Sunday, September 29, 2013

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Man of Steel Convictions

Today I made it to the theater to see the new take on the Superman lore, "Man of Steel."  What I got was a two hour lesson in the catholic moral life and the strongest pro-life/anti-abortion/anti-fertility/genetic manipulation ever portrayed on the big screen.  If you find yourself interested in taking in a movie soon, I highly recommend it!  

To peek your interest and show my point, let me give a little of the plot set-up.  Kal-El/Clark/Superman, is the first naturally conceived and born child on his dying home planet Krypton in centuries.  His father Jor-El saw the decline of the planet and the fall backs of their people's 'genesis' procedure that produced engineered members of their race for particular roles and jobs in their society.  The rest of the movie is a battle between the free will and choice inherent in the naturally born Kryptonite raised by human parents Kal-El/Clark and the engineered military leader of the Kryptonites, Zod, who survived the destruction of his home planet and whose one task in life is the protection and proliferation of Krypton, a failed society and planet.  Both men are wholly invested in their causes and strive to live as they were raised.  You'll have to watch to see who succeeds and what the other prevailing catholic messages are.

Thank you CNN for aiding my point:
 CNN Religion Blog

Friday, June 14, 2013

It's Been A While

It has been quite a while since I took time to place an update.  The last time I posted was just before the Boston Marathon.  I worked that day as an EMT on the Marathon route.  It was an amazing day for a marathon.  We all know the tragic events of the afternoon and the week and month that followed.  You'll notice below those pictures from earlier in the marathon the response from the students at Rivier, where I worked as campus minister.  It was an uplifting process to go from the chaos of the marathon to the steadfast, Boston Strong, response in those following days.  The prayers of the Riv community ended up at the make shift memorial on Boylston St. a week later.  

Now it is summer.  I have moved on from my work as a campus minister at Rivier and am currently a firefighter/EMT considering my next move.  I hope to make my contributions to this page for frequent and I also hope to finish some of the music that I have been teasing as I enjoy a little more down time.  As I try to get my chops back, here is video of a cover of a yet to be released Phil Wickham song, possibly titled I'll Always Be Alive.  I had to try out the YouTube capture app.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Always Forward!

I have finally had time to sit and read Pope Francis' Homily for the Mass where he took possession of the Chair of the Bishop of Rome.  It is a beautiful reflection on our hesitation to receive the Risen Christ.  Just because Easter has come, does not mean we were ready.  But Jesus is patient, just like with Thomas.  You just need to continually move, always forward, to the embrace of your God.

On another note: I was happy to see the crosier used famously by Blessed John Paul II.  

Basilica of Saint John Lateran
Second Sunday of Easter - Divine Mercy Sunday, 7 April 2013

