Watch What They Do, Not What They Say

Reflection for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time by FAN Director of Advocacy, Sr. Maria Orlandini, OSF.

This reflection was originally posted in our September 21st newsletter


Tax collectors were really hated and despised in Jesus’ time. Yet Jesus says in this week’s Gospel that they will enter the kingdom of God before the chief priests and elders of the people. Why were they given first place in the Kingdom?

Jesus sees in them the willingness to believe the message of mercy that He is proclaiming. They are open; they believe that another life is possible; they believe in his message of love, inclusion, and mercy for all.

The chief priests and the elders were instead too busy making sure that only the righteous, in their eyes, were the elected ones. In other words, they were too busy excluding people, dividing the worthy from the unworthy, using very superficial parameters.

Jesus, in asking their opinion on the behavior of the brothers, is helping them to realize that it was not the one who said the right things who followed the will of the Father. The second son, in fact, said all the right things in front of the Father but his actions did not follow his words.

In our day-to-day life we too are surrounded, even drowned in words. We wonder whom to believe anymore. The internet has made it so easy for all of us to be fooled by words and noise.
In these months of heated campaigning by both political parties. I wonder if we as a nation have the capacity to quiet the noise and discern whom to believe, who is really planning to do good for the people and the nation, or if words used on a single issue are going to be fooling us, knowing that they will not be followed up with actions.

“Watch what they do, not what they say” is advice I try to follow, not only now, but in life in general. Paul’s words in the letter to the Philippians have given me today the yardstick I will use in these troubled times as I discern about a leader for our nation:
“Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory.
Rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves,
Each looking out not for his own interests,
But also for those of others.”

At the end of my days I would rather be in the company of the tax collector!

Sr. Maria Orlandini, OSF
FAN Director of Advocacy

Published in: on September 22, 2020 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Record wildfires, hurricanes, droughts – we need the ‘Season of Creation’

By Tony Magliano

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist whose writings are published in print and/or posted online in various U.S. diocesan papers. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the Franciscan Action Network.


Climate change is real; its death and destruction is presently upon us, and it is projected to get much worse if far more aggressive national and international efforts to reverse it are not soon enacted (see: https://bit.ly/3iSIb2Y and https://climate.nasa.gov/effects/ and https://bit.ly/2REOYBm).

Those who deny climate change and its accompanying global warming – from certain high government officials to countless ordinary users of social media – are in denial of the scientific facts (see: https://bit.ly/3c9vajk and https://wapo.st/3hxxMsc and https://bit.ly/32Cmtux and https://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/).

Denying the reality of climate change is akin to denying that astronauts landed on the moon (see: https://bit.ly/3hKwlGN). And such denial is in company with beliefs of the Flat Earth Society (see: https://bit.ly/2RBx bLv and https://physicsworld.com/a/fighting-flat-earth-theory/).

If we, and especially governments, continue to drag our environmental feet, climate scientists predict that by 2030 far worse, and far more frequent catastrophic weather events – like hurricanes, floods, droughts and crop failures – will cause untold suffering to countless human beings and to our common earth home (see: https://bit.ly/2E7MhED). In fact, doing too little, too late, could quite possibly put all of us, and future generations, at a catastrophic point of no return.

Let’s not let that happen!

Get involved!

Pray, plant trees, research ways your house and parish can go green (see: https://bit.ly/2mpMI4S), urge your state and federal legislators to pass Green New Deal legislation. And participate in the current ecumenical Season of Creation which formally lasts until Oct. 4, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi – patron saint of ecology (see: https://seasonofcreation.org/catholic/).

In his message for the Season of Creation beginning on Sept. 1 – World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation – Pope Francis writes, “Everything is interconnected, and that genuine care for our own lives and our relationships with nature is inseparable from fraternity, justice and faithfulness to others”

He adds that this is a “time to return to God our loving Creator. We cannot live in harmony with creation if we are not at peace with the Creator who is the source and origin of all things.”

Calling us to humility and attentiveness the Holy Father says “Today we hear the voice of creation admonishing us to return to our rightful place in the natural created order – to remember that we are part of this interconnected web of life, not its masters. The disintegration of biodiversity, spiraling climate disasters, and unjust impact of the current pandemic on the poor and vulnerable: all these are a wakeup call in the face of our rampant greed and consumption.”

Continuing this line of thought, Pope Francis says that the pandemic has “led us to rediscover simpler and sustainable lifestyles … The pandemic has brought us to a crossroads.”

