Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

The Three Men of the Cross

July 22, 2017

Three Men of Calvary… We Are All Three

The crucifixion as an event was filled with some points of interest. To get a good understanding of what occurred we need a sense of what was going on in the area at the time.

Roman rule was fairly new to them, and during that time robbery, theft, and murder were somewhat commonplace and a pretty big issue that the Romans were trying to get under control. The Roman way of dealing with that, was execution by crucifixion. It was cruel, it was not quick, and it allowed, for an extended period of time, the opportunity for others to watch them die and consider that possibly they would not like to meet the same end, and amend any ideas they might have had of breaking the laws.

Another curiosity, is that, generally speaking, the Roman method of execution was, at least in practice, to execute people two at a time, unless….. they happened upon a group of people they caught in the act of the crimes, in which case all the people who were responsible were crucified at the same time. If this were to happen, AND the person who was the leader of the group, or band , or rebellion could be identified, that person was executed in the middle of the grouping of people so that they would not be missed and would be identified as such.

From this, then, we can know that the crucifixion of Christ was an oddity. Consider what happened in the Garden when Jesus was taken into custody. ” And Jesus said to the chief priests and temple guards and elders who had come for him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? ” ( Luke 22:52) . So here Jesus is treated as such.

In addition, it is noteworthy that He is crucified in the middle of the three.. This would tend to signify that He was the leader of the group.. He was in charge… Then, there is the other two men. So, history records that the other two actually were robbers Since they were crucified with Jesus it appears that Jesus’ crucifixion was an addition… or an after thought of the day. In perspective, it was the other two men had been in jail for a while awaiting their execution, and Jesus’ trial, and judgment occurred on the same day as the others, after all the delays and passing Him back and forth etc. Finally , with Roman efficiency, they decided that since they already had an execution scheduled, why not just get this over with, and crucify Jesus at the same time. It would make efficient work of the issue and put it to a final resolution and make the locals happy all at the same time.

I went all through this explanation because it helps to gain an objective non-theological view of the occurrence in order to understand, as one friar used to quip.. ” The story behind the story ” .

Now on to the other two men. The two other men who were crucified with Christ were , Dismas and Gustus. Dismas was the robber who was crucified on Jesus right side, and Gustus on his left side.

In the coming few weeks, I would like to beg your indulgence , as we will examine these men, and their circumstances. Stay with me.. I hope you enjoy our journey together !

May God give you the gift of His peace… .

Lather….Rinse… Repeat !

July 1, 2017

“See what love the Father has bestowed on us in letting us be called children of God !
Yet that it what we are. The reason the world does not recognize us is that it never recognized the Son. Dearly beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall later be has not yet come to light. We know that when it comes to light, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope based on Him keeps himself pure, as He is pure.” ( 1 John 3: 1-3 )

Some of you who might not be aware, 1st John, ( also second, and third ), come near the end of the New Testament and is not part and parcel of the 4th Gospel. This letter, written by John, was written during a time when the church was going through a period of heresy. Particularly Gnosticism, which denied the humanity of Jesus. or Docetism. In the docetistic heresy, the followers believe that Jesus was purely divine, his body made almost ghostly and so his passion death and resurrection would have been purely appearance sake.

Today, we have a vast number of heresies and different versions of apostasy. In Johns time it was no different. there were people roaming about preaching all kinds of whacky stuff. In Johns letters, and particularly in this letter there was a certain thematic progress to them. These were meant to drive home the principles of Christian faith and life.

Sometimes we need a little reminding of the things that are important in our faith lives.
It is important that we study. It is important that we memorize our faith, our beliefs and it is vitally important that we not only BELIEVE , but that we know WHY we believe the things we do, and where those things come from.

Priests, and Deacons when they go through formation , they take classes in the practice of exegesis.
Exegesis is simply the process of reading, studying, asking questions, and then finding the answers to those questions in preparation for sharing that information with others.

