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19 minutes | 4 months ago
Remember the Way to Truth and Life | #1103
Advent, 3rd Sunday (B) We were made by love and for love. But we often choose not to love. All too often, lust, control, domination, lying and taking from others look more attractive. These evil choices feed on lies about ourselves and about God: God doesn't love us, he doesn't care for us, we can't trust him because he lets us suffer. Jesus comes as an innocent baby to show us that God is not a threat, and we don't need to be afraid of our weakness. He teaches that loves is always the way, no matter the cost. And he offers his life to free us from death. He is the light that shines in the darkness, the truth in a world full of lies, and the way that leads lost children home to the Father's house. Do you want to see what this looks like in action? The blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, appeared to Juan Diego and gave him a miraculous image. It is a picture that tells the native people that she is greater than the sun and moon, and she is pregnant with someone greater still. Your mother loves you and wants you to find true life and true love in her Son. (13 Dec 2020) Going Deeper: Read the original account of the Apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe, English translation from the original Nahuatl. The Miraculous Roses of Our Lady of Guadalupe Today we dedicate the New Evangelization of our parishes to Our Lady using Pope John Paul II's Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe (PDF)
16 minutes | 4 months ago
Remember the Truth and Let Go of Lies | #1102
Advent, 2nd Sunday (B) Kayla Berg went missing 11 years ago. She has not been forgotten. We don't know what happened to her but we do know that she is wanted and loved and we want to help bring her home. Every year, millions of people are victims of human trafficking. Traffickers use violence, coercion, or false promises to ensnare their victims. The trauma caused by this kind of victimization can be so great that victims may not identify themselves or ask for help. In some sense, this is the plight of the human race. Before he created the world and all that is in it, God created powerful spirits called angels. Possibly the greatest of them all, one called Light-bearer, let a rebellion against God. They were defeated by the good angels and cast out of Heaven. Now they prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. They are called demons or devils and their leader is the enemy known as Satan or the Devil. He tricked our first parents into rebelling against God. Their sin led to death which threatened to swallow up the whole world. We have all become snared in a web of lies. These lies make us feel abandoned, alone, rejected, and worthless. They lead us to justify exploitation of ourselves and others. But the good news is this: the lies are false! You are precious, beautiful, and loved. You may have abandoned God, but God has never abandoned you. Long ago, God put in motion a plan to rescue you. Let the light of God's love shine on your fears and heal your wounds. Come to Confession and meet the One mightier than the Enemy who has come to rescue you. (6 Dec 2020) Going Deeper: Learn more about the many myths and misconceptions about human trafficking. Educate yourself about key indicators of human trafficking. You can help save a life. (The safety of the public as well as the victim is paramount. Do not attempt to confront a suspected trafficker directly or alert a victim to any suspicions. It is up to law enforcement to investigate suspected cases of human trafficking). Prepare for a good Confession and go to Confession this week. Join me for the Oriens virtual Bible study every Monday at 9:30 AM CST. Powered by Patrons
16 minutes | 5 months ago
Remember Where You Came From | #1101
Advent, 1st Sunday (B) We have forgotten where we came from and where we are going. We find ourselves wandering around feeling lost and finding ways to stay busy. Let's take a few minutes to remember where we came from. Before there was time, there was nothing at all. Then God said, "Let there be light." And the whole universe exploded into existence with a big bang. As matter cooled and coalesced, stars and galaxies and planets came into existence. Then slowly, life emerged on planet earth. It is brilliantly engineered and beautifully executed. Behind the brilliance of Creation, there is an artist and engineer that we call God. Not only are we surrounded by creation, we ourselves are creation. We see the fingerprints of God all around us. We see the very image and likeness of God within us. Have we forgotten what it means to live in creation? Have we forgotten what it means to be a creation? This Advent, pray for your eyes to be opened to the marvel and mystery of creation. (29 Nov 2020) Going Deeper: Take some time to marvel at the creation that surrounds you. Take some time to gaze at the creation within you. Take some time to give thanks to your Creator. Part 1 of a four-part series. Powered by Patrons. (Image Source)
13 minutes | 5 months ago
Why You Should be Kind to the King of the Universe | #1056
Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (A) Heaven and earth come together in a Catholic Church. The earthly part is symbolized by the nave. The heavenly part is symbolized by the sanctuary where the altar sits. At Mass we can see into heaven and hear words from heaven, but we can't quite enter yet. Instead the priest and the servers, dressed like angels, bring the bread of heaven down to earth for God's people. One day soon, Jesus himself will descend from Heaven in all his glory. The nations will be gathered before his glorious throne. And he will separate the flock into sheep and goats. Those who were kind to him in this life receive kindness in eternity. When did we have a chance to be kind to the King of Kings? When we cared for those in need. I recently had a funeral for a fellow who was always prepared for the accounting. He washed and waxed his tractors and make sure his accounts were always in order. But more importantly, he was kind to everyone. Are you prepared for the accounting? Will Jesus be any less generous to his friends than George Clooney was? Strive to enter in! (22 Nov 2020) Going Deeper: What did you do for Jesus this past week? Who did you care for, feed, visit, welcome, clothe? Sign up now for the Oriens Virtual Bible Study! Starts Monday, November 30 at 9:30 AM Central Time. Image Credit
14 minutes | 5 months ago
Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It | #1055
Ordinary Time, 33rd Sunday (A) After many long centuries, God finally sent the promised King. He preached good news, cast out demons, healed the sick, and buried the dead. And just when it looked like he was unstoppable... he ascended into Heaven. Where is Jesus? We need him now more than ever! We are Christians -- little Christs. We are called to live as Jesus lived and love as Jesus loves. Does it sound like an impossible mission? For God, all things are possible. He sent you the Holy Spirit to accomplish this mission. God has spent years investing in you. What kind of a return is he getting on his investment? Which will you hear at the final judgment: "Well done, my good and faithful servant!" or "You wicked, lazy servant!" (15 Nov 2020) Going Deeper: Examine your past week. What have you done for your King? Sign Up Now for the Oriens Virtual Bible Study -- The study begins November 29, 2020.
16 minutes | 6 months ago
Looking Like the Lamb of God | #1054
Solemnity of All Saints • Today we celebrate the saints, the dead who have arrived home in Heaven, especially those not canonized by the Church. They are the people who longed to see the face of God. Do you long for Jesus in the Eucharist, in the Bible, in your prayer life? Ultimately, our longing for Jesus will only be fulfilled in Heaven. But we can begin to gaze upon the face of God even now. How do we see it? Where do we find it? The beatitudes show us what the face of Jesus looks like. And as we gaze upon his face, these same virtues will be reflected in our lives. We take on the likeness of Christ. We need to reflect God's light and love in our world. People should see it shining in our homes, our communities, and the voting booths. For those of you voting on November 3rd, do not let the elephants and the donkeys make you forget that you belong to the Lamb. (1 Nov 2020) Going Deeper: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (YouTube) The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis (PDF) Powered by Patrons
21 minutes | 6 months ago
The Biggest Problem Facing America Today | #1053
Ordinary Time, 30th Sunday (A) What is the biggest problem facing the United States in this election year? Even a child knows this answer: the breakdown of the family. I was blessed to grow up in a traditional household, where I was raised by the man and woman who brought me into existence. Back then, not having a two-parent home was unusual. Now, it's the norm. Even the United States itself has become a dysfunctional family. Where did this problem start? To understand that we have to go back, but not to the 80's or the 60's but to the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were comfortable with each other and at peace with God. Until they decided to disobey God. They found themselves blaming each other and using each other. Only when we serve a higher law can we truly live together in peace. We cannot love our neighbor until we know that we are loved. So our Father, who has never stopped loving us, sent Jesus to carry our brokenness to the cross. He restores our birthright as children of God. Regardless of my family of origin, I am part of an intact family, the Holy Trinity and the Communion of Saints. We can love because He first loved us. The call of marriage is so high and noble that we cannot possibly succeed on our own. But with God all things are possible. When you feel that you are not enough, ask God to bless you and break you and make you more than enough. (25 Oct 2020) Going Deeper: Where does your sense of identity come from? Do you get it from your job, your spouse, your kids, your family of origin, or from the Father's love for you? Offer your own personal prayer of blessing and protection for your family and for every family.
