Today’s Readings: ACTS 28:16-20 PS 11:4-5, 7 JN 21:20-25
Here we are. The end of the road. After today, we will return to our regularly scheduled programming. (I will write a single article per week that will be posted in the bulletin and subsequently posted on the website.)
I’d like to thank the Catholic Web Company who have been rock stars throughout this entire ordeal. They continue to be amazing partners in Catholic ministry.READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 25:13-21 PS 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20 JN 21:15-19
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
He said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time,
“Do you love me?” and he said to him,
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”
Today’s Readings: ACTS 20:30; 23:6-11 PS 16:1-2, 5, 7-11 JN 17:20-26
As we come down the homestretch of this grand experiment (Do I mean this daily column or our nation’s response to the latest corona virus? I’ll never tell.), I think it’s time to reflect for a moment.
As Catholics, are we called to value every human life? We absolutely are!
As Catholics, are we called to be willing to die for our Faith? We absolutely are!
Those last two lines represent the difficulty and the divide this pandemic has caused, even within the Roman Catholic Church.READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 20:28-38 PS 68:29-30, 33-36 JN 17:11-19
Today is the 70th consecutive day of this daily column. It’ll be coming to a close at the end of May, but I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who have been reading it on a daily (or almost-daily) basis.
So, here is what we are going to do: the first three people to email me (address below) with “Daily Column” in the subject line will win your choice of the following books:
“Kingdom of Happiness: Living the Beatitudes in Everyday Life” by Fr. Jeffery KirbyREAD MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 20:17-27 PS 6810-11, 20-21 JN 17:1-11
Saints are often portrayed as solemn, almost grumpy characters.
They all took the Faith seriously. There is no doubt. But they were also people of deep, internal joy. And for many? That joy was external, as well. “Good Little Phil” was one such saint.
Even as a small boy, he was known to be cheerful and obedient. Throughout his life, he used his warmth and humor to draw people to the Lord. He was regularly found in large groups and gatherings. He treasured meaningful conversations, group study, gatherings of prayer, and loved to be wherever music was being played. Yet, he’d always eventually say, “Well, brothers, when shall we begin to do good?”READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 19:1-8 PS 68:2-7 JN 16:29-33
Today is Memorial Day.
That might get lost in the crazy world we seem to be inhabiting. But we shouldn’t let it.
Many brave individuals ventured out of their comfortable lives and died protecting rights many of us seem so quick to give away. They died so that we could worship freely. They died so that the government would always work for us, instead of the other way around. Heck, they died so that I could write about our Faith without concern.READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 1:1-11 PS 47:2-3, 6-9 EPH 1:17-23 MT 28:16-20
When public Masses first ceased, I had a great idea. (Even a broken clock gets it right twice a day.) I thought our parish should hold the World’s Biggest Potluck when it was all over. While this might be great a few months down the road, I had no idea how this pandemic would play out. (I haven’t been through many pandemics.)
Now we understand these things don’t go away in a day—or even a week. Pandemics are wrought with misinformation, arguments, mystery, and philosophical differences. There is not a single one of us who knows exactly how dangerous this thing is or precisely how many are infected. We can only inform ourselves from what we consider to be reliable sources and act appropriately.READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 18:23-28 PS 47:2-3, 8-10 JN 16:23-28
Today, we hear the story of Apollos. He was an eloquent speaker. He was an authority on the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord. He had ardent spirit. He spoke and taught accurately about Jesus.
We are told all these things about this man. Then what happens?
Priscilla and Aquila hear him. They immediately take him aside and explain the Way of the Lord more accurately. He listens. He learns. He exhibits humility. He goes on to do great things for the Faith.READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 18:9-18 PS 47:2-7 JN 16:20-23
Do you ever turn on your television, click into the internet, or flip on your radio and feel like, as a practicing Catholic, you are in a tiny minority? How many people believe in the True Presence? How many people are fighting for the rights of the unborn? How many believe in the sacramentality of marriage?
Today’s first reading has one of my favorite lines in all of the Bible. It is a reassurance from the voice of the Lord to Paul. Today, it is a reassurance to us.
“Do not be afraid. Go on speaking, and do not be silent, for I am with you. No one will attack or harm you, for I have many people in this city.”READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 18:1-8 PS 98:1-4 JN 16:16-20
This past Sunday, a giant of a man by the name of Shad Gaspard was swimming about 700 feet from shore with his ten year-old son in Venice Beach, California. The two of them got caught in a rip current and were swept out to sea. A lifeguard made it to them, but due to Gaspard’s size (6’6, 295), he was struggling to save them both. Gaspard yelled for the lifeguard to save his son.
As his son was being saved, a large wave crashed down on the father and he wasn’t seen again. After 24 hours, search efforts were suspended and it has become a recovery effort. At the time of this writing, a body has yet to be recovered.READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 17:15, 22-18:1 PS 148:1-2, 11-14 JN 16:12-15
My wife recently gifted me with a Masterclass subscription. (If you aren’t familiar, it is an online platform were successful people teach their crafts. Steve Martin teaches comedy. Wolfgang Puck teaches cooking. Judy Blume teaches children’s writing. You get the point.) It has become a huge platform in a relatively short period of time.
Who doesn’t want to sit at the feet of a master and learn their secrets?
Today’s Gospel begins with some powerful words: “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.”READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 16:22-34 PS 138:1-3, 7-8 JN 16:5-11
“Now I am going to the one who sent me, and not one of you asks me, “Where are you going?” But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts. But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go.”
These words come from the lips of Jesus as He prepares his closest friends for his ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit. Yet, as I read them, I think of those of us who have lost a parent, a spouse, a child, or a best friend.
It is natural and good that grief should fill our hearts. And yet, in time, we must remember, it is not only better for them – should they attain heaven – but for us, as well.READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 16:11-15 PS 149:1-6, 9 JN 15:26-16:4
I’d like to inspire you with the story of a little girl who will be turning three in just under a month.
Georgiana was not born with a halo because her daddy works for the Church. She does not like going to sleep and makes it a daily challenge. She stretches my attention span at every dinner by eating like a sloth at half speed. She also makes so much noise when she runs in the house that the volume defies the laws of physics for someone that little.
Okay. She is an amazing child and it took effort to come up with those few incidental issues. But I want to take away your excuses for what I’m about to tell you.READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 8:5-8, 14-17 PS 66:1-7, 16, 20 1PT 3:15-18 JN 14:15-21
Mass is back!
Okay. I know it never ended. And I realize for those of you who are compromised or still unsure, the obligation has been temporarily lifted. My point is this: for those of us who are able, Mass attendance, it is ON!!!
But hang on a minute. I want to go back to a word: “obligation.”
We often call Mass our “Sunday Obligation.” It sounds as if attending Mass is something we are forced to do. But that isn’t the case. We have free will. We are obliged to attend. What does that mean and why am I picking at little words.
Because words matter.READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 16:1-10 PS 100:1-3, 5 JN 15:18-21
If you’ve ever felt like it’s hard to be a Catholic in the current culture…read today’s Gospel.
If you’re family doesn’t understand why your faith is so important to you…read today’s Gospel.
If you get punished at work for refusing to compromise your faith…read today’s Gospel.
Jesus said to his disciples: “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.”READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 15:22-31 PS 57:8-10, 12 JN 15:12-17
So the weekend is almost here. And many of us will be attending Mass for the first time in quite a bit.
There will be people who desperately want to attend, but are nervous. Give them space.
There will be an adjustment as people attempt to find seats with proper distancing. Be patient.
There will be people who think everything should come off without a hitch and are upset at the slightest inconvenience. Give them a genuine smile.
There will be people who will be angry that they can’t sit in “their pew” because it happens to be one that is taped off. Offer them your seat.READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 15:15-17, 20-26 PS 113:1-8 JN 15:9-17
Since today’s Gospel and this coming Sunday’s Gospel have similar themes, I just wanted to take a moment and thank you.
