Lincoln’s Log 7-4-2021

Expectant Faith

Hard of face and obstinate of heart are they to whom I am sending you.
Ezekiel 2:4

[Jesus] was amazed at their lack of faith.
Mk. 6:6

Last week, we heard the story of two people of faith: Jairus, the synagogue official, and the woman who had suffered from hemorrhages for 12 years (Mk. 5:21-43). They both received healing (in Jairus’ case, his daughter was raised from the dead), because of their faith.

To Jairus, Jesus said, “Do not be afraid; just have faith” (Mk. 5:36b).

To the woman with the hemorrhages he said, “Daughter, your faith has saved you” (Mk. 5:34).

These two people expected Jesus to do something in their lives. They expected Jesus to change things. They had expectant faith. They believed Jesus could and would help them.

Today’s Gospel tells a different story.

Jesus is in his hometown. He has just raised Jairus’s daughter to life. His power hasn’t changed. His ability to heal hasn’t gone away. He is still the Son of God who has come to establish God’s Kingdom.

Yet “he was not able to perform any mighty deed there” (Mk 6:5a).

Why? What is different?

The people of his hometown don’t expect Jesus to be able to do anything. They think they know Him. They know what He can and can’t do. Some things are just impossible for this local guy from Nazareth.

We do the same thing. We let our idea of the impossible swallow our faith. We don’t expect much from Jesus. Sure, we believe that Jesus can work miracles (in theory), but we know how the world works. We know what is impossible. Jesus can’t solve our family problems; that’s impossible. Jesus can’t heal the divisions in our nation; that’s impossible. Jesus’ can’t heal my illness; that’s impossible. Jesus can’t solve my financial problems; that’s impossible.

And so it is. Our hard hearts can shut out the gifts Jesus longs to give us. But what could happen if we expected Jesus to do something?

Ask Jairus. Ask the healed woman. They can tell us what is possible. They can show us what to expect.

Peace,

Dcn. Lincoln

Parish Pastoral Leader

Lincoln’s Log 6-27-2021

St. Thomas More

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; … Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Mt. 10:37, 39

I die the king’s good servant, but God’s first.
St. Thomas More

On June 22, we celebrated the feast of St. Thomas More (1477-1535), the patron of our parish. The church recognizes him as a witness who gave up his life in testimony to the unity of the Church and to the indissolubility of marriage. He was born in London and was Chancellor of King Henry VIII. As a family man, public servant, and writer, he displayed a rare combination of human warmth, Christian wisdom, and a sense of humor. Here are some quotes from the pen of this great writer and saint:

“You must not abandon the ship in a storm because you cannot control the winds….What you cannot turn to good, you must at least make as little bad as you can.”

“What does it avail to know that there is a God, which you not only believe by Faith, but also know by reason: what does it avail that you know Him if you think little of Him?”

“We cannot go to heaven in feather beds.”

“As Boethius says: For one man to be proud that he has rule over other men is much like one mouse being proud to have rule over other mice in a barn.”

“And, therefore, my own good daughter, do not let your mind be troubled over anything that shall happen to me in this world. Nothing can come but what God wills. And I am very sure that whatever that be, however bad it may seem, it shall indeed be the best.”

St. Thomas More was executed as a witness to the faith at Tower Hill, July 6, 1535. May the words and witness of this Holy Martyr and our patron be an inspiration for us all.

Peace,

Dcn. Lincoln

Parish Pastoral Leader

Lincoln’s Log 6-20-2021

Common Ground and Creating Community

For whoever is not against us is for us.

Mark 9:40

Are you tired of the polarization and divisiveness in society? Our faith calls us to be engaged in the world around us, but how do we do that in a productive way? Do you want strategies to engage in dialogue with others online or in person, even about “taboo topics” like politics, race, religion?

St. Thomas More is a member of Common Ground Fox Cities which is launching the “Golden Rule Project.” This initiative seeks to equip individuals within the Fox Valley community with practices that foster dialogue, trust, and positive relationships. In this time of division, the Golden Rule Project strives to move the needle of our society – away from polarization and demonization of the Other, and toward authentic relationships that celebrate differences while working toward community.

One of the primary ways we build a healthier community is through listening to one another and sharing our story. On the last Thursday of each month, Common Ground Fox Cities is hosting a series of community conversations which will empower and equip you to do just that: listen and share. These dialogues can be transformative encounters where we discover that “whoever is not against us is for us” (Mk. 9:40) and that we can live together.

The next Community Conversation is Thursday, June 24 at 7 pm. This virtual event, called Popping the Bubble: Creating Community Across the COVID Chasm will be a place to renew the work of creating community. I will be serving as one of the trained facilitators for this dialogue and I would encourage you to join in this conversation!

You can register and find more information at commongroundfoxcities.org

Peace,

Dcn. Lincoln

Parish Pastoral Leader

Lincoln’s Log 6-6-2021

Corpus Christi

This week we reflect on the great gift of Jesus’ Body and Blood. It is another feast where we use a sequence, a liturgical poem, to help us unpack the beauty and truth of the feast. Here is a section from the Corpus Christi Sequence:

Lo! The angel’s food is given
To the pilgrim who has striven;
See the children’s bread from heaven,
Which on dogs may not be spent.

Truth the ancient types fulfilling,
Isaac bound, a victim willling,
Paschal lamb, its lifeblood spilling
Manna to the fathers sent.

Very Bread, good shepherd, tend us,
Jesus, of your love befriend us,
You refresh us, you defend us,
Your eternal goodness send us
In the land of life to see.

You who all things can and know,
Who on earth such food bestow,
Grant us with your saints,
Though lowest,
Where the heav’nly feast you show,
Fellow heirs and guests to be.

Amen. Alleluia.

The purpose of a sequence is to connect many of the biblical images around a theme so that the mystery of the Body and Blood of Jesus can be appreciated from many angles. Like most poetry, reading out loud and slowly can help unpack the meaning. The rest of the sequence can be found online.

Peace,

Dcn. Lincoln
Parish Pastoral Leader