Visiting the Imprisoned / Visitando a los Encarcelados

If you or I ever wished that Jesus would personally tell us what he wishes for us to do, it is the above reading that makes it very clear. Jesus talks to us about feeding the hungry and thirsty, helping a stranger, helping clothe the naked, visiting the sick, and visiting those in prison. 

I can remember this list from many years ago and trying to be honest with myself. I was doing great until the last one, visiting those in prison. That was one that made me rationalize I could do all of those except for that one. I had friends in prison ministry who told me how wonderful it was. I told them very “calmly” that it was not a good fit for me. My wife reminded me that I was making a judgment based on zero knowledge. She knows how to get to me. 

I had a friend at that time who was very involved in jail ministry at the Kent County jail. Lay ministers would go to the jail on Saturday nights. He said he would come by someday and pick me up. I told him not to bother and that I wasn’t interested. About a month later we were eating dinner and somebody was blowing their horn out in our driveway. I jumped up and went out there and guess what? It was him. Come on, jump in he said we’re going down to jail! I said well have a nice ride by yourself! He rejected my words and said “get in now”! So I did. 

Back in the day a person that was cleared to come into jail could bring a friend without a background check. As we walked through the facility I heard three loud klinks as the doors locked behind me. I was somewhat intimidated by that. We were led down a long hallway to the end and to the last jail cell on the left. Above the door was a red light that was not turned on. The officer told us if we had any trouble to flick the switch on the inside and it would turn the light on and they would come down and help. Yeah right!  

When I got into the jail cell there were fifteen of the toughest looking guys I had ever seen in my life! After a couple of minutes, the Lord’s presence was so heavy in the cell that I began to weep. This was not good! When I recovered I felt like that was the place I was supposed to be! I ministered there for about 10 years. God knows best! 

So the next time He asks you to do something you don’t really want to, it’s probably exactly what he wants you to do! Don’t just take my word for it, take His Word for it! 

I beg you not to rationalize yourself out of God’s request. It might be one of the greatest ministries you are ever involved in. Also, don’t forget those other things he is asking you to do. Those incarcerated men gave me back more than I could have ever given them. Hallelujah.

Serving with joy!

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Si usted o yo alguna vez deseamos que Jesús nos dijera personalmente lo que desea que hagamos, la lectura anterior lo deja muy claro. Jesús nos habla de alimentar al hambriento y sediento, ayudar a un extraño, ayudar a vestir al desnudo, visitar a los enfermos y visitar a los encarcelados.

Puedo recordar esta lista de hace muchos años y tratando de ser honesto conmigo mismo. Me iba muy bien hasta el último, visitando a los presos. Racionalicé que podría hacer todos menos ese. Tenía amigos en el ministerio de prisiones que me dijeron lo maravilloso que era. Les dije con mucha “tranquilidad” que no me convenía. Mi esposa me recordó que estaba haciendo un juicio sin conocimiento ninguno. Ella sabe cómo hacerme pensar.

Tenía un amigo en ese momento que estaba muy involucrado en el ministerio de prisiones del condado de Kent. Los ministros laicos iban a la cárcel los sábados por la noche. Dijo que vendría algún día a recogerme. Le dije que no se molestara y que no me interesaba. Aproximadamente un mes después, estábamos cenando y alguien estaba tocando la bocina afuera de la casa. Salté y salí y ¿adivinen quien fue? “¡Vamos, vente!, vamos a ir a la cárcel.” Le dije, “que tengas un buen viaje, te vas solo.” No aceptó mi respuesta y dijo “¡entra ahora!” Así que lo hice.

En ese entonces, una persona autorizada para ir a la cárcel podría traer a un amigo sin una verificación de antecedentes. Mientras caminábamos por las instalaciones, escuché tres fuertes ruidos metálicos cuando las puertas se cerraron detrás de mí. Eso me intimidó. Nos condujeron por un largo pasillo hasta el final y hasta la última celda a la izquierda. Sobre la puerta había una luz roja que no estaba encendida. El oficial nos dijo que si teníamos algún problema, presionáramos el interruptor en el interior y encendería la luz y ellos bajarían y ayudarían. ¡por supuesto!

Cuando entré a la celda habían quince de los tipos más fuertes que había visto en mi vida. Después de un par de minutos, la presencia del Señor era tan pesada en la celda que comencé a llorar. ¡Esto no fue bueno! Al recuperarme sentí que ese era el lugar donde debía estar! Fui ministro allí durante unos 10 años. ¡Dios sabe mejor!

Entonces, la próxima vez que Él te pida que hagas algo que realmente no quieres,  lo más probable es que sea exactamente lo que Él quiere que hagas. No confíe sólo en mi palabra, ¡confíe en Su Palabra!

Te ruego que no racionalices lo que Dios te pide. Puede que sea uno de los mejores ministerios en los que estés involucrado. Además, no olvides esas otras cosas que te está pidiendo que hagas. Esos hombres encarcelados me regalaron mucho más de lo que yo podría haberles dado. Aleluya.

¡Sirviendo con alegría!

Comunicarse con el autor

Deacon Dan Schneider is a retired general manager of industrial distributors. He and his wife Vicki have been married for over 50 years. They are the parents of eight children and thirty grandchildren. He has a degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2002.  He has a passion for working with engaged and married couples and his main ministry has been preparing couples for marriage.

Featured Image Credit: Karsten Winegeart,

The Growing Seed / La Semilla Creciente

Today’s Gospel reading is a parable we have heard many times. Jesus uses a teaching style that he wishes us to use. He is speaking to a group of common folk who are mostly uneducated. He is sharing the good news in a manner that could be understood by them all, hopefully. He uses corn seed and a mustard seed to help them understand the message. 

First, he speaks of planting corn seed. He explains how the farmer does not know how it begins to grow and eventually pop through the ground as a new plant. As time progresses, corn comes forth on the plant. One does not know how that tiny seed produces corn on the cob. He uses that scenario to show how planting the seed of faith in another person can bring forth new growth, growth in faith, inside the person they are speaking with. That person’s mind is unknown to the speaker after they part company. The person spoken to begins to roll over that thought in their his mind and hopefully, with the help of the Holy Spirit, they will begin their faith journey. Then, the hunger to know more kicks in and develops a thirst for Scripture.

Jesus tells a similar story using a mustard seed as the example. The Jews considered the mustard seed to be the smallest of all seeds. Regardless of its size, the mustard seed develops into a tree-like bush. This bush is very attractive to birds that really like to eat the little black seeds. Once again, we don’t really understand how it can go from that little seed to the large bush which feeds the birds. 

I have a friend who many years ago gave me a little package of mustard seeds which I had never seen. The only thing I can relate them to is specks of black pepper. How anything could grow from something so small into something so large is hard to fathom. I would really like to grow a mustard plant but they don’t do well in our climate in Michigan.

