Developmentally, children begin to view God as a “judge” by age seven. Studies show that nurturing the relationship between the preschool child and God; helping them to “fall in love” and introduce lessons and create an environment in which they can truly listen and hear Jesus introduce himself as the “Good Shepherd” is extraordinarily beneficial... Continue Reading →


As parents, we are aware of our child’s growth in many ways. We measure their growth physically by the little lines that mark their height in our doorways or by the way they rapidly grow out of their clothes. We measure their academic progress by listening to them read aloud and discussing their report cards.... Continue Reading →


Haven’t been to Mass in a while? Have you been hurt by the church? You are not alone. As Gandhi once said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.” I can’t tell you how often I have heard variations on this statement over my 30-year career working for the Church. So, on... Continue Reading →


Imagine that today you are one of Jesus’ followers in the first century. You traveled a long way and arrived with several other followers to Jerusalem a few days ago. It is Passover, so the streets are jam packed with over 2 million pilgrims in a city that normally holds only 20,000 (according to the... Continue Reading →


So. How are all those “New Year’s Resolution” style Lenten disciplines going? Have we failed to follow the diet, stick with the exercise regimen, and begun yelling at the kids again? If you, like me, are mourning how hard and fast your perseverance fizzled and are eating a great big piece of humble pie this... Continue Reading →


Many of us bemoan the great number of our family members and friends who don't attend church anymore. Seems none of our nieces and nephews have been baptized, our grandchildren are not being raised in a church community, and its almost impossible to find a sponsor for our teens preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation... Continue Reading →


Just a couple thoughts this week. First, I heard this quote from James Finley that has been haunting me, in a good way...I think. I don't know. I'm still chewing on it. "I have come to understand God as a Presence that protects us from nothing even as we are unexplainably sustained in all things."... Continue Reading →


Thomas Merton once said, “the rush and pressure of modern life is a pervasive form of contemporary violence.” In his book, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, John Mark Comer asks "Can you imagine a hurried Jesus? Hurry kills all that we hold dear: spirituality, health, marriage, family, thoughtful work, creativity, generosity…name your value. Hurry is... Continue Reading →


I often get asked during the Lenten season “Does this count?" My answer is always the same: "The spiritual life is not about counting. But if you’re counting, it doesn’t count." Jesus was not about counting. Jesus was about transformation and that is what our Lenten disciplines are designed to lead us to. The first... Continue Reading →


We believers hold a very strong conviction that God wishes to communicate with us. God wishes us to hear how much we are loved, what a good and treasured creation we are, AND to direct us to what will bring us “life to the full.” How does God speak these beautiful truths to us and... Continue Reading →


In the Gospel of Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus gives us the definitive criteria that will be used to “separate the sheep from the goats” - a metaphor used to identify those who will be able to receive all that God wishes to give to us and those who will not. In this parable, the King does... Continue Reading →


One of our traditions most treasured mystics once said, "It is a lie - any talk of God that does not comfort you.” The way we conceive of our God; as hostile or loving, “on our team” or “the giant task master in the sky”, judge or defender, etc. effects our whole life. In a... Continue Reading →


So, how is everybody doing with those New Year’s Resolutions? If you are rocking it with great strength and determination, more power to you! However, if you are anything like me, I’m already feeling a bit deflated. As my therapist might ask “What would you say to your best friend if they were feeling as... Continue Reading →


On Christmas day a close relative of mine was talking about her son. In the midst of our small talk she very nonchalantly stated, “well, you know, my son doesn’t believe in Jesus…” Now, I knew that she and her family had drifted from organized religion for a variety of reasons, some that we, as... Continue Reading →


My sister once gave me a Christmas card that read “Tis the season, full of good friends, cozy fires, delicious treats, heartburn, bankruptcy, and bursts of extreme anger. Let’s get through this together.” This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. Most of us think of Mary, Jesus and Joseph when we think... Continue Reading →


