Feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle

Posted on November 30, 2016 by - Advent Reflections

Readings

ROM 10:9-18, Psalm 19, MT 4:18-22

Daily Advent Challenge 11.30On this feast of Saint Andrew, the Gospel recounts Jesus’ call of Andrew to “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Can you imagine being Andrew? You woke up that morning to go fishing as you always did and suddenly Jesus comes along and asks you to leave your profession, your security, and all you know behind. Luckily, Andrew was not alone, for his brother Peter was called, as were James and John. I bet it was easier to say yes to Jesus’ call when others could share in Andrew’s experience.

The stewardship way of life is easier when lived in a community of good stewards. We have each other to lean on, to serve as role models, and to call us to accountability when we falter. God never calls us in isolation. It is the community that helps us to discern God’s call in our life. Imagine what it would have been like for Andrew if Peter, James, and John all responded, “No thanks.” We need each other. We need the Body of Christ.

Daily Advent Challenge

You could be a daily Mass attendee, but if not, try to attend a daily Mass today. If it is too late today, try to attend a daily Mass this week. While there, reflect on what it means to you to be a part of a church community.

A Prophetic Vision

Posted on November 29, 2016 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, December 4, 2016, 2nd Sunday of Advent

A Dream…

I am walking. It’s only been a few days now. But I am tired. There is no place to sit in this desert, in this wilderness. I look out ahead and can barely see the goal. I must keep going. My heart and my hope drive me on. As I look ahead, I stumble. Another’s hand pulls me up.

We are walking. It seems for only a few minutes. A finger points toward the goal and we trudge ahead with heads higher. No longer alone, there is more energy in the quest. Is the vision ahead sharper? As it clears, I turn and share what I see. And beside me (more…)

First Tuesday of Advent

Posted on November 29, 2016 by - Advent Reflections

Readings

IS 11:1-10, Psalm 72, Luke 10:21-24

Daily Advent Challenge: 11-29In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks about how the wise and learned have missed the point of His ministry and His identity. He says that it is the childlike that see the Truth. In fact, they have grasped this reality even before prophets and kings.

Study is an important part of any disciple’s faith journey. Through study we learn not only more about Jesus, but also about the relationship humans are called to with Our Lord. Sometimes, we can get so caught up in the study of doctrine and theology, we forget the main thing: Jesus.

I think back to my years in college and divinity school and some of the professors and students I met for whom Jesus had become more of a subject than a person. However, I do remember one great professor that told me that theological debate should never be an activity for it’s own sake. All theological discussion needs to have as its end goal a deeper relationship with Jesus.

During Advent, choose some good resources for study and spend time with your Bible. But remember, at the end of the day, Jesus is real and He desires a relationship with you. He is not just a topic of history.

Daily Advent Challenge

Spend at least 15 minutes today in silence today and invite God to speak to you. You should say nothing. Just listen.

First Monday of Advent

Posted on November 28, 2016 by - Advent Reflections

Readings

IS 4:2-6, Psalm 122, MT 8:5-11

Daily Advent Challenge: 11-28In today’s Gospel reading, a centurion approaches Jesus about his servant lying paralyzed at home. The centurion hoped Jesus would be able to heal his servant. However, he felt unworthy of having Jesus enter into his home.

He spoke the words that we now echo at each Mass before receiving Holy Communion, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” Jesus was so impressed with the centurion’s faith, Jesus healed the servant just as he had asked.

Too often, we find ourselves paralyzed in our stewardship. Fear, apathy, and procrastination are all obstacles to our living a stewardship way of life. We just cannot seem to move. But through study, prayer, and deepening our relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church, we can overcome that paralysis.

This season of Advent is about doing just that. Our goal is to not only overcome spiritual paralysis; it is to be ready so that when Jesus calls, “Do this,” we respond with a firm, “Yes!”

Daily Advent Challenge

Identify one small thing obstacle that keeps you from fully living the stewardship way of life. Name it, reflect on why it is an obstacle, and work on a plan to eliminate or lessen its power in your life.

First Sunday of Advent

Posted on November 23, 2016 by - Advent Reflections

Readings

IS 2:1-15, ROM 13:11-14, MT 24:37-44

Advent Challenge 11-27“So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Today we hear that ominous Gospel passage where Jesus tells us about people being taken from where they are and what they are doing when they least expect it, while others remain. This has been distorted by some for support into a spectacular idea of a rapture, leading to many books and movies. A profitable genre has been created that sometimes preys on people’s fears.

But in following Jesus Christ, there is no fear. What we are called to do is live each day as it were our last. Be mindful of all the opportunities around you to share love and the gifts God has given you. We will all be held accountable in the end, but it is not what we have done that will save us. Our salvation lies in intentionally following Jesus, which leads to us giving over ourselves totally to Him.

