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/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?   

Every now and again our Bishops—or one of our Bishops—does something that makes me proud to be a Catholic and a priest. (In recent years, more often it has been Pope Francis who has done this.) I say this because our Bishops are not known for being risk-takers or trend setters on most issues. On June 13, 2018, however, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued a strong and unequivocal statement in regard to the asylum issue and the separation of children from their parents. In part the statement read: 

Additionally, I join Bishop Joe Vásquez, Chairman of USCCB's Committee on Migration, in condemning the continued use of family separation at the U.S./Mexico border as an implementation of the Administration's zero tolerance policy. Our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma. Families are the foundational element of our society and they must be able to stay together. While protecting our borders is important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find other ways to ensure that safety. Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral."

I am impressed that while Cardinal DiNardo was clear that we have a right to protect our borders—how we do that is just as important as that we do it. He was also able to articulate succinctly and without equivocation our understanding that separating children from their parents is a moral issue and that we need to name it and know it as such. Separating children from their parents is clearly the wrong way to protect our borders, and as Cardinal DiNardo reminds us, it is immoral. 

In the play A Man for All Seasons, Cardinal Wolsey fails to force the church to bend to the will of Henry VIII, and annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon so that he could marry Anne Boleyn. As punishment, the King charged Wolsey with high treason. On his deathbed Cardinal Wolsey said: “If I’d served God one half so well as I’ve served my King... God would not have left me here to die in this place.”  These words are a chilling reminder to me that while we owe allegiance to our government certainly; ultimately it is our allegiance to God and God’s laws by which we will be judged. 

I applaud Cardinal DiNardo’s courage and clarity in reminding us that we cannot ignore the moral issues that are involved in protecting our borders, in particular the issue of the separation of children from their parents. And I pray that this moral imperative will become clear to all those involved in this issue.   

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.
https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/062418-day-mass.cfm     

Names are very interesting.  Sometimes they can signal continuity. (Many names have been in a family for generations.)  At other times they can express uniqueness.  (I do a lot of Baptisms, and I’m continually surprised at some of the new names that crop up.)   Names can also have a religious connotation, (think of Faith, Hope and Charity).  They can also be an expression of a popular trend. (I’m always intrigued each year by the list of the most common baby names.)    

In our Gospel this weekend for the Feast of the Birth of Saint John the Baptist, we encounter Elizabeth and Zechariah who have to choose a name for their new born son.   We are told that “When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, ‘No.  He will be called John.’   But they answered her, ‘There is no one among your relatives who has this name.’  So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.  He asked for a tablet and wrote, ‘John is his name,’ and all were amazed.”    The child was named John because the angel Gabriel had told Zechariah this was to be his name.   In Hebrew “John” means “God is gracious.”  In this case God was indeed gracious because Elizabeth, who was thought to be barren, conceived a son in her old age.   The name is also appropriate because John the Baptist was the forerunner of Christ, thus his name is a sign of God’s gracious favor toward all of us.   

Our first reading for this Feast is from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah.  In this reading, Isaiah rejoices that he was called by God to be a prophet.  “The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name…………………You are my servant, he said to me, Israel through whom I show my glory.”    

In our second reading for this Feast, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, Paul reminds us that “John heralded his (Christ’s) coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.” 

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1. What is special/unique about your name (first, middle, last, or a nickname or Confirmation name)? 
2. Isaiah saw himself as being called by God to be a prophet.  Have you ever felt God “calling” you to do something?
3. How or when have you experienced God’s gracious activity in your life?    

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.  http://usccb.org/bible/readings/061718.cfm  

Several years ago, at another parish, we gave out mustard seeds on the weekend on which today’s Gospel was read.   Our target audience was children.  We thought it would be a great way to give them a “hand’s on” experience of how tiny a mustard seed was, and how big a plant these small seeds could produce.   Now, not only did kids get involved in this endeavor, but so did the adults.   The winner was a woman who had planted the mustard seeds in a pot she hung outside on the one of the poles for her clothes line.   With very little care on her part, the mustard seed had grown into a plant that was a good three feet in diameter.  I don’t know what she did with the mustard plant, but its growth was a great illustration of today’s Gospel parable comparing the kingdom of God to a mustard seed:  “It is like a mustard see that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.  But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants………….”   

Parables were a favorite teaching device that Jesus used to tell people something about God or about our relationship with God.  The parable in today’s Gospel reminds us that the bringing about of the kingdom of God is God’s work, not ours.   It will occur in God’s time, not ours.  And its advent and growth will occur whether or not we are aware of it.    

Our first reading this weekend, from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, reminds us that God is in charge and God’s work will occur with or without or understanding or participation.  “And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the Lord, bring low the high tree, lift high the lowly tree, wither up the green tree, and make the withered tree bloom.” 

St. Paul, in our second reading today, reminds us that: “we walk by faith, not by sight.”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Have you ever discovered “after the fact” that God had been at work in a situation or a particular circumstance?
  2. Can you think of an occasion when God’s time was different from your time? 
  3. What does it mean for you to walk by faith, not be sight?  

Dear Parishioners:  

Last week we all heard the good news that an agreement had been reached to resolve the bankruptcy of the Archdiocese.  As you know, the agreement establishes a trust fund of approximately $210 million for the victims/survivors. Some of the money for the settlement fund came in the form of voluntary pledges of financial support from parishes and priests of our Archdiocese.  I believe this is a wonderful statement of our compassion and support for our brothers and sisters who were seriously wounded and hurt by my brother priests and by others in our church.  

With this letter I would like to inform you that The Basilica of Saint Mary was one of the parishes that made a confidential pledge of financial support to the settlement fund.  This decision was made in consultation with our Parish Council and Finance committee.  After setting a range for this contribution they directed that our Parish Trustees and I make the final decision as to the amount of the contribution. The money for this pledge came from our parish reserves, which are funded by the rental income from our school building. Our financial pledge won’t be payable until the details of the settlement are finalized.  It is our hope that making this pledge of financial support will send a strong message of solidarity and support to the victims/survivors.  

While the settlement will resolve the Archdiocesan bankruptcy we need to continue to follow up with prayer and outreach to the victims/survivors.  This needs to be and must be an ongoing effort.   I hope you will join in prayer for those who have been so grievously wounded by members of our Church.  

It is my firm and abiding belief that God’s Spirit continues to lead and guide our Church and our parish.   If we are open to the gentle guidance of the Spirit, I believe it will lead us into a future full of hope.  

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.   

Sincerely yours in Christ, 

 

John M. Bauer 
Pastor, The Basilica of Saint Mary 

Pages