Tuesday, November 29, 2016

JESSE TREE

There once was a tradition that instead of decorating trees with balls and lights and just random things, Christians would take the opportunity to each day reflect on salvation history, trace the streps of god becoming man and create an ornament that represented that reality then hang it on the tree.  Each day a new ornament would be created a the journey of Advent brought ever closer to the unfolding of salvation history in the Christ Child, God become flesh.

why not rediscover the beauty of this tradition.

I invite you to go to loyola press.com and type in Jesse tree or click on the link

JESSE TREE

And begin to decorate your tree an your life with the unfolding beauty of God's plan of salvation.  Se if it doesn't spark a new wonder in this season of Advent for you and your family.  Family trees are important they tells us much about ourselves and where we come from.  The family Tree of Jesse is important for it tells us the most important things about us and our family in regards to sin and grace and fall and redemption.

Don't delay.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Pax et bonum

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

THANKS

Revelation 15:1-4; Ps 98 Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God! Luke 21:12-19

Here are a few words from St Paul: For although they knew God they did not accord Him glory as God or give Him thanks.  Instead they became vain in their reasoning.  Their senseless minds were darkened. While claiming to be wise, they became fools..." Romans 1:21ff

What was the result of this thanklessness?

"They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever...." Romans 1:25ff


If we pay attention to St Paul, Thanksgiving to God empowers the intellect to truly grow in wisdom where as thanklessness undermines the process and leads us in the path of foolishness.

We are told in the psalm for this evening, "to sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds."  The song may be new in so far as we now recognize the wondrous deeds of God but in reality it is a very very old melody.  For this new song we sing is the old song of thanks that as echoed forth from the dawn of creation.  Since the first moment of light that scattered the darkness and the first sound of wind rushing upon the waters, thanksgiving as resounded as the only response creation has to the one who gives so freely.

Is there any other more fitting song than "Thanks be to God."

As we are told by the psalmist, "Let the sea and what fills it resound, the world and the who dwell in it; let the rivers clap their hands, the mountains shout for joy."

This is the old song that becomes new for us daily in our journey.


Jesus tells us in todays gospel, "They will seize you and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name.  It will lead to your giving testimony.  Remember you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute..."

What will be this testimony?  What will be this wisdom of tongue that will leave all powerless to refute or resist?

What if it is simply put the word of thanks to God pressed upon our lips regardless of circumstances.  What if the song of thanks is the only defense worthy of the gift we have received from Him, God almighty.

Pax et Bonum

Sunday, November 20, 2016

SAVE YOURSELF

2 Samuel 5:1-3; Ps 122 Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord; Colossians 1:12-20; Luke 23:35-43

It is often theorized or debated or discussed or even theologized what was Jesus' last great temptation.  There was a movie some decades back entitled in fact the Last Temptation of Christ.

There is much to consider in this regards or nothing at all.

But I do believe in today's gospel as we enter in tot he Feast of Christ the King, we do perhaps get a glimpse into a temptation, not saying it was the last or the greatest.

Here are the words of those who taunt Jesus from below, that is while their feet are firmly on the ground and Jesus' feet are set firmly to wood by the nails:

"The rulers sneered at Jesus and said"he saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the christ of God…Even the soldiers jeered at him,  As they approached to offer him wine they called out, "if you are the King of the Jews, save yourself."

"Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us."

Three times is short span of minutes maybe slightly longer Jesus heard that eerily enticing invitation, "SAVE YOURSELF!"

Just as in the beginning his publicly ministry he was tempted thrice so now at the end he must again face a temptation of thrice magnitude.

Save yourself.

The beauty of our King is he doesn't reign for himself.  He doesn't seek himself in love.  He does not save himself.  He refuses to save himself for the sake of saving us.

This is the Kingly Love we celebrate on this day as we get ready for Advent.

Ponder that reality at some point today.

How often do we save ourselves?  How often do we hear that early enticing invitation and act on it?  Perhaps you can't imagine but then there is fault in our imagination.

Every time we justify our actions even if we know they are wrong we are saving ourselves and not letting Him be our savior.

We do it subtly and not so subtly over and over again.

When the opportunity of goodness toward the other arises and we justify ourselves in not acting we are giving into the temptation.

To enthrone Christ in our hearts, minds, wills, and bodies means we stop justifying our actions and we start letting Jesus hold sway in our lives.

He is King.  Let us enthrone him daily in our hearts, minds, wills, bodies.  With him, we too must refuse to save ourselves and only then can true liberation and kingly love and peace begin to reign fully.





Friday, October 28, 2016

SIMON AND JUDE

Today we celebrate the feast of SIMON and JUDE, apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus, we are told, after praying called the disciples and maned the twelve as apostles.

They went from following Jesus to now being ones sent forth ahead of Jesus to announce the goodness of the Father's merciful love.

The word apostles means to be "Sent."  It is often associated with sending a letter or a message.  You could say the apostle would be considered the modern day mail carriers.

The letter the sent is God' message to the world.

