Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Exodus 34:29-35; Ps 99 Holy is the lord our God; Matthew 13:44-46

"Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands, he did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant while he conversed with the Lord...On coming out he would tell the children of Israel all that had been commanded.  then the children of Israel would see that the skin of Moses' face was radiant..."

Think about the above passage and notice the following.

Moses' face is radiant as he holds the commandments in his hands and as he told the children all that God had commanded.

These two realities are important.
We must hold the commandments in our arms and embrace them in our life and we must give the fullness of God's commands to others only then does the glory of God radiate through us and outward to the world.

How often in our world do people want to cut the commandments of God short?  How often do we in our society want to pick and choose what commands we let guide us and what commands we overlook both in living and in giving instruction?

Because of this the radiance of glory is denied to the world.

If only we would trust God's commands and let them bring forth God's radiance to the world and our lives.

In today's gospel we have the saying of Jesus concerning the pearl of great price: "THe kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls.  When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it."

We must open our hands if we are to receive the pearl of great price.  We must be ready and willing to risk everything for the treasure that looms large, offered to each us.

What have we sold for the kingdom?
What have we let go  for the kingdom?
What false pearls and cheap treasure have we clung to in our life rather than the real deal?

Thursday, July 25, 2013


2 Corinthians 4:7-15; PS 126 THose who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing; Matthew 20:20-28

"We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us..."

How do we get out of the way?  How do we let God use this earthen ware?

The thing about earthen vessels, they crack.

We are cracked pots and some how unbeknown to us, God uses these cracks to let the light in, his surpassing power.

Where are you cracks?  How do you let the cracks expose the power of God working in your life?

Today's gospel we experience a mother's request.  Now a request from a mother can sometimes be overwhelming.  Momma's usually get what they want.  The measure of today's gospel is to make sure mothers want what is best.

Isn't that what hear as children, "Momma knows best!"

What does this mother of James and John want from Jesus?  She wants glory for her sons, "Let them sit  one at your right and one at your left, in your kingdom."

I wonder what would the world look like, feel like, be like if every mother had such aspirations for their children.  If the thought glory were the first thing they thought of each morning before they got busy with all things related to their children.

How would our life be different if the thought and pursuit of glory became the coffee we drink daily?

Lastly, I leave you with  few words from Pope Francis as World Youth Day kicked off in Rio de Janeiro, he describes the three attitudes of the Christian,

"hopefulness, openness to being surprised by God, and living in joy..."

"Anyone who is a man or woman of hope-the great hope which faith gives us-knows that even in the midst of difficulties God acts and he surprises us...IF we walk in hope allowing ourselves to be surprise by the new wine Jesus offers us, we have joy in our hearts and we cannot fail to witnesses of this joy."

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Ex 16:1-5,9-15; PS 24 The Lord gave them bread from heaven; Mt 13:1-9

The journey from slavery to freedom is never easy.  We all celebrate freedom in our life.  We all romanticize about being free.

Yet the price freedom is often very challenging and difficult.  Freedom is not easy, nor is it free.

The people of Israel experience this challenging and difficult path quite intimately as they leave Egypt and enter into the dry arid land of the desert.

They are overcome with resentment and greed.  What they don't like about the present situation quickly mask the pain of the past, so much so they would rather be slaves then free men.

They find themselves entering into that ole familiar chorus "it used to be better."

How often in our life do we sing that song as we fight the present circumstances of life?  How often we think to ourselves it would have been only if we  (fill in the blank).  When the present is difficult we forsake it for the past that is out of reach.

Why do we do these silly senseless things when God simply invites us to give the present a chance!

The gift of the manna is intimately wrapped up in living in the moment regardless of the circumstances.

The ISraelites were instructed to go out and gather the manna each morning but to gather only what they needed for the day.  WIth God it is always just enough for just a day, one day at a time.

Of course, why not?  We can only live one day at a time?  When we try to live more than we get overwhelmed and grow sick mentally and physically?

Just enough for just a day is the refrain God invites the Israelites to sing. Freedom requires a new song to be sung daily in our life.

Freedom is only embraced moment by moment, day by day.

This is the bread the Lord has given.

Monday, July 22, 2013


Genesis 18:1-10; Ps 15 He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord; Colossians 1:24-28; Luke 10:38-42

During the time when Pope Benedict was resigning, I found myself looking back over some of the memorable words of wisdom he left us as the Successor of Peter.

Here is one that was striking:

"The world promises you comfort; but you were not made for comfort you were made for greatness."

You were not made for comfort but greatness.

How do we become great?
The answer that comes to mind is simple, we become great by imitating greatness.

Now, notice I didn't say by imitating great people.  No, we become great by imitating greatness.

Who is greatness?  God.  God is greatness himself.  So if we are called to not settle for comfort but truly become who we were created to be in being great than we must imitate God.

Now that may seem a bit much.

Imitating God is the path way to greatness.  Now, I didn't say trying to be God, but rather imitating his actions.

Abraham does this in the first reading.  He spies the three travelers and he greets them and welcomes them into his home.  He sets them under the giant oak tree to get some shade from the sun and then he prepares a banquet for them.

He creates space and time for these guest.  He does just create a little time, he spends all day preparing a meal and gives them the best place in the house.

This may not seem like much but wait a minute.

Think back to creation.  What are the first two gifts of creation: God creates time and space for us.  He creates the earth and the sun and moon and stars with you and I in mine.

God is very hospitable to us; he opens up eternity and creates space and time that we may have life.

The word hospitality simple means to be open.  God opens himself to us as Abraham open himself to the travelers.

What about us?  How are we open?  How do we create space and time for those we encounter daily in our life?

Sure, we are pretty good at creating space and time for people we like or fine attractive or are part of our inner circle but what about for everyone else.

God created space and time not just for the so called "good" people but for every one the good, bad ugly, indifferent and so on.

We too must imitate this reality with everyone god puts in our path.

Go back to the first reading, Abraham give us his space and time and the gift is returned to him.  The travelers respond to his hospitality and generosity by informing him his wife who is barren shall have a son.

Life is found where there was no life before.

Isn't this true for us?  When we open our lives to another and create space and time does it not feel like we have finally begun to live.

It is a risk certainly.  It is a risk to our comfort; God wants to shatter our comfort zone.  Besides comfort will eventually fade and ultimately lead to death.

Greatness is eternal.  This is where we must fix our attention.

Why do we struggle with hospitality and openness?  Why do we look suspicious upon folks rather than see then as a lot like us, our brothers and sisters, who have been space and time by the hand of God?

I think we are a lot like Martha in the gospel, we are busy with many things and we have lost our focus.  Like Mary we need to rediscover the one thing necessary: sitting at the feet of Jesus in prayer and meditation.

Normally when we pray we busy ourselves with telling Jesus what he needs to do, well that is coercion not prayer.  No!  We need to learn to be still, to sit quietly, to receive Jesus as he comes only then can we receive others as they come to.

Action with out prayer is sterile and empty

Here is the challenge.  We need to set aside time to be with Jesus at least an hour a day.  We owe to ourselves and more importantly we owe to the people of God who long to look upon the face of God int he face of those who say "I believe."

"The world will promise you comfort; you were not made for comfort, you were made for greatness."

Friday, July 19, 2013


Ex 11:10-12:14; Ps 116 I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the lord; Matt 12:1-8

Here are a few words from the first reading for us to meditate on, "the LORD made Pharaoh obstinate, and he would not let the children of Israel leave his land."

The LORD made Pharaoh obstinate.

This has been a line of scripture that has stuck in people's craw over and over again.  It is hard to imagine God making someone obstinate against him.

Here is a question for us:  When have we been obstinate against God?  When have we've been stubborn and put up resistance to the movement of grace in our life?

It is a common theme that runs through every human heart.

In fact, the Eucharist we celebrate brings to mind humanity's resistance and stubbornness against God.  For it was that resistance and stubbornness that brought forth the crucifixion, which brought the Eucharist, the source and summit of the christian life.

How often does God take our resistance, our refusal, our desire to but heads and flip it into grace, mercy, and transformation?

Is this not what he does with the experience with Egypt and Pharaoh!

