Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 1/23

Just musing, Lord, on simple things
to which I could pay more attention
and for which I should be more grateful...

Things like:
   a crisp, sunny day in January,
   a friend's touch on my shoulder
   a hint of your presence beside me
   the freedom in which I live
   the beauty of my friend's new grandchild
   catching up with an old friend
   the light of the moon and the stars
   a bed to sleep in
   good dreams
   a morning shower
   warm ear muffs
   breakfast, lunch and dinner
   good music, well played and sung
   and rain
   flowers blooming
   memories, memories, memories
   crops growing
   cold drinks on hot days
   hot chocolate on cold days
   your forgiving my sins
   a hot shower, a clean shave
   finally doing what needs to be done
   the loyalty of family and friends 
   a day with no bad news
   lapping waves at the shore
   seeing an old friend at Sunday mass
   a sleeping baby
   remembering what I'd forgotten
   a child at play
   word that my friend feels better
   something to look forward to
   telling the truth when it's hard
   a friend who has my back
   the satisfaction of a job well done
   soft rain
   quiet time, silent time
   a cup of Rocky Mountain Morning tea
   a word when I'm desperate to hear one
   time spent in prayer
   a real letter in the mail
   seeing my work bear fruit
   my morning omelette and salsa
   getting anything done on time
   serving an other's needs
   seeking and finding what's true
   a good night's sleep
   picking up my dry cleaning
   a Monday holiday
   my parish men's group
   doing what I know I should do
   the grace of God
   laundry done, folded, put away
   the patience others have with me
   leaving behind what's foolish
   the sounds of my parish at prayer
   trusting that all shall be well
   doing the next right thing
   cashews and peanuts
   exchanging smiles with a stranger
   making peace my neighbor
   making peace with you
   making peace with myself
   pausing for prayer every day
   staying right in the moment
   living one day at a time
   remembering your love for me...

Just musing, Lord, on simple things
to which I could pay more attention
and for which I should be more grateful...

For all these gifts
and for bringing them to mind,
thank you, Lord!



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Monday Morning Offering: 1/22

Coffee in the Morning by George Mendoza

Good morning, good God!

I’m looking at the week ahead, Lord,
and wondering 'bout the ups and downs,
the twists and turns my path might take
these last days in January...

What joys will bring a smile to my face,
and lift my heart, reminding me again
that you’re my God, that you are near
to hold me in your love?

Will I find that inner peace to strengthen me
when the road is steep, my step unsure
and I fear I’ve lost my way to you?

When my chin droops upon my chest,
remind me of the joy of good times past
and lift my face to yours, Lord…

Let no grace or gift from you escape my notice,
but rather:
open my eyes, my ears, my heart
to your presence and your peace,
all day, every day this week...

And I wonder:
what sorrow might come my way this week,
what worry weigh upon my mind,
what sadness cloud my sight, my trust, my hope...

If there comes a day or night, Lord, 
when I’m tempted to give up, to give in
to thoughts that threaten peace of mind and heart,
restore and strengthen all my trust in you…

If this wintry week takes me through a valley
dark in shadows, cold,
shepherd me, Lord, and guide me
with your strong and outstretched arm
and hold me in the warmth of your embrace…

How many times this week, Lord,
will you come to me
in the lives and faces,
in the needs of those around me?
Will I recognize your face? 
Will I know it’s you who stands before me?
Will I tend and care for you in others
as I pray you tend and care for me through them?

Open my heart wide to your presence all around me:
make me generous in sharing
what I have and who I am
with those who cross my path, wherever I might meet them…

What changes will come this week, Lord?
What choices will I need to make
and how will those decisions change my day,
my week, this new year, my life?

What will surprise me this week, Lord?
What unexpected situations, twists and turns,
will sit me down or stand me on my head
as this new week unfolds before me?

