Friday, September 27, 2013


Haggai 1:1-8; Ps 149 The Lord takes delight in his people; Luke 9:7-9

The prophet Haggai speaks, "Now thus says the Lord of hosts, Consider your ways! you have sown much, but have brought in little; you have eaten, but have not been satisfied; you have drunk but have not been exhilarated, have clothed yourselves but have not been warmed; and whoever have earned wages earned them for a bag with holes in it."

Take a few moments or more than few and reread that exhortation from Haggai the prophet.  Doesn't it describes us, our life, our entry into the rat race.

How often are we not satisfied though we involve ourselves in so much?  We are so busy we so much and yet it seems to be unfulfilling.

We have worked so much and yet the bag has holes.
We have eaten so much yet remain hungry for something more.
We have drunk only to wake up with headaches but yet have not been thirsty for true life.

We have sown but so little we have to show for it.

What is the solution?  For Haggai it was to rebuild the temple, the house of God.

To live for someone greater than ourselves.

What about us?  Are we rebuilding the house of God daily in our life?

This reading remind me of the old hit, "16 tons."

IT goes something like this, "

"Some people say a man is made outta of mud
A poor man's made out of muscle and blood
muscle and blood and skin and bone
a mind that's  a-weak and a back that's strong

you load sixteen tons and what do yo get, what do yo get another day older and deeper in debt
Saint peter don't you call me cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store..."

Don't live as if you owe your soul to the material world, live like you owe it to God alone.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Ezra 9:5-9;  Tobit 13 Blessed be God, who lives for ever; Luke 9:1-6

"Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick."

Many people are often unsure about their purpose in life.  They don't know what they are suppose to be doing.  Because of this they find themselves empty, lacking direction, motivation, a reason to get up and get moving.

These people are professed Christians that i am referring to in regards to this lack of direction and purpose in particular Catholics.

Many leave the church, find themselves in a non catholic gathering and hear something from someone on the lines of missionary and something ignites in them.  Before they know it, they are signed up to go to Africa or South America or some other foreign place wielding their bible and making ready to spread the kingdom.

This is a common tale, a common experience for many.  It is a noble and good reality as well.

However, how do we miss the purpose and mission Jesus gives the apostles.  How is it that we fail to communicate this mission to the rest of the disciples.

Is it a case of selective hearing?  Do we think that only priest are called to spread the gospel, cast out demons and to be healers?

What happen to the power of the laity?  The unordained are still ordained by God to spread the kingdom!

Somehow we missed the boat.  Somehow the unordained have resigned themselves to being spectators an din doing so have lost sense of their own mission, purpose as part of the mystical body of Christ.

We to must set out to proclaim the good news and look for opportunities daily to do so.

If we set out and show people our purpose and mission then it can become contagious; after all is this not what it means to spread the kingdom.

It is a new epidemic Jesus entrust to the faithful, his disciples and apostles alike.

So lets be contagious.  Let get sick and cough all over the world and sneeze in the face of opposition and spread the germs of the gospel, and let the kingdom be cultured here and now, near and far.

Friday, September 20, 2013


1 Timothy 6:2-12; PS 49 BLessed the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs; Luke 8:1-3

"But you, man of God, avoid all this. Instead pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.  Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses."

Compete well for the faith.  Lay hold of eternal life.

The Christian life is a competition. It is like a triathlon involves multiple stage reality where we run and swim and cycle continuously.  Though in the Christian life it seems there is also rock climbing.

We are constantly in a transition from one stage to another: being a husband, a father, a mother, a wife, a neighbor, a employer, social life, religious environment all of which requires a persistent pursuit of the said goal eternal life.

Often times as Paul points out in today's first reading "love for Money" can monopolize the competition.  But it is the more lasting goal we must keep in focus and let determine the daily routine that is "eternal life."

We need to remember that being Christian requires cross training both metaphorically and literally.

Only then can we be like the twelve and the woman in today's gospel Luke 8 where this small rag tag group accompany Jesus  and provided for him out of their resources.

What resources do we use to provide for Jesus?  Hopefully the answer to the question is every resource as we compete well for the faith.

Lace up your sneakers, get out your swimming trunks, lube your bicycle gear up for the triathalon that awaits daily as we compete.

May the intercession of ANdrew Kim and the 103 Korean Martyrs assist us on our journey to compete well for the faith.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


1 timothy 4:12-16; Ps 111 How great are the works of the lord; Luke 7:36-50

The first reading details the passing on of the office of presbyterate (priesthood) as St. PAul describes the laying on hands, the "with the imposition of hands by the presbyterate."