This practice is not just for priests and deacons. It is something that everyone should be doing. Now, i am not saying everyone should go out and get their own interpretation of what the Bible says or anything of that sort. What I am however saying, is take a good long hard look at your faith life. Consider all the things that you believe, and then start asking the questions. Not the easy ones.. not the ones you might have learned in the Baltimore Catechism, or in some of your nursery school rhymes. Lets tackle something with a little meat on it. Let’s ask some of the hard questions that you don’t have answers for. READ and STUDY and figure things out. What you will find is that you will inevitably have MORE QUESTIONS…. When you find you do not have answers, then go and ask your pastor, or a clergy or lay person you trust.

You need to keep asking questions. My father used to say to people.. “What ever it is that you are ( meaning your faith ), then be the very best ( that faith person ) that you can be. Ask the hard questions, and keep asking them until you are satisfied with the answers.

John, is telling us in this passage, we need to realize the awesome gift that we have been given, as children of God. The reason we suffer persecution in the world is because they who are not Christian, do not recognize Jesus as the Son of God.

Further on in these letters John reminds his audience, to break from sin, to keep the commandments, to become detatched from the world ( be IN the world, but not OF the world.). and finally to be on guard against the enemies of Christ. By this he means to be weary of those who would try to lead you away from your faith.

Today, the world is in great need of saints. It is every single Christians vocation to be a great saint. It is up to us to choose to fulfill the plan that God has intended for us.

My prayer for each of you is that the Holy Spirit that dwells within your bosom be enflamed in your heart, and become a raging inferno in seeking Gods holy will and fulfilling it.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Franciscan Crown – The Annunciation

March 25, 2017

The Annunciation – Franciscan Crown Rosary Part I

“And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.

And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;

for nothing will be impossible for God.”

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her. ” ( Luke 1 : 35-38 )

Annunciation, to announce or proclaim in an authoritative way. We are as Christians called to announce and proclaim the Good News of Jesus to all the world.

We, as Franciscans, are called through the words of St. Francis to “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”.. Why is this important ? It is important because we are called into action first, and then using words.

When the angel appeared to Mary, he greeted her, and gave her the the news. and her Magnificat, her surrender, and ascent to the news, and to the will of the Heavenly Father, was a very important part of the salvic action.

Because of the fact that we were created with free will, the angel presents the request.. and Mary says “yes”. She could have said “no” .. or let me think on it for a while.. and instead chose surrender.

Because Mary said “yes” Jesus was born into this world. Because Mary said “yes” , she risked everything in this life that she knew. Everything in her earthly life , including her own life, could she have lost as a result of being an unwed mother who was betrothed to a man. She risked, scorn and her reputation, she risked her family and friends.

We are given the opportunities and the options to have our own mini-Magnificats to proclaim the Gospel through the choices we are given every day. We are given the chance to say YES.. to God, Yes to the job that we are given to proclaim God through our lives, our actions and our words.

In a society which is full of mis-information, and indifference, to a world which is starved for truth, and love, it is given to us, to share the Truth of Jesus Christ, and His Love with all. Ultimately, our entire lives need to be ordered towards the Divine Truth, towards God, and His will. That requires our ascent to His holy will.

Doubt, is at the very “tap-root” of Satan’s plan. Satan does not want you to believe that you have this call within you. It is only by living the Gospel through your life and words that Jesus may convict others. Just like Mary, it is through your actions, through your word, where you can choose to be the vessel God uses in order to bring the love of Jesus Christ into the world that is in so much need of it.

*** The first Mystery***

The Annunciation – The Angel of the Lord appeared unto Mary. Let it be done unto me according to Your will.

” We meditate on surrender of our will unto God”

We pray for forgiveness when we have not surrendered our will,

and when we failed to proclaim Christ, in word and deed.

For our failure to follow the Franciscan Rule of life,

For our failure in loving our Brothers and Sisters,

Our Father…

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Those Who Are Well Do Not Need The Physician..

