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!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Mk 4:26-34 Plant Seeds, Pull Weeds

Mk 4:26-34  Plant Seeds, Pull Weeds
(Click here for readings)
Jesus said to the crowds, “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how…The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.  But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants.”

The seed is Christ’s word. We know it does not fail. But like those that surround us, even Christ’s word is surrounded by the words of others.  His Word has competition. Who will I trust? Who will I listen to? Whose word will I follow? If I give the Lord (his Word) a chance to grow in my heart, then He will keep me as straight as an arrow and as confident as He. I will fear no evil for He is my rock and fortress.

I got the phone call very late at night.  She was having another panic attack.  She’s been getting those more and more lately and I know why.  It all has to do with her father. 
He’s been an absent figure for almost all her life. Yes, he lives with them (wife and two kids), but rarely ever speaks to any of them.  It's been the longest time now since he ate a meal with his daughter.  Actually, since he ate with the family.  He prefers watching sports in his “man-cave” while the family gathers together.  After years and years of neglect, she's having a hard time seeing and believing that she is a treasure.  She’s very intelligent, beautiful, sophisticated, faithful and moral.  I often have to repeat it to her.  It will take some time for her to believe what I say.  It will be something that she struggles with for a while.  Things would be so much better if only she could experience the love that only her father could give to her.
Immediately I asked her what she was worried about.   She listed them one by one.  I told her that all her worries had to do with her father.  She insisted I was wrong.  She kept tellimg me that her worries were real.  But I know better, especially when you are a father to hundreds of children.  I asked her to go down the list again.  She didn’t hesitate at all in telling me. 
“I’m afraid I will never be able to take care of my mother or sister.”  I told her, “That’s because your father never took care of your mother or sister.”
She continued.  “I’m afraid that I’ll never get a job.”  I said, “That’s because your father gave up on getting a real job.” 
“I’m afraid that no one will ever love me.”  I told her, “That’s because your father never knew how to love, period.”   
“I’m afraid that I won’t ever be happy.”  …”That’s because your dad was never happy.”

I'm never usually this hard on anyone.  But I know this family.  I know everyone involved.  I know the good and bad that a father can do.

A few years back, Hallmark organized a wonderful campaign for prison inmates.  They sent free Mother's Day cards to every prison.  Do you know what happened?  They ran out.  This campaign was so successful; they decided to do it for Father's Day as well.  Do you know what happened?  They were a ton of cards left over.  After this morning's Mass, a postal employee told me, "You're right, Father.  Every year I work over time when Mother's Day comes around.  But for Father's Day, no overtime is needed." 
The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed .  A Christian is another Christ.  But it doesn’t happen overnight.  A seed thrown in rich soil is like a seed of faith placed in my soul.   The smallest seed can become the largest plant just like the humblest soul can become the greatest man.  All that the seed of faith requires is a wholesome place to grow.  Faith requires the Father's love.  His love, like his name, is shared by all fathers.  A Father's love will turn his seed into a strong, vibrant, enthusiastic, holy and confident young person.      
God has given all men an opportunity to take the name of Father.  When a father is strong, then his children will be strong.  If he knows how to love, then his children will know how to love.  Let me ask you a couple of questions.  How does a son learn how to speak to a woman; how to treat a woman; how to love a woman?  How does a daughter know how a man should speak to her, treat her and love her?  The answer is clear:  from a father.  No movie, no books, no computer websites, no manuals will ever be able to replace the love that only a father can give.  Men:  Do not abdicate your role!  Do not run away from your vocation!  Be faithful to the name the Lord has taken for himself.  Be a Father!  We will be judged accordingly.
I love today’s first reading from the prophet Ezekiel.  It is so manly.  It is so fatherly.  “Bring low the high tree, lift high the low tree, wither up the green tree, and make the withered tree bloom.  As I, the Lord has spoken, so will I do.”    In other words, dads:  it’s okay to beat your son silly in tennis, ping-pong, golf, basketball or baseball while you still can (bring low the high).  Teach them to be humble.  But also encourage your children.  Let them know they can do great things (lift high the low tree).  Plants require time, patience, pruning, trimming, nourishing, raking, tilling, pulling in order for them to grow, and to grow well.  The same goes for your children.  Your children need you to plant seeds in their hearts and help pull weeds that surround them! 

As a father (a priest), it feels great when a teenager comes up to you and asks to speak to you.  Wow!  What an honor it is to be trusted.  What an honor it is for someone to consider your opinion worth listening to.  Dads:  Do not discourage your children from speaking to you.  Do not abdicate your role and send them off to their mother!
There’s nothing like the love of a Father because there’s nothing like the love of Our Father.  Do not fail.  St. Paul made it clear:  “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil” (2Cor 5:6-10).
Happy Father’s Day. 


  1. You might be interested in my weed out hate initiative:

  2. Some will say that this is a negative statement on a day that honors fathers. But it is a reality that is rampant that men need to consider when they become fathers or plan to become fathers.

    Being a good, loving, nurturing, available, affirming, sacrificial father is the most important job/role a man can have. It is as important as being a mother.

    The fathering that one receives affects every person’s whole life on earth as well as in eternity. I include eternity because a person’s actions and choices are what lead them in one direction or another. Ignorance may lessen their culpability, but…

    It may also be the most neglected job/role in our community which causes the most damage to our whole society/world. I know that sounds extreme, but it is.

    I wonder how many people in prison had healthy, nurturing, and loving....fathers growing up.

    I believe so much of the evil and pain and dysfunction in this country could be avoided if men took fathering seriously and made it the priority in their lives.

    Unhealthy, absent and neglectful fathering can cause a lifetime of suffering for their offspring and have serious consequences. Some of them include homosexuality, promiscuity, unhealthy and unsafe relationships with men, especially men in authority like teachers, coaches, priests……. It can makes one vulnerable to predators, self-abuse and abuse of others, addictions, self-hatred and feelings of worthlessness and the list goes on. There are even consequences to the consequences like violence, jail, std's, mental illness, physical illness, suicide and much much more.

    On the flip side some mask their pain and suffering and become so driven to be ‘successful’ to prove their own value that they neglect their own families which continues the cycle.

    I’m not saying fathers need to be perfect. They just need to take care of their responsibility and admit if they lack the skills because of their own upbringing and get help.

    Take an honest look around you. I know first hand.

    Good, healthy fathers do the opposite.

    1. Dear Anonymous,

      Thank-you for your comment. I heard Father's homily at St. Monica. It brought me to tears. Nothing worse than sobbing around a bunch of strangers.....

      I was raised with no Father in my life. My parents divorced when I was very young. I reunited with my father 12 years ago thinking we could rekindle our relationship. Of course, it was ill-lasting. I recently found out my Father is on his 4th marriage. He filed for bankruptcy, swindling my poor grandfather out of his home and retirement savings. I think in many ways it was a blessing I didn't have this rotten role model in my life. I know of many children with "whole" families (mother and father) who are absolutely miserable.

      As a result of no father figure, I've struggled with anxiety and depression throughout my life. I've never managed to hold down a healthy dating relationship. I tend to choose "loser" men. I'm quick to allow a man to use me because I feel like I don't deserve any better. The lack of self-esteem still affects me to this day even though I'm educated, financially independent, and deeply devoted to the Catholic faith. I'm glad I'm not one of those statistics so prevalent with father-less daughters - poverty, teenage pregnancy, and abuse. I've tried my best to be a good, kind, Christian woman despite coming from a fatherless household.




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