Saturday, February 13, 2016


Image result for happy with my life images


All joking aside, as a priest, I have seen true love in action 
and I have been moved deeply! for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, until death!

.......when tough love is needed.

Image result for children's funerals in good times and in bad! giving love!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Let us climb the Lord's mountain that he may instruct
us in his ways so that we may walk in his paths.
Isaiah 2:3

Tomorrow we begin the holy season of Lent - an annual retreat when we "climb the Lord's mountain" in order that God may "instruct us in his ways so that we may walk in his paths." "Climbing the Lord's mountain" is a metaphor for simply trying to rise above the pace of ordinary living to refocus our attention and intensify our efforts on "walking his paths" more faithfully. To do that we especially focus on the spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. 

PRAYER - Most of us tend to think of prayer as words we say to persuade God to do something he is not already doing. While it is true that we are invited to ask God for favors, the real essence of prayer is to ask God to change us so that we will want what he wants. After all, all God really wants is our good, anyway! Our Lenten prayer, then, is basically about our changing so that we will want what God wants rather than the other way around.

Going to daily Mass or saying the Rosary is always good, but that does not work for everybody. If you have a hard time adding more prayer time to your schedule, try carving out that time by turning off the radio on your way to work. If you find it hard to concentrate, try praying for the people in the cars around you. Try getting up a half hour earlier than everybody else and sitting quietly with a cup of coffee. "Where there is a will, there is a way!" 

FASTING - Often many of us eat, not because we are hungry, but because we are trying to fill an emotional void in our lives. When we fast, when we cut back on eating, we are invited to feel the pain we want to avoid. Feeling it, we can identify it. Identifying it, we can address it rather than numb it with food. 

It is a perversion of Lent to confuse fasting with dieting. Dieting is selfish. Fasting is other centered. Be it your daily Starbucks or that second beer, monitor your feelings when you "deprive" yourself Study your reactions and let them give you some important insights into your self. 

ALMSGIVING - When we hear the word "almsgiving," most of us immediately think of "giving something to charity." What we do in almsgiving is not as important as why we do it. Almsgiving can be selfish. It can make us feel righteous. What it is meant to do, really, is raise our awareness of our connectedness to others. It helps us remember that we are all in this together. "No man is an island." "We are our brother's keeper." 

Ash Wednesday has a way of sneaking up on us. Let's use the next few hours to get ready to go on retreat! Let's.......

Sunday, February 7, 2016

HOMILY 2-7-16

Woe is me for I am a man of unclean lips. 
I am not fit to be called an apostle. 
Depart from me for I am a sinful man. 

One of the great disappointments of priesthood has to be that Monday after your ordination and first Mass. As much as you would like to think you are a different person, the truth of the matter is that you wake up feeling just like you did the day before you were ordained. You realize quite quickly that you are same person with the same weaknesses and same sins.

Personally, I have never felt “good enough” to be a priest. I often wonder why God picked me. However, I don’t worry too much about God in that regard because I know that God has a long standing practice of choosing the weak and making them strong. I don’t worry too much about God's approval of me, but I do worry about what people think because they sometime expect more out of me than God himself. Sometimes I think they expect too much. 1500 years ago, Saint John Chrysostom sympathized with priests like me when he wrote, “The priest’s shortcomings simply cannot be concealed. On the contrary, even the most trivial soon gets known. For as long as the priest’s life is well regulated in every particular point, the intrigues cannot hurt him. But if he should overlook some small detail, as is likely for a human being on his journey across the devious ocean of life, all the rest of his good deeds are of no avail to enable him to escape the words of his accusers. That small offense casts a shadow over the rest of his life. Everyone wants to judge the priest, not as one clothed in flesh, not possessing a human nature, but as an angel, exempt from the frailty of others.” No, God doesn’t scare me as much as people’s judgments of me!

Today’s readings make me feel a whole lot better about myself. I hope they are helpful to you as well. Today, we read about a whole bunch of “losers” being picked by God for important work. When Isaiah is called to be a prophet, he tries to beg off by pointing out to God that he is not worthy of such a job because he has a foul mouth, from a family of foul mouths! God is not fazed by his excuses. He simply sends and angel to him carrying a hot coal to purify his lips! Does that hurt or what? When Paul was called, he had actually been complicit in killing the followers of Jesus. He even held the coats of those who stoned St. Stephen to death! God knocked him off his high horse, cleaned him up in a bath of grace and said, “You’re my man! I choose you!” When Peter was called, he resisted in shock, asking Jesus to get away from him, calling himself a “sinful man.” Jesus simply told him not to be afraid because he had another kind of fishing for him to do.

The Scriptures are full of stories about losers, thieves and idiots being called by God for his special tasks. The Scriptures are full of passages about God choosing the weak and then making them strong. Romans 5:8 says, “What proves that God loves us is that Christ died for us while we were still sinners.”  Hebrews 11:34 says, “They were weak people who were given strength.” I Corinthians 1:28 says,  “Those whom the world thinks common and contemptible are the ones that God has chosen.” John 15:16 says, “You did not choose me, no, I chose you and I commissioned you.”

Jeremiah is a perfect example of all this. He was a young man when he was called by God to be a preaching prophet. He tried to beg off because of his disinterest, his unworthiness, his young age and his total lack of public speaking ability. But like the over-aged Abraham and the tongue-tied Moses, God would hear none of their excuses. “It is not you who chose me, it is I who chose and commissioned you.”

Students! God has something for you to do in this world that no one else can do for him. You may not have thought if it; you may not yet have an interest in it; you may not even feel that you are worthy or capable of carrying it out, but if God wants you God is going to hound you. You can run, resist, hide, deny or try to wiggle out of it, but if you don’t answer the call, you will go though life with a dull, chronic feeling of having missed something very special. As the poet says, "Of all the words of tongue or pen, the saddest of these "it might have been!" If God has indeed called you to that work, he will equip and strengthen you to carry it out, and if you do carry it out, you will experience a deep down feeling of peace in your life. Dilly-dalling around and failing to act is also a form of “no.”

Let me end this homily with two of my favorite quotes. The first from George Bernard Shaw. “This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world (church) will not devote itself to making you happy.” (PAUSE) The second is from W.H. Murray, “The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.” In other words, find out what God wants, really commit to it and God will shower you with more help than you can imagine.

Forget your unworthiness! Forget your inexperience! Forget your fear! Forget that you barely squeaked through college! Forget the judgment of others! When God calls, say ‘Here I am!” Send me!” To be able to hear what God is calling to, you have to be able to shut up and listen. You have to spend some quality time with God, because when God talks, he whispers!