Friday, March 30, 2012


Jeremiah 20:10-13; Psalm 18 In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice; John 10;31-42

The words of Jeremiah, "But the Lord is with me, like a mighty champion..."

JEremiah is having a bad day. Everything seems to be working against him. People he trusted are now speaking negative comments about him and even planning his demise.

He fills trapped and hemmed in with no where to go. The future looks bleak.

And yet his faith brings him hope. Then he remembers he does not go alone.

"The Lord is with me like a mighty champion.

What is a champion?

A champion is a fighter. A champion is one who has defeated all the rivals. A champion is one who comes to support the cause of another, putting them on his back on the way to stand in victory square.

A champion is one of extreme awesomeness.

This is the one who with Jeremiah.

This is the one who is with us.

Call to mind the presence of God, think of his awesomeness. He is the one who supports your cause, the cause of you becoming holy and full of love, more like him.

Like a mighty champion...

we do not go alone and the one who comes with us is a champion. This should make not a little difference as we embrace this day.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Genesis 17:3-9; Ps 105 The Lord remembers his covenant for ever; John 8:51-59

The question posed by the Jews to Jesus, "Who do you make yourself out to be?"

This is a good question not just about the identity of Christ but a good question for us as we continue our journey to Easter in this Lenten Season.

One of the hearts of spiritual growth is self-knowledge. This self-study, this self-examination is a life long process. Just as we should be attentive the presence of God daily in and around our lives, so too must we be attentive to that introspection that gives us insight into our lives.

Self-knowledge enables us to relate on various levels with others in the broad spectrum of human experiences:joy, sorrow, hurt, shame, success, failures and so on.

Being aware of our own feelings and limitations can help create a bridge when it comes to loving our neighbor as ourself.

Self-knowledge also helps fortify our relationship with God.
Nothing separates us from God more than our inability to recognize one's limitations in his sight. A man who is honest about himself is prepared to be honest with God. Isn't honesty the ground of love, allowing it to become fruitful.

Self-knowledge is indispensable in the journey of the interior life by which we aim to reach the summit of love of God.

This requires daily checking because life flees form our grasp on a daily basis.

At the end of each day a self-examination can help. St Jose maria Escriva would often suggest a simple examination. Three questions we can ask to grow in our knowledge of ourselves and deepen our resolve in loving God and neighbor.

1)What do I do well-give thanks
2)What did I do badly-ask for forgives and greater resolve to do it differently
3)What could I have done better-make a resolution to improve

In this cue specifics matter. We can't be generic about our feelings or actions. We must look at our selves as we are in those particular avenues of relating: words spoken, thoughts entertained, actions put forth.

In the words of St. Augustine, God is especially demanding because he knows how good we can be. St Augustine states the following, "as soon as you are satisfied with yourself, there you will stop. If you say "that is enough", you are "lost."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

freedom fighter

Daniel 3:14-20,91-92,95; Glory and praise for ever! John 8:31-42

Just a quick glance at the gospel.

The gospel begins, "Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him...

Think about that. Jesus is speaking to those who believe in him.

Yet, what is this action of belief in their life, "But you are trying to kill me."

Wow! Belief is a dangerous thing.

They believed in him but yet they wanted to kill him. Strange. This was their response to Jesus' invitation to freedom, "you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."

We all want to be free, but why such hostile response to the gift of freedom itself.

Perhaps, like many of us, we want freedom on our own terms.

We will fight for our right to party, as the old song goes. We all want to do our way, and have no accountability or responsibility to those around us.

YEt, when we do this are we not on the wrong side of freedom.

It would be to easy to think about the United States. Boy, don't we have the understanding of freedom all wrong. How often does our society want to kill Jesus, kill his church, kill faith all together.

We all want freedom but to want it on our terms is not freedom but slavery.
We got it backwards.

Perhaps it is time we followed Christ and became true freedom fighters.

"if you remain in my words, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

patience thread bear

Numbers 21:4-9; Ps 102 O Lord hear my prayer and let my cry come to youJohn 8:21-30

The first reading today describes the people of Israel in the desert., "But with their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses."

In their patience running thread bear the people turn negative and pessimistic.

This reality is not reserved for the people in the desert; it happens to us all the time.
We too must check ourselves against pessimism and negative thinking, for this certainly seeks to destroy faith.

What is patience? Patience is the ability to sit back and recognize the bigger picture. Within that bigger picture we discern how to act and when to act. Patience isn't about being passive but rather it is very active and intentional.

But the first prerequisite is the ability to see beyond our own nose, look beyond ourself.

