Wednesday, April 28, 2010

relief mission

Acts 12:24-13:5a; Psalm 67 O God, let all the nations praise you! John 12:44-50

In the beginning of today's reading we encounter the following:
"Barnabas and Saul completed their relief mission, they returned to Jerusalem..."

What relief mission?

While Barnabas and Saul were in Antioch, tending and building up the early church, a prophet Agabus (Acts 11:27ff) stood up and proclaimed there would be a world wide famine. Thus, the church in Antioch decided to gather funds and send it as a relief to their brothers in Judea.

Early on, the Church began to mobilize its forces to help others in need. The church refused to remain isolated and individualistic. It saw a need and stretched forth to help.

What Barnabas and Saul carry out it in the early church is similar to the modern day Catholic Relief Service.

Words from Pope Benedict:

"Life in its true sense is not something we have exclusively in or from ourselves: it is a relationship. And life in its totality is a relationship with him who is the source of life. If we are in relation with him who does not die, who is Life itself and love itself, then we are in life. Then we "live."...

Our relationship with God is established through communion with Jesus...The relationship with Jesus , however, is a relationship with the one who gave himself as a ransom for all. Being in communion with Jesus Christ draws us into his "being for all." It makes it our own way of being. He commits us to live for others, but only through communion with him does it become possible truly to be there for others, for the whole...Love of God is revealed in responsibility for others."

What is our relief mission? How do we offer relief to our brothers and sisters? Do we let this communion with Jesus become a true communion for all, being for others?

Only then do we "live."

In communion with Jesus, his way becomes our way.

In the words of St. Augustine as he quotes St. Paul, 'Christ died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who for their sake died. Thus a new life was born for the saint who described his daily life as the following:

"The turbulent have to be corrected, the faint hearted cheered-up, the weak supported; the Gospel's opponents refuted, its insidious enemies guarded against; the unlearned need to be taught, the indolent stirred up, the argumentative checked; the proud must be put in their place, the desperate set on their feet, those engaged in quarrels reconciled; the needy have to be helped, the oppressed liberated, the good to be encouraged, the bad to be tolerated; all must be loved."

What a real relief mission!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


It was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.

Before we get to the name of Christians.

Notice in the Acts account that is was people from Cyprus and Cyrene (cypriots and Cyrenians) who began to spread the news of Jesus. These people remain anonymous. No where do we discover who they were, they remain nameless.

They were not making a name for themselves but rather making a name for Christ by their life. The importance was never shifted away from Jesus the Lord. The above nameless people were bearing the name of Christ to all, and thus the name of Christian became their nickname.

The name Christian was not meant initially to be a term of endearment. It was a contemptuous nickname. The people of Antioch were making fun of these Christ-folk.

Yet, by their lives and behavior, the followers of Jesus took this contemptuous nickname and made it a name of honor, respect and even admiration.

By the life they lived, the name of Christian was a name to be had.

Monday, April 26, 2010

word on fire

Acts 11:1-18; Psalm 42;43 Athirst is my soul for the living God; John 10:1-10

Several words of notice in the first reading:

"He related to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, saying, 'send someone to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter, who will speak words to you by which you and all your household will be saved.' As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them as it had upon us at the beginning, an dI remember the word of the Lord, how he had said, 'John baptized with water, but you will baptize with the Holy Spirit."

To piggy back on the blog of this past saturday. We encounter another example of Peter's primacy in the New Testament. Peter was sent to speak to the gentiles. He opens his mouth and the Holy Spirit comes down.

The angel's message needs to be heard again, "Send someone and summon Peter who will speak words to you by which you and all your household will be saved.'

In the catechism of the catholic Church 891 we read the following:

"The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in the faith, he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith of morals...the infallibility promised the Church is also present in the body of the bishops when, together with Peter's successor, they exercise supreme Magisterium, above all in Ecumenical council. When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine "for belief as being divinely revealed, and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions "must be adhered to with the obedience of faith." This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself."

Peter exercises his role in the Acts of the Apostles. He invites us to allow his successor the Pope to do the same.

If only we were to heed the word of Peter's successor then perhaps the Holy Spirit would once again fill the world and set it a blaze. The word on fire comes forth from Peter's mouth.

