Chaplain’s Conference: Keep Your Heart with All Vigilance, for from It Flow the Springs of Life (Prov 4:23)

Chaplain’s Conference
Sacred Heart High School
November 26, 2018

This past weekend I had the great privilege of baptizing my niece, Catherine Marie. It was a great day.  As I prepared for the celebration I could not help but think of her future.  “What will this child be?”  “What trials will she face in her life?”  “What joys will she experience?”

I found myself looking at her and praying that she would always know the Father’s love for her…
A love so strong that it created her out of nothing…
A love so strong that He was willing to send His only Son to die to pay the debt for the sin that she inherited from our first parents…
A love that, on Saturday, on the day of her baptism, would adopt her into his own family and fill her soul with his own divine life, a love that would truly make Catherine his daughter…

Those were my hopes for Catherine as I looked upon her on the day of her baptism. “What will this child be?”

I thought of my own coming of age and of the coming of age of my siblings and cousins…I thought of how, as we grow up, our hearts can become hardened and we can lose sight of the glory to which we are called.

I thought of all of you.

What dreams did your parents have for you on the day of your baptism?

What dreams did the Heavenly Father have for you on the day of your baptism?

The Book of Proverbs urges us with these words:

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Prov 4:23)

The heart is the core of a person…it is the center of who we are. If we lose our heart, we lose everything.

Jesus says, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.”

Ultimately, this was my wish for Catherine and it is my wish for you – that you would “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life…”  …the Springs of Life – the Holy Spirit, God’s Holy Spirit, who calls you to become who you were created to be…a Beloved Son, a Beloved Daughter, destined to live with him for all eternity in the Heavenly Kingdom.

The past few weeks, in the readings at Mass, we have been hearing a lot about the end times. “Stay awake!  Watch!  Be vigilant!  You do not know the day or the hour when the Son of Man will come!”

The words sound as a warning. They are meant to wake us up from our complacency and they urge us to look at the way we are living our lives.  They ask us the question:

Are we keeping our hearts with all vigilance? Or have we fallen asleep?

You’ve heard me say it before and I say it again today:
the choices that you make today form the person you will be tomorrow.

Are you keeping your heart with all vigilance? Or have you fallen asleep?

What are the ways that we sleep?

We sleep when we fail to be vigilant – to be intentional – about pursing virtue and overcoming sin. When we brush it aside and say “It’s no big deal…everyone is doing it.  I don’t need to go to confession.”

We sleep when we fail to be intentional in our dating relationships…when we fail to set healthy boundaries to keep our hearts with vigilance, when we live for the moment instead of living for the future, our future in this life and also our future in the next.

We sleep when we use the Prayer Period as a time to sleep or rest instead of as an opportunity to practice the tools that we will need in the future to be men and women of prayer, men and women on fire with the love of God. We say “I’m too tired…this is boring…” and we grow slack in zeal – we grow lukewarm – we fall asleep – and we fail to keep our hearts with all vigilance.

How many of us know that we don’t pray as much as we should, and yet we fail to make the most of 15 minutes that we are given during the school day to do this?

I want to give you a challenge. It is this:  Make the most of the gift you are given here.  Invest your heart in prayer and in your relationship with God.

Invest in your relationship with God and in your relationship with your faith family. Say “yes” when your FFL asks you to read a passage for Lectio Divina.  Listen for the word or phrase that sticks out to you – share that with your small group in your faith family.  Quiet your hearts and listen for where the reading touches your life – take a step and share that with your small group instead of zoning out and saying nothing.  Keep your heart with all vigilance, don’t fall asleep.

When we pray the Examen prayer, looking over the past week to see where God was present, where we look at where we responded well or failed to respond to the opportunities that God gave us, do we actually reflect on our week? Do you keep your heart with all vigilance, or do you zone out?

When we come to Mass, do we open a book and sing? Or do we let our lips sleep?  We keep our heart with all vigilance when we allow our hearts to sing praise to God. A grateful heart is the only thing that we can give to God that he does not already have. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.  Keep your heart with all vigilance, and then give it to God.

On December 14th, we will celebrate our Advent Penance Service for the High School.  Confessions will be available.  The opportunity will be given to you.  Will you seize it?  Will you prepare yourself well to make a good confession, to keep your heart, once again, with all vigilance?

After I had baptized Catherine, we gathered downstairs for lunch and to open presents. My mom and dad had bought Catherine her first Rosary.  My mom asked me to bless it, which I did, asking God that when Catherine prayed this rosary that it would inspire faith and devotion in her heart.

Later, I overheard my sister say that my mom and dad had prayed the Rosary for Catherine, using those Rosary beads, as they had driven to the church that morning. They had an intention for each decade.

The first decade was for Catherine to be a happy, healthy, and holy child of God.

The second decade was for her to always know the love of her mom and dad, and that they would have a happy and holy marriage.

The third decade was for her future spouse, that he may be a virtuous, courageous and loving man who is willing to lay down his life for her.

The fourth decade was for her children, whether natural born or adopted, to bring her much joy in her life.

The fifth decade was for just enough trials in life to make her courageous and strong but not overwhelm her and that she will one day be united with God in Heaven.

I heard of this beautiful act of love of a grandma and grandpa for their granddaughter, and I thought: “What will this child be?

I heard of this beautiful act of love, and I thought of you.

What dreams did your parents have for you on the day of your baptism?

What dreams did the Heavenly Father have for you on the day of your baptism?

What dreams does he have for you, even today?

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

He Will Come Again. Are you ready?

Homily for 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
November 18, 2018
Holy Trinity, Tabor: 10:00 AM

Focus:               He will come again.
Function:         Wake up and be ready.

Christ the Judge

Christ in Majesty
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Washington DC

If today was the day, would you be ready?

Everyday life can wear us down. We lose sight of the glory we are made for.

We are made in the image and likeness of God. We are made for love.

We are made for the glory of Heaven.

We are made to live forever, but we have to choose.

We choose to see the glory to which we are called and to live in a manner worthy of the call we have received, or we choose to give in to our own selfishness and stubbornness.

We choose to live for Heaven or to live for Hell.

