Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish.

Have you ever read or watched anything when what seems like an insignificant fact catches your eye and you begin to wonder why even mention that? There a line in Today’s Gospel that jumped out at me today. So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Is there is significance to that number “153”. Let’s explore together.

Here is the verses footnote: * [21:11] The exact number 153 is probably meant to have a symbolic meaning in relation to the apostles’ universal mission; Jerome claims that Greek zoologists catalogued 153 species of fish. Or 153 is the sum of the numbers from 1 to 17. Others invoke Ez 47:10.

Here is Bishop Barron’s thoughts:

Friends, we must attend to the mystical depth of today’s Gospel. At the break of dawn, the disciples spy a mysterious figure on the distant shore who shouts out to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” When they answer in the negative, he instructs them to cast the net over the right side of the ship. When they do, they bring in a huge catch of fish.

This fishing expedition is a symbol of the Church (the barque of Peter), across space and time, at its apostolic task of seeking souls. The life and work of the Church, John seems to be telling us, will be a lengthy, twilight struggle, a hard toil that will often seem to bear little or no fruit. But after the long night, the dawn of a new life and a new order will break, the transfigured world inaugurated by Jesus. The catch of fish that he makes possible is the totality of people that Christ will gather to himself; it is the new Israel, the eschatological Church.

We know this through a subtle bit of symbolism. When the fish are dragged ashore, John bothers to tell us their exact number, 153—a figure commonly taken in the ancient world to signify the total number of species of fish in the sea.

From Matt Sick:

Why 153? Here is a possible explanation.

In the four gospels, 153 individuals received a blessing from Jesus in one form or another.  Now we are aware, of course, that Jesus fed 5,000 in Matthew 14:13-21, but here we’re looking at individuals.  It’s fascinating to note that in Hebrew, the word Passover has a mathematical value of 153 (See the Gematria Table). Passover is the event where blood was placed on the doorposts of the Israelites’ homes when they were slaves in Egypt. God sent the angel of death to kill all the firstborn in Egypt.  But, the angel would ‘pass over’ that house if there was blood on the door (Exodus 12:11–14). All who entered in through that door would be spared. Typically, such doors consisted of three pieces of wood: two vertical pieces and a horizontal piece at the top, which formed a rectangular entrance, a door. Also, Jesus died during Passover (Matthew 26:2Luke 22:1John 13:1).

Finally, a small point is worth noting regarding John 21:6, where Jesus tells the disciples the cast their net on the right side. The right side represents salvation. The left represents damnation.

You can do a search in Google and find many, many thoughts on this subject – I’m willing to guess about 153. Here are some others (just hit the hyper link)…

Defending the Bride

The Perseverance of Saints

For Tony and Mary – the Math behind 153

Do something great for our Lord today – don’t be that 154th fish who just missed being caught. Get to Confession, get to Mass and receive Christ. He Has Risen. CHRIST HAS RISEN FROM THE DEAD. ALLELUIA. AMEN.

I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy Grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

Gods’ will, not mine, be done.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.

Now a young man followed him wearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body. They seized him, but he left the cloth behind and ran off naked.

Christ has risen! He has truly risen from the dead! Amen. Alleluia.

If you recall my post from last week where I told you how much I was thinking about what Bishop Barron told us that the young man in the white robe was you, that young man was me – how we all at some time run away from Christ, from our baptismal promises, in fear of the mob. We are all guilty of that at some point in our life. Well…I don’t know if you happened to be at the Easter Vigil Mass last Saturday night so I will share with you another passage from Mark’s Gospel that was proclaimed at the Easter Vigil Mass…

Gospel

Mark 16:1-7

When the sabbath was over, 
Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome 
bought spices so that they might go and anoint him.
Very early when the sun had risen,
on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb.
They were saying to one another, 
“Who will roll back the stone for us
from the entrance to the tomb?”
When they looked up,
they saw that the stone had been rolled back;
it was very large.
On entering the tomb they saw a young man
sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe,
and they were utterly amazed.
He said to them, “Do not be amazed!
You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified.
He has been raised; he is not here.
Behold the place where they laid him.
But go and tell his disciples and Peter, 
‘He is going before you to Galilee; 
there you will see him, as he told you.’”