Be attentive today of your own resistance and stubbornness; there in lies a hidden opportunity of grace.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Ex 3:!3-20; PS 105 The Lord remembers his covenant for ever; Matt 11:28-30

When one thinks of attributes of greatness, what comes to mind?

What image of greatness begins to take shape in our conceptual reality?

What does a person of greatness possess that sets him or her apart from the rest of us, the rest of society, the rest of history as it unfolds?

Take a few moments...

After you flip through all the qualities of greatness you have seen in others or  you would expect to see in others then recall the words of Jesus in today's gospel, "...learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart..."

Meek and Humble.

Were these part of the list of greatness?

Let's look at that for a moment.

To be humble, means literally to be grounded or better it means lowly dirt.    Is there anything more real than dirt.  A humble person is one who is grounded in reality, the way things are, not the way he or she might imagine them to be.

Grounded in reality is certainly a necessary quality of greatness.

The humble person has the ability of right appraisal of his or herself as well as the surroundings around them, never losing sight of reality.   This right appraisal is a lot like dirt in the sense that from it life begins to blossom.

Meekness is often considered be a quality tied to passivity or inactivity, one who goes around shy and disengaged, but this is not correct.

Moses was considered the meekest person on earth (Num 12:3) and yet he went toe to toe with Pharaoh.  Meekness is a gentle goodness that wisely knows when to act and how to act.

There is quiet confidence that emanates from the person who is meek.

We don't have to be loud or be one who seeks attention, but we do need to be ready and willing to step it up when it is the right time.

Gentle goodness that is ready and willingly to take a stand for goodness itself.

Meek and Humble.

Lastly, lets look at the Name of God.

Sounds pretty frighting doesn't it: The NAME Of GOD.  I think it needs to be all in capital letters to get the effect right.

I AM WHO AM is the translation we get in today's first reading from Exodus.

But a more accurate translation might be I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE.  God's name is a verb of promise.  God promises to be who ever the chosen people need him to be in order to lead them to freedom.  This is important.  God's focus is our freedom to live and to love as He is free and love himself.

God eternally commits himself to be who he will be that we may experience freedom has he desires it, as we are created for it, not as we often misinterpret it.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Exodus 3:1-6,9-12; PS 103 The Lord is kind and merciful; Matthew 11:25-27

"Yes Father such has been your gracious will.  All things have been handed over to me by my Father; No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and  and anyone to whom the son wishes to reveal him."

Who knows?

It is a phrase we are familiar all too often. We use this phrase to show our belief that anything is possible or that anything can happen.  We shouldn't give up or quite so easily with effort or without trying.

For instance, when I was senior and looking toward college, application after application for college was placed before me by my teachers and counselors at the highschool I went.

Usually by the look on my face they could see the frustration and uncertainty mounting as it seemed like a waste of time.  Why fill out applications that would get rejected?

That  was my response to them.

Inevitably they would respond with, "who knows" to express hopefulness that anything was possible and that anything could happen.

I find myself telling the students I encounter the very same sentiment when they are faced with odds seemingly against them, "who knows" I tell them because anything is possible and anything can happen.

The future is never so easily manipulated or controlled or predetermined by the circumstance we experience or by our lived situation.

There is a sense if hopefulness that emanates  and animates life.

Why?  Why is there hopefulness?

In large part because the "No One" Jesus speaks about in todays gospel is actually a someone.  When no one becomes someone then hopefulness rises.

We are the no one.  We have been entrusted with a secret.  We have been let in on the inside scoop.  We have been brought into the know, as they say.

We know Jesus.  We continually grow in our knowledge of him  and his knowledge and love for us.  This revelation has brought forth much hope in our world.

As St. Paul says those who have hope live differently.  Those who have hope can live.  We have hope because the Father has chosen to reveal his son to us.

When we hear the phrase "who knows" we can respond we know and that knowledge continually grows daily in our life and as we live.

What a gift! What a beautiful surprise!  From Moses to the present God makes a point of turning no ones into someones.  From the burning bush of today's first reading to the small wafer of bread that has been transformed by the Holy Spirit, God reveals himself to us.

