Sunday, June 28, 2015

Our Lady of the Americas pray for us.

Tomorrow we will celebrate liturgically, the Solemnity of the great Saints Peter and Paul. Even though they did not die on the same day our Holy Mother Church celebrates their death, or their birth into eternal life, on the same day. The two were one because they were both called by the Lord to be apostles.

Peter and Paul were also one in the fact that they were to proclaim the truth that sets men truly free and gives men life, not only eternal life, but the fullness of life in this world as well. They were also one in that they shed their blood for their fidelity to this truth; and they did so out of love for Christ and for His Holy Church and her members; but also in love for all men.

Peter and Paul gave their lives for the Truth in love or better yet for the Truth in Charity. They did this in two ways; first by giving their lives to preach this truth to the world in order to convict it of its sins, so that it might repent and accept this truth both in mind and in will in order to have true freedom and life. And second, they consummated their preaching with the shedding of their blood; Peter shedding His blood on the cross representing Charity; and Paul shedding His blood on the sword representing the Truth. In this Peter and Paul’s martyrdoms are also one, one in Charity and in truth. For there is no love, no charity without the truth.

The Holy Church today and all her members, both religious and lay, must continue this mission given to it by Christ to Preach the Truth to all. If they do not, if we do not, then we don’t carry out God’s great commission to love our brothers as our selves. We must give the truth. But we must do it not with a club, not with self-righteousness, but with love-with Charity.

Take homosexual acts for instance. If we deny that these acts are intrinsically evil, deny the fact that they not only offend God but hurt those engaged in such acts, and hurt society in general; if we deny that these acts go against the very nature of man and the very nature of marriage as God has created man and marriage; if we deny this truth by not only accepting homosexual acts but condoning them as well, then we fail to proclaim the truth in love. We fail to love our brother and our sister who are engaged in these acts by refusing to tell them that truth that sets them free and gives them life.

I read an article a few days ago about this very thing. It was written by a Catholic man who in love speaks out about the destructiveness of homosexual acts and so-called Homosexual “marriages.” He said he is often confronted, as are all Christians who speak out against “gay marriage,” by those who say, what does it hurt you if the government makes law allowing homosexual marriage? He says he responds to this question by saying, “It will hurt me because it will destroy religious freedom and free speech rights. It means that those hostile to our beliefs will attempt to bend us to their will to force us to not only accept gay “marriage,” but to condone it as well. Once it is law then any person who speaks out about it will be going against the law. The Law will not just allow such an evil but will coerced all to not only put up with homosexual marriage but to condone it. And this is exactly what is happening for instance in Canada where you can now be arrested by law for a hate crime if you speak out against homosexual acts and homosexual marriage.

But if we love them we must speak the truth to them, even if we are shunned by the modern society, even if we are persecuted by the modern society. We Christians must come at it from an altruistic prospected, that is from a perspective of love, love for the sinner but hate for the sin—love in truth. We must tell them it is wrong because we love them and that their actions have eternal consequences.

I recently heard that a Christian was present at a T.V. talk show in Canada hosted by a famous anti-catholic, anti Christian- atheist. The show attacks religion in every way. After the show in which they were promoting homosexuality, promoting every anti-life idea you could image, including smashing Christianity to bits, this Christian came up to try to convert this anti Christian atheist. The atheist responded to the Christian’s efforts with a very interesting comment. He said:

“If you believe that there is a heaven and hell, and that people could be going to hell or not getting to eternal life or whatever, and you think that its not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward…-how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible , and not tell them that?”

Isn’t this the point, from this atheist…to tell them the truth in love, because of love, out of love for them and concern for their well-being, their physical well being (all of the many resulting diseases) their psychological well being (vastly higher depression and suicide rates), their emotional well being (incredibly higher rates of emotional and physical abuse); and most of all for their eternal well-being.

Our enemies are not flesh and blood…We tell them the truth, because we love them. And we want them to know the truth and come to the truth so that they might not be lost but might have life and have to the full. Again as I said at the beginning, not just eternal life…but the fullness of this life here on earth as well—living the fullness of life as a human person.

