Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Reflecting with a Cup of Coffee

Letting go is an essential part of love...
Letting go... placing the other first
Deferring to their just wishes and desires...

Love is the gift of oneself to the other.
When we love we imitate the never ending surrender of a God who loves....
When we love we imitate a God who empties himself for us, who shares with us his only Son... who dies on the cross

John 3:16
God so loved the world that he sent his only Son that we might not perish but have eternal Life"

If love means dying
if love means emptying oneself
if love means surrendering our will and our desires to God and maybe someone else

Why would anyone choose to love ?

The answer is simple... when we love even in our imperfect way
There is nothing like it in the whole world.

Lucky, holy people have discovered that life is not about drawing things, possessions and people to ourselves

Life is about giving ourselves away.

Ask the Mom and Dad who watches their child grow up
Ask the Priest who is in awe of the holy loving people that God puts in his path everyday
Ask the young adult who feels safe to call his / her parents even when he has made a mistake, a big mistake. He/she might not be happy about calling them but he knows they will never stop loving him/her.

Thank you Lord for giving us in our small the ability way to be like you
Thank you for allowing us and even calling us to love.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Vantage Point.... YUCK YUCK YUCK

The trailer looked good so I was anxious to see it.... BUT
The Washington Post gave it horrible reviews... and THEY WERE RIGHT


Friday, February 22, 2008

The Third Sunday of Lent Year A 2008

He was tired and hot and hungry
He had traveled a long way
All he wanted to do was sit down and rest a moment

But there she was confidently carrying her bucket to the well.
He knew her.
He knew her story.
He knew her fears.
He knew that her confidence was a fa├žade to cover and protect her.
He knew everything about her and he loved her
He loved her because he was God
Tired or not
Samaritan or not
Woman or not
Stranger or not
He reached out to her
He is God…

But he knew that if he approached her too quickly it would be another wound another hurt.
He knew that if he approached her too quickly she would run and hide that was her normal “modus operandi” when she was afraid
find someone else.
He knew that if he held up the mirror and showed her clearly who she had become it would be too painful

So even though he was tired and thirsty and just wanted to sit
He approached her
He took the first step
He broke all the rules…
don’t talk to samaritains
don’t talk to women.
Don’t take water from someone who is unclean

He approached her humbly asking a favor
He began to establish a simple relationship with her
He bantered with her
And she began to trust him

She began to trust him so much that she
even challenged him.

“How are you going to give me water you don’t even have a bucket”
She said with a little swagger
She has let her guard down

And when the moment was right
with a few simple words he showed her who she had become

There was no anger or self righteousness
There was no tone of disappointment in his voice
He didn’t say “Look how you let me down”
He simply listed her sins

He showed her all of the desperate compromises she had made
And she did not run away

She began to hope
Maybe she could start anew
Maybe she could be forgiven
Maybe she could offer sacrifice
That’s probably why she wanted a clarification.
Where should she go to make amends to offer sacrifice
in Jerusalem or on Mount Horeb?

She asks him what her next step should be
He doesn’t get pulled into the polemic between the Jews and the Samaritians

His answer is simple

“Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
But the hour is coming, and is now here,
when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth;
and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.”

You can find God where ever you want
He tells her
Where you are there God is.

The conversation continues and she tells him that she hopes for the Messiah
She longs to understand “He will tell us everything”
And now after all of that preparation
He reveals himself to her
“I am he the one who is speaking to you”

Jesus gently shows her who she has become and reveals himself to her.

When the disciples returned they begged him to eat something
And he responded I have food about which you do not know
What was this food
When did he eat..
His food was loving that woman at the well
His food was building up a relationship with her
His food was restoring her to hope

So moved by his compassion and his interest in her
she does not just go back to her daily life or keep thinking of her own needs

She goes back to her village, her people and she brings them to him
How did she get them there to walk out to the well ?
She must have begged them
She must have pleaded with them
She must have cajoled them,
Somehow she shook them out of their daily routine

Like he had done for her
They all came

And after a few days they also believed
No longer because of what she had said but
Because they too had met him.

You know it seems like a simple story at first glance
It seems like normal moment in a normal day
A thirsty tired man asks for some water
Yet it is so much more

God is always looking for a way in.
Every single soul is precious in his sight
He is never scandalized by our wrongs
He really does long for us to have life, life to the full in Him

The characters in this Gospel are simple
God who loves
Broken humanity who dares to hope in that love again
And once healed brings others to it

All of us go to the well
All of us go through life doing the things we have to do
Some are tedious and monotonous like drawing water
Cleaning your room (Some of you don’t do that too offen)
Going to class

At different times in our lives
All of need to be forgiven
Actually almost all of us need to be forgiven constantly

Do we ever look at who we have become
Or What compromises we have made

Hope needs restored
No matter what our sins might be.
Will we, do we, dare to hope again
Do we dare to believe in God love

When God revealed himself to the woman
She was so much in awe that she brought others to him

Who have we brought to God
Who have we helped accept the mercy and forgiveness that God so longs to give

Where should we pray on this mountain or in Jerusalem

“You can find God anywhere”
Where you are there he is….