When the Lord puts someone in our path who is questioning something about the faith, we want to share with them something that has meaning and is understandable. The Lord wants us to place ourselves at the level of the person we are talking with. I had this experience many years ago and my first night at Kent County jail. As I have mentioned before it’s not a place I wanted to go. I was pretty much dragged in there against my will. But I went and ministered there for about 10 years every Saturday night. As I sat there with my friend looking at the 15 men in front of us I was very concerned. They did not look very friendly. But I was wrong. I felt a quiet voice inside of me saying, “Dan, put yourself below them”. I did my best. I didn’t want the evening to end. The Lord knew how to hook me!

Evangelizing our brothers and sisters is not standing on a soapbox, but just sharing the Good News with others who are hungry to hear it. In fact, they may not know that they are hungry to hear it until they actually do. Now get to work! Don’t worry about what to say. The Holy Spirit we’ll give you the words. Just ask God to help you and he will. Start small and it will really grow!

Serving with Joy!

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El Evangelio de hoy es una parábola que hemos escuchado muchas veces. Jesús usa un estilo de enseñanza que él desea que usemos. Le está hablando a un grupo de gente común que en su mayoría no tiene educación. Está compartiendo la buena nueva de una manera que todos puedan entender, con suerte. Usa una semilla de maíz y una semilla de mostaza para ayudarlos a entender el mensaje.

Primero, habla de plantar semillas de maíz. Explica cómo el agricultor no sabe cómo comienza a crecer y, finalmente, emerge del suelo como una nueva planta. A medida que pasa el tiempo, el maíz brota en la planta. Uno no sabe cómo esa diminuta semilla produce maíz en la mazorca. Usa ese escenario para mostrar cómo plantar la semilla de la fe en otra persona puede generar un nuevo crecimiento, un crecimiento en la fe, dentro de la persona con la que está hablando. La mente de esa persona es desconocida para el hablante después de que se separan. La persona a la que se le habla comienza a darle vueltas a ese pensamiento en su mente y, con suerte, con la ayuda del Espíritu Santo, comenzará su camino de fe. Entonces, el hambre de saber más entra en acción y desarrolla una sed por las Escrituras.

Jesús cuenta una historia semejante usando una semilla de mostaza como ejemplo. Los judíos consideraban que la semilla de mostaza era la más pequeña de todas las semillas. Independientemente de su tamaño, la semilla de mostaza se convierte en un arbusto con forma de árbol. Este arbusto es muy atractivo para las aves a las que les gusta mucho comer las pequeñas semillas negras. Una vez más, no entendemos realmente cómo puede pasar de esa pequeña semilla al gran arbusto que alimenta a los pájaros.

Tengo un amigo que hace muchos años me regaló un paquetito de semillas de mostaza que nunca había visto. Lo único con lo que puedo relacionarlos es con pedacitos de pimienta negra. Cómo algo puede crecer de algo tan pequeño a algo tan grande es difícil de comprender. Realmente me gustaría cultivar una planta de mostaza, pero crecen bien en nuestro clima en Michigan.

Cuando el Señor pone en nuestro camino a alguien que está cuestionando algo sobre la fe, queremos compartir con ellos algo que tenga sentido y que sea comprensible. El Señor quiere que nos pongamos al nivel de la persona con la que estamos hablando. Tuve esta experiencia hace muchos años y mi primera noche en la cárcel del condado de Kent. Como he mencionado antes, no es un lugar al que quisiera ir. Prácticamente me arrastraron allí en contra de mi voluntad. Pero fui ministro allí durante unos 10 años todos los sábados por la noche. Mientras estaba sentado allí con mi amigo mirando a los 15 hombres frente a nosotros, estaba muy preocupado. No se veían muy amigables. Pero estaba equivocado. Sentí una voz tranquila dentro de mí que decía: “Daniel, ponte debajo de su nivel”. Hice mi mejor esfuerzo. No quería que terminara la noche. ¡El Señor supo engancharme!

Evangelizar a nuestros hermanos y hermanas no es pararse en una tribuna, sino simplemente compartir la Buena Nueva con otros que tienen hambre de escucharla. De hecho, es posible que no sepan que tienen hambre de escucharlo hasta que realmente lo hagan. ¡Ahora ponte a trabajar! No te preocupes por lo que debes decir. El Espíritu Santo te dará las palabras. Solo pídele a Dios que te ayude y lo hará. ¡Comienza con algo pequeño y realmente crecerá!

¡Sirviendo con Alegría!

Comunicarse con el autor

Deacon Dan Schneider is a retired general manager of industrial distributors. He and his wife Vicki have been married for over 50 years. They are the parents of eight children and thirty grandchildren. He has a degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2002.  He has a passion for working with engaged and married couples and his main ministry has been preparing couples for marriage.

Featured Image Credit: Markus Spiske,

Mary Magdalene and Divine Mercy / María Magdalena y la Divina Misericordia

Today’s Mass is focused on Saint John the Apostle. However, the opening line of today’s Gospel brings us to Mary Magdalene. I would like to spend a moment or two talking about her. According to Scripture, she was the first one to see Jesus after His resurrection. Mary Magdalene is the one who told Peter and the other disciples the good news. I can hear it all now when she said “He’s alive!” and they responded “Yeah right!” or, “Whatever.” It didn’t take long before that group of men finally believed what Jesus had told them. We can ask ourselves the same question, how long will it take us to believe what Jesus has taught us?

Back to Mary Magdalene. In the last couple of years I have delved more deeply into Divine Mercy and the Divine Mercy chaplet and have read more of Sister Faustina’s writings. To me, Mary Magdalene is the poster child of Divine Mercy. Most of us know what her background was and it was not very pretty. She was a major sinner and Scripture tells us that she was delivered from seven demons. She had a conversion like none other. She fell in love with her Savior, Jesus Christ and her life changed radically! As a result, Jesus gifted her with some special happenings. And one of the biggest is her visit with Him at the tomb. 

I tell this story because every now and then someone reads this little blog who believes that what they have done is so bad that it could never be forgiven. That is exactly what the enemy wants you to think! That is where Divine Mercy comes into play. Do you know why it’s so easy to sin? Because God does not mess with our free will. As a result we tend to do things that we shouldn’t do. Some of those things are small and some of those things are big. The small ones we might have a tendency to blow off. The big ones, however, are different. 

We may have a tendency to rush to the confessional and confess our sin. However, that is not true for everyone! The very thought of telling that sin to the man in the confessional is overwhelming to some of us. So, we carry it day after day after day. And internally we are rotting away because of our sin.  God, in his great mercy, can take that away from us. All we need to do is humble ourselves and step into the confessional. Jesus is there waiting for us so he can pour out his love into us and remove the darkness.

We are still within the twelve days of Christmas. We are still in the light. Let us continue to walk in the light and move closer to Jesus.

Serving with joy!

