Saturday, September 27, 2008

St. Vincent de Paul

Ecclesiastes 11:9- 12:1-8; Psalm 90 In ever age, O Lord, you have been our refuge ; Luke 9:43-45

St. Vincent de Paul once wrote an instruction to his religious community  that impressed on them this reality:

 "When the demands of life seem unfair, when you are exhausted and have to pull yourself out of bed yet another time to do some act of service, do it gladly, without counting the cost without self-pity. for if you persevere in serving others , in giving yourself to the poor, if you persevere to the point of completely spending yourself, perhaps someday the poor will find it in their hearts to forgive you.  For it is more blessed to give than to receive, and it is also a lot easier."

Jesus in the gospel tells his disciples, of which we seek to belong, "Pay attention to what I am telling you.  The son of man is to be handed over to men."

In other words Jesus pulled himself out of bed each morning knowing the service he was called to perform, a service of seeking to give himself away, being spent for the sake of the rest.

It is truly more blessed to give than to receive, because in giving we receive the gift of being conformed to Christ who gives it all away. 

Friday, September 26, 2008


Ecclesiastes 3:1-11; Psalm 144 Blessed be the Lord my rock; Luke 9:18-22

The book of Ecclesiastes speaks of a time for everything; however, often times we find that because we are so busy we have not time for anything.  

What a paradox our lives have become!

In the midst of all the time we have lived, we are living, and we will live there is a constant. 

As Ecclesiastes reminds us, "God has put the timeless in our hearts, without man's ever discovering, from beginning to end, the work which god has done."

 There is a hole in our heart that can never be filled, a hole that drives us forward in the midst of the experiences that only time can truly tell. 

There is a hole in our heart that no time nor experience can fully fill; there is a timelessness that makes us restlessly driven; a timelessness that beckons at us not only from without but from deep within; God has put eternity in our hearts and we long to catch a glimpse of it so that this hole might finally be filled. 

How do we fill that which is timeless with what we experience in time? How can that which is measured by the sunrise and sunset of our lives attempt to fill what is without measure?

What is the answer to the paradox we all live with every breath we take?

Jesus in the Gospel poses a question that links itself with the question of our lives, the longing of our hearts, the hole that lingers even when we have drunk our fill of experiences in life, "But who do you say that I am?"

The question posed is the question that answers this timeless reality we live. 

"You are the Christ of God," Peter replies. You are the timeless and eternal son of God who enters into time to fill the timeless hole from which our hearts are created from the beginning.

Our hearts are made for eternity and eternity comes to meet our hearts with a heart of his own.  Only in Christ does this restlessness find solace, does this eternity in our hearts meet the quenching flame of eternal love.

Seek the face of Christ and let the timeless hole in your heart lead you to where He is to be found! Embrace the gift of time and seek the face of timelessness  by refusing to forget the One who measures the gift we have been given.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Guilty conscience

Ecclesiastes 1:2-11; Psalm 90 In ever age, O Lord, you have been our refuge

What is the conscience?
[The conscience is not an oracle but an organ.  It is part of our essence and it requires growth, training, and practice.  

Man has this organ of internal knowledge about good and evil; but for it to become what it is, it needs the help of others.  It requires formation and education.  

Just like we cannot learn to speak on our own without the help of those who understand language lest we are unable to communicate so we need help in choosing right from wrong. 

If not trained properly our conscience like our language ability  can be stunted, stamped out, falsified,  and distorted.  It can be silenced, which becomes a deadly sickness for ourselves and civilization.  

We should never act on our conscience without embracing the obligation to care for it, form it,and  educate it by exposing it to the truth not of our own making or discovery but the truth that has been revealed and withstands the test of time.

What is in us that contradicts the word of Truth revealed by Christ and taught by the Church must then be rooted out.  We must always seek to better inform our conscience so that we truly become fully human and embrace the gift offered in Christ, the fullness of life and joy that is complete.

Part of forming our conscience is having a guilty conscience.  A guilty conscience is not a bad thing.  Not being able to have a guilt conscience is a sickness; it is like not being able to feel pain.  It can be potentially damaging if not eternally dangerous.  ](Paraphrased  and summarized from On Conscience by Cardinal Ratzinger 

Herod in the gospel today was greatly perplexed.  His conscience was bothering him.  He thought that John the Baptist had risen from dead; this was a concern since it was Herod who ordered his execution. 

