Showing posts from 2019

Geeky Catholic Sunday: Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time 2019

Gospel Reading: Luke 20:27-38 Highlight:  "The children of this age marry and remarry; but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage." Reflection: This is a hard passage for married persons and those who are called to marriage. Isn't marriage important? Isn't the bond that I have with my wife holy? So why won't I have that bond in heaven? The key to these questions lies not in diminishing the importance of matrimony, but in understanding why it is important. Marriage is a sign of the union that God desires with us. But once we've gotten to our heavenly destination, we don't need the sign that led us there anymore. As close as I am to my spouse, I will have an even more perfect intimacy with God in heaven, God willing. I will also have a perfect closeness to all the other members of the body of Christ, including - God willing - my wife! So it's not a matter of

Geeky Catholic Sunday: Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel Reading: Luke 17:11-19 Highlight:  "Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine?" Reflection: As a child, I always expected this gospel passage to end like one of Grimm's fairy tales or Aesop's fables. I thought that since the other nine lepers did not thank Jesus, their disease would return, and only the one grateful leper would be permanently cured. But that's not how God's mercy operates. Jesus knew that only one leper would return to thank him, but he still cured all ten. So really the emphasis of this story is not on the nine lepers, but on the one. What can we learn from him? One thing is that is important to recognize God's hand in the good things that happen in our lives. And once we recognize that, we should thank God. The more we adjust our attitudes to focus on gratitude for God's blessings, the more we will be able to conform our lives to God's plan. So think of some ways that God has blessed you, and thank him

Geeky Catholic Sunday: Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2019

Gospel Reading: Luke 16:1-13 Highlight:  "You cannot serve both God and mammon." Reflection: The parable of the dishonest steward has never really made sense to me. I just can't figure out what the steward did that was so praiseworthy. His job was in danger because of his dishonesty, but he ends up saving himself through further dishonesty? What kind of message is Jesus trying to send? Here's the best I can figure out. The steward acted greedily and foolishly, but in the end, he showed mercy to people that owed his master, in the hope of receiving mercy after being dismissed. He prioritized relationships over wealth, after realizing that his dishonest wealth would be taken away from him. I think that what Jesus is saying is not that this steward was a paragon of virtue that we should emulate, but rather that even sinners sometimes recognize something that we don't. They realize the importance of mercy and friendship. The goods of this world are temporary. If w

Geeky Catholic Sunday: Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2019

Gospel Reading: Luke 15:1-32 Highlight:  "While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion." Reflection: I, like many Christians, have read the parable of the prodigal son countless times. So the question is: Is there anything left to learn from this parable? I must admit, I really didn't think so when I started reading. I almost gave up on writing a reflection this week. But then the Holy Spirit prodded me, and I noticed something. The father in the story did not chase after his son. He didn't find him partying in some distant town, and convince him to come home. Rather, the emptiness and fruitlessness of the prodigal son's godless existence drove him back to his father. I wonder, then, if sometimes we take the wrong approach. Maybe I'm too focused on how to bring back certain people who are outside the Church, and not attentive enough to those who are on their way back and need someone to welcome them back

Geeky Catholic Sunday: Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel Reading: Luke 14:25-33 Highlight:  "Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion?" Reflection: Jesus asks us to give everything to him. Every part of us. So if we are still holding onto possessions or relationships that don't lead us closer to Christ, then trying to be a disciple of Christ is futile. If we know that Jesus will ask everything of us, we had better be sure we have made everything available give. Geeky Quote:  "Will he finish what he begins?" - Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back Prayer:  Lord Jesus, prepare me to give every part of myself to you. Amen. To get these short reflections every week, click the Subscribe button at the top of this page, or you can "Like" or "Follow" the GeekyCatholicDad Facebook page  here .

