Sunday, January 26, 2014

At her prompting Jesus turned dirty water into the choices of wine, thus revealing Jesus and His goodness to the world. She will bring us the grace we need to bring all souls to her Son, including our own.

Third Sunday in Ordinary time. January 26th, 2014

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” I am sure this passage from Isaiah sounds familiar to you, as we just heard it on Christmas. In today’s Gospel, Jesus refers explicitly to it when He says, “Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali…Galilee of the Gentiles, the people living in darkness have seen a great light.” Why is Jesus using this passage from Isaiah? Perhaps, knowing the significance of these ancient cities might help to answer this question.

Seven centuries before the first Christmas and the coming of the Light of the World, Zebulun and Naphtali were cities of Israel located near the Northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. These cities, because of their lack of faith, were the very first to fall to the Assyrians who became the world power after Israel. When these cities fell, most of the Israeli inhabitants were carried off into exile. Replacing them were Assyrian immigrants; and so as a result, the cities become for the most part pagan cities, cities without faith in the One True God. As a consequence, Zebulun and Naphtali were labeled by Israel as “Galilee of the Gentiles” or “Heathen Galilee.”

The prophet Isaiah in our first reading is saying that while these Israeli cities were the first to experience God’s punishments in the form of being conquered and exiled, so they would one day be the first to experience God’s Word of Salvation and thus restoration to the light of truth and of the true faith. And so it is that Jesus in our Gospel begins his public ministry by going to Capernaum, which was in the very midst of this “Heathen Galilee.” In the setting of this area of great loss of faith, St. Matthew lets us know clearly that Jesus as now come to save all men and women, Jew or otherwise…As Isaiah prophesied, Jesus is the great light shining in the darkness. Mankind walked in darkness until Jesus was born in Bethlehem and a then a Great Light shone in the world—the true Light from Light.

And so, in our Gospel today, as we read of Jesus going back to Galilee to fulfill the prophecy spoken about in Isaiah, we see Him doing something we could not have expected. There in the land of great loss of faith, and so great darkness, Jesus, God Himself, looks for disciples, simple men to help Him bring His light to the world. It would seem that Jesus, who is the “Light of the World,” after all, would not need anyone to help Him. He certainly taught and showed signs of His divinity through the healings and miracles He performed, but yet this was not enough. And so, He calls two sets of brothers to share in His work, to bring His healing and His salvation to the world.

As the territory of Galilee was pagan, so too is so much of our world- so much of our world is without God and without His great Truth which sets the soul free by bringing it out of darkness. However, Jesus is still that great light shining in the darkness of our modern age which as become once again steeped in the darkness of error and sin, of relativism and indifference; like Naphtali and Zebulun who had faith and lost it, whole areas, even whole countries, that were once Christian have for all practical purposes become pagan again.

Yet nevertheless, Jesus today, once again, desires to come as light to all those souls of these areas, which are longer aware of their human dignity as sons and daughters of the true and living God, they are no longer aware of their ultimate goal in this life—which is to attain their eternal salvation and reach God in Heaven. And Jesus message today for us, who have been given the light of Faith, is that Jesus, as he did with Andrew and Peter, wants us now to be the ones to bring Him and the light of His truth to modern souls steeped in the darkness of unbelief and sin. Jesus is calling each one of us, as He called the disciples in today’s Gospel to be Fishers of Men bringing the message of His Gospel of Truth and Life to the world, bringing the hope of salvation to all men. This is our great calling as believing Christians, a calling that we in love, in Charity, must answer. This is our great task as Catholics; it is what caring for the poor primarily means—we feed them primarily by given them the truth, and the truth is ultimately Christ Himself. We Catholics are called to be the Anima Mundi—the Soul of the World!!!

However, before we can carry out our task to bring Christ’s light to the world, we ourselves must be ever more convinced that Jesus and His truth give the only adequate answers to the current desperate needs of our world and to all the deep questions of life such as what is good, what is evil? How can I be truly happy? What is this world all about? Who am I? What am I? Why am I here? Is death the end of everything? Before we can help others find the answers to these and other questions, we ourselves must believe with all our being that Jesus is the only one who throws a searching and revealing light on all these uncertainties of life, that He alone is the solution to the worlds seemingly insurmountable problems.

