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Sunday, March 05, 2023

Transfiguration of our Lord - Seeing God face to face.

Homily for the Second Sunday of Lent Year A
 Adapted from a homily by Fr. Tommy Lane 

As we begin to discern today’s readings, I would first like to share with you a short story that just might help us understand the deeper meaning. The story goes something like this: Twins, a sister, and a brother were talking to each other in the womb. The little sister said to the little brother, ‘I believe that there is life after birth!’ Her brother protested: ‘No, no, this is all there is. This is a dark and cozy place, and we have nothing else to do but to cling on to the cord that feeds us.’ But the little girl insisted: ‘There must be something more than this dark place, there must be something else where there is light and freedom to move.’ Still she could not convince her twin brother. Then...after some silence, she said hesitantly: ‘I have something else to say, and I am afraid you won’t believe that either, but I think there is a mother!’ Her little brother now became furious: ‘A mother, a mother, what are you talking about? I have never seen a mother and neither have you. Who put that idea in your head? As I told you, this place is all we have so let’s be content.’ The little sister finally said: ‘Don’t you feel this pressure sometimes? It’s really unpleasant and sometimes even painful.’ ‘Yes,’ he answered, ‘what’s special about that?’ ‘Well,’ the sister said, ‘I think this pressure is there to get us ready for another place, much more beautiful than this, where we will see our mother face to face! Don’t you think that’s exciting! 

 In the story, the twin brother did not believe there was anything beyond what he could see and hear and touch, while his twin sister believed there was a life beyond what she could see and hear and touch. The story reminds me of our lives. We are like the twin sister when we say, “we are only passing through,” meaning that this life is preparing for eternal life. 

 We all know and realize that We live in strange times with lots of tragedies and appalling accidents and many people dying young. During times like this, we need more than ever to remember that our lives here on earth is temporary, that we do have a special purpose, and that we are on a pilgrimage to God. Through our baptism, we are all sons and daughters of our heavenly Father. Like the girl in the womb who could not see her mother but believed, we too believe that eternal life follows this life and that there is more to this life than what we can see and hear and touch. 

The Gospel today helps us to understand this even better. On the mountain Peter, James, and John saw that there was more to Jesus than met the eye. During the transfiguration they got a glimpse of the future glory of Jesus’ resurrection. Like them, we too get glimpses of the presence of God in our lives.
 • We get glimpses of God in the love we receive from other people. 
 • We get glimpses of God when badly needed help suddenly comes to us from out of nowhere. 
 • We get glimpses of God when we look back over our lives and what we couldn’t understand in the past makes sense now. 
 • We see glimpses of God when we see someone making a sacrifice to help somebody else. 
 • We see glimpses of God in the beauty of a fine day, a nice beach or a beautiful sunrise or sunset. 
 • We see glimpses of God when a passage from the Bible or a homily strikes a chord in our hearts. 
 • We get a glimpse of God when we spend time in prayer and experience the loving presence of God in our lives. 

 And We get more than just a glimpse of God when we receive the body and blood of Jesus in Holy Communion. 

 The Transfiguration coming early in Lent encourages us to continue our Lenten penances because it reminds us of the glory of Jesus risen from the dead. When Jesus and the disciples came down the mountain Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone about his transfiguration until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. Of course, they did not know what he meant. Unknown to them the glory of Jesus’ transfiguration was preparing them to accept the scandal of the cross. They would understand this only afterward when looking back. 