Let it burn forth. let it burn forth.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

anniversary of Pope Benedict's election

Today we celebrate the anniversary of the election of Pope Benedict to the chair of Peter. He is the 265th pope to serve in the footsteps of St. Peter, the vicar of Christ on earth.

The question arises: where does the primacy of Peter come from? Where does Peter get off in being the head of the Church, the first among equals, the servant of the servants of God?

A quick look at the gospels helps us understand the role of Peter and his successors.

In the gospels, Peter enjoys special position in the circle of the twelve. Together with James and John, sons of Zebedee, he constitutes a group of three that stand out among the twelve: they are at the transfiguration, they are near him in the agony of the garden, permitted to see the raising of Jairus' daughter (Mk 9:2; 14:33; 5:37).

Of the three Peter is the spokesman in the transfiguration scene, he is addressed by JEsus in the the garden of Olives. Peter is the one who attempts to walk on the water (Mt 14:28). Peter is given the keys to the kingdom (Mt 16:18). Peter ask how often he should pardon (Mt 18:21).

All of this underlies Peter's ranking in the list of disciples in the gospels as well as in Acts. In the four versions (Mt 10:2-4; Mk 3:16-19; Lk 6:14-16; Acts 1:13), which vary in many points of detail but all unamimously name Peter as the head. In Matthew's account, Peter is introduced as the "first", the root by which we get "primacy", the term used by the church to speak of the special mission given to Peter, the fisherman from Bethsaida.

The same substance is seen when Mk 1:36 and Lk 9:32 introduce the disciples with the formula "Peter and those with him."

It is Jesus who changes Simon Peter's name to "Cephas" or "rock". Simon is the first to confess Jesus as the Christ and the first witness of the Resurrection, becomes the "rock" that stands against the impure tide of unbelief and its destruction of man.

"Jesus replied, Blest are you Simon son of John! No mere man has revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. I for my part declare to you, you are Rock, and on this rock I will build my church, and the jaws of death(gates of hell) shall not prevail against it. I will entrust to you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you declare bound on earth shall be bound in heaven; whatever you declare loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Matthew 16:17-19

May we pray for the Pope, allow the Pope to teach and guide us in the way of Christ.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Acts 9:1-20; Psalm 117 Go out to all the world and tell the Good News; John 6:52-59

Today we read the conversion story of St. Paul tied together with the Bread of Life discourse of John 6.

Wouldn't it be great if conversion were as simple as units of measurements?

As we read the conversion story of St. Paul there are few things that stand out.

1)Paul was "breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord. He was not a friendly as they might say in the military. He was an enemy, a vicious zealous one at that. He knew what he wanted and how to go about getting it done. No Christian was going to be left standing in his wake, for he wanted to drag them all "back to Jerusalem in chains.'

2)The conversion took place with God's initiative. God acts from without to bring about a conversion,a change from within. It was a light that struck him. God always comes in brightness, in light.

3)The conversion was not immediate. It took a few days. It was not an isolated event. Paul was invited to go to be with the disciples. The individual conversion is always a communal reality. One is converted not for his own sake and not simply on his own but always in communion with those who believe.

4)Ananias, a disciple wasn't thrilled about helping Saul. He was ready to write him saul off as an enemy and be done with him. He questioned God but heeded God as well. Often we will write people off, yet we must remember the strength of God is greater than our own.

5)The conversion of Saul also brought about a deeper conversion for Ananias. He was led into a deeper insight into the ways of God through the experience with Saul.

How often have we resisted the possibility of grace working in the lives of those we consider not worthy of it? How often have we recognized scoundrels in our society and question the authenticity of their conversion? How often have we thought to ourselves, how dare God?

Yet when in doubt of the ability of God to work in the lives of others, all we have to do is look in the mirror and be awe of how God chooses to work in us. If we can have a conversion then anyone can have a conversion, let us not forget.

When we think about Saul and we look to the Eucharist there is a statement of reality awaiting: If Jesus can awaken Saul to a new life, if he can awaken us to new life, can he not make the Eucharist the bread of life for all.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

what do we choose

John 6:44-51

A word from St. Augustine

"There is not one who does not love something, but the question is, what to love. The psalms do not tell us not to love, but to choose the object of our love. But how can we choose unless we are first chosen? We cannot love unless someone has loved us first. Listen to the Apostle John:We love him, because he first loved us. The source of man's love for God can only be found in the fact that God loved him first. He has given himself as the object of our love, and he has also given us its source. What this source is we may learn from the apostle Paul who tells us: the love of God has been poured into our hearts. This love is not something we generate ourselves; it comes to us through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

At the mass we invoke that same Holy Spirit to come upon the gifts we bring, the bread and the wine. There by the power of God's spirit the bread and wine by the words of consecration are transformed and the object and source of love is made present, Christ himself.

