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

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Matthew 5;38-48. Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. February 19th, 2017.

When we hear the demands of the Gospel it’s easy to become discouraged. Today’s Gospel is no different. The demands of Holiness, if not looked upon through the lens of love, can seem to be an insurmountable Mountain. We can see a person who appears to be very holy, and think to ourselves, “Oh I could never be like that. I am so far away from what they are.” From there we can say, “I might as well give up.

The fact however is, that there are as many paths to holiness as there are individual souls. One persons path is not another’s. God has tailered a personal path of holiness for each person, for you and for me. And what’s more, He will, through His Holy Church, provide the means for us to travel this personal path of holiness in order to reach that pinnacle of love which is intimate union with Him. There are no exemptions, everyone of us is called to perfection, for nothing is impossible for God.

Every one of us can become as holy as God wants us to be, provided we turn to Him in Love, and have recourse to the Divine Power of His Sacraments—the Sacraments of His Holy Church (I always tell my patients; “If us Catholics realize what we are dealing with in the Sacraments, we could change the world over night)-- the Sacraments of baptism, confirmation, freqent confession, along with the anointing of the sick for those who need it, the Sacrament of Marriage for the married, the Sacrament of Holy Orders for the priest, and especially the Holy Eucharist, which is the Most Blessed of all the Sacraments because it is literally Jesus Himself and His Sacred Heart living and beating full of love for us-for this reason we can say the Holy Eucharist is the Sacrament of Holiness; it is the Power of Divine Love; it is the Sacrament of Love, for It is Love Himself.

Having said all of this let’s return to back to today’s Gospel. The demands of Jesus found here are some of the most difficult to carry out in all of the Scriptures. We can look to the lives of the saints to give us an example of how to live this Gospel, assisted with the grace of the Sacraments. Let’s look at the St. Therese of Lesiuex, for example.

St. Therese the little Flower had in her convent a certain sister whom she did not like and could not stand to be around. However, St. Therese prayed and begged God to grant to her the divine grace to love this annoying sister who was in a sense her “enemy.” Therese went to confession many times to ask forgiveness for her failures in kindness and in order to obtain the supernatural grace she needed to truly love this sister who was unlovable, at least to Therese. When receiving Jesus in Holy Communion she asked Jesus to make her heart like unto His own.

Through all of this, and through of lot of work and self-denial, Jesus granted St. Terese His divine grace to go beyond her feelings and emotions, so that she could choose to love this sister in small and simple ways. For example, Therese would thread the sewing needle for this sister; and in discussions about this sister, Therese always referred to this sister as being better than her.

As a result of Therese’s heroic kindness, assisted by the grace of the Sacraments, this annoying sister actually came to believe that St. Therese was her best friend. In fact, at one point the sister asked St. Therese, “Sister, what is it that attracts you so to me?” This belief of the sister, that she was St. Therese best friend, was the result of St. Therese’s human love being perfected and united to Christ’s own divine love in and through the Sacraments of the Church, and especially, through prayer before the Most Blessed of all Sacraments the Holy Eucharist—it wasn’t a lie or put-on, Therese truly came to love this sister as if she were Jesus Himself.

And so, the example of St. Therese and all of the saints along with all of our readings today offer us plenty to reflect upon in terms of proper Christian attitudes. They offer us a standard of forgiveness to which we may not be accustomed. They offer us a standard of ethical behavior that is opposite of what our society would have us practice.

We would not be surprised to hear Jesus tell us in our Gospel to love our neighbor, or to be charitable to those in need, or even to forgive those around us. But today Jesus says, "Love your enemies," "Do good to those who hate you;" "Bless those who curse you, Pray for those who mistreat you." These certainly are opposed to human nature and are not something that we feel comfortable with. Again, left alone our human nature tends toward aggression; it seeks to get revenge, or to get even. This begins early in childhood.

Even early on, if someone pushes us, our natural reaction and emotional response is to push back. In fact at times human nature tempts us past the point of getting even, to the point of wanting to get ahead. At times it even takes pleasure in hurting others. This is not God’s way however, that is not what Jesus taught, and Jesus makes this very, very clear when he says, "love your enemies." "Do good to those who hate you." Jesus is not talking about any ordinary kind of love here. He is talking about Christian love-Charity—a supernatural love.

Our Western culture tends to romanticize all love in terms of warm emotional feelings for another person or personal gratification. But true Christian charity is what Jesus calls all of His followers to live, it goes beyond feelings and emotions. Formally defined, Christian charity means to will the good of another, no matter what the circumstances. As Jesus put it, it means to act well towards even those who hate us, even to the point of not just praying for them but even suffering for them, suffering for them even to the point of dying for them—loving them with Jesus’ love.

Again, to act well towards those who hate us is not a natural human response. Like St. Therese, we will not have good emotional feelings for the person who wrongs us--if someone puches us in the gut it hurts, of course. However, through an act of our will, assisted by God’s grace, our attitude can be one in which we truly want the best for our persecutor to the point that we ask God to bless them. It doesn’t mean we don’t protect and defend ourselves and others, or that we become a welcome mat for others to step on us; it does mean that even to those who mistreat us, we know that Jesus died for them as well as for us and so we ultimately we are about the business of their conversion and salvation.

St. Stephen the first martyr blessed those who were about to stone Him. And in doing so, he earned the grace of conversion for Saul who was leading the stoning…Saul of course later became St. Paul.) Thousands of Christians in our own time, like St. Stephen, are being persecuted by the enemies of our Holy Mother Church. These modern day martyrs too are dying, not only for their witness to Jesus Christ, but are dying for the very ones who are killing them, their enemies. May we too, love like them, love our enemies, and so be children of our Heavenly Father, perfect in Love, perfect in Charity.

Since we earlier spoke of St. Therese the Little Flower I thought I would end with a beautiful letter from her to her mother superior, which very eloquently speaks of true Charity:

“This year, dear Mother, God has given me the grace to understand what charity is; I understood it before, it is true, but in an imperfect way. I had never fathomed the meaning of these words of Jesus; “the second commandment is LIKE the first: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” I applied myself especially to loving God, and it is in loving Him that I understood my love was not to be expressed only in words, for: “It is not those who says: ‘Lord, Lord! Who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but those who do the will of my Father in heaven.” Jesus has revealed this will several times or I should say on almost every page of His Gospel. But at the Last Supper, when He knew the hearts of His disciples were burning with a more ardent love for Him who had just given Himself to them in the unspeakable mystery of His Eucharist, this sweet Savior wished to give them a new commandment. He said to them with inexpressionable tenderness: “A new commandment I give you that you love one another: THAT AS I HAVE LOVED YOU, YOU ALSO LOVE ONE ANOTHER. By this will all men know that you are my disciple, if you have love for one another.”

Sunday, February 5, 2017

we Catholic Christians are called to be salt and light to the world; we are called to give the hungry of the world some of our bread

Matthew 5; 13-16. Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time. February 5th, 2017

Today’s Gospel follows on the heels of last week’s Jesus teaching of the Beatitudes. It reminds us that living the beatitudes is not just for our own spiritual well-being, but for the well-being of other souls as well. Other soul's eternal well-being actually depends whether you and I live the Beatitudes.

Every single Christian is called to strive for holiness by living the Beatitudes in order to be a witness to the whole world of God’s truth and so His Divine Love and Mercy. In other words, by our lives of holiness we are called to seek not only our own salvation but also the salvation of others. As one Jesuit priest put it, “Either we seek the salvation of others or we will not be saved ourselves.”

We are to be witnesses throughout the earth by living the beatitudes in order to lead others to God so that they may to Him in order to be saved and so enter with us into an eternal union of love with God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is living our lives for love of God, and for love of neighbor for love of God, consists primarily in working to save our neighbor, even to the point of giving our lives if necessary for the sake of their salvation.

Today, Jesus teaches us this great truth by using the images of salt and light. In the old days, as my mom as told me many times, there were no refrigerators, or freezers, the only way meat was kept from spoiling was to store it in salt. Salt preserves food from spoiling; it also brings out the flavor of food and makes its more pleasant.

The world then is only kept from spoiling by us Christian Catholics being the salt of the earth. If we live our Catholic faith authentically, then we live the Beatitudes and as a result, we give flavor to life in this world. We remind the world and it’s inhabitants of the true meaning and goal of man’s existence. Man has been created by God, for God—Man has been created for Beatitude—which is life lived with, in and for the Most Blessed Trinity—Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

The world is indeed God’s good creation; it sprung forth from the Eternal Word of God, and through that same Word it is redeemed and called to return back to the Father God, from which it came. This Eternal Word is Christ the Head. But we are His Body, the Church. And it is through the members of the Church, His Mystical Body on Earth, that Jesus continues His redeeming work. Jesus could do it without us, but nonetheless, He has divinely ordained that His grace and Mercy only goes forth from His Sacred Heart, through the Members of His Mystical Body the Church, that is through you and me—we are the salt, that is if we are in the state of grace.

Jesus reminds us however that salt can lose it taste; it other words, if we fail to grow in holiness, if we fail to be witnesses to the world to what is Good, True and Beautiful, then what are we good for, but to thrown out and trampled under foot. And so, if it is possible for us to lose our flavor, our Divine Grace, and to be thrown out, how then to we guard from losing our taste, the taste of holiness? And as well, how can we keep from hiding our light under a bushel basket? How can we give the hungry bread to eat? How can you and truly be the salt and light for our world?

It is by the Holy Eucharist, and only by the Holy Eucharist, received and adored with faith weekly, and if possible even daily, that gives flavor to our lives and that keep the salt from losing it taste. It is the holy Eucharist approached with love and devotion that helps our light shine before Men, for our Light is Jesus, He who is the Eucharist—He alone is the light of the world and our lives must shine forth His life.

The Eucharist is our daily bread, better yet our super-substantial bread, the Bread of Life, Jesus Himself. Only by feeding on Him in faith, trust and love, can we then truly feed the world by leading them to this Bread of whomever eats shall not die but live forever. The world is hungry for the Eucharist, starving for the Eucharist. And as Jesus said before He gave His teaching on the Eucharist in John Chapter 6, when the thousand gathered around Him and the disciples were hungry… “Give them something to eat yourselves…”

The Father’s of the Church wrote that Faithful Catholics who participate fully, actively and consciously in weekly Mass, and receive the Holy Eucharist worthily and in the state of Grace are the anima Mundi, that is, the “soul of the world:” It is them that feed the world! In other words, the “Father’s of the Church taught that, “the world would die in its sins if not for Catholic Christians with the life of Christ, Christ Himself-the Holy Eucharist, alive in their souls.” This life is called charity and we are to share it with the entire world in order that it too might be saved in and through our lives—this is the source of our Beatitude, the strength we need to live the Beatitudes—and this is how we are enabled, empowered to let our light shine before men, the light of Christ.

What I am about to say is not easy to say. As I just said, we Catholic Christians are called to be salt and light to the world; we are called to give the hungry of the world some of our bread. If our world is falling into darkness, the problem is not with Governments, politicians, the economy, the terrorists, or some other great power in this world; no, the problem lies with us Catholics. We have lost our taste, and who can restore it? Only Jesus, Jesus Truly Present In the Holy Eucharist, the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar can; Jesus who truly continues to offer Himself on the Sacred Altar of every Mass, while at the same looking for those who will give themselves to Him, offer themselves totally to Him, in order that He can transformed them into His other selves and so live again in them, using them to continue his saving work out in the world by leading souls back to the God from Whom they came, who loves them beyond all telling and who bids them to return to their Father’s House, lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.

Let us Pray:

Dear blessed Mother at this Holy Mass we offer to Your Immaculate Heart, our heart—totally and completely, please take it and placed it into the Sacred Heart of your Divine Son which is about to become Truly Present in the Holy Eucharist. Help us to receive more fruitfully this same Sacred Heart at Holy Communion, so that by your Divine Spouse—the Holy Spirit, we might be more and more transformed into instruments of God Mercy and Love, for the sake of the whole word, transforming the darkness into light and helping to bring about the triumph of the Immaculate Heart. Amen.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Beatitudes are a promise of salvation that extends, not to just to particular kinds of persons, such as the poor or rich, but to everyone whose religious dispositions of heart and moral conduct meet these great demands of Jesus.

Matthew 5; 1-12. Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time. January 29th, 2017.
Today in our Holy Gospel we hear the teaching of the Beatitudes from our Blessed Lord. The Beatitudes are the very conditions Jesus lays down for entering the Kingdom of heaven. The Beatitudes take the negatives commands of the Ten Commandments-“Thou shall nots,” and they elevate and present these demands of Jesus on his followers in a positive way, “Blessed are they who do these things.” For the fullness of love of God consist not merely avoiding things, like sin but in doing things, in backing up our words of love with deeds of love.

The Beatitudes are a promise of salvation that extends, not to just to particular kinds of persons, such as the poor or rich, but to everyone whose religious dispositions of heart and moral conduct meet these great demands of Jesus. In other words, salvation is promised to all of those who are poor in spirit, who are meek, who mourn, who hunger and thirst after righteousness, are merciful, pure in heart, are peacemakers and those who suffer in their search for holiness. And so these differing demands of the Beatitudes cover everyone, no matter what their position in life might be, every one who wants to be a true disciple of Christ and inherit His promise of Salvation, which is union with God forever.

Yesterday hundreds of thousands of our youth gathered in Washington D.C. for annual the March for Life. The March for Life is an event that I wish all of you could experience. This event and others like it, remind us how our love for Jesus must move us to protect, defend and witness publicly to the dignity and the sanctity of the life of every human person from conception until natural death. And how we must beg our Blessed Lord in the Holy Eucharist for the graces desperately needed for the reconversion of our country and our world. Only when more Catholics do these acts of love before the Holy Eucharist will we be able to defeat the Culture of Death, and turn it into a culture of life, a culture at peace, where we are all truly blessed.

Perhaps, we can better understand the Beatitudes if we compare them to that corresponding “spirit of the world,” that places it self in opposition to the Spirit of Christ. Included in this “spirit of opposition,” is those attitudes of individuals which lead to the “culture of death,” which is sadly so prevalent in our world today.

1) Where Christ advocates poverty-being poor in spirit, the opposing spirit of the world and it’s culture of death in the world despises the poor. Here we are speaking not just despising the physically poor but also and especially the spiritually poor. Our world currently canonizes those who are rich and famous, movie stars, politicians and sports figures, no matter how they live their lives. Our world seeks not to be poor it spirit, but instead seeks the richness of power—power to control others.

2) Blessed are the meek. Where Christ praises gentleness always seeking the good of others by serving instead of being served, the world belittles meekness and extols those who succeed; those who succeed by using or removing anyone, even through murder, that stand in their way; by destroying the goodness in others and using people merely as means to get what they want. The cry of the “spirit of the world is not Servium, but instead Non-Servium! I will not serve Christ, I will not serve Him by serving others; I wish instead for others to serve me!

3) Blessed are those who mourn:--Where Christ encourages mourning and sorrow for our sin which leads us to penance as a way to at least try to atone for sin in order to show God we are sorry.-- the world instead revels in pleasure, comfort and the noise of empty laughter. The world here refuses to see the suffering in this world, and even war, as a consequence of sin and so it refuses to repent of its crimes, seeking forgiveness and so God’s mercy and the grace to amend one’s life and so return to God.

4). Where Christ promises true Joy only to those who seek justice and peace by seeking holiness, that is to those who accept the truth and strive to conform their lives to it, instead the world and it’s culture of death offers satisfaction in the enjoyment and pleasure of sin and so living one’s life in accordance to errors and lies.

5) Where Christ bids us forgive and show mercy to those who have offended us, to forgive just has the Heavenly Father does to our offenses when we ask for forgiveness; the world for it’s part will not let go of the past, it seeks vengeance, and its law courts are filled with demands for retribution. It wants license to do what it wills, but it is quick to condemn those who fall.

6) Where Christ blesses those who are pure of heart and promises that they alone shall see God, the world scoffs at chastity, makes a mockery of purity and makes a god of sexually immorality. It seeks not the purity of righteous life in Christ but the impurity of the anti-christ.

7) Where Christ tells the peaceful that they shall be rewarded, the world teaches just the opposite in constant rebellion, disobedience, violence and massive preparation for war. It seeks peace, not in the will of God but in the will of the people, which really means the will of the one who controls the people.

8). Where Christ teaches the incredible doctrine of accepting persecution and resignation to God’s Holy Will. The world dreads nothing more than criticism, rejection and loss of human respect; it seeks acceptance by society and by one’s peers and what ever leads to it as the moral norm without any concern for what God thinks and for God’s Holy Law.

In all of this we come to understand that striving with the help of God’s grace to live the Beatitudes is the only way to sanctity, and true happiness and the fullness of life. The Beatitudes are Jesus’ promise that there will be no obstacle to happiness and joy for those who truly seek to follow Him; to follow Him not just in sweet words, but most especially in deeds. He says to us, even if men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account, instead of sorrow, rejoice and be glad, your reward will be great in heaven.

Just as nothing on earth can give us the happiness that every man seeks, if we are united to God nothing can rob us of it. Our happiness and our fulfillment come from God alone, the God who became man to share in our human existence, to share in both the happy and sad moments of our life, to even share in our suffering and our death. The Second Vatican Council put it this way, “Oh you who feel the weight of the cross bear more heavily on you! You who are poor and forsaken, you who mourn, who are persecuted for the cause of justice, you who pass silently by, who suffer pain unknown to others, take heart---You are the best loved in God’s kingdom, the kingdom of hope, of goodness and of life. You are brothers of the suffering Christ, and together with him, if you wish, you can save the world.” (Second Vatican Council, Message to Humanity. To the poor, to the sick, to all those who suffer. 6)

When in our search for happiness we men attempt to follow other ways, other than those willed by God—other than those marked out by the master, we instead find only loneliness and sadness. In other words, apart from God and His ways, there is no lasting happiness, but only loneness and death, the source of our current culture of death. Contrastingly, those who trust in God and humbly pray to Him especially during times of despair and anguish move His divine heart to compassion—God then accompanies them in every instant of their lives.

Even in times of great distress, natural disasters and wars, the person that turns to God’s ways and walks humbly in His paths of righteousness, discovers the loving face of God before him. Before God’s continence this man joyfully discover that God never abandons those who love Him, but guarantees that, notwithstanding trials and tribulations, in the end good always triumphs over evil, life over death; in other words all things work out for the best, for those who love God.

Let us turn to our dear Heavenly Mother for help…

Holy Mary, Mother of the beatitudes, at the end of our life, we will be judged on our love. Pray for us so that we may be blessed in the eyes of your Son and receive the reward of eternal life. Help us in faith to see the source of our eternal happiness and so our Eternal Beatitude is truly present in the Holy Eucharist, the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. You told us at Fatima that by coming with faith on bended knee before this God hidden in the little white Host, and adoring and loving Him there, we could bring peace upon the earth. So help us dear Lady, to live your Message of Fatima, which is the message of the Gospel, all the days of our life, and so turn our culture of death into a culture of life by praying for the conversion of poor sinners everywhere, those in our own homes and in our own families, most especially that sinner who looks at us each morning in the mirror. Amen.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Today we are again reminded, that Jesus continues to take away the sins of the world, our sins, yours and mine...

John 1;29-34. Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. January 15th, 2017.

This past Monday the Church celebrated the Feast day of, “The Baptism of the Lord.” With this feast came the close of the Liturgical Season of Christmas. In today’s Gospel we hear describe that event when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan.

Before Jesus is baptized however, we hear the words of John the Baptist as he points out the Person of Jesus. They are the same words that we hear repeated at every single Holy Mass. As the priest holds up Jesus, newly born on the altar at the words of the consecration by the power of the Holy Spirit, the priest echoes these words of the St John, “Behold the Lamb of God, Behold Him who takes away the sins of the world.”

Because we hear it so often we can easily lose the meaning and the truth behind these marvelous words. At Christmas, and at every Christ-Mass, Jesus comes again, in the flesh, in order to take away not only the sins of the world, but our sins—yours and mind. With out this taking away of sins, the world would be totally without hope, and you and I would be lost.

This is the true meaning of Christmas, that the almighty and all powerful God, the very God who made everything out of nothing, who fashioned the galaxies and their stars, Who continues to hold everything in existence—including us, the Mighty God before whose holiness we are totally unworthy to approach, this same God, in His unfathomable love for us, came to us not as an unapproachable frightening Deity, but as an approachable little babe. And even more, in the Holy Eucharist this same God—Immanuel (God still with us through the Sacraments), continues to come to us as one of us. And He comes to us not as a divine judge in order to justly condemn us for our sins, but as the Divine Mercy of the Father in order to forgive us, heal us, save us; to take away our sins and take us to Himself.

This is the deeper meaning behind the incredible words of today’s Gospel…”Jesus takes away our sins.” He doesn’t, as wrongly said Martin Luther and so many other theologians after him, just cover our sins with His righteousness as “snow covers over a pile of dung.” No, it is much more than that. Jesus takes our sins away, and by doing so, creates a new creature. Not only is the outer sinful man covered over, but his inner being is renewed, redeemed, sanctified, recreated, reborn and made holy—thus restoring the likeness of God in the person and elevating and uniting the nature of the person to the Divine Nature of God Himself.

The baptism of Jesus then points to our own baptism. At our baptism not only were our sins taken away but we were rebirthed, becoming literally the adopted sons and daughters of God Himself. At our baptism we began, to literally share in the Divine Nature, the Nature of God Himself—we began to not only to be able to worthily approach God, but to actually become one with Him in a union of Love. Imagine, God makes us one with Himself.

As I visit the sick here at the hospital, I love to use Holy Water. I usually begin with a Holy Water Joke like, “How do Catholic’s make holy water? We boil the hell out of it!....But then after, and seriously, I ask the question. Why does Holy Water work? Why does the devil hate it?

Holy Water works because of our faith in our baptism. And the devil hates it, because when it is used in faith (it must be used in faith, it is not magic) it reminds the devil of our baptism. Before the devil fell, he was the highest of all angels. In someway God revealed to satan and the other angels that He—God, was going to take us humans and literally share with us God’s own nature, making us adopted sons and daughters of God, who would then become truly Our Father who art in Heaven. To satan this was impossible to accept; it was too beneath God to even think such a thing, much less bring it about. Thus satan rejected the very mercy of God and so rejected the Fatherhood of God.

Well satan was right in a sense; “it is way beneath God to be Our Father, and to send us His own Son by Nature to take on our nature in order die for us in order to take away our sins. And it is even more, way, way more beneath God (what a understatement) to make us through baptism of water and the Holy Spirit, His own adopted children, sharing with us His Divine Nature. But in His Love and Mercy He nevertheless does so as a totally unmerited gift. This is why Holy Water burns the devil; He suffers because of who we are…And who are we? We are the sons and daughters of the Almighty God Himself!!!

Sadly for some religions they too reject this notion of God as our Father and we as his beloved Children. Not only do they reject it as impossible and to far beneath the majesty of God, but some even consider such a notion as blasphemous. For them, God is not Father but our Master, and we are not His beloved children, but His slaves. But contrarily, Jesus has come to reveal to us the truth about God and the truth about us. He has come not to call us slaves, but friends (cf. Jn 15;15…and to tell us, that God is our Father (cf. Mt. 23;9) and we, through our baptism and the faith it brings, become His beloved children.

And so, the frequent use of holy water with faith should remind us of our baptism, and our baptismal promises—when we (or our parents on our behalf), rejected satan and all of his empty promises, so as to live as the children of God (cf. Baptismal Rite). If we really knew what it meant for us to be children of God we would surely die of joy. Again, it is the incredible gift of our baptism that makes this possible.

How the gift of our baptism should then leads us to desire to live our lives more fully as children of God. How we should have frequent recourse to the Sacrament of confession for post-baptismal sin. How we should dread mortal sin, which is the one the thing that we can do that overturns the miracle of our baptism and separates us from the love of the Father. And if we should fall into mortal sin, how we should not hesitate to run to Christ, Who is the Divine Mercy of the Father in Person; Christ, Who in the sacrament of Confession, working through the person of the priest, is able to restore the grace of our baptism along with offering us those special helps and healings in order to sin no more and so no longer offend our Beloved Father in Heaven. It is in confession by the way, that we allow the Father, through Jesus working through the sacred priesthood, to love us more.

Today we are again reminded, that Jesus continues to take away the sins of the world, our sins, yours and mine, but only if we permit Him to do so. And we do this by accepting His Mercy through the repentance and confession of our sins. Then we can offer more and more fully, beginning at this Holy Mass, our complete self in love to the Father, through the Son, becoming one with them in the love and the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen. Holy Mary Mother of God and Mother of the sons and daughters of God—Our Mother, pray for us sinners who have recourse to thee. Amen.