Fr. Kevin’s Column 11/28/2021

Dear friends of God, Happy Advent!

Advent is the beginning of our liturgical year. It is a moment of new beginnings as we prepare for Christ’s birth in Bethlehem 2000 years ago and every day in our hearts. Advent is a time when we recognize that God always keeps his promise to be present to us.   The prophet Jeremiah reminds us that “The Lord is our justice.”   From his chosen people God has raised up a savior, Jesus Christ. We are fortunate that God is his love has shared the gift of the Messiah with the whole human race and all of creation. St. Paul’s first Letter to the Thessalonians reminds us that God desires that we “…abound in love for one another and all…”. Advent is a time to begin to love again. Our world certainly needs to enter in the Advent mode of living where we place the love of all at the center for our lives and our choices. We believe that God is love and when we fail to love our neighbor, our enemy and ourselves, we fail to live as God desires us to live in harmony and peace. It is fitting that Advent is a new year for us because it is an opportunity to be the loving people that we have been created to be as we await the birth of the incarnation of Divine Love.

Love is more than words. Love is reflected in our actions. Love is as simple as sharing our daily bread or daily spaghetti. Advent is a time of prayer and almsgiving in a similar way to Lent, but this gets forgotten in our consumer-addicted culture. I want to encourage us to assist our local Pinconning Area Emergency Food Pantry with this Reverse Advent Calendar. You can simply leave your contributions in the pantry box which is found at the entrance of our church.

Let’s offer care for our Pinconning community as we prepare for the coming of the Christ Child on Christmas.

December 1 box of cereal
December 2 peanut butter
December 3 stuffing mix
December 4 boxed potatoes
December 5 macaroni and cheese
December 6 canned fruit
December 7 canned tomatoes
December 8 canned tuna
December 9 brownies
December 10 jar of applesauce
December 11 noodles
December 12 stuffing
December 13 canned pork & beans
December 14 box of crackers
December 15 package of rice
December 16 package of oatmeal
December 17 package of spaghetti
December 18 spaghetti sauce
December 19 chicken noodle soup
December 20 tomato soup
December 21 can corn
December 22 can mixed vegetables
December 23 can carrots
December 24 can green beans

 

As Catholics, we have a three-year cycle of readings for our weekend liturgies. They are called Year A, Year B and Year C. We have just completed year B and are now entering Year C. Year C is primarily dedicated to the Gospel of Luke. As preparation for this year, you might find it helpful to read that Gospel. It will give a large snapshot of the Gospel of Luke and how Jesus is portrayed in that Gospel. As Catholics, many of us still struggle with reading Scripture.   Take some time, it might surprise you!

 

May God bless you in the love that you share during this new year and as we anticipate the coming of Christmas soon and very soon.
 
Much love,
Father Kevin


Fr. Kevin’s Column 10/17/2021

Dear friends of God,

This weekend our gospel is Mark 10:35-45. We hear about James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who are seeking worldly power within the eternal kingdom of God. Those closest to Jesus completely missed the point of the reign of God that had come to fruition in the life and ministry of Jesus. Jesus was inaugurating a kingdom that was on Earth as it is in Heaven. It is a kingdom of justice and peace where we are realizing that we are each beloved children of God, and sisters and brothers of each other. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. recognized the jeopardy we are in if we fail to remember that we are all members of the family of God. He wrote prophetically that we “…must learn to live together as brothers or we will perish together as fools.” In our present world, those who are foolish seem to have the loudest voices. We need to search for those who are wise and ignore the fools. Jesus is the wisdom of God, so he is the wisest of wise ones. We need to seek his counsel and teachings found in the Gospels and in the teachings of the church. “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve…”. If we follow the way of Jesus, our lives need to be about service: serving our sisters and brothers in Christ; in particular, serving the most vulnerable in our community and in our world.

 

One pastor described the Christian way of living in the world in the following. The pastor reminds us that the litmus test for the Christian isn’t one that fits neatly into the dualism of the world – where there are only two sides: “It’s incredibly challenging when Christians on various sides think the other side is delusional, blind, trapped, etc. How do we know who is being faithful to God? The litmus test, I believe, is simple: Love. Cruciform love. That’s how we know.” In the end, we will be judged by God on how we loved. The love of the Christian is the same love of Jesus. It is one that is self-sacrificial, rather than self-serving. Again and again, we must respond to the world with service flowing from generous love and compassion.
 

