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Father Dennis’ Past Reflections

God’s Living Word Today  - Friday May 29, 2020

[Acts 25:13b-21 and John 21:15-19]
"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." [John]

     The gospel scriptures from the Farewell Discourse at the Last Supper are over and there is a complete shift of scene to the final chapter in the Gospel According to John - what is called the "Johannine Appendix."   

     Much attention is given to the triple question to Peter" "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" This section constitutes Peter’s rehabilitation and emphasizes his role in the church.  The threefold confession of Peter is meant to counteract his earlier threefold denial (Jn 18:17, 25, 27). The First Vatican Council cited these verses in defining that Jesus after his resurrection gave Peter the jurisdiction of supreme shepherd and ruler over the whole flock. 

But a verse much later on, quoted above, perhaps captures an elderly person’s attention. The words of Jesus about growing old are a challenge to acceptance, to gratitude and to grace.  The role of memories becomes more and more important even as the day to day physical challenges demand patience and acceptance. Acceptance of the past, gratitude for the present, and hope for the future even when the challenges get more and more difficult is what we pray for. 

Gospel challenge and opportunity for today:
Consider the elderly that you know and talk to them about what faith means to them at this time. 

Father Dennis



God’s Living Word for Today - Thursday, May 28, 2020

[Acts 22:30; 23:6-11 and John 17:20-26]
"I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me." [John]

Many people in the midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic are grieving a loss in some fashion. We will not be able to go back to the way things were, but will experience a new normal as we move ahead in the days to come and we are never alone.
In the Gospel today Jesus prays not just for the disciples with him but for us and all those who will come to believe.  Jesus was (and is) praying for all who believe in him and for all those who will come to faith because of OUR faith. We can bring the assurance that Jesus is praying for all those we share our faith with and those who will come after us since Jesus desires that we be one.

     Parents may pray that after they are gone, their children will all get along and that there will be family unity.  We know from our own experiences that this is a challenging thing to accomplish and maintain.  Jesus' prayer for unity remains a challenge for us today and for the future.  The celebration of Pentecost this coming Sunday offers us an opportunity to reflect on how we help or hinder the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing about unity. Let us take to heart that the family who prays together stays together thereby fostering the unity that Jesus desires and the Holy Spirit can achieve when we are open. Let us pray together today ‘Come Holy Spirit.’  

With whom does Jesus want me to reach out too in order to in order to foster unity?

What is the blessing and benefit when we take to heart that the family who prays together stays together?

Father Dennis



Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 7th Week of Easter - Wed

[Acts 20:28-38 and John 17:11b-19]
"I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the Evil One. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth." [John]

     In this portion of Jesus' "High Priestly Prayer" in the Farewell Discourse, Jesus prays for the disciples. He speaks as intercessor, with words addressed directly to the Father and not to the disciples, who supposedly only overhear. Yet the prayer is one of petition, for immediate (Jn 17:619) and future (Jn 17:2021) disciples.   The disciples are being sent just as Jesus was sent.  Their mission is sacred just as Jesus' mission was sacred.  They are to preach the truth about Jesus and his Father with the help of the Holy Spirit.
     This "sending forth" will be celebrated in particular this coming Sunday, Pentecost Sunday, but it occurs every day around the world as the sacrament of baptism is administered.  We are "consecrated in the truth" and sent forth to proclaim it in word and deed.  Jesus is praying for us.  We can't get better help than that!  AMEN

Reflection Questions to consider
Where do I need Jesus’ prayerful help against the evil one today?
Where am I being called and sent to speak the truth to someone today?
As you pray with your children today at home what can you tell them of Jesus love for them?

Father Dennis



Monday, May 18, 2020 - 6th Week of Easter - Mon

[Acts 16:11-15 and John 15:26-16:4a]
"When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify,

Jesus, who never forgets nor forsakes us, promises to send "the Advocate" (older translations use the word "Paraclete") to enable and empower believers to bear witness.  He also promises that bearing witness (testimony) will lead to persecution.  The very word, "martyr," comes from the Greek word meaning "witness." 

