Friday, July 31, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
That's not to say that we will not have any struggles. The expression--tired and it may be--is that God will never give us more struggles than we can handle. That would infer that God will indeed give us struggles. God allows us to struggle in order to make us stronger. He knows that we have free will and will not always follows His will. By not following His will, we may incur obstacles that are of our own making. If we are not strong and ready to face obstacles we may turn away from God and in the end lose. It's a loving God that imposes obstacles on us just as a loving father allows his son to fall in order that he can learn to walk, and then run.
Does anyone have any examples of God carrying your load when you were struggling??
Monday, July 27, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
- In his full length cassock. Sitting there holding his crosier with his miter on his head? I know, I know--the crosier and miter are for liturgical purposes but I just get a kick out that image of him sitting there in the ER
- The news said he came after mass--but what if he would have gone there in the middle of the night in his papal PJ's. They'd be white of course--with a white robe and red slippers of course.
- Finally, the Pope is on vacation so would he be in his favorite vacation wear. Maybe khaki cargo shorts with flip flops, sunglasses on his head and a t-shirt that says, "I'm with stupid" with a finger pointing to his right at some cardinal who came along for the ride??
One last thought--were the Swiss guards there with their pikes, helmets and funny outfits?? Just thoughts, maybe a little on the crazy side. I fully commend the Holy Father for waiting his turn. Heck, I think any of us would slip in front of people as opposed to sitting in the ER!!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Now, how do you think God feels when dealing with us?? Surely, He's been disappointed and saddened by us since the days of Adam and Eve. All He has wanted from us since the dawn of creation is our love. It's what we were made for. And yet, due to the sin we are constantly disappointing Him.
Personally, I would be getting pretty darn frustrated. It's not like He has not done everything to bring us back to Him. The last few weeks our first reading has been from one of the many different prophets. This week we hear from Jeremiah who spent his life warning the Israelites to beware. He would tell them to stop worshipping idols and turn back to God. The Israelites would not listen and eventually they were exiled.
Two and a half millennia later and Jeremiah could be giving us those same warnings. He could still be telling us to stop worshiping idols--the idols of money, fame or a number of other things that we seem to become focused on as opposed to God. If we do not stop worshipping the idols that we face today, we too will also will be sent to a permanent exile.
Why do we find it so difficult to focus our attention on God instead of ourselves? As I mention above, we were made to share in God's love. People will flock to Jesus. We see this in this weekend Gospel reading. We see in Mark 6 that Jesus and the Apostles try to escape the crowds and go someplace deserted in order to get away from the crowds in order to rest. The people found out about it though and they traveled on foot and arrived to where Jesus was going even before He did. Jesus had pity on them because, "they were like sheep without a shepherd" and He began to teach them things.
Just like the people in Jesus' time, we too desire to be with Him. St. Auguistine said, "My heart is restless until it rests in you, Oh Lord." We, too, have a hole in our heart that can only be filled with God. Our problem is that we try to fill this hole with other means. We need to be attentive to this desire and ensure we shift our focus towards God as opposed to those other things that may distract us. The only way we will be truly happy is when we allow God's love to fill us.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
A little disclaimer--not all of these bug me personally. They were just on the show. Also, I didn't included every one and I added a couple--just to round it out to 50.
So here it is--Fifty things that annoy you at mass.
- The second collection--especially when no reason is given. Did they not meet their quota?
- When parents don't take their upset baby to the cry room
- When people in the choir are whispering amongst themselves
- The "Super Catholic"--the one who stands, kneels, or sits before everyone else. The one that is the first to do everything.
- That snotty nosed little kid who is sitting a few rows in front of you and is turned around just staring at you.
- The people who do a mini-genuflection, or a curtsy move instead of kneeling down or when it looks like they are swatting flies when they make the sign of the cross because they are doing it so fast
- The person with their checkbook out during the homily.
- When someone's cell phones go off and they ignore it so people won't know it's theirs.
- When a cell phone rings and the person just silences the ringer so either the phone rings again a couple minutes later or the alert goes off because the caller left a voicemail
- When people give you a dirty look when your kids are misbehaving, there-by making the kid act worse
- When you go to communion and return to your pew to discover that the people who were sitting in front of you are now gone and now you can't figure out exactly where you were sitting
- When the homilist has no command of the English language and you can't understand a word he is saying
- People who wear clothes with holes in them (and they can afford good clothes) or inappropriate clothing--jerseys, shorts, flip flops . . .
- When the choir sings the same song week after week or the same version of the Gloria season after season
- The guy who is sneezing and coughing throughout mass and then extends his hand to shake yours during the sign of peace. DUDE! Are you kidding me?
- When the priest mumbles and speaks in a monotone voice so you can't hear him
- When the congregation speak in a low, monotone voice and with no sincerity or excitement. You can't get excited for the Holy, Holy, Holy?? The song the angels are singing perpetually?? Seriously?