Next weekend (October 23-24) at our Masses, we will be celebrating the anointing of the sick for those in our community who might be need of healing prayers and the anointing with the sacred oils for the sick. There is great power in prayer, and in the gathering of the community to pray for those who need the support of the community and the healing from our Divine physician. Jesus, in his earthly ministry, was clearly a healer. From the earliest days of the Church, Christians knew intuitively of the healing love of God. Celebrating the anointing of the sick in community reminds us of the role that we are to play in our modern world as women and men of healing. May this time draw us closer to each other and to the heart of our healing God.

 

Next weekend, we also have the opportunity to pray the Rosary as a community after the 9AM Mass. We will pray the traditional Marian prayer in church. I would encourage everyone to take part in this prayer if able. There are so many ways for us to pray as Catholic Christians, and all of them are meant to draw us closer to Jesus and to each other. This closeness helps us grow in love for the community that we are called to create as disciples of Jesus Christ.

 

May God bless you with peace in these fall days as we see more and more that our God is part of the changing of times and seasons.

Much love,
 
Fr. Kevin


Fr. Kevin’s Column 9/26/2021

Dear friends of God,

 

A number of years ago, I came across a way of glimpsing how God is active in our lives. It is beginning to see that Jesus is the Teacher Within. I originally saw that way of seeing Jesus as the title for a book and it touched my heart in such a way that it continues to have an impact on my own experience of Jesus. I have intentionally capitalized that since it is a reminder that Jesus in his divinity, has shared the fullness of God’s life within each of us. Jesus is the Teacher of all teachers. We traditionally believe that Jesus is the Logos; that is, the Word of God.   John’s gospel begins with the Word: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Word is God’s creative spark enlivening all of creation from the moment that creation began with the Big Bang. A friend of mine is a Dominican priest and theologian. He often says that “God creates evolutely;” meaning that God creates through the evolution. During the evolutionary process God gave humanity a soul which truly made us human. Throughout all of time, and even before time as we know it, God was sharing the life of the Trinity through the gift of the Logos, the Word. When God was ready, the Word became flesh in Jesus Christ. Jesus was born because it has always been God’s desire to share the fullness of life with us-his creation. God continually loves us with a love beyond our understanding. Because of that unconditional love, God continually shares his Word with us.

The Carmelite mystic St. John of the Cross offered this usage of the Word: ‘The Father spoke one word from all eternity, and he spoke it in silence, and it is in silence that we hear it.” This is why it is so important to take silence during our time of prayer. In our prayer, we certainly need to talk with God, but at the same time we simply need to sit in the silence of God’s presence: Sitting with Jesus, the Teacher Within.

God our Father continually shares the Word with us and the word that Jesus, the Word of God continually says to all of creation is peace. That was the first word that came out of his mouth after the resurrection.   Christ always calls us to peace just as our creator God always shares his Word with us. It is a reminder to me that words matter…the Word matters.   It is so easy for us to forget that words matter and rather speak and act for peace act in a way that obstructs the Word in our hearts and in our world. Jesus, the Teacher Within is continually showing the way of peace because Christ is peace itself. In a world of violence and division, we are to be people of peace and nonviolence. We have the capacity to move mountains for a new world where God reigns with peace, mercy and compassion.

This morning I presided at our school Mass. I remind the kids that they will learn so much in our school in areas like math, science, social studies and English. These are essential areas of study and will prepare them for life. I told them that God has given them their brains and their gifts and talents not simply for their own benefit but for the life of the world. God has made us his own and calls us to share our lives with our sisters and brothers. The most important things that our children will learn at St. Michael’s School are about God, and the skills to grow in relationship with the God who has loved each of us even before the dawn of creation.

 

May each of us be open to Jesus our Teacher Within.
 
Much Love, 
Fr. Kevin


Fr. Kevin’s Column 9/12/2021

Dear friends of God,

Father Bede Griffiths, OSB Cam. had this profound insight after decades of monastic life in both England (for the first half of his life) and in India (for the second half of his earthly life).

“I suddenly saw that all the time it was not I who had been seeking God, but God who had been seeking me. I had made myself the centre of my own existence and had my back turned to God.”

