Sunday, May 25, 2014
Next Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension. Wait. What? Next Sunday? Isn’t the feast celebrated on a Thursday, 40 days after Easter? Yes it is. But in many dioceses, including the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, the feast is celebrated the following Sunday. Our bishop has done so to give more of the faithful the opportunity to celebrate this great feast.
Why celebrate the Ascension at all? Well, just as we celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas, and his Resurrection at Easter, we celebrate the day he returned to Heaven knowing he will come again in the fullness of time.
Christ made His last appearance on earth, forty days after His Resurrection from the dead. The Acts of the Apostles states that the disciples were in Jerusalem. Jesus appeared before them and commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the "Promise of the Father." He stated, "You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now" (Acts 1:5).
After Jesus gave these instructions, He led the disciples to the Mount of Olives. Here, He commissioned them to be His witnesses "in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8). It is also at this time that the disciples were directed by Christ to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19). Jesus also told them that He would be with them always, "even to the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20).
The Ascension celebrates the vindication and victory of Christ. No doubt, the high priest, Caiaphas, King Herod and Pontius Pilate, thought that they were very important and powerful people. Yet these religious and political leaders are only remembered today because they arrogantly dismissed Christ Jesus. They didn’t recognize that they were condemning to death the Creator, the Giver of life. They didn’t know that the man they judged would one day judge them.
As St. Augustine (ȯ-ˈgəs-tən) says that by celebrating this feast devoutly, virtuously, faithfully, and piously, we ascend with our Lord and have our hearts above. "For the Resurrection of the Lord is our hope, and His Ascension our glorification."
Sunday, May 18, 2014
This weekend we have our annual collection for the Black and Indian Mission Office. Many of us will give without any idea of what the Mission Office does or how intimately our Archdiocese is connected with Saint Katherine Drexel, the foundress of this mission.
Saint Katherine grew up in a wealthy family in Philadelphia. Weekly her family distributed food, clothing and rent assistance to those in need. In her early 20’s she watched her stepmother suffer and die from terminal cancer and learned that money could not buy safety from pain or death. At that point, her life took on new meaning as she decided to use her wealth to help others in greater ways than her family had previously done.
Moved by stories of how American Indians were being treated, she began to pray about ways to help them. After her father’s death, and with his considerable fortune at her command, she traveled to the Western U.S. where she saw first-hand the destitution of Native Americans. It was then that she began her lifelong financial support of Indian missions and missionaries.
During a private audience with Pope Leo XIII, she asked him to send missionaries to staff the missions she had been financing. To her surprise, the Pope suggested that Katherine become a missionary herself. At the age of 31 she entered the Sisters of Mercy. Two years later she and thirteen other women established their own religious order, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, dedicating themselves to help American Indians and Afro-Americans in the western and southwestern parts of the country.
In 1897 Saint Katherine, then known as Mother Drexel, opened a boarding school for Native Americans in Santa Fe. She secured a 160-acre tract of land in the Navajo nation and convinced Franciscan Friars from Cincinnati to move here to care for the Navajo peoples. A few years later she financed the Friars as they began to work with the Pueblos. The Friars she first brought to New Mexico are still ministering in the Archdiocese today.
Knowing that many Afro-Americans were far from free, still living as sharecroppers, being denied education and constitutional rights, she turned her sights on helping to change racial attitudes. At the turn of the 20th century, at both the height of Jim Crow laws and anti-Catholic sentiment in the Southern U.S., she fought a law in Georgia that prevented white teachers from teaching black children. She purchased an abandoned university building in New Orleans and opened a Preparatory school which later became Xavier University, the first university for Black people in the country.
Mother Katherine Drexel entered eternal life in 1955 and was named a saint on October 1, 2000. Her work assisting native and Afro-Americans continues today. The Black and Indian Missions Office carries on the tradition of Saint Katherine by providing support to religious communities who help with evangelization and religious education – especially to mission communities.
As Saint Katherine said, “We believe God calls us to be a sign in the world of the power of Christ.”
