Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 2/24

it's not difficult for me,
in hindsight,
to see how you walked with me,
how you guided and protected me
through many difficult times
I've known in my life...

But this morning
I pray for the grace
to see and know your presence,
your guiding hand and your protection
- not just after the trouble has passed -
but in the hard times,
on the cold and cloudy days,
through my restless nights,
in my rough patches,
in the midst of hurt and disappointment
and through my times of loss and grief...

I know you're always there for me, Lord,
but I pray you let me know and see and feel
your presence and your guidance, your strength and your compassion,
right in the midst of the times
when I need you the most
and look to you for help...



Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments 

Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 2/23

whether this is a day I've been dreading
or a day I've looked forward to
or a day I've not much thought about -
I pray it's a day I'll look back on
in peace...

So, help me live and spend this day
in peace with you,
with my neighbor,
with all whose paths cross mine
and with myself...



Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments


Pause for Prayer: WEDNESDAY 2/22

So what does God hope for me this Lent?
In some ways, the answer to that question will be different for each of us but for ALL of us, God is certainly hoping that:

- we’ll leave behind some unnecessary and even unhealthy baggage, habits, faults and failings - and that’s why we fast in Lent…

- we’ll grow closer to him each day, inviting him into our lives and allowing ourselves to be drawn more deeply into his love, his word, his truth - and that’s why we pray in Lent…

-we’ll reach beyond ourselves and our own wants and desires to be of service, especially to those who are most in need - and that’s why we give alms in Lent…

What might God be hoping Lent will be in your life this year?  
Will you spend some time before Ash Wednesday to pray about that?


Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments 

Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 2/21

Who doesn't long and pray
for restful nights and peaceful days?

Who doesn't hope and wait an end
to days of worried fears 
and pray for nights of good, deep sleep?

Has anyone a heart not aching
to be known and loved,
no strings attached?

Do I know anyone whose desires
differ all that much from mine?

We're all much more alike than we are not:
   in our souls our similarities 
   outnumber our disparities...

From the same place deep within
we share a common thirst
and all who share our hunger
pray the love that feeds the heart...
Help me, Lord, to see, to know and nourish
all the hearts of those around me,
and open wide my heart to all
who'd love and feed and nourish me...


Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments      Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments 


Monday Morning Offering: 2/20

Morning Coffee: George Mendoza

Good morning, good God!

This morning, Lord, I want to offer you
all the interruptions in my schedule,
in my plans, in my day, in my week -
in my life!

I offer you the bumps along the way each day
that throw me off balance,
that leave me mistrusting my step
and unsure of my path...

Help me take the bumps with grace, Lord:
use them to get my attention,
to keep me alert,
to pull me out of my ruts...

I offer you the unexpected phone calls
and the knocks on my door,
the fresh demands on time already scheduled,
the faces and voices that interrupt my plans
to do what I thought I was supposed to do...

Help me understand that you're in charge here, Lord,
and that you know better than I
where and when and how I might best serve you -
and that your view of my day is wider, deeper, greater
than my own...

I offer you the interruptions that distract me, Lord:
especially the little, annoying ones
that only seem to get in the way of more important tasks...

Make me patient - even grateful
for the ways you turn my head,
whisper in my ear, take me by the hand
and turn me around from my momentary focus
to someone else, to another task,
to some moment filled with a grace, a blessing
my impatience might keep me from finding...

And I offer, too,
the bigger twists and turns I take, Lord,
over months and years:
when the unexpected demand begins to shape my life;
when the unwanted work becomes my daily job;
when my heart's desire is put on hold -
and I don't know why...

Help me to accept, Lord, that
"it is what it is..."
that in all things you are present,
that no matter where my road leads me
you will never hesitate to interrupt your day
to walk my path with me...

When the unanticipated hovers like a cloud, Lord,
show me the silver lining
and let your light shine through with warmth...

Give me the grace of acceptance,
to live my life a day at a time,
an hour at a time,
trusting that in every moment
you are there...

Open my heart wide
to all whose paths cross mine today, Lord,
and let no appointment keep me from meeting you
at every turn,
on schedule
- or by surprise...



Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments 


Homily for February 19

Homily for the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Audio for homily

Regardless of what you think about climate change,
there’s no denying the heat of the contemporary political climate
and the vitriol and venom that suffuse it.

That’s the context in which we hear Jesus in the gospel
counsel us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.
Regardless of our political leanings, how are we supposed to do that?
Or how about the Lord enjoining us to be as perfect, as holy - as God?

I’m pretty sure everyone here probably wants to be a good person
and to be known as a good person.
But how many of us  want to be holy?
How many of us would feel comfortable
being identified, known, as a holy person?

We’re probably more comfortable with holiness
as a quality we admire in others
 (Jesus, Mother Teresa, or our grandmother
who goes to Mass and prays the Rosary every day)
but I’m not sure holiness is something we feature or strive for
or want for ourselves.

And insofar as we think of holiness as something too pious,
spiritually over the top,  even odd or quirky
to that degree, holiness might even be something we don’t want.
But here’s the Lord calling us to be as holy as God is holy -
which of, course, is almighty holy!  

Of course, in the scriptures,
holiness isn’t something odd or quirky, quaint or pious,
It’s certainly not something weak or submissive.

The holiness in these texts is challenging, demanding and strong.
It’s a holiness that calls us to make no room in our hearts for hatred.
Now, most of us probably don’t think of ourselves
as holding hatred in our hearts
but many of us do maintain in our otherwise  good hearts
a little corner reserved for our less-than-holy thoughts and feelings
about this one or that one, that group or this;
about this political party or that church authority;
about a particular person in my past (or my present);
about my ex,  my competitor, my boss or an employee
about a coworker, classmate or neighbor...

A good heart and certainly a holy heart
makes no room for such feelings -
no more than a farmer would keep a corner of his field
for growing weeds.
Weeds drain the goodness from the soil and eventually spread,
laying waste to the field and its crop.

Unloving, unholy thoughts and feelings
sap the goodness from our hearts and often multiply,
choking off our better words and deeds.

• A holy heart makes no room for weeds but rather is vigilant
lest ill-will, grudges, resentments and revenge take root
and yield a bitter, sour harvest of hate.

• A holy heart always seeks what’s good for one’s neighbor
and spends no time planning for retaliation
 (an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth).

• A holy heart doesn’t oppose evil with evil
- no matter how satisfying and tempting that may be -
but rather stands tall in the face of what’s wrong,
willing to bear and suffer the consequences of fidelity to the truth
even when doing so takes a toll on my ease and comfort.

• While a good heart gives to someone in need,
a holy heart gives until the giving makes a difference
in the life of the giver
as well as in the life of the one who receives.

In other words: just being good isn’t good enough for Christians,
for followers of Jesus.

Jesus calls us to aspire to a goodness deeper
than that of the average Joe or Joan...
Even pagans and cheaters, says Jesus, love those who love them.
People of holiness have a greater, deeper, stronger love to offer:
they love those who do not or cannot or will not love in return;
they love even their enemies;
and to those who make their daily lives miserable
they open their hearts in prayer
In the gospel here Jesus calls us to love -
as God loves:
not sparingly, not grudgingly - but fully, deeply, robustly;
Jesus calls us to love as God loves:
not with strings attached and looking for something in return,
but freely, selflessly and generously;
Jesus calls us to love as God loves:
not with hidden pockets of anger and resentment
but with peace, mercy and forgiveness.

It’s interesting to note
that in the Lord’s call to us to be holy as he is holy,
to be perfect as the Father is perfect,
there’s not a mention of kneeling in prayer in a church -
as important as that is.

In fact, St. Paul reminds us today
that the temple where God dwells
is the community of our neighbors.
As important as the temple of prayer is in our lives,
holiness is nurtured, lived and shared
outside the temple as well,
in all the times and ways we cross paths with one another,
on the streets where we live, the places where we work
and on roads that stretch around the globe.

I began with a reference to global climate change.
But what of the climate in our own individual lives?
Are we in need of some warming in our hearts,
moving us from simple human goodness
to the heat of a burning holiness?

Will we be satisfied with good hearts
or will we hope and strive to have holy hearts?

God loves each of us from a heart of holiness,
the holiest of all holies  
and calls us to love one another
(even and especially our enemies)
with the same kind of heart.

It was someone with more than just a good heart
]who gave his life for us on the Cross:
the heart of Jesus is, indeed, the holiest of all hearts
whose life, whose body and blood, we share at this altar
in the bread and cup of communion.

May the sacrament we share at this table
nourish in each of us a desire to be holy,
to be holy even as the Lord is holy.


Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments 


Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 2/19

   there's not a moment of the day or night
   when you're not waiting, patiently:
      to sit with me, talk with me, listen to me vent; 
      to give me a shoulder to cry on;
      to share in my secret hopes and dreams,
      to counsel, guide and forgive me...

You've set aside this whole day for me, Lord:
   there won't be a moment when you're too busy 
      to spend some time with me
   so let me not be too busy
      to spend some time with you... 

In fact, 
   how about right now, Lord? 

Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments

Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 2/18

Image source

When my day began
with this morning's unexpected start
and schedule-crunching event,
you were right there, Lord,
to guide me through the changes...

When the unexpected start
unexpectedly became a moment of your grace,
you were right there, Lord,
the light in my darkness...

When my plans were turned all upside down
and some people got bumped in the process,
you were right there, Lord,
to nurture in them a gracious response
to my clumsiness,
clearing the path to make things smooth...

When I tried five times before succeeding
to lend a hand to someone in need,
you were right there, Lord,
leading the way, pulling me out of my anger
to a place more prayerful and peaceful...

When the day met its end, at last
and I needed some R and R,
you were right there, Lord,
to sing so softly a lullaby,
your heart to mine,
til sleep closed my eyes in peace...

You were right there, Lord,
at every twist and turn, all the ups and downs,
and sometimes I saw you
and reached for your help
and sometimes I missed you
or went my own way...

A new day dawns now and just like yesterday
you'll be right there, Lord,
at every twist and turn, all the ups and downs
to help me see you and open my heart to you
and the grace you offer to lead me and guide me
every moment, every hour throughout the day,
every step along the way...



Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments 


Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 2/17

I haven't posted this piece for some time and it's one of my favorites.  You'll see that each triad of two-word prayers is thematic. You might make the whole post a part of your prayer today or choose just one triad to pray all day as a mantra.  Sometimes the simplest prayers are the best prayers...
Calm me, quiet me, settle me... 

Steady me, balance me, ground me... 

Plant me, root me, embed me...

Support me, sustain me, protect me...

Forgive me, pardon me, free me...

Refresh me, restore me, heal me...

Enfold me, embrace me, hold me... 

     Lord, hear my prayer today!

Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments


Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 2/16

Image source

To quote the bard,
"What's past is prologue..."

Then let me see with your eye, Lord,
the web of words and deeds
converging in this moment,
connecting now with all that's been,
meshing this moment with all I've known,
the good, the bad, the indifferent,
the remembered and forgotten...

Help me see how every strand of my existence
has been woven into whole cloth
under your protective, watchful gaze:
how all that I have known (or not)
has played a part in making this
the day that you have made...

And then give me hope, sweet Lord,
that the present, now at hand,
is already knit as one
with all that is to come
with all that's left to be...

And mindful of the moment,
let me find my hope in you
who see, who clearly see
just what I miss:
how the past is ever leading me,
binding me to you
in ways I cannot understand
until looking back, in grace,
I see your fingerprints
on all that I have known...

And as you've brought me safe thus far,
so lead me safely home:
for this I pray, I hope and trust
is all your will and way for me...



Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments