Friday, June 27, 2014

You Are Sacred to the Lord, Your God

Today we celebrate the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a feast about love poured out without reserve. Jesus’ heart was pierced upon the cross. Blood and water flowed from His Sacred Heart, a heart so filled with love for humankind, for you and me,  that Jesus willingly accepted His passion and death to save us from eternal death.  In the first reading of today’s liturgy, Dt 7: 6-11, and from the cross, God says to us personally:
  • You are…sacred to the Lord, your God
  •   …[God] has chosen you from all the nations on the face of the earth to be a people peculiarly his own
  • …the Lord set his heart on you and chose you, for you are really the smallest of all nations. It was because the Lord loved you and because of his fidelity to the oath he has sworn to your…[ancestors] that he brought you out with his strong hand from the place of slavery, and ransomed you from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.
On the cross, God brought you and me out with his strong hand from the place of slavery, and ransomed us from the hand of Satan, from his lies and his determination to snare us in such a way that we alienate ourselves from God for all eternity.  No way would God allow that to happen. God  would go to any extent to save us from Satan's lies and from eternal damnation, sending His Son to show us God’s love and determination to keep us as His own!

Have I set my heart on God as God has set His heart on me? Do I realize that I am sacred to the Lord, my God?  Do I grasp the fact that God has chosen me to be peculiarly His own?  How grateful am I that God has sent His only begotten Son, who was obedient to the Father unto death, to save me from  my disobedience to the Father’s will?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

God's Desire That We Build a Relationship with Him

In today’s Gospel, Mt 7: 21-29, Jesus says “I never knew you,” to those who do all kinds of things in his name: casting out demons, prophesying, performing mighty deeds and yet do not take the time to develop a personal relationship with the Lord.   If I spend all my time doing great things for the Lord but do not share my life, my thoughts and feelings, my hopes and dreams, my fears and weaknesses, my secrets  with the Lord, as one does with a friend, I have, in fact,  alienated myself from the Lord.  I have, in the words of the Gospel, built my house upon sand. “The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”  On the other hand, I have a choice to accept Jesus’ invitation to become one with Him as He and the Father are one, intimately connected in word and in deeds, so that what the Father does and thinks, the Son also does and thinks; what the Father wills, the Son also wills. They are one in mind, heart and will, knowing each other intimately. That is our call, as well, as disciples of Christ. I pray that you and I have the wisdom, the humility, and the courage, each day, to take time to intimately share our life with the Lord in prayer and in deed! May we wisely put our relationship with the Lord first and then let our good works flow from that relationship.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Being Made Glorious in the Sight of God

Today is the feast of St. John the Baptist. We read in the first reading, Isaiah 49: 1-6, that God created John the Baptist, and all of us, in order that God’s glory would shine through us.  From the beginning of our conception, through birth and until death, God is at work in us, making us “a light”  to others, an instrument in God’s hands whereby God’s “salvation reach[es] to the ends of the earth”. We are,  the prophet Isaiah  tells us, “made glorious in the sight of the Lord”.   By Jesus’  becoming sin for us and destroying sin’s power by his death and resurrection, we are made glorious in the sight of the Lord.
Like King David, “a man after…[God’s] own heart,” (Acts 13:22), we, too,  are being transformed day by day into a person after God’s own heart.” That is the free gift of redemption.  John is the one who calls us to repentance in order that we will be prepared for this God-gift, a gift of love and forgiveness.    Like John, we are growing and becoming “strong in spirit” (cf. Luke 1: 57-66, 80) as we traverse the desert earth until the “day of [God’s] manifestation”  to us. That manifestation comes to us through the Scriptures, the Eucharist, the sacrament of reconciliation, and the God revelations in the events and encounters of each day to those who live by faith and not by sight.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Rejecting God's Covenant and the Consequences

