Thursday, April 27, 2017

Jesus, I trust in you enough to offer my Heart totally to you; I trust in you enough to place my heart on the altar at Holy Mass,

Feast of Divine Mercy. 2nd Sunday in Easter. April 23rd. 2017

Today’s Gospel contains the most complete acknowledgement of Jesus’ divinity found on the lips of anyone in the Gospels; namely, “My Lord and My God.” These words of course came from the one who at first “doubted” the resurrection of our Lord—Thomas. Before we are too harsh on Thomas for at first doubting, we have to remember that like the others, the crucifixion deeply affected Thomas; it was a traumatic event in the lives of the friends of Jesus; they had been deeply wounded by the horrific events of the passion and death of Jesus. They had lost the One they had placed all their hope in and so they had lost their hope as well. They had no peace; they were living in great fear.

For his part, Thomas knew without a doubt that Jesus had died; and he was of course right, Jesus had indeed died. By the way, Jesus didn’t “pass away,” He died.—a sword piercing His heart, to ensure that He was indeed dead—all the blood and water flowed out of Jesus Body. And now, Thomas is being asked to believe the seemingly unbelievable, that Jesus is alive.

Thomas’ dearest friends say to Him, “We have seen the Lord!” Thomas is being asked again, not only to believe in Jesus, but in the midst of his pain to renew his hope and place all his trust in Jesus anew. But so wounded is his own heart, that Thomas can only cry out, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

To strengthen Thomas faith, as well as our own in the resurrection, to strengthen our own hope and trust, Jesus tells Thomas, “Put your fingers here, and see my hands; and put your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.” It is before the wounds of Christ, still visible and still present on His Resurrected body—a body that is physically and truly present before Thomas, it is before these sacred wounds that Thomas is able to surrender his own wounds so as to believe again, trust again. And so, Thomas in his brokenness falls on his knees before Jesus and in a great act of faith, surrenders himself to Jesus responding,“My Lord and My God.”

It is no coincidence, that this Gospel story of Thomas and his great struggle to believe again, to trust again, is read on Divine Mercy Sunday. Jesus today, comes to us, as He did to Thomas, in order to give us Peace. Jesus comes to us on this Divine Mercy Sunday, no less than He did to Thomas, in His Resurrected Body, a Resurrected Body still bearing the same wounds that Thomas was asked to place his fingers into in order to, “be not unbelieving but believing.

Jesus today at this Holy Mass and every Holy Mass we attend, comes to us in order to heal our wounds, wounds that have come from the trauma in our own lives, trauma that ultimately has it cause in sin (all pain and suffering as its origin in sin), in the sins of the whole world, in our own sins or in the sins of others. This trauma has caused great wounds, great suffering and even “death” in our own life. We too can be living in great fear, too afraid to face our selfs and our sinfulness and seek His forgiveness, to place all our trust in Jesus and to surrender our lives by offering our all, our total self to Him at Holy Mass.

Be not afraid! Our Easter joy comes from the fact that Jesus has come and continues to Come through the Sacraments in order to take away our fear, to restore our faith, to strengthen our hope, to transform and heal our wounded hearts and lives by His loving presence…for, “Perfect Love Casts our all Fear…and Jesus is Perfect Love.

In this we discover Jesus doesn’t come to take away our wounds, but to transform them by His own suffering and death so that our wounds, our suffering and even our death, our entire lives, our hearts, can be like His, and so become instruments of His Divine Mercy and Grace for the whole world. This is the meaning behind the image of the Divine Mercy. So, “Cease your cries of mourning, Wipe the tears from your eyes. The sorrow you have shown shall have its reward…There is hope for your future.” (Jeremiah 31:15-17). This hope stems from the fact that the Resurrected Jesus is still in our midst!!!

And so, the Divine Mercy image is really a image of the Holy Eucharist—the Holy Eucharist is, IS, the Risen Lord still among us. And so, we can’t stop with the Image. It has been given to us, in order to lead us to the reality of the Lord in the Holy Eucharist. The Divine Mercy Image is an image of Resurrected Lord, who still bearing His wounds, comes to us in the Holy Eucharist, comes to us no less, no real, than He did to Thomas and the others in the Upper Room. In fact, on this past Holy Thursday we celebrated Liturgically that at the Holy Mass we too are transported, are made truly present in the upper room with the Twelve. On Good Friday we celebrated that at Holy Mass we too are made truly present at the Crucifixion, present at passion, suffering and death of Jesus. And on Easter Sunday, we celebrated the fact that at the Holy Mass we too are made present truly and really at the first Easter Sunday before the Risen Lord, and He is made truly present before us in His real Resurrected Body in the Holy Eucharist, along with His Blood, Soul and Divinity—the Whole Jesus!

In the Holy Eucharist, Jesus in His wounded body, comes to heal our wounds in order to bring us His peace. Speaking of this peace, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, once said:
“In His two appearances to the Apostles gathered in the Upper Room, Jesus repeats several times the greeting, ‘Peace be with you’… It becomes the gift of peace that Jesus alone can give because it is the fruit of his radical victory over evil… For this reason Saint John Paul II chose to call this Sunday after Easter ‘Divine Mercy,’ with a very specific image: that of Jesus’ pierced side from which blood and water flowed.”

The Image of Divine Mercy was painted after a vision of the Lord that St. Maria Faustina Kowalska had of Jesus. Jesus appeared to Her and commanded that she have a image painted of what she saw. She later wrote of the vision:
“I saw the Lord Jesus dying on the Cross amidst great suffering, and out of the Heart of Jesus came the two rays as are in the image.” (Diary of St. Faustina, 414)
“The two rays denote blood and water. The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls… Happy is the one who will dwell in their shelter…”(Diary, 299)

When we come before the Holy Eucharist, these rays of mercy and grace truly stream from the wounded heart of Jesus. From the Eucharist flows rays of unfathomable Love and Mercy. When we repent of our sins and seek forgiveness for them in the Sacrament of confession, we open our hearts to these healing rays of God’s mercy and love. His Mercy and Love begins to transform the wounds in our lives. We are to more firmly say, , we find comfort in all our anxieties and fears, we experience the Peace that only the Eucharistic Jesus gives us.