We live for Heaven when we embrace the trials and tribulations of life, when we struggle against sin and vice, against our own hard-heartedness, when we humble our sinful pride and forsake the pleasures of today for the glory of tomorrow.

We live for Hell when we give into the temptations of sin: pride, anger, greed, lust, envy, sloth, gluttony, when we live beneath our dignity, when we live for the pleasures of this world and lose sight of the eternal.

When it is all said and done, each of us will give an account for the choices we’ve made.

That day is coming.

If today was the day, would you be ready?

Today’s readings at the end of this liturgical year call out to us like the blaring of a smoke detector in the middle of the night, a warning to wake up and see the danger in which we stand if we just stay put where we are as the fire rages around us…

We’ve seen the destruction caused by the fires in California. People were warned to evacuate.  Most heeded the warning – they saw the signs of the times.  Others ignored the warnings – they nearly lost their lives.  Some did.

If today was the day, would you be ready?

In World War II, in the concentration camp at Auschwitz, where darkness spread over the land in a time of great tribulation, ten men were chosen to be sent to a starvation bunker, among them a man named Francis Gajowniczek. He pleaded for his life.  Another man stepped out of line and offered to take his place.  His name was Maximilian Kolbe.  St. Maximilian Kolbe embraced the sufferings of today because he knew the glory to which he would be called tomorrow.  He spent his life conforming his heart to the Heart of His God, so that when Christ came riding on the clouds for him, he was ready to follow.

What about us?

Today’s readings are the alarm. Wake up.  Be prepared.  Raise your gaze from the gutter of your sins to the glory of heaven!  See the eternal glory to which you are called, and begin anew to live for it today.

Repent and believe in the Gospel.

We live in the age of mercy. God has given us this time to repent and to believe in the gospel, to live in a manner worthy of the call we have received, the call to be his Sons and Daughters in Christ.  We live in the age of mercy.  We have Christ’s Blood available to us to wash away our sins.  We have only to accept it.  We live in the age of mercy, but brothers and sisters, make no mistake, this age will come to an end, whether by our own death or by Christ’s second coming.

Repent and believe in the Gospel. Hear the alarm sounding and change your ways while there is still time.  Live today so as to be ready for tomorrow.  Accept his mercy in this hour and be reconciled to him so that when he comes in power and glory, he may take you to himself.

He wants to take you to himself. But you must be willing to go there.  More than any pleasure this life can offer, you must want to go there.

The end is coming.

Perhaps today.

Are you ready?

Are you living for that day?

Reflection: The Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano, Italy

Sacred Heart School
Reflection for High School Students during Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
October 8, 2018


The Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano, Italy

In the 700s, in the town of Lanciano, located southeast of Rome, some monks of had established a monastery under the patronage of St. Longinus, traditionally believed to be the centurion at the crucifixion who proclaimed, “Truly, this was the Son of God” (Mt 27:54) and pierced the side of our Lord with his lance (Jn 19:34).

One day, a certain monk was offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. He was versed in the sciences of the world and had had been plagued by doubts about the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist: he agonized over whether the bread and wine actually changed into the Body and Blood of our Lord at the words of consecration, and whether our Lord was truly present in the Holy Eucharist.

This time, when the monk pronounced the words of consecration, the host was miraculously changed into flesh and the wine into blood. The monk was awestruck. Weeping joyously, he regained his composure. He called the congregation around the altar and said, “O fortunate witnesses, to whom the Blessed God, to confound my unbelief, has wished to reveal Himself visible to our eyes! Come, brethren, and marvel at our God, so close to us. Behold the Flesh and Blood of our Most Beloved Christ.” Those who witnessed the miracle soon spread the news throughout the surrounding area.

Shortly after the occurrence, the Blood coagulated into five globs of different sizes, but the Flesh remained the same. The archbishop ordered an investigation. The testimony of witnesses was recorded. The Flesh and Blood appeared to be human flesh and blood. The archbishop sent a scale for the weighing of the globs: each individual glob weighed the same as the other individual ones (although different in size) or as all five together or as any other combination. Eventually, the Flesh and the globs of Blood were placed in a special reliquary, but were not sealed. Church authorities certified the miracle.

Since the first basic investigation, the Church has permitted other studies on the relics. In 1574, Msgr. Rodrigues once again weighed the five globs of Blood in the presence of witnesses and arrived at the same conclusion. Eight eight centuries had passed and no visible sign of deterioration had taken place.

The most thorough study occurred in 1970-71, less than 50 years ago. Pope Paul VI permitted a series of scientific studies on the precious relics to verify their nature. Dr. Odoardo Linoli, professor of anatomy and pathological histology, chemistry and clinical microscopy, and head physician of the hospital of Arezzo, conducted the study. He was assisted by Dr. Ruggero Bertelli, professor emeritus of human anatomy at the University of Siena. The analyses were performed in accord with scientific standards and documented, and Dr. Bertelli independently corroborated Dr. Linolis findings. In 1981, using more advanced medical technology, Dr. Linoli conducted a second histological study; he not only confirmed the findings but also gathered new information.

The major findings from this research include the following:

  • The Flesh is real Flesh. The Blood is real Blood.
  • The Flesh and the Blood belong to the human species.
  • The Flesh consists of the muscular tissue of the heart.
  • In the Flesh we see present in section: the myocardium (heart wall), the endocardium (membrane of tissue lining the cavities of the heart), the vagus nerve and also the left ventricle of the heart for the large thickness of the myocardium.
  • The Flesh is a “HEART” complete in its essential structure.
  • The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood-type: AB (Blood-type identical to that which Prof. Baima Bollone uncovered in the Holy Shroud of Turin).
  • In the Blood there were found proteins in the same normal proportions (percentage-wise) as are found in the sero-proteic make-up of the fresh normal blood.
  • In the Blood there were also found these minerals: chlorides, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium.
  • The preservation of the Flesh and of the Blood, which were left in their natural state for twelve centuries and exposed to the action of atmospheric and biological agents, remains an extraordinary phenomenon.