January 14, 2017

Those who are well do not need the physician…

Jesus went out along the sea.
All the crowd came to him and he taught them.
As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus,
sitting at the customs post.
Jesus said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed Jesus.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples;
for there were many who followed him.
Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that Jesus was eating with sinners
and tax collectors and said to his disciples,
“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus heard this and said to them,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” ( Mark 2 : 13-17)

This morning we had this reading at Mass. I was preparing to go and be with our Franciscan community, but felt I wanted to linger a while in the church. Although I was tired from the weeks labors, and honestly would have much preferred to sleep in, such is our vocation to be present for and present to our brothers and sisters.

On the way out the door, I had some challenges getting past a couple of folks who also wanted to linger and talk with their fellow parishioners. Since I was having some difficulty navigating access to the side door I normally use, I decided to stop and head back towards the center of the building in front of the altar. After a short pause to say a prayer, I turned and gazed upward towards our choir loft, which is pictured above.

Interestingly, the beautiful stained glass mosaic of our Lord, is a picture, that is visible to only those who serve at the altar, ( meaning the priest, deacon, readers, Eucharistic ministers (EMHC) and altar servers). At least this is true DURING the Mass. Even the choir sings facing forward towards the altar and do not see this sight. Indeed, it is only at the very end of the Mass when the people are preparing to leave the church do they have the opportunity to gaze of this art.

I pondered how loving and inviting this image of Christ is, His arms outstretched inviting in everyone. During the Mass the priest can not help but to gaze upon the face of Christ in this image. I sometimes wonder what they think on any given day.

We, like Levi, are at church, stopping by the church to visit. We are there at the invitation of Christ to dine at table with “sinners and tax collectors” and every other manner of sinner. Jesus calls to us…
He calls us to come and follow Him. So, even though we are sinners, we go as we are called. We are called to His house, to His table, to His sacrifice. All sinners, the ministers, and the congregation.

Jesus told the Pharisees, that those who are well do not need a physician… the problem is, that no one is truly well. From the priests on down all are sinners. There are just varying degrees of wellness.

It is also interesting to note, that at the end of the Mass, that everyone leaves through the rear doors and so they have the opportunity to see this image of Christ . Here Christ again is inviting us to take Him that we have received and take Him out into the world. We must become what we have received and share Christ, see and recognize Christ, and be Christ to the world, no matter how large or small our world is.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Touching the Hem of His Garment…

November 19, 2016
She Touched the Hem of His Garment... (Matthew 9:20)

I have been spending time this week  thinking about the woman who touched the hem of Jesus's garment who had been suffering from bleeding for years without relief.  

The woman is not named, however, we can assume she was well enough known that they knew how long she had been suffering from her ailment. 

How many of our brothers and sisters that we know suffer ? Do we know people who live near us, or even in some remote corners of the world who suffer.  Some suffer and do so for long periods of time in the silence and isolation that comes from not wishing to be a burden to others.

Do we know others who are hungry in your town .
in a nearby place. ?   How do we feel ?  What does it mean to you ?  To us ?  To the Community ?  

What about the elderly ?  Those who are alone in their homes ?  Do they suffer for long years because  they have limited incomes, because their bodies are not as strong, or resilient. 
They suffer because they have lost someone possibly their spouse, they suffer loneliness.


There are brothers and sisters who suffer in our midst and we never know.... we never see... we never ask... 

In this story there is no mention of others who went to help her, no mention that anyone reached out to Jesus to tell Him of her suffering.  

All we really know from the story is that she was suffering, she traveled a great distance to get to Jesus, and had faith to know that if she touched the hem of his garment that she might be healed. 


This story should give us eyes to see those who might be suffering in our midst. It should give us not only a voice in prayer to those who suffer but also put flesh to the words, through works of corporal mercy, to motivate us to action in love.  

The story should also give us hope and inspiration!    This poor suffering soul, garnered the strength, maybe in the a last effort to try to receive a healing putting monumental effort into her faith.  In an complete act of her will, in a total surrender to God's will for her she gathered her strength and pushed on through the journey... through the crowds.. through the hardships to seek Jesus.   

