Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Lk 4:16-30 Rolling Up The Scroll and His Sleeves

Monday of the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time


Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll,
he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,
and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
He said to them,
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
And all spoke highly of him
and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.
They also asked, “Is this not the son of Joseph?”
He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb,
‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here in your native place
the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.’”
And he said,
“Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
Indeed, I tell you,
there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah
when the sky was closed for three and a half years
and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,
but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
Again, there were many lepers in Israel
during the time of Elisha the prophet;
yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
When the people in the synagogue heard this,
they were all filled with fury.
They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong.
But he passed through the midst of them and went away.

My initial reaction after reading this Gospel was to be upset with the people of Nazareth. How could they not understand what Jesus was saying? After reading it again, though, I understood. Try looking at this from the perspective of the Nazarenes.

Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. Imagine one day that you are walking into Mass not expecting anything out of the ordinary. One of the lectors that day was is holy. He had allegedly done great works for God—but he was your next-door neighbor and you had gone to parties at his house all the time. You grew up with him. Then he starts reading from some chapter that everyone knows…

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Blah blah blah blah…. Pretty words, but you’ve heard them a million times before. You start to look at your watch. What are your plans after Mass?

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. What is the kid doing? Imagine the priest just standing there and looking at the parishioners for a few minutes after the Gospel reading is over. Who is this guy? Your dinner reservations are in twenty minutes!

He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” Wait, what? They also asked, “Is this not the son of Joseph?” This boy couldn’t be the Son of God—he was the son of that nice carpenter down the street that made your dining room table!

Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Why is no prophet accepted in his native place? You would think that it would almost be easier for Jesus to plead his case to people he knew. They would listen without immediately getting angry or upset, right? Wrong. Prophets are not accepted in their native place because people don’t believe that God can work in their lives. To us, Scripture seems romantic and lofty, but it can’t be real! The things promised by Jesus cannot happen to us. We think that our modern world is in some way separated from the Kingdom of God.

For example, take this simple verse from the Magnificat of Mary: “He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty.” Sounds wonderful, right? But is that what we see going on around us? Isis is slaying Christians and other minorities in the Middle East. In Central America, young people who can’t afford the $250 US per year that it takes to attend high school have two options to survive: prostitution or the drug trade. Meanwhile, some American businessman just bought his fifth beach house. So what Mary said can’t be true, right? The hungry are not filled. The rich are not sent away empty. The Kingdom of God cannot apply to modern life!

“Indeed, I tell you,
there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah
when the sky was closed for three and a half years
and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,
but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.”
We have become numb to the Word of God. But God is still working. The Word of God is still true.He just chooses to work in unexpected ways. God is not a God who fits our expectations. In fact, God works in ways that we could never imagine. That is why it is okay that we are so dumbstruck by the fact that God really does work in modern, daily life.

Why hasn’t God reached out and stopped the terror?

Why did God choose to become incarnate of a poor fourteen-year-old girl in Nazareth?

Why can’t we have peace?

When Job questions God in his time of suffering, God responds, “Do you know the time the mountain goats give birth? ... Do you give the horse his strength? … Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars?”

Our expectations are methodical. If there is suffering, God should stop it. If x, then y. But God is not methodical. Can you answer any of those above questions that God asked Job? I certainly can’t. God’s pretty funny that way.

When the people in the synagogue heard this,
they were all filled with fury.
They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong.
But he passed through the midst of them and went away.

God is so merciful. Even though we push Him away and try to fit Him into our little boxes of expectation, He walks right through them and leaves you to think. You can bet that as soon as any one of those Nazarenes agreed to put their expectations aside, Jesus would have been right there with his invitation: come, follow me.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mt 16:21-27 You Make Us Brave

Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)

Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.  Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, "God forbid, Lord!  No such thing shall ever happen to you."

You duped me, O Lord.  You duped me, Lord.  I thought that if I followed you and your commandments with all my heart, all my soul and all my strength; attended Mass every Sunday and said my prayers every day and night, then I would live a happy life. 

You duped me, God.  You duped me.

You duped me, O Lord.  You duped me.  I never imagined in a million years that you would be crucified by us and for us.  You duped me.  I thought that you would have insisted on being treated like a King, or President or religious leader.  Instead, you came into the world just like one of us - actually, worse than one of us - like a peasant, a common man, a no-body, a poor man. 

