Connections DAILY

The WEEKDAY homiletic resource from the editors of Connections

Connections DAILY is the ONLINE newsletter of ideas and images designed to help homilists develop their own brief reflections on the daily Gospel readings.

For each weekday Gospel pericope, Connections DAILY provides an image or idea for a brief, one-to-two minute homily, concluding with a brief prayer that summarizes the point.  The reflection/prayer usually centers on the day's Gospel, but occasionally is inspired by the first reading or the day’s feast or saint whose memorial is being observed.  Because time is a factor at most weekday Masses, each Connections DAILY reflection focuses on a single point or idea, applicable to the common and everyday world of the parish community.

Connections DAILY is available ONLINE ONLY: each week’s reflections are e-mailed to subscribers the previous week (sorry, Connections DAILY is NOT available in a hard-copy, “paper” version).  Connections DAILY is sent in an easy-to-save-and-edit format, enabling you to “cut and paste” material as you need.

Subscriptions to Connections DAILY are $60 per year.

Take a look at Connections DAILY— a sampling of reflections is included below.  If you preach — or have thought about preaching — a brief, meaningful reflection every day, Connections DAILY is the resource you’re looking for.

CLICK HERE for subscription information and an order form . . .

A sampling of reflections from Connections DAILY . . .

E p i p h a n y

TUESDAY after Epiphany

. . . taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all.  They all ate and were satisfied.
Mark 6: 34-43

Jesus took the bread and loaves and broke them into pieces and gave them to his disciples.  And they, in turn, took the fragments that Jesus had been broken and broke them again to give to someone.  And then they broke another piece for someone else.  And another piece for the next person.  And so on.  It must have been a strange sensation to the disciples: breaking off a bit of bread or a piece of fish from the crumbs they had and yet there was always enough to break off another piece to share with the next person.

Generosity is like that.  Whenever we give, whatever we give, there always seems to be enough to share.  If we are willing to sacrifice for others, if we are seeking to imitate the humility of Jesus, then there will always be enough to make do for ourselves and one more.  But it begins by embracing a perspective of gratitude for what we have – however small – and an attitude of humility that compels us to share the little we have with others as a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the many ways he has blessed us.

Try it sometime.  You’d be amazed at how you can stretch a pot of soup, a loaf of bread; you’ll be stunned at the depth of your patience and kindness.  And the baskets of good will you will have left over.

O Lord, help us to trust in the power of generosity.  Give us the grace to give from our poverty and not just from our abundance, knowing that, in the end, you will provide.  Make of our simplest and most hidden acts of generosity and forgiveness small sacraments of your presence in our midst.

WEDNESDAY after Epiphany

But when they saw [Jesus] walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out.
Mark 6: 45-52

Sometimes when we face a difficult situation in which we might be able to make a difference, something scares us off.  The word of consolation we are about to offer is kept to ourselves because we fear saying something that will only make matters worse; the perception that we might be ridiculed or criticized keeps us from stepping forward to take action to correct a wrong; our own feelings of inadequacies or unworthiness keep us from offering help or comfort.

It’s as if we see “ghosts” that make us cower and run.

But that feeling compelling us to act, that wanting to reach out, that belief that we can make a difference is real – and its source is no ghost.  It is Christ.  In the midst of the storms that batter our boats, in the fears that we will sink in the turbulence breaking against us, it is Christ assuring us that we can make it through, that we can steer our crafts safely through the storm, that we can make it home in one piece. 

Do not be afraid of the ghosts that scare us off, Jesus says; look beyond the darkness and focus on the light.  Speak that word of comfort, take that stand for what is right, offer your hand to someone in need – and know that I am with you.

Be with us, Lord Jesus, as we struggle to row our boats across life’s stormy seas and bring our crafts to safety.  Open our terrified eyes to realize that light of your presence in our midst.  By your grace, may we not hesitate to bring healing and hope to our homes and communities by our humblest efforts to imitate your Gospel of service and compassion.

THURSDAY after Epiphany

[Jesus] unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me . . .
Luke 4: 14-22

The Tuesday evening you stayed up late making a casserole for the family preparing for the funeral of a loved one, the Spirit of the Lord was upon you.

The lunch hour you spent with a coworker who had just lost his job, listening to him vent and offering your help in his new job search, the Spirit of the Lord was upon you.

The morning you shoveled the walk of the elderly couple next door, the Spirit of the Lord was upon you.

Those wonderful words from prophet Isaiah Jesus cites in today’s Gospel are fulfilled in our own lives whenever we take on Jesus’ work of reconciliation and healing.  Every act of kindness “brings glad tidings to the poor;” every effort to make a just world, to reconcile the lost and estranged, “proclaims liberty to captives” of despair and hopelessness; every offering of help and comfort “proclaims a year acceptable to the Lord.”

Send your Spirit upon us, O Lord, that we may be prophets of your justice and mercy; anoint us to be your disciples of compassion and peace; send us to do your work of reconciliation and justice.  By your wisdom and grace, may we fulfill in our own lives your call to us to discipleship and prophecy.

O r d i n a r y   T i m e

MONDAY of the First Week in Ordinary Time

“Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.”
Mark 1: 14-20

Today cast your net in unfamiliar waters; toss your line into the deeper part of the lake or sea on which you sail.

Christ calls all of us to be “fishers” of men and women.  Our nets are simple kindness and selfless generosity; our nets are woven of patience and understanding; our nets are strung with perseverance and wisdom.

So today, cast your net to “catch” someone in need of a good word, a listening ear, a helping hand.  Toss your line into waters you find difficult to “fish”: seek to “catch” in your compassion the isolated, the forgotten, the person you find difficult to deal with. 

And every so often, stop and mend your net with prayers of thanksgiving for the mesh God has entrusted to you.

O God, help us to persevere as your “fishers” of the lost, the needy and the forgotten.  Strengthen our “nets” with your grace, O God, that we may “catch” one another in your compassion and peace.  

WEDNESDAY of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Rising very early before dawn, Jesus left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.  Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
Mark 1: 29-39

We all know how Jesus feels in today’s Gospel:  Everyone seems to be looking for us.  Our families, our bosses, our teachers, our friends, our parishes, our communities – everyone wants a “piece” of us.

So we all need that “deserted place” where we can re-charge our spiritual batteries in the quiet of our hearts.  What is important to note in today’s Gospel is that Jesus is very intentional about making time for prayer – he gets up early to have the time for quiet prayer and reflection.

We have to do the same thing: to make the time for prayer, to carve out a few moments in our busy day to escape to the “deserted place” within our hearts to re-connect with God.  It might be a few moments to read the day’s Gospel or one of the psalms, to offer a decade of the rosary, to read a few pages of a book by a spiritual master, or just to be quiet in the peace of God.

Lead us, O God, to that deserted place” where we find your peace, where we hear the reassurance and consolation of your voice, where we drink from the spring of your grace and wisdom.

THURSDAY of the First Week in Ordinary Time

“If you wish, you can make me clean.”
Mark 1: 40-45

The chances are good that today you will encounter a leper.

No, not someone with a terrible illness or who exhibits the ravages of Hansen’s disease, but someone who is treated like a leper: the guy who constantly says the wrong thing, the kid who always seems to be a beat off from everyone else, the family who just isn’t like ours for whatever reason.

The challenge to us is the same as the leper’s challenge to Jesus: to want to make them “clean,” to seek to remove whatever barriers isolate them from the rest of us, to overlook their faults and sins because we realize that our faults are overlooked and our sins forgiven by our loving God.

Welcome the leper you will meet today, in gratitude to the Jesus who “cleans” our hearts of the leprosy of selfishness and arrogance.

Open our hearts and hands, O God, to welcome into our lives and embrace those we shun as unclean and rejects as “lepers.”  By the light of your grace, help us to see you in one another, recognizing that they have been created by you in your sacred image.  May the compassion and generosity your Son has taught us be the means for “cleansing” away the leprosy of pride, greed and intolerance from our lives and communities.

TUESDAY of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
Mark 2: 23-28

Where did we ever get the idea that religion is something that we must endure rather than celebrate?

