Thursday, October 8, 2015


Malachi 3:13-20; Ps 1 Blessed are they who hope in the Lord; Luke 11:5-13

A word from the prophet

"But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays."

We live in a society unfortunately that refuses to make distinctions between good and bad moral choices.  We celebrate tolerance.  We celebrate independence.  We celebrate the right to have opinions about things regardless of their moral weight.  We do not like to differentiate between groups of persons  or individuals.  We falsely think that no matter what, all roads lead to heaven or some utopian idea of happiness or pleasure.

Yet, the prophet Malachi seems to suggest other wise. He makes a distinction.  He differentiates between those who serve God and those who do not.  He differentiates those who live in reverential awe of the LORD and those whose pride and live with no regard for God's commands.  It seems this difference matters in the end.

The prophet speaks, "Then you will see distinction between the just and the wicked; between the one who serves God and the one who does not serve him."

Those who do not will be burned up like stubble and those who do shall experience the healing easy of the sun of justice.

Distinctions are important.  Being different; living different; may be the only difference that matters.

The end does matter.  It is does reflect back on how we live today.

We turn our attention to the gospel.  Jesus gives us those familiar words, "Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened…"

Every prayer is itself somehow transformative.
When we ask humbly with frequency, we come to understand our utter dependence, we learn our limitations and we are changed in the process.

What exactly is it that we receive and find?  What door is opened?  Perhaps, the one that leads to Jesus himself.  We find Him.  We receive Him.  Because if we are looking for something other than Him, then we still don't know what we are asking.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Jonah 4:1-11; Ps 86 Lord, you are merciful and gracious; Luke 11:1-4

We continue to journey with Jonah. Yesterday I mentioned that Jonah was hesitant, reluctant, doubtful and probably the most insincere prophet on the Old Testament. And yet despite all of this internal nastiness He is still effective in bringing about change in the lives of those who live in Nineveh.

Though God is able to use just about anyone to bring about the fulfillment of his will, Jonah remains obstinate.

Into today's reading we get a deeper look into the interior nastiness that rages in Jonah.  His true colors shine through today.

Not only is he hesitant and reluctant and insincere but we discover that he is just down right angry and mean.  And with this meanness and anger he carries prejudice against the people of Ninevah and quite judgmental as well.

Imagine harboring anger and prejudices against those God wants to extend his rich mercy?  How often does anger infect the lives of so many that we know?

Today we should pause to pray for people who live in anger and prejudice against others for whatever reason.  Jonah is so twisted by his prejudice and anger that he fails to recognize the beauty of what just happened in Nineveh.

Rather than rejoice in the power of God's goodness and mercy, he sulks and pouts and grows more bitter and desires to die.

Just look at his prayer that he makes, "I knew you were a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger, rich in clemency, loathe to punish. And now, Lord, please take my life from me for it is better for me to die than to live."

Compare that to the prayer Jesus teaches us in the gospel of Luke.  "Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.  Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us and do not subject us to the final test."

Which prayer do we make daily in our life?  How we choose to pray is indicative of how we choose to live.  Do we pray our prejudice or do we let God guide us in prayer?

Below is a little something some one has devises as a way of connecting the Our Father to the theological and cardinal virtues.  It is c lever way of connecting prayer to living daily.

Faith:  Our Father, who is in heaven, holy is your name
Hope:  Your kingdom come; Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
Charity: Give us this day our daily bread
Justice: Forgive us our trespasses
Prudence:  As we forgive those who trespass against us
Temperance:  Lead us not into temptation
Fortitude:  Deliver us from evil.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Here is an excerpt of the Pope's address in Philly this past week.


"Faith opens a “window” to the presence and working of the Spirit. It shows us that, like happiness, holiness is always tied to little gestures. “Whoever gives you a cup of water in my name will not go unrewarded”, says Jesus (cf. Mk 9:41). 

These little gestures are those we learn at home, in the family; they get lost amid all the other things we do, yet they do make each day different. They are the quiet things done by mothers and grandmothers, by fathers and grandfathers, by children. They are little signs of tenderness, affection and compassion. 

