Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mary's Visitation

Today we celebrate the feast of Mary’s visitation of Elizabeth, who, according to the angel’s words to Mary, was in her sixth month of pregnancy.  As I reflected on both women, I was touched by two realities:  God removed judgment passed on Elizabeth by others, transforming her barrenness into fruitfulness. At the annunciation, the Incarnate God  removes  judgment from us and restores our relationship with God.   It was God’s plan of salvation  being fulfilled in the Incarnation and in the Visitation.     As Elizabeth recognized Jesus when Mary visited her and the child in her womb leapt for joy, may each of us recognize God’s visitations in our lives. May sin in us not block us from recognizing the Presence of God  that removes judgment and transforms  our “barrenness” into new life,  causing others to “leap” for joy by the Spirit in us touching the Spirit in the other.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ransomed by the Blood of Christ

In today’s first reading, 1 Peter 1: 18-25, Peter says  to us: “Realize that you were ransomed from futile conduct, handed on by your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold but with the precious Blood of Christ as of a spotless unblemished Lamb.”   I imagined Jesus saying to you:

                ______(Your name)________, you are being ransomed today from the futility of

                complaining about others or about situations over which you have no control. I am

                ransoming you today from the slavery of sin, any sin, all sin.  I paid your ransom today

                as I offered my body and blood to God the Father in today’s liturgy, when I reminded

                the Father of the price I paid for you on Calvary, where I was tortured, crucified, taunted,

                pierced, ridiculed, mocked, spit upon, kicked, humiliated in all sorts of ways.

                “I was patient so you would learn patience.

                I was humble so you would learn humility.

                I was forgiving so you would learn to forgive.

                I was silent so you would learn the wisdom of silence in certain situations.

I surrendered to that over which I had no control so you would learn the value of surrender at appropriate times.

I spoke up where appropriate so you would learn the value of speaking your truth.”

Truly, God is a God of our salvation!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Trinity: the model of holiness

In today's first reading, 1 Peter 1: 10-16,  we are admonished to "be holy because I am holy."  We are women and men in the process of being made holy by our Lord and Savior. To grow in holiness, Jesus sent us the Spirit, the bond of love and unity that characterizes the Trinity.  The Father and the Son give of themselves totally to one another.  "The Father and I are one," Jesus tells us in John 10:30.  "I do nothing but what the Father tells me to do" (John 8:12).  The Father and the Son function in complete harmony with each other, are equal to each other and respect this equality of beingness.  Without equality of persons, there is no unity.  When anyone of us functions from a position of superiority to another, from a position of "I'm smarter than, better than, more powerful than, more educated than the other, more capable than, more whatever",  unity is thwarted.  "...only in the life of communion is unity sustained and human identity fulfilled" (Pope Benedict XVI, "Three Insights about the Holy Spirit," Magnificat, Vol. 14, No. 3/May 2012, p. 372)--a challenge for  all adults, no matter in what vocation or in what career one is called to "be holy as I am holy,"  to live the life of communion modeled by the Trinity.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Treating all people well

 This morning as I enjoyed my morning coffee out on the deck, I was blessed with reading “The collected wisdom of Michelle Obama” in the Reader’s Digest,  Dec. 2011/an 2012.   What caught my eye was the statement: “You have to practice  success.  Success doesn’t just show up. If you aren’t practicing success today, you won’t wake up in 20 years and be successful, because you won’t have developed the habits of success, which are small things like finishing what you start, putting a lot of effort into everything you do, being on time, treating people well.”

 The Spirit challenged me about treating all people well—all people: those who  help us with mechanical problems we are unable to solve, those who keep our cars running smoothly, our computers updated, our printers top notch machines, those who assist us when we travel, city workers, firemen/women, pastors, garbage technicians, etc.   

The thought stayed with me: God is not going to ask you, Dorothy Ann, how busy you have been or even how successful you have been, but how loving and caring and compassionately you have treated anyone with whom you interact on any given day! 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Plugging into the bigger picture

In this morning’s meditation from The Word among Us, April 2-May 31, 2012, we are reminded to focus on the bigger picture, namely that God is with us until the end of time, that God dwells within us and is nearer to us  and more conscious than we are  of who we are, what we are doing, what we are thinking, what is blocking us from realizing our potential and doing the good we are called to do and what needs to change in us to bring us into harmony with the will of God.  Jesus prays for us, as noted in today’s Gospel, John 17: 20-26, saying to His Father:  “….may all be one as you, Father, are in me and I in you,…. and that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”  It is so easy to get stuck in negativism, in brewing upon that which seems wrong in our lives and in the lives of others, in the life of the Church, in our families, in our religious communities that we lose sight of the big picture! 

