Tuesday, January 31, 2012

talitha koum

2 Samuel 18:9-19:3; Ps 86 Listen, Lord, and answer me; Mark 5:21-43

Today we celebrate the memorial of John Bosco. HE was a priest in the 19th century who started the Salesian order, the apostolate to the youth.

HE was tireless in his activity to seek souls and bring them to Christ.

A quote, "Do good while there is still time."

Now for the gospel.

We have the story of the woman who had been afflicted for 12 years. The gospel tells us that she suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and she was not helped but only grew worse.

She was desperate. She was in a bad way in need of something, some kind of hope, some kind of cure, some kind of consolation. She was desperate and on the verge of destitution.

She heard about Jesus, the gospel writer relays to us.

Stop there for a moment. If she heard about Jesus, that means that someone was talking about him. Some one was busy spreading the news.

Imagine the conversation, 'rumor has it that this man can heal the sick.'

Do we spread the news? Do we talk about Jesus? Do we give Jesus the time? Perhaps we should gossip about JEsus to others and let them in on the secret about his power working in our life.

She gets the courage to sneak up behind JEsus to touch him. She doesn't want to be a bother. She doesn't want to be noticed. She just wants to be healed already.

Immediately upon the touch, she is cured and Jesus knows power has gone out of him.

But notice what the disciples say, "You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, Who touched me?"

What was different about this woman's touch then all the others? She wasn't the only one trying to grab Jesus, to get near him, to touch him, to experience wholeness. Yet, her touch was different; her reaching out had a greater meaning than the rest.

This is where we should meditate today. We should think about that touch of the woman as she reached to touch Christ, just his clothes and nothing more.

What made her touch release the power of Christ so that healing could be given?

The words of JEsus ring true to us as an invitation, "Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction."

The reach of faith of the woman sent her life win a new direction. It altered her lifestyle.

When have we touched someone in faith?

OF course the gospel doesn't end there. Jesus still has work to do. The synagogue's official was still waiting, his daughter was still in need.

Upon his arrival, the crowd ridicules JEsus, because of question their great commotion and told them that the girl was not dead but merely asleep.

Jesus unhindered by the crowd who was weeping, goes to the girl.

"Talitha Koum, Little girl, I say to you arise."

Arise she did.

Take some time today to spend with this gospel passage. Enter into it. Be with JEsus as he comes to be with those in need, to be with us in need.

Friday, January 27, 2012

parables, parables, parables

2 Samuel 11:1-17; Ps 51 Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned; Mark 4:26-34

parables, parables, parables. With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it...but to his own disciples he explained everything.

This last line of today's gospel is comforting.

God will speak to us what we need when we need it. We may not get everything, but we will get enough of it to lead us forward a few more paces. In the process of moving forward deeper meaning will come. As we live out our discipleship, them more things will begin to have meaning, we will have arrived at a new layer, a new depth of meaning. The more we follow, the more shall be revealed.

The first parable and the second parable are related. Small things lead to great things. The kingdom is mysterious yet reliable and often very productive. God is faithful and God will act.

We must believe and behave like God will lead us through because he will.

Like the farmer, we know not how the seed grows, we plant it certainly but God then takes over. The fruit shall come and the harvest will arrive.

Like the mustard seed, little things develop over time.

Small beginnings are not terrible but beautiful. Think of food coloring, it is the repeated drops that create the color change. The first drop doesn't do much, but with consistency and patience over time, transformation.

Everything has a beginning, nothing ever merges full grown.

What drops are we adding to the world around us?
Are we believing and behaving like God is in control?

Are we busy with planting seeds, planting them anywhere and everywhere?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

chain reaction

2 Tim 1:1-8; Titus 1:1-5; Ps 96 proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations; Mark 4:21-25

To start with today I have two quotes that have little to do with each other but I find them humorous and insightful nonetheless.

First from author Christopher Hampton, "Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamppost what it feels about dogs."

The second come from Pope Benedict, "The admonition, "be nice to one another", is certainly not to be scorned, but it does not reach the height of the gospel because it spares us the effort of setting out on the way to truth and so of really coming together."

Today is the memorial of the saints Timothy and Titus. These are two companions of Paul who later become bishops in the early church.

Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. Today we look at some of those who who were converted because Paul was converted.

Conversion is meant to be a chain reaction. True faith does not and can not remain isolated to an individual. Faith reaches out and touches those around us. Other people should experience our own conversion and be moved by it.

What is unique about Timothy and Titus is they come from different backgrounds. Timothy was raised by a jewish grandmother and mother, where as, Titus was a gentile through and through. Yet, the grace of Paul's conversion attracted both of them and led them to Christ, for whom they would give their lives fully, completely, tirelessly.

The words of Paul to Timothy are very much words to us as well, "stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. so do not be ashamed of your testimony of the Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake, but bear your share of the hardship of the gospel with the strength that comes from God."

stir into flame the gift of God...now, here is a nice task set before us all. How do you keep the flame of faith alive in your heart and mind? How do you guard the fire burning in your soul? Remember the words of Pope Benedict yesterday, we must develop an eco-system of faith that guards our spiritual lives. Fire needs fuel to burn. How do you fuel your spiritual selves so that you become the lamp that radiates the light of CHrist?

bear your share of the hardships of the gospel with the strength that comes form God...it is true we each have a share in carrying the gospel message. It cannot all fall on the shoulders of the clergy. There are a lot more lay people then there are of us. We expect the clergy and bishops to bear the hardship of the gospel daily, but all of us have to share in that lifting up and proclaiming the gospel.

We have many who claim to follow Christ but refuse to embrace the gospel message. We have many who want to do their own thing and thus the weight of the gospel is even heavier on those few who seek to live it fully and authentically.

we all must find a way to bear our share of the hardship of the gospel. As Benedict tells us there is an effort of seeking the way of truth and lifting the gospel.

It is a chain reaction of faith we seek to get moving. Let us let Christ to use us as a catalyst.

Catalysts that speed of a reaction are called positive catalyst; those that slow down a reaction are called inhibitors; those that increase the reaction of catalyst in reaction are called promoters; that which deactivates the catalyst in reaction isa catalytic poison.

Which are we?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

silence and the word

Acts 22:3-16; Ps 117 Go out to all the world and tell the good news; Mark 16:15-18

Today is the feast of the conversion of St. Paul.

We commerate the the beginning of his transformation from a faithful Jew to a disicple of Christ.

Also, yesterday was world communication day. Pope Benedict gave is message to the world on communication.

Thus, today I include that message with some highlights for meditation.
Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As we draw near to World Communications Day 2012, I would like to share with you some reflections concerning an aspect of the human process of communication which, despite its importance, is often overlooked and which, at the present time, it would seem especially necessary to recall.

It concerns the relationship between silence and word: two aspects of communication which need to be kept in balance, to alternate and to be integrated with one another if authentic dialogue and deep closeness between people are to be achieved. When word and silence become mutually exclusive, communication breaks down, either because it gives rise to confusion or because, on the contrary, it creates an atmosphere of coldness; when they complement one another, however, communication acquires value and meaning.

Silence is an integral element of communication; in its absence, words rich in content cannot exist. In silence, we are better able to listen to and understand ourselves; ideas come to birth and acquire depth; we understand with greater clarity what it is we want to say and what we expect from others; and we choose how to express ourselves. By remaining silent we allow the other person to speak, to express him or herself; and we avoid being tied simply to our own words and ideas without them being adequately tested. In this way, space is created for mutual listening, and deeper human relationships become possible. It is often in silence, for example, that we observe the most authentic communication taking place between people who are in love: gestures, facial expressions and body language are signs by which they reveal themselves to each other. Joy, anxiety, and suffering can all be communicated in silence – indeed it provides them with a particularly powerful mode of expression. Silence, then, gives rise to even more active communication, requiring sensitivity and a capacity to listen that often makes manifest the true measure and nature of the relationships involved. When messages and information are plentiful, silence becomes essential if we are to distinguish what is important from what is insignificant or secondary. Deeper reflection helps us to discover the links between events that at first sight seem unconnected, to make evaluations, to analyze messages; this makes it possible to share thoughtful and relevant opinions, giving rise to an authentic body of shared knowledge. For this to happen, it is necessary to develop an appropriate environment, a kind of ‘eco-system’ that maintains a just equilibrium between silence, words, images and sounds.

The process of communication nowadays is largely fuelled by questions in search of answers. Search engines and social networks have become the starting point of communication for many people who are seeking advice, ideas, information and answers. In our time, the internet is becoming ever more a forum for questions and answers – indeed, people today are frequently bombarded with answers to questions they have never asked and to needs of which they were unaware.

If we are to recognize and focus upon the truly important questions, then silence is a precious commodity that enables us to exercise proper discernment in the face of the surcharge of stimuli and data that we receive. Amid the complexity and diversity of the world of communications, however, many people find themselves confronted with the ultimate questions of human existence: Who am I? What can I know? What ought I to do? What may I hope? It is important to affirm those who ask these questions, and to open up the possibility of a profound dialogue, by means of words and interchange, but also through the call to silent reflection, something that is often more eloquent than a hasty answer and permits seekers to reach into the depths of their being and open themselves to the path towards knowledge that God has inscribed in human hearts.

Ultimately, this constant flow of questions demonstrates the restlessness of human beings, ceaselessly searching for truths, of greater or lesser import, that can offer meaning and hope to their lives. Men and women cannot rest content with a superficial and unquestioning exchange of skeptical opinions and experiences of life – all of us are in search of truth and we share this profound yearning today more than ever: "When people exchange information, they are already sharing themselves, their view of the world, their hopes, their ideals" (Message for the 2011 World Day of Communications).

Attention should be paid to the various types of websites, applications and social networks which can help people today to find time for reflection and authentic questioning, as well as making space for silence and occasions for prayer, meditation or sharing of the word of God.

In concise phrases, often no longer than a verse from the Bible, profound thoughts can be communicated, as long as those taking part in the conversation do not neglect to cultivate their own inner lives.

It is hardly surprising that different religious traditions consider solitude and silence as privileged states which help people to rediscover themselves and that Truth which gives meaning to all things.

The God of biblical revelation speaks also without words: "As the Cross of Christ demonstrates, God also speaks by his silence. The silence of God, the experience of the distance of the almighty Father, is a decisive stage in the earthly journey of the Son of God, the incarnate Word …. God’s silence prolongs his earlier words.

In these moments of darkness, he speaks through the mystery of his silence" (Verbum Domini, 21). The eloquence of God’s love, lived to the point of the supreme gift, speaks in the silence of the Cross.

After Christ’s death there is a great silence over the earth, and on Holy Saturday, when "the King sleeps and God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages" (cf.Office of Readings, Holy Saturday), God’s voice resounds, filled with love for humanity.

If God speaks to us even in silence, we in turn discover in silence the possibility of speaking with God and about God. "We need that silence which becomes contemplation, which introduces us into God’s silence and brings us to the point where the Word, the redeeming Word, is born" (Homily, Eucharistic Celebration with Members of the International Theological Commission, 6 October 2006).

In speaking of God’s grandeur, our language will always prove inadequate and must make space for silent contemplation. Out of such contemplation springs forth, with all its inner power, the urgent sense of mission, the compelling obligation "to communicate that which we have seen and heard" so that all may be in communion with God (1 Jn 1:3).

Silent contemplation immerses us in the source of that Love who directs us towards our neighbours so that we may feel their suffering and offer them the light of Christ, his message of life and his saving gift of the fullness of love.
In silent contemplation, then, the eternal Word, through whom the world was created, becomes ever more powerfully present and we become aware of the plan of salvation that God is accomplishing throughout our history by word and deed.

As the Second Vatican Council reminds us, divine revelation is fulfilled by "deeds and words having an inner unity: the deeds wrought by God in the history of salvation manifest and confirm the teaching and realities signified by the words, while the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them" (Dei Verbum, 2).

This plan of salvation culminates in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the mediator and the fullness of all revelation. He has made known to us the true face of God the Father and by his Cross and Resurrection has brought us from the slavery of sin and death to the freedom of the children of God. The fundamental question of the meaning of human existence finds in the mystery of Christ an answer capable of bringing peace to the restless human heart. The Church’s mission springs from this mystery; and it is this mystery which impels Christians to become heralds of hope and salvation, witnesses of that love which promotes human dignity and builds justice and peace.