 The good times take us through the bad times. So, when our cross is heavy or when we are tempted to despair about the meaning of life, let us look beyond the pain of the present moment and remember those times when we got glimpses of God, those times when God sent us his consolations. Let us look beyond the pain of life and see the presence of God in our world, and the offer of life that God wants to make to each of us. Let us look beyond the illusion of happiness that this life offers and gaze toward the real happiness that God offers us. Let us look beyond this world to eternal life with God. And let us be patient. As Catholics, we understand that the pressure we often feel in our lives is there to not only help us build virtue, grow in love and forgiveness, and reduce our pride but mostly to get us ready for another place. A place much more beautiful than this. A place where we will see our Jesus, our God, face to face.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Kevin Kearns Funeral Homily - 01.20.2023 - Saint Joseph Church, Marysville, CA


Kevin Kearns Homily – Deacon Pat Kearns (Funeral Mass 01/20/2023) 

Kevin was quite the man, remarkable in many different ways. He was smart, creative, kind, giving, and yes at times stubborn and onery. He was also a fighter and a man of faith. We were quite surprised many years ago when he was diagnosed with advanced stage 4 cancer. He was only given a 50/50 chance to live. He fought, receive great medical care, and won the battle. He eventually went into remission and after so many years was deemed completely healed, cured. He did have some residual side effects from the drugs and radiation, he became hard of hearing, but he wouldn’t admit it. 😊 
Just like how he would never admit he was color blind. Remember some of the outfits he would wear? He swore those colors matched. 😊 

But seriously, having cancer changed his life greatly. After his recover he saw life much differently. He knew that life could end at any time and unexpectedly. If you ever asked him how he was doing, he would always say “Blessed.” He truly saw his life that way. He embraced life and was thankful for the life he had. He also shared his blessing with others. Most might not know but years ago he created a charitable organization that he named “Hope Floats.” He used the organization to sponsor teachers in poor areas of Africa and Guatemala. He also helped with the funding of cancer and diabetes research, and did so much more, too much to list. He was always looking for ways to help those in need, especially children. Maybe that was his way of being fatherly since he had never married. And speaking of fatherly, after our father suddenly died at the age of 65, Kevin naturally and effortlessly took over the role as the patriarch of the family. He watched over his younger 5 brothers, their lives, their families, and was always eager to help if help was needed. He also had a family-related dream. For many years he dreamed that one day he would buy a large piece of property and that all the brothers and their wives could live by each other and share in each other’s daily lives. He loved his brothers more than anything. Well, a little more than a year ago, Kevin did acquire a large horse ranch in South Carolina. He then moved to the ranch and became a South Carolina resident. My brother Tim and his wife Angela followed. And two of the other brothers were beginning to make plans to join them in the near future. His dream was becoming a reality. I had never seen Kevin happier than when he was on the ranch or with his horses. He especially enjoyed driving the tractors, riding the horses, puttering around the ranch on his Kubota Mule, or exploring the forest on one of the quads. In a small way we might say he was already experiencing a bit of Heaven on earth. + 

When we reminisce about the life of a loved one, especially so near to their time of passing, and if they go suddenly as in Kevin’s case, one can’t help but feel a sense of sadness and sorrow. We are united today in our sadness and sorrow at the death of Kevin Kearns. The reality of death, with all its pain and sense of loss, confronts us at this moment. But as we are united in sorrow, we Christians are also united by something else... our Faith. Confronted with the reality of death, we must allow ourselves to be confronted with the reality of our Faith. The reality... not a "maybe" or "I hope so" or fantasy or wishful thinking, but a reality. Our Faith opens our minds to the whole picture about life, death, and what happens after death. Only in the light of our Faith can we begin to understand what has happened to Kevin and how we are to keep going from here. When in our Faith we speak about heaven, and resurrection, and the next life, we do not speak about these things primarily because they give us consolation and strength. They certainly do that, but the primary reason we speak of these things is because they are True. God has spoken His Word to us; we hear it in the Scriptures and in the teachings of our Church, and we respond to it by saying, "Yes, I believe; it is true!" God has broken the silence about death, and told us that He has conquered it! Death was not part of God's original plan; it came into the world because of sin. Death is not from God; death is from turning away from God. Yet God did not leave us in death's power. He sent Christ, who died and rose again and conquered death! God has spoken to the world through Christ, and told us that He wants to give us victory over death in and through Jesus Christ! Because of this, a Christian is not silent in the face of death! Many people, on coming to a wake or funeral, do not know what to say! Death seems to have the last word. But we who believe are not silent. We speak! Christ is risen! Death has been conquered! Many people think that the story of human life is, "Birth, life, and death." For a Christian, it's different. The story is not "Birth, life, and death," but rather, "Life, death, and Resurrection!" Death does not have the last word; life does! Death is not the last period after the last sentence of the last chapter of the human story. There's another chapter to come! Death is not the end of the human story; it's the middle. The end of the story is Resurrection and life that has no end! The farewell that we give to Kevin today is a temporary farewell; the burial we give Kevin is a temporary burial. He will live! He will rise! 

