August 29, 2020

Our Revolting Lord

For the Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time


Jeremiah 20:7-9. Romans 12:1-2. Matthew 16:21-27.


Everything in the Gospel today aims at our receiving as a reward our lives and our salvation when Christ returns with his angels in the glory of his Father.

Christ begins his Gospel today telling us that he will suffer and die at the hands of the nation’s elders and religious authorities.


It was for us men and for our salvation, as we say in the Creed every Sunday.

However, today Christ calls our salvation a repayment he shall give everyone according to his conduct.

A repayment to each CONDITIONED according to his conduct.

For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct.

What is the conduct that earns the repayment, but also, what IS the repayment?

The conduct is the conduct of Christ himself, and the repayment is rising from the dead, as Christ rose from the dead.

Risen from the dead, Christ can die no more and can suffer no more.

Resurrection in Christ is life without bounds and joy without measure.

Faith in that truth can give us motivation to follow Christ, even though Christ today gives a repulsive description to his path.

Whoever wishes to come after me— come after me into the resurrection— must deny himself, take up his CROSS, and follow me.

Without a doubt, we can say those who first heard him found his words repulsive.

Taking on a CROSS— an ancient instrument of public SHAME, TORTURE and DEATH.

More recent versions?

Whoever wishes to come after me must undergo: public torture and lethal injection, or public torture and gas chamber, or electric chair, firing squad, guillotine, or noose.

The Gospel today is not inviting, but it’s revolting.

Is there an alternative to public torture and execution for someone who wants to follow Christ into the resurrection?

Yes and no.

Christ says today whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Christ lost his life for OUR sake, and he found a new life on the other side of resurrection.

It’s role-reversal in some respects.

All the trouble started with role-reversal.

In the Garden of Eden, we tried role-reversal; we tried to be God, to remake ourselves by ourselves, to redefine life and death.

The role-reversal required us to reject God as God and to reject ourselves as God had made us.

Try as we might, we can’t go back to the way things were in the beginning.

We cannot reverse our own attempted role-reversal.

The genius of God in Christ was to do the role-reversal himself.

God in Christ became a man.

God in Christ took on himself the lot of every sinner.

God in Christ suffered and died at the hands of sinners for the sake of sinners, and was buried.

On the third day he rose from the dead— thereby taking the role reversal beyond all its possibilities.

A dead man rose and ascended in flesh and blood to take God’s throne in heaven.

Humankind in Paradise was not able to take God’s place.

However, humankind in Christ sits on God’s throne.

Christ, the Son of Man and Son of God, has opened up for us the inviting possibility of following him onto God’s throne.

Sounds nice.

But still, what about taking on the cross, torture, execution?

The revolting condition for boundless life and joy at God’s throne simply means that we must not allow ourselves or anything to stand in the way of letting God be God.

We let God be God, and we push ourselves and everything out of the way to pray and worship God.

The second reading from the Word of the Lord today, the Letter to the Romans, tells us:

offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind....

We also let God be God whenever for his sake and imitation we serve the good of others.

We let God be God whenever we deny ourselves in the service of God and others.

We let God be God whenever we accept willingly whatever suffering comes our way for the sake of Christ and following Christ.

Here in his Eucharist, as always, Christ lives out his Gospel.

Here is role-reversal: God is the banquet for sinners.

Here he is alive for our sakes.

After we receive his life in his Eucharist, to live for him in return is to find our own joy and our lives everlastingly with the angels in the glory of the Father when Christ returns.

Turn. Love. Repeat.


August 26, 2020

Giving 'Em Hell


Matthew 23:27-32 for Wednesday of the Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time


Today’s biting Gospel is only a small part of a longer tongue-lashing Christ gave the scribes and Pharisees.

In his drawn-out broadside he went so far as to call them children of hell.

The everlasting woe we call hell does not show up fully in the Old Testament as a straightforward truth.

Heaven as a reward for human persons also does not show up in the Old Testament that sees heaven as the dwelling of none but God.

Christ at last broke into history with the naked news of an everlasting hell for the wicked and of everlasting heavenly life with God for the righteous.

Christ was hard on the scribes and Pharisees— he gave them hell, as the saying goes— because they would not acknowledge they were sinners needing to repent, to change their minds, their wills, their deeds.

Such conversion is the true and straightforward way for meeting Christ ON HIS TERMS in his Eucharistic Body and Blood.

