Friday, October 31, 2014


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

Today we commemorate All Saints Day.  We look at those men and women who we believe are with God in heaven as a model for us as we continue to journey forth in faith.

We call them holy men and women or saints of God.   Think about that word for a moment, "Saint".

In english we say saint or holy but in greek it is haggios, in hebrew it is kodesh, in latin, Sanctus.

We often apply the word holy to people,  place, or even a thing that is generally considered sacred, such as the Holy Bible, or the Holy places in Jerusalem, or Saint Peter or Saint Paul.

In english when we sing the Gloria, there is a phrase that states "you alone are the holy one" or latin, "You alone are the saint."

Holiness is truly an attribute of God.  It rightly belongs to God, he is holy.  In hebrew the word  kodesh is properly applied only to God.  It refers to God's essence.   Anything that was considered holy was due because of its relation to God himself, his presence.  The holy place was holy because it was considered to be  a reserve or preserve of God's presence.

No individual human is holy.  Holy is holy because of its association with God by God's call or election.  The Sabbath is holy because of God's special presence, as are the tabernacle and the temple. Israel is holy because God chose to dwell among them as his chosen people.  Such is the same for the ARK of the covenant, the law, the priestly vestments.  Men are just and perhaps even righteous but no man is called holy or a saint in hebrew scripture.

However in the prophet Daniel there seems to be a change of attitude. In Daniel's vision of the Son of Man who comes to rule and who share his rule with the people of earth who are called "saints." Daniel 7:18,27

These "saints" that Daniel speaks of are in a vision of things yet to come, a kingdom yet to come. Daniel sees the Messiah as human yet able to act with the power of God.

Which brings us to the gospels.  When Jesus is conceived the angel note that the "child to be born will be called holy."  This child possess a quality that belongs to God alone.  Through Jesus flesh we now have access to the holiest of holies.  In fact we are made holy by the blood of Jesus.

Jesus' holiness is communicable.  Holiness breaks into the world when the Word becomes flesh and it breaks out in unexpected places.  No longer is it reserved in the precincts of Jerusalem or exclusively to the people of Israel or confined to 24 hour period of the Sabbath, holiness erupted in ordinary lives of ordinary people everywhere.  (The above is summary taken from Scott Hahn's book Angels and Saints: A biblical Guide to Friendship with  God's Holy Ones)

This is what is different about following Christ.   Holiness is now shared with us.  We belong to the in crowd.  Think about today's gospel.  Jesus sits down on the mount of Beatitude to deliver his first sermon.  The crowds were gathered watching Jesus' every move.  So Jesus seeing the crowds sits down.  The next line is always telling, "his disciples came to him."

We have to be willing to step out of the crowd if we are going to be true witnesses of God's goodness and bearers of his holiness.   This is what St Paul means when in the letter of Romans he addresses all the members of that community as "saints."  The title saints seems to be a synonym for being called Christian.   In fact the cause of this holiness is the fact that we are in Christ.  We have become partakers of divine nature as St Peter exhorts us (2 Peter 1:4).    We share in God's nature because he has chosen to share in our human nature.  Here is the source of holiness we celebrate on All Saints Day.

In Jesus Christ our humanity has become a bridge that unites us to the holiness of God transforming us and transforming the world around us.

In Christ we are children God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.  God, what he has by nature has shared with us through grace.

It is through Baptism that this is accomplished as St Paul tells us in Galatians 3:24-29, "For all you who are baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ."

As we celebrate the saints of old, be reminded that we are called to be saint a new.
The Saints above invite us saints below to transform the world by the presence of God we take with us as we go.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Ephesians 6:10-20; Ps 144 Blessed be the Lord, my rock;Luke 13:31-35

Fashion.  It is always the big talk.  What is fashionable?  What is the trend?  There is always a fall line and a spring line when it comes to the latest fashion.

Skirts and shirts and pants and dresses and purses and shoes or heels, or flip flops or pumps or wedges, all of these are incorporated into the newest fashion for folks to put on and lay claim to the fashion bug.

