Tuesday, August 14, 2018

                                                             Soul Food

This not a blog about African-American cuisine.  It’s a blog about food for our souls. Ron Rolheiser calls our souls the ‘fire inside us that give us life and energy, and the glue that holds us together’.  And he says that, just like our bodies need to be nourished, so do our souls. 

What has been food for your soul in the last couple of days?

Yesterday I found a prayer that I’d lost years ago.  It's food for my soul and maybe it'll be that for you too. “O Lord, support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world lies hushed, and the fever of life is over and our work is done.  Then in your mercy grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at last.”

Today food for my soul is the story of St. Maximilian Kolbe.  Aug. 14 is his feast day.  He was a prisoner in Auschwitz. In retaliation for an escaped prisoner, the commandant chose 10 men to be killed.  One of them wept because he wouldn’t see his children again. Maximilian took his place. And that fellow was present at St. Maximilian’s canonization.

What has been food for your soul in the last couple of days?    

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

                                                             Beetle Poop!

God gave manna to the Jews on their journey to the Promised Land. It came from the excretion of desert beetles which formed cocoons. The morning dew weighed them down and they fell off the bushes to which they were attached. They gathered the cocoons and pounded them into a flour that made very nutritious bread.  Not bad for beetle poop!

Last weekend I mentioned beetle poop in my homily. Afterwards a couple friends told me about a conversation they had about that.  And they were drawn to the idea that sometimes God also works thru the crap in our lives. 
I like that idea.  And I know the truth of it from my own experiences.  Can you think of any examples of that in your life? 

For many years I struggled with the issue of not loving myself.  But little by little that’s changing with God’s help. The result is that I’m gaining a healthier picture of who I am. And an even better result is that now I can even help others deal with similar issues. 

If you can see how God has helped you deal with something crappy in your life, make it a point to tell someone about it.  Maybe God (and you) can help them too. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

                                             Come…and Rest a While (Mk 6:31a)

This is a blog about taking naps. God did it on the 7th day of creation.  Jesus did it quite frequently when He went away by Himself for to pray and rest.  Pope Francis does it almost every afternoon when he goes to his chapel after lunch and spends 10-15 minutes praying and then another 10-15 minutes taking a little nap.   And he says St. Therese did it too. 

I do it almost every Saturday morning when the pressure is on to pull together the threads of a weekend homily.  By that point I have too many ideas. And I’m at wit’s end to edit, discard, add, coordinate or start over.  So I settle into my recliner and I bring the mess of ideas forward and take a little nap. About  10 minutes. 

Almost always when I wake up, things have gelled.  It may not result in a good homily, but I’ve narrowed the options and have a clearer focus. It settles me. I call it a ‘holy nap’.

So, with my expertise in ‘napping’, I’ve written up a document called: “Directions for Taking a Holy Nap”.  That document is also attached to today’s new post message.  If you try taking a ‘Holy Nap’, let me know. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018


A backpack filled with a bunch of books.  Another backpack filled with clothes.  A plastic bag with toiletries and an extra pair of shoes. My computer.  A small plastic bag with snacks for the journey.  This is a list of baggage I stuffed into my car for a recent trip to Ann Arbor Michigan where I met my sister for a 3 day vacation.

‘Embarrassed’ is the best word to describe my reaction to a sentence in last Sunday’s Gospel. (Mk 6:7-13)  “Jesus summoned the twelve and sent them out two by two”…”He instructed them to take nothing on their journey except a walking stick – no food” (I think that means no snacks) “no traveling bag” (I think that means no backpacks or computer case)…”Do not bring a second tunic.” I think that means that 4 shirts were too many!!!

Why did I take so much luggage?  Do you take too much baggage too? Why?

And then, of course, there’s more to the story about my baggage.  My baggage also includes my dispositions, my moods, my prejudices, my anxieties, my insecurities, etc.

If I traveled this week I’d take less stuff and less personal baggage too.  Make a list of ‘stuff’ and ‘personal baggage’ that you’d leave behind on your next journey.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

                                      He Could Work No Mighty Deed There…

Last weekend’s Gospel (Mk 6:1-6) told the story of Jesus’ first visit to Nazareth after His ministry began so successfully in Capernaum. It was in Capernaum that Jesus cast out demons and healed many sick people. And the people of that town recognized Jesus as someone who taught with authority.

But His hometown folks treated Him badly.  They insulted Him.  They misjudged Him.  They didn’t give Him a chance to be the person that the Father called “His Beloved Son” at His Baptism.  They jumped to rash unflattering conclusions.  In the face of all that, “He could work no mighty deed there.” What a sad story!

It was a rejection of Jesus by a community.  It wasn’t some personal misunderstanding.  It was a judgment by the people He had grown up with…people whom He loved. That hurt.

One insult was particularly ugly.  It was the remark that He was ‘the son of Mary’. Mary Healy in her book The Gospel of Mark suggests that those words might be “a veiled slur, alluding to the fact that Mary was not yet married at the time of Jesus’ conception.” How do you think Jesus would have felt about that?    

The antidote to misjudging people is to try to see people the way that God sees them.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

                                                      Healing Souls    

Last Sunday’s Gospel contained a story about a woman who had hemorrhages for 12 years. She’d heard of Jesus and trusted that she’d be healed if she just touched His garment. And, when she did that, she was physically healed. (Mk 5:25-34)

But think about her soul over those 12 years.  Depression, dashed hopes from doctors who made matters worse, living outside the community because she was considered ‘unclean’…like a leper.  Her spirit was numbed.  Her soul needed healing too.

When Jesus asked the crowd who touched Him, she was afraid to come forward.  But, falling down before Him ‘with fear and trembling’, Jesus comforted her by calling her ‘Daughter’. Because of her faith, Jesus saw her as part of his family. And that tender response healed her soul.    

What is your soul? How would you define it?

How can we help heal someone’s soul? 

When has your soul needed healing? Who/what helped heal your soul?

Monday, June 25, 2018

                                             What Can We Do about the Migrant Issue?

Fr. James Martin recently wrote an article for America online services in which he outlined five things we can do to support our Catholic position on current migrant issues at our borders. Here is a summary of the article.
      Call your legislators.  This is something I’ve never done…until now.  Here are their numbers.  Congressman Paul Ryan represents Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District in which most readers of this blog reside.  His number is 202-225-3031.  Senator Ron Johnson can be reached at 202-224-5323 and Senator Tammy Baldwin at 202-224-5653. Messages for President Trump can be left at the switchboard at 202-456-1414.
      Inform yourself of the facts.  Go online to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of Migration and Refugee Services for information.

3.      Help organizations, financially, which are assisting migrants now.  Catholic Charities/USA is very reputable.

4.      Advocate for migrants with your friends and family.  Fr. Martin says: “The voiceless need our voices.”

5.       Pray for migrants especially the children and parents who have been separated.