We need never doubt God’s love.

“In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen” (Act 1:1-2).

Theophilus, who Luke addresses at the beginning of the Book of Acts, is a name in Greek that can either mean, friend of God, loved of God, loved by God, as well as other similar translations. The key take away is that it is a name of relationship between a human being and God. And the highest form of relationship is to love and to be loved. This is who God has created us to be.

Yet, how do we know this?

We know because Jesus taught his disciples the truth and that message has been spread to the four corners of the earth generation after generation. This truth is that God sent his divine Son to be one with us in our humanity so that we can become one with him in his divinity such that we share the same infinite love that is shared between the Father and the Son who is the Holy Spirit. This is possible for us because Jesus was willing to experience not only death, but conquer death, rise again, and ascend to the right hand of the Father, still fully human and fully divine. Which means, we who participate in the life of Jesus participate in his divine relationship now and into eternity.

God loves us so much that he wanted to dwell among us in the person of his Son, to experience all that we experience and to invite us time and again to participate in the fullness of relationship with him, now and forever. In the Ascension, Jesus did not leave us orphans. He did not fly up, up, up, and away to leave us to fend for ourselves.

Jesus continues to experience the fullness of his humanity such that it transcends space and time as we know it. This is how he can be present to us at each Mass. Not only in the Eucharist, the bread and wine that becomes his Body and Blood, but in the word that is preached, in each of us gathered in his name, and in the priest who celebrates the Mass. This Mass that we celebrate here on earth is at the same time being celebrated in heaven!

Jesus came to us in our humanity to restore us to our original purpose, to be one with God and one another. These are beautiful truths, but we, like the Apostles at the end of our Gospel reading of Matthew, may not only believe and worship Jesus, as they did, but we also may doubt, as they did. How can they and how can we worship and yet doubt at the same time? How can we say we believe, and yet doubt?

We are finite beings seeking understanding of an infinite reality we call God. We are called into the fullness of an intimate relationship with the God of all creation, yet we hesitate to give him all our heart, mind, and soul. There is a part of us that holds back; maybe because we don’t fully trust, we don’t fully believe, and so there is some doubt. We have limitations, we have experienced our own wounds, traumas, temptations, and diversions that promise, we believe, something better than what God offers. Thus, we remain at a certain distance and thus experience a restlessness.

And yet, God continues to love us. He continues to be faithful. He quietly, gently, and lovingly, invites us to close this gap. He invites us to come closer, encouraging each one of us to take a step toward him, deeper into trust, deeper into truth, deeper into greater intimacy, and deeper into love with him so that we may become whole.

We are loved by God, we are his beloved sons and daughters. Yes, we may doubt at times, we are not perfect, we sin and fall short of the glory of God. Yet we are infinitely loved by God and invited each day to begin again.

I invite you now and to continue this week to open your hearts and minds to receive and ponder the love God wants to share, to respond to the invitation that he offers, so that you may experience a deeper relationship with him and live life to the full as he intended us to live. One thing we need never doubt is God’s love for each and every one of us.

Photo: Praying my holy hour on the St. John’s river during my silent retreat January 11. “God speaks in the silence of the heart.” – St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Link for the Mass readings for Sunday, May 21, 2023

God, please touch our hearts in the beauty you have made!

“Word of God, come down on earth,

Living rain from heav’n descending;

Touch our hearts and bring to birth

Faith and hope and love unending.

Word almighty, we revere you;

Word may flesh, we long to hear you.”

These words are the first line from the hymn, “Word of God, Come Down to Earth” that we sang at Mass this morning. The words and song lifted my heart and aligned with a scene I saw last night while walking and praying the Rosary (the photo I shared).

There is much beauty and goodness in the world. It has not been crushed and stamped out. May we seek for God who is always present with us, may we seek out the gifts of the Holy Spirit he offers to us in our everyday moments.

As we seek, may we also embrace the truth that the God of all creation has sent his Son to seek an encounter and relationship with each and every one of us (cf. Luke 19:10). May we accept Jesus’ loving invitation, spend time with him in the quiet of our hearts, so as to be touched by his loving embrace. In our experience with our savior, our hearts will be expanded, we will be healed and transformed, and led to share what we have experienced with others.