Word and silence: learning to communicate is learning to listen and contemplate as well as speak. This is especially important for those engaged in the task of evangelization: both silence and word are essential elements, integral to the Church’s work of communication for the sake of a renewed proclamation of Christ in today’s world.

To Mary, whose silence "listens to the Word and causes it to blossom" (Private Prayer at the Holy House, Loreto, 1 September 2007), I entrust all the work of evangelization which the Church undertakes through the means of social communication."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


2 Samuel 6:12-19; Ps 24 Who is the king of glory? it is the Lord; Mark 3:31-35

Today is the feast of Francis de Sales, the doctor of devotion.

He made continued effort to get people to understand that they could be devout no matter their state of life. God's holiness was for them, where they were. Each life had a duty to grow in perfection.

It is not unlike the words of Jesus in today's gospel, "For whoever does the will of GOd is my brother and sister and mother."

This line is at the heart of the devout life.

It was Francis de sales who noted that many people did exterior acts of devotion but were far from devout in their life. People put on devotional acts like clothes but never let it penetrate and change them. It is like putting lipstick on a pig, it remains a pig.

HE encouraged people to go deeper, to truly reach for perfection in their temperament.
HE mentioned that many people put on acts of devotion like clothing, it is merely an external dressing up but the inside remains the same. IT is like trying to dress up a pig, you could put a ribbon in its tail, spray perfume on it, and put lipstick on its snout, but what you get remains a pig.

True devotion is not like lipstick on a pig but rather the pig actually becomes transformed in the process.

Here is a bit from the Good Doctor.

"But, in fact, all true and living devotion presupposes the love of God;—and indeed it is neither more nor less than a very real love of God, though not always of the same kind; for that Love one while shining on the soul we call grace, which makes us acceptable to His Divine Majesty;—when it strengthens us to do well, it is called Charity;—but when it attains its fullest perfection, in which it not only leads us to do well, but to act carefully, diligently, and promptly, then it is called Devotion. The ostrich never flies,—the hen rises with difficulty, and achieves but a brief and rare flight, but the eagle, the dove, and the swallow, are continually on the wing, and soar high;—even so sinners do not rise towards God, for all their movements are earthly and earthbound. Well-meaning people, who have not as yet attained a true devotion, attempt a manner of flight by means of their good actions, but rarely, slowly and heavily; while really devout men rise up to God frequently, and with a swift and soaring wing.

In short, devotion is simply a spiritual activity and liveliness by means of which Divine Love works in us, and causes us to work briskly and lovingly; and just as charity leads us to a general practice of all God’s Commandments, so devotion leads us to practise them readily and diligently. And therefore we cannot call him who neglects to observe all God’s Commandments either good or devout, because in order to be good, a man must be filled with love, and to be devout, he must further be very ready and apt to perform the deeds of love. And forasmuch as devotion consists in a high degree of real love, it not only makes us ready, active, and diligent in following all God’s Commands, but it also excites us to be ready and loving in performing as many good works as possible, even such as are not enjoined upon us, but are only matters of counsel or inspiration. Even as a man just recovering from illness, walks only so far as he is obliged to go, with a slow and weary step, so the converted sinner journeys along as far as God commands him but slowly and wearily, until he attains a true spirit of devotion, and then, like a sound man, he not only gets along, but he runs and leaps in the way of God’s Commands, and hastens gladly along the paths of heavenly counsels and inspirations.

The difference between love and devotion is just that which exists between fire and flame;—love
being a spiritual fire which becomes devotion when it is fanned into a flame;—and what devotion adds to the fire of love is that flame which makes it eager, energetic and diligent, not merely in obeying God’s Commandments, but in fulfilling His Divine Counsels and inspirations."

Monday, January 23, 2012

march for life

Today people, many people, young and old, gather in Washington D.C. to march for life, to be the voice of the voice of the voiceless. The unborn cannot speak for themselves, so some one must stand up and defined the most vulnerable and innocent of our society.

For 39 years, since Roe V Wade, people have gathered on the front steps of the capitol to raise awareness that to legislate the killing of a child in his/her mother's room is an evil that must be stopped.

Society rises and falls on how it takes care of the most vulnerable. What does legalized abortion, the killing of children, tell us about our law makers?

Yesterday, we read the story of Jonah. God invited him to march for life in the city of Nineveh. After the one day march, this single person was able to get the people's attention and a change took place.

How much more if all of us chose to stand tall and march for life in our society!

We must be the modern day Jonah, convicted of the truth, willing to proclaim the message of God, life is a sacred gift that demands our protection. We must proclaim the message of the gospel of life.

WHo thinks that 53 millions abortions since 1973 is okay. We have a distorted sense of reality if this is okay.

Today the church ask us to pray for the conversion of our society. we should fast, do penance, pray extra. Then we should also act as well.

The words of Martin Luther King Jr comes to mind.

"God who ha given us a mind for thinking and body for working would defeat his own purpose if he permitted through prayer what can come by work and intelligence. prayer is a marvelous and necessary supplement for our feeble efforts but a dangerous substitute."

We can no longer be bystanders or spectators. Like Jonah, we must get involved and stand tall and speak the message God has given us.

Friday, January 20, 2012


1 Samuel 24:3-21; Ps 57 Have mercy on me, God, have mercy; Mark 3:13-19

The gospel: "Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him.

He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him and he might send forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons."

First noticed that Jesus chooses those he wants.

We are all wanted. Sit with that for a while. Find yourself today entering into the fact that the divine presence wants you. We have a place of belonging.

SEcondly, He calls the twelve so that they might primarily be with him. We are, like the twelve, are not called primarily to do something but rather to be with someone.

Each day we start with this in mind, "how can I be with JEsus today."

Only when we are with him can our life be that which preaches, brings light to the darkness, not becasue of who we are but becasue of who we are with. It is being close to Jesus that empowers the light to shine through us, his light.

Then we can cast out demons, exorcise the world. Here we must remember there is something in the world that is against goodness, there is a resistance to the message but it is a resistance that has no power.

If we are wiht Jesus, then our presence becomes that presence that will improve the fitness of our world,we shall make the world healthier becasue we bring the presence of Jesus with us as we go.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


1 Samuel 18:6-9;19:1-7; Ps 56 In God I trust; I shall not fear; Mark 3:7-12

"Saul was very angry and resentful of the song, for he thought: "they give David ten thousands, but only thousands to me. All that remains for him is the kingship." And from that day on, Saul was jealous of David."