Professor Linoli asserted that the blood, if taken from a cadaver, would have deteriorated rapidly. Given that these samples were centuries old, free of preservatives, and never hermetically sealed in the reliquaries, they should have deteriorated. However, he underscored that the samples had the same properties as fresh human blood and flesh.

The beauty of the miracle of Lanciano reflects the words our Lord spoke, “I am the Bread of Life. He who feeds on my Flesh and drinks my Blood has life eternal and I will raise him up on the last day. For my Flesh is real food and my Blood real drink. The man who feeds on my Flesh and drinks my Blood remains in Me, and I in him” (Jn 6:35, 54-56). We must, therefore, never forget that when we participate at Mass, we witness a miracle, and through the reception of Holy Communion we share in the divine life of our Savior.

The Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. The name of our school and parish is “Sacred Heart”.  We have placed ourselves under the patronage of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  The Eucharist is the living, beating, Sacred Heart of Jesus…and he waits for you to come to him with the desires of your heart.

Slightly edited for brevity and reworded in order to put the text into the language of high school students, but taken almost verbatim from these sources:


Chaplain’s Conference: On Detachment, Integrity, and Identity

Chaplain’s Conference
Sacred Heart Catholic High School
October 3, 2018


Let us pray.

Clothe us, Lord God,
ith the virtues of the Heart of your Son
and set us aflame with his love,
hat, conformed to his image,
e may merit a share in eternal redemption.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
St. Benedict, pray for us.

I would like to reflect this morning on a few key principles in the spiritual life: detachment, integrity, and identity.

First, some definitions.

Detachment: to let go, to not be attached to something.

In order to follow Jesus, to live as he calls us to live, to become the men and women he calls us to be, we must become detached from those things that keep us from following him and from becoming who he calls us to be.

When I was in junior high, I hated going to the sacrament of Reconciliation. My priest at the time was Fr. Joe Richards. He was, and still is, a holy man…a good priest…someone I look up to. As we grow and mature, we start to have a greater awareness of sin than we had as younger kids. When we were younger, we confessed disobeying our parents and fighting with our brothers and sisters. As we get older, we become aware of bigger things – things that we’re too ashamed or too afraid to admit to ourselves or to say to a priest: anger, gluttony (overindulgence), lust, gossip, envy & jealousy, cheating, stealing, greed, laziness, cowardice, pride.

I had my own struggles with these things. And I was too ashamed to admit them. So, I avoided the sacrament. My parents would bring me to the Sacrament of Reconciliation periodically. I couldn’t bring myself to say them in the confessional, especially to a priest who knew me. So, I confessed the same things that I confessed as a younger child, and I purposefully left out the very thing that I knew I needed to confess.

I was too attached to my need to look like a good kid.
I was too attached to my fear of being judged or of disappointing someone.

And, in clinging to my sin instead of clinging to God’s mercy, I started to lose my integrity.

Integrity is one of the Benedictine values we’ve been highlighting this year. Integrity and integration come from the same word. Those who are new to the Sacred Heart community this year are hopefully, by now, integrating into the community. Soon, if not already, it will seem as if you’ve always been here.

The opposite of integration is disintegration: dissolving, falling apart. Integration is wholeness.

A person of integrity is a person who is integrated. They don’t act one way with one group and another way with another group. They are who they are. What you see is what you get.

Becoming a man or woman of integrity, of integration, takes a lot of work. And part of that work is to detach ourselves from whatever it is that has us acting one way in some situations and another way in other situations.

For me, I acted one way in the world, and then lied to the priest in the confessional. I was two-faced. I was not acting with integrity. Or, I would act one way in the world, and then avoid the priest in the confessional. I would show myself as a “good boy” – a boy of integrity, but I would not act that way around others.

This lack of integrity, this disintegration, finally got to me one year at a high school youth rally. There were 10 priests hearing confessions. Trembling with fear, I went to a priest that I didn’t know and finally confessed everything, and I also confessed that I had purposefully hidden things from my parish priest in previous confessions. It was a huge step forward in my spiritual life – a huge moment of growth. The priest was merciful – he made God’s mercy present to me. And I walked out truly knowing God’s love and forgiveness of me.

The Lord accepted me for who I was and not for what I had done.
I finally knew his love when I was able to detach myself from my fears and from my sin.

Grace abounded.

Brothers and sisters, we don’t practice detachment just for the sake of detachment. We don’t give up things that are sinful in order to be in pain and misery. No, we detach ourselves from things in order to attach ourselves to God and to find our true identity.

You are sons and daughters of the Heavenly Father.
You are made to be saints.
That is your identity.

Yet, how often do we attach ourselves to other things that don’t jive with this identity?

What are you attached to?

Are you attached to popularity or a need to be liked?

Are you attached to the need to have a boyfriend or girlfriend?

Are you attached to being funny, to being accepted by older students, to being smart and having perfect grades?

Are you attached to being a star on the court or on the field?

Those can be good things in themselves, but…
if you find yourself getting your self-worth from any of those things…
if you find yourself changing who you are depending on who you are with…
if you find yourself willing to compromise your true identity as a son or daughter of God in order to get those things…

then you have an unhealthy attachment, and if you cling to that unhealthy attachment, you will not be able to become the man or woman of integrity…of integration…of wholeness…that God calls you to be.

Unhealthy attachments lead to anxiety, fear, and misery. Ultimately, they make one two-faced.

Detachment leads to peace of soul, courage, and happiness. Ultimately, it makes one a person of integrity.

How do you find the strength to detach from things that keep you from your true identity?

Prayer. The primacy of prayer. Make time for silence in your day – every day. Doesn’t have to be a lot. Start with 10-15 minutes. Same time every day. Speak to God for a bit, then listen. Spend more time listening than speaking. Prayer is what God uses to help us become integrated.

Regular Confession. Don’t make my mistake. If you find yourself avoiding the Sacrament of Reconciliation because of fear or shame, I want to tell you again that you cannot say anything in the confessional that will shock me or any other priest that hears confessions here. I have heard it all. I can honestly say that I have never found myself disappointed in a person for what they have said in the confessional. Quite the opposite – I greatly admire the courage that it took for them to admit that and I feel the joy of the Lord who has seen a son or daughter return. (And, to be honest, I don’t remember what was said…)

Last month, I challenged you to consider who you want to be when you leave Sacred Heart.

