Saturday, November 30, 2013


We all have heard of Christmas wish list.  Schools have them, parishes have them. businesses have them, children and grand kids have them.

Everyone has a list of things they would like to experience or receive at Christmas.


I have an advent wish list I'd like to share with you.

Jesus in today's gospel tells us to stay awake.  Do not be distracted and thus caught off guard and unaware like the people of Noah's time.

So do we stay awake  and keep vigilant. Red bull or 5 hour energy drink can certainly keep us physically attentive but what about interiorly being alert and ready.

I have done some calculations and i think we should tithe our time.

We often hear about tithing our financial resources, which i still think should be done as sign of trust to almighty God and a help to the church as he seeks to build programs for faithfulness, but do we tithe our time.

We think about the one hour a week the church says is a minimal obligation as we gather at mass with the community seeking to keep holy the Lord's day.  But what about the rest of the days and hours and minute we have?

I figure, if my math is correct, their are 10080 minutes in one week.  If we tithe that, that is take 10 percent of that and gift it to God, then we are left with 1008 minutes in a week.  If we divide that by 7 then we get 144 minutes per day dedicated intentionally to God and his purpose and our transformation.

If we take that 144 minutes and divide that by 24 then we get roughly 6 minutes an hour, which i know could had been factored simply by dividing 60 by 10 but what fun would that have been.

So if we are to tithe our time then 6 minutes of every hour should be intentional directed toward God.  Maybe we sit silently for 6 minutes or we say a decade of the rosary for 6 minutes or we read form scripture for 6 minutes or we offer prayers for 6 minutes or we dedicated what ever we are doing at the time for the glory of God intentionally for the 6 minutes allotted.

If we do this them we will be attentive, awake, vigilant; we will walk int he presence of the lord in the land of the living and this is how we prepare ourselves daily.

What i invite you to do is keep a chart of your time of prayer throughout the advent season.  Call to mind God's presence 6 minutes on the hour, every hour, while you are awake.  Don't worry about when you are sleeping, we will let the guardian angels take over at those times of the day.

Don't be like the people of Noah's time, unaware, unprepared, and washed away. Distracted they found themselves the last to know.  There is much in our life that distracts us, but for t least 6 minutes an hour we can be attentive.

Set you phone to ring every hour and practice the presence of God.

IT is often said if you take God with you when you go, then it will affect where you go and how you get there; may it be so.

Advent: coming attractions

We all know that the best part of the movies, going to the movies,  are the previews.  Oh how I long for those 20 minutes in which we glimpse into the future of Cinema and what is awaiting on the horizon soon to be birth into our world on the "Big Screen."

Coming attractions attract, so it seems they are aptly named.

I love to sit in the theatre for those 20 minutes and allow my mind to take in these quick glimpses into what lies a head, hidden yet revealed.  These sights and sounds are captivating.

Of course, i love the previews because it gives me a heads up as to whether or not a movie will be worth my time.  The previews give just enough to wet the appetite or just enough to sour it.

Why not be in the know? Why not spend those 20 minutes taking a peek so that you won't waste 2 hours wishing you had went to another movie in the first place.

Coming attractions and previews are particularly insightful.  Even though they only give a little they can tell a lot.

Such is the case with the readings for Advent, especially the readings from Isaiah and the gospels.  The prophet along with Jesus gives us a bit of taste of coming attractions, a preview of sorts, a glimpse into the future of sights and sounds that fill the biggest screen of all, reality.

He gives us just enough, not too much and not too little, to wet our appetite and to keep us in the know.

Just like in the previews, we are told what to look for and when so Jesus gives us a glimpse of the attitude required to welcome the future events.  Jesus doesn't concern us with the nitty gritty details of exact times and dates because if we nail the attitude and live it daily in our life, it won't matter the time and place because we will be prepared regardless.

What is this attitude that we are meant to possess as we journey forth: wakefulness.

We must simply be alert and attentive ready to receive at a moments notice.

Perhaps this reading would be a great introduction to those 5 hour energy drinks or red bull or the like.

I can see it now, want be alert for second coming try our new energy drink, guaranteed to keep you alert and refreshed to meet the king of kings.

Jesus, fortunately for us, is speaking about being interiorly attentive and alert, recognizing in the midst of life unfolding his presence very near already.

It is an attitude of vigilant waiting, where we anticipate the coming of Christ daily in our life hidden behind every brush stroke of life we experience.

Pope Benedict put it this way…

"Our whole personal, familial and social existence passes through this dimension of waiting. Waiting is something that is present in a 1,000 situations, from the smallest and most banal to the most important, which draw us in completely and in the deepest way. 

Among these, we think of a husband and wife waiting for a child; of waiting for a relative or friend who is coming from far away to visit us; we think of a young person waiting to know his grade on a major exam or the outcome of a job interview; in romantic relationships, of waiting to meet the beloved person, of waiting for a letter, or of receiving forgiveness…

One could say that man is alive so long as he waits, so long as hope is alive in his heart. And man is able to recognize that what he waits for and what he hopes for discloses something about his moral and spiritual "stature."

What we wait for discloses something about our moral and spiritual stature!

This is what Advent opens us up to, a better glimpse into our selves that we may see who we are and how that aligns with who we were created to be.

What we wait for reveals something about ourselves. 

This is where advent begins; this is where we must be vigilant and attentive. This is where the pruning hooks that Isaiah speaks of will come in handy for us these four weeks. 

We must be more intentional in our waiting, in our lounging, in what we anticipate only then can we truly be ready for the coming of Christ daily in our life. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Daniel 5:1-28; Give glory and eternal praise to him; Luke 21:12-19

We encounter the hand writing on the wall in today's first reading.  King Belshazzar was giving a banquet, eating and drinking quite luxuriously, it was over the top, and in the midst of the banquet he performs an act of sacrilege. He orders the sacred vessels reserved for use in the temple to be brought forth and order that his guest drink form them.

Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared, writing on the plaster of the wall in the king's palace.

The hand writing on the wall.

I love the description of the king's react to this sight, this mysterious unfolding, this bizarre hand that appears with out a body.  Scripture tells us upon seeing this hand the King's "face blanched; his thoughts terrified him, his hip joints shook, and his knees knocked."

Wow!  That is the kind of reaction I would expect from myself if i were to see a mysterious sight such as a hand minus the rest of the body writing on the wall.

What was the message?

MENE:God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it

TEKEL: you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting

PERES: your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.

It is a message for us as well.

God has numbered our days.  We often because of our ingratitude have been found wanting.

Do we see the hand writing on the wall in our own lives?  How often we find ourselves indulging in things and fail to recognize the effects they are having on our families, on our children, on our relationships with our significant others in our life?

Should thanksgiving be an opportunity not only to give thanks, to express our gratitude but also to right the ship, to get back on the path where life and love once again mean something and we treasure it as it should be: the greatest commodity bestowed.

Abraham Lincoln, when he asked us to set a side the last Thursday of November as a day of national gathering and remembrance, invited us to make it a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father.

He also asked us to make a day of penitence for our perverseness.

Think about our country for a moment?  Think about the perverseness we indulge in as a people?

Should we not do penance for the tragic deformation our country has undergone over the past 60 years.

We kill our pre born children for one in the name of freedom and rights to choose we murder our future generation.  Is there anything more perverse.

We have sought to destroy the sanctity of marriage and family,

We have sought to force corporations and business to provide so called health care that goes against the very fabric of their religious profession.

Our congressman and Senators are just selfish clowns who care not for the good of the people but their own agenda.

Our children are being raised with mothers and fathers and many of them abandoned to the streets.

Lewd sexual perverseness is everywhere.  Sex is no longer a sacred act that is guarded and embrace but exploited for the sake of gain.

Penance for our perverseness is necessary if our thanks and praise will be genuine.

When we give thanks do we mean it?  Penance makes Praise and thanks authentic in our lives.

Give it a try.  Before you feast, why not fast only then will the feast truly be directed to our Beneficent Father form whom all good things come.

Friday, November 22, 2013


1 Maccabees 4:36-37,52-59; we price your glorious name, O mighty God; Luke 19:45-48

"For this is our life: to rise again continuously and to resume our journey."  Pope Francis

Here are the words of Pope Francis this past wednesday Audience.  In the context of teaching about God's forgiveness and the ecclesial dimension of the forgiveness that is why do we go to a priest to celebrate the sacrament of forgiveness.  It is beautiful teaching.  Christ is the head of the church and just  as the Holy Spirit passes through the wounds of the body of Christ to bring forth forgiveness so god continually uses the body of Christ the church to breathe forth the forgiveness and such he commissions priest and bishops to be minsters of his forgiveness.

