Wednesday, October 31, 2012

All Saints

Today we embark ont he last holy day of the liturgical year: All Saints day.  Through out the year we recall those heroes and heroins of faith who have given their life for the glory of God.

But today the named and the named stand together, the great cloud of witness, too numerous to count grabs our attention.  These are both those who are in heaven but also those on earth, those saintly souls daily losing their life for the sake of the kingdom.

We enter into the largeness of God's family on this Holy Day.

This Holy day is not a break in our routine as much as it is a pause in which we take a step back to recognize the living God who wants to break forth into our lives and fill the routine of our living with his presence daily.

We are reminded again that time is not measured simply by a 40 hour work day, the movement of the stars, the rotation of earth on its axis or the revolution of earth around the sun; rather time is determined by the creator of the stars; it is He who creates and sustains time as we know it.

A Holy Day brings us face to face with the beauty that is awaken by faith.  It is faith that gathers us, unites us in our differences, builds our community that transcends time and space, this great multitude.

I call your attention to question posed by the elder in the first reading, "who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?"

What a beautiful question posed as John peers into heaven.

Who are they and where did they come from?  In other words, How did they get here?  But in reality the question is meant for us, "How do we get there?"  How do we arrive where they are?

As the Psalmist points out, "Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord? or who can stand in his holy place?"

Jesus gives us the path way to ascend in the gospel as he lays out the Beatitudes.  We listen to him and we follow after him and simply repeat the process as we journey forth encouraged never discouraged no matter the circumstances we encounter.

The saints give us a pattern by which we are to pattern our lives.  They show us that the invitation to follow Christ is not just pie dream but a reality motivated simply by the desire to be near God.

As we celebrate we unite our journey to theirs as we march to the rhythm of eternity and thus we refuse to settle for 2nd best.  Onward we march with our eyes fixed upward and hearts beating with love for him who has loved us so.

a few words from the Pope:

 "today we contemplate the mystery of the communion of saints in heaven and on earth.  We are not alone; we are enfolded in a great cloud of witnesses...The glorious hosts of saints intercede for us before the Lord; they accompany us on our journey toward the kingdom; they urge us to keep our gaze fixed in Jesus...At the liturgy we are invited to share in the heavenly jubilation of the saints, to taste their joy.  (as we receive communion we have a foretaste of their communion with God)...The saints are not a small caste of chosen souls but an innumerable crowd to which we raise our we look at the shining examples of the saints we are reawaken to the great longing to be like them; happy to live near God, in his light, in the great family of God's friends."  

To be a saint requires neither extraordinary actions or works nor the possession of exceptional charisms; rather simply to listen to Jesus and then to follow him without losing heart when difficulties arise.

what is the kingdom of God like?

EPhesians 5:21-33; Ps 128 Blessed are those who fear the Lord; Luke 13:18-21

What is the Kingdom of God like?

Here is a pretty good question.  Definitely food for thought!

What is the Kingdom of God like?

We hear about the kingdom often. Yet we are not quite sure what to make of it.  It is elusive.

Yet the phrase comes up some 120 plus times in the gospel.

We know one must become like a child to fully appreciate and enter into it.

We know it comes like a thief in the night.  We know it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

According to tst. Paul the kingdom of God is righteousness and peace in the Holy Spirit.

And the list goes on.

Jesus reminds us today that the kingdom is always growing.  He reminds us that it seems insignificant yet when put into effect it quickly becomes beyond our imagination.

It is a mustard seed and yeast that becomes the catalyst for something great.

Think about the diversity of birds that make their home in the bush that springs from the tiny mustard seed.

This is a lesson for all of us.  IT takes all kinds to build the kingdom of God.  Diversity is a necessary a part.  Diversity in temperaments, diversity in personality, diversity in up bringing, diversity in culture.  Yet there remains one home for faith to grow and mature.

As diverse as we are, there remains a unity of profession that ties us all together.  We cannot be diverse when it comes to truth and morals.

The false presumption postulated by secular society is that all roads lead to heaven.  But we know this to be all hype and no substance.  The narrow path is that path chosen by Christ for us.  There is a certain closed mindedness necessary for faith.