Do you want to be a man or woman who failed to make use of the means present to them here to become the saint that God calls them to be?

Or do you want to become a man or woman of integrity, who had the courage to face your struggles and to overcome them, with the Lord’s help.

The choice is yours, and you make it by your willingness or unwillingness to take action in your time here.

The Cross will Come

Homily for 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
September 16, 2018
St. Francis, Fisher – 8:00 AM
Holy Trinity, Tabor – 10:00 AM

Focus:              The Cross will come.
Function:         Take up your Cross when it comes.

girl carrying the cross

He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly…”

It had to be a hard message to hear…they had seen so many great things – healings, miracles of nature, people raised from the dead…and now this.

The Son of Man must suffer greatly…

He prepared them for it before it would happen.

He summoned them and said to them: Whoever wishes to follow me must deny himself, take up His cross, and follow me.”

In other words, “Strengthen your hearts. Be prepared.  Train for it now.”

In the life of every Christian, the cross comes.

We don’t go looking for the Cross – the cross will come. That is a guarantee.  But we want to be ready for it when it comes…
Ready to shoulder it and to pick it up like He picked his up and carried it…
Ready to shoulder it with him…
Ready to carry it with our brothers and sisters…

Be ready. Prepare now, or else when the cross comes, it may crush you.  It is almost impossible to learn what do with suffering when you are in the midst of it.  You must learn how to carry the cross before it comes so that when it comes you are able to bear it.

When the cross comes, people usually react in one of three ways:
They become angry and bitter.
They give in to pity, hopelessness, and despair
Or they join it to the suffering of Jesus and offer it up for the salvation of the world…

Last week, I visited a man and his wife in their home. The man suffers from chronic back pain.  It pains his wife to watch him.  He can’t do what he used to be able to do…there are only so many crossword puzzles he can do in a day.  And the pain is unbearable at times.  As we visited, I tried to gage his faith…would he be able to hear this message of the power of offering up his suffering or would he not be able to bear it?  His faith seemed strong enough that he could bear it.  The message was helpful to him and gave meaning to his suffering.  It gave him the strength to bear his suffering with hope.

The Christian carries his cross differently than a non-Christian. The Christian carries his cross with hope because he knows that the Lord Jesus Christ has triumphed over the cross.

Suffering does not get the last word.
The suffering of the cross leads to the glory of the resurrection.
Good Friday gives way to Easter Sunday.

If we can remember that, if we can focus on the end in the midst of our suffering, if we can keep our eyes fixed on Jesus who won for us the salvation of the world by his suffering on the cross, then we will have the strength to carry our cross when it comes.

Jesus’ suffering led to the salvation of the world.

We, as members of His Church, are members of His Body. The Church is the Body of Christ and we are members of his body, and when we suffer, if we choose to accept our suffering because there is nothing we can do about it, if we choose to accept the cross that comes our way, not wishing for it, not looking for a cross to bear, but bearing the one that comes our way…when we as members of his body join our suffering to His suffering, then our suffering becomes his suffering…

And, brothers and sisters, that is redemptive. Christ’s suffering won the salvation of the world!

When we join our suffering to the suffering of Jesus, when we give it to him, when we say: “Jesus, this hurts! There’s nothing I can do about it…I choose to offer it to you, to join it to your suffering.  Join it to your suffering and I offer it for [insert name here]…”

When we do that, it is then that we “make up what is lacking in the suffering of Christ”, as Saint Paul says. Not that Christ’s suffering on the Cross was lacking anything – it wasn’t.  But as members of his body, when we suffer, he suffers, and if we, like him, offer that suffering up as an act of love for someone, salvation comes about.

Saint John Paul II is known for saying this: “Don’t waste your suffering.” Join it to the suffering of Christ and offer it for someone in need of God’s grace.  Offer it for the conversion of those who do not know the Lord, or who have fallen away from the practice of their faith.

Love turns suffering into sacrifice, and that is a powerful gift of grace.

Last year at this time, I celebrated the funeral for a man named Rich. Rich had a heavy cross in his life.  In his early 40’s, he was diagnosed with cancer.  He was in a lot of pain.  He went through chemo and radiation.  His cancer went into remission.  Praise God.  Then he was diagnosed with ALS.  It was a huge cross.  He experienced more suffering.  He was in a lot of pain.  Do you know what he did with that pain?

He didn’t become angry or bitter.
He didn’t fall into pity, hopelessness, or despair.
No, he chose to go to his daughter’s volleyball games and cheer her on in the bleachers despite the pain.

Love turned his suffering into a sacrifice of love for his daughter. And his suffering revealed the depths of his love for his daughter.

It is through the Cross the grace rushes in. It was from Christ’s side on the Cross, his side pierced by the soldier’s lance on the cross, where the blood and water gushed forth like a raging torrent, the wellspring of the Church’s sacraments poured out for the salvation of the world…

How will you respond when the Cross comes?

Will you pick up the cross? Will you let the suffering touch you?  Will you let it affect you?  Will you allow the suffering of a brother or sister, another member of Christ’s body, touch you?  Will you offer up your suffering, joining it to that of Christ for the salvation of the world?


Will you refuse to pick up the cross?
Will you get angry, judgmental, or bitter?
Will you distance yourself from the person who is suffering like the 9 apostles who fled from Christ when the cross came for him?
Will you empty the Cross of its power by complaining about the smallest crosses that come your way?

The answer to that question depends on how you train yourself now.

How do you train yourself now?

Deny yourself and pick up your cross in the small things of daily life, so that when the big one comes, you have the spiritual strength to bear it.

One simple example…our bishop has asked us to abstain from meat on Fridays as an act of penance for the Church. It is an ancient practice of joining a small suffering to that of Christ as we remember Friday as the day when he endured his passion, suffering so much for us out of love.

How do you respond to that request? Do you refuse to pick it up?  Do you complain, get angry or bitter about it?  Or do you pick it up and bear it gladly?

What are some of the crosses that come our way in life?

Physical suffering and the chronic pain that can come with that.

