April 15:

Fr. Don here.

So much of what we’re hearing in the post Easter, pre-Pentecost readings have to do with the tension that happened between those who were threatened by Jesus and those who were followers of Jesus. If you are a person of power, it is threatening to hear someone preach against the way you are exerting your power. If someone is accusing you of killing somebody who they believed to be sent by God, that’s threatening as well. It’s no wonder that those who had power wanted the apostles and disciples of Jesus to quit talking about him but they wouldn’t, no matter how much they were threatened. We each have daily opportunities to stand up for the truth that Jesus proclaimed. Let us use our ability to give a witness and testimony and not back down or be afraid when someone in power threatens us. Let us continue to stand up for All human life, but I stand up for a community that welcomes strangers and a community that can learn to love their enemies.

April 14:

Fr. Don here.

“God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” John 3:16

Imagine allowing this kind of love into each of our hearts and lives. There isn’t a greater gift that anyone could give us that would be more evidence of love then when God gave Jesus to us. And so what are we done with that gift? I don’t mean what are we done with Jesus. I mean what are we done with that gift of love that we’ve been given? Do we still cower in fear whenever confronted with difficulty, sacrifice or suffering? True love casts out fear and gives us the gift of freedom. Freedom to be jailed and threatened like the apostles and still preach about Jesus. Freedom to love our enemies and all those who hate us. Freedom to forgive those who threaten to do us harm as Jesus forgave those who nailed him to the cross. So today, will you let the love of Jesus permeate you? If you do, you will experience freedom. Will you use that freedom in a self-serving way or use it for love and forgiveness and sacrifice? Enjoy this Easter season.

April 13:

Fr. Don here.

This very vivid description of Christian community from the fourth chapter of the acts of the apostles should make us wonder. Are we really a Christian community? I know that we are seeking to be a Christian community and that what we just heard from the Acts of the Apostles gives us direction, guidelines and purpose for being the ultimate Christian community. What would it be like if within our community there was no one who needed anything? What if we were the kind of community that shared what we had in common, not thinking of anything as our own? If you’re anything like me, that kind of scares me. What would life be like if I didn’t have my things and I didn’t have control of my stuff? What would life be like if I had to deal with others so that I could have what I need? What kind of generosity would be called out of each of us if we were constantly vigilant to look out for the needs of others? I know that we are making great strides to be the kind of community we want to be but let’s not get stuck where we are but let’s progress in the path of discipleship that leads to us looking like a chapter 4 Acts community.

April 12:

Fr. Don here.

Are you born of the Spirit? When the disciples of Jesus were confronted with the backlash of hatred and violence, they knew that they needed more than their own willpower and their own strength. They realize that if they were to do what Jesus asked them to do they would need the power of the Holy Spirit. Most of them had experienced how weak their resolved had been when they watched Jesus be tortured and killed. Most of them abandoned him, some betrayed him and most of them were so disillusioned and afraid they either locked themselves in a room out of fear or went back to their old occupations in their home towns. Have you noticed how weak your own reason all of us sometimes? Have you noticed how you make a firm purpose of amendment only to watch yourself shy away from the Will of God again? Pray today for the power of the Holy Spirit to be infused more deeply in your mind and heart. God wishes to be partners with us in the work that God has given us to do.

April 11:

Fr. Don here.

When you hear or read the gospel this weekend, instead of thinking of Thomas as a doubter why not think of him as a bold disciple willing to ask for what he needed so that he could give Jesus everything, his whole life and all his energy and choices? And if we are to follow in the footsteps of Thomas, what we are to be doing is seeking out those parts of our minds and hearts that are partially committed to Jesus But still have some hesitation or questions. So instead of hiding those are pretending that somehow questions or bad, Thomas teaches us where to take those questions. Next time you’re in prayer or if it’s been a while start again and ask Jesus for what you need to believe more deeply and to follow him more clearly. Enjoy this Easter season and it’s a great Day of mercy.

April 10:

Fr. Don here.

“It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4

What has God done for you that you are unwilling to be silent about? Of all the marvelous privileges in your life and all the gifts that you have been given, are you being too quiet about it all. Shout for joy, you people of God! Christ is Risen. Alleluia. Fill the earth with a joyful noise.

April 9:

Fr. Don here.

“By what power or by what name have you done this?” Acts 4

Peter and John are able to perform miracles and preach inspiring words because they shared in the grace of the living, dying and rising of Jesus. After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost the disciples were able to live in at fearlessly, even putting their lives on the line. So it The excerpt from the acts of the apostles today, we see Peter and John publicly proclaim the power they share in. They proclaim the name of Jesus the Christ. Whatever you were able to do today, whether it seems extra ordinary or simply humdrum, Recognize that your ability comes from God and that all the good you do you do in the name of Jesus. Proclaim him and his power without end. Have a great Easter season.

April 8:

Fr. Don here.

“Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?” Luke 24

With all the promises that God is made to us, why do our hearts get so troubled? Could it be that we think that God‘s promises are too good to be true? Could it be that we’ve never experienced that level of faithfulness? Could it be that we don’t feel worthy of such great gifts and promises? During this Easter season we are reminded of the incredible gift of love that Jesus has given to us. Each encounter with disciples in the gospel is and each encounter in the acts of the apostles reminds us that God is faithful and will always fulfill the promises that have been given. Notice today if you’re tempted to become worried, afraid or unsure and insecure in God’s love. Remind yourself of what the truth is and live in that truth. This is the day the Lord has made!

April 7:

Fr. Don here.

An amazing story of disciples wandering on the road, disappointed and disillusioned, their vision so clouded that they do not recognize Jesus. But again he exerts extreme compassion and patience as he connects the dots for the disciples to help them see who he really is. He seals the deal by sitting down at a table with them and breaking bread, and they recognize him. As they are talking on the way back to where he sent them, they acknowledge the common experience they had of their hearts burning inside when he was speaking with them. Take a moment this day to recognize the importance of Jesus in your life, and to experience the yearning that you have to be one with him especially when you were wandering on any road in disillusionment and despair. Do not enter darkness but reach out to him. He loves you.

April 6:

Fr. Don here.

Think about the people in your life who know you so well and whom you know so well that you even recognize them when you hear them say your name. That is what happened between Jesus and Mary in today’s gospel. Even in the midst of her pain and sorrow and disappointment and grief, when Jesus said her name she knew who he was. When she recognized his voice and knew that he was present with her I can only imagine the burden that was lifted off of her and the peace that filled her mind and heart. Today we get a chance to listen to Jesus say our name. Whether we are in the midst of grief or joy, whether we are strong of faith or doubting, whether we have been very close and faithful to Jesus or have been distant and unattentive, we have a chance to hear him speak our name. Take some time today and rest in the quiet and peace that comes with seeking Jesus. Quiet your heart and mind enough and imagine him saying your name. Feel the love and connection that he has with you and let the power of the connection lift any burden off of you and fill your mind and heart at that moment with peace.

April 5:

Fr. Don here.

On this first day of the octave of Easter we experience truth, the fact that Jesus is risen from the dead and falsehood, rumors that someone who believed in Jesus stole his body. Some of the people at the time of Jesus just couldn’t stand hearing the truth. They would do anything they could to keep the teachings of Jesus in the person of his love to spread any further than it had. In our time and day we were given a task to tell the truth, even if the truth is difficult to live with. As we stand today in the shadow of Easter let us be purveyors of the truth in what we say and what we do. Christ is risen from the dead and Jesus asks us not to be afraid, but to live in the freedom of God’s children. What will that look like for you today?

April 4: (Easter Sunday)

Fr. Don here.

As the Psalm response tells us today, “this is the day the Lord has made let us be glad and rejoice in it. “. Throughout the Easter season we will be told again and again that we are witnesses to the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Obviously there were those who were present at the time when he lived died and rose from the dead. But that is not us. We are the ones who live generations after the actual events of Jesus’ life and we are still asked to be witnesses of the power of his resurrection. So what kind of witness do you have to offer for those who might be looking for some reason to hope? As we make our way through the Easter season we will hear about disillusioned disciples walking down the road to Emmaus, forlorn disciples who simply want to go back to fishing and doubting disciples who need physical proof that it is he. I know that I have had many experiences in my life where it seems that I can’t move the rock off the tomb, it just seems to take a strength bigger than my own. And yet I am here today to give witness to the power of Jesus Christ in my life. I hope that you take some time today to give thanks to God for the experiences of resurrection you have in your own life, given to you through the power of God. And I hope that you pray for the courage, the fortitude and the willingness to take a risk to share your witness with others. Your witness might be there a reason to hope again. You just never know. Have a blessed Easter season.

April 3: (Holy Saturday)

Fr. Don here.

This day we call Holy Saturday contains both the emptiness of the tomb, the darkness reflecting on the death of Jesus and the grand celebration of the Easter vigil, in which we feast on light, an extra helping of scripture, and enrichment of the church through its catechumens and candidates being brought into full communion and the beauty and grandeur of the most opulent ritual of the churches year. The evening of the vigil is meant to be started in darkness with a blessing of the fire after which the light is shared with all who are baptized. The sight of 1 tongue of fire leading to hundreds of tongues of fire gives us the visual image of what it means to witness Christ and to share Christ with the world. On this vigil day marked by darkness and light, take some time to not rush into Easter. Allow yourself to feel the in between of darkness and light and gradually move your heart and soul to the joy of resurrection. May you have the real experience of darkness within your own heart or darkness within your own family to be transformed by the light of Christ present with you.

April 2: (Good Friday)

Fr. Don here.

On this day that we remember that Jesus died out of absolute love for all of us, it’s important to just take some quiet unfiltered moments to try to take in the reality of that kind of love. We’ve all had people love us with a kind of love that includes sacrifice for us and even suffering on their part. We’ve tested people’s patience, we’ve lied and talked about people behind their back‘s and we have betrayed people that are important to us, and yet they have chosen to continue to love us and forgive us. Those are just a taste of the depth of love Jesus has for each of us. It’s so much to take in and it’s one of the reasons we use this day for fast and abstinence. Get rid of the unnecessary today so that there’s room for the essential and the incredible gift that Jesus has given to us. That kind of love brings joy to our hearts and tears to our eyes. To be loved that deeply is absolutely amazing and awesome.

April 1: (Holy Thursday)

Fr. Don here.

This morning, we will gather at the Cathedral Basilica for the Chrism Mass at 10am. At that mass, those of us who are priests will renew our commitment to God and the oils that will be used in our ritual celebrations will be blessed and concentrated. We will then bring the oils back to the parish so that they can be used when we baptize, when we anoint the sick and the dying, and when we welcome people into the church through baptism and confirmation. In the evening, we will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Last Supper, which is a beautiful celebration of the gift of Eucharist. At the end of mass, we will reserve the Eucharist in what is called the Altar of Repose, and the church will be open until midnight for times of quiet and private prayer. Today we celebrate many great gifts that Jesus has given us in his church and through his church. Take some time to be grateful for all the ways in which Jesus has blessed us and given himself for the life of the world.

March 31: 

Fr. Don here.

After you read through or listen to the gospel today it is no wonder that this has been traditionally called Spy Wednesday. It is the day when we hear about Judas Iscariot and his choice to force the matter with Jesus. Many of us think of Judas as greedy and selfish, and some of that may have been true, But it may be true that he just couldn’t believe that Jesus was gonna let himself be taken down. Remember that many people thought that the Messiah was to be a Mighty leader who would come in and throw out the oppressors and establish a rule of power, power with swords and clubs not power with love and service. Most of us have had that experience where we have our minds made up and we push to get our agenda through only to realize later that we might have victimized someone in the process. Our intent might not have been as evil as the outcome that it produced but it was still selfish and greedy. We wanted our way. Might this be a day when we could surrender more to the picture of the world that Jesus has for loving our enemies and caring for those who hate us. Or is this a day, like Spy Wednesday, where we keep pushing our agenda ahead no matter what the cost and no matter what Jesus tells us to do?

March 30: 

Fr. Don here.

“Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” John 13

No truer words were ever spoken. But is our tendency to push the blame on to someone else, to deny that it will be us, or are we able to admit that we are the betrayers and that we are deeply in need of God’s mercy and forgiveness? Jesus’ disciples were quick to try to scapegoat one or the other of their number and simply refuse to look inside of themselves. As we walked through this holy week, let’s continue to do some inward reflection. It is not if we have betrayed God but how we have betrayed God. Are we having a difficult time seeing Jesus in those that are around us especially those we don’t like? Are we part of the privileged group that have more than we need while we watch others who are hungry, thirsty or without shelter? Let us admit that we are the betrayers and get back on the right path.

March 29: 

Fr. Don here.

“A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench, Until he establishes justice on the earth; the coastlands will wait for his teaching.” Isaiah 42

These words from the prophet Isaiah must’ve been great peace for Jesus. Going through his suffering and death he knew that there was more than what appeared to the eye, because he had lived and studied the prophet Isaiah. If there is anything bruised or feeling fragile and you as we walked together for this unusual period of life, remember that God‘s presence is with you especially in your vulnerability. Be courageous and let God see you face-to-face, even in your weakest moments and experiences justice and mercy.

March 28: 

Fr. Don here.

How many times have you said or have you heard somebody else say, “I can’t wait to get back to normal. “What we’re really saying is let’s get back to the time when we don’t have to think about the vulnerability of our life, we don’t have to be challenged to think about other people as much as we do ourselves and we really don’t care about building up compassion for those we think deserve what they’re getting. Palm Sunday reminds us that exaltation in triumph is always marked by suffering and death. It also reminds us that death is always accompanied by resurrection. That is normal. I am praying and hoping that that is the normal we want to get back to you and that we learn to live in peace and tranquility in that reality with each other. Let us pray together that we might grow in oneness so that we can fulfill the dream of God, “that all may be one.“

March 27: 

Fr. Don here.

After having witnessed the bringing back to life of Lazarus, people are moved to begin to believe in Jesus even more deeply. The religious leaders of the time are afraid of the effect that Jesus will have and what the consequences of his publicity will mean. They asked a great question. “What are we to do with him? “Although we are not faced with the need to set up a trial for Jesus or in fact to kill him but we do have to answer the same question. What are we to do with him? This might be a great day as we get closer to beginning holy week to take a look at what we have done with Jesus. Have we put him at the edges of our life and only address him when we run out of options? Have his teachings and his way of life become so much for us, or too much for us, that we simply have domesticated him and created him in our image rather than us being created in his image? In what ways have we actually chosen to let people see Jesus through us, whether that is in a prophetic way of living or speaking or giving witness? We will see day by day throughout holy week the various characters who might look very much like us. They are betrayers, they are faithful disciples, they are friends of Jesus that are driven by fear and they are religious leaders afraid of his power. They are onlookers who weep at his presence, they are passersby who pitch in to help him and they are taunters who make fun of him. Where will you find yourself and where will you choose to turn your life around.

March 26: 

Fr. Don here.

