Friday, June 29, 2012

not only to me

Acts 12:1-11; Ps 34 The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him; 2 tim 4:6-8,17-18; Mt 16:13-19

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, the two pillars of the church that led the way of preaching and living the faith boldly, thus leading by example.

It is because of their ministry and their deaths in Rome that the Church is called the Roman Catholic Church.  From Rome, the church spread outward as the light of Christ shone brightly in their heroic sacrifice of imitating the Savior himself in shedding their blood.

Words from Pope Benedict:
"the weakness proper to human beings is revealed in Peter's ministry but, at the same time also GOd's power: in weakness of human beings itself the Lord shows his strength; he demonstrates that it is through frail human beings that he himself builds his church."

We could say the same for Paul.
The ministry and Peter and Paul is not rooted in their ability but rather in the call they received in Christ.   In the gift of hearing the voice of CHrist, Peter and Paul become the principle apostles for the church.

This call is the source of their strength because it comes from the one who journeys to Jerusalem, the one who becomes the true servant of GOd in suffering and death and resurrection.

The light of his words and the presence of his love shines forth in the world and it does so through the weaknesses of St. Peter and St. Paul.

Look at the two great pillars for the Church and Christian faith:

Simon becomes Peter which mean the rock.  He was a fisherman and was a bit hasty who eventually denied knowing Christ three times and eventually repents and becomes the leader of the band of the Apostles after the resurrection and Ascension.

Saul becomes Paul who becomes the great missionary.  He was a tent maker by trade.  He started out as a bitter opponent to the Christian movement, vehemently against them, as well as, seeking to drag them to jail.  After his conversion he became the witness to the nations.

The unlikeliest choices but the ones Christ chose.

"I have competed well; I have finished the race; i have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance."

Do you long for his appearance?

The life you lead reveals your deepest longing!

The crown awaits, do you want it?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


2 kings 22:8-13; 23:1-3; Ps 119 Teach me the way of your decrees, O Lord.  Mt 7:15-20

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.  By their fruits you will know them...just so good trees bear good fruit and a rotten tree bears bad fruit..."


This the opening salvo of today's gospel.

We have been following Jesus in the Sermon of the Mount over the past few days or even week.  Jesus climbs the mountain sits down and opens his mouth and we have been hearing what his north has been saying for 2000 years as we receive it from the gospel of Matthew.

We have come to the end of the sermon.   Jesus is wrapping up his sermon and he is coming in for landing as he prepares to climb down the mountain and head toward Calvary.

The last thing the disciples hear is an invitation to "beware."

He wants them to be on guard.  Not everything is as it seems.

That which feels good or seems right isn't always right or good.  Jesus invites us to dig a little deeper.  Jesus invites us to never settle for the surface or appearance of things.  He wants us to be skeptical enough to get to the bottom of things.

 JEsus wants us to keep things real.

By their fruits yo shall know them?

This isn't just for getting to know or trust people but this also is about getting to know and trust ideas and even doctrines.  By their fruit you shall know them.

For instance let's take the secular doctrine of abortion on demand.  By their fruits you shall know them.

What fruit has come from abortion on demand?
1)death of a child
2)trauma to the one who experiences the abortion
3)increase number of abortions because babies are consider an inconvenience
4)a great objectification of women
5)sex without love or responsibility
6)billion dollar industry that thrives off the vulnerable and hurt and the shame of so many
7)fertility is now looked upon as a disease and a problem rather than a life giving blessing
8)right of privacy has replaced the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit f happiness

Just to name a few.  A rotten tree bears bad fruit. Yet, the wolves have clothed themselves in sheep clothing and have been marching under the
banner of reproductive health.  What a farce!

Here is the problem as i see it.  In order to discover the wolf in sheep clothing, one must ask the hard questions and poke around a bit.  But we here in the US especially are way to complacent for that.

We don't want the hard answers we want to easy way; we rather ignore the facts and continue to live in "wonderland."

