One With True Contentment & One Without

Fourth Sunday of Lent

Thirsting for God... 
       42 'As the deer pants for the water brooks,
             So my soul pants for You, O God.
       2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;
             When shall I come and appear before God?' 
              - Psalm 42:1-2 New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB 1995)
Everyone Thirsts for God!

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today I wanted to reflect upon the two choices that will define our lives and will determine our course into the hereafter. Therefore, within the serious tone of this message please have an open mind and heart. ‘Today if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts.’ – Psalm 94:8 Douay-Rheims 1899 Version

Question to Ponder: “Don’t you want for yourself and for your family; even the world to be at peace finding ever-lasting contentment in all things?”

We have two choices that really matter, I mean, (absolutely), in the literal sense of the word, (absolutely), matters. You can’t run from this choice, you can’t hide from it, you can’t ignore it, and you can’t meet or beat it with silence. I guess you could try as a large portion of the world’s population tries with a huge amount of struggle… but one who tries this strategy quickly finds this choice is constantly on their mind until they decide which way they shall go. For this choice will nag you to the grave! It is a choice between living a life knowing that you are absolutely loved, cherished, forgiven, and which you can confidently know true lasting joy and peace, having eternal hope, fullness, and unending happiness within all circumstances in your life; being a beacon of hope to others. Or a choice of instant gratification, temporary happiness that has a definable beginning, middle, and end. A choice that leaves you wanting for more, never satiating your hunger, always leaving you with underwhelming love, hope, joy, and peace; a mere taste of what the first choice can deliver. This second choice also is the harbinger of sin, strife, division, the true source of pain and anguish; the driver of conflict which leaves everyone involved in bitterness and leads to never forgiving others and thus, a permanent hardening of the heart. Why would anyone choose this second choice? Sadly, millions of our brothers and sister do. Perhaps out of ignorance and/or fear, maybe they were taught to fill their lives with the belief that they are an island and do not need what the first choice can bring into their lives. Simply put there are many circumstances, too many to count, which people face that bring them to choose the wrong choice. However, making this choice is hardwired into our very being and so, when we try to ignore it we find ourselves in depression and despair.


Dealing With These Two Competing Paradigms

The best place to start is by understanding why we have this thirst for God, why choice number one is the right choice, and finally, we must come to terms with what God wants from us in the starkest of terms.

42 'As the deer pants for the water brooks,
      So my soul pants for You, O God.'
       - (NASB 1995)

God our Father who is in Heaven made us, He alone knows everything about us, and He wants a relationship with us. I can not stress this enough! So, paradigm one logically states that God hot-wired us to thirst for him as the wild and tame animals thirst for water. Therefore, it is absolutely true that God made us for himself. (Isaiah 43:21) 21 “The people whom I formed for Myself Will declare My praise.” Therefore, the first paradigm should be easy to accept right? Well, hold on… there’s more! God also wants us to live with the confidence he is in control, 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.’ – Romans 8:28 (NASB 1995). Furthermore, when you put this idea against your own personal wants and dreams we naturally find conflict. The human heart because of sin is separated from God. Because God is love he reacted the only way he could; that being the ultimate sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. Here again, we as fallible creatures struggle with that one act of God’s mercy that on its face is so overpowering and dumbfounding that we struggle with it. We find ways to explain why God would allow his son to die in such a hideously painful and disgraceful manner that we begin to question his loving-kindness with this most common question: ‘If Jesus was real and he died on the cross for my sins… (it is here we are forced to accept God’s mercy without the benefit of having been there to witness it ourselves), then why would God do that for a wretch like me?’ (Instead of accepting God’s mercy we find ourselves unworthy and therefore automatically go through phases of rejection, guilt, and turmoil which leads us to ask, ‘How could a person love me so much they would willingly lay down and die for me.’)

Found Online: VWAQ

Believe it or not, this is called progress, for at this moment our logical minds start asking questions searching for the truth about God, so much so that we inevitably become closer to finding God. Think hard, do you remember ever asking this question? ‘If Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins then why does God still allow evil into our lives?’ Have you ever started any question with, ‘Why does God…’, this, of course, is called the searcher’s questions. Though I will warn you… that some people never stop asking and instead their questions become accusatory assigning blame for everything wrong that has ever happened to them. They end up bitterly blaming God saying it is his fault and they can never see their own hand in the midst of their own misery. This is a person who has chosen the world, or paradigm two, over paradigm one and acts against the direct command given to us, ‘…abstain from every form of evil.’ – 1 Thessalonians 5:22 – (NASB 1995). However, for those of us who honestly and sincerely search for Christ and who honestly want to grow in their faith each question asked is purposeful and will bring the asker closer to God lighting an undying fire to know Him.

