Sunday, September 17, 2017

Jesus, in light of all that you have forgiven me, in light of your love and mercy for me, I choose to forgive, please help me to forgive completely from my heart. Our Lady of Divine Mercy pray for us.

Twenty-fourth Sunday in ordinary Time. September 17th, 2017. Matthew 18;21.35.

The Book of Sirach, from which our first reading was taken, must have been one of Jesus’ favorite books of Sacred Scripture because He often talked about the moral teachings that are included in it. The Book of Sirach was, in fact, written about 200 years before Jesus was born. And ever since that time, it has been frequently used for moral teaching and for its insights into human nature, or I should say into fallen human nature.

In today’s reading we hear the author of the book, a man named, Jesus Ben Sirach, writing, "Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight. The vengeful will suffer the Lord’s vengeance, for he remembers their sins in detail." Sirach, then goes on to argue that one who has been faulted must forgive if he is to really keep the commandments, especially the highest of all Commandments-to Love God above all and then to love your neighbor for love of God—in other words, it is impossible to truly love God unless we forgive our neighbor…period

In our Gospel today, Peter asks Jesus how often he should forgive the sins committed against him. Peter asks, "As many as seven times?" I don’t know about you but (in our society) seven times seems kind of high, much less seventy-seven times. We have a very vengeful society-just look at our movies. As the bad guy is getting his, by the good guy who is dealing out vengeance more than justice, how many of us haven’t egged the “good guy” on, and in our minds hoped that vengeance would be served? In our heart, we may have even cried out, “kill the creep; after all he deserves it-and make it as painfully as possible.”

But, what does Jesus tell Peter? (Pause) We must forgive seventy-seven times, which is a symbolic number meaning, we must never stop forgiving—or as it means in the original Hebrew, we must forgive always. It seems to me that if we take what Jesus tells us seriously, we truly must have a change of heart.

To forgive as Jesus instructs us—commands us—we must become more serious followers of Christ and, as St. Paul tells us, "live no longer for ourselves but for Christ." We must become so imbued, so filled with the Holy Spirit that forgiveness becomes part of our nature—which it is naturally not. Forgiveness must become a part of who we are. With this being said, how much we are desperately in need of the powerful grace of the Sacraments to live a life of forgiveness.

The truth is, all of us have been sinned against, trespassed against-we have all been victims in some way. To live in the real world is to be abused or betrayed, to be disrespected or not listened to, to be cheated and lied to, to be pushed around, to be used and insulted, sadly, sometimes even by those in our families or in our parish family.

But what do we do with the pain of abuse that is thrown at us? Do we hold the pain in our hearts and, as Sirach says, "hug wrath and anger tight?" Are we resentful to those who have hurt us? In our spare time do we think of ways to get back at those who have hurt us…vengeance—have we even carried this vengeance out in action? Do we close our hearts to them and act as if they don’t exist? Do we wait for them to come crawling back to us, groveling back to us? Or, do we have some other way to justify our un-forgiveness, and so avoid forgiveness, hang on to the resentment and "hold tight to our wrath and anger?" (Pause) Or, instead do we follow Jesus’ commandment to not hate our neighbor and instead act as Jesus does; forgiving even when the person who is to be forgiven does not, by any worldly standard, either deserve or maybe even care to be forgiven?

Because forgiveness is a divine attribute, it is not an overstatement to say, “that to forgive someone who has really hurt us is divine—an act of mercy.” So in order to forgive as Christ asks us, to forgive as Christ forgives, then how much we need the help and grace of God. It begins with the realization of how incredibly much God as forgiven each one of us (no exceptions). In light of this truth, St JosĂ© Maria Escrivá, said, “Force yourself, if necessary, always to forgive those who offend you, from the very first moment. For the greatest injury or offence that you can suffer from them is as nothing compared with what God has pardoned you.”

The fact is, is that the forgiveness of our brother becomes easier to the extent that we realize how grievous our own personal sins really are, how much they offend an all good and loving God and how much they hurt our neighbor and ourselves. What act of Mercy it is for God to forgive our own sins, even the slightest. How can we then not forgive those who have trespassed against us, and so be merciful to them?

I remember someone saying that they had committed a sin equal to murder and how they had received the forgiveness of God; yet later on, this same person spoke about how they just could not forgive one of their loved ones who had wrong them. But we can protest, “but I have never murdered anyone, I have never committed a grievous sin against God.” Well first off, any sin is in a sense grievous, for any sin is an offense against an Almighty God. And, you don’t have to literally kill someone to commit murder; gossip, calumny, detraction, spreading rumors and innuendoes, slander, backbiting, etc., are all murderous. In fact, any act or omission that destroys or tears down or doesn’t support the good in another person is murderous; in fact, any way we seek to destroy the good in another is actually outright evil.

To forgive is to live in freedom as children made in the image and likeness of God. Forgiveness is freeing both to the one who forgives and the one who is forgiven. But how can we truly forgive a grievous sin against us, practically speaking? First, as I said before, to forgive, especially very hurtful offenses, takes the grace and help of God. If you need to forgive someone, realize that it is to your own advantage to do so, beg Christ to give you the gift of forgiveness. Begin by seeking the grace of forgiveness for your own sins from Jesus in the Sacrament of confession. And begin by confessing your failure to forgive from the heart. And, then, keep begging until He gives you the grace to be able to really forgive from the heart.

Second, to forgive does not mean that we forget about what was done to us, or try and somehow say it was okay or it was nothing. If the act against us was wrong, it was wrong—Call a spade a spade. “What you did was wrong, and you deserve to be punished, but I forgive you any way.”

Third, we need to remember that we don’t need to “feel like it” in order to forgive. To forgive is an act of our will. In order to be able to forgive does not mean the feelings of un-forgiveness, anger or even hatred need to disappear first. To forgive is not a feeling; it is, like love, a choice. We can, with God’s grace, rise above our feelings of un-forgiveness, vengeance and anger. I choose to forgive this person, because Christ commands me to, because Christ has forgiven me for even greater offenses. And so, I chose to love this person because Christ has loved me, died for me and He loves this person as well and died for them also.

Today, let us place the hurt, anger, resentment and un-forgiveness that we have on the paten along with our Heart at this Holy Mass in order to be offered and so transformed into love by the Holy Spirit. And when we receive Christ in Holy Communion, let us all think of someone who has hurt us and for whom we may hold resentment or anger. Ask Christ, who becomes one with you during Holy Communion, to give you the grace to truly to forgive them, to let the anger and hatred go. And by the way, if you refuse to forgive someone, please don’t receive our Lord in Holy Communion; it will do you more harm than good.

