Monday, December 31, 2018

1/1/19 -- Mary, the Mother of God

Scripture Reading

What’s one thing we usually ask when we are invited somewhere during the holidays? 

What can I bring? The host usually asks different people to bring different things. If everyone brought the same thing, it would be a pretty boring get together.

On this Feast of Mary the Mother of God, we reflect on what Mary brings. Mary brings Jesus Christ to us. 

Mary brings her yes. Mary brings her love. Mary brings faithfulness. Mary brings simplicity. Mary brings humility. Mary brings openness.

Joseph also brings his yes. It is a yes of silent obedience. He hears the angel in a dream and does what is asked, every time.

Joseph brings his silence. Joseph brings his obedience. Joseph brings strength. Joseph brings safety. Joseph brings protection. Joseph brings security. 

What are we bringing? Cynicism, judgment, negativity, despair, hopelessness, selfishness, greed, anger, mistrust.

What exactly are we bringing in response to God’s invitation?

During this New Year maybe we could work on bringing less of those things and more good things like Mary and Joseph.

Like Mary, we could bring a yes to doing God’s will instead of our own, a yes of humility, a yes of openness.

Like Joseph, we could bring a yes of obedience or a yes of faithfulness or even a yes of strength and protection for our loved ones.

We ask, “What can I bring?” whenever we are invited to a gathering, especially during the holidays.

Maybe we should also ask the same question when we gather here at the Lord’s house.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

12/30/18 -- Feast of the Holy Family

Scripture Readings

A mother’s scold: son why have you done this to us?

A child’s answer with just a hint of sass: why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know where I would be? 

There is a natural normal tension that occurs as children grow and mature and begin trying to make decisions for themselves.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph take this all in stride and return to Bethlehem where Jesus is obedient and grows into a man.

So often we react very differently to this natural normal tension. We get angry. We hold grudges. We yell and scream. In extreme cases, families are fractured beyond repair.

But this incident of Jesus remaining in the Temple doesn’t disturb the harmony of the Holy Family. Jesus, Mary and Joseph give us a beautiful example to imitate.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph all listened to God.  There was place in each of their lives for quiet reflection. Through prayer they were able to hear God in the silence of their hearts. 

Jesus, Mary and Joseph all treated one another with respect. They didn’t harp on past wrongs but moved toward forgiveness which brings a new dawn, a new day.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph made the practice of their faith a priority in their lives. That’s why they traveled to Jerusalem each year for the Feast of the Passover.

We can follow their example during this upcoming year to make our own families more like the Holy Family.

We can make a place for quiet reflection, as individuals but also as a family. As families, we could begin simply with phone-free meals and technology-free evenings.

We can work on treating one another with greater respect and kindness, saying to ourselves, “If I have to choose between being right or being kind, I should be kind.”

We can also begin to move past old hurts by moving toward forgiveness. 

And we can make the practice of our faith a priority in our lives. An hour here in this place every week can’t hurt anyone and, if we are open, it has the possibility of making a tremendous difference in the quality of our families.

If we try to imitate the Holy Family in these simple ways, we may be able to take the natural normal tensions of everyday family life in stride just the way they did.

Monday, December 24, 2018

12/25/18 -- Christmas

Scripture Readings

Jesus is God’s love born as an infant babe. God’s love at work creating, inspiring, transforming.

We are also God’s love at work. 

God creates us. Not only that, God also creates through us.
God inspires us. God also inspires through us.
God transforms us. God also transforms through us.

Everyone who is here belongs to God. Everyone who is here is love. Jesus is love. You are love. I am love. Christmas is love. The manger is love. Mary is love. Joseph is love. The shepherds are love. The angels sing love.

We are made for love. When we approach the manger, we see love. When we kneel at the manger, we feel love. When we adore at the manger, we are overcome by love.

The roughest, toughest, meanest among us cannot approach the manger and see the child and not melt with love.

This is God’s power and majesty. It is love. 
God is born in Jesus. God is born in us. Emmanuel. The Prince of Peace. The baby in the manger is newborn today and everyday.

Sickness and suffering are overcome by this newborn love.
Addiction is overcome by this newborn love.
Grief is overcome by this newborn love.
Depression and anxiety are overcome by this newborn love.
Violence and hatred are overcome by this newborn love.
Pettiness and jealousy are overcome by this newborn love.
Temptation is overcome by this newborn love.

This newborn love is tenderness. This newborn love is joy.
This newborn love brings forgiveness. This newborn love brings peace.

God’s love is limitless. God’s love is relentless. God’s love is unpredictable. God’s love is infectious. God’s love is continuous.

Christmas is God breaking into our lives. Christmas is God breaking into our hearts. To walk with us. To comfort us. To pick us up when we fall. To accompany us. To forgive us. To love us.

The newborn child fills our hearts with the radiance of a new light, a new dawn, a new day. The newborn child fills our hearts with the tenderness of a fierce, undying love.

Jesus is God’s love born as an infant lying in a manger. God’s love at work creating, inspiring, transforming the hearts and minds of those who kneel and adore.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

12/23/18 -- 4th Sunday of Advent

Scripture Readings

Many of us will be traveling to see family and friends over the next three or four days just like Mary travels to see her cousin Elizabeth. 

Mary and Elizabeth laugh together. Mary and Elizabeth wonder together. Mary and Elizabeth pray together. Elizabeth is overcome with joy. And so is John the Baptist alive and leaping for joy in Elizabeth’s womb.

Why? Because Mary comes to Elizabeth bringing her son Jesus alive in her womb. 

There is a wonderful relationship between Mary and Elizabeth. And there is a wonderful relationship between John and Jesus. They come to understand that God loves them more than they could imagine. God only wants what is best for them. 

Their relationships mirror the relationship God wants to have with us. God is full of surprises. A virgin and an old woman are pregnant. For with God, nothing is impossible. There may be bumps in the road but there are no dead ends.

Mary comes to us bringing her son Jesus at Christmas time. Yes. But not just at Christmas. Indeed Mary comes bringing Jesus on every ordinary day when our hearts are open to receive him.

Jesus comes into the world to have a relationship with you and me. In that relationship, Jesus longs to affirm the goodness within us.

