Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Feast of St Pius V

Acts 14:19-28; Ps 145 YOUr friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom; John 14:27-31

Today in the church we honor the memory and legacy of Pope Pius V.  He was elected in the 16th century to lead the church, a man known for his simplicity and holiness.

He was born a poor Italian family.  Yearning to be a priest from an early age, though not having sufficient means, it seemed his dream would never come to fruition.  Until one day, when two Dominicans (religious priest) showed up and met ANthony and having been impressed with him decided to take him in and educate him.

Eventually Anthony, entered the Dominicans at the age of 14 and took the name Michael, later he was ordained a priest, then a bishop, then chosen to be a cardinal for the church.

At the age of 61, he was chosen to be Pope and he took the name Pius V, at this time he continued to wear his white Dominican habit, from which we have the white Cassock the pope wears even today.

Now you know the rest of the story.

Today we look briefly in to the life of Paul on his missionary journeys.

"They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead.  But when the disciples gathered around him, he got up and entered the city.  On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe."

What is interesting is that Paul definitely took a beating.  He kind of reminds me of Rocky.  He was unafraid of the punch back.  Yet, he got up.  He didn't stay down, nor did he let the opposition deter him from proclaiming the message of truth.

The other interesting note is that the disciples gathered around him.  Only after they gathered around him, I suppose to encourage him and pray over him, was able to find the strength to carry on.

How often do we do this for one another?  How often do we encourage and strengthen those around us who have taken a beating from the world at large?

Then Paul, once strengthen, he went back into the city.  He didn't back away.  He wanted to make sure Christ was proclaimed, the message was heard.

Imagine the look on the faces of those who threw the stones!  Imagine the astonishment!  I bet his reemergence in to the city was a far greater witness then anything he said.

What an example!

As the Psalms reminds us: your friends make known the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

YOu can't keep a good man down.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A funeral of a friend through letters

Today in the parish, i celebrated a funeral for a friend.  This particular friend had lived 91 years plus a few more months.

She was a friend.  She was unique friend.  BAck in 2003, as  a seminarian here in Cuero, I met this particular woman and her daughter.  We instantly hit off.  Over the past 10 years, she and her daughter would write letters to me, keeping me up on their travels and where they were and what was going on.

They were beautifully written letters that i appreciated deeply.
We kept in touch through correspondence.

She passed away this past thursday and she was buried out of St. Michael's in Cuero, where we met and where I am currently the pastor.

IT was truly an honor.

In visiting with her daughter, the daughter made a comment, "I can't image life with our her."

Think about that for a moment.  How often we hear that said about people we love or by others whose loved one's have past.

"I can't imagine life without her."

IT is true that death is difficult, especially when you say farewell to a mother who was also a dear friend, as this daughter experienced throughout her life.

But, we don't have to imagine life with out anyone.  In faith, we know death is not an end to our existence.  There is more that lies ahead.  The veil that separate the living on earth and those alive in God beyond time and space is not very much.

In fact St. Paul says that we are alive in Christ, both here on earth and in heaven.  We are never without those who have faith.

Rather than imagining life without perhaps we should start to imagine life with them in heaven, maybe that would change what we decide and who we decide to live here and now.

My dear friend through letters is not gone, she is alive and we too shall one day meet again when Christ our glory comes.

Friday, April 26, 2013

at stake

John 14:1-6; Ps 2 YOu are my son; this day i have begotten you; Acts 13:26-33

Today in the first reading we encounter Paul arriving at Antioch in Pisidia, standing in the Synagogue and proclaiming the message of Christ.

Antioch of Pisidia is in modern day Turkey.  It is here we experience St. Paul's first recored sermon on his missionary journey to bring the good news of Christ outward.

His address is bold and inviting, "my brothers, children of the family of Abraham, and those among you who are GOd-fearing, to us this word of salvation has been sent."

This word of salvation.  We must not forget what is at stake in this proclamation:salvation.

