Thursday, March 27, 2014


Luke 11:14-23; JEremiah 7:23-28

We begin today with the last words of the prophet Jeremiah, "Faithfulness has disappeared; the word itself is banished from their speech."

This is quite the critique.  Jeremiah does not mess around nor does he dance around the issue, as we might see from modern so called prophets.

No, Jeremiah is clear, precise, plain, to the point.

Faithfulness has disappeared; the word itself has banished from their speech.

No wonder Jeremiah raised the ire of his contemporaries.  He aroused deadly hostility, conspiracies against his life, he was confined in stocks, flogged on another occasion, and eventually we are told he is stoned to death by Jews in Egypt.

The life of one who seeks to speak the truth is never a bed of roses. Certainly thorns though.

But the words of Jeremiah could easily be projected upon our current society.

Look around.  Faithfulness isn't what it use to be.

I am not just thinking faithfulness to God and His commands, but faithfulness to one another.

A man's word use to be golden, but now, not so much.

Don't get me wrong we still have plenty of good manners, we just added ugly habits to boot.

The ugly habit of breaking our word, rejecting our promise, refusing our oaths.  We sell ourselves out for comfort.

It is true what CS Lewis said, "we are not bad people, no we just are too easily satisfied."  We look for things to accommodate us and our wishes rather than digging deep and enduring for the sake of true love.  We all speak about the power o forgiveness and mercy but what we need to start realizing and speaking about is the power of accountability.  Here true strength rises.  Besides isn't forgiveness  hanged upon our own accountability.  As St Augustine states clearly somewhere in his many volumes of written word, we should accuse ourselves here and now because it is better than to be accessed later.

The lack of accountability is what has caused this malaise in fidelity.  We excuse our selves to frequently.  We are too busy building our alibis and not attentive enough to the grind of perseverance.

Circumstances and emotions to often dictate our fidelity and thus faithfulness as disappeared.

Good manners, ugly habits.

Be on the look out today for ugly habits disguised as good manners then call them out.  Be the prohet in the spirit of Jeremiah.

Monday, March 24, 2014


John 4:5-42

We enter the home stretch of Lent.  The gospel readings from this point on will be long, really long.  This week we hear about the woman at the well.  Next week we encounter the man born blind.  Just when we think Jesus rocks because he restores sight, the following week he raises Lazarus from the dead.  Then we arrive at the passion.

This is the itinerary for the remainder of the Sundays of Lent.  Wear comfortable shoes, cause standing you will for a while (in your best Yoda voice).

Just a few things about this gospel with Jesus and the woman at the well.

First, as we read the gospel of John, know that nothing is random or accidental.  Everything has meaning.  Everything is significant and placed where it should be.  John writes with layers of meaning. There is always more than meets the eye.

For instance, at the beginning of Jesus ministry in the weeding feast of Cana, Mary is present.  At the end on the cross, Mary is present.  The gospel writer wants us to connect the dots. There are significant things to be aware of  that occur at these points in salvation history.

Today, in the gospel, Jesus as for a drink.   Give me a drink he states to the woman who approaches the well.  JEsus ask for a drink twice in the gospel of John.  The gospel writer perhaps wants us to link the two events together.

Jesus asks for a drink, once at the well and once on the cross.
Once as a weary traveler exhausted from the rigor of the journey and once as a crucified criminal, beaten and bruised from his travels to Calvary.

Both cases, Jesus comes disguised.  That is,it takes some convincing in order for the folks around to begin to realize who this person is, to uncover his real identity.

The woman at the well requires a lengthy discussion before she begins to see clearly who it is that is asking for a drink.  In fact Jesus has to flat our tell her, "I am he, the one who is speaking with you."

At the cross the same thing occurs.  The good thief enters into a dialogue with his partner in crime and in doing so he finally realizes that the man crucified between them was different and he exclaims, "JEsus remember me when you come into your kingdom."  The centurion standing by proclaims the same sentiment upon Jesus' death, "surly this was the Son of God."

