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, July 11, 2012

Mt 10:1-7 Some of the Luckiest People In The World

Mt 10:1-7  Some of the Luckiest People In The World
(Click here for readings)
Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness…He sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town.  Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Their names are listed for all the world to see:  Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, Thaddeus, Simon and Judas Iscariot.    But what’s in a name, if it isn’t backed by another name?  What makes their names “special” if they are not backed by the only name in which there is salvation, Jesus Christ?  For this reason alone Peter is The Rock and Judas is The Betrayer.
Their names are forever remembered because they are forever associated with the Eternal One.
They came from nowhere.  Most of them lived in extreme poverty.  Almost all of them had no formal education.   And yet, we often think of the Twelve has having been privileged; as if they had received an additional Sacrament, a secret Sacrament, that no others had received.  But that is wishful thinking.  It’s convenient for me to think this way; it allows me to lower the bar; keep the expectations to a minimum.
  Who needs expectations?  After all, they can only disappoint. 
Sean Covey wrote the book, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”  The book was highly effective…for him.  When we think of highly effective people, we think of successful people.  And when we think of successful people, we think of money.  What we should think of is holiness.  What we should think of are the “Seven Sacraments of Highly Effective People” by Jesus Christ.
What the Apostles received, I received.  Of course these men were blessed.  They walked with the Lord; they talked to him.  They actually saw miracles take place by Him.   But so did Judas. 
What the Apostles received, I received.  But what they did with it makes all the difference in the world.  They took it and ran with it!
Go to the lost sheep of Israel.    This was their first assignment.  They were asked to go rescue those caught up in the hurricane.  The Lord wanted to shock his Apostles and to shock his people.  They went for maximum exposure.  They went straight into action and right at the problem: the lost sheep of Israel; the Jews who were lost and needed to be found.  Today, we would call them fallen away Catholics who are lost and need to be found.
Often I am asked by hot headed yet well intended Catholics to pound hard and drive home in my homilies hot button issues to Sunday Catholics.  But if their heavy handed tactics don’t make much of an impression on me, it will definitely not impress many of them. 
My homilies are nothing like my blog.  Why?  Because they are not the place or the way to go about discussing hot button issues to fallen away Catholics.   Most people will think it is out of fear.  They insult me.  But what is there to fear?  That we are rejected?  We already are!  The reason why you won’t hear priests discuss contraceptives or gay-marriage directly from the pulpit is because it is not effective.  Since our Catholic schools failed to teach our children these issues; since CCD failed to teach them anything; since families failed to teach them the faith, then everyone thinks it’s the priest that must clean up the mess in Mass!  So now, after all this failure, well intended Catholics want us to discuss all the things that should have been taught at home, on the weekends and in our schools should now be taught in Mass, en masse!  No! 
There are some priests that try to do it.  It looks like it works.  But it does it from the pulpit?  Are they successful in filling the pews by attracting the faithful from all over?  Have they brought the unchurched to church?  Have they found the lost?  What we know that works is one-to-one relationships.  What we know is successful are Catholic families that teach the faith to their children; Catholic schools that teach the faith to their students; Catholic ministries that bring the faith to others. 
What must the priests do for the lost sheep of Rome?  They must have a child-like heart. 
Express hope in sadness.  Share a laugh with the truth.  Teach the truth and show mercy and forgiveness.  Write your thoughts down and share them with others.  Pope Benedict’s homilies are not the same as Pope Benedict’s encyclicals.  John Paul’s mega gatherings full of laughter and smiles were not the same as John Paul’s staff meetings full of agendas and concerns.  We must always be Christ-like to others.  Know where is the best place, when is the best time and best way to give Jesus Christ.  Know when to be Christ-like by being child-like.  Know when to be Christ-like by being martyr.  Know when to be Christ-like by being a leader!
Joy is essential in converting the hearts and minds of fallen away Catholics.  If I look sad, gloomy, cheerless and distressed over issues the Church faces, then I have given more power, more authority and more weight to the bad news than to the Good News; more ammunition to my enemies than to my best friend, Jesus Christ; more credibility to the devil than to our Savior.  No one in their right mind will ever be convinced of my faith by the gloom on my face!  Instead, look at Jesus:  determined in his distress; cool under duress; loving and forgiving when we transgress; joyful and peaceful in his success.    
“Glorify the Lord with me, let us together extol his name.  I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears…Look to him that you may be radiant with joy, and you faces may not blush with shame.  When the poor one called out, the LORD heard, and from all his distress he saved him.”  (Ps. 34:2-7)
The luckiest people in the world are the holiest!  Let's show it.


