Sunday, December 30, 2007

Feast of the Holy Family

Sir 3:2-6, 12-14
Col 3:12-17
Mt 2:13-15, 19-23

On this Sunday in the Octave of Christmas, it is appropriate that we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family, the Family that came to be when the Christ was born to Mary. We celebrate because this Family redefines forever what family means. What family is, who family is, changed forever with the formation of this Holy Family. Yes, they certainly looked like countless other families of their day, they look like many families of our own day. But there is something different here, a fundamental shift. Perhaps in order to see this we need to look at what a family is. A family is a group of people who are related, who share a heritage and a history. At it core what a family is, is a community, a group of people tied together by a common goal, a common purpose, a common belief. There may or may not be a blood relationship, that isn’t the most important thing. The sharing, the commonality, that is community. Families and clans are, for the most part, closed systems. One must be born in or married in to be a part of the family, to belong to that community. The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph formed a community, a new community, a new family, a family open to all persons. The community of the Holy Family reflects for us the Ultimate Community, the divine family that the birth of the Christ calls us to. Christ calls us to share in this divine mystery, to be a people who partake in the divine life of the Trinity. Christ calls us to be a part of this family, this community, this People of God.

Deacon John
Feast of the Holy Family
Dec. 30, 2007

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Me and Poindexter

As you may have noticed, I have added a picture of St. Peregrine, the patron saint of cancer patients, to the side of this blog, along with a link to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. I added these things because on Dec. 7, 2007, my life was instantly changed. It is amazing how a little word, cancer, can in less than a nanosecond make the whole world different, never to be the same again. Multiple Myeloma is an incurable, but treatable, form of cancer. I have been diagnosed with this disease. I DO NOT say this in any attempt to garner sympathy (ugh!), however I am grateful for any and all prayer. It is my hope to speak to the spiritual dimension of my journey, to share my journey through this challenge, to continue to speak and to learn. I decided that I must lean on our good and glorious God, and fight for all I am worth. Hence the name of this post, Me and Poindexter. No offence to anyone actually named Poindexter, but I had to name this cancer to give it a face, to make it something I could grasp. So the battle is on, and I am looking for where God wants me to go in this struggle. I will occassionally post this progress here, but plan to establish a new blog, Me and Poindexter, to track where I am being led in this new challenge. Where I am going I do not know, but perhaps in prayer we can travel there together.

Deacon John

Feast of Stephan

Dec. 26, 2007

Feast of Stephan

Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59
Mt 10:17-22

The juxtaposition of the Feast of Stephen, immediately following Christmas, is an interesting contrast. Straight from birth to death, from entering this life to entering the life to come. The life that is made possible by that very birth, and the sacrifice to be made by the one born. Life that springs from death. Yet is that not just what the one born on the day before this Feast of Stephen came to teach us? Indeed the Christ came to teach us that in speaking fearlessly for God, without regard to the personal cost, we follow the example set by Christ. In following that example, we may be faced with a fate similar to Christ’s. Certainly in our world, at least in our part of it, such an occurrence is quite unlikely. You may be unpopular, you may be seen as odd or eccentric, indeed you may be a laughingstock to some. Not quite the fate of Christ, but uncomfortable, nonetheless. Speaking for God, standing for light, for truth and beauty against the darkness never is. Yet it is what we are called to do, it is who we are called to be. Stephen met the fate he did by simply following the example of the one who was born, by speaking fearlessly for the one who was born. Stephen placed his fate in the hands of the Christ, whose example he followed. Can we, should we, do any less?

Deacon John
Feast of Stephen
Dec. 26, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Is 9:1-6
Ti 2:11-14
Lk 2:1-14
It’s been a dark time. The days have been growing shorter, the light becoming less and less, yet we have reason for hope. I checked sunrise and sunset times for my home, Louisville, Ky. and saw that on Dec. 21, the sun rose at 7:56 A.M. and set at 5:26 P.M., a short day indeed. Yet today, Dec. 24, 2007, the sun rose at 7:57 A.M. and sets at 5:28 P.M. A longer day, not by much perhaps, but longer none the less. No wonder ancient humans looked for the winter solstice, the return of the light, for with light comes hope that the world will continue. Today we await the rise of the Son, bringing new light, a previously unknown light into the world. With this Sonrise we have hope, hope that our redemption has come, that we need have no fear, that our God has kept the promise of salvation. God enters our history in a real and personal way, and opens for us the way of peace. Little wonder that the prophet says, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing.” The darkness is banished, not only for a season, but for all time, for those who choose to follow the path of peace given us by the rise of the Son. Let us this day, this day of great joy and celebration, dedicate ourselves to following that Light, seeking true peace, seizing the salvation offered us in the rising of the Son.
May the Blessings and Peace of Christ be yours this Joyous Christmas Season.
Deacon John
The Vigil of Christmas
Dec. 24, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Fourth Sunday in Advent

Is 7:10-14
Rom 1:1-7
Mt 1:18-24

I used to open a lot of prayer services by saying, “let us pause for a moment and place ourselves in the presence of God.” Then I went to a conference and heard a priest recount a story about his teaching days in the seminary. A seminarian came to him and asked how he could put himself in God’s presence. The old priest replied, “Ah, but when are you not?” When are we not indeed? This last Sunday in Advent calls us to remember that we are in God’s presence, always. The Christ comes and is to be named Emmanuel, “God is with us.” The Christ came to us once in human form, taking on our life, living as we live, experiencing what we experience. He lived, he suffered, he died, he rose, and ascended, returning home, but never really leaving us. As the Christ told us, “I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Through the Spirit, the Christ lives in our hearts. Each day in the Eucharist, the Christ comes again in a powerful, personal way, to become one with us, and we one in Christ. This blessed season only serves to remind is that we are indeed not alone. Creator, Spirit, Christ, God keeps us close, always there to remind us of how much we are loved. How can I put myself in the presence of God? “Ah, but when are you not?”

Deacon John
Fourth Sunday in Advent
Dec. 23, 2007

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Second Sunday in Advent

Is 11:1-10
Rom 15:4-9
Mt 3:1-12

Ah, pity the poor Pharisees and Sadducees. Blasted again for missing the point. John tells them to produce good fruit as evidence of their repentance. Stop leaning on your laurels, claiming that as children of Abraham, you are the Chosen Ones. John warns them that being Children of Abraham doesn’t guarantee anything. It isn’t who are you, what is your heritage, it is what have you done with that heritage. How many have been brought to God, or have too many been forgotten while ritual and rule were upheld. Rules are great, they keep order, but the rules aren’t enough on their own. John’s warning was meant to steer them to a path of repentance, not for rules sake, but for God’s sake. The love of God and the sharing of that love, that should come from the rules, but the rules can’t get in the way. God’s love, and the sharing of that love transcends any rule. John’s warning was to the Pharisee and Sadducees, but it is a warning that we should, that we must, heed. It is far too easy for us to find ourselves in the role of the Pharisees. You want rules? We’ve got’em.
Rules, they are necessary, but they are not the point. It isn’t the keeping of the rules that makes us holy. We are certainly not headed to heaven just because we belong to the Church. We must, we must remember that the rules, that membership in the Church, are transcended by the love of God. We have to avoid the rules trap, the one that says, you must say this prayer at this time in this way with these words, possibly in this particular language, or it doesn’t count. Really? Do you really think that God cares? If using a particular formula or a particular language brings you closer to God, makes it possible for you to truly enter into prayer, then by all means do it. Just leave the door open for everyone else. I think God just wants us to pray, to communicate, to love God and one another. Sharing love, with God and each other, that is the reign of God.

Deacon John
Second Sunday in Advent
Dec. 9, 2007

Sunday, December 02, 2007

First Sunday in Advent

Is 2:1-5
Rom 13:11-14
Mt 24:37-44

Pie in the sky. A pipe dream. That is all that many believe the idea of peace on earth and human solidarity is. A silly dream that can never be. Just look at the world around us. We are at war. Violence is on our streets and even in our homes. If not real violence, than the fictionalized violence we can’t seem to get enough of on television. We have bought into the idea that we, humans, are all so different that we cannot ever meet on common ground. How can we reconcile this acceptance of never-ending conflict with our belief in God, our belief in Christ? The reign of God is not a pipe dream, nor is it something that will happen someday. The reign of God is here, now. It is in us, and it is up to us. When we accept Christ, we cannot accept that peace and the solidarity of people is impossible. Certainly the world in its current condition does not reflect the reign of God, but do we, in our individual lives, try to reflect that reign? I may not be able to change the entire world on my own, but I can influence the world immediately around me. When we, as followers of the Christ, together climb the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, we can have an impact. When we beat our swords into plowshares, we can bring others to follow. It is up to us. Shall we work to establish the mountain of the Lord, or simply see it as a pipe dream, pie in the sky, foolishness? “O house of Jacob come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!”

Drop down dew, ye heavens from above, and let the clouds rain down the Just One.

