Saturday, January 30, 2010

for the source of all death, is ultimately a failure of the creature to adore the Creator in Spirit and in Truth.

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary time. January 31st, 2010

Today we read the conclusion to Last week's Gospel. Last week we heard that Jesus was highly praised in the surrounding villages because of the great deeds He performed, like the changing of the water into wine at Cana. And, that the people in Nazareth were astonished by His claim that He was the fulfillment of ancient prophecies concerning the Messiah. However, in today's Gospel we hear something quite different.
What happened? It would seem that the people of His own town would be proud of Jesus and accept Him as a favored Son. This does not end up being the case. They had heard of Jesus’ miracles and were intrigued by His wisdom; however they were very superficial and narrow-minded. In their pride they felt hurt that Jesus, one their own townsmen, had not performed miracles in Nazareth as He did elsewhere. They presumed that they should receive special “favor” and so they insolently demand that He perform miracles, not to change their heart and lead them to a deeper faith, but merely to satisfy their vanity.
And so Jesus, knowing their hearts, performs no miracles; instead He reproaches them and uses examples from the Old Testament in order to show that one needs to be well-disposed if miracles are going to lead to faith. His attitude so wounds their pride that they are ready to kill him by throwing Him off a cliff. This whole episode is a good lesson about understanding Jesus and His teachings which He gives to us through His Church. We can only understand Him and His teachings if we are humble and are genuinely resolved to change in order to make ourselves available to Him.
The problem is that the teachings of Jesus are sometimes very tough. So tough in fact that many times there can be a denial that the teachings of the Church are the same as the teachings of the Jesus. What a great error. The truth is of course, that the teachings of Jesus and the teachings of the Church are one in the same. The Church for her part, carries on these teachings, which she receives from Christ through the Apostles, prophetically and lovingly preaching them in all ages, whether acceptable or unacceptable. And she calls all her children, especially her bishops and priests to preach and teach these doctrines of the Church, which are the translation of the Gospel, without apology and without compromise.
If we are to live the type of Love which St. Paul speaks about in our second reading we need to hear the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, not water down, but in its fullness and splendor. To reject anyone of the teachings of the Church is to reject the one who gave them to us, Jesus Christ, and the Father who sent Him so that we might have life through Jesus who is the Truth.
Archbishop, Timothy Dolan former bishop of Milwaukee, in an article I read a few years ago in the Observer--our diocesan newspaper, said this.

"Catholics need solid preaching about Jesus, the cross and the Church, and not “feel-good” spiritual advice that demands no sacrifice.
Preaching well means challenging people’s complacency and, like Christ, occasionally “shaking things up.” This cannot happen if preachers soft-pedal the cross, He said.
He went on, “Maybe the greatest threat to the Church is not heresy, not dissent, not secularism, not even moral relativism, but this sanitized, feel-good, boutique, therapeutic spirituality that makes no demands, calls for no sacrifice, asks for no conversion, entails no battle against sin, but only soothes and affirms,” Speaking to future priests he said, “Our preaching can then become cotton candyish--a lot of fluff, air and sugar, but no substance. Even though he was focusing on priests, Bishop Dolan reminded that preaching the Gospel is a mandate shared by ALL Christians, not just priest."

