“I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind, but now I see.” Those words are from the end of the first verse in the hymn “Amazing Grace” and came to mind as I was reflecting on the Gospel that will be read for the 5:00pm Mass this Saturday and the 10:30 Mass this Sunday. It is the account of Jesus curing the man born blind from John 9:1-41. As much as this passage proclaims a great miracle and blessing for the man who was born blind and received his sight when Jesus cured him, it also reveals how being blind is far more than just the physical vision we have with our eyes. The affliction of blindness all too easily keeps us from living, speaking, and rejoicing in the truth of who we are, what we are capable of, and how clear the path of life is when we embrace the gift of our faith and trust Jesus with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Wherever there is goodness and love, the image of God, which we are all created in, becomes present. We can be blinded to goodness and love when we are angry, confused, closed minded, fearful, arrogant, prejudiced, disappointed, half-hearted, or feel hurt or unjustly treated. As much as the man who is cured by Jesus is joyful, the religious leaders present are angry. Their anger is fueled by prejudice and closed mindedness against Jesus because they think they have life with one another and life with God all figured out. There was a line from the first reading at Mass this past Tuesday (Daniel 3:25, 34-43) where a holy man is praying an act of sorrow to God for the sins of the Chosen People.READ MORE
“You’ve gone to the well once too often!” That expression is a warning against using up our resources foolishly or trying to delude people with words that we will not fulfill. But the opposite is also true: “We cannot go to some wells often enough.”In the Gospel passage we will read this weekend (John 4:5-42) at the 10:30 Mass - where we will pray in a special way for those in our RCIA program are who preparing for the Easter Sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation - we have the account of Jesus and the women at the well. The woman came to the well in the middle of the day because it is a time when no one was usually there. This day Jesus was there. She came at that hour because she did to want to encounter anyone who knew her life situation. When Jesus asked here to go and get her husband she replied she had no husband. Jesus replied to that statement: “You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.'READ MORE
It is not what I cannot do but what I can do. It is not what I will not do but what I will do. In the Gospel for today’s Mass (Luke 9;28-36), we have St. Luke’s account of the Transfiguration where Jesus revealed to Peter, James, and John who He is in His heavenly glory. What an awesome experience for these three apostles. Even more, what an act of trust on the part of Jesus. This experience concludes with the voice from heaven telling them, “This is my chosen Son; listen to Him.” The most frequent way we look at Jesus or think about Him is to make the Sign of the Cross. How incredibly loving and humble Jesus was to give Himself in love for us on the cross. The cross is a sign of how goodness is attacked, truth is denied, and the power of evil seeks to wreak havoc. But even more the cross is a constant reminder of how far God has gone to show us His unconditional love, His desire to forgive our sins, doubts, and failings, and the way to peace in our hearts, peace with God, and peace with one another.READ MORE
n 1992 the movie Sister Act came out. One of the songs they took from Motown and adapted to the story was “My Guy” by Mary Wells. They changed the title from “My Guy” to “My God.” In an entertaining way, the song expressed what we are all about during the season Lent that began this past Wednesday.
In 1992 the movie Sister Act came out. One of the songs they took from Motown and adapted to the story was “My Guy” by Mary Wells. They changed the title from “My Guy” to “My God.” In an entertaining way, the song expressed what we are all about during the season Lent that began this past Wednesday. These are the lyrics from the second verse:READ MORE
“I meant what I said and said what I meant, an elephant is faithful one hundred percent!” I still remember those words I read to my nieces and nephew many years ago from the Dr. Seuss book “Horton Hatches the Egg.” Do we always mean what we say and say what we mean? Are our actions and follow through consist with the thoughts, concerns, and actions we speak about? In the last line of today’s Gospel (Luke 6:39-45), Jesus says, “From the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.” What is in our hearts eventually comes out in our words.