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

liberty: religious and all the rest

2 kings 19"9-11,14-21,31-36; Ps 48 God upholds his city forever; Mt 7:6,12-14

"For the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.  And those who find it are few."

 We embark on the narrow gate and constricted road that leads to life, liberty, and happiness.

 Here is an excerpt from the homily given by Archbishop William Lori at the opening mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washinton D.C. which began the 14 day prayer for religious liberty in the U. S from June 21-July 4th

"Religious freedom includes the freedom of individuals to act in accord with their faith but also the freedom of church institutions to act in according with their teachings and to serve as a buffer between the power of the state and the freedom of the individual conscience.
If we fail to defend the rights of individuals, the freedom of institutions will be at risk and if we fail to defend the rights of our institutions, individual liberty will be at risk..."

"By prayer, education, and by exercising our rights as citizens, let us never cease defending the only notion of freedom worthy of our dignity as persons and sturdy enough to support our democratic way of life and it’s this: ‘freedom is not the power of doing what we like but the right of being able to do what we ought.’
For, as George Washington said in his Farewell Address,“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity,religion and morality are indispensable supports.”
As you may know, only one Catholic signed the Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the cousin of Archbishop John Carroll, who laid the cornerstone of this Basilica in 1806.
Like all Catholics, Charles Carroll was forbidden by Maryland colonial law from taking any part in political life, especially from holding office.  Carroll risked his life, family, and property by supporting the revolutionary cause but he did so, and I quote, “to obtain religious as well as civil liberty.” He added:  “God grant that this religious liberty may be preserved in these states to the end of time, and that all who believe in the religion of Christ may practice the leading principle of charity, the basis of every other virtue.”
If freedom is a system based on courage and if the motive of democracy is love, then let us strive in God’s grace, throughout this Fortnight and beyond, to be men and women of courageous love for the glory of God, for the good of the Church and for love of country."

Today in the parish we have 40 hours of devotion for our country.  The Blessed Sacrament will be exposed and the faithful will gather to pray.  We begin this morning at 6:30 am and we will go untilThursday night at 9pm where we will have benediction and litany of liberty. 

We pray together and thus we take a stand for liberty knowing the road is constricted and the gate is narrow but what a beautiful gate it is.  As ST. Thomas says, it is better to limp on the right path than to run full speed on the wrong. 

St THomas Moore and St John Fisher pray for us!

Monday, June 25, 2012

a few words

2 kings 17:5-8,13-15,18; Ps 60 Help us with your right hand O Lord, and answer us; Mt 7:1-5

A quote from George Orwell
"Never use a long word where a short one will do."

This is a good quote and would be appropriate for homilies and sermons as well.  Never preach a long homily where a short one will do. 

Never give a long reflection where a short one will do. 

So here it is for today, the words of Christ from the Gospel, 

"...The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you."

From his lips to your ears. Jesus said it, you heard it, now live it. 

What is your measure?  

How does it compare to the measuring of Christ?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

John the Baptist

Isaiah 49:1-6; Psalm 139 I praise you for I am wonderfully made; Acts 13:22-26; Luke 1:57-66,80

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist.

This is one of three birthdays we celebrate in the life of the Church.  You know this must be BIG since we celebrate it even on Sunday.

Let's look at the three birthdays:

Dec 25th we celebrate the Birth of Jesus.  This is a no brainer.  Jesus is the big cheese when it comes to Christianity and revelation.  We not only celebrate his birthday we even celebrate his conception, March 25th, 9 months prior to his birth.

September 8th we celebrate the birthday of Mary.  Again this is a no brainer since she is the mother of JEsus.  We also celebrate her conception, December 8th.   Mary's vocation is unique as she is the vessel that will carry the incarnate word, the sinless one, without spot or blemish.  Prevenient grace is given to her so that free from sin she may receive the gift of the christ child.  Without sin she remains full of grace.

Then of course we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist, June 24th.
John's birth marks  6 months until Christmas.  So you might want to get a move on that christmas shopping.  One can never be too early it seems.