The problem is of course, no one likes to be a prophet; no one wants to get thrown off a cliff. And too often a priest or deacon who teaches something clearly and forthrightly will catch a lot of flak for it. Sadly, in our age where everyone is an expert and all truth is subjective, and the tyranny of relativism is rampant. Many people just don’t want to hear uncomfortable teachings expounded. And so for many priests it becomes very easy to fall back on a feel-good approach to the homily, light on content, long on uplifting anecdotes and the power of positive thinking--a joke at every homily for fear of rejection and desiring to be liked.
I think this fear of preaching the truth prophetically is especially so in regards to the Churches teaching on marriage, sexuality and life. Many Catholics have never even heard some of the teaching of the Church in these areas, or if they have, only heard them in a negative light, with regards to how the Church is out of step with the times and needs to get with. Well, of course the teachings of the Church are Jesus' own teachings; and Jesus is not out of step with the times, He owns time and all in it, and His teachings are always with it, because He is Truth itself.
If we are to have the light and the life of Christ we must do what the town people of Nazareth refused to do, we must humbly accept the teachings of Jesus, proclaimed and taught authentically and fully in the Church He Himself founded. He intentionally founded this Church to be His audible mouthpiece through the ages, and a visible beacon of truth for the entire world. How many times people condemn the priest for various trivial things, when what is really at issue is that same priest has pricked their guilty conscience. Instead of repenting and going to confession, in their pride they try to throw the priest over the cliff with their criticisms and condemnations. Some in fact become so angry that they want the priest not just removed from the parish, but dead. Careful, Jesus will work no miracles in their lives.
The fact is, we need more priests who are ready to get tossed over the cliff if necessary, in order to tell people the truth they need to get to heaven and avoid hell; yes, but more importantly the truth they need to love and live authentically in order to be one with Jesus Himself, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We need priests who are willing to call this sinful world of ours to repentance before it destroys itself in its wickedness.
And so, how much each of us needs to pray for priests to be holy and so to have the courage to preach the truth authentically telling all what God has commanded them to say, even if it means their life, that they may be,"a fortified city, a pillar of Iron, a wall of brass." (cf. Jeremiah 1). Every member of a parish should pray and even fast for priests, especially their own priests, during the week in order to support them in the preparation of Homilies for weekday and Sunday Masses. St John Vianney once said to priests, "You have no right to complain about your people if you are not praying, fasting and doing penance for them." The same is true for his people, "You have no right to complain about your priests, if you are not praying, fasting and doing penance for them." Of course if we do so, we won't complain at all.
Last week as you know, I went with our youth to March on the Capital in defense of life. I saw the new generation of believers, most of them Catholic youth, standing up for the truth about all human life, standing up for and proclaiming the dignity and sanctity of each and every human person. Well over three hundred thousand youth, the largest in the Marches history. These youth realize to proclaim the truth about the Human Person doesn't end with just abortion, but covers all the other crimes against the Human Person and so crimes against God's plan for marriage and family life. And so they oppose not only abortion, but artificial contraception, the active homosexual lifestyle, In Vitro Vitalization, experimentation on human embryos, divorce, and human oppression of all kinds. These acts ultimately go against God who is always life giving, always open to life and Who is Life Itself; they contracept God out of the picture and go against the good of the human person. These crimes against the Human Person are the pernicious roots of our current culture of death. I am so proud of our youth for courageously opposing them by witnessing to the truth, that comes, not from man, not from the courts, but from God Himself.
I want to share with you just one experience from the March for Life trip. Our parish Marched together and on the way we sang the Divine Mercy Chaplet as others around us join in. We then began to pray the rosary and prayed all 20 decades as we meditated on the 20 mysterious of the life of Christ that went with them. And then there, in front of the steps of the Supreme Court, we prayed the last five mysteries, the Glorious Mysteries. It was one of the most powerful Rosaries of my life.
The youth have given us the lead, but we all must now join in their lead; they for their part, have promised to attend Mass with greater faith and devotion, to pray the rosary daily, to do penance and to spend time whenever they can in front of the Blessed Sacrament, not only praying to a end of abortion, but for the conversion of those who support it and other crimes against human life and the human person. Our youth are challenging each of us to do the same.
John Paul the Great once said, "if you want peace work for justice, if you want justice protect life, if you want life accept the truth, the truth that comes from God." We must accept the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, in other words we must accept the teachings of the Church, all the teachings of the Church and reject all that goes against them and we must live them out in our life in love, in charity, as St. Paul described in our second reading. Has hard as it can sometimes be, Let us embrace the truth in Its fullness, and live it with the help of the grace of this Holy Mass and every Holy Mass. Let us adore Jesus, Our Lord and Our God and Receive Him worthily, for the source of all death, is ultimately a failure of the creature to adore the Creator in Spirit and in Truth.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

St. Luke in today’s Gospel wanted to write down the life of Christ so that we may know the truth of the teachings we have received.

