Jesus asks a direct question. What do you want me to do for you? The blind man, not surprisingly, wants to see. He knows what to ask Jesus for to get attention. He wants pity and mercy from Jesus. He knows he needs that. And it is this knowledge that leads to the faith that saves him. Jesus is clear. The blind man’s faith has saved him.
How would you answer this question from Jesus? What do you want Jesus to do for you?
Grit is a concept in education that is mentioned a lot these days. Grit is the characteristic that allows someone to stick with doing something hard. It is the resource that allows us to overcome obstacles. Grit means we do not give up easily. Rather, we stay with something until we are successful. Especially for children from difficult situations, grit is often the difference between being successful or unsuccessful.
Grit can also apply to prayer. It can be difficult to stick with prayer when it does not seem to be helpful. When we do not sense the presence of God, we can be tempted to give up. And yet for the saints, the ability to remain faithful to prayer even when it was not easy made the difference.
Talk to just about anyone these days about science and religion, and you at likely to hear they are not compatible. The argument often is reduced to something where science is about facts, where religion is about fairy tales. Science deals with what is true, religion deals with something else. Yet, even a brief consideration of the foundations of science illustrates the primary role the quest for God has had in science.
Most do not realize the Big Bang was first proposed by a Jesuit priest, Fr. Pierre Lamaitres. Most forget the beginning of genetic studies can be tied to the Augustinian monk, Gregor Mendel. One of the preeminent paleontologists of the twentieth century was a priest, Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. St. Albert the Great was a very knowledgeable botanist. Dr. Francis Collins, head of the human genome project and director of the National Institute of Health, is a Christian. And so, both science and religion are a quest for the Truth, which for us, is the person Jesus Christ.
There are moments when we see something so beautiful it stirs our deepest emotions. The birth of a child stirs parents deepest emotions. A marriage proposal can stir the deepest emotions. Weddings, baptisms, ordinations can touch us deeply. Today we learn that God’s wisdom touches us more deeply than all those things.
That is why there are so many words used to describe it in the first reading. God’s wisdom is well beyond our understanding. Still, God allows us to get tastes of wisdom, to the degree we can understand. And those are precious moments. Those moments stir the very depths of our soul
The DePorres Pages features short prayers from the tradition of Saint Dominic in this new series known as The Dominican Moment. These are short pieces for meditation and prayer. They are either quotes from Dominican saints, (Saint Dominic actually wrote little), or by those inspired by him. At the end of each clip, there are reflection questions to pray about and reflect on during the day.
Today is the patronal feast of my Dominican province. It is the feast of Saint Albert the Great. Probably best known as the teacher of Saint Thomas Aquinas, he himself was a brilliant thinker. His skill was recognized as a botanist, a theologian, a bishop, and a loyal friend. His overall desire was to be a good Dominican, and preaching was a tremendous gift of his.
Today’s readings remind us of the importance of appropriate power. Imagine the consequences for us if Saint Albert the Great became jealous of his brilliant student, Saint Thomas Aquinas. Imagine how different his example would have been had he said “no” to the Church. Clinging to power for its own sake leads to weakness. Accepting God’s power leads to the type of power that lasts forever.
We tend to belittle ourselves. We tend to put ourselves down. We often cannot see ourselves for what we are. God made us for so much. We are made to live forever. We are made in God’s image and likeness. And yet, we often settle for so much less than that. Fleeting pleasures, quick and fading glory. We often treat ourselves badly, when God wants to treat us so well.
But when we trust in God, when we live justly, we are in God’s hands. We then experience a glimpse of what God longs to give us. We can experience, for ever so briefly a moment, a small share of the immense glory of God. If we can remember what the taste of that glory is like, we will never settle for anything less.
Do you love justice? Do you seek God’s way? Are you willing to sacrifice for what is right? Can you live according to the wisdom of God? Today’s readings remind us of the stark choice between God’s love, God’s justice, and the shortcuts we sometimes wish to take. Following God can be hard. We can be tempted to turn away from God.
But if we can discover even a little of how much God loves us, we could see that whatever appearance of struggle is worth it. All this week we shall see just how much it is God wants us to share in his love and his life. God gives us the grace; God shows us the beauty. Seek the grace to say yes to God.
Dishonest Wealth: Homily for Saturday, November 11, 2017 Daily Homilies
It is important to understand some background for today’s gospel, for on the surface it can be confusing. What exactly does Jesus mean when he suggests friendship with dishonest wealth? I had to go to the footnotes in the New American bible to get some understanding. It has been clear the Pharisees are no heroes of Jesus. They know the Law, but they do not follow the Law. Jesus is careful to encourage people to listen to what the Pharisees say.
Jesus is also careful to encourage people to put their trust in God. They are to follow the Law, both civil and divine, they are not to trust in money, for money alone will not save. And remember the heart is reserved for God alone.
A Thief is rewarded – The Dishonest Steward: Homily for Friday, November 10, 2017 Daily Homilies
It can be the most frustrating part of life. I am referring to those people who get out of one bad situation by doing something dishonest. It can be so frustrating. Why is it that bad people seem to get away with doing bad things? And why is it that anger is often directed at the most vulnerable and weak?
Jesus addresses this today. When someone is dishonest, they are good at being dishonest. This is not unlike the work of Saint Thomas Aquinas on virtue and vice. Borrowing from Aristotle, Aquinas refers to vice at the repeated bad action. It is repeated so often it becomes a habit or a way of life. The opposite is a virtue, which is a repeated good action that becomes a way of life. While trusting in God may not always lead to success in this life, it is the pathway to eternal life.