Thursday, August 18, 2016

COME AS YOU ARE DO AS YOU WISH

Matthew 22:1-14

Today in the gospel Jesus gives us a parable, "The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.."

Guest were invited and refused to come.

This did not go well for the guest.  The human heart is very skilled at coming up with reasons to now follow God's will.  We all can come up with fifty ways to say no in order to guard our comfort and our lifestyle.  What is really at stake is finding that one reason to say "yes" and allow God's will to free us from ourselves.

In place of the original guest, others from the streets were invited to come and partake of the festivities, to rejoice with the king whose son was getting married.

They all came.  The banquet hall was packed.  The king was pleased.

But there was one who had arrived without a wedding garment.  "My friend, says the king, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?  But he guest was reduced to silence.  Then the king said to his attendants, 'bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Many are invited few are chosen."

It is true that we are all invited to come as we are when the invitation is laid at our feet.  Yes!  True! Very true!  But, we are not invited to do as we wish.

Come as you are, absolutely, but not do as we want.

This was the probable with the guest without the wedding garment.  He thought he could came as he was and do what he wanted.  He was not humble enough to allow the king to show him how to be a guest in his house for the wedding.  He refused to listen and to be guided.

Sounds eerily familiar.  How many people this day what to be spiritual but they do to what God to give them direction.  They come as they are but they also want to do as they please rather they live in a manner that please Him, who invites.

Pax et Bonum

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Pay back what you owe

Matthew 18:21--19:1

I want to look at this past tuesdays readings.  I have been a bit under the weather as they say.  So i have been delayed.

It is a beautiful gospel for us to meditate on in light of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Peter asks the question, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him?"

Like Peter, we too what to know when we can say enough is enough.  We too want to draw the line in the sand and say no more, off with you I am out of mercy and forgiveness.

But Jesus tells us that seventy-seven times, or in other words, we never have the right to refuse forgiveness to any one.

We might be shocked at such a sentiment or truth.  But when have we ever know God to close the fountain of mercy to us or any one for that matter.  The fountain is never closed.  God never says enough.  God never say no.

Jesus simply wants us to live in our life toward others as God is toward us which is most perfectly exemplified in the Cross of Christ: Mercy is never closed off but rather it is crucified for the sake of the other.

Then we encounter the story Jesus tells to help us put a picture to what he is saying.  In the story there is a king looking to collect his debts.  A servant owes more than he can pay and begs to be forgiven.  The king obliges and forgives the debt that is owed.

The same servant finds a fellow servant who owes a much smaller amount and retaliates and demands payment rather than mirror the mercy he has received he becomes stingy an bull headed and mean, "pay back what you owe" he demands.

It doesn't turn out well for that servant.  Then Jesus tells us unless we forgive our brother from our heart  our Father will not forgive us.

First all we must know that compared to our offense to God everything others may owe us is always much smaller.  Too often we make the offense of our brother bigger than our own offense against God. This is a terrible thing.  Do not make things big that are really really small.

Why bother with much smaller amounts?  Forgiveness should thus be easy and readily available when we compare what we do to God and what others do to others.

Secondly, the servant begs the King to forgive his debt.  This is where the analogy fails with our relationship with God.  We do not have to beg God for Mercy.  His mercy is always readily accessible and available.  We just have to receive it.  In fact, each day, through out the day we should pause and look up and just say "Lord, I receive for mercy."  We should gulp it up whole and entire.  Only then can we be givers of the same mercy to others.  If we think God is stingy with mercy then we will be stingy and this is in correct.

Lastly, the servant tells the other servant, "Pay back what you owe."
What do we owe but mercy.  Mercy is our debt to God the Father in Jesus Christ through the SPirit.  It is our final debt.  The only way to pay back this debt of Mercy we have received from the Blessed Trinity is too simply give it back, give it away.  So We should gladly pay back what owe and look for opportunities to do so.

Pax et Bonum

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Give us this day our daily love

I sit here at my desk preparing for another wedding celebration here at the parish.

