Focus

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Mary Ortwein. "Born Anew" A Catholic Moment. November 26, 2022 It is such a wonderful thing to watch a baby. Their eyes are so bright and so intense! They are very busy responding to the people and sounds around them. Yet they must depend so completely on others to take care of them. If there is one in my sight in any room, he or she is a magnet for my attention.

Fr. Joseph Bailham. "Our True Shire" Torch. September 20, 2022 ‘If only’ – these two words are a great get-out clause that we may often use in life to absolve us of responsibility. ‘If only I didn’t have so much work, I’d be able to pray more’ … ‘if only someone had told me, I would have done things differently.’ Life does indeed have many distractions, many of which can be out of our hands to some extent. But sometimes there are distractions in life which we enable and facilitate.

Sr. Claris Zwareva, MM. "Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time" Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. July 31, 2022 Throughout history, disputes over material possessions, especially over land, have abounded. These disputes, motivated by the insatiable hunger for power and possessions, continue to inflict harm on innocent people who are forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in foreign lands.

Mary Ortwein. "It Is Written" A Catholic Moment. March 5, 2022 On this first Sunday of Lent, the readings give us a handy two-edged sword to help us have a Lent that leads us closer to God.

Fr. Nicholas Crowe. "Remember the Lord’s Goodness" Torch. March 3, 2022 Moses gives some interesting advice in our first reading. He tells the people: when you finally claim the land that God has promised you and have begun to harvest the first fruits of its soil bring these first fruits to the altar and offer them up to God as a gift. And as you do so, testify. Testify before the priest and the people. Begin by reminding yourself where you came from; then, remind yourself how your life has changed, the impact God has had on your life. Finally, remind yourself of the good things that you have in your life now because of your friendship with God.

Melissa Altman. "Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time" Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. February 27, 2022 “But what about Eli?” my sassy, then-4-year-old used to ask me when it was time to stop playing on electronics or when it was time to set the table. My daughter, Evey, even asked this when she received a special treat. Everything was a comparison to her brother.

John Ciribassi. "Offer It Up" A Catholic Moment. April 3, 2021 When I was a kid I often heard my Mother, Grandmother and Aunts say something like “Offer it up to God” if something went wrong or I was having a problem. I am not sure they knew what it meant. It was more of one of those Catholic “throw-away” lines that people used because it sounded like a good thing to say to someone who was having difficulties.

Fr. Lawrence Obilor. "He is alive" A Catholic Moment. April 12, 2020 Easter is the greatest and the most important feast in the Church. It can only be described as the core of the Church’s life.

Joseph LaCombe. "He is Here!" A Catholic Moment. December 25, 2019 For years, my commute was eight lanes of traffic, sometimes at breakneck speed, and then often slowing down to stop and go. It’s a blur of brake lights, frustration and impatience, just wanting to get to my destination. For the last couple years, my commute has turned north, out of the suburbs and onto a two-lane highway and country roads and into rolling plots of fields and woods.

Fr. Dermot Morrin. "Facing Jerusalem" Torch. July 4, 2019 About the Lord sending out of seventy-two others, or seventy depending on the English translation, I would want to ask who were these disciples? They just pop up and then as quickly disappear in the narrative. They are not named. Their number, be it seventy or seventy two, is not without significance. But a more considered question is to ask what truth did Luke want us to grasp, when he, and only he, included this mission in his gospel?

Joseph LaCombe. "Finding Joy Through it All" A Catholic Moment. May 12, 2019 My son loves sports. Right now, it is baseball season and this kid eats, breathes and lives baseball. A month ago it was basketball. And so I love to use sports as a means to teach – not so much about the game – but about life because there are so many parallels. Every moment is a teaching moment. Hard work pays off.

Joseph LaCombe. "Get Ready to Purge" A Catholic Moment. March 3, 2019 So this is my garage right now. It is super-cluttered with stuff. All kinds of stuff. Old stuff, materials for various projects, things that just need to be put away. Some things we’re hanging onto for whatever reason, other things that just have no place right now. We don’t have a basement and we lack in attic space, and so the garage is just a dumping ground for numerous things. And unfortunately, this spills into the house. After many seasons, life can literally get cluttered.

Sr. Elizabeth Zwareva, MM. "Ash Wednesday" Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. February 14, 2018 God, who is unseen, speaks through the prophets and says to the people, repent, come back to me who am your merciful, compassionate God. Remember and repent!

Joseph LaCombe. "Persistent Prayer" A Catholic Moment. October 15, 2016 Today was a day of distractions. You ever have one of those? Some days, you just have things that make it hard to focus. Unless you’re a hermit – you know what I mean. It seems like every time I got ready to focus on a task today – trying to solve that problem at work, or trying to explain running cadence to kids at Cross-Country practice, or even trying to sit and write this article – I heard, “Hey Joe!” Or, “but coach!” Or, “Dad?”

