Sunday, May 29, 2016

Tenth Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C - 2016

The readings today leave us with three important lessons.

The first is simply that God has power over death.
Yes Catholics believe that God is stronger than death.

Belief in the resurrection is one of  cornerstones on which everything rests.
If you don’t believe that God has power of death,
if you don’t believe that all of us will rise again,
if you don’t believe that you will live forever
then your time would be better spent some place else.  
Head over to Josie’s for Breakfast and have some of their great homemade bread or go over to the Timberlin Golf course and play a round of golf.

The fact that God’s power over death puts our life in perspective
It helps us understand what is really important.

In the first reading Eliajh raises a widow’s son from the dead.
In the Gospel Jesus does the same.

Most of the time our resurrection happens in the next world but these scriptures remind us that God can certainly raise a person from the dead even in this world. Jesus himself was raised from the dead.

These scriptures and our eyes of faith teach us that Death has no real power over us.
With eyes of faith we can see so clearly that death is nothing more than a paper tiger.

It is simply a door from one life to the next through which all of us will one day pass.

The second lesson is as simple as the first.
Not only does God have power over death but He also has power over how we live.

St. Paul hated the followers of Jesus he seemed consumed with anger and bitterness toward them.
His heart was filled with self-rightous indignation
He made it his mission to seek them out and prosecute those who chose to follow Christ.

He did everything in his power to stomp out the little community of believers that was blossoming all over palestine.

And yet God reached down and and changed Paul’s hardened heart.

Just like God changed Pauls heart,
God can change my heart or your heart.
God can change the heart of someone in our family
God can free us from our prejudices.

He can help us save our marriages even if they seem beyond repair
He can challenge us to be better people.
He can free us from our addictions and our shame.
God can open our eyes to the truth and challenge us to follow it.

He did it for Paul and he can do it for us.

Yes God is indeed powerful, powerful over death and powerful over life.

Finally, the first reading and the Gospel illustrate so clearly for us the loving compassion of God.

Elijah and Jesus could just not bear to see those two widows mourn the loss of their sons. They couldn’t bear it.

During the time of Jesus a widow was the poorest of the poor
Widows had no rights and no way to sustain themselves.
Their Son’s death could have very well meant their own death.

Jesus and Elijah didn’t just say oh I’m sorry I’ll say a prayer for you.
They sprang into action and they turned to God for help.

We all need to be more compassionate people.
With the incarnation our compassionate God jumped into all of our messes

He didn’t just look on and say what a shame
I’ll just stand by and see when they get it right.

No God but up his sleeves and started to help

The world would be such a different place if everyone showed  more compassion

Jesus did and so must we.

Let us try to  begin to look at death with the eyes of faith.

Let us trust that God can change our lives like he changed Paul’s

Like Jesus and Elijah let us be more compassionate people willing to get involved in the lives of those in need even or especially when it’s messy and difficult.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Trinity Sunday

One of my most favorite times of the day is when our preschool lets out.
I try to water the back garden when that happens.

As soon as the little ones see their parents or grandparents their faces light up and  they run out the door and if the person picking them up is standing near the steps some of the kids literally throw themselves off the top of the steps with reckless abandon.into the waiting arms a parent or grandparent.

Every single parent and grandparent melts when that happens.

Once in a while I worry that the parent is going to drop the kids as they throw their 30 lbs bodies and book bag into the air with absolute trust.

Some of our babshi, nonas and memes stand back a little so the kids won’t crush them when they jump.

Why do our little ones do that and why are their parents and grandparents so happy to receive that affection ?

As kids grow up they start to express their affection in less dramatic ways. But a parent still knows that they are loved and appreciated. Why?

For twenty years I watched parents drive away crying as they left their child at college.

I’m told that most of them cried because they would miss their children.
But a few confessed they were crying tears of joy… who knows

In college and young adulthood so many young people spend an enormous amount of energy looking for someone to spend their lives with, looking for someone to love.