We know this is true if we mark and mind the words Christ says in giving us his Body and Blood at every Mass.

Take... eat... my Body... given up for you... drink... my Blood... poured out for you... FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS.

Those are Christ’s terms for his giving and our taking his Body and Blood.

If— like the scribes and Pharisees— we do not repent, then we cut our own selves off from the forgiveness of sins.

That was not what Christ in his love wanted— not for the scribes, not for the Pharisees, not for us.

Repent, and believe in the Gospel!

Turn. Love. Repeat.


August 23, 2020

Building the Church on Revelation and Failure, Not on Opinion and Success


Matthew 16:13-20 for the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time


This day in the Gospel was the SECOND time that Christ spoke of building upon rock.

The FIRST time was at the end of his Sermon on the Mount, where he said:

Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them
will be like a wise man who BUILT his house upon the ROCK;
and the rain fell, and the floods came,
and the winds blew and beat upon that house,
but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the ROCK. [Mt. 7:24-25]

Following God in Christ is the way to build a house solidly on rock to last us unto entering the kingdom of heaven.

On the other hand, if we do not bother to work at following God in Christ, then we are building on sand a shaky house doomed to fall.

It is as Christ warns in his Sermon on the Mount.

“Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven,
but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
On that day many will say to me,
‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name,
and cast out demons in your name,
and do many mighty works in your name?’
And then will I declare to them,
‘I never knew you;
depart from me, you evildoers.’ [Mt. 7:21-23]

In TODAY’S Gospel, there are two layers to the ROCK upon which to build our obedience to God.

The deepest layer is the heavenly Father revealing the Christ, the Son of the living God.

The upper layer is in Simon Peter who took in and spoke what was NOT his OPINION as a man of flesh and blood.

No, Simon Peter took in and spoke a REVELATION from GOD THE FATHER.

Simon Peter said: You are the ChristMessiah, Anointed Onethe Son of the living God.

Christ answered him:

Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not REVEALED this to you,
but my heavenly FATHER.

Then Christ changed Simon’s name: you are PeterPétros, Rockand upon this rock I will build my church.

As rain, floods and wind come to naught against a house built on rock, so the netherworld shall not prevail against the CHURCH that Christ chose to build on Peter and the revelation Peter received from God the Father.

This is the FIRST time that Christ has spoken the word CHURCH in the Gospel.

So, we must pay CAREFUL attention to what he says about building his church.

AS SOON AS Christ finished today’s words in the Gospel, he went on to tell just how building his church would happen.

Jesus began to show his disciples
that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly...
and be killed and on the third day be raised.

That is how Christ builds his church.

To the world, it seems the church is built on sand as something worth condemning and knocking down.

But Christ does not build his church out of SUCCESS, as the WORLD sees success.

Christ builds his church out of his SUFFERING AND DEATH.

It is only after the DEATH of Christ and then his resurrection that the gates of the netherworld fail to prevail against the church of Christ.

The church of Christ is not truly built by succeeding as the world sees succeeding.

No, the church of Christ is built on the rock of confessing in word and deed what God the Father wills to reveal in the suffering and death of Christ.

Only then do the gates of the netherworld... not prevail against the church.

Christ teaches and builds us through our solid union with the faith of Peter the Rock.

But even Peter the Rock had to face that Christ held it SATANIC [Mt. 16:23] to think that Christ’s suffering and death were not how Christ should build his church.

With Peter the Rock we must face that lesson as the will of the heavenly Father.

“Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
shall enter the kingdom of heaven,
but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

Through Peter the Rock, Christ has bound and loosed us for a new and eternal covenant of doing the heavenly Father’s will by embracing communion in the suffering and death of Christ.


The church of Christ is truly built only through the COVENANT of the flesh-and-blood suffering, sacrifice and death of Christ before the resurrection of Christ over the netherworld.

Here and now we are celebrating that COVENANT.

Our taking the Body and Blood of Christ COMMITS us to renew our willing work to obey in our daily living all that the heavenly Father teaches us in Christ.


If we do not, then we are just playing with sand all the days of our life.

We might succeed in the world’s sandbox of success, but without building anything to last us into the kingdom of heaven.


Turn. Love. Repeat.


August 16, 2020

Greater Wishes


"The Canaanite's Daughter," by J. Tissot. Brooklyn Musem / Public Domain.

