Pilgrim Priest

Fr. Joel Sember

(formerly Brother Priest Preaching Podcast) Have you thought sermons were boring? Think again as Fr. Joel unpacks the word of God for today's audience. Fresh, local, and live takes on the Gospel for our world. A new homily every Sunday.

All Episodes

Advent, 1st Sunday (C) Many hunters tell me they pray better in a tree stand than in church. Honestly, I believe them. Creation is the first sacrament. It speaks to us of God's loving presence, but we have forgotten how to listen. We have become, "drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life," and we don't see the signs of God's love for us. We can learn two lessons from deer hunters. They scout in advance, looking for clues that tell them where the deer are. They position a tree stand in just the right place. They wake up early so they can be in position when the deer go for Starbucks, to, um... "harvest" a big buck. Just like a good deer hunter, we need to pick the right place and the right time to pray. Make yourself a dedicated prayer corner, prayer room, or prayer chair. Set a time that works for you. Secondly, we need to be reading the signs that God puts all around us. God exists in all places and all times; he can meet you in any place and any time. You will often recognize God's loving presence in unexpected delights. Spend time each day connecting with God in prayer, then keep your eyes open for Delight! (28 Nov 2021) Going Deeper: Today begins Oriens: A Pilgrimage Through Advent and Christmas. Join the Virtual Bible Study Monday mornings at 10 AM CST. Make note of your delights each day. Share one in the comments below. Welcome to Season 12 of the Pilgrim Priest Podcast. I've decided to name this album Shine! Last year's album was called, A Light in the Darkness. Once we have discovered the light of Christ, we cannot hide it under a bushel basket. We must let it shine for all to see. I hope these podcast episodes helps your light shine more brightly. | Powered by Patrons

Nov 29

11 min 59 sec

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (B) You are running out of sunsets. There are no sunsets in Heaven, and there is only a finite number of sunsets between this one and the last one. We can learn a big lesson from this simple truth. We often focus our attention on the next big thing in our lives: Christmas, family vacation, getting a driver's license, graduating college, retirement, etc. It's not bad to focus on these but we should be focused on two bigger things. First, Jesus is the true King and his future Kingdom is already assured. In fact, his Kingdom is already present. Second, if I want to be part of his eternal Kingdom, I need serve my King today. We know that the Kingdom of God is a kingdom of Truth and Love. Am I living my life according to truth and love? Am I running my business, my classroom, or my family according to the values of God's Kingdom? When we focus too much on the "next big thing," we start to live according to this world's values. Serve your King today and each each will be one day closer to Eternity. (21 Nov 2021) Going Deeper: How can I make today less about building my own little kingdom and more about serving the King in Truth and Love? Oriens 2021: A Pilgrimage Through Advent and Christmas starts next Sunday. Get your copy now!Sign up for the Oriens VBS (Virtual Bible Study) meeting each Monday at 10 AM.

Nov 21

14 min 13 sec

Ordinary Time, 32nd Sunday (B) People are watching as a widow puts in the bare minimum. Jesus is also watching, but he's watching not for the size of the gift, but the generosity of heart. You may find this hard to believe but Stewardship Commitment Sunday is not about guilting you into giving more. We are looking for more, but in two different senses: More intentional. You aren't going to pray regularly if you're not being intentional about how and when you pray. Are you serving in the best way possible? Have you talked to your spouse about how much you plan to give? We should be intentional about our giving. More love. It's ok to give and serve because we feel obligated, but it's better to give and serve as an act of love. Time is about loving God, Talent is about loving your neighbor, and Treasure is about not loving money. The widow of Zarephath teaches us an important lesson. God has already blessed you abundantly, but he is willing to give you more. All you have to do is give generously from what you have received and God will give you even more. The Rich Man There once was a rich man who was near death. He was very grieved because he had worked so hard for his money and wanted to be able to take it with him to heaven. So he began to pray that he might be able to take some of his wealth with him. An angel heard his plea and appeared to him. "Sorry, but you can't take your wealth with you." The man begged the angel to speak to God to see if He might bend the rules. The man continued to pray that his wealth could follow him. The angel reappeared and informed the man that God had decided to allow him to take one suitcase with him. Overjoyed, the man gathered his largest suitcase and filled it with pure gold bars and placed it beside his bed. Soon afterward, he died and showed up at the gates of heaven to greet St. Peter. St. Peter, seeing the suitcase, said, "Hold on, you can't bring that in here!" The man explained to St. Peter that he had permission and asked him to verify his story with the Lord. Sure enough, St. Peter checked it out, came back and said, "You're right. You are allowed one carry-on bag, but I'm supposed to check its contents before letting it through." St. Peter opened the suitcase to inspect the worldly items that the man found too precious to leave behind and exclaimed, "You brought pavement?"   (7 Nov 2021) Going Deeper: How is God calling you to give more intentionally and with more love? If you haven't made a stewardship commitment, consider doing so now. Oriens 2021 Buy It Now Be Ready for Advent Image Source | Joke courtesy of Jim Shallow

Nov 7

13 min 13 sec

All Souls Day • Those who have died are not truly separated from us; we remain united as members of the Body of Christ. We are on a journey together to eternal life, and we need to keep the dead in our hearts and in our prayers. I hope that celebrating All Souls together, and remembering the 75 souls who have passed from our parishes, will help you in three ways: Increase your FAITH in Jesus, risen from the dead, judge of the living and the dead, and giver of Eternal life to all His faithful ones. Increase your HOPE in God's mercy. Christian hope is not, "I hope something good happens." We know for certain that the dead will rise and we pray that we, too, would be in their number. God wants to save all his children and all we need to do is say "Yes", and not "No", to God's plan. Increase your LOVE. Love is stronger than death; the death of loved ones hurts because it stretches our love beyond the grave. Your love, though, is not broken and the Father's love for you is unbreakable. Hold fast to his love. Prayers for the dead strengthen our love for those who have gone before us. (2 Nov 2021) Going Deeper: You can receive a plenary indulgence for the dead during the month of November by going to a cemetery and praying for the dead under the usual conditions (Confession, Communion, and prayers for the Holy Father's intentions). Thank you Lisa Marie! Powered by Patrons. All $3 and $5 patrons will receive a free copy of my book Oriens: A Pilgrimage Through Advent and Christmas.

Nov 6

9 min 36 sec

Ordinary Time, 31st Sunday (B) God's "law" is different from the laws of the government. We should understand God's law more like the service manual for an automobile. If you want to get the most out of your car, you listen to the car's maker and follow their guidelines. My mechanic wants to help me be a good steward of the vehicle that I own. In a similar way, if you want to get the most out of your life, you listen to your Maker and follow his guidance. God wants you to flourish, to have a "long life" in this land flowing with milk and maple syrup. God's love stands behind his law for you. His law calls you to love. A more traditional way to look at morality is along the lines of human excellence. Who is somebody that has lived their life really well? Look to excellent human beings and you will see what you should be doing and what you should be avoiding. Today we hear from a living example of Stewardship, Kay, who gives a beautiful witness of living Stewardship in her life. (31 Oct 2021) Going Deeper: How does Stewardship look differently when you think in terms of car maintenance? Name someone you know personally who has been an inspiring example of human excellence. What can you learn from them? Thank you Kay and Karen for your beautiful witness talks today. Thank you Wally for your generous donation through PayPal. Oriens 2021: A Pilgrimage Through Advent and Christmas begins November 28. Order now through your local Catholic bookstore, OSV Catholic Bookstore, Amazon.com or whoever fine books or sold. All my royalties are donated to The Institute for Priestly Formation.  

