Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Luke 19:1-10 Coming Down

Luke 19: 1-10 Coming Down

(Click here for reading)

Today, allow the Lord to do to us what he did for us. Just as the Lord came down from Heaven, He wants us to come down from the tree, from our high horse!

Today’s reading reminds me of a very sad story. It was my first time in Italy as a seminarian. The year was 1993 and we were invited by the local pastor to bless the homes that surrounded the parish. We were all excited to do something beautiful. We went to an apartment complex. The first door we saw, we knocked, but there was no answer. We knocked again but still no answer. I was about to give up when the other seminarian decided to knock for a good 30 seconds. That’s a long time! Then an old woman began to unlock the door and very slowly she opened it. Barely seeing her face, we could tell that she was scared, shocked and surprised. She looked us up and down. We were wearing our cassocks. “What are you doing here?” she asked. We told her we had been invited to come and bless the homes. “Why did you come here?” We responded, “Your door was the first we saw?” She asked, “Who sent you?” Being a little smart aleck, I responded, “The Lord!”

Then she really got scared! She let us in and she told us what I will never forget. “I was just about ready to kill myself.” We talked for a very long time. She showed us a photo album of this beautiful young lady who had traveled all over the world: Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, etc… I asked her who the young lady was. She said, “That’s me! I was a diplomat. I spent all my life traveling and working. I never got married. I have no children. Now, I am completely alone. I have no one who loves me - no one who cares about me.”

This too was the life of Zacchaeus: Lonely, forgotten, miserable and wretched. But it is never too late to change! What is the solution? Give. Go out like an explosion, like the Big Bang, not with a bang. This is the difference between laying down your life and taking your life. It is never too late to “lay down your life” or to “come down from the tree.”

The perfect storm, the human tsunami, of life is when two fronts move in simultaneously. That is when I want more and more while I give less and less! This combination is the leading cause of “death” among teenagers. This is the reason why those kids 18 to 30 never make it to Mass. It is also the leading cause of abortion, euthanasia and marital problems. In other words, it is when I prefer to complain about my vows rather than embrace them.

A few days ago, I saw a third grader walking down the hall with his hands in his pockets. He looked a little down. I asked him if there was anything wrong. He told me, “I got problems.” I told him, “Son, it only gets worse!” And it does. Do you have problems? We all have problems! Do you feel like your love has been rejected, torn apart, shredded, ripped to pieces and crushed? Well, look at the cross. You are in good company. The Good News is that that is not the end of the story. It gets better. It is the Lord inviting you to do something beautiful.

While driving towards St. Joseph this morning, I saw many cars pulled over by the police. I began to reflect on the various times I had been pulled over. I said to myself, “Why don’t they just leave me alone!” As soon as I said that, I heard a voice in my heart as loud and as clear as could be, “Just obey the law and they won’t bother you.” I looked up and said, “You always have an answer to everything don’t you!”

The answer is simple: Come down from the tree. Trees play a prominent role in salvation history. The tree of knowledge, the tree of life, and the tree of death! For Zaccheaus, it became the tree towards Love! It served its purpose because it was in the right order. When we tell the Lord to come down from the tree (the wood of the cross), it is a sin! When the Lord tells us to come down, it is grace!

Zaccheaus was looking for so much more to life. Let us ask the Lord that we never complain but to give what we have, even up to half of our possessions. This is the start of embrace one of the greatest lessons the Lord gave to us: It is better to give than to receive.

There is only one way to find out, DO IT! Otherwise, I really have no right to complain.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Luke 14:1-7-11 Christ is Life

Luke 14: 1-6 Life is Christ

(Click here for reading)

It was late in the evening of December 23rd, 2003 when we were all gathered together for our final talk. We were 44 deacons, about to be ordained Roman Catholic priests of Christ. With all my heart, I truly believe it is the greatest honor any human being could be given! No greater love than this, to lay down your life for ones friends.

After ten long years in formation and having surpassed so many difficulties, trials and doubts, I was finally getting ordained. We were all excited. Our families had just arrived for the event. Even a group of students from the school I was leading had just arrived from Michigan. What a blessing and what an honor. Our original group had shrunk from 150 men to 45. Sometime during our eight days of silent spiritual exercises, one deacon had dropped out. Tomorrow, on Christmas Eve, our total gift to Christ would be complete.