In agreement with climate scientists, the Holy Father warns, “Climate restoration is of utmost importance, since we are in the midst of a climate emergency. We are running out of time, as our children and young people have reminded us. We need to do everything in our capacity to limit global average temperature rise under the threshold of 1.5°C enshrined in the Paris Climate Agreement, for going beyond that will prove catastrophic, especially for poor communities around the world” (see: https://bit.ly/3kq3GJ0).

In the spirit of St. Francis let us continue living the Season of Creation throughout all the seasons of our lives, forever discovering with joy, all that God has made!

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings. Tony can be reached at tmag6@comcast.net.

Published in: on September 19, 2020 at 10:30 am  Comments (1)  

Turn to the Lord for Mercy

Reflection for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time by FAN Member, Sr. Maryann Mueller, CSSF

This reflection was originally posted in our September 14th newsletter


Probably nothing has rocked the church so much in the past 50 years as the accusations of abuse by church officials, or perhaps even more so, the coverup of the abuse by those in authority. We will never know all the ramifications of abuse, and the ripple effects of coverup not only for the abused and the perpetrators but also for those in authority who refused to take responsibility at the time of the abuse. As complicit with the abuse as the perpetrator, they sacrifice untold numbers of innocent people to maintain their perception of themselves as innocent.

I reflected on this recently after viewing the movie “Just Mercy” which tells the true story of Walter McMillian who, with the help of Bryan Stevenson, a young defense attorney who works at the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), appeals his murder conviction. The movie describes how racism drives the web of coverup and complicity within the criminal justice system.

The EJI website states “The question we need to ask about the death penalty in America is not whether someone deserves to die for a crime. The question is whether we deserve to kill.” Each one of us needs to ask the question: “Do I deserve to kill?” With the federal government now executing people, we are all as complicit with the murder as the person who orders the execution, as the person who turns on the switch.

“Turn to the Lord for mercy, to our God who is generous in forgiving. For my thoughts are not your thoughts nor are your ways my ways.” Is. 55:9

We will never fully understand sin, why human beings made in God’s image and likeness fear, hurt, hate, abuse, torture, murder other human beings made in God’s image and likeness. We will also never comprehend the generosity of God in forgiving each of us, a generosity recently modeled by Pope Francis in authorizing general absolution during the escalation of the coronavirus.

“The Lord is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth.” Ps.145:18

The Jesus who walked this earth with us knows, understands, and loves each of us more than we know, understand, and love ourselves. This Jesus only asks that we try to follow him in the truth; a truth that proscribes coverup and that honors each human being with dignity. A human being that abuses or murders another human being needs professional help. When this is denied, many innocent people, in addition to the victims and perpetrators, are sacrificed on the altars of coverup and national retribution.

Sr. Maryann Mueller, CSSF
FAN Member

Published in: on September 15, 2020 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Limiting Negativity in Favor of Compassion

Reflection for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time by FAN Board Member, David Seitz, OFS

This reflection was originally posted in our September 7th Newsletter


Our readings for this week are very timely as we enter the busy season of the election campaign. Two months from now we will exercise our duty and cast our votes. Have you noticed an increase in negativity in your social media feeds? I know I have.

Our first reading from Sirach, addresses some of the attitude that we are witnessing in and out of our circle of contacts. “Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight.” Wow. In our fallen human nature, it is so easy to hug and hold onto our anger and often, the anonymity of social media is all too tempting a medium to express that anger and project it on others. “Can anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the Lord?” asks the inspired author. “Think of the commandments, hate not your neighbor.”

I do not believe that all the negativity we see expressed is a result of true hatred towards our neighbor. What often saddens me is how eagerly people spread negativity regarding those on the opposing side of the political, religious, or social aisle. I have made a conscious choice to only check my social media once per day to limit the amount of negativity that I am taking in, as I found that it started to rob me of my inner peace.

Our second reading from Romans, I believe, gives us a remedy to employ. “None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord.” If I am seeking God’s will for my life and humbly seek to live it out, then the peace of Christ will reign in my heart. If I put my trust in God and God’s providence, I can maintain my inner peace. Many put their trust and hopes in human institutions. If only we get the right judges appointed. If only we get the right candidates elected. If only our bishops would speak with one voice. If only everyone thought and acted like me. It is human nature to put our trust in human institutions over and above God, after all, I can see, touch, hear, and smell the human person. Trusting God requires eyes of faith, which is much easier said than done. I know that all too well from personal experience.