If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me “I pray just fine at home. Why do I have to come to Church?” Well, I’d have a lot of nickels. In truth, we don’t “have” to come to church. The weird draw of our old-timey language about our “Sunday obligation” coupled with threats... Continue Reading →


Most of us are now in full swing holiday-mode, busy with our preparations for Christmas; buying gifts, planning menus for our family parties, decorating our homes, gingerly dusting off our nativity set to place under our tree. This is also the time of year we usually see more guests and fresh faces among us at... Continue Reading →


Evangelization is a bit of a spooky word for us Catholics. It's not a notion that we embrace quite as comfortably as our Protestant brothers and sisters do. Personally, when I hear the word, the first images that come to mind are that of a sweaty, screaming tele-evangelist that swindles old people out of their... Continue Reading →


These few weeks before Christmas have a unique flavor for most of us. They are unlike any other weeks of the year in many ways. For some it is a time for “making merry” marked by frequent gatherings with family and friends, listening to cheerful songs, eating rich foods, and exchanging gifts. For others it... Continue Reading →


Having launched our holiday season with the celebration of our Thanksgiving meal this yesterday, we remember too our sacred act of “breaking bread” that we share at our Eucharistic table each week. The word Eucharist in Ancient Greek means the ACTION of giving thanks to God. So, our Eucharist is not only a noun, but... Continue Reading →


When we hear the word "God," something goes on in our minds. Now, however wonderful, however deep, rich, powerful, consoling, however philosophically and metaphysically precise, however scripturally sound, and orthodox, whatever that idea of God that is in our mind - is NOT God - and THIS is really the most important thing to know... Continue Reading →


I'm writing this article the day before election day (Monday, Nov. 7th) but it will run in our bulletin on the weekend following. So, I believe I can safely assume some of you (maybe even MY post-election self) are reading this article at this moment and are still “having some feels” as my daughters would... Continue Reading →


ALICE is active shooter response training and an acronym that stands for ALERT, LOCKDOWN, INFORM, COUNTER, EVACUATE. ALICE training and drills are now done routinely, not unlike fire drills, at all our public schools nationwide. Last week my kids had one such drill. Our district has had 3 lockdowns since school began this year. At... Continue Reading →


Next month will mark the 15th anniversary of one of my "inner circle" friends, Evelina, who was a victim of suicide. At the time of her death I was consumed with guilt, thinking that as a trusted friend and minister I could have somehow saved her life if I would have just done a little... Continue Reading →

BAPTISM I don’t know about you, but the first person to come to mind when we begin thinking about baptism, is John The Baptist. The authorities of Jesus’ day were puzzled by John the Baptist, They were confused about who he was and what he was doing. They even asked him “who are you? What... Continue Reading →


None of us can come to God on our own; all by ourselves. Jesus repeatedly stresses the deep significance of community and the importance of effective conflict resolution for all those who wish to follow him and understand what he so passionately wishes to share with us about God and the nature of God’s kingdom.... Continue Reading →


I often get asked "Are Catholics required to vote a certain way?" and the answer is "Yes and No." The Catholic Church does not endorse any candidate or party. Period. No matter what you have read or heard, there is NO mandate on which candidate(s) Catholics must vote for. Hard stop. However, we ARE asked... Continue Reading →


To view a video reflection on The Parable of the Dishonest Steward, click HERE (the video is different than the text below. Text is longer). Most scholars agree that the parables are the most authentic and original words of Jesus found in our sacred scriptures. Parables not only brilliantly elucidate WHAT Jesus taught, but also... Continue Reading →


A catechist is the "Keeper of the Memory of God," a witness of the source of our hope, and an educator who accompanies those desiring to know more about our loving God and the most essential mysteries of our faith and tradition. The word "catechesis" is derived from the Greek word meaning "to echo." In... Continue Reading →


The traditional definition of a Sacrament is "an external sign of God's internal presence and acting" or "an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace" (St. Augustine). We hold a strong conviction that God wishes to communicate with us, every minute of every day. That is why many theologians speak of grace as... Continue Reading →


Whenever people look for guidance laws are sure to follow. We start with general responsibilities like the Ten Commandments and then these general norms give birth to thousands of detailed behaviors. Regulations start to multiply on everything how to pray, how to bless food, what ritual to employ when visiting the sick, and so on.... Continue Reading →


Haven’t been to church in a while? You are not alone. It continues to be a slow roll back to the pews with wise ebbs and flows in this "kinda-post-covid" time. Who knows what this will all end up looking like, but regardless of where you are praying these days, thank you for staying connected... Continue Reading →


In our Christian scriptures (aka The New Testament), the Greek word "kerygma" (pronounced kuh·rig·muh) means the public dissemination of a truth received from God. It is a proclamation – a message – a sharing and revelation of God among us. The epoch of our Christian kerygma, the high point of this message and revelation of... Continue Reading →


I have three daughters, now ages 20, 17 & 12. Before my eldest graduated from High School back in 2020, I would visit with up to 14 teachers during conferences. I remember at one such week of back to back teacher conferences, several of their teachers said, in almost identical language, that my girls are... Continue Reading →


A few years ago, my best friend in the whole world got engaged and started planning her wedding. Although she and many of her family members had moved away from Michigan, she still considered this area her home. And St. John Fisher, where I used to work and where our now 20-year friendship began, she... Continue Reading →

SAMARITAN Video/Audio of text... We know this story. (Luke 10:25-37) It’s about two religious leaders who, in the name of the law, see someone in unimaginable suffering, but decide to steer clear and cross the street instead of attending to the person’s extraordinary need.  We know the context.  The Jewish people detested the Samaritans and vise-versa,... Continue Reading →


I, like virtually every Catholic female I know, have some pretty strong feelings about being a woman in the church. For me, some are good. Very good. I am grateful to have worked for visionary and forward-thinking priests in all my 27 years of formal employment in the church; men who value, listen, and actively... Continue Reading →


In the Jewish tradition Sabbath is the observance of a weekly day of rest rooted in the biblical account of God's day of rest after the creation of the heavens and the earth. For thousands of years, the Sabbath has been considered a celebratory day when the Jewish people (including Jesus and all the early... Continue Reading →


As you may or may not know, I work as a Director of Religious Education at a large suburban parish in the Detroit area. Recently, our Faith Formation and Education Department was renamed “Discipleship Formation.” My teenage daughter frowned when she heard this new name and said “discipleship? Sounds like a cult or something.” Quite... Continue Reading →


As Catholics, we remain "one" though we differ profoundly in a multitude of ways, such as; how we interpret church teaching, understand the role of conscience, discern God’s presence and acting in our unique life experiences. We share a core of unchanging, revealed truths (Dogmas) but we grow in our understanding of truth, and so... Continue Reading →


“Not all criticism is blind negativity. People who love something have also earned the right to make it better and keep it true to its deepest vision. We hope and vision when we own the problem…accept the light as well as the darkness. When we can use the language “us” and not “them” then we... Continue Reading →


We believe that human beings are a fundamentally good creation and sin is anything that keeps us from communion with God, others and our true selves; anything that distances us from God's mercy or causes alienation. Our understanding of Sin, Grace, Redemption, is called Soteriology and is a rich field of study that is never... Continue Reading →


In the Gospel of Mark 9:30-37 Jesus speaks to his disciples and predicts his death - and the disciples are baffled and become afraid. Jesus can’t die! Why is Jesus spouting all this crazy talk? Then right after this, it says that the disciples started to argue about who was the greatest among them.  Now, I... Continue Reading →


There are countless reasons why it is important for us to understand and appreciate the great wisdom and beauty of Jewish history and tradition. For one, Jesus was Jewish as were all his first disciples; all were steeped in the Old Testament texts and the ancient customs therein, so it’s darn near impossible to understand... Continue Reading →


Nothing effects our ability to approach and draw nearer to God quite like our image of God. The way we conceive of our God - as hostile or loving, on our team or the giant task master in the sky, as judge or defender - our personal experience and understanding of God effects our whole... Continue Reading →


