Saturday, June 11, 2022

The Most Holy Trinity

 "You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear." Rom 8:14

Fear follows all of us, whether it is onto an airplane or into a marriage. Even if we are sure we are doing God's will, the spirit of slavery, that is isolation, sometimes drives us back into fear, a fear we must renounce and put aside.

The feast of the Holy Trinity tells us God that is "a free communion of persons without domination or deprivation,"(1) into which we are called. There is no isolation in God. God is one and three, so too must we be.  Our identity is in community. Alone we are isolated and left to our own devices to survive and prosper. Together, we hold hands and hearts in hope.

We are never alone. We are always in the God who is a communion of persons, and in and with one another in the Body of Christ.  Woven into one body by the love of God, we celebrate the unity that is ours as God's gift. Each of us by ourselves can be a shining light of God, but together we become a community of hope and life. None of can be the body of Christ by ourselves. It is only the free gift of God's grace that makes us into a tapestry of love.

Today, remember into whom you have been woven as a wonderful sign of God's enduring love.

How would you explain the Trinity to a nonbeliever? 

Friday, June 10, 2022

St Barnabas

 "When Barnabas arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart, for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith." Acts 11:22

It is often obvious when someone is "filled with the Holy Spirit." They are calm and internally quiet. They listen and respond with few words. They are joyful about their faith and they are unafraid to announce the Gospel in season and out.

That the early church chose to tell us that Barnabas was filled with the Spirit and faith tells us much about him from the perspective of spirituality but little about his personality. A companion of St Paul, we know he returned to Jerusalem with Paul to try to settle the dispute about which rites of the Jewish faith Gentiles would have to accept and celebrate. This could not have been an easy task, but Barnabas had living experience of Gentiles coming to faith in Jesus and his testimony, even without words, would have been powerful.  

There are moments in all our lives when we have to stand up for others, even when our friends and family oppose them. Because our experience tells us that no one should be reduced to his or her faults, like Barnabas, we can remind anyone who will listen that we have seen and been impressed with the willingness of those being challenged to live with as much integrity as possible, and this can make an enormous difference in the lives of those for whom we speak.

Today, ask the Spirit to fill you with faith.

What makes you think someone is full of the Holy Spirit?

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Finding God in Silence

 “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will be passing by.” 1 Kgs 19:11

Finding God is everywhere is possible, even easy at times, as long as we are willing to let God lead us, but most North Americans are so busy that they often fail to hear, much less, accept God's invitation. Worried, like Martha in the Gospel of of Luke (10:38-42) about too many details, we miss the forest for the trees.

We need to learn to slow down everyday and notice God's finger everywhere. When we fail to breathe the morning air deeply, stretch and look around at what nature is presenting each day, we miss the God hidden in all of creation. When we keep walking when a family member, colleague or friend has a question for us, we tell them without words that we are not prepared to listen deeply to them. When people become objects that we manipulate for our own pleasure or power, we fail to notice God within them and in our relationships.

The prophet Elijah teaches us this lesson powerfully. When God told Elijah to go outside and wait for God who would be passing by, the prophet obeyed and discovered God, not in a fierce wind, an earthquake or a fire, but in the tiny whispering sound. Unless we are willing to let God speak to us in God's voice, we will rush past the God who is everywhere beckoning us, often in a whisper, to come closer.

Today, slow down for ten minutes and see what God says.

Where are the most ordinary places you hear God's voice?

Wednesday, June 8, 2022


  "But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment." Mt 5:22

Forgiveness of those who do us harm is essential to the Gospel. Jesus asks his Father to forgive those who are crucifying him, and reminds his disciples to put aside everything, even their pilgrimage to the Temple, to reconcile with those from whom they are separated.
But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Mt 5: 22-24)
Do we have the courage to accept Jesus' challenge in our daily lives? In recent months, especially as we live through the war in Ukraine, we can find it difficult to even think about forgiveness but  reconciliation is an essential element of the Gospel message and we need to find ways to live authentically with those with whom we disagree. Otherwise, the power of the Gospel to heal will be undermined.

Today, pray for a forgiving heart. 

Are you holding a past hurt against a family member or friend?

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Listening to God in all Things

 "Jesus said to his disciples: 'Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.'" Mt 5:17

Jesus must have been terribly confusing to the leaders of the Jews. Forever insisting that he wants only to live the Law and fulfill it, at the same time, he seems to break the law regularly. What were the Pharisees to do? If they did not challenge and condemn him, they would lose their own authority. If they rejected his teachings, they would lose the power they had over ordinary people. Their quandary, like ours, led them into impossible situations. More concerned with their own position in the community than with their role of instructing the people of God, they don't listen deeply to the Lord. Neither do we!

A life of faith is not something we put on or off at will. Neither can it be reduced to obeying legitimate authorities. Faith demands reflection, prayer and conversation with others seeking to know and follow God's law, all of which takes time away from other necessary duties in life. Too often, hoping for a simple and quick solution to complex questions, we avoid the hard work of following the Lord, and either put our foot in our mouth or kick ourselves in the shins.

It is important to remember the lesson of the Pharisees. While we can, and sometimes must, criticize church and state, it is only through reflection, prayer and honest conversation that God's will emerges.

Today, pray for the prophets in our world who remind us to live the Gospel fully.

How do you discern God's will in your life?

Monday, June 6, 2022

Salt and Light

  "Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket." Mt 5:14

The gospel today reminds us that we are salt and light, people who are supposed to bring flavor, perseverance, healing and hope to the world. I can't help thinking today about all the people in my life who flavored me when I was feeling tasteless,   preserved me when I was weak and healed me when I was sick in my heart and soul. More important, when I take time to be grateful, even make a list of those who supported me when I was struggling, the list goes on and on. It is amazing to me and all of us, I think, to take a moment or three each day to thank God for those who have been God's face in our lives.

On the other hand, being a light in the world though simple, is often difficult. It means discerning when to speak or be quiet in difficult circumstances. It means doing the right thing even when it is unpopular. It means remembering that it is not our own light but Christ's that we put on the mountain top so that all can see.

Today, be salt and light to others.

What or who brings the light of Christ into your life?

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Mary, Mother of the Church

 "Standing by the cross was his mother." Jn 19:25

The fidelity of Mary to Jesus, especially during his suffering and death, has been a consolation to believers since the beginning of Christianity. While his closest friends abandon him at the moment of his most acute need, Mary does not, and her refusal to leave her son in his suffering challenges us to live our faith in a much more complete way.

At the same time, a less than careful understanding and appreciation of Mary's role in the story of our salvation, can be dangerous. Suffering in itself is not a good, and Mary's fidelity should not encourage any of us, but especially women, to accept abuse or unnecessary suffering. Jesus challenges the Pharisees and Sadducees at every turn when the lay heavy burdens of others and do nothing to help the confused and lost. Mary's courage is similar. Though she can do nothing to ease her son's suffering, she is not passive. She accepts her fate, but does not seek it.

Today, accept what you must, but work to change a society and church that sometimes idealizes the suffering of women.

Which women in your life most impress you with their endurance and fidelity?"St