Sunday, February 22, 2015

50 Ideas for Lent - Homily from Lent 2013

The Holy Deacon pontificated for me today, so no homily from me. But here is an opening-to-Lent homily that was liked by many from two years ago. Enjoy!

I’ve been asking some of the kids at school what they are “giving up” for Lent and I’m hearing things like, “I’m giving up chocolate” or “I’m giving up soda.” Admittedly, when I think of Lent, I think of my favorite Roadrunner and Wiley Coyote cartoon where Wiley finds himself suspended in mid-air between two giant cliffs, holding a sign with one word on it: “Yipe!”

Some love this season. But I will admit: I’m not a big fan. I don’t like to admit that I’ve grown too attached to things or that I’ve let the garden of my life become overgrown with weeds and the vines. But if I’ve had a good Lent—a Lent where I’ve really worked in the garden and been honest with God and myself—I find that I’m a more joyful, peaceful, and holier person at the end. The best Easters that I’ve ever had are those that have come after a grueling Lent. A Lent on the Cross.

Today, our Gospel exhorts us to cast out into the deep. Not the shallow, but the deep. 

What does this mean for our Lenten observance? It means go big or go home. Giving up chocolates and soda is fine—for 3rd graders. Cast out into the deep. Love is not found in the shallow.

As a priest, I hear many ideas about what people do. Let me share a few. They fall under three categories.


On one level, we are obliged to fast twice during Lent. Everyone 18-59 must fast this Wednesday—Ash Wednesday—and on Good Friday. That means one regular meal, two small, and only liquids in between. That is required for everyone 18-59. We are also obliged to abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent. Why fish, then? Having followed Jesus’ command to “Go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and come, follow me,” the Church was poor and so they ate the food of the poor: fish: fish which could be caught in any lake, river, or sea. This, then reminds us to live simply. And it is done on Friday to remind us of the day of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice.

That is what is required of us. Now, to make our Lent fruitful: we need to double-down on our rooting out of some of the evil in our lives and some things to which we are attached. I’m going to give you a list.

Choose one:

Fast from the bar, fast from gossip, fast from anger. Fast from cursing or lying or judging or comparing yourself with others or from tearing yourself down. Fast from being picky. Fast from being negative or sarcastic or immodest. Fast from insults. Let your fast be awesome: so… fast from hitting the snooze button. Fast from facebook, from twitter, from texting, youtube, television, and staying up late. Give yourself a bedtime. Fast from junk food, from fast food, and salting your food. Have dinner with your family. Fast from video games or from the ipod or the i-whatever and from secular music and from the radio when you drive. Listen to some sacred music. Listen to God in the silence. Fast from complaining. Fast from having your way. Fast from checking your phone when you are with people. Fast from make-up. Or from a hot shower. And if you can’t live without it, maybe this is the year that you live without it.
Cast out into the deep. Not the shallow.

 So take a moment right now, cast your net into this list, and pick one.

  …. I’m serious. Pick one. Make a commitment.


As we give up something, something good and holy must replace it. If we give up television or facebook, we must replace it with something good, else we will replace it with youtube.
So, here are some good things to fill you:

Attend Holy Mass during the week in addition to Sunday. Read a chapter of the Gospels each day. Pick up a book on a saint and read it. Go to the Adoration chapel before you go home each day. Go to the Stations of the Cross—every Friday at 2:30pm or 7pm. Get up early and pray each morning. When you go to bed, make a list of 5 things for which you are thankful. Sing. Sing at Mass—even if you think you stink at it. Even if you know you stink at it, sing. Open the hymnal and sing. Sing some more. Follow along with the Eucharistic prayers at Mass. Go to confession—go more than once. Pray the rosary every day. Go to the cathedral or the botanical gardens or the art museum or the symphony and see or hear something beautiful. Stay longer after Holy Mass. Exercise. Pray with your spouse before bed. Hug your kids. Read them a bible story when you tuck them in. Read your 24-year-old a bible story before you tuck him in.

Cast out into the deep!—not the shallow.

Take a moment right now and pick one. Cast into the deep.


This isn’t just giving money to the poor. This is figuring out how you need to love the people around you and then to do it. If you are fasting from TV, spend that time with family. If you are fasting from shopping or from eating out, give that money to a good charity. If you are fasting from being-and-looking busy, then slow down and maybe make a real dinner for the family. Maybe you need to call your mom. Other ideas: Write a love-letter to your spouse. Write your grandma a letter. Take someone out to lunch each week—a neighbor you kind of ignore, a lonely co-worker, one of your children. Volunteer. Tithe. And if you already tithe, step up your tithing from 10%-15%. Do the dishes when it’s not your turn. Hold doors open for someone every day. Buy your wife flowers each week. Try to have another child. Write kind notes and hand them to random strangers you see. Compliment your spouse each morning. Compliment a stranger. Tell someone about Jesus.

