4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

01-29-2023Weekly Reflection©LPi

In my parents’ bedroom there were on the wall two photos of my mom and dad from their early adulthoods. The photo of my mother entranced me when I was a boy. I loved looking at it, even though I saw her in daily life. Something about that picture captured her perfectly. It was an image of the joy, wisdom, beauty, and strength that enveloped me from the start of my life. It was an icon of the woman who fed, taught, and encouraged me. I felt a deep pride that I came from such beauty. 


3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

01-22-2023Weekly Reflection©LPi

When I was a young seminarian, I asked a wise old priest how to pray better. He said simply, “Don’t lie when you pray.” He helped me to see how much energy I waste in trying to appear acceptable to God when I pray. For me, prayer was showing off for God and hiding what was ugly.


2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

01-15-2023Weekly Reflection©LPi

When I was a kid, I remember the priest at Mass announcing, “The Lamb of God!” Frankly, it struck me as nonsense. I thought: Why in the world does God have a lamb? And where is this lamb? 

John the Baptist sees Jesus coming toward him and announces, “Behold the lamb of God.” His Jewish listeners knew what he meant. God’s lamb is the thing that is sacrificed at the Jewish Passover and consumed by the participants. For almost a thousand years, lambs were ritually slaughtered and eaten in Jerusalem at Passover. The lamb meant sacrifice, freedom from sin, and communion with God. The Baptist is saying in effect, “This man will be ritually sacrificed and consumed so that God’s people may be free from sin and united to God.” 


The Epiphany of the Lord

01-08-2023Weekly Reflection©LPi

A friend of mine is a young priest who teaches high school physics at a Catholic boys’ prep school. Like many today, the boys often think science and religion are enemies. So, he delights in their raised eyebrows when he reminds them his first full-time job as a priest was to be an astrophysicist. He cataloged the size, shape, and matter of distant stars. He tells them, “Science gave me more love for God, not less.” 


Mary, The Holy Mother of God

01-01-2023Weekly Reflection©LPi

We hide ourselves and our secrets from God because we are afraid. Even Mary can seem too perfect to approach. The shepherds find the strength to speak to Mary and Joseph at the moment they see the child in the manger. They open their hearts and share what they’ve experienced. Saint Luke writes of the shepherds, “When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child.” 


The Nativity of the Lord

12-25-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

As we age, time seems to pass more quickly. Years seemingly fly by as one holiday flows into the next, January quickly becomes December and life maintains its hectic pace. What do we accomplish in all of that busyness? Perhaps technology is responsible for some of the frenzy, keeping us isolated in our social media worlds, communicating through texts rather than in person, and always connected to world events. We’re over stimulated in many ways by information, noise, opinions, and ideologies. Yet, we still find the time to decorate our homes, purchase gifts, and plan Christmas gatherings. We know, however, that the true meaning of Christmas is not found in twinkling lights, beautifully adorned trees, perfectly set tables or exchanged gifts. We are being called to something deeper and more authentic.


4th Sunday of Advent

12-18-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

An entire town is wiped out by fire, a tornado rips through several neighborhoods, a bomb claims a maternity hospital and a sudden heart attack takes the life of a soul mate. Life is unpredictable and dramatic. Many buy into the sad illusion that the securities and familiarities we see around us today will remain forever: our homes, our friends, our spouses, our churches, and even our health. We are stunned and shaken by a sudden change, finding ourselves bewildered, mortified, and even embittered. We do not like change, especially change driven by sources beyond our control. Are there any guarantees in life? We often live as if our lives come with lifetime warranties. When they break, they can be fixed or replaced. Such is not the case. Many things are irreplaceable and unable to be fixed. During life’s inevitable chaos, God says: “Do not be afraid.” Seriously? How can one not be afraid when things are falling apart?


3rd Sunday of Advent

12-11-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

Life can leave us feeling dark and desolate. Sandy was just twenty-eight when her husband, Rob, died, leaving her to raise their two young children. She was without paid employment. Rob went to work one morning and never returned home. Sandy, though, had faith and trusted that somehow God would help her through, even though most days brought deafening, piercing loneliness. She persevered, and the darkness gave way to light. Remarking one day to a friend hesitant to commit to a relationship, Sandy shared her wisdom. Even if she knew the outcome would be the same, she would marry Rob again. She assured her friend that she would even do this if eight years could only be eight minutes. We are being led by God and God transforms the darkness into light.


2nd Sunday of Advent

12-04-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

At sixty years of age, Maria and Paul had a beautiful life. High school sweethearts, they had four children, five grandchildren, a successful business, good friends and a fabulous beach house. They felt very blessed. Their strong faith in God saw them through some difficult challenges. Without warning, Paul died suddenly. Maria was devastated. Why did God do this? Why did God allow this to happen? An indescribable depth of sadness weighed heavily upon her heart. She felt betrayed by the God she thought was looking out for her. She was overwhelmed by despair. Have you ever experienced such incredible and deafening sadness? Where is God in all of the pain?


1st Sunday of Advent

11-27-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

We can embrace and relish each moment of our lives as a sacred sacrament or nonchalantly and robotically attend to what life presents. We have our feet in two worlds. One is holy and sacred, and the other is profane and secular. Which one has the greater claim on us? To what do we devote most of our energy? We can easily be consumed with the particular demands and essentials of daily life: family, work, obligations, and the like, that we don’t really notice anything more than what is right before us. We become masters at “doing” and neglect our need to “savor.” Jesus reminds his friends that “as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.”


Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

11-20-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

It’s not unreasonable to think that if God wanted to make a statement he could do so in a very dramatic way. After all, he spoke through a burning bush that didn’t actually burn, parted the Red Sea, sent manna to the Israelites from the sky, cured lepers, healed the sick and cast out demons. All of that is pretty dramatic stuff, and they made statements! Now, Jesus hangs dying on a cross. He has been referred to as a king. Considering all of the miracles Jesus did in his short time on earth, isn’t one more in order? If Jesus came down off of the cross, defied death, and parted the waters of suffering and death, onlookers, believers and unbelievers alike, would take notice. It would prove who God is and show us what God wants us to do. Or would it?


33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

11-13-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

Many make it their life’s ambition to determine precisely when the world will end. By reading the signs of the times, consulting scripture, or looking to prophetic predictions that are sometimes centuries old, they claim a certain credibility in being able to do so. Is all that necessary to know? Even when his disciples pointedly ask him this question, Jesus does not directly answer. While the end will inevitably come, Jesus points out that there is a lot we need to do first: remain faithful, face persecution, endure suffering, face wars and insurrections, and give testimony. Human beings tend to focus their energies on the wrong kingdom. Consumed with all of the things we have built and seeking to preserve them, we forget that we belong to a different kingdom, the Kingdom of God.


32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

11-06-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

Facing her 50th birthday and recently diagnosed with Type-2 Diabetes, Rebecca was at a crossroads. Realizing that she had neglected her health and fitness over the years and allowed herself to gain significant weight, she felt poorly about who she had become. While it was easier to give in to temptation and the gratification received from food, her family needed her, and she desired a long life. She had an image of the person she could become. She wanted to be more trim, focused, disciplined, and healthy. She liked what she saw in her mind and set out on a journey to create it. With great effort, she succeeded and accomplished her goals. When we have a goal ahead of us, we are more apt to do whatever is necessary to get it.