Let us pray: Jesus you have told us, ‘if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.’ Jesus, in light of all that you have forgiven me, in light of your love and mercy for me, I choose to forgive, please help me to forgive completely from my heart. Our Lady of Divine Mercy pray for us. Amen.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Let yourselves be offered to God and allow yourselves to be conformed, not to this passing world, but to be conformed to the Love of God and to His Holy Will, giving yourselves as victims of Love, and thus becoming Co-Redeemers with Jesus for the salvation of the world.

Twenty-Second in Ordinary Time. September 3rd, 2017. Matthew 16; 21-27

Last week we read about Peter making his profession of faith- he being the first one to confess that Jesus was not only the Christ-the Messiah, but that Jesus was truly the living and true God in the flesh. We hear today that it was the Father alone who revealed this wisdom to Peter—for no man on his own can believe that Jesus is God, the only begotten Son of the Father—it takes the gift of supernatural Faith-a gift from God.

Because of Peter’s confession, Jesus intends to build His Church upon the person of Peter, this is signified by a name Change. Peter, once called Simon, is now call Peter, which means literally Rock-You are Rock and upon this Rock I will build my Church. Peter becomes the first Pope and is given the Key of the Kingdom of Heaven and Earth—he is Christ Vicar on earth.

This week, it seems we read quite the opposite- Peter, the “Rock” is now called Satan. How does one go from being blessed by God, the one who knows the secrets of God, to now being called Satan, practically all in but an instant?

After the profession of faith by Peter, Jesus announces to the apostles another secret- that He would go to Jerusalem and enter into His passion by be handed over to be killed and on the third day rise again. Peter, like most of us when any talk of negative things comes up thinks or says– God Forbid! Certainly Peter here is expressing a normal, loving HUMAN sentiment. But then comes one of the harshest rebukes in all of the Gospels- Peter is called Satan. How Peter must have been crushed when his ears first heard this.

Jesus immediately then tells Peter the truth, that he-Peter-the first Pope, is thinking not as God thinks, but as men do. In other words, the wisdom of the Father is being revealed to you, beyond all human reasoning—don’t think as man does but as God does. The Son of Man, who is also the Son of God, must suffer and even die.

The Passion and death of Jesus is certainly the greatest evil to ever or that can ever occur on the face of the earth—at the Crucifixion there occurred, literally, Deicide-man killed God, man tortured and hung His Creator on the Cross to kill Him-to wipe Him off the face of the earth. Only in this great mystery does the mystery of all men and woman’s suffering and death find meaning, find purpose, find hope.

The problem of suffering and evil is certainly a long topic to discuss in a homily; books written on the subject could fill a library. But simply put, it is beyond our ability to fully comprehend. If we say, and I think we should- God forbid this or that evil, we are saying some true and honest. We pray this daily- often times more than once although maybe in many and different ways. Think of how many times God, through our prayers or others, has sent His angels to help us avoid a car accident. Yet, for others, in spite of their guardian angels they do get in car accidents and as a result suffer injury and death. Were their guardians asleep? Were they worse than we? Did God love them any less than us?

Bad things do happen, even to good people, for the rain falls on the bad and the good (cf Mt 5:45). Indeed, it seems ultimately Satan must be the source of the evils in this world. And original sin has had great consequences—man is fallen and so is now prone to suffering and death. But we cannot fall into the trap of saying every little discomfort is from Satan or that only sinners or those without faith suffer. Many of the evils we do suffer are a consequence of our personal sin, but then other sufferings are the results of other peoples sins, and still others the result of no one’s personal sins. So then, what are we to do about all of this?

We must return to our passage, as Jesus reveals the Wisdom of God. Jesus says first, you must deny yourself and follow me; you must take up your cross and follow me. The suffering we experience, often on a daily basis, needs to be united with that of Jesus’. Jesus entered into His passion so we could have ultimate victory over evil. In other words, Jesus didn’t suffer and die so that we don’t have too, but He suffered and died so that our suffering a death could be united to His for the sake of the world and for the salvation of souls, our own and others.

Jesus Christ Himself was not only a priest, He was a priest/victim. There had been many other “priests” in the History of the world. But Jesus, was the first priest in the history of the world, ever to be both the one who offered and the one being offered. He was the priest who offered Himself in sacrifice for those He loved and then He commandment His followers to do the same. If anyone would be a disciple of mine let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Jesus, wanted his disciples (and us) to carry their cross out of love and so follow him by uniting their sufferings, all that they have, their very lives to His suffering and death on the cross. Christians, especially us Catholics, we are called to share in the priesthood/victimhood of Jesus Christ. Many there are, it seems want to be priests, demand to be priests, but few there are who want to priest-victims. We all, by our baptism, belong to the Royal Priesthood of believers, but not only Priesthood, but Royal Victimhood of believers. We are called, chosen by Jesus, to join our spiritual sacrifices and our very lives to His sacrifice for the salvation of souls and the salvation of the whole world….for “No greater love is there than this, than he would lay down his life for his friends.” This laying down of one’s life is not necessarily a physical death, but a death to self, a death to selfishness and a life of selflessness—to die to self will and to live to God’s will alone.

Jesus says, whoever wishes to save his life will lose it. The Greek word “psyche” here for life is much richer than this- it means our soul and person. When adore the Father through Jesus, we abandon ourselves- all that we have and all that we are-especially our suffering to Him. We unite ourselves to His cross. And Jesus gives us the grace each day, to take up our cross and follow him.

God loves each one of us and only allows suffering in our lives so that good can come out of it, that through our sufferings and the offering of them, many souls may come back to Him. Suffering and death are great evils in this life, it is true, but the greatest evil and the greatest loss possible is the loss of a soul for all eternity. The saints have said that any amount of suffering was worth it, if by the offering of our suffering we could saved just one soul from hell and bring them back to God and to a everlasting happiness and union with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and the whole family of the saints and angels for all of eternity.

We don’t have to go looking for crosses, they will come in our lives. Mostly they will be the little annoyances, trips, snags, drops, and monotony of every day life. Sometimes our crosses may be greater, heavier. For those of you that now carry a heavy cross, I pray that the Peace of Jesus Christ be with you, the Peace that the world can not give, the Peace that is beyond all human understanding; the Peace that alone is able to bring us Joy, even in the midst of our deepest and darkest sufferings, a Peace that lets us know that God loves us with an incredible love and never, never abandons us. Especially to you I say:

“The everlasting God has in His wisdom foreseen from eternity the cross that He now presents to you as a gift from His inmost heart. This cross He now sends you He has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with loving arms and weighed with His own hands to see that it be not one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for you. He has blessed it with His holy Name, anointed it with His consolation, taken one last glance at you and your courage, and then sent it to you from heaven, a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all-merciful love of God.”

