Archive for the ‘07 Observations’ Category

Calibrating Your Life Successfully

In 07 Observations on 2016/10/07 at 12:00 AM

I wear this Fitbit and it tells me how many steps I take in a day. It also tells me how many flights of steps I take and how many calories I burn in a day and my heart rate. It also tells me about how I slept during the night. How long, was it restless, how many times did I wake up. A friend asked me if it showed that I had problems sleeping. I told him that I don’t have a problem sleeping. I have problems waking up.

When I first wake up I’m usually groggy and don’t really have my wits about me. I think usually when we wake up it’s pretty slow and we want to go back to sleep. Other times we awaken very quickly and alert. For me this was when I had teenagers in the house and the phone rang at 12:30 and the first words I heard were “I’m OK but”.

Today’s readings really are that call in the night that should wake us up with a start and have us be completely alert. This is no time to be groggy.

The reading starts with a parable about a man who will be fired because he doesn’t do his job well. He is alert and knows that his future is in doubt. He isn’t sure how he’ll take care of himself after he loses his job. He comes up with a clever but dishonest scheme to help his future.

He reduces the amount that people owe his boss. His thinking is that if he gives them a break, they’ll look out for him when he’s out of work. This is clever in that he has devised a way to provide for himself, but it’s dishonest in that he’s giving away what belongs to his boss. No wonder he was being fired.

Here’s the odd part. The boss commended that dishonest steward for acting to secure his own future. Is this reading saying that it’s OK to do something that’s wrong and dishonest to provide for ourselves? Of course not. We always know that you can’t do something evil even if it’s for a good end.

So what’s the point of commending this servant? This man saw that his future well being was in danger. If he did nothing he would be in trouble. This was his 12:30 phone call. He’s alert and has all his wits about him.

The parable goes on to say that the children of this world (like the servant) are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light (hopefully that’s us). This is our 12:30 phone call.

Are we thinking about our future or do we just give a poor effort like the servant did in his job? Of course we’re talking about our eternal future. Are we going through the motions just hoping that the worst won’t happen?

The reading goes on to say that you can’t serve both God and money. This is telling us that we should use the same kind of practical wisdom to ensure our eternal future as we would in matters of our earthly future. Look at the efforts we usually put into our earthly affairs. We prepare for retirement. We monitor how much money we spend to make sure that it fits with our income. We research cars to make sure that we get a good one. These are efforts that we all make to hopefully not wind up in a bad position. I’m not saying that we’re not supposed to deal with things in this world because that is where we live now. But it’s not where we will live forever.

How can we be alert about our eternal future? The first is to really come to grips with the reality that we have an eternal future. It’s easy for us to put off what is unseen. If you have a disease it’s easy to ignore it until the symptoms let you know that this is reality. Then it has your attention. All of us have an eternal future that is beyond our time on this earth. Even if we don’t see the symptoms of that reality some day it will have our attention.

The second is to provide for that future. The servant in the gospel didn’t do what was needed and his future was in doubt. How do we provide for our future? First it’s to come to a real understanding that God is God and we are his creation. This is the proper order and we need to know that God greatly desires that our eternal future will be with him. He has paved the way.

Will we spend the time knowing, loving, and serving the Lord? Will we be alert and not get so caught up in the affairs of our present life here and now?

Here are some practical tips. Pray every day even if only for a few minutes and get a good habit going. You can use regular prayers like in this small book or you can simply have a conversation with God. If you miss a day or two don’t be defeated just start again.

Try reading the scriptures. I would suggest the readings for each day’s Mass as they don’t take very long and are easily available on the internet or in a daily missal like this one. When we read scripture we’ll know more about God and that’s how we grow any relationship.

Brothers and Sisters, it’s 12:30 and the phone is ringing. Let’s be alert and know that we have an eternal future. God greatly desires that we spend eternity with him. Let’s not be like the servant was in the beginning not doing what he was supposed to. Let’s be like the servant when he realized his future could be in jeopardy and he took the steps to have a future that he would want and not be in torment.

You and I are called to be saints spending all of the ages with God. Let’s not be groggy but alert and prepare to be saints. Let’s be in that number when the saints go marching in.

Deacon Jack Staub

St. Matthew Catholic Church

Charlotte, NC


“Catholax” by Deacon James H. Toner

In 07 Observations on 2016/09/09 at 12:00 AM

What we think is the right road
I go to Mass every Sunday, usually. But when Mass is over, I have a life to lead as I want. I’m a Catholic, but I’m not a fanatic or a zealot.