Monday, July 15, 2013


Exodus 1:8-14,22; MAtthew 10:34-11:1

Here is a bit of instruction from St. Bonaventure whose feast we celebrate today:

"In beautiful thins St. Francis saw Beauty itself, and through his vestiges imprinted on creation he followed his Beloved everywhere, making from all things a ladder by which he could climb up and embrace Him who is utterly desirable.  If you desire to know...ask grace, not instruction; desire, not understanding; the groaning of prayer, not diligent reading; the Spouse, not the teacher; God, not man; darkness not clarity; not light, but fire that totally inflames and carries us into God by ecstatic unctions and burning affections"

ask grace, not instruction
ask desire, not understanding
ask groaning of prayer, not diligent reading
ask for the Spouse, not the teacher
ask for God, not man
ask for darkness, not clarity
ask not for light, but fire that totally inflames and carries us into God by ecstatic unctions and burning affections

These are the words of St. Bonaventure, the doctor of the church.

It is fitting for the gospel today in which Jesus states the following

"Whoever loves Father or mother more than me is not worthy of me...whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me

Whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me..."

I know plenty of parents who think they love God more than their children but do not live it; I know plenty of parents who choose their children over God daily.  I know those who would sacrifice God for the sake of their Children but not many who would sacrifice their children for the sake of God.

Where is our love?  Where does it reside?  Who take first place in our heart and mind?

Friday, July 12, 2013


MAtthew 10:16-23

"Behold I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.  But beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, you will be led before governors and kings and for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans..."

To things that come to mind as I ponder this passage.

Jesus gives us an invitation to be SHREWD.

Lets look at the definition quickly before we move on.

 1.Characterized by keen awareness, sharp intelligence, and often a sense of the practical.
2. Disposed to artful and cunning practices; tricky.
3. Sharp; penetrating:
shrewdly adv.
Synonyms: shrewd, sagacious, astute, perspicacious
 Having or showing keen awareness, sound judgment, and often resourcefulness, especially in practical matters. Shrewd suggests a sharp intelligence, hardheadness, and often an intuitive grasp of practical considerations:
Sagacious connotes prudence, discernment, and farsightedness:
Astute suggests shrewdness, especially with regard to one's own interests: A
Perspicacious implies penetration and clear-sightedness: 

Now I want you to ponder these definitions and ask yourself if you have been this way in your life in regards to your faithfulness. 

Are we hard headed or soft minded when it comes to our faith?
Do we see the practical and daily impact of our faithfulness in our life and follow through on it?
Are we resourceful when it comes to both guarding our faith and spreading our faith?

Shrewdness is necessary for a flourishing faithfulness.  We can't ket it get watered down.

Secondly Jesus tells us to beware of men. 

We often see those signs, "Beware of Dog."

We instantly know what that means, "Something is present that may bring harm to our person" thus we need to be attentive and alert, constant;y aware of our surroundings and the people we deal with continuously. 

There are often hidden agendas more than just our own.

We have to be prepared for the H element, the human element, the fallen condition of man that remains in need of redemption. 

People will betray us, turn us, deny us, cheat on us, forsake us, disappoint us and the list goes on.   We can not put our trust in them, but only in God who will provide for us what we need at each moment, "YOu will be given at that moment what to say."

We must not be fooled.  We must never lose sight of the effects of the fall.  We must always be careful to entrust our hearts to God not men and let the spirit move us forward. 

This is not to say we should not build relationships and circles of trust and network.  We hsould but we must make sure our faith is rooted in Jesus as we do so. 

Where our heart is there our treasure will be.

Shrewd and Beware and go forth as a witness.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Matthew 10:7-15

We have reached the tenth chapter of the gospel of Matthew and something new happens.  There is a 90 degree turn in the narrative concerning Jesus' public ministry.

For the first 9 chapters Jesus is busy with proclaiming the kingdom and in this proclamation he drives out demons, he makes the blind to see, the mute to speak, the leper whole.

In this unfolding of the proclamation of the kingdom people begin to gather in small groups that eventually become large crowds upwards to 5000 plus.  The crowds are gathering and they are pressing in on all sides to get close to Jesus as he proclaims the kingdom.  So much so, that at one point he feeds all of them with leftover to spare.

