Saturday, July 31, 2010

st ignatius of Loyola: ad majorem Dei gloria

Today on this fine saturday we celebrate the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, who happens to be one of the patron saints for the upcoming World youth day.

He is, as they might say, a big gun in the church, especially having been raised to the honor roll, the highest honor roll, canonized a saint for the ages, a heavenly helper for intercessory prayer.

St. Ignatius, the spanish saint, is the founder of the Jesuits, that motely crew that was supoosed to be the right arm of the Pope in preaching and teaching and sanctifying.

Thoguh the Jesuits have been through some tough times, St. Ignatius remains steadfast in his prayer for us all.

The saint is known for the little saying, Ad Majorem Dei Gloria, for the greater glory of God. This was the call sign he used to determine whether he should give his life to something, a particular task or decision or not.

If it gave glory to God then he would dive right in. This was his way of discerning his course of action in life. And we see where it got him...there is a St. in front of his name which is far better than any other prefixes w emight imagine or desire.

Today most people rather than saying and thinking and praying ad majorem Dei gloria go around mumbling to themselevs ad majorem mei gloria, be it to my greater glory and thus we find ourselevs in quite the pickle of a society or should I say the brine, vinegary and salty, not unlike Sodom and Gomorrah.

Oh yes that famous passage from Sacred Scripture, words from the lips of our saviour come to mind, "remember the wife of Lot."

She too thought it best to go through life with the call sign, "ad majorem Mei gloria...(Genesis 19:15-26).

The choice is ours as it always his. Our Heavenly Father will not take that choice from us but our choices do have consequences. The question is will those conseuence lead the greater glory of God for only then will we arrive at true glory itself.

Ad Majorem Dei Gloria (might make a great tatoo but i know for a fact it makes for a greater life lived.)

Friday, July 30, 2010

life of a prophet

Jeremiah 26:1-9;Psalm 69 Lord, in your great love, answer me;Matthew 13:54-58

The words spoken to Jeremiah, "Whatever I command you, tell them, and omit nothing. Perhaps they will listen and turn back, each from his evil way..."

What was the people's response to the words of Jeremiah, ""you must be put to death!"

The life of the prophet was never a life of luxury. The intimacy they had with God was often at a price. In order to bear the burden of such intimacy and such closeness with God they often forfeited close ties with others, often forfeited a life of "normalcy."

How often in our life we long for closeness with God; we all want spiritual consolation and that "feeling" of closeness that lingers but how many of us want to pay the price of admission into that closeness. How many of us are sincere and genuine in our willingness to surrender a life of "normalcy" for love of God and his love for his people.

Intimacy with God is free but it is not cheap. Grace, the gift of God himself, is free but it to is not cheap. We, in our modern spiritual search, have unfortunately cheapen grace, cheapen the experience of God's closeness, cheapen that which was once so sacred and made it commercialized.

Today, every one wants a spiritual life that you can go to local dollar store and pick up like an extra pack of batteries or gallon of milk. We treat retreats and stuff like markets where everything is at our finger tips. Life changing experiences seem to be a dime a dozen. We have all forgotten that anything worthy having comes at a price. We all fail to follow through, we all lack the resolve of the prophet who risk his life for the taste of God.

We must surrender our life of normalcy. The prophets hold to our eye the truth of just how much intimacy with God cost. He gives us his life but he takes our life with him.

We can no longer cheapen spiritual consolation. It isn't something to gain by a mere weekend or a few days, rather it is a journey of a life time where day in and day out we speak those words of God omitting nothing and we stand erect, we stand firm, and let the people seek our life and cry for our death because in the end the closeness and intimacy of God has already killed us anyway, in that closeness we have died to self and live for him alone.

In the end we are not responsible for people's willingness to listen but we are responsible for speaking the words. Perhaps they will listen but let us never say "perhaps" we will speak. Speak we must and what will follow will follow.

The life of prophet is our baptismal gift from God himself.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

domestic servants

St. Martha of great fame when it comes to the bible especially her encounter with Jesus and her sister Mary who sat and listened while she was busy serving.

Martha is the patron of domestic servants, homemakers, housewives, servants, laundry workers, cooks, dietitians and anyone else who lives with their hands dirty and their brow filled with sweat.

It is on this woman's lips, this woman of toil and labor, that St. John places the dynamic profession of faith, "I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world."