Emotions were running high. All of us had not seen our parents in years. Others, had parents that were elderly and fragile. Some were missing loved ones. Still others were severely ill - in terminal states - battling for their lives. But they had all made it to Rome. Tomorrow we would see them for the first time since their arrival. Only one meditation remained and then we would be off to bed. We were all thrilled to be together. We could not wait to see our families. We were very enthusiastic, proud and vane!

Then the retreat master spoke. I will never forget his words. “I am sure you are all excited for tomorrow. You will be ordained priests. The celebrations will begin. The joy will be immense. The congratulations, the invitations, the respect and admiration will be nonstop. Your families will be very proud of you. But I do not want you to forget. Always remember. Tomorrow morning, bright and early, you will be crucified with Christ.”

We were silent.

The smiles disappeared, our giddiness had vanished. We were like marble statutes, constructed in our minds and of ourselves, and they had been toppled. He had brought us back to reality; to ground zero. “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” He had destroyed our Twin Tower! He had sunk our Titanic – the ship that “not even God could sink!”

He went on and on. I don’t even remember the rest of what he said. But I do remember his final statement. “If you are not ready for this, if you have any doubts, if you will not be faithful to your vocation till the end of your life, then don’t do it. There is still time left to turn back. Don’t worry, we will come up with some excuse for your family. They will understand.” That was the evening that one deacon, one brother, had decided not to get ordained. So close.

The words of St. Paul ring true to all those who follow the Lord: unconditionally, unfailingly and unromantically. Life is Christ, and death is gain. (Phil 1:21)

Today, let us pray for an increase in vocations - holy vocations - men and women of God, committed to serving the Lord in Truth, Love and Humility.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Luke 14:1-6 Greater Than Love

Luke 14: 1-6 Greater Than Love

(Click here for reading)

I recently asked a riddle - a question - to some of my 8th grade students. I thought the answer was obvious but it wasn’t. “What is greater than God and worse than the Devil?” They gave me many wrong answers. No one was able to figure it out. Then I asked a group of Kindergarteners the same question. You could see their little minds at work, moving their eyes back and worth, searching high and wide for the answer. It didn’t take long for one of them to shoot their hand up with the correct answer: “Nothing!”

Nothing is greater than God and worse than the Devil. But what exactly does this mean? If we were to dissect it, we would have to say that there is nothing greater than Love, than God’s love for us! Christ asked the question, “Is it lawful to cure on the Sabbath or not?” That is, Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath or not? Just like them, we cannot answer this question unless we know what it means to do something good. The rich young man understood this when he asked, “Good Master, what must I do to have eternal life?” The Lord responded, “Why do you ask me what is good? Only God is good!” If we truly believe in God, then we must accept his definition of what is good, for there is nothing greater than God and there is nothing greater than God’s love.

What is good? Christ is good! God is good! All the time! What usurps the Law? Only one thing: Love! What surpasses justice - goes beyond it? Love! If I love, then I have no need of Laws, not even God’s Laws! For this reason, St. Paul may boast. “For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live for God” (Gal 2:19).

How many laws are passed in a given year? Millions! We are becoming a nation of legislation and litigation. Not too long ago, the United States graduated its “one-millionth” lawyer! We go to court for everything and anything. We bring to court our own grandparents, parents and even our own children! We legislate basic fundamental human rights! We are fast becoming a nation not of moral convictions – moral certitudes, but of legal convictions!

Man’s laws are necessary because God’s laws are not respected. But not even God’s 10 Commandments would be necessary if God’s love prevailed! The early Christian community lived by love. They shared what they possessed and loved who they possessed. The lived only one Commandment, the last commandment of the Lord, “Love one another.” By loving one another, they showered the world with love and showed their love for God. They lived what St. Paul preached so well, “It is no longer I who live in me, but Christ who lives in me.”

“How great are the works of the Lord!” (Ps 111:2) How marvelous are his deeds! Majesty and glory are his works! His justice endures forever! Gracious and merciful is the LORD! All these statements may be rephrased and redressed in one single sentence: How amazing is his Love!

Today, let us love the Lord our God with all our hearts and minds, with all our strength, and with all our soul! Let us give to the Lord our love! Let us show to the world God’s love! Let us give to the world Christ’s love! Let us show how great are the works of the Lord, now and forever! There is nothing greater than love! AMEN.

Let us pray to the Lord that our pride never get in the way. If you noticed, the Pharisees never answered the Lord's question, even though the answer was quite obvious.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Luke 13:31-35 That Fox!

