Lent is here!
What if we described the journey through Lent as a “Retreat”?
A Retreat, in Catholic parlance and in other religions, is a space of days taken out to pray and to be with the Lord. Often one goes to a retreat house to do these. In St. Louis, for instance, there is a beautiful place called “White House” ̶ different from the one for the president ̶ which has a stunning view of the Mississippi River. For many decades, Jesuits have preached retreats there every weekend and sometimes during the week. Sizeable groups of men or women stay for two or three days to meditate, listen to talks, and refresh their spiritual lives. We have retreat facilities, too, at St. Meinrad, Nazareth and Gethsemani.
Dear Friends and Visitors,
I am delighted to welcome you at our “digital front door”, our parish website.
For over 60 years, residents of Fern Creek, Highview, Buechel and Jeffersontown have been about the good work of working, playing and praying out our parish mission and contemplating the future of Saint Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Parish. We are glad to have you join us on the front end of the next 60 years.
What you see now, before you, is the good fruit of those efforts. This is the “map” and “tool” by which our parish can communicate the good news and the great grace alive here.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel Parish is a place of rich history and vast potential. Our parishioners form one body comprised of both city and country, the United States and other lands, young and old. Seekers are drawn to this holy place to PRAISE GOD, PROCLAIM the good news, SERVE others and BUILD community.
Come grow with us here, WHERE THE SPIRIT SOARS!
Fr. John A Schwartzlose
Lent is here!
Have you ever sat vigil with a loved one who was sick or have yourself been so ill that you began making “deals” with God? “God, I’ll quit smoking, cussing, drinking, spending money on horse racing, if only you will……..” Sound remotely familiar? In those bargaining moments of mine, I should shudder if God ever said … “if giving up those things would heal you or your loved one, why did you wait ‘til now to offer it up?” God doesn’t ask of us to render these earthly sacrifices for healing.
“Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come.” Philippians 4:6
In our praying, you and I have remarkable tools for doing good and defeating evil. Do not ever fear the confrontation you may have with the evil one, God empowers you in those moments, too, to be victorious, as were the evangelists, like Mark.
Can God Lie?
From the earliest days of our earthly existence, we are taught the difference between lies and truths. But can we lie if it is for a good end? Even more ponderous a question is “can God lie, even if it is for good purposes?”
The First Reading poses a puzzle that has bedeviled philosophers and theologians for centuries.
Is there a still, small voice calling to you?
There was for a young man named Samuel who was sleeping in the temple. He wakes up instantly when he hears his name spoken out loud. He cries out, “Here I am!” and runs to his master, Eli, who is sleeping in another place in the temple. “You called me, what do you want?”
“I didn’t call you,” Eli rasps. “Go back to sleep.”
We hear of a mysterious servant in today’s First Reading. Many prophets as well as Israel itself saw themselves as servants of the Lord. This is the first of the four “Servant Songs” in Isaiah and this particular person has been formed, called and charged with very specific missions.
This servant is to bring justice to the nations, but not damage anything or anybody who is weak or small. We Christians apply such texts to Jesus as the Messiah and he, himself, announces through his reading of this particular section, that he is the fulfillment of this prediction.
Who knew the Messiah was born as the baby Jesus in Bethlehem in that wintertime?
In this Sunday’s Gospel Reading, a lot of people came to figure it out.
The shepherds in fact outranked the king and all the others.
This Pastor’s Desk offering may not be for everyone...
But it could be for you ‒ the person whose heart is heavy today, the one for whom this day may not feel “merry and bright”, the one who doesn't feel at all like singing.
This may be for you who face subtraction today; who feel the combined attrition of all the losses you’ve accrued this year; the people who’ve died, the ones who left voluntarily, those you’ve had to push away to protect yourself, those you haven’t seen so you could protect each other.
“John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel; and as John was completing his course, he would say, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.’” (Acts 13:23-25)
We can let darkness scare us to our core, let it consume us with fear and unknowing, as we may have experienced in our 2020 experience.
And yet, the right kind of darkness can give us peace. A night of good sleep, for instance, or a “lovely soft day” ̶ as the Irish call those shady, rainy, drizzling days that make Ireland so vibrantly green.
What is Advent?
Advent is about getting in touch with our longing. It’s about letting our yearnings raise our psychic temperatures so that we are pushed to eventually let down our guard, hope in new ways, and risk intimacy. We can’t know intimacy without also having known loneliness.
How’s your sleep? Every year when we “fall back”, even though it’s simply an hour in another direction, my sleep patterns pay a huge toll. I hope that your sleep habits have fared better! I’d like to speak for a moment with you about another type of “sleep” and a different type of “awake”.
As the regular Liturgical Year ends and Advent begins, why do we acclaim Christ as “King”? Didn’t he tilt against the kingly figures of his day? The concept of Christ “the King” might seem rather triumphalistic in an age of expanding democratization of society, and the inclination of society away from tyrants and autocrats. But look carefully at this king as portrayed in today’s parable: he was hungry and thirsty and naked and ill and in prison.
Some people think that humility is a matter of taking yourself to be small, unworthy, not up for much. But, in the Gospel parable, the servant who thinks he is too little to do much with his talent is dismissed as wicked and useless, and his talent is taken away from him. The Lord doesn't praise him for humility.
In the Gospel parable, there are 10 women waiting for the Lord. But when the Lord comes, half of these women are rejected. As the parable explains it, the problem is that five of the women are off shopping for oil when the Lord comes, and so they’re left out. They are the foolish ones. The other five women are the wise ones, welcomed by the Lord.