Possibly, like some of us, there might have been moments or two, where the earthly realities were a challenge not only to our physical lives, but our faith lives as well.  Maybe like you, she had fear of approaching Jesus that he might gaze at her, or reject her, or maybe she had fear that he would look at her and know what sins she carried.    

Do you have these kinds of fears ?  Do you stay away because you fear others... or because you maybe even fear God ?  Do you no want to approach God because you feel unworthy, or ashamed ?    Take the example of the woman in this story.  In our faith lives we all fail !   We all have struggles.  Even the greatest of the saints had challenges.   They all sinned ... We all have the challenge of sin in our lives.

Jesus was aware of what had happened, as soon as it happened He healed the woman.  Interestingly, as soon as it happened the story says He called out to ask who it was.  Now, have you ever wondered why he called out ?     This was Jesus, He already knew who it was, and what happened. So why did he bother asking, and calling out ? 

Jesus called out to the woman, just as He calls out to us today.  He called out because He wanted the woman to complete her own journey.  She confessed her illness, she came to Him and told him of the healing she needed, and she needed Him, just as we do. 

So in your challenges in your faith life, in your struggles you face day to day, in the deep reaches of your hearts, be like this woman and push all of your will through to the heart of Jesus.  He will be there  for you too, He will heal you too.... He loves you too !

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Family.. and the Face of Christ

April 23, 2016

Family..

Family is a funny thing. When we are young, our family is our parents, and siblings. If we are fortunate, we have extended family to include aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. Possibly your extended family might even include an “aunt “ or “uncle” who are age old friends of the family.

These are things we probably really did not think much about because lets face it.. your a kid and you just love your family no matter who they are or most of the time what they are doing. Your main goals in life are deeply provisioned in the taking care to receive the necessary nutrients of the major food groups… liquids of your favorite variety, and junk food, solely for the purpose of powering your life’s pursuit of hanging out with friends and having way too much fun !

You probably grew up more or less oblivious to much of what was going on in the family politics and set your sights on the next game.. or the next adventure.

In the “Rockwell-ian” family, in that grand ideal, everyone gets together for family meals, particularly on holidays, and special occasions. You got to gather around the table and see the faces of family, and possibly a couple of friends. You would have those conversations that were warm and inviting, and catching people up on the things that were going on in your life… and listen to them do the same thing.

You would listen to the older family members tell the same stories that they told last year and everyone would have a good chuckle about what ever it was. At the end of it all, everyone would retire to the living room with a deep sigh of contentment and share their memories of years past…

People had much the same core values, you would see at least most of your family at church. Where you learned that your church was an extension of your family/friends.

This is unfortunately for most not quite the way things happened. We have today a culture of families that split apart, who move away to other parts of the country, or the world. We have “grown up” and we have lost touch with our family. Sometimes these splits occur not due to any fault of our own, but possibly due to family squabbles that never got settled or resolved, forgiven, or forgotten.

It is a problem in our world culture that there seems to be little time available for spending extra time with family. Due to distance, or time, or whatever the circumstance is. With single parent families, or with parents who work out of necessity of survival, and for long hours and salaries that are incongruent with the costs of a living wage.

Family, is in some respects like marriage. It takes work. It takes understanding, and it is that “get your hands dirty” type of mucking around in our own humanity that is precisely what makes it difficult to deal with.

We are not children any longer. For good or for bad, we have take on the mantle of adulthood and we have responsibilities, and we have taken on a deeper understanding of what it is to have a family, what ever it is that this looks like for you.

Every family, much like every marriage, has cracks in it. The deeper you look into the inner workings of the family, the more you will see two things. You will see more flaws, and issues. You will, however also see, more individual people, once you get past the emotion, get past all the dirt and built up garbage, and pain, and resentments and all the other stuff that has gotten in the way, you will see a person who wants and needs love and because of their own human brokenness, needs family.