But it’s the wrong road

Vice President Joe Biden is Catholic, as are five of the eight current justices of the Supreme Court, about 160 members of Congress, and about a dozen of the 35 (or so) people President Barack Obama has named to his cabinet. One might conclude that U.S. public policy must be well grounded in Catholic moral and social teaching. Not so, of course.

The reason that our public policy often directly contravenes Church teaching is that so many of our “leading” Catholics are, well, “Catholax.”

Laxism (from the Latin for “slackness”) is a 17th-century concept in moral theology that excused Catholics from their moral duties on very slight and insufficient grounds. When Catholic teaching authorities (ranging from parents and priests to college faculties) abandon the inculcation of moral virtue, replacing it with casuistry – case studies and weak-kneed or perplexed ethical “analysis” – laxism results.

Modern laxism dates at least to 1960 when presidential candidate John F. Kennedy declared, “I do not speak for my Church on public matters; and the Church does not speak for me.”

If, as we Catholics believe, Our Lord is head of the Church, then denying the authority of the Church is tantamount to denying the authority of Christ.

So often, all of us – not just politicians – find it much easier to acknowledge the “authority” of a “replacement supreme being.” That replacement may be the idol or mammon of power, prestige, pelf (money) or politics, but the replacement of God or of God’s authority is always at the heart of sin. When we substitute anything for God, we endorse that substitute as divine, and we begin the worship of false gods (see Catechism of the Catholic Church 398).

Worshipping spurious gods invariably leads to treating the world and the things of the world as more sacred than what is truly divine. Wrote philosopher Peter Kreeft: “The Church needs to recover some moxie, some chutzpah. We need to stop being nice and conforming to the world, saying, ‘We’re going to win you by being just like you.’ The Church has got to say, ‘We’re better than you – not better people than you, but we have a better worldview, a deeper truth. Our product’s the best one on the market.’ The Church has been so bedeviled by the American religion of egalitarianism that we are terrified to claim superiority. Only if you believe you have something better can you be enthusiastic about it.”

Having become tepid about Catholic teaching, we find it convenient, perhaps necessary, simply to ignore the admonition found in Revelation: “Because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am going to spit you out of my mouth” (3:16; see also Rom 12:11).

So Catholic enthusiasm may be necessary but, as St. John Paul II told us, enthusiasm alone is not sufficient: “The enthusiastic faith which enlivens your communities is a great enrichment, but it is not enough. It must be accompanied by a Christian formation which is solid, comprehensive and faithful to the Church’s Magisterium.”

“Catholax” may be remiss or negligent about doctrine. They may be vague or slack about the faith. They may be careless or indifferent about the liturgy. The effects of such moral atrophy, however, are well beyond the realm of what may be. The result of lax Catholicism is public policy unmistakably corrupted by “serious errors in the areas of education, politics, social action, and morals” (CCC 407).

Our pre-eminent Catholic duty is always to be witnesses for Christ and for His Church (see CCC 2044). That duty is not minimized – in fact, it is maximized – when one enters the corridors of power and politics. We must speak for Christ and for His Church; and God have mercy upon our souls if we say that Christ and His Church do not speak for us. Courageous public witness requires our being steadfast in the faith: “Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm” (Is 7:9; see also 1 Cor 16:13). No wonder the lax flicker and flutter, slip and slide, and toss and turn in every political wind: they have no moral anchor. So they are “children, carried by the waves and blown about by every shifting wind of the teaching of deceitful men, who lead others into error by the tricks they invent” (Eph 4:14; see also Col 2:8, Heb 13:9).

We are called “to be the light of the world. Thus, the Church shows forth the kingship of Christ over all creation and in particular over human societies” (CCC 2105). That is our duty, despite the siren songs of the world. And firmness – not laxity – in the faith is our trust (2 Tm 1:14) and our joy (Rom 12:12).

Deacon James H. Toner serves at Our Lady of Grace Church in Greensboro.

