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Archives for July 2016
On Wednesday, Deacon John Cronin was privileged to preach the homily during the Funeral Mass for Jane Schermerhorn, the long-beloved wife of Charles. We are grateful to Charles for giving Deacon John this opportunity:
I cannot improve on the Word of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
He tells us:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
This is a day of pain in the loss of our sister, Jane Sue Schermerhorn.
But for Jane, the pain has ended.
She is at the threshold of her journey home.
A journey into the tender embrace of Jesus.
Jane knew suffering.
She spent the last three months in the hospital.
But Jane was a faithful woman.
And She knew – her help – was in the Lord.
Like St. Paul, she has “competed well,”
She has “finished the race.”
She has “kept the faith.”
Jesus was never closer to her in this life than when she was suffering.
Jesus wants to come to us in our time of greatest need.
And Jane – in her life – would come to others in their need.
She had cared for her mother and father: Harriet & Albert Earl,
And for her grandmother.
More recently, she has poured out from herself:
tender and faithful care for her husband, Charles.
Now, Jane is in the tender care of Our Lord Jesus.
On one of Pope Francis’ visits somewhere,
A little girl tugged on his cassock in great distress.
Her dog had just died,
And she wanted to know if she’ll see him in heaven.
The Pope smiled,
embraced the girl,
“If you need to see your dog to be happy in heaven, he will be there.”
In thinking about heaven, Jesus offers us a comforting image:
A happy house with many dwelling places.
And – we pray – a dwelling place especially designed for Jane.
In her dwelling, we’d find a Mets game always playing on the TV –
– except when it’s time for her favorite soap operas!
We’d also find all those cats she loved roaming around –
– purring with contentment.
And – even better – we’d meet her mother & father,
and her grandmother too.
But no matter what heaven is really like,
One thing is certain:
It is the dwelling place made possible only by our Savior Jesus Christ.
In a way, Jane died a long time ago.
More than 80 years ago!
She died with Christ – in her baptism.
Her old life – her mortal life – was washed away.
And she was bathed in a new life –
In the waters of everlasting life.
The Holy Water Fr. David placed on her coffin today,
Calls us to remember the power of Jane’s baptism –
Baptism’s power over death.
Jane accepted Jesus as “the way, the truth and the life.”
This big paschal candle here reminds us of the light of Christ –
– that never dies.
And this white cloth over the coffin,
It reminds us again of Jane’s baptism –
When she was clothed in Christ.
We gather in this Church as one family, clothed in Christ.
We try to comfort each other in our sadness.
But we also gather in great hope of the Resurrection.
Jane joined herself to Christ in her baptism.
So it is with joy that we trust he will hold onto her now –
To raise her up along with Him –
And with all of us –
On the last day.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
Jesus has prepared a dwelling place for Jane.
He has destroyed death forever.
He will wipe away our tears.
Turn to Jesus, and rejoice!
Because he saves his little ones.
We pray for Jane,
Jesus’ little one today,
Who has endured suffering.
Who has tenderly cared for others.
Who has remained faithful in the Lord.
May Jesus Crown Jane with victory over death.
And may we look forward to joining Jane in that victory:
With Jesus – our Brother in Baptism –
In the eternal dwelling place he has made for all of us:
Our Father’s House.
On Saturday, Deacon John Cronin was privileged to preach the homily during the Funeral Mass for Jose Mauro, the long-beloved husband of Edie Mauro. We are grateful to Edie and her family for giving Deacon John this precious opportunity:
Jose’s wife of 45 years – our dear Edie – selected today’s Scripture readings.
And she chose very well.
A dominant theme linking all of them is Joy.
Joy of the life God gives us,
And His loving deliverance of that life from death.
All the friends, family, and even the casual acquaintances of Jose
– have helped me to know one thing for sure:
Jose is a man of great Joy.
[P A U S E]
A sure sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit is Joy.
[P A U S E]
And Jose had that in abundance.
Jose shared his joy with just about everyone he met.
He’d make you feel like the most important person in the room.
He gave of himself to others.
He just had to share his joy and loving kindness.
I was told – simply – that, “He’s a man that you love.”
