The first words of this weekend’s First Weekend are worth reflecting on: “Many signs and wonders were done among the people at the hands of the apostles.”
You see, they had received the Holy Spirit and were emboldened. They were inspired. They were strengthened.
These first followers answered the call of the Holy Spirit. And as they received the Spirit, it compelled them to pass it on. Those who truly receive the Spirit are unable to contain it. It must spill forth, overflow, and spread.READ MORE
If you believe the sins of your past and/or present are too great for your future to be blessed by God...
If you believe your anger or hurt has made it so that you will never be able to trust the Lord again...
If you believe God is either cruel or uninterested...
If you want to change, but you just don’t know how to take that first step...READ MORE
Palm Sunday is here—and with it, the holiest week of the year. It is time. Everything Jesus said and did was building up to this. His passion, death, and resurrection.
But there was one final thing he did before it began. He prayed. In fact, “he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood.”
A condition called hematidrosis is a very rare medical condition that causes a person to sweat blood from the skin. Medical professionals have hypothesized it results from extreme “fight or flight” responses. And wouldn’t this make sense given what Jesus knew was waiting for him over the next several hours?READ MORE
First—a quick reminder about the parish mission on Monday and Tuesday at 6:30pm. Please don’t miss out. And if we’ve never met, please find me and introduce yourself. It would be my honor to meet you.
This Sunday’s gospel is about the adulterous woman. And I often wonder about the men in the crowd who had been clamoring for her death. How many of them had committed adultery?
In my experience, I’ve found that people who have struggled with a particular sin fall into one of two categories: they are either the most compassionate... or the first to condemn.READ MORE
Recently, I gave an in-depth tour of our church to members of RCIA and their families. They learned why the baptismal font is in the back of the church, the significance of the placement of our saint statues, that Catholic Churches are baptized, the definition of terms like narthex, nave, and sacrarium, and so much more. (I’d be happy to do the same for other parishioners if there is a demand.)
One of my favorite moments of the tour (spoiler alert!) is when I share a factoid from the “About Our Parish” section of our website: “Parishioners pooled resources to purchase 10 Acres of land toward building of a parish church and campus. Ironically, the land purchased to build our parish in Carefree had been used for some years as an official ‘dump.’”
You read that right. The most beautiful church campus I’ve ever seen... is built on an old dump.READ MORE
It’s funny. I have been a Director of Faith Formation for about six years, and a Coordinator of Youth and Young Adults for 18 years before that—and yet—I tend toward skepticism.
A few years ago, I was on the phone with a woman regarding an upcoming event we were planning for Our Lady of Joy. The signal was unclear and we found ourselves repeating the advertising catchphrase, “Can you hear me now?”
Suddenly, the lady said, “David? This retreat is too important for any miscommunication. Let’s pray.” She proceeded to pray for a clear signal so that we could complete our work for His glory. I’m ashamed to say I clearly recall being tempted to roll my eyes. Doesn’t God have bigger fish to fry than our little conversation?READ MORE
In today’s Gospel, Jesus takes his inner circle up a mountain to pray. Jesus and I have that in common—we LOVE heading up into mountains for prayer. In fact, I regularly remind God that if He sees fit to make it possible for me to have a small cabin one day, I’d be a VERY happy camper. Thus far, He sees fit to make me wait. Fair enough. Back to the mountain.
Jesus leads them in a prayer marathon of sorts. Everyone but Jesus gets pretty sleepy until the transfiguration occurs, Moses and Elijah appear, and the whole scene becomes pretty amazing.
Peter says, “Master, it is good we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”READ MORE
If you are reading this, I have two things I need to say.
1. Thank you for taking a moment to reflect with me on a weekly basis. It is truly humbling.
2. Happy Lent! It is upon us and this week’s Gospel is the perfect starting point for significant reflection if we examine the three ways the devil tempted Jesus.
First, he watched Jesus and knew he’d been fasting for 40 days, so he tempted him with food. Pleasure of the flesh.READ MORE
A few weeks ago, I was in a home improvement store (that rhymes with "Foam Sleep Show") looking for some outlet covers and I forgot that every solitary time I walk in this place, the staff seem to hide from me before eventually sending out the "new one" who doesn't know where anything is. I searched for another few minutes before leaving and heading to an Ace Hardware (I recieved no free lightbulbs for this plug) where the peope actully walk up to you and know where evrythign is.
I don’t think I’ll go back. I’m not a big fan of asking guidance from someone as clueless as myself.READ MORE
Before I dive into this weekend’s readings, I’d like to address something... I’ve had two different people tell me they cut excellence and spiritual growth. For more out this column and send them to family members who live elsewhere. This is very humbling for me—and completely unnecesssary for you.
If you believe this column would help someone else’s faith, 1) praise God! 2) encourage them to visit www.oloj.org and scroll down just a bit. My column is found toward the bottom of our website’s landing page. Hope this helps.READ MORE
This Sunday’s readings seem particularly challenging for people who live in Carefree, Cave Creek, or North Scottsdale.
"Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours."
“Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied.”
“Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.”READ MORE
It’s funny, I am often asked questions that end with. for children in grades K-8. We focus on academic “Besides prayer, what can I do? ”excellence and spiritual growth. For more information or to take a tour, please contact our There are times when it is about their concerns, like “I have a friend who has left the Faith. Besides prayer, what can I do?"
Other times, they are reaching out to me, as in “I hear your family has Covid. Besides prayer, what can I do?”
I understand this implies prayer is already part of their plan, but I think if we are honest with ourselves, many of us struggle with the feeling that in addition to prayer we actually need to DO SOMETHING... as if prayer isn’t actually doing something tangible.READ MORE