Matthew 15:21-28 for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time


In this Gospel, the sick girl’s mother is one of the Canaanites— who are foreigners, enemies, worshipers of heathen idols.

The first thing the sick girl’s mother called Jesus was LORD, SON OF DAVID.

With that name, she prophetically acknowledged Jesus to be the chosen Messiah, the Anointed One of the God of ISRAEL.

Lord, Son of David!

After that, her brave persistence in begging for help is only secondary.

Jesus came as the Messiah of the JEWS— God’s CHOSEN PEOPLE.

Every human being is able to become a CHOSEN ONE of God through the mercy of God and faith in Jesus as the Messiah promised to the Jews.

Today in his Gospel, Christ emphatically asserts that his mission was for Israel.

However, he fulfilled his mission by suffering and dying for Israel and for ALL of sinful humanity.

Like the Canaanite woman today, we also beg for healing, whether of body, mind or spirit, whether for ourselves or for others.

Christ carried our sins, weaknesses, diseases and our death; and he destroyed them in himself by his own suffering and death on the Cross.

He can offer us particular healings of body, mind or spirit.

However, those are merely crumbs on the floor compared to what he offers us in his Eucharist.

Faith in Christ offers us SALVATION: the privilege to eat at the table of the sons and daughters of God— and not as mere FOREIGN GUESTS, but as SONS AND DAUGHTERS brought to birth within Christ’s Body— NATIVE sons and daughters born of God through faith and baptism.

We might continue to pray for mere crumbs.

Yet God himself gives us the whole table— and his dining room as well.

In his Son Christ Jesus, God himself is the Open Door through which we enter.

God in Christ is the gracious host who serves us at table.

God in Christ is the Living Food and Drink set before us.

When we partake of this Banquet as God’s children with faith and fidelity, God gives us the gift of a full, undivided share in his own life.

In his Gospel today, Christ finally answered the Canaanite woman’s pleas for the healing of her daughter.

O woman,
great is your faith!
Let it be done for you as you wish.

With his Eucharist, he says to us: Let it be done for you even BEYOND your wishes.

Let us at least begin to wish what GOD wishes.


Turn. Love. Repeat.

August 15, 2020

The Song of Mary’s Fulfillment and Ours

Bethlehem Women Dancing

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary


Revelation 11:19; 12:1-6a, 10ab. 1 Corinthians 15:20-27. Luke 1:39-56.


Today’s solemn feast of Mary’s entry into heaven lets us celebrate the destiny that God offers to all of us.

Actually, we celebrate our destiny every time we are at Mass.

In every Mass, God sends the Spirit upon our offerings of bread and wine that they may become for us the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The same happened at our baptism:  God gave us his Spirit, adopting us as children of God.

Because he has given us his Spirit, God counts us as his children.

Mary received God’s Holy Spirit in a special way.

In the town of Nazareth, God gave the Holy Spirit to the Virgin Mary so that the Son of God was conceived in her body.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, the Son of God took his own sinless flesh and blood from Mary.

Like mother, like Son.

However, Mary’s special holiness does not consist in her Son being like her.

Rather, her unique holiness consists in her being like her Son.

Like Son, like mother.

Forty days after Jesus rose from the dead, he passed from our sight into the glory of heaven, but he did not leave behind his living, glorious and STILL HUMAN Flesh and Blood.

In a similar way, when Mary’s earthly life had run its natural course, she, the flesh and blood mother of God, was taken away, soul and body, into the glory of heaven.

Mary being taken into heaven, which we celebrate today, is also OUR destiny.

This destiny is already fully realized in Mary.

It has also been PROMISED to us, and it has ALREADY begun.

The word of the Lord in the letter to the Ephesians [2:6-7] says that God:

both with and in Christ Jesus
raised us up
and GAVE us a place in the heavens,
that in the ages to come
he might display the great wealth of his favor,
manifested by his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

All this already began to be true in our baptism, when by the power of the Holy Spirit we became God’s children: we became God’s flesh and blood.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary is the flesh and blood mother of God.

She is our mother, too.

Jesus gave us to Mary at the foot of his cross, and he gave her to us, saying: Behold, your mother!

Like mother, taken bodily into heaven, so also one day the children.

In a few moments, here at the altar, we will ask God to send the Holy Spirit upon our offerings of bread and wine.

The power of God will again be present among us, just as at our baptism, at the first Pentecost and just at Nazareth when the Spirit and power of God came down upon Mary.