To see the bigger picture is to allow the plan of God unfold. Here we learn to trust, here we learn loving the Lord.

The people of Israel failed to see the big picture, the greater plan of God. THus, they were unable to wait on the Lord.

St Jose maria Escriva instructs us to develop that virtue of holy stubbornness. How is that for a concept. We can all be stubborn certainly but what of holy stubbornness, where we refuse to take matters into our own hands and we wait on the Lord without keeping him waiting.

St Jose Maria Escriva also instructs us, "Be clever, spiritually clever. Don't wait for the Lord to send you set backs; go out to meet them with a spirit of voluntary atonement. Then you will receive them with love- a word that is forever young.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Today is the celebration of the annunciation, in which the angel Gabriel invites the Blessed Mary to become the mother of Christ. Today inaugurates JEsus into history: Rejoice highly favored one.

The invitation of rejoicing inaugurates Jesus into history.

Did you rejoice today?

Pope Benedict as Cardinal Ratizinger asked the following question: "Why did Christ really want to be born of a virgin?

The meaning of all events, he continues, is the same: that salvation comes, not from human beings and their powers, but solely from God-from an act of his grace.

The mystery of the annunciation to Mary is not just a mystery of silence. It is above and beyond all that a mystery of grace."

The word of Isaiah, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel, which means God is with us."

Why rejoice? God is with us!

Behold the handmaid of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word. We now have a reason to surrender, for we do not surrender to emptiness but rather to Him who hears and He who is with us.

Friday, March 23, 2012

licking honey from a thorn

Wisdom 2:1,12-22; Ps 34 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; John7:1-2,10,25-30

It was a writer from slovenia that said his grandfather would always say that living life was like licking honey from a thorn. Interesting analogy and according to the book of wisdom and the gospel, it is an exact description of the life of the just man.

"let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings, reproaches us for transgressions of the flaw and charges us with violations for our training. he professes to have knowledge of God and styles himself a child of the Lord...let us see whether is words be true...with revilement and torture let us put him to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience..."

The refrains from the psalm points to the same reality: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.

The gospel paints the picture of Christ: "So they tried to arrest him..."

Living the life of faith can be like licking honey from a thorn. But what honey it is!

"Taste and see the goodness of the lord."

Life can be thorny. Difficulties arise because of our insistence on faith and adhering to God's cll for us in our life. So like the just man our gentleness and patience will be tried so that can see: what a witness we bring.

Licking honey from a thorn. What Honey!

Quote from Pope Benedict on St. Joseph

"The silence of St Joseph was not the sign of an inner void, but on the contrary, of the fullness of faith he carried in his heart, and which guided each and every one of his thoughts and actions."

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

audience with Pope Benedict

Here are a few words from Pope BEnedict from his audience this past Sunday

St. Augustine comments: “The doctor, in what regards him, comes to heal the sick person. If someone does not follow the doctor’s prescriptions, he is the one who harms himself.

The Savior came into the world … if you do not want to be saved by him, it is you who will judge yourself” (“Tractates on the Gospel of John,” 12, 12: PL 35, 1190). Thus, if God’s merciful love is infinite, he who even sent his only Son as a ransom for our life, [then] our responsibility is likewise great: each of us, in fact, must recognize that we are sick so that we may be healed; each of us must confess his sin so that God’s forgiveness, already given upon the cross, might have an effect in our heart and our life.

St. Augustine further writes: God condemns your sins: and if you also condemn them, you are united to God … And when your own deeds will begin to displease you, from that time your good works begin, as you find fault with your wicked deeds” (ibid., 13: PL 35, 1191).

Sometimes man loves darkness more than light because he is attached to his sins. But it is only in opening himself to the light, and only in sincerely confessing his faults to God, that he finds true peace and truth joy.

It is thus important to approach the Sacrament of Penance regularly, especially during Lent, to receive the Lord’s forgiveness and to intensify our journey of conversion.

From the first reading for today
The Prophet Isaiah speaks the words of God to us, "I will never forget you."

We are unforgettable.
Thus Jesus states, "my father is at work until now, so I am at work...he will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed."

God wants to wow us at each moment. In Christ we are amazed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

watered by the flow of the sanctuary

Ezekiel 47:1-12; Ps 46 The Lord of host is with us; our stronghold is the god of Jacob; John 5:1-16

Words from the prophet Ezekiel, "they shall bear fresh fruit, for they shall be watered by the flow of the sanctuary..."

Words from the gospel:
Jesus said to him, "Do you want to be well?" The sick m answered him, :sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the watered is stirred...Jesus said to him, 'Rise, take up your mat, and walk." Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked."

