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Do not be afraid. Just have faith. Mark 5:36

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John's Gospel is our very spiritual food during the Easter season. As we hear this Gospel and are attentive to the voice of Jesus, can He be any clearer about the command to love one another? Over and over Jesus says love one another, but more than that, He demonstrates such by His life among us what it means to love one another.


We walk with Jesus when we immerse ourselves in the Gospels, and we listen hopefully with every fiber of our beings, with our very soul. We are present when Jesus heals ten lepers, and we witness that only one returns in thanks. We are astounded as He heals the women who touches the hem of His cloak. We become deeply aware of His love as we witness Him washing the feet of His disciples.


We stand in awe as He forgives the woman taken to Him accused of adultery. We sit open mouthed as He tells the paralyzed man lowered through the roof that his sins are forgiven, and then to rise and walk. Over and over we encounter His love for all. Then too often we stand at a safe distance observing His love to the death, we are too often unwilling to demonstrate that we are His disciples.  


Despite His unfaltering love, despite our proclamations of faith, the easy path is too often that of seeking to be accepted by the world around us. We have learned to love conditionally even though we may at some level desire to love unconditionally. There are those who challenge our willingness to respond to Jesus’ invitation to love always.  


On Friday, the day He died, and on every day, may we make time to be there at the cross, willing to see every person the image of Christ Risen, the image at times of Christ crucified, Holy Spirit guide us in the path to truth in love.



“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”

John 15:12-17

From John, we read a continuation of Jesus’ discourse to His Apostles at the Last Supper. This particular passage brings to mind the popular question, “What Would Jesus Do (WWJD)?” Here, He tells us that there is no greater love than that which Jesus exemplified (for us), as demonstrated by His pending sacrifice.  He doesn’t say to only love Him. He says, “…love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

So, when we put on our shirts, bracelets or other form of “banner” that asks, “WWJD”, of whom are we asking this question, first and foremost? Are we looking within and using it as a reminder to ourselves in each and every moment? If the greatest commandment is to “love one another as Jesus loved”, then as Christians this “banner” must be ours first and foremost, not the person next to us. As believers and followers of Christ, therefore, our love must be selfless and unconditional, putting ourselves in the other persons’ shoes. 

Is my love personal? Sincere? Selfless? During and after times of trial, does my faith deepen as a result of following this command? 

Lord, You chose me to find ways to act in and share Your love (John 15:16). Because You chose me, give me strength and courage to love ALL (even the “most difficult”) as You love—sacrificing self for Your Greater Glory—serving others as You do. Jesus, Only You! J.O.Y.

Paul B.


For a little over 25 hours we were without power as a result of the storm on Tuesday Eve. What an opportunity to look within and observe in oneself how we take so much for granted. I must admit being without power left me a little frazzled, kind of out of sorts, even lost in a way.


At the same time I found myself reflecting on how dependent I should be in Our Lord as I found more time for prayer, I was able to see more clearly that all was in order. The distractions of the storm took on the perfection of God's creative action as I sensed His presence in the perfect and the imperfect. Inconvenience, the possibility of loss of food in the freezer, the lack of air-conditioning, inability to complete tasks that normally require electricity all were part of life for this moment. All will be well.


This little hiccup, interrupting our blessed lives was simply a reminder to me of how blessed we are, how we are the rich in a world where so many carry crosses that are heavy burdens. Why, I ask in the midst of this, am I so blessed with abundance when other brothers and sisters suffer and die for want?

As I picked up the mail, a further reminder was sent my way. Several pieces of mail and all begging letters. In these requests were the reminders of the imbalance of God's gifts. Children starving, lack of food, lack of education, lack of proper housing, lack of clothes and in comparison we have autos housed conveniently, we have food in abundance to see so much waste. How many would long to eat the scraps that fall from our tables?  As I listen to the Word this day, I pray for deeper understanding and the grace to share with those in need, I have so much. Is part of this abundance what God wants me recognize as belonging to others?



As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, unless it remains part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in Me.

John 15:4


Anyone who has ever tried to grow flowers, shrubs, trees, vines, etc., knows this “rule” of gardening and growing. Because of the prevalence of vineyards in the region, this was a vivid and real analogy for Jesus to use with His disciples. Try to separate any branch from the vine and see if it lasts—it won’t!


So it is with our own relationship with the Father. If we cut ourselves off from our relationship with Him, we do not last (in this life and, certainly, the next). The fullness of life, in earthly terms, and, more importantly, in heavenly (eternal) terms rests in remaining connected to God. God is our fullness in life, joy, love, and hope—complete faith. 


John the Baptist told his disciples as he exalted Christ (in response to their questions/concerns that people were “going to Jesus”, rather than to John (John 3:25-26), “….this joy of min is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:29-30) What leaves and fruits do we bear to show that “Christ the Vine” is flourishing as the root/main branch of who we are? Are our leaves and outgrowth, our fruits, examples of Christ-like attitudes, desires, and acts? Do we serve as an example of Him, drawing people closer to God by their witnessing of our flourishing fullness in Him?  


Just as a gardener prunes and destroys the branches, vines, and shoots that do not grow, we too should prune away the elements of our lives that do not allow us to grow and flourish as branches of Christ (the Vine). For if we do not wisely “prune ourselves”, the Father will, eventually, putting our eternal life in peril.  


Lord, as Your disciples, helps us to flourish by drawing strength from You, the Vine, so as remain united with You in God’s eternal Vineyard, flourishing in and with You.  J.O.Y.

Paul B.


Psalm 145:10-11, 12-13ab, 21 

Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom. 

