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. 
https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050618.cfm 

“I love you:” three simple words, but words that can carry many meanings.   Saying “I love you” to a spouse has one meaning, another when said to an offspring, still another when said to a friend or acquaintance.   In our Gospel for this Sunday we hear Jesus say:  “……… I also love you.”    To understand what Jesus means by these words we need to read the five words that precede them:   “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.”   The Father’s love for Jesus and Jesus’ love for the Father is not a romantic love (Eros) or the love of one friend for another (Philios), but rather an intense, absolute, and unwavering love (Agape).    

Jesus’ love for us is not dependent on our ability to recognize and respond to it, nor is conditioned on our acceptance of it.   Rather, Jesus loves us as we are, simply because we are.   As importantly, Jesus loves us with the same love with which the Father loves him.    It is an intense, absolute and unwavering love.   Because of Jesus’ love for us, we are chosen and invited to be his friends, and called to love one another.   

Of course, we always have the choice whether or not to accept Jesus’ love for us.   The question is, though, why wouldn’t we accept it?   

Our first reading for this weekend from the Acts of the Apostles shares the theme of the Gospel.  In that reading we hear Peter proclaim:  “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.  Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.”    

Our second reading for this weekend elaborates on this theme as St. John reminds us that we are called and “to love one another because love is of God.”

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Perhaps I am deliberately naïve, but it seems to me that Jesus is eminently clear that God loves us.  Yet many people see and/or speak of God as vengeful or wrathful.   Why do you think this is?  
  2. If we truly believe that God shows no partiality, why do some people try to restrict God’s love?        
  3. What prevents us from loving one another?   

     

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below, or copy and paste it into your browser.
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/042918.cfm 

I have never been much of a gardener.  Keeping a couple of house plants alive is about as much as I can handle.   I do appreciate, though, those who create beautiful flower gardens and those who grace our tables with fresh fruits and vegetables.  I suspect it not only takes an interest, but also a special set of skills to create and cultivate a garden.  Now I mention this because the image of a garden is evident in our Gospel today as Jesus tells us: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.”  

Friends of mine who are gardeners tell me that if a plant is to produce beautiful flowers or abundant fruit, a certain amount of pruning is necessary.   I suspect this is why Jesus told us that his Father “takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.”    In addition to pruning, though, if a plant is to bear fruit it must also receive the proper nutrients.  Jesus reminded us of this when he went on to say:  “Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.”   

We continue to read from the Acts of the Apostles for our first reading today.   Today’s section is the wonderful story of how Paul (Saul), who had previously persecuted the early Christians, tried to join the disciples.  We are told that they “Were afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple.”  Finally “Barnabas took charge of him and brought him to the apostles, and he reported to them how he had seen the Lord……”  

Our second reading today is from the first Letter of Saint John.  In the section we read today, John reminds us that we are to “love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. What do you need to allow God to prune in your life in order to become a better Christian?  
  2. When have you been suspicious of someone’s words or actions only to discover that they were acting in good faith and with charity?
  3. How and/or where do you need to love in deed and truth?   

 

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042218.cfm  
 
Each year on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, we read a section of the 10th chapter of St. John’s Gospel.   This chapter contains Jesus’ discourse on the “Good Shepherd.”   In fact our Gospel for this weekend begins with Jesus’ statement:  “I am the Good Shepherd.”   In this Gospel, Jesus articulates exactly what it means to be a Good Shepherd 
  
  1. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.  He doesn’t run away when he sees the wolf coming.
  2. The Good Shepherd knows his sheep and they know him. 
  3. The Good Shepherd is the shepherd of “all” the sheep, not just the ones that belong to his fold.
  4. The Good Shepherd does all that he does freely and out of love. 
 
Jesus’ description of the Good Shepherd would clearly set him apart from Israel’s religious leaders in the past, as well as at that time, who did not always -- or even often -- act in the best interests of their people.  
 
Our first reading for this weekend is taken from the Acts of the Apostles.  In it we hear Peter “filled with the Holy Spirit” address the Sanhedrin and boldly proclaim his faith in Jesus Christ as the one through whom salvation is offered.
 
