Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving last week and are excited about the season of Advent. I spent part of the week with parents, who drove in to stay at the friary, and the other half completely and utterly relaxing (so much so that I forgot to post this week’s podcast! Oops! It’ll come out Tuesday.)
Because of that, I only have to things to share this week. The first has not been getting much traction (because I don’t know how to market it) but is one of the most important things I’ve ever made. I hope that you will watch it to the end and take it seriously.
The second, is much less important but a good conversation nonetheless. Fr. Patrick and I review God’s Not Dead, a movie that has become a symbol of a movement more than anything else. I don’t like the essential message of the movie and find the production atrocious, but there are still some things worth discussing.
Sorry for the lack of newsletter last week, but one of my videos was blocked, I had a busy day, and I knew there would be less to share this week. Good news? The original video was released! But first, Christ the King.
When you look to the rulers of the world, there is often a temptation to serve certain people more than others. No president is the president for all. New CEOs replace the VPs with their people. Coaches replace their staff when they’re hired. While it doesn’t have to be malicious in intent, it’s hard to find a leader who gives equal attention and opportunity to all people.
Jesus, naturally, is the exception. As King of the Universe, he is the creator and savior of everything and everyone. In 2 Samuel, we see his forerunner David elected because he united the twelve tribes of Israel, recognized as their “flesh and bone.” In Colossians we are reminded that Jesus is the firstborn of all creation, the reason for everything in existence, thus caring for everything in existence. And in the Gospel, we see that he has come to save not only the good and the just, but even those who mock him.
Our challenge is to be a king like Jesus. We are called to love all, not just the good ones. We must rule with patience and humility, laying down our lives even for the ones that don’t accept us.
Church Hopping with King of the Hill
What do you do when you no longer feel at home in your church? Here is not the right answer.
Our Anger is Killing Us
I’m so tired of the way we do politics in the United States. I’m exhausted with our anger. While righteous anger has its place, I’m not sure what we’re doing is helping anyone.
Learning to be a kid again
Is A Quiet Place A Catholic Movie?
Seeing overt and stereotypical Catholic imagery in a horror film is not only common, it’s a bit cliche. Seeing subtle and wholesome Catholic imagery in a horror movie is an aberration. A QuietPlace has no exorcisms, no crosses warding off demons, and no latin, but it does have a family named the Abbots that prayers and works together in silence as a shield against the evils of the world. Could it really be a pro-monastic life movie?
This Sunday, our readings are focused on death and the afterlife, offering two examples of how life may be full of suffering but that there is something more that awaits us. In the case of the tortured men in Maccabees, we know that God brings the just to himself and gives new life. In the case of the woman who is passed around to seven different men while alive, we know that this is no more giving or taking of marriage in heaven, that all live “as angels,” free and equal.
As we continue to remember the dead who have meant something to us (either on All Saints or All Souls this week), we know that God lifts up the just and offers us a new chance at broken relationships in heaven.
Broken, But Not Lost
For many Christians, October 31 isn’t just Halloween, it is Reformation Day, a commemoration of those who left the Catholic Church to start a new way. As Catholics, we can’t help but weep for the division that still plagues us 500 years later. But all is not lost. Our family may be broken, but there is something that Protestants can teach us Catholics. For this reason, I decided to make two videos this week, telling both sides of the story.
Learning to Cope with Loss
What do you tell a ten-year-old when his best friend dies? How do you help him cope with such an unimaginable loss? The Bridge to Terabithia sets out to answer just that. Generations have grown up reading the book, and this week, Fr. Tito and I discussed the movie adaptation.
Jesus Gives Us Hope
The reason that we have hope in the face of division and tragedy, is, of course, Jesus Christ. How wonderful it is, then, that we get to end our week by reflecting on the newest season of the hit show The Chosen. As we’ve said before, it’s not perfect, but we think it’s pretty dang good.
Want to Encounter Jesus Yourself?
Join me each day on my new podcast, The Word Became Flesh, to read and reflect on Scripture. It takes just 15 minutes a day to get to know Jesus better and welcome him into your life.