– See more at: http://www.catholicnewsherald.com/104-news/viewpoints/713-deacon-james-h-toner-catholax#sthash.exHxfnqs.dpuf”

Prayerful Poems

In 07 Observations on 2016/08/26 at 12:00 AM

St. Anthony

We pray to St. Anthony when things can`t be found,
we ask him to please come around;

He never fails to fulfill my request,
for me he`s always done his best;

I remember to thank him for his guidance,
and especially for his presence;

His love and compassion he shares with us,
let`s us know in him we can trust;

God gave him the gift to help others,
to him we are all sisters and brothers.
by Jackie Duick
The Couple

I hold someone special in my heart,
with him there we will never part,

feelings of care,
make us a loving pair,

when a couple begins their life as one,
the task at hand will never be done;

their lives will always intertwine,
as they follow the pathway through time;

They strive in life to do what is divine,
praying God will say you are mine;

Time will separate us for a while,
but we`ll eventually meet again with a kiss and a smile.

by Jackie Duick
Praying to God

There are many ways to pray to God,
some with their head may just give a nod;

Others will whisper their prayers to Him,
while some may write theirs with a pen;

Many prayers are said aloud,
especially those united in a crowd;

Some praying only with their mind,
which makes praying convenient at anytime;

When ever or where ever or how we pray,
Our Lord is there night and day

by Jackie Duick

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

In 07 Observations on 2016/08/26 at 12:00 AM

The one essential virtue God requires of us is FAITH.  Without it, nothing has any worth or gains any merit.  And, like Our Lord’s apostles, we must ask Him to increase our faith.  In our times, this is particularly important so that we do not live in fear.  This is because we are by nature cowardly and often quite weak and fearful.   It is only by faith that we can cope with the billowing  storm clouds of our times.

Our only fear should be that of being separate from God. If we compromise on any single truth of the Creed, it will follow that we will gradual compromise on others to the point that we will end up rejecting truth/faith for the value’s of this world’s so called culture.  There are many nowadays who do not want you to reject their false ideas, and it would be imprudent of you to remain silent  when doing so would cause confusion or even scandal.  Do not retreat to your own little world, but instead challenge your erroneous ideas with the truth to transform your milieu.  Our world is in great need of living examples of faith.

Stand up for your faith.  Be a living testimony to Christ despite the ridicule today’s world heaps on you.  Our Christianity obliges us to bear witness to the Truth regardless of the consequences.  We must be prudent and charitable but never cowardly or fearful in the defense of our beliefs.  Christ Himself will give us the courage to face our difficulties.   Throughout His life, Jesus was subjected to constant tauntings, criticism, and insults which He combated with the Truth.

A life of faith is a life of sacrifice meaning sacrificially rejecting whatever prevents us doing what we know is God’s will for us.  You will be faithful in important matters  of faith is you are faithful in protecting yourself from any occasion to compromise your belief, be it a movie, an event, a conversation. Do not be alarmed or discouraged by temptations.  Pray and flee, but if you must stay, stand your ground because by defending your belief, you can be an example that wins others to Christ.    Never follow the weak and blinking light of comfort and conformity which the world advocates; instead, be guided by the principles of Him who is the Light of the world.

If we meditate on the humanity of God Incarnate, we will be nourishing our souls to be faithful, loyal and unswerving in doing God’s will.  Like His Mother, we must keep our eyes on Jesus, trusting Him completely.  Our Lady’s whole existence had the solid foundation of faith in God.  Let us ask her to show us how to grow in faith daily.

A Word to the Wise

In 07 Observations on 2016/08/19 at 12:00 AM

Always keep in mind that you have absolutely no right to make known to others what you think about anybody, particularly their defects or problems. Once uttered, words cannot be recalled and the damage it done. Gossip is a form of character assassination. We know calumny is a malicious lie; slander, a debasing of the person; yet, the most common is detraction which is revealing a true fact but one that you have no right to share. Shattering a person’s reputation cries to heaven for vengeance.

Beware of launching into whatever is on your mind. Beware of curious prying. Instead, have a listening ear for the person as if no one else in the world exists. If you start to talk, particularly about a strongly held opinion, you might derail the opportunity and become ineffective. To argue or challenge in some cases cause damage. Instead, be prudent and use common sense. Make every effort to understand the person’s point of view. This engenders trust and permit the person to open up in a way that will make it possible for you to encourage them in following Christ Himself.

It is in our neighbor that God comes to us. Always deal with the person as you would deal with Christ. So, remember that the person you are dealing with has been sent to you by Christ and you are dealing with Christ in them, no matter how disfigured that image seems to you.