17 minutes | 6 months ago
Your Life is a Gift. Give it Back to God! | #1052
Ordinary Time, 29th Sunday (A) God has chosen Cyrus, a pagan king and founder of the Persian empire, to accomplish his will. St. Paul reminds us that we were chosen by God. Do you know how God chose you? I know that I was chosen to be a priest. I went into seminary right out of high school. Two of my biggest faith moments happened when I was in Rome. The first was during a study abroad when I attended Mass at St. Peter's for the World Day of the Sick. I watched Pope St. John Paul the Great bless the sick people, and something clicked for me. The Church doesn't exist for herself; she exists for Jesus Christ. Several years later, I was comfortably through my second year at Mundelein Seminary. That's when Bishop Zubik asked me to go to Rome. I said "Yes" because I thought it was God's will, even though I was not at all excited. It was a big sacrifice, but I grew spiritually. God let me know I had made the right decision. My life is not about me. Your life is not about you. You were stamped with the image and likeness of God. Your life only makes sense when you give yourself back to God. Every Sunday at ever Catholic Mass, we have an "Altar Call." Jesus gives himself to us in the Eucharist, and we give ourselves to him in Communion. Render to God what belongs to God. (18 Oct 2020) Going Deeper: Did you realize that Communion was not just about getting Jesus, but also about giving yourself to Jesus? Prepare for your next Mass so that you can give yourself fully to Jesus in Communion.
15 minutes | 6 months ago
God's One Big Dream | #1051
Ordinary Time, 28th Sunday (A) - Thank you to Fr. Nusi for the opportunity to concelebrate the Confirmation Mass at Holy Trinity Parish today. If you read the Bible from beginning to end, you find one consistent theme. God's one big dream is: You will be my people and I will be your God. We were created by Love and for love. Our first parents rejected God's plan and went out into the world to find something better for themselves. But all they found was the hardship and sadness that comes from using and being used. Then God asked Abraham to be his friend. His children became the nation of Israel. They would go up the holy mountain, Zion, to worship at God's temple. "You will be my people, and I will be your God." But God wasn't content to be in one place for just one people. He wanted to be everywhere for everyone. So God became a man and walked among us in the person of Jesus Christ. The chosen people rejected God's son, nailed him to a cross, and mocked him while he died. God destroyed those murderers and burned their city. But he didn't give up on the human race. Jesus was the one perfect sacrifice to reconcile human beings to our heavenly Father. God sent messengers into the whole world to invite us into His Kingdom. And now, at Mass today, God gives this same invitation. He spreads a banquet before us and says, "You will be my people, and I will be your God." Yet so many of us ignore the invitation and go away, one to his farm, another to his business. But to those who accept the invitation, God sends his spirit. And the Spirit allows us to put on the wedding garment of good works that manifest God's glory. Will you accept the wedding invitation today? Will you walk with Jesus to God's holy mountain.? (11 Oct 2020) Going Deeper: How has God made a covenant with you? Have you been faithful to this covenant? Concretely, what does it mean to live as God's chosen people?