Again, here are few pointers about life together as husband and wife, for what its worth.

The reading for today is chosen from the book of Tobit and Tobiah and Sarah find themselves praying on their honeymoon and these are the words they use:

"Lord you know I take this wife of mine not because of Lust but for a noble purpose,  Call down your mercy on me and on her and allow us olive together to a happy old age."

They began their wedding night together with prayer and acknowledgment of Marriage as a noble vocation not just an ordinary event but that which has cosmic effects on the world.

It reminds of there word of Pope Francis as he addressed the crowd of couples engaged to be married.  He said often times people are fearful of forever.  They just aren't sure how the former can be achieved in a world that is so disposable and wasteful with commitments to each other.


Forever is not a question of duration as much as it is a question quality.  If you let the Lord in to your marriage and life together then know that just as he multiplies the loaves and fish he can multiply your love and give anew fresh he day.

He recommended that couples pray daily a simple prayer: give us this day our daily love.

Here again the Lord is given the opportunity to work daily in the life of marriage his miraculous gift of transformation and allowing love to be fresh and fruitful each and every day.

This way love can truly conquer every difficulty for the Lord is present in it and working through it: Give us this day our daily love!

Give it a try!

Then when it doubt focus on the three A's of marriage: attention, affection, appreciation.
Attention to detail, affection from the heart for the heart, and appreciation that takes nothing for granted.




Sunday, July 17, 2016

One thing

Genesis 18:1-10; Ps 15 He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord; Colossians 1:24-28; Luke 10:38-42


What have you done for God lately?  What have you done for God today?

What do you do for God in your daily life?

I ask these questions because at some point our life of faith engenders this kind of response to life as St Paul tells whether we live or die we do it for the Lord.

Think about the thoughts and words and actions that go into this day; of those which will be offered for the Lord.

Often times we are busy gaging our actions for the Lord, or at least we we think, though much is for ourselves and not for the Lord.

But at the heart of today's readings is not so much what we are doing for the Lord but what the Lord has done for us.

What has God down for us, for you and me today?

Martha is concerned for what she can do for Jesus but her anxiety arises because she has forgotten what Jesus can do for her, the very same thing Mary realizes as she sits at Jesus' feet.

We can run around on our two feet like martha or we can sit at His two feet and listen for this is the one thing necessary.

Our anchor isn't what we can do for the Lord but what he can do for us.

We must listen first to him before we can do anything. Listening to him speak is essential to transforming our society and our culture.

Being mindful of his presence and action in our life is essential to not getting overwhelmed by the anxiety of living, the worries and work and the load that often is associated with life and love.

Mary reveals this to us perfectly or rather Jesus reveals this to us in Mary's posture before him.

Each day, throughout the day ask the Lord to show what he has done.  Be mindful of his presence. Surrender the work load of life in to his merciful embrace.  Console his heart by trusting his loving gaze that accompanies us daily in our journey and walk such manner that e never forsake the better part but allow it to transform each day a new.


Friday, July 8, 2016

MISSION OF MESSINESS

Hosea 14:2-10; Ps 51 My mouth will declare your praise; Matt 10:16-23

"Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves. But beware of men..."


Again the apostles are sent on mission or is it they are mission.  Listen to the words of Pope Paul VI:
"the church doesn't have a mission; it is a mission" according to now St. Pope Paul VI.  What is that mission but simply this to cause the merciful face of Jesus to gaze upon everyone in the world.

When Pope Francis was elected our pope during an interview about the election he was asked, "who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio and after a pause he said, "a sinner whom the Lord has looked upon."  At the heart of this catholic thing we call church and life of grace is an encounter between us sinners and the God of amazing grace.

This is the task plain and simple.

As Hosea reminds us in today's first reading,
"Thus say the Lord, I will heal their defection; I will love them freely...I will be like the dew for Israel: he shall blossom like a lilly, he shall strike root like the cedar of Lebanon, and put forth its shoots.  His splendor like the olive tree and fragrance like the cedar...They shall blossom like the vine and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon."

