Children Of Light

Within this past year, I have been diagnosed with narcolepsy & cataplexy. If you’re familiar with these diseases, you know that it is a large cross to carry. I’m still trying to figure out how to carry it and it looks pretty awkward. For those of you who do not know, narcolepsy and cataplexy have a variety of symptoms. Narcolepsy symptoms include; excessive daytime sleepiness, hallucinations, sleep paralysis, and disrupted night’s sleep. Cataplexy is a separate symptom of narcolepsy; people may have narcolepsy with or without cataplexy. Cataplexy is when a person experiences an intense emotion (laughter, anger, shock) and the muscles in their body give out. Their body is going into REM, but their mind is still conscious and aware, they just do not have control and become paralyzed at that moment. It can last for a few seconds up to a few minutes.

You might be thinking, okay this is not a medical blog, what is your point? My point is that sometimes we have certain parts of us or certain crosses we must carry for life. Some of us can let those crosses define us and become our identity.

I love sharing about my new cross and all the ways it is changing my future. I try to look at it positively and as a means of sanctification. Some may say that I’m a “narcoleptic”. Yes, technically that is true, but I’m much more than that.

In Today’s Readings, God has a large portion of truth to proclaim to us today. He proclaims our true identity. My identity is being His dear child of light. Your identity is being His dear child of light. Everything else is just minor details. As God’s children, we must always protect our hearts and minds from all things that lead us away from our Father. The First Reading explains what impurity, greed, disobedience, and immortality cannot be a part of our light. There is no place for things of darkness anymore, He has saved us from the darkness and brought us into His light.

The Gospel today soothes my weary narcoleptic heart. Jesus doesn’t just tell us our identity as His children of light, He shows us and moves us into that light. The woman that has been crippled for eighteen years had probably identified herself by her disability. After so many years of physical pain and hurt, it would be difficult not to. Jesus sees His daughter of light. He calls out to her and frees her from her disability, He lays His hands on her and she is healed. He sees His child. He tends to His child. He proclaims our identity as His children of light. He did not look at her and identify her by her sickness, but by the core of who she is.

I’m not sure how you identify yourself. Maybe if someone asked you to describe your identity you’d list off qualities and roles in your life. You may start with your vocation, priest, mother, father, or single. You may go to the title of your position in ministry or work; pastor, youth minister, teacher, or student. You may have a cross of illness and say; diabetic, narcoleptic, addict, etc. Today’s Word reminds us that these are all just details. We must remember who we are, His beloved children of light. Live in the light, live in the foundation of this relationship of love with your perfect Father. He cares, protects, and guides His children always. Be at peace, we are no longer in darkness. My friends, we are now in the light. Let’s live out our identity. Let us live as children of light.


Briana is a Catholic Doctrine teacher at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel school in Cleveland, OH. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Catechetics from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, OH and is excited to use these skills to bring her students closer to Christ and His Church. “My soul has been refined and I can raise my head like a flower after a storm.” -St. Therese


Closed Off From The World

As I was preparing writing this, my sister left me inspiration in a voicemail. Her words were:

“Today in religion class, they told us to put down our phones and interact. The importance of interaction. And I have to admit, that’s something you definitely taught me. When you’re in situations, you won’t hide by taking out your phone. If someone is there, you’ll be polite, talk to them, and allow them to interact with you rather than shutting yourself off.”

As my brother says, I was shooketh. First of all, can we talk about the fact that someone had to force these kids to socialize without a phone? I knew technology has taken over, but can you even imagine? That blew my mind. The second reason I’m surprised is that a recurring conversation that I have with my boyfriend embodies the complete opposite of what my sister said about me. He says that I am becoming the type of person who is always on their phone and needs to constantly be entertained. The worst part was that when he first brought it up, I couldn’t even deny it.

Still, I know both my sister and my boyfriend are right. I AM the kind of person that loves to interact with people. I love the small talk, the heart-to-hearts, the “so what do you do for fun” conversations with strangers. Sadly, I am quickly becoming the kind of person that placates themselves with their cell phone to avoid looking or feeling awkward, and that makes me so disappointed in myself. And disappointment, as we all learned as children, feels a lot worse than anger.

