Wednesday, April 25, 2012
One of the strongest testimonies of early church belief: Justin Martyr lived mid-second century, likely less than fifty years after the death of the Apostle John. This teaching would have been in solid continuity with the Apostolic Tradition, and it is one of the readings that hit me so powerfully...
April 23, 2012
Msgr. William J. King
Some of the the Newman Club of Messiah College came over to the Rectory today for brunch after the 9 AM Mass. Lucky for them, they did not have to eat my cooking, as parishioners Cathy and Bob Poiesz made tasty omelettes, French toast, sausage, and muffins for them. At one point in our conversation this morning, the students all told me what papers they have to finish in the next week and half, then they face final exams before the end of the semester. I was exhausted just listening to the work they have ahead of them. Pray for these wonderful and faith-filled students. Next weekend they are coming to the parish for an overnight Retreat --- it won't replace studying, but it's a great way to prepare for finals!
April 23, 2012
Msgr. William J. King

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Acts 4 — "The community of believers was of one heart and mind,
and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own,
but they had everything in common." We gain great insight into the work of Christ's grace by examining the life of the earliest believers: how did they who were first transformed by His grace, and who heard His teachings and saw His miracles personally, understand the Christian life? A reading of the Acts of the Apostles gives us occasion to examine our lifestyle in that light. In this small passage we are reminded that all is gift, and that the community understood what is it to depend on God's gifts completely. If God's transforming Grace has not yet reached our wallets and savings, then we have an examination of conscience to make: how fully have I allowed myself to depend on God's gifts alone? How much, rather, do I depend on providing for myself and seeing to my own financial security, and only from my excess do I truly trust God's providence? Unlike the first community of believers, is only part of me given over to Christ's lordship, and while I see to my own material needs I proclaim Christ as my sovereign Lord in a few other areas of my life? So, here's the question: what does my approach to finances reveal about how much I really – really – trust God?
April 17, 2012
Msgr. William J. King

‘tis the season for environmental allergies. Sneezes and sniffles can be heard everywhere. Pollen is in the air. Most trees and plants depend on pollen being spread from one tree or one plant to another. The air moves pollen about, but many plants and trees depend on bees and other insects to carry pollen from one blossom to another. This genetic sharing provides for variety and for more robust plants and trees.

The same thing is true of faith and belief. The Resurrection of Jesus is the perfect example. Some, and most notably Peter and the beloved disciple, saw an empty tomb and were left wondering what had happened to the body. Others, including the disciples on the road to Emmaus, were visited by the risen Jesus in His glorified body, and they had no idea what that meant. It’s only when the two experiences – for some, the empty tomb; for others, the risen Christ – were shared, that the disciples began to understand the truth of the Resurrection.

If Peter, Mary Magdelene, and the beloved disciple had seen the empty tomb and then gone home in disbelief to wonder and pray about it — or, if the disciples on the road to Emmaus had experienced the risen Christ and then gone on their way quietly thanking God — the two experiences would not have cross-pollinated the faith of the first believers. The story of Jesus, and His impact on humanity and world history, would have ended then and there. Through the retelling and sharing of how each group experienced Christ, the faith of all was enriched.

And so it is today. Our experiences of Christ are meant to be shared, so that we can cross-pollinate the faith life and religious experience of others. Your experience of Christ may leave you scratching your head: what does this mean? Peter and the beloved disciple wondered the same, as did those who traveled to Emmaus. A family member, a friend, a co-worker, a neighbor, another member of the Church may also be wondering what their experience of Christ meant. By sharing your faith experiences, your questions, your encounters with God, you may bring the piece of the puzzle that is necessary to complete the portrait of Christ for another person. Or listening to another’s story of faith might complete the puzzle for you. Who is Christ to you? Where have you experienced God’s grace in your life? How have you encountered God in your life? Share your faith, and listen for a sharing of faith that will enrich you.

Christianity was born, in a way, from the retelling of each person’s experiences of Christ. When those faith experiences reached a critical mass, each believer’s heart was full and their understanding of the risen Christ complete. If they had kept quiet about it, or held their questions inside of themselves out of fear or timidity, Christianity would likely have died, as had Christ Jesus.

So, go cross-pollinate others with your experiences in Christ. It makes for a more robust faith. And that’s nothing to sneeze at!

