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/072218.cfm 

In our Gospel last weekend we heard how Jesus sent out his disciples two by two to preach repentance, drive out demons, and anoint the sick with oil and cure them.   In our Gospel this weekend we see the disciples return to Jesus and “report to him all they had done and taught.”   While they no doubt were excited by their missionary efforts, Jesus also realized that the disciples were probably tired and hungry, so he said to them:  “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while”   Unfortunately, the people followed them and Jesus’ heart was moved with pity for them because “they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.”     

Our first reading for this weekend is from the Book of the prophet Jeremiah.    In this reading, the Lord chastises the shepherds “who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture.”  There is a clear contrast in this reading between the shepherds who have mislead and misdirected the people and the Lord, the Good Shepherd, who always has the best interests of his people close to his heart.    The connection with the Gospel is clear.   Jesus is also the Good Shepherd, whose heart is moved with pity for the flock entrusted to his care. 

In our second reading for this weekend, we continue to read from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians.    In this reading Paul reminds us that in Christ Jesus we “who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ.”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Have you ever felt yourself being called to go to a deserted place and rest for a while?
  2. Clearly not all shepherds are “Good Shepherds.”   What are the hallmarks of a Good Shepherd.?
  3. When and/or how have you felt yourself becoming near to Christ?   
     

There is a story about two monks in the Middle Ages (an older monk and one of the younger monks) who were traveling cross country for a visit to a remote monastery. At one point, the road they were traveling on came to a stream. There was a woman there who asked them if they could help her cross the stream. The older monk replied that he would be happy to help her and immediately picked her up and waded across the stream. When they got to the other side the woman thanked them and went on her way, and the two monks went their way. About an hour later the younger monk said to the older monk: “Brother, I don’t think it was appropriate that you picked up that woman and carried her across the stream.” The older monk replied. “Brother are you still carrying that woman with you? I put her down the minute we got across the stream. I’m surprised you are still carrying her.” 

Like the young monk in the story above, I suspect that all of us “carry” things with us that we need to put down. It could be a grudge, an old hurt, a painful or embarrassing moment from the past, or a memory of something we did that was wrong. We hold these things close, and seldom, if ever, speak of them with others. These things weight us down and hinder our growth. They take up space in our minds and hearts and spirits, and in extreme cases can prevent us from moving forward with our life. 

I’m not sure exactly why we “carry” around these things, but I do know that prayer can help us put them down—for a while at least—and eventually forever. The image I like to use is that of an ice cube. When you hold an ice cube in your hand for a few moments and the exterior begins to warms to the touch of your hand, if you put it down and then take it up again a few minutes later, a part of it remains on the surface where you placed it. While it may be only a drop, it is not as big as it was. 

And so it is when we bring our cares, woes, hurts, grudges and pain to prayer. If we can leave them with God for a few minutes, while we may take them up again, a part of them stays with God and they are not as big as when we first brought them to prayer. And if we continue to practice bringing those things we “carry” around with us to prayer, we may discover one day that we have left them with God and we no longer carry them with us.

Like the young monk, sometimes we carry things with us that we shouldn’t be carrying and that we need to put down. Prayer is a great place to bring these things. And God is always ready and more than willing to take these burdens away from us. 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/071518.cfm 

In our Gospel this weekend, we are told that Jesus sent out his disciples “two by two, and gave them authority over unclean spirits.”   He also instructed them to take “nothing for the journey, but a walking stick --- no food, no sack, no money in their belts."  They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.  He said to them: ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave.  Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.’  So they went off and preached repentance.

This Gospel reading is taken from chapter 6 of Mark’s Gospel which is not even the half way point in his Gospel, so why would Jesus send his disciples out at this point in his ministry?  I think there are at least two reasons why Jesus would do this.   1)  He wanted his disciples to experience what it would be like to preach and heal in his name.  This would be there responsibility after he was no longer with them, so what better time to do this then when he was still with them and could encourage them and help them understand what they were to do.   2)  I also think, though, that Jesus sent them out at this time and in this manner (taking nothing with them) so they would realize that it was by God’s power and authority and not their own that they were able to do what they did.   I say this because along with their mission, Jesus gave them “authority.”  And he wanted them to know that it was because of God’s bounty and by virtue of the authority he had given them that they were sent forth to preach and heal in his name. 

