Thursday, October 29, 2009

Avila bound

Readings until I return click here

Reflections until I return click here

Out of the country; going to Spain for a few days; we priest have it tough.

Will be in Avila the place of St. Teresa. Here are few quotes from the Doctor of the Church.

"It is true that we cannot be free from sin, but at least let our sins be not always the same."

"Remember you have only one soul; you have only one death to die; you have only one life to live; if you do this there will be many things for which you will no longer care."

"Untilled soil, however fertile it may be, will bear thistles and thorns; so it is with man's mind."

"True strength rises in obedience."

Here is a tid bit from a book entitled The Spiritual Life by Tanquerey:

"To avoid sin is not sufficient; we must grow in perfection. Here again, what is the great stumbling block if not the love of pleasure and dread of the cross. How many would wish to be better than they are, to aim at perfection, were it not that they shrink from the effort required, from the trials sent by God to his friends. Some Christians have to be reminded what St. Paul said time and again: Life is a struggle; that we should blush with shame if we show less courage than those who strive for an earthly reward and who in order to assure victory deprive themselves of sundry pleasures, willingly submitting to discipline: stern and arduous. They for a corruptible crown but we for an incorruptible."

that sly fox

We see the Pharisees come to Jesus and say, "Go away, leave this place because Herod wants to kill you."

The first question to ask is, "Are they trying to warn him or scare him?"

Are the Pharisees really concerned for Jesus' welfare or are they more concerned for themselves.

Jesus' isn't spooked so easily. He stands his ground and continues the course he knows God has ask him to go. He lets the comments roll off his back and pursues the higher ground.

It is admirable for us to seek to imitate Jesus. Steady and strong we shall move through this life unhindered by fear and not easily spooked by words of another.

Today I would like to share a few words of St. John Vianney:

The Good God wants us to never lose sight of the cross. Therefore He has placed them everywhere. Crosses are scattered through out life, on the road side, in the public square, in our home and family and at our work place. There are many crosses that beckon at us. THey are like stones over a river by which we pass toward heaven. These crosses are meant to deepen our appreciation and deepen our memory of that Cross which proves God's love.

Every time we experience a cross in our life we should say the words of St. Francis of Assisi: we adore you O Christ and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world; by this cross you redeem me.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

wish upon a star but hope in Christ

Romans 8:18-25; Psalm 126 The Lord has done marvels for us; Luke 13:18-21

star light, star bright, the first star I see tonight...
When you wish upon a star...

Pennies in a fountain...

We spend a lot of time wishing but what we really need is hope.

St. Paul tells us that it is in hope we are saved.

What is the difference between hoping and wishing?

Hoping has everything to do with reality, with outcomes that have real possibility, with outcomes that are reasonable. Hopes have everything to do with that which we have seen before and we hoping to see again.

Wishing has little to do with reality but more with fantasy; we wish for those things that have no chance of occurring. Wishes usually end with dreams alone but never come to fruition.

For instance, in school as a student I would hope for a substitute teacher; I would hope for an open book test; I would hope for a bad weather day. These things were real possibilities; I had seen them before I could see them again.

In school as a student I would wish for never having homework again; I would wish for not having to go back to school; I would wish for no longer having to take test. These things were unreal.

Hope is rooted in reality. Thus we cam move forward in life.

St. Paul tells us that the reason we are save din hope because we, as believers, have access to the ultimate reality. The redemption of our bodies is not just a dream or a wish but a reality. We have seen this before and we will see it again. In Christ the redemption of our bodies is made real.

Thus we have hope in this life. This hope is reasonable.
What has been seen will be seen again.

Therefore we have a cause for action; we have a cause to work toward what we seek.
Hope gets us moving if it is real.

As the Led Zeplin song goes:
"There is a lady whose sure that all that glitters is gold, she is buying a stairway to heaven. When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all cold, with a word she can get what she came for; And she is buying a stairway to heaven."

We wish upon a star, but we hope in Christ for in him a stairway is made by the cross and redemption is seen.