Deacon John
First Sunday in Advent
Dec. 2, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Solemnity of Christ the King

2 Sm 5:1-3
Lk 23:35-43
Thinking of kings brings to mind the idea of splendor, of glory. After all, kings live in palaces, have people wait on them hand and foot, sit on glorious thrones, and generally are surrounded by magnificent things. Certainly we think of Christ as King, especially as we celebrate this solemnity of Christ the King. The art work that portrays Christ as king shows the very splendor and glory that we associate with kings. Christ is seen in regal pose, sitting on a glorious throne. Icons of Christ the King are studded with jewels, all portraying the splendor and glory that we see as regal, kingly.
What a contrast to the Gospel reading today. Rather than a royal salon, we find ourselves on a dusty hill outside of Jerusalem. Rather than a jewel encrusted crown, we see a crown of thorns. Not a glorious throne, instead a cross. This scene isn’t exactly the royal drawing room we associate with kings. How can this person be a king? The sign over his head proclaims him king, but no one seems to see him as a king. The crowds jeer and mock him, “If you’re the King, save yourself.” He hangs on the cross, a common criminal, dying with other criminals. Even one of the criminals crucified with him jeers and mocks him. The other, however, the other sees something different. This man sees, a king. He alone seems to understand that this hill, this place, is a place of power, that this man is indeed not just a king, but the king. He sees what the others cannot, he sees what we should.
We find ourselves too often caught up in the glitz and glamour of the world. We may not have actual royalty, but we make certain people royalty. We see the trappings of wealth and power and think that they matter. We grant these wealthy, glamorous people a power that is not theirs. We see a false power, missing the point of real power. We fail to see the real power, the real glory that we should on that Jerusalem hill, for there is our salvation.
A man hangs on a cross on a dusty Jerusalem hill. Could there be a more regal setting; could there be a more glorious throne?

Deacon John
Solemnity of Christ the King
Nov. 25, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mal 3:19-20a
2 Thes 3:7-12
Lk 21:5-19

Hurry up and wait. It’s a saying I have heard before, but I always wondered what it meant. It seems nonsensical, but I think I get it now. I think what that saying is telling us is to be prepared for what is coming, but don’t be anxious about it. Get ready and wait, so that when the big event, whatever it may be, happens, you won’t be caught by surprise. Be ready for it, just don’t be anxious about its arrival. This is very much what Paul, or the author of 2 Thessalonians, is telling the Thessalonians. Too many have interpreted this passage with its famous saying, “if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat,” to be a condemnation of the poor. If those lazy bums don’t want to work, then let them starve. But that’s not what Paul is saying at all. The people of that time lived in a state of imminent expectation. They expected the Christ to return, not eventually, but now. They truly expected that Christ would come any day, any minute. With the return of the Lord so close, worldly concerns seemed trivial. Why worry about what might happen tomorrow when tomorrow might not happen. But one cannot ignore the concerns of this world in anticipation of the next. Even if the “end is at hand” life goes on until it happens. That is what the author meant, keep working, keep waiting, be ready, but keep living. Some of us today find ourselves in that same situation. Too many are shouting “the end is near.” Why worry about this world when the next is about to fall on us. I recall first encountering this mentality about 35 years ago with the arrival of a book called The Late, Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey. The end is coming it said, and coming in our lifetime. Stop worrying about everything else. The condition of this world is unimportant, because soon it won’t be here. This cottage industry of predicting the end has blossomed, reaching its culmination in the Left Behind series of books. It’s an easy thing to swept up in, but avoid the temptation. Yes, as we approach the end of Ordinary Time we will hear much about the last days, but listen to what Christ says.
“See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, 'I am he,' and 'The time has come.' Do not follow them!”
This expectation of the end becomes an excuse to not do anything about now. We can’t forget that our expectation for the world to come is tied to the world we live in. Yes, Christ will come again, someday. When that day is no one, not you, not me, not anyone else, knows. It could indeed be tomorrow or it could be 10,000 years from tomorrow. That is not for us to concern ourselves with. Our concern is this world, caring for it, caring for those who live in it. We make ready for the return of Christ by taking care of things here and now. We do indeed need to be prepared. We also need to remember to keep living. We need to hurry up, and wait.

Deacon John
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Nov. 18, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

2 Mc 7:1-2, 9-14
2 Thes 2:16-3:5
Lk 20:27-38

Seven, completeness, wholeness, the number of perfection. Seven, the pinnacle. Seven brothers are tortured, tortured to death. They refuse to deny their God, to defile themselves by disobeying God's law. For their faithfulness they receive death. Even those putting these young men to death admire their courage, their steadfastness in the face of tribulation, but they still die. They seem at the surface to have failed, and failed badly.
Seven brothers all marry, yet all die without an heir. Following the law the wife of the first to die marries the next, who also dies. She then marries the next and the next and the next, each in his turn, until she has been married to all seven, yet all seven die childless. The law was kept, but failure is still the outcome. Some even mock the law and it's keeping. "At the resurrection, whose wife will she be?" Seven, the number of perfection, yet none of these outcomes is perfect. Indeed all can be seen as failures. All can be seen as failures if we fail to see the ultimate truth in these events. "They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise." The outcome may seem as failure to human eyes. Not so for the divine. "It is my choice to die at the hands of men with the hope God gives of being raised up..." Seven is indeed the number of perfection as long as we realize that for the brothers, and for us, all is brought to perfection in God.
Deacon John
32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Nov. 11, 2007

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Wis 11:22-12:2
2 Thes 1:11-2:2
Lk 19:1-10

Being a rather short fellow myself, I can empathize with Zacchaeus’ predicament. Many times I have had to climb up on something so that I could reach what I needed, or see what was happening. I understand Zacchaeus need to climb that tree in order to see Christ. At least he was willing to climb the tree and not allow his short stature to be an impediment in seeing Christ. Zacchaeus climbed and Jesus took notice. Zacchaeus had to climb the tree to see Jesus, but Zacchaeus also had to climb the tree so Christ could see him. Without his willingness to climb that tree, he would not see or be seen. No matter how tall or short we may be physically, we too are short in stature, made short by our failure to love, by our failure to live as followers of Christ. Our sin keeps us from being able to see. We can’t see Christ, we simply don’t have the height. We too must climb. We must climb the Tree, so that we can look into his face, and see the love, the caring, the sacrifice made for us.

Deacon John
31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Nov. 4, 2007

Thursday, November 01, 2007

All Saint's Day

Rv 7:2-4, 9-14
1 Jn 3:1-3
Mt 5:1-12a

What does it mean to be a saint? What does it really mean? I know there is an answer, anyone who is in heaven is a saint. But what does that mean for you and me? Are we, can we be, should we be saints? Too often when we think of saints we think of some larger than life figure. It may be someone from the past, Francis of Assisi, or someone more recent, like Mother Teresa. It always seems to be some extraordinary figure, someone we see as totally unlike ourselves. How many times have you said, I'm no saint. We compare ourselves to these larger than life people and inevitably fall short. But how does one really become a saint? We try to live as we are called to live, we try to live a life of love. We try to share the gift of love that is ours, given to us by God, embodied in Christ, in those larger than life figures, and in people we meet every day. Think of all the people in your life, those you loved, those you knew who have gone on before us. Think of those people who did live a life of love. Are they not saints? They are saints as surely as any saint on the calendar. Other people may not know them, but we do, and today we celebrate them. They lived lives of virtue and love, the life that they, and we, are called to live. As we celebrate them, know that if we live life as we have been called, one day, that celebration will be for us, saints.
Deacon John
Solemnity of All Saints
Nov. 1, 2007

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sir 35:12-14, 16-18
2 Tm 4:6-8, 16-18
Lk 18:9-14

Money Talks. At least in our world it certainly seems to. Money means power, influence, prestige, the ability to be heard. If you doubt this just look at our political system. Money is an entree to power. Want to be heard? Have the cash. Those who hold power certainly seem to hear the cry of the well-heeled as opposed to the cry of those without. Thank God that God doesn't work that way. As Sirach says, "Though not unduly partial toward the weak, yet God hears the cry of the oppressed." What I have, who I may be in the world, makes no difference. My access to God is not limited by my wealth or power, or my lack of wealth or power. What matters is that I, and all of us, turn to God sincerely, openly, and honestly. God's love for us knows no bounds, but God's love for us is based on who we are. God's love is ours because we are God's children, created in God's image. God hears our prayer, heeds our cry. Thankfully all we need to have, all we need to be is all that we are.

