Thursday, October 31, 2013


Romans 8:31-39; Ps 109 Save me, O Lord, in your mercy; Luke 13:31-35

The other day I had a parent come up to me to discuss one her children.  It seems this particular child is having a hard time adjusting to school.  In fact, she has a hard time watching momma leave her at school each morning.

We have several little ones that struggle with their first experience of school.

Instantly many exclaim the child is going through separation anxiety.

Perhaps we grow up and grow out of that anxiety of separation from our parents.  We adjust to life and we learn to get on by ourself.

We get use to making decision for ourselves and for our lives. In fact we are masters at thinking of ourselves and taking care of ourselves.

However, should we grow out or grow up in regards to separation from God.  One of the temptations we deal with  is just that, doing things apart from God's influence, God's law, God's direction and guidance.

Once we taste a little independence we have a tendency to keep going.

As Paul poses the question in today's first reading, "who will separate us from the love of Christ?  Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword."

Of course St. Paul's response is a bold "NO!"

Yet, my experience is when these things come in the lives of people who are faithful, they waver, they begin to doubt, they often times think that God has left them.

I often wonder why is that?

Maybe its because there is a lack of conviction.  We accept God's love on our terms instead of on all terms and through all circumstances.

Perhaps thats the true rub for us a people of faith.  We must refuse to set conditions on God's love and we must refuse to let the circumstances of our life determine whether or not God's love is active and present.

When in doubt look to the Cross: "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love ofGod in Christ Jesus our lord."

St. Paul is convinced!  Are we?

WE can sense this same conviction in Jesus as he hears of the warning that Herod wants to kill him.  Jesus continues to move forward and he stays true to who he is regardless of the gloom that encloses in around him.

The circumstances do not determine his fidelity!  Jesus response simple, "Yet, I must continue on my way today, tomorrow, and the following day…"

This too can become our response to life's twist and turns, "yet, we must continue on our way, today, tomorrow, and the following day."

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Romans 8:18-25; PS 126 The Lord has done marvels for us; Luke 13:18-21

Ponder these words from St. Paul this morning, "we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies…"

How many groans have we experienced within ourselves as we long for redemption, especially redemption of our bodies?

We drag these bodies around that gain weight, lose weight, get sick, get better, grow wrinkles, get flabby, lose hair only to grow hair in other places not known for it, get broken, and get bruised.

We drag these bodies around that get emotional, depressed, hyper, manic, confused, elated, disturbed, scared, over joyed, overwhelmed, shocked just to name a few.

When it seems too much then we sigh or groan and we unite ourselves to that longing for redemption.

Perhaps we feel what we feel and experience what we experience just for the purpose of reminding us that we aren't there yet; we have been redeemed but we are in need of redemption still.

Even our groans are not wasted!

They too point us to Christ!

As St. Paul continues, "For in hope we are saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope.  For who hopes for what one sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance."

We groan and we hope and we wait with endurance.

Sometimes the Kingdom is in the process of rising like dough as Jesus reminds us.  Or perhaps it is being kneaded or again maybe baked or at least finally eaten.  But somewhere in that process we find ourselves groaning, waiting, enduring and we know we are on our way and that makes all the difference.

Friday, October 25, 2013


Romans 7:18-25; Ps 119 Lord, teach me your statues; Luke 12:54-59

Every time I go to confession.  That's right you read correctly, priest go to confession.   Every time I go to confession to a particular priest, i don't go to the same priest every time, but this one priest whom i go to always brings up today's first reading and he will quote St. Paul,

"For I do not do the good I want, but I do  the evil I  do not want."

How many of can relate to this passage?

There seems to be a nice big gap between proposal and performance, motivation and maturity into action.

How do we overcome the gap that we experience daily in our life.

I wish it would be as easy as it is in  vehicles.  In cars if you want better performance, that is if yo want the car to do what you want it to do then you simply change things: you change its oil, you change its fuel, you change its tires, you change its spark plugs  and so on and so forth.

You continually tweak the engine though never twerking while tweaking that would be inappropriate.

But how do we increase our performance?

As St. Paul points out, "sin dwells in me. And when I want to do right, evil is at hand...For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self, but I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive."

Okay we get.  We can all relate.  We understand.  What's the solution.  How do we close the gap between proposal and performance, motivation and mature action?