Jeremiah 20 is our first reading today and gives words to a common human experience that we have. We are either though hunted or the hunters. We all know the feeling of people measuring our every word and watching our every action, just looking for a time when we make a mistake and they are able to ridicule us or accuse us or in some other way inflict punishment on us. In the gospel today Jesus is being hunted, he’s being watched and people are just waiting for the opportunity to accuse and abuse him. But let’s make sure we look at the times when we have been the hunters. There have been times when we have tried to catch people in their words or trap them in their actions and prey upon their vulnerabilities and their weaknesses so that we could get our revenge on them or silence their voices or wipe away their lives so that we wouldn’t have to be confronted with them anymore. It is in the remembering of the treatment of Jesus and yet his choice to continue to love that we learn what it means to be a Christian. We are not to seek people’s vulnerability and taking advantage of them nor are we supposed to take out our revenge on those who have done us harm. May we be blessed by the example of Jesus today.

March 25: 

March 24: 

Fr. Don here.

“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8

Are you experiencing true freedom today? Or do you still feel trapped? We’re here in the old testament today about a couple of guys who are trapped in a fiery furnace. To them, it didn’t feel like being trapped because they were accompanied by someone who shared the furnace with them. If we could only have the faith that they had to know that even if we’re in a fiery furnace, Even if somebody is trying to hurt us, even if we’re going through the valley of death, we are being accompanied by the mighty and all powerful God. God accompanies us on the journey whether it is to the heights of joy or the depths of sorrow. If we live out of that truth we will experience true freedom. Not freedom from sacrifice or freedom from suffering or even freedom from death, but more importantly freedom from the need to control and freedom from the need to worry and freedom from the need to live in the past or the future. Enjoy the truth of God today that God is with you always and enjoy the deep and lasting freedom that comes from that.

March 23:

Fr. Don here.

We each have our estimation about how fast our own expectation should come to fruition. And we do experience frustration when things don’t happen as fast as we think they should. We also have some lack of trust when what we thought should happen didn’t happen and so is the person who made the promise trustworthy. What we see in the scripture is a group of people who have been promised by God I sense of freedom in a homeland and yet the journey toward that homeland is taking too long and it’s filled with too much inconvenience. Have you ever noticed that in yourself that you long for some thing, it seems to be promised to you, but then you get frustrated or lose your trust because it just doesn’t come out the way you think it should or takes too long? Can you take a moment today to reaffirm your trust that God has you in the palm of his hand and he’s walking with you on this journey today? Can you trust that or do you always try to cover your bases because you’re feeling insecure? Pray for the gift of trust and patience as God’s grace reveals his truth to you.

March 22: 

Fr. Don here.

We have two incidences in the Scriptures this morning of women being scapegoated for the sins of men. Notice in the Old Testament reading that Susanna is confronted by men who want to have sex with her and she refuses. Instead of admitting their own lost they try to blame her and have her killed. In the gospel we have a woman who has been caught in the act of adultery pulled in front of a bunch of men, but where is the man with whom she was engaged in adultery? It is true that that kind of scapegoating because of someone’s gender or race or lifestyle continues to happen when those of us who are in a dominant race or culture refused to admit our own sins. During this Lenten season, let’s make sure that we don’t miss those parts of our lives where we let our own jealousy or envy scapegoat others rather than taking responsibility for our own life and choices.

March 21:

Fr. Don here.

“Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat.”

These words remind us that there is a necessary part of life that involves dying. We die for each other as we sacrifice our time and energy and resources for the sake of each other. We die to ourselves when we fail to respond to our lesser appetites and instead spend time in the higher appetites of love and grace and mercy and compassion. But we have the assurance that when we die for the sake of good we bring forth greater life. And what ways today will you choose to die to self so that you might bring forth more life in the world?

March 20: 

Fr. Don here.

As the tension builds in the gospels and we move closer and closer to holy week we will hear again and again those who are against Jesus and the few voices or persons who are willing to speak up for him. Today Nicodemus tries to afford Jesus the rights that any person is supposed to have but he is talked down by those two are against Jesus. Is it any wonder that when it came time for the apostles and disciples to defend Jesus or stay with him or admit that they knew him, they simply were silent or ran for their lives. The amount of pressure and power that was used to go against Jesus was extensive. Imagine the times in your life where you see the lone person being picked on or the person who is having a difficult time fitting in and how difficult it is to be the only one to defend them against the rest of the group. Isn’t it true that most of us are simply quiet in the face of that much force against us, even if it is imagined? Take some time to ask for the grace to notice when you can be an advocate like Nicodemus and speak up for those who have no one else to speak up for them.

March 19: 

Fr. Don here.

“Go, tell my servant David, ‘When your time comes and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his kingdom firm. It is he who shall build a house for my name.” 2 Samuel 7

If you haven’t heard by now, this whole year is dedicated to St. Joseph. If you haven’t started meditating on the beauty of his witness or the faithfulness of his life, what better day to start then on this feast of Saint Joseph’s, the husband of Mary. So much of Joseph’s life seems to be defined by his relationships. He is the husband of Mary, the earthly father of Jesus, and we also know that he was a carpenter. Some things to meditate on about him might be his life of faith. He had plans and his plans were interrupted. He was open to hearing the word of God that would drastically change his life. What must have been his life early on that he was so ready to say yes to God, to Mary and to Jesus. Enjoy meditating on and celebrating the person of Joseph whom we celebrate today.

March 18:

Fr. Don here.

Moses stands out as a courageous man who is willing to stand between God‘s wrath and his people, and that takes guts. But not only does it take cuts it takes a deep love and faithfulness both toward God and his people. How easy it would’ve been for him to simply let his frustration with the people be paid back through God‘s wrath. How easy it would’ve been for him to abandon the people in the face of God‘s wrath. It would’ve been easy except Moses loved his people, even though they were involved in some terrible things. Now that’s real love, to stand side-by-side with someone whose behavior you disagree with but who you choose to love. How hard that is sometimes! Is there someone you would like to stand beside and love even though they might be disappointing you at that moment? Will you choose to do that today?

March 17:

Fr. Don here.

“Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.” Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.” Isaiah 49

Try not to skip over too quickly this reading from Isaiah this morning. Once again during this season of Lent we are being reminded of God‘s faithfulness to us and the covenant he has made with us. Take the image of the mother and the child and the possibility that a mother could forget her child. Even if that would happen, God will not abandon us. So take some time today to think of all those moments of your life where you thought you had been abandoned. Take some time to imagine how hopeless things have felt sometimes, maybe even now. Maybe you don’t know how you go from today to tomorrow. What you do have is the promise of God. God has not and will not forget you nor abandon you nor lead you in any direction and then leave you alone. It just won’t happen. Take heart. Believe the good news. I mean, really believe it more than you believe your fear or your uncertainty or even your pain. This moment and this day is meant for hope.

March 16:

Fr. Don here.

“Do you want to be healed?” With these words, Jesus opens an opportunity for a person who is in his presence to experience the full power of his grace. Jesus takes a seemingly hopeless situation, one that this man has faced many times before, and allows him to begin to believe again that healing is possible. But we all know that feeling of re-opening a seemingly hopeless possibility. Many times before, when the water was moved, someone got to the water before he did and was healed. Time and again, his dreams and hopes were dashed. So the question that Jesus offers is not a silly question. In fact it is very important. Today, as each of us is given the hope of new possibilities, Jesus asks us the same question. Are you willing to dream and hope again that healing in your life is possible? It necessitates trust and perseverance. Let us each pray today for a new outpouring of both of those gifts. Let us trust in the promise of God and let us persevere in our walk of faith.

March 15:

Fr. Don here.

“Thus says the LORD: Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth.” Isaiah 66

This is a promise that is repeated time and again in the Scriptures but sometimes we miss the emphasis. It is God who is creating new heavens and new earth and we, as human beings, are asked to cooperate in the re-creation of heaven and earth with God. So that means that we have to set aside our idea of what heaven and earth should look like. We must let go of the status quo and layers of society in which some are blessed more than others, where some are filled to the brim and others are completely empty, where strength is shown by overpowering others instead of washing others' feet, and where our own status in society is never threatened by change. The new heavens and new earth that God is creating have to do with each and every person’s life being held in great dignity. We are all to have what we need and see each other, every single person, as a brother or sister. The new heavens and new earth that God is creating call us to value the earth that is our home as a precious gift instead of a resource to be abused. In what way is God calling each of us today to help in the work of creating a new heaven and new earth? How can we listen and obey what God asks us to do?

March 14:

Fr. Don here.

“For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.” Ephesians 2

We are God’s work of art. We have been created for the good works that God has in mind for us today. Imagine what a difference it would make in our choices today if we truly believed that we have been formed and molded by God and God, as the artist, has created us in exactly the form he intended us to be. We have God’s breath in us, God‘s creativity and God‘s intention. We have not been condemned by God but created by God. Our good works are the fruits of God‘s creative action in our lives instead of being a way to garner God‘s approval or make up for some wrong in the past. As you awaken today and read these words my hope is that you will imagine how much love went into creating you and forming you exactly as you are. I pray that that truth will lead you to good works that will express the goodness and gratitude you have in your heart for God. Enjoy the good works that God‘s creativity leads you to.

March 13:

Fr. Don here.

“It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice.” Hosea 6:6

We’ve all heard this line from scripture before but every time Lent comes along we choose sacrifice. If we really dig into this and really want to make a sacrifice, mercy calls for the greatest sacrifice that any human being can make. Mercy necessitates that we sacrifice revenge and getting even with those who hurt us and holding on to grudges and choosing to love instead of hate. Talk about big sacrifices. But most of us revert to giving up beer or chocolate or a Netflix movie. It’s a little bit of a sacrifice but not much. Take a moment today to figure out where giving the gift of mercy can be the greatest sacrifice that you make today. And then act on that understanding and moment of consciousness.

March 12: 

Fr. Don here.

“I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.” Psalm 81

Many of the news outlets and blogs are doing a review of the last year. It has been a year since the pandemic was declared and we have all been living with this reality for quite some time. Many of us have experienced a loss of a loved one and all of us have experienced the loss of our expected normal lives. It seems important to listen to the voice of God in the midst of this past year. Disease and death and suffering are certainly not the work of God but as God accompanies us through this pandemic we can hear God’s voice speaking to us. How can we hear God's voice? The scripture tells us we can hear God’s voice in the suffering of others and we can hear God’s voice within ourselves urging us to act as one people rather than individuals. We can hear God’s voice urging us to bridge the gaps between us rather than creating more and more distance. We can hear the voice of God asking us to choose love rather than fear. As we think about this past year, let’s plant the seed of wisdom in our hearts that has taught us that we are absolutely connected with every other person on the face of the earth and should act with love out of that wisdom. It has been great to accompany you day by day in these daily posts and look forward to the days ahead to do this together.

March 11: 

Fr. Don here.

“This is the nation that does not listen to the voice of the LORD, its God, or take correction. Faithfulness has disappeared; the word itself is banished from their speech.” Jeremiah 7

It is quite easy to look at something generic like a nation or society and find many ways to blame and judge the ways that a group of people don’t listen to the voice of God. But that would be shirking our responsibility to listen to the word of God and to examine our own individual life. How are we hearing what God is asking us to do and not following through on it? We’ve heard the 10 Commandments lately and most of us are very familiar with the Beatitudes. We also know the teachings of feeding the hungry and thirsty, clothing the naked, and caring for the stranger, the imprisoned and the sick. So what of this have you heard and not listen to? Today would be a great day to choose some specific way that you might choose not just to hear but to act.

March 10:

Fr. Don here.

“However, take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live, but teach them to your children and to your children’s children.” Deuteronomy 4

What a great mission to be given for our lives! We get to experience the great things that God has done for us and the wonderful Commandments he has left us and we have the mission to pass it on to our children and our children’s children. It’s one of those parts of God‘s plan where we learn clearly that what God does for us and how faithful God is to us is not meant just for us. We are to remember what God has done so that it can be a gift for others. Take some time today to think about something that God has done for you that you would love to pass on to someone else. It could be a child of yours or a grandchild of yours. But for those of us who don’t have children or grandchildren pick out somebody who looks like they could use some good news or looks like they could benefit from a witness of God‘s faithfulness. Be the gift that brings them home.

March 9:

Fr. Don here.

One of the most difficult decisions in life is to be merciful toward someone who doesn’t appear to deserve it. For most of us, we can find a reason not to be kind and instead seek revenge, or to give somebody the cold shoulder. The Scriptures today remind us of what might make that easier or might help us to build that habit of mercy into our lives. Remembering the mercies that God has given to us already might help us to see what a gift it is to give mercy when a person really doesn’t deserve it. I think each of us could take some time today to remember the ways that we have been forgiven, been offered understanding for our mistakes or sins, or given a second, third, or fourth chance when we continue to act in the same destructive ways. There is a bit of a haunting phrase in the gospel this morning. God will measure toward us the gift of mercy as we measure it out to others. Remember the mercies of God!

March 8:

Fr. Don here.

“Athirst is my soul for the living God.” Psalm 42:3

Being conscious of our choices, feelings, and attitudes help us to make better choices. The psalm response for today invites us to look at the thirsts of our soul. We experience hungers of the soul as we go through each day. Sometimes it shows up in loneliness, sometimes it shows up in anger, sometimes it shows up in greed or sometimes it shows up in cynicism. Instead of getting sidetracked by the vices that we see within us, it’s better to look beneath the surface and ask ourselves what is the thirst or hunger that we are experiencing that leads us to those vices. Do you thirst for companionship? Can you do something positive for that thirst? Do you thirst for honesty and integrity? Is there something you can do to bring your life into better balance and truth? Do you first for a better world? What can you do in your singular life to make this world a better place? Listen to the thirst for God that comes from your soul and act upon it rather than let it devour you.

March 7:

Fr. Don here.

Although many of us have spent our early lives memorizing the Ten Commandments, those Commandments can be a place where our lives become fixated instead of continuing to grow. It seems, in the gospel today, that Jesus wants us to upend the tables of our lives and not be satisfied with the status quo. Buying the doves or the sheep or making those commanded sacrifices to God can feel like a safe place to be as we live out our own faith journey. Today might be a great day to wonder what tables need to be turned over in our lives and what part of our holy life needs to be cleansed in a deeper way.

March 6:

Fr. Don here.

The scripture stories that are most familiar to us might be the hardest ones to hear. Since we have heard them so many times, as soon as we hear the first line or we recognize the story, we believe that we know everything it has to tell us. The gospel today is one of those very familiar stories about a father with two children. One of the children is rebellious and the other child is obedient. The father, the parent, is nothing but love. When the rebellious child leaves home and wastes the money he was given and finds himself hungry and in need, he finds the road back home, and love is waiting. And when the other child starts arguing and accusing because he has been faithful and obedient but now has become jealous and angry because of the love shown to the returned rebellious sibling, he is met with nothing but love. I suspect that most of us have been in both of those situations in our relationship with the God who loves us. Many of us have been obedient and faithful most of our lives but we suddenly realize that we have done that so that we can earn something, and we become jealous when compassion and mercy is shown to another who has not been so faithful and obedient. Many of us have had those periods in our lives when we have been rebellious, thinking that we know better than the God who loves us and have been met with love alone. Wherever you find yourself this Lent, listen and accept the invitation of love to come home if you have wandered away and to be present, at home with Love, if you have forgotten how to do that.

