October 12:

Fr. Don here.

“You have a greater than Jonah here.” And we still ask for signs and wonders. Why is that? Are we so forgetful or have such short memories that we forget that Jesus lived, died, rose from the dead and sent his disciples to all nations to witness to his promise and glory? Do we really believe that Jesus did not tell the truth that he would take us to himself? Or are we so filled with fear and worry that we still need convincing that Jesus has not abandoned and forsaken us? When will we finally let the power of Jesus’ promise be enough for us. Then we will live in true freedom, free to give our own testimony about how faithful he has been to us and how he has blessed us. Maybe today will be that day of great freedom!

October 11:

Fr. Don here.

If you get an invitation, what is your first reaction? Is it positive? Oh boy, another party to attend. Another fun time with lots of people. Or is it negative? Wow, another party. I thought we just saw all of them. What night is that? Is anything else scheduled? Now think about your reaction to invitations that God gives you. Come to the table of plenty! Really every Sunday? I will give you life eternal. But I have to do what you tell me to do? I will forgive you over and over again! Only if I forgive others like you forgive me. Really? You have been given an invitation to the ultimate feast! What is your response?

October 10:

Fr. Don here.

How long have you been hearing the Word of God? I know it’s been quite a few years for me. Reading the Bible, taking scripture courses, going to mass and preaching for 43 years, always hearing the Word of God. But have been really hearing or just happen to be close enough for the sound to hit my eardrum but not really listening. Jesus offers a blessing in the gospel today for those who “hear the Word of God and keep it.” So it’s not enough to let the sound vibrate my eardrum or enough to really be listening. We have to actually keep it. Fulfilling the Word of God means living it out, giving good example by our behavior and being a witness of the Word Made Flesh. What a great way to spend today!

October 9:

Fr. Don here.

We know there is an ongoing battle between good and evil. We see it in a magnified way in the world at large but that same battle takes place in each of us. We become conscious of choices that lead to life and those that lead to dying in us. We sometimes blame outside powers. Those of you who remember a comedian named Flip Wilson, you’ll remember his favorite saying. The devil made me do it. We who are baptized have been given a gift. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead resides in each of us. Do you really believe there is a power greater than that? Maybe we haven’t practiced having access to that power. How often to we submit our choices to that conscious question, will this bring me life or death? Do we speak to God regularly, offering to God all that is before us or do we only seek God when depending solely on ourselves has failed. As you awaken today, lay your day into the hands of God. Promise to listen to the stirrings of your mind and heart, as the Spirit urges you all day toward life. Exercise your freedom and power to choose with the Spirit!

October 8:

Fr. Don here.

Our gospel today describes the dream of God for the people of God, which is ALL people. “Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.” We all know that the only way that will happen is if we buy into God’s dream and commit to it with our whole mind, soul, heart and strength. We can’t wait til everyone is on board before we say yes. Otherwise we stand paralyzed, waiting for others to respond. We only control our own lives. Can you say yes to babies who need diapers and the homeless who need blankets, coats and shelter as winter approaches? Can you say yes to stopping to listen as someone pours out their heart, of course with mask in place? Can you say yes to providing non-perishable foods for the hungry and unemployed or underemployed? This is how the dream of God comes to fulfillment. When we commit our just and merciful portion God blesses it 100-fold.

October 7:

Fr. Don here.

When the disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray, they were following a great tradition. One generation teaches the next how to pray. Do you remember who the people were who taught you to pray. When Jesus taught them what we now call The Lord’s Prayer, he included the basic elements of any great prayer addressed to God. It starts by acknowledging who God is and giving praise to God. There is a declaration of the promises of God and what the pray-er wishes to be fulfilled. It almost always includes some form of petitions, with ways for that petition to be granted. The prayer ends by placing the pray-er into the hands of God, surrendering to God’s will. Speak to God today and exercise your privilege to teach another to pray. Give to another the gift that some disciple gave to you.

October 6:

Fr. Don here.

Sibling rivalry can be a tough thing. Even though brothers and sisters come from the same blood line they can be so different. One loves to sit and listen and learn while the other likes to serve and organize and take care of. What doesn’t work well is if I want you to like what I like and do life like I do. It doesn’t work to judge how much someone loves you and values you by how they live like you live. We are all quite different , and as scripture says, “we have differing gifts.” Our jealousy and rivalry often keeps us from celebrating our diversity and benefiting from each other’s strengths. Let’s lift each other up today. Let’s celebrate the great variety of our talents, gifts and charisms. Let’s embrace the richness God has given us in each other.

October 5:

Fr. Don here.

The road from Jerusalem to Jericho leads through some desolate and isolated areas. Even though this was a necessary path of travel to fulfill religious traditions it was dangerous. Considering the social norms of the day, it is not surprising that several people would pass by an injured person, a threatening and suspicious enemy. Jesus teaches us that we must overcome any hatred or or prejudice that keeps us from responding to any other person in need, even our own security. Let us pray for courage and a deeper care and love of our enemy.

October 4:

Fr. Don here.

God has prepared a special workplace for us. In this weekend’s scriptures the image of a vineyard is used again. Notice how much work and pride the owner puts into it. The only thing the owner wants is for the tenants to use this beautiful vineyard to produce good and plentiful fruit. Table might be a good time to look at the fine design God has made of our world and how freely God has entrusted it to us. God’s expectation is that we might produce good and plentiful fruit. Has God entrusted anyone to you so that you can nurture them, cherish them and bring them to full growth? How are you doing with that? Has God entrusted you with possessions and bounty so that you can use it to produce beauty for the sake of others? How’s that going? Most of us cherish gifts for a while until the next shiny person or thing comes along. Neglect or entitlement might start to creep in. It might be time to awaken to the gifts that God has entrusted to us. Let us bear fruit that will last and be worthy of God’s trust in us.

October 3:

Fr. Don here.

Don’t miss the miracles and wonders that come your way each day. We are living privileged lives and sometimes think we earned it or deserve it. We have been blessed so that we can witness God’s glory, live grateful lives, share our abundant blessings generously and seek to be humble. Scripture reminds us that many people have prayed for and wished for lives like ours. Let’s not get numb to the gifts of God’s graciousness and forget to acknowledge the giver. Let’s not become possessive and greedy when these gifts are meant for the good of all, especially those most in need. God is glorified in our acts of mercy and love.

October 2:

Fr. Don here.

The Feast of the Guardian Angels is a celebration of God’s personal love for you. We are watched over and cared for by God even moment of our lives, even into eternity. God’s angels are messengers of God, carrying his love to us. Take some time today to pause and take in the gift of God’s personal love for you, especially if today is being difficult for you. God’s love is real, personal and without condition or end. As you breathe in and out, as your heart beats over and over again, that is how real and present is Gods love. Rest in it. Abide in it. Trust in it. Lean into it. Rely on it.

October 1:

Fr. Don here.

“But as for me”. With those words, even though he had been through great hardship and loss, Job decides to stand on his faith In God and trust in God’s faithfulness. Imagine what it took for him to do that. Pain and suffering can be a turning point. We can choose to shut down our side of the relationship with God or go deeper with God. I pray that we would each remember, even in times of trouble and disappointment, that God has promised and God will fulfill those promises. Give that full YES today to the One who will always be faithful!

September 30:

Fr. Don here.

Looking back instead of forward is not a good move in scripture. Remember Lot’s wife? Today we are cautioned to keep our eyes on the “plow” once we have put our hand to it. Since I’m not a farmer I’ll just guess that you can’t keep the plow rows straight if your not looking ahead of your current position. We all have been distracted from our present tasks by being preoccupied by the past. What haunts you from the past and keeps you distracted in this moment. Why ruin the present by spending time and attention on what has already gone by. Cut your ties with anything that diverts your necessary attention for the tasks that God sets before you today. The past is past, gone and over. Breathe freely in this present moment. This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

September 29:

Fr. Don here.

Today we celebrate the mighty messengers of God who stand ready at the throne of God to do his bidding and to praise and worship him. Maybe we could use their example as a pattern for our behavior today. Let us praise and worship God in word and deed today and stand ready to do what God asks us to do. What a privilege to mimic and copy these mighty ones.

September 28:

Fr. Don here.

Is your faith in God the same when you are experiencing blessing as well as when you are experiencing want? Job seems to be able to take quite a few calamities and still trust in God. His faith seems to acknowledge that all blessings come from God and can disappear just as quickly. The practice of faith means holding our gifts with open hands, cherishing them while we have them, willing to share then and knowing they are not our permanent possession. Cherish your blessings today and look for ways to share them.

September 27:

Fr. Don here.

The Prophet Ezekiel reminds us that our days on earth are limited. Instead of using this time for senseless things like hatred, violence, prejudice, selfishness and vainglory we are encouraged to live with a fruitful emptiness. Leaving room for the movement and actions of God means that something has to be emptied out. It may be possessions or busyness or numbing behaviors or unnecessary isolation or close-mindedness or hard-heartedness. These take up room in our hearts and lives, crowding out the mindset and warm heart that God wants us to have. Have fun emptying the unnecessary and harmful!

September 26:

Fr. Don here.

Acting as if our earthly existence is al that matters is vanity. We have an eternal part of us. We ought to act as if that’s true. All our acts of love or indifference carry lasting consequences. How we treat the lowly and those who hate us has lasting consequences. Whether we lord it over others or wash each other’s feet has lasting consequences. Whether we forgive or hold grudges, share what we have or act selfishly, go the extra mile or just do the minimum or whether you accompany others on the journey or climb on them to get higher. These all have eternal consequences. How will you practice today for your eternity?

September 25:

Fr. Don here.

There couldn’t be a more appropriate scripture for the current situation. So many of us want to change the time we are in but the scripture tells us the there is a time for everything, including a pandemic. Instead of escaping and avoiding, there is a time to embrace whatever is in front of us. So what is this pandemic revealing in you to deal with? Is it time to develop patience, time to increase your care for others, time to love being by yourself, time to reflect on your mortality or time to __________. Fill in the blank. Don’t wait. Now is the time!

September 24:

Fr. Don here.

“In every age you are our refuge.” Oh God you are our safe harbor, our place of refreshment and peace. Your constant and unending love is our true life source and the wellspring of all goodness. You satisfy our longings and we find our true home in you. Oh God, while we remain on this earth help us stay engaged in your mission of healing, forgiveness and compassion. Help us to trust that whatever we give others on your Name will be returned to us 100-fold. Being our refuge frees us to be your people. May we take every opportunity to offer others safe refuge as we have been given by God.

September 23:

Fr. Don here.

“Take nothing for the journey.” What trust it takes to not take the extras or the necessities. It might be that we don’t really trust each other or maybe even we might not trust God. Do you believe that all that you have is because of your doing? What is the part that God plays in providing for your needs? Do you believe anything good by remaining dependent on others for your needs? Are you worth other people caring for you and filling your needs? How might you voluntarily remain in need of others today?

September 22: 

Fr. Don here.

“To the humble God will show mercy.” That is quite the promise that God has given us. All we have to do is work on our humility. The first shall be last. We get to choose taking the last place instead of being first. We get to humbly listen to others with compassion and forgiveness. Practicing humility means being willing to know that we don’t know everything and that we need to continue to learn and grow. Our humble status toward God and others will open our lives to receive God’s mercy. Knowing that there is one more powerful than we are gives us a thirst for mercy and compassion. The practice of the virtue of humility will leave an opening in us for God’s love. Enjoy creating the emptiness.

September 21:

Fr. Don here.

Among the most hated people of Jesus’ time were tax collectors. They worked for the Romans, the occupiers, and collected their taxes for them and any more money they could get out of the local people. They were not trusted and judged to be unclean. One of those was Matthew, the Apostle. I’m not sure if Jesus was consciously trying to start a fight or cause friction, but choosing someone like Matthew made people rethink the social and religious structure of the day. Either Jesus was a blasphemer or he was trying to upset the judgments of “good religious people.” How are you befriending and loving and bringing to Gods table those judged unworthy and impure? How does your radical love get people to rethink justice and mercy?

September 20:

Fr. don here.

“Are you envious because I am generous?” Most of us would answer no, especially if God’s generosity is extended to us. We appreciate and depend upon the fact that God sees our weakness and sin and generously shares blessing and grace with us. We are grateful that God does not choose only a few and limits benevolence. But then we notice that someone else seems to be having an easier life or seems to get out of tight squeezes over and over again and we want the life that they have. Or we notice someone whom we have judged as unworthy entering church or performing religious duties and we say “who do they think they are?” We are uncomfortable that God doesn’t act the way we want God to act. Let’s pray that we notice the times that we refuse to celebrate God’s magnanimity and purify ourselves so that we can celebrate with God “the one who was lost and is now found.”

September 19:

Fr. Don here.

“I shall walk in the presence of the Lord in the land of the living”. That is what we get to do today. We get to walk and sit and stand in God’s presence all day and night. Imagine if we could keep that at the front of our minds as we made each choice about what to do today. We are in God’s presence, not just in church, but wherever we go and whatever we do. As it is with all those we love, we want to spend our time in their presence in graciousness and kindness, acting and choosing our best stuff. How will your consciousness of God being with you effect your choices today?

September 18:

Fr. Don here.

“He went about preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God.” I’m wondering if you have had enough of division, hatred, arguing and fighting. I’m wondering if you would like to change the way the world is right now. Have you been waiting for someone else or something else to change? Wait no longer. Have hope in the one thing you control. Your life! How would your world be different today if you spent every ounce of your life proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God? Do you have some good news to share today about the difference Jesus has made in your life? Don’t get baited into another endless argument. Speak about the power of God’s love in your life. Be a witness! Be the bearer of Good News!

September 17:

Fr. Don here.

Jesus was often cautioned to watch the company he kept. He hung out with sinners and outcasts, those ostracized by others, those thought to be unworthy of God’s love and mercy. How many times do we need to hear and read these stories to begin to believe and live as Jesus did. Crossing cultural boundaries and violating social mores were choices that Jesus made to convey the limitlessness of his Father’s mercy. What could that look like for us today? What boundaries need to be crossed in our lives to display the magnitude of God’s love?

September 16:

Fr. Don here.

Familiar scriptures either gain our full attention or we have heard it before and don’t really listen. Today’s first reading about love is proclaimed at almost every wedding. Love is a fashionable thing to hear about at weddings. But “what’s love got to do with it?” For Jesus it is everlasting. You can do lots of marvelous things but “if you have not love” they mean nothing. Today might be a good day to go below the surface. Look beyond the outer doors and look into the attitude of heart. Are you patient, kind, not jealous, not pompous, not rude, not inflated, not seeking your own interest, not quick-tempered, not brooding over wrongdoing. The list goes on but you can read it. (1Cor 12:31-13:13). This ought to keep us busy for the rest of our lives.

September 15: Our Lady of Sorrows

Fr. Don here.

At Jesus presentation in the temple, Simeon says “you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” Simeon’s word foretell how Mary will become Our Lady of Sorrows. As she witnesses her son’s life and the suffering that became his expression of love, we see the heart of Mary laid wide open out of love. No wonder so many find in Mary one who understands a mother’s mission in life and the joys and sorrows that come with it. Imagine the sorrows that many mothers carry and how they find a harbor of healing through Mary. Let us join our sorrows to one who truly understands and has shown us how to embrace suffering for the sake of love.

September 14: Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Fr. Don here.

“So that the world might be saved through him.” The sole purpose for Jesus to come into our world was to save us. He did that through one of the greatest acts of love on the history of humanity. Lots of people come into the world with power and influence to show us cheap love. Jesus didn’t settle for cheap love. He showed us what real love looks like and it means to truly save the world. Giving your life for your enemies and those who betray, that’s true and unconditional love. As we exult the cross today, let us not just venerate the wood but truly venerate Jesus by imitating his love today. Anybody have any enemies or betrayers who you would die for? Let us walk in his footsteps.

September 13:

Fr. Don here.

Unlimited forgiveness is what God offers to us and God expects us to treat others as we have been treated. God never asks if we deserve it, if we’ve earned it or if we can promise to be perfect. God doesn’t hold on to wrath and anger but instead gives a bounty of endless love. What will it take for us to finally act as God would have us act? The scripture tells us to be mindful of the fact that we will not live on this earth forever. There will come a time when we will count on Gods mercy to be extended to us though we are still unworthy of such great love. Scripture asks the question “how can we expect God to treat us with mercy when we haven’t treated friend and enemy with mercy?” Our gratitude for God’s love toward us opens our hearts to give others the same gift. What a wonderful world this could be!