Daily Advent Challenge

Spend time reflecting on what would you change in your life if you knew your time was close to an end. Resolve to make even a small change or two today!

The Gift of Time

Posted on November 22, 2016 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, November 27, 2016, 1st Sunday of Advent

Before a football team signs a new player, it spends hours scouting his performance on the field. The scouts want to see not only if he can make plays, but whether he works hard at practice and how willing he is to listen to the coach. Not only are the player’s skills important but also his character. And so, not only do they monitor his performance on the field, but they investigate what he does with his free time. When he is not at practice or at the game, is he studying and spending time with his family? Or is he going to parties and getting himself into trouble? (more…)

Don’t Wait to Make Resolutions!

Posted on November 18, 2016 by - Everyday Stewardship

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the Feast of Christ the King 2016

Christ the KingMost people look to the end of the calendar year to begin making resolutions for the next year. There seems to be this magical break in human time because of the changing of a year. Suddenly, the world is filled with new possibilities and promises of a fruitful future. However, an everyday steward does not need to wait for the first of January to make some resolutions or changes in life.

This Sunday marks the end of another liturgical year. Next Sunday, we begin looking toward Christmas with the first Sunday of Advent.

Today is a great day to make some decisions and turn attention to improving our spiritual life.

Starting in Advent you could make a resolution to spend more time with the Scriptures. God is trying to tell you something, but you have to be more mindful to really listen. You could challenge yourself to each day do something generous that you might not normally do.

The challenges don’t have to be large or cost a lot, but they should push you a little out of your comfort zone. That’s why we call them challenges. You could also resolve to keep a gratefulness journal, where you record daily your thanks for wonderful things in your life. This will help you examine your life more closely and will help you realize the wealth that God has given you, even in the small things.

Don’t wait to strengthen your discipleship and stewardship way of life. The Church is beginning anew and that mean you are too! You are the Church, right? Don’t wait another month. Organize your life with the rhythm of the liturgical year, not the year defined by a party in Time Square.

Giving Tuesday 2016—Help Us Help Others

Posted on November 16, 2016 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

Giving Tuesday 2016 LogoGiving Tuesday is a global day of generosity and charity celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving that stands in contrast to days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The idea is simple—find a way to give back and share that idea with others on social media.

This Giving Tuesday, November 29, LPi will collect donations for various charities across the country and match each donation, dollar for dollar.

Your $5 donation becomes $10. Your $10 donation becomes $20. And so on.

Here are the organizations we’re supporting this year:

On Giving Tuesday, we will send an email with instructions on how to donate through our website, Facebook, or Twitter page. If you’re not currently on our email list you can sign up here or you can look for the post on our Facebook page.

It doesn’t matter what cause or charity you select, we encourage you to give from your heart to charities across the country or in your own community. Join us on Giving Tuesday to make a bigger difference to those in need.

 

Jesus Is the Face of the Father’s Mercy

Posted on November 15, 2016 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, November 20, 2016, Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

“Jesus Christ,” Pope Francis writes, “is the face of the Father’s mercy… Merciful like the Father, therefore, is the ‘motto’ of this Holy Year. In mercy, we find proof of how God loves us. He gives his entire self, always, freely, asking nothing in return. He comes to our aid whenever we call upon him… Day after day, touched by his compassion, we also can become compassionate towards others (Misericordiae Vultus, #1, 14).

The night of our American presidential election I took a walk as the sun was setting. A pink ribbon cast across the full horizon of the western sky wove itself around the falling night clouds. The beauty of it lifted my angst set in motion by an agonizing political year. Shakespeare came to mind. (more…)

The Light in Darkened Alleys

Posted on November 10, 2016 by - Everyday Stewardship

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Alley

Many years ago, my wife and I traveled to New York City with friends of ours from South Carolina. They had never seen a Broadway show before so we landed some seats to see Les Miserables. It was a perfect night filled with excitement, fun, and a sense that the Big Apple was a magical place.

That is until we started walking back to the ferry station so we could get to our car in New Jersey. I had been to the city several times, so as we proceeded to walk down some streets that perhaps were not the best choices in some minds, I had little fear.

But for our friends, suddenly prayer seemed essential to our survival. The pace of the walk increased, as did the pace of their beating hearts. Of course, we did get to the ferry without an altercation and all was well. We laughed as we created an extra memory from our adventure.

As Christians, we will walk through hostile territory and darkened streets throughout our lives. The dangers that surround us will be real and will provide us with causes for caution and concern. The defense we try to mount for ourselves will never be enough for our victory.

It is the Father that will give us the wisdom to refute and resist our enemies. It is the Father that will prepare a defense for us; one that no power will prevail against. But we must persevere, trust in God, and surrender all to Him. Then we will never need to surrender to anyone or anything ever again, and one day, we will find the streets that were dark and scary will be turned to gold and filled with the Light.