Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Julie Anne Walker: Whine with Fr. Doug

Here is a nice, brief video conversation with Julie Anne Walker about children, Mass, and families. We pray for our families today Lord that they might reflect your presence in our world by the way our families pray and interact with others.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

What Does Jesus have to do with Independence Day?


What does Jesus have to do with Independence Day? We celebrate our country’s Independence Day in just a few days. What does Jesus have to do with Independence Day?

The scriptures tell us just that. The 1st reading tells us God created us to be imperishable. God created us to be free, independent, from sin and death. That's the Adam and Eve scenario, bliss in the garden and imperishable.

We goofed that up because of sin. But the responsorial psalm says: I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me. There is a great clue to what Jesus has to do with Independence Day.

God rescues us from sin and death through Jesus who sets us free. Independence is not a thing. Freedom is not a thing. Independence and freedom are a person. Independence and freedom are Jesus.  Jesus sets us free FROM sin and free FOR life.

The second reading reinforces that idea, and the alleluia verse repeats it when we sing: Our Savior Jesus Christ destroyed death and brought life. . .

In the gospel Jesus says: fear is useless. Do not be afraid. Have faith. Trust in me. For you were created for wholeness and imperishability. And I will restore you to that. Have faith in me. Live the kind of life I call you too, and you too will be set free.

These are the things I want you to know today. This is what I would like for you to do.

This independence day, stop and ask those around you, your family, and your friends what Jesus has to do with independence. Are you worried those around you will see you as a Jesus freak or religion freak? And is that embarrassing to us? I understand that. But, you know, Jesus is not embarrassed of us even though he knows all of our sins. If he is not embarrassed of us, we should not be embarrassed of him.

What does Jesus have to do with independence day? I will praise you Lord, for you have rescued me, and YOU HAVE SET ME FREE!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Finding Joy in life.

We had some challenges with the ambient sounds and lighting in this edition of Whine with Fr. Doug, but it is still a good five minute message of joy in what can be a difficult world.  May God’s joy be with you.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

This is my Body. Do you Believe?

An American priest was touring the Holy Land. He especially wanted to study the places where Jesus lived, worked, suffered, died and rose from the dead. He became good friends with a young boy named Josef. The boy served Father's Mass and taught him some of the difficult Arabic words.

As the priest was about to leave for other parts of the Holy Land, he told Josef: "Not many boys and girls have the privilege of living in the land where Jesus lived. You know that God's Son, as a Boy and as a Man, walked these roads and breathed this air. Doesn't that help you to love Him more?"

Josef said: You don't have to live here to love our Lord, because now He lives in every part of the world. Every land now is a Holy Land. Wherever we are, we are in the land of Jesus." Did you ever think of this: Fort Walton Beach, FL is part of the Holy Land? Jesus Christ lives right here, right now. Do you believe that?

This is our thought on this feast of Corpus Christi, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, when we recall that Holy Thursday, when Christ first spoke the words: "This is my Body this is my Blood." Today we celebrate the fact that these words are repeated all over the world every day, that Jesus is present on altars all over the world. He will be present on this altar. Christ lives here. This is the Holy Land. Fort Walton Beach's’s, Saint Mary Catholic Church is the Holy Land. Do you believe?

This sacred space, this church, is also Bethlehem; Jesus is born right here in every Holy Mass. This is Nazareth; Jesus grows up right here in our lives, and we listen to the scriptures.

Jesus Christ works miracles right here, spiritual miracles: He heals us of the leprosy of sin; He heals spiritual cripples, so they can walk in His way; He gives sight to those who cannot see the things of the spirit as he encourages us to see the world as God sees the world. Christ forgives sins right there in that confessional back there. Do you believe?

Most importantly, this church is the "large upper room of Holy Thursday" we heard about in today's Gospel where Jesus spoke the words of consecration for the first time. This is my body, this is my blood. Do you believe? No land could be holier than this sacred place we call a church.

Do you remember the Miracle at Cana where Jesus turns water into wine? Well this is Cana; Jesus attends every marriage in our church. He attended funerals in His homeland! He is right here when we bury our beloved dead. This is the temple at Jerusalem; Christ teaches right here through His holy presence, through His priests, through His religion teachers, through the parents of His children. Jesus was present in the villages, the churches, the streets, the fields, the lakes, the hills, and above all in the homes of the Holy Land; He is present in your homes too, for once you receive His body blood soul and divinity in Holy Communion, You are a living tabernacle of His presence. Do you believe?

