January 3, 2019
Our culture believes our relationships are fundamentally about me. Is this relationship making me “happy”? Does this person give me what I need? Are my hopes and dreams the main focus of this relationship? Why are these the questions we ask first? Because our fundamental disposition is that of taking. We all believe, to some degree, that our happiness is about taking- whether material, emotional, or spiritual.
So what is it really about?
January 3, 2019
We not only are a mystery to ourselves concerning our past, but our future is unknown as well. We tend to respond to this in one of two ways: either with a hyper-planned scenario that attempts to cover every possible outcome (older generations tended toward this) or to just say forget it-
Many in my generation, millennials, tend to say something like: we are 25 with too many degrees, mediocre job prospects and an insurmountable pile of student debt with compounding interest; forget planning and enjoy that $5 coffee right now.
December 20, 2018
I don’t think we realize how often we lie, gossip, and behave selfishly- especially in our work for that is where it is most easily justified. John the Baptist came to reveal to 1st century Galileans how utterly mediocre their lives were. Yet, he also made it clear that the life of a saint, the way of perfection, is right before you, it’s in your midst, it’s the call to true charity and humility in your everyday life and it’s not optional for the Christian.
December 14, 2018
This is the third part in a four part formation series for the Catholic Youth Coalition in the Diocese of Helena.
With only one session to look at the Church, I focused in on the martyrs and Desert Fathers and Mothers as an incredible witness to the power of the gospel. This is something that inspires us to give our whole lives, to give up the world. Here is the Audio from that talk.
December 11, 2018
The climate of western culture has created a new and unique form of dialogue which usually consists of carefully crafted homage to tolerance followed by a lambasting of anyone who disagrees with the personally held position.
When we look to ourselves for our identity instead of looking to the one who made us, we end up putting our whole identity in some trait, some feature that we think makes us unique or empowers us, or makes us worthy of love. Yet when we do that, we inevitably compromise who we are. We take a part of ourselves and make it the whole. We take something that may or may not tell part of our story and we make it our whole story.
What other option is there?
November 20, 2018
Why do the scriptures so often speak to us of the end times when God obviously doesn’t plan to tell us his plan for that day of judgment? In fact, it does not even seem a part of Jesus’ divine mission to know the day or the hour of that coming. In speaking of it, just he seeking to instill fear in his listeners? Or is he giving them hope for eternal life? Yes on both accounts.
November 7, 2018
Evil is framed according to a narrative that suggests it’s somehow all outside of us, it’s too powerful to be grappled with, and it might be on your doorstep soon. This is not, however, what our gospel today suggests. In fact, Jesus paints a very different picture than the news, and today’s gospel contains a truth which we both need to hear and don’t want to hear.
October 21, 2018
So each year the Israelites sent a goat into the wilderness on Yom Kippur with their sins, for a moment being free of the burden of sin, and shortly thereafter they would sin again, being broken humans like ourselves, and await the following year when Yom Kippur would come. More urgently, they awaited the messiah who would set things straight, he who “will arise, the sun of justice with his healing rays... To turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.”
Jesus is the messiah, he is the one who takes all the sins of Israel- indeed the whole world- upon himself and dies for us. This sacrifice of Christ is the most fitting, the most perfect sacrifice. It need be only once, for Jesus is God and the great exchange which happens in this sacrifice sits outside of history- above history- we could say. It is Jesus let us lay hands on him, who take upon himself all the hatred, the venom, the sin of the world, and died with it. Thus it is swallowed up in Christ’s death.
October 14, 2018
To a man who has had success in all life’s endeavors, who excels in virtue and is without match in business savvy, Jesus declares, “It is you I want for myself, I do not care for your accomplishments. Empty yourself of all those things that I may fill you up!”
Jesus looks upon this man and loves him, calls him to discipleship- and he walks away!!
How could this happen, how does such a powerful scene end this way?
Jesus answers our question with something even more difficult: “How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” Brothers and sisters, do we love Christ above everything? Would we leave everything to follow him? We must be brutally honest with ourselves on this, for we see in our gospel today that we can be good, even excellent people who earnestly seek God, yet in the moment of truth we can reject Christ’s loving gaze.
October 13, 2018
This is the 2nd part of a four part series I am giving to the CYC Board in our diocese, discussing the theology of the cross, what it tells us about God and about ourselves.
Unfortunately, I didn't record the first part of the series, but I will hopefully get around to typing up my notes soon enough, or perhaps will give the talk in a different context soon, and will record it.
Just a Note- this is 28 minutes long!