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/020220.cfm

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.    This Feast is celebrated on February 2nd each year.   Our Gospel for this Feast is the story of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple in accordance with Mosiac law. 

When Mary and Joseph came to the Temple they encountered Simeon, who was “righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.”   Simeon blessed Mary and Joseph and then said to Mary: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be sign that will be contradicted --- and you yourself a sword of sorrow will pierce --- so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”  

Mary and Joseph were fulfilling the prescription of the law of Moses when they presented Jesus in the Temple.   As is often the case in the scriptures, though, things have a much deeper meaning than is immediately evident.   Simeon’s words prophesy both Christ’s ministry and his passion and death.  

Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the Book of the Prophet Malachi.  In the section we read this weekend God announces:  “Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me………”  From our Christian perspective we see this prophecy as referring to John the Baptist who came to prepare the way for Christ.  

Our second reading this weekend is from the Letter to the Hebrews.  It reminds us that Jesus “had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way, the he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people.  Because he himself was tested through what he suffered he is able to help those who are being tested.”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

1. Simeon said that Jesus was a “sign that will be contradicted.”  What does this mean to you? 
2. Have you ever waited, as Simeon did, and eventually found your waiting rewarded?  
3. I loved the words from Hebrews that “because he himself was tested through what he suffered he is able to help those who are being tested.”   When and how have you felt Jesus’ help in time of need? 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browswer.
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/011920.cfm 

“I’m sorry the mailbox is full and cannot accept any more messages.  Please try your call again later.”   Every now and again I’ll get that message when, I’m trying to call someone.  Unfortunately, more often than I care to admit I think this is the message God gets when God tries to call me.   I mention this because today’s Gospel is the story of the call of the first disciples.   

This Sunday we celebrate the third Sunday in Ordinary Time.  Our Gospel this Sunday comes in two sections.   The first section is tied to our first reading today.   The second section, though, relates the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry and the call of the first disciples.   Jesus calls Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew, as well as James and John the sons of Zebedee.   Jesus didn’t waste a lot of words in calling these first disciples.  He merely said:  “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.”   Certainly the call of these men was clear and evident, and in that sense it may differ slightly from the way God calls you or me.   On the other hand, though, they must have been open and attentive to the call, because they answered it immediately and unambiguously.   

Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah.   This passage was chosen because it contains a prophecy about the restoration of the lands of Zebulun and Naphtali.  These lands are also referenced in the opening verses of today’s Gospel.   We believe that Jesus is the fulfillment of this prophecy of Isaiah.  

For the next several weeks our second reading will be taken from the first Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians.   In the section we read today, Paul pleads for unity among the people of Corinth “so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.”    

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1.  When have you heard the call of God in your life?
2.  Looking back, can you see where you were too preoccupied or busy, and may have missed God’s call? 
3.  Why is unity (not uniformity) so important in the Christian community? 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. 
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/011920.cfm

This Sunday we begin what is known as “Ordinary Time” in our Church year.   This designation is not meant to diminish the importance of this time of year, but rather to distinguish it from the seasons of Advent and Christmas, which we just concluded, and the seasons of Lent and Easter.   At the conclusion of the Easter season, “Ordinary Time” will begin again, and will continue through the summer and fall months.   

Our Gospel this Sunday is taken from the Gospel of John.   In this Gospel John the Baptist sees Jesus coming toward him and says:  “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”   And while John initially says that he did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah, the Gospel concludes with his clear statement:  “Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”    I suspect the reason John didn’t recognize Jesus was that he knew him as his cousin.  Eventually, though, he came to understand that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God.   Familiarity can sometimes blind us to seeing something beyond the familiar.   

Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah.   It is from that section of Isaiah known as the Servant Songs.  In the section we read today Isaiah speaks about his call to be a prophet.   He is clear that God will work through him “to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel.”  

Our second reading this Sunday is taken from the beginning of the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians.   In it Paul identifies himself, and greets the people of Corinth with the words:  “Grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”   

Questions for Discussion/Reflection:

1.  Has familiarity with a person or a situation ever blinded you to the presence and/or grace of God?
2.   Have you ever recognized God’s presence and grace only in retrospect?  
3.   Why do you think Paul began his letter to the Corinthians with the words:  “Grace and peace?”   