Paul is speaking of the inadequacies of human resolution.  To resolve to do a thing and to do it are different.  There is a weakness in our will.  think of St. Peter who made a great resolution to Christ, "even if i must die with you, I will not deny you (My 26:35)."

The human will is weak and prone to crack .

So what is the solution, please!

"Thanks be to God through JEsus Christ our lord."

Jesus is the solution.  He is the one who crucified the human flesh with its desires so that it might be filed with His life giving spirit.

It is true, that each morning we need to invite Jesus into our life and heart and give him the reigns and let him lead.    Each Morning ad through out the day we need to invite the Holy Spirit to strengthen us.

But lets face it, we forget.  We start out asking Christ to take over and then we get side tracked.  We start to live on our own, trusting our own will or the strength of our own back rather than relying on his strength.

This is the solution that we must carry through all the days of our life: "Come Lord Jesus strengthen me a new, set my heart on fire, fill me with your heavenly dew."

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Rom 6:19-23; Ps 1 Blessed are they who hope in the Lord; Luke 12:49-53

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ..."

"Jesus said to his disciples: I have come to set the earth on fire, and howI wish it were already blazing!...Do you think I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.  From now on a household will be divided..."

Yesterday Jesus in the gospel spoke of harmony.  He spoke of the harmony brought about by us being the steward who brought forth provision to those in need.

Today Jesus speaks of disharmony; he speaks of fire blazing, peace shattered, division resigning, and households divided.

What gives?

Truth be told is that it is far easy to defend one's principle then it is to stand firm on them.

Fire falls, false peace is shattered, division swells when a person of principle takes a stand.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Rom 6:12-18; Ps 124 Our help is in the name of the lord; Luke 12:39-48

"present yourselves to God as raised from the dead to life and the parts of your bodies to God as weapons for righteousness..."

We look at the psalm today, psalm 124.  It is considered to be a song of a pilgrim, of someone journeying to the temple.  As the ancient Israelites would journey up to the temple they would recite psalms and hymns in preparation for their encounter with God himself.

Remember the Temple was considered the place of encounter, the place where God dwelt amongst his people.

Psalm 124 is a psalm or hymn for travelers.  The psalm itself acknowledges the dangers and various experiences one would encounter on the journey, exposed to the elements of the natural world but as well as hostility of persons such as robbers and the like.

The consistent message is that regardless of the dangers or roils or snare the name of the Lord was that reality which brought forth security and peace: Our help is in the name of the Lord who is a companion on the journey as the psalmist points out, "had not the LORD been with us, let Israel say, had the LORD been with us..."

The presence and companionship of the LORD changes everything.  We do not go alone.

Through space and time God's protection reigns over us.

Just as God provides for us, we are asked to be providers for others a we hear int he gospel, "WHo, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute the food allowance at the proper time.  Blessed is that servant whom the master on arrival finds doing so."

"Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more."

We are all called to be providers?

This is what St. Paul suggest when he tells us to use our body parts as weapons of righteousness.

We should not compare ourselves to other but busy ourselves with giving more, for much is required with those who are entrusted with more."

We must learn to live in the more.  We can no longer get by or do the minimal think it leads to happiness or fulfillment.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Romans 5:12-21; Ps 40 Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will; Luke 12:35-38

St. Paul invites us to reflect on the influence that one can bring into the world, both negative in bringing every one  down or positive, lifting others up.

In Adam the human race was drastically altered.  In that brief moment of indiscretion the entire human race and the world alike has been affected.  The sin of Adam brought death amongst other things we deal with on a regular basis: disordered affection to say the least.

Think about your own family.  How has decisions of one affected the whole?

I often think about families with an Alcoholic.  The decision to take a drink, something so seemingly insignificant, or a pop a pill, can lead to such conflict and hurt and pain.

The children, though not drinkers, bear the effects of the decision to drink and all that comes from that in their life.  I think about AlAnon and AA and the many other programs out there to help restore families to  some degree of sanity.

Just as one can bring havoc so the opposite is true.

Paul reminds us that the flip side is more important: "how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus christ overflow for the many."

How much more..

We live in the "more" of Jesus.  Though we have been affected by the choice of Adam we are not bound by it.  We are never bound by the negative decision of another.

There is something more as Paul points out, "the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ overflowing for others."

