These reflections are a result of more than 40 years of ministry as a Roman Catholic priest. Most of these years I spent in the Diocese of Charlotte which covers Western North Carolina. Now I am retired, and live in Medellín, Colombia where I continue to serve as a priest in the Archdiocese of Medellín.

The crack of the whip, the rumbling sounds of wheels; horses a-gallop, chariots bounding,  Cavalry charging, the flame of the sword, the flash of the spear, the many slain, the heaping corpses, the endless bodies to stumble upon! (Na 2:1, 3; 3:1-3, 6-7)
One of the most haunting, terrible lines in all the prophets. Instead of trusting in weapons of war, the prophet Nahum invites us to listen to “the bearer of good news, announcing peace!” Today is the anniversary of the dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome. Among its treasured relics is the manger of the Christ Child.

Thursday, 04 August 2022 00:00

Saint John Vianney, presbyter, August 4

The days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD, for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more. (Jer 31:31-34)
Our sins are etched in our memory, no matter how hard we try to forget them. But God is merciful, promises a new covenant, writes the law of love upon our hearts, and remembers our sin no more. Today is the feast of Saint John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests. He always preached about the Good God: “The good God looks not at long and beautiful prayers, but looks at the prayers that rise from the deepest depths of the human heart.” Today's picture is of my friends, Father Wil Thomas and Father Larry Richardt, priests after the Heart of Christ.

Wednesday, 03 August 2022 00:00

Wednesday, Week XVIII, Ordinary Time

With age-old love I have loved you; so I have kept my mercy toward you. Again I will restore you, and you shall be rebuilt. (Jer 31:1-7)
“Age-old love”
. . . a love that never dies, that lasts forever. That is God’s love toward us and the promise of restoration—to be made new.

The following message came to Jeremiah from the LORD: For thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Write all the words I have spoken to you in a book. (Jer 30:1-2, 12-15, 18-22)
The prophetic moment traditionally was one of those things where you had to actually be there to experience. But the oracles of the prophets were eventually written down, in Jeremiah’s case at the command of the Lord. And we are very grateful! Today is the anniversary of the passing of my Colombian madrecita, Ofelia Arroyave (1931-2016), who taught me to bless others with hugs and kisses!

When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” He said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.” (Mt 14:13-21)
“Give them some food yourselves” has always been the work of the church. The very center of our worship is the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, the meal that satisfies the deepest hungers of the human family. As the gospel writer tells us: “They all ate and were satisfied.” The prayer of self-offering of Saint Alphonsus forms part of his meditations on the Way of the Cross: “I love you, Jesus, my love, with my whole heart. I repent of ever having offended you. Never permit me to offend you again. Grant that I may love you always, and then do with me as you will.”

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all. (Col 3:1-5, 9-11)
So many riches for us today in the readings: Qoheleth declaring that “all things are vanity” . . . the Psalmist observing that for the Lord a “thousand years are as yesterday, now that it is past, or as a watch of the night” . . . the Letter to the Colossians reminding us that all things are changed because our life is now "hidden with Christ in God" . . . or Jesus telling us to become "rich in what matters to God" As the liturgy reminds us, “if today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts.” Today is also the feast of Saint Ignatius Loyola and the close of the Ignatian Year celebrating the 400th anniversary of the canonizations of Saint Ignatius and Saint Francis Xavier.


Responsorial Psalm  (Psalm 69)
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.”

R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
The perils of the prophet Jeremiah, the tragic imprisonment and death of John the Baptist—as the Psalmist says, the Lord hears the poor and never spurns those in bonds. The Virgin Mary calls us all to magnify the Lord with her. And so we call out in faith: Lord, in your great love, answer me.


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