He had a guilty conscience.  Of all the things that are said bad about Herod; of all his vices he chose to carry with him through life; the fact he had a guilty conscience means that there was hope for change within him.

And what did he do with such a guilt ridden conscience, he sought to inform it by seeking to see Christ.  He was seeking the truth in the face of Christ. 

Herod was trying to fulfill the obligation to care for, form, and educate his conscience. 

The glimmer of hope shines forth in the power of Christ to speak to even the darkest conscience, to grab the attention of the one who seemed closed and tempt it with light.  

And the gospel tells us Herod "kept trying to see him."

Should we all be so daring in forming our conscience with truth revealed by Christ given to the Church to assist us all in training ourselves to recognize and embrace the truth so that we might become more fully human, more fully alive.


Proverbs 30:5-9;Psalm 119 Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet; Luke 9:1-6

The book of Proverbs is filled with tidbits of wisdom that come is spiffy sayings.  They are easy to remember and useful in life. 

Proverbs 3:3-4 "Let not kindness and fidelity leave you; bind them around your neck; then will you win favor and good esteem before God and man."

10:3 "ill-gotten treasure profits nothing, but virtue saves from death."

10:10 "he who winks at a fault causes trouble, but he who frankly reproves promises peace."

And the list goes on and on. 

In today's reading we have another tidbit but it will pass you by lest you slow down. 

"Provide me only with the food I need; lest being full, I deny you, saying "who is the Lord?" Or, being in want, I steal, and profane the name of my God."

What wisdom!
Too much and we have a tendency to neglect the one who gives and too little and we have the tendency to denounce the one who gives.

We should seek neither to be satisfied completely nor hunger detrimentally. 

This certainly stares in the face of modern advice and counsel.  The world tells us to get our fill as quickly and often as possible.  We have done so and God has been profaned. 

Also, the poor have been neglected and remain hungry and in want and because of our unwillingness to assist, God has been profaned. 

In both cases profanity arises.  Profanity is not just what happens when we speak rashly; it happens in and through our actions and omissions. 

Profane comes from the latin which means "outside the temple."

But since we are the temple of the Holy Sprit, everything we do has the potential of giving praise worthy of the sacred or causing profanation unworthy of the temple we all are. 

Pope Benedict reminds us that in order to be people of faith  we must let Jesus take charge of our humanity and thus root our profanity and restore reverence and respect for the sacred that abides in us all.



Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The God particle

Proverbs 21:1-6, 10-13; Psalm 119 guide me Lord in the way of your commands; Luke 8: 19-21

The recent stir in the scientific world has found its epicenter beneath the ground along the border of France and Switzerland. 

There 7000 scientist have invested 8 billion dollars in hopes to discover the so called "God particle."

Beneath the ground is built the "The God machine", the LHC particle accelerator.  This machine can thrust hadrons (subatomic particles: neutrons and protons) at  speeds of 99.9999991% of the speed light.  The hopes are that eventually they will collide these particles and  catch a glimpse of the big bang that scientist believe started it all.  

As Stephen Hawkings says, "then we might understand the mind of God."

Wow!  All of this complicated gadgetry and money squandered and time spent in seeking to understand the mind of God. 

Jesus in the gospel gives us a simplified version of understanding the mind of God.   Jesus gives us the "God particle" in a nutshell, "those who hear the word of God and act on it."

How simple and not complex is this reality.  You don't have to travel at the speed of light, you don't have to invest 8 billion dollars, you do not have to gather together 7000 scientist for such a noteworthy endeavor; rather you simply have to hear and heed.

Could it truly be this uncomplicated.  It is St. Thomas who reminds us that man has a reoccurring ability to complicate what God has made simply.

As scientist seek to understand what the world is made of, Jesus reminds us what makes the world turn, "hear the word of God and act on it."

The God particle, that which binds us together and makes us  all one family, brothers and sisters, is simply put uncomplicated obedience to Him who reveals Himself in Christ.  In deed "hear the word of God and act on it" and then the mystery of the universe comes to light and we discover that love alone is credible and love alone binds us all together.



Monday, September 22, 2008


proverbs 3:27-34; Psalm 15 the just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord; Luke 8:16-18

The psalmist gives us the prerequisites of those who shall dwell on the holy mountain. 