Monday, October 26, 2009

led by the Spirit

Romans 8:12-17; Psalm 68 Our God is the God of salvation; Luke 13:10-17

St. Paul tells us we are "led by the Spirit." This spirit is a spirit of adoption, that we belong to the household of God, that we are children, heirs with Christ.

We are all these things if we only suffer with him so that we may be glorified with him.

Led by the spirit means to be opened to the gifts of the spirit, especially wisdom.

Here is a version of wisdom; wisdom is the realization that we do not have to understand what God is doing in order for God to be able to do it.

Wisdom is the realization that we do not always have the inside scoop. Here we eliminate presumption and we grow in dependence on God.

The problem with the Pharisee is that they thought they had the inside scoop to God's activity and thus missed God's intervention right before their nose.

Looking at the gospel today another thought comes.
What was the women's faith that allowed Jesus to heal her? Usually in the gospel Jesus heals those who show some sign of faith. What was this women sign of faith?

Her faith was simply showing up. She did just the ordinary thing of just attending the synagogue service week in and week out for 18 years. She every reason to give up and become better, especially in light of her illness, but she was steadfast in her persistence for 18 years.

The fact that she showed up was faith enough for the healing.

Just something for us to think about.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Beggar spirituality

Jeremiah 31:7-9; Psalm 126 The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy; Hebrews 5:1-6; Mark 10:46-52

We live in world where every one wants to be spiritual but no one wants to be religious. Everyone wants to be connected to the higher power but they don't want to be connected to a community. Every one wants to feel the presence of God and the communion of saints but they want to do it alone in isolation. every one wants to get to heaven but they do not want anyone to tell them how to get there.

What dysfunction!

The only answer to today's malaise is the Beggars's spirituality in today's gospel.

The beggar in the proper sense of the word is one who knows he is in need, who knows he cannot go it alone. And not only does he know he is in need but he wants only what he needs.

Here in lies the answer to modernity.

We live in a world where our only necessity are those things that are unnecessary. We live in world ruled by wants not by needs.

It is our needs that will lead us to God not our wants.

The beggars wants what he needs. He shows us the proper way at arriving at that critical reality of wanting what we need, "Jesus, son of David, have pity on me."

In seeking mercy from Jesus he better understands what he needs; his wants are purified by his longing for mercy and pity.

In the end he gets what he needs to follow the Lord on the way. The beggar gets direction and purpose. The beggar gets a place of belonging, a part in a community.
The beggar gets religion for it is Jesus who founds a church, a place of gathering for the people of God. It is Jesus that shows us that spirituality and community are intimately connected.

Like the beggar we must be willing to allow our wants to be purified by the mercy of God and learn to live in and by our needs.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Romans 6:12-18; Psalm 124 Our help is the name of the Lord; Luke 12:39-48

Jesus tells us that we should be prepared for an hour we do not expect when the Son of Man will come like one who expects a thief to come at night.

As Jesus tells the disciples, Peter chimes in. Peter's comment is very interesting. Peter asks the question, "Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?"

Peter is presuming that the message is a parable, a story with a lesson. But no where does Jesus say it was a parable nor does he say it is a story.

Perhaps this message is to be taken literally. Peter does not get off the hook and neither are we.

Peter is allowing familiarity with Jesus to cloud his judgement and lead to presumption. This is a dangerous place to be. All of us can run the risk of allowing our familiarity with God to cloud our judgment or lead to presumption that gets us off the hook.

The servant in the story is one who allows his familiarity with the master to cloud his judgment and cause him to lose sight of his duty; his presumption leads to his demise.

We should hold on to this message with all our might. We should be weary of letting our familiarity with Jesus lead to presumption of false security.

We must be diligent daily and never presume on God's mercy with out first being attentive to our duty.

"Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more."

There is no room for presumption; our familiarity with Jesus should deepen our desire to serve him faithfully, fully, without negligence to others or ourselves.

According to Pope Benedict the best way to be prepared is to work for the common good. We must "desire the common good and strive toward it as a requirement of justice and charity." To continually stand for the common good is to give structure to the life of society thus truly making it a "city of God" which is "the goal of the history of the human family." In service and charity in accord with truth do "we pave the way for eternity through temporal action."