September 12:

Fr. Don here.

The straightforward words in Luke’s gospel give us clear advice and images to measure our lives and choices against. “A good tree produces good fruit.” We can look at what is borne from our lives and know pretty clearly what kind of life we are leading. Good fruit that lasts forever. Our lives should bear Godly fruit such as love, forgiveness and compassion. “Build your house’s foundation on rock.” To bear Godly fruit our “rock” must be Jesus and for us to be his disciples. Let’s grab the basin and the towel and wash some feet.

September 11: 

Fr. Don here.

The next time any of us notice something in someone else’s life it’s time to look at ourselves before we point out anything to them. Scripture tells us that it is so easy to see a splinter in someone else’s eye and miss the beam in our own. Test it out. We notice other people’s flaws and sins without paying attention to our own. We do we condemn and judge another when we have so much to take care of in ourselves. Maybe we think we’re better. Maybe we try to hide our stuff by accusing others. Maybe we can’t face what we see in ourselves. Let’s do our personal work first. Then our comments about others might be tinged with more compassion.

September 10: 

Fr. Don here.

“Stop judging. Stop condemning.” How can we do that in such a polarized environment? Jesus tells us that our first move, our first choice and our only motivation is love. All else is rubbish. He tells us that our baptism ought to make a difference in how we live. Does it? Or is our only faith concern whether or not I get to heaven. The law of love, which contains all other laws and commandments, becomes the foremost criteria for what we say and do and forms our attitude toward others. Let us pray for a moment of consciousness and freedom before we say or do anything. Let us use that moment to as that most important question. Is what I’m about to say or do loving? If not don’t do it. If yes do it with your whole mind, soul, and heart.

September 9:

Fr. Don here.

“The measure you measure with will be measured back to you.” There are consequences for how we act. If I am stingy toward others or cheat others or give the very least then that is what I can expect in return. Jesus did not teach us to live in measured ways. He taught us to give all in service to others, to lose our life so we can gain it. We usually give measured responses when there is a lack of love. Love doesn’t do the minimum or try to cheat. Love gives all. Today look for ways to give in abundance, in overwhelming generosity. Give with freedom, not expectation.

September 8:

Fr. Don here.

Today we celebrate the Birth of Mary. Nothing extraordinary about celebrating birthdays, right? But this birthday began the unfolding of God’s renewed promise to us. We don’t know much about the details of her birth. We know that God often picks seemingly insignificant people from out of the way places to do some of his most amazing missions. We celebrate Mary as ultimate disciple of Jesus from conception to living to dying to rising. May we, simple and insignificant people that we are, be as open to saying YES to the imitation that God gives us today.

September 7: Labor Day

Fr. Don here.

Labor Day reminds us that meaningful employment is part of what each family needs to be able to live peaceful and full lives. In our current pandemic many jobs have been lost. For those of you struggling for a job that allows you to support your family, I am praying with and for you. Let us pray in thanksgiving for those employers who care for their employees and offer benefits that help their workers flourish. Let us pray for all who labor for the good of all. We are served by so many people who’s work keeps us alive. Let us pray for them and express our gratitude when we can. Enjoy the holiday.

September 6:

Fr. Don here.

For every virtue there is an accompanying vice. A careful eye and heart can keep us watchful for the overtaking of the virtue by the vice. Any of us who are organized and oriented to detail, if not careful, become controlling and dictatorial. Our scriptures this weekend ask us to keep a watchful eye and heart when someone does anything against us. We know that we are called to forgiveness and charity, but how easy it is to choose revenge or holding a grudge. We might even be tempted to gossip or slander. We are called to be in community with all of God’s creation. Let us seek virtue and uphold our relationships with God, our friends and our enemies.

September 5:

Fr. Don here.

A shout out this morning to all of you who might feel alone and frightened, all those who are worrying and anxious. The Lord is near to those who call upon him. He is with you and has not and never will leave you. Leave the past and the future where they belong. The past is gone. Why bring any piece of it back? The future hasn’t even happened. Let it happen in the future not imagine it now. Do today and just today. Let yourself be totally honest with God today. Stay in conversation with him through the joys and sorrows of today. Today will have some wonderful surprises and some scary moments but you are never alone. You are shrouded with Gods love. Choose to believe that with all your heart.

September 4:

Fr. Don here.

“We are servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” How’s that for a job description of discipleship? Servants are the one who do the washing of feet, the acts of hospitality and who are ready and listening for the wishes of the one they serve to be expressed. They are ready to do what they are asked to do. We already know the direction that Jesus wants us to take as his servants. But what are the specific “washings” and acts of hospitality? What will he ask us to do in service to him? And stewards of the mysteries, wow! We are entrusted to care for the mysteries of God. What would you say you have been entrusted with? The mystery of life, the mystery of love, the mystery of forgiveness and compassion, the mystery of generosity! What an awesome and mighty stewardship to embrace.

September 3:

Fr. Don here.

Sometimes we get so full of ourselves and our own self-sufficiency that we think asking for help or depending on God is a sign of weakness or failure. Sometimes we get so sure of ourselves, our plans, our own understanding and wisdom that we refuse to hear, listen and learn the ways of Jesus. Humility practiced daily primes us to be open to wisdom and grace as it comes our way. Who might you be tempted to pass by or ignore today. Listen and be attentive. God chooses the lowly to confound the proud and arrogant. May we listen when God asks us to do something again, even if our foulest attempt was fruitless.

September 2:

Fr. Don here.

“But God caused the growth”. When Paul experienced infighting among the early Christian community in Corinth he addressed it head on. Why fight over who is the greatest disciple, apostle, teacher, healer or preacher when we know that it is God who causes the growth. Any acknowledgement sought after that is pure ego driven. Why do we fight amongst each other about who is the greatest this or that. If good comes from it God is the source. We certainly want to be great at what we are called to do but not for our own glory but for the glory of God. What part of our ego needs to be set aside for the sake of God’s glory?

September 1:

Fr. Don here.

Jesus speaks with authority and evil is subject to him. This startles people as it would most of us. But can we take this truth from scripture as a gift for all of us today. We all grapple with evil every day. Some is a result of our own personal choices. Some evil is the accumulation of the choices of many humans throughout history. If Jesus has the authority to overpower evil, why don’t we call on him? Is it that we don’t really believe that he can make a difference? Is it because we think it’s old fashioned to think of good and evil? Is it because we think we are too powerful and self-sufficient to need any help? Is it because we think we are so horrible that we are hopeless and he would never help us? Have the courage to take an urgings to do evil to Jesus. That means consciously acknowledging that Jesus is more powerful than you? Choose to be his partner today to letting his authority be know in your life. It will effect every moment, both joy and suffering, and everything in between. Rest in his power and authority!

August 31:

Fr. Don here.

Jesus had some trouble in his home town. What people thought they knew about him lowered their expectations of him and limited what he was able to do at home. Did you ever have that happen to you or did you ever do that to someone else? We label each other and we choose what we want to believe another person is capable of. We don’t allow others to live up to their own potential. Then we judge when they underachieve. Let us lift each other up to our full potential.

August 30:

Fr. Don here.

Last week Peter called Jesus the Son of the Living God. Then Jesus tells him he can’t tell anyone. Why might that be? We see the evidence in Peter’s response to Jesus today. When Jesus confesses to his disciples his true mission it doesn’t fit with the picture that Peter had of the Son of the Living God. He pictured triumphalism. Great power used to get what you want. Great social status that opens opportunities. Shaping the world the way you want it to go. Suffering and dying just didn’t fit that picture. Peter has become an obstacle to Jesus. Most of us have had to battle between our image of Jesus and what we want to get out of him as opposed to listening to Jesus tell us to take up our cross and follow him. He asks us to lose our life so we can gain it. He lost his life for the sake of us sinners, for those who rejected him and for those who would sell him out. This is what “follow me” looks like. Let’s take the time to make sure we are following him and not our image of who we think Jesus ought to be.

August 29:

Fr. Don here.

Even though he was mesmerized by the person of John the Baptist, he had him beheaded rather than look weak in front of his guests. Herod was living in the tension that many of us live in. We teeter between our attraction to Jesus and his life and keeping up appearances for others. Although we may not have beheaded anyone but there are voices that we try to silence because they remind us of how we should be living. Who are the prophets you wish would be silenced? Do you have the courage to listen deeply and be moved to a more authentic life?

August 28:

Fr. Don here.

Today we celebrate vigilance in the gospel. What it is like to live each day in the expectation that this moment in which we live deserves our attention. Instead of living in the past or future, both of which do not exist in this moment, we choose to live Godly lives today. In celebrating St. Augustine today, we acknowledge that it is a process of conversion that gets us to vigilance. St. Augustine was focused on other things than Jesus most of his early life, despite the great example of his mom. But her example of vigilance with Jesus had its gradual affect on him. What might be causing you to not be present and to live in this day, aware of the presence of God? Do you live with regret about the past and do you let that carry you out of reality? Do you worry about what might come to pass and give that unnecessary power? Choose a reason to live today! Notice the reality around you. Put your arms around the joys and sufferings og this day and invite Jesus to be a part of that embrace. From that will come gratitude and compassion. Embrace today!

August 27:

Fr. Don here.

Happy the one whom the Lord finds doing his will. Today we celebrate one of those servants of God, St. Monica. She was the mother of Augustine way before he was living like a saint. She did what God wanted her to do. Pray for and set a good example for her son and her husband. It took quite a bit of faithful prayer and hopefulness that wouldn’t quit. She persevered even when the guys weren’t following her example. She was the enfleshment of God’s love way before either of these guys recognized Jesus in her. For whom do you dedicate the example of your life? Who do you pray for each day, with the hope that they will be drawn closer to Jesus? For whom are you an intercessor? Be hope for someone today even without being acknowledged!

August 26:

Fr. Don here.

“Whitewashed tombs”. Can you get the picture? Imagine what is in the inside. Rotting flesh and bones. Then make the outside look good by whitewashing the tomb. Would you like to be called that? It’s like calling someone a hypocrite. Trying to look better than you really are. Pretending to be someone you are not. We hide from God and others, thinking that hiding will make it better or we can refuse to face things. Darkness and hiding never helps. Let there be light. Let us be light for each other, especially when the other is broken, frightened, fearful or lost. Let us be a community where no one needs to hide or pretend.

August 25: 

Fr. Don here.

Beautiful images to examine our lives in the gospel today. Imagine trying so carefully to strain out a gnat and you don’t even notice that you swallowed a camel. Quite ridiculous in its literal sense but so true in a figurative way. So careful about every little detail and forget to look at the bigger picture. We could pay so much attention to small insignificant behaviors as compared to the overall direction of our life. Picking on small traits can sometimes destroy the spirit of a person, creating a sense that that person is never okay. We all know about looking good on the outside while neglecting the inside. So afraid of letting any imperfection show. Unable to seek other’s help because we don’t want to look weak. Pouncing on someone’s limitations and not honoring the image of God in that person. Let us honor the creation that God has made us each to be!

August 23: 

Fr. don here.

Have you ever taken the challenge that Jesus gave to his disciples? We all have the words that that we have heard from others or read in the Bible or read in religion textbooks. But who do you say that he is? I know that for me he is the one after whom I try to fashion my life. He is my encouragement and my guide. He is the enfleshed the of Gods love for me and the epitome of love supreme. He is the constant harbor in any storm and the one who always speaks the truth to me. Words fail me but who do you say that Jesus is for you?

August 22: 

Fr. Don here.

“The greatest among you must be the servant.” That sounds so different than what must of us hear day after day. Trying to stay on top or trying to have the most influence or being the one who calls the shots or having a life that is all your own. Not much “whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” How is being a servant so great? What’s to be gained by being humble? Look at where it got Jesus. Do we really want to imitate his life if it has the same results, being crucified literally or figuratively? Whenever Jesus saw someone with any authority lording it over another he called them out and challenged them to change. Where would Jesus call us out as individuals, as a church or as a nation? Could we hear his challenge or are we too set in our ways? Can we be humble enough to listen and act?

August 21: 

Fr. Don here.

Laws are given to guide and direct our lives but can also be used to set up minimal expectations for living. Is it enough to be proud of the fact that we haven’t life, cheated, stolen, coveted, honored and adored? It certainly is a great starting point but not an a way of life that keeps deepening. When Jesus connects love of God with love of neighbor, he challenges us to keep seeking ways to see God in our neighbors and keeps widening the definition of neighbor. In a cultural circumstance where we are encouraged to group in like minded circles and reject those different from ourselves, we are called to be counter cultural. We are to be a sign that all are one and that we are all sisters and brothers, no matter our differences. In whom will you see Christ today that might surprise you?

August 20: 

Fr. Don here.

“I will turn your hearts of stone to hearts of flesh again.” So many of God’s people had hardened their hearts against Him. They had betrayed Him with other gods. They had forgotten how to love and had forgotten that they were to care for the forgotten ones. Hardened hearts are difficult to get onto. God yearns for us to turn back to Him, to accept His love and forgiveness and to do unto others what God is willing to do for us. Has any part of your heart become inaccessible to God’s love? What disappointment, shame or brokenness has locked up your heart? Bring it out of the shadows into the Light that can restore your heart to flesh. He is at the door of your heart waiting with love. Go for it!

August 19: 

Fr. Don here.

Those of us who called to be shepherds for the people of God are told to be servant leaders and to follow Jesus’ example of shepherding. As Pope Francis has challenged us, we must shepherd so closely that we take on the scent of the sheep, not afraid to be close with the sheep. We are to use any power or authority as power of support and encouragement and not power over. Pray for us who have been called to be shepherds in the community. Pray for parents who are called to shepherd their families. Pray for our new archbishop as he prepares to lead us.

August 18:

Fr. Don here.

“Many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Jesus tells many stories about voluntarily taking the lower, less prestigious position. Whether it is the lower seat at the banquet, teachers washing the feet of their disciples, turning the other cheek or giving your resources to your natural enemies Jesus encourages us to take the last place, that our hearts belong to him and him alone. Voluntarily taking the last place may not be our first impulse but could be chosen consciously after some thought and prayer. What might that look like for you?

August 17:

Fr. Don here.

Our reaction to disaster and trouble seems to be ignore and deny, fight against and combat, barter and trade and accept. These are the stages of death and dying, grieving and mourning. We are in the grips of a pandemic and might be in different stages of our dealing with it. Our scriptures today give us the first and second step toward dealing with this pandemic. Scientists and researchers are doing their heroic part. What is our part?

Wear a mask, keep a distance and wash your hands. Spiritually we are called by the Word of God today to repent of our sins, especially how we have neglected the most needy and wanting. We are also to deepen our journey of discipleship by taking what we have and giving away, piece by piece.

Will we walk away from Jesus or deepen our commitment to Him?

August 16:

Fr. Don here.

“My house is to be a house of prayer for all people.” With these words Jesus issues a challenge to us to examine our gathering communities of faith. Are we a community who exudes welcome for all people? Is there a sense of hospitality about us? Or do we fit the description that allowed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to describe Sunday morning as “the most segregated hour in America?” What can we do so that others feel welcome in our midst? Can we open our hearts and embrace rather than divide? Can we notice a new person and make the first step to include them? PENTECOST is the vision that God has for his people. Speaking the language of Jesus, the language of agape love, is understood by all people. May we choose to be the community that attracks others because we love one another.

August 15:

Fr. Don here.

Mary’s yes to Gods invitation to be the Mother of God was the yes that opened up the fulfillment of Gods promise to each of us. When Mary said yes, even with some still unanswered questions, she showed us what it means to know your place in the dream of God and embrace it. We celebrate Mary’s Assumption into heaven. Gods original dream for all of us. There would be no suffering, no tears, and no sorrow. The generational consequences of sin are part of our inheritance. We must live and die. Our bodies will experience corruption. We will have suffering, tears and sorrow. But we can, like Mary, embrace our place in the dream of God. We can choose to live in the freedom of Gods children with our yes today. “Let it be done to me according you Your Word.”

August 14:

Fr. Don here.

On this feast day of St. Maximilian Kolbe we are reminded of our mission to lay down our lives for others as Jesus did for us. Maximilian decided that he would take the place of a men with a family who had been chosen to be killed in a concentration camp named Auschwitz. His life prior to this moment prepared him for this choice. The ways that he said yes to Jesus in serving others in humility and choosing to set an example through a dedicated prayer life and following the urging of the Spirit to move and grow and mature in faith all prepared him. What will we do today that will give service to God and Gods people today and will help prepare us for the bigger and tougher choices in the future?

