What to Love

Posted by Sharon Krause on Feb 13, 2023 6:00:00 AM

“What do I have to do today?” That is a question I dare say many of us ask ourselves as we roll out of bed and try to get ready for life’s adventures. How about asking ourselves, “What should I try to love today?”

 Let us pray.

 Lord, help me to love life today. Yes, there are uncertainties and challenges to meet, but I have breath, energy, and abilities you have given me, so I can do my best. May I be positive, may I be grateful, may I be faithful with you by my side.

 Lord, help me to love light today. In the light of day, and in your holy enlightenment, may I see situations positively. May I find ways to help others quell disparity and disagreements.

 Lord, help me to love leniency today. Of course laws and boundaries are necessary, but may I be understanding, patient. and sympathetic where I can be. Lord, you have been lenient and forgiving with me; may I follow your holy example.

 Lord, help me to love laughter today. As I love it, I hope to find ways of spreading it in gentle and appropriate ways. Laughter can be a way to unity and sympathy. It can ease anxiety. It can smooth the way in life’s demands.

 Lord, help me to love loyalty today. May I come closer to you and endeavor to change my little habits that are contrary to your will for me. In this world, it is so easy to be distracted or tempted to follow its ways instead of being loyal to your holy, saving plan for me. Lord, you never give up on me. Thank you!

 Lord, help me to love learning today. There are so many chances to learn more about you through Sacred Scripture, sacraments, nature, other people, situations. I just have to be alert and attentive to those opportunities. Keep me persistent and open.

 Lord, help me to love the little happy details in daily living, like the wagging tail of a friendly pup, the sweet song of the birds, the friendly wave of a neighbor passing by in his car. It is so easy to complain about little annoyances; change my mind and help me to substitute random praises to God who loves me.

 With Lent coming soon, let’s start formulating a love plan that includes a new outlook on life, light, leniency, laughter, loyalty, learning, and life’s little details so that we will look forward to the best Easter ever!



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Topics: Sharon Krause

Human Dignity vs Dehumanization: Oklahoma Slows Execution Schedule

Posted by Alice Hugh Brown on Feb 11, 2023 7:00:00 AM

The State of Oklahoma has changed its execution schedule for 2022-2024. The change follows the January 2023 appointment of a new state attorney general and the appointments of two new members on the State Pardon and Parole Board. The original plan was to execute 25 of the state’s 43 prisoners on death row during that time. During 2022, three of the planned five executions were carried out.

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"Hear the Word! by Bill Ayres: Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Bill Ayres on Feb 11, 2023 6:00:00 AM

A reading from the Book of Sirach

(Chapter 15:15-20)

This passage is in our liturgy because the author, a scribe named Yeshua ben Sira, writing about 200 years before the birth of Jesus, alludes to a thought from the wisdom of Moses: “If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you; if you trust in God, you too shall live.” Then later, he writes, “The eyes of God are on those who fear him.” The word “fear,” when related to God, has been often misunderstood. It means a sense of awe, not the cringing kind of fear that was often taught to children and adults to keep them subservient. True love of God “casts out fear.”

Have you grown up in the wrong kind of fear of God, one that has not allowed you to be close to the true God of unconditional love? I hope not, or, if you were taught that as a child, I hope you have learned the truth as an adult, that our Father has the kind of “crazy love” that Jesus taught us in the powerful parable of the Prodigal Son.

 Responsorial Psalm

(Psalm 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34)

“Blessed are those who follow the law of the Lord.” Jesus said that the whole Law was this: “Love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, your whole soul, and your whole mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Easy, right?

A reading from St. Paul's first Letter to the Corinthians

(Chapter 2:6-10)

“But as it is written: What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him, this God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.” Paul tells us that the mystery of God is revealed to us through the Spirit who lives in us.

Do you tend to think of God as “up there” or “out there,” far away, not near to us? Yet here, Paul tells us that “God has revealed to us through the Spirit.” This is the same Spirit that lives within us.

So, that is the clue to prayer. It is not so much reaching out to God—who knows where?—but listening to the Spirit who is within us, and being aware of what is really happening in our lives every day. In our encounters with other people, in our daily routines, we can experience the mystery of God—momentarily or for a while. It need not be earth-shattering but rather a gentle presence. Rejoice in the Spirit!