It is the Holy Mass that makes the Cross of Christ available to us so that we can unite and offering our sufferings to the Eternal Father. At this Holy Mass and at all the Masses you are privileged to attend, I would ask you to offer yourselves, your sufferings, your very lives “as a holy sacrifice truly pleasing to God.” Spiritually as priests/victims place your offering on the altar and then through the mediation of the ordained priest, who is acting in the very person of Christ, unite your offering to Christ’s own sacrifice. Let yourselves be offered to God and allow yourselves to be conformed, not to this passing world, but to conformed to the Love of God and to His Holy Will, giving yourselves as victims of Love, becoming Co-Redeemers with Jesus, for the salvation of the world.

Let us make our offering to the Sacred and Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, in union with the pure and chaste Heart of St. Joseph. Amen.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

“O Jesus Son of David have mercy on me, a great sinner who is unworthy to approach your table but nevertheless I throw my myself at your feet trusting in Your Infinite Mercy. Amen.

August 20th, 2017. Matthew 15;21-28. Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

This Gospel marks the only time that we know of that Jesus ever ventured outside of the Jewish territory. Perhaps, He may have needed time away from the leaders of the House of Israel who not only refused to see Him as the long awaited Messiah and deliverer of God’s chosen people but, who also refused to believe that He was the Son of God. Jesus earlier had said that He had come to give His message only to the House of Israel, but by this venture into Gentile territory, He was pointing to His later commissioning of the disciples to preach the Gospel not only to the Jews, but also to the entire world. The Jews were meant to be the first born children of God but then they, by their witness of God’s mercy and goodness to them, were to lead all the nations and peoples to become Children as well.

So here is this pagan woman, a woman who is not only a gentile but also a Canaanite. The Canaanites were not only non-Jews, they were ancient enemies of the Jews. And to make matters even more interesting, women in Jesus day were seen as lower than the house hold slaves. And so in the eyes of many of the Jews, this woman is considered little more than a “dog” on two accounts, first by being a pagan and second being a woman.

However, in Jesus encounter with this gentile, non-jewish woman, we are given an example of humble, faithful and loving prayer before Lord. This woman knows that Jesus is a Jew and that she is gentile; she knows that she is considered an “enemy” of the Jews. Yet nevertheless, she has heard the wonders, the miracles of Jesus and she has a child who is in greet need…and good mothers stop at nothing to help their children-born or unborn.

She is a mother in anguish because good mothers always have compassion on their children and so suffer along with their children. She doesn’t care about herself; she only knows that this man may be able to help her child. She doesn’t care what others may say or even if she makes a fool out of herself. She throws herself at his feet like a beggar and begins to pray without ceasing for this Jewish man to help her child. She knows that He alone can help her, save her child, save Her.

The disciples themselves are ashamed at the way she is acting; they don’t want to be in this pagan territory in the first place, a territory full of sinners and enemies. But Jesus wishes to teach them compassion (not pity-feeling sorry for, but compassion, that is a willingness to bear and suffer with), and so teach them true love of neighbor. Jesus wants them to intercede on her behalf by asking Him to help her, their “so called enemy.” But instead, they ask Him to send her away. However, even after their attempt to rid themselves of her, she for her part only persists the more. Jesus, moved with pity for her, says, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.”

Now at first, this may sound like a cruel derogatory remark-it may seem that Jesus too, like the others sees her as nothing more than a dog. But the opposite is the case, because Jesus is looking at the woman with eyes of true compassion and with a warm tender loving smile on his face, which robbed the words of any insulting tone. The word dog that he uses here is not the same word that religious leaders of the day used when they called the Canaanites, the other gentiles and even women “dogs.” No, the word here is more like puppy. In other words, Jesus is showing this sorrowful mother, that He doesn’t share in the hatred, prejudice & lack of compassion of the religious leaders of the day.

But even more, He is showing that not only He is the messiah, but that He is her Lord and God, who loves even sinners—who loves her. He wants her to know that He has heard her humble, persistent plea and is ready to answer her faithful, childlike prayer. And she in return is filled with faith and understanding and responds to His love by calling Jesus, “Lord,” and saying with a trusting, childlike smile, “Lord, even the puppies eat of the pieces which fall from their master’s table.”

This woman of great faith teaches us about the loving characteristics of prayer. She teaches us how we are to pray, what kind of disposition of the heart we must have when we pray. She teaches us that we, like her, must realize our unworthiness to approach Jesus with our prayer, that we must be humble before our Lord and become as beggars, crying out, “Jesus Son of David have mercy on me, a great sinner who is unworthy to approach your table”. This is the beginning of prayer-humility--Humility that affects our actions, our demeanor, even our way of dress, especially at Holy Mass.

Humble Prayer starts with an act of adoration. Just like the woman, we realize the importance of prayer and we fall on our knees-we were given knees for adoring and praying. We humble ourselves, physically and spiritually, in body and soul, and make an act of faith & hope and trust by showing God that we realize who He is and how much we need Him, how we recognize our complete dependency on Him for everything, even to our very existence. We also recognize that we can’t even pray without the Help of His Spirit. And so, we call out to Him, “My God Creator of my soul, Father of my soul, I believe in Thee, I adore Thee, I hope and trust in Thee and I Love Thee, Help me now to Believe, adore, hope and trust, and Love Thee more.”

In our humble prayer, in acknowledgment of our poverty, we come face to face with the gentleness and compassion of Jesus Christ who smiles at us, like he did with the woman, and He lets us know that He Loves Us beyond all our imagining. He teaches us how to pray more deeply and intensely, trusting and knowing that we have a God who already knows what we need even before we ask. Jesus teaches us, like the Samaritan woman, to always be persistent in our prayer and to have trust that He hear us and loves us and desires to answer our prayer, but that His answer must be given in His time and according to His Will, not our own, for our sake not His. And we respond, “Lord, how could we possibly want anything but Your Holy Will, since you alone know what we really need, we beg you, give us only those things that will bring us closer to You.”

Jesus also teaches us, what his disciples in the Gospel missed. He wants us to know that we must pray with each other and for each other. Jesus is most pleased when we pray for others, especially before Him in the Holy Eucharist which is the Sacrament of His love because It is Him! This is the prayer that is the most fruitful. We should pray for those in our families, our friends and those who the Lord has brought into our life. However, we can’t stop there---WE should also, especially pray for our enemies. “What good is it, if you love only those you love you, even the pagans do as much?” We should pray for those who are in the most need of God’s mercy and so in the most need of our prayer.