Sunday, May 11, 2014
This weekend we celebrate Mother’s Day; while, all month we celebrate Mary, the mother figure most central to our Catholic tradition.
We often do Mary a great disservice by pretending that her life was idyllic. If you look at most images and statues of Mary they seem to suggest that she did nothing but gaze piously toward heaven. In reality, she suffered the same ups and downs all mothers do, delighting in her child’s growth while knowing that every day brought her closer to his death.
All mothers have dreams for their offspring; certainly she never imagined that her kind, sensitive son would die hanging naked, a criminal crucified between two thieves; truly a nightmare for this gentle woman.
On this day we often do many women a great disservice. For many, Mother’s Day doesn’t mean breakfast in bed, corsages, or presents. For many Mother’s Day is an annual bad dream. Many wanted children only to learn that they could not bear them. Many gave a child up for adoption or lost one to death. Tens of thousands of mothers struggle as their beloved sons and daughters are stationed in war zones. Children are imprisoned, ill, addicted, or estranged from their mothers. Mary, too, endured bewilderment, confusion, disappointment and pain. No stranger to excruciating loss, she embraces those to whom Mother’s Day brings sadness. Because we are one mystical body of Christ, the old adage, “when one cries, another tastes the salt,” applies to us as we recognize how difficult this day is for many women.
As with all women who are mothers, we can be certain that Mary’s life was filled with moments of great joy as well as times of sorrow. When we see Mary as a woman and a mother, as one who struggled to put food on the table and struggled with her spouse to pay the taxes to the Temple, Herod, and Rome, we begin to flesh her out, make her real, and understand her at a more personal level. There are some truly beautiful statues of Mary, but none of them show her as she was – one of us.
As we honor Mary this month, let us ask her to pray to her Son for all women to find joy and peace in their lives.
Sunday, May 4, 2014
Catholic social teaching is a teaching founded on the life and words of Jesus Christ, who came "to bring glad tidings to the poor… liberty to captives… recovery of sight to the blind" (Lk 4:18-19), and who identified himself with "the least of these," the hungry and the stranger (cf. Mt 25:45). Catholic social teaching is built on a commitment to the poor.
Catholic social teaching emerges from the truth of what God has revealed to us about himself. We believe in the Holy Trinity whose very nature is communal and social. God the Father sends his only Son Jesus Christ and shares the Holy Spirit as his gift of love. God reveals himself to us as one who is not alone, but rather as one who is relational. Therefore, we who are made in God's image share this communal, social nature. We are called to reach out and to build relationships of love and justice.
Since its founding in the 1970s, our parish has been actively involved in caring for others. As Pope Francis said last Summer, “A way has to be found to enable everyone to benefit from the fruits of the earth, and not simply to close the gap between the affluent and those who must be satisfied with the crumbs falling from the table, but above all to satisfy the demands of justice, fairness and respect for every human being.”
Two of the ways that Risen Savior works to accomplish this goal are through our support of Roadrunner Food Bank and the Storehouse.
Roadrunner Food Bank collects food from stores and outlets and distributes to those in need. Risen Savior sends volunteers the first Wednesday of every month to Roadrunner to box groceries and prepare them to be distributed to those in need. Occasionally, a Saturday morning is also offered. As these opportunities come up, information is published in the bulletin and announced before Mass.
We also, through Roadrunner Food Bank host a food pantry here quarterly and invite people in need from our neighborhood to get wholesome groceries. We’re always looking for individuals and families to give 2 to 3 hours of their time a few times a year. While these mobile food pantries are not listed in our bulletin, interested volunteers can call the Parish Office for more information.
All parishioners can easily participate with our ministry to the Storehouse. Each registered family is asked to bring one jar of peanut butter each week to be given to the hungry. As Pope Francis teaches, “Among our tasks as witnesses to the love of Christ is that of giving a voice to the cry of the poor.” Your simple gift of peanut butter is an answer to the cry of the poor.
As the Pope tweeted on April 26th, “None of us can think we are exempt from concern for the poor and for social justice”. EG 201
These ministries are a concrete way for all of us, who have food on our tables, to serve those “who must be satisfied with the crumbs falling from the table.”