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The genius of a composer is in his music
but if one examines and analyzes the music,
we do not necessarily understand where the genius comes from.
The genius of the poet is in her words
but if one analyzes the words we do not necessarily understand her genius.
The genius of God is his creation
and yet if one analyzes creation
one does not necessarily understand that genius.
To experience the music is to understand the genius.
To experience the poem and hear it recited lifts the heart.
To experience God’s creation is to understand the mystery of God.
It is one of those things that if one experiences it
then one understands it at a deeper level than the mind.
It is not necessary to have intellectual comprehension of it;
whether it be music, words or God’s creation,
but when one experiences it, one truly knows what it is. More...
A young woman shared this story about witnessing
her parents’ love for one another.
She said when she was a young child,
she remembered how hard her mother used to work
and that occasionally the dinner in the evening
would be a breakfast as it was easier and quicker to cook.
One particular day, she remembered vividly,
her Mum came home late and she was very tired;
she quickly baked and cooked a breakfast for dinner
with bacon, sausage and egg.
She had gone to the trouble of making some biscuits as well
because her husband liked biscuits.
When they were placed on the table,
the biscuits were burned to smithereens.
She remembers thinking how nobody said anything.
Her oldest sister said nothing.
Her Dad said nothing.
They just ate them.
She sat there eating, wondering whether anybody would mention
that the biscuits are burned! More...
Boys and girls, as I show you this beautiful orchid,
I would like to ask you
what makes this plant so beautiful?
God makes it beautiful and it is-yes?
You are right. What else?
The water makes it beautiful too; it needs nourishment.
It needs water, soil and
it needs to remain on the vine to get that nourishment.
What if I just took one of these beautiful flowers
and broke it off in my fingers.
Oops-not very nice was it? There goes the first flower!
Can that flower still grow?
You are right. It cannot because it is no longer part of the plant.
What if I too and broke another one?
What? You do not want me to break any more of it?
Oh just a couple of flowers, c'mon; the plant as plenty of flowers!
Wow! You sound so mad at me!
Just because I broke one flower-so what if I took like a little leaf?
Oh just a little leaf, c'mon; the plant as plenty of leaves!More...
Imagine three different items or objects in your mind.
First imagine a beautiful piece of artwork or painting;
second imagine a large, portrait-size mirror;
third imagine a stained-glass window.
For a moment you imagine are standing in front of each these three objects
with the light shining brightly on those three objects.
Which of those three objects best depicts the love of God
that Christ speaks of in today’s gospel?
In some sense, each one does in a different way.
For example, in a beautiful piece of art, one could see
that the light of the love of God is shining through us,
shining the perfection that God created us to be, all our gifts shine; everything of who we are is shown brightly for the whole world to see.
Or one could see the mirror as the light shines on the mirror
that we reflect back the totality of who God created us to be;
we are the reflection of God’s image.More...
If I took some children and their corresponding fathers
and lined them up with their backs to each other at some distance,
then I asked each of the fathers to call the name of each child,
every child without exception will be able to identify their own father’s voice.
We know the sound of our fathers’ and mothers’ voice without much effort
because we hear them so often and we are familiar with their voices.
Whether we are late for dinner or in danger on the street,
we know the sound of our parents’ voices.
Yes we know their voices but do we always “listen” to them.
We often ignore their words of caution.
And if you do not listen, what happens?
They repeat it. Right. They say it again.
Until eventually, we do listen and we obey
because that is what Mom and Dad do.
In today’s gospel, we hear Jesus say he is the Shepherd
and the sheep know his voice. More...
Boys and girls, I have a question for you:
Does anyone know the difference between a noun and a verb?
A noun is a person, place or thing.
A verb is an action.
A verb is not the same as a noun.
In today’s gospel, Jesus uses the word “love”
and he uses it as a verb because he said, “Do you love me?”
It is an action and not a thing.
Another question: Why does Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him?
It is because on Good Friday Peter denies Jesus three times.
This is his best disciple, Peter, who says he doesn’t even know who Jesus is.
After Jesus is raised from the dead, Peter is elated;
he is delighted to follow the Lord.
But Jesus turns around now and asks Peter; “Do you love me?”
He asked it three times to remind Peter of
the “action” of loving that he is now doing.
“Come and follow me.”
So it is all action oriented.
What the action of love look like? More...
If we were asked to grab as much sand (out of this bowl) as we can,
the first instinct is to grab it with a fist
and hold as much as we can. Right?
But we cannot hold very much sand in a closed fist.
If we think about it for a while
we realize we can hold more sand with an open hand.
It is counter-intuitive at first but we know an open hand holds more.
The more we grab the more sand falls out of your hands;
and the more we open our hand, the more sand remains.
In the Easter Vigil liturgy we hear about our history as people of faith;
we have heard tonight how our ancestors tried to hold on to their faith.
An example is that of Abraham as he said,
“No Lord. I know you will come through.”
But he needed to first let go to receive.
The Lord asked the craziest-possible thing to do
––to give the sacrifice of his own son.
Abraham had to open his hand and let go in order to receive. More...
In her book, “The Cup of Life”, Joyce Rupp
uses the metaphor of a cup to illustrate the spiritual life.
Sometimes our cup is empty and in need of filling,
sometimes our cup is full of all the wrong stuff and in need of emptying.
In today’s second reading to the Philippians
St. Paul recalls an ancient hymn that speaks of how Christ emptied himself,
emptied himself of everything to do the Father’s Will.
Today’s gospel speaks about the agony in the garden, as it is often called,
where Jesus prays to God the Father and says,
“Lord if, if this cup could pass from me let it pass;
but not my will but your will be done.”
The cup is a very powerful metaphor
because it describes very aptly what happens in our spiritual life.
There are times for all of us when our cup is full;
often full of the wrong stuff.
We have no room for God in the cup of our life.
We are busy with work. More...
In her book “Willful Blindness” Margaret Heffernan maintains
that all of us are biased in some way;
that we can never perceive things completely unbiased.
She goes on to say that the most biased of us
are those who believe we have no bias
because we are blind to our own bias.
She posits that people who are most unaware of their bias
are probably leaning towards prejudice
because their bias has even biased their ability to see their own bias.
Actually makes a lot of sense.
Scriptures would say,
“He who thinks he is a fool is not such a fool;
he who thinks he is not a fool is the greatest fool of all.”
It is the same language used slightly different.
The challenge is that in the midst of our own bias
then how do we receive some new input?
How do we receive things in a way as to become
a little more aware of our bias and a little less judgmental? More...
Two summers ago, at a family gathering,
I got into a big argument with several of my other siblings
about Lance Armstrong and his doping.
I claimed that the man was a liar and that one day
he would come to his senses and tell the truth.
I said I hope for his sake he does so for his children’s sake
because the truth will be known at some point.
My niece was an avid Lance Armstrong fan
and she was having nothing of it.
One of my brothers made a bet with her for $100
that it would break in the news eventually.
In fairness to her, a couple of weeks ago, she handed over the $100.
It has been interesting to watch how people react to his admittance of guilt.
Oprah Winfrey was actually very kind to him when he went on her show.
When she interviewed him she asked him,
“What was the turning point for you?”
He said he saw his 11 year-old son, Luke, arguing with one of his friends,More...