Tuesday, November 27, 2012

“If we must judge, let us first use the mirror on our own wall for practice.”

'Great is already the punishment of sin when the fear of the future divine judgment is lost.' – St Augustine

(Gospel text: LK 21:5-11)
While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, "All that you see here?
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down."

Then they asked him,
"Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?"
He answered,
"See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
'I am he,' and 'The time has come.'
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end."
Then he said to them,
"Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky."

The reason for the end of the world and the day and hour of the end is unknown. It's the same with our lives. We all think we will live to a ripe old age and die in our bed surrounded by family and friends. Maybe not. Each one of us is only a heartbeat away from eternity and therefore our apocalypse may be right around the corner.

We spend so much time worrying about the future and regretting the past. The message of the apocalypse is to live in the end of time right now. Apocalypse Now...and Eternity Now. In other words, learn to live in the present moment.

How shall we then live?

Live with a heart full or repentance. Be sorry for your sins with all your heart right here and right now. Go to confession regularly. Let the Sacrament of Reconciliation and all the graces that go with it release you from any "baggage" that you may have. This will allow you to live with a heart full of joy. Finally, live this present moment as a moment free from fear.

Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

This means life can be lived to the full and full of joy. The world may end with a crash tomorrow, tonight or the next moment, but because our trust is in the one who is the Alpha and the Omega--the beginning and the end we can live in confidence, joy and peace.

Monday, November 26, 2012

“Little things are indeed little, but to be faithful in little things is a great thing.”

"Love to be real, it must cost—it must hurt—it must empty us of self." – Mother Teresa

(Gospel text: LK 21:1-4)
When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people
putting their offerings into the treasury
and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.
He said, "I tell you truly,
this poor widow put in more than all the rest;
for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood."

Today, as it happens so often, small things go by unnoticed: small alms, small sacrifices, small prayers but what, at times, may look small and unimportant; frequently represent the true meaning of what it means to be a Catholic.

The widow's generosity is a good lesson for us.

We can be extremely generous, as the wealthy people that were «putting their gifts into the treasure box» (Lk 21:1). But, none of this will be worthwhile if we only give “from our plenty”, without any love or a generous spirit, without offering ourselves along with our gift

St. Augustine says: «They looked at the great offerings from the wealthy and they praised them for that. And, even if they could see the widow later on, how many did notice those two coins...? She gave whatever she had, for she had God in her heart. But she had plenty, for she had God in her heart. It is better to have God in our soul than gold in the safe». Quite true!

Let us be generous with God and He will be much more so with us

Sunday, November 25, 2012

“When the game is over, the king and the pawn go into the same box”

“He that is kind is free, though he is a slave; he that is evil is a slave, though he be a king.” – St Augustine

(Gospel text: Jn 18:33B-37)
Pilate said to Jesus,
"Are you the King of the Jews?"
Jesus answered, "Do you say this on your own
or have others told you about me?"
Pilate answered, "I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?"
Jesus answered, "My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world,
my attendants would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here."
So Pilate said to him, "Then you are a king?"
Jesus answered, "You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."

Today the Church proclaims the Feast of Christ the King. This day always reminds me of a Jesuit priest from Mexico, Father Miguel Pro, who served the Church in the early 20th century.

I have always been inspired by the example of Blessed Miguel Pro, who lived during a very trying time for the Mexican people.  The Catholic Church was terribly persecuted. 

A popular uprising of Catholic laymen called the Cristeros rose to the occasion to free the Church from the anti-clerical laws enforced by President Plutarco Calles.

Blessed Miguel Pro died as a martyr, executed on the firing squad by federal soldiers on November 23, 1927.

As he stood, waiting for the shots that would end his earthly life and begin a new life in the kingdom of heaven, he forgave his executioners, and spreading out his arms in the form of a cross he cried out, “Viva Cristo Rey!”  Long live Christ the King!

No true reforms will take place in the Church; no renewal will take place in our nation until Jesus Christ reigns in everyone's heart. 

Viva Cristo Rey!  Long live Christ the King!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

Remember that you have only one soul; that you have only one death to die; that you have only one life. . . . If you do this, there will be many things about which you care nothing.  – St Teresa of Avila

(Gospel Text: Lk 20:27-40)
Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection,
Came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying,
"Teacher, Moses wrote for us,
If someone's brother dies leaving a wife but no child,
his brother must take the wife
and raise up descendants for his brother.
Now there were seven brothers;
the first married a woman but died childless.
Then the second and the third married her,
and likewise all the seven died childless.
Finally the woman also died.
Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?
For all seven had been married to her."
Jesus said to them,
"The children of this age marry and remarry;
but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age
and to the resurrection of the dead
neither marry nor are given in marriage.
They can no longer die,
for they are like angels;
and they are the children of God
because they are the ones who will rise.
That the dead will rise
even Moses made known in the passage about the bush,
when he called 'Lord'
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;
and he is not God of the dead, but of the living,
for to him all are alive."
Some of the scribes said in reply,
"Teacher, you have answered well."
And they no longer dared to ask him anything.

In our age of growing unbelief the case is not closed.

There are growing numbers of people who think that this life is all there is, that when death comes the lights turn off and then there is nothingness. This belief is comforting, for “now”, for people who have lived only for themselves and shudder at the thought having to someday answer for their self-absorbed lives. 

The deniers of eternal life are also fighting against themselves.

Human beings naturally intuit that there is something more to life, something beyond this world. When a child suffers the misfortune of losing a loved one and is told that grandpa is "with God" or "has gone to heaven," the child does not doubt it. He may have difficulty accepting the loss of someone so dear, but that there is a better place beyond this world he does not deny. He will only deny it if he/she is taught to do so by his/her parents in the home.

"Do not fear.”

Having a realistic attitude toward death will help us not only to prepare well for our own, but it will also lead us to look forward to the life to come. Is this not what we say every Sunday at Mass when we recite the Profession of Faith? "I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come."

The only thing that can prevent us from being raised from the dead is ourselves.

Try your best to sit quietly in His presence, go to Eucharist Adoration regularly. If you let Him do some talking, you’ll find your heart and mind changing in ways you never thought possible.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Let's approach Christmas with an expectant hush, rather than a last-minute rush

The greatest gift you will ever receive will never be found under a Christmas tree. It is far too valuable to be stored in any other place but in the depths of your heart.  – Anonymous

(Scripture Text: Ps 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131)
R. (103a) How sweet to my taste is your promise!
In the way of your decrees I rejoice,
as much as in all riches.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
Yes, your decrees are my delight;
they are my counselors.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
The law of your mouth is to me more precious
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
How sweet to my palate are your promises,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
Your decrees are my inheritance forever;
the joy of my heart they are.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!
I gasp with open mouth
in my yearning for your commands.
R. How sweet to my taste is your promise!

Don’t we all have “enemies” lurking in our hearts and minds, trying to overpower and banish Jesus from our lives? Don’t we all have interior closets filled with doubts, resentments, and other powerful temptations that would prefer to stay locked up? Fortunately, we have a weapon at hand to defeat these enemies.

As we approach Advent, we are coming into a season of preparation; what the Eastern Churches call a "Little Lent." This is a time of self-examination and repentance in preparation for Christmas.

Be ruthless in looking at yourself. What is in you that is not pleasing to God? Find a good tool for this examination and then make a good confession.

We have a lot of doors in front of us now. This is the season to throw open the door of our heart, letting our Lord cleanse us of those things which keep us distant from Him.