Your Civic Responsibility and Opportunity
This Tuesday in the United States is a major election. As Catholics, these can be difficult times, as our two-party system offers us very poor options. Inevitably, we are choosing flawed candidates that undermine a good society in some sense. That said, there is something to like in each candidate and I hope that you can take the opportunity to vote on Tuesday, remembering that a vote does not mean a full endorsement of a candidate’s position. In a messy world, we have to do the best with the choices we’re given.
This weekend at Mass, we heard the familiar story of Zacchaeus. We heard how he ran to climb a tree to see Jesus, how we promised to sell half his possessions, how he committed himself to repaying anyone he extorted four times over. An amazing turn around for the chief tax collector, a wealthy man.
But this story isn’t about what Zacchaeus does. It’s not about him seeking Jesus. It’s about Jesus seeking him. It’s about God’s mercy.
Think about how Jesus has talked about the rich throughout this Gospel! He has just finished saying that it is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than a rich person to enter heaven. He says “Woe to you rich” in the beatitudes. Over and over we see examples of rich people being condemned for their selfishness and injustice, and here was a chief tax collector, a rich man. Is there anyone in the ancient world more hated, farther from the Kingdom of Heaven? If you didn’t know how this story ended, you would expect Pharisee-level condemnations.
But he doesn’t. He welcomes him. He proclaims salvation on his house. Why? Because all throughout the Gospel of Luke we have seen that Jesus has come for the lost, and there is no one more lost that Zacchaeus. What this story shows is that no one is outside of God’s reach.
Watch Something Else This Halloween
Admittedly, I love thrillers. I’m not a huge fan of horror movies, but there’s something about suspense, about movies that make you scream, that I love to watch. This week, Fr. Patrick and I review one such movie… that we highly recommend you don’t see. Watch our video and skip the movie itself.
I’m a Mouse. Duh!
On Friday, the high school where I’m chaplain allowed students and faculty to dress up for Halloween. Wanting to take part but not wanting to put in a lot of effort, I picked a costume from one of my favorite movies: Mean Girls. (In case you’re worried, I wore my habit as normal and just put on a mouse ears headband.) Also, I love this movie and you should listen to Fr. Tito and I talk about it. It’s actually a really good movie.
It was a TikTok sort of week
It seems that kids these days are spending their time on TikTok more than anything else. It’s not my favorite place to make content, but I guess I have to try, right? I thought these videos were helpful, if nothing else.
We should be stewards, not “owners” of God’s creation:
Some didn’t understand, so here are the receipts:
And, are sins subjective? Yes. And no.
Trying to Keep Up…
Yeah, that is a lot of content for one week. Oh, and I have a daily reflection podcast. And I’m releasing two videos at the same time tomorrow. It’s been a tight schedule and I happy to make it all, but man… it’s frustrating when I find myself up at 9:30 writing this because I’ve been working all day on a project that’s not going to work (at least not on time.) All is grace.
Today we have to ask ourselves an uncomfortable question.
If you remember last week, Jesus told us that we were to pray without growing weary, that, like the widow, like Moses against the great army, it doesn’t matter how impossible the task is, we are to have faith… and Jesus will provide.
This week, we are shown another example of prayer—that we must be humble like the tax collector, truly contrite, truly dependent on God, and we will be justified. We read that God hears the cry of the poor, that the prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds.
And so here’s our question: why is there still suffering then? Why is there still poverty and racism and war? If God hears our prayers in our suffering, if some of us, we know, are praying correctly, why do these things still happen?
I’d like to suggest that, at least part of the answer, and the truly uncomfortable question for us today, is this: “Do we hear the cry of the poor?”
Believe it or not, I do a lot more than just make videos. This week, I decided to highlight one of the ministries I serve by answering questions while walking around school.
Need a Little Joy?
There’s a lot of trash on the internet. We all know that. But did you know that there’s also a lot of wholesome, fun content as well? This week, Fr. Patrick and I review the “Media Nuns” and their great work of evangelization.
When Rumors Get Out of Hand
High school is tough for a lot of people. It’s hard enough finding out who you are without bullies and cliques forcing you to be something you’re not. Sometimes, it can be a lonely place where no one knows you. Some will do anything to be popular. In the case of Easy A, that can be a recipe for disaster.
Let’s Pray with Mark
Every day, I post a reading of scripture to allow you to pray with the Gospels. Have you listened yet? Made it a part of your routine?