Our salvation history begins in the Old Testament and is culminated in the New Testament with the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, who, unlike Israel, was obedience to and trusting the Father unto death.  The pattern of sin, of disobedience and lack of trust ,  which dominates the Old Testament stories continues to this very day: silence (not passing one’s faith on to one’s children),  sin (choosing one’s own will over God’s will), punishment (suffering the consequences of sin, of abandoning God’s ways), supplication (begging for help to be freed from one’s slavery to sin, to worshipping one’s own will, the will of other people when that will is opposed to God’s ways),  God’s mercy and forgiveness, and a return to the Lord.  The cycle repeats itself over and over and over again.  We read in today’s first reading, 2 Kings 17: 5-8, 13-15a, 18, that the Northern Kingdom, the ten tribes of the Israelites “rejected …[God’s| statues, the covenant which he had made with their…[ancestors], and the warnings which he had given them ,[through the prophets], till, in his great anger against Israel, the Lord put them away out of his sight. Only the tribe of Judah (the  two tribes known as the Southern Kingdom) was left.

Will we heed the prophets in our day, prophets like Pope Francis, our pastors, those in our midst who do heed God’s laws, who do  listen to God’s voice? Or will we, like the 10 Northern tribes, reject God’s ways> Will we  risk being “put…away out of…[God’s] sight”  forever? With the psalmist in today’s liturgy’s responsorial psalm , Ps. 60, we pray:  “O God, …rally us! You have rocked the country and split it open; repair the cracks in it, for…[our world, our country, society as a whole] is tottering. You have made your people feel hardships; you have given us stupefying wine. Have not you, O God, rejected us, so that you go not forth, O God, with our armies [of destructive weapons or with our idolatry of money and economic security that is used to crush poorer nations and poorer people]? Give us aid against the foe [of materialism, capitalism, individualism, selfishness, and greed], for worthless is the help of [other human beings, other nations].”

Saturday, June 21, 2014

God's Faithfulness in our Fickleness

In today’s first reading, 2 Chronicles 24: 17-25,  we learn of King Joash’s abandonment of Yahweh’s covenant with the Chosen People.  He led the Chosen People in forsaking the temple of the Lord and in beginning to serve idols.  Because of their crimes, wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem.  Through Zachariah, the prophet, God confronted Joash, asking him: “Why are you transgressing the Lord’s commands, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have abandoned the Lord, he has abandoned you.”   

The cycle of sin and redemption repeats itself over and over again with the Chosen People and with us.  We choose to go our own way at times, abandoning the ways of God. Sin always leads to suffering of some kind. When things get bad enough, we beg God for help: save us, O God, from the misery  that surrounds and invades us, even into our very being as we feel depressed, empty and lost. That plea for help may seem to fall on deaf ears; silence can become oppressive.  In sincerely repenting, God shows his mercy and love for His wayward children. No matter how far we might have strayed, God brings us back to righteousness and right ways.  For a time, we remain faithful and then fall again.

O,  the mercy and the love of God, who,  in today’s responsorial psalm, says to us: “Forever I will maintain my love for [you,]  my servant….Forever I will maintain my kindness toward…[you]….my mercy I will not take from…[you], nor will I belie my faithfulness” (Psalm 89).

Friday, June 20, 2014

Heaven's Treasures to Which God Leads Us

In today’s first reading, 2 Kings 11: 1-4, 9-18, 20, we have an example of what Jesus warns us against in the Gospel; namely, not to store up treasures on earth.  Athaliah,   whose  only son, the heir to the throne, dies, orders that all of the members of the royal family be put to death. She then assumes the throne.  However, one of the princes who would have been slain is whisked away and hidden in the temple.   Later, he is brought forth and crowned king.  Athaliah panics on hearing the excitement and joy of the people on the occasion of his crowning.  “Treason,” she screams, as she is led away to her death. The altars to Baal are destroyed and the covenant of the Chosen People is restored:  the “covenant  between the Lord as one party and the king and the people as the other, by which they would be the Lord’s people; and another covenant, between the king and the people.”

Whenever we seek power through deception and violence to other people, our plans come to naught, as we read in the psalms.  God alone is King. God alone deserves our tribute. His will is the highest will. No earthly power will usurp God’s authority.
When I asked the Lord to speak to me personally about the Gospel message to store up treasure in heaven, not on earth, the response I heard in prayer was:

Dorothy  Ann , store up treasure in heaven by living a humble life, a life of loving obedience to the Spirit’s lead, by surrendering to the will of the Father as I reveal it to you in the ordinary tasks of the day, invitations to give of yourself to My purposes each day. I will reveal those to you as each day unfolds.  Let your focus be on Me, your God, not on material gains or earthly treasures. My will always leads you to refreshing waters, to green pastures.  Be not deterred by Satan’s lies: “This is too difficult” or “I’m too tired,” or “I don’t know how to bring that about,” as I never ask any thing of you that is beyond your abilities instilled with my power.”