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La Misa de hoy está centrada en San Juan Apóstol. Sin embargo, la primera línea del Evangelio de hoy nos lleva a María Magdalena. Me gustaría pasar unos momentos hablando de ella. Según las Escrituras, ella fue la primera en ver a Jesús después de la resurrección. María Magdalena es la que le dijo a Pedro y a los demás discípulos la buena noticia. Puedo oírlo todo ahora cuando dijo “¡Está vivo!” y ellos respondieron “¡Sí, claro!” o “ah, ok.” No pasó mucho tiempo antes de que ese grupo de hombres finalmente creyera lo que Jesús les había dicho. Podemos hacernos la misma pregunta, ¿cuánto tiempo nos toma creer lo que Jesús nos ha enseñado?

Volvamos a María Magdalena. En los últimos dos años he profundizado más en la Divina Misericordia y la Coronilla de la Divina Misericordia y he leído más escritos de la Hermana Faustina. Para mí, María Magdalena es la niña del cartel de la Divina Misericordia. La mayoría de nosotros sabemos cuál era su pasado y no era muy bonito. Ella era una gran pecadora y la Escritura nos dice que fue liberada de siete demonios. Tuvo una conversión como ninguna otra. ¡Se enamoró de su Salvador, Jesucristo y su vida cambió radicalmente! Como resultado, Jesús le regaló algunos acontecimientos especiales. Y uno de los más grandes es su visita con Él en la tumba.

Cuento esta historia porque de vez en cuando alguien lee este pequeño blog que cree que lo que ha hecho es tan malo que nunca se le podrá perdonar. ¡Eso es exactamente lo que el enemigo quiere que pienses! Ahí es donde entra en juego la Divina Misericordia. ¿Sabes por qué es tan fácil pecar? Porque Dios no se mete con nuestro libre albedrío. Como resultado, tendemos a hacer cosas que no deberíamos hacer. Algunas de esas cosas son pequeñas y algunas de esas cosas son grandes. Los pequeños capaz podríamos tender a ignorar. Los grandes, sin embargo, son diferentes.

Podemos tender a correr al confesionario y confesar nuestro pecado. Sin embargo, ¡eso no es cierto para todos! Tan sola la idea de decirle ese pecado al hombre en el confesionario es abrumadora para algunos de nosotros. Entonces, lo cargamos por dentro día tras día tras día. E internamente nos estamos pudriendo a causa de nuestro pecado. Dios, en su gran misericordia, puede quitarnos eso. Todo lo que tenemos que hacer es humillarnos y entrar al confesionario. Jesús está allí esperándonos para derramar su amor sobre nosotros y quitar las tinieblas.

Todavía estamos dentro de los doce días de Navidad. Todavía estamos llenos de esa luz. Sigamos caminando en la luz y acercándonos a Jesús.

¡Sirviendo con alegría!

Comunicarse con el autor

Deacon Dan Schneider is a retired general manager of industrial distributors. He and his wife Vicki have been married for over 50 years. They are the parents of eight children and thirty grandchildren. He has a degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2002.  He has a passion for working with engaged and married couples and his main ministry has been preparing couples for marriage.

Featured Image Credit: Martha Martínez,

Oh Happy Day….Or Not! / Qué Día Tan Feliz, o Capaz No Tan Feliz

Oh Happy Day… Oh Happy Day, when Jesus comes, oh when he comes..

You don’t have to be a Scripture expert to see in the last couple weeks’ readings, including today’s, that the writers are attempting to wake us up to what is coming. That it will be either very good or very bad. I am often reminded of that Scripture verse in the Old Testament that talks about that great and terrible day, how it will be great for believers and not so great for non believers.

When I think of today and the condition that our world is in I’m reminded of Noah. It seems as though everyone was partying down and having a great time doing whatever they wanted regardless of the consequences. Noah was the only one that listened. And what was the Lord telling him, to build an ark that would hold one pair of all the animals in the world. One of the things on my bucket list is to go to Kentucky and see the replica of this great ark. I have talked to people that have been there and they were pretty blown away. Can you imagine what a laughingstock Noah was as people walked by laughing and jeering at him for doing such a silly thing. Some say it took Noah many years to build the ark. Scripture says that it was built from gopherwood. Interesting, because gopherwood was not available where he lived. At least, that is what some historians say. Somehow it got there. Were the people still laughing when the rain didn’t stop? I really doubt it. It wouldn’t surprise me if they were begging Noah to get on board. Sorry, too late, the ramp has been shut. 

Scripture reminds us that the Lord will come back like a thief in the night. Kinda sounds like we should be ready at all times. And if we aren’t, then what? Scripture doesn’t beat around the bush about what will happen at that time. It will be a time of judgment. Jesus will separate the sheep from the goats as in Matthew 25. I have decided I want to be a sheep.

The world has become so secularized that many have decided that they do not need God anymore. Why? Perhaps, we have nothing to pray for anymore. How about a bigger house, a new car, new clothes, new gems, and so on. It doesn’t seem to matter what any of those things cost, as long as the monthly payment fits into our budget, then we can pay on it forever. We all should review Scripture and see what the Lord has to say about debt. I’ll give you a hint, he doesn’t like it!

If you have read some of the Saints stories then you know that they have at least two things in common. One is love and two is humility. Advent is a good time to prepare for our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. I mean really prepare! Set aside a little time each day to spend with the Lord. Most likely he will not ask you to build an ark, but I’m pretty sure he will ask you to help someone. When he told us to love our neighbor he wasn’t kidding, he really means it! So grab a spiritual book, pray your rosary, say a Divine Mercy Chaplet, or do something even more radical and sit in silence with the Lord.

Serving with joy!

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Oh Feliz Día… Oh Feliz Día, cuando venga Jesús, ay cuando venga…

No es necesario ser experto en las Escrituras para ver en las lecturas de las últimas dos semanas, incluso las de hoy, que los escritores están tratando de despertarnos para lo que es por venir. Será muy bueno o muy malo. A menudo recuerdo ese versículo de las Escrituras en el Antiguo Testamento que habla de ese día grande y terrible, cómo será grande para los creyentes y no tan grande para los no creyentes.

Cuando pienso en el día de hoy y en la condición de nuestro mundo, me acuerdo de Noé. Parecía como si todos estuvieran de fiesta y pasando un buen rato haciendo lo que quisieran sin importar las consecuencias. Noé fue el único que escuchó. ¿Y qué le estaba diciendo el Señor, que construyera un arca que pudiera contener una pareja de todos los animales del mundo? Una de las cosas en mi lista de deseos es ir a Kentucky y ver la réplica de esta gran arca. He hablado con gente que ha estado allí y se han quedado bastante impresionados. ¿Te imaginas el hazmerreír de Noé cuando la gente pasaba riéndose y burlándose de él por hacer una cosa tan tonta? Algunos dicen que demoró muchos años construir el arca. Las Escrituras dicen que fue construido con madera de gofer. Interesante, porque la madera de gofer no estaba disponible donde él vivía. Al menos, eso es lo que dicen algunos historiadores. De alguna manera llegó allí. ¿Seguía riendo la gente cuando la lluvia no paraba? Realmente lo dudo. No me sorprendería si le estuvieran rogando a Noah que subiera a bordo. Lo siento, demasiado tarde, la rampa ya está cerrada.

