Saturday, January 17, 2015

Today, so many souls are looking for something….”What are looking for says the Lord to them?...sadly many are looking for “whats” instead of Who…Instead of seeking things, they should be seeking the Maker of all things—Jesus.

John 1, 35-42 Second Sunday in Ordinary Time January 18th, 2015

Last week we celebrated the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Hopefully, then, we renewed the promises we made at our own baptism, to renounce satan, sin and anything that displeases the Lord; along with professing anew our faith in God, in His Catholic Church and in God’s teachings that come to us in their fullness through His Catholic Church. Renewing our baptism vows also renews our commitment to follow the Lord in thought, word and deed, and so grow in our love for Him and His Holy Church.

Like Samuel in today’s first reading, through our baptism we have been called by our Lord to be with Him, to be close to the Lord and to bring Him to others as well. But this calling demands, on our part, more and more a fuller response to the Lord. It is a response that is made in a deeper a commitment to a life in Christ and in His grace. It is a response that is made by living our lives more faithfully to God’s commandments; living a life in the body that avoids any immorality, a life that no longer belongs to us but to the Lord, for we truly have been purchased with a great price, the price of the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Himself.

Samuel was called; we too are called. But how do we more deeply follow the Lord so that He will truly be with us, so that we will be truly with Him, united to Him? How do we follow so that we may truly offer our lives to him in trusting love, so that we may be His prophets in order to bring His saving truth to the world around us; so that we may live in His Kingship, under His rule, truly living as His royal adopted sons and daughters?

First, in answering His personal call to each one of us, we discover that God’s calling can only continued to be heard by the lowly, the humble, by those who truly seek the Lord’s Will and not their own. This demands a holy desire for not just the “things” of the Lord, but for the Lord Himself. Do we truly desire the Lord…and not just things from the Lord…do we truly desire holiness, which is to become one with the Lord in love?

Second, since we do desire the Lord Himself, we try then with His help, to more attentively listen to the Lord. And so to listen to Him we spend time contemplating Him and hearing Him speak to us through His Holy Word; His Holy Word which comes to us through the Scriptures and His Holy Church who interprets the Scriptures for us so that we can hear the true voice of the Shepherd. We need to put away, on a daily basis, at least for a little while all other noises of the world and spent time before the Lord so that we can hear the Lord speaking to us in the Scriptures and in the Church’s teaching. We need to spend time with the Word, studying the Word, both in the Scriptures and in the Church’s teachings, in order to come to know Jesus who is the Word of the Father, to know Him more and so love Him more and be able share Him and love with others.

And so finally, hearing His Word in the Scriptures and in the Church’s teachings we can hear the Lord speak to our hearts. So we must spend time not only with His Holy Word, but spend time being with Him in prayer. Prayer is the breath of our soul; it is to turn our gaze to the One we Love and Who love us. In prayer we should not so much speak to the Lord but let Him speak to us…. Our attitude should be primarily one of, “Lord speak you servant is listening,” and not of, “Lord listen your servant is speaking.” In other words, “Lord Thy Will be done…not my will.”

And of course, no greater prayer is there, no more efficacious prayer is there, not better way is there for us to be with the Lord and for Him to be with us than prayer before Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. To spend time with the Holy Eucharist is to literally spend time with the Word of God become flesh…in the little white host. Yes, we do this primarily at Holy Mass, but we should also come and spend time before and with Jesus at other times, especially in silence, so we can, in faith, contemplate His holy face in the Holy Eucharist and hear Him speak to us in the depths of our soul; God is truly with us in all the tabernacles of the world.

Today, so many souls are looking for something….”What are looking for says the Lord to them?...sadly many are looking for “whats” instead of Who…Instead of seeking things, they should be seeking the Maker of all things—Jesus. When they realize their hunger for the Lord, they should say to Jesus… “Jesus where are you, where are you staying…. Today, Jesus says to them and to us, “come and see”…come and see me through faith in the Holy Eucharist and there you will find me truly present with you, not just in spirit but in my Human resurrected Body, with my pierced but now beating Sacred Heart alive and pouring out upon those who come, my Precious Blood, my grace, my mercy, and my Divine love.

My dear brothers and sisters, we know where Jesus is staying, we have found the Lord who is truly with us... We have found the Messiah: Jesus Christ, who in and through the Holy Eucharist, brings us His truth and grace. But for our part, we must come to Him and truly be with Him; we must be with the Holy Eucharist, which is not a “what,” but a “Who;”…that is, Jesus with us, God in the flesh….we must believe, adore, hope and love Him truly present there and beg pardon for those who don’t believe, adore, hope and love Him there.

The Holy Eucharist is literally, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” This is why the priest, echoing the words of John the Baptist holds and the Holy Eucharist at Mass and says these very words… “Behold the Lamb of God.” The Eucharist is He Who takes away the sins of the world, by pouring out His blood anew, by giving of His body anew on the altar of Sacrifice for our salvation.” And yes we are not worthy to be in His presence, much less receive Him under our roof; that is, into bodies which are the house of our souls. But He will, if we come to him in faith, hope and love, and offer Him our hearts, He will say the Word and come into us and heals us. He will make us worthy and He will make us one with Him in an unending and eternal union of love. He will then, as He used Simon Peter, He will use us as His instruments of Love and mercy for others…He will raise us up by His power, the power of the Holy Spirit and renew the face of the earth.