Why do we find faith confining and limiting and not liberating and affirming?

How did church become more like a visit to the woodshed than a re-connecting with people who care about us and us them?

We tend to approach religion as a matter of thou-shalt-nots and sins to be avoided and rules to be scrupulously adhered to; but faith – faith that is centered in the Gospel of Jesus – calls us to the joy of realizing God in our midst, of approaching our lives and world in a spirit of hope, of finding fulfillment in works of compassion and reconciliation.

The gift of faith is not given to the sour or to the dire; faith calls us to the joy of the wedding feast, not the dungeons of austerity and fear.

Help us, O God, to find joy and fulfillment, meaning and purpose in the faith you have given us.  May we live our baptisms not in avoiding what is bad but by embracing what is good; may we find our identity as your sons and daughters in how we treat our brothers and sisters.

WEDNESDAY of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Looking around at them with anger, and grieved at their hardness of heart, Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”  He stretched it out and his hand was restored.
Mark 3: 1-6

“Hardness of heart . . . ”

We all know that feeling.  Too many disappointments, too many hurts, too many broken promises have hardened us.  We hesitate to hope; we isolate ourselves behind walls of cynicism; we are constantly on our guard; non-commitment is our default position.

But the Gospel Jesus calls us to put aside our hurts and dares us to hope.  He shows us the possibilities for re-creation, for healing, for living lives of meaning and purpose.  In Christ, reconciliation and forgiveness become realistic approaches to centering our relationships with others; justice becomes a compelling force for re-creating society; compassion becomes an imperative.

Sometime today you may feel the discouragement and resentment that can “harden” your heart.  Catch yourself when you feel that way – and let yourself reach out, let yourself forgive, let yourself love as did and does Jesus.

Restore our hearts to hope, O God, and heal our spirits of cynicism and doubt.   Help us to transform our lives by your grace; enable us to work for reconciliation and justice in the certainty that we can reveal your kingdom in our time and place.

FRIDAY of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

[Jesus] appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons . . .
Mark 3: 13-19

A pastor remembers one of the most important lessons he learned in ministry:

“When I was a seminarian, a veteran pastor told me that you can tell a lot about a church by how much people linger with each other after worship.  If church members hang around and talk until you have to turn out the lights and push them out the door, and then talk more outside, it’s a sign of a good church.  But if church is rushed and as soon as the Amen is sounded, they head out the door to their cars, with everyone going their separate ways, that is not a good sign.”
[Kyle Childress, writing in The Christian Century, October18, 2011.]

In today’s Gospel, Jesus begins to organize his Church with the calling of the Twelve to take on his work of preaching and healing.  But in “summoning” them to himself, he summons us to one another.  To realize our call to be church begins with realizing that, as we belong to Christ, we belong to one another.  Our church’s work of being vehicles of God’s reconciliation and justice, of being witnesses to Christ’s resurrection, of being signs of the Father’s love in our midst begins in our own parish and is lived first within our own families and communities.

Lord Jesus, help us to respond to your call to be Apostles in our time and place, within our parishes and communities.  May our everyday kindnesses to one another and quiet offerings of comfort and support make us your Church – a community dedicated to your justice and compassion.

TUESDAY of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

“For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
Mark 3: 31-35

Jesus’ words seem, at first, a little cruel and insensitive toward his family. 

But Jesus is not ignoring his family or diminishing his relationship with them.  In today’s Gospel from Mark, Jesus is expanding our understanding of “family.”  By virtue of our shared humanity, we are sons and daughters of God – and therefore brothers and sisters to one another.  Jesus comes to reveal the God who loves us like a father loves his beloved children – and that relationship extends to one another as brothers and sisters.  Our “family” includes not just our own clan but our neighbors, friends, fellow parishioners – and any and all who seek our help.

Jesus asks us to realize what it means to belong to one another, to recognize and embrace our “connectedness” to every child, woman and man as daughters and sons of the same God.

Open our hearts to see one another as brothers and sisters in you, O Father.  In our kindness toward others, in our commitment to forgiveness and reconciliation, may we bring to completion your kingdom of peace and justice.

