Daily Reflections

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 13, 2021

  In the scriptures this Sunday, we hear of trees and kingdoms! The opening reading from the book of the prophet Ezekiel relates God’s wondrous plan of redemption for the Kingdom of Israel, which is now in exile in Babylon. Using the metaphor of the cedar tree, the prophet gives hope to the exiles by…

Continue Reading

Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

June 12, 2021

  “The love of Christ impels us,” (2 Cor 5:14). This powerful phrase from St. Paul has inspired Christians for ages. Conception Seminary College, our main apostolate at Conception Abbey, has this as its motto. We are impelled to do all things with and in Christ. Mary is a perfect example of this maxim. She…

Continue Reading

Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

June 11, 2021

  When Notre Dame burned down in Paris, France in 2019, it was a true travesty. That Cathedral not only represented the Archdiocese of Paris, it also represented France’s history. The whole country of France, and many in the World, mourned this travesty. In Paris, there is another Church that is not as well-known as…

Continue Reading

Thursday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

June 10, 2021

  Second Corinthians describes a veil that covers “the hearts” of those who read from Moses in the Old Testament. St. Paul admits that even the Gospel is veiled, but only for “those who are perishing.” He declares that through “the ministry” we have received “through mercy… we are not discouraged.” The same God who…

Continue Reading

Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

June 9, 2021

  Jesus told His followers that He didn’t come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it. He said with certainty that not even “the smallest letter of the law” would pass away. Jesus knew what the Law was for. It wasn’t just a set of rules and standards. The Jews left Egypt in the…

Continue Reading

Tuesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

June 8, 2021

  “You are salt of the Earth…light of the World.” Salt and light are not often things you think about that go together. We use salt as seasoning, and any doctor worth their salt would not suggest adding more salt to your diet! When it comes to light we are used to artificial light being…

Continue Reading

Monday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

June 7, 2021

  The Beatitudes are the subject of today’s Gospel. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” “Blessed are the Meek,” “Blessed are the Peacemakers,” “Blessed are the pure of heart,” etc. These teachings give clear insight into Jesus’ heart. They show what He valued (and still values). Jesus did not respect wealth or the prestige of…

Continue Reading

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

June 6, 2021

  It is quite something to think that the Body and Blood of Jesus, His real presence, total and true, could be contained within the consecrated host and wine at Mass. Yet this is exactly what the Eucharist is. We believe that Jesus Christ is fully and truly present in the Eucharist at Mass. This…

Continue Reading

Memorial of St. Boniface, Bishop and Martyr

June 5, 2021

  One of the local Catholic university presidents once told me this maxim: “No money, no mission.” Jesus tells us to leave everything to follow Him, to sell everything and give to the poor in order to be perfect. However, even the Lord relied on the charity of some wealthy women to subsidize his public…

Continue Reading

Friday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

June 4, 2021

  When tragedy occurs people say, “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.” Since most everything in society has become political, some politicians have used this phrase to decry inaction on the part of their opponents. “Keep your thoughts and prayers,” they say, “What we need now are actions!” This rejoinder is a false dichotomy.…

Continue Reading

Memorial of St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs

June 3, 2021

  In the seminary, a man sometimes discerns that he is not called to the priesthood. There are times, however, when a man may or may not be a good candidate but it is unclear. Why? Because he is unformable – he is somehow resistant in his will to be conformed to the man who…

Continue Reading

Wednesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

June 2, 2021

  I remember getting to know an elderly woman who spoke fondly of her husband. At the same time, she looked forward with excitement to heaven without reference to reunion with him. It was unusual but to me seemed appropriate. God denies us no good thing that would contribute to the joy of heaven. This…

Continue Reading

Memorial of St. Justin, Martyr

June 1, 2021

  The Pharisees and the Herodians make strange bedfellows. As the saying goes, however, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” I would guess that they teamed up to catch Jesus on either side of an issue. For the Pharisees, Roman coinage was unclean because it bore the image of man (hence moneychangers in…