And so we ourselves need to let Jesus’ light penetrate more deeply into our own personal darkness, whether it be the darkness of our own sins, problems in our health, our finances, our personality, problems with injustice, loneliness, ingratitude, and unreturned love. In the bright light of what Jesus said and did, what He taught and revealed to us about the Father and the Father’s great love for us, we have to have faith and trust that He and His Church is our certain way through the perplexing problems of our own life. We need to experience more brightly Jesus’ light within the darkness of our own soul and feel His Divine Power and His Divine healing and loving touch.

We need the Lord to light us; we need to let the Lord enlighten us. We need to be converted more completely in order to let the light of Jesus more fully into our own lives. To do so, by heeding His command to repent and believe in the Gospel in order that we can be used as instruments of Christ-instruments of His Divine Mercy in the conversion of others. Let us never forget that so many souls and their eternal happiness and destiny depend on us, on you and I, fulfilling this great calling from Jesus. And so for our part, and with the help of Jesus and His holy Mother, we need to work hard to know better and accept more fully Jesus’ truth and teachings in our lives; we need to make a great effort to know the authentic teachings of the Church in order to see more clearly that they alone give us light in our lives, but only if we by God’s grace live them in their fullness. In other words, we too need to be converted to the truth more deeply and conform our lives to it more completely before we can share it with others and share it with others so they can open their souls to the Light of Christ.

Jesus came after the world was in darkness for centuries. And He desires to come again to our present darkness through you and me. He desires to use us as torches to light the darkness of our day. WE are called to be a light to the world. Jesus says to us, as He said to the disciples who had been fishing all night, “Put out in to the deep.” Like the disciples we are called to be fisherman in pagan territory.

The first disciples’ lives were not free of struggles, difficulties, they had their problems, yet they made a great act of faith, letting Jesus’ light into the darkness of their lives, becoming His faithful disciples by sharing that light with others. Let us repeat their words, “At Thy word Lord I will lower my nets.” and let us imitate them by putting out into the deep of Christ, of His love and His Truth. Like them, let us answer that call of Jesus to share that Love and that Truth with others, with every one, not just with those with whom it is easy or comfortable but even with those who are difficult…these too are the “poor” that Pope Francis speaks about. But not to proselytize them, not just to convert them, but to change the world by leading them to Jesus and helping them to become intimate friends of Him in union and in love with His true Church. This is how the darkness of this present age can end, this is how great evils such as abortion will end, by one person being converted to Jesus Christ, to intimacy with Him, friendship with Him and then they become a touch lighting another to Jesus, then that soul too will be lighted and soon thousand and millions of torches driving away the darkness, driving away the culture of death, bringing the life of Christ to the world…And then the people who sit in darkness will see a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death, a light will have arisen.” It will be you and I filled, aflame with, the Light of Christ, with the Love of Christ burning in our souls…I have come to earth to set it aflame, Oh how I wish it was already burning.

Let us turn to our Blessed Mother for help. She provoked the first miracle, which inaugurated the public ministry of her Son Jesus. She saw the need and turned to Jesus trusting Him to fulfill the need by saying, “Do what ever He tells you.” At her prompting Jesus turned dirty water into the choices of wine, thus revealing Jesus and His goodness to the world. She will bring us the grace we need to bring all souls to her Son, including our own.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Holy Mary, Mother of our Life, mother of the poor, Mother of the born and unborn, pray for us sinners-your children who have recourse to thee. Amen.

Today, we hear the calling of the first three disciples by Jesus-the calling of Peter, James and John. We are told they were fisherman. Why were they fisherman? Well, at the time of Jesus, being a fisherman was certainly not considered a noble profession. In fact, it was reserved for the poorest and most uneducated class of people. Peter, James and John were then not obviously wealthy, they were not of the upper class. If they even had the opportunity to go to school, which at the time would have been a religious synagogue school, they could not have done well; because if they had been successful, they obviously wouldn’t be fisherman. I promise you if you and I had a chance to chose the first three disciples we probably would not have chosen these three.