Oct 31

12 min 9 sec

Ordinary Time, 30th Sunday (B) We all think, "I'll be happy when I get my way." It turns out that this idea is a ticket to misery. Here are three reasons why it doesn't work: 1) Other people. 2) The universe. 3) We are reliably bad at predicting what will make us happy. The Church has an answer to this problem, and the answer is called Stewardship. We usually associate stewardship with Time, Talent, and Treasure. We have our stewardship commitment Sunday is coming up November 6/7 and yes, the card invites you to make a pledge in each of those three areas. But stewardship is not fundamentally about those things. It is, in fact, about realizing that I am not the master. I am the steward, and the Master has blessed me with abundant gifts. He invites me to use the blessings I have received for his glory. One blessing we have received is the gift of time. We don't often think of time as a blessing or a gift. But every day at midnight, you are given the gift of exactly 1,440 minutes to spend any way you want. The best place to start is to give 1% of "your" time back to God. I have to learn how to invest my time in the things that really matter. When I make time for God each day, I find I have more time at the end. Bartimaeus is wrapped up in his cloak, disconnected from the community, and begging for his daily needs. The call of Jesus allows him to let go of things, follow Jesus, and re-enter the community. Let us hear Jesus call us to be Stewards of time. (26 Oct 2021) Going Deeper: Prayerfully consider how God might be calling you to use your time, talent, and treasure in His service. Make a pledge for next year. Here's a great way to improve your prayer time: Buy Oriens 2021 now and be ready for Advent Thank you Wally for supporting the podcast through PayPal.

Oct 27

16 min 31 sec

Ordinary Time, 29th Sunday (B) Our recent clergy congress was about promoting vocations. The priesthood today is a more challenging profession than ever. People who feel called to priesthood often wonder if they will be strong enough to fulfill all the demands. But the real question is, are you weak enough to be a priest? You see, our weakness is not an obstacle to God's love. In fact, trying not to be weak is one of our biggest problems. How many marriages would have been saved if the partners had been willing to admit, "I need help with my anger, gambling, alcohol, pornography, suicidal thoughts..."? Though Jesus was strong, he chose to become weak. Jesus was successful, not because he was strong enough, but because he accepted his weakness and relied on the strength of God. God wants to give you the same help. If you are trying to be 'strong enough,' you are only setting yourself up for a fall. Are you weak enough to be a Christian? (17 Oct 2021) Going Deeper: What part of my weakness and struggles do I have a hard time accepting? What keeps me from relying on God's power? Oriens 2021 is now available for purchase | Thank you Sue! Powered by Patrons | Image: Tango7174 via Wikimedia Commons

Oct 17

9 min 28 sec

Ordinary Time, 27th Sunday (B) I have often preached on marriage and divorce in the past (see Marriage is for Children | #546 and This is Why So Many Marriages Fail | #846). Today, I want to look at the dynamic inside our souls. And to illustrate this I'm going to use two famous works of art. The first is the Creation of Adam from the Sistine Chapel. We see Adam fresh and new like a baby. God is straining to have a relationship with Adam, but Adam isn't convinced he really wants a relationship with God. Ultimately, he will choose creation over the Creator. Adam's choice leads to our second image, the Calling of Saint Matthew by Caravaggio. Man's soul has become darkened and crowded with friends, money, fine clothes and pleasures. But God's light is still shining and God, now in the person of Jesus Christ, still wants a relationship with man. This is an analogy to the inside of man's soul. We need to be willing to accept our poverty, our vulnerability and weakness. In a word, we need to be willing to be children. We often think that the finger of God is accusing us of sin. But really God is pointing because he's calling you into a relationship with him. On this Respect Life Sunday, I'll finish my homily with a reflecting by Anita on how she experienced God's love for her. Going Deeper: Have you experienced God's merciful love calling you out of darkness and into his light? How did you respond to that call? Visit the Langlade County Chapter of Wisconsin Right to Life Thank you Joyce! Powered by Patrons Oriens 2021 is now available at OSV Catholic Bookstore and will soon be available on Amazon.com, at your local Christian bookstore, and wherever fine books are sold.

Oct 3

19 min 11 sec

Ordinary Time, 26th Sunday (B) Last week I told you that I wanted our parish to work like a team. Everyone is called to ministry and mission. Our parish should help you discern your gifts and use them for God's glory. In our first reading, seventy elders have been chosen to help Moses with his ministry. Two don't show up for the prayer service but they still get the gift of the spirit. In a similar way, Jesus' disciples are concerned about someone who is using Jesus' name but isn't on their team. Jesus is not concerned about the others but rather about his disciples: Are you so sure that you are on God's team? How might your sin be undermining your relationship with God and your teammates? Sin is the opposite of righteousness, and rightness is necessary for good team work. Let God set you free so you can help God set others free. (26 Sep 2021) Going Deeper: Write out your working definition of sin. How does your view of sin affect your ability to choose good and avoid evil? How do you evil choices hurt the rest of God's team? Thank you Tom & Sue and John & Amy for your donations through PayPal. Image Source

Sep 26

12 min 6 sec

Ordinary Time, 25th Sunday (B) I have a dream, that the clergy and parish staff here in Antigo will become an awesome team! I also dream that each parish will work together as a team and that the three parishes can team up together. In order to make team work, we need to overcome the Five Dysfunctions of a Team: 5. Inattention to results 4. Avoidance of accountability 3. Lack of commitment 2. Fear of conflict 1. Absence of trust Building trust, according to Patrick Lencioni, requires a willingness to be vulnerable within the group. We have to be genuinely open with each other about our own failures and weaknesses. There are five corresponding steps to good teamwork: Trust that the other person's intentions are good. Good healthy conflict about the best way to achieve our goals. Commit to decisions and plans of actions. Hold one another accountable to delivering against those plans. Focus on the achievement of collective results. Jesus wants his Apostles to be a team. But rivalries and jealousies are undermining the team. So Jesus explains to them that leadership is really service. Jesus is willing to trust his Father so much that he's not afraid to be vulnerable. Picture having Jesus' arms wrapped around you. Does it matter who is the greatest when God is hugging you? I am poor, weak, and vulnerable. But God loves me, and there's nothing else I need. (19 Sep 2021) Going Deeper: Do you recognize your family, workplace, or church more on the "dysfunctions" list or the "teamwork" list? Are you able to be honest and vulnerable, or are you waiting for others to do it first? Oriens 2021 is available now for pre-order.

Sep 21

12 min 10 sec

Ordinary Time, 24th Sunday (B) Actions speak louder than words. God says he loves us. But we see it for ourselves when the Word becomes flesh and dies on the cross for us. Where was God on September 11, 2001? Tom Colucci was a New York firefighter working at ground zero. He saw God in the way that people came together and helped one another. He saw God giving him strength to attend all the funerals and get through those 9 months. Rear Admiral Jeremiah Denton, Jr., was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for seven years. He saw God when he was being tortured to the limit of his endurance. The moment he prayed and gave it to God was when he experienced both physical comfort and serenity of mind. I was running last week when I felt exhausted. I said a prayer and handed it over to God. At that moment it was like God right there receiving my sacrifice. It reminded me of a time on retreat when I felt the closeness of God as if my words didn't have to travel any distance at all. How would your prayer be different if you realized that it went from from your lips to God's ear? How would your sufferings be different if you remember that Jesus was with you and was wanting to help carry your burden? (12 Sep 2021) Going Deeper: The image for this post was taken by Anne Bybee. Read the story A Picture of Hope from 9/11. And also watch the short YouTube video Why This 9/11 Firefighter Became a Priest. The Pilgrim Priest podcast is available again on Stitcher. You can find us on a dozen or so podcast platforms. Leave a comment about your favorite podcast platform or send me an email and suggest a new platform.