It points to the gospel for today where JEsus tell us, "do not let your hearts be troubled, you have faith in God, have faith in me...I am going to prepare a place for you...and if i prepare place for your, i will come back again and take you to myself."

This is what is at stake.  Salvation means we belong to Christ and he will come back and take us to himself.  Heaven is a prepared place for those prepared.

At the heart of the sermon i would like to direct you to a little phrase of Paul's.

"..they asked Pilate to have him put to death, and when they accomplished all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and placed him in a tomb."

Now at this point it seems pretty bleak.  IT doesn't seem promising nor does it sound like good news.

Paul is speaking about the death of Christ.  He has been killed.  What is good about this?

Paul continues, "But God raised him from the dead,  and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee..."

Note the turn in events indicated by that simple little phrase "But God."

But God  changes everything.  In the midst of human choices and human violence, God continue to act.  God does not quit nor give up.

God's plan can not be derailed by men.  In the midst of darkness, God's light shine through.

But God is at the heart of the sermon.  God always provides and exception to the rule in the game of life.

God cannot be kept down, locked away, buried.

Paul reminds us all that we do not go alone, God journeys with us.  God's plan continues to unfold even when things look bleak and disappointing.

God will work with us, through us, and ultimately for us.

"But God", that simple little phrase captures the heart of hopefulness for every believer and non believer alike.

This is what is at stake, "But God raised him..."

Thursday, April 25, 2013

black coffee and ella fitzgerald: diary of a wimpy kid

1 peter 5:5-4; PS 89 For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord; Mark 16:15-20

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Mark, the evangelist.
Today is also the birthday of Ella Fitzgerald.

St. Mark sets to rhythm the life of Christ with his pen.  Ella sets to rhythm song itself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRxS7Q64xUQ  Here is a link of her singing a jazzy not Black Coffee.

I thought it appropriate to post this particular beauty since yesterday at our Priest study day for the diocese we were told to lower our caffeine intake if we want to lower our stress levels.

Funny, they never mentioned nicotine or cigarettes or smoking a pipe or having a good cigar.

Black coffee has been such a dear friend of mine.  So, to Black Coffee, I post Ella fitzgerald sining her song.

Today, we honor St. Mark.  Mark is an intriguing historical figure.
He was considered a wimp by St. Paul.  Apparently, Mark went with Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journey and when things got a little rough he bailed on them and went back home.  St. Paul looked upon him as a quitter.  (Acts 15.)

One could postulate that the gospel of Mark is a diary of wimpy kid.   Though MArk started out in a whimper and his reputation as a quitter spread, he eventually found his roar.

In 1 Timothy, St. Paul has had a change in heart and no longer looked upon Mark as useless or as a quitter but found him worthy of admiration.

There is note of grace for all of us in MArk's story.  How often have we quit or bailed? YEt, God continue to call and finds ways to use us for his glory.

This wimpy kid in today's gospel spells it our for us beautifully.

"Jesus says, 'go into the world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.  These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages.  THey will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.  They will lay hands on the sick and they will recover."

Doesn't sound so wimpy after all.
Why isn't wimpy?  Because of the last line of the gospel for today, "While the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs."

Mark gets it.  It is through Christ all things are possible.  As he probably heard St. Paul say many times, "I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me...It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives within me."

The wimpy kid found his place, and what St. Paul did on his missionary journeys...Mark continues to do each time his gospel is proclaimed from generation to generation.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

shepherding my cat

Acts 13:14,43-52; Psalm 100 We are his people, the sheep of his flock; Revelation 7:9,14-17; John 10:27-30

Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice; i know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.  No one can take them out of my hand..."

 This Sunday we celebrate the 4th sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd Sunday.  We turn our gaze toward the one who is both "lamb" and "shepherd."

The lamb that has been sacrificed is the shepherd of our souls.  He has proved himself worthy of our attention, our willingness to follow, for he has given all for us.

