Monday, August 19, 2013

Conviction and Fire

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/081813.cfm

How do you feel about Jesus' mission? How do you think and feel about Jesus' message? When we get caught up in Jesus' messages of peace, love, joy, and forgiveness don't we allow ourselves sometimes to feel like Jesus is making us feel like we are in the happiest place on earth? Like we're in some sort of magic kingdom? Like everyone is happy all the time and our troubles simply melt away??? With Jesus - yes - sure - absolutely our troubles should melt away because Jesus is our way, our truth and our life!

So the Gospel this weekend seems like quite the departure from all that doesn't it??? Talking about the world being on fire, not peace but division and people in opposition to one another!!! What gives? What can we make of this? Don't we feel just a little uneasy about it? In this "departure" Jesus is asking us to be mindful of two things. First Jesus is reminding us that indeed we have to be people who are fire for the kingdom; people who live our lives with great conviction about our faith. On fire about love. On fire about forgiveness. On fire about our morals. On fire for the Gospel. On fire about our faith. On fire for CHRIST! And so we are called to have great conviction about our faith and live it passionately!!!

Second, there is a cost that comes with being a disciple of Christ. There will be times that we will not always agree or see eye to eye with others, that we will be in opposition with others and thus we pray a price for following Christ. Not everyone in this earth will choose Christ, hence division will be part of the disciple's earthly experience.

I'd like to think this is like the classic division between Coke and Pepsi. Some people may not care but the truth is that some people like Coke and some like Pepsi and they're serious and have convictions about what they like and they're not going to be a convert to the other side! In the same way and even more so, we are to have that strength of convicition of faith. We are called to live out our faith with great conviciton knowing that not everyone will agree, not everyone will go along, but we shouldn't be any less of who Christ calls us to be and how he calls us to follow Him. Not everyone will embrace the baptism with which Jesus is baptized!

At the same time we also need to be aware of the oppositions we let leak into our own lives. Sometimes we choose to see the world and our faith through our own parameters, our own lenses - hence the 80's throwback glasses. Jesus calls us to follow him 100% - completely - and so we have ask ourselves: Am I seeing clearly through the eyes of faith or am I choosing to see in different ways? The cost of disicipleship and the cost of being on fire for Christ means that within ourselves we also have to be honest about how we are choosing to see and use our faith and make sure we are following Christ as he has called us to follow Him and not following Him on our own terms.

This week may we take time in prayer and ask ourselves...

Am I on fire for Christ and the Kingdom of Heaven?

Am I truly doing my best to see with the eyes of faith and not my own?

Am I strong in my convictions about my faith and seek to know more?

Am I taking time to invite the Holy Spirit into my life to strengthen my resolve to follow Christ even if I may not know what exactly it is that I need?

Am I aware that I'm saying yes to Christ and I'm willing to endure the cost of discipleship because I am on a mission, a journey to the true magic kingdom - God's heavenly Kingdom???

Sunday, July 1, 2012

JesusCare

This week has been a tension filled one for our country and our freedoms.

The issue of healthcare is once again center stage but also our freedoms, for if government can compel or penalize us to buy something, in this case healthcare, then what other control will we be "taxed" with? Please read and be informed, check out information for Fortnight for Freedom http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/fortnight-for-freedom/index.cfm I want to be clear that I am NOT against providing quality access to healthcare for all, in fact I believe it is a right, but what I am opposed to is the violation of the 1st Ammendment to the Constitution, compromise of freedom, and the dangerous slope towards socialism that Obamacare has put us on.

Now regardless of where you fall on the debate - pro-Obamacare, pro-Romney, or another solution, WHAT IS IMPORTANT is the right to have quality healthcare. Interestingly enough, this weekend, in scripture we hear about "JesusCare"

In Jesus' healing of Jairus' daughter and the woman with hemorrhages Jesus shows us His power to heal and make us whole. Contrary to what the First Reading tells us today, that we are made for life and to live fully, the truth is that whether it be our fault, the fault of another, or the fault of our circumstances, we have suffering and brokenness in our lives!