The ceremony today contains many reminders of this, and it points us to the fact that Kevin was baptized. We sprinkled the (remains) with holy water at the beginning of the ceremony... This recalls the waters of baptism that were once poured on Kevin. The white funeral pall is a reminder of the white garment placed on the newly-baptized... a sign of the new life of Christ given to the Christian. This candle is the Easter candle; it is present at every baptism, and symbolizes the Risen Christ. When Kevin was baptized right here in this church, the life of the Risen Christ was poured into his soul! He began to share, here on earth, the life of heaven! At baptism, God rescued Kevin from the power of death; He literally snatched him from the dominion of death and transferred him into the Kingdom of Christ -- a kingdom of eternal life. Christ said to Kevin on that day, "You do not belong to death! You belong to me!" Therefore, a Christian does not merely die. A Christian dies in Christ. Those two words, "in Christ," make all the difference in the world! We belong to Him by baptism, and we live in Him by a life of prayer, obedience to His teachings, and faithfulness to the Sacraments of the Church. If we live in Christ and die in Christ, we will rise in Christ! In the midst of all this, should we grieve? Yes, brothers and sisters, it is OK to grieve; it is natural, because we love Kevin. Even Christ wept when His friend Lazarus died... and He wept even though He was about to bring Him back to life! Yes, we as Christians grieve. But we grieve with hope. It is OK to be sad today that we do not see Kevin anymore, but it would be wrong to think we will never see him again. It is OK to grieve, but it is wrong to despair. Christ is alive! We pray today for Kevin that he may complete the journey to heaven. Pray for him every day, and for yourselves. Look at him today and say with faith, "Kevin, you do not belong to death. You belong to Christ, and so do we!" Amen.

Sunday, December 04, 2022

The reality of Heaven and Hell (Advent)

"The Reality of Heaven and Hell" (2nd Sunday of Advent) 

Today is the 2nd Sunday of Advent, a time of preparation, and the Gospel today has a profound message for us. The Gospel begins with the words of the prophet Isaiah, declaring that God was sending a messenger to prepare the way. The messenger would be a voice crying out in the desert. That voice was to be John the Baptist. Understanding John the Baptist is not an easy task, probably not unlike the task posed to those of his time. Few people, 2000 years ago, probably truly and completely understand what he meant when he declared his mission “To prepare the way of the Lord and make his paths straight.” However, the gospel states that John the Baptist who appeared in the desert proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And what was the response of the people of that time: The scripture states that people of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. John further stated that one greater than he would be coming. John the Baptist is the very voice of Advent, the voice of the coming of the Lord Jesus to earth to intervene in the relationship between God and ourselves. What John stated when he said “I baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit", was not just a word about Jesus, It was the Gospel – It was the beginning of the good news for the world. John and his message happened at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry on this earth, and John and his message still are the beginning today for all those who want to find their way out of the wilderness and into the Promised Land. 

