The Sower of the Seed

“Jesus said, “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still, other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

I wear hearing aids, so can I ignore this parable!? But, let’s see what happens anyway. Am I seed number one? Or, is seed number two me? (I feel like Monty Hall!) Perhaps for my life, it’s the number three seed. Oh yes, there is always that notorious, envious fourth seed.

Oh my, which seed am I? The first seed is an Alfred Hitchcock movie, meaning for us the seed was easily misplaced or lost because we were stuck in a phone booth, talking only to ourselves. “Rocky ground” seed sounds very familiar to me. Seed number three has the “thorny” sound of making poor choices in friends. Seed three is safe because you always have someone else to blame for your wayward actions.

Ahhh. Seed number four. Fruitful, generative, valuable, rewarding, and how many other affirming and peace-filled words. Number four seed reminds me of funeral elegies. A tad over the top? I wonder to myself, “Is this the same guy that I knew?”

So. Those are the four doors, I mean seeds, of our lives. All beginning in goodness, promise, and hope. And the rest of our lives plants replants and replants again any or all of those seeds.

That’s what’s wrong with the statue and monument destruction these days. The same as our ancestors, we are all four seeds. On a good day, we’re the good seed, number four. Tuesday rolls around and the number two seed rears its shallowness. Wednesday night, seed three rings loudly in our heads that our life is always someone else’s fault, never owning it ourselves. Seed three is most days when we neglect to water seed four.

Confusing? I hope so because our lives contain all four of these tiny, little growing things that either scare us out of life or invite our life to be more deeply lived.

After the “Our Father,” the priests says to you, “In your mercy keeps us free from sin.” I don’t know what that means but it sounds important. Is God not providing us with enough mercy to grow seed number four? Wrong.

Yet, we are all four seeds, always seeking to grow that fourth seed. The one that yields. We all hit number four sometimes, but often behave within the other three; the ones with the Hitchcock birds, the rock holding us down and those nasty thorns.

God’s mercy is extended every day to the first three hoping and praying that number four yields the wondrous grace that God gave each of us at our Baptism and is not never returned to God until it achieves “the end for which [God] sent it.”

“I’m Monty Hall and that’s our show for today.”


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“Not By Bread Alone”

When do you do your best work? If you’re a morning person, you’re quite pleased with yourself come lunchtime. The afternoon now becomes a cinch.

If you’re a “last-minute type of guy,” the time of day doesn’t matter, it’s just about the deadline.

Jesus learns of his cousin’s death and just wants to be alone. Yet, five thousand people seemed to have heard of his “alone time,” so Jesus feeds them all, not counting those who don’t matter. “Women and children,” not counted! How much more time would it have taken to include them?

Jesus surprises those counted and uncounted with not stomach food but instead provides food for living this life fully in the love and protection of God, through our witnessing the life of His Son, and relying on the continuing presence of the Holy Spirit. For us, it only looks like a measly wafer, in its spiritual effects it is truly hardy.

I misled you at the beginning with the material work that seems dependent on your temperament. The real work of our lives is those nighttime revelations about yourself and your relationships with others. Sometimes soothing, but oftentimes haunting.

Haunting because those thoughts that echo in your tired head are not felt within your heart. Or, more importantly, fed by your soul.

We so often rely only on material food that so very often only yields illusions in a safe and a carefully guarded version of ourselves. It’s so much easier and enjoyable to eat a hamburger than to prayerfully delve deeper into your spiritual life and personal behavior.

“Food that perishes,” that’s a polite word for our bathroom visits. Or, is the food we need one that prompts us to be better Christians, a complete person; the person God created each of us to be. A welcome digestion to reside and live in your soul.

So, please welcome your haunting nighttime guests who have faithful morsels that await your attention. For those midnight morsels can and need to slowly become the whole Christ-wafer.

This is a First Communion weekend at St. Catherine’s. But, I’m terribly sorry once again, I misled you. This day and every other day is the first communion for us all.