Jealousy! What a terrific emotion that reeks havoc with the human mind and heart.

Jealousy is a perversion of charity.

St. Thomas Aquinas points out that True Charity rejoices in the good of the other where as Envy (Jealousy) is sadden by the good of the other. It is this negative emotion that drives the bitterness and resentment.

Saul thought he might lose his advantage point. He felt he was exclusively entitled to praise, after all he was the king. Saul was attached to praise, notoriety, fortune, and attention and when all eyes weren't on him then he was bothered to point where we shall see if we follow the story that he tires to kill David. Saul secretly wants David to fail and if he can't fail then he tries to kill him.

Saul wanted to be center stage and did not want to be upstaged by anyone, nonetheless this shepherd boy and his five smooth pebbles, this youth.
What saul failed to remember was the fact that God is the only one that belongs in the center of the stage. It was God who anointed saul as king; it was God who empowered David to stand triumphant.

Losing sight of this was detrimental to his health emotional, spiritual, and psychological. As we follow the story we see how Saul's psychological well being deteriorates with his jealousy.
The inability to rejoice in the good of the other. How often does this reek havoc on the soul.
Saul could have made this rejoicing over David a gran occasion and could have been magnanimous, but rather he became stingy in soul and bitter in life.

We all can fall prey to this. We must root it out quickly and steadily as often as it arises. We do so by reminding ourselves the words ofSt. Paul, "when one rejoices, we all rejoice" for we are all the body of Christ.

Another man's fortune belongs to us as an opportunity to rejoice.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The great showdown

1 samuel 17:32-51; Ps 144 Blessed be the Lord, my rock! Mark 3:1-6

Growing up watching the western classic, the showdown was always the climax of viewing. The good guy dressed in white comes up against the bad guy, usually the bully. They meet, they mark of their steps and they turn, they pause, the clock strikes noon and them the pistols are drawn and cloud of smoke rises.

After the smoke cleared, the dust settled, then the good guy stands tall while the bad guy in black is spread on the ground.

How many movies are like this! How often is there a showdown!

THus we arrive at today's first reading. We stand on the outside looking in and we watch as the showdown unfolds.

David squares up against Goliath.

What is so striking is the confidence David has in is quest. Think of his words to Saul, "let your majesty not loose courage, I am at your service to go and fight this Philistine."

"The Lord, who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear, will also keep me safe from the clutches of this Philistine."

"You come up against me with sword and spear and scimitar, but I come against you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel that you have insulted. Today the Lord shall deliver you into my hand; I will strike you down and cut off your head."

But his confidence is not just in his words but in his actions, "David ran quickly toward the battle line in the direction of the Philistine.'

David didn't just talk big but he also matched it with action.

In that attitude of confidence he was able to overcome the giant obstacle in his path.

He was empowered by God; he tapped into the inner strength God distributed to him in faith and he was energized by this reality. Thus he confronted and conquered.

What are our giants in our life? Are we confident to confront and overcome those physical, spiritual, emotional obstacles that loom so very large in our life? Are we all talk or do we let the confidence affect our action?

How can we let David be our role model in life and in faith?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

anthony of the desert

1 Samuel 16:1-13; Ps 89 I have found David my servant; Mark 2:23-28

Today is the memorial of Anthony, at the age of 18, after his parents untimely deaths, he heard these words of the gospel, "If you wish to be perfect, then go sell all you have give to the poor and come follow me." He did just that. He spent the remainder of his life in the desert, fasting, sleeping on the ground, praying. At the age of 105, he died.

Here are a few words from St. Anthony of the Desert.

"Let it be your supreme and common purpose not to grow weary in the work you have begun, and in time of trial and affliction not to lose courage and say: Oh, how long already have we been mortifying ourselves! Rather, we should daily begin anew and constantly increase our fervor. For man's whole life is short when measured against the time to come, so short, in fact, that it is as nothing in comparison with eternity. . . . Therefore, my children, let us persevere in our acts of asceticism. And that we may not become weary and disheartened, it is good to meditate on the words of the apostle: 'I die daily.' If we live with the picture of death always before our eyes, we will not sin. The apostle's words tell us that we should so awaken in the morning as though we would not live to evening, and so fall asleep as if there were to be no awakening. For our life is by nature uncertain and is daily meted out to us by Providence. If we are convinced of this and live each day as the apostle suggests, then we will not fall into sin; no desire will enslave us, no anger move us, no treasure bind us to earth; we will await death with unfettered hearts."

Now I direct your attention to the first reading of today. We continue to follow Samuel. The opening lines of the reading are striking, "The Lord said to Samuel, "How long will you grieve for Saul, whom I have rejected as king of Israel?"

"How long will you grieve for Saul, whom I rejected as king of ISrael."

We like to think of God as a happy go lucky being. Where he never loses his cool and he is always forgiving and doesn't really get bothered by anything we do. We like to imagine God as a warm cuddly metaphysical bear.

Yet, today's reading helps keep God real.

God rejected Saul. God decided that it was going to be far worse to keep Saul as king than to kick him to the curb. He wasn't working out. He had failed in his task to be obedient and faithful.

God had no problem letting him go. God needed to make a change.

Something for us to consider often.
None of us are beyond reproach.

This is why we should go back and reread what St. Anthony recommends.

We should awake each morning as if we would not live until evening and fall asleep as if there would be no waking, only then can we truly live with no love left behind.

Friday, January 13, 2012


1 Samuel 8:4-22; Ps 89 Forever I will sing the goodness of the lord; Mark 2:1-12

In the first reading we encounter the Israelites wanting to be like every one else. They want a king like all the other nations. It doesn't take a whole lot of effort to be like everyone else. To blend in, to be like the next guy is easy. We all do it all the time. Think about the clothes you wear, the car you drive, the house you live in, the coffee you drink. Advertisements make their money convincing us to settle, to be like the everyone else.

For the most part they have succeeded.
Even today we continue to compare ourselves to the people around us. We live our lives trying to keep up with the Jones.

In the gospel, we see something different. We see four men climb to the roof. They refuse to stand outside. They refuse to keep their distance like everyone else. They put a lot of effort into getting close to Jesus. They had to tear a hole int he roof just so that they could get closer, be nearer.

It took a lot of effort to be in the presence of Jesus. Because of it, their world changed drastically. Their worldview changed as well. The willingness to be near Jesus, and the effort put forth, puts us on a different plane of existence.

Like the man on the mat we too can rise and walk. In our wake, astonishment shall follow and wonder shall captivate all.

But it takes effort. What roofs, what obstacles do we need to tear down so that we might get close enough to never be the same.

Effort is necessary. Many of us think spirituality and faith should be easy. With that mind set we will only and forever will just be like the next guy. But with effort and perseverance, truly a new lifestyle emerges.

Effortless faith is no faith at all. Even St. Paul describes it has running the race. We do this, he says, not for a perishable crown but an imperishable crown.

Effortless faith mocks the true effort of the cross of Christ.

Let us begin tearing holes in the roof, tearing down walls an truly rise and walk forth in new strength of faith.

Put forth the effort and let the faith grow into something beautiful for God and into the world.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

whose side are you on anyway

1 Samuel 4:1-11; Ps 44 Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy; Mark 1:40-45

Have you ever been around people who think they are right all the time? Not only do they think they are right, they know it. Even when they wrong, they claim to be right.

Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of ELi, strike me as people who thought they were right all the time. However, they didn't bother to check with God first. In today's first reading they assumed by taking the ark into battle, God would be on their side and thus they presumed they would prevail. They were wrong.

Like Hophni and Phinehas, we too assume many things.

How often do we think that God will be on our side even though we all share a common birth?

Abraham Lincoln recognized this tendency and once remarked, “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right.”

How often do we think God is on our side before we ever run it by God first; I don't mean simply praying about it and getting that feeling of conviction but truly discerning God's will by checking with those God has placed in authority to govern, teach, and sanctify, like the church.

It is important to discern clearly and to remember we don't always have the inside scoop when it comes to God; patience is necessary; prayer is necessary; asking others is necessary. In the words of St. Teresa, "how can we discern the spirit if we ourselves are not spiritual."

IT takes a little commitment on our part to be humble enough to realize we may not be right and thus we find the opening to God.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pope BEnedict on prayer and the Holy Family

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today’s meeting is taking place in the atmosphere of Christmas, imbued with deep joy at the Birth of the Saviour. We have just celebrated this Mystery whose echo ripples through the Liturgy of all these days. It is a Mystery of Light that all people in every era can relive with faith and prayer. It is through prayer itself that we become capable of drawing close to God with intimacy and depth.

Therefore, bearing in mind the theme of prayer that I am developing in the Catecheses in this period, I would therefore like to invite you to reflect today on the way that prayer was part of the life of the Holy Family of Nazareth. Indeed, the house of Nazareth is a school of prayer where one learns to listen, meditate on and penetrate the profound meaning of the manifestation of the Son of God, following the example of Mary, Joseph and Jesus.

The Discourse of the Servant of God Paul VI during his Visit to Nazareth is memorable. The Pope said that at the school of the Holy Family we “understand why we must maintain a spiritual discipline, if we wish to follow the teaching of the Gospel and become disciples of Christ”. He added: “In the first place it teaches us silence. Oh! If only esteem for silence, a wonderful and indispensable spiritual atmosphere, could be reborn within us! Whereas we are deafened by the din, the noise and discordant voices in the frenetic, turbulent life of our time. O silence of Nazareth! Teach us to be steadfast in good thoughts, attentive to our inner life, ready to hear God’s hidden inspiration clearly and the exhortations of true teachers” (Discourse in Nazareth, 5 January 1964).

We can draw various ideas for prayer and for the relationship with God and with the Holy Family from the Gospel narratives of the infancy of Jesus. We can begin with the episode of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. St Luke tells how “when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses”, Mary and Joseph “brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord” (2:22). Like every Jewish family that observed the law, Jesus’ parents went to the Temple to consecrate their first-born son to God and to make the sacrificial offering. Motivated by their fidelity to the precepts of the Law, they set out from Bethlehem and went to Jerusalem with Jesus who was only 40 days old. Instead of a year-old lamb they presented the offering of simple families, namely, two turtle doves. The Holy Family’s pilgrimage was one of faith, of the offering of gifts – a symbol of prayer – and of the encounter with the Lord whom Mary and Joseph already perceived in their Son Jesus.

Mary was a peerless model of contemplation of Christ. The face of the Son belonged to her in a special way because he had been knit together in her womb and had taken a human likeness from her. No one has contemplated Jesus as diligently as Mary. The gaze of her heart was already focused on him at the moment of the Annunciation, when she conceived him through the action of the Holy Spirit; in the following months she gradually became aware of his presence, until, on the day of his birth, her eyes could look with motherly tenderness upon the face of her son as she wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in the manger.

Memories of Jesus, imprinted on her mind and on her heart, marked every instant of Mary’s existence. She lived with her eyes fixed on Christ and cherished his every word. St Luke says: “Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart” (2:19) and thus describes Mary’s approach to the Mystery of the Incarnation which was to extend throughout her life: keeping these things, pondering on them in her heart. Luke is the Evangelist who acquaints us with Mary’s heart, with her faith (cf. 1:45), her hope and her obedience (cf. 1:38) and, especially, with her interiority and prayer (cf. 1:46-56), her free adherence to Christ (cf. 1:55).

And all this proceeded from the gift of the Holy Spirit who overshadowed her (cf. 1:35), as he was to come down on the Apostles in accordance with Christ’s promise (cf. Acts 1:8). This image of Mary which St Luke gives us presents Our Lady as a model for every believer who cherishes and compares Jesus’ words with his actions, a comparison which is always progress in the knowledge of Jesus. After Bl. Pope John Paul II’s example (cf. Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae) we can say that the prayer of the Rosary is modelled precisely on Mary, because it consists in contemplating the mysteries of Christ in spiritual union with the Mother of the Lord.

Mary’s ability to live by God’s gaze, is so to speak, contagious. The first to experience this was St Joseph. His humble and sincere love for his betrothed and his decision to join his life to Mary’s attracted and introduced him, “a just man”, (Mt 1:19), to a special intimacy with God. Indeed, with Mary and later, especially, with Jesus, he began a new way of relating to God, accepting him in his life, entering his project of salvation and doing his will. After trustfully complying with the Angel’s instructions “Do not fear to take Mary your wife” (Mt 1:20) – he took Mary to him and shared his life with her; he truly gave the whole of himself to Mary and to Jesus and this led him to perfect his response to the vocation he had received.