Continue Reading

Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

May 31, 2021

  The rather unfamiliar prophet Zephaniah personifies the holy city of Jerusalem and gives her a message of future hope. Daughter Jerusalem is an image used by the Church today on the Feast of the Visitation as fulfilled in Mary and Elizabeth. Elizabeth says to Mary that she is blessed because she believed what was…

Continue Reading

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

May 30, 2021

  Several years after being ordained a priest, I went back to graduate school at a secular university. Once in a seminar, the professor brought up the notorious billboards that line Interstate Highway 70 in Missouri from St. Louis to Kansas City. “Oh yes!” I exclaimed, thinking we were all talking about the same thing.…

Continue Reading

Saturday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

May 29, 2021

  It’s mysterious why some people have a very strong faith, but others have little or no faith in God. A friend of mine from college was so resistant of faith in God that claimed everything he experienced that might indicate God’s action was either coincidence or chance. We can never know exactly what is…

Continue Reading

Friday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

May 28, 2021

  Jesus astonishes the crowds by his teaching and at the same time infuriates the chief priests and the scribes when he cleanses the Temple—driving out the money changers and those who were buying and selling. In such a way, Jesus attempts to restore the Temple to a house of prayer. The Temple, with all…

Continue Reading

Thursday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

May 27, 2021

  I remember when I got to that age where I was embarrassed to walk around with my Mom or my Dad holding their hand. I was a “big boy” and it was time to assert my independence, and I didn’t need either of them to walk me across the street or hold on to…

Continue Reading

Memorial of St. Philip Neri, Priest

May 26, 2021

  We celebrate the Memorial of St. Philip Neri, who was born in 1515 in Florence, Italy. Known for his cheerfulness and joy, St. Philip was not afraid to challenge men and women and call them to holiness. One famous story communicates his way of offering rebuke and urging others to conversion: On one occasion,…

Continue Reading

Tuesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

May 25, 2021

  St. Teresa of Avila in her frustration cried out to God, and is supposed to have said: “If this is how You treat Your friends, no wonder why You have so few of them!” Thankfully St. Teresa persevered in her trials, but she realized that being a friend of God does not always mean…

Continue Reading

Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church

May 24, 2021

  In 2018, Pope Francis decreed that the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church be inserted into the Roman Calendar on the Monday after Pentecost. The Holy Father wished to promote this devotion to Mary, Mother of the Church in order to “encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the…

Continue Reading

Pentecost Sunday

May 23, 2021

  Pentecost is regarded as the “Birthday of the Church.” Gathered in one place together, the Holy Spirit appeared to the disciples as “tongues of fire,” which rested on each of them. The Spirit first enabled them to communicate effectively the Gospel message without language being a barrier: “They were all filled with the Holy…

Continue Reading

Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter

May 22, 2021

  Only Bear Witness Today, Paul is finally in Rome. A chain of events took place to get him here and bear witness to Jesus. Paul has certainly had God’s guiding hand. But amid the number of speeches, imprisonments, twists and turns, it’s easy to get lost in the story. We need a map. I…

Continue Reading

Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter

May 21, 2021

  To Rome In Jerusalem, Paul had defended himself before the Sanhedrin, saying, “I am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead.” (Acts 23:6) He said this on purpose, knowing that it would cause a division and uproar. Smart move, as he meant to stay in the custody of Roman guards and…

Continue Reading

Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter

May 20, 2021

  The Lord’s Will Be Done We arrived in Jerusalem a few days ago. Some time has passed since we left Miletus and the Ephesian presbyters. We landed at Tyre and stayed with some disciples, who “kept telling Paul through the Spirit not to embark for Jerusalem.” (Acts 21:4) We continued our journey, though, and…

Continue Reading

Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

May 19, 2021

  What Do We Do? Today, Paul is concluding his final farewell to the Ephesian presbyters, who met up with him here in Miletus. Like a good shepherd himself, Paul leaves them with parting words that are for their good and for the good of all God’s holy church, over which they have been appointed.…

