More Will Be Given

November 17, 2021

Each day, I reflect upon a word or a phrase inspired by the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

He replied, ‘I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.  (Luke 19:11-28)

MORE WILL BE GIVEN: The concept of “the rich getting richer” has a negative connotation, as it seems to imply that the gap between the haves and the have-nots grows wider. That is usually a financial or economic viewpoint. The Gospel is not talking about money and investing, is it?

Well, it is not talking about money, but it is talking about investments, and dividends to a certain extent. God has invested in us. He has given us not only gifts and talents, but also a limitless capacity to love. He expects his investments to pay off. In fact, He has big plans for us. He fully expects us to change the world.

Although we are each but a single individual, if we all buy into this concept of changing the world, it is possible. There are few things more powerful than a positive ripple effect. If each one of us uses our God-given gifts to glorify Him and serve others, it is possible. If each one of us max out our capacity to love by bringing love and joy to all we do, it is possible. If we come together as individuals to form the one Body of Christ, as we are called to do, it is possible.

When I do all of this, I am rich. When we do all of this, the rich get richer.

In Order to See Jesus

November 16, 2021

Each day, I reflect upon a word or a phrase inspired by the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. (Luke 19:1-10)

IN ORDER TO SEE JESUS: Lack of height is what kept Zacchaeus from seeing Jesus. What is keeping you from seeing Jesus?

Is it shame? Your sinful life has piled layer upon layer of guilt and shame on you. You don’t see Jesus because you don’t want to see Jesus. He could certainly not love someone as unlovable as you, right?

Is it fear that keeps you from seeing Jesus? Seeing Jesus and having Him as part of your everyday life will mean acknowledging that you are no longer in control. His will be done is a scary thought for anyone.

Is it your focus on accumulating earthly wealth that is keeping you from seeing Him? You spend all your time and effort on your job so that you can make more money and acquire more things, so there is no time left for Jesus.

Maybe it’s apathy. Maybe your life is perfect as it is.

Really?

Your Faith Has Saved You

November 15, 2021

Each day, I reflect upon a word or a phrase inspired by the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

“Have sight; your faith has saved you.” (Luke 18:35-43)

YOUR FAITH HAS SAVED YOU: Today we meet Bartimaeus, a persistent blind man. He heard Jesus was near, so he began to call out to Him. People tried to tell him to stop. Jesus was an important man. He couldn’t be bothered by blind beggars on the side of the road. Bartimaeus responded by calling out to Jesus even louder. He would not be denied; he would be heard.

And so he was. Jesus rewarded Bartimaeus’ perseverance by giving him his sight.

What others considered an annoyance, Jesus heard as perseverance. What others viewed as embarrassing, Jesus saw as courageous. What others thought was impossible, Jesus made possible.

Bartimaeus was persistent because he believed Jesus could give him sight. Jesus saw a man of faith and rewarded him accordingly.

Homily: The Last Hour of the Hike

November 14, 2021 – Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: Daniel 12:1-3 / Hebrews 10:11-18 / Mark 13:24-32

The following is a homily I will be delivering at St. Pius X Parish in Indianapolis today:

When I traveled to Haiti back in 2011, it was announced one day that we would be visiting Our Lady of Mt. Carmel chapel. We were told it was located “way up in the mountains.”

We traveled by truck for over an hour and a half. The road stopped at that point and we needed to travel the remainder of the distance on foot. The journey in the truck, while bumpy, was enjoyable. We spent time together talking and looking forward to the next experience.

The beginning of the walk proved enjoyable as well. I had new hiking boots; I had slept well the night before; it was a beautiful day. However, after nearly an hour of steep incline, I was wearing out.

I asked how much longer until we arrived. Our Haitian guide smiled and pointed to a barely visible building higher up in the mountains, “Not long,” he said. “Maybe another hour.”

My heart sank and I was suddenly exhausted.

The experience once we arrived at the chapel was transformational. It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.

However, the last hour it took to get there nearly did me in. It was physically and mentally draining. More than once I thought, “This couldn’t possibly be worth it.”

Thank goodness I got through it because it WAS worth it.

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Homily: How Important is Reaching Heaven?

November 13, 2021

Tomorrow is the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time and the readings will be Daniel 12:1-3 / Hebrews 10:11-18 / and Mark 13:24-32.

The following homily, based on those same readings, was delivered at St. Pius X Parish in Indianapolis back in 2018:

Fr. Eugene Hensell is a long-time instructor at Saint Meinrad, teaching Scripture courses to seminarians. He is known to have regular pop quizzes on material from prior lectures, emphasizing the importance of ongoing preparation for the ultimate goal of passing the final exam at the end of the course.

Years ago, on the Monday after Thanksgiving, a seminarian made the mistake of assuming Fr. Eugene would not give a pop quiz the first day after Thanksgiving break.

Much to his dismay, there was a pop quiz. Knowing he was totally unprepared, he wrote at the top of the paper, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph…Save me!