Those who: walk blamelessly, think truth in the heart, slanders not with their tongue, harms not his fellow man, and the list goes on. 

Let us look at slander for a moment.  The hebrew word for slander is more like to backbiting, that is one who goes around secretly stirring up negative comments about another seeking to destroy the good name of the other.

St. Gregroy says that one one who is involved in backbiting (gossip) is liken to the one who blows in dust and stirs up dirt in the eyes of his hearers lest they see the truth in the other.

Think! When the dirt is stirred, are we not blinded and unable to see the image and likeness of God in the other.

St. Thomas ranks backbiting in relation to sin just below murder and adultery.  For, he says, backbiting, blackens the good name of the other and the good name of the other is a greater riches than any other riches one might posses. 

be careful not to stir up the dirt so that the muddied water will not detract from the truth of our created reality, "in his image and likeness he made them, male and female."

If we focus our gaze on the truth of who we are and not on our own opinion then the beauty of it all is guarded and shines forth as the drama of our relationships continues to develop and unfold.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

a reminder

1 corinthians 15:1-11;Ps 118 Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; Luke 7:36-50

St. Paul begins today's lesson with the words, "I am reminding you."

We are forgetful people.  The one thing we all have in common is that we forget and we forget often.  

Not only do we forget, but we have a tendency to remember all the wrong things in the process of living. 

We hold on to grudges of past hurts and humiliations of past failures but when it comes to moments of grace we pass over them often in silence. 

We have a knack for remembering all the wrong things and forgetting all the good. 

We are forgetful.  

This is why we use little sticky notes with smaller messages posted all over the place.  This is why we invest in planners and electronic devices to not only keeps us organized but to help remind us of what is to be done, where we should be, how we should do it.

We need assistance at every turn, lest we forget.

Today St. Paul leaves us a little sticky note just to jog our memory: 

"I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with scriptures, that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day accordance with scriptures..."

The gospel takes the message of St. Paul and paints a picture as Jesus forgives the sinful woman..."those who are forgiven much, love much."

Let the world know how much you are forgiven by the love you have to offer.  This way we become the little sticky note, we become the reminder for all to see. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Doctor's care

Feast of St. Robert Bellarmine

Below are words spoken by St. Robert Bellarmine, a Doctor of the Church.  These words can be found in his work entitled, On the Ascent of the Mind to God.

"May you consider truly good whatever leads to your goal and truly evil whatever makes you fall away from it.  Prosperity and adversity, wealth and poverty, health and sickness, honors and humiliations, life and death, in the mind of the wise man, are not to be sought for their own sake, nor avoided for their own sake.  But if they contribute to the glory of God and your eternal happiness, then they are good and should be sought.  If they detract from this, they are evil and must be avoided."

it is good to put oneself under the Doctor's care to sustain the health of your soul.

love is...

1 corinthians 12:31,13:1-13; Ps 33 Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own ; 

Pope Benedict in is encyclical on hope makes this statement, "Life is a voyage on the sea of history, often dark and stormy, and we watch for the stars to show us the route. The true stars  are those who live good lives.  Those who allow the star of Christ to shine through them illuminating the path so that we might follow."

The saints are these people.  Throughout the liturgical year we celebrate the feast of saints, those who have lived good lives, allowing the light of Christ to illumine then and shine through them for all to see.    

St. Robert Bellarmine, whose feast we celebrate today, is one of those.

St. Robert lived during a tough time in the history of the church.  He lived right after the reformation, a time of trial where catholics persecuted those who left and those who left persecuted the catholics.

St. Robert was a defender of the faith.  He defended the faith by living the faith. 

Two things about St. Robert. 
When he began to preach the word of God, spreading the message of the kingdom, he would stand upon a stool behind the pulpit.  He was very short in stature and he did not what his lack of height to interfere with the word being heard.  So he improvised and swallowed his pride.

We too should do whatever it takes to make sure the word is heard through us.  we should make sure that our bodies are not a distraction but an instrument.

St. Robert was a bishop.  As a bishop, you receive a ring as a sign of the teaching authority in the church.  St. robert had a knack of removing his ring and selling it so that he would have more money to feed the hungry who came to him.  Those who knew him would often go behind him and buy the ring back, only to have the bishop sell it when someone who needed food would come. 

Not only would he not let his stature interfere with the word being heard.  He would not let his office interfere with the word being lived.  