In the embrace of this Peace we begin to more fully share in Chirst’s own Victory. Our wounds become our victories, battle scars in the Lord, for our too bear in our lives the wounds of Chirst Himself. We find strength in our wounds through the wounds of Christ. We can then cry out more boldly, “Jesus I trust in You; Jesus I trust in You; Jesus I trust in You!!!

I trust in you enough to offer my Heart totally to you; I trust in you enough to place my heart on the altar at Holy Mass, so that my wounded Heart may be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit becoming one with your Heart, and through you, with you and in you, offered up as a loving oblation to the Heavenly Father, in atonement for my sins and the Sins of the whole World. We then become instruments of the Father’s mercy and the Father’s love to the wounded and despairing souls that He places in our lives. This by the way, is what I believe Pope Francis was trying to say, when He said the Church must become more and more a Field hospital for the wounded in this world. Dress the wounds first! Dress them with the love of Christ alive in us, with Christ alive in us, so that He, through us, can begin to heal their wounds through our wounds.

In the Holy Eucharist, Jesus indeed opens His Heart as a living Fountain of Mercy. Oh that all souls may draw near to this Eucharistic Heart, pierce for love of us and made truly present for us at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and draw life from It. “Oh blood and water which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus as a fountain of Love and Mercy for us and for the whole world, I trust in Thee. (3Xs). Tutus Tuus Maria…All that I have I offer it to you, present it to your Divine Son. Amen!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Jesus, wants to give us bread, but not earthly bread, the things of this world which never totally satisfy our hunger, but the Bread of Life, His very self, his whole self in the Holy Eucharist--the bread that a man may eat of, and never die.

Matthew 4;1-11. First Sunday in Lent. March 5th, 2017

As we begin our Lenten observance, we read about the temptation of Christ in the desert before He began His public ministry. The ashes we received on Wednesday signify our own deep desire to enter into our own time of desert, our own period of preparation, in order to purify ourselves for the Sacred Triduum of Holy Week, culminating in the great feast of Easter—both the coming liturgical Feast as well as the eternal Easter of Heaven.

You may have not thought about it, but the temptations we face are much like those that Jesus faced and conquered. And through Him we too can conquer our own temptations and our own demons. Through Him we too can be ministered to by the angels.

The devil is a real person. He is not a computer game or Halloween character dressed in red tights with a scary face and a pitchfork. He’d love us to make light of him or trivialize him. Satan is a fallen angelic creature of seraphic intelligence and power and evil. He doesn’t want us to know or believe that he is real; he does his most evil work, hidden.

Ultimately, the devil tries to convince the world that this world is all there is. He does this in one of two ways, either by trying to convince that there is no heaven or by deceiving that everyone goes to heaven regardless of whether or not they have lived for God on earth, by living His Holy Will through the following His commandments and the teachings of His Holy Church.

The devil’s logic is simple: if there is no heaven or everyone is saved regardless, then there is no hell; if there is no hell, then there is no sin; if there is no sin, then there is no Judge, and if there is no judgment then evil is good and good is evil and we, not God, get to choose what is good and what is evil, what is true and what is false—truth becomes nothing more than our own personal opinion, what we “feel” is true; in this, we become as God deceiving ourselves that we are “right” with God—this is the same temptation of our first parents in the Garden. They knew what was good and evil; the temptation was that they themselves, apart from God, could decide what was good and what was evil. Falling to this death brought death into the world and continues to be death into the world, not just physical death but spiritual death.

Ultimately in the temptations, the devil presents a shortcut from the cross. It is actually a temptation to do away with the cross, by giving us what we want instead of what we need- in short to take the easy way out—to take salvation for granted; and so as a result, to live for love and not for love of persons; or in other words, to live for self and not for the sake of the other, first of Whom is God and then our neighbor. It is to worship a cross-less Christ-Christianity without virtue-holiness without self-denial-love without sacrifice. Let us then look more closely at the anatomy of the temptations and put them into modern parlance.

In the first temptation, Satan told Jesus that he could win us over by filling our bellies with the bread of earthly desires and riches, comforts and pleasures, and so Jesus was tempted to change the stones into bread. In the second, he said, “Jesus, you can make them love you by giving them power to solve their own problems through politics so they can be released from being dependent on a tyrannical Father God. And so Jesus was tempted to adore satan and not the Father. And in the third, satan, said Jesus; you can win them over by amazing them with great feats and unbelievable technological marvels.
And so Jesus was tempted to throw Himself down off the temple, putting God to the test… “if you are real, God show yourself, rid the world of evil and suffering without our personal conversion; give the world peace apart from peace and purity of heart.”

The fact is, Jesus does desires to give us what the devil said would win us over, but not in the way or manner the devil suggested. The devil likes to give half-truths.

Jesus, wants to give us bread, but not earthly bread, the things of this world which never totally satisfy our hunger, but the Bread of Life, His very self, his whole self in the Holy Eucharist--the bread that a man may eat of, and never die.
Jesus wants to give us power, but not earthly power which corrupts and fades away, but the power of His divine life, a share in the very nature of God—who is Love Itself—the power of the Holy Spirit that comes to us through the power of the Seven Sacraments. Through this Sacramental Power, which by the way is the real Power in this world, Jesus, wants us to build the Kingdom of man, but not without reference to the Kingdom of God, but for the spread of the Kingdom of God, so that the Will of God may be done on earth as it is in Heaven, and God may be glorified on earth and men may be saved for union with God.
Jesus wants to give us great marvels and feats, but not the kind Satan suggested. Jesus wants to give us the greatest feat and marvel of all, that God would humble Himself, putting His divine power aside and become one of us, so he could die for us on a cross and give Himself to us as our heavenly food.

In this sacrifice of Love of Himself on the cross, Jesus showed us the greatest feat and marvel of love the world has ever seen or will see. And because of this feast, this sacrifice which becomes present for us at each and every Holy Mass, Jesus’ love is a love, which allows him to come personally and physically into each one of us during Holy Communion, so that we can love like Him, live like Him, become One with Him, and with the Father through Him; in this we become “other” Christs for the world and have life and have it to the full. But we for our part must in great trust offer ourselves more and more completely, more and perfectly in return on the sacred Altar. At Holy Mass, we must, through the Virgin, place our heart on the paten, no strings attached as an offering of our complete self and all that have in love to our Heavenly Father—this is to adore God in Spirit and Truth.

These three temptations of Christ by satan are also the same temptations currently facing us in the worship of God in the Sacred Liturgy. The devil is tempting us to believe in that the Liturgy is meant to feed us only on an emotional level, that is too make us “feel” good about ourselves. But not as the privilege place where the incarnation, the Word become flesh, becomes truly present in our midst. He is tempting us to make the Holy Mass into a place of entertainment and human spectacular alone—Liturgy merely as the work of the people instead of the work of God; that is, the work of Jesus the Head offering to the Father perfect worship on our behalf… Finally, the devil tempts us to make the Holy Mass, the Sacred Liturgy, as a place where we adore one another, instead of the place where we are to adore the Father in Spirit and in Truth, that place where we through the perfect worship of the Son offer our imperfect worship of God, the place that we offer ourselves through the offering of the Son in, with, through Human Nature of the Son made present by the power and love of the Holy Spirit.

The temptations of Christ in the desert teach us that we will never be truly happy with the things of this world, only with Jesus. We will never solve our problems by our own power alone, by the kingdom of man alone, but only with God’s power through God’s Kingdom which is found fully only in the Catholic Church. The kingdom of man without reference to the Kingdom of God becomes the hell and tyranny of totalitarianism. And worldly feats and technology in the end bore us, only God’s presence, only God’s Love suffices, He alone is Whom we seek, He alone is Whom we should believe, adore, hope and love.

In this Lent let us ask our Lord for the grace of a deeper repentance, to turn away from sin, not for the sake of sin, but in order to turn more fully back to He who is our Hope and our Life. Lent is a time where we take a serious look at our lives and simply place our dirty dishes, so to speak, in other words our souls, in the cleansing waters of the sacrament of penance--confession. If you haven’t made a confession for a while, now is the acceptable time. Remember, God promises us mercy; He doesn’t promise us tomorrow.

We all have many resolutions in Lent, let us pray that our resolutions will be ones that will change our lives, and through us change the lives of others; better yet, save the lives of others. Through our Dear Blessed Mother, let us ask for the grace to love our Lord even more than we do now, He who waits patiently in Love, as a prisoner of love, for us in the Holy Eucharist. Let us not neglect Him but adore Him and receive Him worthily by confessing our sins, doing penance and amending our lives. Amen

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Matthew 5;38-48. Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. February 19th, 2017.

When we hear the demands of the Gospel it’s easy to become discouraged. Today’s Gospel is no different. The demands of Holiness, if not looked upon through the lens of love, can seem to be an insurmountable Mountain. We can see a person who appears to be very holy, and think to ourselves, “Oh I could never be like that. I am so far away from what they are.” From there we can say, “I might as well give up.

The fact however is, that there are as many paths to holiness as there are individual souls. One persons path is not another’s. God has tailered a personal path of holiness for each person, for you and for me. And what’s more, He will, through His Holy Church, provide the means for us to travel this personal path of holiness in order to reach that pinnacle of love which is intimate union with Him. There are no exemptions, everyone of us is called to perfection, for nothing is impossible for God.

Every one of us can become as holy as God wants us to be, provided we turn to Him in Love, and have recourse to the Divine Power of His Sacraments—the Sacraments of His Holy Church (I always tell my patients; “If us Catholics realize what we are dealing with in the Sacraments, we could change the world over night)-- the Sacraments of baptism, confirmation, freqent confession, along with the anointing of the sick for those who need it, the Sacrament of Marriage for the married, the Sacrament of Holy Orders for the priest, and especially the Holy Eucharist, which is the Most Blessed of all the Sacraments because it is literally Jesus Himself and His Sacred Heart living and beating full of love for us-for this reason we can say the Holy Eucharist is the Sacrament of Holiness; it is the Power of Divine Love; it is the Sacrament of Love, for It is Love Himself.

Having said all of this let’s return to back to today’s Gospel. The demands of Jesus found here are some of the most difficult to carry out in all of the Scriptures. We can look to the lives of the saints to give us an example of how to live this Gospel, assisted with the grace of the Sacraments. Let’s look at the St. Therese of Lesiuex, for example.

St. Therese the little Flower had in her convent a certain sister whom she did not like and could not stand to be around. However, St. Therese prayed and begged God to grant to her the divine grace to love this annoying sister who was in a sense her “enemy.” Therese went to confession many times to ask forgiveness for her failures in kindness and in order to obtain the supernatural grace she needed to truly love this sister who was unlovable, at least to Therese. When receiving Jesus in Holy Communion she asked Jesus to make her heart like unto His own.

Through all of this, and through of lot of work and self-denial, Jesus granted St. Terese His divine grace to go beyond her feelings and emotions, so that she could choose to love this sister in small and simple ways. For example, Therese would thread the sewing needle for this sister; and in discussions about this sister, Therese always referred to this sister as being better than her.