Las Escrituras nos recuerdan que el Señor volverá como ladrón en la noche. Parece que deberíamos estar listos en todo momento. Y si no lo somos, ¿entonces qué? Las Escrituras no se andan con rodeos acerca de lo que sucederá en ese momento. Será un tiempo de juicio. Jesús separará las ovejas de las cabras como en Mateo 25. He decidido que quiero ser una oveja.

El mundo se ha vuelto tan secularizado que muchos han decidido que ya no necesitan a Dios. ¿Por qué? Tal vez, ya no tenemos nada por qué orar. ¿Qué tal una casa más grande, un auto nuevo, ropa nueva, joyas nuevas, etc.? No parece importar lo que cueste cualquiera de esas cosas, con que el pago mensual se ajuste a nuestro presupuesto, entonces podemos pagarlo para una eternidad. Todos deberíamos revisar las Escrituras y ver lo que el Señor tiene que decir acerca de las deudas. Te daré una pista, ¡a él no le gusta!

Si ha leído algunas de las historias de los santos y tienen al menos dos cosas en común. Uno es amor y dos es humildad. El Adviento es un buen momento para prepararse para nuestro Señor y salvador Jesucristo. Me refiero a ¡prepararse de verdad! Aparta un poco de tiempo cada día para pasarlo con el Señor. Lo más probable es que no te pida que construyas una arca, pero estoy bastante seguro de que te pedirá que ayudes a alguien. Cuando nos dijo que amáramos a nuestro prójimo, no estaba bromeando, ¡realmente lo decía en serio! Así que toma un libro espiritual, reza tu rosario, reza una Coronilla a la Divina Misericordia o haz algo aún más radical y siéntate en silencio con el Señor.

¡Sirviendo con alegría!

Comunicarse con el autor

Deacon Dan Schneider is a retired general manager of industrial distributors. He and his wife Vicki have been married for over 50 years. They are the parents of eight children and thirty grandchildren. He has a degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2002.  He has a passion for working with engaged and married couples and his main ministry has been preparing couples for marriage.

Featured Image Credit: Nick Fewings,

Where Do You Keep Your Armor? / ¿Dónde Guardas tu Armadura?

It is no secret that we live in trying times. How could things like this happen in our world and our country and at such a fast pace? We wake up in the morning hoping that God will snap his finger and get us back to the good old days, whatever that means. The media is doing us dirt! No good news coming from them. Paul, in the above reading, was suffering in the same way. He also had the “pleasure” of being in chains. Paul reminded himself that he only wanted to say things that are in the will of God. We should strive to do the same.

Paul gives us a teaching on how to cope and act in this battle with principalities, powers, world rulers, the present darkness and evil spirits. It sounds like we are in a war, a spiritual battle, and we are! Paul is teaching us the spiritual way of combating these negative arrows that come our way. Paul talks about putting on the armor of God. So how do we put on this armor to protect us from spiritual warfare? We use our faith in God to help us pray. This armor is not something we can hold in our hands. Paul says to hold our ground and to stand fast with our loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and our feet shod in readiness to speak the gospel of peace, the Good News. He tells us to hold our faith as a shield to quench the flaming arrows of the evil one. 

Who is this evil one? He has several names: The devil, Lucifer, and Satan. My spiritual director refuses to call him by one of those names because he says he does not deserve a name. He calls him the unholy spirit. Very apropos I would say! Paul instructs us to wear a breastplate to deflect the flaming arrows coming from the dark side. He also encourages us to cover parts of our bodies that may be vulnerable to his attack. You may have thwarted off an attack in the past and feel pretty good about it. However, that is not the end of it as he will keep searching for a weak spot to enter in and lie to you, just like he did with Adam and Eve. We must double up and be ready for those flaming arrows. The armor may be invisible but it is not to God. Let us pray for protection before it happens. 

Paul tells us in another place that the word of God is “the sword of the Spirit”. The better we know Scripture, the better we can fight the battle, just like Jesus did in the desert when the devil took Him there to be tempted.

God is faithful! He will give us the tools we need to win!

Serving With Joy!     

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No es ningún secreto que vivimos en tiempos difíciles. ¿Cómo es posible que cosas así sucedan en nuestro mundo y nuestro país y a un ritmo tan acelerado? Nos levantamos por la mañana con la esperanza de que Dios chasquee el dedo y nos devuelva a los viejos tiempos. ¡Los medios de comunicación nos hacen daño! No vienen buenas noticias de ellos. Pablo, en la lectura anterior, estaba sufriendo de la misma manera. También tuvo el “placer” de estar encadenado. Pablo se recordó a sí mismo que solo quería decir cosas que están dentro de la voluntad de Dios. Debemos esforzarnos por hacer lo mismo.

Pablo nos da una enseñanza de cómo sobrellevar y actuar en esta batalla con principados, potestades, gobernantes del mundo, las tinieblas presentes y los malos espíritus. Parece que estamos en una guerra, una batalla espiritual, ¡y lo estamos! Pablo nos está enseñando la forma espiritual de combatir estas flechas negativas que se nos presentan. Pablo habla de ponerse la armadura de Dios. Entonces, ¿cómo nos ponemos esta armadura para protegernos de la guerra espiritual? Usamos nuestra fe en Dios para ayudarnos a orar. Esta armadura no es algo que podamos sostener en nuestras manos. Pablo dice que nos mantengamos firmes con nuestros lomos ceñidos en la verdad, vestidos con justicia como una coraza, y nuestros pies calzados en disposición para proclamar el evangelio de la paz, la Buena Nueva. Él nos dice que mantengamos nuestra fe como un escudo para apagar las flechas de fuego del maligno.

¿Quién es este malvado? Tiene varios nombres: El diablo, Lucifer y Satanás. Mi director espiritual se niega a llamarlo por uno de esos nombres porque dice que no lo merece. Él lo llama el espíritu impío. ¡Muy apropiado diría yo! Pablo nos instruye a usar una coraza para desviar las flechas de fuego que vienen del lado oscuro. También nos anima a cubrir partes de nuestro cuerpo que pueden ser vulnerables a su ataque. Es posible que haya frustrado un ataque en el pasado y se sienta bastante bien al respecto. Sin embargo, ese no es el final, ya que seguirá buscando un punto débil para entrar y mentirte, tal como lo hizo con Adán y Eva. Debemos doblarnos y estar listos para esas flechas llameantes. La armadura puede ser invisible pero no lo es para Dios. Oremos por protección antes de que suceda.

