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God's Big Picture

Many years ago while visiting my brother and sister-in-law, I spent some time playing with my niece and two nephews (all of whom are now adults). At one point during my visit my youngest nephew was attempting to color a picture. I say attempting because, while he was using a variety of different crayons to color the picture, his efforts at staying inside the lines were being met with only limited success. I commented on this and suggested that he try harder to say inside the lines. His response was a masterpiece of childhood simplicity. 

He looked at me and said: “That’s okay. I’m not sure what the picture’s gonna be yet.” Silly me, I thought the picture was determined by the pre-drawn lines. My nephew on the other hand had a slightly broader vision. For him the picture was whatever it turned out to be. He wasn’t limited by any preconceived ideas or pre-drawn lines. For him the end product was what really mattered. 

In the years since this experience happened, I have reflected on it often. You see, many times I have approached my life similar to the way I approach coloring. I think I see the whole picture, but in reality my perception is limited and I see only what I want to see. In my mind, the lines have already been drawn, and all that is left is for me to try to stay within them. I think I see the full and complete picture, only to discover later that there was more to be seen just outside my preconceived lines. In effect, I often missed the big picture and settled for a limited/reduced version. 

I think the above is particularly true in regard to my relationship with God. I have discovered that more often than not, God draws outside the lines in my life. God sees a bigger picture than I do, and I am surprised (and sometimes amazed) when I finally get enough perspective to see that bigger picture. There are times I have faced adversity or distress only to discover later that they were the source of great blessing or grace. On the other hand there have been times when something that initially appeared to be a blessing was in fact not the blessing I originally thought it was.

It is indeed fortunate for us that God is not limited by our preconceived ideas or the pre-drawn lines in our lives. God sees the bigger picture. And often times God draws outside the lines of our picture, to make a picture of God’s own design. In light of this, over the years my prayers have become less specific as to what I want and more open to what God wants for me. In this way I am hopeful that I might be more open to the picture of myself and my life that God has for me, and that I might work with God to make this picture a reality. 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.

http://usccb.org/bible/readings/060919-day.cfm   

 

This weekend we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost.   This Feast celebrates the gift of the Spirit to the Church.   Along with Christmas and Easter, Pentecost is really the third great Feast of our Church Year.   Unfortunately coming as it does at the beginning of summer, it doesn’t get the same attention as Christmas and Easter.   This is regrettable because it is our belief that the Spirit leads and guides our Church as well as each of us individually.  Moreover it is the gifts of the Spirit that enable and empower us to live as Christ has called us to live.  

 

There are different readings that can be used on Pentecost.   At the Basilica the second reading we will use 1Corinthians 12: 3b-7; 12-13.   The Gospel will be John 20: 19-23. 

 

Our Gospel reading this weekend is the story of an appearance of the resurrected Christ.   Jesus came to his disciples even though “the doors were locked.”  Twice he says to them: “Peace be with you.”   Then he goes on to say:  “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.”    Jesus’ breathing on his disciples calls to mind God breathing the breath of life into Adam.  (Gn. 2.7).   It is spiritual life, though, that Jesus breathes into his disciples. 

 

Our first reading this weekend is from the Acts of the Apostles.   It recounts the first Pentecost when “tongues as of fire” came upon the disciples and they were all “filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” 

 

Our second reading this weekend is taken from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians.  It reminds us that “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit.”  

 

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

1.  Have you ever felt empowered by the Spirit to do something?

2.  Some gifts of the Spirit are very evident/dramatic; some are more subtle,  All are real, though, and all are necessary.  What gifts of the Spirit have been given to you?  

3.  Why do you think Jesus told his disciples twice:  “Peace be with you”?  

150 years old and going strong. 

Our Basilica parish community continues to thrive, but strong committed volunteer leaders are critical to our future. This weekend, all adult parishioner members have an opportunity to support candidates running for our Parish Council by casting their votes.

Hopefully, you’ve seen the paper ballot included in the parish bulletin that should have recently arrived at your home. This year we will elect members to represent Liturgy and Sacred Arts and also our Learning ministries. 

Online voting is available now. Please, take a moment to vote.

Leadership matters. The role of the Council is to be sensitive to the needs, ambitions, and desires of the Parish community as we strive to fulfill our mission and vision. By sharing their insights, ideas, and suggestions with our Pastor, Council members help our leaders make thoughtful, informed decisions. Key to their success as a group is collaboration and consultation. Each Council meeting is grounded by prayer and sharing about the Sunday Gospel. 