WEDNESDAY of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

A sower went out to sow.  And as he sowed, some fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil.  It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep.
Mark 4: 1-20

We would never scatter seed like the sower in Jesus’ parable.  First, we would plan our gardens carefully, considering the soil composition, the weather conditions, and the irrigation needs, in order to maximize the yield – and then, we would plant each seed meticulously, in well laid-out rows.

We pretty much approach our charity and generosity the same way.  We give our time and money to things we believe in, but we also consider which recipients will use our gifts most efficiently.  We have limits on how much attention we will pay to those who come to us for help and counsel – we start to move away if they can’t seem to get a grip on their problems.  And, truth be told, we consider how our help to others can benefit us, in terms of recognition and contacts.

But Jesus asks us to “sow” our compassion and generosity with the reckless abandon of the Gospel sower.  He urges us to let our seed fall on the unproductive soil and the unpromising field – and trust that God will make our seed yield its harvest, in his own time and season.

May we possess the faith of the Gospel sower, O Lord.  With open hands and hearts, may we plant seeds of generosity, reconciliation and justice regardless of the limits of the “soil” or potential for harvest.  But may we sow out of gratitude and compassion, trusting that you will bring all things to completion in your good time.

SATURDAY of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

[Jesus] woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet!  Be still!”
Mark 4: 35-41

Oh, to have that power:  To be able to stand up in the midst of the storms swirling around us and just say Stop!  To face all those impatient and demanding people in our lives and just say Enough!  To be able to end the conflicts and skirmishes we get drawn into and just say Be still!

Maybe we have more power here than we think.  Maybe if we approach our lives as Jesus does – realizing that God’s love is a constant presence in our lives, making time for quiet, focused prayer, embracing Jesus’ spirit of humility and compassion in our decision-making – we can calm storms before they begin to form and still conflicts before they bubble up. 

Easier said than done, to be sure.  But with God at our back, we can discover within ourselves the courage and wisdom to steer our boats through the squalls and waves that threaten to sink us.

Father of peace, place your hand with ours on the tillers of our boats and help us to bring peace and stillness to our busy lives.  In embracing your Son’s spirit of compassion and selflessness, may we bring calm to surging waters and quiet to roaring winds that threaten us and those we love

MONDAY of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Night and day among the tombs on the hillsides [the man] was always crying out and bruising himself with stones.
Mark 5: 1-20

The man possessed by the spirit Jesus calls Legion is one of the most pitiful characters in the Gospels.  Obviously mentally ill, the poor man is forced to live “among the tombs” - not a beautifully landscaped park like our cemeteries, but a desolate, dark plot on the edge of the city.  

Without realizing it, we often live “among the tombs.”  When we let our fears stop us from doing what is right, when our own interests make us back away from taking the just course, when our lack of confidence prevents us from reaching out to someone in need or when our own pride makes us refuse help we desperately need, we are letting that fear, selfishness, and pride “bury” us. 

The resurrection is not confined just to Easter morning or the second coming.  Christ comes to show us the way out of the “tombs” in which we bury ourselves and embrace, in the here and now, the life of God in all its joy and hope.

Raise us up, O Lord, from the “tombs” in which we bury ourselves.  Help us to realize the possibilities for resurrection in our everyday lives; may your grace enable us to break the chains and shackles of despair, fear and pride that prevent us from living our lives to the full.

WEDNESDAY of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.”
Mark 6: 1-6

Look around this parish.  Look around your neighborhood.  Even look around your family.

There are prophets living right here among us – prophets in our parish, prophets in our communities, prophets in our workplaces and schools, prophets in our own homes.  They aren’t the larger-than-life prophets of Scripture; they are just-our-size prophets.  Unnoticed, quietly going about their lives, these prophets put themselves second for others, know exactly the right thing to say and do without  drama or fanfare, and engender trust and integrity that enables them to bridge any division and estrangement.

These prophets would be aghast at being called “prophets.”  We’re just ordinary folk, they would insist, embarrassed at the thought.

But they are prophets.  They proclaim the presence of God in our midst.