On this Fourth Sunday of Advent, we ask Jesus to help us believe that he and his mother desire to visit us this Christmas. 

We ask Jesus to help us to believe that he wants to be a guest in our homes, but more importantly in our hearts. 

We pray that Jesus helps us realize that whether we understand it or not, he loves us, is present to us, lives in us, forgives us, and calls us to draw near.

So Jesus is our greatest gift this Christmas. This is an extraordinary gift. One tht we have done nothing to deserve. And that’s the reason why it’s so wonderful.

We do not earn it, we simply receive it. And we receive it by being open and letting the gift come.

Many of us will be traveling over the next three or four day. And if we are not travelling, it is likely that someone is coming to visit us.

In our visitations, may we find the same joy that Mary and Elizabeth and John and Jesus bring.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

12/16/18 -- 3rd Sunday of Advent

Scripture Readings

Why did the crowds and the soldiers and even the tax collectors ask John the Baptist, “What should we do?” Why did the crowds love John so much? After all, he was harsh and direct.

It’s because they knew. They knew they needed to change. They longed for some spiritual growth, for some connection. They knew they needed to repent, to throw their bad behaviors onto the fire. And they wanted to know what needed to be done for this spiritual growth to occur.

If we are taking Advent seriously, if we are preparing our hearts for the coming of the Messiah, then their question is ours as well.

What should we do? The answer is there for us. No bribes. No false accusations. No collecting more than the amount that we are owed. No grumbling about salaries. And we should stop being selfish and greedy.

Simply put, don’t do bad things. Do good things instead. Everyone already knows that. The crowds, the tax collectors, the soldiers, you and me. We already know that.

We already know what the bad things are. But our liturgy today doesn’t want us to focus on the bad things. Our liturgy today wants us to focus on good things because the liturgy focuses us on joy.

So let’s not focus on what we already know is wrong. Let’s focus on what we know is right. Listen to John again.

Share your extra stuff. Give some food to one who is hungry. Tell the truth and treat people with respect. Be satisfied with what you have and be content with your work. 

Even though John was harsh, the crowd loved his zeal, his personality. John inspired them. John turned their attention to brighter days. 

So let us focus on the right things we do because we want a relationship with Jesus, we want to know Jesus, to embrace Jesus, to build a relationship with Jesus. We want Jesus to strengthen us and illuminate us and transform us. We want to focus on brighter days.

What should we do? Be more concerned about our spiritual well being and the needs of others. Be more sensitive. Be more generous. Be more gentle. Be more loving. Be more kind.

Yes, we need to stop doing bad things. But we also need to work on doing more good things. Saint Paul says that our kindness should be known to all.

Today we rejoice because the Lord Jesus is near and the peace that he brings surpasses all understanding. The peace that he brings transforms our hearts and minds and joyfully renews us in his love.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

12/9/18 -- 2nd Sunday of Advent

Scripture Readings

John the Baptist is calling us to put Jesus at the top of our Christmas list. “Get ready,” he says. “God is coming.”

Do we want to experience God’s coming? If we do, we are told to remove those obstacles that are keeping us from God. Or even better, we could ask God to remove those obstacles. If we are open, God is able to do great work within us. 

Somehow, the valleys that are deep and dark are being made level. Mountains that are high and difficult to climb are brought low. The burning heat of the day is shaded by a fragrant tree. The winding road is made straight.

If we are open, Jesus will lead us to a place where the obstacles that were before us are somehow being changed, somehow being transformed.

Advent is an opportunity to encounter Jesus every day. 

Our whole lives are an encounter with Jesus actually: 

In prayer, when we go to Mass, when we receive communion, when we do good works, when we visit the sick, when we help the poor, when we think of others, when we are not selfish, when we are loving.

If we are open, we meet Jesus in all these things. But one obstacle that would keep us from this encounter might sound something like this: “I am such a sinner that Jesus does not want to encounter me.” 

Remember that the people Jesus most sought out were the people who were the greatest sinners. Remember Jesus told the church goers that prostitutes and sinners were getting to heaven before them. 

Jesus said that he came for those in need of salvation. Jesus came for those in need of healing. Jesus came for those who need the valley filled in and the rough ways made smooth.

It would be sad if we got to Christmas and said to ourselves, “How did I miss the message? Why did I allow the obstacles to stand in the way? Why did I cut myself off from Jesus?” 

John is calling us to put Jesus at the top of our Christmas list. It would be sad if we got to Christmas and had not made any effort to remove the obstacles that keep us from God. 

As we hear the Baptist crying out in the wilderness, we continue to work on removing those obstacles that keep us from God, and so we continue to prepare the way.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

12/2/18 -- 1st Sunday of Advent

Scripture Readings

There’s lots to get done in just 25 days because Christmas is coming quickly. There’s shopping to do and groceries to buy and gifts to wrap. 

But why? Why do we have all these pressing concerns? Why do we celebrate Christmas? Because we Catholics are celebrating the birth of the Messiah. 

Christ coming into the world. God becoming one of us. The Messiah entering into our lives in a unique way. God choosing to come and walk with us. Without the coming of Jesus Christ, there’s no reason for us to have Happy Holidays.

Jeremiah describes the coming of the Messiah as a just shoot. Do you know what a shoot is? It’s a young branch springing to life from a plant or a tree, a sprig, a sprout, a bud. New life.

The coming Messiah will fulfill the promise to keep us safe so that we can dwell secure: a time when God will keep the promise made to us, I will be your God and you will be my people; a time when all we long for will be fulfilled.

Jesus says the coming of the Messiah brings God’s Kingdom to us. Jesus is much less likely to demand that we do something and much more likely to invite us to receive something.

So this coming is an invitation, an invitation for us to be vigilant, to pray, to ask God to come into our lives, to invite God to walk with us. 

Paul speaks about an invitation to receive a way of life. This way of life in Christ strengthens our hearts so that we can conduct ourselves in a way that is pleasing to God. And Jesus Christ enters our hearts each time we are willing to receive him here in the Eucharist.

This invitation to a way of life warns us about being consumed with wickedness and anxiety. This invitation calls us to increase our love for one another.

So this is our Advent task: to act with greater kindness, to act with greater charity, to work to forgive from the heart, to love, to truly love with humility and grace, amazing grace, a love that lays itself down so that others might live.