Jesus came disguised.  It took some convincing in other for them to realize his true identity, his true worth.

Jesus often comes disguised in our life.  How often does Jesus identify himself with the least of our brothers and sisters.  Which means in the face of every stranger who is on a journey, in the face of the criminal and in every and each face in between, we are asked to stop and look again that we might see in the face of the other the radiant face of Christ.

Do we recognize him?

Grace wants to help us see differently.  Grace wants to empower us to look beyond the surface and truly see in the depth of the reality before us, face to face. There we hear the words of Jesus, "I am he."

Secondly, the encounter with the woman at the well and Jesus was a chance encounter.
The woman, the mere fact she is going at high noon to get water suggest that she is avoiding people.  She doesn't want to draw attention to herself.  She does't want to be noticed.  Normally, women would go together to the well at the cool of the morning. Never alone, never at noon, unless there is shame associated with their lifestyle.  It seems our woman was being shunned by the community.  To avoid further ridicule, she goes alone at noon.

She just wants to get to the well, get the water, and get it home, with little snags along the way.

Yet, she encounter an interruption.  There is a man waiting at the well.  And if it isn't bad enough, this man wants to have a conversation.  This is breaking all the social norms.  I'm quite sure it was frustrating.  The woman had a choice to make: she could get angry and let it boil over, she could get into a yelling match as to why this interruption shouldn't be happening, or she could receive it as a gift.

We too have decisions to make.  When we encounter unexpected interruptions into our daily routine.  We can get angry, have a blow up, or receive it as an invitation from God saying, "Give me a drink."

The woman enters into the interruption and experiences grace and transformation.  How often does God want this for us and we kick the goad so to speak, we fight the moment rather than receiving it as that which might lead to our transformation.

Notice the conversation with Jesus moves form the surface to a little deeper.  It get shown right personal, "you have had five husbands and the one you are with now is not your husband."


We live too much on the surface. How much of our life is spent one the top layer of existence with our every getting down deep where the dirt is.  We need to take a risk every now and then and get to the dirt.  It is in the dirt where seeds can be planted and true germination and growth begins to take place.

It is challenge God has for us daily.
It is a good challenge for Lent.

Lastly, notice that when Jesus speaks to the woman about he reliving situation, he doesn't condemn her or shame her.  When we meet people like this woman we are the first to point the finger and call names and place labels: adultery, fornicator, sinner.

Yet, Jesus sees woman who is in pain, whose life has become one disappointment after another, who is longing for something better.  So he elevates her.  He lifts her form the shame and hiding that she was in to living out in the open with new purpose.

She is empowered.  She runs to the market place and openly invites others to come and see this man.  She went from avoiding people to engaging with them.

What JEsus does for the woman we too are called to do for one another. We have Christ living in us.  We have the gifts already at our finger tips to empower others to rise from the ashes of their lives and begin a new.

This too is a challenge for us. It is easy to step on people when they are down. It is more fulfilling to lift them upwards and outward.

Give it a go.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Jeremiah 17:5-10; Ps 1 Blessed are they who hope in the Lord; Luke 16:19-31

Just a few phrases that leap forth from the page this morning.

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord.  He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots tot eh stream; it fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; in the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit."

The above image is what it looks like for a soul to give itself to prayer on a regular basis.  Its diet consist of entering in and going deep, such that nothing can disturb it.

Many people boast of the prayer life.  But in fact they have no idea what prayer is.

They spend a few moments here or there telling God what to do.  But seldom do they open their hearts and let him do the talking, guiding, leading.

Thus, there is fruit in their lives only when the circumstances are going in their "favor" but when the winds of change happen upon them then quickly the fruit withers and dies.

PErhaps this is why the prophets follows the exhortation on prayer with the following words, "More tortuous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it?"

Why do we forsake what is good for us?  Why do we neglect that which will benefit us more?
Why do we excuse ourselves from prayer?  Why do we pretend?

Jeremiah reminds us that the "Lord alone probes  the mind and test the hearts."

