Fr. John Bauer

Rector and Pastor
Clergy

Serves on the Parish Council, Finance Committee, Stewardship Council and as a member of The Basilica Landmark Board.  Fr. Bauer led the successful merger of 3 parishes (St.Therese, St. Gregory, St. Leo) to become the new Lumen Christi in St. Paul, and completed their major building expansion.  Former Pastor of St. Therese, Deephaven and Associate at St. Patrick’s in Edina. 

(612) 317-3502

Recent Posts by Fr. John Bauer

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.  http://usccb.org/bible/readings/121717.cfm 

This coming weekend we celebrate the third Sunday of the Season of Advent.   For those old enough to remember, this Sunday was known as Gaudete  (Rejoice!) Sunday, because our time of waiting would soon come to an end 

On this Third Sunday of Advent our Gospel reading is from the Gospel of John and, like last week,  we once again encounter John the Baptist.   In this week’s Gospel, some priests and Levites ask John who is he.  John is clear that he is not the Christ, that he is not Elijah, that he is not a prophet, but rather a “voice crying out in the dessert: Make straight the way of the Lord.”  

I have a friend who likes to say that John’s response is an example of the “grace of place.”   John knew who he was and what he was about.  He didn’t have an inflated sense of himself, nor did he display any false humility.  John knew what he was called to be and to do, and he found God’s grace in this.  

Our first reading this weekend is from the book of the prophet Isaiah.  It shares a similar theme with the Gospel in regard to knowing one’s mission.   At the time it was written, the Jewish people were still in exile in Babylon and the prophet, Isaiah spoke to them about his mission.  He had been anointed and sent “to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor by our God.”   In essence he was called to tell them that their time of captivity would eventually come to an end and that the Lord God would make “justice and peace spring up before all the nations.”  

Our second reading for this weekend is taken from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.   In it Paul reminds that early Christian community --- and us --- to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing and to give thanks” so as to be “blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion

  1. Can you recall a time when you “knew” you were called to do or say something?   Do you remembering experiencing God’s grace at this time?  
  2. In what ways have you prepared the way of the Lord this Advent?   Who or what has prepared the way the way of the Lord for you this Advent.  
  3. How are you called to rejoice this Advent?    

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. http://usccb.org/bible/readings/121017.cfm 

In our Gospel for the Second Sunday of Advent, we encounter the figure of John the Baptist.  (We will also hear about John the Baptist next Sunday.)   We are told that “John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist.  He fed on locusts and wild honey.”  John’s mission was simple.  He came to prepare the way of the Lord.  

Now certainly it would be difficult to say that John was a “handsome figure.”  Camel’s hair and leather are not fashion statements.   And a steady diet of locusts and wild honey can’t have been appealing.   And yet we are told that “the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him.”   What could have attracted them?   I suspect it was the force of his personality and the power of his message.   He proclaimed “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”   

While I have never met a “great” sinner, I have met lots of people who (like me) need to repent of particular sins, as well as entrenched patterns of sinfulness.   Because of this, I need to hear the Baptist’s message.   And when I hear and heed this message, I understand anew the meaning of and need for the season of Advent.

If you have ever heard Handel’s Messiah our first reading for this weekend will be very familiar.  It begins:  “Comfort, give comfort to my people.”   It is taken from that part of the book of Isaiah referred to as the Book of Consolation.   It was intended to console Israel as their time of exile was coming to an end. 

Our second reading for this weekend is taken from the second Letter of St. Peter.   It reminds us clearly that God’s time is not our time and that God does not operate on a human timetable. 

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. During this season of Advent, who or what is calling you to prepare the way and repent of your sins?   How are you called to do this?   
  2. Sometimes messengers --- like John the Baptist --- come in unlikely guises.    Who has been a “messenger” of God for you?   In what unlikely guise did they appear?  What was their message?  Were you consoled or challenged by this message?   
  3. In retrospect, can you think of an instance when God’s time was not your time?  


For this Sunday’s readings, click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. http://usccb.org/bible/readings/120317.cfm 

This weekend we begin a new liturgical year as we celebrate the First Sunday of the Season of Advent.    The season of Advent has a threefold character.  As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, it is a time for us to remember Christ’s first coming.  Also, though, it is a time for us to prepare our minds and hearts as we await Christ’s second coming at the end of the world.  Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it calls us to be ready to meet Christ as he comes (in a variety of ways) into each of our daily lives.  

Two important figures during this season are John the Baptist and the Virgin Mary.  John heralded Jesus’ coming, and Mary models what it means for us to recognize and respond to Christ.  

The words most often associated with this season are:  waiting, anticipation, preparation, longing, expectation, joyful, and hopeful.   The joyful expectation of Advent distinguishes it from the penitential character of Lent.

The First Readings for the first three Sundays of Advent are all taken from the Book of the prophet Isaiah.   They speak of the consolation that will await Israel when it returns to the Lord.   “No ear has heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you doing such deeds for those who wait for him.”   