We do not accept everything though we do welcome everyone, is this is an important distinction if the kingdom is truly going to flourish.

Friday, October 26, 2012


humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another in love...

this is the recipe for success in the eyes of St. Paul.

Here below find a snippet on humility:

At the state funeral of Ronald Reagan, the story was told of the time Reagan was in the hospital, recovering from the attempt on his life. An aide entering the room was alarmed to find him on hands and knees, wiping up some water he had spilled from the sink. "Mr. President!" exclaimed the aide, "We have people for this." Reagan simply replied that he didn't want the nurses getting into trouble because of water on the bathroom floor.
Few people get to meet a sitting (or kneeling) president, but even fewer of us know a genuinely humble soul. We're proud and self-centered by nature, and humility is an unnatural trait.
Sometimes the Lord has to use circumstances in life to foster humility in our hearts. If you're facing a situation right now that wasn't planned and isn't wanted, perhaps the Lord means to use it for good in your heart. Perhaps He's teaching you to trust Him, to lean on Him, to follow His way and not your own or to confess to Him your self-sufficiency and self-centeredness.

Be Blessed

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Stewardship of God's grace

Ephesians 3:2-12; Ps You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation; Luke 12:39-48

Stewardship of God's grace.  Here is a reality we should meditate on.

This past Sunday the Church recognized formally seven saints, those who were true stewards of God's grace.

Here is a bit from Pope Benedict's homily,

"The Son of Man came to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (cf. Mk 10:45)
These words were the blueprint for living of the seven Blessed men and women that the Church solemnly enrols this morning in the glorious ranks of the saints. With heroic courage they spent their lives in total consecration to the Lord and in the generous service of their brethren. They are sons and daughters of the Church who chose a life of service following the Lord. Holiness always rises up in the Church from the well-spring of the mystery of redemption, as foretold by the prophet Isaiah in the first reading: the Servant of the Lord is the righteous one who "shall make many to be accounted as righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities" (Is 53:11); this Servant is Jesus Christ, crucified, risen and living in glory. Today’s canonization is an eloquent confirmation of this mysterious saving reality. The tenacious profession of faith of these seven generous disciples of Christ, their configuration to the Son of Man shines out brightly today in the whole Church."

This mirrors the sentiment of st. Paul in today's first reading,

"This was according to the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ JEsus our Lord, in whom we have boldness of speech and confidence of access through faith in him."

We have boldness of speech and confidence of access through faith in him.

We have been equipped.  We are bold.  We are confident.  we have access in faith.  We are stewards of God's grace.

What else do we need?

The mystery if redemption has been laid before our feet.

We now walk in the footsteps of the redeemer.

PErhaps we need a little more motivation.

JEsus reminds us in the gospel, "You must be prepared, for an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come...The servant who knew his master's will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master's will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly."

According to Christ, ever one gets a fair shake.  We should expect the unexpected.  We should be attentive to each moment.  We should not waste the gift we have been given.

We are stewards and we are called to be saints.
we cannot feign ignorance.  We cannot pretend we did not know.

Holiness is the name of the game and faithfulness is the rule that guides us.
This is the blueprint of life.

BE a steward of grace.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Ephesians 2:12-22; Ps 85  The Lord speaks of Peace to his people; Luke 12:35-38

"You were at the time without Christ, alienated from the community of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have become near by the Blood of Christ."

Optimum and optimism are two realities that people often want to implement in their attitude.
They want to think the best of the situation or circumstance.  They want to believe that all will work out in the end, that everything is as it should be, that every moment is the optimum moment.

These are "half full" verse "half empty"  persons.

Optimism is a good quality but it is not hope.

Optimism finds its center in man and man's way of thinking and acting.  The problem with this is that optimism ends in the grave.  Ultimately the one who is optimistic  thinks that dust is the optimum condition of man because this is where it all leads.

Whether you are a half full or half empty persons one day the glass will be dry.

Optimistic people are usually passive as well.  They are not necessarily people of action.  They expect the good to show up but they do not always want to get their hands dirty in the process.