Pope St. John Paul II promoted what he termed "the new evangelization."  This effort, still being promoted, is not directed to converting non-Christians or even non-Catholics to Catholicism but to those who are baptized and even practicing Catholics!!! 

The sad fact is that the second largest Christian denomination in the U.S.A., in numbers, would be former Catholics who have lost hope in our church! 

In the gospel, Jesus is assuring his followers that he will leave them a strong witness to assist them after he has gone from them. The witness is the Holy Spirit. Christ is fully aware of the trials and persecutions which are to befall his followers but he is equally aware that with the aid of the Holy Spirit they will be able to endure and so be victorious. We too will be strengthened if we allow the Spirit to work in us.

Hope in God; I will praise him still, *
my savior and my God. Psalm 42

Inspire us to yearn for you always

Father Dennis



Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - 4th Week of Easter - Tues

[Acts 11:19-26 and John 10:22-30]
Those who had been scattered by the persecution that arose because of Stephen went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but Jews. There were some Cypriots and Cyrenians among them, however, who came to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks as well, proclaiming the Lord Jesus. [Acts]

The first historical moment is when Jewish Christians began preaching about Jesus to non-Jewish people.  A second historical moment occurred when to distinguish believers in Jesus from other Jews, the term "Christians" came into being!!  The third moment occurred when Barnabus went to Tarsus to find the recently converted Pharisee named Saul and brought him back to Antioch to help with the preaching.   On such little historical moments our very existence as "Christians" was founded!

The earliest believers in Jesus chose to share their faith with others and the faith spread.

From very small beginnings in Palestine and the Middle East, Christianity has spread to the whole planet!  The choice of Paul (Saul) to get involved in the mission had tremendous consequences.  We constantly read his teachings about Jesus!

Pope Francis has challenged all the baptized to become "missionary disciples."  All that may be required is the courage to share our faith with someone who may be curious about it.  The First Letter of Peter (3:15) says it best: "Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence...."  God will take care of the rest! 

Father Dennis






THE SHEPHERD’S TASK AT THE TIME OF JESUS WAS A CONSTANT AND DANGEROUS GUARDING OF HIS FLOCK. A GOOD SHEPHERD, WHO WAS RELIABLE AND RESPONSIBLE WAS ALSO Sleepless; far-sighted, weather beaten, leaning on his staff and looking out over THE sheep ENTRUSTED TO HIS CARE, every one of them DEAR TO his heart.

TODAY Jesus LEANS AND LOOKS OUT OVER ALL OF US WHO ARE DEAR TO HIS HEART LEADING US FORWARD by his own example of constant vigilance; fearless courage, AND patient love.


WE TRUST THAT JESUS THE GOOD SHEPHERD WILL LEAD US TO GREENER PASTURE AND TO FRESH WATER THAT REFRESHES AND RENEWS OUR WORLD, OUR COUNTRY AND OUR HOMES. WE PRAY THAT OUR CHURCHES WILL BE FILLED AGAIN TO A NEW CAPACITY ANOINTED AFRESH BY THE SAME HOLY SPIRIT. Following THE GOOD SHEPHERD we will be able to say, with the psalmist, “Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side. With your rod and your staff that give me courage.”

Father Dennis



Friday, May 1, 2020 - Today's Meditation: Acts 9:1-20

Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? (Acts 9:4)

Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus has all the elements of a dramatic film. Paul is suddenly stopped in his tracks by a light from the sky. A voice comes from heaven, and Paul undergoes an amazing conversion from Saul, the persecutor of Christians to Paul the great missionary preacher.

What about our own conversion story? How did Jesus get our attention and draw us to himself? Through an encounter with someone; an experience with Scripture or an event in our lives, the Lord awakens us to the importance of our relationship with Him and calls us to follow him.

Conversion in our own lives is rarely as dramatic as that of St. Paul, but is rather a daily on going call to conform our lives to the person of Jesus. Jesus is our model, our mentor, our master and our measure.

As the refrain to a popular worship song reminds us, “Step by step, you lead me.” Whatever our initial conversion was like, it’s still going on. Today, let us try to draw closer to Jesus. If we have fallen in some way, let us rededicate our life to him. We don’t have to look back. We just have to keep pursuing your goal: “the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. Ephesians 3:17

Father Dennis



Wednesday, April 22, 2020 - 2nd Week of Easter - Wed

[Acts 5:17-26 and John 3:16-21]

"God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish might have eternal life." [John 3:16]

One of the major "themes" of the Gospel According to John is something scripture scholars refer to as "realized eschatology!"  This means that, in the Gospel According to John, eternal life begins with faith in Jesus and not only at physical death or the final resurrection.  Thus, in this gospel, THE one sin is failure to believe in Jesus.  The "world" in this gospel refers to all of humanity with its struggles and challenges.  God loves this world which He created by his Word and sent this word in human flesh to offer eternal life to the "world".  There are echoes of the Prologue to the gospel in this, and it is worthwhile to go back to the Prologue time and time again in reading this gospel.  For us, today, the assurance of God's love and the experience of eternal life through belief in Jesus as the one whom God has sent are powerful helps in a time of plague! 

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn- the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Condemn: the Greek root means both judgment and condemnation. Jesus’ purpose is to save, but his coming provokes judgment; some condemn themselves by turning from the light.

Father Dennis


God so loved the world. (John 3:16)

In the midst of this coronavirus pandemic and the 3.7 earthquake at 12:03 this morning we might be feeling shaky, but God’s love for us is unshakable.

We might call to mind the song He’s got the whole world in His hands and not only that, but God has so loved the world

Did you know that this verse is not just talking about how much God loves the world? It’s also talking about the way God loves the world.

He gave: God loves without reservation. Love is not something God hoards to himself. God’s love is generous.

His only Son: God does not love begrudgingly. He gave us his only begotten Son most precious to his heart. Because God’s love holds nothing back.

So that everyone who believes: God loves without restriction or reservation. He has opened the door of his heart to anyone who believes, no conditions. He makes no exceptions. He pours his love out on each person who comes to him in faith. Because God’s love flows freely to everyone.

Might not perish: He does not withhold his love from us because we have sinned against him. He does not give us “what we deserve” but removes our guilt and restores us. Because God’s love is merciful.

But might have eternal life: God wants to be united with us. He has opened heaven’s gates and welcomes us in! Because God’s love is everlasting.           

Safety & Protection 

Father Dennis




The Heart of Jesus is the ultimate symbol of God’s mercy – but it is not an imaginary symbol, it is a real symbol, which represents the center, the source from which salvation for all humanity gushed forth. Pope Francis

Divine Mercy Sunday: St. Faustina’s Diary records 14 occasions when Jesus requested that a Feast of Mercy (Divine Mercy Sunday)
My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the Fount of My mercy. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me.

On May 5, 2000, five days after the canonization of St. Faustina, the Vatican decreed that the Second Sunday of Easter would henceforth be known as Divine Mercy Sunday.

The Image:  Jesus appeared to St. Faustina in a vision, with his right hand raised in a blessing and his left touching his garment above his heart. Red and white rays emanate from his heart, symbolizing the blood and water that was poured out for our salvation and our sanctification. The Lord requested that “Jesus, I trust in You” be inscribed under his image. Jesus asked that his image be painted and venerated throughout the world: “I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish” (Diary, no. 48) and “By means of this image I will grant many graces to souls” (Diary, no. 742).

“Do what the Catechism says,” the Jesuit Pope stressed, “it’s very clear: if you don’t find a priest to hear your Confession, talk with God, He is your Father, and tell Him the truth: ‘Lord, I’ve done this, and that, and that . . . I’m sorry,” and ask Him for forgiveness with all your heart, with the Act of Contrition and promise Him: “Afterwards I will go to Confession, but forgive me now.” If you do all this, Francis said, you will return to God’s grace immediately.

When our church doors can open and we can safely gather together the Sacrament of Confession will be lavishly provided for. Blessings to you and your families.

Father Dennis



Friday, April 10, 2020 - Good Friday of the Lord's Passion

But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins; upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed.

Perhaps for those who saw Mel Gibson’s THE PASSION each one may have come away with the personal realization that Jesus did that for me. But if one focuses only on the physical suffering, the meaning of what happened on that day can be lost.  Jesus suffered for us - for you and me and for every human who ever lived or will live or is living.

The somber mood of the Good Friday service this year is deepened by the necessity of an empty church because of the coronavirus pandemic.  There is worldwide suffering taking place.  Those of us who are not ill still suffer with and for the victims as well as for the sacrifices we make to mitigate the pandemic.  We suffer for others and not just for ourselves alone.  And we can be confident that Jesus fully understands and accompanies us. Today affords us the opportunity to begin the 9 day Divine Mercy Novena that will take us to Divine Mercy Sunday on April 19th. The words ‘Jesus I trust in you’ can bring each one of us and all of us great comfort during these days of testing and trial. Let us make those words our own in our daily prayer.

God demonstrated his love by sending Jesus to suffer and die on the cross for our sins. God's love is extravagant - it's a free gift of self-giving, self-sacrifice, and self-emptying that cost God His only Son. On Good Friday God Wrote His Love in Red in the blood of His Son shed on the cross for our sins.

Peace be with you this day

Father Dennis



Wednesday, April 8, 2020 - Holy Week – Wednesday

The Betrayal by Judas was a violation, a breaking of a trust that he had with Jesus in order To deliver Jesus into the hands of an enemy. The motive of avarice, meaning extreme greed, is introduced by Judas’s question about the price for betrayal: “what are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” For mere money, Judas betrays Jesus.  Judas had participated in the ministry of the apostles and had been with Jesus from the beginning; for the three years of Jesus’ public ministry.  Thirty pieces of silver was the price of the betrayal which is found only in Matthew’s gospel; the wages paid to a rejected shepherd, a cheap price.

However, the shocking fact that the betrayer, Judas, is one who shares table fellowship with Jesus is emphasized and the enormity of the deed of betrayal is such that it would be better not to exist than to do it.

In pointing our fingers of judgment at Judas, we may be pointing at ourselves.  Judas' motives (other than money) are unknown to us.  Peter's motives of rejecting Jesus three times was clearly fear of being associated together with Jesus! 

Those of us who regularly gather around the table of intimacy with Christ in the Eucharist and yet engage consistently in the works of darkness are meant to see ourselves in the betrayer Judas. Reflect: How have we betrayed or denied Jesus? Jesus, surely it is I who have sinned against you. Forgive me and show me the way forward today.

"Churches may be closed, but 'Lord's heart remains' open to all

Christ is not quarantined and his Gospel is not in chains

Peace be with you all

Father Dennis



Monday, April 6, 2020

The Lord is my life’s refuge

In our responsorial psalm this morning we read that ‘the Lord is my life’s refuge of whom should I be afraid’ This Psalm 27 was written by King David and it is a reflection of how his faith in the power of God sustained him through many trials and difficulties

Refuge is that condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble. In this Bible verse ‘the Lord is my life’s refuge’ there is the boundless hope that God will bring rescue to His people in our personal lives, within our own families and to this pandemic that has brought the world to its knees. Let this be our prayer that we commit to memory today: the Lord is our life’s refuge in whom we place our trust.

We are alone together physically distant spiritually united

Peace be with you

Father Dennis



Sunday, April 5, 2020 - Palm Sunday: At the Mass – ABC

The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while other cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road. The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying: "Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest." And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, "Who is this?" And the crowds replied, "This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee." [Matthew]

While Physically Distant we are Spiritually United​

This will be a Palm Sunday like no other in the lives of most of us.  The churches are closed.  The distribution of palms is prohibited because of fear of the coronavirus pandemic.  The faithful are urged to attend Mass through the televised or livestreamed services and to go out into their yard (for those who have one) and pick some kind of foliage to wave! 

Sorrow and joy are part of Holy Week, which we observe not only in the sorrow of Jesus' own sufferings, but also in the sorrows we are experiencing in the pandemic which will make this Holy Week one that will live in terrible memory as we participate in the services by the internet! Resurrection will take on new meaning as we slowly work toward conquering the virus that has brought the planet to its knees!  It is a special cross that we bear with Jesus this year. We must keep in mind that wherever there is the cross of suffering there is the promise of Resurrection and new life; that is the Paschal Mystery. Death and Resurrection is the Paschal Mystery woven into the fabric of our lives as Christian people. Let us be people of hope and prayer that God will bring this virus that has infected so many people throughout the world to an end.

Palm Sunday will begin this special drama of which we are all a part.  

Peace to you and your families. May God protect and keep you safe

Fr. Dennis



Friday, April 3, 2020 - 5th Week of Lent – Friday John 10:31-42

We are called to have a deep respect and reverence for God’s Holy name and not blaspheme

Today we read in the Gospel of St. John “Can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? John 10:31

Recently I was in a store turning down an aisle where a new stock of hand sanitizer was newly stocked. People had gathered in that aisle and were stretching and grabbing as many bottles as possible. The air was filled with tension and expletives could be heard many of which using God’s name and the name of His Son not in a respectful and reverent way, but out of anger and frustration. The word ‘blasphemes’ stood out for me when hearing the gospel today.

At times when we become angry at ourselves, at others, and even at God our speech can dishonor and disrespect God whose name is holy. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” the Second Commandment tells us.

We must be careful in our speech not to take God’s name in vain out of anger. We must avoid blaspheming God’s holy name. So just what is blasphemy?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in paragraph 2148, defines blasphemy like this: Blasphemy is directly opposed to the second commandment. It consists in uttering against God – inwardly or outwardly – words of hatred, reproach, or defiance; in speaking ill of God; in failing in respect toward God in one’s speech; in misusing God’s name. Blasphemy is contrary to the respect due to God’s holy name.

As we are at home within our domestic church, our families, and when going out for essentials to the store, let us strive to be calm, to be kind, to be humble, and respectful by honoring God’s name thanking Him for sending us his Son who is God with us, never to abandon nor forsake us.

The name of the Lord is holy, as He is holy. We are to esteem and honor His name as we revere and glorify God Himself.

God’s Peace and Protection

Father Dennis



Wednesday, April 1, 2020

From the Book of Daniel we heard

Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?”
“Assuredly, O king,” they answered
“But, the king replied, “I see four men unfettered and unhurt,
walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God.”

This morning we might feel somewhat like the three servants Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in our first reading from Daniel who had been cast into the white-hot furnace, yet they and we are not alone. As we look ahead in our own country to these next few critical and painful weeks feeling the heat from the Coronavirus we are reassured by God’s word that we are not alone; God is with us

The three servants in our first reading give us important insights as to how we can live our lives today, as we move forward in the midst of being tested and tried by the Corona pandemic. The three servants while in the midst of the white hot furnace remained steadfast in faith and in their service to God. Their first love was God to whom they remained faithful and they were not alone, God was with them.

*We too, in the midst of what we are experiencing alone/together, are called to remain steadfast in faith and in our service to God. We are being reminded that God must be the first love of our lives to whom we are to remain faithful as God is faithful to us; we are not alone, but the Lord is with us. Let us attach ourselves faithfully to God and pray the prayer of petition that the three servants prayed May God save us for God is with us who will never leave us nor forsake us.

Lord, thank you for always being with us, even when we feel the heat of these unprecedented times. Lord give us your peace and strength to calm our fear and anxiety.  You are Emmanuel God with us. We are not alone. Amen




Today's Reflections

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