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time. January 24th, 2009

Luke tells us that Jesus began his public ministry in his own land of Galilee where he was raised as a child. Jesus' first public words in his hometown synagogue amazed both his family and townspeople. Jesus read the text from the prophet Isaiah that explained how the Messiah would come in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring freedom to those oppressed by sin and evil (see Isaiah 61:1-2). Jesus proclaimed that He himself was the fulfillment of this prophecy. With this proclamation came only two possibilities, either Jesus was a madman to make such a claim or He was truly the Messiah, the one sent by God to proclaim the truth. Jesus not only got their startled attention, he awoke in his people fresh hope that God would indeed fulfill his promises to them. Luke tells us that at least at first, the people received Jesus' words favorably and wondered what would become of "Joseph's son". In Jesus the Messiah we see the grace of God in action. His gracious words bring hope, joy, and salvation to all who are open to receive him fully.
Jesus is indeed the one sent by God to save his people by giving them the truth they need for salvation. Jesus speaks this truth to the people and he speaks it with courage. He tells the people that they must both accept and conformed their life to the truth he has come to give in order for them to be saved. In next weeks Gospel we will hear that the people turn against Jesus, they did not want to change their lives to conform Jesus’ truth. Some even attempted to throw Jesus over a cliff to silence him. They wanted to live in the reality of their own truth. And Jesus was upsetting their reality.
Jesus wants us to have the same courage too, to speak and stand up for the truth. The problem is, is that our society frowns on any talk about religion or about God; a person who mentions his faith in a casual conversation is considered weird or a fanatic. Even more than talk about religion and God, our society hates any talk about the notion of objective truth. Just as there were those who hated Jesus after he claimed to have to have the Good News-Which is the truth, our society hates anyone who claims to have the Truth. There is an incredibility strong skepticism to any claim of truth in our day. There are those who if they don’t outright deny objective truth, believe there is more than one truth. “You have your truth and I have mine.” This leads to the great error of believing we are not to speak to others about what we believe or what our church believes.
I hear this modern skepticism of the truth all the time. Many times people come to me and ask, “Father, who’s truth do we believe. How do we know what’s true? I usually respond by saying, reality determines what true. Knowing the truth begins with looking at the world God has created. Take for example gravity. Gravity is a truth. Try to deny and disprove the truth of gravity by stepping off a three-story building. I guarantee you won’t disprove but you will prove the truth of gravity.
A better example is the truth of the Ten Commandments and the modern day attempt to make them just one truth among many-a matter of personal religious belief and as such not to be displayed publicly for fear of offending those who deny them. But anyone who denies the truth of the Ten Commandments really denies reality. The Ten Commandments are based on reality, they are based on the truth of who we are as human beings. Anyone, whether or not they are religious knows that it is wrong to kill another human being or to steal. If the Ten Commandments aren’t true then we better leave all those in prison who are guilty of these things go free.
But probably the best argument I can give them to the truth is to tell them about Jesus Christ the one who is Truth. To deny Jesus Christ and the teachings he gave us is to deny reality. It is to deny not only God, but it is to deny who we are as human beings and our destiny. What we are made for. To deny Christ is to deny the meaning of love, which he taught to us by hanging on a tree for love of us. When a person denies the truth of the Good News, that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that person is living in non-reality. Could it be that they don’t want to accept the Truth because they don’t want to change their sinful life.
