November 29

11-29-2020(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

Well. We made it. Thanksgiving has come and gone. This long year of 2020 has been quite the experience, hasn’t it?

But I keep hearing people saying, “2021 can’t come soon enough!” Be careful what you wish for. There is no guarantee 2021 won’t bring even greater challenges.

This counsel can sound pessimistic. It isn’t my intention. Allow me to back up a moment...

A great formula for prayer is ACTS. Adoration (Telling God how truly great He is). Contrition (Repenting for all the ways you’ve fallen short of God’s perfect will for your life). Thanksgiving (Gratitude for all God has given us). Supplication (Petitions for ourselves and Intercession for others).

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November 22

11-22-2020(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

It’s that time of year again. Many of us are beginning to rack our brains in an effort to come up with good gift ideas for our loved ones. We hope the gifts effectively communicate our love. We hope that the gifts are instantly cherished. We hope they are put to use.

As the father of a little toddler, I can tell when she loves a gift because she immediately starts using it—be it playing with a toy, coloring in a book, or putting on a dress. And when it is put to use, it honors me, the giver of the gift.

Many of us have been richly blessed with many gifts. And I used this analogy years ago, but it is worth repeating now that I have a three year old…

When Georgiana is playing with a friend, I’ve noticed her obvious joy when she is sharing her toys freely. There are giggles and smiles all over the place. But when she is in rough patch (usually due to exhaustion or hunger) and she is trying to hoard everything, her beautiful disposition is masked under a scowl.

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November 15

11-15-2020(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

It was election day and I was driving home. Like a moth to a flame, I was listening to talk radio. Then, the local traffic guy came on and said there was a freeway closure because of a fatal accident.

These happen more often than non-commuters realize, but this one stuck with me.

I immediately reflected upon all the burdens the deceased was probably carrying that day. Is my candidate going to win the election? How long is Covid - and our reaction to it - going to dominate our nation? Is my job as secure as I hope it is? Not to mention all the concerns and worries a typical human carries without these added pressures.

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November 8

11-08-2020(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

I’m writing this on the eve of the election and there are people all over the radio, the internet, and television working feverishly to get as many clicks or views as possible. And as always, the number one motivator is fear. (They don’t change what works.)

Let’s be clear: most of these people don’t care who you voted for. In fact, many people in the industry get BETTER ratings when their “opposition” is in power. Why? It goes back to fear. You can’t scare someone who is in power, except every four years when they might lose it again. My point is, as people in the industry know, ratings improve when you have four straight years of fear instead of just one or two.

These talking heads just want to keep you frightened. They do not care about you. They just want you to keep tuning in.

Listen, I hope you made an informed vote. But now, I hope you remember the words repeated often in Scripture: DO NOT FEAR.

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November 1

11-01-2020(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

If the first ten months of this year has reminded us of anything, it is that a familiar tomorrow is never promised.

God has tried to teach me that lesson several times and in societal and individual ways. The day the Challenger exploded. The day my parents moved our family from Wisconsin to Arizona when I was 15. The day my first engagement came crashing down. The day terrorists made four airplanes fall out of the sky. The day I accompanied my dad to his doctor’s appointment and he was notified he had less than a year.

And yet, this year, every month seems to carry with it—and excuse the description a friend recently used— a new fresh hell. Anxiety over some distant virus. Worries over a potentially Biblical plague. The sudden arrival of Covid. Runs on grocery stores. Church shutdowns. Anger and angst over what could and should be done. Discord even within households over the proper level of precaution. Questions over what sources to trust. Masks becoming a visible sign of who each individual actually trusts. Political division. Televised tragedies. Arguments over race relations and law enforcement. Protests and riots. Political tensions somehow rising even higher.

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October 25

10-25-2020(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

It is a fallacy that separation of Church and state means that the Church can no longer teach moral truths when any of those moral truths have clear and direct implications on anything that may be in a political party’s platform. This would clearly result in the state’s ability to snatch up every toy on the floor (every issue they can think of), effectively neutering the Church’s voice on any issue of consequence— the effect being “The Ten Commandments” turning into “The Four Commandments...As Long As The State Doesn’t Have Something To Say About Them.”

Now that we’ve covered that, I’d love to zoom in a bit.

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October 18

10-18-2020(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

This weekend, we hear Jesus say, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to the Lord what belongs to the Lord.”