Now that day was a sabbath. So, the Jews said to the man who was cured, "It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for your to carry your mat." He answered them, "the man who made me well, told me, "pick up your mat and walk.'

The man went and told the Jews that Jesus was the one who had made him well. therefore, the jews began to persecute Jesus because he did this on a sabbath."

Go back to the first reading. Listen again to the words of Ezekiel, "they shall bear fresh fruit, for they shall be watered by the flow of the sanctuary.

What is this but the fruit of prayer.

St. Josemaria Escriva states, "conscious of our duties, can we let a whole day go past without remembering we have a soul? In our daily meditation, we have always to put things right lest we depart from the way. If you abandon prayer yu may first live on spiritual reserves, and after day, by cheating."

"Practice meditation for a fixed period and at a fixed time. Otherwise we would be putting our own convenience first; that would be a lack of mortification. And prayer with out mortification is not at all effective."

"Are you living in the presence of God? For that is a consequence and a manifestation of your prayer."

"YOu haven't been praying? Why, because you haven't time? But you do have time. Furthermore, what sort of works will you be able to do if you have not meditated on them in the presence of the Lord, so as to put them in order? Without that conversation with God, how can you finish your daily work with perfection? Look, it is as if you claimed you had no time to study because you were too busy giving lessons. Without study you cannot teach well.

Prayer has to come before everything. If you do not understand this and put it into practice, don't tell me that you have no time: it 's simply that you do not want to pray."

"Here is an effective custom for achieving presence of God: your first appointment every day should be with JEsus Christ."

"A catholic without prayer is like a soldier without arms."

Monday, March 19, 2012


Prayer to St Joseph
Remember, O most chaste spouse of the virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who implored your help and sought your intercession was left unaided. Full of confidence in your power, I fly unto you, and beg your protection. Despise not, O foster father of the redeemer, my humble petition, but in your goodness, hear and answer me. Amen

Litany of St. Joseph

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven…have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world…have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, sanctifier of souls…have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, communion of eternal love…have mercy on us.

Holy Mary…Pray for us.
St. Joseph…pray for us
Illustrious son of David…pray for us
Light of the patriarchs…pray for us
Spouse of the Mother of God…pray for us
Chaste guardian of the Virgin…pray for us
Foster-father of the Son of God…pray for us
Watchful defender of Christ…pray for us
Head of the Holy Family…pray for us
Joseph, most just…pray for us
Joseph, most chaste…pray for us
Joseph, most prudent pray for us
Joseph, most valiant…pray for us
Joseph, most obedient…pray for us
Joseph, most faithful…pray for us
Mirror of patience…pray for us
Lover of poverty…pray for us
Model of workmen…pray for us
Glory of domestic life…pray for us
Guardian of virgins…pray for us
Pillar of families…pray for us
Solace of the afflicted…pray for us
Hope of the Sick…pray for us
Patron of the dying…pray for us
Terror of the demons…pray for us
Protector of God’s Holy Church…pray for us
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world…spare us O Lord
Lamb of God, You who take away the sins of the world…graciously hear us, O Lord
Lamb of God, You who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

O God who in your marvelous providence has deigned to choose St Joseph to be the spouse of your most holy mother, grant, we beseech you, that we may deserve to have him for our intercessor in Heaven whom on earth we venerate as our protector, You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen

Sunday, March 18, 2012

remember the giving and the gift

2 Chronicles 36:14-16,19-23; Ps 137 Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you; Ephesians 2:4-10; John 3:14-21

"God so loved the world that he gave his only son..."

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God."

During the Lenten season the church invites us to reshape our interior lives. In this spring cleaning of sorts the church invites us to rediscover the tradicional devotionals that aid us in preparing to enter and recive that great proclamation on Easter morning, "Christ is risen, Allleluia, alleluia" as we our selves rise with him.

The traditional devotionals utilized in this spring cleaning of our interior lives are the rosary, fasting, abstinence and among other things the Way of the Cross.

Every Friday here in Lent we have the opporutnity to make the way of the cross, to get in line with Christ and follow after him, one step at a time for those 14 steps. The chidlren lead the stations on Friday after noon around 2:30, close to the hour of death, and then the various parishes have the stations: 5:30 at Our lady of Guadalupe and 6 pm at St. Aloyius in Westhoff. We also do them in meyersvile at 7 pm on Wednesday.

Many consider the stations to be outdated, old fashioned, or just rather good wall art. I disagree.

It is often said that if you want to get to know someone then you don't walk in front of them but rather you walk behind them; thus, you see what they see and do as they did and only then can you begin to understand the why behind the what of their motivation.