St. Luke in today’s Gospel wanted to write down the life of Christ so that we may know the truth of the teachings we have received. With this truth comes great responsibility. With it comes the obligation to try to come to know more the truth or the doctrine of Jesus found in its fullness in the teachings of His Church. We have been given the Gospel, the Word of God, and we have been given the Church and her teachings to help us to understand the Gospel correctly and in its fullness. The teachings of the Church are God’s truth given to us so that we may come to know Jesus more and in knowing him more love him more. We can never be satisfied with the Knowledge about Jesus Christ that we have acquired so far. Why? Because love always seek to know the beloved better. When ever ones says I love enough--their love is doomed. They deny the reality of their loved one in their stinginess of love.
We must as Catholics make and effort to learn the teachings of our Church more in order to love Jesus more. WE must back up our love of Jesus by learning and living these truths of our faith, which is what it really means to practice our faith. It is not enough to know the truth, one must live it. One cannot be truly practicing their Catholic faith, if they make little or no effort to know the doctrines it professes and live these truths out in their daily lives. To deny these truths is really to deny reality and to deny reality is to live unfulfilled lives that are empty lives that lack meaning, joy and the hope that our faith gives us.
If we truly believe Jesus is the Messiah the Son of God it should show in the way we live our lives. We must live everyday like we truly believe Jesus is the Messiah. This goes beyond just showing up for Sunday Mass, we must show everyday, always, like Jesus is our Messiah. Don’t get me wrong we must attend Holy Mass and do so with great reference and love, but we must take what we receive at Mass and give to others what the Lord Jesus has given to us. If we attend Holy Mass and adore God with great love and reference, then Jesus gives us and fills us with his own courage and love so that we can believe more and stand up for the truth. When we are filled with God’s love we can only but be courageous.
Someone once wrote to me a letter in which he said, Father if only I would have realized how true the teachings of the Church were before I lived my life in opposition to them. I would have been much happier in my life. I wish I had made more of an effort to know her teachings and understand them more, I realized now that ignorance doesn’t save one from the consequences of unwise decisions. He then wrote, Father, stay the course; preach the truth no matter what the cost. Another person said, Father, don’t let the faithful be content with mediocrity.
We all must speak the truth no matter what the cost, but most importantly we must live it no matter what the sacrifice because love demands sacrifice. We must do so with great courage, courage that can only come to those who truly love Jesus Christ with their whole hearts, souls and minds. Christianity is not a comfortable religion; while it is dangerous and demanding to speak the truth; it is even more dangerous and demanding to live it. Martyrs have proven this; saints have lived in poverty and testified to this. What is our testimony to our faith then? In our modern times, it could be as simple as standing up for and living what the church, the Pope and our legitimate religious leaders are teaching especially in the areas of human life and human sexuality. In the end, truth matters so much because without out we cannot reach the promise of eternal life.
Let us pray. God our Father, at this Holy sacrifice of the Mass open our hearts to you grace in order to know and be open to the truth, so that we may know you more and in knowing you more come to love you more. Help us to show our love for you by our faithfulness to the Church you founded in living and practicing all of your teachings. Help us especially understand those teachings we find hard to accept. Help us to conform our lives to them and live them with every fiber of our being. We ask these through the Truth Himself, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Adoration of the Holy Eucharist is the way for us to have life and have it more abundantly, and share that Life and Light with the world.