Our Parish Council includes elected and appointed representatives of the ministries and governance groups in our community. Together, members of the Parish Council serve and advise our Pastor. They are asked to chart a course for our future through Strategic Planning, and by sharing their hopes, their thoughts, and concerns. Members are also asked to be good listeners, and to keep a handle on the pulse of the parish. 

In addition to focusing on the future of the parish, principle responsibilities of the Council include seeking input from the parishioners and staff. They provide guidance to help the parish facilitate communication among our members, and the many volunteer committees and ministries. They also provide for the support and monitoring of ministries with a special focus on ensuring the fulfillment of the strategic plan.

Council members assist in the education of parishioners about the meaning of biblical stewardship, its responsibilities, and the benefits of membership in our parish community. They also respond to recommendations from the Finance Committee and have responsibilities to insure our parish’s financial health. Throughout this work, members share their expertise, their passion for their faith, and they provide counsel and support to our Pastor. 

In the coming year, important work and conversations will continue on Master Planning for our campus and implementing our new Strategic Plan. Our Council members will help lead us as work on these important initiatives progress. 

As we look to the future, having active volunteers invested in leading our Parish, committed to partnering with our volunteers, staff, and our Pastor are critically important to our success in carrying out our vision. Please take time to vote, and consider how you can be a part of helping The Basilica of Saint Mary achieve our aspirations to be a Home of Spiritual Nourishment, a Beacon of Hope, and an Advocate for Change.

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.  http://usccb.org/bible/readings/060219-ascension.cfm  

Today we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord.   This Feast used to be celebrated on the Thursday before the Seventh Sunday of Easter.  Several years ago, though, the Bishops of the United States moved the celebration of the Ascension to what would have been the Seventh Sunday of Easter. 

Our Gospel this Sunday is the last few verses of the Gospel of Luke.   In it we are told that Jesus led his disciples as far as Bethany and then told them he was “sending the promise of my Father upon you” Then,…………he raised his hands and blessed them.  As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven.”    

The above scene is also recorded in our first reading this Sunday from the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles.  In this account Jesus promised that his disciples “will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you………… When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.”   

As I reflected on these readings, I remembered a wonderful homily preached by another priest at his mother’s funeral.  In his homily he noted that while his mother had died, she would continue to live on.  He then went on to name various people and situations where his mother’s presence would be known and felt.   His message was clear.  While physically gone,  his mother’s presence would continue to be experienced.   This is the same message of our Gospel and first reading.   While Jesus would no longer be with his disciples physically, he would continue to be with them.   We experience this abiding presence of Christ in many ways, but most evidently in the Eucharist, in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the grace of God that is continually being offered to us.     

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 and that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call ………………..and what is the surpassing greatness of his power.”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. When have you felt someone’s presence even though they were not physically with you?   
  2. When have you felt God’s presence in your life?
  3. I loved Paul’s use of the phrase “eyes of your heart.”  When have you seen some one/thing through the eyes of the heart?  

Brother David Steindl-Rast is a 90+ year old Benedictine monk from Austria. In a 2015 interview with Krista Tippet of On Being he posited that every religion starts with some sort of miracle. Soon though, the miracle is cloaked in structures and institutions, developed to protect the miracle. Before long these structures and institutions not only protect but also obscure the miracle. Inevitably, the pains to safeguard the structures become more important than the efforts to reveal and celebrate the miracle.

Our miracle, or better, our Mystery is the empty tomb. It is the fact that God became one of us, lived among us, died for us, and rose from the dead so that we might live. That was the simple but profound experience and message of the earliest followers of Jesus. As the number of followers grew, structures had to be established. And as more questions were asked about our Mystery, theologies needed to be discussed and developed.

To date, we have some 2000 years worth of theological elucidation and ecclesiastical manifestation. And while these developed to portray, to protect and to promote our Mystery they have also done much harm to that very Mystery. When protecting the structures and institutions became more important than celebrating the Mystery, many scandals started to befall Christianity. Just think about the many divisions the Body of Christ has endured over the centuries. Had Christians paid more attention to our shared Mystery rather than the separating trappings around it we might be better off today. More recently, had the Church paid more attention to the Mystery of our Church rather than to the institution of the Church the evil of child abuse in our Church could have been addressed much earlier and with greater honesty.

Brother Steindl-Rast compares the beginnings of all religions with a Volcano. “There was fire, there was heat, there was light: the light of mystical insight, the glow of ethical commitment, and the fire of ritual celebration... But, as that stream of lava flowed down the sides of the mountain, it began to cool off and turn into rock. Dogmatism, moralism, ritualism: all are layers of ash deposits and volcanic rock that separate us from the fiery magma deep down below. But there are fissures and clefts in the rock. These represent the great men and women who reformed and renewed religious tradition from within. In one way or another, this is our task, too.”

