Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Holy Thursday Year C - 2010


holy_thursday-300x279 (1) 
On Holy Thursday it is indeed fitting that we mediate on freedom.

In the first Reading we read that
the Israelites longed for freedom.

They longed to be free from their slavery to the Egyptians.
They longed to be free to live like God’s people and follow God’s law.

To gain their freedom from the Egyptians
Moses instructed each Israelite family to purchased a lamb and prepare it in a special way.

They were to sprinkle the blood of the Lamb on the door post of their houses and once it was cooked eat it standing.

As the Angel of the Lord passed over the houses of the Egyptians the first born of every household was killed in retribution for the sins of the Egyptians.

When the Angel of the Lord passed over the houses of the Israelites The blood of the lamb which was sprinkled on the door posts freed them from the same tragic fate.


Hence the day became known as Passover because the Angel of the Lord passed over and no harm was done to God’s People.


The Israelites were indeed freed by the blood of the Lamb.


In the second reading
we read about the Jesus the Lamb of God,
who took bread and wine,
blessed it and shared with his disciples saying
“this is my Body and this is my blood.”


Once again we hear about the blood of the lamb though this time the lamb is Jesus.

And we learn that the blood of Jesus frees us from the slavery of our sins.

The body and blood of the Lamb of God,
strengthens us in our ability to live good and holy lives.
The body and blood of Jesus the Lamb of God reminds us of Gods loving presence in our lives.


Because of the gift of the Eucharist
we are never alone,
we are never alone,
it is impossible for us to ever be alone.

At every hour of the day on the Earth and for all time
the Eucharist is celebrated and Christ is  made present among us in his body and in his blood.

And so once again we are freed from loneliness and freed from sin because of the body and blood of the Lamb of God.

Finally in the Gospel Jesus also teaches us about a new freedom,
freedom from pride,
freedom from selfishness,
freedom from becoming lost in ourselves, our own problems,
our own wants and our own needs.


In the Gospel today at the Last supper Jesus, the Rabbi, the teacher
Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God
gets up from table and removes his outer garment.

Then he kneels before each one of his Apostles
and he humbly washes their feet.
In doing so he teaches them once more how to be free.

When you wash someone’s feet you can’t be arrogant

When you are willing to wash someone else’s feet you won’t worry or quarrel about who is the greatest or the more important.

Jesus knows that only when we are humble enough to wash each other’s feet will we be free enough to love,
free enough to put our own needs aside,
and free enough to pour out our lives in loving service.

A proud man,
a selfish man,
will never find the strength and the courage to wash someone else’s feet or 
lay down his life for a friend.

Yes Holy Thursday is indeed about freedom
freedom from slavery to sin,
freedom from Isolation and loneliness,
freedom to live in Holy Communion with the Body and Blood of Jesus,
freedom from selfishness and
freedom to love.

These are the gifts of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

These are the gifts which the Church calls us to we remember and  meditate on this Holy Thursday and every Holy Thursday.

Let us always desire to be free in Christ Jesus

Amen.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Palm Sunday Year C - 2010


Holy Ones I would like to share with you just a few thoughts after the powerful reading of the Passion of our Lord.

We all know the world is just not compassionate.
Everyday people walk by those in need without offering help.
Sometimes when someone is being robbed or mugged and they call for help no one even comes to their aid.

Sometimes people are so afraid of getting involved that they don’t even call the police to get help.
For years and years and years people without means have been refused medical treatment or received substandard medical treatment.

I know of families where the Mom and the Dad had to civilly divorce each other in order for one of them to get the medical care they needed.

When the economy crashed little mercy has been shown for those who, through no fault of their own are unable to make their payments.

Mercy is a rare commodity indeed…
When we fail
When we suffer
When we are confused or have doubts
When we have an illness or addiction
When we are tired or burdened
When we make mistakes
When we have financial problems
The world,  offers us little compassion or understanding.
And yet that’s exactly the opposite of how Jesus would have us live
In the Passion from St. Luke we just heard Jesus offered compassion over and over again.

When he knew he was facing death Jesus did not get lost in his own worries or suffering instead he showed compassion for his disciples and gave them the incredible gift of the Eucharist and his eternal promise to be a part of our lives forever.
“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer,
he said…Then he took the bread, saying,
“This is my body, which will be given for you;
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood,
which will be shed for you. Do this in memory of Me.”
Jesus, a man who was facing a horrible death, was focused on those He loved.
His thought and concerns were not for Himself but rather for his disciples.
When Jesus knew that Peter would betray Him… He didn’t yell at Peter or berate him or reject him,
rather He showed compassion and prayed for him.
Jesus tried to assure him that even though he knew of Peter’s betrayal he still loved him.

“Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded
to sift all of you like wheat,
but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail;
and once you have turned back,
you must strengthen your brothers.”
When the disciples feel asleep as He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane,
Jesus did not tell them how disappointed he was in them but rather encouraged them to get up and  pray,
so that they could remain faithful in the future when they themselves would face the ultimate test.

“Why are you sleeping?
Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test.”
When Judas arrived and betrayed Him
Jesus tried to search deep within Judas’ soul to see if there was anyway to save Him and in his desperation He said
“Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

Her hoped that Judas would remember their friendship and the life they shared.
Alas, He found only a hardened despairing heart in his former friend and Apostle.
And when the disciples started to fight or battle  for Jesus… He said

“Stop, no more of this!”
Then He showed His compassion once more by touching the  ear of the servant who had been wounded and healing him.
And even when He hung above the world on the cross in agony, He was full of compassion and He begged for His executioners and He begged for each and every one of  us.
when He said.

“Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”

Finally when a criminal, who had led a life ridden with selfishness and violence and sin, begged for mercy in His final moments Jesus said 

“Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
The good thief was given incredible compassion indeed.
You know even in the best of times when things are going really well it is not easy to be merciful
and compassionate.
But you can really tell the measure of a man by how compassionate he is 
when he is a difficult situation,
When his life is threatened or
when he suffers.
Only then can you really see how compassionate a person can be.

With all that He faced and all that He suffered Jesus remained compassionate until the end.
The world would be such a better place if all of us did the same.
Let’s be merciful
Let’s be forgiving
Let’s be gracious with those who fail
And
Let’s be compassionate
I encourage you, I beg you, all to invest deeply in Christ’s love for us this week.

I know most of you are going home to be with your families.
Try your best to attend all of the Easter Triduum Liturgies.
On Holy Thursday we remember the Lord’s supper and the Eucharist.
We also remember the gift of humble service that all of us are called to share.
On Friday  we mediate once more on  the love of our God who hangs from a cross.
On Saturday there is the beautiful Easter Vigil it is long but so very meaningful.

In it we trace the history of salvation, renew our baptismal promises and welcome new members into the Church.
All of these will be celebrated on our Campus for those who plan on staying and in your parishes for those who are going home.
Tomorrow night we will have our Traditional Candle Light way of the cross. It is very moving, as different groups of students carry the cross around campus and meditate on Jesus’ final steps on earth.
I encourage everyone here to participate.
Sisters and Brothers…
Please
Lets us all strive with all our heart to be more compassionate like Christ who laid down his life for each and everyone of us.

He laid down his life so that we might be set free from sin and better able to love compassionately .
Amen

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mighty to Save


In case the player doesn't open in Facebook here IS THE LINK

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Micro Center and Blocked Religious Content

A while ago I blogged about a visit to Micro Center, my favorite computer store, and how I discovered that they were blocking all religious content on the computers in their store. To look at that post click here.
Not long after the my post I received a comment from their corporate headquarters.. I will post their response below.
I am not foolish or vain enough to think I had anything to do with their decision to unblock religious content. They must have made that decision way before my post. They lifted the block a day after my visit to Micro Center, and before I even blogged.  However I am grateful that they did the right thing, and unblocked their internet connection.
THANK YOU MICRO CENTER !!!
Micro Center’s Response…
Hello Fr. Schlageter,
I wanted to thank you for your feed back and make you aware that we have lifted religion from our blocks site.  This was effective 3/1/10. Can you tell me when you visited the store. I could not find a date on the blog.
Thanks,
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Thursday, March 18, 2010

5th Sunday of Lent Year C - 2010

Photo Woman Caught in Adultery Reading 1
Responsorial Psalm
Reading 2
Gospel





Once upon a time… there was a young man who turned 21 and so his friends wanted to give him a gift.

As they gathered in an off-campus house the room was filled with expectation they had already been drinking for an hour when the doorbell rang.

When they answered the door a very tall beautiful woman walked in.

There was no doubt what she had been hired to do.
The room erupted into applause and shouts all of the young men got ready for her performance.

She put down the cd player she was carrying and turned it on
As she began to “Dance”
One of the young men told me the place went wild.

Then all of a sudden one of the men in the back of the room fell silent
The woman doing the “entertaining” looked familiar.

He wasn’t completely sure.. but pretty sure that he had gone to grade school with her and that they had been in 4th grade together.

He hadn’t seen her in years.
He didn’t know what to do
He tried to watch her more closely
and then their eyes met and there was a flash of recognition in her face.