The words of St. John are fulfilled again: He first loved us. Love desires to be close to the object of its love. Love always wants to close the gap, shorten the distance, to be as close as possible.

In the Eucharist, Jesus comes not just near to us, but he comes to be within us.

The same Christ that cured the sick, made the lepers whole; the same Christ that taught on the mountain and walked on the water; the same Christ who bore the cross and was crucified; the same Christ that has wounds in his hands and feet and side; the same Christ that was taken from the cross and laid in the tomb; the same Christ that is risen and fully alive and ascended into heaven; the same Christ now comes from the altar and is laid to rest in the palm of our hands, begging to enter our heart.

The same Christ who showed us the Father's love, comes to show us again each time we gather to remember and make present his sacrifice, his victory, his presence among us. Each time we say "Amen" to the words "The body of Christ" that new and vibrant love comes personally to make his dwelling within us.

"There is not one who does not love something, but the question is, what to love."

In the Eucharist, the bread of life, God chooses us again. What do we choose?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

bread of life

John 6:35-40

"I am the bread of Life."

A word on the Eucharist from Pope Benedict

"Jesus died praying, and in the abyss of death he upheld the first commandment and held on to the presence of God. Out of such death springs this sacrament, the Eucharist...

The Eucharist is the sacrament of those who have let themselves be reconciled by God, who have become members of his family and put themselves into his hands...

Jesus in dying shows himself to be the one who brings us all into the Father. He institutes a communion of God and man; he opens the door that we could not open for ourselves...

The Lord gives himself to us in bodily form. That is why we must respond to him bodily...our religion, our prayer, demands bodily expression. Because the Lord, the Risen One, gives himself in the body, we have to respond in soul and body. All the spiritual possibilities of our body are necessarily included in celebrating the Eucharist: singing, speaking, keeping silence, sitting, standing, kneeling, marching."

The bread of life is the door to new life. Every time we say "Amen", Jesus brings us to the Father and we share the communion he shares for all eternity. As we stretch out our hands and receive, we enter into that communion of the Father and the Son that opens the door to new life. In the palm of our hands, not only do we hold communion, we enter into communion and thus we are no longer lost but found within that meeting place in the Blessed Trinity.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Acts 7:51-8:1; Psalm 31 Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit; John 6:30-35

"sir, give us this bread always." Jesus said, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst."

The longing of the human heart is for security; the human heart wants certainty, wants to grab hold and hold fast, wants to know something or someone will be there and make the way we go filled with a the presence of hope.

"give us this bread always."

How often have we spoke these words or expressed this sentiment of humanity's deep longing?

When couples say "I do" are they not expressing this same sentiment, a desire for security and certainty no matter the mystery of tomorrow? Are they not looking for that faithful love that will see them through? Are they not expressing to each other that they want the bread of love to be always in their midst? Is this not why they get married, so that they may guard and keep the love they have found in each other? Is it not meant to be "always" and forever.

Do we not also do this when we make vows as religious? Are not we desiring that fervor and that security discovered in the call to remain always? Is this not why we wear the habit and join the community? Have we not found that security and certainty that had escaped us in the world?

Do we not also seek this in ordination? When we make our vows and promise obedience to the bishop as priest, have we not found security in the vocation we discerned? The vows and the promises are meant to fortify the security, strengthen our certainty, give us courage for the journey ahead. We wear the black to remind ourselves that true security comes from another who is more lasting and real.

Every commitment, every promise, every vow, every "I do" spoken in this world is meant to be an expression of that security we have found and that security we hold on to as we journey the path before us. Our human heart knows where to find that secure place where certainty abounds in all circumstances.

Strange to think that we must give ourselves completely for security to truly take over. We cannot hold back, we cannot ride the fence. We must let go and dive in, only then is security and certainty a gateway to always and forever.