Whether he was teaching dance, or beautifying a home, or kicking around a soccer ball,
Or just making you smile,
He gave of himself in the smallest of encounters.
And he did all of this with style, and class!
This joyful giving of the self is what a disciple is called to do –
To be an image of Jesus Christ.
Jesus, at the Wedding at Cana, gave his disciples a great sign.
He transformed water into wine.
This marked a new beginning.
The beginning of God’s lavish love for us,
Meeting us in the face, and flesh, and blood of Jesus Christ.
Jose experienced a new beginning in the lavish love of Jesus at his baptism.
He experienced the love of Jesus in the Eucharist he received the Sunday before he died.
He experienced that love just a few weeks before he died:
dancing with Edie on a visit with his son, Marcus in California.
In Jose’s death, we’re gathered not only by the pain of our loss,
But by the great joy we have shared with him.
He has participated in the great attractive force of Jesus,
By this gift of his joy:
Drawing us together.
Jose is at the doorstep of yet another new beginning:
The great eternal Wedding Feast – the heavenly banquet.
We pray that Jose completes the journey his baptism launched him on.
His journey home to the Father’s loving embrace.
A journey made possible by Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Jose died with Christ, so we pray he is raised with him,
And with all of us,
On the last day.
When the dust settles, and the busy-ness of the funeral passes,
When we say our goodbyes to one another,
And pick up our lives on our own journeys,
Then the real grief of the loss of Jose may really hit.
Cherish the memories of your last joyful encounter with him.
But trust that His joy can live on in you.
I pray that you remain confident in Jesus’ power to deliver us from our pain.
I can only speak for myself when I say:
I’d rather endure great pain,
than to have never encountered the love and joy of Jesus.
And I am confident that the love and joy of Jesus
has radiated for us through the face of Jose.
May He now be greeted face-to-face by his Risen Lord.
Jesus, who feels every bit of our pain,
Jesus, who has defeated death,
Who will wipe away our tears.
Who delivers us home to eternal joy.
Where only love endures.
So we will cry in our loss.
But we stand to gain even greater things.
May we remain open.
Open to a lavish love.
Open to a superabundant joy.
To a life that was indelibly blessed with the gift of Jose.
To a life that hopes to meet him again at the Eternal Wedding Feast.
By Deacon John Cronin:
When I was just a young child,
I Loved having sleep-over’s at my grandmother’s house.
We called her Nanny,
And she prayed several times a day.
She’d pray the Rosary,
She’d pray from daily prayer books,
She’d pray from a stack of prayer cards for friends and family who had died,
And she prayed from a little piece of paper
Filled with a running list of personal petitions that grew ever longer.
The paper was worn and tattered from being folded and refolded every day.
She couldn’t bear to forget anyone,
Especially prayers for her children:
That Helene would go to Mass again;
That Ed would come to visit more often;
That the winter would be short,
so Jack could make more money in construction to feed the kids.
I admired how prayerful Nanny was,
But I wondered:
“What if you don’t get what you want?”
“Why pray so hard?”
Nanny simply said:
“God always gives me what I need,
Even when I don’t get what I want.”
Today’s Gospel gives us Luke’s version of the “Our Father.”
It is itself a prayer of petition,
Asking God our Father to give us what we need,
Even if it is not what we think we want.
[P A U S E]
Jesus urges us to persist at prayer.
To never stop.
Never “be put to the final test.”
Meaning, never give in to the temptation to abandon God.
Even if you’re not sure you’re asking for the right things,
Even if you think he’s not listening.
Prayer isn’t so much for what we want,
But to receive what God wants for us.
The “Our Father” asks for the coming of the Kingdom.
But who’s the king?
Should we use prayer to run the world as we see fit?
[P A U S E]
The “Our Father” presumes that God is our king.
Prayer draws us closer to that king as Our loving Father.
It helps us draw near to His will for us.
To transform our unhealthy wills into His perfect will,
And not so He can show us who’s boss,
But simply because he loves us and wants us to be truly happy.
Back to my Nanny:
She told my mother that I would become a priest.
Not that I’d be a good one!
Or that she hoped I’d become one.
But just that it will happen.