This is what is at stake with regards to our current struggle with religious freedom. It is so much more that freedom to worship. The enemies of the truth will give us that, at least for the time being. It is even more than the freedom to not to betray our principles and our conscience, which are part of our human dignity. Religious freedom is freedom to engage society; the freedom to proclaim to all of the members of society out of love for them, the truth that sets men free, gives them true happiness and saves them.

It is the freedom to, in Charity, speak out against all evil, yes, against the evil of homosexual acts, which are life-less acts; but also against the evils of artificial contraception which too are life-less and so oppress and degrade women and endangers their health and well-being; it is the freedom to, in love, defend life, to defend the life of the human person in all of its stages; to speak out in defense of the dignity of every single human person born or unborn, rich or poor, sick or healthy, black or white, conscious or unconscious; to defend all human persons, especially those who cannot defend them selves.

We must like St. Peter and Paul preach the truth with love, with our holiness of life; and even, God give us the grace, if necessary with our blood. The eternal destiny of millions of souls hangs in the balance, the survival of our nation and our civilization hangs in the balance.

Blessed John Paul II once said, “If you want peace work for justice, if you want justice defend life, if you want life, accept the truth, the truth that comes from God. This is what we must tell the world, not because we want to condemn but because we love it, we must tell the world…it is the truth that comes from God that gives true liberty, happiness and life.

The ruling of the Supreme Court upholding the Abortion expanding health care reform unjust law, known as Obama Care, has made many of us who have been fighting the mandate and the threats against religious liberty and fighting the anti-life forces in our country, this ruling has made many of us distraught and discouraged. The opposite needs to be the case.

Fr. Frank Pavone, head of “Priest for Life,” said the ruling must energize us. He reminded us of the Words of Sacred Scripture which tells us, “Do not fret at the triumph of the wicked: do not let yourself be deceived or disturbed, because their triumph is always fleeting, is always temporary.” The same needs to be said for our fight for religious liberty, the ruling needs to energize us, it should make us well up with righteous indignation.

Fr. Pravone said, “We go at it spiritually from that point of view to say Lord, you allow darkness, you allow us to fall into depths of evil, and yet you never take away the way out, you never close off the way back to salvation.”

We can take the advice of Fr. Pavone to turn our disappointment to concrete action, however small. ( Sign the petition in the back, writing our elected officials and voting our conscience this fall, praying before the Blessed Sacrament for the conversion of our Country).
Father also said, so it is not a matter of praying that things will be well, it’s about experiencing the presence of Christ in the midst of this. We ask ourselves: what concretely can I do today about this? What can I do to rally people to educate them? As soon as we put our energies into some concrete action, no matter how small it is, then it starts re-encouraging us.”

In a few days we will celebrate our freedom in this country. But let us make sure we are not celebrating a false freedom. That is the false idea that reduces freedom to individuals choosing whatever they want, from homosexual acts to so-called homosexual marriage, from contracepted acts, to abortion, so long as it’s a choice condoned by the government. As Archbishop Lori, recently said, “…when freedom is reduced to individuals choosing whatever they want, so long as it’s a choice condoned by the government, then religious liberty is severely limited. And If this false secular idea of freedom prevails, it is the strong—those who have money, power and influence—who end up imposing their views, their “truth” on others. This is what Pope Benedict calls the “dictatorship of relativism.”

And With regards to the Church Her freedom will become limited to worship, preaching, and teaching only behind the walls of the building of the Church only. She will not be able to carry out its commission to preach the truth in love, to being able to put her teaching into practice through her own institutions when they hire or serve people of other faiths or of no faith at all.

But let us instead celebrate true freedom; the freedom to choose the true, the good and the beautiful, which comes from God and is ultimately God. Let us celebrate true freedom, which allows us to proclaim the truth that comes from God to all men, the truth which reveals to all men the truth about God and the truth about man himself; the freedom which allows men to choose this Truth, to choose God Himself. This true notion of freedom is the one on which this great nation was built and which rests the dignity and the worth of every human person, born or unborn. Let us more than ever defend this true freedom, but even more importantly let us live it. Our Lady of the Americas pray for us.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Holy Mary, Star of the Sea, help us to give ourselves to Jesus completely with no fear. Amen.