Is this not the Eucharist? Jesus comes as the bread of life. He comes giving everything. He holds nothing back. He makes a commitment, a promise, a vow, "I will be with you always" and is this not fulfilled in the place where the light is always burning as a reminder of that bread that is with us always. The security and certainty the human heart longs for finds it perfect meeting in the bread of life, the eucharist that is given, the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus, who comes to nourish us, "always."

Though our human attempts are often filled with failure and weakness, the strength of God remains true to himself and the bread remains the bread of life, the bread of certainty, the bread of security.

The Eucharist is the answer, an answering presence to the longing of the human heart for security and certainty, "give us this bread always!" In deed, "always" is made present every time we say "amen."

"Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, happy are those who are called to his supper."

"Lord, I am not worthy but only say the word and Is hall be healed."

quote from The Elegance of the Hedgehog a fiction novel:

"Thinking back on it, this evening, with my heart and my stomach all like jelly, I have finally concuded, maybe that's what life is about: there is a lot of despair, but also the odd moment of beauty, where time is no longer the same. It is as if those strains of music created a sort of interlude in time, something suspended, an elsewhere that had come to us, an always within never...we must search for those moments of always within never. Beauty, in this world."

The Eucharist is the always within the never of our lives.

Monday, April 19, 2010

loving goodness

acts 6:8-15; Psalm 119 Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord; John 6:22-29

Jesus responds to the question, "what can we do to accomplish the works of God" with this simple answer, "This is the work of God, to believe in the one he sent."

This is the work of God, to believe in the one he sent.

What does it mean to believe?

Believing is the human response to God's initiative.

God doesn't want us to react to him, he wants us to respond to him and what he has revealed.

To believe means to accept God's plan of loving goodness as the Catechism tells us.

To believe means to acknowledge that God has spoken, he has communicated his goodness to us.

Our God comes he keeps silence no longer.

That plan of loving goodness finds its climax, its culmination, its strength and concentration in Jesus.

Jesus is the fulfillment of God's plan of loving goodness.

Our belief is not just private but it is part of a heritage of faith that has been passed down through sacred scripture and sacred tradition.

The deposit of faith has spread far and wide.

Sacred scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit.

Sacred tradition is the transmission in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit and passed down through the successors who faithfully, preserve, expound, and spread it abroad.

The transmission and interpretation of God's revelation invokes our belief and human response of faith, a personal adherence of man to God.

Faith is grace, a gift from God.
Faith is a human act, an authentic human act engaging our intellect and our will thus we assent.
Faith is certain because it is founded on authority of God.
Faith seeks understanding and grows in its understanding.
Faith and reason go hand in hand.
Faith must be freely given; we are bound in conscience to follow but not coerced.
Faith is necessary; believing in Jesus is necessary for salvation.
Faith requires perseverance, it can be lost.
Faith requires nourishment on the word of God, in the sacraments, in prayer, in life lived in charity.
Faith enables us to taste in advance the light of the beatific vision; faith is the beginning of eternal life here on earth.
Faith is communal; I believe joins the voice of we believe.
Faith is one: believe in the one he sent: Jesus is Lord.

All of this together makes us full participants of God's plan of loving goodness.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

place of origin, place of encounter

Acts 5:27-41; Psalm 30 I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me; Rev 5:11-14; John 21:1-19

This past week I made a little trip to Houston. I went to visit a couple that is helping us get ready for WYD in Madrid, 2011. They are helping with travel, transportation, hotel and all that stuff.

This couple had never been to Houston before, so I was going to meet with them, take them to dinner and show them around a bit.

I gave them a mini tour of Houston, some hotspots I thought that were worthy experiencing.

On of the hotspots was the seminary, where I had spent 5 years of my life prior to being ordained.

When we drove up to the seminary, I was flooded with memories of times past. I pointed out the dining hall, the gym, the classrooms, the dormitories and the like. I couldn't help but think of the many meals, the fellowship, the studies, the laughs that the seminary provided those 5 years of my life. The last stop on the tour was the chapel.

When we opened the door to the chapel and walked in, instantly I felt transported to another time. This place was the place of origin.

This was the place I spent hours in prayer trying to figure out if God was truly calling me to be a priest. It was also the place I learned to serve at the altar as an acolyte, proclaim the word as a lector. It was the place I preached my first homily as an ordained minister.

I felt has if I was in that time all over again. The place of origin became a place of encounter. I could re experience those moments of joy, struggle, grace. It was a moment of renewal.