As a result of Therese’s heroic kindness, assisted by the grace of the Sacraments, this annoying sister actually came to believe that St. Therese was her best friend. In fact, at one point the sister asked St. Therese, “Sister, what is it that attracts you so to me?” This belief of the sister, that she was St. Therese best friend, was the result of St. Therese’s human love being perfected and united to Christ’s own divine love in and through the Sacraments of the Church, and especially, through prayer before the Most Blessed of all Sacraments the Holy Eucharist—it wasn’t a lie or put-on, Therese truly came to love this sister as if she were Jesus Himself.

And so, the example of St. Therese and all of the saints along with all of our readings today offer us plenty to reflect upon in terms of proper Christian attitudes. They offer us a standard of forgiveness to which we may not be accustomed. They offer us a standard of ethical behavior that is opposite of what our society would have us practice.

We would not be surprised to hear Jesus tell us in our Gospel to love our neighbor, or to be charitable to those in need, or even to forgive those around us. But today Jesus says, "Love your enemies," "Do good to those who hate you;" "Bless those who curse you, Pray for those who mistreat you." These certainly are opposed to human nature and are not something that we feel comfortable with. Again, left alone our human nature tends toward aggression; it seeks to get revenge, or to get even. This begins early in childhood.

Even early on, if someone pushes us, our natural reaction and emotional response is to push back. In fact at times human nature tempts us past the point of getting even, to the point of wanting to get ahead. At times it even takes pleasure in hurting others. This is not God’s way however, that is not what Jesus taught, and Jesus makes this very, very clear when he says, "love your enemies." "Do good to those who hate you." Jesus is not talking about any ordinary kind of love here. He is talking about Christian love-Charity—a supernatural love.

Our Western culture tends to romanticize all love in terms of warm emotional feelings for another person or personal gratification. But true Christian charity is what Jesus calls all of His followers to live, it goes beyond feelings and emotions. Formally defined, Christian charity means to will the good of another, no matter what the circumstances. As Jesus put it, it means to act well towards even those who hate us, even to the point of not just praying for them but even suffering for them, suffering for them even to the point of dying for them—loving them with Jesus’ love.

Again, to act well towards those who hate us is not a natural human response. Like St. Therese, we will not have good emotional feelings for the person who wrongs us--if someone puches us in the gut it hurts, of course. However, through an act of our will, assisted by God’s grace, our attitude can be one in which we truly want the best for our persecutor to the point that we ask God to bless them. It doesn’t mean we don’t protect and defend ourselves and others, or that we become a welcome mat for others to step on us; it does mean that even to those who mistreat us, we know that Jesus died for them as well as for us and so we ultimately we are about the business of their conversion and salvation.

St. Stephen the first martyr blessed those who were about to stone Him. And in doing so, he earned the grace of conversion for Saul who was leading the stoning…Saul of course later became St. Paul.) Thousands of Christians in our own time, like St. Stephen, are being persecuted by the enemies of our Holy Mother Church. These modern day martyrs too are dying, not only for their witness to Jesus Christ, but are dying for the very ones who are killing them, their enemies. May we too, love like them, love our enemies, and so be children of our Heavenly Father, perfect in Love, perfect in Charity.

Since we earlier spoke of St. Therese the Little Flower I thought I would end with a beautiful letter from her to her mother superior, which very eloquently speaks of true Charity:

“This year, dear Mother, God has given me the grace to understand what charity is; I understood it before, it is true, but in an imperfect way. I had never fathomed the meaning of these words of Jesus; “the second commandment is LIKE the first: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” I applied myself especially to loving God, and it is in loving Him that I understood my love was not to be expressed only in words, for: “It is not those who says: ‘Lord, Lord! Who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but those who do the will of my Father in heaven.” Jesus has revealed this will several times or I should say on almost every page of His Gospel. But at the Last Supper, when He knew the hearts of His disciples were burning with a more ardent love for Him who had just given Himself to them in the unspeakable mystery of His Eucharist, this sweet Savior wished to give them a new commandment. He said to them with inexpressionable tenderness: “A new commandment I give you that you love one another: THAT AS I HAVE LOVED YOU, YOU ALSO LOVE ONE ANOTHER. By this will all men know that you are my disciple, if you have love for one another.”

Sunday, February 5, 2017

we Catholic Christians are called to be salt and light to the world; we are called to give the hungry of the world some of our bread

Matthew 5; 13-16. Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time. February 5th, 2017

Today’s Gospel follows on the heels of last week’s Jesus teaching of the Beatitudes. It reminds us that living the beatitudes is not just for our own spiritual well-being, but for the well-being of other souls as well. Other soul's eternal well-being actually depends whether you and I live the Beatitudes.

Every single Christian is called to strive for holiness by living the Beatitudes in order to be a witness to the whole world of God’s truth and so His Divine Love and Mercy. In other words, by our lives of holiness we are called to seek not only our own salvation but also the salvation of others. As one Jesuit priest put it, “Either we seek the salvation of others or we will not be saved ourselves.”

We are to be witnesses throughout the earth by living the beatitudes in order to lead others to God so that they may to Him in order to be saved and so enter with us into an eternal union of love with God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is living our lives for love of God, and for love of neighbor for love of God, consists primarily in working to save our neighbor, even to the point of giving our lives if necessary for the sake of their salvation.

Today, Jesus teaches us this great truth by using the images of salt and light. In the old days, as my mom as told me many times, there were no refrigerators, or freezers, the only way meat was kept from spoiling was to store it in salt. Salt preserves food from spoiling; it also brings out the flavor of food and makes its more pleasant.