Yet, hope is a different reality.  Hope is not rooted in man.  Hopefulness is not centered in man's attitude.

Hopefulness is a quality of God.  It is God's gift to humanity.
Hope gives us access not to the best case scenario but to the real outcome of life.

In hope we have access to God, the ground of all reality.   This is why the one who has hope lives differently; the one who has hope has been given the gift of new life.

It is the hope we have in Christ that enables us to wait, to gird our loins and light our lamps and be like servants.  Hope is not passive but active.  We who have hope get busy preparing the way.  We put on our servant uniforms and we trim the wicks and roll up our sleeves.

We know that in service to others we shall be served in the end..."he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them."

Hopefulness is a gift we have received and that which motivates us forward.  We know life as we know it is not in our hands but in the hands of God and this makes all the difference.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The hairs on your head

Ephesians 1:11-14; Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own; Luke 12:1-7

I love today's gospel.  "so many people were crowding together that they were trampling one another underfoot."

What a great image to describe the drawing power of Christ.  People couldn't stay away from him.

They were trampling one another underfoot.

Image the crowd.  Imagine the attitude.  It reminds me of when we were in MAdrid for World Youth Day a few years ago.  There were over 1 million people who lined the street to greet the Pope when he arrived.

They were truly stepping one one another to get closer, to get a good look, or a good pic.

JEsus stills has that same drawing power as he uses those he has chosen to make his will known.

JEsus tells us int he gospel, "even the hairs of your head have all been counted."

There is nothing unknown when it comes to God's knowledge of us.

I find this comforting.  I like the fact I can't keep secrets from God.  IT is freeing and refreshing.

I don't have to put on airs or pretend.  God knows everything.

Today think about God knowing everything.  As you do, find freedom in that reality.  Rest at ease in the truth that God knows and we no longer have to pretend.

What a gift!

St Luke the evangelist

2 timothy 4:10-17; Ps 145 Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom; Luke 10:1-9

"Your friends O lord make known the glorious splendor of your kingdom."

On Thursday we celebrated the feast of St. Luke, the writer of the gospel according to Luke.  It is one of the longest gospel accounts of the life of Jesus.

Not only is it long but it has some of the most beautiful and breath taking images and stories about Christ's encounter with the men and women in the first century as well of the most striking parables that paint for us who God is from all eternity.

Luke the evangelist is an artist with a pen.  The pictures he paints truly captivate.

It is in the gospel of Luke we encounter the Angel Gabriel coming to MAry and inviting her to be the mother of the Savior, the very greeting we live and we experience with every recitation of the Rosary as the words of the angel are pressed upon our lips, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you."

It is from the lips of the Blessed Mother according to Luke that we get the true attitude of a disciple, "Behold, the handmaid of the Lord, be done to me according to thy word."

From the pen of Luke we get the beautiful story of Christmas with the angels singing  "glory to God in the highest..." as the shepherds are keeping watch over the flock.

Throughout his gospel we encounter Jesus touching the outcast and the forsaken,  Jesus constantly relates to the little people, those that do not matter according to society's standard.

In the gospel we have the beautiful tale of the prodigal son or the shepherd who leaves the 99 to look for the one lost sheep.

Luke tells us those who are cured and made whole by the presence of Christ, the cleansing of the leper, the paralytic that is able to walk.

Lue tells us how Jesus raises the window's son without ever having to be asked or the sinful women who cleans the feet of JEsus with her tears and her hair.

Luke informs us of the good thief who in an instant repents and is given paradise.

There is so much more contained in the gospel for us to cherish.

Luke truly is a friend of God for he does make known the glorious splendor of the kingdom of God.

What about us?
How do we tell the story  of God acting in our life?  How do we paint the picture for other to encounter Christ?

Someone told us the story and invited us to know Christ.  How do we keep the story alive in our life for future generations as St. Luke did for us with his gospel.

IT is time for us to pick up where Luke left off.   IT is time for us to tell the story of JEsus and let the world know the glorious splendor of the kingdom

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

passion of God

Galatians 5:18-25; Ps 1 Those who follow you Lord will have the light of life; Luke 11:42-46

A brief from the pope on Sunday: "God can conquer the heart of a person who has many possessions and move him to solidarity and sharing with the needy, with the poor, to enter into the logic of the gift.

TOday is the feast of Ignatius of Antioch.  Ignatius was the Bishop of Antioch, 70-107 AD, today what would be located in Turkey. 

IT is in Antioch, as scripture testifies that the followers of Christ were first called Christians. 

As Eusebius points out in his Chronicles of Church History, Ignatius was moved from Syria to Rome where he become food for wild beast on account of his testimony to Christ. 

Here are a few words from St. Ignatius as he makes his way to martyrdom, "It is better for me to die on behalf of JEsus Christ than to reign over all the ends of the earth...Him I seek, who died for us: him I desire, who rose again for our sake...permit me to be an imitator of the Passion of my God."

Think about those words for a moment.

St. Ignatius reminds us that the central focus of our lives is not so much what we give JEsus or what we get from JEsus but JEsus himself, "to know him and to make him known."

Secondly, that desire is meant to spur us on to imitate the passion of my God.

Wow!  Think about the passion of God.

How can we imitate the passion of our God?
The passion of God is directed toward unity, reconciliation, mercy, justice.

St. Ignatius points out that together in union with our bishops, and priest that we all together become "a choir, that being harmonious in love and taking up the song of God in unison you may with one voice sing to the Father..."

This is why when so called "catholic" who refuse to stand with the bishops in regards to issues of life, and religious freedom, cause so much turmoil and disharmony, they are singing off key and out of pitch and thus the one song of praise to the Father gets distorted.

We must rediscover our unity and thus our passion and align ourselves with the passion of God.

In unity with the bishops we are able to crucify the flesh and truly live in the Spirit and follow the Spirit.

Faith working through love

Today is the feast of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.  She was given special apparitions of JEsus within her life.  She was asked to spread the devotion of the Sacred Heart of JEsus.  Many accused her of being false, yet she continued to invite people to devote their lives the Sacred Heart of Christ.

One of the promises Jesus made was that he would bless every place where a picture of his heart would be displayed and honored.

Think about that for a moment.  There are some beautiful artistic renditions of the Sacred HEart of Christ.  Usually the heart is aflame and above the heart is a cross and the cross is wrapped in a crown of thorns.  JEsus' hand usually points to his heart as he beckons the faithful to be consumed by his love.

Yet the public display of such an image can never truly make up for a deep internal recollection of the Sacred Heart it self.  Nothing can purify the inside like the burning flame of Christ love.

the words of JEsus are striking, "although you cleanse the outside, inside you are filled with plunder and evil..."

Yet meditation on the heart of Christ has a way of healing the inside.  Today find an image of the Sacred Heart of JEsus and spend a few moments meditating on the beauty of such a heart.   Let it soak inward and allow the cleansing to begin.  Nothing scrubs the inside more than the mercy of Christ.

Truly  faith working through love can be found in the heart of Christ.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Mark 10:17-30

Hyperbole is an exaggeration that is meant to have an impact on the hearer.  It is spoken in order to allow the meaning to penetrate deep into the mind and the heart.

It asserts the incredible in order to arrive at the credible.  The focus is on reality.

There are many examples of hyperbole in our life.

The children use them all the time at school: when they come in the morning to school dragging their backpack or when they are leaving from school to go home dragging their back pack I often hear them say that my back pack weighs a ton.

If you go there around lunch time, one of the kids will say: I'm so hungry I could eat a horse. N fact just the other day a three old came in with a pig 'n blanket in his mouth and looked at me and said, "I could eat a horse."

When I was at my first assignment we had junior high dances.  It was always interesting to relive those years.  I remember one hearing one of the young men speaking to his friend about a certain girl in their class and the conversation went as follows: 'Oh my G..d, here she comes.  If she asks me to dance I'm going to die."  Hyperbole, i think.  Though he looked nervous enough, he may have actually passed out if the said proposal took place.

When I was growing up my parents would always implore hyperbole: I told you a million times to make your bed or do your homework or pick up your room.