March 5: 

Fr. Don here.

Jealousy and greed can cause us to do some terrible things. Jealousy is one of those devices that allows us not only to notice what someone else has but also to become fixated on the difference between what they have and what we have. Sometimes, Like Joseph in the Old Testament today, a person's attractiveness or their ability to gain other peoples attention somehow makes us feel threatened. We’re afraid we are going to miss out on something because of what they get or because of what they have. In the scripture today it leads the brothers to abandon Joseph. In the Gospel, greed leads the people to murder. They’ve been working at the vineyard and see the chance to get some ill gotten gains. Greed usually is acted out in thinking we can get something the easy way without the work, dedication, and faithfulness that it usually takes. We all grapple from time to time with jealousy and greed. During this season of Lent we are asked to identify the places of sin where we need to repent. Take some time today to notice not just that you have the feeling of jealousy or you were tempted to be greedy, but what do you do with that feeling or temptation. How does it make your life less, and how does it harm you and the world around you? Repent and believe in the Gospel.

March 4:

Fr. Don here.

“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.” Luke 16

Most of us assume that if we were the rich man dressed in purple and there was a poor person covered with sores sitting at our door that we would stop and help. But in our heart of hearts we know that that is not true. In fact, most of us would consider that to be somebody else’s problem and not our own. We choose to live in domestic situations in which we don’t have to confront the poor directly. We see them at interstate offramps and standing outside of certain restaurants or grocery stores asking for assistance. Most of us go through this internal weighing of whether we believe they are worthy of our charity or not. In the gospel we hear about the rich man’s awakening as he experiences the distance between Abraham and Lazarus and himself. He wants a second chance but his life is finished. He put it off too long and didn’t recognize God‘s presence in the person outside his door. In this time of repentance and renewal, It might be important to recognize who it is that we don’t acknowledge in their need and who we don’t acknowledge as our responsibility. Where in your life can you make a deeper and more personal connection with the poor and where can you share some of your resources, even if it stretches you somewhat or a lot, so that you can restore the relationship that you haven’t recognized up to this point? Don’t put it off like the guy in the Gospel did. This is the day the Lord has made. Let us act according to the Gospel.

March 3: 

Fr. Don here.

“Whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20

At the last supper, when Jesus took off his robe and picked up the basin and washed his disciples' feet, he was acting scandalously. For a rabbi to wash the feet of his disciples was unheard of. He would’ve been ridiculed and it would’ve called into question his authority as a teacher. His willingness to eat with sinners, his willingness to touch the sick, his willingness to speak with those who aren't Jewish and his willingness to have women in his company were all actions that were perceived to be below his status. In fact, many of these choices would have led to his being declared impure and separated from the community. I think that most of us don’t perceive ourselves to be seeking to be the greatest, but it might be time for us to examine what we are willing to accept as our position in community and in the world. Are we willing to take the lower place, the place of less status and influence, and the position of greater vulnerability? Are we willing to do that voluntarily rather than as a consequence of catastrophe or circumstance? Are we willing to voluntarily empty ourselves for the sake of serving another, especially strangers and enemies? In this time of purification and repentance, let us take the teachings of Jesus seriously as a way to deepen our walk with him.

March 2:

Fr. Don here.

“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23

Since we are encouraged to humble ourselves, the first step seems to be acknowledging who we are and who we are not and living in that reality. We ought not falsely raise ourselves up out of our own insecurity or our need to be better than others but to be peaceful with the gifts that God has given us. Instead of using the energy we would normally use to falsely lift ourselves up, let’s shift that energy to lifting others up. Look around your life and see if there might be someone who either struggles with their place in society or struggles with their place in your family and might need an extra hand and acknowledgment of their presence for them to be exalted enough to experience their own goodness. What a great way that would be for us to spend our day today. Repent and believe in the gospel.

March 1:

Fr. Don here.

“For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” Luke 6

Most of us would judge ourselves is pretty good people and we think of ourselves as people who treat people well. But we also have that other part of ourselves which sometimes judges our response to others by how they have responded to us. But the gospel presented to us today asks us to examine just the opposite. God will respond to us as we respond to others. It seems the question of the day is to ask ourselves what the measure is that we measure out to others. Do we try to measure the best, the most and the holiest responses to others no matter how they might treat us? Take some time to watch yourself as you choose to encounter others.

February 28:

Fr. Don here.

Do you have friends and colleagues in your life who hold you to your hope and help you renew your hope when you are losing it? Jesus is understanding the difference between his idea of being the Messiah and his disciples' idea of who he will become. He knows that there are tough times ahead, and he is afraid that his disciples will not be able to last through the difficult times and be anchored in their hope. On the good days when things are going our way, it is not at all difficult to hope. But sometimes it’s not hope that we rely on in those times--it’s simply the inner feelings that we have. Hope is about things that are not realized yet. Hope is about remembering the promises and believing and trusting the one who gave the promises. God is worthy of our trust. But sometimes we need people in our lives to remind us of that or even to mirror God‘s faithfulness to us in their choices and actions. Let us commit ourselves during this week of Lent to help each other to be anchored in hope and believe that the promises of God will be for filled today and always.

February 27:

Fr. Don here.

“Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust” Matthew 5

As we make our way through the fifth chapter of Matthew's gospel there are some stunning teachings from Jesus. I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I read through or hear this chapter I know that I will never be able to live up to what Jesus is asking us to do. Actually loving those who hate us and not taking revenge against those who do us evil? How is any human being able to live in that way? The answer is, the more we allow Jesus to transform our minds and hearts, the more he will then flow into our actions, and the more we will be able to live the commandments that he is asking us to live. So take some time today to draw near to Jesus. Invite him to take control of some stubborn attitude or lack of forgiveness within your own mind and heart. Believe that today is the day the Lord has made and the kingdom of God is at hand.

February 26:

Fr. Don here.

“If you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5

Do you have any more questions about how important it is to seek reconciliation and not wait for the other person to make the first step? It seems from the scripture that our unwillingness to seek reconciliation makes us unworthy to come to worship. That is pretty serious. We judge other people about a lot of other things in their lives but seldom do we hear that you should not come to church or receive communion because you did not seek reconciliation with someone who is estranged or distance from you, even if it is not you who caused the distance. Time to figure out where we need to begin so that we can find ourselves worthy in the face of God and worthy to be with our communities of worship. Today is the day to live as Jesus tells us to.

February 25:

Fr. Don here

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7

Doesn’t it seem so simple when it’s put in a line like that from Matthew’s gospel? Just to be able to treat each other the way we would wish to be treated. Notice it doesn’t say treat others as they treat you. That’s all together different. So how others treat us is not the criteria for our treatment of them. We don’t have to know anything more than to watch the life of Jesus. He chooses to love those who hate him and die for those who would kill him. That’s what it means to love others as you would have them love you. How about to take a little time today during this day of Lent to take a look at the motivations for how we treat others. Is it a response to how they treat us or is it a motivation to love as you would like to be loved? Enjoy changing motivation from a response to others to a choice tomorrow. What a great way to live.

February 24:

Fr. Don here.

Today’s Responsorial Psalm focuses our attention on contrition and humility. This morning, let’s take a few moments to focus on those two Christian activities and see how we might become better at each of those. When it comes to contrition it simply means to have sorrow in our hearts and to live out that sorrow by being willing to ask forgiveness and change our behavior. This leads to a simple question. Are we able to acknowledge when we have sinned? Many of us make excuses for our behavior or act as a victim. When we do something bad we blame somebody else by simply saying they made me do it. One week into Lent it is certainly time for us to acknowledge our sinfulness, to seek forgiveness especially in the sacrament of reconciliation, and to reform our lives. Humility comes partly from acknowledging our sins not believing we are better than others. Humility involves living within our own lives as we are and as we are meant to be by God. It means that we use the gifts God has given to us and don’t try to be someone else or to be jealous of the gifts and talents of others, especially when they outshine us or get more attention than we do. Let us celebrate this day of Lent with contrite and humble hearts.

February 23:

Fr. Don here.

Giving forgiveness as a gift to another as well as seeking forgiveness for the wrong that we have done is seen today in the Scriptures as essential if we are to consider ourselves holy people and followers of Jesus. Early in Lent, it might be a good time to do an assessment of our lives and especially to acknowledge anyone to whom we withhold the gift of our forgiveness and anyone who deserves our seeking their forgiveness. I think we all know how difficult it is to say "I am sorry" and to really mean it. It’s also very difficult to forgive someone that we know might have purposely hurt us. Forgiveness is a gift that we have to give. It doesn’t matter whether someone deserves to be forgiven. Do you think every time God forgives us we deserve it? Forgiveness is a gift that God freely gives to us over and over again. We have the opportunity to be as gracious toward others as God has been toward us. Enjoy this day of celebrating forgiveness given and received.

February 22: 

Fr. Don here.

During this early part of Lent we are given the opportunity to examine both the present time of our lives as well as our own final judgment. In the gospel today we have a very familiar story about the sheep and the goats and how we will be judged by God at the end of our lives. It does make it very clear that we will ask to be accountable for our choices during this life. If we see someone hungry and do not feed them, it is as if we see Jesus and refuse to give him the food that he needs. Most of us would not do that to Jesus personally. But the gospel reminds us that if we turn away a hungry person we turn away Jesus. Where will you choose today to notice the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the stranger, the imprisoned, the sick and those who are dying? What will you choose to do about it whether you recognize Jesus in them or not? Remember the wisdom of Jesus is much deeper than our own wisdom and understanding.

February 21:

Fr. Don here.

I hope the gospel reading for this morning seems familiar because every season of Lent the first Sunday of Lent gospel is about the Temptations of Jesus in the desert. This year it is from Mark’s Gospel, which we know to be much shorter than all the other gospels. We also know that it was written first so it is mostly known for its brevity and its clarity. No matter which of the temptation readings we have we know that the church is attempting to focus us on getting into the desert where we experience our temptations. I know it’s been a short amount of time since we began this season on Ash Wednesday but you might have already experienced some temptations that are unique to this year. You might be tempted to feel sorry for yourself because of all you have been through or all that you’ve had to give up. Don’t fall into the temptation of being a victim. Choose to encounter this desert experience as an actor, not one who passively has things done to you. Acknowledge where temptation is real in your life. Remember the promises that angels will minister to you in the midst of those temptations and that God is always faithful. Where might you not be trusting God‘s faithfulness and attempting to cover all your own bases and do it all by yourself, sometimes at someone else’s expense. Enjoy this first full week of Lent.

Februaty 20:

Fr. Don here.

We are given an "if-then" proposition in the reading from Isaiah this morning. Through the prophet, God tells people that if they make certain choices then he will have certain responses. It’s a conditional agreement between God and the people of Israel. In the gospel this morning we are given the next step in the covenant between God and his people. He chooses to spend time with sinners because we are the ones who need his grace and love and compassion and forgiveness. We are the ones who are most in need of his mercy. Today might be the day to abandon the "if-then" conditional relationship with God and to place ourselves completely in his mercy and love. Let us approach God as the people that we are today, sinners in need of his mercy.

February 19:

Fr. Don here.

“This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed” Isaiah 58

If you’ve been wondering what God wants you to do during this Lent, reread the scripture from Isaiah 58 that we hear today at Mass. It is very specific and it helps us get beyond a superficial experience of the season of Lent. Instead of simply saying "I’m going to fast and abstain because of the rules of the church," the prophet Isaiah gives us specific ways to work that out. It makes authentic Lenten practice a little bit more difficult, or may be a lot more difficult if we have just been playing at fasting instead of truly fasting with sacrifice. We’re just a few days into this new season, so now would be the time to dig in and make the choice to live deeply. God‘s promise to us if we do that is that we will experience life more abundantly. Who doesn’t want that?

February 18:

Fr. Don here.

“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?” Luke 9

Jesus offers us a choice today. Life or death? And it is not a choice offered to us as one looking through rose colored glasses. He makes it clear to us that to have life we must be willing to lose our own life for his sake. It involves taking up our cross each day, a cross that looks similar to His, and being willing to die on the cross for his sake. The cross of Jesus involved his willingness to die for those who were willing to kill him. He hung on the cross for you and me and every other human being, since we are all sinners. As you look around your life today and you begin this next day of Lent, instead of rejecting sinners you might know, are you willing to die for them in small and large ways? Could you literally go a little hungry today? Could you give money or food to someone or some group who serves those who are hungry? Could you choose to pray today for someone who hates you? Are you willing to fast from hateful judgments and instead choose love toward your enemies?

February 17:

Fr. Don here.

“Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God. For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment.” Joel 2

On this Ash Wednesday, we had the outward symbols of ashes either put on our foreheads or sprinkled on our heads. But we are reminded in the Scriptures today to not be so concerned about outward appearance but to be concerned about a change of mind and heart. As Jesus reminds us, it is what is impure within us that makes us unclean, not what we eat or drink. So we have this wonderful opportunity to begin this season of Lent by making a choice to focus on our inward attitudes, prejudices, hatred, and judgments. We are called to purify ourselves first before we leave to judge or condemn anyone around us. So even though many of us judge others because we think we know something about them or we believe that they are violating something that God has asked us not to do, that is a temptation. We simply cannot approach another person with love, respect and dignity without first purifying our own minds and hearts. Then our actions and words will sound more and more like Jesus instead of hatred or isolation. Enjoy this first day of Lent. What an opportunity we have!

February 16:

Fr. Don here.

Today is the day before Ash Wednesday, celebrated around the world as Mardi Gras or Carnaval. It is a day to let loose and celebrate but it’s origins have to do with getting rid of all the things that you weren’t allowed to eat during lent. It has been transformed into very public parades and parties in which many people over indulge and a variety of unusual and questionable behaviors. In the midst of this pandemic, there will be a lessening of crowd gatherings for the sake of the safety of society. But we shouldn’t Forget the practice of getting rid of those things that we either aren’t allowed to use during lent or choose to do without. I’m not encouraging any of us to get rid of all the gossip that we have inside of us so we’re not tempted to speak it during Lent. I’m also not encouraging us to act in selfish and self-centered ways so that we can feel the really good about ourselves when we begin to be other centered and selfless. Today is a day to clean out the cupboards and get rid of the excess so that we can enter the desert for 40 days.

February 15:

Fr. Don here.