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My Sleepy, Happy Cats

On any given day or night they are both sound asleep. (Or, are they?) A loud sound, a foreign movement alarms them to alert. But in the meantime, and I mean a long, long “mean time”, they represent what we all desire during those eight, luscious hours between our TV and the new day.

My two cats, Owen and Elsie, named after my nephew’s children. When their time comes, I told my nephew that he needs to have more kids. He didn’t reply to that email.

Tails that normally wag showing either joy or deep concern are now tightly held between two legs with a body that forms an embryo. Those are only the physical details, it’s their sublime peace that I witness when I peak into their supposedly hidden places.

It’s called a “cat nap” but to us, that means ten minutes of rest behind our desk before the next meeting. For these two, it means what only nature has decreed. What God’s provided for his living creatures.

I could attempt to list the words that describe their sleepy solitude, describing what would be the envy of us all. Their sleeping presence is the hope of all of our Church prayers – calm, quiet, tranquility, contentedness, free of distress in the midst of all that is presently occurring in our lives.

I like the word “bliss.” My apartment cats define that word while sleeping. Total and immaculate, completely. The beauty of our Christian faith is to know that my cat’s sleeping experience can be experienced in our waking and sleeping lives as well.

When we get up in the morning, please unfold that tail of yours because the new day will not always be about you and how wonderful you are. Then, blissfully, lead, and live your day to the glory of God through carefully chosen words, a genuine smile, and always an alert for unknown or loud sounds.


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“Ish” and “Like,” Twins

I’d like you to meet two friends of mine. Their names are “Ish” and “Like.” Those are not their baptismal names. It’s the names they’ve carved out for themselves as their lives unfolded.

Perhaps you know them as a neighbor of yours. It could be the nickname you’ve given them but never said to them. Or, are they people in your home? Or, better still, are they you? Is your name “Ish” and/or “Like?”

I’ll save you time. It’s the last question that’s correct. You put the word “child” before each suffix and you get my simple Sunday sermon. Childish and Childlike.

Here’s one for you to guess. A parent sees the newborn for the first time. Which person is it? It’s both! The answer is “Childish,” when dad loudly proclaims, “Look what I’ve done!” (As though he did this all by himself.) At the same moment, “Childlike” looks heavenward and softly says, “Look what I’ve done.” “Ish” is all about me and “Like” is all about whatever is, all about, and around.

You get a raise but not as large as your co-worker. You’re angry name?

One of them is all about play and you never want to lose that. The play of laughing at yourself, the play that embodies all of life (I truly do not step on ants anymore), the play of the buoyancy between your sometimes right and your often more times wrong. “Ish” becomes rigid, unyielding, and inflexible because the price of self-disclosure and self-sacrifice is too high.

Which one am I? One author describes them as, “spoiled, self-centered, dingy and judgmental.” Which one am I this time?

My favorite comparison? It’s confession. Since very few participate in the sacrament, I’ll tell you. The “Like” within you finally admit all your “Ishe’s.” This is not done not only for Divine forgiveness but in order to accept that “Ish” will again “rear its ugly head” but you are now aware of it and can acknowledge its rearing. With God’s grace, “Like,” can now monitor and control your “Ishes.”

God’s creation is only the person called “Like.” Childlike in thought, word, and deed. In life’s wonder, amazement, even disappointments and, surprises; no matter your age.

I believe we already know about the “Ishes” that creep into our lives. So I conclude with the wonderful life’s list of “Likes.”

“Share Everything. Play Fair. Don’t hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands before you eat. Flush. (I add for the men, “Put the seat down when you’re finished.) Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some. Take a nap every afternoon. When your out in the world, watch for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that. Goldfish, hamsters, and white mice, and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.”

And saving the best for last? “Remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – Look.”



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“Road to Emmaus”

(No, it’s not a Crosby/Hope movie. It’s taken from St. Ignatius, 17th century and to us today.)

maxresdefaultIt’s a long walk home from Jerusalem, but you’re glad for the exertion. The physical work of walking might ease, just slightly, the harder work that’s going on inside you today.

What is the work? It is the work of grief. You lost a friend just a few days ago. Not only a friend but your leader, your beloved teacher. And he didn’t simply die; he was executed in the most torturous, shameful way. You’ve seen a lot in your lifetime, but the memories of Jesus’ ordeal are forever branded into your memory. You close your eyes and see blood; you go to sleep but dream about someone suspended, gasping for air.

At least your friend is with you—both of you followed the teacher, with equal conviction and enthusiasm. So you bear your grief together now. As you walk and walk through the long, rainy afternoon, you encourage better memories—of all that the teacher said, of the people, you know whom Jesus healed. You can’t seem to stop talking, although several times one or both of you must stop talking because you must cry for a while.

The stranger joins you while you are still several miles from home. Within moments, it’s clear that this person has no idea what has been going on in Jerusalem. With great heaviness and some annoyance, you fill in the barest details for him. All you have to say is “crucifixion” and anyone in Roman territories knows exactly what you’re talking about.

But the stranger engages in the conversation with great energy. He must be some kind of teacher because he launches into an explanation of how Jesus’ fate is actually a good thing and the proper fulfillment of what was predicted long ago. This is fascinating—you and your friend are all ears. Before you know it, you’ve arrived at your home and it’s getting dark.

You invite the stranger to have supper with you and spend the night, rather than risk injury or other misfortune while on the road at night alone. Also, you want to hear more of what he has to say. He graciously accepts your offer.

The first thing you do upon entering the house is to prepare the evening meal. The three of you sit down to eat. Then the stranger takes the bread and blesses it. You feel a strange energy move through you and hover in the room.

Where have you heard this sort of blessing before?
The stranger hands each of you a piece of the bread. You take it, and memory washes over you—of a hillside with thousands of hungry people. Of a few loaves and fishes being transformed in an instant to miraculous abundance. Suddenly, it is clear who this man is, eating at your table. You look into his face.

What do you see? What is his expression? What do you feel? What do you know in the truth of your heart?
Your friend has barely gotten the words out—“Why, it’s the Lord!”—when the stranger vanishes. The room still feels strangely warm, and there are waves of that energy, like lightning sparking all over the room. You and your friend stare at one another, and finally, you say, “Weren’t our hearts on fire when he explained the Scriptures? Didn’t we know something even then—we just couldn’t identify it?”

You finish your meal—what a healing pleasure to eat the bread blessed by those hands! But then you look at each other and know what you must do. You head back to Jerusalem. You have to tell Jesus’ other followers who are still there in the city.

What is your conversation like on the way back? You are traveling at night—something you never do, for safety’s sake [reflecting on a stranger’s words whom you realize is not a stranger after all]?

What does it feel like to be on the road at such a strange hour?
What thoughts keep running through your mind on this journey?
How has your perspective changed, now that you have met the resurrected Jesus?

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“Divine Mercy” & the Virus

I bought some sweaters at Goodwill wondering about the previous owners. They looked good to me. Prior guy got bored, bought something better, or did he pass away?

Secondhand is what stores like Goodwill sell. They sell you something that was previously sold to someone else. That poor sweater of mine could have had how many other wearers. And more to come when I turn it back in once I see a nicer sweater.

“Divine Mercy” is this second Sunday of Easter. There is no doubt in our minds, this very day and this very hour that this worldwide virus is anything but secondhand. Invisibly infiltrating mouths, noses, and then deep down inside the lungs.

St. Peter hits the right nail, as they say, as he told us today, “…although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for the praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Apply that reading to today’s pandemic and you may have your doubts about this loving, merciful Creator we adore. Like Thomas’ adjective to his name, how many of us can add “Doubting” before our names. We clearly know that God did not cause this terrible plague upon us. But “like gold tested in fire,” it is our unwavering trust in God that will see us through this crisis.

I mentioned secondhand before as though it’s secondary. This virus is passed from person to person. Secondary suddenly becomes primary. That’s why I’m talking to an empty church but hopefully lifting any empty spirits through our virtual Eucharist. This virus proves there is nothing virtual in our relationships – both in disease and in fellowship.