The stations provide us with that opporutnity to get behind Christ and follow along the path, making those 14 steps, walking in his shoes, walking that mile. Then we slowly are awaken to what it looks like to love God with all of our heart, mind, strength and to love our neighbor as oursleves.

Sometimes, I wonder what would we be like, how our society would be different, if we made the way of the cross not just during lent but each week throughout the year, looking outward and upward at him who is lifted high.

It is john of the cross who said, "In giving of his Son, God spoke every word at once; he has nothng more to say."

The way of cross silently proclaims the word of God spoken for all of humanity.

God speaks every words at once in those 14 steps; he has nothing more to say.

Hold on to the stations for a moment as we go to the first reading.
Since the beginning of Lent we have been looking at the covenants in salvation history.

The first week of lent we stepped into the story of Noah and the rainbow and how God promised to be patient with us in our human weekness and not destroy the world again by flood.

The second week we encountered Abraham the man of faith who did not withold his only son, as he took Isaac to Mt Moriah to sacrifice him and God stayed his hand and Abraham named that palce, YHWY Yireh, God will provide.

The third week, we gathered around Mt sinai and watched Moses come down the mountain and give the ten commanments; these guide lines become life lines of love and freedom. The nation was shaped by the word of God.

today, we look at the Davidic covenant through the lens of history brought to us by the Chronicler. Our first reading is taken from the 2nd book of Chronicles. Chronicles details the unfolding of the davidic covenant through David's descendnants as they ascend the throne.

God promised David that his dyansty would be without end.
What we discover in the book of Chronicles is that there were some rotten kings. In fact, a common theme throughout the book is "he did evil in the sight of the lord."

Nonetheless, God proves himself faithful and true to his promise.

For the Chrinicler, history is revelation. History through the Davdic covenant reveals two important things, God's motivation for acting in the world and man's response to God's involvement.

The reading today tells us, "early and often God sent his messengers, becasue of his deep compassion for his people and his dwelling place."

What is God's motivation but his deep compassion for his people. God is rich in mercy as Paul puts it in the second reading.

How do the people respond? They "mocked" the messengers, "despsied" the warnings, and "scoffed" at his prophets.

This too is revelation, though not a new one. They remembered the giving but they forgot the gift.

But perhaps we think, that was then and this is now. Perhaps we think we are too sophisticated to mock, despise, scoff at God's deep compassion for us.

Go back to the cross, the way of the cross. The disfigured face of Christ, the head wrapped in thorns, the back beaten and bruised remind us that some things never change. We have a propensity to mock, despise, and scoff at the deep compassion of God.

We don't handle truth well.

Even today, so many mock, despise, and scoff at the teachings of the church. How often do I hear people say, "I love the church but I have a problem with this or that teaching."

News flash: the church is founded by Christ. If we believe the words of Jesus, Peter you are rock and upon this rock I will build my church,  then church is the messenger of Christ for he commands her to go forth and teach all I have commanded.

If we have a problem with the church, then we have a problem with Christ.

We mock, despise, and scoff. We too remember the giving but we forget the gift.

This is why the way of the cross is important. There we see Him who is our head lifted high. Thus our eyes are no longer directed inward but outward and upward.

Then we look upon the gift and our memory is jarred and our hearts are humbled and thus we can receive the message, the word proclaimed in silence.

In giving his son, God spoke every word at once; he has nothing more to say.

We must remember the giving but not forget the gift.

In the gospel today we hear the dialogue between Jesus and nicodemus, the one who comes at night. Perhaps Nicodemus is scared or unsure; perhaps he doesn't want to be found out; perhaps he wants to be a secret follower of Chirst at night and not by day, after all he has a reputation to up hold.

Sounds like us.

But, whe you get to the 13th station and Jesus is taken down from the cross and led to his burial site, remember it is Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus who do the honors.

Nicodemus finally comes out n broad day light to express his love and faith.

Maybe he made the way of cross, followed Christ closely and had a conversion and finally understood the gift.

May it be so for us.

In giving his son, God spoke every word at once; he has nothing more to say.

Remember the giving, do not neglect the gift.
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son...
Recieve it anew, full, entire, complete.

Friday, March 16, 2012

hunbled him in order to prosper him

Hosea 14:2-10; Ps 81 I am the Lord your God: hear my voice; Mark 12:28-34

Listen to the words of Hosea from the first reading: "you have collapsed through your guilt...I will heal their defection, says the Lord, I will love them freely...I have humbled him but I will prosper him...Becasue of me you bear fruit..."

The psalmist, "I would feed them with the finest wheat,and with honey from the rock I would fill them."