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Jesus' Instructions on How to Pray

In today’s Gospel, Mt 6: 7-15, Jesus  teaches His disciples, that is us, how to pray, directing us not to babble on in prayer with lots and lots of words.  I might do that in the hope that I will truly be heard.  In other words, knowingly or unknowingly, I am attempting to manipulate God to do as I say. However, Jesus says to us: Don’t multiply words in prayer; there is no need to do that.  Why? Because “Your Father knows what you need before you ask.” How, then, should you and I be praying?  Jesus then teaches us the Our Father.
“Our Father”—I am acknowledging God as my father, my abba, my daddy in heaven!
“Hallowed be thy name”—a phrase of reverence,  a statement of praise. This is God. I am only a human being created by God, who willed His creation of me to carry on a specific purpose of His here on earth.
“Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done”—I am acknowledging God’s Kingdom as a reign He wants to happen here on earth in accordance to His will and as it exists in heaven.

So, in the first part of the “Our Father” I address God and acknowledge what belongs to God: reverence and  praise and that God is Ruler/King of heaven and earth with a perfect plan to be brought about on earth as in heaven: heaven is a place of joy, peace, order, serenity, justice, where there are no slaves, no inequalities, no lording it over one another, no divisiveness. That is His will for us on earth as well but He needs us to carry out that will.

 In the second half of the Our Father,  Jesus instructs us to pray for ourselves.  We ask for our daily bread (like the Israelites in the desert where God fed them one day at a time). We also ask forgiveness for the ways in which we do not live the first part of the Our Father. And finally, we pray that we will  not be led into temptation that Satan throws at us. We ask that God deliver us from the evil Satan wills for us, that is, separation from God for all eternity, beginning here on earth.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Spirit-directed or ego-directed Motivations

Today’s Gospel, Mt 6: 1-1, 16-18, opens with “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise,  you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.”  As I think of that statement, the thought that rises in my mind is “what about the proclamation of saints?” Do we not hold up the saints for people to emulate? Do we not need people here on earth whose actions motivate us to do likewise: forgive others, do good to others, do not fuel discontent, confront injustices, reach out to the poor and the destitute?  So why does Jesus say to us: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them”?  Obviously there is a difference. In the one, I am seeking to be seen. I am seeking accolades. I am being ostentatious. In the latter, others are holding up the person and encouraging me to follow that person’s example of goodness.  So I need to be aware of my motives. Why am I doing what I am doing? Is it to give glory to God, to help the person in need, to live the Gospel message and imitate Christ in the way that He lived among us?  Such motivation flows from the Spirit within me.  Behaving ostentatiously flows from the ego within me that wants to be on its throne and “worshipped.”  I then become an idol, usurping the glory that belongs to God and God alone. Pride is fueling my actions in those cases whereas, in the other, grace is empowering me to do good for God’s sake and the sake of the other.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

God Perfecting Us

“Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:43-48).  As I prayed over this Scripture passage and recalled last night’s faith-sharing session with the Sisters with whom I live, the thought occurred to me that, in our younger years, when, as novices in training for religious profession, we were told to strive for perfection, we were focusing incorrectly.  Why? Because, for me, the focus was on me, not on
God.  God alone is capable of bringing us to perfection. Without God at work perfecting us in His love, we are incapable of reaching any kind of perfection.

I asked myself in prayer how God is perfect. The following thoughts surfaced, namely, that God is perfect:

·         In love,

·         In compassion,

·         In fidelity to His promises,

·         In forgiveness,

·         In mercy,

·         In justice,

·         In truthfulness,

·         In respect for our freedom,

·         In knowing when we have chosen a path that does not lead to freedom.

