Fr. Kelly

Our Sunday Journal is a brief reflection on the scripture readings of the day by Father Kelly, a senior priest in the Diocese of Saginaw.

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Response May 24, 2015

Luvi
To be better in golf,you have to Feel the Game,your swing, your moves,your whole body is impt,be it active or passive. It feels good when your Head knows what the rest of your body is doing,if it is in rt position and Ready for a good shot. And when you do,it feels sooo good! Like in Golfing,Life feels sooo Good when you Feel the Holy Spirit! Nothing could go wrong when All the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit are in Us.Be it sunny,windy,rainy, stormy,Life must go on and we Triumph because the Holy Spirit is in Us. We see golfers continuing to play inspite of very windy or rainy conditions,some continue to play well and win,because they remained calm and focused. We could do that in our daily living. Be focused and Feel the Holy Spirit!
Thank you Fr.Kelly! I appreciate very much that you incorporated and explained well the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit for us to ponder on once again and USE

The Gifts We Need to Use
Pentecost Sunday
May 24, 2015
JN 15:26-27; 16:12-15

Last Sunday, May 17, when the Church celebrated the Ascension of our Lord, if my father were still alive, my parents would have celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary. And for all of those years, my mother has kept a set of towels, wrapped very carefully and deliberately, stored away in a special spot in her “linen closet.” The towels were a wedding gift given all those many years ago and never once used.

After I was old enough to realize that there must be something very special about the towels wrapped up so carefully in tissue paper, I asked Mom why we never used them. Her answer was thoughtful. She explained that, at first, she could not bring herself to put them into routine household use because they were so beautiful and she was “saving them for a special occasion.” Then, as years passed and a special occasion presented itself, she would consider bringing them out, but then, she began to think about the relative they received the gift from and decide to “reserve them” a little longer. Her aunt was special to her and the towels took on special meaning because of the special relationship. More years passed, and she would open the linen closet and see them and would be reminded of her wedding day. Eventually, her special aunt died…not knowing that her gift had never been used…and from that point, the towels became a memorial of sorts. I wonder what will happen to those towels when Mom joins Dad in the Eternal Kingdom?

When Jesus returned to the Eternal Kingdom, He kept His promise and sent us the Holy Spirit. The Spirit came to deliver seven very special gifts. It was always intended that the Gifts be put into immediate use. On Pentecost Sunday, the Apostles and disciples, who had locked themselves in the safety of the Upper Room, (like the towels in Mom’s linen closet) managed to make their way to the Temple to celebrate the Feast. Much to their surprise, they were showered with the seven Gifts…and put those gifts into immediate use by going out into the world and sharing them freely.

The gift of WISDOM enlightened them so that they could better appreciate the reasons why Jesus suffered, died, rose, and then returned to Heaven.

The gift of UNDERSTANDING dispelled all reservations and doubts, making it clear to them that their role in Salvation History was to continue Jesus’s mission and ministry in the world.

The gift of RIGHT JUDGMENT proved extremely useful in making choices and decisions that provided complications and challenges due to the noise, distractions, and confusion of this world.

The gift of COURAGE gave them the wherewithal to leave the Upper Room once and for all and go out into the world to share the Good News…even to the point of suffering a martyr’s death.

The gift of KNOWLEDGE brought with it a vision of how things could be in this world if everyone received and accepted the Gifts of the Spirit…and, of course, how things will be when Christ returns in all of His glory.

The gift REVERENCE enabled them to walk humbly before our God.

The gift WONDER AND AWE offered them a glimpse of what awaits all who accept and use the Gifts that The Holy Spirit bestows on us.

What happened to these seven gifts when the Apostles and disciples went to Heaven? They were passed down to you. What will you do with them?

Response May 17, 2015

Canath
As we celebrate The Lord’s Acsencion today, It is worth noting the journey “mapped” out for Him and the disciples and my own daily journey guided by the Holy Spirit. My 20-minute ride to work, i turn off all music and pray HARD to the Holy Spirit to guide my hands to be accurate, my mind to be quick in case of an emergency. My “top of the hill” is at the end of the day when i know in my heart i have given it all, following the prompts of my GPS, the Holy Spirit. This is my journey everyday. Thanks Fr. Kelly.
Maria
Father Kelly, no apologies needed (in reference to May 10th reflection). As I sensed some familiarity as I read it, still it is good to be refreshed. The Holy Spirit, what can I say about Him?,….I am in love, in awe with the Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity! He is the giver of all good gifts, who enlightens, guides, strengthens, consoles, tells us what to do, provided we have a fervent devotion and reverence towards Him. Thank you Father Kelly, God bless.

