Sunday Reflections

The Holy Spirit Gives Us Courage
Saint Thomas Aquinas once said, “The Holy Spirit interiorly perfects our spirit, communicating to it a new dynamism so that it refrains from evil for love.” Doing good and refraining from evil is a real challenge. Often we can get caught up in our own selfish needs or desires. On this Pentecost Sunday we welcome the gift of th...

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Father Bob Kraig's Farewell Post
If there is a gospel that is appropriate for our lives and for my departure from Saint John Neumann it is today's. The theme of the gospel reading for the 5th Sunday of Easter, John 15:1-8, is simply: "remain in my love!" Those words create a tension with me and hopefully within all of us as we know there are times in our...

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Listen to the Voice of God
Pastor's reflection for weekend of April 21-22 (Jn. 10:11-18) There are a lot of things we reject and then realize we should not have done so. If you are like me I often don’t read directions to purchases and then wish I would have as I start to encounter some difficulties assembling whatever the product is. Sometimes people hav...

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God Believes in Us
Pastor’s reflection for weekend of April 14-15 (Jn. 24:35-48)  Commercials have changed a lot. Today they are quicker, fast paced, quick scene changes and some more suggestive than others. Marketing wants you to buy the product they present before you. One of my favorites of yesteryear was one that was promoting the vitamins...

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God's Presence and Love are Real
Pastor's reflection for weekend of March 24/25 (Mark’s Passion Account) Jesus didn’t die for you and me because God has a master plan whereby He would send someone and demand every ounce of blood he could get; nor did Jesus die because we had hurt Him and God was going to make sure some kind of recompense was made. If t...

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See the Light and Live in Hope
Pastor's reflection for weekend of March 17/18 (Jn. 11:1-45) It is said that a man had a very beautiful mansion located on the ocean with an enormous window that took his view out to the clear ocean every day. However, one day he noticed that the birds had decided to transact some business on his beautiful picture window view and that...

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Listen to the Stories of Others
Pastor's reflection for weekend of March 3-4 (Jn. 9:1-41) Today’s gospel is a rather long reading – 41 verses. Although there is a short form of the man born blind and then healed by Jesus it always makes more sense to read the long form. We like things done quickly in our lives; instant answers through googling on the com...

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Encounter God
Pastor's reflection for weekend of March 3-4 (Jn. 4:5-42). Back in 1994 I had the good fortune to spend three months in Rome on a sabbatical at the North American College with about 40 other priests from the United States. It was a great experience and especially bonding with three other priests from Boston, Phoenix and New Orleans. ...

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Reflect and Pray
Pastor’s reflection for weekend of Feb. 24/25 (Mk. 9:2-10). Some moments of life you would like to freeze; and there are others you always remember what you were doing at that moment. If we want to date ourselves and discuss John Kennedy’s assassination we always talk about where we were when we heard about it. Similarly, w...

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Depend on God Daily
Pastor’s reflection for weekend of Feb. 17/18 (Mk. 1: 12-15) Out of the various gospel traditions that recount the temptations of Jesus, Mark’s version is the shortest. There are thus two pitfalls we have to avoid as we hear the gospel this weekend: (1) I’ve heard this before and (2) since it is so short we brush it a...

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Take a Selfie with Jesus
Pastor's reflection for weekend of Feb. 10/11 (Mk. 1:40-45) Selfie is a word that came into the English language with the advance of technology. A person or persons is able to take a picture of themselves. Along with selfie came selfie sticks. When we read gospels we often project them on other people, i.e., ‘I hope so and...

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What Happens from Sunday to Sunday?
Pastor's reflection for the weekend of Feb. 3-4 (Mark 1:29-39). It is my experience that often we dwell on the heart of the gospel and miss some important things. Today’s gospel is one of those! We can hear Jesus doing a lot of things; however, the first and last sentence is what caught my eye. The very first line of today&rs...

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God Is Proud of You!
Pastor's reflection for weekend of January 27/28 (Mk. 1:21-28) Can you picture the scene in the gospel! The synagogue, people gathered there much like we gather at the Sunday Eucharist; there’s an outcast who has probably been at the synagogue a number of times but people won’t acknowledge him or even sit near him! An i...

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Answering the Daily Call of God
Pastor's Reflection for weekend of January 21/22 (Mark 1:14-20) A story is told of a mother and her seven year-old son attending a piano concert. During the concert the son somehow got lost and started to plunk out 'twinkle, twinkle little star on the piano. The mom rushed to get him but the pianist told her to stop. He simply ...

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Come and See
Pastor’s Reflection for weekend of January 13/14 (Jn. 1:35-42) “Where are you staying,” the disciples asked and Jesus said: “Come and See!” It is not uncommon when talking with another to have them say: ‘Father, I don’t pray like I used to!’ or ‘I don’t seem to have the relati...