Being ridiculed for standing up for what’s right.

Staying in the Church in the midst of the mess in which we find ourselves right now – responding with honesty and humility when we are challenged as to why we are still Catholic by echoing the words of Peter, “To whom shall we go? [He] has the words of eternal life.”

We carry our crosses when we fight our temptations to sin, whether it be sins of pride, anger, envy, greed, sloth, gluttony, or lust…

We take up our cross when we stand by another in their suffering like Mary who stood by her son’s side at the foot of the cross as he endured the agony of His cross.

We experience the cross when we experience the loss of a loved one or when a family member stops practicing their faith or loses faith in God altogether…

In God’s providence, and in God’s time, we have been hearing a lot about the Cross over the past 3 days.

Friday was the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. On Friday, the Church reminded us that the suffering of the Cross does not get the last word.  The suffering of the Cross leads to the glory of the resurrection.  Friday reminded us to keep the glory in mind even as we endure the suffering so that we have the strength to offer it up, to carry our cross when it comes.

By the way, do you know the day on which Rich died? The man who knew so much suffering in his life?  He died on the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross.  Beautiful.

Saturday was the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. On Saturday, the Church held up Mary as a model who stood by her son’s side in the midst of his suffering.  Mary allowed herself to experience Christ’s suffering.  The sword of sorrow pierced through Mary’s heart on its way to pierce the side of her son as he hung upon the cross.

We can more easily carry our crosses for Him knowing that he carried his cross for us.

When the cross comes, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Join the suffering of your cross to the suffering of Him who bore his cross for you.

Do that, and you will participate with him in the salvation and redemption of the world.

Do that, and you will have all the strength you need.

The Most Holy Name of Mary

Homily for the Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary
September 12, 2018
Sacred Heart School
High School Mass

holy name of maryOur salvation begins when the archangel speaks the name of Mary. Gabriel, in the glory of his grandeur, appears to a poor virgin.  He calls upon her Name in a prayer familiar to us:

Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with You.”

 Actually, if you listen closely, you will notice that he dares not speak her name. He says, “Hail, full of grace!”, not “Hail, Mary, full of grace.”

In the Old Testament, Jews did not speak the Name of God…Yahweh. They did not speak it because it was Holy.  They gave it great reverence.  God did not reveal his name to Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob.  The first time he revealed his name, he revealed it to Moses, and only after he had taken off His sandals because of the reverence due to the Name…

Contrast that with us today: How often we hear people cursing carelessly with the Name of God…

The Name of God is Holy.

The Name of Jesus is Holy…St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians tells us that it is:
The Name above every other Name,
That at th
e Name of Jesus,
Every knee should bend,
In the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth,
And every tongue proclaim to the glory of God the Father:

Mary, too: Her name is holy.

It is a Name of Honor.
It is a Holy Name.
It is a Motherly Name.
It is a Name Responsive to our Needs.

It is a Name of Honor. It is invoked twice in the Hail Mary.  It echoes and re-echoes in the prayers of the Church: “O Clement, O Loving, O Sweet Virgin Mary…”  Catholic tradition has us give a slight bow of the head at when the name of Jesus or Mary is spoken – a sign of reverence and honor for a Name of Honor…

It is a Holy Name. The angel did not dare to speak it.  The Name of Mary marks the woman who was Full of Grace, without sin from the moment of her conception, and who found favor with God.  It is the name of the woman who conceived and bore the Holy Son of God.

It is a Motherly Name. The Mother of Jesus is our Mother.  The Church is the Body of Christ – you are a member of that Body.  You are a member of Christ’s Body, and so His Mother is your Mother.  At the foot of the cross, the Lord looked down and saw his mother and the beloved disciple standing there.  He looked at his mother and, looking toward the beloved disciple, he said to her: “Behold your son.”  Then looking at the beloved disciple, he said to him: “Behold your mother.”  The beloved disciple represents each of us.  Jesus gives us his mother to be our mother.  Mary is a Motherly Name…a name spoken with tenderness on the lips of her children…

It is a Name Responsive to our Needs. Mary’s response is one word: Fiat! Yes!  She gave her fiat to the angel Gabriel when he asked her to bear God’s son into the world.  She gave her fiat to the couple at the wedding feast when they had run out of wine, telling the servants to “do whatever He tells you…”  And she will give her fiat to you if you turn to her and call upon her name in your need.  It is a name responsive to the need for the faithful on whose lips echo and re-echo the name of Mary, who turn to her in confidence, calling on her as our Mother in times of danger and distress.

Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin Mary,
That never was it known
That anyone who fled to thy protection,
Sought thy help,
Or implored thy intercession
Was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence,
I fly to thee, O Virgin of Virgins, My Mother.
To thee do I come, before thee I stand,
Sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
Despise not my petitions,
But in thy mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.

Our salvation began when the archangel spoke the Name of Mary.

So, too, does our salvation begin when we speak the name of Mary. For when we speak her name:
Her Name of Honor
Her Holy Name
Her Motherly Name
Her Name so Responsive to our Needs…

When we speak the Name of Mary, the Word of God who was conceived in her womb takes root in our souls, and brings forth Jesus.

With all faith and devotion today, let us call upon her Name with Honor so that Jesus Christ might be born in us:

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art though among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death.


Ephphatha! Be Opened!

Homily for 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
September 8-9, 2018
Sacred Heart, EGF – Saturday: 5:30 PM, Sunday: 8:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 5:30 PM

Focus:              Christ opens the ears and the lips of our hearts.
Function:         Ephphatha!  Be Opened!

Caravaggio St. Thomas

The Incredulity of St. Thomas (Caravaggio)

Today’s gospel presents a vivid image for us, a very earthy image. Jesus spits on his fingers and touches a man’s tongue and ears…and his tongue is freed and his ears are opened.

Divine power passes through human elements.

The Incarnation is at the center of our Christian faith. God became a man so that man might become God. (St. Athanasius)

Tertullian, another Church Father, put it this way:

The flesh is the hinge of salvation…

The flesh is washed so that the soul might be made clean.
The flesh is anointed so that the soul might be consecrated.
The flesh is signed so that the soul may be protected.
The flesh is overshadowed by the laying on of hands so that the soul may be illuminated by the Spirit
The flesh feeds on the body and blood of Christ so that the soul too may be filled with God.

