The New Gasparian
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A journal dedicated to the life and mission of St. Gaspar del Bufalo, and to a life lived in response to the call and the cry of the Most Precious Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our on-going mission is to share good news of hope and communion.

Saturday, November 30, 2002
Traveling again

Greetings from California. It was a great Thanksgiving. It was fun being at my former parish where people told me how much I was missed. Time to get back to Chicago. Dave Mello picks me up in the morning at 5:00am to take me to Oakland Airport for the flight back to Midway. Back to the snow and the cold. Looking forward to Chant practice. Rorate Coeli is one of my favorite chants and I can hardly wait to sing it next Sunday.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 11:56 PM link
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Wake Up!
Blessings to all on the beginning of Advent

Picture yourself for a moment
the beginning of a new day.

The alarm rings
another night has passed.

How do you feel?
What can you see?
What is the first thing that crosses your mind?

Some of you are "morning" people...
you burst out of bed with the greatest of ease
and are off and running in no time at all.

The rest of us are not morning people
it takes a great deal of energy (caffeine)to prop open the eyelids
The first act of every day is hitting the snooze button
so we can relish a few more moments of precious sleep.

Some of the more dedicated among us
actually get out of bed, turn on the light
set the clock for a half hour later
and propel ourselves back to bed
for just a little bit more of that cherished sleep.

Each of us experiences the morning just a little differently than our neighbor.
Which is why I want each of us to consider for a moment....

In the morning...
How do you feel?
What do you see?
What is the first thing that crosses your mind?

Let's put this experience together.
We, Together, as one Body
We are at the beginning of a new day

the night has past
the alarm has sounded

What is it we see?
How do we feel?
What is the first thing our collective mind brings to attention?
what are we awakening to?

Are we as a Body like a morning person?
do we instantly spring into action and embrace this new day?

or are we actively seeking that snooze button that enables us
spend a little more time in the darkness
The reason I ask this question is because
There is an enduring image of us in the Gospel of Mark.
The gospel from which this morning's passage comes

That image is of a people ASLEEP!

MARK proclaims Jesus to be the Messiah, The Son of God
and the disciples (You and I) are continually presented
as those who fail to understand
as those who fail to see
as those who do not perceive
and finally as those who are ASLEEP.

They do not understand the parables
They did not understand about the loaves, for their hearts were hardened.
They do not understand about the law...
More talk about the loaves and fishes.
They then demand a sign.

They did not understand the sayings
and they were afraid to ask him.

Jesus come upon the disciples in the garden
in his darkest hour
and the disciples are asleep

The woman at the gate asks Peter if he is associated with Jesus. His reply: "I neither know nor understand what you mean"

They had been with him so long
and still they did not understand.

We hear the gospel proclaimed Sunday after Sunday
and yet still we are just awakening to the reality of God in our lives.

This story in Mark's Gospel is also our story
it is not just the story of disciples of old

This story is not just about the end of the world
it is about here and now, this time and place

We are still asleep
and sometimes we reach for the corporate snooze button
to remain asleep, and keep God at a distance

and sometimes we wish that God would only stay at a distance
viewing this blue-green earth from afar

"From a distance God would only see the harmony
From a distance we would appear as instruments in that common band
singing songs of hope
playing songs of peace

from a distance we all have enough
and no one is in need
no guns, no bombs, no disease, no hungry mouths to feed"

an old song, very popular among Christians,
would have us believe
that God is watching us from a distance
and that everything is fine.

This song could lead us to think that God is absent
from the nitty gritty detail of everyday life
and the extraordinarily beautiful music lulls us to sleep
and we miss the coming of God in this time and place...

Look around you!
You do not know when the master of the house is coming,
whether at dusk
at midnight
when the alarm clock rings,
or at early dawn.

It is time for us to wake up

Jesus does not condemn the sleep
he simply issues the the wake up call

It is "ok" to be asleep
It is not all right to stay asleep

The desire to hit the snooze button is perfectly natural.
For us as a community
Collectively hitting the snooze button is unacceptable.

Because we are at the beginning of a new day, a new year
it does not mean that we have the work of this new day accomplished

It does mean that we begin to have it in focus.
and take the first halting steps to put this new day in motion.

What is it we awaken to?
or better.. WHO is it we awaken to?
and how can we be awake to the signs of his coming?

I think that the key phrases in today's gospel are:

"Look around you" and
"You do not know"

Look around you and see the faces of the other members of your family and community.
Look around you and see the face of the Body of Christ in this time and place.

We believe that God is intimately connected and involved in everything we see and do. And we know, that more often than not God goes unrecognized

The way we can be awake to the signs of his coming.
is to be awake to the people who are present to us each day
If we cannot love and serve the people we can see
we cannot say we love the God we cannot see

We see the face of God in our homes, at our work, or on the streets
We see the face of God in the stirring of the wind
and the movement of the seasons
the approach of winter
and yes, we also can find the face of God
in our own peaceful and anxious hearts.

Our wish is that our vision of God would be clear
That our God would come to us in the middle of the day
when we are strong, and awake...

But often our God comes in darkness, (dusk, midnight, dawn)
Especially when it is a person who is different from us
When it is a person who rubs us the wrong way
When it is a person who argues with us or opposes our plans
Whether it is the homeless person in the city streets
or even if it is the person sitting next to us

No one of us is exempt.
there is someone in each of our lives
and it is reaching out to that person
that we can begin to break down the barriers in our world

We cannot expect Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush
to come to peaceful terms
when we find it so difficult in our own community
in our own homes
to break down the barriers
that keep us apart

We don't know when the master of the house is coming
there is no warning
often we are not prepared
or we are nursing our own wounds
feeling our own poverty and helplessness.

But if our eyes don't begin to open now
They will still be closed when Jesus comes in glory...

We are now again at the dawn of a new day
preparing to celebrate the feast of our God who took flesh
Who by his dying and rising,
split the veil that covers ours sleepy eyes
and enables us to see the God we love and serve
in the community and family that surrounds us.

Picture yourself for a moment
the beginning of a new day.

The alarm rings
another night has passed.

It is time for us to wake up.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 3:40 PM link
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