Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year's Prayer

Dear Lord, please give me…

A few friends who understand me and remain my friends;
A work to do which has real value,
without which the world would be the poorer;

A mind unafraid to travel, even though the trail be not blazed;

An understanding heart;

A sense of humor;

Time for quiet, silent meditation;

A feeling of the presence of God;

The patience to wait for the coming of these things,
With the wisdom to recognize them when they come.

                                             - Author Unknown

A Blessed and Holy 2011 to you and your families.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

God Sent Us ...

If our greatest need had been information, 
God would have sent us an educator. 

If our greatest need had been technology,
God would have sent us a scientist.

If our greatest need had been money,
God would have sent us an economist.

If our greatest need had been pleasure,
God would have sent us an entertainer.

But our greatest need was forgiveness,
So God sent us a Savior.  
                                    - Roy Lessin

Merry Christmas and God Bless.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's Party Time

Yesterday I was told that the sign language movement for Hallelujah involves swirling your hands while raising them up above your head.   

And, that when you watch a Mass for the deaf, when the attendees "sing" Hallelujah before they hear the Gospel reading, it looks like one big festive party.  

Which got me thinking:  That's what it should be like for everyone.  We should all get as excited to hear the Word of God as we do to go to a big party.   (written as I look in mirror)

Which got me thinking more:  With Christmas coming up in less than a week, most people are getting ready for a big party.

The question is: Is it a present-exchanging, eat-lots-of-food, drink-lots-of-wine, party...

... or a birthday party?

God Bless.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I Wonder

I wonder what it was like to go from "nobodies" to the Earthly parents of the Most Important Person Ever to Grace the Earth.  In the blink of an eye.

I wonder what plans Mary and Joseph had for their future - before God laid out His plan.

Speaking of, I wonder what it was like to be sitting there minding your own business only to look up and see the Angel Gabriel speaking to you.

I wonder what it was like when Mary saw that Elizabeth was indeed pregnant.

I wonder how hard it was for Joseph to believe, when human logic told him otherwise.

I wonder what it was like to travel 100 miles while very pregnant (and with a very pregnant wife). 

I wonder exactly what that nativity scene looked like.

I wonder what it was like - to wonder what it would be like - to raise the Savior of the World.

I wonder what message God is sending us by choosing such an "ordinary" family, and modest setting, for the birth of His only Son.

I hope you are enjoying the wonder of this Advent season.

God Bless.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Today's Special: Fresh Jordanian Locust

Yesterday I went Christmas shopping.  The mall was a comfortable 70 degrees.

"John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea"

I strolled past luxurious, soft cashmere sweaters that people were snapping up by the arm full.

"John wore clothing made of camel's hair"

  Afterward, I had a delicious prime rib dinner with potatoes and vegetables while laughing with friends.  (Did I mention the red wine?)

"His food was locust and wild honey"

It was a good day.  I got a lot accomplished.

"I tell you, among those born of women there is none greater than John."

God, You raised up St. John the Baptist to prepare a perfect people for Christ. Fill Your people with the joy of possessing His grace, and direct the minds of all the faithful in the way of peace and salvation. Grant that, as St. John was martyred for truth and justice, so we may energetically profess our Faith in You, and lead others to the Way, the Truth, and Eternal Life. Amen.

God Bless.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Note to Myself

Dear Self,

Today, while you are thanking God for all those big things He has given you (and for all the petty things you think are important) please remember to thank Him for that breath you just took.

And while you are at it, thank Him for the breath you are about to take, too.

In your daily commotion, you kinda have a habit of taking gifts like that for granted.


P.S.  Remember to wish all your blogging friends a Happy Thanksgiving, too.  You are very fortunate to have them in your life.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanks, Luke

Today, I simply thank Luke for writing my one of my favorite exchanges in the entire Bible.  (Which just so happens to be today's Gospel reading.)

"Jesus, remember me when you come into my kingdom."
 He replied to him,
"Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

I pray that we all hear that phrase someday.

God Bless.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.  - Mt 25:13 


This week started like any other week.

Then on Monday, I found out our Deacon's mother-in-law passed away over the weekend.