Do you recognize Christ in others? If not, why not?

Thoughts for Peace of Soul

In 07 Observations on 2016/08/12 at 12:00 AM

We need to live in the present which is when God gives us the grace to do what we ought to do. The present will soon pass and the past only survives in our memory.God respects our free will, permitting us to rebel against Him. He will not imprison us by taking away our freedom. Follow God freely, and you will be freer; actually; you will be more your real self as He meant you to be. Whenever you find yourself to be over-concerned with problems, or in an anxious state, try turning inward and see if you are forgetting to ask for help from Him who promised to come to your aid..We can imagine the future but it only exists in our imagination. So, what we only have is the present, and by living in the present moment as we ought is an aspect of living in the presence of God.
All Christians are called to sanctity. Each  one bears a unique character and personality and reflects or manifests Christ in a different way. Only God’s grace can illumine the soul so one needs to ask God to transform one, to enlighten one, so that one can see Him instead of oneself. Grace is that mysterious sharing in the nature of God because it is by grace that we are raised above our nature so that our souls become capable of knowing God as God knows Himself and of loving Him, and sharing in His life.
If you do not find God in the mirror of your mind it is because you are looking at yourself.  The greatest tragedy that can occur in your life is if you begin to live without God which occurs when you decide for whatever reason to “do it your way”. The devil says that God and everything about Him is a delusion, but it is really but the illusion is you looking only at yourself and not recognizing reality.If you look at things from God’s point of view, you will not confuse yourself because you will be facing reality.
When you begin with loving God, you will find yourself wanting to act virtuously.   Make Christ the center of your life; weigh things as God weights them; His judgment is the norm for truth. Acknowledge with humility your weaknesses and lean on the strength of Christ.
Our spiritual birth occurred when our Baptism gave us a life of grace which is a sharing of God’s own life.This divine life, this gift given to us, created us anew; and at that predestined instance, we joined God’s family by divine adoption.The divine life was given to us in seed state, and it is our duty to make it grow and bloom. That is the task of our entire life.We must constantly “prune” and renew ourselves by conforming ourselves to Christ alone.With gratitude and confidence, we prodigals must return to our Father when we stray and with open arms, He receives us and forgives us.
We go to a physician to halt the progress of an illness or disease; go to the Divine Physician for mercy .The Divine Physician has a cure for every ailment.God is always ready to help us mend our ways. His love for us is the balm that restores us. He re-aligns the pieces of our lives and mends the cracked pot.We can be instruments of God for others, leading them to know or to return to God.When others see themselves in the light of God, their conscience will lead them to see they need to make fundamental changes that will restore peace, calm, order and harmony to their soul.
While His ways are not our ways, His always work out, particularly in bailing us out of difficulties of our own making.Trust in you heavenly Father, in His guidance, in His trust, and He will restore you serenity. So do not fret;carry on. Begin again and again by looking forward and not backwards, by looking to the future and letting the past be past.To do this takes determination, humility, hope and courage. It requires not dwelling on our weaknesses, insufficiencies, failures or defects but resting and trust in Him. Do your best and He will take care of the rest.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after justice, for they will be satisfied.”

In 07 Observations on 2016/07/29 at 12:00 AM

While the Church has a duty to call attention to the temporal problems of the world that have a moral dimension, it is not her role to solve them.  Hers is to satisfy peoples thirst for the restoration of the relationship essential to man by applying the merits of Christ’s life and death through the Sacraments so as to give man the ability to love God and live in union with him.  The Church is involved in guiding souls to freedom from eternal death from the claws of the devil and from the seductions of the flesh.

The lay members of the Church in particular have a responsibility to try to see that society’s laws and customs are in accord with the teachings of Christ in education, the home and the workplace.

Each woman has an obligation to make her environment more Christian and to pray for the legislators, government officials and business leaders to solve the major problems that confront society today.  While justice is an essential component of resolving problems, it is charity/mercy that is the main component.  Mercy/charity enrich and make justice effective.

No Christian woman who hopes to live her faith cannot in political action ever support ideologies or groups which propose false and distorted views of mankind or the dignity and nature of the person or just plain sin

All the fundamental principles of the natural law God implanted in man’s nature must be respected, supported and defended.  This means standing firm against contraception, sterilization, abortion,  euthanasia, divorce, same-sex unions, and for religious and academic freedoms and property rights.