The Gospel from Matthew offers us a grim reality regarding compassion and forgiveness. Having been forgiven, the servant in the story goes forth and treats those who owe him harshly and does not exercise compassion. As a result, the master, who had once forgiven him, now imposes a more severe penalty because he did not show others the same compassion he received. The gospel standard for forgiveness and compassion is not easy. In these days running up to our elections, let us try to be more compassionate and forgiving to those that disagree with us. Perhaps we can be instruments of peace and compassion by refusing to spread the negativity. Let it stop in your social media feed.

David Seitz, OFS
FAN Board Member

Published in: on September 8, 2020 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Heal our sick economy – work to bring economic justice for all

By Tony Magliano

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist whose writings are published in print and/or posted online in various U.S. diocesan papers. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the Franciscan Action Network.


Tony Magliano

Labor Day – a holiday celebrated in many countries, including Australia, Trinidad and Tobago, New Zealand, South Africa, India and the U.S. – is an ideal time to reflect on, and be thankful for, the God-given gift of work.

And it is also a most appropriate time to examine how workers are treated, and how the economy can begin to best work for everyone.

Even before COVID-19 struck, countless workers were suffering from economic injustice in numerous ways, such as a very low minimum wage – $7.25 per hour in the U.S. – sweatshop workers in poor countries sewing clothes for name brand companies in rich nations (see: https://bit.ly/3lCmaHA) and 70 million children laboring in dangerous conditions (see: https://www.hrw.org/topic/childrens-rights/child-labor).

And now with COVID, tremendous economic injustices have gotten far worse (see: https://bit.ly/3lI6X7Z).

I asked Chuck Collins, a leading U.S. economist and director of the Program on Inequality at the Institute for Policy Studies (https://ips-dc.org/) to share his insights regarding what has gone wrong and what policy solutions need to be enacted.

Collins said, “We’ve starved public investment in infrastructure and new technologies that could help us transition to a post-fossil fuel energy economy and create new jobs.

“We’ve directed too much emergency stimulus/bailout funds to helping industries and not putting money in people’s pockets.”

And he added, “We’ve failed to support local/state governments and the nonprofit sector during COVID.”

Regarding what needs to happen, Collins said as emergency measures the national government should:

  • “Continue unemployment insurance and stimulus checks for households with incomes under $100,000. This money is spent immediately in the economy which in turn actually keeps people in their jobs.
  • Instead of bailing out industries like airlines and chain restaurants –that have the biggest lobbying clout –give spending power to customers that will support the real economy and independent businesses. Give consumers vouchers so they can patronize all kinds of restaurants, not just big chains. Or implement the creative UK policy of paying half the restaurant tab.
  • We need bold investment in infrastructure and green retrofits –to update public buildings, bridges, roads, build public transit, and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Boston City Council Michelle Wu has put out a comprehensive plan for what one city could do, drawing on examples from around the world.
  • Help states weather the fiscal storm –while reducing pandemic profiteering and the concentration of wealth. States are facing $555 billion in deficits over the 2020-2022 fiscal years, a result of COVID economic disruption. This will result in mass layoffs in the public sector and nonprofit. Meanwhile, U.S. billionaires have seen their wealth increase by almost $800 billion since March 18th, the beginning of the pandemic lockdown and unemployment crisis. We should levy an emergency pandemic wealth tax on billionaires –and help state and local governments. This will also reduce the extreme concentration of wealth and power that is distorting our democracy.
  • Institute an emergency charity stimulus to protect jobs in the nonprofit sector. We need to press Congress to institute an emergency charity stimulus that would increase private foundation payouts and would incentivize $200 billion in additional giving to the nonprofit sector over the next 3 years –without costing taxpayers any additional spending.”

In the boldly prophetic words of St. Pope John Paul II: “The needs of the poor take priority over the desires of the rich; the rights of workers over the maximization of profits; the preservation of the environment over uncontrolled industrial expansion; production to meet social needs over production for military purposes.”

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings. Tony can be reached at tmag6@comcast.net.

Published in: on September 5, 2020 at 10:30 am  Comments (1)  

Why the Good Sister is Wrong

by David B. Couturier, OFM Cap., PhD, DMin.