Look very closely in Mark’s account of Easter morning. Upon entering the tomb, who is it that announces that Christ has risen? On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed. The young man in the white cloth is back. You are back. I am back. And what is even more exciting than knowing we are back is that we are the first to announce to the those looking inside the empty tomb that CHRIST HAS RISEN! HE HAS TRULY RISEN FROM THE DEAD! AMEN. ALLELUIA! Now that my friends is something to be excited about. Mark, through his inspired writings of this Gospel – The Good News – has given us the power to announce to all whom we encounter that CHRIST HAS RISEN! HE HAS TRULY RISEN FROM THE DEAD! AMEN. ALLELUIA!

Do something great for our Lord today – repent and believe in the Gospel, the Good News of the Lord. Announce to all who are looking inside that empty tomb that CHRIST HAS RISEN! HE HAS TRULY RISEN FROM THE DEAD! AMEN. ALLELUIA!

I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy Grace, to sin more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Jesus, I trust in You.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.

CHRIST HAS RISEN! HE HAS TRULY RISEN FROM THE DEAD! AMEN. ALLELUIA!

We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You, because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

Today will be a quiet day of reflection. St. Mary Magdalen will commemorate Christ’s death on the Cross with our service at 3PM. Instead of my going about my thoughts today, I’m posting the thoughts of two very gifted men. Please listen to them and please, for the sake of yourself, go to a service today.

Reflection #1: Bishop Fulton J. Sheen – “Peace: Trust in God’s Plan.”

Reflection #2: Bishop Robert Barron: Stations of the Cross

Do something great for the Lord today – venerate the Cross on which He died for our sins. God, have mercy on me – a sinner.

I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy Grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Today will be short and sweet – literally. Bishop Barron asks this question at the end of his reflection this morning…

How has Jesus brought God’s love to you?

I need to look no further than this short video of my grandson Jerome III

Do something great for our Lord tonight – have dinner with Him. You’re invited to commemorate His Last Supper with us at St. Mary Magdalen (Brentwood, MO). Mass starts at 7PM.

I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy Grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.

Amen, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.

Wherever the Gospel is proclaimed to the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her. A quote directly from the Passion of Jesus that we read in Mark’s Gospel yesterday. Doesn’t ring true for you? Take a look at today’s Gospel then…

Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany,
where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served,
while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him. 
Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil
made from genuine aromatic nard
and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair;
the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.

Not enough to convince you? Let’s try Matthew’s Gospel…

Now when Jesus was in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster jar of costly perfumed oil, and poured it on his head while he was reclining at table.

So my question to you is what are you going to do for Jesus that you will be remembered for? We will see many examples this week of how we can be remembered – not all of them are positive examples. Let’s explore a few.

Will you be like Mary of Bethany, the example I noted above? Will you pour out all that you have to anoint the body of your Savior?

Will you be like Peter and deny your relationship with Christ?

Will you be like Judas and betray your Savior with a kiss?

Will you be like Caiaphas and be more concerned about your well being and status than that of our Savior’s?

Will you be like Pilate and wash your hands of this whole situation?

Will you be like the Roman guards who beat and spat and mocked an innocent man?

Will you be like Veronica, who wiped the face of Jesus?

There are numerous people we can imitate here. Are you thinking, I’m not like any of these characters of the Passion. I am milenniel separated from this; I wasn’t there; and why do we have to spend so much time reading about this? I hope you don’t feel that way about the Passion of our Lord. On the way to Mass yesterday, Sarah and I listened to Bishop Barron’s homily and he pointed out something that I had never before thought about and now I can’t shake it from my mind. I was part of the Passion – you were part of the Passion. If Christ died on that Cross to forgive all sins past, present and future, then we were all part of the Passion. Mark understood this well and that is why he put this character in the Passion narrative.

And they all left him and fled.
Now a young man followed him
wearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body.
They seized him,
but he left the cloth behind and ran off naked.

Bishop Barren explained that much like a Renaissance painter, the “young man” wasn’t anybody at that time, but somebody inserted into the narrative at the time the Gospel was written, but someone inserted into the narrative that could represent anyone throughout time. The linen cloth represented that article of clothing back in that time that people wore when baptized into the Church. That “young man” represented a disciple of the Lord (one who FOLLOWS Christ), who was to baptized but left his cloth behind and ran away from Christ.