Has a more beautiful dream ever been put into words then when Isaiah writes “Can a mother forget her infant? Be without tenderness for the child of her womb?  Even should she forget…God will never forget you.”  God will never forget YOU. If we were to boil down and distill all that Jesus taught and lived... Continue Reading →


In Jesus, in his dying and his rising, God is telling us that death is not the end…death does not have the final word… The Gospels assure us that, like Jesus’ birth, the resurrection was physical. Jesus’ tomb was empty, people could touch him, he ate food, he was not a ghost. The full nature... Continue Reading →


I’m a child of the 1970's and a big thrift shopper. On one trip I discovered one of those big aqua blue picture bibles they used to have in doctor’s offices at a local resale shop. Some of you might remember them.  They had very colorful and intricate illustrations and so for nostalgia, since I... Continue Reading →


A metaphor is a powerful image - a powerful figure of speech.  It is more than just saying one thing is another thing.  Sallie McFague, in her book Models of God, has this to say about a metaphor, "What a metaphor expresses cannot be said directly apart from it.  It is an attempt to say something... Continue Reading →

FORGIVENESS Many times in our scriptures Jesus seems to be pairing God’s forgiveness of us with our forgiveness of others. He says "The measure with which you measure will be measured back to you…” "Do not judge others, and God will not judge you"…Even in the Our Father, that we pray together each week, we... Continue Reading →

SACRIFICE AUDIO PODCAST if you prefer to listen Theologian Fr. James Alison describes our common misunderstanding of Jesus’ death like this: "We sinned and offended God, so God was angry with humanity and demanded justice or some kind of payment for our blunder. But humanity couldn’t offer any kind of divine gift big enough to diffuse... Continue Reading →


Rachel Held Evans wrote a terrific opinion piece in the Washington Post entitled “Want Millennials back in the pews? Stop trying to make church ‘cool.’  Here are some highlights:  “In the U.S, 59% of people ages 18 to 29 with a Christian background have stopped attending church. When asked why, 87% say they see Christians... Continue Reading →


A father suggested instead of giving up candy, as his children did every year, they should focus on giving up a bad habit or a sin; anything that hurt their relationships with others. His youngest son decided to give up fighting with his sister. When his Dad asked how he was doing on his Lenten... Continue Reading →


According to our own Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), conscience is not something that allows us to justify doing whatever we want, nor is it a mere "feeling" about what we should or should not do. Rather, conscience is the voice of God resounding in the human heart, revealing the truth to us and... Continue Reading →


“Our lives are about trying to imitate the God we believe in. But, we are so used to the ‘One-False-Move’ God we're not accustomed to the ‘No-Matter-What-ness’ of God: the God who is too busy loving us to be disappointed with us! This is the hardest thing to believe, yet everybody knows it is the... Continue Reading →


The parable of the Workers in the Vineyard found in The Gospel of Matthew 20:10-16 is arguably the most infuriating words of Jesus ever to make it to print. There is a deep sense of something gone wrong when we hear that the ones who only worked one hour are paid the same as the... Continue Reading →


According to John Shea, renowned theologian and professional storyteller, the parable of the Persistent Widow found in Luke 18:1-8 violates rule number one of good storytelling. The author of the Gospel of Luke tells us the moral of the story before telling us the story itself. It reads “Jesus told his disciples a parable about... Continue Reading →


Even if we come from strong families and have ample social bonds, we still have moments when we feel excluded, misunderstood and involuntarily cut off. The problem of loneliness, obviously, is not a new problem or one unique to our age. But, some sociologists tell us that it is, at best, an intensifying problem. Others... Continue Reading →


One of my friends made a commitment in the New Year to spend more time with our sacred scriptures. As she was sharing this new resolution with her sister who attends a non-denominational Christian church, she was taken aback when her sister declared "Well, you know, Catholics don’t believe in the literal, infallible and inerrant... Continue Reading →