For the first few months of Jesus' public ministry and proclamation, He takes care of everything on his own.  With a word, a look, a glance, a thought and some might even suggest that  with a snap of the finger miracles abound, masses are fed, healing occur and what was disorder becomes ordered.

Jesus doesn't seem to need any assistance or help and the disciples are simply along for the ride, for the show, for the display of power, for the performance of their life time.

But today, in chapter 10 of the gospel of Matthew the mystery of the kingdom is unveiled.  We are invited into a new dimension of that kingdom proclamation that Jesus does so well on his won.

What is that mystery?

It isn't that the disciples are told to take no money bag, or sandals, or walking stick.  It isn't primarily that they are told to drive out demons, cure the sick,  cleanse the lepers.

No what the mystery is is that Jesus who can do all of this on his own; Jesus who can with a snap of the finger make what was wrong right, crooked straight as now decided to include us and in fact refuse to go alone.

JEsus in chapter ten decided to need us so that the proclamation can continue and the kingdom can unfold.

This is what the great mystery is all about.  That Jesus as decided that we are all important and necessary to the reality of the kingdom coming.

God who can make all things new, refuses to let the newness come unless it comes through our collaboration and cooperation.

We, you and I, as disciples are an integrated part of the kingdom process and there is no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Jesus tells us, "as you go..."

We are invited to do what Jesus has done.  Jesus refuses to go it alone even though he could.  It is a greater act of charity to include others in the cat of charity rather than to simple be charitable alone.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Matthew 9:32-38; Genesis 32:23-33

The eagles have a son entitled "Learn to Be Still"; it is from their album Hell Freezes Over.  Now I am not advertising that you may run out it get the album, trust me, I don't get any financial support from the eagles, but i was thinking of this song as I was reflecting on the reading for today.

This is verse of the song that struck me as I was reading the gospel, It's just another day in paradise 

"As you stumble to your bed 

You'd give anything to silence 
Those voices ringing in your head 
You thought you could find happiness 
Just over that green hill 
You thought you would be satisfied 
But you never will- 
Learn to be still 

We are like sheep without a shepherd 
We don't know how to be alone 
So we wander 'round this desert 
And wind up following the wrong gods home 

But the flock cries out for another 
And they keep answering that bell 
And one more starry-eyed messiah 
Meets a violent farewell- 
Learn to be still 
Learn to be still 

Now the flowers in your garden 
They don't smell so sweet 
Maybe you've forgotten 
The heaven lying at your feet 

There are so many contradictions 
In all these messages we send 
(We keep asking) 
How do I get out of here 
Where do I fit in? 
Though the world is torn and shaken 
Even if your heart is breakin' 
It's waiting for you to awaken 
And someday you will- 
Learn to be still 
Learn to be still 

The gospel of Matthew reports the following, "At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd."

How many of us live out this reality? How many of us experience people who have just been troubled and abandoned?

How often have we quit on people because they are overwhelming and exhausting to be around?

Sometimes we have to distance ourselves from that which suffocates recognizing that we are not the Messiah, we are not the one to fix the problems and the aches of the human heart.

Yet, at the same time, to be a "laborer for the harvest"  means as Richard Rohr points out, to go where the pain is.

Is this not what Jesus does.  Does he not risk being overwhelmed, suffocated, exhausted by the hopes, dreams, needs, pains of those he encounters, those who long for the shepherd.

It is our task as disciples not to be the shepherd but to bring the pain and the hurt to the shepherd; we are called to show them the face of the shepherd who comes to bear the pain, to take in to himself and heal it with the wounds of love that remain on the body pierced and broken and risen.

Our instinct is to run from the pain; our instinct is to seek self preservation; our natural instinct is in need of purification so that the instinct of faith can become a reality, where instead of focusing on ourselves we direct our focus outward and upward to heaven lying at our feet.

We let our pain, our hurt,  our brokenness communicate to that of others and in that sweet exchange the face of the Good Shepherd begins to take shape and his healing grace becomes our strength.

The flock cries out for another and they will follow anyone who makes the pain better, the hurt go away even if it is false; they want the kingdom and we are invited to spread the kingdom before them daily.