What is due to a person in justice cannot be considered charity.  What is due to a person is a demand of justice.  Each person is another Christ and this is particularly so in the case of the weak, the defenseless and the needy.  Our hearts need to have compassion for the pains of the injustices that afflict others.

One acknowledges God’s presence in another individual by treating that person with both justice and charity.  Each person’s dignity and greatness is derived from God who gives the soul its spiritual reality and who gives meaning to every person’s life.

How can one judge progress in society and science?  Very simply: by how the dignity of the person is acknowledged in word and deed.  Man is not an economic entity or gadget.  He is neither merchandize nor tool but a member of a society with God given rights  for the protection of which is the main purpose of laws and governments.

An aspect of justice which is very much ignored in our times is the right to one’s good name.  Gossip has become a media staple.  Sins by unbridled tongues included envy, negative criticism, slander, calumny; all of which are acts of defamation, whether spoken, broadcasted by the media or printed as well as e-mailed or texted.

Justice towards others in thought and deed must proceed from our hearts if we are to live harmoniously with others.  We must beware of partial truths, flawed simplifications, hasty judgments and empty words.  At all times we must be open to having our opinions calibrated to truth.

Beware of excessive curiosity and of any intrusion into the private lives of others particularly now that the Internets parades before us the lives and follies of others.  Also, beware of false zeal which conceals hypocrisy.  When you are with others, beware of falling into making rash judgments of others, gossiping, making false deductions and accusations or revealing the flaws of others that detract and diminish others’ view of them.  Be instead actively committed to denounce unjust accusations made of anyone.  Reject any type of falsehood in word or cheating in actions.  Do not be a gossip or spread rumors.  Be scrupulous in respecting others rights to their good name, their property and their possessions.  You are your brother’s keeper.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

In 07 Observations on 2016/07/22 at 12:00 AM

Meekness is rooted in spiritual strength;  the meek are truly strong. Meekness protects from hostile attacks.  It passes over others’ impatience, irritation, irritability and even contempt, by either ignoring the attack or disarming the offender with a calm and serene smile.

Lack of meekness is born of pride and  expresses itself in outbursts, impatience and irritability, the net result of which is loss of serenity and peace of soul.  The meek person does not sulk but tells God about the problem or injury inflicted.

A woman bereft of meekness is critical, neglectful and forgetful of others because she in centered on herself.  To be meek, one must do battle with the natural tendency to have the last word, to be the center of attention, to think of oneself as essential, and above all to see others in negative ways.  A meek woman is not a show off.  She is not boastful, but she does acknowledge her natural talents as gifts of God.

The meek woman never refuses to speak to anyone.  She acknowledges that God places next to her people  in some need that she cannot ignore or just pass by. She opens herself to others with words of comfort; she uses her speech to console, teach, correct in a kind and generous manner. She is being Christlike when she act meekly in dealing well with others, particularly making those around her happy. She does this with kind words, gestures, support, and encouragement as well as readiness to forgive, to let thing of no consequence just slide off. Kind-heartedness and patience understanding conquer. When she act in a meek manner she recognizes that the neighbor Christ tells you to love is whomever happens to be near her or come into her life.

Meek women avoid like a plague: useless chatter, gossiping, irrelevant arguments, sarcasm and calumny.  They have their tongues under control and know when to be silent.  They show a willingness to bite their tongue when injured or insulted by not retaliating.  Thus, they accept the humiliations life brings and seek to use them to grow.   Instead they act kindly by showing understanding of the flaws and errors of others without correcting them.  

Friendly affability warms, dispels loneliness, warms hearts as does a friendly hello, giving a small complement or making a caring comment or inquiry.

The meek woman is careful not to answer back quickly or speak hurtful words.  Instead, she awaits the better time and gives way in matter of opinion.  She does not try to be right about everything and on the contrary, is sufficiently docile to accept advice.    A readiness and willingness to change her mind indicates she is aware that there are more than one solution to a problem.

To be meek means to have self-mastery, to be self possessed and hard to rattle.  The meek will inherit the earth because they are not slaves to impatience and bad temper.  Instead, they are serene in the possession of God with their souls in seeking Him in prayer.

Docility is essential for growth in meekness.   You cannot be docile/meek if you insist stubbornly on what you have already decided is right.  The meek woman recognizes that she is not her own best advisor, and takes advantage of the suggestions and advice given her by others whom God has placed in her path as aides.We need to have  a prudent distrust of our own judgment because our ego can derail us.  We must permit God to mould us through others and the circumstances of our lives.