Most of the time He finds you..
ask the woman at the well

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Second Sunday of Lent Year A

Second Sunday of Lent Year A
February 17, 2008
St. Vincent’s Chapel 11:00 AM

May the Peace of Christ Reign in our hearts..

The contemporaries of Jesus longed to be free.
For centuries they had been a pawn of different Empires.
They were occupied, exiled and exploited over and over again.

And deep in the heart of every Israelite there was the dream to be free.
They longed to be the guardians of their own destiny.
The desired to be respected and the masters of their own fate.

And so deep in their psyche was the dream
the hope,
that a Messiah king would return
to throw out the Romans
and restore them to their rightful place in the world

That whenever anyone said the word Messiah,
that dream, that hope,
stirred in their hearts

There are those who even say that Jesus must have held that dream for a while.

The Baptism confirmed his mission and special relationship with God
The temptations in the dessert helped him discern how he would see it through
They helped him let go of the dream of the Messiah King and embrace the cross.

And so you see after the Apostles had been with him for a while.
After they had come to know him and trust him and believe in him
Jesus had to bring them to a new understanding of his role in the salvation of humanity...
No easy task to be sure.

Just before this passage of the transfiguration he announces for the first time that he would have to die and give his life for many.
It must have been quite a shock to them.

The depth of their conviction
and belief in the contemporary understanding of the Messiah
can be seen in Peter’s response to the prophecy of the cross.
He began to argue with Jesus

He was so far off base that it even seems that he almost inadvertently tempted Jesus….
Jesus responded "Get behind me Satan you are a burden
an obstacle to me."
It would have been so easy to walk away from the cross even Jesus was tempted

So what was Jesus to do?
How could he win over the hearts of his disciples to this deeper more profound understanding of God’s plan?

With the transfiguration he shows them his glory…

With the transfiguration he shows them his special relationship with God…
“This is my beloved Son listen to Him”

With the transfiguration he shows that he is the fulfillment law and the prophets.

With the transfiguration he gives Peter James and John something to hold on to
Something to remember when all seems lost.

It is not easy to let go of things
It is not easy to divest oneself of mistaken ideas and dreams
It is not easy to leave behind all those things which hold us back from becoming the people God called us to be.

In the first reading God calls Abraham to leave all of his possessions
all that was familiar to him
all his friend and relatives
and follow him to a strange and foreign land.

Only after he took this risk was did God bless and “make his name great”
It seems that part and parcel of following God’s will is letting go of our own

We have to be willing to surrender ourselves
Empty ourselves
and step out into the void with trust and faith

In the second reading St. Paul promises that God will give us the strength we need to surrender ourselves to His plan.

“Bear your share of hardship for the gospel
with the strength that comes from God.”

The transfiguration was Jesus’ way of proving to those whom he loved
That he was indeed right when he prophesied about the cross.

Moses was the giver of the law…
He appeared on the Mountain to give his authority
The authority of the law over to Jesus

Elijah was supposed to be the last prophet to come before the Messiah
By appearing on the mountain with Jesus he shows the Apostles
that Jesus is indeed the Messiah for whom everyone had waited so long

Did the transfiguration work ?
Where the hearts of James and John and Peter changed?
Did they let go of their old dream of a Messiah king
and accept that Jesus was indeed called to be a suffering servant ?

Peter continued to make mistakes
He refused to get his feet washed
He arrogantly promised to remain faithful
and eventually just like Judas betrayed Jesus

The only difference between he and Judas was that he refused to give up on Jesus
He refused to despair to loose hope
Was it the transfiguration?

Of all the disciples only John the youngest was brave enough to stand at the foot of the Cross.
Jesus was so grateful that he entrusted his mother to John
His willingness to risk his own life to be with Mary and Jesus
was a huge step for a man who a short while before
wanted to sit with James in the places of honor on the right and left of Jesus
What made the difference was it the transfiguration?

The Book of Acts reports that James was one of the first apostles to give his live for his faith. He never even left Jerusalem he died around 44 AD
How did this man willingly give his life for Christ ?
Did he remember his time on the mountain.

All of us have things to let go of…
Sometimes we have to let go of things we want so that we can be free to accept God’s plan

All of us struggle with God’s call to empty ourselves
Few of us long to face the cross
if given a choice most of us would run from it.