This is why prayer is so important.  Only in prayer, entering into the silence of our inner room can we allow God the opportunity not so much to educate us on the human heart but to educate us on our heart.

Then we go to the gospel for today.  It is the familiar story of the rich man and the poor man Lazarus.
The poor man is ushered into the arms of Abraham upon his death.  While the rich man is ushers into flames of torment.

But the gospel readings ends in such a way that is both a warning and invitation, "If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead."

Someone has risen from the dead!  Are we persuaded?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


 2 Samuel 7:4-5,12-14,16; PS 89 The son of David will live for ; Romans 4:13,16-18,22; Mt 1:16,18-21,24

St. Joseph pray for us!


Today is the solemnity of the St. Joseph husband of Mary.

Joseph introduces us to the reality of masculine holiness.
He was a guardian and protector.

He was strong, courageous, and tender all at the same time.

One of his finest attributes as a man is that he wasn't afraid to to admit he was wrong.  He did not insist on being right.

The fact that he heeded the invitation of  his dream to change his way of thinking and acting.

Now that would be a great gift for men to incorporate in their life.

Joseph was a doer of God's will and a man of goodness. Joseph invites us to breathe into ourselves the fatherhood of God and let it challenge us and encourage us as we continue our journey.

Lastly, Jesus helped "bring Jesus up."  HOw do we bring Jesus up in the lives of those around us.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Isaiah 1:10-16-20; Ps 50 to the upright I will show the saving power of God; Matthew 23:1-12

"come now, let us set things right, says the LORD."

These are the words of the prophet Isaiah in today's first reading.  Simply put, Isaiah reminds us that it is never to late to right a wrong.  Too often I encounter people who muse that perhaps it is too late for them; perhaps that missed the opportunity to put their life together.

Isaiah tells us this is false thinking.  God's patience is directed to each of us and all of us.  It is never too late.  To think it is too late is to give in to the whispering of the devil and to not think highly enough about God's love for us.  As St. Paul tells us else where in scripture, Now is the time of salvation.  Each moment is ripe with the invitation to change and move forward to follow where Jesus leads.  Do not delay.  It is never too late.

We turn to the gospel and we encounter Jesus giving it to the scribes and pharisees for the sake of instruction of his disciples.

"therefore do and observe all things whatever the scribes and pharisees tell you, but do not follow their example."

Why should you listen to them?  Because they sit on the chair of Moses, as Jesus tells us in today's gospel.!

Interesting reality that chair of Moses.

The chair of moses was Moses' teaching authority-authority inherited by the legitimate teachers of Israel.  The particular place in synagogue where the leaders would sit was known metaphorically as the 'chair of Moses' symbolizing the succession of teachers of Torah from Moses down through the ages. It was considered the teaching authority of the synagogue.  IT was held by the principal Rabbi of  particular city synagogue, principal Rabbi of a region, on the universal level it was held by the High Priest in Jerusalem.

This is not unlike the Chair of Peter which was instituted by Christ to Peter himself Mt 16:18 as a line of  succession of authority (what you loose on earth shall be loose in heaven, what you bound on earth shall be bound in heaven."

None the less, a part from the above side bar, Jesus give a hard critique to the scribes and pharisees, not so much by what they say but how they carry themselves.  He continues with the following, "All their works are performed to be seen.  THey widen their phylacteries and lengthen  their tassels.  They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in market places…"

It seems they were attention seekers.  They would widen their phylacteries, which are leather boxes which contain parchment of scriptures (ex 13:1-10, 11-16 Deut 6:4-9, 13-21) to remind them of God's saving power., in order to show off their piety and devotion. Yet they seemed to focus clearly on their status rather than on God's status.

They were attention getters instead of attention givers.  Jesus simply reminds us that their is good attention.  Good attention is when we give it rather than seek it.   This is the call to service and being a servant of others.

Then he call non one on earth your father, you have but one Father in heaven.  This phrase has caused quite a stir in the protestant circles.  They get all excited when catholic priest are called father and they quote this particular passage.  What are we to make of this?