Tuesday, I received word that a distant family member died.

Wednesday, a very close friend told me his mother was diagnosed with stage four cancer - a week after his uncle was told the same.

Thursday, a friend at church told me that last month, his mother went into the hospital for a routine colon exam and died of complications within days.  His father died of a heart attack a week later.

But then on Thursday night, I heard one of the most uplifting stories I have ever heard.  

A woman at my church told us how she became an altruistic kidney donor - meaning she donated one of her healthy kidneys to a complete stranger who desperately needed one.

She has a large family of her own to worry about, yet put her own health at risk because she felt God calling her to do something.  

She didn't wait until her kids grew up, or until she found someone she knew who needed a kidney.  

She just did it.

Today, while reflecting on the week, I saw the message weaved into all these events:

Don't put off those things - large or small - that you are going to do for God, for none of us know how much time we have left.

God Bless.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ok, But Someday I'll Know Everything ... Right?

I remember when I was a little kid - like Billy in the comic - and started to learn all the right words to my prayers and the meaning behind the words we say at Mass.

At this point in my life, I can (almost, sort of) confidently say that I use all the right words in my prayers. 

But I still constantly try to make our Mass more than just a bunch of repetitive words and actions - to find the meaning behind each action and every word.  

For example, during the Eucharistic Prayer and the Institution Narrative, I really try to picture Jesus present in front of us, and mentally walk through the sacrifices He made for us.  

Last week, in true "Billy" form, I just realized that when the priest displays the consecrated host to the people, and says "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the World" he is quoting John the Baptist. (I knew John said those words, but embarrassingly enough I never put two and two together!!)

Now when the priest utters those words, I can imagine John announcing the Messiah to his followers.  I can feel the elation all of those present must have felt when they heard those words.  (Which, by the way, is how we should all feel at Mass since Jesus is present with us!)

Sure, I hit myself upside the head for not figuring that out sooner.  But at the same time I smiled inside, knowing that in this circus of life, God reveals different things to all of us at different times.  

God Bless.

P.S.  I'd love to know if any of you do anything like this to bring the Mass to life.  As you can see, I can use all the help I can get!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Just Finish

"I have competed well; I have finished the race."

That's what St. Paul told Timothy in his second letter to him (2 Tim 4:7 - today's reading).

Many believe St. Paul knew his death was imminent when he wrote this letter, which would make it somewhat of a last will or final message to his closest friend (and all of us!).   

To me, it's a great reminder that our life on this Earth is a constant competition - that we are always engaged in spiritual battle.  A battle that Pope John Paul II described as "an invisible struggle in which we engage every day against temptations." 

It's so easy to forget that - especially in a world with so many physical, Earthly distractions.   But unfortunately, forgetting that there is a competition going on is the equivalent of joining the other team. 

Luckily, we don't need to be beaten, hunted, or chained in prison like St. Paul to make it to Paradise.  In fact, as he notes, we don't even need to win the race.  

Christ already did that for us.

We just need to finish.  

God Bless.

Monday, October 18, 2010

"My Son Died for You. Don't You Even Care?"

The following is from Matthew Kelly (author of Rediscovering Catholicism).

I've come across it multiple times now, and it's so good, I thought I would share it with all of you.  

It's a very quick read, and really puts God's sacrifice into a modern day example. 
(reminds me of something our friend Victor would write...)  

A great reflection piece. 

God Bless.


You're driving home from work next Monday after a long day. You tune in your radio. You hear a blurb about a little village in India where some villagers have died suddenly, strangely, of a flu that has never been seen before. It's not influenza, but three or four people are dead, and it's kind of interesting, and they are sending some doctors over there to investigate it. You don't think much about it, but coming home from church on Sunday you hear another radio spot. Only they say it's not three villagers, it's 30,000 villagers in the back hills of this particular area of India, and it's on TV that night. CNN runs a little blurb: people are heading there from the disease center in Atlanta because this disease strain has never been seen before.

