Friday, March 27, 2015


Jeremiah 20:10-13; John 10:31-42

This morning, shortly after 2 am, my sister gave birth to her second child.  I believe that makes 23 or 24 grandchildren for mom and dad.  I received a photo of her, this little jewel that was 7 lbs 13 oz and 21 inches long.  wow!  I still hurt to think about delivery.

My first thought was, what a special gift on this friday in lent, this friday before that friday we call good.  A beautiful friday baby as entered our world.  It reminded me that Every Friday because of Good Friday is always about life.  Now we have one more reason to remember it so.

the readings for today are all about darkness and the anticipation of death.  From Jeremiah we hear, "terror on every side! Denounce! let us denounce him! All those who were my friends on are the watch for my misstep."  

Of course in the gospel, Jesus is in hot water and the Jews have stones in their hands and are taking aim.  Jesus again escapes from their power as St John informs us.

Yet we know Jesus will not escape from their grasp.  We know Jesus will allow himself to be taken.  He will hand himself over.  Beginning this weekend with Palm Sunday, things will begin to take shape once again.  We will be confronted with the Cross, the crucifixion, the passion of Christ.

Thus we recall the words of the anima Christi prayer, "passion of Christ Strengthen me."

Because his passion is about life, we need to be fully alive and that fullness only comes through the cross.

This friday may the passion of Christ strengthen you and the fullness of life embrace you.

Happy birthday to my niece and happy birthday to all of us who count the passion of christ as our gift of new life.

Thursday, March 26, 2015


Numbers 21:4-9

The first reading for this tuesday of the 5th week of lent began with these words, "With their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses."

Now, I don't suppose any of us can't relate to this particular reality and sentiment.  How often have our patience been thread bare because of the journey.  We get worn out because of the struggle with life, the fight for love, the refusal to give in or give up or change.

We wear out in all the wrong places.

Yet, St Jose Maria Escriva has a solution.  He states that we should always be aware of the gap between our "wanting" and the "giving of oneself".  This gap directly corresponds to how we have or don't have patience in life.

The gap between the wanting for our self, that is doing things with ourselves in mind, seeking our self in love, and the giving of ourself, making a gift of our life for the other.

If we are to truly be effective in life and happy then we have to continually uproot self love and plant love for Jesus Christ.  Here the gap shrinks and patience abounds in an through our life.

Saturday, March 21, 2015


March 19th we celebrate the solemnity of St Joseph, husband of Mary and foster Father of Jesus Christ.  We honor him as protector of the holy Family.

Joseph has a major part in the unfolding of salvation history though he isn't given any speaking parts.  He is behind the scenes tending to those entrusted to him, quietly allowing the will of God to unfold in his life.

Isn't this like most of our lives?  Most of us will not be in the lime light.  Most of us will be easily overlooked?  Most of us will not have notoriety or get special attention.  Yet, it matters, all of it all of the time matters.

Our lives no matter how big or small are important in salvation history.

Joseph quietly tends to the business at hand then quietly he fades in to the backdrop.  He is where and when he needs to be with little fuss.

Perhaps, this is why his life is so important in our life.  We can follow the pattern of holiness his life exhibits on a daily basis.  He took care of his wife and child.  He went to work to provide for them.  He made sure they had security.  He taught by example not by word of mouth.

This is the witness we need in our present age.
Joseph trusted God, he respected those around him, and he was self sacrificial in such a manner that goodness abounded in his life.  Trust, respect, goodness are the attributes we need to rediscover in our life.

Nothing was too small or to great.  He did what he needed to do.  And he walked a lot of miles in order to get it done with never a complaint or question just careful discernment and action, follow through.

St Joseph could easily be the patron saint of a firm resolution, the patron saint of learning how to follow through in action.

ST joseph pray for us.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Deuteronomy 4:1,5:9; Ps 147 Praise the Lord, Jerusalem; Matthew 5:17-19

First things first.  Here are a few words from Pope Francis this past week in regards to the gospel from Sunday, Jesus clearing house with a whip.

"Does the Lord feel at home in my life?  Do we allow Him to 'cleanse' our hearts and to drive out idols, those attitudes of cupidity, jealousy, worldliness, envy, hatred, those habits of gossiping and tearing down others?"

"Let us build for God a temple of our lives.  If we are witnesses of this living Christ, so many people will encounter Jesus in us, in our witness."

Now for the gospel and little tie in.  "Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.  But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

So says Jesus.

Pope Paul VI stated in one of his Apostolic Exhortations that what the world needs in witnesses not teachers because people listen to witnesses.  I would like to add that if one is going to be a witness then one must first be a pupil, a student letting oneself be taught.