Christ took up our flesh in order to use it as a vehicle to communicate to us his divine life.

The human becomes a vehicle for the divine.
The body becomes a vehicle for the spirit.
The physical becomes a vehicle for the spiritual.

Go back to the beginning, all the way to the beginning. Adam and Eve in the Garden.  They walked in harmony with God.  They were united to him in relationship.

Then something happened. What happened?  Rebellion.  They chose against God.  Sin entered the world, and with sin, death.

With the Fall, came the fall of creation. Physical evils.  Death.  Illness.  Disabilities.  Diseases.  None of this was intended by God from the beginning.

These physical realities that exist around us point to spiritual realities. Something has gone terribly wrong.

Just as the physical faculties of some of our brothers and sisters were disabled by the Fall, so the spiritual faculties of all of us to see, hear, and relate to God were also disabled by the Fall.

The people of Israel had a reminder that they recited every day – the Shema…”Hear O Israel, the Lord is God, and the Lord alone!  You shall love the Lord your God with all your mind, heart, soul, and strength.”

Hear, O Israel…Hearing symbolized openness to God. Those who were deaf could not hear physical words spoken, but those who had the ears of their hearts closed could not accept the word of God even when they heard it.  They rejected it.  The prophets used deafness as a metaphor for people who resisted God.

Saint Benedict opens the rule of life for his monks with this exhortation: Listen, my son, to the precepts of your master. Incline the ear of your heart.  Disobedience was the original sin.  The ears of the heart had been closed.

Those who were blind could not see the world around them, but “all had sinned and been deprived of the glory of God.” The eyes of our hearts had been closed by sin.  Blinded by our pride, we were cast into the darkness.

And it was there, in the darkness, in the quiet, where our God comes.

Our God comes with vindication. He comes with power.

Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, pierces the darkness by his coming as a man born of the Virgin Mary one cold night in a stable in a forgotten region of the world.

The divine becomes human.
The Word becomes flesh.
He takes up our flesh.
Our flesh becomes the hinge of salvation because it is also now His flesh.

His flesh encounters the flesh of the man in today’s Gospel, a man whose physical condition points to our spiritual condition – deaf to the Word of God and unable to proclaim his glory.

Brothers and sisters, that man is each and every one of us.
That man is each and every one of us stuck in our sins, powerless to heal ourselves.
That man is each and every one of us awaiting a divine healer, someone with the power to set us free, to restore what had been lost.

In today’s Gospel, the flesh of God encounters the flesh of man.
The flesh of God touches our flesh.

And a single word is spoken: “Ephphatha!” “Be opened!”

And the man is restored.

Brothers and sisters, how beautiful that that same word is a part of the rite of baptism.

After a child has been baptized, they are anointed with the holy oil, they are clothed in the white garment, and they receive the light of Christ. The priest then touches the ears and lips of the child with the word “Ephphatha!” – “The Lord Jesus made the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak.  May he soon touch your ears to receive his word and your mouth to proclaim his faith to the Glory of God the Father.”

Our lips and ears have been opened to speak of Christ and to listen to Christ!

The words that Christ spoke to the man in today’s Gospel were spoken to you on the day of your baptism, and I say them to you again today:

Ephphatha! Be opened!

Be open to hear the word of God and to proclaim his praises!

Be open to the reality of God’s presence in our midst!

Be open to hear the Word of God spoken to you through the witness of others!

Be open to and willing to speak of God’s word to others – to proclaim God’s praises to others!


Be open to the joy of having your sins forgiven!

Be open to following the promptings of the Holy Spirit in your heart – promptings that call you to action even though what he is calling you to is outside of your comfort zone – callings to love, to give, to show tenderness, to care.

Where is your heart closed?

To which of Christ’s teachings, to which of the Church’s teachings, is the ear of your heart closed?

What fears or sins paralyze the lips of your heart?

The Lord speaks to you today: Ephphatha! Be opened!

Allow yourself to be opened and your heart will leap for joy when it hears the Word of God and accepts it.

The flesh is the hinge of salvation.

We are about to receive this flesh. But in order to receive it, in order to truly receive it, in order to receive Him…our hearts must be open.

We must allow him speak to this word to us
We must receive this word he speaks to us
We must receive his Ephphatha,
e must be open to the word that heals,
to his word that restores,
to his word that calls us to live in such a way as to be united ever more closely to him, without compromise.

Ephphatha! Be opened!

Opening Chaplain’s Conference: Who Will You Be Tomorrow?

Opening Chaplain’s Conference
Sacred Heart Catholic High School
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Let us pray.

God our Father,
You call all people to hear your word and be taught by the example of Christ your Son.
Bless this new school year.
Give holiness and wisdom to our teachers.
Give prudence and the blessing of good example to our parents.
Give open hearts and minds to our students as all together we strive to do your will in our lives. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
St. Benedict, pray for us.

Here we are at the beginning of a new school year. Day 2. The excitement is still fresh, or for some of us, perhaps the mourning of a lost summer is fresher. Our seventh graders are still figuring out the routine, wondering “how in the world I am going to use the restroom and get to my next classroom all the way down the hall in three minutes?”

We stand just inside the doorway of this new school year. We stand at the beginning. I would like to reflect a bit this morning on the importance of beginnings. I think that beginnings offer us a unique opportunity, an opportunity that can be easily lost in the hustle and bustle of the school day if we don’t pay attention. Beginnings, especially this beginning of a new school year, offer us an opportunity to pause, to look at where we are now, and to look at where we are going.

What is in store for you this year? How will you have changed by the end of this school year? How will you have grown, or not grown? How will you be different?

Who will you be by the time you graduate from Sacred Heart?

Who do you desire to be? Perhaps more importantly, who does God desire you to be?

I know who God desires you to be.

He desires you to be a saint.

He desires you to be young men and young women of integrity, men and women of character, men and women of virtue.

He wants to set you free from the sins that enslave you.

He wants you to flourish.