This life is perfectly realized in a life in Christ; it is "Christ who shows us what it means to be human, thus what it means to make progress as a people", as a developing society and a true civilization. Thus fidelity to man requires fidelity to truth only then are we truly prepared for the unexpected day and the unknown hour.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Romans 5:12-21; Psalm 40 Here I am Lord; I come to do your will; Luke 12:35-38

When meditating on the first reading what was so striking was the number of times St. Paul uses the word "one."

He uses the word 10 times in 7 verses. This is certainly something to ponder.

St. Paul is trying help us fully grasp the significance and power and influence one can have over the world.

His comparison is quite substantial. He points us toward the first Adam, through which sin and death entered the world. Then he points us toward Jesus, the one through whom came life and grace and goodness.

What a turn around. What a difference one makes.

The choice is ours. On whose side do we stand. Which one will we follow. In whose footsteps shall we walk: sin and death and destruction or grace and life and goodness.

The power of one remains forever an example to heed and a life to embrace.

Words from Saint Paul of the cross:
"It is very good and holy to consider the passion of Our Lord and to meditate on it, for by this sacred path we reach union with God. In this most holy school we learn wisdom, for ti was there that all the saints learned it. When the cross of Our dear Jesus has planted its roots more deeply in your hearts, then will you rejoice...when you become true lovers of the crucified, you will always celebrate the feast of the cross in the inner temple of the soul."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Romans 4:20-25; Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people; Luke 12:13-21

The rich young fool busies himself with self-storage units; he busies himself with making more space for his things rather than creating space for God.

This is his down fall.

We has a people do the same thing, whether we are rich or poor, nonetheless, foolish we remain.

Here are few statistics to help paint the picture.

In the U.S. alone there is 2.2 billion square feet of self-storage units. In the world there are 58,000 self-storage units, 52, 000 are in the U.S. alone.

What does this say about our foolishness. We have created a lot of space for stuff. We have not been so diligent in creating space for God, at least in our hearts and in the way we live our lives.

These self-storage units create a sense of false security.

Jesus reminds us today that everything isn't as secure as it may seem for we all shall hear the words, "you fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the htings you have prepared, to whom will they belong?"

Greed is all around us.

St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that greed is that reality in which "we have lost sight of the eternal and concentrate on the temporal."

Dante, in his classic tale "The Divine Comedy" in which he journeys through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven describes those who were guilty of greed as those bound with hands behind their back and and their face laid to the earth for that is how they chose to live their life fixated on earthly things.

One of the better images of greed is seen in Genesis 3. God curses the serpent for enticing Adam and Eve to sin with the following curse, "on your belly you shall crawl, and dirt you shall eat all the days of your life."

This captures greed most perfectly, those who crawl on their belly and get their fill of that which will eventually become dust and dirt.

As believers we must let go of the stuff and begin to create space for God more and more. This is what Abraham does. In the first reading St. Paul describes Abraham as a man, "empowered by faith and gave glory to God."

Abraham had is eyes fixed on what was above and thus was enables to move forward even to the point of leaving his homeland and the false security of his wealth and riches in moving forward in true security that comes in Faith.

Thus, it was credited to him as righteousness.

In the above picture, Bosh paint the four last things, Death, judgment, hell, and glory and in the center depicted are the seven deadly sins with Jesus at the heart of the picture rising from the tomb.

In the latin inscription below Jesus you have the words, "cave, cave Deus Videt" which is beware, beware God sees.

If we store up treasure in heaven by creating space for God then in the end it shall be credited to us as righteousness.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Timely help

Isaiah 53:10-11; Psalm 33 Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you; Hebrews 4:14-16; Mk 10:35-45

St. Paul refers us to the "throne of grace" into days second reading. In order to understand what he is talking about we have to go back to the old testament, to the Ark of the Covenant.

The Ark of the Covenant was that portable sanctuary that contained the tablets of the Ten Commandments, the jar of Manna, the staff of Aaron. The Israelites would carry it around wiht them in their desert journey. Whenever they stopped, they would pitch a tent and place the Ark in the tent.

They believed that when God would fill the tent with his glory, he would reside or dwell on the Ark, on a gold plate, or seat that was known as the "mercy seat."