Luke 13: 31-35 That Fox!

I look at myself in the mirror and take a deep breath. I say to myself, today I will engage the enemy. I may take a life for the Lord or lay down my life for Him. I will not be afraid for my Savior lives in me and through me. I commit myself in prayer, my pledge of allegiance. I will consider only one thing important: to die to self so that others may live. Cost whatever it may, I will serve the Lord. I put on my uniform, proud to be one of the few, and begin my day like so many before – in meditation. Silence is a prerequisite before the noise of battle; solitude a must if I wish to share the Lord with others; and simplicity a given if I wish to follow Him. I cannot be weighed down by the fears and doubts that plague this fallen world. I must be convinced that I stand for what is good, right and holy.

Jesus said, “Go and tell that Fox [Herod], ‘Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow.’” How true it is. Jesus performs healings today and tomorrow, two thousand years ago and till now, and two thousand years from now. Time keeps moving, flowing, always in accordance and in relation to the Son of Man. Time belongs to Him, it is His creation; it is his way of nudging us: “Do it now, do not delay.”

Everything that Jesus said and did will never end. Everything that Herod said and did has come to an end. This is the difference between man and God. What man does is of little significance. What God does continues forever. What the God-Man said and did will never end.

“Do this in memory of me.” God has no memory. It is always now! Every time we celebrate the sacred mysteries, we go back in time and witness the death, the resurrection and the glory of the Lord. This is our faith. This is the faith of the Catholic Church and we are proud to profess it in Christ Jesus our Lord!

What must I do? Live totally for the Lord. Be a Saint! No more shall you consider yourself the victim. No more shall I feel sorry for myself! What a waste of time! I lack nothing for greatness. Am I who I should be: more terrifying than a soldier and more peaceful than a lamb? I have been created in His image and likeness. I am who I am – another Christ. I am truly blessed to have the Lord as my Rock, my Fortress, my Lord and King! Who is a human king but a walking dead man? Who are my enemies but the weakest of the weakest, the proudest of the proudest, the dead among the dead?

St. Paul exhorts his friends, the Ephesians, to draw strength from the Lord; to put on the armor of God. Why does he do so? For only one reason: they are suffering like the Lord. They are going through the King’s passion. Our struggles do not rest with men. No! Our quarrels, our battles truly are with the devil. St. Paul reminds us:

Stand fast in the Truth.

Hold the shield of Faith to quench all the flaming arrows of the Evil One.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit,

which is the word of God.

Pray and petition the Spirit at every moment.

Pray for all the holy ones and also for me.

Ask for strength and boldness in proclaiming the mystery of the Gospel.

(Eph 6:10-20)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Luke 13: 22-30 Are A Few Saved?

Luke 13: 22-30 Are A Few Saved?

(Click here for reading)

According to the Lord, the answer is yes. For God, too few are saved. I cannot remember where I heard this, but Mother Teresa was once asked by a group of reporters, “How many people go to Heaven?” The answer she gave was a shock to all those around her. She said, “Very few.” One reporter, looking a bit confused, asked, “How few…one out of ten?” Mother just shook her head in the negative. Insisting, the reporter continued, “One out of a hundred?” Again, Mother Teresa just shook her head. There was only silence. The reporters looking at one another were in dismay. Finally, she spoke: God is not a Mathematician. To save all mankind but to lose one soul is too many for him! You must remember, God is not a Mathematician. God is our Father!

Are only a few saved? Let us be honest with one another. It is better for us to assume the answer is “yes”. It is a sin to presume salvation (CCC 2092). What does this mean? We must compete well. We must finish the race. We must be faithful to the commandment of the Lord, “Go, throughout the world, baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19). Let us continue to work and strive (reach out) so that we do not lose a single soul to the devil. We spend so much time talking nonsense, talking gossip, asking about the weather but we refuse to ask the important questions. “When was the last time you went to Confession? I invite you, let’s go together.” This is an important question. “When did Christopher Columbus discover America?” is not an important question! It is an interesting question, but not an important question. “Who am I?” is an important question. “Who is the President of the United States” is an interesting question, but not an important one. “Who is God?” is the most important question we could ever ask. And thank God, the answer has been given to us by his Son.

Why are these important questions? Simple: They relate to my life and my salvation. These questions, once asked, will determine my life, happiness and peace. It is a remarkable fact that these questions are seldom asked. “Lord, open the door for us.” He will reply, “I do not know where you are from.” I do not know you and you do not know me!