The older we get, the more we become aware of the politics of the family. What this one or that one says or does, or thinks. We start not spending time with this one or that one.. because they don’t act right. They don’t say the right things. They argue with us all the time. They are a pain to deal with.

At some point or other…. something happens, and you are forced to stop and consider what is occurring with your family. Weddings, or funerals, graduations, or births… all of these things impact us and we are forced to stop and think, if only for a time.

Let’s take a moment to consider these things in light of our faith lives.

When I was younger and I wanted to go off and do something for someone, or had some grand idea to go off to perform some charitable work, my mother used to say, “ Charity, begins at home…” . This was usually because my room was probably a disaster area, or there were chores that needed to be done around the house that I had not done at some point or other.

The point is, that those little mom-isms usually ring through when applied in the light of our faith. The application of our faith begins at home. Home, ( and family) often called the domestic church, is such that we need to apply our faith not only outside the front door, but inside the front door as well.

We need to love, to give, to share love with our family members. We need to be peace keepers. We need to search for Christ in the most vulnerable, for those who are poor in spirit. We need to reach out to them. We need to exercise the love of Christ in dealing with our own families. Search for Him among the wounded and broken relationships.

We also need to remove the planks from our own eyes. We need to search for those areas that might have wounded others and seek forgiveness and reparations. We need to heal those we have wounded, or allow healing to occur where we have been injured. We need to seek the face of Christ in the hearts of our own family. We need to be prepared for the fact that this type of growth will not be instantaneous, and it will not give you those warm and fuzzy feelings you might get in helping out at your churches food pantry or carnival, or some other charitable work. It will be a long road, but eventually it will provide abundant fruit, as the light of Christ shines from within.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

When Life Gets Busy…

October 31, 2015

Reflection from the Choir Loft

It had been a particularly long week at work and honestly, after work I really had very little desire house.  Typically the work day spans from 5:30 AM until about 7:30 PM when I return home.  After these last few weeks of particular challenges I was already falling asleep, but there was no time for rest now.

As anyone who has been involved in the music ministry of a church knows, the preparation time that goes into the Christmas season is critical.  There are usually at least 2 rehearsals a week plus a 3rd usually before Masses.  There is all the Christmas music to prepare for the Masses, and then a Choir concert, and finally a shorter concert to prepare for before the Christmas Masses occur.  Needless to say, that is a lot of performance in a short period of time.

That is just a little background to say that we have just begun entering into the extra rehearsal time needed to get things in shape for this season.   We arrived at the church and we had to wait until the other choir was done rehearsing before our rehearsal could begin.    We socialized with the other members who slowly showed up and started talking.

Finally, it was our turn to begin rehearsing.  We began and since some were having challenges getting the music perfected, the director started working with those people, which left time for me to sit.

As I was waiting, I sat and began to meditate on the Cross, and on the Lord.   I began to pray and shared with God how very much I would love to come into His presence and just sit in solitude, in the quiet.   Maybe just for an hour or two, laying bare all of the things that ran through the mind, the heart, and life in general.    As I was sitting in that reverie, I was so exausted that I could barely keep my eyes open, and very shortly after I started to get lost in my meditation and prayer, my attention was pulled back quickly into the rehearsal I was there to perform.
While getting pulled back into the music it caused me to pause and consider how much this experience is like most of life.
We are so very busy with our day to day lives, particularly in todays world where our jobs demand more and more of our time, and efforts.  It can even be when we are not at work, that we spend a vast amount of time conisdering what is going on there, or what needs to be done the next time we are supposed to be there.  Technology that takes up a vast amount of time even when not at work.

It is easy, to get drawn into the need to be plugged in, to be connected to the electronic world. Computers, Cell Phones, Television all with a dizzying array of options to keep you occupied and entertained.  Distracted from the world going on around us.

Just like all other things in life, there comes a quiet time, when there is a pause in the noise, in the distractions.  In the quiet, when we are able to pause and hear our own thoughts, our own prayers, and there in the quiet, is the voice oF God.  That small quiet voice, that is calling us to Him.  Inviting us to spend time with Him.

