Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 25, 2019)

During the last month, Jesus has been reminding us that being his disciple isn’t easy.

It takes courage and commitment. It isn’t enough to eat and drink with Jesus on Sunday and listen to his words. Discipleship is a daily way of living. We must make an effort to live what we have heard from Jesus. And, as Jesus nourishes us, we must be willing to nourish each other.

Today’s second reading offers us a very needed reminder as we struggle each day to be a disciple. Our God created each of us because God is love. Everything that we experience in our life is part of God’s loving providence for us – even the difficulties and trials.

The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews encourages us not to forget this basic truth. As we heard, the writer compares God’s care for us to a parent’s care. A loving parent disciplines a son or daughter for loving reasons – to help the child grow as a person. Our loving God treats us in the same way.

In order to be able to appreciate this truth, we must first be willing to accept as true that our God loves us with an everlasting love. God’s great desire for us is that we be one with God, right now here on this earth and forever in eternity. When we learn to accept that God’s everlasting love is the reason we exist at all, then we can begin to appreciate God’s presence in our life.

In light of God’s providential care for us, St. Francis de Sales encourages us to accept whatever comes to us as coming from the hand of our good God whose only purpose is to make us merit from these happenings so that God can reward us out of the abundance of divine love. Everything in our life contributes to our growth with God in holiness.

In order to live this way, we must learn through prayer to develop a great trust in God’s providential love for us. As we grow in our trust, we will be able to strengthen our drooping hands and our weak knees, and walk more surely with our God on the path that God has lovingly set for us.

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 18, 2019)

During the past several Sundays, the Church has presented us with some of the challenges we will face as disciples of Jesus.

We will have to learn to let go of our possessions, and even of our desire to possess. Jesus calls us to be generous, sharing whatever we have with those who are in need. Last Sunday, we were cautioned to be watchful and ready. Jesus will come to us in ways that will surprise us. And today, Jesus tells us that our efforts to be faithful disciples may cause dissension, even in our families.

All of us would like to believe that following Jesus would lead us to peace. Jesus is telling us very clearly that that may not be the case. We have only to look at Jesus’ life. It wasn’t the case for him – and he is Lord and Master and could have done something about it.

Long before Jesus, the prophet Jeremiah suffered because of the message God gave him to deliver to his people. Despite his suffering, Jeremiah continued to call the people to hear God’s word to them.

The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us that we are part of a long tradition of witnesses to God’s faithfulness. We are encouraged to persevere in running the race that lies before us, while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. As we heard: “For the sake of the joy that lay before him, Jesus endured the cross and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.” Jesus’ example is meant to give us hope so that we will persevere.

Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus each day! That becomes our way to keep focus as we go about our daily living. We ask Jesus to be with us as our strength. We ask him to show us the way to our Father’s home through the ups and downs of life.

When we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, when we let him live in us, we can be sure that whatever fire we may have to enter in our life, we will always emerge more purified, like fire-tried gold. Jesus is at our side.

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 11, 2019)

Jesus has desired from all eternity to meet us here at this sacred meal.

He invites us to sit down with him and listen as he tells us about our Father’s love for us and what our Father desires for us. He will also tell us how we can respond to our Father’s loving care for us.

Jesus offers us the example of Abraham and Sarah, our ancestors in the faith, in today’s reading from the Letter to the Hebrews. He tells us that we have faith when we accept our God’s word as the truth, confident that what God says will become a reality.

Both Abraham and Sarah did just that: They left their homeland for a new land that God promised. They accepted God’s word that they would have a child even though they were old. They were willing to sacrifice their son Isaac who was the only evidence they had of God’s promise of many descendants. And God gave Isaac back to them as a sign of the truth of God’s word to them and as a witness to their confident hope.

Jesus offers their example to us as a reminder. He tells us not to be afraid. Our Father is pleased to give us the kingdom. He invites us to place our trust in our Father’s promise, to make our heart’s only desire the treasure we have been promised and given.

The sign of our confident hope will be our willingness to be prepared each day: prepared to seek our Father’s will for us each day and do it lovingly; prepared to live with Jesus at our side each day, talking with him about our day and listening as he talks to us, often through the people and events of our day; prepared to care gently for each person we will meet today.

Jesus tells us: much will be expected of the person entrusted with much. You and I have been given much by our God. Let us be worthy of the trust our God puts in us as his beloved children.

