Tag Archives: new life

11th Sunday of the Year: Growth and change in the Kingdom of God

Study:  Recall a time of profound change and growth in your life.  What helped you become better?

Pray:  Ask the Lord for the grace to face difficult challenges and embrace them.

Serve:  Who in your life is confronting change right now?  How can you help them?

Mass Readings – 11th Sunday of the Year

First, let’s take a quick summary of the key themes in the readings this week:

  • 1st Reading – The Lord plants a tree in Israel
  • Psalm – “Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.”
  • 2nd Reading – We aspire to please God, whether at home or far away
  • Gospel – Jesus offers the parable of the mustard seed

Now that June is in full swing the color green is flourishing across the upper Midwest.  Summer delights the eye with growth and life, and from my view along the shore of Lake Superior this is most evident in the beauty of trees.

I have walked Wisconsin forests my entire life, and I find a peace and serenity among the grandeur and power of trees.  They anchor the soil, provide habitat for wildlife, shade for the weary, and a renewable resource for humanity’s handiwork.

Yet for the majesty of trees, they all start small – from a pine cone or an acorn, a “helicopter” seed or a shoot – massive trees have humble, tender beginnings.

Just like our faith.

We know from our own experience that all good things take time and effort to develop; growth and change occur through new encounters.  The process reminds us of two key points:

  • We have daily opportunities to grow.  Every day provides new ways for us to develop the gifts and talents God has given.
  • We are works in progress.  While we might lament that we are not where we want to be, we can face the challenges before us with the grace of Christ

In the first point we recognize opportunity and growth; in the second point we face obstacles with hope that these challenges will teach us new insights.  Growth and change are part of life.  What’s more, this change almost always begins from a small and humble beginning.

Where in your life do you have opportunities to grow?  Where do you see challenges that will require new ways of thought and action?  Take time to seek the Lord – to start small like a little seed – and grow in these moments into a new creation, guided and empowered to become more fully alive.

Now matter where we are in the journey of faith, may we open our hearts to God’s grace as we grow in faith, hope, and love as disciples of Jesus Christ!

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


3rd Sunday of the Year: The power of the resurrection. Catholic Inspiration

One of the hallmarks of the Early Church was the transformation that took place in the hearts of the disciples.  Standing before the Risen Lord, they were freed from the fear of sin and death as they opened their hearts to the power of repentance.  Their example inspires us to call upon God for the grace we need every day to walk in the light His love.

Mass Readings – 3rd Sunday of Easter

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


Easter Day: The Lord is Risen! He is risen, indeed. Catholic Inspiration

The resurrection of Jesus brings hope and life as we turn away from our sins and embrace the living Lord.  No matter what’s happened in the past, may we draw strength from God’s love and walk in the light of Christ’s amazing grace.  The Lord is risen!  He is risen, indeed.

Mass Readings – Easter Day

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


5th Sunday of Lent: The lesson of a grain of wheat

Study: When in my life have I had to let go of something, someone, so that growth could happen?

Pray: Am I struggling right now to let go?  Ask God for help – wisdom and strength – to do it.

Serve:  Is there someone in my life that needs help letting go of a past mistake or hurt?  How can I help them?

Pastoral Note: The 3rd, 4th, and 5th Sundays of Lent provide an option for using the “Year A” readings at Mass for the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) process, but for those who follow the usual cycle the reflection is offered below.

Mass Readings – 5th Sunday of Lent

The Gospel of John today offers an image that contains the central idea of the Christian faith:

Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat;
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
John 12:24

Picture a grain of wheat in your hand.  It is a tiny, lifeless thing; alone it can be crushed for flour.  Yet if that grain is allowed to fall to the ground two things will happen.

First, the grain will die to itself.  That is, it will cease to be a GRAIN of wheat.  Its hull will be broken down and disintegrate, the kernel will lose its appearance, and it will no longer be able to be used for flour!

Second, the grain will become something new.  The grain will be transformed into a new and living creation, full of life and possibilities.  It will not resemble the grain – it will be vastly larger, living, able to grow, and full of new potential.

Simply put, as the grain of wheat “died” to its old self, a new life was able to burst forth.  The old passed away, making new hope and opportunity available.  This is the Paschal Mystery – a journey from death to life.