We learn that Jesus offers us true life if we but have have faith in Him. However, our faith, our trust in the Lord is something that we must do a check-up on every so often, just like going to the doctor for a check-up on our health, our spiritual health needs the same, if not more, care. We need to examine our trust in God and have an openness to trusting God because unlike a doctor that can, in most circumstances, map out the way to recovery or mitigating a health issue, Jesus' way works in ways that are not always on par with our expectations or assumptions.

When we look at the healed woman, despite the multitude of people that may have touched Jesus, He knew something was different about her encounter with Him. Jesus knew because of her great faith, that she was healed, His power was accessed. Common sense would have said, like the disciples, that it could have been anyone brushing up against Jesus and so to ask such a specific question, "Who touched me," does not make much sense. Again, Jesus knew something was different about the woman's touch and the healing power she accessed.

When we look at Jairus' daugther being healed. Common sense would have said all was said and done, Jairus' daughter was dead but because of Jairu's faith in Jesus, the divine power to heal was accessed, and Jairus' daughter lived. This is another instance where Jesus' healing power was accessed and broke through a troubled situation.

A few things as we live our faith this week, as we take time to access JesusCare! First, may we come to know Jesus' profound desire for us to find healing and wholeness through Him and His power to save! Second, let us engage in an activity that accesses Jesus' healing power - through prayer, Eucharistic Adoration, Reconciliation, forgiving someone, etc. Lastly, let us remember that our access to JesusCare is free and requires only our TRUST in Him - no matter where we are, who we are, where we've been, where we are going, or whatever someone may do to us - TRUST GOD!!!

Readings for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (year/cycle B) http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/070112.cfm

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

J. Bap ~ Sunday Homily 6/24/2012

J. Bap. ...a scriptural abbreviation for John the Baptist used in some scholarly books I have seen.

If nothing else, one thing we can take away from the Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist is it's about Who I am and Who I am Called To Be Why is this?

For starters, we are clued into the reality that we are to learn from the whole of St. John's life, from the circumstances that brought him into the world and what he did by the very fact that we not only celebrate his death but also his birth. Typically we do not find ourselves celebrating the birth of too many people throughout the course of the Church year with the exception of our Blessed Mother and of course Jesus (and anyone else I may have forgotten - but only b/c if I did, it's b/c it's rare!)! Therefore, since we celebrate the Nativity of J. Bap, we are alerted to take note of his whole life and what we can learn from it.

There are 3 things that John the Baptist did that we can incorporate into our lives and these 3 things we can say are the "3 Ps" which are POINTER, PROCLAIMER, and PREPARER.

John the Baptist was a POINTER simply by the way he lived. St. John's life's mission was to point to Christ and that he most certainly did. For us, we too, are POINTERS to Christ. This comes simply from the way we live and the decisions we make. Either what we do and who are will point to Christ or by the same token will point in directions not oriented toward Christ. And so we ask ourselves, are my decisions, values, actions, etc. pointing to a life oriented in Christ or not?

J. Bap we know, was also a PROCLAIMER, a sharer of the Good News. John the Baptist told us point blank, to prepare the way of the Lord encouraging people to repent and performing Baptisms of repentence in the Jordan. St. John was very vocal about what his life was about, where it was headed, and what he needed to do to get there. In the same way do we everyday assert the very fact that we are beloved children of God with a specific meaning and purpose? Are our lives oriented towards the promised life to come, lived with a sense of being created for more than what this world can offer? Are we PROCLAIMERS of the Good News by the stories we share? To share The Story means not only the literal telling of a story of faith but also comes in the simple ways we make our faith known. For example, sharing scripture or a prayer or a word of support on someone's facebook page or on your twitter account or on a blog such as this. We are called to be PROCLAIMERS in ways big and small.

Lastly, St. John was a PREPARER and teaches us to do the same. J. Bap literally did prepare the way of the Lord but in doing so, he also taught us how to prepare the way and for some of us that means getting out of the way; an openness if you will to God's will. John the Baptist was faithful to what God called him to do, but he also didn't try to be the Messiah either, in other words, St. John did his job and let God do His. John the Baptist was open to the possibilities of what God would do with preparing the way. Elizabeth and Zechariah too were open to the possibilities of God, of the possibility of having a child in their age and of naming him John (a name not in his family) and what all that would mean. How often do we pray about something without being open to the outcome or the possibilities of God? Sometimes it is easy to pray about something and then try to do everything we can to make the petition happen, rather then allowing God to work it out in the way He knows is best for us or in other words, to simply trust or have faith.

