How Could God Let This Happen, God’s Will be done!

How Could God Let This Happen, God’s Will be done!

Recently,  I have had many questions about God’s will.  I cringe when people say, “I am praying to accept God’s will.”  Like God is testing us by having bad things happen in our lives.  Jesus taught us to pray, God’s will be done.  Not help us to accept that will.  So, why the confusion?

There are many theories about this.  Again, this is based in theories and broad generalizations and not a much longer thesis.  One is that God is like a watch maker and sets the world/clock in motion and lets it run.  God is present, yet not meddling.  My problem with this theory is it discounts any ability for a miracle and I have seen miracles.   The opposite end of the spectrum is that we are all predestined.  What we do is predetermined and we are basically actors in God’s plan.  In this theory, my brain goes, why bother, if it is all predetermined, why work at it, I AM DONE.  I will just do what I want as the outcome with be the same.  Sort of fits with the protestant idea that once we are saved we have it made and are assured of entrance into heaven.

We will obviously not have these answers till after we have left this world.

I have worked it out God’s will as follows.

We are all called and created to do God’s will.  We do God’s will when we act as God taught us.  When we care for each other,  care for those in need, provide for the less fortunate, we are doing God’s will.   To put it another way, when we work building the Kingdom of God or work to strengthen the Body of Christ, we are doing God’s will.

If God saved us form all bad things and this life was perfect, what would be the point.  For me it is a plan beyond comprehension.  How could God create a world that he would then have to send his son into the world to be killed! The icing on that cake for me, killed by those he was trying to save.  I hope to have a chat with St. Peter about this someday, hopefully not soon.  And if I don’t like the answer, I will ask for his supervisor.

For now, this mystery is at the core of our faith.  We proclaim the mystery of faith every day at Mass.  Once we accept that fact that our very existence and our faith is based in mysteries beyond comprehension, it actually helps.  From our earliest days we have tried to grasp the reality and the whys of our relationship with God.  The Pentateuch is filled with stories working to explain this reality or answer these whys.  Philosophers still grapple with these questions.  Scientists, keep hoping to find that missing piece of the puzzle.  I believe science and religion are coming closer together in many ways.  That said, again it is faith that they are looking for.


Through the doubts and crises of faith that I have had, I really don’t doubt my beliefs much anymore.  But it was a very painful process to get to where I am.  It is hard to get away from the whys and transition to how can I bring God into this situation.  How can I be God’s healing presence.  How am I the light of Christ in each situation I encounter.  That is when we are living God’s will.

I can’t see how a loving God could call a child to heaven in 8th grade.  I do see a God that asks us to be the sanctifying force in those situations.

Bringing this all together, God’s will is what we are called to do, not what God does to us.

Thoughts after Southerland Springs 1st Baptist Shooting.

Thoughts after Southerland Springs 1st Baptist Shooting.

I didn’t want to respond to the violence in Southerland Springs right away.  I was mad and frustrated.  How could this be and so close.  This will be a summary of my homily and for those upset that I am not jumping on the gun control wagon, please look at purpose of what I am trying to do.

Is it the guns?

My opinion is that guns are not the issue.   The closest I have come to being hurt in an attach was in Germany, with very strict gun control.  There they used a propane tank.  Oklahoma City was a truck.  9/11 were planes.  Chicago, DC and Mexico have amazingly strict laws, yet shockingly high levels of violent crime.  I think it is us…

Are we silly virgins from Gospel parable?

Multiple times in the last year I have had to deal with threats from middle school kids to kill someone.  This is in a Catholic school.   Yes, we take it more seriously now, but these were kids with a plan.  I have watched young kids in less than 10 seconds wipe out a small village in a first person shooter game.  That has to have an impact.

I remember the first time I was in the ER as a Chaplain and a chest was opened and the smell and the sound almost made me toss my lunch.   After time, I became accustom to it.  Are we “virtually” becoming desensitized to violence through movies and games?  Or by texting and not talking, especially while in same room.

What about the mental health angle.  I have tried to get people help.  I have friends that have family members, but their personal rights seem to get in the way of getting them help.  Everyone is too afraid to do what needs to be done because they might get sued.  How is that being our brother’s/sister’s keeper?