Like the grain of wheat, Jesus will also make this journey; from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, his life will be a process of transformation, change, and new life.  Through his death, he will not only be raised to life, but he will become the instrument by which God saves us as well.

What does this mystery mean for us?  If this journey from death to life is our own, how do we live it out?  How do we experience the Paschal Mystery in our lives?  Here are four ideas for reflection:

1.  Death – we no longer need to be afraid!
2.  Life – we let go of our selfishness – to grow!
3.  Sin – we “die” to our faults; God’s grace fills us.
4.  We become like Christ – if he did it, so can we!

The Paschal Mystery makes sense, because we encounter the process of death to life in so many everyday experiences.  It is not an easy journey, but when we open our hearts to this mystery, we allow God’s transforming grace to work within us, remaking us into a new creation, alive in Christ!

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts

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Note: This post was originally published on March 15, 2015.


Daily Mass: Starting small. Catholic Inspiration

Mass Readings – Tuesday of the 30th Week of the Year

Like a mustard seed and some yeast, the Kingdom of God grows and transforms into something entirely new.  What’s more, this process happens as we offer our lives…following the example of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


Daily Mass: The lesson of a grain of wheat. Catholic Inspiration

Mass Readings – Thursday of the 18th Week of the Year (St. Lawrence)

When a grain of wheat falls to the ground it dies, and through this sacrifice of itself it begets new life.  Our sacrifices – when directed by the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ – can also become a rich offering to the Lord, who will change and transform us with his gift of life.

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


Easter Day

Easter Lily

Study:  When have you experienced a profound moment of change and growth?  What brought it about?

Pray:  Open your heart to Jesus Christ.  Let the joy of the resurrection transform your life.

Serve:  Claim your faith!  Let your love for the Lord direct your thoughts, words, and actions – in whatever you face today.

Easter Day Readings        Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast (posted April 20, 2014)

In the early hours of that first Easter Day we celebrate an incredible hope as word spread through the city of Jerusalem – Jesus is alive.

His followers had been crushed by the agony of the Cross.  Lost – beyond all sense of pain, sorrow, and grief – from the darkness of their fear and despair they passed on the message: we have seen him, we have touched him, we have eaten with him – the Lord has been raised!

I have always been struck by the transformational effect the resurrection of Jesus had upon his disciples:

  • Fear to Faith
  • Helplessness to Hope
  • Lament to Love
  • Cowardice to Courage

The same disciples who once fled for their lives will now go out into the world to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.  They will face persecution, suffering, and martyrdom in order to testify to the truth of Easter Day: the Resurrection of Christ.  What’s more, they will do this with an overwhelming sense of conviction and strength.

No one can ignore the power of this effect.  The encounter with the Risen Lord changes everything.  What is there to be afraid of?  Jesus has broken the chains of sin and death – we can face anything in this world with confidence.  Jesus has triumphed, and in the light of Easter Day we now draw on his strength to face our battles with joy.

The death of Jesus on the Cross was for our sins; the resurrection of Jesus was for our lives.  The power of Easter Day directs our attention to the sacred and precious gift of life.  Life is worth fighting for, worth dying for, and worth living for – in this world and the next.  The resurrection reveals God’s love for our lives; we are worth the sacrifice of the Cross and empowered to live with faith, hope, and love.

How will we live this great promise of faith?  How will we allow the power of Easter to transform us?  For remember: the moment we acknowledge the truth of the resurrection our lives fundamentally change.  Directed by the saving work of Christ we now engage the world on new terms: we witness through word and action the love of Jesus each and every day.  With our eyes fixed on heaven we boldly walk this earth as his disciples.  We live our lives with real truth and power.  We live our lives as God’s sons and daughters.

The authentic witness of our faith is THE WAY that people truly discover Jesus.  It was true for the disciples on that first Easter Day, and it is true for disciples today.

Perhaps today is the day that our faith takes on a deeper meaning and purpose in our lives – placing Jesus first in all that we say and do.  May this Easter Day fill our hearts with grace and power to live in the light of Christ.  May we let the Lord into our hearts and allow our lives to be transformed by his love.

Christ is alive!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!