Pablo nos dice en otro lugar que la palabra de Dios es “la espada del Espíritu”. Cuanto mejor conozcamos las Escrituras, mejor podremos pelear la batalla, tal como lo hizo Jesús en el desierto cuando el diablo lo llevó allí para ser tentado.

¡Dios es fiel! ¡Nos dará las herramientas que necesitamos para ganar!

¡Sirviendo Con Alegría!

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Deacon Dan Schneider is a retired general manager of industrial distributors. He and his wife Vicki have been married for over 50 years. They are the parents of eight children and thirty grandchildren. He has a degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2002.  He has a passion for working with engaged and married couples and his main ministry has been preparing couples for marriage.

Featured Image Credit: Andriy Boechko,

Are You Resolutely Determined?/ ¿Eres Decididamente Resuelto?

Did you read today’s Gospel? And if so, have you ever been resolutely determined? Do you know what was waiting for Jesus in Jerusalem?

In your heart you do know, it was the cross. Let’s put ourselves in his place and ask ourselves if we were facing what he was facing could we continue that journey? He not only had to face the cross but the agony in the garden, the scourging at the pillar, carrying his cross and being nailed to the tree. Look at your crucifix and ask yourself could you or I go through all that knowing that it was part of our future and something that we really needed to do. Jesus said yes to the Father. There is no greater love than that! He not only did it for His Father but, He did it for us! To save us!

Sometimes we get used to seeing him on the cross and we lose some of the understanding of what he actually did. I am always reminded of what was happening in the movie, The Passion of the Christ. Since that movie came out, several Protestants have said to me that they now have a better understanding of suffering and why Catholics make it a part of our faith practice.

Have you ever thought that the Lord was asking you to do something that you really didn’t want to do? Chances are if that is true, it’s probably what he wants you to do. But you say, there is no way that I could do something like that! Well humanly it probably would be impossible, but with God’s help anything is possible. Remind yourself who he picked in the beginning to do his work. It was a ragtag bunch that never dreamed what they were about to do. The power of Pentecost came over them and they went about the world sharing the good news. God gave them the power and the authority to do many supernatural things. Once they were filled with the Holy Spirit nothing could stop them.

Now, is this the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead? Of course it is! It’s the same Spirit we received at baptism. The Spirit has not changed in the last 2000 years. I think it might be time for us to go deeper and closer to this Holy Spirit so that the next time the Lord asks us to do something impossible we can say with confidence, “Ok, Lord show me the way”!

Serving with Joy!

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¿Leíste el evangelio de hoy? Y si es así, ¿alguna vez ha estado decididamente resuelto? ¿Sabes lo que le esperaba a Jesús en Jerusalén?
En tu corazón sí lo sabes, fue la cruz. Pongámonos en su lugar y preguntémonos si estábamos frente a lo que él enfrentaba ¿podríamos continuar ese camino? No solo tuvo que enfrentar la cruz sino la agonía en el huerto, la flagelación en el pilar, llevar su cruz y ser clavado al madero. Mire su crucifijo y pregúntate si tú o yo podríamos pasar por todo eso sabiendo que era parte de nuestro futuro y algo que realmente necesitábamos hacer. Jesús dijo sí al Padre. ¡No hay amor más grande que ese! ¡Él no solo lo hizo por Su Padre, sino que lo hizo por nosotros! ¡Para salvarnos!

A veces nos acostumbramos a verlo en la cruz y perdemos parte de la comprensión de lo que realmente hizo. Siempre recuerdo lo que estaba pasando en la película La Pasión de Cristo. Desde que salió esa película, varios protestantes me han dicho que ahora tienen una mejor comprensión del sufrimiento y por qué los católicos lo tenemos como parte de la práctica de nuestra fe.

¿Alguna vez has pensado que el Señor te estaba pidiendo hacer algo que realmente no querías hacer? Lo más probable es que si eso es cierto, es porque él quiere que lo hagas. Pero dices, ¡no hay forma de que pueda hacer algo así! Bueno humanamente probablemente sería imposible, pero con la ayuda de Dios todo es posible. Recuerda a quién escogió al principio para hacer su trabajo. Era un grupo heterogéneo que nunca soñó lo que estaba a punto de hacer. El poder de Pentecostés cayó sobre ellos y anduvieron por el mundo predicando la buena nueva. Dios les dio el poder y la autoridad para hacer muchas cosas sobrenaturales. Una vez que estaban llenos del Espíritu Santo, nada podía detenerlos.

Ahora, ¿es este el mismo Espíritu Santo que resucitó a Jesús de entre los muertos? ¡Por supuesto que sí! Es el mismo Espíritu que recibimos en el bautismo. El Espíritu no ha cambiado en los últimos 2000 años. Creo que podría ser el momento de que profundicemos y nos acerquemos más a este Espíritu Santo para que la próxima vez que el Señor nos pida que hagamos algo imposible, podamos decir con confianza: “¡Está bien, Señor, muéstrame el camino!”.

¡Serviendo con Alegría!

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Deacon Dan Schneider is a retired general manager of industrial distributors. He and his wife Vicki have been married for over 50 years. They are the parents of eight children and thirty grandchildren. He has a degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2002.  He has a passion for working with engaged and married couples and his main ministry has been preparing couples for marriage.

Featured Image Credit: Yannick Pulver,

Are You Too Weak For God? / ¿Eres Demasiado Débil Para Dios?

I really like the words of First Corinthians 1:26-31. I guess it is because I’ve struggled all my life with poor self-esteem. That usually starts young in life after being told that you’re a bad person. The good part is that I’ve felt God being part of my life beginning at a very early age. I’ve probably mentioned it before but I’m not a cradle Catholic. I came into the church at 9 years old. But, prior to that, the pastor’s wife of a free Methodist Church would pick me up on Sunday morning and bring me to Sunday school. I would really like a picture of myself at that age (4) because my eyes must have been as big as saucers! I would look at the felt board and listen to Bible stories. I remember it like it was yesterday. That Lady was like a surrogate mother to me, but I didn’t realize it until I was about 40 years old. It was discovered during spiritual direction. I think I went through a lot of Kleenex at that moment.

Today’s First Reading talks about most of us not being of noble birth. Then it says that God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise. I chuckle at that because I’ve seen it happen many times. Paul goes on to say that God chooses the weak of the world to shame the strong and chooses the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something. 

Wow! Is that awesome or what? Except, the world does not believe that! The world tells us that we have to be powerful. And what gets power, you say? Usually, it’s money. Following the line of logic, if you have no money you have no power. But, power is not all it’s cracked up to be. At least human power. 