The world then is only kept from spoiling by us Christian Catholics being the salt of the earth. If we live our Catholic faith authentically, then we live the Beatitudes and as a result, we give flavor to life in this world. We remind the world and it’s inhabitants of the true meaning and goal of man’s existence. Man has been created by God, for God—Man has been created for Beatitude—which is life lived with, in and for the Most Blessed Trinity—Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

The world is indeed God’s good creation; it sprung forth from the Eternal Word of God, and through that same Word it is redeemed and called to return back to the Father God, from which it came. This Eternal Word is Christ the Head. But we are His Body, the Church. And it is through the members of the Church, His Mystical Body on Earth, that Jesus continues His redeeming work. Jesus could do it without us, but nonetheless, He has divinely ordained that His grace and Mercy only goes forth from His Sacred Heart, through the Members of His Mystical Body the Church, that is through you and me—we are the salt, that is if we are in the state of grace.

Jesus reminds us however that salt can lose it taste; it other words, if we fail to grow in holiness, if we fail to be witnesses to the world to what is Good, True and Beautiful, then what are we good for, but to thrown out and trampled under foot. And so, if it is possible for us to lose our flavor, our Divine Grace, and to be thrown out, how then to we guard from losing our taste, the taste of holiness? And as well, how can we keep from hiding our light under a bushel basket? How can we give the hungry bread to eat? How can you and truly be the salt and light for our world?

It is by the Holy Eucharist, and only by the Holy Eucharist, received and adored with faith weekly, and if possible even daily, that gives flavor to our lives and that keep the salt from losing it taste. It is the holy Eucharist approached with love and devotion that helps our light shine before Men, for our Light is Jesus, He who is the Eucharist—He alone is the light of the world and our lives must shine forth His life.

The Eucharist is our daily bread, better yet our super-substantial bread, the Bread of Life, Jesus Himself. Only by feeding on Him in faith, trust and love, can we then truly feed the world by leading them to this Bread of whomever eats shall not die but live forever. The world is hungry for the Eucharist, starving for the Eucharist. And as Jesus said before He gave His teaching on the Eucharist in John Chapter 6, when the thousand gathered around Him and the disciples were hungry… “Give them something to eat yourselves…”

The Father’s of the Church wrote that Faithful Catholics who participate fully, actively and consciously in weekly Mass, and receive the Holy Eucharist worthily and in the state of Grace are the anima Mundi, that is, the “soul of the world:” It is them that feed the world! In other words, the “Father’s of the Church taught that, “the world would die in its sins if not for Catholic Christians with the life of Christ, Christ Himself-the Holy Eucharist, alive in their souls.” This life is called charity and we are to share it with the entire world in order that it too might be saved in and through our lives—this is the source of our Beatitude, the strength we need to live the Beatitudes—and this is how we are enabled, empowered to let our light shine before men, the light of Christ.

What I am about to say is not easy to say. As I just said, we Catholic Christians are called to be salt and light to the world; we are called to give the hungry of the world some of our bread. If our world is falling into darkness, the problem is not with Governments, politicians, the economy, the terrorists, or some other great power in this world; no, the problem lies with us Catholics. We have lost our taste, and who can restore it? Only Jesus, Jesus Truly Present In the Holy Eucharist, the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar can; Jesus who truly continues to offer Himself on the Sacred Altar of every Mass, while at the same looking for those who will give themselves to Him, offer themselves totally to Him, in order that He can transformed them into His other selves and so live again in them, using them to continue his saving work out in the world by leading souls back to the God from Whom they came, who loves them beyond all telling and who bids them to return to their Father’s House, lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.

Let us Pray:

Dear blessed Mother at this Holy Mass we offer to Your Immaculate Heart, our heart—totally and completely, please take it and placed it into the Sacred Heart of your Divine Son which is about to become Truly Present in the Holy Eucharist. Help us to receive more fruitfully this same Sacred Heart at Holy Communion, so that by your Divine Spouse—the Holy Spirit, we might be more and more transformed into instruments of God Mercy and Love, for the sake of the whole word, transforming the darkness into light and helping to bring about the triumph of the Immaculate Heart. Amen.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Beatitudes are a promise of salvation that extends, not to just to particular kinds of persons, such as the poor or rich, but to everyone whose religious dispositions of heart and moral conduct meet these great demands of Jesus.

Matthew 5; 1-12. Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time. January 29th, 2017.
Today in our Holy Gospel we hear the teaching of the Beatitudes from our Blessed Lord. The Beatitudes are the very conditions Jesus lays down for entering the Kingdom of heaven. The Beatitudes take the negatives commands of the Ten Commandments-“Thou shall nots,” and they elevate and present these demands of Jesus on his followers in a positive way, “Blessed are they who do these things.” For the fullness of love of God consist not merely avoiding things, like sin but in doing things, in backing up our words of love with deeds of love.

The Beatitudes are a promise of salvation that extends, not to just to particular kinds of persons, such as the poor or rich, but to everyone whose religious dispositions of heart and moral conduct meet these great demands of Jesus. In other words, salvation is promised to all of those who are poor in spirit, who are meek, who mourn, who hunger and thirst after righteousness, are merciful, pure in heart, are peacemakers and those who suffer in their search for holiness. And so these differing demands of the Beatitudes cover everyone, no matter what their position in life might be, every one who wants to be a true disciple of Christ and inherit His promise of Salvation, which is union with God forever.

Yesterday hundreds of thousands of our youth gathered in Washington D.C. for annual the March for Life. The March for Life is an event that I wish all of you could experience. This event and others like it, remind us how our love for Jesus must move us to protect, defend and witness publicly to the dignity and the sanctity of the life of every human person from conception until natural death. And how we must beg our Blessed Lord in the Holy Eucharist for the graces desperately needed for the reconversion of our country and our world. Only when more Catholics do these acts of love before the Holy Eucharist will we be able to defeat the Culture of Death, and turn it into a culture of life, a culture at peace, where we are all truly blessed.