I recommend it as a worthy read and look into the Ecclesial dimension of God's forgiveness.

But at the end as he speaks of our sins and need for forgiveness he states the following: For this is our life: to rise again continuously and to resume our journey."

We are not created to quit.  We are not created to stand down.  We are not created to fold.  We are created and redeemed so that we may rise up continuously and continue forth on our journey.

What a beautiful reality check for us.

Today we also celebrate the feast of St. Cecilia the patron of musicians and singing.

I thought i would include a quote form Pope Benedict on the primacy of singing

"THE IMPORTANCE of music in biblical religion is shown very simply by the fact that the verb “to sing” (with related words such as “song”, and. so forth) is one of the most commonly used words in the Bible. It occurs309 times in the Old Testament and thirty-six in the New. When man comes into contact with God, mere speech is not enough. Areas of his existence are awakened that spontaneously turn into song. Indeed, man’s own being is insufficient for what he has to express, and so he in­vites the whole of creation to become a song with him: “Awake, my soul! Awake, 0 harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! I will give thanks to you, 0 Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithful­ness to the clouds” (Ps 57:8f.). We find the first mention of singing in the Bible after the crossing of the Red Sea. Israel has now been definitively delivered from slavery. In a desperate situation, it has had an overwhelming experi­ence of God’s saving power. Just as Moses as a baby was taken from the Nile and only then really received the gift of life, so Israel now feels as if it has been, so to speak, taken out of the water: it is free, newly endowed with the gift of itself from God’s own hands. In the biblical ac­count, the people’s reaction to the foundational event of salvation is described in this sentence: “[T]hey believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses” (Ex 14:31). But then follows a second reaction, which soars up from the first with elemental force: "Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord” (i 5: i). Year by year, at the Easter Vigil, Christians join in the singing of this song. They sing it in a new way as their song, because they know that they have been “taken out of the water” by God’s power, set free by God for authentic life. [The Spirit of the Liturgy, (SF, CA: Ignatius, 2000), p. 136]
The singing of the Church comes ultimately out of love. It is the utter depth of love that produces the singing. “Cantare amantis est”, says St. Augustine, singing is a lover’s thing. In so saying, we come again to the trinitarian interpretation of Church music. The Holy Spirit is love, and it is he who produces the singing. He is the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit who draws us into love for Christ and so leads to the Father."

Singing is a lover's thing. May it become our thing this day.

St. Cecilia pray for us

Thursday, November 21, 2013


2 Macc 2:15-29; Ps 50 To the upright I will show the saving power of God; Luke 19:41-44

We continue to read and reflect on the stories of faith in the book of Maccabees.  We heard the story of Eleazar, the 90 year old who chose to remain faithful rather than scandalize the youth.  We encountered the mother who encouraged her seven sons to be faithful regardless of the torture and impending death sentence so as to live the faith and die worthy lives.

Today we encounter Mattathias who decides to no longer be passive but chooses to take action as he puts his life on the line for his faith and the faith of the nation.

He refused to be bought by accolades and promises of friendship with the king along with gold and silver for the betrayal of his faith.

He becomes the aggressor as he seeks to restore order to his nation.

The story of Maccabees eventually leads to the festival of lights; it is where the Jewish days of Hanukkah celebrate the rededication of the Temple at the time of the Maccabean revolt.

The feast reminds and retells the story of the light that refused to burn out.

Ultimately the stories of faith we encounter in the book of Maccabees all point to that same reality of the light of faith refusing to burn out.

Darkness and doubt may arrive on the scene but it will also depart for the light of faith burns steady and true.

The Maccabean revolt is the revolt of light against darkness; hope against despair; faith against unbelief;  

Every time we pray and live our faith we enter into that revolt ourselves; we put our lives on the line.

We become active and no longer just passive believers.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


2 Macc 7:1-31; PS 17 Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full; Luke 19:11-28

What does a mother's love consist?

Think about that for moment?  How does the image of a mother's love take shape in our heart and mind?