Yet, St paul reminds us that regardless of the outer wear we dawn we must remember we are part of another fashion show each and every day.  We belong to an invisible and very real spiritual fashion show and these matter most of all. the amor of God: truth,  righteousness, readiness for the gospel of peace, faith, the spirit, prayer and supplication.

This is God's fashion line.  We are invited to get with the fashion of grace and faith daily in our life.

Today or tomorrow when you go to your closest and look at what awaits you or if you can't decide what to wear be sure to be convicted in your spiritual fashion as you walk out your door.

The inner wear is timeless the outer wear will fade and always change.  God's fashion never goes out of style.

In today's gospel, we encounter Jesus lamenting over Jerusalem.  This place of lament is marked by a church built in the shape of a tear drop there in the holy land over looking the valley: Dominus Flevit.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Luke 13:22-30

""strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough…"

The word for "striving" is the word from which we derive "agony".  The struggle to enter into the narrow gate is intense, an intense agony not unlike Jesus' own agony in the garden, "Let this cup pass but be your will not mine."

We can never just sit back as if the goal was achieved.  The christian way can be liken to those who died on Mount Everest.  It was reported that when they were last seen, they were "going strong for the top."  Or as was described by the head stone of an Alpine guide, "he died climbing."

For the Christian, life is always upward and onward.

Pope Benedict has this to say about the Narrow Gate: "everybody has an equal chance to enter through the narrow gate but it is demanding, it requires commitment, self-denial, and mortification of one's own egoism…Christ invites all to heaven but with one requirement, that we take up our cross and follow him by dedicating our life to the service of our brothers.  True friendship with Christ is expressed by one's way of life:goodness, humility, meekness, mercy, love of justice and truth…"

Sunday, October 26, 2014


When you here the word love triangle what come to mind?

Perhaps the intrigue that develops on a soap opera or the encounters of JErry Springer love.  Maybe even the recent movie hits like Twilight or The Hunger Games.

Loretta Lynn sang "you're not woman enough to take my man."

Love Triangle usually involve as you might had guessed it three, perhaps two men vying for the affection of one woman or two women vying for the attention and affection of one man and they go at it until someone is left on the outside looking in.

There is usually a lot of intense emotion, sentiment, tears, pain, and perhaps even vengeance played out in these types of relationships.

But are there healthy love triangles?  Is there a love triangle that is recommended by Sacred Scripture.  Does Jesus speak about such realities?

In today's gospel Jesus proclaims the essential summation of the law and prophets with a simple response to a question, "which commandment is the greatest in the law?"

You Shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind and all your soul.  You shall love your neighbor  as yourself.

Extreme simplicity and the ultimate love triangle: God, Neighbor, Self.

Here is the Love Triangle that is meant to set the world on Fire.

How do we do with this love triangle?

A professor of literature once posed this thought, "if you want to know what is happening in story?  If you want to know where the plot is developing then look what love is doing?

Follow the path of love!

What is love doing in you life, your story?
How are we engaged in the love triangle on which our life in eternity depends?

Examen, reflect and then act!

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Ephesians 3:14-21; Ps 33 The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord; Luke 12:49-53

The response for today's psalm is the following, "The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord."

It was striking to read that this morning especially after i checked the headlines on the news for today: rampage in Canada, teacher murdered in VErmont, teens hit and run on a 9 year old, more jihadist, domestic violence in the NFL, stoning to death in Syria, husband charged with killing wife, wife charged with killing husband, Satanist wants to talk about the black Mass ebola still on the move, and the list goes on.

And yet this morning we hear that refrain nice again, "The Earth is filled with the goodness of the Lord."

People wonder where is the goodness of the Lord.

The word "goodness: in today's refrain is the hebrew word hesed, which is the mutual concern that marks the relationship of covenant members with each other.  It mutual care and concern.

We are all covenant members with God.  We have been asked to have mutual care and concern for one another.  We bring the goodness of God to the world daily by our mutual care and concern we have for those we encounter.  The goodness of the Lord is a grass roots reality.  IT fills the world from the bottom up.

This is the way the goodness of the Lord fills the earth.

This morning after I read the headlines and then the refrain I stepped outside and caught a glimpse of the rising sun.  Everything was bathed isn a orange glow.

