Sunday, July 16, 2017

The reality is, is that we all need the fertilizer of God’s Grace to help us prepare the soil and help the seed grow in us and so bear fruit in our lives

July 16th, 2017. Fifteen Sunday in Ordinary Time. Matthew 13;1-23

Today we read a very familiar passage-a parable we have heard many times. Jesus speaks to us about the planting of seeds—about the soil, how it grows and ultimately the harvest. The soil is our souls and the seed is the Word of God. I think we would all like to imagine that our hearts are the good soil and that we do produce a good harvest. But perhaps the truth is that we are not as open to the Word of God as we should be, or that even though we try we don’t seem to producing the fruit of growing closer to Jesus and bring many others to Him as well. The reality is, is that we all need the fertilizer of God’s Grace to help us prepare the soil and help the seed grow in us and so bear fruit in our lives.

Today’s gospel points out the obstacles of the world which try to hinder us from allowing the word of God to fully take root in our hearts and minds, in the seedbed of our faith. It is a message, not of condemnation but of hope and encouragement. For the Word of God is powerful and effective and It can change the lives of those who listen to It and accept It into their hearts, even if in the past they have been rocky hard soil and have succumbed to obstacles. If they turn to Jesus and enter into His rest and allow him, He can prepare them to receive the Word, that is to receive Him, and so bear the fruit that will last for eternal life.

First, Jesus speaks of the devil who like a crow, steals away the seed before it even has a chance to grow. Our world today is full of the “spirit of the evil one”, the “father of lies.” Even though it has much good, our western culture nonetheless is one steeped in many, many lies, lies that lead to many injustices against those who are the most vulnerable. The lies are often justified with reasons such as “it’s my choice” or “it was for the good of other,” or it didn’t hurt anybody,” Or I deserved it.” And not only are great injustices done to others, there is also very little done to prevent injustices or to repair the damage once done (reparation).

In this environment the devil tries very subtly to make us question basic truths of our faith that come to us through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. It begins with a question we have about some aspect of our faith--nothing wrong with questions, questions mean our intelligence is searching for the truth; however, instead of forming our intellect and enriching our faith with and through the teachings of the Church, we choose to hear the voice of the world telling us the Church is wrong and out of date. The spirit of untruth tries to convince us that truth is not absolute but evolves and changes over time and according to individual circumstances and preferences.

To combat this obstacle to our faith, we discover that for the Word of God, which is ever constant and ever new, to take deep root in our minds and hearts, we must prepare the soil of our souls in order to make it good soil so the devil can’t snatch it away from us. We do so, by studying and meditating on the truth that comes from God, because God is Truth. This truth is from the Word of God found both in Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Tradition. Sacred Tradition is the teachings of Jesus given to the Apostles and passed down through and by the Church in her official teachings and preaching. Sacred Scripture springs forth from Sacred Tradition as truths that have been written down through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for the sake of our salvation.

Additionally if we work the soil, the seeds of faith which are sown when we hear the Gospel proclaimed and explained each week can more and more begin to produce fruit in our lives and consequently we can begin to more fully have a living and vibrant faith. We need to humbly ask God for help in order to open ourselves more fully to the seed of God’s truth. And He will help us, if we do our part by listening more carefully to the prayers and readings, especially the Gospel, in order to understand and remember what we hear in the homily. Christ speaks to His people in and through His priest, however, limited and unworthy the priest may be. The priest may be a more or less effective homilist, his message may come through loud and clear or dull and garbled, it may seem too long, we may like him or not, but God nonetheless can and does speak to you and me through him, if we keep the soil ready. It’s the message that is important, not the messenger. And if the priest is not a good preacher then by your prayers and sacrifices you can make him better.

Other obstacles to the Word of God not taking root are similar. These obstacles stem from trials, persecutions, or from caring too much for material things or security. At the root of these obstacles is something fundamental to all humans and that is- we fear suffering, we do not like to suffer in any way. When we have trials our greatest fears are realized. In the midst of our trials we look at others who seemingly have no problems and we begin to think, “If God were really good, He would just change or remove all of my problems…maybe he doesn’t love me.”

Likewise, in persecutions, we fear being ridiculed for our faith. We don’t want to suffer being embarrassed or ashamed. We fear the loss of human respect, much more than offending our Blessed Lord. Or our fear also stems from our lack of knowledge of our faith which prevents us from being able to stand up to other’s who mock our faith and call the Church’s teaching into question. In caring too much about worldly and material security or comfort, we fear that we might have to do without or be inconvenienced.

In our efforts to overcome all of these obstacles, we discover that we have to suffer; suffering is a part of our life. Without suffering a little, we would not be able to grow in virtue and character in order to become stronger. Many suffer through great trials in order to obtain the things of this world—wealth, power and pleasure. We should be willing to sacrifice and even suffer as much or even more to grow closer to God and obtain union with Him and to lead others to Him. In our sufferings, especially in our sufferings for Christ, for His Holy Word and His Holy Church, St. Paul today encourages us not too lose heart; “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.”

Let us today, as we celebrate this Holy Mass, remember that blessed are we who hear and see. Let us enter into the rest of the Lord and ask Jesus to make our hearts the good soil for His work. He will do the work for us, He will carry our burden, if we but turn to Him in silence and lay open our souls before Him and let Him enter fully In. As we continue to hear the Word of God speak to us, let us hear with our ears; as we see the Word of God become Flesh in the Holy Eucharist, let us open our eyes and see; and as we receive the Word of God come to us—Jesus at Holy Communion, let us adore; all so that we may understand with our hearts and be converted and healed and so bear great fruit, the fruit of bringing many others into the eternal rest of the Lord. Let us ask our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to help us to do as she did; that is, surrender all to God and He will do the rest!!! Amen. God bless you!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Let us experience a life of leisure and enter into the Rest of the Lord!

Matthew 11; 25-30. Fourthteen Sunday in Ordinary Time. July 9th, 2017
This weekend after the Fourth of July Holiday, we find ourselves in the midst of the Summer. Summer is, of course, a time of leisure, and leisurely activities. It is time to take vacations in order to get away from work and find some rest and relaxation.

Today’s Holy Gospel is then very apropos, for it points to the true meaning of leisure. It is perhaps the most consoling gospel in all of Scripture for it contains the most reassuring invitation in all of history, one that promises us the greatest of all blessings. It is the invitation to experience a life of leisure in the Lord. It is a call to the Sabbath, which is to literally share in the rest of the Lord.

After God created the world we are told on the Seventh day, the Sabbath, He rested. But this doesn’t mean he was tired and so needed to rest; no, but that all of His work of creation was completed and so fulfilled in it’s purpose. And it’s purpose is found in man. God’s work of Creation was and is for us, the only creature that God has created for Himself. His beautiful works are for us, so that we could see the goodness of the Lord and so come to Him, in order to learn from Him to be able to rest in Him. All of creation springs from Him and all of creation is called back to Him. This is especially case with regards to man. .

Every human heart contains within it then, a restlessness which is trying to be tamed, a void which is trying to be filled. It can be a great burden for the human heart, a intense labor for the human spirit. But it is so, only to the degree that we try to do the work ourselves of finding rest. Because Man too often tries to fill the restlessness of his heart with his own effort, because Man tries to labor to find his own rest, his own leisure, his own fulfillment in this world alone, he sadly experiences an overwhelming and heavy burden, a burden that he is unable to bear and which crushes his hope and joy beneath its weight….for man will never find His rest through his own work, he will never find his rest here on this earth…here we have no everlasting home, no everlasting peace, no everlasting rest.

Jesus today gives us an answer to ease our labor and lighten our burdens to quell to the restlessness of our heart. Jesus says to us now and always, ‘Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I myself will give you rest,’ In other words Jesus himself will do the work for us. We need to merely come to Him and open ourselves up to learn from Him, all in order to receive Him. To enter into the rest of the Lord then requires a receptivity on our part not a working.

