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Friar's Corner: This Week's Scriptures and Commentary

 by Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR

FC #864: December 10: Advent 2: B cycle, 2nd week of Christian Prayer.

Dec 10: 2 Advent: (no Gloria) Isaiah 40:1-5 and 9-11 (Prepare the way of the Lord.); Ps 85:9-14 (Lord, let us see Your kindness and grant us Your salvation.); 2 Peter 3:8-14 (We await new heavens and a new earth.); Alleluia, alleluia! Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths: all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Alleluia, alleluia! Mark 1:1-8 (Make straight the paths of the Lord.)

Theme: Jesus always comes with a gift for us.

If you have the time to place yourself around the birth of the Messiah (Jesus), and meditate about all the people and places, you will notice something very amazing. Even long before Pentecost, it was the Holy Spirit who was orchestrating the persons and events around the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. As a priest of many years, I have had a lot of time thinking and reading about these events. You have to have the time to put all the pieces together, like you would all the appearances of Jesus after His resurrection.

I have a hard time praying “Come, Lord Jesus.” That is one of the Advent themes referring to the coming of Jesus at the end of time on earth. The earliest church so missed Jesus after His ascension that they expected Him to return very soon. How long have we been waiting for His return and it hasn’t happened yet nor is likely to happen today or tomorrow.

Covenant Word: Forgiveness

Learning to Delight in the Mercy of Forgiveness
By: David Peterman, Jr.

One of the beautiful things about our Community and living in Community is that we're not afraid to get up at the microphone and not just share about our successes, but also share about our missed opportunities. We learn that and it's our shared life together that enables us to learn from one another.

This afternoon I'm going to be sharing on Forgiveness. My sharing this afternoon is going to be about a journey that the Holy Spirit has been taking me through on this subject.
I had planned to cover the word Covenant when I volunteered to give a sharing to Sue, but the Holy Spirit had other plans. My Men's Group started a book by Fr. John Ricardo. It's entitled Heaven Starts Now. In the book Fr. Ricardo claims that forgiveness is the most significant stumbling block we can face in reaching the goal of becoming saints and for that reason he starts his book on the subject of forgiveness. He begins the chapter with what I think is a terrific analogy from Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa. "Forgiveness does for a community what oil does for a motor. If someone begins a trip in a car without a drop of oil in the engine after a few minutes the whole car is going to be on fire. Like oil, forgiveness neutralizes friction." After this quote, Fr. Ricardo makes the statement "I think that forgiveness is the single most difficult thing to do in life. Impossible to do on our own."

Remembering Jean Kiefer and her writings

Jean passed away in Dallas, TX, on October 18, 2017 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. She was born December 17, 1933, in Brockton, MA. Jean was a loving and devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and sister. She enjoyed reading, writing poems, and solving crossword puzzles. She spoke daily with her loving sister, Carol Loud, and also enjoyed spending time with her cherished friend, Annie Fuentes. She was preceded in death by her husband Donald Kiefer in 2001 and daughter Christine in 2009. She is survived by her sons and daughters-in-law Jeff Kiefer of Nashville, TN, Tom and Stephanie Kiefer of Tomball, TX, and Mike and Tracy Kiefer of Houston, TX, sister and brother-n-law Carol and Bill Loud and brother David Tibbets of Dawsonville, GA, and grandchildren James and Peyton.

A Mass of Christian Burial was October 21, 2017 at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, with burial following at Holy Redeemer Cemetery in DeSoto. This poem by her was published in the program.

God's Faithful Servants
By Jean Kiefer

"God's Faithful Servants" He has called us to be,
And yet 1 wonder, lord do you really mean me?

There's a lot to be said in those three little words.
But they are the ones I'm sure that I heard.

Covenant Word: Community

Rebuilding the Walls of Jerusalem

By: Neil Coward

I want to share about rebuilding the walls and gates of Jerusalem. Now, you may be wondering, “What does that have to do with our covenant?” Well, God asked Israel to make a covenant with him that they would be his people and he would be our God. If you look at our covenant, we have that in there; God invited us into a covenant relationship with Him – we would be His people and He would be our God. Now, for us, there is a catch. At the time of Israel when they made the covenant, God was manifesting Himself very much to them; but they didn't have the Holy Spirit like we do, the Messiah hadn't come yet. So for our case the Messiah has come, the price for our salvation has been paid and He's given us the Holy Spirit to live out our covenant with God more fully.

By the way, this sharing is largely from Nehemiah chapters 1 and 2. The books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Zachariah, Haggai and Malachi are frequently called the Books of the Restoration. A study of these books gives us valuable insight into our covenant relationship with God; how we can live it out individually and collectively as a people. Now as we go through this sharing, remember Isaiah 60:18 where it says, “Our walls are salvation and our gates are praise.” Each day, we need to acknowledge and accept our salvation anew and praise God no matter what's going on in our lives.

Covenant Word: Light

The Light of the World

By: Sharon Harman

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand and it gives light to all in the house. So let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

When David asked me to choose a word about our covenant for a sharing, the word "Light" came immediately to my mind as the word that I would choose. I'd like to start out by telling you a true story that highlighted for me how we are light for one another.