How do we help overworked and under prepared parents?

I don’t have answers, yet.   But I am working at finding them.  I am hoping this blog starts a discussion.  I will not approve any comments stuck on guns.  That is not the point here.  That is a whole other issue.

How to we regain a sense of godliness or holiness for each other?  How do we engender that in our youth?

Some of my ideas:
  1.  If you die in a first person shooter game, you are dead, you have to buy the game again.
  2. Make all violent movies and games NC-17.  Let the person form before subjecting themselves to these “games.”
  3. If we are going to really fix health care, we need to fix our mental health system.  How?
  4. We can’t ban texting, but can we force more interpersonal relationships.  We are shifting to more project based education to help facilitate this.

Please take a moment of prayer for all those affected by violence before responding.  

23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time Homily, and subsequent thoughts…

23rd Sunday of Ordinary Time Homily, and subsequent thoughts…

It wasn’t until mass today, see video below, that I realized that today was 9/11.  Not only do we have a mysterious God, but a good God.

This weekend I preached on the internal part of the message in the readings.  Click here to read readings.  All of them had an internal element.   Ezekiel reminds us that our faith requires us to take responsibility for our brothers and sisters in faith.  Even correcting those that need correcting.  The second reading and Gospel tell us to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Seems pretty simple.

First, in context, before we can correct or direct our fellow journeyers on this path, we have to make sure we are right with God.   To hit this home more, we have to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Simple, until you realize that you have to love yourself first!  To love ourselves as God loves each of us.

To apply this, we all have people in our lives that seem to be placed on this earth to drive us crazy or to be our arch nemesis.  These are the people we like to hold a grudge against.  These are the people we try to get others to side with us against them.

The command is to love!  What we naturally want doesn’t fit today’s message. With absolutely no clue that today, Monday & day I am typing, was 9/11, I mention that it took me 10 years to even realize that I should be praying for our attackers on 9/11.   The way I have found it best to deal with those that really drive me to distraction is to earnestly pray for them.  Pray for their well being!  (Not that they fall off face of the earth or something along those lines.)

In our human state, that is the only way I have found to try and live this message to love.  How else can we correct those with us in our faith.  Only in love and prayer.  I am not sure it is ever easy, but it certainly makes life easier.

Today’s Mass on CTSA:  (You will recognize presider)

Catholic Schools, Youth Groups and almost 30 years of Priesthood!

Catholic Schools, Youth Groups and

almost 30 years of Priesthood!

Today, on paper, is my day off.  I started the day with a few school issues, had a funeral, dropped in on the diocesan counselor that are visiting our students to asses some issues, worked on relocating WiFi controller and confirmed 92.  The only bad part of the day happened when counselors from Dept. of Catholic schools informed me that the process to eradicate bullying takes up to 3 years.  Seriously, I don’t have that time I want it done now.  I spend some time thinking of 30 years of Catholic Schools, Youth Groups and Almost years of Priesthood and had another sad realization.

I was asked as a baby priest preparing for World Youth Day in Denver, what the hardest part of dealing with youth was and without really thinking just said their parents.  Before I’m compared to a salamander again, let me make a few things clear.  Most kids in Catholic programs either schools or youth group come from amazing families.  That said there is a small number who drop off their kids and expect us to make them Catholic.  We never see them on weekends and they don’t understand why it isn’t working.  I really don’t see that working ever.

I put on Facebook over the weekend that I wanted to find a way to get parents who wanted their kids at our school to agree to a app store password that only parents knew, no snap-chat or other like program, and regularly checking your kid’s phones.  Not easy, but in my mind essential  We have to assure the safety of our young.  I can’t find any reason snap-chat has enough value to be an under 18 or even 21 game.

In short:

Our school needs and students deserve a whole community that is aware and working to eradicate bullying.   Working together.  Parents need to remember that they are the adult and not the friend.  Kids have friends at school and if they don’t us being their friend isn’t going to help.  Our kids need adults making good choices, enforcing tough rules and insuring our kids get the education and formation they deserve.

Voting 2016, Things I’m tired of hearing.

