Sunday, July 23, 2017

Today, society does not talk about hell. It's as if it did not exist, but it does.


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, guitarist, actor, and author.)

Gospel Text: (MT 13:24-43)
Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds, saying:
"The kingdom of heaven may be likened
to a man who sowed good seed in his field.
While everyone was asleep his enemy came
and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off.
When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well.
The slaves of the householder came to him and said,
'Master, did you not sow good seed in your field?
Where have the weeds come from?'
He answered, 'An enemy has done this.'
His slaves said to him,
'Do you want us to go and pull them up?'
He replied, 'No, if you pull up the weeds
you might uproot the wheat along with them.
Let them grow together until harvest;
then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters,
"First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning;
but gather the wheat into my barn."'"

He proposed another parable to them.
"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed
that a person took and sowed in a field.
It is the smallest of all the seeds,
yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants.
It becomes a large bush,
and the 'birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.'"

He spoke to them another parable.
"The kingdom of heaven is like yeast
that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour
until the whole batch was leavened."

All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables.
He spoke to them only in parables,
to fulfill what had been said through the prophet:
I will open my mouth in parables,
I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation
of the world.

Then, dismissing the crowds, he went into the house.
His disciples approached him and said,
"Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field."
He said in reply, "He who sows good seed is the Son of Man,
the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom.
The weeds are the children of the evil one,
and the enemy who sows them is the devil.
The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire,
so will it be at the end of the age.
The Son of Man will send his angels,
and they will collect out of his kingdom
all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.
They will throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Then the righteous will shine like the sun
in the kingdom of their Father.
Whoever has ears ought to hear."

We might begin reflecting on this parable by asking a question. Who exactly are the weeds, and who are the wheat? At the end of the long form of today’s Gospel passage, Jesus explains the parable: “the good seed” are “the children of the kingdom”, while the “weeds are the children of the evil one”. But how are we practically to apply this explanation to our own day?

Perhaps another saying from our Lord could help us. “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye” [Luke 6:42]. In other words, in seeking to apply the parable of the weeds and the wheat to the real world of today, each of us ought to begin with the real weeds in one’s own soul. From there each of us could move on to consider the weeds elsewhere in one’s family, parish, country and Church.

Short of the Blessed Virgin Mary, there is no disciple without weeds in his soul. In your case as in mine, then, the parable describes the Christian spiritual life.

Between the day of your baptism and the day of the “harvest” (that is, the day of your death), you are free to cultivate your spiritual life. You are free to break up hard soil of your soul through acts of penance and humility, so that the good seed of your life in Christ will bear abundant fruit even during your earthly days. You must also be patient, like the parable’s householder, who is God our Father. For you are free also to sin in this life: to allow weeds to proliferate in your soul.

God, in His paternal love, does not force anyone to reform his life.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The first person the Risen Christ appeared too on Easter Sunday was a repentant sinner – Mary Magdalene – NEVER FORGET THAT!


"When we are able to tell the Lord, 'Lord these are my sins, not the sins of that one or the other, these are mine. They are mine. You take them and that way I will be saved' -- when we are able to do this we will be that beautiful people…..” - Pope Francis

Gospel Text: (JN 20:1-2, 11-18)
On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
"They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don't know where they put him."

Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping.
And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb
and saw two angels in white sitting there,
one at the head and one at the feet
where the Body of Jesus had been.
And they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?"
She said to them, "They have taken my Lord,
and I don't know where they laid him."
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there,
but did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?"
She thought it was the gardener and said to him,
"Sir, if you carried him away,
tell me where you laid him,
and I will take him."
Jesus said to her, "Mary!"
She turned and said to him in Hebrew,
"Rabbouni," which means Teacher.
Jesus said to her,
"Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and tell them,
'I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.'"
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,
"I have seen the Lord,"
and then reported what he told her.

In today’s gospel from Mass Mary Magdalene found herself lost because her Lord had been taken away. She receives reassurance from the comforting words and presence of Jesus himself.

As we journey through life, we pray to have hearts that always long for God in all things and that, when we find ourselves lost, confused and discouraged, we find his loving presence.