By Monday morning when you get up, it's the lead story. It's not just India; it's Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and before you know it, you're hearing this story everywhere, and they have now coined it as "the mystery flu." The President has made some comment that he and his family are praying and hoping that all will go well over there. But everyone is wondering, "How are we going to contain it?"

That's when the President of France makes an announcement that shocks Europe. He is closing their borders. No flights from India, Pakistan, or any of the countries where this thing has been seen. And that's why that night you are watching a little bit of CNN before going to bed. Your jaw hits your chest when a weeping woman is translated in English from a French news program. There's a man lying in a hospital in Paris, dying of the mystery flu. It has come to Europe.

Panic strikes. As best they can tell, after contracting the disease, you have it for a week before you even know it. Then you have four days of unbelievable symptoms. And then you die. Britain closes its borders, but it's too late. South Hampton, Liverpool, North Hampton, and it's Tuesday morning when the President of the United States makes the following announcement: "Due to a national-security risk, all flights to and from Europe and Asia have been canceled. If your loved ones are overseas, I'm sorry. They cannot come back until we find a cure for this thing."

Within four days, our nation has been plunged into an unbelievable fear. People are wondering, "What if it comes to this country?" And preachers on Tuesday are saying it's the scourge of God. It's Wednesday night, and you are at a church prayer meeting when somebody runs in from the parking lot and yells, "Turn on a radio, turn on a radio!" And while everyone in church listens to a little transistor radio with a microphone stuck up to it, the announcement is made. Two women are lying, in a Long Island hospital, dying from the mystery flu. Within hours it seems, the disease envelopes the country.

People are working around the clock, trying to find an antidote. Nothing is working. California, Oregon, Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts. It's as though it's just sweeping in from the borders.

And then all of a sudden the news comes out. The code has been broken. A cure can be found. A vaccine can be made. It's going to take the blood of somebody who hasn't been infected, and so, sure enough, all through the Midwest, through all those channels of emergency broadcasting, everyone is asked to do one simple thing: Go to your downtown hospital and have your blood analyzed. That's all we ask of you. When you hear the sirens go off in your neighborhood, please make your way quickly, quietly, and safely to the hospitals.

Sure enough, when you and your family get down there late on that Friday night, there is a long line, and they've got nurses and doctors coming out and pricking fingers and taking blood and putting labels on it. Your spouse and your kids are out there, and they take your blood and say, "Wait here in the parking lot, and if we call your name, you can be dismissed and go home." You stand around, scared, with your neighbors, wondering what on earth is going on, and if this is the end of the world.

Suddenly, a young man comes running out of the hospital screaming. He's yelling a name and waving a clipboard. What? He yells it again! And your son tugs on your jacket and says, "Daddy, that's me." Before you know it, they have grabbed your boy. "Wait a minute. Hold on!" And they say, "It's okay, his blood is clean. His blood is pure. We want to make sure he doesn't have the disease. We think he has the right blood type."

Five tense minutes later, out come the doctors and nurses crying and hugging one another-some are even laughing. It's the first time you have seen anybody laugh in a week, and an old doctor walks up to you and says, "Thank you, sir. Your son's blood is perfect. It's clean, it is pure, and we can make the vaccine."

You begin to sign, and then you see that the box for the number of pints of blood to be taken is empty. "H-h-h-how many pints?" And that is when the old doctor's smile fades, and he says, "We had no idea it would be a little child. We weren't prepared. We need it all!"

"But...but...I don't understand. He's my only son!" 

"We are talking about the whole world here. Please sign. We...we...need to hurry!"

"But can't you give him a transfusion?" 

"If we had clean blood we would. Please, will you please sign?" 

In numb silence you do. Then they say, "Would you like to have a moment with him before we begin?"

Could you walk back? Could you walk back to that room where he sits on a table saying, "Daddy? Mommy? What's going on?" Could you take his hands and say, "Son, your mommy and I love you, and we would never, ever let anything happen to you that didn't just have to be! Do you understand that?" And when that old doctor comes back in and says, "I'm sorry, we've got to get started. People all over the world are dying," could you leave? Could you walk out while he is saying, "Dad? Mom? Dad? Why...why have you abandoned me?"