So, pay your taxes, stop pretending the 101 is the autobahn, and be informed when you vote. But give your entire life to God.

“But what about the separation of Church and state?!” (I can hear some of you screaming it.)

I’ve read the Bible. You probably have, too. I currently cannot remember where Jesus said anything about the separation of Church and state. And, no… “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to the Lord what belongs to the Lord,” doesn’t qualify.

Give to the Lord what is the Lord’s. YOU are the Lord’s. Everything you do is the Lord’s. Every single day. What you do between midnight and… midnight… is the Lord’s.

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October 11

10-11-2020(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

There are studies all over the place that show the importance of holding infants as much as possible (www.time.com/504/how-cuddling-saves-tiny-babies/), and this shouldn’t be a shock to us. Humanity was created to express and receive appropriate physical expressions of love.

One of the most insidious aspects of this virus is the choice every relationship has had to make, weighing the benefits of this essential aspect of the human experience vs. the potential health risks to the other— and one’s self.

It isn’t a decision others can make for you. And it isn’t a decision anyone should have to make.

You know what one of the things I’m looking forward to the most? Throwing a big dinner party. I don’t know when it will happen, only that it will. And you can bet backs will be slapped, hands will be shaken, and hugs will be given to close friends. It will probably be an amazing pot luck.

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October 4

10-04-2020(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

Hey everyone.

Update: Life still isn’t normal. I mean...the other day… I put a mask on as I entered a bank so I wouldn’t be tackled by security. (Read that sentence again.)

Here is some free advice to survive the apocalypse:

Keep trying to live free of worry. Let God know what you need and thank Him for what you have. Do this, and you’ll have a peace that doesn’t make sense to this world. They won’t understand it is God himself who gives you this peace.

Focus on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, gracious, and anything worthy of praise. Keep on doing what you know God would have you do for Him and others. Do this and God’s peace will be with you.

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September 27

09-27-2020(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

In this week’s Gospel, Jesus poses a simple question to the church elders. Someone in authority asks two people to do something. One says no, but has a change of heart and does it. The other says they will do it, but never does. Who is in the right?

Those listening eagerly respond, “The man who ended up doing as he was asked!” It is the right answer, but it riles up righteous anger in Jesus. Why?

They didn’t even realize the one who they so quickly realized was in the wrong represented them! They had heard John the Baptist and had rejected him.

One the flip side, many prostitutes and corrupt tax collectors had been leading depraved lives, but were open to Christ’s message and changed their ways.

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September 20

09-20-2020(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

During my eighteen years as a youth minister, I spent my fair share of time in various amusement parks. At some point during those years, the concept of the fast pass was introduced. (For an added price, you get to skip to the front of the lines.)

Initially, I absolutely hated the concept. I don’t like lines anyway. Now, you are telling me people get to walk right by me because the insane cost of my ticket isn’t enough?

Then, a friend bought me a fast pass. I never had to wait more than ten minutes to get on a ride. I’m not ashamed to admit...it was a beautiful day.

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September 13

09-13-2020(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

Praise God! The Covid numbers in Arizona continue to plummet! The Lord is healing our land and our state is slowly awaking from its slumber. Movie theaters have opened with distancing measures, parks are opening in most cities, and my commute is taking longer every week.

In the midst of this, it is important to know your Faith Formation Department is already up and running—and ready to serve you online AND in-person.

Want to join the Catholic Church or complete your sacraments of initiation? Contact David at dlins@oloj.org

Want a Saturday morning online Bible Study? Reach out to Kathy at chatkath68@me.com

Want an in-depth explanation of the context and meaning of the coming Sunday’s readings (both online and in-person) every Monday morning? Contact David at dlins@oloj.org

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September 6

09-06-2020(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

This weekend’s readings focus in on human connection. They show us—clearly—that the vast majority of God’s children are called to the added drama and effort of relationships.

I understand in times such as these, must of us are tempted to keep our heads down and keep our thoughts restricted to those who know us best. God truly knows, any opinion on Covid, masks, vacines, whether or not children should go back to school, Trump, Biden...even Mass attendance...can elevate heart rates and endanger friendships.

But this weekend’s readings make it crystal clear: love is willing to have difficult conversation, to endure drama, and to put forth effort. We must challenge one another with love (Mt 18:15-20). We must be open to hearing God’s voice through others without hardening our hearts (Ps 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9).

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