I am surprised marketers haven't picked up on this and used it to their advantage.  Shops could  have the John the baptist sale.  We have black friday after Thanksgiving, why not precursor day as John is born in preparation for Christmas.  Just a thought.

Notice that John's birth day is around the solstice.  For us it is the summer solstice, which means it is the day light shines the longest and brightest for the earth is the closest to the Sun.  After the summer solstice, the day light slowly decreases.

It is very fitting considering John the Baptist's tag line, "He must increase, I must decrease."

In fact, Jesus' birth is during the solstice as well, the winter solstice, which marks the day in which we have the shortest day of the year.  After which light begins to increase and darkness decrease.

John points toward Christ and Christ is the light of the world.

Why is John important?
John reveals to us what Biblical prophecy is all about.

We often misunderstand prophecy.  We hear prophecy and we think the future is being revealed, that we get to sneak a peek or get a little sneak preview of coming attractions.  We think it means looking behind the veil of tomorrow to give us an inside scoop.  This happens some of the time.  But there is more to prophecy.

Biblical prophecy is concerned with tomorrow, true. But it is concerned with tomorrow insofar as it is concerned with today.

Biblical prophecy is about revealing the standard of God and God's expectations in the given moment.  When the prophets speak in the Old testament they are telling the people what will happen given the present state of things.  If they continue on the road they are traveling then destruction will be a consequence.

We experience this in our daily lives as well.
I remember growing up seeing a commercial on TV.  I was in elementary school at the time and the image has stayed in my mind.  The commercial had shown and egg and stated this is your brain. Then the egg was cracked and put in a hot skillet.  Then the next line came resounding through, "this is your brain on drugs" as the egg was fried.   This is prophetic.

Or the other day, I saw a commercial where a girl was holding a sign that read "yeah."  She was speaking about her sister.  Then she mentioned that "yeah" was the last text she had sent while driving shortly before she flipped her car and died.  THis is prophetic.

If you keep doing drugs your brain will be fried.  If you text and drive you will be in a wreck and experience pain and suffering and even death.

John is prophetic this way.
John reveals to us what God's standard and expectation are.  His whole life is geared for this one moment.
The moment he points out Christ, "behold the lamb of GOd..."he fulfills his mission.

In the face of Christ he sees the face of God and thus the standard of God is laid at our feet.

John is like a good bird dog, he is always on point.

This is our mission and vocation as well.  We are all called to reveal the standard of God to the world.  We are all called to make Christ known with the life we live, at all times and all places.

Do we do this?

Sadly, most do not.

Sadly, most of us who call ourselves Christian are truly not.

A growing number of us have been busy inventing our own version of Christianity, of what Christianity means.  We have created a religion that strokes our egos and enables us to indulge or even celebrate our own worst impulses.

We are false prophets.

In fact Ray Bradbury put it best when he posed the question, "I wonder if God recognizes his own son the way we have dressed him up or even dressed him down.  He has become a regular peppermint stick, all sugar."

We have falsified the face of Jesus to society by the life we live.

No where is it more of a reality then in our sexual lives and our openness to children.

Our fertility ,which is a gift from God and considered a great blessing according to biblical standards, we have reduced to a nuisance or even a disease.

How often have we classifies our fertility as a sickness that needs to be closed off or removed. Our society as taken the gift and perverted it.

So much so that our population is declining.
79 countries which contain 40% of the population rate is below replacement levels.  The replacement level is 2.1 children per woman.

Germany's birth rate is 1.3 which is at the point of no return.  Germany is losing ground and losing ground fast.

Japan is at 1.3 as well.

Russia loses 750,000 people yearly.  It is in such dire straits that in a region north of Moscow, Ulyanovsk, they have what they called national conception day.  On september 12, couples are given the day off to procreate.  Those couples who have children the following June are rewarded with prizes.

I know it sounds stranger than fiction but it is true.