You fooled me God.  You fooled all of us. 

God forbid, Lord.  Can any of us blame Peter?  Really. Who would not have responded in the way Peter did to Christ's insane and dark prediction.  Who would not have recoiled to Christ's ghastly prophecy?  Like all of us, Peter suffers from original sin; that is, preconceived notions. We all believe that God should do what we want Him to do and be like we want Him to be.  Is there any wonder why Jesus reacted in way He did:  "Get behind me, Satan!" 

God will not be duped.

A few Saturdays ago I officiated at a wedding.  I did what I almost never do:  I arrived early to set things up.  Some guests of the bride and groom were already in the chapel, mingling with friends and family.  As I walked in, I noticed a young girl sharing some pictures with her grandmother.  I walked up to them and said hello.  Immediately, the young girl's facial expression changed from one of joy to (I don't know what to call it) "indifference."  I got the impression she was judging me, and judging me harshly.  When her grandmother asked me to give her a blessing, I eagerly agreed.  I didn't know why the request was made, but I was more than happy to do it.  Unfortunately, her reaction remained the same:  indifferent. 

Before I left them, I noticed a picture of two small kids on her cell phone.  At first, I didn't think much about it, but later on an idea came to my head.  When she was alone, I asked her who those babies were.  Without looking at me, she said "They're my twins."  Without hesitation, I told her, "Congratulations!"  Her head popped up.  She was surprised, almost baffled, at what I said.  I continued, "It takes a brave woman to have twins.  Thank you.  You help us all to be braver."

I duped her, Lord.  I duped her!  And I was more than happy to dupe her!  When she thought she knew me, I duped her.  I surprised her.  And she allowed herself to be surprised.

Because I'm happy.  What will make us happy in this life?  When my will corresponds to the Father's Will.  This is what Christ did, and by doing so, He helped us all to be a little braver. 

"Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?"

Far too many of us only read the Headlines in the Newspapers or on the Internet.  Very few of us dig deeper and read the articles.  Far too many of us only scrape the surface in our numerous relationships.  We must learn to dig deeper, for it is there that we find a wealth of meaning.  Peter's refusal to accept God's Will was a good example of someone scraping the surface in a relationship.  He could only understand Christ's pain and suffering, not His sacrifice and love. 

Let's not rob the Lord of His glory.  Let's not remove from our lives the profundity of His words and actions, especially His unconditional love for us. 

Remove all preconceived notions of God and allow Him to teach the meaning of true love.

And so now we know why we go to Church every Sunday, and pray every day and live by every word that comes forth from the Savior's mouth?  It isn't to be more relaxed in our lives!  It's to be more like Him:  to love as He loves and be as brave as He is. 

He makes us all what to be brave, really brave. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Mt:25:14-30 Share Your Master's Joy

Saturday of the Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time


Jesus told his disciples this parable:“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...."

In my high school Physics class, a major part of our grade included completing an egg drop assignment.  The premise involved designing a protective barrier between an egg and the ground so when dropped from a two story roof the egg remained intact.  We were given a few weeks to create a suitable design fulfilling dimension and size requirements.  A prize went to the successful student who's egg didn't break.  I remember driving over to Michaels craft store to look for materials.  I decided on a fairly simple design:  Wrap the egg inside a round Styrofoam container used for fake flowers. The day of the egg drop I was terribly nervous.  It was my senior year and my top-ten GPA meant everything.  I simply could not afford a bad grade in Physics because of a broken egg.

What a cold February morning when our Physics class walked up to the school's roof to start the egg drop challenge.  I remember seeing splat after splat.  Everybody's egg broke.  When it came my turn, I carefully dropped my Styrofoam ball from the roof.  After the egg fell we inspected it  to find not one crack!  In fact, my egg was the only one in the class that didn't break.  I won a movie gift certificate as the prize.  Everybody was surprised, including the teacher, that a simple Styrofoam ball was insulating enough to protect the egg.

Just think:  Simply trusting in Jesus and following his Way, Truth and Life protects our souls from breakage.  The Lord acts as a protective shell around our fragile and vulnerable hearts.  We can entrust our darkest secrets, intimate desires, and worries with Him.  He will not allow us to completely crack and fall apart.  In fact, God blesses us with gifts each and every day.  It's up to us to use them wisely.

Five, Two, One....According to Ability  Instead of three, two, one like a typical countdown  it's five, two, one;  the number of talents the Master gives to his servants.  I find it interesting  the wicked servant is only given the one talent according to his ability. The Master must have not expected a whole lot from him to begin with. Why does the master get so upset then? Why bother giving the third servant any talents?

 The Master of the talents desires to entrust his possessions with all of his servants equally and according to their individual abilities.  He hoped his servants would listen to his request, protecting and properly investing the talents.  However, the wicked servant allowed fear to take over. Burying his one solid gift  is like burying his head in the sand.  He doesn't have to think about it or realize it's value.  He can simply walk away - out of sight and out of mind.  It's not his money anyway.  Why take the risk of possibly upsetting the demanding Master if he loses the one talent?  It's easier just to bury it away than to trade it up for something more profitable.

God does not want us to bury our gifts in the sand!  He wants us to use them to the fullest, evangelizing and spreading the good news . Desire to share in His eternal joy!

Share Your Master's Joy  We may not realize this, but God gives us gifts on a daily basis.  They may appear small and insubstantial; however, all we need to do is take the time to notice and cherish them.  For me, a smile is one such beautiful gift.  I think of the smile of a child playing with a toy, the smile of someone laughing, or the smile when a friend greets another friend.  When I'm having a rough day, a smile brings warmth back into my heart.  When I'm feeling down, a smile brings happiness back to mind.  Some people are blessed with a positive attitude and a habitual smile that's infectious!  It's almost as if God sends such persons to continuously spread joy to others. Joy is what makes life worth living. Sharing our joy keeps fear at bay and helps us recognize our gifts and talents, using them for the benefit of all of God's Kingdom.

‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’

This meditation was written by Jennifer Burgin.  Please visit her blog:  Jennifer's Spectrum of Spirituality

Friday, August 29, 2014

Mk 6:17-29 St. John's Heart

Memorial of the Passion of St. John the Baptist
(Click here for readings)

Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married. ...Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him...She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet... Herodias' own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod...The king said to the girl, "Ask of me whatever you wish..." She replied, "The head of John the Baptist."

This was today's Gospel passage for our 1st K-5th grade Mass at All Saints.  I couldn't believe it!  I felt horrible for the kids.  What would they think?  What could I say?  How could make this true story relevant for our kids?  Well, here is my homily from today's elementary school Mass. I share it with you because many parents (adults) came up to me after Mass and told me how much they needed to hear this.

John's Head.  St. John the Baptist was beheaded by some very mean people.  Are you a mean person? 

I think the best definition of a mean person is someone who only thinks of themselves or who will do whatever it takes to get what they want.  Are you mean to others?  Do you think only of yourself?  Will you do whatever it takes to get what you want?  I hope not.  But I am worried because all of you have had an entire summer to perfect your fake cries and temper tantrums.  So, the question is:  Have you become a mean person to the people who love you the most? 

Herodias was a very mean person, and she didn't care a nickel about it.  Why would she?  After all, she had lots of power, lots of "friends" and lots of money.  No one, no one in their right mind would even dare to get in her way...except for one brave person:  John the Baptist.  You see, to make a difference in the world, all it takes is for one good person to stand up to tyranny.  And although St. John lost his head.  He never lost his heart.  And his heart inspired countless men and women to rise up and follow Jesus Christ.

Mean people think they can get away with just about anything, including murder!  But they can't, for they too will be judged by God and by their neighbor.

Are you a mean person?  I hope not.

How do you know someone loves you?  One child responded by saying, "If they hug you,"  while another said, "If they put you to sleep at night."  Although I thought these answers were absolutely adorable and true, I continued to play the devil's advocate and told them, "Well, sometimes mean people give you hugs and kisses when they want something from you.  Also, sometimes our parents put us to sleep just to get rid of us (or because they want some peace and quiet). [Lots of laughter!] So...I'm not yet convinced."

Finally, a teacher gave the answer I was looking for:  "By the way they sacrifice for you."  BINGO!  We know someone loves us by the way they sacrifice for us.  Our parents, even our grandparents, would die for us.  I hope you all know this!  And this is what John the Baptist did, and what so many have done after him.  He was willing to lay down his life for his friends and the Lord.

So, how do you know someone loves you?  By the way they sacrifice for you. 

