Knights of Columbus “Enduring Faith”

ENDURING FAITH – A documentary film on the faith, perseverance, and inspiring example of Indigenous Peoples across North America – available for all to watch at kofc.org/enduringfaith

Indigenous communities across North America have a rich and vibrant testimony to share – both past and present – including the witness of their faith.  Enduring Faith: The Story of Native American Catholics dives deep into the rich contribution of Native Americans in the tapestry of the Catholic faith. Produced by the Knights of Columbus as part of its Faith Formation and Native Solidarity initiatives, the 60-minute documentary offers a missing piece to the greater story of Catholicism on the continent and a beautiful example of how Christ reveals himself through the uniqueness of every culture. A must watch with the family, classroom, or faith group. Available to all at kofc.org/enduringfaith . Please spread the word.

How does God come to you? Sept 19. 2021

September 19, 2021                  25th Sunday in Ordinary Time


Imagine four persons in a room. 

President of the US

The first one is the President of the United States.

  • He has tremendous power. He can command armies.
  • He has the power to issue executive orders. He can command vaccinations and face masks. 
  • His decisions impact the economy not only of the United States but of the whole world.

Tom Brady

Sitting next to him is Tom Brady.

  • At the peak of his physical power he won Super Bowls with his quickness and skill.
  • He is much admired and envied by a lot of people.

Lady Gaga

The third person in the room is Lady Gaga whose music and charisma have infatuated many audiences with her energy.

  • She is wealthy and has the power to inspire and energize people in her concerts by her music and performance.


Finally, also in the room is a newborn baby lying in a crib.

  • This little baby seemingly has no power or strength whatsoever.
  • That little baby isn’t even able to ask for what it needs.

Now, the question: which of these is ultimately the most powerful?

  • As strange as it may seem, I believe the baby ultimately wields the greatest power.
  • Yes, the other three people in the room have the power to make things happen.
  • However, the baby has a different kind of power.
  • The baby can touch the hearts of people in a way that none of the others can.
  • Babies are innocent, gentle and helpless.
  • Yet they can touch the human heart.
  • There is something about being with a baby that touches people.
  • The presence of the baby can bring out gentleness, kindness and openness unlike any other person. 
  • People even watch their language around a baby.

Babies are cute and helpless, yet powerful!

  • God’s power is a lot like that of the baby.

The Gospel

In the gospel today, Jesus refers to the presence of children.

  • Actually, the gospel is a continuation of the one we had last weekend.
  • Jesus and his disciples are now on their way up to Jerusalem.
  • For the second time, Jesus tells them about what is to happen.
  • He will be handed over to the Gentiles and they will kill him and he will be raised up on the third day.

Disciples arguing

It doesn’t seem as though the disciples have been listening to Jesus said.

  • They have been arguing about who is the greatest.
  • In other words, they have been arguing about who is most important and powerful.
  • Actually, they have been buying into the system that those who are powerful are the ones who can control people and overwhelm them to make them do what they want.

Become like children 

In the second part of the Gospel, Jesus tells them there is another way to do things.

  • Power it’s not manifested in the important and the elite, but true power is found in those who can change the human heart.
  • Jesus uses the example of a child. 


This is the way we experience God‘s activity on earth. 

  • Jesus comes born as a baby, powerless and then dies on the cross helpless and powerless. 
  • Both his birth and his death manifest a power that comes from God alone which can transform and speak to the human heart.
  • Jesus manifests the power of God more like a newborn baby.
  • He comes gently, and helplessly without a power that overwhelms.

God comes into the world 

Jesus continues to come into the world in the same way.

  • He comes in what is viewed as powerless and gentleness.
  • He never overwhelms nor forces his way into people’s lives.
  • Sometimes people are frustrated and impatient with the way that God acts.
  • They would prefer that God come in power and majesty to overwhelm people. That way, people would be compelled to do the right thing. That’s just not the way that God operates.
  • We want God to come clean up the world with his justice and power.
  • However, God continues to operate under the radar.
  • He gently speaks to people’s hearts.
  • He invites them into a relationship.
  • He invites them into the joy of the encounter.
  •  For God, it is love not power that conquers the human heart.


It is really amazing that God who has the ultimate power and authority chooses to come into the world simply, and quietly. 

  • His power is a power of powerlessness.
  • God comes into your life and into mine.
  • However, he comes in the same way that he did when he came centuries ago.
  •  It’s a presence based upon love and not power and coercion.
  • Our challenge is this: will we recognize him when he comes?

The Road to Discipleship isn’t Easy! Sept 12, 2021

September 12, 2021                      24th Sunday in Ordinary Time


When you look at the cross what is it that you think of.

  • Do you see the cross as the symbol of the Christian faith?
  • We place the cross and all of our buildings above the altar and make the sign of the cross at the beginning and end of our prayers.
  • Do you see the cross as the sign of suffering, humiliation and human cruelty?
  • Do you see in the cross the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus? 
  • As you gaze upon the cross do you see Christ’s ultimate victory over sin,
  • death and evil?
  • The cross figures prominently in the gospel for this weekend.


As we look at the gospel you will notice that it is divided into two parts.

Jesus identify 

In the first part Jesus and his disciples are walking along.

  • They are near a Roman city Caesarea Philippi.
  • As they walk along, Jesus stops for a moment and ask his disciples, “what are people saying about me? Who do the people think that I am?”
  • The disciples answer by saying, “well, some people think you might be John the Baptist come back from the dead or maybe Elijah or one of the prophets from our old.”
  • Jesus pushes a little bit and asks, what about you? Who do you say that I am?”

Peter answers on behalf of all of them by responding, “you are the Christ!”

The Messiah

In other words, you are the promised one for whom our people have waited for centuries.

  • What follows is a clarification of what it means to be the Messiah. 
  • The expectation of the Jewish people was that the Messiah would come as a National leader and political figure who would set Israel free from external domination.
  • He would be the one who would set things right and be a glorious leader who would lead Israel into freedom and prosperity.

True nature of Messiah

Jesus shatters their expectation when he says it will not be that way.

  • The Messiah will be the humble servant who will come, be rejected and ultimately put to death and rise.
  • Obviously this is way too much for Peter. He takes Jesus aside, “this will never happen to you. This is not the way that it is supposed to be.”
  • Suddenly Jesus turns on Peter and chastises him.
  • He tells Peter, “you have got it wrong. You do not understand because you are not thinking the way that God does but the way that you want things to turn out.”
  • At the heart of Messiahship is suffering.
  • It is only through the Messiah suffering that there will be salvation and ultimately in the shedding of blood will there be life.

The Cross 

Then we come to the second part of the gospel reading.

  • It really builds on the rebuke given to Peter.
  • Jesus stuns his disciples by telling them that if they wish to follow him, they must take up the cross and follow him.
  • The cross is the only way to discipleship. At the heart of discipleship is a willingness to deny oneself and suffer.
  • It is only through suffering and death that there is life.
  • It’s easy to see why this did not make sense to Simon Peter.

The cross may be a religious symbol for us today.

  • However, when Jesus uttered these words to his disciples, the cross was a symbol of Roman domination and fear.
  • The Romans used it to intimidate people into subjection.
  • The cross stood as the instrument of excruciating pain, humiliation and torture.
  • It is no wonder that the disciples must have gasped when Jesus told them they must take up the cross.


Why suffering

Jesus invites us also to take up the cross and follow him.

  • There are problems, difficulties and struggles in everybody’s life. 
  • God does not will human suffering. However, he permits it. 
  • I suppose it is a mystery why there is suffering in the first place and why God would permit it.
  • However, that is the reality of the human experience.

The question remains, “what do we do with the suffering in our lives?”

  • In the gospel today, Jesus invites his disciples to take up the cross.
  • At the heart of following Jesus is to follow Him all the way.
  • That way is through suffering and ultimately a death that leads to eternal life.
  • That is the mystery of salvation: through death there is life.

Suffering creates bitterness 

Suffering has a way to sharpen our values and identity.

  • For some, suffering creates hardness of heart, bitterness and anger.
  • The question haunts, “why me? Why not me?”
  • In time they become alienated by their suffering and are marked by an anger that ultimately consumes them.
  • Many times that anger is directed toward God.

Suffering is redemptive 

On the other hand, there are some, who embracing their suffering, find the ultimate meaning of their own existence and life. 

  • They follow Jesus all the way. 
  • It reminds me of that scene in the Passion of the Christ where Jesus is handed the cross on his way to crucifixion.
  • He embraces the cross and kisses it.
  • One of the thieves who will be crucified with him remarks, “you fool, don’t you understand what is about to happen?”
  • Yes, Jesus embraced the cross, his passion and death.

Good from suffering 

  • Because of Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross, God can bring good from evil.
  • In other words, he can bring an unexpected good from human suffering. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why God permits suffering.
  • In the cross of Jesus, and in our own crosses borne out of love, God brings the ultimate triumph of good over evil.
  • In the cross, God entered into the depths of human sin and suffering. 
  • On the cross, Jesus conquered hatred, sin and death.
  • Our own suffering can be redemptive.
  • Although suffering is never pleasant, we can offer it in reparation for our sins and for the salvation of those that we love.
  • It is perhaps one of the most precious gifts we could give to another person.


The road of discipleship is not easy.

  • If it were, everybody would want to follow Jesus.
  • The gospel invites us to follow him.
  • However, the road is a difficult one. Jesus Invites us by saying, “come follow me, deny yourself and take up your cross.” 

Although the cross may represent suffering in our lives, it is ultimately the way to eternal life.

