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Tag: #PraySV (Page 1 of 2)

Food for the Journey: Sunday, December 31

This week Br. John Eustice, C.S.V. shares his reflections on the readings for The Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

Luke 2: 22-40

When a first child is born to a woman and a man, they are automatically given the title of mother and father. The child’s simple arrival brings the authority to change how the world views this woman and man. Without doing anything other than arriving, Jesus did the same…and more. This arrival to working class parents, in a little known village, in a tiny outpost of the Roman Empire changed the world: No words were spoken, yet the word of God was understood clearly by some who were brought up in the first century Jewish tradition.

As a family, Mary and Joseph brought their child to the temple to be presented to God. Because they practiced the religious custom, and were people of deep prayer, Simeon was able to recognize the Messiah. He saw in their eight-day-old son the light for all the world and they were amazed at the words of the old priest. So, what did they do? They returned home as any family would do and continued to raise him to be a strong man.

The Holy Family is a model for all families. They believed their child was entrusted to them by God. They raised him faithfully in their religious tradition. Even though they learned he was destined for great things, the lived a simple, devout life. All families are called to do the same. The child has changed the parents’ status in the world without using words. What would happen if every family were to bring their children to Mass every week and hear how the world will be transformed through the youngsters? This message IS there every week. Like Simeon, there are people in the church, needing reassurance that Christ is alive and well through the families who gather for Eucharist. Just as the baby changes the essence of the family without using words, the family’s non-verbal actions of going to weekly Mass supports and strengthens the world.

Br. John Eustice, C.S.V. served as Campus Minister at Saint Viator High School and is currently working in Youth and Young Adult Ministry at Maternity, B.V.M. Parish in Bourbonnais, Illinois.

Food for the Journey: Monday, December 25

This week Fr. Dan Lydon, C.S.V. shares his reflections on the readings for Christmas.

Isaiah 52: 7-10
Ps 98
Hebrews 1: 1-6
John 1: 1-18

While the readings at Midnight Mass and Christmas Mass at Dawn celebrate the marvelous mystery of God entering the world in simplicity and poverty and that God even entered this broken world at all, the Christmas liturgy during the day celebrates the meaning of the event.

The meaning of the Incarnation could be the subject of reflections like these and sermons for a year…or longer! I will limit myself to reflect briefly on two ideas.

First, we celebrate today the mystery that God’s love is so magnificent and so abundant that God “decided” from all of eternity that no matter how broken creation would become…..there would be no other option than to reach out to restore creation to its original blessing. That’s God’s job description: restore, recreate, reinvigorate, and repair. The fine print of the job description speaks of how God will “announce peace” and “comfort his people” and how God will “bare his holy arm” to give us divine strength to rebuild our lives just as the Jewish people had to rebuild their lives after the Holy City of Jerusalem had been destroyed.

Today’s gospel literally says that the Eternal Word “pitched his tent” among us (1: 14) and in our broken world. In today’s Collect we pray:

“O God, you wonderfully created the dignity of human nature and still more wonderfully restored it. Grant that we may share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity.”

That is the same prayer the priest prays as he adds a small drop of water into the chalice at the Preparation of the Gifts. Like a drop of life-giving water, Christ permeates and makes holy our lives. And we who are baptized into Christ are to drop our lives restored in Christ into the life of the world. We are to “pitch our tents” into the world and to revitalize it with Christ. That is OUR job description!

And we celebrate that today!

Food for the Journey: Sunday December 3

This week Fr. Charlie Bolser, C.S.V. shares his reflections on the readings for the First Sunday of Advent.

Advent is a time of anticipation – of waiting anxiously. We see this sign on the faces of children, small and large—are we there yet? We get caught up in these stressful moments of life when we run as fast as we can and filled with impatience reach the finish line exhausted and unsure of just what we gained. I am reminded of a story written many years ago by Robert J. Hastings.

Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent. We are traveling by train. Out our windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls. But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. On a certain day at a certain hour, we will pull into the station. Bands will be playing and flags waving. Once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true and the pieces of our lives will fit together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, damning the minutes for loitering-waiting-waiting for the station.

Advent is a time of anticipation – of waiting anxiously. We see this sign on the faces of children, small and large—are we there yet? We get caught up in these stressful moments of life when we run as fast as we can and filled with impatience reach the finish line exhausted and unsure of just what we gained. I am reminded of a story written many years ago by Robert J. Hastings.

Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent. We are traveling by train. Out our windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls. But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. On a certain day at a certain hour, we will pull into the station. Bands will be playing and flags waving. Once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true and the pieces of our lives will fit together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, damning the minutes for loitering-waiting-waiting for the station.

“When we reach the station, that will be it!” we cry. “When I’m 18.” “When I buy a new 450SL Mercedes Benz!” “When I get a promotion!” “When I put the last kid through college.” “When I have paid off the mortgage.” “When I reach the age of retirement, I shall live happily ever after!” Sooner or later, we must realize there is no station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us. It isn’t the burdens of today that drive people mad. It is the regrets over yesterday and the fears of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twins who rob us of today.

“So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more, cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough.”

The Good News of Jesus is that the Holy Spirit of God’s love is alive and well within all of creation, coming to be. That spirit is therefore alive and well within you and me. We need to take the time to open our eyes and to understand that indeed we are already there – we just don’t understand it yet. We need to take the time to relax and look around – God has come alive in the world and lives in us – within all that is and has been and is yet to be. Advent is an opportunity to take the time to look carefully around and within as see God come alive; to hear God speaking to us in the voices of love everywhere. Listen to the Silent Night when the whispering voice of God comes alive in your heart.

Food for the Journey: Sunday, November 26

This week Fr. Dan Lydon, C.S.V. shares his reflections on the readings for the Thirty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

The liturgical year is coming to an end. This last Sunday of Ordinary Time urges us to think about the end of our own lives. What will it be like? How will it be judged? Maybe that final judgment will be for us a big surprise party. Maybe those who thought they were such great disciples of Jesus, the King, and Lord, will find out that they actually missed the mark. Even though they may have followed all the rules and said all their prayers and were very pious….they will have missed the mark because they spent most of their time judging others and failing to ‘shepherd’ others as God shepherds us.

The truly faith-filled disciple of Jesus is the one who tends to the needs of their brothers and sisters. Those who will “Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” are those who seek out the lost, bring back the strays, refreshes souls, visit the sick and imprisoned and feed the hungry….those who give drink for those thirsting for love and compassion and forgiveness. Those who, in a word, love.

Fr. Dan Lydon, C.S.V. has served as a teacher and administrator at Saint Viator High School for 16 years. Fr. Lydon currently teaches Religion and, with Mrs. Rita King, coordinates Adult and Family Faith Formation at Saint Viator.

Food for the Journey: Sunday, November 26

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

34nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 26, 2017

Ez 34: 11-12, 15-17
Psalm 23
I Cor 15: 20-26, 28
Mt 25: 31-46

The liturgical year is coming to an end. This last Sunday of Ordinary Time urges us to think about the end of our own lives. What will it be like? How will be judged? Maybe that final judgment will be for us a big surprise party. Maybe those who thought they were such great disciples of Jesus, the King, and Lord, will find out that they actually missed the mark. Even though they may have followed all the rules and said all their prayers and were very pious….they will have missed the mark because they spent most of their time judging others and failing to ‘shepherd’ others as God shepherds us.

The truly faith-filled disciple of Jesus is the one who tends to the needs of their brothers and sisters. Those who will “Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” are those who seek out the lost, bring back the strays, refreshes souls, visit the sick and imprisoned and feed the hungry….those who give drink for those thirsting for love and compassion and forgiveness. Those who, in a word, love.

Fr. Dan Lydon, C.S.V. has served as teacher and administrator at Saint Viator High School for 16 years. Fr. Lydon currently teaches Religion and, with Mrs. Rita King, coordinates Adult and Family Faith Formation at Saint Viator.