As we know, the Gospel has not recorded any of Joseph’s words: his is a silent and faithful, patient and hard-working presence. We may imagine that he too, like his wife and in close harmony with her, lived the years of Jesus’ childhood and adolescence savouring, as it were, his presence in their family.

Joseph fulfilled every aspect of his paternal role. He must certainly have taught Jesus to pray, together with Mary. In particular Joseph himself must have taken Jesus to the Synagogue for the rites of the Sabbath, as well as to Jerusalem for the great feasts of the people of Israel. Joseph, in accordance with the Jewish tradition, would have led the prayers at home both every day – in the morning, in the evening, at meals – and on the principal religious feasts. In the rhythm of the days he spent at Nazareth, in the simple home and in Joseph’s workshop, Jesus learned to alternate prayer and work, as well as to offer God his labour in earning the bread the family needed.

And lastly, there is another episode that sees the Holy Family of Nazareth gathered together in an event of prayer. When Jesus was 12 years old, as we have heard, he went with his parents to the Temple of Jerusalem. This episode fits into the context of pilgrimage, as St Luke stresses: “His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom” (2:41-42).

Pilgrimage is an expression of religious devotion that is nourished by and at the same time nourishes prayer. Here, it is the Passover pilgrimage, and the Evangelist points out to us that the family of Jesus made this pilgrimage every year in order to take part in the rites in the Holy City. Jewish families, like Christian families, pray in the intimacy of the home but they also pray together with the community, recognizing that they belong to the People of God, journeying on; and the pilgrimage expresses exactly this state of the People of God on the move. Easter is the centre and culmination of all this and involves both the family dimension and that of liturgical and public worship.

In the episode of the 12-year-old Jesus, the first words of Jesus are also recorded: “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (2:49). After three days spent looking for him his parents found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions (cf. 2:46). His answer to the question of why he had done this to his father and mother was that he had only done what the Son should do, that is, to be with his Father.

Thus he showed who is the true Father, what is the true home, and that he had done nothing unusual or disobedient. He had stayed where the Son ought to be, that is, with the Father, and he stressed who his Father was.

The term “Father” therefore dominates the tone of this answer and the Christological mystery appears in its entirety. Hence, this word unlocks the mystery, it is the key to the Mystery of Christ, who is the Son, and also the key to our mystery as Christians who are sons and daughters in the Son. At the same time Jesus teaches us to be children by being with the Father in prayer. The Christological mystery, the mystery of Christian existence, is closely linked to, founded on, prayer. Jesus was one day to teach his disciples to pray, telling them: when you pray say “Father”. And, naturally, do not just say the word say it with your life, learn to say it meaningfully with your life. “Father”; and in this way you will be true sons in the Son, true Christians.

It is important at this point, when Jesus was still fully integrated in the life of the Family of Nazareth, to note the resonance that hearing this word “Father” on Jesus’ lips must have had in the hearts of Mary and Joseph. It is also important to reveal, to emphasize, who the Father is, and, with his awareness, to hear this word on the lips of the Only-Begotten Son who, for this very reason, chose to stay on for three days in the Temple, which is the “Father’s house”.

We may imagine that from this time the life of the Holy Family must have been even fuller of prayer since from the heart of Jesus the boy – then an adolescent and a young man – this deep meaning of the relationship with God the Father would not cease to spread and to be echoed in the hearts of Mary and Joseph.

This episode shows us the real situation, the atmosphere of being with the Father. So it was that the Family of Nazareth became the first model of the Church in which, around the presence of Jesus and through his mediation, everyone experiences the filial relationship with God the Father which also transforms interpersonal, human relationships.

Dear friends, because of these different aspects that I have outlined briefly in the light of the Gospel, the Holy Family is the icon of the domestic Church, called to pray together. The family is the domestic Church and must be the first school of prayer. It is in the family that children, from the tenderest age, can learn to perceive the meaning of God, also thanks to the teaching and example of their parents: to live in an atmosphere marked by God’s presence. An authentically Christian education cannot dispense with the experience of prayer. If one does not learn how to pray in the family it will later be difficult to bridge this gap. And so I would like to address to you the invitation to pray together as a family at the school of the Holy Family of Nazareth and thereby really to become of one heart and soul, a true family. Many thanks.

Monday, January 9, 2012

john the almsgiving

Today marks the beginning of Ordinary Time. As we bid farewell to the Christmas season and welcome ordinary time. Ordinary time is a period in which we see JEsus in action. HE enters fully into his public ministry.

To start this ordinary time we are invited to recall St. John the Almsgiver. He lived in the 7th century. HE was a widower and was elevated to be patriarch of Alexandria.

His focus was almsgiving. Giving everything to support others continually.

He always referred to the poor as his "lords and masters", because of their mighty influence at the Court of the Most High.

What a unique focus on life. What if we just focused on giving.

How often do we excuse ourselves from giving with excuses such as they should get a job, or they just are going get drunk or blow it on cigarettes.

It is nice to be in the position of making excuses not to give.

What if we were on the other side of things.

ponder this quote from St. Vincent de Paul

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

Almsgiving isn't just for Lent; it must accompany us throughout our life. IT is the primary way we imitate Christ, giving ourselves.

baptism of the Lord & iPhone

Isaiah 55:1-11; Ps you will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation; 1 John 5:1-9; Mark 1:7-11

The Christmas season as finally come to a close as we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord.

Today is also the day in which Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone.

Which has made a bigger impact on the history of humanity: the iPhone or the Baptism of the Lord.

The iPhone as certainly revolutionized the way we communicate. There have been 100 million iPhones sold. WHo would disagree with the fact that iPhone has certainly had a dramatic affect on our society.

In fact, I have an iPhone and on it i have the daily readings of the mass.

It is truly an ingenious development as far as communicating and staying connecting with family and friends.

So what of the Baptism of the Lord.

In order to understand the Baptism of the Lord we must first go back to the genealogy of Jesus according to Luke.