We have done this in the US as well.  With the use of contraception and abortions, we too have treated our fertility as if it were a curse rather than that which opens us up to the greatest miracle of all... life.

We no longer ask the question, what will this child be, since rarely are their children to be had. Rather than be mystified by the gift we kill it or close our wombs to it.

We have taken something that is a sign of health and vibrant life, fertility, and we have chosen to treat it like a cancer.

Until we begin to truly embrace fertility as the vehicle of life and love we will continually be false prophets.

John reminds us that life if it is truly going to be meaningful must include sacrifice, honesty, and heroic gift of self.  He points to the one who i the way, the truth, and the life.  He is willing to give his life for the sake of life and truth.  He even loses his head for the cause of what is good and true.

Are we.

Our calling is to point to the face of Christ and make it known to the world around.  Not with our lips but with our lives, with our openness to children and the embrace of the gift.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Good Servant

2 kings 11:1-4,9-18,20; Ps 132 The Lord has chosen Zion of this dwelling; Mt 6:19-23

The words of Jesus from the gospel today: "do not store up for yourself treasures on Earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in to steal,  But store up treasures in heaven..."

"Where your treasure is, there also will your heart be."

Where is your treasure?
Where is your heart?

Today in the life of the Church we recall the life and conviction of St. Thomas Moore and St. John Fisher, both of whom died, beheaded, because they refuse to given in to the torments of King Henry VIII.

They chose to remain loyal to their God and to their church rather than be seduced by the threats of the King.

Both took a stand to support the indissolubility of marriage as well as the authority of the Pope as the vicar of Christ.  They refused to acknowledge the king as head of the church.

Neither compromised their own moral values in order to please the king.

The words of Thomas Moore ring true for us as we enter into the fortnight for freedom: on the scaffold preparing for death he spoke these words, "I die the King's good servant, and God's first."

Both St. John Fisher and St. Thomas Moore are examples of what it means to be true to oneself, to live a life of integrity of faith, and to refuse to take matters into their own hands.

They remained men of freedom for freedom as the sword fell and their hands were dispatched.  In their death religious liberty stood victorious.

Here are a few words from St. Thomas Moore:

"You must not abandon the ship in a storm because you cannot control the winds... What you cannot turn to good, you must at least make as little bad as you can."
From his Utopia, 1516
"Nothing can come except what God wills. And I make me very sure that whatsoever that be, even if nothing has ever appeared so bad, it shall indeed be the best... I never intend, God being my good Lord, to pin my soul to another man's back, not even the best man that I know this day living; for I know not where he may hap to carry it."
To his daughter, in prison 1534
"What men call fame is, after all, but a very windy thing. A man thinks that many are praising him, and talking of him alone, and yet they spend but a very small part of the day thinking of him, being occupied with things of their own."
"I will not mistrust [God], though I shall feel myself weakening and on the verge of being overcome with fear... I trust he shall place his holy hand on me and in the stormy seas hold me up from drowning."
"If any man marvel that God made all His creatures such as they should always need aid of His grace, let him know that God did it out of His double goodness. First, to keep them from pride by causing them to perceive their feebleness, and to call upon Him; and secondly to do His creatures honor and comfort."
"Often, actually very often, God allows his greatest servants to make the most humiliating mistakes."
"A man buys hell here with so much pain, that he might have heaven with less than one-half. Occupy your minds with good thoughts, or the enemy will fill them with bad ones. Unoccupied, they cannot be."
"If I am distracted, Holy Communion helps me to become recollected. If opportunities are offered by each day to offend my God, I arm myself anew each day for the combat by the reception of the Eucharist. If I am in special need of light and prudence in order to discharge my burdensome duties, I draw nigh to my Saviour and seek counsel and light from him."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

twisted Iron

Sirach 48:1-14; Ps 97 Rejoice in the Lord, you just; Matthew 6:7-15

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Aloysius Gonzaga.

He was at an early age inspired to be holy.  He entered the jesuits and there sought to grow in perfection.  He died at the age of 23 dedicating himself to the sick and those infected with the plague.

