my feelings for significant others in my life, to gain enough collateral to start a family, or to marry the man or woman of my desires, or to support worthy causes and contribute to the success of significant endeavors, or to help my parish, the center of my life, to retire its debt?   Has my work-life finally put me in a position to do the things I really love: fish, play bridge or poker, putter in the yard, read, travel? So that, when I judge that I have worked enough, and done the things that I wanted to achieve with the hard-earned money accruing to me from my work, supporting and bonding with family, friends, neighbors, fellow-parishioners, then I can gladly put work behind me, and let the next generation step into my shoes, and free me up to leave the workplace behind and join my fellow-retirees at the club, over a drink where we can swap stories and memories, or on the links, where we can tee off for a round of golf? Here is where the association that work has led me into reach fruition. Work has been a means to this long-awaited end, throughout my life.

So work means different things to different people. Work is like putting food on the table. That is, it can be the centerpiece of my day, placing an appetizing assortment of food on display pleasing to the eye and tasty to the palate, the grand finale of the day. Or, that table of plenty can come as a result of a demanding job that puts money in my pocket or bank account enabling me to meet the needs of those entrusted to my care and concern, about whom I care so much. In this way I show my sense of responsibility for those who are dependent on me.

In either case we can praise God for providing a way in which we can either do what we love to do, or be content He has enabled us to provide for those depending on us. They likely converge, for there is nothing to prevent what we enjoy doing also helping us meet our responsibilities, just as there is a deep sense of satisfaction in knowing that the employment consuming my time and energy is helping those who mean so much to me.

 

Partners’ Forum

Too Expensive
by James Paulin

 JpaulinFor the few who have fortunes to draw upon, it is not surprising to hear of mansion style homes, gala parties, super cars, yachts and much more. As for common folk, we may be able to afford some comforts in life or maybe just have enough to survive or perhaps not even that. One thing that is beyond the reach of even the wealthiest person or the poorest person is still obtainable for all who would accept it openly.

 

When a crime is committed, the law of the land demands fair and equal punishment. Commonly referred to as paying the price for breaking the law, justice is served as a trail is heard, sentence is given and time and /or restitution are completed in full. There is but one sacrifice that is possible, in atonement, which is acceptable to God for purification of our sins against His laws. This sacrifice cannot be purchased with treasures or earned with good or great deeds. It is a gift of God for everyone.

 

When Jesus agonized about the horrors He was about to begin, He made a decision to pour His blood out into a saving cup to be shared by all regardless of wealth, status or worthiness. The only condition is they must accept the gift of God’s only Son.

 

Gospel for Sunday September 7, 2014
Reflection by Dave O’Donnell

 

IMG_0035When two agree in prayer, Jesus tell us it shall be granted by our heavenly Father for where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in their midst. In this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus tells his disciples: “Whatever you bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Earlier in Matthew’s gospel, when Jesus says the same thing specifically to Peter, the church understands it to be the initiation and beginning of the church itself. (When Jesus tells the disciples) Now, He’s making the same statement (promise) to all his disciples (those who wish to follow Him)

 

It is through love of neighbor that our journey to God is revealed. When we take Jesus’ promise seriously it places a burden on your heart, we know our actions have consequences.

 

In my life, believing this and doing this has been an antidote for depression.

The Four “C’s” for Great Blogging

 

In the responses to the Provincial Report Survey a number of people wrote that they would like to get involved in the CPP Blog or thought the Blog was a good way to keep in contact and share our mission with each other and the greater community. With that in mind I offer today’s YouTube video where Mike Wolpert of SocialJumpstart.com gives us the Basics of Blogging. Please take the time to watch if you are interested in contributing to the blog. It clarifies well, I believe, how blogging is different than writing for a magazine or reporting for a newspaper.

 

Happy blogging…