Tuesday, March 28, 2017

                                                        Blind Men and  Women 

Last weekend’s gospel about the healing of the blind man caused me to think about my own kinds of blindness.  Here’s my story.

Do you remember how some medieval heretics were burned at the stake over questions about what revolved around what?  Was it the sun around the earth or the earth around the sun?  In a similar way I’m guilty of my own occasional planetary heresy.  It’s called ‘Thinking the World Revolves Around Me’.     

Here are my symptoms.  When I feel overwhelmed by too much stuff or I think I got the short end of the stick or I’m in a funky mood, I can fairly easily slide into a kind of ‘pity-party’ for myself.  When I do that, I’m like the blind man. I don’t see the blessings and graces that are all over the place!  I hate that when it happens.     

So I pray that the Lord will heal me from my self-centered blindness and from other blindness too…like taking things for granted or judging people before I know their stories.  

From what kinds of blindness do you suffer? Ask the Lord for healing from your blindness before you leave this blog. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

                                                        She Had Five Husbands 

What a remarkable story about the woman at the well in last Sunday’s Gospel. (Jn 4:5-42) Jesus broke multiple taboos when He visited Samaria, spoke to this woman publicly, used the same utensil she used, and welcomed her as a woman disciple.  No other Rabbi of His time would have done any of those things.     

And He does them knowing that she had 5 husbands and then lived with another man.

Why would Jesus do this?  Although Jesus was thirsty and asked her for a drink, Jesus knew that she was thirsty too.   He knew about the marriages.  And He understood her situation of being belittled and maliciously judged.  She was thirsty for kindness and acceptance.

When we hear about the five husbands, our eyebrows raise and we jump to conclusions that are probably wrong.  There were laws in Samaria that allowed men to buy women and sell them whenever they wanted.  Imagine being bought and sold 5 times and finally gaining her freedom…only to be shunned by her own people.

Why are we so quick to judge people before we know their stories? When have you been on the giving or receiving end of that kind of judgment?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

                                                “You Are My Beloved Son”
                                                             (Mt. 17:1-9)

                              Or God could say: “You are my beloved daughter.”

While Jesus is uniquely the Son of God and we heard God’s voice proclaim that truth in last weekend’s Transfiguration story, God can also say the same things about us.  Aren’t we also God’s sons and daughters by virtue of our baptisms?  And doesn’t God fully love us too?

Sometimes that’s hard for me to believe. I suppose that’s because I know what a jerk I can be once in a while. But God’s love is unconditional and He loves me even when I am a jerk! It doesn’t seem possible, but it’s true!

I repeat what I said in an earlier blog: God loves the whole package that we are.

Make a list of 3 or 4 things that God sees in you and loves very much. Close your eyes and imagine hearing God's voice, saying those things to you.

Are there some people that you don’t see as beloved brothers and sisters? Name a couple of people. What does God sees in them that you don’t see?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


Is my guilty conscience catching up to me, or am I a bigger sinner than I used to be? I notice that I’m going to confession more frequently these days. (I have friends who would say that I’ve always been a big sinner…it’s just that I’ve lived in denial for too long!!!) 

Periodically someone tells me that they don’t go to to confession because they don’t know what to confess. They say “I don’t kill anyone and I don’t steal anything, and I’m too old to break the 6th commandment.  So what would I say?”

As a result, confessionals can be pretty lonely places on Saturday afternoons.
Here are some other sins: jealousy, pride, stubbornness, impatience, hypocrisy, talking about the faults of others, gossip, self-centeredness, passive aggressiveness, trying to control others, grumpiness, lying, putting guilt trips on others, judging people harshly, prejudice, feeling sorry for ourselves, putting people down, not doing the good we could have done.

Thanks to a couple Lenten groups for their help in compiling this examination of conscience for us older folks.   

Are there other sins you might add?

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


In Ash Wednesday’s Gospel, Jesus refers to the three traditional Lenten practices which are prayer, fasting and almsgiving.(Mt 6:1-6, 16-18) In that context He tells us not to act like the hypocrites who perform these practices for people to see.

Hypocrisy was a major issue for Jesus.  He saw it in some of the Scribes and Pharisees.  They pretended to be holy, but they weren’t.  They told people what to do, but they didn’t do it themselves. 

I hate to admit it, but sometimes I’m a hypocrite too.

Recently I gave a homily about loving our enemies. But the truth is that I tend to demonize people I don’t agree with…people I see as the enemy...including some church and government officials. So I tell people to love their enemy, but I don’t do it myself. That makes me a hypocrite. I need to go to confession!

What about you?  Can you see how you are hypocritical sometimes?  Can you name a couple  examples? Have you ever confessed that sin?  Lent is a good time for us to face it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

                                                    An Unconventional Life

Jesus said, “When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well.” (Mt 5:39)  Commentators tell us that being struck on the right cheek meant that the perpetrator used the back of his hand to strike the victim.  That would have been a huge insult which invariably would have started a fist fight.    

To most people in Jesus’ day, turning the other cheek was laughable.  More committed people might not have laughed, but they certainly would have winced.

Jesus was an unconventional person.  He touched lepers.  He cast out demons.  He raised the dead. He cured the blind and the lame.  He told us to love our enemies.  He turned over the tables in the Temple.  He forgave the soldiers who nailed Him to the cross.  He did these unconventional things out of love.  And conventional people killed Him.

Jesus is our role model.  He wants us to do what He did.

Name some unconventional things you've done out of love.  Name a person you admire, who does unconventional things out of love.  Have you or they suffered because of it?