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. http://usccb.org/bible/readings/011220.cfm  

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.   Since Jesus’ Baptism took place when he was an adult, it may seem odd to celebrate his baptism so soon after we have celebrated his birth.  The fact is, though, that other than the various infancy narratives and the story of the finding of Jesus in the temple, there are no stories of Jesus’ years before his Baptism and the beginning of his public ministry.    When you stop and think about it, however, there is a certain “rightness” to this.    While it would be interesting to know about Jesus’ life before he began his public ministry, his mission and his ministry are far more important to us because they brought about our salvation.   

Our Gospel this weekend is Matthew’s account of Jesus’ Baptism.   Matthew is the only evangelist to include the verse that tells us that when Jesus came to John for Baptism, “John tried to prevent him, saying, I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me.”   Most scripture scholars agree that John didn’t want to baptize Jesus because he did not see Jesus as a sinner in need of Baptism.  And while we believe that Jesus was without sin, we also believe that his baptism marked the beginning of his public ministry.  (As Christians, it is our belief that Baptism takes away original sin.  We also believe, though, that Baptism begins our life in Christ, and as importantly that it empowers us to continue the mission and ministry of Jesus.)  We are told that after Jesus was baptized, a voice came from the heavens saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’”   We believe that the Spirit is also given to us at our Baptism, and that we are all beloved children of God.  

Our first reading this Sunday is from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah.   It is taken from the section of Isaiah known as the “Servant Songs.”   The servant is the chosen one of the Lord, and the song describes the characteristics and mission of the servant.   We see the “servant songs” as prefiguring Jesus.  In the section for this weekend we read:  “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit;” 

Our second reading this Sunday is taken from the Acts of the Apostles.   In it Peter describes the mission of Jesus and reminds us that “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. We believe that the Holy Spirit is given to all the baptized.   What is the Holy Spirit empowering you to do?   
  2. If it is true that God shows no partiality, why bother with Baptism?
  3. Do you see yourself as a Beloved Son or Daughter of God?  

The Promise of Eternal Life

During this past Advent, I got up one Sunday morning around 4:00am to pray and get ready for the day. (Since I am not a morning person, my rule is that I need to get up three hours before I have to talk.) After a cup of coffee (half decaf – half regular), I settled in to pray Morning Prayer. After I prayed the psalms and canticle, and reflected on the reading, I started to read the intercessions. The first three were fine, but when I read the fourth one I was somewhat taken aback. I thought it said: “You are praised throughout the ages; in your mercy help us to live devoutly and temporarily in this life, as we wait in joyful hope for the revelation of your glory.” I read it again, and then again. The third time through, I realized the word was temperately, not temporarily. I had to laugh at myself for my malapropism, as I realized I wasn’t as awake/alert as I thought I was. 

Later that evening, I reflected a bit on my inadvertent substitution of temporarily for temperately. It dawned on me that perhaps there was a message for me in my malapropism. As I continued to reflect it occurred to me how easy it is for me to focus almost exclusively on what is right in front of me and forget that this life is not the end, that there is more. Our existence in this world is not all there is. It is temporary. At every Mass in the embolism the priest says after the Our Father we are reminded that “we live in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” These words call us to remember and believe that as good and blessed as this world is, it is temporary. There is something more. There is the promise and hope of eternal life. 

Now certainly it is our sure and certain hope that our faith offers us the promise of eternal life. At times, though, it is easy to let this belief fade into the background, as we focus our time and attention exclusively on this world. For the vast majority of us, I don’t think this is intentional. Rather, sometimes the tasks and challenges of this world not only distract us, but can engulf us and cause us to lose focus of what ultimately matters. At these times, it is good to remember that while this world offers us many blessings, ultimately it is temporary and transitory. Our final destination is heaven. 

As Christians, we are called to live devoutly and temperately in this life. We do this because we realize that this life is temporarily, and that ultimately we hope to share eternal life with our God. The hope of heaven should both challenge and incentivize us to live in such a way in this temporary and passing life, so that we never lose our focus on the life to come. 

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