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, August 31, 2010

Lk 4:31-37 By What Authority?

Luke 4:31-37 By What Authority?

(Click here for reading)

I have been asked many times, “How do we know who God is? Can we see him, touch him, or hear him?” At first I didn’t know how to answer this question until I realized the obvious: We know God because we know Christ. Jesus is God. Christ spoke with authority and power. That is, his word has power to change (transform), heal and set free those who believe in him. All were amazed and said to one another, ‘What is there about his word?’”

We read throughout scripture how the crowds were amazed at Jesus and watched him closely, or carefully (Lk 14:1). This is an on-going observation. They were looking for where the strings were attached. Things have not changed much. We are always looking for reasonable, logical explanations to life occurrences. So too, were the crowds, the Pharisees and scribes that were monitoring Jesus. “By what authority does this man command?” The sick are healed. Not enough? The dead begin to rise. Not enough? It is never enough for us. We need to see it for ourselves! “Seeing is believing!” Not only are there healings, but also deeply profound reflections from the carpenter’s son. Christ reveals the mystery of who man is. Who am I? What am I here for? What must I do? Christ opens our minds to ask the meaningful questions and he opens our hearts by answering them in word and in deed. The Lord does not mind at all, he knows the question, “How can this be?” quickly evolves to “Who is this man?”

“I know who you are!” St. James tells us in his letter that “even the devil believes in God!” Even the devil knows that he is the “Holy One of God!” But to know him is not sufficient. It takes more. It takes humility. Better to reign in hell, than to serve in heaven!” This is the philosophy of the unclean spirit who goes against God. Better to reign than to serve!

“I know who you are!” Let us not fool ourselves. This is a declaration of war. This is no simple dialogue. This is combat and it is to the death! “Either He destroys us or we destroy him.” The devil, out of pride and cunning, wishes to reveal who Jesus is before “his hour has arrived.” The Lord will have nothing to do with it. Christ is not about to allow the unclean to reveal who he is. He has his mission, his plan and his vision, which is the revelation of God’s mind.

St. Paul asks, “Who could ever know the mind of God?” He quotes scripture, “who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to counsel him?” Only Christ knows, because Christ is the Word. By knowing Christ, we know God. By knowing what Christ thinks, we know what God thinks. By knowing what Christ says, we know what God wants. By witnessing Christ’s authority, we know that God rules! Christ’s authority comes from the Cross. It is nailed to the Cross. His authority is His Love for us!

Today, let us take some time to read the Gospel, to meditate on the word and to fall in love with His Word: To know, to love, to imitate. God willing, by our words and actions, we too may be a sign of contradiction in the world. Who are you?"

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lk 4:16-30 He Passed Through The Midst of Them

Lk 4:16-30 He Passed Through the Midst of Them

(Click here for reading)

Jesus went back to his hometown and entered the synagogue. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage from the prophet Isaiah where it is written:

“The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He sent me to proclaim liberty (release) from the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”

The words of the prophet Isaiah take up the language of the Book of Leviticus regarding the jubilee year. A jubilee was celebrated every 50 years in Israel. It marked the cancellation of all debts and mandated that property and slaves be returned to their original family owners. Isaiah foresees this jubilee celebration into the future when God will come to release Israel from its slavery (idols) and debt (guilt). The Lord follows Isaiah’s spirit when he announces the greatest liberation of all: from sin. The word “release” means “forgiveness.”

On March 18th, 2007 Pope Benedict visited the Roman juvenile detention center Casal del Marmo. He celebrated Mass with the youth and afterwards met with them in the center’s gymnasium. At the beginning of the audience, the director of the center told the Pope: “Since we learned that you would come, something extraordinary has happened: Smiles have invaded the detention center. Everyone laughs; everyone works. They were all asking me, “What can I do for the Pope?” One young man spoke on behalf of all the detainees: “Dear Holy Father, your visit has brought us a lot of joy. When we learned that you would come, we were all in shock. We couldn’t imagine that someone as important as you would come to visit us. We are sorry for having made so many mistakes. You are a role model and our greatest desire right now is for your blessing.” (Zenit, March 18th, 2007)

The two greatest blessings the Lord gives to man are his love (his presence) and his forgiveness. With Christ’s incarnation, the Lord inaugurates a new year, a new beginning. Now is an acceptable time to return to the Lord. Now is a time to ask for forgiveness. The Lord is present in our midst. We cannot kill him, nor can we detain him. “They led him to the brow of the hill, to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away.” We are truly like mischievous children who do not wish to be taken by the hand and led. We prefer to lead God. Where? To the edge of the cliff to get rid of him. Do I believe that I can be happy without the Lord? That as soon as I can get rid of him, I will be free at last? Of course not! Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this meditation. And yet, reality is honesty. When we sin, we push Christ over the cliff!

