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!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Luke 10:21-24 To See What You See

Luke 10: 21-24 To See What You See

Feeble-minded. This is a typical response from an atheist to a Christian. At times I enjoy reading the comments that are left on news articles. Sometimes I respond to them. “Feeble-minded” is a typical comment I receive. from those who do not believe and have no sound argument in their defense. I usually reply that to be Christian means to be meek and humble of heart, not feeble-minded. And those who are not humble in heart are usually prideful and boastful. I have come to realize that pride is the greatest threat to faith, not science or philosophy.

“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.” What did the Father first hide from man? Nothing, for they were both naked. Nothing was hidden from man because everything was loved. There was no room for pride, for vanity or for self-indulgence. Love fills the heart and mind with joy and happiness. Love is man’s greatest desire. “I want to love you!” is Romeo’s first and best gift for Juliet. “I want to be loved” is his first hope. An open heart, a clean heart, a loving heart is what I need more than ever during this time of reflection. Pride and boastfulness obscure the beauty of things. I cannot witness God’s amazing grace if I have a wall built around me in order to protect me.

Lord, give me that “inner eye” to see what you see: I was created to be given; I was created to be received. I was given by you; I will be taken by you. So many years are wasted building oneself up, while all along your greatest wish is to strip us from all that inhibits us!

The Lord is coming.

Salvation is at hand.

The journey is long.

The stripping: immense.

The timing is perfect.

The people are in place.

The Lord is coming.

He is already in our midst.

He appears to the humble.

He attracts the meek.

He disappears before the wicked.

He slips past their tricks.

He knows how to reach us;

For He knows how to give.

The Lord is coming.

Am I here for him?

Lord, create in me a heart more like yours, for the heart is the center piece of your creation. To know with the mind is wonderful; but to know from the heart is beautiful. Many prophets desired to see what we see. Many kings thought that they were entitled to be close to you. But you prefer the meek and humble of heart, not the feeble of mind. Give me the heart to see your love and give me the eyes to appreciate what you give.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mt 8:5-11 At A Crossroads

Mt 8: 5-11 At A Crossroads

(Click here for readings)

The Lord had just been approached by a leper. Today, we read that a centurion approached him too. Help (regardless of where it comes from), is always much appreciated. Even a centurion, a soldier, will bow down and pay homage to the Lord. It’s never too late to reach out to Christ. That is, it’s never too late for those who have turned their back on the Lord to turn to the Lord.

We also learn today that a request, regardless of where it comes from, is never unanswered by God. “The Lord never forgets the souls of those who are poor” (Ps 74). The Lord loves to love. A little faith is all that is needed. “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed…”

Much of our distress, anxieties and frustrations occur because we turn to the Lord as our last and not best hope. He is not our last resort. He is our lasting hope!We should not put the Lord to the test. During the oil spill off the coast of Louisiana, the Governor finally turned to prayer because “It appears as though there is no human solution to this spill!” Well, the last shall be first! This is true with God, this is true with man. I find it amusing and so assuring to see how man is truly made in the image and likeness of God. Are we not slow in asking our parents for advice?

This centurion ventured to ask the Lord for help because he had tried other avenues to cure his servant and all failed, so he had to take a leap of faith. He knew his reputation would be at risk – the scorn of his fellow soldiers was a real possibility – his career could be placed on hold. Regardless of all this, the man took a leap of faith and discovered the real presence of God! He took a chance, approached the Lord and appealed to Him.

“No one in Israel has shown such faith.” The response from the Lord is remarkable; he knows the hearts of men! He knows everything! He knew the risk that was being taken. He appreciated it. Faith requires trust - the greater the trust is, the greater the faith is. How do we know that God is real? From the heart! This is how we know our friend is our best friend. This is why a teacher will never know their student as well as a mother and father know their child. They know us by heart. In no one have I found such faith, such trust; such a heart.

During this first week of Advent I want to ask you to be an observer. Examine the lives of those who live their faith and those who do not believe. Judge for yourself but do not judge them; just observe them. Look and see what it means to live with God or to live away from Him; to seek him out or to look the other way; to take a leap of faith or to plunge in the great darkness. I have come to realize that my greatest knowledge of God comes from the heart. This is how I have learned to know myself and to know others well. This is how I can best know the Lord and the Lord can know me. The Lord goes straight for the heart and to the heart of the matter.

Advent is a time of great awakening! To see with my inner eye (the heart) and to perceive that which goes beyond sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch. Advent is a time of great anticipation. I want you to see for yourself the choices that are out there: Life on high in Christ Jesus, or life on hold. What will it be for you?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mt 24:37-44 First Sunday of Advent (For Children)

Mt 24: 37-44 Surprise!!!

It wasn’t supposed to happen. But it did. Rachelle Friedman’s bachelorette party turned tragic when her best friend innocently pushed her into a swimming pool and paralyzed her from the waist down. Her fiancĂ© has made it very clear, “I never once thought about leaving her.” He plans to marry her as soon as possible.

The Lord reminds us today, “You must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come!”

We like to think we are prepared for the worst! We like to think we are tougher than we are! We like to think that we can overcome all obstacles, burdens, trials and difficulties. And yet, deep down, we hope and pray for one thing: that we are never left alone.

Rachelle Friedman is a strong and courageous woman. She refuses to identify the friend who pushed her in the pool that evening. She refuses to blame her friend. She continues to talk to her and tell her that she loves her and that she forgives her. In fact, she mentioned to the reporters that there wasn’t anything to forgive, “It was just a freak accident.”

When Eve sinned, the first thing Adam did was blame her! He pointed his finger at her and told God it was her fault! Never once did Adam blame himself for leaving his wife or for being too busy with other things. Instead of Adam helping and defending Eve, his wife, his best friend, his soul mate, he turned his back on her and was ashamed of even knowing her. He even blamed God for giving her to him.

Advent, the coming of our Savior, is a beautiful time of year. Why? Because we are reminded of God’s response to our selfishness, our pride and our empty promises. Instead of blaming us or pointing His finger at us, God gets right too it and solves the problem for us. And so, he sends us his son, his only son. The Son that he loves with all his heart, with all his power and with all his might! He gives us his Son so that we can be saved.

What does he ask from us? Only two things: That we love Him and that we love one another! So, instead of blaming each other for our problems, we need to help one another to solve our problems. Blaming people for my mistakes will never fix a single mistake. I will never be a better person by giving up or giving in, just a more pitiable person. Why cry over something when I can always do something about it! What does the Lord ask us to do? Pray! Pray that when you fall into temptation, the Lord is there to help you out. Pray! Pray that when you fail at something, the Lord is just around the corner. Pray! Pray that when you feel alone in this world, you will know that you are never alone in His World but a very big and important part of it! Jesus is the only one that can turn a temptation into a blessing; loneliness into happiness; and death into life!

It may have all started two thousand years ago but it seems like it was yesterday for me! After all, I experience temptation, failure and loneliness on a daily basis but also strength, love and encouragement too. All of this can make us a better person. Tough times make great people!

When Jesus died on the cross, it seemed like it was the worst day ever for the Apostles. But SURPRISE!!! It turned out to be the GREATEST DAY EVER! The Lord loves to surprise us with his love and power.

So today, Jesus asks us to be prepared for his arrival! What is the secret? Stand close to Him. Hold tight! The secret to success is to love more, forgive more and give more. That’s what he did and it turned out awfully good!


Mt. 24:37-44 As It Was

Mt 24: 37-44 As It Was

(Click here for readings)

What should be my attitude during this time of Advent? How should I prepare for the Christmas Season? This Advent, I plan to have one eye looking with great anticipation towards the joy of our saving Lord; the other, looking at a world without Christ. There should be great joy in anticipation and great sorrow in the reality of life without Christ.

It is easy – too easy. Look at today’s headlines:

Young Somali Ready to Kill Thousands at Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Here is a young man that does not know Christ, and instead of a Christian reaching out to him, and inviting him to know and to love the savior of the world, someone else reached out and grabbed his heart and twisted it.

The Korean Peninsula on the Brink of War! North Korea and its reclusive leaders are responsible for so much bloodshed. The aggression began in the late 60’s and continues today. Back in November of 1987, a bomb, planted by North Korean agents, exploded on a South Korean airliner, killing all passengers and crew on board. In March of this year a South Korean vessel was torpedoed, killing 46 sailors. And now a South Korean island was attacked, by the North, with over one hundred shells, killing at least 2 marines and 2 civilians. North Korea is a nation headed by a communist, totalitarian regime that believes in no God. This is just a glimpse of a world without God.

