Posted by: matt25 | February 22, 2017

I Am A Promoter 

It is a historically unfortunate trait of human social behavior to use any means available to attain and keep power.  Religions are not  immune to this disease from either without or within their membership.  But every constituency must be vigilant to their own affairs to try and police their attitudes, rhetoric, and actions so as to avoid the trap of manipulation, and to pursue a path of dialog.   This is the best path to understanding, wisdom, and peace.  Other courses may feel good in the moment and have some value but, they often do little to truly advance us toward our common cause of a better world for generations to come.  

I found much to resist under the past administration and I find now that continues under the current one. But I do not self-identify as a resistor.  I am  a promoter.  I promote my values as an American citizen in order to bring my voice into the public arena.  I hope to spend my efforts building relationships and a better civilization than the one I see in mainstream and social media.  This is what I am committed to.

Posted by: matt25 | February 21, 2017

A Good Start

Do you have a busy day planned?  All the more reason to take time to pray before you tackle it.  Otherwise it may tackle you.

Posted by: matt25 | February 19, 2017

Perfectly Flawed

This week I preached on Matthew 5:38-48 in the prison where I serve as a chaplain.  As you might imagine, the difficulties in living as a Christian in general, and more specifically as a peacemaker, in that environment are different than mine or yours and very intense. 

We recalled the context of the  Sermon on the Mount as a call we meditate upon when we pray the Third Luminous Mystery of the the Rosary, the Proclamation of the Kingdom.  We connected it to the Gospel readings proclaimed in our liturgies over the past few Sundays from  Matthew Chapter 5; the Beatitudes, being salt and light, and of going beyond and deeper than merely following the laws and rules of our religion by living our faith from the heart.  And I spoke about a quote from G. K. Chesterton, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”  

Difficult may seem at first to be an understatement, when we wrestle with that seemingly impossible task of being perfect, because our personal understanding of words can be a stumbling block to wisdom.  The English translation of this passage in the word “perfect” may lead us to think of this in a limited way but, in both Latin and Greek, the concept of “perfect” has to do with working to bring to fulfillment or completion, all the while keeping the final goal in mind. Is that not what the Father does? Is it then possible, to be perfect, as our Heavenly Father is perfect? I say yes! 

 So we work to bring about the kingdom in the daily circumstances of our lives even as we exist as refugees in a strange land, longing for the day when we will see God face to face. We can do this with joy, even in the face of what appears to be failure in the wisdom of the world; if we do not define perfection in terms flawless execution but rather as consistently faithful striving.  We can be perfect, not measured by how successful we are at getting others to respond positively to the blessings we try to share with them, but rather in terms of how faithful are we to our walk with Jesus. All the while understanding that, being faithful to that walk means that we will inevitably fall short, will surely sin, will stray from what we know we should do. Yet when we repent and reconcile with the Father, he always takes us back as his prodigal children. 

I encouraged by the mercy of knowing that God expects me to make mistakes, and will always love me anyway.  I am filled with gratitude by the promise that God will always accept my heartfelt and humbly penitent confession of sin, and forgive me.  And I am perfected in understanding that God knows me as his perfect creation, even when I don’t.

So hang in there! Dare to be perfect with all of your flaws.  Keep the end in mind and give your all to it’s fulfillment.  

Peace and blessings to you always.

Posted by: matt25 | February 12, 2017

Evidence To The Contrary

For those who believe that Facebook is the original social media platform to promote pictures of cats and food, I offer Exhibit A into evidence to dispute this misconception.  it is a Mainzer cats postcard, c. 1960, and depicts a cat-astrophe in the kitchen.

Posted by: matt25 | February 5, 2017

Praying For Sgt. Floyd

Life is sacred and I am deeply saddened this week’s events.  It is a reality that those who work in prisons live with on a daily basis. On Thursday there was a tragic end to the hostage situation at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrana, Delaware.  During the re-taking of the building that was being held by inmates, one of the hostages, Sergeant Steven Floyd, was found dead.  