I then asked God to show me how his perfection reveals itself in my life. The following response was given to me:

·         In your desire for perfection,

·         In the fact that I never  abandon you when you go astray. I am faithful to who I am:

o   A God of compassion,

o   A God of love,

o   A God of truth,

o   A God of mercy,

o   A God who is ever-present,

o   A God who is ever-knowing,

o   A God who is ever-loving,

o   A God who is ever-merciful,

o   A God who is ever-generous,

o   A God who is ever accepting, quick to show mercy and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and fidelity.
Thank you, Lord, for this reminder of what it means to “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Friday, June 13, 2014

God's Presence in Elijah's Life and Ours

Elijah is running for his life and God is running with him all of the way! Elijah’s life belongs to God, as does ours. He came from God and will be returning to God, as is true for us as well.  Not one moment of his life is his, but God’s.  Everything about him is God’s, as with us.  Elijah has dedicated himself to God, giving God the right to himself. God worked miracles through him because of that dedication and the giving of his right to himself to God.  When we allow ourselves to be God’s in the way Elijah did, giving God the right to ourselves, “He will make a holy experiment out of you—and His experiments always succeed. The one true mark of a saint of God is the inner creativity that flows from being totally surrendered to Jesus Christ. In the life of a saint there is this amazing Well, which is a continual Source of original life.  The Spirit of God is a Well of water springing up perpetually fresh. A saint realizes that it is God who engineers his circumstances; consequently there are no complaints, only unrestrained surrender to Jesus….” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, June 13th).

One of our Sisters died this week. One of the night nurses who stayed with her most nights for a significant amount of time states that Sister never complained. Is it possible that she had given the right to herself to the Lord?  What about you and me? Are we willing to give up this right? Do we trust God that deeply, that lovingly?  When I think of us coming to that point in our spiritual journey, I think of the following persons right off the top of my head:  Mother Frances, the Foundress of my religious community who is a candidate for sainthood, Mother Teresa, Kateri Tekawitha, Dorothy Day, my own mother and, in general, parents serving their spouses and children. That giving of the right to themselves to their families, I believe, is also a giving of their right to themselves to God. No wonder that we see saints-in-the-making all around us!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Keeping Hope Alive

In today’s first reading, Elijah is certain that God will break the long famine that has descended upon the land.  Like us when our earth is scorched  weeks on end with no rain in sight, Elijah keeps hoping.   Seven times the Lord directs Elijah to climb to the top of Carmel and look out to the sea. Every time, except the seventh, he reports nothing.  How often does it not seem as though “the parched deserts” our lives  are not going to receive the needed “rain,” yet we keep looking, hoping, believing that  the desired change will come, that things will get better, that God will not let us down. And we know that, even in the midst of the worst of droughts. Maybe a child is into drugs or is abusing alcohol, bad choices are being made again and again and again. And the Lord keeps  nudging us, as He did Elijah: “Look again.”  “Don’t give up hope.”  

The seventh time, Elijah reported, “There is a cloud as small as a man’s hand rising from the sea.”  The rains did come--in torrents. Something as small as that cloud rises on the horizon of our lives. Our hope is sparked and we say to our  family members, our friends, the members of our religious communities: Don’t give up! Things are going to change. I can see it. I feel it.  I know it even though I  cannot explain it. I just know that God is at work in that situation, as bleak as it might look right now!”  Beyond a doubt, that “sealed stone”  will be removed and the “dead” will be raised. Beyond a doubt, the “chains” that bind that person will be broken, the deaf ears will be restored to hearing, the blindness to sight, the hardness to softness. We just know it because that is the way our God works.

Lord, never let me lose hope no matter how bleak a situation may appear within or outside of myself. You are always at work beneath the surface, in the core of my being and in the depths of any situation. Help me always believe in your power to right wrongs, to transform parched deserts, to make parched hearts fertile, and to bring me or anyone else back from wayward directions one might be choosing.  I ask this in Jesus’ name.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Fulfillment of the Law of Love: Jesus' Example and our Challenge

Today’’s Gospel, Mt. 5: 17-19,  opens with Jesus  saying to us:  “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law…I have come not to abolish but to fulfill….”  In Luke 10:27, a rich young man wants to know what he needs to do to inherit eternal life and Jesus  asks  him:     "What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?" The rich young man replies:  YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.,"    Jesus replies,   "You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE."

