Tuesday, September 7, 2021

My favorite Broadway musical is Les Misérables. It is the story of Jean Valjean, who in hard times stole a loaf of bread from a baker. They caught and imprisoned him for 19 years.  Trying to recover from his imprisonment, he meets a Bishop, a noble priest who begins Jean Valjean's redemption by welcoming him to his home. In an act of extreme kindness and sacrificial love, the priest gives Jean Valjean a pair of candlesticks Valjean was attempting to stealing. This act of kindness by the good priest transformed Jean Valjean into a new man whose soul had been "bought for God." 

At the end of the musical, as Jean Valjean lies dying before his beloved daughter Cosette and her husband-to-be Marius, he has a vision of Cosette's dead mother, Fantine. In this touching scene, Valjean commends Marius and Cosette to marry and reveals his long-held secret that he had spent his life running from the law. As Jean Valjean sings his last confession, Fantine appears to welcome him into heaven.  Jean Valjean then experiences an almost beatific vision of the priest, surrounded gloriously in candlelight. At this moment, he utters one of the most beautiful lines ever written in a play:

"To love another person is to see the face of God."

The message from this excellent musical for us all is that one simple act of kindness has the power to transform a sinner into a forgiven saint. Even in his humble and lowly position, the priest became a vessel for Jean Valjean and, by extension, the audience to see the very face of God through his indefinable love for an embittered thief. 

We can be like this good priest.  We can show the face of God through our love. Too often, we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

Let’s all show the face of God by our loving kindness to one another!


Friday, September 3, 2021




If you have become bitter and sour, it is because when God gave you a blessing you hoarded it. Yet if you had poured it out to Him, you would have been the sweetest person on earth. If you are always keeping blessings to yourself and never learning to pour out anything to the Lord, other people will never have their vision of God expanded through you.



Oswald Chambers




Sunday, August 29, 2021

Homily for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

From the Gospel of Mark:

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus, they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands. So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”

It’s never a good idea to test Jesus.  His response to them was one we need to hear too. Jesus’ message this morning is that it’s unhealthy to fixate on some minor issue and miss the more important one. The Pharisees were focusing on the wrong thing. And Jesus got upset:

“Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:  These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts. You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”

Jesus was not criticizing or rejecting the Jewish law or even Jewish tradition. Jesus was a good Jew.  He followed the law and loved it. He probably washed his hands before he ate. His point here is not to criticize the law but to remind his hearers that there are more important issues. 

Many people in Jesus' time thought that religion was all about observing rituals, which they thought were pleasing to God. Not to observe them was to sin. In short, observing rituals became identified with being religious. 

Jesus made it clear that religion isn't something you do at certain times on certain days.   It's not saying specific prayers or performing certain rituals. It’s a thing of the heart. It’s a thing of the heart called love — love of God and love of neighbor. Today’s Scripture readings invite us to look into our hearts and to ask ourselves to what extent the words of Jesus in today’s gospel reading apply to us: 

“These people honor me with their words, but their heart is far away from me." 

They invite us to look into our own heart and ask ourselves to what extent the words of James in today’s second reading apply to us: 

“Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word; instead, put it into practice. Be doers of the word and not hearers only.

We must never forget that Jesus uses our hands, feet, voice, and heart to touch people in our day. That’s what matters - what is in our hearts - and what we do about it.

We are being asked today:                                                             

  • Do we focus on the things that are not that important and ignore what is essential? 
  • Do we judge people on how they look instead of who they are?

Here is a question he put on my heart today for me:

  •  Do we get upset about trivial things - like someone taking a knee at a sporting event during the National Anthem but ignore the significant issue of racial justice in our country?        
  • Are we attentive to the words we say in church but are deaf to the cry of the poor? 

Jesus is telling us today; it's unhealthy when we fixate on – some minor issue – and miss the more important one. This is what has Jesus upset in today's gospel. We are all in need of some “open-heart” surgery. Let us learn not to give our energy and attention to minor things but rather focus on the heart of the matter. Let us promise God not to criticize someone like the Pharisees did that day, before we explore what is on their heart. 

My grandmother always had a saying that seems to fit every situation today she might have said to us:

 "Don't judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes."





Friday, August 27, 2021

It's good to remind ourselves what it is we Catholic Christians believe.

We believe that there is one God, eternally existent who has revealed Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

(Deuteronomy 6:4, Luke 3:22)

We believe the Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are inspired by God and are the revelation of God to man. 

(2 Timothy 3:15-17, 1 Peter 1:21)

We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father where He intercedes for us, in His present rule as Head of the Church, and in His personal return in power and glory. 

(Matthew 1:23, Luke 1:31)

We believe the sacraments are “efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us” 

In other words, a sacrament is a sacred and visible sign that is instituted by Jesus to give us grace, an undeserved gift from God. 

(CCC 1131) (CCC 1084). 

We believe Christ was present at the inception of all of the sacraments, which He instituted 2,000 years ago. Christ is also present every time each sacrament is celebrated. 

The Catholic Church has all of the seven sacraments instituted by Christ, which include Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that “the seven sacraments touch all the stages and all important moments of the Christian life” 

(CCC 1210).



Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Monday, August 23, 2021

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Merciful Jesus, you are my guide,

the joy of my heart, 

 the author of my hope, 

and the object of my love. 

I come seeking refreshment and peace. 

Show me your mercy, 

relieve my fears and anxieties, 

and grant me a quiet mind and an expectant heart, 

that by the assurance of your presence 

I may learn to abide in you, 

who is my Lord and my God. 

Amen.