Covenant Word: Love

Learning to Love Through Surrender

By: Tom Harman

1 Cor 13:4-7: Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous, love is never boastful or conceited. It is never rude or selfish, it does not take offense and it is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people's sins, but delights in the truth. It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes. Love never ends.

Jn 15:13: A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.

Most of us are willing to die to self for others, but are we really able to? For a while now I've been making a practice of saying the Prayer to St. Francis on a regular basis and most recently I started not just saying that prayer, but really praying and meditating on the words. I want to share a short excerpt of that prayer with you:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love. Where there is injury pardon.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console. To be understood as to understand. To be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned and it is dying (and I would insert dying to self) that we are born to eternal life.

Covenant Word: Scripture

What size bucket do you take to Mass?

by Sue Wagner

In mid-May of this year the coordinators decided the topic of the next series of sharings at prayer meeting should be about our covenant life together and how we live out that life. I am included on many of the coordinator emails because of my administrative role. David Peterman, Jr. had asked for input on that series and at that time I didn’t have any inspiration.

At the beginning of May, I attended the National Catholic Bible Conference put on by Ascension Press. It was at this conference that I learned about a small exercise that I started doing as soon as I got back from the conference that has exploded the scripture in my life. A few weeks later, the week before Pentecost, I decided I needed to memorize the Holy Spirit Sequence. One of the lines in the sequence is: “in your sevenfold gift descend” and that just struck me! That’s the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit! I opened my bible, I got on the internet, I was just crazy! I was visiting my daughter, Annie, who was living in Houston at the time. I was pouring over my bible, the internet, she had her bibles from Ireland open, we had the Catechism – it was just exploding! I got back from Houston a few days later and emailed David to tell him I had an idea for the series. It might not have anything to do with covenant life, but I think we need to share on the gifts of the Holy Spirit! Do you know what he said? “That sounds great! You do the first one.”

Celebrating the Golden Jubilee with Pope Francis

By David Peterman, Jr., Overall Coordinator

Brothers and Sisters, I praise God for the opportunity to have represented you during the week of events in Rome celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. It was truly an awesome experience to be with so many from the renewal -- at one time and in one place! I was told that over 35,000 people from more than 120 countries gathering for the five days in Rome. The blessing extended beyond just the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal as it also included the celebration of Pentecost in St. Peter’s Square.

The highlight of the week for me was the Pentecost Vigil that was held the evening before Pentecost in Rome’s Circus Maximus. It is hard to picture this space, which today is a city park but was originally used by the Romans for their chariot races and was said to be the place where many Christians lost their lives. It is more than a football field wide and six and a half football fields long. It was incredible to see so many people gathering in one space raising their hands, singing, praising the Lord. Simply amazing.

Three Miracles

Three Miracles I Experienced During my Dad’s Last Two Days

By George Johnston, Jr.

My dad George Ernest Johnston, Sr. passed from this life on May 16, 2017. I was fortunate to arrive in Dallas, TX, two days before his death and witness three miracles.

My wife Lynne and I both grew up in the Dallas area. Neither of us was born there, but we did meet at my very first prayer meeting at Mount St Michael in Dallas. We both made (independent of each other) an underway commitment to the Christian Community of God’s Delight. We eventually fell in love -– which I think happened to me the first time I met her at the conclusion of that first prayer meeting -– and got married the following year in 1977.

Lynne and I have never lived in Dallas as husband and wife. My career took us away first to Lubbock, TX, then Albuquerque and finally San Diego. Our plan was to always return to Dallas but that door never opened. My prayer to the Lord has always been that if we cannot live near family, would he please make sure our kids get to know their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins? The Lord has been very gracious to us because we always found ways to get together with family over the years. Amazingly, I also seem always to have opportunities to work in Texas no matter what job I had. These afforded me precious opportunities to be with family while on business. I would, of course, stay with my parents whenever I was there on business.

Witness: A Mighty Wind

By Mike Miesch

When Ann and I started dating, I told her I would not ask her to become a Catholic, but that I would like her to be familiar with the Catholic faith. I made arrangements for Ann to take instructions from my cousin, Father Francis Miesch while we were dating. Now, Ann’s parents were Pentecostal, but Ann had never accepted the Pentecostal faith. She was going to a Baptist Church at the time, and when we became engaged, Ann’s parents were very upset. Ann’s father said, "This is not a blessing. This is a funeral. You will die spiritually in the Catholic Church."

Ann’s parents had a friend that was deep in the Lord, and she sought the Lord with deep prayers and fasting. On the day of the wedding, this family friend received prophetic words from the Lord that I was a good man and that the Lord was in me. She also received that I would come around to their way of thinking and I'd have a faith that they'd never known before and be filled with the Spirit in a deeper way than they could imagine. This was 1963. Ann's mother came to the wedding and told Ann about the prophecy, but Ann never said anything to me about it. Ann's father didn't come to the wedding, but he later publicly apologized for being prejudiced against Catholics. I believe the prophetic message was given to Ann's mother and father so that they would have peace about my marriage to their daughter.