Our first reading this weekend from the Book of the Prophet Amos, shares the theme of the Gospel. Amos is clear with Amaziah, the high priest of Bethel, that he did not choose to be a prophet.  Rather, he was chosen and empowered by God:  “The Lord took me from following the flock, and said to me, Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”   

In our second reading this weekend, Paul reminds the Ephesians (and us) that we have been chosen by God “to be holy and without blemish before him.”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Every now and again I slip into the bad habit of failing to remember the most basic fact of our existence, and that is that everything I am and have comes as a gracious gift from a loving God.  What helps you to remember this? 
  2. Have you ever felt called and empowered by God to do something?
  3. What helps you to live a holy life?   
     

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. ‘
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/070818.cfm   

At a conference I attended several years ago one of the speakers began his talk (to a group of peers) by saying:   “An expert is someone who comes from at least twenty-five miles away and carries a briefcase.   I am not an expert, I am one of you. ”   I suspect the speaker began this way both to disarm us and to challenge us to be open to what he had to say.    He realized that sometimes it is hard to be taken seriously by a group of peers.   Our peers know us.  They know our faults and failings.  They are familiar with us.   We are a recognized commodity.   

A situation similar to the above occurred in our Gospel for this weekend.  Jesus had returned to his “native place, accompanied by his disciples.”    When he began to teach in the synagogue those who heard him were astonished.   “They said, ‘Where did this man get all this?  What kind of wisdom has been given to him?  What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!  Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses, and Judas and Simon?  And are not his sisters here with us?” 

While the people in this Gospel did know Jesus, they stopped at the point of familiarity.   They made the mistake of thinking they knew all there was to know.  Because of his wisdom and by the mighty deeds wrought by his hands, though, they should have realized there was more to Jesus.  Unfortunately they were too caught up in their own way of thinking and looking at things.   

Our first reading this weekend relates the call of Ezekiel to be a prophet.   He has been sent to the Israelites, a people who are “hard of face and obstinate of heart.”   This reading shares the same theme as the Gospel.  It reminds us that sometimes our pre-conceived ideas of the ways and work of God can blind us to new realities.    

In our second reading this weekend from the Second Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul talks about being given a “thorn in the flesh” to keep him from becoming too proud and to remind him that God’s grace was enough for him.   This is a lesson I have learned and then had to re-learn several times in my life.   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Has there been a time when--only in retrospect--you recognized the presence and/or power of God in your life? 
  2. Have you ever been “hard of face” and “obstinate of heart” with God?
  3. Have there been times when you have discovered that God’s grace is enough for you?   

     

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. http://usccb.org/bible/readings/070118.cfm 

This weekend we continue reading from the Gospel of Mark.   Our Gospel contains two stories, The first is the story of the resuscitation of a little girl, the daughter of a synagogue official.  The second is the story of the cure of a woman with hemorrhages.  The focus, though, is really on the first story.  Now in looking at this story, it is important to make a distinction between resuscitation, which is a return to this life, and Resurrection, which is a birth to a new and eternal life with God.   In this Gospel, Jairus, a synagogue official, approached Jesus, fell at his feet and pleaded with him saying: “My daughter is at the point of death.  Please come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.”    Now, as background, it is important to note that it would have been unseemly, at best, for an official of the synagogue to approach Jesus and ask him for a favor.  Most of the religious leaders of that time vigorously opposed to Jesus.   And yet, out of love and concern for his daughter, the official did the unthinkable and came to Jesus pleading for his assistance.  

Jesus went with the official but before they could get to the official’s house, people arrived and said: “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?”   Jesus, however, ignored them and proceeded to the house.  Upon his arrival he was ridiculed when he told the people that “the child is not dead, but asleep.”  Disregarding these people, he entered the room where the little girl was and commanded her to arise.   The girl arose, and walked about, prompting astonishment from those who were present.   The message of this Gospel is clear:  Jesus is Lord of both life and death. 

Our first reading for this weekend, from the book of Wisdom, shares the theme of the Gospel.   We see this in the opening sentence:  “God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.”   Later in the reading we find these words:  “For God formed man to be imperishable, the image of his own nature he made him.”    These words remind us that we are made for life ----- life with our God forever.   

In our second reading this weekend, from the Second Letter to the Corinthians, Paul talks about “this gracious act”  that the Corinthians are about to engage in.    What is this gracious act?   They are going to take up a collection to help the struggling church in Jerusalem.    In encouraging their generosity, Paul reminded them and us that “your abundance at the present time should supply their needs.”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Like Jairus, there are times when I approach God because I have no where else.   I suspect it is my pride and independent nature that keeps me from going to God sooner.   What keeps you from approaching God?    
  2. Why are so many people afraid of death?
  3. What “gracious act” are you called to do this week?   

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