August 13:

Fr. Don here.

“How many times must I forgive?” Jesus’ answer is endlessly. We can try counting 70x7 but by the time we get that far we forget and start all over again. We pray “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” To receive Gods forgiveness given to us we must forgive others. Today might be a good day to take inventory of our lives. Who am I holding a grudge against? Who have we refused to unbind? Who do we refuse to love because of past offenses against us? True Gratitude for forgiveness received opens our hearts to give that gift to others. “Do not forget the works of the Lord.”

August 12:

Fr. Don here.

Imagine a family, a relationship, a community or an individual who are perfect and without a need to improve, apologize and grow. You are imagining a fantasy, it doesn’t exist. So we find ourselves in imperfect situations and often see “the splinter in another’s eye before we see the beam in our own.” This gospel gives us direction about what to do with our differences with one another. No room for gossip, backbiting, bullying, ostracizing, ganging up on or revenge. One on one, face to face, done out of love and care, no room for hatred or prejudice. We all have room to grow in this area, especially in church circles. Let us hold each other to this gospel standard. Let us encourage each other in good, not the darkness that tempts us!

August 11:

Fr. Don here.

Ezekiel is instructed by God to literally eat the scroll on which the Word of God was written. When he ate it it was sweet to his taste. This image of God’s Word certainly proved true to our saint of the day, Clare of Assisi. She heard Francis preach and watched his life and the Word of God was sweetly enfleshed in him. They were such a great team as they formed communities and served God’s “little ones.” One of my favorite “sweet” words from scripture are from Ephesians 2:10 “we are God’s masterpiece.” Imagine the artist God making you in His image and likeness. So sweet! What are some of the sweet words of scripture that you have “eaten” in your life?

August 10:

Fr. Don here.

The gospel reading for many of the martyrs is the one we have this morning. “Unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it cannot bear fruit.” Many of the early martyrs are said to have watered the seeds of faith in the early church with their blood. Being a deacon in the early church meant you took care of the temporal needs of the church, like a modern church maintenance and facility worker. If you were associated with the church, no matter your position, you were martyred. Where are you planting and watering the seeds of faith that you have been given? Is it in convenience or with your blood?

August 9:

Fr. Don here.

I want to invite you to celebrate all the ways that God has been made known to you so far in your life. For Elijah God came to him in a “tiny whispering sound.” So much so that he hid his face in his cloak. He was struck with awe in the presence of God. For Peter, Jesus shows up at a “stormy” part of his life. He thought he was going to die. Jesus invites trust from Peter and doesn’t get it. Still Jesus reaches out and pulls Peter out of the storm. Peter meets God in his lack of faith and his fear. How has God visited you in your life? Has it been in good times and bad, in sickness and health, in richness and in poverty, in weakness and in strength? In all of these things God asks us to “walk on water.” To walk in faith, knowing that the arm of love is waiting to save us. Look for God with eyes of faith. God promised and God will be faithful!

August 8:

Fr. Don here.

What must we do to increase our faith? It seems that the disciples in the gospel this morning tried healing someone and it was not to be. Jesus has trained them, showed them and led them but still they lack faith. Faith means that we trust in Jesus more than anyone or anything. Those of us who live convenient lives have very little practice at truly trusting someone else. We don’t have to depend on others since we have pretty much have everything we need. We control, demand and become entitled. We become centered on ourselves, with little care about the common good. If we truly live in community then we must have faith in each other and in God. What step will each of us take today to have more faith in God rather than our own doing?

August 7:

Fr. Don here.

To gain your life, you must lose it. That is a silly kind of logic. Most of us were raised on the principle that to gain your life you must compete, outlast, be better than and always get your fair share. But what is Jesus saying? Does He really mean that we have to follow him to the cross? Are we really supposed to give up our lives for the sake of others? Can’t we just give them what’s left over, what we don’t need? Can’t we just be compassionate and forgiving to those who we love and who agree with us? We all know the answers to those questions. We have heard Jesus’ teachings enough times to know how we should act. What holds us back?

August 6:

Fr. Don here.

This is the Feast of the Transfiguration. Jesus gives Peter, James and John a glimpse of the vision of glory, of who Jesus is and of the power of God. Instead of the glimpse being the fullness it is just a glimpse, a peek at the vision. We really need those glimpses as we walk this journey of discipleship. Look for it today. How will Jesus reveal His glory to you today? Some unexpected experience of beauty, some inner peace and tranquility, some courage you haven’t had before, more generosity than you have ever received or some surprise encounter with love. Cherish the glimpse and let it take your breath away but don’t let it paralyze you. Cherish it and then come down from the mountaintop, more eager than ever to walk with Jesus.

August 5:

Fr. Don here.

What does it mean that something is everlasting? This is a word used to describe God’s love for us. Put anything you want up against it and it is everlasting. We are sometimes mistaken or even paralyzed by the belief that something we have done has the power to alter God’s love. It’s not everlasting if that is true. Some of us believe that God barters with love. Be good and I’ll love you, be bad and I won’t. Can’t be true with something called everlasting. Today is the day to put more trust in the everlasting love God has for you than in any of your fears or doubts. Today is the day to build the foundation of you life on something that will never change. Everlasting love!

August 4:

Fr. Don here.

Today is the feast of St. John Vianney. His reputation is that he spent hours and hours, day after day, sitting in a confessional helping people experience God’s mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Confession. What a privilege it is for us priests to be used by God as an instrument of healing and forgiveness. If you haven’t celebrated this sacrament in a while please come and feel God’s forgiveness enter your body, mind and spirit. Shame for our sins and hiding those away from the Light of God can eat away at us from the inside out. Our parish offers this sacrament every Tuesday night from 7-8pm and every Saturday from 4-4:45pm. You can also call myself, Fr. Bob or Fr. Joe to set up an appointment to celebrate at a time more convenient to you. Come share in God’s Mercy!

August 3:

Fr. Don here.

Another month in which we live with the promise of God and the uncertainty of life. This odd combination is real life. Depending on God in the midst of insecurity helps us practice “walking on water.” Alone many things are impossible but with God all things are possible. What circumstances in your life seem impossible if you were to do them on your own? Does that keep you from doing them? How many of those have you begun to try and then backed away because you were afraid and thought you were all by yourself? How many times have you taken the courageous step, in partnership with Jesus, and He has helped you do the “impossible?” Today is a day for courage and trust. August, this month of humidity and heat, can also be a month to heat up our own discipleship. When He invites us to walk on water will we get out of the boat and trust Him?

August 2:

Fr. Don here.

Today we are called, through the scriptures, to count on God to take care of our needs and to be an instrument of God’s blessing to others. The invitation from the Old Testament opens God’s generosity to us. Without money or price we are offered the “full banquet” of God. Why would we ever be anxious or afraid if we believed God’s dream for each of us? Once we have embraced that gift from God, we are, asked to notice those who have nothing to give in return and be as generous to them as God has been toward us. That means that we might be stretched in our faith. It means it may make life inconvenient and difficult for us. So be it. It is what God has asked us to do. Shall we?

August 1:

Fr. Don here.

Is there anything that you would be willing to “lose your head” over? John the Baptist, prophet of Jesus, lived a radical life, meditated on the scriptures, lived a life of asceticism, and paved the way for the Lamb of God. Imagine the privilege of baptizing Jesus in the Jordan River, witnessing the falling down of the Holy Spirit and allowing your life to be taken over in witness to Jesus. What is prophetic about your life? What about you is a radical sign that you believe in Jesus? Anybody can practice religious rituals and recite prayers. That is not prophetic. It is great practice but, as Jesus said, even hypocrites do that! Radical life toward the poor, the helpless, the abandoned and the condemned is how Jesus was prophetic. What could that look like or how does that look in your life? Let us pray for the courage to “lose our heads” over someone or something!

July 31:

Fr. Don here.

Did you ever notice how you react when somebody starts saying something that is challenging you to re-examine something you believe or hold dear to you? Do you have people in your life that you automatically turn off when they begin to speak? This is a way that we defend ourselves from unnecessary intrusions or reopening areas of our lives that we feel are well established and well thought out. But what about growing and continuing to learn? What about becoming conscious of beliefs or behaviors that we have done forever, were acceptable in our families or friend groups, but are abusive and hurtful for others? Sometimes we just tell others to “get over it” or we attack them with “who do you think you are” or “why don’t you stay with you own kind.” How do we learn, grow, reconcile and repent if we only listen and follow those who agree with us? May we be open to prophets and those we come”from our own town or family.” They May be angels in our midst!

July 30:

Fr. Don here.

We have been feasting on parables from Matthew’s gospel for quite some time. At the end we are given instruction as to what we should do. We should be going to the “storeroom” to bring out the old and the new. Some of us get stuck in the past, unavailable to the new. Some of us get stuck in the new, without awareness of the old. The instructions suggest a flexibility and humility about God’s wisdom and teaching. The image of the potter and the clay helps us imagine how we can be molded by God and not just our opinions. God is the potter not our will. We are to be molded by God. “See what I can do with you” God says through Jeremy. But do we want God to mold us or do we want to stay in control? We are earthen vessels, being formed by the hand and love of God. Can we trust God enough to let that happen?

July 29:

Fr. Don here.

I have lived through one hurricane, several tornadoes and an earthquake. We are all in the midst of a pandemic. Each natural occurrence has a specific way to shelter during the most dangerous time. It doesn’t guarantee that you will escape harm but you are told where the safest place is and what behaviors will help or harm yourself or others. The scriptures remind us that God is our refuge, a stronghold for us. We know that we will all die. Each person has some level of suffering to deal with. No guarantee to be unscathed but a promise that God is with us, our constant companion. We are told that we need to live as if God is who we count on. Service, prayer and almsgiving are sure ways to draw close to God. Let us commit ourself to God as God has been faithful to us!

July 28:

Fr. Don here.

Weeping over destruction and wasted lives is a necessary act of faith. We can look at the opportunities we have wasted in our own lives and weep. We can see the wasted acts of violence and hatred acted out in our society and in our families and weep. We can weep over the destruction of others’ lives through prejudice and discrimination. We must weep over the lives destroyed through warfare, abortion, capital punishment and the starving of the poor. But we must not weep without calling out to God to bring us back and lead us into new life. Let us surrender our self-righteousness and false securities and embrace God’s lead toward reconciliation and healing. What will you weep over today and how will you choose hope?

July 27:

Fr. Don here.

Much of Jesus’ teaching is done by image, story and parable. Today we hear a similar style of teaching by God through the Prophet Jeremiah. God asks Jeremiah to use his loincloth, his underwear, to teach a lesson. There is nothing closer to our bodies than our undergarments. God invited the Chosen People to be that close to Him. When Jeremiah takes his dirty laundry and buries it at God’s command, he is instructed to leave it there for a while. When he digs it up it is rotten. You get the image and the lesson, right? God has drawn us close and blessed us so much. He instructs us in ways to live and how to treat others. Do we enjoy the closeness to God and the blessing of faith without heeding His instructions? During these times of challenge we can tell if our lives are based on something solid or if our lives are “rotten.” God’s instructions and following them will lead us to life!

July 26:

Fr. Don here.

If you, like Solomon, had been given the opportunity to ask for any gift you wanted, what would be your request? Solomon’s pearl of great price was an understanding heart. He knew that he could use that gift to help many others, he could be a good shepherd to his people and he knew that God given him all else that he needed. God seemed very impressed by Solomon’s request. He didn’t make a selfish request of money or power. He thought about the consequences of his choice for others. His shepherding could be much more discerning with an understanding heart. God comes to each of us today with the same invitation. What would you like from me? What could each of us receive from God that would be of benefit for the calling we have in life? Are we sufficiently grateful so that our request is not self-centered? Can we think about the consequences for others as we ask things of God?

July 25:

Fr. Don here.

2 Corinthians 4 offers us a great self image. We are earthen vessels so that the power of God may be made clear through us. St. James the Great, one of the Sons of Thunder, famously wanted to call down Gods wrath on some people who wouldn’t do what he wanted them to do. Jesus reminds him that He came to save people, not destroy them. He and his brother John begged Jesus to be in positions of power when he established his reign. Little did they know that power in Jesus’ life meant sacrificing your life for others. James was probably the first apostle to die because of his witness to Jesus. Could he drink of the cup of which Jesus drank? He proved that he could. How might each of us be called to drink of that cup today? Our earthen vessels, fragile as we are, can shine forth the power of God. We will be “afflicted but not constrained, perplexed but not despairing, persecuted but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed. We carry in our bodies the dying of Jesus so that the life of Jesus might be manifested.” We are built to carry within us the living, dying and rising of Jesus. What a privilege!

July 24:

Fr. Don here.

Jeremiah the prophet reminds us of God’s promise to send us shepherds who will draw us closer to God. We have been given a new pastor, Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski. He will be installed one month from tomorrow. We can all be praying for him and his ability to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit about the ways that he can lead and guide us. But most of us think about all the things we want him to do and say. I wonder if we could be thinking of all the ways that we need to be called back to God. Not focus on what we think he should do or other people should do but how we can become purer and more clearly open to the will of God in our lives. Let us begin to pray for him and for us, for our local church and for the world.

July 23:

Fr. Don here.

The prophet Jeremiah talks today about unfaithfulness to God. He uses the image of “digging cisterns that don’t hold water.” Can you imagine a more futile way to spend time? If I were putting in that heavy digging I would want the end product to do what it is supposed to do. Let’s examine any futile ways we expend the energy of our lives. Do we really believe that we can turn our backs on Gods directives to us and “still hold water.” Can we turn our back on the poor, the lost, the widow, the orphan, the stranger and “still hold water?” These are the little ones that God demands that we honor and respect. How unfaithful are we to God? What will you and I do today to become more faithful to God so that our lives begin “to hold water?”

July 22:

Fr. Don here.

We celebrate Mary Magdalene, the first to see the Risen Christ. She is the one who stayed by the cross with Jesus and through her presence gave witness to him. Her encounter with Jesus after His Resurrection gives evidence that they had a very close relationship. She recognizes Him by the simple hearing of her name. She knows it is he. She becomes the Apostle to the Apostles by sharing her encounter with Jesus with them. Again she is a faithful witness to her friend Jesus.

In prayer and action today let us try to hear him call our name. Let us witness to Him to others today. Let us proclaim hope where others think there is none. Let us share with others anything that lifts them out of fear and into freedom. Let us not let the disappointments of the past stand in the way of Resurrection moments in the present. May He speak your name today and may you recognize Him.

July 21:

Fr. Don here.

If we want to be in the family of Jesus, do the will of His Father. It is not a matter of blood or genetics but has to do with choices and actions and the morality of those choices. How do we know what to do when there seem to be so much chaos, hatred, anger and division? Thanks be to God, Jesus dealt with all those situations and showed us what to do. The will of the Father is to bring healing to the broken, even if they are our enemies. The will of the Father is to be a bridge between divisions and chaos. The will of the Father is to treat each person with dignity and respect. We have the opportunity to be God’s family today. Let us bring His will into reality today!

July 20:

Fr. Don here.

From the Prophet Micah (6:1-8) we hear a command from God that will fill our day and our lives. “Do what is right, love goodness and walk humbly with God.” Imagine being conscious of this command with each breath we take today. Walking humbly with God means not ahead of or behind but with. When God presents us with a situation in which to do the right thing we must walk with him. No lagging behind waiting for a “sign” from God. Noticing and loving goodness in ourselves and others is another part of the command. Fasting from backbiting, gossip and cynicism helps us notice goodness. Seems like plenty to occupy ourselves today. Enjoy walking with God today.

July 19:

Fr. Don here.

Jesus tries to get us to experience the real God and not some version of God unsupported by scripture and in line with the God that Jesus gave flesh to. Yes God is powerful but doesn’t show power through threats or bullying. Precisely because God is powerful God can act benevolently toward us. Because God is powerful God can let the weeds grow with the wheat, without a rush to pull up the weeds. How many of us have been or are living a weedy life. God is powerful enough to pull us now but gives us reverence and respect, giving us every chance to live lives that are more life giving and fruitful. Take stock of your choices. We will be held accountable for the choices we live. Let our lives be rooted in powerful love that shows its face in compassion, benevolence and generosity. May we have at least as much loving patience with others as God has with us.