Imagine that-God is continually seeking each of us. We simply need to pay closer attention to the movements of the Spirit to recognize God’s Presence in our midst. The good news is that whether we realize it or not, and whether we call on him or not, God is always tight with us, loving us into existence. As Dr. Karl Jung, a Swiss psychologist put it: “Bidden or not bidden, God is present.” Dr. Jung had that quote above the door of his home. That might be a good quote to have around our own homes and certainly in our own hearts. Bidden or not bidden, God is present. We simply need to turn around and see God right there. There is something consoling for me struggling to understand that there is nothing that I can do to earn God’s presence and there is nothing that I can do that would push God away from me. God is our relentless Divine lover who simply wants to be with us. May each of us turn toward others and to God and leave ourselves aside as we follow the Lord.

This week I will be away for an interfaith experience of mediation. I will keep all of you in prayer and ask that you do the same for me. I will be learning more and more about how prayer and meditation can be transformative as we grow into the true selves that God created us to be, and leave behind the false self, our persona, that so often we think of as our real identity. Over the last number of years, I have been working on my own growing understanding of God’s presence and action in our world and in my life. Taking time for silence and stillness is one of the ways that I open the eye of my own heart to God’s faithfulness.

Trappist monk Fr. Thomas Merton decades ago had an epiphany that reflects our true selves that we seem to miss. He experienced this mystical moment as he was in Louisville for an appointment away from his monastery. He described his experience in his book Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander in this way:

“In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self- isolation in a special world, the world of renunciation and supposed holiness. This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud. I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.”

We are shining like the sun, but we don’t seem to notice the Divine life that radiates from each of us. Imagine if we noticed this about each other. How would we respond to each other, how would we share love for each other, for all of creation and our very universe?

May each of us be open to the radiance of God in our lives and relationships.
 
Much Love,
Fr. Kevin


Fr. Kevin’s Column 9/5/2021

Dear friends of God,

Happy Labor Day!

This weekend is more than just about enjoying the waning days of summer. It is more than about gathering with friends and family to BBQ. It is a day when we remember the importance of labor as an aspect of human dignity. In our Catholic Christian Tradition, there is a long history of honoring human labor as well as fighting for the rights of workers. That Tradition continues today, and is as necessary today, or maybe even more so, then it was 100 years ago.

Saint John Paul II was a great philosopher. In his younger days, he was a laborer. In 1981, he wrote an encyclical titled Laborem Exercens (On Human Work) that called for a more just economic system for those who labor in our world. He knew that the market economy was broken. Pope John Paul II was highly critical of Soviet style communism, but he was equally critical of the market economy that we have created. I can only imagine what he is thinking in heaven as we have billionaires fly to the stars while our neighbors are starving. In the encyclical from 1981 he wrote this:

“We consider it our duty to reaffirm that the remuneration of work is not something that can be left to the laws of the marketplace; nor should it be a decision left to the will of the more powerful. It must be determined in accordance with justice and equity; which means that workers must be paid a wage which allows them to live a truly human life and to fulfill their family obligations in a worthy manner.” (#15)

We are still fighting for fair pay. A good example would be the atrocious minimum wage that we provide to so many workers in our nation. This might seem far afield to some regarding our Catholic Faith. But we need to remember that how we relate to the world is a reflection of the faith that we embrace. It is about loving our neighbor. Human dignity is at the center of our faith as Catholics. If we don’t protect the dignity of those who labor, it seems challenging for us to say that we follow Jesus who knew the experience of working with his own hands and shedding sweat from his brow, just as he knew what it felt like to shed water and blood from his side during his crucifixion.

Our second reading this weekend comes from the Letter of James. James is a short letter (only 5 chapters) but quite direct in its teaching that to have faith means that one needs works as well. My grandmother would say that talk is cheap.

Our faith in Jesus Christ needs to flow in our relations to each other and especially to our poorer brothers and sisters. We will hear the following proclaimed from chapter 2 of this letter:

“If a man with gold rings on his fingers and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here, please,” while you say to the poor one, “Stand there,” or “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil designs?”

Treating each other with our God-given dignity is essential to our faith and goes back to the earliest days of the church -and even to Jesus himself who had what the Church now calls a “preferential option for the poor.” Jesus was the incarnation of the God of Love, and in his earthly life was born to a poor family far away from the center of the known world. But that is where God decided to plant himself in our human family. God became poor to care for the poorest among us, and to work with his own two hands as a workman like so many who labor today in our world.