Let us take what Jesus tells us at this meal and live it out today – and every day. He is here to strengthen us to do just that - for he gives us his Body to eat and his Blood to drink.

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 4, 2019)

Today’s Scripture readings call us to do some reflecting on the way we live as a baptized follower of Jesus.

St. Paul reminds us that we have been given a share in the life of Jesus by our baptism. We are called to focus our way of living our daily life in a new way - a way that is influenced by Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. As Jesus has told us: the only thing that gives our life here on earth ultimate value is remembering that life is a gift of God and it is given to us to lead us to eternal life with God.

With that perspective in mind, we can appreciate the viewpoint of Qoheleth in today’s first reading: “All things in this life are vanity” - a mere breath, a vapor - transient and ultimately empty. All the hard work and worry we may put into accumulating things here on earth - what will it ultimately matter when we come to die? The Lord isn’t going to ask us: “How much did you make during your life?”

He will ask us: “How much did you love?”

And our willingness to love flows from the new life given to us in baptism. Because we share the life of God, we are able to love as God loves. If we choose to live and love in this manner, then the way we live will be different from the way those live whose only concern is this world and all it has to offer.

In order to live and love as God does, we will have to learn to discipline our choices to follow the lead of grace. And grace will call us to rise above evil desires, passion, lust and uncleanness. Lying has no part in anyone who genuinely loves. Neither does prejudice nor discrimination. Love is about treating everyone with dignity and respect - as brothers and sisters who are the image of the Creator.

All of us can benefit from some prayerful reflection on today’s word from our God. May our reflection lead us to grow in knowledge and grace. May we be formed anew each day in the image of our Creator. Then our daily living will help us to grow rich in the sight of God and bring us ultimately to share his life forever.

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 28, 2019)

St. Paul asks us to reflect on the wonderful gift of redemption that is given to us as a result of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

We are sinners, but God’s love for us pardons all our sins and gives us new life in Jesus - a sharing in the very life of the risen Lord. Because of this sharing, we are able to approach God in prayer as Jesus did. We can call God “Father.”

In our thankfulness, we want to hold God’s name as holy and we desire, as Jesus did, that the kingdom of God become present in us. Our requests must be simple:

• Give us the bread we need for today: food for our bodies and the bread that makes us one in Eucharist.

• Forgive our sins each day because we are willing to forgive the sins of one another.

• Keep us safe and strong in our faith until the end.

Jesus tells us more about our praying: “Ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you.” Jesus never tells us what to ask for; all he tells us is that our Father will give us the Holy Spirit - his abiding presence in us and among us. What he is saying is that God will give us himself; he is the only good we will need.

God’s one desire for each of us is that we be his children, trusting in his goodness. When we learn to pray with trust, then we will also learn to see the goodness of our God in whatever comes to us in our daily lives. The Spirit within us will give us the strength and courage we will need to handle the situations of our life-journey.

Nothing will be too much for us to handle, because everything is coming to us from the hand of our Father whose only purpose for us is union with him, true happiness.

Jesus teaches us how to pray. How we pray really does make a difference in how we live. May each of us learn to ask our Father for the gift of the Holy Spirit and then trust that he is with us as we go about our day. He will give us everything we need - for we are his children whom he loves with an everlasting love.

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 21, 2019)

Today’s Gospel story is so familiar to us that it’s easy to miss how extraordinary it is.

Jesus is going against all the cultural conventions of his day. He is a guest at the home of unmarried women - unmarried men didn’t do that. He allows a woman to serve him - notice that Abraham served the guests in today’s first reading. And Jesus is teaching Mary, a woman - in Jesus’ day, only men were disciples.

While the circumstances of this event are unconventional, so too is its message. Poor Martha is very busy about all the tasks of hospitality that is a very important virtue in the Middle East. I’m sure we can all identify with her when she’s upset that her sister isn’t helping her to be hospitable.

Jesus gently reminds her that her anxiety, her upsetment, has distracted her from what’s really important in hospitality - listening to her guest. Hospitality first and foremost concerns making the guest feel welcome - feel at home. It’s hard to do that if we don’t take the time to sit down with the guest and listen to whatever he or she has to say.

Today’s story of Abraham’s hospitality reminds us that God is present in every guest. We can reverence his presence by listening to one another. We might be surprised at times by what we hear!