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew

(Chapter 5:17-37)

This long Gospel passage has some strong language from Jesus: “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” The scribes and Pharisees interpreted the Law of Moses and how it was to be observed in people’s lives. Jesus challenged their hypocrisy and the control they exerted over the people. Jesus also looked beyond the letter of the Law: “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgement. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgement…. Therefore, if you bring your gifts to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Jesus follows with several other challenges, often using extreme language that was not meant to be taken literally, like throwing away an eye or cutting off a hand. The people at the time knew this to be what was called “Semitic exaggeration.” Jesus was calling people then as he calls us now to go beyond written law and live by the Law of Love.


Photograph: Statue of Yeshua ben Sira at Chatres Cathdral, Chartres, France.

Excerpts from the English translation of the Lectionary for Mass © 1969, 1981, 1997, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL). All rights reserved.
Bill Ayres was a founder, with the late singer Harry Chapin, of WhyHunger. He has been a radio and TV broadcaster for 40 years and has two weekly Sunday-night shows on WPLJ, 95.5 FM in New York. He is a member of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church in Centerport, New York.

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Topics: Hear the Word! by Bill Ayres, Spirit of love, Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Awaken to the Spirit


Posted by Sharon Krause on Feb 6, 2023 6:00:00 AM

Most of us seem to like shortcuts. In our language, we use lots of abbreviations, some with punctuation, some without. For example, Mister shortens to Mr., United States of America becomes USA, and “until” can become “‘til.” We write or say less in an effort to save time or space. What is a love letter without a final SWAK? (Sealed With a Kiss)? Poets sometimes use abbreviations to achieve a particular rhyme or meter requirement. “Ever” could be “E’er”.

In our travels, we often take shortcuts to make our walk or drive shorter, more efficient, or even less costly. In our manual jobs, little shortcuts can, again, save us time and money. However, at times, haste makes waste.

While many shortcuts are helpful, there are situations in which these detours can leave us missing out on some things. Certain abbreviations may leave us wondering what they mean or may have more than one possible meaning. I read online that S.O.S., while a distress signal originally, stands for more than “Save Our Ship.” If we are reading an important article containing a number of abbreviations, we might have to stop and look up what each one means. If we are traveling, some shortcuts might deprive us of a number of beautiful vistas or local color. We could even end up getting lost or disoriented for a while.

I have noticed that television dramas, game shows, and movies don’t waste any time getting the audience pumped up. If you listen to the background music and the tempo of the shows’ formats, you know it is time to get your adrenaline flowing. Shortcuts to excitement welcomed! Sponsors are watching!

This question arises: Do we use our time wisely and effectively? Modern technology makes many things handy at our fingertips. We don’t have to use the postal system so much. We don’t have to physically travel so much. We can send messages in numerous ways. We don’t have to do things “in person” as we did in the past. Speed is much speedier!

 How do shortcuts affect our prayer life? If we are freed up more than ever before, do we increase our prayer time, or do we take shortcuts?

 St. Paul exhorts us to pray:

    Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer. (Romans 12:12)


   Persevere in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving; (Colossians 4:2)


It is easy to get into a mindset of shortcuts. Is it a good idea to talk less to God? Sure, God knows all about everything. We are the ones that learn more about God and his love for us when we pray and read sacred Scripture. We are strengthened through prayer. We are inspired by the Holy Spirit through prayer. We learn about love when we come closer and closer to Jesus, our Savior in prayer. We are healed and consoled when we pray. When we try centering prayer, we seek to sense God’s closeness to us in a very beautiful way. Using the extra time available to us through the use of shortcuts to stay more in touch with God might be an idea to consider.

 “So be it” or, in a single word: “Amen.”

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Topics: Sharon Krause, take time to pray

"Hear the Word! by Bill Ayres: Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Bill Ayres on Feb 4, 2023 6:00:00 AM

A reading from the prophecy of Isaiah

(Chapter 58:7-10)

“Thus says the Lord: Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back against your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. You shall call and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am.”

This passage was written by a prophet in the tradition of Isaiah sometime after the Jewish people returned from the Babylonian Exile in the sixth century B.C. Finally home after all those years, they needed to remember where they came from, be thankful for the end of their exile, and help those who were in great need. Taking care of the poor, the homeless, widows, and orphans has been a strong part of Jewish tradition through multiple centuries right up to today. It is also an important part of our Christian belief. Please ask in your parish how you can share your time, talent, or material resources.

