Who or what would we do anything for? While we dream about winning the lottery and having abundant cash at our fingertips, we know deep down in our hearts it is the people we would share it with, not just a resource for any and every whim and desire. But we don’t need financial security to have a treasure. In today’s Gospel (Matthew 13:44- 52), Jesus tells the parable of the man who finds a buried treasure in a field and sells everything he has to acquire it. We are who we are because of the gift of life. When we were born, we were embraced as a treasure by our parents. As time passes, we come to see what a treasure our parents are to us. One of the great joys of being a priest is celebrating Baptisms and seeing the joy in the parents and all present with them.READ MORE
Speaking with the man who takes care of the grass and landscaping for us, I learned there is a fairly recent weed growing on our lawns called nutgrass. After two or three days this weed grows high and makes it look like the grass was not cut for a while. In the Gospel for today’s Mass (Matthew 13:24-43), Jesus tells the parable of the wheat and the weeds. In this parable we see the farmer planted good seed. A short while later an enemy sowed weeds to prevent a fruitful harvest. The weeds spoken of are the weeds that grow around the wheat and cannot be pulled up without pulling up the wheat also. In the end both are harvested and then separated. The wheat goes into the barn, but the weeds are burned.READ MORE
Every time I look out the kitchen window over the sink in the rectory, I see a lush, beautifully growing garden. Fr. Fred and Fr. Abraham have worked hard and continue to tend all the plants there. Already they have brought in radishes, lettuce, and zucchini to eat. The other crops include tomatoes, potatoes, beets, okra, beans, and onions. All this happens because they enriched the soil and continue to water everything growing there every day. In the Gospel for today’s Mass (Matthew 13:1-23) Jesus tells the parable of the sower where He calls us to look at the seed of faith that was “planted” in our hearts when we were baptized. In His explanation Jesus gives four examples of how the seed of faith is either rendered useless or bears fruit.
The seed of faith in our hearts bears fruit every time we share our time, talents, and resources generously. When a seed germinates it becomes much more than it was before it was planted. Of course the more it receives the right nourishment, the more healthy the plant. The question to consider is: “What kind of fruit comes from the seed of faith planted in us at Baptism?” First of all we need good “soil.”READ MORE
One Step is Enough: One Step is Enough is a biography of John HenryNewman, a 19th century British theologian andhistorian. Newman was raised in the Anglican Churchand became an Anglican priest and a professor atOxford. Over time he became critical of both theevangelical emphasis on dramatic personal conversionas well as the merely academic or intellectualChristianity that was common at Oxford. He believed inthe need for critical thinking as well as intenseprayerful devotion. This led Newman to promote theidea of "via media" or a middle way betweenProtestantism and Catholicism. But when he offered anew interpretation of the 39 articles of the AnglicanChurch, he faced intense opposition from within hisdenomination. Finally in 1845, Newman became aRoman Catholic. His legacy is that of a propheticthinker whose ideas profoundly influenced the SecondVatican Council of the 1960's. Newman died in 1890and was beatified in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI.
Yesterday we celebrated the 244th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence that laid the foundation for the country we have today. We have to admire and be grateful to those who had the courage to sign this document and all those who gave their lives to give birth to our nation. Part of our celebration is setting off fireworks. We are mesmerized by the light patterns in the night sky that explodes forth from them. As we celebrate our 244th anniversary we have other not so pleasant “fireworks” to deal with: the coronavirus and the protests. At this point we are in Phase 3 on Long Island but must be faithful to the vigilance and restrictions that have gotten us to this point. The other “fireworks” is the movement to call our attention to injustice inflicted upon black people. Black lives matter. White lives matter. Asian lives matter. All lives matter.READ MORE
Bishop Fulton J. Sheen is eloquence at its very best. These timeless messages offer inspiring guidance, encouragement, peace of mind, and spiritual comfort that will touch the heart. Ages of Man — Drawing from Shakespeare, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen ponders the seven ages of man. Works from Confucius, Solomon, Modern Psychology and Biology also provide ages of man that Bishop Sheen compares and contrasts. This episode also speaks to the pilgrimage we are on as we fulfill our destiny. Temptation —Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, remembered for his humor and conversational manner, explains the psychology of temptation in this memorable episode. Using illustrations and personal stories, Bishop Sheen teaches how the temptation to sin grows from the act, to the habit, to compulsion. Learn how compulsion is not a sickness or disease, but rather sin, and how with God we can live a life of obedience.