The second reading for this Sunday is taken from the opening words of St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians.  In it, Paul greets the Corinthians, but then reminds them to let God keep them “firm to the end.” 

Finally, in our Gospel today, Jesus calls his disciples to “Be watchful! Be Alert! You do not know when the time will come.”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. In calling us to be watchful and be alert what is Jesus calling us to do or be?  
  2. What great deeds has God done for you in your life?  
  3. How does one stay firm to the end?    

What Are We Waiting For

Waiting. We’re not very good at that anymore. Perhaps we never were. In this “instant gratification” “gotta have it now” “why is that website taking forever to download” modern age, we get frustrated and irritable if we have to wait for any length of time. The other day I found myself not so silently criticizing the driver of the car in front of me because the light had turned green three seconds earlier and they had not moved. I mean really, I am sure most people would agree that three seconds is a long time for any sane person to wait.

I think the problem with waiting is that it feels like time wasted. And who can afford to waste time these days? We have way too much to do. Every minute counts. It feels like we are squandering a precious resource if our schedule isn’t jam packed, and we aren’t racing from one good and important thing to another. And that is part of the problem. If we were engaged in frivolous or unimportant activities, it would be easy to cut back on them. But for most of us, the things we do have value and significance. We wouldn’t be doing them otherwise. And yet—at times I wonder if all this activity isn’t a way for us to avoid some of the deeper issues and concerns of our lives. Very specifically, I wonder if it isn’t a way for us to avoid having to pause and wait so we can become aware of God’s presence and open to God’s grace. 

Now I know that most of us would not intentionally or deliberately try to avoid God. It’s just that God isn’t really good at small talk. Moreover, it takes a while, as well as some real effort, to tune everything else out so we can “tune in” to God. We all have schedules. So, it would just seem to make sense that if we could just sync up God’s schedule with our schedule everything would be so much easier. The difficulty is that God doesn’t work on our schedule, and so we need to find the times and tools that help us to slow down and wait on God. Advent is such a time.

The season of Advent is all about waiting. During advent, we are reminded of all those centuries when God’s people awaited the fulfillment of God’s promises, the years of uncertainty, the times of doubt. This side of Christmas, it’s easy to think that this season is all about “arrival” e.g. the birth of Jesus. And that’s partly true. But let’s not forget the waiting that preceded Christ’s birth, the waiting that marked the time before Christ’s birth, the waiting that the people of old experienced.

And so, maybe a little waiting is a good thing. I know that’s a difficult concept for some of us to get our minds around, but I think there is a profound truth to be found in waiting. And that truth is that God also waits for us. God waits for us to discern God’s presence, to be open to God’s grace; to respond to God’s love; and to let God find a home in our lives and in our hearts. 

I think the season of Advent is a great opportunity to think differently about waiting. Perhaps the waiting we do during Advent won’t change the way we feel as we get caught in a traffic jam and have to wait, and wait and wait, but maybe, just maybe, it will give us the chance to view that time differently—possibly as a time to turn off the radio, put down the cell phone and spend a little time with God in prayer. 

For this Sunday’s reading click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112617.cfm 
 
This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King.  This is the last Sunday of our Liturgical year.  Next Sunday we begin the season of Advent and a new liturgical year.  
 
The Solemnity of Christ the King was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925.   Seeing the devastation caused by World War I, Pius established this Feast as a way to remind people that despite what may happen in our world, Christ is Lord of both heaven and earth.  Initially this Feast was celebrated on the last Sunday in October, but when the Roman Catholic Church revised its liturgical calendar in 1969 it was moved to the last Sunday of the liturgical year.     
 
The readings for the Feast of Christ the King have an eschatological tone.  (Eschatology is the area of theology that focuses on the last things.)   This eschatological tone is most clearly seen in the Gospel for this celebration, which is the final judgment scene (the separation of the sheep and goats) from the Gospel of Matthew.   
 
This eschatological tone is echoed in the first reading from the book of the prophet Ezekiel, where we read:  “As for you my sheep, says the Lord God, I will judge between one sheep and another, between rams and goats.”   
 
The second reading for this Feast is taken from the fist letter of Paul to the Corinthians.  It also speaks of the final days when Christ will “hand over the kingdom to his God and Father.”   
 
Thoughts for Consideration and Reflection: 
 
  1. Our readings today are clear that judgment is God’s business, not ours. Yet we all continue to make judgments about others.   Now I rationalize this by telling myself that when I make judgments about individuals I am doing so for entirely altruistic reasons.   I want to save time at the end of the world by doing a little pre-judging in the present.   What rationale do you use for judging others?
  2. Fairly frequently we hear of people who, by their reading of certain scripture texts, have determined that the end of the world is near.   So far they have all been wrong.   Why are so many people so obsessed with the trying to determine when the end of the world will occur?
  3. Notice that in our Gospel today, both the righteous and the accursed are surprised that they either helped --- or failed to help --- the Lord in what they did  --- or failed to do --- for the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger the naked, the ill and they imprisoned.  When have you seen or failed to see the face of Christ in others?   

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