Jesus fulfills the law, loving God the Father with his whole heart, with all his soul and with all his strength and with all his mind and his neighbor as Himself. He fulfills the law and teaches us to do the same.

Am I following Jesus’ footsteps? Do I realize that the reason I am here is to fulfill the law of love, beginning with love of self. If I do not love myself, I am not capable of loving others. “Love your neighbor as yourself,” the commandment says!  If I hate myself, if I disdain myself, if I am agitated with myself, if I put myself down, am not pleased with myself, my self-hatred, self-anger, self-disgust, self-dissatisfaction will be projected on to others. I will relate to others negatively, jealously, enviously. I will not be able to rejoice in others if I am not capable of rejoicing in self.  “Do unto others as you do unto yourself.”  “Love others as you love yourself.”


Monday, June 9, 2014

God's Directions!

In today’s first reading, 1 Kings 17: 1-6, the Lord tells Elijah to “go hide in the Wadi  Cherith, east of the Jordan. You shall drink of the stream, and I have commanded ravens to feed you there.” Elijah does just as  the Lord’s commanded.  “He went and remained by the Wadi Cherith, east of the Jordan. Ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the stream, safe from his pursuers who were seeking to harm him.
Elijah certainly had the freedom to go his own way and not seek shelter in Wadi Cherith and believe that ravens would feed him there.  That sounded, I suspect, pretty outlandish.  God is that way, though. Some of the things the Spirit  directs us to do may sound outlandish, irrational, in fact. “Do what?” we may ask.  Especially when it comes to a vocation to priesthood or religious life and, maybe in the choice of a spouse or “the command” to begin serious dating or, even, to choose to remain single.  Or it may be in choosing a major or a minor in college or which college to attend. Or, again, it may be in choosing a job offer. “What,” our friends may ask, “are you thinking? That’s not a good fit for you, “ and on and on. Yet, in our heart of hearts, we go the “Wadi Cherith” of our lives, to the place the Spirit is directing us to go, even though our family or friends do not understand our choice.

What we do know in faith is that the Lord is directing us!  When we feel the Spirit’s gentle nudge, nothing else matters.  And many times we are as surprised, as I believe Elijah was, “ravens” bring us “bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening.”  And we “drink from the stream” of grace that pours into our believing, trusting hearts.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Reflection on Pentecost

Pleased God to give His only begotten Son to save us and through whom to send us the Spirit.

Every day God sends the Spirit to lead us to the truth.

Never does God stop loving us.

To this very moment God is imminent and intimately involved in every detail of our lives.

Especially in the midst of the turmoil of our lives, God is there to save.

Caringly, God watches over us.

Obediently, Jesus became sin for us that we might become the holiness of God in Him and through Him and with Him.

Standing by our side, the Trinity keeps us from the Evil One.

Truly, there is no God like our God, who complete Jesus’ mission with the sending of the Holy Spirit to be with us until the end of time.

O, the greatness, the goodness, the love of our God, who, in creation made the world and all that is in it in God's image and to image God on earth.

O, the love of our God expressed for us in the total obedience of His Son, who gave His life for our ransom.

O, the fidelity and humility of our God, who sent the Holy Spirit to us on Pentecost to guide us to all truth, to sanctify us and to strengthen us to follow God's lead in all the events of our lives until we become totally one with God and take our places with Jesus in heaven.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Follow Me!

In today’s first reading, Acts 28: 16-20, 30-31, we encounter Paul under house arrest for two years in Rome. He clearly presented His case and then makes the best of his situation.  “…with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the Kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ” to anyone who came to him during those two years.  In the Gospel, John 21:  20-25, Peter asks Jesus about “the disciple following whom Jesus loved”. Jesus response to Peter was: “What concern is it of yours? You follow me.” 
It is so easy to get entangled in another person’s life instead of following Jesus. As I was complaining to Jesus in prayer this morning about a situation not in my control, the Lord made it clear to me that another person’s life or circumstances are not to be my concern,  that I am to follow Him, put my own life in order and not order someone else’s. “I am your Lord and Master, your Direction, as I am for each person. Follow Me. Keep your focus on Me. Concern yourself, not about others. They belong to me. Unless you are a parent, you are not to be minding another person’s business. I do that. Your role is that of Mary’s at Cana; namely, be attentive to need, to embarrassment, to shame, that which is lacking. Alert me, not because I’m not aware but because you are not their Lord and God. It is not your job to interfere in the other person’s personal  life.” 
It is also easy to get bogged down with circumstances that are unpleasant and even unjust. Paul teaches us to make our point and then to focus on our mission, that of proclaiming the Kingdom of God by our lives—use words, if necessary,  St Francis of Assisi tells us—and teaching others about Jesus.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Do You Love Me?