Photo: from grounds of St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, Boynton Beach, FL

First verse of “Word of God, Come Down to Earth”: James Quinn, SJ, 1919-2010, copyright 1969 from Selah Publishing Co, Inc.

YouTube link to hear song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSR8Hgk_IDY







Jesus gives us the strength to persevere.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” The author of this quote, Thomas Edison, is the man who made the light bulb commercially successful after 2,774 failed attempts.
Have there been times we have given up? Times when we just could not continue. pause
Have there been times when we have continued and overcame obstacles as well as failures to reach our desired goal? pause
The one thing that Thomas Edison and we who have reached some of our goals have in common with our biblical accounts today is perseverance. Perseverance is a gift that we keep believing, hoping, and trusting no matter what. We keep on keepin’ on.
Moses does just that. We heard how he and his two assistants Aaron and Hur climbed a hill. In actuality, scripture scholars believe that with a closer reading of the Hebrew, the more accurate translation is that Moses climbed a mountain. Moses was getting along in years, so climbing a mountain would take more perseverance than a hill.
Once he reached the summit, he stood. As long as he held his staff and kept his arms up, Joshua and the Israelites “had the better of the fight.” When he lowered his arms, they started to lose ground.
Moses had the will, but no longer the stamina of his youth, so he accepted a little help from his friends. Aaron and Hur set up a rock seat and held his arms up, on until sundown. The Israelites persevered.
Now you may be wondering, as I did for a long time. Great story of perseverance, but how was Moses holding up his arms helpful to the winning or losing of a battle. Holding his arms up was a posture of prayer for ancient Israelites. This was not only a feat of physical perseverance for Moses but an exercise in prayerful perseverance. Moses was interceding on behalf of his Israelite warriors, and he persevered, even when he was no longer physically able. Moses, Aaron, Hur, and the Israelite soldiers faced their challenges, trusted in God, and God helped them to win the battle.
Luke’s Gospel gives us another account of perseverance with the unjust judge and the persistent widow. We can tell the judge is both unjust and does not fear God because devout Jews recognized that God commanded that they take care of the vulnerable among them like, widows, orphans, and refugees because they were the most vulnerable.
The judge refused to give the woman the time of day. The widow is only asking for a just decision. She is not trying to bend or twist the law to her advantage. She just wants a fair hearing.
What finally moves him to hear her plea also reveals the wickedness of his heart. Because of her persistence, the judge fears that she will at some point lose it and strike him, or as a more literal rendering of the text reads, give him a black eye!
Her persistence wins out, not because his conscience is moved, but his own unjust nature projects what he might do in the same situation!
Jesus sums up his parable by stating that, “Will not God then not secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out day and night?”
Then he finishes with this zinger, “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth.”
Will his disciples give up too soon in their prayers? Will they give up when he fails to return. Will they not persevere? In the first century, many believed Jesus’ second coming was imminent.
The good news is that two thousand years later, we are still here. In each generation, there have been those who have been faithful and persistent despite the many distractions, diversion, trials and tribulations that have arisen. We who gather together tonight continue to say yes to God and continue to come to say thank you as we celebrate the Eucharist yet again.
What might be a goal you have or a struggle that you have been tangling with? Don’t give up. If you can’t do it alone, you have friends and family like Aaron and Hur who can pray with you and help where needed.
God is also with us. He has not abandoned us in our moment of trial. Even if he has not answered our prayers in the way we had hoped, he is with us. Let us keep our eyes on Jesus and not the wind and the waves of the storm that threaten to undo us.
Don’t look left or right. Know without a doubt that we are not alone, that Jesus will give us the strength to persevere as he did on the Cross. He suffered and died for us that we might have life and life to the full. He died for us so that he could be with us at this exact moment in time to lead us forward to victory. The battle has already been won. We just need to keep trusting in Jesus, keep praying, and keep on, keepin’ on.

Photo: St. Vincent de Paul Chapel, St. Vincent De Paul Regional Seminary, Boynton Beach, FL
Link for the Mass readings from Sunday, October 16, 2022

The Lord is our refuge.

