When I was a youth group leader, I was often invited to various activities my youth group teens participated in. For the most part, they took the form of concerts, plays, and athletic events.
When you are a veteran of middle school concerts, you get used to the struggles of the choir populated with boys whose voices are in the midst of changing. The young ladies might have those notes nailed, but if even one unfortunate young man can’t hold back random oscillation between alto and baritone (with no stops at tenor), it can turn something beautiful into a sound that makes a person want to confess to crimes they didn’t commit.
When it comes to plays, you might have a high school thespian ready to play Willy Loman with the best of them, but if he’s onstage with a young woman who can’t remember any of her lines, it makes every member of the audience cringe (except her parents, who think she deserves a Tony).READ MORE
I’ve previously posed the question: if tomorrow only contained what you thanked God for today, what would it look like?
It is a thought experiment worth revisiting.
The youngest among us tend to thank God for toys, parents, and cartoons.
The most grateful among us tend to thank God for our loved ones, our jobs, and our meals.
The holiest among us tend to thank God for the Church, daily struggles, and faith.
How many of us remember to thank the Lord for another morning?READ MORE
In just a few weeks, our parish will be blessed with a powerful Advent Parish Mission with Gina Bauer.
While she is a nationally-recognized speaker and a truly gifted communicator, I recognize that many of you have never heard of her. (Her bio is on the next page in the advertisement for the event, but that isn’t my point.)
Some of you might choose to stay home because you’ve never heard her speak and that will be a shame. You will have missed a great opportunity to increase your faith.
Sadly, we miss these opportunities all the time. We find ourselves in conversations with loved ones, but we are distracted.READ MORE
This Sunday’s Gospel contains an interesting paragraph:
“They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.”
As someone who has given talks and written articles for many years, this excerpt of Scripture has always stood out.
Before giving a talk, you should always be prepared. Before writing any article, you should have a clear endpoint in mind. (Think of it as knowing where you want to land the plane before taking off.)READ MORE
In this brave new world where we have instant access to tweets and posts from the furthest reaches of our planet, it seems there is no end to news that makes it seem like our nation, our culture, and our faith is in a state of constant crisis.
Wouldn’t it be so much easier if we were cut off from everyone further than fifty miles away (with the exception of old-fashioned mail)?
There is wisdom in this lifestyle: take care of what you have the ability to influence.
This does not mean we don’t pray for others, the Holy Father, and the greater Church. It means we do what we can for who we are able.
We take care of those who live under the same roof. We scroll a little less and listen a bit more. We post a bit less and share a bit more. We hide in our phones and laptops a bit less and pray with our loved ones a bit more.READ MORE
Luke 19:1-10 was my favorite story in the entire Bible as a young boy because Zacchaeus climbed a tree. That was it. That was the extent of my deep and profound theological reasoning.
It remains one of my favorite readings to this day, but for different reasons entirely. (Well - almost entirely. I still think it is pretty fantastic that he climbed a tree in pursuit of Jesus.
It teaches us two beautiful lessons.
The first lesson: God rewards those who are willing to be undignified in their pursuit of Him. Zacchaeus was an important person. He was a chief tax collector. He was certainly well-known and very unpopular. Yet people would be careful how they spoke to him. In that time, virtually all tax collectors were corrupt and would raise taxes on whomever they wished and keep the excess for themselves. This feared and powerful man climbed a tree in order to draw near to the Lord!READ MORE