Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Truth and Life

"I write to you not because you do not know the truth but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth."(1 John 2:18-21) In the birth of the Christ Child Truth has entered the World. In a certain sense one could say that in Christ Jesus, Truth has become flesh. Thus how can we say that we do not know the Truth? If we can come to adore the Baby Jesus away in a manger. If we recognize Jesus as the Son of God and the Son of Mary, our Savior. How can we say that we do not know the Truth? In becoming man, Truth has not only entered the world, but in becoming flesh has opened for us the very possibility of coming to know and live in the Truth. We cannot deny Jesus or His Merciful Love for He is the foundation of our lives. We have been called out of the darkness. In the birth of Jesus the Light has entered the world. That is to say that the Light of the Truth has penetrated the darkness of sin and death so that we no longer have to be bound to the lies that have enslaved us. All sin, all degradation, all abuse, all temptations, all addictions begin and end in a lie. The suffering caused in the aftermath of such violence is perpetuated by judgments based upon lies. Thus we are trapped in our lies and often left in darkness. The Baby Jesus born this day in Bethlehem pierces the darkness because He is the Truth, He is our Life. Just like the Shepherds and the Magi we are drawn to Him. The simple and the wise, the young and the old, we are drawn to the Truth and the Light that radiates from the manger and illumines the whole world. And more than the world, the Light and Truth of the Christ Child illumines our hearts, each and every on of them. Therefore we cannot deny that we know the Truth of our lives because our hearts have been illumined with the Light of Truth. We do know the Truth and we are called to live in Him this Christmas Day. We may struggle with the darkness in our live, but that is no reason to deny the Truth, and He who is our Life. The Lies that tempt us, the lies that we have lived, the lies that embarrass and shame us, the lies that remind us of our wounds, or our failings, or our sins, all these are now foreign and alien to us. In the Birth of Jesus, the Son of God, the Son of Mary, we are free, we can find Peace. We are children of the Light. We are called to live in the Truth of our Father's Loving Mercy, in the Truth of Jesus' Victory over sin and death begun this Glorious Night, the Night of our dear Savior's Birth.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Anna the Prophetess

"She never left the temple,but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. "(Lk 2:36-40) In order to be a prophetess, Anna had to be filled with the Holy Spirit. That is she was filled with the same Holy Spirit that we have been given in our Baptism. On this Christmas Day it would be good if we could take some time to reflect on the example of this holy woman. After all we share the same Spirit. Although Anna lived 2000 years ago, the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Most Holy Trinity and is Eternal. Thus it is that the same Spirit that draws us to reflect upon the holy woman Anna. Anna was drawn to the Temple of the Lord in the midst of her suffering. She was a young women, married only seven years when she became a widow. Drawn to the Temple, to the presence of the Lord of Hosts, she found consolation, and purpose to her life. We are called to do the same, especially in our suffering. In particular when our lives are not turning out as we thought they would, or because we wish things were different. We can enter into the Eucharistic Presence of our Lord to find consolation and purpose. Like Anna we can dedicate our lives to the Lord, and rely upon Him for everything; taking comfort in the fact that the the Comforter Himself draws us continually into the Eucharistic Presence of our Savior. Then, as happened to Anna, we can enter deeper into our life of prayer, because we will follow the promptings of the Comforter, and not our own wants and desires. Thus we will be able to sacrifice and fast. Thus we will be able to grow in Faith, Hope, and Love, while embracing the Lord Jesus, even as we are being embraced by the Comforter. We will believe that our Redemption is at hand, and we will no longer live in fear. Like Anna we will give thanks to God and speak to people about Jesus who is the cause of all our Joy.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Merry Christmas

Our internet service has been down and I had company in town; that along with normal parish duties have kept me from blogging. I promise to begin my reflections again Tuesday. Peace and Joy to you this Christmas Day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God.

Monday, December 22, 2008

O Rex Gentium

O King of the Gentiles, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man, come and save the creature fashioned from the dust.

Isaiah 9:7 His empire shall be multiplied, and there shall be no end of peace: he shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom; to establish it and strengthen it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and for ever: the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Isaiah 2:4And he shall judge the Gentiles, and rebuke many people: and they shall turn their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into sickles: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they be exercised any more to war.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

O Oriens

O Radiant Dawn, Brightness of the everlasting light, Son of justice, come to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!
Sin and selfishness have led to the destruction of so many lives. Sins committed against us often paralyze us. Sins that we commit often enslave us. We are powerless before the violence that has been committed against our dignity as human persons; whether that violence is done against us or is suffered at our own hands. Although we survive the onslaught to our person, we never seem to be able to live in freedom again. Even as we turn away from our sins, even as we outwardly heal from our wounds and get on with our lives; the judgement against us stands as a constant reminder of our true misery. We feel worthless. We feel dirty. We feel guilty. We continually feel ashamed. We feel ugly. We feel as if we are unworthy of anything at all. Thus even in the midst of our daily lives, with friends, family, and work, we are alone in our misery, never sharing, never opening up, even in our most intimate relationships. Deep down we sit and wallow alone in darkness and in the shadow of death. Alone that is until the Radiant Dawn of the Christ Child shines upon us. He brings us healing, He brings us peace. The everlasting light is eternal and so cannot be denied. The Father's Love in the gift of His Son, the babe Jesus, cannot be denied. Light has come into the world. Mercy has been planted and taken root in the Incarnate Word. We no longer rely upon the Sun, for the Son of Justice is born to us in the little town of Bethlehem. But in our misery we fight this wonderful Truth. We claim that their is no excuse for us; we claim to be at fault. We are ugly. We are worthless, undeserving of such Joy or Peace. But the Son of Justice will not be denied. He has been born unto us; He is the light of the world. He scatters the darkness; He obliterates the shadow of death, because He is Humble, because He is Obedient even unto death, death on a Cross. He does not deal in excuses, nor does He allow the lies that have paralyzed us to stand before Him. Even as a babe away in a manger the Light of His Loving Mercy penetrates the very being of the world and every heart in it. He comes as a child to restore our dignity, to heal our wounds, and to strengthen us in holiness and in love. There is only one Truth, the Christ Child brings Mercy and Love. Light itself is Mercy and Love. This is the Father's judgment; He has decided that each of us is worthy of His Love and Mercy. The Son has confirmed the Father's decision for He has been made flesh and dwelt among us. The promptings of the Spirit guides the Church now as we prepare to celebrate that great day when Mercy was born to the Virgin Mary, and Light entered the World. God is Good! His Mercy Endures Forever!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

O Clavis David

O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.
On the Holy Night of our dear Savior's birth, a blow to the power of sin and death was struck by the Sceptre of the King of Kings, and the Key to to life was undeniably inserted into human history. The Word made flesh was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the little town of Bethlehem. The power of sin and death would fight hard but the Child born to us has freed us from our sins and conquered death. We adore the Christ Child in the manger of Bethlehem. We adore you oh Christ and we bless you because by your Holy Cross you have Redeemed the world! Jesus has opened for us the way to eternal life. No man, no suffering, no abuse, no wound, no sin, no power, no fear, no worry, no anxiety, no lie can ever take us away from His Love and Mercy. We are free now to live and to love. We no longer sit in darkness and the shadow of death, for the Light has come into the world. Jesus meek and mild will now guide our feet in the way of Peace. We are no longer slaves or prisoners to all that has bound us in the past. A new day has dawned, the Key of David has opened our way and released us from our sin our guilt and our shame. The sceptre has struck it's blow! We are free! Come let us adore the babe of Bethlehem, Jesus whom we looked to save us. God is Good! His Mercy Endures Forever!

Friday, December 19, 2008

O Radix Jesse

O Root of Jesse's stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.
Jesus is a descendant of King David. Jesse was Kind David's father. Jesus is the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords. He fulfills the promise made to David that his descendant would reign forever upon his throne. The Son of God fulfills that promise of mercy to David; in His great mercy He goes beyond His promise ruling the whole world with His strong right arm. All people look to the Christ Child for mercy, for peace. He is the fount of mercy and peace. Many do not understand and many do not know, but Jesus is for whom they look. He is the Root that has sprang up from Jesse's stem to bring mercy and peace to the world. He is the vine, we are the branches; how blessed we are in our dear Savior's birth, that in His love He chose to share our lowly nature. How can we not fall silent before so great a gift. No matter our station in life, no matter our condition, the Christ Child is placed before us as a babe in order to plead for sinners in His lowly manger in Bethlehem. How could such an outpouring of mercy elicit anything but adoration and worship? How can we stand before Mercy Incarnate and refuse to embrace Him? How could we refuse His aid? He comes as a babe that we may not be afraid to embrace Him and cherish Him. The whole world cries out for Him. Our Father has heard the cry of the poor. He has given to us His Only Begotten Son; to reconcile us to Himself and to fulfill the promise He made to David. A promise of Mercy that endures forever! God is Good!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

O Adonai

O Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!
Jesus is Lord. Even as the Christ Child in Mary's arms He indeed is the Lord and Ruler of Israel and of all creation. In a humble stable the wise men, the 3 kings will come to pay Him homage. We will give Him homage as well when we celebrate the Holy Night of our dear Savior's birth. The throne of our Adonai was a Manger. The Manger prefigured the throne of the Holy Cross by which He redeemed the world. Our prayer, O Adonai, speaks of our desire that Jesus come and make His throne upon our lowly and wounded hearts. Jesus, the Son of God chose Moses. His choice of Moses transformed Moses life. His interaction with Moses illuminated Moses life so much so that he even glowed. How our hearts desperately hope for this same experience when we pray O Adonai. Our hope will be fulfilled. Our hearts will burn as brightly as the Bush that Moses saw. The Fire of the Christ Child's Love and Peace will burn in our hearts and as in the Burning Bush it will not consume us but will transform us and illumine our lives. Thus illumined like Moses we will follow the Law. In His tiny outstretched arm is our Redemption. As we prepare for Christmas we reach out to Him and call Him Adonai that He may take His rightful place in our hearts; that he may redeem us and teach us to live by the Law of Love, safe and secure in His Loving Mercy. God is Good! His Mercy Endures Forever!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

O Sapientia

O Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily and sweetly, come to teach us the way of prudence!