- Cantors who can't carry a tune
- When the organist goes freelance and starts playing what he wants
- Cantors who CAN sing and start showing off
- Holding hands during the Our Father
- When the sick list during the Prayers of the Faithful keeps growing and growing and growing
- When the parish doesn't follow the GIRM and just kneels or stands when they want
- When what the lector is reading is different than whats in the misselette
- When the person next to you bathed in perfume or cologne
- The late comers who pass by the open seats in the back and climb over you to get to an open seat
- When the priest says the creed so fast you can't keep up
- The people who say the creed at their own pace so they are either a few words ahead or a few words behind everyone else
- When the priest changes the words in the prayer in an attempt to make it gender neutral or politically correct. Read the prayer that's in the book!
- People who aren't participating and just sitting there instead of singing, reciting the Creed or saying the Our Father
- When you are visiting a parish and you get singled out by the priest welcoming you in front of everyone
- When there is an unexpected "guest speaker" at the end of mass and you are ready to leave
- When you are kneeling in prayer and the person in front of you sits down and leans all the way back
- When you are holding hands during the Our Father and the lady behind you wants to hold your hand causing you to be bent around like a pretzel
- When people slam the kneelers either up or down so it sounds like you are in a bowling alley
- The person who gives you the skunk eye when you don't present yourself for communion for whatever reason
- When the priest asks everyone to introduce themselves to those around you or welcome each other at the beginning of mass
- People who come extremely late
- People who leave right after communion (this would be my number one annoying thing)
- Kids crawling under the pews, over the pews or down the aisle or banging their toys into the pew
- The pew blocker: the guy who sits at the end of the pew and won't slide in making you climb over him (I'm guilty!)
- People praying the rosary during mass.
- When the priest forgets to turn on the microphone so you can't hear a word he's saying
- When the priest forgets to turn OFF the microphone and you have to listen to him sing or say "Body of Christ" 200 times during communion
- Horrible sound systems that sound like a parent from Peanuts
- Hoot-N-Anny music--"contemporary" Peter, Paul, and Mary music from the 60's
- People who are fading away during mass--especially cantors or alter servers who are sitting in front of everyone.
- Songs with notes either too high or too low for 90% of the congregation
- When, during Father's Day, Mother's Day or other special events certain people are asked to stand and the rest of us are asked to "raise our arms in blessing" making the congregation look like some Nazi Rally
Does anyone have anything else?? Something you thing belongs on the list or doesn't belong on the list??
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
On the one hand, you have people going absolutely bonkers over a pop music singer. Police were telling people not to even try to go to Staples Center during Michal Jackson's memorial service because of the throngs of people. For the last week and a half, Michael Jackson is all we heard about. Talk about your Golden Calf. People seemed to be bowing down and worshiping at the feet of the deceased singer.
On the other hand, you only have to go as far as your local grocery store check out lane to see the venom that society spews at celebrities. The tabloids spew hatred about different singers or actors speaking of what stupid thing they did this week, or how they looked disastrous in such and such outfit. They post pictures showing how they have cellulite or how they appear anorexic. To make it all the more confusing--the same celebrity they are tearing down this week they will be building up next week.
This isn't going to be some posting on how celebrities or athletes are overpaid or shouldn't be someone to look up to. Sure, it's a shame that athletes make millions while teachers are below the poverty line. Sure it's a shame that singers are fawned over while paramedics receive little praise. But that's the way society is. Nothing I'm going to say is going to change it so why complain about it.
What I'm more interesting is getting people to see the humanity that is wearing that sports uniform. Or see the person behind the persona that they are playing for the camera. We spend all our time either idolizing or tearing down a celebrity that we fail to remember that they are made in the image and likeness of God just like us.
Two things help me remember this. The first is that because of my job I've been fortunate enough to watch baseball games from inside major league dugouts. I've been able to watch Major League Baseball games standing next to the likes of Albert Pujols, Joe Mauer, Mike Sweeney or Derek Jeter. I've been able to have conversation with these world class athletes and they are just people like you and me. They have ups and downs, joys and concerns and they like to joke around and have fun just like you or me.
The other thing that helps me remember this is Twitter. I'm an admitted geek so I admit I follow a few celebrities like Joakim Soria or Adam Savage from Mythbusters. But admittedly one of the more interesting people to follow is Alyssa Milano. I don't recall how I found out she had Twitter but it was a fluke. I had a crush on her as a kid so I figured what the heck and clicked, "Follow." I'll tell you what---she is fun to follow. Her Tweets range from Iran to being on the movie set, from baseball to dancing around with pimple medicine on her chin. She just strikes me as a normal, down to Earth girl who just happens to be famous.
I firmly believe that if fail to humanize celebrities or athletes and instead idolize them or tear them apart it becomes easier for us to dehumanize the people that we come into contact on a day to day basis. We need to see Jesus in all people--whether it be a celebrity or a bum on a street corner. If we do that then we are one step closer to being Christ-like ourselves.
Monday, July 6, 2009
The word "catholic" means universal and that really strikes home when you think about the mass. The mass is the same wherever you go in the world and because the Roman Catholic Church is spread around the world, there is literally a mass going on someplace 24 hours a day.