In the line of their priorities in is usually the first thing on their minds when they get up at 12:00 Noon and the last thing on their minds when they go to bed at 2:00 AM

In a marriage love takes so many different forms as a couple grows old together.

In marriage love and the way it is expressed changes like the seasons but it is always there every changing growing deeper and deeper and deeper.

It is so beautiful and touching to see an adult care for their parents as they journey home to God. Many times they are so eager to give back the love they have received.

This intense desire to love and be loved is present in every stage of a person’s life.

Why ? Why do we want to love and be loved.
Where does it come from?
Why does it transcend every culture time and place.

Today is Trinity Sunday
You’ll never find the word trinity in the Bible but all Christians use it.
Jesus often lovingly speaks about the Father and the Holy Spirit.
There are times in the Gospels that the Father speaks lovingly about the Son

Today on Trinity Sunday we celebrate the intense Love that
the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit have shared forever.

The 1st Letter of John the writer put it the best when he simply said.
God is love...

The mystery of the Trinity is certainly beyond our grasp,
but our faith teaches us that the love we so desire
and the  love we long to share
has its origin in the love intense passionate love and communion that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit have shared for ever.

You see we believe with that we were made in the image and likeness of God
so we were made to love.

We love
We sacrifice
We serve
We hug
We embrace

We do all these things because God did them first for us.

And he created us to long for and live the same love God shares in the trinity.

Yes We were made for each other and we were made to love

The communion which we strive to live with each other and with God is only a small reflection of the intense love that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit has shared for ever.

On this Trinity Sunday let us rejoice in the gift of Love which God has shared with each one of us.

Let us be grateful for this wonderful gift for next to Life itself, the desire to Love may be God’s greatest gift.

Thank you Lord for the Gift of love
Thank you for creating us in your image and likeness
Thank you for revealing to us the wonder and passion of your Trinity three persons Father Son and Holy Spirit …. One God.  

Glory Be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be world without end AMEN.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Pentacost - Year C - 2016

And Jesus Said  to his “Receive the Holy Spirit”

Salvation History is basically divided into three stages.
Before Jesus, the Ministry of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Before the fullness of time, before God the Father sent Jesus.
our understanding of God and what God expected from us was fragmentary we didn’t get the whole picture.

With the coming of Jesus that all changed.
Jesus was the perfect revelation of the God the Father.

Jesus taught us about God’s love and to call God our Father.
He taught us how  to live like brothers and sisters and
He taught us hope and forgive and accept forgiveness
With God’s self revelation in Jesus we knew clearly what love expected of us.

And with his death on the cross Jesus paid the price for our sins
But with his death and Resurrection Jesus time on earth was over.
He had given us the us the gift of faith and now it was ours to live and pass on.

But as He ascended into Heaven He did not leave us alone…
He promised to send the Holy Spirit to be with us always,
He promised that the Holy Spirit would guide us, protect us, encourage us, give us hope, when we were afraid always calling us back when we were afraid.

Effects of the Spirit on the apostles were clear.
After Pentecost this group of men who were afraid to leave the upper room after the crucifixion and had even doubted at the Ascension as they watched it, burst out into the world filled with the Holy Spirit eager to share all that Jesus taught them.

Their faith was so strong that they almost all of them would follow Jesus to the cross and give their life rather than renounce their faith.

The Holy Spirit is so powerful.
It changed them and gave them the courage they needed to do the right thing even in the most difficult of times.

Anyone who has studied Church history can see how radical changes which no one expected have helped the Church over and over again.

Over the centuries it has been the Holy Spirit to send us just the right Saint or the right reformer at the right time just when the Church needed them.

In times of turmoil or confusion both in the world and in the Church the Holy Spirit has guided and protected the Church over and over again.

There is not a doubt in my mind that the Holy Spirit chose Pope Francis because he was the exact person we needed at this moment in the life of the Church.

The Holy Spirit, the living presence of God is both powerful and loving.

And Like The Holy Spirit guides and protects the church
The Holy Spirit guides, protects and challenges us each one of us.

