Friday, April 24, 2015


Every year at this time we are challenged to live out the fulfillment of our Lenten season of penance, prayer and zeal.  This is the season of the Resurrection.  This is the season of the new dawn.  This is the season of the Divine Mercy.  This is when we realize that the Resurrection is the glory of the Mercy of God.  Ah, the Mercy of God is the caress of infinite Divine love.  Just as the sunrise is for everyone, so is Divine Mercy; just as the sunrise is manifesting itself somewhere to enlighten and comfort creation in its warm caress, so is Divine Mercy.  That is why the season of Resurrection is the season of Divine Mercy.

One of my heart movements this year as this new season rose over the spiritual horizon was about the "birth" of the Divine Mercy relationship that Saint Faustina was commissioned to bring to the world.  I was wondering what had happened to this spirituality over the centuries, and I do mean centuries.  I could not help but wonder how the faithful children of the merciful father could have failed to distil this faith conviction from the parable of the "Prodigal Son" that we hear every year.  

This sassy, disgruntled child carved himself out of his family's life with the money that should have been enough to support him had he behaved properly. When things went badly and he could no longer take it, he decided to go back to the "farm" where the owner's "hands" were eating better than he.  Yes, he went back home to his father in order to eat better.  He wasn't feeling super sorry that he had insulted his father, he was suffering from eating pig slop.  He did know one thing, though, he knew the depth of the love of his father.  He knew that in that deep pool of love was boundless mercy for sons such as he.  He was right.

We too are right.  We too believe in the boundless source of Loving Grace and Redeeming Mercy of our Divine Father.  We too know that we can come home.  Just as sure as the sun rises to meet us every day, so does God continue His loving and merciful vigilance over us.  We too can come back to Him, both from near and from far.  The distance doesn't matter.  The purity of our intentions doesn't even have to be at the 24 carat level.  When we come back and feel that warm and merciful embrace, we just know that the costume jewelry heart that brought us back is on its way back to the 24 carat grade that He created.

I leave you with an invitation to visit the wonderful, hope filled Bible book (Right after Jeremiah)  that goes by the name of Lamentations.  It is three chapters of beautiful, down to earth poetry full of hope in the mercy of God.  Yes, many centuries before Saint Faustina.  Just another reason to celebrate this powerful attribute of our Divine Creator.  As a blessing to you, I leave these few lines to you from the Word of God, coming to us from time immemorial in the Scripture entitled "Lamentations:"

19 The thought of my wretched homelessness is wormwood and poison;
20 Remembering it over and over, my soul is downcast.
21 But this I will call to mind; therefore I will hope:
22 The LORD’s acts of mercy are not exhausted, his compassion is not spent;
23 They are renewed each morning— great is your faithfulness!
24 The LORD is my portion, I tell myself, therefore I will hope in him.
25 The LORD is good to those who trust in him, to the one that seeks him;

26 It is good to hope in silence for the LORD’s deliverance.  [Lamentations, chapter 3]

His mercy is limitless,it is tangible, it is always new, and it is near to you every morning.  Rest in the power of His Grace and let mercy greet you where you are. (Dawn Boyer,

Monday, April 20, 2015


Be ready for you know neither the day nor the hour...
Yes, you're looking at a clock, believe it!
Dear brothers and sisters:
May these simple words find you in peace and joy.  I have have to tell you about s conviction that I have been nursing now for the last 15 or 20 years.  It has to do with a Gospel character who has become very dear to me.  I have to tell you that I have come to the personal conclusion that this individual is laboring under the effects of a "bad rap."  You all know him well.  He is the one a who is hardly never quoted as the tough character who was not afraid to say,  “Let us also go to die with him.” (John 11;16)
It's been a long time that I have been admiring him for his ability to stare death in the eye and not be afraid. So this year, during the Holy Week and Easter season I have been spending a lot of time reflecting on the strength of faith and it's victory over doubt as we see it in the Bible.  
May I start with Sarah and Abraham?  Of course Sarah is the one who giggled.
Then I have to jump to Peter on the water.
Then we see the eleven disciples in Galilee where Jesus had told them to meet him, and we read the words of Matthew:  "The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.  When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted."
This was after Mary Magdalene wondered if the body had been stolen.
After the apostles ran to the tomb to check it out.
After the two disciples from Emmaus had their theophany.