He once wrote his brother stating, "I am a piece of twisted iron.  I entered the  Jesuits to be twisted straight."

A piece of twisted iron.

Many of us, if not all of us, can relate to St. Aloysius.  We are all twisted iron in need to be twisted straight.

By discipline, proper guidance, prayer, and grace the process of being untwisted begins in our life.

Every examination, every act of contrition, every bended knee spurs the process on.

At the very heart of being untwisted is the gospel for today.  Jesus invites us to step into the furnace.  Each time we recite the prayer he teaches us, we allow grace to take over and our will and intellect get a little more untwisted.

I was speaking to a contractor the other day.  I have them doing some work at one of the churches, the church which happens to be names St. Aloysius in Westhoff.

I was asking him about some of the interesting jobs he has had over the years.  He mentioned a job in a city near the bay where they were asked to untwist a house.  The house, because of its age and its weight and perhaps being near the salt water, had twisted on its foundation.  The whole house was  needed to be untwisted.

By a series of cables and pulleys and come along winches attached to several trucks, they were able to untwist the house.

Sometimes it seems that is what we need; it seems we are so twisted that we need severe force, a few come along winches for the soul to begin the process of setting straight.

But this is what the  "Our Father" is meant to do for us in life as we journey.

Praying the "Our Father" and truly letting the words enter deeply in to our hearts and minds we begin to fill the pull toward heaven.  For each time we say the "Our Father" we are praying with the very words of God.  We enter into the intimate dialogue between Jesus and the Father.

These are not ordinary words.  They are heavens's words on human tongues.

SLowly the words of the prayer direct our mind and thinking realigning us to what is most important in life: thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven...

There there the human will as twisted as it may seem encounters the eternal pull that seeks to untwist.

St. Aloysius pray for us.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


1 kings 21:17-29; PS 51 BE merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned; Mt 5:43-48

Today is the birthday of Blaise Pascal.  He was a scientist, he was also a thinker. He spent the first part
of his life creating and calculating.  HE spent the later as a monk thinking and meditating.

Here are a few of his thoughts:

All human evil comes from a single cause, man's inability to sit still in a room....

In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't....

Certainly worth pondering.  Especially the first.  Have you sat still in a room lately?

It is from Blaise Pascal we get what is known as PAscal's wager.  It goes something like this:

Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation, that He exists.

Now to the gospel of the day.

Jesus shares these words with us from the pen of St. Matthew:
"But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the good and the bad, causes rain to fall on the just and unjust."

That you may be children of your heavenly Father.  In order for us to embrace our calling as children of God then we must imitate in our lives the action of God. 

We must do as he does!

Do we love those who God loves?

Our reputation is not about us but rather it is about God above. 

Be perfect  as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Treat everyone equally.  We cannot let our feelings determine our love. 

Just a little thought in light of Psalm 23.  Psalm 23 starts the lord is my shepherd. 

There is a verse in this Psalm that goes as follows:  "YOU set a table before me in sight of my foes."

Imagine sitting at the table prepared for us by God only to discover that who we thought were enemies are sitting across from us.  In the face of God all fades away and becomes clear.  

Monday, June 18, 2012

deceit and lies

1 kings 21:1-16; Ps 5 Lord, listen to my groaning; Mt 5:38-42

As you go back and reread the Old Testament, we discover so of the same trends that we encounter into day's society and culture.

Men in power have a tendency to abuse their power.  Those who have much always seem to want more.  Corruption in the heart seems to raise its ugly head.

This morning we encounter the King of Israel, Ahab, abusing his power and authority just to get more.

Rather than serving the people and the land to the honor of God, he seeks to demean the office by his lust for more.

Again, we see this all the time.  Turn on the news and there it hits us int he face.

The little guy seems to always get pommeled.  The small business takes a hit by the the man with the giant stick.

Naboth the Jezreelite did not have a chance.  He was squeezed out.