IT reminds me of my ordination as I knelt before the bishop and he imposed his hands over me with the invocation of the Spirit and then came the priest, so many of them who extended their hands and prayed over me me as I was invested as a priest of Jesus Christ.

Here I am now 7 years into the priesthood and still find myself feeling like Timothy in some regards, my youth can sometimes get in the way it seems.  The words of St. Paul are strong reminders, "set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity...attend to yourself and your teaching, persevere in both tasks,f or by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you."

I must say it is pretty good advise.

Then we turn our attention to the gospel.  The Pharisee invites Jesus to dine and while there a "sinful woman" as Luke describes her enters in the house.  She bathe JEsus' feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair, kissed them and anointed them with ointment.

Wow! What a scene that must have been.

The Pharisee immediately criticizes.  How often is that us?  How often do we jump to judgment and negative criticism rather empathy.

Do we criticize or empathize?

JEsus with his question direct us to compassion and empathy, "Do you see this woman?"

That is the question for us.  Do we see the least that gather around us daily.  Do we see those who are least important?  Are our eyes wide open or shut by critique and judgment?

Do we see?

"One to whom little is forgiven loves little."  Why?

When we begin to judge the size our sins we are presuming the role of God.  When we judge that we are not in need of forgiveness then we have already begun to close ourself to love.

Forgiveness enriches love and love empowers forgiveness.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


1 Timothy 3:14-16; Psalm 111 How great are the works of the Lord; Luke 7:31-35

Today is the birthday of Jean Faucault, who is famous for using the pendulum to describe the earth's rotation around the sun.  In Faucault's Pendulum (1990), Umberto Eco wrote the following as a description of what Faucault may have observed when speculating about the earth's rotation, 

"The Pendulum told me that, as everything moved — earth, solar system, nebulae and black holes, all the children of the great cosmic expansion — one single point stood still: a pivot, bolt, or hook around which the universe could move. And I was now taking part in that supreme experience. I, too, moved with the all, but I could see the One, the Rock, the Guarantee, the luminous mist that is not body, that has no shape, weight, quantity, or quality, that does not see or hear, that cannot be sensed, that is in no place, in no time, and is not soul, intelligence, imagination, opinion, number, order, or measure. Neither darkness nor light, neither error nor truth.

It is a beautiful description.  

I couldn't help but think of the last line of the gospel as I was pondering the description above, as well as,  the opening lines  of the first reading.  

Jesus tells us in the gospel that "But wisdom is vindicated by all her children." 

St. Paul reminds us in his letter to Timothy what is the center of gravity for us all, "you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth."

Wisdom and the pillar and foundation of truth are the center upon which the pendulum of life swing.

As Umberto Ecco describes so well, "one single point stood still: a pivot, bolt, or hook around which the universe could move."

Is there something upon which life pivots, single point in which the universe moves?   Or are we simply left to our whims and fancies?  

Jesus in the gospel is acknowledging the truth of things.  Jesus points out that children are often moody and petulant who expect the world to obey their quickly passing whims.   But these whims are never sustainable.   Children  are emotional, moody, fickle and irritable.  There is not a great deal of stability for theirs is one of immediate gratification and this alone is risky and unstable. 

There must existence something that is deeper and more stable than the whims of people and the fancies they are attracted to given any moment. 

Wisdom alone shows forth the truth, a truth that belongs to the church JEsus founded.  There is pivot point, a hook un which everything moves.  God has chosen that point of stability to be rooted his church, "you are peter and upon this rock i build my church, the gates of the nether world will not prevail.  What you bind on earth you bind in heaven; what you loose n earth you loose in heaven."

The Pendulum has been set. We must enter into the swing of things and move and dance according not to the piper of the age but the song of truth which echoes forth from the church through the ages. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Colossians 3::12-17; Ps 150 Let everything that breathes praise the Lord; Luke 6:27-38

How many of us have been put off by one or another in our life?

Often in the social exchange someone will delay or refuse or be repulsed by this or that action or this or that person.  This is what it means to be "put off."

Or someone does something that upsets us or doesn't agree with us then we say we are "put off" by them.

There is one thing that is constant for a majority of us in life.  There is at least a moment required for dressing, "putting on" something as we begin the day and go out in to the world.

In fact we have a variety of "dress" for a variety of events and actions in our life.  We put on clothes for work, for exercise, for golf, for a swim, for casual dinner, for formal affairs, for church, for play etc.

We put on dress daily.

We put on more than we are put off.

St. Paul play with that image of "putting on" or dressing for the day and through out the day in the first reading when he offers us this exhortation, "brothers and sisters, put on, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another,"

If we are going to dress for success  then why not dress in a manner that truly breathes for successful attitude and atmosphere in the world around us.

