Tag Archive | Catholic

Father Kevin’s Reflection – September 13, 2015 – Come On Jesus…Be Nice!

Who Do You Say That I AmReading our Gospel today, one would have to feel sorry for St. Peter. When Jesus poses the question: “Who do you say I am?”…He is no longer asking the apostles to relate to Him the thinking of the people.  He now wants to know what their personal opinion is. He seeks a sign from each of them to put into words…their faith… in action. Out of the silence, Peter bravely speaks and says, “You are the Christ”. Everyone might have thought it but Peter leads the way and says it. He believes Jesus is the promised Messiah. Jesus warns them not to reveal this truth about Him just yet.

He then explains all that is going to happen. He will suffer and be rejected, put to death and rise again. Peter, probably still feeling brave after getting the identity of Jesus correct, takes Jesus aside and says this is outrageous and should not be allowed to happen. After all, if we have to climb mountains, we all want the path of least resistance. And, after all, if God would only listen to Peter, the world would be better off. (Kind of sounds like our prayers most of the time…doesn’t it.) Jesus reprimands him (and each of us) in full view of all the apostles and says: “Get behind me Satan”.  This must have been a crushing experience for Peter. But Jesus tells the apostles, and us, that His followers must take up their cross and follow Him. There is no way to escape suffering if we are followers of Christ. The world doesn’t want to hear Jesus or His teaching, it wants all the benefits…but…little of the work it takes to make the world the Kingdom of God. Mankind still suffers from the original sin of wanting to be gods…and make the world in our image. (How has that been working for us lately?)

The irony is that people think because you are a follower of Christ you should be protected from the worst of what life has to throw at you. It’s not the case. What we can rely on is the presence of Jesus with us in the midst of what we are going through. And, know in faith, He is the Messiah Who is Integrity, Itself and will not leave us or forget us. (Though, we tend to be more like Peter at times.)  Let us thank the Lord for His strength in us.

Father Kevin’s Reflection – September 6, 2015 – Happy Labor Day!

Happy-Labor-Day-Animated-GifIn his writings, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, has emphasized the importance of resting from labors so that we can routinely renew ourselves in mind, body and spirit. Up until 40 years ago Sunday was truly a day of rest with most businesses and restaurants being shut down for the day. Those that could not would go as far as trading weeks so family and employees could have every other week off from Sunday work. Sadly, that all changed with the advent of 24-hour stores that don’t distinguish one day from the next…with many employees having to work a Sunday Shift. Not only is this preventing people from attending Church to worship God as He commanded, but it’s also robbing them of the time they need for rest and renewal. Now, don’t get me wrong…sometimes there is no other recourse (and I thank Wal-Mart being open 24 hours when I live in Hoven, SD). I do have a problem when the Catholic Christians who live in Aberdeen and Pierre pile in and on Sundays.

At Christian companies, religious principles can (and should) complement business practices.  Yet, it is interesting how our modern American society is beginning to treat the corporations that voluntarily respect the weekend free tradition as – not only peculiar…but…with suspicion of being social radicals. The business hours sign will read: “closed on Sundays to allow employees time for family and worship.” Chick-fil-A, Hobby Lobby, Mardel Christian Bookstore (not to mention those great Orthodox Jewish deli’s which close on Saturdays, Muslim owned businesses closed on Fridays) are some examples of corporations hearing and authentically living their faith.

So, this weekend we celebrate Labor Day, a day that used to fill the parks and lakes with people taking a special day off of work. But now it’s become nothing more than an opportunity for businesses to get more money by luring the many people who are off of work into their stores for a sale. What began 133 years ago as a day of reward to American Laborers, has become just another day for businesses to bring in the almighty dollar. I hope that you will act to reclaim the Labor Day holiday as it was intended, a day of rest for all in the American workforce. So don’t go anywhere where people have to work! Don’t go to the mall or the movies or to a restaurant or fast food place. Those people should be home resting too! America is blessed with a wonderful labor force…let’s let everyone celebrate with the day (weekend) off! Happy Labor Day!

Praise be Jesus Christ for the 125 Years of the Local Church

BishopSwainby Bishop Paul J. Swain – 8/27/2015

Publisher’s note: Below is the homily I preached during the Holy Mass Commemorating the 125th Anniversary of the Diocese of Sioux Falls celebrated at the Sioux Falls Arena
August 16, 2015.

Praise be Jesus Christ. Now and Forever. Praised be Jesus Christ for the 125 years of the local church of Sioux Falls. Praised be Jesus Christ for your presence today as we pray the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the source and summit of Christian life, of our faith.

As we celebrate this anniversary we do so with the underlying truth that Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever. With that hope-filled and consoling Truth in mind, this past year we have celebrated this anniversary with three purposes: to remember, honor and thank God for those who went before us; to learn of and learn from their history and experiences; and to look to the future with hope.

And so we remember, honor and thank God for your fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, great-grandfathers and great-grandmothers, the lay men and women, clergy and consecrated, native and immigrant who with courage and sacrifice built and sustained the Church on the prairie and who bequeathed to us an inspiring Legacy of Faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Over this year we recalled: our roots beginning with our first Bishop Martin Marty in Yankton, consecrated life in Aberdeen, rural life in Woonsocket, Native American life in Marty, Catholic education and formation with nearly 4,000 Catholic school students here in this arena, the erection of the diocese in 1889 by Pope Leo XII and our patron and protector Saint Joseph at the Cathedral, culminating in these last several days of spiritual enrichment. The banners just displayed, lovingly created by so many, identified over 300 parishes, schools and institutions that have existed at one time or another in our diocese over the years. They are icons of the thousands of faithful who loved the Lord, persevered in faith and passed its beauty and its strength on to us. These banners are also reminders that change is ever-with-us and that we need the Church, the sacraments and the Magisterium as the stabilizing presence in the midst of constant change.

To read the whole article, click HERE.