When we pray for others, as well as our self, prayer becomes part of our daily life by offering up our work and activity of the day, even our sufferings, as a prayer; we become willing to show true compassion which again means not pity but a willingness to suffer with and along side the other. We also, come to recognize the importance of prayer in community, prayer together as a parish family, praying for each other and for others outside our parish family. With this recognition we also see the extreme failure in charity and grave sinfulness of deliberately missing Holy Mass on Sundays, or arriving late or leaving early without a serious reason and not participating lovingly, fully and actively, with full heart, mind, soul and body and with all of our strength and will.

The Holy Mass remember is the most perfect of all prayers. The Holy Mass is the Most perfect of all prayers because it is the sacrificial prayer of Jesus to the Father on our behalf, the prayer of His self-offering to the Father for our salvation-it is the ultimate act of compassion. Because Jesus is God, the Holy Mass is the prayer of God to God on behalf of poor little puppies’ like you and me. Without the Holy Mass no prayer would be worthy to come before God.

It is the Holy Mass that allows our prayer to ascend to the Father because the Mass makes it possible for you and me to come before Jesus, before His table, better yet His Sacred Altar. If we offer ourselves to Him, our whole heart, with trust, and receive him in faith, he perfects our love, our love for God and our love for neighbor for love of God…He makes our love sacrificial not emotional!…At Holy Mass, in fact Jesus gives us His own Heart to love with….The Body of Christ.

Let each one of us take a closer look at our prayer life. None of us can say that we pray enough, including me. Do we pray more than just when you are at Sunday Mass? Do we pray the Mass? Do we only pray when we need or want something? Do we pray for others, especially our enemies? Do we begin each prayer, like this woman of today’s Gospel, with a humble, childlike trust in God, pleading Him to answer our prayers according to His Holy Will? Because in the end that is what prayer really is, prayer is not begging God to change His Mind and Will to ours, but our prayer helps us to change our minds and our hearts to correspond to His Holy Will in love so we can become united to Him in Love and lead other to share in these same union of our heart with His.

So let us all ask the Blessed Mother of God to teach us how to pray, so that we may conform ourselves more and more to the Will of God. In her school of prayer we will learn to pray for others in need, helping them to find the healing that they so desperately are looking for-to find Christ Himself! Through her intercession, let us too, ask the Holy Spirit to grant us the grace to realize ever more deeply, that far from receiving scraps from the table at this Holy Mass, we instead receive at the Altar of the Lord, the Lord Himself, His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Let us become more than “puppies” before the Lord, but His Beloved children and humbly throw ourselves at His feet, and beg Him to bring us closer to Him through Holy Communion, even to a mystical union of perfect love and happiness with the living God. Then we can show true compassion to those we meet, even our enemies, becoming instruments of God’s mercy and love, leading those separated from God and His Love, to this same union of love with the Living God. “O Jesus Son of David have mercy on me, a great sinner who is unworthy to approach your table but nevertheless I throw my myself at your feet trusting in Your Infinite Mercy. Amen.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Transfiguration of the Lord. The Transfiguration is now, thanks to St. John Paul II, one of the mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary; it is the Fourth Luminous Mystery. The specific grace assigned to the Fourth Luminous mystery is the grace of a greater desire for Holiness. Holiness, it can be said is simply “listening to Jesus,” and doing whatever He tells us with the help of His grace.

We have to remember that the historical event of the Transfiguration of the Lord occurred immediately after Jesus revealed to the twelve Apostles, His impending suffering and death—His Crucifixion. It was a devastating revelation to Jesus most intimate friends, who were the twelve future first priest and bishops. Only those who have had given to them the terminal diagnosis of someone they love can begin to understand what the Apostles must have been experiencing.

With the cross now revealed to them, it is then that the fearful, weak disciples climbed the mountain with Jesus. The climbing I think symbolizing the disciples ascending to God in faith and trust—it is climbing the mountain of Holiness seeking union with God. The ascent of faith can then be a difficult hard journey. At the top of the mountain, after the arduous climb, the three arrive and suddenly Jesus is transformed before them.

In His transfiguration, Jesus reveals just a tiny, minuscule hint of the incredible glory of His Divinity shining through His sacred Humanity. For the three, it was literally a tiny glimpse into heaven itself—it was to peak to behold the very face of God Himself glorified in Heaven. How awesome it must have been to be on that mountain. You would think that the Apostles would have wrote volumes about what they saw but they didn’t (they probably fell on their faces and ate the dirt). Words could never even begin to begin to express, for what they saw was a very glimpse into that of which, “eye has not seen, ear as not heard, nor has it even entered into the mind of man…”.

The Transfiguration filled the hearts and the minds of the Disciples with great hope and strengthened them. They had seen the glory to which they were called; they had seen a glimpse of their their goal, their final end—union with God. When one knows the goal, when one knows one’s end, it makes the journey, no matter how difficult, bearable and even joyful. And so, the vision of the Transfiguration would carry them through the upcoming passion and death of their dearest friend—Jesus. It would carry them through as well in their own sufferings to come, the crosses they would have to carry in their own lives. It would also carry them through in their own passion and death at the end of their lives.

But even more so, the Vision of the Transfiguration of Jesus instilled in their souls a great desire for Holiness, to become more and more intimate friends with Jesus, to become one with Jesus. And close to Jesus, they would be full of joy and happiness in this present life, which is so often a valley of tears. With Jesus accompanying them in their climb of the mountain of holiness, they began to experience here on earth what they saw on that mountain—heaven. This gave them the hope that one day they would finally be able to experience the fullness of that tiny glimpse into Heaven they had seen—to see God, to become one with Him and to possess and be possessed by Him forever.

The transfiguration is for us, like the Apostles a important event in our lives as well. The Transfiguration is given to us, as it was given to the Apostles, to strengthen our faith in Jesus and His divinity, to maintain our hope and to increase our love—to strengthen us not only in our crosses, but also in our own personal climb of the mountain of holiness. But how do we make the Transfiguration have effect in our own lives? Like all the mysteries of the life of Christ, the Transfiguration is a mystery not to be solved but to be lived. It is the details of the Transfiguration that give us the answer.

Appearing alongside of Jesus we are told were Elijah and Moses, the two great prophets of the Old Testament and the Old Law. Moses as you know received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai—the Ten Commandments were the Moral Law—the guide for right living in order not only to be happy but to chose and obtain life (set before are two path, chose life).

But Moses also received something else on that Mountain, something that hardly anyones speaks about. He received the Liturgical Law, that is the way to properly worship God, both as individuals and as a community of God’s People (this Liturgical Law from God is found in the Book of Leviticus). The Liturgical Law and the Moral Law are intimately connected. A person cannot live rightly without both. The moral Law give us what we must do to have eternal life, but the Liturgical law shows us how to obtain that which we need to follow the moral law, not only in letter but in the spirit of love, of charity. Right worship, that is offered according to the Liturgical Law, leads us to right living, that is according to the Moral Law and the teachings of the Church, wrong worship then leads to wrong living.