13 minutes | 7 months ago
Stewards of Human Life and Dignity | #1050
Ordinary Time, 27th Sunday (A) America has been blessed with many abundant natural and human resources. But justice doesn't seem to be one of them. God looked to America for judgment, but see, bloodshed! for justice, but hark, the outcry! God is allowing our nation to be trampled. Many faithful Christians are praying the words of the psalm: "O LORD, God of hosts, restore us." With things so bad, and getting worse, how can St. Paul tell us to have no anxiety at all? We can have no anxiety because we are just stewards. God is the master. We should be tithing 10% back to God for all he has given us. Most importantly we are stewards of the gift of human life. Do you believe that Black Lives Matter? Then you should be defending the lives of unborn African-Americans. Do you like to say that All Lives Matter? Then you should be defending the dignity of all, including illegal immigrants. Christians need to be standing up for every human life, but particularly those who cannot speak for themselves. With so many attacks on human dignity, how can we possibly make a difference? We can stand up by exercising good manners. Saying "Please" and "Thank You" and "Pardon Me" is not just a relic from a bygone era. It is a concrete way that we communicate to the people in front of us: "It is good that you exist. I've never met you, but you are precious and valuable." When we stand up for the dignity of others, we also learn to cherish our own dignity. (4 Oct 2020) Going Deeper: “Let us learn, first of all, to defend our belief without hating our adversaries, to appreciate those who do not think as we do, to recognize that there are Christians in every camp, and that God can be served now as always! Let us complain less of our times and more of ourselves. Let us not be discouraged, let us be better.”Read more at https://www.wisconsincatholic.org/faithful-citizenship/
10 minutes | 7 months ago
Knock Knock Knocking on Heaven's Door | #1049
Ordinary Time, 26th Sunday (A) Exactly how good do we have to be to get into Heaven? It would be rather unfortunate to be turned away at the pearly gates by a "No Vacancy Sign", or to find out they were too busy or full or we were not quite good enough to get in. The truth is, you have the power in your hands. Jesus is the key that opens the doors of heaven. If you have Jesus in your heart, the gates recognize their master and they open up for you. Every day, in many ways, Jesus is busy knocking on the door of your heart. He can't let you into his Kingdom if you haven't let him be the King of your heart. If you find yourself knocking at the pearly gates, something when horribly wrong. Jesus came knocking on your heart and found it too busy, full, or that he wasn't quite good enough for you. Open your heart to Jesus this week. (27 Sep 2020) Going Deeper: Can you remember a significant time that Jesus was asking to come into your heart? How did you respond? How would you respond differently to the needy around you if you saw your humble Master in their faces? Powered by Patrons. Sign Up today and be entered to win a free copy of Oriens (drawing October 1, 2020) Image by Peter H from Pixabay
15 minutes | 7 months ago
If Covid Doesn't Kill You, Something Else Will | #1048
Ordinary Time, 25th Sunday (C) The landowner gives each a day's pay, and thus a full meal, regardless of how long they worked. There is more than one way to calculate justice; do we pay our laborers a just wage? God will hand out our 'wages' at the end of time. You are going to die! It's not a question of 'if', but a matter of 'when.' Our society needs to learn to live with this simple truth. You cannot begin to truly live until you realize that you will die. Have courage in the face of death. Learn to serve the Lord faithfully today and your reward will be out of this world. (20 Sep 2020) Going Deeper: Start planning your funeral. Most people think it's too soon, but they are wrong. I can be too late, but it's never too soon to plan your funeral. If you already planned your funeral, review your plans and update them. Join my mailing list and be entered to win a free copy of Oriens: A Pilgrimage Through Advent and Christmas.
17 minutes | 7 months ago
Remember to Keep Holy the Sabbath Day | #1047
Ordinary Time, 24th Sunday (A) Why do we come to Sunday Mass? We might come out of habit, obligation, guilt, or because it makes us feel good. A farmer named Leroy gave me the best reason I've ever heard: "Honestly, Father, I come to say Thank You." What do we have to be thankful for? God has created a beautiful world for us and loved us into existence. He died to forgive us our sins and call us back into a relationship with him. And now, so that you can be fully alive, he feeds you with his very self. How could you possibly repay God for everything he has done for you? God wants just one thing in return: You. Coming it at number three on God's top ten list of commandments: Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day. We like to tell people that God is "Number 1" in our lives. But every Sunday we have a chance to prove it when we give him the first hour of the first day of our week. Then we should spend the rest of the day resting and renewing our souls. (13 Sep 2020) Going Deeper: I try very hard to never shop on Sunday. What would your Sunday look like if, instead of working or shopping, you spent it worshipping God and renewing your soul? Brainstorm with your family (or a good spiritual friend) a plan to keep this coming Sunday as a holy day. You could win a free book by joining our mailing list.