Words can be an asset and they can also be a liability. They can express love, truth, kindness, compassion, concern, and forgiveness. How good it is when those kind of words come from our lips because those thoughts are entrenched in our hearts. How sad and tense it is when our words express anger, vengeance, meanness, hatred, and selfishness. Words like that come from a hurting and disappointed heart and cause tension and division.READ MORE
Last Sunday one of the most hyped TV events of the year was broadcast: The Super Bowl. Both teams and their players were interviewed and analyzed before and after the game. At the end, the winning team, the LA Rams, received the Vince Lombardi Trophy for their victory and Cooper Krupp was named MVP, most valuable player.In a very real way every Sunday there is an event that has an infinitely greater effect than any sports event or gathering has ever had or ever will have - Sunday Mass. Our MVP is Jesus Christ, not a most valuable player but the Most Venerable Person in the whole human race. He is the center of our Eucharistic Celebrations with His word and His presence. How blessed we are to have God Himself, Jesus the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, present.READ MORE
In a little over two weeks, we will begin the seasonof Lent with Ash Wednesday. It will be another Lentenseason for us spiritually to “Turn away from sin and befaithful to the Gospel.” As human beings, we are notperfect, but we are loved and cherished by God. Howmuch clearer can His love be than Jesus giving His lifefor our sins on the cross? Lent is a time given to us tolook into our hearts and work on making ourselvesmore aware of God’s goodness to us and God’sgoodness through us. This Lent once again we will bepart of “40 Days For Life” where we will pray together toeliminate the evil of abortion that has plagued us for thelast forty-nine years, with legal protection and supportfrom our government. How can we not be horrified thatmore than 60 million children have been aborted?Currently, in our nation, an abortion on averagetakes place every minute of every day during the year.READ MORE
Go make a diff’rence.
We can make a diff’rence.
Go make a diff’rence in the world.
Go make a diff’rence. We can make a diff’rence.
Go make a diff’rence in the world.
These words are from the lively song we sing sometimes at the end of Mass: “Go Make a Difference.” What kind of difference do we make in the lives of other people? What kind of difference do we make in the life of God? What kind of difference do we make in the life of our nation?READ MORE
“You can’t handle the truth!” That is a powerful line from the movie “A Few Good Men” where Tom Cruise is the military prosecutor of Jack Nicholson who is an officer who ordered one his marines to be killed. Is evil or the denial of the truth or the rights of others ever justifiable? To deny the truth is to live in darkness and error. Denying the truth is nothing new. It is a human trait that inevitably leads to disaster and discord. Lies and falsehoods separate us from God and one another. We see that in the Gospel for today’s Mass (Luke 4:212-30) which continues from the passage we heard last Sunday where Jesus quoted the prophet Isaiah and said He was the one who fulfilled that prophesy: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, ‘Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.’” Jesus spoke those words in a synagogue in His native place. The people were at first amazed at His words but then began to doubt He was who He claimed to be. They walked into darkness and tried to throw Him off the brow of a hill but He walked away from them. Imagine telling Jesus He cannot be the Son of God, He cannot be the long promised and awaited Savior. They could not handle that truth, they could not handle that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.READ MORE
It is always good to hear encouraging news. For centuries, the Jewish people longed for a savior. The prophet Isaiah proclaimed what the Savior would do when he came. In the Gospel for today’s Mass (Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21) Jesus speaks those words and says He is the fulfillment of that promise. The long awaited hope for a Savior was and still is today a reality, the inner hope we all have as human beings: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” While we live in a far more technological world and are very advanced in knowledge, the hopes for the fullness of life in this world and the hopes for eternal life are now a reality. All we have to do is believe in Jesus.READ MORE
Every once in a while I read something I have read many times before and see something I never saw before or something that enlightens me about what is going on in the present moment. This past Tuesday as I was praying morning prayer and reflecting on Psalm 33, this passage gave me food for thought: “The Lord looks on those who revere him, on those who hope in his love, to rescue their souls from death, to keep them alive in famine. Our soul is waiting for the Lord. The Lord is our help and our shield. In him do our hearts find joy. We trust in his holy name.” It is very human and very good to look for help in situations where we are confused, frustrated, and see the need for a change of direction. We are wallowing in the midst of the coronavirus and its variants. We have vaccinations, masks, and quarantines. Yet it seems we are still pretty much in the dark about how and when we will get beyond this dreaded disease and its affect on our former lifestyles. We need the Lord to be “our help and our shield” as we live and work together to find cures and healing.READ MORE
What are you doing here? We ask that question when we encounter someone we did not expect to be where we are at the present moment. At times we are grateful for the unexpected surprise. Other times we are thinking “what does that person want?” And at other times we are not happy to see someone we did not expect. Today we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus. Why did Jesus come to be baptized by John the Baptist? Surely He did not need to turn away from sin or try to wash away guilt. As it says in the first part of the Eucharistic Prayer IV: “Father, you so loved the world that in the fullness of time you sent your only Son to be our Savior. He was conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary, a man like us in all things but sin.” People came to John the Baptist because they were searching for peace. They recognized the tension that sin caused in their lives and wanted to find peace. John the Baptist baptized people not just to help them wash away sin and its effects but even more to prepare them to rise to life with God.READ MORE
We Three Kings of Orient are,
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain,
Moor and mountain,
Following yonder Star.
