Tag Archives: Understanding

Daily Mass: Do we hear and understand the Word of God? Catholic Inspiration

Hearing a message is not enough; we are called to listen and then respond with understanding.  The difference is great and the Lord points out the distinction in the Gospel parable today.

Mass Readings – Friday of the 16th Week of the Year

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


The Power and Unity of Pentecost

Study:  Reflect on a time when you encountered a difficult experience.  Where did you find your strength?

Pray:  Ask for the Holy Spirit to help you, especially to unite with others in challenging situations.

Serve:  How can you help foster unity in your life?  What can you do to bring people together?

Mass Readings:

Pentecost Sunday at the Vigil Mass

Pentecost Sunday Extended Vigil

Pentecost Sunday Mass During the Day

It can be somewhat confusing to know what readings to follow – depending on the day and the options available a person can hear a number of different Scripture readings this weekend.  Stepping back for a moment, however, we can tease out some major themes that surface on this important feast of the Church:

  • Power – to face what comes before us with God’s strength
  • Unity – to join together beyond boundaries and divisions

In many respects this feast marks the birthday of the Church.  The disciples, having watched the Lord ascend to Heaven, are now “on their own” to carry out the Good News of Christ.  The point, of course, is that they are not alone!  Filled with the Holy Spirit their hearts are transformed and their lives forever changed.  They have become willing instruments empowered by the Spirit to speak and act for the glory of God.  They don’t look anything like their former selves – timid, fearful, and self-serving; they now fearlessly engage the world with the conviction that Jesus is Lord.

And as they are strengthened by the Spirit one sign increasingly becomes apparent – the unity of believers as a self evident sign that God’s grace is at work.  Several approaches underscore this sense of unity:

  • Understanding one another beyond the challenge of language
  • Working together as a body does with its many parts
  • Becoming spiritually fruitful
  • Forgiveness with one another

Language, cooperation, fruitfulness, and forgiveness are all hallmarks of the Spirit’s presence in our lives.  All are crucial and take an enormous amount of effort – supported by the POWER of the Holy Spirit!

Is there a place in our lives today that would benefit from unity?  Are there relationships and situations that require healing and strength to grow?  Do we recognize circumstances (perhaps beyond our control) that cry out for the Lord’s intervention?  If so, then we can confidently turn to the Spirit for the grace we need to face what lies before us.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.  Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth.  O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit did instruct the hearts of the faithful , grant that by the same Spirit we may be truly wise, and ever rejoice in his consolation.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen!


The Epiphany of the Lord

Brilliant Stars!

Study:  Recall a time when you experienced a moment of clarity and understanding – when it all came together.

Pray:  Ask the Lord for direction and insight regarding any particular decisions or needs.

Serve:  How can you help someone clarify their focus and gain direction?

Mass Readings – The Epiphany of the Lord

I was sitting in a Calculus class, and my blood was beginning to boil. For over an hour I had been trying to understand a concept without any success. The professor had patiently explained it twice (using two different examples), two friends tried (telling me how EASY it was – like that helped…), and I had read the “helpful hints” section of the textbook (which I still do not understand to this day).

I looked down on the page of equations, a seemingly meaningless series of numbers, letters, and signs, and put my head in my hands and took a deep breath. I then turned to look out the window and daydreamed for a couple of minutes. (I think the professor was just glad I was quiet…!) Then I looked back at the textbook.

It made sense.

I could not believe it. I finally understood in a span of three heartbeats what three different people had been trying to tell me for over an hour. The light bulb went on, and I said “OH!!!” just a little louder then I realized.

The professor, a gentle man with a deep faith, came over to me with a big smile. He said, “Do you get it?” When I told him how it came together he said, “Good for you, Andrew! You just had an epiphany.”

There are times in life when an event or experience comes upon us in a rush. We are caught up in the moment, held in awe by our new awareness. We discover a new insight, understanding, or perspective which shapes and changes how we see the world.

In the Scriptures today we follow the journey of the wise men, guided by a star to the baby Jesus. As the star rose they pursued its course, searching for understanding and wisdom. When they found the child their response reveals the magnitude of their convictions. They knelt in homage, giving the very best gifts they had to offer.