It reminded me that in order for the goodness of the Lord to fill the earth, we have to be willing to step outside, step outside the headlines and zoom in on what is around us and there reach out in mutual care and concern and watch the goodness of the lord blossom.

It is easy to lose sight of God' s goodness when we focus on the headlines.  But lets focus elsewhere. We must remember, even division is a sign of God's goodness, "Do you think that I have come to bring peace on earth? no, I tell you, but rather division."  We have to be willing to be part of that division, stepping outside the bounds of the world so that the goodness of God can reign.


Wednesday October 22, we celebrated for the first time the memorial of John Paul II.  This is very unique for me.  This is the first time that someone in my life time has been canonized and raised to the roll call of saints.

Usually when we celebrate memorials of men and women who faithfully followed God they lived several hundred years before our time.  But not John Paul II.  He was on our TV screens.  He came to visit Texas.  He was very much apart of our faith life for many years.

It is quite a unique experience to be celebrating his life and legacy now at the altar as one enrolled in heaven.

Some years ago I received a book, not sure from who, that was entitled "Breakfast with the Pope." This was a small book that had little daily reflections or excerpts from Pope John Paul II's writings, homilies, teachings etc.

One of those pages contains what I believe to be the central theme of his teaching in regards to grace and the human heart.  This is what St John Paul II had to say, "The true Christian is a living gospel, written in flesh and blood, proclaimed with every beat of the heart.  By our life we assert the relevance of Christ and the unceasing newness of the gospel."

Think about that for a moment or two or the rest of your life.

The gospels are not just words written on a page in the bible: MAtthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  Rather the gospel is being written by our life daily. It is a lived reality.  We belong to the narrative of salvation. Each day a new chapter is being written about Jesus and his church and his impact by the life we live.

This is pretty powerful stuff.

As John Paul II also stated, "we are not the sum total of our failures and weakness, but the sum total of our Father's love for us and the real capacity to become the image of the son."

St. John Paul II intercede for us.

Here are few more quotes from John PAul II, "Stupidity is also a gift from God, but one must not misuse it."

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


ephesians 2:12-12; Ps 85 The Lord speaks of peace to his people; Luke 12:35-38

Jesus said to his disciples, "gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master's return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.  Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.  He will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants."

This week I have had several funerals and I have a few more up head.  The ages of these persons who have made the transition from this life to the life to come is quite the contrast: 31, 92, 62.  They certainly have the first, second, and third watch covered.

Once again life has a way of reminding us all of just how valuable and precious our time is.  It also reminds us that we should not take any moment for granted. We should strive to be ready to open at any moment.

Each day calls for an attentiveness and a deep awareness of the nudging of God.  As we practice responding  to his promptings daily, opening immediately our life to his presences and his will then we will find ourselves ready no matter what hour of our life we are called to be with him.

This is the hope that St Paul speaks of in the first reading, "without hope with out God in the world." In Christ Jesus we have become near by the blood of Christ.  In Christ the dark door of tomorrow has been thrown open wide.  The mystery of what lies ahead is less mysterious because of Christ.  He has gone before us.

We do have an inside scoop so to speak if we trust the witness he brings as he journeys form death to life and holds a promise out to us.

We cannot live as if this world is as good as it gets and yet in embracing the hope we have in Christ then we strive to make this world better through our service of one another in Christ.

Practice opening immediately to the nudging of God today.  Be the servant.

Friday, October 17, 2014


Ephesians 1:11-14; PS 33 Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own; Luke 12:1-7

Often times after a big weekend of football, whether it be highschool or college or even Pro, some body will get the game ball or will be nominated offensive or defensive player of the week.

This player impressed the coaches and did something to help the team experience victory at least one more week.

I wonder if God handed out game  balls, would any of us have impressed him?  Did any of us help others experience victory this week?

The saints are those who receive game balls from the church.  They are recognized as players of faith who impressed the world and society around them with victory and who continue to impress us as we journey in faith.

This week a couple of game balls went to St Teresa of Avila and St Ignatius of Antioch.

St Teresa was a woman of great resolve and clout.  She wanted to dedicate herself completely to the service of God.  She has several quotes that I think will be helpful for us as we journey in the life of faith.