We don't have to get it right; we don't have to be perfect; we don't have to be completely healed; we just need to trust in Christ and let the Good Shepherd lead.

Friday, July 5, 2013


Genesis 23:1-4, 19; 24:1-8,62-67; Ps 106 Give thanks tot he lord, for he is good; Matthew 9:9-13

In today's  first reading we encounter one of the first transactions or purchases in the bible.  Abraham bought land from the Hittites so that he could procure a place of burial for his wife Sarah.

This is a very common thing today, where plots are purchased in advance to assure a place of rest for the body of the deceased.

This piece of land is considered the 2nd most sacred place in the Jewish faith, second only to the Temple Mount.

It is believed that the remains of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebeccah, Jacob, and Leah are all buried in the cave of Machpelah.

Already in the biblical record we get this reverence for the body of the deceased.  They are not just discarded but with great care and concerned they are kept from desecration by burial.

These bodies represent God's intervention in history.  God uses ordinary people, he calls name by name and guides them and directs them daily so that salvation can unfold through them.

It is important for us to remember that one of the primary ways God makes himself known to the world is through individual men and women has called forth and sent out.

As he did with family of Abraham, so God wishes and desires to do with our family.

God continues to call people forth.  In the gospel with experience the call of Matthew while he was sitting at the customs post.   While he was working, doing his job, he is invited to follow Jesus.

Just like with Abraham and Matthew, we too are being called to let salvation be made known by the lives we lead.

The dead continue to remind us of the voice of God that has broken the silence and calls forth from one generation to the next, even now in ours.

May our families become like those of the patriarchs and matriarchs, bearing witness to the call of God and his presence daily in our life.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Genesis 22:1-19; Ps 115 i will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living; Matt 9:1-8

"So that you may know the son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins-he then said tot he paralytic, Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.  He rose and went home."

Rise and pick up your mat and go home.

Today's we celebrate the day of independence in the United States.  237 years ago our founding fathers, the men of the 13 colonies voted to separate themselves from the rule of England.  They were already in a rebellion, though the 4th of July marked a beginning to an official revolution.

Much has been written about this monumental event in the history of peoples.

Often we forget that the men were just like us.  They wanted to own land and wanted to protect their land and wanted to be free from taxation without representation and so on and so forth.

They were not giants, they were not intellectually superior they simply had a cause that united them.

They were rebels with a cause and didn't give up on it.

Jesus could be considered a rebel with a cause.

Jesus was a game changer.  He changed the rules of the game by his mannerisms and by his out reach to the afflicted and the outcast all for the sake of the relationship of forgiveness to the ache of the human heart.

Jesus was a rebel that refused to give up on the mission and purpose he was given.  The battle cry could be summed up in the simple pronouncement to the paralytic, "Rise, pick up your mat and go home."

This is the rebel cry of the Son of God who comes to address himself to each of us, empowering us to walk and experience true freedom from sin, true freedom from our past, freedom to be children of God wrapped in the merciful arms of the Father.
Today we continue that rebellion,that revolution by refusing to stay down, by refusing to be handicapped, but rather by rising, by walking, by taking a stride in the direction where our true home awaits.

Rise and pick up you mat.  Let forgiveness ring.


Ephesians 2:19-22; Ps 117 Go out to all the world and tell the Good News; John 20:24-29

"unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my hand into  his side, I will not believe..."

These are the words of St. Thomas, the apostle, when he discovers he missed out on the appearance of the resurrected Jesus.

IT is interesting to note that in the gospels, the identity of the risen Lord is no longer perceivable by his face or his voice but rather Jesus is recognized in two ways through the breaking of the bread and by the showing of the wounds on his hands and his feet.

There is something different about Jesus in the resurrection that keeps his disciples from recognizing him otherwise.

But, the true and authentic identity of Jesus is revealed by the wounds of Love.

Is this not what St. Thomas is after in the first place!

We often call him doubting Thomas but truth be told, Thomas just simply refused to accept a counterfeit Jesus.  He wanted the real mccoy.

Shouldn't this be the case for all of us.  None of us should ever settle for anything less than the real Jesus who bears the marks of love.