Whatever comes my way, Lord,
remind me that there’s nothing
you and I can’t handle together:
you, close by my side,
with your mercy, grace and help...
I’m thinking of the week ahead and I’m wondering, Lord:
how often will you call me to prayer?
how often will I hear you?
how often will I accept your invitation?

Will I make a place and a time each day
for us to meet, just the two of us:
a time to sit together, to share the peace of silence
a time for me to speak from my heart’s depths
and cares and fears and hopes?
a time for me to listen for the word you speak
to help me walk in faith the path that’s mine,
the way that leads to you?

I’m thinking of the week ahead, Lord,
and hoping and praying 
I’ll be more faithful to you,
more constant in my prayer, 
more generous in my giving,
more loving and forgiving
in my words and in my deeds…

I’m thinking of the days ahead, Lord,
and offer you this prayer:
be with me through this week,
be with me day by day,
be with me night by night,
be with me one day at a time,
be with me, Lord,
be with me, Lord, 
I pray...

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Homily for January 21

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Homily for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Audio for homily

--> At first glance, the way Simon, Andrew, James and John
respond to Jesus’ call may seem extraordinary:
they just drop everything and head off in a new direction.
If that’s proposed to us as an example for how we might live,
it may seem impractical, even impossible.

But what’s really happening here is something we all experience
when there’s a change in the “ordering principle” of our lives,
a change in whatever or, more importantly, whomever
is at the center of our existence.

Do you think you haven’t experienced this?

• Remember, then, the first time you fell in love
and how that one, other person began to occupy
your heart, your mind, your dreams, your hopes, your plans.

• Remember how the ordering principle of your life changed,
again, when you got engaged.

• Remember how your world was reordered
when you learned that you were expecting a child.

• Remember how the whole universe
seemed never the same again
after you lost someone you deeply loved.

• Think of how your work, your job,
can be the ordering principle in your life
and how everything’s thrown off kilter if you lose your job.

• Think about the way your family
is the ordering principle in your life,
how your life revolves around the needs and desires,
the ups and downs of the people in your family,
how your own daily plan is organized
around the school schedules
and sports calendars of your children.

• Or perhaps you’re single or not raising any children.
While some might presume you live an easy and care-free life,
you know how quickly any vacuum of time and energy is filled
by work and worry, by responsibilities and relationships.

• And who doesn’t realize how easily our finances
take over as the ordering principle in our lives.

Perhaps the account in the gospel
tells the story just as it happened:
Jesus happens by Simon and Andrew, James and John
and says, “Come, follow me.” And off they go!

Or perhaps this scene is more like a still shot from a video,
intended to sum up a larger story.

Think of a photo of a newly married couple,
holding their hands forward
and looking together at their wedding rings.

The picture gives us only a moment
but tells the story of a relationship years in the making,
a relationship that will reorder the couple’s lives
until death parts them.

Whether it's "love at first sight"
or a relationship that grows day by day, over years,
it's the love at the center of our hearts that orders our lives.

For us to give serious consideration to this gospel story
we’ll need to spend some time discerning
what’s presently the ordering principle in our lives.
(This is a good question for anyone to ask
and it’s certainly a question for believers.)

Sometimes we may presume that the love we're pledged to
is what orders our lives
but there are many times when other realities and lesser loves
hedge the one we may name as most important.

• For a pastor like me,
Christ should be the ordering principle of my life.
But what if my work, even my work for Christ, consumes me -
such that there’s little or no time left for my prayer life,
no time left for me to grow in my relationship with Jesus…

• Certainly the same can be said of the married person
consumed by work – work to support a beloved family.
But if that work is consuming to the degree
that one has little time left to spend with the family...

Well, you see how it can go...

Perhaps the key to our understanding this gospel passage,
to understanding how these four men
left behind their familiar, day-to-day lives,
the key is to ask ourselves the question:
Who’s at the heart of my heart’s deepest desire?

For whom will I drop everything else
and leave behind other, even critically important, realities
to be faithful to the one who is the heart of my heart?