Martha's profession is a victory for all. She shows us that you do not need to be highly educated or have a degree in theology in order to understand divinely revealed truths. All you need to do is open your home and give Jesus a place to rest. All Martha did was give Jesus a chance and extended her hand in hospitality.

Truth often comes to the simple of heart, those down to earth. Her faith can be our faith and this is a cause of great rejoicing.

We remember all homemakers, housewives, domestic servants, cooks and the like today. We thank them for their service and most of all we thank them for their faith. Through their lives the door has been opened for Jesus to come in and sit awhile.

Often faith comes through them to us...we have all benefited from them in our life and we should praise them today.

A special nod to my mother, my homemaker and domestic servant and cook.
Thank you Mom for giving me faith by the way you took care of the home, perhaps it was there my calling to the priesthood began to take shape.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

treasure hunt

Jeremiah 15:10,16-21; Psalm 59 God is my refuge on the day of distress; Matthew 13:44-46

"The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."

Treasure: what a beautiful word. The instant the word "treasure" is pressed upon our lips, our heart seems to jump and the young child in us all gets excited.

How many times in our childhood did we imagine finding a "treasure?" How many times did we draw up our own "treasure map" where the proverbial X marked the spot?

Treasure always pokes the inner child awake and invites him to come out and play...

Jesus in the gospel pokes the inner child in us all as he describes the kingdom as a buried treasure that once was hidden for the ages only to be found.

In deed our entire life is a treasure hunt. We are all in search of the treasure that will stoke our joy and invite great laughter as we leap upward with excitement.

It makes me think of my little nephews...

My sister in law loves to go to garage sales. Thus, my nephews have grown up looking through other people's trash in hopes to find something of value.

The other day they were showing me what they discovered: a box of old screws, a tin can of oil for gears, and a old pipe for tobacco with its own carrying case.

They were excited and thrilled. They thought they hit the jackpot, treasure found and joy to be had.

For them each time they go to a garage sale they think of the treasure that is waiting to be discovered. They see joy, they see hope, they leap with anticipation as they venture forth.

But also, they never simply hide what they find. They insist on showing it off. They what other people to share in their joy, the joy of discovery. True treasure demands to be shown off and revealed to others; it can never be hidden away out of sight.

What if we were to embrace each day as my nephews embrace the garage sale? What if we saw it as a treasure hunt where each new face and each new encounter was going to lead us to that "X" that marks the spot?

This is the invitation of Christ. Each day, each face, each event brings us one day closer to the fullness of treasure, the pearl of great price himself.

Nothing else will do. Sell everything indeed. What else is there left but to get rid all the stuff and make room for the pearl that will never lose value.

When you find it, show it off. How do you show off to others the treasure you have in Christ? What sets you apart and what sets off Christ so that others may experience him in you?

May today be a treasure hunt where Christ leads us on our way one person, one moment at a time.

Words from Pope Benedict

"Love is an extraordinary force that leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace. It is a force that ha sits origin in God, Eternal love and absolute truth."

A force that leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field...

Is this not what the man in the gospel does....

Courageous and generously he engages in the field...the treasure hunt is on.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The other Mary

Jeremiah 2:1-3,7-8,12-13; Psalm 36 With you is the fountain of life, O Lord; JOhn 20:1-2,11-18

We are all aware of the importance of the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus. How she was sinless and free from concupiscence throughout her life, never losing her integrity as one who was filled with grace from the moment of her conception.

She is the Lady of ladies. The one who perfectly cooperated with the work of redemption in bringing forth the Incarnate Word himself, JEsus born into the world from her womb to the manger, to the cross, opening heaven for all.

Mary Magdalene, whose feast we celebrate today, could easily be described as the one who started differently, way different.

She is the one who is described as having seven demons cast from her. Only God knows the dark past she lived up until that point. But somehow in the midst of her sinfulness and her life removed from grace, she discovers redemption in Christ. HEr past does not determine her future.

She is restored, renewed, by the encounter she has with Christ. Grace is omnipotent. She goes from having a dark nasty past that would make most blush in shame and horror to the one who is given the privilege of being the first witness of the resurrection as we read in the gospel of John.

God never quit on her and more importantly she never quite on God.

In Mary the mother of God we encounter perfection and the beauty of Grace. In Mary Magdalene we see the power of grace pull humanity from its sin and introduce a new life, a new beginning, a new start.

