Go High

Posted on October 25, 2016 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, October 30, 2016, 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

When the recent Olympics were held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, much was made of the difficulties leading up to and continuing during the games: the Zika virus, crime, lack of funds, etc. In fact, it seemed to many that most of the talk up until the first medals were awarded had nothing to do with the crux of the event to take place: the gathering of the best athletes in the world from over two hundred countries in celebration of sportsmanship and human achievement. Also, the picture presented of Rio was so negative in nature, many wondered why such a city was chosen to host the games. But once the Olympics began, we became mesmerized by the talents of so many. And (more…)

Humility to Serve

Posted on October 18, 2016 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, October 23, 2016, 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Several days ago I had the privilege of presenting a series of workshops for the diocesan congress of the Diocese of Fresno. This annual event brings together clergy and religious, professional and volunteer ministers, and young adults from around that diocese for a time of formation, catechesis, and renewal. It was a wonderful event and one that I hope more dioceses will plan in the coming years, especially because it gave the participants an opportunity to engage new ideas and develop new skills for ministry. (more…)

Praying For Justice

Posted on October 11, 2016 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, October 16, 2016, 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Taxation without representation”—a battle cry for justice before the Revolutionary War! But it isn’t the late 1700s! Why would that be a bumper sticker in 2016? The answer depends not on the date, but the place. We were driving in Washington, DC. After seeing that bumper sticker this summer, the discussion that followed brought up many questions. There must be some way that the voice of the people can be heard in the center city of our democratic government. There must be a mayor. There must be a city council. Are these citizens paying taxes to the federal government with no representation? Driving behind this car with its bumper sticker certainly brought our attention to their situation … at least for a few minutes. (more…)

The Attitude of Gratitude

Posted on October 4, 2016 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, October 9, 2016, 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

An African-American hymn sings: “Thank you, Lord! Thank you, Lord! Thank you, Lord! I just want to thank you, Lord!” I was introduced to this hymn while in seminary. It became one of my favorites, because the words reflect the attitude of gratitude at the heart of Catholic Christian life: “Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God. It is right and just.” The Dominican mystic, Meister Eckhart, put it this way: “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”

But gratitude seems to have been on the decline in our culture over recent years. The Today Show did an experiment, wherein one of their staff stood at the entrance of Rockefeller Plaza and held the door for people as they entered or exited the building. Fewer than thirty percent of people said, “Thank you.” Some people did look into the eyes of the person who held the door and smiled, but the majority of people simply walked through without any response. That experience led me to ask: Is it because people take courteous acts for granted? Is it because people feel entitled to simple acts of courtesy like this? Is it because people are too preoccupied with hurt or worry? What is the reason? (more…)