When I spent the summer in Spain last year I had the great joy of rooming with two other priest who happen to snore like freight trains.

We get it.  They are funny yet they drive home the point quick and effortless.

And yet when JEsus uses it  we get a little bothered.

"It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle then for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."

Okay.  Let's let that penetrate for a moment. This hyperbole pressed upon the lips of our savior has a tendency to grate at us, as it should.

Jesus takes the largest animal known to his people at the time and suggest putting it  through the smallest hole known to them at the time and a strange phenomenon occurs: we get nervous and our palms begin to sweat and we begin to wonder is Jesus serious.

We have to remember the hyperbole is brought forth as a response to the man who walks away sad after he is told to sell everything, give to the poor and come and follow after JEsus.

What must i do to gain eternal life?
Who can be saved?

These are the questions that book end the hyperbole of the camel and the eye of the needle.

IT sets us up for the realization that on our own it is impossible.  Eternal life is a gift and it is received only when we decide to follow Jesus' lead.

We enter into the realm of possibilities the moment we follow and allow Jesus to lead us.

We let him have his way with us.

Is JEsus making a statement about being rich?  Sure.  Someone who is rich is use to doing things his or her own way.  Someone who has the world at his or her fingers struggles to let another dictate how they live.

The hyperbole of the camel and the eye of the needle again reminds us that we can not get there from here without Jesus.

Notice the invitation to the man in the gospel isn't to "do as I say" but rather "come, follow me."  This is at the heart of the christian experience.  We are no longer at the center.

Helen Keller once stated that "when the door of our happiness closes, another opens.  But the problem is we stare at the closed door so long we don't see the other that opens in its place."

This is true for many of us.  This is certainly true for the young man in the gospel.  He is too busy looking at the door being closed ('go sell all you have') that he can't see the path way of possibilities that opens before him ('come, follow me').

When focus on what we are losing then we lose sight of what God wants to give.  How often in our lives we choose the path of negativity.  Even Jesus reminds us unless you lose yourself you will not find yourself.

In every decision we make, a lose is inevitable, a door must be closed,  but it is the opening of the other that should grab our attention and hold it firm.

Jesus will remove something from us in order to give us something more.  Go sell what you have....Let g o of what you have done, your accomplishments, your self-centered universe.  Come, follow me....let JEsus lead, let him be at the center.

If our hands are closed and filled with things then we cannot truly receive what God desires to give.  The path way of possibilities opens before us when our hands are held out ward and upward ready to receive.

"Come, follow me..."  THis is the focus, here is the center.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Jesus loves me

Galatians 3:7-14 Ps 111 The lord will remember his covenant forever; Luke 11:15-26

Just a refresher in case we forget:
No one, no where at no time is stronger than God.  JEsus is the strong man, the finger of God has entered into our time, and the Kingdom of God has come.  As the Psalm reminds us, The lord remembers his covenant for ever.  God does not forget, nor forsake.  No one, no where, at no time is stronger than God.  JEsus is the strong man.  

Sometimes we forget and need to be reminded.  Go back over this simple little tune. 

For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me! This I know,
As He loved so long ago,
Taking children on His knee,
Saying, “Let them come to Me.”

Jesus loves me when I'm good,
When I do the things I should,
Jesus loves me when I'm bad,
Though it makes Him very sad.

Jesus loves me still today,
Walking with me on my way,
Wanting as a friend to give
Light and love to all who live.

Jesus loves me! He who died
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.

Jesus loves me! Loves me still
Tho' I'm very weak and ill;
That I might from sin be free
Bled and died upon the tree.

Jesus loves me! He will stay
Close beside me all the way;
Thou hast bled and died for me,
I will henceforth live for Thee.

Jesus loves me! Loves me still
Though I'm very weak and ill;
From his shining throne on high
Comes to watch me where I lie.

Jesus loves me! He will stay
Close beside me all the way;
If I love him, when I die
He will take me home on high.

Jesus loves me! See His grace!
On the cross He took my place.
There He suffered and He died,
That I might be glorified.

