4th Sunday of Easter - I Am The Good Shepherd

04-21-2024Weekly Reflection©LPi — Father John Muir

Recently I was with my little dog Libby at a retreat center in the Arizona desert. I sat in a chair near a ravine filled with shrubs. Unbeknownst to me, Libby wandered down there and disappeared. Suddenly an animal’s wild shriek erupted from the area. Without thinking, I bolted down into the ravine fully expecting to see coyotes, javelinas, or rattlesnakes. I didn’t care. I desperately wanted to get Libby out of there, without any selfregard. Before I could face whatever danger lay hidden, my dog blissfully trotted out from an entirely different area, utterly unaware that I had (quite heroically) just placed my life on the line.


3rd Sunday of Easter

04-14-2024Weekly Reflection©LPi — Father John Muir

When I was a kid, a friend at my home parish told me, “If you get to Mass by the Gospel reading, it counts!” As a lifelong late-arriver, it’s something I have told myself many times, especially in my earlier years as a Catholic. If the “it counts” is justifiable on a pathetically minimal scale of liturgical legalism, then the Gospel reading today shows how insanely wrong-headed it is, and how helpful it is to re-think the Mass in its light.


2nd Sunday of Easter (Sunday of Divine Mercy)

04-07-2024Weekly Reflection©LPi — Father John Muir

A protestant pastor friend of mine was invited to meet Pope Francis with a group of other pastors. He noticed the Pope’s chair was especially ornate and set at the head of the group. He somewhat playfully said, “Holy Father, why do you get that special chair?” The group chuckled nervously at my friend’s audacious chide.


Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

03-31-2024Weekly Reflection©LPi — Father John Muir

Outside Chicago, there is a small cemetery in the woods behind Mundelein Seminary, where I was a student. One night I was exploring it. I looked up and was shocked to see an imposing seventeen-foot angel towering over me and preparing to blow a trumpet. Adrenaline rushed through me. I gasped and uttered, “Oh my God!” Quickly I realized it was in fact a massive bronze statue. I tried to calm myself down. But it still freaked me out.


Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

03-24-2024Weekly Reflection©LPi — Father John Muir

A few months before they married, my twenty-three-year-old sister and her fiancé planned a cross-country road trip to visit his family. My parents told them that they could only go if they slept in separate hotel rooms, offering to foot the bill. It might sound prudish, but my parents wanted the young couple to understand that their approaching unity was close, but not yet. Patience solidifies love.


5th Sunday of Lent

03-17-2024Weekly Reflection©LPi — Father John Muir

A middle-aged woman sat on the couch in my parish office and recounted to me a shocking list of terrible calamities in her life: addictions, terminal illnesses, financial loss, broken relationships, and so on. She smiled as she did so. “Please forgive me,” I asked, “but you seem to be smiling as you share this.” She said, “Father John, I am totally overwhelmed. But I’m smiling because I just can’t wait to see what good things God does with this mess.” She expected God would manifest His glory when she most needed it.


4th Sunday of Lent

03-10-2024Weekly Reflection©LPi — Father John Muir

Our national pastime isn’t baseball. It’s what the Bible calls “condemning the world.” We generally enjoy pronouncing curses upon those whom we see as trouble, wrong, or evil. Don’t believe me? Listen to almost any podcast, cable news network, or social media platform to hear it. It will be some version of: “We all agree that if they are eradicated, things will be great.” Condemning is almost always clothed in virtue. It basks in its good intentions. That’s why it is so attractive. Condemning seems like our best path to saving what is good.


3rd Sunday of Lent

03-03-2024Weekly Reflection©LPi — Father John Muir

I am the Lord your God … You shall not have other gods beside me. —Ex 20:2-3

One of the greatest golfers of all time — if not the greatest — was Jack Nicklaus. Which is why it is baffling that at the beginning of each season he would return to his childhood coach and re-learn how to grip the golf club. It’s like Shakespeare re-learning the alphabet and grammar. Why would he do that? Because Jack knew that the fundamentals are always relevant. Perfecting and obsessing over his grip allowed him to do everything else in the game well. In sports and life, the best ones love the basics.