Awaiting our Only Hope: the 4th Sunday of Advent

After an initial lament, the Psalmist, in Psalm 80, recalls what God has done in days past: You brought a vine out of Egypt; to plant it you drove out the nations; before it you cleared the ground; it took root and spread through the land. In the words of Ps147:20, He has not done thus for any other nation. This great thing the Lord has done for His people, a sort of recreation, paralleling that first creation of Genesis, is recalled, for it shows the utterly gratuitous gift of God. Continue reading “Awaiting our Only Hope: the 4th Sunday of Advent”


#CatholicFamilyCulture The Spiritual Life

A couple facts have recently dawned upon me regarding the attempt to offer daily bits of advice regarding the building up of a Catholic Family Culture:

  1. The average parent who would hopefully be reading such blog posts, tweets, or FaceBook posts probably doesn’t have time to be checking such things on a daily basis; if you do, that might be another issue.
  2. Being attentive to such things requires a bit of time which is not available to me either.
  3. I don’t need to be emotionally or psychologically bolstered by anyone giving daily attention to my Twitter feed or FaceBook wall.

Continue reading “#CatholicFamilyCulture The Spiritual Life”


As you may know, one of the lesser double_facepalmreasons – don’t ask me where it came from – for my studying Fisheries and Wildlife Management at the
University of Nebraska was so that I didn’t have to be around people. I could live and work in some distant wilderness without being bothered by others. Oh, how God takes care of us, in spite of us! Continue reading “#CatholicFamilyCulture”

A Letter from St. Junipero Serra to His Parents

The Church’s newest saint, Junipero Serra, a Spaniard by birth, but an “American” by virtue of his selfless service to the natives of what would become the American southwest and Mexico, left home at the age of about 35, having already enjoyed a successful period teaching philosophy at a Franciscan seminary. When the desire to be a missionary in the New World took hold of his heart, he struggled to tell his parents. In fact, in the end, he left without saying good-bye and only after he left were they informed of his departure. He would never see them in this life again. The following letter expresses the deep desire of his heart for them and, even more importantly, for the will of God in his life and theirs! Continue reading “A Letter from St. Junipero Serra to His Parents”

Who Are You?: 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

It starts with a question: Who do people say that I am? He’s not egotistical or worried about public ratings. Asking such a question in such a way gets an important conversation started and allows one to reveal the secrets of their heart. Continue reading “Who Are You?: 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time”

The Tongue of the Mute Will Sing: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Growing up, my brothers and I were involved in the Boy Scouts. There was a certain honor society within the Scouts with a detailed initiation process. Part of the process involved 24 hours of silence, on two separate occasions. What made it particularly challenging was that you were surrounded by others who could talk…and sometimes tested your ability to remain silent. That was the first time in my life I had spent a significant amount of time not talking. Then as a seminarian and as a priest, we regularly have silent retreats which last upwards of four days, an experience which many of you, I’m sure have also experienced. What I always remember, whether it was the first time as a teenager or as a priest, is the joy of being able to speak once again – after only four days at the most! Continue reading “The Tongue of the Mute Will Sing: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time”

What Goes In…What Comes Out: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

For those of you who go fishing for catfish, you know that, right out of the water, catfish meat tastes like the mud and scum the fish has been swimming in. To get that taste out, one needs to soak that fish – preferably alive – in fresh water. Willingly or not, the things around one are absorbed within…when we were young, Mom & Dad would listen to oldies on the radio in the car, and while we said we greatly disliked that kind of music, we could sing many of those songs verbatim. Willingly or not, the things around one are absorbed within.

Continue reading “What Goes In…What Comes Out: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time”

The Difference Between Staying and Leaving: 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

During these past 5 weeks, we’ve been reflecting on chapter 6 of St. John’s feeding5000Gospel, starting with the multiplication of the loaves and the feeding of 5,000. In the last 3 weeks, we’ve focused on our Lord’s dialogue with the Jews regarding the miracle of the manna in the desert and the True Bread from Heaven, which is the Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ. This bread which, unlike the manna, gives true and eternal life to him who eats it. What a wonderful gift and a profound expression of our Father’s love for each of us, that He would make Himself so radically available and present to us. Today brings us the conclusion of this extraordinary chapter of St. John’s Gospel and the response of the listeners to this gift of our God. Continue reading “The Difference Between Staying and Leaving: 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time”

Do You See How Much I Love You: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Imagine being tired from weeks of particularly difficult work with lots of people demanding lots of things from you. After being promised a break, a little time away, when you get to the secluded place, a mountain of all places, all you see coming on the horizon is crowds of people…more people…constantly wanting more and more from you. This is where the Apostles start in today’s Gospel reading. Continue reading “Do You See How Much I Love You: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time”

The Peace This World Cannot Give: The 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

At the end of my junior year in college I had been dating a girl for almost 3 years. It’s important to note that her dad was a Lutheran pastor, so she obviously was Lutheran. As we were getting more serious in our relationship, at one point I casually said in conversation: When our kids are Catholic. She immediately asked, What did you say? I said, When our kids our Catholic... She responded, I thought our kids would be Lutheran. I responded, Our kids will be Catholic. No, she said, our kids will be Lutheran. I said, My kids will be Catholic. She said, My kids will be Lutheran. Continue reading “The Peace This World Cannot Give: The 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time”