Being with Jesus – 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

They went and saw where Jesus was staying, and they stayed with him that day. (John1:39) When I decided to enter the seminary and even many times as a priest, I have been IMG_7589asked why I would do such a thing with my life. While those who are confused are often non-Catholics or non-Christians, sometimes the question has come from Catholics. They’re baffled to find someone in their right mind freely choosing a life of celibacy, obedience, and simplicity. Beyond that, I now get questions about my current assignment of studying philosophy in Rome. 54605_10151254444584631_352583833_oIf I don’t get questions about living in Rome or comments about how (unnecessarily) impressive it is that I’m studying philosophy, then I usually get questions about the usefulness of studying philosophy. Some of my brother priests, as only brothers can do, raze me about how great it must be to have a 5-year Roman vacation. In short, whether it’s my vocation to the priesthood or my training in philosophy, my life might seem pretty useless.
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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”

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”

The End and the Journey There: The 2nd Sunday of Lent

In the summer of 1999, I spent 10 days backpacking in the backcountry of Philmont National Scout Ranch on a carry-everything-you-need kind of trip.  On the morning of the third day, we planned to hike to the top of Mt. Baldy, but after getting a late start, we failed just short of the summit due to thunderstorms rolling in over the mountain.  589416From that point on, we set a new goal for the final day of our hike: get to the other iconic peak of the ranch, the Tooth of Time…for sunrise.  It didn’t matter that it was a 5-hour hike from our camp to the top of the peak; we spent days planning about how to shave time off that hike because we were committed to the goal.  We sought to ways to find closer camps, hike faster, look for shortcuts, etc. Continue reading “The End and the Journey There: The 2nd Sunday of Lent”