During the Sacred Triduum we celebrated our Mystery: the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. We did that without great theological debate or ecclesiastical posturing. It was a simple and pure celebration of our Mystery. Let us hold on to that. Let us not be blinded by all the trappings and extravagance of our church, rather let us always behold and embrace our Mystery: the source of “mystical insight, the glow of ethical commitment, and the fire of ritual celebration.”

 

BASILICA Magazine 

As we continue our parish’s year-long sesquicentennial celebration, this issue looks at some people at The Basilica who said “yes” to God’s invitations to service, using varied gifts to form one body in order to do Christ’s work abundantly.

One person provided beautiful bells to our parish, named after “everyday” saints who also answered God’s call. Some assist and guide our parish’s strategic planning and campus space initiatives. Others lend their voices to our Cathedral choir, performing in an interfaith Together in Hope concert. Many more help at Basilica events, including the 25th annual Basilica Block Party, the recent wedding reunion, or the upcoming all school reunion.

Melissa Streit, Editor
 

Thank you to the dedicated volunteer team who created the issue.

BASILICA magazine spring 2019
 

BASILICA magazine spring 2019_lowrez

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside this issue:

Our Parish, Our Future
Focusing on the next five years 
by Bob Kleiber 

The Future of The Basilica
Planning for our space needs 
by Kathy Andrus 

Our Teresa of Calcutta Hall
A place of service, fellowship, and community 
by Melissa Streit 

The Arizona Borderlands
Where humanitarian aid is being criminalized 
by Chris Serres 

Mary, Untier of Knots
New icon commissioned 
by Elyse Rethlake 

Walker Art Center’s New Executive Director
An interview with Mary Ceruti 
by Johan M.J. vanParys, Ph.D. 

The Basilica Wedding Reunion
by Mae Desaire 

The Journey of Our Bells
Our invitation to the city 
by Toni McNaron 

The Basilica’s Caring Ministries
How can we help? 
by Rachel Newman

Together In Hope
The transformative power of music 
by Nick Hansen 

The Basilica Block Party
Twenty-five years of rock on the block 
by Melissa Streit

 

The award-winning BASILICA magazine is sponsored by The Basilica Landmark, a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to preserve, restore, and advance the historic Basilica of Saint Mary for all generations. 

BASILICA is published twice a year (spring and fall) with a circulation of 20,000. 
For advertising information please contact Liz Legatt.
 

Parishioners, please be aware of a current email scam. Fraud emails are being sent out from a gmail account impersonating Fr. Bauer. Do not open these emails or respond to them. 

More information about this scam can be found in a recent article from the Catholic Spirit.
https://thecatholicspirit.com/featured/online-scam-targets-priests-parishioners/ 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.  
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/052619.cfm  

This Sunday we celebrate the Sixth Sunday of the season of Easter, and once again our Gospel is taken from the Gospel of John.   There are three distinct sections to this Gospel.  In the first section, Jesus reminds his disciples that:  “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our dwelling with them.”   In the second section, Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit, “the Advocate whom the Father will send in my name………”   In the third section, Jesus reminds his disciples that “Peace” is his farewell gift to them.  Therefore they are not to let their “hearts be troubled or afraid.”   

Each of these sections is rich in meaning.  In the first section, while the idea of God dwelling with his people would not have been new, the intimacy and immediacy of this indwelling would have been original.   In the second section Jesus introduces his disciples to the Holy Spirit.  Again, the people of this time would have a sense of God’s Spirit.  And yet, here and later in John’s Gospel, Jesus speaks of the Spirit as one with, yet distinct from the Father.  Finally, in the third section Jesus talks about giving his disciples peace.  We often think of peace as the absence of strife or tension.  For the people of Jesus’ time, however, peace or shalom had a much deeper and richer meaning.  It was an abiding sense of God’s presence.   

Our first reading this Sunday is from the Acts of the Apostles.  It is the story of one of the first conflicts in the early church.  Specifically, it deals with the question of whether gentile converts to Christianity needed to be circumcised in order to be saved.  (Circumcision was a sign of the Jewish convent with God.)  This Sunday’s reading skips Paul and Barnabas’ trip to Jerusalem to speak to the “apostles and elders about this question” and jumps to the decision itself:  “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities, namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to animals, and from unlawful marriage.”     

Our second reading this Sunday is from the Book of Revelation continues John’s vision of the “holy city Jerusalem.”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1.  Have you ever experienced God dwelling with you?  
2.  On occasion I have felt the peace that Jesus spoke of in our Gospel today.   When you have experienced this peace in your life?  
3. In our first reading the apostles and elders were bold in their declaration that:  It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us………”    When have you felt the Spirit guiding you in your life? 