Cast out into the deep!

Take a moment and cast your nets into the deep.


I’ve given you over 50 ideas. Now: a few tips to help you be successful:
1) If you fall, get back on that horse, cowboy. Lent can be easy and exciting at first. But Lent is Lent when you’ve been carrying the cross for 20 days. No pain, no gain.

2) Don’t do a penance that will be a penance for others. If you know you will snap at those you love if you don’t have your coffee because you’re fasting from coffee, then maybe you shouldn’t be fasting from coffee this year.

3) Don’t wait until the last minute to “do Lent.” Start now, start strong, be strong, finish strong. Easter will then be awesome strong.

4) Remember: You’re not doing this alone and you don’t have to go it alone. If you want to go to daily Mass but know you’ll need someone to help you, invite someone along. Invite, invite, invite.

So, there you go. We are now five days into Lent. So let's do it!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Cinderella - Homily for Ash Wednesday (2015)

Spoiler alert! This is for the 7pm Ash Wednesday Mass. Do not read if you will be attending that Mass. :)

Ashes on the forehead. It shouts to the world CATHOLICISM! And maybe at your workplaces today, you saw Catholics with the ash cross on their foreheads and maybe you chuckled at That Guy who was “got real good”— but you felt kind of naked and little less Catholic without it, so hey—just to let everyone know, I’m getting ashes tonight, ok?

But we are not Pharisees. We’re not saying, “hey, look, I’m Catholic. See the ashes?” No, we’re saying, “See the ashes? I’m a sinner.”

And I would gather that is really why you’re here. You’ve messed up. We’ve all royally messed our lives up. And we’re sorry.

But the question is: are we sorry enough to change our lives?

And are we hopeful enough to believe that our lives can change?


You know the story of Cinderella, right? Girl, evil step-sisters, wants to go to the ball… But do you know what her name means? It’s from the Latin (and of course it is). Ella (puella) means girl and cinder (cinus) means ash. Literally, Cinderella is the girl of ashes. Roll credits.

Why do I mention her? One, because now when you see Cinderella, you will think of Ash Wednesday. But two, it is not enough to be people of ashes who feel apologetic in a general kind of way such that we come here tonight and tomorrow return to business-as-usual after washing our faces with soap and water. We are coming up to receive ashes because we want our lives to change.

And let’s be honest. Life isn’t transformed by giving up chocolate. Life is transformed by weighty things like the Cross.

Best. Lent. Ever.

One of my best-Lents-ever came when I resolved that I was going to become as holy as Mother Teresa. I gave up sweets. I fasted. I took cold showers. I prayed all twenty mysteries of the rosary each day. I was a holy roller. But by the end of week two, I was eating chocolate cake and taking hot showers again—and I was more miserable than when I started. So, in week three I started up again with renewed vigor—because dangit, I got this!—only to fall again. And so I got discouraged. And I gave up. And I got angry that I couldn’t change my life. In fact, I started to believe that my life couldn’t change. I hate Lent.

At the end of that Lent, I went crawling to confession (quite reluctantly might I add) and I told the priest that I stunk at Lent. Because #TheCross.

He told me I stunk at it because I was trying to carry it by myself. I was rich in ambition but poor in grace. After all, he said, if I was so imperfect at life in the first place, then what made me think that my plans for changing my life were going to be so perfect? Perhaps I needed to stop being so prideful in my planning and more humble in my begging.

If my life should change, it would only happen when I was a beggar enough to seek Jesus’ daily help in changing it.

Life is transformed by the Cross.

It’s Not About You

One of the reasons why that was the best Lent ever was not only because I was humbled, but also because it changed my understanding of Lent for every year thereafter. And you know you’ve had a good Lent when you realize you are being taken to a whole new level. And that whole new level began the following Lenten Ash Wednesday when I realized that everyone around me was getting ashes on their heads.

Have you ever noticed that?

So often, I turn Lent into a giant Me Project, a self-improvement plan for me. And because I make it all about what I am doing for Lent and how I am going to be a better person by the end of Lent by giving up chocolate or coffee or breathing, I had totally overlooked the Lenten suffering of others. My Lenten practices were not only not making me holy, they were also making me selfish. I realized that maybe I should spend my Lent looking outwards and jumping at chances to comfort others and be a patient voice during impatient times.

After all, hadn’t I learned that I couldn’t do this myself? Hadn’t I learned that holiness does not come in isolation? Maybe my embrace of the Cross this Lent would happen when I bent down to help pick up another person from the weight of their own Cross.

First Steps

So, what am I doing for Lent this year? Nothing.

I’m going to sit with Jesus and do nothing. Because I need to slow down and do nothing and learn to trust Him and to let Him guide me. Because I’m a human being, not a human doing. And because there is nothing more frightening to a man who bases his worth on doing things than doing nothing. I need Him to carry my Cross.

And then, when that happens, I will be free to carry the cross of others.

I will have pulled the dandelion from the root instead of just trimming off the tops like I had been doing Lent after lousy Lent. The attachment to stuff and junk and sin and all the other whatnot—all of that will fall into place because I will have gotten this first step right. A poor beggar for grace going to be with his Savior.

And that, Cinderella, is where we find real transformation.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Starting Point for the Conversation about ... - Homily for the 6th Sunday in OT

Imagine it for a moment.

Imagine that you are standing with Jesus… and a leper comes towards you. In modern terms, let's say he is a man infected with... the Ebola virus. What would you do?

Let's be honest. There's no way on your life would you touch such a man. Not without the hazmat suit—if even that.

Imagine, then, the moment when you see Jesus begin to reach out his hand to touch the scabby, wounded, oozing head of the leper. What would you do then?

I don’t know about you, but I would yell out: “No! Jesus! Don’t touch him! You’ll be infected!”

And maybe that’s part of the point. Maybe it’s not just that Jesus wants to heal the man (He does, of course). But maybe it’s that Jesus also wants the man to know how much he is loved—that he is loved so much that Jesus will even risk any kind of suffering for him-- and even if that means being marginalized too.

This is called compassion. Literally, to suffer with someone. And to enter into compassion is where healing begins!

Compassion for the Children of God

There is a story (and maybe it is true) about Mother Theresa. She was being interviewed by reporters about the poor of Calcutta. And one of the reporters asked Mother Theresa about what she thought of homosexuals. She looked at the reporters and said that she would not answer the question until the reporter called them “children of God.” So, the reporter started his question again, “Mother Teresa, what do you think about the homo—umm… what do you think about the children of God?”

And that’s a whole new question, isn’t it? To think in terms of children of God…

As a father, I began to think of my spiritual children. And I thought about what it would be like to be a mom or a dad with a son or daughter who was gay and to be hearing this topic brought up in a homily. I thought about one of my relatives and friends. I would say to them—I would say to those moms and dads: my friends, your children are children of God and there is utmost affection in my heart for you and for them!

I then asked myself, “What would I think if I was told by the Church that I was unable to marry?” …. I chuckled to myself at this because, well, I was already told that. Priests are celibate. Of course, that was my choice. But! that means that I, of all people, should understand the cross that the Church is asking the children of God to carry. The teaching is difficult and I of all people should be compassionate enough to help them carry the Cross.

And it isn’t just because of the teaching that the Cross is weighty. It’s also because the culture isn’t hopeful about celibacy. As a priest, I can tell you that people are always asking me why I can’t get married, and why would I have ever chosen to give up a wife and kids. They focus on what I gave up, focusing on the cross, but they fail to see the resurrection. So the culture sees celibacy like a death sentence. (But that is as silly as seeing marriage as like a guarantee for bliss!) Both have crosses—but don’t we believe that the Cross brings resurrection?

I imagined what it would be like if a person who was once part of the gay community decided to embrace the Church’s teaching and practice celibacy. In many of those communities, they would be seen as traitors. Ostracized. Shouldn’t we the Church, of all people, be the ones who are welcoming? Compassionate? Willing to suffer with them? Welcoming them home?

I no longer say “Love the sinner and hate the sin,” because there are many men and women who are faithfully carrying crosses larger than mine and are becoming more of a saint than I ever will.

I hear the words of Paul, echoed by our Holy Father for this Lent, when he says, “if one member suffers, all suffer together” (1 Cor 12:26)

So, I suffer with them. I pray to be more compassionate. Because it is in compassion where healing begins!

Compassion for the Children

I will admit, I long for a civilized conversation about marriage that can put aside the name-calling on both sides. I say this, not only because I want a more reasonable and loving conversation, but also so that, when the loving conversation happens, we may hear the voice of another people who need our compassion. Who else needs our compassion?