And then next week, when they have the ceremony to honor your son, and some folks sleep through it, and some folks don't even bother to come because they have better things to do, and some folks come with a pretentious smile and just pretend to care, would you want to jump up and say, "EXCUSE ME! MY SON DIED FOR YOU! DON'T YOU EVEN CARE? DOES IT MEAN NOTHING TO YOU?"

I wonder, is that what God wants to say? "MY SON DIED FOR YOU! DOES IT MEAN NOTHING? DON'T YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I CARE?"

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Couldn't Have Said it Better Abe

Abraham Lincoln reportedly once said:

Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side.  
My greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right.

What great perspective for all of us.  

God Bless.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

There He Goes; Here He Is

Then I will remove my hand, and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.
(Exodus 33:23)

This statement from God to Moses reminds me of the famous Footprints poem.  

We really don't see God coming at us.  He doesn't appear like Superman.  He doesn't announce His arrival.  And often, His plan is not the same as ours.  

Rather, we see Him clearest when we look back.  When we realize that He was there in a situation we thought He avoided.   When we understand that He held us and guided us during life's obstacles and difficulties.

The truth is, He will never abandon us.  

As He tells Joshua (1:9)
For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go 

May the Lord be with, and Bless, all of you. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Two Things I Learned About A Crucifix of Jesus

I learned two things about the Crucifix last week that I probably should have know, but didn't.

The first, I kinda knew, but never took the time to learn the detail.  I always knew the sign posted above Jesus read INRI and stood for Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.  But I never really understood  how those letters stood for that phrase.  Turns out there was no "J" in Latin, and the letter "I" was often used in its place.  So the phrase in Latin is Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm.  

The second, embarrassingly enough, I never even thought about.  In some crucifixes and paintings, Jesus' head is tilted straight down on the crucifix.  In most, however, it is tilted down (or up) but slightly to the right.  Why the difference?

A person that was crucified would have likely died from asphyxiation, and thus, their head would have slumped straight down.  So, crucifixes that show Jesus' head in that pose are attempting to be more realistic in their depiction.

Those that show His head tilted slightly down (or up) and to the right are taking some artistic liberties.  The right hand, in Christian faith, is the hand of blessing.  Since Jesus chose to sacrifice Himself for our sins, He, in turn, gave us the ultimate blessing.   This is why His head faces right in some crucifixes - to show that His death is a blessing for all of us.

Since my "lesson" last week, I did a little more research and found two other explanations for the right-leaning head tilt.  One stated that Jesus was facing the good thief, whom He saved before dying.  The other said it was to reinforce that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father.

I've looked at crucifixes of our Savior thousands of times.  Who knew I still had so much to learn about them?

God Bless.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Don Draper, Frank Purdue and the Pope

After a solemn weekend in the US, I thought we could all use a smile.


Don Draper walked into the Vatican with Frank Purdue to try and sell the Pope on his latest Ad campaign.

"Mr. Pope ... Frank and I want to integrate chicken into the rituals of folks around the country, and we were thinking ... what better way than The Lord's Prayer."

The Pope looked at Don with bewilderment.  "I'm not sure I understand, Mr. Draper."

"Mr. Pope," Don continued, "we're willing to offer you .... fifty thousand dollars to change the Lord's Prayer to 'give us this day, our daily chicken.'"

The Pope's bewilderment quickly changed to agitation.  "Mister Draper ... I will not hear of such nonsense.  Absolutely not."

"Ok, ok," Don responded, "You got us.  I must have misread the contract and missed a zero.  We're really willing to offer you five hundred thousand dollars to change the Lord's Prayer to 'give us this day our daily chicken.'"

The Pope's agitation softened for just a second as he processed the new offer.  "Listen, guys, those words are sacred to our religion.  I just can't change them for five hundred grand.  Sorry.  Thank you for your time.  Good day."

"Wait, wait, wait," Don quipped, sensing a tiny crack in the armor, "I get it.  I get it.  Ok .. .how's this ... we'll offer you one million dollars to change the Lord's Prayer to 'give us this day our daily chicken'.  That's one...  million ... dollars!"