The mercy seat was the place of contact. It was considered to be the place of God's personal presence, where he would come to be with his people.

when the Israelites carried out the sacrifices according to Moses, then expiation for sin and reconciliation with God would come from the Mercy Seat.

This Seat was the place of Atonement. Atonement simply means "at one with." Here God was at one with the people because they were at one with him. This was the center of the Israelites livelihood where they would get direction, guidance, strength.

Here they would seek what to do next.

St. Paul tells that the Mercy Seat reality is most perfectly realize din Jesus himself. In Jesus, in his suffering and sacrifice and obedience, in the shedding of his blood, expiation for sin and reconciliation with God is a reality once for all.

Atonement is realized in Jesus. We are at one with God through Jesus himself.

St. Paul tells us we have cause to be bold and confident to "approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and grace for timely help."

This reality of boldness is most perfectly seen in the gospel.

When Jesus was being crucified, there were two criminal crucified with him, one on the left and one on the right.

One of them ridiculed JEsus but the other understood his situation; he knew what kind predicament he was in; if there was ever a need for grace in timely help it was then.

With boldness and confidence the good thief approaches Jesus, "remember me when you come into your kingdom."

And the words of Jesus even today give us the confidence we need to approach often, "this day you will be with me in paradise."

This response shatters our timidity, our shyness, our fear; this response gives us courage to be bold. If the thief can seek how much more should we who believe.

When the lance opened the side of Christ and blood came forth, grace floods the world: our guilt is washed away, satisfaction is made, our infirmity is removed, our punishment has ceased, our weakness is made strong, the exiles are called back to the kingdom, and the gates of paradise are opened wide and there grace for timely help is forever at our fingertips and all we have to do is approach and ask.

This grace for timely help is most perfectly realized in the sacraments. The sacraments are an extension of the power of Christ passion. every time we go to confession, receive the the eucharist worthily we hear the words of Christ, "this day you will be with me in paradise."

We are empowered to do because of what Christ did.

timely help indeed.

Friday, October 16, 2009

where is the crowd

Romans 4:1-8; Psalm 32 I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with joy of salvation; Lk 12:1-7

The gospel starts off today with a beautiful image, "at that time: so many people were crowding together that they were trampling one another underfoot."

What an image! What a testimony to the charisma of Jesus, his drawing power.

As I look around they I cannot wonder but where have all the crowds gone.

The churches are getting emptier and emptier. The people scatter rather than gather. The people stand alone rather than in crowds.

Has Jesus lost his drawing power?
Or have the People become to desensitized to their own needs.

Perhaps people are afraid; maybe they are afraid it is true what Jesus says, "there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known."

In order to be part of the crowd one must let go of the secret life, one must choose to be publicly known, the private affair has to end.

Like the pharisees we find ourselves afraid of the wrong things in life. We are afraid of being found out, when we should really be afraid of never letting it be made known.

As the Psalmist exhorts us,"I acknowledge my sins to you, my guilt I covered not. I confess my faults and you took away the guilt of my sin. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice."

today we celebrate the 31 year anniversary of the election John Paul II to the Chair of Peter...
He began his papacy with an invitation of Faith: "you are Christ, the Son of the living God."

May we make that same act of faith each and every day.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

principle of faith

Romans 3:21-30; Psalm 130 with the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption; Lk 11:47-54
St. Paul tells us today that it is by the principle of faith that we are justified.

What is faith?

Faith is an adhesion to truth revealed by God where the intellect and the will work in cooperation in seeking the truth and adhering to the truth when it is found.

St. Paul simply reminds us today that it isn't us who find the truth but the truth who comes to seek us in Jesus. 

St. Thomas tells us that when it comes to faith, "the thing known is in the knower according to the mode of the knower."  When one knows anything that which is known is in the knower himself. 

Faith in Jesus then suggest that in order to know Jesus Jesus must be in us, "the thing known is in the knower according to the mode of the knower."
The deeper we grow in faith the more Jesus is seen in us. 

St. Teresa of Avila understood this is a very deep way.
She understood that it was not enough to believe in a God, it was not even enough to believe God, one must believe in God that is allow God to dwell within them. 