 Responsorial Psalm

(Psalm 112: 4-5, 6-7, 8-9)

“The just man is a light in the darkness to the upright.” Are you now or have you ever been a “light in the darkness” to another person? Has anyone been that light for you? Do you ever think about who has given or received light from you and what that has meant for you?

A reading from the Letter to the Corinthians

(Chapter 2:1-5)

Paul is writing this letter or perhaps dictating it from prison. He does not know how long he will live, but he probably figures it will not be long. He knows that there are several teachers who are his competition, including people who have become Christians in name but who want to hedge their bets and expound on the teachings of Greek philosophers and other non- believers. Paul writes that he does not have the wisdom or eloquence of such teachers but offers something more valuable and true, the mystery of God.

“When I came to you, brothers and sisters, proclaiming the mystery of God, I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom. For I resolved to know nothing when I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling, and my message and my proclamation were not of persuasive words of wisdom, but with the demonstration of Spirit and power, so that your faith may not rest on human wisdom but on the power of God.”

Paul is no longer in town. He is in prison and is feeling threatened by those other preachers. His power is not in words but in “the demonstration of spirit.” He believes in the power of the Holy Spirit which dwells in all his converts. It is that same Holy Spirit that lives in all who are baptized. As I have said so often in these commentaries, that is the mystery of God in us—the Holy Spirit!

I never knew that as a child and teenager going to Catholic school, but when I finally “got it,” it made all the difference in my life. I hope it will in your life as well.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew

(Chapter 5:13-16)

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. … Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”

We Christians must not hide our light. That does not necessarily mean that we must constantly talk about our faith but rather that we must live it in our family lives, our neighborhoods, our places of business or school, and in our wider society, by standing up for the gift of life, social and economic justice, and peace, and by acting on behalf of those in need of our help, support, prayers, and most important, our loving presence.


Photograph by Rohan Makhecha on Unsplash

Excerpts from the English translation of the Lectionary for Mass © 1969, 1981, 1997, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL). All rights reserved.
Bill Ayres was a founder, with the late singer Harry Chapin, of WhyHunger. He has been a radio and TV broadcaster for 40 years and has two weekly Sunday-night shows on WPLJ, 95.5 FM in New York. He is a member of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church in Centerport, New York.

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Topics: Hear the Word! by Bill Ayres, Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, care for those in poverty, Awaken to the Spirit

Stilling a Life of Value?

Posted by Alice Hugh Brown on Jan 31, 2023 12:02:24 PM

Scott James Eizember (1961-January 12, 2023)

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Posted by Sharon Krause on Jan 30, 2023 6:30:00 AM

A few months ago, my husband and I moved from Connecticut to south Florida. We now live very close to State Route 704, Okeechobee Boulevard, which has, at some areas, six lanes of traffic, and the traffic can legally go 50 miles per hour. There are many, many businesses on that road, and more malls and plazas off of it. Just about anything is available on or near the boulevard.

As we find our way around this new environment, the GPS (Global Positioning System) on our phones is very helpful. The voice on the device gives us timely notice about changing traffic lanes, road signs to look for, and even routes to avoid. When we arrive back at home, my husband's GPS voice even says, “Welcome home!”

I suggest that GPS can also stand for God Provides Solutions. If we are feeling lost or at a crossroads, our Lord is there to show us the way. There may be a tendency to go to God as a last resort, when all of our human ideas seem to be fruitless. From my experience, God should be our first and constant resort. Unlike the GPS on our charged-up phones, God does not lose his power.

In my life, God lays the groundwork for solutions sometimes quite far in advance. For example, God knew I needed to come closer to him, and so, when my daughter was a teenager and less dependent on me for things, he put a desire in my heart to attend some weekday Masses. A few months after that, the pastor invited me to become a minister of the Eucharist. Yes, that might have helped the pastor fill a need for another minister of the Eucharist who would make home visits to shut-ins and distribute Holy Communion at Masses, but the process also helped me to know my God in a more intimate way.

 God gifts us with various levels of creativity. He helps us solve problems using our own and others’ creative ideas. It is so important to be open to positive creativity, and at the same time, through prayer, to ask God’s opinion of these ideas. What we might label as a lucky coincidence could very well be God’s solution to a life problem. In all of this, patience is so important and not always easy to maintain. Creativity often involves some spontaneity, and that may have to be tempered through prayer as well. We have to trust in God’s wisdom and understanding.

