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: https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/052817-ascension.cfm   

This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of Jesus into heaven.   When I was pastor of a parish with a school I loved celebrating Mass with children on this day.   After the Gospel I would stand in front of the altar and stare up at the ceiling.  Within a few seconds every child in the place would also be staring at the ceiling.   After about a minute of this, I would tell them that they were dong the exactly the same thing Jesus’ disciples did when Jesus ascended into heaven.   

We read of Jesus’ Ascension in our first reading this weekend which is taken from the Acts of the Apostles.  In that reading we are told that when Jesus gathered with his disciples for the last time after his resurrection he told them: “When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’  When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.  While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.  They said ‘Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky?’ This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”   

Our Gospel reading this weekend contains the final verses of Matthew’s Gospel.  In it Jesus commands his disciples to “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit………”  Jesus also reminded his disciples, that “behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”   

Our second reading this weekend is taken from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians.   In it Paul prays that the “eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe.”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Sometimes I am like the disciples.  I stare off into the heavens looking for Jesus, and forget his promise to be with us always, until the end of the age.   Is this true for you as well? 
  2. How are you called to give witness to Jesus in your life?
  3. How would you explain to someone our belief that Christ is both in heaven and yet with us here on earth?   

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. 
https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/052117.cfm 
  
“Do you love me?”   That Tevye’s question to Golde in Fiddler on the Roof.   I suspect most of us have asked (or thought of asking) this question at some point in our lives.    In our Gospel today, though, Jesus didn’t pose this question.   He was more direct.  At the beginning of this Gospel he said:   “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”  And toward the end of the Gospel he said:  “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.”   

In Fiddler on the Roof Golde replied to Tevye’s question by saying:  “For twenty-five years I’ve lived with him.  Fought him.  Starved with him.  Twenty-five years my bed is his.  If that’s not love, what is?”    For Golde love was shown in actions, not words.   Jesus asks this same thing of those who would be his followers.   We show we are his disciples by keeping his commandments.   And Jesus commandments are clear.  We are called to love God with our whole heart and soul and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.   For Jesus, love is a verb, not a noun.   It is an action more than an emotion.  

Our first reading this weekend is again taken from the Acts of the Apostles.    In it Philip proclaimed Jesus Christ to the city of Samaria.   After they had accepted the word of God, Peter and John were sent to them to pray for them that they might “receive the Holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen upon any of them.”   The gift of the Spirit signifies unity with the apostles and the other early Christian communities.  

Our second reading this weekend is from the first Letter of Saint Peter.  In it Peter challenges us to “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you, for a reason for your hope.”    

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

1. What are some concrete and specific ways we can show our love for God and our neighbor?   
2.  In what concrete and specific ways have you experienced God’s love?
3.  If someone were to ask you, what reason would you give for your hope?  

A few weeks ago the Gospel reading at daily Mass was John’s account of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. In John’s version we are told that Jesus fed five thousand people with five barley loaves and two fish. We are told further that after everyone had their fill, Jesus told his disciples: “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted. So they collected them and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.” (Jn. 6:12b-13) 

The story of the multiplication of the loaves and fish is the only miracle story that is found in all four Gospels. And while the details differ slightly in each account, there is at least one element that is common to all of them. In each Gospel, after the crowd had been fed, there were fragments left over that filled several wicker baskets. For some reason this detail caught my attention, so I spent some time reflecting on it. As part of my reflection, two things occurred to me. 1) When God is involved there is always an abundance; and 2) When God is involved nothing is insignificant or lost. I think both of these are important. 

Often in our world today and especially in our culture, people live with an attitude of scarcity. We wonder whether there will be enough of “whatever” to go around, and so we cling tightly to our “stuff” because we fear there won’t be enough or that we might run out. This can lead us to hold tightly to certain things because we worry they might become a scarce commodity, and if we let go of them, there might not be enough if/when we need whatever it might be. 

