Today’s Thoughts: “You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.” (Thomas Merton)
Perhaps this is the spirit of today Gospel (Matt. 25:14-30) that we take the chance and invest our life. There are always risks involved but at the end of life, wouldn't it be great to hear God say to us, "Well done good and faithful servant, come share my joy!"
And in the spirit of the Gospel – let us be good and faithful servants by taking the chance and investing our lives. In other words, by living our lives. Let us not bury our lives afraid that we might make a mistake. Afraid that we might make a poor choice. Afraid that we might lose what God’s has given us. Let us do what the master has done and invest in life. So that when we take our last breath in this life and meet God, he will simply say to us, “Well done good and faithful servant, come share my eternal joy!”
Have a great Saturday everyone!
Today’s Thoughts: In our Gospel today (Matthew 25: 1-13), Jesus is focused on the end time, whether it is his final coming or the day that God calls each of us individually. And his point is that we need to be awake and we need to be ready like the five wise virgins because not being ready, not being awake has dreadful consequences.
Jesus’ story today about the ten virgins emphasizes and illustrated his message from yesterday’s Gospel and helps us loo once again at things a little differently. Jesus is not just talking about the end time or the day God calls each of us home, he is also talking about this moment and what we are missing if we are not prepared. What graces? What joys? What blessings? What experiences of God’s presence are we missing if we are not prepared, if we are not ready?
It is not always about the negative, about the end time, about wailing and grinding of teeth. It is also about the opportunities we miss each day, each moment of our life because God is trying to give us good things, but we are more concerned about what is going on around us. We are prepared, we are focused on God, we cut corners and the oil runs out!
Are you prepared? Do you have enough oil in your lamp? Or are you going to miss the wedding feast?
Have a great Friday!
Today’s Thoughts: Today we celebrate The Passion of St. John the Baptism and our Gospel (Mark 6:17-29) is the famous story of Herod and John the Baptist. It is a rather gruesome story, it is hard sometimes to think of a young girl being presented with some one's head and then turning and giving it to her mother. Yet, I guess gruesome things happen in life every day, thankfully not in my life.
I am always struck in this story with the fact that Herod is moved by John, that he likes to listen to him, yet he gives in to the worldly pressure around him. I get the feeling Herod knows that John is right, but his power, his self-importance; his ego will not let him say yes. Herod has surrounded himself with people who push him in the wrong direction. We might say that he gives in to the peer pressure of his time!
There is a great line in the Letter to the Hebrews that I reflect on often, "Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels." It is great advice! Perhaps it is advice that Herod should have heard or heeded. He certainly had one of God's angels, John the Baptist in his presence.
We need to be aware that God can come to us, be present to us in many ways. We need to trust that God is with us always. We need to remember that we are a community of faith not just individuals and we need to always be aware of the struggles and joys of others because they can often bring God into our midst.
Today we are reminded – “Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” May St. John the Baptist help us to see – God as our light and our salvation, and thus never fear!
Have a great Thursday everyone!
Today’s Thoughts: "Woe to you..." Jesus continues his reflections on people who only seem to care about the non-essentials rather than the essentials. He reminds us that only taking care of the outside can have disastrous effects on the true meaning and purpose of life.
Perhaps Thomas Merton reminds us of the same thing but rather than using “Woeful” statements he asks us to focus on God’s creative act that the psalmist voice proclaims to us in today responsorial psalm (Psalm 139). “To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that love is the reason for my existence, for God is love. Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true self. Love is my true character. Love is my name.” (Thomas Merton) "Your hand shall guide me; your hand holds me fast." (Ps 139:9-10)
It is not just that outside that is created by God it is the whole person. We are made in the image and likeness of God and this act of love is the very reason for our existence. “And for this reason, we [need to] give thanks to God unceasingly” (1Thes 2:13), by the way we live our life. So, let us live our life today valuing those we encounter and ourselves.
Have a great Wednesday and feast of St. Augustine everyone!
Today’s Thoughts: We find ourselves today amid the “Woe to you…” challenges of Jesus. He challenges the scribes, Pharisees and us on where our priorities lie. Are we concerned with the non-essentials of life or do we have our words and action aligned with God’s priorities? Our lives can look good and by all appearances we seem to be holy people, however inside is always what counts. Where are our hearts? Who or what is the center of our life?
These “Woe to you…” statements of Jesus are strong challenges that are not easy to live out. Often, we find ourselves comfortable in our nice, neat little worlds. We say all the right things. The outward expression of our faith seems to be spot on however if we look under the hood there is no life, no spirit, the tank is empty. We have allowed the non-essentials to become more important than the essentials – love of God, others and ourselves.
As we live this day let us strive to live authentically according to the values we profess. Yes, we are human, we have our faults and failings and our weaknesses. But today, let us, with God’s grace, strive to live life faithful to the Gospel. Let us look at our lives today and find those things that at times make us hypocrites and ask forgiveness so that we can grow in the essential of life, so that we can grow in the presence of God!
Have a great Tuesday and feast of St. Monica everyone!