In today’s Gospel, John 21: 15-19, Jesus meets his disciples on the shore of Tiberius.  Things had, supposedly settled down! Yes, Jesus has appeared to some of them a few times after the resurrection and they knew that He would soon be leaving them. It had to be a depressing time for them. What were they to do when Jesus actually left them and returned to His Father. Simon says: “I’m  going fishing” and several of his companions join him. What else is there to do? The simplest choice was to go fishing, something with which they were very familiar and enjoyed.  It could be a distraction from the depressing situation in which they found themselves.
You and I  certainly can identify.  There have  been many down times in our lives  when we have  chosen to do the familiar, that which would distract us from “What do I do now? I feel depressed, uncomfortable. I need to get away from it all.”  We may have not gone fishing but resorted to that most familiar to us, that which would turn our attention away from the stresses of life for a while.
Jesus meets the disciples at the end of that fishing trip, prepares breakfast for them and then has a conversation with Simon Peter in which He asks Him three times: “Do you love me?” Remember,  Peter denied Jesus three times and He is gently reminding Him and challenging Him to think about his relationship with Jesus. Does Peter  really love Jesus?  Jesus does not give up on Peter. He remains committed to His request that Peter head the Church. Peter’s failures do not deter Jesus’ resolve.  No matter how many times we deny Jesus in a given day—giving in to temptation and not following the Spirit’s lead—Jesus does not give up on us either. He remains firm in His asking us to love Him, to be His hands and heart and feet in the service of others, in fulfilling the purpose for which we were created: to glorify the Lord God by our lives.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

You are a gift to Jesus from His Father

In today’s Gospel, John 17: 20-26, Jesus says to His Father, and ours:  “…they [you and I] are your gift to me.”  Hear Jesus saying to you: “You are the Father’s gift to me.”  All of us, young and old, married or unmarried, single or divorced, lesbian or homosexual, heterosexual or transsexual, white or black, Hispanic or Asian, Native American or African American or any other nationality, homeless or sheltered, mentally or physically ill, want to hear someone say to us: you are a gift to me. Every husband and wife wants to hear that from each other.   In today’s Gospel, it is Jesus saying to each one of us: You are a gift to me from my Father.  Each person, no matter how ugly we may think we are or we may think another is: Jesus says “You are a gift to Me from my Father.”  Jesus prays to the Father that we may “all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us.” What a prayer!   And it will not go unanswered! And again He prays:  “…may they  be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.”  Perfection will be ours and will be culminated in eternity. We are on the road, through Christ Jesus, that leads us to perfection in Him, through Him, and with Him.  What a glorious heritage, bought at the price of Jesus death, resurrection and ascension into heaven, from whence the Spirit of God is sent to dwell within each of us!

Praise God!                         

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Consecrated--Made Holy and One with God--by Christ Jesus

Both readings of today’s liturgy, Acts 20: 28-38 and John 17: 11b-19, are farewell discourses. Paul is saying goodbye to the people he served and to whom he proclaimed the Good News of salvation. Jesus is saying goodbye just before going to the Garden of Gethsemane where He accepted His Father’s will to shed His blood for our salvation and to show us the depth of God’s love for us.

I am blown away by Jesus’ final prayer for us. He asks His Father, His Abba, and ours, to “keep” us in His “name that you have given me, so that they may be one just we are one.”   Jesus is praying that we may be one with the Trinity as the Persons of the Trinity are one with each other. In no way will the Father not answer Jesus’ prayer. His request will be granted. We, as God’s adopted children, are in the process of realizing our oneness with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We have the choice of saying “yes” to this gift that Jesus wants for us! 

