Sunday, March 28, 2010

My Script about Choices


Jesus is among us every day.

What choices do you make?


(Michael reads his post)

In today's Passion reading, Luke recounts one of my favorite moments in the New Testament.

While Matthew, Mark and John mention that two thieves are crucified with Jesus, only Luke tells us about Dismas' (the good thief) request.

Dismas led a life of sin, and as such, was sentenced to die in one of the cruelest ways possible. But as fortune would have it, he just happened to be crucified right next to the Savior of the world. He had a few hours - a tiny fraction of his life - to make a decision that would last for eternity.

He chose to repent. To believe. To follow Jesus.

And in doing so, he saved his soul.

Gestas, the other thief, makes no such request of Christ.

He had the same chance.

He was right there next to Jesus.

All he had to do was ask.

But he didn't. He made a terrible decision.

Every time I read this passage I want to shout out to him ..."Are you nuts? Don't you know that is the Son of God right next to you! Please, just ask Him to remember you!"

(confidently) I mean, if I was right next to Jesus I would certainly know it. I would make the right choice every time.

(slightly less confidently) Yup, I would.

(much quieter and much less confidently) I would, right?

(scene fades with Michael looking in mirror)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Prayer for a Restart

How long does it take you to read one of my posts?

Two minutes, perhaps?

Today, I'm going to give you back a minute and a half of your time in exchange for a favor.

Don't worry - it's really quite easy.

You see, this Holy Week, many people are going to make their semi-annual appearance at Church. There will also be many others that show up, as they do weekly, but just go through the motions - unmoved by the miracle of our Mass.

So instead of reading another 90 seconds of me reflecting, I'm asking you to use that time to say a prayer that the Holy Spirit enlightens these people, and strengthens them to "restart" their spiritual lives this Easter season.

Even if our combined prayers help just one soul, this will be the best 90 seconds we spend together all year.

Thank you in advance, and God Bless you.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


"Then some began to spit on Him" - Mark 14:65

"Again and again they struck Him on the head with a staff and spit on Him." - Mark 15:19

"They spit on Him, and took the staff and struck Him on the head again and again." - Matthew 27:30


The ten-year-old me stood confidently at the plate.

It was the last inning, two outs, and we were beating the last place team by 15 runs.

As I took my stance, I noticed the pitcher glaring in at me with a look of disgust. After all, he was getting creamed.

His first pitch headed straight over my head - no doubt a sign of frustration.

His second pitch was right over the plate, and I blasted it into right center field. As it rolled to the fence, I tore around the bases like a ... well, like a ten-year-old.

As I rounded third, I saw that the second baseman had the ball and was throwing it home.

I raced towards the plate ... and slid into a wave of sand and dirt ....

"Yerrrrrrr outttta there!" I heard the umpire shout as the ball and I arrived at the same time.

The catcher jumped up, took off his mask, looked down ....

... and spit on me.

Have you ever been spit on? There are few things more humiliating, trust me.

And there are even fewer things that are more condescending.

So how did I handle such an embarrassment, you ask?

I did what any other ten-year-old would have done. I got up, tackled the catcher, and rained tiny blows on his chest protector until the coaches separated us.


Lord Jesus, at this time of year I usually focus on the physical torture you went through to gain our freedom. But sometimes I forget the humiliation you were forced to suffer as well. Even though you were without sin, you endured one of the most degrading acts of human nature.

Unlike the ten-year-old version of me, you stood there and took it. Even more amazingly, you forgave them.

I keep asking myself who would ever spit on the face of God. And I pray that my sins are not the equivalent of such a disrespectful thing, even though in my heart I know they probably are.

I'm so sorry.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fatherly Pride

"Knock it off ... now! You are embarrassing us!"

If I only had a dollar for every time I heard that as a child...

When we are children, we don't realize that our behavior in public can have such a huge effect on our parents.

As we grow older, or become parents ourselves, we start to realize how true that is.

When a child misbehaves in public, his or her parents feel embarrassed, disappointed, angry and sad all at the same time. Likewise, when a child shines in public, his or her parents feel pleased, happy, proud, etc.

How pleased, then, must God have felt when He watched Jesus defy temptation over and over again here on Earth?

How happy must He have been when He watched our Savior teaching the way to Paradise?

And, how proud must God have been when His Son triumphantly conquered sin, despite the horrific road He had to take to do so?

If they have bumper stickers in Heaven, God's surely says "My Son is an A+".

But what about us? After all, we are His children, too.

What does He feel when He watches us every day?

Do we act the way He wants us to act, and make Him a proud Father?

Or is He trying to tell us that, sometimes, we are just embarrassing Him?