There's a lot of love in our homes, in our school and in our society.  There are a lot of people here who love you.  Now it's your turn to share your love with others.  So make a sacrifice and live your life like Jesus Christ, who showed us just how much he loved us when he laid down his life for us.

This is why you go to All Saints:  to learn how to love and be loved. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mt 23:27-32 The Allure of Hypocrisy

Wednesday of the Twenty-First Week in Ordinary time


Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside,
but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.
Even so, on the outside you appear righteous,
but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.”

Oscar Wilde once said, among many other things, “In all unimportant matters, style, not sincerity, is the essential. In all important matters, style, not sincerity, is the essential.” He left this epigram for young people entering adulthood in his day, stating the unpleasant truth about respectability in Victorian England. In our own day, this statement rings just as true, if not more so. In a world where people adore exterior beauty, material wealth, and physical pleasure, hypocrisy is necessarily rampant. Why cultivate an inner life, when people only observe and respond to the outer life?

Modern people of all ages feel the strong temptation of hypocrisy; like the Pharisees and scribes, they desire to “appear beautiful on the outside” while “filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.” Students want to attain a high score they never earned and then brag about it to their family and friends. Young activists want to change the world and help those in need while they indulge in every kind of luxury themselves and live off their parents. People who work in offices or in the fields proclaim their efficiency and intelligence to anyone who can hear, and harangue those whom they deem lazy, while they themselves fail miserably at their duties. Even the elderly love to criticize the younger generations, excoriating their choices and decadence, despite their pivotal role as parents in forming these young people into who they are today. 
The Pharisees and scribes receive the worst kind of criticism from Jesus because of their hypocrisy. We should hesitate to join in the condemnation before searching our own hearts. After all, the Pharisees and the scribes only did what every politician, celebrity, intellectual, and businessmen does today: they assume their roles as moral and cultural authorities and proceed to tell others how to live. Has their behavior warranted this authority? Not at all. They sin like anyone else, often much more so. Does their power, fame, knowledge, or money really give them the authority to preach? Quite the opposite. It actually makes them less credible as moral teachers since they sought worldly goods in place of heavenly ones and frequently have a much hazier perception of reality. The Pharisees and scribes, having more power, fame, knowledge, and money than most commoners, only did what was normal by most people's standards.

For the sake of His people, Jesus had to condemn them with supreme righteous anger. No behavior does greater damage to the Church, to people's relationship with God, than hypocrisy. Many believers fall away from the Church because of the hypocrisy of clergy and laity, who make lofty proclamations only to act like every other sinner outside the Church. The hypocrite, more than the terrorist or serial killer, will convince people that there is no God, no reason to pray, and that morality is simply a tool of the crafty to oppress the naïve. Moreover, the hypocrite will create a whole new generation of hypocrites. If a person can preach one thing, practice something else, and gain everyone's admiration, saint and sinner alike, then everyone will want to be a hypocrite. Why be a priest or teacher and suffer poverty and disrespect for taking care of people's souls, like Paul, when a person can be a doctor or financial consultant and earn a high salary and the enjoy the greatest respect for caring for people's bodies and possessions?

Perhaps the only thing more tempting than hypocrisy is tolerating others' hypocrisy. We listen and praise hypocrites because we would have a much easier time following their example than the example of a virtuous person. Quite often, those who earn their reputation for goodness through actual virtue seem more like chumps fighting a futile battle than heroes improving society. At the time of her death, Princess Diana, a glamorous divorcee aristocrat, had many more mourners, and television specials, than Blessed Mother Theresa though they both died in the same week. The death of any celebrity who overindulges easily overshadow the death of a good person who sacrifices. Instead of jumping on this superficial bandwagon, we should acknowledge people's merits as well as their faults, and give praise to the good man or woman instead of the powerful man or attractive woman. Let us honor the saints and imitate their example.

Today would be a great day to start since it is the Feast Day of St. Monica. Unlike most parents who desire world success from their children, Monica desired spiritual success for her son Augustine, only to see him ardently pursue worldly success for the first three decades of his life. Seeing past Augustine's facade of happiness and wisdom, she encouraged him to put away his heresies and concubines and live a true life in Christ. Her prayers, her patience, her tears, effected the conversion and sanctity of one the greatest spiritual minds in history. Only her saintliness, her sincere love for God and her son, could have inspired such a miracle. Had she relied on style, our Church, and our world, would be much poorer as a result.