Continue Reading

Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

May 18, 2021

Where Are We Going? So, I was telling you the story of how we got to Ephesus. Well, today, we are in Miletus, just thirty miles south of Ephesus. But we got here after a long journey around the Aegean Sea. And we won’t be here for long. Paul is heading for Jerusalem. “Compelled by…

Continue Reading

Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter

May 17, 2021

Where Are We? This week, we conclude our journey through the Acts of the Apostles. Literally, throughout Easter, we have worked our way through this Spirit-driven testament of the early church. So, where are we now? Today, we are in Ephesus, a city and port on the western coast of Asia Minor. Sounds nice. But…

Continue Reading

Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

May 16, 2021

Where is Jesus? In these last days of the Easter season, the Church celebrates the Ascension of the Lord. After all his pain and suffering on the Cross, the Lord Jesus ascends to his Throne to rule over heaven and earth. So, where is Jesus? He is in heaven. But how did he get there?…

Continue Reading

Saturday of the Sixth Week of Easter

May 15, 2021

  The first reading continues our progress through the Acts of the Apostles. In these last verses of chapter 18, three new individuals are mentioned. They are the somewhat mysterious Apollos and the couple Priscilla and Aquila. Apollos is Jewish, but he was born in Alexandria, Egypt. This city was a lot like Athens, with…

Continue Reading

Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle

May 14, 2021

  On this Friday of the sixth week of the Easter Season, we make a slight break in our routine, by celebrating the Feast of St. Matthias. He is another interesting individual in the life of the early Christians. In the very first chapter of Acts, the early Christians are gathering in the Upper Room.…

Continue Reading

Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter

May 13, 2021

  We continue the readings from the Acts of the Apostles. St Paul left the cultured city of Athens, with its well-educated audience, and proceeded to the seaport of Corinth, notorious as a rough but busy town. As a missionary apostle, Paul is developing a pattern. When he enters a city, he first seeks out…

Continue Reading

Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

May 12, 2021

We continue our readings from the Acts of the Apostles. We are now in the 17th chapter. St. Paul had proceeded further into Europe. He arrives in Athens, the leading city in the country of Greece. We can picture St. Paul walking through the streets of this famous city, with its beautiful buildings, many magnificent…

Continue Reading

Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter

May 11, 2021

  The first reading for today’s Mass is taken from chapter 16 of the Acts of the Apostles. The early Christians are at another critical turning point. Up to now, the Gospel had been preached only in Asia. But the Holy Spirit invites Paul and Silas to enter Europe. They are welcomed in Philippi but…

Continue Reading

Anniversary of Basilica Dedication

May 10, 2021

  Today is a special day at Conception Abbey. We celebrate a significant solemnity. It is the anniversary of the dedication of our church, the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. On May 10, 1891, Bishop John Hogan traveled to Conception to dedicate the nearly finished new church. Abbot Frown and the early monks had decided…

Continue Reading

Sixth Sunday of Easter

May 9, 2021

  During these Sundays after Easter, the readings at Mass often describe the early days of Christianity. We hear how those first disciples of Jesus struggled to understand what it meant that he had been raised from the dead. As one reads the first chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, one gets a picture…

Continue Reading

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter

May 8, 2021

  Today Jesus tells His disciples, “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.” We should have confidence because Jesus also says in Matthew’s gospel “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for…

Continue Reading

Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter

May 7, 2021

  Today’s Gospel message means so much to me that I even had it on my solemn profession souvenir card. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Of course, the one person who I can think of is St. Maximilian Kolbe but also so many others. For…

Continue Reading

Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter

May 6, 2021

  Today in the Gospel, the Lord Jesus says “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.” How do we remain in his love? I…

Continue Reading

Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter

May 5, 2021

  In today’s responsorial psalm, we hear “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.” I love to research the Titanic, and there were a couple of priests who died on board. One is Fr. Thomas Byles who is also depicted in James Cameron’s 1997 film “Titanic” on the stern of the ship,…

Continue Reading