He wants you to be joyful, bold, and confident. He wants you to be a leader. He wants you to know what your life is about.  He wants you to live fully and to love deeply.

You are called to love. You are called to love with the Heart of God. You are called to love with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ under whose Lordship we place this school!

Brothers and sisters, that starts here. That starts now. That starts today. At the beginning.

If we do not choose to practice love of God and love of neighbor here, now, today and every day this year, how can we expect to learn it? How can we expect to get where we are going?

The road to Heaven, the road to sainthood, is paved with your choices, your daily choices, your hourly choices, the choices of each moment, to live the great commandments: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31).

All of your actions form the person that you are becoming. Every choice you make has an impact on who you will be. No choice is isolated in itself. Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a virtue or vice. Sow a virtue/vice, reap character. Sow character, reap a destiny.

Virtue frees you to become the person you were made to be. Vice enslaves you and prevents you from becoming the person you were made to be.

Allow me to give an example.

Honesty is a virtue. A person with the virtue of honesty makes honest decisions quickly and easily. They do not struggle to tell the truth. It is their default mode of acting. How do you develop the virtue of honesty? By performing repeated acts of honesty. One act of honesty. Another act of honesty. Forms the habit of honesty. More acts of honesty. Virtue of Honesty – a character trait.

Likewise: if you tell a lie, then tell another lie, then tell another lie, pretty soon you develop the habit of lying. Keep doing that, and pretty soon you develop the vice of lying. You now lie promptly, easily, and without thinking. It becomes your default mode of acting. You have developed the vice of lying.

The Lord calls you to become men and women of virtue, men and women of character. In a single word, he calls you to become saint! He wants you to become who He were created to be.

Sacred Heart is more than just a school that forms your mind. Sacred Heart is unique in that it strives to form the whole person. You are here to be formed in mind, body, and soul.

You are formed in body through healthy nutrition, through health and physical education classes, and through various athletics in which you train for and in which you participate.

You are formed in mind through the many classes that you take, classes that give you the basic skills and knowledge that you will use throughout the rest of your life.

You are formed in soul through the many opportunities to grow in your relationship with God and with each other. You are formed in soul by being challenged to grow in virtue, to develop the habits that will help you to become the best person you can be.

How do we go about this?

First: pray.

You are given ample opportunities here to pray. You have Mass on Wednesdays. You have a prayer period every day. You have a chapel upstairs where the Jesus himself is present in the Eucharist. You are given opportunities to lead prayer in your classrooms. Learn to pray.

Prayer is a relationship. If you are going to learn to love God and to love others with the heart of God, you must learn to pray. You must encounter the living God. This requires something of you. You have to give yourself to prayer. You must give yourself fully to prayer and seek to praise God, to thank God, to ask God for what you and for what others need with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. You cannot learn to pray if you simply stand on the sidelines with everyone else. You have to get in the game. So often we end up just going through the motions when it comes to prayer. We mumble the response and we don’t put our hearts into it. Brothers and sisters, going through the motions, or just “being here” while prayer is going on, is not prayer. It is a waste of your time.

Learn to pray more this year. Seek to deepen your relationship with God. Even on days when you don’t feel like it, especially on days when you don’t feel like it, choose to show up. As Brooks Bollinger said yesterday: “Have the courage to show up.” Show up with more than your body, show up with your mind and soul as well. Think about what you are doing and saying. If you are present in body but absent in mind and soul during prayer, you are forming your heart toward the vices of ingratitude, selfishness, and irreverence. When you are present in mind and spirit to prayer, when you put your heart into it, when you lift your voice and speak the responses boldly and loudly, when you sing out in order to praise God instead of mumbling along with the crowd, the Lord forms you in the virtues of gratitude and reverence. You begin to flourish and the Lord forms your heart to become a person with magnanimity, that is, a person with greatness of soul.

Pray this year.

Second: Study.

Study diligently in your classes, yes. But also study your own spiritual life. Which vices and habits of sin do you need to overcome? Study how you can do that. Which virtues and good habits do you need to develop? Study how you can do that. Study how others have done that by reading up on the lives of the saints and on spiritual books that inspire your heart to strive after virtue.

This year, in the high school chapel, we will have a small library of books that I have selected that will help you grow spiritually. Spend some time reading them. You don’t have to spend a lot of time – spend 10 minutes a day. Take a book to your study hall. Take a book into adoration.

This year, we will continue to have priests available each week for spiritual direction and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The schedule for each week (including which priest will be available) is posted outside of the High School Chapel. Priests will be available on Wednesdays over lunch, and on Thursdays during your study hall periods in 7th, 8th, and 9th period.

I cannot stress enough the importance of going to a confession on a regular basis. If you struggle with habits of sin in your life, you need to be going to confession regularly. Not only does the Lord forgive your sins, but he also gives you the grace to fight temptations and to overcome them. He will set you free. MAKE USE OF THIS SACRAMENT. Stop compromising with sin in your life. Each time that you give in to acts of sin, you are forming your heart in vice and are enslaving yourself to sin – you are preventing yourself from becoming the person that your future husband, wife, and kids will need you to be. You are preventing yourself from becoming the priest or religious or single person that the Church needs you to be.

You can come to the chapel during these times for spiritual direction from a priest. What is spiritual direction? It is a place where you can have a conversation with a priest. What could you talk about? You can talk about things like: Questions of faith, struggles in faith, doubts in your faith, struggles with chastity or pornography, relationship issues. You can talk about your prayer life and what God might be calling you to do in a situation that you find yourself in. You can talk about how prayer is dry and doesn’t seem to be working for you, and the priest can help you to find a way to pray that works for you. Spiritual Direction is a place where you can speak one-on-one with a priest about your own faith journey. This is an incredible opportunity that most people do not have. Again, MAKE USE OF IT!


Third, serve.

“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Imitate him. Serve your teachers and your classmates. Go beyond the bare minimum of what is asked of you by your commitment hours. Be like Mary and say “yes” when something is asked of you, instead of looking for a way out. God does incredible things when we simply say “yes”. When Mary said “yes” to the angel Gabriel, God brought about the salvation of the world. God will do great things when you say “yes”, too.

