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/111818.cfm    

 

It seems that every few years someone predicts that the world will end on a specific date, or in a particular year.   So far all of these predictions have been wrong, but that hasn’t stopped people from continuing to predict the end of the world. 

 

In our Gospel this Sunday, Jesus talks about the end times.  He said: “In those days after that tribulation the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the starts will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’ with great power and glory, and then he will send out his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.”   This imagery is vivid and stark.  It reminds us that the end times will come and there will be a summation of the world and a time of judgment. 

 

It is important to remember, though, that at the end of this Gospel Jesus also says:  "But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”    These words remind us that while we do believe that the world will one day come to an end, we shouldn’t spend our time wondering and worrying about when it will occur.  Rather, we should live our lives in such a way that we will be prepared whenever it comes. 

 

Our first reading this weekend is taken from the Book of the Prophet Daniel.   It too speaks of the end times.  It also is hopeful, though.  For the closing verse of today’s reading says:  “But the wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament, and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever.” 

 

For our second reading this weekend, we continue to read from the Letter to the Hebrews.   Today’s selection contrasts the Jewish priests of the Old Testament with Jesus Christ:  “But this one offered one sacrifice for sins, and took his seat forever at the right hand of God:”

 

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Why do you think people continue to predict the end of the world?
  2. If you knew the world was going to end at a certain point in the future, what would you do differently?  
  3. If you would do something differently if you knew the end of the world was coming, why aren’t you doing that now?    

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. 
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/111118.cfm 

Our Gospel this weekend opens with Jesus sitting opposite the temple treasury.   He watched as people put money in the treasury.  In fact, “Many rich people put in large sums.”   Then “a poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.  Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, ‘Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury.  For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.’”   

It is easy to be generous when we have a surplus.  As Christians, though, the challenge for us is to give from our hearts, not from our surplus.   We are called to share generously --- whether it be our money, our time, our possessions, our care and concern, whatever it might be --- we are called to share simply because we are able to do so.   As followers of Jesus we are to share our blessings because we recognize that we have been blessed.   

Our first reading this weekend from the first Book of Kings shares the theme of the Gospel.  We are told that Elijah went to the home of a widow in the town of Zarephath.   He asked her for a cup of water and a bit of bread.  She told him that she had “only a handful of flour in my jar and a little oil in my jug.”   Elijah told her not to worry to “make a little cake and bring it to me……………For the Lord, the God of Israel says, ‘The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the day when the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’”   As a result of her generosity in sharing what little she had, “She was able to eat for a year and her son as well; the jar of flour did not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry.”    

We continue to read from the Letter to the Hebrews in our second reading this weekend.   It reminds us “so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:  

  1. Can you recall a time when you shared/gave more than you had anticipated?   What motivated you to do this?
  2. Why does sharing seem to be easier for some people than for others? 
  3. How would you describe salvation to someone who comes from a non-Christian background?  
     

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.   
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/110418.cfm 

Our Gospel this Sunday is very familiar.  For this reason it would be easy not to give it a lot of thought or attention.  It is such an important Gospel, though, that I would hope we would take a few moments to really listen to it so that we can realize anew its important message.   

As this Gospel opens we are told that “one of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him.  “Which is the first of all the commandments?’”   Now this would not have been an unusual question.  At the time of Jesus there were over 600 commands, precepts, and prohibitions in the Jewish law.  Rabbis were often asked about the relative importance of these various commands.   What is unusual is Jesus’ answer.  Jesus does not give just one commandment:  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all you soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” but two: “The second is this:  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  At this point, we are told that the scribe who originally approached Jesus told him these two commandments are “worth more than all burnt offering and sacrifices.”  Jesus then said to him:  “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”    

Now certainly both of these commandments had always been part of the Jewish religion.  What was unique in this instance is that Jesus yoked them together.  In essence he was reminding people we can’t love the God we do not see, if we don’t love the neighbor we do see.   