“After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door…” Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again! Every Sunday we hear these words. These words are a response to the greatest mystery of our Faith: Take this all of you and eat it. This is my body which will be given up for you. Take this all of you and drink from it. This is my blood. Do this in memory of me.”

In summary: This is for you. Do this for me. The Lord takes his body, breaks his body and gives his body to the world. The Lord demands from us what he gives to us: Take. Break. Give.

“The Lord is faithful to all his words” (Ps 145:13c). These are the words of Christ. This is the life of Christ. This is the life of the Saints. This is the life that was meant for me.

Let us ask God to illuminate our hearts and minds to the knowledge of His Son, His Word that reveals His mystery; His Word that became flesh for the life of the world. We could never fit through the narrow gate to save our lives! Christ can. Let us become like Him in word and in flesh. So that he may know who we are and where we come from.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Luke 13:18-21 The Kingdom of God

Luke 13: 18-21 The Kingdom of God

(Click here for reading)

What is the Kingdom of God like? It is similar to a tiny mustard seed that grew and became a large bush “and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.”

We do not know how to love. Let me make myself clearer: YOU do not know how to love. If you and I did, we would never be in the predicament that we are in today. I would not allow my heart or mind to be consumed with lustful thoughts, material things, addictive drugs and/or alcohol. I would not be abusive to myself and to others. I would prefer a path, a love that leads to peace and happiness, joy and fulfillment, love and unity. You name it. If love is so great, then why are we having such a hard time with it? Answer: We do not know how to love.

What makes the mustard seed grow? The soil. That is, soil that is soft, nurturing and friendly to the seed. The seed, in response to so much care, is prepared to, willing to and ready to open itself up to and for the world.

What makes the Kingdom of God grow? Love. That is, Christ’s love. His immense, unconditional, personal (and universal), self-giving love for me, for us, for all of us! For this, I am more than ready, prepared, and willing to give myself up to others and for others. Christ taught us how to love. “There is no greater love than this: To lay down your life for another.” Or better, “if the kernel does not fall to the ground and die, it will never produce any fruit.” The fruit is the Kingdom of God. The kernel is Christ. The kernel is also me.

For this reason, I think I am being honest when I say, “You do not know how to love.” And even now, you still do not know how to love. Love is more than a desire, a feeling, a commitment or a conversation. Love is action. It is a response. Love goes well beyond sex, candles, scents, clothes and a fancy dinner. The Lord loves me, what will I do? How will I love my spouse, my children, my boss, my friends, my neighbors and my enemies?

Recently, I asked my 8th grade class the difference between love and lust. They had a hard time with it. If anything, they got closer to explaining what lust is but they were clueless as to what love is. I gave them my rule of thumb. Love is giving the other what is good. Lust wants the “goods” from the other. It seemed to click with them because they all were busy writing it down! The greatest evidence of love is never giving up! True love begins when the love of the other ends. If I love only those who love me, what credit is there in that? (cf. Lk 6:32)

In the past 60 years, our “progressive” society has handled life’s complexities by reducing them to the bare bones. Our textbooks are a great indicator of this: “The American Revolution in one Chapter!” Life is complex and not just in biological terms. For life to exist, billions and billions of things had to happen and at the right time. Life and love go together. We cannot reduce either. A reductionist mentality is preferred today so that we can fit it all into our technological innovations, daily schedules and under 60 seconds. But by doing so, we reduce human life to nothing, nihilism. We fall short. We settle for less. But we continue to desire MORE!!!

Let us ask the Lord God to love our wives, our husbands, our children, and all those around us, like the Lord loves us, his bride, his Church. Now go ahead and read Ephesians 5:21-33. It should make sense to all of us, and may we never be scandalized by the word of God.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Luke 13:10-17 Crippled

Luke 13: 10-17 Crippled

(Click here for reading)

Every morning a beautiful little angel sends me a text message to cheer me up, to brighten my day. This angel of God wrote a few days ago, “Today, preach with the heart and not with the mind. The heart will make your homily resonate in the hearts of the people and get God’s word out. And the word is out: Love is a universal language that everyone can understand. Unfortunately, not all care for it. In fact, some actually deny it, even while they are seeking to be loved.”