In order to maintain the majority of our staff, there was a difficult staff reduction, many staff furloughs, and some temporary staff pay reductions, but your incredible generosity during this insane time has made it possible for Our Lady of Joy to be in a position to bounce back more rapidly than most parishes.
Make no mistake, we are emerging with some battle scars and we are relying on your continued faithfulness, but your response was humbling for the staff and clergy to witness on a weekly basis.READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 15:1-6 PS 122:1-5 JN 15:4-5
Oh, my friends. Sometimes, you see the reading for the day and you have to remind yourself it wasn’t just picked for the current situation.
We’ve reinstated daily Masses (with social distancing) this week and you have flocked back!
Do you have ANY IDEA how good it feels to pull into the church parking lot and see cars?!
Today’s Psalm says it all: “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.”
Let those of us who are able, come back. Let us rejoice. Let us pray for all those who cannot yet join us. Let us pray for those who have died from any illness over the past few months. And let us thank the Lord that (for whatever the reason) the death toll has been so far below most of the publicized predictions.READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 14:19-28 PS 145:10-13, 21 JN 14:27-31
I’ve had a few people ask how long I will continue the daily column now that Masses have resumed. I think we’ll continue until I resume my groups (Monday Scripture Study, Wednesday morning’s rotating programs, and my RCIA efforts) in a couple weeks. Then, I’ll go back to the weekly bulletin column. If you are as sick of my voice as I am by that point, I can’t thank you enough for sticking around!
In today’s Gospel, Jesus said to his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’”READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 14:5-18 PS 115:1-4, 15-16 JN 14:21-26
Yesterday was Mother’s Day. What an amazing opportunity to honor those who – in my experience – never get enough credit.
(Hey moms! Thank you for all you have done and all that you do.)
When you consider the entire Christian family, our Holy Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary never gets enough credit. Devout Catholics, on the other hand, show her great honor. And this is one of the 2,739 reasons I love being Catholic.
(For where Catholics get the Hail Mary, check out https://www.getfed.com/hail-mary-is-in-the-bible-6487/)READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 6:1-7 PS 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19 1PT 2:4-9 JN 14:1-12
Today’s Gospel ends with some crazy words. These words are so inflammatory that if they weren’t said by Jesus Christ, they’d hardly be believable.
“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.”
Hold up. I believe in Jesus. You believe in Jesus. How are we going to do greater works than Jesus?
I’m not smart enough to answer this question, but I know someone who is.READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 13:44-52 PS 98:1-4 JN 14:7-14
“Whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”
Powerful words come at the conclusion of today’s Gospel.
If I’m honest, words like these made me angry, bitter, and resentful at a certain point in my life. I prayed until I practically sweat blood. I recruited the holiest people I knew to join their prayers to mine. I recruited people who hadn’t prayed in years to join their prayers to mine. Converts. Convents. You name it. I was shameless in my rallying of prayer.READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 13:26-33 PS 2:6-11 JN 14:7-14
Do you sometimes feel your past disqualifies you from sharing your Faith? Like you should leave evangelization to others due to certain chapters of your biography?
Today’s first reading recounts Paul preaching in Antioch. He is sharing the story of Jesus. (Keep in mind, this is a man who had previously overseen the death of Christians.)
Sometimes, people who have made huge mistakes and gotten their life on track can be incredibly inspiring. There is a reason almost every Catholic knows the story of the Prodigal Son.
Don’t let your past dictate your future. Share your excitement to resume attending Mass. Share how much you miss your Church. Share how important Jesus is to you.READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 13:13-25 PS 89:2-3, 21-22, 25, 27 JN 13:16-20
When is the last time you served someone? I’m talking about doing something you get no pleasure from. I’m talking about doing something and looking for zero recognition. I’m talking about being a Roman Catholic.