Not too long ago I attended a dinner with a very nice family. Their eldest son was complaining that he lived in a bubble: Catholic school, catholic friends, etc… The dad explained that his boy has been itching to go to public school for a while now. I asked, “What do you mean by a bubble?” “Well Father, we know that not everyone prays, not everyone has the same beliefs that we do…I want to see what the world is really like!” I told him, “Your world is what you make of it. You choose what world you want to live in, there are hundreds out there!” I told the boy’s father to take him for a ride one of these nights around Dallas. Take a look and see what the world looks like for other 13 year old kids. Take a look and see what they are doing at midnight. Some are sleeping, others are hanging out around 7-11’s with their friends. Others may be in some dark alley shooting up. Some might be living in a shelter or something. Some kid might be at a party while another might be getting beat up or arrested! You don’t live in a bubble. You live in the world you want to live in. There are many worlds out there, no bubbles. St. Paul was much more blunt in Romans 13:11-14.

Advent is a time of deep reflection. Have I lost touch with reality, with Christ? Imagine for a moment a world without the Lord: no forgiveness, mo mercy, no compassion; no selfless love, no faith or hope; no redemptive meaning to sacrifice, pain and suffering; no trust and no high standards. No peace within you! No peace within your borders. No peace within your walls. The Lord says, “Peace be within you!” (cf. Ps. 122:6-8) Last night while I was saying my evening prayers I reflected on how darkness once covered the whole world. What did the Lord say? He said, I know the way out…follow me.

Do you remember this time? Meditate and reflect on it this week. Imagine a world filled with darkness and just a little hint of light. Remember when Christ did not fill your life. The world, my world, was a much darker place before Christ, and world events (and events in my life) help us to remember how dark it actually can get.

St. Paul tells us, “The hour has come for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Rom 13:11-14). We know that Christ is coming. Now, will he find a place in the Inn? That is, in my heart and in my soul; in my toughts and in my life?

Father, open our hearts and minds to your Son's Love and Truth, so that we can transform our world into His kingdom. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Luke 21: 34-36 Be Vigilant!

Luke 21: 34-36 Be Vigilant!

(Click here for readings)

“Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20c)

The early Christians were eagar for Christ's return. But the Lord did not appear. Instead, he instructs us to be patient and vigilant; to wait until the dust settles. With the Lord’s delay comes carousing and drunkenness. The added anxieties of the day can easily hold hostage our hearts and muddle our minds. Today, the Lord reminds us of how easy it is to fall apart! We know that the heart can grow weary, the mind – a little cloudy, and the soul a little dry. Be vigilant, seek the Lord! Invite him into your life! Do not hold him back. Allow him to circulate in your veins and arouse your heart. Let us cry out to the Lord, “Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!”

This is the Christian's battle cry; the most ancient prayer said out loud during the Roman and Jewish persecutions. It also seems to be their most solemn prayer. It should be mine too, especially:

When life is good, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

When difficulties abound and I cannot face another day, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

When I think I have the strength to keep going on, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

When I am full of joy, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

When I’m sinking deeper and deeper into despair, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

When I am lost and cannot find my way back to you, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

When I am afraid or alone, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

When I sing or cry out to you, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

When I am tired of carrying my cross, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

When I think I understand, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

When hopelessness enters my heart, “Come Lord Jesus!”

When I don’t know what I am doing, “Come Lord Jesus!”

When I think I know what I am doing, “Come Lord Jesus!”

Every time I make a decision, “Come Lord Jesus!”

Every time I speak to another, “Come Lord Jesus!”

Every time I get into my car, “Come Lord Jesus!”

Every time I go home, “Come Lord Jesus!”

Every time I go shopping, “Come Lord Jesus!”

Every time I use the Internet, “Come Lord Jesus!”

Every time I use my phone, “Come Lord Jesus!”

Every time I go to Mass, “Come Lord Jesus!”

Every time I pray, “Come Lord Jesus!”

The Lord demands my love – with all my heart, all my soul, all my strength and all my will. Come Lord Jesus, into my body and blood, into my daily activities and into my life. Amen!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Luke 21: 29-33 Brace Yourselves

Luke 21: 29-33 Brace Yourselves!

(Click here for readings)

Where sin lives, hell reigns!

