Thursday, July 27, 2023





In London, for an airport stop-over, on their way to Lisbon, Portugal, for this year's World Youth Day. 
They will get to see Pope Francis who will also be at World Youth Day

People usually laugh when I say I am going to "quit doing" this thing or that thing! They still laugh when I talk about "quit doing" any more "building projects and major fundraising." 

I am serious about quitting "building projects," but I may slip a bit when it comes to a little fundraising here and there. I do plan to quit doing any further building projects, but I do plan to offer some programming down in our newly completed St. Theresa Family Life Center at my home parish in Rhodelia. I do plan, as well, to mention a few small worthy projects on my blog to see if anyone else would like to join me in supporting them.  

Even though I basically quit my ministry in the Caribbean missions a couple of years ago, I stay in contact with a few friends down there. I was recently moved to help with sending some of their young people to this year's World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal. I did the same several years ago in support of some young people down there who wanted to go to World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland. I especially like to support this cause because it is always a life-changing experience, especially for those youth who have never had the chance to travel off their small islands.

After this year's trip appeared on my blog a few months ago, two or three people responded to my invitation to join me in sending a few young people from the islands to this year's World Youth Day in Portugal. I am happy to report that we fully supported three of the young people in the group shown in the photo above!  They left for Portugal on Sunday for the adventure of their lives! 

Say a prayer that they will all have life-changing experiences and they will all arrive home safely when it is over! 

Tuesday, July 25, 2023



July 24, 2023

Some of the Scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” He said to them in reply, “An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet.
Matthew 12:38-42

Today’s gospel reminds me of something St. Paul said in his first Letter to the Corinthians 1:22. He said, “The Jews demand signs and the Greeks look for wisdom.” Paul is saying there that it was characteristic of the Jews of his day to ask for signs and wonders from those who claimed to be messengers of God. It was as if they said, “If you are so special, so God-sent, prove your claims by doing something extraordinary.”

Jesus refused to give them the “sign” they wanted because they were guilty of one fundamental mistake. They desired to see God in the abnormal; they forgot that we are never nearer God, and God never shows himself to us so much and so continually as he does in the ordinary things of every day.

I am reminded of the great poem of Elizabeth Barret Browning where she says, “Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God, but only he who sees takes off his shoes, the rest sit around and pluck blackberries.”

My friends, the bottom line of this gospel is that God comes to us especially in the very ordinary, rather than the spectacular and dramatic, events of life. The Scribes and Pharisees were always looking for “signs” – dramatic and spectacular happenings and personalities to “prove” that God was active in the world. Truly, God is to be found in the ordinary events, in the ordinary moments and in the ordinary people of this world. That is why so many people missed Jesus when he was here on this earth. He was so ordinary, while they were looking for something spectacular. While they were looking “out there” and “up there,” while they were looking among the famous and the powerful and the well-connected, God’s “sign” was standing right in front of them. They missed him because he was just too ordinary.  Jesus tells them that the only sign they will be given   is his preaching and wisdom – better than the preaching of Jonah to the people of Nineveh and the wisdom of Solomon that the queen of the south sought out in her day.


Our traditional Christmas story is told by the evangelist, Luke. Luke wrote for the underdog, the little people, the left-out, the losers of the world. When he tells the story, he emphasizes the dismalness of Christ’ birth: a poor young mother delivering her baby in a barn amid the smell of dung and donkey breath; greasy, crusty, bumbling sheep herders; doves dropping their stuff from the rafters; the restlessness of cows and no one to care. Luke wants his readers to know that God comes, not just for the rich and famous and powerful, the young and healthy, but especially for the lowest of the low, in the most desperate of circumstances. God comes for, and loves, every human being who has ever lived on this planet no matter how insignificant they may be in the eyes of others.


Where should we look for God working in our world today? Fatima? Medjugorje? Lourdes?  I am sure God has worked there, but we don’t have to go to those places to see God working. He is working right here, right under our noses, right now in this very place! We just have the eyes to see it! We just need to look at this place, and the people in it, through the lens of faith! Miracles are happening every day, right here and right now! As Jesus said in the Gospel of Luke (10:23-24)

“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it."