However, there is one reality that so many Christians have lost sight of, and because so, their whole faith foundation has become weak and makes them easy prey for temptation and sin. This reality that I speak of, is having a clear distinction and belief in Heaven and Hell. That’s right, I said Hell. I would be shocked to hear of a Christian that didn’t believe in Heaven, but you would not believe how many Christians I have met that question the reality of Hell. Without a clear understanding of the reality that your behaviors and actions in this world do have consequences, and that the result of those actions either lead you to heaven or hell, could leave a person confused, and lost, and can lead to a rationalization for behaviors that are clearly sinful and in opposition of God. What is missing, and what I am speaking of, is the understanding of a healthy “Fear of the Lord.” The “Fear of the Lord” as it is spoken of in the Bible, is not just a concept, but an experience that predisposes us to wisdom. In fact, “The Fear of the Lord” is the beginning of wisdom. The “Fear” is not the fear of a tyrannical God who arbitrarily inflicts punishment, but a fear that gives proper respect to a God who administers “Just punishment” for those who deserve it. The biblical “Fear of the Lord” is an intelligent fear, based on a deep perception of the holiness and majesty of God, which rightly recognizes the possibility of violating the law of God, despising His love, rejecting His mercy, and meriting eternal separation from Him. While the fear of the Lord is simply the beginning of wisdom, the end of wisdom is love. The scriptures tell us in fact, “blessed is the man who fears the Lord.” 

Saint Catherine of Sienna, a Doctor of the Church, relays to us from a vision from God the Father that there is much more depth to the reality of heaven and hell than many commonly suppose. She states that sin and evil are far more ugly and more horrendous than most of us can imagine, but so too are the beauty, glory, and goodness of heaven greater than we can comprehend. Saint Catherine states that there are four torments of hell. 

 • The first is that souls are deprived of seeing God. 

 • The second is that the souls agonize ceaselessly with regret about what has been lost. 

 • The third is that unlike the beatific vision in heaven, the souls in hell will be immersed in the demonic vision, the source of evil itself. God even showed Catherine a brief vision of hell and reminded her of the vision by stating, “You will recall that when I once let you see him (the devil), for a tiny while, hardly a moment, as he really is. You said, after coming to your senses again, that you would rather walk on a road of fire even till the final judgment day than see him again. But even with all you have seen, you do not really know how horrible he is.” 

 • And the fourth torment is the ceaseless burning of an immortal fire that has as many forms as the forms of the sins that were committed. Stating that: 
- Misers will be plunged into the filth of greed 
- Violent souls will be engulfed in cruelty 
- The indecent will be engulfed in indecency and wretched lust 
- The envious in envy 
- And those who were hateful and bitter toward their neighbors will be engulfed in hate. 

So why do I go on and on about the reality of heaven and hell, it is because heaven and hell is a reality, a reality that so many have allowed to fade away in their conscience. Without this acknowledgment and understanding, Saint Augustine, Saint Catherine, Saint John of the Cross, Saint Theresa of Avila, Saint Therese of Lisieux all warn of the ease and likelihood of falling for the traps of the devil and spending eternity in hell. 

So where do we go from here? This brings me remembering a story I once heard that involved a professor and a great master. The professor traveled to the Far East to meet with a great master and the professor asked the master to teach him what he needed to know to have a happy life. The professor stated: - I have studied the sacred scriptures - I have visited the greatest teachers in the land, but I have not found the answer, please teach me. At this point, the master served tea to his guest. He poured the professor a cup full and then kept on pouring and pouring so that the tea began to run over the rim of the cup and across the table, and he still poured, until tea was cascading upon the floor. The professor watched this until he could no longer restrain himself. “It’s overfull, stop, no more will go in,” he cried out! “Like this cup” the master stated, “you are full of your own opinions, your own ideas, your own speculations, you are full of yourself. How can I show you the way, until you first empty your cup.” Doesn’t this story represent our own lives so very much! We want to be shown the way, yet at the same time, we want to pursue and follow our own desires, our own ideas. 