Let us ask for her intercession and give thank for God's work in her and her son. We could certainly use more mothers like her.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mt 23:23-26 We Are All Cups

Tuesday of the Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)


“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You cleanse the outside of cup and dish,
but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence.
Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup,
so that the outside also may be clean.”

We are all cups. This analogy is what strikes me most in today’s Gospel reading. It seems like a fitting comparison, since we so often “fill ourselves up” with both the good and the bad. Similarly, we take what we have filled ourselves up with and pour it out, leaving a legacy that impacts all around us.

Isaiah 64:8 says, “But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.” We are God’s personally crafted clay cups.

But, like us, a clay cup is fragile. It can’t get through life unscathed. It undoubtedly picks up chips and cracks along the way.

The Pharisees were chipped and cracked like the rest of us, but their problem was that they tried to hide it. They boasted perfection and righteousness, but all the while, they were falling apart under their masks.

Despite their best attempts to fill themselves up with God’s Word, their cracks—and their pride—were so immense that anything of God that filled their cup quickly seeped out.

So preoccupied with achieving the most and being the best, they failed to attend to the state of their cups. Inside, theywere dirty and scarred.

Nobody is perfect. The insides of our cups are all dirty and scarred. Why, then, do we feel so much pressure to cleanse the outside? Why do we paint over the chips and fill in the cracks? Are we trying to act like we don’t struggle? Are we all just pretending?

Christ didn’t pretend. The ONLY perfect person to walk this earth let His wounds show. So why don’t we?

Christ’s resurrected body bore the marks of His nails. He didn’t erase them when He rose from the dead. Rather, they served as a reminder of the trial He faced—and overcame.He boasted in His wounds, inviting the nonbelievers to see and touch the proof of His suffering.

Cracks don’t have to be a bad thing. Christ’s cup was cracked by sin and death, but with His ultimate victory, He allowed light to pierce through this darkness. This is, after all, why we should boast not in our perfection, but in our cracks. There is something holy and profound about admitting we are cracked.

In fact, cracks in a clay cup are beautifu.When your soul is illuminated, it’s the cracks that allow your light to shine through.

Those that shine the most often possess the most cracked cups. Despite their battle scars, they emanate God’s luminous joy. This is what it means to clean the inside ofthe cup: to admit imperfection…and shine anyway.

Being clean inside and out does not mean being without fault. Rather, it necessitates inviting God into these faults.

It’s okay not to be okay. We shouldn’t spend so much time attempting to achieve perfection on the outside while our cups falls apart inside. Rather, we should model Christ, being both broken and beautiful.
We don’t have to be perfect to clean our inner cups. All we have to do is accept these cracks, and let God turn them into passages through which His light can shine.

Faith Noah graduated from Ursuline Academy way back in 2014 and was valedictorian of her class.  She is currently a student at Vanderbilt University and contributes to this blog whenever she can.  She is an outstanding young lady with amazing grace and faith.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mt 16:13-20 Who Do You Say That I Am?

Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)

Jesus asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"

The answer to this question makes all the difference in your life.

You are Peter.  Apparently, Simon Peter knew the right answer:  "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."  With these words, Jesus said to him, "And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church."

This morning I had breakfast with a wonderful soul and a beautiful person who happens to be a bit of a fallen away Catholic.  Although she has had many problems and struggles throughout her young life, this angel always manages to have a smile on her face.  Every time she comes to town she calls me and invites me out for breakfast.  During our morning conversation, I asked her what she thought of Pope Francis.  She told me she didn't know anything about him.  I couldn't believe it.  Regardless of what faith or no faith you have, it's hard not to hear his name mentioned in the national media.  Pope Francis is important.  Who and What He represents is important.  After all, if someone were to ask you the question "How do you know the Catholic church is the Church founded by Jesus Christ?" and you only had a minute to answer it, how would you do it?  What would you say?  ANSWER:  Because the Catholic Church is the only Church that can trace itself all the way back to St. Peter, the rock of the Church.

That's it...especially if you only had one minute to answer their question.    

Of course, how we see Jesus will determine how we see His Church.  So, who do you say Jesus is?

Who do people say that I am?  Forget about what other people think; what do you think about Jesus?  Who is Jesus to you?  Is He the Lord, the Savior of the world?  Is He the Son of the Living God?  I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this question, for what you think of Him will say a lot about what you think of others. 