Homily for Mark 4:35-41 Twelfth Sunday of the Year

Today we return to ordinary time and to the Gospel of St. Mark. Just like the mysteries of Christ’s life that we meditate upon in the luminous mysteries of the Holy Rosary, the Gospel of St. Mark covers the apostolic or public ministry of Jesus. And Mark, especially highlights the great signs and wonders that Jesus performs during this public ministry of His.

Today, we hear of one of these great wonders, in the account of Jesus calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee. The account would seem difficult to believe if you ever seen the Lake of Galilee. Galilee is just a small lake and not a very deep one at that. Nonetheless, storms can indeed arise and arise quickly.

I once heard of a Franciscan priest who was stationed at one of the shrines on the shores of Galilee. A fellow Franciscan came to visit and they decided to take a boat trip out on the lake. The visiting priest after seeing how calm the lake was and how peaceful everything was, told the other priest that he doubted the story of the storm described in today’s Gospel. He just couldn’t see how such a violent storm could arise on such a small and shallow lake. He told his fellow Franciscan priest, “I really doubt this story in the Scriptures- it must just be a metaphor. All of a sudden, with in a matter of seconds, the wind direction changed and a storm came over the horizon. The calm lake was suddenly turned into a very dangerous place. Their lives were actually put in danger as their little boat almost sank, but fortunately, as they were not very far out, they were able to make it safely back to shore. There on the shore, the visiting priest became a believer and said, “Okay, okay, I believe, I believe!”

I believe! belief—personal faith in the Word of God, this is the theme of the Gospel according to St. Mark- St. Mark emphasizes the divinity of Christ by telling of the great signs and wonders, the miracles, Jesus performed. In fact, through the evangelist St. Mark, the Holy Spirit wants to lead us all into a belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ—the Word of God become Man. The Holy Spirit wants us to believe with a firm and certain faith that Jesus is God, true God and true Man. We will see this over and over again in the coming weeks, as we listen to the Holy Spirit’s teaching in Mark.

Today, we see the divinity of Christ clearly manifested to us in His divine authority over nature itself. Jesus calmly and serenely sleeps in the boat while a rapid storm arises and begins to toss it. This calming of the water is actually an ancient sign, a sign that shows God alone can calm and control the water. For example, think of the creation story and the stopping of the great flood, the waters receding so there could be land for Noah and his family to rest after God saves them in the ark; or, Moses placing his staff in the Red Sea. I could go on, but enough to know that God alone controls the elements of Creation, such as the wind and weather. And Jesus, by Whom, through Whom and for Whom all was created, by His own divine power as the second person of the Holy Trinity, commands the storm to stop and the water of the lake to return to calm.

After he calms the storm, Jesus recognizes the fear in the disciples over witnessing the very power of God and Jesus confronts them for this fear. The disciples were indeed terrified and this fear was an obstacle to their faith. However its important to realize that this fear of theirs was not Holy fear, a fear in which one desires not to offend God because we love Him so very much.

Instead, theirs was actually a fear that was based on selfishness. For when confronted with the prospect that Jesus is truly God, there is always the possibility of fear, but this fear arises from having one’s shame exposed from not turning away from sin and simply confessing them to God with a humble and contrite heart. In fact, many who deny the divinity of Jesus really do so because their hearts are not open to this repentance and conversion; they selfishly want to remain in their sins. And then when confronted with the truth of Jesus divinity, they are fearful and even try to hide from God just like Adam and Eve did after that first human sin in the Garden of Eden. If Jesus is God, then because of this belief, we must repent and convert our hearts, turning them to Jesus completely by conforming our lives in obedience to His teachings with the help of His grace.