Hopefully by now, you have felt the Lord’s presence working through you. That includes Him giving you the words to say when he places someone before you that needs help. In my opinion, one can only believe that by experience. And where does that experience come from? It is from us dying to ourselves and actually allowing the Lord to work through us. Be careful though, because when that first happens it can or may become prideful. The Lord’s words have power, especially when delivered in a gentle way. There are so many places in Scripture where this was proven and sometimes we forget that some of the greatest people in Scripture were the lowliest, at least in the eyes of the world.

I am going to get real serious now. If you have ever had the feeling of being “less than”, please hear this: Many people disregard the idea of God speaking to a person. That is because they never heard God speaking to them. Scripture tells us that God loves the poor and the lowly. How could that be true? Easy, the poor and the lowly need God to survive. So, they are in contact with the Lord every day. They do not wait for a major crisis to call on the Lord. 

The secret is to die to self (sound familiar?) and open up that channel between you and God and let Eternity be your goal.


Serving with Joy!

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Me gustan mucho las palabras de 1 Corintios 1,26-31. Supongo que es porque he batallado toda mi vida con una baja autoestima. Eso generalmente comienza temprano en la vida después de que te digan que eres una mala persona. Lo bueno es que he sentido a Dios siendo parte de mi vida desde muy temprana edad. Probablemente lo he mencionado antes, pero no nací católico. Entré a la iglesia a los 9 años. Pero, antes de eso, la esposa del pastor de una iglesia metodista me recogía el domingo por la mañana y me llevaba a la escuela dominical. ¡Realmente me gustaría una foto mía a esa edad (4) porque mis ojos deben haber sido tan grandes como platos! Miraba el tablero de fieltro y escuchaba historias bíblicas. Lo recuerdo como si fuera ayer. Esa Señora fue como una madre sustituta para mí, pero no me di cuenta hasta que tuve unos 40 años. Fue descubierto durante la dirección espiritual. Creo que gasté muchos Kleenex en ese momento.

La Primera Lectura de hoy habla de que la mayoría de nosotros no somos de nacimiento noble. Luego dice que Dios escogió a los insensatos del mundo para avergonzar a los sabios. Me río de eso porque lo he visto suceder muchas veces. Pablo continúa diciendo que Dios elige a los débiles del mundo para avergonzar a los fuertes y elige a los humildes y despreciados del mundo, a los que nada valen, para reducir a la nada los que son algo.

¡Wow! ¡Qué impresionante! Solo que el mundo no cree eso. El mundo nos dice que tenemos que ser poderosos. ¿Y qué obtiene el poder? Por lo general, es el dinero. Siguiendo la línea de la lógica, si no tienes dinero no tienes poder. Pero, el poder no es tan bueno como parece. Al menos el poder humano.

Ojalá ya habrás sentido la presencia del Señor obrando a través de ti. Eso incluye que Él te dé las palabras cuando pone a alguien delante de ti que necesita ayuda. En mi opinión, uno solo puede creer eso por experiencia. ¿Y de dónde viene esa experiencia? Se trata de nosotros muriendo a nosotros mismos y permitiendo que el Señor obre a través de nosotros. Sin embargo, ten cuidado, porque cuando eso sucede por primera vez, puedes volverte orgulloso.

Las palabras del Señor tienen poder, especialmente cuando se pronuncian con dulzura. Hay tantos lugares en las Escrituras donde esto se demostró y, a veces, nos olvidamos que algunas de las personas más importantes de las Escrituras eran las más humildes, al menos a los ojos del mundo.

Voy a ponerme muy serio ahora. Si alguna vez has tenido la sensación de sentirte “menos”, por favor escucha esto: Muchas personas ignoran la idea de que Dios le hable a una persona. Eso es porque nunca escucharon a Dios hablarles. Las Escrituras nos dicen que Dios ama a los pobres y a los humildes. ¿Cómo podría ser cierto? Fácil, los pobres y los humildes necesitan a Dios para sobrevivir y por eso están en contacto con el Señor todos los días. No esperan una gran crisis para invocar al Señor.

El secreto es morir a uno mismo (¿te suena familiar?) y abrir ese canal entre tú y Dios y dejar que la Eternidad sea tu meta.


¡Serviendo con Alegría!

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Deacon Dan Schneider is a retired general manager of industrial distributors. He and his wife Vicki have been married for over 50 years. They are the parents of eight children and thirty grandchildren. He has a degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2002.  He has a passion for working with engaged and married couples and his main ministry has been preparing couples for marriage.

Featured Image Credit: Priscilla Du Preez,

What is Your Pearl? / ¿Cuál es tu Perla?

How far back can you remember what your favorite toy was? I can remember still, sleeping in a crib cuddling with my blankie and holding my little stuffed elephant. For some reason I never had a teddy bear. I guess it’s human nature wanting to cuddle up with something. 

I bring this up because Jesus, in today’s Gospel talks about the pearl of great price. He uses the example of the pearl to show how someone can become fixated on an object. The object could be anything, like a rare shotgun, or a beautiful ring, or a 1939 Pontiac or a Rolex and on and on. Having those things is not a bad thing, it’s just how we think about them. Are they our pearl of great price?

Have you ever heard of the parenting style “Love and Logic”? I learned it in the 90’s when our youngest was 14. Love and logic does not have punishments. It has consequences. I think they used that word so it doesn’t sound so bad. If your parenting skills are not quite as they should be, look up Love and Logic. It might just change your family life! There are classes and books that will put you on track. 

The beauty of this parenting style is that you are not the bad guy. The child is allowed to discern whether to do this or to do that. You decide what the consequences are and design it so that whatever they choose, is still pleasing to the parent. For instance, you sit down with the child and explain to them, if you don’t do what Mommy or Daddy ask you to do there will be a consequence. The consequence is based on withholding something that they hold dear. Warning. If your child does not hold anything dear, it’s going to be a difficult process. 

Ten or so years ago one of my grandsons was the receiver of this new parenting style. At that moment in his life he thought Thomas the train was the best thing ever. His mother picked up on that and used the withdrawal of Thomas as his consequence. I never heard much about how that was going. Except, I walked in the back door one day and there was my grandson staring up at Thomas the train which was set-up on the top of the refrigerator. He didn’t move, he just stood there and stared at it. I could hardly keep from chuckling. I knew his mother had picked the right consequence.

So what does this have to do with the Pearl of great price? Jesus is trying to tell us that we are to love nothing above him. If I were to ask you, “Do you love Jesus”? You would probably say yes. And so would I. But if they heard you or I talking about something that we really would like to have, then sometime later, purchased it, especially if it was kind of pricey, what would you think?

Jesus wants to be the “Pearl”. He wants us to seek him and love him and to adore him. Is that so difficult? The gifts that he gives us at times are beyond our understanding. At times we see those gifts less and less. Why? Does he move away from us? Wait! That is not what happens. We move away from Him. We are in a battle today to keep our faith. The world is so full of darkness, it wants to rip faith away from us. Many stayed home during the COVID pandemic and watched Church streaming on TV. The problem is many are still watching it on TV. If that is what you need to do, that’s fine. But those who are able to get to church, should go to church. Searching for that Pearl of great price (Jesus) is not so difficult. No matter how long we’ve been away, He is there waiting for us. Waiting to forgive us and bringing his marvelous light into our hearts.

