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Friday, January 11, 2019
From the Desk of Fr. Ron…….
Oftentimes, while on my “day off” I’ll find myself visiting the St. Vincent de Paul Store on Main Street in downtown Buffalo and/or other Amvets or Goodwill style establishments. Many times I’m shopping for furniture items for refugee families or others ministered to by ROTA: Reaching Out 2 Africa. Once in a while I find a treasure for myself. Most of these establishments charge pennies for the items they sell. They do so not to earn “less profit” but to give “the poor” the dignity of ownership and some degree of control over their lives. This weekend, we celebrate the end of our Christmas Liturgical Season with the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord. This year, we hear the account of the Baptism as recorded by St. Luke. Each of the Gospel writers have different nuances in telling the story but all picture the thirty year old Jesus submitting and humbling himself before a crowd of people and the formidable prophet, John the Baptist. We believe that Jesus was 100% human and 100% divine at the same time. But, His divine nature did not prevent him from experiencing his humanity for as the letter to the Hebrews reminds us: “He was tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin,” (Hebrews 4:15). This feast day may be likened to Jesus’ coming of “spiritual age” and how does that happen? He humbles Himself and submits to another and God Almighty speaks. The humanity of Jesus gives up control, submits to the baptism of John and afterward hears the Father Almighty proclaim: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). This establishes for us a model for imitation. In our spiritual lives we need to give up control to another. Many of the saints always laid out their spiritual experiences to a “spiritual director” and abided by their advice rather than trust their own judgment. Ultimately in our lives, we need to learn how to give up control to the Lord’s will and not our own. In the Lord’s prayer we say: “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done,” but often live our lives grasping full control and resisting God’s direction and guidance. In John 3:16; we read: “For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son…...” God gives, but are we open to receive? In my recent experience of exile from ministry, I had to yield control of my future not only to our Bishop who ultimately would make a final decision but to other professionals as well. I had to yield to the embarrassment of public accusation, without the ability to defend myself.
In my prayer, I was challenged to come to the point of “Your kingdom come, Your will be done.” If this was to be the end of the road in public ministry, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done.” God Almighty is still speaking if we but learn to humble ourselves and listen.
YET AGAIN I’VE BEEN HACKED……. Once again my professional email address has been broken into and thus I need to return to an email service with more safeguards and protection. You will notice that my public email has changed:
Please note this change in your email address books and utilize this email for Nativity Parish communications. Thank you.
A TIME OF HEALING is needed for all of us at Nativity parish. In the next few weeks and months I will be meeting with all of our ministry leadership and service groups to pray, speak, and experience a time of healing as well as provide some leadership for our way forward. I hope to utilize a reflective exercise based upon the “Restorative Justice” method. May the Lord help us walk together through this time of healing and restoration.