OUR APOLOGIES!
I support “re-cycling” in all areas except homilies and reflections. Due to technical difficulties, last week’s Reflection was a “repeat.” On the other hand, the message that is repeated in the Readings throughout the Easter Season is the need to live in love. So, maybe it was the Holy Spirit Who caused the technical difficulty…just to reinforce the call to LOVE!
Peace!
Fr. Kelly

 

The Perfect GPS…The Holy Spirit
Ascension of the Lord
May 17, 2015
MK 16:15-20

No matter how smart my “smart phone” might be, while directing me to a place where I’ve never been before, it seems like it takes forever to get there. In addition, the greater the distance to be traveled, the higher the anxiety level, especially if I’m expected at a specific time. Moreover, there are those occasions when Siri and I do not seem to be communicating. Her instructions and the compass on my dashboard are clearly in conflict. But, the trip home…even though it’s the same distance…always seems to go much, much faster.

As we bring this Easter Season to a close, with the celebration of the Feast of the Ascension, spend some time reflecting on the 30-something-year journey that Jesus made from Bethlehem to Calvary; the journey mapped out for Him in the Old Testament. He did have a map to follow. The Prophets gave a detailed description of the route His life would take. Likewise, The Lord was guided by the perfect GPS…The Holy Spirit. Still, once He came to understand and accept that His final destination in this world would be the top of a hill outside the walls of Jerusalem on a specific day…Good Friday…it’s quite possible His trip took on the air of anxiety, doubt, and questions…like any “first-time trip.”

Certainly, during the 40-day rest stop in the desert, Jesus questioned the direction in which His life was moving. The scenery along the way must have seemed as unending as the red clay fields of Georgia on a road trip to Florida, or the hills of Pennsylvania rolling past the window on either side of the expressway heading east. Jesus’s unending scenery was the poor, the outcast, the dejected, the blind and lame and deaf…and, of course, sinners. It never ended. They just kept coming in a steady stream, calling out for help. There was a major detour just before arriving at Calvary. The evening in the Garden of Olives was both temptation and opportunity for Jesus to change directions. But He continued to follow the route mapped out for Him for all eternity. No matter how tempted or frustrated or confused, Jesus never once deviated from the path of LOVE! The Ascension of the Lord is all about Jesus’s glorious and very brief trip home. He simply slipped out of time and returned to eternity. But His triumphant return to heaven was made possible only because of His “first-time trip” through life in this world…Bethlehem to Calvary…on the highway of LOVE.

Throughout the Easter Season, our Readings have stressed the need for us to stay the course. Jesus shows us “The Way,” which is LOVE! Life is a first-time, actually only-time journey for each of us. For some, there will be detours, false starts, mishaps, and delays. Many will find the trip especially tiresome or unnerving. The Good News is that we have The Good News as a ready reference to help us get back on the path when, through human weakness, we deviate. And then, of course, there is the Holy Spirit, constantly speaking to our hearts…suggesting the best and easiest route to our final destination; the Holy Spirit, always eager to “recalculate” so that we can find our way back to LOVE…and someday, when our trip through this life is complete, enjoy a return home as gentle and glorious as Jesus’s. TRAVEL SAFE THIS WEEK!

Experience the Peace of Jesus
Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 10, 2015
JN 15:9-17

We live in an age of “instant replays.” Everything is fair game for recording, including tragic events. For example, “body cams“ and “dash cams” of law enforcement have proven of great interest and use to the press. On a good “bad news day,” the cell phone video of witnesses to a tragedy also surface and the cumulative result of all of this footage offers “proof positive” as to how the most recent tragedy unfolded. But does it really?

The families, friends, support network, spokespersons, and attorneys of the people touched by the event very often interpret what they see recorded in entirely different ways. Investigating authorities, and eventually jurors, focus frame by frame on what should be indisputable. Nevertheless, there will be discussion, debate, and flat out disagreement over just exactly what happened and why. We bring our own opinions, beliefs, values, emotions, feelings, and prejudices to what we see. Seeing might be believing…but believing doesn’t always mean what we think we see…and what we believe leads us to the absolute truth!

This is so with the Apostles and disciples fresh from giving witness to the horrifically violent events of Good Friday. They may not have understood “why”…but those who were eye witnesses needed no further proof that Jesus was dead. They saw water pour from His side. The Body of Christ had been entirely emptied of The Precious Blood. And, for those who were not actual witnesses, video evidence was unnecessary. The looks of terror and despair on the faces of His followers who were there was convincing enough.

But then Easter morning dawned. People were seeing things that were not so easy to believe. Their minds argued and debated with their own vision. Mary Magdalene thought He was a gardener. Walking dejectedly back to Emmaus, the two mistook their traveling companion for a stranger. In this Sunday’s Gospel, those involved believed that they were seeing a ghost!