There is also a wider lesson in the story. Always wanting to be busy about serving and becoming anxious about it are traps for the disciple. In order for our serving to have its greatest benefit, we must first take time just to be with the Lord in prayer - listening to whatever he may have to say to us. Our effort to listen first keeps our service focused on sharing the Lord’s love in all we do.

Hospitality, a welcoming attitude, is a great virtue in a disciple. Taking the time just to be with a person allows the Lord’s love to touch them. May each of us learn a valuable lesson from listening to the Lord’s instruction to Martha today. May our welcoming attitude to all we meet today bring them a greater sense of being loved by our God, of being at home.

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 14, 2019)

In today’s second reading, St. Paul tells us that Jesus was first in the mind of God when he created the universe.

God decided to unite himself with creation in the person of Jesus. Everything has been created through Jesus and for Jesus. And Jesus has reconciled everything to God through his blood shed on the cross. Jesus is the image of the invisible God; because Jesus has shared our human life, every human person has dignity as an image of God.

That is why it is so important that we understand today’s Gospel parable. Jesus is telling us how we are to live as an image of God - loving God with our whole being, and loving our neighbor as we love ourselves.

The parable we have just heard is meant to shock us into realizing the extent to which we are to love. Because we all share the dignity of image of God, we are to love as God loves. There is to be no limit to our love. “Neighbor” is a way of acting, and not a person located outside of us. “Neighbor,” then, is the way I treat anyone I meet - whether I know them or not, whether I like them or not, whether I consider them friend or foe.

Jesus’ point is made when the lawyer identifies the Samaritan as the “neighbor” in the parable – “The one who treated the injured stranger with compassion.” Like the lawyer in the Gospel, all of us ask: “What must I do to inherit everlasting life?” Jesus tells us: “Go and do the same.”

The challenge is great. It calls us to be mindful each day that “I am the image of God and I am called to love today as God loves.” The law of love is written on our hearts from our very creation as an image of God. The more my heart beats with the love of God, the more I will strive to be neighbor to everyone who crosses my path each day.

Each person I meet calls me to be the best person I can be - to image to them as the love of the God who loves them. That’s enough challenge for any of us. Trying to meet that challenge each day will assure us of our inheritance - everlasting life with our God. Let us be renewed at this Eucharist and go forth to be compassionate neighbor today.

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 7, 2019)

Imagine for a moment what those early disciples must have felt like as Jesus sends them out on their first mission to announce: “The reign of God is at hand.”

He sent them to prepare the towns and villages for his coming. They were to proclaim “peace” everywhere they went. And he gave them power to cure the sick.

Marvelous things must have happened on their journeys because they come back overjoyed with their experience: “Even the demons are subject to us in your name.”

Jesus shares their joy, but he warns them: don’t get so caught up in the power you have that you forget that you are disciples who have been created anew by placing your faith and trust in me. I am the source of your salvation; any power you have comes from me.

St. Paul learned that early in his ministry. We hear it echoed in his letter to the Galatians: “May I never boast of anything but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This kind of humility is key to the effectiveness of Jesus’ disciples.

Any good that we are able to do happens primarily through our cooperation with God’s grace. That is why we are urged to put our gifts at the service of the Church. Sharing our gifts for the good of one another enables us to grow, not only in our love, but in our humility.

Jesus sends us out into the world every day to announce by the way we live that the reign of God is here. We must try to bring Christ’s peace to everyone we meet and everything we do. We can do that best when we begin our day by remembering God’s presence in us and asking for the grace to live this day well as a faithful disciple.

We may often feel like lambs among wolves; Jesus told us we would. That’s all the more reason to stay focused on the presence and grace of God within us. He will give us what we need to be good news to the world around us. May we learn to boast in nothing but the cross of Jesus. From him comes the saving power of grace.

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (June 30, 2019)

Today’s Scriptures are a strong reminder that following Jesus is a challenge.

We heard St. Paul tell us: Jesus has set you free to love. Live by the Spirit; don’t become slaves of the world again. Paul is echoing Jesus in today’s Gospel: if you want to follow me wherever I go, don’t seek security in this world. Once you set your hand to proclaiming the kingdom of God, don’t look back at what you have left behind.

Jesus reminds us that journeying with him will take us in one direction - to the cross. We must be willing to complete the journey with Jesus if we want to share in his glory.

Our problem as human beings is often our focus. When we think of what we are by our baptism and profession of vows–members of the Body of Christ, sharers in the life and mission of Jesus, the presence of Jesus in our world –then we want to give ourselves to the work of the kingdom; we love and forgive and show compassion.

