About Friar Musings

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

Your choice

The Pharisees are having a rough time in the daily gospels this week. Jesus makes no bones about who he is: “I AM”

Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
before Abraham came to be, I AM.”
So they picked up stones to throw at him (John 8:58)

The Pharisees got the message. They made a choice. A friend of mine describes the basic encounter of faith this way: Continue reading

Understanding

In today’s readings, we have a repeat of what seems to be a recurring encounter between Jesus and the religious leadership of the day – a lack of understanding of Jesus’ words and meaning

Jesus said to the Jews: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.”So the Jews said to him, “Now we are sure that you are possessed. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? Or the prophets, who died? Who do you make yourself out to be?” (John 8:51-53)
Continue reading

Different than Netflix

Not surprisingly, even though stock market prices and valuations are way down, Netflix stock price is about the same as it has been – so relatively speaking it is doing quite well. To be expected as we all shelter in place. Measurement firm Nielsen on Tuesday released a new analysis on consumers’ streaming behavior since millions of people have been told to shelter at home. It is estimated that consumers watched more than 156 billion minutes of streaming content during the week of March 16, a 36% increase from three weeks before, when viewers not yet stuck at home streamed some 116 billion minutes of content.  Yes, billions. Continue reading

Can you see it?

Today is March 31st Tuesday of the 5th Week of Lent. This is Fr George with some simple words on the Word of God.  In today’s gospel we see Jesus in an encounter with the Pharisees as time rapidly approaches the events we know as Holy Week. [Note: not my normal start, but this is the draft of a daily reflection video made for our parishioners. I thought: “why not post it?”]

This morning I want to direct your attention to the life of goodness that surrounds you in family, friends, and fellowship – still there even in these days of loss and isolation. Can you see it?

When Jesus says to Pharisees, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM”, he is not only pointing to the divine nature displayed in all his works, his miracles, his teaching, but he is pointing ahead to the Cross when their choice for life will be through the death of one man. But the Pharisees just can’t see it. And if they can’t see it now, what will they believe when they see the contradiction of the cross. It is and will be a “fish or cut bait” moment for the Pharisees. Continue reading

What thoughts come…

…in the early morning when the house is still, the day has not yet begun, and for many in this time of pandemic, even when the day begins it will may only move a few steps from room to room. And that may trace out the whole of the day in quarantine, self-isolation, stay-at-home, and all the other phrases that have become part of the lexicon of our times. Continue reading

Holy Week begins

Next Sunday is the Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here. The Gospel reading for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion is quite lengthy and so will not be included here. It can be found at the USCCB website.

The climactic events that have been repeatedly predicted since the Galilean ministry are now about to unfold (12:38–40; 16:4, 21; 17:12, 22–23; 20:17–19; 21:38–39; 23:32). Jesus was aware of the forces arrayed against him (26:2), yet he did not resist doing the will of the Father despite the suffering that would be involved (26:36–46). Ironically, the very religious leaders who opposed and sought to destroy Jesus were the unwitting instruments God used to fulfill his plan to exalt Jesus. Continue reading

Generosity

Perhaps you’ve heard one of Jesus’ well-known teachings about trusting in God’s generosity: “Look at the ravens, they don’t sow seed… or have barns, yet God feeds them. How much more valuable you are to God than birds”! Some people hear these words and feel comfort in God’s love. Others think immediately of the dead bird they saw the other day on the side of the road and wonder how that fits into Jesus’ picture of divine generosity! Continue reading

When the confessional is unavailable…

Here in Tampa, our city and county program is called “Safer at Home.” Kudos to the one(s) who came up with the name. That gave me an inspired thought. I think we should announce a “Forgiven at Home” ministry for Catholics and Catholic families.  To be fair, almost every diocese has published the guidelines from the Apostolic Penitentiary in Rome, confirmed by the US Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Continue reading

As Tears Fall

#AloneTogether. #SocialDistancing. #StayAtHome – these are just some of the many “hashtags” being used online in the various text messaging applications currently in vogue. It is the year 2020 and here on the 5th Sunday in Lent much of the world is “sheltering in place” in order to slow the spread of a coronavirus, Covid-19. On Thursday morning there were 471,802 cases worldwide – but then that is a count of test-confirmed cases. A day later the count surpassed 500,000.

The vast majority of people are not able to be tested, so no one really knows how many people are infected. And so, we keep apart from others in an attempt to hamper the mobility and spread of the disease; as they say, to “flatten the curve.” Non-essential businesses are closed with the lucky ones able to work from home. Schools are closed and teachers across the nation are scrambling to implement online classes. Unemployment claims are skyrocketing as people are furloughed or laid off without warning, savings are draining away as families helplessly watch, and countless numbers, without medical insurance, pray they don’t experience the worst of the disease. Families worry about their loved ones in assisted-care facilities or nursing homes – family elders in quarantine whom they are unable to visit. And people are dying while family and friends mourn their dead without the dignity of a funeral. The world weeps. Continue reading

After all these years…

Arising early on Sunday morning, I prayed the Divine Office, sat for a bit in the church before the Real Presence of my Lord and Savior (there are advantages of living in a friary attached to the church), shaved (hadn’t done that in a few days, although you’d barely notice), and sat down to read the Tampa Bay Times, our local newspaper (digital version). Continue reading