How outstanding it is to be counted among those who are His friends! How do we go about making known the ‘glorious splendor’ that God has in store for us all? What are we doing on any given day at any moment that would have someone comment, ‘I want what they have going on in their life.’ 


Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD, and let your faithful ones bless you. 

Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might. 

We are included in all the works He has done and rightly we should be giving thanks for all that we have—it is all gift from God! As He blesses us endlessly, so too should we bless Him—thank Him—for the works He has bestowed not just for our little world around us but for the magnificence and majesty abounding throughout His universe! 


Making known to men your might and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. 

Your kingdom is a kingdom for all ages, and your dominion endures through all generations. 

How easy would it be for us to simply excuse the makings of the day as coincidence or happenstance…as we might often do. Instead, there is neither a breath taken nor an eye that is blinked from our perspective as humans that God has not put in His providence. From ‘day one’ to ‘day none’ He will see to our every step and breath as we choose to commit to Him with another gift He gives us—the gift of free will. 


May my mouth speak the praise of the LORD, and may all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever. 

In prayer and praise, in song and supplication, in all that we are and do, let us give our hearts, our minds, our bodies and souls back to the One who gives us life here in His kingdom on earth. He wants it that way so that we may spend our eternal life with Him in His kingdom beyond our dwelling here. 


Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.


Today we honor St. Mark. He gave us the Gospel, most probably as received from St. Peter. In any case, Mark's short Gospel provides a likely source for the writers of Matthew's and Luke's Gospel. Mark gets to the core of the Message and gives a clear picture of the human Jesus.


Today as we celebrate Eucharist, we are given a periscope from Mark sixteen. He succinctly lets us know what the followers of Jesus will accomplish, filling us in on the signs. As I reflect on Mark, I can't help but wonder about the signs that accompany Christ's followers.


I know in faith that Christ is with us. The Holy Spirit guides us. The Father loves us. Yet we seem to so easily go in our own ways, often trusting only in ourselves. We say the words but falter and fall back. In my own failing, I wonder where God has gone, and discover over and over again that I am to the one who is blind to the wonder of His compassionate love.


Mark and Peter are clearly telling us that Jesus sends His followers to proclaim to every creature the message of God's love and saving action. Do our lives clearly convey the message? Are we learning to truly love one another as we are loved?



On this 5th Sunday of Easter, we revisit the Last supper. Having continued to recount the message as we journey with Paul and Barnabas, the Gospel takes us back to listen to the final words of Jesus.  


Perhaps we can capture the mood as we immerse ourselves in the Gospel account. We can place ourselves in the room and absorb what Jesus is saying. As we listen with the community at Mass, we too are at the table of the Eucharist. We too, are in the presence, in the here and now, of the Risen Lord and we are able to hear His message. Will we really hear and let it transform us and spur us into action? As we listen will we let the words strike us deeply in our hearts?


“This is my commandment, that you LOVE one another as I have love You!” 


Do you really accept how much Our Lord has loved you? All of us? Do you believe His love demands a response? What is my response?  


As I look at my life past and present I must admit my response has not been what it should be. 


God, grant me the grace to rise up and be all I should be in love. Help me to die to self. Help us all die to self. Amen. 



How often do we get distracted by our emotions—whether anger, humor, frustration, jealousy, happiness, sadness or other human emotion that excludes or veils God’s unconditional love and His desire that we strive for it? 


Today I was reminded of the “mixed messages” that we tend to send to those in our lives through our inability to put God’s expectations first. How often do we say or do something that we would not THINK of saying or doing in the Presence of God? Do we behave differently in church than we do at our family dinner table?Is “Church” just a checklist in our day or week? 


In John 14:7-14, Jesus challenges Phillip after Phillip says, 

“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus must be somewhat frustrated with Phillip when he responds, “Have I been with you for this long and you still do not know Me?” How often in our day do we forget that Jesus is with us, as Word and as Spirit? How often do we stumble and lose sight that God is present if we but look and listen? Instead, we get caught up in the moment—making someone laugh at something that may not be funny to everyone. Or, what about getting angry at something we for which we should be more tolerant? 


Each morning I awake and profess to be a believer in Christ, first through my appreciation of awakening for another day, followed by my time with Him—The Word. Then, my day “begins”. How does the rest of my day flow, related to that wonderful prelude? How do I meet the difficulties of maintaining my respect for His Presence in my relationships with family, colleagues, friends, and others with whom I interact? 


Lord, may we seek ways to be continually reminded that You have given us the example, as well as the free will to choose to follow That example. Give us the courage to do so; from which we will gain the strength we need to dodge the distractions of this life, choosing Your Life J.O.Y.

Paul B.


Someone asked my recently, "I thought on Sundays the first reading is from the OT and the second from the NT." True enough through most of the liturgical year, but after Easter Sunday and through the Easter Season we are in the NT completely as we are given readings from the Act of the Apostles. Not only on Sundays but throughout the days of the Easter Season we are immersed in the Acts of the Apostles.


We are traveling with the Apostles and Saint Paul, Barnabas and those early disciples who responded to Jesus commission to spread the Good News, HE IS RISEN! Today we continue on the journey with Paul as he announces in the Synagogues of Asia Minor, that Jesus is the fulfillment of what the prophets said. He was crucified at the request of the Temple leaders who failed to recognize who He was, failed to understand His message, and though he was innocent they prevailed on the Romans to execute him by crucifying Him. 


This message we receive and this message we are to proclaim in our families, and the family of the Body of Christ. As we examine our lives of faith, I wonder what kind of report card we would give ourselves in our efforts to fulfill this mission of ours to spread the message?  Are we are still seeking programs, as we likely find the message to love one another just a little too difficult to accomplish or even understand?