It was in this deep communion with God she was able to deeply love those around her.
St. Teresa was known for saying the following everyday.  This pray speaks volumes of her faith, "the thing known is in the knower according to the mode of the knower."

Christ has no body now but yours!
No hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on the world.
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.
Yours are the hands which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands.
Yours are the feet.
Yours are the eyes. 
You are his body.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours!

When it comes to faith, "the thing known is in the knower according to the mode of the knower."
To have faith in Christ is to know him and to make him known.  

Monday, October 12, 2009


Romans 1:1-7; Psalm 98 The Lord has made known his salvation; Luke 11:29-32

Two things this morning.

First, the gospel. 

Jesus tells the crowd gathered at his feet that, "there is something greater than Jonah here."

What makes Jesus greater?

Beyond the obvious, Jesus being the Son of God, the one who brings the gift of salvation to the world. 

Jesus, if we follow him around in the gospel, we discover something we don't see in Jonah. 

Jonah the prophet was reluctant.  Jonah was hesitant.  He was concerned with himself, what he thought should be done, how he thought he should act. 

Jesus is never hesitant, never reluctant.  Jesus creates space for God in himself by quick obedience, quickly responding to the will and rising when the time arrived. 

It is this creating space so quickly that sets Jesus apart.  

The one thing that love needs above all else is space to grow.  Jesus in small quick acts of obedience to the will of the Father creates space for love to increase, to grow.  This is why Jesus has such a magnanimous heart, so generous in giving. 

Unlike Jonah he does not hesitate in take the opportunity before him to respond with diligence and determination to create space for love. 

As St. Paul reminds us through Jesus we have received "the grace of apostleship, to bring about the obedience of faith," to create space for true love to grow here on earth in the human heart. 

May we create space for love today.


Friday, October 9, 2009

medicine of God

Joel 1:13-15; 2:1-2; Psalm 9 The Lord will judge the world with Justice; Lk 11:15-26

Today in the church we celebrate the memory of St. John Leonardi.  He was a priest in the 16th century and dedicated his life to bringing to the worlds the "medicine of God which is Jesus Christ the "measure of all things."

St. John Leonardi was extremely enthused by herbs and medicine and for ten years he worked toward a profession as a pharmacist.  After ten years of study before he began his profession he had a change of heart and he decided to become a priest and dedicate his life to bringing the "medicine of God...christ the measure of all things" to the world. 

He was instrumental in bringing reform to the church. 

He would often say that all humans need this rich medicine.  

The true goal of the church was to be like a good doctor to "carefully diagnose the evils at the present so as to be able to prescribe for each of them the most appropriate  remedy."

What is the remedy according to St. John Leonardi, "Raise your heart to God a bit more and measure things with Christ."

As St. John tells us, "either Christ or nothing."  May we choose all in Christ. 

St. John Leonardi died while serving the sick during the flu epidemic in the 17th century.  May we ask him to pray for us as we live in this time of rising concern during the pandemic of the swine flu.  

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Our Lady of the Rosary

Jonah 4:1-11; Psalm 86 Lord, you are merciful and gracious; Luke 11:1-4

Today we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Victory which is also Our Lady of the Rosary.  October in the month of the Rosary.  The rosary is a beautiful prayer that invites us to keep Christ at the center of our life. 

Here is what Pope Benedict has to say about the Rosary:

"The ROsary helps put Christ at the center.  When reciting the rosary the important and meaningful moments of salvation history are relived.  The various steps of Christ are traced. 

With Mary, the human heart is oriented toward the mystery of Jesus.  Thus, Christ is put at the center of our life, the center of our time, the center of our city; through contemplation and meditation of His holy mysteries of joy, light, sorrow, and glory that fill life itself, Mary helps us welcome within ourselves the grace emanating from these mysteries so that through us we may "water" society beginning with our own daily relationships purifying them with the newness of God.  

The Rosary contains within itself the healing power of the Most Holy Name of Jesus invoked with faith and love with every "Hail Mary" bringing with it peace and reconciliation."

Wow!  What a prayer.  

It the recitation of the rosary, the victory of grace fills our hearts and minds and we are transformed and fortified.  