Joseph LaCombe. "All-In" A Catholic Moment. June 26, 2016 There are so many directions in which to go when reflecting on today’s readings.

Ron Rolheiser, OMI. "Being Ready for Christmas" ronrolheiser.com. December 22, 2014 Many of us arrive at Christmas tired, running, distracted, and already fatigued with the lights, songs, and celebrations of Christmas. Advent is meant to be a time of preparation for Christmas; but for many of us it is not exactly a time for the kind of preparation that enables Christ be born more deeply in our lives.

Ron Rolheiser, OMI. "On Being Perpetually Distracted" ronrolheiser.com. June 23, 2014 There’s a story in the Hindu tradition that runs something like this: God and a man are walking down a road. The man asks God: “What is the world like?” God answers: “I’d like to tell you, but my throat is parched. I need a cup of cold water.

Fr. Leo Edgar. "They Have Had Their Reward" Torch. March 5, 2014 “They have had their reward !”(Mt. 6: 2) To whom is Jesus referring when he addresses these words? It’s an interesting question. Undoubtedly, he had in his sights the Pharisees, whom he referred to several times in Matthew’s gospel as ‘hypocrites’ ( 23; 25-29) ) – but was it only these upholders of the Jewish law who had attracted Jesus’ wrath? Probably not, I suspect.

Fr. Martin Ganeri. "No One Shall Snatch Them Out My Hand" Torch. April 21, 2013 In the liturgy for the fourth Sunday of Eastertide the Church presents us with the powerful and appealing image of Christ as the Good Shepherd. A common and very ancient way in which Christ as the Good Shepherd is depicted in Christian art is that of Christ carrying a sheep on His shoulders, holding its legs firmly with His hands. It is an image full of reassurance; one that promises safety and security; one that tells us to rely totally on Christ, just the sheep is totally supported by Him.

Fr. Anthony Axe. "Fitness for Life" Torch. February 17, 2010 Putting on weight not only means that we can’t get into our favourite clothes but also that we don’t feel as well as we would like and don’t function as efficiently. So we try to get rid of it by eating sensibly. Many of us approach Lent in the same way. Since Easter of last year we have slipped back into bad habits that result in the carrying of the excess immoral weight that impedes the efficiency of our spiritual lives.

Fr. Euan Marley. "Clever Stupidity" Torch. September 19, 2004 When I was eight, a friend at school came up with a scheme to make money. He would buy goldfish at fifty pence, or whatever it was in old money, and sell them at forty pence. This way, we would sell more than the shops.

Fr. John Orme Mills. "Pure in Heart" Torch. February 3, 2002 Today the Gospel reading is one of the most famous in St Matthew’s Gospel: the Beatitudes, or ‘blessings’, which open Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Faced by having to choose between trying to say something about all the Beatitudes in a small space or focussing on one of them, I am going for the second option.

Fr. Mark Edney. "Looking Back" Torch. July 1, 2001 Today’s Gospel ends with Jesus’ warning that ‘no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God’.

Fr. Juan P. Ruiz. "Striving for What is Worth Having" Juan Point at a Time. November 29, 2022 The Gospel reading sounds like it's about the rapture, but it's actually something much more mundane, and rather frightening.

Bishop Robert Barron. "Focus on the One Thing Necessary" Word on Fire. July 17, 2022 Friends, the Gospel for this Sunday is the wonderful story of Martha and Mary. But the Church sets this up in a really interesting way by giving us a first reading from Genesis 18—the mysterious story of Abraham being visited by three guests. The two stories together show us that the problem is not hospitality, nor being active as opposed to contemplative; rather, the problem is being focused on many things instead of the one thing necessary, in which everything else tends to fall into the right place.

Gemma Thomson and Senior students from Iona College. "Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time" Australian Women Preach. July 17, 2022 Gemma Thomson is a passionate, faith-filled, young woman who seeks to role model the Church that Christ calls us to be; missionary, humble, inclusive and joyful.

Jill Gowdie. "Together on the Way" Australian Women Preach. June 26, 2022 Dr Jill Gowdie is known across Australia and overseas as a speaker, writer, facilitator, educator and system leader with wide and deep experience in Catholic education, mission and formation.

Bishop Robert Barron. "To What Does Your Heart Belong?" Word on Fire. February 13, 2022 Friends, when our heart belongs to anything in this world, we live in an empty and lifeless spiritual space. But when our heart belongs to the Lord, the rest of our life falls into right order around that center. Our readings this week raise a crucial question: To whom—or to what—does your heart belong?