It is Thomas's doubt that actually leads him to a deeper faith and stronger conviction.

So it is with us.  Doubt is not necessarily an enemy of faith but rather it can be that which deepens and perfects the faith if we follow through.

I remember when i was in room visiting the churches.  On one afternoon I found myself in the the church of the Holy Cross.  In this church there is a side chapel which is dedicated to the passion of Jesus.  AS you climb the stairs you make the way of the cross.  Then as your turn right you enter a smaller chapel that has a reliquary that contains remnants of the crucifixion.

There in this reliquary was a thorn believed to be from the actual crown Jesus' wore.  There were pieces of the true cross, the sign that hung upon the cross that read INRI in three languages, there was a nail and other things that brought to mind the passion of JEsus.

One object that was a bit odd and striking at the same time was a finger and it is believed to be the finger of St. Thomas.  I know it sounds a bit weird even as I write it bit truth be told it gave me something to ponder.

As I sat there and reflected on the passion of Christ,  was immediately captured by the thought of that encounter with JEsus and Thomas where the invitation to put the hand in the nail marks and finger in the side came rushing to me.

As I pondered that image, I began to think of the many moments of doubt in my life.  What I realized was that the doubt was essential to my discernment.  It was my doubt that got me to investigate and to ask questions and to seek out the truth.

It was my doubt that ultimately led me to the seminary and led me to be ordained. It my doubt that helped me discover the true identity of Christ as the one who reveals the wounds of love.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Genesis 19:15-29; Ps 26 O lord, your mercy is before my eyes; Matthew 8:23-27

Today is the feast of Oliver Plunket, who was the last catholic to be martyred in England.  He was convicted of treason because he was promoting the Catholic faith in the 17th century.

Sometimes, in our society we forget that catholics were maltreated.  How often have revisionist historians commented on the ugly treatment of catholics toward non catholics and yet fail to recognize the trail of blood that has dripped from the hands of those who butchered catholics for their beliefs and faiths.

History is filled with many tales of horror on both sides of the coin.

St. Oliver was man of great dedication.  He went around in disguise for a while carrying out his mission to bring the gospel to Ireland only to be arrested and imprisoned by the English.  Later he was tried and convicted of treason and hung on the scaffold.

Treason for teaching the faith.  We may think we have come a far way since those days, but even today in our time and place, Catholicism is looked down upon.  Our prayers must continually be raised for greater resolve and conviction to maintain our faithfulness and like Oliver continue tirelessly to proclaim the faith.

We turn our attention to the first reading today. We are continually following in the footsteps of Abraham.  But today we pause to walk int he wake of Lot.

Lot finds himself in hot water in Sodom. God has determined, after Abraham's intercession and pleading, that Sodom was in need of cleansing.

Though, Lot is offered a way out of town to avoid being swept up int he carnage and destruction that would soon befall Sodom for its outcry and injustice.

God sends angels to urge Lot and his family to leave before the destruction.

We pick up with the narrative, "As dawn was breaking, the angels urged Lot on, saying, "on your way!  Take with your wife and your two daughters who are here or you will be swept away in punishment of Sodom."  When he hesitated, the men, by the Lord's mercy, seized his hand and the hands of his wife and his two daughters and led them to safety outside the city."

I want you to think about Lot's hesitation.  Why would Lot hesitate to be rescued?  In Hebrew the word for hesitation is more apt to be translated as dawdle or dawdled.  Lot was dawdling or wasting time.

He was reluctant and resistant to redemption offered by God.

Not only was he dawdling.  But once the angels got him outside the city, Lot began to bicker and argue with them about the route God has chosen for his safety.  God had chosen a path that went against Lot's better judgment, but isn't this always the case.  We think our judgment is better than God's judgment.

So like Lot at times we are indecisive, we dawdle, we waste time, we hesitate against the path of redemption laid before us.

Unlike St. Oliver who was deliberate in his action, deliberate in following in the footsteps of Christ, even and all the way to the scaffold and noose.

We need to investigate our life today.  Where are we indecisive?  Where do we dawdle?  Where have we clung to what we consider our better judgment rather than letting the judgment of God better us?