Monday, February 29, 2016

Extra Time

Friends of Faith:
Everyone I know wishes for more time. More time with our spouses, more time with our families and friends, more time to get one more thing finished on our list. Even more time for God.
This is February 29th, a Leap Year. Today IS an “extra day.” What will I do with my “extra time?”

I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea, and all of them were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. All ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was the Christ. Yet God was not pleased with most of them, for they were struck down in the desert.
These things happened as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil things, as they did. Do not grumble as some of them did, and suffered death by the destroyer. These things happened to them as an example, and they have been written down as a warning to us, upon whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall. 1 Cor 10: 1-6, 10-12
As St. Paul recalls, God gave everyone the same baptism, a Baptism that gave us each grace. Grace to do God’s will.

God also gives everyone a second chance, just as he did the Israelites coming out of Egypt in the Exodus.
And God gives us all time. Extra time, because no time is really ours, time does not belong to the creature, but to the creator. All time is really Gods. And St. Paul reminds us in this passage that we are not secure if we don’t take good care of our time by being truly IN God’s time.

As baptized Christians our most “inner being” isn’t what tempts us to desire “evil” things. Yet, in fact, we know that there is much evil in this world.
Nor is it grace that allows us to choose to not use our time wisely or as God wills.

In fact, as baptized Christians our most “inner being” has and knows a desire to be fulfilled by God, to know God, to love God (and his creation), and to bring others to know him. St. Augustine wrote: “Thou hast made us for thyself O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds rest in thee.” So whether those desires are staring us in our face, or have been pushed as far back as we can, the desire, the grace to become holy is deep inside.
And this same grace is a grace that allows me to know that I want to spend my time doing whatever God wants me to do for myself and for others. But making those decisions and managing my time is difficult – because I am human – because God gave me the free will to make my own choices and because God allows there to be both His choice and the opportunity to choose something other than His choice.

God gives us all time—because God made all time. Every millisecond is a time to make God a habit. And each second, each hour, each day – TODAY – we are important to him.
Everyone fills their time with something. Everyone is busy, or gives the impression that they are busy doing something. So this is about what I am doing with MY time, how I am justifying MY time.

Am I really too busy today, or am I just putting it off until tomorrow; am I hiding behind other “jobs and duties,” too busy to see or to want to know, how God is calling me; or am I too busy doing what I think of as God’s work and missing what God is actually wanting me to do? Or am I so busy doing good things, but like those wandering in the desert so long ago, grumbling about the things that go wrong, the people that don’t appear to be doing “anything” to help or wishing that had more time to do what I selfishly want to do for myself?
God’s desire for my time is quite simple. It is for me to spend that time to know him (study, seek the truth); to love him (spend time with him); and to serve him (by being a servant to others, no matter how difficult that job may be.)

Yet, how will I spend my “extra time?”

In many ways my answer to God’s call, what I do at times other than the hour I spend at Sunday mass, reflects what are my truest priorities—whether it is what my heart desires or not. Those “free” minutes, the unscheduled hours that I spend  grumbling or gossiping, being tuned into TV, Facebook, or email, or really anytime that I am doing what I want rather than doing what God is asking of me tells God who I am, what I value and how important He truly is to me.
There is no time like the present time! There is no time like this extra day in a normal year. There is no time better than now to read and study God’s scripture,  Church teachings, and early church fathers like St. Augustine, to become a servant (yes this may mean doing something difficult, or not in my comfort zone), or to sit quietly and answer the yearning in my heart to be in God’s presence.

Heavenly Father, You call me to know you, to love you, and to serve you TODAY. Help me to seek Your grace, to serve Your people, and to know the truth. Thank you for this extra day to remind me that every day I have to be with you is “extra.” Amen.
Make today “extra” special for God – and for someone else in your life as well,

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Be Holy

Friends of Faith:

Often times my goals are short sighted, or short lived, but the Lenten readings help me recall that my mission here on earth isn’t fame, wealth, power, prosperity or even happiness. As a Christian my true mission here on earth is to become holy.
The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the whole assembly of the children of Israel and tell them: “Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.” Lv 19: 1-2 (This verse is followed by the list of the Ten Commandments.)

In the New Testament Jesus gives us a greater commandment: “To Love one another, AS I have Loved you.” And his instructions and witness were on HOW I am to accomplish this task:
Jesus said to his disciples: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him.  And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food,  ….’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Mt 25: 31-42

As a Christian, a friend, a parent and a spouse it is good to be reminded that my goal shouldn’t be for WHAT I can achieve on earth, but for HOW God calls me to be for others. Becoming holy doesn’t happen because I am “good,” becoming holy happens because my actions help others see Christ in their lives. My true goal should be to achieve heaven, to think about HOW GOD will judge me when I die and to remember that I don’t know when my last day will be so I need to take every opportunity to love today. Being Holy is about living EVERYDAY as if it is my last day.
The Bible (Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth) is in fact full of ways to make me holy – none of them exclusive of any other. If we believe in one page, even one verse, then we must believe in the entire book.