There is therefore the Liturgy to be celebrated and the Liturgy to be lived. As Catholics we can say it this way, we go to Holy Mass on Sundays, and through the divine grace we receive at the Holy Mass, we strive to live the Holy Mass the other days of the week by loving God first, with all of our mind, heart and strength and then our neighbor for love of God—the summation of the Commandments. But the Holy Mass must be offered and attended with great reference and devotion, we must put our hearts and minds into, we must directed out attention toward the Lord—it is not what we get out of it, but what we put into it—the totally offering of our hearts—it is not what we do, but what the Lord does for us-sacrifices himself for us in order to give us His heart.

Elijah the great prophet was the one chosen by God to recall the people back to proper worship of God so they could be one with God and He with them. And so, he was the prophet who called the people of God to Worship God in spirit and in truth, not according to their own dictates, that is not according to their own whims—not for entertainment for emotional fulfillment for the Honor and glory of God. The people of Elijah’s day had fallen into false worship; they wanted to worship God the way they wanted to worship God, not according to the Liturgical Law that Moses received from God Himself on Mount Sinai.

Elijah knew that this improper worship led to improper belief and so improper living—this led to the worshiping of Idols, of false Gods. Elijah took on the peoples false worship and false God’s and false prophets and called them to repentance and conversion—to worship God correctly, not only in word but also in deed, not only correctly in external ritual but also, and most importantly, in full internal participation; in other words, to worship God by offering their whole lives to Him, their whole heart and all that they had and possessed in this world.

In the Transfiguration we discover Jesus did come not to abolish the law (not even the tiniest letter of the law) but to fulfill it. Jesus didn’t do away with the Ten Commandments or the Liturgical Law, but He showed that the both Laws lead to and point to Him. He has come down to earth to do what we could not do, to follow the Law perfectly in love, to worship God perfectly in spirit and and in truth—And Jesus continues to do this for us in the Sacraments of the Holy Catholic Church.

It is through Him, and only through Him that we can glimpse into heaven; it is through Him that we can love perfectly by living the will of God on earth as it is in heaven and so experience the joy of heaven while we still walk in the body on this earth. It is through Him, and only through Him, that we can finally hope to enter into the fullness of vision of Heaven which is perfect unity with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and all the Angels and saints. This is our hope that carries us through the present darkness. But we must leave our idols behind, and leave our false worship behind-and turn toward the Lord.

Specifically then, the Transfiguration points us to the Holy Mass, where we too along with Peter, James and John can in spirit climb the mountain and through the Holy Eucharist see a tiny peak into heaven itself. We do this by Faith…We can see through the eyes of faith, Jesus, who is the Truth, truly present in the Holy Eucharist. The Holy Eucharist is literally Jesus, transfigured before us, in the fullness of HIs Divinity shining through the fullness His humanity, both fully present in the little white Host.

It is through faith in the Holy Mass and the Holy Eucharist, that we can properly worship God in spirit and in truth, that we can with the help of the Spirit offering ourselves in union with Jesus on the Altar to our Heavenly Father as a living sacrifices of love. And it is in receiving ,if properly disposed, the grace to properly worship God as we go forth from the celebration of the Mass, and live the Mass, by following the Commands of God to the smallest letter of law, living the truth with our lives and in our lives—and leading others to this same truth which is ultimately Jesus Himself.

The Holy Mass is where we experience in reality the Transfiguration for our selves. It is where we are able to Listen to Him and receive the understanding and strength to do carry out all that He tells us. The Holy Mass is our Hope for whatever the future might hold in store, for it brings to us and gives to us the One who is our Hope, Jesus the Lord. And, it is at the Holy Mass, by participating with full, actual, conscious and fruitful participation that we are lead to and taken more and more into the fullness of the vision of the Transfiguration, the Holy Eucharist unveiled to behold, adored and love for all eternity.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Matthew 13; 44-52. Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. July 30th, 2017

We have for the past few Sundays heard parables from Jesus. And today we continue with more; The Kingdom of heaven; the Buried Treasure; the Pearl of great price; the Net thrown into the Sea. These parables have a common theme…“our relationship with Jesus Christ is the most valuable thing we own—Jesus, and His Catholic Church, by which He comes to us in and through Her Sacraments and Her Teachings and Law, must be our most valuable possession.”

Jesus concludes His teaching today with a short discussion with His disciples, asking them if they had understood; and they reply they do. Then He adds one more parable, the Kingdom of Heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.” The whole of Jesus’ teaching is very much like this, bringing the Old with a new perspective. He doesn’t change the Teachings or the Law found in the Old Testament, but He does fulfill them and bring them more fuller into the light, bringing a deeper understanding, and so a deeper call to conversion.

This new prospect certainly invoked many emotions not only in the disciples, but in all of those who heard Jesus words. Some mistakingly thought He was completely changing what came before, while others thought He was not changing things enough. A few, however, those who had allowed God to prepare the soil of their soul, realized that Jesus was the message, that He was the fulness of the Revelation of God to men. And so, all of what had come before, all of the teachings found in the Old Testament actually pointed to Jesus. Jesus was truly the Word of God become flesh—God become man.

Certainly in our own times, our Church has gone through this process of presenting old with a new perspective. In fact, this is exactly why Vatican Council II, was called. Vatican II was that the great gathering in Rome, of all the bishops of the world, during 1963 -1965. The Fathers of the Council desired to present the Old with a new perspective. In other words, they asked and tried to answer, “How do we present the unchanging Gospel anew to a ever changing, and in our times a rapidly changing, world.”

Before the Council the Catholic Church knew who She was and what She believed, there was no such thing as an identity crisis. Because of the surety of faith the Church was experiencing, the Fathers wanted to boldly take the truths of our faith and all of its beauty out into confident dialogue with the modern world. Instead of hiding from an ever increasing secularize and materialistic world, the Church wanted to take its great patrimony of faith and its 2,000 years of human experience and understanding and use it to confront the great challenges facing the modern world, all in order to heal it and, more importantly in order to save it from Itself—literally (especialy with the advent of nuclear weapons which could destroy the world)!!!

Over the last 50 years since the Council, the Church has struggled and continues to struggle much to try to understand this noble aspiration of Vatican II—that is, of presenting the old with a new perspective. However, in the last years since the Council there has unfortunately arisen a mistaken notion of a “post-Vatican II Church” that is opposed to “the Pre—Vatican II Church,” as if the Church before Vatican II was somehow different after than before, and since then She has changed, along with Her perennial teachings. Vatican II of course changed nothing, this is very clear to those who have read and studied the documents—the truth is the truth and as such is unchangeable.