With today’s technological advancements, we are able to connect with more people than any past generation. Yet today’s generation isn’t doing too hot. Just checking social media (yes, from my phone) on World Mental Health Day was enough to make me realize how many of us feel alone, anxious, or depressed.

You see, when we are constantly on our phones, we close ourselves off to the world. Our phones, literally communication devices, cut off communication before it can even begin. Even when we put it in our pockets, we know we aren’t giving others 100% of our attention because we are thinking about checking our phones.

So we have to ask ourselves: How can we feed the hungry or shelter the poor or clothe the naked or invite the stranger or look after the sick when we are too engrossed in our phones to even see them around us? How can we call ourselves a proper disciple of Christ if we cannot even give the people in our lives the love and attention that they need?

We can’t.

So if you are reading this on your phone, finish this paragraph then put it down. Put it away. Yes, there will be a brief panic, but I encourage you to embrace it. Embrace the silence of your life. Embrace the stillness of your life. Just breathe. Give yourself 15-30 minutes without the worry of emails, of missed calls, and of texts. Give yourself freedom from the constant stress of missing out. Moreover, take this time to experience the world that God set in front of you. Talk to the people made in his image. If there’s no one around, then talk to God. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.


Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Michigan. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various articles in the Catholic Diocese of Austin’s official newspaper, the Catholic Spirit, and other local publications. She now works as the Content Specialist in Diocesan’s Web Department.


Cultivating A Life In The Truth Of Love

Standing in front of a class of students for 8 hours a day is one big test of humility it seems. I really did believe I was good in that department. I didn’t need any more circumstances to grow in that virtue, but of course, God usually has different plans. When explaining St. Paul’s teaching of the Church as One Body, I decided to do a really fun project. I had each student draw themselves on gingerbread men cutouts. I was very excited for how I envisioned this project to look at completion. I had them write their name and their greatest talent somewhere on their masterpiece. The class period is over and every student cut out their mini- person. The masterpiece I envisioned was to place each of these little cutouts together to form a big puzzle. The cutouts were specifically passed on to me with that purpose from another teacher… Sadly, I laid out each piece and shook my head.  There was no way this was going to work. No pieces fit together AT ALL. Trust me, I tried a variety of ways.

In a tiny moment of humility, which in teaching can also be referred to as humiliation, I decided to put their mini people together “holding hands”. In the hallway outside the 3rd-grade class, we have our poster hanging with the title, “One Body & One Family”. Even though it did not go as planned, my students saw the purpose and the unity. The poster was covered with words that describe a relationship of one body and family. They wrote words such as; respectful, loving, fair, trustworthy, honest, hardworking, accepting, and faithful. It wasn’t what I envisioned, but it definitely was beautiful.

Today’s First Reading reminds us of the call to build up this Body. The Body of Christ is not one to just be in and not do anything. Being baptized sons and daughters of the King requires us to dive deep. This reading tells us that we all have different roles, different vocations and gifts that we must use to build up His Body. It goes on to say that we should not be tossed by the waves. We should not be blown and swept away by the wind that arises, but “rather living the truth in love”. Living the truth in LOVE! This is our call. This is our vocation no matter what part we play in the Body of Christ. Living a life that is proclaiming His truth in love.

Whether you feel you are the heart, the mind, the strength or the arms, or sight of the eyes, whichever part your gift lies must be rooted in love. When we commit ourselves to living this life of love, “the proper functioning of each part, brings about the Body’s growth and builds itself up in love.”

In the Gospel today, Jesus gives another example for us to receive. He compares the working of the Body of Christ to the cultivation of a fig tree planted in an orchard. When it is not bearing fruit, the ground must be cultivated and fertilized so that it may bear fruit.

I look at my “masterpiece” in the hallway of our One Body and One Family. In it, I see my student’s cultivation and building of His Kingdom. Each talent and characteristic they are striving for requires much work. This is the work of our hearts and soul, which lay the cultivated and ready soil for us to bear fruit. What is a talent you have that you overlook? What is one characteristic of a family that you may need to work on? Let’s cultivate our soil, gloves on or off. Let’s be rooted in good soil, dive deep into that water so that we do not stay close to the shore. The Church, the Body of Christ, grows when we commit to cultivating our lives in living out the truth of love.


