7th Sunday of Easter

05-29-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

Unity and diversity can exist together. Our western minds have a grave difficulty seeing unity without conformity. We tend to believe that unless everyone believes the same thing, assents to the same body of truths, styles, and opinions, unity is not possible. Jesus, in today’s Gospel, expresses a tenderness and an intimacy that the disciples actually can witness. This same tenderness and love are also reflected in his desire for unity and oneness. Jesus passionately wants all to be one. It is very clear that the success of Jesus’ mission and the advance of the Gospel rises or falls with whether this unity is achieved. And it is a unity that is achieved around a person and not particulars. 

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6th Sunday of Easter

05-22-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

Jesus tells his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.” The peace that Jesus gives is far different than the kind that comes from the absence of war, conflict, or affliction. The peace that God offers is found alongside suffering and hardship, not necessarily in their absence. St. Teresa of Avila offers us a bit of wisdom regarding peace: “May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love. It is there for each and every one of us.”

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5th Sunday of Easter

05-15-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” Many folks really work very hard to circumvent difficult situations. We prefer the easier way around something, rather than risk inconvenience, hurt or prolonged suffering. It’s no wonder euthanasia is rapidly becoming acceptable around the world. Through purely human eyes, there is no issue bypassing the inevitable, taking control and bringing things more swiftly to a place of peace. If this is the way God sees things, then why does Jesus make such a big deal helping us understand the experience of suffering and embrace it? God’s wisdom clearly takes us in another direction.

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4th Sunday of Easter

05-08-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

“Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start.” (Pope Francis) We have a difficult time figuring out what is true and best for us. There are many voices talking and so many trying to get our attention. We wrongly convince ourselves that the true voice is the voice of progress, the one that speaks of contemporary wants and desires, enticing us with the latest trends and causes. We are taught, by listening to the voices around us, that truth is found in feelings and thought, and ideals must match current and popular human wants. Because we feel a particular way it must be true. Then, we find a shepherd who empathizes with us and affirms us. We follow that voice even though listening to that voice will render us powerless and lead us to harm. There are many with me in this procession to this pasture. I must be on the right path and listening to the right voice.

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3rd Sunday of Easter

05-01-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

Could it be that God’s image has become so soiled and distorted that it is hard for us to see it? Our self-serving agendas have done a great job twisting God’s image into what profits us. We want our agenda to be God’s agenda and use prayer as the convincing leverage we need. Worse still, our success and egocentric agenda often erases God’s image completely, replacing it with our own. St. Oscar Romero instructs us that the Son of Man “dies on the cross to cleanse God’s image, which is soiled in today’s humanity, a humanity so enslaved, so selfish, so sinful.” Striving to preserve control of our destinies at all costs, we fail to see the risen suffering servant, the Christ, standing right beside us.

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2nd Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday)

04-24-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

Even Thomas struggles to remove his boulder! Being very pragmatic and determined, he wants to see the risen Christ for himself! Thomas’s boulder is heavy with mistrust. Many of ours are too. A certain amount of skepticism is good, as it can save us from being duped or misled. But we can become so skeptical of things that it erodes our ability to trust anything we see or hear. Skepticism can actually be a well-disguised defense mechanism that we use to prevent us from being hurt or perceived as a fool. Having too much ego protection is a real risk. Thomas, because of the boulder blocking his vision, could not even trust the word of his friends.