Both Mary's are important. The Blessed Virgin Mary's 'yes' to God makes it possible for the Other Mary to say 'yes' to the invitation Christ offers to all, "bE healed, rise, pick up your mat and walk", and finally "Go to my brothers and tell them, 'I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."

MAry went to announce the resurrection. For she who had been raised her self from the depth of sin and despair had no problem announcing the good news of the one who was raised from death to new life.

Her life was already a witness to the power of the resurrection.

A bit of a poem that makes me think of St. Mary Magdalene

A Desposition by Anne Porter

"And She was strong
Her faith was silent, Sure and Passionate

She'd gladly walk ten miles in any weather
for a taste of God..."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Julius Caesar: "Ah Simplicita!"

Jeremiah 1:1,4-10; Psalm 71 I will sing of your salvation; Matthew 13:1-9

Today we celebrate in the Church the feast of Lawrence of Brindisi, a doctor of the church. LAwrence of course is his religious name. He was named Julius Caesar upon his birth by his father who was quite fond of the Julius Caesar of history.

Julius Caesar became Brother Lawrence of Brindisi in the Franciscan Capuchin novitiate at Verona. He was well known for his gift at preaching. Though reluctant to be ordained a priest he did so out of obedience to his superiors who commanded that he be an ordained minister.

one thing that St. Lawrence is known for outside of his preaching is that he often took a stand for the rights of Catholics and the rights of the Catholic church. It was in Donauwoerth that he began to denounce the authorities for not upholding to the terms of the Peace of Augsburg, which allowed freedom of worship for Catholics in Protestant areas. St. Lawrence boldly scolded the authorities for this reality until the rights of the Catholic minority was secured by military force. This of course led to the Thirty Years War, between the Catholic League and the Protestant Union.

But somethings are worth fighting for...

Here is a lesson we need today as we try to live out our faith especially in what has become a secular society that seeks to denounce the Catholic Faith and the role of Christ in forming that society. We need St. Lawrence's intercession more than ever so that we might have the courage not only to take a stand for our rights but the courage to live our faith no matter the opposition.

Another story of St Lawrence is as follows:

In October of 1601 there was a battle between the Christian army and the Turks. The Christians were greatly outnumbered 60,000 to 18,000 troops. St. Lawrence tried to rally the troops and told them that he would lead them into battle, marching at their head carrying the cross, to fight the enemies of the Cross. HE rode into the thick of the battle holding the Cross aloft, amidst cannon balls, arrows, bullets, scimitars and the like. He went through unscathed with the cross held high.

St. Lawrence teaches us that we can not go through life without a fight. We must learn what is worth fighting for in this life we have received.

One of St. Lawrence's favorite sayings was "Ah, Simplicita!" He simply trusted in Divine providence to lead him through.

Word from St. Lawrence

"Preaching, therefore, is a duty that is apostolic, angelic, Christian, divine. The word of God is replete with manifold blessings, since it is,s o to speak, a treasure of all goods. It is the source of faith, hope, charity, all virtues, all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, all the beatitudes of the Gospel, all good works, all the rewards of life, all the glory of paradise: Welcome the word that has taken root in you, with its power to save you. For the word of God is a light to the mind and a fire to the will. It enables man to know God and to love him. Against the hardness of a heart tat persist in wrongdoing, it acts as a hammer. Against the world, the flesh and the devil it serves as a sword that destroys all sin."

St. Lawrence pray for us that we may have the courage to fight for our faith and fight for the word and allow the word to show us what to fight in this life. Amen

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

casting into the depths

Micah 7:14-15, 18-20; Psalm 85 Lord, show us your mercy and love; Matthew 12:46-50

The prophet's words are quite striking for us today as we gaze at the cross.

Recently, after having gone to confession, the priest that was hearing my confessions (yes, priest do go to confession to other priest. we cannot absolve ourselves. We are priest for others that is how it works) gave me a penance that i had never received before but thought it quite moving.

He asked me to meditate on the five wounds of Christ and for each wound say one "Our Father." As I sat meditating on the wounds in the hands of Christ, the wounds in his feet, the wounds in his side, the wound on the shoulder by which he bore the weight of the cross, and the wounds from the crown of thorns and did not think of the pain Christ endured but rather i began to think about the joy Christ endured.