Our Lady of Victory pray for us; Our Lady of the Rosary leads us to Christ. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

who knows

jonah 3:1-10; Psalm 130 If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand? Luke 10:38-42

We continue to read the story of Jonah and Nineveh; today the people of Nineveh "believe God" and repent. The words of the King to the city echo forth, "Who knows, God may relent and forgive, and withhold his blazing wrath, so that we shall not perish."

Who knows...

We know.  We are people of faith and therefore we live in the know.  We know.  This is the good news, the gospel.  We no longer have to guess.  We know because we have heard. 

"We have seen for ourselves, and can testify, that the Father has sent the Son as savior of the world.  When anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him and he in God." 1 John 4:14-15

The cross stands as the definitive answer of God to man.  

We know.  

 We know the One thing that Jesus mentions in the gospel. 

We know.  We just have to live as people who know.  We must cho0se the better part for the better part has chosen us. 

Monday, October 5, 2009

go do likewise

Jonah 1:1-2:2,11; Psalm you will rescue my life from the pit (Jon 2:3-10); Luke 10:25-37

Today's readings include to very well known stories that of Jonah and the whale and the Good Samaritan.  Both of these stories are children's favorites.  They have been told over and over and over again. 

In reading the story of Jonah there are few things that pope to the surface immediately.  
1) Jonah was fleeing from God. He was running from God's mission for his life.  But even in running away he was still effective in leading to conversion of the pagan sailors.  Even in fleeing he still could not get away from the task given.  Running was futile.  We may run but we can never truly hide.  

2) Jonah finally prays to God but only when he is in the bowels of the whale.  This is a commentary on us.  How often do we delay praying until we are in the worst of situations or circumstances.  Again, though, God will take it even though he would rather us pray at all times.

3)  Jonah is finally released from the whale but it is a nasty experience.  He is "vomited" out of the whale.  This was no clean answer to his prayer.  It was messy but effective.  Grace builds on nature.

The story of the good Samaritan also offers a few insights. 
1)The lawyer is one who is learned in the law.  That is he has all the answers so Jesus meets him where he is and lets him reveal the answers he knows.  Jesus will use the knowledge we have. 

2)The questions posed by the lawyer to Jesus, "and who is my neighbor?" is answered by Jesus with another question, "Which was neighbor to the robber's victim?"  Jesus answers the question with a question and the question is not the answer the lawyer was looking for or expecting.  Jesus doesn't tell him who is the neighbor but rather how to be a neighbor, that is how to love.  In learning to love one discovers one's neighbor.  

The lawyer ask for orthodoxy that is what is the "correct thinking or right teaching" and Jesus gives him orthopraxis that is "right doing or right acting."  It is not enough to know we must also live it. 

Only then can we truly embody the words of Jesus, "do this and you will live."  In living correctly we experience eternity here on earth. 

Sunday, October 4, 2009

St Francis of Assisi: a lover of love

Bull of canonization by Pope Gregory IX

Prayer St. Francis asked that people pray the following:

"We adore thee, most Holy  Lord Jesus Christ, here and in all the churches that are in the whole world, and we bless thee; because by thy Holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world."

St. Francis also was noted as saying the following, "What a man is in the sight of God, so much he is and no more."  It is the cross that reveals how much man is in the sight of God.  The true value of life is seen in the wounds of Christ.  The cross is the measure of the world, the measure of man.  Christ crucified is love personified.  Francis was a lover of love itself as seen in Christ. 

St. Francis of Assisi pray for us.

taste of death

Gen 2:18-24; Psalm 128 May the Lord bless us all the days of our life; Hebrews 2:9-11; Mk 10:2-16

St. Paul tells us that Jesus "for a little while was made lower than the angels that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone."

The taste of death is in his mouth...

This is suppose to be the good news of glad tidings announced to the shepherds on that night of nights in which in a manger was born Jesus. 

The wood of the manger was destined to become the wood of the cross and the precious gift of life was destined to taste death for everyone. 

What does this mean "to taste death for everyone."

Well, it doesn't mean that we will never have to taste death.  We do.  We taste death often when a loved one, a brother, a sister, a husband, a wife, a friend, a companion, experiences death. 