Serving With Joy!

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¿Cuánto tiempo atrás puedes recordar cuál era tu juguete favorito? Todavía me acuerdo durmiendo en una cuna acurrucada con mi frazada y sosteniendo mi pequeño elefante de peluche. Por alguna razón nunca tuve un osito de peluche. Supongo que es la naturaleza humana querer acurrucarse con algo.

Mencione esto porque Jesús, en el Evangelio de hoy, habla de la perla de gran precio. Utiliza el ejemplo de la perla para mostrar cómo alguien puede obsesionarse con un objeto. El objeto podría ser cualquier cosa, como una escopeta rara, un hermoso anillo, un Pontiac del año 1939 o un Rolex, etc. Tener esas cosas no es algo malo, pero ¿cómo pensamos de ellas? ¿Son nuestra perla de gran precio?

¿Alguna vez has oído hablar del estilo de crianza “Love and Logic” (El Amor y la Lógica)? Lo aprendí en los años 90 cuando mi hijo menor tenía 14 años. El amor y la lógica no tiene castigos. Tiene consecuencias. Creo que usaron esa palabra para que no suene tan mal. Si sus habilidades de crianza no son como deberían ser, busque “Love and Logic”. ¡Podría cambiar su vida familiar! Hay clases y libros para encaminarte.

La belleza de este estilo de crianza es que tú no eres el malo. Al niño se le permite discernir si hacer esto o aquello. Usted decide cuáles son las consecuencias y lo diseña para que, sea lo que sea que elijan, siga siendo agradable para los padres. Por ejemplo, te sientas con el niño y le explicas que si no haces lo que mamá o papá te piden, habrá una consecuencia. La consecuencia se basa en retener algo que aprecian. Advertencia. Si su hijo no tiene nada querido, será un proceso difícil.

Hace más o menos diez años, uno de mis nietos fue el receptor de este nuevo estilo de crianza. En ese momento de su vida, pensó que Thomas el tren, era la mejor cosa del mundo. Su mamá se dio cuenta de eso y usó la retirada de Thomas como su consecuencia. Nunca escuché mucho acerca de cómo le iba, pero un día entré por la puerta trasera de su casa y allí estaba mi nieto mirando a Thomas el tren que estaba instalado en la parte superior del refrigerador. No se movió, solo se quedó allí y lo miró. Apenas pude evitar reírme. Sabía que su mamá había elegido la consecuencia correcta.

Entonces, ¿qué tiene esto que ver con la perla de gran precio? Jesús está tratando de decirnos que no debemos amar nada más que a él. Si te preguntaran: “¿Amas a Jesús?” Probablemente dirías que sí. Y yo también. Pero si escuchan a ti o a mí hablando de algo que realmente nos gustaría tener, y luego lo compramos, especialmente si es un poco caro, ¿qué pensarías?

Jesús quiere ser la “Perla”. Él quiere que lo busquemos y lo amemos y lo adoremos. ¿Es tan difícil? Los dones que nos da a veces están más allá de nuestra comprensión. A veces vemos esos dones cada vez menos. ¿Por qué? ¿Dios se aleja de nosotros? Eso no es lo que sucede. Nosostros nos alejamos de Él. Estamos en una batalla hoy para mantener nuestra fe. El mundo está tan lleno de oscuridad que quiere arrancarnos la fe. Muchos se quedaron en casa durante la pandemia de COVID y vieron la transmisión de la Iglesia en la televisión. El problema es que muchos todavía lo están viendo en la televisión. Si eso es lo que necesitas hacer, está bien. Pero aquellos que pueden ir a la iglesia, deben ir a la iglesia. Buscar esa Perla de gran precio (Jesús) no es tan difícil. No importa cuánto tiempo hayamos estado fuera, Él está allí esperándonos, esperando perdonarnos y trayendo su maravillosa luz a nuestros corazones.

¡Sirviendo con alegría!

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Deacon Dan Schneider is a retired general manager of industrial distributors. He and his wife Vicki have been married for over 50 years. They are the parents of eight children and thirty grandchildren. He has a degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2002.  He has a passion for working with engaged and married couples and his main ministry has been preparing couples for marriage.

Featured Image Credit: Dagmara Dombrovska,

Walk With Me, Jesus

Today’s Gospel tells us that the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head. There are the words the so-called disciples tells Jesus, “We will follow Him anywhere.” And Jesus answers with these words, “the Son of Man has no where to rest his head”. Every time I read that line I feel kind of sad to think that my Savior has no place to rest. I believe that Jesus was telling this man that following him is not an easy task. Jesus was moving from place to place in order to bring the good news to as many people as possible. I believe he was trying to tell him it’s really difficult to follow him. And it can be.

We are told that the road to heaven is very narrow. Now we know why, because it can be difficult! To reach any worthy goal it takes work. It’s the same in our spiritual walk, but isn’t it worth reaching for? Does it take some effort? Of course it does. Few of us are given things on a silver platter. Scripture is full of stories of times when Jesus met those that were not happy with what he was doing, spreading the good news. He left friends and family behind. But even then He had those that would follow him and help him along the way.

We have three daughters (and five sons) and all three of them experienced some form of what Jesus did, one at a time. They all left home and became missionaries for several years. They left family and friends to give themselves to Jesus and to help spread the good news. Some were in different countries even farther away from home. But they persevered. As time went on they discerned that the Lord was calling them to a new vocation. They are all raising families now and doing well. But, they tell me that those years they spent in the missionary fields they would trade for nothing. God has blessed them for giving Him their first shot.

One thing we never know is how we would react in a certain situation or when making a very important decision. This of course takes a process of discernment. Even that sometimes is very difficult. If you were to ask me if I would give my life for Jesus, what would my answer be? I have thought of this many times in my life. Of course I tell myself, sure I could do that!  But in reality I would not know unless I actually did it and if I actually had the faith to do it.

Many decisions in life are not that heavy, but even some of the lighter ones can be troublesome. This Gospel reading is about making decisions. Many times I have used the term  “Am I all in”? Meaning, am I all in for the Lord? In my heart, I say yes. My mind actually doesn’t prove that I have. So, I continue to do my best for myself and for my family and my Church that we all will help Jesus, to find a place to rest his head and believe the Good News that he continues to give us!

Serving With Joy!

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Deacon Dan Schneider is a retired general manager of industrial distributors. He and his wife Vicki have been married for over 50 years. They are the parents of eight children and thirty grandchildren. He has a degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2002.  He has a passion for working with engaged and married couples and his main ministry has been preparing couples for marriage.

Featured Image Credit: Lili Popper,

Who is Your Neighbor?