Sep 13

17 min 37 sec

Ordinary Time, 23rd Sunday (B) I used to not really believe in faith healing. Then I saw it for myself at a discipleship seminar. I have prayed with people and they have reported immediate relief from symptoms. Sometimes, though, the physical illness would return. I think that Jesus was working a sort of temporary relief in order to get peoples' attention. Which do you think is harder: To open the ears of the physically deaf or to open the ears of those who are deaf to the cries of the poor and the voice of God? Jesus works a physical healing so that they will be open to a much more profound, and significant, spiritual healing. The "Ephphatha" from today's reading continues to be repeated in the Baptism ritual. That means the Church desires this kind of healing, this kind of openness to God's voice, for every Christian. Prayer is "a response to the presence and action of God in our lives." We often want God to talk but we aren't willing to step away from the crowd. Oriens 2021 is a great opportunity to "tune in" to the voice of God. A couple weeks ago I invited people to share a Mass Moment with me. Here's one that was shared with me, and I got the author's permission to share it with you. I'd like to share my Mass moment with you. I've heard our Catholic teaching on the Eucharist my whole life. I've always believed. It's important to say I've noticed an intention of making the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist a focal point in homilies, Catholic talk shows, and Relevant Radio. Since I am nearly retired I try to attend daily Mass. Recently as Father began the prayers of consecration, I came to a reality that this was the very same God that created the earth. The very same God I will soon hold in my own hands and then consume. The very same God will become a part of every cell in my body. Tears began to flow uncontrollably for the duration for Mass. I remained in church after Mass just enjoying the intimate moment I had with God. I also bring this "Mass moment" to mind at each Mass. I'm glad I'm Catholic. Children should be praying an Our Father in the morning and a Hail Mary before bedtime. Adults and teens should be committed to at least 15 minutes of quality time with God every day. Make yourself a prayer chair, prayer corner, or prayer space in your house. I would venture to guess that every Catholic has probably had some kind of mini miracle experience. When did you experience a healing, an answer to prayer, a #MassMoment. Meditate on how God has spoken you and your ears will become more "tuned in" to his voice. (5 Sep 2021) Going Deeper: Check out the videos on Encounter School of Ministry's website. Thank You Mission Partners | Image Source

Sep 5

13 min 10 sec

Ordinary Time, 22nd Sunday (B) This one idea leads to a great deal of anger, hurt, anxiety, and depression. To make yourself miserable, all you have to do is think, "If I get my way, I'll be happy." At first glance you might tell me that I've got it backwards. But I will prove my point three different ways: The universe don't care about your puny little will. It's happy to rain on your parade, let things break at the worst possible time, and generally screw up your plans in every conceivable way. Other people. Every other person in the universe becomes a potential source of misery. We can't all be happy, and so we fight constantly over who wins and who loses. The science of happiness demonstrates that humans are actually laughably bad at guessing what will lead to happiness. We've all had experiences where getting my way turned out to be miserable. And we've all had experiences where getting the last thing I wanted turned out to be a huge blessing. Too often, people of faith use their religion as a crutch to prop up this false idea. They think, "If I'm a good person, if I do the right things and pray hard enough, then God will make sure I get the good weather that I want, the health, the success, etc." God becomes my servant. The Gospel gives us a different solution. Instead of trying to bend God, others, and the universe to my puny will, I can fold my will into God's will. I can let my plans be part of the much bigger, and much better, plans that God has for all of us. Just reading that sentence, you can already feel the anxiety and frustration leaving you. The Church has a word for this idea. We call it, "Stewardship." It happens when we start to realize that God has been busy serving me and taking care of me long before I woke up, long before I was conceived into existence. When I serve, I am just giving back. And what's more, I am surrendering to a bigger and better plan than I could have thought up by myself. Trying to get my way actually gets in the way. Set your heart on being a Steward and watch as your life becomes happier. (29 Aug 2021) Going Deeper: How does trying to get my way, and throwing tantrums when I don't, manifest itself in my life? What would a life of Stewardship look like for me? Oriens 2021 Now Available to Preorder | Powered by Patrons | Photo by Moose Photos from Pexels

Aug 29

13 min 33 sec

Ordinary Time, 21st Sunday (B) This is the final homily in The Holy Mountain series. We have been reading through John 6 and I've been comparing Mass to a pilgrimage. Many Catholics don't struggle with Church teaching on the Eucharist because they've never actually come to grips with transubstantiation. The Church teaches that what looks like bread and tastes like bread is not, in fact, bread; it is actually the Lord Jesus Christ, King of the universe, fully alive in flesh and blood. You take Baby Jesus into your hands when you receive Communion. To help us grasp the reality of the Eucharist, I am going to re-read the entire passage of John 6. As I read it, prayerfully reflect to yourself: What does the Church teach and what do I believe? Follow along at BibleGateway.com The Word became flesh. Then the flesh became bread, so that you could eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood and have his life within you. There is no Communion without commitment. You come to the altar to give yourself to God as he gives himself to you. It is a beautiful exchange, an exchange that transforms you. I want to share two moments when I experienced that Church teaching on the Eucharist is really true. One Labor Day I sat in the pew and experienced Communion and community in a whole new way. Another was a healing that at parishioner experienced. How have you been changed, "transubstantiated", by an experience at Mass? Share your #MassMoments in the comments below. (22 Aug 2021) Going Deeper: Get out your Bible and prayerfully re-read John 6. Share a #MassMoment Listen to all five homilies in the series The Holy Mountain: The Holy Mountain: Hungry For More | #1136 The Holy Mountain: I Am Not Alone | #1137 The Holy Mountain: Tree of Life | #1138 The Holy Mountain: An Hour in Heaven | #1139 The Holy Mountain: Changed for God | #1140 Image Source | Powered by Patrons and by your comments. Thank you!

Aug 22

19 min 49 sec

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary • This feast day used to have a reading of the Gospel of Martha and Mary. The Blessed Virgin Mary welcomed Jesus when he came knocking on her heart. When Mary died, Jesus came to get her and welcome her to his home. Mass reminds us of our dignity and our destiny. Mass reminds us of our dignity by giving us a seat at the last supper and a place at the foot of the cross. Mass reminds us of our destiny by giving us a glimpse of heaven. We gather as one community, we sing, we worship God and participate in the supper of the Lamb. Bishop Ricken as rescinded the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass. This means that Catholics are required to spend an hour in heaven every Sunday. If you can't come physically, at least your heart is here with us. Or is it? Jesus can't welcome you into His eternal life if you haven't welcomed him into your earthly life. Come to God's house on Sunday, welcome him into your heart and your home, and Jesus will welcome you into his. (15 Aug 2021) Going Deeper: What is one way I can contribute to helping my local Sunday Mass feel just a little more like an hour in heaven? Next in the series >> The Holy Mountain: An Hour in Heaven | #1139 Powered by Patrons | Image Source | Thank you Fr. Looney for the Assumption Gospel tidbit.

Aug 15

12 min 50 sec

Ordinary Time, 19th Sunday (B) We are on a pilgrim journey to Eternal Life, and the Eucharist is food for the journey. Every Sunday is a pilgrimage to your local Catholic Church. Through the mystery of the Eucharist, we stand on the hill of Calvary and kneel at the foot of the Cross. Jesus offers himself as the perfect sacrifice for my sins and yours. Remember Adam and Eve? The two thieves, the loincloth and the crown of thorns point back to the sin of our first parents. These clues remind us that God has not forgotten their sin -- not to hold it against them, but to atone for it. The cross is the Tree of Life and the Body of Christ is the fruit. We begin Mass by confessing our sins. Before receiving Communion we say, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." The Mass is dripping with our need for repentance and new life. Do you want to start over? Bring your regrets to Jesus. I often get the question, "Father, I keep committing the same sins over and over again. What do I do?" I have a novel suggestion: stop trying not to sin. Where Jesus is, there is no sin. If we find ourselves repeatedly sinning, it is because we need to invite Jesus in or turn something over to Jesus. Draw near to Jesus. Stop trying to do it yourself. Invite him under your roof and receive forgiveness, healing, and new life. This is the symbolism behind the Offertory at Mass. The money that is presented represents your successes and achievements that you are offering to God. The bread and the wine, made from crushed grapes and ground grain, remind us of our failures and regrets. We give it all to God, we put it on the altar, and he blesses and transforms it. Every area of my life that I have struggled with, God has used for grace. When I turn these areas over they become sources of healing, hope, and new life -- not just for me, but also for the people I minister to. Bring Jesus your mistakes, failures, and regerts, and let him give you new life. (8 Aug 2021) Going Deeper: What did I offer at Mass today? What should I be offering on the altar the next time I am in Mass? Is there a place in my life that I need to give to Jesus or welcome him in? Next in the series >> The Holy Mountain: An Hour in Heaven | #1139 Icon of the Resurrection | Image Source | Thank you to my staff and parishioners for your patience and support this first year.

