The Lent that became Advent

Photo by Francesco Alberti on Unsplash

“What do we do with the void?” You may have heard, “Pray every Mass as if it was your first Mass, your last Mass, your only Mass.” This past Tuesday, I went to an early morning Mass at a church dedicated to St. Patrick for his feast day. When a church celebrates its patronal feast day, it is celebrated as […]

Fear and Trust in a Time of COVID-19

“Instead of anxiety, let us embrace faith and trust in God.” As the entire world responds to COVID-19, I must admit some shock and confusion over the level of fear that seems to be gripping countries, governments, and institutions. Without getting into the science of it all, since I am no doctor or virologist, the radical responses to the virus […]

Be Reconciled

“Be perfect… in mercy.” Today’s Gospel is a hard one. There are so many sayings of Jesus to which we have become desensitized. There are parables and commands that have lost their radicality, simply because we have heard them so often. I think today’s Gospel is one such message. “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You […]

Becoming More Human This Lent

Photo by Gabriel Jimenez on Unsplash

“You weren’t created for this world- so for the next forty days, live like it.” This Sunday, the first reading might surprise us. It’s Lent, so we might expect to hear about fasting or penance. Perhaps we expect the first reading to be about sacrifice or suffering. Instead, we start at the beginning. We’re back in the Garden, with the […]

The Penance of Every Day

“Perhaps you have an impressive plan of intense penances that you are convinced will make you holy by the Easter vigil … but what do your daily activities, obligations, and vocational demands look like?” If you’re a planner, you’ve already begun to think about what you’re going to “do” for Lent. When I was growing up, it was in vogue […]

What does his love look like?

Photo by Laura Allen on Unsplash

“Sometimes the gifts God has in store for me are not the gifts I would have chosen for myself.” “He doesn’t do the things he used to do, like buy her flowers.”  A coworker was telling me about a friend of hers, who, after several years of marriage, was lamenting the changes in their relationship.  Their lives were now full […]

Be salty.

Photo by Jason Tuinstra on Unsplash

“We have the responsibility to bring Christ into the world.“ This Sunday’s Gospel has one of my favorite images for our vocation as laity: “You are the salt of the earth.” Salt.  It’s a powerful image for us.  What are a few grains of salt?  They’re so miniscule, they’ve become an image for smallness and insignificance: “She took it with […]

Would I forgive King David?

"King David in Prayer" (detail) Pieter de Grebber [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“Would I be as merciful as God was towards David?“ Even if you can’t get to daily Mass, I highly recommend using the readings of the day in your daily prayers. It is a way to unite your prayers with Catholics throughout the world, to live liturgically, and to become familiar with the great stories and wisdom of Sacred Scripture. […]

Winter and the Spiritual Life

“We can have confidence that God is still working—even in the coldness, even in the darkness, even when all seems quiet.” For much of the Northern Hemisphere, January is that month when the weather finally makes up its mind to turn cold, the nights seem a little darker, and the wind seems a little more bitter.  Gone are the cheery […]

The Friends of the Paralytic

"The Palsied Man Let Down Through the Roof" (detail) by James Tissot [Public domain]

“They knew they couldn’t heal their friend themselves. But they could bring him to Jesus.” As we jump into Ordinary Time this week, the Gospel readings at daily Mass don’t lose any time moving through the extraordinary works of Jesus’ public ministry. This is because Ordinary Time always begins with Mark’s Gospel, and Mark doesn’t lose any time with anything. […]