Saturday, June 24, 2017


Fear no one. Three times Jesus says to us today, Do not be afraid - 365 times in the Bible. What peace and comfort to know that these are the most spoken words in scripture...from God, no less. Be not afraid. We are precious to God.

And there's more. At our baptism, we became more keenly aware that we are God's children, and we were anointed on the chest with holy oil to let us know that God dwells right here within us. Always! So we need not be afraid of anyone or anything.

Still at times, life-threatening diseases or financial pressures can fan the flames of fear and anxiety. When that happens, let us remember, as St. Teresa of Avila said, Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten youThis, too, will pass. God alone does not change.

Let us hold fast to this simple truth: God is with us, and says to us, Have no fear.

Sadly, there are bullies at all stages of life; people who may threaten us, our well-being, our image of ourselves with words or actions. Those words and actions say more about them than about us. Be not afraid!

Should that happen, walk away. When people are unkind or mistreat you, just walk away.

Don’t argue with them, don’t try to talk them into caring for you, being friends with you, staying with you. Just walk away. 

If you have been in a relationship with them, and they walk away from you, let them walk. Your destiny is never tied to anybody who left. People leave because they are not one with you. And if they are not one with you, you can’t make them stay. Let them go.

It doesn't mean that they are a bad person. It just means that their part in your story is over. And you've got to know when someone's part in your story is over. Know when it's over. Learn to accept the gift of good-bye. Stop begging people to stay. Let them go!!!

Even in marriages that began in love, domestic violence can rear its ugly presence. Don't let anyone use or abuse you. If they fail to respect and treasure your presence, walk away. Let them go!!!

If someone can't treat you right, love you back, and see your worth...LET IT GO!!!

If you are holding on to past hurts and pains...LET IT GO!!!

If someone has angered you...LET IT GO!!!

If you are holding on to some thoughts of evil and revenge...LET IT GO!!!

If you are involved in a wrong relationship or addiction...LET IT GO!!!

If you have a bad attitude...LET IT GO!!!

If you keep judging others to make yourself feel better...LET IT GO!!!

If you keep trying to help someone who won't even try to help themselves...LET IT GO!!!

If you're feeling stressed and depressed, weighed down by insecurity...LET IT GO!!!

If you're concerned that your mind and body may be slipping...LET IT GO!!!

If it bothers you that some may leave Mass early at Communion...LET IT GO!!!

If you're stuck in the past and God is trying to take you to a better place, put God in control and...LET IT GO!!!

Find strength in who you are and whose you are. There's an inspirational quote attributed to Nelson Mandela but written by Marianne Williamson, which says,

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. 
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. 
We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. 
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
The presence which overcomes our fears is God. My sisters and brothers, feel the light and peace of God. God is with you...Fear no one!

Saturday, June 17, 2017


HAPPY FEAST DAY! Today on Corpus Christi Sunday we celebrate the feast of two miracles: the miracle of bread and wine transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ! Amazing!

But even more amazing, we celebrate the miracle of our transformation. We become the Body of Christ! WOW! I say WOW!, presuming we believe it. Do we? Do we believe we are the Body of Christ?

Of course we know that we are what we eat and drink. It's not difficult to imagine that someone who eats lots of fatty foods and sweets will likely be overweight, and another who eats healthy and lean cuisine will probably be fit and trim. 

And I'm sure that on a religion test on whether we are the Body of Christ, we would all get the right answer. But do we really believe it?

Last week we spoke of the mystery of the Holy Trinity…the mystery of who God is. We said, God is something like a family, which involves mutual love, relationships, and interaction.

Today our focus is on the mystery of who we are…the mystery of our trinitarian identity ~ children of God, Body of Christ, and temples of the Holy Spirit

Most especially we focus on that second part: the Body of Christ. Today most of the Church will focus on the Eucharist. I would like to focus on us…since the miracle on the altar happens with or without our involvement. But the miracle of our transformation into the Body of Christ does indeed require our full and active commitment.

Moreover that’s the real goal: our transformation. After all, Jesus did not say, This is my body; look at it…adore it. He said, This is my body; take it…eat it, so that we might become what we eat.

Jesus did not come to change bread and wine into his body and blood; he came to change us! So that we too might be bread, giving of ourselves and what we have to feed one another…and that we too might pour ourselves out and give life to each other.

Now I want us to be very clear. There is nothing wrong in adoration of the Eucharist. It does very much help us to focus on the presence of Christ with us. It fills us with peace and joy. It may indeed inspire us to a holy life.

Nevertheless, our Lord said, Take and eatbecome what you receive, and transform yourself and this world.