It is with joy that I am celebrating the Eucharist for the first time in this Lateran Basilica, the Cathedral of the Bishop of Rome. I greet all of you with great affection: my very dear Cardinal Vicar, the auxiliary bishops, the diocesan presbyterate, the deacons, the men and women religious, and all the lay faithful. I also greet the Mayor, his wife and all the authorities present. Together let us walk in the light of the risen Lord.
1. Today we are celebrating the Second Sunday of Easter, also known as "Divine Mercy Sunday". What a beautiful truth of faith this is for our lives: the mercy of God! God’s love for us is so great, so deep; it is an unfailing love, one which always takes us by the hand and supports us, lifts us up and leads us on.
2. In today’s Gospel, the Apostle Thomas personally experiences this mercy of God, which has a concrete face, the face of Jesus, the risen Jesus. Thomas does not believe it when the other Apostles tell him: "We have seen the Lord". It isn’t enough for him that Jesus had foretold it, promised it: "On the third day I will rise". He wants to see, he wants to put his hand in the place of the nails and in Jesus’ side. And how does Jesus react? With patience: Jesus does not abandon Thomas in his stubborn unbelief; he gives him a week’s time, he does not close the door, he waits. And Thomas acknowledges his own poverty, his little faith. "My Lord and my God!": with this simple yet faith-filled invocation, he responds to Jesus’ patience. He lets himself be enveloped by divine mercy; he sees it before his eyes, in the wounds of Christ’s hands and feet and in his open side, and he discovers trust: he is a new man, no longer an unbeliever, but a believer.
Let us also remember Peter: three times he denied Jesus, precisely when he should have been closest to him; and when he hits bottom he meets the gaze of Jesus who patiently, wordlessly, says to him: "Peter, don’t be afraid of your weakness, trust in me". Peter understands, he feels the loving gaze of Jesus, and he weeps. How beautiful is this gaze of Jesus – how much tenderness is there! Brothers and sisters, let us never lose trust in the patience and mercy of God!
Let us think too of the two disciples on the way to Emmaus: their sad faces, their barren journey, their despair. But Jesus does not abandon them: he walks beside them, and not only that! Patiently he explains the Scriptures which spoke of him, and he stays to share a meal with them. This is God’s way of doing things: he is not impatient like us, who often want everything all at once, even in our dealings with other people. God is patient with us because he loves us, and those who love are able to understand, to hope, to inspire confidence; they do not give up, they do not burn bridges, they are able to forgive. Let us remember this in our lives as Christians: God always waits for us, even when we have left him behind! He is never far from us, and if we return to him, he is ready to embrace us.
I am always struck when I reread the parable of the merciful Father; it impresses me because it always gives me great hope. Think of that younger son who was in the Father’s house, who was loved; and yet he wants his part of the inheritance; he goes off, spends everything, hits rock bottom, where he could not be more distant from the Father, yet when he is at his lowest, he misses the warmth of the Father’s house and he goes back. And the Father? Had he forgotten the son? No, never. He is there, he sees the son from afar, he was waiting for him every hour of every day, the son was always in his father’s heart, even though he had left him, even though he had squandered his whole inheritance, his freedom. The Father, with patience, love, hope and mercy, had never for a second stopped thinking about him, and as soon as he sees him still far off, he runs out to meet him and embraces him with tenderness, the tenderness of God, without a word of reproach: he has returned! And that is the joy of the Father. In that embrace for his son is all this joy: he has returned! God is always waiting for us, he never grows tired. Jesus shows us this merciful patience of God so that we can regain confidence, hope – always! A great German theologian, Romano Guardini, said that God responds to our weakness by his patience, and this is the reason for our confidence, our hope (cf. Glaubenserkenntnis, W├╝rzburg, 1949, p. 28). It is like a dialogue between our weakness and the patience of God, it is a dialogue that, if we do it, will grant us hope.
3. I would like to emphasize one other thing: God’s patience has to call forth in us the courage to return to him, however many mistakes and sins there may be in our life. Jesus tells Thomas to put his hand in the wounds of his hands and his feet, and in his side. We too can enter into the wounds of Jesus, we can actually touch him. This happens every time that we receive the sacraments with faith. Saint Bernard, in a fine homily, says: "Through the wounds of Jesus I can suck honey from the rock and oil from the flinty rock (cf. Deut 32:13), I can taste and see the goodness of the Lord" (On the Song of Songs, 61:4). It is there, in the wounds of Jesus, that we are truly secure; there we encounter the boundless love of his heart. Thomas understood this. Saint Bernard goes on to ask: But what can I count on? My own merits? No, "My merit is God’s mercy. I am by no means lacking merits as long as he is rich in mercy. If the mercies of the Lord are manifold, I too will abound in merits" (ibid., 5). This is important: the courage to trust in Jesus’ mercy, to trust in his patience, to seek refuge always in the wounds of his love. Saint Bernard even states: "So what if my conscience gnaws at me for my many sins? ‘Where sin has abounded, there grace has abounded all the more’ (Rom 5:20)" (ibid.). Maybe someone among us here is thinking: my sin is so great, I am as far from God as the younger son in the parable, my unbelief is like that of Thomas; I don’t have the courage to go back, to believe that God can welcome me and that he is waiting for me, of all people. But God is indeed waiting for you; he asks of you only the courage to go to him. How many times in my pastoral ministry have I heard it said: "Father, I have many sins"; and I have always pleaded: "Don’t be afraid, go to him, he is waiting for you, he will take care of everything". We hear many offers from the world around us; but let us take up God’s offer instead: his is a caress of love. For God, we are not numbers, we are important, indeed we are the most important thing to him; even if we are sinners, we are what is closest to his heart.
Adam, after his sin, experiences shame, he feels naked, he senses the weight of what he has done; and yet God does not abandon him: if that moment of sin marks the beginning of his exile from God, there is already a promise of return, a possibility of return. God immediately asks: "Adam, where are you?" He seeks him out. Jesus took on our nakedness, he took upon himself the shame of Adam, the nakedness of his sin, in order to wash away our sin: by his wounds we have been healed. Remember what Saint Paul says: "What shall I boast of, if not my weakness, my poverty? Precisely in feeling my sinfulness, in looking at my sins, I can see and encounter God’s mercy, his love, and go to him to receive forgiveness.
In my own life, I have so often seen God’s merciful countenance, his patience; I have also seen so many people find the courage to enter the wounds of Jesus by saying to him: Lord, I am here, accept my poverty, hide my sin in your wounds, wash it away with your blood. And I have always seen that God did just this – he accepted them, consoled them, cleansed them, loved them.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us be enveloped by the mercy of God; let us trust in his patience, which always gives us more time. Let us find the courage to return to his house, to dwell in his loving wounds, allowing ourselves be loved by him and to encounter his mercy in the sacraments. We will feel his wonderful tenderness, we will feel his embrace, and we too will become more capable of mercy, patience, forgiveness and love.