Aug 8

15 min 6 sec

Ordinary Time, 18th Sunday (B) A pilgrimage is more than just religious tourism. It is a journey of faith, a journey of the heart, a journey that changes us. Most people don't realize that Mass on Sunday is a religious pilgrimage. You process from your homes to the holy mountain that is your local Catholic parish. Through the Mass, you take a seat in the upper room; you are a guest at the Last Supper. There are many effects from this pilgrimage. I want to highlight just one: you are not alone. We often feel alone, and we realize that I can't do this alone. The Good News is that you don't have to do it alone. God is with us in the flesh and in the Eucharist. Jesus wants to remain with you; do you remain with him? There is a second sense in which we are not alone: we don't do it alone because we are all here together. Jesus calls us to be a community of faith. We need to be spiritually fed so that we can feed others. The Eucharist is not magic; it is a constant invitation to come to Jesus and be fed. But you must realize that those who are fed become bread for others. (1 Aug 2021) Going Deeper: How can I help spiritually feed the community of my family and the community of my local parish? Pray about one practical step you can take, then work in it this week. Mass is a pilgrimage to a holy place. Your local Catholic parish is the upper room; you become a guest at the Last Supper. The community is starving. Instead of spiritual cannibalism; turn to Jesus and be fed! Then turn and feed others. Next in the series >> The Holy Mountain: Tree of Life | #1138 Powered by Patrons Thank You Kevin and Peggy! Image Source

Aug 2

18 min 5 sec

Ordinary Time, 17th Sunday (B) My annual paddle trip was a big success. I paddled 90 miles in 8 days. I returned to the same place I had left, but I was changed in some way. I saw a simple way of living and that less is more. A pilgrimage is a journey to a holy place that changes us. The gospel of John 6 begins with a pilgrimage. The people go out into the wilderness in search of something more than everyday life. They recline (an attitude of receiving) and God blesses them with more. So much of an abundance, in fact, that they have some left over. Do you realize that Mass itself is a pilgrimage? We all leave our homes and make a journey to a holy place, the holy mountain that is your local Catholic church. You have come to Mass because you aren't willing to settle for what the world is willing to offer you. You have come here looking for more. This weekly pilgrimage reminds us that life itself is a journey. You were made for more! One sign that we are on pilgrimage is that we are all fasting. We have to fast from food for one hour before receiving Holy Communion. Empty your mouth. Empty your stomach. Open yourself to the *more* that God wants to give you! Instead of bringing all that stuff here, try to bring what is here back home with you. (25 Jul 2021) Going Deeper: Fasting means more than just not eating food. Consider also fasting from screens, noise, news, and other distractions on Sunday mornings before Mass. How were you changed by this week's pilgrimage to Sunday Mass? Next in the series >> The Holy Mountain: I Am Not Alone | #1137 Thank you to Fr. Mel | Sisters of Mercy | Benedictines of Shaw Island | Powered by Patrons

Jul 25

13 min 50 sec

Ordinary Time, 15th Sunday (B) At your Baptism, you were blessed, chosen, and destined. You were incorporated into the Beloved, that is, Jesus. We weren't "holy and without blemish", so Jesus died for you. Then you were sealed with the Holy Spirit at your Confirmation. All you had to do was hope in Christ, hear, and believe. We who have been chosen, blessed, and sent no longer belong to this world. We are passing through. God will take care of his chosen ones. So why do we focus so much energy on money and fundraisers? Why are we all so short on time? I would contend it's because you don't give time to God. Start by giving God the first hour of the first day of the week. Then give God at least 15 minutes of quality time each day. The Church can't focus on the right things if Christians aren't focused on Christ. (11 July 2021) Going Deeper: Does your parish put more focus and energy on casting out demons and healing the sick or on parish fundraising events? Make a commitment to quality time with God every single day and watch what happens to your time. Listen to old homilies at PilgrimPriest.us / Podcast

Jul 12

19 min 41 sec

Do you think you know all about Jesus? Then you probably have him wrong! Today’s episode shares a parable about missing the point and then suggests three attributes that will help you.

Jul 4

14 min 22 sec

Ordinary Time, 13th Sunday (B) This was the first weekend when I got to celebrate Mass as a Catholic priest. The call felt peaceful but the reality has been chaotic. These readings resonate with my experience of priesthood. Jesus is on his way to cure one person when he gets distracted by another cure. Both women are "untouchable." But Jesus touches them and restores them both to life. Only Peter, James, and John and the child's parents are in the room when the healing happens. I have experienced many challenges but also many blessings. Here are some of the unexpected blessings of priesthood: Celibacy. I accepted celibacy because it was part of the package deal of priesthood, not because I was excited to not have a wife and children. Being celibate has forced me to develop an intimacy with God that has fueled and sustained my priesthood. I would say celibacy has actually been greater blessing even than being a priest. Follow the recipe. You don't have to be incredibly creative. Whether it's a funeral or a wedding or the seasons of the year, I just follow Holy Mother Church's time-tested recipe and it comes out good every time. Jesus does most of the work. "Jesus has plenty of money," as my spiritual director told me. He is also an incredible healer of souls and bodies. I get to be in the room when Jesus forgives sins and raises the spiritually dead to new life. There's no one Jesus doesn't love and nothing Jesus can't do, and I get to witness it happening. Going Deeper: I was going to mention a fourth blessing but cut it in the interest of time. And ironically, the blessing was time. There never seems to be enough time to do everything. Until, that is, I started making prayer a priority. Prayer helped me see that I was spending time on the things that weren't important. When I started focusing on the important things, suddenly I had enough time with even a little left over. This week, make prayer a priority. Then focus on the important things and see what happens to your time. (27 Jun 2021) Powered by Patrons

Jun 28

14 min 54 sec

Ordinary Time, 12th Sunday (B) When paddling across Death's Door in a kayak, even small waves can feel frightening. Imagine a fishing boat that is being swamped with water! Jesus wakes up and quiets the storm. Only God has authority over the natural elements. Jesus is showing that he is God. There are storms raging around us right now. But more frightening than those are the storms that rage in our hearts. Jesus is in your heart, but has he fallen asleep? Perhaps instead of waking him, we should be entering into the peace of his heart. Be with the Lord and you will find peace in any storm. (20 Jun 2021) Going Deeper: Next time your heart feels stormy, go to church or to a prayerful place and spend some quiet time with Jesus. Let him calm your heart. Image Source | Powered by Patrons

Jun 21

10 min 44 sec

Ordinary Time, 11th Sunday (B) A good gardener knows each plant. Each one is special and precious and receives what it needs -- a sunny view, or shade, a lot of water, or a little, etc. God is a good gardener and we are each plants. We are each precious and unique and special to God. And yet, as Blessed Carlos Acutis said, "Each of us is born unique. But many of us die as photocopies." We have all tried to make ourselves like someone else. We idolized people that weren't happy and criticized ourselves for being different. You try to be like others because you were taught in school that you exist because of random chance and survival of the fittest. We think that our existence is an accident, that we have no inherent value. We treat like like a game of "survivor" and the least popular kids will get voted off the island. Instead of celebrating who I am, I feel that I'm not enough, and if I don't find a way to be more, I'll soon be eliminated. The truth is, the animal kingdom doesn't play by the rules of evolutionists. Each unique plant places a special role in the lives of the other plants and animals. They support each other and balance one another out. Problems happen when we move a foreign species into an ecosystem where it doesn't have a niche and it becomes an invasive species. Most extinctions are caused not by survival of the fittest but by human activity. Nature carefully conserves millions of unique species and balances them with each other. "We walk by faith and not by sight," says our second reading. And that means we need to have faith in God's goodness. We also need to have faith in our own value. Baptism not only wipes away original sin and makes a child Catholic. It also means you are adopted as a beloved child of God, incorporated as a unique part of the Body of Christ, and made a precious temple of the Holy Spirit. Imagine how your life would look different if you lived these truths each day? When we start living for ourselves and trying to survive, we become like weeds instead of productive plants. Don't try to be a photocopy of someone else. Be the beautiful plant that you were made to be. By being yourself, you will help others thrive and grow. (13 June 2021) Going Deeper: Go for a walk in a botanical garden or flower bed and marvel at the varieties you see there. Try to find one way to affirm the unique dignity of each of the people in your life.

Jun 19

13 min 47 sec

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (B) Through the gift of the Incarnation, Jesus carries our blood in his veins. Through the gift of the Eucharist, Jesus' blood enters our body. We become "blood brothers" with Jesus. The Eucharist is food for the journey. Jesus leads us, and feeds us, on our pilgrimage to our heavenly homeland. (6 June 2021) Going Deeper: Check out the Eucharistic procession in Orvieto, Italy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHrOWjQ2cts Powered by Patrons

Jun 6

12 min 3 sec

We long to belong; we were made for community. But being a family doesn't just happen, especially in a world of broken promises. How can you foster community? Phyllis has the answer.

May 30

13 min 36 sec

Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (B) Just when Jesus was poised to conquer the world... he left the disciples and ascended into heaven. We no longer expect an earthly king, but we certainly could use a Messiah to teach us, heal our sick, forgive sinners and even raise the dead. So why is Jesus not here? God had a different plan. His plan was to fill the whole world with Jesuses. Every single Christian is called to be a little Jesus. Do you love your wife like Christ loves the Church? Do you love your family, friends, and neighbors as Jesus does? Of course not, because the call is impossible. But all things are possible for God. I would contend that when Jesus emptied himself, he left all his "God powers" behind. It wasn't until he received the Holy Spirit at his Baptism that he started working miracles. You have received the same Spirit; you have the same call. How do we unlock the power of the Holy Spirit? Three steps: First, acknowledge the fact that, as a Christian, I am called to love others as Christ has loved me. Second, realize that I cannot possibly fulfill this calling by my own efforts. Third, turn to God and ask him to help me fulfill my mission. And the world will realize that Jesus is with us because Jesus is within you. Going Deeper: Follow the three steps above and try, with God's help, to love like Jesus this week. Thank you Carl | Powered by Patrons | Photo by Edmond Dantès from Pexels

May 16

14 min 16 sec

Easter, 6th Sunday (B) Mothers Day • Archeologists have uncovered the oldest know human burial in Africa, and it was a child, a little boy lovingly laid to rest. Even 78,000 years later we can see that his family loved him. Today we celebrate the gift of a mother's love. This day can be hard for many. Some are grieving the absence of a loving mother, the loss of a child, or the dream of being a mother that didn't come to fruition. The Mass readings today remind us that behind every mother is the love of a Father: God the Father. Can you imagine a greater love than the Father's love for his Son, Jesus? Now realize that Jesus loves you with this same love. I was inspired recently by the story of a little orphan boy who fed all his fellow orphans before he himself ate. This is how God loves us. This is how we are called to love. Going Deeper: Check out the Wilde Family's Call to Mission. [VIDEO]

May 9

13 min 40 sec

Easter, 5th Sunday (B) You are alive because your parents shared their life with you. They kept giving you life by feeding and protecting you. Parents love their children so much they want them to live forever! But no one can give their children eternal life. Only God, who is fully alive, can give us the gift of eternal life. Through the gift of Baptism, we are born again to a spiritual life. Through the gift of the Eucharist we are fed with the very life of the Eternal God. Do you only want to receive Communion, or do you want more? Jesus invites us to not only receive him in the Eucharist, but to remain in him. The love that he gives us will grow and bear much fruit. Going Deeper: What does it mean to remain in Jesus and let him remain in you? You may not be able to physically receive communion but try to enter into spiritual communion with Jesus each day this week.

May 2

12 min 28 sec

Easter, 4th Sunday (B) How did I know I was called to be a priest? I used to lie awake at night waiting for a sign from God. Instead of a sign, God lined up a house visit to St. John Vianney Seminary. I continued on to Mundelein Seminary in Chicago. Then I was unexpectedly transferred to Rome. That was when I experienced the care of the Good Shepherd. None of us is anonymous; none of us is unknown. Each sheep matters to the Good Shepherd. God wants to call you to a true, good, and beautiful life. Stop selling yourself short! Three thoughts on discernment: You probably won't hear God's voice speaking to you. Instead, you need to prayerfully consider what is the right next step. God will make the steps clear one at a time. You will never regret doing God's will. Even though it won't be easy, it is always worth it in the end. It will sometimes feel like we have taken a wrong turn and come to a dead end. That doesn't necessarily mean we made a mistake. Instead, these moments are an opportunity to listen more deeply. God didn't need to give me the answer because he was going to be with me every step of the way. I needed to learn how to walk with God and listen to him each day. Get in the habit of saying, "Speak, Lord!" and your life will become a romance. Going Deeper: Check out the Fiat Prayer Society for the Diocese of Green Bay. Spend a little quiet time today discerning God's will for your week. Thank you Kat | Powered by Patrons

Apr 26

21 min 20 sec

Easter, 3rd Sunday (B) St. Peter is preaching to the very people who had demanded Jesus' execution. And he is the one who denied Jesus three times! But Jesus forgave Peter. Now Peter wants them to also receive mercy. Have you experienced God's merciful love? Do you want others to experience the same mercy? How can we help people to experience the mercy we have received? We can forgive them as God has forgiven us. Forgiveness does not require them to say, "I'm sorry." It doesn't mean I won't report them or that I should allow them to continue to hurt me. Forgiveness means allowing God to bring good out of the evil that others have inflicted on me. Forgiveness is a supernatural gift. Pray for the grace of forgiveness. Watch God work miracles in your life and the lives of others. You have received mercy, now share mercy. Going Deeper: "In the name of Jesus, I forgive _[person]_ for _[way they hurt me]_ and I ask God to bless him (her)." Image Source | Powered by Patrons | Thank you Nanette and Family

Apr 19

14 min 45 sec

Easter, 2nd Sunday (Divine Mercy) • Jesus was always at peace because he was always in communion with his Father. He knew his Father loved him and would take care of him even when he felt abandoned. Now that Jesus has returned from the dead, he offers his disciples the same gift of peace. There are two steps for to experience this peace. The first step is the forgiveness of sins. The second step is to enter into the life that Jesus has with the father. He has been opened up so that we can enter into him and share in his Communion with the Father. Through Baptism and Communion we die to our old self and rise to new life in Christ. As we enter into a deeper union with Christ, we enter more deeply into communion with one another. What kind of friendship do you have with Jesus? What kind of friendship do you want from Jesus? Divine Mercy Sunday is a chance to go deeper. Going Deeper: Reflect on the image pic.twitter.com/okcnRWuW6B Thank you Paula! | Powered by Patrons (and PayPal)