Briana is a Catholic Doctrine teacher at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel school in Cleveland, OH. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Catechetics from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, OH and is excited to use these skills to bring her students closer to Christ and His Church. “My soul has been refined and I can raise my head like a flower after a storm.” -St. Therese


Gratitude And Wisdom

We have a clue to the probability that in today’s Gospel Jesus is addressing those who are against him rather than the crowd of goodwill followers by his use of the word “hypocrites,” usually reserved for the Scribes and Pharisees. Jesus points out that they already know how to judge physical signs to predict what is coming, like the weather, but they do not know how to judge the subtler “signs of the times” to recognize more important things like the presence of the Messiah among them!

The context in which Luke places these words is a longer explication of how beloved we are, the shortness of our life on earth, the need for watchfulness, and the division between people that following Jesus will cause. He “shakes them up” a bit so that they will hear his reference to the importance of the present time and the need to attend to matters before it is too late, calling them to repentance while there is still time before judgment is rendered. His words are not meant to help them avoid legal difficulties with opponents before judges or to avoid earthly prisons. Rather, he is hoping to help them see that the time for peacekeeping and justice and charity is always now! He calls his hearers to act always as if this moment matters, because it does, and we cannot know how many more moments we will be on this earth.

These are valuable attitudes for right living and helping others to live uprightly as well! The Psalmist (Psalm 90:12) asks the Lord to help us know the shortness of life so that we may have WISDOM. Those who recognize this and act accordingly, making the most of each moment before God, live in gratitude and joy and wisdom.

What can we do each morning to begin the day with gratitude and the resolve to live the day in a way that will glorify God, serve others, and lead us to eternal joy?


Kathryn is married to Robert, mother of seven, grandmother to two, and a lay Carmelite. She has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE, and also as a writer and voice talent for Holy Family Radio. Currently, she serves the Church as a writer and presenter, and by collaborating with the diocesan Office of Faith Formation, individual parishes, and Catholic ministries to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Learn more at www.kathryntherese.com or on Facebook @summapax.


Incomprehensible Love

Wow, the first reading really spoke to my heart today. Sometimes we have problems knowing the love of God, don’t we? We know rationally that God loves us but we almost justify it as a far away detached love, kind of like the love between family members who have never met. They have a bond but it is not very deep. Since I have been married for over a week now and am pretty much a pro (haha) I can say that the type of love where we share everything, complete vulnerability, is scary. But it is also the most incredible thing that a human person can experience.

All throughout scriptures the analogy of a husband and a wife is used to describe the love between Christ and His Church. God wants to share an intimate, vulnerable, selfless love with us and have us return that love as well. This is what it is to be in a relationship. But sometimes that is really hard and scary to do. Now, are you ready for the most amazing part? God knows it is hard for us and so He helps us through it. He loves us so much that He gives us the grace to love in a complete way, and it’s even impossible without His grace.

In the first reading from today, the author of Ephesians prays that we can comprehend the love of God which surpasses all understanding. That is to say that our human minds and hearts cannot even begin to grasp the depth and beauty of the love of God. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity steps in and becomes one of us to teach us how we can love.

All throughout the scriptures we hear about covenants between God and His people. These covenants are broken time and again, but never by God. He is always the faithful one, always the one to pick us up, always the one to figure out a way. This is so beautiful. Having been married now for a little while I can say with conviction that this kind of self-giving love exists, and man is it amazing. And the love Nathalie and I share, as amazing as it is, is only a foretaste of the love we will share with God in heaven. How incredible, that God loves us so much that he wants us to experience and understand the depths of His love, a love that is incomprehensible to the human mind, but one we all desire. And he helps us get there. When we are weak He steps in with His grace and gives us the capability for a selfless love.

Let us pray for the strength to accept this free love and grace from God and to not be afraid to return it back so we can truly say we are in a relationship with Him. From all of us here at Diocesan, God Bless!