Our kids.

As the Supreme Court Justices have accepted to hear a case on same-sex unions, many children whose families are headed by same-sex couples are coming forward. And the children are asking us to imagine something:

Imagine if we didn’t have a mom. Imagine if we didn’t have a dad.

I can imagine that without difficulty because I come from a divorced family. When No Fault Divorce was institutionalized in 1969, no one took the courts to task about the effect this would have on children, about how we were placing the desires of adults above the natural rights of children—the rights children have to have both a mom and a dad. Since the desires of adults won the day, children were left to be split in two like the child in Solomon’s court.

So, when my parents divorced, I lost a dad. He disappeared for several years. I cannot begin to tell you the pain in my heart in those years when my father was missing. After all, I was made to know him and to be known by him. There is still a hole in my heart. He never saw me play the piano.

Children whose families are headed by same-sex couples are making the same appeal to the Supreme Court and to us: kids are missing a parent. They may have two dads, but it doesn’t fill the hole in the heart where mom is supposed to be. Contrary to the radical feminism of our day, a woman cannot replace a dad; nor can a man replace a mom.

The hearts of our children are being hurt by our culture. Where is the compassion for them?

After all, “If one member suffers, all suffer together.”

A Prayer for Lent

So, we turn to Lent.

Often, our message is all about what we need to do in Lent. I just simply wish to point out that as one member suffers, all suffer together—which means that Jesus suffers with you. As your hand is nailed to the Cross, so too is His. Indeed, our hand is pressed into His and He holds on to us. He suffers with us. He is compassionate. And it is there that healing begins!

Let us pray, therefore, for this healing!

Lord, look with compassion on your Church. Enter into her suffering as you did with the man with leprosy. Look with affection upon us and bring us healing during this Lent. You know our wounds. Place your healing hand into the places in our lives that need your healing touch. And as we have been healed, make us compassionate towards those who are suffering, that we may help them as you helped us. For it is in compassion that healing begins!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Unaware Preacher - Homily for the 5th Sunday in OT

There is a saying among preachers that the first person we preach to is ourselves. So often when am I giving a homily I’m also thinking: “I need to hear this too.”

This morning we see how Jesus went preaching throughout the whole of Galilee. But before Jesus begins His preaching, He heals Peter’s mother-in-law by grasping her hand and helping her up. This is a very important detail.

A few months later, these same words will be used to describe what happens to Peter. One day, Peter will be walking on the water and will begin to sink. He will cry out, “Lord, save me!” and Jesus will grasp his hand and help him up.

Peter and his mother-in-law are both saved by Jesus reaching into their lives, taking their hand, and helping them up.

Before Jesus begins His preaching ministry, He alerts us by His actions what the substance of His preaching is: that He is going to reach into our lives, grasp our hand and pull us up—saving us from drowning in the waters of doubt, healing us from the fevers of this world.

Sometimes this happens from the pulpit; oftentimes, this happens in our daily life. After all, Jesus is preaching to us—reaching out to us—every day. It’s just a matter of whether or not we are awake during His homily.

God’s Homilies

So, as I was preparing for today, I asked God to preach to me this week. I asked Jesus to reach into my life. And He did! It wasn’t a bolt out of the blue or a thundering voice. Rather, God preached to me in humble, simple ways.

For example, I was having lunch with a good friend this week and, during that lunch, we talked about the spiritual life. At one point, as my friend talked, I had this—I don’t know—this Something come upon me that was telling me that I really needed to hear what she was saying. And this is what my friend said:

“Jesus doesn’t just want my big issues. He also wants my small issues. So often I let little issues pile up and I don’t go to Him—and then it becomes a big issue. And then I go to Him. And we solve it together in 20 minutes. But if only I would go to Him with my small stuff too. He just wants to be with us and be in relationship with us every day.”

My friend didn’t know that she was preaching to me. She didn’t know that she had become a prophet, an instrument for the very voice of God, that God was reaching into my life through her. But I had prayed for this. I was ready to hear. And it’s exactly what I needed to hear. Maybe God wants you to hear this too.

There were other conversations that I had during the week where God would again preach to me, reminding me that joyfulness is eloquent, that conversations need to be good, that—ultimately—we need the Holy Spirit in our daily lives. He has so much that He wants to tell us. He wants to pull us up, if only we would take His hand!

The Catholic Preacher

Did you know that you are preaching right now? Right now, you are telling the people around you that Holy Mass is important. Or, maybe, there are some visitors here—and we always have people checking us out and wondering if this is the place for them to land—you are preaching to them, saying that this is a vibrant parish: This is home!