11 minutes | 7 months ago
Want to Love All People? Then Start Here | #1046
Ordinary Time, 23rd Sunday (A) Will God really give us anything we ask for, if we just get someone else to pray along with us? Probably not. But like so many parents, God just wants his children to get along. We are called to love our brothers and sisters. It seems easy until I realize that Donald Trump is my brother, and that Kamala Harris is my sister. Loving all people is basically impossible. Even loving my siblings can be hard. We know that Jesus can, and does, love all people. So invite Jesus to live in your heart. Invite him to love others through you. Start with that sibling or in-law that's particularly hard to love. I cannot correct someone I don't love. Once I love my brother, then I can go to him (or her) and say, "Your actions do not reflect how much God loves you. And I love you too much to stand by as you hurt yourself and others." If they won't turn from their wicked ways, you don't have to have a relationship with them. You stay with Jesus. Keep loving them from a distance and inviting them back to real love. (6 Sep 2020) Going Deeper: Do a brief survey of your immediate family. Is there someone particularly hard to love? Spend some time in prayer reflecting on God's love for them. Ask Jesus to give you his heart so you can love them with his love. - Check out my new book Oriens: A Pilgrimage Through Advent and Christmas available at Amazon or at your local Catholic bookstore. If you've already bought the book, please leave a review. Image Source
12 minutes | 8 months ago
When Life Feels Like a Cross | #1045
Ordinary Time, 22nd Sunday (A) My first year as a new pastor was filled with frustrations, sufferings, and feeling overwhelmed. But now I have ten years of experience and things are going to be different. So why do I keep struggling with the same old failings? No matter how hard you try, you will never be the perfect parent, Christian, or human being you are trying to be. That's because God did not call you to be the perfect Christian. He called you to walk with Jesus. Last week, St. Peter got the gold star for realizing that Jesus is God's Anointed One. Today he gets sent to the back of the class for thinking the Messiah shouldn't have to suffer and die. But Jesus is called to self-giving love, and that looks and feels like the cross. If you are experiencing suffering and struggles and failures, it is not a sign that you are doing something wrong. First child or fifth child, brand-new pastor or starting all over again, we are all called to self-giving love. And that will feel like the cross. You are called to remain with Jesus in his sufferings, and to know that he remains with you in yours. (30 Aug 2020) Going Deeper: When your children were Baptized, you traced the sign of the cross on your forehead. Are you surprised that your children sometimes feel like a cross? Take sticky notes and mark them with a sharpie pen in the shape of a cross. Stick them to your calendar, the dishes, the lawn mower, the desk, whatever it is that weighs you down today. Read Jenny Uebbing's post The wonder of the last baby on Mama Needs Coffee. Note: The Subscribe button above allows you to get new podcasts in a podcast app or feed. The Sign Up button below will add you to our mailing list.
