At first listen, one might be tempted to hear this weekend’s Gospel (Mt. 22:34-40) and conclude that Jesus tossed out the ten commandments and replaced them with love (love of God and love of neighbor).
“I told you man! Jesus wiped out all the old restrictions and now we can do whatever we want as long as we say we are his!”
Not so fast, hippie.READ MORE
In this week’s Gospel, the Lord reminds us there is one God.
Why would he need to do this? Well, there were “gods” all over the place. In fact, the coin Jesus is shown claimed the emperor was the son of god.
Emperors and kings were regularly considered divine. This was often a result of their success in military conflicts, territorial expansion, or it was the result of self-declaration (often accompanied by fear of death if contradicted).
But the Lord IS God, not A god among many.READ MORE
This weekend’s Gospel is the second consecutive Gospel where Jesus breaks out of the box many Catholics (as well as other Christian denominations) put him in.
They tend to believe God only got upset in the Old Testament. He was (insert thunder sound effect) the God of Judgement!
Then, Jesus came along and told his Dad to “chill out.” It’s all about love. (Sure. He flipped some tables, but he was probably having a rough day.)
So. Many. Problems. With. This.READ MORE
In chapter 4 of Philippians, we find one of the most beautiful and reassuring excerpts found anywhere in the Bible. I’d like to highlight it here so you don’t miss it as it is this weekend’s second reading.
“Brothers and sisters: have no anxiety at all.”
Ha! Those words obviously weren’t writen in 2023! No anxiety? How is that even possible?!
“...by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.”READ MORE
In Matthew 21, Jesus gives the example of two sons. The first refuses to serve his father, but ends up changing his mind and doing what his father asked. The second quickly agrees to his father’s request, but then does nothing. The Gospel goes on to make clear that the first was the one to do his father’s will.
What does this mean?
Like any intelligent being, God cares more about what you do than what you say.
Who would you rather have as an employee? The one who says, “You got it, boss!” then, does nothing. Or the one who seems hesitant, but comes around and gets the job done?READ MORE
Are you a person who wants God to be merciful toward sinners, or enforce justice on those who oppose him?
I’m going to hazard a guess that for most of us, the most honest answer is… it depends.
If we are talking about your brother who hasn’t attended Mass in 47 years or your best friend who now claims to be agnostic, you are putting all your chips on “merciful.”
But if we are talking about that ex who deserves what is coming to her, or the young man who hurt your daughter, mercy isn’t even a consideration.READ MORE
Let me tell you a fictional tale…
It’s Friday night and a married couple are settling in on the couch to watch a movie. She popped popcorn for herself. He grabbed a package of Oreo cookies (his favorite).
Just then, their oldest daughter get home from band practice and sees the Oreos (her favorite, too). “Dad?” She gives him her best puppy eyes, “Ya wanna share those Oreos with me?”READ MORE
According to my desk calendar, September 10th is Grandparents Day—so to all you grandparents, enjoy your day!
I was recently watching a miniseries on “Blue Zones” (populations with the highest concentrations of people living longer lives) when I heard a pretty brutal fable told in Okinawa (one of the zones). In this fable, when elderly became too much of a burden, their sons would lead them to the top of a high cliff and push them off. One son would not do it after leading him to the precipice, and hid his father instead. Over the following years, the man grew wealthy and successful. No one knew it was a result of the wisdom and counsel he was receiving from his (still very much alive) father!READ MORE
How important is your relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? How vital do you consider your interaction with His Church? Do you prioritize God above everything else, holding nothing back?
This Sunday’s readings reveal how strongly we should be answering these questions.
The first reading tells of a prophet’s struggle. How he places God above all other things and cannot keep his mouth shut when it comes to his faith.READ MORE
We should start with a simple question: how do you determine whether or not a particular medicine is effective?
If you have the occasional headache and taking half an aspirin once a month doesn’t seem to help, is it the aspirin’s fault?
Or you decide to down the whole bottle with a pint of Jack Daniels and you end up in the hospital, are you there because the aspirin doesn’t work?
Of course not.READ MORE
Only long-time readers of this column know that I have commuted 67 miles (round trip) to work at Our Lady of Joy for the last 7+ years. In fact, the day I drove north for my job interview, I almost turned around somewhere near Pinnacle Peak Road. (I only kept driving because I am morally opposed to no-showing an interview.)
I arrived to find a beautiful setting, a holy pastor, and a committed staff. These factors—along with fulfilling work and some of the most amazing parishioners in the world—have kept me here ever since.READ MORE
This week, our Gospel speaks of Jesus walking on water. It is another example of Jesus proclaiming his divinity.
Some might say, he was merely walking along the shore or on a sandbank. Those people are either ignorant of scripture or geography. Scripture tells us they were 3 or 4 miles from shore. In this part of that sea… that’s the middle. And at its center, the Sea of Galilee is over 140 feet deep.
Jesus said, “I AM,” while walking on water. He wasn’t saying, “I AM a good guy.”READ MORE
This weekend, the Catholic Church focuses on the Transfiguration of the Lord. Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up a mountain and something pretty cool happens.
“He was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him.”READ MORE