But too often we let our minds and hearts focus on other very natural desires –desires for security, for intimacy with family and friends, for acceptance by others –and, “looking back,” we take our hands from the plow and forget Jesus’ call to save the world with him. We can help ourselves to focus more on Jesus and our call if we learn to consciously remember Jesus’ presence with us as we begin each new activity of our day. Just a momentary prayer can keep us focused.

Jesus is calling us to a love gentle enough to endure all things without violence, a love strong enough to stand against the whole world in loyalty to the work and ideals of the kingdom of God. We know that we cannot love this way by ourselves.

Jesus has promised to be with us at every moment of our life. His Spirit will prompt us in our efforts to love as Jesus loved. The challenge is great; even greater is the grace Jesus will give us to meet the challenge. Let us refocus ourselves today at this Eucharist.

Jesus is here; let us take him with us; let us journey with him. He desires to lead us back to our Father.

The Body and Blood of Christ (June 23, 2019)

Today’s second reading gives us the oldest written account of the origin of Eucharist.

St. Paul reminds us that Eucharist is intimately united with the death of Jesus.

We heard him tell us: “Every time we eat this bread (Jesus’ body) and drink this cup (Jesus’ blood), we proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes again.” That means that each time we share in this Eucharistic meal, we express our willingness to share in the death of Jesus - a willingness to join him in giving ourselves for the sake of others.

Luke’s gospel reminds us that Jesus cared about feeding the many hungers of the people he served. He fed their bodies with bread, but he also fed their spirits with healing.

Do we always remember the grace and responsibility we accept when we eat and drink? The bread and cup we share are one - the body and blood of Jesus. Therefore, we who eat it must be one - forgetting ourselves completely and living for the happiness of others. Do we take care about that responsibility as we leave the Lord’s table and go about our daily living?

The Eucharist is the graced means given to us to fulfill our purpose in life - letting Jesus come alive in all we say and do. The Jesus whose body we eat and whose blood we drink is the same Jesus who is in us as we go about our day. Do we let the gentle, humble, compassionate, forgiving Jesus come alive in us in the circumstances of daily living, reaching out through us to touch others? Or do we tend to forget and let self-interest and self-gratification come alive instead?

We all give thanks each day for the gift of Eucharist we celebrate and receive. Perhaps today’s celebration can remind us once again in our humanness that the gift we receive in Eucharist - Jesus himself - is the Jesus we carry with us during the day.

May each of us learn more and more to share Jesus living in us with everyone we encounter today and every day. In this way, we continue Jesus’ work of feeding the hungers of our sisters and brothers.

Trinity Sunday (June 16, 2019)

In today’s Gospel, Jesus reveals to us the intimate life of our God: three distinct persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), equal in majesty, undivided in splendor, yet one Lord, one God.

We hear Jesus telling us that the action of the three persons is one. Jesus is Wisdom incarnate - the Word of God become flesh, human like us. Whatever he speaks, he has heard from his Father, and whatever the Spirit will speak he has heard from Jesus. Together our God has created all that is, and together our God has willed and brought about our salvation.

As St. Paul tells us, “now that we have been justified by faith, we are at peace with God through Jesus. Through him, we have gained access to the grace in which we now stand.” That grace is God’s gift of making us sharers in the very life of the Trinity. “The love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” The Spirit present in us is the source of our peace with God. He is also the source of our hope - our confident assurance of complete union with the Trinity in the fullness of life to come.

While our sharing in divine life is very personal, it is also communal. Because we share the one Spirit, we are part of one another in the Body of Christ. Therefore the love we have for God is the same love we must learn to have for one another. How we live with one another as Christians ought to reflect in a very real way the unity of Persons in our God. Our unity with one another is possible because we share the same love of God, which Paul told us “has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit.”

What a wonderful gift we have been given in our baptism! Each day, you and I can be the continuing revelation of God’s loving presence in our world. When we struggle each day to live as Jesus taught us to live, when we have confidence in Jesus’ promise to be with us each day, when we try to love one another as Jesus has loved us - we are giving witness to the reality of our triune God who has created us out of love, redeemed us by his love, and made us one with him in love.

Let’s recommit ourselves today to our baptismal mission as Church. May the way we live our faith continue to touch the hearts of those around us and turn them and us more fully toward our loving God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Pentecost Sunday (June 9, 2019)

We have just heard Jesus announce the new creation.

