When I graduated, he also left the University and was assigned as pastor to a parish in Connecticut. Even though I don't see or speak to him as often as I once did, I still regularly read his blog. Nowadays, it mostly contains homilies from the weekend Mass he presides at, with the occasional anecdote. As of late, I was looking through some older posts and I came across a message he shared during the Easter season. I think it is still worth the read, especially for college students. My hope is you will find as much encouragement and truth in it, as I did! Enjoy!
The 7th Sunday of Easter Year A - 2011
Originally Given: June 4, 2011 @ St. Paul Church in Kensington, CT
By: Fr. Bob Schlageter, OFM Conv.
May the Peace of Christ Reign in our Hearts.
You know I used to live in Rome and Assisi. In fact I lived there for 6 years.
I’ll never forget being so moved the first time I saw St. Peter’s at the end of the “Via della Consolatione.”
Sad to say the utter fascination and awe I experienced when I saw St. Peter for the first time slowly but surely wore off. So much so that after a while I would glance over toward St. Peter’s as I was running for the bus on “Lungo Tevere” as if to say, "oh yeah there’s St. Peter... I hope I didn’t miss the 97 bus to Trastevere."
I visited Florence so much that it became like going to Rocky Hill for me.
You know it’s part of our human nature that wonder and awe don’t always last as long as we would like.
Each and everyone of us have been given a wonderful gift, an incredible gift. It is the gift of our faith.
Our faith roots us in God’s love.
Our faith gives us hope when everything and everyone else tells us to give up and throw in the towel.
Our faith helps us understand what is right and what is wrong, how to live and how to love.
Because of our faith we stand on the shoulders and benefit from the life experiences of the countless men and women who have come before us marked with the sign of faith.
Because of our faith every generation does not start from scratch trying to find their way.
There are very few challenges and experiences that humanity hasn’t dealt with before and our faith helps us understand how to deal with them.
Our faith, our faith in Jesus Christ, handed down to us from the time of the Apostles, through the faithful ministry of the Church, a church both broken and holy at the very same time, is indeed a most precious gift.
Sadly, like I grew to take the warmth of Assisi, the beauty of Florence, and the majesty of St. Peter’s for granted when I lived in Italy, we quite frequently forget, the incredible gift of our faith.
Its beauty, its warmth, its majesty fade and we take our faith for granted.
Frequently we simply get stuck in the everyday worries of life.
Think about it, are we grateful, are we in awe, of the incredible fact that right in that tabernacle, day in and day out is the real presence of Jesus Christ - God almighty, all loving, all merciful, the creator of heaven and earth? Right there… right there.
Sometimes, actually most of the time, I feel that my heart and mind and my soul aren’t able to take all of that in and appreciate it.
How many times has our faith been a consolation in times of sadness or sorrow?
How many times has our faith been a light in what seemed to be a sea of darkness and confusion?
How many times has our faith pushed us to look beyond our own needs and wants?
How many times has our faith pushed us drawn us to something more something greater?
Yes our faith is a gift, a privilege, a consolation and a hope which so very many of us take for granted.
Our faith has been entrusted to us by God.
Which brings me to the second point.
Our faith is not ours to create. We cannot rewrite the Gospel in every generation. We don’t adapt the Gospel to fit our culture.
It is our task to bring our culture in communion with the Gospel.
When the Gospel points one way and the world and our culture goes another we have to change the world not the Gospel.
Someone one said to me recently in a very angry and bitter tone:
Fr. Robert -
Our faith is old fashioned, get with it. Times have changed; the Church has got to change; our faith is got to change.
There was so much emotion when she spoke that something very personal had to be going on in her life.
I pray that God gives me the chance to talk more to that person.
It was as if she felt that somehow we know better than God. As if somehow we have the wisdom
or maybe the arrogance to think that we can change the very Word of God.
In school we used to play a game when I was a little boy which we called telegraph.
A long line kids would form a circle and the first one would whisper a phrase to the second person and by the time it got to the last person in the line it was all changed.
If every generation felt it could change to Word of God, what would we have left of God’s self revelation?
Would our faith resemble in any way the gift that Jesus died on the cross to share with us?
No. Our faith is not ours to change. Our faith is not ours to adapt. Our faith is ours to preserve.
Our faith is ours to hand on to the next generation.
Just like someone gave it to us.
We must pass it on so that they many may also share it’s wonderful consolation and benefit from its challenge and understand the warmth, beauty and majesty of God’s love.
We must pass on our faith in season and out of season.
When its popular and when it’s not.
Let us always be faithful to the wonderful gift that God has given us in our faith.
Please repeat after me:
Lord help me believe
Lord Help me seek You
Help me see to love you Lord
Help me be faithful
And help me pass on to the next generation
the Wonderful gift you have shared with me
my Catholic Faith.
For more homilies and thoughts by Fr. Bob, consider checking out his blog: http://frbobs.blogspot.com/. Prayers are promised for all of our faithful readers as we continue through this month of September!