God is a package deal. Not only did He leave himself in the physical words of the Bible, BUT his “word became flesh” in His son, Jesus, who instituted a physical Church to instruct and unify His people AND who died to redeem our sins. AND, finally he completed the “package” by sending the Holy Spirit to place himself into our hearts.
Becoming holy isn’t to pick and choose from a buffet line of offerings to say I am good at one thing or another or that I believe one thing, but not the other. Becoming holy is to be ready to do whatever God’s call is for me today even if it is something I don’t feel particularly good at, or want to do, or that take me by surprise, or happen unexpectedly (good or bad).

Not only am I called to be holy in and for myself, but my call is to be a witness, to lead and to bring others to holiness.
St Paul in his famous passage on marriage (Eph 5: 21-33) says that husbands and wives are to love each other as Christ loved us (he died for us) so that in doing so the other will be made spotless and unblemished – holy in his sight.

Wherever and whenever I turn in my reading and reflection, God’s Holy Word inspires me to do for others, be for Him, ask of Him and to be ready to receive Him as a WHOLE, so that I can become more like Him: Holy in his sight.
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer: Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart find favor before you. (Ps 19:15) Make my Lenten journey be one of holiness, wisdom and good judgment. Help me to recognize and not turn my back on the sick, homeless, naked or imprisoned, especially those who are struggling nearest to me. Thank you for giving me instructions and a Savior, Jesus, so that when I fail I can be redeemed. Open my eyes to understand, my thoughts to find wisdom and my heart to have the courage to choose Your goal for me, holiness, instead of living to achieve my short term desires. Amen.

Just as Moses spent 40 years leading the people to the promised land and Jesus spent 40 days in the desert before his death, these 40 days of Lent are my time to “wander” closer to holiness: to welcome, visit, feed, cloth AND love whomever, whichever, least of my brothers is set near, on, or even “coincidentally” in my path.
God, Jesus, Spirit. The Word, The Flesh, The Soul. The Bible, The Church, The Heart. Teach me to Love, Guide me to Love, Form me to Love. Holy, Holy, Holy.

Be Holy and inspire others to be Holy.


Monday, February 8, 2016


Friends of Faith:
Thankfully since last Monday night our phone has gotten much quieter and I can actually sit and eat, watch TV or take a 5 minute nap without being interrupted by a political phone call or message. One thing the political candidates know how to do very well is to try to convince us that they are the right person.

If we think about it, this same thing has been going on for hundreds of thousands of years. Someone is constantly trying to evangelize us and convince us that we should follow them because their point of view is right. Someone tried to convince someone else that they should cheer for or follow the Broncos or the Panthers, the Republicans or the Democrats, the Union or the Confederacy, the Christians or the Jews, Isaac or Ishmael, or God or the Devil.

Not only are we asked to choose a side, but we feel compelled to convince others that A choice, our choice, is the Right choice.
I think we can all agree that of these choices there is only one that has always been THE RIGHT choice – God. We will always be right if we honor God and follow His command. Yet how often do we evangelize for what He designed, for what God has proclaimed to be right?

God IS Love. God designed life to BE love. God designed marriage to continue to give life AND love. This was his first command to Adam and Eve – to be fruitful and to multiply; so that God’s love, life itself, would continue to BE shown to others through our own lives.
God sent us Jesus to teach and give us forgiveness: Jesus showed us mercy and love. God sent us the Holy Spirit to guide us: so that we would know how to serve each other in love. God appointed and made covenants with Abraham, Moses, David, Peter and His successor Bishops (the design of the Church) to lead His people. God promised them that He would give us our daily bread – that we would need nothing but Him.

“Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.” Lk 5:11
God gave us everything we have and everything we need. And then He asked us to become fishers of men, to speak up for Him, to be His voice to others – so that by our actions, in our prayer, in our deeds and in our words, every person would come to know Him. He directed the apostles, the first priestly followers of Christ (Christians), to leave everything else behind and to follow him.

We were not put here to choose between insignificant sports teams, to be divided into political parties, or to glorify and honor some voice, bachelor or Star Trek star. Our choice shouldn’t first be about the economy or the environment, about what food we eat or in what nation we sleep, but rather about how to protect, populate and promulgate life itself.
Our “job” is to love, to be givers of life and fishers of men; to protect the life we have been given and to spread God’s word so that more may be blessed with knowing His infinite love and living in his heavenly kingdom.

The devil has been working overtime to trick us into thinking that other choices are more important than the first choice: God’s gift of life. If we only look at the political forum, it is shouting volumes to confuse and spread messages contrary to, and seemingly more important, than God’s carefully planned design to continue His kingdom, here on earth and in heaven.
The devil has convinced some that a child may be an economic burden instead of God’s continued creation to spread and show us how to love. What if the life we choose to deny is God’s design to be His next Abraham or Peter?