Perhaps, we can better understand the Beatitudes if we compare them to that corresponding “spirit of the world,” that places it self in opposition to the Spirit of Christ. Included in this “spirit of opposition,” is those attitudes of individuals which lead to the “culture of death,” which is sadly so prevalent in our world today.

1) Where Christ advocates poverty-being poor in spirit, the opposing spirit of the world and it’s culture of death in the world despises the poor. Here we are speaking not just despising the physically poor but also and especially the spiritually poor. Our world currently canonizes those who are rich and famous, movie stars, politicians and sports figures, no matter how they live their lives. Our world seeks not to be poor it spirit, but instead seeks the richness of power—power to control others.

2) Blessed are the meek. Where Christ praises gentleness always seeking the good of others by serving instead of being served, the world belittles meekness and extols those who succeed; those who succeed by using or removing anyone, even through murder, that stand in their way; by destroying the goodness in others and using people merely as means to get what they want. The cry of the “spirit of the world is not Servium, but instead Non-Servium! I will not serve Christ, I will not serve Him by serving others; I wish instead for others to serve me!

3) Blessed are those who mourn:--Where Christ encourages mourning and sorrow for our sin which leads us to penance as a way to at least try to atone for sin in order to show God we are sorry.-- the world instead revels in pleasure, comfort and the noise of empty laughter. The world here refuses to see the suffering in this world, and even war, as a consequence of sin and so it refuses to repent of its crimes, seeking forgiveness and so God’s mercy and the grace to amend one’s life and so return to God.

4). Where Christ promises true Joy only to those who seek justice and peace by seeking holiness, that is to those who accept the truth and strive to conform their lives to it, instead the world and it’s culture of death offers satisfaction in the enjoyment and pleasure of sin and so living one’s life in accordance to errors and lies.

5) Where Christ bids us forgive and show mercy to those who have offended us, to forgive just has the Heavenly Father does to our offenses when we ask for forgiveness; the world for it’s part will not let go of the past, it seeks vengeance, and its law courts are filled with demands for retribution. It wants license to do what it wills, but it is quick to condemn those who fall.

6) Where Christ blesses those who are pure of heart and promises that they alone shall see God, the world scoffs at chastity, makes a mockery of purity and makes a god of sexually immorality. It seeks not the purity of righteous life in Christ but the impurity of the anti-christ.

7) Where Christ tells the peaceful that they shall be rewarded, the world teaches just the opposite in constant rebellion, disobedience, violence and massive preparation for war. It seeks peace, not in the will of God but in the will of the people, which really means the will of the one who controls the people.

8). Where Christ teaches the incredible doctrine of accepting persecution and resignation to God’s Holy Will. The world dreads nothing more than criticism, rejection and loss of human respect; it seeks acceptance by society and by one’s peers and what ever leads to it as the moral norm without any concern for what God thinks and for God’s Holy Law.

In all of this we come to understand that striving with the help of God’s grace to live the Beatitudes is the only way to sanctity, and true happiness and the fullness of life. The Beatitudes are Jesus’ promise that there will be no obstacle to happiness and joy for those who truly seek to follow Him; to follow Him not just in sweet words, but most especially in deeds. He says to us, even if men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account, instead of sorrow, rejoice and be glad, your reward will be great in heaven.

Just as nothing on earth can give us the happiness that every man seeks, if we are united to God nothing can rob us of it. Our happiness and our fulfillment come from God alone, the God who became man to share in our human existence, to share in both the happy and sad moments of our life, to even share in our suffering and our death. The Second Vatican Council put it this way, “Oh you who feel the weight of the cross bear more heavily on you! You who are poor and forsaken, you who mourn, who are persecuted for the cause of justice, you who pass silently by, who suffer pain unknown to others, take heart---You are the best loved in God’s kingdom, the kingdom of hope, of goodness and of life. You are brothers of the suffering Christ, and together with him, if you wish, you can save the world.” (Second Vatican Council, Message to Humanity. To the poor, to the sick, to all those who suffer. 6)

When in our search for happiness we men attempt to follow other ways, other than those willed by God—other than those marked out by the master, we instead find only loneliness and sadness. In other words, apart from God and His ways, there is no lasting happiness, but only loneness and death, the source of our current culture of death. Contrastingly, those who trust in God and humbly pray to Him especially during times of despair and anguish move His divine heart to compassion—God then accompanies them in every instant of their lives.

Even in times of great distress, natural disasters and wars, the person that turns to God’s ways and walks humbly in His paths of righteousness, discovers the loving face of God before him. Before God’s continence this man joyfully discover that God never abandons those who love Him, but guarantees that, notwithstanding trials and tribulations, in the end good always triumphs over evil, life over death; in other words all things work out for the best, for those who love God.

Let us turn to our dear Heavenly Mother for help…

Holy Mary, Mother of the beatitudes, at the end of our life, we will be judged on our love. Pray for us so that we may be blessed in the eyes of your Son and receive the reward of eternal life. Help us in faith to see the source of our eternal happiness and so our Eternal Beatitude is truly present in the Holy Eucharist, the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. You told us at Fatima that by coming with faith on bended knee before this God hidden in the little white Host, and adoring and loving Him there, we could bring peace upon the earth. So help us dear Lady, to live your Message of Fatima, which is the message of the Gospel, all the days of our life, and so turn our culture of death into a culture of life by praying for the conversion of poor sinners everywhere, those in our own homes and in our own families, most especially that sinner who looks at us each morning in the mirror. Amen.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Today we are again reminded, that Jesus continues to take away the sins of the world, our sins, yours and mine...

John 1;29-34. Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. January 15th, 2017.

This past Monday the Church celebrated the Feast day of, “The Baptism of the Lord.” With this feast came the close of the Liturgical Season of Christmas. In today’s Gospel we hear describe that event when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan.