He became a light for those around him and he continues to be a true star that radiates the light of Christ illuminating the path for the rest of us still on the voyage on the sea of history. 

Robert Bellarmine understood what love was and he took to heart the words of St. Paul.  These words that dwelt in his heart became a burning light that can never be extinguished.  May we also learn what love is... and shine so that others might fine the way home.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

kum bah yah, my Lord

1 corinthians 12:12-14,27-31; we are his people, sheep of his flock Ps 100; Lk 7:11-17

Kum bah yah, my Lord, kum bah yah...

Here is a spiritual song sung by many throughout the nations.

The text to the song can be found in different versions as follows:

Kum Bah yah, my lord, kum bah yah
kum bah yah, my lord, kum bah yah

someone's laughing Lord, kum bah yah
someone's laughing, Lord, kum bah yah
someone's laughing, Lord, kum bah yah
 O lord, kum bah yah

someone's crying, Lord, kum bah yah
someone's crying Lord, kum bah yah
someone's crying Lord, kum bah yah
O lord, kum bah yah

someone's praying Lord, kum bah yah
someone's praying Lord, kum bah yah
someone's praying Lord, kum bah yah 
 O Lord, kum bah yah

someone's singing, Lord, kum bah yah
someone's singing, Lord, kum bah yah
someone's singing, Lord, kum bah yah
O lord, kum bah yah
Kum bah yah simply means "come bye here"

As you read the gospel, you get sense that the woman who is about to bury her child groans from within, "kum bah yah, my Lord, kum bah yah, come bye here."

Then God comes, he makes a visitation. 
Through the body of Christ God visits his people. 

St. Paul exhorts us to remember that as believers who are baptized, we are now the body of Christ.  It is now through us that God visits his people. 

We are now the ones who must respond to the spiritual groans of the people, "kum bah yah, my Lord, kum bah yah." 

It is through our body God comes to their aid and visits his people.  

As the people devastated by famine, by war, by natural disasters, by violence, by abuse, by sickness, by pain and suffering all over the world cry out kum bah yah, my Lord, come bye here we must respond by allowing God to make himself known through us. 

"Kum bah yah my lord,come bye here" and we as believers must respond "here we come, Lord, here we come."   

standing firm

Hebrews 5:7-9; Save me in your kindness Ps 31;John 19:25-27

Today we celebrate the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows...

as we ponder the gospel, John informs us that Mary stood by the foot of the cross.  She was standing. 

Standing is a verb that entails strength, confidence, steadfastness, and hope. 

Mary was not bent over, doubled over in grief or agony.  Which is quite a surprise.  Here she watches her only son being killed in the most humiliating way and yet she stands. 

Some suggest she stands because she is filled with shock.  I suspect that is mere projection on their part. 

Why is she standing?

If you remember, the very first words that inaugurated Jesus into history, were "rejoice."  The greeting of the angel to Mary was a greeting filled with hope, "rejoice, highly favored one."

The greeting also ended with hope, "for his kingdom will be without end."

Mary clung to this greeting of hope throughout her life.  It is this hope that gave her strength to endure the trial of being the Mother of the Savior. 

Pope Benedict reminds us and exhorts us to remember that the one who has hope lives differently. 

With Hopeful heart, Mary stands in sorrow and she does not fall in despair. 

Her standing is a sign of her unwavering trust in the will of God spoken to her from the beginning.  In Mary we begin to understand how one can have joy even in sorrow. 

Friday, September 12, 2008

What's in a name

Galatians 4:4-7; Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12; Luke 1:39-47

On this day, September 12, the Church directs our gaze to the Blessed Mother.  The Church in her liturgy focuses our attention on the Holy Name of the Blessed Mother. 

The name of Jesus is the name in which "in no other name is there salvation" at "his command every knee must bend, in heaven, on earth, and under the earth." 

There is power in  the name of Jesus,a  power that brings us freedom and guides us in Love. 

All names find there strength and beauty in His name.  

Why do we celebrate the Holy name of Mary?
Mary finds honor because of her unique role in salvation history.  The first person to be greeted in the inauguration of Jesus into history was that of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

As the gospel of Luke recounts this momentous occasion in the history of humanity:

"In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town in Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David.  The virgin's name was Mary."

"Upon arriving, the angel said to her, 'Rejoice, highly favored daughter.  The Lord is with you.  Blessed are you among women.'"