Preaching is not limited to the homily or to the priest in the ambo. You are constantly preaching. In fact, you are preachers at your work-places, your homes, everywhere. Tonight, when you go out or whatever you do, you will be preaching. You will be preaching about whether this Jesus impacts your evening life; about whether His Church changes our lives; about whether Jesus has grasped your hand and pulled you up.

The thermometer that tells us how we are doing as Catholic preachers is whether we have people joining our parish and becoming Catholic. Our RCIA program has 31 amazing people who are coming into the Catholic faith—many of them coming here because Jesus reached into their lives through one of our parishioners. It is you—you who are sitting in the pews—that have the power to draw people in. How many people have you brought to the Church?

Priests are exhorted, during their life, to bring at least ten men to the priesthood. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Well, can we not say, then, that every Catholic should bring in at least ten people to the Church?

Are you aware that you are preaching every day? Are you aware that people are observing what your life preaches?

The Domestic Church

During the past couple of weeks, I have given some emphasis to the home and our roles as parents. I wish to do this one more time before Lent.

You have a parish at home and it is called your children. You are preaching to them—just as really as a priest preaches here—you are preaching to your children every day by your life.

But what is the Gospel that you preach?

Take, for example, when a child breaks a rule. How do we discipline? Do we discipline with the patience of our heavenly Father who is so patient with us? Do we give our children the opportunity to do better and the hope of redemption? Do we connect rules and love?

Dads, to your children you image God the Father. Moms, you image the Church. The way that we preach to our kids in discipline will affect the way that our kids think of the Church. So many people grow up with resentment to God and anger to the Church because they believe that God and the Church are all about rules and punishment—and unfair punishment at that. These are the messages they were preached at home.

In the confessional, I hear the confessions of many children. And they are so, so sorry for the times they have disrespected their parents. Some of the kids already believe that they are really bad. I cannot tell you how many times I have said the words, “It’s going to be ok and I know you will do better. I know you are trying to be a good boy”—I cannot tell you how many times I have said that and the child’s eyes light up and they are hopeful again.

When was the last time that your punishment was coupled with the deeper words of redemption, of hope?

I have been discussing with a woman who had a few children when she wasn’t married. These children are her light and joy. And I praise God that she gave birth to her children! But the woman is convinced that she is judged and condemned by the Church. But she isn’t! She is most welcome here—isn’t she? I mean, is there a worse sin than crucifying the Father’s Son? If God can forgive us for that, then isn’t there hope of redemption for this?

So many do not know or believe the Father’s love. So many people think that Mother Church is quick to judge and condemn. The seeds of that begin by the preaching of mothers and fathers in the home.

I know we can do better. There is still hope for us to be good parents! To be good... preachers.


Let us ask the Lord to preach to us this week. Ask Him for the Holy Spirit again. Because, whether we know it or not, we are preaching every day to people that we never thought would be hearing us. Allow Jesus to reach in to their lives and pull them up, showing them that redemption is literally at hand.

Who knows. Maybe God will pull you up through that. Maybe He is reaching out His hand to you right now…

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Melting Hearts and Blowing Kisses - Homily for the 4th Sunday in OT

This past week was Catholic Schools week and on Wednesday night here in the church we had a holy hour of adoration. We had a pretty good crowd. During the middle of the hour, we invited the children to come near the sanctuary and to kneel and pray to Jesus. And it was awesome: seeing forty or fifty kids kneeling and closing their eyes and praying with their hearts in total trust to God…. one of the children began to blow kisses to Jesus.

And yeah, my heart pretty much melted right then and there.

And I needed that. I needed my heart to melt.

You see, as a priest, I encounter a lot of troubling things during the course of a week. And those troubling things can really hurt—when someone’s loved one is dying or when a family is breaking apart, I feel that. But sometimes it seems that there is only so much our hearts can take before we start to protect ourselves by putting up defenses and avoiding and letting our hearts grow hard and cold… so that we don’t feel.

When I saw the little children sitting and kneeling and praying and blowing kisses to Jesus, I was brought back the first time when I really began to discover Jesus and to fall in love with him in adoration. I was brought back to that child-like, whole-hearted surrender and innocence which happens in that moment when our hearts melt for the first time.

Taking Our Temperature

In that moment, I was being invited to rediscover Jesus again.

And as I was rediscovering him, I was also discovering that I needed to spend more quality time with my children.

