Green Tea

A Refreshing Way to Start the Day

Fr. Joel Life on Planet Earth 3 Comments

I’ve been a coffee drinker since my student days in Italy. The yummy cappuccini and perky espressi opened my eyes to the joys of coffee. For years daily coffee was a staple in my life. Then one day I decided to try the “Blood Type Diet.” I was feeling sluggish and often had headaches. I would get so sleepy in the afternoons I had to stop for a siesta. People with my blood type weren’t supposed to drink coffee. I thought this would kill me.

The alternative was green tea. Green tea by itself is quite bland. But I discovered that a spoonful of honey and half a fresh-squeezed lemon transforms it into a sweet-and-sour wakeup call. The resulting drink is refreshingly warm on a cold Wisconsin morning. Read More

UN/BELOVABLE album from Brother Priests, (c) 2016

Hollywood and ISIS Are Missing The Same Thing (#615, Lent 4)

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Lent, 4th Sunday (Year C) · ISIS doesn’t believe in a merciful God. The Calvinists didn’t either. They were responding to the immorality of their day but in a way that becomes severe and oppressive. God’s response is found in today’s Gospel. The younger son doesn’t think he deserves mercy. The older son doesn’t realize he needs mercy. Both are missing their Father’s love. The Father will run to meet you in the Confessional. Where will Hollywood and ISIS see God’s merciful love, if they do not see it in us? And how can we be merciful like the Father if we have not allowed the Father to be merciful to us?Read More

FBI vs Apple: Why It Matters to You

Fr. Joel Society Today 2 Comments

Apple Refuses to Unlock Terrorist’s iPhone, reads the headline. Headlines have a way of confusing the truth. The iPhone in question belonged to Syed Farook, one of the perpetrator of the San Bernardino shooting. The FBI has his iPhone and wants to see what’s inside. Apple already provided them technical assistance and the contents of an iCloud backup. But Apple can’t unlock the phone because Apple doesn’t have the key.

When you lock your screen with a simple 4-digit code, that code also locks down the phone. No one can get inside without knowing the code. Why not try every code until one works? That would be easy, so Apple made phone locks hard to pick. The FBI’s solution: obtain a court order requiring Apple to write a special version of the operating system that makes the lock easier to pick. The FBI believes that the All Writs Act from 1789 gives them the authority to make such a demand.

Once created, such software could be court-ordered by the FBI every single time they want to open an iPhone. And not only the FBI: every intelligence agency in the world will ask for it, including Russia and China. And not just governments: criminals are always looking for holes they can exploit. What happens when a company is punching holes in it’s own security? This is why Apple calls it “the software equivalent of cancer.”

It’s also why the FBI cares about this case. Intelligence agencies think they should have access to whatever they want whenever they want it. They will use whatever means they can to get their hands on anything. The only limits they respect are ones Congress has created and the courts enforce. And that’s why this case matters to the American people.Read More

How to Find Hope in Suffering (#614, Lent 3)

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Lent, 3rd Sunday (Year C) featuring Deacon Michael • The burning bush is the dramatic beginning to a rescue mission.  God says, “I have witnessed the affliction of my people… so I know well what they are suffering.” God knows well what we are suffering. God would not give us desires that go unfulfilled. Our desire for life without suffering is a sign that we are made for Heaven. St. John Paul II and Blessed Chiara Badano both found hope by uniting their sufferings with the sufferings of Jesus. The road of the cross leads to the Resurrection. If we embrace the cross with Jesus, we will come to know I AM as Our Father.Read More

Why Catholics Don’t Eat Meat on Fridays

Fr. Joel Being Catholic Leave a Comment

Once upon a time the Pope had a friend who was a fisherman and the fisherman was having a hard time making a living,
so the Pope decided to require all Catholics to eat fish on Fridays in order to help his friend.The Internet

Not really. The first Pope was actually a fisherman. But back then meat wasn’t a staple food. For most ancient peoples, “flesh meat” (birds and mamals) was a luxury enjoyed by the rich. The rest of the people only ate meat on special occasions. Abstinence from meat meant everyone had to eat like the poor.