Here in a few moments the Holy Spirit will come down upon our bread and wine, and God will make them for us into the flesh and blood of his Son, so that by flesh and blood he can take us into his own life and glory.

God is here for us, and so the Church borrows the joyful song of Mary’s fulfillment.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked upon his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his Name.

Almighty God has done great things for US.

Praiseworthy, glorious, blessed and holy is his Name forever and ever.

Turn. Love. Repeat.

August 13, 2020



Matthew 18:21 to 19:1 for Thursday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time


Three times a year, the Church at Mass turns to this Gospel reading— a horrendous parable of TORTURE for failing to forgive.

This translation says the first servant owed his king a huge amount.

However, the original language says it was ten thousand talents.

A New Testament Greek talent was the salary for fifteen years of work.

So, ten thousand talents are the salary for the work of one hundred and fifty thousand years.

That is an IMPOSSIBLE debt, and there is NO way of paying it back, as the Gospel indeed says.

The servant begged the king: Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.

That was impossible; so, the king just forgave him the loan.

You and I are in the same standing with God.

God made us from nothing to live not merely one hundred and fifty thousand years, but forever.

Even if we were sinless, our souls are forever indebted to God.

So then what kind of further impossible debt must we have since we are not only alive, but also sinners?

Moreover, what of God in Christ the King who, by HIS undergoing torture and death in OUR stead, chose to pay all the debts we owe him?

He has NOT merely FORGIVEN our debts.

Rather, he has paid them with his own Body, Blood, Soul and Godhead.

The second servant in today’s Gospel today owed the first what this translation calls a much smaller amount.

In fact, the original language says it is a hundred denarii, the Roman salary for only a hundred DAYS in the land and time of Christ.

That’s as NOTHING against one hundred and fifty thousand YEARS.

The sins of our fellow humans against us are as nothing against our everlasting souls that we owe to God and against our sins that disown and dishonor our Creator.

God gives us mercy if we ask it.

However, he lays down the condition that we forgive others from our hearts.

Otherwise God will withhold his mercy from us.

But even worse, horrendously worse!

Christ says here on this page of his Gospel that his heavenly Father will do to us as the king did to his indebted and unforgiving servant:  handed him over to the TORTURERS until he should pay back the WHOLE debt.

One hundred and fifty thousand years of torture might as well be forever.

You and I are here before the altar to dare to ask Christ our King and God to hand over his Body and Blood to pay the impossible debts we owe him.

What everlasting fools, DAMNED FOOLS, we should be to withhold a lesser forgiveness from our fellow servants.


Turn. Love. Repeat.


August 10, 2020

Serve, Service, Servant: Diakoneĩn, Diakonía, Diákonos

"Jesus Washing the Feet of His Disciples," by Albert Edelfelt.
Wikimedia / Public Domain.

John 12:24-26 for the Feast of Saint Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr


St. Lawrence was a deacon of the pope, and died a martyr in Rome on August 10 in the year 258.

The word deacon comes from the Greek for servant or service.

So then, in the original Greek of today’s Gospel reading, we can recognize a description of a deacon:

Whoever serves me [Whoever is a deacon for me]

must follow me, and where I am,

there also will my servant [deacon] be.

The Father will honor

whoever serves me [whoever is a deacon for me].

The Father will give the honor of eternal life to the loyal servant of Christ.

The heroic example of St. Lawrence and the strong language of Christ’s Gospel tell us how to be loyal servants of Christ and gain the honor of eternal life.

Amen, amen, I say to you,

unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,

it remains just a grain of wheat;

but if it dies, it produces much fruit.

Whoever loves his life loses it,

and whoever hates his life in this world

will PRESERVE IT for eternal life.

Christ does not tell us to DESTROY our lives in this world.

Rather, we may preserve our lives in this world if we want ETERNAL life more than our lives in this world ONLY.

The truth is that our life in this world is folded into ETERNAL life, and that our ETERNAL life is folded into our life in this world.

Christ says today that whoever hates his life in this world will preserve IT for eternal life.

We are to hate not life itself.

Rather, we are to hate a life that ignores eternity.

At present, in this world, our lives are in disorder.

Our human nature is in disorder, out of harmony with itself.

We each have a body, a reasoning mind, free will and feelings.

These— body, mind, will, feelings— don’t always line up with each other, and never perfectly nor permanently.

