Blessed are…

Next Sunday is the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time in Year A. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here.

1 When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 He began to teach them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. 6 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.  (Mt 5:1-12) Continue reading

Timbuktu

I remember when I was a kid, I was fascinated with a place of mystery called Timbuktu. I loved the sound of the name and the possibility of being as far away from home as Timbuktu. No doubt it was a place of mystery, intrigue, and stories. There were tales of gold, riches, and the place where East Africa and Saharan Africa met. The stories abounded so much that in 1855, the French Geographic Society offered a major prize to the first European to go there and report back. What amazing, fantastic stories could be in Timbuktu! Continue reading

The spectrum

Given our location in downtown Tampa, we encounter a range of people — individuals and families, poor and needy — that present their needs and hopes. Our parishioners experience one aspect of those petitions every Sunday as folks gather at or near our church: people asking for money, people selling palm crosses, folks asking for assistance of all kinds. A smaller group of parishioners who make up the Hands of Hope Ministry, see another view as each Saturday they prepare, meet, greet, and feed about 150-200 people. The crowds are always larger at the end of the month when money is a little tighter. The parish staff sees another aspect of the needs from people who daily and constantly come to the office, call, or are referred to us by another charitable entity. Some of these people we can assist, some we cannot because of the request, some we help discern what agency is better equipped to assist them and their need. Continue reading

Young Families at Mass

It was a Holy Day of Obligation and my husband was at work, so there was no one to help me at Mass with our three kids, then ages 4, 2, and newborn. I didn’t just “have” to be at Mass; I wanted to be there. I wanted my children to know that we go to Mass because we love Jesus, because we want to be with Him, and that their mommy has been taking them to see Jesus since they were little. Continue reading

Fishers of men and women

Next Sunday is the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time in Year A. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here.

12 When he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled: 15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, 16 the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.” Continue reading

From silence to the heroic

In helping couples prepare for the Sacrament of Marriage, one of the questions I ask is, “Do you know what each other prayers for?” I am not asking if they can infer, deduce, guess or just have a “pretty good idea” – but do they know? And in this case that probably means, to have direct knowledge because their fiancé told them. The overwhelming response is “No, but….” This is but one example from our everyday life of how private we are about our life in faith. Continue reading

A view from the kitchen window

As part of formation for solemn vows as a Franciscan friar, you spend a whole year living outside the world of formation and studies. You live with a friar community involved in full-time ministry. I was assigned to a large parish in Raleigh, N.C. It is a large parish with almost 5,000 households and lots of ministries, meetings, activities, and all manner of things that occurred day and night.

One weekday evening after finishing a meal and cleaning up in the kitchen, I happened to look out the window into the parish parking lot. The friary was located in one corner of the 40-acre campus and afforded a view of the whole upper parking lot… (pausing here to recall being in a parish with unlimited parking…sigh!…) Anyway…the entire lot was filled, and lights were on over in the parish offices, meeting rooms, and gathering spaces. Looking over my shoulder I asked my brother friars if any of them had meetings this night. We were all there and not a one of us had a meeting to attend. While we were generally aware of what was going on in the parish, on this particular evening, we could only guess what exactly was unfolding in those gatherings. Continue reading

The witness continues

Next Sunday is the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time in Year A. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here.

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. 30  He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’ 31 I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel.” 32 John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him. 33 I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the holy Spirit.’ 34  Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.” (John 1:29-34) Continue reading

Set as a covenant

Over the Christmas season, the gospels we proclaim are so familiar, so memorable, that perhaps we a prone to listen to the other readings as but prelude to the story of the Christ Child. Prelude they are indeed, but they in themselves are also the powerful Word of God come to us. Perhaps none more powerful than the Prophet Isaiah or St. Paul. This week we hear Isaiah mightily proclaim: “I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people.” (Is 42:6) While they are indeed prophecy pointing to Jesus and his mission, they are also words proclaimed to us, to the baptized, those thus commissioned and sent into the world for the victory of justice. Continue reading

Looking Ahead

This time of year, one often spends some time at the boundary of the past and the present. We look to the past and from that view we make New Year’s resolutions. We might look to the past and see what needs to be done as we move ahead in time. “Time” magazine helps us look to the past in its annual accounting of famous people who have passed away in the year. And sometimes in the same swath of days, we refresh our newly minted calendars with dates of celebration for all the events of the living. Continue reading