So, why did Jesus call them to such an exulted position as He began His public ministry? Why did he chose ones such as these, to preach His message of salvation, that the Kingdom of God was at hand? Wouldn’t we expect Jesus to choose someone who was well educated, someone who could explain Jesus’ message well and make it appealing to the people, someone like a politician or a celebrity, or at least someone with PHD. Well we are told elsewhere in Scriptures that God looks past human appearances that He looks into the heart. So, Jesus peered into the hearts of Peter, James and John and there He saw what others missed-their inherent goodness, their inherent dignity, the inherent worth.
So it is the same with every single human person. Jesus, because He is God, can peer into the depths of the Human Heart. He looks past human appearances. In the depths of every Human heart He sees the dignity and great worth of every single person. He has created every person in His own image and likeness; and more, He has shed His precious blood for the eternal salvation of every single human person.

Last week we spoke about the dignity that we received when we were baptized. At our baptism we became no less than children of God, children of the Creator, of the Creator of all that is visible and invisible, of all that exist. To what greatness we have been called. What great dignity we have been given to be called Children of God, and so we are! And every human person that exists born or unborn, poor or rich, healthy or unhealthy, good or bad, everyone is called into, invited into this filial relationship with God.

And even more, as He called the first disciples, Jesus now wants to call each of us to be more deeply his disciples as well, to be more deeply His faithful witnesses. And what is the message that He wants us to preach. It consists in this, “that we be His witnesses to the world of His message of salvation; that God not only wants all men to be saved, but He wants all men and woman to enter into a intimate relationship with Him. God wants to give every human person a share in God’s own Divine Nature, which means to share in God’s own inner Life and Love, to be admitted into THE FAMILY, the Family of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In this calling, we discover that at their very heart of the Gospel message which we are called to preach is the message of the Dignity of the Human Person, that every single human life has value, every human person has worth, infinite value and worth, and every life is worth living.

And so the sacredness of human life needs to be proclaimed not only before Church-goers but even before Lawmakers and presidents. The life and dignity of every single human person needs to be not only proclaimed, but defended and protected with every ounce of our strength and being, until our last breathe. This is at the heart of the message of salvation that Jesus is calling us to preach to the world, to preach not only with our words but also most especially by our actions. And in a world which proclaims that certain human persons are not worthy to have life, are not worthy to be protected, we have much work to do.

The truth about the dignity of human person, created in the image and likeness of God and redeemed by the blood of Jesus, and so called into an intimate relationship with the Father through Jesus in the Holy Spirit, is exactly what our current Holy Father Francis has been saying since His election to the Papacy. He has been reminding us that we must especially reach out to the poor, and in justice care for them as human persons. This care for the poor is at the heart of the New Evangelization. Our world has fallen away from the God who has created it; the New Evangelization is a call to show the world again the Love of the God who calls each person to Himself, saint and sinner alike, rich and poor alike; this is the joy of the Gospel message.

Now while Pope Francis has been getting some great press coverage, unfortunately the media so often misinterprets his words, limits their meaning or just plain distorts his words in order to further their, the presses, agenda. For example, what does our Holy Father mean by the poor? Does He mean just those who are materially disadvantage, those who are materially poor? Well first of all, Francis’ experience of poverty is much more profound than our poverty in the United States. For the most part the poor in the United States are rich compared to say the poor in Francis’ native country of Argentina. In Argentina the poor live in cardboard and tin shacks, in shantytowns. Folks are literally dying from starvation and diseases by the thousands every single day. So, yes by the poor Francis is referring to those who are physically poor; and so, as part of our faithful witness, our faithful discipleship, we have to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, give drink to the thirsty etc. But Francis’ definition of the poor is so much broader, so much more “inclusive” than the media’s definition of the poor.

For Francis, the poor are also those in society who are the most vulnerable, those who can’t defend themselves. These are the one’s especially who we need to as a matter of justice, mercy and love take care of and provide for. We need to care for and defend those who have been falsely accused and condemned. For Francis the poor includes those who don’t have a voice in society, those who society discards and minamalizes and disenfranchises, the outcast of society. And Francis has made it very clear, both as archbishop and now as Pope, that one of the groups of human persons that most fits under the title of poor, those who are the most poor because they are the most vulnerable, is the human persons who are unborn.

Who is poorer than the unborn? Who has less of voice to speak out against the injustice perpetrated against them than the unborn? They are the group of human persons most minimalized and disenfranchised by society, discarded by society. In fact, Francis says “abortion is the by-product of a throw away society.” He says, “we throw away food and we throw away babies.” How can we say that we are taking care of the poor when we don’t include in our definition of the poor, the poorest-the unborn? How can we be for social justice if we don’t in justice defend the right to life of the unborn? How can we be witnesses to the dignity of every human person when we don’t protect the life and dignity of all human persons no matter how small and frail? How can we say we want to end violence in America when we don’t try to end the most violent act in our society, that of the ripping apart of human persons in the womb.

