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, July 8, 2012

Mk 6:1-6a Someone Different

Mk 6:1-6a  Making The Heart Grow Fonder
Jesus arrived to his native place, accompanied by his disciples.  When the Sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished.  They said, “Where did this man get all this?”  …And they took offense at him.  Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” 
A little girl came up to me all excited about her upcoming trip to see her cousins.  The excitement in her eyes brought back memories of my cousins…and how we used to fight like cats and dogs!  I know why she loves (and misses) them so much.  It’s because she never sees them.  That’s the difference!  In my case, I always saw them.  In her case, she never sees them.  You know the saying, “Distance makes the heart grow fonder.”  This saying is as deceptive as it is well intended.  I can’t imagine a wife ever telling her husband, “Leave for a few months so that you can grow fonder of me!”  Instead of growing fonder he may become fodder for the beasts. 
Has anyone ever said to you: “I don’t need to go to Mass.  I pray at home.”  Really?  I don’t believe it.  Again, it might be very well intended but I know it is very deceptive. 
Jesus is truly man.  He does everything we do.  He breathes like us, sleeps like us, walks like us and talks like us.  So of course, his neighbors and childhood friends would never think twice about Him.  After all, He does everything we do.  But when it comes to everything, Jesus seems to do it a little better than we do.  Its’ true!  When He spoke, He spoke in his native tongue, like everyone else.  But unlike everyone else, He put certain words together that no one else had ever dreamed of putting together.  For example, He said, “Love your enemy.”  Love and enemy had never gone together.  And even today, it is held by many to be a symptom of wishful thinking.  Again, the Lord said: “Blessed are the poor.”  Blessed and poor had never gone together.  Who in the world would ever say that?  Well, the Lord did, and He was poor.  Although many people may consider this beatitude as “inhumane” or “insensitive”, I can assure you it is the same people who find it difficult to pass through the eye of a needle.
Most of us would never believe such things, unless we saw it with our own eyes.  Thank God the Lord “believed” such things.  His “belief” made it possible to realize such things, which allowed all of us to see it with their own eyes!
St. Paul’s words today are stunning (not to say unbelievable).  He writes (2Cor 12:7-10), “I am content with weaknesses.” What???  “I am content with insults.”  What???  “I am content with hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ.”  What???  Impossible! 
No, it’s not impossible.  The problem with me (like most of us) is that I wouldn’t believe it unless I saw it!  The reality with St. Paul is that he believed it, before he experienced it, and thus made it possible for all of us to see it and believe it. 
Believing is seeing.  Today at Mass I noticed a beautiful little family in the front row.  They are always in the front row.  But something was different today.  You may not be aware of this, but at St. Monica, we are currently celebrating Mass in the “Old Church”.   The Old Church has no pews or kneelers.  So during consecration, the protocol is for the congregation to sit down.  They can kneel if they want, but almost everyone sits down:  the old as well as the young, the sick as well as the healthy; the rich as well as the poor; the sleepy as well as the wide awake.  Everything is the same.  Everyone is the same.  But when it comes to everything and the Holy One, this beautiful little family seems to have handled it a little differently.  There, in the front row, I saw four little handmade soft cushions come out of nowhere and placed gently on the ground.  When the time came for the consecration of the bread and wine, each member of the family bent their knees on their cushion before the Lord. 
How did they think of that???  Who do they think they are???  Aren’t we all the same:  normal?  Yes.  But while nearly everyone in the congregation can see and bend their knees, this family believed before they could see, which made His presence and their love ever more visible for all to see.
I am a Christian.  I am a believer (I am a priest!).  But it seems to me this family is just a little more Christian, a little bit stronger in their faith, than me. 
Faith in the Lord makes us stronger in every possible sense of the word.  It makes the ‘impossible’ possible.  Faith turns turmoil into triumph; defeat into victory; a thorn in one’s flesh into a source of grace! 
Believing it makes all things possible to see. 
Distance does not make the heart grow fonder.  Not even closeness makes the heart grow fonder!  What makes all the difference in the world, and the heart grow fonder, is a deeper appreciation for everyone and everything that grows around us.
Jesus, the true God and true Man, brings out the best in all of us. 
Just believe and see.