She said w emus always remember the body wants more than it needs.  What we desire isn't always helpful in the spiritual life.  We have to discipline our desires just like we discipline our bodies in order to be spiritually fit.

Secondly, she said, true strength rises in obedience.  The yardstick for love is shown in obedience to God and to his church.  Rebelling against church teaching, doing our own thing is a sign of weakness not of strength.  We have told by our society just the opposite.  We have been acting as if rebellion is the true strength of soul and look what it has done to our society.  The yardstick of love is obedience.

St Ignatius was a big gun in the early church.  He was a pupil of St John, the writer of the gospel of John.  He was bishop of Antioch from 70 AD- 107AD.

He was arrested for his faith and was sentenced to be thrown into the coliseum to the wild animals.
In his life he tried to "imitate the passion of God."  Think about God's passion!  How do we imitate that passion in our daily lives?

He also said that together, we believers are like a choir  that in harmonious love we sing a song to the Father.  However, many of us sing a little off key and are not on the right pitch.  Our song to the Father has been drown out by those who are Christian in name only.

Lastly on his way to be fed to the lions he stated the following, "It is not that I merely want to be called Christian, but Ito actually be one.  YEs, if I prove to be one then I can have the name. Come what may:fire, cross, wild animals, mangling of limbs, crushing of my body, cruel torture-0ne thing, let me get to Jesus Christ.

He only wanted to be near Jesus.  Give me Jesus was his battle cry.  Click here for a song!
May you get your own game ball and experience victory for  the team.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Ephesians 1:1-10; PS 98 The Lord has made known his salvation; Luke 11:47-54

What's the point of monuments and memorials?  Who or what are we honoring?  what are we trying to remember?  And do they in fact make an impact on the lives of others?

Jesus calls into the question the memorials and monuments  of the prophets of his day.  What was the motivation of erecting these things and what did they it actually recall?

In Jesus estimation, the memorials were not erected out of honor for the prophets but rather to recall their murder because they spoke the truth.

The same reality happens in our day in age.  I think about the Holocaust Museum.  It helps us recall the tragedy of inaction.  The museum and monuments of the Holocaust remind us what happens when we move too slowly; it reminds us what happens when we delay our response or refuse to see what is right before our nose. It is a glaring indictment on humanity that refuses to seek the good of the other.

It is this inaction, the inability to stand for truth and justice that is meant to pierce our stubborn minds and hard hearts.

It is one thing to build a monument it is another to roll up our sleeves and get busy with elbow grease and sweat equity.

Stones are easier to deal with then flesh and blood and it is flesh and blood Jesus wants to stay close to and wants us to stay close to as well.

What monuments or memorials keep us from rolling up our sleeves in our own lives?  What monuments represent our own inactivity?


Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Galatians 5:1-6; Luke 11:37-41

Here are two phrases to ponder over the next week

"For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor circumcision counts for anything, but only Faith working through love."

Jesus tells us in the gospel as he speaks to the scribes and pharisees, "But as to what is within, give alms, and behold everything will be clean for you."

Faith working through love.

This phrase can be taken many ways.  One way is the following that faith is working out the kinks in love as we experience it daily in the ebb and flow of life.  Love sometimes gets bottlenecked in life do to our reactions to various circumstances outside of us and our temperaments inside of us.

Faith is trying to iron out the kinks in love as we mature in the Spirit.

Think about the kinks you experience when you try to love another or even respond in love to God.  What keeps holding us back?  What runs interference on daily basis: pride, arrogance, greed, anger, gossip, running at the mouth, hurtful thoughts, lust and the list could include much more.

Faith in practice seeks to iron those realities out of our life as we journey forth.  In Christ Jesus what counts is Faith working through love.  Sometimes we just got to be patient and work it out.

Friday, October 10, 2014


Gal 3:7-14, PS 11 The Lord will remember his covenant for ever, Luke 11:15-26

Every body knows that team work is necessary. A unified front makes life more meaningful, easier, less stressful.

Team work.  Team work.  Team work.

There is no 'I' in Team.

No man is an Island.

The cliches are through the roof on this one.  Team work is a must in life, in family, in school, in church, in everything.