Have you ever wondered how you knew what to say at just the right moment.
Have you ever found unexpected comfort at a difficult moment in your life.

Have you ever found the courage to forgive someone you never wanted to forgive or love someone you didn’t really want to love ?

We need to recognize and accept that many of these moments are due to the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

We need to allow Him to shape and mold not only our actions but also our intentions our values.

We need to accept the Spirits gifts and follow the road he puts before us because it is the best possible road for us to follow.

You know even when we are being  tempted, we know deep in our hearts that a life with guided by the Holy Spirit is the best possible life for each of us us and for those we love.

The world would be such a better place if we allowed the presence of the Spirit in our lives

On this feast of the Holy Spirit let our prayer be

Come Holy Spirit fill our hearts and enkindle in us the fire of your love.
Send forth your spirit and we shall be created and you will renew the face of the earth.


Saturday, May 07, 2016

Seventh Sunday of Easter Year C - 2013

“That they might be one as We are one “

These words spoken by Jesus remind us that working towards unity is an essential responsibility for all who follow Christ.

Jesus wants the best for us so he wants us to have...
unity in our families,
unity in our society,
and unity among all those who call themselves Christian.

God wants us and calls us to be of one mind and one heart.

We live in a very divided world.
That’s no surprise to anyone in this Church.
Washington is so divided that nothing gets done, our country is poorly served, and both sides just blame and yell at each other.
And as bad as it has been this election season I fear we are just getting started.

Our society is becoming more and more polarized on all kinds of issues, important fundamental issues which mold and shape our world.

Even our Church often appears divided between people who label themselves liberals and conservatives.

Most sadly the Body of Christ is itself divided into countless denominations which continually give up on even trying to be one.

In a world as divided as ours you can understand why people ask themselves if unity is possible.

Our faith teaches us that working for unity is indeed possible and important because God himself is one.

And because God is one there is only one truth because a truth comes from God.

What’s true for you is true for me and what’s true for me is true for you.
Truth is not ours to create it is ours embrace.

One of the biggest obstacles to the unity is the conviction that all of us have our own truth.

Many believe that truth depends not on God’s law but on each and everyone’s personal opinions and circumstance

They say thing like “it’s right for me, or I believe this”

We call this type of thinking relativism

Relativism goes against everything thing revealed to us by God and causes our society great harm and division

Put simply We don’t make the truth... God does.
God’s Truth is our to discover.

One might wonder how can we work toward unity in such a divided world?

How can we make our homes, our families, our society, and our Church more united as God would have us do?  It almost seems impossible

  1. The first thing we have to do is humbly seek to understand God’s truth ourselves and not create our own.

All of have an obligation and to study the living tradition of the faith and o to humbly submit to it completely.

Secondly after sincerely having tried to discern God’s will and surrender to it
when differences arise we must listen to each other and respect each other.

We have to have open and calm discussions
Even when different people see the same reality in different ways.

Unity is not something that just happens.
We have to do is realize that sometimes, most of the time, infact unity takes effort and patience and humility.

And so dear Sisters and Brothers, we need to respect those who look at things differently.

We need to listen to them and patiently share our understanding God’s will and God’s truth with them.

Only Humility, patience, calm, and  sincerity coupled with God’s Truth will make us one.

Catholics have a huge advantage when it comes to unity.

Jesus knew that unity would not be easy to create so He gave the Church the Ministry of Peter or his successor the Pope.

Catholics have the consolation of knowing that when all else fails
When a common understanding of truth cannot be found even after a patient humble search for one we can turn to Peter and we ask for his help.

Jesus said you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church.

The Petrine ministry or ministry of our Holy Father guarantees the unity of the Church. Catholics believe that through God’s grace St. Peter and his successors have the final word.

In others Christian denominations and even in Islam no one has the final word. This is why there are so many divisions and so much confusion. Christian agains Christian Shia against Sunni.

As St. Ambrose said. “Where there is Peter, there is the Church
This is an incredible gift which keeps our Church from splitting over and over the again.