What a moment in the life of Mary.  

Every life does not consist of one defining moment.  Every life consist of numerous moments that are defined by the choices we make. 

Each moment demands an equally impressive choice.  

In honoring the name of Mary, we honor the choice she made in embracing the moment, and allowing love to direct her choice. 

The honor due the name of Mary revolves around the answer she gave when called upon. In the words of St. Bernard, 

"Answer quickly, O virgin.  Reply in haste to the angel.  Answer with a word, receive the Word of God.  Speak you own word, conceive the divine Word...Why do you delay.  Believe, give, praise, and receive.  Let humility be bold, let modesty be confident.  Though modest silence is pleasing, dutiful speech is now more necessary.   Open your heart to faith, O blessed Virgin, your lips to praise, your womb to the Creator..."

"Behold, the handmaid of the Lord,  be it done to me according to thy word."

And all creation rejoices.  Every mouth shall give honor to the name of the one who is to bear the Child whose name means God is with us. 

Mary, is the name which leads us to the Name of Him by whom every knee shall bend.  Her name is a name of honor for it is a holy name because it is a maternal name, because it is the name of the first disciple to give everything for Jesus. 

Every time we invoke her name we retell salvation history and we enter into the joy of discipleship and we allow the joy of the kingdom to enter into us.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


1 corinthians 8:1-7, 11-13; Guide me,Lord, along the everlasting way Ps 139; Luke 6: 27-38

In the first reading, St. Paul ends with this gem to contemplate on, "therefore, if food causes my brother to sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I may not cause my brother to sin."

What extent would we go so that we may never cause our brother to sin?

In the gospel, Jesus gives us a nice reality check, "For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?"

What kind of lover are you?
Do you love those who God loves?
Do you love the unlovable?

"The measure for which you measure will in return be measured out to you."

What a deal for those who believe! 


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

afflicted ever after

1 corinthians 7:25-31; Psalm 45 Listen to me, daughter, see and bend your ear; Luke 6:20-26

In the Beatitudes, we encounter words of promise, criteria for discernment of spirits, and directions for finding the right path.  In them the standards of the world are turned upside down and God's values are made known.  When man begins to see and to live from God's perspective, when he is a companion of Jesus' way, then he lives by new standards, and something of the glory to come is already present.  Jesus brings joy into the midst of affliction.  Pope Benedict

In the beatitudes the cross and the resurrection unite and the glory shown in suffering and the glory that comes from suffering radiate outward and transform us as we seek to follow Christ. 

St. Paul in the first reading speaks of marriage and necessarily speaks of the cross and resurrection; he  points to the beatitudes as he reminds us, "If you marry you do not sin, nor does an unmarried woman sin if she marries; but such people will experience affliction in their earthly life, and I would like to spare you that."

St. Paul, as he speaks of marriage, certainly debunks the myth we grow up with of "happily ever after."  The fairy tale reality is no reality at all, but rather a bold face lie.  And St. Paul, as a good minister, is simply trying to get the people to recognize reality and let go of the lie.

Marriage isn't happily ever after but rather afflicted ever after.  And affliction isn't necessarily to be done away with.  Sometimes affliction results in something good. 

The word affliction in greek simply means pressure.  Pressure isn't bad.  It is pressure that changes a chunk of coal into a diamond over time.   Perhaps St. Paul is inviting the people to embrace the pressure so that they may become better, sharper, more radiant.  But, nonetheless, marriage isn't for the weak of heart. 

Pope Benedict tells us this in regards to marriage, "nature invites us to marry for life, with lifelong fidelity including the suffering that comes from growing together in love."

 Now, here is something to ponder when it comes to marriage.

If the beatitudes are a place where the cross and resurrection unite, then the gift of married love is the concrete reality where the promise of the beatitude meets the trail they blaze.   The promise give strength and courage to those who dare to walk the path of two becoming one, afflicted ever after, pressurized by the commitment to love and honor each other for the rest of their lives.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Micah 5:1-4; with delight I rejoice in the Lord Psalm 13; Matthew 1:18-23

Feast for the Birth of the Blessed Mother...

Blessed birthday to the one whose 'yes' changed the world for ever.  Blessed Birthday to all of us for in the birth of the Blessed Mother we too shall be born again, born in to everlasting light, born into new heights, born into new dignity. 