Geeky Catholic Sunday: Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel Reading: Luke 14:1, 7-14 Highlight:  "For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." Reflection: To a lot of people, the life Christ calls us to might look bleak. He asks us to let go of our earthly possessions, put others first in everything, and embrace suffering. Meanwhile, what are we supposed to do with all these desires we have? Ignore them? Not quite. God gave us these desires. He doesn't intend for us to ignore them or suppress them, but rather to order them properly. He wants us to point those desires at the right goal - heaven. And that involves patience. Just look at how Jesus delivers the message in the gospel. First he talks about choosing the lowest place at the table, so that the host can later invite you up to a higher position. That reward follows the sacrifice pretty quickly, but the next example requires more patience. When you invite guests to a meal, don't invite those who can pay you back, because - and here's where

Geeky Catholic Sunday: Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel Reading: Luke 13:22-30 Highlight:  "Then he will say to you, 'I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers.'" Reflection: This week presents another difficult gospel passage. Jesus is asked if only a few people will be saved, and his response seems to indicate that most people will not go to heaven. That contrasts sharply with the modern idea that most people are "good people" with good intentions, and that all "good people" will go to heaven. But that's not Christ's teaching. In fact, Jesus goes so far as to say that there are people who think they will be saved, who will be in for a rude awakening after their deaths. So if being "good" isn't enough, then how can we be saved? Jesus extends the gift of salvation to us through a covenant relationship, just as God did with his chosen people in the Old Testament. For those of us who have heard the gospel, that means we need to do what Jesus told

Geeky Catholic Sunday: Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel Reading: Luke 12:49-53 Highlight:  "Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division." Reflection: This gospel passage is a jarring contrast to the popular perception of Jesus and his mission. Especially when you look at non-Christian perceptions of Jesus. I can think of at least two different works of fiction written by atheists or agnostics that claimed the central message of Jesus was to "be nice to each other." I'm sorry, but they don't execute people for telling others to "be nice." So what is Jesus saying here? He's here to disrupt families? Is that because families are inherently a bad thing? We can't conclude that, because it would be contrary to the rest of revelation. So here's my take on it. Jesus calls us to enter into - and remain in - a covenant relationship with God. If our children, or parents, or siblings, or spouses choose to turn away from this invitation, t

Geeky Catholic Sunday: Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel Reading: Luke 12:32-48 Highlight:  "Your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom." Reflection: God loves us so much that he has prepared a kingdom for us. Heaven will be so much better than anything we can imagine, and certainly better than anything we could earn. The catch is that we can't settle for something less. If we are too greedy, too attached to a "kingdom" in this life, then we give up the infinitely greater kingdom waiting for us in the next life. If it helps, don't think of it as God saying, "Sorry, you messed up. As your consequence, I'm taking this reward away from you." Rather, God is making us an offer. He's telling us that there is something so much better than anything we see in this life. All we have to do is accept that offer. We have to accept God's promise instead of the false promises of the world. Geeky Quote:  "Look, Simba. Everything the light touches is our kingdom." - Mufasa,  The Lio

Geeky Catholic Sunday: Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel Reading: Luke 12:13-21 Highlight:  "Though one may be rich, one's life does not consist of possessions." Reflection: This is a message we've all probably heard a thousand times. But are we really living it? Are we really making our relationship with God our highest priority? The things of this world are not evil, but they are only good if they lead us to deeper relationship with Christ. If we ever decide to cut  prayer out of our life - or skip Mass on Sunday - for the sake of something material (like a TV show or a movie, or a football game, or a comic book), then that material thing is not leading us to God. When we die, will it matter that we read that comic book, or saw that movie, or watched that game? Geeky Quote:  Billy: "Oh goodness, look at my wrist. I gotta go." Penny: "But what about your clothes?" Billy: [ checks contents of washer ] "I don't love these." - Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog Prayer:  Lord, h

Geeky Catholic Sunday: Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel Reading: Luke 11:1-13 Highlight:  "What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish?" Reflection: Is the message of this gospel reading that God will always give us what we ask for? Because if that's the measuring stick for prayer, I'd have lost my faith a long time ago. But that's not the message. The point of Jesus's question, "What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish?" is not that a snake is different than what the son asked for. It's that the snake is harmful to the son. When we pray, God gives us what we need, even when we think we need something else. After all, what father among you would hand his son a scorpion, even if he asks for a scorpion? So maybe, instead of asking God for things that we want, we should ask him to help us want the things we need - the things God wants for us. Geeky Quote:  "Okay, you ask for it!" - Short Round,  Indiana Jones and the Temp