Luke traces Jesus' genealogy all the back to being the "son of Adam, son of God." Luke 3:38

As Pope Benedict points out, Luke "underscores the universal scope of JEsus' mission. HE is the son of Adam-the son of man. Because he is man, all of us belong to him and he to us; in him humanity starts anew and reaches its destiny."

A little more impacting on humanity then the iPhone.

The iPhone allows us to communicate with each other; JEsus comes to allows us to communicate with God himself.

The Baptism of the Lord marks the beginning of Jesus' public ministry. How does he begin his ministry by being baptized. Jesus marks his public ministry by blending into the gray mass of sinners waiting on the banks of the Jordan.

Jesus has no need to be baptized, he has no need for he knows no sin. Yet, in his humility he seeks to be completely one with those he will save. He inaugurates his public ministry by stepping into the place of sinners, already an anticipation of the cross.

Jesus identifies himself with us so there we now discover our identification with him.

We too are now sons of Adam, sons of God in Christ.

The words spoken from the heavens as Jesus rises from the waters ring true for us all, "You are my beloved son, with you I am well pleased."

Words spoken bu Pope Benedict in 2006 on the feast of the baptism of the Lord

“What happens in Baptism? What do we hope for from Baptism? You have given a response on the threshold of this Chapel: We hope for eternal life for our children. This is the purpose of Baptism. But how can it be obtained? How can Baptism offer eternal life? What is eternal life?

In simpler words, we might say: we hope for a good life, the true life, for these children of ours; and also for happiness in a future that is still unknown. We are unable to guarantee this gift for the entire span of the unknown future, so we turn to the Lord to obtain this gift from him.

We can give two replies to the question, "How will this happen?". This is the first one: through Baptism each child is inserted into a gathering of friends who never abandon him in life or in death because these companions are God's family, which in itself bears the promise of eternity.

This group of friends, this family of God, into which the child is now admitted, will always accompany him, even on days of suffering and in life's dark nights; it will give him consolation, comfort and light.

This companionship, this family, will give him words of eternal life, words of light in response to the great challenges of life, and will point out to him the right path to take. This group will also offer the child consolation and comfort, and God's love when death is at hand, in the dark valley of death. It will give him friendship, it will give him life. And these totally trustworthy companions will never disappear.

No one of us knows what will happen on our planet, on our European Continent, in the next 50, 60 or 70 years. But we can be sure of one thing: God's family will always be present and those who belong to this family will never be alone. They will always be able to fall back on the steadfast friendship of the One who is life.

And, thus, we have arrived at the second answer. This family of God, this gathering of friends is eternal, because it is communion with the One who conquered death and holds in his hand the keys of life. Belonging to this circle, to God's family, means being in communion with Christ, who is life and gives eternal love beyond death.

And if we can say that love and truth are sources of life, are life itself -- and a life without love is not life -- we can say that this companionship with the One who is truly life, with the One who is the Sacrament of life, will respond to your expectation, to your hope....”

Friday, January 6, 2012


1 John5:5-13; Ps 147 praise the Lord Jerusalem; Mark 1:7-11

Perhaps we should meditate on the opening lines of today's first reading, "Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that JEsus in the Son of God."

What does it look like to stand victorious over the world?

For this, the church gives us the saints; as we look into their lives we begin to see what victory looks like. In their life, the mystery of God's love shines through and light pierces the darkness and the glimmer of hope brightens our lives and encourages us onward.

Today we see love perfected in the life of Blessed Andre Bessette, who stands as a champion of faith, a victor in Christ.

Born 1845, one of ten, he lost his father at the age of 9 and his mother at age 12 and his family was dispersed. He did odd jobs between the border of U.S. and Canada and finally found his way to the Congregation of the Holy Cross at the age of 25.

The congregation soon discovered that he was illiterate, he could hardly read or write, and was always sick with stomach ailments.

Because of this, the congregation wanted to dismiss him. At the Bishop's request, however, the congregation kept him on and sent him to Notre Dame College for boys in Montreal where he was the porter.

He was in charge of answering the door, welcoming guests, waking up the school, giving the boys haircuts, washing the windows and the floors, and delivering mail. He spent 40 years as the porter.

Later in life he would joke that after his first year in the congregation they showed him the door and there he stayed for the next 40 years.

He loved what he did. His attention to the visitors and all who would come his way was tremendous. His care and concern brought consolation to all. He often invited people to invoke the intercession of St. Joseph for healing and strength.

He was so driven by his devotion to St. Joseph that he desired to build a basilica in St. Joseph's honor.

HE collected money, nickels and dimes, from haircuts and small donations and slowly with the bishops permission a makeshift building was erected.

It started as a 15 ft by 18 ft building with out a roof. Slowly, one step at a time over a period of
30 plus years things were added: a roof, heat, a paved road. Pilgrims started to come and gather and pray and ask Blessed Andre to pray. They were all moved by his poverty and humility.

He died at the age of 92 in 1937.

His road to sainthood was simply patience with the routine of life, allowing each moment to lead to a deeper conversion of God's love being perfected in him.

He is buried in the beautiful St. Joseph Basilica with a tombstone that reads: "poor, humble, obedient servant of God."

Quotes of Blessed Andre:

"It is with the smallest brush that the artist paints the most exquisitely beautiful pictures."

"It is surprising that I am frequently asked for cures, but rarely for humility and the spirit of faith. Yet, they are so important..."

Blessed Andre, porter, pray that we may open our hearts to God's love and allow it to be perfected in our life.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

no duplicity

1 John 3:11-21; Ps 100 Let all the earth cry out to God with Joy; John 1:43-51

Many of us remember the story of Cain and Abel. Many of us live that story out in our own relationships with our siblings:fighting, bickering, jealousy and all the rest.

We all remember how the story ends. Cain kills Abel. In fact if you go back to the book of Genesis and reread the story you discover that it seem to all start over worship. Abel's sacrifice was accepted and Cain's sacrifice was denied.

THere never is a clear reason as to why the sacrifice of Cain was not received by God. In fact, this lack of clarity causes many to question God's motives.

They both on the outside seem to do what God asked, Abel with sheep and Cain with produce.

In today's first reading we are invited to revisited the story. John in is letter recounts the story but gives us a bit of insight into the why behind the rejecting of Cain.

John tells us, "We should love one another, unlike Cain who belonged to the evil One and slaughtered his brother. Why did he slaughter his brother? Because his own works were evil, and those of his brother righteous."