The place of origin became a place of encounter.

This happens to all of us.

Couples who revisit the place of their first date or first kiss describe similar experiences. They can tap into that moment of grace and be renewed.

I know a couple who each year goes back to the place of their proposal. The place where he knelt on one knees and held the ring, asked the question, and waited for her yes. The couple says it helps them recapture the magic and keep their love alive and fresh.

The place of origin becomes a place of encounter, a place of strength and renewal.

Today's gospel we encounter Peter and the apostles at the sea of Tiberias. The question is why?

Why are they at this sea, on this shore?

The Sea of Tiberias is part of the Sea of Galilee. The sea of Galilee is the place of origin. IT is the place in which Peter and the Apostles met Jesus for the first time. It is the place where they heard the words that would change their life for ever, "come, follow me."

Here they were invited to an intimate sharing of that living communion with Jesus.

But for the Apostles it was not enough to be in the place. They felt that if they were doing what they were doing then, perhaps it would deepen their experience. So, they go into the boat and went fishing. It was a Deja vu experience.

They wanted to recapture the magic, the moment of grace. They wanted to re experience that first encounter and perhaps gain new insight, new strength, new direction for their life.

The gospel reminds us to also go back to our original experience of Jesus in our life. We are called to use it a source of grace and refreshment and renewal throughout our life. Each encounter with Jesus is never met to be just a past experience but an experience we can bring into the present moment and draw strength for tomorrow.

And while they were fishing, it happen like before.

Jesus stands on the shore and guides them, "cast your net to the other side." These were the first words of Jesus to the Apostles on their first encounter. He told then to cast to the other side.

The place of origin becomes a place of encounter and has a lasting impact.

The beloved disciple recognizes Jesus and Peter responds by jumping into the sea.

Why does Peter Jump into the sea?

At first glance we think it is because of his excitement and enthusiasm to greet the Lord. but n fact, the enthusiasm is founded on self shame. Peter has a secret that only he and Jesus share knowledge.

Peter remembers his denial, three times that night JEsus was arrested. Perhaps he swims to JEsus to get to him before the others and try to make amends before the others find out what a coward he really was. The enthusiasm of shame is a great motivated.

How often have we been in those shoes. How often have we tried to secretly right a wrong hoping our friends or family don't find out?

Jesus doesn't rub Peter's nose in it. Jesus doesn't beat him over the head. Jesus gives him the opportunity to make amends with a simple question: "Simon, son of John, do yu love me more the these...Feed my lambs."

Jesus invites people to show his love, to set aside the apologies, set aside the shame and just get busy with letting love lead the way of healing.

Feed my sheep, tend my lamps, feed my sheep.

Three times, Jesus invites Peter to undo what he did and allow the denial be turn into love in service.

The encounter with Jesus is always met to take our denial and turn it, transform it into loving service. The true and authentic means of Identifying a real encounter: does the denial we make in our lives become an opportunity to love in service others.

The place of origin becomes a place of encounter and again we are invited to follow him, He will show us what love is suppose to be.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Catholic urban legend I

What is an urban legend?

Urban legends has nothing to do with facts. They play on events to create an alternate reality that tells a story that better fits our perceptions or prejudices. They play on the crowd mentality.

There are too many to recount. One of them is the "kidney Heist" where unsuspecting travelers wake up in the morning only to discover that a kidney is missing.

Where there are Catholic Urban legends as well.

The first Catholic Urban Legend

The Crusades

Many say that the crusades were an unwarranted European invasion of an innocent Islamic people instigated by Pope Urban II in 1095.

The simple historical fact is that the Crusades announced by Pope Urban II was actually an answer to urgent plea from the Eastern Byzatine emperor for assistance against an Islamic invasion from the Seljuk Turks. The turks had overrun Armenia and threatened Constantinople itself.

The Eastern imperial army had been virtually destroyed at the battle of Manzikert in 1071. In 1095, representatives from the Eastbegged for assistance to ward off the Seljuk Turks and to ensure safe passage would remain to the Holy Land for Western Pilgrims.

The Holy Father agreed and issued a call to rescue eastern Christendom from Islamic invasions.

The crusades were not a Church-ordered attack on innocent people. They were a direct response to the invasion of the Byzantine Empire by the Seljuk Turks.

