Monday, April 30, 2018

“Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions.”

“One of the great tragedies of life is that men seldom bridge the gulf between practice and profession, between doing and saying. A persistent schizophrenia leaves so many of us tragically divided against ourselves. On the one hand, we proudly profess certain sublime and noble principles, but on the other hand, we sadly practice the very antithesis of these principles. How often are our lives characterized by a high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds! We talk eloquently about our commitment to the principles of Christianity, and yet our lives are saturated with the practices of paganism. We proclaim our devotion to democracy, but we sadly practice the very opposite of the democratic creed. We talk passionately about peace, and at the same time we assiduously prepare for war. We make our fervent pleas for the high road of justice, and then we tread unflinchingly the low road of injustice. This strange dichotomy, this agonizing gulf between the ought and the is, represents the tragic theme of man's earthly pilgrimage.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.Strength to Love

Gospel Text: (JN 14:21-26)
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.
Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him."
Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him,
"Master, then what happened that you will reveal yourself to us
and not to the world?"
Jesus answered and said to him,
"Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words;
yet the word you hear is not mine
but that of the Father who sent me.

"I have told you this while I am with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit
whom the Father will send in my name --
he will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you."

Loving Jesus is not just something emotional; loving Jesus means changing our lives, reforming our lives, working on our personalities and characters, overcoming sinful habits, stretching ourselves to love as Jesus loved. Loving Jesus means thinking about ourselves and others as Jesus thinks. Where does your information about yourself and others and the world come from? If it comes only from TV and a materialistic western culture which does not understand the difference between freedom to sin and the freedom to do what is right our minds may be contaminated by false images of ourselves, others and the world. But if we truly want to love Jesus we will fill our minds with his thoughts and his way of looking at the world. We can fill our minds with Jesus’ thoughts by reading the Bible, reading spiritual books and praying as much as possible every day. If we fill our minds with the filth of the world how can we love Jesus? It would be impossible and it would be impossible to keep his commandments. Let us fill our minds with the thoughts of Jesus so that we may love him and keep his commandments.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

“Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared.”

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”- Theodore Roosevelt: (1858 – January 6, 1919: was an American statesman and writer who served as the 26th President of the United States from 1901 to 1909.)

Scripture Text: (ACTS 9:26-31)
When Saul arrived in Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples,
but they were all afraid of him,
not believing that he was a disciple.
Then Barnabas took charge of him and brought him to the apostles,
and he reported to them how he had seen the Lord,
and that he had spoken to him,
and how in Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.
He moved about freely with them in Jerusalem,
and spoke out boldly in the name of the Lord.
He also spoke and debated with the Hellenists,
but they tried to kill him.
And when the brothers learned of this,
they took him down to Caesarea
and sent him on his way to Tarsus.

The church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace.
It was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord,
and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit it grew in numbers.

What keeps us from being courageous?  
The unknown.  Disappointment.  Fear of finding out what we don’t really want to know.  Failure.  

In today’s reading, Saul was tormenting and killing the first century Christians without remorse.  The disciples were ‘afraid of him.’  I would be, too.  After Saul’s conversion, and name change to Paul, Barnabus mustered up all his courage to assist and let the Lord do his best work. 

Let us all ask the Lord for courage.

Friday, April 27, 2018

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.”

The future is not in our hands. We have no power over it. We can act only today. We have a sentence in our Constitution that says: 'We will allow the good God to make plans for the future - for yesterday has gone, tomorrow has not yet come and we have only today to make Him known, loved and served.' So we do not worry about the future. - Mother Teresa: (1910 – 1997: Founded the Missionaries of Charity)

Gospel Text:(JN 14:1-6)
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way.”
Thomas said to him,
“Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Anxiety seems to be one of the signs of our times.  We live in a world punctuated with “breaking news”, almost always bad!  People’s worries are blasted across social media on a daily basis. Uncertainties give birth to hostilities and kindness is often crushed in angry tirades and twitters.  Today’s words from Jesus go straight to the heart of our anxieties and offer comfort.

Today let us together simply take great comfort in the words of Jesus; “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”  Together let us simply be quiet within our hearts in the presence and comfort of God.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

“Authority is always built on service and sacrifice.”

Man's sin is in his failure to live what he is. Being the master of the earth, man forgets that he is the servant of God. Abraham Joshua Heschel: (1907 – 1972: was a Polish -born American rabbi and one of the leading Jewish theologians and Jewish philosophers of the 20th century.)

Gospel Text:(JN 13:16-20)
When Jesus had washed the disciples' feet, he said to them:
"Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master
nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.
If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.
I am not speaking of all of you.
I know those whom I have chosen.
But so that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me.
From now on I am telling you before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe that I AM.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send
receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me."

Today’s Gospel passage, which takes place before the Last Supper, immediately after Jesus’ washing of the apostles’ feet. In the light of Jesus’ crucifixion and death, this simple act of foot washing takes on greater meaning, as do Jesus’ words here: “no slave is greater than his master”. What do we learn about our own place as Jesus’ disciples—servants of His Father—if the Master took up for us, and died upon, the cross that we deserved?