Wednesday, January 30, 2008

going steady

Mark 4:1-20

The sower goes out, the seed is thrown, 
what happens next depends on the soul; 
will it whither, will it die; will it shrivel, will it cry;
will it abound deep from within?
only time will tell, if one can tell time, 
that time alone is needed for the harvest to fell.   

Patience my dear, patience indeed, 
only patience shall reap the reward to please.  
Steady thy hand, steady thy knees, steady thy heart, and you shall see.  

this is the path by which we learn loving the Lord, this it the path by which we find joy...

Here we shall arrive at the deep, pure yes; 
here faith finally arrives at the reward of bliss. 

beatitude comes, don't be amiss;
patience, patience, steady as you can;
the race shall end in His Merciful Hand!  


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Willy nilly

Mark 3:31-35

"For whoever does the will of God is my brother, sister, mother."

The will of God sometimes seems distant or foreign in our life.   We often use the phrase 'will of God' as a cliche to explain the unexplainable, to tackle the mysteries of life, to excuse our self from responsibility, or even to use it as an excuse for inaction.  It is often the pat answer given to someone who experiences sickness in their life, or whose loved one has died.  It is the 'will of God' they say, we say, all say, as we stare into the face of tomorrow unsure of what might be next.

The will of God does not hold us hostage to the whim of life.  God's will is not whimsical but rather one of purpose; God's will does not take life but receive it; God's will is not empty or shallow but filled with life giving radiance; God's will does not leave us scrambling or wanting but satisfies.

God's will is about worship, praise, definite purpose, joy, love, and life.  God's will is about enlarging our human family, broadening our outlook, keeping us from growing narrow and closed in on ourselves.  God's will demands that we become larger than life.  

Every moment and every breath is ample opportunity to experience God's will.  Every moment and every breath is ample opportunity to make God's will present.

What is most intimately tied with God's will is the birth of Jesus.  As Mary says "let it be done unto me according to thy will", Jesus is brought forth; the divine life enters into our world.  This is God's will, and it certainly isn't willy nilly. 


Monday, January 28, 2008


Mark 3:22-30

Feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas

Words from the doctor himself:
Why did the son of God have to suffer for us?  It can be considered in a twofold way: fist as a remedy for sin, and secondly, as an example of how to act. 

It is a remedy, for, in the face of evils which we incur account of our sins, we have found relief through the passion of Christ.

The passion completely suffices to fashion our lives.  Whoever wishes to live perfectly should do nothing but disdain what Christ disdained on the cross and desire what he desired, for the cross exemplifies every virtue. 

Example of love: he gave his life for us thus it should strengthen us to bear the difficulties and hardships for his sake.

Example of patience: great patience is due to suffering much patiently or when one suffers things which one is able to avoid and yet does not for sake of a higher good.  Christ endured patiently on the cross much suffering for the highest good.

Example of humility: the judge of all mankind chose to be judged by a man in Pontius Pilate.

Example of obedience: He was obedient to the Father even unto death.

Example at despising earthly things: the King of Kings and Lord of Lords was stripped, mocked, spat upon, crowned with thorns, and given only vinegar and gall to drink...

We have seen the crucified upon the cross many times; look again and again and there the answers to your questions shall be revealed; there the strength to your weaknesses shall arise.

Crucify him! becomes Crucify me! Crucify my thoughts, my words, my deeds! Crucify my desire, my love, my will!  Then let your Glory fill the Earth. 

Friday, January 25, 2008


Mark 16:15-18

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Conversion of Paul.  A zealot filled with hatred for the Church becomes a Zealot filled with love for Christ.  God takes his pick and chooses the most hateful (Acts 9:1-2) to be a source of blessing.  

We should often be surprised by God's choice; we should surprise others by allowing God to choose us each day anew to go forth. 

Christ draws near and whispers our name and sends us forth to proclaim his fame.  This fame is not of riches of the world, no high rises or lofty places but a fame that refuses to surrender to the worldly flare.  

We are sent forth to drive out demons: 
here we say no to all that resist goodness itself, refusing to be less while choosing to be more even in the face of adversity. 

We are sent to speak new languages: 
we are not called forth to buy the Rossetta Stone Language CDs and study but rather to let our body, whole and entire, speak eloquent volumes of love.  Since the cross, love is always brand new for every generation.

We are sent to handle snakes: 
not the reptiles that slither but the snakes of the world who with contempt try to deceive the world, who try to deceive our children, we are called to grab hold and shake them so that they cease doing harm. 

We are sent to be unharmed by poison:  
day in and day out we drink in the poison of the world, we are saturated in it and yet we are not overcome, we do not lose our strength but stand tall.

