Thursday, July 30, 2015


Exodus 40:16-21,34-38; Ps 84 How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, Mighty God; Matt 13:47-53

We look at the building of God's dwelling amongst the people of Israel.

A few things stand out.  First, several times this phrase is repeated, "as the LORD had commanded."

This phrase which is at the beginning and end of the part of the dwelling being built reminds us that it is God alone who determines how he will be present in our world and where he will dwell.

Everything is gift or grace.  It is up to us to respond to the invitation.  We cannot force God's hand but we can be attentive and obedient to his call and command.

We hear about this dwelling several times in the passage.  The "dwelling" in Hebrew is indicative of "where one settles down" or "builds a home" or "rest regularly."  God is choosing on his own to find rest among humanity.  This is encouraging.  This is refreshing.  This brings us hope.

Secondly, as we read the development of Moses putting together the dwelling it seems like one of those projects that require assembly.  We have all bought things in which the packaging will say "assembly required."  I get that sense when i read these words of Moses' action, "He placed its pedestals, set up its boards, put in its bars, and set up its columns…hung the curtain veil..."

Assembly required suggest that though God alone chooses how he will be present in our world, this revelation also invokes and requires a relationship.   God does not dwell in our midst on his own without involving us in the process.  Revelation and relationship always seem to be connected.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Ex 34:29-35; Ps 99 Holy is the Lord our God;  Luke 10:38-42

Today is the feast of St Martha.

We see in the first reading that Moses' encounter with God, being in his presence alters his appearance, "the skin of his face had become radiant while he conversed with the Lord. "

This is an important reality check for us as we try to diagnose whether to not our prayer life is real.

Does the conversation we have with God change us, alter us?  Does it have an effect on our life and the way we are perceived?

This does not mean that our physical countenance should be changed like that of Moses, but it does suggest a real possibility of our life being changed, whether it be our temperament or our personality or the way we deal with life as it unfolds.  Something in us changes when we have a real encounter with the living Lord.

Are we changed?  Do people see something in us that we probably don't see in ourselves?  Can they perceive that we talk to God?

Something to ponder!

Pope Francis in one of his daily homilies mentioned these words, "Amazement is a great grace, it is the grace that God gives us in the encounter with Jesus Christ.  It is something that makes us lose our heads a bit out of joy."

What is the difference between Martha and Mary as we read and discover them in the gospel of Luke 10:38-42.  Martha is terribly busy.  She is caught up in her work, in the task at hand.  She only thinks about what needs to be done next.  Mary, her sister, is amazed at the presence of Jesus.  She has completed lost her head, at least that is what Martha thinks, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?" She has lost her head.

If only Martha would be willing to lose her head in amazement then maybe she would enjoy the work rather than be overwhelmed by it.

How quickly her anxiety and worry could be transformed into Joy.

These words of Jesus are always an invitation to all of us, "There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her."

What about us?  How often do we settle for less rather than the better part of life and love?  How often do get so blinded by the task at hand that we forget about the presence of Christ in our midst, He who journeys with us?

I find myself even now thankful for this gospel and this feast day of St Martha.  We are gearing up for a new school year and there is so much that needs to be done.  We have to hire these people and order those things and get that done.  We are two weeks out and it is just overwhelming.  Then this passage hits me like a ton of bricks.

I ask myself if I am amazed by the presence of God who journeys with me.  I breathe.  I take a deep breath.  I set aside the anxiety and worry and trust.  The better part is here for the taking in the task at hand.

I am amazed at all that god will do over the next two weeks.  I am amazed that he has asked me to be part of it.  I am amazed I get to sit at his feet in few moments at Mass.  Amazement is a grace.

This is the difference between Martha and Mary.

God looks for us, god waits for us, God finds us before we look for him.  He finds us in our anxiety and in our worry and he comes to bring amazement back into out life. And this is what the gaze of Jesus does to Martha.  It puts everything back into perspective.

Monday, July 27, 2015


2 kings 4:42-44; Ps 145 The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs; Ephesians 4:1-6; John 6:1-15

God has a  way of keeping us guessing.  We can never truly figure him out. God often stretches our minds in order to ensure that we we embrace reality as it unfolds in our midst we do so with Him as the interpretive key not our own devices.