I could not help but be filled with awe of how each wound on the body of Christ was a measure of the joy the Father had for us.

The wounds bring forth the grace of renewal and restoration and forgiveness. By his wounds, our sins are as Micah tells us, "cast into the depths of the sea" and his "faithfulness is shown."

The wounds are the fountain of joy that comes form the Father in the opportunity of reconciliation won for us in Christ.

The Father rejoices in the gift of the Son for our sake.

Just something to think about. See the wounds as a fountain of joy, as the Father rejoices at the gift of his Son for in his generosity our sins are cast away and communion is restored.

There in his wounds we hear echoed forth the responsorial psalm of today, "Lord, show us your mercy and love" and as we mediate on the wounds of Christ, a sacred head so wounded, we see the mercy and love of the Father for us in Christ.

Monday, July 19, 2010

sunday's readings

genesis 18:1-10; Luke 10:38-42

Just a quick look at yesterday's readings.

The first reading was taken from the life of Abraham found in the book of genesis.

If you remember, Abraham was tending to his house and three strangers came upon him by the terebinth of Mamre. Abraham quickly invited them to stay awhile as he offered them hospitality.

First, the terebinth of Mamre was simply a giant oak tree. It biblical times trees were landmarks. They would use trees to mark where you were and which direction you were headed. They were Landmarks that also provided much need shade for weary travelers.

Abraham meets these strangers and his response toward them is one of generosity. He not only offers them time for rest and relaxation but he slaughtered the calf and kneaded the dough. It was an all day affair.

Why was this done?
Why the slaughtering of the calf, the baking of bread, the lounging under the shade tree?

Abraham saw in the strangers' face the gaze of God.

What a lesson for us?

How often we look past the stranger? How often we treat others like strangers?

How do we offer hospitality to those around us? How are we generous with our time, our possessions, our thoughts when it comes to others?

We may not kill the fatten calf, but wouldn't that kind of generosity begin to change to world?

Secondly the strangers come bearing good news: Sara Abraham's wife was to be with child.

How often have we chased people away without giving them time to speak a good word from God himself?

See the gaze of God in the stranger's face.

the strangers' message is also note worthy.

they tell abraham that Sara will have a child the following year.

at first glance that sounds great. But, At the time the message is shared, Sara is 90 years old. In fact the very next line of the reading, Sara is laughing when she hears the message. She is in disbelief that God would give her a child in her old age.

Imagine being a woman of 90 and discovering the reality that a baby is on his way? Wouldn't that be quite a conversation between husband and wife!

The reading invites us to suspend our expectations when it comes ot God's plan and God's ability to work in our life. We must learn to be generous in giving God the opportunity to work in our life as he sees fit. We can not control his power or might.

This is what true hospitality is all about. Learning to be generous in allowing God's generosity to take the form he desires.

One thing to remember is that God wants to stir our life up. He doesn't want us to grow stagnant. He will reach fro heaven and intervene often. Many things that are unwanted or unwarranted or unsuspected in our life God can use for a greater good, to shake us up to allow him in.

Nothing ever goes to waste in the hands of God.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Yoke of Christ

Isaiah 26:7-9,12,16-19; Psalm 102 From heaven the Lord looks down on earth; Matthew 11:28-30

Quote from St. Bonaventure, whose feast we celebrate as doctor of the church

"Lord, Jesus Christ, pierce my soul with your love that I may always long for you alone, who are the bread of angels and the fulfillment of the soul's deepest desires. May my heart always hunger for you, so that my soul may be filled with the sweetness of your presence."

Today Jesus in the gospel invites us to carry his yoke, "take my yoke upon yourself, for my yoke is easy my burden light."

What is the yoke of Christ?

Jesus came into the world to give us the grace of renewal and conversion. Came to set us free. But before he could do that he had to carry our burden of sin and fault. JEsus teaches us how to bear the burden of another's sins. JEsus teaches us how to deal with the faults of others.

By suffering the sins of others; by bearing with our faults he teaches us the mercy of God. He tolerates our faults so has to bring us the grace of conversion.

This is his yoke.

May we learn to bear it as well and thus in God's good grace bring that conversion to others. It is the goodness of God that keeps us running the race of faith, struggling along side by side in his gentle embrace.