There’s lots to get done between now and Christmas. There’s shopping to do and groceries to buy and gifts to wrap. 

But there are also hearts to be prepared, forgiveness to be granted and love to be found because God is coming to be with us.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

11/18/18 -- 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Watching the evening news or paying too much attention to social media can be very distressing. We see anger and hatred, mean spiritedness, protests, trials and tribulations.

It might seem that the world is falling apart and social stability is coming unraveled. We have a tendency to get caught up in all this negativity and it can consume us. 

This focus on doom and gloom can overwhelm us. But we must realize that this has happened throughout all of human history.

If we become to caught up in this doomsday thinking we can begin to lose sight of hope. This leads to anxiety and depression and despair. Often we go through periods where we feel everything is crumbling. 

Instead of all this negative thinking, wouldn’t we rather think of ourselves as God’s elect, God’s chosen ones? Wouldn’t we rather have our sins taken away by participating in Jesus’ sacrifice? 

Wouldn’t we rather be guarded by the Archangel Saint Michael? Wouldn’t we rather see the Son of Man coming on the clouds?

The Book of Hebrews says that the sacrifice of Jesus is offered for the forgiveness of sins.

There is someone who has stepped into history to absorb all of this negativity. There is someone who says, “I am offering myself in sacrifice for all to overcome all that is evil.” That’s an extraordinary thing. The sacrifice of Jesus is offered so that we can be part of God’s elect. 

We are told that God will gather the elect and Michael will guard the elect. We are the elect. Or at least we can choose to be God’s people by loving God and our neighbor.

It is much more important to Jesus how we live in this world rather than what will happen to us when this world ends.

It’s as if Jesus is saying to us, “I want you to be alert. I want you to be fully alive, to live fully alive. I don’t want you to be alarmed about what happens around you. I don’t want you to be be afraid. 

“I want you to be my elect. I want God my Father to gather you and Michael the Archangel to protect you. I want you to be filled with gladness and thanksgiving.”

Watching the evening news or paying too much attention to social media can be very distressing.

But if we stay close to Jesus and accept the sacrifice he offered for us then we are protected from all the doom and gloom around us. 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

11/11/18 -- Feast of St. Martin de Tours

Can you tell me what scene the painting in the sanctuary is depicting? Anyone who comes to church here with any regularity should be able to describe that painting to any visitor. The painting is our patron, Saint Martin. He is shown as a Roman soldier on his majestic war horse.

As a young soldier, Martin encountered a beggar. The beggar was naked and it was very cold. So Martin removed his cloak and with his sword, cut it in half. He gave half to the beggar. That night Martin had a dream. Jesus appeared to him wearing the cloak. At that point Martin became Catholic.

In 371 the city of Tours needed a bishop. The people wanted Martin, but Martin did not want the job. The people tricked him. They told him someone desperately needed the anointing of the sick. 

Martin rushed out as quickly as he could. He discovered their plot and tried to run. But to no avail. He was eventually persuaded to become their bishop.

Martin established parishes in his diocese, he cared for the sick and the needy, he upheld the faith and opposed of the death penalty.

Martin was anointed with the oil of gladness the Prophet Isaiah speaks about. As Martin cuts his cloak to help the poor beggar, Martin points us to Jesus. Jesus is the light in our darkness. 

Jesus anoints us with the oil of gladness so that we might give food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty. Many of you volunteer at the soup kitchen here in Saint Martinville to do just that.

Jesus anoints us with the oil of gladness so that we might welcome the stranger. Here in this majestic historic church we understand that there are no strangers among us and we have a belief that here at God’s house all are welcomed.

Jesus anoints us with the oil of gladness so that we might care for the sick and the dying. There is a group of parishioners who regularly go out and visit the sick bringing them Jesus in the Eucharist.

Jesus anoints us with the oil of gladness so that we might visit those in prison. Someone goes each week to the jail here to bring communion to those imprisoned who long for Jesus.

We, as a community of faith under our patron Saint Martin, do all these things and so much more. The Gospel today is a reckoning, an accounting where those who do for others are separated from those who do only for themselves.

We who do for others are anointed. We let our light shine in the darkness. We cut our cloak and give half to the poor beggar. In this way, Jesus comes to us saying: what you do for the least, you do for me.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

11/4/18 -- 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Sometimes we focus all our attention on trying to love our neighbor and forget there is another commandment that is first.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and all your strength.

But today it seems that more and more people simply stop loving God. And there are lots of reasons why this happens.

The death of a child or a spouse can leave one overwhelmed with grief. How could God let this happen? Personal illness can also leave someone with little love for God. God I prayed to you for healing but it hasn’t come.

A personal struggle with drug addiction or substance abuse by a loved one can leave us confused and hurting. Being a victim of abuse can leave us downright angry with God.

We witnesses senseless suffering and brutality and hatred in the world and we wonder: how could this have been created by a loving God.

Troubles suffocate us. Worries entangle us. Grief overwhelms us. Anger and hatred destroy us. Illness consumes us. It’s hard to love God when all this is happening around us. And so we tend to blame God for all our misfortunes.

This is the very reason for the commandment. The times when it’s most difficult to love God are the very times that we need God the most.

We are a mess. Our lives are a mess. Our families are a mess. Our church is a mess. The people around us are a mess.

Why? Our bad choices. Their bad choices. Everyone’s bad choices. But God will not take away our free will, even in the midst of our bad choices.

God wants us to choose love freely. God wants our trust, our time, our obedience, our love, our worship. But God wants those to be given freely.

We sing the Gloria every Sunday. We praise you. We bless you. We adore you. We glorify you.

With all my heart. With all my soul. With all my mind. And with all my strength.

The commandment requires everything. And when we are giving everything, then God can work.

And I know this is true because I’ve seen many examples of everyday miracles all around me. On mission. On pilgrimage. In people’s lives in each parish I’ve served. 

There may be legitimate reasons why people might stop love God. 

But when people are healed and relationships are restored and grief overcome and prayer answered all because of faith and hope and love, then we see why loving God is the first of all the commandments.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

10/28/18 -- 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Bartimaeus may be physically blind, but he is the only one who seems to see who Jesus really is. Last weekend James and John didn’t really recognize Jesus. There was nothing wrong with their eyes, but they didn’t see Jesus as the Messiah. 

