Saturday, May 30, 2015


Deuteronomy 4:32-43,39-40; Ps 33 Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own; Romans 8:14-17; Matthew 28:16-20

Today is Trinity Sunday.

The Trinity explains who God is, not just what God does.  All the mysteries of faith are to understood in the light of the Trinity.

Now many might suggest that it doesn't matter whether we understand God to be a Trinity.  Big deal.

But an error about God and his will has deep and lasting impact on the world around us.  An error about God an his will is not a private affair.  Think about ISIS.  Think about all those men and women and children who have been driven from their homes.  Think about those men an women who have lost their heads.  What we believe about God intimately effects everyone around us; it is diabolical to think that it can ever be reduced to a private, personal matter.

It is often said that accuracy is the key to beauty. Where accuracy does not run, beauty limps.  The greatest enemy to beauty is a rough approximation.

Too often we settle for a rough approximation when it comes to God.

Here is an example.  This past summer I spent  a few days in the Holy Land. I travel as you know to the sites where Jesus was and did his ministry.  Where the temple mount is today there is now a Mosque, the Dome of the Rock, as it is called. It is a homing beacon for all those who abide by the Islamic tenets passed down from Mohammed and those who came after him and the Koran.

There are inscriptions written on the Dome of the Rock for all to see.

One such inscription reads, "believe only in Allah and his messenger, but do not say (three) Trinity an and it will be better for you.  Allah is one God, Far be it from his glory that he should have a son."

Another inscription reads, "Praise be to God who has not taken unto himself a son and who has no partner in sovereignty nor has he any protector on account of weakness."

These words have certainly impacted the lives of many publicly.

They are certainly a direct attempt at refutation of the God of Jesus Christ an his followers.

Can they both be true?  Can the Muslim profession and the Christian profession both arrive at truth? Truth does not consist of multiplicity but of unity.

The revelation of the Trinity should have a deep impact on our daily lives and should filter into our public lives daily as well. What of the Trinity?

First it reminds us that God has spoken.  God keeps silence no longer. God has revealed himself as a Communion of love: 3 distinct persons and one nature.   God is distinctly three persons but is of one single nature: know with the same intellect and love with the same will. The 3 persons do not share divine nature but each possess it in totality.

Trinity revelation invites us into Mystery. There is something marvelously inviting to the mind in an infinite being of whom we can know something, but whom we cannot wholly know; in the knowledge of whom can grow, yet the truth of whose being we can never exhaust.  We can never discard God as a solved crossword puzzle.

Think about how often we make a sign of the cross and invoke the triune God. It connects us to our baptism in which is established the advanced gift of being loved by eternal love.  This is the gift of baptism: advanced gift.  God loves us in advance.  Pretty thought provoking.

We take upon our lips the words through which we were made Christians: accepting faith in the triune God.  This of course means that the primary concern in Christianity is God, it is not oriented toward our own hopes, fears, needs but to God, to his sovereignty and power: God is!

Practically what does it mean to profess that God is

-God is-God is superior to all our goals and interest; adoration of the Triune God protects us from being slaves of our goals in life and from our own devices.

God is-we are all creatures; we are willed and wanted by another not our of necessity but out of love. This other has destined us to eternal life. We are not a product of Chance but existence is the fruit of creative love.

God is-he is at work, he acts, he can act.  When we make our plans from day to day existence, do we see him, do we make room for him to work, to act.  Do we orient our life and spirit to his plan. Too often we treat God as an equal and think we can give him fairly useful suggestions on how to run the universe, our lives, and the lives of others.  It also diminishes our sense of sin.  We no longer are bothered by offending one who is just like us.  Or we treat God as an extra in which case he has no place in the practical unfolding of life.  God is challenges the notion of God as equal and God as an extra. We must allow God to interfere in our life.

God is-communion of love that is the ground of all reality.  Trinity is the inner most reality that holds all the universe together. He loves.  He wants to be known by us so he has revealed himself to us.  We can only love what we know.  The highest love is the total gift of self to another and this is the Trinity.

The God of Jesus Christ wants us to participate in his life and wants to be part of our life not as a dictator as we see in the Islamic faith but as a Father of a family.  This makes a huge difference.

Friday, May 29, 2015


Sirach 44:1-23;

As we continue along this journey with the book of Sirach, we encounter these words of the sacred writer, "I will now praise the godly, our ancestors, in their own time."

Then he goes on to mention that these godly men and women of old were to be found in a variety of walks of life: subduers of the land (farmers, ranchers), counselors, seers, princes, lawgivers, sages of composition, writers of proverbs,  composers of melodies….