Jesus is teaching about false piety and pride.  He wants us to truly understand humility and service, being for others and not for ourselves.

Now for calling no one father obvious Jesus doesn't mean it literally.  In Matt 15:4 he tells us to "honor your mother and father."  In Mark 9:17-29 jesus rebukes the unclean spirit of a child immediately after again the "father" states I believe help my unbelief."

In mark 10:6-9 Jesus quotes scripture once again stating a man shall leave his mother and father and be united to his wife…

St. Paul in philemon 10 states "i appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment.  St. PAul identifies himself as father.

in 1 corinthians 4:14-15, again St. Paul states, "for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel."

St. Paul recognize Abraham as "the father of faith."

Here are just a few scripture references to shed more light on the text.

Priest being called 'father' recognizes their mission to represent the fatherhood of God in and through the call of Christ.  The priest stands in person Christe, and as Jesus states clearly, "he who's sees me sees the Father."  Just so the priest represents that reality as well as he faithful lives out his calling. It also recognizes their spiritual role as guide for the faithful and non faithful alike.

How many of us call our natural dad's father.  Priest represent us in the supernatural life.

Just a few musings.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Esther c:12,14-16,23-25; Ps 138 Lord, on the day I called of help, you answered me; Matt 7:7-12

"As A child I used t hear from the books of my forefathers that you, O LORD, always free those who are pleasing to you.  NOw, help me, who am alone and have no one but you, O LORD, my God…"

We have entered into the story of salvation at the reference point of Esther, the queen who seeks to fight for her people Israel against conniving man who wants to serve only himself.

It is a beauty story of faith,  Esther puts her life on the line.  I recommend reading it.

But what I want to call to mind is the line of her prayer as she recalls from her childhood the stories she heard about GOd's action in and through the forefathers.

What a beautiful reality.  Memory is such a wonderful thing, a precious gift.

To have that memory of faith as we journey through life is such a necessary component to ensuring tranquility and peace of mind and heart.

So many do not know.  So many of today do not have that memory of faith.  Many children have their heads filled with Sponge Bob Square pants and Nick at Night and Disney.  They can tell you about Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse and Goofy and Dragon Ball z but they don't know the stories of faith that bring light into darkness, triumph in defeat.

This is where the victory of Christ begins to shine forth, when the young mind is exposed to the light of the gospel, the good news of God's action in and through salvation history.

The more the soul is enlightened by the stories of salvation history, the more the soul can identify with the heroes of the past, the more they are open to the light of grace.

Grace is the amount of light in the soul.

Esther was filled with light.  She became a light to her nation as she prayed to God for aid.

Jesus in the gospel for today give us the golden rule: "do to others whatever you would have them do to you."

But wait this isn't just a moral imperative.
 This is a guideline of action that God himself chooses to adhere.  He gives us this line right after he says these words about asking, knocking, and seeking: If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him."

The imperative to do to others whatever you would have do to you is really a description of God's motivation in giving to others.  He will give  to us  according to the desire of what he would have us do for him.

The golden rule is the self imposed regulation of God's way of acting toward us.  This is good news.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Jonah 3:1-10; Ps 51 A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn; Luke 11:29-32

 A year ago yesterday the Cardinals gathered to elect a new pope.  They megan the process with these words, "I call as my witness christ the Lord, who will be my judge that my vote is given to the one who before God I think should be elected."

Thus began the process of the conclave.  Cardinals from around the globe gathered in prayer and fasting to listen to the Spirit of God and to cast a vote and thus elect a successor to Peter, Vicar of Christ.

Tomorrow we celebrate the one year anniversary of the election of Pope Francis.

He certainly has shaken things up.  He was on the cover of Time Magazine, Rolling Stone Magazine just to name a few.  He has achieved Rock Star status.


Your guess is as good as mine.

Here are his words for Ash Wednesday last week.

May they guide you as you continue to enter in to this reality of lent.

