Welcome Back, Father Steve!
Over the course of the past academic year we were blessed to have with us on weekends Deacon Steve Geerling from the Diocese of Grand Rapids. Having completed his studies and formation at Mundelein Seminary, Deacon Steve returned home to Michigan and was ordained to the priesthood in June. At my invitation he requested this weekend off at his parish in Grand Rapids so that he could come back here to celebrate Masses with us and offer his priestly blessing. We ask God to bless Fr. Steve with every grace he needs to be a good, dedicated, holy priest and a blessing to all whom the Lord entrusts unto his care.

The Eclipse
There is much ado about the solar eclipse that is to be especially visible in North America this Monday. One of my nephews is even taking a one-day Eclipse Party Train to Carbondale, IL. I suspect that for him it’s more about the party than the eclipse . . . . There is, of course, something wonderful when our attention, so often focused on the mundane, is drawn toward the heavens. I like to wonder what the ancients thought was taking place when such an occurrence came upon them unexpectedly. Is it the end of the world? Is it a warning or punishment from the gods? Does it signify that something of great significance is taking place in the world?

While the mystery of what a solar eclipse is may be explained scientifically, it is still a great opportunity to pause with wonder and awe about the order of God’s creation, the motion of the stars, planets and moons, etc. Perhaps it also provides us the opportunity to do a little spiritual reflection.

The moon, of course, like the earth, has no natural light of its own — only reflected light from the sun. When full and illumined it can serve as a powerful beacon of light and hope to the earth during the darkness of night. But it can also, as we see with an eclipse, become an obstacle to the sun’s light being received by the earth. So too, it seems, can we. We are at our best when we receive and reflect to others the light and warmth of God’s love, truth, compassion, guidance and hope — especially when they are experiencing some darkness in their lives. After all, everything we have is a gift from God that is given to us for our sake, yes, but always also for others. If we receive and keep for ourselves, we become like the moon eclipsing the sun, blocking and casting a shadow rather than reflecting God’s intended gifts to others.

As we experience the effects of the solar eclipse this Monday, perhaps we might ask the Lord to illumine for us ways in which we might better reflect His light in the world and avoid being obstacles to others receiving His light.

Have a blessed week,