Friday, June 29, 2018

“I don't need a church to tell me I'm wrong where I already know I'm wrong; I need a church to tell me I'm wrong where I think I'm right.”

Judge the Catholic Church not by those who barely live by its spirit, but by the example of those who live closest to it. - Venerable Fulton John 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: (MT 16:13-19)
When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi
he asked his disciples,
"Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Simon Peter said in reply,
"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." 

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was the Roman Church, the church that spread from that city throughout the world. Twenty centuries later, the Church certainly is universal, with more than one billion members across the globe. But are we really any holier than those first members of the Church? Are we willing to put our lives or even our names on the line for Christ?

Our spiritual lives are never a “done deal.” They are always under construction. The Mass we share in is a continual source of strength for us, as each week we struggle to be faithful disciples of Jesus. Each day is a building block of faith, in which, by our daily sacrifices, we build up others as well as our own spiritual lives.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

“Everything in your life is a reflection of a choice you have made. If you want a different result, make a different choice.”

“I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.” Eleanor Roosevelt: (1884 – 1962: was an American political figure, diplomat and activist)

Gospel Text: (MT 7:21-29)
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
Many will say to me on that day,
‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name?
Did we not drive out demons in your name?
Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’
Then I will declare to them solemnly,
‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.
And everyone who listens to these words of mine
but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”

When Jesus finished these words,
the crowds were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority,
and not as their scribes.

We will either build on his word or build on something else. Either way we will build a life, and we will build a philosophy of life, or to put it more simply, we will build the faith we believe. When we cooperate with God's grace, that faith we build will be rooted in God's Word, and it will be a comprehensive faith, a faith that can guide our lives in the most challenging circumstances, even circumstances that would normally wreck a person's life. How else can we explain the moral thriving of people like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Maximilian Kolbe, Edith Stein, and Victor Frankl and Karol Wojtyla in the face of Nazi tyranny? Even the acknowledged secularist among them, Victor Frankl, found that life's meaning did not consist in material things, but rather in spiritual life, and in the highest form of virtue, agape love. God is love. The Word of God is the ultimate expression of love. Indeed, this is what Jesus meant by "the way." 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

“Getting fascinated by an idea is just a short-term feeling, putting it into practice takes a long-term thought process, but the result will certainly require a long-term commitment of not giving-up.”

Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness. Napoleon Hill: (1883 – 1970: was an American author.) 

Gospel Text: (MT 7:15-20)
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing,
but underneath are ravenous wolves.
By their fruits you will know them.
Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Just so, every good tree bears good fruit,
and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit,
nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down
and thrown into the fire.
So by their fruits you will know them."

The way you judge a person’s true character is not by their tiny little character flaws, minor sins or shortcomings.  The Pharisees did that.  You judge what they do, what their actions have actually produced.  We aren’t supposed to judge at all, but there are times a person’s actions need to be judged, but not the person themselves.  God alone knows a person’s heart.

Have our actions in life produced good things?  Or have we been selfish a lot in our lives?  As long as we live, God alone has the right to judge us, and no one is a finished product until the day they die.  There is nothing that we have ever done in our lives that is so bad that it can’t be forgiven and rectified.  Nothing is written in stone, except our death one day.  In the meantime, we can work on our lives, and trying to make the world a better place to be, no matter what stage of life we are in.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

How simple the message is to treat others how we want to be treated. I struggle with this commandment, but reflect on the positive return when I fail. What a wonderful world if we all treated others as we wish to be treated.

“Let us remember the Golden Rule: 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you'. This Rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves.  – Pope Francis: - Address to U.S. Congress, Sept. 25, 2015

Gospel Text:(MT 7:6, 12-14)
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine,
lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.

"Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.
This is the Law and the Prophets.

"Enter through the narrow gate;
for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction,
and those who enter through it are many.
How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.
And those who find it are few."

Perhaps today we could reflect on the Golden Rule in a different light. Reflect on the Golden Rule as Jesus lived it; or rather, as He died by it. Reflect on the Golden Rule in the light of the crucifix. What Jesus did for you on the Cross is what Jesus would have you do for His sake. This is what He calls you to, in fact, as a member of His Church: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” [Matthew 16:24].