Raised up by His Divine power and Love—in other words by the Holy Spirit, we will be living members of His body. Our lives in the body will be faithful to our baptismal promises, not living lives of immorality in body, but lives of holiness…we will use our bodies to adore the Lord in worship and in our daily lives, thus becoming living proclamations of the Gospel…We will live our lives in our bodies, as St. Paul says, under the kingship of Christ…and call others into that same Kingship which is to live in the freedom of the sons and daughters of the Father….to have life and have it to the full….Holy Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, Mother of the Baptized…Pray for us. Amen

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Blessed Mother, Queen of the Angels, Mother of all the baptized, please help us to become like children because children are poor and humble.

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Sunday January 11th, 2015

This Sunday, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, marks the end of the Christmas season. It is also the last of the three feasts that celebrate three different manifestations of our Lord—Christmas, Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord. All of these feasts celebrate three separate events in which Jesus is manifested to the world, revealing to us who Jesus was and is—He is God in the flesh. And, He is God still with us in the flesh in the Holy Eucharist.

On Christmas, Jesus the mighty One was made manifest when He became visible to the entire world as a humble, poor, defenseless little child. To the poor shepherds, the Angels testified; “for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Then on epiphany, this Messiah was revealed and manifested as the light of the nations by the coming of the three wise men, representing the entire gentile world. Now on this great feast day, we have the greatest manifestation of Jesus-the Baptism of the Lord. This is the greatest manifestation of Jesus because of Who testifies to the identity of Jesus. And who testifies is not an angel, nor wise men, but God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Theirs’ is obviously the definitive testimony of the person of Jesus Christ because it is the definitive testimony of God Himself, Who cannot deceive nor be deceived.

At Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan, which 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 from all eternity to both the Father and the Holy Spirit. The Father by an audible voice and the Spirit by appearing visibly like a dove descending upon Him, both testify that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Son of Man in whom the Father is well pleased. Jesus is then anointed by the Holy Spirit as Priest, Prophet and King, the One who is to save the souls of men by offering Himself as an offering for the sins of all mankind to obtain for them the grace and the power to live His truth and so live as children of the heavenly Father. And so we are to listen to Him and do what He tells and commands us through the teachings of His Holy Church if we are to be saved and have eternal life and happiness with God.

But if Jesus is the Son of God--God Himself( and He truly is), why oh 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. (A little aside, water from the Jordan river never has to be blessed because Jesus descended into it and blessed it, touch it by its coming into contact with His body and blood, with His very Person…blessing=to be touched by God). And so, through the washing of sin the waters of baptism also truly impart to souls the gift of eternal life and the means to reach it through the Theological Divine Gifts of Faith, Hope and Charity.

By his own immersion into the water Jesus literally place within the water of baptism 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 and 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 it the power to rebirth, recreate, regenerate us into new creatures in Christ and become one with God. And so, Jesus baptism then not only manifest to the world who Jesus is, but who we are as well, we who have shared in His baptism. It’s not just about being saved, but being saved by becoming One with God.

By Jesus Christ coming as one of us, by His sanctifying the waters of baptism, both by His own baptism not only of water but by the blood of his passion and death, he reveals the truth about what we are called to be, what is 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! We hear this so many times, we say the Our Father so many times, that we can easily become complacent to what it really means to be a Child of God-image we are children of the almighty and all-powerful God-Creator of all things!

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 life. We become divinized, we become like God. We begin to share in His divine love and life, and so begin to share in His own eternal happiness. We are also empowered to share that same divine love and life with others around us through the faithful living out of our baptismal promises.

Through our baptism, we are also members of God’s family the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. Our baptism opens up for us the sacramental graces 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 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 our own bodies we then are to 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. We are to be prophets of Jesus Truth by living the truth for all to see. And it is Holy Mother Church who provides us with the means to strengthen, to perfect and to bring to fruition the Faith, Hope and Charity that we were given in our baptism. We are to cooperate and use these gifts in order that we and others whom with we share these divine gifts, may reach eternity when God will be fully manifested, fully revealed to us to look upon forever—the ultimate and final manifestation.

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 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, Pope Francis once recommended that 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 we know the day of our 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. It is 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 must with God’s help 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 striving to keep 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, 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. This begins with adoring the Holy Eucharist as the True and living God truly present in the Flesh in order to be empowered to adore God with our lives by following His truth as found in the teachings of God’s Church, all of which are necessary if we are truly to love God and love neighbor. This is what it means to do whatever He tells us.

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, Mother of all the baptized, 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, the Poor and Humble God in the Holy Eucharist in order to love our neighbor as ourselves for love of Jesus. O God, creator of our souls, Father of our soul, we adore you we love you, help us to love you and adore you more, fill us with your Divine love; we are your children, help us to be one with you both now and forever. Amen.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Holy Mary, stella Maris, stella orientis—Holy Mary, star of the sea, star of the east pray for us, lead us safely to Jesus

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.

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-reveal to 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 newborn 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 not only kneel down in adoration but they prostrate, on their faces 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 and the true presence there of God still in the flesh. 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 and always present in the tabernacle for us to come and adore.

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 dare I say, 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 our 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 our will, of our heats, of ourselves, on this altar of sacrifice in loving response to the God who sacrifices Himself for us. 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 true gift of Christmas, the gift Himself in the flesh in Holy Communion. And through our Holy Communion with Him, He will possess our hearts and consume us in love, staying within us in Spirit even after we return home. But he can only remain within our hearts, if we leave all our earthly treasures behind and open our hearts, offer our hearts as true gifts of Christmas to the Christ Child, 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. By our lives we ourselves must now manifest, reveal Jesus to the world.

We like the Wisemen need to turn to the Star of the East, Mary and ask her to help deepen our own faith and to 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, help us to become those true adorers for whom the Father is searching, those who will adore Him in Spirit and in Truth, that is, in the truth of the Person of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and in the obedience of Holy Spirit of True Love lived out in their lives . Amen.