Preaching The Transfiguration

The Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord is not a holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church. It is, however, written about in all three synoptic gospels: Matthew 17:1-8, Mark 9:2-9 and Luke 9:28-36. A Transfiguration account is also read on the second Sunday of Lent each year, proclaiming Christ’s divinity to the Elect in the RCIA process, as well as to those of us who are baptized.

I humbly submit that my words cannot come close to any of the reflections you may hear on this great feast day. I do, however, have a selection of  very good homilies you may like to listen to:

Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Aug 6, 2014, some wonderful insights in this homily addressing a gathering of Knights of Columbus. He has such a beautiful way of bringing in his personal experiences and relating them to the scripture. He speaks about a time with Pope Francis and also the transformative experience of St. Francis of Assisi with the leper.

Fr Joseph Mary, MFVA, has a wonderful homily which speaks about the source of unity through Jesus Christ in many great illustrations of community around us. If you don’t want to listen to the readings and psalm, scroll to the 8:45 time stamp on the Youtube video from the EWTN broadcast a few years ago.

Fr. Alex Valladares, from the Archdiocese of Mobile, has a powerful homily that looks at the Transfiguration. The actual Transfiguration probably occurred between 2 high feasts of the Jewish faith, Yom Kippur, or the Feast of Atonement and the Feast of the Tabernacles, Sukkot, which is also called the Feast of the Booths. This too, was broadcast on EWTN, and if you would prefer not to hear the readings of the day, start at 8:28 into the feed.

I don’t know if I have a favorite of the three. Each homily is so very different. That’s what draws me deeper into my faith. Each and every time I hear or read scripture or listen to a homily, the experience is unique and strikes me in ways that may not have resonated with me during my last hearing. What is a homily you enjoyed? Go back and take a listen to it. Although the same words, you may hear something entirely different.


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


Shepherds After My Own Heart

“I will appoint over you shepherds after my own heart, who will shepherd you wisely and prudently.” Jer 3:15  

Today’s readings are full of imagery: rebellious children, shepherds after my own heart, the Lord guarding us as a shepherd guards his flock. I will turn their mourning into joy. Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart and yield a harvest through perseverance. The parable of the sower. So much wisdom, insight and beauty packed into 13 lines of scripture. That’s what keeps drawing me back to the scriptures; I can read a few verses that are very pertinent to my life in that moment. When I pick up the same verses either later that day, or the next year, the verses will not strike me in the same way it had before. (If you’ve not started using pencil in your bible to underline the verse or word that jumps out at you, I highly recommend it). Put a thin notebook in with your bible to jot down any insights, thoughts or phrases going through your mind as you reflect on the scripture verses. Yes, read them to yourself or out loud, and yes, more than once. Sit with whatever has caught your attention for a few minutes.This is a type of lectio divina.

What kept popping up to me as I read and listened to the Word was the good shepherd, who has kept the word with a generous heart, yielding a harvest through perseverance. Jesus Christ is the ultimate Good Shepherd, but who have been the shepherds on your own journey? The individual among the other sheep, who by his or her own perseverance of listening to the word, has invited or nudged you to follow the Lord?

Deacon Dean at my parish, is a wonderful homilist. Deacon Dean is a sheep of the flock, just like you and I. He perseveres in his service to the Lord through his prayer and leads through his daily practices and commitments in his life. He breaks open the Word through his own life struggles and prayer. My pastor has been sitting with Deacon’s Sunday homily all this week and sharing where his prayer has lead him during the daily homilies.  Both my pastor and deacon are shepherds (and sheep) whom I trust and follow. There are many members of my Franciscan fraternity, family and friends, authors and other leaders whose voices I trust and follow.

There are many people whose call I do not respond to as they represent a seed sown among thorns to me, as it seems “worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke out the word and bears no fruit” (Mt 13:22). For me, they may have had the “evil one steal away what had been sown in their hearts” and now do not hear the Good Shepherd’s voice in the word or world around them (Mt 13:19). I personally feel called to pray for all those who have this happen in their lives, and for the times when it has happened in my own. Pray with me, that the good shepherd open my eyes, ears and heart to follow the right leaders and path to the Lord.


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


Faith Keeps Hope Alive

The readings today are harsh. In the Gospel, Jesus is reproaching the towns in which many of his miracles had been done. Many of those in the towns did not repent and change their ways.

They saw people healed, heard his parables and teachings, tasted the wine changed from water yet they did not believe.  His practices fell on deaf ears. They harden their hearts to his voice.