After a time, and just as quickly life intrudes on our time. trying to force its way in.  Sometimes it is true that this can not be helped.  It is not a change from God… God does not change.  It is a change in the world, our lives, our schedules. The challenge is that we have to recognize the challenge of time and distractions, for making the time for God.

Even when our lives are busy, there are short periods of time where we have time to make time, to bring God into our lives, to invite Him in.  It is not that we have to invite Him for him to see, it is to enter into the relationship, to spend the time, to offer the time in sacrifice of our day, and of our lives.   It is to open our hearts to receive the graces that He wants to impart.

God wants to share in our lives, he is constantly beckoning us to enter into communion with Him.  Our God is not there for just Sunday. He is there for every day, for every time, for every season in our lives.  If we seek God.  If we seek him in our lives, and in the lives of others, He will be present.

Possibly you find yourself in some situation where you sit in wonder about why it is that God has you in some particular situaiton.   In nearly every circumstance, the answer is this:  To enter into communion with Him through the people who are in that circumstance with you, either bring Christ to others in the situation, to receive Christ through others in the situation, or to share Christ with others who are not in the situation, but who may be watching the situation unfold.

You may feel like the situation seems impossible to deal with.  I offer you this to ponder, and you will know that nothing is impossible for us, for the Children of God.

” What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we are being slain all the day;

we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things,* nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth,* nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

(Romans 8:36)

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Voce mea ad Dominum clamavi….

October 4, 2015

For the uninitiated, or non-Franciscan amongst the readers, The Transitus is the celebration of Saint Francis from this life to eternal life.  Oct 3rd was the night and then into Oct 4th which is the Feast day of St. Franics.

This particular night is one where the entire Franciscan Family from all over the world join in celebration of our founder, and spiritual example, who was an example to all men and women, and who lived all the way through until death the “little way” and clung to his faith in super human fashion.

In life and in death Francis lived the evangelical counsels to the utmost and even until the last of his breath, he lived the example of Christ, poor and crucified for the brothers and sisters.
At the time of the announcement of his pending death, he rejoiced.  Praising and welcoming our Sister Death, and had the friars to sing ..All Creatures of our God and King…

At the time of his death.he and the brothers began with singing Psalm 142 “Voce mea ad Dominum clamavi…” … ” I have cried my voice to the Lord I have deprecated (supplicated) my voice to the Lord .”  he was said to have seen death enter the hut where he lay on the ground, poor and naked. He had one of the brothers to announce Sister Death like a hearald at court.. an honored guest.. For indeed this Sister Death would be the one who would accompany Francis and introduce before the Lord to his Heavenly Father face to face.
Francis said to his brothers, ” My Task is done, may Christ teach you to do yours…”

So living in the example of St Francis is not a easy way to go.  It the path one is called to…  Its not about puppys, and flowers and trees and butterflies.     Its about following Christ.   Its not all love and hugs, or celebrations and socialization.  Its about work.  It is about poverty, chastity and obedience.     But more than anything else.. its about LOVE.

Gods two great commandments.  LOVE God with all your heart, and then LOVE your neighbor.

Think about that for a bit.  LOVE is the commandment.  Not an option.  The human experience of LOVE is full of pain and suffering. It is also full of tremendous joy , and peace, and happiness.   Ask any parent.

That LOVE …. the LOVE of God, and also the LOVE of neighbor causes us to have various crosses laid before us. These crosses are not ones we may want, or even think we need.   The cross might be a job, or a health issue.  It might be a family member, friend , neighbor or even someone you might not like very much.

Your cross might be internal, a problem, and addiction, a failing, a weakness, or something that others might not see or that you believe anyone would understand.    Maybe your cross is your patience, or lack thereof.  Maybe it is all of these or something totally different.