Friday, July 21, 2017

“Go to your checkbook and see what you spend money on. In an instant, you will know what is important to you because your money goes toward it.”


 “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically, to say “no” to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside. The enemy of the ‘best’ is often the ‘good’” - Author Unknown

Gospel Text: (MT 12:1-8)
Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath.
His disciples were hungry
and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them.
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him,
"See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath."
He said to the them, "Have you not read what David did
when he and his companions were hungry,
how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering,
which neither he nor his companions
but only the priests could lawfully eat?
Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath
the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath
and are innocent?
I say to you, something greater than the temple is here.
If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
you would not have condemned these innocent men.
For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath."

One of the most important things in human life is to learn how to set and keep proper priorities.

Often the difference between a happy and unhappy life, between a rewarding and a wasted one, centers on whether we've set the right goals and perseveringly sought to achieve them.

And it is getting harder today for people to set and achieve these priorities. So many of our technological advances, while offering great possibilities to improve our lives, often just leave us torn apart by a list of to-dos that just seems to keep growing, enslaving us to so many tasks that there seems to be no time for the things that deep down we know are most important.
Scores of American men have long complained that, because of all of the demands at work and the fulfillment of other duties, they have less and less time to do the things that are really fulfilling. Even many teenagers and young kids today have to keep a detailed calendar because with lessons, sports, homework, and even play dates, their schedule has become overwhelming.

To make matters more complicated across the generations, technological advances like cell phones, email, texts, Facebook, and Twitter has created a culture of the nanosecond, where those contacting us have gotten so used to an immediate response that we feel we must drop what we're doing and answer right away.

Life has become like the whack-o-mole game that many of us used to play at arcades, where black moles pop up in front of us and we have to whack them down continuously with a mallet. The only difference is that what we're about is not a game and that the moles are coming up not just in front of us in five or six predictable holes but all around us all the time.

To all of us in this frenetic era, who feel drawn-and-quartered by seemingly having to do so many things well at once, Jesus, with words shocking to our 21st century sensibilities, presents us today the Good News. He who came to set the captives free, who is the Truth incarnate, who knows everything and who cannot lie, tells us in one sentence: "You are worried and distracted by many things. Only one thing is necessary."

The crucial question to be answered is, "What is that one thing?"


Think about it…………….

Thursday, July 20, 2017

So many think they will be happy when... but the truth is that without inner peace, we have nothing ... nothing.


Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

-- St. Teresa of Avila: (1515 – 1582: is a Roman Catholic saint and Doctor of the Church)

Gospel Text: (MT 11:28-30)
Jesus said:
"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."

Physical labor tires our body. Stress, distress and tensions tire our mind. Sin and guilt tires our soul. Rest really is meant to be a totally refreshing renewing experience. And this is possible only when I am assured that all my sin is washed away, all my tensions and worries and distress of the mind are removed and my body is relaxed.


It is to such an experience that Jesus is calling us when He invites us to rest in His presence.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The force of His words is clear. He does not say merely that the kingdom of heaven is for the childlike. He says that the kingdom belongs to them; it is made up of children and of those who come as children.


Christ wants a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim. – C.S. Lewis: (1898 – 1963: was a British novelist, poet, & academic)

Gospel Text: (MT 11:25-27)
At that time Jesus exclaimed:
"I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him."

Movies and folklore often portray how difficult it is for heroes to see the gods; epic quests, impossible obstacles, and mortal danger await those who try. In contrast, the one, true God wants us to get close to Him. He longs for us to open our minds and hearts to His love. He has created ample opportunity for us to know him, whether it’s through intellectual scholarship like many saints and scholars, stoic fledgling leadership like Moses, or childlike wonder as Jesus espoused.


If you’re not getting closer to God, the fault isn’t that God hasn’t provided you the means to do so; rather, it’s quite likely that you haven’t taken advantage of the countless other opportunities available to you. The Church doesn’t demand a one-size-fits-all approach to our faith, and reading Sacred Scripture shows multiple paths people have taken to the divine. If you feel distant from God, perhaps you need to try an alternate approach and see if you can get closer that way. And if you already have a solid relationship with God, perhaps consider adding something different or new and see if it gets you even closer. The opportunities are there, and the rewards are inestimable.