There is so many things to be said about a mother's love.

I am not going to bore you with a list of possible answers to the question.  However, I will direct your attention to the  first reading which invites us to not so much rethink or re imagine what a mother's love consist of but rather to yeah and instruct us to see what is and should be at the heart of not just a mother's love but love itself in all relationships.

The reading goes as follows, "Most admirable and worthy of everlasting remembrance was the mother, who saw her seven sons perish in a single day, yet bore it courageously because of her hope in the Lord.  Filled with a noble spirit that stirred her womanly heart with manly courage, she exhorted each of them in the language of their ancestors with these words: 'I do not know how you came into existence in my womb; it was not I who gave you the breath of life, nor was itI who set in order the elements of which each of you is composed. Therefore, since it is the creator of the universe who shape's each man's beginning, as he brings about the origin of everything, he, in his mercy, will give you back both breath and life, because you now disregard yourselves for the sake of the law."

And to the one son she continues, "Do not be afraid of this executioner, but be worthy of your brothers and accept death, so that in the time of mercy I may receive you again with them."

She encourages her son to die.

Most mothers are excellent at making sure the material needs of their children are met.  Most do this in an disorderly fashion that is they only focus on this reality.  So many neglect the spiritual part.  And this is where their love s shaky at best.

In fact, to neglect the spiritual aspect of a child's life is to neglect the life itself.

This is what the mother shows us. True love will never forsake the spiritual well being of another for the sake of the material but will forsake the material for the sake of the spiritual.

Look in to your life?  How do fair in regards to the material welfare of those you love?  How do you fare in regards to the spiritual welfare?  Which takes precedence?  Which is primary?  The answer to the question reveals the state of your love?

Perhaps like in the gospel we have stored away the gold coin God has given us, hidden in a handkerchief.  It is time to bring into light and be creative and apply a little elbow greece to the spiritual side of reality.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


2 Macc 6:18-31; Ps 3 The Lord upholds me; Luke 19:1-10

What role does our elderly play in our society?

Many of them are ushered off to the local resident home or nursing facility and forgotten by family and friends as life goes on and the family and friends get on with life.

There they sit waiting for death.  Now this may seem to be a harsh treatment of thing but nonetheless it does capture the reality of things.  We have last the art of taking care of family.  We struggle with valuing the lives of those who are aged, crippled, disfigured, hobbled, immobile and the like.

We put them out of our sight for as they out of sight out of mind.  If we don't see them then we won't have to think about them and does we we can as i mentioned above get on with our life with less bother.

But there are those who sincerely invest in the elderly, and i don;t mean see it as an opportunity to make money though that is obvious.  But there are family and friends who see value in the aged, elderly, those who have journey far and wide in life and love.

As they move toward the end of the earthly life, they are looked upon with respect and admiration regardless of their utility.

Which bring me to the first reading for today.

We encounter Eleazar who is described as "as man advanced in age and noble appearance."

He is elderly.  He has lived and loved.  He is drawing close to the end of his earthly life.

At the eve of life he is asked to compromise his faith by eating a pork chop.

Okay maybe not exactly a "pork chop" but pork which was seen as blasphemous and a sacrilege to the faithful jew and the nation of Israel.

Why?  Because they were asked to abstain from pork as way of honoring God.

Yet though he chooses to not compromise faith and spit out the pork he is ridiculed and asked to pretend to eat it for the sake of his life, "they urged him to bring meat of his own providing, such as he could legitimately eat, and to pretend to be eating some of the meat of the sacrifice prescribed by the king; in this way he would escape the death penalty, and be treated kindly because of their old friendship with him."

He asked not only to compromise his faith but also to pretend in such a way that he would give false witness to every one else.

The scripture describes Eleazar with the following, "But Eleazar made up his mind in a noble manner, worthy of his years, the dignity of advanced age, the merited distinction of his gray hair, and of the admirable life he had lived from childhood; and so he declared that above all he would be loyal to the holy laws given by God."

What a beautiful description and the power of witness.

Why because Eleazar wanted tone a good witness to the young as he says "At our age it would unbecoming to make such a pretense; many young people  would think the ninety year old Eleazar had gone over to an alien religion.  Should I pretend for the sake of brief moment of life, they would be led astray  by me, while I would bring shame and dishonor on my old age."