Where do we find godly men and women?  We find them anywhere and everywhere.  Godliness is meant for every one.

When is the last time we used the term "godly" to describe someone?

Do we consider ourselves in the category?

Do we live our life in such a manner that when we die the first word pressed upon the lips of those who mourn would be that we were "godly?"

If not then it is time to reevaluate our purpose in our life!

To be godly means to put god first in everything.

I heard a conversation yesterday evening while I was with a group of people celebrating life.  While in line, I over heard a conversation that was striking.

A lady in leaned over to the person in front of her and said these words, "faith is a very personal thing so one must be careful when they speak to another about it."

It is true that faith is personal but personal doesn't mean private.  In fact,  think it time we stopped tiptoeing around the topic all together.

Faith is personal because God has revealed himself as a personal God, "the God of Abarahm, Isaac, and Jacob."

Yes it demands a certain degree of delicacy not because of the the believer but because of the one we believe in.

Secondly, personal faith does not mean what i believe is ok and what you believe is ok and we should just get along.  Belief must be rooted in truth.  There is only one truth not multiple truths.

A conversation, a dialogue,a  discussion should constantly be had about our beliefs so that we can get down to the truth of the matter and remove ourselves from the dross of our own opinions.

Just as Jesus  in today's gospel chases the money changers out of the the temple (Mark 11:11-26) he demands a try understanding of faith and wants to remove the dross of error.

Just because someone believes something personally doesn't mean they aren't personally in error.  The only way to get the heart of the matter is by conversation, public conversation, discourse, and continued  faith seeking understanding.

Just a thought.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Sirach 42:15-25Ps 33 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made; Mark 10:46-52

As we continue to be guided by the reflection of Sirach, a few words stand out this morning: "he is from all eternity one and the same, with nothing added, nothing taken away; no need of a counselor for him!"

These a few words the sacred author gives us in regards to better understanding who God is.  We are told that God does not need a counselor.  Think about these words for a minute or two.  A counselor is someone who advises another, gives them direction, guidance and helps point them in the way of wholeness, hopefully anyway.

How often do we try to counsel God in our life?  How often do we try tell God what he should be doing, how he should be doing it?

Yet, we are told no need for a counselor for him.  Today try not to counsel God in the way he should act in your life.  Rather, be open to his counsel, and pray for the ability to accept, to surrender, for the grace to be led by Him.

In the gospel today we meet the blind man, Bartimaeus, on the roadside to Jericho.

Side note: Last night I got a cal around 10 am from a gentleman who was stranded on the side of the road.  He was looking for assistance.  It seems Bartimaeus makes an appearance often around these parts.

Back on track.  The crowd was trying to keep the blind hand silenced as he cried out for Jesus' attention.  It makes one wonder who is really blind, Bartimaeus or the crowd.  Bartimaeus is well aware of what Jesus can do.  He sees clearly who needs to be in contact with.  The crowd though they see physically are blind spiritually.

It's the same in our society today.  The crowd wants to silence those who cry out for Jesus.  Which means, like Bartimaeus, we need to cry out all the more.  We must refuse to be silent. Just because we are told to quiet down doesn't mean we should.

Bartimaeus is a good witness for us.  He refused to be hushed by the crowd.  We too must rediscover our voice.  We need to speak up, speak out.

Bartimaeus finds what he is looking for and it isn't just his sight but rather a path way of life and love as scripture tells us, "immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way."

Once again God who needs no counselor gives counsel and the wise man follows the path illumined by Christ.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Sirach 36:1,4-5,10-17; Mark 10:32-45

It seems nothing changes.  The demands of Christ remain the same and the longing of the human heart remains the same as well.

Look at the first reading from Sirach: "Come to our aid, O God of the universe, look upon us, show us the light of your mercies, and put all nations in dread of you!...Give new signs and work new wonders...Give evidence of your deeds of old; fulfill the prophecies spoken in your name, reward those who hope in you..hear the prayer of your servant...lead us in the way of justice."

This could be a prayer of anyone and everyone especially these days as ISIS threatens the security and safety of people in the Middle East.  How often those being persecuted voiced a prayer similar.  And yet it is a prayer that most likely dates to 200 BC.

The human heart is what it is and wants what it wants.

Then we look to the gospel and we find nothing new.  For Jesus, service never goes out of style.  Jesus constantly insists on service and being a servant rather than being served.

Yet we discover the disciples violating the tenants of humbly by asking to sit one on the right an left in glory.  Jesus reminds them that it isn't a matter of just asking but doing and living: must be a servant of all.