Food for the Journey: Sunday, November 19

Pray SV (2017-2018)
#11 – November 19 

This week Br. John Eustice, C.S.V. shares his reflections on the readings for the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Whenever I run across the Parable of the Talents, I tend to cringe because I know what is coming for the third servant. What makes the cringing more poignant is the process by which I encounter him. The first two are each given talents and they are successful in doubling the master’s investment. And there is the third servant. He buries it. He is chastised. He has failed. I want to yell to him, “Do something with the gift you were given!” Then it dawns on me. I have been this servant before. I cringe.

At the end of my sophomore year of high school, my religious education career was coming to a close with being sealed by the Holy Spirit at Confirmation. A gift from my parish to me was a faux-leather-bound New American Bible with my name inscribed on the first page behind the front cover. It was beautiful and I knew it was a holy book. I imagine I viewed this prize possession like the third servant. I kept it in the box and placed it prominently on a shelf in my bookcase. There it remained for four years. It wasn’t until I was halfway through college that I opened it up and began to use it at the urging of friends. The Word of God didn’t nourish me by osmosis. I had to actually open the book and risk breaking the binding in order to be fed by it. The nourishment it has provided leaves me speechless.

God, like the master, provides all of us with everything the world needs to be responsive to its greatest needs. We are being invited to open and fully utilize these gifts entrusted to us because the world needs God now! We are not to be stingy with who we are. Now is the moment to share! What are we waiting for? Not using these gifts is like living in the dark. We are children of the light and need to be light for others now! Other people are praying for and are literally depending on the gifts we hold. How do we know what these gifts are? Gather for Eucharist weekly. When the Body of Christ gathers, all gifts are recognized. Jesus, help us to see you every day. Jesus, help us to be you every day. Adored and loved be Jesus!

Br. John Eustice, C.S.V. served as Campus Minister at Saint Viator High School and is currently working in Youth and Young Adult Ministry at Maternity, B.V.M. Parish in Bourbonnais, Illinois.

Food for the Journey: Sunday, November 12

Pray SV (2017-2018)
#10 – November 12 

This week Br. Peter Lamick, C.S.V. shares his reflections on the readings for the Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Wisdom 6:12-16
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Matthew 25:1-13

The message from the scripture readings for this Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time is embodied in two words from the texts: “Awake” and “Seek.” The lesson Jesus teaches his disciples, and us, through a parable echoes the heart of the prophets’ proclamations to the people of Israel – return to God, for our God is with us. As Wisdom in the first reading, God seeks and waits for us; God knows our very souls thirst for His presence, grace and love.

In order to grow in our relationship with God we need a deeper awareness of His presence and action in our personal lives, families, and those we encounter every day. God invites us to remember the deeper reality beneath the ordinary and mundane responsibilities and experiences of everyday life. Conversion, a change of heart and mind, is not always the fruit of a specific episode or event in life: it is a daily, continual spiritual practice in which we center ourselves on God. With trust, we open ourselves to the transformative power of His mercy and grace.

Br. Peter Lamick, C.S.V. is a 2007 graduate of Saint Viator High School and coaches football and basketball at Saint Viator while finishing his M.A. at De Paul University.

Food for the Journey: Sunday, November 5

Pray SV (2017-2018)
#9 – November 5 

This week Fr. Mark Francis, C.S.V. shares his reflections on the readings for the Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time.

For me, the most poignant part of the rite of ordination to the diaconate is when the bishop gives the Gospel book to the new deacon and says:

“Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you now are. Believe what you read. Teach what you believe. Practice what you teach.”

In many ways, this admonition sums up what Christian ministry is all about and to what all Christian believers are called to. It is always something I think about when we read the passages in the Bible such today’s readings from Malachi and Matthew.