Knowing that our minds and our eyes “play tricks on us” in different ways, the Risen Christ offered proof of His Resurrection. In Mary’s case, it was His voice speaking her name…”Mary!” In Emmaus, it was the breaking of the bread; with Thomas, it was His wounds. And in this Sunday’s Gospel, the proof that Jesus lives was in the great gift of His Peace. And so, they began to believe to be true what they saw with their own eyes…but nevertheless doubted or misunderstood. The experience of the Risen Christ was so powerful and convincing that most of them suffered a martyr’s death for what they had come to believe. There are no videos of this.

Still, modern technology is capturing clear and convincing evidence that followers of Jesus Christ continue to believe, even to the point of suffering a violent death. In different parts of the world, Christians are being separated from non-Christians as video cameras capture their brutal murders. How can it be that after over 2000 years, Christian disciples continue to believe that Christ is Risen…even without seeing a video? The proof is in the Eucharist.

From the Table of the Word, we hear His voice speaking to us…healing, forgiving, and calming our storms. From the Communion Table, we see Him in the breaking of the bread. As we gather for Eucharist and look around at the Body of Christ, we have the same opportunity to do what Thomas did…touch “the wounds”…by reaching out to those less fortunate, who come to join their sufferings to the Lord’s. And, when we gather together as Jesus commanded, we experience and share His Peace! If you need proof that Christ is Risen, a video simply won’t do it for you. But, in order to believe, you need only come to the banquet of life…not an instant replay….but the experience of actually sharing in the Lord’s Supper!

Grow in Grace
Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 3, 2015
JN 15:1-8

Last Wednesday was “Earth Day.” The purpose of setting aside a special day to celebrate our planet…our home…is clearly to make us more appreciative of this great gift from God. With that appreciation and understanding, it is the hope that we will take better care of Earth.

I watched a special “Earth Day” program on television and I learned some very interesting things. I never realized that almost 100% of the nuts and 90% of many of the fruits and vegetables that we consume in this country are grown in California. Many of these agricultural products are referred to as “thirsty crops.” For example, it takes 1/3 of a gallon of water to bring one little grape to our lips. I also learned some alarming things. I learned about how the severity of the drought in California is threatening our food supply. Scary stuff.

I thought about all that I learned on Earth Day as I sat down with the Readings for this Fifth Sunday of the Easter Season. What hope there is to know that, through Baptism, we are “grafted” into the vine whose roots reach all the way into the Eternal Kingdom. I thought about what a “thirsty crop” we are, and how a constant flow of God’s saving grace flows through the vines into us. We are free to drink in as much of God’s saving grace as we wish, without fear that the flow will ever be interrupted. I thought about how the Light of the Risen Christ warms us and helps us to grow, and how the Holy Spirit provides the spiritual climate we need to be the best we can possibly be. I thought about how delighted our Creator is on that day in which The Divine Hand reaches into this world and picks us from the vine. And I thought about how important it is to stay connected to the Community…our Church…the vineyard which produces such an abundant crop of the most beautiful fruit.

“Earth Day” gave me a deeper appreciation for, and understanding of, our planet. John 15:2-8 gave me a deeper appreciation for, and understanding of, our Church. Thank You, God, for our Earth…and thank You, God, for our Church and our Sacraments, for there is where our thirst is truly quenched.

Followers of The Way
Fourth Sunday of Easter
April 26, 2015
JN 10:11-18

We routinely relinquish our freedom of movement, often without a second thought. When the maitre’d in a restaurant says: “Please follow me,” WE FOLLOW! When an usher in a theatre or a baseball game unceremoniously takes the ticket out of our hands, and after a quick glance down, turns and wordlessly leads us towards our seats, WE FOLLOW! When a parking lot attendant or traffic cop signals directions, even when those directions might carry us out of our way…still… WE FOLLOW! We even give up our freedom to “things” like orange barrels and traffic cones. True, there are times when we might question, resist, complain, or even turn around to avoid following directions; for the most part, we simply give up our free will and WE FOLLOW! Why? Because we recognize that someone is acting under the “color of authority” (orange, yellow, red…sometimes blue or brown) for the purpose of protecting us, preserving order, and keeping us safe. And we fear the consequences of disobedience. In countless ways, each and every day, we give up our free will, and, without hesitation or question, allowing ourselves to be “shepherded.” But when Jesus, THE GOOD SHEPHERD, shows us THE WAY…very often…WE RESIST!

How ironic that we would give up our free will to an orange barrel, fearing the consequences of disregarding an unfeeling, uncaring plastic object, but so often insist on going our own way…doing our own thing…when it comes to The Lord! It certainly isn’t a matter of not understanding by “whose authority” Jesus guides us. The Father sent the Son to show us THE WAY! If we took the time to consider the risks we take from straying from THE WAY, we would probably be far less inclined to stray. Crazy as it might seem, we tend to be more concerned about a traffic ticket than eternal damnation! And that is exactly why it is so important to take particular note of the fact that Jesus calls Himself The GOOD Shepherd.