So what does he do?  Scripture says he "manfully" gives up his life and thus leave a noble example of how to die willingly and generously for the revered holy laws.

All because of pork chop we are left with a noble witness and courageous example of fidelity.

Who says the little things don't matter?  But Oh they do and add up as well as we see in the life of eleazar and thus become a "model of courage and unforgettable example of virtue not only for the young but for the whole nation."

Even pork chops can be used to give glory to God and witness to the nations.

Today, don't overlook the small acts of fidelity.  They add up huge in a lifetime of fidelity.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Wisdom 13:1-9; the heavens proclaim the glory of God; Luke 17:26-37

We live in an age where identity theft is everywhere.  People fill out credit cards using other people's information then charge on the card and leaving another holding the bag.   There are many people who hack other people's accounts and computers stealing information, stealing identities, and reeking havoc. 

Fraud seems to be everywhere.  It has become a stable part of our society.  We take credit for another's work.  We plagiarize another's ideas, writing, thoughts and everything else inbetween. 

But there is a greater fraud prevalent in our society that is often over looked.  It has led to the slow decline of our morality, our standards, and our values.  It has increased despair and depression and has attempted to beat hope into submission. 

This particular fraud is the most dangerous.  It is identity theft on a large scale. 

The first reading points it out: "all men were by nature foolish who were in ignorance of God, and who from the good things seen did not succeed in knowing him who is, and from studying the works did not discern the artisan."

It is not  that we have stolen God's identity but rather we have refused to acknowledge it, but couldn't that be the same thing.  We have give credit falsely to the primordial slime, to chance, to accident when the world screams at us the truth of being designed. 

We look at the world around us and we turn a blind eye to the reality right before us daily in our life.  Rather than seeing the hand of the creator who holds all things together we just see our own hands.  

We have stolen the identity of God, we have kidnapped it from society, removed it from our school and work and buried it beneath our illogical conclusions.  Rather then letting the evidence lead us we  have  been leading the witness, as they say. 

We have committed fraud not in stealing an identity but in refusing to acknowledge one. 

As the reading continues, " the original source of beauty fashioned them." 

Because we have refused to acknowledge God in his creation, we have also closed our eye to real beauty.

How often in our society have we proclaimed beauty where beauty is lacking?  How often have we rejoiced in that which is ugly though not realizing it until it was too late?

Think about what we find humorous?  Think about the movies and entertainment that receives the greatest accolades?  Think about our legislation and laws that we celebrate?  

Think about the parades and gatherings?

We celebrate ugliness and call it beauty!  How bizzare!

We have been perverted because we have chosen to live in falsehood. 

Jesus sums  it up at the end of the gospel today, "where the body is, there also the vultures will gather."

Today we pray to cast off the falsehood and let the truth set us free. May the heavens declare the glory of God and firmament proclaim his handiwork! Psalm 19

Thursday, November 14, 2013


"And passing into holy souls from age to age, she produces friends of God and prophets. For there is nought God loves, be it not one who dwells with Wisdom." Wisdom 7

"Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus said in reply, “The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.”

Then he said to his disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. There will be those who will say to you, ‘Look, there he is,’ or ‘Look, here he is.’ Do not go off, do not run in pursuit. For just as lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.” Luke 17 

Yesterday I went to visit the island of Molokai, the leper colony.  Even today there remains 17 or so patients who reside on the bottom side of the island .

We saw the place where sister Marianne, now st Marianne, and Fr Damien, now st Damien, lived out their vocation. 

They spent their lives tending to the sick and dying seeking to bring some small sense of dignity to the patients.

The first reading describes the fruit of wisdom in the human heart where she produces friends of God.

The saint not only becomes a friend of God but they busy their life trying to help others that they to have counted as friends of God as well.  It is that friendship with God that clarifies our truest dignity.

This is why st Damien and st marriage did what did so tirelessly.  Realizing our friendship with God has a deep impact on the lifestyle we choose to participate in daily.

When Jesus speaks I. Today's gospel that "for behold the Kingdom of God is among you" he is inviting people to embrace the friendship God is offering in and through the very presence of Jesus himself.