That failure— that lack of order, harmony, and peace— that lack is something we naturally and rightfully HATE.

God did not make disorder, but hates it.

Human sin is the origin of disorder.

In Christ— Truly God and Truly Man— we are justified, rectified, put in order and harmony through and through— body, mind, will, emotion.

Yet the order and harmony will not fully wake up until our own resurrection— if— in this world— we have hated sin and the disordered results of sin.

Christ by word and example shows us how to hate sin and its results— how to live and die in this world so that we gain eternal life.

St. Lawrence, like Christ, handed himself over for the glory of the Father and for the true, eternal good of humanity.

Christ gave his life and blood, like a grain of wheat falling into the ground, dying, and bearing immeasurable fruit, that we— in body, mind, will and feelings— that we might have life in fullness and for ever.

To us, his servants (deacons all), our Master surrenders his Body and Blood to glorify the Father and to be the beginning of our eternal life.

What the Master does, so does the loyal servant.

Where the Master is, there is the loyal servant.

If we are to have eternal life, we must hand over our lives as did the loyal deacon St. Lawrence, and as our Eucharistic Master still does.


Turn. Love. Repeat.


August 08, 2020

Stillness at Prayer, Stilling a Storm


1 Kings 19:9a,11-13a. Romans 9:1-5. Matthew 14:22-33.


For the Nineteenth Ordinary Sunday of the Church Year

Some time ago— also on a boat in a storm-tossed lake— the terrified disciples saw Christ scold the wind and the water into silence and stillness.

That time, too, he accused all of them— not only Peter— of lacking faith.

Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?

They asked themselves: Who is this that commands even wind and water, and they obey him?

Today, as then they are on a boat endangered on the heaving waves.

Now they see him walking on the water.

He boards the boat.

The winds and the waters fall silent.

This time the disciples do not bother to ask each other who he might be.

Instead, they simply lower their eyes and heads before him as in godly worship, saying: Truly, you are the Son of God.

Today’s first reading told us that the prophet Elijah of old also heard and saw the cosmic might of fire, heaving earth and crushing wind fall into gentle whispering at the approach of God.

Elijah then, as the apostles later, hid his eyes from looking upon the nearness of the Divine Majesty.

Today, hearing the Word of God, you and I join the apostles and a prophet of old who lower their eyes in the worship of God.

We see the prophet meet and worship God on a mountain.

We see the apostles worship the Son of God in a boat out on a lake.

At the opening of the Gospel today, we see Christ, like Elijah long before, alone on a mountain.

Christ the Son of God is alone in prayer on the mountain, where he faces his Father in holy communion of Spirit.

Prayer is the Son of God with his Father in one Spirit.

While the galaxies, stars, planets, moons, hurricanes, oceans and the earth’s crust all move with an undefeatable might, the creator of all holds within himself the communion of prayer.

From all forever and into all forever, the Son of God is with his Father in one Spirit.

We now approach to worship.

We now approach to ask and pray.

Yet the heart of prayer was always alive in God before all creation.

Only of late do we join in the prayer of the Son of God.

Two thousand years ago the eternal Son of God finally came down to us as a man of flesh and blood, making present in our flesh and blood his own eternal, prayerful and spirited communion with the Father.

If even the ever-living Son of God takes to a mountain of solitude to approach his Father in prayer, how much more should we?

If not for God, we would not be at all.

Nothing would be.

Throughout the Gospel, Christ repeatedly goes off to be alone in prayer.

He is the eternal Son of God; and communion with his Father in one Spirit has forever been his life.

Now, since two thousand years ago as a member of the human race, prayer is food and drink for his human soul.

Do you— do I— really pray, or do I force my soul to starve and dry up?

The first sin in human history was to take false food for the soul in defiance and rejection of God.

Up until then, Adam and Eve had the privilege of communion with God who himself tended, fed and watered the Paradise of their souls.

When man and woman grabbed their first taste of faithless defiance against God, so began our whole earthshaking, boat-rocking, firestorm history of sin against our human neighbors and God our First Neighbor.

Each time I sin against my fellow human beings, it is because— and always because— I had already sinned by turning away from God.

I can sin against God simply by refusing to turn to him in worship and prayer.

Sin and the history of sin have left a deep mark of conflict and distortion on the human soul.

Because of that, when I turn to God in prayer, I will need at times to row against the wind and waves that storm inside my soul, like the apostles today in their boat.