The reading from Acts is the ideal we all strive to attain. “All who believed were together and had all things in common…they devoted themselves to meeting together..and to breaking bread in their homes.”

That is the Divine Mercy in both disease and fellowship. The psalm today said, “I was hard-pressed and was falling.” It’s not easy being separated from family, friends, faith community. We love our homes but give us a break! “But the Lord helped me. My strength and my courage is in the Lord, and he has been my savior.” This becomes an internal joy, as the psalm continues. “The joyful shout of victory in the tents of the just.” The joy of this day while so many needlessly die. The fragility of this human life stares us right through our masks and gloves.

Optimists say that we’ll become a better world, more united. I disagree. We’ll slowly return to our old habits. If that weren’t the case then I’d be out of a job!

“Divine Mercy Sunday,” this day is called. May this virus remind us that every day is celebrating, honoring, and claiming Divine Mercy. We earnestly pray daily for those we love, those who became or will become a number among many in the newspaper and Divine Mercy for ourselves.

On second thought, there is absolutely no doubt before my name and I sincerely hope the same for all of you.

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Light & Dark, John 3:16

I learned from a family with young children recently that when trophies are given for a sporting event, all the children receive one.

It’s a warped sense of affirmation and religiously it’s a warped sense of Christ light in today’s gospel.

When is failure taught if not at a young age? Or, do you wait until you’re thirty in a job when your project is roundly rejected? “But I have all these trophies at home,” he says at the bar after work.

Do you remember the “Clapper.” Clap once and the light turns on. Clap again and the light turns dark.

It’s the “either/or” of our culture and it’s wrong. Like giving a trophy to everyone, there is no total light or total darkness. If it’s total darkness then where does our beautiful virtue of hope reside?
If it’s total light in your life, then you’re living in La-La-Land.

Add a dimmer to your living room lamp and you may a good, healthy religious perspective. We live in neither a land of one or the other.

Being dimwitted people, we live in the dimmer of God’s glory alongside the darkness of our choice of selfishness.

Easter’s hope for us all is always aiming for the Christ light to illuminate and clearly guide our lives. The reality of our lives is the darkness that surrounds us attempting to convince us that ease of darkness wins over struggling gift of light.

The only trophy we need is the victory of Christ’s risen destruction of death; meaning darkness. We aspire through the sacraments and our prayers for the wonderful peace the light of Christ offers us.

Now that’s something to clap about…a lot.

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Good Friday, 2020

“He’s dead. He’s gone. It’s over. He’s dead. I can finally launch my new 800 number. It’s available to everyone, everywhere. 1-800-it’sallaboutme. I know it’s long but it’s surely easy to remember. Repeat number. ’One call, that’s all.’ (That guy stole it from me, by the way.) He’s dead and finished and now my 800 number becomes one-stop shopping.

(camera closeup) I’m offering a full array of skin cream. I’m noticing these bags under my eyes and how my forehead furrows. My wonderful cream can help you as well.

My 1-800-it’sallaboutme. becomes not only a telephone number but my website site,’ and additionally my own TV show, ‘The It’sallaboutme Talk Show.’

Now that he’s dead, please welcome my three special guests to my very own show, all about myself and totally dedicated to numero uno – moi. (I think that’s three languages in one…and all about me!)

Please help me welcome the selfishly, clever, ever-self-serving obsessive ruler of Judea…Mr. Double P!”

‘Thanks, Fr. Joe but no introduction is needed for me. I’m the fourth person mentioned in your Creed but now that’s he dead, I get to move up to the number one spot. “Died under me?” how ridiculous can this stuff get? You guys killed him, I didn’t.

I sing “Happy Birthday” twice when I wash my hands. My hands are clean and my lips are sealed.