So, let me ask one more question. Are you that “young man”, who in the face of trouble with the Church, drops your baptismal gown and flees? Have your sins brought you to a place where you don’t think you’re able to go to Church any longer?

That’s a lot to think about. As I said, that thought hasn’t left my mind since hearing it spoken to me. I mentioned Peter and Judas above. They are great examples of how we can change our lives for Christ. Peter, after denying Christ, ran off and wept bitterly but his story didn’t stop there. He recognized his sin, begged forgiveness from Christ and went on to be the Rock of our Church. He received the gift of the Holy Spirit and died giving his life in witness to the Risen Lord. Judas, on the other hand, realized the wrong he did and instead of professing his wrong and seeking forgiveness, he instead went and hanged himself. Now knowing that it could very well have been you as that “young man” who fled Christ in His time of need, which path will you chose – the path of Peter and reconciliation or the path of Judas?

I pray that you use this week to follow the path of Peter. You are welcome to join us at St. Mary Magdalen in Brentwood to participate in this most holy of weeks in the liturgical year. There will be a service or Mass offered every night this week. Please, if not at St. Mary Magdalen, find a church to go to and experience all that this Holy week offers us.

Do something great for our Lord today – be that young man who followed Christ; be like Peter and seek forgiveness for your sins. Experience Holy Week live and in the flesh.

I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy Grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if you wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.

Which passion figure has a name that means “son of the father”?

Wow, Lent went by quickly and here we are at my favorite week of the year…Holy Week. This afternoon at Mass I will hear the first (of four) reading of the Passion as we celebrate Palm Sunday. I have said this before and I will say it again, this week is not for the faint of faithful, it is a very grueling week religiously. We are called to face the fact that it is because of our sins – past, present and future – that Jesus Christ was crucified and hung from the Cross. I would ask that you all participate in ALL of the services and liturgies prepared for Holy Week. St. Mary Magdalen offers a full week of them if you need somewhere to go. You can do it in person or online at http://www.stmmchurch.com.

Happy Birthday to my beautiful daughter Mary today. She couldn’t find a better way to celebrate than to get a hotel room in Jackson MO and watch her sister play some soccer. That’s our Mar’. If you happen to see her today, give her a hug. Mary, and everyone knows this, is my favorite daughter of the oldest children still living at the house. That’s quite an honor. She is also the favored Aunt among the 6 nieces and nephews. She is a beautiful soul and is my primary cantor at 11:30AM Sunday Mass. It was fun last night to be able to sit and talk to her during the soccer game about all things under the sun (it was a beautiful evening with a large moon in the sky and even larger mosquitos buzzing our head). We mainly commented on how nobody wants to take a shot at the goal from outside the goal area anymore. Mary – I speak on behalf of all of us Dorhauer’s when I quote your oldest brother Jerome…”I love you Mary. It’s great joy that you are part of our family.” And if you believe those words came from your brother, well, I got you some ocean front property right here in Ballwin for you to spend your weekends.

Today’s readings are a very good start to get you ready for Holy Week. Be sure to spend time contemplating them today. After reading them, Bishop Barren offers the following question to reflect on.

Reflect: How did the Resurrection turn the scapegoating that Caiaphas supported into the key to our salvation?

Still waiting for the answer to the question that started this whole post today? Barabbas Barabbas was the criminal set free by Pontius Pilate. Instead of choosing Jesus, the crowd shouted “Barabbas” which literally means “son of the father”: “Bar” = son and “abba” = father. (I pulled that from The Loop this morning.)

Do something great for our Lord today (and thru next Sunday) – participate in Holy Week. It is one week of your life that you’ll never say “I can’t get that week back.”

I firmly resolve, with the Help of Thy Grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.

“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”

Another Solemnity in the Church today – that of the Annunciation of the Lord. A great day to remember and celebrate…not just us but for all – past, present and future. Today we celebrate when the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary God’s will for her to bear His Son – our Savior. Thanks be to God she said YES. Seeing this blog is about prayer, I will share three of the greatest prayers I can recite. THE prayer given to us by Christ Himself; the prayer given to us by St. Gabriel and Mary’s cousin Elizabeth and the prayer recited everyday day at 6AM, 12PM and 6PM by devout Catholics all over the world – the Angelus.