So on Friday I visited the school and during my visit one of the children asked me to pray for one of their family members who was dying. Another student asked me if I would remember his deceased grandfather by getting a plenary indulgence for him. Another simply ran up and gave me a hug around my legs.

How could my heart remain cold?

And how much I was missing by being cold!

Who Is Cold?

In our culture, it is so easy to develop a hardened heart. We are busy. We work too much. And so it is easy to get into a rut and to forget the blessings that we have—precisely like our children.

Have you noticed that they are spending more time on their iPads and iPhones than they are with us? Pope Francis is right when he says that we are raising a generation of orphans. Parents are willfully letting themselves being replaced by electronics. And because of this, not only are our hearts growing cold, but so are the hearts of our children. Homes and families are being destroyed!

And yet when the church says that we need to put aside the busy-ness and to pray as a family, our culture looks at us with a kind of skepticism that says, “What have you to do with us? Are you here to destroy us?”

That’s cold.

Warming Up Our Children

So let’s warm things up a little.

When was the last time we reflected on the cosmic uniqueness and the love incarnate in our children? As a priest, it is so easy to turn my children into projects and tasks—I gotta do this, I gotta do that. But it was only when I was really present to them at that holy hour that my eyes were opened.

As parents, I know that it is so easy to turn home-life into a series of to-do lists and projects. To break out of this, we need to intentionally spend some time individually with each of our children, one-on-one. Yes, spend at least half an hour each month with each individual child.

So, for example: fathers, take your daughter on a date and show her how she should be treated by a gentlemen; mothers, take your son out and show him how he is to treat a lady. Opening doors and pushing in chairs and looking you in the eye and being interested in someone other than their “selfie”.

This will draw the devil from our children like poison from a wound!

Warming Up Our Culture

We need to learn how to play again; how to be silly together; and how to forgive. We need to rediscover each other and this requires that we stop being so darn busy and so wrapped up in our own busy little lives.

This also means that we have to stop training our children to be so wrapped up in their own busy little lives as well.

You see, when children are constantly on the iPad or the computer or the TV or the phone, they are oblivious to the outside world. And because they are oblivious, their hearts are already growing cold. For hours on end they are focused on their lives and their games and their friends—such that when we pull them out of that and ask them to do something generous for us, they get angry. Should we be surprised? I mean, for hours, we have been giving them the very means to practice selfishness—and we are upset when they don’t listen to our call to be otherwise?

Or, how can we be upset when our younger generations lack initiative and are uncreative, preferring to stay locked up in their rooms instead of going out and exploring and being creative? After all, for hours each day, they are growing addicted to devices that passively imagine things for them—why should they have to go out and discover life for themselves? Much less, discover Jesus? … What kind of adults will they become?

How many young adults use their phones as a distraction to avoid the world and its troubles—after all, the pain of this world is so overwhelming! Young adults, do not let your hearts grow cold! Yes, there is a lot of pain in the world, but putting your nose into a phone all day only makes the pain of this world all the worse! Break free and discover the wonderful world at your feet!

I’m going to say something radical: Perhaps our homes need to have some phone and internet-free nights each week. (There, I said it).

And husbands and wives! You must lead the charge here. You need to start dating each other again. It is so easy to simply become roommates—and sometimes annoying ones at that. So, start dating each other again. Rediscover each other. Go ice skating or bowling or dancing or to the symphony or whatever it was that got you off the ground in the first place. There was a time when your spouse made your heart flutter. It can happen again. And you can melt your spouse’s heart again too.

Finally, I know we have many businesspeople here. So, for those who own a business or those who have people working under them, we need to have our employees home at a decent hour each night. Their families are their first vocation. They need to be home.

Because we need to do puzzles again or draw or paint or play cards or sing or play hide and seek or just…. rediscover being playful and creative again. The world is so serious and so painful and so…. cold. And because it is so, it tempts us to become cold too and to think that Jesus is a threat of destruction instead of seeing who He truly is: He is the source of love and healing and warmth.

Warming Up to Jesus

And maybe that is what God is calling each of us to do now. To go back and discover the beauty of our life in Jesus. If you’ve become cold or dry in the faith, then go back to what first melted your heart. Maybe it was praise music or maybe it was Gregorian chant; maybe it was adoration or maybe it was reading scripture; maybe your heart was melted when you served others; maybe your heart was melted by beauty.

Let us pray to Jesus, asking Him to melt our hearts once again that we may re-discover him and fall in love with Him all over again.

Thank you Jesus, for melting my heart.

*blow a kiss to Him*