We have all had our experiences of being hated and our experiences of hating others. In the old testament scripture today we see a stunning example of what jealousy and hatred can do to relationships and the consequences that come from those choices. Brother turns against brother and eliminates a life. Living in our current situation provides us the opportunity to see the results of hatred and the opportunities to do some healing where hatred exists. We really can’t change our behavior until we examine our own minds and hearts to see what is impure within ourselves that makes our lives. Hatred is not something we wish to own up to but healing can’t happen without honesty. Instead of looking for someone else to blame for the divisions and distractions of our time, let’s look at the things that we have some control over which is our attitudes and our actions. What choice will you make today to own up to hating someone else? What choice will you make to begin to change that inner attitude? What actions could you take to make your life less hateful and more loving and healing?

February 14:

Fr. Don here.

Loving from afar or loving intellectually is certainly an expression of love but it often times doesn’t include the sacrifice and insecurity that loving up close and personal does. It is one thing to give and instruction about loving but a whole different thing to actually live out that it’s instruction in your own life. What we see Jesus do with the leper is his putting into practice what he has been teaching people. When people say that he is teaching has authority unlike the others that they hear teaching it might have to do with the fact that there’s no hypocrisy in him. What he teaches he does and what he does he teaches. He is one unified example of faith. Today we might use some of our Sabbath rest to check on our own level of hypocrisy or lack there of. Do we place heavy burdens on other peoples shoulders and are unwilling to help carry them with them? Do we actually put the teachings of Jesus into practice in our own lives or do we just judge others by those teachings?

February 13:

Fr. Don here.

“One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4

The Book of Genesis reminds us of two things. One is our tendency to deflect our guilt and find a scapegoat. The second is that each and every choice has consequences. We are responsible to make amends and to heal the brokenness that ee have caused. We see in the gospel our tendency to take care of ourselves before others especially if they want something of ours that causes us to feel insecure. Can we choose to be more generous, especially when it will cause us to be empty for the sake of others?

February 12:

Fr. Don here.

“When they heard the sound of the LORD God moving about in the garden at the breezy time of the day, the man and his wife hid themselves from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” Genesis 3

I think we all know that feeling of wanting to hide in the presence of God when we know we have done something wrong. It might involve embarrassment, shame or guilt. These times of wanting to hide are really an invitation to be more clearly and specifically in the presence of God rather than far away from God. These are the times to acknowledge our free choices to know what it is that we ought to be doing and the free choices that we have made not to do that. It is also a time to acknowledge what we ought to do and have failed to do. But that is only the first step. When we come to God with a humble and contrite heart, acknowledging our sinful choices, we experience without condition and without end the loving forgiveness, compassion and mercy of God. We are all sinners and we all experience the temptation to hide when we have sinned. Let us choose not to give into the temptation but to be with God face-to-face And experience his love. What will that look like for you today?

February 11:

Fr. Don here.

“Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls.” James 1

We are privileged to have access to the word of God that truly has been planted in our hearts. Someone taught us about Jesus, taught us to pray and set an example of faith in our lives. Each day we have the opportunity to hear the word of God and allow that word to form and mold our lives. Today we hear from the book of Genesis the importance of companionship in life. Take some time today to acknowledge and be grateful for those who have walked this way of life with you. Release anyone who has hurt you so that you might be able to move forward without burden on the path of life. Also acknowledge anyone that you might have hurt and seek forgiveness. Acknowledge those that you thought to be below yourself or not worthy of your time. Acknowledge their intrinsic dignity and pray for the healing of the hurt that you might’ve caused. Let us pray for a deepening sense of our oneness in the human race and in all of God’s creation.

February 10:

Fr. Don here.

“But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him. From within the man, from his heart, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.”Mark 7

We have quite the combination of scriptures this morning to lead us into meditation in action in the world today. We start from the book of Genesis hearing about the establishment of the garden of Eden. We see the goodness of God in full display as God offers to his first human creature all that he could ever imagine. Marks gospel gives us a list of all that can happen when we are not satisfied with what God has given us. Today might be a good day to go back to the basics. Try to notice the things that you might take for granted. What physical capabilities do you have that you might take for granted and not even notice until they’re taken away from you? What commodities are available to you every day and you might not even be grateful until you have to do without them? Where in your life are you confusing wants for needs? Why is it that we always expect to have more? Take some time to notice, be grateful, and to build some habits into life that help you to notice these gifts every day. That practice will help you to be more satisfied and to be more loving.

February 9:

Fr. Don here.

“God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good.” Genesis 1

In case you might have forgotten, each of us is included in that positive assessment that God makes of creation. God looked at everything he had made and found it very good. I’m hoping that some time today you might be able to take a look in the mirror and see the good that God has created. I know that we tend to notice more what isn’t rather than what it is but this might be a good day to take God at his word. The gospel does remind us that we are capable of hypocrisy and that we need to guard against that. The very best way to do that is to acknowledge that we are made in the image and likeness of God and that we are made to do the good that God has created us for and not the hypocrisy that we are tempted to become. Let us use every ounce of effort we have today to make God’s creation the very Best by how we use the earth resources and by how we treat those most in need.

February 8:

Fr. Don here.

We are treated today to the very first verses from the book of Genesis. We hear about the first four days of creation in the mighty deeds of God‘s love as God breathed into existence our world. In the gospel we see the continuing creative work of God lived out in Jesus. We hear of large groups of people drawn to Jesus because they know he can heal their bodies and forgive their sins. Let these words of scripture inspire your life today. Know that God is at the root of your very existence. He loves you, cares for you and has you in the palm of his hand. Know that he is healing power is still available to each of us if we just ask with a humble and contrite heart. Take some time today to thank God for breathing us into existence and for continuing to be our lifeline for all eternity.

February 7:

Fr. Don here.

Have you ever examined the motivation behind the good that you do? I know that I am making quite an assumption, but I do believe that all of us are trying to do good in the world. It is so essential to examine the attitude behind it and not just the actions that we perform. Why do we feed the hungry or close the naked or visit the imprisoned or give a drink to the thirsty or assist those in need? In the Gospel today Jesus does not give into the temptation to go back to town and receive the adulation of the crowds. He simply moves forward to the next town to do exactly what he did in the last time. Are we free enough from the positive pats on the back that we get for doing the good that we do? Do we get our feelings hurt if someone doesn’t acknowledge the effort we put into the good that we do? Do we have to be noticed for the right outcome to happen in our own hearts? Can following the gospel be enough of its own reward without needing more? Prior to doing the good that we do let’s make sure that our hearts and minds are anchored in the selfless love of Christ for us and passing that on to others.

February 6:

Fr. Don here.

“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” Mark

This particular part of Mark’s gospel is immediately after the disciples have an experience of being sent out 2 x 2 to do the work that Jesus did which is healing, comforting and gathering with the community. When they come back they’re all excited and wanting to talk a lot about all that they were able to do. Jesus teaches them a great lesson about reflecting and being silent in the presence of the power of God. You know how the disciples were feeling. They were excited that they could do some good in the name of God. They felt powerful and enabled to do more than what they imagined they would ever be able to do. But they now learn the lesson that when that happens we are to first of all give praise and thanks to God. Then we can go and share the stories and share the excitement. We get lost and boastful and arrogant when we are not anchored in gratitude to God. What will that look like in your life today as you experience the power of God working through you?

February 5:

Fr. Don here.

“Thus we may say with confidence:

The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?” Hebrews 13

This assurance, this promise and these encouraging words are repeated in the letter to the Hebrews so that the beginning part of this chapter of the letter can be lived. So keeping faithful in our in our marriages and keeping faithful to our promises and being satisfied with what we have and being able to be compassionate toward those who are imprisoned or downtrodden can only be done if we have assurances of God’s promises and don’t try to keep grasping and grabbing for everything we can get. Where in your life today does this confidence need to be strengthened by renewing the promise that God is made to you? I pray that today you might feel enough confidence and security to be compassionate with others and to experience satisfaction with life and its gifts.

February 4:

Fr. Don here.

“O God, we ponder your mercy within your temple.” Psalm 48

I hope that you were planning some time for prayer today. In fact it might be right now. Your temple at this time might be your home, it might be your room within your home, you might be outdoors in the temple of nature or you might be able to visit a church or attend a mass or service. Where ever you are praying and worshiping God these days I hope that you would take some time to do what our psalm response says to do today. I pray that you will take some time to contemplate God’s mercy. Mercy is being loved beyond what you deserve or really what any of us can imagine. That is the mercy of God. So in your prayer and worship today take everything about you, the good and the not so good, and bring it to God’s mercy and let his mercy heal you and bring you peace.

February 3:

Fr. Don here.

“Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two” Mark 6

Much of what Jesus did on this earth was to mentor those around him on how to live, how to treat each other and how to carry on his mission. As he sent them out two by two he was teaching them how to be disciples with each other and for each other. Many of us have been taught that we have to pull ourselves up by your own bootstraps or walk through this life in a lonely way but Jesus teaches us something very different. So if you look at your life today have you taken every opportunity you can to disciple with and for others? Are you taking the time to include others in your mission and your values as you live out your day? How can you be like Jesus as you are sent forth into the world? Who will be your partner today in spreading the gospel?

February 2:

Fr. Don here.

On this feast of the presentation of Jesus in the temple we remember the prophecies that Jesus‘s parents heard as they brought him to the temple. Mary heard that her heart would be pierced with a sword so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare. This has also been a traditional time to bless candles and to celebrate the light of the world who is Jesus. We use candles and the flame and light that they produce to remind us that Jesus is the light of the world. So it might be good today to examine the thoughts of your heart. I pray that most of those are thoughts of joy and peace but I also know that most of our hearts hold some pain and suffering as well. Bring those to the temple of the Lord today in your prayer and trust them to God who knows the deepest desires of your heart. You might also decide how you might be able to spread light where there is darkness, especially in the hearts of those that you know or maybe in the heart of a stranger.

February 1:

Fr. Don here.

“Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.” Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed.” Mark 5

Even though the man who had been healed wished to accompany Jesus wherever he was going, Jesus instructed this man to go back to his family and his village and tell them what had happened to him. These are the same people who had put him in the burial yard and left him by himself. This was the same community who had abandoned him because he was too hard to handle. His description does make him sound scary but Jesus finds a way to heal him and re-introduce him to his community. He then goes throughout the territory of the 10 cities and proclaims the goodness of God that he experienced through Jesus. Today, instead of escaping to our safe and familiar groups, let us share what Jesus has done for us so that others might come to believe. What is it that Jesus has done for you that you would be able to share with your family or your friends or those who live in your neighborhood? If it is good news for you it could be good news for others. Don’t keep it to yourself.

January 31:

Fr. Don here.

“for the sake of propriety and adherence to the Lord without distraction.”1 Cor 7

Saint Paul drives our attention this morning to the possibility that there may be anxieties, fears or distractions that keep us from being as attentive to Jesus in our lives as we should be. Saint Paul uses the distinction between unmarried men and women and married men and women. I think we all know that married or not we have possible distractions that keep us distance from Jesus. So this is a scriptural invitation to examine the distance between us and Jesus. Each of us has them but finding the source of those distractions might be the more difficult task. Our distractions become habitual and habitual means unconscious. Gaining consciousness means paying attention in the present moment. Why do I think about what needs to be done later today when I’m in this present moment? Why do I think about what happened yesterday when yesterday is finished? Why does silence scare me so much? What am I afraid will come to the surface if I am not so busy? Some of these questions might help you to discover what your distractions are. Enter the silence of the present moment and discover how close Jesus really is to you right now.

January 30:

Fr. Don here.

“Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?” Mark 4

This phrase, uttered by those who observed Jesus calming their fears, sets the stage for our examination that is sparked by the scripture this morning. Whether we are in a literal boat on a stormy sea or if there is some figurative situation in our lives that we would call a storm, we know the fear that those in the boat expressed. We know that fear that takes us out of control, puts something at risk that we love and care for, and has an uncertain ending. Those situations call into question our level of trust and faithfulness. If our trust is in living forever, never being harmed or always getting our way, we are in deep trouble. No wonder our lives are so filled with fear. We say we believe in the love of God and the promises of eternal life but we put our trust and always being OK, always having our way and always going unscathed through life. There is a good chance that we might experience some stormy situation in our lives today, big or small. As the fear rises in you and me, will we be able to pause and ask ourselves the question, in white or in whom do I have my trust? To what or to whom do I wish to be faithful? The answer to those questions might help us realize how fearful and anxious our lives have become. Choose today to trust in the one who is faithful and true.

January 29:

Fr. Don here.

“We are not among those who draw back and perish, but among those who have faith and will possess life.” Hebrews 10

This particular section of Hebrews allows us to examine ourselves and see if we belong to the group that draws back and perishes or if we remain faithful and will possess life. I’m sure that each of us could say that we have not been perfect in our faithfulness but this is an opportunity for us to renew that faithfulness. Just think for a moment what situation causes you to shirk from your faith or cause you to question the cost of your faith in your life. We all have those parts of our lives where it is simple and easy to live our faith among people who agree with us and support us. But those places where the gospel of Jesus challenges us to love our enemy, to respect every human being as we would wish to be respected and to be especially generous to those who have nothing to give us back. Which part of those challenging opportunities would you like to acknowledge today and take the first steps to cling more faithfully to what brings you life?

January 28:

Fr. Don here.

“Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy. We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works” Hebrew 10

How’s this for a challenge to start our day? To hold something unwaveringly means we don’t turn our back on it, we don’t lose our hold on it and we certainly don’t stop giving our testimony in support of that hope and that promise. So it is a great question to ask. How can we rouse each other to love and good works? The feast day today of Saint Thomas Aquinas is encouragement for us. He was one Dominican friar who was given an incredible intellect by God and became one of the greatest philosophers and theologians of all time. Imagine if he had not held on unwaveringly to the promise that God gave to him. Imagine how impoverished the world would be without his knowledge and understanding of the truth. The mistake we make is to hold ourselves up to someone like St. Thomas Aquinas and begin to believe that we cannot come near the testimony and power of his gift to the world. Let me say that again it is a mistake. Your life and mine are meant to be powerful lives as we hold to the truth, live the truth and encourage others to live in the freedom of that truth. How will you spend at least part of your day acknowledging the gifts that God has given to you and using them as a way of living out the truth of God’s blessing in our lives? Get busy! This is the day the Lord has made!

January 27:

Fr. Don here.

This very familiar parable about seed and it’s landing place allows us an opportunity to do some soul-searching. The parable is so specifically told that there isn’t much need for adding detail. The nature of a parable is not in 10,000 details but in The major teaching that is conveyed in the parable. So how would you word that major teaching that Jesus is giving about the seed and the soil. Take some time to use that insight from the parable to examine your own life and what might be the steps that need to be taken to move from the well trodden or stony path to the rich and fruitful soil. We all get to examine the earth on which we live and how we allow that to be the nurturing environment for our lives. Enjoy this agricultural day.

January 26:

Fr. Don here.

“Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light. Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.” Mark 4

Rhetorical questions are asked not to get an answer but they assume that you already know the answer. We all know that a lamp is not lit and then hidden. What we might not know is that whatever is held in secret will come to light. When we are given that admonition that those who have ears are to hear, we might be able to wake up to the fact that secrets are often deadly and take life away from us. These secrets that Jesus is referring to are not the confidences that people place in us, asking us to respect and honor them. These are the secrets of gossip told behind peoples back‘s, schemes or plots to do people harm, or the hidden prejudices and hatred that we have against others while we offer them a fake smile. Today in honor of Saint Timothy and Titus we could make a commitment to live in the light, tonight be purveyors of darkness and to choose to not live Secret lives that plot and plan. May this be a day of light, living in the light and sharing the light of Christ.

January 25:

Fr. Don here.

This feast of the conversion of St. Paul gives us the opportunity to reflect about two of the people that are in this story. We reflect upon Saint Paul and his conversion, his being knocked to the ground and blinded, and invited to reflect about our own conversion story. Many of us have lived very faithful lives day by day but have experienced are conversions in not so drastic away at Saint Paul dead. But one way or the other we have all had to come to grips with the fact that we are doing things that go against the will of God and not doing things that are of the wheel of God. Gradual dearly consistent conversion are the ways that we can celebrate the conversion of St. Paul in our lives. For those of us who have not lived such faithful daily lives, those of us who have known the will of God and consciously chosen against it in big ways, can see in this feast an invitation to focus on the grace of God as we were figuratively knocked to the ground and blinded. We are given this opportunity to renew a deeper conversion and to give praise to God for the opportunities he gives us.

We are also invited to reflect upon Ananias, this character who is challenged by God to take sol in and to give him a safe place to recover and renew and deep in his belief in Jesus Christ. The question it invites to each of us is if we are willing to do what Ananias did. Are we willing to not only welcome into our homes but to actually invest our lives in those who had been attempting to kill us and who hated us? Conversion does call us to live those radical lives day by day are those incredibly radical lives to trust, to heal, and to love our enemies.

January 24:

Fr. Don Here.

“After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1

You really can’t have a time of fulfillment and know that it’s happening without also having some for knowledge of the promises that have been given in the past. When Jesus says the time of fulfillment is at hand he is assuming that the people who are listening are familiar with those promises. So the promise of a Messiah, the promise of God’s cleansing, And the promises of God‘s eternal faithfulness are in his listeners minds and hearts. So when people see Jesus and they watch him act they can see that some of what he’s doing might be the fulfillment of the promises that have been given in the Old Testament. Part of the problem though was what peoples understandings were of what the fulfillment would look like. So often times when people call Jesus the Messiah he tells them that they’re right but he tells them to be quiet about it. He understands that their image of Messiah might be different than who he is meant to be. So if you truly believe that this is a time of fulfillment then you have two jobs. One is to remember what the promises of God are that have been given to us and to make sure that you and I are humble enough to notice how God is fulfilling them. It is our job to listen and follow where God leads, not creating God and the fulfillment of the promises in our own image and understanding. Notice today how God is fulfilling the promises that have been made. What does that look like in your life?

January 23:

Fr. Don here.

“how much more will the Blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.” Hebrews 9

If Jesus was willing to do this much for us, what are the dead works that need to leave each of our lives? Dead works are those things that lead toward tangible things and tangible outcomes. The works of God have lasting value and bring life to all around us. What are the death dealing choices that we are making that are robbing us or others of life, happiness and peace? We are being asked to purify ourselves. We are asked to sort out from our lives those things that aren’t eternal. Remember the scripture that says faith hope and love are the greatest things and of those three the greatest is love. May your day be full of life and life more abundantly.

January 22:

Fr. Don here.

“He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons”

I would ask you to pray today, in lieu of what the Gospel of Mark says about the selection of the apostles, for all bishops priests deacons and others who preach the gospel in good times and in bad. Pray for them that they might let the word become a part of who they are, that they might actually live by example the words that they preach, And that their choice to be ministers of the word might be fruitful for those who listen. In these times of inconvenience and suffering, let us preachers speak a word of hope and healing and peace.

January 21:

Fr. Don here.

“Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7

Do you know how good it is to have somebody in places of power and influence who might be able to put a good word in for you? The promise that we here in Hebrews today reminds us that that person is Jesus Christ. He lives forever to intercede for us. So know that your name is spoken to God in a positive and graceful way. Know that there is someone who loves you and cares about you who stands at the throne of God. Know that in the best moments of your life and in the deepest darkest moments of your life there is one who has your back, who knows your heart and mind, and who hold you in the palm of his hand. Enjoy that truth today as you walk through our very uncertain days these days.

January 20:

Fr. Don here.

“Come up here before us.” Then he said to the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” But they remained silent.”

anybody with any kind of knowledge of Jesus could clearly say that he lived with humble boldness. Instead of hiding in the back of the gathering and healing the man with the withered hand and pretending as if nobody was watching, he brings the man to the front of the gathering and asks the question that needed to be asked. When those conniving observers said nothing, Jesus proceeded to make the man whole again. He could easily understand that those who were watching and observing and judging and conniving were out to get him. His humble boldness allowed him to act with truth and love even if it might cost him his life. Jesus was willing to act with love knowing the consequences could be severe. Notice all the opportunities you will have today to love. If you act with humble boldness out of love you know there will be consequences. Be not afraid for you are following and some great footsteps.

January 19:

Fr. Don here.

“The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.”

Did you notice the words for ever in theResponsorial Psalm this morning? It doesn’t say that God will remember his covenant as long as we do what he wants us to do. It doesn’t say that God will remember his covenant until some other group of people comes along that he likes better. This promise of a covenant, one that is based on God’s initiative and God’s fulfillment, is the gift that we are given as our inheritance of faith. So this morning’s Responsorial Psalm is meant to remind us and to encourage us. So if anytime during the day today you begin to imagine that you were all alone, or you have been abandoned by God or somehow your behavior has broken the covenant with God, please read this again. The Lord will remember his covenant forever. We are also meant to be encouraged because there are times in our lives when it seems that God‘s presence is far away from us. It seems like what we were promised really isn’t coming true. You might even have the opportunity today to pass on some hope for the promise of the covenant to someone who might be losing heart. Don’t pass up the opportunity to do for others what God is willing to do for you.

January 18:

Fr. Don here.

Many of the images offered in the Gospel today paint a picture of moving from the old to the new. Whether it is an old piece of cloth to patch another piece of cloth or new wine into old wine skins, we are told that that simply doesn’t work. If we are to try that we will lose both the old and the new. Since this is one of the most intriguing teachings of Jesus we might need to watch his life and learn from his example about exactly how to do this. He inherited some of the old patterns of behavior from his own culture. Some of those were avoiding the diseased, dividing people into castes, making judgments about people from their outward appearance and deciding who deserves the mercy and goodness of God. Sometimes our old patterns keep us from experiencing new and deeper life in Jesus. Those could be old patterns of prejudice or hatred. They might even be old patterns of self-hatred. Most of us have old patterns of ways we fall into sinfulness. Whatever the old patterns are in your life, take some time to acknowledge them and then place them up against the example in the life of Jesus. How is he inviting you and I today to let go of the old wine skins and develop new patterns for those new wine skins?

January 17: 

Fr. Don here

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.”1Cor 6

“He said to them,“Come, and you will see.”John 1

Try to take some time today to put these two scriptures together. The one reminds us exactly who we are. That we have been purchased out of love by the life of Jesus and so we are to glorify God with our lives. But how are we to know what our call is and how we are to glorify God? One thing we do know is that no matter what race creed color, God calls us to holiness. Notice that it is God who does the calling. So it is necessary to practice the virtue of patience and the gift of listening. We need to learn to recognize the voice of God. The voice of God always leads us to life and life more abundantly. God never promises us anything that he is not willing to fulfill. We also know that no matter what we do for God or where God leads us to holiness, it will involve grace and sacrifice. It will not be one or the other but it will be both. Take a moment and quiet today to invite God to speak to you. But then please take a moment to listen. Quiet your mind and heart as best you can and listen to that inner voice of God within you. When you believe you have heard the voice of God, Pause and listen for the movement of your heart. If your heart moves toward peace, you have probably heard the voice of God. If your heart moves toward worry or fear or anxiety, pause again and ask God to be clearer with you. Enjoy this intimate and holy conversation with God.

January 16:

Fr. Don here.

“So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.”

we are reminded today that Jesus understands us and that there really is no reason for us to stay away from him. Any choice that we have made or any sin that we have committed, he understands and is willing to forgive and be merciful. The scripture reminds us that he is like us in all things but sin. As we approach the throne of grace, we come as brothers and sisters of Jesus and as invited guests. So there is no need for begging, No need to let our embarrassment or shame create a distance between us. Come to the throne with an open and honest heart, contrite and ready for mercy.

January 15: 

Fr. Don here.

“Do not forget the works of the Lord!”

These words from the responsorial psalm today at mass give us a great task for today. I can’t imagine a better way to spend our time as well as to encourage ourselves in being faithful. Be sure to take some moments today to remember the works of the Lord in your own life. Remember all the ways that God has been faithful, all the ways that God has been forgiving, all the ways that God has been compassionate toward you and all the ways that he has provided for everyone of your needs. The psalm today says do not forget. So it is not enough to just remember but we must remember again and again, on a daily basis, how faithful and loving God is and how good are his works in our lives. Enjoy the remembering and the commitment to not forget.

January 14:

Fr. Don here.

“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”

Finding the hardened parts of our hearts is probably one of the most difficult things to do. Most of us are so convinced that we are loving, generous, compassionate and correct. So when somebody asks us a question we usually have a ready answer. We have positions and attitudes about almost everything. We tend to be judge mental toward those who disagree with us and less than forgiving when we notice the sins of another. All of us would like God to be generous with us and forgiving, to be compassionate with us when we do something wrong, and be patient with us as we learn along the way. Harden hearts and not fleshy hearts make it difficult to love and be loved. Those of us who hold on to past guilt or second-guess ourselves all through life might find it difficult to receive and give love. What part of your heart would you like to be more flashy or softened?

January 13:

Fr. Don here.

“Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested” Hebrews

We learn a lot from what we go through. This quote from the letter to the Hebrews reminds us of that. Jesus did suffer not just on the cross but each of the days when he tried to love so deeply and had that love misunderstood or the days when he tried to teach his disciples the right way to act and choose and they made other choices. Today you might be going through some suffering or something that is testing your faithfulness. Take some time to live in the midst of that experience. Be assured that what you learned from that experience will be used later as a gift for others. It is not that we enjoy suffering but that we Live through the suffering that we must endure and carry Jesus closely with us through that. May we hold up in prayer those who are suffering deeply and remember them as we walk through the day. May we listen to those who have suffered greatly for they have a great wisdom to offer us. What wisdom have you learned from your suffering? How willing are you to share that wisdom through compassion and faithful presence?

January 12:

Fr. Don here.

“I will proclaim your name to my brethren, in the midst of the assembly I will praise you.” with these words we are reminded that one of our jobs here on earth is to praise God. Praising means complimenting. It is different than worship. It is different than thankfulness and gratitude. It is different than petitioning for asking. It is a different form of prayer or communion with God. As you walk through the day today notice the works of God going on around you. Notice all the ways that God has made your life a gift. Then take some time to compliment God for the good work that God has done in your life and in the lives of those you love.

January 11:

Fr. Don here.

As we begin Ordinary Time in preparation for the beginning of Lent we are given some great encouragement from today’s scripture.”The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”

The first step in preparing for Lent would be a recognition that the kingdom of God is at hand. Instead of thinking about only having and what is to come we can cultivate in ourselves a sense of seeing the kingdom of God unfold before us in each and every day. Noticed that acknowledging the kingdom of God is at hand will lead us then to acknowledge our sins and to repent, which is truly the work of the season of Lent. Let us take this opportunity to use these several weeks that lead up to Lent to notice God’s unfolding presence in each of our lives. What might that look like for you?

January 10: Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Fr. Don here.

In today’s scriptures, we are invited to come to the water. That is quite a lengthy journey from the beginning of creation to this moment in which we live. From the beginning of creation God created the waters, created as human beings made up primarily of water, and has given us an earth with the water we need to exist and to thrive. We also are invited to the water of baptism. That water which gives us new life in Jesus and which opens up for us a world without end. Today, every time you take a drink of water, every time you cleanse yourself with water, every time you cook with water, every time you quench your thirst with water, Think about all the ways that your various trips to the water have giving you life abundant. Think of the ways that God has enriched your life through the gift of water, both your spiritual and your physical life. Maybe you can take a moment today to remember those who do not have safe water or don’t even have water available to them. What might you be able to do to make a difference in their life like someone has made a difference in yours?

January 9:

Fr. Don here.

“He must increase; I must decrease.” if we are to be true disciples of Jesus, these words must ring true in our choices and actions. Notice the situation that people bring to John the Baptist. They seem to want him to get jealous or threatened by what Jesus is doing. John is able to answer clearly that this is exactly what I told you would happen. I am simply preparing the way for him and when he comes he must increase and I must decrease. When given the chance to hold onto his power, to call into question the authority of Jesus or to make himself to be somebody other than who he was, John the Baptist does not take the bait and he is not bored by the temptation of arrogance or pride. How will we make it clear today That our job is to let Jesus increase as we decrease?

January 8:

Fr. Don here.

In the gospel today we hear these words “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do will it. Be made clean”

We each have our own need for healing, whether that’s physical, emotional, spiritual or any other form of ailment that may be in us. We noticed that the man with leprosy had so much faith that he could place himself at the feet of Jesus and believe that Jesus had the power to heal him. What surprises me is that question that Jesus asks. He says do you want to be made clean? Are we willing to let go of our ailments and weaknesses? Are we willing to depend on God so much that the healing that we need comes from God and isn’t rushed by us and our impatience. Let us pray with the same faith that the man with leprosy did. And let us place ourselves at the feet of Jesus trusting that he wills us to be made whole and clean.

January 7:

Fr. Don here.

Let me start this morning by thanking you all for your messages of concern and care and love and the promised prayers. I assure you they mean the world to me and I will hold them dear in my heart as I walk each day of this journey. I so appreciate being in community with you.

Now back to the work we do every morning which is to reflect on the Scriptures and have them have some connection to our real lives. We hear from the first letter of John “Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” When Jesus was asked who is our brother he told the story of the Good Samaritan. If there was any question as to what Jesus meant when he lived out the truth of loving our brothers and sisters, he made sure that it wasn’t just those who love us or those who think the same way that we do but to any human person created by God in gods image and likeness. Today we have a chance to love our brothers and sisters even when we are tempted to hate,ostracize, judge and reject. Have a blessed day and enjoy the grace of God present to you today.

January 6:

Fr. Don here.

We hear from the first letter of Saint John “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.”

How many times have we heard Jesus say do not be afraid. From the quoteabove we can see why. He knows that perfect love casts out fear. But there isn’t a single one of us who doesn’t have some fear in our minds and hearts. It doesn’t mean we are people without faith it simply means that we are not perfectly loving. So it seems that the task that the Scriptures give us today is to become more perfectly loving so that we can have less and less fear. And what happens when we have less and less fear is that we are more and more free to love as we are asked to love by Jesus. Enjoy your day today as you discover new ways of loving more perfectly and watching fierce fall away.