This past week has been one mark by incredible tragedy; unspeakable death and suffering. The earthquake in Haiti has left an estimated 200,000 dead. Some believe the death toll may reach a half a million. It is one of the most deadly earthquakes in human history; it may be the most deadly one ever. It is a tragedy on par with the Tsunamis of 2004. And it is exasperated in the fact that Haiti is already one of the poorest countries in the world.
Our Holy Father joins the world in mourning and praying for the people of Haiti, many of which are fellow Catholics. In fact, I heard that the bishop of the Haitian Capital of Port au Prince has been confirmed among the dead. We must pray and fast for our brothers and sisters in Haiti, but we must do more.
The Catholic Relief Service which helped and continues to help so many in the 2004 Tsunamis, has already sprung into action; although it's facilities, which were already in place helping the poor in Haiti, have been for the most part been completely wiped out. They desperately need our prayers and our financial help. Our Bishop, Bishop Doran, along with the other bishops of the United States, have asked all parishes to take up a second collection this weekend in order to help financially the suffering people of Haiti. They have asked us as well to pray for the repose of the souls of those who lost their lives, as well as for all of the victims of this horrible event.
On Thursday, I watched a live segment on one of the news channels as a group of people were trying to dig out survivors trapped in one of the collapsed buildings. The reporter actually stuck a microphone down into a hole in the ruble and you could hear, live on T.V, those buried alive crying out for help. We pray that they were able to get these folks out; many others we pray, will still be rescued from collapsed buildings; but we know for many others, these collapsed buildings will be a tomb.
Before this live segment came on the news, I was working on my article for today's bulletin about our youth traveling to march on our nation's capital in order to give their witness to the sanctity of all human life. And so, after I watched this very distressing live video feed and live audio of victims buried alive in the ruble of a collapsed building, I couldn't help realizing that there is another tragedy still occurring in our day which has so far killed many more times the number of those killed in both the Tsunamis of 04, and the Haitian earthquake. And that is tragedy of the Roe vs Wade decision, the sad anniversary of which we remember this Friday, January 22nd.
This tragedy of epic and unfathomable proportions, which, sadly, most chose to ignore, has brutally and violently killed, by conservative estimates, over 50 million human beings. The womb, which should be the safest place on earth, has now become a tomb, just like those collapsed buildings in Haiti. I wonder what would happen if we could record, as they did the other day of those trapped in the collapsed buildings, the voices, the cries for help of those babies about to have their little lives snuffed out in their mother's wombs.
I also couldn't help thinking of the massive efforts being undertaken, and rightly so, to save as many of the victims of the Haitian earthquake as possible; but shouldn't we make at least of a massive effort and even greater to save innocent children in the womb. In either case, we can never do enough, but we have to at least try to do more.
We may not be able to record the cries of babies in their mother's wombs, but with all of the modern technology, such as the GE imaging scan, we can see very clearly that what is in the womb is no mere glob of tissue but a living human being. We don't need to record sound in order to know that it is a scientific fact, not a matter of faith, but a scientific fact that life begins at conception.
Not in any way meaning to cheapen the gravity and enormity of the incredible suffering of the people of Haiti, we must nonetheless admit that suffering on an even greater scale occurs, sadly, in the womb where so many are slaughtered on the altar of convenience, for the sake of so-called "free-choice." or the "right to chose" which really means freedom to choose to kill another human being or the right to kill another human being.
And now if it couldn't get any worse, the current proposed health care bill will require our tax dollars to fund such unspeakable horror. While the House passed a health care bill that prevents the federal government from funding elective abortions, and includes provisions making health care affordable and accessible for all, the Senate rejected this and passed a bill that requires federal funds to help subsidize and promote health plans that cover elective abortions, while forcing purchasers to pay directly for other people’s abortions. These two bills must now be combined into one bill that both the House and Senate will vote on in final form. The U.S. bishops continue to strongly oppose abortion funding, while calling for critical improvements in conscience protection so our Catholic hospitals and their doctors, nurses and staff would not be forced to perform abortions (which of course they will never do, and so will be forced to close their doors). Also the bishops are calling for critical improvements in the affordability of health care for the poor and vulnerable, and access to health care for immigrants. Health care should be used to protect and save lives, not to take them.
In today's bulletin, you’ll find a bulletin insert from the U.S. Bishops Conference asking you to please contact your congressional representatives immediately and urge them to address these moral issues. The bulletin insert includes a web address that allows you to send an email message to Congress with a click of a button. The bishops have asked for our swift action and our prayers. Thank you for your help. We can help make sure that health care reform will protect the lives, dignity, conscience and health of all. Health care reform should be about saving lives, not destroying them.”
This something we all can do to help the relief effort to save lives and alleviate the suffering of so many, children and women alike. We can and should also, as we are doing for the victims of the earthquake, pray and fast for all of the victims of abortion, which include again, not only the babies, but the woman who many times are pressured into such a decision because there doesn't seem to be any other alternative. In the bulletin today as well, I have listed numbers to call for abortion alternatives.
Part of this prayer for the end of abortion, as well as the alleviation of the suffering of the victims of all tragedies, must include our prayer in front of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. This Friday at noon, as the death bell toll 50 times, St. Patrick's will have a special Holy Hour of prayer and reparation, begging our Lord truly present in the Holy Eucharist for the end to abortion and all crimes against the human person. As well as for the conversion of all those involved in those crimes either by their explicit action or by their indifference to such unspeakable evil in our midst. If you can't make it on Friday, please come to the all night adoration Saturday night to Sunday Morning, or the Holy Hour held every day before Holy Mass or on Thursday evenings and Sunday evenings. The Eucharist is the source of all life because it is Jesus who is Life itself. We will never end abortion and other crimes against life until more Catholics begin with faith, reverence and love, adoring Life Itself in the Holy Eucharist. Adoration of the Holy Eucharist is the way for us to have life and have it more abundantly, and share that Life and Light with the world.
Father Lombardi, who is a Vatican spokesman, said, "The outpouring of love expressed in solidarity is perhaps the only possible consolation for the catastrophe in Haiti caused by Tuesday's earthquake. Father Lombardi suggested that this "generous and genuine love is, perhaps, the only consolation, the only great answer to this sea of grief, as the love of Christ who dies on the cross is the only true answer to man's suffering." It is the Eucharist makes the power of this sacrificial love of Christ available to us, for the Eucharist is the God who is Love. Let us put the power of Christ's love given to us at this Holy Mass in action in our lives. Our Lady of all those who suffer, pray for them, pray for us. Amen.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Friday, January 8, 2010

