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.


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.