Tommy Shultz is a Solutions Evangelist for Diocesan. In that role, he is committed to coaching parishes and dioceses on authentic and effective Catholic communication. Tommy has a heart and a flair for inspiring people to live their faith every day. He has worked in various youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. He has been a featured speaker at retreats and events across the country. His mission and drive have been especially inspired by St. John Paul II’s teachings. Tommy is blessed to be able to learn from the numerous parishes he visits and pass that experience on in his presentations. Contact him at tshultz@diocesan.com.


The Guest House

I really like St. Peter. His question in today’s Gospel gives me much hope. He, as I so often do, has to ask the obvious: is this just for us or for everyone? Yes and yes! Jesus, as he was prone to do, gives Peter and the disciples yet another parable. Oh, how I long for a straight answer to prayer requests or what path I am to take. Free will. Is it really that important? Is it overrated? I occasionally struggle with decisions, both big and small. Why can’t God point me in the right direction?! The bigger point here may be that I’m such a whiner and complainer!

Jesus flat out tells us that he has made us the stewards of the master’s servants. It is up to us to keep things going according to his will (through the precepts in the 10 Commandments and the Beatitudes). He has given us the Holy Spirit, Sacraments and the Bible to help guide, nourish and inspire us on our journey. Even with all this support, I can find myself stymied, confused, distracted and dazed during my daily life.

While I was going through my divorce, I moved into a condo and started working two new (simultaneous) part-time jobs in the space of 3 months. I was emotionally, mentally and physically drained. I was operating on autopilot. When December rolled around just 2 months later, a great friend called saying a coworker had just been thrown out of her home and needed a place to stay. She knew my high schooler had not moved in with me and I had an open bedroom. I took a deep breath and said yes to this idea of a woman who I knew vicariously through my friend, so she could move in with me. She came to my home that evening, with a suitcase and a couple of boxes hastily thrown together.

I start a batch of cookies. The doorbell rings. My heart breaks for her and the drama she’s going through. My own soul starts to heal by feeling useful to another on a deeply personal level. I know her struggle of being displaced. I can focus on being available and just doing or providing little things: access to a washer & dryer, bed, food, stove & fridge, a cat to pet, a familiar couch & chair (generously shared with me during my own transition) to curl up on.

“That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely, and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly. Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still, more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” Lk 12:47-48 Was Jesus talking about situations like the above, or helping to take care of creation in my part of the country, or the dignity of life of the elderly or those with no one to help them in any given circumstance in life?

A friend recently shared this with me. I offer it to you so that you, too, can prepare for guests.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jellaludin Rumi


Beth Price is a Secular Franciscan (OFS) and spiritual director who has worked in several parish ministry roles during the last 20 years. She is a proud mother of 3 adult children. Beth currently works at Diocesan. You can contact her at bprice@diocesan.com.


O Death Where Is Your Sting?

“Be vigilant at all times and pray that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man.”

Death is a strange thing. I can still remember a moment in my childhood when I became aware of the reality of death. I remember asking my parents why everyone had to die. I think one of the most common reactions to death is uncertainty. In a world where so many things have been proven, learned and studied, death is one of those things that we still don’t know much about.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls us to be ready for the end. We must gird our loins and light our lamps and await the master’s return. But He does not call us to do this out of fear or uncertainty, but rather so we can be certain that we will spend eternity with Him. He says in the first reading that He is our peace and that He will put death not to us, but to the division we have caused in our hearts.

Once He has put death to enmity, we will then be full members of the household of God. So as strange and unclear that death is, as unnatural as it is to our human condition, the thing that is really being put to death, in the end, is our sinfulness so we can rise victorious because of what Christ did for us on the cross.

You may have heard of the idea of the original sin being a happy fault because it gained for us so great a redeemer. It is kind of the same with death and the end times. These are now necessary parts of the human condition that strip away the brokenness, sin, hurt, and pain of this world so that we may go beyond death into eternal life.

This is what Christ gained for us. So when He says to be watchful and vigilant, He is calling us to have certainty that when the end comes, we will be among those good and faithful servants. He wants to replace our uncertainty with full knowledge of the world, He wants to put death to our old ways and raise us to new life, He wants us to be His people, His community, His household, happy with him forever because of the power of the cross. That is good news. God Bless!