The disciples had miracles and other signs before this calming of the sea and they would receive more in order that they would believe. Again, their unbelief came from their fear and the fear came from the shame of having their sins exposed by being in the true presence of God Himself, Jesus; if you remember, Peter Himself said, “Depart from me O’ Lord for I am a sinful man. Little by little, the gift of faith that Jesus gave to the disciples would grow and take root in their hearts. Eventually, they were able to confess their sins and amend their lives in order to be filled with the Holy Spirit and overcome this disordered fear which is an obstacle to belief in Jesus’ divinity, that Jesus is God. Then in faith, they were able to turn fully to Jesus who is love and ask Him to fill them with His love, the love that overcomes all fear. Recall the words of St. John, “perfect love casts out fear.” Perfect love can do this, but we first must believe in Jesus who is love coming to us from God the Father. In other words, to believe that Jesus is God, the second person of the Holy Trinity, is to begin to be filled with His divine Love that casts out all fear. This brings to mind the words of JP II—“Be not afraid!” IN other words, believe in Jesus, believe that He is God, believe that He is the Holy Eucharist and then turn to Him in faith and then you will not be afraid. Don’t let your sins make you fearful of His divinity, far from striking you with lighting, by approaching Him with a contrite repentant heart He will take away you sins, and fill you with His Divine love and His divine life—and He will do so through His true presence, because His divine love and life is available to us through the Holy Eucharist if we but belief that the Holy Eucharist is God, is Jesus and put that belief in to action by adoring Him their with full hearts, minds and wills.

We live in fearful days, surely the events of our world tells us we have some legitimate fears. But these fears, like the storm on the Lake of Galilee, should not shake our faith, nor should they destroy the peace in our heart that true authentic faith gives us. Jesus is not affected by the storm, He owns the storm: He is divine and He has full authority over His creation. The great fear in our world is really caused by man’s unrepented sins, his failure to turn back to His Creator, resulting in a lack and loss of faith in the Divinity of Jesus Christ and a lack of belief in His Holy Catholic Church and that through the Church and Her Sacred Priesthood, Jesus is still physically with us on earth in the Holy Eucharist.

When we repent, that is, when we turn away from our sins and turn upward toward God with the help of His Holy Spirit, we allow that same Holy Spirit to grant us His great gifts. And through these gifts, we have confidence--we have the certainty that faith brings and our fear is taken away; it is replace instead with Holy fear, that is again a fear in which we dread doing anything that would offend such a good and loving God as we have, a God whom we love above all things. It all begins with leaving our sins behind and embracing true faith, Faith in Jesus, faith that He is really true God and true Man, and as God He is still among us in His Resurrected body in the Holy Eucharist. IF we truly believe this, then we will believe with our full intellect and wills the teachings, all of the teachings, He has passed down to us infallibly and without error through the Church He founded. And through our obedience to this same Church and to her teachings, know as the obedience of faith, we will finally allow Jesus to have complete authority and dominion over our lives…This is what it means to believe through the Holy Spirit that Jesus Christ is Lord!!!

With this type of faith, true faith, we will be filled with the love of God himself, we will be filled with God himself, and even though the mountains may fall into the sea, even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, no evil will we fear, for our God, Jesus is there with us, along with His rod and His staff. Then surely goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our life, and we shall dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Dear Jesus, in the Holy Eucharist you see us with your human eyes and you love us with your human heart. As we adore you in your human body and soul about to be made truly present o this altar through your Holy Sacrifice, help us to see our need for a deeper repentance and conversion so that we may see you ever more clearly through the eyes of faith in the Holy Eucharist. This is the Mystery of faith, the mystery that you Jesus are still physically present on earth to take away our sin and to calm all our fears in the midst of the storms of this present life. Amen. Holy Mary, Star of the Sea, help us to give ourselves to Jesus completely with no fear. Amen.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Holy Mary Mother of the Eucharist—Who is Jesus, through your powerful intercession, obtain for us the grace of an increase of Faith in, Hope in and Love for Your Divine Son—Jesus, who is still on earth truly present in the Holy Eucharist—The Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar! Help us to adore Him; that is, to offer our heart totally to the One who offers His totally to us—Jesus, so that we might become one with the Heart of Jesus, lovers of the Eucharist Lord, Apostles of the Holy Eucharist and so channels of Divine Grace and Divine Mercy for the conversion and salvation of our nation and of souls. Amen!