Do I realize that happiness is the union between two realities: My duties and my freedom. My duties tell me what I should do. My freedom speaks to me about the things I want. When the two voices are one, when what I should do is the same as what I want, then there is true happiness. “Lord, I love your commands.” (Ps 119:97)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lk 14:7-14 Someone Greater Than I

Lk 14:7-14 Someone Greater Than I

(Click here for reading)

Humility is the nuclear bomb of the Christian: It destroys all enemies. Actually, humility disarms, it calms and it redeems. Why is humility so powerful? Because it is the truth – the practical recognition of what we really are in the sight of God and of our neighbor. We are sinners and yet we consider ourselves more worthy of love, recognition and gifts than our neighbor. We constantly look at ourselves as victims rather than as abusers. We readily find the faults in others and turn a blind eye to our own. We can easily follow a double standard of conduct: one for me and a more rigid, more demanding, one for the other. If we find ourselves the victim of gossip, we can easily forget the moments we participated in it. The list could go on and on and on.

The Lord made it perfectly clear: Humility is absolutely necessary for entry into the Kingdom of Heaven, the wedding banquet, the eternal feast. Either I can attempt to take the seat in the front or I can voluntarily take the one in the back. What a great analogy to a personal truth: Either I end up worshiping God or I end up worshiping myself!

“My child, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts!” Just recently, I discovered that an employee of the Church and school comes once a week into the rectory to clean my living quarters. She does an amazing job. I never knew this was happening because she would come in when I was gone, put everything back in its proper place and wash everything thoroughly - even my sneakers! She is a humble woman and does not seek any type of recognition. Although she is paid by the Church, she goes well beyond the call of duty. She is an employee that everyone would love to have. I thought she deserved some extra compensation. I thought, “I will leave her an envelope with a small token of my appreciation.” Then immediately, from the darkest corner of my imagination, another thought came, “Maybe she will mention this at my canonization!!!” What a fool I am! What a way to destroy an honest gift of love! How our imagination can run wild and free without the filter of humility! “Anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” The gift will have to wait until I can purify my intention. Humility works both ways: for the "Giver" as well as the "Receiver". In many ways, this is the painful reality of sin; so many gifts the Lord wishes to shower on us if we could only accept them or receive them as totally unmerited.

Have I come to realize and to believe that the greatest virtue is humility - the acknowledgement that there is someone greater than I? Humility opens my heart, my mind and my will to the Great One, who humbled himself. The baby Jesus cried because we had lost heaven. For a moment, the poorest baby was richer than He, and He wanted it like that!

Humility of Heart, Mind and Will will lead me to the greatest Lover, the greatest Truth and the greatest Freedom. It is the key, the bomb, the secret that opens the gates to Heaven. The greatest threat to all of this is, of course, a prideful soul. God and a prideful soul are like oil and water, they simply do not mix! I believe Padre Pio once said, “The greatest grace God can give to such a [prideful] soul is to send them a trial they cannot bear with their own powers, and then sustain them with his grace so they may endure to the end and be saved.”

Let us ask the Lord for the grace of humility, for the love of God and for our neighbors. Humility is the root of the tree and gentleness is its fruit. We please God by humility and our neighbor by gentleness.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mt 25:14-30 Faithful in the Small Matters

Matthew 25:14-30 Faithful in the Small Matters

(Click here for reading)

This past week we have read over and over again how there will be “wailing and grinding of teeth” for the wicked servant and, today, for the useless servant. There are concrete consequences to my actions and omissions. There is a final judgment. I have thought many times that my own judgment would begin in a very small room watching the movie of my life, but a movie of what could have been if I had always said “yes” to God.