As we look back at the lives of our ancestors in faith are we able to grasp God's love for us? God has always been close to humanity from covenants with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and David, all leading to the New Covenant in Jesus the Christ.

Reflect on the Scriptures, see God's action throughout and in addition to the covenants mentioned, see in other Scriptural ancestors the prefiguration of Jesus. See Israel (Jacob) and his relationship with God, go with Joseph sold by his brothers into Egypt. Be present with them in their humanity, walk with them, talk with them, grow in faith as you pray together and see one another in our imperfect humanity.


Today, take heart and let your mind and heart and soul sing as you listen to Jesus tell us He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is preparing a place for you to be with the family of God. Can there be anything greater? 




Whose feet will I wash today? Do we as Christians, wake up each day—and throughout each day—ask ourselves this question?  

In John 13:12-20, we see the literal and ultimate example of this act of servitude. Through this act, we are reminded that we are to humble ourselves in total service to those around us.  


John 13:14-15 says, “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also are to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example that you also should do as I have done to you.” Here we have the Son of Man, God incarnate, washing the dirty, dusty feet of twelve men whom He had called to service under His Divine example. Think about this: the true example of “servant leadership”. Consider that these twelve men followed Jesus around the dusty country side in sandaled feet. Imagine the dusty, calloused nature of each man’s feet. Yet, Jesus knelt down and washed them—not symbolically, but actually. He didn’t pause at one set of feet which may have been scraped and bloody. He didn’t say, “step aside”, at the sight of one or the other’s. He washed all twelve. Even the one whom He knew would betray Him!  


How do we “wash the feet” of those around us? Do we select those we like or appreciate? Do we refuse those who don’t appear as we think they should? Do we condemn (either through thought, word, or deed) the “dustiest and dirtiest feet”? As we are still basking in the “glow of Easter” - Christ’s great sacrifice for our salvation—let us not forget the example He set for us as to how we must be in this life, so as to spend the eternal life with God!  


Lord, as we ponder what it means to “wash each other’s feet”, we thank You for Your example. May we always consider Your words in Matthew 25:31-46, “...‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” And, may these be Your Words, spoken to us, as we enter Your Eternal Kingdom! Jesus, Only You!  J.O.Y. 

Paul B.


Jesus tells us, "I am the light of the world, whoever follows Me has the light of life." He reminds us also that He and the Father are one and all He says and does comes from the Father who draws us to Jesus.  


The signs and wonders He performs give witness to His words that He comes from God. Perhaps as we listen to the Gospel we sometimes wonder why the leaders of Israel asked over and over again for evidence. They wanted "plain talk" but was that possible? Plain talk led to accusations of blasphemy. 


We listen, we read, we come to knowledge about Jesus, but are we so different from those who preceded us? Do we also long for signs, for plain talk, for evidence? And in our age of Science and Technology we look for science to provide us certainty. Yet, faith reveals to us a reality that is beyond science, beyond easy understanding. 


We believe, we seek, we pray that as we celebrate our faith and thank God for this gift of faith we grow in understanding. The seed of faith in the fertile ground of prayer develops and blossoms to greater understanding and the spirit leads us to Jesus and a love that binds us to the family of the Trinity. Today, after you are fed with the Body and Blood of Jesus, sit in the silence with a heart open to Him, listen in the quiet that you may hear His heart beat with yours in a song of love. 



In John 10:22-30, we find the religious leaders gathering around Jesus, “cornering” him, and demanding that He tell them, definitively, that He is the Messiah—the Christ. In John 10:25-26 He makes it clear that He has spoken clearly and He has demonstrated the Father’s power through powerful works/miracles, yet they still do not believe. He laments their lack of belief, their skepticism. 


While it is part of our human condition to question and seek understanding of the things around us, our natural curiosity, as Christians we are called to pause regularly (Psalm 46:10), and consider the call to love, trust, and honor God. This call and challenge is difficult when things don’t appear the “way we want them to appear” or in conflict with our views and desires. When things are in conflict with our reality, do we end up like the skeptics described in the Gospels?  


Jesus spoke (and speaks) clearly. He lived His life and ministry in sole purpose and action to be an example of how we should behave. Why do we, like the religious leaders described by John, resist the powerful facts of the Truth? More importantly, how do we overcome the regular temptation to resist, question and doubt?  


In John 10:27, He gives us the answer, “My sheep listen to my voice…” To listen, in this case, is not a “passive act”. To truly listen implies not just hearing, but absorbing, considering and ultimately responding. This is why He goes on in the same verse, saying, “….I know them AND they follow Me.” 


As parents, we expect our kids to listen. The proof of listening is that the children do what we say. Why should it be any different in our Father’s expectation of us?  


Lord, You are the Shepherd, carrying out the will of the Father in tending to our needs. Open our ears to truly hear Your voice, our hearts to ponder Your Words, and our bodies to respond to/towards You! Jesus, Only You! J.O.Y. 

Paul B.


Jesus said:  “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” 

John 10: 27-30   


What a soothing reference—Jesus, the Good Shepherd. In this passage, Jesus is using a reference that is familiar to many throughout Judea, as sheepherding was something known to many. Those familiar with sheepherding understood that sheep are creatures of habit and learn to respond the sounds and tones of the shepherd’s voice. So it is (or should be) with the way we follow the voice of God.  


As Christians, we must ask ourselves, “Do I recognize the Voice of God in my daily actions and interactions?” We must consider, “Is Jesus truly the voice that guides and soothes me throughout each day?” We are assured throughout both the Old and New Testaments, that God knows us and has designed each of us to Glorify Him in our own, unique way, through the gifts of time, treasure and talent that He has given us. 