Geeky Catholic Sunday: Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel Reading: Luke 10:38-42 Highlight:  "Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her." Reflection: It might be hard to read this reading and not think that Jesus is missing something. "Jesus," we might say, "that's great that Mary is sitting at your feet and listening to you. But the laundry and the cooking will still need to be done. If we all just sat and listened, the world would fall apart." I don't think Jesus is missing something, though. Perhaps his message is just a little more nuanced. It's not that doing work is always wrong and prayerful stillness is always right. It's a matter of timing and priority. At the moment of this gospel story, Jesus was at Mary and Martha's house. So sitting and listening to him should have been the priority. He would have made sure that everything was taken care of. Martha thought that if she didn't take care of things, they wouldn't get done. We have to trust th

Geeky Catholic Sunday: Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2019

Gospel Reading: Luke 10:25-37 Highlight:  "When he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side." Reflection: This reading might not be very challenging at first glance. After all, the priest and the Levite who ignored the injured man were probably two of the people who handed Jesus over to the Romans to be crucified. So of course they didn't act charitably. It's easy, then, to identify with the Good Samaritan. But what would I really do in a situation like this? What have I done in situations like this? The priest and Levite had convinced themselves they had good reasons to steer clear of the victim in the story. They didn't  want to become ritually unclean, because then they wouldn't be able to do their priestly duties. Surely God wouldn't want them to neglect their duties, right? Someone else will be along to help that poor, wounded man. Do I hide behind similar excuses? Is God calling me to be more charitable to the hurting people I encounter? Geek

Geeky Catholic Sunday: Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2019

Gospel Reading: Luke 10:1-12, 17-20 Highlight:  "If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you." Reflection:  This verse doesn't usually stick out to me when I read this Gospel passage, but it did today. It's about wishing peace for people, and really, to wish peace for someone is to love them. Jesus is advising us to love people, even if we don't think they will be receptive to that love. It's not as if we have some limited amount of "love" that we have to use sparingly, giving it to nice people but avoiding those who are unkind. Jesus doesn't tell us to wish peace for the peaceful, but wish pain for the aggressive. We should love and evangelize everyone we meet. And if they are not receptive to us, Jesus assures us that he will give us peace. Geeky Quote:  "Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they." - Yoda,  Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Prayer:  God,

Geeky Catholic Sunday: The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ 2019

Gospel Reading: Luke 9: 11B-17 Highlight:  "Five loaves and two fish are all we have." Reflection:  Christ's love is wonderfully abundant. He gives us his very body and blood, and it never runs out. He takes our meager offerings and multiplies them a thousand-fold. Take a moment to marvel at the incomprehensible vastness of Jesus's love for you. Geeky Quote:  "Eat little at a time, and only at need... One [wafer of lembas] will keep a traveler on his feet for a day of long labour, even if he be one of the tall Men of Minas Tirith." - Elves of Lothlorien,  The Fellowship of the Ring Prayer:  Jesus, your love is so great that it surpasses my understanding. Help me to love you. Amen. To get these short reflections every week, click the Subscribe button at the top of this page, or you can "Like" or "Follow" the GeekyCatholicDad Facebook page  here .

Geeky Catholic Sunday: Pentecost 2019

Gospel Reading: John 20:19-23 Highlight:  "As the Father has sent me, so I send you." Reflection:  It is important to remember that Jesus gave us a mission. And that mission is not just, "Believe in Jesus and work on your private relationship with him." We should strive for holiness, of course, but part of being a follower of Christ means trying to be more like him. Jesus sends us as the Father sent him . And the Father didn't send Jesus to Earth to quietly be holy. He sent him to bring God's grace to everyone around him. So we need to step outside our comfort zones and work on the mission Jesus gave us. Geeky Quote:  "I know I'm asking a lot, but the price of freedom is high; it always has been, and it's a price I'm willing to pay. And if I'm the only one, then so be it. But I'm willing to bet I'm not." - Steve Rogers  Captain America: The Winter Soldier Prayer:  God, give me the courage to live virtuously, and to b