Our first reading this Sunday from the Book of Deuteronomy, provides the background for the Gospel.   In that reading Moses told the people:  “Hear O Israel!  The Lord is our God, the Lord alone!  Therefore you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heat, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

Our second reading this Sunday is again taken from the Letter to the Hebrews.  It contrasts Jesus, our high priest, with the priests of the Old Testament: “He has no need, as did the high priests, to offer sacrifice day after day, first for his own sins and then for those of the people;   He did that once for all when he offered himself.”    

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. It is easy to say we love God, but how do we know when we really love God?  
  2. Why is it so much easier to love the God we cannot see, then to love the neighbor we do see? 
  3. I love the image of Jesus offering himself for us.   How would you explain this concept to someone who doesn’t come from a Christian background?    

     

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. 
www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102818.cfm

In this Sunday’s Gospel we encounter Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, who on hearing that Jesus was near began to shout:  “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”    Several people rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he was undeterred.  He kept calling out all the more; “Son of David, have pity on me.”  When Jesus heard him, he called him over.   In response we are told that Bartimaeus “threw aside his cloak, sprang up and came to Jesus.” Jesus then asked him: “What do you want me to do for you?”   Bartimaeus’ response was immediate and clear.  “Master, I want to see.”   Jesus then healed him, and Bartimaeus “followed him on the way.”    

There are three important moments in this story.  The first is Bartimaeus’ persistence in calling out to Jesus.  This reminds us that we too need to be persistent when we cry out to Jesus in prayer.  We need to remember, though, that persistence in prayer always needs to be combined with an openness to how God might respond to that prayer.   Second, I believe the fact that Bartimaeus threw aside his cloak is important.  For a beggar a cloak was vitally important.  Not only was it the target where people could throw their alms, but it was his shelter during the cold night.   By throwing aside his cloak Bartimaeus was clear that he didn’t want anything to hinder him from coming to Jesus.  Third, notice that after he was cured, Bartimaeus did not go his own way, but rather “followed” Jesus on his way.     The encounter with Jesus was so life changing for Bartimaeus that Jesus’ way became his way.  

Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah.  It announces the return of the Israelites from the Babylonian captivity.  “I will gather them from the ends of the word, with the blind and the lame in their midst.”  

In our second reading this Sunday we continue to read from the Letter to the Hebrews.  In the section we read this weekend we are reminded that Jesus was chosen by God to be our high priest and to intercede for us: “it was not Christ who glorified himself in becoming high priest, but rather the One who said to him: You are my son; this day I have begotten you;”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Bartimaeus would not let anyone deter him from calling out to Jesus.  Have you ever let anyone or anything keep you from calling out to Jesus? 
  2. In the Gospel Bartimaeus threw aside his cloak so that it would not hinder his effort to get to Jesus.  What do you need to throw aside in order to follow Jesus?
  3. What does the phrase “high priest” mean to you?  
     

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.  http://usccb.org/bible/readings/102118.cfm   

Some times it takes us a while to “get it.”   That was certainly the case with the disciples in our Gospel for this weekend.   In the verses immediately preceding this Gospel Jesus has told his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem where the chief priests and the scribes will “hand him over to the Gentiles who will mock him and spit at him, flog him, and finally kill him.”  These are difficult words, made more so by the fact that this is the third time Jesus had predicted his passion and death.   And yet his disciples, in particular James and John, still don’t “get it.”    Even after hearing these words we are told in our Gospel for this weekend that “James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him, ‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.’    Jesus replied, ‘What do you wish me to do for you?’  They answered him, ‘Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left’”    
Jesus rebuked them and then reminded them that his disciples will find their greatness in suffering and service.    

Our first reading this weekend is taken from the book of the prophet Isaiah.   As was the case several weeks ago, the section read this weekend is part of the Song of the Suffering Servant.   This “song” provided an important basis for our Christian understanding of the mystery of Christ’s suffering and death.  The section we read this weekend reminds us that life can come out of suffering.   “Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days, though his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear.”  

For our second reading we continue to read from the Letter to the Hebrews.   It reminds us that, although  Jesus is our high priest, he is able to “sympathize with our weakness” because he “has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. How would you respond if someone asked you why innocent people suffer?
  2. Have you seen life, or some other good, come out of suffering?
  3. Do you believe that Jesus can sympathize with our weakness?  

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