MK 14:12-16, 22-26. Solemnity of Corpus Christi. Sunday June 7th,2015

This Sunday the Church solemnly celebrates the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. The Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist has been a central and constant teaching of the Church since the time of the Apostles. For over 1500 years all Christians were united in belief in the Real Presence, which is known as Mysterium Fidei--THE Mystery of our Faith!

The mystery of the truth that we celebrate today is that Jesus as God makes it possible that we can experience Him, not only in a picture, or in our mind as a memory, or even only in His Spiritual presence, but Jesus makes it possible that we can experience Him physically, experience Him literally personally in the flesh, along with His blood, and His living human heart and soul and Divinity. Jesus promised He would remain with us until the end of the world and He keeps that promise by being truly present in all the tabernacles of the world.

We simply believe in the Real Presence because Jesus has said it to be so. We can’t figure out the true bodily presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist or do a scientific analysis to determine the mechanics behind this great mystery; in fact, all our senses fail us before the reality of the Holy Eucharist. We must, in faith simply take Jesus at His word (cf John 6); after all, He is God, and as God He can neither deceive nor be deceived.

Because in the Real Presence Jesus is still physically on earth in His Human body, we too, through faith, can encounter the God made Man as did those privilege souls who were alive when Jesus visibly walked on the face of the earth. However, we are more privilege than they for we can encounter Him in an even deeper way by actually receiving His body and blood, by actually receiving His very Person into our own body and our soul. Through this Holy Communion we can become literally “wedded” to God Himself by becoming one flesh with Him; we can then become united in love to the Father, Holy Spirit in, through and with the Son…this is why the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Holy Eucharist is also known as the “Wedding Feast of the Lamb-the consummation of our soul with God’s.”

Today's feast, called in Latin, “Corpus Christi,” was inaugurated in the 13th century because of a visible miracle of the Holy Eucharist at Orvietto in Italy. While the priest was consecrating the bread it dripped real visible blood on to the altar linen. As a result, St. Thomas Aquinas was commissioned to write the songs that we sing on this great feast day—the “Pange Lingua” and the “O Salutaris.”

Each year in Orvietto, on the feast of Corpus Christi, the Blessed Sacrament is carried in procession and preceded by this same miraculous cloth. People may ask why don't we have such miracles in our churches now? But we do! We have the greatest of all miracles, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. At every Holy Mass the bread and wine are transformed, by the Power of the Holy Spirit working through the gift of the Sacred Priesthood, literally change into real the real flesh and blood of Jesus; but this great miracle of love normally can only be seen through the eyes of faith.

Through the miracle of Transubstantiation Jesus Himself becomes present among us again in the Incarnation, with his resurrected Body and Blood, along with His Soul and Divinity. And in this Real Presence Jesus continues to remain physically on earth for us alive today. And He not only becomes our heavenly food, He becomes the way, the only way for us to adore the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit so that we can become one with God. And in the Holy Eucharist He becomes the way for the Divine Mercy of God to flow out into the whole world.

But by divine decree, this Divine Mercy can only flow out from the Holy Eucharist through the hearts of those who truly believe; that is, through the hearts of those who have faith and live this faith out by humbly adoring the Holy Eucharist as the true and living God. Though adoration and worthy reception of Jesus and with soul healed by confession, the faithful become one with Jesus and become His instruments of salvation for others. Through our belief, adoration, hope and love of the Real Presence of Jesus, we are to become Apostles of the Holy Eucharist in order to become channels of grace and mercy for the conversion and salvation of the entire world.