July 18:

Fr. Don here.

Matthew’s gospel quotes the Prophet Micah with these words that should give us so much hope and help us to understand the heart of God. “A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not quench.” If there is any life within us and any hope still running through our soul, God will respect and honor us in our weakest state. Such gentleness God has toward us and such yearning for us to be healed and made whole. Read these scriptures again and again, lay out before Jesus your most vulnerable self, and notice God’s joy at sharing in all of you. Take in the abundance of God’s mercy. Reconcile with your weakest self, nurture the bruised ones around you and have an eye and ear out for those needing healing. Come celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation and experience in the flesh the mercy and goodness of God. Bring your fire that only smolders now and your “reed” that has lost its ability to stand upright. Our God is a God of healing and live!

July 17:

Fr. Don here.

“I desire mercy not sacrifice.” These words, quoted by Jesus, set the direction for our day. Hesed, the word used in the origin languages for mercy, describes a lavish outpouring of unconditional love, without a focus on what is deserved or merited. Imagine the lightness of spirit that we can carry today if we truly believed this about God’s attitude toward us. God is not measuring what we deserve but looking for opportunities to bless, heal and love us. Instead of inspiring fear, God’s love can free us to love as God loves us. Pray for the courage to live in such a lavish way today. Ask for the strength and humility to lay aside the need to return “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” May our humble and contrite hearts be strong enough to love in Godly ways. If we do there will be an eruption of love that will set us, our families, communities and nations free to unleash the power of God in the world. Are you ready for this exciting mission in the world today?

July 16:

Fr. Don here.

Listening to prophetic words is an acquired talent. Prophets usually are speaking about something we would rather not hear or think about or do anything different about. Prophets are usually shunned except by those who are being affected by the injustice noticed by the prophet. So those who are in ythe majority and have some power first ignore the prophet, then usually combat against the words of the prophet then demonize the prophet and in the end do away with the prophet. That is a lot of effort and sinfulness just so we don’t have to notice injustice and do something about it. As we hear again in the scripture today, God’s wisdom is hidden from the “wise and learned” but is revealed to the little ones. Today could be that day when we lower our guard, allow the wisdom of God to penetrate our defenses and begin a change of heart and life. No killing of the prophet today. Meek and humble hearts await the revelation of Gods wisdom today.

July 15:

Fr. Don here.

According to the scriptures it is good to be hungry, weak and lowly. To have a simple and childlike approach to life and living is said to be virtuous. And yet how much energy will we expend today looking strong, pretending that we can do it all ourselves and hiding our weakness and loneliness from others. The great apostle Paul gloried in his weakness. The failures of Peter were out front for all to see. Mary called herself the handmaiden of the Lord. Why is it so important for us to appear strong and self sufficient? Fear of our weakness limits our access to God. If we can’t be humble and lowly it is more difficult for us to admit that we are lost and confused and easier to act puffed up and self-righteous. Today we will be given opportunities to live honestly. Will we choose to engage in life in honest ways with God and one another or will we continue to pretend that we are not like those “others?”

July 14:

Fr. Don here.

This might be a great day to notice blessings and gifts in each of our lives. As we notice them, let’s take some time to remember the origin of everything that we have. The breath we breathe, our hearts that beat, the bread we eat and the clothes we wear, our shelter and our families, our faith and all our possessions. Gratitude ought to well up in our hearts. We do work hard in this world, and it has its share of suffering and uncertainty, but noticing blessings is always possible even in the midst of suffering and hardship. Each blessing we have is also a chance to be a blessing. Every moment of suffering has the ability to teach us compassion. Every moment is an opportunity to give thanks and to bless others. Don’t miss the opportunities today, in fact in this moment, to bless another. May the outpouring of God’s love on you be the occasion for your outpouring of love on others.

July 13:

Fr. Don here.

Sometimes we are asked by God to examine our patterns of prayer and worship. Isaiah the prophet speaks for God in asking the people to stop all the bloody sacrifices and look at the blood on their own hands, through their mistreatment and neglect of the widow and orphan, the stranger and the poor. In our day, we are being challenged to re-examine our patterns of prayer and worship to make sure that our external acts of worship flow from and inward examination of our daily practices of caring for those most in need. Do we wait to attend the needs of others until they come into our presence? If that is true most of us will never change. We have built our lives so we seldom have to encounter “those people.” A conscious and regular encounter of listening with understanding, and allowing our patterns to be challenged allows for the change of mind and heart and choices that God is awaiting from us. What will that look like for you today?

July 12:

Fr. Don here

“It will not return to me void.” In this quote, God is referring to His Word. The Word of God is given to us in scripture, is made manifest in each of us as we live our Godly lives and the Word is Jesus in the flesh. The Word is full of life and not void and empty. It doesn’t say it’s magic but full of life. It has an intention to it. The Word of God is given to us to bear fruit through it. How might you and I participate in that today. Maybe we can think about the parable of the seed sown on various kinds of shallow soil, rock, among thorns or in rich soil. We might imagine a partnership with Jesus in making the Word of God manifest in our flesh. We might even take some quiet time to listen to our inner voice of the Spirit of God. How is God’s Word rooted in us today? Can we allow the Word of God that we experience today to be deeply rooted in us? One step at a time, one day at a time.

July 11:

Fr. Don here.

St. Benedict, whose feast we celebrate today, saw community as the “school of holiness.” Before you spiritualized that too quickly, Benedict meant all communities are meant to be places where everyone grows in holiness. Imagine if today we took the opportunity to see each person as our partner in holiness. Instead of excluding or demeaning or ignoring we would avail ourselves of the occasions when we can help each other grow to be more like Jesus. All people and all groups of people are communities of holiness. There are others who are observing our way of life. Do they see an attractive lifestyle, one filled with joy and humility? Do they see generosity and compassion spill out of our homes and churches and families? Do you have a mentor in your life who is schooling you in holiness, not lording it over you but walking with you in the ways of peace and reconciliation? The Benedictine way of life is meant for all of us as we live our work and prayer lives deeply! Enjoy the day.

July 10:

Fr. Don here.

Fridays mark the end of the work week for some but just the beginning of weekend work for others. Some work two or three jobs and they seem to never get a break. Others are without employment and yearn to find a fulfilling job. Some have lost hope after being “last in and first out” so many times. This is just one of the ways that we have different experiences of life. How important it is not to judge others by our experience but to listen to their life experiences, honor them with understanding and stand with each other in solidarity. What do we gain when we divide into comfortable groups, call each other names and make judgments about the other. We all know how that feels. None of us like that and it destroys the judges from the inside out. Let us walk with each other as one. Let there be no division among us. Let us always make room for those whom others seem to shun.

July 9:

Fr. Don here.

We are empowered to do the work that Jesus did without the need for a fallback or plan B. He has given us all we need and anything we decide will help us just in case Jesus is not trustworthy is an obstacle that blocks the true power that Jesus has shared with us. Do you believe that you have been given the power to heal and renew life in those who are sick in body, mind and spirit? Do you believe that God will give you the right words to speak and the right choices to make? Do you get stuck in “should I or shouldn’t I?” Today we are invited to set aside this day because “the Kingdom of God is at hand.” Right here and right now, not later some time in heaven, God’s Kingdom is with us. We have the choice to acknowledge that and act accordingly. Can you feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty, visit the lonely, sick and imprisoned and care for those who have died and their families. Do you have compassion, understanding and forgiveness that you can offer to those who cross your path? Go “do this in memory of me!”

July 8:

Fr. Don here.

The scriptures today focus on two very distinct but connected experiences of a disciple’s life. The first is being called by name. Through baptism, for most of us, and through the choice of our parents we are given a name. It might have a legacy behind it or it might be the name our parents liked. We are know intimately by God who calls us into His grace and love today. Take a moment to hear God call your name. Notice how you respond to this. Shy, scared, emboldened, undeserving, confused, angry? Allow your reaction to settle in your heart. What does it tell you about life right now?

Hosea continues to remind us that if we have wandered away from God, we will feel an emptiness and a longing that can only be found in being with God in body, mind and heart. How have you wandered away. Don’t waste time with self-hatred and loathing and certainly don’t numb yourself but say yes again to Love. Today is The Day for coming home to Jesus.

July 7:

Fr. Don here.

Are you willing to be a laborer in the vineyard today? High temps and a broken spirit make it difficult to choose to go into the vineyard another day. If you feel that you are toiling all by yourself makes it difficult. Not seeing results makes it difficult. How can we choose this day to work in the vineyard? It helps to know that you have partners in this work. Jesus walks with you side by side. I am with you in the work. Millions of other individuals throughout the world are choosing to follow God’s call today. Your life, no matter how insignificant you feel, is powerful. The Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead resides in you! Don’t try to do the future. Just do today. Expect and don’t be surprised by some hardship, inconvenience or suffering. It is to be expected. It happened to Jesus and so it will happen to us. Remember that your life is bearing fruit that will last. Let us do this day together, in union with Jesus.

July 6:

Fr. Don here.

We are called to be a model of faithfulness, even when we get nothing in return. God’s faithfulness to us is difficult to believe unless we see and experience some sense of faithfulness through others. Although our human love does not have the depth and power of Jesus’ love, it is powerful none the less. Each of us has been faithfully loved when we didn’t deserve it. We have been forgiven even when we freely chose the offense. We have been welcomed back after we have walked away. Today we have the privilege and responsibility to allow others, through us, to experience fidelity. It won’t be perfect but it will give others a taste of what God’s love and faithfulness is like. Have fun today loving even those you don’t think deserve it!

July 5:

Fr. Don here.

Submission and obedience are not very popular words in life right now. It seems that way because they are associated with force. With Jesus there is no force. We are asked to choose to take on the yoke of Jesus. We are to voluntarily submit our will to the will of Jesus. We are to obey the teachings of Jesus and not our own wisdom. We can submit our reactions of hatred and prejudice to the will of Jesus that all might be one and that our response to all might be love and forgiveness. Instead of following the whims of the moment or what makes life more convenient to me I can choose to obey what Jesus asks me to do and say. We have free will and our choices are not always good and Godly wise. Let us resist the temptation to follow our own understanding rather than the loving heart of Jesus. Yoking to Jesus brings joy and life but it’s not easy but it is simple. Submit and obey freely.

July 4:

Fr. Don here.

Has your ability to act freely progressed as your have physically matured. When we are born we are completely dependent on others. Thank God someone was there who could think about more than their individual freedom. They chose our welfare and nurtured us to live. When we needed to establish our own individuality and independence thank God there were those who could forgive us for our selfish and destructive choices. As we physically mature some of us have chosen to stay fixed in the independent, self-seeking place, only concerned about our own “freedom.” Seeking the common good and sharing our goods with those most in need and nurturing others into life is part of our Christian Tradition from the beginning. May this be an Independence Day where we realize our interdependence on one another and freely embrace the common grace as graciously as we embrace our individual freedoms. God Bless our country and us as citizens and residents of these spacious skies.

July 3:

Fr. Don here.

Thomas the Apostle is known for for his doubt and his faith. He did not believe the testimony of his sisters and brothers that Jesus was alive. He had to put his finger and hand into the wounds of Jesus before he could believe. Many of us have doubts running through us. Where is God in the midst of disease, or violence or hatred or confusion or anger? Jesus reminds us today that he is in the midst of that doubt. He comes to us in the “little ones.” Those who’s lives are lived on the edge can speak His words and live by example. We are asked to voluntarily live on the edge and become “little ones.” Living by faith and not having proof and continuing to be faithful is living on the edge. Receiving hatred and returning love is living on the edge. Giving from our need and not from our surplus is living on the edge. Where will you take your doubt today?

July 2:

Fr. Don here.

In today’s gospel (Mt 9:1-8) we have a dynamic situation repeated often in the life of Jesus. He notices a person in need and, without hesitation, helps. There always seems to be a group of judging people in the background. Their grumbling is motivated by wanting to keep the status quo, in which they have an advantage. They believe sick people are unclean, and unworthy is inclusion in the “good” people of society. They should be ostracized. This time it’s a sick person but other times it’s a sinner, a stranger from a different country, a person of a different religion or someone who seems to deserve the situation they’re in. These kinds of situations are still present today in each of our lives. We have the same choice that Jesus had. Are we instruments of healing or people trying to keep others “in their place?” Are we willing to change the status quo for healing?

July 1:

Fr. Don here.

“Seek good and not evil, so you may live.” These direct and poignant words from the Prophet Amos give us direct for our day. Amos reminds us that everything we have already belongs to God. Our giving it back is no big deal. What God wants is a contrite and humble spirit in us. That is our choice today. Contrite, in that we admit how we have sinned against each other and a firm commitment to do the reparative work to heal the wounds that we or our ancestors have created. God created this world in wholeness and we keep breaking it day by day. Humble, in that we have a true understanding of who we are in the vastness of God’s creation. Who are we to think that we are better than another? Who are we to believe that we have nothing to contribute to the healing of our world? Who are we to sit on the sidelines and let other people do all the work of healing? “Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and humble spirit renew within me.”(Psalm 51)

June 30:

Fr. Don here.

Our enforced pause in life called shelter in place is an opportunity to examine our lives. So too is the open wound of prejudice and inequality. For some of us we just want this all to go away. Neither will unless we deal directly with them. If we don’t we will revisit these again as we have in the past.
The wound of racial inequality is inflicted by each of us who hold the belief that the system is fair and “they” just have to try like the rest of us. The wound is inflicted when we use words or phrases that demean another person. The wound is made deeper when we have this chance to grow and change and we don’t.
Are you tired of isolation and masks? The virus is not tired of infecting and killing us. Read the Prophet Amos (3:1-8,4:11-12). If we don’t deal with this it will get worse and worse. Our strength from God is really enough to weather any storm.

June 29:

Fr. Don here.

Today is a day of great hope for all of us. We honor Sts. Peter and Paul. One was a fisherman and he denied Jesus. Paul was a Bible scholar, a “good” religious person and a murderer of Christians. Each was called by God to play a special part in letting Jesus be known to the world. Their conversions were different in style but the same in substance. They came to understand that they were sinners and claimed their relationship with Jesus as their reason for hope. I wake this morning knowing that I am a sinner. How about you? I spend this time each day deepening my relationship with Jesus. How about you? Our hope is in Jesus! Enjoy this day of hope, nurturing that most important relationship in your life.

June 27:

Fr. Don here.

“Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord” comes from our reading from lamentations this morning. We are being invited as individuals in a country based on slave labor to lament the sins of our past. The sins of our ancestors are visited upon us and will continue until we pour out our hearts to God in sorrow. Healing cannot happen until there is a recognition of truth and accountability. We can not expect God to hear our humble pleas if our hearts are not humbled. Each of us can choose, at this very moment, to acknowledge our part in using words and phrases to demean other persons. We can acknowledge how we have allowed fear to reign in our hearts causing separation, hatred and hurt. Can we ask for mercy if we are not willing to act with mercy? Today, this moment, our God awaits our lamentations and humility.

June 26:

Fr. Don here.

Healing and wholeness is a gift from God. We know that the sum of our human efforts cannot bring about completion of anything. We always need God’s assistance for completion. Imagine the healing you are seeking for yourself, for your family, for your enemies and for our world. Notice the steps of healing that you can take through your own human labor and choices. Do everything you can to implement those steps one day at a time. Then notice those things that are out of your control, like other people’s choices and how they live their lives. Place those parts of healing into the heart of God. Surrender into that Great Love. Become docile toward God. Listen for the promptings of the Spirit. Follow wholeheartedly the guidance that God gives you. We don’t need to understand. We need to be disciples by the Voice of God. Do what the Spirit says do!

June 25:

Fr. Don here.

Are you and your life built on a rock or on sand? Look deeper than the outward appearance. Look deeper on what you declare to be true about yourself. Look into the depths of your life. Do you truly base your hope and security on God and God alone. Most of us have to say no. Our security seems to come from our patterns, routines, comforts of life, ability to control and predictability. Notice how you react when you are asked to inconvenience yourself for the sake of another. Most of us determine the goodness of life by our own comfortability. If something or someone is asking more of us than we like, we often push them aside and convince them to leave us alone. This time of isolation, when the simple task of wearing a mask for the sake of another, has become so painful exposes our sandy foundation. If we can’t do this little act of kindness for others, what will we do when so great sacrifice is asked of us. Practice in the little acts of kindness helps us be ready for the big ones.