Yes, it is very clear that for Pope Francis, one of the groups of human persons that fit under the poorest of the poor are those who are not yet born. So yes, sooner are later the press will discover that Pope Francis is not some socialist, some liberation theologian, that he is not some progressive liberal revolutionary; and when they do, they will turn on Francis as they did with Blessed John Paul II and Benedict before Him, they will turn on Him and they will cry out, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him! Crucify him!

Tomorrow our Country will celebrate the national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King. On Christmas of 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. preached the following words:

"The next thing we must be concerned about if we are to have peace on earth and good will toward men is the nonviolent affirmation of the sacredness of all human life. Every man is somebody because he is a child of God…Man is more than …whirling electrons or a wisp of smoke …. Man is a child of God, made in His image, and therefore must be respected as such….And when we truly believe in the sacredness of human personality, we won't exploit people, we won't trample over people with the iron feet of oppression, we won't kill anybody."

Amen! Indeed, when we truly believe in the sacredness of human person we won’t exploit people, we won’t trample over people with the iron feet of oppression, we won’t kill anybody….won't kill anybody…including and most especially we won’t exploit the unborn, we won’t trample over the unborn, we won’t kill anybody, including the child in the womb!

And conversely, if we don’t protect the life of the dignity of the unborn, we as a society will not protect the life and the dignity of anybody...violence will continue to increase in our country, children being killed in our schools and on our streets will continue and increase, the elderly will be euthanized, certain human beings will be selected as not worthy of health care based on their age or their drain on financial resources, or simply because someone else deems that their quality of life is simply not at a level to justify keeping them alive. Either we protect the sacredness and the dignity of all human persons, the right to life of all human persons from conception to natural death, or none of us is safe, the life of none of us will be protected and our society will descend more and more into darkness, injustice and violence and eventually will just plain descend into utter chaos-then our society itself, civilization itself will collapse; it has happen before it can happen again.

Every man is a child of God, and so every unborn child is a child of God! The only way to deny this undeniable truth that every one cannot not know, is to try to convince ourselves and others, that some human beings are not really human beings at all, or that they are just a clump of cells or are genetically inferior, or their life is not of a level or quality that we deem is necessary for them to continue living. This is what the Nazi’s did and others before them; they told a big enough lie long enough and people believe it. But the truth is, is that every life is worth living.

I want to end with one more group of persons that Pope Francis includes under the category of Poor. That is those persons who are separated from God and from His love, either because they don’t not know that God loves them, or because of sin, have separated themselves from God and his love for them; and these can sometimes be materially speaking, very rich. As that great champion of the poor Mother Theresa of Calcutta said, in all of her travels visiting the poor, that the poorest of the poor that she encountered were not in the streets of Calcutta, but instead in the streets of America. She said that while Americans are the richest in the world so many of them did not know the love that God has for them, so many of them have separated themselves from God because of their sin and so do not realize the dignity that they have in being called to be Children of their Creator. And as a result the dignity of the human person in American in general was not being recognized and so protected. She warned, in front of the then current president at the time, that America would never have peace, would never have justice until it defends the life of ever human persons especially the life the unborn.

The New Evangelization means then for all us to work for the salvation of all souls, even those who are living in great sin, separated from the God who loves them. Included under the poor are those who have committed the grave sin of abortion and those who have and continue to support it. They too are called by God, they too are called to answer Him by their repentance of their sin. Women who have killed their babies in the womb for whatever reason need to be told that God’s mercy and love is for them as well; they for their part just need to repent, to confess their sin and turn back to God who is the giver of life and the Lord over all Life. He waits for them with open arms.

This week hundreds of thousand of teenagers, young adults, families and people from all walks of life will descend on Washington D.C. and even in Chicago for the annual march for life. Every year the number grows and grows of these bold witnesses of life. And they gather with great joy, with great hope and with great enthusiasm for Life!!! They love and care for both the child and the mother and father; and so they walk in defense as well for the defense of God given institution of Marriage as a union of one man and one woman for life, for To respect life is also to respect the most important institution that supports and nourishes life- the family.