Unlike the numerous other ways in which we are “shepherded” each and every day…The Lord’s style of guiding and leading and protecting does not prevent us from using our free will. We chart our own course. And rather than preventing us from deviating from THE WAY, The Good Shepherd patiently and lovingly travels with us as we move in the direction of our own choosing. Should our chosen course create a distance between us and where He yearns for us to be, He will not give away our table or sell our seat to someone else. Our special place at the heavenly banquet has been reserved for us from the beginning of time, and no one but us will fill it. But there are consequences for not following THE WAY that He teaches. By wandering off on our own, our journey becomes even more challenging and dangerous. We find that we travel in darkness, constantly encountering obstacles that impede our progress. When we detour from THE WAY OF THE LORD, our pilgrim journey is not filled with the Peace that The Risen Christ brings to us.

The Good News that comes to us this week is a reminder that it is the will of The Father that no one should be lost…even if the cost of our recovery is the Son’s death. Jesus willingly accepted death on The Cross so that we might all find The Way to eternal life. Through the power of The Holy Spirit, The Risen Christ can do for us what He could not do for many as He walked the earth. Like a gentle breeze guiding a boat into safe waters, the Spirit makes a course adjustment in our lives. The Holy Spirit is an irresistible force that draws us towards the Source of all life and love; a new song so beautiful that we aren’t even tempted to change the station. Somehow, without giving up our freedom of movement, The Spirit of the Lord draws our attention to THE WAY back to the flock…because that is the will of The Father!

As we continue to make our WAY through the Easter season, the image of Jesus as a Good Shepherd offers insights into His earthly mission while preparing us for the coming of The Holy Spirit. We are truly God’s children, the flock of The Lord…and we know THE WAY!

The Gift of Peace
Third Sunday of Easter
April 19, 2015
LK 24:35-48

We live in an age of “instant replays.” Everything is fair game for recording, including tragic events. For example, “body cams” and “dash cams” of law enforcement have proven of great interest and use to the press. On a good “bad news day,” the cell phone video of witnesses to a tragedy also surface and the cumulative result of all of this footage offers “proof positive” as to how the most recent tragedy unfolded. But does it really?

The families, friends, support network, spokespersons, and attorneys of the people touched by the event very often interpret what they see recorded in entirely different ways. Investigating authorities, and eventually jurors, focus frame by frame on what should be indisputable. Nevertheless, there will be discussion, debate, and flat out disagreement over just exactly what happened and why. We bring our own opinions, beliefs, values, emotions, feelings, and prejudices to what we see. Seeing might be believing…but believing doesn’t always mean what we think we see…and what we believe leads us to the absolute truth!

This is so with the Apostles and disciples fresh from giving witness to the horrifically violent events of Good Friday. They may not have understood “why”…but those who were eye witnesses needed no further proof that Jesus was dead. They saw water pour from His side. The Body of Christ had been entirely emptied of The Precious Blood. And, for those who were not actual witnesses, video evidence was unnecessary. The looks of terror and despair on the faces of His followers who were there was convincing enough.

But then Easter morning dawned. People were seeing things that were not so easy to believe. Their minds argued and debated with their own vision. Mary Magdalene thought He was a gardener. Walking dejectedly back to Emmaus, the two mistook their traveling companion for a stranger. In this Sunday’s Gospel, those involved believed that they were seeing a ghost!

Knowing that our minds and our eyes “play tricks on us” in different ways, the Risen Christ offered proof of His Resurrection. In Mary’s case, it was His voice speaking her name…”Mary!” In Emmaus, it was the breaking of the bread; with Thomas, it was His wounds. And in this Sunday’s Gospel, the proof that Jesus lives was in the great gift of His Peace. And so, they began to believe to be true what they saw with their own eyes…but nevertheless doubted or misunderstood. The experience of the Risen Christ was so powerful and convincing that most of them suffered a martyr’s death for what they had come to believe. There are no videos of this.

Still, modern technology is capturing clear and convincing evidence that followers of Jesus Christ continue to believe, even to the point of suffering a violent death. In different parts of the world, Christians are being separated from non-Christians as video cameras capture their brutal murders. How can it be that after over 2000 years, Christian disciples continue to believe that Christ is Risen…even without seeing a video? The proof is in the Eucharist.

From the Table of the Word, we hear His voice speaking to us…healing, forgiving, and calming our storms. From the Communion Table, we see Him in the breaking of the bread. As we gather for Eucharist and look around at the Body of Christ, we have the same opportunity to do what Thomas did…touch “the wounds”…by reaching out to those less fortunate, who come to join their sufferings to the Lord’s. And, when we gather together as Jesus commanded, we experience and share His Peace! If you need proof that Christ is Risen, a video simply won’t do it for you. But, in order to believe, you need only come to the banquet of life…not an instant replay….but the experience of actually sharing in the Lord’s Supper!

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