Geeky Catholic Sunday: The Ascension of the Lord 2019

Gospel Reading: Luke 24:46-53 Highlight:  "And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." Reflection:  One of the difficult things about being a follower of Christ is discerning God's will for our lives. We know that we should do good and avoid sin, but what about the questions regarding the direction of our lives. Do I accept that job offer? Should we move to a new location? Am I called to religious life? Should we have more kids? Jesus's instructions to his disciples before he ascended into heaven remind me that timing is a factor in God's plans for us. Sometimes, the thing God wants us to do right now is wait. But it is also a reminder that waiting is not just the absence of action. Just as the apostles prayed as they waited for Pentecost, we should use our waiting time to prepare - physically, emotionally, and especially spiritually - to carry out God's will in the next ph

Geeky Catholic Sunday: The Sixth Sunday of Easter 2019

Gospel Reading: John 14:23-29 Highlight:  "And we will come to him and make our dwelling with him." Reflection:  Think of the people in your life that you always want to be near. What is it about these people that you love? I'm sure it varies from person to person, but it is always their good qualities that you find so attractive. The way they make you laugh, or the fact that you can be totally honest with them. With true friends, it is the way they inspire you to be a better person, or the forgiveness they will offer you if you do something wrong. Imagine someone who has all of these good qualities - and more - and who possesses them to a perfect degree. Surely that is someone you'd want to spend time with, someone whose side you would never leave. That "someone" is God, and being with him forever is our ultimate goal as Christians. We have hope and faith that one day we will be able to spend eternity in perfect union with God. Geeky Quote: "As t

Geeky Catholic Sunday: The Fifth Sunday of Easter 2019

Gospel Reading: John 13:31-35 Highlight:  "This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." Reflection:  Being a follower of Christ means a lot of things. There are things we believe that the rest of the world mocks. Our faith can influence who we vote for, or where we spend our money. That's a good thing; our faith should influence every aspect of our lives. But the defining characteristic of a Christian should be the way we love. Our marriages, our relationships with family members, and even the way we treat complete strangers - all of these things should be a shining example of God's love for his people. That is quite a responsibility. How well do I live up to that in my daily interactions with people? When I am at home, or at the grocery store, or on the road, do I demonstrate God's love? Geeky Quote: "Attachment is forbidden. Possession is forbidden. Compassion, which I would define as unconditional love, is e

Geeky Catholic Sunday: The Fourth Sunday of Easter 2019

Gospel Reading: John 10:27-30 Highlight:  "No one can take them out of my hand." Reflection:  When I read today's Gospel, I get a sense of security. It is so reassuring to hear our Lord talk about us this way. We are so important to him, that he won't let anyone take us from his hand. Of course, he also respects our freedom, so if we freely choose to reject him, he will let us. But as long as we truly want to stay with Jesus, he will protect us. Geeky Quote: "Yet suddenly for Faramir [Pippin's] heart was moved with a feeling that he had not known before... He knew now why Beregond spoke his name with love. He was a captain that men would follow, that he would follow, even under the shadow of the black wings." - The Return of the King Prayer:  Protect me from evil, Lord, and hold me ever in your hand.. Amen. To get these short reflections every week, click the Subscribe button at the top of this page, or you can "Like" or "Follow&

Everything I Never Knew I Wanted: A Review of Avengers Endgame

WARNING: This review will be full of spoilers, so do not continue until you have seen Avengers: Endgame . So first, go see the movie. I'll wait. Did you see it? Okay, great!

