31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

10-30-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

Barry had a life sentence in prison for doing unthinkable crimes. He would often remark to the chaplain that he was an atheist and could not bring himself to believe in any “god.” When the chaplain asked why, Barry quickly retorted that the book of Genesis speaks of God creating everything and feeling very good about it. God’s creation of people and things is beautiful. Barry continued, “If there is a God who creates something and likes what He makes and that God is good, then how could He have created someone as evil as me?” The chaplain fell silent as tears welled up in his eyes. “God loves you too, Barry. The stuff that you did is another matter. God puts His image and likeness in each one of us, in our souls. How can God not love himself?” God cannot despise or hate anything or anyone. He made you. Life hurt you. He is always about unconditional love and mercy. Barry found a glimmer of hope that day and was touched by love.


30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

10-23-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

There is a thing called “false piety.” It is when we wear a religious disguise of devotion, attend to our obligations, and outwardly abide by rules while being inwardly unkind, uncharitable, and exclusive. Wearing the right clothes, saying the proper prayers, being in sacred places, and reading devotional books, those exhibiting false piety craftily try to control others using the pretense of love. The Pharisees, consistently criticized by Jesus, are prime examples. Thinking they are superior to others, they foolishly believe they are better positioned with God and more worthy of God’s attention. Forming an exclusive “club,” they divide things between “mine” and “yours” and “us” and “them.” They quickly criticize and point out flaws and errors in rituals and thinking. Conformity becomes the first commandment and control is the game’s name.


29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

10-16-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

Brendan wouldn’t stop. He continued nagging his mom to let him have a little more time with his phone. He knew the rules but wanted to finish a game and text a few more friends. He begged, had a temper tantrum, pleaded, screamed, pouted, and used every means he could think of to get Mom to change her mind. Mom had a busy day and was tired. At first, she held her ground. Then, her son’s persistence got the best of her, and she caved. “Brendan, you can have 30 more minutes and no more!” she retorted. Brendan’s determination paid off. He won.


28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

10-09-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

Ten lepers were cured. Only one returned to give thanks. When we fall victim to entitlement, we diminish our capacity to love. Never satisfied, we walk around with outstretched arms, eagerly searching for the next thing we want so that we can acquire it ourselves. Very rarely do entitled hands hold anything to freely give away to others. Entitled hands also find it challenging to reach toward heaven in a gesture of gratitude and praise. We are often more obsessed with celebrating our victories, securing our assets, safeguarding our futures, and stacking the deck of life in our favor rather than relishing and absorbing the gift of the moment and blessings received.


27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

10-02-2022Weekly Reflection©LPi

As adults, unless we are dealing with children, “obedience” is not a word we typically like to hear. It often brings connotations of military protocols, deference to superiors at work, or conforming to laws and practices. In a culture that has learned to challenge authority, being obedient is understood more as something I “have” to do, not “want” to do.


26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

09-25-2022Weekly Reflection© LPi

“If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.” Regardless of how the message of faith is received, a total conversion of mind and heart is needed for it to take root and have meaning. It is easy to become complacent and comfortable with all that life can afford us. Life can become “all about me,” preserving my livelihood and protecting my securities. Often, this drive can become so strong that we eagerly strive to protect our self-interests at the expense of others. Other people are necessary only to the extent that they are “useful” to us and profitable.


25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

09-18-2022Weekly Reflection© LPi

“You cannot serve both God and mammon.” Merriam-Webster defines mammon as material wealth or possessions, especially having a debasing influence. While God does not take issue with our need to use money for the business of our lives, there can be a problem with the attitudes we bring to it. We can easily become so preoccupied and obsessed with money that it becomes the real “god” we worship. Do we serve mammon instead of God? In their book, Wealth, Riches and Money, Craig Hill and Earl Pitts outline symptoms of mammon’s influence in our lives. Some of these are worry and anxiety over money, money mismanagement, fear over “never having enough,” an “I can’t afford it” mentality, impulse buying, stinginess, greed, debt, and discontent.;


24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

09-11-2022Weekly Reflection© LPi

Since God created human beings, we have struggled to keep our focus on God. We wrestle with the question of “who is God” and foolishly believe some of God’s job description can be better completed by us. We wander in different directions, lose our way, think that happiness can be found elsewhere and even construct golden calves to worship. Are we simply too independent or just blatantly stubborn? It’s a good question to ask. Even with all of our silliness and distractions, God compassionately and patiently waits. He lets us assert our wills and knows that perhaps one day we will actually wake up and realize how lost we are.


23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

09-04-2022Weekly Reflection© LPi

What virtue is the cornerstone of discipleship? Love. Jesus preached about it, lived it, and summarized his greatest commandment featuring it. Love is in our DNA. To follow Jesus, then, is to follow the path of love. While this may appear to be an attractive and easy option, it most assuredly is not. Authentic love always comes with sacrifice. It is the complete giving of oneself to another. The sacrificial character of love always requires that we leave something aside and pursue something else. This is at the heart of self-denial. Love asks us to make choices that are often difficult.


Learn to Give Yourself Away

08-28-2022Weekly Reflection© LPi

People who are concerned with their own advancement and agenda have little room for anyone else. With an almost addictive pursuit of esteem and acknowledgment from others, they become little more than entitled embodiments of the vice of pride. Public humiliation or embarrassment can hit them hard. While avoiding humiliation and embarrassment may be advantageous to obtaining worldly success, they are much less desirable motivations for entering the Kingdom of God. Avoiding embarrassment is a self-serving motivation. Pride and all of its manifestations have no place on God’s agenda, neither do worldly success and fulfillment. In fact, we have been clearly told that if we love our lives, we will lose them. Therefore, if you really want to find your true station in life, learn to give yourself away.


Discipline is about Radical Trust

08-21-2022Weekly Reflection© LPi

The serious disciple knows the necessity and value of discipline. Thinking of discipline as something punitive in nature, we underscore its place in our spiritual lives. Discipline is really about a radical trust in God and his guidance. “When you are conducted by a guide who takes you through an unknown country at night across fields where there are no tracks, by his own skill, asking no advice from anyone, giving no inkling of his plans, what choice do you have but to give yourself completely to his guidance? If you are convinced that he is a good guide, you must have faith in him and abandon yourself to his care (Jean-Pierre de Caussade).”


20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

08-14-2022Weekly Reflection© LPi

An inward transformation occurs in a person who decides to follow Jesus Christ. Things change. They see the world differently, understand their journey more deeply and profoundly, have their sights fixed on eternity and union with God and hold themselves to higher standards and virtues. It requires a conscious choice to be a Christian, and this choice must be renewed at least daily. While the basic premise of Jesus’ message may appear heartwarming and straightforward: love of God, neighbor, and self, the implications of doing so are challenging. The true disciple is called to live radically, and often finds themselves at odds with the world or even with those in their own homes.


19th Sunday of Ordinary Time

08-07-2022Weekly Reflection© LPi

St. Thomas Aquinas reminds us that, “Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe, to know what he ought to desire, and to know what he ought to do.” Everyone is called to work toward their salvation, which is ultimately union with God. Those who take this call seriously must embark upon a journey inward to the deepest recesses of their soul. In the adventure and wonder of that journey, we work out the details of our union with our Beloved. We cling to what we need to believe, remain firm in what we truly desire, and are guided by what we know we have to do. Once we know that our goal is to be one with our Creator, life becomes an exciting expedition to pursue that end. We make necessary preparations, follow the map, and remain on course.