Showing posts from January, 2016

Being Before Doing

Two scripture passages that I encountered last past weekend got me thinking. On Saturday I attended a conference and one of the speakers used the story of Gideon in his presentation. Gideon lived in Israel at a time when the nation was under the control of its enemies. Many Israelites went into hiding to avoid being persecuted. Gideon was threshing wheat in a wine press in order to hide from his enemies so they wouldn’t steal his wheat. While he was carrying out his chore in fear and hiding an angel of the Lord appeared to him and greeted him saying, “The Lord is with you, you mighty warrior!” (Judges 6:12) Gideon went on to lead Israel to repent of their idolatry and drove the enemy Midianites out of the land. Sunday was the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord when Jesus is baptized by John in the Jordan River. After coming up from the waters the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus and a voice from the heavens proclaims, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke

Giving What You've Got

Today is the feast of St. John Neumann, the first American saint. He was born in what is now the Czech Republic in Eastern Europe. Upon completing seminary he was initially denied ordination because his diocese had too many priests (imagine that). His desire to become a priest was so strong that he left his homeland and came to the United States where the bishop of New York ordained him. At the time he was one of 36 priests serving 200,000 Catholics and his parish boundary stretched from western New York to Pennsylvania. In fact, in my home town of McKeesport, PA, there was a parish that he visited and preached at in 1846. He eventually became bishop of Philadelphia where he started the Catholic school system in America. He was widely regarded for his great love and pastoral care. St. John Neumann was a living example of the story shared in the Gospel reading for today , the feeding of the 5,000 (Mark 6:34-44). Like the meager offering of five loaves and two fish, John Neumann o