I don't know much about the reality of shepherds and sheep and tending flocks and the like. But I do have a cat.  And this is what i have discovered about my cat.

I received this cat 2 years ago from a three year old at St. Rose of Lima catholic school.  I practically raised the cat from the youngest one can raise a cat.

The cat, while a kitten, lived in the rectory with me.   For almost a year and half the cat was with me.
It would sit above my head when i would watch TV or it would curl up on my chest while I was resting.

The cat wanted to be as close as possible to me.

I would whistle and it would come running instantly.

After about a year and half of living with me, i discovered the cat wasn't good for my allergies.  So i decided to put the cat outside.  Each morning I would wake, I would go to the patio and whistle and the cat would come running, quickly and promptly.   It would approach me and quickly roll over and look for me belly scratch before i would feed it.

Over the days, weeks, and months that followed, the cat began to run around with the neighborhood  cats and began to hang out with  my neighbor and his family. They would play with the cat and feed the cat and so on.

What I have noticed over the last 6 months or so is that when I whistle the cat isn't as prompt or as quick.  It takes a few minutes to crawl out from under the other the house.  And before it use to run, now it slowly lumbers toward me.
Sometimes, I have to pick up the cat and take it to the feeder.

As soon as distance became a part of the reality, all of sudden the cat become  more distracted and less and less willing to respond to the call of my voice.

It is the same with our relationship with Christ.
The one thing that is need is closeness and familiarity.

We too, like my cat, can get distracted and caught up with all kinds voices that what our attention.  The more we give ourselves the less we respond to the voice of the real shepherd.

Our task is to stay close.  We must tune our ears to Christ and christ alone, daily.

As JEsus states so clearly, no one can snatch us from his hand, but we can let go.  We can remove ourself from his grip by our lifestyle and choices we make daily. We can choose to give ourselves over the many wild and haunting voices that pray upon us or we stay close to the one voice that matters.

Daily we go forth with one ear bend toward the lips of Christ and the other ear toward the needs of those we encounter.  But it is the voice of Christ that purifies and urges us forward as we go.

Friday, April 19, 2013

happy to be unhappy

Happy to be unhappy, this is how i would classify this current age.  Our culture and our society is happy to be unhappy and thus we divert all our energy into material things, whether it be people, money, success, prestige, power, wealth, notoriety, fame and the list is countless.

Happy to be unhappy.

Here is verse from Trilussa...

There is a be which lights
on a rosebud;
it sucks it and flies away
all in all, happiness
is a small thing..

Happiness is a small thing

Jesus in the gospel reminds us this as well as we enter into the bread of life discourse.

"...Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him...whoever feeds on me will have life because of me..."

Could be so simple.  Could be like the bee.  We light upon the bread of life and find it nourishment for our souls and strength for our bodies.

Is happiness such a small thing?

Why do we complicate that which is so plain, so simple, so easy to digest.

"I am the bread of life" he says, we hear and yet we find ourselves tasting and eating everything else but the one thing that has been laid before us.

Why do we choose other foods when the real food has been set before us.

Happiness is such a small thing!

Thursday, April 18, 2013


A Poem by James Fenton

Awake, alert,
Suddenly serious in love,
You're a surprise.
I've known you long enough —
Now I can hardly meet your eyes.

It's not that I'm
Embarrassed or ashamed.
You've changed the rules

The way I'd hoped they'd change Before I thought: hopes are for fools.

Let me walk with you.
I've got the newspapers to fetch.
I think you know
I think you have the edge
But I feel cheerful even so.

That's why I laughed.
That's why I went and kicked that stone.
I'm serious!
That's why I cartwheeled home.
This should mean something. Yes, it does.

ABove is a poem about falling in love or should i say being in love. 

When that happens as it often does, doesn't it change the rules, love that is.

Things are different, in deed, more serious. 

Seriously, love changes the rules of the game and puts us all on edge. 

But does it really? 