Each mass is laid out the same way, although there are going to be some variances because of different regulations made up by different bishops throughout the world. They all contain the Liturgy of the Word, the Liturgy of the Eucharist and contain the same pattern. This means that no matter what country you are in you can going to mass and be familiar with what is going on.
The readings at all the masses are the same (for the most part) for that day wherever you are in the world. Again, there are going to be some variances. For example when one diocese celebrates a certain feast day and there are occasionally options for longer or shorter readings. For the most part though, every mass you go to has the same readings for that day. For example, the first reading for today (July 6th) is Genesis 28: 10-22a and the Gospel reading is Matthew 9: 18-16. The readings readings for every day can be found at the Bishop's Website.
A third aspect is on the spiritual sense of the mass. When we are in mass, we are not locked into a certain time and space. As difficult as it may seem to believe--considering you may be sitting there bored--the mass transcends time and space. When you participate in the mass, you are not just with the people in that building. No--you are at mass with the universal church--the whole body of Christ--throughout the world and with those in Heaven. I know you are thinking, "Jamie, you should have recovered that marijuana and not smoked it" but it's true. We honestly don't appreciate the mass and how amazing it is.
What does this mean as for the universal church and why do I love it so much? Well, it means that no matter where I am in the world, or what time it is, or what language it is in, I can go to mass and follow along, hear the same readings, and truly feel as if I am part of the Body of Christ.
Friday, July 3, 2009
The second reading from this week-end readings (the 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time) is sort of like that. The very last line will just leave you scratching your head. "For when I am weak, I am strong." What?? I'm sure by the time this line is read at mass, if you are like me, you mind is wandering and you don't have a clue as to what is being said. This line will be said this weekend and as you are replying to the lector, "thanks be to God," your mind will be asking, "What did he say??"
Let's look at the passage as a whole. It is from Second Corinthians, Chapter 12, Verses 7-10:
Brothers and sisters:That I, Paul, might not become too elated,because ofPrior to this, Paul is talking about having received different visions and revelations. Now, if I was receiving visions and blessings from God--I would think I would have a tendency to get a little--a little cocky. Ever notice when we tend to get too cocky God puts us right back in our place and feeds us a little humble pie. It sounds like maybe this happened to Paul. It does not say exactly what happend but that Paul begged God to stop whatever He was allowing to happen. How does God answer Paul's plea?--"nope--not going to do it. My grace is enough. Power is made perfect in weakness."
the abundance of the revelations,a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel
of Satan,to beat me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I begged the
Lord about this, that it might leave me,but he said to me, "My grace is
sufficient for you,for power is made perfect in weakness." I will rather boast
most gladly of my weaknesses,in order that the power of Christ may dwell with
me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults,hardships, persecutions,
and constraints,for the sake of Christ;for when I am weak, then I am
This must have been one of those turn-on-the-lightbulb, AH-HA, moments for Paul because he says that if he had to be weak for Christ to dwell within him then that is what he will do.
We need to let that Ah-ha, moment work in us too. We have a tendency to want to fix everything. Especially as police officers because it's what we do. We go on a call between husband and wife or between neighbors, listen to the problem that has been going on for years and try to solve it in ten minutes so that we can go on to the next call. We do it in our personal lives when we try to do everything on our own without bring God into the picture. "I want to do it this way." "I think I need to do that."
We need to realize that we cannot do it alone. We have to rely on God. And the only way for God to dwell within us is to give up. Stop trying to lead and allow Him to take over. When we turn ourselves over to Him and become weak He will lead us and we are much stonger with Christ dwelling within us then we ever are trying to do things on our own.
"For when I am weak, I am strong." May it isn't a contradiction. Maybe it is a motto.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Catholics believe that when we are baptized:
- we are washed free of all sins, both original and actual, as well as all punishment for sin
- the baptized is made "a new creature" (1265 CCC) and given sanctifying grace
- we are made members of the Body of Christ, the Church
- we are given an indelible spiritual mark
The Church teaches that baptism is necessary for salvation to all those who have received the Gospel and who are able to ask for the sacrament based on Mark 16:16 (1257 CCC)
So we believe that as parents we have a responsibility to ensure that our children are baptized. If we think of original sin-that sin which is transferred to us from our original parents, Adam & Eve--as dirt and grime, would we not be remiss if we did not ensure that our children were washed clean through the sacrament of baptism?
I understand that when adults are baptized they are able to stand up for themselves and proclaim their faith. When Catholic parents have their children baptized, they are standing up for the child and promising that they will raise them and Christian and the child is given grace to help it grow spiritually.
There are several instances in the Bible where whole households are baptized including Acts 16:15, Acts 16:33 and 1 Corr 1:16. When this happened, it means more than husband and wife. It included children and probably any slaves that were included in the household.
The argument against infant baptism can be explain if it is understood what Catholics believe happens at baptism. It is also important to point out that the Church has been baptizing infants since the early church. This is shown not only in early writings but in Scripture.
There is a good article, if you are interested in further reading at the Catholic Answers website. This is just a short brief post, I realize. Is there anything that you catechists out there can add to help explain it better?? Anything I missed?