He simply got in my way. All that “king” talk, dressed in purple as though he’s royalty…thorns for a crown? How’s he able to upstage me in all my pure glory? Glory! I’ve earned for offering the largest audience ever for a crucifixion. ‘Must-see TV,’ as NBC would say. Mr. Double PP stands proudly before you without him and his weird stories about the lowly becoming strong, the downtrodden raised up? He’s dead and I’m still gloriously here.’

“Thanks, Mr. Double P. My next guest on (repeat) needs no introduction. He’s holding and counting thirty pieces of it for proof. Let’s give it up for the lost apostle.”

’25, 26, 27, 28, 29…darn. Oh, Hi everyone. Yes, it’s me. One of two names you’d never name your kid. Me and Hitler. I’m not such a bad sort, looking about myself. 26, 27, 28,29. He’s dead and I’m still here. That suicide story was only if he didn’t die. But, he did. I didn’t lose my head. I have a head for numbers but my numbers just don’t seem to add up. 27, 28,29.

I seemed to have lost one. But I’ll find it. He’s gone and finally finished. He said we’d always have the poor with us…so…let the poor be poor. 28, 29. I can’t seem to get passed 29. I wonder who the rotten scoundrel is who stole my number 30 coin? I’ll find him, kiss him and then kill him just like I did the other loser. 26, 27, 28,29.’

“My final guest on ‘The It’sallaboutme Talk Show.’ will one day become the first pope. Yep. You heard me right. The guy’s dead, he’s not coming back and this joker thinks he’ll have a fancy apartment in Rome for the rest of his life. The dead guy changed his name to Peter but, you know, a ‘rose by other name…’ A round of applause for the one and only Peter!”

‘Thanks, Fr. Joe. I know he’s gone forever, never to return but that garden scene with me is just wrong. Now that’s he’s dead I can finally clarify that there was no crow. That three time denial of him was good for the media but didn’t help me, one bit.

I know he’s dead now. There’s no question about it. I liked the guy. Misunderstood him how many times. I liked him then I loved him; from like and then toward love. I’m just not sure. Honest.’

‘Well, there you have it folks, three colorful characters to testify that that guy is truly dead and now it’s all about my new telephone and website. Oh, a complete, selfish clothing line begins in about a month.

Like they do on the radio, always give the number three times. For all your foolish fools in the audience. 1-800-it’sallaboutme. That’s 1-800-it’sallaboutme. That’s 1-800-it’sallaboutme.

Call now and mention the promo code, “me” and receive a 10% discount. It’s only two letters so even fools like you and me can’t forget it.

Promo code, “me.” You people call this Good Friday. I call this the Best Friday, ever!

Easter Vigil Message, 2020

From C.S. Lewis.
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. … Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God.”

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Palm Sunday, Virus 2020

(Videotaped Mass for Queen of Apostles Parish, Pewaukee, Wisconsin.)

Our holiest of days next week is not unlike the unholiest of a family’s yearly obligatory, optional dinner gathering.  It’s the Sunday Brunch!

It’s obligatory because it’s family, it’s optional but they’ll talk about you if you don’t show up. (“And, bring a casserole to pass!”) Let the drama begin.

Because of our present crisis, it will not occur this year in its full fashion. This year you settle on your hot ham and rolls with a limited number of people, some of us honoring that holy day alone. But that doesn’t discount our memories of past Easter Sunday’s banquet full of those strange people we swear we’re not related to but call “family.”

There’s the talkative aunt, thrice-married and now dating. (I thought “three was a charm!”) There’s that prodigal son, thirty-five-year-old son who returned home with his now, new fourth investment venture that “Really can’t miss”. There’s the quiet mother preparing supper and listening to the stories of others, no one asking her much about hers. In the corner of the living room is the baffled college-age daughter, excellent grades, but wondering whether to remain a Catholic or not. Dad’s seated in his favorite chair observing all this excitement around him. He hears half of it it and ignores the other. Stories and jokes are told that have been told every year. Conversations rise louder in equal proportion to the consumed alcohol. Dad’s tired from his week’s work but happy to, again, gather them all together. Children are running around the house wondering why all those old folks are interrupting their supper. Mom told them that it’s a special night, once a year, only every year.