Not bad for a child. Not bad for a young child that has gone through a lot of pain and suffering. It seems as though the closer we get to God, the more painful the journey becomes. I can understand how being away from God would make life extremely painful. I know, without the Lord, I could not survive. I would become a human animal: selfish, lustful, greedy, self-seeking, manipulative, destructive. But what I cannot understand is why the closer I get to God, the more pain I feel, the harder it gets? After all, when Jesus approached the sick, the crippled, the possessed, there was an immediate release of pain, of misery and of love!

The woman, who was crippled for eighteen years, finally had arrived to her destination. She saw Him and He saw her! There was nothing left between them. The mountain always gets steeper as the climber reaches the top. The air becomes thinner as he approaches the summit. The hike is much more demanding, considering it is the longest length traveled. To reach Heaven, I have to remember that I must navigate through rough terrain and carry a burden that is not negotiable: my adversaries. What and who are my adversaries? Those things that I hold so dear to me (close to me) and those things I despise (I keep pushing away from me)!

“Behave like God as his very dear childrenLive as children of the light. (Eph 5:1,8) Live as children of the Light: Light is light. That is, unburdened. Make your life a gift. Give your life to others. Carry nothing with you – no pride, no vanity, and no comforts. Allow the Lord, and only the Lord, to use you. Yes, use you. To be used by the Lord is to be loved by the Lord, the heart’s greatest and deepest desire. If lonely, do not be afraid. Go and give your time, your talents, and your faith to another. If afraid, do not be afraid. Go and share your inmost thoughts, your darkest fears, in Confession. If you do not like the way you look, then stop looking at yourself and look at others – see their needs more than your own. “It is better to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). How will I ever know this if I never experience this? Go and give! Find out for yourself, once and for all, if it is true. If it is all true! The Acts of the Apostles was written for me. It is what I must do. After all,
Am I not an Apostle? I received everything they received, and more. “Truly I say to you, he who puts his faith in me will do the very works which I do, and he will do greater things” (Jn 14:12). The Lord does not mind that we do one better than Him. He would love it!

What is the simplest way to live life? By loving! I have been ridiculed on numerous occasions by giving the homeless or the vagabond money from my pocket. They say I was suckered. They are probably right. But I prefer to be suckered than to suck as a priest (excuse my expression). I prefer to be used, than to be tight on some change.

And so our mountain gets harder to climb. The life of a Christian gets harder to live because as we reach our final destination the weight of the world, the force of gravity, the negativity that dominates – surrounds us - begins to take its toll on our weakened estate. And then there is the unexpected: the Cross upon my shoulders. Once again, the Lord leads the way to the Father’s house. My Father’s mansion and my room have been prepared for me. They await my arrival. The view will be magnificent. The bed and quilt will be better than ever just because of the exhausting and difficult journey I have traveled. The rest I will receive will be worth all the effort.

There is nothing greater than to love and be loved regardless of how crippled I have become! It just makes it better!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Luke 18:9-14 Loved By God

Luke 18: 9-14 Loved by God

(Click here for reading)

I just returned from a retreat out in Temple, Texas and I would like to share with you the homily I gave to the retreatants on today's readings.

The Lord told a parable about a man who lived in a tiny town and, unknown to him, was despised by all. He was more than convinced he was loved by God, and was loved more than others. This righteous man would compare himself to sinners and, as always, would come out ahead all the time. In the same town there was another man who knew he was despised by everyone, and was even more convinced that he was not loved by God. He did not have the courage to raise his head and ask for God’s blessing. Instead, he dropped his head in shame and begged for God’s mercy. How could two men think so differently of themselves and of God? But what is truly remarkable is what the Lord thought of them. What is amazing is that the Lord saw the second man and loved him more than all the others. "I tell you there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent" (Lk 15:7).

Of course our God does not have favorites. He loves us all. He loves us more than we could ever imagine. But it is clear, through Scripture and history, that God does hold in his heart a special place for the loser, the long shot - the underdog! And we feel the same way. After all, we were created in his image and likeness. Yes, the Lord is a God who knows no favorites. Yet! Yet, he is slightly partial towards the weak. He bends his ear ever more slightly towards the cry of the oppressed. His hand reaches a little further out to the orphans and to the widows when they pour out their complaints. The petitions of the ones who serve God reach the heavens unhindered. Yes, the prayer of the loser, the abandoned, the lonely, the forgotten, the weak, the lame, the handicapped and the lowly pierce the clouds and do not rest until it reaches its goal.