As God breathed life into Adam, so Jesus breathes new life into his disciples – the gift of the Holy Spirit. As they breathe in the Spirit, they are able to receive and give forgiveness.

St. Luke describes the coming of the Spirit in more dramatic fashion. As the Spirit descends as tongues of fire on the disciples, they begin to make bold proclamation of the Good News in an astounding way.

The same Spirit is given to each of us at our Baptism, and his presence has been strengthened in Confirmation. St. Paul points that that we are one in the Body of Christ because we all share the one Spirit.

Each of us has special gifts that have been given to us as a way of manifesting the Spirit’s presence in us. Our gifts are given, not for our own good, but for the good of others; when we use our gifts for others, we witness to our oneness in Christ. No one’s gift or ministry or work is more important than anyone else’s; all are needed for the unity of the community of the Church.

Each of us is important because each brings a gift or talent or way of working that no one else can bring to the group. We all lose something when an individual person’s gifts are not welcomed or used in the community.

That’s why a welcoming attitude is so important in the Church community. It’s also why forgiveness is so important among us. We need one another in order to experience the full wonder of God’s love for us.

As we celebrate this feast of new life, our breathing can be a graced reminder. The Spirit is as close to each of us as our very breath, taken deeply into our lungs thousands of times every day, a constant life-giving force.

As we exhale, the Spirit’s power directs us outward to our mission - spreading the love, peace and forgiveness we have inhaled from the risen Lord Jesus.

May we breathe deeply today!

Seventh Sunday of Easter (June 2, 2019)

We have just heard Jesus’ prayer for us: That they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they may also be in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me…and you love them even as you loved me.”

That is Jesus’ great desire for us and he died and rose to make that desire possible.

That is the mystery of God’s great love for us. And we have been baptized into the mystery of God’s love. We now share the very life and love of God.

God’s life within us draws us into unity, not just with God, but with one another. And our unity in love allows God’s love to overflow and bear witness to the world around us. Jesus tells us that our unity in love will testify that he and the Father are one, that he was sent into the world by his Father, and that we believers are one with God.

As we express our love for one another in daily life, God is working through us to transform the division and strife of our world into unity and peace.

It’s hard not to be stirred by Jesus’ words. The challenge is: do we believe them enough to live by them? Will I, will we, choose to love today in a way that allows God’s love in us to overflow to others? Will we, will I, accept the responsibility to be God’s loving presence today in our little corner of the world? Unity and peace can only happen if you and I are willing each day to do our share of loving as Jesus has loved us.

We heard Jesus give us a promise in the gospel: if we accept the gift of God’s love and in turn love others generously, then he wants us to be with him and share his glory forever.

Jesus’ prayer challenges us today. Let us ask him to strengthen us in our efforts today to be a living witness of God’s great love.

May God be praised in us!

Sixth Sunday of Easter (May 26, 2019)

Today’s first reading recounts for us the first great debate in the Church.

After listening to all the parties and praying, the apostles and elders respond: “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us …” The Apostles depended on the Holy Spirit they had received from Jesus. The Holy Spirit sent by the Father in Jesus’ name will teach them everything and remind them of all that Jesus had told them. The Spirit did just that.

Through the centuries, the Church has followed the same path with new debates: listening, praying, and responding with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Along with the gift of the Holy Spirit, Jesus gives us the gift of his peace – a peace that is more profound than any peace the world might offer. Jesus’ peace brings us the assurance that nothing can separate us from his love. Jesus’ peace strengthens our faith and trust that we will be victorious over trials and suffering as Jesus was. Jesus’ peace enables us to live with optimism and grace.

Jesus tells us: “Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” If we choose to abide in Jesus’ peace and seek opportunities to share that peace with one another, we will have no reason to be troubled or afraid.

Every breath we take is a reminder of the Holy Spirit within us and the gift of Jesus’ peace in our hearts.

Let us breathe deeply today – and be at peace.

Fifth Sunday of Easter (May 19, 2019)

“I make all things new!”

This is the good news Jesus brings us through his death and resurrection. The world hasn’t been the same since that moment in history. Death on a cross is Jesus’ glorification; his death brings life. His glorification reaches its fullness in his resurrection, and he desires to share his new, glorious life with us. He has done that through the waters of our baptism.