Jesus loves me! God's own Son
Over sin the vict'ry won.
When I die, saved by His grace,
I shall see Him face to face.

Jesus loves me! He is near.
He is with His Church so dear.
And the Spirit He has sent
By His Word and Sacrament.

how much more

"How much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"

These are the words of CHrist at the end of the gospel yesterday.

Think about all the things, all the gifts we ask of GOd on a regular basis.  Think of the petty requests that fill our ledger of petitions throughout our lives as we raise our voice upward and outward to God above.

Sometimes, we must admit, our request really are pretty low and pretty selfish.

But how often do we ask for the Holy Spirit.  How often do we ask for the very gift of God himself.  God doesn't mind giving us the little things but but he certainly has greater gifts is mind.

To receive the holy Spirit, sometimes God takes away things in order to give things.  Here is something we must be attentive to on a daily basis.

We seek, we knock, we ask.  Our knuckles are often sore because of the continuous knocking going on in our lives and this is okay.  Jesus reminds us the gospel about persistence.  We should not quit too soon.

Yet, every time we go to celebrate the Mass, we should be attentive to the fact that the gift God desires for us comes to meet us.

As we gather around the altar of sacrifice, the priest says those words, "send down your Holy Spirit to sanctify these gifts of bread and wine that they may become the Body and Blood of JEsus CHrist our Lord."

There it is, every time,  We have sought, we have knocked, we have asked and God answers.  The Eucharist is the answer, the answering presence of God in our midst.

How much more will the Father in heaven give us the Holy SPirit.

God always has "more" in mind.  Yet, what could possible be greater than the gift of the Son who comes to nourish us and strengthen us as a companion for the journey.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Heaven's words on earthly lips

Galatians 2:1-2,7-14; Psalm 117 Go out to all the world, and tell the the Good News; Luke 11:1-4

Jesus was praying.
Note to all of us.  If JEsus is praying, the son of God, himself, should we not also give ourselves to prayer.

The disciples said, "Lord, teach us to pray as John taught his disciples."
The disciples were attracted to Jesus' prayer life.  They wanted what he had.  So they made the inquiry. They asked.

We too should begin each attempt at prayer with a similar inquiry, "Lord, teach us to pray."

JEsus gives us what we know today as the "Our Father" or "The Lord' s Prayer."

Every time we pray it we are reminded that we are praying with God's words not our own.  In this prayer we are invited into the intimate dialogue between the Father and the son.  We are inserted into that relationship.

Every time we recite the prayer we are also reminded of the very heart of spiritual growth: "salvation does not come from man's greatness but from God's gracious mercy"  as Pope Benedict points out on a regular basis.

Prayer is not about the words we string together to grab God's attention, but rather about truly understanding that God has given us his attention already in Christ.

These words of the "Our Father" are the very words of Christ.

We we pray then with reverence and profound humility.  God has placed his words on our lips.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Galatians 1:13-24; Ps 139 Guide me Lord, along the everlasting way; Luke 10:38-42

"you heard of my former way of i persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it...but when he...called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his son to me, so that i might proclaim him..."

In today's first reading we have Paul's testimony.  He is describing his experience thus far in life how he went from persecutor to proclaimer.

Notice that Paul states that he was persecuting the church of God.

Now, this is important.  There many who claim that the church is man made, yet here we have Paul stating the fact that is is God's doing.  God is the one who founded the church and set it in motion.  When Paul was persecuting the Christians he was persecuting God's church.

Think about how we relate to God's church?  How often do we persecute the church in our own lives by our own choices and actions?

Secondly, once paul had this experience or this encounter with Christ, he decided to wait it out and test it.  HE spent three years in prayer and discernment trying to figure out what this all meant.  He was trying to make sense out of his experience.

Today, many have an experience and rather than sit with for a while they get fanatical only to lose their fervor and lose their focus.  Rather than making it about Christ, they make it about themselves.

Paul takes three years to allow this encounter with Christ to sink in, as they say.

Thirdly, after he settled into his experience with Christ and understood more deeply God's call for him, Paul went to the church to see Cephas (Peter).   For fifteen days he conferred with Peter.

