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For He is our Peace, Journey of Faith

For He is our Peace, Journey of Faith

 

“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” Mark 6:31

These are comforting words… Jesus urging his hardworking disciples, just back from teaching, to rest.  We can take comfort from these words, too, because it’s safe to say we’re just as hardworking.

Today’s Gospel describes a tender moment when Jesus advises us, his modern-day disciples that we need to take good care of ourselves.  Rest well, pray well.  Then do the work of building God’s Kingdom.

Rest isn’t something we necessarily think about during the day, but even a few quiet moments between things—eyes closed—can recharge the soul.  Moments of prayer are restorative, too.  If you can’t say five decades of the Rosary, say two.   If you are unable to attend Mass in person, attend Mass online.  Or find the website of a homilist that you especially enjoy listening to.  These are all good ways to rest the soul.

We know the benefits of solitude, but we can also rest in the company of one another even in pandemic times.  Have you ever prayed with someone on the phone or done a meditation over Zoom?  Blessings via text can work, too!   

Friend, the point of resting and reflecting is to get in touch with what is happening around us.  Are we fulfilling our role as missioners dedicated to building God’s Kingdom?  A good way to find out is to pause in God’s care and rejoice in the possibilities.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Prayer for 3rd Sunday

In You, O Lord of the Sabbath,

our souls find rest,

our bodies peace

and our minds, serenity.

You, Who bid Your disciples

come away, be with us also

when we seek silence and solitude.

Trusting in Your promise and providence,

we lay our plans and work aside

confident that every good work

begun in Your name will find

fulfillment according to Your Will.

Into Your most merciful hands, O Lord,

we place all our works, our hopes,

our dreams, and our plans.

Relying only on Your grace,

may we always seek first Your

kingdom of righteousness and peace.

You, Who calmed the storm and

stilled the wind and waves,

comfort and console us when life’s problems

overwhelm us or when enemies rise against us.

With You at our side, Lord Jesus,

our Rock, our Fortress, Our Deliverer,

we will not falter when facing our foes.

And when the battles of earthly life end

welcome us into Your loving embrace

where with all the saints we will forever

enjoy lasting peace in Your presence.

Amen.

Prayer by Maryknoll Missioner, Father Joseph Veneroso

The Perfect is The Enemy of the Good., Journey of Faith

The Perfect is The Enemy of the Good., Journey of Faith

 

“He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick.”  Mark 6:8

Today, Jesus instructs us to travel in mission lightly, taking just the basics. A pair of sturdy shoes and the conviction of our faith is all the inspiration we need to share the Good News.

Yes, faith.  But also confidence!  During my mission years in Peru, I worked in formation with a group of seminarians who were devoted to their calling and studied for the priesthood with great fervor.  They wanted to get everything they did just right—in other words, perfect!  But “perfect” became an impediment.  They didn’t trust their own judgment.  They worried that the people would not accept them unless everything they said and did was just so.  Of course, that’s an impossibly high bar to achieve.  Only God is perfect!

It took a bit of encouragement from me, but after a while I finally got them to trust in themselves.  Thank God, many found their calling as gifted clergymen and homilists.  They became who they were called to be, not by being “perfect” but by delivering the message of Christ’s compassion with confidence.  And that’s all that God ever asks.   

Friend, none of us wants to make a mistake or appear less than who we are.  God understands.  If you have any doubt that you are a worthy and capable messenger of the Gospel, just know this:  You have been called to mission in baptism and your gifts are uniquely yours.  God’s grace will show you how to share those gifts.  Whatever path you take, you will be building God’s Kingdom on earth.  And that will be perfect enough.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Prayer for 2nd Sunday

Help me, Lord Jesus

to walk in Your ways

seek Your truth and know

Your justice that I might

enjoy Your heavenly peace

here and now.

Teach me, Lord Jesus

to know Your commands

and love as You love, and pray

as You pray to our Father in heaven

that I might look at all people

as my brothers and sisters and

overflow with forgiveness and mercy

for everyone I meet.

You Who alone are perfect and good,

grant me the grace to overcome pride

that I might never be afraid to fail or fall

but seek always to know, love, and serve

You all the days of my life.

Amen.

Prayer by Maryknoll Missioner, Father Joseph Veneroso

Oh, Beautiful for Spacious Skies, Journey of Faith

Oh, Beautiful for Spacious Skies, Journey of Faith

 

“The spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor.” Luke 4:18

“America, God shed his grace on thee!”

Today is a day for picnics and family gatherings—and a moment or two of reflection.   On Independence Day 2021 we have so much to be thankful for.  The blessings of a democratic and open society are ours to cherish and protect.  We are also blessed with remarkably diverse communities drawn from talent and aspirations the world over.  These are the strengths that endow us with greatness.

At the same time, we are a country still in formation… still finding ways to resolve social and economic inequalities, especially the poverty that prevents people from living decent, hopeful, and productive lives.  As we celebrate our 245th birthday today, may we be judged not only by our worldly accomplishments, but by how well we treat the weakest among us:  the children, the elderly, the sick, the lonely, and the recently arrived. 