Secondly, St Paul says these words, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God."  Why?  I think in large part because God can never be hemmed in or limited.  The only limit we can say about God is that God is love.  Here in lies the true interpretive key of reality.  God only sees what is possible.  No matter what comes it is always possibilities that lie ahead.

Imagine living in a manner in which we were see only possibilities rather than limits, fear, reluctance.

This is what the gospel brings to mind.

Jesus sees a crowd and poses a question, "where can we get enough to feed all of these people?"

Instantly there are several reactions.

Philip begins to calculate.  "200 days wages would not be enough to give them a little.  In his calculations he gets discouraged.

How often is this our reaction to life as it unfolds.  We calculate or miscalculate to our demise and begin to grow weary with discouragement, frustration, and doubt.

Of course this is the way of the world.  The world tells us to calculate, plan ahead, predict the outcome in order to better control reality.  This is not the way of God and we are not of the world, we are of God.

The human mind can never fully calculate what God's providence has in store.  There must always be room for something more, a surprise so to speak, or room for that which we say, "we had not planned for."  With God there must always be an opening for something still to come.

Then Andrew, one of the other Apostles, almost gets it.  For a brief moment he sets a side his calculations and begins to trust the one who brought him.  You can hear in his tone as he recognizes the boy with 5 loaves and two fish.  He sounds excited and hopeful and assured that all will be well.

Then something happens.  His tone of hopefulness, "here is a boy with 5 loaves and 2 fish" begins to turn sour into despair.  "But what good are these for so many."

It is a tragic moment.  Not sure why he gives up on hope.  Perhaps it is the naysayers around him,  perhaps it is the crowd, or perhaps she begins to trust his own inner security or insecurity rathe than the bigness of christ.  Whatever it is he shrivels and shrinks.  He grows small rather than large.

Then there is the boy, the muchacho.  He does only one thing, he gives.  He offers his meager lunch to JEsus.  HE watches JEsus take the little that he offers and turns it into real possibilities.

I love to imagine the boy in mind as he watches all of this unfold.  I imagine him grinning from ear to ear as he tells the story of how the little that he has becomes so much more in the hands of the living God.

PErhaps this is what St Paul means when he tells us it is fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God.  It is fearful because we have to let go of ourselves, our doubt, our fears, our reluctance, our own security and begin to see as God sees and Trust that God only sees possibilities.

So this week, the meditation for us is to see which of the three are wee.  Are we like philip still calculating everything wanting to predict, plan, control?

Are we like Andrew and we let hopefulness get crushed by the crowd, the naysayers or our own inner insecurity?

Or are we like the boy who simple states, You want it, here it is, take it, it is yours and lets the largeness of God transform the little we have to offer?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Ex 16:1-5,9-15; Ps 78 The Lord gave them bread from heaven; Matthew 13:1-9

Every time I read the story of Exodus I think to myself how so like us.   God delivers the people of Israel from slavery, shows his power and might, and yet how ungrateful are that, are we as human persons.  We are never satisfied with what God gives to us or how God reveals himself.  We always want more.  We are always looking to God as an ATM machine, we want to see how much we get out of him and from him.  How much do we seek God for our sakes, rather than love God for His sake.

"Here in the desert the whole assembly of the children of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron."

This is you and I on a regular basis.  We grumble.  We complain.  We direct our disappointment and frustration to God through his chosen leaders.

But God shows himself patient.  Pope Francis directed us to meditate on this patience of God during Lent, "When we think about the patience of God: that is a mystery! How patient he is with us! We do so many things, but he is patient."  He follows up  the invitation, "to think about what the patience of God has meant in our life."  God is relentlessly and tirelessly patient on our behalf.

Then what is God's response to the Israelites hunger as they grumble for lack of food.  He sends them manna from heaven.  This "bread" he gives them for nourishment is meant to supply their needs one day at a time.  It is just enough for just a day.  They could not take more than what they would use of the day lest it rot in their midst.

What is God's patience in giving us our daily bread suggest to us?  Perhaps, God invites us to live each day fully and whole heartily.  Perhaps he is telling us to remove our selves from self reliance.  Perhaps he is inviting us to no longer stock up for tomorrow but rather embrace the gift of each day, to live in the present with no worries or concerns for what tomorrow will bring.

Just enough for just a day!

Is what God provides today sufficient for us that we might respond in love to him and those around us?

Today we also celebrate the feast day of Mary Magdalene.
We drove through Magdala  while in the Holy Land last summer.  We didn't stop, but driving through it was enough to get me to be thankful for the life Mary Magdala lived and the treasure of faith she witnessed to in the gospel.

She wrestled with her own demons.  She struggled with darkness.  She had a past.  She was "damaged" goods.  Yet, she was the first witness of the resurrection.  She stood at the cross when all others fled.  She remained at the tomb eagerly seeking her savior.  Her encounter with Christ transformed her desire and gave it a new direction.

She stood weeping outside the tomb longing to see Jesus.  It was this sadness that ultimately prepared her for the joy of the encounter with the risen Lord.  Sadness too can be a gift.  It too can be that vehicle by which we are awakened to a deeper presence of God in our midst.

There is a danger involved in avoiding sadness.  When we seek emotional happiness at all cost in an inordinate way, we lose ourselves.  Sadness can open us to a richer and deeper experience with authentic life and a more profound experience with lasting joy.   Embracing our sadness and sorrow can lead to greater clarity of vision and deepen our relationships, especially our relationship with God in Christ as we witness in Mary Magdala.

It was the sound of her name echoing off the lips of the resurrected Jesus that remains etched in our hearts and minds as we reread the gospel account, ""Mary!"  Thus in and through her sadness and sorrow she comes to a profound experience of joy as she is awaken to the presence of Jesus in her midst, in her state of sadness and sorrow.

She was never asked to overcome her sadness and sorrow in order to experience God but rather through her experience she encounters the living and risen Lord.

Mary Magdala can be a patron for all of us in our society.  We so try to avoid pain and suffering.  We all want to be exhausted with joy.  Yet, in her sorrow she experiences a penetrating encounter with Jesus.  Mary Mandala is a reality check for all of us.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Exodus 14:21-15:1; Matthew 12:46-50

We have some similarities in the readings for this Tuesday.

In our First reading, Moses stretches out his hand in faith and the wind sweeps over the sea and the Nation of Israel, God's holy family, is rescued from destruction.  They find safe passage and thus begin their journey to the promised land.

In the gospel, Jesus the perfecter of our Faith, stretches out his hand and introduces us to a new and deeper understand of family.  Family is no longer a fruit of blood kinship but rather is dependent on obedience and doing the will of the Father.  A new intimate closeness is realized in those simple words, "And stretching our his hands toward his disciples, he said, "here are my mother and my brothers.  For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother."

Obedience not blood not draws us close together as the family of God.

In two instances, hands are stretched out and transformation is effected, change is made real.

What happens when we stretch out our hands?  What kind of new changes are introduced in to our world by the hands we have been given and the faith we profess?

Think about your hands today.  Think about them being instruments.  When you stretch them forth what are you hoping to achieve?  Is it the will  of the Father?


Jer 23:1-6; PS 23 The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing i shall want; Ephesians 2:13-18; Mk 6:30-34

A few thoughts on this past Sunday's readings

We hear or read in our first reading that God is going to raise up a righteous shoot to David, "as king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land."

I was struck by those two words: Just and Right.

In the mass we say these words. They are pressed upon our lips as we prepare to offer the bread and wine and enter into the mystery of the consecration where our offering is transformed by God's grace and becomes for us the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

Here is the dialogue prior to Consecration

The priest says: The lord be with you People say: and with your Spirit  Priest says: lift up your hearts  people say: we lift them up to the Lord   Priest says: let us give thanks to the Lord our God  People say: it is right and just.

It is right and just.

In deed it is an invitation to enter in to right relationship with God and thus give God his due, which is thanks.  Unless we have justice toward God we can never be just toward our neighbor.

It is fitting that it this justice, giving God his due is made possible by he sacrifice of Jesus himself.  At Mass we don't just give thanks to God on our own but we enter into the thanksgiving of Jesus to the Father and thus we are caught up in Jesus' relationship with the Father and made one with it.  This is the only way we can experience true and right relationship with God, in and through Jesus himself.

Our initial and lasting response to God should always be gratitude.

When was the last time we truly were grateful to God.  We say thanks in passing but when was the last time we were truly absorbed in gratitude for the blessings bestowed in our life.