Though it was the king wife's who engineered the take over of Naboth's vineyard, it was the King's duty to protect and serve.  The King was guilty because he did nothing to stop it, and he gloated in the opportunity to possess the land that was not rightly his.

Possessions possess.

It seems unfair.  But we must wait.  Justice belongs to God.  In the end, the Lord comes forth to seek justice on behalf of the little guy.

We must stay tuned....

So much in life is this waiting.  We too must learn to fight for justice but also there is time when we let God fight for us as well.  We must stay tuned, tuned in to the Lord for he will come and justice will be served.

When it seems we have no way, God makes a way.

ELijah is sent, and justice arrives.

Often times, God may decide to send us to bring about justice.  Sometimes, we may be the chosen Instrument to let justice reign in the lives of others.

This is where prayer is essential.

Elijah was open to hearing God's word and then acting on it because of his life of prayer.  We too must do the same.

At baptism we are all consecrated prophets.  we must simply engaged the calling and put it into act.

The fortnight for freedom the USCCB has aced us to participate in in a good way to be prophetic.  The CHurch has asked us to pray for justice, for the protection of our religious liberty from June 21-July 4th.

IT is time we fought and let justice reign.

Go tot-> and begin to be a prophet.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

we walk by faith not by sight

Ezekiel 17:22-24; Ps 92 Lord, it is good to give thanks to you; 2 Corinthians 5:6-10; Mark 4:26-34

Paul states that "we walk by faith, not by sight."

Do we?  Can we honestly say that we walk by faith in every aspect of our life?

As St. Paul reminds us , "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil."

Notice Paul doesn't say whether we perceive it to be good or evil, or think it to be good or evil, but rather that it is either good or evil.

Where do we discover what is good or evil? Certainly it is more than our opinion of things.

How often do decisions in our life boil down to whether we think it is good at the time rather than it being good at all times in all places?

Good and evil is not a matter of our opinions.  God speaks.  God has spoken.  God ha given us a way of knowing.  HE gives us the Teaching office of the church to guide us away form evil and toward the good. The Church helps us interpret revelation, scripture and the natural law.

The game of opinions are over.

Do we walk by faith?  What do we do in the body?  Is it honorable?  Is it pleasing?  Is it good at all times?  We can no longer make excuses.

According to what we do in the body. Our religious life is not just spiritual, it is not just something we think about, it is not mental.  It involves our whole being: body and soul.  We are integrated persons.

We must integrate our faith in all that we do bodily.

Here we discover whether or not we walk by faith and not by sight.
I love to visit with couples when they are getting married.  One of the questions we ask is whether or not they regularly practice their faith.  Instantly, they tell me whether or not they got to mass on Sunday.

Many of they say "yes."  But then later in the questionnaire, I find out they are living together.

I have to remind them that they earlier told me they were practicing their faith but they really aren't.  Faith is more than what we do on Sunday.

Faith is an  every day affair.  We need to embody our private lives in public choices.

As JEsus tells us in the gospel, small things matter.

The mustard seed is the smallest of seeds and becomes the largest of bushes.

The little things that we do not pay attention to are truly where the kingdom is or is not, where it takes root in our lives or our lives fail to be rooted at all in faith.

The kingdom will come.  We can not hinder it.  We can not stop it.  Night and day it grows.

Are we truly apart of it?

We walk by faith, not by sight!  Today examine your life, take notice of those places where you have not included faith, the power of God's word and the guidance of the church to lead you forth.

HOw do you let faith guide your body in this life, the whole body including your sexuality, fertility, jobs, finances, relationships, drinking habits,

In the end the small things may tip the scale, the question is which way will the balance fall?

The mercy of God will be there, but we should not be negligent nor presumptuous. Christ has paid the price, but have we truly received it?