And so we discover the true meaning of leisure. Leisure time is not just time away from work; it is this yes, but it is more. Leisure is not just a time for entertainment or pleasure as if for a distraction from the burdens and restlessness of this life. No, Leisure is really a time to come before the Lord in order to rest. But not just to rest in the sense of doing nothing, but in the sense of resting in God.

To have leisure is to come before the Lord our God and hear Him say to each one of us personally, “Be still and know that I am the Lord your God…” In other words, be silent, listen and you will learn from me and find your rest. By entering into my rest, my Sabbath, you will find your meaning, your fulfillment, not in work, not in doing something or accomplishing something or becoming something in this world, but you will find your purpose in me.

For us Catholics the sabbath is Sunday. And it is at the Sunday Mass that we can literally physically come to Jesus, to learn from Him and to receive Him so as to enter into the His Sabbath rest. The Holy Mass is the work of the Lord, not our own. And it is there that we can learn from Him in the proclamation of the Gospel and receive Him in the Holy Eucharist. In the Holy Eucharist Jesus enters into us. And if we are receptive to Him, open to Him by the repentance of our sins and seeking His mercy and forgiveness through the Sacrament of Confession; if we trust in Him by offering ourselves to Him, then we can enter into Him and experience His rest by resting in Him, being one with Him. He brings us into union with Him, we don’t bring ourselves into union with Him .

When on vacation and enjoying leisure as family, no matter where we were and sometimes even against angry opposition from extended family and friends who may have been with us, my parents made sure we made it to Sunday Mass. By their example, they taught us kids what was at the heart of a leisurely vacation. Along these same lines St John Paul II once reminded us that Vacation is not a vacation from God, but a vacation for God.

The true meaning of a vacation is to give us time away from the hustle and bustle of life and work in order to draw closer to God. In this way it is truly leisure. This is also the true meaning of Holiday. H-O-L-I-DAY comes from H-O-L-Y DAY. Certain times and days set aside and transferred to the exclusive property of God. Certain times and days to set everything aside in order to come before the Lord in order to receive all that He has to give us, and this includes His all, His whole self. It is not a time for merely for doing, but a time for being. In other words, it is a time for receptivity, to go before the Lord in order to receive the Good, the True and the Beautiful which is God Himself.

Isn’t this why so many enjoy vacation in which they spend time in the beauty and majesty of nature…because the good, true and beautiful things of this world although they are merely reflections, pale images, only shadows of the One who created them, they nonetheless point to the Creator, He Who Is Goodness, Truth and Beauty Itself. It is a profound experience to sit in silence before the majesty of God’s creation, but even more so to sit in silence before Him.

Silence is to put away the noise of the world, in order to be receptive to the Lord. Noise includes not only all that we hear, but also all that we see and read. To be receptive is to set them aside in order to come in silence before the Lord and be able to hear Him speak, to close our eyes in order to focus our gaze on the Lord, or better yet to experience His loving Gaze on us, so as to allow it to penetrate our being with His love.
Only in silence do we hear. Only in silence can we put aside the amusements of the world, its entertainments of the senses, to put aside consumption in the things of this world, not matter how good they may be, all in order to Be still with the Lord and rest in Him. “Oh Lord, I am so tired with all that I see and hear, for only in you is all that I desire, make me one in your truth…” (Thomas A Kempis). Make me one with You my God, then will I be able to truly experience leisure and to obtain rest

To contemplate God and His mystery, to meditate on Him and His goodness, reflect on Him and so to be receptive to Him and His love, these all require silence because they are acts of reception, not of doing. This idea of receptivity is hard for us, because our current age tells us that the important thing is getting something done and getting somewhere in this life. But true activity, the fullest form of activity is found not in exterior life and action but in the interior stillness and quietness of the presence of the Lord…Martha, Martha you are anxious about many things but one thing alone is needed and Mary has chosen the better part…to sit at the feet of the Master and hear Him speak and experience His loving gaze…

Cardinal Sarah, the Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship, recently wrote a book on the great need for us moderns to rediscover silence in order to have rest. The book is entitled: “The power of Silence against the Dictatorship of noise.” He writes, “When creation knows how to place itself in silence, God makes His voice heard.” The Cardinal says, “Silence not for the sake of just absence from noise but to be still before the Lord and to receive His rest. Silence is the what creates the environment which makes it possible to welcome the incarnation…to welcome the God that comes among us as one of us in order to be revived by us so that we may enter into profound communion, union with Him.

In his book, and in many of his talks, the Cardinal points out as well the great importance and necessity of times of silence in the Liturgy, silence so that we can hear the Lord speak to us and open ourselves up to God’s initiative and accept all grace which comes from Him. At Holy Mass we are not before the beauty of God’s creation found in nature but we are before the Majesty of the Lord Himself in the Holy Eucharist; how much more then we should be silent before this majesty.

This reminds us how important and necessity are times of silence in the Holy Mass, so that we can hear the Lord speak to us and teach us and open ourselves up to God’s initiative and accept all grace which comes from Him. At Holy Mass we are not before the beauty of God’s creation found in nature but we are before the Majesty of the Lord Himself in the Holy Eucharist; how much more then we should be silent before this majesty.

In so many ways, we have allow the noise of the world to enter into the Sacred Liturgy. The Holy Mass as been filled with a cacophony of unworthy music, talking, instructing, hand gestures and Hand shaking. Any times of silence during the Holy Mass are met with uneasiness and questioning, “did father forget his place…”. And Sacred Words which were in the past only said in a low voice (vox secreta) because they are so holy and sacred and directed directly to the face of the Heavenly Father, are now blared out over the loud Speaker and said while looking out over the people. We fill up every second with some type of noise, even after we have receive the Body of the Lord in Holy Communion.

And silence is particularly important after Holy Communion when we have literally received the Lord, sacred silence, so we can listen to Him, He Who is now in our own body and soul. Silence is needed in fact, whenever we are before the Eucharistic Lord in the Tabernacle so that we can hear Him and allow others to hear Him speak…this is why we were taught rightly, never to talk in Church because the Lord is there in the Tabernacle, before, during and after Holy Mass. Our sisters at the hospital know this and why they placed on the sign out side of this chapel a reminder to please keep silence in this sacred place always, because the Lord is here and it is place of silent rest. In the halls of this hospital there are signs from the sisters to keep quiet in the halls because patients are resting, so too we must keep silence in the chapel because people come here to rest in the silence of the Lord and we should not disturb them by noise.

And finally, we have made the Holy Mass into something we do—the work of the people instead of something the Lord does—the work of the Lord; it is in so many ways no longer a place of rest, of being with the Lord but instead a place of “doing” of “working”. The active or actual participation called for by the Fathers of the Vatican II has been misinterpreted as external action—the people all have to do something; we need to find an active role for as many of the people as possible. But the Holy Mass is the place of Sabbath rest; it is again, we were are called to come to the Lord, learn from Him for He is humble and gentle of heart. At the Holy He does the work for us (He died on the cross not us), we just have to be still and know that He is the Lord. Our work is one of internal participation, it is the work of receptivity; that is of opening our hearts, offering our hearts and then waiting patiently and silently on the Lord. It is He who refreshes us, not we who refresh ourself; it is He who lifts us up to the Father through His Sacrifice on the Cross and through the gift of of Himself in the Holy Eucharist, not we who lift ourselves up by our own goodness and self-righteousness.

So many in our world are so tired, so many in our world long for rest. Many unknowingly try to find rest in the all the wrong places and things. So many others have left the temple of the Lord and no longer go to Holy Mass and so no longer enter into the Sabbath rest of the Lord in order to be refreshed by Him. As more and more Catholics leave the rest of the Lord the world it self become noiser, more restless, more tired. Only we can lead it to the rest it longs for, the Holy Mass, which is the eternal Sabbath made present on earth and which leads those who come to into the eternal Rest of the Lord. True Leisure is to be found only in the Lord, Our true Rest is only in the Lord. “Our hearts are truly restless until they rest in you O Lord” (St Augustine).

Let us turn to Our Lady to help us to learn to become silent. ”Mary, Mother of God teach me to be still before the Lord. Then listening, I’ll understand God’s Holy Word, so as to receive more fully His Holy Word become flesh in the Holy Eucharist, in order to live more perfectly His Holy Word in my life, one with His Holy Word, which is Jesus, bringing His mercy and love to the world so laboring under its burden of sin. Holy Mary mother of Silence, Mother of our Rest, pray for us. Amen.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Matthew 10: 37-42Thirteen Sunday in Ordinary Time. July 2nd, 2017

Most times homilies given at Holy Mass are based on the Gospel, but today I want to base this homily on our Second reading. In today’s second reading we have heard from St. Paul from the letter to the Romans. This past week we celebrated the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul; and so, it would be good to talk about St. Paul today.

In this letter St. Paul gives us advice about common struggles in our lives of faith. The Baptized Romans in Paul’s time were struggling with living out their faith just like we do. They found themselves struggling with a culture literally immersed in sin; especially the sin of hedonism--hedonism is the enjoyment of pleasure, entertainment and comfort in a way that is in opposition to the Holy Will of God. It’s not that God never wants us to enjoy pleasure, comfort or entertainment but that we must do so in a moral way, never placing our own will before His Will; in other words, To order our loves properly, never placing pleasure, comfort or entertainment, love of self before love of God and neighbor-to love God even more than our parents, spouses ect.

Pleasure, comfort and entertainment in Paul’s time had become the peoples’ god. While God, the true God was merely paid lip service, if even that. The people of God had become weak. Excessive pleasure and comfort had actually dulled their consciences. Some so much so that they had lost even a sense of sin thinking themselves good enough; theirs became a religion without sacrifice. But even for those who were still aware of their sinfulness, those who were still struggling to leave sin behind so as to conform themselves to the Gospel, that is to Christ, the hedonism of the day had infected them as well. And so they struggled to understand why was it, that if they had received the powerful life transforming grace of baptism, they weren’t making any progress in overcoming sin so as to be more conformed to Christ. They had begun to lose faith that the real power in this world is in the Sacraments of the Church; and so that effect of that power had been weakened in their lives and so in the world in their times.

In this we discover that St. Paul’s time is much like our own time. Even though St. Paul wrote close to 2,000 years ago, his inspired writings still of course have great relevance in our lives today, maybe more than ever. The constant struggle between good and evil played out in our own lives, within our own selves, is the same as in Paul’s day. It is a struggle, better yet, a war being waged between our souls and our bodies, between the Spirit of God and the disordered desires of the flesh, that is our passions and our fallen human nature; it is a battle between selfishness and selflessnes; it is a battle within

For us who are trying to follow God faithfully, our soul or spirit desires to do good, to follow the Gospel; it desires to be kind and considerate to our neighbor, to our family and even to share with them the truth of our faith courageously and with confidence. But instead, we often are short tempered or fearful, or just plain rude because we are in a bad mood. Many of us truly do desire to repent from our sinfulness and convert to truth in order to draw closer in intimacy with Jesus. Yet, sin is so attractive that it seems we will never be able to turn away from it; it seems that following Jesus is just too hard and demanding for us, and we love our own will. Comfort is much easier. As Saint Paul himself says, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. In his letter, St. Paul addresses people who are perhaps down on themselves in their struggles and failures; perhaps he addresses me and you.

St. Paul first reminds them and us that we were baptized and so have received the Holy Spirit. He says, “If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also.” St. Paul reminds us that our baptism is a baptism into Jesus own death and resurrection. Through our own baptism, we have all then died to that spirit of the world that opposes the Spirit of God. The death that works within us, that being the death of sin, is now reborn with the grace of Christ, who defeated death-sin on the cross. As Jesus was resurrected, so too are we resurrected or born again in the life of grace; and so in part, we share already in Christ’s victory of sin and death. The grace we have received in baptism has the power to give us all of the strength, courage, perseverance we need to finally win in our struggle with sin within ourselves. But first we must first have faith in this Divine Power, call upon it, trust in it and in Charity use it and cooperate with it in our lives, persevering to the end of our lives on earth no matter the effort needed.

The problem is that too often we don’t call upon and so use the grace of our baptism; instead, we can be so lazy, spiritually speaking. We too often, really don’t put up a big enough struggle to resist sin in order to practice virtue, and so we weaken or even lose our Baptismal Grace. St. Paul puts it this way, “you have not yet resisted (agains sin) to the shedding of your blood,” so in other words we need to keep trying harder with the help of God’s grace. So many times we extend so much effort in the other activities of our life, but yet when it comes to our external salvation we don’t seem to think it’s worth the effort that is needed. Many there are who work hard for a crown that withers and fades, so work harder for the crown that never perishes, the crown of eternal life... Many don’t think that an effort even needs to be made, after all everyone goes to heaven. St. Paul says instead, “Work out your Salvation with fear and trembling”. He knew that even he could have lost eternal life; if so St. Paul, what about us?

St. Paul today encourages us that we are not debtors of the flesh, to live according to the flesh and its desires. If we live according to the flesh and its desires, we will die (everlastingly); this is the truth, plain and simple. But, if by the Power of the Spirit we put to death the deeds of the body we will live; this also is the truth plain and simple. We have that Spirit available to us because we have been baptized into Christ death and resurrection; and so, what hope we possess within us.

All of this, of course, (as we know) doesn’t remove us from the struggle against sin. And Sacramental grace doesn’t make it easy, but it does make it possible for us to overcome sin, if we only but desire it and make the effort…we have to be determined. If we are not yet saints the problem isn’t with the grace of our baptism or the power of the other Sacraments; no, the problem is with us, its that we don’t desire enough to be saints; perhaps we too, as the Christians of Paul’s day, have becoming lovers of comfort and ease. However, in our struggle, Paul reminds us, we to have the Holy Spirit which is the Power and the Love of God, given to us mainly though the sacraments; it is the will power in this world, the divine Power to change our hearts, to make us Saints, that is one with God in the image of Christ Jesus. As the saying goes, “we just gotta want it”…after all we’re talking about eternity here and our eternal happiness; as well as the eternal happiness of other souls. The Holy Spirit wants to help us to want it more than anything or anyone else; and so He leads us to the Sacraments of the Church in order to accomplish His work and bring the grace of our baptism to its completion in the perfection of love.

The Sacraments are intimate encounters with Christ, where we can take the burden of our sins and our labor to resist them, and give them to Christ’s redeeming Power. If we have lost the grace of our baptism or it’s power has become weak in our lives because of our failure to cooperate with it in order to resist the temptations of our flesh; as a result, if we have given into our passions in a disordered and moral way, then all is not lost, we can turn to Christ in Confession and have the heavy burden of our guilt taken away and our weaken state healed and strengthened.

And if we need to nourish our soul because it has become thirsty for Christ’s love we can come to Holy Mass and give ourselves to Christ in order for Him to quench our thirst in Holy Communion. Feeding on His true flesh and blood nourishes our soul, increases our love and so makes us stronger to overcome the disordered desires of our flesh and blood, to overcome our in ordinate love of comfort and so to overcome our disordered loves. May we today, in receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, the fullness of Jesus Christ and His grace and power and love, beg our Lord for grace for this coming week and everyday of our remaining life to struggle and to never give up hope in our struggle against the one thing that keeps us from God’s love and union with Him—sin. Oh Mary conceived without original sin, pray for us sinners who have recourse to thee. Amen.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

our eternal destiny depends on whether we believe this and so live our lives according to this great Truth of the Most Blessed Trinity

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. Sunday June 11th, 2017

Today, on this first Sunday after Pentecost, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity. It is not an extraneous feast day, without relevance in our daily lives. The Holy Trinity is in fact our Beginning and our end. He is our reason for being. Everything, EVERYTHING! we have, our family, our possessions, our world and our very existences is a gift from the Holy Trinity. Our Final Goal is the Holy Trinity, to be One with the Holy Trinity, one with the God who is Love. This is the reason why the truth of the Holy Trinity is the key pillar of the Christian faith and so why we celebrate liturgically this great Solemnity right after Pentecost.

In speaking of the Holy Trinity, simply stated, the mystery of the Holy Trinity states that there is one God in three Divine Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God, yet there is only one God, not three Gods, one divine nature in three distinct divine Persons. The Divine nature is not divided (like pieces of a pie) between the persons of the Blessed Trinity. No, each person shares in the fullness of the Divine nature; yet, the Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Holy Spirit, etc.

It contemplating the Holy Trinity it doesn't work to think mathematically (i.e. one plus one plus one equals one. This is the mistake Mohammad and others made). No, we must think in terms of love to begin to begin to understand the Trinity. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to think about the Trinity is their essential unity, a unity which comes from Perfect Love. The Three Persons of the Trinity are One in Perfect Love. We have never experience perfect love, but even so, we desire it and so it must exist.

Let’s use the example of Human love to help us understand. When we love someone we want to be close to them not far away; in fact if we really love them we want to be so close that we desire to be one with them. Our love gives us the intention to live our lives with our loved one in a way that not only proves our undying love and fidelity, but moves us towards a more perfect unity, a unity of love. We understand this intention and yet we understand how hard it is to accomplish. Yet, we do try; hopefully with God’s grace. For example, a man and a woman who love each other desire to give their whole selves to each other in marital love-to be one in mind, heart and spirit; when we see someone who loves like this we even say they are as of “one heart and mind.”

For the Holy Trinity, however, perfect love is not just intentional; it is completely real. In other words, unlike us, they don’t just intend to love each other perfectly, they are able and do love each other perfectly. Each member of the Trinity gives of Himself totally, sacrificially, perfectly to each other, nothing held back. And this total sacrificial gift of themselves unites them in perfect oneness, the oneness of perfect Love.

The Fathers of the Early Church liked to say that the Holy Spirit is the substantial love between the Father and the Son. Their quality is essentially one- unity is the most important. God is Love, the Father is Love, the Son is Love, the Holy Spirit is Love; three persons united so perfectly in Love that they are a unity of one God; Very simply—love unites--perfect Love unites perfectly.

The Holy Trinity is a mystery; but not a mystery to be solved, but a mystery to be professed and lived. The Mystery of the Holy Trinity reveals to us that we are called to greatness, for we are called to the Oneness of Love Himself. We are called to share in the inner Life and so the inner Love of the members of the Blessed Trinity; we are called to become one with the Trinity.

The Holy Trinity is therefore our everything. And our eternal destiny depends on whether we believe this and so live our lives according to this great truth. How important our understanding and belief is then in the Trinitarian God. If we don't know what or for Whom we are made, how can we ever find our way back to Him, to live as one with Him. We are Made by Love and For Love; we are made to be eternally One with Love--The Most Blessed Trinity.

And so we must in this life come to know the Blessed Trinity intimately. Before we can live in eternal Love itself--the Trinity, we must learned to love with perfection in this life, to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect, in order to be united in love with God and others for love of God. This is by the way, why unity is so important; unity in our families, unity in our Church on the Universal level, the local diocesan level, and the parish and unity among all Christians and among all men. There is no true love without unity; true love unites.

To obtain this unity of love we must of course have daily, intimate contact with Perfect Unity Itself, Perfect Love Itself, the Blessed Trinity. The Blessed Trinity is the source of all unity and all love; He is the source of true and authentic family life because He is Family, not a family but The Family.

How do we have intimate contact with the Trinity? Well yes through daily prayer, but especially through the most perfect of all prayers—The Holy Mass. All the prayers during the Mass invoke the members of the Blessed Trinity. All of the action of the Holy Mass is directed toward the Holy Trinity. And Every Holy Mass gives us the real opportunity to come in intimate contact with the Most Blessed Trinity. And more than contact, but to actually become more and more united to the Son, and through the Son, to be united to the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Mass makes Truly present Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament along with HIs once and for Sacrifice to the Father on Our behalf, but it does so that through this action of the Son (the second Person of the Trinity) made truly present in our midst, we may have access to the Holy Trinity. The Blessed Sacrament is then the Way to the Blessed Trinity of Divine Persons, for it is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Jesus become Man. Through our adoration of the humanity of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, His Resurrected, glorified Body and Blood, we can in faith touch the divinity of Jesus and so touch the Holy Trinity, in, with and through the perfect Love and unity of the Son…”through Him with Him, and Him

And then when we receive Jesus with faith in Holy Communion, He comes to us, in us; and through Him, the Father and Holy Spirit comes to us and in us, and if we let Them, They make Their abode, Their dwelling with us. As a result, when we receive Holy Communion worthily (and worthily is the key word here, that is, in the state of grace by frequent Sacramental Confession) we receive all Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity. In the Holy Eucharist God gives Himself totally, sacrificially perfectly to us in love. And if in Faith, Adoration, Hope and love we offer ourselves to Him in return, we then begin to share already on earth, in the inner life and love of the members of Blessed Trinity. And the Trinitarian love is from whom we came and the greatness to which we are called to return and the Love that we are called to share with others so through us they too may adore and so become one with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Let us pray:

O my God, Trinity whom I adore, help me forget myself entirely so as to establish myself in you, unmovable and peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity. May nothing be able to trouble my peace or make me leave you, O my unchanging God, but may each minute bring me more deeply into Your mystery! Grant my soul peace. Make it your heaven, your beloved dwelling and the place of your rest. May I never abandon you there, but may I be there, whole and entire, completely vigilant in my faith, entirely adoring, and wholly given over to your creative action.

Our Lady, daughter of the Father, Mother of the Son, and spouse of the Holy Spirit, help us to offer ourselves totally, perfectly, in a sacrifice of love at this Holy Mass and at every Holy Mass, help us to place our heart on the paten, so that we, like you will live and lead others to live, in the Divine life and Love of the Most Blessed Trinity, beginning now, and fully and forever in the life to come. Amen

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Today on this great solemnity of Pentecost we celebrate the birth of the Church. It is the day when the Holy Spirit came upon the Blessed Virgin Mary and then onto the Apostles present in the upper room. But not before those first bishops and priests had spent the previous nine days in deep intimate prayer with the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Holy Spirit is the One who came with many great gifts on Pentecost to renew the face of the earth. The Holy Spirit gave the apostles Seven-Fold Gifts of divine grace. These were supernatural gifts-gifts that enabled them to live for God alone, in joyful intimacy and friendship with Him. When the power of the Holy Spirit came upon them they became great witnesses to the world to Jesus, and to the truth of His teachings in the face of great difficulties and even outright persecution and death.

For us, like the apostles, the help we need from on High, that is the gifts of the Holy Spirit, are given to us at well. We need not only His divine strength and light, but also the Hope and joy of divine friendship with Him. With His divine gifts, the Holy Spirit wants to continue His work of renewing the whole world, beginning within our own hearts (this is the way the world is always renew; it begins with our own hearts and then flows out from us). The Holy Spirit wants to use us in order to bring His light to the souls we come in contact with on a daily basis, sharing with them the hope and joy that is alive within us and which comes from this divine guest and friend of our soul.
Let us look closer at these supernatural gifts that the Holy Spirit gave to the apostles and to us, beginning at our baptism and confirmed in us at our Confirmation. These supernatural gifts are: WISDOM, KNOWLEDGE, UNDERSTANDING, FORTITUDE, COUNSEL, PIETY, AND FEAR OF THE LORD.

First, the gift of wisdom. Wisdom gives us a spiritual awareness of the love of God and allows us to order and judge the things of this world from this perspective. In other words, with wisdom in our lives we don’t put the things of this world before the Creator of things. We don’t use this life to obtain things but we use things of this life to obtain God.