As we journey on in our lives God places before us opportunities and events where the Lord is especially present. In these great and precious moments our eyes are opened – if only briefly – to the grace and blessings around us. We can ask the Lord for this gift of understanding – a gift which recognizes and responds to God’s presence in our midst.

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts

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The blog was originally published on January 1, 2015.


17th Sunday of the Year: What’s your request? Catholic Inspiration

Mass Readings – 17th Sunday of the Year

When God said to King Solomon, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you,” Solomon offers a response that is profound…inviting us today to consider how we carry out the Lord’s plan for our lives as we serve others with God’s grace.

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


17th Sunday of the Year: The pearl of great price

Study:  Have you ever gotten something you wished for?  In hindsight, was it what you really wanted or needed?

Pray:  What graces or virtues do you need in your life right now?  Ask the Lord with boldness and confidence!

Serve:  How is the Lord leading you to offer your life today?  How can you fulfill God’s command to serve others?

Mass Readings – 17th Sunday of the Year

Here’s a quick review:

  • 1st Reading – Solomon asks God for wisdom and understanding
  • Psalm – “Lord, I love your commands.”
  • 2nd Reading – All things, good and bad, work for good for those who love God
  • Gospel – When you find the pearl of great price, you sell everything you have to acquire it

If the Lord would grant you one request, what would you ask for?  We can learn a lot about ourselves by what we seek, and sometimes we discover when we get it that it might not have truly been the best thing.  Yet, it is the desire in our hearts, however, that tells us if we are on the right track.

Solomon asked to be wise and understanding…a wonderful response!

Jesus uses the parable of the pearl to remind us that there are some things in life so precious that other wishes and requests pale in comparison.  With this in mind, here are a couple of thoughts to consider:

  • What is it you often wish for?
  • Are there any blessings in your life that you might be taking for granted?
  • Do you have your priorities organized?  Are the most important things getting your time, effort and attention?

God will take the sum of our lives – good and bad – and bless it with grace.  As we seek the Lord today, may we bring our hearts and offer ourselves….so that our response will draw us closer to Jesus Christ and one another.

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


Daily Mass: Know the tree by its fruit. Catholic Inspiration

Mass Readings – Wednesday of the 12th Week of the Year (St. Irenaeus)

The fruitfulness of our lives offers a useful indication regarding the state of our souls.  Whether its our heart or another’s, may the Fruits of the Spirit help guide us on our journey of faith.

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


The Epiphany of the Lord

Brilliant Stars!

Study:  Recall a time when you experienced a moment of clarity and understanding – when it all came together.

Pray:  Ask the Lord for direction and insight regarding any particular decisions or needs.

Serve:  How can you help someone clarify their focus and gain direction?

The Epiphany of the Lord Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily

I was sitting in a Calculus class, and my blood was beginning to boil. For over an hour I had been trying to understand a concept without any success. The professor had patiently explained it twice (using two different examples), two friends tried (telling me how EASY it was – like that helped…), and I had read the “helpful hints” section of the textbook (which I still do not understand to this day).

I looked down on the page of equations, a seemingly meaningless series of numbers, letters, and signs, and put my head in my hands and took a deep breath. I then turned to look out the window and daydreamed for a couple of minutes. (I think the professor was just glad I was quiet…!) Then I looked back at the textbook.

It made sense.

I could not believe it. I finally understood in a span of three heartbeats what three different people had been trying to tell me for over an hour. The light bulb went on, and I said “OH!!!” just a little louder then I realized.

The professor, a gentle man with a deep faith, came over to me with a big smile. He said, “Do you get it?” When I told him how it came together he said, “Good for you, Andrew! You just had an epiphany.”

There are times in life when an event or experience comes upon us in a rush. We are caught up in the moment, held in awe by our new awareness. We discover a new insight, understanding, or perspective which shapes and changes how we see the world.

In the Scriptures today we follow the journey of the wise men, guided by a star to the baby Jesus. As the star rose they pursued its course, searching for understanding and wisdom. When they found the child their response reveals the magnitude of their convictions. They knelt in homage, giving the very best gifts they had to offer.

As we journey on in our lives God places before us opportunities and events where the Lord is especially present. In these great and precious moments our eyes are opened – if only briefly – to the grace and blessings around us. We can ask the Lord for this gift of understanding – a gift which recognizes and responds to God’s presence in our midst.