Who do people say that I am?  This question is often applied to others, especially the disadvantaged.  A lot of children may be struggling with your answer.

Who do people say that...

A fetus or a Down Syndrome baby is?  Am I a mistake to you?  

"Pope" Richard Dawkins recently came out of his lab, the zoo, to announce to the whole world that it was a moral imperative to abort children conceived with Down Syndrome.  That's right!  The amateur zoologist and premiere atheist went way out of his field of expertise to tweet:  "Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice."   

Read slowly his message.  Abort "it"...  Try again...  [If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.]  It would be "immoral" to bring "it" into the world.

Richard Dawkins believes that if a woman had the choice to abort a Down Syndrome baby, and failed to do so, she would be acting immorally.  Now, it's one thing for a scientist to advocate terminating a pregnancy.  It's an entirely different thing for him to claim it's a universal moral imperative.

How you see Jesus Christ will determine how you see others, especially the most defenseless.

Dawkins tweet has more to do with his entrenched atheism (ideology) than with his knowledge of Down syndrome babies.  No reputable scientist would come out with such a dehumanizing statement.  In fact, not too long ago, Dawkins actually took a neutral stance on the morality surrounding abortions.  But now he has come out of his limited box to say and do what few would have imagined:  make a dogmatic declaration!  How unbecoming of someone who hates dogma!

Immoral?  Based on who's morals?  His own, of course, which is as far as most non-believers can get.

J.D. Flynn, for First Things, wrote a beautiful open letter to Richard Dawkins.  He wrote:

"You've often said that people who disagree with you should "go away, and learn how to think."  I've tried to learn to think, over the years, but perhaps I am naïve in some says.  But one of things I've concluded is that ethical philosophy can't be done in a sterile environment - that our humanity, our intuition, our empathy, in fact, must be recognized as a source of ethical insight if we want to think well.  Perhaps you believe that your position on abortion and down syndrome is logically valid.  But I wonder if you're kept awake at night by the revulsion that  comes with being the champion of killing.

I have two children with Down syndrome.  They're adopted.  Their birth parents faced the choice to abort them, and didn't.  Instead the children came to live with us.  They're delightful children.  They're beautiful.  They're happy.  One is a cancer survivor, twice over.  I found that in the hospital, as she underwent chemotherapy and we suffered through agony and exhaustion, our daughter Pia was more focused on befriending nurses and stealing stethoscopes.  They suffer, my children, but in the context of irrepressible joy. 

I wonder, if you spent some time with them, whether you'd feel the same way about suffering, about happiness, about personal dignity.  I wonder, if you danced with them in the kitchen, whether you'd think abortion was in their best interest.  I wonder, if you played games with them, or shared a joke with them, whether you'd find some worth in their existence.

And so, Dr. Dawkins, I'd like to invite you to dinner.  Come spend time with my children.  Share a meal with them.  Before you advocate their deaths, come find out what's worthwhile in their lives. 

I don't want you to come over for a debate.  I don't want to condemn you.  I want you to experience the joy of children with Down syndrome.  I want your heart to be moved to joy as well.

Any day next week is good for us except for Wednesday."

Good Luck J.D.  I will keep your intention in my prayers.  But I must say I doubt Dawkins will ever step foot in your home, and it won't be because you live in Nebraska.  I just think he feels more comfortable in a classroom and sterile lab.

Bringing everyone together.  Jesus said to his disciples:  "Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."  This is not a threat.  It isn't even a warning.  It is a concern.  The Church is on earth to bring all people together:  Africans, Asians, Europeans, Muslims, Jews, Christians, rich, poor, big, small, powerful, defenseless, strong, weak, etc...

The Lord is reminding His disciples of the seriousness of their mission, a mission that is extremely delicate and important for the well being of the world.  He wants His followers to go throughout the world and bring everyone together.  Everyone is welcomed.  Everyone.  No one is excluded from God's love or family.  All are invited.  All are welcomed.  Hence, no one should be advocating the death of others, especially the defenseless and those who are genetically disabled. 

The human race is not an exclusive club.  All are welcomed:  fetuses, the elderly, the mentally ill and challenged, the physically disadvantaged. All are welcomed.  This is the Church's message.  This is our mission.  This is why the Church exists on earth.