Later she told him she was panicking inside because she recognized him and didn’t know what to do.

As she danced on, the young man’s mind raced back to the memories of their youth and all the happiness and innocence they had enjoyed.

He remembered what she looked like in 4th grade when they were in the same class.

He pictured her running around on the playground.
Just as she was about to make her dance more interesting to the gawkers,
He could take no more,
and he stood up and he covered her with his sweatshirt and escorted her out of the room.

Everyone was yelling at him he yelled back at them to shut up and that he knew her.

He took her to the back of the house and turned his back as she got dressed.

He hugged her and she began to cry in his arms.

He stood up because he knew she was a person,
someone’s daughter,
someone’s sister, and his friend.

He remembered her as a beautiful little girl.
He understood she was person not a thing,
not an object,
and he was ashamed of himself and how he had acted before he recognized her.

She cried in his arms because she also understood that she was a person,
not a thing or an object
even though she had been acting like one.

She understood that she had been using the men in the room as much as they were using her.

He went back into the room…
and started to gather up the rest of her stuff
it was really awkward.

Some still were angry,
Some had left,
It was clear that others were also ashamed.

It seemed that a lot of the young men had finally understood what had happened..

No one yelled at him as he gathered her clothes and CD player.

Then he took her out the back door so she would not have to pass by them again and she drove away.

I’m not sure if they ever saw each other again…

I don’t know how the story ended.
But I do know what happened on that 21st birthday and it was powerful.

The men in the gospel did not see the woman caught in adultery as a person
she was not important to them.

In a similar way she was someone they wanted to use like the boys in the house.
They wanted to use her to entrap Jesus.

They felt that her sins had somehow removed her humanity and her dignity.

The men in the Gospel felt justified in using her because she was damaged goods.

As the woman caught in adultery stood there before all of them
filled with fear and ashamed.

Jesus didn’t deny her sinfulness,
He did not deny her brokenness,
Jesus didn’t deny that what she had done merited punishment.
He didn’t contradict the law.

Jesus simply held up a mirror so that all of the men
who were filled with anger and self righteousness in their hearts,
and all of the men with stones in their hands
could see and understand that they themselves were really not much better than her.

The oldest men left first because they had the most sins.
No stones were thrown that day.
Just like the dance was not completed at that party.

At that birthday party and in the field.
They all left in silence.

You know it is so easy to get fired up about other people’s sins.

It is so easy to think ourselves superior, better than others.

It is so easy to lose sight of the humanity of poor and the broken the addicted, the fallen sinners, those in our jails, even the sexual sinners.

How often do we refer to people as losers.
And if we don’t say it sadly we often think of it.

The questions that the Gospel forces us to ask ourselves are two fold.

The first is simply,
How can we ever pick up a stone to throw at anyone else?
How can we?
With all of our sins how can we judge anyone else?

The second is just as hard,
Would we have enough love to stand up and  cover up someone else’s shame?

Would we have to courage to stand up and say I know her.

The young man helped his friends see the woman’s humanity
Jesus helped everyone present see the humanity of woman caught in adultery.

Jesus also made them see themselves.

Let the one among us without sin cast the first stone.

Amen.

A Homily on the Vigil of the Feast of St. Joseph

 

Once upon a time in the not too distant past I had a very interesting conversation with a young man.

I approached him because I heard that he had just had a great disappointment in his life and I was wondering how he was doing.

When I asked him how he was he said...
Look how great I look who wouldn’t be happy?

His demeanor and his manner betrayed how miserable he was.
I wanted to say to him you are more than your muscles and your looks,
but I knew he was just not in a place to understand.

I pressed a little harder seeing if he would be brave enough to share his pain…
and he said with a little frustration in his voice…

Don’t you get it with abs like these I can get any girl I want?

I was amazed at his frankness but saddened by his loneliness.

Another young man was talking to me about a girl he was surprised he was starting to like.

The only problem he said that she had slept in double digits.. it took me a while to understand what  “slept in double digits.”meant.

When I finally understood I asked him what his digits were and he responded that was different,
men were supposed to have double digits.

He enjoyed her company but he wasn’t sure if he should date this girl because people thought that she was dirty and he was concerned about his reputation.

You don’t have to walk far on any campus to hear about beer.

Beer that magical yellow liquid which makes life grand.

Beer, fun in a bottle, happiness in a bottle, sociability in a bottle.

So many young men depend or are dependent on beer to dance, to talk to women, to have fun.

It almost seems that if something freaky happened and all of the beer in the world disappeared men would lose all hope of happiness or fun on a Friday night.

