Friday, December 3, 2021

Letting go of Diminishment

 "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest." Mt 9:38

What owner of a farm would not want to gather up a rich harvest?  Having spent hundreds of hours, preparing, sowing, weeding and watering, the harvest is a time for farmers to collect the "wages" of their work.  Moreover, because in most cases there are only a few days to accomplish this, farmers rush to gather up what they have sown as soon as the crop is ready.

Nevertheless, some of us are so busy with other matters that we lose sight of our priorities, and fail to respond to fields overflowing with produce. When we do this, our delay can cost us everything. Paying attention to all that God is doing among us is essential for believers. We cannot afford to dwell too long on our diminishment and losses. Though we may have failed to respond fully in the past to Jesus' call to discipleship, the call is repeated today for everyone who has ears to hear and eyes to see.

Today, invite someone to help you spread the Good News.

Who is the most convincing "harvester" you know?

Thursday, December 2, 2021

St Francis Xavier

 "At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd." Mt 9:36

St Francis Xavier, one of the founders of the Jesuits along with St. Ignatius Loyola, was the among the first Jesuit missionaries. With his mind and spirit focused on going to China, Francis left Italy without language skills or money. Despite these difficulties, Francis kept his eye on the prize and at every stop along the way preached the gospel, baptizing thousands in India and Japan. That he never realized his dream of preaching the gospel to the Chinese seems insignificant now. He did God's will and that is all that matters.

Francis Xavier is a powerful reminder of what we can become when we place our total trust in God and let God do God's work wherever we are sent. None of us walks the pilgrim path of faith without obstacles. St. Augustine reminds us that we are like pieces of pottery, shaped by instruction and fired by tribulation, and should never fear the kiln. Rather, he encourages us to focus on what God is making of us while we are being tried by fire. 

Today, ask God to tell you where you ought to go to proclaim the gospel.

What are your strengths when trials come?

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Transparency in our Personal and Public Lives

“A strong city have we; he sets up walls and ramparts to protect us. Open up the gates to let in a nation that is just, one that keeps faith." Isa 26:1

One of the most difficult challenges of contemporary life is transparency in our public lives.  Though everyone calls for it in politics, religion, and business, there seems to be little willingness to act. In recent years, however, many bishops, to the consternation of some, have published complete financial reports on their websites.  Anyone wanting to know how much money a Diocese or Archdiocese received and how much it spent only needs an internet connection to find out.  In my view, this is not only laudable but necessary. 

Unfortunately, however, because our society has become so litigious, we have also learned a kind of political correctness that does not serve our institutions or our personal lives very well. People are afraid to be transparent for fear it will be held against them.  The result, of course, is that everyone walks around looking over their shoulders and the power of the Gospel gets lost in a sometimes disingenuous flood of words.

Advent is a good time to begin again. Transparency is a key to honest government and Gospel living.

Today, pray for honesty in our personal and public lives.

Who has helped you take a step forward in living a Gospel life without guile?


Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Real Wealth

 “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat." Mk 8:1

The people following Jesus were rarely rich or entitled. Rather, it was the poor, the sick, the struggling who followed him and not always for the right reason. It is clear in John's Gospel that some followed Jesus because he fed them when they were hungry, not because they recognized him as the Messiah.

When we pause to pray or simply be quiet, we often realize that everything we have is a gift. Many work hard to earn a living and share generously with their neighbors and churches because they realize how blessed they are and  always have been. These are the people who praise God everyday for their parents and grandparents and their formation in faith because it was their parents and teachers from whom they caught the wonder of God's creation and the beauty of living faith.

Today, try to silent for ten minutes and pay attention to everything and everyone around you.

What is your real wealth?