Voting 2016, Things I’m tired of hearing

I saw a sign yesterday 2016 they all “stink”.  I had to change it, but Voting 2016 is bringing out the bad side of many, even some brother priests.  Please feel free to print this and give to people not following these guidelines.

First as a  non-profit we as Church have to stay neutral.  We can’t endorse or condemn any candidate.  We can speak to the issues, but not in a way that directs people intentionally toward one candidate.  The job of the Church is to form the consciences of the 6843180_origbelievers and by our Baptism to be missionaries.

So we are called to build the kingdom and then to form it.  There isn’t anything about telling it what to do or what is right and wrong.  When challenged on this I ask, what is one action that is always a mortal sin?  Most of the time people say thou shall not kill.   Continue reading “Voting 2016, Things I’m tired of hearing.”

Impure thoughts revisited from Priestly Ponderings

Impure Thoughts revisited from Priestly Ponderings

A few people commented on this blog and I wrote it month ago before many of you had found this.  I figured it was a good time to re-post this after a few discussions on my trip and people sharing experiences in the confessional.  I think this is a topic that many of us struggle with and I hope this perspective can help people come closer to God instead of living in a trap.

Follow this link to the original post

Pro Catholic and Happily Anti politics!

Pro Catholic and

Happily Anti politics!

I have avoided this and avoided this and just tried to remain in the middle of the road and quiet.  Remember, I tried, is everyone clear, I tried?   As an obviously Pro Catholic and Anti politics priest, that is also extremely extroverted, I can’t keep quiet anymore.20126196-mmmain-1  You might be thinking this is a response to the debate, but it isn’t.  I started writing this long before the debate (actually weeks before) and because I was with family and traveling, I did see some of the debate.

Since admitting watching part of the debate, I am less sure why any Catholic is left with a choice.  (no pun intended)  We are not single issue voters, or we shouldn’t be, but there was one statement that made my decision easier.  As awful as it is, I know who I am voting for.  Once a candidate proclaimed that their opponent is going to over turn Roe v Wade and the respect for marriage act, I came to the sad realization of who I had to vote for.

Personally, I don’t care who gets civilly married, but I want to be able to protect the sacrament of marriage and the sanctity of Catholic hospitals.  It isn’t about the person elected any more, but the judges they appoint and the policies they enact.  We need to, in every way, bring a respect for life back into the dialogue.  Life can never be a secondary concern.  The belief that God created each of us male and female in the image and likeness of GOD means something!

I am not saying who to vote for.  As someone who holds the title Honorary as a formerly elected official, I have a different understanding than most.  We have to do what is right, not just for today, but for the next generations.  I am again not telling anyone who to vote for, but to encourage long range thinking.  We need to ask ourselves, which candidate or party will truly advance our faith.

Finally the original point of this Blog:

So from another point of view which actually started this blog post; we have to stick with the facts on both sides.  I got an email from a good friend that said the Pope had endorsed Trump.  I sent him the snopes rebuttal and he responded that snopes isn’t always trustworthy.  So I reluctantly enter the political debate of 2016.

First, as soon as you see an email that the Pope, a Bishop or any Church leader has endorsed any political candidate, you know it can’t be true.  Any US Church that publicly endorses either side will lose their tax exempt status.  None of us can afford that.  So please just delete those emails.  I hope the senders are well intentioned, but we need to stick with the facts.  Unfortunately the facts are not so good right now, but we can work with them and make things better.

In summary:

The email I saw had the Pope endorsing capitalism, if you have paid any attention to our Pope, he is not a fan of capitalism!  At least in a way recognizable by either candidate.  The Pope, if he says anything will be like most religious leaders and tell us to look to the future and ask which candidate will have our country more aligned with the teachings of the church in 4 years.

For this election cycle, it really isn’t easy.  I am sure that I will have many friends read this election differently than I do.  I am perfectly fine with that.  What I do, I will do in prayer and hope that all the rest of the electorate will do the same.  That said, we can be sure that our God will work through the results in November for the betterment of the world!  He left of stewards of this world many centuries ago and isn’t abandoning us ever.

Hell, How can a loving God allow Hell to exist?