Today we begin our immediate preparation for Christmas. In the final 7 days leading up to the Solemnity of Christmas, the Church honors Jesus with the O Antiphons during our evening prayer. O Sapientia/O Wisdom is the first antiphon tonight. Each antiphon recognizes Jesus as the fulfillment of the promise God made to our fathers to Abraham and his children forever. Jesus is the Word made Flesh. Jesus is the Word that comes forth from the mouth of God our Father; who so loved the world that He gave us His only Son to be our Savior. In His Mercy Our Father gives to us the Christ Child. Jesus is the Mercy of God. Jesus born of the Virgin Mary brings us Mercy and Peace. We ourselves, indeed no one is beyond His Mercy and Peace. For He is the gift of Our Father. The Mercy and Peace of Jesus brings order to our lives. Even as a babe in Blessed Mother's arm He is mighty. The sweetness of the Christ Child transforms the bitterness of the world. This is our God to whom we looked to save us. This is Wisdom from on high that guides our feet in the way of Peace. Rejoice and be glad for He is near. God is Good! His Mercy Endures Forever!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fear Not, I Will Help You (Is 41:13-20)

Our Lord speaks these words through the prophet Isaiah to the needy and afflicted. "Fear not, I will help you." Many times in our spiritual lives we are caught up in our own ways of thinking. We are constantly reflecting about ourselves and our lives, our worries and anxieties. I say reflecting because so many claim that they are actually praying when they act this way. In prayer we certainly do bring all our troubles to the Lord. However we are also called to listen to Him. Often we do not hear the words that our Lord speaks. "Fear not, I will help you." We rarely hear these words. More often than not we are upset with God because we want to know what we are supposed to do. But we do not listen. We want to act. We want to fix. We want to resolve. But we do not want to wait. We do not want to wait for the Lord to act, or to fix, or to finally resolve all our problems. Waiting is too uncomfortable for us. Waiting requires trust, and we have learned to only trust ourselves and how we see things. Waiting means that we have to acknowledge our helplessness. Waiting means that we have to acknowledge our need. Waiting means we have to endure our affliction. We do not want to wait. We do not want to listen to the Lord who desires to comfort us in all our affliction and provide for all our needs. Advent is a time of waiting. Advent is a time in which we acknowledge our need. Advent is a time in which we endure our afflictions with the sure and certain Hope that we do not need to fear for the Lord will come to help us. Advent is a time in which we acknowledge in faith that our Savior is not far off. We acknowledge that He indeed is very near; He hears our prayers and will come to save us. During Advent we take our eyes off our self centered reflection and look for the coming of our Lord who promises to save us. We are called to quiet that voice inside us that constantly wants action and resolution in order to listen to the Lord who speaks. "Fear not, I will help you."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Take My Yoke (Mt11:28-30)

Jesus invites us to learn from Him. In the first reading He reveals that no one is equal to Him. He also reveals that He is mighty and powerful and that he knows each person by name. He knows what we need and He knows what we struggle with in our daily lives. He reveals that He never grows weary and that even though we often question Him about the things that are happening in our life, His knowledge is inscrutable. He tells us that He gives strength to the weak and to the strong He constantly renews their strength. He tells us in the first reading (Is 40:25-31)that those who hope in Him achieve great things and have no fear for He is with them. The invitation is given to us in this context. Jesus does not lay a heavy burden upon us. Instead He asks us if we want to share His. In sharing His burden we will learn from Him. What will we learn? Mercy and Love. Faith and Hope. We will learn to live Through Him, In Him, and With Him for we will share His yoke. Too often we act and live as if Jesus wants to lay a heavy burden upon us when we think we should be doing more or doing better. This is a lie. At those time when we are struggling we forget that we share Jesus' burden. That is the invitation. Our Lord reveals to us today that He will help us in all things, and at all times. He reveals that we are never alone. He reveals His Mercy and Love. During this season of Advent He wants to strengthen our faith and our hope. But all too often we listen to the lie that says He asks too much. The invitation is extended today. Will you take His yoke and learn from Him? Will you acknowledge that He is Gentle and Humble of Heart? Will you ask Him to make your heart like His?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sing to the Lord a New Song, for He has Done Marvelous Deeds(Ps98)

"Sing to the Lord a new Song, for He has Done Marvelous Deeds." The Marvelous Deed that the Church sings of today is the Immaculate Conception! The Virgin Mary is the Song. The joy of this day in especially enhanced in the Truth that the Virgin Mary has taught her children to sing. The song we sing is forever new for it comes from the Immaculate Heart of our Mother in praise of the Most Holy Trinity.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for He has looked with favor on His lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is His Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, He has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of His servant Israel for he has remembered His promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

2nd Sunday of Advent

Consolation and comfort is what God our Father wants for each of us today. It is clear that in the first reading that while God allows us to suffer the punishment we deserve, it serves a very clear purpose. That is that it brings us back to him that He may embrace us and protect us. This is so that we can live without fear, safe and secure in our Father’s arms.
St. Peter tells us in the second reading that our Father in Heaven is patient with us. He tells us that this is so even when we think that He is acting too slowly. St. Peter reminds us that while we await the Lord Jesus to come in Glory, we are to live holy and saintly lives.
This Sunday the Great Saint John the Baptist is presented to us for our reflection. He tells us to prepare a way for the Lord. As we enter deeper into the Season of Advent we need to take John the Baptist’s message and example seriously. John the Baptist called people to recognize the truth of their life. He reminded them that they had been living apart from God and that they needed to return to Him. They needed to prepare themselves to receive and live according to the grace that God gives them. Thus there is a need for conversion. As in the first reading, God is ready to console and comfort us but we must recognize our need first. Punishment is a consequence of sin but it is not the end of the story. There is always more with God. That more is God’s Loving Mercy which brings Comfort and Consolation. That is to say the Holy Spirit. You and I are called to open our hearts to this message of John the Baptist. To acknowledge our need for forgiveness by admitting that we have lived our lives apart from God. This is not done in fear of punishment but in the truth of God’s love. We need to live holy and saintly lives like St. Peter tells us. In this we must be patient and recognize that God is in charge. We are not called to be selfish in our lives building our own kingdoms because God acts too slowly. Instead we are called to place all our trust in the Lord. In this we must follow St. John the Baptists example. That is we must be humble. He is a great saint yet he tells the people that Jesus is greater. He knows who he is in God’s eyes and he acts accordingly. You and I are called to do the same. We are called to humbly acknowledge our need for the Lord, for His Mercy and Forgiveness. Then we are called to humbly acknowledge our need for the Lord to help us live holy lives. St. John the Baptist tells us that Jesus will give us the Holy Spirit. Therefore with the Holy Spirit who is our Advocate and Comforter let us follow St. John the Baptists message and example this Advent. Prepare the way of the Lord in humility. Acknowledge your need for forgiveness. Live holy Sacramental lives. Pray your Rosary and your other prayers. Come to Mass often and go to Confession. Let the Holy Spirit Console you and Comfort you and know that you are loved by Him.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Trust in the Lord Forever (Is 26:1-6)

Forever! Always! At all times! TRUST IN THE LORD! Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the beginning and the end. Trust in Him Do Not Be Afraid. Isaiah lived in 722 B.C. That is 2722 years ago. Thus for nearly 3 thousand years God has been asking us to TRUST IN HIM! For all your life this is what God is asking of you. That is it. No more and no less. You cannot long for our Lord to come during this Holy Season of Advent, if you are worried, afraid, anxious or scared of what the future will bring. The future brings our Lord. He is the Mercy of God. He is True Peace. Forget your foolish worries and fears. Wait for the Lord with Joyful Hope. TRUST IN THE LORD FOREVER!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

God Provides (Is 25: 6-10 + Mt 15: 29 37)

In the readings today God provides. In the first reading He provides a banquet for His chosen people. In the Gospel Jesus feeds the hungry crowd, His followers. In both readings God chooses to act based upon His Love. In His Love God provides for all people. This is clearly seen in the first reading. In the Gospel it is clearly seen that Jesus calls all people to himself and then provides for them. First their spiritual needs and then their physical needs are met by our Loving Savior. The same is true for us today. We have many needs, and during this Holy Season of Advent we recognize our deepest need that is our longing for God. Often during this hectic time of the year we get things turned around. That is to say that we become distracted by our physical needs and wants. The people in the Gospel were concerned with one thing only. That is they were focused on listening to the words that Jesus spoke. They did so because His Words are Spirit and Life. Then He provided everything else. We are called now to imitate them. To focus on the words that Jesus wants to speak to us today. We are called to admit that longing that is in our heart. To know that Jesus provides first for our spiritual needs and then will take care of all the rest. We must trust this truth especially during Advent; for to trust in this truth we must have great Hope. Advent is the season of hoping and longing for the fulfillment of God's promise. Like our Mother Mary we will be blessed if we believe that the promise given to us in Jesus will be fulfilled. Not only in a generic way but during Advent in a profound and personal way; then we can rejoice in the celebration of our Hopes fulfilment and rest in the fullness of Christ's Peace.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Jesus Rejoiced (Lk 10:21-24)

In the Holy Spirit giving glory to God the Father, Jesus rejoiced. Jesus reveals His Love, the Love of the Father and of the Holy Spirit to the childlike. This is His cause for Joy. The Most Holy Trinity Loves us. Jesus rejoices in revealing this Love. Jesus rejoices when He reveals this Love to a soul that is childlike. This is because the simple childlike soul is that which can receive and accept the Love of God. The childlike are not afraid to be loved. The childlike acknowledge that deep desire of their hearts, that is to know that they are loved. The desire to know that they are OK, and that they are in Truth lovable. The childlike filled then with love, love. One aspect of this Holy season of Advent is preparing to celebrate the Birth of the Christ Child. In preparing for this it is important to remember that even in His Infancy we are called to Imitate Christ. To be childlike. To admit our total dependence upon God. To admit this need to be loved. To accept the Love with which we are loved, and to love. Love changes everything. The childlike rejoice in Love. We would do well to be mindful of this as we prepare the way of the Lord. Return again to a childlike dependence upon God. Do not be afraid of your need. Then you will be filled with the Merciful Love of the Most Holy Trinity, and find Peace in God's Loving Mercy.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Just Give the Word (Mt 8:5-11)