January 5:

Fr. Don here.

“For God is love.” These four words give us freedom and our marching orders. If God is love than God has but one response and that is love. In the Scriptures it takes many forms in the life of Jesus. Today we hear about the multiplication of food for those who are hungry. It shows us that God is love. The alternative of leaving people hungry and going back to the city is not love. This difference between love and that love is shown to us in the actions and words of Jesus and of all the holy people in the Scriptures. Today we have the task of being like God, meaning that we are called to be lovers for God in the world today. As you begin this day of life, A gift in itself from the God of love, imagine how you will act as one who is love. Make that choice, imagine the possibilities, and fill the world with love today. Enjoy being God’s handiwork in his world today.

January 4: 

Fr. Don here.

How is your New Year’s going so far? I know that most of us are living with some uncertainty about the progress of the virus and the vaccination and when will be we be able to meet with each other again etc. etc. but during these days of masses in the early part of the church year we are getting some great advice from the first letter of John about how to live in this world. We are being asked to listen carefully to what Jesus has taught us. We’re being asked to live in the world as an example for others. We’re also being asked today to discern well what we hear and see and to test the spirits. This is simply a way to say here and see and watch and think and then test it all against the life and teachings of Jesus. I hope that these early days of the new year find you filled with hope and joy even if we can’t do everything we would like to do. Enjoy the gifts that surround you, the people that enrich your life, and the things that give you comfort security and safety. In the midst of that gratitude for those gifts and those people around you, reach out so that your life can be a blessing for others. Enjoy the beginning of this new year.

January 3: The Epiphany of the Lord

Fr. Don here.

From the beginning of creation God has said that all is good. From the very first moments of God’s creation the intent was that all would be included in this goodness. From the first moments of the earthly life of Jesus it is clear that God intended that all people, all nations, and all religions tribes and races would be the recipients of the good news that God has to offer to us. Those of us who are disciples of Jesus have been asked to carry this truth with us in How we treat other people and our attitude about inclusiveness and the judgment of others. This feast of the Epiphany of our Lord is meant to remind us of that truth. Nothing should supersede the dream of God that all may be one. Can we dream today like God dreams? What effect will that have on the way that we treat others, especially those Who are different than we are? Enjoy each day of the new year. Let each day before and by the dream of God.

January 2: 

Fr. Don here.

These two verses from the Letter to the Hebrews “In times past, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets: in these last days, he has spoken to us through his Son” tell us all we need to know about how clearly and specifically God has spoken to us through Jesus. If there was any question left in anyone’s mind, we were told that God speaks through Jesus to us. What might that mean and what effect will that have on our lives? It could mean that we read about Jesus, that we listen to the stories of his life in the gospels and then we begin to fashion our lives according to his example and his teachings. He offered us such wisdom and such direction and yet we sometimes argue whether what he taught us is really meant to apply to our lives today. If he is the word made flesh and he is God‘s instruction to us, what are the questions that are left? We either believe in the word of God given to us through Jesus and we follow it or we don’t. In this new year but us take every opportunity each day bring to flesh the teachings of Jesus.

January 1: Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

Fr. Don here.

“The LORD bless you and keep you! The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!” With these words from the book of numbers we are offered a template for blessing. Just as Mary bless the world by being the mother of God so we too can be a blessing to the world. Every time we approach someone we can wish them the blessing of God as well as being gracious to them. I know that New Year’s is the time for promises that we make and sometimes don’t keep. It seems a simple resolution to make as we embark on this new year to offer a blessing to anyone we meet. And in that blessing to communicate not just our own love but the love of God, which is much more faithful than our own love. Throughout the days of this new year may the Lord’s face shine upon you and may God be gracious to you. May you find God to give as a gift to others as God has been given to you.

December 31: 

Fr. Don here.

With these words from John’s gospel “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only-begotten Son, full of grace and truth” we are given all the hope and courage we will ever need. There is much to let go of and to forget about the year 2020 but don’t forget these words. God became flesh and dwelt among us and we have seen his glory. Take time before we let go of this year to remember all the ways in which you have witnessed Christ becoming flesh around you. Every Eucharist you attend, all the Holy people you have gotten to meet, and all the ways in which you have been the presence of Christ to others. Celebrate your goodness, the goodness of others and the fulfillment of God‘s ultimate promise to us. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Happy New Year’s Eve.

December 30:

Fr. Don here.

As we prepare to say goodbye to the year 2020 and get ready to embrace the new year of 2021, I pray that each of us is spending time in the temple asking God to give us the perseverance to recognize him at his coming in our lives each day. Some of us have begun to come back to church, the physical temple where we come to know and see and experience the real presence of Christ. But even if you are remaining at home for your own safety and well-being, spend time in the temple of your mind and heart noticing how God is speaking to you, challenging you, comforting you, and calling you forth to recognize Christ in each of the events of your daily life. You may even get the chance to witness to what you notice about Jesus to another human being. Don’t pass up the chance to be a witness for Christ.

December 29:

Fr. Don here.

“This is the way we may know that we are in union with him: whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked.”

Some ways of talking about being a disciple of Jesus are unclear or indistinct. This particular quote leaves no doubt about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. We are to walk as he walked. So if we are to examine our own lives as disciples of Jesus there are some clear criteria with which to judge. It might be an interesting practice today to pay attention to our feet and where they take us. Who do we walk with this day? Are the paths we walk clean and clear and secure or are we willing to get our feet dirty, walk through a little mud, and able to allow the dust of the road to collect on our feet as we take the road less traveled? Don’t forget to take a walk on the disciple path today. Walk as he has walked.

December 28: Feast of the Holy Innocents

Fr. Don here.

Hatred, jealousy and selfishness can be destructive vices. They even masquerade as righteousness and comfort sometimes. Unveiled for what they are reveals the evil and lack of character of the persons who play host/ess to them. We seem to be able to notice them and identify them in others much more readily than we are in ourselves. On this Feast of the Holy Innocents, let us attend to any ways in which we would do away with the life or goodness of another because we are threatened or jealous of them. When we noticed the in ourselves, instead of turning to embarrassment or shame, let us do some in-depth examination so that we can live as godly a life as is possible for each of us.

December 27: The Feast of the Holy Family

Fr. Don here.

Imagine a holy family. You have to set aside and forget the images that or presented to us by holy cards and statuary. For the most part these are images that idealize and make more unreal the task of forming a holy family. Holiness is our attempt to live our lives in a godly way. It does not mean that we are perfect. It does not mean that our families are void of conflict. What it does mean is that in each and every situation we treat each other as God would treat us. We strive to form a community in our homes, in our neighborhoods and in our churches. This feast of the holy family invites us to become holy with each other. Somehow that is to reflect faithfulness, compassion, forgiveness, creativity, fruitfulness of life, and undying and unconditional love. Enjoy this feast that calls us to deeper life in Christ and with each other.

December 26:

Fr. Don here.

In case you haven’t noticed, our church places before us, the day after Christmas, the feast day of the first martyr Stephen. In case we get too enamored by the baby Jesus and how cute he is, we are shown the consequences of following Jesus. By embracing the birth of Jesus and the word made flesh in the world we are required to sacrifice for the sake of the gospel. Most of us will never see the shedding of our blood that Stephen lived. All of us are given the chance to witness to our faith even at times when it costs us something. What will sacrifice, inconvenience, and public witness look like in my and your life today. Be strengthened by the power of the child born in Bethlehem.

December 25: 

Fr. Don here.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem. We have reason for hope and joy. God has given us the gift of his son as a reminder of love and faithfulness. I pray that you enjoy this celebration of the remembrance of the birth of Jesus today. I also pray that you might take some time to share some of your thoughts and dreams with someone else today. That may be by zoom or Skype or FaceTime or just an ordinary telephone call. Whatever way you choose I pray that you take the time to share with someone else the difference that Jesus has made in your life. Take some time before you make that call or set up the zoom to collect your thoughts about Jesus in your life. We each have our own story, our own paths that we’ve walked to get us where we are today in our relationship with Jesus. Let us rejoice that he has gotten us this far in faith and hope and let us anticipate what is possible in the days to come. Enjoy this beautiful feast of life and love.

December 24: 

Fr. Don here.

Think of all the ways that ANTICIPATION is associated with Christmas. This is the day before Christmas, not Christmas. As you anticipate Christmas this year you know that some of the traditional and ordinary things you associate with Christmas will not happen this year. But what is it that you are anticipating? Are you anticipating that the birth of Christ will make a difference in your life this coming year? Are you anticipating that you have learned some thing in this past year that you will carry forward as wisdom into the next? You still have this day before Christmas to prepare for the birth of Christ to have some deeper meaning in your life. Dream big, reach beyond what you already know, and seek to fulfill the dream that God has in mind for you. Jesus came in our flesh so that we might hear the good news and be filled with joy. How will that happen for you in these next days weeks months and years. Enjoy this last day of advent.

December 23:

Fr. Don here.

“Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand. “ The Responsorial Psalm today reminds us of what the work of Advent has always been. We are to get our heads up, look around and see the coming of the Savior of the world. This requires alertness and awareness. But what are we looking for? What is it that we are to notice that will help us to see that the Lord is near? In today’s Scriptures, we hear about the birth of John the Baptist. He is the one who was sent to prepare the way for Jesus. In his time he would proclaim to others to be alert and awake and to repeat for people the promises that God has given. Each of us is given a chance to prepare the way for Jesus to be received into our lives and the lives of others. What is it that you will say or do today that will help people notice, recognize, and act on the presence of Christ in their life today? Do not be afraid. The Lord is with you.

December 22: 

Fr. Don here.

No matter what is most precious to us, we are asked to dedicate this to God. In the Scriptures this morning, those gifts, those precious long awaited fulfillment of God‘s promise, we see the persons who receive them intern dedicate them to God. As we near the end of this advent season, it might be a good day to acknowledge the incredible gifts that we have been given, to think God who is the source of all good, and to take the time to dedicate that gift to God and to service of God. In Mary’s Magnificat we hear the words that we can use when we dedicate someone or some thing or ourselves to God. Pray the Magnificat today. Let Mary’s prayer be your prayer as you and trust those most precious to you to God and to God service.

December 21: 

Fr. Don here.

Our gospel today celebrates the visitation of Mary with Elizabeth. Mary is the one who goes to visit Elizabeth. She is younger and earlier in her pregnancy. One of the most striking elements of this story is the way that the babies in their wombs react to each other. It seems important today to pray for all those who are pregnant and caring for the life of their child to be born. So much happens to a human being in those nine months. They see, they here, they feel, and they sense safety or terror. Notice that the story tells us that Mary stays with Elizabeth for three months. That would have been the time of John the Baptist birth. Let us recognize the presence of life within each other, especially Christ being born in us to the world today. Enjoy the final days of Advent.

December 20: 

Fr. Don here.

God addresses both David and Mary. God defined the kind of relationship he wants. Instead of David deciding when to build a temple, God will do that. Mary and Joseph have to let go of the plans they had about how to proceed with their relationship and listen to God’s plans. All of them had to decide whether or not they would be partners with God as the plan of salvation unfolded. We all have our plans and schemes for how life should go. What part of that plan have you failed to submit to the unfolding plan that God has for you and the world? Enjoy those remaining days of Advent!

December 19: 

Fr. Don here.

As we near Christmas we hear stories from the Old Testament and the New Testament about women who have not given birth to a child and who have considered this to be a punishment or an embarrassment or a need for shame. So much was attached to having children and seeing those children as a gift from God. So it was thought that if you didn’t have a child you were being cursed by God. We know that not to be true but we shouldn’t pass up the possibility of listening to the image of barrenness being made fruitful. These continuous stories are meant to encourage in us a hopefulness even in the midst of our most fruitless situations in life. So what seems not to be bearing life for you right now? What are the areas of your life that seem to not be yielding the fruit that you thought? Notice that those who were barren had continued to remain faithful to God even when their dreams didn’t seem to be coming true. Can we be as faithful to God in those sort of circumstances in our own lives? Let us pray for each other today that faithfulness is our first choice even in the driest times of our lives.

December 18: 

Fr. Don here.

“Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.” Reading this, we know for sure that this prophecy has not been fulfilled. If it is the Word of God, then we know that it will be fulfilled. It is a promise of God. So how will it be fulfilled? We knoW it’s not magic and we know it doesn’t have to wait til heaven. Be alert and awake. We each will be given opportunities today to help allow justice to flourish, to create peace in your own heart, in the hearts of others and to nurture peace through forgiveness and compassion. Enjoy Advent promise fulfillment!

December 17: 

Fr. Don here.

We all know that our past and our family form us in fundamental ways. But we also know that we are not helpless victims or hopeless wrecks no matter what our background or family are like. The genealogy of Jesus is filled with wonderful folks and some people who did some evil things. Jesus takes his every choice and redeems his family tree and all the rest of us. Our Advent is a time for each of us to awaken to Jesus and his presence in our lives today. How will each of us use our inherited life of grace to continue the healing of God’s people?

December 16:

Fr. Don here.

Hear the mighty voice and thunder of God given to us through the Prophet Isaiah There is no question about who is responsible for this beautiful world in which we live. No question about who to turn to to hear the truth. And to cap it off we have Jesus responding to John the Baptist’s question in a language that John would understand. Jesus quotes the Old Testament and recalls the words that had been used for generations to prepare the people for the Anointed One. What words do you need to hear from Jesus to assure you that he is the Promised One in your life today? Ask him! Are you the One? Speak to me.

December 15: 

Fr. Don here.

Have you ever witnessed an incredible conversion? Have you ever seen a person’s life change in dramatic ways? It might even have been your own. Today Jesus asks a rhetorical question. Why when you saw prostitutes and tax collectors change their lives, why did you not change you heart? We can be stiff-necked and hard-hearted. We can become so convinced of our own way of doing things or so unconscious of how we make choices in our lives that we don’t hear the invitations from Jesus to change our lives and get closer to him. During this Advent time let us use the opportunities we have to become more alert and awake to the chances we have for great and small conversions in our lives.Let us pray for each other today that we might awaken to God’s presence in our lives today. Enjoy this advent awakening. Say yes when you mean yes and no when you mean no.

December 14:

Fr. Don here.

Trickery and double talk are not the ways to win an argument with Jesus. Today again he faces the elders and chief priests who are attempting to catch him in a lie or claiming that he is God. Before he will answer their questions he demands that they take a stand on the baptisms being done by John the Baptist. As we approach Jesus today in our prayers and in our actions, he will ask us to take a stand. Are we with him when it is convenient and remain quiet when things get sacrificial? Jesus will see our answer in our choices and actions, not in cheap words or in quiet.

December 13: Gaudete Sunday

Fr. Don here.