“O Death, where is your sting?”


Tommy Shultz is a Solutions Evangelist for Diocesan. In that role, he is committed to coaching parishes and dioceses on authentic and effective Catholic communication. Tommy has a heart and a flair for inspiring people to live their faith every day. He has worked in various youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. He has been a featured speaker at retreats and events across the country. His mission and drive have been especially inspired by St. John Paul II’s teachings. Tommy is blessed to be able to learn from the numerous parishes he visits and pass that experience on in his presentations. Contact him at tshultz@diocesan.com.


Taking It To Your Grave

Let me share this quote with you. I’m paraphrasing, as I can’t remember the exact wording. See if you can guess who might have said this. Hint – it’s a famous person: “You can take all your things and stuff them into your pockets and take them to your grave. Or, you can take your stuff and do some good with it”. Think about it for a minute.

How many pairs of shoes do you have? How many purses or ties? How much is stuffing your closets to overflowing, doing no one any good because you can’t even keep track of all you have? Think of the parable of the rich man with the bountiful harvest. Instead of distributing the excess of his harvest to those in need, he built bigger barns to hold it all. Why? Because it was his!

How many of us have purchased larger homes because we outgrew the old ones because of more and more stuff; or rented storage units because our closets and garages were overflowing? When was the last time you de-cluttered and took things to the local mission, or to Goodwill or the Salvation Army?

I can answer for myself — it’s been awhile.

For what are we saving it all? A good question to ask ourselves when we can’t find what we want for the overabundance in our storage spaces. I do know that when I have given away the excess, I find I don’t miss any of it. What does that say about me? Things rule our lives. I remember someone, sometime, saying: The things you own eventually own you. How true.

Now I don’t mean to rag on anyone who has a lot. I’m sure most people work very hard for what they have and have every right to enjoy the fruits of that labor. But it can be taken to excess without any thought of others who don’t have that blessing. We must be careful and be ready to share with others.

The rich man in today’s Gospel parable says we should “…rest, eat, drink and be merry!” because of all the goods we have stored up for many years to come. Perhaps, instead, we should listen to the rather harsh and  ominous, but very true, words of Jesus: ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.

Just what does matter to God? You might re-read Matthew 25: 31-46. This section of the Gospel lays out how you store up riches for heaven. Your exercise for this week is to try to identify where you might be lacking and begin to act on Jesus’ warning. And, of those blessings, we can surely build all the extra storage barns we need in our hearts and souls to hold them all until heaven beckons.

Now, back to the quote at the top of this reflection. It was by Hoda Kotb, NBC Today show co-anchor. Wise women!

God Bless.


Jeanne Penoyar, an Accounts Manager here at Diocesan, is currently a Lector at St. Anthony of Padua parish in Grand Rapids, MI. While at St. Thomas the Apostle, Grand Rapids, Jeanne was a Lector, Cantor, Coordinator of Special Liturgies, Coordinator of lectors and, at one time, chair of the Liturgy Commission. In a past life, secretary/bookkeeper at the Basilica of St. Adalbert where she ran the RCIA program for the Steepletown parishes. And she loves to write! When relaxing, she likes reading and word puzzles. You can contact her at jpenoyar@diocesan.com.


He Lived It, He Gets It

I love Jesus. And the older I grow, the more I grow in understanding of Him and love of Him.

Despite my failings, He continues to transform from the historic, static figure that I knew as a child into a living and relatable person.

After reading this passage, I like to imagine being around Jesus at church or a party and just sharing small talk about the weather. “Hey Jesus, are you freezing too?! Man, It went from summer to winter back to fall to winter again in a week.” “Right?! My toes are freezing. I need to get real shoes.”

 I would love to share quality time with Jesus, maybe sharing a drink with Him… and if we run out, we don’t have to run to the store.

The Gospels hit the highlights of Jesus’ life. They’re like a Facebook feed of His life: just the important parts. But there’s far more of His life that is undocumented in the Gospels.

In Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, there is a scene that shows Jesus building a table at Mary’s home. They laugh playfully together as they test His new item. He lived this life. He knows our experience. He knows what it feels like to be sweaty and uncomfortable. He knows what it’s like to taste the deliciously cooked food and taste good wine.

He knows especially our struggle. I think that’s why I want to imagine sharing small talk about the weather or some other shared experience because I know He can relate. That’s usually why we share small talk, so we can make a connection with another person.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

Jesus, He lived it; He gets it.


During the week, Matthew Juliano is a mentor for individuals who have developmental and intellectual disabilities. On the weekends, he is a drummer for Full Armor Band. You can find more content by Matt and his band at www.fullarmorband.com.


Worth More Than Many Sparrows

“Beware… (but) do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.”

In this Gospel, Jesus goes from warning to reassuring. He first warns his close disciples to beware of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. Why is this warning needed? Because Jesus plans to put them in positions of leadership of the Church He will establish, and He wants them to always remember and guard against the kind of superficial concerns and selfishness that keep the Pharisees from loving and serving truly. Authority has the tendency to stir in those who have it the desire to do what is expedient in order to keep it. Jesus says: Keep desire for truth and love and humility as the main concern, and don’t fall into the trap of self-righteous self-protection that the Pharisees have fallen into!

Then He addresses the crowd, which Luke points out has grown dramatically, to the point that they are trampling one another underfoot (the translation of the Greek is “tens of thousands”). Jesus now has so many followers that He could, if He desired, lead a rebellion to overthrow the Romans and at last take authority of the Kingdom that so many believed He had come to establish. But no; another lesson in authority is given: His Kingdom is not of this world, and will not be established by force. His Kingdom is quiet and hidden, expanding heart by heart as each person opens to Him and invites Jesus to reign within. This King expands his Kingdom by surrendering His whole self and His life for us.

But this Kingdom is also demanding! To enter into the Kingdom means we lovingly surrender all in return, and that the full Truth – of ourselves and of God – will eventually be known to all! In the interim, we need not fear anything, not even those who can take our mortal lives with violence, because this Kingdom we have longed for will be more fully ours after our death.

Our courage and faithfulness in the face of many difficulties arise from the truth of God’s great love for us and his never-failing help, his infinite loving kindness. We are not loved “en masse” but as individuals, even in the smallest details. God sees every detail of our lives, both the deep, hidden hurts and the tiny acts of loving service that go unnoticed by others. Jesus assures us that God knows the details we cannot know fully, that the very hairs of our head have all been counted. Even the sparrows, worth so little that a fifth one is thrown in when four are purchased, do not escape the providence of God.

And you, “you are worth more than many sparrows.”


Kathryn is married to Robert, mother of seven, grandmother to two, and a lay Carmelite. She has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE, and also as a writer and voice talent for Holy Family Radio. Currently, she serves the Church as a writer and presenter, and by collaborating with the diocesan Office of Faith Formation, individual parishes, and Catholic ministries to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Learn more at www.kathryntherese.com or on Facebook @summapax.


Sent In Pairs

Jesus sent them in pairs. In today’s Gospel, he sent them in pairs to go out the cities he would later visit. He essentially told them to bring nothing but their faith. He also knew full well that it would not be easy because he said: “I am sending you like lambs among wolves.”

Our world today is full of wolves. So where is our buddy? If Jesus sent them in pairs, why am I alone?

You feel alone because you choose to be alone due to insecurities and you shouldn’t.

I personally struggle with this a lot, so don’t think that it’s easy for me to say these things. Quite frankly, these blog articles are just as much for me as they are for you, the reader. When Jesus said to let the children come to me, he did not say “oh, but only if they are perfect,” because he knows that we have flaws. When he embraces us, he embraces them and tells us to come as we are.

A couple of months ago, I confided in my friend about my history of depression/anxiety and she reminded me that self-doubt is the work of the devil. As I said, Jesus knows our flaws and still loves us, so why are we afraid of who we are? If the only person that can truly judge us can accept us, then why are we–no, why am I–so scared to be myself?