In John 10:27-30, we are given reassurance that Jesus knows each of us, in the same way a shepherd knows and accounts for EACH sheep in his heard. We are also assured that there is no one who can take away any sheep who follows the shepherd’s voice. So it is with those who believe and follow the Voice of the Father! If there is any doubt that Jesus is the Good (and Ultimate) Shepherd, let us consider the fact that He laid His life out, fully and completely, for our sake...that not one of us should be lost! Many did not (and still do not) get the power of that love and commitment to us, His Sheep!  


Lord, allow me to hear, soothed, and led by Your Voice. Give me the wisdom I need to be led Home, into Your Eternal Presence and Glory. Jesus, Only You!  J.O.Y. 

Paul B.


Let us listen to the Word of God! We are taken with Paul and Barnabas to the Synagogue where their efforts at proclaiming the Risen Lord are rejected and they are run out of town. Having been rejected by the Jews they now turn to the Gentiles announcing that God has directed them to proclaim the message to the Gentiles, to all nations. 


We listen hopefully with hearts open to receive His word and ready to say with desire "Thy will be done". We are with John as he reveals in the Revelation that we are caught up to the throne of God, we are his people the sheep of His flock one with the Lamb of God.

We are His people; He is the Shepherd who knows us by name, who calls us to oneness in God. On this fourth Sunday of this glorious Easter Season may we all rejoice in the unity of the spirit in the life to which we are called.  

Good Shepherd, have mercy on us. 



In my faith walk, do I trust that the Holy Spirit is guiding me all the way or, am I in control? Most of the fellow Catholic Christians we know come to the Church on Sunday to worship by celebrating Eucharist. In today's Gospel, and really in the entire Chapter 6 of John's Gospel we would all do well to read slowly in a quiet place and really be in God's presence open to discussing the Bread of Life and our own faith in what Jesus has done. 


As Jesus Christ—The Incarnation—can we express to our spouse, or some close friend, or perhaps better still one who is seeking, can we express our faith in Jesus becoming a human person and what this means at this time in our faith life as we continue to deepen our own understanding?

How would you share Jesus as the Bread of Life? Would you tell someone about ‘eating the flesh and blood’ of Jesus as they ask about what Catholics believe? Would you even attempt it or would you seek out someone else to expound doctrine?


How do you react when you read and meditate on Peter's action in today’s reading from Acts? Imagine the faith that can bring to light the healing presence of Jesus the Christ and bring to view the Mercy of God. How can something like this NOT transform us into lovers in imitation of the Master. 


Today and everyday we can make time to get to know Jesus Christ, if we would just keep our bible in a prominent place and read it every day. Imagine then a world transformed by 2 billion followers of Jesus Christ living as those filled with the Holy Spirit! Millions of believers, willing to allow Mary to lead them to say with her, ‘Be it done unto me according to Your Word.’ And as we pray… Our Father, Thy will be done! 



“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (John 6:51) Jesus continues, in His discourse, to emphasize that He IS the Living Bread—our sustenance while on this earth’s journey toward the eternal life with Him. “Bread” is referenced at least seventeen times in John 6, and over three-quarters of those references are directed to the “Bread of Life”: Jesus.  


In schools it is often said that if you want a crowd on parent night, feed them. This is a true statement. People enjoy the opportunity to share fellowship over food. So, it is no surprise that Jesus makes this reference. Also, as we study the basic needs we all have, we obviously know that we cannot sustain physical and mental health without daily food. When instructing His disciples on how to pray, Jesus included the line, “Give us this day our daily bread.”  


As Christians, one of our central elements of faith and hope is the fact that God has such an intense and personal interest in our welfare that He offers Himself in total and full Presence among us. He gave us the opportunity to share in Him, in full Communion with God and with each other! We are called daily to partake of Him in a personal way. Oh, who are we that God should dwell in and among us in such a way? That is the question we must ask ourselves. We have the opportunity to share in His Body and Blood. In doing so, our communion with Him and each other can and should become a greater reminder of how our thoughts, words, and deeds should be in the constant presence of Jesus. That is the point—by partaking of Him, we continually are reminded of His Word (Him, John 1:1) who should be every present in our life’s daily effort!  


Lord, thank You for giving such personal love for us, no matter what! Strengthen my resolve to seek You and consume all that You are and offer—Dwell in me, O Lord. Shine through me. JOY

Paul B.


Each day we are given a glimpse of God in the Scriptures provided in our liturgy. Today is filled with possibilities for deep meditation on the wonders of God.      


In the periscope from the Acts of the Apostles, we are reminded of the action of the Holy Spirit as we follow Philip guided by the Holy Spirit to engage the Ethiopian eunuch, explaining the Scriptures, evangelizing and baptizing him and then snatched by the Holy Spirit to continue proclaiming the Good News. Then we proclaim with the psalmist that All Nations sing out the glory of God. 


In the Gospel we hear of God's action and involvement in our lives. Jesus, the Bread of Life, reminds us that we come to Him because the Father draws us, if we believe He is sent by the Father, that He is the bread of life we will have eternal life. Will we quietly sit with the word of God this day and let the action verbs that we hear inspire us in faith, hope and love?  


May we discover anew the JOY that is Jesus the Christ.



Jesus Christ is the Lord! St. Stephen, the first Christian Martyr, proclaimed this with his life. In imitation of the Lord Jesus he proclaimed Jesus as Messiah and Lord. I believe beyond doubt that His dying was the beginning of the Conversion of Saul who became the Apostle Paul, who experienced the encounter with Jesus the Christ on the road to Damascus.  