Some time this week set aside time to take an inventory of that which is long over due for gratitude and thanks to God.  Enter in to that thanksgiving.  Then Tell Go that you love him.  Actually say it, "I love you."  see if it doesn't affect your relationship with others as the week unfolds.

Secondly we look the second reading and we encounter these words of St Paul, "For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it."

Now i know that is a lot to take in.

But just think of the dividing walk for a moment.

There was a physical wall in the temple that acted as a barrier between the Jews and the gentiles.  It marked out the place of honor given to the Jews because they were the chosen people.  Thus, they had access to the inner precincts of the Temple.  Where as the Gentiles were not allowed.  They had to be kept on the outside.  This dividing wall was a physical representation of what was already a spiritual reality under the Mosaic covenant highlighted by the special rituals and the Kosher laws and regulations.  Jews were meant to be different, not like the rest.

But st Paul is saying that that division as been dissolved by the power of the cross and the blood of Christ.

Now imagine.  The cross both testifies to God's love and effects forgiveness.  This forgiveness  under the manifestation of God's love is what dissolves the dividing wall.  IS that the case in our life.  Divisions only can be overcome by love and forgiveness.

Now, I wish we could say that divisions have all be eradicated.  But at last it has not.

I think of all the prejudice that we encounter on a regular basis.  There is racial prejudice and socioeconomic prejudice that we readily see all over News.  But some of the worst are prejudices I encounter between families, where old wounds have not been tended too.  Hurt and pain and anger continue to dominate behavior and choices.

At some point as St Paul reminds u, we must let the power of the cross begin to heal those divisions.  At some point we must stop being prejudiced against others and be prejudiced for Christ in all that we do.

This week: take inventory as to where the divisions connive to cause havoc in your life?  Seek the power of the Cross and the blood of Christ for healing and freedom.

Saturday, July 11, 2015


Amos 7:12-15; Ps 85 Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:7-13

Today we get to meet Amos, who is a salty prophet of God who does back down from anyone.  He is addressing the sins of the northern kingdom and basically telling them for the oppression of the common folk, God will bring havoc down upon them.

Northern kingdom had separated from the south and the descendants of David.   They consist of ten tribes of Israel while the other two remained faithful to David and his descendants.  They have refused to let the people go to Jerusalem to fulfill their religious obligations.  They have set up their own shrines in the north and established there own rules and regulations and restrictions in regards to how the people can worship and practice their faith in God.  Things have gotten out of hand.

God sends Amos to dole out justice.

These idolatrous shrines have to go and Amos is God's chosen mouth piece.  Amaziah, a government official of the king of the north, is trying to tell Amos to mind his own business.  He tells Amos to take a hike and to get lost.

It is amazing how government officials seem to always interfere in things above their pay scale, like the ways of God and God's command.  The more Amaziah talks the less Amos listens.  We need to channel our inner Amos more and more these days.

Unlike Amaziah, Amos was not working for pay, rather he was working for God.

What Amos tells Amaziah is basically that minding God's business means sometimes you have to stick your nose in other people's business because it all belongs to God anyway.

Then we get to the gospel where Jesus sends out the twelve two by two.  He sends them out to the villages with authority over unclean spirits. They are asked to divest themselves of material wealth (take nothing on the journey-no food, no sack, no money in their belts) this way material wealth can't distract them from the task at hand and their spiritual vision would be sharper and more precise as they seek to fulfill their duty.

How often does material wealth or our focus on material goods interfere with a life of devotion to God?

The one thing Jesus doesn't tell the disciples is "to mind their own business."  In fact, the very commission of the disciples and sending them forth necessarily means they will stick their nose in everybody's business.  They will have to enter the homes and the lives of the villagers in order to bring them the good news.  The disciples are going to reek havoc in the "right to privacy" of individuals. 

When it comes to preaching the truth in love then privacy gets tossed out.  Their is no privacy when truth is concerned.  Liberty and freedom as we know  is a perversion of  truth.  It isn't liberty that trumps truth but rather truth that purifies and perfects liberty, "If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciple, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31-32)

This is where Amos finds his strength to stand his ground.  This is the strength of the twelve as they go forth.  It also must become the center of our life as well.