Here is the kicker.  If we believe what it says in Romans 8:28 ” We know that all things work for good for those who love God,* who are called according to his purpose.”, and we know to a certainty of Gods love for us.  The other side of the coin comes to us from Mark 8:34 ” He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said* to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”

So you see there really is very little in the way of mistake about what is head.  We must go forward, pick up our crosses, whatever they are, and follow Christ.    We know its not going to be fun.  We know its going to be work. The fact of the matter is that God loves us, and not only do we ask for God’s will to be done, but what ever that cross is, what ever that work is, what ever it is that we are brought to, we will be brought through and on the other side at some point, we will be able to see were it is that God has guided us and cared for us, and done what was needed for our eventual happiness and good.

In all things Christ is victorious.  The end result of that is that we also are ultimately victorious in Christ, all we have to do  is pick up our cross, and love !

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Sharing in the Passion, and Life of Christ is Our Mission !

September 19, 2015

“Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that I am?”
They said in reply,
“John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets.”
And he asked them,
“But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said to him in reply,
“You are the Christ.”
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days.
He spoke this openly.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake
and that of the gospel will save it.” ( Mark 8:27)
Peace be with you !
Today I want to talk with you about the immense beauty of our daily mission, our failures and our ultimate triumph.

This was last weeks Gospel reading and I know this will resonate with each of you.
In this reading Christ reveals solidifies the apostles knowledge that He is the Son of God.
In the process of His efforts to teach them he reveals that he will endure His passion. Suffering, death and resurrection are
what await Him moving forward. Peter does not want this for Jesus. He loved Jesus dearly and like anyone we love, we want them
around forever, or at least as long as possible.

Jesus moves forward and then taking this explanation further, tells the disciples, whoever wants to follow Him, must deny
themselves, pick up their cross and follow in his footsteps.

Consider this for a moment. He (Jesus) is going to suffer and die, and now He wants them to do it too. This probably did not
sound so appealing to many of them. He then pushes the point further and says that if you try to save your life, you will loose
it ( i.e. your going to die anyway) and whoever looses their life for the sake of Jesus and the Gospel will save their lives ( but
you still have to die anyway).
In the world today we are right in the middle of some of the greatest times of spiritual warfare present in our lifetime.
Notice that I did not say in history. For these battles are old. We as disciples have fought these battles before and we have
been victorious.

Look at what is going on in the world today. All of the Pro-Life issues we face. We have Abortion, Euthenasia, Abuse, HUman
Trafficing, discrimination, and poverty to name a few. Then there is the issue of Same-sex Attraction and civil unions.
There is the persecution world wide of the Christian church as a whole.

Sin abounds at every corner, and of every variety known to history. Its not a different fight, it is exactly the same. This
whole battle and the pressures involved in fighting the battles can be overwhelming at times. And these are the battles from
outside our own souls. Then there are the battles from within, fighting off the temptations of our own fallen natures while
trying to keep focus on the mission we have laying before us.

Our fight in this life, is two fold. The battle we carry on for our efforts to continually dying to self is hard work. Everone
has this cross to bear. The fun part of that battle is that we fail, and we fail alot. To make matters more fun, the more that
we learn, the more aware we are of the sin present in the world, the more we are aware of our own failings !

Some people will tell you not to pray for patience, because God will give you the opportunity to work on your patience.
Do it anyway ! If you are given the oppoortunity to work on your patience, you are probably ( like me) in need of work in that
department.

When going into battle, you don’t go without weapons, or armor. You need to put on the armor of God. Your best weapon is prayer.
Your best tool is education. LEARN YOUR FAITH ! Ask the hard questions and go get the answers. The RIGHT answers not what makes
you comfortable. Work on your faith life. Take the time necessary to know the answers to the hard questions, that others will
have for you. As yourself, WHY do I believe what I believe ? Why do we do ( this or that ) ? What does THAT mean ?
If you cant answer these questions for yourself, then you can answer them for others.

Scripture and Sacred Tradition, are like the two covers of a book, and your life and faith are the pages in between. Fill your
book with the knowledge and love of God.

My Dad used to say.. ” What ever it is that you are…be the best of that thing, that you can be”.

