Friday, September 30, 2016

Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.

“The will of God is not something you add to your life. It’s a course you choose. You either line yourself up with the Son of God…or you capitulate to the principle which governs the rest of the world.” ― Elisabeth Elliot: (1926 – 2015: was a Christian author and speaker)

Gospel Text: (LK 10:13-16)
Jesus said to them,
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the mighty deeds done in your midst
had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would long ago have repented,
sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon
at the judgment than for you.
And as for you, Capernaum, ‘Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the netherworld.’
Whoever listens to you listens to me.
Whoever rejects you rejects me.
And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”

We are surrounded by the miracles of God’s Love.  Everyday happenings are not an accident: it is not accidental - your father your mother, your friends, your sons, your daughters; it is not accidental - each person you meet everyday; it is not accidental how we are: intellect, talents…; it is not accidental to be alive now, to be capable of taking free breath… each moment, each detail of life is the brilliance of God’s Love.

But it is also true that we, like people from Chorazin and Bethsaida in Jesus’ time, forget about how many gifts we have been given. We forget about the present of life. This amnesic society’s main problem is this one.

Chorazin and Bethsaida … Europe and “developed society”, are you looking for a reason to live? Look at Jesus, look at a thankful life, look at the miracles hidden in each person!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

All God's angels come to us disguised.

An angel can illuminate the thought and mind of man by strengthening the power of vision. ~St Thomas Aquinas: (1225 –1274: was an Italian Dominican friar, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church)

Scripture Text: (REV 12:7-12AB)
War broke out in heaven;
Michael and his angels battled against the dragon.
The dragon and its angels fought back,
but they did not prevail
and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.
The huge dragon, the ancient serpent,
who is called the Devil and Satan,
who deceived the whole world,
was thrown down to earth,
and its angels were thrown down with it.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed.
For the accuser of our brothers is cast out,
who accuses them before our God day and night.
They conquered him by the Blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
love for life did not deter them from death.
Therefore, rejoice, you heavens,
and you who dwell in them.”

Today the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels. What are angels? . Question #19 of the Baltimore Catechism went straight to the heart of the matter. Angels are created spirits without bodies.” Question #22 went further with a “job description.” “How do the good angels help us?  The good angels help us by praying for us, by acting as messengers from God to us, and by serving as our guardian angels.”

The very word angel (angelos, Greek for “messenger”) points to the Sender, God. And the Hebrew names of the angels celebrated in today’s feast, each of those names is a sentence about God. Most people know that El is one of the Hebrew words for God. So Mi cha el is actually a question—“Who is like God?”  Rapha el, means “God heals” (as indeed God does through Raphael in the book of Tobit). And Gabri el means “God is my strength.”

The Lord has given us devoted, powerful friends of resplendent beauty who stand ready at our side, ever-watchful angelic guardians who take a personal interest in seeing us arrive safely at our final destination. Let us remember to frequently speak with our guardian angels, converse with them as true friends, and gratefully thank them for all they have done, for we cannot as of yet know of the many times they have rescued us from some calamity. Let us ask for their assistance as we live our daily lives in the Lord. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

We must assess our thoughts and beliefs and reckon whether they are moving us closer to conformity to Christ or farther away from it.

...Christ did not appoint professors, but followers. If Christianity ... is not reduplicated in the life of the person expounding it, then he does not expound Christianity, for Christianity is a message about living and can only be expounded by being realized in men's lives. --Soren Kierkegaard: (1813 –1855: was a Danish philosopher, theologian, & poet)

Gospel Text: (LK 9:57-62)
As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding
on their journey, someone said to him,
“I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him,
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
And to another he said, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.”
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
Jesus answered him, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”

Ordinary time presents us with an opportunity to consider again the fact that living as a Christian calls us to meet the Lord in the real stuff of daily life. He is already there, walking before us and beckoning us to follow after Him.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the early Christians in Galatia, No longer do I live but Christ lives in me and the life I now live I live by faith in the Son of God.(Gal. 2:20) That can become our experience as we give ourselves over to Him and seek to live by the power of the Holy Spirit. Christians can live differently precisely because we live in Jesus Christ.

The original twelve apostles, upon hearing the words Come, follow me abandoned their nets, their jobs and their father, to follow Him. (Mk 1: 14-20) They were ordinary fisherman who heard the Lord. They did not stay put when they heard that voice. They took the risk which lies at the heart of discipleship. They left their nets, their place of comfort and safety, and followed Him on the adventure of faith. 

"There are only two kinds of people in the end," CS Lewis once famously wrote. "Those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, 'Thy will be done.' All that are in Hell choose it." 

It's the choice between life and death, light and darkness, heaven and hell.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

“Yes, we love peace, but we are not willing to take wounds for it, as we are for war.”

“Instead of hating the people you think are war-makers, hate the appetites and disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed - but hate these things in yourself, not in another.” ― Fr. Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

Gospel Text: (LK 9:51-56)
When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled,
he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,
and he sent messengers ahead of him.
On the way they entered a Samaritan village
to prepare for his reception there,
but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?”
Jesus turned and rebuked them,
and they journeyed to another village.

Jesus sets out for Jerusalem. The name “Jerusalem” literally means “city of peace”. It’s there that Jesus will be condemned to death for our sins, and from there led to Calvary, a hill just outside the city limits. Calvary is that speedbump that there’s no detour around. This is the only way that leads to our destination: the Father’s city of eternal peace, the heavenly Jerusalem.

As Jesus heads resolutely to Jerusalem, the City of Peace, He knows that His vocation is to bring peace to each human person. Peace is often, unfortunately, not commonplace in our earthly lives. You and I may not face the sort of persecution that the martyrs have, but we never seem to have a lot of peace in our lives. Nonetheless, Jesus at the Last Supper said, “Peace I leave you, my peace I give you”. Where is this peace in our lives?

Every day God calls us to follow Him. If we worthily receive the Body and Blood, soul and divinity of Jesus in the Eucharist, He will strengthen us at every “now” of daily life. He wants us to accept the spiritual strength we need to cultivate the virtues of human life, to more closely follow Jesus, and to experience every single day the peace of our heavenly Father.

Monday, September 26, 2016

“In simplicity there is truth.”

"Be demanding of the world around you; be demanding first of all with yourselves. Be children of God; take pride in it!" – Saint John Paul II Czestochowa, Poland, 1991

Gospel Text: (LK 9:46-50)
An argument arose among the disciples
about which of them was the greatest.
Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child
and placed it by his side and said to them,
“Whoever receives this child in my name receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
For the one who is least among all of you
is the one who is the greatest.”

Then John said in reply,
“Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name
and we tried to prevent him
because he does not follow in our company.”
Jesus said to him,
“Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”

To become like little children - to be child-like and not childish - requires a change of heart. That is what conversion is truly all about. Such a change of heart will transform the way we live and teach us the way of love. The great Bishop, St. Ambrose, who baptized Augustine, along with his son Adeodatus, on the Easter Vigil in 387, wrote concerning this in a commentary on Luke's Gospel (Lk. 18:17):

"Why is it that children are eligible for the kingdom of heaven? Perhaps it is because, ordinarily, there is no malice in them. They don't know how to lie. They don't lie to themselves. They have no desire for luxury. They aren't drawn to riches. They are uninterested in ambition. But the virtue herein lies, not in what they lack interest in, or know nothing about, but in what they don't want to do. The virtue lies not in their inability to sin, but in their unwillingness to sin."

The way of simplicity and communion, the way of spiritual childhood, are the path to peace. They lead us into an ever deepening, intimate, loving relationship with God, and, in Him, into a new relationship with all men and women and creation itself.