Before Jesus is baptized however, we hear the words of John the Baptist as he points out the Person of Jesus. They are the same words that we hear repeated at every single Holy Mass. As the priest holds up Jesus, newly born on the altar at the words of the consecration by the power of the Holy Spirit, the priest echoes these words of the St John, “Behold the Lamb of God, Behold Him who takes away the sins of the world.”

Because we hear it so often we can easily lose the meaning and the truth behind these marvelous words. At Christmas, and at every Christ-Mass, Jesus comes again, in the flesh, in order to take away not only the sins of the world, but our sins—yours and mind. With out this taking away of sins, the world would be totally without hope, and you and I would be lost.

This is the true meaning of Christmas, that the almighty and all powerful God, the very God who made everything out of nothing, who fashioned the galaxies and their stars, Who continues to hold everything in existence—including us, the Mighty God before whose holiness we are totally unworthy to approach, this same God, in His unfathomable love for us, came to us not as an unapproachable frightening Deity, but as an approachable little babe. And even more, in the Holy Eucharist this same God—Immanuel (God still with us through the Sacraments), continues to come to us as one of us. And He comes to us not as a divine judge in order to justly condemn us for our sins, but as the Divine Mercy of the Father in order to forgive us, heal us, save us; to take away our sins and take us to Himself.

This is the deeper meaning behind the incredible words of today’s Gospel…”Jesus takes away our sins.” He doesn’t, as wrongly said Martin Luther and so many other theologians after him, just cover our sins with His righteousness as “snow covers over a pile of dung.” No, it is much more than that. Jesus takes our sins away, and by doing so, creates a new creature. Not only is the outer sinful man covered over, but his inner being is renewed, redeemed, sanctified, recreated, reborn and made holy—thus restoring the likeness of God in the person and elevating and uniting the nature of the person to the Divine Nature of God Himself.

The baptism of Jesus then points to our own baptism. At our baptism not only were our sins taken away but we were rebirthed, becoming literally the adopted sons and daughters of God Himself. At our baptism we began, to literally share in the Divine Nature, the Nature of God Himself—we began to not only to be able to worthily approach God, but to actually become one with Him in a union of Love. Imagine, God makes us one with Himself.

As I visit the sick here at the hospital, I love to use Holy Water. I usually begin with a Holy Water Joke like, “How do Catholic’s make holy water? We boil the hell out of it!....But then after, and seriously, I ask the question. Why does Holy Water work? Why does the devil hate it?

Holy Water works because of our faith in our baptism. And the devil hates it, because when it is used in faith (it must be used in faith, it is not magic) it reminds the devil of our baptism. Before the devil fell, he was the highest of all angels. In someway God revealed to satan and the other angels that He—God, was going to take us humans and literally share with us God’s own nature, making us adopted sons and daughters of God, who would then become truly Our Father who art in Heaven. To satan this was impossible to accept; it was too beneath God to even think such a thing, much less bring it about. Thus satan rejected the very mercy of God and so rejected the Fatherhood of God.

Well satan was right in a sense; “it is way beneath God to be Our Father, and to send us His own Son by Nature to take on our nature in order die for us in order to take away our sins. And it is even more, way, way more beneath God (what a understatement) to make us through baptism of water and the Holy Spirit, His own adopted children, sharing with us His Divine Nature. But in His Love and Mercy He nevertheless does so as a totally unmerited gift. This is why Holy Water burns the devil; He suffers because of who we are…And who are we? We are the sons and daughters of the Almighty God Himself!!!

Sadly for some religions they too reject this notion of God as our Father and we as his beloved Children. Not only do they reject it as impossible and to far beneath the majesty of God, but some even consider such a notion as blasphemous. For them, God is not Father but our Master, and we are not His beloved children, but His slaves. But contrarily, Jesus has come to reveal to us the truth about God and the truth about us. He has come not to call us slaves, but friends (cf. Jn 15;15…and to tell us, that God is our Father (cf. Mt. 23;9) and we, through our baptism and the faith it brings, become His beloved children.

And so, the frequent use of holy water with faith should remind us of our baptism, and our baptismal promises—when we (or our parents on our behalf), rejected satan and all of his empty promises, so as to live as the children of God (cf. Baptismal Rite). If we really knew what it meant for us to be children of God we would surely die of joy. Again, it is the incredible gift of our baptism that makes this possible.

How the gift of our baptism should then leads us to desire to live our lives more fully as children of God. How we should have frequent recourse to the Sacrament of confession for post-baptismal sin. How we should dread mortal sin, which is the one the thing that we can do that overturns the miracle of our baptism and separates us from the love of the Father. And if we should fall into mortal sin, how we should not hesitate to run to Christ, Who is the Divine Mercy of the Father in Person; Christ, Who in the sacrament of Confession, working through the person of the priest, is able to restore the grace of our baptism along with offering us those special helps and healings in order to sin no more and so no longer offend our Beloved Father in Heaven. It is in confession by the way, that we allow the Father, through Jesus working through the sacred priesthood, to love us more.

Today we are again reminded, that Jesus continues to take away the sins of the world, our sins, yours and mine, but only if we permit Him to do so. And we do this by accepting His Mercy through the repentance and confession of our sins. Then we can offer more and more fully, beginning at this Holy Mass, our complete self in love to the Father, through the Son, becoming one with them in the love and the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen. Holy Mary Mother of God and Mother of the sons and daughters of God—Our Mother, pray for us sinners who have recourse to thee. Amen.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

the truth about Mary, leads us to the full truth about Jesus.