Yes, you and I are actually living in the Holy Land, because Jesus Christ lives right here in our midst. When you hear those words during the consecration today. “this is my Body, this is my Blood,” The Lord is here. Jesus Christ Himself is telling you. I am here. It is my body and my blood that makes this land, this place, a very holy land, a very holy place. Do you believe? This is my body, this is my blood.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Alone and Afraid?

The apostles were afraid and huddled in a dark room.  We all get frightened in the dark times, and we all need someone to hang onto. Jesus understands that, as he makes so clear in today’s gospel. “I’m not a ghost,” he says to his friends. “I’m very real; I’m here; and you can count on me. So don’t be afraid. I’ll always be here for you, closer than your breath, closer than your heartbeat. I’ll always be here, even when its very dark.”
Jesus’ words comfort his friends and calm them, and that’s good. But it isn’t enough so far as he’s concerned. He wants more for them and for us, a lot more than just peace and quiet. He wants to transform us into new people, who see the world in a new way - and respond to it in a new way.
That’s what Catholicism is.  Catholicism is trying to see the world as God sees the world.
Jesus wants to transform us into people who understand what it means to be made in God’s own image and what it means to be entrusted with wonderful gifts.
He wants to transform us all into people who understand that our greatest joy - our only lasting joy - is to be found in building family and bringing one another to wholeness in the sight of God.  He sends up to build family in our homes, in our church, in our social circles, in our workplace by sharing the gifts he has given us and helping one another to be whole.
Jesus also wants to help us see that the cost of being transformed - and being transformers - is always high, but the cost of not being transformed, the cost of staying mired in ourselves and stuck in our fears is even higher.  For the choice of not being transformed leaves us with little or nothing of the only joys that truly warm the heart and enliven the spirit.
Our being transformed is God’s hope and desire for us, God’s will for us. And it will happen and continue happening for each of us, if we trust in God’s presence which is closer than our breath, if we draw strength from the love which is closer than our heartbeat.  And then, we build family, help one another be whole, beautiful people.
God wills us to be whole and to be filled full, which means he wills us to be transformed and then to be transformers of one another.  How can we settle for anything less?
Build family by sharing our gifts, Love God, serve others, make disciples, be transformers.
Today’s gospel 
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Sunday, August 10, 2014

God is whispering. Are we still in the boat?

 First Reading:
“After the fire, there was a small whispering sound”
(1 Kings 19:12).
It was God.
For many of us, prayers are petitions to God, asking Him for something.  Do we take time, in silence, to ask God what He wants from us?  How do we know what God wants us to do unless we listen for His call on a regular basis?

Miraculous things happen when one embraces faith.  Peter gets out of a wind-tossed boat when the Lord calls him.  His faith is tested by his obedience to Jesus who calls him out onto the water.  In the midst of the waves and wind, Peter gets out of the boat and walks toward Jesus.  Good stewards heed Christ’s call to them.  Sometimes that call directs them to take on seemingly impossible challenges.  Reflect on how the Lord could be calling you out of the safety of your “boat” to take on the impossible.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Love God, Love People, Do Something about it

There is a beautiful, yet challenging, line in the gospels this weekend.  “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another." (John 13:34)

 These are beautiful words, and they are challenging words.  Yes?  In Sunday's Gospel we return to the Last Supper to hear Jesus’ new commandment to love one another. That is what he tells the disciples after he washes their feet.  Good stewards, as the recipients of God’s unending love, take this commandment seriously. Though we are reminded of his love throughout the year, it is Jesus’ actions and words during the feast of Passover that show us the extent of his love and the way we too can live a life of stewardship.  Jesus showed His love by washing the disciple’s feet, reconciling them, healing the sick, giving hope to the hopeless and ultimately dying on the cross for us.

“…love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”  If we are to be his disciples we can do nothing less, in word and deed, than humbly offer ourselves in loving service to God and to another.  Good stewards who spend their time, talent, and treasure in service to others are well on their way to fulfilling this commandment.

So what is stewardship?  it is is an expression of our love for God and one another. It really is that simple. If thinking in formulas like “time, talent and treasure” seem confusing to you, keep it simple. Let your gifts flow freely and joyfully out of your gratitude to God. “Everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:35).”  Living this way will also draw us closer and closer to Jesus.

This exhibition of love is the mark of the followers of Christ. Throughout the Easter Season until Pentecost, the first reading on Sunday is from the Acts of the Apostles.   There we read that when Paul and Barnabas took this message of love to the Gentiles, a considerable number of them became followers. The apostles freely shared the message of salvation and so opened a door of faith that enabled believers to journey toward heaven.  I pray that your faith leads you to the New Jerusalem to live in heavenly joy with God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.