The Lord does not allow the big stuff to happen without letting his people know first. I had a bad day yesterday. It seemed like a lot of the darkness in the world was coming in at me at the same time. I knew I would survive. I just needed to be patient and to trust in the Lord to help me get back on track. That early evening, I watched a program on EWTN on Adoration. I felt refreshed. In Acts 18 today, once again, Jesus in a vision tells Paul after all those beatings and shipwrecks, “Do not be afraid”. Why would he say that? Because, Paul seemed to have a price on his head. Because, he was teaching something other than the Mosaic law. Jesus needed to give Paul some reassurance that all was well. That was enough for Paul to carry on and spend 1 1/2 years in Corinth preaching and teaching.

Jesus carries that theme, kind of, telling us we will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. Certainly, this is going on in the present moment. I can’t imagine the horror the people in the Ukraine are having with such great destruction and killing. Three million plus people have left the Ukraine and most of them were the elderly and women and children. They traveled to neighboring countries that would let them in. The men of fighting age were not allowed to leave. Which means there are thousands of children that no longer have a father and women that do not have a husband. God help them.

I heard a few months ago that the shift of wealth today is the greatest in our history. Would it be too much of a stretch to say that the wealthy might be rejoicing? The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. We must remember what God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai. The 10 commandments. The second command of those commandments is to love our neighbor. Again. We come to that same conundrum of “Who is our neighbor?” Let me make it easy. It is anyone that the Lord places before you and me.

The pandemic taught us about weeping and mourning. It isn’t just about the physical damage, but also the emotional damage. Being in lockdowns, wearing masks, social distancing, and on and on. Many were necessary, but some were not. There have been plenty of opportunities for us to help our neighbor. How? Perhaps picking up groceries for them or giving them a ride to church or just visiting them or being a friend, etc., etc.

I went back to College in the mid 90’s. The curriculum was Family Life Education at Spring Arbor University. In one of our classes, our professor told us that there was a big culture shift in our country in the last generation. None of us could come up with what it could be. She said a generation ago towns were smaller and everyone knew their neighbors. And it went beyond that. If a neighbor needed help, there was someone nearby that would reach out and help. So, what is the big shift? It is the fact that our country has moved from a family and community-oriented world to a world of individuals. It didn’t take us long to agree with that culture shift. Many people care only about themselves. So, when it comes to needing help, the population of helpers has become much smaller. We need to help change that.

We need to hang out with kindred spirits. I will close with this last example. Last week our little church south of town had special devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary in celebration of Our Lady of Fatima. So what’s the big deal, you say? Afterwards the parish hall was set up for people to socialize. It included a light lunch, card games, etc. A little deal becomes a big deal because we are hanging out with kindred spirits. The spirit in the room changes when kindred spirits gather!

Serving with joy!

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Deacon Dan Schneider is a retired general manager of industrial distributors. He and his wife Vicki have been married for over 50 years. They are the parents of eight children and thirty grandchildren. He has a degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2002.  He has a passion for working with engaged and married couples and his main ministry has been preparing couples for marriage.

Featured Image Credit: Omar Lopez,

Fear Is Not From God

I can still remember clearly after St. John Paul II became Pope, he said, “Be not afraid”. It has remained with me to this day. In today’s reading from Acts, Jesus tells Paul in the vision, “Do not be afraid”. Paul would have been dead several times if it wasn’t for the Lord keeping him alive. He went through a lot of pain, including beatings and stoning. The Lord gave Paul a perk. He let him know that he would be OK while in Corinth. I’m sure Paul felt a great relief knowing he would have some smooth sailing for a while.

In today’s Gospel as usual, Jesus would fit right in. It Is a short Gospel but it says a lot. We will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. It reminds me of the life of Noah. Everybody was partying except Noah and family. They did their best to remain faithful. And because of that, and a few thousand Gopher trees and a lot of work, the Lord saved him and his family and the animals. Remember, he didn’t build the ark on a long weekend. Some say it took two to three years.

Today, there’s a lot of weeping and mourning going on. Some of it is very personal and some is going on in faraway countries. The pain and grief are indescribable. In the midst of that pain and suffering, people are opening their hearts and homes to refugees seeking some kind of safety. Praise God!

Jesus tells us that there will be time when he comes back again. He will not allow anyone to take away our joy. Can you imagine that?

For me, the best way to avoid fear is to say, Jesus. I trust in You! If I really do trust him, there is no room for fear. So, be not afraid.

Serving with joy!

Contact the author

Deacon Dan Schneider is a retired general manager of industrial distributors. He and his wife Vicki have been married for over 50 years. They are the parents of eight children and thirty grandchildren. He has a degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2002.  He has a passion for working with engaged and married couples and his main ministry has been preparing couples for marriage.

Featured Image Credit: Priscilla Du Preez,

Are You The Father?

We are all familiar with today’s Gospel, The parable of the prodigal son. The Gospel is a little long, but please take the time to read it again, slowly and reflectively, allowing the Lord to speak to you. I have read it many times and each time I see something new.

If you put yourself into the story, who are you? If that thought has ever occurred to you, you may be surprised at where the Lord puts you! Are you the father, the youngest son, the oldest son, people along the way, or the servants? 

The younger son is the one we remember the most. He’s the rebel, making demands on his father that the son doesn’t deserve. Can you imagine such a thing? Most of us have or have known someone that has a rebellious son. The way to handle a rebellious son is easy. We have two choices: to boot him out or to suck it up. Right?

After reading today’s Gospel, I think not. In fact, not even close! This parable (remember Jesus tells the story) says the father was generous and gave his younger son, half of his estate. That is so far from what we were taught to do. I’m having trouble wrapping my head around that thought of generosity!

Yet, the Father (God) did exactly that. The younger son took off and in no time squandered the money in various places and was broke. He had nothing. To make matters worse, a famine struck. The country that he was in was so bad that no one had much of anything. Did you notice, nobody gave him anything (except corn pods)? He hit rock bottom.

Apparently, his feet still worked, so he headed back to his father’s house. He had time to review what he had done and by the grace of God became remorseful, very remorseful! He begged forgiveness from his father. Once again, his father broke out with great generosity! It was party time because his youngest son was home! So, if we put the face of God onto his father and we have a similar son or daughter could we be so generous? I am praying that we all can learn a great lesson when it comes to love. Perhaps we would have to go against some of the modeling displayed in our families and use God’s favorite word for love, agape. It means unconditional love. To love, even if we are not loved. Wow, What a concept. Let’s all try it!

Serving With Joy!

Contact the author

Deacon Dan Schneider is a retired general manager of industrial distributors. He and his wife Vicki have been married for over 50 years. They are the parents of eight children and thirty grandchildren. He has a degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2002.  He has a passion for working with engaged and married couples and his main ministry has been preparing couples for marriage.

Featured Image Credit: Patrycja Domaradzka,