Jesus is the embodiment of God's friendship toward humanity, a friendship that finds its perfection not in what we do but in the suffering and rejection Jesus chooses to undergo in order to prove the friendship is not temporary nor existing in certain conditions or circumstances.  The friendship is tried and found true and lasting.

The friendship offered by God does not waver but it is always waiting with open arms to receive us more fully into that bond of life and love and loyalty.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Luke 17

"As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”

I have recently been reading a book on prayer.  It isn't a normal book on prayer.  It isn't a theological discourse or even a scriptural based exercise in prayer, but rather it is one woman's experience, practical and readily available to everyone.

She breaks prayer down into 4 different words: help, thanks, wow, amen.

She uses these for words to enter into this humorous and thought provoking look into prayer and how our life is prayer.

Help, thanks, wow, amen.

As I reAd this morning's gospel passage and journeyed with the ten lepers who seek Jesus' attention and continued as I went back to Jesus with the foreigner who on his knees expresses a new dimension of gratitude I couldn't help but think of these four little words: help, thanks, wow, and amen.

Here is a few of her insights:
"But where do we start on the daily walk of restoration and awakening? We start where we are. We find God in our human lives, that includes the suffering...if I were going to begin practicing the presence of God for the first time today, it would help to begin by admitting the three most terrible truths of our existence: that we are so ruined, and so loved, and in charge of so little. ..

"Praying help means that we ask that something give us courage to stop in our tracks, right where we are, and turn our fixation away from the knot of our problems ...and we turn our eyes to something else..."

"Grace can be the experience of a second wind, when even though you want clarity and resolution, what you get is stamina and poignancy and the strength to hang on."

"Without revelation and reframing, life can seem like an endless desert of danger with scratchy sand in your shoes, and yet if we remember or are reminded to pay attention, we find so many sources of hidden water, so many bits and chips and washes of color, in a weed or the gravel or a sunrise...""

"Gratitude begins in our hearts and then dovetails into behavior. It almost always makes you willing to be of service, which is where the joy resides.  It means you are willing to stop being such a jerk."

"When Sam was six, he explained to me why we call God "God".  "Because when you see something so great, you just go, 'God!'"


"The amen is only as good as the attitude"

The foreigner who returns experienced all of these in rapid succession: help, thanks, wow, amen.

But don't we as well in our daily walk.  We just need to keep our eyes open, hearts humbled, heads raised to heavens and our arms busy in service to others: help, thanks, wow, amen becomes like the air we breathe and the life we lead.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


We read in the last line of the gospel today these words:"say we are unprofitable servants, doing what we are obliged to do."

This passage comes from the gospel of Luke 17.

We live in a world where people in general and mostly in particular despise any obligations.  In large part because they look upon the word with only one definition in mind.  When people hear or read or encounter the word obliged they instantly think negative, they think about force or restraint or constraint.  Instantly their minds goes to being forced to do something against one's will or even choice.

This is unfortunate.   It is also typical of minds not use to thinking a thought through.

The word obliged has a second and I believe a more practical and applicable meaning.  It means to be under a debt of gratitude.

One who is obliged is one who is so deeply appreciative that gratitude becomes to source and motivation for one's actions.

Let's look at the words of Jesus with this attitude and this perspective.  The unprofitable servants are not working as to earn something but rather they are living a life of gratitude that shows itself in practical ways of service.

We are all obliged.  But do we all understand the debt of gratitude by which our service flows.

Every obligation the Church lays before us does so with the duty of gratitude in mind and in heart.  we no how easy it is for us to take things for granted.  Thus the obligation is meant to direct our heart and mind and strength to gratitude which is the foundation of our spiritual welfare.

Be obliged today.

Friday, November 8, 2013


Romans 15:14-21; PS 98 The lord has revealed to the nations his saving power; Luke 16:1-8

The Psalm refrain today is quite catchy that it it is meant to catch our attention.

To often in the mass or when we listen tot he readings we fly right past the psalm an drive it little or no attention or value to our life as we live it today.

Think about the refrain: The Lord has revealed to the nation his saving power.  The psalm goes on to point out that "all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God."

How does this occur?  How is it that the Lord reveals to the nations his saving power?"

Unfortunately when we think about God's saving power we have a tendency to think only within the box.  We think about marvelous and astounding things God does, usually our mind goes to things that occur that defy the laws of physics.  We think miracles!

