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!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lk 11:14-23 Turning Our World Right-Side Up

Thursday of the Third Week of Lent
(Click here for readings)

Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute, and when the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke and the crowds were amazed...Some of them said, "By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons." 

Driving out Critics. Jesus traveled up and down Israel, visiting towns and villages and curing the ill and the possessed.  His skeptics never accused Him of having faked a miracle.  They couldn't.  Everybody knew each other.  Towns and villages were small back then, as some are today. In the case of the blind man, people knew the man's family, especially his mom and dad.  They knew the man.  They grew up with him.  In the case of the poor widow who lost her only son, neighbors and friends were there to see for themselves his death.  They saw him take his last breathe.  They comforted his mother.  They painstakingly prepared the young man's body for burial.  I could go on and on. 

Now what cannot be ignored is the fact that most of Christ's miracles occurred in public, in front of believers, skeptics and critics.  For example, the multiplication of the loaves; the raising of Jarius' daughter and the resurrection of His personal friend, Lazarus.  Since the Lord's critics could not accuse Him of having faked a miracle, they needed to accuse him of something else, like breaking the Sabbath, and now, working for the devil, the prince of demons, Beelzebul.  

Critics and skeptics are not at all uncommon. Often, they attribute good things to "chance" or "coincidence."  Some fundamentalist protestants attribute visions of Mary to that of Satan.  Some interestinfellow today attributes the pope's fame as a sign of being a "false prophet."  It's also a sign of the end of the world.  Oh boy. 

On a more serious note, some non-believers claim Pope Francis hired a great PR firm to shore up support for the Catholic Church.  Sounds intriguing, but void of any facts.  If anything, they ignore the fact that the pope is saying and doing and living exactly the way he did back in Argentina.  

Now for others, the pope is affectionately known as the People's Pope, or the  Poor People's Pope.  For the right, he is another President Obama.  For the left, he is their poster child and  President Obama's Last Hope.  

But if we were to all come back to reality for a moment, then we would have to say that Pope Francis is simply the pope, the Vicar of Christ, with frailties, failures and humanity combined.  It's that simple...and that spiritual.  Everything else is spin and a clever way to turn the truth upside down and get it ignored. 

There are so many people in our world that would love to secularize the world, including the Church.  They do it for obvious reasons.  Sure the pope could teach a few lessons on leadership to CEO's.  It's clear he would be the greatest leader in the world.  But let's not forget the obvious.  The pope is a spiritual person, a son of the Church, a child of God, a man living by a very high standard:  Jesus Christ. It's no coincidence.  It's no lucky break.  It's the result of grace, faith, personal prayer and great sacrifice.

Driving home God.  During Christ's life, there were more than a few people who wished to spin Him, insult Him, belittle Him and twist Him. In summary, they wished to define Him.  But their definitions came from preconceived notions and from blind ignorance, not facts.  Similarly, some people see the pope the way they want him to be: as a false prophet, a PR man, a stunt man, a political man, a people's man.   But before God, He is what he is, regardless of the constructs of others.  The pope is both sinner and the Vicar of Christ; meek and powerful; poor and dignified; servant and head; friend and confessor.  These paradoxes are as surprising as Jesus being both God and man.   

Hey, it's not the pope's fault. It's Christ's.  He started this whole paradox thing.

Only the Lord could put such things together and redefine success.


  1. This is so beautiful, Father. Thank you!

  2. People take interest in the pope the same way they take interest in British royalty; the long tradition catches their fancy as some harmless novelty. As with any novelty, journalists try to ride the wave of its popularity, regardless of whether they have a clue about it or not. In the case of the pope, these journalists, often professed ex-Catholics, love to project their dreams for the Church since they know too little to say anything else. Luckily, most serious Catholics look to other media outlets and commentaries to draw a fair opinion of the Church today.

    Unfortunately, when people dream, as these writers do, they can only take preexisting images from which to construct their ideals, their utopias. The Pharisees dreamt of a messiah who would cater exclusively to the Jews, overthrow the Gentiles, and establish a glorious kingdom on Earth, and they realized that Jesus conflicted with that dream. Most people forget that the Pharisees were not bona fide rabbis, but more a zealous political group, that included rabbis and scholars, intent on restoring the Jewish state. Political groups bent on freedom do not like people who lift people away from the world; the world is their main concern and want to rule it.

    Today, we have a group of zealous secularists intent on raising a kind of techno-utopia, a postmodern pastiche that allows a relativist hedonistic Eden without any danger of a Fall. When the pope wants to raise the standard of living of the poor, or when he wants to reach out to the young, these secular Pharisees grow excited, thinking a potential Messiah has come. They start writing feverishly of what they think the pope should do the church, loosening the rules, converting it some anonymous collective with any purpose except accomplishing the agendas of misguided social activists. When he doesn't fulfill these dreams, they accuse him of working good under the influence of savvy media gurus and corrupt clergymen. Of course, all these speculations and accusations hinge on fabrications, which then proliferate under the impatient demands of these dreamers.

    The same type of thing happens with politicians, pop stars, and famous intellectuals. The current age flattens them into two-dimensional symbols before they can even address their audience. Like the Pharisees, people today prefer icons to people, style to substance, popularity to truth. This comes more easily, than taking on the task of loving a person to the point of knowing them. However, in the way of Jesus, Christians today should resist this temptation to simplify and reduce, and instead lovingly embrace the whole complex individual and become a bigger, yet more humble, people in the process.

  3. Father!!! So great to hear your comments on the Gospel and the Pope! I hope you are doing great! God bless!!! Matthew Reinhart


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.