We are a new creation. Jesus tells us that there will come a time when this new creation will be complete. We will be his people forever, dwelling with him. Every tear will be wiped away. There will be no more death or mourning, crying out or pain. All things will be completely new in the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus has told us that he is going to his Father’s house to prepare a place for us. But he doesn’t want us to stand around looking to the heavens for his return. He has given us his sure promise of future happiness so that we will have the strength and courage to get about the daily work of loving one another in the same way that he has loved us.

Loving in this way will be a challenge each day. His promise gives us hope and encouragement as we try to meet the challenges of loving. Our efforts to love really do have an effect on this passing world in which we live. The sincerity and generosity of our efforts to love will be a sign in this world of Jesus’ continuing presence and work among us. Our efforts to love will continue to announce good news to all we meet.

In light of hearing once again Jesus’ commandment to love, it’s important this morning that we reflect on how committed we are to making daily efforts to love as Jesus has loved us. When we encounter people during the course of the day, do we try to witness to Jesus’ love for each person we meet? Jesus tells us clearly: “This is how all will know that you are my disciples.” Our answer to the question is important. How well we try to love one another in daily living is the true measure of our being Jesus’ good news right here and now.

Let’s pray for ourselves and for one another this morning at this Eucharist that we may grow even stronger and more courageous in our efforts to love as Jesus has loved us. Through us, Jesus is making all things new. May our God be praised in us!

Fourth Sunday of Easter (May 12, 2019)

Imagine being so secure that nothing has the ability to upset us - not natural disaster, disease, crisis, suffering, not even death itself. That may seem too good to be true, yet that is Jesus’ promise to us. “No one will snatch them out of my hand.”

Jesus’ words are meant to touch every aspect of our life, the smallest as well as the greatest.

Jesus and the Father are more powerful than anything we can ever come up against. God is greater than any natural disaster, any cultural uproar, and the most serious illness. Nothing escapes God’s loving and watchful eye. No matter how alone we may feel at a particular moment, God is with us, caring for us, strengthening us. Whatever is in our life cannot overwhelm us; God is with us.

We have been reminded that Jesus, our Shepherd, has given us eternal life through his death and resurrection. We must never underestimate the reality of that gift.

Satan would like to convince us that the cross was only a symbolic event. It’s not relevant to our daily struggles and fears. But Jesus has told us that he gives us eternal life, a sharing in his risen life. That life is no longer bound by sin, no longer under the domination of the lies of Satan, no longer subject to fear. Through repentance and faith and trust in Jesus, our Good Shepherd, we can overcome every temptation, every fear, and every anxiety that may crop up each day.

We can be secure in our position in Jesus’ hands when we make daily decisions that will keep us conscious of his presence and dependent on his grace as we go through our day. Every day we must ask Jesus to convince us more deeply of his love and mercy. Ask him to open us to the power of his life that is within us.

As we do this more frequently each day, we will find that our fears and anxieties are reduced, and temptations remain just that – temptations.

Thank you, Jesus, for giving us a share in your life. Thank you for being our Good Shepherd. Help us to be mindful of your wonderful gift within us. Help us to trust in your presence and care for us today and always.

Third Sunday of Easter (May 5, 2019)

The risen Jesus appears to his disciples, “children” as he calls them. Once they realize it is the Lord and they come ashore with their tremendous catch, they see that Jesus has prepared breakfast for them. We are privileged to hear a conversation between Jesus and Peter. Three times Jesus asks him, “Simon, do you love me more than these?” We hear Peter eagerly respond: “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Peter is right; Jesus already knows that Peter loves him. But Peter needed to hear his own response. Each time Jesus asked, Peter needed to reach deeper within himself for his answer. Jesus wanted Peter to know that his declarations of love were freeing him from the memory of his earlier denials. Jesus wanted Peter to understand that his love for Jesus was able to cover a multitude of human failings.

Peter’s responses restored his faith in himself and made him ready to accept the commission of Jesus: “Tend my sheep.” Peter was freed now to follow Jesus more fully.

Each day Jesus asks us,” (Michael, Sr. Anne, Sr. Jane, each of you), do you love me?” We should welcome Jesus’ question. He already knows our answer. You and I are the ones who need to hear our response. Jesus is helping us to reach deeper within us for our response. He is helping us to reach down through our human failings and find the place within us where the love of God dwells. There we find the grace and courage to tell Jesus, “Lord, you know that I love you.”