“To be near God is my happiness. I have made the Lord my refuge.”
Feeling some consolation from Psalm 73:28 this morning while praying the Liturgy of the Hours. Wanted to share with anyone who could use a bit of consolation as well.
Life can be challenging and hard. When we keep our eyes on Jesus and seek his strength, instead of focusing on the crashing waves of the challenge, Jesus may calm the storm. Then again he may not. If he does not, he will give us the strength and accompany us through it to the shore on firm ground.
Photo: Fountain on grounds of St. Vincent De Paul Regional Seminary where I have been enjoying some nice walks and praying of the Rosary.

Are we aware and willing to share?

The Book of Amos, of which our first reading comes from, is only nine chapters long. It is very short but packs a powerful punch. Amos begins with oracles of doom, moves onto summons of judgments, continues with a series of woes, and finishes with a series of visions. None of these proclamations are pleasant, nor do they offer that warm and fuzzy feeling we often hope to receive. Be not afraid. You may relax your shoulders if you are experiencing concern that I will be leading you through each oracle, summons, woe, and vision. I am not. I will only be making a few comments from the first reading as it may provide us some insight into our Gospel. If we listen well to this first line and act accordingly, we will not need all the rest.
I invite you to take a deep breath or two as I begin.
Amos said:
 “Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts: Woe to the complacent in Zion!”
Amos called the leadership of both the divided northern and southern kingdoms of Israel out for their “self-indulgent aristocracy” (Andersen).
He called the royal houses of Israel and, indirectly, Judah, to repentance and to return to just leadership by giving of each one their due. To be complacent in the context of this text, means that the leadership was showing a lack of concern or care for the welfare of their people who they were to serve. Not only were they enjoying the high life of “sleeping on beds of ivory” and engaging in opulent “revelry” they continued to enslave their own people into service, since the time of King Solomon and continued to do so.
There also continued to be a growing gap between the rich and the poor. The leadership seemed to forget the significant event of their founding as a people when God heard the cry of the poor and sent Moses and Aaron to liberate his people from their slavery in Egypt. These Hebrew slaves were their ancestors. They were called to be the chosen people of God not for themselves and their own sake but to be a light to the nations, to be set apart, to be holy, not to be like the other corrupt and sinful nations that surrounded them.
The kings did not listen to Amos or the other prophets and except for the rare light of hope with king Josiah for a brief period, Israel would fall under the military weight of the world powers around them. The northern kingdom would fall to Assyria in 722 BC, the southern kingdom of Judah would not only be conquered but the Temple would be destroyed by Babylon in 586 BC. The exiled members of Judah would return and rebuild the temple by 515 BC while under the rule of the Persians and then later by the Greeks. By the time of Jesus, Rome was the occupying nation over Israel.
In our Gospel from Luke, Jesus took up the mantle of Amos as he called out the Pharisees in the same way. “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day” (Lk 16:19). The imagery and specific details here that Jesus opens his parable with “suggests the sort of opulence and overdone sumptuousness found in Amos” (Johnson).
The rich man also shows the same complacency and lack of caring about the plight of the poor man at his door. When he takes the time to leave his daily sumptuous dinners is he even aware that Lazarus exists? Just as ancient Israel would be held to account, so the rich man will be as well.
Even in the afterlife, he continues to show contempt for Lazarus. He asks Abraham to send Lazarus to give him a drink of water. Notice that Lazarus is named in this parable, but the rich man is not. The rich man chose his comfort, wealth, and opulence over sharing with those in need. He didn’t bother to care, and worse, he didn’t even appear to be aware of the need.
God spoke through Amos to call the Israelite leadership to repent, he spoke to the Pharisees and Jewish leadership through his Son, now he speaks to us through his Word today.
Are we aware of the need of those in our midst?
St. Mother Teresa shared an account of when she went out one night to give a cup of rice to a Hindu family she knew that had no food. She arrived at the home and was welcomed by the mother there. She was very grateful for the rice but when she received it, she cut the portion in half and left. When she returned, Mother Teresa asked her where she had gone. The woman replied, “They have no food either.” The woman was aware that her Muslim neighbor was hungry as well. She was aware of their need, and without hesitation she shared the little she was just given.
Are we aware? Are we aware of those in need around us? Even in our own homes? Our parish? I have experienced some of that awareness already. I have been met with wonderful hospitality already since I have begun to serve on the weekends at St. John Fischer Catholic Church.
We also need to remember that there are many needs we and our neighbors experience and not just for food. People long to belong, to be valued, to be loved. We are all quite capable of being thankful for what God has given us. May we be aware and willing to share what God has given. It can be just as simple as when we catch someone’s eye, to offer a smile and a hello. In that simple act, we say that you exist to me, you matter. The next encounter we can have a conversation and we can build from there.
Let us heed the words of Amos and Jesus to honestly assess where we have and have not been charitable in the sharing of our time, talent, and treasure with the people we encounter. May each of us pray at the beginning of each day for a heart and mind that continues to be open to serve those in our midst, in our families, our parish, and in our neighbors.
Our neighbors are more than those next door. As we acknowledge the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, may we ponder and put into practice the words of Pope Francis: “We are called to renew our commitment to building a future that conforms ever more fully to God’s plan of a world in which everyone can live in peace and dignity.”

