God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

Serve God While There Is Yet Time

St. Padre Pio celebrating Mass Via Wikipedia

St. Padre Pio celebrating Mass
Via Wikipedia

In 1944 in the first year of my Priesthood I gave the shortest sermon (now called a homily) of my life – just seven words: “Serve God while there is yet time.”  This took place at a Sunday morning Mass as Maryville Academy – A Catholic Charities home for 850 dependent children.  With a 15 second silence before and after the sermon, I looked down at the 300 youngsters in the chapel.  This incident proves how I have always believed in the value of short homilies. 

My superior scolded me for my worthless sermon to children.  In 2010 a man in his 70’s, Jim Erickson, called me from California and told me this message: “I have always based my life on the words you spoke that morning.”

These words of St. John Bosco have remained with me all my 69 years of Priesthood and remind me to serve God faithfully on a daily basis.  We are beginning to live in a God-less nation.  Strict laws forbid the posting of the 10 commandments in public buildings and the use of prayer and the Bible in public schools.  This year abortion clinics will deprive one million infants their right to life.  Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious life are becoming scarce.  Catholic schools keep closing because of their high tuitions.  In our Chicago Archdiocese, estimates say that only 25% of Catholic people attend weekend Mass.

Medical experts state that human beings reach their best level of physical health at age 30.  There after a steady decline in well-being and strength takes place.  All this means that Catholics must work harder than ever to keep mindful of God’s Presence in their short lives on earth.  Few movies, if any, show people attending Church or speaking of God in the conversations.  With new laws about marriage, its holiness has received some death blows.

Serve God today, not some time in the future.  Place a copy of the 10 Commandments on the refrigerator and read them every day.  Give perfect worship to God by attending weekend Mass in a full hearted way.  Death, the end of life, can come suddenly in many different ways.  Be Wise.  Don’t take tomorrow for granted.  By being a close friend of Jesus of Nazareth by prayer on earth, we will not meet him as a stranger if we make heaven.  Serve God while there is yet time.

                        Fr. George Mc Kenna

October 26, 2013 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Mystery Of Suffering

The Franciscan Church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor in Israel. Mount Tabor is traditionally identified as the Mount of Transfiguration. Via Wikipedia

The Franciscan Church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor in Israel. Mount Tabor is traditionally identified as the Mount of Transfiguration. Via Wikipedia

Through the years I came to know an American Franciscan Religious, Brother Francis, assigned to work in the Holy Sepulcher Church in the Old City of Jerusalem.  Oftentimes he helped me vest for Mass on Mt Calvary and in the Tomb of Christ, both of which are under the roof of Holy Sepulcher Church, the most revered shrine in the Holy Land.

One clear day years ago while visiting Mt. Tabor, the Mount of the Transfiguration of Christ in Galilee, I suddenly came face to face with Brother Francis.  Surprised to see him in this high place, 2000 feet above the plains below and 70 miles away from his usual assignment in Jerusalem, I asked him why he had come to Mt. Tabor.

His story told of a defenseless man being attacked by robbers in Holy Sepulcher Church.  The vandals flung Brother Francis down a long flight of stairs, breaking many of his bones and causing painful injuries.  Here on Mt. Tabor he was beginning a long period of recuperation from this vicious experience with his usual spirit of cheerfulness and good will.

How natural it would be for one to complain to Christ, “Lord, why didn’t You take better care of me in your holiest shrine in Jerusalem?”  Brother Francis had not entered religious life to escape suffering.  In no way did he need perfect protection from hardship to believe in the Lord’s love for him.

At that time, as I walked about on this sacred place, I thought of the glorious vision of the Transfigured Christ that the Apostles Peter, James and John had enjoyed in this mountain retreat.  For a few moments these bewildered disciples had tasted the ecstasy of Heaven to prepare them for dark days of persecution ahead.

In the course of life hardships, injuries, painful accidents, heartbreaking disappointments come to the people of God.  These happen despite long years of loving service and faithfulness to Christ.  Taking these misfortunes in stride with no bitterness in their hearts, these hurting people go on with their cheerful attendance at Church in worship and prayer, the spirit of Brother Francis mentioned above.

                        Fr. George Mc Kenna

October 19, 2013 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , , | 3 Comments