February 28

02-28-2021(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

My friends,
This weekend’s readings are so full of astonishing comfort... I hope you didn’t miss it.

First, let’s tackle the First Reading. It is the story of Abraham and Isaac. It is the story of a loving father. It is a story of his only beloved son. A story of the father willing to sacrifice that son. A story of the son willingly carrying the very wood that would lead to his execution up a hill. The son laying upon that wood for the sacrifice. It taking place—quite possibly—in the same precise spot where all these things would take place again 2000 years later.

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February 21

02-18-2021(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

If you haven’t heard, every Wednesday of Lent, I’ll release a short video on our website and Parish Facebook Page. This past Wednesday (Ash Wednesday) was just the primer for the weeks to come. And this coming Wednesday’s video will be about some things we might want to remove from our lives. But we don’t just want to create a vacuum. We need to fill our lives with good things...holy things. I know of just the opportunity for some of you.

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February 14

02-14-2021(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

Today is Valentine’s Day. (If you need to set this down and run to the local grocery store’s floral department— no worries—I’ll wait right here......you back? Okay.) It’s all about love. And some commercialism. But mostly LOVE.

It is the perfect word to describe our God. Everything God creates and everything God does and even everything God allows emanates from love. It can be so hard to believe or understand in various seasons of life, but that doesn’t diminish from its truth.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus encounters a leper. Take note of the wording here: a leper. Not a man suffering from a disease. The disease has become the identity.

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February 7

02-07-2021(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

Would you like an uplifting quote from the Bible to get you through these tough times? Well join me, won’t you? Let’s go to today’s First Reading!

“If in bed I say, ‘When shall I arise?’ then the night drags on; I am filled with restlessness until the dawn. My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle; they come to an end without hope. Remember that my life is like the wind; I shall not see happiness again.” (from Job 7)

Yeah. Well. Hang on. First things first.

Don’t most of us feel this way sometimes? Some of us more often than others?

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January 31

01-31-2021(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

I’m writing to you on Monday afternoon and mere feet from my desk, snow is collecting on cacti. Just when you thought the year couldn’t get any more bizarre.

I know we were hit with that freak snowstorm not that long ago, but really? This never ceases to amaze me.

I’m not even going to attempt to recount everything our community has been through in the past twelve months, but what a twelve months it has been! (For perspective, it feels like Fr. Michael Gaitley visited our parish about four years ago. It was less than a year ago.) April 30th was my tenth wedding anniversary and I was going to shock Maryrose. I’d bought cheap tickets to fly into and out of San Diego that day—complete with dinner overlooking the ocean. That didn’t happen. And it looks like our 11th won’t have many more options at the rate we are going.

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January 24

01-24-2021(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

Catholics occasionally get grief for praying prayers that aren’t spontaneous. There is the Our Father—a prayer that Jesus said was the best way to pray. There is the Hail Mary that is taken from Scripture. Finally, the St. Michael Prayer, which is a direct stance against the instigator of the worst insurrection in eternity. (You know—the one in Heaven.)

A prayer written 800 years ago has recently risen to the top of my thoughts. It was written while the Catholic Church was in a season of struggle and suffering. It was written by a man born under the name Giovanni who was doing his best to live Catholicism as it was meant to be lived despite the climate of the day. It was written by St. Francis of Assisi.

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January 17

01-17-2021(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

I’d like to try a little experiment this week. I want to run a test and see how many of the people reading this little column I’d be willing to have a cup of coffee or a pastry with. Please answer the following ten questions:

  1. What religion are you?
  2. What political party are you registered under?
  3. Should mask-wearing be universally mandated or is it bowing down before an anti-religious cabal?
  4. Do you drive at or below the speed limit in the left hand lane?
  5. Are you an Apple or a PC household?
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January 10

01-10-2021(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

In this week’s Gospel, we once again read about the Baptism of Jesus.

“It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John.”

Here is what Benedict XVI has to say about it in Jesus of Nazareth:

“Looking at the events in the light of the Cross and Resurrection, the Christian people realized what happened: Jesus loaded the burden of all mankind’s guilt upon his shoulders; he bore it down into the depths of the Jordan. He inaugurated his public activity by stepping into the place of sinners. His inaugural gesture is an anticipation of the Cross… The Baptism is an acceptance of death for the sins of humanity, and the voice that calls out “This is my beloved Son” over the baptismal water is an anticipatory reference to the Resurrection. This explains why, in his own discourses, Jesus uses the word baptism to refer to his death.”

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January 3

01-03-2021(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

As someone who writes novels in my free time, I pay particular to attention to the smallest nuances in songs, novels, shows, and movies. It happened again when I read this weekend’s readings.

Buried in the inspired words of the second readings, are the four words: “stewardship of God’s grace.”

What a beautiful phase!

Stewardship refers to the roll of taking care of something.

God refers to the creator and father of the universe and everything in it.

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December 27

12-27-2020(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

December 27th is the Feast of the Holy Family and it has me reflecting on our parish.

Why? Well, the parish is—in many ways—the local family of the worldwide Church.

Our Lady of Joy has exemplified that reality this year. Maybe you haven’t witnessed it, so let me share a bit of it with you.

I’ve been told of parishioners who prayed for all the staff members who were knocked down with sickness over the summer.

In turn, the staff went above and beyond to try and call every single parishioner—to make sure they were alright. (A special shout out to Sr. Margery!)

I’ve gotten notes of support, while the parish continued to receive truly sacrificial donations so that our staff could continue to serve this amazing community.

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December 20

12-20-2020(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

In this week’s Gospel, the angel Gabriel unveils God’s plan to Mary (answering that old Christmas hymn “Mary Did You Know?” once and for all.

She knew this plan would be full of scandal, heartbreak, and pain. But she didn’t let it make her angry, bitter, or fearful. She was grateful to do what God desired of her.

“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”

This coming Christmas, I beg you to live in gratitude for whatever God’s plan is in your life.

To help, here is a gratitude examination of conscience:

Are you still healthy enough to take care of yourself?

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December 13

12-13-2020(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

Saturday, December 12th, is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It commemorates a poor villager by the name of Cuauhtlatohauc. He was baptized and given the name Juan Diego. On December 9, 1531, he was headed to Mass to honor the Blessed Mother. Well, she decided to visit him first. Much of what happened next seems fantastical to our skeptical minds.

In fact, Mary has appeared several times throughout the world. But a word of caution: please be careful to understand which apparitions have been approved by the Church. This doesn’t mean you can’t potentially take good and faith-building messages from other apparitions that haven’t been condemned. It just means you need to discern critically when hearing any of their “messages.” Put simply: proceed with caution.

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December 6

12-06-2020(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

We find ourselves already in the second week of Advent and we are in the midst of an epidemic.

I can hear you saying, “No David! Covid 19 has been declared a pandemic!” I’m not talking about Covid 19. That has gotten plenty of press.

I’m talking about anger. And I’m not talking about righteous anger. I’m talking about the attitudes that seem to be most prevalent in our current culture.

“I can’t believe that everyone doesn’t see the world as I do!”

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