Prophets live among us, unnoticed and unappreciated.  Let us “honor” them by respecting the Gospel values they live and embrace those values in our own efforts to become prophets ourselves.

O Lord, continue to raise up prophets in our midst who help us to realize your compassion and justice in our homes and schools and workplaces and churches.  May we learn from them how to take up the prophet’s work of transforming our lives and world in your peace.

FRIDAY of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”  Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Mark 6: 14-29

There is an occasional bit of Herodias in all of us.

We hold grudges.  We keep score.  We remember who slights us and we wait for our moment to get back at them.  The grudges we keep seldom have the tragic consequences of Herodias – who manipulates her own daughter’s charms and her husband’s braggadocio to destroy John the Baptist.  But our grudges hurt others, devastate our families, divide our communities.

John’s martyrdom is, after Jesus’ own crucifixion, the most horrifying episode in all of the Gospels.  He is the victim of the arrogance and vengeance he preached so strongly against.  In light of today’s Gospel reading, we might consider the grudges we hold against others – and why – and if there is a way to heal such rifts or at least move beyond them before our Herodias-like anger and need for vengeance destroys the good and holy in our own lives.

The horror of what Herodias has done should open our eyes to recognize the devastation our own hatred and obsession with vengeance has on our own lives – and on the lives of family and friends.

Do not let anger rule our hearts, O God.  Do let our unmet expectations and disappointments create walls between us and others.  May your grace illuminate our perspective to behold the goodness each one of us possesses and enable us to behold your image reflected in the lives of all your sons and daughters whose presence bless our lives.

TUESDAY of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

“ . . . you say, ‘If someone says to father or mother, “Any support you might have from me is qorban”’ (meaning dedicated to God), you allow him to do nothing more for his father and mother.  You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on.”
Mark 7: 1-13

In Jesus’ time, a qorban (korban) is anything designated as a gift to God.  It sound like a wonderful idea – but it was often used in a strict legal sense to protect one’s property from those who might have some claim on it.  For example, if a son declares his property or wealth as qorban – as designated for God – he was legally relieved of the responsibility to provide for his parents from his own resources.  (Nice kid!)

In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls out those who use qorban as a way to avoid helping the poor and needy.  True qorban worthy of God, Jesus says, is used exactly to care for those in need, for those hurting and sick, for those forgotten and abandoned.  God is honored not by mere words but by acts that reflect the gratitude and humility of our hearts.

What in our life can we make qorban – time, resources, energy that we designate for God, truly for God?  What particular acts of generosity and kindness, what time given for others, can become our sincerest and most meaningful prayer to the God of all that is good?

Accept the offerings of our kindness and generosity to others, O God, as our expression of thanks to you for your kindness and generosity to us.  In our prayers and rituals, inspire us to live your Son’s Gospel of compassion and forgiveness; may we embrace and be embraced by your Spirit of wisdom and selflessness.

THURSDAY of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

“Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”
Mark 7: 24-30

We are pretty quick to label people: good, bad; friend, enemy; liberal, conservative; potentially helpful contact, can’t do anything for us.  Our labels are often unfair, superficial and divisive; our tags scream our contempt and self-righteousness.

In today’s Gospel, we hear from a victim of such labeling.  The woman who approaches Jesus is a Greek Gentile – two big strikes against her.  She asks Jesus to heal her daughter.  Jesus initially rejects her because she is not one of “the children” of God, implying that she is among the “dogs.”  But for her daughter’s sake, the woman will not allow herself to be dismissed because of how others have labeled her.  She speaks up, saying that even “dogs” are fed by God’s hand.  Jesus exalts her dignity by healing her daughter.

Every day we let labels dictate our relationships – who’s in, who’s out, who’s worth our time, who isn’t worth bothering with.  Today, before you walk by or avoid someone who is not on your “A” list, remember the woman in today’s Gospel.  Like her, that person is more than a label.

Transform our hearts, O Lord, to recognize your goodness in those we ignore or forget.  Help us to put aside the labels we slap on others and approach them with respect for the dignity that is theirs by being your sons and daughters.

FRIDAY of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

[Jesus] put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”)
Mark 7: 31-37

“Ephphatha!”  Jesus says to the deaf man.

“Ephphatha!”  Jesus says to us, as well.

“Ephphatha!”  “Be opened!”

“Ephphatha!”   Be open to my Word of joy and hope.  Be opened to the possibilities for reconciliation and resurrection in your everyday lives.  Be open to grace enabling you to bring healing and wholeness to the broken in your midst.

“Ephphatha!”  Do not be deaf to God speaking in the cries of the poor and hurting in your midst.  Do not be silent in the face of injustice and hurt.  Do not stand by helplessly or be afraid when the compassion of the heart calls you to the work of reconciliation.

Hear our prayer for Ephphatha, for openness, O Lord.  Open our spirits to behold your loving presence in our midst; open our vision to see you in others; open our hearts to hear you in the cries for help in those around us.

MONDAY of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

[Jesus] sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign?”
Mark 8: 11-13

The evangelist Mark has a unique description of Jesus’ response to the Pharisees’ demand for yet another miracle or sign.  Mark writes that Jesus “sighed from the depth of his spirit.”

We’ve all know that “sigh” -- that frustration, disappointment, hurt and despair we feel in the depths of our souls.  We have all reached that point of hopelessness, of wanting to quit and walk away, of just giving up.  How much more can we do?  How much more can be expected of us?

Jesus’ frustration with the obtuse Pharisees is clear in Mark’s Gospel.  But Jesus marshals within himself the ability to hope: to carry on in the belief that there will be, in the end, a point to our continuing to help, to forgive, to reach out; that God will ultimately make all things work for good. 

When we are overwhelmed with a sense of failure or when we are just done in with frustration – as Jesus feels today – may we know Jesus’ sense of hope; may we carry on with Jesus’ conviction that we can bring to reality God’s kingdom of reconciliation and peace here and now.

Hear the “sigh” from the “depths” of our souls, O God.  Despite the defeats and frustrations we experience in trying to live your Son’s Gospel of reconciliation and compassion, may we continue with the assurance that your Spirit is with us, giving meaning to what we fail to see or understand.

WEDNESDAY of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Looking up the [blind] man replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.”
Mark 8: 22-26

Sometimes we can’t see things as they really are.  Our biases, our fears, our own interests limit our vision to perceive only “people looking like trees and walking.”

Our faith is centered on the idea that the Gospel is a lens that illuminates every moment and experience of our everyday lives; Jesus’ word serves as a prism that enables us to see others as more than their “labels” but to realize the dignity every man, woman and child possesses as a child of God. 

Our tired and strained eyes need care and often corrective lenses; the lens through which our hearts and minds behold the world also need regular adjustment and correction, to see clearly God in our midst and to perceive God’s Spirit prompting us to realize the many great opportunities we have to bring light into the darkness of ignorance and dispel the shadows of fear.

Open our eyes, Lord Jesus, to see you in everyone and in every moment; heal us of our blindness to the needs of our brothers and sisters; correct our vision to perceive the Father’s presence in our midst in every act of generous forgiveness and selfless generosity that you enable us to do and to receive from others.

FRIDAY of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?
Mark 8: 34 – 9: 1

If you’ve every packed up a house and moved to a new residence, you’ve probably been stunned at the amount of “stuff” a family can accumulate.  The latest quickly becomes yesterday’s news and is replaced with the “latest” latest; the kids’ toys get bigger and more complex as they get older and their interests change; new and ever-changing trends demand constantly adding to our wardrobes and décor.

And, in trying to keep up, we lose something of ourselves.  We look at all the stuff and wonder Why?  We re-discover in the small treasures – a photograph, a child’s hand-made card – the true joys and real meaning of our lives as spouses and parents and brothers and sisters.

That’s Jesus’ point in today’s Gospel: not to get bogged down with stuff that steals our time and attention away from the people who matter most to us. 

So, as you think about a spring cleaning of your closets and garage, think about re-claiming spaces in your life for the things of God.

Lord, do not let us get bogged down with things and objects that becomes an end in themselves.  Help to realize the true value of Gospel charity, reconciliation and peace and to seek those values for our families and friends.