In that sacred place deep within us, we find the strength we need to follow Jesus each day. From that sacred place, God’s love desires to flow out and transform us more and more in the image of Jesus. God’s love wants to overflow through us and touch the lives of all we meet each day.

We might learn much if we took Jesus’ question to prayer each day. Let us try not to rush our answer. Let us hold his question and allow it to reach deep within us for a response. When we hear our response, we will learn the power of the new life Jesus has won for us by his death and rising. Then we will be freed to follow Jesus more fully and tend his sheep more lovingly.

Second Sunday of Easter (April 28, 2019)

John’s recounting of the appearance of the risen Jesus to his disciples is unique.

We’ve just been told that Jesus stood in their midst and showed them his wounds and gave them his peace. The wounds of Jesus bring Thomas to healing faith: “My Lord and my God.”

And we heard Jesus speak to us: “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

At the end of his Treatise on the Love of God, St. Francis de Sales reminds us that Calvary is the school of love. The wounds of Jesus reveal to us the extent of his love for us. Jesus took our wounds and struggles and made them his own. From his wounds flowed his sacred blood which washes us clean and give us the fullness of life.

God’s mercy and love are poured out on us in Jesus’ death for us.

Jesus invites us to bring our struggles to him with great faith. Let him take our wounds and struggles into his heart where he can transform them into saving grace for us. He desires to raise us up with him. Jesus will give us his gift of peace in the midst of our struggles.

• He will remind us to stay beneath his cross in our struggles.

• He will encourage us to look into his eyes and see his love for us.

• He will help us to remember that his wounds remained when he rose from the dead.

They have become signs of his love for us. He will invite us to let our wounds become reminders of God’s abiding love with us. Like Thomas, may we have the wisdom to proclaim with deep faith: “My Lord and my God, you are always with me.”

Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord (April 21, 2019)

Brothers and sisters, we have good reason to rejoice and be glad today - this is the day that the Lord has made!

We have just shared in the experience of Peter and John as they ran to the tomb and peered in. With John, we have had the opportunity to see and believe: Jesus who was crucified and died is now risen!

St. Paul reminds us that what we celebrate today must mean something for our daily living. If we really believe that Jesus is risen, then we must make a sincere effort each day to set our hearts on heavenly things.

Jesus left his place at God’s right hand to live among us; now he has returned to his Father and invites us to live in him. We must try to be intent on things above rather than on things of earth. This is a daily struggle for most of us. It’s just too easy to become intent on our own needs and wants, our own suffering and pain. These can easily distract us from the things that we say really count: from seeking to do God’s will and not our own and trying to love others as Jesus has loved us.

The Lord has made this day for our salvation. In a few moments, we will share once again in Jesus’ saving mystery by renewing our baptismal promises as a community of faith. But renewing them is not enough. We are called to give witness to our renewal by the way we live our daily lives. Our words and deeds must flow from the same source: the saving grace that flows from Jesus’ death and rising.

May we learn to ask for God’s grace each day so that we may live this new life. Then the words we say and the actions we do will proclaim to everyone we meet the truth we celebrate today: Jesus is risen! He is alive in us!

Easter Vigil in the Holy Night (April 20, 2019)

Tonight, the liturgy has immersed us in the story of our God’s great love and mercy. Beneath this pillar of fire, the Light of Christ, we have remembered the wonder of creation.

God looked at everything he had made and found it very good. We have sung the praises of God as we walked with God’s people through the waters of the sea. We have heard God’s promise to feed his people without cost. And, we have remembered that God’s loving mercy has redeemed us through the death and rising of Jesus.

These past few days, we have eaten with Jesus at table and shared in his passion and death. Tonight, we are here to celebrate the final glorious words of good news: Jesus is risen! He has conquered sin and death. He now lives for God.

We have been baptized into the death of Jesus and have risen with him to share his new life. We heard St. Paul tell us: “Consequently you too must think of yourselves as being dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.”

Something new has happened to us as we share in the resurrection of Jesus.

As parts of his Mystical Body, we must take seriously the renewal of our baptismal promises: to reject sin so as to live in the freedom of God’s children. We cannot let these be idle words, easily repeated. They are our commitment, made in love, as a return for all that Jesus has done for us.

Our daily efforts to let Jesus live in us more fully are our humble and grateful response to Jesus who has died and risen for us.

This evening’s celebration of Jesus’ resurrection is a powerful reminder of Jesus’ great love for us. May our celebration lead us to a more faithful living of the new life Jesus has won for us.