It leaves a taste in our mouth.  

Before Christ it was a bitter finality.  The grave was haunting as it is stark.  The dirt was gritty between our teeth.  There was no life, there was no hope, there was just sadness and remorse and confusion and loss.   The bite of death always left a bad after taste.

Things change in Christ.  The bite of death is real.  IT is still bitter.  The dirt is still gritty between our teeth.  But, the resurrection looms large.  The grave has now become a sign of  hope, death gives way to the promise of life to come, loss and confusion point toward a moment of break through even in the midst of a breakdown.

The bite of death though bitter and painful no longer leaves a bad after taste.  Rather the message of good news and glad tidings helps fortify us, strengthen us, fill us, encourages us. 

The taste of death is bitter sweet, hopeful even in loss, life giving even in death.  The cross stands as the measure of the world, as the measure of man. 

Friday, October 2, 2009


Baruch 1:15-22; Psalm 79 For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us; Mt 18:1-5, 10 

In the book of Exodus  23:20 ff we read,  "Thus says the Lord: See I am sending an angel before you, to guard you on your way and bring you to the place I have prepared.  Be attentive to him and heed his voice..." 

The guardian angels we celebrate today. 

We are all companions of angels, a little heaven on earth each and every day.  How much value has God placed upon us to give us each an angel to stand by us and lead and guide us?

Even when we feel alone the reality is we are never alone.  There is always an angel with us guiding us to that place God has prepared.

Jesus in today's gospel teaches us just how the angel protects us and guides us, "their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly father."

The angels protects us by "looking upon the face of {our} heavenly Father."  They protects us by worship and adoration. 

In their worship we are strengthen in goodness and encouraged on our way. 

We imitate the angels when we celebrate the Eucharist.  We gather to worship and to fall in adoration of our heavenly Father through Jesus who comes to us in the Eucharist.  Think about adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. 

When ever we go to adoration as we bow on our knee we are imitating the angels. 
When we pray for others to grow in strength and goodness we are imitating the angels. 

Now, we can do something the angels can never do.  We not only have angels as companions but we also are invited to receive Jesus in the Eucharist.  Angels can never receive the Eucharist for they have no body.  But, we can!

How much does God love us is seen in this reality: we have JEsus as the bread of life and we have angels as companions and guardians in this life. 

One other thing to ponder: in the agony of the garden according to Luke, an angel was sent to comfort Jesus.  IF Jesus availed himself to the assistance of the angels, should not we as well follow his lead?

"The Lord will guard you from evil, he will guard your soul.  The Lord will guard you going and coming both now and for ever." Psalm 121

Thursday, October 1, 2009

only love counts

Isaiah 66:10-14; Matthew 18:1-4

Today we celebrate the memorial of St. Therese of the Child Jesus.

when asked by her sister before a few days before she died for some word, St. Therese simply put, "only love counts."

A few days later she died with these words upon her lips, "My God...I love thee."

She writes in her autobiography the moment she discovered her calling.  After much toil in her soil looking for God's plan she is filled with ecstatic joy as she proclaims, "O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is sets off the bounds of all vocations, that love is everything, that this same love embraces every time and place.  In one word, that love is everlasting."

Such wisdom for a child has the world seldom known but have often longed for.  We look to this child of grace to day  as we honor the grace of God who made her what she is a saint of saints. 

From the earliest moments of her life she remembers being smitten with God above and all things heavenly.  At the age of three she describes how she would hide between the curtains and the wall and there she would, "think, think about God, about life, about eternity."

She says "from a afar it seems easy to do good to souls, to make them love God more, to mold them according to our own ideas and views.  But coming closer we find, on the contrary, that to do good without God's help is as impossible as to make the sun shine at night."

On prayer: "payer is lifting up of the heart, a look towards heaven, a cry of gratitude and love uttered equally in sorrow and in joy; in a word something  noble, supernatural, which enlarges my soul and unites it to God...I just tell the Lord all I want and he understands."  

She would say that in union with God her little soul would learn to make giant strides.
Her little way has continued to shine the path for many.