Star of Wonder, Star of Night,
Star with Royal Beauty bright,
Guide us to Thy perfect Light.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. The above words from the hymn “We Three Kings” speak of their journey in a wondrous way. We have no idea how long their journey actually was. But from the Scriptures we see that they traveled a distance following a star that led them to the Christ child.READ MORE
As much as we make plans and have our daily routines, very often we are asked to give our time and attention to someone who was “not on the schedule” that day. What energizes us In these situations is to see the people involved as opportunities to enrich and in that way being enriched ourselves. Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family. It is always good to be enriched by our family members. I am the oldest of four children, having two sisters and a brother who is the youngest. He is seventeen years younger than me. I used to come home from the seminary and pick him up and down when he was a little boy. Now he is bigger and stronger than I am. But I say he is my brother with great joy. At least a couple times a month I go out to Greenport to see him and have supper with him and his family. It is just good to spend time together. Seemingly we don’t do anything significant but we do. We simply enjoy spending time with each other. His business is putting in gravestones and making stairs. The closest I came to making stairs was a few times putting the screws in the holes he drilled in the back of a couple of sets of stairs so he could follow after with the screw gun to put them in. And I did mix the cement when we put the gravestone on my parents grave.READ MORE
What do you want for Christmas? We readily ask that of children who respond with enthusiasm. The older we get the less we are looking for gifts and the more we see the love that is behind them. For a gift to be a perfect gift it just has to come from the heart.
As we have been getting ready for Christmas the previous two Sundays we have been reminded by the prophets Jeremiah, Baruch, and John the Baptist that God has promised to eliminate all obstacles to His coming presence into our midst. The valleys will be filled in, the mountains leveled, and the crooked roads straightened. Our obstacles to God’s presence are not physical but the busyness, problems, and concerns of our daily lives. The key is to recognize that God did not come in Jesus to put a burden on us, to take away time and energy from our daily lives, but to enrich, guide, and walk with us in all we say and do every day. It is so important to take some time everyday to pray, to focus on Jesus’ presence in our lives and His presence in ours. We are still in the midst of the coronavirus and another strain of it now called the Omicron strain. Our lives have certainly been disrupted and challenged this past year and a half. Where is the light? Where is the hope we all need? The answer is what we are preparing to celebrate on Christmas Day and in reality what we need to celebrate and focus on every day of our lives - Jesus’ presence in our lives and our presence in His. God knows us much better than we know ourselves and has come to walk with us Himself in Jesus.READ MORE
Do you love Christmas traditions but don't know where they come from? Tune in for Dr. Michael Patrick Barber's Advent reflections called "The True Meaning of Christmas" and learn the meaning behind your favorite Christmas pastimes. To go deeper, be sure to get his accompanying book, The True Meaning of Chirstmas, available on the Catholic.Market.
One of the ways we come to see what those who have lived before us experienced is to read history. We read about different kinds of governments, advances in technology, and problems they faced and how they dealt with them. Other than the perfection of the Garden of Eden, which was short lived because of human sinfulness, there has never been a form of government or moral code that all people have come to see and embrace as THE way to live. In the Gospel for today’s Mass (Luke 3:1-6) we see St. Luke giving us the political environment into which Jesus and John the Baptist were born. Tiberius Caesar, Pontus Pilate, and Herod are names that are familiar to us because they were people who had a role in how Jesus was received. They were pagans and had no interest in changing their way of life or leading the people they ruled in a new direction. Jesus was not seen as a gift but sadly as a nuisance to be executed.READ MORE