The gospel, "The scribe said to him, you are right in saying He is one and there is no other than he. And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all yoru strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when JEsus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, "you are not far from the kingdom of God."

When it comes to loving God with all our heart, with all our understanding, with all our strength, there remains that part in us that find that it is too difficult. We would rather offer up burnt sacrifices and be done with it. There is in us a part of us that looks for the minimal that is required; the burnt offering is easy, light the fire watch the smoke rise and pat ourselves on the back as a job well done.

But loving requires a total committment each day anew. Not only are we asked to love God with all our understanding but this necessarily includes loving God even when we don't understand.

This too is demanding.

How often do I hear as a priest so many people withhold their love from God because they don't understand something or worse when they quote "have a problem with what the church teaches."

We must be all in. The more we live the deeper our understanding becomes.

If we wait until we agree or understand completely then we will never experience true love for God or for ourselves.

Think about how little we understand about ourselves or even agree with what we do at times. Yet, we love ourselves even in that which we do not understand.

Could we not Love God who though beyond understanding understands us truly and deeply, better than we know ourselves.

As scriptures tells us, Jesus needed not anyone to tell him of human nature for he understood it himself.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

words from Pope Benedict: cash the check your mouth is writing

Deut 4:1,5-9; Ps 12 Praise the Lord, JerusalemMt 5:17-19
On this wednesday here are a few words for reflection:

"Economists tell us that currency gradually depreciates when the medium of exchange is no longer balanced by adequate monetary support and administrative efficiency. In like manner, the currency of the spirit-the word-is threatened by an inflation, by an inner depreciation, when the strength of our convictions and attitudes no longer balances the verbal coins that the mouth so thoughtlessly dispenses.

Many of the most treasured words of the human spirit-heart, love, happiness, etc.-have depreciated in value on this account, and it would seem that the profoundly Christian word "brotherhood" is also threatened today by a similar fate. We say the word is the currency of the spirit because by it the spirit of one person is communicated to another...thus, we must use sparingly the noble currency of the spirit; we must not take it into our mouth in situations where it is already doomed to meaninglessness; on the other hand, we must try to strengthen those convictions that give words life and strength."

In other words the film TOP GUN comes into mind when the commander Stinger says the following to Maverick, "Son, your ego is writing checks your body can't cash."

We too must be able to cash the check our mouth is writing; make sure the words we ay are meaningful; they must be backed up by the lives we live.

Perhaps this is what Moses means into day's first reading:
"Observe them carefully for thus will you give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations, who will hear and say...for what a great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the LORD."

The words of Jesus: "whoever obeys and teaches these commandments ill be called the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

on the power of prayer

Daniel 3:25,34-43

Here are the opening lines of the first reading for this tuesday during Lent.

"Azariah stood up in the fire and prayed aloud:"

Think about that for a moment. Azariah is standing in fire while praying. As I mentioned before, prayer has a way of cooling the heat of our lives. Prayer has a way of disarming the burning sensation with often experience in the various circumstances of our lives.

Here are a few words from St. Josemaria Escriva on prayer.

"Slowly. Think about what you're saying, who is saying it and to whom. Because talking fast, without pausing for reflection, is only noise-the clatter of tins cans. Along with St. teresa I'll tell you that, however much you move your lips, I do not call it prayer."

"You seek the friendship of those who, with their conversation and affection, with their company, help you to bear more easily the exile of this world-although sometimes those friends fail you. I don't see anything wrong with that. But how is it that you do not seek everyday, more eagerly, the company, the conversation of that great friend who will never fail you?"

"Mary has chosen the better part, we read in the holy Gospel. There she is, drinking in the words of the Master. Apparently idle, she is praying and loving. Afterwards she accompanies JEsus in his preaching through towns and villages. Without prayer, how difficult it is to accompany him!"

"Don't tell Jesus you want consolation in prayer. But if he gives it to you, thank him. Tell him always that what you want is perseverance."

"If you don't keep in touch with Christ in prayer and through the Eucharist then how can you make him known to others?"

Pray on!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

a short tale on this saturday

The desert fathers have a story about a young monk who asked an older one, "How come that so many people set out to be good, and so many people come here to join the monastery, but after some time they leave again or give up the effort?"

This is a good question for us all as we examine our spiritual health and resolution.

The old monk thought for a while and then answered.

"Sometimes as you stand here in front of the monastery you will see a rabbit pass by pursued by the village dogs, barking and howling. After some time the rabbit comes back but there are only one or two dogs in pursuit. These are the dogs who actually saw the rabbit - the others were only following the barking.