How often have we professed love for God, for Christ. 

Is it love seriously or feigned? 

Love changes the rules of engagement, it puts us on edge...

"I love you Lord JEsus and praise you because by your Cross you have set us free"...free to love in return the way you loved us.

May we all be serious in the love we profess then our laughter will be louder and our joy will spread like wild flower, contagiously burning on the fuel that is love, seriously!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

cry out with joy

Acts 8:1-8; Ps 66 Let all the earth cry out to God with joy; Jn 6:35-40

"Your cravings as a human animal do not become a prayer just because it is God whom you ask to attend to them."

There is an interesting thought I came across from a book a dear friend gave me for Christmas.  It is entitled "Markings" by Dag Hammarskjold a swedish economist, statesman who received the Nobel Peace Prize posthumously.

How often have we mistaken our cravings for being worthy of prayer.  How often have we classified them as such, thinking solely about ourselves.

How often have we chosen to live on the level of superficial desires rather than pushing them aside and choosing to go much deeper.

What would happen in our lives if we began to filter out our selfish cravings from those desires and thoughts that truly belong to all that is noble in our human reality?

We need to create a filter so that when we go to pray, when we bow low before God it isn't the weight of those cravings that weigh us down and bring us to our knees but the weight of glory, seeking God's glory that brings us to our knees, for is this not what prayer is about.

Perhaps then we would begin to experience in real time the attitude of the psalmist who invites us to cry out with joy.

Maybe then what the early church experienced we too would begin to experience, "there was great joy in the city."

It is a known reality that the greatest enemy to joy is selfishness.  When our world revolves around us the laughter and joy we are made for is slowly crushed by the gravity of our lives and the decisions we make for self-preservation.

But when God becomes the gravity of our lives, the unbearable lightness of being begins to set us on a world wind of joyfulness that culminates in our a cry of jubilation.

As we look to the first reading, the circumstances of the joy that was experienced is a result of persecution.  A strange reality where living for another becomes the path of true joy regardless of the circumstances that abound.

"Shout joyfully to God, all the earth, sing praise t the glory of his name; prelim his glorious praise.  Say to God, "How tremendous are your deeds."

Cry out with joy and do not let the circumstances of life interfere with the deep abiding reality of God's presence.

 Remember not every human craving is fit for prayer, but prayer will make our every craving fit glory.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

do you really

Jesus comes into our history to bring solutions to life's problems.  He comes with answers and he shows us the way: he is the way, the truth, and the life.

We like this about Jesus.  We want him to have solutions and answers for us as we navigate life's obstacles.

The easier the solution the better we like it.

Quick, easy, no hassel, ready to order, custom made to fit our lifestyle: these are the answers and solutions we want from Jesus.

But in the gospel, Jesus also has questions for us.

He isn't satisfied with easy solutions or quick fixes.

Jesus directs his gaze to the center of our heart: Do you love me more than these?

Standing on the shore, Jesus looks at Simon son of John, but he gazes directly at us.  Do you love me more than these?

Do you love me more than these boats, these nets, these sails, these brothers, this work, your livelihood.

It is invitation to examine as well as reorient our life. Our love can always be better, more intense, more faithful.

We hear the question; what is our response?

Do we love him more than these?

How does the profession of love we make materialize in action in our life? 

Do we "feed his lambs" or "have care for his sheep."

How often do we profess love for the shepherd but we deny the sheep?

Do you love me more than these?

This week think about the question Jesus ask?  Take your time with it.  Don't rush and remember the answer to the question is the solution for our lives!


Acts 5:27-32,40-41; Ps 30 I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me; Revelation 5:11-14; John 21:1-19

As we turn toward the third week of Easter, in these 50 days of rejoicing and reflecting we have been given to recollect ourselves and conform our lives to the invitation of Christ, the church gives us some beautiful readings for our heart and mind to be engaged.