In this year of Mercy we would do well to remember clearly and always Stephen's and Jesus' words at the time of death, "Forgive them for they know not what they do!"


In Chapter Six of John's Gospel, we listen to Jesus’ discourse on the Bread of Life. As the people remember Moses and manna in the desert Jesus reminds them that it was not Moses but God who provided manna for His chosen people. Now in this New Covenant, He gives them His own body and blood as the Bread of Life.


Over and over again in our lifetime we meet Jesus in the Eucharistic feast. We are reminded daily that Jesus is the Bread of Life. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Does is resonate in our souls and transform us? Can we hear Paul proclaim that he no longer lives but Christ lives in Him? What about us?  


As I am nourished on the Bread of Life, I plead with the Lord that He may remain in me and purify my heart, my mind, my whole being! The words trip from the tongue so easily, but soon I am faced with the events of life and I find myself absorbed with such empty pursuits. I am distracted so easily and become absorbed in activities that satisfy ego needs, dimming the awareness and wonder of God's presence in all circumstances.  


The absolute importance of daily setting time aside to enter into prayer that is alone time with my God becomes a deep realization. As the body needs sustenance so the mind and soul need spiritual energy and this is where prayer becomes life and transformation.  Daily Gospel readings, sustain our prayer and more than that they are a source of getting to know the person of Jesus more intimately. He taught the apostles to pray, Our Father, and so we also praywith longing, as children we cry out to Our Father, Abba. 



“This is the work of God, that you believe in the One He sent.” (John 6:29) It is that simple! Simple yes, but not always easy! 


In our human condition we desire three types of fulfillment: physical, emotional, and spiritual. John describes how the people, whom Jesus had fed (the 5000), followed Him across the sea to Capernaum. He knew that they followed Him because they had been physically fed. He knew that many of them had “missed” the sign of God that was inherent in the multiplication of the few loaves of bread and fish into plenty to feed all. He also witnessed the void in their emotional lives that led them to seek fulfillment through His Words.  


This is a key point for all of us: God is the ONLY one who can fulfill our spiritual needs, though He provides on all fronts. But it is the spiritual void that He ultimately seeks to fill. It is spiritual fulfillment that has true meaning both on earth and in our heavenly and eternal home with Him. His Word is the sole truth that will lead us to that life with Him. We have all heard said, “A journey begins with the first step…” Therefore, the journey to God begins with this simple first step—to believe and know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, sent to show us the perfect example of living and loving each other in and through God’s Way.  


As the crowd of people follows Him, He reminds them and us that we are to seek beyond our physical and emotional needs. We MUST fill the spiritual void with Him—His Word, His Presence.  We know that the needs of this world will pass, for all of us. Therefore, what remains is the Truth of His Word, which will nourish us with the strength we need to reach the end of our Journey to Him!  


Lord, give me the strength and courage to see and seek You, worship you, and live as an example to others in how to be filled with and by You through a spiritually fulfilled life here and beyond! Jesus, Only You! 

Paul B.


We have just begun the third week of the Easter Season. Alleluias still ring loud and clear as the Lord is Risen. The world at large sings the hymn of salvation as we see nature itself coming into its fullness. Do we perceive it? Today we gathered as we do every Lord's Day, to worship to give glory to God who loves us beyond imagining. 


As we listened to the Word of God what touched us where we exist today? Did we, like Peter, respond ‘Lord you know I love you!’ Did we wonder at the symbolism of the LARGE catch of fish? Did we perhaps come to a deeper realization of salvation being more than just about me but all of God's beloved? When Jesus told Peter ‘Feed my lambs’, ‘Feed my sheep’, did we perhaps hear with new ears the call to mission and spreading the Gospel message?  


Or, hopefully not, did God speak and we did not hear? We did not listen because there were those distractions that take on such importance that we are capable of forgetting the wonder of God, the wonder of His love, the wonder of it is not about me?   


May the remainder of the Easter season be for each of us a call to realization of who we are as temples of the Holy Spirit, and may each day bring us closer to the truth of what it means to die to sin and live in Jesus the Christ.  


Lord, may each breath be a prayer of awareness.



John 21:1-19

At that time, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way. Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We also will come with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.” So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.”

So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”

When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish. When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. 

Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.

Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.” And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they realized it was the Lord. Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He then said to Simon Peter a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” Jesus said to him the third time,

“Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 

Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”



For those certain unmanageable occasions of life, we have our default personalities we resort to when all else seems to have left our capabilities. The disciples were no different than we are as they went back to what they knew best, as they could not get a handle on what this Resurrection was all about. 

As Peter set out to go back to fishing for fish, the others got in behind him to do the same. Being the pros that they were, they had a good idea of how to do what they needed to do to bring in a catch-but no such luck. Into the darkness of night they went, catching little more than the water that passed through their nets each time they came up empty.


As they saw more of the dawn, they also saw more of someone on the shore, asking them if they had caught anything. They had answered they hadn’t and He told them to try the right side of the boat-you’ll find the fish there. And true to His word, the net was overly full. From the light of day and their light of faith, they came to know that it was the Lord who was on the shore. Peter was so astonished, so taken aback and embarrassed, he jumped into the water. The other disciples made their way of the hundred yards by way of the boat, bringing with them the load of fish. As they came ashore, there was a charcoal fire with fish and bread, with Jesus telling them to bring more of their fish they caught…Peter obliged. And then, breakfast was served.


After they shared their meal, Jesus asks Peter those three times about his love for Him. 

“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” 

     “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” 

         “Feed My lambs.” 


“Simon, son of John, do you love me?” 

“Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” 

     “Tend my sheep.” 


“Simon, son of John, do you love me?” 

“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” 

Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” 


It’s two thousand years later and who are we to try and get a handle on the Resurrection? Yet we know it to be true, just as the disciples finally came to believe, once and for all. Of course they were a bit frightened and scared. Only because they had not yet given themselves up fully to what He had in store for them. Just as we often are the same way when we default to our own safe places and personalities when life is not what we would like for it to be. As they went to fish at night that could reflect the darkness they felt in their lives as they were separated from the light that Jesus had in their lives. And if that sounds the least bit familiar, it often reflects the darkness of our own lives when we too are a part from the Way, the Truth and the Life of Christ. We cannot be some light, some dark, some white, some black… that is too much like being lukewarm. And Jesus said for us to be hot or cold, not this lukewarm stuff for He would spit us out of His mouth. It’s the light we should choose to live in with Him.


As the disciples were that distance away, this stranger was offering them some advice. Far enough away and quite able to discern who He was yet close enough to hear what He had to say. Yet another great example for us to see in our own lives how close or far Jesus is in our lives yet we still hear Him… but do we choose to listen to what He has to tell us? Who do we love? How do we love them? Do we love them like our favorite pair of sneakers? Do we love them like our good best friend? Do we love them so deeply and physically and fully as we would our spouse or future spouse? Or do we love them above all else—above anyone or anything this world can give us and love as only God would have us love? Mercy and grace are unending from God. We should try to do the same. And, yes, we are to feed and tend His sheep and lambs.


Jesus told Peter that when he was younger, he dressed himself and went where he wanted to go; growing older, others will dress him and lead him where he would not want to go. We do have our own minds and our own hearts to do as we would please. That we do as we please should be more that pleases God as Jesus said again-“Follow me.” 


Do we see Jesus in the midst of our most difficult trials? If so, do we take the next steps? Do we hear His voice saying, “It is I, do not be afraid“? (John 6:20) Do we experience Him the moment we see and or hear Him, thus experiencing His Calming Peace (6:21)?


John offers a very simple account of Jesus’ calming of the seas in 6:16-21. He describes Jesus’ retreat into the mountains, to avoid those who would do Him harm, and then, in the next six verses he shares that the disciples were crossing the sea, to Capernaum, when it got dark and the wind and seas became strong and rough. In their fear, they saw Jesus walking on the water, assuring them of His Presence, when suddenly they were on the other side. 


John is pretty specific that they had rowed about three to four miles (of a six to eight mile distance) when the seas rose and Jesus appeared on the water. Yet upon seeing and hearing Jesus, they “immediately reached the shore at the place they were making for.” (6:21) John’s account, though simple, is as “mysterious” as Mark and Matthew’s accounts (Ref Mark 4:25-41; Matthew 8:23-27). 


Mark’s and Matthew’s accounts report Jesus in the boat with the disciples and He rebukes them for their fear (after He awakes and calms the storm). In John’s account, though not in the boat, they see and hear His Presence and then are immediately safe on the other shore.  


All three accounts share this common thread: Jesus’ presence—by sight and sound—brings peace. The apostles, in all three accounts, experienced fear and a moment of aloneness, though Christ was and is present. As Christians, we must recall and know that in life’s turbulent moments, He is present and desires to be awakened and experienced in our minds, hearts, and very lives. Believing and knowing this, we will experience Him in sight and sound, gaining security, peace, and strength.  


Lord, give me courage and wisdom to truly witness Your Presence, experiencing that no fear can conquer us. Jesus, Only You! JOY

Paul B.


In our human condition, we all share a common desire for something more meaningful. John, in 6:5-11, describes Jesus’ miracle of feeding over 5,000 with one small boy’s offering of five barley loaves and two fish. There are several things to consider in this account. Jesus sensed and knew the hunger of the people—the physical hunger as well as their spiritual longing. His Presence and His ministry came to fruition in order to provide us spiritual guidance—food—to fulfill that need.  


In order to meet this need, He also understood that basic needs (food, safety, etc.) needed to be met. He was moved by the masses that came, seeking to see, hear, touch and heal from His ministry. His willingness and ability to transform this small amount of food, to feed so many, demonstrates the compassion of God in a simple manner that we can understand. Though it may not be ours to understand “how”, it is ours to know and believe that, with God, anything is possible. (Ref:  Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27)  


One other consideration is the simplicity of the boy’s offering—God can and will take anything (even if all we have is a small amount to share) and ensure abundance for all. Consider the simplicity of John’s account: 1) the masses were gathered; 2) Jesus was moved by their desire; 3) they were in a seemingly “tough” spot, with no food within miles; 4) there was one person with a seemingly miniscule amount of food; 5) Jesus instructed His disciples to ask all to sit, wait (and believe); 6) Jesus gave thanks—a blessing—over that which was available; 7) that which was available, became abundance for those seeking Him!  


How do we trust in God’s willingness and ability to provide? Do we share our own gifts freely, knowing that He will care for us and those with whom we share?  


Lord, satisfy our seeking souls—our hearts and minds—with Your gifts/blessings so that we may share in Your abundance with a generous heart. Jesus, Only You!

Paul B


“He must increase, but I must decrease.” 

The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things. But the one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy. For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit. The Father loves the Son and has given everything over t him. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.” John 3:30-36 


This discourse, recorded in John’s Gospel, comes from John when some of his followers bring up the fact that Jesus was baptizing and people are going to Him. Here, John takes the opportunity to point out what we all, as Christians, must realize and strive to do: decrease to and in “self” and increase in Him and His ways (John 3:30).


John understood that his role was to prepare the pathway, the journey, of the Messiah. He, like us, was called to be a herald, pointing the way to God. And like us, he was called to deny his own pride and human desire for recognition, giving all to God “The one who is of the earth, is earthly and speaks of earthly things, but the one who comes from heaven is above all” (3:31-32). John ends the discourse repeating and emphasizing what Jesus spoke to Nicodemus and what He desires all to understand: we as believers must believe and, in turn, seek and obtain eternal life. Those who do not believe or turn away, will not experience eternal life.  


Lord, help me to see You in others and may others see You in me! It is through such visibility of Your Presence that You can and will increase. Help me to accept You more fully and, by doing so, bring others to You.  J.O.Y.

Paul B.


It is an old Catholic theme, when we talk about ‘offer it up’. Most likely this is offered as a way of dealing with suffering or often difficulties that interrupt our life flow. Yet, Offer It Up can be a way of thinking of all the wonders God has done for us, has provided for us, and by virtue of our own desires to do as we will, we often have squandered the best of what God intends for us.


So we make time to offer IT up. To offer the greatest gift, Jesus the Christ who has given Himself completely that we may have life in unity with  the Trinity.We easily say, Offer It Up, but do we even begin to grasp the essence of our words?


We are now in the Easter season. As I reflect on the scriptures each day, in particular at present the Acts of the Apostles, and consider the early days after the Resurrection, I am drawn deeper into the wonder of the mystery of faith. Those first days when the tomb was discovered EMPTY! What coursed through the minds of those first disciples? What were their discussions like as they revisited the times with Jesus? What He did, what He said, how He acted toward  them? I suspect a new clarity began to take shape, and suddenly He appeared to them in various ways. The women first at the tomb, the disciples on the road to Emmaus, and the incredulity of those they couldn't wait to tell! 

Then He appeared to them in the upper room, even though they were locked in. 


We are faced with the reports of these witnesses and likely similar reactions as we in faith seek understanding.In so many ways, we as followers of Christ in this 21st century are being called to mission to proclaim the gospel message anew in faith. Believers are challenged by Jesus' very words to Thomas, ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and believe’. We are made aware, awakened in the breaking of the bread no less than those two on the way to Emmaus. Will we read and reread the Gospels, encounter Jesus each day, waking to new insights in our prayerful discussions with Him?


Over and over again we begin new processes (programs) Christ Renews His Parish, Why Catholic, Cursillo, and so many others. We sporadically take part in Bible studies and other "educational get-togethers" but somehow it seems we get to know quite a bit about Jesus the Christ, but the question remains—do we know Him?  


As we live this seven-week Easter Season, why not find a way to place emphasis on prayer and opening our minds and hearts and souls to the Holy Spirit?May we seek a New Pentecost in our parish community. 

As the Holy Spirit touches each of us may we respond by becoming ONE as Jesus prayed. (John 17) 



The etymology of the word “born” brings us to the old English “beran” which means “to carry” or “to support”. The word was originally used with the intent of describing something in one’s hands (or mind or heart): “….to bear arms” or “to bear good tidings” or “to bear a heavy or important burden or idea”. Understanding the concept of bearing, as related to something being born is important in understanding Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in John 3:1-21. 


Nicodemus was a religious leader, a Pharisee, who stole away in the middle of the night, sneaking to see Jesus because He was intrigued with Him. He was afraid to face the contempt of his peers; for wanting to know more about Jesus and His teachings.


When Jesus says, “ one can see the Kingdom of God without being born from above…”, Nicodemus becomes confused asking, ” can anyone be born after growing old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb?” (John 3:3-4) Jesus makes clear that he is referring to being born of water and spirit. 


These two things are signs or symbols of rejuvenation or cleansing of both body and soul. Jesus was speaking of a deep cleansing of our mind, heart and body. Religious leaders had difficulty grasping this, given their focus on the law and the outward appearance of piety. Nicodemus, no doubt a smart and scholarly man, missed the simplicity of Jesus’ words. 


Bearing the Spirit of God, allowing that Spirit to be carried in both mind and heart, is to bear God. In carrying something so precious, we become more in tune with His desires! Jesus refers to Moses’ lifting the serpent in the desert—and those who gazed upon the serpent were healed (Numbers 21:4-9). He similarly refers (prophesies) to His own “lifting up” so that all may have eternal life (John 3:14-16). Bearing this understanding is a necessary piece of faith: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that all who believe in Him may have eternal life.” (John 3:16).  


Lord, may Your Truth be “born” in our daily lives’ words/deeds.  J.O.Y.

Paul B.


“Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us!” 

Isaiah 7:14 


The prophet Isaiah wrote these words and we see these words unfold in Luke 1:26-38, as the Angel Gabriel announces God’s plan of Salvation to and through her. As Christians, we are called to completely trust our lives to God’s Plan for us; it is evident in the prophesies of the Old Testament. It is evident in the announcement made to Mary, that she is the chosen one to bear God’s Son into this world. It is evident in the life of Christ, the ultimate example of how we should live. It is evident in the sacrifice of that Same Son. And, it is evident in His Resurrection!  


With all of this proof, we, just like the disciples, still call for proof in our daily lives. So as we read the simple, yet powerful acceptance of faith in God’s will that Mary exhibits in her acceptance of the angels’ words, we also see the stark contrast of the disciples’ doubt and fear exhibited in the days after Christ’s Passion and Resurrection. There must be no doubt in our humanness, that Mary experienced fear and doubt when God’s plan was revealed to her. But, she allowed her trust in God to “take charge”, knowing that all will come out for the good, because He is near to her (and to us) at all times.  