Geeky Catholic Sunday: The Third Sunday of Easter 2019

Gospel Reading: John 21:1-19 Highlight:  "At that time, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias." Reflection:  I didn't even make it past the first sentence of this Gospel reading when I was struck by a realization. Growing up, I always took the different accounts of the apostles seeing the resurrected Jesus as independent stories. I never considered them as part of a unified whole. So I was always assuming that each story was the first time the apostles had seen the risen Jesus. Doesn't it seem that way, based on their reactions? But then I think about how Jesus reveals himself to me in my own faith life. I will have moments of spiritual consolation ("the warm fuzzies"), and it will feel like I'm experiencing Christ's presence for the first time. But after some time, I fall into a dull sense of complacency. So just like the apostles, Jesus reveals himself to me again and again. Salvation is not a one-time occurrence.

Geeky Catholic Sunday: Divine Mercy 2019

Gospel Reading: John 20:19-31 Highlight:  "Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed." Reflection:  Poor Thomas. "Doubting Thomas." It's so easy to give him a hard time for disbelieving something that we've known about for two thousand years. But did he really have any less faith than the other ten apostles? Remember, the other ten had seen the risen Jesus. Thomas had not. When I was growing up, Jesus' words always seemed like a pat on the back for modern Christians, since we believe in Jesus and the resurrection without seeing. But what if there's more to it than that? It is reasonable to believe in Jesus, given the evidence we have, and the testimony of a millennia of believers. What takes faith is believing when things are difficult, whether that means holding onto your faith in the face of personal tragedy, or accepting the teachings of the faith even when they don't make sens

Geeky Catholic Easter 2019

Gospel Reading: John 20:1-9 Highlight (from the Sequence):  "Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining. Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning." Reflection:  I'm not exaggerating when I say that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single most important thing that has ever happened in human history. St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:17 that "if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins." But how many of us take the resurrection for granted? If you've known since childhood that Jesus rose from the dead, it might not seem as amazing anymore. Easter Sunday following after Good Friday becomes just as natural as day following night. Perhaps we can better understand Easter's significance if we try to look at it from the perspective of someone who didn't know it was coming. To the apostles, the death of Jesus on Good Friday must have been unimaginably tragic. It wasn't just the death of th

Geeky Catholic Sunday: Palm Sunday 2019

Gospel Reading: Luke 22:14-23:56 Highlight:  "We have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal." Reflection:  As we prepare to enter the Easter Triduum, and meditate on the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus, let us take a moment to observe the contrast between Jesus and the two thieves on either side of him on Calvary Hill. When we fall - when we choose to sin instead of doing what is right - how do we react? Do we turn more fully away from Christ, or do we turn towards him? Do we become bitter because of the suffering that comes as a result of our sins, or do we turn towards the one who can relieve that suffering and forgive our sins? Geeky Quote: "If all was lost There's more I gained 'Cause it led me back To you."                - Phineas T. Barnum,  The Greatest Showman Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner. Amen. To

What Did We Just See?!? My thoughts on the Star Wars Episode IX Trailer

Thousands of Star Wars fans are gathered in Chicago right now for Star Wars: Celebration (which is a massive Star Wars convention, for those who might not know). They were just treated to an hour-long panel with J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, and the cast of Episode IX , moderated by Stephen Colbert. The panel was streamed live online, and will probably be available to watch on YouTube soon, if not already. At the very end, everyone left the stage and they aired the very first teaser trailer for Star Wars: Episode IX . Here's a link to the trailer, if you haven't seen it yet: Below is my breakdown. For the purposes of this summary, anything in all-caps represents the text displayed during the trailer. Italics is voice-over, and plain text is descriptions of the visuals with my interpretation. The Trailer We start with a black screen. Rey: [breathing, as if she had just been running.] The shot opens up looking at Rey, standing in a dese

Geeky Catholic Sunday: The Fifth Sunday of Lent 2019

Gospel Reading: John 8:1-11 Highlight:  "Then Jesus said, 'Neither do I condemn you.'" Reflection:  When preparing this week's reflection, I was struck by the fact that this Gospel passage does not address whether or not the woman repented of her sin. This story is not about the woman's contrition or Christ's forgiveness. But it's not because those themes are insignificant; they can be found in plenty of other places in the Gospels. This passage is aimed at those of us who would act like the crowd, heaping judgment and rejection on those we deem to be "sinners." We are not sinless, and we do not see into the souls of the people we callously dismiss as sinners. So Christ tells us that it is not our responsibility to make sure that someone suffers for their sins. I shouldn't tailgate a driver who cuts me off in traffic. Nor should I harass someone online for making a comment I judge to be insensitive or immoral. God alone is Judge. We s

