Articles by Fr. Alan Phillip

Over the years I have done a lot of writing. Some of my better articles are now available on this website. Just click on the "articles" link at the top of this page. These articles cover a wide variety of subjects including:

A Department of Peace
How to Handle Criticism


These articles are copyrighted, but you are free to duplicate them, email them, etc., for non-commercial purposes.  Some are suitable for classroom use.  Others are more appropriate for spiritual reading.  You may wish to discuss some of them around the dinner table.  The article, How to Handle Criticism, I recommend for everyone who is engaged in ministry in their parish.  I wish the Peace Interview would be acted out on national TV.  And as a Passionist, I hope everyone reads the first article, A Story About Us


33rd Sunday (B) Where Can We Find Hope?
Recent Articles:
ߦ   33rd Sunday (B) Where Can We Find Hope?
ߦ   Peace
ߦ   Peace, An Interview
ߦ   Pentecost and Transformation
ߦ   Premarital Sex
ߦ   Priesthood
ߦ   Quiet at Sunday Mass
ߦ   Words
ߦ   You are beautiful
ߦ   Celibacy, A Second Reason
ߦ   Celibacy, The First Reason
ߦ   Church History, Trivia Pursuit
ߦ   Community
ߦ   Corpus Christi
ߦ   Criticism, Giving and Taking
ߦ   Department of Peace
ߦ   Eucharistic Prayer
ߦ   Fear
ߦ   Holy Trinity
ߦ   Listening
ߦ   Love, A Meditation
ߦ   Marriage
ߦ   Marriage Preparation
ߦ   Money
ߦ   Music at Sunday Mass
ߦ   A Story about All of Us
ߦ   Abortion
ߦ   How to Handle Criticism

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      It is really dry up in Northern California.
      "How dry is it?"
      It is so dry, that the people in Napa Valley are asking the pope to turn their wine into water!

     On a very serious note...  The news this week has certainly been catastrophic.  Mass killings in Lebanon one day and then mass killings in France on another day.  The news tells us of seemingly endless wars and acts of terrorism.  We feel sorry for all the injured and all who have lost their lives.  We cry with their families…  Where can we find hope amidst all this chaos?

     The first place we can look for hope is in the bible.  In our first reading today, the prophet Daniel talks about a time of unsurpassed distress but, he says, the wise will shine brightly.  Through the Archangel Michael, the power of God will prevail.

      And Jesus uses imagery from the Old Testament painting a scene of the sun darkened, a moon shedding no light, stars falling out of the sky.  – But then we see Jesus coming on the scene with great power and glory.  In symbolic language, Jesus describes his victory at the end of time.    

     I’d like to share with you some quotes that help me find hope. The first is from J. R. R. Tolkien.  He said,  “All we do know, and that to a large extent by direct experience, is that evil labors with vast power and perpetual success - in vain: preparing always the soil for unexpected good to sprout in.”

     Rabbi Heschel stated, “…the divine image in which we are made, though distorted, cannot be obliterated.  In the end, the likeness of God will triumph over the mark of Cain." 

     And Gandhi’s words, “When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won.  There have been murderers and tyrants, and for a time they can seem invincible.  But in the end they always fall.  Think of it, always.”

      Yes, there are great catastrophes in the world news today, and fear about the future. 
But often it comes down to every day problems where we most feel the
need for hope.  Someone close to us dies. We get a bad report from the doctor. We feel like a failure.  Someone breaks our heart.  We lose our job.  Again, where do we look for hope?

       I like this quote from the poet, Longfellow. He said, “The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide."

    Throughout the bible we constantly hear about the struggle between darkness and light, between death and life, between evil and good.  The bible’s answer?  After the cross, which is the “lowest ebb,” comes the turn of the tide, and then the resurrection.

      Part of wisdom is knowing where to turn for help.  This is All Saints and All Souls month.  When we are in deep trouble, in the midst of anxiety, loneliness, pain, sickness,   or whatever suffering we may be experiencing, it is okay to call on family, our heavenly family for help.   

      And we are approaching Thanksgiving.  In the midst of whatever trials we are going through, it is always good to look on the bright side, count our blessings, to remember the deeds of the Lord in our personal history.

     I’d like to share a story.  It’s about a young father who had a five-year-old daughter.  The mother had become gravely ill and, after a brief struggle, passed away.  Suddenly everything changed for the father and his daughter. 

      First there was the wake, the funeral service, and the burial.  Then they returned, the big man and his little girl, to what seemed like a very empty, lifeless house.  The man brought his daughter’s little bed into his room, so they could face the dark night together. 

      As the minutes slipped by that first night, the young girl was having a very difficult time trying to sleep, and so was her father.  He was saddened to hear his child sobbing for her mother.

      The father said, “Try to get to sleep now, dear.  You need to rest.”

      She said, “Papa, I did try.  I did, but I can’t get to sleep.  …Papa, it’s as dark as midnight.  I can’t even see you, it’s so dark.”  Then, through her tears, she whispered, “But you love me even if it’s dark, don’t you, Papa?  You love me even if I can’t see you, don’t you?”

      For an answer, the father went over, lifted his little girl out of bed, and held her close to him until at last she fell asleep.

      When she was finally quiet, he began to pray.  He took his little daughter’s words to himself, and passed them up to God.

      “Father, it’s as dark as midnight in my life.  I can’t even see you, it’s so dark.  But You love me, even if it’s dark, don’t you, Father?  You love me even if I can’t see you, don’t you?”

      We have no recorded words of Mary on Calvary.  But I suspect she made a prayer very similar to that.

      As we come to the end the church’s liturgical year, again we go back to the heart of it all, to Christ’s dying and rising, to Calvary and Easter. Victory is assured, -- even when it’s as dark as midnight and we can’t see it.  That is what we celebrate at Mass, that Christ has died, but Christ is risen, and Christ will come again.  Come, let us give thanks.



     Have you every thought of yourself as a pumpkin?  Imagine for a moment that you are a pumpkin in a pumpkin patch.  One day the Lord Jesus comes and picks you up, takes you to his home and cleans you off.

      Then he opens you up and gets rid of all the gunk inside, all the seeds of anger, fear, greed, selfishness, unforgiveness…

      Next he carves a great big smile on the front of you.  Then he places a large candle, his light, inside of you.  And finally he sends you forth, smiling beautifully, to brighten up our cold and dreary world.

     May the light of Christ glowing inside of you bring joy to all you meet this week.






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