They were a rescue mission.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

da Vinci

Acts 5:27-33; Psalm 34 The Lord hears the cry of the poor; John 3:31-36

Today we celebrate the birth of Leonardo da Vinci, famous for many things but especially the Mona Lisa and The last Supper. Though known for his paintings he is also a man of great insight.
Below are a few insights from him:

"I love those who can smile in trouble, who gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles until death."

"People of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happen to things."

"The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions."

"While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die."

"Our Life is made by the death of others."

This last insight reminds me of the first reading of today where Peter mentions the death of Jesus hanging on a tree.

Our life is made by the death of others, by the death of Him. Hanging on a tree. What a death it was. For us What a life to receive.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

timeless insight

Acts 5:17-26; Psalm 34 The Lord hears the cry of the poor; John 3:16-21

Recently I read a novel entitled, "The unoriginal sinner and the Ice-cream God" by John Powers. I picked it up because I liked the title, it was intriguing. Titles do grab the unsuspecting eye and often beckon for a closer inspection.

The book was worth the read. In fact, I find myself going back to it often for its humor and insights.

Here are a few quotes from the book.

"Too bad there aren't any life inspectors. They could come around, look at your life and say, 'Sorry, your life is unsafe for occupancy. You are going to have to tear it down and start over.' Then they would slap a 'condemned' sticker on your forehead and that would be that. all very neat. No decisions to make. Too bad there aren't any of those."

"The human spirit is like a delicate prism of glass. It takes the light of life and reflects it into all sorts of emotional shades."

"Concerning your dilemma with kids, however, I'm working on a solution: inflatable children. On those days when you feel like taking some naive little creature to the zoo, or you feel like having an audience for your life, you just inflate as many kids as you like. For those other times, when you don't feel like getting up in the middle of the night, when you want to eat a quiet dinner, or you're fed up with going to parent-teacher conferences, you just let the air out of them. Inflatable children, however, are a new product and are not yet out on the market. Some parents don't realize this. They think they already have them."

Books are great. How often we draw insight from the many words of wisdom and humor and insight written in the pages! How often we can go back time and time again and discover the insights are never exhausted!

Yet of all the books and all the quotes and insights and bits of wisdom and humor garnered over the years in the many volumes of books purchased or checked out from the library the passage of the gospel of John today seems timeless in its insight for all:

"God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

God the great lover. It is good to hear it again and again lest we forget God's ultimate and primary motivation. Who is God? What is God? How does God? Where is God? Why is God?

All the questions of God find their answer in the reality of his love. God the great lover. Our meaning derives itself from that reality as well. God is the great lover then we are the great beloved. We are the object of that love.

Hear it again. Believe it. Live it.

May the prism of your life receive the light of that love reflect rays to all.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Acts 4:32-37; Psalm 93 The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty; John 3:7-15

"The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the Apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the Apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need."

With great power the Apostles bore witness to the resurrection.

How did they bear witness to the resurrection?

How do we bear witness to the resurrection?

What in our life speaks of our faith in the resurrection?

How did the the early church bear witness?

Simply put, they shared everything. Sounds too simple. Shouldn't the witness of the resurrection be more complicated or more exciting? Shouldn't the dead be raised and the sick be cured?

Is sharing really a witness of the resurrection?


Sharing pulls us our of our self center lives. This is a greater miracle then raising the dead or curing the sick. This is what the original sin was about, the inability to move beyond our self interest. Here in the early church we see the power of God manifested in the ability to share, to make room for the other.

What a witness.

Just as God makes room for us in Christ, so we now are empowered to make room for others. Just as God shared his wealthy with humanity in Christ so we are called to share our wealth with others. Sharing is essential for it draws its meaning not in what we do for one another but in what God has done for us.

Simple. Beautiful. Effective.
Share and bear witness to the power of Christ, the power of the resurrection.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Acts 4:23-31; Psalm 2 Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord; John 3:1-8

We arrive at a big moment in the life of the early church as we read deeper into the Acts of the Apostles.

Peter and John were arrested and held captive. The scribes and priests were seeking to eliminate the spread of the proclamation of Jesus in the surrounding areas.

It had become for the early church the hour of danger, a time of testing and trials.

What do Peter and John decide to do?

After being arrested, threatened, and warned to preach no more, Peter and John do several things.

First, they remembered what Jesus went through. The memory of Jesus gave them a stronger conviction of the truth of things.