These marchers are helping to win the battle for life, the battle for the sacredness and dignity of the life of every human person. Let us pray for them and for our beloved country let us ourselves get involved, this is not a political issue, it is a moral issue, it is a matter of life and death, not just physical life but eternal life as well.

And finally let us answer Pope Francis’ call to care for the poor, all the poor, which is at the very heart of the call for the New Evangelization. Let us answer his call for the new evangelization to bring the love of God to all human persons, that all human persons are worthy of love and life. Let us first turn, in faith, now to the God of Love truly present in the Holy Eucharist and adore and love Him there so that He will fill us with his love and transform us by His Divine mercy so that we can be instruments of His love and Mercy to all persons, especially the poorest of the poor, especially those who are dead because of sin. Holy Mary, Mother of our Life, mother of the poor, Mother of the born and unborn, pray for us sinners-your children who have recourse to thee. Amen.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

use us to bring Your love with those who are the poorest of the poor, that is, those who do not know your great unfathamable love and mercy for them. Amen.

Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord. Sunday January 12th, 2014

This Sunday, The feast of the Baptism of the Lord, marks the end of the Christmas season, the preparation for which began the first week in Advent. Most of the Gospels we heard during the season of Advent were focused on John the Baptist. The main message of those Gospels were, “who is Jesus Christ?; and in light of the answer to this question the Hope that He alone gives us.’

It was John the Baptist who helped us to come to an understanding that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah of God, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world….In other words, Jesus was and is the Son of God, God himself in the flesh. John the Baptist helped us to understand all of this by telling us first of all, that he himself was not the Christ but only the voice that was preparing the way for Him whom was mightier than John. John, the highest of all men born from a woman, considered Himself lower than the level of a household slave whose job it was to undo the straps of his master’s sandals. John the Baptist said, “I baptize you with water, but there is one who is coming who will baptize you by water and the Holy Spirit.”

On Christmas then this mighty One, Jesus, was made manifest to the world; He became visible to the entire world as a humble, poor, defenseless little child. The Angels testified to the poor shepherds that this newly born child, was Jesus the messiah, the Prince of peace and the only Savior of the world. By the angels visible manifestation they taught the poor shepherds how to adore with body and soul the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

On epiphany this Messiah was then revealed to the nations by the coming of the three Wise Men, representing the gentile world. The light of a star, called even the pagans to come and adore the Light of the World. By their gifts of frankincense, gold, and myrrh the pagan kings revealed who Jesus Christ was, he was a great King-He was God Himself come to earth in order to die and suffer for love of His people.

Now on this great feast day, we have two even greater witnesses than those just mentioned, two greater witnesses who testifying who Jesus Christ really is. By Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan, He is revealed to us as the first born of the sons of men; in fact, the very Creator of the sons of men. These two definitive witnesses, are of course, God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Theirs is the definitive testimony of the person of Jesus Christ because it the testimony of God Himself. They testify that Jesus is the Son of God, co-equal to themselves, the Father and the Holy Spirit. The Father by an audible voice and the Spirit by visible manifesting himself in the presence as of a dove testify that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Son of Man in Whom the Father is well pleased.

This feast is a great mystery, one that has caused much confusion to many in the Church even in the present time. In the confusion question arise such as, Did Jesus know who he was? Did he know what is mission was? Why did Jesus have to be baptized if he was without sin?

Well of course Jesus knew who he was, he is and always was the second person of the Blessed Trinity. He was a divine person so how could God not know who he was-ridiculous. Did he know what his mission was? Yes, for that is why He came into the world that is why He took on a true human nature, body and soul. So why did Jesus have to be baptized? Well the answer to that question was simply that he didn’t. No, He did it for us.

He did it for us because; 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 and made the baptism of water now in reality take away sins and impart eternal life. By his immersion into the water he placed within the water the power to impart 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 and the resurrection of his baptized faithful followers to a new life in Him. (A little aside, water from the Jordan river never has to be blessed because Jesus descended into it and blessed it by its coming into contact with His body and blood, with His very Person).