But each of us share in a similar mission.  We are also sent forth.  We also have received a message from Jesus to broadcast to the world.  Our life becomes that "letter of recommendation" that St Paul speaks of in his writings.

Do we consider ourselves a letter of recommendation for others for the world?


Also, Simon is called the zealot.  Jude's nameThaddeus means the brave one.  They had nicknames that indicated something of their character and perhaps something of want God used so that they could bring forth the message more clearly and profoundly.

Simon lived his passion for the chosen people.  Jude was willingly to go boldly in the face of opposition.  His brave heart empowered him through difficulties.

What would be the nickname others give u sin regard to living our our faith life an bringing forth the message of the goodness of the Father's merciful love?


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

STEWARD

Ephesians 3:2-12; Isaiah 12:2-3,4,5-6; Luke 12:39-48


To preach the inscrutable richness of Christ.  This is what St Paul says his purpose and mission in life was.

How about us? Do we preach with our lives the inscrutable richness of Christ?

Everything else pales in comparison to this one reality that holds all of reality together.

Jesus invites us to be prudent stewards in today's gospel, "Who then is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute food allowance at the proper time?  Blessed his that servant the master finds doing so upon his arrival,"


We are all stewards of the inscrutable richness of Christ.  For a moment we should remove the dross and the things that are of least important and direct our attention to that which matters most of all.

But first we must ask Jesus to reveal to us his richness in case we have forgotten or never truly experienced it.  It is the encounter that makes the mission possible.

Paul encountered the inscrutable richness of Christ and does was able to give to others what he first experienced.

We too must ask the Lord to reveal his richness to us.  Then we might become stewards of such beautiful grace to others.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

PRAISE and FOLLOW

Job 9:1-12,14-16;  Ps 88 let my prayer come before you, Lord; Luke 9:57-62


We continue to read from the book of Job.  In today's segment, Job finds his voice, he finally speaks up.  This is Job's second time to speak up after his friends tear into him.

The first time job complains.  He just complains a lot.  Go read chapter 6 and you will find comments such as, "for the arrows of the Almighty are in me, and my spirit drinks in their poison" and much more.

But now we find job with a different sentiment in his mouth. Here after his second friends commentary, Job stands differently; he begins not with complaint but rather with praise.  Here is a man who has lost everything and with every reason to complain and shake his fist at the heavens he dug deep within and he formulates a litany of praise to God, "God is wise in heart and mighty in strength...he alone stretches out the heavens..."

It is praise rooted in the reality that before God no man is justified.  No man can stand on his own merit before the Lord.  In this reality check  can praise truly begin to be authentic and healing as it becomes for job.


In the gospel today we hear the words of Jesus, "Follow me."

What is this but an invitation to learn, to watch, to keep close attention.  It is a pathway of apprenticeship.   Only in staying behind Jesus can we truly know him and love him.  Only in staying behind Jesus can we actually begin to imitate him in our own lives.  The best perspective is always from behind.

True leaders in faith are those who never take over the driver seat but refer the back seat and let Jesus drive.

What excuses do we use to keep from following?  What excuses do we come up with to justify taking the lead?

Like with Job, praise resounds the greatest when we lean in from behind and stay close to the footsteps of the one who calls out "follow me."


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

JESUS FREAK

1 corinthians 7:25-31; Ps 45 listen to me, daughter; see and blend your ear; Luke 6:20-26


Because all the early Christians assumed that the second coming of Jesus was imminent, all stable human  institutions were under judgment and were approached with caution.

The expectation of the second coming colored the perspective of the early Christians.  sometimes unfortunately this expectation is lost to us and we go about our business as usual.  This business as usual approach can be destructive.  Also, just living with the expectation of the second coming as if it were everything can also be destructive.

The proper attitude is to keep both in tension as we journey through life.
It is the expectation of the coming of Jesus that empowers the daily grind of living and loving to be elevated, to become supernatural experience of charity, hope, and of faith as we anticipate tomorrow as another day to work vigorously for the vineyard.

This is why the church holds in great regard the beauty of the sacrament of Marriage as a source of grace not only for the couples themselves but for the world.  In the sacrament the couples become a witness to divine love.  This is not as st Paul describes an affliction to run from but an affection or pressure that purifies and makes holy.

We turn to Jesus in the gospel.  We encounter the beatitudes.  Blessed are the poor, the hungry, weeping, those who are hated account of the son of man.   Rejoice and leap for joy.

Recently i came across a christian song that was popular when i was in college.  DC Talk was the all the rave as christian bands went and one of their songs was entitled, "Jesus Freak."

Here are a few of the lyrics,

"What will people think
When they hear that I'm a Jesus freak
What will people do when they find that it's true
I don't really care if they label me a Jesus freak
There ain't no disguising the truth
Kamikaze, my death is gain
I've been marked by my maker
A peculiar display
The high and lofty, they see me as weak
'Cause I won't live and die for the power they seek
People say I'm strange, does it make me a stranger
That my best friend was born in a manger
People say I'm strange, does it make me a stranger
That my best friend was born in a manger"

It made me think of the beatitudes. 

Poverty, hunger, tears, outcast...Jesus freak in deed.