Prince of Peace

12-31-2023Weekly Reflection© LPi Fr. John Muir

I remember the first time my older sister asked me if I wanted to hold her newborn son. Terrified, I told her I didn’t think it was a good idea. My résumé had nothing to suggest I would be a qualified baby holder. But she warmly told me, “I’ll help you hold him.” It struck me that she is baby’s mother. She is the one who decides who is qualified to hold him. I took him in my arms and soon I began to feel comfortable with that tiny little warm cooing creature in my arms, and soon I no longer feared holding him. Now, twenty-seven nieces and nephews later, holding a newborn child is one of the great joys of my life.


Merry Christmas

12-24-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Chris Axline

Hello St. Mary Magdalene, Merry Christmas!

I love this time of year; it is most definitely my favorite, there is a palpable joy which permeates everything and everyone. Everything looks so pristine and neat, lights are brilliant, trees and houses decked out, presents wrapped. Externally, things look fantastic. But, how do we look internally, spiritually? Have we made room for the Lord in our time of preparations so that our joy may now be complete over the fact that Christ is with us? He is, after all, the impetus for everything going on this time of year and the main source of our joy. Today, Christ is born for YOU! What a truly joyful, comforting fact that brings with it profound and beautiful implications for each of us.


Bear Witness to the Light

12-17-2023Weekly Reflection© LPi Fr. John Muir

Why do we believe in Jesus and the Catholic Church? Why should we continue to do so? We’ve never seen him face-to-face (at least not most of us, I assume). Most of us have never had mystical visions of angels or saints. We live in the same world as our atheist and secularists friends. Why do we believe in Christ if we’ve never seen him?


Follow Him and be truly free

12-10-2023Weekly Reflection© LPi Fr. John Muir

We like to think we are totally free, but the bitter truth is we simply are not. Or better put, our freedom is limited on every side — by governments, corporate giants, physical and mental frailties, genetic shortcomings, and even the boundaries of time and space, and above all, the burden of our sins and pending deaths. In our day, we are perhaps particularly aware that we are not free to disconnect from the technocratic rulers of the air. If you doubt me, try not paying your internet bill and see what happens. We are not totally free.


Foster Wakefulness of Heart

12-03-2023Weekly Reflection© LPi Fr. John Muir

Lately I’ve been listening to a science-based podcast on healthy daily living. The host frequently discusses the wide range of health benefits of sleep. So, each night I’m trying to get more, and better, slumber, and it’s helping me feel energized. So, why in the world should we follow Christ’s advice this week? “Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house will come … lest he find you asleep.” Isn’t sleep, especially at midnight and cockcrow, a good thing? Of course, it is.


We are one in Him

11-26-2023Weekly Reflection© LPi Fr. John Muir

In May 2023, for the first time in almost three quarters of a century, a monarch was crowned in England. A few days later a friend of mine scoffed, “What a waste of time and energy! What is the point of a king?” I’m a proud American who wants neither theocracy nor monarchical restoration. I like our democratic republic.


Give Without Fear

11-19-2023Weekly Reflection© LPi Fr. John Muir

When I was a kid, I hated playing Monopoly because my siblings and friends always seemed to win. But worse was how it happened. Scared to risk my fake money on buying properties, I’d hold on to it. My opponents hungrily bought up the various real estate squares on the board. Then, inevitably, my poor, low-equity self would land on their spots, pay them rent, and my money would drain to zero. It seemed so unfair. The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. I had to learn that monopoly money is meant to be spent. I was scared to lose some of it. So, I lost all of it.


Watch, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

11-12-2023Weekly Reflection© LPi Fr. John Muir

Lately I’ve been enjoying the deep meaning of Eastern icons. I love how they express a tapestry of meaning in a way that can surpass the written or spoken word. Today’s parable of the ten virgins from Jesus is a good example. Try googling “wise and foolish virgins icon” and you’ll see an image of how our Christ meets our heart’s deepest needs if we attend to him with the proper attitude.


Abba Father

11-05-2023Weekly Reflection© LPi Fr. John Muir

Last Easter season a new convert to Catholicism at my parish asked me with a grave tone in her voice: “Why do we call priests ‘father’ if Jesus says, ‘Call no man on earth your father, for you have one Father, who is in heaven’?” Thinking myself clever, I asked, “Do you think it’s okay to call someone your ‘teacher’ or ‘mister’ or ‘dad’?” She said, “Yes, I do.” I responded, “Well, Jesus seems to forbid that, too. So, it’s obviously hyperbole that he’s using.” She thought for a moment and declared, “Then I will stop using those words, too!” And she walked away. Not the outcome I was seeking.


To Experience Charity is to Know God

10-29-2023Weekly Reflection© LPi Fr. John Muir

In our secularized culture, we all struggle with belief in God, at least to some degree. An atheist man named Robert Bridges once wrote to his friend, the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, asking how he could possibly learn to believe in God. Hopkins pithily responded: “Give alms.” Would that help someone tempted by atheism today, like you and me?


He is Lord of All

10-22-2023Weekly Reflection© LPi Fr. John Muir

With little more than a year until the United States’ national elections, I find myself feeling, like many Catholics, both dread and energized. Dread, because our democratic republic can be a messy endeavor and campaigns a long, nasty, and unedifying slog; energized, because hope for positive societal change can be enticing and engaging. As a pastor, I see similar conflicting attitudes in those whom I serve. How can Catholics best engage our political arena in a way which is truly helpful and worthwhile?


God's Love Calls Us Relentlessly

10-15-2023Weekly Reflection© LPi Fr. John Muir

I confess that I have a soft spot for the scary things Jesus says because they are usually ignored. But there’s gold in them thar hills, if we have courage to look. This week Jesus gives us a terrifying warning in his parable about the king who gives a marriage feast for his son and promptly goes berserk when people don’t respond. The point: those who do not properly respond to God’s generous invitation will face totally devastating consequences. The invitees who don’t show up get their city burned to the ground. The poor homeless man is tortured for not wearing the correct clothes. Scary indeed.


Seek God's Kingdom Passionately

10-08-2023Weekly Reflection© LPi Fr. John Muir

Jesus’ parables are much stranger than most people realize. This week is an attention-getting example. He tells the religious leaders a parable about a completely absurd situation. Blood-thirsty and insane tenants violently abuse and kill the servants of their landlord. Inexplicably, the owner keeps sending them more victims of increasing value — up to and including his own son. Weird.


Called to do God's Will

10-01-2023Weekly Reflection© LPi Fr. John Muir

A life-long Catholic friend of mine recently mumbled to me, “I can’t stand all these converts to the faith. They’re always rocking the boat.” It surprised me because he is dedicated to evangelization, and yet he struggles with openness to new Catholics. It made me realize how easily I close my heart to those whom I perceive to be outsiders who become new members of the Catholic community. Almost unconsciously I reduce the world to the categories of “us” and “them.” The result is that meaningful community silently shrinks in my life. Don’t we all do that to some degree?