Christian Parenting

Some people who were raised with parents who taught and read the Bible often are more accepting and thus choose early in life to believe in and love God. Others who as children that did not have the benefit of being raised in a stable home with parents who believed in paradigm one are often lost, wandering through life, searching for something which is ingrained within their very being but sadly have no clue why they hunger for something more powerful and meaningful. Into adulthood, many of these people are blind to the virtues which God Himself commands us to follow. Others simply run away from making this difficult choice because to face it would be too painful which drives them into the arms of disbelief, fooling themselves that they can manage it all without God. This of course is a childish attempt at controlling every event that happens to them from the moment they were initially hurt to the day they are forced to answer this nagging choice of which path to choose. This is known as running away from one’s pain and unwittingly straight into the arms of the loneliness of our imperfect world and all it cannot give us rejecting what we rightfully deserve in Christ Jesus. My brothers and sisters, if this is you, I sincerely urge you to stop, look, and listen because you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t.


Benefits of Paradigm One

My Personal Testimony

In conclusion, as I reflect upon what I have written here within this post, I often recall all the hurtful experiences I have faced as an adult living in California. I think back on the joy of my only child’s birth and the subsequent years of arguing and hating my then-wife as she pursued a long-drawn-out divorce that did not end once the original papers were signed. I reflect upon the countless men who I associated with on Facebook parenting groups who were victims of Parental Alienation of a Minor Child, and how our ex-wives sought to divide us from our children making them choose between their parents. The court battles where I endured countless hours of lies by the opposing lawyers who tried everything in the playbook to define me as a bad dad, deadbeat dad, and a dad that was only good for forking out money hand over fist. My joy was reduced in the courts like so many other fathers into a pile of pain and torment… subsequent torcher, living in fear of what else could be taken away, ripped from our hearts and lives. Spending time became a schedule set by the court. How you spend time was often reduced to where this time could be spent. I within this hour of darkness had a daily choice, to give up and concede to what the world wanted of me, or fight with confidence that God was by my side through it all. I chose God every day, he is my strength, courage, and my shield! God has never left me alone, and in this, I learned and grew to always be thankful for everything.

My argument for paradigm one is not something I endorse without knowing God, but rather I endorse it because I would not be here without God! In short here are the benefits of choosing God or paradigm one:


I can confidently testify that…

  1. I have found peace in everything, in every good or bad thing that has happened to me.
  2. I have an undying joy, as I look at this world and celebrate all that God has done for me.
  3. I have found a deep sincere agape love that only comes from God.
  4. I have learned that forgiveness is always the best policy, for those who don’t forgive will end up bitter holding tight to a hardened heart… this was the most difficult thing to do as it relates to my ex-wife.
  5. I have a hope that can never be drowned by the world’s imperfect pessimistic policies and actions. For God is always in control and is working for the good of all things. There will always be some things that I can not explain but I have hope in God knowing he knows about it and is working on a solution.
  6. I am filled to the brim with God’s goodness, grace, and mercy.
  7. I have a happiness that is far and above anything other forms of happiness the world could ever offer me.

Though I will admit that the key to my relationship with God is rooted within this one guiding principle; I know and trust God and will heed all of his commands, I will go where he wants me to go without question and seek out his wisdom at every turn. For I know without any doubt that God is conforming me into the likeness of His only son which is far and above a much better version of who I was when I started this journey. I am not afraid to write this in black and white for it is a starkly different mindset that is freeing and allows one to escape the world’s blame, being defined by one action, and is completely within God’s will.

This my brothers and sisters is what I want for you. Be confident in your own testimony, yield to God in all things, and know He is with you and in control over every aspect of your life, and yes, He is conforming you into a better version of yourself.




ANTIPHON: O God, my God, I give you thanks; you are my God, I shall proclaim your Glory.


Venite exultemus

An invitation to adore and serve God, and to hear his voice.

"Encourage each other daily while it is still today." Hebrews 3:13

1 Come let us praise the Lord with joy: let us joyfully sing to God our saviour.
2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving; and make a joyful noise to him with psalms.