Deacon John
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Oct. 28, 2007

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ex 17:8-13
2 Tm 3:14-4:2
Lk 18:1-8

I have been told in the course of my life that I am persistent. OK, stubborn, pig-headed, hard-headed, but persistent just sounds so much better. I have to admit that I can be a bit relentless in the pursuit of a goal, but I have always seen this as a virtue, not a failing. It can be annoying I suppose, but even Jesus points out that persistence, being stubborn, can be a virtue. The woman in pursuit of a just judgment from the unjust judge achieves her goal by being stubborn. She refuses to give up, pushing her petition until the judge relents. Christ asks us to be as persistent, as stubborn, in pursuit of our goal, salvation. Pray unceasingly, petition God without becoming weary. That is the hard part. We can pray for hours on end, weeks or months or years on end, seemingly without effect. At times the easier course would be to give up. Why keep pounding your head against a wall if the wall never moves? One of our problems is that we insist on doing this alone. We never need to be alone in our stubborn pursuit of God. Moses led the people of Israel into battle with Amalek. As long as Moses held his hand up, Israel won, When Moses tired and lowered his hands, the battle turned against them. Moses needed help. Aaron and Hur held his hand up, joined him in his petition, until the battle was won. We need one another, we are meant to rely on one another. Being persistent, being stubborn is hard work. We need support, we need to be held up, to hold each other up, as we stubbornly pursue God. Together we must be stubborn, so that when the Son of Man comes he will find faith on earth.

Deacon John
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Oct. 21, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordianry Time

Better late than never...

2 Kgs 5:14-17
2 Tm 2:8-13
Lk 17:11-19

Don’t pay any attention to him, he’s one of them. Don’t listen to her, she’s not one of us. How can you possibly be a Christian, you don’t believe correctly. They can’t be Catholic, they’re not orthodox enough. We don’t like to admit this about ourselves, or the communities we belong to, but we can, and do, have a tendency to become insular. We categorize and shut people out because they are the other. They are not us, not one of us, not part if us, and by definition not as good as us. We allow them no breaks and do them no favors. Yet today we rear in 2 Kings that Naaman, a foreigner, a leper, went to Elisha for help. He did as Elisha instructed and was made clean. In the Gospel ten lepers approach Jesus and ask to be made clean. Jesus sent them to se the priest and on the way they realized they were healed. One returns to Jesus, glorifying God. He was a Samaritan, a foreigner. Why? Why would God grant favors to them, foreigners? They are not us, not like us, yet they were healed. After the miracle Naaman returns to Elisha, pronouncing he will no longer offer sacrifice to any other God. The Samaritan returns to Jesus praising God, thankful for God’s favor. God shows favor to these strangers, while we, who claim to follow the Risen One, see them as the other, as a stranger, not one of us. We turn them away, using a variety of subtle and sometimes not so subtle ways to set them apart. They don’t look like us, they don’t sound like us, they don’t think like us. We set them apart. God, on the other hand, makes no such distinction, and those foreigners, granted favor by God, return praising and thanking God. How often do we, we who should know better, we who should live lives of gratitude, take God’s favor for granted? When Jesus had cured the ten lepers, one a Samaritan, a foreigner returned praising God. Jesus, on seeing this man asks, were there not ten, where are the other nine?

Deacon John
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Oct. 14, 2007

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Hab 1:2-3; 2:2-4
2 Tm 1:6-8, 13-14
Lk 17:5-10
We live in a time that has many people asking, what’s in it for me? We don’t want to do anything without some sort of pay-off. It seems as though there has to be an award, or honor or accolade attached to anything we do. It has gotten so bad that some people expect awards for simply doing what they are supposed to do. I remember a commercial that was running on television a couple of years ago, what it was for I can’t recall, but the focus was a football player. He was sitting in front of his locker, being interviewed after a game. He was disconsolate about losing, but only because losing made him look bad. He wasn’t concerned about the loss as much as how losing would hurt his chances to win individual awards. Losing was bad only because it made him look bad. Of course, he didn’t seem to play well himself, but accepted no responsibility for the team losing. He didn’t let them down, they let him down. The reporter used the old cliché, there is no “I” in team, and our protagonist responded, “There’s no we either”. This was only a commercial, not real, but real athletes, the ones we hear about, the real stars, are the athletes who are least concerned with winning individual awards. They may get them, but they realize winning is more important than theses awards. They simply go out and do what they are supposed to do, what is expected of them, and try to win. They understand that in winning they will find a reward that goes far beyond any individual accolade they may receive. Just like the servant in the Gospel, they go about their duty, doing what is expected of them, without looking for any thanks. And so it should be with us. We should go about doing those things that we are supposed to do, the things we are obliged to do, without any expectation of reward. We are called to love, we are called to serve, it is what is expected of us, what we are obliged to do. We should not ask for or expect accolades or honors for simply doing what we should do. If we do what is expected of us, if we do the things we are called to do, to the best of our ability, without expectation of recompense, there waits for us a reward far greater than anything we can imagine.
Deacon John
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Oct. 7, 2007

Sunday, September 30, 2007


I missed posting last week, I got very busy on a project where I work. You may have noticed on the side of this blog a link to the Hazelwood Chapel Fund. The Hazelwood Center, where I am employed, is a residential care facility for developmentally disabled adults. We set out a couple of years ago to build a chapel and today it was finally opened. The chapel will be a great blessing to the residents, their families, and the employees, providing a quiet space for prayer and reflection. It's also been a painful couple of weeks, since I managed to break a couple of ribs, (stupidity on my part, don't ask!). Thanks to all who lent their support through prayer for the success of our effort to make this dream of a chapel a reality. God bless you.
Deacon John
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sept. 30, 2007

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary time

Am 6:1a, 4-7
1 Tm 6:11-16
Lk 16:19-31

“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” This is the Gospel according to Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street. Greed, avariciously filling all of our wants and desires, without regard to the consequences, the consequences to ourselves or those around us. Get it while you can, and keep it for yourself. Unfortunately that seems to be a pretty good description of our world. I got mine, you’re on your own. We are complacent, self-satisfied, ignoring the collapse occurring around us. Lest we make the mistake of thinking this is a modern phenomenon, the prophet Amos for the last two weeks has assured us it is not. He excoriates the people of Israel, complacent in their wealth, taking what they want, cheating the poor, while society crumbles around them. Their world did crumble, but I suppose the darker side of human nature is just too persistent. The wealthy man in the Gospel reading today has all he could want or need. He lives life large, a fine home, the best clothes, rich and sumptuous food, all the while ignoring the poor man at his door step. Or perhaps he didn’t actually ignore Lazarus, he just didn’t see him. Lazarus, and all those like him, simply didn’t exist, at least not in this wealthy man’s world. Not until he needed him. Suffering torment after death, he begs Father Abraham to send Lazarus to comfort him with water. Abraham says no. Realizing that he is where he will be, without hope of reprieve, he begs Father Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his brothers, for “if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.” But Abraham again refuses, telling the wealthy man that his brothers have the words of Moses and the prophets. If they won’t listen to them, “neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.” Our wealthy friend’s fear for his brothers was well-founded. The darker side of human nature is persistent.
Greed is good. We are complacent in our wealth. We live well without seeing the poor on our doorstep. We don’t even notice them, don’t even know they are there, until we need them. We continue on our merry way, with out regard for the consequences to ourselves or others. We still do not see, we still do not hear, even though Someone from the dead has come to us.
Deacon John
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sept. 30, 2007

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ex 32:7-11, 13-14
1 Tm 1:12-17
Lk 15:1-32

I used to have a calendar that basically contained my entire life. Appointments, notes, places I was supposed to be, things I was supposed to do, all of them were in that calendar. Without it I could not function. Once, I lost it, and despair ensued. This was a paper calendar, in the days before PDA’s. There was no computer backup. How could I possibly hope to recreate this calendar? I could never remember all of it. That’s why I had it in the first place. I searched everywhere for that calendar. If it was lost, so was I. Without it things were incomplete. It finally turned up (thank you, St. Anthony!), even though the most exhaustive search I could mount didn’t find it. That calendar was lost, like the coin was lost by the woman in the Gospel. She had ten coins, looked again, and only had nine. How did it get lost? Who knows? It just wasn’t there. She searched everywhere until it was found. That coin mattered. The lost sheep in the other story, however, is a little different. Unlike the coin, it didn’t simply vanish without explanation, it wandered away. I doubt the sheep intended to wander off, it simply wasn’t paying attention and found itself separated from the flock. The shepherd, realizing the sheep was gone, began to search, refusing to stop until the lost sheep had been found and returned to the fold. That sheep mattered. Then there is the son who decided he wanted to go off and live it up. He did not just vanish, or wander off without realizing how lost he had become, he left intentionally. He was lost, but not exactly in the same way as the coin or the sheep. He chose to jump off the edge, a decision he came to regret. Even though he left voluntarily, his father never stopped looking for him. He didn’t mount the massive search that the woman or the shepherd did, but he looked, he watched, and he waited. The passage says that he caught sight of him while he was still a long way off. I can only conclude that he was looking for him, watching to see if he would return. Even though he essentially abandoned the family, even though he squandered part of the family wealth, this son mattered.
When we get lost, we get lost in much the same way. Sometimes we just vanish. Maybe we stop praying, maybe we just stop thinking about God, we forget that we need our faith, and we are just lost, no real explanation, it just happened. Sometimes we are like the sheep, we get distracted by all of the stuff in the world around us and we wander away following this whim or that fad and look up one day to find ourselves lost, away from the fold, and not really sure we can find our way back. Too often we are like the Prodigal Son, we take our inheritance and toss it away. We get lost alright, we get lost because we want to get lost. We are certain that all of this other stuff the world has to offer is a lot more fun, and we dive in until we find ourselves bankrupt, spiritually and emotionally bankrupt, lost, and wanting to go home, but afraid. No matter how we manage to get lost, the search for us is on. Just like the woman searching for the vanished coin, God seeks us when we disappear. When we wander off like the sheep, God, like the shepherd, searches for us until we are found. When we throw it all away and run off like the Prodigal Son, God never stops looking for us, watching, waiting for us to return. When the coin was missing, when the sheep was lost, when the son was gone, things were incomplete. When we are lost, somehow things are incomplete, so God seeks us out, looking for us, waiting for us, to welcome us back, because we matter.