Like the warm supper we look forward to at night, the early lunch awaiting someone who gets up early to go to work. Homely gestures. Like a blessing before we go to bed, or a hug after we return from a hard day’s work. Love is shown by little things, by attention to small daily signs which make us feel at home. Faith grows when it is lived and shaped by love. That is why our families, our homes, are true domestic churches. They are the right place for faith to become life, and life to become faith."

Friday, October 2, 2015


Exodus 23:20-23; Ps 91 The Lord has put angels in charge of you, to guard you in all your ways; Matthew 18:1-5,10

  Guardian angels reflect the reality of the invisible realm of the Kingdom of God, on that is already actively participating in the history of salvation.

The church teaches the following as found in the Catechism

"from its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession.  Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.  Already here on earth the Christian life  shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God."

As Jesus reminds us in today's gospel, the angel always beholds the face of our heavenly father.  The primary way the angel guards and protects us is by adoration.  Through their adoration we are strengthen and guided by goodness.  As the angel looks on the face of our heavenly Father they actually see us most clearly and purely.  This of course means that the Father's sole attention, whole and complete is given over to each of individually and all of us collectively.  Talk about multi tasking.  But only in gazing at the Father are they able to understand what we need as we journey forth.

When we imitate the angels by bowing in adoration before our heavenly father, we too grow in goodness and in our own ability to recognize God's plan and to assist others in growing in strength and goodness as well.   I think the reality is this: as we lift our heart to God in prayer we necessarily open our heart more perfectly to our brothers and sisters.  

Be mindful of your guardian angels and the guardian angels of others.  Just as God seeks to give us divine assistance along the way so too he desires to give that same assistance to every one we meet along this way.  This alone should give us a pause when dealing with others.

Just as our angel beholds the face of our Heavenly father so to the angels of others behold the same face.  

Today we introduce the virtue of gratitude to ur students

Here are a few words of ST Ignatius

"It seems to me, in light of the divine Goodness though others may think differently, that ingratitude is one of the things most worthy of detestation before our Creator and Lord, and before all creatures capable of his divine and everlasting glory, out of all the evils and sins which can be imagined.  For it is a failure to recognize the good things, the graces, and the gifts received.  As such, it is the cause, beginning, and origin of all evils and sins,  On the contrary, recognition and gratitude of the good things and gifts received is greatly loved and esteemed both in heaven and on earth."

Today We introduce the virtue of Thanksgiving to the students at the school here at St Michael.  Last month we focused on Self-control.  This month: thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving is mentioned many times in a variety of forms in Sacred Scripture.  It is every where commanded as a necessary attitude of the Believer and disciple.  Give thanks always in all circumstances ST Paul tells us.  We know that.  But do we know what St Pauls says happens to those who do not give thanks and thus fail to honor God.  In Romans 1:21 we have these words of St Paul, "For although they knew God they di not accord him glory as god or give him thanks.  Instead they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened.  They became fools."  He says much more about this as you keep reading.  Just something to think about.

Perhaps God doesn’t necessarily want us always to be saying “thank you” so much as to be noticing how much we are loved and cared for by Him and, in turn, to respond by living a life of gratitude. Grateful people tend to be more generous and magnanimous with others. 

Gratitude is the ability to see more clearly; gratitude also enables us to see more clearly. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Nehemian 2:1-8; Ps 137 Let my tongue  be silenced if I ever forget you; Luke 9:57

Today we read from the old testament and hear the story of Nehemiah.  It is a strange story that begins with what seems to be a casual conversation.

Nehemiah is serving the king wine.  He is minding his own business and dutifully fluffing the task at hand.

The only difference was that Nehemiah was sad.  He had grown homesick for Jerusalem and the temple which had been destroyed.

Upon seeing this sadness on Nehemiah's face the king asked a question.  The king was concerned.  The king cared.

"Why do you look sad?" "If you are not sick you must be sad at heart?"

A simple question.  A simple casual conversation.

Yet it began to unfold the God has chosen to work in history in the favor of the Israelites.

Nehemiah opened up.  He let the king in.  He was honest and forth coming and something amazing happens: grace.