It is truth that brings freedom not the other way around. Liberty without truth is licentiousness.  Licentiousness is certainly what has become the cancer in our society today.

So when people tell us to mind our own business we need to be like Amos and the twelve.  A life of goodness remains undone when we simply mind our own business.  

Remember the words of Jesus as child to Mary and Joseph when they find him in the temple, "should I not be about my Father's business."

We need to stick our nose in the business of others.  This is the only way we can truly proclaim the gospel for the praise of the glory of God as St Paul reminds us in the second reading.

Like Amos and the twelve we have been chosen as St Paul reminds us.  We have been chosen for a task.  Truth trumps and perfects liberty.  This is our message as a disciple of Christ.

Friday, July 10, 2015


Genesis 46:1-7,28-30; ps 37 the salvation of the just comes from the lord; Matthew 10:16-23

" do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you a great nation.  Not only will I go down to Egypt with you; I will also bring you back here, after Joseph has closed your eyes."

Do not be afraid....

How often I our life do we let fear steer our lives and determine our actions?  Imagine a time I our life where trust becomes the central axis upon which our lives moves.

Time matters not when it comes to letting God's providence lead us forth.

Fear is always there.  But without it courage would be mute.  With it courage rises to the challenge of the word God has put in our hearts and minds.  As Jacob lets courage lead him so we too daily must let courage bear fruit I our life, courage that is fueled by fear never hindered by it.

" behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved...amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes."

Courage is what Jesus invites us to experience by our commitment and conviction to him.  It is courage that brings forth the Son of Man into our midst as we follow him.

Shrewd, simple, enduring, courage the characteristics of a Disciple of Jesus.

Saturday, July 4, 2015


Ezekiel 2:2-5; Ps 123 Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy;  2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Mark 6:1-6

When i was assigned to Cuero as a seminarian many years ago, 2003-2004, I was introduced to Fr Kirby, the then pastor of Cuero.  He was and is a man of many talents.  Gifted in a variety of ways. It was good to see him in action.  Though we didn't always see eye to eye.  Nonetheless, i have learned to value his input.  Even today I seek his guidance when i find myself a bit uncertain in the endeavor of being a pastor to the people of God.

When i was a seminarian he would often ask me if I had a truth sayer in my life.  Did i have someone in my life that no matter the circumstance or the consequence would always be honest and truthful about me and my decisions.

They wouldn't tell me what i wanted to hear but they would help reveal the truth of things regardless of what i may feel about seeing it unveiled and revealed in all its ugliness and beauty at the same time.

Do each of us have a truth sayer in our life?  Do we have that someone that can be beautifully honest regardless of the consequences?  Notice i didn't say brutally honest.  There is no room for brutality in regards to honesty and truth.  Truth has its own force and sway.

This is what God ask of Ezekiel in today's first reading.  Hear the words of commission again, "Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, rebels who have rebelled against me; they and their ancestor have revolted against me to this very day.  Hard of face and obstinate of heart are they whom I am sending you.  But you shall say to them: Thus says the LORD, God! And whether they heed or resist-for they are a rebellious house-they shall know that prophet has been among them."

What a beautiful description of a truth sayer commissioned by God.

This commission that rightly belongs to Ezekiel  now by baptism belongs to all of us.  We too must be the voice of truth for a society that has rebelled against God.  Whether they are 'hard of face" or 'obstinate of heart"; whether they 'heed' or 'resist' they should know a prophet has been among them.

This is the role of Christians in a society.  We profess the name of Christ not to be "nice" but to be voices of truth in love.  Unfortunately, in our society, we have divorced truth from love.  We think love is all about acceptance and tolerance.  What we forget is that love is about truth and the willingness to sacrifice our own comfort so that the truth of God's love can be made manifest.  Too often we cling to our comfort and truth in love suffers greatly.

We can not be a voice that simply says what people want to hear.  We can not be a voice that avoids the hot button topics because it may ruffle feathers and get under people's skin.  We can not be a voice that speaks only when no body is listening.  Truth, like God's word, is a two edge sword; it cuts in order to heal and strengthen.

We receive the same spirit of Ezekiel at baptism and confirmation.  We receive the same commission as well.  Do people know that their is a prophet in our midst when our presence and word are among them?

Like in the gospel, folks took offense to Jesus because he taught them with authority.  We must be ready to embrace the same resistance and reality in our own life.