How do we respond to Him (even) when we know the “right thing to do”? Do we hesitate at times, wondering what other people will think of us? Mary, faced with a tough task, responded, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)  


Lord, as we are faced, daily, with Your desires for us, at work, home, and play, may we share the conviction and strength of Mary, accepting Your Call as she did. May we accept Him, as she did, toward the fulfillment of His Life, Passion, Death, and Resurrection! Jesus, Only You! J.O.Y. 

Paul B.


“Later he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table; and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.”(Mark 16:14-15)  


In Mark 16:9-15 offers a quick rundown of how Jesus revealed Himself to the Disciples after His Resurrection. Ultimately, when Jesus appeared to all eleven at once, He did two things: 1) He rebuked them for their hesitancy in accepting the word of those who had seen Him (Mary and the two disciples on the way to Emmaus); 2) He commissioned them to believe and proclaim.  


This reminds us that, even in our imperfections and stumbling, God still calls us to believe and move toward Him. With the simplicity of belief and action and the awesomeness of His ability to call us back, even when our beliefs and actions fail Him, we have seen how the disciples struggled to see and understand that He had risen from the dead. How often do we find reasons to doubt God’s care, love, and call for and to us? 


In the rush of happiness during joyful times, does our excitement overtake us, causing us to forget Him from whom all good things flow? In times of trial and crisis, do we question His Presence and/or His love and mercy for us? Do we dismiss those around us who have witnessed and acknowledge Him, when they call our attention to Him? What proof do we require, daily, in order to remember that He is Risen and He is present among us, if we but believe.  


Mark tells us, in commissioning the disciples (and ALL who believe) that we are to go among all people proclaiming His Good News and having faith to perform wondrous deeds in His name (Mark 16:16-18).  


Lord, may the power of Your Resurrection be my strength and joy—my courage—to go forth a boldly proclaim and live according to Your call! Jesus, Only You! J.O.Y. 

Paul B.


“You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me. Blessed are those who have not seen and, yet, believe.”   John 20:29 

Throughout our lives, there are those times when it is easier to believe than in others. The disciples, still reeling from having witnessed all that they did related to the suffering and death of our Lord, are now trying to fathom the fact that He is Risen and among them. Thomas, in John 20:24-29, states that he will believe when he can see and touch the wounds in Jesus’ hands, feet and side. So, a week after the resurrection, Jesus appears to the Eleven in a locked room and says, “Peace be with you.” He proceeds to approach Thomas and offer His hands, His feet, and His side as proof. Thomas immediately responds, “My Lord and my God”.  

Though Jesus welcomes Him openly, we are reminded of the many who believe in God’s goodness without such direct proof. Yet, another example of God’s total acceptance of us when we finally come home to the full realization of our faith in Him! He is always willing to welcome us back, if we just say, “My Lord and my God”! In our human condition it is inevitable that we will have moments of doubt and questioning, especially during trying times. These are the times when we tend to rely more on ourselves and the things of this world, rather than on God.

This tendency manifests itself when we “forget” to thank Him OR to call upon Him. This tendency can be minimized by taking time, each day, to consider the wounds of Christ: wounds that were willingly received as a means to lead us to an understanding of God’s love for us and a way to bring us into understanding of the magnitude of that love.  

Lord, we pray for the wisdom and grace to know You through Your wondrous love; a love great enough that You willingly suffered for our sins. May Your Wounds be an ever-present reminder of that love. Jesus, Only You!  J.O.Y.

Paul B.


Pope John Paul II – Homily for first universal celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday, 2001

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy endures forever! (Ps 117:1). Let us make our own the Psalmist's exclamation which we sang in the Responsorial Psalm: "The Lord's mercy endures forever!" In order to understand thoroughly the truth of these words, let us be led by the liturgy to the heart of the event of salvation, which unites Christ's Death and Resurrection with our lives and with the world's history. This miracle of mercy has radically changed humanity's destiny. It is a miracle in which is unfolded the fullness of the love of the Father who, for our redemption, does not even draw back before the sacrifice of His Only-begotten Son. 

In the humiliated and suffering Christ, believers and non-believers can admire a surprising solidarity, which binds Him to our human condition beyond all imaginable measure. The Cross, even after the Resurrection of the Son of God, "speaks and never ceases to speak of God the Father, who is absolutely faithful to His eternal love for man. ... Believing in this love means believing in mercy".

Let us thank the Lord for His love, which is stronger than death and sin. It is revealed and put into practice as mercy in our daily lives, and prompts every person in turn to have "mercy" towards the Crucified One. Is not loving God and loving one's neighbor and even one's "enemies," after Jesus' example, the program of life of every baptized person and of the whole Church?

… "Jesus, I trust in You!"

This prayer, dear to so many of the devout, clearly expresses the attitude with which we too would like to abandon ourselves trustfully in Your hands, 0 Lord, our only Savior.

You are burning with the desire to be loved and those in tune with the sentiments of Your Heart learn how to build the new civilization of love. A simple act of abandonment is enough to overcome the barriers of darkness and sorrow, of doubt and desperation. The rays of Your Divine Mercy restore hope, in a special way, to those-who feel overwhelmed by the burden of sin.

Mary, Mother of Mercy, help us always to have this trust in your Son, our Redeemer. Help us too, St. Faustina, whom we remember today with special affection. Fixing our weak gaze on the divine Savior's face, we would like to repeat with you: "Jesus, I trust in You!" Now and for ever. Amen.