  1. I think you are speaking of the beautiful family who always prays the rosary together before Mass!? I've seen them at both Saturday and Sunday St. Monica services, kneeling on that hard cold floor. I normally place the missalette under my knees to stifle the pain when I kneel, but to bring homemade pillows is a great idea. I see this family on your preaching weekends, and they really make me smile! Total love for Christ and the Holy Eucharist even when the Mass accommodations are not the most comfortable. I purposely sat by them one Sunday to listen to them site the rosary as a family. I noticed a few people around took out their rosaries and prayed with them. :)

    Why is it we tend to become "fonder" of people when they are gone for a while versus when they're always around? It's so important to appreciate everyone in our life in the here and now. We never know when the Lord may decide to take him or her from this earth.

    I don't think anybody is a "little more" or better Christian than the other. We respond to the call as Christians in a different way. It may mean kneeling on the floor without kneeler in a temporary Church, saying an extra decade of the rosary, or praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. It may mean feeding food to the homeless, listening to a friend talk about their worries, or praying in front of an abortion mill. Even saying "hello" and giving a stranger a smile is Christian thing to do. Of course, we should all strive to be the best Christian we can be! It takes prayer, patience, empathy, love, and grace. :)

    Good to see you today, Father!



  2. I have to disagree w/ you once more Father: Distance does make the heart grow fonder. It's just the truth! However, I don't expect you to change your meditation.

  3. Distance may make the heart grow fonder initially, but over time you get used to being away from the person. Contact becomes less and less, new relationships are formed, etc. You become desensitized. Similar to the loss of a friend or family member. Initially the loss is great, but over time the wound begins to heal. Being near someone allows a person to grow stronger bonds. There is no replacement for proximity.

  4. My father died 10 years ago. Yes, the more I think of him, talk to him, the stronger our bond continues. But if I go for a while w/o talking to him, and then I begin to talk to him again, I miss him all over again. Maybe it’s not to the extent when he first left, but b/c he meant so much to me, those new conversations to him only remind me how much I miss him! It’s the impression one makes on someone else that determines the how much the heart grows fonder. One does indeed get use to it: not missing the persons that are not close (in proximity) to them, you are right; but that all depends on the intensity of that particular relationship. It’s the persons who mean the most to me, who are different from the rest, who help to change me for the better that I think I will continue to miss even if I am not close in proximity to them.

  5. I'm sorry, but separation doesn't make a stronger bond between two people. Being part of someone's life, interacting with them on a daily basis, facing the struggles and celebrating the joys with them builds the bonds. I'm confident children of loving married parents have stronger bonds with their parents (and vice versa) than children who bounce back and forth between households. Especially those children that only see a parent every few months or once a year.

  6. Our dispute is over 2 separate issues. I actually agree w/you over everything you said in your last two comments. Your emphasis and all your examples are about “building” or "growing" a stronger bond b/t two persons. My emphasis and all my examples are about “once that strong bond is made” then, and only then can I say: ‘distance makes the heart grow fonder.’ My husband has been gone for over two weeks now; I miss him and appreciate more of what he has always done in our family’s lives…..the little things add up to big things. However; I did not miss him (and honestly, did not appreciate him) as much before b/c he rarely travels and I did not have the 'opportunity' to live life w/o him. I am really looking forward to seeing him again. I do understand your point of view. I hope I was able to explain mine more clearly. What do you think?

  7. Two weeks is a short period of time. What if he was separated from you for 6 months, a year, two years or 5 years? You'd get used to him being gone. As I stated a few posts up, it may make the heart grow fonder initially, but over time people will grow apart.


Updated: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. Comments must be concise and to the point.Comments are no longer accepted for posts older than 7 days.