Feat. Deacon Michael: God wants to give us life, not destroy us. The Church is like a mother pelican that feeds us from the pierced side of Christ. God sacrifices himself to give us life. (5 June 2016)
I presented recently at a Diocesan meeting of youth ministers. I was given the topic, “How to Stay Spiritually Healthy in Ministry.” The first thing I thought of was how to stay physically healthy: diet and exercise, avoid junk, get good sleep, and friends who support and encourage you. So I came up with five parallel habits for spiritual health: …
Do you want to be friends with Jesus? Then you have to fall in love. Pray for this grace. Give God permission to love you, and to love others through you. Now we know what it means to be God’s friends: to love one another as He loves us. (10 May 2015)
Jesus tells the parable about the seed planted in the field. We have all heard the Gospel, we have all had the seed of the Word planted in our hearts, but we need to cooperate with God in helping that seed grow and bear fruit. In order for the seeds to grow, the soil needs to be tilled up, and suffering is what tills the soil of the soul. Also, there are weeds that need to be pulled, or they will crowd out the good work that God wants to do. Our sins and bad habits are the weeds that need to be pulled up.
Everyone celebrates on Mother’s Day. Some of us celebrate being mothers, and all of us celebrate having mothers. It is easy to slip into Mother’s Day sentimentality, but motherhood is far too wild and dangerous for that. Motherhood is beauty and glory, shot through with pain; shot through with the pain of labor. Mothers remember how long they were in …
On the happiest day of human history, two disciples are walking to Emmaus and they are downcast. They are downcast because they do not realize that Jesus has risen from the dead. In the middle of their sadness, Jesus walks with them and begins to show them that He had to suffer in order to enter into His glory. Jesus walks with as as we go through life, and He helps us carry our burdens. Just as Jesus had to suffer in order to enter into His glory, so we also have to suffer before we are ready for Heaven.
Lent is a training camp and spiritual retreat for the whole Church, and it always begins with the same two lessons. On the first Sunday of Lent, we have the scene of the temptation of Jesus in the desert. This story teaches the first lesson: we must worship God alone and obey only His word. The second Sunday of Lent always brings us to the Transfiguration, which teaches the whole church lesson two: Jesus is the beloved Son of God, and we should listen to Him. During the rest of Lent, we will be sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to His word.
In my homily on Ash Wednesday, I talked about how quickly everything in this world slips away, like sand that slips through our fingers. There is nothing we can do to hold on to anything. Everything fades, passes away, and crumbles into dust. Those of you who are a little older know the feeling that life is slipping through your …
Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the Temple because He was Mary’s first-born Son. At the same time, God is showing His Son to some of God’s friends: Simeon and Anna are people of prayer and they are some of God’s friends. God also uses Simeon to talk to Mary and Joseph about who Jesus will be, and how she will have to suffer. Mary, however, would say that all the suffering was worth it!
St. John the Baptist was sent to preach repentance to everyone who needed to repent. This included King Herod, even though preaching to the king ended his career. When Jesus was preaching, His message was quite personal. Jesus did not stop with stereotypes, but He saw each person. When we look at a crowd of people, we see a crowd, but God sees each and every person. God sees each person, God knows each person, and God calls each person to be part of His work.