Deacon John
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sept. 16, 2007

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Wis 9:13-18b
Phmn 9-10, 12-17
Lk 14:25-33

Can't you just read the headlines?
Religious Leader Urges Breaking Up Families!!
Dump the wife and kids and follow me, says Galilean fanatic!
Experts fear societal devastation!
No, what Jesus is really calling for is a plan, a cost/benefit analysis. What will it cost to follow Jesus? What will it cost to not follow? A person going into business can't go blindly. There has to be a plan, a knowledge of what it will cost, what sacrifices will have to be made so the business can succeed. A person going into a business must know if the rewards that can be reaped are worth the cost, worth the sacrifice. Decisions have to be made, after all, not deciding is deciding.
Each of us must plan, make decisions in the same way for our lives. I'm diabetic, so I have to plan. I have to plan what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat. I have to plan so I can remain healthy. If I don't plan, if I don't decide what to do about food, I pay a price. I may feel bad in the short term, and do real harm in the long term. I have to sacrifice the things I want now, so I can have a better future. Sometimes, the decisions are really , really, hard. They are nothing, however, compared to the decision each of us is called to make in following Christ. We have to plan. We have to weigh the cost of the sacrifices we may be called to make in order to follow Jesus. We have to make decisions, we have to be proactive. Just like the business person who plans, who sees the reward that follows the sacrifice, just like the diabetic planning meals, we must plan, we must decide. Not deciding is deciding. Sacrifices may be made at great cost, but
the reward is priceless.
Deacon John
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sept. 9, 2007

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Is 66:18-21
Heb 12:5-7, 11-13
Lk 13:22-30

We human beings are an odd lot. We claim we don't want to work hard. Wouldn't life be grand if everything came to us easily, with little or no effort? We may say it, but we don't really mean it. The things in life we appreciate the most are the things we have to work for. Indeed, the more effort expended in achieving a goal, the more we treasure the accomplishment. That need to work for something before we appreciate it is at the heart of the Gospel today. Jesus tells us to strive to enter through the narrow gate, the more difficult way. Yes, God's grace is a freely given gift, and nothing we can do will earn it. We must take this gift and use it. Last week we spoke of making a radical commitment to follow Jesus, today we learn more about just what that commitment means. Jesus wants to set us on fire with faith. Jesus gives us that fire, but we must use it. The path is not easy, there are countless distractions and pitfalls along the way. When we accept the gift of faith, the blazing fire of Christ's love, that fire can become for us a torch, a torch that guides our steps along that narrow path. It's not an easy journey. We will stumble, fall and lose our way. But when we let it, that blazing torch of faith can lead us to a goal that we will appreciate more than we can now imagine.
Deacon John
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Aug. 26, 2007

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jer 38:4-6, 8-10
Heb 12:1-4
Lk 12:49-53

As you may have seen, the United States Marine Corps has a new advertising campaign built around the slogan, “We don’t accept applications, just commitments.” The obvious implication is that being a Marine is not just a job, or something that ends, but a complete way of life, a world view, a way of being that affects everything you do for the rest of your life. The Marine Corps says that there are no ex-Marines, only former Marines. I was not in the Marine Corps, but I have the privilege of knowing several people who are former Marines, and from what I can see this is absolutely true. Service in the Marines informs their entire lives, it is truly a commitment. This kind of commitment has an affect on your relationship with others. No matter what, you are always a Marine. It is a commitment that burns like fire. This kind of total commitment is what Jesus is talking about in the Gospel reading today. Jesus seeks to set the world on fire, on fire with a radical commitment to faith, to belief in God, belief in Jesus, and total commitment to living as a Christian. This commitment should burn like fire, this commitment should be the driving force of your life. Everything you say, do or think should be rooted in this commitment to radically follow Jesus. The problem is not everyone can accept this commitment for themselves, or accept it in others. Jesus did not seek to cause division, he knew, however, the divisions this radical commitment would cause. It will cause divisions, it can bring great pain. One needs only to look at the lives of some saints to see this division brought on by a radical commitment to Christ. When Francis of Assisi committed to radically following Jesus, his father disinherited him. Yet Francis burned with faith, on fire with his commitment to radically follow Jesus. His life demonstrates one of the properties of fire, unchecked it will spread. The fire that burned in Francis may have turned some away, but that fire was caught by others, who began to burn themselves with faith, with the commitment to live for Christ. It is that faith, that commitment, that fire that we are called to. When we burn with faith some will turn away. Some, however, will catch fire and begin to burn as well, spreading the fire of faith and commitment. But it must be on our part a radical change in how we view the world, ourselves and others. Not just an application, but a commitment.

Deacon John
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 19, 2007

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Rv 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab
1 Cor 15:20-27
Lk 1:39-56

Mary knew. She knew what God had done for her, she knew what God was asking her to do. She knew. Despite what misgivings she must have had, despite the difficulties and sorrows she undoubtedly knew she would face, she said yes. Each day in Evening Prayer we repeat the words of the great prayer from the Gospel of Luke, "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant." Mary knew, and said yes, she was indeed full of grace. No wonder that Wordsworth calls he "Our tainted nature's solitary boast." Her Assumption is a foreshadowing of what we pray will be for us. We must look to her, our example, her life, her yes, a statement of what our tainted nature can be.
Ave, Regina caelorum,
ave, Domina angelorum,
salve, radix, salve, porta,
ex qua mundo lux est orta.
Gaude, Virgo gloriosa,
super omnes speciosa;
vale, o valde decora,
et pro nobis Christum exora.
On this Feast of Mary I ask that you pray for Archbishop Joseph Kurz, the new Archbishop of Louisville as he begins his tenure. His task is a difficult one, please keep him and us in your prayers.
Holy Mary, Mother of God
Pray for us.
Deacon John
Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Aug. 15, 2007

Monday, August 13, 2007

Ninteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

OK, OK, I'm a day late....

Wis 18:6-9
Heb 11:1-2, 8-19
Lk 12:32-48

In a former lifetime, at least it seems that way, I worked as a branch manager for a small savings and loan institution. Occasionally the president of the company would get out and visit the branches. As you might guess, there was a sophisticated early warning system that alerted branches that he was coming. If he came to your branch, you waited until he left, then called all the others in the area to let them know where he was. One day he stopped in the branch I was working, without any warning. Fortunately, we were busy, and not involved in a rousing game of over the counter volleyball, so we managed to look pretty good. As he was leaving he said “Don’t call anyone and warn them.” I didn’t. This did point out to me, however, the great value in being prepared. The best way to be prepared was to simply do the right thing. In the Gospel today that is what we are being called to do, to be prepared by simply doing the right thing. That is what is expected of us. We know what to do, all we have to do is do it. The catch is, there is no early warning system. We can’t wait around and hope to be doing the right thing at the right time. We don’t know in advance what the “right” time will be. So we can take our chances, or we can do what is expected of us. That day the president of the company came unexpectedly, I was cured, I didn’t want to get caught. We behaved professionally all of the time. That’s all Jesus is asking of us, behave like we believe, and not just at the “right” time. Indeed, the right time is all of the time.