Secondly, they called upon the strength of God. They recognized their own weakness so they invoked the power of God claim hold of their weakness and fill them with the courage and strength necessary to continue the task at hand.

Thirdly, they continued to do what they were commissioned to do, go make disciples of all nations.

Here we experience true fortitude, a cardinal virtue: firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Acts 4:1-12; Psalm 118 The stone rejected by the builders has become the corner stone; John 21:1-14


To dismiss as inadequate or not in accord to one's taste. To find distasteful. To recognize as not meeting the proper standards.

No one likes to be rejected. In the face of rejection the human heart screams for answers, screams for attention, screams for another chance.


Who would have thought that at the center of our faith lies the one who has been rejected.

The one who was considered inadequate, distasteful, not meeting the proper specs or standards rises to the front as the chosen vessel of God's recreating and redeeming love.

Our faith, our hope, our love is centered on the rejected one who stands triumphant.

How thankful we are that our ways are not God's ways and our thoughts are not God's thoughts!

The standard of God stands triumphant again. Only in the hands of God does the rejected become the victor, the chosen, the redeemer, the source of life and love for all.

"The stone rejected by the builders has become the corner stone. By the Lord has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes...let us rejoice and be glad."

Thursday, April 8, 2010

for you

Acts 3:11-26; Psalm 8 O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth; Luke 24:35-48

Yesterday, we read from Acts of the Apostles and we encountered Peter and John meeting the cripple. After a word of blessing, the cripple was made whole and he began to cling to Peter and John and also jump around praising God in great excitement for the cure.

The commotion of the healing caused quite a scene and people began to gather around them.

As the people gathered, Peter seized the moment as an opportunity to preach to all what has happened.

Peter recounts all that God had done and all that has happened in Jesus, the Christ.

To sum up all the wonder of God's mighty deeds he ends with this statement:

"for you first, God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning each of you form your evil ways."

For you...

Why does God do what he does? Why does God enduring the suffering and death of his son? Why does Jesus continue to bear the marks of the crucifixion even after the resurrection? Why does God seek to fulfill the scriptures and bring to fulfillment his plan from eternity?


Simple answer: For you!

For you, God raised Jesus and sent him to bless you!

What a statement!
This we can meditate on for all eternity and draw strength and goodness continually.

For you and to bless you, Jesus is sent.

What a gift!

We have always been at the center of God's attention.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

stay with us

Acts 3:1-10; Psalm 105 Rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord; Lk 24:13-35

What does it mean to profess faith in the resurrection? What does it mean for the the eleven to proclaim, "That the Lord has truly been raised and appeared to Simon?"

First it means that we profess faith in the real power of God that is not limited by the laws of nature. It is power that truly liberates.

In the resurrection Jesus has not just returned from the dead like some sort of animated corpse. He has not been called back to earthly life like the widow' son of Nain or Lazarus.

The resurrection is not an overcoming of clinical death.

As believers we still must taste death, but we do not die.

In the resurrection the finality of death is dead. In the resurrection we celebrate new life.

The resurrection is a beginning of a new reality that is beyond our senses. Jesus after the resurrection no longer belongs to the world of senses and thus this explains why he is not recognized but only can be seen by those to whom it is granted.

Jesus is alive but it is a new kind of life because there enters the world a new kind of love, a love that is stronger than death, a love that is death to death itself.

This new kind of love seen in Jesus brings a new reality into the created world.

Jesus thus becomes accessible in a new way, no longer by way of the senses but through the sense and beyond them and this is why He is made known in the breaking of the bread.

The Eucharistic presence now stands as the testimony in time to this new life that is made possible by that love that is stronger than death. Thus, God makes possible the request, "stay with us he went in and stayed with them."

In the Eucharist, Jesus comes in to us and stays with us and makes present in our time this new life and this new love that has entered the world by the creative word of God himself.

Faith in the resurrection is a profession of the real existence of God and that real existence is made present in the breaking of the bread.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Acts 2:14,22-33; Psalm 16 Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope; Matt 28:8-15

The psalm today: Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.

1 Peter 1, "Praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, he who in his great mercy gave us new birth; a birth unto hope which draws its life from the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."

We read in today's gospel that "Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce the news to his disciples."

Why was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary fearful?