How many times have I done that in my own life? I cannot even count the times I’ve mentally checked out at Mass and not paid attention to the liturgy of the Word or the liturgy of the Eucharistic sacrifice right before me. How many times have I heard about someone with a life ending illness or accident be miraculously healed, that I write off as a misdiagnosis or just a medical team supporting those involved in the process. I’m skeptical and sometimes cynical about many situations. Is it possible that the owner of an object that just went by me on a flatbed, totally unrecognizable as a car, survived with minor injuries? How are 12 boys and their soccer coach rescued after almost three weeks from a flooding cave in Thailand?

The answer for me is simple, because of faith. We choose to believe because of our faith in the healing, saving power of God. Faith helps guide and inspires us to dream and do the seemingly impossible or take the next small step in an arduous situation. Faith keeps hope alive.

Take a look at the language in the catechism that speaks about the theological virtues of faith, hope and love. Listen to the song Aware by Salvador: ‘Make me aware. Help me see that everything I am is not all about me.’ Let us not to harden our hearts to your voice Lord, in those things seen all around us. Let us grow in the virtues of faith, hope and love.


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.


Your Sins Are Forgiven

“Your sins are forgiven”. Four words that are so very powerful. These words give me such peace when the priest confessor says them to me as I receive a blessing at the close of each and every confession. These four words tell me I have been reconciled with God. It brings great joy, and usually tears, as I hear them spoken to me. As Jesus says to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven” (MT 9:2b).

In today’s reading, Jesus tells the paralytic man to “rise…and go home” (MT 9:6c). There is an action here. The man must leave and go home. From the confessional, I too must leave the presence of the Lord and go back into the world. I can’t just sit in the moment forever. After my confession and absolution, I have been asked by the priest to share my story with others, say some prayers, reflect on specific scripture readings, and a few other things, all requiring some action on my part. I believe each of us is called to go out and do something because we live in communities. We are to be witnesses to others, charged to do so by our baptism, as a light in the world.

Yes, I can go home and sit by myself – which I do regularly. God, however, does not want me, or you, to be alone all the time. We come together to be fed by the Word of God and Body of Jesus each time we go to Mass. At the end of Mass, we are all told to ‘go out and share the Good News’. You don’t have to do anything earthshaking. It can be as simple as smiling, coordinating Vacation Bible School (or buying supplies), helping a co-worker in a way you don’t normally assist, or speaking up when you see an injustice occur. Yes, absolutely tackle the big project or take the first step to healing a personal or societal ill on any level. You can take your gift of forgiveness and pray it forward by praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet for the sins of the world.

We are so very blessed as Catholic Christians. Now, take those blessings out into the world and share the Good News. Each new day, every new journey begins with one step, no matter the size. Take a breath, say a prayer and keep walking the Way with courage, child.


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


Remain in Me

“Teach me the way of your decrees, O Lord”, is the responsorial psalm for today. I don’t know about you, but I need this constant reminder. I must focus on the decrees of the Lord because it is too easy for me to think, ‘yea, yea, I know all that. Let me tell others what I think the Lord is saying to them in their own situations.’ Wrong! That is not the way to bear good fruit. As the Alleluia refrain reiterates, “Remain in me, as I remain in you, says the Lord; whoever remains in me will bear much fruit” JN 15:4a, 5b.

These passages always reminds me of 2 of my all time favorite saints. Mother Teresa (aka St. Teresa of Calcutta) and St. Francis of Assisi. As a member of the Secular Franciscans, I am part of 300,000 professed lay people who love and support the Church with a focus of the life and witness of St. Francis. St. Francis produced much good fruit because of his faithful obedience and love of God. Take a look at the following article to learn a bit more about the Saint and his charisms here

Mother Teresa bore much good fruit in her life by following the decrees of the Lord. This one young woman, who began by listening to the voice of God while traveling on a train, is a beautiful example of a good tree. St. Teresa’s commitment to “remain in me, as I remain in you”, was a testament to her dedication. In her book, “The Simple Path”, Mother Teresa shares a prayer that hangs on the walls of the Sisters of Charity homes around the world. I share it with you today because it has become a touchstone for me over the last 20+ years due to its simplicity. That being said, it is a prayer that has borne fruit for me; for you, dear reader, it may not strike an accord, or bear good fruit. It is for you to decide.

The Simple Path

The fruit of silence is PRAYER.

The fruit of prayer is FAITH.

The fruit of faith is LOVE.

The fruit of love is SERVICE.

The fruit of service is PEACE.

-St. Teresa of Calcutta


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


Love One Another

The verse announcing the Gospel today is crystal clear: “I give you a new commandment; love one another as I have loved you”. John 13:34   

So why is it that I have said, “I hate you” to even my sisters, my spouse, my parents and so many others? Today’s Gospel states this great commandment another way, ”But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.”  