What is so precious to me
that I would let go everything in favor of such a beloved?

On a wedding day, on an ordination day,
these answers may come quickly and easily.
As time goes by, the answers may change
and the questions may be harder to answer.

St. Paul called us today to reexamine everything in our lives:
our loves, our marriages,
the tears of our grief, the laughter of our joy,
and everything we have and possess and use
and to know, to understand that all of this - will pass away
until all that remains will be the love of God for us.

Make no mistake about it: the Lord asks to be The One
for whom we would be willing to put everything else aside.

we’re not called to choose between God and those we love.

Very often, more often than not, loving those closest to us
loving those for whom we’re responsible
is precisely how we express our love for God.
But even here, there can be too much of a good thing
if my dedication to my loved ones begins to drain
the vitality of my relationship with the Lord.

But, as he was with Jonah, the reluctant prophet,
so is the Lord with us.
He continues to call us to lay aside what we’re doing,
to abandon the nets that entangle our priorities,
and to follow him, to be with him,
to spend our lives with him and for him.

We gather each week in the shadow of the cross of Jesus,
the great sign that reminds us that he let go,
laid down everything for us
- for he loved us more than life itself.

At this table every week the Lord invites us,
calls us again and again
to be filled with his life in the bread and cup of the Eucharist
and to follow him along the path of our hearts’ desire.

Listen for his voice:
as he called Jonah, as he called Peter, Andrew, James and John,
so he calls each of us by name: he calls,
Chris, Judy, Al, Mary, John, Jorge, Pat,
Peggy, Bill, Elizabeth, Jimmy…

He calls,  “Come, follow me…”

To all of us, to each of us, to every one of us, he calls out,
“Come, follow me!”




Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 1/21

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Sometimes, Lord, I see right away 
   what's the right and what's the wrong thing to do -
      but other times it's not so clear...

Sometimes there are several good things to do
   and I need to make a choice... 

And sometimes when it's the wrong thing I want to do
   I convince myself it's a good thing!

Yup!  I need help with this...
I need your eyes to help me see the difference
  between right and wrong...

I need your wisdom to help me know what I should do,
   especially when I'm leaning in the wrong direction...

I need your Spirit to help me want to do the right thing,
   especially when the wrong thing is so appealing...

Help me to do the right thing today, Lord,
   and stay faithful to it and see it through... 

You know the truth of it, Lord:   
   sometimes my body and my heart long for what's not so good,
      even for things that are bad for me or for others...

Sometimes I find myself wanting what's unhealthy,
   unwise, unfair - and for what's not mine...

Sometimes I desire the wrong things or the wrong person...

Sometimes I desire what's good
   but in a wrong or selfish way...

Sometimes, I waste my heart's desires
   on the quick and easy, on the slick and pleasurable;
      on what's cheap and selfish...

My heart was made for greater love, Lord,
   and in my heart of hearts
      I know this...

Help me love what's good, Lord,
   and help me settle for nothing less...

Fill my heart with a hunger for what you love
  for whatever you ask and expect of me...


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Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 1/20

Like a song that keeps playing in my head,
a verse from a psalm's been ringing in my ears,
echoing in my prayer, Lord,
for the last couple of days...

You, O Lord, are my lamp,
   my God who lights up my darkness.
With you I can break through any barrier,
   with you, my God, I can scale any wall.    
Psalm 18:29-30 

I've carried these words, taped to my phone,
from dawn to dusk and late at night
and I read them again in the silence,
in my prayer room,
before I go to bed...

So I shouldn't be surprised how today,
when all my plans went awry,
how these words came to mind,
to my heart and my soul
and I remembered
(exactly at the moment when I needed to remember!)
I remembered
that you are the light in my darkness,
that with you I can face any problems,
that with you I can scale any wall...

Please, Lord,
keep those words alive in my heart
and help me remember
(right in the moments when I need to remember)
that you are my light, my help and my strength,
that with you at my side
I will be at peace...



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