Likewise, if we are to persevere in our pursuit we must have had a glimpse of the the Lord - and not just be following the barking."

In this weekend's gospel we get a glimpse of Jesus in action. In fact every action of Christ is a teaching marvel for us.

We learn more from what he does than just from what he says.

Go to John 2:13-25 and experience Jesus in action. Spend a few moments meditating ont he the whip in JEsus hands and the cleansing of the temple area.

Then listen to the last lines of the gospel, "Jesus did not anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well."

Itis becasue he understood human nature clealry that Jesus' actions speaks so loudly to us. JEsus wasn't acting on a whim but he is teaching us as he makes a whip and begins to chase the moneychangers out of the temple area.

Make sure as you spy Christ in action you make a decision to no longer follow the barking but let the glimpse of the Lord lead the pursuit of holiness.

The temple, the place where God let his glory dwell, is no longer made from brick and mortar, but rather flesh and blood. Jesus' body is the new temple, the place of encounter with the living God. Through baptism, our body becomes a living temple, the place where God is to be found. In baptism, we united as a church, become the Body of Christ, the place where the glory of God dwells.

this is the pursuit of life. This is the call of Christ with the whip in one hand and and the wounds of the crucifixion on the other. We dee him, now we must pursue what he pursue.

Friday, March 9, 2012


Genesis 37:3-28; Ps 105 Remember the marvels the Lord has done; Matthew 21:33-46

Here is a line form todays first reading, "they hated him somuch that they would not even greet him."

This is a comment on the way joseph's brothers reacted to the love Jacob had for their brother joseph.

Now, it is probably true that Jacob held an inordinate love for joseph and showed his favor above his other chidlren. This is a warning to all parents.

Favortism can be deadly in a family. For all yor parents out there, i invite you stop and examine yourselves in how you treat your children. If you discover a discrepency in your deaings toward then for Lent perhaps you can make the attempt to bring more balance to their lives and to the family setting as well. Remember the family is the domestic church.

Secondly think about that line again and the feelings of resentment and anger that has grown in to the hearts of the Joseph's brothers, "they hated him so much they would not even greet him."

I am certain many of us have been on both sides of this reality. We have experienced the hatred of another and we have felt those feelings of resentment and anger grow within us as well.

Anger is one of the seven deadly sins. It is important to remember that anger affects the one who has anger more than the other to whom it is directed.

Anger hardens the heart making it like pentrified wood.

We must tread carefully.

How do we overcome the feelings of resentment and anger?

We must remember that these feelings are feelings and we must move through them with out letting them determine our course of action. It is the will and intellect that must subvert the feelings and put them in place.

This is why Jesus tells us to loev our enemies, bless those who curse us, and do good to those who hurt us. Love is a matter of the will not the emotions.

We must pray for those who we have those feelings toward.
We must seek to do good to them and thus allowing the good action to bring healing to us.

We must, everytime we experiecne that resentment and anger, lift our heart to God in prayer and invite his healing grace to restore and renew us.

We must practice this continually so as to not let anger destoys us.

The word absolution that we use to describe the gift of forgiveness in the sacrament of reconciliation, means or siginifies to losen.

This is what prayer does, it losens the bondage that develops from resentment and anger.

Besides, as St. James tells us , "love covers a multitude of sins."

Thursday, March 8, 2012

practice the presence of God

Jeremiah 17:5-10; Ps Blessed are they who hope in the Lord Luke 16:19-31

One of the key factors to the spiritual life is practicing the presence of God. It is important to begin to deepen and pray for the grace that we may deepen our sense of God's presence daily our life.

As St. Paul reminds us in the Acts of the Apostles, God is not far from each of us. God is near.

We must call to mind daily that the world depends at every moment on the divine will. God is behind everything that exist. The world is not governed by blind fate.

There are two convictions we must carry with us through each day: God is present in all things (divine omnipotence) and that God is behind all events (Divine providence). This give us a new way of being in the world.

The world is not dominated by dark evil forces. It is something good that comes from the goodness of God who holds it all in the palm of his hands.

We must begin to accustom ourselves to seeing God in and through the daily unfolding of life. We are in his presence.

St. John of the Cross said that creatures are "like a trace of the footstep of God." St. Teresa of Avila, "the lord also walks among the pots and pans."

Each day we must create a habit by repeated acts, returning to the fundamental conviction: God sees me and God is behind all things and events, that is, God has got my back."

How easily we are distracted in life though. How do we recall to mind this reality?

This is where little short prayers, or aspirations help guide our awareness of God's presence.

