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!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mk 11:11-26 Give Us What We Want!

Mk 11:11-26  Give Us What We Want!
(Click here for readings)
The disciples were on the way, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus went ahead of them.  They were amazed, and those who followed were afraid.
I knew a young man that often called me when he needed some help.  Often it meant just a word or two of encouragement.  It was good to hear his voice, even if it was out of need.  He was like a son to me and I was like a Father to him.  What I mean by that is he would often ignore the good advice I gave him and proceed to following his own path.  While he was in college, he experienced some pretty intense anxiety attacks and I would remind him, over and over again, “Place your trust in the Lord.  There is no glory without sacrifice.” 
Then the day of his glory arrived.  Right before college graduation, he received a phone call to work at a major company.  He was thrilled and delighted.  Immediately, his status turned from poor college student to wealthy young business man.  With that, the phone calls came to an abrupt end.  Eventually, I learned he was living with his girlfriend (or she was living with him), and that he was spending his money like a wild man.  I found out from his family that he wasn’t going to Church.  He was just enjoying his life; the life he had earned all by himself.  It was all going great, like a fairy tale, until it all came tumbling down, like a Scripture quote.  I never heard from him again until recently. 
It is perfectly fine and right to party, especially when someone’s earned it.  What’s wrong is to forget; to forget reality; to forget who threw the party.  Those who remember are remembered and those who quickly forget are soon forgotten.
Give us what we want.  James and John came to Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”  Wow!  Moms and dads, imagine for a moment your precious teenage child coming to you and making this request!  What would you say?  We know what the Lord said.  He bit his tongue and said, “What do you wish me to do for you?”  He knew what they wanted.  It’s what we all want:  Heaven without the Passion; glory without sacrifice.  These were two very confused disciples.  They wanted pure gold without purification; without passing through fire.
We hear it ad infinitum, ad nauseam: “Follow your dreams”, “Be faithful to your heart.” “Just do it.”  Blah, blah, blah. 
If we followed our hearts and were faithful to our deepest desires, we would be three hundred pounds overweight and living in the living room sitting on the sofa.  Who wouldn’t want to hear from their doctor:  “Look, you need to sit down more often, watch more TV, eat more desserts, and enjoy more chocolates if you want to stay fit and healthy.”  Wouldn’t it be great if to exercise meant to sit down; to work meant to relax?  How amazing would that be?  Who wouldn’t love it?  It would be so easy.   It would be like vacationing 48 weeks out of the year and only working for four weeks!
But reality is not what we want; reality is what God has determined for us.  We all want a Christ without a Cross.  We all want Heaven without the Passion.  But the truth is:  The Cross comes with Christ.  Or better, Christ carries his cross. 
Why must everything be a challenge? 
Jesus went ahead of them.  Have I forgotten that the world is fallen?  Have I forgotten that not everything makes sense?  Jesus went ahead of his disciples to show them what doesn’t come natural:  confrontation with evil.  We can’t turn back.  We can’t sit still.  There is only one thing left to do:  GO ON!  MOVE FORWARD!  Going to Jerusalem is the Lord’s way of saying keep moving.  The human person was made to move; to keep moving.  It is not necessarily what our hearts desire.  It’s not even what our hands and feet are itching for.  Most of us do not crave to run a marathon.  But it is not a bad thing to do.  None of us are itching for a splinter, but a Cross to carry is not a bad thing to bear.  Most of us are not begging to serve, but to serve is a reminder of the One who served.  The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. 
The world is made up of two types of people:  those who serve and those who do not.  But earthy and heavenly glory is only given to the first.


  1. Father, when I read you thoughts I wondered: Statistically how many teenagers leave the Church after college and never return? How many of them return to the Catholic Church later in life? (Not just for a wedding or a Baptism of a child but regular participation at Mass.) From the stories you've told, seems like a few of your young acquaintances meandered off to do their own thing without Christ. How does that make a priest feel when a young person has strayed? I guess you just pray for them and hope they will find their way back to the sacraments.


  2. I cant tell you how a priest feels but I can tell you how a mother feels after her child leaves when they were once on fire for the faith and catechized better than 95% of the people in the pews.

    It feels like your heart it ripped out. It hurts so deeply and fear for their soul sets in and you know the only thing you can do is love them where they are without approving their behavior and pray for them. And all anyone says is pray to St Monica. Look what her tears and prayers accomplished. My thoughts are, do they know how long she prayed? decades. Im not looking for a doctor of the Church. I ll be happy if she gets in and sits at the "kids" table.

    It is a time when a mother wonders what she did wrong. Its a time when a faithful, to the faith, mother is embarresed or feels shame in front of her friends, especially her church friends. It is a time when she is judged out of touch with her family and others without the same values, when they all say, at least she s happy. And they think it will console you when they suggest that maybe one day they will marry their live in, somewhere, even if its not in the Catholic Church.

    It is another time when God calls his children, the parents, closer to himself. The last time was when that child was in middle school.

    I am convinced that puberty is as painful for parents as the kids, at least the parents that care.

    That is how it feels to a mother of a fallen away child.

    Im thinking Fr doesnt take it the same way.

  3. Or maybe thats just me. I womder how other mothers feel.

    1. Dear Anonymous,

      Thank-you for sharing your thoughts. Your words moved me. I'm sure many mothers feel the same way you do when a son or daughter leaves the faith. There's that sense of sadness, fear, guilt, and embarrassment. I don't think you did anything wrong in educating your children in the faith and desiring them to receive the sacraments. You did the best you knew how. Secularism pressure is often too much for our youth: They want things of the human world and not necessarily in line with Christ and his divine teachings. They may even believe that “sin is fun” and churchy stuff is boring and not so fun! So many teens and young adults naively think that life is (or will be) better without God. We all know this is a misconception. Oftentimes sinful ways will bring a young adult back to the faith. The story of the prodigal son is a perfect example.

      I remember after my faith formation students’ First Communion Mass I wondered how many of them would continue to go to Mass and participate in the sacraments. I sadly realized that maybe less than half of the class would ever receive communion again, better yet go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I could tell from the way some behaved that they weren’t so much into Church. Maybe I’m wrong and some of the things they learned in class will motivate them to go to Church. I leave it to the power of the Holy Spirit to reach out to these young people. (Even though I wasn’t their biological mother, I thought of each one of my students as if they were my own children! I will always wish the best for them.)



  4. Thank you Father for this meditation. I have been wondering why life has been so very hard lately. I guess this is my fire i have to walk through to get to the riches of Heaven. I'll keep trying to push my faith forward and myself also. Thanks again.


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