Anxiety Antidote

Dear Parishioners,

I think the opening line from St. Paul's letter to the Philippians deserves a citation: “Brothers and sisters: Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6-7).

I guess we aren't the only age that experiences anxiety. People 2,000 years ago were filled with worry and anxiety as well. In fact, they probably had more cause for anxiety than we. Food was much more difficult to come by, sickness and disease much more prevalent, and death a constant companion.

Tale of Two Sons

Dear Parishioners,

Our Lord's parables are challenging. They force us to examine ourselves. Because, you see, the parables are spoken at us. Jesus did not just speak to the crowds 2,000 years ago. He speaks to us today, and the parables—his way of speaking—contain messages that we need to apply in our lives. In order to apply the parable we need to examine ourselves. It's in this process of interior reflection that we see we are far from perfect and that we need conversion, hence the challenge of the parables.

Late to the faith never too late.

Dear Parishioners,

As the Bears get set to play the Packers this Thursday I take great consolation in the last line from today's Gospel: “Thus, the last will be first and the first will be last” (Matt 20:16). The Bears have been "last" a lot of late, while the Packers have been "first." Enjoy it now, Cheeseheads. Our time is coming.

But this isn't what I want to focus on this week. Jesus gives us the parable about the workers who are brought in at different parts of the day to labor in the field. They all receive the same wage. The ones who work eight hours receive the same pay as the ones who work one hour.

Love it or hate it, there's no denying it.

Dear Parishioners,

Ah, the cross! We love it and we hate it. The cross hangs proudly, front and center, in our churches. We wear it on our chests, display it in our homes, and dangle it from our rearview mirrors in our cars. Young people tattoo it on their bodies. And yet, we despise suffering. We beg God to take away our crosses, or the crosses of our loved ones. We shake our heads in dismay when we hear of people in distress, and we do all in our power, often by service work, to help mitigate the cross. We tremble at the shadow of a cross as it comes into our lives.

You Are My Sunshine

On Sunday May 28, 2017, which also happened to be the Feast of the Ascension, there appeared on the front page of the Chicago Tribune and New York Times two articles related to death and dying. "7 Days Lost: Fear, spirituality, tears and peace" was the feature story in the Tribune. Madeline Connelly, a River Forest native, survived without any supplies for seven days in the Montana wilderness. Her Catholic Parish back home, St. Luke's, held prayer services for her. Connelly said, “I felt like I was being carried through it. I didn’t know all these people were praying for me and looking for me but, after I got out, it made a lot of sense for why I felt so safe and energized. The power of prayer and positive thinking is real.”

Don't be Evil

"Don't be evil" was the one-time motto of Google. The Silicon Valley giant prided itself on being about people and not bottom-lines. Google used data to create new ways for people to get the most from technology. The internet search engine, maps and navigation, and commerce were all improved by Google, making our lives that much simpler, easier and more enjoyable. People were attracted to Google and the company's influence in society soared.

Key to the Kingdom

Dear Parishioners,

Saint Peter was the head of the apostles. How do we know this? From the tradition and from today's Gospel (Matt 16:13-20). When Peter correctly answers that Jesus is the Christ, our Lord responds to him: “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”