The day we were baptized was the most important day of our life.

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord January 10th, 2010

Today we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord; it officially marks the end of the Christmas season. Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan, is an intensely Trinitarian event. The Father and the Holy Spirit manifest that while Jesus is true Man, He is at the same time true God, because He is the Son of God, co-equal to both the Father and the Holy Spirit. The Father by an audible voice and the Spirit by appearing visibly in the presence of a dove, testify that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Son of Man in whom the Father is well pleased; He is the long expected Savior of the world, our Savior.

At His baptism, Jesus is anointed as Priest, Prophet and King, the one who is to save the souls of men by proclaiming the truth men need to be saved. And then by becoming an offering for the sins of all mankind, He provides men with the means of grace, the sacraments, especially that of His true live giving Body and Blood, in order to follow that truth and so have life. He shows us the way to the Father; and so we are to listen to Him and do whatever He tells and commands us if we are to be saved and have eternal life and happiness.

But if Jesus is the Son of God--God Himself,( and He truly is), why did He have to be baptized? Obviously as true God, He could not have sinned. The simple answer is that Jesus did not have to be baptized; He did so for us. John the Baptist’s baptism only symbolized or signified what Jesus’ baptism of water and the Holy Spirit would later do in reality. By being baptized, Jesus literally sanctified the waters of baptism imparting them with the power not to just symbolize the washing of sin, but to actually do so. And through the washing of sin, the waters of baptism also truly impart to souls the gift of eternal life.

By his own immersion into the water Jesus literally place within the water the saving power of his death and resurrection. This was made apparent from the blood and water, which flowed from his pierced side as he hung on the cross. The water signifying the power of the waters of baptism to forgive sin and the blood signify the redemption of the world, the resurrection of his baptized faithful followers to new life in him.

However, Jesus baptism not only imparted to the waters of baptism the power to save us, it also gave them the power to recreate us into new creatures in Christ. As a result, Jesus' baptism not only manifest to the world who Jesus is, but who we are as well, how great dignity and our great destiny. Each one of us, through the waters of our baptism made holy by Jesus, have now become adopted Sons and daughters of the Father being able to call him Abba, or daddy. The baptism of Jesus manifest that we are children of God and so we are! After the holidays, we often times experience a letdown. Our expectations for the holidays were one thing and our experience is another. We can feel sad and depressed. We can think God has not come for us- he may be the savor, but for some else not me. It is in this feast that we find this is not true. We are the sons and daughters of God; we are beloved; we have a great dignity.

Just as the Holy Spirit came upon Mary and produced in her the God-man-Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit now descends on the Church and produces in her maternal womb, which is the baptismal rite, the rebirth of the children of men into the children of God. By the waters of baptism God fills each one of us with his own supernatural love and by doing so he raises our human love to a divine level. We are not only reconciled to Him, we now have new life, which is a share in his own divine life. We become divinized, we become like God, we share in His divine love and life, and so share in His own eternal happiness. And we are also empowered to share that divine love and life with others around us by living faithfully our baptismal promises.

Through our baptism, we become members of God’s family on earth, the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. Our baptism then opens up for us the sacramental graces from this Church that we need to be nourished in order to grow and reach maturity. Fed by Jesus’ own body and blood in the Holy Eucharist, we begin to be transformed into His image, and thus begin to already here on earth share in His glory. We are empowered to offer ourselves to Him at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass so that He may live again in us and so carry out in us His redemptive work for the salvation of souls in and through us. In our own bodies then we manifest to the world its one and only savior, He who is the only way to the Father, Jesus, in Whom we live and move and have our being.