15 minutes | 8 months ago
Peter Has the Key to Being a Good Steward | #1044
Ordinary Time, 21st Sunday (A) My top 'strengths' are: Strategic, Woo, Connectedness, Developer, and Responsibility. Everyone has different gifts. No one has all the gifts. You are a masterpiece, made to glorify God. Only in God and through God will you discover who you really are. Shebna, master of the palace, has been using his gifts to build up himself. God will replace him with a steward who will build up the people. Our true legacy is found, not in fancy tombs, but in the lives we touched. As a pastor, I am a steward of the gifts that my people have. I need to build you up so that you can build others up. You will be able to build others up if your life is built on the rock that is Jesus Christ. (23 Aug 2020) Going Deeper: What are your gifts? Let me know in the comments if you ever took the Clifton StrengthsFinder. Give God thanks for those gifts and then prayerfully discern how God is calling you to use them for the good of others. Photo by Fr. Barry Braum on Unsplash
11 minutes | 8 months ago
When God Doesn’t Answer Your Prayer | #1043
Ordinary Time, 20th Sunday (A) What do we do when God doesn’t answer our prayers? We have all had the experience of not seeing prayers answered. Our Gospel shows us how to respond. The Canaanite woman wants Jesus to cure her tormented daughter. First Jesus doesn’t seem to be listening. Then Jesus doesn’t seem to care. The woman responds by drawing closer to Jesus with humor and humility. God answers prayer one of two ways. Either he says Yes! or I have something better for you. When we don’t immediately see our prayers answered, it is because God wants to give us something even better than what we asked for. Jesus not only healed the daughter, but he also helped the mother grow in faith. God is listening, and God does care. Hope for more than you are asking for. Draw near to God with humility and humor. (16 Aug 2020) Going Deeper: When God doesn’t seem to be listening, we have a tendency to pull away. How can you draw closer instead? Do you know someone who was able to grow and stretch because of unanswered prayers (besides Garth Brooks)? Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash
11 minutes | 8 months ago
When God Doesn't Answer Your Prayer | #1043
Ordinary Time, 20th Sunday (A) What do we do when God doesn't answer our prayers? We have all had the experience of not seeing prayers answered. Our Gospel shows us how to respond. The Canaanite woman wants Jesus to cure her tormented daughter. First Jesus doesn't seem to be listening. Then Jesus doesn't seem to care. The woman responds by drawing closer to Jesus with humor and humility. God answers prayer one of two ways. Either he says Yes! or I have something better for you. When we don't immediately see our prayers answered, it is because God wants to give us something even better than what we asked for. Jesus not only healed the daughter, but he also helped the mother grow in faith. God is listening, and God does care. Hope for more than you are asking for. Draw near to God with humility and humor. (16 Aug 2020) Going Deeper: When God doesn't seem to be listening, we have a tendency to pull away. How can you draw closer instead? Do you know someone who was able to grow and stretch because of unanswered prayers (besides Garth Brooks)? Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash
14 minutes | 8 months ago
Where Is She Going? | #1042
Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary • This feast answers the two great questions of life. First, Where are we going? Modern western society is based on ignoring that question. Instead, we try to make our time on earth as long and as comfortable as possible. But what is the point of a long or a short journey if it doesn't have a happy ending? Mary teaches us that we have an eternal destiny. We need to be moving towards Heaven and not farther from it. Second, How do we get there? Mary is the first among believers. She shows us what we have to do to get to Heaven. I notice four key virtues: HumilityObedience to the will of GodFaithfulness even when God's plans don't make senseSelf-giving LoveI am called to live these four virtues of Mary in my daily ministry as a priest. How can you live these virtues in your daily life? On the journey to eternity, Mary and Jesus walk with you. Where are you going? (15 Aug 2020) Going Deeper: Consider starting, or joining, a Seven Sisters Apostolate in your local Catholic parish. Powered by Patrons | Image Source
14 minutes | 8 months ago
What the Still Small Voice Said | #1041
Ordinary Time, 19th Sunday (A) Today I get to introduce myself to my new parishes. It's always hard to make a transition to a new assignment. It is particularly hard for me after 10 years in the same place. I know it's a challenge for you to have your last pastor leave after just 2 years. On top of the normal challenges, the covid situation has made everything difficult and stressful and weird. Covid caused us a cancel all kinds of activities. Perhaps in the midst of the slowdown, you heard that still small voice. It's not so much a voice as a Presence. The great silence of the universe is the quiet presence of God. You knew that God was there with you and things would be OK. I knew it was Jesus calling me to come to Antigo. I told him it would be hard to move and he said, "Come." And lo and behold everything worked out -- I had help to pack, move, unpack, and hang pictures (thanks Mom and Dad :-). I had sailed into a storm, and yet I had peace. Then Monday I had a little meltdown and a bigger one Wednesday. By Wednesday afternoon I was feeling frustration. I was starting to sink into the waves. That's when I remember the Surrender Novena. When you face the chaos of the world around you, enter into the peace and silence of God's love for you. Perhaps you will hear that still small voice whispering to you: "Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid." (9 Aug 2020) Going Deeper: Do you think I'm just crazy, or have you had a similar experience of God's quite presence in your life? Tell me about it.
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