Geeky Catholic Sunday: The Fourth Sunday of Lent 2019

Gospel Reading: Luke 15:1-3, 11-32 Highlight:  "'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.' . . . But his father ordered his servants, 'Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him.'" Reflection:  The message of this parable is not just that God forgives us if we come back to him and repent; it is how he forgives us. No matter how spectacularly we fail, God will not only take us back, but he will celebrate our return. Take a moment to ponder the glory of God - the glory of one who can lift us from the lowest depths of sin to the eternal heights of heaven. Geeky Quote: "He didn't chase them away. Even though he yelled at them. And was always mean. And he stole batteries he didn't need." "Well, of course not." - Rocket Raccoon and Peter Quill,  Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 Prayer:  Father, I have sinned against you so many times. Thank you for your infinite mercy, for always taking me back every time I stray

Geeky Catholic Sunday: The Third Sunday of Lent 2019

Gospel Reading: Luke 13:1-9 Highlight:  "Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?" Reflection:  Jesus gives us some great insight into the role of suffering in our lives. The fact that bad things happen to us does not necessarily mean that God is punishing us for something we've done. (The "problem of suffering" is a much larger issue, one which I have personally grappled with, and which I wouldn't be able to explain in a short reflection.) However, that does not mean that there is no punishment for sin. In other words, we shouldn't let suffering keep us from the righteous path, but we also shouldn't think that it is arbitrary, and act as if there will never be consequences for our actions. Geeky Quote: "Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something." - The Dread Pirate Roberts,  The Princess Bride Prayer:  Lord, give me the strength

Geeky Catholic Sunday: The Second Sunday of Lent 2019

Gospel Reading: Luke 9:28B-36 Highlight:  "But he did not know what he was saying." Reflection:  Peter was so amazed by what he saw, that he started spouting off the first thing that came into his head. The experience was so wonderful that he didn't want it to end. So he proposed building tents so they could stay there on the mountain forever. I think that Peter, James, and John were given a taste of heaven on that mountain. Not just the image of Jesus in his glory, but the sensation of pure happiness and contentment. But it was not destined to last forever. They had to come back down the mountain. Jesus would go on to be arrested, tortured, and killed. The good news for us is that, if we are so blessed to experience a joy like the Transfiguration at the end of our lives, it will last forever. We can build all the tents we want, because we will never have to descend from the mountain. Geeky Quote: "Frodo heard a sweet singing running in his mind: a song that se

Higher, Further, Faster: A Review of Captain Marvel

Last weekend, I braved a winter storm to go see Captain Marvel . I absolutely loved it, and I have a bunch of things I want to say about it. If you haven't seen the movie yet, don't worry. I start off with a spoiler-free review. After that, there's a spoiler warning and a poster of Goose the Cat you'll have to scroll past before I get into any spoilers.

Geeky Catholic Sunday: The First Sunday of Lent 2019

Gospel Reading: Luke 4:1-13 Highlight:  "When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time." Reflection:   Try as we might to live a life of holiness, we will inevitably be tempted to sin. Even if we are able to resist at first, it seems like the trials will never end. And we only have so much willpower, right? The first problem with this approach is thinking that we have the power to resist temptation on our own. But the other thing to consider is that these trials come in waves. They don't last forever. The devil wants us to think that our two choices are succumbing to temptation right now, or white-knuckling it for the rest of our lives. But all we have to do is pray for the grace to make it through that one trial. We just need to take it one temptation at a time, like Jesus did. And if we fall (which, since we are human, will happen from time to time) we go to confession, ask forgiveness, and try to make it through the next temptation (