Sunday, July 23, 2023


"...if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat
along with them. Let them grow together until harvest."
Matthew 13:24-30 

Religious fanatics have probably done more damage to religion than all the atheists, agnostics and public sinners put together! As Blaise Paschal said, “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction!” Cock-sure and blind as bats, they claim to have perfect eye-sight when it comes to good and evil, setting themselves up as judge, jury and executioner! 

We are painfully familiar with fanatic Muslims who would fly planes into high rise buildings as a way to rid the world of “degenerate western influences” or our own Puritans who would burn so-called “witches” at the stake to keep their church “pure.” In our own church, fanatics had a heyday in what we know as the “Inquisition.” The “Inquisition” was invented by religious fanatics who wanted to do a good thing: rid the church of heresy, error and sin, but they chose some of the most vicious, cruel, inhuman and unChristian, methods imaginable to accomplish their goals! Many good, holy and even saintly people were brutally killed by those misguided people with their "good" intentions - all in the name of God, of course! As Jesus reminds us in today's gospel: beware of overzealous, fanatic weed-pullers!

Today's parable is one of my favorites. In it, Jesus reminds us that in his kingdom here on earth, the good and the bad exist alongside each other and nobody but God can really tell the difference! To make his point, he again turns to farming for a parable. He tells the story of a farmer who planted good seeds in his field, only to find out that, as they sprouted, weeds also appeared growing right there with them! 

In this parable, God is that farmer and we are his hired hands.  One day, the farmer’s hired hands came in to report the presence of weeds growing among the wheat and to suggest that they could to fire-up their big weed-eaters and go to work on them!  The wise farmer gives them a quick and firm “no, don’t you dare!” “Leave the weeds alone and let them grow together with the wheat till harvest time!” Wisely, the farmer tells his hired hands that if they uprooted the weeds now, they would end up pulling up the wheat along with them because, at this point, no one could tell one from the other! 

This is a wonderful parable because the specific weed Jesus is talking about is an especially noxious weed that looks exactly like wheat when it is young and tender. In fact, people back then had a nickname for the particular kind of weed Jesus was talking about. They called it “bastard wheat!” Not only did it look exactly like wheat when it was young and tender, its roots also entangled themselves around the roots of tender wheat shoots! Not only can they not be distinguished, one from the other, their roots had become so entwined that if you tried to pull the weeds up too early, you would end up destroying the precious wheat crop by pulling up the wheat too early as well! 

When the time finally came for harvest, the weeds and wheat would be cut together and threshed. Threshing was the process of separating the seeds from the chaff. The wheat seeds had a golden color and the weed seeds had a slate gray color which made it easier to separate them. The weed seeds were slightly poisonous, having a bitter taste and causing dizziness and sickness, so they had to be destroyed. The precious wheat could then be stored in the farmer's barn.  

The point of the parable is that, unlike human beings who tend to judge quickly, God is lenient and patient. 

This parable clearly reflects Jesus’ own experience of being condemned by religious people. They thought of themselves as the precious wheat while the social outcasts that Jesus associated with as noxious weeds.  Jesus could see that often it is the other way around! As Scripture says, “People see externals, but God can see into people's hearts.”

My friends, the message to us today is simple! Good and evil exist side by side in the church and in the world, but we need to be very weary of overzealous fanatics who want to "pull weeds" and “clean house” - whether they come from the church or the government! More often than not, those people do more harm than good because they really cannot see what they are doing, or even understand the purity of their own motives, all that well! As Jesus put it, "Be aware of wolves dressed up to look like sheep!" 

What to do with "weeds," has always been, and will always will be, a problem for the church! However, as the parable teaches us today, we also need to know that weed-pullers have sometimes created bigger problems than the "weeds" they so eagerly want to pull! As Jesus said, "...if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest." As Billy Graham so wisely put it, "It is the Holy Spirit's job to convict, God's job to judge and my job to love!"