Deacon John
Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Aug. 12, 2007

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Feast of St. Lawrence

2 Cor 9:6-10
Jn 12:24-26

The example had been set. The example of self-emptying love, a love so self-emptying that he would die for his friends, for us. The example was set defining the life of service that is diaconal ministry. Jesus gave us this perfect example of diakonia. Some 250 years later, Lawrence followed that example, to the point of surrendering his life, an example himself of the self-giving that should be the hallmark of the service of the deacon. Yes, much of the story of Lawrence is legend, but that doesn't mean it isn't true. It carries a great truth, a truth about service, about love of God and man, a great truth about being a deacon. The story was preserved for a reason. It shows us the call that the deacon has to be self-sacrificing, to live a life of kenotic, self-emptying love. I doubt that many of us will be called upon to live our ministry out to this full measure. Yet we are called to empty ourselves for the sake of Christ. In honesty I must admit that I too often fail to be as self-emptying as I should, and I would surmise that I am not alone. Kenosis, self-emptying, is what we are called to. The example is there, it can be done. the example is there in Jesus, mirrored in Lawrence, and in many others. As we work to be examples of kenotic love, let us keep our focus on these examples. St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr, pray for us!
Deacon John
The Feast of St. Lawrence
Aug. 10, 2007

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ecc 1:2; 2:21-23
Col 3:1-5, 9-11
Lk 12:13-21

Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth,vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!
The readings today reminded me of an old joke. A wealthy man was about to die, and as he lay on his deathbed he called for his doctor, his lawyer, and his priest. He spoke to them and said, “I know they say you can’t take it with you, but I am and you are going to help me.” He gave each of them a bag containing 2 million dollars in cash, all of his wealth. He told them, “When my coffin is lowered into the grave, just before the grave is filled in, drop the money into the grave with me.” Soon after he died, and at graveside the doctor, the lawyer and priest stood, preparing to fulfill the man’s request. Then the doctor admitted, “I know it was wrong, but the hospital needed a new x-ray machine, so I used some of the money to buy it.” With that he tossed in the remainder. The priest then sheepishly confessed to using some of the money to put a new roof on the church. The church was leaking badly and the money, after all, was just going to waste. The lawyer looked at both of them, shook his head and said, “I am ashamed of you,” as he dropped a check for the full amount into the open grave.
No, you really can’t take it with you. I have yet to see a hearse with a luggage rack. Qoheleth bemoans that one struggles through life amassing things that still do not bring peace. The wealthy man in the Gospel has accumulated enough to live a life of ease, but will never benefit from his labor. So is it wrong to accumulate earthy wealth and goods? I hope not, I, like most of us, tend to like my stuff and my comfortable lifestyle. We work hard to earn what we need to take care of our families and ourselves, to get the things we need, and with a bit of luck, some of the things we want as well. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as we understand that at the end of the day it truly is just vanity. We can invest in pensions, 401K’s houses, cars, anything else, and buy ourselves a temporary bit of peace of mind. Yet you may as well do as our friend in the joke did, and have it all tossed into the grave. That is, finally, all it is really worth. We work hard to take care of the needs of this world; we need to work just as hard to take care of the needs of the next. We spend hours at work, how much time do we spend at prayer? We spend hours at work, how much time do we spend with our families, our children? We spend great amounts of money on clothing, cars, vacations, how much do we spend to aid those who aren’t as fortunate as we are? My goal here is not to make you feel guilty, or to tell you that your earthy things are evil. None of you could be more guilty than me. We have an obligation to take care of our families so we work to get what we need, and if we’re lucky, some of the things we want. Just remember that as we struggle to meet these earthly needs we cannot ignore the needs that, in the end, are the only ones that count.
Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!

Deacon John
18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Aug. 5, 2007

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gn 18:20-32
Col 2:12-14
Lk 11:1-13

Prayer; as much as I hate to admit it, I do not spend enough time at it. Oh sure, as a member of the ordained clergy I say the required prayers, but beyond that, I don’t spend nearly enough time praying. Like most people these days, I don’t have a lot of time, but that’s not the main reason I don’t seem to pray enough. For me, and I think for many of us, so often when I pray, nothing happens. I want to feel all of these wonderful things, I want to have a great emotional experience, but I don’t. I want the things I’m praying for to happen NOW, but they don’t. So discouraged, disheartened, and maybe even a little disillusioned, I don’t pray. Even though I know better, I don’t pray. If anyone came to me saying these very things, I would encourage them to keep praying, to be persistent, to never stop. So why can’t I take my own advice? Because it’s easier to stop than to struggle through, persistence is hard, it takes effort, sometimes more effort than we are willing to expend. Yet today’s readings speak to us of prayer, and of the importance of being persistent. God speaks to Abraham, telling him that he is going to check out all the stories about Sodom and Gomorrah, and if they are true, well, let’s hope they aren’t, because you don’t want to be there if they are. Abraham then dares to approach God asking if God will sweep away the innocent with the guilty. Would God spare the city if there were fifty innocent people there? God acquiesces to Abraham’s request, but Abraham does not stop, continuing to ask God to spare the Sodom and Gomorrah until God agrees to spare Sodom and Gomorrah even for the sake of ten innocent people. In the Gospel a man has visitors show up late at night, and he has nothing to feed them. He goes to his neighbor seeking to borrow three loaves of bread, and is rebuffed. Go away, I’m in bed, I’ve already locked the door, but our man is persistent. He doesn’t go away, he continues asking until his neighbor relents and gives him what he needs. In each of these cases it would have been easy for either Abraham or the man with the late arriving guests to walk away. Abraham, after all, got essentially what he wanted on his first attempt. Our breadless friend could simply have said, sorry, I won’t bother you anymore, and sought another way to care for his guests. Persistence helped them get the things they needed. The hard work of persistence helped them get what they needed, and maybe to appreciate it. We want everything, and we want it yesterday. (That, however, is another homily.) Jesus tells us, “Seek and you will find, ask and you will receive.” Our breadless friend got what he needed by asking. Abraham got what he wanted by asking.
“What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” What we need is there for us, God wants us to have it, all we have to do is ask. As difficult as it may seem at times, as much as we may not want to, even though it may at times seem pointless to us, what we have to do, what we need to do, is pray.

Deacon John
17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 29, 2007

Friday, July 27, 2007

Continuing Education for Deacons

I have just returned from this year's session of N.D.I.C.E., The National Diaconate Institute for Continuing Education. A link to the N.D.I.C.E. webpage is provided on the side of this page. I would urge all of my deacon brothers and their wives to attend this conference if possible. I would especially like to ask those deacons west of the Mississippi River to consider attending. We need more diversity geographically and racially. The sessions from this year's conference are available as podcasts on the N.D.I.C.E. webpage. Though the sessions are geared toward deacons, the talks can be valuable to anyone. I especially reccomend the talk given by Sister Anne Bryan Smollin, CSJ. A true New Yorker, she spoke so fast the I think she gave a four hour talk in one hour! The sessions are good and informative, but the opportunity to meet with other deacons from around the country is the best part of the conference. Thanks to N.D.I.C.E. I have friends from many dioceses, and I look forward to seeing them each year. The conference is held at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, an easy place to reach either by car or by air. I urge my brother deacons and their wives to join us next year in Cincinnati. The conference dates are July 20, 21, 22, and 23. I look forward to meeting you there.
Deacon John

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gn 18:1-10a
Col 1:24-28
Lk 10:38-42

The three most horrific words in the English language, at least for me, are … “Some Assembly Required”. All of you parents out there know exactly what I mean. I hate it when I buy something, bring it home, and then have to put it together. It never goes the way it is supposed to. If my wife and I ever get divorced, it will be over some item labeled some assembly required. The last thing we put together was a grill. As we began my wife looked at me and said you’re angry already, and we haven’t even started. I replied that I knew I would be angry at some point, so why waste time? Cut to the chase and get angry now. Of course it would help if I would listen to the directions instead of just bulling ahead, thinking I can do this, who needs directions? In the gospel today Jesus visits the home of Martha and Mary. Martha is running around, taking care of all the things that she thinks are necessary to properly care for the guests she and her sister are entertaining. Mary, on the other hand, sits at the feet of Jesus, soaking in what the Lord has to say. In exasperation Martha asks Jesus to tell Mary to get up and help with the work. Jesus tells Martha to stop worrying, Mary has chosen the better part. Many people have interpreted this to mean that contemplation, sitting quietly, is superior to working, to acting, to doing things. However, like many things in our faith this is not an either or situation, it is rather a case of both/and. Martha was running around doing things, important things, acting much the way we do, jumping in, trying to fix things, running from this thing to that, and unfortunately often accomplishing little. Mary was doing the thing we all need to do first, she was taking the time to get the directions. We need the directions to know what to do, to know how to act. It isn’t that one way of being isn’t better than the other. We need both. We need to act, but we need direction, and that direction can only come from taking the time to sit at the Lord’s feet and listen. We need to read, to study, and most of all to pray. Life comes in a box labeled “some assembly required”. We can struggle, trying to put it together, growing angry and frustrated, or we can read the directions. It may not always go smoothly, but at least with the directions we have an idea of where to go.