There are two components of every act: the external what we see and the internal what lies hidden out of sight.

On the outside, Cain and ABel seem to be equal but it was the internal reality that revealed Cain's true character.

What is on the inside matters most. I think Jesus points this out time and time again.

In fact look to the gospel.

Jesus comments about Nathanael, "Here is a true child of Israel. THere is no duplicity in him."


definition: contradictory doubleness of thought, speech, or action; especially : the belying of one's true intentions by deceptive words or action

The bottom line is this: duplicity is bearing false witness to your neighbor. It is lying. There isn o room for this in the life of holiness. IS this not what we are aiming at.

Cain was duplicitous. So was Judas.
What about us?

How often do we find our selves betraying our true intentions by our external acts. How often do we pretend?

THis new Year try to eliminate duplicity: let your faith in Christ purify your motivations and intentions.

YOU shall not bear false witness to your neighbor.
This is why John tells us in the today's first reading, "we should love one another." There is no room for lying in loving.

John tells us, "If our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in God."

What's on the inside!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Come and you will see

1 John 3:7-10; Ps 98 All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God; John 1:35-42

Today in the church we celebrate the Feast of Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first AMerican to be canonized. Now of course this should give us all who live on this side of the Atlantic a cause to pause and reflect not he fact that truly one of us have been raised to the honor roll of the saints.

Here is bit from Pope Paul IV during is homily of canonization in 1975:

"She is the first daughter of the United States of America to be glorified with this incomparable attribute! But what do we mean when we say: «She is a Saint»? We all have some idea of the meaning of this highest title; but it is still difficult for us to make an exact analysis of it. Being a Saint means being perfect, with a perfection that attains the highest level that a human being can reach. A Saint is a human creature fully conformed to the will of God. A Saint is a person in whom all sin-the principle of death-is cancelled out and replaced by the living splendor of divine grace. The analysis of the concept of sanctity brings us to recognize in a soul the mingling of two elements that are entirely different but which come together to produce a single effect: sanctity. One of these elements is the human and moral element, raised to the degree of heroism: heroic virtues are always required by the Church for the recognition of a person's sanctity. The second element is the mystical element, which express the measure and form of divine action in the person chosen by God to realize in herself-always in an original way-the image of Christ"

Heroic virtue and mystical dimension of the divine action of revealing the image of Christ.

But before we even begin to look at the final result of grace and faith in the human heart we must first look to the beginning.

It must start somewhere.

Perhaps every saint has a similar beginning as we encounter in the gospel, where the disciples hear the invitation spoken to every soul as the waters of baptism are poured upon the head and Christ speaks to the interior of each of us: "come and you will see."

Come and you will see, thus begins the journey of every saint.

Like the disciples, Elizabeth ann Seton, "went and saw where he was staying and they stayed with him that day."

Like the words of ANdrew resonating through the gospel, Elizabeth Ann Seaton found herself in jubilation as she too exclaimed "we have found the Messiah."

Here begins the journey of a lifetime of heroic virtue and mystical transformation of grace in the human heart.

Why are there so few saints? If we all start from the same line and move forward, why so few?

Why do so many of us never realize the greatness we are called with that simple invitation: Come!

The questions perhaps should be why so few but rather why not me, why not each of us, why should we not follow in her lead, for only in walking after her do we truly give honor and glory to the God who has called her, the Son who redeemed her and the SPirit who sanctified her.

Saint ELizabeth Ann Seton had her time, it is now our time to raise the banner of sanctity in our lives. If Elizabeth Ann Seton, a wife, mother, widow, religious can surrender to grace so can we.

Why so few becomes why not us, why not now. The call of Christ beckons continually: Come and you will see!

Let us go forth and let us see the fruit of grace be made manifest in the lives of holiness, not the holiness of others but our holiness here and now.

Pope Paul VI continues in his homily of canonization"

"Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is an American. All of us say this with spiritual joy, and with the intention of honoring the land and the nation from which she marvellously sprang forth as the first flower in the calendar of the saints. This is the title which, in his original foreword to the excellent work of Father Dirvin, the late Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York, attributed to her as primary and characteristic: «Elizabeth Ann Seton was wholly American»! Rejoice, we say to the great nation of the United States of America. Rejoice for your glorious daughter. Be proud of her. And know how to preserve her fruitful heritage. This most beautiful figure of a holy woman presents to the world and to history the affirmation of new and authentic riches that are yours: that religious spirituality which your temporal prosperity seemed to obscure and almost make impossible. Your land too, America, is indeed worthy of receiving into its fertile ground the seed of evangelical holiness. And here is a splendid proof-among many others-of this fact."

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What is in a Name

Today we celebrate the Memorial of the Holy Name of Jesus, upon which St. Paul instructs us and admonishes us that every knee shall bend and every head shall bow.

Persons who played prominent roles in the history of salvation often received their names from God Himself. Adam — man of the earth; Eve — mother of all the living; Abraham — father of many nations; Peter — the rock.

Names are very important. Parents agonize over choosing the right name for their children. Unfortunately today, some parents have made a mockery of naming their child. Just think of some of the names given.

Once named, the name contains the person. Saying the name invokes an image. instantly we visualize the person.

Equally, when we think of Jesus, we remember His-name and we visualize the image of God in Jesus. 'For in Jesus the whole fullness of deity dwelled bodily' (Col 1:19, 2:9)."

We read in Sacred Scripture how the angel Gabriel revealed that name to Mary: "You shall call His name Jesus." And to St. Joseph the angel not merely revealed the name but explained its meaning: "You shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins." The Messiah should not only be the savior, but should be called Savior. With Jesus, therefore, the name actually tells the purpose of His existence.

This is why we must esteem His name as sacred. Whenever we pronounce it, we ought to bow our heads; for the very name reminds us of the greatest favor we have ever received, salvation.

Jesus' name is and must be associated with the favor offered. Every time we reverently embrace the name we receive the favor time and time again.

It is JEsus in the gospel of John who prays the following, "And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are int he world, while I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are. When I was with them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost..."John 17:11-12

Just a few more passage of scripture to ponder today as we celebrate the feast of the Holy Name

Mark 16:17-18 "These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages, they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."

John 16:23 "Ame, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you."

Acts 3:6 "Peter said, I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, walk."