Even Christ, true man and true God, even he prayed, allowing his own human soul to eat and drink.

Even for him, his human experience of prayer was at least once a storm of agony in a garden.

When will all the storms of history end?

Not until Christ ushers in the new earth and the new heavens.

Until then, we will at times find the wind and waves against us.

At times, like the disciples today, we will think that God is only a ghost.

We will doubt and fear.

At times we must listen to the Lord say to us what he says today in his Gospel.

Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.

Perhaps we may need to step out and risk walking on water simply because the Lord has commanded us as he commanded Peter.

Again, we may fear and doubt, and then begin to sink.

We must cry out with Peter: Lord, save me!

At times we will deserve to hear the Lord tell us: O you of little faith, why did you doubt?

Sometimes— thanks be to God— we will see that God has stepped aboard our boat, taming the wind and seas.

Here in his Eucharist, the Son of God is aboard with us.

Here he prays for us to the Father.

Here in his Eucharist he gives us true food and true drink.

Facing him in his Eucharistic Body and Blood, we ask his Father to grant that we, who are nourished by the Body and Blood of your Son and filled with his Holy Spirit, may become one body, one spirit in Christ. [See Eucharistic Prayer III.]

Let us strive to be men and women of faith, prayer and worship, doing good to our neighbors, but, above all, doing homage to God our First Neighbor, our Creator and Savior, as he eternally deserves.

May the good lives we choose to live spell out faithfully the words of worship that the apostles have spoken today: Truly, you are the Son of God.


Turn. Love. Repeat.


August 06, 2020

Someone's Weaving and Sewing Turned White as the Light of Heaven



Matthew 17:1-9 for the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord


At the very center of what we are witnessing in the Gospel today, Peter tells Christ: Lord, it is good that we are here.

For any of us, it would be the privilege of a lifetime to stand before Christ, to see him with our own eyes, his body and his clothes shining like the sun.

But he made a promise to be in our midst whenever even just two or three of us should gather in his name.

So, he is here now.

As we witness his Gospel today, we have him with us.

We are, then, real witnesses of his Transfiguration.

He is here, revealing himself in his own Gospel.

We are real witnesses of his Transfiguration.

Lord, it is good that we are here.

Today, with Peter, James and John, we see Christ in the glory of the kingdom.

His entire appearance changes— his body and his clothes shine like the sun.

Today in his Gospel we hear him link his Transfiguration and his Resurrection by telling Peter, James and John that they are not to speak of what they have seen today until he has risen from the dead.

Each year at Easter we witness and celebrate his resurrection.

Each Easter, we, his baptized faithful, renew the vows of Baptism.

We are baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Today in the Transfiguration, we are witnesses of all three of them, Father, Son and Spirit.

First, Christ the Son is here, his body and clothing revealing the light of heaven.

As we stand before him, the embracing cloud of the Spirit adds its own confirmation to the splendor of Christ.

Now the Father speaks to us of Christ.

This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.

We have been baptized into the Father, the Son and the Spirit.

In Baptism, God in Christ has brought us to the mountaintop of heaven and enveloped us in the light of the Spirit.

In Baptism, God in Christ has clothed us with the Spirit of adoption, so that God already counts us as risen out of death into glory as his sons and daughters.

Through Baptism, what we celebrate in the Transfiguration and the Resurrection is no longer about Christ only.

It is about the Father and the Spirit, and it is about our very selves.

That the body of Christ and even his handmade clothing with its woven cloth, stitches and seams should shine with heaven’s glory is a sign of the high dignity that God has given to our human body, human life and human culture.

This is my beloved Son.

In Christ, God has passed judgment on our world, and his is a judgment of fatherhood and love.

It is with great confidence, then, that we should face our lives in the world.

At this very moment we are approaching the Eucharist.

In this Blessed Sacrament, the same Body and Blood that shone in the Transfiguration are really present.

In this sacrament, Christ crucified bodily and bloodily, Christ dead and risen in Body and Blood is really present.

In this sacrament, he really and truly breathes out the Spirit of the Father upon us, within us, in body, in spirit and in truth.

In this sacrament, he gives us a share in his bodily resurrection and its meaning: that the very life and glory of God himself dwells in and finally transfigures the flesh and blood of his sons and daughters.

How good it is to be here!

Lord, it is good that we are here.