The weekend before the rich young man walked away sad because he didn’t really recognize Jesus either.

I suspect if we’re honest with ourselves, we live in a kind of blindness like them. One of the things that happens when we don’t see clearly is that we make mistakes. 

We make choices that bring destruction upon us and the people around us. We wander further and further away from Jesus.

No matter what we have done or how far we have wandered, no matter how negative we have become, no matter how blind we are, Jesus still wants to be in our lives.

Let’s see if the blind man can teach us something about seeing. There are two things we know about Bartimaeus. He is blind and he is on the side of the road. From his place on the side of the road he is considered an outcast, a sinner.

Religious thinking at the time says that he is a sinner and that he or his parents have done something wrong so he deserve this blindness. His deformity is due to his or their sin.

People were told not to have anything to do with sinners for fear the sin was contagious. So he is a symbol of those who are cast out. He is blind Bartimaeus, an outcast on the side of the road who sees exactly who Jesus is. He cries out, “Son of David, would you have pity on me?”

Now the crowd is not interested in putting Jesus in touch with Bartimaeus. That’s why they tell Bartimaeus to be quiet. But Jesus steps in. I would like to talk to this man. Bring him over here to me.

Pay attention if you would to what Jesus asks of Bartimaeus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Remember the question that was put to Jesus last weekend by James and John. “Will you do anything that we ask you to do for us?”

“What do you want me to do for you?”

“I want to see.” Implied in this is that Bartimaeus wants to follow Jesus. Bartimaeus wants to be on the inside again. Bartimaeus wants to belong. Bartimus wants to be part of whatever Jesus is inviting people into.

Jesus’ response to Bartimaeus is beautiful. If you really believe that I am the Messiah then you do see. You are already seeing. 

The blind man, who now sees, stands up and follows Jesus.

What can we learn from this blind man turned disciple? We can learn to see Jesus for who he truly is, the Messiah, the Son of God. 

We can come to an understanding that we need to cry out for mercy because we have sinner and have wandered far from God. 

Recognizing our own brokenness, we can have the humility to ask for healing when Jesus calls out to us. And having been healed, we can have the courage to follow after Jesus when we see.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

10/21/18 -- 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

When James and John ask to be ranked first and second among the Apostles, we are told that the other disciples become indignant.

Indignance is the feeling or showing of anger or annoyance at what is perceived as unfair treatment.

Why are they so upset? Each one, in his own thoughts, is probably saying to himself that he should be ranked first. In essence, the Apostles are competing for Jesus’ attention. 

They want to be loved more than the others. They want to be ranked higher than the others. 

You know we sometimes play that same scenario in our heads. My boss doesn’t realize my potential, and if she just paid more attention to me, she would certainly realize that I am more capable than the others.

Why does my brother constantly get treated better than me? I want to be my parents’ favorite. This spirit of competition certainly sets us up for trouble and jealousy and hurt feelings.

While the disciples get upset and allow indignation and jealousy to consume them, please note that Jesus does not get upset. 

He simply tells James and John that they are not really aware of the implications of their request. 

Jesus may be able to grant some of the request, but some of the request is simply not his to grant. To sit at my right and my left is not mine to give.

Then he challenges them to grow. You are not in a competition to see who is the greatest. It shall not be that way among my disciples.

Jesus wants them to understand that they are not competing for his attention. They are not competing for Jesus’ love. They are not competing so that they can be ranked from greatest to least.

Jesus loves them all the same. Jesus loved Peter and James and John even when they messed everything up. Jesus loved the rich young man who walked away sad. 

Jesus loves you and me even when our hearts are filled with jealousy and envy and pride. But Jesus also challenges us to grow.

Whoever wishes to be great must lead a life of service. Whoever wishes to be great must go about doing good for others. Service is absolutely necessary to be a disciple.

James and John asked for places of honor among the Apostles. They were told that the places of honor are reserved for those who serve.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

10/14/18 -- 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

I am not rich and I am not young. But my heart still goes out to the young man in today’s gospel. Jesus asks the impossible of him, his face falls and he walks away sad.

I think, at that moment, we close the door on the young man. We wash our hands of him and we write him off as lost forever. 

While very few of us are very wealthy, most of us have many possessions. Would we sell all our possessions to follow Jesus? Since we haven’t done it yet, the answer is probably not. 

Then we better not close the door on the rich young man just yet because we might be in the same boat as he is.

We are told that the young man went away sad for he had many possessions. But we are never told that he refused Jesus’ invitation to follow. 

I’m sure it was a long walk home. And on that walk home he had to struggle with the tug on his heart to follow Jesus. He also had to struggle with his ties to his family and his possessions.

Maybe he went back and forth about what he should do. Maybe he had to struggle with what to tell his parents, for surely the wealth was not his alone. It was also his family’s.

Maybe he struggled with putting the right words together to tell his parents that he had made a big decision.

Mom and dad, I’m renouncing all of my possessions and family inheritance to follow Jesus of Nazareth. I told him I’ve kept all the commandments from my youth and he said it wasn’t enough. He wanted more. 

He told me that I needed to sell all my possessions, give to the poor and then follow him. I believe with all my heart that he is the Christ. I love you but I need to do this. I hope you will understand and respect my decision. I have to follow him.

The young man knew that something was missing in his life. Otherwise, he would not have asked Jesus anything at all.

The young man may have gone away sad but there is hope that he will come back again happy to be following Jesus.

The implications for us are staggering. First, Jesus always looks upon us with love. Second, Jesus never closes the door on us. Third, Jesus always calls us to follow. And fourth, Jesus is always happy when we come back again.

The rich young man is faced with a decision of a lifetime. Can he make the difficult decision to renounce some worldly stuff in order to follow Jesus? 

The decision is ours as well. Can we let go of some of our ties to our worldly possessions to order to have treasures in heaven?

Saturday, October 6, 2018

10/7/18 -- 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

The Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like children. And those who are not like children will not enter the Kingdom of God.

For Jesus, entering into the Kingdom of God means entering the Kingdom here and now. Yes the Kingdom is also heaven and the afterlife. That’s why it’s sometimes called the Kingdom of Heaven. But it is also here and now. 

