Dear Family of God,
Who is a Christian?
Christians are followers of Christ, they are called to live their lives in a different way from others around them. Christian discipleship demands honesty, the willingness to suffer (“take up your cross”), generosity (“to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to God”), and readiness to follow Jesus by obeying his commandment of love. To follow our Lord is to imitate his life in the way He fulfills the Father’s plan, that is, through suffering. His example is left for us to follow, not just listening to it or admiring his great deeds, no, he wants us to do the same.READ MORE
This weekend, we hear a lot about carrying our cross. How often do we reduce this phrase to its lowest possible meaning?
“I can’t go out in the sun without burning. It’s just my cross.”
“I’m lactose intolerant. Is my cross to bear.”
“I hate masks, but if Father Jess wants me to, I’ll carry my cross.”
Listen. When Jesus said this, the disciples weren’t thinking about bad skin, bad gas, or bad breath. They were thinking about one of the most gruesome forms of capital punishment used at the time and they had to truly love Jesus on an astonishing level to be willing to “carry their cross.” And so do we.READ MORE
Dear Family of God,
How do we know the truth? It is either by Human Reason or Divine Revelation (Faith) or both, by reason and faith.
How are we certain it is the truth? When it corresponds to reality. We are not acting in truth if we use a knife as screw driver. Both the knife and the screw will be ruined.
Jesus asked: “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” This experience of trying to identify Jesus by human reason alone can be wrong. These people are living with Jesus, but they missed knowing who He is. This teaching is clearly telling us that we need a guide to know who really Jesus is.READ MORE
When I was about 20 years old, I had one of the sweetest gigs on the planet. I house sat for several families. When they would leave Arizona for any reason, they’d hand me the keys and I’d essentially move in until they returned. Other times, they’d just ask me to stop in regularly, check the mail, and make sure there weren’t issues. Either way, I loved it without fail (except that time I had to hand-feed a Pit his meds...NEVER again…).
But the first time an owner handed me their house keys, I was overwhelmed with the responsibility and blown away by their trust.
In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus gives Peter the keys to the kingdom. This doesn’t mean heaven is a gated community and Peter is the eternal security guard. (See how I’m relating to the local area!?)READ MORE
I’ve lived and/or worked in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, the Diocese of Tucson, the Diocese of Stockton, the Diocese of Orange (CA), and the Diocese of Phoenix. And in that time, I’ve worked with Bishops who I loved and Bishops who I...worked with.
I’ve worked for a total of seven parishes (six on a fulltime basis). In that time, I’ve worked with many priests. Some of them have been the most humble and holy men I’ve ever known behind the scenes. (I won’t give it away, but you are blessed to be at this parish.) Some of them...had struggles.
I’ve met thousands of Catholic families. In that time, some of them were kind, generous, and faithful. Others—to be blunt—were cruel, judgmental, and selfish.READ MORE
Dear Family of God,
I often remember a poem that I would like to share with you. It was written by Elizabeth Cheney and is called, “The Robin and the Sparrow."
Said the robin to the sparrow, “I should really like to know, Why these anxious human beings rush about and worry so.” Said the sparrow to the robin, “Friend I think that it must be, That they have no Heavenly Father, Such as cares for you and me.”
In this time of many storms or crisis, we need to pause and remember that that we have a loving Father who wants what is best for us.
We need to renew our trust in Him alone for we know that this world is passing away, one thing necessary is our meaningful relationship with Jesus, who will give us peace, and will lead us to eternal salvation.READ MORE
In this week’s Gospel, Jesus shows up walking on water. This happens in the middle of the Sea of Galilee, miles from shore, where the depth is about 43 meters. (So he isn’t walking on a sand bar or a big rock.) They freak out and think they are seeing a spirit.
When you look at the Greek, Jesus says, “Take heart, I am.” This is Jesus identifying himself, but also assuming the divine name of the Creator in the Old Testament and applying it to himself.
How do we know that this is an incident where Jesus reveals himself as God (and the fancy term for this is “theophany”)?READ MORE
One of the things we have had to deal with during this pandemic and the civil unrest in our country is the need to discern what is true and what is false in the conversations that have been going on. We are being bombarded with very strong public opinions about these crises.
We know through common sense that not all public opinion is good and not all is bad either. But we must be aware that most of the times, the motive behind most public opinion is convenience. Because of our flawed human condition, our natural typical response to crisis and the search for truth is to go for the most convenient and most acceptable choice(s). But often times choices made out of convenience and general acceptability do not always solve the problem.READ MORE
“When peace like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say It is well, with my soul.”
These lyrics are from the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul” and were penned by Horatio Spafford.
He was a family man, a successful lawyer, and a senior partner in a large Chicago firm. In 1871, he invested the majority of his money in real estate.
Shortly thereafter, his young son died of scarlet fever.
In October of that year, the Great Fire of Chicago destroyed almost all of his investment.READ MORE
Dear Family of God,
In the bible, we hear about a man took a little food and multiplied it in order to feed many.
This happened in 2 Kings 4 and his name was Elisha. That’s right. Elisha.
He was known as one of the chief miracle workers of the Old Testament. He was rightfully held in tremendous esteem by all Jewish people.
He took twenty loaves and through the power of God, he feeds 100 people. Talk about miraculous!
Then, Jesus comes along and in the only miracle that is recorded in all four Gospels (including the Gospel to be read this Sunday), he takes a fourth as many loaves and feeds fifty times more men. (Additionally, he feeds all the women and children present, so the total number could’ve easily doubled that.) And he doesn’t do it through someone else’s power. He IS God. It is HIS power.READ MORE