April 22, /2012
Msgr. William J. King

Beautiful clouds above and gorgeous landscapes below. God's creation is breathtaking. I often think of a quotation attributed to Leonardo DaVinci: "When once man has experienced flight, he will always walk the earth with his eyes gazing skyward, for there he once was and there he longs to return."
April 21, 2012
Msgr. William J. King
Several seminarians from Saint Charles Seminary in Philadelphia spent the day at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton church on Retreat. It was a blessing and a privilege for our parish to host these fine young men for a day of prayer anbd reflection. I introduced them at the parish Mass at 5:30 PM, noting that "these are ordinary guys," and encouraging other "ordinary guys" in the parish to consider applying to the seminary to discern whether God may be calling them to serve Him as a priest. Pray for these young man, and all the other seminary students. They are ordinary guys whom God is calling to do extraordinary things with their lives.
April 22, 2012
Msgr. William J. King

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

John 21 – After the Resurrection, at the Sea of Galilee, the Apostles were together. Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We also will come with you." This was one of the miracles of Easter. Why? Because these men, who had debated and grumbled about who would be the greatest, and who in most of the gospel texts were seen in small groups, now wanted to be together: "We also will come with you." WHether locked in the upper room out of fear, or fishing in the Sea of Galilee, they actually wanted to be together! This week of days we call Easter gives us pause to ask the Lord what relationships He wants to heal for us. Is there someone we should call or visit, or write? Is there someone against whom we hold a grudge or an unforgiven memory that still holds us captive? If the Lord's Resurrection can bring the Apostles together as never before, let's see what He wants to do with our relationships!
April 13, 2012
Msgr. William J. King

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I have a little issue with some of the New Testament miracles. Acts 3 gives us the narrative of Peter and John meeting a paralyzed man asking for alms as they visited the Temple. Peter said, "I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk." So the guy, who until now knew only how to survive on the generosity of others' goodness, might have thought to himself, "Oh great, now I have to go find a job!" What about the swineherd whose entire flock jumped into the sea when demons were driven into them. He lost his whole livelihood, and might have thought, "Oh great, what am I gonna tell my boss?" It's not likely that the herd's owner had "demon possession insurance" to cover the loss of a whole herd jumping into the sea. It was centuries before a radio commentator would be around to tell us "the rest of the story," so we have to fill in the blanks with... what? Here's a hint: maybe the entire history of God dealing with His people can teach us something. It could be that something incredibly good that comes to us from God's hand can lead us into a rather uncertain moment or two (remember the Israelites led rather wondrously through the sea, only to wonder about where their next meal was going to come from?). For God the plan was already fully unfolded, but for His people it came one uncertain moment at a time. Are we that different from anyone else who GOd has treated well? Gee, we get a little miracle or two and then we start to grumble because the path is a bit obscure up ahead. Or we get a little miracle or two and it means we have to change. Change? Egads, we don't like that word. Nonetheless, God has the whole plan in sight, even if we can't see over the next hill. The Easter season is a great time to look anew -- through eyes that are intrigued by the Resurrection of one from the dead -- at how God has dealt with His people from the beginning of time. After a great blessing or two we may become spoiled and demanding, and when God steps back for just a moment we might question our faith, our confidence, or God's love. Just wait, though, because just around the corner God has something wonderful waiting: manna from the desert, quail from the sky, water from a rock. In those moments, wait for the wonder that God is preparing. Wait for "the rest of the story!"
Msgr. William J. King

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pious imagination almost never envisions Jesus as we encounter Him in certain Gospel passages. Consider the reading in the common lectionary for today, John 8:51-59, in which Jesus enters into a heated argument with his listeners. This was not a calm conversation -- it was an outright fight, at the end of which the listeners wanted to kill Jesus on the spot. They respond to His comments, "Now we are sure that you are possessed,” and He goes on call them liars. Scour the gospel texts and find in Jesus a man, fully human, who wept to think that His ministry was ineffective, who flew into a rage in seeing the Temple precincts filled with merchants, who shouted out in utter frustration, “What do you people want from me?”, who sometimes just wanted to be alone, and who enjoyed a good time with friends. As we prepare again to walk with Him through the events of His final entry into Jerusalem, His Passover meal with his closest associates, His betrayal by one of them, His humiliating and agonizing death, His awkward encounters with friends after rising to new life, it is essential first to consider anew how deeply, truly, fully human this man was. He was not a plaster statue, but flesh and blood. When He felt elation he was thoroughly overjoyed and laughed like any man, when He cried in loneliness or angst or sorrow, He felt as deeply as any man, when He was afraid in the garden He was truly terrified, and when He was enraged he showed the same anger as any man. We emasculate the man and diminish the reality of our salvation if we refuse to embrace how fully, truly, deeply human was Jesus of Nazareth.
Msgr. William J. King