If children can enter the Kingdom of God before adults, we have to ask ourselves what do children have that adults don’t.

Children have the ability to trust. They haven’t yet discovered the world of lies and deceit and mistrust and betrayal. 

As adults we have been hurt by others who were trusted so we are slow to trust. That spills over into our relationship with God. Because we are slow to trust others, we also have difficulty trusting God. 

To be childlike, we once again have to place our trust in God and believe that God loves us and desires only what is best for us.

Children have the ability to hope. Sometimes we have so many difficulties in life that we lose hope and we begin to despair. 

We come to believe that we are no good or that people are against us or that we will never measure up. When this happens, we lose hope and often sink into depression and despair.

We have to believe again that we can do better and that tomorrow can be better. So we ask Jesus to restore our hope that things can get better. 

Children have the ability to live in the present. We adults worry about everything and so we either live in the past worrying that the past will eventually catch up with us or we live in the future dreading what will become of us.

Children seldom worry about their future. They live for today. Children forgive easily and move on. They don’t cling to old grudges. They don’t get bogged down. They live here and now.

This one is a tough one for us so we have to ask for the grace to live in the present. And as we begin to live in the present we begin to discover the Kingdom of God all around us.

Children are amazed at the world around them. They are curious. They ask questions. They are filled with awe and wonder.

Life sometimes beats us up in such a way that everything seems ordinary. We fail to see the wonder of God’s Kingdom all around us, the beauty of others and the beauty of God’s creation.

We need to recapture our sense of wonder and awe and see the beauty of the Kingdom all around us.

Children are completely dependent on others for almost everything.

On the other hand, we pride ourselves in being self-sufficient. We want to be in charge. We want to call the shots. We try to do it alone. We forget that we need God in our lives. 

We forget that we are dependent upon God for everything. And so the Kingdom of God remains hidden from our eyes.

But we want to enter into the Kingdom of God. And the Kingdom is open to us here and now. When we turn and become like little children we enter into the Kingdom.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

9/30/18 -- 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

The Book of Numbers and the Gospel both have people who are preoccupied with what others are doing. Joshua, Moses’ aide, is upset because two people are prophesying in the camp. And the disciples are upset because they see someone they don’t know driving out demons in Jesus’ name.

They are preoccupied with whether or not it’s ok for other people to be acting a certain way or doing certain things. Now what’s disappointing about this preoccupation is that, in both cases, the outsiders weren’t even doing anything harmful.

Jesus and Moses both give a similar response. Do not prevent them. For whoever is not against us is with us. 

Then Jesus goes on to drive the point home. If you are so concerned, then be concerned about the right thing. Be concerned about what is causing you to sin.

Stop focusing on what others are up to and worry about what’s going on in your own life, in your own heart, in your own home.

In other words, creating a better world doesn’t start by pointing out the faults of others.

Rather, creating a better world starts by examining our own lives to find our own faults and failings and sins.

Once I’m aware of my own faults and failings and sins, then I can begin to walk the difficult road to change. Change should always start with me. Change starts with the recognition that I need to grow. Change starts with the realization that I can do better.

Jesus says no to being overly focused on the behaviors of others and yes to being focused on ourselves. 

As we focus on ourselves, we are able to begin to turn from sin and choose to do good. We are able to begin to do what Jesus asks. We are able to root out and cut away those parts of ourselves and those behaviors of ours that are undesirable.

As this happens, we also begin, quite naturally, to do good. And Jesus says our good deeds have good rewards.

Anyone who gives a cup of water to drink will surely not lose the reward. Giving a cup of cold water to one who is thirsty is such a simple task.

But it comes from a heart that is determined to pluck out sin. It comes from a heart that is set on Jesus and the Kingdom. It come from a heart that desires to do good.

Joshua and the disciples are preoccupied with others. As a result they were unable to see their own need to change. Let us focus, not on others, but on ourselves, so that we might see our need to grow and to change. And seeing this, begin to work to do good and so earn our heavenly reward. 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

9/23/18 -- 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

The Book of Wisdom describes how the wicked set themselves in opposition to the just. The just one is obnoxious to us. Let us set ourselves against those who are good, those who are just.

And let us see if God will come to their rescue. Will God defend the just one? 

Let us torture and bully and make fun of the just. Let us speak ill of the just. Let us put the just to death. Let God take care of them. Let God save them.

Saint Paul takes up where the Book of Wisdom leaves off. He tells us that the wicked are jealous, selfish, ambitious, envious. The wicked are sarcastic. The wicked ridicule the just. The wicked bring about violence and conflict and murder.

In the gospel will see the disciples acting much like the wicked. They are arguing with each other for ranking. I’m more important than you. The disciples are seeking position, power and wealth.

Sometimes those descriptions of the wicked can be applied to us. Sometimes we act in ways that are not good. 

When Jesus challenges the disciples to change and to grow, Jesus is also challenging us.

Jesus always takes the side of the just because Jesus is the perfect Just One. Jesus always welcomes the lowest and the least. Jesus is not concerned with one’s position or power or wealth. Those mean nothing to Jesus.

Jesus gives his very life for the wicked so that the wicked can be saved. Jesus gives his very life for the wicked so that the wicked can be transformed. Jesus gives his very life for the wicked in the hopes that the wicked would turn from doing bad and seek to do the good.

The Book of Wisdom and Saint Paul and Jesus all tell us what the characteristics of the just are. The just are peaceful. The just are gentle. The just are compliant. The just are full of mercy. The just are warm and welcoming. The just go about doing good. 

Jesus wants the disciples to be great, but Jesus wants them to be great in the right way. To be great in the right way is to be good and just. To be great in the right way is to be loving and forgiving.

To be great in the right way is to be warm and welcoming. To be great in the right way is to be of service to the lowly and the least.

The Book of Wisdom describes the way of the wicked. Let us live our lives in such a way that we never behave as the wicked do. Why? Because the Lord loves the just and foils the ways of the wicked. 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

9/9/18 -- 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Ephphatha is the Greek form of the Aramaic word meaning “be opened.” In English, it is an imperative.