Jesus says at the end of the Gospel, ” “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.” This is the challenge. Denying ourselves. Self denial comes in many forms. The denial of
allowing ourselves to give in to anger, to lust or greed, and instead to show the face of Christ to do our very best to live the
law of love. We deny some pleasure, at the gift of service in some work of mercy. visting the sick, or imprisoned.
We deny ourselves in our offerings to others, for the sake of Christ.

We deny our own fallen natures, and instead offer our lives, our time talent and treasure, for the Kingdom of Heaven..

We pick up the cross we have been given. If its caring for someone, if its in the way we do our days labor, if its in a
relationship ( a healthy one), if our cross is something our human intellect would rather us not do, but we know in our heart and
soul that picking up that particular cross is what would be pleasing to God, and we do it for the sake of Christ, then that is the
cross we must pick up.

In our world today, we have Christians persecuted and killed for their faith. Their cross is our cross. The battle we must fight
while we are here, is carried out under the banner of Our Lord, with a heart of Love. This because Love is the greatest
commandment.

In the end Jesus tells us : “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake
and that of the gospel will save it.”

This is where the rubber meets the road. In the end, we give up our very lives. Everyone will die at some point. This is a part
of Natural Law. The question becomes will you have lived your life giving it up in the service of God, living for Him ? Will you
take up the crosses that are laid bare before you and take that challenge on, for the sake of Our Lord ? If you say ” yes!”,
then you have gained your life and the best part is that you can be a testament for others.

St. Francis said ” Preach at all times, and when necessary use words.” Our actions are the best testament we can give, in our
love of God.

I pray that we all will have the strength of our convictions, through the graces of the Sacraments, to go forward, picking up our
cross and following Our Lord.

Because the Truth, is not a thing, it is a person, and His name is Jesus Christ !

May God give you the gift of His peace !

The Journey To Work… The Journey to Life…

July 27, 2015

The Jouney To Work… The Journey To Life :

Passing through the dark of the early morning..
the glow of the streetlights with their
intermittent periods of light and darkness,
cause the recollection of the passage of life in all its mysteries.

The light shows us the illumination of the mind, and the spirit.
The places where we have points of spiritual epiphanies.
Lights of our path that show us where it is that we might see more clearly,
where we see the glory, and majesty of God.

The light of our path ..The places between the lights,
the areas, where we might still be able to see some things,
not everything as in the light,
but still the path is there..

The path does not change..
Struggling to make your way through the darkness. tired, and dim..
Carrying the weight of the day on your back..through the dark.
Advancing through the dark, pushing ever forward on the path laid out..
In the periods of the dark, we stay on the path,
We carry the load,
we might not know what is ahead,
save for the light..

we can percieve dimly in the dark…
But we do not see all, we do not perceive everything that is, but we know it is there.

In the dark places, we whisper a prayer into the light…
Thanking God for what has been, and what is, and what will come.
Taking a deep breath, stilling the mind..
making a practice of being with God..

The mind ever so slowly shifts into the presence..
into light, to spite the darkness that envelops..
we pierce the darkness with the light.
trying to keep true.. trying to keep right..

The mind drifts back to journey.. distracted though it is..
coming to the consciousness that you have slipped from your prayer..
from your attention.. from your connection..
Keeping the awareness of the knowledge that your thought broken, only to return..

There is a short rest.. a place to rest before the dawn breaks..

How very much our lifes journey is not unlike this journey..
going from point to point.. and place to place.. awaiting the Dawn of the return of our Lord.
peaks and valleys.. light  and dark ..

Eventually the dawn will break and the Son will return.. to dispell all the dark,
to bring us home, to shine light and love upon all.

So it is for us today, to carry the load, to pierce the darkness..
to carry the Light.. to share the Light.. to reflect the Light we have recieved.
to give hope to those who travel in the darkness..

For there is truth…
Truth is not a thing….
Truth is a person..

And that persons name.. is Jesus, The Christ.

May God give you the gift of his peace..