The reading from Acts invites us to meditate on the boldness of the apostles who were once terrified and locked away in the upper room  but now are out in the public square, refusing to back down, refusing to back off but insistent on giving witness, "we must obey God rather than men."

It is an opportunity for us to locate our fervor, our boldness, to rekindle our drive or at least beg the Lord to strengthen us as we go.

The Second reading invites us into heaven.  We spy the countless number of living creatures and elders who cried out in a loud voice, "worthy is the lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and blessing."  We are invited to examine our lives and to see if we have given any credence to the lamb that was slain.  Have we engineered our life around worship and praise or have other things, lesser things come in the way.

OF course the gospel offers another opportunity to be amazed.
Jesus, the one with a thousand answers for life's problems and hectic reality comes with a question that is the question of all questions.  OF all the things he could have asked Peter, why did he choose that one, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?"

Three times Simon is addressed with that simple question, "do you love me?"

How often have we begged the Lord to ask for anything and everything else but love?  How often have we skirted the question of love by pointing to our accomplishments, our work, our business, our task, our donations, our time.  Yet there he is  standing on the shore looking at Simon son of John and all the while staring right at you and me, "Do you love me?"

What is our answer?  How do we respond?  What in our life points to the deeper reality of our relationship with him?  What have let get in the way?  What substitutes have we allowed to take the place of true and abiding love?

How have we allowed that love we profess to be translated into action, feeding and tending his sheep?  How often have we loved the shepherd but denied the sheep? 

Lastly I direct you gaze to the psalm, nestled quietly between the first and second reading.  How many times does it go unnoticed?

The response today i find quite moving: "I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me."

Do we think about having been rescued?  Have any of us ever had an experienced of being rescued, where our life was on the brink of destruction and demise and yet from the depth of darkness we were pulled back and given life.

When i was young teen ager, probably around 8th grade or 9th grade, maybe a little young, i can't recall the exact details, i was invited by a neighbor to go to the local swimming hole, Sulphur Park.

Now Sulphur Park isn't a name that strikes images of beauty and fun and all that other stuff, but nonetheless it was a public swimming hole tucked in neatly off highway 95 between Shiner and Moulton.

Many of families would go there to cool off from the summer heat, many of families but our family.  According to our Father we never had time to play around there was always work to be done.

This one summer day, unbeknown to my father, even to this day, this neighbor, whose house i was staying at, invited the family, myself included, to go for a swim.

I did not know how to swim at the time.  But it was fun and I was going to stay in the shallow end any way so it was no big deal.  In the pool they had a big red top that the children would climb on and jump off and for the most part i enjoyed it tremendously.

Then there came a moment in which, i was invited to try my hand at the divine board.  Everyone there was encouraging and telling me how easy it was.  Now, remember i didn't know how to swim.

But i was wept away by the moment and decided to climb the stair and to take the leap.  The neighbor had promised to catch me, he wouldn't let me go under.

Well, needless to say, i jumped and he missed.  Under I went.  All i remember is water and darkness and hearing voices and panic dwelling with in my chest.  I remember taking gulp after gulp of chlorinated water.  Fear and death began to fill my mind.

I was suspended between the surface of the water and floor of the pool, for what felt like eternity.

Finally, from nowhere, my neighbor grabbed hold and pulled me out.

IT was a pretty dramatic moment.  It was a turn in my life.  Things looked differently after that moment.   Colors were brighter, humor was more intense, smiles meant more, every breath seem to be an explosion of goodness.

Being rescued changed me.

HAs being rescued changed you?  HE is risen!  Death is destroyed!  We have all been rescued from the pit of destruction.  Life goes on, but it goes differently.

Friday, April 12, 2013


Acts 5:34-42; PS 27 One thing I seek; to dwell in the house of the Lord; Jn 6:1-15

"But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God...After recalling the apostles they had them flogged, ordered them to stop speaking in the name of JEsus , and dismissed them. SO the left rejoicing they have been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name."

The above comes from the first reading for today, this friday, 2nd week of Easter.