In my last parish, there was an older women whowound up in a nursing home for the last ten years ofher life. She had a bad heart, but lived to be over 100years old. I visited her regularly. Each time I wouldgreet her she would ask, with her heavy Italianaccent, “How’s your mother?” Then she would go onto say, “Nobody loves you like your mother.” A fewtimes she told me about a conversation she had withher husband one day. He said to her, “I am yourhusband, I am number one in your life.” She said herresponse was, “No! No! My mother, she’s numberone in my life.READ MORE
In the world of nature, there is the expression“survival of the fittest.” But as human beings, wewant to do far more than to survive. That way ofthinking makes us self-centered, protective of whowe are and what we have, and leery of others whodo not agree with us nor treat us as we think weshould be treated. To be fully alive we want to liveas fully as possible with the gifts, talents, andabilities God has given us. The most hearteningthing about our lives is that we are created in thevery image and likeness of God. We reach the joy,hope, and security of that truth when we can sayjoyfully and gratefully these words of St. Paul: “Forme to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians1:21) In the Gospel for today’s Mass (Matthew10:26-33) Jesus says, “Everyone whoacknowledges me before others I will acknowledgebefore my heavenly Father.” How heartening andhopeful those words from Jesus are.READ MORE
Conquering Coronavirus: Whether the coronavirus still threatens you, your friends, and your family or has harmed someone you love, this page will ease your fears, heal your wounds, quench your sorrow, and bring you the consolation God provides to all who seek him in pestilential times like these — times that are, in fact, not foreign to our ancient faith.READ MORE
One of the challenging parts of sailing is making sure the sails are trimmed properly. Too much sail in a storm or strong wind can cause the boat to heel over too much and be almost impossible to steer. Reefing the sails means reducing the area of the sail that is up. Less sail in the strong wind will keep the boat at the proper heel and move the boat well through the waves.READ MORE
Pass It On: is a series of presentations for parents who want to equip their children well for their life’s journey. Through 15 presentations, the authors, speakers, and experts in their respective fields offer their wisdom and experience to encourage and challenge parents as they wrestle with what they should be putting into their children’s backpacks. Each episode is filled with practical suggestions and helpful insights for moms and dads who want to hand on the faith to their children.couples who want to grow in clarity and unity as they embrace their parenting role together.
These sessions also make an excellent springboard for group discussion and sharing, allowing parents to learn from the experiences of other parents. Each presentation can stand on its own with very little preparation. The Pass It On series can easily be used by moms or parent groups, in-home or parish settings. A downloadable discussion guide for the series is available. Each presentation is about 20 minutes in length.
Protecting Innocence: Matt Fradd, a best-selling Catholic author, presents new data to show how the changes in the types and accessibility of pornography being promoted today make it far more dangerous and harmful than ever before. Matt draws from a wealth of experience to guide parents in taking decisive action to protect their children, and he empowers adults with specific wording to effectively address this sensitive topic with children of all ages before they encounter pornography or after they've been exposed to it.
Light Of Love: We often have ideas of religious life... either kneeling in a conventor out in the streets assisting the poor. While both of these scenesare essential to the life as a sister, Light of Love takes a deeperlook into understanding the call... the "why" of religious life. Byinterviewing five sisters from five orders across the United States,the film places viewers face to face in intimate conversations withthese amazing women. What does it mean to be called? What arethe struggles of religious life? How have you seen God movethrough your ministry? These questions and others are addressedthroughout the film.
The film itself is very simple: 60 minutes designed for viewers to quiet their surroundings and enter into theconvent, the food pantry, the hospital, and the chapel. With minimal music and simple visuals, Light of Lovegives viewers a look into the lives, suffering, and joys of religious life captured in a way like never before.
Lead Kindly Light: An influential teacher, a distinguished theologian, a man whoendured many trials, a father of souls—Blessed John Henry Newman(1801 - 1890) remains as fresh and relevant today as he was duringhis lifetime. In this engaging film, Fr. Nicholas Schofield and Fr.Marcus Holden, hosts of several other Ignatius films, present theinspiring story of Newman's life and visit the places in England wherehe lived and worked. From London to Oxford, from Littlemore toBirmingham, each revealing an important stage of Newman's life.Along the way they explore his writings and teachings, his pastoralzeal for his students and parishioners, his journey of conversion to the Catholic faith, and his enduringmessage for Christians of today.
One of the concerns as we began to face the reality of the coronavirus was the need for ventilators, life-support devices for those who would be afflicted. Artificial life support is a great invention and holds out hope where previously there would have been none. In this time of sickness and riots we need life support to keep us together mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. There is nothing artificial about this life support. It comes from our significant human relationships and even more from our faith. How significant is our relationship with God? Is He our source of comfort, peace, and purpose, especially in this time of the coronavirus and rioting and looting that is putting us on the doorstep of anarchy? Who would have ever thought at the beginning of this year that we would be where we are today. The unexpected that caught us off guard has now added the weight of irrational and violent human behavior. Where is our anchorage with calm restful water?READ MORE