June 24:

Fr. Don here.

Today we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist. We look to him to teach us the dual virtues of courage and humility. Capable of great and mighty deeds and words, he never fell for the dual temptations of being more or less than what you are meant to be. He stepped out in courage to speak truth especially to the high and mighty. He reminded them that any power and influence they have is from God and meant to be used to serve God in the persons of the little ones among them. He lived in humility, knowing it was not about him but about the one to come, Jesus. In our areas of influence and power, and that means all of us, are we serving God in His little ones, the ones who often are overlooked? And in humility are we remembering that this is not about us, but about the one who gives us life? Prophet and Runner Up! Quite a powerful combination!

June 23:

Fr. Don here.

“Do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matt 7). Sounds like a good way to live unless we have some crazy idea of ourselves. Some of us may believe that we are worthless in the eyes of God unless we are sinless or perfect. If we treat ourselves that way we might treat others that way. Some of us may believe that there is a monster in us that is being held down by our willpower and may make that judgment about others. Some of us may have learned to treat ourselves with the dignity of a child of God and so might tend to treat others the same. We cannot say we live God and hate another. That is the height of hypocrisy. Be conscious of your attitude about yourself. Be aware of the value you put on the gifts God has given you. How you act toward yourself may greatly effect how you treat others.

June 22:

Fr. Don here.

Matthew 7:1-5 is the gospel given to us for today’s mass. One so familiar but maybe today we can hear it with new ears and see it with new eyes. Judge not! Notice the beams of wood in your eye! The measure you measure with will be measured back to you! In our actual or virtual encounters today let us become conscious of the ways that each of these phrases apply to us. Physically identifiable characteristics or traits can unconsciously set off judgements in us. Someone wearing a badge or someone with sagging pants, someone with dreadlocks or someone in suit and tie, someone who is black, brown, yellow, red or white, someone who is a woman or man or someone other than, someone who is gay or straight, someone who practices Christianity or someone who is Jewish or Islamic. Notice as you read those words, think those thoughts and make those judgements. The same will be measured back to you. Is that what you want? Is that the dignity that the other person deserves?

June 21: 

Fr. Don here.

Wanted to thank all of you for prayers, Cards and good wishes for my dad. He is free of Covid! He found out as he celebrated his 93rd birthday. The length of life and our daily joys and sorrows are the daily bread that God gives us. On this, the Lord’s day, take some time to celebrate Sabbath Rest. Notice unnecessary busyness and cease doing it. Consciousness notice the blessings that surround you. As gratitude swells in your heart, lift thanksgiving to God and to all those who have been instruments of those blessings. Take some time to acknowledge Dad. Rejoice in what was wonderful and forgive what was not. Those who are fathers, ask for guidance to be nurturing, forgiving, gentle and humble of heart. Remember that the strongest moments of Jesus’ love were when he washed feet and hung on the cross. That we would be so loving!

June 20:

Fr. Don here.

We are being given an opportunity to grow in our understanding and living as a community. Individual and community needs. How do we honor both of those and which should take the higher place? Freedom is the ability to act as my best self no matter what anyone else is doing. It is not being able to do what I want when I want to. That’s selfishness. Maybe some of us believe that even if we got the virus we would survive. Should I then forget about the possibility of carrying it to others who are vulnerable? Do what I want to do? What is I have never experienced hatred or prejudice? Does that mean it doesn’t exist? If it hasn’t hurt me does that negate other’s experience? Jesus was able to keep his choices of his best self free even though others were living without regard for the most vulnerable and for the “lost sheep.” As we judge others, let’s keep in mind Jesus’ instruction. “Let you who are without sin cast the first stone!”

June 19:

Fr. Don here.

This is a stained glass window in the sacristy of All Saints Church. On this Feast of the Sacred Heart we are invited to remember the deep and unending love that is the foundation of our lives. A heart aflame, a heart pierced, a heart wrapped in the crown of thorns. Most of us have trouble trusting so deep a love because we have failed at loving someone when they disappoint or hurt us. Not Jesus! He is with us and will never leave us. This firm foundation is what can give us the strength and courage to be more loving and forgiving. On this Juneteenth we pray for the gift of freedom for all people. We pray that our minds and hearts may be liberated from fear, prejudice, hatred and judgment. We pray for the loving courage to let our hearts be pierced for love and aflame for others. We pray that our life is used in ways that give others the chance to glimpse Jesus through us. Let us unleash this love in our world in courageous and self-sacrificing ways.

June 18:

Fr. Don here.

Are you motivated by fear or hope? The answer to that question guides so many of the choices we make. All of us are fearful and hopeful but we eventually need to choose which of those becomes our conscious motivation. It is clear which Jesus chose. It allowed him to trust the promises he had been given even though he didn’t always see results. Are you hopeful that we, all people will be one, or are you afraid that the dream of God is impossible? Are you hopeful that you will live forever with God in heaven or are you afraid that your power is greater than the power of God? Are you hopeful that you will always have your daily needs supplied or are you afraid that you have to do that all on your own? Are you hopeful that you are permanently connected to the Body of Christ or are you afraid that you are all alone and forgotten? Choose to live in hope not fear. One leads to life, the other death!

June 17:

Fr. Don here.

Purity of mind and heart leads to purity of action. Reactions without being anchored in well established peace of mind and heart are most often destructive. Peace of mind and heart is established by regular submission to God’s will. Listening to God’s Word, following in the footsteps of Jesus, being open to learning and growing, listening with compassion to others’ stories, attending to the needs of those who cry out, voluntarily emptying ourselves, admitting our sins, noticing and being grateful for our many blessings and being willing to change. Sounds like enough to keep me busy today. How about you?

June 16:

Fr. Don here.

Rhythms in life help set patterns and habits. Our heart beats, we take breaths, the sun rises and sets, we awaken and sleep and we live. Whether we do that unconsciously or consciously is our choice. Becoming conscious of thoughts, feelings, judgments and prejudices are not necessarily conscious. Many of us have lived with habits of privilege or hatred or suspicion for so long it is habit for us. We have chosen it so often that we have it without thinking. But not every habit is good. Habits take a while to form and take a while to change. First step is to become conscious of the habit, to get woke to our own choices, now formed into habits. Breathing hatred in and out kills us and others. Not letting each person be seen as the handiwork of God is deadly. Pay attention to the “ugliness” you think you see in someone else. It might be mirror time. It is likely that you are projecting something of yourself on to that other person. Hard to hear but probably true. Time to be woke!

June 15:

Fr. Don here.

Greed and where it leads us is the focus of the reading from 1 Kings. I want what you have and will use my power to get it. I will take extra to protect what I have. I’ll always have more than I need and pretend that that will take care of my feelings of insecurity and fear. I will take what I want and keep it no matter what effect it has on other people, especially those I am afraid of. I will seek revenge on anyone who makes me experience fear or hurt. I will get you back. Theses are ways of acting that none of us want to admit but that all of us have done. The scriptures today lead us to examine where that might be in our lives and to start new habits of “turning the othe cheek” and “not turning our backs on those who want to borrow.” God has given us this day our daily bread to chew on and be nourished.

June 14:

Fr. Don here.

On this Corpus Christi Sunday we are called to attend to the real presence of Jesus with us. As we receive Him in the Eucharist we “amen” to his presence. As we encounter Him in others we “amen” as we receive with hospitality and compassion all the members of the Body, no matter how seemingly insignificant. We all know that we are seeing the brokenness of the Body all around us. Some are even encouraging us to pretend as if we don’t belong to one another. How can we reverently receive the Eucharist and then not bind up the wounds of the Body. As the scripture says, “you can not say you love God and hate your enemy.”  We have work to do. We are given this day to receive and act like The Body of Christ. What will that look like for each of us?

June 13:

Fr. Don here.

Each day we awaken to the possibility of being an instrument of God. God is ready but are we. Our “Yes, but” puts conditions on how we will allow God to use us and allow the Spirit of God to act through us. Either We allow God to be in control of our lives or not. No “yes, but.”  Since we are raised on the belief that self-sufficiency is the goal and dependency is bad, it is difficult to hear the gospel, learn the lessons of Jesus and actually give our entire lives to Jesus. We want to protect the things that we believe bring us security. They are empty of lasting value other than something else we need to give over to God. When you are moved by the Spirit, is your response Yes or Yes, but?

June 12:

Fr. Don here.

Living by the letter of the law is not enough. Any time someone came to Jesus feeling justified because they had followed all the commandments, he reminded them of the rest of the work of life they still had to do. It was not enough to not kill, lie, covet, steal, honor and hold God first. Jesus calls us to the cross just like He was. Dying for others not because we are better, but because we follow Him. We go to the cross today to give our lives away for the sake of others. We do it for all with the one life that we have. What will that look like for you?  Will we do it just for those we think deserve our sacrifice or will we do it like Jesus, for all no matter the past?  Voluntarily giving for the sake of love, not what we get out of it or how good it makes us feel, but out of love. Don’t just look to familiar faces. Unless our “grain of wheat” falls to the earth and dies, our lives can not bear fruit. We gain our life by losing it. We become rich by becoming poor. We show power by washing feet.

June 11:

Fr. Don here.

If you tell the story of your life truthfully and someone else doesn’t believe you, goes that make it untrue?  Of course not!  Once we get our minds set on a certain understanding of reality it is difficult to listen to someone who is telling another version. Jesus experienced this so many times. He offered those in power and influence a different story that most were unwilling to hear. If they had listened it would have meant they would have to change. For those on the margins and ostracized he offered a new vision for them. It would mean change for them as well. Without a willingness to listen, grow and change, community in its Christian sense can’t work and it is Gods dream to have it work for all. Today can be a day of listening to experiences that we may not have but may be true. Come Holy Spirit, open our hearts to hear the truth!

June 10:

Fr. Don here.

Starting a new day can become quite habitual. We awaken and another day is here. Notice the mindset that you have. Is it dread, excitement or disinterest?  Are you anxious about something that you think will happen or ashamed of what happened yesterday?  How will you live this day?  Will you carry the burden of the past and future or live this day?  Notice what is true right now. You have been given the gift of life for another day. You have everything you need. Clothing, food, shelter, safe drinking water, or are these gifts going unnoticed, unacknowledged and unappreciated?  Awareness of the gifts and gratitude for the giver of these gifts allows us to trust that today is in the hands of God. Be at peace and walk the way of peace.

June 9:

Fr. Don here.

You are the light of the world (Mt 5:13-16). The clouds hide the sun this morning but do not have the power to dull the light that we have been given. Not just any light but the Light of Life, the shared divinity of Jesus Christ in us. We can choose to let that light shine in the most dire circumstances. The One who gave us the light has shown us exactly how to do that. In the joy of community or the betrayal by friends, He chose to shine His light. Can we? In the abundance of a wedding feast or the scarcity of the desert, He chose to let His light shine. Can we? In the tranquility of the fishing boat or in the midst of a storm, He chose to let His light shine. Can we? His behavior is not determined by the circumstance. He is not a victim without the power to choose. His circumstances do not excuse Him. Choose to shine forth the Light of Jesus Christ today, no matter the circumstance.

June 8:

Fr. Don here.

This is not a time to run and hide. This is not a time to profess innocence. This is not a time to find someone else to blame. This is not a time to continue as if nothing needs to change. It is a time to do a fierce, personal inventory and come to know ourselves, and admit the ways that God is calling us to change, repent and grow in grace. It means that we don’t have the luxury of absenting ourselves from the inward or outward conversations. Instead of deciding that you know how someone else lives, listen and let them tell you their experience. The gospel offered to us this morning is Matthew 5:1-12, the Beatitudes. If you’ve got the 10 Commandments down pat, dig deeper to be an engaged and humble Beatitude person. May God shower Mercy upon us!

June 7:

Fr. Don here.

We are engulfed by the love of God. One who is the first spark of life, One who loves so deeply as to give everything for the sake of faithfulness, One who accompanies and directs and casts out fears. The Oneness of God is the stuff of our life. It is our origin, our life and our promised future. It is the pattern we are called to live. The One who is, was and will be. The intention of God is not to condemn the world but to save it through love. As we choose to live this day, is that our intention? As we see each person, is our intention one of faithfulness and love? Our we looking for ways to guide and direct? Or is our first thought one of judgment and condemnation? Let us be the stuff of God’s presence in the world today!

June 6:

Fr. Don here.

To do the will of the one who sent/made me, that is why I exist today. I am called to live according to the will of God. It is God’s will that each and every part of creation should be used to draw attention to and give glory to God, the God who shared lives with nothing held back. Our goal today is to shed anything that isn’t of God or looks like God, even if that means we feel less secure, like Jesus on the cross. When the widow gave from all she had (Mark 12:40) she was trusting that the little she had could have a part to play in the grand dream of God. What can we give, out of the little or lots that we have, to play a part in the grand dream of God? We have the privilege to do that. Let’s get at it!

June 5:

Fr. Don here.

The easiest choice to make is to give up hope. It has deadly affects on the person who does that but it is so easy to choose that. Once we give up hope, then we need someone to blame for our hopelessness. Another easy choice is to seek revenge. I hurt so you must hurt. I will get you back for what you did to me. One of the most difficult choices is to stay connected with all people. Sometimes that reminds us of infidelity, past hurts, current struggles and paralysis. We can, in the midst of all that, choose hope. Hope sees a vision yet fulfilled and stands on the one who made that promise and shared that vision. Jesus shared a vision, lived a certain way, chose to hope even though the vision was not complete, and decided to voluntarily empty Himself for the sake of others, even his enemies and us sinners. His choice of hope is our salvation. This gift is given to others through us, as we choose to live in the vision with hope. No easy way today. Just the way of Jesus!

June 4:

Fr. Don here.

You’ve heard the saying “we have two ears and one mouth so that we do twice as much listening as we do speaking.” The ability to focus attentiveness on another to not just hear but listen. What a gift that is to give to another. Listening is different than debating or apologetics. My main goal in listening is for you to know that is heard what you said, I respect you through my listening and do my best to show you that I did hear what you said. Not just words, pronunciation and grammar but intent and emotional content. Listening to another, whether Jesus or another human being, is a gift of love. It doesn’t always come easy, involves some sacrifice of time and energy, necessitates setting ourselves aside for those moments of listening and cherishing the communicator. Loving God and neighbor through the act of listening. May it be so!

June 3: 

Fr. Don here.

Hypothetical situations are used in the gospels to set Jesus up. If this and this and this then what? He almost always answwwred the questions with a question, leaving the inquisitor with the question. So let’s answer some of those questions today. I won’t answer them here.

What if someone is my enemy and hates me?
What if someone is a terrible sinner?
What if someone needs something I have?
What if I have harmed someone?
What if someone has harmed me?
What if someone wants me to help them carry their burden?
What if someone .....?

What if we could give witness to Jesus in how we treat others? That is not hypothetical. We know it can change our hearts and invite others to change theirs. We only can direct one life. Let’s spend our energy doing that rather than trying to control others.

June 2:

Fr. Don here.

Some inspiring words from 2 Peter 3 today. “Do not fall from your own stability.” How many of us gage our response on how someone treats us or on what they say or do? That is giving away our stability. We are in relationship with the holy one whose faithfulness and compassion never changes. Eternal stability and surety. We are given that as gift, without earning and while we are sinners. Given that eternal compassion from God we are asked to live toward others as God is toward us. God’s stability should be our stability. Is there any temptation in you to stop acting Godly toward others? Are you deciding how you will act by how others act toward you? Wouldn’t it be sad if God treated us in the same way? Let us find our stability in Jesus, who never abandons us, no matter what choice we have made. Let us be toward others as God is toward us!

June 1:

Fr. Don here.

Mary, Mother of the Church. This feast on the Monday after Pentecost focuses attention on the fact that just as Mary was alert, attentive and ready to say yes when she was given the chance to give birth to the Anointed One so was she willing to be with the Apostles as they waited together for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the birth of the church. Her faithfulness and compassion and her utter dedication to the will of God are set before us as an example to follow and as a gift to cherish. How can I be ready and willing to say yes to God’s will in those quiet moments of invitation? How can I be steadfast in my belief and practice even when the promises of God have not been fulfilled? Hail Mary, full of grace, lead and guide us.

May 31: Pentecost Sunday

Fr. Don here.

