Monday, July 31, 2017

St. Ignatius of Loyola

Today, the Church celebrates the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. Many people associate the Jesuits with education. St. Ignatius was a contemporary of St. Angela Merici.  Neither St. Ignatius or St. Angela had initially planned on operating schools.  Both desired their followers to go out to the people and serve the needs of the community. didn’t plan on the Jesuits operating any schools. Like the Ursulines the Jesuits ultimately began to found institutions and became known for their excellence in education.  The Jesuit motto "ad majorem dei glorium" – for the greater glory of God has been passed down throughout many generations.  On this day when we celebrate the feast of St. Ignatius let us take time to reflect on how we can give God greater glory and praise in our thoughts and our actions.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Senator John McCain

Last evening the country received the upsetting news that Senator John McCain has an aggressive brain tumor.  No matter what our politics are, Americans know the history of this man and his dedication to the life of our country.  Let us pray for him and for his family that our God will give them the strength and grace to bear this cross with faith and dignity.

We all know someone who is suffering with cancer and we feel helpless in our efforts to ease their pain.  While we may not be able to ease their physical suffering, we can pray for them and by offering the hard things in our lives, it may make theirs easier. This is redemptive suffering.  May our God bless all who are ill.

KM Donohue, OSU

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Childlike Simplicity

At that time Jesus exclaimed: "I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.  Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.  All things have been handed over to me by my Father.  No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him." Matthew 11: 25 - 27

Reflecting on this Gospel passage reminds me of the importance of having a childlike trust and reliance on our loving God.  When you look at a little child you can see how they rely on their parents for everything.  Children trust their parents with a certitude that is hard to fathom.   Jesus calls us today to have the same openness to God’s love as a child does.   We are called to respond to this invitation with the simple trust of a child.  As I watch my twin nephews grow and develop I find myself amazed at how they play and communicate.  I recall my youth when all I wanted to do was go to the park and go on the swings and climb the “monkey bars.”  Jesus calls us to enjoy life as a child would – simply and happily.  May we have the courage to surrender to that invitation and live in happiness and peace.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Come as You Are

Jesus said to his Apostles: "No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master.  It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, for the slave that he become like his master.  If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household!  "Therefore do not be afraid of them.  Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.  What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.  And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.  Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?  Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father's knowledge.  Even all the hairs of your head are counted.  So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.  But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father."  Matthew 10: 24 - 33

Today’s Gospel speaks to the heart of what it means to be a child of God. When we follow Jesus it comes with challenges, and there are many times we find ourselves wondering if we can really follow God’s plan for us.  God’s love for us is so enormous that we can never fully realize the love that God has for each one of us. 

I remember a song that I heard a long time ago and the refrain was. “Come as you are, that’s how I want you.  Come as you are, don’t be ashamed…”  Recalling that song made connecting to this Gospel much easier.  God’s love for us is beyond anything we could ask for or even imagine and is always there for us.  This day let us come to our God as we are with all our joys and sorrows, our successes and faults, and remember that no matter what our God loves us just the way we are.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Jesus' Call

Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness.  The names of the Twelve Apostles are these:  first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus.

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, "Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town.  Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  As you go, make this proclamation: 'The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 10: 1 – 7)

In today’s Gospel, we hear the familiar story of the “Call of the Twelve Disciples.”  Jesus called these ordinary men to carry out his mission with him.  When Jesus chose these twelve he chose fishermen and a tax collector.  Not exactly the team one would think Jesus would.  One would think Jesus would have chosen the best and the brightest but instead he chose the average ones.  Jesus shows us that he wants us all to be his disciples and promises to give us all we need to carry out this task. He does believe that we can bring about his message of love, peace and joy to all those we meet.  Jesus invites and we need to be receptive to his invitation and gladly embrace the call he has in mind for each one of us.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Monday, July 10, 2017


While Jesus was speaking, an official came forward, knelt down before him, and said, "My daughter has just died.  But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live."  Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples.  A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak.  She said to herself, "If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured."  Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, "Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you."  And from that hour the woman was cured. 

When Jesus arrived at the official's house and saw the flute players and the crowd who were making a commotion, he said, "Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping."  And they ridiculed him.  When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand, and the little girl arose. And news of this spread throughout all that land. Matthew 9:18-26

In today’s Gospel, Jesus’ teaching was interrupted and he responded immediately.  He did not rebuke the official for disturbing him, nor did he tell him to come back later.  Jesus stopped what he was doing and focused his attention on the man and tended to his need.  When the woman touched his cloak she was cured not because she touched Jesus but because of her great faith.  May our faith grow and be as strong as these two people.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Call

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?"  Jesus answered them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?  The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.  No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth, for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse.  People do not put new wine into old wineskins.  Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined.  Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved." Matthew 9: 14 - 17

I have always found this passage to be one that reminds me that we are constantly being changed by Jesus.  We are changed through the Sacraments, prayer and our daily encounters with others.  Jesus helps us to shape our hearts and minds and to become who we are meant to be. Life is a journey with many twists and turns.  This passages reminds us that we never walk alone – Jesus is always with us to guide and help us.  As the song says, “We are called to act with justice, we are called to love tenderly, we are called to love one another and walk humbly with God.”

Pat Schifini, OSU

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

God's Love

Today’s scripture readings assure us of God’s overwhelming love for us.  As we reflect on the story of Abraham and the Gospel from Matthew we see over and over God’s immense love for his people and his desire for our good.  Our God is a God who has promised to always be there for us even in our darkest times.  God hears our prayers and knows our needs even before we even speak a word.  It is the paradox that God’s love never fails only we do.  There are times when God’s love seems very distant from us and we know that all we must do is return to God’s open arms and we will be comforted.  God’s love is beyond our human comprehension.  As we live this day let us try and be open to God’s amazing love for us.  Perhaps we will see it in nature, or in another person.  Where ever we see God’s love let us rejoice in the gift that it is.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 4th of July

Today, we Americans, celebrate Independence Day.  A day where some 241 years ago our forefathers took pen in hand and signed the Declaration of Independence from England.  This day is traditionally celebrated with barbecues, fireworks and being with family and friends.  As we celebrate today let us remember that we are celebrating the gift of freedom that we have.  We need to use our freedom wisely so that future generations will enjoy the same ideals we embrace.  Our freedom did not come without cost.  The desire for freedom came with the reality of overcoming fear.  The founding fathers feared for their lives, their families and their freedom yet they were steadfast in their conviction of freedom.  As we celebrate this day let us take a moment to pause and reflect on the great faith and vision these men had and pray a prayer of gratitude for those who continue to fight for our freedom.  May God always bless the United States of America!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, July 2, 2017


Jesus said to his apostles:  "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

"Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.  Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward.  And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because the little one is a disciple— amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward." Matthew 10: 37 – 42

Jesus says it rather clearly in today’s Gospel that the focus of our lives should be on Him.  He challenges us to leave all behind and follow.  In his call he is encouraging us to put God first in our lives and to move away from the worries of this world.   Jesus’ message is truly based on love and this is what we are called to love not hate.  Our world is full of hatred and greed and we are called to rise above that and be persons of peace and love.  Let us live this day in love and strive to live as Jesus wants us to.

Pat Schifini, OSU