The next day, the Pope gathered his staff and announced, "Folks, I have some good news and some bad news.  The good news is that I think I found a way to raise all that money we need to feed the poor."

"And the bad news?" a staff member asked.

"I think we're going to lose the Wonder Bread account..."


Please join me in saying a real Our Father for all of the victims of terrorism, wars, and natural disasters around the world.

God Bless.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.(Luke 14:26)

I remember reading this passage in Catechism class when I was a young boy.  

It nearly sent me running from the Church.  (Or at least to the pay phone to call my parents to pick me up ...)

Read literally, it is too harsh to handle.  Hating your parents or spouse makes Jesus' next request to give up possessions seem rather simple.

Luckily, my teacher noticed the terror in my eyes and quickly explained to all of us that a more accurate translation of the word "hate" was "to love less" - and Jesus was really telling us that our love for He and His Father should not be surpassed by that for any other.

She then went on to give us a simple rule for "assigning" our love and attention:


Jesus first.
Others second.
Yourself last.

I've never forgotten that. 

Especially when I read a scary passage like Sunday's gospel.

God Bless.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I've been playing this song a lot lately, and I think it's a perfect follow up to my post last week.  

Enjoy, and God Bless.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Outside Looking In

Then you will stand outside knocking and saying 
"Lord open the door for us"  (Luke 13:25)

Imagine that day.

You are standing up there at the pearly gates to Paradise.

You can see St. Peter and those legendary keys.  You can see your family members and friends standing on the other side, anxiously awaiting your arrival.  You can see the splendor and glory of Heaven.  

It is even more beautiful than your wildest dreams.

It is beyond perfect.

This is what you lived for.  This is what you hoped for.  And this is what you prayed for.

You are right there.  Ready to be happy for eternity.

But what if it all wasn't enough?

What if you aren't invited in?

What if you hear those horrific words from today's Gospel - "Depart from me all you evildoers"?

What regrets would go through your mind?

What would you wish you'd have done differently?

What would you change, starting today?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Assumption Pop Quiz

Ok quick ... how many times is Our Blessed Mother quoted in the New Testament?  

(I'll be honest, I had to look it up.) 

The answer appears to be four.  

1)  During the Annunciation 
2)  Her visit with Elizabeth
3)  The Finding in the Temple
4)  The Wedding Feast at Canaan

Perhaps none are as important as those last words we have from her:

       "Do whatever He tells you. "  (John 2:5)

What a beautiful command that is.  

If we follow it, hopefully our souls, too, can "magnify the Lord"

God Bless you on this feast day of the Assumption.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Three Favorite Prayers

I've been tagged by Anne at Imprisoned in My Bones to list my three favorite prayers. 

I'm sure most of you that read this blog also read Anne's - so I don't need to gush on and on about what an inspiring blog she hosts.  (But I certainly will upon request ...)

I have to admit, this MEME really got me thinking.  After long introspection, I learned that the prayers I gravitate to are either traditional or short/plainspeak.  I'm assuming the spirit of this MEME is to share new or less common prayers with each other, so I will focus my list on the latter.   (Otherwise, I would obviously have to start and end the list with the Our Father - the perfect prayer given to us by Jesus himself.)

Ok, here goes.  You all know the first one, but perhaps not the second two ...

1)  The Fatima Prayer  
Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those that most need Thy mercy.  Amen.

Why this prayer?  For starters, it was given  to us by Mary (if you believe in the Fatima miracle).  Second, in just a few words it requests (a) forgiveness, (b) a path to Paradise, and (c) mercy on those souls in need.   How's that for efficiency?

2)  Morning Prayer
Lord, thank you for this beautiful day.  Please help me to do everything in my power for your honor and glory.

Why this prayer?  It's one of the first "non-traditional" prayers I ever learned.  It was taught to me through a sermon by the late, great, Fr. Joseph Rosetti (who God blessed with 100 years on this earth).  I'll never forget how he emphasized the word beautiful - so that it was clear that every day should be considered as such because it is a gift from God.  

It also keeps me focused on what the day should really be about - God's will.  