"Lent is about two things: to have a greater awareness of the redemptive work of Christ and to live out our baptism with deeper commitment.

Awareness of the marvels God works should lead to thanksgiving.  Conversion begins with a grateful response to the stupendous mystery of God's love.

Living out our baptism to the full means we no longer accept (mediocrity).  We can no longer passively accept certain forms of behaviors.  We need to be shocked once again by these behaviors (what people do or say).

We have grown to accustomed to these behaviors and we (let them slide).

We need to recover the ability to react to the reality of evil which challenges us."

Monday, March 10, 2014

No Spin zone

Leviticus 19:1-2,11-18; PS 19 Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life; Mt 25:31-46

What's really at stake?  When it all boils down and all the spin is over, what really matters.

What is at the heart of the gospel message and all the doctrines that we hold and profess to be true and revealed by God?

What's at stake? What matters most?

Which brings us to the gospel for today this monday, first week of Lent.  Jesus puts it all on the line.  Clears the stage.  He enters the no "spin" zone."

We thought only Bill O'Reily could claim that as fame, but Jesus was trying to stop the spin long before Bill ever came along.

Here it is as clear and precise as Jesus can lay it down: "what you do to the least of my brothers you do to me…what you do not do to the least of my brothers you do not do it to me."

It is the five finger gospel: You Did It To Me!

Read it.  Read it again.  Don't spin it.  Learn the true motivation behind giving alms: solidarity with Christ.

Friday, March 7, 2014


Isaiah 58:1-9; Ps 51 A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn; Matt 9:14-15

"The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast."

These are the words of Jesus  in this Friday's gospel passage as we continue our journey of lent.

The bridegroom of course is Jesus himself and he as ascended to heaven though he remains with us his presence is not complete.  We are invited to hunger for that full revelation of his glory and his presence.

The word "fast" as in "to fast" simply means to hunger for something.  We are asked to hunger physically so that it may mirror our hunger spiritually for the full revelation of Christ.

Many times we focus on the lack of food as a source of hunger and thus we fast from various food items through the season of lent.

But Isaiah gives us another approach, something a little more "meaty" if you do not mind the pun since we are asked to abstain from meat on Friday's.

Hear again the invitation and exhortation of the prophet Isaiah, "This is the fasting I wish, says the LORD, releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke, setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke, sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own."

Now that is serious fasting.  Lent is not for wimps. Why should we fast in such a manner.

Isaiah once again spells out the benefits of such behavior, "then your light shall break forth like the dawn and your wound shall quickly be healed, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.  THen you shall call and the Lord will answer, 'Here I am!'"

How is that for reason.  Is it reason enough to get us off our butts.  Will we heed the word of the prophet or do what we have always done: give up ice cream or cookies or whatever.  Don't be boring this lent.

Shake things up as our Pope reminds us.  Be bold!  Be Brave!  Be real!

Who wouldn't want the glory of God to be our rear guard?  Who wouldn't want the wounds to be healed?  who wouldn't want light to break forth in our life and the life of those around us?

Don't just fast but be hungry for the glory of God!  Hunger for more!

Thursday, March 6, 2014


“Rend your hearts and not your garments” (Joel 2:13).

With these insightful words of the prophet Joel, the liturgy introduces us into Lent today, indicating the conversion of the heart characteristic of this time of grace. The prophetic call is a challenge for all of us, without exception, and reminds us that conversion is not a matter reducible to outward forms or vague intentions, but engages and transforms one’s entire existence from the center of the person, from the conscience. We are invited to embark on a journey in which, in defiance of the routine, we strive to open our eyes and ears, but especially the heart, to go beyond our “little garden.”

To open oneself to God and to others: we live in an increasingly artificial world, in a culture of “doing”, [a culture] of the “useful”, in which we exclude God from our horizon without even realizing it. Lent calls us to “give ourselves a ‘shake-up’”, to remember that we are creatures, that we are not God. 