O’ Christian soul realize you dignity, realize your great worth and realize you great responsibility to live like the child of God that you are. Through the waters of baptism an indelible sign as been place permanently on your soul, a sign forever that you belong now to Christ Jesus and through Him belong to the Heavenly Father. The day we were baptized was the most important day of our life. We must realize this great gift. In fact, we should celebrate the day of our baptism with greater joy than the day of our birth; our birth was merely the beginning of our earthly life, but our baptism was the beginning of our eternal life. Do you know the day of your baptism?

We must become like humble children, pure of heart and poor, realizing we must ask God to help us remain faithful to what our baptism demands. We must always remember, it is entirely possible for us to lose the graces of our baptism and so lose our friendship and eternal life with God. If we are children of God we can not commit any acts that go against our adopted divine nature. When we purposely, intentionally and with full knowledge commit serious sin, mortal sin, the divine life within us actually dies. God has chosen us and so we must choose Him by our love for Him by avoiding anything that offends Him.

And so, those who are children who really love God will show this love by keeping His Commandments which are a summation of the whole Gospel. And these commandments are summed up in the greatest commandment, which is a commandment to Adore God with our entire being, in other words to Love, by our worship and with our actions, the Lord your God with your whole heart, soul and mind so that he may fill us with His very love and His very divine life. The ways to practically live this commandment are found in the teachings of God’s Church, all of which are necessary if we are truly to love God and love neighbor, and live as true Sons and Daughters of the Father.

At our baptism we were given an incredible gift, but one in seed form. It is up to us whether that seed, the seed of eternal life and happiness dies within us or whether it grows to the maturity of holiness and eternal life forever in union with God and the saints. Lets us ask God for forgiveness for our failures to live our baptismal promises. Let us implore the mercy of God by making frequent use of the Sacrament of Confession, which both restores us to our original state of baptismal purity if we have lost it through mortal sin and strengthen us to live more deeply our baptismal promises.

Let us turn to our Blessed Mother for help. Blessed Mother, Queen of the Angels, please help us to become like children because children are poor and humble. And when we are poor and humble we can then truly adore and love Jesus and realize that we can love Him only because he has loved us first. God, creator of our souls, Father of our soul, we adore you we love you, help us to love you more, fill us with your love; we are your children, help us to be with you both now and forever. Amen.

Friday, January 1, 2010

During 1st Vespers of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, with the singing of the Te Deum for the end of the year, the Holy Father said, in my translation:

Dear brothers and sisters, Rome needs priests who will be courageous heralds of the Gospels and, at the same time, will reveal the merciful face of the Father. I invite young people not to be afraid to respond with a complete gift of their own being to the call that the Lord extends to them to follow the road of the priesthood or of consecrated life.

Hey everyone, I tied one on last night and today!!!

in the modern stable of the Church we, as sons and daughters of the Most High, are to come before the newborn King reborn on the crib of the altar.