3)  Mind and Heart
Jesus, please fill my mind with your Peace and my heart with Your Love.

Ironically, I just learned this one yesterday from a traveling priest at a Church I was visiting.  (There goes God, working in his mysterious way again ...)  I've actually prayed versions of this before, but I usually clutter them up by adding "and also ..." to them.  This one is clean and simple.  Could you imagine how wonderful this world would be if we all let Jesus fill our minds and hearts?

*As with all of my lists, this one is subject to change the minute I hit "publish post".

God Bless.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Unanswered Prayers

"So I say to you, ask and it will be given to you ... For everyone that asks receives." 
Luke 11:9-10

I always had trouble with today's Gospel as a child. 

Like most kids, I took it literally and was sorely disappointed when the hundreds of things I asked God for failed to materialize.

Of course, as I got older, and with the help of this Garth Brooks song, I realized that sometimes God just has to protect us from ourselves and our faulty plans.

And so on occasion, when I am thanking God for all the things He has given to me, I remember to thank Him for all those He purposefully hasn't as well.  

Because as Mr. Brooks put it, sometimes those are God's greatest gifts to us.

God Bless.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Yeah, What He Said

I came across this prayer by Thomas Merton the other day.

It so fully captures what I am thinking half the time (and should be thinking the other half), that I won't clutter it up with any additional commentary. Its quite beautiful on its own.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you and I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.

And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road although I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not fear, for you are ever with me and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

God Bless.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Just When I Thought It Was Easy

"Each one of them is Jesus in disguise."
- Mother Teresa

In today's Gospel reading (Lk 10:25-37) about the Good Samaritan, Luke reminded me how hard it is to really follow the Golden Rule.

On the surface, it seems easy. I mean, most of us, if we saw a person injured on the side of the road, would stop and help. (Or at the very least call 911, right?)

But when you dig deeper into the historical significance of the parable, you realize it isn't so easy after all.

Jews and Samaritans despised each other. The Samaritans taunted the Jews. In return, the Jews considered the Samaritans to be unclean outcasts, and cursed them when seeing them in synagogues. It was a rivalry that had been in place hundreds of years before Jesus.

And so this parable wasn't just about loving and helping a wounded person by the side of the road. It was about loving and helping a hated enemy.

I don't know about you, but I have a hard time loving the guy that cuts me off on the highway, let alone a hated enemy.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again .... I've sure got a long way to go!

God Bless.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Try This On For Size

I have to admit, my post today was going to have a slightly negative spin to it.

I was going to lament about how far the United States has strayed in 234 years.

I didn't want to, trust me. I love this country and what it stands for.

But that thought was really at the forefront of my mind this weekend.

And then I heard a story I had not heard before. One that was so simple, and yet, so motivating that it changed my outlook. It has nothing to do with America, or freedom. It's just a perfect lesson that perspective is everything.

It goes something like this:

Mahatma Gandhi was on a train when one of his sandals slipped off and fell onto the tracks. Since the train was moving, he could not retrieve the lost sandal. Instead, he calmly took off his other one, and threw it onto the tracks next to the first one.

When onlookers asked him why he chose to do that, he simply said that "the poor person that finds the first sandal now has a pair that he can wear."

What a wonderful gesture.

And a reminder that, even in a negative situation, there is always something you can do to help someone less fortunate.

Happy Birthday America.

God Bless.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ok, but first let me ...

Lord, let me go first and bury my father...
Let the dead bury their dead.

First, let me say goodbye to my family at home ...

No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.

I imagine Jesus shaking His head ever so slightly as he watched each of those men struggle with the decision staring them in the face.

And to be honest, I've always taken this passage from Luke at a symbolic level - that we cannot focus on following our Lord if we are concerned with worldly things.

But today I read it literally.

Burying one's father and saying goodbye to one's family are two pretty big things, aren't they? And Jesus still told them to pass and follow Him.

It's not like they said, "Let me just watch this show I TiVo-ed," or "I have reservations at this great restaurant tonight - can I meet up with you after dinner?"

Which makes me wonder how hard our Lord is shaking His head at the choices I make each day.

I pray I haven't given Him whiplash.