So when Jesus sends them in pairs, like lambs among wolves, He gives them faith and each other. He does not send them alone. In Genesis, Adam is given Eve. Likewise, we should not blindly cling to our pride or independence throughout our lives just because we think we will be judged. We were not put on earth to be alone, otherwise, we would be. I don’t doubt that God has the power to isolate each of us, but he chose not to.

To clarify, I am not saying that as a woman, you need a man and as a man, you need a woman. What I am trying to say is that we are not on this planet alone, so we should act accordingly. You can be independent and still want someone to share your life with. It doesn’t need to be a significant other. It can be a sibling or a friend. Regardless, you alone have the choice to bring people into your life or keep them out.

Bring faith into your life because life is hard. Keep faith in your life because it provides hope and peace. Similarly, we should invite people into our lives because life is hard. Keep people in your life because you are not alone. Even as we sit alone in our cars on the drive to work, we have our guardian angel, we have Jesus, we have God, we have the Holy Spirit, all waiting for us. We can find each of them in the people around us, but first, we have to set aside our Satan-inspired pride and insecurities.

So, today, set aside your pride and share your life with someone. Share your struggles and feel that sigh of relief knowing you are accepted. When someone shares their struggles with you, take a step to accept others as Jesus accepts them. Embrace their conversation and try to understand their struggles. Better yet, begin to accept yourself as he does, because everyone feels alone.

But we don’t have to; he is with us.


Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Michigan. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various articles in the Catholic Diocese of Austin’s official newspaper, the Catholic Spirit, and other local publications. She now works as the Content Specialist in Diocesan’s Web Department.


Obeying Out Of Love

This Gospel challenges us, as Jesus challenges the Scribes and Pharisees. It can also be easily misinterpreted to mean that the Law is not important. But a true interpretation recognizes that all things – even very good things – must be balanced by LOVE and must lead to Love.

A quick history:

The first sin was committed against God because Adam and Eve doubted His love and goodness toward them. Later, as the human race continued to move away from God, Abram was called to follow God in faith, and his descendants were also called to trust and obey, which they did with varying success. By the time of Moses, they have become a “stiff-necked people,” so this possibility of serving God in free faith is diminished considerably. But God has not given up: through Moses, He makes a new covenant carved in stone with them, a covenant under the Law. It’s helpful to note that this Law was given to set them apart and ensure freedom from sin and hopelessness in this world; if God wanted slaves, He would have left them in Egypt! This Law developed over time until it covered every aspect of life, which connected each person throughout the day with the truth that they were a Chosen People, from whom the Messiah would come, and kept them “clean” for the Temple observances, set apart for God.

The Scribes protected the Law, interpreted and explained it, and the explanations took on the sense of hundreds of additional rules. The sect of the Pharisees distinguished themselves by strict observance of these rules in the minutest details.

These Pharisees have been hounding Jesus on his lack of observance of the Law, which they consider paramount. This is the danger with Law: wherever there are rules, there is a temptation to think that strictly observing them is holiness before God. The Pharisees have slipped into the error of believing that objective adherence to the rules is the most important thing; they have missed the point that external rules are intended to lead us to deep interior conversion and conforming to God’s will, growing in love.

So Jesus calls them out, not saying that the Pharisees should not have followed the Law and paid their tithes, but that they should have ALSO paid attention to “judgment and to love for God.” He points out that they love themselves and their own ideas and reputations, loving to be honored and recognized. This is not loving God, but using the Law as a way of glorifying themselves. They also use it as a weapon, which is proven by the fact that they seek to trap him, and eventually appeal to the Law to execute him: “We have a Law, and according to that law he must die!” (John 19:6-7).

Jesus calls all of us to obey God’s laws, but to obey out of LOVE and not forget to help others so that we become the saints we are called to be!


Kathryn is married to Robert, mother of seven, grandmother to two, and a lay Carmelite. She has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE, and also as a writer and voice talent for Holy Family Radio. Currently, she serves the Church as a writer and presenter, and by collaborating with the diocesan Office of Faith Formation, individual parishes, and Catholic ministries to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Learn more at www.kathryntherese.com or on Facebook @summapax.