Thursday, February 2, 2017

Happy Birthday to the Marianists

On this day in 1801, Blessed William Joseph Chaminade and a group of committed men and women formed the first Marianist sodality, giving birth to Marianist Lay Communities. As I reflect on my own involvement in Marianist communities, I pause to reflect on their impact on my life and how I relate to my family as community, my church as community, my city as community, and the wider world as community. I'm reminded of my responsibility to remember that we are to be united with one soul and one heart. I am who am I because of all I've experienced and all whom I've encountered. A part of me lives in them too. If only the whole world could experience this gift. We have much work to do to continue to build community. May we continue be guided by Chaminade's inspiration.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year's Day aka Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

In his New Year's Day (aka Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God) homily, Pope Francis addressed the importance of finding peace through non-violence. Mary's song of praise was for a different world, made possible by her allowing God into her life. May our world be different for the same reason.

To read his homily, go to

Francis has regularly written about how we must "encounter" the other to truly recognize the presence of Christ in them and allow them to recognize Christ in us. Coming out of our last election, and  attentive to the world stage that largely went unreported in 2016, may we be the peace the world needs in 2017. May we be bold enough to encounter those who disagree with us, and attempt to see the world through their eyes.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

God is Still Speaking

In the readings for the 4th Sunday of Advent, the Lord spoke to Ahaz, and Isaiah tells us “the Lord will give you a sign.”

In the Gospel, an angel comes to Joseph with a message, just like an angel came to Mary.

To borrow from the United Church of Christ, my thought for today is this: God is still speaking.

Are we listening?

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Love Wins

That's it. My reflection on the readings for the third week of Advent. Love Wins.

Patient persistence pays off. And so does seeing God in the unlikeliest of places.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Making All Divisions Cease

Reflection on scripture readings for the second Sunday of Advent.

Building on last week’s readings, this week’s first reading alludes to the day when all divisions will cease, all will know God, and it will be glorious.

Isaiah says God will not judge not by appearance, but with justice for the poor and afflicted. It is a hopeful vision. Peace on earth. Good will to all. God will strike the ruthless and wicked.  This reading made me think of Mary’sMagnificat in regard to mercy, the lowly, the hungry, the rich, etc. I think, even in this day and age, how relevant but difficult that vision is to achieve; in a war torn world, in a world of greed, in a world of haves and have nots, in a world where the way for some excludes or judges others.

In the second reading, Paul acknowledges that achieving such a vision is difficult. Being Christ-like isn’t easy, and Paul offers hope and encouragement so that we might persevere. He also gives us a command so that all those things in the first reading can be fulfilled. We must welcome others as Christ welcomed us. Jesus loved the outcasts and people in the margins. We are called to do the same. But it also means we must welcome those and be present to those whose actions cause oppression.  We must use our love, through word and deed, to change hearts.

John the Baptist, in the Gospel, isn’t worthy. He’s humble and knows that Christ can offer something he can’t.  He wasn’t self-righteous like the Pharisees and Sadducees who believe their way is the only way and that their place in life makes them superior to others.  It’s not enough to be a person of status, civil or religious. It’s not enough to say we are Christian or that we go to church, or that others are lesser for not having what we have (including jobs, education, food, money, etc.). We aren’t worthy, just as John wasn’t worthy. We must bear fruit in this world or we will be judged on the last day. We mustn’t be self-righteous. We must act as Christ would act. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Climbing the Mountain of the Lord

In Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge meets the ghosts of Christmas past, Christmas present, and Christmas future. Christmas (and Advent) is a journey for us too as we recall Christ who was, Christ who is, and Christ who will be.  With Christmas we mark the historical birth of Christ. But we are also called to prepare to take Christ into our hearts and lives so that he is present today. Doing so then prepares us for the end times when we will see Christ at God’s right hand.

Today’s Gospel reminds us to be vigilant. We don’t know when the end time will come. We must change our ways now to welcome Christ so that we’re ready for those end times.  The second reading reminds us to put on Christ and to conduct ourselves properly.

But it is the first reading that really strikes me.  One doesn’t just turn a sword into a plowshare or a spear into pruning hooks.  It takes active involvement of parties coming together, laying differences aside. As for climbing the mountain of the Lord, mountain climbing isn’t easy. One is usually dependent on others. If we want the same thing as others - to reach the other side - we must do it together or at least acknowledge that there might be more than one path, and that neither is wrong. In doing so, we can realize the Kindom of God on the other side, but here on earth as well.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Random Acts of Kindness

With Thanksgiving having just passed, we start preparing for Christmas. A popular tradition in anticipation of Christmas is the Advent calendar, which is really a December calendar since Advent begins before December 1.While December is next week, I thought I'd put this out there now for those who like to think and plan ahead. 

Many people mark each day of November by sharing something for which they were thankful. Let's use December to do something nice for others (besides gift giving for Christmas). Let's practice some random acts of kindness!

For a pdf, click here.

If I remember, I'll tweet the daily suggestion.