I began my prayer this morning with a list of complaints, judging myself harshly for a mistake made yesterday. Any wonder, then,  that I felt depressed, discouraged, and out of sorts!   Those negative feelings flow from my negative way of thinking and a negative view of my reality. If I change the way I am thinking, I will change the way I am feeling.  Feelings are energy in motion.  To move lightly, lovingly, confidently through this day, I need to be fueled by positive thinking, by believing, for instance, that God is with me, goes before me, loves me into the moment and sends His Spirit to counsel me wisely and caringly and that the Spirit’s power enters into all that which is weighing me down.  It is up to me to “plug into this kind of outlet” that increases my energy and does not have the power to deplete it. God is a God of abundance, not scarcity!                  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Jesus' prayer for His disciples

In today's first reading, Acts 20: 28-38, Paul says to the church of Ephesus and to us:  "Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, in which you tend the Church of God that he acquired with his own Blood.  I know," Paul says to us,  "that after my departure savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock.'"  In today;s Gospel, John 17: 11b-19, Jesus begs His Father, and ours, to "keep...[us] in...[His] name," to "keep...[us]  from the Evil One," and to "consecrate...[us] in the truth."

The Lord, through St. Paul, is reminding us that, as Church, we are a garden purchased by Jesus' Blood  and by His surrendering His life to the Father even until death on a cross.  The Holy Spirit, Paul tells us in Acts 20: 28-38, has appointed each of us as a gardener.  We have been given the task of cultivating this sacred garden, lovingly tending to it, nurturing it with love, purifying it with forgiveness of self and others and by repentance of our sins, strengthening it with the Word, the sacraments and prayer, and fertilizing it with obedience and trust in our God, our Father, , as Jesus trusted the Father even to death, death on a cross.

Knowing how difficult it would be for us to cultivate this living garden of faith, Jesus, just before going to the Garden of Gethsemane to surrender to his killers, prayed for us.  He asked His Father to keep us in His name and to keep us away from the Evil One, that is from "savage wolves" that would enter the Garden of the Church, that is, that would descend upon our lives. He also asked the Father to consecrate us in the truth, in the Word of God.  God the Father will not disappoint His Son.  Every day He preserves us in His name, guards us from falling into Satan's traps, and consecrates us in truth!What an awesome God!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Glorifying God and being glorified by God

Today’s Gospel, John 17:  1-11a, opens with the phrase:  “Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you….’”  All of us shave been in positions where the dreaded hour has arrived for us to face a situation or an encounter that we would have preferred to avoid.  Perhaps we can learn a great deal from what Jesus said to His Father.  He brings the situation to His Father’s attention, first of all, and then  asked  that  glory be given to himself.  He’s asking to come out of the situation in triumph, not in defeat; glorified, not demonized, not belittled, not shamed.  Imagine going into a situation that is scary with the frame of mind of Jesus. We would certainly approach it with confidence. Also, notice Jesus’ reasoning, namely that he may glorify the Father.  Do I approach the difficulties in my life in order to glorify the Father or do I enter into a difficult situation hoping to defeat the other person/s involved in the situation, to triumph over them and bring defeat to them?  I might want to ask myself “What is my motivation?”  

Friday, May 18, 2012

Your hearts will rejoice

In today’s Gospel, John 16: 20-23, Jesus  says to us:  “…you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you are in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.”

What an image; namely, that you and I are in anguish as we give birth to the image of Christ within us, as we are being reborn into Christ.  There will come a day when you and I will be more Christlike than we now are.  There will come a day when you and I will be more free than we now are,  more patient, more loving, more caring, more prudent, more courageous, more honest, etc.—perhaps  as courageous as St. Paul and all of the apostles who overcame their fear of persecution following Pentecost. Sometimes we triumph because we have let go of our fears and prejudices, our biases and doubts, our angers and resentments  and  no longer put ourselves down  or consider others stronger than ourselves, smarter than myself,  more competent than ourselves as an excuse to not develop our own potential. There will come a day when we won’t care, in the good sense of not caring, and will do whatever the Spirit calls us to do in His name, no matter what the consequences. Yes, we are in anguish, as we truly want to become the persons God has called us to become before we die. Each of us will arrive at that point where we allow no one to take away the joy of doing God’s will, no matter how difficult or how painful that might be. And though we wonder if we will ever be like a Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a St. John the Baptist, a St. Thomas More,  a Dorothy Day, a Nelson Mandella, a Martin Luther King,  a Kateri Tekawitha, or a Mary Magdalen,  or whomever we want to emulate, each of these persons, at one time or another, were where we now are in our transformation.  We are in the process of becoming one with Christ and our efforts will not go unrewarded. “I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice.”

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Going up to the Temple of the heavenly Jerusalem

In  2 Samuel: 7:4, God tells David not to build Him a Temple, saying: “Would you build me a house to dwell in? ... and I will establish his kingdom. ... establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” 

Jesus, a descendant of the royal throne of David and whose Kingdom is eternal,  returns to the glory of His Father today and is seated at the right hand of God.  The eternal Kingdom promised David is fulfilled. The doors to that Kingdom were opened for each one of us by Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.  We are heirs of that Kingdom by God’s choice. It is freely given. Will we accept it and what is asked of us as faithful followers of Christ?

Jesus as the everlasting King, the ruler of the Kingdom of God, is prophesized in 2 Chronicles 36: 22 by Cyrus king of Persia:  “In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia—to fulfill the word of Yahweh through Jeremiah—Yahweh roused the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia to issue a proclamation and to have it publically displayed throughout his kingdom:  ‘Cyrus king of Persia says this, ‘Yahweh, the God of Heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and has appointed me to build him a Temple in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all his people, may his God be with him! Let him go up.’” Jesus goes up to that eternal Kingdom today, from which He came to earth when He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary, the Mother of God.

Jesus’ promise to prepare a place for us is also the promise to make us into a Temple for God. We are being built into that dwelling place every single day. Those of us who believe in Jesus, repent and are converted into Christ will take our places in heaven on the day that Jesus returns to take us where He is.

What an awesome, loving, kind, compassionate, merciful God!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Unknowingly worshipping the one true God

In today’s first reading, Acts 17: 15, 22-18:1, Paul says to the citizens of Athens (and to us):  You Athenians (substitute your nationality),  I see that in every respect you are very religious. For as  we walked around looking carefully at your shrines, I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’ What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you.”    At the very core of our beings is an insatiable thirst for God. The more one denies one’s  thirst and hunger for the Sacred and fails to quench it at the Fountain of Living Waters and at the Living Word of the Eucharist and the Scriptures, the stronger and wilder that thirst and hunger become.  Addictions to anything and anyone grow stronger.  People frantically try to quench the human thirst and hunger for the Divine by that which is not God. Without realizing it, when we are compulsively seeking life apart from God we are, in fact, seeking God, who is the One in whom we live and move and have our being.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Patient Response to Life's Difficult Moments

In today’s first reading, Acts 16: 22-34,we read about Paul and Silas’ arrest, being beaten with rods and put in chained shackles.  They are treated cruelly, shamefully, disdainfully. It is night. No bed. No comforts.  They turn to their faith and spend the night singing, thanking and praising God. Suddenly an earthquake shatters the prison, breaks open their chains and they could be free men. However, they do not escape. The jailor is terrified of his fate when he discovered the prison doors wide open, the chains broken. In his desperation he  is about to commit suicide when Paul yells out: Don’t harm yourself!  God uses Paul and Silas’ heroic faith and love to save the jailor and his family, who turn to Christ, are baptized and minister to Paul and Silas, taking them to his home; treating their beaten, bruised bodies and giving them a meal.

As I reflect on my reactions to things in my life that are irritating, humiliating and distasteful on a much smaller scale than what Paul and Silas went through, I am humbled as I reflect upon their faith response.  I rant and rave at much smaller injustices, far from turning to the Lord in prayerful praise, as Paul and Silas had done.  When life throws me “a curve ball” or all hell breaks loose on my efforts, what if my response flowed out of my faith instead of my anger, my demand for just treatment or my insistence on being treated righteously.  What miracles the Lord could perform!

Monday, May 14, 2012

The "Spirit speaking beforehand"

 Today is the feast of St. Matthias, who replaced Judas.  In today’s first reading, Acts 1: 15-17, 20-26,  we are told that “…the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand….”  If in the time of the early Church, the “Spirit spoke beforehand, ” and God did, don’t you believe that God speaks beforehand in your life and mine as well? I believe that wholeheartedly, not that it is easy to accept God’s providence and designs for our lives, especially when we do not fully understand what God is doing or why God did what God did in the histories of our lives.  But, for instance, we know that when God met Adam and Eve in the garden after they failed to trust Him, He already had a solution for their disobedience, when He announced to Satan: “I will put enmity between you and the Woman, between your offspring and hers. He will crush your head while you will strike at his heel”  (Gen. 3:15).  Satan’s head was crushed by Jesus from the Tree of the Cross, the Tree of Life that replaced the Tree of Good and Evil in the Garden of Paradise.  The plan of salvation is always active. As of old, we, too, move in and out of obedience to God, in and out of truly trusting God.  God does not cause the disasters in our lives, especially not those that are of our own doing, as in the case of Adam and Eve. But God does intervene. He has a plan for our salvation in every event of our lives and the life to the Church today just as in the past when Peter and the first apostles followed Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Rejoice! God is at work in you

The Entrance Antiphon for today's liturgy, May 12, 2012,  reads:   You have been buried with Christ in Baptism, through which you also rose again by faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead, alleluia" (Magnificat, May 2012, Vol. 14, No. 3, p. 147). That led me to say to the Lord:  "Lord, how great Thou art!  In my baptism, You buried me with You and raised me up to a new life of grace!  I was given faith in You, knowing that You are always  at work in me and in the world, transforming us into God's image.  God, who raised You from the dead, raises me each day to new life. Out of the ashes of yesterday, the smolderiung wicks of love dimmed by my selfishness or the reed broken by sin in me (cf. Mt. 12:20) , You recreate me as a stronger person as I sleep through the night. I wake up each morning resurrected by the power of Your Spirit working in me."   Why, O soul, should you ever wake up sad?

Friday, May 11, 2012

God has chosen you to be on His Team

It was not you who chose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain…” (John 15: 16). 

 Whenever I read this passage, I think of the delight a child experiences when chosen to play on a team and is sent out to help her/his team win games.  It’s like saying to the child: “I know that you will make us proud and will help put our name in the record books.”  Or think of a time when you received an acceptance letter to the college of your choice or to the job of your dreams and were welcomed as one who would do great things as part of that organization. 

In the case above, Jesus, the second person of the Blessed Trinity,  God, the all-knowing One, Almighty Goodness, has chosen you and me to be on God’s team.  God expects great things of us, that we will bear fruit that will last eternally.  We read in  1 Cor 13:13 that three things last forever—faith, hope and love—and the greatest of these is love.  Love extends into eternity. We need faith and hope here but not in heaven.  We need faith now, believing that God is with us. We need hope now, hoping as well as believing, that the graces we need to bear fruit that will last is at our doorstep for the asking!

Savor knowing that Jesus has chosen you to be on His team!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

God awesome love and wanting to bond with us

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says to us: “As the Father has love me, so I have loved you”  (John 15:9).          How has the Father loved Jesus?  Jesus, John tells us in John 1:3 is the one through whom everything comes into existence.  To involve the Son in the act of creation reveals God’s love, respect and confidence in Jesus. Jesus’ love of us is similar. In effect, He, too, says to us: “I love you so much that I invite you to be a co-creator with me.  I want to create new life, new hope and a deeper love in the world through you. In fact, I invite you to partner with me in reconciling differences, healing wounds, building bridges between the rich and the poor, the oppressed and the oppressor, the deaf and those who hear (those spiritually deaf), the blind and those who see (again more than physical blindness). Just as the Father said to me at my baptism in the Jordan:  ‘This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,' I say the same to you.  I want to share with you the bond and the love that exists between the Father and Me. We are one. I want to be one with you as well so that "your joy will be complete" (John 15:11).

Are you willing to be Jesus’ partner or do you want to go it alone?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I am the vine; you are the branches (John 15: 5)

“I am the vine and my Father is the vine grower” (John 15: 1-8).  As the vine grower, God cuts off dead branches—that in us that is not bearing fruit or that which impedes our growth in love, truth, compassion, forgiveness of self and others  and interior freedom. God also prunes “branches” that would interfere with the ability within us to function at our highest human potential, becoming one with Christ, being transformed by Christ in all that we do and say, so that we genuinely follow Christ’s  way of relating to those who are downtrodden, oppressed, treated unjustly and/or are scorned by society for any reason.    We are “pruned” so that we become the men and women God intends us to become, that is, persons through whom God’s glory shines, God’s wisdom is known, and God’s love is nurtured. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Living the Christian life--Paul's example

In today’s first reading, Acts 14: 19-28, we read further about the problems Paul encountered in his efforts to spread the Good News about Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension.   Some “Jews from Antioch and Iconium arrived and won over the crowds. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside of the city, supposing that he was dead.   …[When]the disciples gathered around him, he got up…[and] on the following day left with Barnabas for Derbe.  …[T]hey… proclaimed the good news to that city,…made considerable…disciples [of Jesus and then] returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, …[where] they strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in faith, saying, ‘It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.’”

Wow! What inspiration and instruction for us Christians today!  Living the Christian life has always involved obstacles to be overcome, misunderstandings to address, and, yes, persecutions, martyrdom, a dying and a rising with Christ to new life to be endured in faith.  Like Paul, to get up after being down, whether downed by others or by ourselves, we need other disciples, others persons living their faith in Christ, to help us up!  Getting up from whatever problem or tragedy we’ve encountered in being faithful to the Gospel, we, in turn, are called to “proclaim the good news,” make “considerable disciples,” and strengthen “the spirit of [other disciples].  That is what my mother and father have done for me, and, hopefully, for you as well. That is what Mother Frances, the Foundress of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother and many of my fellow religious have also done for me.  Who does that for you and for whom are you a strengthening companion in the faith?

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Power of the Spirit at Work

In today’s first reading, Acts 14: 5-18, Paul and Barnabas are in a dangerous situation and consequently relocate.  That is an important message for all of us. We need to be alert to times when we, too, are in a situation in which we are in danger or stuck. Are we where we will be able to meet our goals? Are we where we will thrive in the Lord, doing that to which God is calling us?  And, if not, what is holding us back from taking action?

The “dangerous” situation could be coming from within, that is, from negative attitudes, from a critical, judgmental self, attitudes of inferiority and low self-esteem. To accomplish what we are capable of becoming because of Baptism—dying to sin and rising to new life with Christ—and Confirmation in which we were given the same Spirit that transformed the disciples from cowards into bold men and women, from “I-can’t” to “I-can” persons.  Following the descent of the Holy Spirit, the disciples boldly assumed their responsibility to spread the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection, even though, around them, was the threat of imprisonment and death.  They knew what they could do empowered by the Spirit of Christ, the Power that raised Jesus from the dead.  What about you and me? Is our faith that strong and active in our lives?  Or are we cowering from that of which we are afraid?

In this same reading, Paul and Barnabas challenged a cripple not to be afraid but to stand up and walk. May we stand up to our potential as followers of Christ.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Connected to our Source

“Remain in me as I remain in you” (John 15:4).  As we walk through parks or even around the properties where we live, invariably we see branches broken off trees.  Their leaves quickly fade. The branch dies. It no longer is capable of bearing fruit or fulfilling the purpose for which it was created.

Like  branches on trees, we, too, are connected to Someone and Something bigger than ourselves, to all of creation, to everything that moves and breathes and has being from the Creator of all.  “For by him (Christ) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him” (Col. 1:16). Apart from Christ, from God, we are incapable of accomplishing the good for which we were created.  “Whoever remains in me,” Christ tells us in today’s Gospel(John  15: 1-8),  and I in him/her will bear much (emphasis mine) fruit, because without me you can do nothing.  The things we do without Christ, disconnected from God, self (our true self) and others in love is not life-giving, not community building, is not of God.  Disconnected, we spread discontent, confusion, chaos and we deepen our emptiness, blow out “smoldering wicks” (Is 42:3) stamp out “budding seedlings,” crush broken spirits and, “yes,” bring death.  Do I want to live isolated from Christ, the Source of my Being? Or do I want to stay connected through the Scriptures, the Eucharist, through striving to love others as God loves me,by showing compassion towards others as God shows compassion toward me?  The choice is mine!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The mighty works of God

We open today's liturgy with the prayer: "O Chosen people, proclaim the mighty works of God, who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light, alleluia."  God has called each one of us out of the darkness of sin and selfishness, fear and hatred, including hatred toward oneself that can be learned from those in our lives who are jealous of us, put us down, reject us, a hatred we can easily internalize.  We have been called into the marvelous world of light, of God's unconditional love, God's justice and peace, God's mercy and forgiveness.  In faith, we know that God waits for the moment that His free gift of redemption is fully realized in each one of us. In faith we also know that Jesus will return to take us up into heaven to reside where He and the Father reign, where there is no more pain and sadness, no more chaos and confusion, no more put downs or rejections, no more self-criticism or harsh rebukes from others whose self-disdain can easily be projected onto us.  O how God longs for that day when we will occupy that special  place that Jesus has gone up to heaven to prepare for us.  O happy fault of Adam that revealed to us God's marvelous love for His Chosen People!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Jesus is King of all the earth

The psalm of today’s liturgy reads:

“I myself have set up my king
 on Zion, my holy mountain.”
I will proclaim the decree of the Lord;
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
This day I have begotten you.”

“Ask of me and I will give you
The nations for an inheritance
And the ends of the earth for your possession.
You shall rule them with an iron rod;
You shall shatter them like an earthen dish.”

And now, O kings, give heed;
Take warning, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice before him;
With trembling rejoice.  (Psalm 2)

That king is Jesus, to whom the Father has given the nations for an inheritance. All the ends of the earth belong to Jesus, who is the ruler of all that exist. All that is not of God shall be destroyed. All that denies God shall not survive the grave!  Evil will not triumph.  The powerful and the arrogant, the proud and the greedy of this world, those who deny justice to the poor, to the widow and to orphans, to the sick and impoverished, the infirm and the needy, those who treat others with disdain and prejudice shall be shattered “like earthen dishes.”    Those, however, who serve the Lord with reverence by serving the poor and destitute, righting  the wrongs of society in which they live, confronting injustices and untruths, proclaiming liberty to captives—in short, living as Jesus lived, obeying the commandments of God and fulfilling the will of the Father—will rejoice with the Lord for all eternity!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Recognizing God in our midst

In today’s Gospel, John 14: 6-14,  Philip just does not get it.  Jesus has just said that to have seen Him is to have seen the Father. Yet Philip asks Jesus to show them the Father and that will be enough for them.  Do you ever run here and there looking for Jesus, looking for the right church, the right homily, the right book,  the right Bible, the right lecture, the right experience, the right person, the right priest and say: “Then I will know what I want to know.” “Then I will have enough.” “Then I will believe.”  And the fact is, God is right in front of our noses: in the people we meet, in the events of our days, within the very depths of our own being and we do not see Him, do not recognize Him, or do not know Him! Jesus works through us and through our neighbor every day. To have seen the good another does, to recognize the good God does through us,  is to see God, as truly as  seeing the work Jesus does is seeing the Father.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Living with our questions

In today’s Gospel, John 10: 22-30, some Jews corner Jesus on the Portico of Solomon and ask Him bluntly: “How long are you going to keep us in suspense. If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”  We are not that much unlike those people wanting their questions, their confusion, their doubts cleared up once and for all.  We do the same thing.  Do we not ask, for instance, how long we have to put up with a distressing situation without any clear cut answers.  Do we not badger each other about how long  we have to wait for better times, for answers to questions about the economy, about war, about terrorism. Do we not corner our spouses and/or our children demand an answer to something about their lives that have been bothering us for a long time.

We want to trust God. We want to have faith. We want to grow in or fall in love. We want to reconcile, or whatever.  But we want “it” instantaneously.  Jesus’ response to the questioning Jews is: I’ve told you already. If you would be observant and pay attention to the works I do, you would know the answer to your questions.  Is it possible that if we would be listening to one another, to innuendos in each other’s behavior, to hints around us, to  the Lord in the Scriptures, to  the Sunday homilies and liturgies, to the events of the day, to the quiet of nature,  to the whisperings of our hearts that we would find the answers to that which throws us into asking a frenzy of questions of each other or of ourselves.  Jesus, I believe, asks us to weigh the evidence before us and not get into forcing answers.  God Himself will not force an answer from us, as He waits for our total self-giving to Himself as Savior and to each other in love and forgiveness.  He waits! He know when we are not ready and respects readiness. Can we do the same?