John the Baptist called to the people with the message of repentance. He called to them to hear his message and then to take action so that they would be able to greet the Messiah and walk in his way. He preached to “repent.” Repent, what does the word repent mean? Quite simply, it means to “turn around”, to change directions, to face a new way, and to begin to walk in that way, leaving the old way behind. Just as the professor had to empty himself to learn the way of the master, so each of us must change direction if we are to truly see the Lord and walk with him from the wilderness to the promise land. 

Advent is a time to empty ourselves. It is a time of Quiet and reflection. It is a time for acknowledging our sins, it is a time for enjoying the sacrament of penance, it is a time of forgiveness, it is a time for change. It is a time to purge ourselves of habits and behaviors that draw us away from God, and it is a time to cultivate holiness in our lives and in the lives of others.  

When we realize this and make room for God in our lives, then we are on the way to true repentance after the example of John the Baptist and can joyfully accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

Saturday, October 01, 2022

Faith the Size of a Mustard Seed

Faith (Luke 17:5-10) 27th Sunday Ordinary time – Deacon Pat

Adapted from a homily by Father Michael Marsh


How many of us have said: “If I just had more faith.”

I think most of us have struggled with this at some point in our lives.

We might even have thought:

·       If I just had more faith, I wouldn’t have so many questions or doubts.

·       If I just had more faith, God would answer my prayers.

·       If I just had more faith, he or she would not have died; or he or she would have recovered.

·       If I just had more faith, I would be more involved in the Church.

·       If I just had more faith, I would be a better person, a better parent, a better spouse.

·       If I just had more faith, I would know what to do, I would handle things better. 

·       If I just had more faith, life would be different.

Sound Familiar? 

Maybe to understand this Gospel message more deeply and this concept of faith we need to examine the apostle’s approach to faith.

Jesus has just warned them not to become stumbling blocks to others and enjoined them to forgive as often as an offender repents even if it is seven times in one day.

The Apostles must have thought:

·       This new teaching is too difficult to do and to live that way.

So, they asked, “Jesus, Increase our faith.”

It seems like a reasonable request.

If a little is good, a lot must be better.

If McDonald’s can supersize our fries and drinks surely Jesus can supersize our faith.

This request to increase their faith,

the belief that if they had more faith things would be different,

reveals, at best, a misunderstanding of faith itself and,

at worst, probably demonstrates a fair amount of unfaithfulness.


Jesus is very clear that faithfulness is not about size or quantity.

“If you had faith the size of a mustard seed,” he says, “you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

·       Faith is not given to us in a packet to be spent as currency in our dealings with God.

·       Faith is not measured out according to how difficult the task or work before us will be.

·       Faith is not a thing we have or get.

Faith is a relationship of trust and love.

It means opening ourselves to receive another’s life and giving our life to another.

That other is Jesus the Christ.

That one faith-relationship is determinative of who we are and how we live.

·       Faith is not about giving intellectual agreement to a particular doctrine or idea.

·       Faith is not about how much or how strongly we believe Jesus’s words or actions.

When we speak about a married couple’s faithfulness, we do not mean they always believe or agree with each other’s ideas or even a particular understanding of marriage.

·       They are faithful because they have committed themselves to each other in love and trust.

·       They are faithful because they continually give their life to the other and receive the other’s life as their own.

·       They are faithful because they carry with them that one relationship wherever they go, in all that they are, and all that they do.

So true it is also in our faith-relationship with Jesus.

Faith will not, however, change the circumstances of our lives.

Instead, it changes us.

Living in faith does not shield us from the pain and difficulties of life,

it does not undo the past,

and it will not guarantee a particular future.


Rather, faith is the means by which we face and deal with the circumstances of life – the difficulties and losses, the joys and successes, the opportunities and possibilities.

Faith does not get us a pat on the back, a reward, or a promotion in God’s eyes.

It is simply the way in which we live and move and have our being so that,

at the end of the day,

the faithful ones can say, without pride or shame,

“We have done only what we ought to have done!”

Nothing more and nothing less.

·       We have lived in openness to, trust in, and love for Christ.

