Monday, September 7, 2015

Good and Evil on Labor Day (talk about work!)

Good morning from Northeast Indiana...where summer is playing the grand finale with sun and 90 degree temperatures.

So today Jesus takes up the secret challenge of the Pharisees (Luke 6:6-11) and asks them the killer question.  "Is it permitted on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life, or to destroy it."

It's a killer question because it causes all of us to stop and reflect.  The truth is that even some of our "holy" actions can be evil actions because they are rationalizations that keep us from truly turning to the good and giving ourselves to God.   Evil actions can take on camoflauge...they can appear to be good, but are they truly in line with being in a loving relationship with God.   That is what Jesus was creating when he opened eyes, cleared ears and straightened withered hands...loving relationships.

Anyway, it's worth a little spiritual look-see.  Are my actions, are my thoughts, is my reasoning turning to the good?  Not the perceived good, but the Good.  Or are they turning away from the Good, which would be the definition of evil.

Hey, enjoy the brats today. Happy Labor Day.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Trinity Sunday

I’m not really going to attempt to get into some deep explanation of the Holy Trinity here.  I would leave that to those with greater theological knowledge and wisdom than I have.  Besides, the one thing I have learned in my own faith journey is that understanding him is not as important or as necessary as just living in his love.

And that’s what the Trinitarian God makes possible for us.  To live in his love. Living in his love is what He seeks for us, and living in his love will bring each of us the fullness of our human dignity.  This is what God wants for us and this is what he calls us to do.

Saint Paul understood this.  This is what he means in the letter to the Romans,  “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”   

Sons of God. In the family.  The FAther loves his children, sons and daiughters.  This perfect Father, who's essence is love, loves us so much he calls us to be with him, but in his love.  And as Paul says, it is the Spirit working in us to bring us to this union of love.

As Paul goes on to say, “You did not recieeve a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through whom we cry “Abba, FAther."  We are close to Him as Sons and daughters..   We call him "Abba," a term  of praise and glory...and of intimate love.

Paul continues by saying “the Spirit bears witness with our spirit. that we are Children of God...joint heirs with Christ, if only suffer with hime so that we may be glorified.

Paul is telling us that the essence of the Trinity is our loving Father who gives us life out of that love,

Jesus Christ, the Son, who suffered and died for us and by joining ourselves to his suffering and death, we are also joined to his resurrection and like Christ become sons and daughters of God and can share in the inheritance of the Father...the love of the Father.  

Finally the Holy Spirit is the presence of God with us, in us,  that guides us and leads us as children of God.    

I once heard this descirbed as the Father who loves, the Son who is loved and the Spirit who is the love.   The Father sends the Son out of Love, the Son sacrifices himself for us to the Father out of love, and the Spirit is the love that is ours through baptism.

"God is love" is more than just some feel good sounding phrase on a banner.  God’s love allows us to find joy in the darkest hours, peace in the most difficult times, purpose in a world devoid of purpose and hope for a future that we have yet to arrive at.

God's love allows us be in him, to live in him, to have him with us always, not some distant God who's favor we seek and controls us like puppets, but the loving parent who guides us, gifts us and cherishes us.

God’s love comes to us in the graces of the sacraments, starting with baptism and especially in the eucharist.  Grace is that gift of God to his children that enables us to share in this life of love.  It is grace that leads us to humility, to charity, to hope.  It is grace that leads us to act in love to those around us.  Grace is the life of the Church, the presence of Christ here and now.

In Matthew's Gospel, we read his account of the ascension.  The Son, Jesus Christ, continues his work of freeing us from sin, now with the Church as his body on earth.  As members of that Body, the apostles are commissioned to baptize in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  We are baptized in that way and we are sent as the apostles were sent.  

Jesus final words are  "I am with you always."  This is what the Father, Son and Holy Spirit give us...the love that comes from being with God always.

Monday, May 18, 2015


The Broom Tree is still here.  I just haven't been watering it much lately.  Quite frankly, I've been thinking about:

a.) resume watering it
b.) transplant it
c.)  chop it down altogether.

Option C, would just be calling an end to the whole thing.  Thought about it, prayed about it, and even though I don't know what the future of the Tree holds, chopping it down really never was much of an option.  Even so, not considering it's demise was not an option I could ignore.

Option B got more consideration.  But transplants are a lot of extra work that I really don't want to do.   Besides I've done transplants already and have left dead brush behind as a result.

So, that leaves Option A.

I will resume watering it.

Here's where I am and what I do the rest of my days.  A little over a year ago I returned to radio, my first love, my long love, and the home of the few talents I have.  However, I returned to the only place I would go, which was Catholic radio.  Redeemer Radio in Fort Wayne gave me the opportunity to put together a morning show, and to once again experience the joy of getting up at half-past dark five days a week to, as the late great Larry Lujack so aptly put it, slave over a hot microphone.  Now nearly a year old,  Redeemer Mornings does interviews, has news, and my co-host and I yak about anything Catholic...almost.   Got to admit, its kinda fun.    The work involved in show prep is something else.