Yet following the example of Peter, James and John
We to have to trust God and we have to step up.

Like the Apostles God has given many of us
moments on the mountain.

Maybe it was a retreat
Maybe it was a moment when we really felt God’s presence
Maybe it was a grace filled confession when we really felt forgiven and whole

Like the Apostles
We have to hold on to those moments of prayer and consolation
We have to ponder and remember
these moments on the mountain with God

And fed by their memory
we will be better able to follow God’s call to discipleship
wherever it takes us
No matter what the cost.

The path of discipleship invariably leads to the cross
not priviledge
God needs heroic men and women to follow it.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Atonement !!!

I really enjoyed the movie Atonement..

I went begrudgingly because there were no good science fiction of spy movies out. I was not disappointed... check it out.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Almost a week...

It's been almost a week since I blogged.... and there was no Sunday Homily this week. (Sorry). I went on Retreat with some of our Seniors. It was a good weekend with lots of fellowship and reminiscing. Those present really love CUA and are definately leaving with fond memories, What a blessing.

We've been talking a lot about assesment lately. How do we assess how we are doing? How do we calmly, and charitably study the fruits of our labors and efforts and adjust our pastoral plan? What exactly is the measure of a good Catholic campus ministry at a good Catholic University?

Certainly religious practice is a component in such any assessment, a key component. I think though any study of our religious practice has to include some kind of before and after criteria. Where was the religious practice of our students before they came to Catholic and where is it now? We also have to look at what usually happens to religious practice in the lives of young adults nation wide after they leave home. (I really don't know where to begin with this. If anyone knows of studies in this regard please pass them on to me.)

Religious practicie should include:
  • Mass Attendance
  • Devotions
  • Personal prayer....

all of those things are essential in the life of the Church and our own personal spiritual lives.

I think we also have to ask ourselves if we have helped our students get beyond their own interests and their own world? Have we helped our students see a broader perspective than their own lived experience. Have given them opportunities to examine our culture and our values in the light of Gospel? Have we inspired them to service, but service not for service sake rather service inspired by and imbued with Gospel values? .... a very important question indeed.

Have we in some way tried to evangelize (bring young people to faith) or have we only worked with those who come to us. Have we thrown the net out wide? How and when and where have we reached out to those who don't practice their faith or have any faith at all. This is often a very frustrating exercise for our staff. It is not always well received and if one looks at evangelization on a college campus this can be a huge effort for what seems like a small result. I don't think we can allow the world to discourage us but rather we have to press forward without fear.

Obviously levels of participation have to be considered in all of this, but I'm not sure that there is any way to benchmark our statistics with anyone else. I have not found other tools or instruments around that have look at these questions.

I put all of this our there just in case anyone has any ideas on how we might begin or where I can go to get more information.

Peace Prayers and assess well

Maybe the best assessment is the old faithful examination of conscience before you go to bed, who knows. ;)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ash Wednesday

Our lives are filled with special days
Days which call us to stop and reflect on where we are
and where we are going

The church gives us Ash Wednesday for just that purpose

The phrase "Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return"
Should give us all pause and remind us so clearly that our destiny
is to be with God
To be with God forever

Our home is with God
and how we live
and how we love
really matters

Ash Wednesday should be very sobering
it should cause us to stop and ask ourselves what is really important to me

It should remind us that
all of us will be dust
no matter how handsome or beautifu
or influential or

all of our possessions will be dust
our big houses
our cars
our computers
so what are we working for
and what kind of person have I become

Ash Wednesday should be for all of us a kind of examination of conscience

Am I forgiving
Remember that you are dust and until dust you shall return

Am I loving
Remember that you are dust and until dust you shall return

Am I generous
Remember that you are dust and until dust you shall return

Am I prayerful
Remember that you are dust and until dust you shall return

Am I chaste and sober
Remember that you are dust and until dust you shall return

What am I commited to
Remember that you are dust and until dust you shall return

What difference have I made in someone's life
Remember that you are dust and until dust you shall return

How often do I look beyond my own needs and wants
Remember that you are dust and until dust you shall return

These questions could go on and on and on and they should
Our days are numbered .... how are we using them.
for what purpose will we take our next breath

Let us be about our business being the women and men that God called us to be

We can't afford to waste a day

Time is fleathing
Tempus Fugit,

Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

MOP Mopping have you Mopped today ?

So often I hear people say...
I can't preach,
I don't know how to bring people to Christ
I'm not holy enough
I'm a mess how can I invite anyone to be holy

All of the people who say these things are sincere and well meaning
I've said them myself sometimes
I just don't have what it takes

Truth be told....
You don't need to be eloquent or articulate or learned
everyone has different gifts...