A witness is one who has been touched by the truth, transformed by the truth in such a manner that life itself becomes a vessel for that truth.  Teaching the commandments is more about living them and then the instruction flows from life lived.

This is why Jesus speaks of breaking verse obeying.  True strength rises in obedience.  True witness rises as well in the same light.

This is why Pope Francis spells it out so clearly, "If we are witnesses of this living Christ then many will encounter Jesus in us..."

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Matthew 18:21-35

Peter in today's gospel ask the question that all of us ask at various moments in our life, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? "

In other words, Peter is wanting to know his limit.  He wants to know when enough is enough.  He wants to know when he has the right to push off and push away from the one who offends him.

But isn't that typical.  How often do we approach events, moments, situations, with limits in mind, seeking the minimal approach or looking after the least we can do rather than looking after the most we can offer?

Peter is thinking about drawing the line in the sand where as Jesus draws circles that include.

"I say to you, not seven times but seventy seven times."

What about us?

Do we draw lines in the sand to keep out or circles to include?  Do we draw people out of our lives or do we draw them in?

Forgivness is a power that Jesus has given to us.  He died that we might be able to taste its fruit and having tasted it, we should lavish it on others.

I was reminded of this as I went home today.  I had a burial in Shiner, my hometown, so I spent a few moments with Mom and Dad.  While at home, my dad began to be as dad always was: irritable, angry, hollering especially at the grandkids.

I began to remember what it was like to grow up at home with that as a constant experience.
As I write this nowI realize, God was giving me another opportunity to forgive seventy times seven.

There is true freedom in forgiveness.

Forgiveness forced me to think about love and patience.  Romano Guardini wrote these words, "Love, too, belongs to true patience-love of life.  For living things grow slowly, take their time, and have many ways and turns. Life demands confidence, and only love can trust.  He who does not love life has no patience with it.  This leads to short circuits and to violence; then there are wounds and destruction...The power under whose protection life can unfold is patience."  And Patience is possible because of forgiveness.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


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

In the gospel Jesus does not paint a good picture of the Scribes and Pharisees.  The way he sees they are hunger for all the wrong things; they want to be noticed, pointed out, held in high esteem, recognized, honored, even appreciated.

Yet, with all that they seem to do nothing that benefits anyone, "they tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people's shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them."

Wow!  Sometimes we like to get on our own high horse or our own pedestal.  Preaching is easy.  Practice is a little harder.  Jesus isn't saying we shouldn't preach it to reach it.  But we should practice it to maximize it.

The name of the game isn't about titles, or recognition, or honor.  It is about rolling up the sleeves and getting dirty.

The other day my nephew approached by mother about sewing a knee patch on to his pants.  He had worn them through.  He had been busy with much play.  Wouldn't it be good if we had to worry about patches from much service.

Jesus' final exaltation is the nail to drive it home, "Th greatest among you must be your servant;whoever humbles himself will be exalted."

So here is a good lenten practice:

"Serve those who do not seem to appreciate the service!"

In the words of St Josemaria Escriva, "Don't flutter around like a hen, when you can soar to the heights of an eagle."

Soaring involves humbling ourselves in service then we shall find the place well occupied with Christ who serves us, though we don't much appreciate it either.  Isn't that want redemption is, a gift from another we seldom appreciate it.

If you want to soar then you have go low in order to get high.

Monday, March 2, 2015


Matt 7:7-12

We encounter those famous words that have often been repeated and posterized and blown up and magnified and uses and reuses: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

This is normally where people stop quoting Jesus and add their own rendition to it such as wish upon a star, dream big, follow your dreams and other such foolishness.

God is not a cosmic bell hop.

God doesn't concern himself with our wants and desires unless they are what we need.

Later on in ch 7 Jesus says these words, which I find more inspiring, "If then you who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him."

First all, "If you then who are wicked…" implies that we have an inherent knock for making bad decisions.  We often want more than we need.  We give to the point of spoiling rather than helping and encouraging.  We are enablers and we expect God to enable us.  We don't always get it right.  Sometimes what we ask for isn't what we need at all.

But if we sometimes get it right then I suppose God must always get it right, so even his delay is a good, "how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him."

He will give good things.  St Thomas Aquinas states there is only three things that are good:  Virtuous, pleasant, useful.   There is a hierarchy in regards to these goods.  Pleasant isn't first but rather virtuous is.  Pleasant flows out of virtue and useful is that which will lead to virtue.

Maybe we should purify our ask, make it meaningful in the long run not just pleasant in the here and now.