In the gift of Understanding, or also called the gift of Intelligence, we are given the understanding of divine things, especially when we read and hear the Holy Scriptures and study the teachings of the Church which are the teachings of Christ. With this gift, the Holy Spirit gives us the desire to know and understand better the truths of our Catholic faith and how intricately they affect our relationship with Christ and with one another. We learn how to live the Truth which comes from God.

The gift of fortitude gives us strength to live our faith, to live the Truth. This strength is not just for doing extraordinary things; like martyrdom, but this gift also helps us in the ordinary struggles we have in life, especially our daily struggle against sin. It helps us to persevere even in our darkest moments, not to lose hope.

Along with the Gift of Fortitude, He will help us to use the Gift of Knowledge so that we can exercise the moral virtue of prudence, enabling us to make practical decisions in our lives which are in conformity to God’s Holy Will. Close to the Gift of Knowledge is the Gift of Counsel.

Counsel is like a divine compass. In the problems and uncertainties of life this gift helps us to know what will work best for the glory of God, not only for our own souls but even for the souls of others. The Gift of Counsel directs us in our everyday life. It helps us, to prudently choose the right thing to do in a given circumstance. No matter how intricate and difficult the situation is, aided by this great Gift, we are better able to see what to do in a given situation in order to please God and fulfill His Holy Will thus living life to the fullness with great joy. We can then help-counsel others to do the same.

The Gift of PIETY helps us to live out the commandment in order to love God and love our neighbor for love of God True Piety is knowledge that God is love, that he loves each of us infinitely. Our response should be thanksgiving; that is, to worship and adore God properly, reverently and devotedly, at Holy Mass and before His true, physical presence in the Holy Eucharist in order to be able to love God more and to love those whom he loves.

With piety we act appropriately in Church, never talking because the tabernacle which contains the HolyEucharist-God on earth is before us. We dress with our Sunday Best (never shorts), w genuflect, pray, and kneel with great piety, not just because we do them well, but because our outward actions matches the inter dispositions of our heart.

With this gift as well, the Holy Spirit heals our hearts of every form of hardness and un-forgiveness, and opens them to tenderness towards God and our brothers and sisters. With this gift, we feel urged to treat all people with great kindness and friendliness, to do good even to those who wrong us, to love and forgive even those who hate us and persecute us. We all need this gift, just think about how often each day we are called to love people who are human speaking hard to love.

Lastly, the Gift of the FEAR OF THE LORD is a special gift, which helps us to dread and avoid sin. The gift of fear is not like the fear we experience in a horror film or the fear of being hit by a lightening bolt from heaven. It is not a fear in which we are afraid of God. It is our sin, which causes us to fear God in this wrong way. The true gift of fear from the Holy Spirit is a holy fear, a fear of not offending in any way a God who loves you so much and whom who want to love in return. We become sorry for our sins not so much because we dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell but most of all because we have offended our God who is all good and deserving of all of love. With this Holy fear we longer fear the loss of human respect, we are set free from our slavery to human respect, we fear only offending God who love us so much.

Today at this Holy Mass, let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us with all of his gifts. We need these gifts so very much. He is an all knowing Expert who will guide us in our decisions and difficulties if we ask Him; He will help us to make the right choices in our lives, to choose this action or that; He will help us in our relationships, to get along better with those we love, especially in our families; He will help us in the times we have no idea what to do, situations that seem hopeless or impossible such as the illness or death of a loved one, our own serious personal illness, the loss of our job or our struggle in finding new employment. And when we feel lost, if we cry out to the Holy Spirit, He will immediately, and I do mean immediately, rush to our aid and begin to show us the way. We can simply say with great trust, “Holy Spirit help me for I am lost.”

So today, at this Holy Mass which is also a Pentecost as the priest calls down the Holy Spirit over the gifts and over all of us to make us holy, let us turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is actually the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. Along with prayer, let us turn to her to help us draw close to this same Holy Spirit so that we may put His great gifts into effect in lives. St. Louis de Montfort who wrote the beautiful work, “True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin,” maintains that devotion to Our Lady is the best means to develop an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. He says: “God the Holy Spirit wishes to fashion His chosen ones in and through Mary” and St. de Montfort insists, that when the Holy Spirit finds Mary in a soul, He hastens there and enters fully into it. The Holy Spirit then gives Himself generously to that soul to the degree that it has made a place for the spouse of the same Holy Spirit. Let us turn to Mary, the Holy Spirit’s spouse, so that she may help us to offer our heart totally at this Holy Mass; through her the Holy Spirit may then form Jesus in us as a fruit of our Holy Communion that through Jesus living in us, the Holy Spirit will renew the face of the world.

“Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of Thy faithful, enkindle in them the fire of Divine Love. Send forth Thy Spirit and You will renew the face of the earth.

O God, Who didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that by the same Spirit we may be truly wise, and ever more rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord.

Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed the Virgin Mary, your well beloved spouse.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

We go to heaven to the extent we got to Jesus and enter into Him!

Solemnity of the Ascension. May 28th, 2017

Today we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Ascension of our Lord into heaven. When we pray the Rosary, the Ascension as you know is mentioned as the second Glorious Mystery. As we announce, and with the help of the Virgin Mary, contemplate, the Mystery of the Ascension, we pray for an increase in the grace of Hope—not a “hope for,” or “maybe,” but a sure and certain hope known as Theological Hope, a supernatural hope which comes from God alone.

Celebrating the Solemnity of the Ascension with faith, strengthens and nourishes our Hope that one day, if we remain faithful Disciples of Christ by keeping His Holy Word and His commandments, especially His great Commandment of Love (To one another as He as loved us by living the teachings of the Catholic Church), we will really and truly join Him in heaven with the Father and the Holy Spirit, along with the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and all the saints. For as Jesus has taken His human nature, that is, His human body and soul to heaven, so too someday He wishes to take to heaven, not only in soul, but in body as well, all those who love Him—that is, those who love Him not only in word but in deed.

Christ has gone before us into heaven and so we know that we are called there as well; this is the source of our hope in this present life, which is so often a valley of tears. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI once wrote, when speaking about the Ascension of our Lord:

"The meaning of Christ's Ascension expresses our belief that in Christ, the humanity we share (with Him) has entered in the inner life of God in a new and hitherto unheard of way. It means that man has found an everlasting place in God.”.....

And so, Benedict goes on to say:

"we go to heaven  to the extent we go to Jesus Christ and enter into him."

We could replace the word “heaven” in the pope’s comment with the word hope. In other words, we have hope to the extent, “we go to Jesus Christ and enter into him.”

But how do we go to Jesus and enter into Him? Again, as I said a few weeks ago, is it through merely believing in Him? Is it, as the born again Christians say, by accepting Him as our Personal Savior? Is it by merely calling upon is Holy name? While these are important aspects of our going to Jesus Christ and entering into Him, they are short of how we do this in the fullest sense? In other words, enter into Jesus becoming literally one with Him and through Him, one with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

It is the Ascension of our Blessed Lord that gives us the answer to how?. So let ask the the spouse of the Holy Spirit the Blessed Virgin Mary to obtain for us the help not only to understand more deeply the Ascension and to see its relevance in our daily life but to put its saving power into effect in our life and in the lives of the members of our families.

First of all, I think one of the mistakes that we can make in our understanding about Christ’s ascension into heaven is to think that He is no longer with us here on earth. This wrong way of thinking can make heaven can seem light years away, especially when we face the turmoil, suffering and monotony of this present life, all of which try to robe us of peace. But when we understand the Ascension correctly we discover that our religion is not irrelevant, it is not a pie-in-the-sky religion where concern and active desire for heaven replaces the reality of our present situation of struggle and difficulties. No our Catholic Christian religion shows us that mysteriously, heaven is already present in our midst, already present in this present “darkness.”