The following is by David B. Couturier, OFM Cap., PhD, DMin., Executive Director of the Franciscan Institute and Associate Professor of Theology and Franciscan Studies at St. Bonaventure University in response to remarks made at the Republican National Convention by Sr. Deirdre ‘Dede’ Byrne, POSC.

These views do not necessarily reflect the views of the Franciscan Action Network.


First, I am pro-life. I am pro-life across all its dimensions: unborn, mothers’ health, health care, children’s rights, immigrant rights, against the death penalty, etc.

Second, I honor Sister’s military service as a doctor and a surgeon and I honor her religious life. She is committed and concerned and she has shown it with her life of service on the front lines. Her life is exemplary.

But, I think she is absolutely wrong on her conclusion that Trump is pro-life and she fails tragically in her argument that Trump deserves our vote because he is the “most pro-life President” of all times. He is not.

Trump is not pro-life. He may be anti-abortion (and that is doubtful) but that does not mean that he is pro-life in the fullest sense of Catholic social and moral teaching. The reasons are clear and his policy arguments and actions indicate this.

He wants to dismantle universal health care, without providing an alternative model. He has shown us no alternative model of health care for Americans. His dismantling would lead to 20 million people losing their health care immediately. Health care that is thorough and available, especially to the poor, is a human right, according to the Catholic Church.

Trump is for the death penalty, which is against the Church’s moral teaching on the dignity of human life.

Trump has separated children from their parents, without plans to reunite them, and has continued to put them in cages. This is not pro-life.

Trump’s ignorance, lethargy, resistance and failed policies on the COVID pandemic have led to tens of thousands of needless deaths. This is not pro-life.

Trump has trumpeted the sexual assault against women, has paid off a porn-star with whom he had an affair, and has been accused of assault and rape by at least 19 women. This is not pro-life.

He has supported gun policies that have flooded our streets with the most lethal forms of weapons and has produced no policies to curb the accessibility of arms on American streets and around the world. This is not pro-life.

Trump has gutted the climate remediation efforts globally, making America the only country in the world not to sign on to the Paris Climate Accord. He has relaxed efforts to clean up the environment. This is not pro-life.

Trump has promoted two judges to the Supreme Court who in turn voted to uphold Roe v Wade policies. This is not pro-life.

Trump has actively promoted the administrations of Syria, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea, which have histories of extra-judicial murders of state including journalists. This is not pro-life.

Trump has promoted or justified the actions of white supremacists and ridiculed the disabled. This is not pro-life.

If you are Republican and want to vote pro-life, please do so. But, you cannot justify voting for Trump because he is pro-life. He is clearly not.

If you do not want to vote for Joe Biden because he is not pro-life enough for you, that’s your choice. If your conscience tells you that you must vote pro-life, then vote your conscience. You must vote your conscience. But, inform your conscience and make sure that your position is clearly and coherently pro-life. If you do, you will see what other Catholics know for certain. Trump is not pro-life! The Good Sister is totally wrong on that point.

Reposted with permission

An accomplished author, speaker, and writer, David B. Couturier, OFM Cap., PhD, DMin. serves as the Executive Director of the Franciscan Institute and is an Associate Professor of Theology and Franciscan Studies at St. Bonaventure University.

Published in: on September 2, 2020 at 4:04 pm  Comments (19)  

Watchmen/Women 2

Reflection for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time by FAN Associate Director, Sr. Marie Lucey, OSF

This reflection was originally posted in our August 31st newsletter


The 2019 HBO miniseries “The Watchmen” has received 26 Emmy nominations. I do not have HBO so have not viewed the highly acclaimed series, but I’ve read that from the original graphic novel of the 1980s, to the 2009 movie, to the 2019 TV miniseries, the core element has a group of “superheroes” or investigators who must uncover evil plots that threaten destruction of a people. The HBO series opens with the Tulsa Massacre of 1921, a horrific racist chapter in US history that only recently has become widely known by most White Americans, including me. So I was intrigued by God’s announcement to Ezechiel in this week’s First Reading: “I have appointed (you) watchman for the House of Israel” whose charge is to “warn the wicked, trying to turn him from his way…” Ezechiel’s mission is twofold: reveal the evil being done, and warn perpetrators so they may turn from their ways and escape punishment of death.