When I asked one young man about his goals in life he responded they are plain and simple fr. Bob,

Money I want Money…..
I will work hard, to get ahead of everyone no matter what it takes.

I will make a name for myself and while I am still young I will retire with my money so that I can have fun.

There was no mention of love, or relationship or the meaning of life…

At Ask Men.com they did what they call the Great Male Survey

48 % of Men said they would dump their girlfriend if she got fat.
(Shallow to be sure)
30% Said the would cheat on their girlfriend if there was no chance that she would find out.
(What a painful lack of faithfulness)

48% said they would look at her email or text messages without her knowing.
(Shows a lot of fear)

63% said they felt that living together before marriage was a good way to find out if it would work.

11% Thought living together was morally wrong.
(Statistics have repeatedly shown that people who live together before marriage have a higher rate of divorce)

51% Said that a relationship cannot survive without good regular sex.
What can we deduce from everything listed above?

It would seem that our culture’s idea of an ideal man is someone who spends exorbitant time at the gym caring for himself.

The ideal man is single and on the prowl for women and casual sexual relationships.

The average man wants to have lots of fun which is almost always or at least frequently chemically induced.

Being dependent on chemicals for happiness doesn’t seem to be a sign of strength to me.

Men self-absorbed by their looks, and vain to an extreme

Men Desiring more shallow relationships and less commitment.

Men who openly live by a double standard

Men who are Dependent

Are these really the type of men we want to be ?
I may be na├»ve but I don’t believe that they represent the men that I know.
I don’t think so…

Most of us in the chapel care about relationships
I would propose that most of us want to be faithful.

Most of us want to be good husbands.
Most men want to be exemplar fathers.

And to help you do so….

I would like to propose to you another example of Manhood who might seem a little out of place at Ask Men.com

His name is..

Joseph the Worker
Joseph of the House of David
Joseph the Betrothed
Joseph the foster child of Jesus

Even though he never speaks in the gospel we know a lot about him.

He was a Man of faith and a man of prayer.
He believed that God loved him and cared for him.

He believed that God cared enough to communicate with in him in a dream.

He was a man willing to take risks.
He took a huge risk in standing by Mary.
He could have been accused of being the father and
ostracized by the community.

He was a caring man
Joseph cared for Mary and he cared for Jesus

He provided as best as he could
When there was no room in the inn he improvised
and his son was born in a manger.

He was strong and he protected his young family
from Herod.
He loved them so much he took his little family on a perilous journey to Egypt.

Joseph was poor… never made a lot of money
he could afford only two turtle doves as an offering for Jesus at the Presentation

Joseph must have spent lots of time with his son
He Taught him a trade
he must have been good at it because they also called him Joseph the Carpenter.

Joseph
Transmitted the faith
He modeled what it was to be a man for Jesus

And it is impossible to see Jesus and not see the shadow of Joseph his father…

Joseph the man who gave him a generous heart a loving heart and strong faith.

Gentlemen sometimes especially when you are young

A worldly understanding of what it means to be a man is so attractive.

It is fast paced
And filled with excitement
There is the thrill of the hunt and the conquest

Some modern men live their life as if it is all about them all about their needs, their wants, etc.
others live their lives by giving it to others.

Don’t be taken in.

If you want to be a man like St. Joseph
you will have to spend your life not thinking about yourself but rather

looking for ways to pour out your life for those precious souls that God has given you to love.

That’s how St. Joseph lived

Let us go and do the same.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Benedict XVI on the Priesthood... words to ponder for sure.

 PRIESTS: COMPLETE ADHERENCE TO CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH

VATICAN CITY, 12 MAR 2010 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father received participants in a theological congress promoted by the Congregation for the Clergy, and which is being held on 11 and 12 March in the Pontifical Lateran University on the theme: "Faithfulness of Christ, faithfulness of Priests".

  In a time such as our own, said the Pope, "it is important clearly to bear in mind the theological specificity of ordained ministry, in order not to surrender to the temptation of reducing it to predominant cultural models. In the context of widespread secularisation which progressively tends to exclude God from the public sphere and from the shared social conscience, the priest often appears 'removed' from common sense". Yet , the Pope went on, "it is important to avoid a dangerous reductionism which, over recent decades ... has presented the priest almost as a 'social worker', with the risk of betraying the very Priesthood of Christ.

  "Just as the hermeneutic of continuity is revealing itself to be ever more important for an adequate understanding of the texts of Vatican Council II", he added, "in the same way we see the need for a hermeneutic we could describe as 'of priestly continuity', one which, starting from Jesus of Nazareth, Lord and Christ, and over the two thousand years of history, greatness, sanctity, culture and piety which the Priesthood has given the world, comes down to our own day".