Early this morning the sky was beautiful. Before the sun rose from its slumber, the stars were so bright; heaven lit up! After a storm comes clarity and last night was no exception. I began my meditation early this morning and I went for a walk. I know in my heart that there are many graces the Lord wishes to give to me this Advent. What kind, I do not know. But we do know that the Lord lives among his people (Rev 21:3b). He loves to be with us. He loves to share time with us. He even loves to sit and observe us. What does he observe from me? What does he see?

“My offenses truly I know them; my sin is always before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned; what is evil in your sight I have done.” (Ps 51) And so, what shall I do?

St. John, in the Book of Revelation, sees heaven and hell, angels and wild beasts, ancient serpents and fallen angels. He also sees the Lamb and his throne, souls and their deeds. He sees more than we could ever imagine because he has eyes of faith, and when there is faith, there is the Lord. What does he do with all these graces? He holds onto the Word for dear life!

Jesus told his disciples a parable about anticipation, “When the buds burst open, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near.” In the same way, when we experience the Lord’s presence in our lives we know that the Kingdom of God is near. The Lord loves to be with us; to share time with us. When he is near to us, the Kingdom of God is near. Do not allow the day to end without having caught sight of the Lord. His presence is felt most when his grace is embraced. Embrace his grace more than your sins! If I am not happy with who I am or where I am, then I haven't reached the height or depth the Lord wants me to go. The Lord is telling me, "start moving towards me."

Some time ago, while I was meditating, I suddenly felt a wave of despair come over me. It is hard to describe and I wish I had a better word for it. It definitely felt like a wave rushing over me and it definitely did not feel good. It wasn’t the first time this happened, and I am sure it will not be the last time. It doesn’t happen often but it is easily recognizable, it is definitely something supernatural. But what I would like to say is that it is a wave that is unmistakable and unforgettable. How did I handle it? What did I do? I completely ignored it and continued meditating on the word of God. This was my greatest light: Ignore it. This has to be our response – always. We must never give evil a second thought, a second glance or a second chance. It is a waste of time and grace.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but the Lord’s word will never pass away. Christ will never fail; he will never die; he will never come to an end. Darkness will never overcome the light. There is a reason why the Lord called himself the Light of the World, but light is not at the end of the tunnel, Christ is. His presence is not felt in cowardice or in self-pity (false humility). His love is not felt in knocking oneself down or allowing self-hate to fill one’s heart. This tree, my life, is good because it was planted by Him and it will produce fruit for Him. I will not allow the vultures in the sky steal it from Him.

The winter season is a beautiful time of year for it is obedient and follows the Liturgical year. Winter is not a time of hibernation – it is a time of meditation and reflection - to get away and find some hidden corner to enjoy silence, simplicity and solitude. Embrace these moments, do not let them slip away.

There is a tree that is waiting to bloom, and that tree, this tree of life is you. It is time to get away; to allow the arrival of winter to purify the heart and mind and cleanse the soul to renewal. We know what it takes? The best remedy of selfishness is selflessness. Embrace the greatest grace the Lord gave to you: Embrace who you are so that the Lord can transform who you are and create a love-gift.

Where grace lives; heaven reigns!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Luke 21:20-28 The Day Will Come

Luke 21: 20-28 The Day Will Come!

(Click here for readings)

The readings may not appear “worthy” enough for Thanksgiving. But I know I must thank the Lord for everything: the good, the bad and the ugly. I would not be kneeling in front of the Blessed Sacrament this morning if it were not for the infinite love, mercy and compassion of God. In my childhood, I never once thought of becoming a priest, never even gave it a consideration. And even though I had a close relative who was a priest, I was never inspired to follow in his footsteps. The moment had not arrived. The time had not come and the trials had not appeared as of yet. Life was good. I was growing up with my three best friends: me, myself and I. I was popular, outgoing and full of energy. The light was shining on me and I knew I was different – I was better than others. I had too much to live for and there wasn’t a day that I didn’t smile.

But as we all know God’s providence, complicated by sin, can take us down many different paths. Some freely chosen, many others not. As I grew I began to not like who my best friends were. So the rebellion began and when push came to shove, I preferred to fight for what was wrong and to fall into what felt good. The Lord can really push us around - in certain directions - and I have ended up falling in unexpected places.