We learn to be meek and humble of heart by meditating on the Passion of our Lord who suffered so many humiliations, and by considering His humility in the Holy Eucharist where He waits for us to visit Him and speak with him. Therefore, we can walk the way of meekness accepting humiliations, accepting our defects and struggling to overcome them.  Then, we will find in Him, who carries the greatest portion of our burdens, a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

In 07 Observations on 2016/07/15 at 12:00 AM

Your neighbor is anyone who has need of you. So, beware of sins of omission for those who mourn particularly those who are not even aware of their loses, but mourn for their loss without even being aware of what ails them. This refers to those we should mourn for because they have not been taught the basics of the faith and now wander in a spiritual wasteland. Or those who have had their beliefs stolen from them by the bad example of others or the rejection of Christian values by modern culture and an atheistic media. Any thing we can do to alleviate those who mourn for whatever reason, we do for God Himself; the object of our charity being Jesus Himself in the person of our neighbor.

If we hurry through life with our needs in first place instead of in second, where they should be, we fail to see the sufferings of others. In order to be compassionate to those who mourn, we must cease to be the center of our own attention; we must forget ourselves and attend to others’ needs. Some who mourn that we might not be aware of include the victims of calumny, defamation and mental persecution.

God often comes to un in unexpected ways, leading us along the path of suffering specifically for our own good. At such times we need to say to ourselves: “If this is your will, Lord, it is mine also.” What we term misfortunes in life (illness, fatigue, pain, financial problems, whatever the source of the evil be) these trials are actually God’s summons to reach out to Him. These calls are for our hearts to detach themselves from ourselves and attache themselves to Christ who visits us at those times with outstretched hands to helps grow interiorly in a union with Him.

Suffering clears the way for grace, for the transforming power of grace to remold our souls as the divine medication of trials rids us of what pollutes our souls. Trials endured with God’s help will result in blessings because it is only through contradictions and obstacles that our souls can be purified. As mourners we cry in our distress to God who views our problems objectively and will come to our aid in a manner suitable to our individual spiritual benefit.

God takes advantage of everyone’s sorrows to bring about good for others. While God permits these trials which purify others, they are for you opportunities for you to be compassionate. Sometimes the destruction the mourners endure are preface to a spiritual revolution; for as they mourn their losses, God re-directs them in unforeseen ways. God ransomed and saves those who mourn, for whatever reason, in ways we cannot image. We must also pray for those who cause evils that they might cease to offend God in our neighbor. Sometimes all we can do for those who mourn is to encourage them to remain steadfast in their trials and give their complete acceptance to God’s permissive will.

Friday is a good day to reflect on the suffering of Christ during His Passion and His suffering today in the thousands of victims of violence, terrorism and the hordes of refugees who mourn the loss of their homeland and way of life. We must ask Our Lady of Sorrows to help us console those who mourn as she would, for she is their mother. We should ask her to strengthen in us the virtue of fortitude to endure our own sufferings. It is at the foot of the Cross that man learns to understand the real nature of the suffering Jesus endured and to unite his suffering to His.

Despite the onslaught of trials, we must remain faithful and prayerful in the supernatural bond of the Communion of the Saints , giving and receiving. As a member of the Mystical Body of Christ, our suffering and those of others are one and the same. Praying for relief and/or endurance for ourselves and others enriches both as we sustain the others and they sustain us in our solidarity of grace.

Father’s Day

In 07 Observations on 2016/06/17 at 12:00 AM

Tomorrow is Father’s Day so a little early I want to say Happy Father’s Day to all of you dads, grandfathers, and god fathers.

I had the good fortune to have a dad that is what you would hope for. He showed me how to be a man of faith, he showed me how to be a good husband, and how to be a good father to my children.

As I was thinking about my dad I thought back to the childhood that he made possible. When I was in grade school I grew up next door to David Spako. He was the biggest kid in school, the fastest, the strongest, and the top student.

Living next to David had a lot of advantages. In sports I was often on David’s team. In football I knew that if I could get a decent block David would run around everyone or over them. In our neighborhood we played a lot of two on two basketball. I would throw the ball to David and he would usually score and we often won.

Playing sports on David’s team gave me a lot of confidence. Because of what he could do I knew that if I did what I could do there was a good chance that we could accomplish what we hoped for.