  Benedict XVI affirmed that "it is particularly important that the call to participate in the one Priesthood of Christ in ordained Ministry should flower from the 'charism of prophecy'. There is great need for priests who speak of God to the world and who present the world to God; men not subject to ephemeral cultural fashions, but capable of authentically living the freedom that only the certainty of belonging to God can give. ... And the prophecy most necessary today is that of faithfulness" which "leads us to live our priesthood in complete adherence to Christ and the Church".

  Priests, the Holy Father continued, "must be careful to distance themselves from the predominant mentality which tends to associate the value of Ministry not with its being, but with its function". Our "ontological association with God", he said "is the right framework in which to understand and reaffirm, also in our own time, the value of celibacy which in the Latin Church is a charism imposed by Holy Orders, and is held in great esteem by the Oriental Churches. ... It is an expression of the gift of the self to God and to others".

  "The vocation of priests is an exalted one, and remains a great mystery. ... Our limitations and weaknesses must induce us to live and safeguard this precious gift with great faith, a gift with which Christ configured us to Himself, making us participants in His mission of salvation. Indeed, the understanding of priestly ministry is linked to faith and requires, ever more strongly, a radical continuity between formation in seminaries and permanent formation".

  The Holy Father concluded by telling his audience that "the men and women of our time ask us only to be priests to the full, nothing else. The lay faithful will be able to meet their human needs in many other people, but only in the priest will they find that Word of God which must always be on his lips, the Mercy of the Father abundantly and gratuitously distributed in the Sacrament of Penance, and the bread of new life".
AC/PRIESTHOOD/...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

4th Sunday of Lent Year C - 2010

image

Today’s passage from the Gospel is probably one of the best know parables in the New Testament.
It is  so well known because all of us can relate to it .
Put plain and simply we are all sinners, all of us.

Maybe we didn’t prematurely take our inheritance and run through it with reckless abandon, but all of us have made mistakes and some of them have been big.

Sad but true, notice the picture up above.
many of us still carry these mistakes in the secret of our hearts.

Many fear that their sins can never be forgiven.

The purpose of this parable is to convince us that they can,
our sins can be forgiven!

And because we have heard and read this passage so many times,
sometimes we run the risk of not taking it seriously,
not listening to it attentively
Not pondering its meaning.

You know the drill, we think to ourselves,
Oh I heard this one already.
I know how the story ends, he gets forgiven.

Sadly many times we just fade out when the Gospel is proclaimed.
This week I read a different commentary and it led me more deeply into the mystery of the parable.
When the prodigal son came home and before he could even complete his apology the father gave him three gifts.
The gifts are very significant and their meaning is important.
The first is a robe. By clothing his son in a fine robe he restores his son’s honor.

People can no longer see the effects of his sin on his body on his person.

By clothing him in that find robe the father is saying to his son “You have my respect, You have my regard, my love.”

And not only is he saying this to his son he is saying the same thing to anyone who sees the son so finely clothed.

By giving him a ring the father is restoring his sonship.
The ring was a sign of a person’s authority.  
 
By giving the Son the ring he was showing the son and everyone who saw the ring that even with all of his failures the son had his complete confidence.

People signed things with the seal of a ring.
Putting the ring on his finger was like saying my son can act in my name and speak in my place.
Finally the son had hoped to come home as a hired servant or slave.

By putting shoes on his feet the Father welcomes him home as a member of the family.

Slaves or servants didn’t wear shoes only the members of the family did.

The father’s love,
the father’s mercy,
the father’s trust were so radical
that it probably left everyone who heard Jesus proclaim this parable speechless
or incredulous.

How could anyone forgive that much they must have asked themselves?

Jesus told us that story not because it was something that simply happened in the past but rather it is something that happens everyday with God.

The church is made up of sinners,
All of  us need forgiveness
And all of us can be forgiven.

Our dignity, 
Our honor,
Our privilege to speak on behalf of God and boldly proclaim the truth of the Gospel,
Our sonship or daughtership, (if there is such a word)
can be restored no matter what.

All we have to do is ask.
The prodigal son wasn’t even able to finish his speech so quick was the father to forgive.

Forgiveness can be ours.

What holds us back from asking for the mercy all of us so desperately need?

Some people haven’t gone to confession in years
Why?

What’s holding us back from the sacrament of  forgiveness?
 
What’s holding us back from meeting the loving father on the way home.

You know in Cardinal George’s new book “The difference that God” makes he expressed a profound thought. and I paraphrase it.