Much love,
Fr, Kevin


Fr. Kevin’s Column 8/15/2021

Dear Friends in God,
 

This Sunday, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. God’s gift to Mary of her Assumption, body and soul, into heaven is what we all anticipate at the end of time. For us, we will die at some point, and for a moment, our souls and bodies will be separated. However, in God’s own time our bodies and souls will once again be reunited in the resurrection of the body. Then, all of creation will once again be united as God desires. God came to be one with us to save us in our entirety. Our bodies and souls are meant to be together. Our belief in the afterlife is much more about Life after life rather than an escape plan for another world. The deepest desire of God is to bring his healing love to all of creation. The gift of his son, and the yes of Jesus’ mother and our sister Mary, was the way that God has chosen to save all of us body and soul.

In our lives of faith, we are called to deeper and deeper faith in a God who loves us unconditionally. When our loved ones die, our hearts are broken, but at the same time, we believe that death never has the final word. I know from my own experience that I still grieve the loss of my mom and dad. But at the same time, I am happy that their journey to God has led them into the rest of God. Recently I came across a lovely song written by Camaldolese Benedictine Monk, Fr. CyprianConsiglio OSB, that he wrote for the recent death of his father.  I am sharing the link where it can be found on Youtube. I hope that you can give it a listen and that it speaks to you as it has for me. https://bit.ly/3xSPi26 Listening to it reminded me of the intimacy that God calls us to during our lives and that we fully experience in the deepest way after our own deaths. 
 

Today I was listening to a podcast about silence and the speaker mentioned that when she first went on a silent retreat, the nun who welcomed her to the retreat center as she led her to the room for the weekend, said to “enjoy God.” That struck me as an important notion to embrace. I don’t think most of his hold onto the idea that we are even able to “enjoy God.” Maybe we fear God, are intimidated by God, do our best to appease God or don’t want to disappoint God. But the truth is that those other notions don’t reflect the healthy relationship that we are created to have with God. We are to be in awe of the way that God loves us, to open ourselves to God’s permanent presence in our lives. We are to see God as a relentless lover and yes we are to even to “enjoy God” as much as he enjoys us. Imagine our time with God as quality time with a lover or a dear friend. We know that feeling when we are with someone who knows us for who we are in our imperfection and yet we are perfect for them. We are all imperfect people and at the same time we are perfect for God. So, please in these lovely days, “enjoy God.”

It is difficult to believe that it is already mid-August. I would encourage all of us to enjoy as much of these summer days as possible. I know, for me, that there is something invigorating about warmer days. My skin shimmers with happiness at the warmth of the sun. As I close this column, I think that it is time for me to take a walk, bask in the sun and “enjoy God.”
 
Much love,
Fr. Kevin


Fr. Kevin’s Column 8/8/2021

Dear friends of God,

August 8th is the day that we remember the great contemplative preacher St. Dominic. He was the founder of the Order of Preachers at about the same time that St. Francis of Assisi was founding the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans). Both of these religious orders have greatly influenced me in my life and in my ministry. As a young adult, I spent time discerning with the Capuchin Franciscans. I quickly realized that this was not the life that God was calling me to at that point in my life, but the Franciscan ideal of care for the poorest among us continues to influence me and my life. My heart was changed forever as I began to see those who struggle economically as those who were the first to be befriended by Jesus.   His life was built on the love of our Father of Compassion that extended to everyone, but the poor had a special space in the Divine Heart. In my younger priestly years, I struggled with being a prayerful person. I knew that I wanted to pray, but I really did struggle with something that God wants to be so easy for us – friendship with God. That is where the Dominican Friars came into my life. I was at a particularly difficult point in my life. I went on retreat and the priest that was guiding me during those days asked if I had ever meditated. He taught me with the love of a teacher that truly cares for their student-with kindness and patience. The gift of meditation has changed my life forever. It grounds me every day in the present moment where God calls us to be in the life of God. One spiritual teacher, Ken Wilber describes the gift of mediation in this way: “Meditation has always been the royal road to the Kingdom of God.” Today I thank God for the gift of the Franciscans and the Dominicans and their continued impact on my life. The Franciscans taught me to love my neighbor that struggles with the basic necessities of life, such as food and shelter, and the Dominicans showed me a new, yet ancient, way of loving God and even myself in a beautiful way.

Recently Pope Francis shared the following wisdom to our human family and our frenetic activity: “Brothers and sisters… Let us learn how to take a break, to turn off the mobile phone to gaze into the eyes of others, to cultivate silence, to contemplate nature, to regenerate ourselves in dialogue with God.” That is very good advice in our time and especially during the summer when many of us have the privilege of traveling. We all need times to be re-created by God. This idea comes to my mind more and more. That is why we need to take time every day for prayer and for fun. God desires that we grow as people and take time to rest and recreate. Let us take time to look into the eyes of those whom we love, rest in the quiet of God’s presence, and to walk in the ways of the Lord during these waning summer days. This last week, I did just that with some short days of hiking. It was a time to stretch my legs and my soul. I certainly kept you in prayer as I walked in the nature that God has created as his first Cathedral.