Mary's birthday is the birthday of the renewed humanity touched by grace.  In the birth of Mary, conceived without sin, we see what we ourselves  shall be when grace fills us completely, we shall obtain the unhindered ability to say 'yes' to God.

This day is a day of beginnings.  This day is the prequel to what will come later when Christ raised from the dead will send his Spirit to change us all.

Christ points to His mother and lets us catch a glimpse of what we ourselves shall be when we let ourselves be conquered by grace.  In seeing what Christ does we can now fully understand the role of Mary.

The whole creation rejoices greatly for in Mary hope for humanity is born; soon Christ shall come, for the baby born today is forever the Mother of God, the Mother of us all.   

Saturday, September 6, 2008

prayer for saturday

Here is the prayer from the morning office:

"Lord, we praise you with our lips, and with our lives and hearts.  Our very existence is a gift from you; to you we offer all that we have and are.  We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen"

Often we pray but seldom do we let the words of the prayer enter deep into our hearts and minds.  We must let the words of the prayers enter deeply so that they may echo forth throughout the day and thus our actions might find rhythm with the words and truly become as we pray. 

May the words of prayer set our thoughts and words and actions to the rhythm and beat of eternity and thus our lives become part of the prayer rather than just making prayer a part of our life.

Blessed Mother pray for us... 

Friday, September 5, 2008

The scandal of the incarnation is the sacred Heart of Christ

1 corinthians 4:1-5; Psalm 37 The salvation of the just comes from the Lord; Luke 5:33-39

Jesus today in the gospel reminds us of the scandal of the incarnation.  

"No one tears a piece from a new cloak to patch and old one.  Otherwise, he will tear the new and the piece from it will not match an old cloak.  Likewise, no one pours new wine in old wineskins.  Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled, and the skins will be ruined.  Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins.   And no one drinking old wine desires new, for he says, "the old is good."

Where is the scandal?

In the incarnation, God takes the new and seeks to patch the old.  In God becoming man, in the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ, the new garment is torn as the lance pierces the Heart of Christ; the new wine is spilled as the old wineskin is burst asunder and new love shines forth in the obedience of Christ unto death. 

The fidelity of Christ reveals to us the glory of man alive. 

In deed no one tears a new to patch the old; no one pours new lest the old burst asunder.  Yet, this is exactly what someone does; God is scandalous in his love for us.  He takes the old wisdom and shows it to be foolish.  

St. Paul reminded us yesterday, "the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God."

The scandal of the incarnation shines forth as wisdom from generation to generation as the Heart of Christ, torn open for all to see, testifies through all ages.

Sometimes we have to let go of the old and embrace the new thus allowing the old wineskin of our old habits, thoughts, cares, concerns, ways of acting and doing be burst asunder by the new mode of living exhibited in Christ the scandal.

The old is good but the new is better for it transforms the old into what it was always meant to be.  

We are the servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God, as St. Paul proclaims.  We are servants and stewards of the scandal of the Incarnation.  

St. Irenaeus reminds us that to receive the Eucharist is to drink in the new wine, allowing the old to be burst asunder and enabling the grace to transform us from within for "having received the Eucharist, we are no longer corruptible, because we have the hope of resurrection burning within us." 

May we keep the flame alive with every act of fidelity to Christ who reveals the scandalous love of the Father.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

No buts about it

1 corinthians 3:18-23; Psalm 24 To the Lord belongs the earth and all that fills it; Luke 5:1-11 

Jesus walks along the lake.  Jesus teaches the crowd.  Jesus gets into the boat.  Jesus sits down and continues to teach.  These things are acceptable.  There are no buts about it.  

Then Jesus tells the fishermen how to fish.  "Put out into the deep water and lower your nets."

Peter gets a little frustrated.  How dare Jesus interfere with his profession.  It is Peter's job to fish and Jesus' to teach and preach. Now he has crossed the line.  Before there was no but about it as long he focused on his mission, now there is but.

Yes, Lord we have fished all night and caught nothing.  Nothing we have caught all night. Peter responds to the request; this is what I do for a living; I know these waters; I know my men; I know we can't catch anything.  I know we should turn back and not waste our time...

But at your command Lord...

What a beautiful but.