This makes Jesus’ critique of hypocrisy against the Pharisees all the stronger when we apply it to “professional” Christian ministers: Bishops, priests, deacons and anyone who serves in the Church. The temptation is always great to act like some of the Pharisees of old and seek places of honor and prestige and try to impress by outward garb without really following the spirit of the Gospels.

Nobody in the Church, though, has a monopoly on hypocrisy. Pope Paul VI in his encyclical on mission, Evangelii Nuntiandi notes that “people today listen more willingly to witnesses rather than teachers—and if they do listen to teachers it’s because they are witnesses.” People who walk the walk and not just talk the talk. What is the message of Jesus today? Quite simply…no matter who we are, we are all learners, called to put into practice what Jesus has taught us—the greatest in the Kingdom of God is the smallest; the greatest in the kingdom of God is the servant of all.

Witnesses teach more eloquently than just teachers. Our witness as baptized persons is to Jesus who suffered and died and rose again…that all may have life. This is what we celebrate at the heart of the Eucharist, Christ’s Paschal Mystery—his self-emptying, suffering, dying and rising. It is our witness to this pattern of the Christian life that gives credibility to our claim to be Christian.

Fr. Mark Francis, C.S.V. is a 1971 alumnus of Saint Viator High School. Fr. Francis served for 12 years as Superior General of the Clerics of Saint Viator and served on our Board of Trustees. As a member of the Provincial Council of the Province of Chicago of the Viatorians, Fr. Francis continues his connection with Saint Viator High School as a member of the Board of Governors.

Food for the Journey: Sunday, October 29

Pray SV (2017-2018)
#8 – October 29 
This week Fr. John Milton, C.S.V. shares his reflections on the readings for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Matthew 22: 34 – 40

The “law,” the sum total of all the ways in which we are to relate to God and to one another, is condensed into two grammatically simple, but very demanding, expressions. “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Two examples from the book of Exodus precede these words from Matthew’s Gospel. These examples tell us that neighbor-love relates to our treatment of the least among us. Among these least, Exodus identifies aliens, uncared-for widows, and orphans. How do we, as individuals and ln the social and economic setting of our own time, put flesh on the “neighbor” we are told to love? (To love as ourselves! Imagine!) How does acting justly in the economic order put restraints on what we can do for economic gain, for the accumulation of wealth?

Fr. John Milton, C.S.V. served as Physics instructor at Saint Viator High School for more than 20 years.

Food for the Journey: Sunday, October 22

Pray SV (2017-2018)
#7 – October 22 

This week Fr. John Van Wiel, C.S.V. shares his reflections on the readings for the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

 

Matthew 22: 15-31

Today and next Sunday we read two of the three “test stories” in the 22nd chapter of Matthew’s gospel. In today’s story, Jesus is tested primarily by the Herodians, that is, by the officials of the civil government. They knew that if they could get Jesus to say that the Roman tax should be paid, they could claim him as being on their side, as one of their own. On the other hand, if he said the tax should not be paid, they could have him arrested for sedition. Jesus’ response is often misinterpreted.

According to Scripture scholars, on this occasion, Jesus really is not trying to justify obedience to legitimate civil authority, although being a good citizen is obviously a part of being a good Christian. What Jesus is really doing is denying the importance of the issue. In effect, he is saying, “Don’t bother me with such questions as the payment of taxes. I’m concerned with God’s love, about proclaiming the news of that love, and about your response to what I say. Compared to such an issue, the question of taxes is irrelevant.” Christ refused to be involved in academic nit-picking, in tricky questions and subtle controversies. He refused to get excited about issues that were trivial in comparison to what he was trying to accomplish. There was a central direction, a basic focus to his life, and he wouldn’t be moved away from it.

Ordinarily, we give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. Our government makes certain that we do that. Do we also work as hard at giving to God what is God’s? Is that the primary focus of our lives?

Fr. John Van Wiel, C.S.V. served for many years as Chemistry teacher at Saint Viator High School. Presently, Fr. Van Wiel lives at the Viatorian Province Center in Arlington Heights.

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