Striving for success has its place, and we are truly grateful for the goal-setters. America’s achievements in science and the humanities continue to build better lives for people all over the world.  But these achievements will always be compromised unless we also care for those who can’t care for themselves.  I remind myself that true power rests in our relationship with God—and one another.  So my prayer today is that we will direct our patriotic energies toward building a society where we can be judged first on how we treat the least among us.  That is Christ’s message, too.

Friend, if you are traveling today, please arrive safely.  Enjoy the festivities that I believe are really a call to serve one another and the nation we love.  Today is a reminder that we are all caretakers of our democracy and the freedoms we cherish.  I wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy July 4. 

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Independence Day

We sing to You, O God of every nation,

who led Israel out of slavery and

purified them in the desert of Sinai.

You blessed them with Your wisdom

and protection and bestowed on them

the sweet burden of the law

that they might ever remember

the good things You did for them.

Bless our nation as we recall the good things

You have done for us, breaking the Chains of Bondage

that bound us to one another, and setting us like a glorious

city on a hill offering a Beacon of Hope to those still oppressed.

Make us ever mindful of Your many graces and mercies

though times of peace and poverty, prosperity and pandemic

that in all things and in all ways Your name be praised.

Bless all prophets and patriots who sacrificed their

futures and often their lives to keep us safe and free.

May Your gifts of life, health, equality, and opportunity

be preserved and provided to all who dwell in our land.

May we never forget our final destiny

and fulfillment are with You in Your kingdom

where You live and reign forever and ever.

Amen

Prayer by Maryknoll Missioner, Father Joseph Veneroso

Search for Healing, Journey of Faith

Search for Healing, Journey of Faith

 

“Do not be afraid; just have faith.” Mark 5:36

Today’s Gospel is about the power of faith in the face of fear—emotions we all experience at one time or another.

We know the story well.  An official of the synagogue pleaded with Jesus for a laying of hands on his sick daughter who was at the point of death.  The crowd said why trouble the rabbi when the girl had in fact died.  Jesus’ response was calming.  He would go to the home of the official with a message of faith.

Upon entering the house, Jesus said the child was not dead but merely asleep.  Ignoring the disbelievers, he took the young girl by the hand and asked her to rise.  Which she did. The crowd was utterly astonished at the healing powers of the preacher from Galilee.

Placing complete faith in God in the face of seemingly insurmountable difficulties is perhaps the most challenging experience any of us can have.  But faith, as the Gospel shows us, is the only remedy for grief and fear.  Faith is the grace that can us heal from deep hurts and sorrow, and from personal disappointments as well.  Faith restores our souls, transcending moments of doubt and fear with the conviction that we are destined for eternal life in the company of Our Lord.

Friend, no matter our calling, we are all human beings in need of healing.  But just as important, we are all capable of offering healing to one another—the gift of grace that begins with an act of compassion.  Today, Jesus assures us that we will always have the presence of God to restore our souls.  When we need help, all we need to do is ask.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Prayer for 4th Sunday

Lord of life, love and light

stand by our side when death

draws near, when hatred abounds,

and when darkness obscures the way.

You Who came to earth to live like us

help us to live like You putting all our

trust in our Father’s mercy.

You Who wept at the death of Your friend,

Lazarus, and felt the grief of parents for their

dying daughter, help us to trust despite our doubt

and when death claims those we deeply love

may we rely on Your loving kindness even then.

May the power of Your resurrection transform

our doubts into hope, our tears into determination,

and our grief into a wellspring of peace, confident that

You who created and assumed our human nature

will not abandon us nor allow us to suffer

life’s setbacks alone.

Amen.

Prayer by Maryknoll Missioner, Father Joseph Veneroso

Do you not care that we are perishing? Journey of Faith

Do you not care that we are perishing? Journey of Faith

 

“Give thanks to the Lord, His love is everlasting.” Psalm 107:1

Job, the apostles—and we, too—have a few things in common.  At least that’s what we learn from today’s readings. 

In his distress Job calls on God to rescue him from his many torments.  Finally, in a stormy whirlwind God does appear, not with answers but with questions.  Of course, Job cannot answer any of the questions, making the point that Job must let God be God.

Then in Mark’s Gospel we hear the distress of the disciples who meet up with a terrible squall crossing the Sea of Galilee.  Frightened for their lives, they awaken Jesus who had fallen asleep on a cushion after a day of preaching.  They plead, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”  Jesus immediately calms the wind and quiets the sea, but not before asking, “Why are you terrified?  Do you not yet have faith?”

At times, we are all reflections of Job and the apostles.  We have a clear picture of how we want life to unfold, but question why God’s plans don’t always match up with our own.  We may experience any number of personal storms… within our families, at work, or in our communities. We may be tempted to ask, “Where is God in all this?”  Today’s readings provide the reassurance we need.  God will not let us perish.  As people of faith, we are given the grace to overcome life’s inevitable challenges and with that gift, our faith will grow in strength.