Solemnity of Holy Mary, Mother of God. January 1st, 2017

Today we celebrate that Holy day given to us by the Second Vatican Council- the solemnity of Mary, “Mother of God.” It is her most privilege title and the very best way to address her. Mary as “Mother of God,” is also one of her oldest titles. The Church at the Council of Ephesus first officially proclaimed it in 431. At that council, the Church declared her as “Theotokos,” which is Greek for the “God-bearer,” another way of saying the “Mother of God.” But this official declaration wasn’t the beginning of the belief of this truth of our faith, for even while Jesus was alive, to those who the Father revealed Jesus as God in the flesh, knew that she who gave birth to Jesus, was then truly the Mother of God.

With this in mind, we discover that the name- “Mother of God,” is more than just a declaration about Mary; it is really a declaration that declares and protects the truth about Who is Jesus Christ. He is truly divine while at the same time truly human. The Church has always protected the truth about Mary, because it protects and leads us to the truth about Jesus.

Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ who was at the same time truly God and truly Man. The one who gives birth is mother to the one birthed; and so because Mary gave birth to Jesus who was and is God become man, she is then truly “Mother of God.” Our mother who gave birth to us did not create us; and so, by declaring Mary as Mother of God we don’t mean she was the creator of Jesus (for Jesus wasn’t created-He is the Eternal God), but that she gave birth to Him in time.

Mary was not a god who gave birth to a god. Mary is not a god or a goddess herself. She is a limited created human being who was given the high honor of supplying a human nature, that is, a body, blood and soul along with a human intellect and will, to the second Person of the Most Holy Trinity-the Eternal Word. Through her Jesus became true man, all the while remaining true God.

It is important to make a distinction here. Mary is not the mother of the human person of Jesus Christ, but Mary is the mother of the Divine Person Jesus Christ. Jesus is not human person but a divine person with both a human nature and a divine nature. Mary then did not give birth to just the human nature of Christ and not to the Divine nature, but she gave birth to the whole Person of Jesus Christ (you cannot separate the natures of Christ, because both make up the one divine person of Jesus Christ). Mary is therefore truly the Mother of God. This is the glorious truth we celebrate today, the first day of the year.

When one denies the truth about the Mary as Mother of God, one inevitably denies the truth about who Jesus Christ truly is. If the truth about the Mother of God, is not upheld we misunderstand the very nature of Christ and we do not know Him as He is. We then can end up saying and believing untrue things about Him, like: “He didn’t know He was divine;” or, “that there were two persons in Jesus, one Human and one divine;” or, “that Jesus was a human person”…These errors and those like them lead to a mistaken belief that Jesus was really just a good and nice guy, just a nice do-gooder, just a prophet, just a creature like us.

Yes, the truth about Mary, leads us to the full truth about Jesus. He is more than just prophet, He IS God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, without beginning or end. He, though equal to the Father, was sent by the Father, to come down to earth as one of us, as a true man, though without sin, all the while remaining what He was before-True God; and as the Almighty and Living God, He can make demands on our life. And we for our part have duty in justice as well as in love, to believe, adore, hope and trust Him; and so in love, obey Him and follow Him in and through His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church which He founded on the Apostles.

So this is why we publicly praise Mary as the Mother of God, and why at this time so closely after the important festival of Christmas and on the very first day of the New Year. To celebrate at Christmas is perfectly natural. When we visit a newborn babe, we of course inquire about the baby’s health, weight and the like. Then we always want to know about the health of the mother. We have looked for a week at the baby in the crib. It is now perfectly reasonable to look at the Mother, the Mother of the infant Jesus…for if we know about her, if we know her and draw closer to her we will know better her son; and to know someone is too love them and to love them is to draw closer to them.

And to celebrate on the first day of the eye is practical. On this first day of 2017 we wish one another a Happy New Year. This means we hope and pray that our friends and loved ones will have a blessed and holy year, that they will try to know Christ more clearly, love Him more warmly, and serve Him more faithfully, just as His Mother did. To do this nothing will help us more than the inspiration and help of that same Mother. Jesus loved and honored her. He wants us to love and honor her also. The disciples are to do what the master does; we honor Mary because Jesus honored her first.

I remember a very touching story about motherhood that I heard a few years ago that happened during a devastating earthquake in Iran that claimed tens of thousands of lives. Four days after the devastating earthquake the rescue crews had lost hope of finding any more survivors. Then a miracle happened, they found a young girl of 12 still alive. She was unconscious and had a broken leg, nevertheless she was found alive. She was found alive because she was wrapped in the arms of her mother who was killed by falling debris. The mother’s protective embrace actually saved the Child.

The Mother of God too, wraps in her arms those children who turn to her for protection. She not only protects them from physical harm but even more importantly she protects her children from spiritual arm. She is truly the Mother of God and the mother of the children of God. (If Jesus is the head of the Church and we are His body, Mary gave birth both to the head as well as to the body of Christ, and so she is truly our Mother). And she is a good mother who safely leads us to her divine Son, the divine Son she gave to the world in His birth and the divine Son she allowed to die on the Cross-for our salvation (this is the meaning of the Brown Scapular, to wear it in order to be embraced in the protection of the mantle of our Heavenly Mother, and to ask her to help us at the Holy Mass in order to offer ourselves in love, completely to Him Who is Love).

This death of Christ is renewed today on this altar and every day at every Christ-Mass. If we want the world to keep Christ in Christmas, we Catholics need to first keep the Mass in Christ-Mass Let us ask the Mother of God to intercede for us, and obtain for the grace to make the Holy Mass more important in 2017; in fact, to make it the absolute center of our life and of our family life. As individuals and families, let us, especially by praying the rosary, ask our dear Blessed Mother to help us draw closer to the Holy Eucharist Who is Immanuel-God truly with us still. She will help us to keep our eyes always on Jesus, so that we will have a holy and Blessed New Year. Through this Holy Mass and through the maternal intercession of the Mother of God may God grant to you and your loved ones the grace and helps you need to make this a truly joyful year by adhering your lives more closely to our Blessed Savior. I wish you all a Blessed New Year!!! Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.