God Bless.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Q & A

"Who do you say I am?"

Jesus asked.

Peter answered Him.

I've read that passage many times, but I just realized it is as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago.

The truth is, there are thousands of people in the world today asking themselves, their family, God - or anyone who will listen - who Jesus is.

Maybe they were never taught. Maybe they forgot. Or maybe they just have a hard time understanding.

They need someone to "pull a Peter", and give them the answer.

I'd love to do it.

So does anyone have any ideas how to reach them?

Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there. God Bless.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A New Trend

How many times have you seen the ol' point-to-the-sky-to-thank-God-for-my-goal/homerun/basket in sports?

Or how many times have you seen a player make the sign of the cross endless times before he starts a game, begging God to help him do well?

I have to admit, as much as I love sports, I'm always a bit disappointed when I see these gestures.

Don't get me wrong, I think its great that these athletes are thinking about God, and hopefully thanking Him for their talents.

But I wonder if those same people make the sign of the cross as they walk past homeless people.

Or point to the sky every time they see God working one of His many miracles here on Earth.

You know, for things that really matter.

I know I don't.

But I might from now on.

God Bless.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Tale of Two Sundays

It's Sunday.
It's Sunday.

I got up, ate breakfast, and got dressed for Mass.
I got up and decided if I could muster up enough courage to attend Mass this week.

I was running a bit late when I got into my car, and prayed there wouldn't be too much traffic.
I started my trek, and prayed no one set flames to my Church overnight.

I parked the car, and walked quickly into the Church, hoping to get a good seat.
I took a quick look around the Church before I entered, making sure no persecutors were waiting.

I sat down, and was happy that the air conditioning was working this week.
I was happy the 3 men that hung my friend upside-down and beat him for hours last week before Mass weren't there this time.

I was excited to see my favorite priest was celebrating the Mass today.
I was excited to see our priest was still alive and made it to Mass today.

I enjoyed reflecting on today's Gospel with my friends after Mass in the Narthex.
I rushed home before anyone saw me, and met secretly with a few friends to pray.

I feel Peace and Joy when I spend time in Church with God.
I feel Peace and Joy when I spend time in Church with God.

I live in the United States of America.
I live in the Middle East.

Pope Benedict made an appeal yesterday for Christians living in the Middle East. Please take some time and pray, not only for their continued courage, but for Peace in the Middle East and elsewhere.

God Bless.

Monday, May 31, 2010

It Happens in a Blink

I wasn't quite sure what to write about this Memorial Day Weekend.

I wanted to acknowledge the sacrifices that many people made for our freedoms, but keep it motivational for our faith.

Then God presented me with this song. I heard it for the first time as I was staring at my blank computer screen...

(The line that really made me stop was "What is it I've done with my life .... it happens in a Blink")

Those that died for our freedom did something great with their lives.

This song really made me think about my own ...

God Bless, and have a wonderful Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


As I strolled through the airport this week, I passed a few men and women in military uniform. The large duffel bags they were carrying led me to believe they were not there for security purposes, but rather to travel.

When I reached my gate, I saw about five more waiting for the same flight I was.

I didn't think much of it at the time, but assumed they were on leave, perhaps off to enjoy a long Memorial Day week.

As I boarded, I noticed two open seats in first class - a rarity in a world where upgrades are used to buy loyalty.

Shortly thereafter, I noticed a flight attendant summoning two of Our Nation's Finest up to first-class to fill the open seats there.

A nice gesture, I thought to myself.

But it's what happened next that left me speechless.

One by one, three first-class passengers got up and exchanged their plush seats for the amenity-free joys of coach so that the other uniformed men could fly in luxury with their pals.

If you have ever glanced at the cost of a first-class ticket, you know what a generous gift that was.

The gesture took on even more meaning when we landed, and learned those five men were not on leave. They were headed off to serve the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I've been thinking a lot about those gifts this Pentecost Sunday. And I pray that the Holy Spirit strengthens you and I to be as brave in serving our Lord as those five men are in serving their country, and as generous as those three folks that gave up their first-class seats.

God Bless.