Perhaps we think about fire falling, or mountains quaking, earth shaking, darkness flooding, or even the sun standing still.  We think about apparitions or visions.  We think speaking in tongues, helpings, prophecies and the raising of the dead.

But these things are not the primary way God's salvation is made known.

God's primary way of revealing his saving power to the nations, to the end of the earth is through us, you and me living in the daily grind, saying yes to him and little tasks placed before us.

This is why St. Paul begins today with these words, "I myself am convinced about you, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another…"

It is in us.

We got the right stuff, we just have to let out.

We are invited to stop thinking about what we can do but rather what Christ can do  with us.  Only then will things begin to happen, mountains will quake, earth will shake, and the power of God's saving touch will yeah the ends of the earth.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Romans 14:7-12; Ps 27 I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living;  Luke 15:1-10

Proprietary laws are those that regulate the rights to ownership of a thing, brand, or information.  The use of said things always falls back to the discretion of the owner.  The Proprietor is the master of his actions and has free disposition in regards to his property.

We see this quite a bit in the marketing world where companies have proprietary over brand names, designs, logos etc.  Recently, if you are a Texas A&M fan, Johnny football was copyrighted to belong to current quarterback of Texas A&M.

Any abuse or misuse by others of these names, brands, designs or info can lead to legal liability, lawsuits, infringements and the rest.

It falls back to the owner of a thing to have the rights to do with his property was he so desires and others to respect that right.

St. PAul in today's first reading reminds us of that right which belongs to God has sole proprietor of our lives: "if we live we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then whether we live or die, we are the Lord's."

Why is this because of the death and resurrection of Jesus as St. PAul points out, "For this is why Christ died and came to life, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living."

By his death and resurrection Jesus has purchased the proprietary rights over us.  We have been copyrighted as belonging to God.  He now has exclusive rights in regarding to our lives.

Before Death reigned large and in charge but now in Christ we have new ownership.

St. Paul lays out the big picture for us, lest we forget what's at stake and whose the boss.

Our lives should reflect the glory of Christ.

Have we infringed on those rights by our choices, actions, lives we lead?

Have we broken the copyright and presented ourselves as belonging to another?

St. Paul reminds us that "each of us shall give an account of himself before God."

Even the issue of giving an account is filled with hope.  The accounting we are asked to give points to the reality that life and death give way to "life again."

What's the point go giving an account if it all ends in death?

Which brings us to the gospel.

Why is there rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner?
Why does my confession of sin have such a reach and affect that even heaven experiences the consequences of such a decision?

Repentance is a returning, a returning to the harmony of things in which Jesus reigns as Lord.  The infringement of the copyright ha sheen repaired and once again, Jesus has free disposition to use us for his glory and for our own glory.

It is interesting to note that "repentance" is the first note of Jesus' ministry, the first command given;  Everything else follows from repentance, and nothing else seems to matter apart from it.  Repentance is about changing our thinking about God and God's ways and how God works.

It involves trust.  We must let Him have free disposition to use us as he desires.

Friday, November 1, 2013


Rev 7:2-14; Ps 24 Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face; 1 John 3:1-3; Matt 5:1-12

Why do we bother with the saints?  Why do we bother with acknowledging these men and women who have lived heroic and virtuous lives of courage, dedication, faithfulness, charity, service and the list goes on and on?

What's the deal anyway?

Here is a word from former Pope Benedict that might help clear up doubt and confusion, 

"Anyone who begins to consider the lives of the saints finds there an inexhaustible richness of histories that are more than homiletic models: the confirmation of the call of Christ through the centuries full of blood and tears.  Only when we have rediscovered the saints will we also rediscover the Church and in doing so will likewise rediscover the Lord himself as one who lives amid all the darkness, who will not die again, who will not leave us orphans."

Why do we bother with the saints?  Well so that we can recognize the fulfillment of Jesus' promise to the apostles the night before he took the cross to calvary:  I will not leave you orphans.

Saints are those who show us that Christ has kept his promise.  Christ is alive.  Christ has found a home in the human heart through the centuries.  He has radiated outward through these men and women and he wants nothing more than find a home in us so that we might continue to reflect his infinite goodness and light to world that has a tendency to grow dark.

We see in the saints what God in Christ desires to do with us!