Yes, the Church is the same Church, with the same teachings as before. Even Her Sacred Liturgy, although it may be offered in a different manner than before the changes that occurred after the council, it is still the same Holy Mass—it is still heaven on earth. And whats more, the old way of offering it, in Latin and with the priest and the people facing in the same direction, is still just as valid and true, just as correct and effective as before. Pope Emeritus Benedict explain all of this very clearly by his Hermeneutic of Continuity…

Hermeneutic of Continuity is just a technical way of saying that what was right and true, and beautiful and good for centuries and centuries cannot now all of sudden somehow be wrong, false and bad. (you don’t need a PHD to understand this). This goes for the Church and all of her teachings. It also by the way goes for how the Sacraments and the Holy Mass was offered as well…the old way is still valid and true and good along with the new. For Beauty, Goodness and Truth are ever ancient ever new because their source—God is ever ancient ever true.

In other words, because the Truth comes from God, who doesn’t change, truth therefore does not change and cannot change or be changed. And even more, Ultimately the Truth which comes from God is not just a list of things to be believed with our intellect and lived with our will, but Truth is actually a Person, a divine Person, Jesus Himself,

Jesus is Himself the Truth….And so as such Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever; and so too, His Holy Church and Her teachings and rituals…they are true and so like Jesus they can not change.—they are like Jesus, ever ancient ever new. It was after all, Jesus who came to establish on earth the Kingdom of Heaven, which is also known as the Kingdom of God…He compares It today to a treasure buried in a field and the head of a household who presents the old with the new.

To establish this Kingdom, Jesus personally and intentionally founded one Church, whose mission is “to proclaim and establish among all peoples the Kingdom of God, which is also the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the King of all kings. This Church, according to the teachings of Vatican II, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in [subsistit in] the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him”. (Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 8.)

The Church on earth is Herself, according to Vatican II, the Church on earth is Herself then mysteriously, the seed and the beginning of that Heavenly Kingdom already present” (Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 5” Why? Because She, and She alone, mysteriously contains the Kingdom of God in Person—

The Church is then this very treasure that Jesus speaks about, it is the treasure buried in the field of this present world because it alone contains the Treasure of all treasures, Jesus Christ the King of the Kingdom who is truly present in the Holy Eucharist....the Holy Eucharist is then the pearl of great price which is attainable by all of those who believe, adore, hope and love Him there; and, who love the Church which brings Him to us through the Holy Spirit working through Her Sacred Priesthood.

In our Holy Mass today, we ask this grace of Jesus- the grace to have Him alone as our only Treasure, for “where you treasure is, there is your heart too.” (Matt. 6.21). May we abandon ourselves completely to Him and allow His grace and mercy to fill and change our hearts in order to be united to His Sacred Heart. O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! Late have I loved Your body the Holy Church and the truth of her teachings which are your teachings, late have I loved You in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.

Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, obtain for us from your Divine Spouse an increase of Holy Wisdom so that we may understand and in understanding be more deeply aware of the Mystery of the Holy Mass. Help us at this Holy Mass and every Holy Mass we attend, to adore the Blessed Trinity in Spirit and in Truth. In other words, to adore the Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit, united to Jesus who is the truth, offering ourselves totally in union with the Sacrifice of Jesus being truly made present on this Sacred Altar becoming more and more conformed to the same Christ Our Lord. Amen

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The reality is, is that we all need the fertilizer of God’s Grace to help us prepare the soil and help the seed grow in us and so bear fruit in our lives

July 16th, 2017. Fifteen Sunday in Ordinary Time. Matthew 13;1-23

Today we read a very familiar passage-a parable we have heard many times. Jesus speaks to us about the planting of seeds—about the soil, how it grows and ultimately the harvest. The soil is our souls and the seed is the Word of God. I think we would all like to imagine that our hearts are the good soil and that we do produce a good harvest. But perhaps the truth is that we are not as open to the Word of God as we should be, or that even though we try we don’t seem to producing the fruit of growing closer to Jesus and bring many others to Him as well. The reality is, is that we all need the fertilizer of God’s Grace to help us prepare the soil and help the seed grow in us and so bear fruit in our lives.

Today’s gospel points out the obstacles of the world which try to hinder us from allowing the word of God to fully take root in our hearts and minds, in the seedbed of our faith. It is a message, not of condemnation but of hope and encouragement. For the Word of God is powerful and effective and It can change the lives of those who listen to It and accept It into their hearts, even if in the past they have been rocky hard soil and have succumbed to obstacles. If they turn to Jesus and enter into His rest and allow him, He can prepare them to receive the Word, that is to receive Him, and so bear the fruit that will last for eternal life.

First, Jesus speaks of the devil who like a crow, steals away the seed before it even has a chance to grow. Our world today is full of the “spirit of the evil one”, the “father of lies.” Even though it has much good, our western culture nonetheless is one steeped in many, many lies, lies that lead to many injustices against those who are the most vulnerable. The lies are often justified with reasons such as “it’s my choice” or “it was for the good of other,” or it didn’t hurt anybody,” Or I deserved it.” And not only are great injustices done to others, there is also very little done to prevent injustices or to repair the damage once done (reparation).

In this environment the devil tries very subtly to make us question basic truths of our faith that come to us through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. It begins with a question we have about some aspect of our faith--nothing wrong with questions, questions mean our intelligence is searching for the truth; however, instead of forming our intellect and enriching our faith with and through the teachings of the Church, we choose to hear the voice of the world telling us the Church is wrong and out of date. The spirit of untruth tries to convince us that truth is not absolute but evolves and changes over time and according to individual circumstances and preferences.

To combat this obstacle to our faith, we discover that for the Word of God, which is ever constant and ever new, to take deep root in our minds and hearts, we must prepare the soil of our souls in order to make it good soil so the devil can’t snatch it away from us. We do so, by studying and meditating on the truth that comes from God, because God is Truth. This truth is from the Word of God found both in Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Tradition. Sacred Tradition is the teachings of Jesus given to the Apostles and passed down through and by the Church in her official teachings and preaching. Sacred Scripture springs forth from Sacred Tradition as truths that have been written down through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for the sake of our salvation.