Ultimate the yoke of Christ is the love he has for his father and the love he has for us; this is what keeps him steadfast in standing in the mercy of God with arms outstretched.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

lily of the mohawks

Isaiah 10:5-7,13-16; Psalm 94 The lord will not abandon his people; Matthew 11:25-27

Today we celebrate the feast of the native american Katera Tekawitha. She received knowledge of Christ at the hands of the JEsuit missionaries in northern US and Canada.

Where would we be without the diligence, perseverance, devotion, and faith of missionaries. Missionaries are the backbone of the Faith. In fact you can say that mission is the skeletal framework upon which faith as muscles and sinews to move and stretch forth and grow tall and erect in the midst of society.

The very foundation of the faith is rooted in mission activity, "Go there fore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the SIn, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded."

The words of Jesus at the great commissioning of the apostles, the words of JEsus to each and every heart in each and every new age continue to be the skeleton of the faith.

How do we live out out missionary commission? How have we spread the gospel today? When have we by our devotion, perseverance, and diligence allowed the gospel message to carry us forth into the world? Where is your spine today? Do you have a backbone?

The only way we can truly begin to transform the society we are living is to pray for the zeal to embrace our missionary task, and then live it forth is all we do.

Thus we can stand erect and tall and proclaim the beauty of faith!

Who knows by our activity perhaps another saint may rise from the soil of the americas that gives God honro and praise with the life received.

We pray that the lily of the mohawks, Katera Tekawitha, may be joined by a multitude of flowers in the garden of saintliness nourished and cultivated by the mission we live today.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

on the move

Just wanted to let everyone know that currently i am in transition. As I move into my new assignment, i will be unable to blog. Though hopefully by the end of this week i will be back at it in full swing.

Just note about yesterdays readings.

In the gospel, Jesus said he came not to bring peace but the sword.

As we hear these words, they should be a bit unsettling. We do call Jesus the prince of peace so what gives with this seemingly hostile saying from the mouth of the one who dies to reconcile us to the father.

Well a good example i think to understand the statement is simply this:

The other day i had a cold soar in my mouth. I went to my mother who told me the best remedy is to put salt directly on the spot of the soar. She warned me it was goign to hurt but it was effective. I reluctanly listened and indeed it hurt. I still can feel the initial pain, the burn of such treatment. Though a few days leter the soar was gone and healed. The peace of healing came after the initial burn of the treatment.

The burn is first the peace comes after the treatment as been aplied.

Just like with wounds, you must pick the scab in order for it to heal. Though it hurts the healing will come.

Initially JEsus comes to disturb us from our sleepfulness. He wants to wake us up, applying the sword to ur sinfulness and folly, only then can we truly enjoy peace.

Then Jesus mentions that Anyone who loves family more than him is not worthy of him. He has come to cause division.

Truht of the matter is that those who mean most to us we are more likely to excuse in misbehavior. This is exactly where JEsus wants to come in and rectify. W emust let his love for us and our love fo rhim purify our love for those who mean the most. Only then can we truly love as we should and be worthy of Christ.

May nothing be more than Christ in our life and truly peace shall flow like a river.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

quantity over quality

Hosea 11:1-9; psalm 80 Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved; Matthew 10:7-15

Prayer is a fascniating, mysterious and often elusive reality in our life. We all want to pray, in fact most of us would agree we should and would like to pray more often.

But the business of life or just our own laziness and attitude toward prayer interferes with praying itself.

We often have the misguided notion that prayer needs to be in a particular place for a fixed amount of time and should leave us with a certain feeling of peace and joy and wrapped in God's sweet embrace.

However, prayer simply put is time spent with God. Time spent with our minds and hearts lifted upward.

When it comes to prayer it is quanity not quality that is important.

We can never judge the quality of our prayer, God alone can judge that fully. But we can make time for God, and make time often throughout our day.

If we Give God time, he will do the rest. This is how we grow in holiness. A little time throughout the day one day at a time.

As St. Augustine suggest, we should have little moments of prayer througout the day, like hurling javelins upward into the heavens that pierce the skies and allows grace to fall down.

When it comes to prayer we should imagine opening a window in our lives and allowing the breath of God to come in and stay awhile, a little freshness to awaken us as we move through the day. A little freshness that keeps our minds and hearts attentive to that which matters most: love of God and love of neighbor.

We should do this often, as St. Paul says, "pray always without ceasing."