A story is told of four donkeys each carrying valuable cargo. One has armaments, another precious gems, a third books, and the last religious articles. The first says, Look at how powerful I am. The second replies, And I am rich. The third says, But I am wise. And the fourth, Yes, but I am holy.

It takes more than carrying some cargo to make them so. And it takes more than receiving the Body of Christ to make us so. Last Sunday we asked, What makes us most like him?

Loving. Loving as he lovedloving especially those who are not lovable. It is these who need our love most.

Perhaps our best ministry, our ultimate test, is to love those whom we detest: political, ethnic or religious “enemies”.  What a world this could be.

Indeed the best way to be the Body of Christ is to be so transparent that Jesus is visible in us.

I remember visiting with a friend the community of L’Arche  a home for those who are physically or mentally challenged. He was a very active volunteer, and was warmly embraced by all, especially a woman who was so happy to see him. 

Then she approached me and said, He’s my friend. I said, Pete is my friend, too. With the biggest smile she said, His name is not Pete. That’s Jesus!

Might people say that about us? What would it take? Perhaps, simply living as best we can that which we profess. As St. Augustine said to his faithful, Upon receiving the Eucharist, when the priest says, ‘the Body of Christ’, your response is ‘I am’.  

Mighty powerful words!

We know it is not easy to love the unlovable. We know it is not easy to give our all and what we possess to feed another. But Jesus said, I am the way. Being like him is the only way to transform ourselves and our world.

When all is said and done, that's our goal...and his. That's why he came...and this enter our body and be one with transform us into him. 

It does not happen all at once. But as St. Catherine of Siena, a great saint and doctor of the Church, said, Every step on the way to heaven is heaven.

Like anything and everything worth doing, every step in doing it gets us to our target…every step in imitating Jesus, makes us more and more the Body of Christ. 

Gradually, and more and more, if we are faithful to this quest, we become what we seek.

That's why we come today, and every Sunday, to celebrate this receive the Body of Christ ...and become what we receive. This week, how will you make his presence visible in you?

Saturday, June 10, 2017


A friend of mine, who's not Catholic, once said to me, I love what the Catholic Church stands for and all the good it does. I would become a Catholic in a flash except that I can't understand the Holy Trinity. It's a mystery to me.

I would bet it's a mystery to all of us. Is there anyone here who has not wondered why we have one God in three persons? But is this any more of a mystery than trying to understand this immense universe of ours, or that the Creator of this incomprehensible universe should become human? Faith and mystery are part and parcel of each other.

No doubt the mystery of three persons/one God can seem even more complicated than Einstein's Theory of Relativity. 

There's a story of a young priest, fresh out of seminary, who, on Trinity Sunday, tried to explain all the doctrinal intricacies, and he went on and on, getting more and more entangled in the complex thinking of theologians. After the homily, an elderly woman leaned over to a friend and said, You know, I've always believed in the Trinity...until now.

Instead of trying to reason our way through the Trinity, we do much better to try to appreciate how the Trinity affects us, and how it helps us relate more closely to God. 

Let’s see how this great truth - the Trinity - affects and helps us.

The Trinity tells us that God is not an isolated being, not some cold, powerful force somewhere out there. On the contrary, the Trinity helps us realize how personal and loving God is. 

The Trinity says God is three persons, all three of them equal. This is indeed a mystery, but at the core it means that God is something like a family, which involves mutual love, relationships, and interaction.

Now this gives us a great insight into God. We can't comprehend how there can be one God in three persons. But we can understand something about what God is like because we all have families.

Best of all, it gives us great comfort to know that while we are not perfect, God still loves us...because we are family. Just as we love our family even though it's not perfect.

This is affirmed in today's gospel: God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish, but might have eternal life. 

Let’s unravel that. First and foremost, we hear, God so loved the world. If we believe nothing else, let us never doubt or forget that God loves us. It is amazing how many of our problems…how many of our sins stem from a lack of feeling loved…from a low self-esteem. We are loved…by God. Period. Nothing in life is more important than this.

Secondly, everyone who believes in him will have life – now and forever! What does it mean to believe? There is a wise saying, Show me how you live and I’ll tell you what you really believe.

Belief must beget action. Certainly belief in God and God's love must mean more than an assent of the mind, such as affirming for example the earth's revolution around the sun, but living with an indifference as to whether the earth goes around the sun or the sun around the earth. 

To believe in something…in someone…must reveal what matters most to us, how we live. It’s a living statement of what we stand for.  

It’s also a challenge and we need to remind ourselves, What do my actions say about what I believe?

I ask you to think about that – today – this week!

What do my actions say about what I believe?

Now it’s not enough to believe…we have to believe in him. Does this mean simply believing in the person of Jesus? If so, what does that say about all the people who have never heard of Jesus? Are they condemned?