Photo: This summer we visited Fr. Ben and the parish of St. John Fischer where I am now blessed to serve on the weekends!
Francis I. Andersen and David Noel Freedman, Amos: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, vol. 24A, Anchor Yale Bible (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2008), 560.
Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke, ed. Daniel J. Harrington, vol. 3, Sacra Pagina Series (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1991), 252.
Pope Francis quote accessed from IG post from catholicreliefservices.

God is always waiting with his arms wide open to welcome us into his loving embrace

Our readings portray a beautiful mosaic. A mosaic is an artwork in which small pieces of pottery, stones, tiles, or broken shards, are placed together to create a unique and whole picture. The mosaic that comes together in today’s reading is one of God’s infinite and loving embrace.
This image may not seem apparent in the first reading proclaimed from Exodus. At first hearing, we may see a vengeful God who is seeking to destroy his people, to wipe them off the face of the earth as he had done at the time of Noah. One of the tiles of our mosaic that radiates a glimmer of God’s love for us is found in the encounter with Moses and God.
Moses is given the opportunity to replace Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the patriarchs and founding fathers of Judaism if he allows God’s wrath to flare up. Moses can be the new patriarch and begin again with a new people. Instead, he intercedes on behalf of the people so they may be renewed as a new people in communion with God (Propp).
God promised Noah that he would never again destroy his people by a flood. Moses remembered his Bible and was as faithful as Abraham when put to the test. Moses would, time and again, and not always as patient as here, call back the people of Israel from their unfaithfulness, and invite them to return to the covenantal bond with God.
In our gospel from Luke, there are three more polished tiles that radiate the love of God and enhance our mosaic. The good shepherd, the woman and the coin, and what is often called the prodigal son. In each case, a sheep, a coin, and a son are lost but then are found. Great joy accompanies the finding!
The added twist with the prodigal son story is that one is not so joyful – the elder son. He refuses to come into the house to celebrate as well as his father’s attempts to comfort him (Johnson). The anger toward his father he has harbored all these years comes out, but is misdirected to his brother (Johnson).
Both sons have refused the love of their father. The younger son considered his father dead to him in originally asking for his inheritance. The elder son held a long simmering grudge. The father comes with heart and arms wide open to first his returning son and then to his son outside to share in the celebration. We do not know what will happen with either son going forward. How will each son respond to the Father’s invitation of love?
Where do we find ourselves in theses parables?
St. Paul who we heard from in our second reading is a good guide. Saul before he became Paul was the elder son. He was like the Pharisees and scribes that Jesus was addressing at the beginning of these parables. When Saul encountered Christ, he was disoriented for a time, but came to see the light and the truth of the Father’s love and surrendered completely into his loving embrace. “Strengthened by Jesus, Paul finds an abundance of faith and love where blasphemy, persecution, and insolence once ruled (Fiore).
May the words of St. Paul that he wrote to Timothy encourage us today: “I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry” (I Tim 1:12).
Paul’s account is another piece we can add to our mosaic. Yet there is another story not yet shared. There are many pieces still missing. God has also run out to meet us this morning through his Son, who “came into the world to save” each one of us, “sinners” (I Tim 1:15). We are invited to be part of this same ministry of receiving and sharing the love of God. Are we willing to repent from that which is not of God and give our lives to him this morning as we receive his Son in the Eucharist? And are we willing to be a vital part of this mosaic of God’s love that we have started piecing together today so that others may receive the gift of the Father’s love as well?
God loves us more than we can ever mess up, does not define us by our worst mistakes, “loves us in our sin, even in the act of our sin” (Bosso), and more than we can ever imagine. I invite you be still today and allow yourself to be embraced by the love of the Father so that you may become a reservoir of God’s love that fills you up to overflowing.