So what does this sanctifying of the baptismal water mean mean for us personally? It means that whole point of answering the question of who Jesus Christ is points to the answer of the question who are we? Yes, who are we? By Jesus Christ coming as one of us, by His sanctifying the waters of baptism by His own baptism, not only of water but by the blood of his passion and death, he reveals the truth about ourselves--that we now too, along with Christ through his sanctification of the waters of baptism for us and our own baptism, we are now sons and daughter of the Heavenly Father Who is literally the source and summit of all things. And even more we are now allowed to call Him call him Abba, or daddy and to be lifted up to Him. What great hope this gives us!!!

We are now adopted children of God! We hear this so many times, we say the Our Father so many times, that we become complacent to what it means to be Children of God! Isn’t it sad that we can forget the great honor given to us or take it for granted. Isn’t it sad that many don’t know this or even deny it. (for example, do you know that Islam believes that to call God Father is blasphemy. He is Allah the Supreme Master and we are not His children but His slaves. Yes, it is true He is supreme Master, but Jesus has revealed to us that He, through our baptism is now also Our Father, and so, as Jesus says, I no longer call you servants or slaves but friends).

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 God. This means that we now are no longer strangers to God the Father, we are reconciled to Him by the waters of baptism. We who could not love God, and were not lovable because of sin, can now love Him because He has loved us first. How important to remember that we did not love Him first-He loved us first. In fact, we could not love Him at all, but for the fact that
He loves us (how important this is to remember).

By the waters of baptism God raises us from a mere earthly mortal existence and fills us with his own supernatural love and life; He raises our human love and our human life to a divine level we begin to live the abundant life, a immortal life with Him. So not only are we reconciled to Him by the waters of baptism, we now have a new life, which is a share in God’s own Life. Pope Paul the VI in his “Credo of the People God” which is quoted by the Catechism of the Catholic Church, taught, “By the grace of Baptism "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit", we are called to share in the life of the Blessed Trinity, here on earth in the obscurity of faith, and after death in eternal light (cf. Paul VI, CPG § 9).

By our baptism we have become divinised, we have become like God, He has taken us to Himself, we share in His divinity, in His own divine nature-partakers of the Divine Nature (cf. 2nd Peter 1:14). Even now we have begun to share in oneness with God, in a union of unimaginable love to be fully experienced in the life to come, when we are lifted up and become one with God in a union of unimaginable happiness.

O’ Christian soul realize you great dignity, realize your great worth and realize as well your great responsibility to live like the child of God which you are!!! Through the waters of baptism an indelible sign as been place permanently on your soul a sign that you belong now to Christ Jesus. Your soul has been given a new capacity, a capacity that actually allow the Most Blessed Trinity to come and dwell in your soul, to make it Their abode, their home. The day we were baptized was the most important day of our life. We must realize this great gift. Pope Francis as asked us to make sure we know the date of our baptism and to celebrate it yearly with great joy, even more so than our birthday.

However to bring this Divine life to completion, to perfection, we must become like humble children, pure of heart and poor, realizing we must ask God, beg Him, to help us remain faithful to what our baptism demands, to our baptismal promises. As St. John points out in the first reading, those who are child who 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 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; and then filled with that love and life, go out and share it with everyone we meet; especially the poor.

Today let 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 restores us to our original state of baptismal purity and washes our baptismal garment which as been soiled by sin-it washes it in the Blood of the Lamb. Let us ask Our Father, Our Daddy, to open our heats to the grace to bring His divine Love and Life now within us to perfection so that we may share in the consummation of this Divine life and love forever in Heaven.

Blessed Mother, Queen of the Angels, Queen of the poor, 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 soul, Father of our soul, we adore You we love you, help us to love You more, increase our faith in Your Son truly present in the Holy Eucharist, so that by receiving Him with Faith, hope and love at Holy Communion, You can fill us more fully with Your love. Then use us as instruments of your love, witnesses of your goodness, use us so that we can bring Your Divine life within us to the poor of this world; that is, use us to bring Your love with those who are the poorest of the poor, that is, those who do not know your great unfathomable love and mercy for them. Amen.

There is no other subject on which the average mind is so much confused as the subject of tolerance and intolerance... Tolerance applies only to persons, but never to principles. Intolerance applies only to principles, but never to persons." Venerable Fulton J. Sheen.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Holy Mary, stella Maris, stella orientis—Holy Mary, star of the sea, star of the east pray for us, lead us, and others through us, safely to Jesus-Emmanuel in the Holy Eucharist.