“I rejoice heartily in the LORD, in my God is the joy of my soul” Isaiah the prophet. On this third Sunday of Advent we are invited to find a reason to be joyful. Even in these inconvenient and uncertain times we are asked by God to find a constant and eternal source of joy. Isaiah the prophet and Mary both appear in our scriptures this weekend. They both seemed to know that there really is only one source of lasting joy. John the Baptist kept pointing toward Jesus but people still chose other sources of joy. None of them had the staying power of Jesus. Where will you choose to find joy? Will it have staying power or will it pass as day does into night? May you choose lasting joy!

December 12: Our Lady of Guadalupe

Fr. Don here.

Great rejoicing today throughout the Americas as we celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe. Mary appeared and renewed her closeness to her Son’s friends. She often appears with those who live on the margins of life. She offers hope to those who struggle in life and offers challenge to those who coast through life, living wasteful and unfaithful lives. Today is another opportunity to wake up to the Promised One of God. Have we been floating through life comfortably numb? Has our current crisis awakened in us a deeper love and charity or a deeper fear and cynicism? Let is be done to us according to your will O God!

December 11: 

Fr. Don here.

Jesus noticed that people can be very hypocritical and judgmental. People who are looking to criticize will always find something to complain about. When we don’t want to hear what someone is saying, especially if it is challenging, we push them away. We do that by finding fault, attacking, undermining them or giving them the cold shoulder. What is Jesus asking of you during this Advent? Are you listening or covering the listening part of your heart?

December 10:

Fr. Don here.

Have you ever been called a worm or maggot? Through the prophet Isaiah those are the words that God used to address his people. Would you keep listening to someone who calls you that? God continues through the prophet to tty to get their attention and give them hope. In the gospel Jesus pleads with us that if we have ears we ought to hear. What is God saying to you that you are pretending not to hear? Get your fingers or earbuds out of your ears and give God a chance to speak to you. He has words of love and challenge for each of us. Let those who have ears hear!

December 9:

Fr. Don here.

“Do you not know or have you not heard?” This question from Isaiah is not begging an answer. If fact Isaiah knows that the people he is addressing have heard about God and God’s wonderful attributes and promises. Isaiah is shocked that even though folks know about God they have not changed their behavior. Might that be true about any of us? We have lived wonderful lives and been given the gift of faith. We have been forgiven again and again. God does not hold a grudge and always welcomes us back. God has given each of us a mission, God trusts us with that vision and has given us the grace to say yes. Be alert today for the opportunities to let what we know about God change us for the better. Enjoy Advent.

December 8: The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Fr. Don here.

Imagine a God whose love pours out in eternal life for his creatures. We are reminded on this day that God created the world without suffering or death. Mary and her inheritance of God’s original gift of eternal life are shown to us so that we can participate with God in the reestablishment of God’s Kingdom. So in honor of Mary today let’s make some great Advent choices. Certainly no choices to eat of the “forbidden fruit.” Let’s choose life giving ways of spending our time. Choose truth, creativity, and “let is be done to me according to your will.” God has prepared you for this day!

December 7:

Fr. Don here.

The love of friends brought a man in need to Jesus. They took apart the roof and lowered him down because they believed that Jesus could make a difference. But there were also those present who were threatened by Jesus. They didn’t like that he spoke and acted in God’s name. But they really didn’t like that Jesus was threatening their status quo, their source of religious authority. How many of us would have the depth of faith that leads to “tearing a roof apart” to bring someone to Jesus. How many of us feel threatened by the acts of healing and service that others do who might be different than ourselves? As Jesus said, “if they are not against me they with me.” Is that our attitude of mind and heart? Enjoy your second week of Advent.

December 6:

Fr. Don here.

“Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated; indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD double for all her sins.”

With these words, the Prophet Isaiah offers hope who have lost their homeland, temple and many of their loved ones. Although we are in the midst of a pandemic, financial insecurities and shifts in government it is nothing like the situation that faced the Israelites. This weekend in Advent our church and the Word of God invite us and implore us to notice the comfort that God is offering each of us in this moment. Don’t wait til things get “better.” Anybody, even without faith, can be comforted in good times. Seek his comfort now. Where in your life are you experiencing gifted ness, blessing and peace. It is there! Seek out. Be open to it. Expect it. Savor it. Above all be grateful. This is not pretend. This is real. God’s comfort is available always.

December 5:

Fr. Don here.

“Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”

What incredible marching orders. Who should we gravitate toward? Lost sheep. Who are those people in your life? Do you naturally gravitate toward them or does it take some, humility, courage and trust? Most of us are drawn toward folks just like us. They talk like us, they act like us and they think like us. And how should we approach these lost sheep? With healing and cleansing and peace. We are given these same gifts by Jesus over and over again, without cost. Now we go giving without cost that we have been given. Enjoy Advent!

December 4:

Fr. Don here.

“Do you believe that I can do this?” Why would Jesus ask these blind men when they just approached him? Have you ever presented a petition to God and half believed that your prayer would not be granted? Have you ever prepared yourself for disappointment even before you have prayed? What blindness have you decided you will be stuck with? Is God not powerful enough to open your eyes literally or figuratively? Expectation and hope are prominent virtues of Advent! How would you like to see? What blindness in yourself are you praying to be healed?

December 3:

Fr. Don here.

“Blessed are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” Notice the hear and act. Not one or the other but both. Some of us are quick to act without first listening for God’s guidance and wisdom. We do lots of good things but not on a good foundation. Others of us pray and discern and plan and dream but never act. Instead of following the promptings of God’s guidance we excuse ourselves for one reason or another. It’s not enough to cry Lord, Lord. It is twofold. Hear and act!

December 2:

Fr. Don here.

After a long day of watching Jesus heal so many people his disciples wanted to send them away so they didn’t have to feed them. Seems like the least they could have done was let Jesus rest and take care of the feeding. But they had their reasons right? They didn’t have enough for themselves and the crowd. Sound like a familiar excuse? They got healed. What more do they want? Shouldn’t they be satisfied? Sound familiar? These weren’t the kind of people they thought the Messiah would hang around with. We don’t want him to get a bad reputation from hanging around people like that. Right? We all have our excuses for not going the next step of commitment to Jesus. Is today the day, is this Advent the time, that we might be willing to take that next step?

November 30:

Fr. Don here.

On this Feast of St. Andrew we begin our weekdays of Advent. What a powerful way to set the direction for the season. Imagine always beings Peter’s brother, always in his shadow and always watching him say and do the wrong thing. But he was faithful to the call to be a disciple of Jesus and in the end giving his life as a witness of faith. Wake up to the calls in your life to give witness to your faith, see the opportunities to “straighten the crooked roads, fill in the valleys and bring down the mountains. Can you hear God’s invitation for a year of favor? Share the good news of awakening!

November 29:

Fr. Don here.

“Would that you might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of you in our ways!” As we begin this Advent Season we are asked to awaken, as if being roused from a stupor or sleepiness. Can you identify that in your life? Can you notice the ways that you have not been keeping your focus and becoming numb, distracted or hopeless? Have you noticed that you are more prone to anger, judgment, cynicism or withdrawal? Have you given up listening for the prompting of God’s Spirit, allowing the Covid experience to give you permission to not live a Godly life? What good would you want Jesus to “catch” you doing? What is your best self and what step will you take today to get there?

November 28:

Fr. Don here.

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life”. I have always known that carousing and drunkenness can make a person drowsy but have you ever taken inventory of what “daily anxieties” cost you and how tiresome that make you? We are all tempted to worry, thinking that worrying keeps us vigilant and awake but it has just the opposite effect. It numbs us to reality and keeps us from noticing God’s moment by moment presence in our lives. It keeps us from true humility and tempts us to believe that we can control more than what we can. When you are tempted to worry today, acknowledge the temptation and choose to live in the moment, fully feeling reality and freely choosing to trust God. Try it, you’ll like it!

November 27:

Fr. Don here.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” The dead will be judged by their deeds. Those whose names are written in the book of life shall be admitted. Today is the only day we can live. We have before us life or death. Can we choose life for ourselves and for others? Will we take the opportunities to put gratitude into action? When he comes will he find us doing good?

November 26: Thanksgiving Day

Fr. Don here.

A day set aside for gratitude and thanksgiving. Seems like a straightforward focus. But there could be so many distractions. Let’s not miss this chance or be distracted by inconveniences and separations. Do you love others enough to do without them for one Thanksgiving? Make that phone call, send that text, and have that zoom. We will be able to gather again in greater safety. For now, we are grateful to be alive and given the privilege to help others stay alive. Let God be praised as we give thanks yet again for our many blessings.

November 25:

Fr. Don here.

Jesus predicts hatred, betrayal and calls to self-defense but tells us not to worry. He will give us words to speak and “not a hair on your head will be harmed.”  I’m sure most of us have been hated and betrayed. You know what is feels like. You know how scary it gets and how much you want to fight back and prove them wrong. But he calls us to perseverance. Going for the distance through extreme acts of love. His answer to betrayal was to give his life in love for his enemies. What will be your response to hatred and betrayal today?  Persevere!

November 24:

Fr. Don here.

Imagine people standing around Jesus admiring the grandeur of temple, thinking that the temple and all its adornments were a sign of stability and security. Jesus reminds them that all this is temporary, and that they ought not put their trust in things.   He warned them that catastrophes of nature and human activity would shake their foundations. But what does Jesus have to offer as the real source of a solid foundation?  You know the answer. Only in God will our souls be at rest. Does your sense of well-being come from God or the things and comforts of life?  Are you shaken by this pandemic?  Are you facing the truth or pretending to be stronger than you are?  You can’t depend on God if you act self-sufficient!

November 23:

Fr. Don here.

Jesus is not impressed by showy displays of excess money and properties, people who try to impress by giving of their surplus. Instead he watches for those who give from their need, those willing to risk their security for the sake of generosity. The widow in the gospel today was elevated by Jesus as a good example of love. How can we follow in her footsteps and be willing to risk our security?  Where and when will we do more than give our leftovers and our excess?  When will we worry more about what God thinks of us than how we look in other’s eyes?  O God, give us courage, trust and humility.

November 22:

Fr. Don here.

If Christ is King and we have been invited into his kingdom then he gets to set the guidelines and boundaries, the membership qualifications and expectations of behavior. If we want to exercise our membership we know clearly how to do it. Jesus tells us he will show up regularly and it is our hub to recognize him and respond. This is not just a kingdom of good thoughts and good intentions. Members in God’s kingdom must be alert and ready to act. Jesus will show up in each of our lives today. He will be hungry, thirsty, lonely, abandoned, sick,imprisoned or dying. Not pity but action is called for. Would we really let Jesus be abandoned on a roadside if we knew it was him?  He tells us how to recognize him. Be alert and awake.

November 21:

Fr. Don here.

Our gospel reminds us to set our minds on God’s promise of the world to come rather than being worried about how our understanding of life fits into God’s plan. Who will we be married to, will we know each other, will we still have friendships?  When God says we can’t wrap our minds around his plans, why worry?  Security for eternity is in God, not in relationships.   As we anticipate the end of the church year, let’s take stock of our trust in God rather than our control of life. Be alert and awake as Jesus comes into your life today?  Will you follow where he leads or does it have to go your way?

November 20:

Fr. Don here.

When we hear the truth or witness a person living a truly holy life we have choices to make. We can listen, watch and follow the example, ignore what we hear and see, or try to make that holy person cease and desist. Many during the time of Jesus tried to silence and shame him. When that didn’t work they plotted to kill him. There were others, especially the poor and those who were ostracized from religious society, who were ready to hear of a new world where they would have a place to be at the table. As you walk through your day today, notice how you greet the prophetic voice that you hear. Are you ready to hear and follow, do you ignore it’s existence or do you actively belittle and try to silence it?

November 19:

Fr. Don here.

“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”  What a good and wise warning. How sad if God speaks to us and we don’t listen.   The gospel tells us that when we don’t listen it has consequences for our lives. As he nears Jerusalem he weeps for the city. He sees how far they have drifted from the truth and holy living. He sees the suffering that people are going through. Can you notice suffering in your life and in our world?  How might each of us listen more closely to God and follow his direction?  It will heal parts of our world and families. God’s Grace is sufficient.

November 18:

Fr. Don here.

Imagine that you were Jesus on your way to Jerusalem. Because of your run ins with religious leaders you can sense that your time in Jerusalem is gonna be tough. You and your companions are gonna have to be determined and undeterred. The temptations will be everywhere to give into fear and water down the mission. This parable is your pep talk before you enter the city. You have to recognize the “gold” that has been entrusted to you and not shrink from it. Jesus has given each of us that gold of his mission. He wants us to work with it and trust its fruitfulness. What are you being tempted to abandon out of fear? Can you see Jesus walking with you, never abandoning you? Can you feel the trust he has put in you? Will you work the gold or hide in fear?

November 17:

Fr. Don here.

Sometimes when people witness your love for others it makes them groan against you. That is what happened when Jesus decided to love Zacchaeus in public. He violated codes of behavior. Jesus was not to speak with or eat at his table. Good, religious people were shocked by his behavior and they judged him negatively because of it. This scandalous behavior led to Zacchaeus’ conversion. He apologized for his sinful behavior, decided to pay back 4x what he had taken, And he decided to follow Jesus. What prophetic love have you committed to that might lead others to conversion and become deeper disciples of Jesus? It must be prophetic, not the easy kind of love.

November 16:

Fr. Don here.

A blind man cries out to Jesus from his darkness. Jesus asks him to declare his need. Sometimes that is the hardest thing to do, admit our needs. The more desperate the situation we have a choice. We either give up hope or we cry out from the depths of our hearts. If we had the ear of Jesus what would you cry out for. What darkness are you trapped in? What is causing you to be tempted to give up hope? What is your anchor of faith? As you search through life today, cry out to Jesus.

November 15:

Fr. Don here.

Talents are given to each according to his/her ability. And who gives the talents? The Master. And who knows us better than the Master? No one. So there really is no proper place for envy or jealousy or comparison. Each talent shared with us is entrusted to us so that the dream of God might be fulfilled. That dream is the patchwork of lives building up the oneness of God’s creation. It is a dream that includes All. We are encouraged to look out for those on the edges of life. Fear of God should lead us to deeper trust and prophet action with our talents. They are not meant to be buried. Trust that the Master knows best.

November 14:

Fr. Don here.

“when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Examining our readiness for the coming of Jesus is the focus of these final weeks of the church year. Since Jesus has been “gone” for 2000+ years, we are asked about our ability to be persistent. Can we live each day with our hearts intent to do the right thing for the long haul? How can we continue to pray, serve and worship when we don’t know when he will come again? Living one day at a time is the key. Each day is a gift. Enjoy today.

November 13:

Fr. Don here.

“Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it”. It will be a day like any other day. People will be eating and drinking, marrying and being married, in the fields or cooking in the kitchen. A day like today could be the Lord’s coming. What matters is whether we are giving our lives away or trying to be protective of ourselves. Whatever we have and whoever we are is meant to be shared. In this time of uncertainty and fear, are you still giving it away in Jesus’ name or have you begun to hide?