In St. Paul’s magnificent letter to Timothy, his Last Will and Testament, he tells his beloved: I am ready. That is, I am ready to die. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith (2Tm 4:7). I have competed well means vince in bono malum (conquer evil with good). Yes, they brought me to the gates of hell and I refused to enter. I have kept the faith. I refused to learn how to hate! I did not give in or give up! I finished the race. St. Paul never complained. He NEVER complained. Not once did he question the Lord, “Why me?” “Why are you doing this to me?” “What did I ever do to you?” Do I still believe that my love will not be rejected? Do I still believe that I belong to this world? So what will I do? Will I give in? Give up? Will I turn my back on my wife, my husband, my children, my Lord? Will I return to my former way of life?

Do you really believe that when you go home today you will be unconditionally loved? That the first time you try to win your spouse’s heart or your child’s heart you will receive an embrace? Get it into your head, when you return, your love will be rejected. What will you do? That is the question! To be or not to be a Christian! That is the question. To love is the only answer.

“At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me.” Is St. Paul complaining to Timothy? He would have every right to do so. Instead, he is preparing his son, Timothy, to serve the Lord without hesitation. He tells his successor, “May it not be held against them!” “Forgive them Father, for they do not know what they do!” (Lk 23:34)

If you want to be a Saint, then be prepared to live the life of a Saint. Be prepared to be another Christ: to carry your Cross and follow the path that leads to eternal life! To follow the Way of the Cross! The Via Crucis! The Lord will stand by you. In fact, he will go in front of you. He will repeat in your ear, over and over again, when you feel like giving up, “Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground, it cannot bear any fruit” (Jn 12:24).

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted. Start your day the same way now and forever: Christ in my life. Let us begin! Make the devil cringe every morning when you awake. Make him say, “damn it!"

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Luke 13:1-9 A Tree and Some Fruit

Luke 13:1-9 A Tree and Some Fruit

(Click here for reading)

It seems as though the world revolves around trees: first, the trees in the Garden of Eden; then the tree of knowledge. Finally, there were the trees in Gethsemane that surrounded our Lord; the tree that would end the traitor's life and the tree that would save our lives and end our Savior's life.

The Lord tells us the parable of the fig tree. For three years it did not produce any fruit. Be assured, he tells us, that if it does not produce any fruit, it will be cut down. There is no need for it to exhaust the soil. There is no need for it to exist. For three years the Lord preached. For three years he healed the broken hearted. Would he find any faith on earth? Yes. He would. Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it cannot bear any fruit.

It is amazing how much the Lord accomplished in three short years; in such a tiny area of the world; in the era in which he walked the face of the earth and under the conditions that he was able to minister. Did he ever complain? Never.

How often do I feel limited? How often do I tell myself that if I had some extra resources (money, technology, and position of authority) I could make a huge difference? I complain and lament that I have not been given a fair deal. The people around me just do not seem to understand. They do not get it! They have no vision, no idea of what I want to accomplish. I feel rejected. I feel disgusted. I feel abandoned. And yet, the Lord was able to accomplish so much, so quickly, under the same conditions, if not worse!

Lord, open my eyes to see that respect, honor, dignity, authority, holiness, love, compassion, forgiveness and mercy are given to those who know you more sincerely, love you more dearly and follow you more nearly.

This past Sunday, the Holy Father canonized some remarkable men and women who lived their faith amidst tremendous obstacles and human weaknesses. "I choose the weak and make them strong!" This is the handiwork of God. This is the way He operates. The Lord's fingerprints are all over his saints!

One Saint, St. Andre Bessette, died at the age of 91. He lived a childhood of poverty, orphaned at the tender age of 12. He was illiterate and initially turned down from religious life due to poor health and frailty. Pope Benedict commented that "his suffering and impoverishment led him to turn to God for prayer and intense interior life." Look and see what God can do through us when we turn to him with open hearts, open arms and on our knees. From a tiny woodland chapel, he built the beautiful and magnificent St. Joseph Oratory on Mount Royal.

Take some time to read the lives of these saints. Their lives remind us that we should never make excuses to God.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Luke 12:54-59 Interpreting the Present

Luke 12: 54-59 Interpreting the Present Time

(Click here for reading)

The Lord gave sight to the blind; sound to the deaf; and healing to the crippled. The power of God was seen, heard, felt and experienced in the person of Jesus. Judge for yourselves who is God, who is Jesus and what is right?