The Centurion in the Gospel today does not really know what he is asking. When he tells Jesus to "just give the word and my servant will be cured " he is unaware that he is speaking to the Word made Flesh, the Son of God. Yet he believes in Jesus. This is why Jesus is astonished. The people of Israel awaited a Messiah, yet they did not put their trust in Jesus when He came. Unlike the Centurion who simply believed in Jesus even though he did not know the whole story. We have begun the Holy Season of Advent. This is our time of waiting. We wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ. We prepare for His second coming, and we celebrate His first coming. As we live in this time in between; as we live in the already and the not yet, we fall victim to the same spirit that had infected the people of Israel. In waiting so long for our heart's desire to be fulfilled, we often refuse to recognize Jesus who has come and remains in our midst. Our present struggles, desires, and doubts complicate our lives and thus complicate our faith. We do not have the simple faith of the Centurion. In fact we believe that such simple faith is foolish. We want to be secure in our faith, strong in our faith, rich in our faith, but not SIMPLE. Just give the Word a chance this Advent. Trust in His Merciful Love. You do not really need all the answers. Jesus has them. Be simple and let go of all your distractions. Be simple and wait in Joyful Hope knowing that the promise that Jesus has given you will be fulfilled. You will be healed of all your wounds and you will know His Love and His Peace.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A New Year of Grace 1st Sunday of Advent

“God is faithful, He will keep you firm to the end, in him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, you are not lacking in any spiritual gift.” Today we begin a new year. This is the first day of the New Year. It is the first Sunday of Advent. As we begin a new year of grace it is good to meditate on these words that St. Paul writes to the Church. God is faithful. That is to say he remains faithful. In the first reading this is clear. The people of Israel have been selfish.They forgot about God. They were busy living their sinful lives. Pleasure and distraction was the law they lived by in their pursuit of happiness. They rejected God and his law. God does not reject them. Even though he allows them to suffer the consequences of their actions, he does not reject them. The same is true today for you and me. No matter how far we stray from God, rejecting his law, living according to our own pleasures and desires, He remains faithful. Advent is a time of longing for God. Today we should admit our desire for God to be part of our life. The knowledge that St Paul gives today should serve as an encouragement. God is faithful. He is here for us. He will keep you firm to the end. God knows how hard it is for us to remain faithful; therefore He promises to keep us firm. In other words He is our strength. He strengthens us by the Sacraments. In living Sacramental lives we are strengthened. In Confession and Eucharist He is our strength. In these Sacraments the Grace, Mercy, and Love that is given to each one of us is what sustains us in our life, and in our struggles. Gods Loving Mercy will keep us to the end. In him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and knowledge, you are not lacking in any spiritual gift.. He is all we need. Often times when we stray from God we are looking for something that will make us feel whole. St. Paul tells us that what we are really looking for is Jesus, and we already possess Him if we have the courage to turn to Him and to accept His Mercy and His Love. As this new year of Grace opens before us we must keep the words of St. Paul in our hearts and minds. We must admit our faults and our sins. We must admit that we often stray from God, and that we long for Him who will fulfill our hearts desire in mercy and in love. This is how we prepare. This is how we wait in joyful hope; knowing that God himself will sustain us. We can no longer pretend that we are fine living without God. We must admit that we need His gifts. First the gift that comes to us in this new year of Grace. The second is the greatest gift that has been given; He gave us His only Son to be our Savior. The third is the Sacraments especially the Eucharist and Confession. Finally we await the fulfillment of His Promise to return in Glory. Many people have chosen to live their life without God. Even those who come to Mass every Sunday often live according to the ways of the world. God is faithful. He is near. You and I must pray that at the beginning and throughout this year of Grace we may have the courage to call upon Him form the depths of our hearts that our Hope will be fulfilled.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Take Care Not To Be Deceived (Lk 21:5-11)

When speaking about the end of time, Jesus admonishes us not to be deceived by those who claim to be Him and go about using His name gathering people to themselves. In every age the Church has believed that it was living in the end times. Even St. Paul thought that Jesus would return soon. Nearly two thousand years later modern Catholics live with that same belief. Certainly here in the United States we have cause to believe this as the Culture of Death grows in power and influence. Jesus also tells us today not to be frightened when we here of wars and revolutions. What then are we to do? Listen to the Church! By that I mean follow the Holy Father and the Magisterium. We as Catholics living in the midst of the Culture of Death must simply remain faithful. In remaining faithful to the Church and the Holy Father as we go about our daily duties, Jesus will call us to act in Truth and Love in order to promote the Culture of Life. That is why we do not run around chasing those who claim that they speak in His name. That is why even as our hearts are filled with sorrow at the violence of the Culture of Death we are not terrified. We have the Church. We have the Sacraments. We have our Blessed Mother and the Rosary. We have Our Holy Father. Thus we are free. Free to be Obedient to our daily labors, and free to do what Jesus asks of us without fear or worry or anxiety. We do not have to chase after visionaries or prophets. We have the Church. We have Christ Jesus' Vicar on earth in our Holy Father Benedict XVI. The Culture of Death will not overcome the Church founded by Jesus on the Rock of St. Peter. We are Christ's Bride and while we may suffer terrible persecutions He will never abandon us. We are to remain faithful for as our Holy Father constantly reminds us God is Love. We do not have to be afraid for as Benedict has reminded us Hope is our Salvation. The Sacraments, the Rosary, and the teaching of the Church is all we need in order to remain faithful and obedient. If we go about our daily labors without fear and without anxiety we will draw others into the light and peace of Christ. Others will begin to wonder why we live in and with such Hope. In obedience we will Evangelize the Culture of Death. In God's Infinite Mercy we can do so simply living our daily life ready to act in Truth and Love when our Merciful Savior calls.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Lord, This is the people that longs to see your Face

Psalm 24, Basically sums up the whole Christian life. In his letter to the whole Church on the dawn of the Third Millenium Pope John Paul wrote that as Catholics we are called to be holy. He said that this call to holiness was a Universal call to each member of the Church. It was not a call only for a few so called saints who lived 100 or 1000 years ago. In that letter JPII called upon each member of the Church to seek the Face of Christ in their lives. He said that this was the project that the Church should be about for the next 100 years. At times we seek the Suffering Face of Christ and at others the Glorified face of Christ. What ever our situation; whatever we are going through we must allow that longing in our hearts to impact our lives. Deep down all of us long for Christ Jesus, because deep down all of us long for peace. Jesus is True Peace. Acknowledging our longing will set us on the right path. The path that leads us to prayer; especially praying the Rosary in which our Blessed Mother teaches us how to recognize her Son's presence in our daily lives. Acknowledging this longing draws us into the King's presence to make brief or long visits to the Blessed Sacrament, as we sit before the Tabernacle or in Adoration. Acknowledging this longing leads us to a fuller participation in our Sacramental Life. It draws us to Confession and to the Eucharist more often. It opens our hearts to recieve the Grace Jesus desires to give us. It opens our minds to the Peace Jesus desires to give us. It opens our souls to the Healing Jesus longs to give us. If you and I can honestly pray Psalm 24 today, not out of self centered wants but simply desiring to see the face of our Lord Jesus, then we will be open to receive all the gifts he wants to shower down upon us. If we can set ourselves to seeking His Face as JPII calls us to; then we can be holy as he calls us to be. Then we can be Saints.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Feast of Christ The King

Today is the Feast of Christ the King. In our opening prayer we prayed: “Almighty and Merciful God you break the power of evil and make all things new in your Son Jesus Christ the King of the Universe. May all in heaven and earth acclaim your glory and never cease to praise you.” If we believe this prayer to be true then we are being called today not only to honor Christ the King but also to conversion. If we do not open our hearts today to conversion our prayer is useless. In Christ the King the power of evil is broken. In Christ the King all things are made new. Through praising Jesus Christ our Sovereign King we acclaim and glorify our Father in Heaven. However this cannot happen if our own hearts are not open to conversion. Today each one of us is being called to conversion. Today Jesus Christ the King will break the power that evil has in your life. Maybe it is a sin, or a habit, or an addiction. Maybe it is a wound or a memory that keeps you from being free. Maybe it was something you suffered that you are still hurt by. Maybe you have been abused and do not know how much God loves you. Maybe you have a secret that no one knows about but you and it keeps you in fear. Jesus Christ our King will break the power that it has over you today. Our Almighty and Merciful Father wills it. The power of evil will be broken today. Open your hearts and ask the King for mercy. Do not be afraid of this call to conversion. In His Mercy Jesus Christ the King makes all things new. He will renew your life. He will heal you. He will forgive you. He will comfort you. He will give you the gift of Peace. It is not enough to simply honor Christ the King. This is not what He wants today. Today he wants to break the power that evil has in your life. Today he wants to renew your life in His Mercy and Love. That in knowing His Merciful Love we will never cease to praise Him and thus bring others to Him. Our Almighty and Merciful Father, Jesus Christ our King and the Holy Spirit do not want you to pray this prayer today; the Most Holy Trinity wants you to experience and live this prayer.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