Unlike many today, Paul didn't start his own little church.  He rather joined the church that God had already set in motion.  He checked with the hierarchy before he set out to proclaim.

How many self-prolaimed followers of Christ do just the opposite.  How many "bible" beaters do not follow in the footsteps of the biblical testimony as given by St. Paul.

They forsake the conversion process.  They want to do it on their own and yet Paul himself seeks out the church.

I wonder what Paul and Peter spoke about in those fifteen days?  Perhaps, Paul went to confession to the Vicar of Christ himself.

Fascinating unfolding of the mystery of grace in the life of Paul and the church of God.
In today's gospel we encounter Martha and Mary.  
Jesus calls Martha to task, "martha, martha you are anxious and worried about many things."

Sounds a lot like our life: anxious, concerned, worried.  How often does our heart and mind get crowded with all that stuff.

Yet, Jesus gives us a recipe for freedom, "There is need of only one thing."

"MAry sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him."

The importance of prayerful listening has a way of alleviating worries, anxiety and all the other stuff that clogs our spiritual arteries.

Besides, as the psalmist reminds us God knows us through and through, with all my ways he is familiar.

This is why being in his presence alleviates our anxiety and worries. This is where our conversion awaits.  This is why Paul took three years to be in silence before entering the fast pace world of proclamation.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

October: month of the rosary

The church has asked us to rediscover the power of the rosary as we enter into the month of October.

The church ask us to pray, to rebuild the path that leads to the hearing and speaking God.  Where better to begin than with the Rosary.

Why the rosary?  Why do we greet Mary?
Many would suggest that this course is a detour, why go to MAry when we can go straight to Christ!

First of all to greet Mary is to fulfill the gospel prophecy and hence a command of the Holy Spirit, "surely from now on all generations will call be blessed" (Lk1:48).

Also, we are reminded that the eternal and invisible God reveled himself in this world through the instrumentality of men, who at the same time gave him his name:  the God of Abraham, of ISaac, of JAcob.  Through men we come to know the face of God.

When we remember the human beings who God has used to make himself known, such as Mary, and remember them with gratitude, we praise God himself.   Thus,we suppress something of his glory when we fail to praise those through whom he manifested himself.

We praise him in those who became a vessel of his grace; they do not supplant him but point the way to him.

"Hail full of grace, the Lord is with you."
"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, JEsus."

Rediscover the path ways of prayer.  Take up the beads and let your lips sing God's praises.

Friday, October 5, 2012

cardinal Dolan speaks

Here are a few words form the president of the Catholic COnference of Bishops

"In the document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” published by the bishops of the United States, we are reminded that, “In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation. This obligation is rooted in our baptismal commitment to follow Jesus Christ and to bear Christian witness in all we do.” And so, as I leave for Rome, I want to share with you some of the concerns that I will bring with me to the tombs of the apostles, SS. Peter and Paul, and to Assisi, the town of St. Francis.

I am concerned about a culture that has become increasingly callous about the radical abortion license, and a legal system that affords more protection to endangered species of plants and animals than to unborn babies; that considers pregnancy a disease; that interprets “comprehensive health care” in such a way that it may be used to threaten the life of the baby in the womb (and, it should be noted, to exclude the undocumented immigrant as well). I am concerned as well for the infirm and elderly who are nearing the end of life, that they will not be treated with the respect, dignity and compassion that is their due, but instead be encouraged to seek a hasty death before they can become, according to some, “a burden to society.”

I am worried that we may be reducing religious freedom to a kind of privacy right to recreational activities, reducing the practice of religion to a Sabbath hobby, instead of a force that should guide our public actions, as Michelle Obama recently noted, Monday through Friday.

I am bothered by the prospect of this generation leaving a mountain of unpayable debt to its children and grandchildren, whose economic futures will be blighted by the amounts of the federal budget absorbed by debt service.

I am anxious that calls for a fiscally responsible society are met with claims that those calls come from men and women who don’t care about the poor; that we may be tempted to write off the underprivileged as problems to be solved, or as budget woes, rather than treating them with respect and dignity as people with potential and creativity; that we’re at times more willing to cut programs to help the sick, our elders, the hungry and homeless, than expenditures on Drone missiles.