Turn. Love. Repeat.


August 04, 2020

Defilement Comes From Your Mouth, Not From Your Hand

Matthew 15:1-2,10-14 for Tuesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time.


As we heard in yesterday’s Gospel, Christ is now at Gennesaret, on the shore of the lake in the land of Galilee.

Today, Pharisees and scribes from Jerusalem in the land of Judea, a walk of two or three days away, have come to demand of Christ why his disciples break the old tradition by not washing their hands before they eat, thereby defiling themselves.

But before answering the Jerusalem Pharisees and scribes, Christ first called over the local Galilean crowd.

He made sure the Galileans heard his answer that offended the Judean Pharisees, namely that one defiles oneself by what comes out of one’s mouth.

You and I own up to that at the beginning of Mass, when we say aloud to God and to each other:

... I have greatly sinned,

in my thoughts and in my WORDS,

in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,

... through my most grievous fault.

Elsewhere in his Gospel, Christ says our mouths show whatever evil is within us.

So how do we avoid defiling ourselves?

We need to prudence to open our eyes to seek, know, and name right and wrong.

We need to ask in all things and every moment:

Does this give glory to God?

Does this serve the true good of my neighbor?

Does this serve my own true good?

Then, we need to choose to obey based on what we have come to know as good or bad.

By so doing, we let Christ’s heavenly Father plant us.

Otherwise, as Christ says today, we will be uprooted, and end up at the bottom of a pit.

Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.

Let them alone [the Pharisees and scribes];

they are blind guides of the blind.

If a blind man leads a blind man,

both will fall into a pit.

We have a sharp-eyed guide in the person of Christ.

He is food and drink for what we do with our bodies, feelings, minds, and wills.

In his Eucharist, he gives glory to his heavenly Father.

In his Eucharist, he is the true good of our neighbors and us.

Giving himself to us in his Eucharist, he tells us: Do this in memory of me.

Having received him in his Eucharist, do we then go on to reveal and do what we have received?

Do our thoughts, words, and deeds show that we have the Body and Blood of Christ within us?

Do we serve God’s glory and the true good of others?

Such service is ultimately for our own life and joy, for Christ speaks today of such service as our being PLANTED by his heavenly Father.


After making the human race, the first thing God did was PLANT a garden to serve as our peaceful home of living and joyous communion with him.

God wants to see us planted there forever.

His Eucharist offers us the reality, the power, and the opportunity.

The choice is ours in every thought, word, and deed.


Turn. Love. Repeat.


August 01, 2020

Breaking Our Hopes Into Greater Ones

Deserted Hills in the Judean Wilderness. Pixabay / Public Domain.

Matthew 14:13-21 for the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time


John the Baptist, a true prophet, suffered death for speaking the truth against the sins of King Herod.

John also raised the hopes of the people for a messiah, pointing them to Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

Jesus in today’s Gospel reading, having heard of John’s death, withdrew ... to a deserted place by himself.

That is something he often did for the sake of prayer.

We may wonder if his prayerful solitude in today’s Gospel reading was in a spirit of mourning the death of a true prophet, his forerunner, his kinsman, even his friend who had called himself the friend of the bridegroom [John 3:29].

The crowds have heard of both John’s death and Jesus’ withdrawal into solitude.

Having put their messianic hopes in the prophet John and now in Jesus as a prophet as well, they leave their towns on foot and follow Jesus to his solitude.

You and I today at Mass are also a crowd following Jesus.

Today the Gospel tells us that Jesus’ heart was moved with pity for them.

However, it is not just any crowd that has moved him, but a crowd following him into solitude.

So, he chose to take care of them.

He cured their sick.

He took loaves that could be counted on one hand, and fish likewise, and turned what was too little into more than enough for about five thousand men, not counting women and children.

The twelve wicker baskets full of leftovers were no accident.

Among other things, they signify that his mission is to care for all the twelve tribes of the People of God.

The twelve baskets too much also show that he is to do far more than fill bellies.

We who have come to follow Jesus must open our eyes and our wills to want far more than have him fill our bellies or meet our other needs.

His way and his timing do not always line up with our hopes.

As we put our own hopes in Jesus, let us mark that he BROKE the too few loaves that were the insufficient hope of the crowd.

He may break our hopes, only to make something much greater come to be.

Let us follow him nonetheless— especially in the solitude of prayer.


Turn. Love. Repeat.