This week let us learn from the life of John the Baptist and realize the POINTER, PROCLAIMER, and PREPARER in each of us and what we need to do allow these 3 Ps to become a greater lived reality.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Greatness

In Matthew 5:48 Jesus says, "So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." This seems like quite the insurmountable task doesn't it? After all, who on earth has ever been perfect, besides Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary of course?! At the same time this is Jesus' reminder to us of what we are made to live for and that is: GREATNESS. We are made and destined for greatness. Greatness in the way we love, forgive, use our talents and live! So when we hear the Lord tell us to be perfect, it is a reminder to us that this is our goal, that each day we work to perfect ourselves to love perfectly as God has loved us. Therefore, let us strive for greatness in all we do. Amen.

Monday, June 18, 2012

You Have Heard It Said...

...this line of Jesus' in the Gospel according to Matthew today (Mt. 5:38-42) leads into his challenge to our way of thinking, of turning the other cheek rather than pursuing an eye for an eye. When do we need a change or some Divine intervention in our thought and perspective? When we are pondering a decision or seeking consultation we often hear from others something along the lines of "well so-in-so says..." or "they say..." but when considering these different points of view, do we ever take time to Cross check them against what Jesus and our faith tell us? Or do we accept things we hear without any faitful/faith filled consultation? It is equally, if not more important, to remember that Jesus also said in this Gospel passage "but I say to you." In all we do, may we make choices and decisions based not only upon what we have heard and learned but also upon what Christ and our faith say to us.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

This "little while"

‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” So they said, “What is this ‘little while’ of which he speaks? We do not know what he means.(Jn 16:17-18) A discussion of the disciples of what Jesus is trying to get at prior to His death on the cross. Jesus was preparing them for what was to transpire and yet in someway until everything unfolded this 'you will not see me' perhaps was not fully understood or realized. Two thousand years later after the Ascension we await Christ's return to earth. However, in our fact chasing and validating literal world, rather than our faith being the guiding factor in our anticipation, we see many programs on the History Channel for example, that try to 'decode' the Bible or predict or analyze the signs which would indicate Christ's return to earth, which in many ways negates faith or detracts us from the faith that we should have. This is dangerous temptation for us to get fixated upon. For it is not about the time or place but rather the preparedness of heart and faith that one has that is important and makes the difference. In other words, it is about our faith and how we practice it in the here and now that is important and that will be enough. For Scripture also tells us to stay away and be ready for we know not the hour nor the time the Lord is coming (Mt. 25:13) which indicates that our responsibility lies not with knowing when but rather with faith and believing. Furthermore, we can never be certain about future things as we can be certain about how our lives of faith are being lived out and therefore, may we be about the business of living our faith the best we can and in faith, in trust, leave the rest where it belongs, in God's will.

NEW ASSIGNMENT

Hey Everyone! Effective June 12, 2012, I transfer to my 2nd assignment!!! St. Gabriel Parish 9925 Johnnycake Ridge Road Concord Township, OH 44060 http://www.st-gabriel.org/index.php

Saturday, March 24, 2012

5th Sunday of Lent

John 12:24-26 - words of wisdom...

Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat;
but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Whoever loves his life loses it,
and whoever hates his life in this world
will preserve it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me,
and where I am, there also will my servant be.
The Father will honor whoever serves me.

Friday, March 16, 2012

STOP the HHS Mandate!!! Defend your rights!

The HHS Mandate is dangerous to all Americans! It is dangerous because of the attack on morality and the free practice of religion and because it also opens the door to the government mandating other things as well.

Please Read:
https://www.stophhs.com/stop_hhs_mandate/hhs-issues-new-rule-on-obamacare-scheme-to-fund-abortion-insurance/?utm_source=3-16-12&utm_campaign=3-16-12&utm_medium=email

The First Amendment even states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.