Rev. Robert F. Tucker
St. Louis de Montfort Parish, Litchfield
March 18, 2018
Happy St. Patrick's Day!  May a pot of gold, smiling Irish eyes and a wink of God's love and grace brighten up your day!
In the Rule of St. Benedict it states, "No one should follow what he considers to be good for himself, but rather what seems good for another. Let them put Christ before all else and may He lead us all to everlasting life."  This is the central point of Lent - to live and act our faith in the daily 40 day choices of Lent. Today we are more than half way through Lent and our readings still call upon the Lord to create a clean heart in each one of us.  The Love of heart to heart concern for others done in faith is the challenge of our Prophet Jeremiah.  Quiet obedience to picking up our cross as did Jesus out of love for God the Father is the call of the Letter of the Hebrews. In the Gospel, Jesus shows that when we die to self, new life begins. This is what counts and it is the way for a disciple of Jesus to gain the gift of eternal life. The prayer, sacrifice and almsgiving of Lent is to be done in the name of the Lord for one another and this is what really counts.

Jeremiah wants us to know we must drop our Irish Heritage that says forgetting is the last sense to go  and be able to forgive and forget, as God does,  and not remember the sin or fault again.  If you look about now you see the small snow flowers, crocus and daffodils starting to pop up. The amazing seed of wheat in our Gospel is like our forgiving heart.  The seed can grow if we allow it to die to self and that is what counts in Lent. But, note this can only happen if the seed dies and opens and spills out all of its life force within the earth. The death of the seed produces the new life of the plant.  We are all challenged to allow the seeds of new life within us to be planted and bear new fruit.  That is the point of Lent and why Lent counts for it is our time to break the husk of self-centeredness and let selfishness die and focus on love of God and the needs of others.  Jesus faces death and focuses on the Father and each one of us. So we must fulfill the words, "Whoever serves me must follow me and where I am, there will my servant be."  Forgive, Forget and Move On- living what you believe is what truly counts.  

Ellen felt alone when her husband died and David was desperate and depressed when his wife left him.  They were called to assist in a new parish program of twice weekly calling two homebound people to ask if they were okay and if they needed anything. Both accepted the task and became so involved that they and the people they called looked forward to the calls. Ellen and David's suffering turned to joy as they ministered to the homebound. In giving hope they received hope. They brought the reality of Jesus' picking up His cross and imitating Him to new glory. Jesus, Ellen and David did not count the cost! Charity, Kindness, Love shined and counted most as they worked through their cross and hopefully came to eternal life. In particular, it is not easy for it is an Irish statement that the Irish are a fair people… they never speak well of one another. That did not happen to Ellen and David.  Remember, "No man is rich enough to buy back his or her own past. Make who you are and what you do this week truly count.   

 Rev. Robert F. Tucker,
St. Louis de Montfort Parish, Litchfield
March 11, 2018
Conflict is real in all our lives, families and congregations. How often in a family an argument breaks out about a game being played, or the use of the car, or the TV show to be watched or piece of pie being eaten. The heated discussion often gets carried on for quite some time and may seem to an observer to be out of proportion to the problem at hand.  In discussing the conflict after the fact the length, intensity and even the involvement of some in the issue it is easy to realize the argument had nothing to do with what was being said or even emotions being shown or attitudes expressed. The people were dredging up some very old business!  We may bury the hatchet but we often mark the spot! We can think it is only the Irish or Polish or Italians who hold grudges but it is everyone! This is the week to dig up the buried hatchet and remove the markers over them and move on in forgiveness, reconciliation and love. It is the mid-point of Lent 2018 and time to get to confession and get rid of feelings of anger and guilt and let love take over.

The boundless love of God is on full display in all the readings today. The Chosen People in our first reading had added infidelity to infidelity repeatedly turning away from God, but God still loved them. Cyrus allows the exiles to return to Jerusalem and the city and temple are restored as the people are liberated by the love of God. St. Paul testifies in the second reading that our salvation comes because of God's great love for us and God's grace has saved us. The Gospel of John attests that Jesus was sent to save the world because God so loved us. Pope Francis calls this Gospel, "The Summary of the Whole Gospel" as God's love for us has no bounds and God has no buried hatchets or spots marked to get even with us in present or future conflicts. He is there to forgive and love as His Cross delivers all believers. We must remember we were created in God's image and God repeatedly rescued humanity from the consequences of sin and evil. God's boundless love has saved us and we must act on that love as we reach out to and live and love one another.  

Allow the TLC of Love to lead you this mid-week of Lent. Have an eye to eye talk with someone and get a conflict or argument resolved. Forget the hatchet or the tug -of-war over who is right or wrong and talk the truth in a loving and compassionate way. Listen to understand not to explain your point of view and avoid snappy comebacks. Give the other a chance and even try and see the world through their eyes and try to seek a resolution of the issue. Care to love and, despite the size of the problem, be open to the other in thought, word and deep and allow the other to be more important than your emotions or decision.  Do your best not to bury the hatchet or to mark a new problem but to put the whole issue to rest and commit to banning it from your life forever. Let LOVE alone direct and guide you this week.

He Dwells in US
 Rev. Robert F. Tucker
St. Louis de Montfort Parish, Litchfield
March 4, 2018
The Gospel of St. John, this week takes place in the temple in Jerusalem, the sign of God's presence here on earth. Parts of this temple still exist as part of the Western Wall and the most sacred place of prayer for our Jewish brothers and sisters. Here, Jesus states, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." Jesus knows Himself as God's presence here on earth more than any human construction and He still dwells in the Eucharist and in each one of us who receive Him in the Eucharist. We are the modern day temples of Jesus, as He remains in us after Holy Communion.  Jesus remains or abides in us just as Jesus Himself remains in the Father. We are the branches of the vine, and we must remain in Jesus, if we are to bear fruit for the glory of the Father. We must keep His commandments for Him to dwell in us and do His will, as He fulfilled the will of the Father.  Jesus has told us that whatever we do to the least of our brother and sister, we do to Him.  Through our Lenten prayers and sacrifices for one another and our Rice Bowls we hear, help and bear the pain of others.

In the first reading from the Book of Exodus, God speaks to Moses from the mountain and gives Moses the Ten Commandments.  What is your approach to the Ten Commandments? Most of us approach them like the nervous patient arriving at the dental office for a root canal surgery. He was brought into the examination room and left alone for a few minutes. When the dentist returned, he found the patient standing next to a tray of surgical equipment. "What are you doing ' the dentist asked. The patient replied, "Removing the ones I don't like." Isn't that our approach to the Ten Commandments and to Jesus?  We might easily say the words of our Responsorial Psalm, "Lord, you have the words of everlasting life," but I'm going to decide on what words I want for myself!  We come each week to Mass to fulfill the first three commandments. Jesus wants us to draw near to Him and to trust Him and be His tabernacle in the world.  Jesus desires to dwell in the tabernacle of our hearts and motivate our words and acts. Thus we make the Lord Jesus recognized in our world. Take some time this week to read over, pray over and see how you can better live all Ten Commandments and be the branches on the vine, JESUS.   We are the 2018 Temple of the Lord.

St. Padre Pio would pray after Communion and ask the Lord Jesus to stay with him all day and to act through him in all Padre Pio said and did. He would pray in part. Stay with me, Lord so I do not forgot You. You know how easily I abandon You.  I am weak and I need your strength. You are my light and without You, I am in darkness. I desire to hear Your voice and follow You and to love you as I live this day.