In September, 2020 many threats call out for watchmen/women to warn us as a people that we are headed in the wrong direction: systemic racism, widening economic inequality, climate crisis, healthcare crisis intensified by mishandling of coronavirus, deep political, social, religious divisions. All of us who are grounded in the gospel of Jesus are challenged to call out evils in our time and place. This critical moment in our history as a nation is not a time to hide in the shadows, cowering in fear or hopelessness. The times demand that we be a watchman or watchwoman, caring so much about our democracy, our church, our children and grandchildren that we find ways to give warnings and try to turn haters, dividers, and graspers of wealth and power from their ways.

Paul reminds us in the Second Reading that “love is the fulfillment of the law.” As we call out warnings, as we “admonish the sinner” as Jesus teaches in the Gospel, we must do so out of love; not a soft, abstract feeling, but “tough love” that seeks conversion of “the wicked,” not their damnation; love that does not match violence with violence or hate with hate. The late great watchman, John R. Lewis, gave us a model of how and when to “cause good trouble.” Without swerving from truth and right, he showed us how to stand or march as nonviolent advocates for justice. We need not be “superheroes” like John Lewis, or Ezechiel, or the crucified Jesus, but each of us can first do our own soul-searching, and then seize opportunities, either as individuals or with others, to nonviolently challenge abuse, exploitation, cruelty and other destructive behaviors. We can be watchmen, watchwomen, in 2020 and beyond.

Sr. Marie Lucey, OSF
FAN Associate Director

Published in: on September 1, 2020 at 10:30 am  Comments (1)  

Called to Hope and Transformation

Reflection for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time by FAN Board Member, Sr. Margaret Magee, OSF

This reflection was originally posted in our August 24th Newsletter


Here we are reflecting on our readings for the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time and we are in the twenty-fourth week of this COVID-19 pandemic and shut down. If we are truly honest about this experience, we are saying to ourselves and perhaps aloud to others, ‘Enough already, when is this going to be over?’

Many people are lamenting the death and illness of loved ones and friends. Many are lamenting and struggling with the economic impact, loss of jobs, businesses and their very livelihood. Students are lamenting the loss of in-person classes, seeing friends and wondering, with their parents, if and when they might return to school. And many of us, especially if we are living responsibly, are lamenting the loss of freedom to move about and live life as we please.

Perhaps we might, in our lamenting, be able to resonate with Jeremiah’s lament. Things weren’t going well for him. He never wanted to be a prophet in the first place and he lamented that God had seduced him. He found himself alone, abandoned and not able to enjoy life with his family and friends. He got to the point of saying enough! “I say to myself, I will not mention him, I will speak in his name no more.” Jeremiah was ready to give up, but then realized the fire burning within his heart. This burning inner presence impelled him to speak and to trust that God was with him.

In this grave time of pandemic lamentation, of living with the constant uncertainty and insecurity, we cannot give into despair. The call to hope in these dark times goes far deeper than a return to what we’ve named “normalcy”. We know from history that in the face of dramatic events, life and society shifts and is totally altered. Consider the events like the Civil War, the two World Wars and the devastation of September 11, 2001. Our life, our world is being dramatically changed by this worldwide pandemic. The question is will we be changed with it? Will we allow ourselves to simply be stuck hoping for a future of normalcy or will we act to create a new, and more just world? Will we be conscious and reflective enough to admit that life and our worldview has and must continue to change? Are we capable of being transformed to desire the greater good, equality and mutuality for all people and not simply focus on our own needs and our concerns?

Paul’s words are a call to this deeper reflection and transformation. “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” We also hear Jesus’ challenge to the disciples and to each of us. “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Dying to self, denying one’s need for recognition, position, personal gain and power over others is Christ’s paschal call to transformation. This call can feel daunting and insurmountable leaving us lamenting. Yet in these times, a simple children’s tale like Hope for the Flowers by Trina Paulus, can help us to see, with caterpillar eyes, the wisdom of letting go, reflecting and connecting with the burning presence of Christ within us to embrace the possibility and the beauty of grace-filled transformation.

Through this week, let us hold the words of our Alleluia verse in prayer. “May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call.”

Sr. Margaret Magee, OSF
FAN Board Member

Published in: on August 25, 2020 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

But what about all of the other suffering?

By Tony Magliano

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist whose writings are published in print and/or posted online in various U.S. diocesan papers. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the Franciscan Action Network.


With still no end in sight, the highly infectious, deadly, global novel coronavirus naturally continues to command much of our attention. All of us are vulnerable and most of us know it!

And so the race is on to find a vaccine, as well as drugs to treat this plague. Vast amounts of money, time, effort and intellectual capital are being invested – and rightfully so.

