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, November 11, 2012

Mk 12:38-44 Quality and Quantity

Mk 12:38-44  Quality and Quantity

Jesus sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.  Many rich people put in large sums.  A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.  Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury.  For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”

This story always tugs at our heart.  It doesn’t always open our purse strings.

In the twenty years that I have been a religious, I have known a lot of people like this poor widow.  They give because they love God above all things, including themselves.  Yes, those who love God are capable of making tremendous sacrifices for God and for their neighbor.  Are you one of them too? 

Just a few days ago, I asked a male parishioner, a father of six children, to accompany me on a long road trip.  He reluctantly agreed.  I could understand why.  I was inviting him on a two hour trip to celebrate a one hour Mass.  I told him that I would drive.  When He saw how tired I was, he insisted he drive back.  He did, and not long after that, a police car pulled him over for going five miles above the speed limit.  I couldn’t believe it.  I felt so bad!  But the worst part is he didn’t get a ticket for speeding.  Instead, he got a ticket because my car’s inspection had expired.  When I protested to the officer that the car belonged to me, he told us to work it out between the two of us.

My friend didn’t say a word to me.  I couldn’t believe it.  This kind man, who I had invited to accompany me, and who had demanded to drive back home so that I could relax, got a ticket because I did not update my car’s inspection!  To make up for it, I invited him to dinner.  I took him to Wendy’s.

The next day, he insisted on taking my car to get it inspected.  I gave him the keys and told him to leave them at the front desk of the office.  Again, I insisted that I pay.  He said nothing.  About an hour later, I saw him dropping off the keys at the front desk.  Again, I insisted that I at least pay for part of the ticket.  He refused.  As I was accompanying him to his car, that’s when I saw my car.  I couldn’t believe my eyes!  Not only did he get my car inspected, he also got the wipers replaced, the oil changed, the car washed (the inside as well as the outside), and he filled the gas tank.

My friend didn’t help me because he is wealthy.  He helped me because he is a good man.

Love God above all things and your neighbor as yourself.  Being poor does not make you holy.  Being rich does not make you unholy.  The truth is:  being good makes you holy.   

Being good is not the same as feeling good.  The difference is significant:  being good will always lead to feeling good; whereas, feeling good will not always lead to being good. 

There are a lot of people who think they can love their neighbor without necessarily loving God.  To put it bluntly, that is pure nonsense.  Those who insist on feeling good always end up killing their neighbors.  That’s right.  They give the worst possible advice to their neighbors.  They are the ones who drive their neighbor to the abortion clinic!  They are the ones who encourage others to vote for the legalization of marijuana.  They insist that feeling good is more important than being good, and they’ll do whatever it takes to feel good about it.

All I know is that people who insist on feeling good tend to leave dead bodies wherever they go. People who are good…never do. 

Hurricanes and families.  We have a tendency to associate wealth with happiness; small families with brighter futures.  Again, pure nonsense!

Today, I spoke to a very successful pediatrician who told me that in the thirty years he has practiced medicine, he has never met a mom or a dad who wished they had had fewer children.  On the contrary, he has met a lot of moms and dads that wished they had had more kids.  It’s easy to think that the fewer kids we have the more options we have for them.  Over the past sixty years, family planning businesses have tried to convince parents that the fewer kids they have, the brighter their futures will be.  But again, based on my experience, smaller families tend to produce spoiled-rotten-stinky-little brats!  Actually, they tend to be very sad children.  It’s a mystery:  these kids have more than they need and are rarely ever happy. 

The data is clear:  Smaller families do not produce higher quality kids.  Larger families do not produce low quality kids.  Holy families produce high quality kids.  Virtue-filled families produce virtue-filled kids. 

Moms and dads:  teach your children well.  Your relationship with your children should be based on love and not on commodity, necessity, greed or selfishness.  Teens have a tendency to use their parents.  Parents:  teach your children well.  Otherwise, they will learn to be manipulative in all their relationships.

It’s been sad for me to listen to the survivors of hurricane Sandy.  It’s been sad because it appears as though prior to Sandy, these people were already losing their valuables:  their family. 

Why are so many of these survivors telling us that they have no place to go?  How can they have no place to go?  Why do they have no place to go?  Don’t they have a mom or dad, brother or sister, aunt or uncle, nephew or niece?  Don’t have family?  It seems to me they’ve been riding out a storm their entire life!  The hurricane just took the last of what they had. 

Jesus noticed the poor widow.  Although God is big, it’s nice to know that He’s not too big to notice the little people (and the little details) in life.  We should take notice of them as well.  It will help us to be better men and women, children and grandchildren; to be more generous, to be more loving, to be more understanding, to be better prepared, to be wealthy in the things that matter most.  It will help us to love God above all things and to truly love our neighbor even better than ourselves.

Quality is not inversely proportional to quantity.  It is all connected to God.