Just like in Christ, we too can bring about "much more" and effect many with graciousness.

We continue the graciousness of Christ int he world for the many.

This is where we need to set our heart and mind.

We "reign in life through the one Jesus Christ."  Think about that.  This is the power of Christ which stands above the effects of Adam and the onslaught of death.

How do we imitate Christ in lifting up those around us as opposed to bringing the down?

What does our life extend: the effects of Adam or the promise of Christ and his graciousness: death or life?

Saturday, October 19, 2013


I cam across this statement recently in regards to sex and marriage.  I thought I would share it with whoever reads this.

"The goal of sex is the big O…(and it ain’t orgasm). It’s Oneness. Loving the whole 
person, not just the body parts. Connecting at a deeper level."  Tim Gardner

Just thought i would give a little pick me up to those who are married...Hang in there...don't give up...and If you are looking for a neat website to go:

Also just picked up a neat book entitled: Just Married: thriving and surviving int he first 5 years of marriage. 

It is a good refresher for those who've been at a lot longer as well. 

Friday, October 18, 2013


2 Timothy 4:10-17; Ps 145 your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom; Luke 10:1-9

The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Romans 3:21-30; Ps 130 With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption; Luke 11:47-54

Soap box moments happened to all of us.  These are moments where we get on a rant about something, some topic and we just let it roll.  It happened to me a few sunday's go.  It was sunday evening, the last mass for the weekend, and I threw away my prepared homily and got on my soap box about "doing something because it was the right thing to do" as opposed to continually needing a reward or a bonus or some other motivation.

It was a rant.  I was on my soap box.

Have you been on your soap box recently.

Jesus is definitely on a soap box into the gospel for today.  He is giving it to the scribes and Pharisees.

He holds nothing back. He is not politically correct.  He doesn't sugar coat it.  He gives is flat as it is.

"Woe to you...who build memorials of the prophets whom your fathers killed"

"Woe to you scholars of the law you have taken away the key of knowledge.  You yourself did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter."

When Jesus left, scripture tells us, the scribes and Pharisees began to act wit hostility toward him and to interrogate him about many things, for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say."

They ganged up on Jesus in hoping to snare him.

Rather than take the correction Jesus was offering and be transformed they got more rigid and self-defensive.

Sometimes soap boxes dont't work as planned.

The seed can be planted but the root doesn't always take.

This is a good lesson for us.  We cant force the seed to grow deeper or faster.  We can only plant.  JEsus plants the seed.  What the scribes and pharisees did with it well was up to them;  it is up to us.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A poem


('Brother Square-Toes'—Rewards and Fairies)

If you can keep your head when all about you
   Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you.
   But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting.
   Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
   And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master
   If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
   And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
   Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools.
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
   And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
   And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
   And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
   To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
   Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
   Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
   If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
   With sixty seconds' worth of distance run.
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
   And—which is more—you'll be a Man, my son!

Friday, October 11, 2013


Joel 1:13-15;2:1-2; Ps 9 The lord will judge the world with justice; Luke 11:15-26

This morning I have a few remarks made by former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt:

"A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water."

"You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do."

She was a feisty woman who didn't mind opening her mouth and putting it like it needed to be. 

Jesus was also feisty.  He didn't mind saying it as it was.  He didn't censor his words to fit the people around him rather he invited the people around him to be transformed by his words.

Now this is a new twist certainly for us in our modern age.  Everyone has a muzzle.  No one wants to speak up.  All are afraid to offend or worse they don't want to push their beliefs upon another. 

How else do we evangelize? 

It the words of Jesus today in the gospel, "Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters."

How's that for speaking it like it is?  If you are not gathering than your scattering. 

Which is it?

Thursday, October 10, 2013


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

Here are the words of Malachi, "Then you will again see the distinction between the just and the wicked;  between the one who serves God, and the one who does not serve him..."

They say there is a lot of gray on the world.  They say the world of being black and white is gone forever.  They say tolerance of another's lifestyle is true charity. They say compromise of principle's are inevitable.

They say the line between right and wrong is blurred.


This is not what the prophet says.  Then again you will see the distinction  between just and the wicked, the one who serves God and the one who does not serve...

That distinction, that line that separates just and unjust, serving and unswerving, where does it run?

Does it run through us? Have we decided to draw the bold line of distinction by the life we live?

