A Parish Vision of Hope and Ministry – Week 8

by Fr. Joe
10/27/13

A Parish Vision of Hope and Ministry

Superheroes for Christ – Week 8

A Vision of Hope

“The risen Christ… causes us to live passionate, connected, authentic lives. We choose endurance rather than avoidance and integrity rather than conformity. With Christ as our companion, we become people of the Resurrection riding the ups and downs of our particular journey with the bedrock assurance that every Good Friday moment of our lives will be raised up into an Easter event.” N.F. Summners

Our parish continues casting a vision of Hope and ministry through Scripture, Church teaching and cultural images during the next weeks. Our goal is fuller participation in God’s Sacred Mission through prayer worship and ministry.

Superheroes for Christ

The popular cultural image of a Superhero is being used to focus attention on our role in God’s mission.

  • Superhero – an individual entrusted with a heroic mission and granted superpowers to carry out their noble work.
  • In Baptism we are entrusted with and empowered for Christ’s own heroic mission.
  • We are Superheroes for Christ sharing in a heavenly mission through ministry on earth.
Secular Symbol/Sacred Meaning

The most recognizable Superhero symbol is the S S is also the first letter of the Latin word SPES – which means HOPE. Using our parish colors of green and gold we have converted the secular symbol into a symbol for Christian Hope.

Explore the animated and musical Presentation entitled “A Parish Vision of Hope and Ministry – Superheroes for Christ” created by Fr. Joe and Fr. Jared on our website: www.stphilip.org

Christian Hope

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which God has called you.” Ephesians 1:18
Christian Hope is a gift from God that we can experience in prayer. The anagram of H O P E will be used to illustrate four steps in prayer that help us to experience God’s gift of Hope in our daily lives.

Honesty
Openness
Perspective
Endurance

Prayer Steps to Hope

Honesty – Being completely candid with God about our thoughts, feelings and situation.
Openness – Consciously affirming God’s ability to do more for us than we are able to do for ourselves, through the transformation of our mind, heart and spirit.
Perspective – Asking God to reveal in prayer new ways of seeing ourselves, others and circumstances with eyes of faith and love.
Endurance – Relying on the power of the Holy Spirit for courage, self-control, strength and inner peace.

Weekend Scripture Reflection
  • Sirach reminds the wise listener that God always hears and responds to our prayer.
  • St. Paul expresses his exhaustion and frustration describing his experience as being poured out like a spilled drink. Challenged but not defeated, Paul puts his hope in the Lord’s presence standing beside him. Paul remains faithful and finishes the race through Christ’s gift of endurance.
  • Jesus uses the parable of the self-righteous Pharisee and the self- aware tax collector to teach us that being mindful of our need for God is the first step in experiencing God’s saving action in our lives through the spiritual gift of hope.
Reflection on H O P E – Endurance

Athletes in endurance sports such as cycling, running or triathlons use the expression, “Hitting the Wall,” to describe the sudden fatigue and lack of motivation that feels like a “Bonk” on the head. This phenomenon is physiological from energy depletion and it is also psychological and spiritual. Seasoned veterans and athletic experts know that the only way past The Wall is through the Wall. At the very moment when all seems lost one more surge of effort, fueled by hope, breaks past all barriers. Endurance has physical, psychological and spiritual components.

Our expression, “getting a second wind” is similar to pushing through “The Wall.” In the Acts of the Apostles the Holy Spirit is described as a rushing wind. Our second wind can come to us through prayer in a spiritual way. The Holy Spirit animates, renews and in a sense resurrects us by providing the gifts of grace and endurance. St. Paul writes, “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.” We are invited to push through the Walls of our lives with Christ’s strength and to give God the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Reflection Question
  1. Recall a time when you felt that God listened and responded to your prayer. What was that experience like?
  2. In what situation are you currently being poured out like a libation?
  3. What challenge, person or situation is in need of hope and Christ’s gift of endurance?
  4. How can you honestly and openly acknowledge your need for God, in this time of doubt and fatigue? In what ways are you being invited to alter your perspective and allow God to grant you the gift of endurance?
Prayerful Activity

Athletic experts, psychologists and spiritual directors recommend the following activities as ways of increasing our ability to push through The Walls we encounter.

  • Change your location or body position. Take a walk. Pray in a different place or in a new way.
  • Listen to music, sing a hymn, use Catholic or Christian music for inspiration.
  • Reach out to another person for support.
  • Follow the Prayer Steps to Hope listed above and look and listen for God’s gift of encouragement and endurance deep within yourself. In stillness and silence we discover the strength of Christ already in us. The Holy Spirit is at work and wishes to help us beyond anything we could ever hope for or imagine.
Daily Prayer

God of HOPE, bring forth in us such joy and peace in our faith that the power of the Holy Spirit will enable us to act with heroic love in an abundant life. Romans 15:13

Fr.Joe