 

Next weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Since the feast falls on Sunday, the liturgy for the weekend will honor Mary, our Mother and our Sister. We will also host our annual mission speaker who comes this year from the Sisters of Charity. May God open our hearts and minds to the needs for the missions in the United States and around the world.

Enjoy these summer days for re-creation!
 
Much Love,
Fr. Kevin


Fr. Kevin’s Column 8/1/2021

Dear friends of God,

Faith can be a challenging word for many of us. A traditional definition from theology by the great scholar St. Anselm is that theology is “faith seeking understanding.” That might seem far removed from our everyday experience. I don’t think many of us think about theology: the study of God. But we are always marinated in God’s presence. For me to think about God’s presence and action is both an occupational hazard and a gift as a priest and preacher. As a parish priest, I have the gift of meeting so many different people in our parish and our local community. I have found this benefit of ministry in each of my assignments. I am better for the people that I have met in my years as a priest for our diocese. I met some of them in their death. That might sound strange, but being present to families and having them share their grief with me has taught me so much about God and how God calls each of us to faith in our unique ways.

 

Recently, some thoughts about faith came to my mind as I was preparing a funeral homily. I want to share some of these thoughts as I continue to understand the impact of faith has on my own relationship with God and neighbor, and as I minister as a parish priest.

 

  • Faith is active and It might be personal, but faith is never a private endeavor – just about God and me. It is so much more than that. As Catholics we see faith as a relationship: our relationship with our God and with our neighbor.

 

  • A friend of mine suggested something that continues to challenge and inspire me every day: “Faith is a way of seeing, and consequently, it is about a way of ”

 

My wise friend didn’t mean in a “holier than thou” way. Have you met those folks who think that they are better than anyone else because of their church membership? They attend church but then become mean spirited people

  • Faith as lived by Jesus means that we love with a love that breaks down walls and barriers.

 

  • Faith as loving how Jesus loved means that we ought not be afraid to

 

  • Faith is knowing that God is always for

 

He continually has our backs; we as disciples of Jesus are to care for those who have “their back against the wall.” People who have “their backs against the wall” are those who society seems to have forgotten, those who are left behind in the successes of the world. That might seem like a new idea, but I would suggest that is where Jesus’ placed his priorities. He lived what the church calls the “preferential option for the poor.” If we are to follow Jesus, we need to live the same way. Look around our world, our nation and our neighborhoods and find those who have the roughest time in our society. These are the people who have had their backs against the wall and we need to cover them with our active love.

 

These are simply thoughts crossing my mind in my own spiritual life and the growing relationship that I have with God and neighbor and my life as your priest.

 

May God bless us with a deeper understanding of faith as we stumble along the way of the Kingdom of God as followers of Jesus Christ!

 

Much love,
 
Fr. Kevin


Fr. Kevin’s Column 7/18/2021

Dear friends of God,

 

July 11th is the traditional day that we as Catholics remember the great Saint Benedict. I came across this lovely homily from 2014 given by a Camaldolese Benedictine from Big Sur, California. The preachers name was Father Robert Hale, OSB Cam. He passed away a few years ago, but his words still ring true.

 

“St. Benedict is a towering and ecumenical saint, celebrated on the Catholic, and also the Episcopal/ Anglican, and also Lutheran Calendars. And he is reverenced in the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Without him the Camaldolese wouldn’t be—we Benedictines who follow St. Benedict’s Rule. Nor would our Oblate family be, since our shared charism is also Benedictine.

One thinks of the thousands of abbeys, monasteries, convents down through the 1500 years following the Rule of St. Benedict, the hundreds of thousands of monks, nuns, sisters, Oblates and others influenced by his spirituality.

Many hundreds of books and articles have been written about Benedict’s spirituality as expressed in his Rule. Where does one begin in exploring that spirituality?