Feast of the Epiphany. Jan. 3rd, 2010

As we continue in our great Celebration of Christmas, we come to today’s feast. Today we celebrate the feast of Epiphany. Epiphany, the day the three wise men came from a far to Bethlehem to adore the newborn King. The wise men coming to Bethlehem signifies that the Revelation and Light from God, who is Jesus, is revealed to all nations. Now because Jesus is born, He who is the Fullness of God's revelation and the Light of the whole world, all men are call to salvation, not just the Jews, but the gentiles as well; the world in darkness as seen a great light.
We know the Wisemen or Magi were probably astrologers, philosophers or maybe even Magicians before they were converted to the Christ Child. Their gifts are symbols to tell the whole world both who this newborn child really is and what is His mission. But the gifts also reveal to us what we are to do before this new born king as well, that is how we are to act and what we are to offer to Him.
With regards to who Jesus is; the Gold they offered signifies their tribute to Him as King of kings, The incense shows us their faith that this seemingly ordinary child was indeed true God Himself, and thus worthy of our worship and adoration...incense is only offered to God. And the Myrrh, which was used to embalm dead bodies reveals to us Jesus' mission. It reveals to us that now God, the second person of the Blessed Trinity has become Man. Jesus, the God-Man born into this world not to live but to die, so that each of us might life; this is His mission.
And so in faith, the Magi come to adore the God King become man, who was before them in silence as a little child; in silence as well, they kneel down in adoration, most likely they prostrate in adoration before their King and their God.
The three Wisemen are led to their God by a star. We discover that the star of the epiphany over the crib is Bethlehem is an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the star of the east who always points the way to Christ’s Mass. There in the modern stable of the Church we, as sons and daughters of the Most High, are to imitate the Wisemen and come before the newborn king reborn on the crib of the altar of sacrifice. And so the actions of the Wisemen reveal to us as well, what we are to do before the newborn King born a new on the sacred altar at every sacrifice of the Mass.
Before the Eucharistic newborn King, we just like the wisemen, are to adore the newborn King in great reverence and silence; we too should kneel and even prostrate before the Lord our God. And there with great faith, we too are to offer our gifts of gold, incense, and Myrrh:
In this case, our gold is the treasure of our heart, all the love of our heart, offered to Jesus' Sacred Heart made truly present and alive for us in the Holy Eucharist;
The Incense we are to offer is the sweat fragrance of our good works, of our little acts of love done each day to show our Love of God and those acts done to others for love of God...all that we say and do for God alone;
And what of the Myrrh? The myrrh is the very sacrifice of ourselves, of our self-will, on this altar of sacrifice. In union with sacrifice of Jesus made truly present before by the power of the Holy Spirit and the gift of the Sacred Priesthood, we offer all that we have and all to the Heavenly Father as a living oblation of love, in union with the sacrifice of His only Son made actually and truly present before us.
But the sacrifice of our gifts, of ourselves isn’t the end. When we leave our gifts before Jesus newly born on the altar, He, never being outdone in generosity or love, repays the sacrifice of our gift of self with something not even the wisemen were able to experience. Jesus leaves the crib and offers us the gift of Himself in Holy Communion. And through our Holy Communion with Him, He will possess our hearts and consume us in love, staying within us even after we return home. But he can only remain, if we leave all our earthly treasures behind and open our hearts, just as did the three Wisemen, which is why they were wise.
As result with our Communion with the God-King, newly born at every Holy Mass, how can we not allow ourselves to be changed by Jesus when we receive Him. WE are told that after the three kings experienced Jesus they left and return to their country by another way. This "other way signifies" that once we have an encounter with the incarnate God in the Eucharist we too must leave by another way…that is we must leave this Church changed by the encounter, we must leave the old behind and begin to live anew in Christ and with Christ. Now that we have been lead to Him and found Him, we must, absolutely must allow ourselves to be changed by this real encounter with the Christ Child truly, personally and physically present in the Holy Eucharist. We must live another way than we have in the past.
How many there are today, who while they say Jesus’ name and profess to believe in Him, nonetheless deny Him on His sacred altar. How many Catholics have left the Church to find Jesus, not realizing that they had His true presence right before Him in their Catholic Churches, on her altars and in her tabernacles. We as Catholics can't allow ourselves to be indifferent or irreverent in the face of such a infinite treasure as the Holy Eucharist is; it is the gift of Jesus, the gift of God Himself?
The star given to us today from our Heavenly Father is the gift of faith--faith in His Church, faith in the Eucharist only available in His Church and faith in the truths God gives us through the same Catholic Church and her teachings, which we faithfully live out in our daily lives with the help of God’s grace.
We like the wisemen need to turn to the Star of the East, Mary and ask her to help us lead others to Jesus in the Eucharist. We absolutely need Mary to draw closer in faith to Her Son, her Son in the Holy Eucharist. Jesus, in the little white Host, is the antidote for all our anxieties and fears, including pain and death. He is the Bread of Angels that removes our pains, our cares, our worries; He alone brings joy and peace to our soul, he alone satisfies our intense craving for love. Holy Mary, stella Maris, stella orientis—Holy Mary, star of the sea, star of the east pray for us, lead us safely to Jesus; To Jesus born anew on our Altars and who awaits night and day, and so many times alone, for adorers to come and adore Him in all the tabernacles of the world, so He can fill them with His love, with the gift of His very self, He who is love itself. Amen.