Reflection - November 18, 2017

“A man going on a journey called in his servants 
and entrusted his possessions to them. 
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one--
to each according to his ability. Then he went away.

Immediately the one who received five talents went and 
traded with them, and made another five. 
Likewise, the one who received two made another two. 
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master's money.”

There is something to say for security. The psychologist Abraham Maslow posited that there is a hierarchy of needs, which begins with food, shelter, and other physiological needs. The second level deals mostly with issues of safety and security. While not absolute, he thinks that the needs of one level must be mostly met before motivation based on the next level comes into play. In his expanded model, the eighth and highest level is transcendence. In essence, security necessarily comes before faith. 

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Reflection - November 12, 2017

“Therefore, stay awake,
for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

Eschatology is the study of the “last things.” Traditionally, Catholic eschatology has dealt with the four last things related to the human person: death, judgement, heaven and hell. Early eschatology, as early as St. Paul himself, was focused on Jesus’s return in glory, called his “second coming” or the parousia in Greek. This eschaton, or last thing, was thought to be the imminent return of Jesus, which was the final consumption of history ushering in a new heaven and new earth. It was the end point of this created reality, in a sense, and the entrance into an eternal reality where God is all in all. And that, my friends, is how you summarize a semester long graduate level theology course in a paragraph! Whew!

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Reflection - August 27, 2017

“Then he strictly ordered his disciples
to tell no one that he was the Christ.”

Odd, really. Following Peter’s confession of faith and subsequent designation as the rock on which the church would be built, receiving the authority of the keys of the kingdom, it’s as if Jesus is saying, “But whatever you do, don't tell anyone!” Why?

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Reflection - August 6, 2017

“After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother,
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them;
his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.”

Most of the time, the world passes by and we are left by faith to trust that God is with us. We don’t always get to see the divine so clearly as the disciples did in today’s gospel. We trust, especially through the Eucharist and the other sacraments, that God is here, but it is rarely as explicit as it is for Peter, James, and John.

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Reflection - November 5, 2017

“The greatest among you must be your servant.”

Why do we do what we do? Plato wrote, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” It is important for us to have a certain amount of self knowledge: to know who we are, our motivations and intentions, and our true gifts and limitations. This knowledge is central for us to grow and mature, but it’s not always easy to gain. 

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Reflection - August 20, 2017

Dear St. Patrick family,

I want to thank you for your prayers and patience as I get closer to surgery for the stenosis in my lower back, which will be on August 29. I am especially grateful to our staff, deacons, Fr. Oz and Fr. Adam for their assistance and compassion. It is truly humbling for me to experience so many tangible signs of love and care. Thank you.

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Reflection - July 30

"We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose."

Failure? Mistakes? Distractions? Regrets? Betrayal? Hardships? Heartbreak? Pain? Suffering? Injustice? Violence? Tragedy? Death? Can all things really work for good? It's not too hard to believe in the good when everything is going well, or at least fair-to-middling. Sure. I'll step out onto the water and walk by faith when the skies are clear, the sea calm, and the breeze gentle. 

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Reflection - October 29, 2017

“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind.

This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."

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Reflection - August 12

“Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD;the LORD will pass by. 
There was a strong and violent wind rending the mountains
and crushing rocks before the LORD—but the LORD was not in the wind; 
after the wind, an earthquake—but the LORD was not in the earthquake; 
after the earthquake, fire—but the LORD was not in the fire; 
after the fire, a tiny whispering sound.”

Violent wind, earthquake, fire. Unequivocal, powerful, majestic. This passage from The First Book of Kings in the Old Testament is one of the great instructions in the spiritual life. It is surprising, at the time it was written and today. The powerful natural phenomena of wind, earthquake, and fire would be the expected domain of God. The surprise is that God, the LORD, was not in any of those, but in the “tiny whispering sound,” or as some translations say, “a still small voice.”

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