Today is the day we can discover a new way of living, a way that is truly fulfilling and empowering. We need only answer Jesus’ call and take our first steps on this adventure which, if we are faithful to it, will lead us to everlasting life in heaven.
What do you suppose drove Zacchaeus to go out and look for Jesus?
As the chief tax collector, Zacchaeus was a wealthy man and very busy. He was hated by the people who considered him a traitor and a crook. Zacchaeus had every reason to avoid the crowds that gathered to see Jesus and every reason to think that, as a sinner, he had no right to even lay his eyes on such a holy man.READ MORE
St. Dorotheus of Gaza said, “In some kinds of trees, no fruit is produced as long as the branches grow upwards; but if somebody takes a stone and binds it to a branch and pulls it down, then the branch will bear fruit. It is similar with a soul; when it humbles itself, it bears fruit, and the more fruit it bears, the humbler the soul becomes. The more the saints approach God, the more they see themselves as sinners.”READ MORE
…Pray always, without becoming weary. — Luke 18:1
For the first nine months of my daughter’s life, she didn’t “sleep” so much as she succumbed to 45-to-90-minute power naps against which she struggled viciously, like a fugitive resisting capture.
In those blurry, melatonin-deficient days of early parenthood, I don’t think I once said a nighttime prayer that lasted more than five seconds. As soon as my daughter had finally passed out for the first “nap” of the night, I hastened to make the most of my window of opportunity and tried to get to sleep as quickly as possible. Prayer was a mumbled half-thought, half-groan that went something like, “I’m so sorry, God, I’m just so tired, but I love you” as I was borne away on the irresistible current of a REM cycle.READ MORE
Naaman was cured of leprosy by dipping seven times in the Jordan according to the prophet Elisha’s instructions. Recognizing the miraculous movement of God at that moment, he returned to Elisha, proclaiming, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.” Naaman experienced a profound conversion as the power of God transformed him from the outside — in. He knew this was not a magical cure and from where the healing came, vowing to offer worship to no other god than the one true God.READ MORE
After hearing Jesus teach about what the future inevitability will bring and the need to offer unconditional forgiveness regardless of circumstances, the apostles ask him to increase their faith. They may have had difficulty understanding the rationale behind his teachings or found them lacking practical sense. What they are hearing is something new. After all, people had settled into what were considered acceptable protocols for dealing with sinners, prostitutes, adulterers, those who hurt you, the poor, the physically challenged, adversaries, and law breakers. Now they are presented with a teaching that turns all of this upside down and conveys God’s nonviolent vision of how human nature and the world are intended to operate. It is very possible that these early hearers of the Word found themselves ill equipped to do as Jesus taught. While truth resonated through Jesus’s words and actions, they were asking to have what Jesus had so that they could more adequately do it. They knew they needed more.READ MORE
“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scrapsthat fell from the rich man’s table.”
Jesus was undoubtedly a gifted storyteller and the parable of Lazarus that we hear proclaimed this coming Sunday is certainly among one of the most powerful that we hear in the gospels.READ MORE
Our faith is meant to be at work in every area of our lives — not just the personal and private, but the political and public as well.
People have a tendency today to separate politics and religion. They see religion as having to do with the afterlife and politics with the here-and-now. Religion is private and politics is public. They don’t want religious leaders to comment on public policy and they don’t want politicians meddling in Church doctrine and discipline. People want a clear separation of church and state.READ MORE
An Excerpt from: Spiritual Freedom: God’s Life-Changing Gift by Fr. Dave Pivonka, published by Servant Books, Cincinnati.
“I remember one young woman who had gone through terrible struggles. She has lost her mother at a young age and had made choices that were very destructive. She had done things that she regretted, and she really had doubts about a God that loved, not to mention that she herself was lovable.READ MORE
“This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.” – Luke 14:30
If I had to choose one of the Bible’s 31,102 verses to have inscribed on my tombstone, it would be Luke 14:30.
As a companion piece, my obituary could tell the story of my life through the list of projects I never finished. Swimming lessons in preschool. Piano in the sixth grade. Every journal I’ve ever tried to keep. That trip to Europe. The house my husband and I designed and never built. My life is littered with these unfinished projects, races for which I could not make it across the finish line. Whether it was strength, interest, money, or something else, I just didn’t have “it.” I came up short.READ MORE
The overarching theme found in Sunday’s readings is humility. The virtue of humility, sagely defined by C.S. Lewis, “is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” As we hear Jesus’ words in the Gospel, this is precisely what we are invited to do by allowing space at the head of the table for others to be honored above ourselves. Jesus lived the ultimate example of humility — incarnate, reliant on Mary and Joseph as an infant and child, handing himself over to be crucified, and now allowing himself to be consumed by the faithful daily, in the guise of bread and wine in the Eucharist.READ MORE
Abraham Lincoln is said to have remarked that “discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.” What is it that you desire most? This is a powerful question that must be asked and answered if we want to avoid a haphazard, disjointed, and chaotic life. It also must be asked and answered if we claim to be a person of faith who is committed to living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We all have smaller desires that motivate us throughout the day. I may desire to complete a project that has been sitting undone for some time or to spend some quality time with someone I love. But at the end of it all, what is it that you really desire?READ MORE
Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!”
What are you passionate about? What stirs up the fire within you?READ MORE
Faith helps us overcome many of the anxieties of daily life.
As a society, we are experiencing an epidemic of stress. Keeping up with the demands of life has worn us out. Many of us are getting much less sleep than we need. This heightened stress takes a toll on our bodies making our blood pressure soar. We overeat and use alcohol to compensate for the pressure we feel. As we close in on ourselves, we become more isolated until we find ourselves trapped in a prison of fear.READ MORE