I say that we cut Thomas a little slack and admire him for the courage of his convictions.  This man is brave and humble at the same time.  Who among us can imagine standing in front of our community of love and fraternity and stand our ground?  Furthermore, who among us has the strength and courage to accept our doubt in humility and love and atone for it?  
The man who had the courage to "...go to die with Him" also had the courage to go and live the way that the Master directed,  
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
(Matthew 28;18-20)

Yes, Thomas is a big hero of mine.  I never call him "Doubting" because it is not fair to single him out from among the other doubters, many of whom still populate today's world.
Keep what I have said here in mind if you are ever slightly tempted to cry at my funeral.

Monday, April 6, 2015


SERVANT KING by Melinda Gallone (

It was Holy Thursday.  My wife and I had celebrated our priesthood at the Chrism Mass on Tuesday evening.  It was the perfect introduction to the Sacred Triduum.  The immense church was filled and every person there seemed to be deeply engaged in the Sacrament.  The homily was very good, but stopped, rather than ended in what the French call "a fish tail."  It was a well-crafted 1,000 word effort.
Wednesday was a day of prayer, organizing the work area and preparing to spend a day or so at home, including Holy Thursday and Good Friday. You can tell by the lovely watercolor that this is about Holy Thursday, in a way, but, as the saying goes, "you really had to be there..."
So, let's go there.
After a lifetime of hearing Holy Thursday sermons and homilies about humility, service, the glories of the ordained priesthood and the role of the priesthood infused at Baptism, etc. I heard one that got my attention and sent me away the richer for the experience.
It turns out that it was the personal testimony of the Vietnamese Priest at the altar, young pastor of a relatively small parish in San Diego, part territory and part "national/cultural."
He started by telling us that the Sacred Triduum is a celebration of boundless love.  Jesus enveloped in a towel and washing the feet of the disciples is a picture of infinite, eternal love brought to us from heaven.  Now the parable part of the story.  (Not a quotation; a paraphrase)

You have heard parts of my life experience and you are living a part of it with me now.  You know that I escaped from Viet Nam with my brother and sister.  I was ten years old.  We got to a refugee camp where we lived for two years.  I was miserable.  My brother and sister did what they could for me.  Then one day a priest appeared.  A big white man who was a powerful presence in the camp.  He arrived there from Australia.  He was kind, but there was not much, if anything that he could do for me.
His presence there was a mystery to me.  Why would a person such as he come from a rich, comfortable country like Australia to a refugee camp?  How could a person such as he be happy in such a place as this?  Yet, there he was, always calm, always happy, always available, always kind, always more than anything, he was filled with love for everyone..  He was THERE.
It was he whom God used to convince me that I should be a priest.  Now I am not in a refugee camp any more.  I am no longer miserable.  I can't do much for anybody except to be present.  I can't do much for anyone except to love, just like Jesus, just like the priest in the refugee camp, be there in love.
I am comfortable with that, and here is why.
The priest could do small things for us, and he did.  Of course, it was never enough.
I can do small things for you and of course, they would never be enough.
When we give something to someone, or do something for some one, it always has limits.  We only have one thing that we can do that doesn't have any limit.  That is to give our loving presence.  Loving presence is a spiritual gift that has no bounds.  Love is infinite and it is eternal.  Love that is brought to the world, to those who need it, by our presence is God's infinite and never ending gift to them.  That's what Jesus brought to His disciples.  It is what Jesus brings to us.  It is what we can bring to others by being present.  It's what we will bring with us to heaven too, by the way.
When Jesus wrapped the towel around His waist, what He was giving is infinite, eternal love and it remains with us now and forever.

So, when you hear that I have died, don't buy a plane ticket for me, go visit someone who needs your presence, not in tears for me but with a smile on your lips and love in your heart.