We run the risk of closing ourselves to others also: we risk forgetting them, too - but only when the difficulties and sufferings of our brothers challenge us, only then we can start our journey of conversion towards Easter. It is an itinerary that includes the cross and sacrifice. Today’s Gospel shows the elements of this spiritual journey: prayer , fasting and almsgiving (cf. Mt 6,1-6.16-18 ). All three involve the need not to be dominated by the appearance of things: the appearance of things does not matter – nor does the value of life depend on the approval of others or on success, but from how much we have inside.

The first element is the prayer. Prayer is the strength of the Christian and of every believing person. In the weakness and fragility of our life, we can turn to God with the confidence of children and enter into communion with Him. In the face of so many wounds that hurt us and that could harden the heart, we are called to dive into the sea of prayer, which is the sea of God’s boundless love, to enjoy its tenderness. Lent is a time of prayer, a more intense, more diligent prayer, [one] more able to take care of the needs of the brethren, to intercede before God for the many situations of poverty and suffering. 

The second element of the Lenten journey is fasting. We must be careful not to make a formal fasting, or one that in truth “satisfies” us because it makes us feel as though we have all in order. Fasting makes sense if it really affects our security, and also if a benefit to others comes from it, if it helps us to grow in the spirit of the Good Samaritan, who bends down to his brother in need and takes care of him. Fasting involves choosing a sober life, which does not waste, which does not “discard”. Fasting helps us to train the heart to essentiality and sharing. It is a sign of awareness and responsibility in the face of injustices, abuses, especially towards the poor and the little ones, and is a sign of our trust in God and His providence.

The third element is almsgiving: it is a sign of gratuity because alms are given to someone from whom you would not expect to receive anything in return. Gratuity should be one of the characteristics of a Christian, who, aware of having received everything from God freely, that is without any merit, learns to give to others freely. Today often gratuity is not part of everyday life, where everything is bought and sold. Everything is calculation and measurement. Almsgiving helps us to live the gratuitousness of the gift, which is freedom from the obsession with possessing things, [freedom from] the fear of losing what one has, from the sadness of those who do not want to share their well-being with others.

With its calls to conversion, Lent comes providentially to rouse us, to shake us from our torpor, from the risk of moving forward [merely] by inertia. The exhortation that the Lord speaks to us through the prophet Joel is loud and clear: "Return to me with all your heart” (Joel 2:12). Why must we return to God? Because something is wrong in us, in society, in the Church - and we need to change, to turn things around, to repent! Once again Lent comes to make its prophetic appeal, to remind us that it is possible to realize something new within ourselves and around us, simply because God is faithful, continues to be full of goodness and mercy, and is always ready to forgive and start over from scratch. With this filial confidence, let us set out on our way!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Joel 2:12-18; PS 51 Be merciful O Lord for we have sinned; 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2; Matt 6:1-6,16-18

It is that time of year again.  Spring cleaning for the soul.  Or if you prefer the spiritual Olympics has begun and today is the opening ceremony.  Though we do not have a dance routine or even a theme song to boot; we do not have a torch being carried to light an emblematic fire for the nations; we just have a simple splash of ash upon the forehead  to kick start the season of discipline, a season of training in true love.

Prayer, fasting, and giving will be the events in which we compete that we might deepen our love for God, love for neighbor, and our detachment of self.

The keynote address revolves around two statements we shall hear over and over again: remember you are dust and unto dust you shall return and Repent and believe in the gospel.

Both are important if we are to understand the 40 days of Lent.

Remember you are dust and unto dust you shall return.  Time is running out.  Don't waste it.  We are called to examine our life and see where we are headed.  Many would suggest that since we do not have much time then we should make the most of it by doing whatever we want.  Well, that would be a waste.

Remembering we are dust reminds us that we are dust alive in the hands of God.  We have our existence from another and it is only in the other that we shall find ultimate fulfillment and true value.

This is why the second statement is valuable: repent and believe in the gospel.

Repent that is it is time for a change, a change in direction.  The gospel now becomes a true compass of orientation.  The good news helps us get our bearings straight and thus realigns us with true greatness, a greatness we are created for, written in our very existence.