The men that Jesus called were not well versed in literature, nor were they well versed in the Torah. They were fishermen, tax collectors and zealous – pious – men. They were a mix of misfits and mischievous wrong doers. They were weak during adversity, indifferent to instruction, and extremely emotional when rejected. The Lord himself was not educated in any institution of higher learning nor was he brought up in a noble family or in a family that consisted of Pharisees or scribes, or even Elders. The Lord was a carpenter and the son of a carpenter. For this reason, we can honestly say, “Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own” or “Blessed are the meek and humble of heart.” The Lord picks and chooses the weak to make them strong. He did it from the very beginning. He continues to do it with me! Where much is given, much is expected. We have received a calling from the Lord himself! We have been chosen to participate in the history of salvation!

“Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters, not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something. (1Cor 1:26-31)

God has given to me more than enough. He has given to me his wisdom, his righteousness, his sanctification, and his redemption. He has given to me His Son. What more do I need? What more could I have? We have seen the wisdom of the world and what it leads to: death and destruction; nihilism and mutilation. Secularism is a pretentious invitation to “live life as if God did not exist.”

“There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” This was the bus slogan recently used by Britain’s most famous (and wealthy) atheist, Richard Dawkins, to promote atheism across England. I must acknowledge that he did complain that the word “probably” would probably be a problem in the effectiveness of the campaign. It would remind all those ignorant men and women that they were educating that the educators most likely were probably wrong!

“Blessed the nation whose God is the Lord.” (Ps. 33:12) The nation is blessed because the people are blessed. They are the ones who continue to raise numerous children. They are the ones who continue to trust in the Lord and to teach their children’s children likewise. The nation that is strong in the Lord is not boastful, but hopeful. Mother Teresa once said, “A nation that is capable of killing its own children is a nation without a future.”

The Lord today asks us to be faithful in the small matters. Children are small. Let us raise them to be big and strong: faith-filled, hopeful and loving, so that at the end of our lives, we can hear the words of our Savior, “Well done, my good and faithful servant."

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mt 25:1-13 Who Are The Wise Ones?

Matthew 25:1-13 Who Are The Wise Ones?

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“Jesus told his disciples this parable…” Once again, the Lord speaks to his own, his closest associates, his friends, his Apostles. He uses the image of ten virgins for twelve chaste men. It is all or nothing. We must never forget that the Lord is a demanding God. He demands a lot and expects a lot and that is fine with me. The Lord deserves a lot because he loves a lot! We love because he loved us first!” (1 Jn. 4:16) Where God’s Will is done, there is the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom of Heaven is a wedding feast, where man ascends to God and God descends to man: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Two wills become one.

The Foolish Ones

Who are the foolish ones? They are the ones that come unprepared and are ill-equipped in meeting the bridegroom and understanding the dangers of his delay. The doors are shut for them because they were too slow in meeting the bridegroom. They became distracted with his delay and did not realize that the feast would begin immediately upon his arrival. The words of the Lord are devastating, “Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.” Do I realize what this means? For God not know me is equivalent to not having created me! Who are the foolish ones? Those who wish to go to their wedding unprepared and ill-equipped; who have already spent all their oil, their richness, their beauty, their love on someone or something else! They were deceived, and they are perishing. St. Paul’s message of the Cross is simple: We sacrifice while others party! We nail ourselves to virtue and to honor, while others strip themselves naked and go all out in meeting their own catastrophic destruction. “Who are the wise ones today? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish?” (1Cor 1:17-25) Freedom without discipline spells DISASTER.

The Wise Ones

Who are the wise ones? The Just ones. “Exult, you just, in the Lord; praise from the upright is fitting” (Ps 33:1) because it is fitting to be upright! Who are the wise ones? Those who maintain their dignity and never lower their standards. The ones who come prepared and await the moment of the bridegroom – the authentic groom. They follow the Law of the Lord; patient in his arrival; confident in his word! “For upright is the word of the Lord” (Ps 33:4). The just ones are those who proclaim the Cross! “I suffer know for I know my savior lives.” The Cross is the greatest stumbling block for all men. We want Christ but without a Cross. The Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified!” The Cross is the greatest symbol of tolerance, of patience and of VICTORY! “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” Perseverance, hard work and faith equal SUCCESS! It is organic. It is all natural. It is HEAVEN! To those who have much, more will be given. We wait patiently for the coming of the Lord. We know neither the day nor the hour. But we do know it will come one day in my life and in the life of the world.

Today, demand a lot from yourself and from your children. Raise the bar. Expect a lot from yourself and from your children, because only he who loves a lot deserves a lot. Love for LOVE. Feel the pinch of the Cross.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mt 24:42-51 Who is the Faithful Servant?