St. Paul wants us to try a new line of clothing designed by Christ himself, "as the Lord has forgiven you."

"Over all these put on love...and let the peace of Christ control your hearts...and be thankful."

St. Paul certainly knows how to accessorize like no others.

What a wardrobe, in the words of ZZ TOP, there is nothing better than a "sharp dressed man."

A Little ZZ TOP to get you moving

Friday, September 6, 2013


Colossians 1:15-20; Ps 100 Come with joy into the presence of  the Lord; Luke 5:33-39

"Christ Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  for in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and invisible...all things were created through him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together..."

There is one constant in life that we can all agree on.  Things fall apart.  Change happens.  Plans fall through.  Not everything we expect to happen happens as we expect.  We often have to adjust on the fly.

Take a moment to look back at your life over the past 9 months: how many things came unglued?

Things are in constant flux.  Roofs need repairing.  Drains need fixing.  Gutters need clearing.  Trees die and need to be cut down.  Limbs need to be trimmed.  Grass needs to be mowed.  Weeds need to be pulled.  Plants need to be watered.

Hair needs to be cut.  Weight needs to be lost.  Etc.Etc. Etc.

Change and flux. Things fall apart.

IT was never more obvious and true for the people of Colossae.  The city was located in a region notorious for earthquakes.  They understood well that things would fall apart.  Things got shook up on a regular basis.

In the mist of all of this there was a need for stability, for that which did not change.  The people wanted something to hold on to firmly.

St. Paul direct their attention appropriately: "Christ JEsus is the image of the invisible him all things hold together."

There it is. When life falls apart, Christ remains the glue that holds it all together.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Colossians 1:9-14; Ps 98 The Lord has made known his salvation Luke 5:1-11

Jesus: "put out into the deep water and lower your nets for a catch."
Simon: "we have worked hard all night and caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets."

When they had done this they had caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing.  They came and filled both boats so that boats were in danger of sinking.

Simon: "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man."  For astonishment at the catch had seized him.

Jesus: "do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men."

When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.

I just love the dialogue of this particular passage of scripture.  It takes place early on and is one of Simon Peter's first encounters with Jesus.  This rough and tough fisherman really doesn't have a chance.

As you read you can sense the resistance in Peter's voice as he reluctantly lowers the nets.  The master fisherman though he knew enough about the profession to second guess the master himself.

Peter was probably right.  He was probably right in not wanting to lower the nets and waste more time and energy.  But sometimes being right in our judgment doesn't mean we are correct in our stance.

Sometimes we have to defer to another's call.

Many times we miss out on the astonishment of the catch God has in store because we stop at our judgment rather than defer to his call.

Sometimes we settle for the right judgment rather that the call of Jesus.

Which brings me to Mother Teresa.  Everyone or at least most know about Mother Teresa.
She was small in stature but a rock in faith, a giant really in putting into practice the words of Jesus: put out into the deep.

Upon being a Sister of Loreto and working and living that life for almost 20 years as a school teacher and principle, She encounter another call.

She heard Jesus say "come be my light"  for "I can not go alone."

It was in that encounter her life took a drastic turn to the slums where she encountered the broken, the poor, the out cast, the dying, the starving, the neglected, the rejects, the unwanted, th eunloved, the uncared for of society.

She remained steadfast in biring that light of Christ to the darkest of places, the places of rotten flesh and stench.

As She would often say, "God still loves the world and He sends you and me to be his love and his compassion tot he poor."

"Put out into the deep", the words spoken to Peter were not unlike the words spoken to Mother Teresa "come be my light, I can't go alone."

Here is one of Mother's aphorisms

The fruit of silence is prayer
The fruit of prayer is faith
The fruit of faith is love
The fruit of love is service
The fruit of service is peace

Once asked to sum up what love really is, she responded "love is giving...true love is giving and giving until it hurts."

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Colossians 1:1-8; PS 52 I trust in the mercy of God forever; Luke 4:38-44

"because of the hope reserved for you in heaven..."

We encounter the opening lines or salvo of St. Paul to the church in Colossae.  There is those opening lines is a sense of enthusiasm on Paul's part as he intend to reach out to his fellow christians.

Read the opening lines of the letter and get a sense of that enthusiasm that jumps off the page:

"Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the holy ones and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae: grace and peace from God our Father..."

What a compact greeting St. Paul brings forth.

What more can St. Paul ask for the people than grace and peace?

What do we ask for those we encounter?  Do wish upon them the same sentiment St. Paul issues forth, a deep desire for grace and peace?

Why does Paul do this?