I am concerned that our elections increasingly resemble reality TV shows rather than exercises in serious democratic conversation.

I am bothered that we are losing sight of voting as an exercise in moral judgment, in which certain priority issues—especially the life issues, with the protection of unborn life being the premier civil rights issue of the day—must weigh heavily on our consciences as we make our political decisions.

I am worried by attempts to redefine marriage, and to label as “bigots” those who uphold the traditional, God-given definition of marriage.

I am anxious that we cannot seem to have a rational debate over immigration policy, and that we cannot find a way to combine America’s splendid tradition of hospitality to the stranger with respect for the rule of law, always treating the immigrant as a child of God, and never purposefully dividing a family.

I am worried about the persecution of people of faith around the world, especially with the hatred of Christians on a perilous incline; and the preference for violent attacks upon innocents instead of dialogue as the path to world peace.

I expect that many of you share these concerns. In the words of “Faithful Citizenship,” how we should respond is clear. The document says, “Our focus is not on party affiliation, ideology, economics, or even competence and capacity to perform duties, as important as such issues are. Rather, we focus on what protects or threatens human life and dignity.” As you consider these concerns, I will be praying for you in Rome that the humble, joyful Poverello of Assisi intercede for us, and that Mary Immaculate, patroness of the United States and Star of the New Evangelization, will inspire in us wisdom, prudence, and courage.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Job 9:1-12,14-16; Ps 88 Let my prayer come before you, Lord; Luke 9:57-62

Breakfast with Benedict.  This is a meditation booklet i have found my self enjoying over the past few weeks.  Each day i flip open the book andI break my fast with some delicious well prepared instruction and teaching from the Successor of Peter.

This morning in the selection for the day, Pope Benedict was speaking about why he chose the name Benedict.  Two reasons he listed: to create a spiritual bond with Benedict XV who steered the church during WWI, a person our Pope noted as a courageous and authentic prophet of peace.

How do we become courageous and authentic prophets of peace?

Secondly, he chose the name Benedict because of St. Benedict who reminds us of the indispensable Christian roots of culture and civilization, the one who in his rule of life stated, "prefer nothing to the love of Christ."

Prefer nothing to the love of Christ.

Here is nice way of cleaning up our lives and removing the garbage that clings to us along the way.  As  JEsus reminds us in the gospel today, "No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God."

How often do we look to what is left behind?  How often do we find ourselves longing for that which is no longer an option if we follow Christ?

Prefer nothing to the love of Christ.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Exodus 23:20-23; Ps 91 The Lord has put angels in charge of you to guard you in all your ways; Matthew 18:1-5,10

"Thus says the LORD, See, I am  sending an angel before you, to guard you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared.  Be attentive to him and heed his voice...." Ex 23

Jesus reminds us, "see that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father." Mtt 18

Angels.  These mysterious spiritual beings.  They are part of God's creative love, visible and invisible.

This is what the church teaches about guardian angels.

 "from its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession.  Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.  Already here on earth the Christian life  shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God."

How is that for Amazing!

Note that JEsus points out that the angels in heaven always look upon the face of the heavenly Father.  

think about that for a moment.

We have an angel that is in constant adoration for us.  The angel's ability to guard and guide is rooted in adoration, prayer, looking upon the face of the uncreated one. 

They already show us the key component in guidance for ourselves.  If we are going to lead others, then we too must spend time in adoration, looking upon the face of the heavenly Father.  

Going in to the church and spending quiet time before God in prayer, especially before the presence of Christ in the EUcharist.  

Another thing to ponder.  Every human life is surrounded by an angel.  The next time you see someone on the street, or at work, or driving down the road, stop for a moment and think about the angel God has sent to watch over them. 

How much does God care for us that he has sent this angelic creature to be there with us every step of the way!  We are never alone. 

"Angel of God my guardian dear, to whom's God love entrust you here; ever this day be at my side, to  lead and guard and rule and guide."  Amen.

Happy birthday to peanuts.