Matthew 24:42-51 Who is the Faithful Servant?

(Click here for reading)

While driving on one of the many deserted road in Texas, I came across a sign that read, “Live today as if there were no tomorrow because one day you will be right!” That was five years ago and it stuck hard in my head. We have a limited amount of time to do so much and I have really tried to live my priesthood as if there were no tomorrow. This sign has been a blessing for me. It was a sign from God.

The Lord reminds us, “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. We don’t have to worry about 2012. There is nothing to fear. Chances are we will die before then! “For an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Physicists and Astronomers have attempted to understand the end of the world scientifically. They have asserted a global warming that would destroy life or make it no longer possible to sustain. There have been other hypotheses, but the Lord is not referring to any of them. The end of the world is a judgment, and comes, not from any natural development but from the sovereign will of God (Romano Guardini).

Who is the faithful and prudent servant? He is the one whom the master put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time. Therefore to whom is the Lord referring to? To his priests - his disciples - his ministers. The food that came down from Heaven must be distributed to all the members of the household. We know that this food refers to the Word of God and to the Word made flesh (The Eucharist).

“Jesus said to his disciples…” This teaching was not meant for the crowd, but for those in charge of the crowd. They are to stay awake! They are to remain faithful till the last hour because they are in charge and because they are to serve. St. Paul reminds his brothers and sisters that in Christ they were enriched in every way, and that they are not lacking in any spiritual gift (cf. 1Cor 1:1-9).

“But if the wicked servant begins to beat his fellow servants,… eat and drink with drunkards,… the master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites!” Woe to you Pharisees and scribes. Woe to us priests and ministers of the Lord! “For there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”

The best definition I ever heard of a priest came from a very humble Cardinal in Rome. “A priest is a man of his word; a man of the Word; a man made Word.” He is another Christ - a living, breathing icon of the Lord. We see many icons of the Lord on walls. A priest is a living icon of Jesus Christ. Let us pray to the Master of the vineyard; of the household; of life itself, to send holy and numerous men after his Holy Son’s heart! “I will praise your name for ever, Lord!” (Ps 145:1) This is what it is all about!

The year of the priest is over, but not for the priest. Today let a priest know that he is very much appreciated! Pray for him!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mt 23:27-32 Whitewashed Tombs

Matthew 23:27-32 Whitewashed Tombs!

(Click here for reading)

Who am I? What do I think about throughout the day? What driving force is behind my actions? What do I do throughout the day? How am I living my life?

Today, before you do anything; before you read any further, please sit down and write down the answers to these questions. It might take longer than a half hour, but it is well worth it. You might not like what you see. You might not like what you have become. But it is precisely for this reason that you should do it. I am very confident that if you take this exercise seriously, you might be on the verge of re-creating your life!

Shun any brother who walks in a disorderly way.

We have become cowards in many ways. We have complicated our relationships and made them all the more superficial because no one likes to call anything by its proper name. The result not only harms individuals, but can nearly destroy institutions. In the name of “charity” we turn a blind eye or refuse to speak out against injustices, wrongful behavior, scandalous actions and/or deceitful omissions! This is not something new, but we have definitely taken it to new heights in our bestial culture and in the name of “tolerance” and “freedom.” St. Paul forcefully – magisterially – instructs his brothers and sisters, “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to shun any brother [or sister] who walks in a disorderly way and not according to the tradition they received.” In the name of tolerance we have sinned. In the name of freedom we have become enslaved to the whims and cycles of the latest and greatest theories and formulas for living a better life. We have suffered, but more, our children have suffered beyond imagining: self-mutilation, eating disorders, nervous disorders, panic attacks, suicides, school massacres, etc. Our homes are beautiful on the outside (and inside), but the families that live within those walls suffer, and suffer gravely. From a loneliness that creates fear to a depression that paralyzes the soul, the American family is in need of a Savior!

“Time and time again we broke your covenant, but you did not abandon us. Instead, through your Son, Jesus our Lord, you bound yourself even more closely to the human family by a bond that can never be broken…When we were lost and could not find our way, you loved us more than ever.”

- Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation I

“Blessed are those who fear the Lord”

Aren’t we supposed to love the Lord? Yes. Just like our parents. But if I cannot act out of love for the Lord, I may do it out of fear for him. Just like our parents. Fear is the beginning of wisdom, but only the beginning. We are called to graduate from Kindergarten. If we do, if we are willing to grow, if we are willing to walk away from a life of misdeeds and mishaps; if I am willing to walk in the light and shine like the Son, then I must embrace the Cross. The blood of Christ washes clean my outer garments and cleanses my soul from all stains! After his powerful exortation, St. Paul gives the best advice possible: “May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Jn 1:45-51 You Will See Greater Things Than This

John 1:45-51 You Will See Greater Things Than This

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In the epic novel Les Miserables, Jean Valjean (known as Monsieur Madeleine), arrives in the city of Montreuil-sur-Mer and is met with some skepticism. But, as Victor Hugo brilliantly explains: “In the lapse of time, all opposition ceases. At first there had been, as always happens with those who rise by their own efforts, slanders and calumnies. Soon it was reduced to satire. Then only to wit. Then it vanished entirely. Respect becomes complete, unanimous, and cordial.”

Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” Skepticism is often followed by sarcasm, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” But Nathanael discovered that where God is present, truth follows and leads to a life changing experience. How did this all come about? Simple: “Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom!” (Ps 145:12) “Arise, shine [Jerusalem]; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you!” (Is 60:1)

Make known today the glory of the Lord, and “you will see greater things than this.” What will you see? God’s Truth, Goodness and Beauty! Start with nature, look at creation, from top to bottom, from the inside out, from the angles of time and eternity, and you will see all its beauty and all its goodness. Look at life, from every angle, from creation to redemption, from loving to beloved; birth and rebirth; as given and blessed, and you will see all its beauty shine and all its goodness radiate. “The Lord is just in all his ways.” “There is no duplicity in him.” “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” Joy does not consist in seeing something new each day, but rather digging deeper and deeper in the daily mysteries that surround us. Nathanael saw a man walking and talking from Nazareth. By all accounts, it was not a striking encounter, but neither was it a chance encounter. It was providential. Who was unknown became known. Who was foreseen became seen. The Son of man, the God of the prophets and patriarchs, made himself known to the son of Adam, and he believed. The great “Unknown” has always baffled atheists and agnostics who calmly claim that they know nothing about Him, except for the fact that they know that all the gates are locked. Chesterton, as well as logic, would respond that they do not know enough about the unknown to know that it is unknowable! Begin to see, wherever you are and in whatever you are doing, the beauty and goodness of the Lord. Nothing is coincidental. Nothing is by chance! Nathanael was under a fig tree at the right moment and in the right place. But his entire life was always at the right moment and in the right place.

Today, let us dedicate ourselves as Philip did, who found Nathanael, to make known to all our friends, the glorious splendor of God’s Kingdom. For the Son of God, the King of Israel, reins wherever the human heart ascends to the One who called us out of darkness, and into his own wonderful light. This Way, through His Light, will we see things greater than, and beyond, the limits of the human eye, Only this way, will we see “greater things.”

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mt 23:13-22 To Be Rather Than To Seem

Matthew 23:13-22 To Be Rather Than To Seem

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The Pharisees and the scribes were not always bad examples. After all, they were responsible for keeping the faith alive during times of persecution. They were God sent! This is why they were successful. They were lay people who loved God above all things and had sacrificed everything in order to ensure that the next generations would know and love the one true God. But as time went on, they lost their identity and with that, their God given mission. This is the reason why Jesus condemned them. They had become corrupt. They were supposed to be the spiritual leaders – rich in the Lord. Instead, they were morally and spiritually bankrupt, a heartbeat away from Gahenna. Instead of being interested in shepherding their flock, they spent their time filling their bellies and pockets and keeping their places of honor and privileges. For this reason, the Lord prayed to the Father to send more men after His heart.

The Pharisees and scribes were well established. If the establishment failed, they would fail. They became resentful and became Jesus’ biggest critics. This was their problem. This could become our problem as well. What happened to them could easily happen to us. A very good indicator that you’re in the wrong place is when you have everything to lose.

Today’s Gospel forcefully reminds us that we must be careful about falling into conformity, mediocrity, and illusions with ourselves and with our world. Success is the result of fidelity. Success is great, “you will know them by their fruits”, but if you compromise on your principles or morals trying to achieve it then it will be as fleeting as a shooting star. “The triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment.” (Tobit 20:4-5) We are all called, by the Lord, to move from “Good to Great”; from looking good to being good. We have to be what we claim to be. Otherwise, we will fall and fail.