Pope Benedict reminded us some years ago that the world will promise us comfort, but we are not made for comfort we are made for greatness.

The season of Lent has arrived in the nick of time to call out to us that reality once again that we are made for greatness and through prayer, fasting, and giving we can discover the greatness written into our existence by the maker's hand and let it out for the benefit of the world.

It is time to get our head, heart, and soul in the game.

"we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us…that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ…do not receive the grace of God in vain."  2 corinthians 5

The grace of the season has arrived.  The invitation is laid at our feet.  The ash has been splashed upon our forehead.  Let the world experience true greatness: pray, fast, give.

Let the games begin.

Monday, March 3, 2014


1 Peter 1:3-9; Ps111 The Lord will remember his covenant forever; Mark 10:17-27

Today in the life of the church we celebrate the memorial of Katharine Drexel that is Saint Katharine.  A native of Philadelphia, born in to a very affluent family, a world traveler of sorts, St. Katharine, after nursing her stepmother through a three year period of terminal illness began to consider what mattered most in life.

On one of her trips to Italy, having encountered Pope Leo XIII, She asks him to send more missionaries to Wyoming for her fried Bishop O'Connor.  The pope's reply was simple and to the point, "Why don't you become a missionary."

Think about that simple exchange.

How often do we complain about things not getting done?  How often do we push the job off on others and just continue to complain?  When was the last time we did anything about it?

This is exactly what God in the Holy Spirit was doing through Pope Leo XIII for Katharine Drexel.

It was an invitation to do something about it.  IT was invitation not only to recognize the need but to supply what was lacking.

In 1889, Katharine decided to give the remainder of her life to the service of God and his church, forming a order of sisters dedicated to the education of the Native Americans and the African Americans, including having founded XavierUniversity in New Orleans.

She eventually passed from this life at the age of 96, having been born in 1858 she lived almost a century upon her death in 1954. She was canonized in 2000 by Pope John Paul II.

It all started with a compassionate heart to do something and invitation not to pass the buck but rather to take the reigns and make it happen.

These are the kind of people Jesus is in need of today.  We have many who recognize problems and areas that need attention but so few who are actually willingly to do something about it because they lack commitment.

Why Don't you become  a missionary?

Listen again to the words of JEsus in the gospel for today.

"A man ran up, knelt down before Jesus, and asked him, 'Good teacher, what must i do to inherit eternal life?…Jesus looking at him, loved him and said to him, ;you are lacking in one thing.  Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come follow me."

Why Don't You become a Missionary?  What are you still lacking?  

Sunday, March 2, 2014


Isaiah 49:14-15; PS 62 Rest in God alone, my soul;  1 Corinthians 4:1-5; Mt 6:24-34

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds…Are you not more important than they?…"

Remember the old song, "Don't Worry, Be Happy…"  (Whistle here…)

What is the heart of our worry and anxiety in our life?  Why do we get so caught up in things and let them consume us, control us, guide and direct us?

At the very heart of today's gospel as Jesus is speaking and inviting us not to worry he makes an observation, "Look at the birds is the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them…Learn form the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin.  But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them…"

Right in between that observation, snuggled comfortably between the birds and wild flowers Jesus says these words, "Are not you more important then the?"

That is the question for us.  Why do we worry?  Why do we have anxiety?  Why do we need medication for our nerves and for our ulcers?  Simply this:  We do not value ourselves sufficiently.  We undervalue our worth before the eyes of our heavenly Father.

We suffer from spiritual low self-esteem.  we don't think we count.  We don't thin God is concerned?  We under value God's care and concern even after he sent his son to die on the cross to prove his love, his undying faithfulness and desire for our well being.

We doubt.  We refuse to accept the high value he has placed upon us.

This is the source of our worry and our anxiety an ultimately our misery: spiritual low self esteem.

As we get ready for Lent perhaps we should take that question and let it leads us through these 40 days of retreat: Are not you more import an than they?

Perhaps at the end we can say "Yes."