Our second reading for this weekend is once again taken from the first letter of St. John.   In the section we read this weekend, John reminds us that we are children of God now, but what we shall be has not yet been revealed.   When it is revealed, however “we do know that we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” 
 
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
 
  1. Even though many people have not had any experience with sheep, they find the image of the Good Shepherd very comforting.    Why do you think that is? 
  2. The priest sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, particularly in the United States, has revealed clearly that many priests and bishops are not the shepherds we would want or hope for.   Despite this, many people still look to the church and its leaders for guidance/support/leadership.  Why is this?
  3. What do you think it means that we shall be like God?  

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. 
https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041518.cfm  

Our Gospel this weekend begins just as the two disciples who had encountered Jesus on the road to Emmaus join their fellow disciples and recount “what had taken place on the way, and how Jesus was made known t them in the breaking of the bread.”   We are told that as they were still speaking about this, Jesus stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”   The disciples were “startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost.”   Jesus calmed them by showing them his hands and feet and by asking for something to eat.  He then went on to “open their minds to understand the Scriptures.”   The Gospel concludes with Jesus’ words:  “You are witnesses of these things.”  

What are we to take away from this Gospel?  I’d like to suggest there are at least three things that are three important lessons from this Gospel.  1.  Jesus wants his disciples (and us) to know “peace.”  In this case, peace isn’t just the absence of conflict or fear; rather it is the deep peace that comes from the knowledge that God is with us.   2.  The scriptures are important for understanding that in his suffering and death Jesus was fulfilling what had been prophesized about the messiah.  3.  Our faith in Jesus Christ is not a private matter.  We are all called to be witnesses of the saving work of Jesus Christ.   

In our first reading this weekend, Peter speaks boldly and directly to the people.  He reminds them that while they had “acted out of ignorance,” they had put to death the “author of life.”  But God “raised him from the dead……………….Repent, therefore, and be converted that your sins may be wiped away.”  

Our second reading this weekend is taken from the first Letter of Saint John.   In it John reminds us that Jesus Christ is the “expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1. When have you experienced the “peace” of Christ?
2. How have the scriptures helped you to understand God’s presence and action in your life? 
3. The word “expiation” has several synonyms.   (I know because I looked it up.)  What does this word mean to you?   

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.  https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/040818.cfm 

I have always felt a great deal of sympathy for poor Thomas.   One quick and ill conceived comment and he has been forever labeled “doubting Thomas.”   Perhaps even worse, because we read this story every year on the Sunday after Easter there is little chance that he will ever live down this nickname.   

In defense of Thomas, I would like to suggest that he is not so much a doubter as he is a realist.   Thomas had accepted the hard and ugly truth of Jesus’ death, and he had begun to move ahead.   (I say this because our Gospel today reminds us that he was the only one who was not cowering in fear behind locked doors.)   Also, his statement:  “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” --- while crude --- is merely asking for a proof similar to what the other disciples had already seen and experienced.  

When we think of Thomas, it is important to remember that we have grown up with a belief in Jesus’ resurrection.   If we can put ourselves in his shoes, however, we can perhaps begin to grasp what an unprecedented, unexpected, astonishing, miracle Jesus’ resurrection was.   From this perspective, I wonder if most of us --- like Thomas who, unlike the other disciples hadn’t seen the risen Lord  --- wouldn’t ask for a bit more “proof” before believing wholeheartedly in Jesus’ resurrection.  

Our first reading this Sunday is from the Acts of the Apostles.  It moves us quickly from the resurrection to the life of the early Christian community.   It begins with the unequivocal statement:  “The community of believers was of one heart and mind……………...” 

Our second reading this Sunday is taken from the first letter of St. John.  (Our second readings throughout the Easter season will be taken from this letter.)  In the section of this letter which we read this weekend, John reminds us that we show our love for God and the children of God not just by knowing, but by keeping the commandments of God.  

Questions for Discussion/Reflection

  1. Alfred Tennyson once said:  “There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds.”  Do you agree or disagree?
  2. What would you say to someone who had difficulty believing in the resurrection?  
  3. What can we do today to make the community of believers of one mind and heart?   

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