Interesting that the gospel tells us that because the people resisted Jesus he was unable to perform any mighty deed there...he was amazed at their lack of faith."

But this amazement did not keep Jesus from living the call he had received from his father.  So it is with us.

Truth Sayers unite.  Truth sayers stand tall.  Truth sayers speak up and speak out. We can not be silenced by the crowd.

Here is what the church teaches:

Participation in Christ's prophetic office
904 "Christ . . . fulfills this prophetic office, not only by the hierarchy . . . but also by the laity. He accordingly both establishes them as witnesses and provides them with the sense of the faith [sensus fidei] and the grace of the word"438

To teach in order to lead others to faith is the task of every preacher and of each believer.439
905 Lay people also fulfill their prophetic mission by evangelization, "that is, the proclamation of Christ by word and the testimony of life." For lay people, "this evangelization . . . acquires a specific property and peculiar efficacy because it is accomplished in the ordinary circumstances of the world."440

This witness of life, however, is not the sole element in the apostolate; the true apostle is on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers . . . or to the faithful.441
906 Lay people who are capable and trained may also collaborate in catechetical formation, in teaching the sacred sciences, and in use of the communications media.442
907 "In accord with the knowledge, competence, and preeminence which they possess, [lay people] have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and they have a right to make their opinion known to the other Christian faithful, with due regard to the integrity of faith and morals and reverence toward their pastors, and with consideration for the common good and the dignity of persons."443

This week let the truth in love ring loud and clear in your life.


Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right…and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers.
John Adams (1735–1826)

I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.
John Adams (1735–1826)
We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.
Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)

While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian."
George Washington

Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual. ... Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us."
John Hancok

Friday, July 3, 2015


Ephesians 2:19-22; Ps 117 Go out to all the world and tell the Good News; John 20:24-29

Today we celebrate the Feast of Thomas the Apostle.  For today's meditation, I want to focus on the words of Thomas in the gospel and pair them with the words of Pope Benedict in his reflection on St Thomas the Apostle and how they impact us a disciples on the journey.

First we encounter these words in the gospel of John chapter 11.
As Jesus is going to raise Lazarus in Bethany, drawing dangerously close to Jerusalem and thus risk attracting the hatred of the religious leaders of his day which might lead to persecution and even death Thomas has these words to offer:

"Let us also go that we may die with him." (John 11:16)  Thomas shows a determination to follow the master at all cost; he illustrates a total readiness to stand by Jesus.  A disciple must be ready to spend his life together with Jesus.

St Paul says a similar reality when he speaks to the Christians at Corinthian, "You are in our hearts, to die together and to live together" (2 Cor 7:3).  What takes place in a Christian community between its members must first be shared with Christ himself: living together, dying together, being in his heart as he is in ours.

Then on the night of the Last Supper, after Jesus tells the apostles to not let their heart be troubled that they should have faith for he was going to prepare a place for them and would come back and take them to himself (Jn 14), again Thomas speaks up:

"Lord, we do not know where you are going, how can we know the way." (John 14:5) Thomas places himself at a low level of understanding.  This recognition of Thomas provides Jesus with the opportunity to declare and pronounce his famous definition, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life."   Jesus is not afraid for us to ask for explanations.  It is necessary to share with him our lack of understanding. It is necessary to recognize that we do not know it all.

Lastly, when Thomas misses out on the first appearance of Jesus in the upper room after the resurrection, he expresses the following sentiment:

"Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe." (John 20:25)  From these words emerge the conviction that Jesus can now be recognized by his wounds rather than by his face.  In his wounds are revealed how much he loved us.  Jesus reappears and offers Thomas the invitation to touch and see (John 20:27).  Thomas handed down to us a beautiful profession of faith, "My Lord and My God."(John 20:28)

Jesus follows up Thomas' profession with these simple words, "Blessed are those who do not see yet believe." (John 20:29)  Here Jesus spells out a fundamental principle for all Christians.

Thomas' encounter with Jesus in the locked room holds out for us three things of consideration.
1)It comforts us in our insecurity; 2)it shows us that any doubt can lead to outcome brighter than any uncertainty; 3)Jesus' words remind us of the meaning of mature faith and encourage us to persevere despite the difficulty.