Deacon John
16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 22, 2007

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dt 30:10-14
Col 1:15-20
Lk 10:25-37

A man was traveling from one town to another. Along the way he falls prey to robbers, who take his possessions, beat him, and leave him for dead along the side of the road. The one person who stops to help him, the one person who shows mercy, the one person who acts with love, is surely the last person our crime victim would have expected. A Samaritan, undoubtedly this man’s sworn enemy, is the only one to show love to the man who was beaten. These people lived in a very polarized world. Either you were good, or you were evil. Either you are with us, or you are against us. There was little room for a middle ground. Yet from this highly polarized world, emerges one who transcends that polarization, who rises above ethnic, religious, racial differences, to care for someone who probably could not stand him. If the tables were turned, it is doubtful our victim would come to the aid of his savior. When Jesus used this example it must have shocked his listeners. How could a Samaritan be capable of such an act? Either you are with us, or you are against us, they lived in a very polarized world.
The world we live in today is just as polarized. We are, after all, a people at war. Other people are either good or they are evil. Either they are with us or they are against us. War pushes us to place someone in the role of the other, someone so evil that there can be no redeeming quality to them. Yet that enemy is a human being, a person just like us, a child of God, just like us. War pushes us to deny the enemy’s humanity. After all they hate us, they want to kill us, indeed they have already tried, all too successfully. The human response is to hate back, right? The human response is to return hate for hate, right? The Samaritan undoubtedly realized that the man he was helping quite likely despised him. He could have just as easily passed him by. Yet the Samaritan chose to act in the truly human way, by rising above prejudice, by rising above religious and ethnic differences, and returning love for hate. Yes, there are those who hate us. Yes, there are those who may indeed wish us dead. They have pushed us into war. War makes us forget. It makes us forget who we are, it makes us forget what we believe, it makes us forget who are neighbor is. Our world is polarized. Either you are with us, or you are against us. Lord, what must I do to attain eternal life? Love God with all your heart, all your mind and all your soul, and love your neighbor as yourself. And who is my neighbor? That man over there with the bomb, he is my neighbor.

Deacon John
15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 15, 2007

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tuesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Gn 32:23-33
Mt 9:32-38

Two men meet on the road and begin to...wrestle? Why, in a land where hospitality is so valued, would two complete strangers meet on the road and begin to wrestle? Exactly who was Jacob wrestling with? Was it an angel, or perhaps even God? If Jacob was wrestling with God or even an angel, how is it that this stranger was forced to intentionally injure Jacob by wrenching his hip, in order to avoid losing? How did Jacob wrestle with God and not lose? If we see this as an actual physical wrestling match, God should win with no difficulty. But Jacob held his own, more than held his own, and would have won had his hip not been injured. If, however, we look at this differently, not as an actual, physical, wrestling match, we can see Jacob winning. If Jacob were wrestling with God in his heart, in his soul, in his mind, Jacob could win easily. After all, we do it all of the time. I don't believe that any of us does something that we see as evil. Whatever we want to do, even those things that can be called evil, we do, after we find a way to justify it in our minds. We turn that evil act into a good so that we can do it. That is when we win the wrestling match with God. Occasionally, in this epic struggle, God may give us a shot to the hip, not to hurt us, but to get our attention, to remind us of what we already know. Indeed, God does not want to hurt us, rather God wants to keep us from hurting ourselves. When we choose to ignore God, when we choose to do that which we know we should not do, all too often the one we hurt the most is ourselves. Perhaps we would do well to listen to God, to choose more wisely, to abstain from the wrestling match. We'd limp a lot less.

Deacon John
Tuesday of the 14th Week in Ordinary Time
July 10, 2007

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Is 66:10-14c
Gal 6:14-18
Lk 10:1-12, 17-20

The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.

Too often preachers, and others, read these words and see them as a call for “vocations”, by which they mean a call to enter religious life, either as a vowed religious, a nun or a monk, as a deacon, or especially as a priest. How can the work of God be done if there are no workers? And those workers must be priests. Now I understand the need to have more people entering these ways of following God’s call, I pray daily that more people do, especially that more will enter the priesthood. This is, however, a very narrow way to view what is meant by vocation, what is meant by being called by God. Jesus had a circle of followers, and among those he had an inner circle, those we have come to know as the Twelve Apostles. Traditionally the Twelve are seen as the first priests and bishops. So, logically, it would seem that when Jesus was sending out workers to prepare the way of his coming, he would send these proto-priests. Yet in this Gospel Jesus does not limit the persons sent to twelve. Rather he sends seventy-two. Jesus did not limit those sent to do his work to those we traditionally see as “priests”. He sent seventy-two followers. We do not know who they were. They could have been men, perhaps some were women. They may have been married or single. They may have been young or perhaps they were old, we simply do not know. What we do know is Jesus called them, and they answered the call. Our vocation is to hear that call as well. If we are young or old, man or woman, married or single, ordained clergy or not, we all have that same call. Spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ is not limited to those in Orders, or to those who have taken vows. Teaching about Jesus isn’t just the task of priests, or nuns, or monks, or even deacons. Sharing the Good News doesn’t belong just to them, it is God’s gift to all of us who believe, and it is God’s gift that all of us are called on to share. Taking Jesus to the world isn’t just their responsibility, it is our responsibility. The laborers are few because too few of us understand that we are the laborers. The vocation of sharing the Gospel is shared by all of us, all of us baptized into the Body of Christ. The harvest is abundant, and it is time to reap. Come, we have much work to do.

Deacon John
Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 8, 2007

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle

Eph 2:19-22
Jn 20:24-29

There’s an old cliché, I haven’t heard it much lately, but I’m sure it is still in use. It says, “seeing is believing”. I think that does a pretty good job of summing up who we are as a society. We are more heavily influenced by scientific method and the need for empirical evidence that we realize. We want to see, we want evidence, otherwise we remain skeptical. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, although it isn’t always a good thing either. So why give Thomas such a hard time? He hears a fantastic story, a story that all evidence tells him cannot possibly be true, and so he refuses to believe without empirical evidence. He wants to see, he wants to touch, he wants to know. When Jesus appears again, he invites Thomas, now present, to place his fingers in the nail marks, to place his hand in the wound on Jesus side, to do all he said he wanted to do in order to believe. Thomas, on just seeing, says “my Lord and my God”. Thomas sees and believes. He doesn’t even need to touch, seeing is enough. Jesus says “blessed are those have not seen and have believed”. We, all haughtily, puff ourselves up and say that’s me, I believe without seeing. Oh really? Too often, I fear, empirical evidence of our belief may be in short supply. We may go to Church, but do we take Church with us when we leave? Does the faith we profess, the believing without seeing we claim, inform our lives? We can claim to see without believing, but do our actions reflect that? Or does what we do make us seem as unbelieving as Thomas is accused of being? We may say that we do not see, but our actions may help others see. Others need to see Jesus in us. In our actions, in our lives, we must strive to reflect Jesus to those who otherwise may not see him. We need for others to see Jesus in us, so that we in turn may see Jesus, in them. To say that we believe without seeing is to deny the empirical evidence in front of us. We see Jesus everyday in the faces of the poor, the homeless, the refugees, our neighbor who may need our help. We, if we look, see Jesus there. When we act for them, when we help, when we pray, when we live for others, they see Jesus as well. When we live our belief they see Jesus in us. Then all of us can together turn to him and say “My Lord and My God”.

Deacon John
The Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle
July 3, 2007

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

1 Kgs 19:16b, 19-21
Gal 5:1, 13-18
Lk 9:51-62

If you saw the movie “The Graduate” you may remember a scene from the graduation party that occurs close to the beginning of the movie. A man comes up our protagonist, young Benjamin, and says “I have just one word for you, plastics.” I suppose it was an admonition to Benjamin to go into the manufacture or sale, or something, of plastics. Well today I have just one word for you, priorities. Priorities are what the Gospel today is all about. Jesus actually sounds harsh, almost uncaring, when he tells one man who wishes to defer following Jesus in order to bury his father to “let the dead bury the dead”. Another wishes to first go and say goodbye to his family. Jesus tells him that he must follow now and not look back. Sounds pretty rough, doesn’t it? Jesus seems to saying, walk away from everything, abandon all and follow me. Well, in a way He is. Jesus is not, however, advocating that these people, that we, must abandon our duties to family in order to follow Him. What Jesus is asking is what are your priorities? What is important to you, how important is it? What will you allow to stand in the way of following Jesus? What Jesus wants us to see is that nothing should stand in the way of our relationship with God, nothing is so important that it should keep us from following Him. In the culture that Jesus lived in, nothing was more important than family. Duty to one’s family came before everything. Burying the dead was a sacred obligation. Even a priest who would be made ritually unclean by touching a corpse was obligated to bury a body found by the side of the road, much less a family member. As important as these things were in Jesus time, as important as they still are in our time, our relationship with God is more important still. Living the Gospel should be the center of our whole life. Following Jesus, proclaiming the Good news, should inform everything we do. Our other relationships are, in essence, dependent on this primary relationship, our relationship with God. Without that relationship, nothing else matters. So today I have just one word for you, priorities.

Deacon John
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 1, 2007

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Solemnity of the Nativity of John The Baptist

Is 49:1-6
Acts 13:22-26
Lk 1:57-66, 80

A baby is born. Not an unusual event, babies are born every day. The birth of this baby is, however, different. He is born to a mother who is supposedly unable to have children, indeed beyond child-bearing age. His father, struck mute when he failed to believe God's promise, regains his voice when he writes that the boy's name will be John, just as the angel had instructed. Surely the boy born under these miraculous conditions would grow to become a great man. And so John, did, he became a great man, but not in the way we would normally view a great man. We would think a great man would live in a palace, be wealthy, have power and control over many people, yet John lived in the wilderness, wore animal skins, ate locusts and wild honey, not exactly our ideal of a great man. Yet John was a great man. He lived in this wilderness to follow the call he received from God. John's call was to preach, to let the people know that a change was coming, that the promise God had made from the beginning of time was to be fulfilled. John was called to be a voice crying in the wilderness to prepare the way of the Lord. John lived as he did to carry out his mission, to heed the call of God. We have that same call. No, we don't have to live in a wilderness. I assure I am not going to live in the wilderness. My idea of roughing it is a hotel room without room service. Our wilderness is not a physical location. We live in a wilderness where there is no faith, no love, no hope. How many of the people around us live without hope? How many have little or no experience of love? How many lack faith? Our call is to be the voice crying in this wilderness, to bring the light of faith and hope and love. It's not easy. How can we do this? The beat way i can think of is to simply do the right thing. Perform one good act. I will be honest with you, you or I may do one good thing, and it may not really have much of an effect. Alone we cannot change much, but we aren't alone. When the one good act I perform is added to yours, and to another and then another, when we act together, we can bring about change. We must, however, act together. As a community of faith we can, we should be the voice crying in the wilderness, bringing light into the darkness, bringing love into a loveless place. Together we can take up the call of the Baptist and prepare the way of the Lord.
Deacon John
The Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist
June 24, 2007

Sunday, June 17, 2007

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2 Sm 12:7-10, 13
Gal 2:16, 19-21
Lk 7:36—8:3

A woman boldly approaches Jesus while he is dining in the house of Simon, a Pharisee. She is a sinful woman, though the scripture passage does not expound on what that means. Whatever it means, she is a sinner, a public sinner, one known to all as a sinner. This sinner approaches Jesus and begins to weep, weep enough to wash Jesus feet with her tears. She dries them with her hair and anoints them, all the while getting disapproving looks from the others at this dinner. Her desire to change, her repentance for her past misdeeds drives her to this act, regardless of the opinion of others. Simon, the host of the dinner, even thinks that Jesus must not be much of a prophet, allowing this woman to touch him. The weeping woman has one great advantage over the Pharisee Simon, she recognizes her sinfulness, and is seeking forgiveness. Simon sees only her sin, not recognizing that perhaps he should join this woman at Jesus feet. We, I am afraid, suffer from the same myopia as Simon. All too well we see the sins of others, while failing to see our own shortcomings. Rather we should leap at the example of this unnamed, unknown woman, one ready to acknowledge that she has sinned, and is in need of forgiveness. When we look at our lives honestly, what other choice do we have than to join her, at Jesus feet?

Deacon John
11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 17, 2007

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Thursday of the 10th Week in Ordinary Time

2 Cor 3:15—4:1, 3-6
Mt 5:20-26

One unfortunate trait that we share as human beings is the tendency to judge other people. We know we aren’t supposed to, we know that judging is wrong, after all, we can’t possibly know the all of the circumstances surrounding another person’s behavior. We may judge them harshly, then, when we learn their story, we realize we were hasty in our harsh judgment of that person. We do this very thing with the Pharisees when we read about them in scripture. Jesus was always after them wasn’t he? So why shouldn’t we think they were bad people? Yet the very beginning of today’s Gospel has Jesus saying, “If your righteousness does not exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” If your righteousness does not exceed that of the Pharisees, implying they must have had some righteousness. They were, after all dedicated to keeping the law as completely and as well as they could. That isn’t a bad thing. What Jesus wanted them to know, wanted us to know, is that just keeping the letter of the law is not enough. We must exceed the law. Jesus goes on in the Gospel to say that if you hate, you have broken the law, if you hold a grudge, you are breaking the law. To enter the Kingdom, we must read more than the words on the page, we must go beyond them. Jesus tells us if you go to offer your gift at the altar and realize you have a problem with someone that needs to be resolved, go and resolve it, before you approach the altar. You go, you make the first move, do not wait for the other person to act, act first. Work to bring about reconciliation, even if you don’t think it is your place to act first. As a follower of Jesus, it is always our place to act first, to seek reconciliation, so that we follow the letter, and the spirit of the law, so that we keep the one commandment Jesus left us, love one another. Love is the only way we can keep the law, the whole law, letter and spirit. Act in love, then we will be doing the one thing that God asks of us, “to act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

Deacon John
Thursday of the 10th Week in Ordinary Time
Feast of St Anastasius of Cordova, Deacon and Martyr
June 14, 2007

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tuesday of the 10th Week in Ordinary Time

2 Cor 1:18-22
Mt 5:13-16

In a firehouse in Livermore California there is a light bulb that the people of Livermore claim has been burning since 1906. I don’t know about you, but I’m impressed. There are light bulbs in my house that don’t seem to last 100 days, much less 100 years. As you can imagine, this bulb has become quite the tourist attraction in Livermore. People stop at the firehouse to gaze upon and admire the 100 year old light bulb. The people of Livermore have enshrined the bulb, showcasing it for all to see. There’s even a webcam, continuously showing the 100 year old bulb. As impressive as all this is and even though I don’t want to rain on Livermore’s parade, that bulb, like all things, will eventually burn out.
In the Gospel today Jesus tells his followers that they are the light of the world, there to shine before others. Just as a lamp is lit and placed to provide light for all, so too should the followers of Jesus, shine for all to see. But, unlike the Livermore light, we all too often seem reluctant to showcase the light that is entrusted to us. Instead of shining for all to see, we reach for the bushel basket. Why do we want to hide the light? Let it shine! There is no greater light, there is no greater privilege, than being entrusted with that light. Let it shine! And remember, this light has one great advantage over the Livermore light, over all other lights, this light will never go out. Let it shine!

Deacon John
Tuesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
June 12, 2007

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Most Holy Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

Gn 14:18-20
1 Cor 11:23-26
Lk 9:11b-17

The Body of Christ. What do we mean, what do we understand when those words are spoken? What does the Body of Christ mean to us? Certainly we mean the Eucharist, the Body of Christ with us in the form of bread and wine, food, basic necessity. As we heard in 1Corinthians we are called upon to remember Christ in the breaking of the bread. As Catholic Christians we hold firmly that this is Jesus, with us as the Bread of Life. Were that the only meaning of the Body of Christ it would be enough. But the Body of Christ is so much more. It is our privilege, our blessing, to partake in this sacred meal. We receive the Body of Christ, and in doing so become the Body of Christ ourselves. We become the bread meant to feed the world. In the Gospel Jesus tells his disciples “Give them some food yourselves.” So we are called, to give them some food ourselves, by giving them ourselves. As stated by the Dutch hymnist, Huub Oosterhuis in the hymn What is this Place, “we are each other’s bread and wine.” Alone what we have to give may seem inadequate, but we are not alone. We have received the Body of Christ and now are the Body of Christ. In sharing what we have, in sharing who we are, the Body of Christ, our gifts are more than enough. Remember,
They all ate and were satisfied.
And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets.
In the Eucharist Jesus gives us the Bread of Life, his Body, so that we may be his Body, so that we may share his Body with all in need. Receive the Body of Christ, be the Body of Christ, spread that which you are.
LAUDA Sion Salvatorem,
lauda ducem et pastorem,
in hymnis et canticis.

Deacon John
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
June 10, 2007

P.S. I just can't resist a personal, non-religious cheer for the Cardinals - Louisville, not St. Louis or Rome! GO CARDS- WIN IN OMAHA!!!!!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Feast of the Visitation

Zep 3:14-18a
Lk 1:39-56

As she made her way to visit Elizabeth, Mary must have been contemplating the call she received from God. Here she was, a young woman, a child by our standards, carrying a child of her own, despite not yet living with her betrothed, Joseph. She did say yes, agreeing to what God was asking of her, but it certainly was not easy. There had to have been more than a few glances her way, questioning, clucking of tongues. She said yes, she accepted the burden. She was to be the mother of the Messiah, the hope of every girl. Still, it could not have been easy. Were she to have become discouraged, who could blame her? After being greeted by Elizabeth, Mary says, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.” Despite the difficulties she faced, despite the glances, the questions, the clucking tongues, Mary, young Mary, can still say that her soul proclaims God’s greatness and that God has looked on her with favor. Rather than being discouraged she is encouraged. She understands she is fully in God’s hands.
All of us have experienced discouragement. Things go wrong, things cause us pain, things happen that seem to want to push us away from God. And we let them. Faced with adversity, too often we turn away from God, not toward God. We may try to barter with God, to bribe God, but it doesn’t work and we don’t really mean it anyway. The going gets tough and we…quit. It just seems easier, I suppose. We forget, we forget what Mary knew, what we know, if we only stop to think about it. We are not in this alone, God is with us always, in all things. Mary knew, Mary understood that, “the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.” This day, as we celebrate Mary, let us recall her example to us, so that we can remember what God has done for us, so that we may say, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord…”

Deacon John
Feast of the Visitation
May 31, 2007

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Acts 2:1-11
1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13
Jn 14:15-16, 23b-26

There they sat, the followers of Jesus, doing precisely what he had asked of them,
While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for "the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak;
for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
I doubt they found this a difficult thing to do, they were too traumatized to do much else. Far too much had been going on in the past few weeks for them to deal with adequately. Jesus is taken from them and put to a violent and bloody death. No sooner than they begin to deal with the impact of this tragedy, Jesus is back, not dead at all, indeed he is risen from the dead. Through the next few weeks, as they attempt to grasp the enormity of what this rising from the dead means, Jesus leaves again, in spectacular fashion. Trying to understand what was happening, fearful of the reaction of the religious leaders, sitting and waiting probably seemed like a very good idea. Then it happened, the promise that Jesus made was fulfilled. The Holy Spirit came upon them and the meaning of all that had occurred opened to them. The Advocate that Jesus promised came, and now they knew what to do, they knew what to say, and fear of the religious authorities would not keep them from saying it. They began to preach and teach to all who would hear, all who would listen. They began to boldly tell the world about Jesus, not mindful of the cost.
That same Spirit, that same Advocate comes to each of us, each of us baptized into the Body of Christ. We should be out telling all who will listen about the Good News of Jesus Christ, about rising from the dead, the forgiveness of sin, and what all of that means. We should, but too often we take the stance of the followers of Jesus before the Spirit filled them. Too often we sit in our parishes, isolated and insulated from the world. Our particular church, our own parish, becomes, for us, the Church. We fail to see the larger Church, and our place in it. The Church and the world are so much bigger than the boundaries of our parish. There is a whole world out there in need of hearing what we know, that Jesus lives! That Jesus came to earth, lived, died for our sins, and rose from the dead, gaining for us eternal life! In reaching out to the world, to those who are hungry, physically and spiritually, to those who are homeless, physically and spiritually, to those who are in need, physically and spiritually, we are doing what Jesus asks of us. What are we afraid of? That some may think us strange? That we may be ridiculed? Maybe some will, but some will not, and some will listen and hear. It is up to us, to overcome our reluctance, it is up to us to live what we say we believe. This Pentecost let us pray for the grace to live our faith, to reach out and spread the Good News. This Pentecost let us pray together,
Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth! Amen

Deacon John
May 27, 2007

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Solemnity of the Ascension...Going Home

Acts 1:1-11
Eph 1:17-23
Lk 24:46-53

When it comes to the Ascension there was always in my mind one burning question, why leave? There are all sorts of deep theological reasons that I could put forth, all of which are nice, but they don’t quite get there, don’t quite answer the question, at least, not for me. The reason Jesus left, the reason he returned to Heaven, was simply that it was time. It was time to go, he wasn’t supposed to be here any longer.
In my years of study at St Meinrad School of Theology, I always loved being there. I still feel a sense of home when I drive toward St. Meinrad on a Saturday morning and the spires of the Archabbey church come into view. When I go there, however, I am going there for a reason. There is a goal I want to reach; there is a purpose for my being there. As much as I love St. Meinrad, as much as I enjoy being there with people who have become close friends, I know that I will be leaving, returning to my home. As I drive back to Louisville on Sunday evening, as I cross the bridge and enter the city, I know I am home, I am where I belong. While I was at St. Meinrad I belonged there, it was where I was supposed to be at the time. Louisville, however, remains home, the place I always return to.
Jesus came here with a purpose. From what we read in scripture, I think it is safe to say that he loved being here, he loved his life here, he loved the people around him, he loved to laugh, but he came here with a purpose. He came to show us what we can be. He came to show us that we can be so much more than we realize. He came to show us that while we love our time here, we are not home. Jesus’ time here was limited, just as our time here is limited. Jesus came with a purpose, to remind us of who we are, and to lead us home. When Jesus ascended, it was time. He was returning to where he belonged. He could no longer be limited by time or space, he was without limit. He ascended to show us the way, to lead us to our home where we will have no limits as we live in the presence of God.

Deacon John
The Solemnity of the Ascension
May 20, 2007

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Acts 14:21-27
Rev 21:1-5a
Jn 13:31-33a, 34-35

Paul and Barnabas were busily engaged in something that I doubt either of them ever thought they would be doing. Not just preaching the Gospel, as different as that must have been, but preaching to Gentiles. I doubt either of them ever expected to spend much time around Gentiles at all, much less spend time explaining the advent of the Messiah. There was not much love lost in the relationship of Gentile and Jew. To Jews, Gentiles were the other, to Gentiles, Jews were the other. Each saw the other as different. There just did not seem to be a great deal of common ground between them. Yet if the words of Jesus were to mean anything, Paul and Barnabas had to take those words, take the Word, to the Gentiles. In the Gospel reading today Jesus gives us the heart of his preaching, the essence of what being his follower means, love one another. If we refuse to love, how can we follow Jesus? Paul and Barnabas had no choice really, they had to carry the Word of God to all people, especially people who did not necessarily love them, people they did not necessarily love either.
We are called to love one another, yet look at us now. We all call ourselves Christians, but could we be any more divided than we are? We argue over the proper way to worship, the proper language to use, the proper way to address God, and that’s just we Catholics among ourselves! Among all Christian groups ecumenism may seem to be alive and well, but we still can’t agree, too often we can’t even agree to disagree. There is a panel show on a local television station called “The Moral Side of the News.” Ministers of various faiths discuss happenings in the news, and the discussions are always civil, even pleasant. They disagree, but always defer to the other persons right to disagree. This morning, however, a question came up about using feminine language in reference to God. This was prompted by a story out of Arizona about some churches now refusing to use the word Lord, considering it a masculine term. The battle lines were drawn, and for the first time I saw the discussion on this show become heated, nearly an argument, close to being uncivil. Neither side seemed ready to even consider that any idea but their own has any merit. The only thing that came to my mind is, what are we doing? Why do we argue over things that, at the end of the day, will not determine our salvation?
I can call God Mother, you can call God Father. I can say the only proper language for worship is Latin, and you can say all worship should be in one’s native language. We can disagree about a thousand things, but we must agree on one. If we are to call ourselves followers Of Jesus the Christ we must do one thing, obey one commandment:
“I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Deacon John
5th Sunday of Easter
May 6, 2007

In an argument over how to properly refer to God one man said in exasperation to the group he was in dispute with, “Probably you could be foolish enough to suppose our God male…because the word is?” (Gregory of Nazianzus c. 330-389 C.E.)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Fourth Sunday of Easter

Acts 13:14, 43-52
Rev 7:9, 14b-17
Jn 10:27-30

When I was little, a child, we used to actually play outside. We didn’t have Nintendo or computer games, or eight million TV channels. We would go outside, run around and play football, and basketball and baseball. We would go out as early as we could, and play outside for as long as we could. When the sun started to go down, and it began to get dark, the front doors of the houses would open and you would begin to hear the voices, mothers calling their children to come in. We heard them calling, but the last thing we wanted to do was go in and stoop playing, so we just chose not to hear. We ignored the calls until they became insistent, and we understood that if we had to go in, now. We would reluctantly go in and make excuses, “I couldn’t hear you, or I didn’t recognize your voice,” or some other equally bad excuse, that never worked. We refused to listen, to hear the call, and it never seemed to work out very well for us. In the first reading today Paul and Barnabas are preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ. They begin by preaching to those who should have heard them, their fellow Jews. They had the expectation of a Messiah, they were the ones waiting for a savior, for a redeemer, but for whatever reason they did not hear the call. Perhaps they should have recognized the call of God, but did not.
Then there is us. God calls to us each day, but too often we don’t hear, or recognize the call. But God speaks to us in a variety of ways, every day. God speaks to us in the questions of a child, God speaks to us in the beauty of the sunrise, in the awesome realization that world will go on for one more day. Just the fact that we are alive, that we arte here, in this place that is designed to make life like ours possible, is God speaking to us. In the readings listed at the beginning of this homily, God is speaking to us. Have you read them, do you know what they say. Was the first time you heard them at the Eucharist today, or did you take the time to read them before Mass? God speaks to us, calls to us each day, but like the little child who wants to stay outside just a little longer, we don’t heed the call. We know that hearing, really hearing that call means that we must change. When we hear that call and follow we can never be the same. We, however, don’t want to change. Even when we begin to realize that change is going to be to our benefit, we don’t want to change. We’re afraid to change, so we shut out the call, and try our best to stay outside a little longer. But, just like it was for that child, it never seems to work out very well for us. God is calling us, everyday, waiting for us to come in, to come into the joy, into the love, that is God. Listen to the call. Hear God, and then follow.
Deacon John
Fourth Sunday of Easter
April 29, 2007