Weekly Blog

Serving Others Serves Us 

Not a surprise, we are called to serve others. We can point to numerous places in Scripture. A couple examples:

  • John 15:17, Jesus said, “This I command you; that you love one another”. 
  • Matthew 25:44, where it says, “Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to You?” Then He shall respond to them by saying: “Amen I say to you, whenever you did not do it to one of these least, neither did you do it to Me”.

We need to see Christ in all and be Christ to all. You’re hard pressed to meet anyone who serves those in need who doesn’t feel strongly that they’re being ministered to more than those they’re serving.  

I read once that if we decided to, that the United States in of itself, could solve for world hunger. I’ve been challenged on that in saying it during speaking engagements. I believe it to be true based on the source, but regardless, here’s the question.  What are we doing, you and I, to solve for hunger our in our neighborhoods?

The types of hunger could include: 

  • Physical
  • Financial
  • Emotional 
  • Spiritual

There are so many opportunities to serve. Did you know that more than 50% of those in nursing homes are never visited? That’s pre-COVID stat. What do you think it is now? Our mothers, fathers, siblings, and friends. So many people are broken. Our kids, our neighbors…people seeking the love of Christ, whether they know it or not. 

There are so many opportunities to show the love of Christ to others. We live in a culture that loves things and uses people. We are called to use things and love people. 


Seeing the Face of Christ in Others 

Just before COVID, I went on my first mission trip to Haiti. Being good friends with the President of Life Teen, an organization that serves close to 2,000 Parishes and their youth ministry programs, about 20 of us stayed at Life Teen’s mission base. 

I have trouble sleeping when I’m in my bed and in my house. I’m not an outdoorsman…never camped in my life. In Haiti, I was among 12 other guys, with netted beds to keep the mosquitoes off us. On a concrete floor, critters were scampering back and forth…not sure what they were.  

The cold showers were very cold. The food, although interesting and tasted ok most of the time, I ate little of because of the conditions I saw it being prepared in. 

We did work on the mission base and out in the community. I experienced poverty that I had never witnessed before. People live in deplorable conditions, with no electricity or running water. With no means of disposal, garbage was everywhere, and I mean everywhere. Everyplace we went, there was a stench that I never experienced before. Roads were almost unnavigable. No paving. Huge potholes every so many feet, and parts of roads washed away. 

My primary take-aways:

  • It’s incomprehensible that there’s so much poverty in our backyard…no more than 2-hour flight from the US
  • I’ve never seen so many people smile so much. The Haitian people, poorer than poor, living in huts, with no running water or electricity, are joy-filled people. It’s amazing. It’s incredible to see. 
  • I came home convicted that I needed to start serving those in need in some capacity. 

I’ve allowed COVID to get in the way. Given what I saw and given where I am on my faith journey, I need to do this…working with those in need. I have failed to date, which I’m not proud of. My wife and I have talked about it. We need to do it. Please pray for us. 

I hope in reading this you’ll consider doing the same….seeing Christ in others. 

As always, please email me at [email protected] with questions, concerns, comments, or prayer requests. 

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Remember…God made you for Greatness!!!

Mark Joseph

Weekly Blog

We’re All Overwhelmed

Can you identify with the hamster on the wheel in the glass cage, watching the world go by around you? Take me for example…for the longest time, I was trying to make that wheel go faster and faster. I couldn’t catch my breath. I couldn’t find a way to jump off the wheel. Didn’t know if anyone saw me on the wheel. If anyone else was on the wheel with me. If anyone would catch me if I fell off the wheel. I couldn’t keep up; I was massively stressed, exhausted, frustrated, and deflated. I was overwhelmed. 

We’re all overwhelmed. Here’s what I also figured out…I was just as overwhelmed when things seemed to be going well as when things turned bad.

An example of the good times – for over 10 years, I worked every Sunday, 7AM-Noon, meeting my family for 12:30 Mass, believing I wasn’t missing any family time. I was crazy. I used to travel 2-3 days per week. When in town, I’d work from 6-8AM at my desk at the house, then taking the kids to school. I would race to the office for a frenetic pace of meetings and phone calls, working through lunch, going home late afternoon/early evening. 

I would eat dinner on the run, running the kids to their practices and events. I coached many of their sports, so I’d often be on the field with them. I’ve always been an exercise enthusiast, so I always got in my exercise, typically late at night (lots of sleep deprivation). I had business meetings some nights, other meetings other nights; we had a social life. There was always too much to do and not enough time to do it. I was overwhelmed, but because I thought I was in control I didn’t notice. In fact, I was energized by it…I was important because I was busy (so I thought). 

