Martha and Mary

This coming Sunday marks our journey in Ordinary Time, the 16th Sunday in Year C. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here.

38 As they continued their journey he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. 39 She had a sister named Mary (who) sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. 40 Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” 41 The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. 42 There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”  (Luke 10:38-42)

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Feast of St. Bonaventure

StBonaventureToday marks the Feast Day of one of the great figures in Franciscan history – St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio – as well as the 14th anniversary of our Franciscan presence in this historic downtown parish.  St. Bonaventure is a good model of what it means to be a Franciscan while at the same time being a priest in leadership positions in a parish.  Bonaventure reminded the friars of his day that our first vocation is as “brother.”  At the core of our charism, we are a fraternity in mission to the People of God striving to continue our Order’s 800-year-old mission:  bringing the Gospel into the everyday experience of men and women through our life in fraternity and compassionate service to all. Continue reading

How do we see them?

good_samaritanI am away from the parish celebrating the baptism of a college classmate’s first grandchild. I thought it good to leave you with some words from another time reflecting on our Sunday readings.


“Go and do likewise.” This seems like a pretty clear command from Jesus. You just heard the parable of the Good Samaritan, so what is it that you are to go and do likewise? Clearly the context for the parable is Jesus’ effort to tease out the scholar of the law what it means to love God and to love one’s neighbor – that’s the theory of it, but what are practical elements of the divine command? The scholar of the law never gets to that “because he wished to justify himself.” He asks Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” And that is where the proverbial rubber hits the road. Even if the scholar figures out who his neighbor is, there are the practical matters of “doing.” Jesus words punctuate the ending: “Go and do likewise.” Continue reading

Bourbon and the Spiritual Life

Bardstown, Kentucky is not a large town; the population is only 12,000 or so. It was the first center of Roman Catholicism west of the Appalachian Mountains in the original western frontier territories of the United States. The Diocese of Bardstown was established on February 8, 1808, by Pope Pius VII to serve all Catholics west of the Appalachians. The diocese served Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and parts of other states. This area is now served by 44 dioceses and archdioceses across 10 states. Bardstown and the local surrounds are home to the Basilica of St. Joseph (the first Cathedral before the diocese center moved to Louisville), the Sisters of Loretto Motherhouse and the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemane, the Trappist monastery that was home to Thomas Merton. If that weren’t enough, several distilleries operate in and around the Bardstown area, including Jim Beam, Heaven Hill, Barton 1792 and Maker’s Mark, among others, and thus the town is known as the Bourbon Capital of the World. And perhaps bourbon and the spiritual life are connected and not just a consequence of history. Continue reading

The Good Samaritan

This coming Sunday marks our journey in Ordinary Time, the 15th Sunday in Year C. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here.

25 There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” 27 He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” 29 But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Continue reading

Crossing Bridges

I have been teaching bible studies for 33 years now. I have learned some things, forgotten some things, but I have come to appreciate the life-long project that slowly builds up a deeper appreciation of what God desires for us, God’s love for us, and the symphony of God’s efforts to lead us to salvation for the great homecoming of homecomings. Continue reading

Remembering Freedom

freedom-pastor-col-0705OK, pop quiz time. Who were the “Freedom Riders?” My random (and quite small) sample yielded some interesting answers. The most common was a speculation that it was an organized motorcycle ride akin to the “Rolling Thunder” ride in Washington D.C. around Memorial Day. As it turns out the initial “Rolling Thunder” ride was officially titled “Ride for Freedom.” These rides are a way to bring full accountability for prisoners of war (POWs) and missing in action (MIA) service members of all U.S. wars. It was a good guess and in their way, the Rolling Thunder rides honor those who struggled to preserve our freedom. But they are not the “Freedom Riders.” Continue reading

Think twice

Buzz words: a word or phrase that is popular for a period of time, even fashionable, and is used to impress people with one’s technical insight, leading-edge awareness of trends and strategies, and let the other know “you know.”  Then again, sometimes we use them as a shorthand to communicate a longer sense or assessment of a situation or dynamic. The tricky part is your favorite buzz word might well slip out of fashion leaving you with your favorite phrase already having “jumped the shark.” Of course, that assumes you know that phrase, which I think has become a bit dated. Continue reading

Sent on Mission

This coming Sunday marks our journey in Ordinary Time, the 14th Sunday in Year C. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here.

1 After this the Lord appointed seventy (-two) others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. 2 He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Continue reading

Greatness

These days, there are four words that are a sure way to get a reaction: “make America great again.” What kind of reaction? The “whys” “whats” and “wherefores” of the reaction, well, that is for another time and place. Like many slogans it is meant to point to some narrative beyond itself, to a larger story, to provide meaning, purpose, and destiny to this life.

It seems to me that at the heart of it all is the word “great.” We use it a lot. “Have a great day.” “That’s great news!” “She a great person.” There are lots of other uses, but what makes a person great? Many times, we borrow the personal attribute and assign it to an individual because of their actions and achievements. Some call Tom Brady of the New England Patriots football team the GOAT – greatest of all time. While his on-field performance would certainly qualify him for the moniker, GOAT, in the realm and history of football quarterbacks, do those accomplishments make him great? Michael Phelps is a candidate for the GOAT of swimming. But again, the same question lingers. Continue reading