These are simple reflections from Thomas's life in the gospel and Pope Benedict's reflection with a few of my words thrown in to boot.  Happy reflection.  Pax et Bonum.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


Genesis 22:1-19; Ps 115 I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living; Matthew 9:1-8

Trust Me!

How often have we spoke these words to others in our life?   How often have we been on the receiving end of this call?

Trust Me!

There are moments because of the relationship we have developed with certain people in our life that trust becomes effortless.  There are moments where it is a struggle.  It challenges us.  Especially so when our understanding fails to grasp the full impact of the circumstance or the event.

When we are asked to "blindly" go forth or proceed that is when we are asked to trust the vision of the other even when we don't see what they see.

Trust Me!

We encounter this later reality in today's first reading.  Abraham has just heard those words from God, "Trust Me!" as he has been asked to take his only begotten son, the one you love, and go to the land of Moriah.  There you shall offer him up as a burnt offering on the height that i will point out to you."

Let that settle in your heart for a change.  Think about the heart racing and pounding in the chest of Abraham as he discerns this course of action.  Perhaps sweat beads form on his brow.  Maybe his head begins to spin as he tries to grasp the full impact of what God has asked.

Many of us have experienced similar moments.  When we have been asked to let go of someone whom we love.
Different but also the same in many ways.

Staring over a death bed of a loved one.  Looking out on a crash sight or upon the wreckage of loved one who has been injured or killed.  Losing a job and unsure of where tomorrow will lead.

There are terrible moments in life when nothing makes sense and we have not a clue as to how to proceed-and yet we trust.  Perhaps real trust in God can only happen when we are bereft of understanding.

Trust me!

Isaac also must trust as well.  He is probably a teenager at this point.  He is complicit in the event.  He has carried the wood.  He has set up the altar.  He who could easily out muscle his aging father, lays quietly and still upon the altar of sacrifice.  Trust Me!

Trust in God is never in isolation.  It is never an individual experience. Trust in God involves the whole family.  When one makes an act of Trust it filters down and impacts the lives of all.

This is important to remember.  Trust is a family virtue.  The way we trust prepares our sons and daughters to learn to trust as well.  Isaac learns trust from his Father.

All of us, as we read the story of Abraham and Isaac, we too must hear the call, "Trust me."  We too are now complicit in the event, in the course of action as it unfolds.  We too learn something of Trust as we watch.

Trust me!

Yahweh-Yireh: God will see it through becomes the name of the place on the mountain where Abraham, Isaac and all of us learn trust.  It remains the sacred place where trust is engendered in all of our lives daily.

Trust me!  I will see it through.  These are the words of a loving Father.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Genesis 21:5,8-20; Ps 34 The Lord hears the cry of the Poor; Matthew 8:28-34

God was with the boy.  With these words our first reading draws to a close.  The story of Hagar and her child Ishmael come to a resounding head.  The drama and the worry and the anxiety over life and love; despair and distress and the uncertainty of tomorrow; all of it finds it fulfillment in the last words of the Genesis account referring to Ishmael: God was with the boy.  This is how the story comes to a resolution.

This could be said of every child or every situation of distress and discomfort and uncertainty.  When it is all said and done this always becomes our place of rest: God is with the boy or God is with us.

When it is all said and done this is the truth that holds us all together.

This is the truth that held Blessed Junipero Serra as he journeyed from Spain to what is modern day California.  He logged about 24,000 miles in his life time trying to bring the good news of Christ to the new world.  Having arrived in the new world he was asthmatic and had a terrible foot sore that would be with him until his death and yet relying on the will of God an this promise to be with him he continued forth.

As the psalm reminds us, "for nought is lacking to those who fear him; those who seek the Lord want for no good thing."

Blessed Junipero Serra lived this reality daily as he founded mission after mission to tend to the native americas and fight for their rights and dignity.

St John Paul II in comments regarding Junipero Serra has this to offer, "difficulties and sorrows, accepted out of love, are transformed into a privileged way of holiness that opens to a horizon for th greater good of others, only known to God."

Juniper just kept putting one foot in front of the other.

We do this each time we put one foot in front of the other in our daily life with the mind attentive to God's continued care and concern.

God is with the boy.  God is with us all.  Let us bring his presence to those we encounter.
Unleash the missionary with in .