(Antiphon repeated)

3 For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4 For in his hand are all the ends of the earth: and the heights of the mountains are his.

(Antiphon repeated)

5 For the sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Come let us adore and fall down: and weep before the Lord that made us.

(Antiphon repeated)

7 For he is theLord our God: and we are the people of his pasture,
    and the sheep of his hand.
8 To day if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts:

(Antiphon repeated)
9 As in the provication, according to the day of temptation in the wilderness: where your fathers tempted me, they proved me, and saw my works.
10 Forty years long was I offended with that generation,
    and I said: 'These alwats err in heart.'

(Antiphon repeated)

11 And these men have not known my ways: so I swore in my wrath that they shall not enter into my rest.

(Antiphon repeated)


PRAYER: Father of Peace, we are joyful in your Word, your Son Jesus Christ, who reconciles us to you. Let us hasten toward Easter with the eagerness of faith and love. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and forever.

Perpetual Prayer for UKRAINE:

Dear Lord, give your strength to our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. Protect the innocent and brave of heart. Save those who find themselves in harm’s way and give courage to those who fight like righteous lions! Give your eternal peace to Ukraine’s President Zelenski and show him the path to take in these troubled times. May the words written in Philippians 2:2-4 reign in all Christian hearts worldwide;

 "Make my joy complete by your unanimity, possessing the one love, united in spirit and ideals."


Thus, therefore, shall you pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our supersubstantial bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. Amen.

Matthew 6:9-13 – Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. – Amen

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Saint Joseph Pray for us.

Sancte Ioseph, Ora pro nobis



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‘Awake, O sleeper!’

Fourth Sunday of Lent 2021

Second Reading

The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the EPHESIANS….

Brothers and sisters in Christ, I say to you that many people around the world are asleep and though they think they are not asleep I would argue that they truly are. In fact, they would claim their eyes are awake, their hearts are true, but I tell you, their very actions show to the world they are not awake in the lord! With that said, I am not going to point fingers at individual people, nor am I going to say, ‘if you do this or that you’re not a Christian’, rather I am going to call out the sin of the many and reach out to those who are asleep in Christ Jesus. With that said, today’s reflection is going to be harsh, uncomfortable to read, and perhaps sobering to your faith. You can’t say I didn’t warn you…

So, my favorite thing about Ephesians is that Paul was dealing with the same issues as we are today which makes this Epistle so relatable. The message of Ephesians shows how anyone who is in Christ sits and rules with Him in the Kingdom of God. It draws a fine line between those who know God, experience God, and understand His mercy and those who are asleep, consequently the ‘sleepers’ of the world are in full-on rebellion against Him. Make no mistake this goes beyond people who are like-minded but rather extends deeper into our most basic needs and how they are fulfilled. Ephesians also addresses the practical issue of Christian unity. Again, make no mistake, we are in a war against sin in all its forms, and those who give up and give in become enslaved to its many forms, especially hate, which I will address later in this reflection.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”


A Modern Example – Blatant Acts of Hate!

In cities around the world, there is a rise in hate crimes, most especially against non-whites. The last four years I sat and watched how one person’s words influenced thousands and those who fell into the rabbit hole fell asleep because it is easier to be dead in Christ than it is to pick up your cross and follow, i.e. own your own sin! The lack of empathy is more prevalent in the world as a whole and this shift has endangered and killed millions! We are our brother’s keepers, we are all called to testify and to love one another. So, rather than mention names I will talk about deeds and I think you all will know to what and to whom I speak clearly about.

What is hate? Is it a misunderstanding when a random Asian American is pushed to the ground upon his face so hard that he dies because of his injuries? Older Asian Americans who are vulnerable because of their age are being targeted. What have Asian Americans done to deserve such hatred to be perpetrated against them? Need I remind everyone about the contributions of Asian Americans.