Have you ever noticed that it’s easier to have confidence with a good team mate. Today we get to see who wants to be our team mate and how confident we can be.

Today is Trinity Sunday when we celebrate the Holy Trinity who is the best team mate we can have and wants to be on our team. So who is this team mate? The Trinity is how we see one God in three persons, the three persons are the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Let’s look at this closer.

Trinity Sunday page 1/4

God is love.

This seems like a simple statement but it is an amazing statement. This isn’t saying that God is loving like we might say he is merciful. The statement God is love is not describing traits of God but saying what His very nature is. God is love.

Let’s talk about the Trinity and how it affects us as believers. When we talk about the Trinity our language often is inadequate. That is why you’ll hear that the Trinity is a mystery and it is but that doesn’t mean that we can’t gain an understanding of the Trinity.

One God in three persons. That is a difficult concept for us to get our thoughts around but we can see that it had to be this way. Remember that God is love. For love to exist there has to be a relationship. God created all things. Before anything was created God existed and God is love. Who did God love in the beginning before anything was created? If God is love and he always existed in that way there had to be a relationship for love to flow to and from persons.

The Trinity is that community of persons where God as love existed in the beginning and still exists today. We can see that it was so from the beginning. In the story of creation in the beginning of the book of Genesis we read where God was creating all things. He created the heavens and the earth, the light, the sky and the seas, the plants on the earth and all kinds of living creatures.

Finally God was going to create man. The words of God in scripture revealed what man could not know. The scripture says in verse 26 “Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness”.

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Notice God uses the plural words, “let us”, “our image”, and “our likeness”. Who is the us? God was more than one person from the very beginning. It had to be because <Pause> “God is love”.

If the Trinity is one God and three persons what does that mean and how can it show us how we can be believers.

The Trinity is three Persons who are each completely and wholly God, in an intimate dance loving completely, loving unconditionally, and supporting others.

God is love.

This is who God is and who he has always been. Three Persons who are each completely and wholly God recklessly giving of themself.

How can having God as the best teammate ever be a reality in my life so that I can be confident as a believer. I’d like to share my own example to show that we can be confident because God and any of us is an overwhelming majority.

For most of my life I’ve worked hard to stay out of prison and until recently I was successful. A few years ago I was asked to minister to men in prison. With my lifelong aversion to being in prison this did not seem like something I wanted or would be good at. What could I offer to men whose lives were so different from my own?

Yet I kept thinking that I was supposed to do this. The idea of God as my teammate really did give me the confidence that if I did my part we could be successful but he would have to do the heavy lifting. So I signed up with a measure of confidence but I was counting on God.

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The first time I went into the prison was a wakeup call. You stand before the iron gates with officers around with guns that I assume were loaded and were not in holsters but looked ready for use

Then I walked in and heard the loud clank of the gates and it is a strange feeling as I am now locked in also. We go through another gate and the same sound and I realize that I am further in. This isn’t an idea anymore it is reality.

I walked into a room with about 30 prisoners in their brown uniforms. You know what I saw? Men who need a savior just like me. These men made mistakes but under different circumstances it could’ve been me. I saw men who wanted God in their lives. When everything is taken away from them they know that true joy and freedom come from love and God is the source of true love.

These men wanted to know about the ways of God. They wanted to know him love him and serve him. I wish that you could see the hunger they have for the sacraments which they might have access to once a month. We prayed, we received communion, we prayed the rosary, we read the scriptures, and we shared our faith.

I met men who helped me to see that faith is what really sets us free and brings joy and hope. Allowing God in my life to do the heavy lifting as my teammate allowed me a holy experience that I would not have been confident enough to tackle on my own. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is an even better teammate than David Spako.

So what is our takeaway from all of this? What can we keep from today and use it this week as we leave this Mass and strive to know, love, and serve God?

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Remember the words from Genesis. “Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness”. Yes, we were created to be in the image and likeness of God.

The image of God is in relationship loving totally, loving unconditionally, and supporting others. Brothers and Sisters this is what we are to imitate. This is what we were created for. This week let’s keep this and mind and ask ourselves are we acting in the image of God? Am I loving totally, am I loving unconditionally, am I supporting others?

God is love. We were created to be like him. Let us bring that idea back into our homes, our workplace, and in our neighborhoods. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit will be with you.

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