Jesus drives home the point once again.  "Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste..."

Then he concludes with this little nugget, "whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters."

The analogy I used this morning with the school kids is the following:

I asked if any of them like football.  What would happen if every time the quarterback stepped back to throw a pass and his own lineman turned on him and sacked him?

The kids response was, "why would they do that?"

But then again why do we do that?  How often do we refuse to work as a team in love or in life?  How often do we refuse God the right to call the plays in our life?  How often have we turned to sack him by our actions?

Why do we bring more division and less unity?

The beauty, however,  is God keeps getting under center and keeps calling plays!
One day maybe we will get it!

Team work.  That they may all be one!

In the words of St Therese, "Your face is my only homeland, It is my kingdom of love."

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


ON this wednesday I would like to begin with a few words from Pope Francis.  Normally the Pope gathers with people on the square at St Peter's and has an audience with them giving them a bit of encouragement or catechesis on a particular subject.  With the Synod of the Family under way in Rome, where bishops from all over have gathered to discuss hot button topics such as Annulments, divorce, homosexuality and the like I thought i would share a bit of Pope's words at the opening mass for the Synod.

The Pope mentions that God has a dream and his dream is his people.  God desires a holy people.  God plants and nurtures them in the analogy of a vineyard.  Pope points out that it is the farmers that ruined the produce, ruin the Lord's pan: they fail to do their jobs and only think of their own interest.

"The work of the leaders is to nurture the vineyard with freedom, creativity and hard work. The work of a synod is not to discuss beautiful and clever ideas, or to see who is more intelligent...They are meant to better nurture and tend the Lord's vineyard, to help realize his dream, his loving plan for his people.  In this case, the Lord is asking us to care for the family, which has been from the beginning an integral part of his loving plan for humanity."

Just a taste of things to come from the synod on the family.

I'm not sure what will come out of the synod.  I do know we should pray that the Bishops have a listening heart an that they may respond generously and magnanimously to the prompting of the Spirit of God.

In today's gospel Jesus teaches us to pray.  He teaches us to pray in response to the request of the disciples, "Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples."

Prayer is that which is a hallmark and central binding reality to any group at least it seems that way for the disciples.  They do not ask for a mission statement or a motto or a catchy phrase to show that they are united together.  They do not ask for a clever symbol or flag that will acts as a unifier.

They ask for prayer.  They want to let the Spirit of God in prayer be that which binds them together as a united front, as followers of Jesus himself.

Prayer is not an option.  It is an essential ingredient to the life of discipleship.

The prayer Jesus entrust to the disciples is the Lord's prayer.
It is a prayer of adoration and surrender.  We seek what we need and put ourselves in the hands of almighty God.  At the heart of it is forgiveness.  Imagine that.  Adoration, surrender, forgiveness is that which ultimately binds the group together.

It is also the way of discipleship.  It is how we are to live as we follow after Christ who shows it most profoundly at the Last Supper, in instituting the Eucharist and on the cross.


Luke 10:38-42

Today we have the famous story of Martha and Mary.  Martha is busy doing all kinds of things in preparation for her guests.  Mary her sister is just simply resting on her laurels, literally sitting at the feet of Jesus.

What ar ewe too make of this, in particular Jesus' response to Martha's request to get Mary up off hr backside and get her working, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?  Tell her to help me!"

Jesus simply responds, "Martha, Martha you are anxious and worried about many things,  There is need of only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her."

Two things.  Martha was doing what she knew how to do.  She was busy in a manner she was comfortable but she never bothered to asked Jesus what he needed from her.  She assumed he waned to be fed.  How often do we react to things in way we are comfortable with out ever really checking in with Jesus?  We do what we are comfortable but that isn't always what Jesus wants from us.

Secondly, Martha sees what needs to be done bit she loses sight of who it should be done for.  She was at the center not Jesus and thus she became over burdened and anxious.  She made it about herself rather than about her guest.

Again, when have we lost sight of who we are called to serve and simply focused on the serving.  When we do that we get burned out and overworked and anxious to a fault.

See what needs to be done but make sure not to lose sight of who we are working for in and through our labor.