·       We have allowed him to guide our decisions, our words, and our actions.

·       We have been sustained by him in both life and death.


Faith, however, is not lived out in the abstract.

It is practiced day after day in the ordinary everyday circumstances.

Some days when the pain and heaviness of life seem more than we can carry it is by faith,

relationship with Jesus,

that we get up each morning and face the reality of life.

Other days present other circumstances.

When we feel the pain of the world and respond with compassion by:

·       feeding the hungry,

·       housing the homeless,

·       speaking for justice;

·       when we experience the brokenness of a relationship and offer forgiveness and mercy;

·       when we see the downtrodden and offer our presence and prayers,

·       and when we help a woman carry her pregnancy to term,


 — in all those things we have lived, seen, and acted by faith.

And speaking of acting, we now have a special opportunity to put our faith in action, especially in light of the reversal of Roe versus Wade.

We have an opportunity to help those mothers with a crisis pregnancy who might have previously aborted their child.

So many will now be in need of reassurance, support, friendship, and help.

Thank goodness for the Gabriel Project where volunteers called Gabriel Angels are trained to:

·  be a resource to answer questions about pregnancy, childcare, and parenting,

·       Provide friendship and emotional and spiritual support,

·       Help with items for a new baby,

·       And have knowledge about available community resources.

Maybe God is calling you to become one of these Gabriel Angels, one of their volunteers?

Or maybe you can help in other ways.

Truly this is something worth praying about.

God often creates situations and then waits for us to act. Or not act.

Wasn’t it Padre Pio that once stated the greatest of all sins in the world are sins of omission?

Situations where God was waiting for us to act and we did nothing.


So what is our take-away from this special Gospel message today?

Maybe it is that Faith is how we live;

the lens through which we see ourselves, others, and the world;

the criterion by which we act and speak.

Maybe it means that Faithfulness no matter where we go, no matter what circumstances we face we do so in relationship with the One who created, loves, sustains, and redeems us.

Jesus does not supersize our faith.

It is not necessary.

We live by faith not because we have enough faith but because we have faith, any faith, even mustard-seed sized faith.

That is all we need.

Jesus believes that, so should we.

The question is not how much faith we have, but rather, how are we living the faith we do have?

How is our faith, our relationship with Jesus, changing our lives, our relationships, the lives of others?

If it is not, more of the same will surely make no difference.

The mustard seed of faith is already planted within us.

It is Christ himself. 

He has withheld from us nothing.

We already have enough.

We already are enough.

We do not need more faith.

We need more response to the faith, to Christ, to the relationship we already have.

Let us now act upon this faith, starting today, and become a reflection of Christ to the world around us.

Saturday, May 07, 2022

Love as I have Loved You (5th Sunday of Easter - Year C) Sunday Homily

Deacon Pat – 5th Sunday of Easter Homily 

 Today, we are reminded of the New Commandment that Christ gave us the day before he suffered. We are brought back to that Last Supper when Jesus was gathered with his closest companions and opened his heart to them. It was the night when his heart overflowed with love as it never had before. It was the night when he revealed the secret identity of every Christian, the distinguishing mark: He said "This is how all will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another." And not just any kind of love, but Christ-like love: He added "I give you a new commandment... As I have loved you, so you also should love one another." Being a Christian is much more than being a member of a club. Being a Christian means having an urgent, important mission in life. It means being another Christ in the world. Jesus gave his very life in order to fulfill his Father's will and win salvation for sinners. Each one of us is called to reproduce in the unique circumstances of our lives that exact same pattern: dedicating our lives to discovering and fulfilling God's will and striving to help as many people as possible to know, love, and follow Christ. Yet, if critiqued honestly, how well do you think we are following Christ’s command? 

 Mahatma Gandhi, last century's leader of India's independence movement, received his education in Europe. Although he wasn't Christian, he had many opportunities to study Christianity and get to know Christians. Later in his life, he commented on this experience. He said, "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." 