November 12:

Fr. Don here.

As we near the end of our church year, we are daily given scriptures to wake us up but not be paralyzed by fear of what might happen. How many times have you heard that someone is trying to predict the Second Coming of Jesus. Even though Jesus warn us not to do that. We have people recounting the ongoing scary events of our days and scare people into alertness. But why does the church do this year after year? It is a yearly check to see if we are awake as we need to be. Everybody’s honest answer to that has to be no! How can you be more awake to the Kingdom of God in your family, your workplace, strangers around you and those most in need. Don’t be paralyzed or afraid. Just wake up and live more deeply.

November 11:

Fr. Don here.

“The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.” How many times have read this, heard this, sung this or said it? Is it a core belief for you or not? Do you act as if this is true? Life would be so full of gratitude, freedom, peace and generosity. Less envy and jealousy, less hoarding and waste. Just for a moment, pray this verse and decide how it will change your life today. Have fun.

November 10:

Fr. Don here.

“Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him.” This alleluia verse reminds us of one of the God promises that should give us hope. Love is the motivation that leads to faithful service and praise. Duty is a preliminary motivator but love is the motivator that lasts through thick and thin. Not just the feeling of live but the choice to be committed, whole-hearted and compassionate. Deepen your love of God through practices that enliven your heart for God. Practice gratitude and praise.

November 9:

Fr. Don here.

“Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” I hope you answer this with a firm YES. It is the necessary step for us to build on the foundation of Christ. God has made the world in a certain way. That is the unshakable foundation we are all given. We are given the form and image of God. Unless we act in the truth what we built on this solid foundation will always be shaky. What will it take for you to act like a temple of God? Can you imagine God’s Spirit dwelling in you? Is there some sin or regret from the past that keeps you from believing the truth? Bring yourself to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and experience being renewed in the truth. Seek to heal the lies you believe about yourself. Begin to believe the truth that God has professed about you.

November 8:

Fr. Don here.

“I don’t know who you are.” Can you imagine how soul shattering it would be to hear the Bridegroom say that to you? It won’t happen if we keep up a lively and personal relationship with Jesus. Keeping the extra oil available for the long haul of discipleship comes through prayer, through service to those most in need and to seeking God’s wisdom through scripture, through listening and following the wisdom of the church, and through humbly allowing ourselves to be led by the Spirit of God. Keep the light burning and the oil on hand.

November 7:

Fr. Don here.

“I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me. Still, it was kind of you to share in my distress.” These words of St. Paul might be great reflection for all of us. Our worlds are being shaken because of the virus, the election and the divisions in our church, our nation and the world. This is a great time to practice centering our lives on Jesus. His promises and faithfulness is not changed by any of the aforementioned events and details. So if you find yourself feeling insecure or worried, make sure you’re anchored in Jesus. Practice personal prayer, acts of mercy and choosing to love when fear tempts you into something else. Be at peace.

November 6:

Fr. Don here.

Imagine what it meant for the community of Philippi to receive a letter from St. Paul. He had met them, set an example for them and was now pleading with them to stay faithful to Jesus. St. Paul must have heard that the people of Philippi were becoming enamored with “things of the world” instead of keeping their minds and hearts on Jesus. If St. Paul would address the same letter to us would he have reason to worry about us? Are we letting something or someone steal our attention from Jesus? Are you letting your hope and faith be drained? Why are you letting anyone but Jesus be your source of hope? Choose to give Jesus the first place in your mind and heart today!

November 5:

Fr. Don here.

Our gospel today offers a wisdom of Jesus that is contrary to our accepted wisdom. Who of us would put the many in danger for the sake of one, and not just one sheep, but one who wandered away. Jesus seems to be willing to go a long way to bring the wanderers back. If he did that and our lives are supposed to follow in his footsteps. It might be time for us to examine the wisdom that rules our choices. Who are the lost sheep in our lives? What would we risk for them?

November 4:

Fr. Don here.

“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” What kind of a cross are you being asked to carry today? And not only carry it but doing that without grumbling. Wow! That’s a lot to do. Usually we like to crab and complain so people know how much we are suffering. We’re told in scripture that the light of Christ certainly will shine more brightly if we carry crosses and choose to do it with hope and faith. Let us encourage each other through our example. Let His light shine through you.

November 3:

Fr. Don here.

“Brothers and sisters: Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and, found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.” The same attitude! Willingly empty ourselves and sacrifice our lives for the sake of those who betray us and deny knowing us! Sometimes we can’t even listen to each other much less die for each other. So much of our brokenness is on display. Is your attitude like Jesus or are you hoping to crush someone? What will it take for you and me to start doing what Jesus said and did and quit waiting for someone else to change?

November 2:

Fr. don here.

As you can see by the number of scriptures offer for this day, the Church has encouraged us to offer prayers and masses for those who have died before us. Take some time today to focus on your friends and family who have died. Read one of the scriptures offered today and let the Word of God lead you in your prayer. Imagine what it takes for any of us to accept God’s incredible love for us. Pray that our loved ones may have their guilt and doubt melted away by the ferocity of God’s love. Let us hold them up to the Mercy of God.

November 1:

Fr. don here.

“Beloved, we are God’s children now.” Does that excite you? Does that sound like Good News to you? I hope so. That declaration on All Saints Day is meant to free us from worry so that we can be blessed in all circumstances. The Beatitudes are Jesus’ invitation to take the next step in discipleship. We are called to find blessing in all situations and help others to do the same. Our community seeks to be a sign of hope for our world and our church that all people are one. Say yes and be a part of the unfolding of God’s dream for us all.

October 31:

Fr. Don here.

What is your place of honor? Sometimes we sit at the head table, sometimes at the family table, sometimes among strangers and sometimes we are not invited. In all those circumstances our place of honor is right next to Jesus. Humility invites us into honest living. Our honesty comes from being in right relationship with Jesus. That relationship, knowing Jesus, will be the guide about where and when to be. Enjoy the feast from whatever position he leads you to. He will bless you and use you.

October 30:

Fr. Don here.

“I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Do you share my confidence and St. Paul’s confidence? We are all a work in progress. We are sinners becoming Saints. We are all dependent on Gods assistance and we all have God’s promise that he will never abandon us or quit on us. How can this change your life if you have confidence? Less worry and fear. Less need to try to control and manipulate. More freedom to live in the present moment and more able to see and hear God act in our lives. God’s choice to love us is completely reliable. Count on it!

October 29:

Fr. Don here.

"Make known with boldness the mystery of the Gospel”. What mystery are we talking about? And why with boldness? Jesus lived his life out in the open with nothing to hide. What could be hidden or mysterious about such a public life? Seems that the mystery of the depth and faithfulness of his love is still unknown to so many people. Maybe you? Many people act bold but it’s really fear that comes out in pushiness and volatility. Real boldness looks like forgiving your enemy, expecting nothing in return. Real boldness is washing the feet of those who betray you and deny you. Real boldness is loving by voluntarily emptying oneself for the sake of those who would never be grateful. The mystery of God’s love for all of us still needs to be shone boldly!

October 28:

Fr. Don here.

Have you been called by named? Has Jesus pointed to you? Some are called to be apostles but all are called to be his disciples. We go to the mountain to sit at the master’s feet and hear him call our name. He calls us with a purpose so that his message goes out to all the earth. What part of that message will you speak today? What wisdom will you learn from him today? Will you listen intently enough to hear him call YOUR name. It gets personal. He wants you! Listen with expectancy!

October 27:

Fr. Don here.

When we pray “thy kingdom come, thy will be done” what images come to mind? Is it yeast or a mustard seed? Probably not but today we are offered those images to paint a picture in our mind’s eye what it might be like. Think small and seemingly insignificant. A tiny seed that grows into something that provides a home for so many. A bit of yeast, when put in the right conditions, affects the entire batch. The kingdom of God is built from the small bits of love that build a home for all. Will you let your smallness be in service to God’s Kingdom today?

October 26:

Fr. Don here.

We hear in St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, “Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.”  Those three instructions will keep all of us busy for the rest of our lives. Who of us couldn’t be more kind, especially to those in our lives who always seem to be ungrateful. Who of us couldn’t be more compassionate, especially toward those who seem to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Who of us couldn’t be more forgiving, especially measuring it against how many times God has forgiven each of us. Those should keep us very busy, unless we want to be like the hypocrites in the gospel. Make some great choices today!

October 25:

Fr. Don here.

Do you have a “checklist” morality?  Or is your morality not based on how many items are checked off but whether you did it with love?  It is one thing to be able to memorize all the laws. It could be even more impressive if you could rank them from most important to least. But how closely does our observance of the law toe the line by measuring how much love goes into the fulfillment of the law?  Is our fulfillment of the law because of fear of what might happen to us if we don’t?  Do we do what we do to impress someone?  Is our first motivation toward God and neighbor love?  Love enfolds the law and the prophets!

October 24:

Fr. Don here.

“Living the truth in love” is one of those beautiful sounding phrases that creates a dissonance, a creative tension, within us. We all know how to tell others in our lives just what they want to hear, so that they like us. We also know how to cut someone into pieces with some part of truth, just to prove them wrong or to keep from truly entering into relationship. Truth and love together involve forgiving 70x7, walking the extra mile, building a relationship of faithfulness that allows the truth to be spoken. What is the anchor of truth that you would like to give witness to today with your life? How will you do that in the context of love?

October 23:

Fr. Don here.

“I urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace; one Body and one Spirit”

Worthy of our call to unity is a great reminder right now. There is such division among us, whether we’re talking about the church, the nation, our families and our neighborhoods. Are we really committed to unity or more committed to winning and being right. Jesus gave us the example. He mixed various groups that normally wouldn’t be together. There were issues that were difficult to deal with and tension with people from different religious backgrounds and political beliefs. He seeks unity for all of us. What part will you play to build up the unity that God seeks. “That All May Be One.”

October 22:

Fr. Don here.

St. Paul urges us to be “rooted and grounded in love” so that we might begin to comprehend the depth of God’s love. Our being rooted in love helps us recognize love when we see it. Our being grounded in love gives us a taste of what a difference love can make in how we perceive life. The choice to live in love is totally ours. It is not controlled by any other source than ourselves. No one can make us not love. Our freedom includes the choice to love no matter what. Love that is bartered, taken away and given as reward is not rooted. Fantasy love is not grounded in reality. Sink the roots of love freely, and expect the ground of love to be both smooth and rocky. That is reality.

October 21: 

Fr. Don here.

“Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” When you read this do you shrink away from it? Do you start comparing yourself to very rich people so this scripture doesn’t seem to be addressing you? Do you pretend that you don’t have much even though you do? Is it hard for you to believe that you are in possession of so much and much is expected of you? Don’t let it scare you. Let it motivate you. Do the greatness that is expected of you today!

October 20:

Fr. Don here.

Today we focus on the virtue of vigilance. It is shown in readiness, preparedness and awareness. We all know what vigilance looks like. It’s usually an attached behavior to something we are really looking forward to. But in this scripture there is a bit of a flip from what might be expected. “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.” The expected one will wait on those who were vigilant! He is the Servant of Love. He chooses to recognize the dedication and commitment of the disciple, just like washing feet in the upper room, just like serving up his love on the cross, just like visiting his distraught disciples after he had been raised from the dead. Certainly makes waiting, awareness and vigilance look more appealing, right? How are you waiting patiently for Jesus to show up in your life?

October 19:

Fr. Don here.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast. For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.”

Saved by Grace and not by good works. Most of us need to switch the order in which we do things. Grace is a gift given to us for salvation. We have been formed in the image of our creator. We are destined for the good that we have been formed to do. Our good works should flow from the abundance of our gratitude to God and not out of making up for the bad that we have done. Our good works are the result of love and Grace not shame and fear. Say yes and thanks to the grace that God has given you. Grace is God’s breath and movement living in you. You are built with and for grace. You are the handiwork, the masterpiece of God. Live in gratitude and love.

October 18:

Fr. Don here.

Dishonest compliments and false pats on the back may get you what you want at the moment but your two-faced behavior will eventually poison whatever you are doing. They tried it with Jesus and he saw through their game. Sweet talk just to get what you want is not the basis for the truth or anything with staying power. To sustain our relationships with God or with others we must have truth and openness at the roots. We can’t trick God and God won’t be mislead by the false egos we act out of. In the important questions of life, let’s stand before God honestly and ask him to guide us, not pretend that we are listening but to truly be open to his guidance.

October 17:

Fr. Don here.

“May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might, which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens, far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come.” What could be your reason to lose hope? Unless you might be putting your security in winning or losing, influence or power, possessions or status, being right or being a victim, instead of in Jesus and him alone. Security in him alone means being able to do all of the above and still know the richness and fidelity of God. Be of good hope. Carry it with you and share it generously.

October 16:

Fr. Don here.

“Beware of the leaven of hypocrisy.” Any of us who have attempted to bake bread know the essential ingredient of leaven. A small amount creates a huge effect. It doesn’t happen right away but takes its time to affect the entire contents. Just like hypocrisy. There are those who say one thing and do another. Probably all of us. But there are those who watch us to see if we are people of our Word. Maria Montessori called children absorbent. They soak up what they see and hear. We excuse ourselves sometimes from right behavior when we see others veering off the path. Will you show hypocrisy or right behavior today?

October 15: 

Fr. Don here.

“The Lord has made known his salvation.” Can you give a witness? How has the salvation of God been made know to you? How have you experienced the saving presence and grace of God in your life? I am blessed to know many people who share their gifts from God with me. They have taught me how to be grateful for the gifts of life and hold them with open hands tray to share them. They have taught me how to be faithful even in difficult and uncertain times. Their example has shown me the path of salvation and their sharing in Eucharist and other sacraments has helped me experience communal salvation. How will you be the living presence of God’s saving grace today?

October 14:

Fr. Don here.

“You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.” This general statement sounds so right. Why would anyone want to pile a burden on someone else’ back and not help carry that burden? I’m not sure why but we seem to do it all the time. We look at other people’s lives and choices and make judgments and demand certain behavior but fail to help a person carry whatever burden the change may demand. St. Paul lists so many areas of sin and bad judgments that all of us partake in. “Immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like.” We need to call each other to our best selves but we need each other to carry the load. Let us find a way to help carry another’s burden and allow others to help carry our’s.

October 13:

Fr. Don here.

“Do not submit again to yoke of slavery.” In no way, shape or form should any of us submit again to slavery. We ought not to enslave others through our prejudgment of them as we wish they not do it to us. We ought not trap people in poverty or meaningless employment, as we wish no one to do to us. We ought not allow ourselves to be enslaved to addictions of drugs, alcohol, food, sex, worrying, endless activity, etc. Sobriety is the work of ridding ourselves of numbing behavior and facing “each day as it is, not as we would have it.” Blessings and freedom today!

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!