There is an old proverb: “Man plans, God laughs.” I have found this to be true.
In 2014, my religious order asked me to come to the United States. I received my visa on March 4, 2014 and was invited by the Diocese of Rockville Centre to work in a parish. However as an educator, I hoped to attend a university to study the American educational system while in the U.S. I thought that a hospital chaplaincy position would better accommodate my studies. The diocese said I would have to wait for such a position. After eight months, a hospital chaplaincy position opened up. I arrived in the U.S. and shortly thereafter I was told there was an emergency need for an associate pastor at a parish in Smithtown. This was not what I had expected and I was somewhat disappointed. God had other plans for me.READ MORE
There are many questions that go through our minds every day. We ask ourselves: “What do I do in this situation?” “Will I really make any difference?” “Does anyone really care what I do?” Our challenge as followers of Jesus is to ask the very simple question that is represented by the four letters on elastic bracelets that some people wear: WWJD (What Would Jesus Do). In the Gospel reading for the past three Sundays and today, we see people asking Jesus profound or foolish questions. Three Sunday’s ago, the rich young man asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus told him to share his resources with the poor. Our relationship with God involves far more than just saying prayers and avoiding the sins the commandments tell us to get beyond. Two Sundays ago two of Jesus’ apostles asked a foolish question: “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.... Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.” They were looking for places of honor, power, and prestige in an earthly sense. Jesus’ response made it clear to them and us that real glory is seen in the powerful and simple things we do in love for one another, day in and day out. Last Sunday Bartimaeus, a blind man, said to Jesus, “Master, I want to see.” Not only did Bartimaeus get physical vision with his eyes, he saw the goodness and love of God and immediately followed Jesus. His spiritual vision was vibrantly clear. In today’s Gospel a scribe asks Jesus, “Which is the first of all the commandments? Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is the Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all you mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”READ MORE
When I was with my first pastor after I became apastor myself, he would usually introduce me to thosepresent and say, “I taught him everything he knows,but not everything I know!” He had a good sense ofhumor and he was a great brother priest to me. Intoday’s Gospel Jesus cures a man named Bartimaeuswho is blind. Just because he was blind does notmean he did not know anything about Jesus. In spiteof those in the crowd telling him to keep quiet, hepersisted in crying out to Jesus, “Jesus, son of David,have pity on me.” When Jesus asked him, “What doyou want me to do for you?”, Bartimaeus replied,“Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “go your way:your faith has saved you.” The Gospel tells us,“Immediately he received his sight and followed Himon the way.” More than physical vision, which almostall of us are blessed with, we see things through ourhearts and minds. There are some things, situations,and people we see that delight us and there are thosethings, situations, and people who make us angry,upset, or uneasy. Bartimaeus cried out in faith and wascured. He saw not only the people and world aroundhim, he also saw Jesus. His vision was not just of thephysical presence of Jesus, most importantly andjoyfully he saw and experienced the love of God. Hisjoy was so powerful that the Gospel tells us that oncecured, Bartimaeus followed Jesus on the way.READ MORE
Every once in a while we need to slow down and think about what is important in our lives. We look at our responsibilities, expectations, hopes, and dreams. While it is so much more life-giving to see the blessings we have, we do need to be realistic concerning what is not good for us and the world we live in. Our society today seems heavily determined to get us to focus on what is not good, unacceptable, or displeasing to us. We do not live in a utopia, but we do have the tools to rise above and get beyond what is not good, divisive, or hurtful.READ MORE
“What must I do to inherit eternal life?” This is the question the rich young man asks Jesus in today’s Gospel passage. As we hear Jesus’ response we see that the path through life to heaven involves far more than just avoiding evil. We are called to share who we are and what we have with love and generosity. Our parish family has done that in many ways in the fifteen years I have been blessed to be here.READ MORE
As we celebrate Respect Life Sunday today, I share with you the above pictures of my great niece Paige. At just over 24 weeks she was taken from her mother’s womb because she was not receiving nourishment in the womb and would have died there. She came out weighing fourteen ounces and being ten inches long. During her first eight months she was in the care of two hospitals and now is finally home with her parents. As you look at the picture on the left, you see her father’s hand putting her mother’s wedding ring over her foot onto her leg. When you look at the picture on the right you would not readily see the same ring on her pajamas unless the arrow was pointing to it. She is a miracle.READ MORE