 

Snack Pack

Basilica Serves

As we celebrate 150 years as a faith community, we recognize and honor the role of St. Vincent de Paul Ministries in our parish. In 1868, one of the first ministries organized by our parish community was St. Vincent de Paul. Since then, the virtues inherent in this work have been fundamental to the fabric of our community.
 
The spirituality of St. Vincent de Paul has five core characteristics. We are all invited to embrace and reflect these in our life and work. 
 
 
 
Simplicity
St. Vincent de Paul teaches, “Jesus…expects us to have the simplicity of a dove. This means giving a straightforward opinion about things in the way we honestly see them…It also means doing things without any double-dealing or manipulation, our intention being focused solely on God.” 
 
Humility 
With an attitude of a servant, St. Vincent de Paul says, “The poor have much to teach you. You have much to learn from them.” Humility can be described as a predisposition to respect and learn from everyone—especially those out of our comfort zone.
 
Solidarity
St. Vincent de Paul states, “We must love our neighbor as being made in the image of God and as an object of His love.” We’re called to recognize the gifts of diversity and listen to the voices of those in need. We find fulfillment as we heal broken relationships and find unity. 
 
Balance between prayer and action
The more St. Vincent de Paul embraced the discipline of prayer the greater his ability to act in love. Through prayer, we receive what we need to be bold in service. Through action rooted in relationship, we find God. St. Vincent de Paul says, “Service without reflection is just work – just another task.”
 
Creating lasting systemic change 
St. Vincent de Paul continually asked the hard questions: Why is there such inequity? Why are so many in need? We are challenged to meet immediate needs. Yet we are also challenged to go beyond service and accompany another to understand their story, and uncover systems that oppress or destroy peace and dignity. 
 
Basilica Serves: Rooted in the spirituality of St. Vincent de Paul, we are all invited to consider three service options this spring and summer. 
 
1. Join a service opportunity at The Basilica: We have organized service events for all ages. Come and learn about community needs and take direct action to respond. For example, join the Snack Pack event in the Lower Level today, providing food for summer programs at Ascension Schools or volunteer for Families Moving Forward in June. 
 
2. Participate in a service opportunity at a partner organization: Look for organized ways to serve at partner sites. For example, in June, gather to support the work of Bridging MN as we provide needed essentials for those moving out of homelessness, or participate in Habitat for Humanity in August
 
3. Serve in your own way that fits your life: Find ways to help in your neighborhood, family or work. Live the values of our faith in your everyday life. Share your stories at The Basilica. Let’s celebrate the ripples of love in our community. 
 
Go to www.mary.org/Basilicaserves for more information.
 

 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/051919.cfm 

This Sunday we celebrate the Fifth Sunday of Easter.   Once again our Gospel for this weekend is taken from the Gospel of John.  It comes to us in two distinct sections.  

At first blush, the opening words of the first section of this Gospel are a bit puzzling:  “When Judas had left them, Jesus said, ‘Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.’”  The question naturally arises as to why are we reading about Judas during the Easter season?   The answer is that the setting of this Gospel is the last supper.  For John, Jesus’ glorification is rooted in and grows out of his suffering.  Judas’ departure set in motion the course of events that ultimately led to Jesus’ glorification.   And since Jesus’ resurrection is his glorification, there is a certain appropriateness to the mention of Judas on this Fifth Sunday of our Easter season.  

The second section of this Gospel begins:  “My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.   I give you a new commandment:  love one another.”   Now while this is not a new commandment, what is new is the next sentence:   “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”   In these words Jesus really “raises the bar” in regard to what is expected of his disciples.   

Our first reading this Sunday is again taken from the Acts of the Apostles.   It tells of the missionary efforts of Paul and Barnabas to various cities.  The last sentence tells of their arrival at Antioch.   We are told:  “And when they arrived, they called the church together and reported what God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.”   

Our second reading this Sunday is from the Book of Revelation.   It presents us with a “vision” of John of a “new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,”   with a loud voice saying: “Behold God’s dwelling is with the human race.   He will dwell with them and they will be his people……….”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:    

  1. The challenge for us to love one another as we have been loved by Jesus can be daunting.  When have you been successful at it?   When have you failed? 
  2. While most of us are not called to be missionaries in foreign countries, we are all called to share the message of Jesus Christ in our own ways.   Can you recall a time when you have given witness to Christ by what you have said or done?
  3. When have you been aware of God’s dwelling with you?
     

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