Go outside of yourself. Ask others how they are doing. When others ask you, instead of complaining, look for the blessings. Count your blessings, as Brooks encouraged you to do yesterday. Cultivate the virtue of gratitude. Your attitude has an impact on everyone around you. Build them up. Curb gossip and negativity. Serve your brothers and sisters by being committed to making their day better.

Pray, study, serve.

Your high school years are your training years. The boy or girl you choose to be today will determine the man or woman you become tomorrow. The virtues that you cultivate (or fail to cultivate) today will form the man or woman that you will be tomorrow. Sacred Heart provides the best environment possible to help you to become men and women of virtue. But you have to make use of it. Don’t waste this opportunity. Make the most of it.

[1] Adapted from Sacerdos in Aeternum: Prayers and Blessings for Priests (Second Edition), edited by Denis Robinson, OSB (St. Meinrad, IN: Abbey Press, 2014), page. 103.

Get off the Fence: Worshipping in Spirit and in Truth

Homily for Monday of the Fifteenth Week in OT (Year II)
Monday, July 16, 2018 – Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Northern Pines Bible Camp – Park Rapids, MN
John Paul II Camp – Day 2

Today is the Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Carmel is a mountain in Israel.

Elijah and the Prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18)

  • This story takes place on Mount Carmel
  • Israelites are two-faced. Duplicity.
  • They say they worship God, but they also worship Baal. Baal: storm God.
  • Their duplicity, their two-facedness, made their worship worthless.
  • Elijah’s challenge to them: How long will you straddle the issue by advocating 2 different opinions?”
  • Baal is the storm god and he can’t make fire fall from Heaven.
  • The Lord God makes the fire fall from heaven to consume the sacrifice.

Today’s Feast: Our Lady of Mount Carmel

  • Hermits went to Mount Carmel (where Elijah had the showdown with the prophets of Baal). They settled there to pursue God in lives totally devoted to prayer. 1100’s. They dedicated themselves to prayer and penance…to working on their interior life. Became known as the “Carmelites”
  • 1251 – St. Simon Stock and the Brown Scapular. Mary appeared to him. Vision of the scapular. Those who entrust themselves to her would have her protection and intercession. A reminder that the spiritual life comes first.
  • Scapular is an exterior sign of interior trust. It’s not effective if it’s looked upon with superstition. Clothe your heart with the Spirit of the Scapular if you are going to place the cloth scapular around your neck. Monks (hermits) – wear scapulars.
  • Mary – model of authenticity. Opposite of the Israelites in the story of Elijah and the Prophets of Baal. Her “yes” meant “yes”. Be it done unto me according to thy word. She is a model of trust. She is a model of faithfulness. Her words match her actions.
    • How could she do this?
    • She pondered these things in her heart. She had an interior life. She was a woman of prayer. Like the Carmelites, she devoted time to contemplation, to her interior life, to prayer.

What about us?

Today’s readings issue a big challenge to us. It is this: If you are going to call yourself a Christian, if you are going to call yourself a disciple, then you have to live it.

You can’t worship God in song and then live lives of sin.  Your worship must match your works.

Your heart is revealed in your actions.

We hear in the first reading: I will not listen! Your hands are full of blood! Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil. Learn to do good.

In other words, if you are going to offer me true worship, then your worship must match your works. Your words must match your actions.

Elijah’s challenge to the prophets of Baal comes to us today.  How long will you straddle the issue by living a double life?!  Is the Lord Jesus your god? Or is your sin your god?  Choose.  Get off the fence. The devil owns the fence. Choose.

Jesus: Whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.

It’s a struggle, but the struggle is important. Make a decision.

The grace in all of this, and what today’s feast reminds us, is this: We don’t walk alone.

Saint John Paul II said this: Walking with our Blessed Mother, the model of complete faithfulness to the Lord, we will fear no obstacles or difficulties. Supported by her intercession, like Elijah we will be able to fulfill our call to be authentic prophets in our time…May Our Lady of Mount Carmel, whom we call upon today with special devotion, help us tirelessly climb to the summit of the mountain of holiness. May she help us to love nothing more than Jesus.

You are Called and Chosen

Homily for Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
Sunday, July 15, 2018
Northern Pines Bible Camp – Park Rapids, MN
John Paul II Camp – Day 1

Welcome – camp is a time set apart. Pulled out of the normalcy of everyday life. An opportunity.

Jesus and the Apostles. He pulled them aside, apart from the normalcy of everyday life. Their first task was to be with Jesus. Second Task: they were sent out. This camp is your time apart…your time apart with Jesus.  Make the most of it.

Why are you here?

  • Parents made me
  • Heard it was fun
  • God called you to be here

Why did God call you to be here?

  1. To heal a wound
  2. To open your heart
  3. To call you to himself so that he could send you out (Gospel)
  4. To call you to change or set the course for your life
    • To repent, to turn away from sin
    • To remind you, or to teach you for the first time, that you are a beloved Son or Daughter of the Father.
  5. To show you that you are loved
  6. To set you on the path to becoming who you were meant to be
  7. To become what you were meant to be. Holy. A Saint.

God has chosen you to be a saint!

  1. Second reading: “God chose you in him, from the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him” God chose you from the beginning. From before you were born. From the foundation of the world.
  2. For the glory of God
  3. The glory of God is man fully alive! – St. Irenaeus.
  4. Staff and Service Team – models of holiness. See their joy and zeal. They are on their way.

Amos was called and chosen. The Twelve were called and chosen. You are called and chosen. You have to choose Him. Your yes must meet God’s yes. You must add your choice of God to His choice of you.

  • What is your life about? To become a saint.
  • Why are you here? To become a saint.
    • To see what it looks like. That’s what this week is all about. It is a week to encounter Jesus, to have a time apart with him, to share life with him, in the Body of Christ (the Eucharist) and in the Body of Christ (the Church community gathered here).

At the end of the week, you will be sent out.

  • Sent to tell others what he’s done for you.
  • Sent back changed – a different person for having known Christ.
  • Sent to show others the way to him.
  • Sent to proclaim what he has done for you here.