We are sent to lay hands and bring healing:
 not a formal prayer service but any time our hands are used in a gesture of good will, service, and fidelity to God for the advance of peoples healing breaks forth into the world. 

These are the signs that accompany the believers.  Be a sign, no better yet be a believer and the signs shall come.  

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Mark 3:7-12

"He told his disciples to have a boat ready  for him because of the crowd so that they would not crush him."

Jesus did not want the people to crush him.  It is amazing to ponder the frail human reality of the Son of God.  Even Jesus needed to proceed cautiously, carefully; he was not reckless with his frail humanity neither should we be.  

It was the gentle willingness of Christ to give himself away constantly, unceasingly that invited the people to come.  Because of his gentle goodness they were attracted to him.  

Christians can learn a lot from Christ:  One, we are called to be gentle and good.  Two: being gentle and good means we will have a good reputation and people will come.  Three: we will need to be careful so that we are not crushed in the process; we will need time and distance so that the gentleness will remain and we find this in prayer.  

Todays is also the feast of St. Francis de Sales.  He is considered the doctor of gentleness. He reminds Christians that we are all called to be like water troughs, where man and beast alike can come and be refresh.  

Refresh someone day but be careful not to be crushed!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

life abundant

When John Paul II was alive often times he would stand in Rome and look out across the Atlantic Ocean and he would point out that the American Society had become a culture of death.  

He was trying to help us see that we had lost the splendor of life.

Today in Washington many come to march for life.  The act itself of marching reminds us that it isn't enough to take a stand for life, we must together march, to be united in moving forward.  Only together can this culture of death be transformed can the splendor of life return.  

On this day of penance as we mourn the roe v. wade decision; as we look back over the past 35 years and are overwhelmed by the number of babies who were never given the opportunity to  breathe, to laugh, to love, to hurt, to grow, to smile, to frown, to live some 48 million babies, we gather to march forward lamenting yet hoping that one day life will once again be seen as the greatest miracle on earth. 

Together we transform this culture of death into a culture of life abundant!


Saturday, January 19, 2008

is the doctor in?

Mark 2:13-17

We live in an age where everyone is a specialist.  The medical field is crawling with specialist with strange names that rival the scientific names of most insects. 

I believe specialist in the medical field are slowly occupying their own classification system within the species genera Homo Sapiens. 

There are nephrologists, diabetologists, dermotologists, anesthesiologists, endocrinologists, gastroenterologists, hematologists, rhinologists, urogynecologists and the list goes on.  The key to finding the right specialist is having the correct diagnosis.  You hate to find yourself in the office of a urologist (someone who deals with the urinary aspect of the body) when all you needed was ear-nose-throat doctor to tend to some infection in your sinus cavity.

When you ask is the doctor in, you may have to brace self and be a little more specific and hope your insurance covers it. 

In Today's gospel Jesus reminds us that when it comes to sin He certainly is acutely trained to handle the situation.  He is a sintoligist.    

All you need is a little dose of humility to recognize that you are not as well as you think you are.  A little recognition of your own brokenness, a proper diagnosis of  sinflamation of the soul, viceitis, and indeed Jesus will come in.  

The perfect prescription to fight the disease of the soul involves confession of your sin (1 Jn 1:9) to those qualified (Jn 20:21-23) the successors of the apostles, the ordained ministers,  bishops and priest, who carry with them the authority to offer forgiveness and mercy to those who are in need.  The sacrament of confession, as set up by Jesus, certainly carries his legacy, his specialty of fighting sin, being the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29).  

The lamb was slain (Rev 5:) and in deed through Him sins are removed and God's glory fills the the universe.  The bride of the lamb, the new Jerusalem, (Rev 21:9) shall remain spotless for she will be the one who is founded on the 12 apostles and those who shall enter the gates shall find their names written in the lamb's book of life (Rev 21:27) and these are those who humbled themselves and were of want of the physician (Mk 2:17). 

Friday, January 18, 2008

warm air rises

Mark 2:1-12

Standing by our refrigerator with the door opened early in my life I discovered that in deed it was true.  My cold feet and warm head was the experiential knowledge needed to affirm the fact that warm air rises.   Hot Air balloons are named just that, well, because it is heating the air that causes the balloon to rise.  Warm air rises and in doing so it helps us rise as well.  

The young man in today's gospel was lifted high.  He rose on the warmth of love exercised by the four young man who because of their faith were willing to lift him and carry him to meet Jesus.  There were no obstacles too big, for with faith, we can "scale any mountain and leap any wall (Psalm 18:30).  The warm love of others helped him to rise.  