An imperative gives a command: sit down, stand up.
Issues an invitation: come to the party.
Expresses a wish: have a nice day.
Makes an apology: pardon me.
Or gives a general prohibition: no smoking.

In the gospel, Jesus is giving a command: be opened. In the first reading, the Prophet Isaiah is also giving a command: be strong, fear not.

If Jesus is commanding us to be opened, then we could look at examples of being closed and understand that Jesus is calling us to change those things about ourselves.

We can set examples of being closed and being open side by side to see how Jesus is commanding us to grow.

Close minded people are stubborn. They are not willing or eager to try anything new.

Open minded people embrace change. They are willing to try new things.

Close minded people are often judgmental. They focus on differences. They are obsessed with the things that divide us.

Open minded people are not judgmental. They respect people’s differences. Open minded people are willing to accept others as they are. They focus on what unites us rather than what divides us.

Close minded people lack humility. They have to be right all the time. And they don’t like being challenged.

Open minded people are willing to listen to others. They are humble and open to the possibility of being wrong. 

Open minded people see opportunities and possibilities. Open minded people are willing to listen to others. They are curious. They live in the present and don’t mind being different. Open minded people are comfortable in their own skin.

If we are strong like Isaiah commands and open like Jesus commands, then the prophecy of Isaiah comes true and the healing Jesus brings is ours.

The eyes of the blind are opened. The ears of the deaf are cleared. The lame leap like stags and the tongues of the mute sing for joy.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

9/2/18 -- 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Our traditions are important to us. We Catholics understand this really. We have a rich treasury of religious traditions and practices.

Everybody knows Catholics do things a certain way. We worship in a particular way. We have certain readings and prayers for certain days.

We light candles. We bless crucifixes and other religious articles. We pray novenas and rosaries. We canonize saints. We use incense and holy oil.

We sometimes sing songs and say prayers in ancient languages. Priests wear different colored vestments for different celebrations. And we share a sacred meal when we gather around the Lord’s table.

These are our traditions and there is a purpose behind these holy actions. They are not ends in themselves. They are meant to lead us to holiness.

If we lose sight of this, our religious practices and traditions can become empty, They lose their meaning.

This is what has happened to the scribes and pharisees in the gospel. They are so concerned about keeping all of their religious traditions and practices, and enforcing those traditions on others that they have forgotten that the traditions are supposed to lead them to holiness.

Jesus calls them out by naming all theirs sins: theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, unruliness, arrogance.

Their traditions have become empty practices. Their hearts have become hardened. They have turned to sin.

Instead of seeing this as an opportunity to change, they retreat farther into their sinfulness. They become angry with Jesus and begin to look for a way to put him to death.

From time to time we really have to look at our lives and our religious practices to make sure they aren’t empty, to make sure they haven’t lost their meaning, to make sure that they are helping us grow in holiness.

That’s why we are having a revival this fall, to help us grow in holiness. I think these five Wednesday evenings of renewal are going to be vital to us. I really want to encourage all of you to prayerfully consider attending this special event. It will help us renew ourselves and our church community.

This is so important so that our rich Catholic heritage is not just empty religious practice. 

This is our call to holiness so that our hearts are drawn closer to the Lord. This is our call to holiness to that we are purified from the inside out. 

Our religious traditions and practices are important to us. We must ensure that they don’t become empty. We must ensure that they are leading us to holiness.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

8/26/18 -- 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Letter to Be Read at Mass, Aug. 25 and Aug. 26 by Order of the Most Reverend J. Douglas Doshotel, Bishop Diocese of Lafayette.

What has happened in our church is beyond belief, it is beyond comprehension. It is a failure of leadership at every level. For years and years popes and cardinals and bishops and priests have used a secret system to cover up child sex abuse by priests.

But this failure of leadership is nothing new. The prophet Jeremiah in the Old Testament cries out woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my flock. 

Jesus says it would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble.

The media is now using the term predator priests. And yes those who used their positions of power and authority to sexually abuse children are predators, monsters really.

And that makes me embarrassed and ashamed because every priest is not a predator. Those of us who are good priests trying to do the right thing are just as devastated and dismayed and hurt as you are. 

Why do you think I don’t wear clerics. I stopped wearing them in public when the abuse cover up broke in Boston almost 20 years ago.

But the media would have you believe it’s only priests who are predators. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Statistics show that children are 100 times more likely to be sexually abused by someone in the public school system than by a Catholic priest. 

And for decades there have been more new cases reported annually in the protestant and non-Catholic churches than in the Catholic church in the United States.

Child abuse is not a Catholic problem. Child abuse is not an American problem. Child abuse is a global anthropological problem. 

Child trafficking. Child sexual abuse. Child labor camps. Child pornography. Child slavery. The statistics are staggering. To use and abuse those who are most vulnerable and impressionable is a horrific crime. To take away a child’s innocence is a terrible sin. 

In the gospel the people don’t want to hear about Jesus giving his flesh and blood as food and drink. Many are so disturbed that they simply walk away. 

To me that sounds very much like us today. People are leaving the church in droves. So we should ask ourselves will we also leave?

To whom should be go? To the Protestants? To the Evangelicals? The risk of abuse is still there, it’s everywhere. Wherever we go, we must be vigilant. But we cannot leave Jesus. Jesus is our only answer out of this mess.
I want to assure you that abuse and cover up is not happening here. All of our staff, all of our volunteers and myself, we are all background checked. We are all trained. And we are never alone with minor children. 

When our servers come into the sacristy before Mass the door is always open and unlocked and there are many adults coming and going. When our young children come for religion classes their parents must accompany them. 

And to those who are victims of sexaul abuse, I say to you we are so sorry for what has happened to you. It is a terrible tragedy. And you didn’t deserve it, but there is hope. There is healing. There is life. There are those of us out there who can help bring about that healing. 

But you have to seek us out and you have to be willing to do the work necessary to bring about that healing. We cannot live as victims wallowing on our own self pity. We must move forward.

People may ask us, will you also leave? Lord, we are embarrassed, ashamed, horrified, disgusted. Some of the reports leave us sick to our stomachs but Lord to whom shall we go?