Asian Pacific Americans developed fields, helped log the forests, labored in fisheries and factories, and helped to develop the backbone of our economy. Boeing’s first aeronautical engineer, Wong Tsu, was Chinese. The Chinese railroad workers built the transcontinental railway and today’s Chinese and other Asian software engineers are building today’s super information highway. Asian Pacific Americans have stood up through our history for civil and human rights.” – By acrscommunity  Posted May 24, 2017

What about African Americans? Enslaved, beaten, worked to death, murdered in cold blood, and separated from their families and children! What did they do to deserve this treatment? Perhaps, the religion of the South in the 1700s-1800s set the tone that America still is entrenched with taking away blacks’ hard-earned privilege, undermining civility, and in some extreme cases blatantly exuding hatred and racism beyond the pale! What really is disappointing is that after the 2020 election 33 states introduced 165 bills to restrict blacks from voting! The Good Old Boys Party (GOP) strikes again! Bold disenfranchisement coming once again from the old rich white men against the African American Community seeking to keep blacks from exercising their American Right to Vote! We are so past Jim Crow, we are so far beyond the arguments and anger of the 1800s being revisited because the South can’t get over it! Can’t face the fact they lost the Civil War! Lincoln freed the slaves. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a whole host of other civil rights leaders have changed America, making it fairer, but we still have miles to go to make the dream real! All of the above is an excuse to hate! I say to you my brothers and sisters, 11 ‘Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

The Legacy Museum

Most notably, what about the Native Americans’ plight? Here we have the root of our evil deeds. White America wipes out millions of indigenous people! American expansionism on display and justified! Taking of land, killing innocent men, women, and children because they happen to be on land the good old boys club wanted. We still are dealing with this war crime! “12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.


About the Sin of Hatred

Therefore be imitators of God as beloved children. Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us as a fragrant offering and a sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5 (MEV Bible)

We are called to ‘put away lying, let every man (person) speak truthfully with his neighbor, for we are members of one another’ Eph 4:25. So, how do we do this when there are sleepers all over the place rebelling against God? I have been pondering this for four years and wondering how so many Americans can be asleep. Without being political, religion and faith should be a guide to morality. It should be the measure by which we treat each other. Jesus said his followers stand out because of their love, kindness, and grace. Christians are followers of Christ no matter their religious orientation. To treat others with anything other than love, kindness, and grace is not acceptable. Words are a sword when used in anger and hate. All those little lies grow into sin which begets unforgiveness which turns to hate out of ignorance or sheer laziness. The darkness of hatred builds up in the soul and turns it hard little by little and eventually, the heart becomes enslaved and the individual who allowed this condition to take place within God’s house, (the physical and spiritual body) falls asleep in Christ.

Above are but three examples in our shared American history where oppression has been doled out by those who are asleep. ‘Wake up!’ The feeling of anger by itself is not a sin, for Jesus showed anger. God has shown His anger throughout the Old Testament. “Be angry but do not sin! Do not allow the sun to go down on your anger.” – Eph 4:26-27. Clearly, many of our brothers and sisters have allowed the sun to sit on their generational anger and feelings of being replaced by people of different ethnicities. This brings me to my final point, there is no excuse to do wicked deeds, there is no favor that will save you from doing what you know is wrong. Washington is besieged by people who are not working for the greater good and who cleverly mince their words and mislead millions because of their lies. It is a shining example of the rot and darkness which has almost snuffed out the light of good. It is but one example of how one man’s ignorance has spread to infect like a disease the rest of America. I leave you, my brothers and sisters, with this quote, ‘Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, but only that which is good for building up, that it may give grace to the listeners.’ – Eph 4:29

Give grace with your words and actions. Call the darkness for what it is and have nothing to do with it. Do not lie, cheat, or steal from your fellow brothers and sisters. Run the race with your eyes wide open and do not allow sin to take you over forcing you to fall asleep! Remember, to stay awake in the Lord daily! Walk in the light of God always. Do not misuse His words or grieve the Holy Spirit of God. For those of you who turn from darkness and face the light, take up your cross and own your sin then repent, you will be sealed for the day of redemption. This is what I want for the entire world as does God!



Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name.

Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, As it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, Forever and ever. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, a world without end.

Saint Joseph, Pray for us. ~ Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’


Brother Brian

Copyright ©2021 by Brian K. Stark. All rights reserved.

Permission to print for personal use only.

Knowledge of Good & Evil!


13th-Century depiction of Adam and Eve from the portal of the Cathedral of St. Lawrence, Trogir, Croatia (13th century). Source: Orvieto, Exterior of the Duomo: The Bible Relief: Original Sin

Genesis 3: 6-7 The Message (MSG)

 When the Woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it — she’d know everything! —She took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate.

 Immediately the two of them did “see what’s really going on” —saw themselves naked! They sewed fig leaves together as makeshift clothes for themselves.