 

The highly reputed scholar of St. Benedict, Fr. Terrence Kardong, O.S.B., recommends that we begin with a foundational theme of the Rule, that is there all the way through, explicitly or at least implicitly. He terms this: ‘The Divine Approach, the Presence of God.’ He notes that St. Benedict stresses this Divine Presence in every aspect and element of the monastic day (and night), in every nook and cranny of the monastery. We would hold that this would also be true of every Christian home and life. So we are called, the Rule teaches, to open our eyes to the ‘deifying light’ and the ears of our hearts to ‘the voice from heaven which daily calls out to us: If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.’ It doesn’t depend just on our efforts to remain open to this Presence, but primarily to God who is constantly reaching out to us, anticipating our yearning. And so St. Benedict quotes Isaiah quoting God: ‘And even before you ask me, I will say to you, ‘Here I am.’’ Not just there I was, or will be, but right now, right here, here I am. And this echoes the great I Am of God’s self-revelation to Moses in Exodus, and to Jesus’ several revealing of himself as ‘I am.’

 

And this Divine Presence isn’t a severe, judgmental Presence, God’s spiritual voice not terrifying for the committed monk (and Christian). St. Benedict insists: ‘What, dear brothers, is sweeter than the voice of the Lord calling to us?   See how the Lord in His love shows us the way of life.’ Of course, Christ Himself is that ‘way, truth and life,’ and so St. Benedict’s injunction that ‘nothing is to be preferred to the love of Christ.’

 

All this is not always evident at first, but St. Benedict assures us that with our effort and God’s grace, this awareness and spirit becomes more ongoing in our lives: ‘As we progress in this way of life and faith, we shall run on the path of God’s commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delights of love.’ This resonates with Christ’s first great commandment, to ‘love God with all our heart…’ and with Christ’s invitation, ‘abide in me, abide in my love.’ And with the basic New Testament affirmation that ‘God is love.’”

 

Last weekend I mentioned Father Henri Nouwen. Here are the titles of a few of his inspiring books. I would encourage you to check his writings out to see the how it might touch your faith.

 

The Return of The Prodigal Son
Reaching Out

In the Name of Jesus Adam

 

Much love,
Fr. Kevin

 



Fr. Kevin’s Column 7/4/21

Dear friends of God,

I remember when I was much younger, and I would sit too close to the television.   One day, a boyfriend of one of my sisters said, “Kev, if you sit that close to the TV, you are going to go blind.” I laughed it off. Well, I do need my glasses really badly now. I am blind as a bat without them. When I was growing up, television time was a real issue for many of us. At this point in our technological life, we need to pay attention to all of our “screen time.” With our “smart” phones, tablets, computers and televisions, we spend a lot of time watching something on a screen. Here is something instructive that I found online about our tv habits. Minimalist author Joshua Becker recently wrote the following on his website Becoming Minimalist:

“According to Nielsen, the average person watches 4 hours, 35 minutes of television each day. And the average American home now has more television sets than people. That threshold was crossed within the past two years. There are 2.73 TV sets in the typical home and 2.55 people. In the average American home, a television set is turned on for more than a third of the day—8 hours, 14 minutes to be exact. We are literally sitting on the couch while life passes us by. Experiment with owning less televisions. As a result, you will watch less. And when you do, you will be more apt to do it together as a family.”

That is simply the amount of time that we spend in front of the television. Again, it doesn’t include our other “screen” time.   We spend so much time in front of our screens that our ability to pay attention is being killed. I have to continually remind myself of the wisdom that we pay attention to that which we love. Philosopher Simone Weil speaks of attention in terms of generosity. She wrote, “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” In the 1980s there was a book published that tells us something insightful in its title, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. Without a doubt, this book was prophetic. We have amused ourselves to division and to death. We are murdering our capacity to pay attention to the others in our lives, especially the “others” in our world with whom we disagree. So much of our “screen” time is used by those who realize that hate sells as a way to market the diabolical division that we are experiencing in the present moment in our American culture. We need to open our hearts to each other with a generosity of compassion that connects us with each other through the heart of God.

We are failing to see with the eye of the heart. We are sitting way too close to our television, and we have been blinded.   We have become blind to God’s love for us and our call to love each other. It is time for us to pray for healing and reach out to Jesus, our Divine physician, who can bring us our sight again. As a people we need to admit our transgressions against our neighbors whom we are to love as our very selves. It is only through the love of God that we can see the world as God sees it in the unity of our one god and one human family. It is in loving that we can bring ourselves to live the Kingdom of God that we have been created to live in this life and the next. Let us not waste the time that we have been given. It is time to love our screens less and God and neighbor more.

Much love,

Fr. Kevin