Maybe it is spending a minute with a verse from the gospels. Maybe saying a decade of the rosary at different periods of the day. Maybe stopping in at the local church and have a few moments with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament on the way home. Even changing our routine to make this happen is prayer. Maybe a few moments of silence in the car with the radio tuned out and the noise shut off so that God can be tuned in. Of course we should not forget about blessings before meals. Or taking a few moments before we sleep to think about the blessings and challenges we recieved from God that have forced us to think or see differently. Or simply just making the sign of the cross randomly throughout the day or at every hour of the day invoking the blessing of the Trinity to come and fill us.

Little windows opened through out the day, this is what prayer is.
Quantity over quality and this is how we learn to grow in love and learn to walk in his ways. As the psalmist tells us, "open to me the gates of holiness." These gates are windows throughout the day.

Just a few words from St. Ambrose as you continue your journey today.

"Let you door stand open to recieve him, unlock your soul to him, offer him a welcome in your mind, and then you will see the riches of simplicity, the treasures of peace, the joy of grace. Throw wide the gate of your heart, stand before the sun of the verlasting light that shines on every man. This true light shines on all, but if anyone closes his window he will deprive himself of eternal light. If you shut the door of your mind, you shut out Christ..."

Today open a window, keep the door ajar and let the light of Christ come in.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

sloppy seconds

Hosea 10:1-12; Psalm 105 Seek always the face of the Lord; Matthew 10:1-7

Hosea has an interesting perspective for us all. The opening lines of today's first reading should not be overlooked or quickly browsed.

"Israel is a luxuriant vine whose fruit matches its growth. The more abundandt his fruit, the more altars he built; the more productive hsi land, the more sacred pillars he set up. Their heart is false..."

The people of Hosea's time was letting their prosperity determine their faithfulnes. They would judge their loyalty and faithfulness to God based on the productivity of the land or the money in their hands.

Rather than letting God's faithfulness determine their faithfulness, they let money and wealth determine it.

They would give only if they had.

Thus their heart was false.

How often do we do this? How often is our life and love to God fueled by prosperity and wealth and material things?

How often do we base our giving to God only on what we have been given?

Our loyalty to God should not be judged by the money in our hands or the wealth of our bank account or the size of our house or even the extent that we have a job.

We should be loyal period.

This is why Hosea goes on to say we should seek justice and sow real piety. This must be first not second nor an after thought once we are financially secure.

"Sow justice and reap the fruit of real piety."

Our faith, our trust in God, our reaching out to him in the life we live, our surrender of all we have to him, our tithe no matter the amount we have in the bank, all of it must be given to him, first and foremost.

No one wants sloppy seconds; niether does God want sloppy seconds. He deserves better!

Examine your life today! How often is God getting the scraps under the table after we have gorged ourself on delightful dishes? How often do we give him the time that remains rather then the first offering of the day? How often is he just a filler or a second thought rather than the mainstay of our life, attitude, conversation, and thinking.

"reap the fruit of piety...As the Psalmist tells us today, "Look to the Lord in his trength; seek to serve him constantly" and as you go forth into your daily grind of living be sure to proclaim by the lifestyle you embrace, "the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

maria goretti: lamb among wolves

This past Sunday, we read from the gospel of Luke chapter 10 where JEsus sends the 72 out in pairs to proclaim the kingdom of God.

In the midst of the marching orders they recieve about taking no money bag, no sack, no sandals etc. Jesus also says these words, "Behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves."

Like lambs anmong wolves.

Jesus paints no illussion about the world and how the world might respond. In the words of the theme song to the TV Series MONK, it is a jungle out there.

The world can be quite harsh and hostile. St. Maria Goretti helps us understand this relaity, as we look to her life and discover the brutality and hostiltiy she endured at such a young age.

What is most striking is that she refused to become like the world. She did not become a wolf and she chose to remain a lamb.

This is our task as christians. In a world filled with hostility and moral decline we have a choice, we can become like the world and do what everone else is doing and lose our idenitity or we can guard our wool, our holiness, our dependence on God, our innocence and loyalty and love.

We are not responsibile for the hostility of the world but we are responsible for our christian response which is the willignness to suffer in charity and even in charity choose to embrace suffering so as to never become like the wolves.

We may be raised with wolves but we are not raised by wolves rather we are raised and noursihed by the lamb himself who takes away the sins of the world.

He is the one who nourishes us with his willingness to suffer in charity rather than lose his identity.

