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Laughable Plans (Fourth Sunday of Advent)

“If you want to make God laugh,” said St. Teresa of Avila, “just tell him your plans!” What God laughs at is when we put our cart before our horse. We make our plans, we do whatever it is we want to do, and then we expect God to accept our decisions, bless them, and help [...] Read the rest of this entry »

Big, Colored Lights (Friday of Advent III)

A big change has taken place in my household: no longer do plain white lights hang on our Christmas tree. They’ve been replaced by good old-fashioned colored lights- big ones! And I love it. We see lights everywhere this time of year. That’s why it’s sometimes called a “season of light.” But all these lights [...] Read the rest of this entry »

Made for Joy! (Third Sunday of Advent)

Today is a day for us to rejoice! Of course, every Sunday is a day of rejoicing because it’s the day on which we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. On this third Sunday of Advent, however, joy and rejoicing are special themes that run throughout the prayers and Bible readings appointed for today’sMass. That’s [...] Read the rest of this entry »

A Silent Night

This time of year is an especially noisy one, wouldn’t you agree? Some of this noise we might call “good” noise: Christmas carols, the sounds of our favorite movies and shows, the excitement and laughter of children. Other noise, however, we might characterize as “bad,” namely the full-scale marketing assault we’re bombarded with “24/7.” The [...] Read the rest of this entry »

What Might Have Been; What Will Be (Immaculate Conception)

Have you ever seen “The Family Man,” a film starring Nicholas Cage? Cage’s character is an wealthy businessman who’d made a choice thirteen years earlier to leave behind the woman he was to marry to pursue his professional dreams. But then one day he wakes up to find he’s been given a glimpse of what [...] Read the rest of this entry »

Time Flies (First Sunday of Advent)

While standing in a supermarket checkout line, I noticed a little sign warning that tobacco products would not be sold to anyone not born before today’s day in 1990. My first kneejerk thought was: “People born in 1990 are still in preschool!” But then I did some quick math in my head and realized that, [...] Read the rest of this entry »

Beginning at Home (Christ the King)

On my daily commute, I pass by Holy Redeemer Catholic Church on New York Avenue in the District. One morning, from my comfortable car as I sipped my coffee, I saw in the church doorway a rough-looking homeless man who had obviously spent the night there. And to my shame, I have to confess that [...] Read the rest of this entry »

Little Things Mean a Lot

“The Journal of Mundane Behavior” is a professional publication of Cal State, Fullerton. It features scholarly articles that study the ordinary and routine things that people do. Early issues explored the significance of shaving, running errands, the table arrangement and background noise of a neighborhood café, and the making of a peanut butter and jelly [...] Read the rest of this entry »

Beer, Hockey, and God’s Free Gift

When at a hockey game with our sons, a fellow dad bought me a beer (for seven bucks!). When he handed it to me, I tried to insist on paying for it, as I honestly felt kind of guilty accepting it from him. But the other dad, for his part, was equally insistent that I [...] Read the rest of this entry »

Be Prepared, and Be Not Afraid (Ordinary 32)

A few years back my family sat down and made a plan about what we would do should there be a natural disaster or a terrorist attack. We determined where we’ll meet, where we’ll go, who our out-of-town contact will be, how much food and water and other supplies we need to stockpile, and we decided [...] Read the rest of this entry »

Not Just a Number

Have you ever felt like just another face in the crowd? A very small fish in a very big pond? Just a number? If you have, you’re not alone. Many people have struggled with the feeling that they’re worthless or insignificant. As Mother Theresa once said, “The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, [...] Read the rest of this entry »

Hopeful Possibility (All Souls)

Every morning, as I get ready for my day, I pray by name for all the people who have died in my or my wife’s family. Many of them weren’t Catholic; some weren’t even Christian; and a few did some pretty terrible things. Yet I pray for them, because our Catholic faith teaches that we [...] Read the rest of this entry »