No Anxiety At All?

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Philippians 4:6-9

“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

“Paranoia strikes deep; into your life it will creep. It starts when you’re always afraid. Step out of line, the man come, and take you away” – from the song For What It’s Worth by Stephen Stills

“And any time you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain; Don’t carry the world upon your shoulder. For well you know that it’s a fool who plays it cool by making his world a little colder.” – from the song Hey Jude by John Lennon & Paul McCartney


Do a little research, and you may be surprised at how many people struggle with anxieties in their lives. It is estimated that three out of ten Americans have some form of anxiety disorder. In one survey, 41% of all employees from a variety of industries reported high levels of anxiety in the workplace. Another survey showed that over half of all college students have sought help for their anxiety challenges. 43% of Americans take mood-altering prescriptions on a daily basis. That last statistic doesn’t include the many and varied ways that people try to self-medicate for anxiety: alcohol, other drugs, food, exercise, sex, meditation techniques, and so on. Besides this, intense anxieties tend to close people in on themselves and make them less willing to trust others. This affects not only individuals, but also families and communities of all kinds, and our nation as a whole. Anxiety, and the issues that flow from it, has become a significant epidemic in our culture.   Continue reading “No Anxiety At All?”

Whose Life Is It, Anyway?

24th Sunday of Ordinary Time (A): Romans 14:7-9

“It’s my life, and I’ll do what I want.” – The Animals, 1965

“Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.” – Romans 14:8

Growing up is an interesting experience.

As children, we have some sense of ourselves as individuals. Our identity, however, is closely tied to our parents, siblings, other relatives, and friends. We tend to absorb the attitudes we find around us, even as we ask “Why?” about many things.  Continue reading “Whose Life Is It, Anyway?”

Gift and Mission

21st Sunday of Ordinary Time (A): Matthew 16:13-20

Catholic teaching points to this passage in Matthew’s Gospel as the moment when Jesus designates Peter as the primary witness of the Church’s faith in Jesus, as the head of the Apostles and thus as the first Pope. Most contemporary Scripture scholars (Protestant as well as Catholic) agree that Peter is being given a central role as the first of the Apostles, though not all agree on the implications of this role. However, Catholics believe that the mission given to Peter must endure as the Church has endured, and therefore this mission remains as that of Peter’s successors, the Popes. The Pope remains the primary witness of the Church’s faith in Jesus. Just as Jesus told Peter at the Last Supper that, after he had recovered his faith, he must strengthen his brethren, so too, the Pope is called upon to strengthen the faith of all who believe.  Continue reading “Gift and Mission”

A Woman of Great Faith

Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time (A): Matthew 15:21-28

Every generation has had its favorite images of Jesus. Since the 1960’s, we have tended to stress the ‘softer’ side of Jesus – his compassion, his openness, his willingness to forgive, his inclusivity. In other words, we have emphasized those aspects of Jesus which seem to fit best with the predominant values of our own culture. Many sayings and deeds of Jesus appear to fit this pattern.

But every now and then, we come across something like today’s Gospel reading. Continue reading “A Woman of Great Faith”

Blessed Is She Who Believed

Feast of the Assumption: Luke 1:39-56

What is your greatest achievement?

Do you find this question difficult to answer? Do you wonder if anything you have done can be called “great”? Would you feel embarrassed to even try to answer such a question? After all, most of us will never lead an army to victory in a historically significant battle, or write a book that will change the way everyone thinks, or find a cure for some previously incurable disease. One can think of similar achievements that most people would call great. However, would any of these, as impressive as they may be, be our greatest achievement even if we actually did one of these?  Continue reading “Blessed Is She Who Believed”