Additionally if we work the soil, the seeds of faith which are sown when we hear the Gospel proclaimed and explained each week can more and more begin to produce fruit in our lives and consequently we can begin to more fully have a living and vibrant faith. We need to humbly ask God for help in order to open ourselves more fully to the seed of God’s truth. And He will help us, if we do our part by listening more carefully to the prayers and readings, especially the Gospel, in order to understand and remember what we hear in the homily. Christ speaks to His people in and through His priest, however, limited and unworthy the priest may be. The priest may be a more or less effective homilist, his message may come through loud and clear or dull and garbled, it may seem too long, we may like him or not, but God nonetheless can and does speak to you and me through him, if we keep the soil ready. It’s the message that is important, not the messenger. And if the priest is not a good preacher then by your prayers and sacrifices you can make him better.

Other obstacles to the Word of God not taking root are similar. These obstacles stem from trials, persecutions, or from caring too much for material things or security. At the root of these obstacles is something fundamental to all humans and that is- we fear suffering, we do not like to suffer in any way. When we have trials our greatest fears are realized. In the midst of our trials we look at others who seemingly have no problems and we begin to think, “If God were really good, He would just change or remove all of my problems…maybe he doesn’t love me.”

Likewise, in persecutions, we fear being ridiculed for our faith. We don’t want to suffer being embarrassed or ashamed. We fear the loss of human respect, much more than offending our Blessed Lord. Or our fear also stems from our lack of knowledge of our faith which prevents us from being able to stand up to other’s who mock our faith and call the Church’s teaching into question. In caring too much about worldly and material security or comfort, we fear that we might have to do without or be inconvenienced.

In our efforts to overcome all of these obstacles, we discover that we have to suffer; suffering is a part of our life. Without suffering a little, we would not be able to grow in virtue and character in order to become stronger. Many suffer through great trials in order to obtain the things of this world—wealth, power and pleasure. We should be willing to sacrifice and even suffer as much or even more to grow closer to God and obtain union with Him and to lead others to Him. In our sufferings, especially in our sufferings for Christ, for His Holy Word and His Holy Church, St. Paul today encourages us not too lose heart; “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.”

Let us today, as we celebrate this Holy Mass, remember that blessed are we who hear and see. Let us enter into the rest of the Lord and ask Jesus to make our hearts the good soil for His work. He will do the work for us, He will carry our burden, if we but turn to Him in silence and lay open our souls before Him and let Him enter fully In. As we continue to hear the Word of God speak to us, let us hear with our ears; as we see the Word of God become Flesh in the Holy Eucharist, let us open our eyes and see; and as we receive the Word of God come to us—Jesus at Holy Communion, let us adore; all so that we may understand with our hearts and be converted and healed and so bear great fruit, the fruit of bringing many others into the eternal rest of the Lord. Let us ask our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to help us to do as she did; that is, surrender all to God and He will do the rest!!! Amen. God bless you!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Let us experience a life of leisure and enter into the Rest of the Lord!

Matthew 11; 25-30. Fourthteen Sunday in Ordinary Time. July 9th, 2017
This weekend after the Fourth of July Holiday, we find ourselves in the midst of the Summer. Summer is, of course, a time of leisure, and leisurely activities. It is time to take vacations in order to get away from work and find some rest and relaxation.

Today’s Holy Gospel is then very apropos, for it points to the true meaning of leisure. It is perhaps the most consoling gospel in all of Scripture for it contains the most reassuring invitation in all of history, one that promises us the greatest of all blessings. It is the invitation to experience a life of leisure in the Lord. It is a call to the Sabbath, which is to literally share in the rest of the Lord.

After God created the world we are told on the Seventh day, the Sabbath, He rested. But this doesn’t mean he was tired and so needed to rest; no, but that all of His work of creation was completed and so fulfilled in it’s purpose. And it’s purpose is found in man. God’s work of Creation was and is for us, the only creature that God has created for Himself. His beautiful works are for us, so that we could see the goodness of the Lord and so come to Him, in order to learn from Him to be able to rest in Him. All of creation springs from Him and all of creation is called back to Him. This is especially case with regards to man. .

Every human heart contains within it then, a restlessness which is trying to be tamed, a void which is trying to be filled. It can be a great burden for the human heart, a intense labor for the human spirit. But it is so, only to the degree that we try to do the work ourselves of finding rest. Because Man too often tries to fill the restlessness of his heart with his own effort, because Man tries to labor to find his own rest, his own leisure, his own fulfillment in this world alone, he sadly experiences an overwhelming and heavy burden, a burden that he is unable to bear and which crushes his hope and joy beneath its weight….for man will never find His rest through his own work, he will never find his rest here on this earth…here we have no everlasting home, no everlasting peace, no everlasting rest.

Jesus today gives us an answer to ease our labor and lighten our burdens to quell to the restlessness of our heart. Jesus says to us now and always, ‘Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I myself will give you rest,’ In other words Jesus himself will do the work for us. We need to merely come to Him and open ourselves up to learn from Him, all in order to receive Him. To enter into the rest of the Lord then requires a receptivity on our part not a working.

And so we discover the true meaning of leisure. Leisure time is not just time away from work; it is this yes, but it is more. Leisure is not just a time for entertainment or pleasure as if for a distraction from the burdens and restlessness of this life. No, Leisure is really a time to come before the Lord in order to rest. But not just to rest in the sense of doing nothing, but in the sense of resting in God.

To have leisure is to come before the Lord our God and hear Him say to each one of us personally, “Be still and know that I am the Lord your God…” In other words, be silent, listen and you will learn from me and find your rest. By entering into my rest, my Sabbath, you will find your meaning, your fulfillment, not in work, not in doing something or accomplishing something or becoming something in this world, but you will find your purpose in me.

For us Catholics the sabbath is Sunday. And it is at the Sunday Mass that we can literally physically come to Jesus, to learn from Him and to receive Him so as to enter into the His Sabbath rest. The Holy Mass is the work of the Lord, not our own. And it is there that we can learn from Him in the proclamation of the Gospel and receive Him in the Holy Eucharist. In the Holy Eucharist Jesus enters into us. And if we are receptive to Him, open to Him by the repentance of our sins and seeking His mercy and forgiveness through the Sacrament of Confession; if we trust in Him by offering ourselves to Him, then we can enter into Him and experience His rest by resting in Him, being one with Him. He brings us into union with Him, we don’t bring ourselves into union with Him .

When on vacation and enjoying leisure as family, no matter where we were and sometimes even against angry opposition from extended family and friends who may have been with us, my parents made sure we made it to Sunday Mass. By their example, they taught us kids what was at the heart of a leisurely vacation. Along these same lines St John Paul II once reminded us that Vacation is not a vacation from God, but a vacation for God.