Do we suffer for the sake of the name?  Are we willing to be dishonored in the eyes of society for the faith we profess and the faith we carry with us?  We will be like the apostles and, after being reprimanded and flogged, continue to teach in his name?

There is always opposition, sometimes external and outside of us, sometimes internal from within us, sometimes from friends and family, but will we keep going, will we refuse to stand down, will we make the message known?

In the gospel today we encounter the multiplication of the loaves and fish, which is a precursor to the bread of life discourse where Jesus invites us to receive the reality that he is the bread of life.

But in today's account Jesus looks around and he sees the crowd.  The jewish feast of passover was near, which means extra visitors to JErusalem, so the crowds were larger than usual.

They all wanted to see Jesus, and not all for a pure reason but nonetheless he obliges them.

JEsus poses a question to the Apostles, "Where can we buy enough food for them?"

Thats the question JEsus asks.

Yet if you notice the Apostles answer a different question.  Philip starts talking about how much money it would take, "two hundred days worth of wages wouldn't be enough to purchase food enough"  where as Andrew starts to telling how much is available on hand, "where there is a boy here with five loaves and two fish."

One speaks of how much money and the other speaks of how much is available in the place but neither answered the question, "where can we buy enough food for them?"

Sometimes we are like the apostles, we busy ourselves with answering the wrong questions rather than listening and following through on the question JEsus asks.

Simply put the Apostles could said, Lord, what do have in mind?  We trust you, you lead us?

Nonetheless, Jesus obliges us as he does the crowd and takes the five and two and feeds them all.

Not only does JEsus provide questions, he always provides answers as well.

Be sure you are hearing the right question to day and don't let the anxiety and fear lead you to spend all your energy seeking an answer to the question never asked!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

cry of the poor

The response of the psalm for the day is "The Lord hears the cry of the poor."

The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

What a beautiful reality to meditate on for this 2nd week of easter.

Today I celebrated mass at one of the local Nursing and Rehab centers.  We do this every Thursday and we rotate amongst the three nursing and rehab centers.

It is no longer correct to call then nursing homes but rather they are resident or assisted living places along with rehab.

As I looked out today form behind the altar I was overwhelmed with a deep sense of being in the presence of a unique poverty that comes for us.

Often we reduce poverty to material wealth or lack there of, bit poverty much broader and deeper than this reality.

As I looked out behind the altar, before me I encountered poverty: poverty in the inability to walk, to stay awake and alert, to control bodily functions that we take for granted.

I encountered poverty in being forced to be at this place rather than being at home because for whatever reason the family decided this is where the parents or grandparents needed to be either for their sake or even for convenience.

I encountered the poverty of the mind growing dark and feeble and the body following suit.

I encountered the poverty of wheel chairs and drool and smells of all kinds.

I encountered the poverty of dementia and lack of muscle control.

Poverty was all around me.

The lord hears the cry of the poor.  I thought what privileged place to be as the psalm was being recited.

It is out of our poverty we cry out to God.  It is out of our poverty God draws close to us.

Today think about your poverty?  Where do we lack control and independence?  Here in these places God intersects with our lives.

The Lord hears the cry of the poor.  May we cry out from our poverty and trust in the God who hears.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

what do you do besides talk...

Acts 5:17-26; PS 34 The Lord hears the cry of the poor; John 3:16-21

The gospel relates...

"God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him."

What a beautiful truth.  Yet this truth isn't always embraced or received.

John continues...

"And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light because their works were evil..."

Certainly a stark critique not just of the first century but every century, every generation.

But John ends on a hopeful note...

"But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God."

Which brings me to the feast and saint of the day: Blessed Frederic Ozanam.

Frederic Ozanam lived in France and is the one who began the St. Vincent de Paul Society dedicated to alleviating the need of the material poor as well as the spiritually poor.

