Monday, October 21, 2013

Prayer is both personal and communal

The following are excerpts from a homily given at the Mass celebrating the 60th anniversary of Sacred Heart Parish in Rancho Cucamonga on Oct. 19.

By Bishop Gerald Barnes
Diocese of San Bernardino

Readings: EX 17:8-13; 2 TM 3:14-4:2; LK 18:1-8

Try to think of the things that you do in your life that really exhaust you because there is a lot of hard work that you have to do. Try to think of those things that tire you.

If we understand the experiences in our lives that have caused us exhaustion, then we understand today’s stories. He uses that human experience so that we can understand what he is talking about as he says, ‘do not grow weary.’ We have to know what weary is, what being tired is, in order to understand what he is saying.

He is telling us don’t get weary when you pray. Sometimes we get tired when we pray. We are tired because we are praying, and praying and praying and it doesn’t seem like our prayers get answered. We ask and ask and sometimes we get tired. So we just say the words or we don’t do it anymore. “What’s the use? All is does is it makes me tired.” Now he uses the example of this woman, this widow. The widow keeps asking this judge who is not a just person. Because the woman is so persistent he grants her request. She doesn’t get tired of asking. He uses that as an example for us individually. We should not tire of asking the Lord.

He also uses today’s first reading as an example for the community. The community needs to support each other in prayer. He uses the example of Moses who is praying to God and his arms are getting tired. Moses has one and another person on each end, Herr and Aaron, to hold his arms up so that he doesn’t get tired of praying. In other words, praying is also a communal experience. We support each other in prayer.

Bishop Gerald Barnes at Mass celebrating the 60th Anniversary
of Sacred Heart Parish, Rancho Cucamonga
This year of Faith has reminded all of us that we are to pray personally, individually, but also as a Church, as a community, as families. Your parish has offered you experiences of that, of coming together as different people from different backgrounds and families together in prayer. The Lord is saying you have to do that together, to support each other. We can grow tired, but the other will help us to keep our hands up. The other will help us in prayer. That is what he is telling us today. If it were not for the prayers of these people here present and those who have prayed over the past years, we would not be here celebrating today. They stayed together and they prayed together during difficult times. They prayed for each other when their particular families went through tragedies. They supported each other in faith. They prayed for the others that came in. They tried to work together as a community so that today we could celebrate 60 years as a parish.

The challenge is ours now. How do we as a family of today build on the legacy of these people who have prayed for us to have this Church, this faith, that has sustained us in our trials and that has accompanied us in our joys? How do we build on that for the people of today and tomorrow? How do you share your time, your talent and your treasure as a community of faith for today and for tomorrow? We cannot grow tired. We have to support one another. It has been proven that it can happen, because we are here today. And so it is a day of commitment. As we always give thanks to God, we commit ourselves to live our faith together as a community, forgiving each other, welcoming one another, supporting each other and praying together. Celebrate who you are, a people of God who will not grow weary, but who will live together with the grace of God for today and for tomorrow.

La oración es personal y comunal

Por el Obispo Gerald Barnes
Diócesis de San Bernardino

Cuáles son esas cosas que haces en la vida, que mientras lo estás haciendo te sientes cansado porque sabes que tienes mucho más trabajo que hacer. El señor está usando la experiencia humana. Él usa esa experiencia humana para que podamos entender de lo que está hablando cuando él dice, "no se cansen.” Ay que entender lo que significa eso para apreciar lo que el señor nos dice hoy. El señor usa esa experiencia humana para decirnos que muchos de ustedes se cansan a un de rezar y de orar. Piden, piden, y piden, y nadad pasa. Saben lo que es pedir y no mirar que algo pase. Eso es lo que dice hoy, no se desfallecen de orar. Una viuda esta allí pidiendo y pidiendo y el señor nos dice a nosotros: ve esa mujer, esa viudita, ella no se cansa de pedir. Ella no se cansa. El señor nos enseña que ay que pedir personalmente, pero ay que pedir también como el pueblo de dios, como la iglesia, como comunidad. Ay que apoyar el uno al otro en la oración. Ay que hacer oración en comunidad como muchos han hecho en esta parroquia, en este año de la fe. Lo que celebramos hoy son los 60 años de fidelidad en oración [para la parroquia de Sagrado Corazón en Rancho Cucamonga]. Que todos aquellas personas y familias que han trabajado, han rezado para que nosotros podamos gozar los frutos de sus sacrificios de los 60 años de oración. Y ahora nos toca a nosotros. Pidamos para los de hoy y los de mañana. Trabajemos juntos como familia para hoy y para mañana. Compartir de los talentos, del tiempo, y del tesoro para hoy y para mañana.

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