Once a year we gather together all the characters that make up our dramatic Christian drama. We think there’s a central character, Jesus Christ. Yet, he’s surrounded next week by all kinds of sorts. There’s that guy running to the ER with a missing ear. Those folks warming around the fire asking the future pope to declare a faith he has yet to own. Then there’s that guy with clean hands shirking responsibility and setting Anthony Quinn free. And, how about that unbelieving guy with a sword at the end of our story who then becomes a believer? Those two fellows on each side of Jesus – you know the two of them. We behave just like them. They are how often us, all performed in one day. Of course, our drama would not be complete without the dude who proudly accepts thirty pieces when he could have easily gotten fifty. (Poor guy. Both lacking in belief and poor in business.) The gent toward the end of our story who offers his resting place for the killed King of the Jew. He’s last name sound like a gentlemen’s cologne.

Like those jokes from relatives, we hear words we only hear once a year – Kidron valley, scabbard (it’s a dagger), Caiaphas, praetorium, tethered, Barabbas, Stone Pavement, and the worst of all, yet the most saving and beautiful word is: “Golgatha.”

It’s family. During our lives, we can be all the characters in our Christian drama. When we finally come to our humble and worthy senses, then we can all turn to Golgatha, that place of transformation. That place when we finally connect and unite our earthly lives to our heavenly life in God. That’s family…and that’s a meal worth celebrating.

So, take your palm, I mean evergreen and wave away. This glorious gathering only happens once a year. And this is the year that none of us will never forget. If you have children, please take extra time to explain what’s happening to implant in their brains the uniqueness of this year’s Easter celebration and how it continues because of the strength of our Catholic/Christian faith.

Next week we get to gather together around our various technologies to relive the biblical family story that caused our redemption. It’s a yearly renewing adventure for us all.

But it is no longer the Biblical character’s adventure in faith; they did theirs. Theirs’ is done. It is all ours now, even during, no, especially during this weird period. It is ours, our very own personal and familial faith adventure; in this exact time and within our very lives. Even though we are unable to honor it together, as a community of faith, in this sacred, wooded place, this place we happily call our “parish home,” “our second home.”

(walking away, I return to say,)

Oh, I almost forgot. Don’t forget the name, Mary Magdalene…next Sunday, she gets dessert first.

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Corona Virus: Want or Need?

“Between August 2016 and June 2017 I was treated for cancer with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. I entered that time as if it were a pilgrimage, guided by the adage that “the Camino gives you what you need, not what you want.” [The Camino hike in Spain is 360 miles and takes a month to complete, 14-16 miles a day! That’s off my bucket list.]

Some days were good, some not so good, but overall I did really well. So, though I had been told it was normal, I was surprised to feel mildly depressed after the final radiation treatment.

I thought a lot about Lazarus during the months before I felt restored to life. What was it like for him to be dead and suddenly find himself alive? How did it feel to emerge from the tomb, his burial bands thrown aside, his face uncovered? He was naked as a newborn, all his senses on heightened alert. He must have smelled the stench Martha worried about. His eyes once again gazed at his loving sisters and his beloved friend Jesus.

Most people have experiences that hint at what Lazarus knew. Like me, it might have been cancer or another serious physical illness. People trapped in a cycle of addiction, treatment, and relapse know it. Their families know it even more. And anyone who has experienced the mercy of the confessional knows the shock of freedom that forgiveness bestows.

Sometimes, in our panic and fear, we cry out like Mary did, ‘Lord, if you had been here . . .’ But Jesus is always with us, and he always acts ‘for the glory of God’ —sometimes when we want it, but always when we need it.”

[During these weird virus times, “Lord, if you had been here…” Not for our wants – I want this to end today! – but for our needs – patience, kindness; spiritual virtues to see us through.]

Rachelle Linner
Rachelle Linner is a freelance writer, reviewer, and a spiritual director. She has a master of theological studies from Weston Jesuit School of Theology and a certificate in spiritual direction from the Franciscan Spiritual Direction Certification Program.

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