Now, truly at the right hand of the Father, Jesus constantly intercedes for us at this very moment, attaining for us the Power—the Grace, to be his true disciples here on earth by loving God and loving neighbor with Jesus’ own divine love alive in our souls. But Jesus is not literally “at the Right hand of the Father,” as God the Father has no physical body. At the “right hand of the Father,” means that now ascended into heaven in His humanity, in His human body, Jesus shares all authority and power with His Father; He is equal to the Father. And so with the Father, the power and glory of Jesus’ divinity, which was, is and always will be equal to the Father, now shines through His resurrected body. In other words, Jesus divinity which was always present at the “Right hand of the Father, now shines through, is visible through, His sacred and now glorified Humanity which now too is present at the Right Hand of the Father .

In heaven, Christ, as true God and true Man, is constantly acting, interceding to bring to us that divine power--that grace and mercy, forgiveness and love we need in order to follow Him by loving as He loves us. And how does He dispense this power from on high, how do we on earth get in contact with this power, so we can “enter into Jesus”, as the Pope Benedict says? We do this through His Mystical Body the Catholic Church, in and through all Her Sacraments which literally bring us the healing and consoling, life giving and saving power of Jesus; but we do so most especially in and through the Holy Eucharist, which brings to us Jesus who is the Way to the Father.

And since Jesus, is at the Right Hand of the Father, the presence of Jesus with the Father and the presence of Jesus at the Mass is the same exact presence. Where Jesus is in the Holy Eucharist, there heaven is as well. You may not have thought about this, but when we are present before the Holy Eucharist, we are present as well at the Right Hand of the Father. This points to a profound truth of the Ascension. Because of the Ascension we can already begin to possess that in which we hope for. In other words, we can already begin to experience the joy of heaven while still on earth, but only to the extent we go to Jesus and enter into Him.

It is at Holy Mass then that we can truly go to Jesus and enter into Him. We enter into Him to the extent we make an interior act of our will in which we try to trustingly give Him our whole Heart in order to fruitfully receive His Sacred Heart in Holy Communion, so that our heart and His can become as one. And so, it is at the Holy Mass that our humanity can already begin to follow Jesus’ Humanity ascended into heaven in order to begin to already possess here and now that in which we hope for—-Jesus, who is our Hope because He is our Heaven, truly in our midst.

To sum up: Yes, Jesus, has ascended to the right hand of the Father in heaven. But as we know, the Holy Eucharist makes this same Jesus in His risen and glorified body present to us on earth as well. The ascension was merely the end of Jesus visible presence on earth, but it was not the end of his physical presence on earth. St Leo the Great put it, “(At the Ascension) our Redeemer’s visible presence has passed into the sacraments.”Every time we look at the Holy Eucharist and there through the eyes of faith see Jesus at the right hand of the Father, our love is elevated and perfected, our position in heaven and so our closeness and our unity to the Holy Trinity deepened, and so, our hope increased. And so, If we are to have hope, and bring Hope to the world, we need to frequently go to the temple with joy and there, like the disciples, we need to, through the humanity of Jesus, be constantly praising and adoring God truly present there.

To help us, let us turn to Our Lady, Mother of Perpetual Help.

Holy Mary mother of our Faith, Mother of our Hope, Mother of our Love. Intercede to your beloved Spouse, the Holy Spirit for us in order He may help us to more fully believe that Jesus is truly present in the Holy Eucharist in order to adore Him there as the living and true almighty God still with us, placing all of our hope and trust in Him, so that we can love Him by offering our lowly heart (and everything we have) totally to His Sacred Heart. Obtain for us the grace and assist us in living out this self-offering of love by living out more perfectly in our daily lives our beautiful Catholic faith, all so that we may more and more possess Jesus. In this we will be able to share Him with the world, so that it too may have Hope, have Jesus. Then at the end our lives, the veil which prevents us from seeing His glorified face in the Holy Eucharist and at Mass will be lifted, and along with You and and all of the angles and saints we all shall see the Risen and Ascended Lord in all of His glory, His sacred Divinity shining through His Sacred Humanity—we shall see the Face of God, for we shall see Him as He is, thus possessing and being possessed by Him—which is Heaven. For this alone do we hope! Amen.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Jesus, sent from the Father, and alive in us through the Sacraments of the Church, this, this is the Hope for which the world longs for us, for you and me to bring it.

John 14; 15-21. Sixth Sunday in Easter. May 21st, 2017

“Beloved, Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear.”

These words of St. Peter, written in the first century under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, are a direct calling to each one of us. Each of us, as Catholic Christians is being called by the Holy Spirit to give a stronger witness to others of the hope that we hold in our hearts, for each one of us is to bring Jesus to the world. And do so, by Jesus living in us by the working of the Holy Spirit.

Christian hope is not a, “I hope So!,” or “We can only Hope!” Christian Hope is not wishful thinking; Christian Hope is a Person, a Divine Person—Jesus Christ. And Jesus is the hope that never disappoints.

Witnessing to Hope is a great challenge for us in our times, which because of an increasing hostility to the truths of the Gospel has created an environment devoid of any real authentic hope. In such an environment, and its trials and sufferings, we ourselves may even be struggling to maintain our own hope much less be a witness to hope for others. However, in today’s Gospel, we learn that the Holy Spirit will be with us to give us His help in all the little moments and in all the difficult moments that we are called to give faithful witness to Christ Who is our Hope, because He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Certainly our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, understands each one of us intimately well. After all He knew us even before He knitted us while we were in our mother’s womb; He knows us better than we know our self. And so He knows our feeble human nature, how fickle can be our love and strong can be our fear. He understood that His own apostles would be scattered during His passion and death. He knew it would take time and His help for them to be able to be healed and to grow in their faith, hope (trust) and their love of Him in order that they could be His faithful witness, His faithful friends who would witness to Him by proclaiming His truth in its fullness, boldly and without fear, even unto death.

We too, like those first apostles, can be so afraid of giving witness to Jesus. We can be afraid what the truth may cost us, not only if we stand up for it, but the cost of living it out in our daily life by the self denial it entails. Jesus knows that we can be tempted to not give a reason for the hope that is within us, burying our head in the sand instead, and pretending that we can somehow manage to be faithful Catholics without fidelity to all of the teachings of the Church, which are the same as the truths of the Gospel. But not to proclaim hope is to lose hope!

Jesus today tells us that we will not be orphaned; He will not leave us alone. Through the Sacraments of the Church, He will be truly be with us even unto the end of the world. And even more, through those same Sacraments, He promises to send the Advocate, the Spirit of truth to us in order to help us, to strengthen our hope and love in Him, and to lead us to all truth, all in order to lead us to an deeper and intimate union with He who is the Truth—Jesus.

The Holy Spirit will lead us to this intimate loving union with Jesus by helping us to adore Jesus by offering ourselves totally and completely to Jesus, to trustingly give Jesus our everything with out fear. The Holy Spirit will then be our strength in order to be faithful witnesses to the ends of the earth, witnesses to the truth that sets mens free and gives them life and so gives them hope. We will bring the world hope because we will lead it to the One who is Hope Itself, Jesus. And when one Hopes in Jesus, one already begins to posses Jesus in whom He hopes.

Back in April of 2008 when He visited the U.S., Pope Emeritus Benedict during a homily at Yankee Stadium reminded us of the great responsibility we Catholics have to bear witness to hope, especially in our own country. His words bear repeating; Pope Emeritus Benedict said to us:

“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people he claims for his own, to proclaim his glorious works” (1 Pet 2:9). These words of the Apostle Peter do not simply remind us of the dignity, which is ours by God’s grace; they also challenge us to an ever-greater fidelity to the glorious inheritance, which we have received in Christ (cf. Eph 1:18). They challenge us to examine our consciences, to purify our hearts, to renew our baptismal commitment to reject Satan and all his empty promises. They challenge us to be a people of joy, heralds of the unfailing hope (cf. Rom 5:5) born of faith in God’s word, and trust in his promises."

Benedict here is telling us that to be faithful witnesses to Hope for our increasingly hopeless country and world entails many difficulties as we have said, but not just in the hostility we may face from others—the are other difficulties. To begin with, we have to do the difficult work of examining our conscience, particularly in the Sacrament of Penance. There, in the Tribunal of God’s Divine Mercy, honestly, humbly and on our knees confessing those areas of our lives where we have not been faithful and where we continue to not be faithful to our baptismal promises; in other words, all those way we have failed to love God by not following His Commandments. This hard work, and many times humiliating work, is the part of the very foundation of our ability to be able to give effective witness to our world to Christ.

Our witness is not and cannot be authentic if we fail to do this difficult work of repentance, of struggling to change ourselves for the better with the help of God’s grace and our own hard work. So often, we can tend to avoid trying to witness to our faith because we are ashamed of our sins. We can feel like hypocrites, for we ourselves have failed to live the Gospel so many times and in so many ways. Yet, the Sacrament of penance cleanses us from this fear and shame and gives us the grace to do better, to become better, more faithful, stronger and bolder followers of Christ; thus, giving witness to hope, not so much by what we say but more by how we live. Thus the sacrament of confession is the sacrament that leads us to Hope.

And so, rising from our knees in the Great Sacrament of the encounter with God’s forgiveness, we must run and fall on our knees in adoration and in silence before Hope Himself Who is truly present in the Holy Eucharist the most Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. This can be especially difficult because it demands that we enter into silence before the Lord, removing all distractions to alone with the one we love. Silencing all noise, the noise of sound and the noise of image, and seeing only the One we hope in.

The world, so distracted by loud noise and bright images, no longer sees Jesus, but we see Him through the eyes of faith in the Holy Eucharist. Seeing Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, that is with faith that He is really there, we realize that God continues to so love the World that He continues to send His Son into the world through the Holy Mass. The Holy Eucharist contains the fullness of this Love of the Father because it contains the fullness of the Son of the Father.

And so, at the Holy Mass God continues to offer to us everything He is and everything He has in the Holy Eucharist. Before such a great mystery of love, faith requires that we offer ourselves in return. In fact, only to the degree of love that we offer our hearts to the Father through the Son can our Reception of Jesus in Holy Communion bear fruit in our lives, and through our lives in the lives of others.

In Holy Communion, Jesus comes into our bodies and souls remaining with us Sacramentally for just a few brief minutes, but before He goes He desires to leave with us the Advocate the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will remain with us always if we open our heart to Him. The Holy Spirit will, if we let Him, transform us more and more into the image of Jesus by bringing us into a more complete union with Jesus and through Jesus union with the Father.

Through this union, Christ will be sanctified in our hearts, for we will be in Jesus and Jesus will be in us, And because Jesus is in the Father, the Father will be in us as well. We will live, truly live, because all Three Person of the Blessed Trinity will live in us and we in Him. God will be in us and we in God.

Strengthen by the Spirit of God, given to us in and through the Holy Eucharist our very lives of holiness, more than our words will be an gentle and reverent explanation to anyone who ask us for the reason for the hope that is in us. And when we are maligned by those who are convicted of their sinful life by our own life of good conduct, that is our lives of living the fullness of the truth of the Gospel in Christ, our conscious will be clear and they will be put to shame. And we will will cry out with joy, for it is better to suffer for doing Good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil. For we will be like Christ who though righteous, suffered for the sake of the unrighteous,. Like Him we will die to self and selfishness but we will be brought to life in the Spirit. And in our lives we will bring that Life to the world and so bring hope to the world for it will not longer be us who lives, but Jesus who lives in us. And the Father will continue to so love the world that He will Jesus into the world through us. Jesus, sent from the Father, and alive in us through the Sacraments of the Church, this, this is the Hope for which the world longs for us, for you and me to bring it.

Let us pray:

Come Holy Spirit; come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Thy well beloved Spouse. (x3) Amen.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

We can see the son in the Holy Eucharist, the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar; and when we see the Son in the Holy Eucharist with the eyes of Faith, we see the Father as well.

John Fifth Sunday of Easter. May 14, 2017
In today’s Gospel, St. John through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gives us today the definition of true and authentic Hope: "Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also…I am the way.”

Certainly our world lacks hope. However today, the Holy Spirit is calling us, you and me, each of us, to do something about it. We are called to be witnesses of hope in these difficult times. This may be difficult to accept because we ourselves may be struggling to have hope, struggling to maintain hope. So before we can be effective witnesses we must first understand well hope,

Today’s Gospel, as many of you may recall, is used at many funerals; it is one of the most used. Jesus gave this discourse in today’s Gospel during the Last Supper, when He was about to face His passion and death. He knew well that the apostles would have their faith shaken, their hope tested and would even come to betray Him. Yet, He gives the wonderful true words of hope. Jesus did not say, “Oh, everything will be fine!-ya just gotta have faith!”, as if nothing was about to happen, as if the disciples would not have to suffer or, as if they would be rich and successful if they just had enough faith. No, instead He says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

For us as well, like the disciples, the prospect of difficulties and especially evil, such as suffering and death, can certainly trouble our hearts. Humanly speaking, these things are terrifying. It seems we have no control and that we are powerless to stop what is happening to us (and so we are)! Jesus, for His part however, did not shrink from His suffering even though He had the power to do so (we do not). Rather for us and for our salvation, He embraced His cross because He knew the Father would raise Him up and bring Him to Himself.

It’s important for us at this point to realize and to understand that Jesus did not have hope; rather instead, He is the object of our hope. As true Man, He is the way to our Hope; as true God is not only the source of all Hope, He is Hope. God is our true Origin and our true Destination, and Jesus is the way. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega; He is the One by Whom and for Whom we have been created and for Whom we long—all things were created by Him, for Him and through Him (cf. John1:). When one knows the Goal, and the goal is Jesus, and sees Him through the eyes of faith, then one already begins to posses that in which, or better, in Whom he hopes.

Jesus came from the Father and always saw and was with the Father, even when He was one earth in His human body—He didn’t leave Heaven; He brought Heaven to us. We, who do not see the Father, need hope, supernatural Hope. This hope comes only from believing in, and so seeing through faith, the One alone who has seen the Father and comes from the Father…Jesus. He is the Father’s only begotten Son. Jesus is the perfect image of the Father, for everything the Father has and is, Jesus has and is. For this reason, whoever sees the Son sees the Father. And so our Hope comes from the Father and this Hope, which has for its object—Jesus, is supernatural and carries us through and beyond any suffering we may endure, even our death in this world, but only if we keep our eyes on Jesus.

But how do we keep our eyes on Jesus? It is a matter of merely keeping Him in mind or saying His Holy Name? Is this the way Jesus says we can see the Father? Surely, we we love someone we must keep them in mind and call upon them by name. But Jesus has been sent by the Father to us, because God so loved the world-us. His love, however, is not past tense. Did He send the Son and now the Son is Gone? How therefore can we see the Son? Well, us Catholics know how?.

We can see the son in the Holy Eucharist, the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. And when we see the Son in the Holy Eucharist with the eyes of Faith, we see the Father as well. Think of it, when you look at the Holy Eucharist you see the Face of the Father—although It is veiled from our earthly sight, we no less behold the face of God in the Holy Eucharist. All our hope is therefore contained in the Holy Eucharist because it is Jesus. The Holy Eucharist is therefore our Hope, hope itself. For we know the way, the Holy Eucharist is the Way to the Father. Hope comes when we fall on our knees before the Holy Eucharist and be, not believing but believing and cry out to Jesus who is really there, “I Hope in You, I trust in you Jesus!

No matter what may happen to us in the future, if we place our hope in Him, Jesus will take us to the Father by uniting us to Himself in love through the gift of faith. He has prepared a dwelling place for us and will come and to take us to Himself, if we place our hope solely in Him. Our Hope is not a, “hope so, or might be!,” Our Hope, is a hope that never disappoints, for It is none other than Jesus Christ, truly present in the Holy Eucharist the Most blessed Sacrament of the Altar. Adoring God in the Holy Eucharist is the source of our strength in overcoming opposition and suffering and fear.