When they arrive on the scene, there was a mighty earthquake, and the angel of the Lord descended and rolled back the stone. His appearance resembled a flash of lightning and his garments were as dazzling snow. And the angel spoke, "...he has been raised exactly as he promised."

"he has been raised exactly as he promised."

What beautiful words spoken from the lips of the angel!

Thus begins a life of hope for all who believe.

In the words of St. Paul in the letter to the Hebrews 10:31, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

Truly an awe inspiring experience that brings abundant hope into life.

May we let that hope be fuel in our life and direct our heart to the change that is necessary.

We have a God who keeps his promises and that makes all the difference.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Good Friday

When we think of Jesus we can surmise from reading the gospel that Jesus was a man of many things.

He was a priest and a prophet. He was a healer. He was the son of God. He was the son of man.
He was a leader. He was a king. He was a servant. There are many titles we can give Jesus. There are many titles spoken of in the Old Testament that seek to identify who Jesus is.

Of all the titles and ways of identifying JEsus, there is one that is often overlooked.

Jesus was all the above and more. Jesus was also a preacher.

Jesus preached. It is the one thing he did continually. Every moment and every time was an opportunity to proclaim the message. Jesus wasted no opportunity.

Everything was a possible pulpit for him to preach.

Jesus used the bark of a boat to preach forth as he was upheld by the sea.
He used a mountain top as people gathered at his feet.
He used a whip in his hand in the temple as he chased out the money changers as a moment to proclaim the message.

He preached in the streets in the cities and even on country roads.
He preached in cemeteries and banquet halls.

But of all the places he used to proclaim the message he was sent to make known none was greater than when he mounted the cross on the hill in calvary.

He looked upon his audience. His gaze met their gaze and the message was proclaimed not written in ink but etched in his flesh and blood not proclaimed in words but in silence in that simple gesture of bowing his head and breathing his last.

It remains a sermon that has never been out done. It has echoed through the centuries from generation to another.

We gather on this day to hear it again.

There are some things in life too beautiful to be forgotten.

And that which is most beautiful of all is heard in that simple gesture of quiet surrender: bowing his head he breathed his last.

Hear it again, hear it anew:

Something too beautiful to be forgotten

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Holy Thursday

Words from St. Augustine...

"Dear brothers, the Lord marked out for us the fullness of love that we ought to have for each other. He tells us, no greater love than the man who lays down his life for his friends. In these words, the Lord tells us what the perfect love we should have for one another. John, the evangelist who recorded them, draws the conclusion in one of his letters: as Christ laid down his life for us, so we too ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. We should indeed love one another as he loved us, he who laid down his life for us.

This is surely what we read in Proverbs: If you sit down to eat at the table of a ruler, observe carefully what is set before you; then stretch out your hand, knowing that you must provide the same kind of meal yourself.

What is this ruler's table if not the one at which we receive the body and blood of him who laid down his life for us? What does it mean to sit at this table if not to approach it with humility? What does it mean to observe carefully what is set before you if not to mediate devoutly on so great a gift? What does it mean to stretch out your hand, knowing that the one must provide the same kind of meal oneself, if not just what I have said: As Christ laid down his life for us, so we in our turn ought to lay down our lives?

This is what is meant by providing "the same kind of meal." This is what the blessed martyrs did with such burning love. If we are to give true meaning to our celebration of their memorials, to our approaching the Lord's table in the very banquet at which they were fed, we must, like them, provide "the same kind of meal."

In the words of Jesus, "take this all of you and eat it, this is my body given up for you...take this all of you and drink, this is my blood shed for many."

Observe carefully what is set before you. As you stretch forth to receive from this spread know that you must give in return lest you receive in vain and does disdain the gift laid before all.

As we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist here are few words from Pope Benedict:

"The Eucharist means God has answered: the Eucharist is God as an answer, as an answering presence."

If the Eucharist is the answer, then what is the question. The question is ultimately what is happiness, how are we to truly discover happiness, the very happiness we long for?

As we proclaim in the celebration of the Eucharist on the lips of the priest, "happy are those who are called to his supper." Here we proclaim as one, "Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed."

Only say the word and I shall be healed, made whole, rejoice in happiness that is lasting.

The word that heals is the Eucharist pressed upon the lips of Jesus, "take and eat...take and drink."

Today we celebrate the institution of the word that heals us and brings us happiness.

The Lord's supper is spread before us, come to the table and have your fill.