“To be rather than to seem!” This is North Carolina’s state motto and it should be mine and yours too. Regardless of where we are or what we are doing, we are called to stand up for God and to stand behind one another. This love is what molded the Christian communities of old. The Pharisees didn’t have followers, they had members. Christ had followers. We all need to walk towards Christ. We know that if we do not stand up for something, we will fall for everything! And if we do not stand by the one true Savior, we will die! When was the last time you heard from a Pharisee or a scribe?

The Catholic Church grew in number and in holiness because its followers followed the greatest example – the Lord. They spoke up when it was inconvenient. They believed when it was dangerous. They loved when it was impossible. They grew because the root was Christ and they were bound to one another. They really believed, and that made others believe too. They became a model for living, working and gathering together. What did they expect? Nothing! What did they have? Christ! What did they get? Holiness and Peace. “My peace I give to you!”

Today, I will defend my faith, my Church, my Savior and my God. I will “proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations!” (Ps 96:3) I will be what I claim to be.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Lk 13:22-30 Will Only A Few Be Saved?

Luke 13:22-30 Lord, Will Only A Few Be Saved?

(Click here for reading)

A recent MSN article (or picture story) boasted that there are a number of longtime “unmarrieds” who show that commitment doesn’t have to include a trip to the altar! Hollywood continues to feed our culture with messages that not only run contrary to our faith, but that are really damaging to our health and peace. Do they really want us to believe that Hollywood stars are good examples of commitment? Of course! They use celebrities for commercials all the time. We believe what they say and do what they live because deep down we are all looking for attention, fame and fortune! The Christian today has his work cut out for him. It is the battle of the Titans: Glamour vs. The Truth; Celebs vs. The Unknowns; Comfort vs. The Cross. In the end, we know who is victorious – I AM! How many souls will be lost or won? This is the question!

“Go out to all the world and tell the Good News!” Go out and humble yourself, give yourself, sacrifice yourself, commit yourself to the Lord for the sake of the souls that are entrusted to your care? “Got souls?” If not, do you know someone who is lost and cannot find their way? We worry about a lot of things, but do I worry about the souls that are entrusted to my care? Their salvation? Do I bother myself for their sake? There are two things that a Christian must never say to the Lord: “I will not serve” (which is what the devil said) and/or “I cannot do this” (which is what every single patriarch, prophet and priest has said since the beginning of time). Of course we cannot do what the Lord demands. That is why he said, “Without God, nothing is possible.”

Saint Teresa of Avila couldn’t avoid complaining to her closest Friend about the cross she was asked to carry. In one of her visions with Christ, the Lord told her, “Teresa, that’s how I treat my friends.” Teresa responded, “No wonder you have so few friends!” But since Christ had so few friends, she felt they should be at least good ones. And that’s why, at the age of 43, she decided to reform her order. Great and enduring things come from the Truth, the unknowns and the cross!

“Brothers and sisters, have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children: My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him” (Hb 12:5). The Lord demands great things from those who love him. Love is paid with love. There is no other commodity that the Lord chooses to receive from us: blood for Blood; heart for Heart; sacrifice for Sacrifice; love for Love! How else will we be saved? How else will we save those entrusted to our care? “With God, nothing is impossible!” (Lk 1:37). These are the words that begin our story, His Story – the greatest story ever told!

Someone asked the Lord, “Will only a few be saved?” The Lord responded, not if I have anything to do with it! He asks the same question to us. Whatever you do for Christ, ask the Lord for the grace to respond likewise!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mt 23:1-12 Whoever humbles himself will be exalted

Matthew Mt 23:1-12 Whoever Humbles Himself Will Be Exalted!