The world permits everything but forgives nothing
God and God’s church do not permit everything but forgives EVERYTHING.
How true, how true indeed. 
THANKS BE TO GOD !!!

Secondly and just as important,
just like radical forgiveness is our for the asking,

We must be willing to forgive.
We must be willing to forgive quickly.
We must be willing to forgive completely.
We must be willing to let go of our past hurts.
LET THEM GO.

Are any of you following Lost. In the last show Ben Linus was about to be killed because he killed Jacob and when he explains how it all happened and asks for forgiveness he is immediately forgiven and welcomed  back into the community. WOW.

We must be willing forgive with reckless abandon just like the loving father in the story.
Finally
The parable of the Prodigal Son is the Story of three people.

One poor broken  soul who dared to even hope for forgiveness.  (Hopefully that’s us)

One loving Father who is watching and waiting for even a glimpse of his lost Son (That’s God)

And probably the poorest soul of all,
the older brother who is so lost in himself  so angry, filled with rage that he refused even to think of forgiving.

God forbid, God forbid that we should ever follow his sad lonely angry example.

Which one of these people are we..
and
Which one should we be?

Oh and by the way did you hear the first few lines of the Gospel or where you already zoning out?
The Pharisees were upset because Jesus welcomed sinners and ate with them.
When is the last time that we welcomed sinners and ate with them?
Amen

Thursday, March 11, 2010

CUA's Southside aka Conaty Spellman and Spaulding Halls are coming down...



In case you haven't seen the incredible plans for the redevelopment here is a link with lots of pictures

6 Essential Components of Catholic Social Teaching from Archbishop Dolan

1. God comes first. "His ways, His law have dominion."

2. The innate dignity of every individual human person. Every man and woman is made in the image and likeness of God and has an "eternal destiny" and a "divine character."

3. The common good is always normative. "We are never in it just for myself but for ourselves."

4. Solidarity. "We are members of a family, and we have a special duty to the poor among us."

5. Subsidiarity. "One of the geniuses of Catholic social teaching is the closer you are to the grassroots, the better you are."

6. Supreme duty to bring values, God's truth and our principles into the public square. There can be no "cleavage" between what we believe and how we act

Monday, March 08, 2010

Keeping a Holy Lent (Sent to me by a CUA Alumnus)

Fast From-Feast On
  • Fast from judging others; Feast on the Christ dwelling in them.
  • Fast from emphasis on differences; Feast on the unity of life.
  • Fast from apparent darkness; Feast on the reality of light.
  • Fast from thoughts of illness; Feast on the healing power of God.
  • Fast from words that pollute; Feast on phrases that purify.
  • Fast from discontent; Feast on gratitude.
  • Fast from anger; Feast on patience.
  • Fast from pessimism; Feast on optimism.
  • Fast from worry; Feast on divine order.
  • Fast from complaining; Feast on appreciation.
  • Fast from negatives; Feast on affirmatives.
  • Fast from unrelenting pressures; Feast on unceasing prayer.
  • Fast from hostility; Feast on non-resistance.
  • Fast from bitterness; Feast on forgiveness.
  • Fast from self-concern; Feast on compassion for others.
  • Fast from personal anxiety; Feast on eternal truth.
  • Fast from discouragement; Feast on hope.
  • Fast from facts that depress; Feast on verities that uplift.
  • Fast from lethargy; Feast on enthusiasm.
  • Fast from thoughts that weaken; Feast on promises that inspire.
  • Fast from shadows of sorrow; Feast on the sunlight of serenity.
  • Fast from idle gossip; Feast on purposeful silence.
  • Fast from problems that overwhelm; Feast on prayer that strengthens.
    -William Arthur Ward (American author, teacher and pastor, 1921-1994.)

Content Blocked...



The other day Fr. Andy and I went to my favorite computer store Micro Center. It is an incredible place with aisles and aisles of hardware, a geek's paradise. Now you know why I love to go and browse the aisles.
While Fr. Andy was making his purchases I went over to one of the new computers and decided to see how our Campus Ministry website looked on a big screen. When I typed in the address and hit return to my surprise a message came up telling me that it was blocked because of religious content. I was able to get to the main university website with no problem but when I clicked on the ministry website from the menus on the university homepage it was blocked again.

Then I began to experiment and found to my chagrin that every church site was blocked. The Catholic bishops were blocked the Vatican website was blocked. Anything with words like Catholic, or ministry, or church or synagogue or mosque all blocked as offensive. They were equal opportunity blockers.


When I asked one of the sales people on the floor they were as surprised as me but could offer no explanation, but he said maybe the store didn't want to offend anyone by having access to religious sites. They didn't seem to care that they offended me.

