Archive for June, 2019

Points of No Return

Sunday, June 30th, 2019

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

1 Kgs 19: 16b, 19-21; Gal 5: 1, 13-18; Lk 9: 51-62

Deacon Larry Brockman

A point of no return.  That’s what Jesus is talking about.   

We saw it demonstrated in our first reading about Elijah and Elisha.  Elisha was chosen by the Lord to replace Elijah.  He had a choice- to follow or not.  But if he followed, he would pass beyond a point of no return.  Because once we find God’s will for us, there is no going back and forth from our calling to our former way of life.  God wants us to make a commitment and follow his will for us without reservation.   

Each of us goes through an initial stage in life when life is all about us.  It is natural and a consequence of our human nature.  And during our lives, we go through transitions that lead us to a more and more mature state.  First, we are infants, then toddlers, then children, then young adults.  And at each stage in our development, we learn to move beyond the earlier stage and not look back.  Each such stage in life transitions us to less preoccupation with ourselves, and more interaction with either the world around us or the people around us or both.   

Then, most of us fall in love and marry someone special- someone that we accept just the way they are.  We are willing to sacrifice ourselves at the expense of our loved one.  We are in love with them.   

And because we are made in the image and likeness of God, that love propagates itself in the children we bear which is like the Spirit of God that reaches out and extends beyond God to touch others.  

And so, we transition to yet another stage- the parenting stage in which our love extends not just to our parents and spouse but now to children and eventually grandchildren.  And as we transition, there is no looking back. We are on a continual progression of growth that moves us beyond.   We cannot afford to look back; we need to move forward.   

Well in parallel with these human growth stages, we also experience spiritual growth as well.  Initially our experiences are limited to this world.  But God touches each of us continually with His Spirit.  We become more and more aware of the beauty that has been forged by our creator.  And we consider the limits of worldly existence.  All of us come to the conclusion that we will die some day.  All of our ancestors have, and we are no different.   

And so, we seek the ultimate purpose in life.  Is there an author to life?  What is my relationship with Him?  Will I live beyond this life, and in what way?  Many of us seek more and more knowledge about God.  Hopefully, we progress beyond knowledge about God and begin to feel God’s presence in our lives.   

As we develop that relationship with our creator, we are moved by His Spirit.  And that Spirit moves us to seek and find God’s will for us.  Most of us discover that we are already in the middle of God’s plan for us because we have been blessed with our spouse; with certain talents, with certain limitations, and with certain desires.  These things are all well and good.    But then, and at varying times in our lives, we sense that God has something special in mind for us.  We are called by him for something out of the ordinary for us.  We are called to put aside the goals that we have for ourselves, and endeavor to help others.  For most of is, it is not a life changing call; for others it is.   

But whenever we follow that call- to be there for a friend in need; to care for a sick loved one; to teach Sunday School; to volunteer in some capacity; to visit the sick or the interned; or to do something truly extraordinary as Mother Theresa was called to do, we cannot look back.  We need to look forward and focus on God’s nudge lest we derail ourselves. 

That’s what Elijah did; whereas the man in the Gospel is holding back just a little.  We cannot hold back because life is full of points of no return.   

The ultimate point of no return is our death in this world.  For those who have not looked back; there will be a guaranteed place in the kingdom of God for them. 

Dealing With False Prophets (U)

Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

Wednesday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time

Gen 15:1-12, 17-18; Mt 7: 15-20

Deacon Larry Brockman

I wonder whether we have false prophets in our day?  Jesus says they would come to us in sheep’s clothing, but underneath they would be ravenous wolves.  Prophets. you know, tell us what things will be like in the future.  They are either prophets of doom; or prophets of boon.  Most people like the second kind of prophet, don’t they?   

I don’t know about you, but a whole bunch of things leap out at me about prophets of boon.  How about the advertising industry for starters?  We are constantly bombarded with claims on products by advertisers all telling us how much better our lives would be if only we bought their products.  They are claims that are hard to believe; probably because they are not true, or at best, they are half true.  And underneath, we know that there is just one motive- money, not our welfare.  This includes ads for toothpaste, soda drinks, beer, chips, all kinds of foods and entertainment, and a whole lot more.  They are replete with promises, implied promises.  They use good looking women or guys with the whitest teeth, or having the best time at the party, or any number of other visual traps that sell us.  Everything looks so good on the surface.   

