Being one of the good guys

From this morning’s gospel: “Jesus enjoined them, ‘Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.’” (Mark 8:15).  Poor Pharisees; they really get a bad name and reputation. If you asked them, they would describe themselves as one of the good guys. They were born out of a movement of desire among the non-priestly class and the experience of the Babylonian Exile and centuries of foreign rule: “How did this happen to us?” It was a movement that understood the path to holiness as a people, as a nation, was through the individual living holiness in every aspect of their lives. To be fair, St. Francis of Assisi was part of a larger lay-led spirituality movement of the 12th century that emerged in many countries across western Europe as the western world emerged from the dark age. There are many modern biblical scholars that would see many similarities with Jesus and the Pharisaic movement. Continue reading

But I say to you

Next Sunday is the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time in Year A. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here.

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on (your) right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. 40 If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. 41 Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow. 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? 48 So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:38-48) Continue reading

Trust and Signs

In today’s gospel, the Pharisees ask Jesus for a sign from heaven. They are testing him because they have no faith nor trust in him. Interestingly, faith-belief-trust, etymologically it is the same word in Greek. So rather than think about “faith” which sometimes befuddles people, let’s consider “trust” and our own experience of trust. Why do we trust some, not others? Continue reading


“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment” (Matthew 5:21-22). Yikes!  What are we supposed to do with such dire warnings?  Where is the unconditional love we’d much rather hear about?  This sounds like it’s chock full of threats by a God that expected too much of us. I mean, come on, I haven’t murdered anyone! Sure, I have experienced anger at times and with even with people I love. But, hey, it happens. “It’s not like anyone has died!” Continue reading

What’s Going On – Part 2

Last week this column space was dedicated to “what’s going on” with the Annual Pastor Appeal and a new parish communications system, Flocknote. There was enough to say that it took up the whole page, but there is still a lot more “going on.”

Destination: True North Fun-raiser. There is more information in this bulletin about the event on page 4. I would so like you to be there – and, trust me, you want to be there. Last year was so much fun. It was great to see the marvelous cross section of our parish there – from the Young Professionals to “seasoned” Professionals, the young families to the empty nesters, and every other way you might think about parishioners. Even some of our more mature, experienced parishioners were there – and they were able to enjoy the full range of the ship because there is an elevator! Continue reading

Plugged In

I am currently reading a biography of Thomas A. Edison by Edmund Morris (who also wrote the Theodore Roosevelt trilogy). Although Edison was profoundly hearing-impaired, he nonetheless had an amazing ability to sense/detect sound distortions in recording that astonished sound and electrical engineers of his day. It was as though he was “plugged into” a new level of hearing and discernment – at least in that one area of his life. Continue reading

Amen, I say to you

Next Sunday is the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time in Year A. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here.

What began on the 4th Sunday continues here on the 6th Sunday: the Sermon on the Mount. The gospel for this Sunday is long and contains five connected, but different thoughts, suggesting five teachings presented by Jesus (Matthew 5:17-37) Continue reading

Christian saltiness

My friends, associates, strangers on the street, heck, just about anyone has probably heard me babble on about a book written by Mark Kurlansky: Salt: A World History.  Yup, you heard it correctly. A whole history of the world written in the context of salt.  As the author writes, “from the beginning of civilization until about one hundred years ago, salt was one of the most sought-after commodities in human history.”  And you took salt for granted. Continue reading

What’s going on…

All families and households in the parish by now should have received a mailing from Bishop Parkes about the 2020 Annual Pastoral Appeal (APA). If you did not receive it, that means you are not registered here at Sacred Heart – or – you have changed addresses and not updated your information with the parish – or – perhaps you are not registered anywhere? Perhaps you are thinking, “That’s OK, I am registered with my parents.”  True, that’s OK, unless you are a young professional already living on your own, with your own career. There are registration forms in the back of the church (Or click here). Take one, fill it out, and come visit with us the second and fourth Sunday mornings of the month and complete your registration by visiting our “Parishioner Welcome and Registration” events. Continue reading

Scams and Phishing

There continues to be folks receiving emails and/or text messages — supposedly from me (in fact, this is a national problem, so substitute the name of your pastor). The most recent phishing emails and text: “In a Diocesan meeting and unable to talk but I need three gift cards for some cancer patients….” Please remember (a) I will never reach out to you by email or text asking you to procure gift cards or electronically transfer funds, and (b) ignore such texts or emails, and (c) add the sender to your spam/blocked caller list.

Rule of thumb, if your first inclination is “Really, why is Fr. George texting me?” and especially if the message is “Are you there,” “Are you available now” or “Are you in the office” or something equally vague — just delete the text and block the number that sent the text (both Apple and Android phones have that capability). The emails should be treated the same way.

Some folks responded to the text and received a reply asking for cash, checks, gift cards, and all the typical things that shout “scam.” Just search “email and text scams pastors” in your search engine and you will see how widespread this is. We are making you aware so you don’t become a victim of these scams.

Just an indication of wide-spread and ubiquitous this is… even I have received the scam in my parish email.

Have a scam free day