There is room for one "but" in the life of the Christian, "But at your command Lord."
This is why we do what we do!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

servant of the servants of God

1 Corinthians 3:1-9; Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own; Luke 4:38-44

"The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him, they tried to prevent him from leaving them, but he said to them, "to the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God because for this purpose I have been sent."  

Like the people in the gospel, we often want to keep Jesus for ourselves.  We want to contain him, grasp him, hold on to him.  We have to let him go.  We have to let him carry the good news to others. 

How do we do this?

We do this by rejoicing when the other experiences the power of the kingdom. Many times we get envious or jealous of other's blessings.  This is tragic.  When we do this we refuse to allow the goodness of the kingdom to be spread.  When we recognize the blessings of others, we should not grow envious but rather we should rejoice that Jesus continues to move forward and reach out to others.  We must let the blessings of others be a sign of hope for us.  Even if we have to wait for our turn, we must remember it is easy to wait with hope then not.

Secondly, we must be like Jesus in carrying the good news to others.  By our demeanor, by our words, by our lifestyle the kingdom is brought forth and Jesus' presence journeys onward in fulfilling the tasks set before him.  

We are  christianus alter Christus that is Christians are the the other Christ.  In us the light of Christ shines forth scattering the darkness in others and in other places by simply letting it scatter the darkness in us. 

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Gregory the Great.  He was a Pope in the 6th century  and he preferred the title, servant of the servants of God.

These are a few of his insights for us today: 

"So who am I to be a watchman, for I do not stand on the mountain of action but lie down in the valley of weakness?  Truly the all powerful Creator and Redeemer of mankind can give me in spite of my weaknesses a higher life and effective speech; because I love him, I do not spare myself in speaking of him."

God of compassion your strength claims hold of our weakness; may our weakness always and never cease to rely on your strength. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

the mind of Christ

 1 corinthians 2:10-16; psalm 145 The Lord is just in all his ways; Luke 4:31-37

St.Paul in the letters to Corinthians is introducing the community to what it means to be living life in the Spirit.

The defining characteristic of Life in the Spirit isn't  speaking in tongues, it isn't raising the dead, it isn't seeing into the future, it isn't performing miracles, it isn't having super powers, it isn't walking on water, or multiplying the loaves and fish. 

Life in the Spirit isn't about being slain in the Spirit, it isn't about being overly enthusiastic or emotionally charged. 

Life in the Spirit is much more dynamic than any of the above.  Life in the Spirit is about having the mind of Christ.

As St. Paul says, "we have the mind of Christ." 

To have the mind of Christ is to be living a life in the Spirit.  

Jesus reminds us as he reminds the disciples in the gospel of John that the Spirit will come and remind of all the things I have spoken and done.   The Spirit gives us access to Christ. 

To have the mind of Christ simply put means "to see as God sees and to do as Christ did."

To have the mind of Christ means to be able judge properly good from evil and to choose the highest good at each moment of decision. 

Come Lord Jesus fill us with your Spirit, that we might see as God sees and do as you did.

The next time you look upon the crucified savior on the cross, there you recognize the mind of Christ.  Ask yourself the question, "Lord, why did you do that?", and "how can I do the same?"

Let us live the Life of the Spirit truly and have the mind of Christ.

Monday, September 1, 2008

labor day

Genesis 1:26-2:3; Psalm 90; Matthew 6:31-34

"Man ought to imitate God both in working and resting, since God Himself wished to present  His own creative activity under the form of work and rest.  This activity by God in the world always continues, as the words of Christ attest: "My Father is working still...:  He works with creative power by sustaining in existence the world that He called into being from nothing, and He works with salvific power in the hearts of those whom from the beginning He has destined for "rest" in union with Himself in His "Father's House."

"Therefore man's work too not only requires a rest every seventh day but also cannot consist in the mere exercise of human strength in external action; it must leave room for man to prepare himself, by becoming more and more what in the will of God he ought to be, for the "rest' that the Lord reserves for His servants and friends."
On Human Work, encyclical letter by John Paul II 

It is not enough to be satisfied with making a living, but we must busy our selves with making a life.  This time of rest must be a time to recollect to discern whether or not we are headed in the right direction.  This is the way the gospel penetrates our very existence, this is the true value of Human work for the "rest" of our life.

As we make a living, we must allow the Father to work in us so that we might arrive at the reward of the work of Christ and thus we shall no longer just be making a living but we shall be making a life and thus enter into his rest.