Then there are the bad times, where we have relationship issues, challenges (i.e., COVID), and experience the busyness of everyday life. We’re stressed, frustrated, deflated, exhausted, and very aware that we’re overwhelmed. 

We have the Internet, wifi, social media, smart devices – not only do things move much faster, but there is no way to disconnect; we have no downtime. In the background we’re concerned about our careers, our compensation, needs of our families, college, retirement, paying for houses, cars, vacations, etc., whatever allows us to keep up or get ahead. 

I’d suggest that it afflicts everyone…whether you’re in high school or college, newly graduated, just starting out, advanced in your career or retired; single, married, empty nester or house full of kids, young, old, wildly successful or not. And most believe that once they reach that pinnacle of success, what society says will make them happy, that everything will be good. Believe it or not, just the opposite is true; it often intensifies. 

Does at least some of the above apply to you? You aren’t alone. Join me next week, when we begin to unpack why we’re overwhelmed. Be assured…there’s an answer to this dilemma, how we live lives of peace, joy, and fulfillment. 

As always, please feel free to contact me at [email protected] with questions, comments, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests.  

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

God made you for GREATNESS!!!

Mark Joseph

Weekly Blog

COVID and Church Doctrine

The only thing that may be more divisive in our country today than politics is the COVID vaccine. Many disagree on the issue, including me and who I refer to as my creative genius, Mary Kate, who manages Mark Joseph Ministries’ communications. Although not the point of this blog, we can disagree without being disagreeable. It is possible and I would argue a good thing. In doing so, our country would be a better place and we would have more peace in our lives.   

Related to the title of this blog, some background is required. In addition to those I’ve heard about in the news, I now personally know two people who face termination from their employment if they’re not vaccinated. One works 100% remotely, which would seem to pose no risk to a safe work environment. Both Catholic, they’ve looked to their faith, our Church, for support in the form of a religious exemption, which is stated as being valid by the organizations forcing vaccinations. 

In doing an internet search, there are at least 10 Bishops who have issued instructions to their clergy, mandating they not assist the faithful in any efforts to claim religious exemption. Add to that many Bishops mandating vaccination for all Diocesan employees. Interesting view by Church leadership, as you’ll see below. 

You may have been vaccinated. I fully support whatever decision you make for yourself on this issue, given your free will and conscience (the point of this blog), which was given to you by God. That said, points that might contribute to people’s hesitation are worth considering, whether you agree with them or not: 

  • Vaccines typically take 8-10 years to develop, test, and be approved by the FDA. The 3 COVID vaccines on the market began being used on a wide basis in less than a year, with FDA approval granted months after initial use. 
  • Messenger RNA, the key component in 2 of 3 of the vaccines, has never been put into the human body before. 
  • There are numerous examples of severe side effects from the vaccine, namely blood clots and associated disorders, inflammation of the heart, including in teenagers, life threatening allergic reactions, Bell’s Palsy, miscarriages, and premature births. 
  • Given the short timeframe of the trials, less than a year vs. 8-10 as stated above, we have no idea what the long-term impacts are of these vaccines. 
  • The swine flu vaccine was stopped in 1976 by the US Government when fatalities from the shot hit 53. The government’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) indicates there have been 6,128 deaths in the US due to the COVID vaccines. The number is double that worldwide. 
  • There are treatments (not vaccines) that have been proven to be effective in curing patients of COVID, specifically hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, and monoclonal antibody therapy, along with Vitamins C, D, and zinc. 
  • It’s widely known that those who risk severe sickness or death are the elderly and those with comorbidities. We also know that our youth rarely get COVID and if they do their symptoms are mild unless they have comorbidities. So, what is the rationale for 100% vaccination? 
  • When COVID broke, the issues were deaths, ventilators, and hospital beds, none of which have spiked with the uptick in cases and the delta variant.
  • The government’s (and big tech and big business and others) insistence on all people being vaccinated negates whether they’ve had COVID, therefore having the antibodies which are recognized as being better protection than the vaccine. They’re being forced to be vaccinated anyhow.
  • On May 1st, the CDC decided to stop tracking break through cases (already vaccinated), but instead only cases from the fully vaccinated that result in hospitalization or death, leaving health officials without full data. 
  • If vaccines work, why the masks for those vaccinated? If vaccines work, why would those vaccinated care if others aren’t vaccinated?   

You may think the above is pertinent or not. You may be vaccinated or not. Again, I respect your decision. That said, I think we can all agree that the above list could give pause to at least some, which leads to the following. 