Throughout the day we can simply repeat, "Christ, have mercy or Lord, have mercy." OR we can simple say, "Lord, help me! or Lord increase my faith or Lord, open my eyes to you."

Just little small one liner prayers can deepen our awareness and brings us back from the many distractions that abound.

Something I like to pray is a single part of the Hail MAry, "blessed is the fruit of your womb, JEsus" or "The word became flesh and dwelt amongst us." These help me stay focused or refocused or at least not completely distracted.

Simple one liners; these prayers can be helpful.

This way that interior monologue that we carry on daily can become an interior dialogue with God. We move from talking to ourselves to speaking to the one who is love. Life becomes filled with the brightness of the divine.

This way we can slowly bring remedy to that heart as Jeremiah describes in the first reading, "More tortuous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it. The lord alone probes the mind and test the heart."

If only the rich man in the gospel would have developed a habit of living int he presence of God then perhaps he would have noticed the poor man Lazarus at his very gate. Deepening our awareness of God opens our eyes to see him face to face in the many faces we see on a regular basis.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

drink the cup

Jeremiah 18:18-20; Ps 31 Save me, O Lord, in your kindness; Matthew 20:17-28

In todays gospel we encounter a mother who wants to give her children the best. She approaches JEsus and makes that request, "command that these two sons of mine sit one on your left and the other on your right, in for kingdom!"

She must have overheard the conversation about JEsus being raised from the dead. HEaring this, she thought she might at least put a good word in for her boys.

How many mothers have been like this mother, bringing their children to God in prayer, making grand request, asking boldly and confidently on their behalf.

Countless mothers through the years have spent time on their knees interceding for their children.

Every mother should be like this mother. They should all want the best; they should all refuse to settle for less when it comes to their children.

Notice, Jesus only promises what it is his to give. He can only give what belongs to him.

He ask, "can you share in the cup that I drink."

HE can only only give his experience, his life; he can only invite them to come along and be a companion with him on the journey to glory.

This journey will not be easy. IT will require much. They will have to press their lips to the chalice of suffering, choosing to surrender their life to the will of the Father each day anew.

JEsus sweetens the deal for them. He promises to drink it with them. They will not drink it alone.

"My chalice you will indeed drink."

Thus they respond with enthusiasm and great courage, "we can."

But this yes to the cup involves not riding up front but rather taking a back seat on the journey and entering into service each step of the way.

In some sense, the mother was requesting her sons to ride shot gun all the way to glory; but it fact glory can only be achieved when you enter the trenches and choose to ride in the back seat and allowing the will of God to lead the way.

We do not get to choose the cup we drink. The cup is only for the taking never for the choosing. God alone shall pour the chalice that will be pressed upon our lips and our heart of service must drink and drink and drink.

Then we shall learn to give as Christ has given. Then we shall enter fully into the ransom that his chalice becomes for all of us, "this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. Shed for many so that sins may be forgiven, do this in memory of me."

The drinking the chalice isn't just another way of life, it is the way to life itself.

Here are few words from BEnedict XVI

"Redemption of mankind must be something quite different. it is accessible only through the dependence of love, which would be the only true freedom...what would happen first if there were to be redemption would be this: that God would no longer be th eUnknown; that he would no longer be the borderline of our freedom, the rival of our own life. wE would have to be one with him if we were to be free."

We must drink what he offers and be willing to drink with him in that which he offers.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

forgiveness: how often is too often

Daniel 3:25,34-43; Psalm 25 Remember your mercies, O Lord; Matthew 18:21-35

Just a few thoughts about the readings.

The first reading from the prophet Daniel is taken form the story of the three young men thrown into the fire and how God comes to rescue them from the flames.

I just love the opening lines of the reading for today, "Azariah stood up in the fire and prayed aloud."

Just stop and let then image fill your mind. Azariah stood up int he fire!

Pretty amazing. HE is standing in fire and yet not burning. Praying has a way of cooling the heat of our lives.

He stood up in the fire and prayed aloud. What a beautiful invitation for us in life, especially during lent. Talk about great courage under fire. (pun intended)

Now to the gospel.

We have today one of many times in which Jesus teaches on Forgiveness.

I always love Peter's question, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?"

Peter thinks he is being generous when he suggest seven times is quite a lot to give. But his focus isn't so much on being generous is focus is on trying to figure out or narrow down when enough is enough.

Isn't this what we want to know. When is enough, enough? When can we say we had enough? When is our turn to stop turning the cheek?

How often is too often?

Obviously this mentality is a product of the fallen state of man. But we are no longer just fallen, We have been redeemed and we are being redeemed. Thus, we must act accordingly.