With prayer and perseverance—and the support of loved ones—difficulties have a way of resolving themselves.  I look back on this past year think about the challenges we all faced, including the tragedies.  With God’s grace and one another, we have managed to survive.  When Jesus calmed the storm, he was not asking for awe at a miracle but rather trust in the ultimate victory of life over death.

Friend, today’s readings assure us that confidence overcomes fear; and faith is always victorious over doubt.   Whenever I have put my trust in God, I have been rewarded.  I believe you will be rewarded, too. 

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

Prayer for 3rd Sunday

Dear Lord, we know You neither slumber nor sleep,

and yet at times we fear You do not know

or worse, do not care of the terrible

perils we face. In our distress we cry out to You

to wake and save us from dangers that

threaten to destroy us.

Forgive us, at times like these, for our lack of faith,

for surely You Who died for us will not abandon

us In our hour of greatest need.

You Who command the wind and the waves

and who walk upon the water, be our sure comfort

and consolation when fear drowns our faith.

May we trust neither in our strength

nor in our boat tossed by the waves

but rather, confident in Your merciful love,

let us always strive to remain awake

to Your powerful presence among us.

Amen.

Prayer by Maryknoll Missioner, Father Joseph Veneroso

Nothing’s Too Small, Journey of Faith

Nothing’s Too Small, Journey of Faith

“It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.  But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants.” Mark 4:31-32

Think of today’s parable as a pause button.  The story of the mustard seed gives us the needed room to exhale and remember that despite the headlines, the personal setbacks, and the wonderings why, God is still at work transforming us and our world.  We are never alone.

How do we know?  Mark’s Gospel explains it with the story of the mustard seed.  From this tiny expression of new life, a plant grows into a sturdy tree and eventually its branches and leaves become shelter for the birds of the air—and for us as well.

Jesus likens the mustard seed to the Kingdom of God… plant seeds with acts of compassion and kindness and the Kingdom grows.  The life of our Church becomes stronger with each planting, and this is confirmation to the world that we rejoice in our faith.

So instead of getting frustrated by how seemingly great the task of everyday living is, let’s take a moment to remember that each thing we do with the conviction of faith—no matter how big or small—is another mustard seed.  Some of us are called to lives of great sacrifice for family and friends.  Some of us are called to public service or religious life.  But all of us are called to ordinary acts of kindness and compassion. These are the plantings we can sow each and every day.

Friendl, we never know how someone will receive a smile, a morning phone call to check-in, or a quick note to say “I’m thinking of you.”  These are the mustard seeds that cost nothing but have the potential to change the world. Knowing that, let’s disengage our pause button and reengage with the world.  And know in your heart that God’s Kingdom on earth is yours to nurture and grow.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.

 

Prayer for 2nd Sunday

Praise to You, Lord God, for tiny miracles

and small graces with which You bless

the world and all who dwell in it:

gentle rain, a songbird’s melody,

a child’s laughter and the quiet

wisdom of age.

Help me sow small acts of kindness

throughout the day on all I meet.

A smile, a prayer, a friendly greeting,

given in Your name, plant seeds of love,

mercy and justice that grow and blossom

into a heavenly harvest of Your kingdom.

Amid life’s storms may Your word be our guide

and Your gospel our light even when darkness comes.

May the simplest prayer pierce the clouds of doubt

and cause Your blessings to fall abundantly on us

who struggle to help establish Your reign here on earth.

Amen.

Prayer by Maryknoll Missioner, Father Joseph Veneroso

ABOUT MARYKNOLL

We are a Catholic Society of priests and brothers based in the United States. We are dedicated to missionary work overseas in over 20 countries. Additionally, we animate Catholics in the United States to follow their own baptismal call to share God’s compassion and love with the poor, the sick, and all those in need.

OUR GENERAL COUNCIL

L-R Tom O'Brien, Ray Finch, Joe Everson, Russ Feldmeier

(Fr. Tom O’Brien, Fr. Ray Finch, Fr. Joe Everson, Fr. Russ Feldmeier)

The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers is overseen by our General Council, led by Superior General Fr. Ray Finch.

OUR FOUNDERS

L-R Tom O'Brien, Ray Finch, Joe Everson, Russ Feldmeier

(Our Co-Founders Father Price and Father Walsh)

PLACES WE SERVE

EVANGELIZATION, PARISHES, AND PROJECTS

USA

STORIES OF MISSION

(Africa) Education and Formation of African Clergy

The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Africa Region will provide tuition assistance to African clergy, male and female religious at institutes of higher education or specialized training. Read More

Stories of Our Global Mission

The calling of a lifetime

The life of a Maryknoll missioner is challenging, fulfilling, and deeply rewarding. Follow your baptismal call to mission by sharing God’s compassion with the poor, the sick, and people most in need.

ASSOCIATE PROGRAM

Enrich your own vocation, walk-in solidarity with people overseas, and work together with Maryknoll Missioners. We offer US priests and Brothers ordained elsewhere the opportunity to work in overseas missions.

L-R Tom O'Brien, Ray Finch, Joe Everson, Russ Feldmeier
“Go where you are needed but not wanted, and stay until you are wanted but not needed.”
– Bishop James E. Walsh, M.M.
First Maryknoll Bishop