True humility as St Francis de Sales reminds us involves generosity.  Humility in the heart produces generosity in life.  Thus service remains a constant for all of us.

The Same ole same ole.  That's the way we need it.

Saturday, May 23, 2015



Today we encounter Jesus asking Peter a threefold question which is really one question.  In fact, the question Jesus poses to Peter is the only question that should concern us in life.  The answer to this question will help us move forward.

Think about all the questions we ask God on a regular basis.  Think about the thousand questions that go unasked but fill our hearts and minds.  Yet, all those question pale in comparison to the one question of Jesus.  The question of Jesus is the answer to all of our questions.

Think about that for a moment: the question Jesus poses to Peter is the answer to all the question we may pose to Him.

Here it is:  "Simon, Son of John, do you love me more than these?"

Do yo love me more than these?

This is the question that answers all the questions of our life.

No matter the circumstances we may go through or have gone through the question of Jesus should alway be both in the back ground of our lives and front and center as well.

For if we can truly answer this question, then we will discover that all of our questions will find their proper place in life.

Do you love me more than these?

Only the affirmative will bring us the peace and strength as the journey unfolds.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Acts 22:30;23:6-11; Ps 16 Keep em safe, O God, You are my hope; John 17:20-26

Today int he first reading we catch a glimpse into  St Paul's playful side.  Being under arrest, he is made to stand before the Pharisees and the Sadducees.  Knowing their difference in opinions in regard to Spirits, angels, and the resurrection, St Paul uses this difference to cause an uproar.  It is actually well played on his part.

The moment he calls out that he is under arrest because of his belief in the resurrection the two factions get into a dispute, chaos follows.  I always imagine St Paul smiling when he spies what ensues.

St Paul certain knows how to use humor and truth to leave a lasting impression. It is definitely worth the read.

Secondly, Jesus has these words for us: "Father they are your gift to me.  I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world."

We all have wishes and desires and we chase them wildly.

We forget JEsus has a wish as well.  He wishes that we would be where he is.

Think about that today.  IT is worthy of thought.

We can wish upon a star or we can live so has to fulfill the wish of Jesus.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


I was thinking about gentleness today.  As we find ourselves in the middle of the Novena to the Holy Spirit and meditating on the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, I gravitated toward gentleness.

We read these words in the psalm for today, psalm 68:Blessed day by day be the Lord, who bears our burdens.

Now is there a better definition than this to understand gentleness?

Gentleness can be seen as the way we bear he burdens of another.

God bears our burdens.  In fact, a more literal translation of that line can be, "God carries us."

We are God's burden and he gladly carries us.  In fact, he has carried the weight all the way to calvary that we might be set free.

Jesus tells us in the gospel, unless we deny ourselves, pick up our cross daily, follow him, we can not be his disciples.

The greek word for picking up the cross as Jesus mentions it is to carry what ha already been lifted.  Now how is that for true gentleness. Jesus is just demanding we carry the load but he is inviting us to carry what he himself as already lifted high.

Today, think about how you bear the burden of another.  Do we press down on them to make the load heavier or do we help raise the burden in their lives after the model of Christ himself?

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Acts 1:15-17,20-26; Ps113 The lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people; John 15:9-17

When I was in Costa Rica a few weeks back there was much to see.  The wild life was pretty awesome,  But the strangest and most surprising thing was to see a Toucan in the wild.

It is crazy because all I could think about was fruit loops and Toucan Sam.

Which brings me to the gospel.  Jesus tells us "It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain…"

What of this fruit Jesus is speaking?

Obviously, He is not speaking about fruit loop cereal.  Yet, He is think about the fruit of the spirit that he has given us.

St Paul in Galatians outlines the fruit we should be bearing in our life: love, joy, peace, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, self-control, gentleness.

This is what needs to unfold in and through our life.  As we begin the novena to the Holy Spirit tomorrow, we should look again at the fruit  of His presence in our life.

Last little fact: Toucans regulate their body temperature by adjusting flow of blood to their beaks.  They share this in common with most humans, we also seem to adjust our temperature by blood flow to our mouth, if yo catch my drift.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Acts 17:15,22b 18:1, Psalm 148 Heaven and Earth are full of your glory; John 16:12-15

today we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, she who was sent as messenger to us to three shepherd children continues to speak o us about the necessity of conversion and prayer. 

Mary is not unlike the rest of us disciples in the sense that she is always on mission.  She continually seeks to bring the good news to world.  From the beginning, Mary, pregnant with child, goes to Elizabeth and her presence brings joy to all in the home. 