Through it all, I thank the Lord! Yes, I thank the Lord for all his plans, the people in my life and the places I have been. Yes, I thank the Lord for the good, the bad and the ugly. I would not be meditating on his Holy Word if it were not for the amazing graces the Lord poured upon this finite, little creature of his. He is more than the Master! He is my Savior, my Love and my best friend. I thank the Lord today for allowing me to call him Father and friend. I thank the Lord for his Son.

Why did the Lord have to die? Why do I have to die to myself? Why in the world was the Lord’s death necessary for my salvation? Why in the world is my death necessary for the salvation of souls? Of course we know that it is the Father’s Will. There is no doubt about that. But meditating in the Chapel, I ask the question over and over again. Why? Why so much sacrifice? In my heart I hear the answer, “Because love is measured by sacrifice.” The more you sacrifice, the more you love. The less you sacrifice, the less you love. Sacrifice saves because love saves.

This Thanksgiving we all have a lot to be grateful for: the Lord who guides, the people who inspire, and the events that change our path. And yet, today, we must even thank the people, plans and places that most of us would never care to acknowledge in company and around the dinner table. Yes, all that is good is a blessing. But I would also say that the Lord is truly The Lord because has transformed my sins into his grace and all by the blood of his cross. The dark night of Holy Friday has become the Good Friday that we can now all appreciate and adore. The day will come when I can see it all and embrace it too. In the meantime, let us give thanks in faith, hope and love.

Today, I will “praise your name for ever, LORD.” (Ps 145:1) Your deeds are marvelous. Your signs, tremendous! Your love is everlasting! Your peace is mine to keep. You lift me up by the dreaded deed, the amazing sight, of your everlasting sign of your son’s love for me. For this reason I shall sleep in peace tonight and forever more. THANK YOU LORD! Thank you for the Last Meal, the Thanksgiving meal, the Eucharistic feast.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Luke 21:12-19 Persecuted!

Luke 21: 12-19 Persecuted!

(Click here for readings)

On November 1st, 2010, All Saints Day, nearly 50 Christians killed in Iraq, including two priests. What was their crime? Attending Mass in a Syriac Catholic Church. Islamic terrorists entered and killed. They want all Christians out. Now!

John Boehmer, the new House Speaker, condemned this latest atrocity towards Christians. He said, “This attack occurred during Sunday Mass, just as the congregation rose to recite, “Upon this rock, I will build my church.” As a Catholic, as someone raised to cherish life and defend its sanctity, it is difficult to contemplate the twisting of the human soul required to shatter that peace and commit such a senseless act. It’s even more difficult to summon the restraint required to ease the trembling such hatred provokes. The enemy keeps innocents of all faith in its sights.”

In August, men and women affiliated with a Christian non-government organization working to provide eye care to people in remote and destitute areas of Afghanistan were executed in cold blood by the Taliban. Only their interpreter, who began reciting verses from the Koran, was spared.

Finally, yesterday, Asia Bibi, a Pakistani woman sentenced to death for allegedly blaspheming Mohammed was released from prison following an international outcry that included a specific plea on her behalf from the Holy Father. Bibi, 45, was charged a year ago for blaspheming Mohammad in a conflict with fellow farm workers. She was sentenced to death earlier this month. To be a Christian in Pakistan means to be at risk on a daily basis. All it takes is to be accused of blasphemy. I am sure she will be escorted out of the country before a raging mob get their hands on her.

Has the Lord changed his ways? The Psalmist worries, "This is what causes my grief; that the way of the Most High has changed" (Ps 77: 11). Has his loved vanished? Has his promise come to an end? Are Christians around the world being persecuted because they deserve it? Is the Lord upset with us? Is he upset with me? Why all this persecution? St. Paul laments, "For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered!" (Rm 8:36)

No. The ways of the Lord have not changed. How fitting the words of the Lord, “They will seize you and persecute you” regardless of where you are or what you are doing. We know that there is no other way. “Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you” (Jn 15:20). We tend to believe that the persecution is over. It’s not. The names of our persecutors may change from Romans to Taliban, but the degree of Christian persecution remains the same in the Middle East as well as in other parts of the world. Why are we being persecuted? To give testimony to the power of God.

Even in our beloved country, hatred, bitterness, resentment, ridicule and scorn are daily realities for many of us. In the work place, I know of a few that feel the heat whenever there is a discussion around Catholicism and the Holy Father in particular. You can get a taste of some of it from the comments that are left in some MSN articles.