"Mary heard God's Word and kept it, and so she is blessed." So says St. Augustine. This is the mark of discipleship. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the true model of discipleship. In celebrating the Presentation of Mary we are celebrating the Word speaking to her from the very beginning of her life. Indeed she is the Immaculate Conception; thus the Word of God has spoken clearly to Mary's Immaculate Heart from the very beginning. From her conception she heard God's Word and kept it and so she is blessed. We do not celebrate today that she is the Mother of God; rather that she is a Daughter of God the Father, and a Disciple of God the Son. In this we are called to imitate her. First by acknowledging who we are as sons and daughters of God the Father. Then living accordingly as disciples of Jesus the Son. This feast then is very simple. We celebrate the Blessed Virgin Mary who heard God's Word and kept it, and so she was blessed. We commit ourselves to imitating her in living as disciples of her Son in whom we have truly become adopted sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord, Mighty God (Rev 4:1-11)

In the first reading today the angels who sit before the throne of God sing God’s Praises without ceasing. The 24 Elders who stand before the Throne then give homage to God by saying these words: “You are our Lord and God, you are worthy of glory and honor and power, because you made all the universe and it was only by your will that everything was made and exists.” When you stand before the Throne of God the Truth is evident and clear. The response to the Truth is Awe and Wonder followed by Humble Acceptance and Service. In our spiritual lives there is a great need in the human heart to express our prayers. That is we tell God of our problems, our worries and our sorrows. This is right and good to do; God wants us to speak to Him in this way. But there is more to a life of prayer than just our petitions. There is standing in Awe and Wonder before the Truth and giving glory to God; then Humbly accepting the Truth and Serving The One seated upon the Throne. We do not have to wait until Heaven in order to imitate the elders and the angels who sit before the Throne. The One seated on the Throne resides in each of our Churches and Chapels in the Tabernacle. Our Eucharistic Lord Jesus is The One seated on the Throne in Heaven. He is The One who Reigns in silence from the Tabernacle and speaks only to our hearts; inspiring Awe and Wonder, requiring Humble Acceptance and Service. Perhaps imitating the angels and elders in Heaven is too much to ask. Rather let us imitate our Mother Mary here on earth when we pray. Our Blessed Mother prayed “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord!” in her Canticle of praise. Mary also responded to the Lord’s invitation through the angel Gabriel by saying “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done unto me according to your word.” When we come before our Lord in adoration it is good from time to time to leave all our worries and petitions behind and instead enter into the Truth of The One seated upon the Throne, and imitate our Mother and all the angels and saints in heaven and say; “You are our Lord and God, you are worthy of glory and honor and power, because you made all the universe and it was only by your will that everything was made and exists.” May it be done unto me according to your Word.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Revelations Says It All Today! Ch 3

I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, ‘I am rich and affluent and have no need of anything,’and yet do not realize that you are wretched,pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich,and white garments to put onso that your shameful nakedness may not be exposed,and buy ointment to smear on your eyes so that you may see.Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise.Be earnest, therefore, and repent.“‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock.If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,then I will enter his house and dine with him,and he with me.I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne,as I myself first won the victoryand sit with my Father on his throne.“‘Whoever has ears ought to hearwhat the Spirit says to the churches.’”

Monday, November 17, 2008

What Do You Want Me To Do For You?(Lk 18: 35-43)

This question is one that all of us long to hear. However it is also one that we have a hard time answering. The blind man in the Gospel responds "Lord, please let me see." But the story is not a story of physical healing. It is a story of discipleship. The man wants to see with the eyes of faith that which he knows to be true in his heart. This is why he cries out for mercy. He wants to follow Christ Jesus. Thus Jesus asks the profound question that so many long to hear, but so few can answer clearly. Often we are so shallow in the way we think about our spiritual lives that we ask only for our immediate wants or desires. Unlike the blind man; we struggle to pray, or better yet to respond to Jesus from the very depths of our hearts. The people in the Gospel tried to tell the blind man to shut up. They did not want Jesus to be bothered. We often imitate these folks. The blind man refuses. He knows that Jesus will have pity upon him and satisfy the deepest desire of his heart. Thus he cries outall the more. Often we think that Jesus does not want to be bothered with us. We do not trust that He will satisfy our deepest desires. As proof we pray shallow self centered prayers and when they are not answered to our satisfaction we claim abandonment. The lesson that the blind man gives to us today is one that all can benefit from. Pray from the very depths of your heart that Jesus' Mercy be poured out upon you this day. Then trust that Jesus has heard you and will satisfy your longing. Then your hope will be fulfilled. Then your prayers will be answered when Jesus asks "what is it you want me to do for you?"

Friday, November 14, 2008

Our Generous and Joyful Father (Mt25:14-30) 33rd Sunday

Jesus reveals to us in the Gospel today that our Father in Heaven is both Generous and Joyful. Is that the image of God the Father that you have? We see our Father’s generosity when He gives each of His servants a number of talents based upon their ability. He does not have to give them anything. Notice how not only is He generous but also loving in that He knows His servants well enough that He gives each one what they can handle according to their ability. Our Father shares everything with us His servants, and He gives each one of us exactly what we need and exactly what we can handle. We see the Father’s joy when the servants have done well. He is proud of them, and He invites them to share in His joy. Our Father is proud of us when we do well, and He is eager to share His joy with us. Is this how you see Our Father? Jesus reveals all this and more because in Jesus we know God Is Love. In Jesus we see the great Love the Father has for each one of us in that He sent His only Son to be our Savior. Thus the Father has literally given all things to us in the gift of His Son. Through Jesus and the Salvation He won for us the Father invites us to share His Joy; that their Joy may be in us and our joy may be complete. Do you understand this? Is this the image of God the Father that you have? Do you see the Father’s Love? Do you understand that Jesus has brought us the fullness of Mercy and Salvation? He is not waiting to condemn you. He knows you so well that you do not have to be afraid. He will not let anything overcome you. Perhaps you are paying too much attention to the third servant and how the master treated him. The third servant was ruled by fear. All his decisions and actions were based on lies; lies that kept him afraid. Many of us live the same way. This servant did not see that the Master in love knew him so well that he only gave him what he could handle. In other words the Master in truth thought much more of the servant than he thought of himself. The servant only saw his fear and worry and low self esteem and believed the lies. The third servant could not see that he was loved, and so he rejected the Master’s gift. He gave it back. His fear does two things to him. It makes him wicked and lazy. This is what the Master calls him. When we believe the lies and live in fear we too become lazy and wicked. Our becoming wicked because we embrace any number of sins that comfort us and make us feel safe. We become lazy because the weight of our guilt and shame can never be lifted because we only believe the lies and are afraid of the Truth. We are afraid of God the Father. We are afraid of Jesus. We are afraid of their Love, the Holy Spirit. We reject their generous gift of life and of freedom. We are incapable of joy, and so we are thrown out into the darkness where there is weeping and grinding of teeth. Pay close attention though. This is not God’s desire. The Most Holy Trinity invites us to share their Joy. Today we can decide to live in the truth of God’s Love, or we can live in fear.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's Among You (17:20-25)

"You Must Know, The Kingdom of God is Among You." Jesus could not speak any clearer than He does today. So many people claim to be spiritual but not religious, and so many who claim to be religious run around searching for something that will satisfy their inner longing for God. Both categories of people live an unending search for that Something that will satisfy their inner longing. Yet He is among us. We do not have to search for Him. You see Jesus is the Kingdom. He is among us. Most importantly in His Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. We do not have to go far to find Him. We do not have to go far in order to find Peace. We do not have to go far to find Comfort. We do not have to go far to find Healing. For Peace, Comfort, and Healing as well as all the other desires of our hearts are found in Him, in Jesus our Lord. We can find Jesus right here among us in the Blessed Sacrament. There is no problem, worry, fear, or temptation that can not be overcome or solved through spending time in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. If we humbly come before Him, He will take care of all our needs. We will know what we must do. We will be given the strength to do it. In the Blessed Sacrament Christ Jesus is among us. Spending time with Him enlightens our hearts and minds with the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. In the Grace that pours forth into our souls in Adoration our lives are renewed in the values and the virtues of the Kingdom. In other words our Lord Jesus transforms our lives that we begin to live as He lived. We begin to live our lives with confidence. Think about how children perform when their parents are watching. It is not only out of a desire to please them. Parents actually give their children confidence to do their best because of their very presence with them. The same is true of Our Lord's Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. In dwelling among us our Lord gives us the confidence we need to live our lives in imitation of Him. He strengthens us in His Loving Presence. We do not have to chase after or search for that Something that will satisfy for in Christ Jesus we have everything; we have the Kingdom right here among us. Stop in and make a visit to the Most Blessed Sacrament and be satisfied.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ten Lepers Came to Meet Him (Lk 17:11-19

The story in the Gospel today is very familiar to all of us. Ten lepers come to Jesus and ask that he heal them. He sends them off to the priests, and on their way they realize they have been healed. One man a Samaritan turned back and praising God threw himself at the feet of Jesus and thanked Him. Ten were healed but only one returned to thank God. So very often when we hear this Gospel we are reminded to be thankful for all the blessings that God has bestowed upon us. However there is more to the Gospel than just the Samaritan returning to thank our Lord. In fact the beginning of the story is as important as the end for us today. Ten lepers came to meet Jesus. In their misery they sought Jesus out. Is that what you do in your misery? Or do you isolate yourself and shut yourself off from others including our Lord? Even though they stood away off they cried out to Jesus. Is that what you do? Do you cry out to Him? When you feel far away from Him do you cry out to Him. When your caught up in sin and feel alone and abandoned, do you cry out to Him? When you are ashamed of yourself and feel like a failure, do you cry out to Him? They call Him by name and they recognize who he is, "Jesus Master!" Do you do this? Do you know your Lord's Name? Do you realize who he is? Finally they ask that He have pity upon them. Do you seek His Mercy in your life? Or are you afraid of all this. You see it is easy to think "Oh I should be more thankful." but the lesson does not begin there. It begins when in our misery and sinfulness we seek Jesus out. We must cry out to Him by name. We have to call upon Jesus name in our misery. We have to recognize who He is; that He is our Merciful Lord and Savior. We have to ask for His Mercy to be poured out upon us. This is what the ten lepers did despite their misery, despite their fears. In doing so the Mercy of God was showered down upon them. Their prayers were answered. Then one had the faith to be thankful to God and returned humbly to thank Jesus. But first he had to humbly seek out Jesus, cry out to him by name, and recognizing who He is and ask for mercy. You and I are called to do the same and be equally thankful for the Loving Mercy of Jesus our Lord and Savior.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Doing What Your Obliged To Do (Lk 17:7-10)

