Archive for September, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Someone’s Son

There’s a busy highway that runs through our city where the homeless stand on the corners begging as the cars speed past and drivers preoccupied with cell phones or music vibrating their windows hardly give them a second glance. Everybody’s used to them. It’s the same guys…every week, almost every day.

There was one who caught my eye one afternoon ..who tugged at my heartstrings because minus his under the bridge attire he could have been my son. He was so young. Against all my instincts I rolled down the window and called him to the car. Drunk and high he put out his hand to collect whatever charity was offered.

I couldn’t hold back the tears …His mom was… somewhere.. maybe praying God would change her son’s life. Maybe he had a sister or a brother, but right now his only siblings were the phantoms of the streets.

Young man, I don’t have much ,but I know this ..Jesus loves you .” I gave him a rosary, a prayer card and some money for lunch. I’ll never know if he spent it on food or booze, but he put a blessed rosary in his pocket..and thanked me with great sincerity.

The light turned green and the cars rolled on about their business.

May God’s mercy touch this young man’s pain and heal him…and may his mother be comforted in knowing; God is the Father who awaits the homecoming of all His prodigal sons.


Picture from ABC News

posted by Caroline  |   7:09 PM  |   0 comments
Friday, September 24, 2010

Exaltation of the Cross

Mass Readings

Nm 21:4-9; Ps 78:1,2,34-38; Phil 2:6-11; Jn 3:13-17

“Do Not Forget The Works of the Lord”

That’s exactly what those poor Israelites did.” With their patience worn out from their journey they complained against God and Moses. “Who doesn’t understand being worn out in the journey of life ? They were “disgusted” with the “”wretched” provisions they’d been given in the desert and didn’t hold back their grumbling.

I’ve been a grumbling Israelite more times in my life than I’d care to remember and while I’ve never been bitten by the likes of poisonous saraph serpents, I have had some tough love reminders from my Heavenly Father to help me recall how much I needed Him.

Even rebellion didn’t hold back the mercy of God, for there in the wilderness by God’s instruction, Moses made a bronze snake and lifted it up on a pole with a crossbar . All who were bitten were to look upon it and live.

There is the OT prefigurement of the mystery of the cross of Christ by which we, who have been bitten by the poison of sin, can look upon Christ and be healed.

I teach my CCD students that God is… a mystery, but that doesn’t mean He’s a puzzle.

He created us to know and love Him..

Remember His works.

We Adore You O Christ

and we praise You, because

by Your Holy Cross You

have redeemed

the world


posted by Caroline  |   8:05 PM  |   0 comments
Sunday, September 12, 2010

I Am a Prodigal

Readings for Mass

First Reading:Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14
Responsorial Psalm:
Psalms 51:3-4, 12-13, 17, 1
Second Reading:
First Timothy 1:12-17
Luke 15:1-32or15:1-10

I ‘ve heard a lot of sermons on today’s gospel of the lost sheep and the prodigal son, but it wasn’t a homily that best illustrated to me my prodigal heart, it was an answer to a prayer I’d asked of the Lord; one He has never failed to answer for me.

Lord, show me myself.”

This is what He did at church one Sunday 15 years ago as I sat in prayer with my Bible open to the story of the prodigal son. Just happened to be where I was in Scripture that day. I was meditating on the woes of the younger son who thought autonomy from God was his ticket to happiness and fled his Father’s house with his share of the inheritance. I easily conjured up pictures of many prodigals I knew that I had long written off…

Thank goodness that’s not me, Lord ..You know I’d never leave Your house. “ And sad to say I went through a litany of who I was glad to be as His daughter. No, I’d never been a tax collector thief, or a sinner of the type the scribes and Pharisees complained Jesus drew near to. Deep in my heart I wanted God to reward what a “good girl” I’d been for Him..

Are you cringing ? Thankfully, before I got too deep into my Pharisaic prejudice , the Lord sent a messenger to awaken the pride of my heart. I looked up to see a young man in his late teens walking down the aisle of the church. His unkempt, shoulder length , matted blond hair swung back and forth as he came down the aisle dressed in jeans with holes in significant places where there should have been material . Tattoos covered his bare arms which were easy to identify because he was wearing a white muscle shirt. He had worn out flip flops announcing his every step and in his hands he carried…..a Bible. I had no time for any more analysis because the next thing I knew, he sat down right next to me.

I felt like church lady on Saturday Night Live…

“And who might this be…..Sa-tan?”

He was so out of place in the milieu of average folks. Suddenly, he got up walked to the front of the altar and fell prostrate down on his face before God. On his seat he had left his Bible which I could now see was so well worn it was falling apart and he’d underlined so much the ink was bleeding through the pages.

My senses were shocked by the contrast of his humility and my pride — I couldn’t hold back the tears.

Then that still small voice began to witness to my heart;

1 Tim 1: 15 immediately came to mind,

“….Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners . Of these….. I am the foremost.”

There’s a lot of water under the bridge of my life since that fateful morning in church, but I can assure you I have NEVER forgotten that young man. Not likely I ever will.

He is the Lord’s reminder to me that he welcomes everyone home to his house even when they don’t look like they belong, even when the world has decided they are outside of His Mercy ……even when they have been the worst of sinners,

like me.


posted by Caroline  |   4:43 AM  |   0 comments
Thursday, September 09, 2010

Count the Cost

Gospel Reading

Luke 14:25-33

After a profound adult conversion in my 20′s, I became a serious student of the Bible. While the passion for continued study has never left me, any romanticized notions I had of following Christ were put to the test as I encountered the trials of life and Scriptures like Lk 14 :25-33. Even as a young woman, I realized that true discipleship was going to cost me.. something.

To this day, this gospel account takes my breath away. It is so counter to the “it’s all about me” generation we live in . Luke tells us great crowds were traveling with Jesus (vs.25 ) No doubt they were following Him; He’d performed miracles! Who wouldn’t want to follow someone who could fix whatever you needed when you needed it? Jesus, however, decides to make a clarification for them.

Turning to address the crowds, who in Jesus’ day were very family centered, and telling them that unless they hate their family they couldn’t be His disciple had to be beyond shocking. It was to me as a young girl from an Italian family with roots deeper than a Gulf water oil rig. I thought then that family was supposed to be the center of my life. It was even harder after I became a wife and mother.

Then Jesus becomes even more demanding; you must hate your own life and carry your cross or you cannot be My disciple . How is that supposed to mesh with the Eat, Pray Love feel good about me philosophy of today. If you build a tower with out counting the cost, Jesus says to them, you might not be able to finish the work. Sometimes people say to me,

“ Oh you Catholics have some kind of weird attachment to pain. Why do you follow a God with a cross?”

Because Jesus demands it of His followers and to be a disciple of His is serious business.

I will tell you how I went from realizing discipleship was going to cost me something to… understanding it would cost me EVERYTHING: I have many times had to forgive the unforgivable, when I wanted revenge, I had to pray for peace, when I wanted to hate I had to surrender to love, when I wanted to fulfill my own desires I had to die to myself. I learned over the years that what Jesus wanted was to be the center of my life. Everything ….even that of the highest value, must give way to the kingdom of God in my heart.

Lest I leave you with the impression that I’m some kind of super spiritual signorina, let me be the first to tell you that were it not for the grace of my salvation in Christ, my diseased soul would have lived out it’s days mired in the poison of it’s flesh.

We are not slaves to a wicked taskmaster. He has freed us by the power of the cross to be sons and daughters of God. Loving Him above all is what I owe to the only one who, while I was yet a sinner, died …..for me. Rom 5:8


posted by Caroline  |   4:59 AM  |   0 comments