February 18, 2016 | Vol.2 | Issue 11

Chaplains' Newsletter
Walking on Holy Ground
"Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground."  (Exodus 3:5).

Thousands of years ago, God revealed Himself to Moses through a burning bush and spoke these words.  This was during a time of persecution when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt.  God told Moses that he heard the cries of his people and that he would deliver them.  Although their wandering over a great distance probably felt aimless at the time, God holds firm on his promise and many years later, the Israelites return home.  Throughout scripture we hear of the numerous journeys that the Israelites made as they tried to listen to the voice of God in times of prosperity and in the midst of war, famine and exile. 

Many world religions, including Christianity, honour the sacredness of spiritual journeys.  The practice of pilgrimage is thousands of years old and it can very simply be defined as a journey of great purpose with the aim of honouring God.

Two years ago, September 4-16, 2014 to be exact, I embarked on a pilgrimage to Israel with 32 other people.  Our group included parishioners from my home parish and other surrounding parishes.  It was an incredible journey unlike any other travelling experience of mine.  It was inspiring, eye-opening, emotional, live-giving and challenging all at the same time. I find myself regularly reflecting upon this pilgrimage and, in a special way, even more so in Lent as I retrace the places that we visited where Jesus spent His last days. 

Lent is an annual spiritual pilgrimage which is held 40 days before Easter.  When I was younger, I would often wonder why we would repeat Lent over and over, year after year.  As time went on, I discovered that it's kind of a practice makes perfect season - one that deserves repeating until we get it right.  It is a time for self-examination, of leaving space for silence, of weighing wants against needs and sharing our gifts in service of others.  Lent is at the heart of what Christianity is all about.

My pilgrimage to the Holy Land, like Lent, was a journey of conversion; of opening myself up to receive God's unconditional love and mercy.  During the pilgrimage, we did a great deal of walking as a group.  I did a lot of reflecting on the theme of walking and here is some of what I discovered:
  • Some people walked faster, others at a slower pace, but in the end we all arrived at the destination.
  • We are all on a journey; a journey that takes twists and turns but will always lead to God if we keep ourselves open to his voice.
  • What is most important is not always the destination but the journey itself.
  • God is always with us, even in the midst of the deserts of our life where we feel that we have no idea what to do next, or we feel alone and are experiencing great sadness or temptation.
When I returned from the pilgrimage, I had a great desire to share my stories and photos with family and friends.  I also shared several classroom presentations in elementary schools through my work as a Youth Minister.  I felt a strong mission to bring the holy ground of the Holy Land to life for these youth by showing photos and linking them to their origin in the Bible and how they connect to the faith lives of the youth today.

I now invite you to silently enter into a time of pilgrimage with me as we encounter Jesus and walk in his footsteps...

Baptism in the River Jordan
"And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.  And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased." (Mt 3:16-17) 

Reflection Questions:
  • When were you baptized? Who was there to celebrate with you and your family?
  • What does your baptism mean to you now as an adult?
  • What does it mean for you to live out your baptismal calling during this season of Lent?
  • What does it mean for you to be called the Beloved? 
  • How is the Holy Spirit a part of your faith journey?
The Desert
"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished."  (Mt 4:1-2)
  • What have been some of the "desert" experiences of your life?  What has helped you to persevere?  What have been some of the greatest fruits of these times?
  • What are the things that tempt you the most?  What is one thing that you can do to regain self-control?
  • Where can you see signs of new life even in the midst of the desert?
  • What is God calling you to "fast from" in order that you can "feast on"?
  • How can you be of service to others in the midst of your own spiritual desert?

"As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea - for they were fishermen.  And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fish for people."  Immediately they left their nets and followed him."  (Mt 4:18-20) 
  • What do you need to leave behind and let go of in order to follow Jesus?
  • What new things is Jesus calling you to?
  • How are you living your life as a disciple for Jesus? 
  • How can you invite others to a life in Christ?

The Upper Room
"While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, "Take; this is my body."  Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it.  He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many."  (Mk 14:22-24)
  • How has the sacrament of the Eucharist made a difference in your life?
  • How can you become Jesus for others?
  • How can you also bless what is broken in your life?

The Garden of Gethsemane
"Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want."  He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep?  Could you not keep awake one hour?  Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak."  (Mark 14:36-38)
  • What is causing you to suffer right now? How might Jesus be calling you to remain with him even in the midst of this suffering?
  • How does it make a difference in my prayer life to know that "all things are possible" for God?
  • Who are some of the people that you are asking to remain with you in your Garden Gethsemane?
The Way of the Cross

"Then Pilate handed him over to be crucified.  So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha." (John 19:16-17)
  • What cross are you carrying this Lent?  Who do you meet along the way?
  • What people have been your "Simon" and have helped you to carry your cross?
  • Who are people who have helped you to get back up when you are suffering, depressed or feel hopeless?
  • Where do you see signs of new life and opportunity even in the midst of carrying your cross?

The Cross
"After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), "I am thirsty."  A jar full of sour wine was standing there.  So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth.  When Jesus had received the wine, he said "It is finished."  Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."  (Jn 19:28-30)
  • What do you thirst for?
  • How has the self-sacrificing love of Jesus had an impact on how you live your life?
  • What are some areas of your life that you would like to bring to the foot of the cross?
  • Think of where and why you have placed a cross/crucifix in your home
  • What is an old habit of yours that needs to die in order for you to live more freely?

The Empty Tomb
"Jesus said to her, "Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father.  But go to my brothers and say to them, "I am ascending to my Father, and your Father, to my God and your God."  Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord; and she told them that he has said these things to her."  (Jn 20: 17-18)
  • When have you been surprised by Jesus in your life? 
  • What does it mean to you that we share the same Father and God as Jesus?
  • How can you share the good news of the risen Jesus with others?
  • How does the Resurrection impact the way you live your life?

New Life
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."  (Mt 28:19-20)
  • Where do you feel God calling you to go at this time of your life?
  • What are some ways that you are already sharing your faith in Jesus with others at work, school, home and in the community?  What are some new ideas for reaching out?
  • What does it mean for you to live out your discipleship?  Who are fellow disciples in your life who can support and encourage you?
  • Take a moment and let these words slowly enter you:  "I am with you always, to the end of the age."

At the end of my pilgrimage to the Holy Land, I felt sad to leave because I wanted to stay in this special place where I felt inspired, fed and at home.  Many times in life, we, like St. Peter want to stay on the mountaintop experiences of our lives.  And yet God calls us to come down, to enter into the peaks and valleys of our everyday lives.  To hold our hands open each day and receive what is given by him, trusting that he will provide us with all of our needs.  

The season of Lent calls us to look for God in our lives, though not as in a hide and seek game. God is already here among us.  May we have the grace to unveil and remove all that prevents us from intimately knowing him.

"Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground."  (Exodus 3:5). 


Campus Minister to Youth
King's University College/Christ the King Parish

Upcoming Events
"Behold: Dying We Live"
February 25, 7:30 p.m.
Joanne and Peter Kenny Theatre

March 11, 6-9 p.m.
March 12, 1-4 p.m.
Youth News

Campus Ministry Team

Administrative Assistant

Pastoral Counsellor

Campus Minister

Campus Minister / Director of KUC Chamber Choir

Campus Youth Minister
Share this email
If you know someone who would like to receive this email, please let us know.
Office of Campus Ministry | Christ the King University Parish  
King's University College
266 Epworth Avenue
London, Ontario, N6A 2M3
Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter