Fr. Kevin’s Column 2/21/21

Dear friends of God,

Today we delve into our Lenten walk together in a big way with the First Sunday of Lent. We hear in Mark’s Gospel that the “…Spirit drove Jesus into the desert…” The desert is a place of silence. The desert was a special place for the people of Jesus’ time. It was a reminder of their Exodus. It was a holy habitat. For some, the desert is a frightening locale. For me, when I think of the desert, I think of my time in Tucson at the Desert House of Prayer. I have spent some time there over the last number of Februarys on retreat taking time for intensive meditation. These opportunities have connected me deeply to our God who dwells within and all around us. I am looking forward to these times again when the pandemic is over and we can return to a more normal moment in our lives. When I make time for dedicated days of meditation, I feel a wholeness that I can often forget in the frenetic busyness of life that we all live in one way or another. For me, silence is the way to foster wholeness or as Father Peter Slattery, O.Carm. put it: “Silence is the way to foster holiness.” This need for silence that is so important to me is something that has developed over my adulthood. When I was younger, I had a hard time with silence. I even feared it. Along the way, when I began to meditate I learned that God could best be experienced in the silence of our lives: that silence and stillness were God’s platform for communication. In other words, “silence is God’s language.” Trappist Father Thomas Keating put it this way in his book Rising Tide of Silence:


Fr. Kevin’s Column 2/14/2021

Dear friends of God,
Happy Valentine’s Day!


Hopefully we are all treating our loved ones to something lovely during this time when we celebrate passion. Those we love are spouses and partners, family and friends. This day of passion, even though it is not a Christian feast, is a reminder that we need to expand our hearts with love and compassion for those to whom we entrust our lives. Our expanding hearts need to continually grow to include all of our sisters and brothers in the world, and even creation itself. Our Catholic Christian faith challenges us to grow in our passion for the human family. That is the example that Jesus has given us and calls us to live out as we take up our cross and follow after him. Jesus has set a pattern for how to be his follower. It is a life of love for the Father and of love for our neighbor. Love of God and love of neighbor are forever tied together. As humans we all suffer, and the love that is placed within us by God calls us to deep empathy for one another and our brothers and sisters in the human family.


The saintly and very human Dorothy Day put it this way in her book On Pilgrimage:


Love and ever more love is the only solution to every problem that comes up. If we love each other enough, we will bear with each other’s faults and burdens. If we love enough, we are going to light that fire in the hearts of others. And it is love that will burn out the sins and hatreds that sadden us. It is love that will make us want to do great things for each other. No sacrifice and no suffering will then seem too much.


Fr. Kevin’s Column 2/7/2021

Dear friends of God,

This week in our Gospel we continue delving a little deeper into the first chapter of Mark’s Gospel.

Three aspects of our passage for this weekend (Mark 1:29-39) strike me instantly.


  • Jesus took part actively and consciously in the worship of his Jewish Tradition. We can forget that Jesus was Jewish. He wasn’t the first Christian. He lived his whole life as a member of the faith of his ancestors. He was formed by these traditions. He knew the Hebrew Scriptures. Jesus was inspired by the God of his forebears to proclaim the coming Kingdom of God.


  • Jesus again is showing that he is a healer. He came for the healing of the world. Jesus healed the mother-in-law of Simon (imagine that our first Pope, St. Peter had a mother-in-law, a wife and likely children). In this passage, Jesus healed all who came to him with their infirmities. He didn’t check to make sure that they were the “right” kind of people. He embraced everyone and shared his healing love with everyone. Imagine what our Church might look like if we embraced all who came to our door with compassion. St. Benedict in his Rule for Benedictines has given us this wisdom from the year 516. “Let all guests who arrive be received as Christ.” (RB 53:1). It is my hope that this wisdom will guide us as a faith community. May God use us as an instrument of healing for all who come through our doors.


Fr. Kevin’s Column 1/31/2021

Dear friends of God,

We are a people of life. Sadly, there are many who are people of lies. The truth that we live as Catholic Christians is that all lives are sacred. The lie that many tell and live is that only some lives deserve to be treated with dignity. John Paul II began his encyclical, Evangelium Vitae with these prophetic words: “The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus’ message. Lovingly received day after day by

the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as ‘good news’ to the people of every age and culture.” We believe in the sacredness of life from conception to natural death. On January 22nd, with great sorrow for our nation and the unborn we remembered the 48th anniversary of the legalization of abortion for the whole nation. From the earliest days of the Church, we have opposed abortion. The words of the psalmist share this intimate notion of God’s gift of life.


You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, because I am wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works! My very self you know. (Psalm 139:13-14)


Fr. Kevin’s Column 1/24/2021

Dear friends of God,

As I write this column, I am thinking of the tension that is taking place in our world at this moment.

By the time you read this, we will have transitioned from the Presidency of Donald Trump to the Presidency of Joe Biden. I am confident that we each share the same prayer that this will be done as it has from the inception of our nation, peacefully. Our present struggles suggest to me that we are deeply in need of transformation as both a nation and as a world. God continues to break into our lives, to offer us the gifts that we need to become our higher selves that he has created us to be and is our birthright as his children and as the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ. Last weekend I spoke of prayer as the vehicle for both our relationship with our God and with each other and also the way of personal and universal transformation God is calling us into in this present moment.


Maryknoll missionary priest Father Joe Veneroso recently shared the following poetic words on Twitter. I love the necessity of conversion and how traditional transformation is in our Catholic spiritual life:


Divinity into humanity
Water into wine
Wine into blood of Christ
Bread into body of Christ
Eucharist into us
Spiritual life is about transformation or it is nothing.


Fr. Kevin’s Column 1/17/2021

Dear friends of God,

We have fully entered into Winter Ordinary Time beginning this weekend. We have moved from the Christmas season and then entered into the intimate moment of Jesus’ baptism and beloved affirmation from the Father. In that moment of Jesus’ baptism, his call from the Father became clearer to him as he inaugurated the Kingdom of God.


We each have a call in that Kingdom of love. To paraphrase and adapt for our present context from the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: We need people “not in love with money but with justice. Not in love with publicity (we might say social media) but in love with humanity.” Each of us in our own way needs a conversion to love, love of God, love of neighbor, love of enemy and even love of ourselves. God has called each of us, given us an invitation to love.


Our first reading is from the First Book of Samuel. We hear God’s call to Samuel. We might not hear God calling us in such a strong auditory way, but God continually calls us to new life, new relationship, and to his Kingdom of love compassion, justice and peace. We simply need to take the time to listen. As we continue with these January days, I encourage all of us to take time for silence every day and sit with the Lord with no agenda and no expectations. It will be like sitting comfortably with an old friend.


Fr. Kevin’s Column 1/10/2021

Dear friends of God,

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. This is a bridge day in our Church year. It is both the end of the Christmas Season as well as the beginning of our Winter Ordinary Time which lasts until Ash Wednesday on February 17. We use the term Ordinary Time and that can be easily misunderstood. It is not that all of our life of faith is not extraordinary. We call these weeks “ordinary” because we count them. For example, this next week is the first week of Ordinary Time. Therefore, today’s feast is both the last day of Christmas and the beginning of the first week of Ordinary Time. Howard Thurman was the spiritual mentor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and many other leaders of the civil rights movement. He was a pastor and a deeply contemplative man who lived a life of nonviolence. He wrote this lovely poem that is perfect as we cross the bridge from Christmas to Ordinary Time.


The Work of Christmas

When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins: to find the lost,


Fr. Kevin’s Column 1/3/2021

Dear friends of God,

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany. Of course, we are also in the midst of beginning a new year. I never want to rush time, but this year might be an exception to that desire to be in the present moment. The year 2020 has been like no other for all of us. It is my hope that each of us learned to pray in a new way during the last year. I know for myself, I have been enriched by the time of solitude. I needed to be drawn in to deeper prayer to offset the challenges and anxiety that COVID-19 created for so many of us. Twenty-twenty was a year to remember that Jesus is Emmanuel: God with us. As I said on the fourth Sunday of Advent, when sharing a quote that I recently came across:

God with us.

Not God against us. Not God apart from us.

Not God apathetic towards us. God with us.


Fr. Kevin’s Column 12/27/2020

Dear friends of God,

Merry Christmas! I hope that the four weeks of Advent have been good preparation for the arrival of Christ in our world. Our annual Advent sojourn reminds us that as Catholic Christians we believe in three comings of Christ.

  • At Christmas we remember in a loving way the birth of the child Jesus 2,000 years

Trappist Father Thomas Merton offers this image for us to contemplate this Christmas:

The Child that lies in the manger, helpless and abandoned to the love of His creatures, dependent entirely upon them to be fed, clothed, and sustained, remains the Creator and Ruler of the universe. … He wills to be helpless that we may take Him into our care. He has embraced our poverty … in order to give us his riches.

  • During Advent, we annually remember the challenging truth that at the end of the age, we will be judged by how we love as Christ calls us to love.


Fr. Kevin’s Column 12/20/2020

Dear friends of God,

It is difficult to believe that we are heading towards the end of Advent and speeding towards Christmas. Recently, Benedictine monk and Christian meditation teacher, Father Laurence

Freeman wrote in an article these thought- provoking Advent words.

“Advent means ‘coming towards.’ What is coming at us, at the speed of light, is therefore, already here.”

It is a reminder for me that Advent honors three arrivals of Christ: in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago, at the end of time to bring about a new heaven and a new earth and Christ comes everyday within our hearts. I think that we struggle most with this third coming of Christ. At least I do.