Just sit with that for a bit. Go ahead. Read it again and close your eyes. Clear your mind to focus on what Jesus meant when he said, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,… for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and unjust.”

God created each and every one of us out of love, made in His image. This is a universal fact. It doesn’t matter who my parents are, or what country I’m born in, rich or poor; I’m a member of the human race.

Each and every person has attributes both physical and emotional. We have physical and emotional needs to be met and nurtured. When a child is born a new creation comes into this world to be loved and cherished. When there is death, a light goes out and needs to be mourned. It does not matter if a child wasn’t planned or not perfect. It doesn’t matter if the person who died was your greatest antagonist or tormentor. That person was a child of God, just like you and me.

Jesus came into the world for the salvation of all, not just the ones that look like me, talk like me, or are born into my faith, or country. If they are persecuted and have no safe place to call home, do I care any less for them as a fellow human being? Where is my compassion and love for the refugee, asylum seeker, the person working 3 jobs struggling to make ends meet? Who loves the residual casualties in any violent conflict? How can we even think a person is ‘residual’?

God commands us to “be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Mt 5:48 This boggles my mind. I have to be vigilant to make sure that at all times I am striving for perfection. I must constantly being on guard against the evil one and his minions who are seeking to creep into my daily life at any moment, ready to pull me and trap me into little lies and deaths to the truth, the love of God.In the perfect ‘Shalom,’ or peace, of God’s kingdom as he meant it to be (as in the garden of Eden before the fall) all can live in harmony: the lion lies down with the lamb, the family is together–not torn apart– as it enters into the garden.

We are created with so much potential to do and be good, to love all. Let’s try to remember, “love one another as I have loved you.” Pray it throughout this day, to remember our world needs this unconditional love poured out into each corner of the world.


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.


Don’t Believe the Lie

While praying with today’s readings, my mind kept being pulled to the following two lines in the Gospel: “Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion. You do not regard a person’s status but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.” I also am drawn to a line in the first reading from 2 Peter 3:17, “Therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, be on your guard not to be led into the error of the unprincipled and to fall from your own stability.”

My own stability is in the way of God, in accordance with the truth, but it hasn’t always been. It is so easy to be led into the error of the unprincipled, to be caught up in a passionate speech of half truths. I keep thinking of all the terrible illustrations in our human history that whip up popular sentiment and leads people to terrible things because they are told to believe a lie. “A wall will protect us”, “a vulnerable life is easily dismissed or disposable”, “someone who has a different way of life or color of skin has a different worth than me”.  This is where my fall from stability can come into play if I am not aware of the truth or choose to ignore the truth.

It is usually very controversial to address the half truth; to call out the lie and state the truth. I have to be as Casting Crowns sings, to “Love You with the Truth.” Why is it that speaking the truth (in love) can be so threatening to others? Is it because we might realize that we’re wrong, that so many mistakes have been made and have to be accounted for and atoned? Atonement is, after all, what allows us to be “Free”.

I would like to believe I am a truthful woman. I do ponder though, how concerned am I with the opinions of others. I can struggle with doubt. I can struggle with the opinions of others, especially when I neglect to be grounded in the teachings of the Gospel. I find His truth in my surroundings and today I was called to these embedded songs (from my long ago youth ministry days). I hope you take a moment to listen to His voice in these songs. Don’t fall into the trap of forgetting that “I Believe in God”. Know your focus is to be on His love and His truth spoken through His son Jesus Christ.  The truth will “set you free”.


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.


Holy Spirit Come

The readings for today have been challenging me. My initial reaction to the first reading is, ugh, Paul imprisoned for a long time, yet a faithful witness. OK, really not the path I want to see myself taking. However, if God puts imprisonment in my path, then, I’ll follow His lead….gulp!

As for the Gospel, I envision Peter with a toss of his head saying, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus replies with a downward disappointing glance, shaking his head, “What’s it matter to you?… You follow me.” Again, ugh. Me, follow Him, OK, I’m walking that path.

Not to judge others on the way, just focus on Jesus. I can’t always keep focus on the things I have to do today at work, around my condo, in my personal life, in any number of situations. Who am I to judge if anyone else can keep his/her focus on Jesus?

Peter had no right to judge or give a head nod to another disciple. He’ll deny Jesus 3 times! It’s hard having to be constantly vigilant, to love all (through Jesus’ perspective, love one another as I love you). I catch myself trying not to grind my teeth when my button is pushed because of something said by a neighbor, coworker, family member, civic leader and being ready to offer a prayer of patience, love and humility for the one speaking, if I cannot find the words to speak the truth in love at that moment.

