I need to thank you

09-29-2019(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

I need to thank you.

If you give generously to the collection basket, you have made it possible for me to serve this parish on a full-time basis for over three years (thus far), writing this column, directing RCIA, planning all aspects of the parish missions, coordinating 33 Days To Morning Glory, overseeing our youth ministry programming, facilitating a weekly Scripture Study, and so much more! (There are also many others you are supporting who, I assure you, work harder than you realize to make this parish as wonderful as it is!)

I need to thank you.

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Faith Reflected in Our Works

09-22-2019(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

This is one of those Gospels where 90% of Catholics either wonder it was they just heard as they mumble “thanks be to God” or miss it entirely (statistic entirely made up).

Jesus tells the story of a financial advisor who messes up and destroys his employer’s portfolio. Then, before he is fired, he goes out and accepts various partial payments as full payments without permission. Thus, he makes friends with those who were able to settle their debts at fractions of the full amount due. This ensures he has opportunities once he is fired.

The crazy part? Jesus seems to affirm this man’s behavior!

What is actually happening here?

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The Same Man

09-15-2019(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

Growing up, I loved hearing my name during the First Reading of various Masses throughout the year. As a little boy, that story about Goliath was rocket fuel for the imagination!

A few years later, I was even happier to hear my namesake was not only in the Bible, but wrote some of it!

As I entered my teenage years, I found out God referred to David as “a man after his own heart” and I loved my first name all the more.

Then, I read more about the life of David. Adultery? Check. Murder? Check.

WHAT?

How could this be? Surely he was being confused with another David.

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Advantages

09-08-2019(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

Life can be difficult.

It can be tempting to look at all the advantages others seem to have - better connections, deeper pockets, good looks, greater intelligence, inspiring creativity - and think God couldn’t possibly use to some great end.

The book of Wisdom asks a simple question: “Who can know God’s counsel, or who can know what the Lord intends?”

I recently reread the book “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants” by Malcolm Gladwell. (Despite its name, it is a secular book.) In one of the first chapters, he reminds the reader of every obvious advantage Goliath had: his height was estimated to be closer to seven feet tall than six, he was muscle-bound, gifted at the art of close combat, and wore only the thickest armor and carried the most devastating armor.

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Do you consider yourself a strong Catholic?

09-01-2019(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

Do you consider yourself a strong Catholic? You might find this week’s readings a bit challenging.

Do you struggle with your faith and fear you have a long way to go in order to be holy as most of the other people in church? These readings should sound like honey.

We are told plainly in Luke 14 to avoid sitting in a place of honor, lest we be humbled when told to move. This is akin to anyone who always knows best, only to eventually taste embarrassment when they are not universally lauded for their opinions. We are, after all, told self-exultation leads to humiliation.

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Invite Someone Home

08-25-2019(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

Parishioners of Our Lady of Joy! Do you understand what God is accomplishing with your cooperation? It is amazing.

Currently, we have many Catholics returning to our parish through your welcoming spirit and the multitude of ministries your volunteerism, financial contributions, and prayers continue to support!

The preschool, children’s catechesis, youth ministry programs, and adult faith formation programs are flourishing!

Organizations like Knights of Columbus are raising money to help worthy causes and powerful parish events—like largely subsidizing our parish bringing in nationally-recognized speakers for our next two parish missions!

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The Mercy of God

08-18-2019(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

I remember a recent conversation about the mercy of God. One of the people said, “If a serial killer is in heaven, I don’t want to be there.” I thought the person better tread carefully. Thanks to our free will, God will allow us to make that choice. But it sounds dangerously like the brother in the story of the prodigal son—unwilling to accept his father’s forgiveness.

I would propose his mercy is a much tougher pill to swallow than his judgement - although the two are inextricably intertwined.

We can all grasp the judgement of God. Why? We have all been hurt and would like to see the perpetrator get what is coming to them. Judgement from a just judge can be scary, but our minds can make sense of it.

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When the Master Returns

08-11-2019(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

When I speak or write about key differences between us and our protestant brothers and sisters, my intent is not to drive a wedge between us. We certainly have much in common and must join together in our fight for life, morality and religious freedoms. There are many holy men and women in other denominations. Yet, it is important to understand there are differences and why we believe what we believe.

Toward the end of Luke 12, we read the following: “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute the food allowance at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so. Truly, I say to you, the master will put the servant in charge of all his property. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk, then that servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish the servant severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful. That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly.”

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Discovering What Matters

08-04-2019(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

The national average cost of a 10x10 storage unit is just under $1200/yr. It is the cost of storing all the stuff you can’t even fit in your own home.

$1200 also buys 112 cans of infant formula on Amazon that could be donated to an organization like Maggie’s Place (that supports young women who kept their babies).

There is so much that $1200 could do. Yet, so many of us are afraid that we might need something or we have an emotional attachment to something.

I know there are some very legitimate reasons to rent a storage unit. And beyond that, I can’t tell you how to spend your money or what to do with the things you’ve accumulated. But Jesus can.

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Pray Like Jesus

07-28-2019(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

Working in the land of rattlesnakes and scorpions, certain lines of scripture hit a bit closer to home. For example: “What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”

Jesus said these words after the disciple saw him praying and asked him to teach them how to pray. Think about this for a moment. They obviously knew how to pray. They were inspired by how Jesus prayed. They wanted to learn how to pray like him.

He opened it up with the Our Father. (Hopefully, Father tackled it during his homily.) Then, he told a story.

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Martha Syndrome

07-21-2019(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

There is a common, but fatal disease in the Catholic community. The truth is, it is most common with those most active in the life of the parish. Parish staff, parish ministry heads, and even some clergy fall victim. It’s name? Martha Syndrome.

It is thusly named (by myself, as of today) after Luke 10:38-42.

Martha is so wrapped up in serving, that she has no time to stop and spend time with the Lord. She even resents her sister for pressing the pause button on service to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to His Words.

Many of us in Church leadership get so busy talking about Jesus, that we never slow down long enough to talk with Him. When this happens, we cease having the ability to speak to others about our friend and savior Jesus Christ, and sound much more like biographers.

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Living in Gratitude

07-14-2019(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

We often fall victim to thinking following Jesus is complicated. After all, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is a pretty thick book! Yet, I would submit that every word in that document is directed at helping us live out this Sunday's Gospel.

"You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself… do this and you will live."

The directive is so simple, yet I have so far to go.

I've recently entered another season where the Lord is seeing fit to humble me. Right after we bought our townhome, our second car's repairs became more than it was worth. We are now a one car family. On top of that, I was recently carrying (what I thought was) a light box. It was too much for my back and the spinal stenosis pain came back full-force.

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Jesus Asks for Our Effort

07-07-2019(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

This Sunday’s Gospel is one of many instances where Jesus encourages his followers to go into the world and preach his message without worrying about the results.

“Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves… Into whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this household.' If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you... Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God is at hand for you.' Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, 'The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.'

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