I don’t know anything about the circumstances that led up to that tragedy, I will leave the parsing of that to others.  I only know this, prayer is needed. Prayer is needed for Steven Floyd his family, friends, and coworkers.  Prayer is needed for all of the other hostages who are now in danger of suffering from PTSD.  Prayer is needed for the inmates who had nothing to do with the event and just want to do their time and go home.  Prayer is needed for the inmates that participated in this horrible act that grace may turn them from the darkness they live in before they die.

Please join me in praying for these needs.

Posted by: matt25 | February 4, 2017

Today’s Challenge 

My challenge today is to read, believe, teach, and practice this.  “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.”

1 John 4:18

Posted by: matt25 | January 31, 2017

A Christian Call To Change For The Better

If you are a Christian and you hate President Trump, your faith calls you to change your heart. If you are a Christian and you love him, but hate people who hate him, your faith calls you to change your heart. #StopTheHate

Disagreements can be good.  We need to wrestle with issues as people of goodwill.  We need to listen, really listen, to each other and realize that other people also possess ideas and understanding which can help bring us to a better understanding of truth, reality, and how to respond to situations we face.

Posted by: matt25 | January 25, 2017

Solemn Charge

Today I begin a pilgrimage of sorts with a day filled with preparation followed by an evening of prayerful rest at the Christ The King Seminary in East Aurora.  As I woke I prayed briefly a prayer of thanksgiving and praise to God before picking up my tablet to check the weather and Facebook.  I was quickly drawn down a path to a a profound point.

Solemn Charge is the descriptive phrase at the beginning of 2 Timothy 4:1-5, and I was drawn to that pericope this morning.  I find that encouraging in a profound way on this particular morning, even though I have barely opened my eyes, as I prepare to take my seat tomorrow on one of the four busses leaving from the Diocese of Buffalo for Washington DC.  Hundreds of thousands of others will also be making this pilgrimage to stand up for the human rights of the voiceless least among us, children who are still in the womb.   

Although for many years I have supported the annual March For Life in its efforts to promote legal protection for these innocents, this is the first time I have been able to attend the March with its 2017 theme of “The Power of One”.  I make this pilgrimage because I am only one but my one voice matters.  I make this pilgrimage not just to end abortion but, because I am prolife at every moment of life from conception to natural death.  I make this pilgrimage because one child may be saved who will discover a cure for cancer.  I make this pilgrimage because it is in my heart that I have been given a solemn charge.

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power:  proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths.  But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry.” 2 Tim 4:1-5 NABRE 

Posted by: matt25 | January 13, 2017

The Way

The way to joy in life is to seek, surrender, and embrace God’s will. All other paths eventually prove empty and lead to desolation.

Posted by: matt25 | January 9, 2017

Epiphany and Baptism 

Most Years we celebrate Christmas until the Sunday Celebration of The Baptism of Jesus.  This year however, since Christmas itself fell on a Sunday we closed our liturgical focus on Christmas with the Solemnity of the Epiphany which we celebrated yesterday.  Here is a link for my homily for Epiphany.

But, today is the feast of the Baptism of the Lord and I would like to offer these words, which resonate well with my message, for your reflection.  They are from an ancient Sermon by Saint Gregory of Nazianzus, bishop.

Jesus rises from the waters; the world rises with him. The heavens like Paradise with its flaming sword, closed by Adam for himself and his descendants, are rent open. The Spirit comes to him as to an equal, bearing witness to his Godhead. A voice bears witness to him from heaven, his place of origin. The Spirit descends in bodily form like the dove that so long ago announced the ending of the flood and so gives honor to the body that is one with Today let us do honor to Christ’s baptism and celebrate this feast in holiness. Be cleansed entirely and continue to be cleansed. Nothing gives such pleasure to God as the conversion and salvation of men, for whom his every word and every revelation exist. He wants you to become a living force for all mankind, lights shining in the world. You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the great light, bathed in the glory of him who is the light of heaven. You are to enjoy more and more the pure and dazzling light of the Trinity, as now you have received—though not in its fullness—a ray of its splendor, proceeding from the one God, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.(Oratio 39 in Sancta Lumina, 16, 20: PG 358-359)

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