And G.K. Chesterton, the famous British convert to Catholicism and great apologist for the faith in the early twentieth century, made a similar statement. He was responding to critics who claimed that since Christianity had been around for so long, but hadn't solved the world's problems, it must be false. Chesterton responded: "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." 

These two examples remind us of something we already know: too often, too many Christians are satisfied with a mediocre Christianity. But Christ wants more for us. He wants to release our full potential as human beings. But what does that potential consist of? It consists of our capacity to love, to know others as Christ knows them, and to dedicate ourselves to their good. Christ knows that if we follow him down that path, we will be truly happy, and we will make those around us truly happy, here on earth and forever in heaven. 

 Well, by now you are probably thinking “OK, I get it. But how do I begin? How do I start?” I think Saint Teresa of Calcutta had the Right Idea of Love – She said that the One thing that can sometimes hold us back in our efforts to follow the Lord's New Commandment is a false idea of what love should feel like. We tend to think that true love is always accompanied by nice feelings, and if the feelings go away, that means the love has gone away too. That's also what radio, TV, and social media will tell us, but that's not what the Gospel tells us. Love, true love, Christ-like love, goes deeper than feelings. It demands sacrifice, self-giving, and self-forgetfulness. Christ-like love always involves a cross. That's what makes it Christ-like; that's what makes it true love. If we can get this truth to sink down from our heads into our hearts, we will be freer to love more as Christ loves, and we will lead happier lives, and make those around us happier too. 

Maybe a few more words from Saint Teresa of Calcutta can help guide us: 

"People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway. 
If you do good, people may accuse you of selfish motives. Do good anyway. 
If you are successful, you may win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway. 
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. 
 Honesty and transparency may make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway. 
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. 
People who really want help may attack you if you help them. Help them anyway. 
Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt. Give the world your best anyway. 

Why? Because in the final analysis, all of this is between you and God…It was never between you and them anyway." Wise words from a Holy Saint. 

In closing I have a small request for all of us here today: As we receive Jesus in Holy Communion, let's prayerfully ask Him two things: 

1. to help us to pick up our crosses willingly and to love those around us as He has loved. 
2. and to help us in accepting God’s grace to act in such a way that those around us will know we are His disciples by how we love one another each and every day. 


Saturday, February 12, 2022

100 Days to Freedom Program


Free PDF Version of 100 Days to Freedom

Hard copies may be ordered through Amazon

                  Link to Amazon

Daily audio recordings can be found on The Catholic Journey Podcast with Deacon Pat Kearns starting January 7, 2022

Saturday, December 04, 2021

Advent - What is it for Christians?


Advent - What is it for Christians? (Deacon Pat) (2nd Sunday Advent, Year-C) 

 As you are aware, we are now beginning the second week of Advent. Many people have a difficult time differentiating between the seasons of Advent and Lent, yet they are significantly different. During the season of Lent, our focus as Catholics is on our sins, doing penance, and preparing for Easter. Advent is also a special time to reflect deeply on our lives, but instead of focusing so much on our sins, it is a time to look at the relationships in our lives, initially with Christ, and then with others. 

The readings today speak of: 
• Lowering mountains 
• Filling age-old depths and gorges
• And making the ground level 

As well as: 
• Making the winding roads straight 
• And the rough roads smooth 

But what does this have to do with our current lives and our relationship with others? Well, could the mountains be the huge obstacles that we place between Christ and us: 
• Our Pride 
 • Our Self-Centeredness 
• Our Greed 
 • Our Lust 
 • Our Laziness 
 • And Our Anger? 

And the valleys.... could they be the areas of our lives where we try to hide in our: 
• Addictions 
• Our secretes 
• Our hidden thoughts and agendas? 