I will heal their defection and I will love them freely!

Pope Francis on his visit to South America told the young people the following,
"Make a mess, but then also help to tidy it up. A mess which gives us a free heart, a mess which gives us solidarity, a mess which gives us hope."

Go make a mess!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

TWO BY TWO

Luke 10:1-12,17-20

In today's gospel we read these words, "At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others  whose he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit."

First question in regards to this reading is: who are the 72?  What do they consist of as they go out?  Who makes up these pairs that Jesus sends ahead of him?

If we think it is only men who are priest or religious professed men and women in habits then we would be sadly mistaken.

We have to get that notion out of our heads.  Missionary activity is not reserved only for those who wear the collar or the religious habits i.e. the friars, monks, sisters, nuns.  No way is this what Jesus meant.

The pairs that are sent out is representative of the whole; it consist of men, women, young adults, maybe even children.  I would assume it consists of husbands and wives, grandparents and cousins.  It may be neighbors working in tandem.

It is everyone and all of us.

What doe this missionary activity look like?  Do they need special training and theological studies?

Poep Francis in his homily for St Junipero Serra last September spoke these words,

"Mission is always the fruit of a life which knows what it is to be found and healed, encountered and forgiven. Mission is born of a constant experience of God’s merciful anointing."

This is what it means to be a missionary; we simply introduce others to the experience we ourselves have first had.

We share the encounter and experience of being found and healed, encountered and forgiven. We give away what we ourselves have first received. 

All missionary work commences here at this point. 

We ask ourselves, "Have we encountered the risen Lord?  Have we be found and healed and forgiven?  These are the tools of the trade when it comes to missionary activity in our life.

If w have not encountered the risen Lord or the love of the Father then we must ask him to show us.  He who has commissioned us will certainly give us was we need as we go forth. 

Lastly, notice Jesus sends the pairs out the cities he intended to visit.  How does Jesus visit these towns?  He visits them through the disciples themselves.  As they share their encounter with Christ the others begin to experience the presence of Jesus himself. 

In particularly, I think of husbands and wives, that ready made dynamic duo, pairs sent forth to share the joy of Christ. 

This is why the church calls the family a domestic church. 

Rooted in their vows as husbands and wives is this notion and reality of being a missionary.  In fact the opening prayer at wedding ceremonies is inviting the bride and groom to becomes living witness of God' love. 

Go forth.  Carry the joy of Jesus in being found, healed, encountered, forgiven. 

Go forth two by two and by our presence may Jesus be experienced in the lives of others. 


Friday, July 1, 2016

SIEMPRE ADELANTE

Amos 8:4-6,9-12; Ps 119 One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God; Matthew 9:9-13

Here is an excerpt from Pope Francis Homily for the Canonization of Junipero Serra this past september.  Today is his feast day.

Father Serra had a motto which inspired his life and work, a saying he lived his life by: siempre adelante! Keep moving forward! For him, this was the way to continue experiencing the joy of the Gospel, to keep his heart from growing numb, from being anesthetized. He kept moving forward, because the Lord was waiting. He kept going, because his brothers and sisters were waiting. He kept going forward to the end of his life. Today, like him, may we be able to say: Forward! Let’s keep moving forward!

When Jesus invites Matthew to follow him in today's gospel, it is is an invitation to keep moving forward.  It is an invitation to the great adventure of sharing the joy of the gospel.  It is an invitation to blaze new trails of life and love. 

It is an invitation to cast off mediocrity and to be concerned with things that matter most of all. 

"Follow Me."  
This is not just for the ordained or religious professed but this is for all of us.  Each of us find our joy in heeding that invitation of JEsus, "Follow Me!"

It means we unite our hearts in love to Christ, hunting our hearts to the love of Christ.  This is what it means to follow and move forward.

Let us all keep moving forward in the joy of Christ: Siempre Adelante!