Come Holy Spirit! We need guidance. It is obvious that the current ways of being together and being the people of God are not having the converting effect that we are meant to have. How can God, through us, bring about oneness and peace. Any time a disagreement or division appears, there are persons or groups ready to take advantage and cause deeper division and suspicion and hatred. We control our own lives and wield power through our lives. On this PENTECOST Sunday, have you noticed in yourself any willingness to lose hope or deepen hatred? Are you looking for ways to fall into old “I told you so” stances? Are you seeking relationships that bring you out of that familiar group where everybody agrees or there is silence and denial? Are you locked somewhere out of fear? Our hope is in our choice to every day breathe in the Holy Spirit. We are called to bridge the gap, to wash the feet of those who betray us and to give our lives for enemy and friend. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations. Our marching orders are to live as Jesus, through living in service, dying for love and embracing life beyond measure. Ready?

May 30:

Fr. Don here.

John 21:20 reminds us that the Bible does not contain all the ways that Jesus healed, taught and loved. Only some of them could be contained in that small a book. Isn’t it true even today? If we began to list all the ways that God has been faithful to us we would run out of breath and days to our life. That is why the task of every day is to give testimony to the faithfulness of God, even in the midst of a pandemic. In fact it is probably more important. If we don’t we could get focused on minor losses and minor disappointments and think they are much larger than they really are. Notice in the gospel today how Peter forgets all that Jesus has done for him just because Jesus said something special to John. We can get petty, can’t we? Let us fill our day with testimony to God’s faithfulness so that others may come to believe.

May 28: 

Fr. Don here.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Have you noticed a yearning for the sun and dry whether these past few days? Probably because we haven’t had much of either this week. What else are you yearning for? God’s heart yearns for oneness and unity. It is the dream of God and is the pattern of God out of which we were created. We weren’t given every gift that we need. We were just given one or some. Those gifts, joined with the gifts of others, are what will fulfill the dream of God. “That all May be one.” John 17. What gift do you have that you are willing to give in the mosaic of oneness? What is it that you need from others? Are you willing to allow for someone else’s gift to take precedence over your’s at the appropriate time? Are you willing to quit hiding or hoarding your gift for the sake of others? Making room for the dream of God to be fulfilled through, in and with us in service to The yearning of God’s heart! What a sacrifice worth making!

May 27:

Fr. Don here.

To be consecrated in the truth, as St. Paul encourages his disciples to be, in Acts 20:28-38, we would be free to live a life of complete freedom and abundant joy. Living and speaking the truth offers the freedom of knowing that we are always doing what Jesus wants us to do. No more looking over our shoulder to see who is listening and who is watching. To speak the truth means no more worrying about what version of the story I told to each person. Living in truth means that there is a clarity about life, even though there may be discomfort, pain and suffering. The truth will set us free, give us clarity and put us in right relationship with Jesus. What portion of the truth are we sacrifices for the sake of fake unity, looking good in other’s eyes or trying to maintain something that is out of my control. May truth be the center of our lives today!

May 26:

Fr. Don here.

In Acts 20 St. Paul begins to say goodbye to all those he had lived with and taught. He wishes them well and does an analysis of his on life. He declares that he has held nothing back and given his all for the sake of Jesus and his good news. Today might be a good day to take a look at our own lives. What or how are we holding back from giving our all for the sake of Jesus? Do we believe that Jesus will provide for everything we need? Since Jesus believed that every person was worthy of giving his life up for, are we of a like mind or have we decided that some people deserve to be saved and loved and some don’t? What are we holding in reserve just in case Jesus doesn’t live up to his promises? Have we run the race and finished the course? What will our deeper walk with Jesus look like today?

May 25:

Fr. Don here.

Today we remember and pray. There are those who have given their lives in service to our country. We remember with gratitude their willingness to stand in the way of violence and hatred so that we can be free. We pray for those who are currently serving in the armed forces. We ask God to keep them safe and help them create a world where they will no longer be in harm’s way. Let us remember that we are capable of doing much better than do right now. We can, with God’s help, create a world where all are one, acting as sisters and brothers. Find a way today to honor our brothers and sisters who have given their all. Remember and live so that the reign of God will be established on the earth. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

May 24:

Fr. Don here.

Just had a glimpse of the rising sun, reminding me that all things are made new and renewed through the love and mercy of God. Take in that breath of fresh air. There is no need to carry into today the regrets or achievements of yesterday or to try to manage was hasn’t even happened yet. The beauty, the surprises and the disappointments of today will happen and we will walk through them one moment at a time. We will have what we need at that moment just like we have every other moment of our lives. Overtaken by grace, allowing God’s guidance to lead us and trusting that we are being used as an instrument of healing and compassion sets us on this journey. Enjoy and embrace each moment confident that a Jesus walks with you and lives you deeply.

May 23:

Fr. Don here.

I am so aware of how my chosen attitude toward each day colors my expert of that day. This morning I have chosen to “enjoy the adventure.” I’m not sure all that this day holds in store for me, but I am choosing to embrace it, take it in. I will experience joy and sorrow. Some events will flow smoothly and some will be more turbulent. Setting off on an adventure means that I am trying to live in this moment. I am trying to relax, unclench my jaw, expect delightful surprise, and look for the telltale signs of God’s presence everywhere. I look forward to learning, growing, forgiving, enjoying, wondering and wandering. Where will this adventure take me? I know that this day offers me the possibility of being closer to Jesus. I’m excited about that. How about you?

May 22:

Fr. Don here.

During this isolation, and with the help of others, I have become a gardener. Initial excitement and some work at tilling the soil got the garden ready. Seeds and plants are in place and the daily routine of weeding and watering is in place. Some days to rain water helps with watering. But now it is waiting and believing. The seeds and plants, I believe, have the potential for giving fruit for the table. I have faith. How much more, since God had promised and been faithful, can we have faith in the situation that is still difficult, the person who is still messy and the promise that is still unfulfilled? Notice the small signs of life, not what is missing. Rest on the promise and not on fear.

May 21:

Fr. Don here.

Tonight we celebrate our great 8th graders and their completion of their education with us. This is another celebration which will happen but not as we planned months ago. We are learnings every day that we are called to live in the present moment, celebrating as we can. We mourn the loss of what is lost and also claim that which has not been lost. Do not let loss or pain or inconvenience rob you of what is still true and always will be. No virus can take away God’s love for us, our oneness with each other or our call to be God’s presence in the world today. Choose virtue not vice as you make your way through the day. Choose to be a light and not darkness. Choose what is instead of what was or what is to come. Make that call, take that quiet moment of prayer or send that tweet to the one who needs a shot of light and hope in their life today. We are each other’s sisters and brothers!

May 20: 

Fr. Don here.

God’s faithfulness is on my mind and heart today. As I remember being ordained 42 years ago today, I know that it is only through God’s Grace that I am a priest. Many of you know the story of the letter I was given at my ordination. It was written by a cousin of mine, telling me that for several generations the women of our family have prayed for a priest to come from our clan. Stunning gift to receive but also humbling. Had I known about that ahead of time I would have felt pressured. Instead I feel gifted by her and them. It seems that is how God works. The road for our lives is prepared by God through the people of God. We can remain faithful through the prayers and support of the people of God. I rely on God’s Grace that comes to me through the Eucharist and the people of God. Thanks to all of you for being a constant reminder of God’s faithfulness. May you be blessed to receive God’s faithfulness and to remember and give thanks.

May 19:

Fr. Don here.

Gradually embracing a new normal necessitates doing something gradually. That means taking our time, being observant, noticing what is happening and how it is affecting us. It means understanding what we need and how to blend that together with what others need. It means noticing the most vulnerable and needy, since they might not have as many options as we do. It means setting aside denial and embracing what we have come to know about life. It means taking a breath and allowing our relationship with God reflect our deeper understanding of grace, loss, pain, suffering, death, gift, and freedom. Am I free to love another as Jesus has loved me, if that other involves suffering, sacrifice or inconvenience?

May 18:

Fr. Don here.

There is a phrase in John 16:4 which says “when the hour comes.” That phrase is used to remind us that daily faith practices are not just for emergencies but so that we might be prepared for the hour when we are presented with difficulty, danger, suffering, insight, opportunity and trial. Daily practice of prayer, meditation, rosary, service, self-emptying and stillness till the soil of our minds and hearts. In Acts 16 we meet Lydia, a disciple whose life has prepared her for the moment she hears about Jesus through Paul. She has been practicing generosity and kindness, Godly virtues even before she is baptized. She has prepared her heart for God to go deeper with her. What will you practice today to till the soil of your mind and heart?

May 17:

Fr. Don here.

Anticipation can either ruin us or give us hope. It can be a way to live in the future and try to escape reality. All that comes out of that is anxiety and regret. But we are given a promise that God will be revealed in every moment of our lives. This leads to anticipation that is grace-filled. As you pray this morning, as we share Eucharist together live streamed and as we live in each moment today, we do it with anticipation and hopeful expectation. This is a new day to be filled with God’s self-revelation. With listening hearts and wide open eyes we stand ready to see God. We have food and drink. We have shelter and clothing. We have safe drinking water and more besides. Have we become numb to the faithfulness of God revealed in those gifts? Do we really believe that we earned these gifts? Notice the wonder of your body. With such love you were created! Can you see that in the mirror or in the eyes of those who share your isolation? Rain, gardens, blooming trees and flowers reveal the Creator, not just the gardener. Be ready and breathless as God is revealed to you today.

May 16:

Fr. Don here.

Acts 16 talks so much about St. Paul following the prompting of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s promptings were so strong that it compelled him in one direction and prevented him from going other places. You may be picturing so other worldly spirit grabbing ahold of his tunic and yanking him back and forth. Probably not what happened. Paul was knocked to the ground and blinded at the beginning of his conversion. He became so close to Jesus that he “bent” his will so that he could follow the will of God. Can I say that most of us already know what the Spirit of God is asking us to do?  I think so. For the most part, we simply don’t want to change. We don’t want to “bend” our will to do what The Spirit is asking us to do. Take one of the following words and contemplate it. You will hear the promptings of the Spirit. Question is, what will you do?  Generosity. Compassion. Forgiveness. Fearlessness. Understanding. Patience. Faithfulness.

May 15:

Fr. Don here.

We are chosen. But that’s not all there is to it. The initiative has come from God. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. No or else, no conditions, no expiration date. We are chosen forever. God has made a choice to love us no matter what. The key to living in the footsteps of Jesus is to let that truth infiltrate your whole being. That truth will have to purify us of other”truths” which are really lies. Listen to your never ending doubts and fears which allow you to not believe that you are eternally chosen. Failures, sins, feelings, thoughts actions do not have the power to change God. God has made an eternal choice to love you. Let that melt away all your arguments. The more we let this gift be given to us, the greater is our capacity to make a choice for love.

May 14:

Fr. Don here

St. Matthias, whose feast we celebrate today, was a substitute called in to be an apostle when another one quit hoping in Jesus. Try to imagine the years that led up to his being chosen. In sports it would like “riding the bench.” He was there witnessing the living, dying and rising of Jesus but never counted among the 12. Many of us might feel like we’re all dressed up with no where to go. We keep preparing to be used by God, to make a difference, to move up a notch, but it doesn’t seem to happen. Waiting, being attentive, continuing to learn and grow’ these are all great characteristics of a disciple of Jesus. Whether we are highly visible and ranked high or we await God’s next call to action, we are all doing God’s will by waiting in trust. Much has been postponed or delayed on our lives. Let us wait, watch and learn in fruitful ways.

May 13:

Fr. Don here.

One of the stained glass windows in our sacristy depicts the Immaculate Heart of Mary. On this Feast of Our Lady of Fatima we are encouraged to pray for our world, for ourselves and especially for all who have lost their way and are involved in destructive behavior either toward themselves or others. Sometimes it becomes difficult to pray for those who are public sinners without hating them or judging them. Judgment is God’s work, not ours. This kind of prayers is about “leaving the 99 to find the lost one.” This is to be done out of sheer love and care, with a willingness to lift the other up and carry them home. Think of a person you know who needs this kind of love. Reflect on Mary’s Heart, pierced so that thoughts of many heart may be laid bare. Her love, even to those who killed her Son, is our example to meditate on and follow.

May 12:

Fr. Don here.

God’s in dwelling Spirit allows us to have a share in divine life. We are given the inheritance of life that never ends. This assurance, coupled with the assurance that “He walks with me and He talks with me” each and every moment of our lives ought to fill us with joy no matter what each moment asks of us. What is it that keeps us from allowing those truths to set us free?  Momentary pains, insecurities, wants and fears tempt us to believe and act out of them, rather than the facts of our eternal destiny. Could today be the day when we choose to live in the reality of our gift of life eternal?  Take each temptation or question of the day and put it up against the gift of life we have each been given. What has staying power and what doesn’t?  Don’t leave anxious questions unanswered, floating around in your mind and heart. Can you live in truth today?  Not for every day but for today?  Enjoy your eternal inheritance as it breaks into your day today!

May 11:

Fr. Don here.

Reading Acts 14:5-18 reminds us of the blessing and curse of being disciples of Jesus. We are given the opportunity to do great things in the name of Jesus. God works through us to bring life and renewal in our relationships and in the world. Healings, reconciliations, great acts of generosity and astounding depths of forgiveness can happen through us when we become God’s instruments. For those who are hungry, lonely and in need we can look like gods. But we must remember that it is God who works through us. We are not God. Arrogance and self-righteousness are two of the greatest hindrances to hearing and following Jesus. Today is the day to do great things in the name of Jesus and give all the glory to God.

May 10: Mother's Day

Fr. Don here.

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms and prayers for any who experience any pain associated with this day. Today we lift up a certain esteemed group of people who have been entrusted by God with the privilege of bearing human life and bringing us into the world. Praise God for those who cherish and care for us from the beginning. Although no mother is perfect we do get a glimpse of God in moms. The virtues of generosity, compassion, faithfulness and love exude from most moms. They protect us and give us birth, they serve us when we are completely dependent, they nurture us into full humanity and then free us to live our adult lives, with the only hope being that we will be the best people we can be. If you find yourself unable to be grateful for your mom today, look for the unforgiven part of your past experiences. Isn’t it time to forgive and move on? If you regret something you did or are doing as a mom, seek forgiveness and move on. And to all moms, worry doesn’t change a thing. Free yourself and set your mind and heart on what you can change. Love only as you can love. That is the greatest gift you can give. Thanks moms!

May 9:

Fr. Don here.

Public masses will be happening in several weeks but it won’t be like it was I hope. Yes there will be more restrictions. Limited number of people per mass, masks compulsory and no touching. But I hope for a change that is deeper. Will we rush to make sure I get what I want or do we have a concern for the common good? Will we get angry and frustrated when things don’t go smoothly or will I be more patient and forgiving? Will I need to be first because I come first or have I learned that we are all connected? Is my hunger for the Eucharist authentic or am I reasserting that I want what I want when I want it? I hope we are learning these mighty lessons of love. They are lessons that Jesus learned through living, dying and rising. May we follow in his footsteps.

May 8:

Fr. Don here.

When you opened your eyes and saw how cloudy and rainy it is how did you feel?  We all have inner reactions almost instantaneously. Once we acknowledge those we have a choice. How will we respond, what attitude will we choose to carry with us today?  Imagine Jesus. How many emotional reactions he must have had to the people and events he encountered. We know that he was deeply troubled, angry, felt love and compassion, felt abandoned and afraid, was filled with joy and gratitude. His choice about life was always the same. He chose to love, in word, attitude and action. Have fun with the variety of immediate reactions you will have today. If you listen carefully and observe yourself you will notice some emotional patterns. You may have some habitual behavior attached to certain feelings. Remember. You have a choice to be fully human, in the pattern of Jesus. Observe, acknowledge, examine and choose. You know the way.

May 7:

Fr. Don here.

Learning and growing are exciting experiences for me. It feels like I’m not stagnated if I am deepening my understanding of things or people. If I am encountering something that makes me uncomfortable I have a tendency to quickly call it bad and try to escape it. Stay in the midst of being stretched by growth takes courage and trust. Right here and right now is a situation I would have never chosen. How about you?  Any part of you want to escape the learning, growing, insights and stretching that is happening?  Are you practicing any “numbing” behaviors that keep you from feeling and growing?  Any want in you to rush back to what was instead of awaiting what will be?  Are you now equipped to value silence, family, connectedness, dependence on God or sharing your excess with the most vulnerable?  Or is there still more to learn as we wait humbly to be moved into deeper life with Jesus?  Don’t rush away just because you’re uncomfortable. God is with us.

