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.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

10 years later ...we remember Bishop Dennis O'Neil

The following are excerpts from a homily given by Bishop Gerald Barnes at a Mass held on the 10th Anniversary of Auxiliary Bishop Dennis P. O'Neil's passing.

By Bishop Gerald Barnes
Diocese of San Bernardino

There are people that you just never forget for one reason or another. There are some people that you would like to forget, but never do. Other people come into the family and to the workplace and they don’t know about the people that have been here before. In 10 years we have had a lot of people come and work here and they know the O’Neil room, seen the picture there, but don’t him. It’s always good to stop at time like this and do some remembering.

I think we all have some fond memories of Bishop Dennis. I know his family does. Even though he was with us for such a short time with our family in the Diocese, he made such an impact on us. There are countless stories of how he made us feel like we were his family. He made us feel happy. He made us laugh. He could laugh at himself and it loosened up the public. He had a tremendous love for justice and a prophetic voice for some of the poorest in the church. He is probably partially responsible for our present pope being pope, because Pope Francis has the heart of Dennis O’Neil. I like to think that he had a role up there in having the spirit lead the cardinals to choose someone like Francis, who is a man of Dennis’ heart. It has been such a great gift for us.
Bishop Barnes with Bishop Dennis O'Neil's family

In 10 years, time has a way of healing the heavy pain, but it doesn't mean we don’t miss him. We still include him as if he were here. The person is still here among us because of the impact he made. So we are brought back here to remember him, sometimes with a tear, but most of the time with a smile.

God has favored us so much to allow someone like Dennis O’Neil to come into our lives. We can be better because of that. When you really look at it, all he was doing is was what the Gospel tells us to do: He was leading us to the Lord.

The Lord is the one who includes us like family. He is the one who sets challenges before us for us to grow. The Lord is the one who reminds us how gentle we are to be and how much fun we are to have with the life he has given us. What Dennis was doing in his ministry here was leading us, walking with us all, to the Lord Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life. As we come across people like Dennis O’Neil, and hopefully like all of us, we can come to know the Lord even better.

Someone gave me last night a quote by John Donne and I do wish to share it with. “I shall not live till I see God; and when I have seen him, I shall never die.” And so we know that our brother Dennis is alive.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Bishop Barnes on the Veto of SB131: Faithful Citizenship in action!

By Bishop Gerald Barnes
Diocese of San Bernardino

My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I would like to express my thanks to Governor Jerry Brown for his decision, announced Oct. 12, to veto Senate Bill 131. He has demonstrated great prudence and judgment in this decision, recognizing that the bill denied justice to a great majority of child victims of sexual abuse in our state. I am grateful to God, who was with us in our efforts to advocate against the bill and whose Spirit guided the process to its ultimate conclusion. I also offer my thanks to all who worked tirelessly in the effort to voice objection to SB 131 among their representatives in the State Legislature and who continued in prayer for a just outcome. This was Faithful Citizenship in action! Finally, we must not lose sight of our commitment as a Church to protecting children and healing victims of abuse throughout society. Let us continue steadfastly in this ministry so that, with God's grace, our children and youth will be kept safe.

May God bless you.