The devil has convinced some that marriage isn’t about a unity to procreate God’s children, but rather a means to give human pleasure. Choosing to honor God by honoring His commandments may mean that we must take up His cross and deny ourselves.
The devil is convincing some that we shouldn’t open our doors to share our daily bread by serving to love those who are in need. What if we (not a government) have been put here to be God’s hands to give someone their daily bread?

Satan temps us to turn away from God and to “fish” for ourselves, our pleasures, our happiness, rather than to be “fishers” of men, to show others God’s love and call others to God’s kingdom. His mission is to divide us and separate us from God’s design.
Heavenly Father, You have given us the first and greatest gift, life itself, so that Your heavenly kingdom will be shared by all. Help me to spread Your message to others so that more may come to know you. Help me to be a more loving, more compassionate, more convicted fisher of men and women. Grant me mercy when I fall to the devil’s deception and serve myself. Help me to keep You first in my life. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be one with you each week in the celebration of the Eucharist. Amen.

We are all searching. No human is perfect. But God has told us that the Holy Spirit will guide us; that the Church will lead us and that hope will energize us so that we can confidently spread His design to others.
If you are looking for a retreat, renewal and/or a time for evangelization with Jesus and other “fishers of men/women” please consider the women’s CEW next weekend, Feb 19-21 or the men’s CEW Feb 26-28. For more information or a brochure on CEW go to

There has never been a better time to unite and to Go Forth to Spread His Good Word,

Monday, February 1, 2016

I Know You, do you Know Me?

Friends of Faith:

God knows what is best for us. Do we allow God to show us His way or do we choose our own path?

While the bible, God’s word, should be taken as a whole, and not just a partial phrase here or there, I have a favorite instruction from Paul’s instructions to the early Church that I believe if we even thought about once every day would bring every household closer to the heavenly household.

“Brothers and sisters: Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts. But I shall show you a still more excellent way. If I speak in human and angelic tongues, but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 
“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it is not pompous, It is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
1 Cor 12: 31 – 13: 1-8

Love isn’t a warm and fuzzy feeling. Love is a verb. Love is an action word. It is not what I feel when I receive and it is not what I feel when I am served. Rather it is what I give WHEN I serve and it is what I give when I forgive. Love is not to WANT some THING, but to WANT TO GIVE something, to put Christ IN things (our choices).

Paul’s definition of God’s love is a reading that I like to go back to as a guide in making my own decisions and in guiding others towards theirs.

How many times am I an angel, who gives away everything, and has faith to move mountains and yet, when I speak I complain about someone else’s faults –and I am a clashing cymbal; who finds it easy to give a dollar in the collection plate but am stingy with saying yes when it comes to helping at a funeral dinner or taking the time to check on a neighbor? And has my silence in the political arena become approval for those who say “it’s my choice?”

Patience, kindness, humility, putting others first, choosing life, forgiving, choosing God is, are, and can all be tough choices.

It will hurt when I have to watch my child sit on the bench because I made the choice that Sunday mass came before practice or an early morning game.

I may have to “make up” time because I “gave up” time to check in on a neighbor or to listen to a friend’s woes.

I may feel like a failure or be shunned by a longtime friend because I courageously spoke the truth about God’s gift of life: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you.” Jer 1: 4-5 (Will your candidate in tonight’s caucus protect human life from the very moment of conception?)

This is the Year of Mercy. Will I forgive those who think differently than I do, or the person who disrespected my space or belongings? Forgiveness is one of the toughest challenges of love.

Love is the greatest and often toughest choice. Choosing God’s love is much different than choosing who, what and when I want to love. Choosing God’s love is serving others needs before my own. Choosing God’s love means to forgive and to have tolerance of the faults of others. Choosing love means owning up to my mistakes and to find God in the acceptance of whatever challenges I face. (Think about this in terms of your spouse, a wayward child, or the brother, sister or parent who has done something hurtful or unjust towards some member of the family.)

God knows me. Do I know Him? Am I expecting someone else to take care of the problems, or am I being called to be the solution?

Heavenly Father, You are patient, kind, all knowing and all loving. I know that I fail you in many ways by choosing what I think is right for me, better for another, or best for the world. Help me to know you, to seek you and to serve you in Your way, not mine. Teach me how it is that you want me to love. Help me to forgive and to find the good in others. Thank you for allowing me to see Your love especially when I am not loved for trying to follow You.  Amen.

To know Him is to love Him. He knows (loves) us regardless of what we do or have done. Do we know (love) Him and do we allow Him to forgive, know and love us? And do we love and forgive others AS He does for us?

Strive for patience, kindness, understanding and humility. Love may not always FEEL good, but LOVE never fails.