Let’s get of the beaten path this week and take a stroll through the Psalm that was sung between the first and second readings.
“Lord, I love your commands,” is the line you’ll hear repeated. And it’s a pretty powerful on when you spend more than ten seconds pondering it.
Put yourself in the military (or for some of you—back in the military—thank you for your service). “I love your commands!” If you said this and meant it in the heat of battle, it would be a big step beyond merely following your training and obeying the chain of command. You would have to have found your commanding officer to be full of wisdom.READ MORE
This week, our Gospel contains quite a few more parables. We get Jesus’ comparing the kingdom of God to a tny mustard seed that turns into a big “tree” - which, truth be told - looks like an unruly shrub that grows to ten feet before spreading horizontally.
Have you ever asked yourself why? Dr. Brant Pitre proposes it might be because it only takes a little faith to be welcomed into one’s heart and nurtured for it to take root. Then, in often messy ways, it grows and spreads all over the place.
And I propose one of the key words there is “messy.”READ MORE
You’ve heard this Sunday’s Gospel before, but have you paid attention?
In the parable, we meet the worst gardener in the whole wide world. He’s throwing seeds on the path. He’s tossing seeds into the rocks. He’s sprinkling seeds into the thornbushes. And it is almost as if he gets lucky and hits a patch of fertile super-soil.
Then, he says the most curious thing of all: “Whoever has ears ought to hear.”READ MORE
I’ve been feeling a bit tired lately.
No. That isn’t entrely true. I’ve been what my rural family used to call “bone tired.”
I think it’s a combinaton of a few factors. I haven’t had a true vacation in eighteen months or so because all my vacation days were used up by back surgeries and subsequent recoveries. Layer over the top of it that my body is still dealing with the after-effects of the past year (including the rehab process.) Finally, add to all that my eagerness to make up for lost time contributing to family chores and projects.READ MORE
Wake up. Get ready for work. Go to work (and if you are retired, you’ve replaced work with hobbies and commitments). Go home. Eat dinner. Get ready for bed. Sleep. Do it again four more times. Do chores and go to Mass on the weekend. Repeat 52 times a year.
In this world full of repetition, it is easy to feel as though we were made for more. And guess what? This weekend’s Gospel reading reminds us that we were!
Jesus is speaking to his closest followers—which is what we are called to be. He begins with priorities. He must come first. And this sounds like common sense until we remember this includes our families.READ MORE
We live in a hurting world.
It is populated with the sick who are contending with chronic pain or illness. It is full of young people who resemble the walking dead as they crank their necks to stare at their phones and block the voices of family with earbuds so they can listen to the voices of strangers. It is inhabited by modern lepers who feel alone and isolated, believing the lie that no one cares about them. And there are those who fight demons of addiction and mental illness.READ MORE
Our Catholic Church teaches that one of the greatest acts of love for another is sharing one’s body in complete vulnerability. “I love you. I trust you. I am yours completely.” Yet, in order to receive this act of love as intended, it cannot be separated from the commitment that is found in a sacrament—in this case, the sacrament of matrimony.
This act of freely entering into this holy sacrament strengthens both individuals and empowers them to serve the Lord throughout their time on Earth not only as individuals, but as a team bonded in Christ.READ MORE
The world has lost its mind.
I know it might seem that I’m a bit late to the party when I write that, but a few articles I just came across really drove this point home for me.
In the first article, I read where Target is trying to walk the tightrope between appealing to our “anything goes” world, while also attempting to appease those of us still holding onto sanity with the tiniest of gestures. They are pulling a few items from their LGBTQ+ collection, while moving other items a bit further back into certain stores.READ MORE
I just walked into the office.
Let me write those words again.
I just WALKED into the office.
Over the past year, I’ve received four lumbar shots, had three MRIs, two x-rays, a myelogram, my bloodwork done several times, three hospital stays, a discectomy, and an anterior lumbar interbody fusion. I’ve used a cane. Then, a walker. Finally, a wheelchair.READ MORE
My poor little sniffly kindergartner cannot seem to stay healthy. As a result, my wife and I have been emphasizing a few keys she can focus on to bolster her immune system.
The First Key: Reduce Sugar. You have enough energy already. Sugar has virtually no nutritional value and only leaves you wanting more. The Second Key: More Veggies and Fruits. This is the stuff that “sticks to your bones.” It makes you big and strong. The Third Key: Stop Sharing Your Water Bottle. You are inviting germs into your body. The Fourth Key: Stop Wiggling Your Baby Teeth. Keep your hands out of your mouth. Be patient. The Fifth Key: Get Your Sleep. You’ll die without it.READ MORE
It can be difficult to stay “locked in” all the way through Mass. We know it isn’t easy to pay full attention to anything these days. I sometimes wonder if that is the real reason movie theaters aren’t as popular as they once were. It might not be because Netflix and other streaming services are releasing so many new films or the increasing size of crystal-clear televisions. It might just be that people want to scroll on their phones while watching a movie.
Full attention to anything seems to be at an all-time low and it is easy to miss something important. That said, I hope you didn’t miss a crucial ingredient in this Sunday’s first reading.READ MORE
When Jesus prepares his disciples for his imminent departure, he begins with the words, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
Easy for him to say, right? He is God. Meanwhile, we are stuck here on Planet Earth dealing with the fallout of free will.
And the free will God has given us applies to everyone. It’s given to folks who use it to follow Jesus’ example with astonishing consistency. It’s also given to folks who moderately try to be Christians, but never venture too far beyond their own comfort. And unfortunately, it’s given to those who repay the gift with cruelty and sin.READ MORE