But what about all of the other suffering so much of humanity is enduring?

Not only now, but long before the coronavirus, countless fellow human beings have been racked with afflictions so terrible that words cannot do justice to their immense suffering – suffering largely unnoticed by most of the unaffected and more economically well-off nations and individuals.

Greed, lack of compassion, a weak commitment to Jesus’ Gospel message, or as Pope Francis says “selfish indifference” are among the reasons why so many people have suffered so much, for so long, while so many of us pretty much look the other way.

“Out of sight, out of mind” is another reason why we aren’t doing all we can to bring love, social justice and peace to our world. We need to take the blinders off and intently examine all of the misery. Let’s try to put ourselves in the shoes of our suffering brothers and sisters. Let’s use our creative imagination.

Just imagine how you would feel if you did not know if you would have any food to eat today, tomorrow, next week. Imagine if you and your family had no place to live tonight.

Imagine that your life and your children’s lives were threatened by drug gangs and that you and your children fled for your lives to the border of another country seeking asylum, only to be told that you and your children are not welcomed.

Imagine that you are an unborn baby about to brutally dismembered by abortion.

Imagine in a frantic effort of fleeing from persecution because of your faith you are tricked by a pimp and become trapped into forced prostitution or some other form of human trafficking.

Imagine that the water you drink is polluted and disease ridden. Imagine that where you live there is no school for your grandchildren and no medical care either.

Imagine that you are trapped in a war zone and that bombs – supplied by wealthy corporations of foreign nations – are exploding all around you.

Imagine that global warming has risen past the environmental “tipping points” and that the catastrophic irreversible warnings of climate scientists have arrived.

Imagine that nuclear war has just begun.

Just imagine!

Since all of this is overwhelming, it is very tempting to simply ignore all of it and retreat into our comfort zones. But we must resist this deadly temptation from the evil one. Instead, we must heed St. Ignatius of Loyola’s axiom: “Work as if everything depends on you. Pray as if everything depends on God.”

Pray, study, act. And make a difference! We can. We should. We must!

In the teaching of St. Pope John Paul II, we need to nurture a sense of solidarity with each other – especially with the poor and vulnerable. Each one of us needs to commit our self to the common good; “that is to say, to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all.”

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings. Tony can be reached at tmag6@comcast.net.

Published in: on August 22, 2020 at 10:31 am  Leave a Comment  

Creating Heaven on Earth

Reflection for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time by FAN Communications Coordinator, Janine Walsh

This reflection was originally posted in our August 17th newsletter


In the second reading this Sunday, Paul offers a description of God as unsearchable and he states that no one can know the “mind of the Lord”, yet all things have their being through Him. In this age of ‘Google’, can we even fathom something being unsearchable? We humans think we are so smart, we are so certain, and that we have this thing called “life” all figured out, but do we ever stop and recognize that it is only by God’s design that we are here and possess the knowledge we have? I think St. Francis would call it a lesson in humility, to humble ourselves to God’s gifts that make our lives possible and fruitful. This lesson from St. Paul makes Peter’s declaration in our Gospel reading that much more impressive.

In the Gospel, Peter acknowledges Jesus is the Messiah and is awarded the gift of being the foundation of the Church. As a kid in school, I have memories of being so excited when I knew an answer to a question posed by the teacher. I was the one who would shoot my hand up in the air and wave it around, squirming like my seat was loose, until I was called on. I am sure I was quite annoying to others who would actively try to shrink in size. I loved knowing the right answer! I loved having the teacher look at me with satisfaction that I had heard and understood the material being taught. If I were Peter in today’s Gospel, I’m sure I would have been so proud of myself when telling Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Peter’s great love for Jesus made it possible for him to do everything that Jesus asked. For he says, “…flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.” As a reward, Peter becomes the rock on which our church is built. The Lord asks the same of each of us: to trust in God with great love and faithfulness to His teachings. Do we have the humility to acknowledge that God is unsearchable? That we cannot know His mind? Can we obtain a meekness which allows us to thank God for the many gifts he has given us? Do we love God enough to follow his teachings and live our lives by his example?

These questions make for excellent reflection and if we are honest with ourselves, perhaps our hearts will be open to the transformation necessary to create heaven here on earth.

Janine Walsh
FAN Communications Coordinator

Published in: on August 18, 2020 at 10:30 am  Comments (1)