Friday, November 16, 2018

“The best preparation for tomorrow is the right use of today.”

“We should live our lives as though Christ was coming this afternoon.” ― Jimmy Carter: (October 1, 1924: is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States from 1977 to 1981

Gospel Text: (LK 17:26-37)
Jesus said to his disciples:
"As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be in the days of the Son of Man;
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage up to the day
that Noah entered the ark,
and the flood came and destroyed them all.
Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot:
they were eating, drinking, buying,
selling, planting, building;
on the day when Lot left Sodom,
fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all.
So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed.
On that day, someone who is on the housetop
and whose belongings are in the house
must not go down to get them,
and likewise one in the field
must not return to what was left behind.
Remember the wife of Lot.
Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it,
but whoever loses it will save it.
I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed;
one will be taken, the other left.
And there will be two women grinding meal together;
one will be taken, the other left."
They said to him in reply, "Where, Lord?"
He said to them, "Where the body is,
there also the vultures will gather."

The reality of death may make us uncomfortable, even in our society where images of death are put before us so bluntly on TV newscasts. In fact, some people struggle to write their last will and testament for the simple reason that they have to imagine they are dead. That’s too much for them to handle. 

Thomas á Kempis, the 15th-century author of "The Imitation of Christ," one of the best-known Catholic books of spirituality, noted: "Happy is the man who keeps the hour of death always in mind, and daily prepares for it."

Preparing for death means, most importantly, making sure that we reconcile with God and live in a state of grace. But our preparations should not stop there. How about reconciling with estranged family members or others? Offering or seeking forgiveness?

Taking action on these items will boost, at a minimum, the peacefulness of your passing. But it might even help bring others closer to Christ -- and that surely won't be a bad thing to have happen when you're standing before the Throne of Judgment.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

“The kingdom of God is an upside-down kingdom. It beckons us to gamble all, to trust radically, to come and die so that we might live--to give our lives away. Giving life away is a paradox. It's losing so we can win. It's giving so we can receive. It's risking for security. It's faith. The kingdom of God means living that tension.”

Modern prophets say that our economics have failed us. No! It is not our economics which have failed; it is man who has failed-man who has forgotten God. Hence no manner of economic or political readjustment can possibly save our civilization; we can be saved only by a renovation of the inner man, only by a purging of our hearts and souls; for only by seeking first the Kingdom of God and His Justice will all these other things be added unto us. - Fulton J. Sheen: (1895 – 1979: was an American bishop (later archbishop) of the Catholic Church known for his preaching and especially his work on television and radio.)

Gospel Text: (LK 17:20-25)
Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come,
Jesus said in reply,
"The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed,
and no one will announce, 'Look, here it is,' or, 'There it is.'
For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you."

Then he said to his disciples,
"The days will come when you will long to see
one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it.
There will be those who will say to you,
'Look, there he is,' or 'Look, here he is.'
Do not go off, do not run in pursuit.
For just as lightning flashes
and lights up the sky from one side to the other,
so will the Son of Man be in his day.
But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation."

The Kingdom of God is, indeed, among us.  God is the vine, and we are the branches. God is with us and in us.  We are his instruments, and the living Kingdom, especially when we carry out his greatest commandment -- love one another.   Provide food for the hungry; set captives free; protect strangers. These acts desperately need to be done. The Kingdom of God is among us. We should make it as evident as a flash of lightning, but possibly, more lasting.     


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

“The more grateful we are, the more beauty we see.”

“In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer: (1906 – 1945: was a German pastor, theologian, anti-Nazi dissident,

Gospel Text: (LK 17:11-19)
As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying,
"Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!"
And when he saw them, he said,
"Go show yourselves to the priests."
As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
"Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?"
Then he said to him, "Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you."

What makes us remiss in expressing gratitude and praise to God for all the good gifts he has given us? Are we just too busy? Do we not appreciate the goodness of his gifts, that our life and all else are his free loving gifts to us? Or do we feel at times that these talents and achievements are really ours, and ours alone?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

When I was young, I was sure of many things; now there are only two things of which I am sure: one is, that I am a sinner; and the other, that Christ is an all-sufficient Saviour. He is well-taught who learns these two lessons.

How well I have learned that there is no fence to sit on between heaven and hell. There is a deep, wide gulf, a chasm, and in that chasm is no place for any man. - Johnny Cash: (1932 – 2003: was an American singer-songwriter)

Scripture Text:PS 37:3-4, 18 AND 23, 27 AND 29
R. (39a) The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Trust in the LORD and do good,
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will grant you your heart's requests.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
The LORD watches over the lives of the wholehearted;
their inheritance lasts forever.
By the LORD are the steps of a man made firm,
and he approves his way.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Turn from evil and do good,
that you may abide forever;
The just shall possess the land
and dwell in it forever.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

During the last weeks of the Church year—which more or less correspond with the month of November—the Church asks us to turn our attention to what she calls the “Last Things”. Each Christian needs to focus his or her attention upon Heaven and Hell, death and judgment.

A lot of people like to think, and lead their lives, believing that only one of these four things even exists. Of course there is a Heaven. Heaven is the place where everyone goes when they die: this is what some people believe. This is what some people teach. But this is not what Jesus taught.

Jesus taught that people, if they do not follow Him, will go—not to Heaven, but to that other place, called Hell. King David, in composing today’s psalm, puts it this way: “The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.” Salvation—being saved, which is another way of saying, “getting to Heaven”— does not come from ourselves, but only from the Lord. If we try to get to Heaven by ourselves, or if we try to make our own Heaven, we will fail, and end up forever without God. We are responsible for doing many things, and at the end of our lives, we should be able to give an account of what we have done. Still, none of those things are what get us into Heaven.