You can be your enemy’s greatest gift

#MyMassTakeaway for the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Just imagine the world as a place where people were quick to extend mercy and slow to pass judgment. Where forgiveness prevailed over condemnation. Where enemies loved each other.

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says,

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The Shock Value of the Backwards Beatitudes

#MyMassTakeaway for the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Guys, Jesus is trying to provoke us with the Beatitudes.

Blessed are you who are poor,
for the kingdom of God is yours.
Blessed are you who are now hungry,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who are now weeping,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
and when they exclude and insult you,
and denounce your name as evil
on account of the Son of Man.
Rejoice and leap for joy on that day!
Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.
For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way.
But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
Woe to you who are filled now,
for you will be hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will grieve and weep.
Woe to you when all speak well of you,
for their ancestors treated the false
prophets in this way.

Luke 6:20-26

The Beatitudes aren’t something that are supposed to make us feel good. They’re not comfortable or safe.

The Beatitudes are intentionally counter-intuitive. Their worth begins with their shock value.

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The Burden of Blessing: Why So Many Fish, Jesus?

#MyMassTakeaway for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

I found myself shaking my head at Jesus (once again…) during today’s Gospel reading.

Those poor fishermen had been out fishing all night and caught nothing. Jesus (a carpenter, you guys) told them to go out and try again.

Simon put up mild resistance, but did what Jesus asked anyways. To his great astonishment, Jesus miraculously filled their nets with fish.

Jesus didn’t just fill the nets – he filled them so much that the boats almost sank.

Now why did he go and do that? Couldn’t he give them a normal amount of fish? Why so many fish, Jesus?

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Love is the Excellent Way of Life

#MyMassTakeaway for the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Wow! – what an amazing segue from last week’s reading to this week’s.

Last week we heard about all the different spiritual gifts in the Body of Christ.

It’s edifying and powerful to think about our gifts, discover them, and use them to serve the Church. I cried like a baby when I did the discernment of charisms.

This week’s second reading pick up there.

It starts by saying: Yes, pursue all spiritual gifts.

Then it changes course: But I will show you a still more excellent way.

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It’s Time to Stop the War Within the Body of Christ

#MyMassTakeaway Third Sunday in Ordinary Time.

#MyMassTakeaway

Sometimes we treat our differences as excuses to pit ourselves against each other.

Homeschoolers against traditional schoolers. Stay at home moms against working moms. NOs against traddies.

The list goes on. Oily, crunchy, babywearers, breastfeeders, formula feeders, feminists, big families, small families – STOP.

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Catholic Trivia: The Symbolic Number 3

We play Catholic Trivia over on Instagram each month. These are the questions and answers to this month’s #4thFridayTrivia game.

In the Bible, numbers often (though not always) carry great significance.

The number three often signifies wholeness, completeness, and perfection.

The central mystery of the Catholic faith involves the number three – the mystery of the Trinity: three persons in one God.

In honor of the Trinity, these Catholic Trivia questions revolve around the theme of the number three.

How much do you know about the threes in the Catholic faith?

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When You Bring the Water, Jesus Works the Miracle

#MyMassTakeaway for The 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Water is the most common thing on earth.

Plain, clear, boring water. It’s not something we would call miraculous. Not something we would think is very special.

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Empathy, Compassion, and Love Like the Trinity

This post is not about snow.

Our elderly neighbor, Miss H., waved from her mailbox across the street. We decided to stop over real quick before heading out to the grocery store.

“It’s going to snow tonight!” my 5 year old informed her with a smile on her face.

Miss H.’s eyes wrinkled, “Oh,” she said, “I don’t like the snow much. It’s difficult for me to get out for my mail.” She shifted her weight on her cane. My kids, undeterred, regaled her with stories about their favorite snow day activities.

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That Song is Heretical – Should Catholics Listen to “Christian Music”?

5 Steps to Help Catholics Discern Whether to Listen to Christian Music.

My husband walked into the living room, stood there for a minute, then interrupted me mid-lip-sync with, “That song is heretical.

Dude. Thank you for ruining my Jeremy Camp dance party.

I loved the tune, and the words flowed, so I had cranked up “Same Power” to help make the cooking and sweeping and more pleasant.

Hey, it’s Christian music. Better than all the pop garbage I could be listening to. How bad can it be?

As I stood there, staring at my husband with open mouth, wrinkled forehead and upturned palms, I reluctantly realized: he had a good point. Continue reading

Behold the Lamb of God: My Favorite Part of Mass

“Look, Mom,” my 6yo Son, Hero, whisper-exclaims as he snuggles into my arm, “It’s your favorite part of Mass!”

The priest elevates the host, proclaiming, “Behold the Lamb of God! Behold him who takes away the sins of the world.”

That part of Mass gets me every time. Continue reading