Our Father, Who art in heaven, 
Hallowed be Thy Name. 
Thy Kingdom come. 
Thy Will be done, 
on earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread. 
And forgive us our trespasses, 
as we forgive those who trespass against us. 
And lead us not into temptation, 
but deliver us from evil. Amen.

‘The Lord’s Prayer ‘is truly the summary of the whole gospel.’ ‘Since the Lord… after handling over the practice of prayer, said elsewhere, ‘Ask and you will receive, ‘ and since everyone has petitions which are peculiar to his circumstances, the regular and appropriate prayer (the Lord’s Prayer) is said first, as the foundation of further desires.’

Hail Mary, 
Full of Grace, 
The Lord is with thee. 
Blessed art thou among women, 
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus. 
Holy Mary, 
Mother of God, 
pray for us sinners now, 
and at the hour of our death.

Amen.

‘Beginning with Mary’s unique cooperation with the working of the Holy Spirit, the Churches developed their prayer to the holy Mother of God, centering it on the Person of Christ manifested in His mysteries. In countless hymns and antiphons expressing this prayer, two movements usually alternate with one another: the first ‘magnifies’ the Lord for the ‘great things’ He did for His lowly servant and through her for all human beings. The second entrusts the supplications and praises of the children of God to the Mother of Jesus, because she now knows the humanity which, in her, the Son of God espoused. ‘ – from the Catechism of the Catholic Church; 2675.

The Angelus…

The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary: 
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of
our death. Amen.

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word.

Hail Mary…

And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary…


Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 

Let us pray:

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.

Amen. 

If you’re new to this blog and wondering, where does he get all of this, look no further than the Bible. You can find each of these prayers written in the holy works of that great book. A great place to start is today’s readings.

I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy Grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.

Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

Let this be written for the generation to come,
    and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
“The LORD looked down from his holy height,
    from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
    to release those doomed to die.

So Jesus said to them,
“When you lift up the Son of Man,
then you will realize that I AM,
and that I do nothing on my own,
but I say only what the Father taught me.
The one who sent me is with me. 
He has not left me alone,
because I always do what is pleasing to him.”

Do you recall the post I made last week? Who is it that you look up to? Do you want to be looked up to yourself? Keep that post in mind with today’s readings.

I also want to share with you Bishop Barron’s homily from Sunday morning. I’ve listened to it a couple of times now – not because I didn’t understand the first time but because it really packs a powerful message. Here it is for you to listen to today.

Have you ever watched the movie “The Princess Bride”? One of my family’s favorite lines from the movie is the wedding scene where the Bishop starts his homily…”Wuv. Twu Wuv.” Well, today my twu wuv celebrates her birthday. Happy Birthday Sarah. As I was reading the “readings for the day”, I’m not sure why but my mind wandered back to the day I that I knew Sarah was my twu wuv. It was the summer of 1983, following my shortened trip with YCM to New York City. Sarah and I were not dating at the time but she wanted to go to Hays (Kansas) to spend time with her Aunts, Uncles and cousins. She had no way of getting there so I volunteered to drive her. We were having a great time, just two friends with nothing better to do. One day there we were encouraged to go hear her cousin practice at the local college for an opera she was performing in. As we met with her cousin, her cousin was trying to set her up with another gentleman from that school. I had a feeling wash over me that “ticked” me off that someone was trying to set Sarah up on a date and it wasn’t me. In the process of me being ticked off, it was like a veil was lifted from in front of my eyes and I saw Sarah in a completely different light. I’m here to tell you it was a feeling like I’d never felt. I can also tell you that that same day – in the basement of her Aunt Nellie’s house, as we were talking about the rest of the week, I leaned over and kissed Sarah for the first time and let’s just say things have worked out for us since then. I love my wife even more now than I did after that “wave” rushed over me. I hope she has a great day celebrating her birthday.

Do something great for our Lord today – buy your wife some flowers…and your Mother-in-Law (Mr. Krull – can a brother get a deal?). Even better than that, do something that makes them look up to you!

I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy Grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.

The promises of the LORD I will sing forever; through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness, For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”; in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.

Today is the Solemnity of St. Joseph. Do you know what that means? Meat on a Friday in Lent!!! Yes, that is true, but it does mean more than that. I am going to use this as a semi-cheat day because I really enjoyed the message Bishop Barron shares with us today, but I also have so many stories that relate to today’s Gospel. 5 come to mind, so I’ll give the Readers Digest of them all.

Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover,
and when he was twelve years old,
they went up according to festival custom.
After they had completed its days, as they were returning,
the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem,
but his parents did not know it.
Thinking that he was in the caravan,
they journeyed for a day
and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances,
but not finding him,
they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.
After three days they found him in the temple…

Story 1. Don’t remember how old I was, but our cousins from Texas were in for a visit and everyone had gathered at my grandparents house in the City. All the cousins decided to go for a walk and it wasn’t long before I was bored and tired of being ignored by the rest. Long story short – they took a right and I took a left knowing that I could find my way back to Grandma’s. Left turned to right, right turned to left, right turned to wrong and bam – I was lost in the Big City. A family saw me pass their house countless times and ended up pulling me into their yard and calling the police to come get me. Ended up at the precinct, was booked and arrested for jay walking – no, I wasn’t arrested. Yada, Yada, Yada, I’ve been teased ever since because of the way I answered three questions: What is your name? I replied “Messy Moto” because that is all my Dad called me. What are your parents names? Duh – Mom and Dad. What is your favorite cereal? Every kid in the world’s favorite cereal was Captain Crunch, but when you’ve been detained by the P.oPo, strange words come out of your mouth – so I told them Cheerios. To this day, I have no idea how my parents were able to find out where I so they could come get me. I’m sure St. Joseph interceded and led them to my rescue.

Story 2. Uncle Bob came to visit us while living in Decatur, IL. Decided to treat him to our favorite Chinese Buffet, loaded up the van and took off to the restaurant. Being the good parents Sarah and I are ;), as we were walking into the restaurant, IT WAS UNCLE BOB who was counting heads, Sarah and I were trying to get our plates. Turns out we were missing a child (do you remember this Cecilia). Uncle Bob and I jumped back into the van, headed back to the house and found a rather stern looking child sitting on the front porch waiting to give me a piece of her mind. In order to smooth things over with my daughter, I told her Mom was supposed to count heads and when she tapped Uncle Bob on the head as he got in the van, it threw her count off.

Story 3. We had moved back to St. Louis but headed back to Decatur over a Christmas Break to visit friends. We were staying in a hotel room (cheapskate here sprung for two room this time – boys in one, girls in the other. The time I rented ONE room is a story for another day.). Any who, we were going to meet all of the guys I worked with at Bodine Electric at a local sports restaurant. We had everyone meet in the boys room, we did a head count (after learning our lesson – see story 2 above), loaded up the van and headed to the restaurant. As we pulled in, my cell phone rang and strangely enough, it was the hotel calling me. Did I mention Grace brought a boyfriend with her? Guess what, tapped heads for the count and that extra one threw us off again. We left Ruth behind at the hotel; she worked up the courage to go down to the main desk and have them call us. I went back and got her. Turns out she was just as mad as Cecilia. I’m beginning to think kids don’t like being left behind.

Story 4. Two quick ones combined and Sarah and I can’t be blamed for either one. Well, we could be, but I’m trying my best to save face. Both involve our sweet innocent Mary. First one was at Walmart, where she strayed from the cart, got scared and dove into the inside of one of those round clothes racks. Sarah searched the entire store; I believe they did a child alert over the PA and someone ended up finding her in the clothes rack and was safely returned her safely to Sarah. Next Mary story was we had finished eating dinner one summer night (at our house on Union Street in Decatur). I went out to scrape paint from the house and Sarah was doing dishes. Kids were playing in the yard and Mary decided to hop on the big wheel. Sarah came out, did a head count and realized that Mary was missing. We started looking all over for her and word got out to the neighbors that Mary was missing. It was heart warming to see all of our neighbors stop what they were doing – some of whom we didn’t even know – and help in the search. Turns out Mary took a left out of the driveway on the big wheel and didn’t stop until she got to Eldorado. Well, maybe not quite that far, but she was about three blocks down when they found her. Again, I believe St. Joseph had to have intervened on Mary’s behalf because someone we didn’t know found her and brought her right back to us. Thank you St.Joseph.

