Posted by Sharon Krause on Jun 5, 2023 6:00:00 AM

Years ago, my husband bought me an opal pendant. I really like the opal because it has lots of “fire” in it—-meaning there are a lot of color spots that are pleasant to look at as I turn the opal this way and that. It has occurred to me that we are like opals in some ways.

 According to books I have consulted, the opal is one of the most interesting and colorful gemstones. No other precious gem produces the array of beautiful colors that the opal does. The opal is a silicate which contains some water in its composition. The pin-fire opal I have is a type in which the main body of the stone is usually white and shows a myriad of small pinpoint colors all through the surface. The flashes of color occur when a ray of light meets a very thin film of the opal which has a different optical density from that of the light. Precious opal contains a great number of these thin films which are layers of submicroscopic spheres. The flashes of color vary as the stone is turned. Some opals are considered florescent minerals.

How can we compare ourselves to opals? First, an opal with lots of fire in it is attractive and very precious. When we have the fire of the Holy Spirit in us, we can attract others by our Christian attitude and behavior. We can draw more people to us and, hopefully, to Jesus. Every opal is different; each one of us is unique and precious in God’s eyes. Each of us has different color spots—-if you see the analogy—different ways of reflecting the Light, that is Jesus, to those around us. When we turn the opal, we see different colors; when we openly turn to the Lord and to our brothers and sisters, our different talents and gifts are released, and we can find more ways to be of service.

 Color, or fire, in opals is caused by the collision with light; our fire is caused by our collision or meeting with the Holy Spirit who can fill us with zeal and power. Fire is refining and purifying in its power. Not long ago, we celebrated Pentecost. The Holy Spirit brought power to the disciples as tongues of fire rested upon their heads. After that, the disciples were filled with zeal and the fire of God’s message of love.

 The ancient superstition about opals restoring keenness of vision brings to mind that with the light of Jesus Christ, our vision of his kingdom can be brought to greater clarity. We see things of this world differently when we look through Spirit-filled eyes of faith and joy.

 How can we keep our fire burning? In order to keep any fire burning, three things are needed: something combustible, a source of heat, and oxygen. To keep our fires burning, we need to be ready and willing to surrender to the Lord who is our source of heat and light, and who gives us the breath of life. We must fan our fires, stay very close to our Source through prayer and sacraments, and humbly strive to adore him who colors our humble lives!

 P.S. Potch is opal that does not show the play of color, or, as miners say, is not alive. Let’s be sure we treasure and nurture our fire, so no one can say we are potch!

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Topics: Sharon Krause, The Holy Spirit accompanies us, open to the Holy Spirit


Posted by Sharon Krause on May 29, 2023 6:00:00 AM

Recently my daughter received an invitation to the wedding of her friend. It seemed strange to me that she got the written invitation now, because the wedding is not until December 31, and it will take place at the bride’s home and not a public venue that would have had to be reserved far in advance. I don’t know the details, but it did get me thinking about invitations.

We read in the gospel passage in today’s liturgy that, at Jesus’ dying request, John, Jesus’ beloved disciple, cared for Jesus’ mother, Mary, in his own home. Yesterday, the feast of Pentecost, we invited the Holy Spirit to come to us as we read the sequence, Veni, Sancte Spiritus. We invite the Holy Spirit to shine within us, give us rest in our labor, console us in sad times, fill our inmost being, heal our wounds, free us from guilt, help us to overcome stubbornness, and bring us the Spirit’s sevenfold gifts. We invite the Spirit to set us on fire with love.

So, what if the Holy Spirit comes with all that we invite the Spirit to bring and we are not really there or prepared? If someone comes to us with relief and numerous gifts, shouldn’t we receive everything with open minds and hearts? Invitations imply readiness and preparation. The gifts that are brought in love should be, in turn, used.

 Our God is a generous and forgiving God. Knowing that, we can repent of our sins and resolve to clear the way for the Spirit’s gifts. Being open to the Holy Spirit makes us ready to speak in the language of love to those around us. Even a daily short prayer to the Spirit can put us into the right frame of mind.

 Psalm 51:12-14 is a good example:

    A clean heart create for me, O God,

       and a steadfast spirit renew within me.

   Cast me not out from your presence,

       and your Holy Spirit take not from me.

   Give me back the joy of your salvation,

       and a willing spirit sustain in me.