My mother shared this with me just 3 years ago –
as I told her I was going to seminary.
And Mom’s prayer for me – over my 45 years –
Was a very simple one:
That I would be happy.
Being happy is to draw near to our Loving Father’s will.
To accept his will as our own,
And to love that will.
So I don’t pray that Nanny was right,
And that God makes me a priest.
I only pray that I love his will as if it were my very own.
How liberating it is!
To draw near to the Lord,
To share our deepest thoughts and feelings with Him –
He knows them already –
But sharing them with him invites his loving presence into our lives.
Persistent prayer transforms our hearts.
Prayer makes us hospitable
For the Holy Spirit to dwell within.
No matter what tragedy, or struggle, or burden befalls us,
We will have what we truly need:
Intimate Union with God.
A love that cannot be destroyed.
We may fall many times,
But God never tires of lifting us up.
Never tire of seeking His mercy, and His healing presence.
“Ask and you will receive;
Seek and you will find;
Knock and the door will be opened to you.”
To know and to love the will of God:
That comes with persistent prayer.
And that will make us truly happy.
At peace – in the presence of Our Loving Father.
By Deacon John Cronin:
The most fruitful activity in life is to receive the Lord.
To receive His true presence.
To be present to Him.
Last week we heard the story of the Good Samaritan,
We were called to love our neighbor with extraordinary hospitality.
With Martha and Mary, we’re called to exercise hospitality again,
But this time in receiving the Lord.
Most of us identify with Martha:
How could Mary leave her to do all that work?!
And what’s with Jesus taking Mary’s side?!
But is He taking sides?
He loves Martha tenderly,
And he gently corrects her,
Not for her busy work to serve Him,
But for accusing Mary of being inhospitable:
She says, “Lord, do you not care
That my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?”
This is not so much a question as it is an accusation.
It reminds me of St. Mark’s account of Jesus’ calming the stormy sea.
Jesus slept in the boat
while the disciples in the boat with him feared the terrible storm.
They woke him with an accusatory tone:
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
He rebukes the wind and sea: “Quiet! Be still!”
The rebuke is really of the disciples’ lack of faith in his Saving presence.
The storms of our lives will never be still
if we don’t trust Jesus to steer our boat.
Mary shows that trust, sitting at Jesus’ feet.
She’s hospitable by simply being with him,
Totally present to him.
The most fruitful activity in our lives is to be still;
To be free of distraction,
And receive the Lord’s presence.
To be fully present to him.
Martha’s busy activity for the Lord was good.
But in her work, she left Jesus alone.
Her busy preoccupation made her feel alone.
In her isolated work, she grew anxious and worried.
While all the stuff Martha did was good,
Jesus challenges us to choose the better part of that work:
The gift of self.
To simply be present to Him,
And to any of our loved ones.
Relying on our own work without Jesus is futile.
But activity anchored in Jesus’ presence is very assuring.
If we cling to His Love we will not perish.
One of my earliest memories of my father was when I was about 4 years old.
In the longer days of summer,
He had a routine of taking me for a walk after dinner.
It was only to the end of the street,
But I vividly remember him holding my tiny hand in his.
I remember the joy and security of his presence.
This simple presence mattered,
More than any of the elaborate journeys on vacations
whose distractions competed for his presence.
So I pray that we may be still.
That we Approach Jesus with open ears and open hands.
Receive him with our whole being.
With true hospitality.
In this Mass today, we Receive the Lord.:
We receive his Word,
And his Body in the Bread of Eternal Life.
He gives us the better part: himself.
May we do the same: give of ourselves.
(NOT just our stuff) but ourselves…
To Him, and to one another.
I hope you can call to mind someone who really gave themselves to you,
Who didn’t have to plan an elaborate extravaganza for you,
But who was totally present to you.
Who walked with you on your journey.
Not to the hustle and bustle of exotic destinations,
But simply to the edge of the sidewalk close to home.
Yes, we are called to do good works with our hands,
But if they are truly good –
If they are to bear lasting fruit,
They are attached to the Vine –
– to the loving presence of Jesus Christ.
Our good works are done by the power of His Hands.
Our little hands, held in His.