Hell, How can a loving God allow Hell to exist?

17411586-heaven-and-hell-devils-and-angels-good-or-bad-god-or-satan-road-sign-arrow-with-text-stock-photoI hear all the time, how can a loving God allow Hell to exist?  Easy, it has to exist.  So the shortest blog ever.

Not really, but that is the correct answer or there is no purpose to life.  We have to let kids make mistakes to learn.  I can remember a friend with a new baby letting her pull a place-mat off the table and all the stuff on it fell all over her daughter.  I asked, why didn’t you stop her.  She responded that she has almost pulled place-mats off the table many times with knives and glass on them, so she tried to set up a safe way for her to learn the consequences.  It worked, but we are not always that lucky.  We should learn by our mistakes.  And then there is free will!

Free will is the crux of this whole thing.  We have the Adam and Eve story explaining this to the generations.  God gave us free will and with that there has to be a hell.  What does life mean if we all end up in heaven?  If no matter what we do, without remorse, we still end up in heaven, why bother?

Another simple truth is the Cross.  What does the Cross mean without Hell?  Simple answer NOTHING!  So the fact the Jesus died for our sins is also proof that there has to be hell.  Why would an all knowing God go to such great lengths to show us the promise of salvation, if Hell were not a real option?  What would happen to the redemptive power of suffering or our own crosses if there is no Hell?

In Short;

If there is no Hell, we really don’t have free will and the Cross loses its meaning.  If we have free will and all end up in heaven, why bother, the end is the same.  The Cross is the ultimate sign of God’s redemptive Grace and why would God do that if the promise of Hell were not real?  For heaven to mean anything, Hell has to exist!  God doesn’t send us, we send ourselves.

Abortion in Faith! New amazingly evil ad in SA Express News!

Abortion in Faith!

A full page ad in today’s San Antonio “news” paper has an attractive woman in a bright red dress (or should it be blood red) proclaiming she believed in an Abortion in Faith.  Asking for equality for woman.  I realize that as someone in a position not open to woman, runs a great risk here, but I have no idea how abortion is an equality issue.  Unless things have really changed it takes both sexes to create new life, granted one does substantially more work!   More importantly, how can someone say anyone can have an abortion in faith.  Do she abort her faith first?

In my life so far, I have talked to at least 30 women that have had abortions, not one has ever tried to justify it as something good or something that changed their life for the better.  Some have even been non Catholics coming to me because they hoped I would understand how awful they felt.  As a guy, I will never know, but the raw pain these woman come in with is heart wrenching.

One woman was so upset at everyone telling her how brave she was and it was her choice when she realized that not one of the pro abortion people had ever had an abortion or knew anyone that had.  She wondered how they could fight for something they had no clue about and no clue of the damage that abortion caused emotionally to those that had them.

This election in my opinion shows that we have a great need to stand up and make a difference.  We need to be the light to the nations that the Gospel calls us to be, we need to react in a way that every person, Catholic or atheist will think twice about running an ad about being a prochoice Catholic.  I should say pro-abortion Catholic.

Abortion by Faith!  Catholic for Choice! Hell NO! Not in this life!

We are all pro-choice by birth.  God gave us free will to decide our own destiny.  We also have the divine imprint on our soul.  What are we doing with that?  How are we using the gifts we are born with and develop through over a decade of school to make this world a better place?

All of us, former fetuses, former unsustainable life again are Pro Choice by the fact of Free Will.  A gift from God that enables us to determine our own destiny.  By the very nature of the Gift, by the very sanctity of life it self our choice has to be LIFE!  Always, LIFE!

Click Link or Picture for other official responses

Texas Prelates Response

Link to Page
Knights of Columbus

Time for Everything even Mercy

There is a Time for everything even Mercy – Mercy revisited!

After the pilgrimage to Ireland post which was meant to go off schedule and then my Funny Marquee signs going early and another draft idea getting published.  I wanted to get caught up and a bit ahead.  I figured it was time to Visit another earlier post that didn’t get much traffic, but I feel could be used again.  So in this year of Mercy, we revisit Mercy, I say we, but only if you click the link!

Mercy Revisited