But wait, there's more...

I'm finishing getting (finally) my MA (theology) from Notre Dame.  Comps this summer. Prayers needed, thank you.  More work.

But then....

I have agreed to take over my parish's RCIA program.


I do homilies, and the assorted other duties of a parish deacon,  And I get asked to give talks and things like that around the diocese.

So, you can see where the challenge of getting under the Tree came from.  Plus, I wondered about the direction and purpose of the Tree.

I have the watering can and the hose.   More to come.  Or is it stay tuned...

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Be Still...

There are days when you are empty and simply feel motivated to do nothing more then sit.  Not sleep, because you are not exhausted.  Simply sit.  No thoughts arise to distract you.  Worries and concerns cannot reach you.  You are simply still.  You look out the window, and everything looks the same but different at the same time.  You do not need, nor care for, any outside stimulation to  fill the time.

You just get to be still.

An Easter gift for sure.  I am thankful.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Third Day

Imaginative title..

  Had been hoping to do a short daily piece each day during Lent, but you can see that that got off to a great start!

But it's still early, so a a few thoughts for today on Lenten practices.

Whatever you choose to work on, whatever you choose to abstain from, whatever fasting you undertake,  may it come from a prayerful choice.  

Better just one or two things than an impossible list.   Don't phone it in, do something that really needs work in your life, which  to me means your entire life in order with God. (I no longer use the term "spiritual life."  That sounds too much like a hobby you undertake on a quiet Sunday afternoon.)

As for me, I have decided to abstain from one particular habitual act.  By abstaining with prayer and with the complete work of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, it could mean great strides for me being the loving human God so desires of me.  Just one thing.

Continue to pray and discern your choices.  It will weed out the uneeded.

Don't worry about perfection.  Think more about growth.

Pray always.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Thomas Merton at 100

Thomas Merton at 100.  There are many who are telling us how Merton opened the doors of faith for them.   Add me to that list.  You know the story...reading "Seven Storey Mountain" when I was still in high school and how it opened my eyes.  Honestly could not make much of it at that point.   Except one thing, which cracked the door for me.

Thomas Merton showed me that holy people are imperfect.

Game changer.

Thanks, Fr.Louis.

P.S. St. John Bosco, next year you get your feast back!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Homily for the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time

Will post my homily for today.  All faith requires a response.  Oh, yeah, and mine can be different from yours!

You’ve heard us say the Ordinary time is a time for teaching.  We listen to the word of the Lord and from that we not only learn about our faith...what we believe, but also how we are to act on those beliefs.

Today’s a good example, because the theme here is discipleship.
A disciple is a follower.  We’re not talking about being a blind follower.  Discipleship requires faith.  The disciple must believe in what he is following.  Catholic teaching will also throw in reason as well.   Many Catholics who have come from different faith traditions have told us how there explortation..there use of reason...helped them reach the conclusion that Catholicisim fit their faith to a tee.  But the key requirement is faith.

This is because discipleship is a response of faith in the love of God.  Discipleship, as a faithful person will attest, demands a response.  The disciple knows God’s love so personally that he wants to respond to it, and he does respond to it in a way that God asks him to.

The story line of Mark’s gospel is very simple.  Jesus has come to Galilee proclaiming the gospel.  “This is the time of fulfillment.  The kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”   And people responded.

Sounds simple.  Also sounds like Jonah’s message to Nineveh as well.  And people responded.  

We hear things and see things from time to time in our lives that spark our faith.  Someone says something and the light comes on.  Someone does something and the spark of faith turns into a flame.   These are the same responses of the people of  Nineveh and Galillee.

In Nineveh, the Assyrians become disciples by the act of donning sack cloth and ashes.  Their repentance is an act of faith, turning their backs on their old lifestyle to embrace a life of faith in Yahweh.

Jonah is a disciple, too, because despite his fear, cynicism, and generally negative outlook, he responds to the Lord by doing as the Lord asks.  A response of faith.

As Jesus preaches the good news in Gallilee, he calls Simon and Andrew, and James and John from their fishing businesses to become fisher of men.  His messsage sparked them.  They responded in faith.  They certainly werent responding to any pay and benefit package!(As fishermen, they were equivalent to successful people running small businesses in our time,)

In all these men...Jonah, Andrew, James, John, Simon...the Lord’s presence in some way set their hearts on fire and they responded in faith.   the love of God overcame whatever issues they we see in Jonah, especially...and they responded in the love of doing his will.

In the promise of our baptism, we are called to be disciples as well.  We are called to be like Jonah, Andrew, James, John and Simon and respond to God’s love with love.   We are to go and share and to show others the Gospel of the Lord.   This is discipleship.  This is our response to God’s love.   Our faith is nourished and grows if we choose it to be, and as it does we too will have the courage to abandon our nets and be fishers of men.

POST HOMILY NOTE: I think Jonah is cynical, fearful, critical, and faithful. Sounds like someone I know.