Bishop Robert Barron. "Give Up the Ego-Drama!" Word on Fire. December 19, 2021 Friends, most of us are stuck in the boring and narrow confines of the ego-drama. Mary is not playing an ego-dramatic game; she is playing a theo-dramatic game. We hear of how she sets out “with haste”—the sign of the saints—and it’s because she knows her mission and her purpose in God’s story.

Bishop Robert Barron. "Have You Found Joy?" Word on Fire. December 12, 2021 Friends, on this Gaudete Sunday, we are called to rejoice! Detach yourself from the anxieties of the world and live in the peace and joy of Christ.

Fr. Addisalem Mekonnen. "Homily" St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church. October 24, 2021

Richard Rohr. "Money" Center for Action and Contemplation. September 22, 2019

Bishop Robert Barron. "Bigger Barns or Treasure in Heaven?" Word on Fire. August 4, 2019 All three of our readings for this weekend speak of a primordial spiritual truth—that is to say, the need to detach oneself from the goods of this world. This has nothing to do with hatred of this world or of matter or the flesh; all of that sort of dualism is repugnant to the Bible. It has to do with a “wearing lightly” of this world and its goods, even as those goods are acknowledged and celebrated.

Richard Rohr. "Stupid, Stupid, Stupid!" Center for Action and Contemplation. August 4, 2019

Bishop Robert Barron. "Walking Truly and Completely with Him" Word on Fire. June 30, 2019 In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus clarifies that all worldly goods find their value in relation to Him. If we believe Jesus is the only Son of God, we must place our grudges, personal desires, and even our most sacred worldly obligations aside in order to walk truly and completely with Him.

Richard Rohr. "Tribalism versus Otherness" Center for Action and Contemplation. June 30, 2019

Bishop Robert Barron. "Tell John What You See and Hear" Word on Fire. December 7, 2016 Our Gospel for this weekend is taken from the eleventh chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, where John the Baptist has been arrested and wonders from his jail cell whether Jesus “is the one or should we look for another?” When this inquiry is conveyed to Jesus, the Lord does not respond theoretically, but rather by pointing to things that are happening, namely, God’s grace is making people whole again. “Go tell John what you see and hear”.

Bishop Robert Barron. "The Mountain of the Lord" Word on Fire. November 27, 2016 This week we enter into the great season of Advent. Our first reading from the prophet Isaiah describes how every nation streams towards God’s holy mountain. As you enter the Advent season, think about this holy mountain. Is the mountain of the Lord higher than every other mountain for you? Do you stream toward it with your whole being?

Bishop Robert Barron. "Bubbles, Everything is Bubbles" Word on Fire. July 31, 2016 The readings for this weekend have a tremendous cohesiveness. They all speak to a truth about our world that is hard to take in, that has to be repeated to each generation afresh, a truth that many older people have an easier time understanding than young people: nothing in this world lasts.

Richard Rohr. "Scattered Insights from Three Readings" Center for Action and Contemplation. July 3, 2016

Bishop Robert Barron. "The Great Yes and The Great No" Word on Fire. August 4, 2013 Very often we find ourselves drawn towards extremes: puritanism or hedonism, idolizing the world or demonizing the world. The proper Catholic balance involves a balance—a yes and a no—to both extremes. We should enjoy the world we have been given while understanding that it is not as important as the God who gave it.

Richard Rohr. "Jesus Is Honest About Wealth" Center for Action and Contemplation. August 4, 2013

Bishop Robert Barron. "All Is Loss" Word on Fire. March 21, 2010 In our second reading for this Sunday, St. Paul lays out his resumé. In terms of the Judaism of his time, Paul was about as accomplished as one could hope to be: he was a defender of the tradition, steeped in the wisdom of his people, and blameless under the law. But after seeing Jesus risen from the dead, Paul said that he counted all of those achievements as loss and refuse. So we, he implies, should not base our lives on our accomplishments, degrees, social status–but rather on Christ crucified and risen.

Bishop Robert Barron. "Whom Will You Trust?" Word on Fire. February 14, 2010 Our life takes shape in relation to that which we are willing to trust. What then is worthy of our trust? Worldly powers can disappoint and will all ultimately fail us. The Scriptures insist that we trust in the Lord’s promises, promises that are proved to be true through the Resurrection of Jesus from dead.

Bishop Robert Barron. "Not One Stone Upon Another" Word on Fire. November 14, 2004 Our Gospel for this Sunday opens with Jesus’ disciples admiring the splendor of the Temple, the most beautiful, important, and impressive building they had ever seen. And Jesus, as is his wont, pulls the rug out from under them: “Not one stone of this temple will be left upon another, but it will all be torn down!” The Gospel emphasizes over and again that nothing in this world lasts, nothing here below is ultimate. Therefore we shouldn’t spend our time and energy gawking at the glories of this world; rather we should see and act in the light of a glory to come.

