Saturday, October 5, 2019

                                                  “Lord, Increase Our Faith”

This weekend’s Gospel (Luke 17:5-10) begins with the Apostles telling Jesus to increase their faith.  Their request for more faith only makes sense when we look at its context.

Just before the Apostles ask Jesus to increase their faith, Jesus says: “Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him. And if he repents, forgive him.  And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and he says he’s sorry seven times, “you should forgive him”.  And that’s when the Apostles say: “Lord, increase our faith.”

The Apostles can’t believe that forgiveness should be given so frequently. But Jesus insists that we must always be ready to forgive…just as God always forgives us.  Forgiveness is the mark of a true disciple! And it's a requirement for all of us who are on The Way.
God has given me countless second chances.  How many second chances has God given you?
Today’s Gospel concludes by reminding us that we are disciple/servants. We should not expect special treatment for doing only what is required of us. 

What is required? Three things. Love God and others as God loves us.  Forgive each other as God forgives us. And especially care for the poor and those living on life’s margins.

Friday, September 27, 2019

                                                 Making Friends with the Poor

In this Sunday’s Gospel Jesus tells the story of a rich man who has a beggar named Lazarus at his gate…a beggar whom the rich man never notices.  When both of them die, Lazarus is in the bosom of Abraham and the rich man is in the netherworld.
Then the rich man tells Abraham to send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water to cool the rich man’s tongue. When the rich man finds out that’s not possible, he has the gall to tell Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his relatives!
The rich man never talks directly to Lazarus.  And right there is the nub of the problem.

Do you have friends who are poor?  Are there poor people living in your neighborhood? How good are you at welcoming people who live on the fringes of life?
In the light of this weekend’s readings I know that I have to do a better job of reaching out to people who are poor. And I also have to live with less myself. 
Today’s the feast of St. Vincent de Paul. It’s a great day to write a check to the St. Vincent de Paul Society! It won’t solve everything, but it’s at least a way to make a difference.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

                                                  Using the Gifts God Gave Us

This weekend’s readings from the prophet Amos and from Jesus’ words in Luke’s Gospel focus on the proper and improper use of the gift of money. We might not think of money as a gift, but everything we have, including money, ultimately comes from God. And our job is to be good stewards of all God’s gifts.

In addition to the gift of money, what other gifts has God given you? Think about that for a few moments. Use a note pad or sheet of paper to start making a list of your gifts. Keep that list on your kitchen table for the next week…and add to it on a daily basis.

Share your list with someone who knows you well and who loves you.  Ask them if they see other gifts that you don’t see in yourself.  And then make it a point to tell them some of the gifts that you see in them.

Of all the gifts on your list, which two or three gifts do you treasure most?  

What gifts do you use on a daily basis?  What gifts do you hardly ever use? At the end of this exercise, thank God for showering you with so many gifts.

Friday, September 6, 2019

                                              What is the Cost of Discipleship?

This weekend’s Gospel and the second reading from the Letter of St. Paul to Philemon raise key questions about discipleship. To prepare for mass this weekend take a little time to think about the following questions. 

What is a disciple of Christ?  And more specifically, what does it mean that you are a disciple of Christ?

What expectations does Jesus have for His disciples? Make a list of the requirements that you think Jesus sets for those who want to be His disciples. 

What are the costs of discipleship? And, more specifically, what does it cost you to be a disciple of Jesus?

If Jesus would tell you that there is one thing more which He hopes you will do to be a better disciple, what would that one thing be?

Name some ‘disciples’, whom you personally know, that are really good disciples. Make it a point to let them know that you appreciate them.  

Friday, August 30, 2019


Two of this weekend’s readings address the issue of humility. A text from the book of Sirach says: “Conduct your affairs with humility and you will be loved more than the giver of gifts.”(Sirach 3:17) And in the Gospel, Jesus says: “Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled and the one who humbles himself shall be exalted.”(Luke 14:11)

A basic definition of humility is: knowing who we are and who we are not.  Think about that a little bit.  Who are you?  Who are you not?

Every day in my morning prayer I get to a point where I say:“Thank you God for loving the total package that I am.”  And then I list a number of my failings that always include: self-centeredness, pride, laziness, anger, jealousy, gluttony, greed etc.

Then I thank God for some good qualities that I have. Those include: a tender heart, a creativity, a desire to be a good disciple, a reflectiveness, a sense of humor, etc. And I end the prayer as I began it: “Thank you God for loving the total package that I am.”
Knowing the total packages that we are and, recognizing that God loves those packages, is about as humble of a prayer that we can make.

Take time to humbly pray: “Thank you God for loving the total package that I am….”

Saturday, August 24, 2019

                                          “Strive to Enter Thru the Narrow Door”

About 12 years ago I finally realized that I needed to get in better physical condition. So I finally got serious about exercising and eating healthier. And that has helped a lot.

I thought of that in light of this weekend’s Gospel. In response to a question about how many people will be saved, Jesus said: “Strive to enter thru the narrow door.” (Lk: 13:24)

"Fitting thru the narrow door” made me think about getting in shape spiritually. So I've thought about daily spiritual exercises can help us fit thru the narrow door.  

Here are 5 possible components of a daily spiritual exercise routine.
-Set aside a reasonable amount of time to pray each day.

-Be conscious everyday of the loving things you can say or do for others.

-Make a daily effort to remember the poor in some way.

-Willingly carry a cross each day. 
-Be grateful hourly.  

Saturday, August 17, 2019

                                                     Setting the Earth on Fire

In this weekend’s Gospel text Jesus says something very startling.  He says: “I have come to set the earth on fire.” (Luke 12:49) He clearly does not mean this in a literal sense.  He is much more focused on bringing ‘passion’ and ‘fire in the belly’ to this complacent, self-centered and weary world. 

What kind of fire does Jesus want to set within you?

When have you experienced some fire in your belly?    

What does it mean when we say: ‘Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful. And kindle in us the fire of your love’? 

Recently I was at a party with some younger children.  As evening came we noticed the fireflies. And the children were mesmerized by them and they ran after them. Those fireflies brought so much joy.  

What kind of fire will you bring to this world in the week ahead?