Faith tells us with certainty that Jesus is really present for you and for me in every Catholic Church where Holy Mass is validly celebrated by an ordained Catholic priest. And He remains really present in the tabernacle even after Holy Mass for us to come and adore Him and so experience Him and His love for us. In fact, the more we spend time with Him outside of Holy Mass the more we are enable to participate in the Mass more fully and the more we can then get out of the Mass. For to really communicate with another person, including Jesus, I must get to know him, I must be able to be in silence close to him, to hear him and to look at him with love. True love and true friendship always live of the reciprocity of looks, of intense, eloquent silences full of respect and veneration, so that the encounter is lived profoundly, in a personal not a superficial way. And, unfortunately, if this personal dimension is lacking, even Holy Communion itself within holy Mass can become, on our part, a superficial gesture, because our hearts and minds aren't in it.

So the question for us today is, “will you and I in faith, be there really present for Jesus; will you and I spend time with Him; will you and I keep Him company and adore, trust and love Him in the Holy Eucharist. Can we not watch just one hour with Him in prayer at least once per week? If we really believe that He is truly present on our altars or in our tabernacles we will come and spend time with Him whenever and however much we can. It's a matter of love-his for us and ours for him.
Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and He waits in the tabernacle as a prisoner of love for those who would, in love, come and adore Him and adore the Father through Him in the Holy Spirit ?

In the Gospel of John, chapt. 6, verse 66 (that’s right 666!). Jesus allows the multitudes to leave Him when they cannot accept that He would give them His flesh as real food and His blood as real drink, sadly Millions today also walk away from this Truth—the Mystery of Faith. Will we also leave?,” as Jesus turned and ask the twelve after all others left Him. (cf Jn 6:67).

Let us not leave, but let us be believing—“Dominus Est” It is the Lord we are dealing with! Let us here worship Him and pray to Him on behalf of all those who either do not believe, or believe and ignore and so do not love. Let us receive Him in Holy Communion with faith, reverence, purity and love and never receive Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin, or as if it were merely some kind of special bread. And as we receive Him, let us offer ourselves fully to Him in love, in response to Him offering His total self to us in the Holy Eucharist so that we may become “Apostles of the Holy Eucharist?” For our reception of the Holy Eucharist, which is the Sacred Heart of Jesus, only bears fruit in our lives, families, country and world to the extent we offer our hearts to Jesus in return…to be able to do this, we need to totally trust in Jesus…Jesus I trust in You!

Today, as believing Catholics, and as Free Americans, we celebrate this feast day. Because we are free we can with faith in His Real Presence, take Jesus in procession out into our streets. Currently as you know our religious freedom is under assault. Don't be naive there can come a day when we wont be able to practice our faith in public. We need to pray for our freedom, but even more we need to pray for the conversion of our great nation. We can say and say with complete security; the single most powerful means on earth for the conversion of America is for Catholic Americans to mobilize a crusade of intense and constant prayer before the Holy Eucharist for the conversion of our nation. We need, all of us, desperately need to become Apostles of the Holy Eucharist…for our country needs us to do so if it is to survive!

It all begins with our own faith, hope and love of Jesus’ Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist; but
to increase our faith, hope and love we need to come on bended knee whenever and as often as we can before Jesus’ Eucharistic presence and adore Him as the true and living God among us hidden in the little white Host. Let be ever more aware that Jesus is constantly in our midst and with us. His true presence is a concrete, close presence among our homes; it is as a “beating Heart” (of our families, our parish), of our city, of our country? As a result, this Sacrament of the Charity of Christ, of the love of Christ must permeate the whole of our daily life. ” (cf. Pope Benedict homily on corpus Christi 2012). The Holy Eucharist must become our heart.

Holy Mary Mother of the Eucharist—Who is Jesus, through your powerful intercession, obtain for us the grace of an increase of Faith in, Hope in and Love for Your Divine Son—Jesus, who is still on earth truly present in the Holy Eucharist—The Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar! Help us to adore Him, to offer our heart to the One who offers us His—Jesus, so that we might become one with the Heart of Jesus, lovers of the Eucharist Lord, Apostles of the Holy Eucharist and so channels of Divine Grace and Divine Mercy for the conversion and salvation of our nation and of souls. Amen!