One of the best gifts the Holy Spirit offers us is hope. If we try to pass on that hope, we are really inviting more peace and joy into our busy, troubled world. May we try to look for the Holy Spirit each day and be grateful for all the Spirit’s gifts. We might even be vocal about what we see so that others’ awareness grows.

    May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may

   abound in hope by the power of the holy Spirit. (Romans 15;13.)

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Topics: Sharon Krause, The Holy Spirit accompanies us, open to the Holy Spirit

Airing Ideas

Posted by Sharon Krause on May 22, 2023 6:00:00 AM
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Topics: everyday prayer, Sharon Krause, The Holy Spirit accompanies us

"Hear the Word! by Bill Ayres: First Sunday in Lent

Posted by Bill Ayres on Feb 25, 2023 6:00:00 AM

A reading from the Book of Genesis

(Chapter 2:7-9, 3:1-7)

No one knows when the Book of Genesis was written, but biblical scholars calculate that it was sometime after the Jewish people came back from the Babylonian Exile in the sixth century B.C. and people questioned why God had allowed them to experience such prolonged misery.

This story of Adam and Eve is obviously an allegory, but it provides answers to two of life’s most important questions. Why are we not immortal; why do we all have to die? And, is there not some super wisdom that can protect us from making wrong decisions that might lead to death or ruin?

The authors answer these questions by telling a two-part story. First, “The Lord God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being.” The authors wanted their listeners or readers to know that God is the creator of all that exists, and that everything God has created is good. It was important to begin the story in a positive vein for a people who had just been through the hell of the Babylonian Exile and for people who might experience similar horrors.

The story then turns dark. “The serpent asked the woman, ‘Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?’” The woman answers, “It is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘You shall not eat or even touch it, lest you die’ …. But the serpent said to the woman: ‘You certainly will not die! No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is evil.” Of course, we know that the woman gives in to the serpent, eats some fruit, and then gives some to the man, Adam.

The authors answer both those seminal questions. We do not have immortality, because the woman and man disobeyed God, and there is no super wisdom to prevent us from wrong decisions and sin. Like Adam and Eve, we enjoy free will, and also like them, we are responsible for the choices we make.

 Responsorial Psalm

(Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 17)

“Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.” Let us ask for God’s forgiveness for any time we may have discriminated against another person, at any time, for any reason.

A reading St. Paul's Letter to the Romans

(Chapter 5:12-19)

Paul traces the root of sin to Adam and forgiveness of sin to Jesus Christ. “But death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin after the pattern of the trespass of Adam…. But the gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one, the many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ overflow for the many.” Notice the word “gift.” It is one of the most important words in our faith. Our life itself is a gift. Our faith is a gift. God’s unconditional love is a gift. We did not earn any of it.

For centuries, people have asked the question, “How can I get to heaven?” The answer is that we can’t do it ourselves. We need to accept the gift of life, of God’s unconditional love, and the presence of the Holy Spirit, our life partner, within our souls. It is all gift from our merciful Father who never stops loving us. Please share the gift with those you love and especially those you may find hard to love.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew

(Chapter 4:1-11)

This is the story of one man’s battle with evil temptations. Notice who leads him and stays with him throughout: “At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.” Jesus fasts 40 days and 40 nights, and he is hungry and vulnerable. “The tempter approached and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.” That was the first temptation, physical hunger.

Most of us have not experienced that kind of extreme hunger, but think of the millions of our brothers and sisters all over the world who live with hunger every day. Jesus responds, “One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” Then the devil ups the ante to life itself and tells Jesus that he should throw himself down from the parapet of the temple. Then, finally, he shows Jesus “all the kingdoms of this world in their magnificence, and he said to him, ‘All these I will give you.’ … Jesus said to him, ‘Go away Satan.’”

That covers all the temptations that you and I might experienceall sorts of hungers, lack of trust in God, and desire for power. Jesus faced them all, and he is with us in all of our temptations. We live in the mystery of God’s mercy and our life partner, the Holy Spirit, lives within us.



Painting: Jesus Tempted in the Wilderness, James Tissot (1836-1902), Brooklyn Museum. Public domain.

Excerpts from the English translation of the Lectionary for Mass © 1969, 1981, 1997, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL). All rights reserved.
Bill Ayres was a founder, with the late singer Harry Chapin, of WhyHunger. He has been a radio and TV broadcaster for 40 years and has two weekly Sunday-night shows on WPLJ, 95.5 FM in New York. He is a member of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church in Centerport, New York.

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Topics: first sunday of Lent, Hear the Word! by Bill Ayres, The Holy Spirit accompanies us

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