Jesus makes it very clear today in the Gospel that we are obliged to serve Him. This Truth upsets many people. In fact the culture we live in as a whole has rejected this truth. We have decided to serve ourselves. In serving ourselves we have perverted society and degraded the human person. Serving ourselves has produced a culture of death for us and our children. A culture in which how we feel is the absolute measure of truth, and the sole motivation for action. This self centered feeling base culture constantly wounds those who embrace it and produces massive devastation in the hearts and souls of so many. Yet even the wounds themselves give people the opportunity or the excuse to be even more self centered. Thus they are carried away deeper and deeper into misery because they only live according to their feelings. Their feelings that say "Take care of Yourself." So many people come to Confession and list a litany of sins. When asked "Why do you commit them?", they simply reply "Pride". As if to say "you see we all have pride so it is okay, it is just you know." No it is not okay, and no it is not just anything! It is in fact you deciding to serve yourself rather then God. It is in fact hurting yourself and others because you believe that what you think and how you feel is more important than the truth of your life. What is the Truth of your life? CHRIST JESUS! But perverted self centered sinners would never admit this to be true. These people place two things at the center of their lives; one is their their feelings and the other is their wounds. The rotten fruit of the self centered life is misery, sin, and death. Life does not have to be lived this way. When we embrace the Truth of our life in Christ, our self centered world is shattered. Shattered in His Love and Mercy. In His Merciful Love we see who we really are. In His Loving Mercy we are free to live according to our obligations. That is, we are free to serve Him. In being loved we are free to do all things. Even our weaknesses and our sufferings become a delight because from the fount of Life and Love (that is Our Lord's Sacred Heart) there flows a river of Mercy. In humbly coming to Him who is our Life, and agreeing to serve Him we are set free. You see as servants we are obliged to serve Him. But as the Master he is responsible for everything else. In other words the Master provides the servants everything they need in order to complete their tasks. And what is it that we need? To be Loved. In this Christ Jesus has in fact given us all that we need for He has given and continues to give to us His Very Self. Day to day then as we struggle to live our lives, what we must do is to choose to act upon the truth of our life; that we are loved by Christ Jesus. It is then that we can live according to our obligations in love, and reject the self centered life based upon our feelings and our wounds. The former leads to an abundant life; the latter to a miserable slow death.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran (Jn2:13-22)

Today we hear in the scriptures that we are Temples of the Holy Spirit. We have heard this phrase many times in our lives. We have heard many homilies about being Temples of the Holy Spirit. Some of us have even prayed about being Temples of the Holy Spirit. I could speak to you today about the truth of this teaching. I could speak to you today about the many sins that we commit in our thoughts, words, and actions, that are abuses of our bodies and the bodies of others; that are Temples of the Holy Spirit. These sins try to destroy who we are as the Temple of the Holy Spirit. However you have heard all these words before. You have either rejected them or forgot them. It is our problem of forgetting that is our great sin. We forget many things that are good because we forget that the Holy Spirit dwells in us. We forget that we are His Temples. Jesus tells us in St. John’s Gospel that he will give to us His Holy Spirit to remind us of all that He taught us. In the Gospel today we hear that the disciples remembered what Jesus had said (about the Temple being destroyed and raised in three days) after His Resurrection. That is after they had received the Holy Spirit. We focus on the Temple that is our body but ignore the very Person that makes it Holy. That is even in striving for holiness we forget the Holy Spirit. The Spirit who reminds us of all that Jesus has taught. We forget because we are self centered. We forget because we do not want to be inconvenienced. We forget because we are lonely or afraid. We forget because we are hurt or are suffering. We forget because to know and to believe is too hard. We forget because our hearts and our minds are distracted by other things. Even when those distractions are meaningless, we use them to ignore the truth of our life. That is that we are loved by God. The Holy Spirit IS the Love of God. Love demands a Response. With our Response comes Responsibility. We must listen to the Holy Spirit when He reminds us of what Jesus has revealed. We must acknowledge God’s Love and live accordingly. We are not empty shells in which the Spirit decides to take residence. We are human persons and the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Most Holy Trinity. Therefore to be a Temple of the Holy Spirit is in truth to be a living communion of persons. A communion that is Unforgettable! Our communion with the Holy Spirit draws us into further communion. It is He who draws us to Holy Communion, and finally into communion with our Father in Heaven. This communion in which we become Temples of the Holy Spirit is certainly something worth remembering. In this you are never alone. In this you do not have to be afraid. In this you do not have to distract yourself. In this you will find peace for you will know that you are loved.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

One Sinner Who Repents (Lk15:1-10)

I wonder how many times Jesus has to say the same thing over and over again before we begin to believe Him. Heaven rejoices when a sinner repents. Every time a sinner repents. In other words it pleases God the Father when we repent. It pleases Jesus when we repent. It pleases the Holy Spirit when we repent. It also pleases all the Angels and Saints when we repent. All those in Heaven rejoice when we repent. Those on earth rejoice as well. Priests rejoice when sinners are forgiven in the confessional. The faithful rejoice when those in need go to confession. Despite all this rejoicing. Despite all the healing and peace that come from repentance and forgiveness. We won't forgive, and are afraid to repent. We refuse to forgive because we have been hurt, and we do not want to be hurt again. We are afraid to repent because we believe God will throw us out like the garbage we falsely believe ourselves to be, ugly, hypocritical, perverted, disgraceful failures. Therefore our unforgiveness ferments in anger and anger ferments into bitterness until finally the fermentation is complete in bitterness turning to hatred. Hatred which is the opposite of Love. All this because we have been hurt. Our Lord does not want to see our wounds foul and festering as they decay into hatred. He desires to wash clean our wounds and to bind them up that we may be healed as He comforts us. He rejoices with all the Heavenly Hosts if only we come to Him trusting in His Merciful Love. In refusing to come to Him we allow our false judgments to be compounded by sin. The only thing that can ease the pain of believing you are a hypocrite is to give in and sin. The only comfort in believing you are ugly or perverted or a disgrace is to sin. We seek to distract ourselves from the misery of our interior lives. So our sins that distract us continue to confirm and reinforce our belief that we really are a worthless failures before God and men. So sin builds upon sin reinforcing our false judgments that keep us from knowing who we truly are in the eyes of God. Yet Jesus who is the Truth tells us that all Heaven will rejoice if we trust in His Merciful Love and repent. He also reveals why Heaven rejoices; because we are the Father' beloved sons and daughters. When we repent we are returning to the safety of Our Fathers House through the gift of our Saviors Sorrowful Passion, and in the Loving Mercy of the Holy Spirit. There we will heal from the many wounds that are our sins. We will find healing for all the sins that have been committed against us that we did not deserve. We will find healing for the many wounds we have inflicted upon others. Finally we will find healing for the deepest and most grievous of our wounds; those that are self inflicted; the sins that cause us the deepest embarrassment because we believe we should have known better. If only we repent. The truth is that we do not have to be afraid of being hurt again because we are Loved by the Lover of our souls, Jesus. The truth is we do not have to fear being judged for our Crucified Savior reveals to us our Fathers Love. Our Crucified Savior reveals the Our Father's Mercy triumphs over Judgement. In truth we are God's children now. In truth we belong to Him. In truth Our Father rejoices as does all those in Heaven when we return to Him and repent. They rejoice that in repenting we have been set free from our guilt and shame; free to know that we can live as His beloved sons and daughters.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Two Hands Children

“Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the word of life…” These are the words of St. Paul to the Philippians, but they are timely for us today. We too live in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. We truly are living in the midst of a culture of death where the human person is constantly degraded. A culture that teaches that the greatest virtue one can practice is that of tolerance to the many forms of degradation that people subject themselves to. The greater the degradation the greater is the tolerance required. The culture of death rejoices in the slavery that so many have chosen; to live in denial of God, to confuse license with freedom, to abandon the love of neighbor for self love and the reduction of others to that of objects for pleasure or ridicule. In such a dismal culture St. Paul calls us to shine like lights by holding onto the Word of life. Jesus is the Word of Life. We must hold on to Him with both hands. In such darkness even a little light has great affect. Each one of us then is called to be light in the world. But we do not give off our own light. Because we hold onto the Word, because we hold onto Jesus, we shine with the light of His Grace. That Grace that He poured into our hearts, which is His Love and Mercy. People will not turn away from their crooked and perverse ways unless they see something better. We cannot simply tell them what they should or should not do. We must show them. Many good Catholics cannot because they are not holding onto the Word of Life. Instead they are clinging to their possessions, and their distractions, and their comfortable way of life that includes toying with and engaging in many of the pleasures offered by the culture of death. To hold onto the Word of Life is a radical abandonment to the Loving Mercy of Jesus. To allow Jesus to be the beginning, the middle, and the end of all that we do. If not, those caught up in the tolerant culture of death, will simply tolerate another way of living but will never recognize the Catholic way as the Way of Life. The greatest way to live without blemish is to live a Sacramental life. By going to Confession regularly and frequently attending the Mass, we are holding on to Jesus with both hands. He gives us His Life and Light to shine in us which draws those who are sick of the emptiness that tolerance and license feeds. It is difficult to hold onto the Word of Life, to make Jesus the center of all that we are. But we are not alone; this has been the Catholic Way since the very beginning of the Church. St. Paul is writing to encourage the Philippians nearly 2000 years ago. Like the Philippians we have been given the Holy Spirit to be our Advocate and Blessed Mother to be our example. In praying the Rosary, Mary teaches us how to listen to the Holy Spirit and respond to the Loving Mercy of Jesus. It will become easier to live the Way of Life even in the midst of the culture of death for we will not only know but we will believe God our Father loves us. We will come to believe that we are His beloved children.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

