Your average Catholic only needs to stand next to a born-again, evangelical Christian to understand how private we are about our life in faith.  Of course, you’re thinking, “All that public praying and witnessing, that’s their thing. Our faith was more discrete, more private, more, well…… more sophisticated than asking someone in the local WalMart if they had been saved. Ours is a faith steeped in tradition, liturgy, sacraments. This is how we serve the Lord.” Continue reading


testifyIn today’s gospel, St. John tells us the importance of witness, or as he writes: ““When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.” (John 15:26-27). The entirety of the the Gospel of John is structured around testifying, around giving witness. Continue reading

Beach Novels

ReadBeachA while back I read a classic summer beach novel – you know the ones: easy to read, entertaining, no heavy lifting required … and no I don’t remember the title. But I remember this, there are good guys being chased by bad guys. The good guys are only armed with their wit, imagination, guile, luck, and their paranoid friend who believes every conspiracy theory is true. The premise is that everything in the world has a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip embedded in it. When the good guys decide to use cash only so that they stay off the grid, it doesn’t matter because their credit cards and driver’s licenses have RFID chip that, although still unused in their wallets and purses, are detected by the RFID scanner at the checkout counter. As the novel races along the bad guys track the good guys via RFID. The good guys keep emptying their lives getting rid of toll road passes, cell phones, driver’s licenses, credit cards, passports, access badges for work, the groceries and clothes they just purchased for cash… and still the bad guys keep coming. Holy guacamole! There is no place to hide! The bad guys can pick then out of a crowd of a gazillion people. As we read, we cheer for the good guys, we get involved, as if we really and deeply know them. It is as though we can really see them!

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Bearing Witness

In modern times we closely (solely?) understand the word “martyr” to mean someone who has died for their faith. The great cloud of witnesses is indeed replete with women and men of the first four centuries of the Christian era who died rather than turn from faith in the RIsen Jesus. And yet the underlying biblical meaning of “martyr” is actually something that all Christians are called to be.

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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

Following: witness

Calling disciplesAfter being identified as the Son of God in the baptism account (3:13–17) and after proving what kind of Son of God he is (4:1–11), Jesus journeys from Judea to Galilee in order to begin his public ministry (4:12–17). In the course of this journey Jesus will call his core disciples (vv.18-22) and witness to his proclamation with powerful deeds (vv.23-25).  His journey will cover the wilderness of Judea and the towns of Galilee. Continue reading


giving-testimonyWe are challenged – or we should be – when the prophet Isaiah tells us: “It is too little, the LORD says, for you to be my servant…. I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” A servant can be present, silently present, taking it all in, but never part of the conversation.  Yes, we are called to be servants, but we are also called to be more. Called to moments in our lives, when the virtues already shine through, but we also called to testify.  Called to testify as did John the Baptist, “Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.” And not in whispered voices, but loud and proud in the public square. We are called to testify!! Continue reading