The one essential caracteristic of a follower of Christ has to be that we are present
When we are present
we give people time
we listen to people's thought
we laugh with people and cry with people
we move out of our normal sphere of relationships
we don't lecture we discuss
and we do it over and over again.

MOP (Noun)
Mopping (Present Participle)
Mopped (Past Participle)
you MOP
He she or it? MOPS
they MOP

A regular English verb
with incredible power.

You can mop at home
you can mop while shopping
you can mop at church
you can mop at work
get the picture...

What holds us back from mopping ?
Why are we afraid just to be involved in other peoples lives
How healthy
How Christian
is it to sit in our little worlds and just fixate about our lives and our problems and our desires?

Jesus gave me to you and you to me
He gave him to her and her to him and us to them

We are brothers and sisters

Have you mopped today.

Friday, February 01, 2008

4th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A

May the peace of Christ reign in our hearts..

Today’s readings are important because they all speak about discipleship
How do we bring people to Christ ?
How do we help someone grow in their faith ?

In the first reading the Prophet Zephaniah speaks of humility
To be a disciple of God we have to be humble

The word disciple means one who follows
If we are following someone it means that someone is leading
Someone is up in front and someone is behind.

In our role as disciples we have to follow Christ and his Church.
We all can’t do our own thing or march to the beat of our own drummer

So the first characteristic of discipleship is simply knowing
who leads and who follows

Christ leads
The shepherds of our Church lead
And we their collaborators follow.

Humility for a disciple however goes beyond realizing who is leading and who is following.
We are also called to be humble with those who we shepherd.

Bringing a person to faith means finding away into their heart.
A disciple is called to be humble in his/her relationship with God
But a disciple must also be humble when dealing with those he would lead.

Only love changes hearts
And while love is not always something mushy and gushy
Sometimes a person needs tough love…
Love has to be present just the same.

Only when a person knows that you really care about him/her
will they begin to seriously examine and consider what you say to them.

Yes there are times for correction
Yes there are times when a person has to be challenged
and maybe even pushed a little

But these moments will only be fruitful if the person being pushed or challenged or “motivated” knows without a shadow of a doubt that the person doing the pushing or shoving or motivating humbly cares about them.

Humility is an essential component of discipleship
and because the remnant of Israel was humble in their relationship with God
they were blessed.

The second reading from St. Paul reminds us
that we shouldn’t judge the success or failure of our discipleship by worldly standards

God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world,
those who count for nothing,
to reduce to nothing those who are something,

The kingdom of God is not about numbers or percentages
Jesus only had twelve Apostles all of whom ran and hid when things went south.

The kingdom of God is not about power or influence
Anyone would have thought that Jesus was a failure.
If you look at his live and ministry he had very little of either power or influence

The crowds turned on him
He died on a cross, his disciples scattered,
He is only a footnote in contemporary history books of his time
there was not this huge visible success

God can still use us if we are weak or lowly or despised or even appear foolish

All we accomplish we accomplish in Christ.
As the reading said
If we are going to boast let us boast in the Lord

Finally on this Sunday when we contemplate discipleship
the Church give us what one author calls the Ordination homily of the Apostles

The beatitudes.

One Holy Priest I know kind of compared it to Lederman’s top ten list.

Today, in the Gospel of St. Matthew, we have a “list” --- not the “top ten” but, rather, the “top eight” things that the Lord tells us are the keys to happiness in the Kingdom of God.

They are presented in the form of a sermon and appear early in St. Matthew’s Gospel, before all the Gospel action.

These eight principles are presented in a positive way ---
they are not a list of prohibitions but, rather, they are goals for Christian living in this world.

They do not simply “deliver us from evil” but, rather, they lead us to truth.

Pope Benedict XVI has spoken of Christianity and Catholicism in much the same way.
He refers to our faith as a “positive choice.”

Although when he became Pope, people expected him to be a harsh teacher,
he has offered to the Church and the world something to believe in:

his first encyclical was about love; his second,
about hope; his entire ministry about the role that faith plays in our lives

The beatitudes teach us as disciples
to trust in God’s providence
To persevere (blessed are the meek)
To be steadfast in persecution Blest are you when they insult you
To be merciful
To be peace makers.

We share in this very important mission with Christ
He needs us and he calls us

Let us follow him
Let us shepherd gently humbly
Let us not worry about worldly impressions.
So often what appears a failure will really be a success in the kingdom

Let us lead positively like the beatitude challenge us to.
You know I can’t remember the last of Letterman’s top ten list
But the beatitudes have lasted for 2000 years.

If we meditate on them and create our life around the values they present
They will lead us to eternal life