Jesus reminds the Father that those the Father has given to Him He has guarded and that none of them have been lost. He says to the Father: “I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.”  May we let those words sink into our very beings: you and I do not belong to this world!  Jesus then goes on to say to the Father: “I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the Evil One….Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth….I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.” Remember we are one with Jesus, who dwells in our very being so in Jesus’ consecration, we, too, are consecrated.

Wow! What an awesome God!  May you and I live up to the dignity that Jesus has secured for us by the shedding of His blood and His consecration of us.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Glorifying God on Earth

“Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you….I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began,” we read in today’s Gospel.  In Acts 20: 17-27, Paul also confidently states his faithfulness to carrying out God’s will. He says:  “I served the Lord with all humility and with the tears and trials that came to me because of the plots” of those who opposed my teaching them about Jesus. I…earnestly bore witness…to [my]faith” in Christ Jesus.  There, in a nutshell, is our calling as baptized Christians.  Hopefully at the end of our lives, we, too, will be able to say to our Creator: “I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began.”  Our  work is no different than the Lord’s was, namely, to “reveal…[God’s]  name to those whom…[God gives to us] and to give to others what God has given to us: forgiveness, love, confidence, strength, hope, faith in Christ Jesus.  Also, our work is the same as that which the Lord gave Paul to do, namely, to serve “the Lord with all humility and to bear witness to our faith in Christ Jesus amid the tears and trials” that are part of life here on earth.  May you and I rise to the occasion to be true disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ so that others may know, as they did about Jesus, that we come from God and will be returning to God at the end of our lives.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Co-conquers with the Lord

In today’s Gospel, John 16: 29-30,  the disciples proudly say to Jesus: “Now you are talking plainly, and not in any figure of speech.  Now we realize that you know everything and that you do not need to have anyone question you. Because of this we believe that you came from God.” And Jesus responds with something that today might sound like: “OH, yeah. In just a short period you will all scatter. You will even deny me and one of you will betray. Yes, when it gets hot in the kitchen you will all scram for ‘cooler’ ground and leave me to myself.”  As I reflected briefly on that passage, I couldn’t help but think of times when, in the excitement of some success or some celebratory event, I, too, loudly proclaimed my belief in Jesus. I was hype with excitement, unreserved  in my love for the Lord, willing to do anything to build up the kingdom. And then the storm came.  Where was my faith then? Why did my willingness to do anything for Jesus, no matter what the cost, wane, sag, decline?  Were there not times when I simply said: “I’ve had enough, Lord.” “I can’t take it anymore.” “It’s too hard, Lord.” “I’m too tired, too old” or “I’m too young, too ignorant, don’t have enough education.”  “I’m afraid I will fail, Lord. I won’t do well enough. I’m not good enough, strong enough, etc. etc. etc.!” At times like those have I forgotten that God is with me, lives in me, as He lived in Jesus. When I shy away from doing that which seems difficult have I not forgotten Jesus words at the end of this Gospel: “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” In Christ Jesus, you and I are conquerors of those excuses that want us to believe we are alone and incapable of that to which the Lord calls us as co-conquerors of this world’s evil and of Satan’s deceitful messages.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Promise of the Spirit

In today's second reading, Eph 1: 17-23, St. Paul prays that the "God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give...[us] a Spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him. May the eyes of...[our] hearts be enlightened," Paul prays.

 Note the words "the eyes of our hearts."  Those eyes are different from the eyes on our faces, so to speak.  The "eyes of our hearts" are inward eyes, eyes from the depth of our beings, eyes of faith whereby we grow in our knowledge of Jesus  and of "the hope that belongs to...[God's] call, what are the riches of glory in ...[God's] inheritance"  (Eph. 1: 17-23). Functioning from that depth of faith is the gift of the Spirit promised to the apostles, and to us, by Jesus when He said: "...the Spirit of truth ... will guide you to all truth....", truth of all that He taught while on earth and is contained for us in the Scriptures, is communicated to us by the Spirit living within us and others and which is hidden in all of the events of our lives.  As Jesus tells us in today's Gospel, Mt. 28: 16-20, "I am with you always" and as prophesied by Isaiah: "I have not spoken to you in secret, in a dark place of the earth I did not say to the seed of Jacob 'Seek me in vain'; I, the Lord,...declare things that are right."  And so did Jesus, the Son of God!