Spring has arrived and new life is starting to bloom after a mild winter. However, the new life of the natural world is overshadowed by the eerie new life of our nation because of the coronavirus. The restrictions are necessary and the threat is real. Every day I hear about more people I know who have the virus. We need the hope the Prophet Ezekiel offers to the Jewish people in the first reading from this Sunday’s Mass: “O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them, and bring you back to the land of Israel.” (Ezekiel 17:12) The Jewish people had been conquered and were in exile. They longed for their former freedom and independence as a nation. They lost everything because they slowly but surely forgot about God. The land God promises to bring them back to is not so much the geographical area where their country was located in the Middle East, but to a “state of mind” where they recognize God’s goodness, love, and blessings. Their nation fell apart because they went from being “God centered” to being “self centered.” I am not implying that we are a “self centered” people, but that more than ever we need to be “God centered” and “other centered.” That is not a physical place, but a state of mind.READ MORE
Now that we have turned the clocks ahead, we have at least an hour more of daylight before the sun goes down and even in the morning the sun is coming up a little earlier every day. As we read weather reports we see the one thing that we can know for sure is when the sun will rise and set. Some weather reports tell us that there is a forty or fifty percent chance of rain. At times we hope to see that the sixty or fifty percent chance of no rain will happen instead. The readings for Sunday speak about sight, both physical sight with our eyes and mental sight with our minds and hearts. As a nation at this time, we feel we are in darkness. Churches are closed, schools are closed, businesses are closed, and we are told avoid crowds. While is it prudent and necessary to take all the precautions we can to avoid the coronavirus, the whole atmosphere we live and thrive in every day is now filled with worry, tension, and concern. Whenever our normal routines are changed unexpectedly beyond our control we long to SEE a light that will bring us at least hope if not back to our normal routine. While we take our physical ability and gift of sight for granted, we also want peace and a remedy for what causes us to see sadness, disappointment, tension, and fear in our lives.READ MORE
There is an old expression that says, "You've gone to the well once too often." That means we run out of expertise or resourcefulness. How often can we say we are sorry and be forgiven if we really don't change our behavior or attitudes? How long can we procrastinate before we just give up our resolution to do something or before others give up on us? In today's Gospel passage (John 4:5-42), we see the encounter a Samaritan woman has with Jesus at a well. Both the woman and Jesus come to the well seeking water. As we read this passage we see that this woman is coming at an odd time of the day to draw water. In her conversation with Jesus we see that she has not had an easy life. This becomes very clear when Jesus reveals He knows her life situation: even though she does not technically have a husband she has had five husbands and is now living with a sixth man. Undoubtedly, she is a source of gossip in her town. But Jesus does not reveal His knowledge of her to confront or criticize her. He wants to give her what we all seek - the living water of God's love. The well of God's love and the well of God's mercy and forgiveness never run dry. In this conversation between Jesus and this woman we see that the well of God's patience never runs dry. We can never go to these wells too often. More than likely we simply do not go to these wells often enough.READ MORE
My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am happy to be able to send you greetings as you gather together at St. Ladislaus Church to begin this important campaign of "40 Days for Life" in our diocese. I am very grateful to all of you who have been so active in the defense of Human Life in these challenging times when the Culture of Death is in an all-out war with the Culture of Life.
In recent years theologians have been discussing and arguing about the nature of what is called "original sin," and how it is transmitted from generation to generation. The patent fact is that sin abounds, and has abounded in our world from the earliest days of man on earth. The reason why the Church recalls to our minds today the basic facts that God, out of sheer goodness, created man and gave him marvellous gifts, and man in his meanness and foolish pride refused obedience and loyalty to his divine benefactor, is simply to remind us that we are all sinners and descendants of sinners.
Why theologians may, and should, try to discover the real nature of original sin and its mode of transmission, the fact that we the people of today, centuries and millennia later, are still sinners, still proud, still so often disloyal and ungrateful to the good God, who made us what we are, is and should be our chief preoccupation during this season of Lent.READ MORE
This coming Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent, our time to take stock of who and where we are as followers of Jesus as individuals and as the Church. Where do we see the need for change? It is very easy to look outside of ourselves and see where others should change. There are situations in our lives, our families, our nation, and our Church where change is needed. In many of the Lenten seasons since I have been here, we have focused on making changes to better the lives of people in various parts of the world. We gave money during Lent to put wells in villages in Nigeria where there was no running water and helped Fr. George from Ghana to build a church for his parishioners. We have reached out with our Lenten contributions to the people in India who are served by the priests of the order of Fr. Abraham and Fr. Shibi. Our contributions helped some of their families rebuild their homes that were lost from violent floods. Together we have made a very positive and loving difference in the lives of others. How good that is. This year I am asking all the people of our parish to join in prayer to support all children growing in their mothers' wombs and their mothers. Abortion is an issue that is front and center in our nation politically and, even more, morally. What can we do? What difference will we make? Is prayer really the answer?READ MORE
"Let what you say be simply 'YES' or 'NO,' anything more than this comes from evil."
God has given us the freedom to do, think, act, live and communicate freely on the earth. There are right and wrong choices... all the invented terms such as "inappropriate" and "counterproductive" are efforts to avoid the simple ethical fact that there is a right and wrong course of action. Doing what is right means getting rid of everything, which is not right in our lives. Here is a simple story about two sisters who spent their whole day fighting. That evening they were preparing for bed, and were still mad at each other. As usual, they knelt by the side of their bed for prayers and the eight-year-old began "Dear God, Bless Daddy and Mommy, bless our cat and dog." And she stopped. Her mother gently prodded, "Didn't you forget somebody?" She glared across the bed at her six-year-old sister and added, "And, oh yes, God, bless my ex-sister."READ MORE
In today's gospel, Jesus himself calls his true followers "salt of the earth." And the "light of the world". These are titles of honor, surely, and of the greatest distinction. Christ is putting his true followers on almost a level with himself. He was the light of the world; he was the salt of the earth. He, it was, who gave men the knowledge of the true nature of God, as shown by the Incarnation.
SALT AND LIGHT: As usual, Christ uses everyday similes to bring his teaching home to his hearers. Salt was essential for preserving and savoring meat and other foods. If it ceased to have the power and the flavor of salt, it was no longer of any use. In fact, it was a deception and deceiver, and deserved to be crushed into the ground. So, also, the true Christian must become the preserver and promoter of the true religion, the true service of God on earth. Light dispels and drives away darkness. It is not to be covered. Like a lamp it must be mounted on a lamp stand.READ MORE
...the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen." Mt 4:16
I'll be honest with you. I hate going to the March for Life. Maybe I should clarify. I hate that the March for Life has to exist. Every year, during the week that marks the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, thousands of people head to Washington D.C. to stand for the rights of the most vulnerable among us, the baby in the womb. This year an estimated 500,000 people attended on Friday, January 24.
Last Sunday, we heard those words of the Prophet Isaiah in the first reading and, once again, in the Gospel. The world certainly seems to be in a state of constant darkness. Every minute you turn the TV on or look at the newspaper, another tragedy, controversy, or scandal has made the headlines. Everyone seems to be protesting anything and everything these days and, when it comes to something as controversial as the abortion issue, it sometimes feels like it's not even worth the fight anymore. Yet, Christ called His disciples to be "fishers of men." So, what does that mean for us?READ MORE