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We Meet God on the Journey of Life
Pastor's reflection for weekend of Jan. 6/7 - (Feast of the Epiphany) About 3-4 years ago I saw a YouTube video which portrayed the feast of the Epiphany in modern day culture. I tried to find it again but was unsuccessful. The video was well done and basically had Mary & Joseph meeting on line; then Mary emails Joseph and tell...

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Family Life is Challenging
Pastor's Reflection for Weekend of Dec. 30/31 – Feast of the Holy Family The other day I was driving and heard a commercial which basically said the season of giving is over and now is the time for the season of getting with some great end of the year deals. I’m not sure why but that commercial left a bad taste in my mo...

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Look at the Sheep
Pastor's Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Reflection Churches through the Diocese of Cleveland and throughout the world will be filled these two days. And here at St. John Neumann I want to welcome all visitors, those of a different faith tradition, college students who are back at St. John Neumann on break, our military personnel w...

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Living to Our Full Potential
Pastor's Reflection for weekend of Dec. 16/17 (John 1:6-8, 19-28) A group of guys I graduated with from Holy Name High School occasionally get together for lunch. There can be anywhere from 15-25 present. Often the stories are repeated; they get more exaggerated (which is the fun of it) and a five-yard pass reception turns into a 7...

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Lay a Good Foundation
Pastor’s Reflection for the weekend of Dec. 9/10 (Mk. 1:1-8) For a good part of my life I always heard a gospel similar to today’s and when I heard the word ‘Repent’ I thought I had to do something to make myself better. I would challenge myself to do this or that to overcome sin ‘a’ ‘b’ ...

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Make Your Own Manger Straw
Pastor's Reflection for weekend of Dec. 2/3 – (Mark 13: 33-37) Years ago I remember reading two letters from children in a book entitled something like: ‘Children’s letters to God!’ Both are very appropriate as we begin the season of Advent. The first letter was: ‘Dear God – This was the best Ch...

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Every Encounter is a Sacred Encounter
Pastor's Reflection for weekend of Nov. 25/26 (Mt. 25:31-46) If I am not mistaken I think it was Mark Twain who said that it wasn’t what he didn’t know about the bible that scared him but rather what he did know and knew it was true. Our gospel today has the famous parable of the goat and sheep and the shepherd puts ...

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Pay Attention to the Footnotes of Life
Reflection for weekend of Nov. 11/12 (Mt. 25:13) Bishop J. Peter Sartain, archbishop of Seattle, Washington, in letters to his priests talks about how he would never read footnotes. I had an immediate connection as that has never been my practice either. However, he goes on to say that what he has learned in our individual faith journe...

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Jesus Wants to Be in Our Lives
Our church has just concluded a wonderful week in the church by celebrating the feast of All Saints and All Souls. It tells us that ordinary people like you and me struggled but in the end they were able to put God first; and secondly, our lives on this earth will end – and in the end they are only meant to be lived now and eternall...

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Be Positive and See the Good
Reflection for weekend of Oct. 28/29 (Mt. 22:34-40) Because we have heard the words of Jesus to love God and to love our neighbor so many times we can easily let these words fly right over our heads. To love in the abstract is easy but to love in the concrete stinks. Recently at our mens’ spirituality group some of the men dec...

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All Belongs to God: Pastor's Reflection for October 21/22
Reflection for weekend of Oct. 21/22 (Mt. 22:15-21) Every once in a while we come across someone who predicts the end of the world. While I give very little – if any – credibility to the prediction there was one about 15-20 years ago that caught my attention. The prophecy from one individual said the world would end on A...

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Spiritual Growth with God’s Strength: Pastor’s Reflection for Weekend of Oct. 14/15 (Mt. 22: 1-14)
Often in the confessional (and it is also something I do when I as a sinner receive the sacrament) I hear people say something similar to the following: ‘I have to do more or less of this or that’ or ‘I got to stop doing this or that!’ We probably all know what we mean by that but while looking at our gospel the...

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Pastor’s Reflection for the Weekend of Oct. 7/8       (Mt. 21:33-43)
I recently read something that made me think. It was this – “There’s no exception to the rule that states everyone expects to be the exception to the rule!” There is probably a lot of truth to that statement. We criticize someone driving in front of us but never would expect the person behind us to be upset with...

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Eucharist Means Giving Thanks
By Fr. Bob Kraig      Reflection for the weekend of January 23/24. (Lk. 1:1-4, 4:14-21), the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time. Every time we celebrate Eucharist (a word which means ‘giving thanks’) we come into contact with the all-loving and forgiving God who gives us everything we have. In the first reading...

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Do Whatever He Tells You
By Fr. Bob Kraig      Reflection for weekend of January 16/17 – Jn 2:1-11      This weekend’s gospel of the wedding at Cana and Jesus turning water into wine compels us to ask the question: ‘Where do we go when the old runs out and something new needs to emerge?’ Mary sees a ne...

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