The true meaning of a vacation is to give us time away from the hustle and bustle of life and work in order to draw closer to God. In this way it is truly leisure. This is also the true meaning of Holiday. H-O-L-I-DAY comes from H-O-L-Y DAY. Certain times and days set aside and transferred to the exclusive property of God. Certain times and days to set everything aside in order to come before the Lord in order to receive all that He has to give us, and this includes His all, His whole self. It is not a time for merely for doing, but a time for being. In other words, it is a time for receptivity, to go before the Lord in order to receive the Good, the True and the Beautiful which is God Himself.

Isn’t this why so many enjoy vacation in which they spend time in the beauty and majesty of nature…because the good, true and beautiful things of this world although they are merely reflections, pale images, only shadows of the One who created them, they nonetheless point to the Creator, He Who Is Goodness, Truth and Beauty Itself. It is a profound experience to sit in silence before the majesty of God’s creation, but even more so to sit in silence before Him.

Silence is to put away the noise of the world, in order to be receptive to the Lord. Noise includes not only all that we hear, but also all that we see and read. To be receptive is to set them aside in order to come in silence before the Lord and be able to hear Him speak, to close our eyes in order to focus our gaze on the Lord, or better yet to experience His loving Gaze on us, so as to allow it to penetrate our being with His love.
Only in silence do we hear. Only in silence can we put aside the amusements of the world, its entertainments of the senses, to put aside consumption in the things of this world, not matter how good they may be, all in order to Be still with the Lord and rest in Him. “Oh Lord, I am so tired with all that I see and hear, for only in you is all that I desire, make me one in your truth…” (Thomas A Kempis). Make me one with You my God, then will I be able to truly experience leisure and to obtain rest

To contemplate God and His mystery, to meditate on Him and His goodness, reflect on Him and so to be receptive to Him and His love, these all require silence because they are acts of reception, not of doing. This idea of receptivity is hard for us, because our current age tells us that the important thing is getting something done and getting somewhere in this life. But true activity, the fullest form of activity is found not in exterior life and action but in the interior stillness and quietness of the presence of the Lord…Martha, Martha you are anxious about many things but one thing alone is needed and Mary has chosen the better part…to sit at the feet of the Master and hear Him speak and experience His loving gaze…

Cardinal Sarah, the Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship, recently wrote a book on the great need for us moderns to rediscover silence in order to have rest. The book is entitled: “The power of Silence against the Dictatorship of noise.” He writes, “When creation knows how to place itself in silence, God makes His voice heard.” The Cardinal says, “Silence not for the sake of just absence from noise but to be still before the Lord and to receive His rest. Silence is the what creates the environment which makes it possible to welcome the incarnation…to welcome the God that comes among us as one of us in order to be revived by us so that we may enter into profound communion, union with Him.

In his book, and in many of his talks, the Cardinal points out as well the great importance and necessity of times of silence in the Liturgy, silence so that we can hear the Lord speak to us and open ourselves up to God’s initiative and accept all grace which comes from Him. At Holy Mass we are not before the beauty of God’s creation found in nature but we are before the Majesty of the Lord Himself in the Holy Eucharist; how much more then we should be silent before this majesty.

This reminds us how important and necessity are times of silence in the Holy Mass, so that we can hear the Lord speak to us and teach us and open ourselves up to God’s initiative and accept all grace which comes from Him. At Holy Mass we are not before the beauty of God’s creation found in nature but we are before the Majesty of the Lord Himself in the Holy Eucharist; how much more then we should be silent before this majesty.

In so many ways, we have allow the noise of the world to enter into the Sacred Liturgy. The Holy Mass as been filled with a cacophony of unworthy music, talking, instructing, hand gestures and Hand shaking. Any times of silence during the Holy Mass are met with uneasiness and questioning, “did father forget his place…”. And Sacred Words which were in the past only said in a low voice (vox secreta) because they are so holy and sacred and directed directly to the face of the Heavenly Father, are now blared out over the loud Speaker and said while looking out over the people. We fill up every second with some type of noise, even after we have receive the Body of the Lord in Holy Communion.

And silence is particularly important after Holy Communion when we have literally received the Lord, sacred silence, so we can listen to Him, He Who is now in our own body and soul. Silence is needed in fact, whenever we are before the Eucharistic Lord in the Tabernacle so that we can hear Him and allow others to hear Him speak…this is why we were taught rightly, never to talk in Church because the Lord is there in the Tabernacle, before, during and after Holy Mass. Our sisters at the hospital know this and why they placed on the sign out side of this chapel a reminder to please keep silence in this sacred place always, because the Lord is here and it is place of silent rest. In the halls of this hospital there are signs from the sisters to keep quiet in the halls because patients are resting, so too we must keep silence in the chapel because people come here to rest in the silence of the Lord and we should not disturb them by noise.

And finally, we have made the Holy Mass into something we do—the work of the people instead of something the Lord does—the work of the Lord; it is in so many ways no longer a place of rest, of being with the Lord but instead a place of “doing” of “working”. The active or actual participation called for by the Fathers of the Vatican II has been misinterpreted as external action—the people all have to do something; we need to find an active role for as many of the people as possible. But the Holy Mass is the place of Sabbath rest; it is again, we were are called to come to the Lord, learn from Him for He is humble and gentle of heart. At the Holy He does the work for us (He died on the cross not us), we just have to be still and know that He is the Lord. Our work is one of internal participation, it is the work of receptivity; that is of opening our hearts, offering our hearts and then waiting patiently and silently on the Lord. It is He who refreshes us, not we who refresh ourself; it is He who lifts us up to the Father through His Sacrifice on the Cross and through the gift of of Himself in the Holy Eucharist, not we who lift ourselves up by our own goodness and self-righteousness.

So many in our world are so tired, so many in our world long for rest. Many unknowingly try to find rest in the all the wrong places and things. So many others have left the temple of the Lord and no longer go to Holy Mass and so no longer enter into the Sabbath rest of the Lord in order to be refreshed by Him. As more and more Catholics leave the rest of the Lord the world it self become noiser, more restless, more tired. Only we can lead it to the rest it longs for, the Holy Mass, which is the eternal Sabbath made present on earth and which leads those who come to into the eternal Rest of the Lord. True Leisure is to be found only in the Lord, Our true Rest is only in the Lord. “Our hearts are truly restless until they rest in you O Lord” (St Augustine).

Let us turn to Our Lady to help us to learn to become silent. ”Mary, Mother of God teach me to be still before the Lord. Then listening, I’ll understand God’s Holy Word, so as to receive more fully His Holy Word become flesh in the Holy Eucharist, in order to live more perfectly His Holy Word in my life, one with His Holy Word, which is Jesus, bringing His mercy and love to the world so laboring under its burden of sin. Holy Mary mother of Silence, Mother of our Rest, pray for us. Amen.