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

 

 

Politics and Religion

Politics and Religion… Dare I go here…

Politics and Religion, Wow, here I go.  As we approach a strange time in the US political arena, I was thinking about the Gospel today about the Rich Man, His Camel and the Eye of the Needle.  The part of the Gospel that really caught me today is that “Nothing is impossible with God”.

I think if we look at our world, religion and politics are having the same politics-and-religionissues.  To me, it seems the busier we get and the more uncertain our world gets, we lose focus and look for answers, the easier the better.  We we are kids we live in a black and white world.  For some of us, even TV was black and white.  The old Church took the thought out of religion and faith.  The priest told us what to believe, what to do and even what was a sin.  The Church even informed us what the Bible was telling us.  It was like the Church was in a preadolescent phase.

The Magisterium at Vat II realized we had grown up and we were ready to take responsibility for Continue reading “Politics and Religion”

Pro Life

This could surprise many of you, but I hate when pro-life groups ask me to speak. It almost never ends well. No one argues with the phrase that we support life from conception to natural death, until you bring up examples or issues that in my opinion dilute the message.  Or when the truth is that we are really concerned primarily with Abortion.

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I was interrupted at a local event by a political candidate claiming to be a Continue reading “Pro Life”