We must never lose sight that it is mercy and forgiveness that redeems us. Our duty is to return the favor; we must give to others we we receive, seventy-seven times.

We can never be more gracious than God, but we can try.

Peter thought he was being generous but JEsus reminds him that there is always room for more. Such it is with us.

Human forgiveness must be patterned after the divine gift itself in Christ.

Here are a few words from St. Josemarie Escriva

"The more generous you are for God, the happier you will be....The Summit? For a soul which has surrendered itself, everything becomes a summit to conquer. Every day it discovers new goals, because it does not know how, or want, to limit the love of God."

Forgiving is also being generous. The magnanimity of God is always ready to imprint itself in our life; we have plenty of opportunity to allow his stamp of approval to be seen in our gift of forgiveness.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Testing of Abraham: Akedah

Genesis 22:1-18; Ps 116 I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living; Romans 8:31-34; Mark 9:2-10

Today we encounter the testing of Abraham. God ask Abraham to tai this only son, the one he loves and offer him as a sacrifice.
Listen again to the opening lines of the first reading, "God put abraham to the test. HE called to him "Abraham!" "Here I am" he replied. Then God said, "Take your son ISaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. THere you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you."

Think about that for a moment. Let it settle into your bones. Too often we read right over the passage without really experiencing it fully.

This particular story in Hebrew is called Akedah, the binding of Isaac.

The passage continue that Abraham, early the next morning saddled his donkey and cut the wood for the sacrifice and took along his son and two servants and set out for the place God had told him. The place was three day journey away.

Imagine that slow ride to the mountain. Imagine the anguish in the heart of Abraham. Remember Isaac isn't just his son, but rather he is his future, his life an drove.

Once they arrive, think about that slow climb up the mountain with Isaac at his side carrying the wood on the his back that will soon become his bier.

Then about half way up, Isaac ask a question, "Here are the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"

This experience would have been familiar to Isaac; he grew up watching his father, a man of faith offer sacrifices to God his whole childhood. Nothing is unusual about the journey, about the fire, about the wood on his back.

Yet, something is missing an young Isaac wonders what kind of sacrifice will this be.

Abraham, with great tranquility and confidence responds to his young son's question with a simple statement of faith, "God will provide."

What must have been running through his mind as he looked at his son and spook those words, "God will provide!"

Then we get to the climax. Once they arrive at the place, Abraham arranges the wood upon the altar he built then he bound Isaac and put him on top of the wood, which now had become his bier.

Imagine such a duty being performed.

Then Abraham raises the knife and directs its point toward the very life cents roy his son, zeroing in on the breast where the heart beats lively.

What could we possible learn from this story?

We learn astonishment and amazement at the power of faith active in the heart of this man, Abraham.

We learn that faith is not a feeling or emotion but rather it is a way of life, a call to action, a demand of obedience and duty toward God. Faith is when we reach for the impossible, th infinite with the very finite flesh and blood of our existence trusting God will provide.

Faith is choosing to withhold nothing from God.

Listen to the verdict of God over Abraham because of his action, "Now I know how devoted you are to God, since you did withhold from me your own beloved son."

Faith is serious business. It is not a game we only play on Sundays and for some only some of the sundays at that.

God demands to be taken seriously! God wants our undivided attention and loyalty! Does he have it?

We all must look at our life and see what we withhold from God.

How often do we live thinking if we have faith then GOd will spare us from trials and tribulations and pain? God doesn't want to spare us from anything; he wants to save us!

Listen to St. Paul, "God did not spare his own son, but handed him over for us all."

What we learn in this story is that God is found to be faithful. God does provide. Blessings flow forth to those who are obedient, those who withhold nothing from God.

We all want God's reward but we want to get it our own way. We want the reward but we don to want to path he has laid before us.

What do we hold back? What do we spare from God?

Think about our financial life: how often we hoard it for ourselves rather than using it to show forth GOd's generosity in our life.

Think about our sexuality: how often we want to spare it for ourselves rather than let God redeem it and let become what it was suppose to be. Couples who live together before marriage what to be spared from the practice of faithful chastity. They don't trust that GOd will provide.

Couples who are married and use artificial contraception are asking GOd to spear them from fruitful love and fruitful trust in his plan for them, They let fear dictate rather than faith so they hold back and thus pervert the very union that is suppose to reflect GOd's creative power.

Think about our heart: we hold back our hearts when we guard grudges and refuse to forgive. We are asking God to spare us form the difficulty of imitating him and learn true charity rather then letting it all be redeemed.

God will provide. We, like Abraham, must bind our life and love to God completely.