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus: with bands of love

Hosea 11:1.3-8,8-9; Ps You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation; Ephesians 3:8-12,14-19; John 19:31-37

Words from Pope Benedict on this Feast:
 “In biblical language, "heart" indicates the centre of the person where his sentiments and intentions dwell. In the Heart of the Redeemer we adore God's love for humanity, his will for universal salvation, his infinite mercy. Practising devotion to the Sacred Heart of Christ therefore means adoring that Heart which, after having loved us to the end, was pierced by a spear and from high on the Cross poured out blood and water, an inexhaustible source of new life” (Benedict XVI, Angelus 5 June 2005).

Words from the Prophet Hosea
"I drew them with human cords, with bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his heart is overwhelmed...for I am God not man, the Holy One present among you; I will not let the flames consume you."

Words of St. Paul
"that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breath and length and height and depth, to know the love of christ which surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with the fullness of God."

Question:  what does the love of Christ look like?

Gospel according to John
"But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, an immediately blood and water flowed out."

It is being rooted in love that opens us up to comprehend, to understand love itself.  Love alone teaches us what love is.  The more we love the more we are able to understand.  Love prepares the heart for knowledge.  The heart of Christ is heaven's love below. 

Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

The Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
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 Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, formed in the womb of the Virgin Mother by the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, united substantially with the word of God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, holy temple of God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of heaven, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, glowing furnace of charity, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, vessel of justice and love, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Divinity, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father is well pleased, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, patient and rich in mercy, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, rich to all who invoke Thee, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, fount of life and holiness, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our sins, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, saturated with revilings, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, crushed for our iniquities, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, made obedient unto death, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who hope in Thee, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in Thee, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, delight of all saints, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord,
Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
V. Jesus, meek and humble of Heart.
R. Make our hearts like unto Thine.
Let us pray
Almighty and everlasting God, look upon the Heart of Thy well-beloved Son and upon the acts of praise and satisfaction which He renders unto Thee in the name of sinners; and do Thou, in Thy great goodness, grant pardon to them who seek Thy mercy, in the name of the same Thy Son, Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee, world without end.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

maximize your potential

1 Kings 18:41-46; Ps 65 It is right to praise you in Zion, O God; Matthew 5:20-26

First things first.
We encounter Elijah praying in the first readings.  He is described as  "crouching down to the earth, putting his head between his knees."

Now, if you are reading this, I want you to try to imitate Elijah's praying posture.  Go ahead.

Crouch down and put your head between your knees with your forehead touching the earth.  This posture is what it means to prostrate oneself.

It is an act of humility and surrender.  One can not easily defend himself/herself in such a posture.  Perhaps this is what true prayer is about, being defenseless before God, letting down our defenses and truly listening for God's will in our life.

Our petitions to God ring true when we are open and humbled.

Secondly, We hear those old familiar words of Jesus, "I tell you unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven."

Unless your righteousness surpasses...

What is this?

Well, Jesus simply wants to maximize our goodness.  The word surpasses means to be more superabundant.

We live in world where everyone wants to maximize their returns whether it be in investments, or tax returns, or retirement planning.  We all want to maximize our profit margins.  We want to get more.

JEsus wants us to be more, to do more, to give more.  He wants to maximize our goodness:more superabundant.

Keep that in mind as you read the gospels and listen tot words that Jesus says.

Maximixe not minimize.  Do more not do just enough to get by.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


1 kings 18:20-39; Ps 16 keep me safe O God, you are my hope; Matthew 5:17-19

A question posed by the Prophet Elijah: "how long will you straddle the issue? If the Lord is God, follow him.

There it is!  

What else is there to say or not to say? 

It all boils down to the conviction of the heart. 

We cannot live our life straddling the issue.  We cannot live one moment believing and the next living as if we do not believe. 

Our actions must present to the world the truth of our conviction. 

If the LORD is God, follow him. 

Where have we heard that before?

Oh yes, the words of Christ, follow me!

Walking tall and following close to the God that "answers with fire."

Think about that.  Elijah tells us it is the God that answers in fire that is the true God, there lies our conviction. 

Our God is a consuming fire. 

