"Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us." As the Church concludes its Jubilee of Mercy, let us ask ourselves, what sort of mercy do we crave? Are we looking for something in the here and now, as was the first criminal? Or can we see the bigger picture, as did the second one? Of course we should want our siblings to have peace and justice in this life. But we should also recognize that such things are ultimately nothing more than dust in the wind. How many Sauls and Davids have come and gone, yet the world remains a mess. How many wannabe Sauls and Davids will vie for our attention, yet the world will continue to remain a mess. Our Brother did not come here to be a Saul or a David, as much as we wanted him to be. No, our Parent became one of us so that we might see the royal inheritance to which we can rightfully lay claim. And such a treasure is something that no king, president, or even pope can ever hope to produce. So what shall we seek: true mercy or a cheap substitute?
Sunday, November 20, 2016
Sunday, November 13, 2016
Once again, our readings are appropriate for the moment in which we find ourselves. Not because the apocalypse is imminent, but rather because we desperately need to be reminded that our world is only transitory. Politics and culture are merely games. Yes, they are ones with the power to make our stay on this little rock more or less pleasant, but they are not the life and death struggles we think them to be. No, our hope is in a kingdom far grander than any dog and pony show we can invent. And the best news is that this realm is even now rising in our midst; all we need is the faith to see it.
Sunday, November 6, 2016
How many of us listen to the first reading and think to ourselves: just eat the pork. It seems like such a small thing to die for. God will understand. God will forgive. Just eat the pork.
It is fitting that we hear this story on the final Sunday before Election Day, because many of us have been bombarded by that sentiment for quite some time. Vote for Clinton. Vote for Trump. Just eat the pork. Ignore the lies, the corruption, and the sleaze. Better her than him; or him than her. Just eat the damn pork. Yes, it can seem like such a small thing to object to. One of them is going to win after all. So yes, perhaps it is better him than her; or her than him. And perhaps it is understandable if some of us give in and eat the pork. But at what cost? How much of one's soul is tainted by affirming a person who does not deserve that affirmation? Yes, of course our Parent will forgive, but some stains cannot be erased. So vote however you choose on Tuesday; just understand the consequences.
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Today I celebrate my friend, Fr. Gregory Coiro, OFM Cap. He was a good priest; the best I have ever known. And while I cannot imagine him getting canonized, I am quite certain of his holiness. He gave so much in the hope that we, his brothers and sisters, might "ascend the mountain of the LORD". And I know that even now he is doing everything within his power to help us find our way into our Parent's "holy place". Yes, blessed are we. So with joy and love I say, Brother Greg, pray for us!
Sunday, October 30, 2016
"You love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made." None of us is ever truly lost. We wander through swamps and deserts. We deserve the warnings and rebukings that come our way. But not a single one of us is ever so deplorable as to find themselves abandoned by our Parent. Each and every being on this planet is a beloved child of our one God. May this truth pierce your heart and soul in these final days of our presidential contest, that you too might loathe as your Creator loathes.
Sunday, October 23, 2016
"The Lord hears the cry of the poor." But do we? Do we truly listen to them, or are we too busy turning them into objects for the fulfillment of our own needs and desires? The poor are not here to provide us with wisdom or opportunities for self-improvement. Such endeavors might allow us to feel better about our privilege, but let us never confuse them with justice. Life is a cosmic lottery. Some of us win, and some of us lose. One way or another, our Parent will take care of the latter. The rest of us have some choices to make: Will we recognize our good fortune? Will we freely and generously share that bounty with our neighbors? Will we humble ourselves before our family, or must God do it for us?
Sunday, October 16, 2016
Have we not remained faithful? Have we not been persistent? So where is our speedy justice? Where is our divine assistance? Despondency is easy when life is viewed through the eyes of the world. But we are called to see things through the truth of love. And from that vantage point, grace surrounds us: in the form of enemies ripe for transformation into friends; in the form of siblings standing shoulder to shoulder with us in solidarity; in the form of nature reminding us that our family is much bigger than a tribe of talking monkeys; in countless forms of wonder and beauty we can barely comprehend but who leave their marks on our hearts and souls. This is the help our Parent provides. And while it might not satisfy worldly demands or desires, it does guard what matters most, now and forever.