Or does it mean to believe in what Jesus stood for: unconditional, self-sacrificing love and mercy, solidarity with the poor, a spirit of generosity, nonviolence and inclusive hospitality?

What do you think makes us most like him…most like God?

Think about that as well – today – this week.

Today’s gospel and the doctrine of the Trinity teach us what kind of God we've got: a loving, living, relational God, who is like a family, whose love spills over to include us as part of God's family, who wants the best for us, and will sacrifice for us...just as we do for our family. That's one way in which this great truth - the Trinity - affects us and helps us relate to God. 

And that also explains what our Church stands for…what we stand for…what we believe, and why we do the good that we do. On that there is no mystery.

Saturday, June 3, 2017


Fifty days ago we lit the Paschal Candle, to remind us of the light of Christ in our midst…to remind us that we are the light of Christ; called to be on fire with God by the life we live…the joy we radiate. We may not be luminous, but we are conductors of light.

After today, the candle will no longer be here to remind us. What will you do now to remind yourself that the Holy Spirit is with you every moment of the day and in every circumstance? 

At Mass, we gather as a community of God to remind each other…to help bring out the Christ in ourselves and in each other.

A former Jaguar coach once said, Our goal is not to win the Super Bowl. Our goal is to bring out the best in each player …the rest will happen.

Our goal is not to get to heaven. Our goal is to bring out the best - the Christ - in each other!  The rest will happen.

Two of my favorite books are: Souls on Fire (by Eli Wiesel) and Silence on Fire (by Fr. William Shannon). The first is about the beginning of the Hasidic movement (of very pious Jews) in the 1700s in Eastern Europe and its founder, the Baal Shem Tov, a messianic figure and like Pope Francis a prophet of joy.

He said, What matters to me is not that two and two are four, but that God is one. Better still, that man and God are one[the very prayer of Jesus…Father, I pray that they may be one as you and I are one.]

The Baal Shem also said, To love another is to love God! To change oneself is to change the world.

Silence on Fire is about the prayer of awarenessThe prayer of awareness is primarily wordless prayer…It is to be filled with God…to be filled with joy…on fire with God’s presence. That is what really matters.

Jesus is the model of total awareness of God. What Resurrection, being Easter people and Pentecost are all about is entering into Jesus’ awareness of God!

What must we do to have this awareness of being one with God…so as to be on fire with God?

Let us learn from the first disciples. In the early centuries of the Church, many went to the desert for a holy encounter. Abba Lot went to Abba Joseph and said, As best I can, I pray, meditate, fast. What else should I do? Abba Joseph stretched his hands to the heavens and his fingers became torches of flames. If you want you can be turned into fire?

As someone wiser once said, There’s the crux…do we want to be turned into fire? Do we want to be on fire with the love and presence of God?

To be turned into fire, we cannot reverence the holy presence in the Eucharist on the altar…in the monstrance…in the tabernacle, and not reverence the holy presence of the Holy Presence in our brothers and sisters.

To be turned into fire, we cannot pray for the poor and not do all in our power to eradicate poverty, undo injustice, and defend human rights.

To be turned into fire, we cannot pray for peace and hold resentment in our heart, disparage our neighbor, judge, criticize and gossip.

In other words to be set on fire means a new way of seeing and being.

The awareness of God will lead us to act differently. But that is secondary. The first step is to realize that we don’t have to do anything or go anywhere to encounter God, because God is where we are. We are already there. We simply have to become aware!

We did not come to Mass today to encounter God. We came with God. God is always with us. We came to be more aware of God with us!

There are three golden rules regarding investment in real estate. We know them well: location, location, location.

There are three golden rules regarding encountering God: awareness, awareness, awareness.

We simply have to become aware. When that happens, faith, life, love, truth are not things that we do to get results. They are realities that in various ways help to define who we are.

Faith is not about behaving better; it’s about seeing reality differently.

One of the great errors of history and of our time is the dichotomy between the faith that many profess and the practice in their daily life.

There is a hunger in all of us for authenticity! The authenticity that fills us with peace and joy!

To receive the fire of Pentecost, the spirit of God’s love, is to be authentic…It is to live in the presence of God…to be evermore aware that we are one with God and with each other. 

As St. Paul said, The Spirit of God who lived in Jesus and raised him from the dead, now lives in us.  

And as the holy mystic, St. Mechtild of Magdeburg said, The day of my spiritual awakening came when I saw all things in God, and God in all things.

Being turned into Pentecost fire means seeing God in every man and woman, in all creation, and being so transformed that we become so transparent that others see the flame of Christ in us. 

We don't need the Paschal Candle. We are the light of Christ!