Lord, you are our only way out of this mess. Lord, come quickly and help us.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

8/19/18 -- 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Recently someone said to me, “I wish I could do more for this community.” I reminded that person of what he is already doing and said that if everyone did their part the result would be amazing.

A couple approached me and said, “We’ve noticed that this isn’t getting done. We think it’s an eyesore and we want to volunteer to take care of it. Would that be okay?”


When I take inventory of our volunteers here at Saint Martin de Tours, they number around 110 to 120. These volunteers give of themselves, some in small ways and some in big ways, all on a regular basis.

That’s about 10% of our regular church going congregation. 

Then, maybe another 50 or so folks volunteer somewhere out there in the community. That’s my best guess. Which means about 15% of us are giving back.

Where does that leave the other 85%? I know that there are people in this world who take and take and take and they do not give. But I would hope that wouldn’t be 85% of us.

This does seem to be the case with the people confronting Jesus in gospel. They take and take and take but they do not give.

Jesus gives. Jesus feeds them with 5 loave and 2 fish but they want more.

So Jesus gives them his flesh and blood to eat and drink. In other words, Jesus gives his very life, his very self. All that he has, he gives.

For what? We’re told right there in the gospel. For the life of the world. For the life of the world.

Saint Augustine tells us that we become what we receive Jesus. Here at the Eucharist we receive Jesus, his flesh and blood. For the life of the world.

If we receive Jesus’ flesh and blood for the life of the world, this means we are tasked with doing something that brings life to the world. We are tasked with giving back something that gives life to the world.

We cannot simply take and take and take. We must give. We are tasked with volunteering some time or some talent to make the world a better place. 

Because we receive Jesus in here, we are supposed to be Jesus out there. 

This fall I promised some renewal. Over the next month you we be hearing about an exciting event we are hosting here over the course of five Wednesday evenings for our renewal. 

But not just a spiritual renewal, there must also be a renewal of self giving, a renewal of volunteerism. For the life of the world.

Imagine what would happen if everyone did their part to make our church or our church grounds or our cemetery or our community or our world a better place. 

If you see something around here that’s not getting done, don’t ask me when I’m going to take care of it. I’m only one person. 

It would be better if you asked me if it would be okay for you to do it.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

8/12/18 -- 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

What happened to the great prophet Elijah? When we encounter him in the first reading today, he’s worn out. He’s discouraged He’s sitting under a scrawny broom tree praying for death.

How did the great and mighty Old Testament prophet who defeated 450 pagan prophets end up like this? Well, the gods of those pagan prophets were also the gods of the evil Queen Jezebel. 

And instead of being converted to the Lord God of the Prophet Elijah, Jezebel is furious with him and sends her army after him. 

Elijah escapes into the desert wilderness. It is there that he loses heart and wants to die.

He’s done what God has asked of him and still he finds himself in this dark place. But the angel of the Lord God urges Elijah to eat. Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you.

Elijah is reminded that he is on a journey and he needs his strength. The food the Lord God gives him nourishes him. Rejuvenated by this food from heaven, Elijah continues his journey to Horeb, the mountain of God.

Our lives can be very difficult. Problems plague us. Tragedies strike us down. Violence seems to be all around us. We are no strangers to sickness and sorrow and death.

Like Elijah, we sometimes find ourselves at the end. The will to live has been completely drained out of us. It is at this very moment, this low point, that we are in most need of bread from heaven to revive us and help us on life’s journey.

I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever.

Like Elijah, we need to let Jesus be our food for the journey. Like Elijah, we need to come to this holy shrine to receive Jesus who is our bread of life.

Saint Paul in his letter to the Ephesians reminds us that Jesus loved us and handed himself over to us as an offering, as the bread of life. And we should imitate him in our lives.

Saint Paul says that we should not hold grudges, instead we should be forgiving. We should not be cheap or stingy, instead we should be generous.

We should not lose our tempers, instead we should be compassionate. We should not call each other names, instead we should be kind and understanding

We should not raise our voices in anger or frustration, instead we should be respectful. We should not be spiteful, instead we should be loving and forgiving.

In this way, we become the children of God. In this way, we put aside our grumbling. 

We come here week after week to eat this living bread come down from heaven. 

Strengthened by the food that comes from heaven, we leave this place with the courage and the strength and the grace to continue on our journey. 

Saturday, August 4, 2018

8/5/18 -- 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

In Jesus’ time, a daily wage was just enough to feed a family for a day. When Jesus teaches the people to pray, the prayer includes the petition, “give us this day our daily bread.”

But when Jesus says do not work for food that perishes, the people would have been puzzled, maybe even confused. You see, that’s all the people of that time could do. They could hope for a day’s wages that would buy enough bread for that day.

The Israelites in the first reading don’t even have that. That’s why they grumbled against Moses. In the desert, food was scarce. But at least they had their freedom. Moses had led them out of Egyptian slavery. 

But are they grateful? No. Why not? Because they are hungry. They say to Moses it would have been better to die as slaves then to die of hunger in the desert.

Does the Lord God punish them for their grumblings? No. God sends them manna (bread) from heaven. And Moses tells them, “This is the bread the Lord has given you to eat.

After Jesus feeds the five thousand with the five loaves and two fish, he goes off alone. But the crowd pursues him. 

When they find Jesus, he asks, “What are you looking for?” 
He is asking if they are looking for another free meal. He tells them, “I am the Bread of Life.”

The Israelites failed to recognize that their freedom from slavery was a gift. And the bread from heaven was a gift.

The people in the Gospel failed to recognize the gift was not the five loaves and the two fish, nor was it the miraculous feeding. The gift is Jesus.

Sometimes I think we fail to recognize the gift Jesus is for us as well. Jesus desires to fill our loneliness. Jesus desires to quench our desires. Jesus desires to sooth our hurts and to heal our wounds.

I am the Bread of Life. Believe in me, not in the five loaves and the two fish.

It is a treasure to discover that Jesus wants to satisfy our hungers. Jesus wants to feed us. Jesus wants to fill us.

Jesus says that if we come to him, we will never hunger again. Jesus says that if we believe in him, we will never thirst again.

Jesus wants to be our bread from heaven. Jesus wants to be our food for the journey, so that we never hunger and thirst again.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

7/29/18 -- 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Notice how Jesus challenges the Apostles. Where can we buy enough food to feed all these people?