All Souls

Today we celebrate all souls day. In the readings we hear a message that is full of hope. This hope is based upon the love of God. Because of Jesus we have faith in Gods mercy. In Jesus we hear that we belong to God. This is a great comfort. However with love comes responsibility. They always go together, love and responsibility. Today many people, even Catholics say that God is love. They trust in his love, but they do not take the responsibility that comes with being loved by God. In other words they do not listen to or live by the teaching of the Church. They make excuses for their situations and claim; God loves me he would not be upset with what I am doing. Christ instituted the Church. He gave us the Holy Spirit to guide the Church and he gave the Church the authority to preach and teach the truth of the Gospel. We hear today from the book of Wisdom “Grace and Mercy are with his holy ones and his care is with his elect.” If we are his elect then we have a responsibility to live holy lives. How many of you are living holy lives? If we are his elect then we have the responsibility of living lives of grace and mercy. How often do you pray? How often do you go to Confession? How often do you fast? How often do you pray the Rosary? How often do you give a substantial amount of money in the collection? You know you should give more every week than it takes to bring your whole family to McDonalds. How well are you living up to your responsibilities? These are not rules made up by the Church. Fasting, Prayer, and Alms Giving are the traditional ways of growing in holiness from the time of Christ. If you believe God loves you then you have a responsibility to live lives of grace and mercy. You cannot ignore his love and think everything is okay between you and God. When Paul writes to the Romans, “we have now received reconciliation,” he is urging the Roman Christians to live according to the truth of their life in Christ. In the Gospel Jesus says that everyone who sees and believes in him will have eternal life. This is true, but we have to live as if we are believers. We cannot just say we believe and then live according to the ways of the world. You cannot say you are a Cowboys fan and then walk around wearing a Giants jersey. You cannot say you love the Cowboys but not even care if they win or lose. But many think that with God and the Church these things are possible. I live my life as I want and the priest and God better give me what I want when I want. I say I am a Catholic and that is enough, I do not have to act like one. I love God, he knows what is in my heart I can skip Mass whenever I want, I do not have to go to Confession, and I do not have to support the Church. In this we are not living according to the responsibility of love. Today we pray for the dead because they need it. All of us are going to be judged someday when we die. We pray for the dead. It is our responsibility. We pray that God have mercy upon them and forgive them, and that he allow them to enter Heaven. We too will come face to face with God and will need the prayers of the Church. But today we can begin to live according to the responsibility we have because God loves us. We believe in him and are promised mercy when we die, but we cannot trust in this promise when we die if we do not live according to this promise in our daily life today.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Jesus Does Not Answer Our Questions Directly (Lk 13:22-30)

In the Gospel today a person asks Jesus "Lord, will only a few people be saved?" The response that Jesus gives can teach us a lot about our spiritual lives. "Strive to enter through the narrow gate..." Jesus goes on to describe how it will be at the end times for those who do not take to heart what he is saying. This first phrase though is Jesus' basic response. "Lord, will only a few people be saved?" "Strive to enter through the narrow gate...!" The response given by Jesus is to call the person to holiness. That is the answer to the question. Be holy! Do not trouble yourself with numbers. You be holy! So often we ask our Lord questions that really have no bearing on our daily life or our salvation. We think they are so important. We think that if we knew the response then we could do so much, or be so much, or at least be at peace. Like the person in the Gospel today; what does the number of people who will be saved have to do with him or her? Nothing! He or she is called to be holy. Yes, in seeing the good that we do we hope others will give glory to God, but fundamentally we are called to live holy lives in response to God's Loving Mercy. For example many parents worry and worry about their children's and grand children's faith or lack there of. With all the time they spend worrying they in effect are ignoring their own spiritual lives. They ignore their own call to grow in holiness because they want the Lord to answer their good and pious desire that their children practise the faith. Trust that the Lord hears and responds to your prayers and "strive to enter through the narrow gate." Your children and grand children will see you entering and eventually will want to follow. Our Lord has taken good care of you. Why is it that you think he will abandon those that you love? This is just one of many examples. The response that Jesus gives to the person in the Gospel today is really the solution to many of the struggles in our spiritual lives. You yourself be holy. Strive for holiness in your daily life. Be obedient and faithful to Jesus' call and trust in his Loving Mercy. This is the way of a true disciple. Why? Because it is Blessed Mothers way, and we as good children should follow her beautiful example. Blessed Mother did not have all the answers. She pondered things in her Immaculate Heart and trusted in the Loving Mercy of her Son. Mary was obedient and faithful to the call of God the Father and to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Why not imitate Our Mother who is full of grace? For all our questions, all our anxieties Jesus has one response. Trust in me. Do not be afraid. Be Holy. "Strive to enter the narrow gate.." Follow my Mother whom I have given to you, she will show you the way.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Feast of Saints Simon and Jude

At the Last Supper St. Jude asked Jesus if he were going to reveal the Father only to the Apostles and not the whole world.(Jn 14:22-23) Jesus responds "Anyone who loves me will be true to my word, and my Father will love him; we will come to him and make our dwelling place with him." This is a great gift. Our Lord in responding to Jude reveals not only the Father's Love, which is what Jude asked about, but also reveals the deeper truth. The truth that the Father and Jesus in loving us begin to dwell in us. They take up residence in our hearts. This is a profound truth. God's dwelling is in the hearts of men who love Him and strive to follow His Word. If you look at the image of St. Jude he is always depicted with the face of Christ on his chest in either a scapular or a medal. This image reveals the truth of the Gospel. The Father and Christ Jesus in Love take possession of Jude's heart. The image of Christ's face upon Jude's chest reveal to whom Jude belongs. It reveals his identity as God's own son by adoption. St. Jude is the patron of the hopeless precisely for this reason. His life reveals that no one is beyond hope. He asked a very innocent question during the Last Supper and received a response that brings Hope to all humanity. If we love the Lord and try to keep His commandments, the Father and He will come into our hearts and begin to dwell in us. St. Jude calls us today to not only know the truth of our lives but to have the courage to begin to live in the truth. He calls us to allow the Lord to place His seal upon our hearts. He challenges us to invite the Father and our Lord to take possession of our hearts and dwell within them. St. Jude teaches us to not be afraid of God but instead to be secure in the knowledge that we are loved. Secure in this knowledge we can live our lives and our faith filled with Hope.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Yielding Fruit In Due Season (Psalm 1)

The psalm response today is "Behave like God as his very dear children." In other words we are encouraged to always be mindful of our identity. We are God's very dear children. This is such a magnificent truth. In many ways the truth of being a child of God can simply blow your mind if you but meditate upon it, and allow the Lord to speak to your heart. More often than not though we listen to other voices. Voices that tell us we should be worried about things we cannot control. Voices that tell us we should take care of ourselves. Voices that encourage us to sin. Voices that tell us we do not deserve whats happening in our life. Voices that tell us to seize control of our life and intimidate others. Voices that degrade us and make us feel unworthy of love. Voices of selfishness, and voices of deceit that try to destroy in us the knowledge of our true identity. In our weakness and sinfulness we all too often listen to these voices. Thus today's Psalm and Response are so important because they clearly call us to listen and act upon the truth. To act according to our true identity and to allow God's Grace to work in us according to our state in life. We do not have to take control or be in charge. Our Father will take good care of us. We are called to trust in Him once again. To live as a beloved child and not as a slave to our passions or our fears. Trusting in God the fruit of our fidelity to the truth will blossom and ripen bringing joy to our life and to our families. It seems so simple and it is. You are God's very dear child. Your are loved. Trust in this your true identity and be free. You are not your sins. You are not your past. You are not your wounds. You are not your fears. You are the very dear child of God Our Father. You are Loved. Now let that Love yield it's fruit: forgiveness, healing, comfort, mercy, and peace. Nothing can separate you from the Father's Loving Mercy. You are his beloved child do not be afraid to live as such.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Impossibility of Love (Mt 22:34-40)

Today Jesus reveals to us the greatest commandment. "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. Jesus also reveals the second greatest commandment. "You must love your neighbor as yourself." Everyone knows this. This commandment to love is the very foundation of our faith. But it is too much. It is nearly impossible to love in this way. If not, then why is it that we so often fall short? Or if we succeed in loving God we hate our neighbor. Sometimes the opposite is true; we ignore God and have a good time with our neighbor, claiming to love them. I find that I cannot keep this commandment to love and I do not think that many of you do either. Why? Because I only have so much love to give and then I run out. I run out of patience. I run out of energy. I run out of time. I run out of resources, and then I need to take care of myself and I forget about God, he does not seem to be helping me anyway. I also begin to ignore others because they are a distraction to me. I only have so much love. Jesus must have been mistaken when he told us these were the greatest commandments. Why would he require us to do something that we are seemingly incapable of doing? The answer is because he loves us. He knows that we are incapable of loving as he asks, and so he loves us. Remember his love is merciful, and so in his mercy he loves us. He makes up for our lack of love by loving us. Thus we can begin to love with his love. It is so difficult to love; in fact it is nearly impossible to love if you do not know that you are loved. Thus in his mercy Jesus loves us. Think of your own life, how hard you have tried to love one another but hurts and pain and fears keep us apart. This happens even within marriages. We become afraid to love. We are so hurt that we choose not to love rather than risking getting hurt yet again. In his mercy Jesus loves us and in his love we can take the risk to love. The same is true in our relationship with God. We are so ready for God to condemn us that we act as if he already has. But this is a lie. God loves us, and when we know we are loved by him we can begin to love him. Why? Because in knowing he loves us we will no longer be afraid of him. The greatest way in which we can experience this love is in the Sacraments, specifically in the Eucharist and Confession. In Confession his love is so clear. No matter what we have done Jesus' response is "I love you and I forgive you." There is not a single sin that any of you have committed, or will commit, or could commit that could keep Jesus from loving you, and forgiving you. In knowing we are loved through the sacrament of Confession we can begin to love and thus turn away from our sins. In the Eucharist we are strengthened in love every Sunday and every time we receive the Body of Christ. Strengthened in being loved by God in the gift us his Body and Blood. Strengthened by the Eucharist we can love God and even our neighbors because it is His love that sustains us. It his love that makes up for our lack of love. How can this commandment to love God and our neighbor be fulfilled? Knowing we are loved by God. How do we receive this love most clearly? By living a sacramental life, in confessing our sins, and faithfully attending the mass and receiving Holy Communion