  1. Amen, Father! I agree with you completely.

    I think controversial hot button issues should be left to the social media circles and not preached from the pulpit. My goodness, we are bombarded with so much negativity and bad news in the Media today anyway. If we want to bring Catholics home to the Church, we need to project a warm, loving, forgiving, joyful, and peaceful Church environment. Why spoil the Eucharistic table with political issues? I remember in my Protestant days hearing the fire coming out of the Baptist preacher's mouth - doom and gloom about the evils of abortion, homosexuality, alcohol, etc. This kind of talk just made me run away. I didn't feel at peace. I understand hot-topic issues should not be ignored. Like you said, there's an appropriate time and place to bring up such issues. I go to Mass for the Good News inspiration and enlightment. I go to Mass because I love the liturgy and the Eucharist. I go to Mass because I want to become closer to the Lord. I don't go to Mass for controversial politics. That's what the secular media is for.



  2. Father, with respect, who is in charge of Catholic schools and CCD programs that have failed? I think we have had enough prudent silence from the pulpit to last a life time.

    Good luck Padre.


    P.S. Jen- Abortion, homosexual activity, fornication, contraception are not "political issues" they are grave moral issues.

    1. Let's make a few distinctions here. No one is advocating "silence". But I know what you mean. We have all heard enough homilies that say little but go on forever. What I am referring to in this meditation is the following: I can speak about all the issues you address by speaking about the beauty, sacredness and holiness of life and the beauty, sacredness and holiness of marriage and intimacy. I take my example from the Holy Father. It would be a challenge to find a single homily from the Holy Father that even mentioned the word abortion or contraception. They don't. They won't. Not because it is a "political" issue. But because it is not the place and time to do so. The classroom, the lecture hall, the encyclicals are, and for the simple reason that the issues can be dealt with in length. The Church does not deal with issues but rather with principles - fundamental principles.

      2) CCD and Diocesan Catholic Schools are the Bishop's responsibility. Nuns and religious brothers teach in their schools. We know what happened there.
      The Bishop is doing everything in his power to ensure that the volunteers who teach are well trained. But let's face the truth: a child in CCD will receive around 40 hours of Catholic instruction/per year. That's it! Hardly enough for the challenges they will face in a secular world.
      Solution: The families. They are essential. Moms and dads are the primary educators of their children in the faith. We would fool ourselves to think that a priest would be able to teach from the pulpit every Sunday for ten minutes and that would be sufficient. No. What we need to do is invite priests and lay people to offer offer seminars and lectures on these subjects. Get them on the radio and TV! But if we really wish to convince hearts and minds, then we need to work one-on-one with Catholics and fallen away Catholics.

      What I am saying should not be so hard to believe. If I meet a fallen away Catholic, I won't begin the conversation with Hell. You know that! You don't begin to address their sins. I begin to invite them back, gently. And it works! When I meet with a Jew, I don't speak about the Pharisees crucifying Jesus. I speak of them as my elder brother. If I meet someone who is divorced and remarried, commiting fornication and was caught in adultery, I don't speak about what they cannot receive and how awful they are. I speak about who they are, what they can do, just like our Lord. When I speak to a Protestant, I don't talk about all the moral relativism they have brought into the world. I speak about what we share in common.

      Very often I speak about Christ, confession, conversion and Catholicism.

      It's stepping stones...It's the cornerstone!

      Homilies are great stepping stones to something greater: a conversation afterwards, an appointment, a talk, an invitation, a parishoner seeking reconciliation, etc...

      All the "hot button" issues can be addressed without turning them into the end of all things.

      Hope that helped.

    2. Thank-you for the clarification, Father.

      Honestly, Do you believe that Protestants brought moral relativism into the world? I think Catholics are just as much to blame....Abortion, homosexuality, fornication, and contraception are grave moral issues but haven't they become "political issues" within our secular culture? Sorry I guess I was incorrect in stating it that way.


  3. Father the gospel said: "Do not go into pagan territory or enter a samaritan town. go rahter to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" why not go to the pagan or samaritan town? why go to Israel first?

    1. Preparation for going throughout the whole world and baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. First the chosen ones, then everyone else.

  4. "I don't go to Mass for controversial politics. That's what the secular media is for."

    This is pretty funny. Talk about buying into the secular media.