May 6:

Fr. Don here.

It is so uplifting and liberating to be given an understanding of the mind and heart of God. What is God’s attitude toward us?  Throughout the gospels we get hints about that through the words and actions of Jesus. We are told that God is love so we can assume that God is always acting out of love. God’s invitation to live in light and not in darkness is motivated out of love. Notice where you tend to live in self-hatred or hatred of others. Notice where you live in denial rather than truth. Notice where you live in cynicism rather than hope. Notice where you find security in things and not in love from God. When you notice a tendency to live in some darkness remember the hand of Jesus reaching out to you and saying “Step out into the light. Do not be afraid. And even if you are afraid, step into light.”

May 5:

Fr. Don here.

I come to you this morning with a new knowledge that my dad, at 92, is positive with Covid 19. I literally stand with millions of you whose family members are suffering without their family present. Thank you God for those who stand with our loved ones and love them and care for them. For their sake and for the sake of the most vulnerable, we isolate and stay somewhat distant. Many are asking if it’s worth it. Many are asking is our inconvenience and suffering is worth it for the sake of others. It seems that many of us are unknowingly carrying this disease without symptoms. To whom do any of us want to give it?  Let us ask Jesus to give us the humility and courage to act as if our every action affects others. Help us to act prudently and to uphold the life of every human being, especially the most vulnerable.

May 4:

Fr. Don here.

Every 24 hours the earth moves around the sun, giving us sunrise and sunset. Every day we are given what we need, through our work and the support of others. Every day we and others experience the Paschal Mystery of living, dying and rising. We have been given this cycle of life by God and all human being and all of creation embraces this cycle. Where are you today in this Paschal Mystery. Probably a little of all three. There is usually some living, some dying and some rising in each day. We have done this all our lives. God has given us an example in Jesus about how to do this. In all things we should be anchored in our relationship with Jesus. He accompanied us every step of the way. Always has and always will. Necessary losses, abundant living and blessed resurrections. This is the privileged path of the children of God. One step at a time. Trust that it has been, is and always will be.

May 3: Good Shepherd Sunday

Fr. Don here.

Finding a trusted confidant, a good listener, an honest source of wisdom and a good example to follow is one of life’s most important tasks. Today in the scriptures we are offered the example of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. His example and His endless love are gifts we have been given, unearned and endless. But how do we recognize His voice and how do we know the path that He wants us to walk. Growing in trust of Him and setting aside our own egos, our own fears, our own need for surety before we follow and our want to be in control. We have all wandered off the path and yet He still calls our name and carries us home when we wear ourselves out on other paths. Jesus is calling each of us. Listen to His voice and follow where He leads.

May 2: 

Fr. Don here.

Turning away from the hard truths seems to be a temptation in all of us. In the scriptures today, John 6:60-69, we hear Jesus insisting that we “eat his body and drink his blood.” Many walked away because that was too much for them. What is the “too much” that God is asking of you right now that you are being tempted to walk away from or reject? Is God asking of you a deeper concern for others, even those who hate you? Is God asking a deeper level of self-giving even in the midst of your current insecurity? Is God asking you to love yourself more deeply even though you have struggled with that all your life? Is God asking you to quit pretending that you are all-powerful and know better than everyone else? Is God asking you to quit hiding out of fear or anxiety and share yourself in little and great ways? Will you say yes or walk away?

May 1:

Fr. Don here.

Acts 9:1-20 Study the character named Ananias. Imagine being asked by God to assist a person whose mission it is in life to imprison or kill you. Imagine what courage and trust it would take to say yes. Now combine that with the feast of the day, St. Joseph the Worker. Another person in scripture who is asked to set aside a planned and secure way of life for something much more risky, loss of reputation and standing in the community. Let us be conscious today of the ways that God is calling us to trust more deeply, even when we ourselves feel threatened. How often does our reputation or getting our own way or staying in the security of our planned life get in the way of responding to God’s invitation to trust more deeply and say YES?

April 30:

Fr. Don here.

Our mission today is to live in such a way so that when anyone encounters us they encounter Jesus. What a grand and glorious mission we have been given. So our examination of consciousness ought to be about an awareness of what eminates from us. What do our words and gestures communicate about Jesus. Is our inner heart purified of those hatred and prejudices that cause us to act in hatred, selfishness, cynicism or shame? Can we glimpse the Light of Jesus in each voice we hear and each person we encounter, even the one we see in the mirror? Can we choose to see Jesus in those most in need, for Jesus is present in our need as well.

April 29:

Fr. Don here.

Because today is the feast of St. Catherine of Siena courage comes to mind. We sometimes use the word fortitude as well. One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, it is given to us in order to serve God more faithfully and love God more deeply and honestly. St. Catherine had holy courage, not ego driven blisters of false pride. She spoke truth to power but always with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, not what made her more important or to get her way. Have courage today. Be brave enough to believe that you can do what God is asking you to do. Thinking of others as much as ourselves is courageous. Helping with one more day of long distance learning takes fortitude. Deciding to look at the possibilities in this day to see and receive light and not darkness takes a person filled with the Holy Spirit. Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful. Fill us with the fire of your love and courage!

April 28:

Fr. Don here.

Don’t rush on to the future. It hasn’t happened yet. Live this moment and day. Sometimes we are so anxious to get out of the present circumstance that we act like we are living in the future. We know that isn’t a healthy mental, emotional or spiritual way to live. Besides that, we miss the experience of real living and the wisdom of the moment. Many of us have had to give up some things we were really looking forward to. But now we have already started planning for the future. Have we learned anything? The present moment is always real and is always happening. See the eyes that look at you today. Hear the voice that speaks to you day. Acknowledge the present blessings of food, clothing, shelter and God’s presence. What the future brings we know we can not predict. We do know we can live one day at a time. Practice well today.

April 27:

Fr. Don here.

I love to cook. One preparation for a meal can be marinating some part of the meal so that it soaks in the flavor of the marinade. That image can be used for our own lives. If we soak in a marinade of love and charity our lives will take on that flavor. If we marinade in indifference or selfishness that becomes our flavor. Children are great perceivers. They can tell the intention of the heart no matter what words we say. They absorb the mood and attitude of their surroundings. People can eventually pick up our authenticity or our facade. Let us choose to soak ourselves in the love and charity of God toward us. We will then take on or absorb that flavor and can give it to others. Use your power of choice to draw near to charity and love and not hatred, division and suspicion.

April 26:

Fr. Don here.

Even though separated by distance or sickness I look forward to walking the journey with all of you today. I am consciously of our connection with one another. I pray for us that we learn the lessons of this time and not rush through this or numb ourselves along the way with passing things. I would love for us to begin speaking about the lessons we are learning and hoping we never forget. I would love for us to all be wiser and less reactive. Has our attitude toward inconvenience, vulnerability and suffering changed in any way? Has our understanding of being connected with one another deepened or made us more divided? Are we growing in compassion or suspicion? We are doing this journey together. Let us walk by faith and not by sight!

April 25:

Fr. Don here.

In 1 Peter 5 we are told to “clothe yourself in humility.”  Waking on a cloudy, rainy day it seems already heavy and dark. Hearing about humility seems to be piling on. Haven’t we already had enough?  Aren’t already carrying a heavy enough load?  Taking on humility shouldn’t be “another load.”  In fact, it should be freeing for us. Humility means being ourselves honestly and truly. It means being the person I am able to be today and being assured that that is the greatest gift I can dedicate to God today. God has formed us and molded us in God’s Divine image. Our humility is to look like the humility of Jesus. We are to give what we have and depend on God to increase the “loaves and fishes.”  In all humility, what is it that you awaken with today and how can you authentically offer that in honor of God. Enjoy the freedom of humility!

April 24:

Fr. Don here.

Are we all victims?  It seems that each time we are deprived of something or someone our first reaction is to find someone to blame, to fight or to condemn. This first reaction seems to keep us from feeling the pain of the moment or even dealing with reality. In this moment and during this day there will be some things that happen that are out of our control. Let it be. It is real. Believe it or not we are not all powerful and not everything is in our control. Turn to the unmovable anchor in life. Jesus has chosen to love you and me no matter what. Just as Peter and John felt privileged to suffer for the name of Jesus(Acts 5:34-42) maybe today we might feel privileged to suffer for the sake of the community, for the sake of not infecting others, for the sake of not overtaxing hospitals and health care workers and for the sake of the common good. Are we victims or are we choosing to inconvenience ourselves for the sake of others?  That is in our control!

April 23:

Fr. Don here.

Isaiah 55:10-11

“Just as the rain falls from the heavens and does not return until its work is accomplished, so it is with the Word of God.”

Look out the window and take this rain as a sign of God’s faithfulness. This rain will nourish us and all on the earth. It has a purpose. It will do what it is meant to do. We can not live without it. So too with God’s Word Jesus. He comes to us today in His Risen power. He shows us His wounds. It is impossible not to see the wounds of the Body of Christ, especially in our brothers and sisters in our own neighborhoods and throughout the world. Just as the brokenness of Jesus conveyed Love so can our individual choices to voluntarily empty ourselves for the sake of others. How will we help bring to fulfillment the purpose of Jesus’ presence in our world today?  What is your God-given purpose today and how will you bring it to completion?

April 22: 

Fr. Don here.

John 3:16. God so loved the world that He gave us His Son so that we might have eternal life. Our gospel reading for today calls us back to the truth. The virus and the ensuing restrictions and losses have put before us things we don’t normally like to think about. Our own mortality, our vulnerability, our dependence on others, our connectedness with the whole world, and how afraid we are of inconvenience and suffering. We are tempted to either reject what the gospel tells us this morning and call Gods Word into question or to just grit our teeth and put up with this life until we get all our goodies in heaven. Jesus taught us the only way that fulfillment this gospel. “While we were still sinners.” Jesus found a way to live abundantly while there was vulnerability, death, suffering, dependence and loss. How can we live this day abundantly in the same pattern that Jesus did, not just waiting for heaven or rejecting the promise of God but living in this world with love, forgiveness and compassion knowing that God is blessing us and in turn we can bless others. What will that look like today?

April 21: 

Fr. Don here.

How is living in the belief of the Resurrected Christ changed how you live? Our current step away from community can give us time to glance more deeply into our inner life and see how our beliefs and values mold our choices and behaviors. Are we being so quick to go “back to normal” that we will miss the wisdom we are learning now? That fact that our life on earth is limited and our time here leads to death is not a new piece of information for any of us. Maybe the removal of our conveniences help us see that more clearly. But what will we carry with us out of this virus time into our “normal” times? Even though we are social distancing now are we one people of God or not? If I am made in the image of God is everyone else too? If my life is precious and each moment important is not each person’s life important? Is this pandemic threat causing me to close in on myself or opening me up more deeply? Do I need an enemy to blame for my discomfort or can I embrace discomfort and uncertainty and live more deeply? We are all being cracked open. Will we heal together from the inside out or quickly cover up any sign of vulnerability? Follow the pattern of Jesus!

April 20: 

Fr. Don here.

Yes. It is Monday. Many of the ordinary markers of Monday might have fallen away. Rushes to get out of the house to our many destinations are gone for most of us. For those of you who still do the essential work of our society, thank you. Please be safe as you can and know that our prayers and gratitude go with you. We are much like those who live in contemplative communities. We are staying within our walls, doing our domestic necessities and praying for the rest of the world. Pick out one particular group of people that you would like to pray with today. Keep them in mind and heart throughout the day. At meals, as we arise and go to sleep, every time we purify our hands, and whenever we experience frustration because of limitations and rules, remember those who don’t have the luxury of staying home and being safe. We hold them in prayer and love.

April 19: 

Fr. Don here.

Show Me. Most Missourians are familiar with this phrase. Our state motto. Prove it. Show your receipts. We have different ways of saying the same thing. Doubt and disbelief are part of our human condition. Given that, how do you treat your doubt? Do you pretend as if it doesn’t exist? Try to cover it up or numb it with repetitive behaviors like cynicism or exaggerated bravado? Turning toward God rather than away from God is the proper response, is the right thing to do, but so difficult. For those of us so blessed in life and faith find in hard to accept that we would ever doubt God’s love and mercy. But we do! Since that is true, especially in times of difficulty, let us trust in God’s mercy. God’s Covenant response is to love us always and to fill us with mercy rather than what we think we might deserve. How would life be different if our first choice was to bring our doubts to Jesus rather than pretend as if we are all knowing, all loving and perfect believers? Try it! You’ll like it!

April 18: 

Fr. Don here.

“Sunshine on my shoulder makes me happy. “. This quote from an old song describes what it felt like at sunrise this morning. I am so grateful for rich, full and radiant sunlight today. I look forward to seeing and feeling the Light of Christ in this day. I wonder how God will meet every one of my needs. I know God will. I just hope I’m not so calloused to the fullness of my life that I fail to notice how God is working each time that I breathe, each time I can move my body, each thought that I have and each moment of awe and beauty that I experience. Take the time today to look out and up. This is no time for “navel gazing.” God is working in our midst and through us. He is Risen as He said. Alleluia!

April 17:

Fr. Don here.

How did you react to the announcement of further time in isolation? Are you still inwardly fighting against these limitations or maybe you’re sinking deeper into cynicism or hopelessness. Is peace and calm possible? Can we remain hopeful and loving? Can we choose to live life abundantly? You bet we can but we must face some truths that have always been true but are accentuated during this time.

We are not in control of everything that affects our lives and we shouldn’t be. We are, have been and always will be dependent on others. We will experience discomfort, inconvenience and suffering. We are, have been and always will. Life, death and resurrection is the pattern of our lives. The Paschal Mystery. Going back”to normal” could mean pretending these things aren’t true or we could learn the lessons of these times and embrace them rather than try to live in a fantasy.

God is with us in living, dying and rising. Alleluia!

April 16:

Fr. Don here.

Rugged individualism is a myth. We might pretend that we can pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps but it simply isn’t true. It seems to be a reaction against our disappointment when someone doesn’t live up to our expectations or isn’t as faithful as they said they’d be. Sometimes we’d rather be alone than risk the pain of disappointing love. Companions on the journey are essential if we are to stay the course. Some are essential for part of the journey and then depart. Some are with us for most of the journey. The Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead is a living companion with us always into eternity. Acknowledge that Spirit’s Presence in your life today. Converse and debate, question and ponder, experience awe and wonder, boredom and humdrum. We are not alone and are not meant to act like we are. The Spirit of God is with us!

April 15:

Fr. Don here.

This ancient icon of the Emmaus Story shows us the guts of our gospel today. Wherever we are, on whatever road we walk, in whatever situation we find ourselves, He walks with us. He will listen patiently as we tell Him our circumstances. He will try to connect the dots for us if only we listen. How does all this work “for the glory of God?” We usually only know this in hindsight. Right now we need to live day by day, in trust that He walks with us. Why would we be exempt from suffering? Has any other human being been exempt? Do we deserve to live a pain free life? Suffering, embraced with trust and faith, is a rich source of compassion.

April 14: 

Fr. Don here.

Where do you roam when your life has unanswered questions or life throws you a curve? Each of Jesus’ disciples roamed for a while. Some went to hidden places behind locked doors. Some walked away from Jerusalem toward their homes. Some went to his grave. In the roaming they find Jesus. He comes to them. He is with them. He speaks with them. These days our roaming is confined. Most of us are roaming in our thoughts or daydreams or fears and anxieties. Expect to meet Jesus although you may not recognize Him. Engage and converse. He will love you, console you and call you by name. He is with us. He is Risen. Alleluia!

April 13: 

Fr. Don here.

This is just the beginning of the Easter Season not the end. To carry the message of Jesus of Life over Death will take the rest of our lives. Plant the seeds of life in you so that they grow and bloom in deep and rich soil. Your seeds of Resurrection are meant to be fruitful, 100-fold. This is creativity time. Think of daily ways to share the fruit of your faith in the Resurrection of Jesus. Although isolated and distanced we are not separated. We are all God’s people. How will you share joy, hope, faithfulness and love? Don’t act like this is a sprint. This is a lifelong marathon, day by day giving witness to Jesus. What will that look like for you today?

For now with love.

April 12: Easter Sunday

Fr. Don here.