(Click here for reading)

Jesus said,

“Whoever serves me must follow me.” (Jn 12:24-26)

Whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” (Lk 9:48)

“Whoever loses his life for me will find it.” (Mt 16:25)

“Whoever wants to be first must be slave to all.” (Mk 10:44)

“Whoever does the will of my Father is my brother, my sister…” (Mt 12:50)

“Whoever drinks the water I will give will never thirst” (Jn 4:14)

“Whoever has will be given more.” (Mt 13:12)

“Whoever wishes to come after me must pick up his cross and follow.” (Mk 8:34)

“Whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Mt 23:12)


We could do a meditation for weeks on just these gospel passages. Truly, the Good News of Jesus Christ is that he is constantly inviting me, personally, to a life of holiness. “Whoever” wishes (or desires) to follow me is more than welcomed to do so. Yes, the Lord personally invites us to his banquet, to follow him, to humble ourselves before him. The gift is set before me, and all I have to do is accept it. R├ępondez s'il vous plait. Every morning I should wake up and ask the Lord, “How may I serve you?” My way of life – my outlook on life - will be radically different from this day forward. To be humble means to make myself available to serve the Lord. My life will take on new meaning, “I am here because the Lord needs me. The day I die will mean the Lord no longer needs me!”


Along with the invitation come certain conditions. Of course! How else would we know when the King expects us or how we should dress? “Whoever” wishes to follow Jesus must follow his example. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Otherwise, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled.” The Lord, who gave more, loved more and forgave more than anyone else did not “taste and see” the good life; but he did live the best Life, the greatest life, the truest life! “Whoever humbles himself, for my sake, will be exalted.”


“Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, ‘the scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.’” Our Actions speak much louder than our words, because our actions will speak long before we open our mouths! St. Francis would tell his missionaries, “Preach the Gospel always, if necessary use words.” This holds true for all those in positions of authority – fathers and mothers included. Popes, Bishops and priests must obey and practice the Father’s Will. If they don’t, what a scandal! But we are still called to do and observe all things whatsoever they say. Children are to obey their parents, but what a scandal if their parents practice what is contrary to The Father’s Will. For this reason, the Lord warns us all to be childlike and to heed the words of Our Father. We have been created in the image and likeness of God, not the other way around. Our fatherhood and motherhood are created in the image of God’s eternal Fatherhood. There is only one Father, Our Father, and he who pro-created (or baptized) little “Adam” named after him. Acceptance of God’s Will reveals man’s glory, and “the glory of the Lord will dwell in our Land” (Ps. 85:10b).

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mt 22:34-40 Everything Depends on Him

Matthew Mt 22:34-40 Everything Depends On Him

You know that the beginning is the most important part of any work, especially in the case of a young and tender thing; for that is the time at which the character is being formed and the desired impression is more readily taken…Shall we just carelessly allow children to hear any casual tales which may be devised by casual persons, and to receive into their minds ideas for the most part the very opposite of those which we should wish them to have when they are grown up? We cannot… (Plato’s Republic)

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…” (Gen 1:1). “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn 1:1). The beginning is the most important part of any work because it is always the best place to start. This is true not only in the work that we do, but also in the thought that goes into it. Today, the Lord is asking to put him first - in our thoughts, words and actions. All that I think, say and do should be an acceptable gift to the Lord. No more running or hiding from the Lord. Do not delay! This day belongs to God, who made heaven and earth…and me. “Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting!” (Ps 107:1).

How I long to see His face! How I long to be in His presence. What the Lord has given to me is more precious than the finest gifts, more satisfying than the greatest banquet; more rewarding than the mightiest accomplishments. He has given me a share in His life! What is more precious, more valuable, more satisfying than friends to love, enemies to forgive and a life spent in his service – His army! Flesh and bones have come to life! The spirit of the Lord has gathered the clay, spun the wheel and fashioned my bones and flesh and given me life! We are alive! Everything depends on Him: life, death, forgiveness and salvation. He is the first. He is also the last.

“Teacher, which commandments in the Law is the greatest?” Jesus knew the answer and I know the answer too, but do I believe it? Do I still need proof? Does the Lord still need proof to believe in me? That I am good in heart? That my thoughts are not so bad? That my actions are for a good reason? To believe fully, wholeheartedly, and to put an end to this debate once and for all, the Lord invites us to “Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Believe and see. There are many reasons why this is the greatest commandment. It is the beginning of justice; mercy and compassion; love and understanding. It is the end, the goal, of life, of history and our salvation! The second is similar to the first, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” I could never love God as much as he loves me. I can only love my neighbor as much as I love myself. The Lord ties the knot at the beginning and at the end.

Today, bring to the forefront of your mind and heart, the reality of life on earth and in Heaven. Notice everything: the sky, earth, sun, clouds, moon, flowers, trees, people – everything - the living and the dead. Do not miss a single opportunity to be surprised by what we take for granted. You will not be the first. Read the Book of Daniel 3:57-88.