serve“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke 15 1-7

Sometimes, perhaps a lot of times, we are that one lost sheep. God leaves everything behind to look for us because He is in need of our love. He doesn’t ask for explanations but holds us in his arms and forgives us. Love is the language of his Sacred Heart. Continue reading

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Humungous Mother of all

humungousPope Francis got lots of media attention (a common event) this week when he expressed shame at the American reference to dropping the “mother of all bombs” on some nasty people in Afghanistan.

The bomb’s official name is GBU-43 Massive Ordinance Air Blast (MOAB). I suppose MOAB could be an acronym for “mother of all bombs.”

In any event, I agree with the Pope that the mixing of bombs and motherhood I a bit distressing.  Motherhood ought to involve cuddly babies, pot roast in the oven and mini-vans going to soccer matches.  No bombs allowed. Continue reading

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Gift #4: Eric

ericEric works at the Dodge dealership, and I met him when one of our mini-vans had a part recall back in January. He works at the counter, so deals with customers coming in and out. He seemed to be in his early-mid twenties.

The parts ended up taking longer than normal to replace; he was helpful in the communication back and forth, very apologetic that they had underestimated the time it would take.

When finally it was ready for pick up, and he took me back behind to the other counter, and getting the maintenance logs back from the office, quizzically asked if “Pastoral Support Services” was some type of church.

Well…not exactly… Continue reading

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The Imprint of the Past

pastEach person is a book of life. We carry so much more within us than we wear on the surface. There is a history behind each person, a past so personal, because each person is unique and unrepeatable. While at the seminary in Connecticut, I used to enjoy our occasional trips into Manhattan to visit museums like the Metropolitan Art Museum, the Frick Collection and the MoMa. As we drove through the bustling, dirty streets, I would fix my gaze on random passersby. I’d look at their face and wonder what this person bears inside. The rich, the poor, everyone from everywhere. Sadly, the great majority of their gazes looked rather aimless and empty. What history was behind this person, this world unknown and unknowable to me, yet a world that was everything to him? What hopes and wounds does he bear inside? I will never know. Continue reading

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How did we get Here?

childrenMy dear friend,

Remember the evenings we spent together in a small room in a parish hall?  Our kids were playing in a room next door and we gathered together every Thursday night, a bunch of moms trying to sort out how to raise these little ones.   We would read the gospel and then learn about parenting through the teachings of the Church in our FAMILIA program.  We were all full of questions we didn’t have the answers to and a real openness to learn together. You were 41 and had your first child, a beautiful 10 month old baby in your arms. Continue reading

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Christ the Gate

christToday the gospel tells us that Christ is the gate and the shepherd. We are the flock. We need our shepherd to guide us to heaven. We need to stay close to Him and also stay as a group to protect one another. The sheep is defenseless if it strays. We are part of the flock not for ourselves, but so that we can defend the other sheep. As a community we must pass through Christ, which we do when we celebrate the sacraments. We are brought through Christ from one life to another, a life of sin to a life of grace. Let us live each week this transformation that will transform more and more into more perfect images of Himself.

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Why can’t women lead the Catholic Church as priests

womenWhen our ancestors first inhabited the earth, the definitions of feminism and Marxism were unknown. As centuries passed, we can tell by the history of human evolution that this changed. Women were considered imperfect and weak creatures for a long time, underestimating what women are capable of. Even when Christ came to the world 2000 years ago, the discrimination that women suffered was extremely concerning. Women were often treated as property; they were viewed as inferior to men. As He became public and shared His Word, He introduced a revolutionary thought about women. He upheld women’s rights. He proclaimed the equality between men and women before God’s eyes. He gave the woman her dignity back.

To this day, women still have to fight discrimination, but the Catholic Church makes something clear: God loves men and women equally, and they both have an important role in this world. As we read in 1 Cor 11:10-11: “Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 That is why a woman ought to have a veil on her head, because of the angels, as a signal of authority. 11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman”. Continue reading

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The grass

grass“There are no galley-slaves in the royal vessel of divine love–every man works his oar voluntarily! ”  St. Francis de Sales

    One of the disadvantages of being the youngest is getting the household chores when your older siblings go off to college.  I was given the task of cutting the grass in 7th grade and continued straight through High School.  In the beginning, I tried to avoid this chore and kept myself intentionally “busy” caddying, golfing or playing with my friends to postpone this task as long as possible.  Then my mom pulled me aside and said, “Michael, you know how important it is to your dad to have the grass cut every week, and you know when it needs to be cut.  Is it too much to ask that you do this on your own, without being constantly told?  It would make your dad very happy!”  I soon began to “oar voluntarily”, and even offered it up for souls, and it really wasn’t so bad!

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Live the Present to the Full

preesentSt Irenaeus is famously attributed with the phrase “The glory of God is man fully alive.” God wants us to live the present to the full. There’s the danger of getting stuck in the past or worrying about the future to the point that we lose the present. However, it would be wrong to say that we should forget about the past and the future and only live each second. If you lose the value of the past and future, you lose the value of the present. For then what would the present be, but yesterday’s future and tomorrow’s past.

Time isn’t outside of us. There’s a difference between the present second and the present moment. The second is determined, but we determine the moment. Time isn’t like a river that we travel over but a river that, if you will, flows through us. The past and future affect us much more deeply than a series of “befores” and “afters” of no consequence. That’s how time is for the kitchen sink or the parakeet in the living room aviary, but not for us —granted an animal is in a way conscious of time but not nearly as we are.  Continue reading

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patron saint origins


Saint Jose’s New Altar

Ever wonder how a saint becomes the “patron saint” of something?

What did Anthony find to become patron saint of lost things? Or Jude, the patron saint of lost causes – what did he lose to claim his title? And Christopher, what feat did he perform to become patron of travelers and athletes?

I’m not sure about all those saints – though I have my ideas – but I do know about one. In my opinion, he’s the patron saint of opening churches. His name is Saint José Sánchez del Río.

You see, I’m chaplain at a catholic school here in Continue reading

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