P.S. Speaking of gifts, Victor has written another wonderful book ... and is offering it to everyone for free. If you have read Victor's blog, Time For Reflections, you know that he is a very gifted and entertaining writer. If you haven't, you can check it out here. (Victor: I'm about a third of the way through the book and am enjoying it very much. Thank you for your gift.)

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Matthew tells us that the last command Jesus gave the Apostles (and by extension, us) was to "go and make disciples of all nations." (Mt. 28:19)

That struck me this weekend.

He didn't say, "go about your normal lives. Stay comfortable. Remain within your little bubble."

He said go.

I questioned myself. Am I going? Am I doing?

"Sure I am," I told myself, with a healthy degree of skepticism.

Then I started to do the math. I did a rough estimate of what percentage of my week was spent going and what part was spent not going.

Have I mentioned how much I hate math?

God Bless.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Could You?

Could you say yes to God's request?

Could you say yes if it meant changing your life drastically from what you had planned?

Could you say yes if you knew you would have a 50-50 chance of getting stoned to death in the next few months?

Could you say yes if you knew you would have to watch your son, daughter, or loved one, die a most gruesome death?

Could you say yes on the spot, without even thinking about it (like you might be right now)?

Blessed Mother, you said yes to our Father without fear of the hardships it might bring. Please pray that we, too, can say yes to all the little requests God makes of us each day.

A very Blessed Mother's Day to all mothers - living and deceased.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Life is Not A Snapshot

Those of you that read this post of mine from a while back, know that I wish I could sing.

If I could, then I would be able to proclaim wonderful messages like this one and disguise them in a catchy little song.

(It would sound so much convincing than than me saying "God has a plan for all of us - you just have to trust Him.")

And if you want to hear the inspiration to the song, watch this video on Josh Wilson's Facebook page (you don't have to be a member to watch).

There is an absolutely amazing line from the interview there that I wish I came up with on my own:

If we can trust God with our Eternity, we can certainly trust Him with our now.

Hmmm ... maybe that will be the title of my first album someday ...

God Bless.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


They devote every day to God. Every single one.

They spend time teaching, so that we can be inspired.

They get up in front of a crowd every week, when many are afraid to do that just once.

They listen for countless hours as we pour our sins and problems on them, yet they rarely return the favor.

They are the vessel for the miracle of the Eucharist.

They are held to unreasonable standards of perfection, even though they are as human as you and I.

They suffer a disproportionate amount of backlash because of the mistakes of a small sample of their peers. (I can't think of a profession with a more unbalanced scale.)

They, despite it all, continue to serve and pray for us. Much more than we do for them.

They are our front line of defense against the evil one.

They need our prayers and our support.

Please say an extra prayer for the priesthood this Good Shepherd Sunday.

God Bless you.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Life Is Beautiful

I recently watched the movie Life is Beautiful for the first time in about 10 years.

It's a good thing, too, because I almost forgot how powerful a movie it is.

For those of you that haven't seen the movie, it's a heart-tugging story about a Jewish man who is so positive, and so uplifting, that he even makes the most of a Nazi-era Concentration Camp.

That movie, coupled with today's Gospel reading and the Easter season, led me to reflect on how beautiful our lives really are.

Sure, we all have our issues, our struggles, and our crosses to endure.

But they all pale in comparison to what life would be like if Jesus did not make the ultimate sacrifice for us, and if God wasn't eternally willing to forgive us.

Imagine, for just one minute, that there was nothing to look forward to. That, after taking our last breath, our souls would languish in emptiness for eternity.

Picture emptiness.


(go on, I'll wait)

Kinda scary, huh?

Life would be pointless! Like a relatively short distraction on our way to perpetual gloom.

But thanks to Christ, we have Hope.

Hope that our lives are leading us to an eternity surrounded by God's love and joy in Paradise. That our future is a place where there is no sadness, no pain, and no emptiness.

Just our Father's never ending beauty.

Unfortunately, in the movie, Roberto Benigni's character is forced to make life beautiful for his son and everyone around him.

Luckily, in the real world, Jesus has already done that for us.

God Bless.