Behold I am sending you like lambs amongs wolves. Praise God for such a gift. For it is no feat for the wolf to devour the lamb but it is quite a testimant of grace for the lamb to devour the wolf in charity and truth.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

fireworks of faith

Isaiah 66:10-14; Psalm 66 Let all the earth cry out with Joy; Galatians 6:14-18; Luke 10:1-20

Just a few snippets from the readings today that caught my eye or should I say my ear?

"The Lord's power shall be known to his servants." thus says the prophet Isaiah

"Say to God how tremendous are your deeds!,,,come and see the works of God, his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam." Psalm 66

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." St. Paul to the Galatians

"Jesus said, "I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you power to tread upon serpents and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven." Jesus in the gospel of Luke

This weekend I had the great fortune and blessing of presiding at a wedding in San Antonio. The wedding took place in the chapel of the Incarnate Word. The chapel is a true testament of beauty in art and the sacredness that can be in space provided.

The recently renovated chapel was filled with light. Above the sanctuary their hangs Jesus on the cross, though he is resurrected. Beneath his feet is the world, the globe, that is encircled by the crown of thorns.

Most people who look upon the cross admire it yet remain somewhat puzzled as to why the crown of thorns is wrapped around the world and is not on the head of JEsus.

The explanation is as follows: The world continues to experience suffering: suffering of injustice, violence, hatred, inequality, hostility, starvation and the list goes on. All the while the suffering of the world is being transformed and healed by the power of the resurrection that flows through the body of Christ.

We, who are children of Adam, by our new birth in Christ, the new Adam, no longer suffer alone, rather we have access to the power of Christ that seeks to transform and recreate the world a new through his grace and strength. St. Paul speaks of a new creation, a creation that comes through being crucified in Christ.

The suffering we experience in growing in our faith, dying to ourselves, is the suffering that overcomes the suffering of the world. The faith we express in Christ now becomes the fountain of rejuvenation.

With St. Paul, we must learn to bear the marks of Christ in our body, the marks of mercy and love and faithfulness that reach forth to touch and heal a broken world, thus recreating it anew.

As JEsus sends out the seventy-two in the gospel and bring his power into the world, so too we are sent forth to proclaim the kingdom of God by our faith in the Resurrection and by the life we live that is forever crucified to the world. We embrace the cross as the symbol of victory and the crown of thorns that encircles the world and allow the power of faith to bring the healing grace of the resurrection and thus Christ living in us can "raise a fallen world."

Blessed July Fourth to all. May our dependence increase as we celebrate this independence day. May the fireworks of faith from our heart, minds, and lips set the world a blaze and announce the kingdom of God today.

Friday, July 2, 2010


AMos 8; Matthew 9:9-13

When we gather at the Eucharist to celebrate the mystery of God's love, we are invited to bend our ear to hear the story of faith. Routinely we gather bending our ear and listening for a word or phrase that may encourage us or guide us.

We only get snippets at a time of the story of faith though. Each morning we gather we get a few verses that contain a splash of words from Jesus or a glimpse into his lifestyle. Only little stories, one encounter at a time are we allowed to enter with each proclamation of the gospel.

But this is how we live our faith, one moment at a time, one day at a time. Our faith is always a journey of steps never leaps. We get to encounter Christ in every moment and each moment one at a time as our life unfolds. Thus, the gospel we encounter at Mass is meant to mirror our journey of life.

We must decide, like those in the gospel passages, how we will react or respond to each moment and each encounter. Will we follow or will we stand afar? Will we get close or will we stand back? will we rise like Matthew and follow or refuse to hear the call?

In all things we must decide, we must act, we must live one moment at a time!

Just remember this: If you want to guess what someone is doing then run head of him and stay in front, then all you get is a guess or two and you might guess right or guess wrong. But if you want to know someone then stay behind them. Walk where they walk, see what they see, do what they do. Only then will you catch a glimpse into the real person, only then will you get to know them truly.

Thus we live our life with Christ, never in front for we don't want to get ahead of ourselves or especially ahead of Him, but always behind following close, step by step. THis is why JEsus when he calls we hear, "follow me." When we stay behind him then our life will truly become something beautiful for God.

We don't have to figure out. We don't have to guess where it will go. We don't have to be in the know. We simply have to rise and follow where he goes. Ah! the beauty of faith...lived one moment at a time.