Once in a discussion club that was made up of  variety of people of diverse backgrounds and faith, Frederic was asked the following question,

 "What do you do besides talk to prove the faith you claim is in you?"

Here is the question for is today.  What do we do besides talk to bring forth the light of Christ, the light which shines in the darkness.

UPon his death and at his funeral the priest presiding  remarked that Frederic was the following

"one of those privileged creatures who came direct from the hand of God in whom God joins tenderness to genius in order to enkindle the world."

How do we enkindle the world so that the message isn't lost and people begin to prefer light over darkness.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

laying it at the feet of the apostles

HEre is the line from the end of the first reading, "Joseph, named by the Apostles BArnabas, sold a piece of property that he owned, then brought the money and put it at the feet of the Apostles."

Now here is a man who lived by example.  He is a man of great action.
No wonder he was nicknamed son of encouragement.

What about you and I?  How is our action perceived by others?

What would others nickname us based on the life we live and the actions we show daily in our life?

How do we hoard for ourselves verse give for the other?

Monday, April 8, 2013

bow low on bended Knee

Solemnity of the Annunciation

Today we celebrate the Annunciation of the Lord, which normally occurs on March 25, 9 months from Christmas.  But since it fell during Holy Week and the following week was the octave of Easter the church has us celebrating it today, two weeks laters.

This is no buggy, considering most people discover they are pregnant after the fact, that is after conception as already taken place.

Nonetheless, this is a big feast for us.  This day marks the day on which God becomes man.  The church reminds us, as God instructs us through the feast, that life begins at conception.

Thus, the incarnation, the taking on of human substance starts with the first cell being formed in the fetus.

Think about Jesus being a fetus for a moment.  Think about how vulnerable a reality that it, especially in our culture where killing the pre born is so matter of fact.

God truly does humble himself to be with us.

On this day, the church invites us to genuflect on the words, "by the holy spirit he was incarnate of the virgin mary" in the creed we profess.

Thus we imitate God's action of coming low to earth i our bodies as we go down and touch the earth: bowing low on bended knee.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

spot the difference

Acts 5:12-16; Ps 118 Give thanks to the lord for he is good, his love endures forever; Rev 1:9-19; John 20:19-31

First a glance at the first reading; we encounter the early church set ablaze by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit; there is a boldness that captivates, that invigorates, that commands attention brings people to their knees.

The early atmosphere is described as a time of many signs and wonders at the hands of the apostles.
They were instruments of something greater than themselves and because they were opened to the presence of the power their lives transmitted it effortlessly.

There is a line that is captivating and true even today. "they carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them."

So that his shadow might fall on one or another.

Even today the shadow of Peter continues to bring forth such enthusiasm and hopefulness.  Even today to be near Peter, his successor the Pope, brings people healing.

The church is today what it was then and Peter's shadow continues to fall upon one after another and beautiful things begin to happen and transformation occurs.

We direct our attention to the second reading, the book of revelation.
John speaks of his experience on Patmos, which was a penal colony of sorts.  People were sent there who were considered threats to the establishment.  John is in prison and yet he continues to speak and testify.

John invites us to be attentive to three things in the life of faith: distress, kingdom, endurance.

These are the three realities that accompany the believer as he journeys though life.  It is not an easy road. It is rough and difficult: distress, kingdom, endurance.

Distress will find us where ever we are.  The greek word for distress is pressure.  We will encounter pressure to turn away from our faith, to back down, to let go of our conviction, to not live it fully.

Today at every turn we as followers of Christ encounter pressure to water down our faith, to water down the truth.  Constantly the news media or hollywood, or  talk shows mock us and ridicule us in attempt to apply pressure to get us to waver.

Distress and pressure is every where.  We have a decision to make: we can let the pressure demoralize us or we can allow it to transform us like it does coal into a diamond that sparkles even brighter.

Not only is their distress but their is the kingdom.  Think about that.  or better et  how often do we think about the kingdom, both the kingdom we are living and the kingdom we are building.  The life of the king is in us.  Christ is alive and we are alive in Christ.

