Saturday, February 23, 2019

Proclaim the Gospel


Pope Francis during one of his homilies at Mass at the Casa Santa Martha said that as Christians we are called to proclaim the Gospel with humility.

Taking his cue from the Gospel which recounts the tragic death of John the Baptist, the Pope said John was the man God had sent to prepare the way for his son.

He, Pope Francis continued, was a man in the court of Herod, filled with corruption and vices who urged everyone to convert.

The Holy Father recalled how this great Saint firstly, proclaimed Jesus Christ. John had the chance to say he was the Messiah, added the Pope, but he did not. Secondly, said Pope Francis, John the Baptist was “a man of Truth.”

The third thing John did, underlined the Holy Father was to imitate Jesus in his humility, in his suffering and humiliation.

The Pope also stressed that like other religious figures such as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, John the Baptist had dark moments, moments of anguish and doubt sending his disciples to ask Jesus : ' But tell me, is it you, or am I wrong and there is another?

Pope Francis explained that John the “icon of a disciple” because he is "the man who proclaims Jesus Christ… and follows the way of Jesus Christ ."

Concluding his homily the Holy Father said we should not take advantage of our condition as Christians, as if it were a privilege. Instead we are called proclaim the Gospel message with humility without seizing on the prophecy.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Psalm 5


Psalm 5 is an open outcry: "Give ear to my words, O LORD; give heed to my sighing. Listen to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you I pray."


The psalmist is crying to God, asking for help. Facing the threat of violence, he begs God to destroy those who are telling lies. Perhaps he has been accused of wrongdoing himself, and is now pleading his case to God. The psalm can be used today by anyone being threatened by wicked, evil, boastful, bloodthirsty or deceitful people.

You know them: Friends who are really enemies -- "frenemies." High school gangs. Street thugs. Unfaithful spouses. Unethical co-workers. Substance-abusing relatives who lie to you. Put-down artists. Adversaries who try to undermine and destroy you. Sleazy salespeople and unscrupulous loan officers. Anyone who lies, cheats and steals, showing no regard for the welfare of others.

In short, the people who make you want to scream. All of us have them in our lives, every one of us. But yelling at such people face to face is not always an appropriate or productive thing to do.

That's why Psalm 5 encourages us to make an Open Outcry first to God.

"O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice," says the psalmist; "in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch. For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil will not sojourn with you."

Believe it or not, we can gain relief simply by speaking honestly about our troubles. "Talk therapy" is the technical term, and it can do a lot of good for people feeling depressed, stressed or anxious. Professional therapists all agree that talking, articulating, voicing, speaking or otherwise expressing our ideas, thoughts and feelings is a good thing.

So why not talk about your feelings with God, who is the Ultimate Listener? In the morning, plead your case -- ask for help with frenemies, spouses, co-workers and relatives. Pray for strength to face the challenges of the day, knowing that the Lord is "not a God who delights in wickedness.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Trust in God's grace


I just finished talking to one of our students in the hallway. He mentioned how proud he was of his father. For years his father was focused outside the family. The focus led him to areas that was not helpful to the growth of the family or even his father's personal growth. But since that time, his father has had a complete conversion. He has reorganized his life. He takes his family members seriously. He has begun a relationship with his God.

Now before Jesus called his very first disciples, he was already calling people to faith. Faithfulness is actually the Christians' "thumbs-up" sign. We have no way of knowing if the course ahead of us carries smooth air or turbulence and storms. We have no special foreknowledge if the skies will be friendly or filled with hostility and danger.

What we all do have is faith--faith in the love of Christ, faith in the eternal closeness of God's presence and God's kingdom. Jesus proclaims that the correct response to the gospel news is faith. He gives us the "thumbs-up" signal first. It is then essential that we return a "thumbs-up" sign of trust in God's grace and faithfulness to us.

Can we let go and let God take us into the wild blue yonder? Can we let go and trust God enough to lift us into stratospheres of spirituality and service we never knew even existed? Can we get out of the way and let God be God in our lives?

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

It's your call


It's your call. You are chosen material, though you might not know it.

Most of us spend quite a bit of time shopping around before we finally find, or fall into, a profession that seems to suit our personality. The most popular childhood careers of firefighter, football player, doctor and astronaut are not reflected in the numbers of adults actually involved in those pursuits. Instead we "settle" for jobs that need to be done or are the most available. When's the last time you heard a kid dreaming about growing up to be an office manager or a banker or an electrical line repairer. But all those jobs must be done and done well by someone, if we are to keep our businesses, our banks, our communities and our homes running smoothly.

One author put it this way: God often calls us when we are running errands, doing the mundane, thankless chores of life. When we least expect it, we are elected. Moses, hiding out on the back side of the Midian desert, was running an errand when a bush started burning that would not be consumed until he faced Pharaoh. Isaiah was somewhere in the temple, performing his regular priestly duties, when the heavens came down and the Holy commissioned him to go to the valley. Ezekiel, performing his pastoral tasks in the Exile, was transported by divine limousine service to a valley filled with dry bones. Amos was out herding sheep and keeping sycamore trees when the voice came and compelled him to go to the valley. And, Andrew and Peter were fishing out on the Sea of Galilee when the Master called them from fishing to the valley.

God is calling you right now. Are you going to respond?

Monday, February 18, 2019

Washington's Birthday or President's Day?

George Washington's Birthday or Presidents Day 2019?

Depending on where and when you grew up, you've probably heard the same February holiday called both George Washington's Birthday and Presidents Day. So which name is correct? While it may be hotly contested, the third Monday in February is officially called George Washington's Birthday.

The observance of Washington's Birthday goes back to the 1800s. It was initially a day of remembrance for George Washington, the first, and many believe the greatest, president of the United States. The holiday took place each February 22, the actual day of George Washington's birth in 1732. Washington's Birthday became an officially recognized holiday for all federal employees in 1885.

In 1971, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act changed the observance of Washington’s Birthday to the third Monday in February. About this time, advertisers began promoting the holiday as Presidents Day.

Celebrating Washington's Birthday on a different day than his actual birthday became an opportunity to remember all presidents, not just Washington. Though there are not many traditions associated with the holiday, it remains a patriotic celebration.

There have been many attempts to change the official name of the holiday, but George Washon's Birthday remains the official name. In 2019, we will celebrate Washington's Birthday on Monday, February 18.