As Christians we are taught to imitate our Lord; to love our enemies. We are also taught to give reasons for our faith. All this persecution can serve the Lord because it can lead us to give testimony for our God.

Today, I will give testimony for my faith. While I am reading some article, I will leave a comment in defense of the Holy Father, in defense of my Catholic faith and in defense of my King and Savior. I will not let a comment go unchallenged. The Lord does not necessarily want us to be prepared, but to pray beforehand, “for I [the Lord] shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Luke 21:5-11 All That You See

Luke 21: 5-11 All That You See

(Click here for readings)

"Do not fear when a man grows rich, when the glory of his house increases. He takes nothing with him when he dies, his glory does not follow him below. Though he flattered himself while he lived: 'Men will praise me for all my success,' yet he will go and join his fathers, who will never see the light any more." (Ps 49)

All that you see here! The day will come when there is nothing left. My day will come when I open my eyes for the last time and have them closed forever. I need to wake up from my deep slumber and live my life for the Lord. “Use your sickle and reap the harvest, for the time to reap has come!” (Rv. 14:15)

Why do I wait? Why do I procrastinate? Why do I pity myself and envy others? There is one life and one chance to live it! Live it! And live it for the Lord!

I am not sure if the Lord’s warning to the crowd was a motivational speech or if he was seeking to deflate their tiny bubble. Why do I care so much about the end of the world? My end will come well before the world does. Why do I care so much about how others live their lives – Hollywood stars, royal Princes and soon-to-be Princesses? Why do I spend so much time in front of a television or reading gossip magazines? Is this for me? Is this for you? NEVER! Not for me! I am proud to say and to let the world know: I have rejected the temptation to purchase or to own a TV. I do not have one! I have destroyed one temptation! Now, only ninety-nine left to go! [This is for me. This may not be for you.]

Time is not money. Time is much more precious than money. Time is a reminder: I have a responsibility to fulfill. Today I have time to do what I must do. I cannot waste the greatest alarm clock that exists. For this reason, the sun rises and sets, the seasons come and go, the moon appears and disappears, the light shines and darkness comes. For this reason I rise and fall asleep. Time is a reminder: I have only a certain amount of it.

Buildings will crumble. Societies will collapse. Death will come. What will become of me? The Lord knows because the Lord provides. “See that you are not deceived.” Time is a gift because life is a gift. I will see friends come and go; relationships fall apart and children arrive and leave. But in the end, what will become of me? “Do not be terrified! Do not follow them.” Follow me, says the Lord. And I will. I will follow the Lord in his words and his examples; in his commitments and his decisions. “The Lord comes to judge the earth” (Ps 96:13). Not me, nor you. None of us for the Lord is the giver of life and time. He is the beginning and the end.

Lord, embrace me this day. Give me a hint, a touch of appreciation for how precious life is and how demanding you are. Allow me to seek what you seek, love what you love and share what you give. I ask this in your name. Amen.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Luke 21:1-4 Giving Two Small Coins

Luke 21: 1-4 Giving Two Small Coins

(Click here for readings)

Lord, I am amazed how you noticed this poor widow putting two small coins into the treasury. And yet, nothing escapes you, nothing. Neither good nor bad escapes you, but you prefer to take notice of the smallest gifts we bring to you. Regardless of our age, intellect, or talents, we are all your children. Even the poorest of the poor are your children worthy of all your love and affection, and worthy of being held in esteem. We are all loved by you. You smiled and caressed us as we brought our first finger painting of you to you. You love to bathe your children after having played outside and gotten a little messy. You feed us with delight. You tuck us in every night and fill our incredible nursery room with shooting stars and floating animals. You go beyond our human limits and give to us a love that only the best of moms and dads could ever do. You truly never rest. Your work is never really finished.

The widow put in two small coins and the Lord noticed her. Is there anything that is too small for the Lord? Yes, there is: the gift offering of the others. They put in from their surplus. They place large bills in the collection but they do not give what they should. They give to look good rather than to be good. “Where much is given, much is expected.”

What does the Lord want from us? Everything. All our heart, soul, mind and will.