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Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

04-17-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

There are many stones in our paths that keep us from truly living and being free. Some of these boulders have been there for a very long time. They have been there so long that they have even settled into the soil of our lives with other weeds, vines, and compacted soil keeping them firmly in place. We find them hard to move and trying to do so can be exhausting. What are these suffocating albatrosses that keep us so tethered and immobile? They are many things.They are past childhood wounds and hurts that stem from disappointment, rejection, or abuse. People may have told us we were unwanted, that the world is frightening, that there are only some acceptable feelings you can have and others you cannot. We may have tried to love someone or struggled to figure out how and were met with rejection. Maybe we trusted someone completely and were betrayed. We come to life collecting barnacles that begin to attach to other barnacles and before you know it, we have a mass of solid matter blocking our vision and keeping us from moving. We live in fear. We are afraid of losing what we have, afraid that the future will be empty, afraid that we won’t succeed and even more afraid that we will not be loved. There is so much fear. Didn’t Jesus tell us not to worry and to not be afraid? Either we believe in the message of Easter, or we don’t!

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Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

04-10-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

Pope St. John Paul II rightly taught, “To believe in Jesus is to accept what he says, even when it runs contrary to what others are saying. It means rejecting the lure of sin, however attractive it may be, in order to set out on a difficult path of Gospel virtues.” Acceptance, rejection, suffering, betrayal, fear, reluctance, persecution, and painful, undeserved and unjust death are all played out in dramatic fashion today. Jesus spoke of God’s unconditional love, mercy, and forgiveness. Who doesn’t like hearing about love, especially God’s? Jesus did not have backs turned on him, face intense suffering, and succumb to a horrific death because he spoke of God’s love. All of those things occurred because of the implications of actually believing in God’s love.

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5th Sunday of Lent

04-03-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

We love to make examples out of those who have erred and done wrong. Publicly punishing others serves as a means of demonstrating the consequences for what is deemed inappropriate or wrongful behavior. While this may appear an effective way of achieving conformity to established rules, it runs the real risk of distorting motivation. Obviously, we want people to do what is right and pursue healthy, virtuous behaviors and ideals. But is fear of punishment ever the best motivation for avoiding one action in favor of another?

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4th Sunday of Lent

03-27-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

God’s love story reveals itself in our stories, experiences, and aspirations. We are all prodigal sons and daughters. There are many times in our lives when we would “sell our souls” in order to pursue our passions. We pursued what we wanted without regard for others or God. We have sowed our oats, thrown ourselves into careless pleasures, spent what we know we ought to have saved, turned our backs on those we love and abused gifts we have been given. We even hit bottom and realized the silliness and self-destruction of it all. We needed to come home. We knew we erred and needed a gentle presence to show us God’s unconditional love. This wayward journey home changed us.

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3rd Sunday of Lent

03-20-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

Deserts can be lonely, isolated, and treacherous places. When a person wanders in a desert, they can easily get disoriented, dehydrated, confused, lost, and vulnerable. Temptation is at its peak, especially when confronted with something that may offer some respite or relief, even a mirage. Deserts can bring us to our weakest moment and tempt our faith. The Christian journey can be described as a desert experience as we vacillate back and forth, falling victim to the mirages of our lives versus the true, life-giving water offered by God. We need a burning bush experience in our lives that convinces us of the power of God and reveals Him as the “I am” of all existence.

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Discover the Sacred

03-13-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

There is so much wisdom in the first commandment. The daily demands of life, current political ideologies and dynamics, social expectations, corporate philosophies, and even technology can easily become lesser gods. We can find ourselves beholden to and held captive by these secular constructs and systems. Even for those who profess a faith in the one true God, these lesser, attractive but false gods are a temptation. Being overly preoccupied and even obsessed with the state of our present lives, we lose sight of our real destiny and purpose.

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The Risk of Temptations

03-06-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

One of the greatest temptations human beings face is leaving the truth of who they are, where they came from and who created them in pursuit of more personal satisfactions. When we consider all that desires our attention in a given day, there are many lures that attract us to illusions about ourselves We can easily find ourselves distracted or tired, preoccupied with preserving our status in life, social relationships, current trends, and corporate demands, and intrigued by pursuing what we perceive to be the “path of least resistance.” The daily concerns of life can quickly take our eyes off of our truth, making the empty promises of worldly accomplishments and ideologies seem so attractive. What is at risk in giving into this temptation?

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