Specific to Church doctrine (the point of this blog), you’ve read before where I’ve stated that all the answers to life can be found in Scripture and from the teachings of the Church. As it turns out, the Church speaks to the above issue in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC): 

  • Our identity in Christ, made in the image and likeness of God
    • CCC Paragraph 1700 – The dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God; it is fulfilled in his vocation to divine beatitude. It is essential to a human being freely to direct himself to this fulfillment. By his deliberate actions, the human person does, or does not, conform to the good promised by God and attested by moral conscience. Human beings make their own contribution to their interior growth; they make their whole sentient and spiritual lives into means of this growth. With the help of grace they grow in virtue, avoid sin, and if they sin they entrust themselves as did the prodigal son to the mercy of our Father in heaven. In this way they attain to the perfection of charity.
  • Our judgement, given moral conscience 
    • CCC Paragraph 1776 – “Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. . . . For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . . . His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.”
    • CCC Paragraph 1782 – Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. “He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters.”

If interested in the above, including how it relates to real life issues, I suggest reading the Catechism, Paragraphs 1700 – 1802. Understand, I’m not a theologian, but as supported by the Catechism (and other sources, including Scripture and other Church teaching), we know that:

  • We are made in the image and likeness of God,
  • With a free will and a conscience,
  • Which God calls us to exercise. 

As such, I’m not sure why some of our Bishops are hesitant to have Clergy assist with religious exemptions; or why some would be forcing vaccinations on all Diocesan employees when arguably at least some are resisting due to matters of conscience. Lastly, in the name of social justice, what about the impact of forced vaccinations on those in most need in our society? 

This is tough stuff, and we live in a challenging world. There’s always going to be an interplay between politics, culture, and faith. That said, we know the impact of the life changing message of Jesus Christ. With our dramatically declining numbers, it’s my prayer that all Christians be intentional about rebuilding our Church, genuinely sharing the love (and truth) of Christ both to those in our pews and outside our Church walls. 

As always, please feel free to contact me at [email protected] with questions, comments, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests.  

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Remember…God made you for GREATNESS!!!


Mark Joseph

Weekly Blog

The Gift of Our Faith

Do you ever wonder what you’d do without your faith? How you’d experience life? It’s hard to imagine. Having Jesus Christ as my lens through which to see the world is an extreme comfort. After all, we know the end of the story…as they say. We know who wins. 

As I referenced two weeks ago, life can and does get tough. We are presented with many challenges. Some are far reaching and although may not have an immediate personal impact, can create worry nonetheless. Others are very personal and close to home. 

Related to the latter, this COVID thing is crazy. It hits different people in various ways. I have a friend, Ben, who’s been in the hospital with it since June 17th, first on a ventilator and getting dialysis. We would get updates from his wife, Mariely, regularly and for a while they weren’t good. He was in real danger. By the time this blog posts, he will hopefully have had the trach tube removed and is now able to talk. 

I visited Ben recently and he looked amazing, really amazing, especially given what he’s gone through. We prayed together and received Communion from a visiting Deacon. Ben is wearing a scapular and has a Rosary ring. There’s a large picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the windowsill. Given the great devotion they have to our Virgin Mother, Mariely was sharing with me the Marian Feasts that take place during August, each one marking a new milestone in Ben’s recovery. Mariely also shared the soothing impact it has on Ben when she prays the Rosary daily, along with the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  

Because of COVID, I had stopped going to daily Mass and was dragging my feet going back. It was Ben insisting that I do so, that got me to go again…never missing. I work with Ben. I love asking him to pray before our meetings, where he always reverently invokes our Lady. Ben is one of the holiest, kindest, conscientious, most compassionate (and btw smartest), men I know and I’m not just saying that because he’s been sick. He deeply loves our Lord, along with his wife and kids. His faith is a part of him. You can hear it in his voice and see it in his actions.  


Be Not Afraid

I was on a call this past week, where the person I was talking to said, “be not afraid”, making reference to our faith. I reminded him that it says some derivative of that, 365 times in Scripture. Ben has no fear because he has faith. It was such a joy being with Ben and Mariely, whose faith is so strong. What an example they are. 

Here’s the deal. We are going to have challenges in life…big struggles, even tragedies. They’re going to occur whether we’re in relationship with Jesus or not. Here’s what I know, having done it both ways. Life is always better with God in it. Our faith really matters. It changes everything, including eliminating the fear. It’s a gift. It’s very apparent in those who truly live it, like Ben and Mariely. 

Please join me in praying for Ben (and Mariely), that he soon gets out of the hospital and fully recovers prior to his ordination to the Diaconate this fall. Let’s additionally pray for all of those who lack faith and live in fear. May God bless all of us on our journeys. 

As always, please feel free to contact me at [email protected] with questions, comments, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests.  

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

God made you for GREATNESS!!!


Mark Joseph