Painting: Rembrandt, The Return of the Prodigal Son, c. 1661–1669
Resources/References used.
William H. C. Propp Exodus 19–40: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, vol. 2A, Anchor Yale Bible (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2008), 554.
Benjamin Fiore The Pastoral Epistles: First Timothy, Second Timothy, Titus, ed. Daniel J. Harrington, vol. 12, Sacra Pagina Series (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2007), 48, 53, 54.
Joseph A. Fitzmeyer, S.J., The Gospel according to Luke X–XXIV: Introduction, Translation, and Notes, vol. 28A, Anchor Yale Bible (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2008), 1084–1086.
Luke Timothy Johnson,  The Gospel of Luke, ed. Daniel J. Harrington, vol. 3, Sacra Pagina Series (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1991), 240-242.
Msgr. Steven Bosso “A Time of Letting God Love Us In Our Sinfulness”, (Orientation Retreat Conference, St Vincent de Paul Seminary, Boynton Beach, FL, August 17, 2022).




You continue to be my heart

Three years ago today my life changed forever. Like recovering from an amputation, I have been learning to live again without you but it hasn’t been nor will it ever be the same. Appreciating the gift of life each moment is important, you and God have taught and continue to teach me that.

Your heart continues to beat with my heart until it is time to go home to be with you and God. I will love you forever.

JoAnn wanted those within her reach to be happy and believed that we are on this earth to love one another. I invite you to honor her memory today by doing something to take care of yourself and share a kind act of love with someone in your reach.

Love, love, and more love,
Dcn. Serge and JoAnn 🙏🏼💞

May we seek and speak the truth, and allow another to do the same.

“Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division” (Lk 12:51).
We often hear Jesus preaching about oneness and unity. Today’s statement from Jesus can seem contradictory, yet what he is articulating is an observation about an unfortunate reality. Those who speak truth to power, like the long line of prophets, such as Jeremiah in the first reading, face harsh treatment. Jesus would be no different. If we are living out the Gospel in our daily lives it will also be true for us.
The sad reality is that we still witness division and polarization today. We have forgotten or no longer want to have a good argument. One in which each person speaks for what they believe in while at the same time respecting the other person’s right to do the same. Also, we no longer enter the argument to learn from one another, but to win.
Many in our society seek to put into practice the common adage: do not speak about politics or religion in polite company. The reason is that too many of these discussions have just devolved into ad hominem attacks in which we just disparage or belittle someone we disagree with. This is a shame because these are two areas in our lives that we need to discuss even while remaining passionate about them.
One of my favorite film scenes is from the 1989 film, Lean on Me, in which Robert Guillaume, acting as the school superintendent and Morgan Freeman, acting as a principle of the sub-par school he is trying to build up, have a passionate and heated argument. Each vehemently makes their case for their perspective and do not come to a mutual agreement, but when the smoke clears and their professional relationship and friendship appears to be over, there is a brief pause and one says, “Come on, let’s get something to eat.” There is a passionate argument for what the two believe in though no demeaning of the other, and instead, mutual respect.
Throughout the Gospels, we see that Jesus is a master of the argument because he knows and speaks the truth no matter the situation or pressure. He can speak among the religious and spiritual elite as well as the leper and the prostitute, yet in each case, the truth remains the same. He is not swayed by political, social or religious pressures. Jesus speaks the truth as his Father leads him. May we do the same while respecting and acknowledging the dignity of those for whom we engage with. May we, in the words of St. Mother Teresa, “Be a pencil in God’s hand.”
Photo clip from the film, Lean on Me, starring Robert Guillaume and Morgan Freeman, 1989
Link for the Mass readings for Sunday, August 14, 2022

Heaven opens up for us when we acknowledge our dependence on God.

“Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Mt 19:14).
Again we see the disciples refusing access to Jesus. The scriptures are not clear why they consistently act this way. We see them doing so with the blind man Bartimaeus, the tax collector Zacchaeus, and the Canaanite woman. In today’s reading, they are refusing access to children. The characteristic of each of those being refused is that they are considered to be on the periphery of Jewish society.
Children, paidia in Greek, were especially considered so. Paidia could represent a child from infancy to twelve years of age. In ancient Palestine, children were particularly vulnerable, had no status and were completely dependent on their families for survival. Luke goes even further than Mark and Matthew by using, brephē, meaning infant, to describe the children. It is to these children and infants that Jesus states the Kingdom of heaven belongs.
Just as consistent as the disciples are in turning away those in need, Jesus consistently pays particular interest in the individual person in their particular need. He welcomes the children and blesses each one of them. Jesus continually acknowledges and affirms the dignity of each person he meets, especially those neglected and ignored. Those who have been on the other side of the glass looking in, Jesus gives admittance. Jesus bridges the divide of separation through his presence and healing touch.
To enter the Kingdom of heaven, we must be willing to trust and place, as children, even more so, as infants, our total dependence on God alone, instead of relying on our own initiative or effort. There is nothing we can do to earn our way into heaven. The entrance into the Kingdom of heaven is a free gift of God’s grace. This gift is not about our worthiness, for all of us fall short. It is about our willingness to acknowledge our utter dependence on our loving God and Father and accept the invitation he offers all of us to be in relationship with him AND to resist the temptation to prevent others from having access to this wonderful gift. We are to share the same invitation we have received with others.

Photo: A stained glass image of Jesus with children at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral, Los Angeles, CA.
Link for the Mass readings for Saturday, August 13, 2022

Marriage is to mirror the love of God present in the world.

Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever” (Mt 19:3)?
The question about divorce came from an already existing debate within Jewish circles of interpretation and schools of thought. Testing Jesus arose from time to time to better understand who he would side with. Regarding the issue of divorce, there was a range of interpretations. On one end of the spectrum, there was the School of Shammai, which permitted divorce only in the event of some sexual misconduct. At the other end, was the School of Hillel, which would allow a man to divorce his wife if she cooked a bad meal (cf. Harrington 2007, 275).
The Pharisees sought to understand the perspective of Jesus in this debate. Jesus responded: “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'” (Mt 19:4-5)? This response negated both schools as well as rejected the precept that Moses set for allowing divorce, explaining that, “from the beginning it was not so” (Mt 19:8). Jesus’ defense went back to God’s original intent recorded in the Book of Genesis, which allowed no provision for divorce.
In God’s plan, marriage is a covenantal relationship, as is the relationship between God and his people. A covenant is a sacred bond that is not to be broken. In the Sacrament of Matrimony, a man and a woman who give themselves freely to one another and are open to children as the fruit of their union mirror the Trinitarian communion of Father and Son and the eternal love between them the Holy Spirit. Thus we are to love God, our neighbor, and our neighbor as our self. Love is more than mere sentiment or emotion but a willingness to will and sacrifice for another.
The ideal of marriage then is to be a lifelong commitment of love; for God does not break his covenant with us, nor should we. The goal is clear, yet we live in a fallen world and we do not often live up to what God has planned for us. For many reasons, there are times where a marriage does not work as intended but that does not mean we are to give up on marriage. Even though Jesus holds the standard high, he remains with us when we are wounded and in our fallibility. He reminds us: “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners” (Mk 2:17).
We are to resist the temptation to settle for anything less than what God has in store for us, which is a covenant relationship with himself and each other. Relationships are not easy and we don’t naturally know what we are supposed to do. We need to learn how to develop healthy, loving, friendships. As we do so, we might be able to better help those not only preparing for marriage but also continue to mentor and guide them during their marriage. And when a relationship breaks down, we need to be present to and walk with those who suffer through the pain of such a rupture. We are not to abandon one another for Jesus does not abandon us and instead bestows his mercy upon us, which is his willingness to enter into the chaos of our lives.

Photo: With God as our center and foundation JoAnn and I grew in our love for God, one another, and others.
Harrington, S.J., Daniel J. The Gospel of Matthew in Sacra Pagina, vol. 1. Edited by Daniel J. Harrington, S.J. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2007.
Link for the Mass readings for Friday, August 12, 2022