PERFECT The definition of Perfectionism: “A disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable; especially the setting of unrealistically demanding goals accompanied by a disposition to regard failure to achieve them as unacceptable and a sign of personal worthlessness.” Hi, my name is Lisa and I’m a recovering perfectionist. I know some people wear... Continue Reading →


I don’t know about you, but I just cringe when in the face of grave human tragedy and suffering I hear someone say “This was God’s will” or “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.” Really? Because it sure seems that some people get a crushing helping of grief on occasion. So many... Continue Reading →


No Advent would be complete without a nod to the gruff and unpleasantly challenging prophet John the Baptist. This “in-your-face” “call em’ as you see em’” prophet dressed in a ragged camel hair, smelling of bug breath and the poverty of desert discipleship isn’t exactly the cozy Christmas character we might expect at this time... Continue Reading →


This week let's consider and ponder the parable of The Mustard seed (Matthew 13:31–32) In order to understand this scripture, it’s important to put it in its first century context and ask ourselves "How would the first hearers of this comparison understood it?" Well, for the Israelites (the Jewish people) of Jesus’ time, there... Continue Reading →


Often I think we have this image of Jesus in our mind as this peaceful, gentle, pious and soft-spoken person. I’m sure at times, probably most times, Jesus was a very tender person, just like each of us. But without a doubt, Jesus was also a bit of a trouble-maker, a rabble rouser, a rebel. In... Continue Reading →


As World War II was drawing to a close, allied forces gathered up all the hungry orphans they could find and gave them a safe place to be. Each child was given a comfortable bed, clean clothes and plenty to eat…they were well cared for, some for the first time in their young lives. But,... Continue Reading →


Fr. Ron Rolheiser says at the center of our lives there is an natural tension. On the one hand, “something in us wants to be different, wants to stand out; from the minute we’re born, we ache for our independence and uniqueness to be recognized. We don’t want to be the same as everyone else.... Continue Reading →


Let's consider the parable of The Sower found in the Gospel of Matthew 13:2-9. Many of us believe that Jesus is inviting us to think about how ready we are to receive God’s word in this parable. To judge what kind of soil we are and to straighten up and fly right so to speak... Continue Reading →


The parables of Jesus are little “stories with a mystery.” There is no “right” or “wrong” way to understand them - we are simply invited to ponder and tease them out a bit. For me, one of the more baffling parables is that of the Dishonest Steward or Manager found in Luke 16:1-13. The... Continue Reading →


If you would rather listen than read, just below is an audio recording, or a video is a little further below: Audio, if you prefer to listen Our Gospel reading from this past weekend (Mark 10:2-16) says that Jesus was “indignant.” I always thought that one became indignant when insulted, like when someone wounds... Continue Reading →


"The strategy of Jesus is not centered in taking the right stand on issues, but rather in standing in the right place—with the outcast and those relegated to the margins.” - Gregory Boyle, S.J. Dissent, definition: "the expression or holding of opinions at variance with those previously, commonly, or officially held." I don't know many... Continue Reading →


"The Christian of the future will be a mystic or nothing at all." - Fr. Karl Rahner, S.J. Many bemoan the drop in participation in all mainline churches over the past several decades, including Catholics. In fact our “fallen-away” number is the biggest of the bunch. Many parents worry whether their children will ever “come... Continue Reading →


I've been to three funerals this week, and then we have Covid. The Anniversary of 9/11. Watching my parents, friends, and other relatives age and wane. Lots of time thinking about death. No one knows when the second coming of Jesus Christ will happen or what it will look like. Though countless predictions and dates... Continue Reading →


A spiritual teacher had lost the key to his house and was looking for it on the lawn outside, running his fingers through each blade of grass. His disciples came along and asked the master what had happened. “I have lost the key to my house,” he said.  “Can we help you find it?” they... Continue Reading →


Eucharist is our central, defining ritual; the center point of our Catholic Christian Identity. Eucharist comes from the Greek word Εὐχαριστεῖν (Eucharistein), which means “to give thanks” So, Eucharist is not only the consecrated bread and wine that we share at our sacred meal each week, but it is also an action - a verb.... Continue Reading →

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: