About Friar Musings

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

In the boat, on the water

Next Sunday is the celebration of the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time. You can read a complete commentary on the Gospel here.

22 Then he made the disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone. 24 Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. Continue reading

Nine Words and a Question Mark

It is a probing, provocative, and pointed question. Yet, it is a deceivingly simple nine words and a question mark. St. Paul in his letter to the Romans, our second reading, asks: What will separate us from the love of Christ? (Rom 8:35).

St. Paul answers: “Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? (Romans 8:35) No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. (Rom 8:37). How can we not be swept up in St. Paul’s fervor, his energy, his hope, his faith, and his conviction. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Continue reading

Who knew…

If Malcolm Gladwell produces a new book, I am going to read it. While the name may not be familiar to you, many of his books have been best sellers:

He simply has an different viewpoint and perspective on things – and invites you to shares his own musings. Recently he published an article for Relevant Magazine: “Malcolm Gladwell: How I Rediscovered Faith.”  Take a moment and read – it will likely be its own reward.

What anchors you?

Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope but do it with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:15-16)

As we start another day, another week, there is a lot going on that will bring us face-to-face with the choice between hope and despair. Despair by far is the easiest choice. This world seems to be coming apart – the headlines say it all: coronavirus positive tests surging in the United States and many places in the world, a citizenry that argues about masks/face covering in the middle of pandemic, small business owners worried about their livelihood while there are reports of government aid going to large
multi-million dollar corporations, uncertainty about school openings, racial injustice protests and cries for change, the rollercoaster of our economy, the canceling of college sports, taking down of monuments – and all of this churned together as fodder for the upcoming election cycle. Continue reading

Shalom: Peace

Over the years I have often been asked about a passage in Matthew’s Gospel: “So be perfect,* just as your heavenly Father is perfect“. (Mt 5:48). Most people just wonder how in the world we could ever be perfect like God. Kind of a non-starter, so why try. Not only is it possible – it is commanded by Christ and empowered by his grace.

Be perfect, telios, the Greek word does not mean to be without sin, spot or blemish, but rather speaks of wholeness, a completeness, a certain end point, goal or destiny that is ours – in the end. In other words, to look to what God intends for us: our destiny, our divine calling – a project for this lifetime. A project that with the grace of God is ours in the here and now – and forever. A project that will reach “perfection” in heaven as we are then fully, wholly and completely what we were intended to be. Continue reading

A spirituality for you

Today is the Feast of St. Martha and the day’s celebration offers the celebrant two choices for a gospel reading.  One is the well-known Lukan gospel in which Martha wants Jesus to make her sister Mary help her: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” And in that moment we wonder if we are being told that Mary’s spirituality is the preferred one and poor Martha was so busy she was missing the great moment of faith. Continue reading

The Great Harvest

In today’s gospel we heard the explanation of the parable of the wheat and the weeds previously told in Mt 13:24-30. The explanation is straight forward: “field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom. The weeds are the children of the Evil One.” And indeed that is a simple explanation of ourselves and our circle of family, friends, associates and acquaintances. The world has children who seek the Kingdom, those who reject the Kingdom and its claim upon us, and those who do not accept nor reject. One of our possible responses is to take care of ourselves and let God sort out the rest. As the parable makes clear and the subsequent explanation supports, God indeed sorts it out in the end. Continue reading

Food for life

Next Sunday is the celebration of the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time. You can read a complete commentary on the Gospel here.

 13 When Jesus heard of it [the death of John the Baptist], he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. The crowds heard of this and followed him on foot from their towns. 14 When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick. 15 When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 (Jesus) said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” 17 But they said to him, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.” 18 Then he said, “Bring them here to me,” 19 and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over —twelve wicker baskets full. 21 Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children. (Matthew 14:13-21) Continue reading

Keeping up

Deacon Ray is preaching this weekend at the Mass I am celebrating, so here is one from a past 17th Sunday, Year A.

The kingdom of heaven is like…. There are lots of parables that begin with those words.  Maybe we can do a thought experiment – a kind of fill-in-the-blank thing. Keep your answers silent within your own thoughts. And since no one is listening, you can be completely honest with your answer. For you…. the kingdom of heaven is like……. What? (No hurry, I’ll wait….) Continue reading