This is our hope, founded on faith in our Lord Jesus. This Hope, that we literally receive in Holy Communion, as the power to transform us if we let It. But not only us, It also as the power, through us, to transform the entire world. True Hope like true Faith is not merely informative, it does not just give us knowledge; it is also performative; it calls us to do something. Hope, like faith, calls us to give a total giving of ourselves in response to the sacrificial love of the Father given to us through the life, death and resurrection of His Son, who gave and continues to give Himself totally to us in the Holy Eucharist. We begin to actively hope at this at Holy Mass by interiorly making an act of our will to place ourselves, all that we have and are on the Paten to be offered back to the Father as living sacrifices of love. Holy Mass is then the way, the only way to the Father.

In this gift of complete self, in complete hope and trust to the One who gives Himself totally to us, we will be more and more transformed through holiness into His image and likeness for all the world to see. Our thoughts will become His thoughts, our words and deeds—His, and we will always ready to proclaim the Lord Christ to others, always having our answer ready for those who ask the reason for the hope that is within us, so that they too may posses that Hope and that Joy that we process in our hearts.

Let us answer the call, let us become hope for the world by allowing ourselves to be transformed by the Holy Eucharist, at this Holy Mass, into Instruments of God’s Grace and Mercy; this is the world’s Hope; its only Hope. Let us turned to Our Lady of Fatima, for help:

O Virgin most holy to you we consecrate out lives, our possessions and our whole heart. Place them on the paten at this Holy Mass. Surely from your hands your Divine Son will accept our offering. Then obtain for us the grace from Him to live out self-offering in everything we say, think and do. Then walking in the Lord’s footsteps, our own lives will become a journey of hope—of total trust in the Lord. Holy Mary, Mother of God, our life, our sweetness and our Hope, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. Saint Jacinta, Saint Francisco, Pray for us.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Mother of Mercy—Mother of the Holy Eucharist, help us, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus that first Easter morning, come to know infallibly that God is not dead but lives and desires to enter into our lives through the Sacraments of the Church, especially through the Most Blessed of all Sacraments.. Help us like those disciples come to know intimately Jesus, through the “the Breaking of the Bread,” the Holy Mass, and to fall on our knees and adore and love Him truly present there by offering Him, through You, all that we have and all that we are.

Today’s Gospel recalls an incident on the first Easter morning. We are all, am sure, familiar with it. The Israelites have been in Jerusalem to celebrate the Old Testament Passover and now they are making their way back to their respective cities and homes. As we hear in the Gospel, among those making the trip back home was two of Jesus disciples, one named Cleopas.

As they walk down the road to Emmaus, these two disciples are grieving. We can just imagine how slow and downcast they must have been walking. Like we heard of Thomas last week, they had been truly traumatized by what they had seen and experienced; they are really without hope.

It is then in our Gospel, that we hear that Jesus Himself begins to accompany them for a few miles in their journey. They for their part don’t even recognize He who they had followed; perhaps, this is because they have been so wounded by the past week’s events—it is hard to see clearly when you are in great pain, especially the pain of the death of someone you love.

Next, Our Blessed Lord begins to question them; His questioning is really all about their hopelessness. He begins to explain how everything that happened during Holy Week had been predicted of the true Messiah. He begins to give them a sermon on the Scriptures, explaining how the Scriptures not only pointed to the Messiah’s suffering and death, but also to His resurrection from the dead.

Having arrived at their destination, their minds and hearts having been touched and taught by Jesus’ explanation of the scriptures, the two disciples asked Jesus to stay with them. Jesus accepts their invitation. And while at table with them, Jesus takes the bread, blesses it, breaks it, and gives it to them; in other words, Jesus offers the Holy Mass for them. It is at Holy Mass for the first time, during the breaking of the bread, that their eyes are opened and they recognize the risen Lord, as the true and living God before them. I am sure, like Thomas in last weeks Gospel that they too fall on their knees and cry out, “My Lord and My God!”

By the way, why does Jesus disappear before their eyes. He vanishes from their sight because He has changed the bread and wine into Himself in the Holy Eucharist. No less present to the disciples, His risen glorified human body has now become visible only through the eyes of faith in the Holy Eucharist that is before them. In other words, His visible presence passes into the Eucharist, but His physical presence remains with them still in the Eucharist.

Leaving the Holy Mass, the disciples go on to Jerusalem and recount to the others what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread…Breaking of the Bread” has then been one of the most ancient names for the Holy Mass. From the earliest times of the Church, whenever we hear this term it is always referring to the Holy Mass, and only the Holy Mass. Never is it used to refer to a mere communal meal or only as a coming together in fellowship. Today’s Gospel is then at once both a theological description of Holy Mass and a poetic description of the Holy Mass.

The Events on the Road to Emmaus have always been seen as a description of the parts of the Holy Mass. The first part of the disciples’ journey is comparable to the first half of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Word. Through the bible readings, the first and second reading, the responsorial psalm, the Gospel and the sermon or homily, Christ the living Lord becomes spiritually present in our midst and teaches us, if we prayerfully listen, how to recognize Him. Jesus “walks” with us and opens our minds to the truths of the scriptures which point to Him as the true God still really and truly among us.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist, the second half of the Mass, is Jesus coming and staying with us, not just spiritually, but substantially, in His True Risen body. This occurs through the power of the priesthood He Himself instituted on Holy Thursday. In, through and with the person of the priest, Jesus again takes the bread, blesses and breaks it and says, “This Is MY Body!” And when Jesus-God says, “It is,” then literally it becomes, It is.

And so, if we have listen attentively to Jesus words in Sacred Scripture, we too will recognize Jesus, His risen body, His whole self, in the breaking of the bread…This is my Body…This is my blood. And if we have recognized Him and His risen body truly present in the Eucharist through the eyes of faith, our eyes are open as well to “recognize Jesus.”.

Before this great “Mystery of our Faith,” in which Jesus comes to us and gives Himself to us in Holy Communion, Our response can only be, like the disciples, to fall on our knees before our Lord and Our God and ask Him to, “Stay with us,” by adore Him and offering ourselves to Him in Return. In this we ask Him to, “Stay with us,” so that our Communion with Him the Holy Eucharist may bear the fruit of our becoming one with Him in a union of Love.

With our faith and adoration of the Holy Eucharist, Jesus and the power of His sacrifice and resurrection, which is the power of love, will enter into our lives through our Sacred communion with Him. as we partake of this His risen body and blood in the breaking of the bread, which is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we will become one with Him, our hearts will “Burn with Him, our wounds will be healed, our hope restored

The Eucharist has the power to heal us and transform us into the light of Christ for the entire world—It is the power of the Easter which continues to Renew the whole world. (don’t be deceived, don’t be like the disciples on the Road to Emmaus before they encounter Jesus in the Holy Eucharist—don’t be downcast without faith—You and I have encountered and continue to encounter the Risen Lord. The world is still being renewed by the Holy Eucharist who is-the Risen Lord among us—-the world is not without Hope, but it is up to you and I to bring it Hope by the Eucharist Jesus and His love burning within us. Christus resurrexit! Resurrexit vere! Christ is Risen! He is Truly Risen! And He is truly present in His Risen Body in the Breaking of the Bread, which is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!

Let us turn to the Mother of God for Help.

Dear Blessed Mother, Mother of Mercy—Mother of the Holy Eucharist, help us, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus that first Easter morning, come to know infallibly that God is not dead but lives and desires to enter into our lives through the Sacraments of the Church, especially through the Most Blessed of all Sacraments.. Help us like those disciples come to know intimately Jesus, through the “the Breaking of the Bread,” the Holy Mass, and to fall on our knees and adore and love Him truly present there by offering Him, through You, all that we have and all that we are. Totus Tuus Mary, I am totally yours. Amen.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, March 5, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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