    Doug, I appreciate you pointing out what should be the obvious.

    Morality is not politics but we..Americans and Catholics have allowed it to be politics, that way we can minimize it's sinfulness, in fact we can deny it's sinfulness. What better way for satan to work than to get 'good' Christians/Catholics to blur the line between morality and politics...or is there a line?

    Yes I used to like the Kum by yah Sundays back in the 70's where it was all love, peace and ...or was it drugs sex and rock and roll? I can't remember...must have been the drugs!

    I have to say if you are looking for the Feel Good Theology, you need to check out Fellowship or any one of those concert format 'churches'. It doesn't matter how you go in, you'll come out feeling good. And there is absolutely no reason to examine your conscience because it doesn't matter what you've done, Jesus already died for your sins and you are free to 'go'...'carry on'...

    You may not have had a personal encounter with Jesus in the flesh, but you come out with your flesh on fire with emotions.

    I got the impression that you were referring to the 'Sunday' mass crowd as the fallen away Catholics, which is interesting and probably by a large percentage accurate.

    I do believe that the home, the school, ccd....are where these moral issues should be taught, but when that fails, maybe 10 or 15 minutes on a Sunday, may be better than nothing at all. If people are freaking because mass went over by 5 or 10 minutes how are you going to get the 'fallen away' crowd to go to a talk or class or anything outside of their 'obligation'?

    Relativism is definitely a Protestant thing. The cool thing about being Catholic is there are official 'teachings' and the Church does not officially promote moral relativism. But Protestantism does. They are free to do anything that feels good or feels right or doesn't hurt anyone else....or.....mmm....sounds a little like moral relativism.

    Now there are plenty of Catholics who do the same, but "unofficially".

    The biggest problem is that the unofficial 'teachings' are the ones that are the most publicized and propagated in society and in homes as well.

    I used to think the same thing. Why aren't we going after the pagans & Protestants first instead of the fallen away Catholics. It took me years to figure it out and I'm sure my reasoning is not what 'they' were thinking of, but if we don't get the Pagans or Protestants, they have that invincible ignorance or whatever you call it (I'm too tired to look it up) working for them. If they don't get it they are not culpable. If Catholics had it and lost it, or threw it away or had it stolen or whatever excuse they use, they will be culpable in a way that the others are not. I guess ignorance does get you off the hook sometimes.
    .....But Father, not with the police, especially Baptist police and traffic violations!

    And I was just thinking this blog was getting a little boring! Glad I got bored tonight and read it.

  5. You are so obviously a cradle catholic of the older generation speaking from your soapbox hyper-critical of things you dont believe in. Its representatives like yourself who push people away from the church and toward Protestantism. Narrow mindness and religious supremacy rules on this blog and all in the name of Jesus Christ.

    1. Yes, I have to agree. I have wonderful friends of all denominations and also of all persuasions who know how to serve the Lord in a variety of ways. Let's always keep things interesting on the blog, but let's be careful of the supremacy. There is only one who is supreme: the Lord. Who said, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. He hardly left any room for anyone or anything else. But there is also another way in which he is supreme: He served. The first part is the part that makes us trust him. The second part is the part that makes us love him.

    2. Thank-you, Father. Finally someone agrees with one of my comments. We should all keep our focus on Christ and his supremacy.



    3. Thank-you, Father. I was wondering if I would ever make an agreeable comment again.

      -Jennifer :)

  6. "This is pretty funny. Talk about buying into the secular media. "

    I dont appreciate the sarcasm or being laughed at. Please stick with Father's words.. Why do people feel the need to pooh individual comments? Very annoying.


  7. I was in a very bad place last night and had a very bad day yesterday and when I got up I couldn't believe what I said. I planned to write when I woke up first thing, but I woke up late, no surprise there.

    I apologize for offending anyone. My mind was blaring at me, as you can tell by the hap hazzardness of my writing. All of that was inside my head screaming to get out. My filter was completely down.

    I am actually more like father says he is with those of different faiths. I'm not really that bad person. I was in a very dark place. A place I thought didn't exist any more and I am ashamed.

    Please forgive me and pray for me. The darkness still surrounds me and I feel so weak and defective that I cannot control it.

  8. To add to Jennifer's statement: - its very hurtful when people feel the need to judge a person by a few sentences posted, especially if we are already either frustrated or possibly in pain regarding an issue very close to our hearts. Please play nice and perhaps find another way to say something if it might possibly come across as offensive to a reader.


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