 We can be comforted by many Scripture passages that tell of God’s presence and love. For example:

    Romans 8:28: We know that all things work for good for those who love God,

                           who are called according to his purpose.

     2 Timothy 1:7: For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power

                           and love and self-control.

    Psalm 50:15: Then call upon me in time of distress;

                           I will rescue you, and you shall glorify me.

    Proverbs 3:5: Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

                             on your own intelligence rely not;

                         In all your ways be mindful of him,

                             and he will make straight your paths.

These passages are short enough to memorize and motivate us as we seek solutions to our problemsuntil we die and go to heaven and hear God say, “Welcome home!”

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Topics: Sharon Krause, God's guidance

Chore Prayers

Posted by Sharon Krause on Jan 23, 2023 6:00:00 AM

There are many simple, mundane little jobs we do every day. Why not make those jobs more than chores? I say we should add a little prayerfulness and stir well. Here are some examples, but we all can add or subtract ideas.

 LAUNDRY. As I sort these clothes, O Lord, help me to learn to discern better what things in my life need to be sorted through carefully and, maybe, made better. I am grateful for those favorite clothing items that I enjoy wearing, but as I spray and treat small stains on my clothing, may I resolve to work to remove any habits that sully my relationship with you, my Lord. When I fold and put the clean clothes away, may the Holy Spirit help me to order my life and feel a sense of peace.

 DISHES. Lord, I am thankful for the food that has been on these dishes and in these cups. You have been so generous, Lord, and I don’t always remember to say grace before or after meals.

I think of the cup of wine at the Last Supper that you passed to your apostles after you changed the wine into your blood. You are such a generous Lord, sharing and giving your Body and Blood to us as divine nourishment. May I hold you close and let your love spill out to others.

 COOKING. Lord, I remember your feeding so many followers with just five loaves of bread and a couple of fish. I remember the account of your having breakfast waiting for your apostles when they had finished fishing. Preparing meals is not just about food. Help me to remember that love, care, and camaraderie can be there as well. Bon appetit!

 SWEEPING. Not only am I cleaning and clearing the way for my family and friends, but I am clearing the way for you to work in my life today, Lord. With your help, I will avoid those pesky little temptations that get in my way, and I will use my precious time to spread happiness and love—even in simple, little ways. I will endeavor not to sweep difficult decisions under the rug, but rather to ask the Holy Spirit for inspiration and wisdom.

MAKING THE BED. Good day, Lord! Thank you for comfortable sleep which gives me time to rest and reset. I remember that your infant bed was a manger, and I assume that as you walked various places in your public ministry, you did not have a soft, well-made bed on which to sleep. Help me never to take my comfort for granted. Enlighten me that I may use my well-rested self to bring comfort and consolation to your other children.


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Topics: forgiveness, gratitude, Sharon Krause, daily prayer

"Hear the Word! by Bill Ayres: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Bill Ayres on Jan 21, 2023 6:00:00 AM

A reading from the prophecy of Isaiah

(Chapter 8:23-9:3)

We are in the eighth century B.C., and the Assyrian army has taken over the two lands of Zebulun and Naphtali—the northern Israeli homelands of tribes associated with two of Jacob’s sons. Isaiah says that darkness covers the land, but now, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shown. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing, as they rejoice before you as at the harvest, as people make merry when dividing spoils. For the yoke that burdened them, the pole on their shoulder, and the rod of their taskmaster you have smashed.” The Assyrians were terrible rulers, but now God has spared his people from their domination.

Today, countless millions of the poorest people on earth are under the rule of despotic powers, and millions more in more developed countries such as Russia, Iran, and China live under stifling dictatorships. Let us be thankful for our democracy and the Constitution that protects us, and not take these gifts for granted.

 Responsorial Psalm

(Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14)

“The Lord is my light and my salvation.” There are times in our lives when the darkness seems to surround us, but the light of the Lord is always there to guide and protect us. Let us seek the light of the Lord when darkness tries to drag us down.