  1. How would one go about to be less manipulative in their relationships when they grew up learning to use their parents for whatever they wanted? Not to say my parents were bad parents, I was just a terrible teenager. I feel as if my development may hinder my relationship, and want to be proactive to protect it.

  2. WOW Father!!!! what a beautiful story! WHat a true samaritian! What grace!

  3. Good reflections, Father. It takes courage to be generous, to overcome the fear that we won't have enough if we share what we have today, but that leap of faith is exactly what God asks of us.

  4. he got a ticket because my car’s inspection had expired- you and those tickets, too adorable Father LOL!

    Don’t they have a mom or dad, brother or sister, aunt or uncle, nephew or niece? Don’t have family?- Wow! you are so right Father

    I tell my 4 when they grow up.They should remember always be there for each other in the good times or bad times in each others life's.

    God Bless you Father Alfonse! ;)

  5. Father Alfonse - I wish I could've heard your homily live on Saturday evening. Yeah, I know, I didn't want to miss the amazing Aggie football game to go to Mass! (Still sooo excited they pulled off a win.) I did make it 7:30am Sunday. ;)

    I just don't know what to say about your car and traffic stops! LOL! God bless your friend for being so patient, kind and generous.

    "All I know is that people who insist on feeling good tend to leave dead bodies wherever they go. People who are good…never do." - Yes, this is so true in life. After being left as dead road kill by a few people here and there because I didn't make them feel "good" all the time, I've learned the importance of sincere goodness. A goodness centered on Christ. A goodness that's authentic, genuine, and real. Performing acts of kindness toward others whether rich, poor or in between really is good for the soul.

    I will continue to chew and digest these thoughts. Great meditation!

    Have a great week!


  6. Father Alfonse,

    Whose responsibility is it to check for when your license plates and inspection sticker expire? I wouldn't have let someonelse drive my vehicle. I would pull off to the side. I have a friend that I went to Houston with and we took their car. It was understood that they didn't want anybody driving their car that if they got too tired they pull off to the side of the road. I had no trouble respecting that. I even helped pay for the gas. If you think it would be too tiring for you then make other arrangements. I hope you don't expect people to come to your rescue all the time.

    1. I think what is so beautiful about this story is how Father's friend went so far above what so many of us would do, purely out of love. That is exactly what we are called to do, love one another, through our faults, carelessness, stupidity, and even our silly and honest mistakes.

      Maybe stop and think; why was Father so tired? Perhaps he had a middle of the night emergency call to the hospital? Maybe it was imperative that this dad got home to his very large family and they didn't have time to stop for a nap. Imagine Father having dozed off while driving and killing one or both of them. Tragic! A silly little ticket is nothing. Please don't be so quick to judge because the circumstances of this story are not all here.

  7. Oh, you are so right. It's all my fault. And I never expected anyone to come to my rescue. But I thank God that they actually did. These people are called "Good Samaritans". Remember? Those who do not have to get involved, but rather choose to get involved. They are not bystanders. They are upstanders. They jump in front of the bullet to save another. They go beyond the call of duty not to die and win a medal, but out of love for another. They consider another's mistakes an opportunity to show concern and love. Instead of pointing a figure, they decide to lift a hand.

    Get it?

    1. Father Alfonse,

      The experiences and decisions we make in our life will help us grow and learn. That is how we become stronger. God doesn't expect that we will always do everything right. He gives us the opportunity to grow and learn from our mistakes. I never had anybody come to my rescure or care what mistakes I did but the Lord. My journey here on earth is with the guidance of the Lord. He is my "Good Samaritan". If my friends really cared about me they would be with me. They wouldn't care what situation I was in. They've not been there. Only the Lord has been my guide.

  8. Father Alfonse -- Great meditation as always...However, would you do the same thing for your friend, come to his rescue, if the traffic stop incident was in reverse? It seems to me that the more "popular" people, including yourself, receive lots of perks and services that perhaps us common every day folks don't receive. I'm not trying to judge or anything. Sorry if I'm completely missing the point here. I know we should give a helping hand to everyone in need regardless of status. But, it just seems like some are more priviledged than others. Also, people that make the same mistakes over and over again but continue to get rescued. That bothers me. Do these people ever learn their lesson?

    1. I pathetically make the same mistakes over and over again by committing the same sins, although I continue to get rescued by God's mercy in the sacrament of Confession. This privilege is one I do not deserve, but one for which I am eternally grateful.

  9. Father,
    It seems here that you were just trying to get a beautiful message out about loving one another and too many folks are missing your point and being very judgemental and rude towards you personally. Never once have you claimed to be perfect - more likely you share how imperfect you are in many scenarios, as in this story, but yet people just don't get it. How frustrating for you. Let me apologize for your readers. We can be so uncharitable way too often! Please accept our apologies.


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