Because Jesus Died on Friday

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How to Stay Spiritually Healthy in Ministry

Fr. Joel Being Catholic Leave a Comment

I presented recently at a Diocesan meeting of youth ministers. I was given the topic, “How to Stay Spiritually Healthy in Ministry.” The first thing I thought of was how to stay physically healthy: diet and exercise, avoid junk, get good sleep, and friends who support and encourage you. So I came up with five parallel habits for spiritual health:

  1. Spiritual Nourishment (spiritual reading, retreats, service work etc.)
  2. Daily Prayer: 30 minutes a day, just like exercise.
  3. Avoid Junk like romance novels, trashy TV, etc.
  4. Sleep – also important spiritually
  5. Christian Friendships

These five habits can be a helpful start, but they will never be enough for you to stay spiritually healthy. That is because God is a Person, not a bunch of vitamins and veggies. Spirituality is a Relationship; I needed good relationship advice. So I turned to a recent episode of Adventures in Imperfect Living where Mac Barron and Greg Willits talk about what it takes to be a good husband. I pulled five thoughts from their conversation:Read More

Mister, Are You Jesus? (#613, Lent 2)

Fr. Joel Homilies 2 Comments

Second Sunday of Lent (Year C) • Faith is believing in things we cannot see. Abraham believes God even though he cannot see the stars. The glory that radiates from Jesus on the mountain has already been radiating through his miracles, love, and mercy. Even when they cannot see the glory of Jesus, the disciples can still follow his voice. “Listen to Him” means more than just hearing, but also doing. It means letting the merciful of God shine through our words and deeds.

Pope Francis shared God’s love and mercy in Mexico. He warns us, “A person who only thinks about building walls and not bridges isn’t a Christian. This isn’t in the Gospel.”[ref] Is the love of God shining through Donald Trump? Is the love of God shining through fans at a basketball game? Is it radiating in your life and mine? It’s not easy to follow Jesus’ message in a dark world. But listening to Him allows us to become a light in the darkness. “When was the last time someone confused you for Jesus?Read More

Sand through fingers

The Secret to Survival in the Desert of Temptation (#612, Lent 1)

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First Sunday of Lent (Year C) Jesus journeys from a mountain-top experience of God through the desert of temptation into the Promised Land. Transfiguration–Death–Resurrection: this pattern repeats in the Bible and in our lives. What is Jesus’ secret to survive the desert? He never stops listening to God’s voice. Even when all he can hear is the Tempter, Jesus is repeating to himself the words God has spoken. Don’t forget what God has said. Keep repeating to yourself what God has done for you. Lent is a time to face the desert. Fill your heart with the Word of God. Keep listening to God’s Word. (14 Feb 2016)Read More

The Devil Is Sneaking Between You and God – Stop Him! (#611, Ash Wednesday)

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Ash Wednesday. Lent isn’t exactly a favorite season for most of us. Why do we give up meat on Friday? Because Jesus died on Friday, and we are asked to make a small sacrifice for love of Jesus. Once upon a time the church went vegan; now we are only asked to abstain from meat. You can do more if you want to, but you shouldn’t do less.

God loves us and we love God. We find happiness when we are embraced by God. The Devil hates us and will do anything to separate us from God. He has two basic tactics:

  • Attract us away from God with shiny things, girls, popularity, power and fun.
  • Repel us from God with threats, fear, and intimidation.

Lent is about realizing that only God can make me happy, and I’ve started letting things get in the way of my relationship with God. What fears are causing me to run from God? What is attracting and distracting me from God? Reach past the distractions and reach for God. He’s already reaching for you.Read More

Faces of Gods Mercy

Bishops Appeal: Missionaries of Mercy (#610, 5th Sunday)

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Ordinary Time, 5th Sunday (Year C)

Mercy: More kindness than justice deserves. Isaiah, Paul and Peter encounter God’s mercy. Then they are sent to be missionaries of mercy to others. The Year of Mercy instituted by Pope Francis is about both receiving mercy and offering it to others. You are part of a big church doing these works of mercy all over the world and here at home. Through the Bishop’s Appeal you become part of works of mercy throughout our whole diocese.Read More