Many Pharisees and scribes, political figures, emperors and kings had a very hard time accepting the Lord’s authority. Some very wise men have a hard time accepting it today. They ask the questions that should have been asked two thousand years ago:

“How do we know that Jesus even existed?”

“How do we know that Jesus performed miracles?”

“How do we know that the Bible is really what Jesus said and did?”

But the Lord asks us his own question. “Why do you not know how to interpret the present time? Is there anywhere left to go? Is there another ideology still to be invented, revealed or discovered? We have searched far and wide for a savior among men; a lesson plan for society and have found only a dead end: death and destruction. Have we not yet beat our brains into orphans; abandoned our traditions and history only to discover a deserted land where loneliness and ignorance prevail? “Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face” (Ps 24:6). You kept your promises. “I will be with you till the end of time” (Mt 28:19). The faith of our forefathers did not suddenly die as the Lord suddenly died. It rose from the grave, as our Savior suddenly did, and made the words of Gamaliel not politically correct but prophetically correct. “If God is the author of this religion, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God” (Acts 5:39). Fighting against God! How true can truth be?

Who fights against God? Who dares to fight against the Lord’s men: his priests, the deaf and dumb; the blind and the sick; the lame, the sinners? Are they not the first to follow the Lord into paradise? Were these men and women not the first to reveal and recognize the face of God? In their human weakness did this horrid band of brothers; this pathetic outburst of humanity not prove God’s existence, his miracles and what the Lord said and did? What did the blind see, the deaf hear and the lame stumble upon but their Savior and their need for Him. This is what it means to be a Christian. There is a Savior and I need Him.

Yes. The Church will never disappear because Christ WILL NEVER disappear. The Emperors and their empires have come and gone. Freely elected presidents and larger than life dictators have all been laid to rest. The brightest of civilizations have spent their light, while the most powerful of nations have wasted their light. Only one has stood the test of time. Only the One has left the tomb and left it empty. Only Christ has come and gone to one day come back.

The Lord made many promises and keep them all? The Holy Spirit continues to illuminate the hearts and minds of heathens, bringing them to God, to the faith and to the Church. The world does not need God. It desperately needs God! With a new generation of men and women every one hundred and twenty years, Christ and His Church, always young and ever old, continues to urge its people to "live in a manner worthy of the call they have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace; one Body and one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all" (Eph 4:5-6).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Luke 12:49-53 Reuniting Lines

Luke 12: 49-53 Reuniting Lines

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A few days ago I was speaking to an individual who told me that family unity was much more important than truth and understanding. This person had been the victim of abuse as a child and as an adult from some family members. The family was unwilling to come to terms with it and wished to hide it all under the rug for the sake of family unity. The Lord reminds us that unity can only be achieved through truth and love. What unites all human beings is truth and love. That is, the Truth and His Love.

I have come to set the earth on fire! Christ’s fire, like the Father’s fire, is an unconsuming fire that created and renewed the face of the earth. It is a fire that freely burns and will never go out. The most interesting aspect of the Big Bang is that this is the only explosion that ever created! I cannot think of any other explosion, anywhere, that creates. Explosions destroy, annihilate. God’s fire – God’s explosive love - creates and re-creates. It obliterates only one thing: human barriers. “Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” (Ronald Reagan)

God’s love has no limits. St. Paul exhorts us, before the Father, that “You…rooted in faith…may have the strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth…that is the love of Christ!” (Eph 3:18-19) The North and South, East and West of Christ’s love is the CROSS! It radiates his love with his light, and reaches the four corners of the earth! It sets the world on fire! It crosses the horizon. It is rooted in heaven and planted on earth. It unites and divides. It separates and heals. When I look at the Cross, it calls out to me, by name, “Come join me.” Come join me also means “leave all these other things behind.”

Yes or No

Good or Evil

Wheat or Weed

Love or Indifference

King of King or Prince of lies

Give or Take / Cross or Comfort

Grace or Sin / Poverty or Wealth

Freedom or Slavery

Simplicity or Vanity

Humility or Pride

Time or Eternity

Life or Death

One day, we shall stand before the Lord and be judged according to how we loved Him and our neighbor. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. (Ps 33:5b) Today, Let my heart choose God over all other gods. I shall seek the greatest Good over all other goods. Let my feet stand firm in the knowledge that when the Lord divides, he conquers. What the Lord unites, he rewards. Who the Lord loves, he raises. What the earth sets on fire, He uses to light the heavens!