In retrospect, I would have to say that this must have been a very bad day for all involved, indeed! I mean first, the serpent tricks Eve into thinking she would know everything… what person in today’s modern age wouldn’t give their right arm to know everything? Then the serpent tells Eve not to worry about what God said… what person on earth hasn’t thought that very thought once or twice in their life? Then he sets back and watches her sin knowing all along what will happen… I mean how many of us have done that very thing to our friends, family, and to those we don’t like?

Point is whether or not this really happened… the story being told is all about human sin, our ability to fall into sin, and our inner impulses to sin. The older we get the greater the form those sins take!

But wait… what did God do about this sin? Well, he cursed the serpent, (Genesis 3:14-15), then God cursed Eve, (Genesis 3:16) and last but not least God cursed Adam, (Genesis 3:17-19). Now let’s look at it from a parents’ perspective… As a parent, I have always reverted back to the principles behind this first question God asked Adam and Eve directly, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9) God knew where they were, how scared they were, and what their answer would be! How many times as a parent have you asked a similar question knowing all those same facts? Think about the blood rushing anticipation our children feel when they know we know the right answer but we are asked them anyway! By the way, this works with my students as well.

But this next question is simply brilliant! “Who told you that you were naked?” (Genesis 3:11) Shorten that to ‘Who told you…’ and that question drives home the point! See… sin equals death. Before dealing with the sin God wanted them to admit their sin. God wants us all to admit our sins to Him. So, to the Catholic faith, this takes the form of formalized Confession. To other religions, confession takes different forms, but the request is still the same! Point being this story of Adam and Eve symbolically is teaching mankind that though we sin daily we all must ask God directly through confession and through prayer with sincerity every day for forgiveness of our daily sin because God is the only one who can deliver that kind of grace and mercy!

Finally, this story ends dramatically with God driving out Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, much like he drives out our personal sin when we ask Him. Now, I do want to mention that God did not kill Adam and Eve but he did make their lives much harder in every way possible. Now take a step back and think about this… How many times have you knowingly sinned against God and your life because of that sin becomes harder in some way? In contrast, when we listen carefully to God our lives generally become a thousand times better than what it was before. And I am not just saying that… I have lived that truth! Now think deeper… How did God react in the long run? Instead of giving up on us, turning his back, (which is what Satan wanted), God doubles down on His perfect love! How did God do that you ask? Well, God sent His only son to die on the cross at calvary. Satan wanted to prove to God we are sinful so He wouldn’t love us as much as he does. But God didn’t fall for that instead we can find the proof of our Lord’s love within every page of our Bible. Story after story God’s message is a redeeming one. God never stopped loving us, in fact, by the very blood of Christ are we forgiven which proves how much God truly cares. Showing us that God, in fact, loved us more than we love Him! For it is God who keeps His promises perfectly and with fidelity…

Let us then say this together: “The Lord will come from his holy place to save his people.”

QUESTION: When you become angry or feel that you have been betrayed do you stop loving those who you are angry with? Or do you do what God did and offer another option, another path to forgiveness?

Check Out the Other reading for today:

Reading #2: Psalm 32, Reading #3: Romans 5:12-19, Reading #4: Matthew 4:1-11

Let Us Pray!

Evening Prayer

God, come to my assistance.

– And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, As it was in the beginning, and now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Psalm 110:1-5,7

The Messiah, King, and Priest
Antiphon: Worship your Lord and God; serve him alone.

Christ’s reign will last until all his enemies are made subject to him. (1 Corinthians 15:25)

The Lord’s revelation to my Master: “Sit on my right: your foes I will put beneath your feet.”

Ant.: Worship your Lord and God; serve him alone.

The Lord will wield from Zion your scepter of power: rule in the midst of all your foes.

Ant.: Worship your Lord and God; serve him alone.

A prince from the day of your birth on the holy mountains: from the womb before the dawn I begot you.

Ant.: Worship your Lord and God; serve him alone.

The Lord has sworn an oath he will not change. “You are a priest forever, a priest like Melchizedek of old.”

Ant.: Worship your Lord and God; serve him alone.

The Master standing at your right hand will shatter kings in the day of his great wrath.

Ant.: Worship your Lord and God; serve him alone.

He shall drink from the stream by the wayside and therefore he shall lift up his head.

Ant.: Worship your Lord and God; serve him alone.

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.

Saint Joseph Pray for us.

Sancte Ioseph, Ora pro nobis

Please do not stop praying for our Brother Joseph


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