From the Pulpit: Sept. 5, 2021

September 5, 2021 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time


What would it be like to never heard the birds singing in the morning?
What would it be like to never heard the bubbling sound of a mountain
What would it be like to never heard the waves crashing on the seashore?
What would it be like to never hear the voice of your mother? 
What would it be like to never hear your name?
What would it be like to never hear someone say, “I love you?”

Gospel miracle

In our gospel for today Jesus cures a man who was both deaf and unable to speak.
The setting 
The miracle unfolds in a rather strange way.
First of all, the setting is unusual.
Jesus is in a region called the Decapolis. It is a gentile region not a Jewish
The fact that Jesus would travel there is in itself unusual.
The miracle
Curiously, there is no opening dialogue because Jesus is trying to communicate
with someone who cannot hear. 
Usually the person who is ill asks for a healing. 
Sometimes, Jesus asks, “what is it that I can do for you?” 
However, nothing like that happens in the gospel story.
The description of the miracle itself is rather earthy.
Interestingly enough Jesus takes the man away from the crowd.
It is a private and intimate moment of the sick man with Jesus.
Initially, no words are exchanged. 
He takes his fingers and places them in the man’s ears the source of his
Afterwards, Jesus spits onto his fingers, opens the man’s mouth and
touches his tongue.

With that, Jesus looks up to heaven, sighs and groans.
Jesus groans and sighs because even though the deaf man cannot hear, he
can see Jesus groaning.
In that moment Jesus connects with him.
The result is that immediately the man’s ears are opened and his tongue
set free and he can hear and speak plainly.

Saint Mark chooses to record the exact Aramaic word of Jesus in this miracle,
There are only two other places in the scripture where the exact Aramaic
words of Jesus are recorded.
When Jesus raises a little girl from the dead he commands,” talitha koum”
and his final words on the Cross, “Eli, Eli, lama sabancthani”
Why would Mark record the exact words?
The reason would be that in that spoken word is the explosion of divine
Ancient peoples believed that words had power.
In Aramaic, “Ephphatha” translated as, “Be open” changes reality by the
power of God.


Jesus continues to speak to us. The challenge is to be able to hear his voice.  
In a sense, sometimes we are locked in a spiritual deafness and can’t hear
his voice. 
As I was thinking about it, there are really three obstacles to listening to the voice
of Jesus that create a spiritual deafness.
The first obstacle is busyness. So often we find our self absorbed in many
There are many demands on our time.
The perception frequently is that there are more demands and
commitments than we have time.
Sometimes we just have to say “no.”

In saying “no,” we have the opportunity to free up time to listen to the
voice of Jesus.
We can only experience his voice in the present moment of the here and
It takes a real effort on our part to make time to listen to his voice.
The second obstacle is a lack of surrender to God‘s will. 
Jesus tells the deaf man, “Ephphatha “or “be opened.” 
Jesus says the same thing to us.
He asks us to be open.
If our hearts and our minds are closed, we will never be able to hear the
voice of Jesus inviting us to surrender our will to his.
To surrender to the divine will is not easy.
We like to be in control.
If we are open to the heart of Jesus, then we have a willingness to abandon
ourselves into his hands and trust that he knows what is best.
Finally, our own sinfulness can make us deaf to the voice of Jesus.

Sin frequently not only blinds us but makes us deaf to the voice of God.
Sin has an unusual effect of blocking out goodness so that evil controls our
attitudes and way of thinking.
Conversion is always at the heart of being open to the voice of Jesus.
The power of his grace transforms us.
However, we have to want to let go of sin and be flooded by grace.
When this happens it is easy to hear the voice of Jesus drawing us into a
closer and deeper relationship with him.
Listen to the voice 
Where do you experience Jesus speaking to you?
The most important thing is to be able to listen.
There are really two places where we encounter the voice of Jesus.
Of course the first one is in the Scriptures itself. 
Jesus is referred to as the Word.

The Scriptures are the living word of God continually speaking to his
It is in the words of scripture that we find the heart of Jesus.
Jesus speaks to us in a living word.
It is not so much a written word as it is the word proclaimed.
When we encounter Jesus in the Scriptures, he comforts us, forgives us,
challenges us, and continually invites us.

Similarly, Jesus speaks to us in prayer.
That is why it is critical to spend some time each day not only reading the
scripture and letting the voice of Jesus speak to us but to spend time in
Remember, prayer is a conversation. We speak and we listen.
It is in these moments of listening that Jesus speaks to the human heart.

Conclusion—Gospel Challenge

Here’s the gospel challenge.
Sometime this week consciously decide to set aside at least 15 minutes in
Ask Jesus to remove any obstacles.
Ask Jesus to speak to you and help you to listen and recognize his voice.
Then open up the Bible and pick one of the Psalms.
Read the psalm slowly and let one word or phrase speak to your heart.
Sit quietly and listen for the voice of Jesus.
Trust him.
Not only will he open your ears, but he will open your heart as well and you will
hear his voice just like the deaf man in the gospel story.