Service is meant to be one of the defining characteristics of our Faith.
I should be on the lookout for things my wife hates to do. I should jump into those gaps. And I should do it without saying a word.
If Jesus can wash a mere mortal’s feet (as he does in today’s Gospel), there isn’t anything we should ever consider to be beneath us.READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 12:24-13:5 PS 67:2-3, 5-6, 8 JN 12:44-50
I often become overwhelmed by the vast nature of the world and my limited influence on it. World hunger? What can I do? The breakdown of the family? I’m powerless. A world of people who spend infinitely more time staring brainlessly at screens than meaningfully at other human eyes. I’m just one man.
The response is simple: control what you can.
My family supports St. Vincent de Paul and I carry Ziploc freezer bags with homeless care kits in my car. I pray with my family before we eat dinner at a table every night and we pray a second time in her room before putting her down for the night. We have established a no phones at the dinner table rule. These aren’t huge steps, but they are something.READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 11:19-26 PS 87:1-7, 43:3-4 JN 10:22-30
If you haven’t been watching our streaming Mass at 10AM on Sundays…first of all…DO IT…secondly…an important announcement was made. If you participate in the 10AM streaming Mass from home and you are healthy, our Bishop is allowing you to immediately hop in your car at its conclusion and come to church where one of our priests will be distributing the Eucharist from 11:15-Noon. You are encouraged to maintain a six foot distance from others before receiving on the hand (so the priest doesn’t have to disinfect between every communicant). This very temporary allowance keeps proximity to a minimum while making reception of the Blessed Sacrament possible. This is great news and shows us the end to this current situation is coming.READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 11:1-18 PS 42:2-3, 43:3-4 JN 10:11-18
For years, I found it was easier to get teenage girls into my youth groups than teenage boys. Shouldn’t be a shock, as the same holds true for adult programming within the Church.
I may be wrong, but I suspect it involves the interior workings of men and what we are drawn toward. We hate being vulnerable. We hate weakness. We hate asking for help…or even directions.
On the flip side, we do value heroism, sacrifice, and true strength.READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 2:14, 36-41 PS 23:1-6 1PT 2:20-25 JN 10:1-10
If you think our parish priests are gifted homilists, I’d like to remind you that in this weekend’s first reading, Peter gives his first homily and about 3000 people joined the Church that day. (No pressure, Our Lady of Joy rectory.)
The truth is, it wasn’t about Peter and he knew it. He was filled with the Holy Spirit in a powerful way. The Catholic Church’s first pope had arrived.
And from the beginning, we are supposed to look to our Shepherds and follow their lead. Sadly, we understand that in this broken world, it doesn’t always work out that way. But Peter was canonized, so we can safely assume his lead is a solid one to follow.READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 9:31-42 PS 116:12-17 JN 6:60-69
People like to attach meaning to the numbers (chapter and verse) of specific Scripture readings. This is folly as the chapters and verses of the New Testament were attached many years later.
But they help us remember. Today’s Gospel is a perfect example of this.
In many circles, the number 666 is the number associated with the devil. Why would I ever mention such a thing?
As a Catholic, you should remember John 6:66 as it is the very verse where the devil had his way and convinced many of Jesus’ disciples to no longer follow him. Why? Because Jesus just taught his disciples about the Eucharist and many chose not to believe.READ MORE
Today’s Readings: ACTS 9:1-20 PS 117:1-2 JN 6:52-59
Have you ever been stuck in a car, miles from a bathroom, with a full bladder? As a man who loves a good road trip, it has happened to me on a number of occasions. Now let me get more specific. Has this ever happened while in a loaded car with several older siblings? Again. It has happened to me. In this scenario, almost inevitably, an older sibling begins making water sounds. This is one of the oldest methods of torture known to families.
Because we aren’t able to attend Mass, this scenario is kind of how today’s Gospel reading feels.
“Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my Flesh is true food, and my Blood is true drink.”
Remind me. Why do we miss Mass so much?READ MORE