There's a delightful story told of an eight year old boy who was a complete terror with no discipline in public school. He refused to do homework. He was a source of constant disruption in class. And most of his days were spent playing hookey.
It's one of the most frequently used words in our liturgies. It comes up repeatedly in the Bible. It's what we say, or should say, before every meal. We attribute it to a young girl as she swirls during a ballet recital. The magical word is "grace."
This story has all the makings of a contemporary television murder mystery. There are the colorful characters: John is this wild looking person who is attracting hundreds if not thousands of people to come into the middle of the desert.
When Paul came to the town of Thessalonica in Northern Greece, he made a big thing of Christ's imminent return. Paul believed that Christ was returning any day now. He would rescue his people from the persecution they endured.
St Monica stands out as a sign of hope to mothers whose children have left the church. When Augustine, her son, left home in Northern Africa, he left the Catholic Church. He pursued all kinds of secular philosophies. He had a child by his mistress. All this time Monica prayed for his conversion.
Today's readings are filled with uncomfortable challenges. We are asked to move out of a herd mentality and stand on our own, making a decision that sets us apart from others.
I believe that God can be found. I can see and smell and touch God. I believe that God lives in certain places on the earth. I experience God in a sunset, a surging ocean and in a majestic snow capped mountain.
Today is the feast of St. Bartholomew the apostle. Let me try to clarify something about his name. As we go through the readings he has two names: Bartholomew and Nathanael.
Is there anything more wonderful in life than to be given a second chance? I suppose there is. Falling in love and having a baby would be great. But getting a second chance is very high on my list of life experiences.
I recently had an interview on my weekly half hour television program with a man who had been sexually abused by a priest. The abuse lasted for four years, from nine to thirteen.
We all strive for human comforts. We want our senses satisfied: food and drink, smell, what we see, hear and touch. Not everyone has the freedom and the ability to have his or her senses satisfied.
She was the delight of his eyes. How tender. The Lord has to hold him back from mourning and crying at the lost of the woman he loved.
I think I'm pretty good at distinguishing between people who are smart and people who are wise. When I think of smart people I think of those who are geniuses at creating computer programs. I think of those who have used their smarts to develop cures for cancer or chicken pox.
As followers of God, we all have a concern with what God thinks of us. Does he approve of us? Does he disapprove of us? We don't like to dwell on God being a judge, but at the same time, the bottom line of whether or not we are accepted now and for all eternity comes down to his final evaluation.
Can you think of anything more pitiful, more horrendous, to pass a trash can in the alley behind your house. You hear a strange noise coming from the trash can. At first you think it might be a rat or a cat scrounging for food.
We long to know the future. Thanks to satellites we can know what the temperature will be like tomorrow and even a few days beyond: cold, hot, rain and even more dangerous occurrences like a hurricane or a tornado.
When we celebrate the assumption of Mary into heaven we recall the great love God the Father has for her. Not only did he choose her womb to be the vessel of the son of God, she is rightly called the Mother of God, he had her nourish, care for and influence his Son for thirty years before his public life. And then Jesus from the cross gave her to us as a mother.
We know well of the terrible genocide that was perpetrated on 6,000,000 Jews of Europe during the Holocaust of Nazis in Germany. We shutter at the terror and resolve to never let such an atrocity happen again.
There was another part of the Holocaust that we cannot forget. The number of Christians killed went into the millions.
Ezekiel was a priest who ministered in the temple of Jerusalem. He spoke praise of God. He petitioned God for the needs of the people. And he offered the sacrifice of lambs. Then an enemy army overtook the walls of the city. Ezekiel was made a slave. He was forced to walk 900 miles, in chains, to live in a foreign land.
When I stop and think about it, it's amazing how much I think about food and drink. If I'm not enjoying a meal, I'm thinking what I'll cook next.
Along with the joy of eating and drinking, there is the reality of food and drink being necessary to live. Without food we become listless. We die.
One of the realities of our lives as believers in God is that God sometimes doesn't act quick enough. We re so accustomed to instant responses whether it's fast food or responses on the computer.
I am very impatient with delay.
Giving of ourselves to others is the heart of Jesus' message. When we choose to follow him, we try to go where he went, relate with the people with whom he related and speak the way he spoke.
News that you have cancer and have a limited time to live would be terrible. Or what about being swept away by a tsunami or a tornado? Pretty awful. Joan sighed. Then she sighed again. This was how she dealt with the pain, comparing.
Dominic Guzman was born in 1170 in Spain. His father, Felix, and his mother, Janna, were very religious. Their spiritual fervor touched Dominic and his two brothers.
I have found three major moments in the life of Dominic. First, he was a scholar. He spent many years of study in Spain.
Sometimes something like a dark shadow can come over us. Depression can be that shadow. My heart goes out to people who are in the grip of depression. There is a sadness in their eyes. Their whole countenance seems overcome with a bleakness. Sometimes pills help. Other times it's just a pervasive darkness that holds them in a vice grip.