Don't straddle too long for the fire burns.  

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Corpus Christi: sanity and sanctity

Exodus 24:3-8; Psalm 116 I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the lord; Hebrews 9:11-15; Mark 14:12-16,22-26

Today celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi.

We zero in our attention on the body of christ.  First, we recognize the gift Jesus makes of his body and blood.

As Peter reminds us, we are not redeemed by silver or gold but by His blood.  Here we discover our true worth.

This feast is the answer to serious problem of low self-esteem.

How often do we discover people who do not know the value of their own lives?

This feast we celebrate reminds us that the value of our lives are not measured by the sacrifices we make but rather by the sacrifices others have made for us.  Christ gives his body and blood for our sake.

He empties his life, so that we might understand our value and worth in the eyes of the Father above.

Every time we celebrate the mass we are brought face to face with our true worth: this is my body...this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many."

Here it is as straight as it can possibly be:  We are esteemed highly by God.

This sacrifice is re presented every time we celebrate the Mass.  We encounter in real time once again this gift of Christ for our sake.

Every time we "do this in memory of" him, we re experience our true worth.

In the words of the Psalm, "How can I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?"

Simple.  We do as he says.  We celebrate the very sacrifice that brings us life.  We lift up the cup of salvation and we recognize the gift given.  We "do this is memory of."

This is the only thanks and the only return worthy of the sacrifice that is made for us.

When we think about theology and beliefs and practices, we must remember that the ground of all w believe and teach must be reality.

IT is the landscape of reality that hold us firm.

Sanctity is about loving what it good and seeking the highest good, not only the good we perceive but the good that is.

Sanity is about seeing what is real, recognizing reality for what it is.

In today's feast we are introduced to Sanctity and Sanity.  The Eucharist, the bread and wine, transforms into the body and blood of Christ.  We take Jesus at his words, "this is my body...y blood."

This is the reality that holds us firm.  Here we stand on solidly ground.  Here we enter fully into what is most real.

Just as it was the words of God that brought forth creation, "let there be light" and there was light.  So it is the word of God "this is my body" that directs our gaze to reality and gives our heart something to love that is real beyond belief.

In the chalice that is raised the reality of life and love unite.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

love is temporary madness

On marriage and love

The following words from Captain Correlli’s mandolin capture

something of this experience

“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because that is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion … that is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two."

Friday, June 8, 2012

gravel road

2 Timothy 3:10-17; Ps 119 O Lord, great peace have they who love your law; Mark 12:35-37

Words of Paul: "all who want to live religiously in Christ Jesus will be persecuted."

How's that for encouragement and boost to morale!  You want to live religiously then you will need to experience what Christ experienced, persecution.

The road will not be smooth.  The road will get rough.  We need to be ready.

We are a lot like Roosevelt's  Rough riders.  A rag tag of volunteers who are equipped for the task at hand.

As Paul continues, "all scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work."

Competent and equipped we are as we travel the rough road ahead paved with the sacrifice of Christ's blood.  

On ward we go, through the highs and lows for

True love travels on a gravel road!

Here is a song tried by Elvis and even Willie

"How many girls choose cotton dress worlds
When they could have satins and lace
And stand by her man, never once letting shade touch her face
How many hearts could live through all the winters
We've known and still not be cold
True love travels on a gravel road.

Love is a stranger and hearts are in danger
All through streets paved with gold
For true love travels on a gravel road.

Down through the years we've had hard times and tears
But they only helped our love grow
[True Love Travels On A Gravel Road lyrics on]

And we'll stay together no matter how strong the wind blows
Not once have I seen your blue eyes filled with envy
Or stray from the one that you hold
Oh true love travels on a gravel road.

Love is a stranger and hearts are in danger
All through streets paved with gold
For true love travels on a gravel road.

Yeah, true love travels on a gravel road. Mmmm
True love travels on a gravel road.
True love travels on a gravel road."

Here is the version by the King himself, and the king can't be wrong.  click here!