About Friar Musings

Franciscan friar and Catholic priest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in downtown Tampa, FL.

Gratitude to Happiness

GratitudeI don’t remember – it has been so long now – but somewhere, sometime ago, I began to start emails, letters, cards and the like with the same phrase: “May the grace and peace of Christ be with you.” It is an expression that begins many of St. Paul’s letters, in one form or another, e.g., Galatians 1:3. It is not a scripted beginning; there is a great deal of intention about it. There are times when I am in a hurry, responding to emails, that I am reminded at the end to return to the beginning and insert the greeting. It often leads to editing of the email if there is some part that does not have grace or peace about it. Continue reading

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Talents: a distrubing story

Talents4The Third Servant. 24 Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; 25 so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’ 26 His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? 27 Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? Continue reading

Talents: sharing joy

Talents4A Curious Start. 14 “It will be as when a man who was going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. 15 To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one—to each according to his ability. Then he went away.” If Matthew had used a copy editor, I am sure they would be discussing the use of “it.” What will be as…? Curiously, most Matthean parables are explicit when it comes to the kingdom of heaven. The previous parable (Wise and Foolish Maidens) begins, “the kingdom of heaven will be like.” (25:1). Here Matthew begins hōsper gar, literally “for just as”, indicates that the same subject is under discussion. Continue reading

Talents: doing what?

Talents2In what does readiness consist? Keep in mind that in our parable, the servants are not surprised at their master’s coming, so “readiness” is more attuned to whether the servants will be dependable in the use of the resources. We should note that the master entrusted his resources to the servants according to their individual abilities (25:15). The third one received only one talent, likely indicating that the master understands that he has less ability than the others. The master does not overburden the third servant who nonetheless fails – not in any loss of money, but in returning it without increase. It was not that he did something wrong—he simply did nothing. This is, then, apparently, a parable about maximizing opportunities, not wasting them. To be “ready” for the master’s return means to use the intervening time to “maximum gain”; it is again about continuing life and work rather than about calculating the date and being alert for his actual arrival. Continue reading

Talents: readiness

Talents5Commentary – The preceding parables have been about readiness, and this one is particularly about faithful stewardship which readiness produces. The third in the series of parables about being ready returns to a setting similar to that of the first, a master dealing with his servants. But this time there is a more specific focus on their commercial responsibility in their master’s absence. Each is left with a very large sum of money, with no instructions on what to do with it, and the story turns on their different ways of exercising this responsibility. There is again a division between good and bad, between success and failure. Yet the “failure” of the last servant consists not in any loss of money, but in returning it without increase. It was not that he did something wrong—he simply did nothing. This is, then, apparently, a parable about maximizing opportunities, not wasting them. To be “ready” for the master’s return means to use the intervening time to maximum gain; it is again about continuing life and work rather than about calculating the date and being alert for his actual arrival. This third parable is thus essentially making the same point about readiness as the two preceding ones (Mt 24:45-51 and Mt 25:1-13). Continue reading

Talents: context

Talents1Matthew 25:14–30 14 “It will be as when a man who was going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. 15 To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one—to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately 16 the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. 17 Likewise, the one who received two made another two. 18 But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money. 19 After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. 20 The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ 22 (Then) the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ 24 Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; 25 so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’ 26 His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? 27 Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? 28 Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. 29 For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ Continue reading

Taking Stock

Here at the tail end of hurricane season (officially Nov 30th), let me ask you…. How many of you were prepared this past season, stocking up on extra flashlights and batteries? Extra water and food? Something to charge your cell phone? Of course, forecasting is pretty good these days, we always have advanced warning, and there is time to run to the store or borrow from our neighbors. Right?  Given the scenes from the days preceding Hurricane Irma, I think that was most people’s strategy. But not all things in life are well forecast.  Some rain comes down upon us without notice. Continue reading

Greatness

Just the other day I watched “Thor: Ragnarok.” It was another entertaining saga in the Marvel Comics universe in which Thor and some of the Avengers appear.  And of course, in such films one is always on the lookout for Stan Lee, the founder of the Marvel universe. Let me just say you will never look at your barber or hair dresser the same way after seeing his cameo.

If you are a fan or planning to see the movie, I will try to give enough context – or [spoiler alert] you can read a description of the full plot here. Continue reading

A Way of Life

I am often given to repeating St. Bonaventure’s wise counsel: humility is the guardian and gateway to all the other virtues…and the first evidence of it is gratitude. We can all have moments in which we are profoundly grateful, but are we grateful people? The first is a description of a moment in time, deeply remembered; the second is an intrinsic condition of who you are as a person. It is at the root of your being, it is the lens through which you see the world, and it is the mode by which you engage the world. Even as I write that last sentence, I am thinking, “Gosh, I want to be that person!” Continue reading

The House We’re Building

1109lateran2The Lateran Basilica in Rome is not the oldest church in Rome – that honor seems to belong Santi Quattro Coronati (314); but then that depends on what sources you believe. Old St. Peter’s, the original church on the spot where the current St. Peter’s stands dates to 324, the same year as St. Lorenzo and St. John Lateran. In fact, the Lateran Basilica is the Cathedral of the Diocese of Rome – the place from where the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis, leads his diocese even as he leads the church universal. Continue reading