Do Unto Others

June 21, 2022

Each day, I reflect upon a word or a phrase from the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Mt 7:12)

DO UNTO OTHERS: I will defer to Pope Francis’ thoughts on the gospel passage offered to us today. The following comes from Pope Francis’ 2015 address to the U.S. Congress:

We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt 7:12).

This Rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us. The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.

Source: http://whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com/

Stop Judging

June 20, 2022

Each day, I reflect upon a word or a phrase from the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

Jesus said to his disciples: “Stop judging, that you may not be judged.” (Matthew 7:1-5)

STOP JUDGING: Stop judging others. It is a simple message that offers us much to consider. Are we judgmental? Do we judge and condemn first, and ask questions later?

Are we visually judgmental? Do we immediately place someone in a category or have preconceived notions based on their assumed nationality, color of skin, gender, weight, length of hair, number of tattoos or piercings, dress, etc.?

Do we judge others by how they speak? Do we assume things about them based on accent, tone, volume, pitch, pace, content, etc.?

Do we make assumptions about people based on how they identify themselves – political party, religious affiliation, career choice, views on sensitive topics, sexual or gender identity, etc.?

Do we tend to act as judge and jury? In other words, are there people in our lives who have hurt us, so we have “sentenced them” to a life without us? Do we hold grudges? Is it time to let go and forgive?

So many questions to ask ourselves. Try reading the questions above while looking in the mirror – using “I” instead of “we.” It will offer much upon which to reflect.

I don’t believe anyone wakes up in the morning thinking, “I’m going to judge people today.” Unfortunately, many of our judgmental habits come from years of conditioning.

Let’s make our prayer today one of humility: “Heavenly Father, help me to see everyone that comes before me today in only one way – as a child of God, worthy of dignity and respect. Amen.”

Two Miracles of the Mass

June 19, 2022 – Solemnity of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (aka Corpus Christi)

Today we celebrate Corpus Christi. The feast focuses our attention on the greatest mystery of the Church – the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist through the miracle of transubstantiation. During the prayers of consecration, the gifts on the altar cease to be wheat communion wafers and altar wine and become instead the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. They do not symbolize the Body and Blood of Christ; they are the Body and Blood of Christ. As a divine mystery, our human minds will never be able to fully understand the Real Presence, but we accept it as a mystery of the Church as we continue to dig deeper – “embrace the mystery” – in order to gain a better understanding.

There is a second miracle that takes place at the Mass. We enter the church as individuals. However, after our participation in the Mass and reception of the Real Presence in the Eucharist, we leave the church as an active part of the communal Body of Christ.

This second miracle comes with an obligation. We are called to be the presence of Christ to others, to take Jesus “to the streets” (which is literally what will happen in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis today via the Eucharistic procession). Jesus shared those marching orders in today’s gospel – the story of the multiplication of loaves and fishes from Luke – when He told his disciples: “Give them some food yourselves.” As we are nourished, so we must nourish.

If we are successful in our efforts to “feed others” by sharing the presence of Christ in our lives, we will have the same result as Jesus did in the gospel: “All ate and were satisfied.”

Worrying

June 18, 2022

Each day, I reflect upon a word or a phrase from the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

“Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life span?” (Matthew 6:24-34)

WORRYING: Some Scripture messages are timeless, aren’t they? Today’s readings are just as accurate and timely now as they were back in Jesus’ day.

The question in today’s scripture passage from Matthew is rhetorical: “Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life span?” The obvious answer is “No, there is no added benefit to worrying.” The question is perhaps better asked as, “How much time do we lose each day worrying about things that are unimportant?”

I can’t speak for you, but I know my response would be, “I spend way too much time doing just that.”

What if every time we began worrying about unimportant things, we were somehow able to check ourselves? What if we instead spent that time on something that is important, using what would have been wasted minutes on things like prayer, being joyful, and serving others? If we all committed to doing that, what would our world look like?

For self-centered human beings who hate to relinquish control (like most of us), not worrying is pretty risky. We would feel vulnerable. If we don’t worry about these unimportant things, who will? Hopefully, no one.

Jesus encourages us to put our time-wasting worrying aside. He says, “My grace is sufficient for you…”

Treasure

June 17, 2022

Each day, I reflect upon a word or a phrase from the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. (Matthew 6:19-23)

TREASURE: As is the case with all scripture, there are multiple ways of interpreting this passage from the Gospel of Matthew. I will look at it from two perspectives.

First, from a “put your money where your mouth is” perspective. You can learn so much about people by looking at how they spend their money, their monetary treasure.

For instance, if you examined how Carol and I spend our money, you’d likely make certain assumptions about us: They must have grandchildren – there is a good amount of cash going toward toys and kid clothes. Someone must be a football fan – they are willing to pay (too much) for DirectTV NFL Sunday Ticket. These people like movies – based on monthly date nights to the movie theatre.

You would also be able to assume, based on the financial support we offer, that we value Catholic education, our parish, and the dignity of all human life.