Love has many forms but it is undeniable that faithfulness in the face of infidelity is one of the strongest examples of love. Jesus loved us and chooses to be with us always. No denying His choice. We can see it on the Cross and we see it in the Empty Tomb. Love comes to us today and asks us “ Do you think that this virus would be the time when I would quit walking with you? Do you think I would leave you alone NOW?” Have you answered that question? Do you still keep going back and forth with “is God with us or not?” Live today, the beginning of our Resurrection Season, in hope and truth. Your hope will give you vision and the truth will set you free from worry and fear.

For now in love!

Easter afternoon:

Fr. Don here.

I've posted my Easter Message on the website www.allsaints-stpeters.org.

I want to thank everyone who continues to support the parish financially. A number of households are experiencing some financial hardships right now and I don't want to impose on them but if you are in a position to help, we greatly appreciate that. In fact, we want to help you as much as we can. Reach out to us and we will make it through this together. If you can, would you please mail in your donation or give online https://allsaints-stpeters.org/Resources/Online-Giving If you would like to make a donation to the Easter Collection it can be also be made online here https://secure.egsnetwork.com/donate/3ADF8D1708A345D

Let us continue to pray for each other and our suffering world and may the glory of the Risen Christ fill us with hope now and always. The mission of the Church continues.

April 11: Holy Saturday

Fr. Don here.

Since we have no place to rush to, let’s settle in to this day of reckoning. Just like the early apostles and disciples we are confronted with tombs filled with bodies of friends and dreams and plans that seem to have been lost. Mayor occasions in some of our lives are postponed or cancelled. Employment has evaporated and savings are dwindling. This is the empty tomb, just like the one that held the body of Jesus. Don’t rush to cheap faith and don’t hide your face from one you said you loved. Stay in the midst of your anger, bargaining, denial or quick solutions and shallow faith. Who has rule in your mind and heart? What is true even if you stand before the grave of seemingly broken dreams? You know the Creed, spoken so many times unthinkingly. Do you believe? Is your life journey chosen by these truths? Stay and watch!

April 10: Good Friday

Fr. Don here.

Turning away from love. Great sacrifice, given for our sake, is difficult to behold! While we are still sinners, Christ died for us! Behold the wood of the Cross! We have all day to contemplate this Love. Don’t turn away from the Gift. Don’t gloss over what was embraced for your sake. Allow the deepest part of your being to experience what real love looks like. Let Love burn out any fear, doubt, shame, embarrassment, unbelief, callousness, indifference, self-centeredness, and leave more room to say YES to Love in a deeper way. Look into the eyes of Love and drink in the Gift. This Good Friday offers a unique chance to NOT BE diverted from or distracted from Love.

April 9:  (Holy Thursday)

Fr. Don here.

“What I have done for you now you must do for others”. With those words and the choice to wash his disciples’ feet, we are given our direction of life and mission on earth. Holy Thursday reminds us that our humble posture in life must include washing the feet of those who betray me, deny me and wish to kill me. “What good is there in loving those who love you back? Even pagans do that.” Who are those people in our lives? Peter almost refused to let Jesus wash his feet. Was he embarrassed? Was he feeling shame for his own denials and missteps? Was he unsure he could do the same for others? You might be stuck in the house and service for others, even those you love, is hitting your limit. Imagine Jesus kneeling in front of you. He wants to wash your feet so you can continue to serve. The basin and the towel. Instruments of revolutionizing our minds, our hearts, our bodies, our churches, our communities and our world. Are you on board?

April 8: 

Fr. Don here.

The betrayal of Jesus by many around him must have been excruciating to him. After having f isolationloved so deeply they walk away, deny they know him or sell him for money. And still He loves. What does it take to be betrayed and to continue to love the other? In small and large ways we have all been hit by betrayal. Sometimes we choose revenge and retaliation, wanting the other to hurt as bad as we do. Holding hatred in our hearts and refusing to forgive eats away at us from the inside out. In these days of isolation and distance, is there any of this rising to the surface in you? Any chance you might regret the current state of your life and make a step toward forgiveness and purity of heart?

April 7: 

Fr. Don here.

“I will make you a light to the nations” (Isaiah 49:6). Usually when we hear the word nations we think of large groups of people. And in these days we are seeing nations be a light to others. Sharing respirators and masks and learning from others how to fight this virus. Health care workers shifting into more dangerous positions for the sake of healing and cashiers in grocery stores putting their lives on the line so that others may eat. Light in the midst of darkness for the sake of others. Who is your nation for whom you are a light? Is it your spouse and children? Do you see yourself as a light to them? That person you call just to say hi. Is that your “nation” to bring light to? Those you are praying for. Are they the “nation” for whom you are the light? Claim whatever connection you have outside yourself. Choose to be light today. Don’t try to do tomorrow. It doesn’t exist yet. You are a light to the nations!

April 6: 

Fr. Don here.

I had a vantage point yesterday that you did not. From a window in my room I saw cars pulling up all day to receive one of the blessed palms. All day long. Distance and separation has not destroyed our oneness. This Holy Week is a meditation on Oneness. Jesus continues to hold all in His heart as he walks the walk. Just like our current state of life we fight about who you agree or disagree with. Jesus holds us together as one. Try to notice today any ways we might be betraying our oneness. Talking about someone else behind their back, holding a grudge that should be forgiven, judging because of skin color, religion, country of origin, sexual orientation or economic status. In our separation, with the longing to be connected, can we use this time to get rid of anything that separates us, even when the virus finds its hidden place again?

April 5: 

Fr. Don here.

A procession of honor and adoration mixed with suspicion and hatred. Welcome to Palm Sunday. Instead of finding the culprits and heroes only in the narrative of the Passion of Jesus let’s also take the time to find the hero and culprit in ourselves. How are we adoring and lauding Jesus with one part of ourselves and doubting and accusing with the other part? Isolation and quiet and disconnection from the normal can lay bare many hidden parts of us. Have you quit trying to be so busy and start paying attention to what needs attention in you? Let Jesus process into your heart now. No matter who you are He wants a home in you.

April 4: 

Fr. Don here.

Not a single one of us is without some loss during this pandemic period. For some the loss is huge. Postponed weddings, loss of jobs, worried sickness, and our own patterns of living have all been lost to this virus. It shouldn’t surprise us that we are going through the stages of grief. Anger, denial, bargaining and surrender are some of the predictable reactions to loss and grief. Where are you with your losses? As Christians we believe that Jesus is our pattern and model of behavior. In the midst of his loss and grief how did he act? Did he get angry, have questions, try to bargain to make the difficult things go away or surrender and refuse to be the victim? As we prepare to walk through Holy Week trace the steps and choices of Jesus. We have had our hearts cracked open this Lent, deeper than any of us planned. Invite Jesus, our model of life, to walk us through this deeper walk of loss and pain. Though I walk through the dark valley .....(Psalm 23)

For now in love.

April 3: 

Fr. Don here.

“They picked up stones to kill Him.” killing the messenger when the words are too difficult to hear is a familiar reaction. You might even notice in yourself in the present situation. We push away reality rather than embracing it, especially if it isn’t what we want to hear or is making my life inconvenient or seemingly impossible. Who’s voice are you wishing you could silence? Remember the Serenity Prayer. Is it even in your control to make a person or circumstance go away. The more out of control we feel the more stones we want to throw. Who of us is without sin? Cast the first stone. Embrace reality. It gives us more freedom to see as things really are and to invite into our reality and not just into our anger. It allows us to stay connected in prayer to God rather than hiding behind our anger or fear.

For now in love.

April 2: 

Fr. Don here.

Avoiding contact is a lifesaving action. Imagine the change of mind and heart that it takes to believe that and let that be the rule of life for us now. But wait. Mathis is not a call for isolation from connections with others but only the ways of connecting that threaten the lives of others or our own. We are one and we are all connected. We are learning hopefully how connected we are. Take some quiet moments today to reconfirm what God says is true. We are one. We are one with our relatives in hospital, in care facilities, in other cities and countries, of other religions and races and ethnic origins. Why do we seem to need to find an enemy to blame for our pain? We are one. Let us heal not hurt. Let us bind rather than divide. For now in love.

April 1: 

Fr. Don here.

April Fools Day. Usually a day of pranks and jokes. This might be a good day to check out our sense of humor and joy. There are plenty of dark and ominous things going on. That is true. But that is not a good reason to abandon joy. Breathe in some humor today. Choose to spend some time today noticing the funny things in you and around you. Some people call this “taking a break from reality.” Not true. This is simply living in the entirety of your life. All is not doom and gloom. God’s intention and dream for us is to “have life and have it more abundantly.” Notice the abundance of life that God gives you today. Have a good laugh. Take in the whole of life not just the darkness. For now in love.

March 31: 

Fr. Don here.

Jesus shows us that being out of control, our own powerlessness, is greater than we wish to admit. As the layers of false security are stripped away what are we left with? The temptation is to say we are left with nothing. But that is far from the truth. We remain precious in God’s eyes and no circumstances will change that. The current shedding of false securities is essential for us to recognize our sheer dependence on the love of God. Today make a conscious effort to freely let go of false securities, things like the future or the past. Notice how available you are to notice God working in you and through you today. Draw near to the Loving One, our true security.

March 30: 

Fr. Don here.

Good morning. I wonder if you have established your routine for the day. Us humans thrive on routine. Set patterns, healthy set patterns, give parameters for good living. When our normal patterns are interrupted by outside forces we get to set new patterns, ones within our control. When will I pray, not if. When will I sleep, not if. When will I exercise, not if. When will I connect with others, not if. When will I eat healthily, not graze eternally. We still have the power to live healthy lives. God’s love is with you today. Choose to connect. Choose to take it in. Choose to pass it on.

March 29: 

Fr. Don here.

The path of Lent continues. From the desert to the mountaintop to the well to the Temple and now to a grave filled with stench and grief. At each step along the journey a similar question is asked. “Do you believe?” No matter what “Do you believe?” Not asking ultimately about how you are feeling or what are your current circumstances but do you believe. What is the immovable foundation on which you stand? Taking account of our emotional state is important as so is our real and present situation but life is so unnecessarily unstable if we alter our fundamental truths by how we feel or what we see. What foundation do you stand on as you find yourself facing the grave filled with grief and stench?

March 28: 

Fr. Don here.

Empty church, empty parking lot, don’t touch, stay six feet away, no more than 10, same faces day after day. This is our new routine. In whatever way we are wishing that it wasn’t, it is. Stop running from it, stop fighting it, stop filling it with unnecessary busyness or clutter. Welcome the detachment, welcome the sameness, welcome the closeness of God. Listen for the “still, small voice,” who does not extinguish the “smoldering wick” or break “the bruised reed.” Welcome God’s gentle Spirit into this new empty space.

March 27:

Fr. Don here.
Friday in Lent. How do you respond to being asked to give up something when life is already inconvenient? Have you noticed that sometimes our emotions about this current situation leak out unconsciously in our lives? We don’t like being deprived or told what to do or not to do. That is frustrating, sad and can create anger in us. Are we attending to those emotional reactions? Are they part of the gift we present to Jesus today? Today can we “glory in our weakness” and let God be strong on our imperfections?

March 26: 

Fr. Don here.

During this time of isolation and distancing most of us are taking stock of our lives more deeply. When deprived of some things we re-examine what is or should be most important and of highest value. If you believe that you need to reestablish some former values and virtues that you have neglected, do so starting today. Don’t waste time with self-hatred or “if only” musings. Take today, the day the is given to us, and live out those values and virtues that have been clarified in this isolation. Become the person God has called you to be. No virus has the power to keep us from doing that!

March 25: 

Fr. Don here.

“Let it be done to me according to Your will. “

Today is the Feast of the Annunciation. 9 months til Christmas. Imagine the encounter Mary had during what must have been her regular time of prayer. Just like us she chose to spend time nurturing her relationship with God. Dedicating her day to God and asking for God to reveal the direction for the day. This day she hears that she is to be the mother of God, the tabernacle of The Word Made Flesh. Surprise, questions and the wonderful YES that she offered. Let us follow her example today. Oh God, what is your will for me today? How should I act in your name? How can you be manifested through me today? Let it be done to me according to your Word. YES!

March 24: 

Fr. Don here.

My hope is that we are settling into this new phase of our reality. It will not last forever. It is necessary for the sake of our most vulnerable. Take some time today to remember someone you know who is in the most vulnerable group. They could be old but might be a child with a compromised immune system. They may be in our church community or family but maybe not. Remember them when you are inconvenienced. Dedicate that choice to shelter at home to their well-being. As Christ gave His life for the sake of us who are sinners we can give these days of our life for the sake of the most vulnerable. Choose Life for others!

March 23: 

Fr. Don here.

What happens when the initial novelty of things wear off? Stuck, bored, frustrated, angry, depressed, worried, fearful? Make sure you don’t hide all that from Jesus and others. Enjoy being loved by him when you don’t feel your best. How? Use some bit of your quiet and isolation to remind yourself of God’s faithfulness to you. Remember. Revive those memories. Renew your awareness of God’s generous promises that are still true in this moment. One day at a time. Blessings on your day. God is with you right now!

March 22: 

Fr. Don here.

I just finished my private prayer time and am refreshed for the day ahead. I look forward to celebrating the Eucharist with all of you over live stream starting at 8am. To prepare, notice any blindness or short sightedness you may have in your life right now. Bring those to our prayer time together this morning. You are all in my mind and heart. We are ONE.

March 21: 

Fr. Don here.

God is asking us to live out what we believe. God wants us to be one and to live as if we are one. We have more time on our hands than ever in recent memory. Has this virus and all the consequences helped you experience our oneness? Or are we still looking for someone to be our enemy? Have we deepened our sense of community with the whole world or are we looking for and circulating conspiracy theories? “That all May be one”. That is the dream of God.

March 20: 

Fr. Don here.

Abstaining from meat. Seems like such a small sacrifice now compared to everything we are being asked to abstain from. No hugging, no touching, no gatherings. Doing without for the sake of family, friends and the world. Seems like quite a good spiritual practice on this Friday of Lent. Live stream mass at 8am. 28 min from now. Maybe see you then🙏

March 19:

Fr. Don here.

I am so conscious of our being connected, if not physically. Today, the Feast of St. Joseph, has already been a fruitful day for prayer for me. Imagine the scary choices Joseph made, trusting God’s promises. He took Mary into his home already pregnant. He fled with his family to protect his child. He, an older man, gave such great guidance and nurturing to Jesus. Imagine the words and gestures he was able to do during their time of running for their lives. Can we imitate the hope and trust in our day today? St. Joseph, teach us and guide us! I think of all of you a lot.

March 18: 

Fr. Don here.

Sorry for the delay on posting this morning. I just finished a meeting at Kenrick-Glennon seminary. Some of you may not know that I teach the preaching classes there for the men studying to be priests. It is such a privilege to be with them as they learn how to share and reflect the Word of God to others. The seminary is closing down for the semester but we are being asked to continue our classes online. Being 69 years old, that creates it's own challenge for me. But I am learning. But how about all of you?

I would like to offer a scripture that any of us could use for meditation, either private or even as a family prayer. Luke 24:13-35 It is the familiar Emmaus Story. Take that walk with the disciples and with Jesus. Insert yourself into the journey and have a conversation with Jesus. He wants to know what you are thinking and feeling. He also has some things to remind you of and he wants to bring back some memories. Enjoy.

March 17:

Fr. Don here.

Take a deep breath. Allow God to be with you today. As you become aware of your uncertainty or fear, invite Jesus to walk into it with you. You are not alone. Do you have what you need for today? If so offer your gratitude and check on someone who might be in a more fragile situation than you. If you don’t have what you need for today reach out. We are here. Call the parish office. 636-397-1440x221. There are thousands of us who share this life with you. You don’t have to carry this alone.

March 16: 

Fr. Don here.

We just received a letter from Archbishop Carlson telling us to cease offering mass immediately. All other activities on parish grounds are also cancelled. We will have the church open for private prayer from 9 am til 3 pm ever day. No more than 10 people can be in church at one time.

To read the archbishop's letter, click here https://allsaints-stpeters.org/Coronavirus

March 15: 

Fr. Don here. 

Just wanted to offer my encouragement to take hold of this day through faith and not fear. There might be chaos and confusion around you. You might feel more out of control than usual. Those are outside influences. What decision are you making about yourself? Are you being led by faith or fear? One of our parishioners shared an apt scripture with me. 2 Corinthians 5:7 We walk by faith and not by sight. It doesn't mean we ignore what is going on around us. We do see and live in the world. But we are guided by Godly wisdom and not our fears! Let us love one another as God has already loved us. Choose to live fully today!