Most of us are not taken in by these kinds of false prophets.  Probably because all of us have bought these false narratives a time or two, and so, we learned from our mistakes.  We can tell what the real fruits of their efforts are.   

But there are other, much more serious false prophets who use the same techniques to sell something as good.  They are not selling products; they are selling visions as a means of gaining power.  I’m talking about politicians; politicians whose hidden agenda differs from what they are selling.  They couch what they say by making it all sound so good.  Free college education for everyone; free health care for everyone; a big increase in the minimum wage; a tax cut for everyone; eliminating stifling government regulations on business and the environment; and safeguarding the second amendment.   

But you have to wonder if they are sheep in wolves clothing.  Are they promising these agendas to gain and maintain power?   Or do they really have our best interests at stake?  Because each one of the 6 things I mentioned comes at a cost, doesn’t it?  And basically, the costs are not addressed by their promises; rather, the emphasis is on all the “good” that is promised.  Some things appear to be good on the surface, but when you look at them closer or over time they end up being very bad.  Unfortunately, consequences like this and real costs are ignored.   

But just like the products pushed by the advertising industry, we can often tell when we’ve been hoodwinked.  Because most of the time, politicians just don’t deliver on their promises.  And if they do, the consequences, come back to bite us.  So, we sometimes know what the fruit of their labors is.  The challenge is to find someone who delivers on their promises and handles the consequences.  We are looking for the truth; not propaganda.  And in our society, that is getting really difficult to find.   

Then there are the prophets of gloom.  They are like barking dogs, warning us about Global warming or complete financial collapse due to the national debt or and of a number of international threats and dangers.  It is harder to sort out the truth from these doomsayers because the issues are so complex.  And besides, it is human nature to want to hide from gloom and doom.  Old Testament Israel constantly ignored true prophets like that   

But you know, there is an oasis in all of this.  There is a place all of us can go to test everything and determine whether the prophets of gloom and the prophets of boon are bearing good fruit or bad fruit.  And that oasis is our relationship with God.  Abram’s story this morning is an example.  If we have a relationship with God; and we ask him sincerely what the right thing is to do; he will guide us; he will answer our prayers; and we can put our trust in him.  He may not explain it all in such a way that we fully understand everything, especially all the consequences.  More than likely, he will just point us in the right direction.  We will get the right feeling, a sort of common sense.   

Do we have false prophets in today’s world?  You bet; they are all around us, especially as we get close to an election year. 

Are You All Fired Up?

Tuesday, June 11th, 2019


Col 3: 16

Dc. Larry Brockman

Well, are you all fired up!   

I see that most, if not all of you were there last week to hear Fr. Larry Richards rousing words of support for this Chapel.  And you folks that come to this Benediction regularly, you are certainly part of the core worshipers here.  So, how could you not be fired up after Fr. Richards talk.   

And what was so special about his talk?   Well, he preached to us about how we can make a difference.  He gave an example about how a group of devout people who come before the Blessed Sacrament in regular worship in his parish, all of whom shared a common goal- the closing of the Abortion clinic down the street from them- were successful.   

Well, I am here to tell you that we can do the same thing.  We can unite behind a common cause in our local community and together, our voices will be heard.   

How appropriate that is for this time of the Church Year.  After all, we just celebrated the beginning of the Church.  And our readings during the week chronicle how the Apostles responded to Jesus’ command to go out and preach to all nations.   

Today is the feast of St. Barnabas, who converted to the faith and helped St. Paul with his ministry to the Gentiles.  Things are not so different here from that first century because our country seems to be losing the faith.  Our Judeo-Christian roots have been greatly damaged by the prevailing Secular attitude in this country today.  But you, we, all of us here, can make a difference.  Because we believe, we truly believe that the prayers of a humble, contrite people who pray together for a common cause will be heard.  If only we are all fired up!   

So, let’s do it.