This line of distinction is a mark of the one who received the gift of the Holy Spirit as Jesus speaks of into day's gospel.

Look where the line is drawn; Be distinct.

They say that line is extinct.  But we who walk in faith are distinct.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


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

Today we finally discover Jonah's motivation for preaching to the people of Nineveh.  Has you read the story, after Jonah is spit up on the shore and decides to do what God  ask, the thought comes that perhaps Jonah had enough.  Perhaps Jonah is doing the right thing for the right reason.

Perhaps Jonah has had a change of heart.

But it turns out Jonah was doing it for his own sorted gain.  He wasn't preaching to people because God asked him to bring about their conversion;  he was preaching in hopes that they would be destroyed.

He was hoping they wouldn't listen then he could sit back watch them get what they deserved.

Yet, it backfired.

What Jonah hoped would happen didn't.  What he didn't want to happen did.

And now He is pissed.

Today we begin our reading of the story of Jonah with these words, "Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry that God did not carry out the evil he threatened against Nineveh."

Have you ever been angry with God for being merciful?

God's response is right to the point, "Have you any reason to be angry?"

Do we really have any reason to be angry?  Truly, do we have one reason to be angry?

How often do we do the right thing for the wrong reason only to have back fire?

Today seek to purify your intention.  Today rejoice in God's mercy.  Let your anger subside.

Friday, October 4, 2013


Here are Jesus' words to the apostles before he ascends into heaven according to the gospel of Mark:

"Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature..."

This line has always struck me as relevant.

Shortly following this line in Jesus instructs the apostles the importance of baptism, "whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned..."

But on today's feast of St. Francis lets just focus on the first part.  Go and proclaim the gospel to every creature...

Today around the world, mostly in Catholic Churches, men, women, children will gather with their animals, their pets, for a blessing of the animals.

In large part this is done to honor Francis who evangelized the world that animals and humans have common ground, we are both creatures of our God and King.  We recognize our commonality.  Our animals are truly our brothers and sisters, since we all come from the same Father above.

It is form nothing we come forth.  It is form God's love we have been given life and are sustained in life.

We recognize that common bond that Francis taught through out his life.

We are i some sense we discover our duty to proclaim the gospel to every creature.  Just has animals, in particular our pets, proclaim the good news of God's purpose and love through their existence, we too must return the favor.

Our existence must also proclaim that purpose and love to all creatures.  By our stewardship and care toward all creatures, especially our pets, we embrace God's command for us to have dominion over the animals and plants.  We discover our innate right and duty of being God's love for all creation.

The blessings of the pets is meant to remind us of our original purpose as we discover in the garden of Eden, "to serve and protect" creation and creatures alike.  Jesus command to proclaim the gospel to all creatures is an invitation to rediscover our original purpose and unite it to the Salvific plan of Redemption.

Our life now proclaims the gospel and all of creation is effected by the goodness we  have received at the hands and heart of Christ who gives is life for creation.

May today on the feast of St. Francis, we rediscover our original purpose and unite it to the grace of redemption and as we care for animals may we experience and remember God's care for us.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


NEhemiah 8:1-4,5-6,7-12; The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart Ps 19; Lk 10:1-12

"always speak to Christ about someone before speaking to someone about Christ."

I received this advise often when I was in the seminary. But somehow it got filed away in my memory bank, buried beneath the day to day operations of being a manager of a parish and school and other things. 

But I was reminded of it today, this morning in fact. 

Speak to Christ about someone before speaking to someone about Christ. 

Prayer is important.  Prayer is essential.  Intercessory prayer is important and essential in its own right.  Something happens at a molecular spiritual level when we lift folks up in prayer.  

Our spiritual molecules get touched by grace.  Perhaps its more like being exposed to radiation.  Our spiritual molecules are altered when we enter into intercessory mode. 

I image the disciples did a lot of this as Jesus sends them out two by two, in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. 

I imagine the disciples being a little nervous and unsure about what awaited them.  I bet they were hesitant maybe even reluctant. 

I bet they prayed and interceded for each person in each town before they ever opened their mouths.

Jesus wants to visit our town.  Jesus has sent us to go forth.  Perhaps before we leave the comfort of our homes each day we should lift up the people we will meet in prayer, those known and unknown, and perhaps Jesus will come make a visit through us.