Geeky Catholic Ash Wednesday 2019

Gospel Reading:  Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 Highlight:  "When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden." Reflection:  As far as I know, the Gospel reading for Ash Wednesday is the same every year, so it is probably one of the most heard Mass readings in all of Scripture. I assume everyone is familiar with the message not making a big show of fasting. We're not supposed to spend the whole day complaining about how hungry we are, in order to show off how "holy" we are being. But doesn't the practice of wearing an ashen cross on our foreheads all day contradict this message? As I prepared this reflection, I've come to the conclusion that the two messages do not contradict each other, and here's why. The ashes represent our mortality. "Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return." They are a sign for us to let go of earthly attachments and draw closer to

Geeky Catholic Sunday: The Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2019

Gospel Reading:  Luke 6:39-45 Highlight:  "Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother's eye." Reflection:  I think the lesson a lot of people take from this parable is that we shouldn't judge others, because we aren't perfect. But if you read carefully, that's not exactly what Jesus is saying. True, he does say that it is hypocrisy to point out the splinter in your brother's eye while ignoring the beam in your own. But Christ's solution is not to ignore the splinter; it is to remove the beam, and then assist your brother with the splinter. To continue ignoring the beam is not only hypocritical, it is also ineffective. You won't be able to see clearly with the beam in your eye, so you won't be any use to your brother in trying to remove the splinter. If I go out binge drinking every night, I won't be able to help my friend attain sobriety. We are called to help our neighb

Geeky Catholic Sunday: The Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time 2019

Gospel Reading:  Luke 6:27-38 Highlight:  "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." Reflection:  Am I as merciful as God the Father? Certainly not. I do not forgive the way God forgives. When someone apologizes to me, I am quick to say I forgive them. But am I really totally forgiving them? Or will some part of me still hold that sin against the person who wronged me? I may never be able to offer pure, perfect forgiveness, but I can make an act of the will to let go of grudges. When a memory of someone's offense against me comes into my head, I can consciously decide to dismiss that memory, instead of dwelling on it. I can mentally repeat, as many times as I need to, "I forgive you." Geeky Quote:  "Mercy is the mark of a great man. I guess I'm just a good man. Well... I'm all right." - Malcolm Reynolds,  Firefly Prayer:  Heavenly Father, help me to forgive as you forgive. Amen. To get these short reflections every week, click t

Geeky Catholic Sunday: The Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2019

Gospel Reading:  Luke 6:17,20-26 Highlight:  "Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied." Reflection:  There are a couple of levels on which we can take this verse. On the one hand, Jesus was talking to people who were physically hungry. But more broadly, he was talking about all of the desires we experience in this life. Our faith tells us that these desires are, at their core, supposed to lead us towards heaven. The desires are not bad, as long as they are ordered properly. Once we stop trying to satisfy our infinite desires with the finite things of this world, we realize that only God has what we're looking for. Geeky Quote:  "Organize a press conference. I want a press conference and I want an American cheeseburger. Hogan, drive. Cheeseburger first." - Tony Stark,  Iron Man Prayer:  God, only you can satisfy my deepest longings. Don't let me get lost chasing after money and pleasure, but lead me to yourself. Amen. To get th

Geeky Catholic Sunday: The Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2019

Gospel Reading:  Luke 5:1-11 Highlight:  "When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing." Reflection:  Once Simon Peter got over his pride and submitted to Jesus, he was met with overwhelming results. For someone whose livelihood had always depended on catching a lot of fish, I have to imagine that Peter was both excited and a little terrified. After all, if the nets tore, they would not only lose that day's haul, but they would also lose the equipment they needed to catch any more fish. God has great plans for us. Sometimes, while he is accomplishing these plans through us, we experience "tearing." Maybe it is the fracturing of relationships with people who refuse to follow Christ. Or perhaps it is the fear that comes with stepping outside our comfort zones. But if we keep Jesus in our boat, he will make sure we get through it all. And then we will be able to enjoy the fruits of our (but mostly God's) labor! G

Geeky Catholic Sunday: The Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2019