Brothers and Sisters, Good Evening!
Thank you very much for your company in the Mass today. Thank you very much! I ask that you pray for me, I need it. Never forget this. Thank you everyone!
And let us go forward all together, the people and the Bishop, all together; forward always with the joy of the Resurrection of Jesus; He is always at our side.
May the Lord bless you!
After he blessed the crowd, he said:
Thank you so much! See you soon!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Things you may never see again...

In the category of things you may only see once, then never again, here are the pictures released of the meeting between Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.

Please notice the moment in the video when Pope Francis passed up the kneeler and chair in front to sit with Benedict.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Biblical Stations of the Cross 2013, Contemporary Music for Reflection

Please see the Stations of the Cross page for details on how these songs can be used to reflect on the Passion of Christ.
  1. Eyes Open / Taylor Swift - Station 1
  2. Too Close / Alex Clare - Station 2 & 3
  3. Hidden Away / Josh Groban - Station 4 & 5
  4. Titanium (David Guetta ft. Sia) / Madilyn Bailey - Station 6
  5. Come Home / OneRepublic & Sara Bareilles - Station 7
  6. Be Still / The Killers - Stations 8 & 9 
  7. Lego House / Ed Sheeran - Station 10
  8. Home / Phillip Phillips - Station 11
  9. A Thousand Years / Christina Perri - Station 12
  10. After the Storm / Mumford & Sons - Station 13
  11. Fix You / Coldplay - Station 14
  12. Back to the Place / David Walker
  13. Your Love Is Like a River / Third Day
  14. One / Damien Rice 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Habemus Papam!

Habemus Papam!  

What's in a name?  Well, let's recall the story of St. Francis with the following:

Not long after his return to Assisi, while St. Francis was praying before an ancient crucifix in the forsaken wayside chapel of St. Damian's below the town, he heard a voice saying: "Go, Francis, and repair my house, which as you see is falling into ruin."

As you take a moment to reflect on our new Holy Father's words below and the choice of the name Francis, I think pointing out His Holiness' emphasis on "camino" is crucial.  He used the word several times, translated below as road or journey.  We have a Pope that wants to accompany us and join us on the path of faith as well as lead from the front through holiness of life.  

English translation of Pope Francis' off-the-cuff launch-text:

Brothers and sisters, good evening!You know how the duty of the Conclave is to give a bishop to Rome. It seems that my brother cardinals have gone to take him from the edge of the world... but here we are. 

I thank you for your welcome. The diocesan family of Rome has your bishop: thank you! And before anything else, I'd like for us to pray for our bishop-emeritus, Benedict XVI. Let us pray together for him, that the Lord bless him and Our Lady keep him in her care....

Our Father....

Hail Mary....

Glory Be....

And now, together, let us start this road: bishop and people. This [new] path of the church of Rome, which "presides in charity" [over] all the churches. A path of brotherhood, of love, of trust between us. Let us pray always for ourselves: one for the other. Let us pray for all the world, that we all might know a great fraternity. I wish you that this journey as Church, that we begin today and on which my Cardinal-Vicar [of Rome] will help me, might be fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city!

And now I'll give you my blessing... but first – first, I ask you this favor: before the bishop blesses his people, I ask that you pray to the Lord that he might bless me: the prayer of the people, seeking God's blessing for their bishop. In silence, let's please make a prayer for me....

*Pope Bows to crowd*

Now I give my blessing to you and all the world – to all men and women of good will....

Brothers and sisters, I leave you, but only for now. Many thanks for your warm welcome. Please pray for me often!
I'll see you soon – tomorrow I want to go pray to Our Lady [Salus Populi Romani – her shrine at St Mary Major], because she's the one who cares for Rome.
Good night and sleep well!

Habemus Papam party at Rivier University.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Surfacing Soon

Soon and very soon, I am going to put forth a new collection of songs called "Surfacing." As proof, here is a first take on a song called Lazarus.  The lyrics are included below.  I hope it is a fitting reflection on Lent including the passage from death to life and the promise of the Resurrection that we have through our baptism.  In scripture: John 11.


I left my body in an instant:
I floated above,
I felt great love,
In light I bathed,
Cleansed from the grave,
But unable to enter,
Into Heaven’s center,
I waded with many a soul,
Unable to reach their goal,
‘Til my name was spoken by a voice,
The weeping Lord’s choice:
“Come out!  Unbind him."