I understand the need to filter adult or violent web content. Sadly I don't think filters are really that effective in doing so but I agree that there is a need to protect children from some of the junk that is on the internet. I was and am really surprised that some filtering software now is set to block religious content as dangerous or offensive.

There seems to be a new secular day dawning. For years I've heard people say that we should not be allowed to express values to others especially if they are based on our religious faith. I guess blocking us from the web is just the next step in the secular world's passion to filter God our of our public discourse. Too bad too bad indeed.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

It really is a web… be careful out there…

Because we are on Spring Break (YEAH) I have had a couple of minutes to play around with the internet and download IE 8.
Last night as I went to bed I was listening to Pandora on my Iphone and I marked a song that I liked on my Michael W. Smith station.
This morning when I opened the new browser and used Windows Live, low and behold somehow Windows Live knew what songs I was listening to last night on my Iphone and that I marked a couple of favorites. I know it has been said over and over again but the World Wide Web is exactly that a web. This was however, the first time I feel that I was caught in it. We have to be so careful about what information is being collected about us who can see it.

I don’t mind people knowing what music I like to listen to but I don’t want any data on me or anyone else being collected and broadcast without us even knowing about it.

I for one will be a lot more careful in the future.
It really is a “
Brave New World “ out there.
Have a great day

Friday, March 05, 2010

With all I am.... very moving...




3rd Sunday of Lent Year C – 2010

FigTree0207_468x306
Recently I celebrated Mass for our Men’s Rugby team.

During the homily I asked the gentlemen present what their the biggest challenge to holiness is.

In other words what is the biggest sin or temptation for a young adult man who plays rugby.

Without a moment of hesitation one young man blurted out “Sex”

There seemed to be a general agreement that “Sex or Lust” was their biggest challenge or struggle.

While I believe living a holy, loving, chaste life is a challenge for everyone.
I did not agree the young man’s conclusion.

I have come to believe that the greatest challenge to holiness for young adult men, or young adult women or anyone
is the temptation put off holiness until tomorrow.

It is so easy, so tempting if you will,
to think,
I’m young,
I’m strong,
I’m healthy,
I’m whatever,
and I have time, lots of time to get holy.

I have met very few people who don’t want to be good people.
Everyone wants to be a good person,
a good husband, or wife
a good parent,
a good employee.

Once someone understands God’s word.
I’ve met very few people who don’t want to be obedient to it ….. some day.

Most of us know what it right and what is wrong
but we just baulk at putting it into practice.

Our temptation is simply to put it off.

That is precisely what Jesus is speaking about today.

In the beginning of the Gospel passage Jesus recounts two tragedies.

The first thing he does is to remove the thought that these tragedies are the fault of the people who were hurt.

During Jesus’ time well being some times was equated with God’s favor
and tragedy or sickness was equated with a personal sin or fault.

People simply thought that if.. your are blind or
if you are crippled
or
if
you are sick
it was because of your sin or the sin of someone close to you.

There are several examples in the Gospel where Jesus fought that misconception.
Personal tragedy cannot always be equated with personal sin or fault.


Jesus simply uses these to tragedies to try to convince us of the need to be ready.

You never know when a tower is going to fall on you.

You never know when you are going to be in the wrong place at the wrong time like the Galileans, and suffer the consequences.

In the second part of the Gospel with the story of the fig tree,
Jesus teaches that God is patient
Yes God is indeed patient.
God is very patient.

The fig tree which didn’t produce any fruit was not cut down.

It was given another chance.

It was cared for and watered and fertilized
and given more attention
but it still had to bear fruit.

So you see Jesus is in reality warning us about the sin of presumption
the presumption to take God’s mercy for granted.

The temptations to put off trying to live holy lives until…
When we are old…
When we are married…
When we have the privilege and responsibility of parenting…
Whenever…
are very common.

The warning of Jesus in today’s Gospel should give us all pause

But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!”

Let us resolve to live holy lives.

Holiness… If not now, when
Holiness… If not here, where

Amen

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Some thoughts on Mt 20:17-28

Today’s Gospel paints with a pretty stark picture.
A stark picture about how much Jesus’ closest friends,
his Apostles,
those he was counting on
understood his mission,and how poorly they were willing to live it out.

The  gospel begins with the third prediction of Jesus’ suffering and death and resurrection.
This time Jesus speaks about it in great detail.
He makes it very clear how and where it is going to happen.

If a friend or a confidant ever told one of us something like that we all would want to  
try to offer
some kind of consolation, comfort or support. Nothing came.
No comfort came.
No one said I’ll stand by you.
No one said we’ll lay our lives next to yours.