Apr 11

10 min 38 sec

Easter Sunday of the Resurrection • Last year we couldn't attend Easter Masses due to Covid restrictions. It was strange and different but came with unexpected blessings. The experience reminded me of the Emmaus optional Easter reading. The two disciples in the story had lost faith and hope. But Jesus walked with them and explained how his suffering and death was all part of God's plan. It restored their faith and hope. They invite him to stay with them and experience the Eucharist, the sacramental presence of the Risen Jesus. It also points us to his presence with us every day. Do you just want to connect with Jesus on Easter Sunday, and walk the rest of your life alone? Or do you want him to stay with you the rest of the week and the rest of the year? Two questions: 1) When did God become real for you? 2) How would you describe your friendship with Jesus? My friendship with Jesus has moved from a useful friend to someone I listen to, to someone I really want to be with all the time. I can't guarantee you that your Facebook friends will have all the answers. But I can guarantee you that Jesus has the answer. Not only does he have the answers, but He is the answer you've been looking for. And he's walking with you today. Going Deeper: Answer the two questions: When did God become real for you? How would you characterize your friendship with Jesus? Did you find unexpected blessings in last year's "unprecedented" Easter? How is God's loving presence surprising you this Easter? Thank you Sue | Image | Powered by Patrons

Apr 7

17 min 14 sec

Good Friday • Pontius Pilate goes back and forth between Jesus and the chief priests. When he listens to Jesus, he hears the truth and feels peace. When he listens to the crowd, he becomes confused and fearful. Peter ultimately listens to the crowd. Mary and John, Joseph and Nicodemus, ultimately listen to Jesus. What about you: Do you listen to Jesus and turn away from the crowd, or listen to the crowd and reject Jesus? Going Deeper: Turn off the voices of the crowd today and spend some time in silence listening to the Lord. Thank you Romie and Mary Lou | Image | Powered by Patrons

Apr 2

8 min 21 sec

Holy Thursday, Last Supper • The Jewish people gathered every year to commemorate their freedom from slavery in Egypt. They could not have known that their meal of unleavened bread and unblemished lamb was preparing for something much greater. Today we celebrate the Last Supper where Jesus changed the Jewish Passover into the Eucharist. The Eucharist itself is like an appetizer for the heavenly banquet. As we gather year after year for this Holy Thursday, we cannot possibly glimpse the Heavenly meal here foreshadowed. But this meal is also a present reality. Through the mystery and miracle of the Eucharist, you take a seat at the Last Supper. Jesus washes your feet and breaks the bread for you. Jesus loves you as the Father has loved him. Will you let yourself be changed by his love? Judas walked with the Lord and was loved by Jesus. He went through all of the motions even of receiving Communion but he didn't receive God's love. What about you -- have you given Jesus permission to love you? Do not just open your mouth to receive Communion; open your heart to enter into Communion. Jesus gives himself so that you can become one flesh with your Savior. Walk these three days with Jesus and you will be changed forever. Going Deeper: How has the love of Jesus changed you? How does it continue to change you? Go home from this meal and wash the feet of your wives and children. Make plans to walk all three days of the Triduum with Jesus. Thank you to all those who have blessed, formed, and enriched the gift of priesthood that Jesus Christ has shared with me | Image Source | Powered by Patrons

Apr 2

11 min

Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion (B) It is Passover season and Jerusalem is crowded with pilgrims. Jesus rides into the crowd on a colt, making a clear and explicit claim that he is the Messiah and heir to the throne of King David (see Zechariah 9:9-12). This gesture will ultimately get him killed. What can we learn from the our Lord's passion? I always thought it showed us how tough Jesus was. But then I read how every condemned criminal was given a squad of five soldiers. Their job was to make sure you died a slow and painful death. Jesus was, in a sense, along for the brutal ride. So what, then, can we learn from Jesus' passion? I notice two things: The depths of human depravity. We all have a little dictator inside of us. We want to get our way (even just a little bit) and we are willing to manipulate, control, and dominate others. This desire ultimately leads to every form of evil imaginable. And it's all on display at the Crucifixion. The depths of God's love. Jesus didn't run away and he didn't defend himself. He suffered the most miserable death imaginable because he loves you. Despite our depravity, God has not stopped loving us. So how can you and I move from human depravity to divine love? Jesus shows us the way is humble submission to the Father's will. Obedience to God breaks the cycle of trying to get my way. Let us lay down our lives for Him who laid down His life for us. Going Deeper: From a sermon by Saint Andrew of Crete, bishop (Office of Readings for Palm Sunday) Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the King of Israel Let us go together to meet Christ on the Mount of Olives. Today he returns from Bethany and proceeds of his own free will toward his holy and blessed passion, to consummate the mystery of our salvation. He who came down from heaven to raise us from the depths of sin, to raise us with himself, we are told in Scripture, above every sovereignty, authority and power, and every other name that can be named, now comes of his own free will to make his journey to Jerusalem. He comes without pomp or ostentation. As the psalmist says: He will not dispute or raise his voice to make it heard in the streets. He will be meek and humble, and he will make his entry in simplicity. Let us run to accompany him as he hastens toward his passion, and imitate those who met him then, not by covering his path with garments, olive branches or palms, but by doing all we can to prostrate ourselves before him by being humble and by trying to live as he would wish. Then we shall be able to receive the Word at his coming, and God, whom no limits can contain, will be within us. In his humility Christ entered the dark regions of our fallen world and he is glad that he became so humble for our sake, glad that he came and lived among us and shared in our nature in order to raise us up again to himself. And even though we are told that he has now ascended above the highest heavens - the proof, surely, of his power and godhead - his love for man will never rest until he has raised our earthbound nature from glory to glory, and made it one with his own in heaven. So let us spread before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves, clothed in his grace, or rather, clothed completely in him. We who have been baptized into Christ must ourselves be the garments that we spread before him. Now that the crimson stains of our sins have been washed away in the saving waters of baptism and we have become white as pure wool, let us present the conqueror of death, not with mere branches of palms but with the real rewards of his victory. Let our souls take the place of the welcoming branches as we join today in the children's holy song: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the king of Israel. Powered by Patrons

Mar 28

8 min 21 sec

Lent, 5th Sunday (B) Imagine for a moment that your great-uncle had passed leaving no heirs and you stood to inherit his vast fortune. But there was one catch: he wanted to give his money to someone who had nothing. In order to inherit the vast fortune you had to divest yourself of everything. Suddenly you would be playing the opposite game as most people. Instead of having the most, you would want to have the least. Most of us are playing, "Who can be the greatest" and "Who can have the most." Jesus is playing the opposite game. He stands to inherit the Kingdom from his Father and he needs only those things that will get him closer to the Kingdom and nothing more. Jesus shows us how the game of life is meant to be played. Today, March 20, 2021, is the one year anniversary of the suspension of public Masses in the Diocese of Green Bay. The spring of 2020 was a difficult time for all of us. It shook the core of things that looked so solid and revealed the depth of things that had seemed fragile. The things that matter the most aren't really things at all. (21 Mar 2021) Going Deeper: What do you remember from the suspension of public Masses last spring and the ensuing quarantine? What things in your life turned out to be shallow and superficial? What things in your life turned out to be deeply rooted and important? Image Source | Powered by Patrons

Mar 23

11 min 12 sec

Solemnity of St. Joseph, the Husband of Mary • I prepared for this feast day by reading the Fr. Don Calloway book Consecration to St. Joseph. I disagree with much he had to say about St. Joseph, but I am still excited to consecrate myself to St. Joseph. I personally feel drawn to him as a model of spiritual fatherhood and especially a model for celibates. I think he has much to teach our modern world. Here are seven things we can learn from St. Joseph: His Silence teaches a wordy world that actions speak louder than words. His Obedience to God reminds us that we are meant to fulfill God's will and not assert our wills on the world. His Chastity teaches us the true meaning of human sexuality. His Manhood teaches men to be guardians and protectors of those in need and to sacrifice themselves for the good of others. His Hidden life shows that we do not need to conquer anything or climb the corporate ladder in order to have a successful life. His Poverty shows us our value does not depend on what we own, but on who we are in the eyes of God. His Hard Work and Craftsmanship show us how work means more than just making things or making money. Two things I want to leave you with: First, Joseph succeeded where Adam failed. Joseph was a faithful steward of his Lord who tilled the garden and kept it safe from harm. Second, Joseph is an Icon of God the Father. As the Father spoke his Word into the world, so the only word that St. Joseph is recorded to have spoken is "Jesus." (Matthew 1:25) Joseph leads us to Jesus. (19 Mar 2021) Going Deeper: What is your favorite image of St. Joseph? How does this image help lead you to Christ?