Story 5. This has nothing to do with lost children. Correction, this story involves my brothers John Jeff, Jim and Jay, so it does have to do with lost children. We had all met at my brother John’s house in Phoenix to play some golf, drink some adult beverages, play a little trivia and pick out our fantasy baseball teams. We had decided to go to a restaurant for lunch but for some reason, Dad decided not to come with us. I can tell you the day – Friday, March 19, but I’m drawing a blank on the year. Anyway, my brothers knew it was a Friday in Lent. As we got the menu’s, Jim and Jay dared me to order a meal with meat in it and they actually made this promise to me. “Go ahead and order a hamburger or chicken wings – we won’t tell Dad on you.” I am a man in my mid-forties and my brothers are promising they won’t tell Dad on me for eating meat on a Friday in lent. You think you’re dad was tough? I am here to tell you, they would have told Dad. I am also hear to tell you that Dad would have whipped off his belt and put me over his knee. My saving grace was that is was 3-19 – The Solemnity of St. Joseph – and the obligation to abstain from meat is always lifted on a Solemnity. So I ordered a burger — and wings. When we got back, Jim and Jay told Dad what I did. He being an ordained deacon of the Church said “It’s the Solemnity of St. Joseph – Jerry can eat meat today.” And then he took his belt off and put me over his knee!!!

I hope I haven’t bored you with my stories that I’m reminded of whenever I hear this Gospel proclaimed. Now, for thoughts from Bishop Barron.

Reflect: Think of a situation in your life that is out of your control. How much do you trust God and let yourself be led by him through this situation? Where do you have difficulties acting as Joseph did in this Gospel passage?

Do something great for our Lord today – enjoy it. This day was made by the Lord. Celebrate St. Joseph. Watch some basketball – and be sure to count your children’s heads (all of them) if you decide to go out to eat.

I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy Grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness (just as St. Joseph did), devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.

A clean heart create for me, O God; give me back the joy of your salvation.

So what is it, or more importantly, who is it that you look up to? Do you aspire to be a person who is looked up to?

Last week and through last weekend, the readings had a lot to do with confession, coming clean with ourselves and those who we encounter.

Last Tuesday: His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?

Last Wednesday: Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.

Last Thursday: Thus says the LORD: This is what I commanded my people: Listen to my voice; then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Walk in all the ways that I command you, so that you may prosper.

Last Friday: Let him who is wise understand these things;     let him who is prudent know them. Straight are the paths of the LORD,     in them the just walk, but sinners stumble in them.

Last Saturday1: Come, let us return to the LORD, it is he who has rent, but he will heal us; he has struck us, but he will bind our wounds. He will revive us after two days; on the third day he will raise us up, to live in his presence.

Last Saturday2: Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me.

Last Saturday3: But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’

Last Sunday1: All this was to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah: “Until the land has retrieved its lost sabbaths, during all the time it lies waste it shall have rest while seventy years are fulfilled.”

Last Sunday2: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; 
it is not from works, so no one may boast.

Last Sunday3: Jesus said to Nicodemus: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

I know that’s a lot of quotes to get to my theme for today, but again, who is it that you look up to? A friend, a co-worker, your Pastor? Albert Pujols? Yadier Molina? Take a second to think about this…I’ll ask again – who is it you should look up to? Jesus said to Nicodemus: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” Look up to Christ. Look up to a the perfect Son of God who died on that cross not for His sins, not for His wrongs – but He suffered and died for my sins; the wrong that I have done. Look at all those quotes from last week and hear what God is saying to all of us. Ask for forgiveness for your wrongs but more than that, FORGIVE all who have wronged you. I know it is not an easy task to get ourselves into the confessional and freely admit we are sinners in need of forgiveness. But I’m telling you from experience, it is that much more difficult to offer forgiveness to those who have wronged me; to just “let it go”. When we “look up” and see Jesus on that Cross – we are taught the true meaning of forgiveness. We see a Man who was willing to die to teach us that forgiveness is the ultimate sacrifice. We learn that from forgiveness, death comes to life again.

So now I ask you – are you someone who desires to be “looked up” to? Am I? If we answer yes to this, then we must follow the example that Christ gave us. We must learn to forgive all who have wronged us. We must be willing to die in order that their sins can be forgiven – not mine, not yours. If we are willing to die to offer them that forgiveness, then we too – as heirs to the Kingdom – bring life to others through our death to self. That is one tall order; I pray I have the courage to live a life that others “look up” to.

Do something great for our Lord today – forgive someone who has wronged you. Breathe “life” back into that “dead” relationship and share in the true joy of what forgiveness offers.

I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy Grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.