Today’s Thoughts: “Woe to you….” These statements seem out of character for Jesus, who usually uses positive statements to challenge us. Yet, I guess every once in a while, we need to hear what not to do. The challenge of today’s Gospel is on what we see as important. The scribes and Pharisees made it a habit of placing importance on the accidentals of life rather than the essentials. In other words, they placed importance on the unimportant.
Through his challenge to the scribes and Pharisees today Jesus asks us to stop and think about how we are living out our faith. Is it a faith grounded in unimportant things or is it a faith ground in a relationship with God? Do we think that God is the center but then we make actions, rituals, words and customs far more important than living out our relationship with God? Do we make things more important than people? Do we make ritual and places more important than prayer and actions?
Woe to us if we don’t love. Woe to us if we don’t care for those in need. Woe to us if we first don’t find God in others and ourselves. Woe to us if rituals, places and the repetition of words become more important than people. Yes, I guess every once in a while, we have to be challenged by the negative that seems to take hold of our lives.
Have a great Monday everyone!
Today’s Thoughts: If I had to pick a theme or a focus for the Gospels that we have heard throughout the summer it might be discipleship. Or maybe said differently what it takes to be a Christian or Catholic. Each week for the last few months Jesus has challenged his disciples, he has challenged us to see things differently and thus to live life differently.
Jesus’ words have often been hard to swallow and at times have caused tension within us. Jesus often asks us to go against the way the world sees things, the way the world does business. Today’s Gospel is no different. When asked who will be saved, Jesus tells us, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate.” The world might say, “Look for the biggest gate there is.” Take the easiest way. But Jesus say, “Go for the narrow gate.” In other words, take a different path, a path that is often harder. Be faithful to your relationship with God. Do get caught up in the things of the world. Be faithful!
It is not an easy journey and Jesus has told us this over and over again. It is hard, difficult and at times it can be impossible. It is a journey that can turn things upside down. The last go first and the first go last. It is a journey where the rewards in this life are often small but the journey through this life is only temporary thus the rewards in the life to come will be profound. Yes, God is a merciful God but at some point our time in this life will be over and it will be important to be ready. Because if we are not ready when God calls. If we have not been faithful to this relationship. If we have not strived for the narrow gate. We will find ourselves outside where there is “wailing and grinding of teeth.”
As our responsorial psalm tells us a disciple, a Christian, a Catholic is someone who goes out to all the world and tells the Good News. It is not easy. It is not something that everyone is doing. Yet in the long run it will make all the difference.
Have a great Sunday everyone.
Today’s Thoughts: “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” is Nathanael’s (Bartholomew) question to Philip in today's Gospel. In other words, Nathanael wants to know why should I waste my time? Why should I leave what I am doing or not doing to meet this Jesus? Questions any of us might ask if we were in the same situation. Yet, Philip’s invitation to “Come and see” is a life changing event for Nathanael. It is an event that gives him a different perspective on Jesus, on people who come from Nazareth, on life. It gives Nathanael and encounter with God.
The gift of the feast of St. Bartholomew (Nathanael) which we celebrate today is that Bartholomew did not miss his encounter with God and that made all the difference in his life. Throughout the Gospels we encounter people who miss the presence of God. Who are blinded by power, authority and preconceived ideas about people and life. Jesus walks into their midst and they miss their chance to encounter God. They hang on to what is comfortable, what is familiar.
Through the invitation of Philip, Bartholomew does not miss his chance, his opportunity. He however must let go of his preconceived ideas, his comfortableness and when he does it makes all the difference. It leads him into an encounter with God that forever changes his life.
Let us ask the spirit of St. Bartholomew to help us let go and let God today. Have a great Saturday everyone!
Today’s Thoughts: “Love seeks one thing only: the good of the one loved. It leaves all the other secondary effects to take care of themselves. Love, therefore, is its own reward.” (Thomas Merton)
Perhaps this is what Jesus is getting at as he answers the scholar of the law in today’s Gospel (Matt. 22:34-40). Love sits at the heart of any relationship, of any friendship and the first mark of a good relationship, is benevolence. Actively, seeking and finding the good in another. In today’s Gospel Jesus reminds us that we are to love God and love others and love ourselves. In order to do this, we must find the good in the ones we love, God, others and self. As Merton says if we can do this the gift of love will be our reward!
Have a great Friday everyone.
Today’s Thoughts: I have used this quote often recently, “Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.” (Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.)
I have always liked this quote from Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. and I think it ties into the thinking of Jesus in today’s Gospel (Matt. 22: 1-14).
The story in the Gospel today is about the coming of the Kingdom of God. It is about the end time. Who will accept God’s invitation? Who will be ready? Everyone is invited but do we accept the invitation? Are we ready to enter the banquet of eternal life?
The invited guests get caught up in the things of the world that they think are more important. One is not prepared, not ready. We to sometime get caught up in all the things the world defines as important and we lose sight of what God finds important. We think there is always tomorrow to get ready. If we think this way we will find ourselves just like the invited guests and the person not appropriately dressed, outside. However, if we can tap into God’s energy, if we can accept God’s invitation and be ready to enter the Kingdom we will not find ourselves outside in the end when it comes!
Have a great Thursday everyone!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...