He failed the quiz miserably. Under the seminarian’s Save me! note, Fr. Eugene drew a picture of a drowning man and wrote, Too late!   

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Great Heavenly Artist

November 12, 2021

The following reflection on today’s first reading (Wisdom 13:1-9) comes from the “Catholic and Proud” Facebook page:

Great artists don’t just sculpt and paint randomly. Many have a signature style that alert viewers can identify. Most artists also have something they want to say through their work. It may be social commentary. It may be new insights into the human condition. It may be the feeling of peace they want to communicate as they paint lush landscapes. Whatever it is, artists are communicators, not just painters or sculptors.

Do you know who is the greatest artist of all time? God, that’s who. Our heavenly Father has put his signature style, his indelible mark, on every facet of creation. The tiniest blade of grass and the most majestic mountain view—every thing he has created speaks its own powerful message to those who have eyes to see.

So how about taking a field trip as part of your prayer time today? Step outside, and admire the beauty around you. If you can’t get outside right now, use your imagination instead. Allow your senses to take in the sights, the sounds, and the smells all around you. And listen closely. What is the Lord of creation saying to you?

Gaze out to the horizon, and hear the Lord say, “I am the eternal God, with no beginning and no end. I have known you from before time began, and I want you to live with me forever.

“If you are near a stream or a lake, look down at it. Listen to its sounds. Feel its current. Let God tell you, “My Spirit is like a spring of fresh water. Let me refresh your soul and fill you with my peace.”

Keep looking and listening for any message that this great heavenly Artist wants to give you. Then end your prayer by taking a few moments to thank your Father for revealing his greatness, majesty, and love to you.

Veteran’s Day Prayer

November 11, 2021

A special prayer for Veterans Day:

God of peace,
we pray for those who have served our nation
and have laid down their lives
to protect and defend our freedom.

We pray for those who have fought,
whose spirits and bodies are scarred by war,
whose nights are haunted by memories
too painful for the light of day.

We pray for those who serve us now,
especially for those in harm’s way.
Shield them from danger
and bring them home.

Turn the hearts and minds
of our leaders and our enemies
to the work of justice and a harvest of peace.

May the peace you left us,
the peace you gave us,
be the peace that sustains,
the peace that saves us.

Christ Jesus, hear us!
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer!

Amen.

Source: http://www.simplecatholicliving.com/prayer/a-prayer-for-our-veterans

Thanks to God

November 10, 2021

Each day, I reflect upon a word or a phrase inspired by the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

“Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” (Luke 17:11-19)

THANKS TO GOD: As Jesus was traveling, He came across ten lepers, and taking pity on them, cured them of their disease. Of the ten who were cured, only one returned to thank Jesus and offer Him praise.

We are like this at times, aren’t we? When we want something, we focus our time and energy on Jesus, hoping He will answer our prayers. And when He does, we turn from Him and go about our business, often taking credit for our good fortune. How quickly we forget.

You may wonder why we need to thank Jesus. He doesn’t need our gratitude, right? No, He does not need it, but we need to show it. In doing so we are humbled – we acknowledge that we are nothing without Him.

Our gratitude serves as a reminder of our own helplessness and our need to have Jesus in our lives.

God’s Building

November 9, 2021

Each day, I reflect upon a word or a phrase inspired by the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

You are God’s building. (1 Corinthians 3:9)

GOD’S BUILDING: When we think of “God’s building” or “God’s house” we think of the church we walk into each week to celebrate Mass together. When we go to Mass, Jesus is present in four ways: He is present in the Word (Scripture); he is present in the priest (in persona Christi); he is present, of course, in the Eucharist; and finally, he is present in the congregation – in US.

That being the case, St. Paul reminds us that WE are the Church. It is through us that the world comes to know Christ. In our thoughts, words, and actions, we bring Christ to others.

We must keep this in mind as we live each day. The survival of the Church depends on our intentionality.

Little Ones

November 8, 2021

Each day, I reflect upon a word or a phrase inspired by the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the one through whom they occur. It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. (Luke 17:1-6)

LITTLE ONES: We are imperfect creatures. God knew when he created us that our humanness could lead us to sin. He wants us to do our best to avoid sin, and to follow his commandments, but he is understanding and forgiving if our humanness gets in the way.

It is one thing to sin ourselves, quite another to lead others to sin. What Jesus teaches in today’s Gospel speaks more to our influence over others, specifically children. The eyes of the “little ones” are on us. They learn from watching.

They see us when we get angry in traffic, and hear us curse when things don’t go our way. They see when we turn away from those in need. They see what we accept and don’t accept, what we allow and don’t allow. Don’t ever think you don’t teach children because you don’t sit them down and instruct them – they learn from watching you.

We tell our young people, “Don’t do anything you would be embarrassed to share with your grandmother.”

The same goes for us. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want a young person to imitate.