Feast of the Epiphany. Sunday December 5th 2014

As we continue in our great Celebration of Christmas, we come to today’s feast, the feast of Epiphany. Epiphany, the day the three wise men came from a far to Bethlehem in order to adore the newborn King now made manifest to all the nations. The Wisemen coming to Bethlehem signifies the universal revelation from God; that now because Jesus is born, all men are call to salvation, not just the Jews, but the gentiles as well (that is all of those who are not Jewish). God’s truth is not secret, shared only with the elite; it is not some hidden mystery unavailable to the little ones; no, now through Jesus God’s truth, God Himself is revealed and He is made available to all men with humble pure hearts, in other words, men of Good Will.

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 as well, what who we are and our mission, what we are to do before the newborn king.

The Gold the three Wisemen offer signifies their tribute to him as King, but not just any King, the King of kings; the incense shows us their faith that this seemingly ordinary child was indeed God Himself in the flesh, and thus worthy of our worship and adoration. And the Myrrh, which was used to embalm dead bodies, tells us that now God, the second person of the Blessed Trinity has become Man in order to offer His life in sacrifice for ours. He is in fact, the only person to come into the world not to live but to die, to die for each one of us. And so in faith, the Magi come to adore the God King become man, who was before them as a little child, Emmanuel, the true and only Savior of the world, our Lord and our God.

Next Sunday we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord. This feast reminds us that through our baptism in Christ, we too are elevated to royalty. When each one of us was baptized, we were anointed with sacred chrism oil. And as Christ was anointed priest, prophet and king, so we too as sons and daughters of the Heavenly Father share in this threefold office of Christ, we to are called to share in his kingship, His priesthood and in His prophetic office of Christ…We are all royal sons and daughters of the Father through Christ. We are to be His witnesses to all the nations and to all men.

This being said, we discover that the star of the epiphany over the crib is Bethlehem is an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary; she is the true star of the east who 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 come before the newborn king reborn on the crib of the altar. However, Like the wise men we too must come in faith on bended knee; and with bended heart made pure by the repentance and confession of our sins, bow down in humble adoration before the God-Child truly present in the Holy Eucharist; adoring the One who is our holy Hope and placing our complete trust in Him. We must like the Wisemen bring our gifts and place them before the newborn King.

In our case, the Incense we are to offer is our faithful prayer from our hearts, our intimate daily conversation with God. They myrrh is the offering of the sacrifice of our good works, of our little acts of selfless love done each day for the Love of God and neighbor, our witness to others of our love for the true and living God. And what of the Gold? The Gold is the offering of our love, the offering of our hearts, all that we have and are, offered to the Heavenly Father as an oblation of love in union with the sacrifice of His only Son made truly present before us and offered to us as the greatest of all gifts, the True Gift of Love, Love Himself…JESUS.

And yet, 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 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 communion with Him, to the extent we have given Him our hearts and opened them to Him, He will possess our hearts and consume us in love, staying within us even after we return home, making our hearts His living crib. But he can only remain, if we leave all our earthly treasures behind, especially the treasure of our selfish self wills, just as did the three Wisemen, which is why they were wise.

How can we not be changed by Him when we experience Him, receive Him under our roof. 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 Holy 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 live anew in Christ and with Christ and His Holy Church. 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.

Sadly, how many there are today, who while they say Jesus’ name and profess to believe in Him, nevertheless, deny His Sacred real Bodily Presence. 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. The star given to us today from our Heavenly Father is the gift of true 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 strive live out in love in our daily lives with the help of God’s grace.

To help us, we like the Wisemen need to turn to the true Star of the East-the Blessed Virgin Mary. Let us ask the Mother of God to help us lead others to adore Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and to participate actively, fully and conscientiously in His once and for all Sacrifice of Calvary at the Holy Mass. Our communion of love with Him gives us 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 whole being. Come let us adore!!! .

Let us ask Holy Mary who leads us to the Star that is Christ to help us become as stars as well so that our light may lead other men to light of God and the truth of His love for them! Holy Mary, Stella Maris, Stella Orientis—Holy Mary, star of the sea, star of the east pray for us, lead us, and others through us, safely to Jesus-Emmanuel in the Holy Eucharist…. I recognize in You, O little Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, the King of heaven and earth; grant that I may adore You with the faith of the Magi. Amen.