The simple answer is that they don’t know and they can’t possibly buy enough food anywhere to feed all these people. It’s just not possible. 

But, it’s a test to see how generous the Apostles will be. Do they have the same love and care and concern for the people as Jesus does? 

I want to suggest to you that we often take the same approach in our lives. The river’s too deep. The mountain’s too high. The valley’s too low. The world has gone to hell in a handbasket. 

Awe, the Presbytere is too far gone. It was neglected for too long. What do you want me to do? I’m just one person. 

So the Apostles don’t even try. How fatalistic. They just make excuses. Well, there’s a boy here with five loaves and two fish. What good is that? We can’t do anything with five loaves and two fish. 

And they’re right. It’s just five loaves and two fish. What can I do with five loaves and two fish? Not much.

Well, the miracle in today’s gospel takes place because of the little boy’s selfless act. Just look at what Jesus does with five loaves and two fish. Jesus takes what the little boy gives and is able to feed everyone because of that small offering. It’s miraculous. 

Jesus can take what little we have to offer and work miracles. Jesus can take what little we have to offer and make it enough.

We’re really good at saying, I don’t have much to offer. We’re also really good at selling ourselves short. What good is what I have to offer?

Jesus takes what is offered and give thanks. Jesus never complains that it’s too little or too late little because for Jesus it’s always enough. And from that little bit, a great multitude of people were cared for.

Imagine what would happen if we all brought Jesus our five loaves and our two fish.

Imagine if we all brought Jesus the little gifts and talents we have to offer. It would be enough. It could even be miraculous. So much in fact, that there would always be some left over.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

7/22/18 -- 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

How is it that we become lost, like sheep without a shepherd? I think it starts with this simple reality. We don’t want to be shepherded today, do we? 

We don’t want to be told what to do. Come here and do this. Go there and do that. Our response usually goes something like this: “Who do you think you are? You can’t tell me what to do.”

Those who are not shepherded can easily become lost and scattered.

We tend to be proud and confident. We think we don’t need a shepherd. But then, we make a mess of our lives and we wonder what happened. We get lost. 

But the reality is we wanted to do what we wanted to do. But then when things go badly we don’t want to take responsibility. We want to find someone else to blame. And sometimes we even blame God for the mess we made.

Jesus as shepherd emphasises God’s kindness to us. Even in the midst of the messes we make in our lives, and especially when we get lost, it is a grace to allow ourselves to be found. 
It is a grace to recognize that we need to be shepherded. It is a grace to realize that we need Jesus.

The Lord is my shepherd. Jesus wants to be our shepherd. Jesus wants us to be shepherded. Jesus wants to care for us as a shepherd cares for the sheep.

In the Gospel, Jesus is touched by the needs of the crowd. 
Pay attention to what he does. He teaches them. He heals them. And then he feeds them. Now, we will have to wait till next weekend to hear about the miraculous feeding.

First, Jesus teaches. Jesus desires to teach us. Of all the saints, not one of them ever thought they knew enough about Jesus. They were always looking for more. 

We should always desire to learn more about Jesus. We should always seek out opportunities to learn more about our faith. Discovering who Jesus is, is a lifelong project we should each undertake. 

Next, Jesus heals. Jesus lays hands on the sick and heals them. Some of us need healing in our souls. Some of us need healing in our bodies. Some of us need healing in our hearts.

Jesus desires to heal us. We need to beg Jesus to lay his hands on us and heal us.
Maybe we need to go to confession to heal our souls. Maybe we need the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick to heal our bodies. Maybe we need to forgive someone to heal our hearts.

And finally, Jesus feeds the crowd. Jesus feeds us here at our Sunday Mass. Sunday Mass is so important in our lives because it is our weekly opportunity to give thanks to Jesus for the ultimate sacrifice he made for us. 

Sunday Mass is our weekly opportunity to remind ourselves that we need to be shepherded by Jesus, who is the Good Shepherd. 

Sunday Mass is our weekly opportunity to be fed at the Lord’s table, where Jesus gives us his very body and blood as food for our journey.

It is a difficult journey, and we can easily lose our way. We are blessed to have such a Good Shepherd who seeks us out when we are lost, who heals our wounds and soothes our hurts, who teaches us the right way to go and provides food for the journey.

The Lord is my shepherd. The Lord teaches me. The Lord heals me. The Lord feeds me. There is nothing I shall want.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

7/15/18 -- 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

There are many biblical passages that recount the call from the Lord to be a prophet or the call from the Lord to be holy or the call from Jesus to follow him.

God called Moses at the burning bush to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt to the promised land.

God called Jonah to preach to the great city of Nineveh telling them that if they didn’t change their ways, the city would be destroyed.

In the first reading today we hear the story of the call of the Prophet Amos. Amos was working as a herdsman in his native land of Judaea when he heard God calling him. 

God called Amos to leave those pasture lands and go to Israel to challenge the sophisticated priests and rulers at Bethel. 

In the Gospel we hear the story of Jesus calling the Twelve Apostles. Jesus sent them out to proclaim the good news of repentance, a call to holiness.

We think this call to holiness is for someone else, for the prophets, for the Apostles, for the saints of old, for grandma but not for me.

But the truth is, God calls ordinary folks to do extraordinary things. And this call to holiness is a call for all the baptized.

In the Bible we hear the call from God to holiness over and over again. These stories capture our attention. We think only others are called to holiness but the truth is God calls each one of us by name.

Matthew Kelly, founder of Dynamic Catholic, says that we have come to believe that holiness is only possible for someone else. 

He challenges us to create holy moments each day of our lives. What is a holy moment? It is a moment where you are being the person God created you to be and doing what God has called you to do in that moment.

If we can create one holy moment each day, then we can also create two. Once we learn how, we can do it over again. And by learning to string these holy moments together we can, in time, learn how to lead holy lives.

This weekend, we have heard two stories of this call to holiness. We should be able to write our own call story. It could be modeled off the story of the Prophet Amos: 

I was doing “this” when I heard the voice of the Lord God calling me to go do “that” instead. I objected but God sent the Holy Spirit upon me so that I would have to courage and strength to answer the call.

If you had to write the story of your call to holiness, how would it go?