Let us not give up on building a united society.
Let us discern God’s will and God’s plan for ourselves and our Church and our world
Let us humbly submit to it
Let us patiently refrain from angry and bitter arguments that destroy rather than build up.

Unity, a communion of heart and mind must always be ours to seek and to work for humbly and patiently .

For as we heard in the Scriptures Jesus longs for us to be one as He and the Father are one.

Happy Mother’s Day

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Sixth Sunday of Easter - Year C - 2016

The first summer after my ordination I received a call from our Provincial
He said he needed me to go to one of our parishes and help one of our senior friars there.

When I arrived Fr. was so cordial and welcoming. We went out to dinner and when I asked him what Mass he needed me to take he said sleep in don’t worry I’ll take the Masses.

I went to bed asking myself why am I here?

The next morning I was at breakfast with him we were laughing and talking and then the phone rang.

His demeanor completely changed and he answer “Franciscan Friars we’re eating breakfast and hung up shaking his head.”

About an hour later the phone rang again and he answered “Hello, Yes What No” and hung up really frustrated.

He wasn’t much better at the door.

That evening he lamented they just don’t give you any peace here.
I have no peace.

He was approaching 80 and retiring in three week and It became clear to me that he was just spent.

So I spent the next three weeks racing to the phone and the door before he could get them and them relaying to him the messages.
When he retired the new guy came in and all was well again.

Now I understood why I was there.

After school many of our parents let the little ones play in the playground. I think it tires them out. Sometimes the kids don’t want to leave  a couple of weeks ago one of our mom’s called to her son Jimmy come on.

Nothing, She tried again “Jimmy we have to go and get your sister,” he didn’t budge. Then all of a sudden this voice came out of her mouth that made us all jump.

The whole playground turned and looked at her Jimmy froze and came running. A couple of days later she came up to me and apologized.

Fr. I know I sounded horrible the other day, My tone even surprised me. I’m just tired. I have no peace. There is no quiet in my life. I take care of the house, take care of the kids, work full time and I’m surrounded by noise all day. I have no peace.

Our world is so busy and so noisy and we work so hard and wear many hats that sometimes are are just exhausted or frustrated or angry or resentful and we don’t know what to do about it.

In today’s Gospel Jesus promises us peace, God’s peace, Shalom ,

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives it do I give it to you.

So we have to understand that when Jesus made this promise He  did not mean that our lives would be  free from interruptions.

Nor did He promise us quiet moments

Rather His promise of peace was a solemn promise of God’s love and God’s support. It is nothing less than the promise of God’s never ending presence in our lives through the Holy Spirit.
What Jesus is really saying is God is with you always...not matter what not matter what happens.  

When a person heard the word Shalom during Jesus’ time they could understand it as a whole number of ways.

Shalom could mean be healthy.
It could be like saying I wish you safety and tranquility
It could mean may your life  be complete or may you know you are loved by God.

You see good people when we let God in our hearts,
when are able to trust the living presence of God’s Spirit in our lives,
when we finally accept that we are truly precious to God and loved by God,
then no matter what life throws our way,
no matter how many times the phone or doorbell ring,
no matter how much noise the kids are making we can be complete, we can be at peace and unafraid and calm and tranquil because nothing else really matters but God’s love.

Peace comes from our ability to recognize who God really is in our lives and trust him completly.

Only when we abandon our fears and our frustrations and trust God can we can we enjoy God’s peace.

St. Theresa of Aviala was a great reformer of the Church kind of like St. Francis, she was called by God to reform the Carmelite order which had become very worldly.

She was misunderstood, thrown out of her convent, put on a kind of ecclesiastical  trial, and suffered all kinds of harsh words and tribulations.

We know how she felt because she wrote journals all of her life.

On particularly hard day she said to God in prayer “If this is the way you treat your friends no wonder you have so few.”

Yet because she accepted and was guided by God’s presence in her life she remained faithful to God’s call no matter what the difficulty she faced

She found peace when she dared to take God at his word and trust his love. and she left us this beautiful prayer.

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

Let us trust God and be at peace