Once he was in the presence of Jesus, he reached new heights because the warmth of divine love gave him the necessary lift to soar, "rise, pick up your mat and go home."  

"Rise!"  Jesus came to give us a boost, to lift us high, to help us soar.  With him we are no longer bound, we are no longer held to the earth, but rather our soul shall fly like a dove as it rises on the warmth of divine love that issues forth from the wood of the cross.  

The goal of every man's life is, in fact, to rise to the loftiest peace of spirit, by rising into a living relationship with God, which is love centered on mercy and forgiveness.  The eternal flame of divine love always fueled by mercy seeks to lift us to to new heights.

May the warmth of God's love enflamed by mercy lift you high.
"Rise" be on your way home.  

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Are you still lacking

Matthew 19:16-26

Today is the feast of St. Anthony. 

Today we turn our eyes toward the desert of Egypt, where early in the history of the Church many men and women left the crowded realm of social norms and false values and embraced a life of solitude.  They got away from it all in order to draw closer to God. 

The question for us is Why?  Why did they do that?  Why did Anthony at age 20 sell everything and enter the desert and stay there for the next 85 years.  

The reason behind the madness of devotion and conviction.  Anthony took Jesus at his word.  He heard the gospel, "If you wish to be perfect, go sell what you have and give to the poor.  You will have treasure in heaven.  Then come follow me," and then he followed through on it. 

The history of the world is filled with tales of men and women taking God at his word.  Anthony was only doing what Mary did when she said yes, what the apostles did when they followed after Christ, what Jesus himself did when after kneeling in agony he rose, "let us rise, and be on our way" and then continued with "take this all of you and eat, this is my body given for you."  The courage of the follower is only a mirror of the courage of the one who calls, "come follow me."

Why did Anthony do that? He could do nothing else.

The final question for us is Why don't we?  Why don't we?

Are you still lacking?



Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Exorcise in the New Year

Mark 1:29-39 

Into days Gospel we encounter Jesus preaching and driving out demons.  

Not only does Jesus preach and drive out demons but he gives his apostles the same commissioning; they are sent to preach and have authority to cast out demons.  

In preaching we bring the light of the Word to the darkness of the world.  Preaching the light entails battling the darkness.  Pope Benedict reminds us that "In following Jesus, his herald has to exorcise the world thus establishing a new form of life in the Holy Spirit that bring release to those who are possessed."

This description of Jesus' activity and the activity of His followers reminds us that there is "something in the air that wants to make faith seem ludicrous and absurd".  There is something that will seek to be resistant to the message of faith and truth and light.  

Thus to follow Christ means to enter into the struggle.  
In the struggle we hold firm to the truth that the life of faith brings forth the "pure breath of life, the breath of the creator, the breath of the Holy Spirit that gives health to the world". 

Many have made new Year's resolutions to exercise and improve their fitness; I wonder how many are resolved to exorcise in order to improve the fitness of the world around them!
By our lived faith we bring forth an exorcism that purifies the world, like filters, bringing an air of freshness that seeks to defeat the stale breath of darkness present among us.  

By the power of Christ we shall dart about likes sparks of light bringing hope to the world, bringing freshness that invigorates and revives, this is the life of faith, this is the kingdom of God.  

Monday, January 14, 2008

fall on your knees

I recently came across the autobiography of Eric Clapton.  In it he describes his journey in and out of treatment centers for his addictions.  Apparently the world of Rock and Roll brought not only fame and fortune but also addictions of alcohol and drugs.  He describes his experience in the last treatment center a few days before he was released.  As the day approached to leave he realized that nothing had changed, he was was filled with thoughts of drinking and drugging and self-destruction.  

He was overcome with panic and fear.  His legs gave away and he fell upon his knees.

He did not know what he was saying or who he was saying it to, but it was the first time he could remember that he prayed.  It was at that moment that something changed.  There was a difference in him.  He went on to kick the addiction.

He writes this in thinking about that experience.  He said, "you are never more a mature adult than when you fall upon your knees and bend humbly to something greater than yourself."

We have two options in life: we can genuflect to something greater than our self or we can slowly self-destruct. 

It is on our knees that we are truly awaken to love as St. John reminds us, "not that we have loved God but that he has loved us." 

So fall on knees and be awaken to love that cries from above to be your strength. 

"Happy are those who acclaim such a king, who walk, O' Lord, in the light of your face.  Who find their joy every day in your name.  Who makes your justice the source of their bliss.  You, Lord, are the Glory of their strength".  (PSalm 89)