I draw strength and fortitude in the fact that today is the day before Pentecost, the 9th day of the Pentecost novena. I need the Holy Spirit to enliven the gifts given to me in baptism in order to follow you, Jesus. I cannot be a good citizen in this world, without your grace and blessings. I need to rely on you in order to follow you.

O Holy Spirit, divine giver of gifts, grant me a servant’s heart so I can place the gifts I have been given at the service of others. Move me to compassion for those around me. Enlighten my ignorance, advise me in my doubts, strengthen me in weakness, protect me in temptation and struggles. Fill me with your holy gifts so I may have success the duties you have set before me, that I may do what is right and just. Help me to grow in goodness and grace. Amen


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.


Letting Go and Letting God

May is filled with an abundance of celebrations: Baptisms, First Eucharist, graduations, retirements, weddings, anniversaries and funerals. Each milestone has its own unique character, anticipation, excitement and anxiety over what may unfold.  We can prepare for the upcoming event, but no one knows what the process – the actual journey- may contain to get to that endpoint. The pictures are taken, and the moment is forever frozen in time, but these do not begin to convey the effort or drama surrounding that one event. Now, what’s next?

In today’s Gospel, Jesus lets us know there is so much more that he wants to tell us, but we cannot handle it at this time. Most of me wants to know why not? I’m an adult. I can handle it. I’m in control of my own fate, but I then cringe at this line of thought. I hear, ‘You can’t handle the truth,’ echoing in my head. Am I being truthful with myself to think that I won’t need help bringing a new baby home, moving a parent into assisted living, confronting a diagnosis, recovering from surgery, beginning a new job or starting a different phase of a relationship? Do I really think that I have enough courage and stamina to make it through any situation on my own? The Serenity Prayer comes to mind. I need to focus on God’s will for me and my life. I usually forget that I’m supposed to surrender to Him because of my arrogance and wanting to be in control. What was I thinking?

Thankfully, I’m in good company when forgetting my way in life. This prayer helps center me as I take my next step.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.  Thomas Merton


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.


A Person’s a Person No Matter How Small

‘I Hate You,’ my child screams at me. ‘Well, you aren’t my favorite person right now either, but I LOVE YOU. Now, you’re grounded, or go to your room, or no car keys for a month.’  How many times does that play out in our homes? Learning the rules and testing the boundaries of our lives is not an easy process either as a parent or a child.

Pope Francis’ monthly intention is ‘That the lay faithful may fulfill their specific mission, by responding with creativity to the challenges that face the world today.’  Being a loving parent, shaping and instilling moral character as well as virtues and conscience, definitely fit the description of a specific mission. One that needs creative care to meet the challenges of nurturing competent, empathetic, passionate members of society.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says, ‘”I have told you this so that you may not fall away. They will expel you from the synagogues; in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God.’

As I reflected on this, I recalled a recent conversation with two of my twenty-something adults while driving home from a family gathering. ‘So you’re saying that if you know you are going to have a baby with downs syndrome, or another defect, you shouldn’t have the choice to abort it, (NPR) even considering all the long-term care and expenses that family will have?’  I answered again, ‘No. A person’s a person, no matter how small’, using my favorite quote from Dr. Seuss.

There are those of this world who would hate me and call me a hypocrite, in light of the fact that I had an abortion as a young adult and immediately regretted the decision to end my baby’s life almost 34 years to the day of this reflection. Does the world hate me; maybe. Does God? No, my confessors tell me. No, I hear from the leaders on my Rachel’s Vineyard retreat. No, Jesus tells me as I kneel in adoration, or when I receive communion, or when I bow my head and pray.

As the conversation in the car continued, my eldest expressed regret at having spoken about abortion 20 minutes prior. Do I bring up the fact that the next baby I carried, the one sitting right next to me, had a congenital birth defect, and had I known at the time, I would not have chosen abortion, not ever again? Do I bring up the fact that an abortion rips you apart as well as your baby, no matter how small?  No, instead I chickened out, using exhaustion as my excuse. I am very well aware of how challenging it can be to have a child with special needs, but each and every person is uniquely made and has his or her own challenges, no matter how small or large, to be dealt with throughout life.

I share this with you today because I asked God for forgiveness and healing. I have had my own challenges and have made my own mistakes, but it is through the world’s hatred that Jesus was willing to completely give of himself on the cross. Redemption and salvation are mine because Jesus came into the world. He was hated, suffered, died and rose again for my sins, as great as they are because He so loves me and all those who come into the world.

 


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.