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Offer Your Barley Loaves

A reflection for the 17th Sunday, Ordinary Time, year B. The readings are 2 Kings 4:42-44; Psalm 145; Ephesians 4:1-6 and John 6:1-15.

Jesus Gives Thanks. From FreeBibleimages: Feeding of the Multitudes, Good News Productions and College Press Publishing Co. Artist: Paula Nash Giltner.

“Jesus then took the loaves and gave thanks…”

That’s what I’d like us to focus on today: Jesus gives thanks, the way Jewish people always gave thanks before eating: Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam hamotzi lehem min ha’aretz. “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.” That small action is what I think makes the whole difference in this beautiful story we hear today – that we’ve heard so often because it is one of the few stories that is found in all four Gospels.  In fact in Mark and Matthew it happens twice: Jesus feeds the multitudes twice in Mark and Matthew. That’s how significant this story is.

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God Never Stops Working

A reflection for the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, year B. The readings are Ezekiel 17:22-24, Psalm 92, 2 Corinthians 5:6-10 and Mark 4:26-34.

I don’t know the first thing about gardening. If the plant needs more than watering once a day, forget it. Last year we had two tomato plants and that was amazing. Once we found the perfect sunny spot for them, all we had to do was water them once a day and before you know it, we had like 200 hundred tomatoes! It was a fruitful harvest! Plants are amazing, really. Even grass. Have you ever planted grass? Last year (and this year) we are fixing these dead patches in our lawn and it’s amazing: you throw some dirt; scatter some seed and then water it once a day. Seven days later there are these baby grasses growing – so cute! And keep watering for another week and the grass is already all grown up and that’s it. It will continue to grow and spread. There’s nothing you need to do. It’s a miracle.

This year I have become fascinated with dandelions. Those things are amazing! You know you have to dig them out from the root – so this year (because we’re fixing our lawn), we started digging dandelions. We spent all afternoon one Saturday and pulled maybe 100 or so. The next day I look at the lawn and there are like 100 little stems that have all of a sudden shot up. I’m like, “I can’t spend another two hours digging all these out before they flower” (because there aren’t 100 dandelions in our lawn, but like 100,000!). So I decided that if I just cut the stems off, at least they won’t go to seed (cause each flower has like 1000 seeds!). So I went and ripped off a whole ton of stems. The next day I look out and there are like 100 more stems and flowers! So I ripped them all again (even though the flowers look so pretty). The next day; 100 more stems and now they’re turning white! Those things are amazing. You can’t kill them. They’re really hard to uproot. You don’t have to plant them. You don’t have to water them. They grow anywhere; they’ll grow through the sidewalk; through the cracks in your driveway! So I did some research. Turns out that dandelions are also like a super food. You can eat the roots; you can eat the stems, the leaves, the petals… the whole thing! They have all these nutrients and they’re supposed to be good for your blood pressure, your cholesterol, they help fight inflammation, they lower your blood sugar; they’re good for your liver function…. They’re miracle plants. I swear they’re also probably the cure for COVID! They’re amazing. All plants are amazing. All animals are amazing.

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Look Up to the Sky

Grandpa Bunny (Disney Classic) (Little Golden Book) by RH Disney (Author, Illustrator).

A reflection for the Solemnity of the Ascension, year B. The readings are Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47; Ephesians 1:17-23 and     Mark 16:15-20.

 When I was 4 years old my grandfather died. The whole experience was kept fairly hidden from me – except I was told that he was going to Heaven. I remember that even though I was not taken to the funeral Mass, (for some reason) I was outside the Church, in the parking lot, just after the funeral was over and I kept looking up at the sky. I wanted to see if I could see the coffin flying off to heaven – with wings! I must’ve been listening to the song, “Spirit in the Sky“: “♪♪ going on up to the Spirit in the sky…” Hey, it was the 70’s!

I guess someone asked what I was doing and then explained that this is not how people get to Heaven. It’s funny the way kids think about things. I was looking up to the sky because I wanted to see someone awesome; something amazing.

And I think that’s a bit of what’s happening to the disciples in the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles.

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Jesus Wants You To Know Him

A reflection for the 3rd Sunday, Easter, year B. The readings are Acts 3:13-15, 17-19; Psalm 4; 1 John 2:1-5a; and Luke 24:35-48.

Jesus appears to the disciples, by Paula Gitner Nash. Free Bible Images,, in partnership with Good News Productions, International and College Press Publishing Co.

Jesus is alive!

That’s all I want to say today, but It’s hard to read or listen to today’s readings and not realize that there is one word that is found in all of them: “sins”. Peter exhorts the crowds to “repent and be converted that your sins will be wiped away.” John writes in his letter that Jesus “is the expiation for our sins and the sins of the whole world” and in the Gospel Jesus tells the apostles that “repentance and the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all the nations.” I don’t like to talk about sin; I don’t like to think of myself a sinner or bout my sinfulness. But if you’re like me, and you avoid thinking about your sins and sinfulness you’re missing out on something greater. And that’s what I think is one of the messages for us today.

Six years ago, on the third Sunday of Easter I told you this story:  

There was once an explorer who, after many years in the Amazon, returned home to England, where he proceeded to share with everyone he met about his wonderful adventures. But he really struggled with really sharing the reality of the Amazon. He could draw pictures and maps, he could write stories and descriptions but, how could he describe the smells of the tropical flowers and fruits that he had discovered. How could he describe the sounds of the birds and the animals at sun down? So he did what was natural: he shared as much and encouraged people to go to the Amazon themselves. He gave them clear descriptions as to how to get there and how to prepare for such a trip. He told them how to avoid dangers and gave them all the information they need. His adventures were well received. In fact, an organization was founded and a museum was opened so people could read his writings and look at his pictures and maps. Everyone was very excited to learn about the Amazon, but no one went. Years later, the museum still stands and many have studied the writings and descriptions of his journey. There are many experts on his journey – many people who now know about the Amazon because of him – but no one really knows the Amazon, because no one ever went after he did. [It’s funny because when I’ve told this story to kids they don’t even know what they Amazon is – they just think about the Amazon that’s delivering their package next Wednesday!] So, it’s possible to know about the Amazon, but if you want to really know the Amazon, you have to go there.

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