Yet, God does not want us to hide, nor does He want us to be “God-Like” in our unwarranted Arrogance. He wants our love of Him and of each other to increase ever more and more and for us to grow in the knowledge of every kind of perception to discern what is of value. The value in life is not what we own, or what status we possess, but rather in what kind of relationships we have established and maintained. 
• Are we loved, and do we Love? 
• Do we serve others, or are we expected to be served? 
• Do we Love God with all of our heart, all of our mind, and with all of our strength? 
• Do we love others as Christ has loved us? 

Advent is a time to reflect upon these relationships in “the light of Christ,” and to initiate change in our lives where change is needed. Advent is also a time to honor and celebrate the gift of God in sending his only son to earth to begin a relationship with us, and to prepare for the time when we will meet Him again. It is a time to put our lives back in order. It is a time to turn away from our habits, our routines, and our ways that seem to lead us away from Christ. It is a time to turn back toward Christ, to rekindle that relationship, to repair the damages, to return to that closeness, that intimacy. And not only with Christ, but also with those special people that God has placed in our lives. If there is hurt and anger in any of your relationships, it is a time for forgiveness and compassion. If there are relationships that over time have dwindled in closeness, grown cold, or maybe even Luke-warm, It is a time to rebuild them. 

• There are very few Men and Women in this world, if any, who would say that their marriage is just TOO intimate! 
• Or Sons and daughters who could say that they couldn’t be any closer to their parents, or their siblings. 
 • Or anyone I know, who could say that they couldn’t be any closer in their relationship with God! 

We all have an opportunity, the real question is will we take this time, this special time, to act in the Spirt of Advent? 

Advent is also a time to make a difference in the world around us. We are living in a peculiar time, not only in The Woodlands, or in Texas, but also in the entire United States. Some might say that there is more a more darkness growing around us and it only takes watching the news for a few minutes to see why one might think so. Yet, even with this growing darkness, there seems to be more and more people choosing to not participate in faith communities, especially the Catholic Church. You might ask why? I have been told by some, that when they observe many Catholics and their behaviors and actions, they don’t really see much difference than that of the “Un-Churched,” or what they do see, can often be described as hypocritical. 

I can remember a few wise words my father gave to me many years ago. He stated: “It’s not our thoughts or words that truly define us, but what our actions say... that does.” When he first mentioned this to me it really did not have much impact, I was a teenager. It was not until a few years later that I began to realize what he trying to teach me. I always knew my dad was a good man. He was liked by everyone, respected as a gifted teacher, and was known as a catholic. However, after one particular night, I began to see him differently. That night I had stayed out much too late, and knowing that I was going to be in trouble, I made my way to my parent's bedroom door to tell them that I was now home and ready to accept my punishment. But when I quietly opened the door, there was my dad, on his knees, praying the rosary. From that night on, I began to take a closer look at my dad. I watched and notice things about him I had never taken the time to notice before. I began to see all the things he secretly did, obscured from the sight of most. 
• I noticed how he never passed by a homeless man without giving him something, even if it was a few kind words. 
• I noticed that a negative word never seemed to come from his mouth. 
• I noticed that he was always the first to forgive. 
• And I noticed that he prayed the rosary every night, on his knees, in private. 

It didn’t take long watching this quiet and humble man to realize that he was not only a good and just man but a holy man. I often wonder what people would see if they decided to watch me as close as I watched my father... seeing the things that God sees every day. Have you ever wondered what people would see if they could see you as God sees you? None of us are perfect, that is for sure. And it takes true humility to look at ourselves and see where we have failed, faulted, strayed, and to admit that we have, in our actions, turned away from God. However.... the good news is! That.... is what.... Advent is all about! It is about looking at our lives, our relationship with Christ, our relationships with others, and changing our ways. It is about returning to Christ and becoming the best version of ourselves that we can be, especially in the light of Christ. This decision to repent, to turn back toward Christ, to put our lives back in order, is the first step in preparing the way of the Lord, initially in our hearts, then in our actions, then in our relationships, and then... in the world around us. This is.... the Gospel, the Good News of the Lord.