In fact they even refused to hear what Jesus was saying.
With the prediction of His passion and death He was definitively putting to rest the idea of a worldly kingdom where He and His disciples would be powerful rulers.

Some scholars say that Matthew was so embarrassed by the actions and words of James and John that he pops their mother into the scene to take the fall. As if to say their mother did it.

Mark puts the words on the lips of James and John themselves which is probably where they came from.

And so in Matthew the mother of James and John asks Jesus for a favor.

When you come into your kingdom (She meant worldly kingdom) make my sons #2 and #3.

Even though Jesus just explained to them what was going to happen they didn’t listen.
There is no compassion in their thoughts or minds
They can’t get beyond themselves.

They are simply concerned about their future…
their position their influence their power.

And the then the other ten Apostles became indignant.

But not because of how poorly James and John were acting but rather because they beat them to the punch.

All of them wanted to be number one.
Can you imagine how Jesus felt?

He has been with these men for around 2 years.
They have heard him preach.
They have walked with him.
They had laid close to the camp fire to keep warm.

They had seen miracle after miracle after miracle.

James and John had been at the Transfiguration and had Jesus in his glory with Moses and Elijah and they even heard the voice of God and still they didn’t get it.

They didn’t understand that the greatness they sought would not be found in positions of power or authority or wealth
but rather humble service.
Humble service.

During the snow week… I was walking back to Curley and a group of girls were on the top of a snow bank. 

The called me to come up and play King of the Mountain with them and for some reason I did.

They almost succeeded in pushing me off until I used my secret weapon and sat down. Finally my girth worked in my favor and they could not move me.

As I sat there in my habit covered in snow yelling, I’m the king I’m number one… an old priest walked by… and shook his head.

I felt foolish

Whenever we put our self as number one we should feel foolish.

Maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to judge James and John because we all suffer from the same sin.

So many of us spend our lives saying things like
I’m number one.
Or what about me…
Me Me Me Me me me

Today’s Gospel passage calls us to continually
avoid pride and selfishness.

It calls us not to seek to be
the richest
the most liked
the smartest
the prettiest or most handsome.

Rather it calls us to be the most generous and to be humble servants.

But Jesus summoned them and said,
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,
and the great ones make their authority over them felt.

But it shall not be so among you.

Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.

Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Amen.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

How the Church ends the day during lent...

During lent the Church ends the day with the Lenten Marian Antiphon.... here it is on Youtube where you can find lots of good things and lots of horrible things... If the embeding doesn't work below on your computer here is the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faNjo1exGkE


Monday, March 01, 2010

A Universal Lenten prayer (Attributed to Pope Clement XI)

Lord, I believe in you: increase my faith.
I trust in you: strengthen my trust.
I love you: let me love you more and more.
I am sorry for my sins: deepen my sorrow.

I worship you as my first beginning,
I long for you as my last end,
I praise you as my constant helper,
And call on you as my loving protector.

Guide me by your wisdom,
Correct me with your justice,
Comfort me with your mercy,
Protect me with your power.

I offer you, Lord, my thoughts: to be fixed on you;
My words: to have you for their theme;
My actions: to reflect my love for you;
My sufferings: to be endured for your greater glory.

I want to do what you ask of me:
In the way you ask,
For as long as you ask,
Because you ask it.

Lord, enlighten my understanding,
Strengthen my will,
Purify my heart,
and make me holy.

Help me to repent of my past sins
And to resist temptation in the future.
Help me to rise above my human weaknesses
And to grow stronger as a Christian.

Let me love you, my Lord and my God,
And see myself as I really am:
A pilgrim in this world,
A Christian called to respect and love
All whose lives I touch,
Those under my authority,
My friends and my enemies.

Help me to conquer anger with gentleness,
Greed by generosity,
Apathy by fervor.
Help me to forget myself
And reach out toward others.

Make me prudent in planning,
Courageous in taking risks.
Make me patient in suffering, unassuming in prosperity.

Keep me, Lord, attentive at prayer,
Temperate in food and drink,
Diligent in my work,
Firm in my good intentions.

Let my conscience be clear,
My conduct without fault,
My speech blameless,
My life well-ordered.
Put me on guard against my human weaknesses.
Let me cherish your love for me,
Keep your law,
And come at last to your salvation.

Teach me to realize that this world is passing,
That my true future is the happiness of heaven,
That life on earth is short,
And the life to come eternal.

Help me to prepare for death
With a proper fear of judgment,
But a greater trust in your goodness.
Lead me safely through death
To the endless joy of heaven.

Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.