Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Don't dwell on the negative, live in hope!

By Bishop Gerald Barnes
Diocese of San Bernardino

The following is taken from a homily Bishop Gerald Barnes gave during Mass on March 18 at the Diocesan Pastoral Center, San Bernardino.

Readings for the day: Is 49:8-15, Jn 5:17-30

I really don’t like traveling, especially when I have to fly somewhere. It takes up a lot of time to get there. Recently when attending a conference, I was told I was going to be picked up at a certain time from the airport. I wanted as many details as possible, so not to cause any delays.

A member of the Knights of Columbus was going to pick me up, so I waited... and waited… and waited. Finally I called to find out if I was in the wrong location, and they said, “No, no. There are two other bishops coming and are going to be picked up too. You were going to ride with them. You can go now and we will send someone for them.”

So I waited. I saw someone that looked like a knight. He didn’t have the sash, sword or hat on, but I asked him anyway. He said he was going to pick up two bishops, but I wasn’t on his list. He called the organizers and they told him to take me instead. They were going to send someone else for the other bishops.

So he took me to the hotel and I go to the desk to check-in and they say, “I’m sorry you aren’t registered here.” I show them my reservation and confirmation number and they inform me they have four hotels in the city. My reservation is for one of the other hotels by the same name.

So I go to the correct hotel. It’s already 5 p.m. and at 6 p.m. I’m supposed to be at this opening dinner. I go to the front desk to check in and they tell me, “I’m sorry, but your room is not ready.” And I say, “thank you very much.” Thinking I’m trying to be negative, they say, “I’m sorry, sir….” But I say, “No, no. I just want to thank you. You see, this is the third thing gone wrong. Everything else is going to go right.”

You have some of those days. You have days when it is one thing after another, after another. If you can appreciate that, then you can look at what the Hebrews were going through in the first reading today. They felt everything was against them. They had been in exile for so long. There wasn’t anything else for them. When things go wrong in life, it is easy to feel very sorry for yourself. They felt sorry for themselves. The prophet reminds them that God has not abandoned them. God is with them, even when they think He is not. Even if a mother forgets her child, which you could never imagine would happen, He will not forget you. That is the message I hope we can take into our hearts.

One of the great focuses during Lent is to focus on God’s tremendous love for us, in spite of our unworthiness, in spite of our difficulties, in spite of sinfulness. God will never rub our name out. He always carries us in the palm of his hand; our names are etched.

So, when you run into difficulties at work, with people you serve, with family and with your community, never give up. God never will and never can abandon us. With 23 years as a bishop, I can attest to that. There are some days that feel like it is Friday the 13th, when it is only Monday the 2nd. God never gives up on us, in spite of our failures. Let us take this time during Lent to focus on God’s love for us and, in any way we can, quit feeling sorry for ourselves. The Christian lives in hope.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

We need to talk about racism

By Bishop Gerald Barnes
Diocese of San Bernardino

At this year's Combined Vicariate meetings, I addressed several challenges and blessings. One the challenges our society is facing is racism. Please see video below:

This Lent, let us reflect on the following:

What has been your experience with racism?

Have you been a victim of racism?

Have you shown racist attitudes or behaviors towards others?

How does our Catholic faith call us to respond to the issue of racism?