From then on, Mary has continually brought the same good news and joy to people of each generation as she did so in Fatima. 

Pope Benedict reached into this missionary zeal in his visit to Fatima. 

Here are a few Words of Pope Benedict upon visiting Fatima, "He must seek truth by means of his cognitive process, tend toward the good in the sphere of volition, be attracted by beauty in the aesthetic dimensions. Consciousness is Christian to the degree it opens itself to the fullness of life and wisdom that we find in Jesus Christ."

In other words: We must seek the truth with our minds, do good with our wills, allow beauty to enter into our hearts and then we shall begin to fully open up to the person of Jesus as the fullness of life. 

Every time we say the rosary we seek the truth with our minds as we think about the life of Christ, his ministry, his service, his teaching. He is truth himself. We learn to do as he did as we conform our will to his and truly understand goodness seen in action in the life of Christ. We learn to love what is good for us from goodness himself. We let the beauty of such a life, the God man who brings grace and redemption, to enter into our life and heart and show us what true beauty is all about, "no greater love then to lay down one's life for one's friends." Is there anything more beautiful?

We see the same missionary zeal resonate in the life of Paul.  He is on his second journey and finds himself in Greece.   Like a good missionary, he uses his surroundings and the culture of the people to create a bridge to introduce Jesus to them. 

We too are invited to be bridge builders.  We must be creative in using the things around us, the cultural phenomenon, to introduce Christ to others. 

Mary did it.  Paul did it. We must follow their lead. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015


Acts 15:7-21; PS 96 Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations; John 15:9-11

Think about these words that begins today's gospel passage for the Mass:

"As the Father loves me, so I also love you."

Think about again.  Let the words filter into your heart.

Let the meaning of each word begin to take hold of that heart and mind.

As the Father loves me.  How does the Father love Jesus?  Can we imagine such an exchange of infinite freedom and goodness offering and receiving love from infinite freedom and goodness?

Imagine a love that knows no bounds or limits!  Imagine  a love that has no walls or hiccups!  Imagine love that is pure an unadulterated, unsoiled by time or experience!  Imagine a love that is the source of all there is and was and ever will be!

"As the Father loves me, so I also love you."

Now imagine all of that laid at our feet.  Imagine that gift wrapped for you and me!

As the Father loves me, so I also love you.

Stay with that today.  Think about it often.  Think about more than often.  Let it become the center of today, the gravitational pull that holds it all together and sets it all free.


Acts 15:1-6

We continue these easter days by following in the footsteps of the apostles as the early church finds itself.

The Jewish converts and the gentile converts are at odds as far as answering the question, "how is one saved."

The Jewish contingent is clinging to the old prescripts of the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants, where circumcision is necessary as entrance  into the family, household of God.

Circumcision was a badge of Jewish Identity as connection to the roots of Israel as the chosen people of God, a reality that found its culmination in Jesus, the Messiah.

So what was one to do?  More importantly who was going to decide what to do?  Who is the spokesman for the church?  How would discernment take place?

"The Apostles and Presbyters met together to see about the matter."

All hope is not lost.  Jesus foresaw such a need for direction and guidance.  He had already determined where direction and guidance would come.  The Apostles and presbyters were to be the voice of reason.  Jesus himself said in the gospel, "He who listens to you, listens to me."

Who rises to front but Peter himself, the one who Jesus in Mt 16:18 gives the keys to the kingdom and the authority to bind/loose on earth and in heaven, "Blessed are you Simon son of Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father, and i say to you you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church…"

Peter takes his position as appointed by Christ as the first amongst Equals, the servant of the servant of Christ and begins to guide the church to a decision,"Peter got up and said to the Apostles and Presbyters, 'my brothers, you are well aware that from early days God mad this choice that through my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of Gospel and believe…On the contrary we believed we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus…"

It is not by the flint blade but by the free gift of Jesus Christ.

Salvation is a gift offered and received.

Thus the church begins to move forward on the seas of time, its anchor firmly dropped upon the gift of Salvation in Christ.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Here is the prayer penned by Pope Francis for the Holy Year of Mercy

Lord Jesus Christ,
you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father,
and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.
Show us your face and we will be saved.
Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money;
the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things;
made Peter weep after his betrayal,
and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.
Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman:
“If you knew the gift of God!”

You are the visible face of the invisible Father,

of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy:
let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.
You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness
in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error:
let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.

Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing,

so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed,
and restore sight to the blind. 

We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy,

you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.