I remember traveling all over Italy as a fundraiser. I was in charge of going across the country seeking donations for our large seminary in Rome. The work was exhausting but the benefits were everlasting. We met hundreds of families. We traveled to the most northern parts of Italy and met good, holy, Catholic families. We traveled to the south and were greeted with the same thing. We soon learned the ropes and, based on our experiences, we were able to judge how much money we could expect. As soon as we arrived to a beautiful home, with beautiful gardens and comforts galore, we immediately knew we would receive very little – some wine and pastries and a lengthy explanation of why they could not afford giving anything at this time. But as soon as we arrived to a home that was old and looking as if it were about to collapse, we knew that we would be greeted with a miracle offering.

I remember this one occasion, driving up a mountain, wondering if we were lost or on the right road, looking for this one particular home and asking ourselves what good this visit would bring to us. We found the home (or should I say cave). Inside there was an elderly woman praying her rosary and sitting in a chair as if she was expecting some guests. She had no clue that we were coming – no telephone number was listed. There was no door to knock, only an opening with some handmaid beads running down the length of it. We asked if we could come in. She greeted us and did not appear to be surprised to see us. She had as a faucet a pipe sticking out of the wall. The water came from the mountain and ran continuously. I whispered to the seminarian that was with me that we should not ask for anything. But he ignored me and after some small conversation he asked her if she could offer a gift. Immediately, she got up. I expected her to go for a broom or something. Instead, she went to her bedroom and came out with her social security check. She handed it to us and asked us to pray for her, and that she would pray for more seminarians. I could not take it. My partner did.

As we left, I told him that I did not think it was right to do this. He reminded me of the poor widow who had given all she had. He also reminded me to have a little more faith.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Luke 23: 35-43 King of My Life

Luke 23: 35-43 King of My Story

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The solemnity of Christ the King marks the end of Ordinary time. Before we begin the season of Advent, let us take a moment to understand why the Church would end the year with this solemnity. Today is a day of reflection.

King of the Universe: The Lord is my God, my Creator, my all. He is the One and only One who can take nothing and make it into something. He did that with the Universe. He does that in my life. The devil can do something similar. He can take something little and turn it into a soap opera – a drama! He loves to mimic the chief Chef but his baking always turns out bad. What a miracle it is that great things can happen from small beginnings. The Lord knows how to get the best from us. He does not settle for mediocrity. His Creation took seven days. He gives to his children seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, seven Sacraments. He provides for all our needs. The Lord is King of the Universe because he is Lord of my life.

King of Love: What more beautiful title does the Lord possess than this! The King of love my Shepherd is! Love entails so much, but most of all Love entails giving. The Lord is the King of Love. We are accustomed to hearing of kings all the time: of Rock, of countries, of companies. But Christ is the King of Love because he holds nothing back. We can only imitate our King and we immediately experience what love is. The more I give, the more I receive – a chain reaction that endures forever! The greatest expression of God’s love for us is his presence. “I will be with you forever.” These are the words of a lover to his beloved. Only in this way, will I ever feel secure, safe and snuggled in this gigantic universe. Christ the King is King of Love. “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.”

King of Forgiveness: If the right hand of love is for giving, then the left hand of love is for forgiving. They are both essential. The right is proactive, the left must be reactive. Giving gives life, while forgiveness brings it back – it resuscitates! “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Today and forever, you will be with me! Love requires great sacrifice. Forgiveness requires great courage. Christ scandalized the soldiers below with his battle cry, the cry heard throughout the world, the cry that destroyed his enemies. His cry began with the words, “Forgive them Father.”

King of Patience: The Lord is King of patience. How the Lord is patient with all of us. He hears our stupidities on a daily basis; our blasphemies reach his ears. I was reading some comments left on an MSN news article and they were shocking at what Catholics were saying about the Pope. One individual wrote this: “I’ll be damned if some 83 year old virgin is going to tell me how to run my life. I had a vasectomy 20 years ago. I’ve got three kids. I’ve been married to the same woman for 25 years now, and I’ve used artificial birth control (condoms) in the past. And I’m a Catholic.” I wrote back, “Congratulations! You are a lottery winner! You are one-in-a million my friend. You can live however you want but it will be a different virgin one day that will look at you and say, ‘Could you have been a little more generous in your life with your wife and kids?’ Pray my friend. Your story is not over just yet. I hope it all turns out well.”

Today, let us ask the King of the Universe to open our minds, hearts, and souls to eternity! Lord, cure us from our tunnel vision. Help us to see the light that lights the darkness and warms the coldness and opens the doors to life everlasting. We ask this through your son’s name, the King of love. Amen.