The kingdom values and kingdom of grace and goodness has been poured into our hearts.  Not only does it empower us it also reminds us the hope we have, a hope that does not disappoint.

Then John mentions endurance.  Another fine word to describe the reality of the Christian.  Endurance is the ability and more importantly the willingness to assert oneself and thus remain active in the face of adversity.  Endurance does not cower but faces the storm.  IT is less about ability and more about willfulness.

We often speak about cardio vascular training and strength conditioning for the long haul.  Endurance in John's sense is a spiritual conditioning that allows us to keep moving forward.

Distress, kingdom, endurance are the hallmark of the Christian life.

Lastly we take a gander at the gospel. The thing I would like you to notice is what is missing in the story between the first encounter with the risen Lord and the second encounter with the risen Lord.

It reminds me of those pictures in the newspaper where you see what likes to identical pictures but you are asked to locate the differences.

I believe it is called spot the difference.  Well look at the gospel and see if you cans pot the difference between the first encounter and the second encounter.

I'll give you hint: both times the doors are locked, both times JEsus comes in without assistance.  The obvious difference is Thomas is present the second time, but the most notable difference is in the second encounter what is lacking is fear.

The first time the apostles were locked up out of fear of the Jews, but the second time there is no fear.

There is no fear where the peace of Christ reigns.

Think about that for a moment.  The burden of fidelity is to bear the wounds of love.  Jesus does this.  And his peace empowers others because of it.

Spot the difference in your own life.  Is there one?

As we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday we are invited to let the reality of Christ who is risen, who brings peace to become the bedrock of our lives, "Jesus , I trust in you" becomes the catch phrase for true spiritual conditioning.  Each moment pressed upon the folds of our mind and the tension in our heart, JEsus I trust in you, drives away fear and reconnects us to the unwavering reality of His peace.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Salvation & prosperity

"O LORD, grant salvation! O LORD, grant prosperity! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD; we bless you from the house of the LORD. The LORD is God, and he has given us light."

O lord grant salvation, O lord grant prosperity.


What does it mean to receive prosperity from The Lord.

Prosperity is the state of flourishing, thriving, good fortune.

Notice wealth and material possessions are not included  in the underlying definition of prosperity.

In fact the resurrection highlights a new understanding of prosperity.  It forces us to think higher not lower, to reach higher, to keep our focus on the things of above where true life comes and all life is oriented.

Flourishing, thriving, good fortune are only properly understood in light of the empty tomb.  On,y then can we be like the apostle Peterson jumps into the water to reach the shore where The Lord awaits.

What a great analogy for us as we journey forth.  The resurrection gives us the same enthusiasm as we go forward to thrive, to flourish in the life of faith.

Alive in Christ because Christ is alive.

Monday, April 1, 2013


The one thing that has been amazing is the development of technology.

In particular the development of the hand held computer, we call the smart phone.

I really enjoy my smart phone, all of the gadgets and components that go to make it up.

I love mostly the google map feature, where you can hit the little arrow button and instantly it zooms in on your location giving and address.

There are different views available as well: there is the standard where it gives streets an intersections, the hybrid version which zooms out and lets you see a bit of the land formations, then there is the satellite version along with the 3D version where you can see different colors, depressions are more noticeable , the reliefs are more prominent.

IT is amazing how different the landscape is with the light from above  then it is with natural light from down here.

Such is Human life seen from the rays of faith, in particular the light that comes from the empty tomb.  A new way of looking at the human landscape comes to focus.  Everything looks richer, more dynamic, more joyful.

Life comes into a deeper focus...the light of easter morning changes everything. The landscape of our lives take son a more brilliant appearance, a more significant reality unfolds.

He is risen!  a future of possibilities opens wide to us, a new dimension of human existence come sour way and is given to each us.  The light of Christ warmth fills our heart with gratitude and thus the recipe for a new way to live is granted us.