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Utter Fullness Of God (Eph 3:14-21)

St. Paul prays that the Ephesians come to know the Love of Christ and "are filled with the utter fullness of God." In a certain sense St. Paul is praying that the Ephesians and the whole Church become like their Mother who is Full of Grace. If we are to come to know the Love of Christ then we must turn to Mary. Our Blessed Mother speaks to our little hearts about the love of her Son especially when we pray the Rosary. Mary explains to us that each event of salvation history that we meditate upon is an expression of her Son's Love for us. This is not a general grace given indiscriminately. In praying the Rosary Mary speaks to the heart of each of her children. Mary knows the utter fullness of God. From our Mother's hand the grace that filled her flows to her children, that we might know the Love of Christ. Jesus speaks today of a fire that He wishes to see set ablaze on earth.(LK 12:49-53) The Rosary is the kindling. The Rosary makes our hearts and our lives flammable. Our lives begin to burn with the love of God and our hearts begin to yearn for more. Our Mother teaches us that the Love of her Son will not destroy us, but instead it will consume us. We are set ablaze and the fire does not lose its intensity. The Rosary constantly adds fuels to the fire burning in our hearts. In good times and bad, in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow our Mother's love stirs our hearts with love for her Son. She teaches us to trust in His Merciful Love, and to not be afraid. In praying the Rosary Mary reveals that Jesus her Son desires this consummation, that is our soul being filled with the utter fullness of His Love. Mary in her person is the living icon of this consummation of Love. This consummation is communion. The Rosary draws us deeply into this communion whose power working in us St Paul says will do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Being Served By The Master (LK6:12-18)

In the Gospel Jesus tells us that when we are prepared to receive Him or to greet Him it is then that He comes and serves us. Therefore we are called to live in humble anticipation of His entering into our lives. In other words we should expect that He will enter our lives. What is required of us is that we be ready to simply open the door. Often this is the hardest thing to do. Behind the door it is a mess. Behind the door is where all our fears reside. Behind the door is where our shame and guilt still remain over all we have done and all that has been done to us. Behind the door we find our shattered dreams and expectations. Behind the door is kept all the judgments that keep us from knowing God's Love. Because if someone, or anyone saw all that is kept behind the door of our heart there is no way they could love us. They would see what a disgrace we really are. What a hypocrite we are. How little we really are and they would be right in rejecting us and in ridiculing us. So, it is better to keep the door to our heart closed. But this is not what Jesus asks of us today. In fact He wants the exact opposite. He tells us that if we are ready to open the door of our hearts He will come and enter. Upon entering Jesus tells us that He will then begin to serve us. How will He do this? By bringing healing to all our hidden wounds. By bringing comfort to our memories and our minds. By taking away our guilt and shame in His Loving Mercy. By forgiving us. By telling us who we really are in His sight. By telling us that we are indeed loved. By revealing our true identity as His beloved. He tells us that He may come in the second or third watch. In other words it may take awhile but He will come. We should not lose hope. He will come at the perfect time, and bring healing to our souls. He loves us and desires to serve us in this way. Finally Jesus tells us the result of all this is that we will be happy. We will be happy with a happiness that is beyond compare because we will truly know that we are loved. But first we must be prepared to open the door of our hearts to Him who loves us. In the we have recourse to our Mother Mary. In praying the Rosary and listening to Mary speak to us of Her Son's Merciful Love we will be unafraid to let Jesus in when He comes knocking at door of our wounded heart.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Generosity and Selfishness (LK12:13-21)

"I will say to my soul: my soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come; take things easy, eat, drink, have a good time." Many would look at the Gospel today and think that this man was selfish in that he did not think to share with the poor the abundant riches he had from his harvest. This is not true. When we look at the Gospel from that perspective, we often excuse ourselves and our own selfish behavior. We give money to the Church. We give money to charities. We give money to the poor. We donate our old clothes and our old furnishings. We are not like the man in the Gospel at all. The selfishness of the man in the Gospel is not that he did not give to the poor. His selfishness is in the fact that he takes counsel from himself and only himself and those who would agree with his selfish plans. For example the contractors who are building the new barn. "I will say to my soul: my soul," this selfishness is much harder to excuse ourselves from. All of us like to take counsel from ourselves and those who would agree with us. We forget that we belong to God. "The Lord made us we belong to Him"this is the responsorial psalm today. This simple phrase should ever be on our lips and on our hearts. In love God made us and it is for love that God made us, therefore in all things we should turn to Him who loves us. The generosity that our Lord seeks from us is that we be generous in turning to Him in all things. This is so that he may shower down upon us His many Blessings, His Mercy, and His Love. If we generously give our souls to Him we will have no need to fear anything in this life. We can rest secure in true peace and enjoy the abundant blessings of Our Father's Loving Mercy. Trusting in Him we will become rich in His sight building up treasure in Heaven and leaving selfishness and worry behind.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

29th Sunday Mt 22:15-21

In the Gospel today Jesus tells us to give to God what belongs to God. You belong to God. In Baptism we become children of God. We belong to him. Often in life we forget this fact. Often we are lonely and distract ourselves with our thoughts and actions. Most often our distractions become our sins. It is easy to sin when you think that you do not matter to anyone. It is easy to sin when you have low self esteem. It is easy to sin when you think that no one really cares about you or loves you. It is easy to forget that we belong to God and that he really does love us. He does love you. What often happens after we distract ourselves with our sins is that we feel so guilty and ashamed that we think God could not possibly love us after what we did. But God does love you. Gods love is merciful. You belong to him and he will never abandon you. This is the great gift of our faith, that the Father loved us so much that he gave us his only Son that we may be healed and forgiven. You do matter. You are loved. You belong to him. Give him your life today and trust in his loving mercy.

Friday, October 17, 2008

There Is No Need To Be Afraid (LK12:1-7)

Today is the feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch. He was the third Bishop of Antioch, the city in which followers of Jesus were first called Christians. He lived in the first century and under the Roman Emperor Trajen and was condemned to death. He was brought to Rome and in the amphitheater he was fed to two lions. On his journey to Rome he wrote 6 letters to various local churches and one to St. Polycarp. In his letter to he begged the Church to not try and get his death sentence pardoned but to let him die a martyrs death for Christ. He knew he was going to be fed to the lions yet he was unafraid. This could be for us today a nice and even heroic story from our history. It is a beautiful example of the strong faith of the early Church but has no bearing on our lives today. In thinking this we are wrong. No we are not being dragged to Rome to be eaten by lions, but we can look more closely at St. Ignatius to understand how he could be so heroic and strong in his faith. He wrote these words in one of his letters, "I hunger for the bread of God, the flesh of Jesus Christ, born of David's seed; I long to drink of his blood, the gift of his unending love." It is in the Eucharist that he found his strength to live his life as a Christian and to die a martyrs death. A death that was ferocious in its violence and vulgar in its aftermath. He was not only killed by lions but then eaten by them. Yet he was unafraid for he knew the unending love of Jesus in the Eucharist. This then is how his martyrdom can impact our lives today. It should draw us closer to the Eucharist that we too may enter into and know the Unending Love of Our Lord Jesus. That we too may be strengthened and sustained in our lives as Christians. That we too can know deep in our hearts There Is No Need To Be Afraid.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Paying Attention To The Love Of God

In the Gospel today Jesus reprimands the Pharisees and tells them that they pay no attention to the love of God. The Pharisees say they love God, but then they proceed to pay no attention to this love. The are caught up in their own selfish love and claim they are doing God's will. Jesus points out today how self deceived they are. Others are shocked at this. The scholar of the law has the courage to tell Jesus that he is lumping them all together and Jesus says "that's right". Then he proceeds to show how self deceived the scholars are with themselves. Why? Because while both groups claim to love God they pay no attention to this love. In speaking to the Galatians today St Paul is addressing the same issue. He tells them to live in the Spirit and follow the Spirit. In other words pay attention to Love. Do not just say "oh I know God loves me". That is not enough for the pharisees and the scholars claimed to know God. They just refused to pay attention to him. They did not follow the Spirit. We often do the same. We are often self deceived claiming to know God and then paying attention only to ourselves and our selfish desires. Mind you the scholars and pharisees ignored God's love while doing good. They studied and lived the law of God to what they considered perfection. But they ignored the love of God. Paying attention to the love of God and following the Spirit requires us to take off the blinders of self deception. Paying attention and following the Spirit requires us to abandon ourselves to the Loving Mercy of God and Trust in Him and not ourselves. We should not be surprised that God demands our attention. HE LOVES US ! Who doesn't want this love or its fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Do Not Submit Again To The Yoke Of Slavery