Second, the gospel passage speaks to us from a “how do you spend your time?” perspective. I think this type of expenditure paints an even clearer picture of what we value. Writing a check is often the easy part; spending time shows a greater commitment. Time is our real treasure.

So the gospel asks, “How do you spend your time?” How much of our time is spent on satisfying our own needs? How much is spent on the needs of God? Of others?

We might declare, “We go to Mass every week!”

However, there are 168 hours in a week. What are we doing the other 167 hours?

Humility and Trust

June 16, 2022

Each day, I reflect upon a word or phrase connected to the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

Jesus said to his disciples: “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matthew 6:7-15)

HUMILITY and TRUST: Many of us struggle in our prayer life. We can recite the common prayers, but have difficulty when it comes to simply talking to God. We feel like we are not “doing it right.”

God wants to have a conversation with us. There is no right way or wrong way to do that.

When you are trying to find the words, try doing these four things:

  • Start with prayers of gratitude. Thank God for the many blessings in your life.
  • Next, pray for the needs of others. Lift up the intentions of your family, friends, and co-workers. Pray for those who are homeless, or sick, or serving in the military.
  • Third, pray for your own needs. What is it that is weighing you down? Give it to Him; He can take it.
  • Finally, sometimes you need to stop talking and just listen. Remember, prayer is a dialogue, not a monologue. Ask, “What is Your will for me?” or “What is it You ask of Me?” – Then, listen.

These prayer habits emphasize two critical pieces of our relationship with God:

Humility – It’s not all about me.

Trust – I believe you will provide for me and guide me.

Comfort and Hope

June 15, 2022

Each day, I reflect upon a word or phrase from the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord (Psalm 31:25)

COMFORT and HOPE: I don’t usually draw my inspiration from the Responsorial Psalm, but today is an exception. I like the image of our hearts being comforted and filled with hope.

God has a plan for each of us. Placing trust in God will bring this plan to fruition and reveal a humanity that is the very best reflection of Our creator. Instead of focusing on everything that’s about to change and giving power and control to temporary distractions, we are called and challenged to fix our eyes on the one, guaranteed constant in this world – God. Keeping this indispensable relationship strong will make all the changes in life more bearable.

If we keep God’s will in our heart, we will find our way. Discovering that will bring a whole new kind of peace into our life. Allowing this peace and presence of Jesus to control our lives will cultivate hearts fixed on God.

Let the peace of knowing God has a plan for us, and the knowledge of His presence in our lives, fill our hearts with hope.

Perfect

June 14, 2022

Each day, I reflect upon a word or phrase from the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)

PERFECT: Today’s Gospel passage asks us if we are “all in.” Anyone can do the minimum, we are told; but can you go the distance?

Can you love your friends and pray for them? Sure, anyone can do that. However, are you open to challenging yourself to do more? Can you love your enemies and pray for them?

The Gospel passage ends with, “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

God doesn’t really expect us to be perfect, but He does expect us to be continually working toward perfection. He does expect us to challenge ourselves.

God wants us to be all in.

Turn the Other Cheek

June 13, 2022

Each day, I reflect upon a word or phrase from the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. (Matthew 5:38-42)

TURN THE OTHER CHEEK: Jesus used a variety of teaching methods. Sometimes he taught using parables. Other times He was more direct in His approach. Still other times, like today, He said things that left listeners scratching their heads.

Was Jesus really telling us that we need to be willing to take a beating? We should provide no resistance to an aggressor? By telling us to turn the other cheek is Jesus suggesting we invite further aggression?

If not, what is the purpose behind Jesus’ words?

Jesus’ shocking words inform us. They tell us: Don’t be so quick to react. Don’t always give a knee jerk reaction. Consider reflection and prayer rather than instinctive reaction. Attempt to understand. Have compassion.

That’s a pretty good list of rules to live by. When we hurt someone – literally or figuratively “striking” him, we certainly hope the person we’ve hurt will keep that list in mind.

Homily: Our Perplexity Serves God

June 12, 2022 – Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Readings: Proverbs 8:22-31 / Romans 5:1-5 / John 16:12-15

The following is the homily I will be delivering at St. Pius X Parish in Indianapolis today:

The Mass celebrations this weekend and next have quite a bit in common. Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity and next weekend, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, or Corpus Christi. Each of these solemnities focus on one of the mysteries of the Church.

Since I will be preaching both weekends, you may hear some phrases repeated – phrases such as “peel back the layers” or “embrace the mystery.” I will acknowledge how challenging it is to wrap our human minds around concepts such as the Trinity or the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

As a matter of fact, after learning I would be preaching this weekend, I was nervous. I pulled several of my old Trinity textbooks off the shelf, dusted them off, and prepared to dive into them once again – hoping my former lack of understanding would somehow melt away.

However, minutes into re-reading highlighted passages from the text, a familiar uncertainty returned. It was the same uncertainty and lack of confidence I felt over ten years ago when an instructor tried to explain the Trinity to a room full of deacon candidates.

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