Mar 23

16 min 23 sec

Lent, 4th Sunday (B) What does the Catholic Church actually teach about salvation? Do you have to be "good enough" to get to Heaven? Or is it enough just to have faith, as your Bible-church friends like to say? God always acts first and we respond. God offered a covenant with Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses. He was setting the stage for the gift of his Son, Jesus. God offers the Christ Child, and Mary accepts Him. It is through Jesus that God offers salvation. Our first response must be faith, that is, trust in God. Faith is the beginning, but it is not the end. Actions speak louder than words. We must respond not just with an act of faith, but also with a life of faith. Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving should all be a response to God's love. Faith without works is dead; works without faith is an empty show. Pray for faith, and live your faith each day. (14 Mar 2021) Going Deeper: How did you experience God's love for you at Advent? How can you share God's love with others during Lent? James 2:14-26 says: What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But some one will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you foolish fellow, that faith apart from works is barren? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead. Powered by Patrons | Art by Randy Friemel

Mar 14

18 min

Lent, 3rd Sunday (B) The 10 Commandments are all pretty much common sense... except the third commandment. God wants a day dedicated to him, and he wants you to honor him by not working. We are imitating God who rested on the 7th day. We are celebrating Freedom from slavery. Christians have two additional reasons to celebrate. We celebrate Jesus' Resurrection and we look forward to the unending rest of Heaven. Worship God and take a day of rest. Spend time with family and friends, take a nap, go for a walk, play a game, visit, make a nice meal together. Renew your family, cultural, social, and religious life. God loves his children and doesn't want us trapped in the hamster wheel of greed and material success. Keeping the sabbath holy will drive the money changers out from the temple of your heart. (7 Mar 2021) Going Deeper: Make a personal commitment to avoid shopping on Sunday. Clean your house on other days. Study on Friday/Saturday and give yourself a break on Sunday. What are some things that help you to keep the sabbath holy? Share your ideas in the comments below.

Mar 7

15 min 6 sec

Lent, 1st Sunday (B) Once upon a time, the world was so sinful that God was sorry he made human beings. He decided to wipe them out with a big flood. Only Noah would listen to God. So God gave him instructions to save himself, his children, and all the animals. Everyone else was swept away by the flood waters. Noah emerged from the ark to a fresh, clean world. He was greeted by the rainbow and a covenant with God. Our second reading tells us that the souls who were drowned in the flood were given a second chance. Jesus went to preach to the souls who had drowned. Those who listened to him were invited to follow him up to heaven. We have now been welcomed into the new and eternal covenant in Jesus' blood. But even if a thousand times over we have not been faithful to the convent, God agives second chances. (21 Feb 2021) Going Deeper: Start Lent over again this week. If you had a second chance at life, what would you do differently? Try to start that new life today. Powered by Patrons - Thanks Mike and Julie!

Feb 21

12 min 48 sec

Lent, Ash Wednesday • The Catholic Church requires fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and that we abstain from meat on those days and all the Fridays of Lent. Everything else is up to us. Depending on what we give up, we might arrive at Easter being being skinnier, healthier, better-rested, or all sorts of other wonderful outcomes. But there is one great outcome we should all strive for. Did this Lent help you to love God and love your neighbor more at the end than you did at the beginning? Let's make Lent all about love. (17 Feb 2021) Going Deeper: Start by thinking of one thing to do that will help you be more loving, or one thing that keeps you from love that you can stop doing. Try to add an additional challenge each week of Lent. Thank you Schlegel family | Images 1,2 | Powered by Patrons

Feb 19

10 min 53 sec

Ordinary Time, 6th Sunday (C) Leprosy was contagious and incurable. The leper had to quarantine by going out into deserted places and crying, "Unclean." Jesus touches the untouchable; he loves the unlovable; he cures the incurable. Even to this day, he touches sinners in the sacrament of Confession. In the name of Jesus, St. Damien of Molokai touched the untouchable, loved the unlovable, and cured those who had lost a sense of meaning. There are people all around you suffering from spiritual leprosy. Let's make Lent an opportunity for love. Perhaps you could give up things that get in the way of loving God and neighbor. Maybe you don't need to do anything different, but instead start doing everything as an act of love. 14 Feb 2021 Going Deeper: "Wash the plate, not because it is dirty, not because you are told to wash it, but because you love the person who will use it next. - St. Teresa of Calcutta Reflect on how God loved you at Christmas, and how you can share His love with others this Lent. Image Source | Thank you for liking, sharing, and donating!

Feb 15

16 min 16 sec

Ordinary Time, 4th Sunday (B) Moses prophecies: A prophet like me will the LORD, your God, raise up for you from among your own kin; to him you shall listen. The scribe finishes the book of Deuteronomy with these words: Since then no prophet has arisen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face. (Deuteronomy 18:15, 34:10) A new prophet arises who has not only seen God's face, but is the very one who spoke to Moses on the mountain. Jesus teaches with the authority of God himself. No demon, nor even Satan himself, nor all the demons together, can stand against the authority of Jesus. Then what about the demons that afflict me, literally or figuratively -- why has Jesus not cast them out? When we struggle with demons of repeated sin, anger, addiction, abuse, and hopelessness, we find that we have got ourselves into a situation that we cannot get ourselves out of. There is an area in your life where you have not welcomed Jesus and given him authority. Evil grows in the darkness and remains hidden until you draw near the Light. It is in the synagogue that the man finds healing. So come to church, demons and all. Unlock your heart and open it to the power of Jesus' love. (31 Jan 2021) Going Deeper: What are some of the literal or figurative demons that afflict you? How can you invite Jesus in, or what do you need to turn over to Jesus? Pray the Surrender Novena a few (hundred) times. Powered by Patrons | Image Source

Jan 31

12 min 53 sec

Ordinary Time, 3rd Sunday (B) Instead of another homily on being called by God, I want to talk about a relationship with God. First I want to explain that relationship with God is at the very heart fo Catholicism. All the key people in the Bible are called into a relationship with God. And not just any relationship, but the unbreakable family bond called a covenant. It is like God became family with Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, and Moses. Jesus to establish the new and eternal covenant. "Come, follow me," he tells his disciples. He goes on to say, "I have called you friends." And finally, "As the Father has loved me, so I love you." The new covenant is such a deep, personal, and intimate relationship that the closest analogy is the love between a husband and a wife. All the saints experienced God in this personal way. Every Christian needs to discover that God is real and to fall in love with Him. Without love, all church teaching looks like a bunch of restrictive rules. When you fall in love, all the rules start to finally make sense. We love him because he first loved us. (23 Jan 2020) Going Deeper: 1) Why do you come to Mass on Sunday? 2) When did God become real for you? 3) When did you fall in love with Jesus? Powered by Patrons | Image Source

Jan 25

15 min 13 sec

Ordinary Time, 2nd Sunday (B) We have a hard time making up our minds at a drive through. How are we going to figure out our life? So many options leads to anxiety, depression, and hopelessness. If you look beneath your competing desires, you will find deeper desires. You want a meaningful life, true love, a deep peace and lasting joy. If you have been paying attention during the Christmas season, you might have noticed a moment when you experienced all of that. Jesus came to meet you at Christmas. You welcomed Jesus into your heart and into your home. Now he wants to stay with you. The question for you is, “Do we want to stay with Jesus?” We need to cultivate an attitude of listening. Start by listening to the Church when she steers you away from immorality and towards a healthy human life. Make a place, and time, for daily prayer. God can certainly speak to you out loud, if he wants to. I know because it happened to me. God wanted to make sure I was listening. Samuel is listening and responding to the needs of people around him. He is ready to hear God's voice. Are you listening? (17 Jan 2021) Going Deeper: God calls us through words, experiences, moments, and friends. He also is calling you in the depths of your heart. Spend some time in silence each day. Leave space to hear those deeper desires. Pray often, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." Thank you to Bill and Melody for becoming monthly Mission Partners through patreon.com/PilgrimPriest

Jan 17

17 min 50 sec

The Baptism of the Lord (B) We first heard today's Gospel reading back on the Second Sunday of Advent. John the Baptist called us to repent to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord. How did your Advent journey change you? What did God give you at Christmas time? Spend a moment reflecting on the gift you received at Christmas. God wants to give you more! You have received Jesus into your heart and your home. Now Jesus wants to dunk you in the Holy Spirit. Imagine the love of God dripping out of you everywhere you go. We find it challenging to simply love our family, let alone our neighbors or our enemies. The Holy Spirit will help you. All you have to do is ask. Mother Theresa was full of the Holy Spirit. She did the important things and trusted God to take care of the rest. The Spirit will guide you to focus on the things that really matter this year. (10 Jan 2021) Going Deeper: Ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit. Prayerfully discern the important things you need to be focusing on, and something not important that you can let go of. Thank you to Kat, one of your Mission Partners! Powered by Patrons

Jan 10

18 min 6 sec

New Years (Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God) • We survived 2020! And we've been given the gift of another year to praise, serve, and glorify God. Our lives are filled with blessings and challenges. Which ones do we save? What do we ponder in our hearts? The spiritual life also experiences ups and downs. St. Ignatius called this consolation and desolation. We need to savor the bright moments and take strength for the dark times. We can be confident that consolations are followed by desolations and desolations are followed by consolations. Here are three ideas for turning your burdens into blessings: Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us, not just at one moment in history, but at every moment. No matter what 2020 threw at us, I was confident that Jesus would be with us. We need to learn that Jesus is with us not just at Christmas or in the Eucharist, but in all the ups and downs of your life. Choose gratitude. There are always things that will tear you down and things that will lift you up. Whichever one you focus on will tend to grow in your life. Start your own gratitude jar for 2021, and commit yourself to pondering the blessings. When you start feeling overwhelmed, pray the Surrender Novena. Trying hard to make things work out is a recipe for disaster. Your life only works when you realize that it is a gift. Give yourself back to God. Place your burdens and the altar and watch him turn them into blessings. Follow these three tips and you'll make 2021 the best year ever! (1 Jan 2021) Going Deeper: How was God with you in 2020? How had God showed you his presence this Christmas time? Save those good moments and keep pondering them in your heart. Powered by Patrons. Image Source: reddit.com

Jan 2

15 min 41 sec

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph (B) St. Augustine teaches that there are three comings of Christ. The first coming was his birth in Bethlehem. The second coming is the famous "Second Coming" in power and glory. But there is a third coming that happens between these two. This is the coming of Christ to every Christian. In the past, I encouraged people to prepare their hearts for a special Christmas moment. Did you have such moment? Maybe it happened before Christmas, or during a prayer time, or even after Christmas. As a result of praying with Oriens, I have come to a new perspective. The Christ Child doesn't just come to visit us once a year. Rather, he comes to meet us every day. When we have not chosen the tree of life, the Christ Child appears to offer us new life. We are invited to humble ourselves, to bend down, to enter the stable and receive the Baby Jesus. He offers a relationship, and with that comes love, joy, peace, hope, and all the other gifts we have been longing for. When we humbly submit to our Father's will, we become like Joseph and Mary. They each individually accepted God's plan for their lives. And together they formed a holy family. When a husband and a wife each embrace God's will, they too will become a holy family. When a couple together draws close to Jesus, something special happens. Sadly there has only been one canonized couple in the history of the Church: Louis and Zélie Martin. Regardless of whom you are married to, drawing close to Jesus will enrich your marriage. Even children are called to help make their families holy. We are also members of a faith family. Let us each accept Jesus so that together we can be a holy church family. We can all take comfort in the fact that Abraham and Sarah are presented as models of faith. They learned to be faithful gradually over time. As we learn to be faithful, our families will become holy. (27 Dec 2020) Going Deeper: The Abraham story occupies much of the book of Genesis. Open your Bible to Genesis 12 and read through chapter 25. Images: Abraham, Sarah & Isaac | The Martins | Jesus, Mary & Joseph

Dec 2020

15 min 41 sec

Christmas Midnight Mass (B) When Mary said "Yes" to carrying God's child, she probably expected a home-birth in her comfortable house in Nazareth. She could not have know that the Emperor was preparing a decree that would require travel. Her son would be born in a stable and laid in a manger. None of us knew what we were in for when 2020 rolled around. Yet Mary knew that God was with her. And if she had any doubt, she only had to rub her belly. God has been with you all through covid. God has heard every prayer you ever prayed. Sometimes we doubt he is listening when we don't see exactly what we prayed for. We were praying for an end to covid and we got a quarantine instead! But God only answers prayers two ways: 1. Yes 2. I have a better idea. So if you didn't see exactly what you prayed for, you can be confident that God is giving you something even better. We know that we have experienced many blessings in the midst of this year's challenges. God didn't just want to give you a little something: a little peace, a little love, a little joy, a little hope. He wanted to give you everything! So he wrapped up his Son Jesus in swaddling clothes. Many people will leave Jesus behind in church because they weren't expecting a baby. But a few will welcome him into their homes and into their hearts. They will discover that Jesus brings with him all the peace, all the joy, all the love, and all the hope that they have been longing for. And they will become a light for others in a world full of darkness. Welcome the Baby tonight with open arms! (25 Dec 2020) Going Deeper: Name some blessings you experienced this year that you wouldn't have experienced without covid cancellations. How has the Baby Jesus entered your home.

Dec 2020

14 min 58 sec

Advent, 4th Sunday (B) Right from the moment of the first sin, God was already planning to save us. God prepared our salvation from Abraham through Moses and King David. In the fulness of time God sent his angel to ask the virgin Mary, "Do you want to be who I made you to be?" With humility and obedience, Mary is submissive to the will of God in her life. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us. It was all part of God's plan that the same Word who dwelt in the womb of Mary would also dwell in your heart. We were made by love and for love. You were made for friendship with God, a friendship so intimate and personal that it can best be described as Christ in me and I in Him. Today we will have an altar call. At Communion time, do not come forward if you are prepared to place yourself on the altar. You might think that's a lot for God to ask. Mary thought the same. But God has already given you everything. The birth of Jesus and his presence on the altar is like going down on one knee to pop the question. Will he find room in your heart? (20 Dec 2020) Going Deeper: What are you getting the Birthday Boy for Christmas? You probably thought of something for everyone -- except him. All he wants for Christmas is you. So wrap yourself up in his love and give yourself to Jesus this Christmas.

Dec 2020

15 min 53 sec