Thursday, December 6, 2012

Happy 100th!

"Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock."
Matthew 7:24

One hundred years ago today, my dad, Stewart "Mickey" Gainan was born! His name was actually Stewart Woodrow Gainan, after newly-elected president Woodrow Wilson, but people called him Mickey most all his life. The legend was that, as a lad of six, he delivered newspapers downtown, followed by a dog whose name was Mickey. So people on the paper route called my dad "Mickey" and it stuck. Dad is celebrating his 100th birthday in heaven today and I know that because he was a man who built his house on rock, just like Jesus described in this Gospel. My dad was a faithful Catholic as well as a kind and compassionate man. He went out of his way to help people--out of their way, too, as the story was often told that Dad would help Herman, the blind newspaper vendor, across the street--even if he didn't want to go. My dad mirrored God's love to me. Forty-three when I, his only child, was born, Dad showered me with unconditional love. I could do no wrong in his eyes. Thanks be to God I had a mother who was more down-to-earth or I would have been incorrigible! My dad was a singer, dancer, gentleman, and only finished the eighth grade in school. He was devoted to St. Jude, who successfully got him out of basic training in the army. He taught me everything I know about God's vast and wonderful love...firsthand. Happy 100th birthday, Dad! Thank you for showing me what building a house on solid rock looks like! Love, heidi

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Jesus fed them all!

"Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, gave thanks, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds."
Matthew 15:36
This miracle of feeding the multitude was a fore-shadowing of Jesus giving us his very self in the Eucharist. This crowd had been with Jesus for three days and Jesus had cured their illness and disabilities, but it doesn't say anything in the reading about Jesus forgiving their sins, as such. Still, Jesus fed them. And Jesus didn't put any conditions on this meal. He didn't just feed the "good" people. (Jesus didn't just feed the "good" people at the Last Supper either!) Earlier in the reading, Jesus told the disciples his heart is moved with pity for the crowd. (v. 32) The crowd, in the state of their very humanness, moved Jesus' heart. Yes, Jesus fed their growling stomachs, but Jesus also fed their sagging spirits. Jesus is the nourishment we need in our weak human condition, sinners, are we all. We cannot make ourselves worthy of Jesus, though we can prepare our hearts and minds to be open to Jesus' coming. Jesus tells that, the way to welcome him, is to welcome the stranger. The way to care for Jesus is to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and embrace the un-embraceable. Wonderful food for our Advent journey! Love, heidi
(Reminder: today is the last day of the parish mission! 9:00 AM at Holy Rosary, 7:00 PM at Christ the King)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I'm ready!

"I'm ready for my presents!"
Miss Piggy, "All I Need Is Love"
I was praying in the church before the beginning of the parish mission last night. This line from Miss Piggy came from a song off a new Christmas album I got...Ceelo Green sings this song with the Muppets, and Miss Piggy is singing in the background, "I'm ready for my presents!" My version, during my prayer, was the same only spelled differently. "I'm ready for my P-r-e-s-e-n-c-e!" I prayed. The mission was amazing and wonderful and I can hardly wait to return tonight. One of the most powerful things I learned from Fr. Patrick Foley was that God frees us through unconditional love and wants us to love others into freedom, too. Such a wonderful message as we begin Advent! The love that God gives us is not based on what we do, but because of who we are--God's precious children. God asks that we love others the same way, unconditionally and giving them the freedom to be their best selves. We may not agree with them on everything, and that is OK. But loving others is what God asks us to do, and that doesn't mean loving them for what they can do for us or expecting them to earn our love. As we are loved freely by God, we are asked to love others. And that is a beautiful mission. Love, heidi

Monday, December 3, 2012

Come, Lord Jesus!

"The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah..."
Jeremiah 33:14

Thus begin the readings of Advent! And the theme of Advent is waiting. Jeremiah prophesies the promise of God being fulfilled and the waiting begins. So, what, exactly, are WE in 2012 waiting for? We had a wonderful homily from our visiting priest, Fr. Patrick Foley, who is here to do a mission for our parish this week. He asked this very question. What are we waiting for? He pointed out that, yes, Jesus is coming at the end of time, so that is something to wait for, but possibly not our immediate waiting-for event right now. And we are not waiting for Jesus to be born in a manger again...that happened two thousand years ago. While we commemorate it, we aren't waiting for that to happen again. We ARE waiting for Jesus to come, personally, into our lives. We must stay awake, alert, and aware to recognize Jesus. Isn't that fabulous? In today's Gospel, the centurion says, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed." (Matthew 8:8) But, my response to Jesus coming to my life this Advent is different. Yes, I am not worthy, but I say, Come, Lord Jesus, and please hurry! Love, heidi
(Reminder to all in Idaho Falls! The Mission begins today...9:00 AM at Holy Rosary, or 7:00 PM at Christ the King)