A reading from the Letter to the Corinthians

(Chapter 1:10-13, 17)

There are real divisions within our Church throughout the world and here in our country. As we hear from St. Paul today, this is nothing new. He beseeches the Corinthians, “I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose. For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers and sisters, by Chloe’s people, that there are rivalries among you. I mean that each of you are saying, ‘I belong to Paul’ or ‘I belong to Cephas’ (Peter) or ‘I belong to Christ.’ Is Christ divided? … For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.”

As we know, there were real differences among the apostles and the various Christian communities, and yet, they stayed together. They worked out their differences. That is our challenge today, as it has been for Christians throughout the past 20 centuries—to work out our differences without bad mouthing the other side, and to focus on the great truths we all believe in that bind us together.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew

(Chapter 4:12-23)

Matthew tells us that when Jesus hears that John the Baptist has been arrested, he moves to the same land that we read about in the prophesy of Isaiah, the land of Zebulun and Naphtali, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” And Matthew reports that as Jesus “was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once, they left their nets and followed him. He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them and immediately they left their boats and their father and followed him.”

So, that is how it all started—poor, uneducated fishermen were somehow moved to make a radical change in their lives. Obviously, Matthew gives us only the short version of these conversations. There must have been much more said, but Matthew wants us to feel the immediacy and power of the call from Jesus.

You and I have a “call” from Jesus, not just once, but throughout our lives. We refer to it as a vocation, but not long ago that word, “vocation,” applied in popular use only to people who were called to priesthood or religious life. Now, we know that it is a call to each of us, perhaps several different and related calls. In any case, it is a call to serve others—as wife, husband, father, mother, sister, brother, friend, partner. Do you see your life as a response to a call from God, perhaps several calls at different times? Ask yourself if you feel called, if your life is a response to calls from God. Your calls are gifts as well as challenges. Have you said yes? It is never too late.




Painting: The Call of Saints Peter and Andrew, (circa 1603-1606) Michelangelo Merici da Caravaggio, Hampton Court Palace, London. Public domain.

Excerpts from the English translation of the Lectionary for Mass © 1969, 1981, 1997, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL). All rights reserved.
Bill Ayres was a founder, with the late singer Harry Chapin, of WhyHunger. He has been a radio and TV broadcaster for 40 years and has two weekly Sunday-night shows on WPLJ, 95.5 FM in New York. He is a member of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church in Centerport, New York.

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Topics: Christian unity, Hear the Word! by Bill Ayres, third sunday in ordinary time


Posted by Sharon Krause on Jan 16, 2023 6:00:00 AM

There are so many kinds of leftovers, some good, and some not so good. With big and busy holidays, for example, there are often various amounts of leftover foods from the specially planned feasts. How long do the turkey remnants last in your refrigerator? Are there crumbly samples of many different cookies left over from the workplace cookie exchange? Was that big casserole too overwhelming to finish at one sitting?

For the most part, I like leftovers when it comes to food. Leftovers can mean I don’t have to plan a meal or bake something new. Often leftovers even taste better the next day. Sure, many meals of “repeats” can get to be too much, but from my experience, that does not happen very often.

Let’s get out of the realm of leftover foods. How about leftover laughter? What fun it is to recall a humorous incident or a funny joke and chuckle again to yourself. How about meeting a friend with whom you had shared a silly experience, and when your eyes meet, burst into laughter again?

There are treasured memories—-leftover thoughts—that linger with us for years. We joyfully recall life experiences with family members and friends who have moved away or passed away. We might remember and savor first-time happenings or last-time moments. We may love to rehash happy occasions or holy spiritual highs. Not long ago, we read in Sacred Scripture that after the shepherds visited the newborn Jesus,

Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. (Luke 2:19)

Of course, certain memories may be sad or punctuated with grief but remain part of our “leftovers repertoire.” Perhaps some thoughts that pop into our minds can involve resentment. I have heard of families that deal with leftover resentment or grudges for years. Nothing good comes from unforgiveness. Grudges should be discarded as if they were moldy aged food leftovers. The time with which each of us has been blessed should be used for producing and fostering positive, loving, and fruitful relationships and memories. We should pay attention to what St. Paul advises in Philippians 4:8:

    Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just,

   whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any

   excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

 I encourage all of us to be very careful which leftovers of any sort we carry with us this year. Making a resolution to invite the Holy Spirit into each day of our lives—and keeping that resolution—is a good ingredient for future promising leftovers!

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Topics: forgiveness, reconciliation, Scripture, Sharon Krause, holding grudges

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