Today we celebrate the Memorial of St. Jerome, best known for his work on the translations of Hebrew and Greek texts of Sacred Scripture into the Latin language version known as the Vulgate. He was also known as a man given to being persnickety, temperamental, easily annoyed and with a quick temper. And he is a saint… there is hope for us all, perhaps.

Certainly, his work on translation is graced and worthy of praise and is a model of persistence, achieved over 30 years of effort.  But so too is his persistence in the remorse of his actions with his friends and enemies. I won’t go over his history, his encounters, or his travelogue as he was bounced from place to place. He was not an innocent. Many of his problems were self-inflicted, but he ever turned toward God for grace, mercy and forgiveness. He was human but persistently sought God and the Good in this work for translation and in living out his problematic life. Continue reading

What’s fair?

So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner.” If we are honest about it, we empathize with those folks who worked hard all day. At one level we agree that they received what they were promised, but…there is that voice within that says, “it isn’t fair.” The workers’ notion of what is fair gets challenged pretty quickly when the landowner asks them: “Are you envious because I am generous?Continue reading

The Sure Foundation

from last week… “We have certainly grown as a parish in every way conceivable… The potential and opportunities are amazing.” And we have a vision to meet the challenge of amazing. Our Vision: True North for the North Campus re-development will expand our ability to more fully be a parish that offers holiness, hospitality, healing, and hope. Already more and more ministries are meeting and operating out of the North Campus facilities – and the months and years to come will bring more improvement, enhancements, and opportunities for outreach. It will be remarkable to watch the vision come to fruition in the next few years. When I stop and think about what will grow and flourish, I can’t help but think of the path and the people that brought us to this point in time. Continue reading

Forgiveness, gardens, and hard work

How do you offer forgiveness? I suspect that the most common offer consists of “I forgive you” or “Don’t worry about” “Don’t give it a second thought” or “It’s nothing.” And that all might be true, but sometimes it is only the socially-expected response. It is what we do because we are Christian and we are called to forgive 70 times 7 – or about 490 times…and maybe, just maybe, some of us keep track. But, are we really at peace with our response? Continue reading

Looking back

May the grace and peace of Christ be with you. It is hard to believe that it has been 13 years since I arrived here at Sacred Heart in Tampa. Back in 2007 I was expecting to be assigned to our N.C. Franciscan parish in Raleigh. Tampa and  Sacred Heart were not on my radar at all. Although perhaps it should have been! Afterall I was baptized at a Sacred Heart and in Kenya served for several years at Parokia Moyo Mtakatifu (Sacred Heart). They say good things come in threes, so perhaps I should have expected the assignment. What a blessing it turned out to be in my life, my life as a friar, and my life as a priest. Continue reading

The Psalms

The book of Psalms communicates a story that follows the rise and fall of the Davidic kingdom, a renewed hope in Yahweh the king, and a righteous king to come.This video makes a wonderful case for the narrative aspect of the Psalms as a whole. Enjoy!

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The daily prayer of all faithful people of the Jewish faith is the Shema: “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone! Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength“. (Dt 6:4-5).  The prayer takes its name from the first word “hear” or “listen” – and that simple word is deep and complex. In our translation, the last word is “strength” or in the Hebrew me’od. What is the true meaning of this word?

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How much to forgive?

Next Sunday is the celebration of the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time. You can read a complete commentary on the Gospel here.

21 Then Peter approaching asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?”22 Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.23 That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants.24 When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.25 Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt.26 At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’27 Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan.28 When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe.’29 Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’30 But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt.31 Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair.32 His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.33 Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’34 Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. 35 So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.” (Matthew 18:21–35) Continue reading