In regard to God’s love and grace, though, there is always an abundance. We never have to worry that there won’t be enough, or that someone else will get our share. God’s love and grace are not limited commodities. Since God is love and God is also infinite, it stands to reason that there is an infinite amount of God’s love and grace to go around. With God there is always an abundance. We need never fear that there is a limited supply of God’s grace and love. 

As importantly, though, when God is involved nothing is ever lost or too small to be of significance. We know this because God has told us: “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget; I will never forget you. See, upon the palms of my hands I have written your name;” (Is 49:15-16) These words remind us that God’s love is so abundant that no one is ever beyond the reach of that love, or too insignificant or unimportant to be loved. God loves us even if/when we don’t love God. No one and nothing is ever lost to God. 

Too often, either consciously or unconsciously, we can believe that we are too insignificant to be known and loved by God. Jesus’ concern, though, that the fragments of barley loaves and fish be gathered up, reminds us that nothing escapes God’s notice and no one is ever lost to God. Such is God’s love. It is abundant beyond belief, and because of this, no one is ever beyond the reach of that love. 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051417.cfm 

I have a friend who, whenever he has a bad day, always has tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich for supper.   He told me that ever since he was a little boy,   tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich has been his “go to” comfort food when he is stressed out or worried about something.   I suspect we all have certain “comfort foods” in our lives --- food that comforts us when we encounter difficult or trying days.   In addition to comfort food, though, I also believe there are certain scripture passages that provide comfort whenever we read them.  I think our Gospel for this Sunday is a case in point.   In that Gospel, Jesus reminds us that “We are not to let our hearts be troubled……….. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.”   And that he “will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.”  Jesus also tells us that he is “the way, and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”   

The above words of Jesus fill me (and I suspect most of us) with great comfort whenever I read them.   They remind me Jesus loves us so much that he wants to be with us always --- not just in this life --- but also in the life to come.   He is the way that leads to the Father and in his Father’s house there are dwelling places for all of us.  

Our first reading this weekend reminds us that roles and responsibilities began to develop in the early church, so that the word of God could “continue to spread.”

Our second reading this weekend is once again taken from the first letter of Saint Peter.  In it Peter reminds his audience that because of Jesus Christ they are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own.” 

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Have you ever had a troubled heart?   What/who gave you comfort?    
  2. Are there certain passages from scripture that are “comfort” passages for you? 
  3. What things do you do so that the word of God can continue to spread? 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050717.cfm  

I would guess that for most of us the words “sheep” and “shepherds,” evoke idyllic images of meadows, flowing waters and pleasant tranquility.   The reality is, though, that sheep are not the cleanest of animals and they certainly aren’t very intelligent.  And, at the time of Jesus, shepherds were not well paid and shepherding definitely was not an important job.   In fact, shepherds were often looked on with suspicion, and were not accorded a great deal of respect.  Despite this, in the Old Testament, the images of sheep and shepherds were often used to describe God’s relationship with his people.   Jesus too, often used this image to describe his relationship to his disciples.  This is certainly true this weekend as we celebrate the 4th Sunday of Easter.   Each year in our three year cycle of readings, we always read from the 10th chapter of John’s Gospel on this weekend, and we always hear of sheep and shepherds.  

In this Sunday’s Gospel Jesus reminds us of four important things.  1.  The sheep “hear the voice of the shepherd.”   2.  The “shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”   3.  The shepherd “walks ahead of them and the sheep follow him.”  4. “A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”  

In our first reading this Sunday, we continue to read from Peter’s speech on the first Pentecost.  In the section we read today, Peter challenges his hearers to “Repent and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins;   and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is made to you and to your children.”   The last sentence is important.   It reminds us that God’s promise of salvation is universal and timeless.

For our second reading this Sunday we continue to read from the First Letter of Peter.  In the section we read today, Peter reminds us that Jesus is our model in any sufferings. “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.”

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. In today’s world, do the images of sheep and shepherds still work to help us understand our relationship with God?  
  2. What helps you to hear the voice of the shepherd?
  3. Why do some people better seem to bear “suffering” better than others?

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