Gospel Reading:  Luke 4:21-30 Highlight:  "'No prophet is accepted in his own native place.' . . . Jesus passed through the midst of them and went away." Reflection: Most people have someone in their lives whom they wish would come back to the faith. A son or daughter, a sibling, parent, etc. But it seems like no matter what you say to them, they don't listen to you. In situations like this, sometimes you have to accept that perhaps you are not the "prophet" that God will use to reach your loved one. If that's the case, you will have to move on. It doesn't mean you should stop evangelizing. Jesus didn't stop evangelizing when the people tried to throw him off a cliff; he just went somewhere else to preach the Gospel. Similarly, you might have to focus your evangelization message elsewhere, and back off a bit on your efforts to bring your friends or family members back into the fold. Keep praying for them, though, and trust that God will s

Geeky Catholic Sunday: The Third Sunday of Ordinary Time 2019

Gospel Reading:  Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21 Highlight:  "The eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him." Reflection: Notice the content of Jesus's message at each stage of this story, and the corresponding actions of the people. The first message Jesus proclaims is a passage from the Scriptures. All the people had to do was show up to the synagogue to hear that. But the message was nothing they hadn't heard before, and it did not have direct personal significance to them. But Jesus's next message - about the Scripture being fulfilled in their hearing - required something more from the people. They were looking intently at Him. Jesus waited until he had their attention before he continued. They had to be open to Jesus's words in order to be able to understand how the Scripture applied to their lives. The more we open our hearts to Jesus, the more directly he will speak to us. We have to do more than just show up to Mass. (Not that showing up is insignifi

Geeky Catholic Sunday: The Second Sunday of Ordinary Time 2019

Gospel Reading: John 2:1-11 Highlight:  "His mother said to the servers, 'Do whatever he tells you.'" Reflection:  Here we have on display one of the clearest Scriptural examples of the intercessory power of the Virgin Mary. We might think it unnecessary to go through Mary, because we have personal relationships with Jesus. The only reason the servers at the wedding at Cana went to Mary with their problem was that they didn't know Jesus; Mary knew him better. Mary knew him better. And that is the reason we go to Mary. Geeky Quote:  "I didn't do it for him." - Loki,  Thor: The Dark World (the implication being that Loki helped Thor for their mother) Prayer:  Mother Mary, bring me closer to your Son. Amen. To get these short reflections every week, click the Subscribe button at the top of this page, or you can "Like" or "Follow" the GeekyCatholicDad Facebook page  here .

Geeky Catholic Sunday: The Baptism of the Lord 2019

Gospel Reading: Luke 3:15-16, 21-22 Highlight: "And a voice came from heaven, 'You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.'" Reflection: The first thing that comes to my mind when I read the above verse is the contrast with God the Father's words at the Transfiguration. "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him." The difference is in whom God is addressing. He may be telling those gathered indirectly that He is pleased with Jesus. But he is directly speaking to Jesus. Why? Doesn't Jesus already know that the Father loves him? Surely he doesn't need these words of affirmation. But love isn't just about giving another person what they need, or even what they deserve. My wife knows that I love her, even when I'm not actively saying it or showing it. But that is no reason for me to stop saying it or showing it. The relationship between the Persons of the Trinity is one of a constant exchange of love. So we should never cease showin

Geeky Catholic Sunday: The Epiphany of the Lord 2019

Gospel Reading: Matthew 2:1-12 Highlight: "We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage." Reflection: The magi, even with know direct knowledge of God's revelation, were able to find Him through his creation and their human reasoning. I'm reminded of the Greek philosophers, who - before the coming of Christ and with little to no exposure to the Israelites - broke away from the polytheistic and hedonistic traditions of their culture and described One God who desired us to live virtuous lives. The magi made their connection with God at the Epiphany. The Greek philosophers may never have personally made a connection with the God of Abraham, their teachings were united and incorporated with Christianity by great minds such as St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. In today's world, there are many people trying to live good lives, without realizing that the best way to do that is in the Catholic faith. We have hope that they will eventually make tha