Christ freed you and he meant you to remain free. Free from the yoke of fear. Free from the yoke of anxiety. Free from the yoke of worry. Free to live your life as his son or daughter. These yokes are from the evil one, the slave master who wants you to live in bondage with no hope of escape or resolution. Fear, anxiety and worry all have to deal with the unknown, and with what we do not have power over. In turning to them we are willingly placing the yoke of slavery upon ourselves and upon those we love. What is most disgraceful about this is that we feel justified in doing so. We claim that worrying is our right as a parent. We claim that we would be negligent if we did not fear what was out there in the world. We see anxiety as a good thing that can keep us safe from all harm. All these justifications and the ones you tell yourself are lies. Christ freed you and he meant you to remain free. The evil generation in the Gospel today was demanding a sign. Do you want to be like them? Then take a moment to gaze upon the Crucifix in your home. This is the only sign at which you should look. You should look upon it frequently. It is a sign of the great love that Jesus has for you. It is the sign that tells you that in His Love you are free. It is the sign that says He is Merciful. It is the sign that everything will be alright because He Loves you. The yokes of the evil one bring no peace. In fact they lead to a number of other sins. No one keeps their fear or worries to themselves. Gossip and idle talk compound the sin and spread it to others. These lead to a loss of faith, and even a loss of hope. What do you suppose is the result of all this fear? It is a loss of love. Why? Because if you are ruled by fear, anxiety, and worry, you better take care of yourself. You can trust nobody. Something bad may happen. Pervasive selfishness takes root in our live and just as the evil one desires we become isolated. How very different from the invitation of our Lord in which we are called into communion where we find true peace and true freedom. As his sons and daughters we are required to bring anything that disturbs us to Him, to Jesus. Notice I say required, not invited, not requested, not asked, but REQUIRED. Trusting His Loving Mercy we are required to bring everything to to Jesus. In giving it to Him we are free. This is so difficult for us but it is a necessity. Even the most embarrassing sins and weaknesses are to be brought to Him. He has already judged you worthy of His Mercy. Just look at the Cross and believe He Loves you. Submit to His Loving Mercy and Be Free. Come into Communion with Him and leave your isolation and loneliness behind. Throw off the evil ones yoke and live as a son or daughter of God. Christ freed you and he meant you to remain free.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sunday 28th week

"There is nothing that I cannot master with the help of the One who gives me strength" During this year of St. Paul we would do well to listen to these words. Jesus gives us strength. It is in knowing His love that Paul finds strength. Where do you find your strength? Often times we look to ourselves and our own abilities. We think that we should know better. We think that we should be able to handle things. We think that we should be able to get over things. Paul's example shows us that those thoughts could not be further from the truth. Paul relies upon the love of Jesus. Paul is sustained by the love of Jesus. He does not and he cannot rely only upon himself. These days all of us are infected with a terrible illness of the modern world. We are so self centered. We want to heal ourselves. We want to better ourselves. We want to fix ourselves and those we love. We want to understand ourselves. We want to glorify ourselves. We want to pleasure ourselves. In pursuing this self-centered lifestyle we find only isolation and misery. We are so isolated and alone that instead of loving others and living in community, we use others and destroy community. This leads to death. If you do not believe me look at our society. Pornography, Casual Sex, Abortion, Contraception, Divorce and Suicide are now all common place. They all take place in our homes and in our families. This infection is tearing at our very souls. We are not like the people in the first reading today who say "See, this is our God in whom we hoped for salvation, the Lord is the one in whom we hoped." We do not look to God for help or hope. We look to ourselves. In doing so we are like the people in the Gospel. We refuse the Lord's invitation. But our Lord does not give up hope. Our Lord does not abandon us. The invitation is again offered. Trust in me. Let me be your strength. Imitate Paul and let me sustain you. How do we do this? The readings today speak about a banquet. This clearly refers to the Eucharist but also to all the Sacraments. This is where we can find true strength. In preparing for the Sacraments we must have a prayer life. This includes reading the Bible and praying the Rosary. We must begin the practice of going to Confession regularly. All in preparation to receive Jesus our strength each week in the Eucharist. These practices are simple and each one of you has the ability to do them. In prayer and the Sacramental life the sickness of isolation will be destroyed. This is because you will begin to live in communion with your Lord, and not just go to communion on Sundays. However this is not enough. For we are not called to simply do this on our own. Husbands should pray with their wives and wives with their husbands. Fathers and mothers should pray with their children. Families should come not only to Church together but also to confession together. Children can pray with their friends. Boyfriend and girlfriends as well. In all things, like the people in the first reading we should look to the Lord. We need to begin living like St. Paul and constantly look to our Lord for strength. In doing so we will no longer be isolated, but not only that, in trusting in the love of Jesus we will be comforted and strengthened in all our struggles. We will not have to be afraid of the future for we will live in our Lord's Loving Mercy each day of our life.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pilgrimage and Retreat

I will not return to blogging until I return to Eagle Pass. I am departing in only a few moments to begin a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. I will not be blogging on this journey as it would defeat the purpose. Expect new reflections on or around the 12th of October. Please pray for me. Praised be Jesus Christ and Mary Immaculate!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Flowing Water

"Like flowing water is the heart of the king in the hand of the Lord, who turns it where he pleases."(Proverbs 21) How can a heart that is flesh, that is solid, be like water that is liquid? Recall the story from St. Johns Gospel of the women at the well. Jesus told her that he would give her living water that welled up to eternal life. The king's heart can be said to be like flowing water because it is filled with the living water that Jesus speaks about in the Gospel. In other words it is filled with grace. The king mentioned in the first reading is not refering to Jesus or David or any other king in the bible. It is refering to you and to me. Recall that at our baptisms we were anointed with Sacred Chrism as priest, prophet, and king just like Jesus, and we were to live as such until we shared eternal life with Him. He then is the Lord in the first reading and we are the kings. So our hearts then are in the hands of our Lord. In His hands our hearts are like flowing water for he pours His living water, His grace into our hearts. This of course is especially through the Sacraments, and in particular through the Eucharist and Confession. Confession in particular. Remember the woman at the well (Jn 4:1-42) her experience was basically one of having her sins forgiven. In other words she acknowledged her sins as Jesus revealed to her how she had been living. Then the living water welled up in her and she brought others to Him who had healed her. Now this living water is alive in our hearts, and our hearts are in the hands of the Lord. Often we do not acknowledge this or fail to recognize this truth of our life. He turns our hearts where ever He pleases. In other words He directs our hearts by His Grace. He pours out His Grace as he pleases. If we can let our lives be set thus on this firm foundation we have no need to fear, or be stressed out, or anxious about anything. What better foundation could we ask for than the hands of our Lord. What greater comfort could desire than the living water of grace that saturates our hearts. In living in this truth then we can imitate the woman at the well and draw others to the Lord, that they may be healed and have their stoney hearts filled with flowing water.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Little Flower

Incredibly although I have only been in Eagle Pass a little over a month, I have been invited to preach the opening night of the novena to Santa Teresita del Nino Jesus at the Carmel in Morelos, Coahuila, Mexico about an hour and a half away. Here is my reflection.
I want to thank Mother for inviting me to preach on this opening night of the Novena to St. Theresa of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. I am new to the area, and as you can tell my Spanish is not so good. However I believe that it is by God’s Providence that I am here and so I will share what I can. You are here by God’s Providence as well. Yes you chose to come tonight, but only after the Holy Spirit invited you. The Holy Spirit called you by name to be here. There is a grace that he has prepared for you and will give to you through little Theresa. As he has said in the Gospel, “to the one who has more will be given.” So you have received the grace to be here tonight and now you should expect that our Lord has even more graces to give to you. Therefore do not be afraid to bring your requests to Him through St. Theresa in this novena. There are many things that one could say about the Little Flower. She is a Doctor of the Church. She has written the famous outline of her spirituality in her autobiography The Story of a Soul. We have many of her letters that we could reflect upon. We even have the beautiful story of her vocation. However I will leave those serious topics for the other priests to address this week. Instead I simply want to talk to you tonight about her image or more accurately her statue which we have all seen so often. When we first look at her statue it seems very simple. Theresa is in her Carmelite Habit with a tiny smile on her face, and in her arms are roses and a crucifix. We have seen her standing in our churches a thousand times. But I invite you to look closer. She has told us she would shower down roses from heaven, but look in her arms. In her arms the statue in Eagle Pass, she holds seven roses. Seven. Why? Because before she showers down roses from heaven she wants each of us to recognize the roses that we already possess. The roses she possessed while here on earth. These roses are the Sacraments. The sacraments strengthened, and nourished St. Theresa while on earth. She was especially strengthened by the Eucharist and Confession. In her arms are the roses that she invites you to embrace. It is no good to simply come to the novena to ask for favors if you do not accept in your hearts what has already been given. You are called as a Catholic to live a sacramental life. This is the life that St. Theresa lived. This is the life that Mother and the sisters here live. And it is the life you are called to live. Come receive the Eucharist each night, but be prepared. Confess your sins during the novena. By participating in the Sacraments you will be drawn into the Loving Mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is why St. Theresa holds the crucifix as well. From our saviors wounded side flowed love and mercy. From his side the Sacraments flow out and it is through the Sacraments we find shelter in His wounded side, and in his Sacred Heart. It is in the Sacraments that we are strengthened to live as Theresa did. How did she live? She lived as the beloved daughter of God. She had confidence in the Merciful Love of God the Father at all times. If she failed or if she succeeded her experience never changed who she was as the Father’s beloved daughter. This truth is what caused the Church to proclaim her a Doctor of the faith. However this revelation given to her by God our Father was built upon a firm foundation. In her statue we see the foundation clearly and we can imitate her. The first foundation was the Sacraments. Our statue in Eagle Pass demonstrates this clearly. Seven roses in Theresa’s arms represent the Sacraments. Three roses are red and four are yellow. The red are baptism by which she became a daughter of God. Eucharist by which she was strengthened to live her life as his daughter, and confession by which she was healed when she sinned thus in his mercy she was reconciled with her Father. She holds the crucifix from which all graces flow. And she wears the habit of the Carmelites the vocation given to her by God the Father. The vocation that made her happy. The vocation that made her holy. The vocation that brought her peace. To those who have more will be given. The statue of the Little Flower tells you and me what we have been given. This is the foundation from which we begin our Novena to Little Theresa. Like her we have been given the Sacraments. Like her we come to Christ Crucified from whom all graces flow. And like her each of us has been given a vocation by God the Father that will bring us happiness, holiness, and peace. Before we begin asking for favors in this novena we would be wise to follow St. Theresa’s example and acknowledge what we already have been given. In doing this we will then be prepared to receive the more that our Lord Jesus promises in the Gospel, and that Little Theresa promises from Heaven.