What follows is that Nehemiah gets appointed governor of Judah and then is commissioned to rebuild the temple.

Who knows what wonder God may work through a simple and casual conversation.

The other side of the story is that Nehemiah wasn't afraid to ask.  He made a request.  He was bold.  God's favor paved the way for success.

How often have we experienced similar moments in our life though perhaps not on a grand as scale as Nehemiah.  We enter into a conversation.  We opened up to another or we let some in to our life and God's grace began to work and transform.

Secondly, we hear these words of Jesus in the gospel, "let the dead bury the dead.  But you go and proclaim the kingdom if God...No one who sets his hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God."

Bottom line: there is always a greater relative importance in our relationship to Jesus than any other relationship.  It is and must be more significant than all others.


Yesterday we celebrate the feast of the archangels: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael.

The angels are God's invisible way of watching over us, guiding us, guarding us.

They are God's messengers.

The feast day itself is meant to engender in the heart of the believer a deeper sense of gratitude as well as devotion.  In this reality we are invited to live with a greater sense of serenity and confidence that we do not go alone.  God ha snot abandoned us.  We are not orphans.

God has great care and concern for us.

As we thank God for the gift of the angels we are also invited to imitate them inner life.  Just as angels are God's messengers  to us so we too become God's messengers for one another.

Michael acts with God's strength.  Gabriel brings God's word which is usually an invitation to new life as we recount in the message of the angel to Mary in Luke's gospel.  Raphael brings God's healing as described to us in the book of Tobit where Tobit's eyes sight is restored and Tobiah and Sara are united in marriage.

We too can act with God's strength, bring God's word of new life, and reach out with God's healing.  we do this in very practical ways daily with those we encounter in our life.

How do we encourage others?  How do we bring God's word of life in situations that are difficult and overwhelming?  How can reach out and touch others with God's helping embrace of comfort and consolation?

Lastly,  it is said that St Michael appeared to the three young people at Fatima prior to the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  He taught the three how to pray as is recorded by the youths.

He told them to pray in such manner, "God, I believe you; I adore you; I hope in you; I love you; I beg forgiveness for those who not believe yet, hope yet, adore yet, love yet."

We can find strength in these words of the Angel.  When life is trying and hard repeat, "God, I believe you, I adore you, I hope in you, I love you."

Pax et Bonum

Sunday, September 27, 2015


Num 11:25-29;Ps 19 The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart; James 5:1-6; Mark 9:38-48

What terrific reality that affects the human mind and heart.

We deal with it in a variety of ways and a variety of settings.  It is most common in work places amongst co workers or family.  It involves people we are around. We are hardly ever jealous in regards to strangers or folks we do not know well.

What are we to make of it, this jealousy that haunts our affections and hinders our love.

According to St Thomas jealousy arises from the intensity of love.
The word itself comes from the latin-zelus and it took upon itself two derivatives that find their expression in the words Zealous and Jealous.

Zeal is the passionate promotion of something or someone where as Jealous is the passionate protection of someone or something.

At its root Jealousy has a positive undertaking.   But because of the fallen condition of man often times a negative sentiment of suspicion attaches itself to jealousy which creates havoc.

Jealousy wells up and suspicion latches on and thus the negative experience we are aware of and used to arises in our life.

Here is the reality.  All of us begin by loving in ways that are selfish or self-centered.   This selfishness distorts this intense love which cause us to be passionate about promoting or protecting others in regards to how they serve our needs.

However, we should not worry because this selfish love can and does become raw material that God can and will transform gradually.  When we experience Jealousy our first thought should always be that God has plenty of raw material to work with.  This attitude will certainly alleviate the negative affect of such strong emotion and begin to allow us to enter into a path of humility.

Humility is always the answer or solution for jealousy, love gone awry.

The first counter to jealousy is to let go of our need to be possessive or our need to control.  We need to create space and give God the space to operate. Which is what Moses invites Joshua to embrace in our first reading and Jesus invites the apostles to embrace in our gospel.

This way our selfish love again can become raw material int he hands of God in such manner where it will be gradually transformed in to more perfect love where we can truly rejoice in the goodness of the other.