Bishop Robert Barron. "The Trouble With Honor" Word on Fire. August 29, 2004 Some people organize their lives around the love of money; others do so around the love of pleasure or power. Still others make honor–the esteem of others–the central value. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus criticizes all of these false gods, and in today’s passage, he focuses on this last problem. The key, he suggests, is to order one’s life so that winning the esteem of God is all that finally matters. Why play to the fickle, unreliable crowd? In all of your thoughts, words and actions, play to the divine audience–and you will find liberation and joy.

Bishop Robert Barron. "The One Thing Necessary" Word on Fire. July 18, 2004 Both our first reading and Gospel for this week speak of the importance of keeping our attention riveted on God. The three angels visit Abraham, and he drops everything in order to receive them with hospitality; Jesus comes to her home, and Mary sits at his feet, listening to his words. When God is the absolute priority in our lives, everything else that we are worried about about falls into place. Augustine said, “love God and do what you want.” This implies that once God is the unambiguous center of our lives, we can confidently arrange and respond to all of our particular concerns.

Bishop Robert Barron. "The Steadfast Love of God" Word on Fire. December 7, 2003 Everything in nature, culture, and the cosmos is passing away. Nothing here below finally lasts. Though certainly sobering, this is not, ultimately, bad news, for it orients us toward the one power that does last: the steadfast love of God. In the Gospel for today, the Word of God comes not to the mighty and powerful of the world, but to John who is living a life of renunciation and prayer in the desert. How important this message is for the setting of our priorities.

Bishop Robert Barron. "The Program for Freedom" Word on Fire. February 3, 2002 At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, we hear the eight beatitudes. These are a summons to be liberated from the various addictions–to material things, to power, to good feeling, to the esteem of others–that keep us from following the will of God.

Bishop Robert Barron. "A Passion for the Impossible" Word on Fire. July 22, 2001 The philosopher Kierkegaard defined faith as the passion for the impossible. When we stand, like Abraham, at the edge of what we can know or control, we look out into the alluring darkness of what God can do in us and for us. To say “yes” to this invitation beyond reason is to have faith.

Luke 14:6 "God Asks. How Do We Answer?" Do we spend our energy challenging God that we are unable to see God’s grace?

Romans 8:18 "Focused on God, Not Suffering" If our priority is on ourselves instead of God why do we think we can endure suffering?

Malachi 3:20 "Hearts Set on God" Is our fear of God driving our lives or are we succumbing to the will of the world?

Luke 10:40 "Do Not Burden God" Are we letting our problems overcome how we approach Jesus in prayer?

Jonah 1:3 "Stop Running from God’s Mission" Are we spending every part of our days spreading Jesus to the world?

Baruch 1:22 "Sinning in Front of God" Are we aware that by keeping our hearts away from God we begin to offend God?

1 Timothy 6:16 "Are We Honoring God?" Do we truly understand how God is unmatched?

Psalm 49:18 "Choosing God or Wealth" Are our days oriented on gaining money or gaining God?

Luke 5:11 "Leaving Everything for Jesus" Are we truly giving up everything to follow Jesus?

1 Thessalonians 5:10 "Living for Jesus" What are we sacrificing for God?

Luke 4:20 "God Speaks" Are we focusing on Jesus the right way?

1 Thessalonians 4:3 "God’s Will" Are we setting ourselvs apart and being Holy for God?

Psalm 66:17 "Praise God First" When we pray, are we allowing time to glorify God instead of just asking for things?

Matthew 14:31 "Path of Jesus" Are we stumbling in following after Jesus with our crosses?

Matthew 12:15 "Jesus Walks Away" Are we following after Jesus or are we dwelling in the evils of the world?

Psalm 116:12 "Grateful to God" Are we continously aware of the many blessings from God?

Matthew 11:30 "Yoke of Jesus" Are we tied down to Jesus or being tied down by fears and concerns?

Genesis 46:4 "God With Us Always" Can we overcome our fears and trust in God as God leads us in life?

Ephesians 2:21 "Jesus My Glue" Are we uniting ourselves to Jesus who holds all things together?

Matthew 6:25 "More to Life Than" Are we spending our days for the earthly that perishes or for God who is life?

2 Corinthians 11:30 "Boasting of God" How have we humbled ourselves today to show others of our love for Jesus?

Matthew 6:7 "Babbling to God" Where is our focus when we pray to God? Is it on ourselves or God?

Psalm 85:9 "Listening for Peace" Why do we spend so much away from Jesus when only with God do we have peace?

Psalm 146:2 "God in My Soul" Are we being grateful and thankful to God throughout our day?

Luke 1:46-47 "God-Centered Like Mary" Mary shows us how to stay focused and joyful with God in us.

Mark 10:38 "Asking Jesus Ambitiously" Are we properly focused on Jesus' resurrection or are we still seeking earthly things?

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