25 Sep

Complacency and competition.

Dear Parishioners,

Complacency and competition. Let's reflect a bit on these two diametrical terms. One who is complacent is not focused on the present moment. He has experienced success in the past and, being content with the current reality, drifts his attention to other matters. Meanwhile, there is a challenge lurking in the current reality, one that merits attention. Complacency is a danger in all areas of life. We often hear about in sports. For instance, the Cubs, having clinched the division, could grow complacent. This could hurt them in the playoffs. (Could...hopefully it won't!)

Then there's competition. One who competes is focused on the present moment. He takes his current situation very seriously. He wants to succeed, appreciates that his opponent stands in the way of that success, and therefore acts boldly. He expends himself, whereas the complacent person reserves himself. The Bears compete...well, at least they should.

18 Sep

No Mass? Do something holy.

Dear Parishioners,

The parable from this Sunday's Gospel (cf. Lk 16:1-13) does not conclude as one might expect. There is no high moral note. The dishonest steward first embezzles and then betrays the owner further by having the debtors write promissory notes against the interests of the owner. Is the deceit discovered and the steward sent to hell? Is the lesson from our Lord that cheaters never win? Nope. We don't find out what happens to the manager. Jesus doesn't give an end to the parable. In fact, our Lord even seems to praise the criminal!

11 Sep

Jesus wants us as we are.

Dear Parishioners,

I find the conversation between Moses and God in our first reading somewhat chilling. The people have made the molten calf to worship, while Moses is away receiving the ten commandments, and now God wants to destroy them. He says, "Let me alone, then, that my wrath may blaze up against them and consume them. Then I will make of you a great nation" (Ex 32:9-10).

Moses convinces God not to destroy the Israelites, and one could argue that Moses made a mistake. He blew the chance to receive a new nation, one that would finally be great. Because the Israelites were not great. They constantly fall away from God, turn to idols, practice immoralities, and make imprudent decisions. This scene in Exodus would not prove to be the turning point for this nation, but only the beginning of a series of heartaches and betrayals.

04 Sep

Sacrifice, priorities and sleep.

Dear Parishioners,

Did you know that people today on average get 20% less sleep than people one hundred years ago? It's not because of the evolution of our bodies. We need just as much sleep as our great-grandparents did. We don't get enough sleep because we're more occupied. More significantly, we don't get enough sleep because we—our age, that is—don't have a firm enough commitment to our priorities.

Sleep is about prioritizing, and our Lord speaks of priorities in our Gospel this Labor Day weekend: "Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion?" (Lk 14:25-33)