About Friar Musings

Franciscan friar and Catholic priest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in downtown Tampa, FL.

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

The in-breaking

Next Sunday is the The Baptism of the Lord in Year A. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here.

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?” 15 Jesus said to him in reply, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed him. 16 After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened (for him), and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove (and) coming upon him. 17 And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Mt 3:13-17) Continue reading

Assumptions

“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” (Matthew 2:2)

This reading resonates with assumptions. Heck, we hear the beginning of the verses and think to ourselves, “Sure, I know this one. This is the story of the three kings.” I mean, we all know the story, right?  Star of the New King. Magi from East. Herod. Directions to Bethlehem. Instructions for the Magi to go, but “ya’ll come back.” Baby Jesus. Did homage. Gifts. Dreams. Home by another way.  We all know the story. Or at least we assume we know the story from Scripture.  Continue reading

What are you seeking?

This weekend we celebrate the visit of the magi to the child Jesus. It is often referred to and celebrated as “Three Kings Day” especially in Latino and Mediterranean cultures. Its official name is Epiphany, from the Greek epiphania, meaning that which is revealed, unveiled. The meaning in Greek is reflected in our English language definition: (1): a usually sudden manifestation of the essential nature or meaning of something (2): an intuitive grasp of reality through something usually simple and striking (3): an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure. There is a certain excitement and energy that accompanies the moment of epiphany. Continue reading

Words, habits and resolutions

How many of you, in a fit of anger, in the moment you dropped some heavy thing on your foot, mistook your thumb for a nail, watched a souffle collapse, or any one of a number of things that exasperated, exhausted, miffed, frustrated, irritated, annoyed, incensed or _______ (please fill in your descriptive state of mind) you – have taken the Lord’s name in vain? I suspect that the percentage is quite high. Perhaps approaching 99%? Continue reading