He has his eyes fixed on that reserved seating, "hope reserved for you in heaven."

How would our life be altered in all of our motivation would be rooted in that reserved seating, hope reserved in heaven?

Look at the gospel for today, something intriguing takes place.

JEsus leaves the synagogue and goes to Simon's house where he encounter Simon's mother in law. Those who were there interceded on with Jesus about her.  JEsus response is to rebuke the fever which brings about a healing, but notice when the healing took place.

Jesus heals Simon's mother in law on the sabbath, in which work was forbidden, any work even headings.
In the Jewish tradition saving a life was not breaking the Sabbath but adhering to it whole heartedly.

I find that interesting that saving life was a required service on the sabbath.  Perhaps there are many things  we don't get about work and the sabbath but i think we can all get that last reality pretty clearly.

Saving a life is truly that which enters into the rest God intended.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Prayer and Intercession for Peace in Syria
God of Compassion,
Hear the cries of the people of Syria
Comfort those who suffer violence
Console those who mourn the dead
Give strength to Syria’s neighbouring countries to welcome the refugees
Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms
And protect those who are committed to peace.
God of hope,
Inspire leaders to choose peace over violence and to seek reconciliation with their enemies
Inflame the Universal Church with compassion for the people of Syria
And give us hope for a future built on justice for all
We ask this through Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace and Light of the world.
Fifth day: Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms, and protect those who work for peace
“The most dramatic thing is the absence of dialogue in the last three years, the anguish and desperation that are taking root in this people.”
It’s now been more than two years of fighting and conflict. Who now remembers that at the beginning, the aim was to fight against injustice, the lack of liberty, oppression? The opposing fronts of the conflict have hardened. What began as a civil war has become an international issue, but in an unhelpful way. Economic and geopolitical interests are winning a battle far removed from the aims of the Syrian people.
“May the war end and may we be able to go home,” the Syrian children pray day after day. That is all they want. That is all they long for, that the war would end.
We pray for the political leaders of the country and the whole world, so that they decide to seek peace and the good of the country, so that they stop considering their own interests and power. We pray for the people who are working for peace, working to alleviate the sorrow of the Syrian people, working to dry their tears, so that they do not grow weary in their labor, despite threats from within and indifference from around the world. Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for Syria, pray for us.


1 Thessalonians 5:1-6,9-11; PS 27 I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living; Luke 4:31-37

Today in the life of the church we recall the life and holiness of Pope Gregory the Great, who lived between 540 and 604.  He was a Monk.  He dedicated his life to service of God living in community.  He established several monasteries.  Eventually he was elected to the Chair of St. Peter where he guided and directed the church for 14 years.

He was known to be a man of acute wisdom and deep humility and compassion though he was not soft.

Here is a quote that i find fitting for today's readings, "If we knew what time we would depart from       this world we would be ale to select a season for pleasure and another for repentance, but we don't so each day is a truce and a day of conversion.."

Each day is a truce, a day in which we stop opposing God's grace and we stop fighting his hand that is trying to make us like his son.

Today truce in which we set aside hostility toward God and neighbor and prepare for our departure that we know not when but we do know will be.

As St. Paul tells us in the first reading the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.  But we are not in the darkness but rather in the light.  The light of Christ already illuminates the the hour when we are called home.

So we call a Truce without selves and with those we fight and heed the words of St. Paul, "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do."

Encourage one another and build one another up.

What a beautiful way to be prepared for the coming of the day of the Lord, for our own departure form this world to the next.  What a beautiful way to allow the light of Christ to intensify and brighten our world.

Lastly in the Gospel we see Jesus casting out the unclean spirit. The world daimon which is translated as demon can be translated several ways: demon, spiritual entity or uncontrollable urge and impulse to some type of activity.

The biblical writer wants to acknowledge the powerful psychological and emotional drives that can often control our lives and even propel us into dangerous and harmful areas.  We all have runaway human inclinations and addictions that can be overwhelming.

The biblical writer isn't denying the effects of the demon or the devil in our life but rather pointing out that this entity loves to tap into those impulsive and runaway inclinations and drive us further and further from our home.

Jesus comes to heal those realities.  When we are powerless and helpless it is his strength that seeks to enter in and bring that peace and control we so long for in our life.

This is why so many recovering addicts known so well the power greater themselves that can restore them to sanity.  Jesus helps bring a truce into our lives.  Thus we too shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living as the psalm reminds us.

May we lean on the authority and power of Christ that commands the unclean spirits in our lives and brings forth a truce and peace and healing.

Words of wisdom and advice from St. Pope Gregory the Great:

"When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice."

"The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist."