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John 1:14

Study questions for MSW chapters 3-4

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 3:23 pm on Thursday, September 25, 2014

Here is the attachment for the study questions

Study questions

Holy Thursday: Mass of the Lord’s Supper 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 10:09 am on Thursday, April 17, 2014

Holy Thursday 2014

 

We know who we are by our past. Our homes have pictures of our relatives and children. We pass on simple practices that we have learned from our parents and grandparents, and even if they may seem old-fashioned or  silly to the young, we still carry them out because they are events or actions that remind us who we are and what we are about. They become more important as we get older.

St. Paul reminds us of that very human practice tonight. He does not create something new or change something that is old.  He passes on what he received. He serves as a link in a long chain that leads us all the way back to the upper Room, back to Jesus and his Apostles. Because of our baptism, we are links in that chain as well. We become links to Christ, forged in the fire of his love for the Father and the human race that leads him to the cross. We are connected to each other through our bond in the Holy Spirit which makes us members of His Church. We are then sent to into the world, starving for love, not only to give our lives, but to give the very life of Jesus Christ himself. That is what we remember tonight and pass on to others.

This Mass of the Lord’s Supper commemorates and makes truly real three actions of Jesus Christ. The first is Institution of the Holy Eucharist. This is such a beautiful and profound gift in which the Word becomes flesh so that not only could we walk with God, but that God might truly be our food and drink, our consolation and our strength, our hope and reconciliation. He dwells in us. He comes into our bodies and souls in such a way that he nourished us from within by uniting himself with us so that we are able to live a selfless love in a selfish world. The Sacrifice that Jesus will offer on the cross tomorrow out of love for us is given now to feed us on this long and winding journey of life. He so utterly humbles himself that he makes himself vulnerable to us. We hold him in our hands. We receive him on our tongues. We are touched by God himself in such a way that God does not change, but we do.

The second action of Jesus is the Institution of the Ordained Priesthood. Jesus humbles himself and washes the feet of his disciples. He is giving the Apostles one final lesson before his betrayal and death. To wash someone’s feet is a sign of hospitality, mercy and solidarity. He chooses these men to carry on what he began. The Priesthood is a sacrament of hospitality in that priests are entrusted with the care for the travelers on the way through life by giving them the Eucharist, forgiving their sins, and reminding of God’s perfect love for them. Priests are also instruments of God’s mercy by offering the Word of God and seeking to bring back those who have fallen along the way. The priest is also a minister of solidarity because we deal with the dirty feet of people’s life. He accompanies them in the messiness of life. The trials and troubles, the broken hearts and shattered hopes, taking them by the hand and bringing them, if not carrying them to the cross, begging God to make them whole and restore them to a full life in him.

The third action of Jesus on this Holy Thursday is his command to love one another as he loves us. Notice that I said as he LOVES us. He did not just love us and leave us. He loves us now. He is with us now. He is REAL now. The command for all of us is that we take the love we have received and give it to others freely, willingly and selflessly. As I have said many times. WE can only go to heaven together. We go to hell all by ourselves. That love of Christ that we see on the cross tomorrow is what we give to our friends and families, our enemies and those we meet every day.

In a world that has become selfishly turned inward, Jesus commands us to turn outward- to reconcile with those who have hurt us, to seek forgiveness from those we have harmed, to help those left to the side know that the love of Jesus is not just some myth or good feeling, but an action aimed at making us who God created us to be.  As we spend some time in Vigil with the Lord and he prepares to undergo his Passion, may we ponder it in our heart like the Virgin Mary, so we can seek to unite another link to the Body of Christ by handing on our heritage to the next generation and to all we meet..

February 3, 2014 Lenten booklet .PDF

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 8:43 pm on Monday, March 3, 2014

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December 24, 2013 Christmas Homily for 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 9:36 pm on Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas 2013

 

          Wherever people go, they always want to get the best seats. We even did this when we were little when we used to call “shotgun” when we got into the car. If we go to the movies or a concert, we want to get up close and personal so we can see everything that is going on and maybe even snap a selfie with our smart phone at the place so we can make our friends jealous on facebook or twitter. We don’t want to miss anything. Even today, how many of you arrived early so that you could get a good seat. Maybe it is just that today you want to get a seat period. For Catholics, the good seats for some reason are usually in the back of Church. Why? I don’t know.

          On this great feast of the Birth of our Lord, God is in fact turning the tables on all of us. Why did become man? Why was Jesus born of the Virgin Mary? While there may be many possible answers, I think that one of the simplest reasons is that God wanted not only a good seat in this world, but the BEST seat.

          From the beginning, God has been personally involved with his people in various ways, through angels, Moses, Kings, the prophets, and even great signs like the burning bush and the rainbow or the parting of the Red Sea. But today, it is different. The Messenger is now his own Son. It is God himself who has come down to earth, born of the Virgin Mary. As the Word become Flesh, God’s first seat was the lap of Mary his mother and the arms of Joseph his foster-father.  From that seat he saw the shepherds, the angels and even the Wise men.

          From there his seat is the manger, where in a wooden cradle he comes to rule not with the earthly power of armies, but with the heavenly power of unconditional infinitely generous love. We know that he will not be sitting for long. The Lord did not come merely as a spectator, but as one who will save the world from sin, emptiness and death. He will grow in wisdom, age and grace and filled with the Holy Spirit, he will preach the Kingdom of his heavenly Father, heal the sick in both body and soul, and bring hope to those who only know despair, fear and loneliness. He comes first to watch, and then he will act.

          We see from both St. Luke and St. Matthew that the shepherds come and see, and then go out to tell others of this great gift. The Angels come and then proclaim the message to the shepherds, the wise men come and then go back by a different way. We are also invited to come and see the child in the manger, with his arms outstretched, wrapped in swaddling clothes. He is the one who will fulfill our every hope and calm our every fear.

          Like the shepherds on that silent Christmas night, we too come, not just to worship and thank God for the gift of his Son and pray for his help. We also come to receive the gift as equally mysterious as the birth of Jesus Christ himself, the real body and blood of Jesus Christ, the Holy Eucharist.

          We come here tonight wanting a seat in God’s house, not recognizing until now that God become man so that he could receive the best seat in our house, which is the heart of every single one of us. God does not want to be put in the cheap seats, where we put him when we act as if there are other things or persons that are more important. He also does not want to get stuck in the middle rows, where others things cloud his vision and the gift of his life that he wants to share with us. He wants the front row, the best seat so he can guide us, encourage us, forgive us and love us.

          God deserves the best seat in the house of our soul because after all, he is the one who created it. He created our soul and with our parents gave us life. Through the gift of faith and the sacrament of Baptism, he recreated us, making it possible for us to really share the true and lasting love he has for us.

          So, as we recall the birth of the new born Christ child, the Lord takes a seat on our lap, which for the baby is always the best seat. Now, tonight and every single day, Jesus wants the best seat in our life, our own heart. He paid the price by the blood he shed on the cross for us. May we welcome him front and center in our our hearts and souls every day, so that when we die, we will be given the best seat in heaven. This seat will be easy to get though, because in the presence of Jesus Christ, every seat is the best one.

    May you all have a Blessed Christmas.

 

 

August 29, 2013 chapter from Weddell book

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 2:22 pm on Thursday, August 29, 2013

Attached is the chapter on the importance of the Gospel I spoke about in class

 

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April 3 Ministry to Sick and Dying

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 10:10 pm on Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Here is the pdf of the RAtzinger book on Purgatory.

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March 30 Christ has been raised from the Dead. We are Witnesses!

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 8:32 am on Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Sunday 2013

On this first day of the week, we gather to recall the prophecy that Jesus himself foretold three times in St. Luke. Luke then reports in Acts that Peter testified to the truth of the Lord keeping his promise: the Son of man will be handed over by the Scribes and Pharisees, suffer and be killed and be raised on the third day. Today is the third day. Now is the appointed time and now is the day of salvation. The sins that have weighed us down and the reality of death that caused our souls to tremble has been lifted from the human race through the love of the Father which has raised Jesus from the dead.

Today we have been given again the great gift and a privilege that others have not yet accepted, but silently desire in their hearts, the gift of salvation, the gift of joy, the gift of becoming sons and daughters of God.  How did this gift come to us? This Easter Mass today tells us how we received this new life because we are asked to renew again something that we received long ago. It is the Sacrament of Baptism.

The one thing that brings us to this church today is the life of faith that our parent’s shared with us when we were infants or that we ourselves chose as adults at the invitation of Jesus Christ himself. With this action of Jesus Christ and the Church, we were washed clean of sin and anointed with the Holy Spirit so that we can be witnesses with St. Peter to what the power of faith in the living Jesus Christ can do to bring about joy and wisdom and strength in our lives and in the lives of those we touch.

 

Our Baptism may have been ten years ago or fifty years ago or just last night, but it is not ancient history. It is not something that has just happened in the past. When I ask you in a couple of minutes to renew the promises of your Baptism, your belief in the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, these are not just some words you are asked to respond to. Instead you are being asked to renew and affirm that your life has been consecrated by God through the Holy Spirit, that you rely on his mercy and love to get through each day and that the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ is the food and drink that helps you to live a virtuous fruitful life.

We need to renew our commitment to these divine mysteries not just on Easter, but every single day of our lives. We know that the world is a beautiful but treacherous place. The devil has put many traps in the way so that our culture and attitudes can be persuaded to put our faith on the back burner and live like everyone else, sometimes generous, but mostly selfish. Sometimes listening, but mostly talking. Sometimes thanking, but mostly demanding. Sometimes obeying, but mostly ignoring. We are told by people outside of the Church, especially the secular leaders and the media, that this is the most that can be demanded of us.

This solemn Feast we celebrate today tells us another story and a much deeper truth. Our lives are the product of a God who loves us unconditionally and sent his Son so that our sufferings would not be useless, but would lead to the fullest life. When Jesus took on our human nature at his birth, he witnessed himself that the world has burdens and that we must learn sacrifice and obedience to carry them. On our own, we would be lost. The burdens would be too heavy and the world too chaotic. So he gives us a share in his own life through this Sacrament of Baptism, in which we die to our sins so that we can live a blessed and joyful life is a rough and tumble world. We possess the Holy Spirit as the first fruits that make us able to love as Christ loves, a love unto death that purifies our hearts and souls of fear and envy and greed and show us how to express gratitude. It opens up for us a path to share God’s life in prayer and wonder.

Today the Church reminds us who we are and what we already possess and what we can further achieve with Jesus Christ if we simply use this faith not just once or twice a year or when things aren’t going our way, but every day. When you go home, find you baptismal garment and candle and take it out. Look at the pictures or video of that day and say to yourself: The day of my baptism was the day God changed my life forever. Thank you, Jesus, for this gift. Help me to be a living witness  to the gifts you continue to shower on me for my good and the good of everyone I meet. Alleluia.

March 29 Homily for the Easter vigil

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 7:37 pm on Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter Vigil 2013

Tonight is all about new things. There is a new fire. There will be new water. There will be new Christians because we recognize that with the Resurrection there is new life. We praise God for this merciful gift by singing again the Gloria and many Alleluias. The newness that began all the way back to Bethlehem when the Incarnate Word filled a manger as a little baby comes to fulfillment when fully grown and Crucified for our sins, he leaves us an empty tomb.

Death and sin no longer have power over us. It is been conquered by the resurrection grace that flows from the opened tomb like a flood of water. WE no longer look for the living one among the dead, because he has left death behind and opened the path way to everlasting life.

The resurrection is not just something that happened a lot time ago in a far away country. Jesus Christ now goes beyond time and space to touch every human heart and open every human eye to see his glory. Easter is again today and this day is so long that in fact we celebrate it for eight straight days. Light has overcome darkness, just as the Easter Candle towers over us tonight.

For those of you who have accepted the invitation of the Lord to follow him, Catechumens and candidates for full communion, you receive priceless gifts that will never leave you and serious duties that you can carry out only with the help of Jesus Christ and his Church. You truly begin a new life tonight both in the eyes of God and in the eyes of all of us.

How blessed you are to hear his voice and walk beside him. After these mysteries, your lives will never be the same.

In the waters of Baptism you are washed clean and brought into a deep and personal relationship with God. The God who created you and saw you as his wonderful creature now sees you as his beautiful child. He seals his love for you through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, helping you to choose the good, filling you with peace, and strengthening to carry your crosses whatever they may be. The Sacred Chrism with which you are anointed in the Sacrament of Confirmation creates a permanent place for the Holy Spirit to shape you and comfort you and encourage you to live your faith in a public way without fear.

In the Sacrament of the Lord’s Body and Blood, which you receive tonight for the first time, you will know an intimacy to Jesus Christ that you have never known before. His Body and Blood becomes our daily food, so that as we live in the world and spend ourselves in the love of others, he will renew us with a love that will never be exhausted.

You also receive a mission tonight. It is the same mission that every one of us first received at our Baptism. It is to be a public witness to the power of the love of Jesus Christ through love of God and neighbor, through daily prayer and sacrifice, by your ability to forgive, to serve and to obey Christ our Teacher. If you feel overwhelmed by this, you should. But remember that all of this cannot to be done if not for the Holy Spirit of our Risen Lord that you receive tonight. Your Baptism is not just a moment in time, that you leave behind and then move on to other things.

Rather it is a reality that is to be lived out and reflected upon every single day of the rest of your life. These sacraments now make up your life.

Tonight, all throughout the world, men and women like you start a new life. We thank God that you will be joining the Lord and all of us on this journey of faith. We are grateful for what you bring to the Church, and you can be assured not only of the Church’s prayers and support of you, but also  Christ’s healing grace and presence in your heart.

 

March 27th Homily for Good Friday

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 10:17 pm on Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Good Friday 2013

One of the most basic questions that Christians ask is: why did Jesus choose to die for us? Isaiah foretells the reason in his Fourth suffering Servant Song. He says that:  “We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way.”  God had set us on a wonderful path to life with him, but we thought we could find a better way. After the Fall of our first parents, God reminds us through the prophets, that life has many blessings and much beauty, but it is also treacherous and full of traps. Don’t think you can do all this by yourself. You will fall into a hole that you cannot escape.

We left the light of God’s grace and instead chose the darkness of sin. We lost our union with God and our bond to one another. We go our own ways and do our own things and believe what we want to believe. Many of us don’t know what to believe today, and so we believe the one that shouts the loudest or looks the most attractive. We have lost ourselves.

Earlier in John’s Gospel, chapter 10, Jesus tells us that he is the Good Shepherd, he will gather the sheep who will hear his voice and ultimately he will give his life for the sheep, so that we will know there is only one loving  Shepherd, Jesus Christ. We are part of his flock because he has chosen us through the gift of faith. How is Jesus going to draw us back, by lecturing us, by threatening us, by indulging us? No. He will bring us together by loving us. He is going to give us a definition of love that he will place within our heart.

Some people today find it impossible to accept when we speak of the death of Jesus on the Cross as a sign of God’s love. They argue that it is the sign of an angry and vengeful God, who seeks to be appeased for the sins of the human race. What these people forget is that God the Father did not ask for the death of Jesus. The Father asked the Son to make known and make effective his love for the human race. WE ASKED FOR THE DEATH of JESUS. Pontius Pilate was willing to let him off with a beating, but that was not enough for us. We did not see the effects of our sins. We did not notice that we in fact changed the meaning of love and in doing so sentenced Jesus to death.

For many people today, love means getting what we want when we want it. It is about creating our own little world where we make the rules. That is more lust that love and its roots are raw desire. This is not how God loves. If anyone should know the meaning of love, it is God, who is indeed love. God taught us at our creation us that he loves by giving who He is to us that we might find fulfillment. He shows us a love that knows no end. It is love that is perfect, intimate and complete. It is a love can never be conquered or destroyed or removed. It is a love that ultimately unites.         The 15th century Franciscan poet Jacopone da Todi wrote that “Love has been nailed to the cross and he will not come down.” In Jesus Christ, God has shown us the lengths to which he will go to bring us back. Jesus spared nothing in loving us so that our sins could be forgiven and death would bring our everlasting life.

How can we respond to this offering of Jesus for us? How do we respond to his simple words that flowed like blood and water from his pierced side “I love you?” Some have ignored it. Some may be so bold to think they deserved it. But today, our response is simple- Love Him back. Love him back by making the divine definition of love our own. Give, forgive, serve, listen, obey, give thanks. All these things are made possible for us today because the Shepherd gives his life for us.

When he gives up his Spirit, His Work is finished, but ours is only beginning. If we accept the gift, then we can no longer go our own way. We choose to walk the way of Jesus. We choose to take up our cross every day by loving, which means giving ourselves for the well-being and holiness of others and the glory of God. This is way that is marked by tears, sweat and hard work. We often will not see the fruits of our actions, which may go unnoticed or ridiculed. But we are in good company. Jesus experienced the same thing.

One the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, there is a great hymn, Vexilla Regis prodeunt. There goes forward the standard of the king. Our standard is the cross. We are no longer scattered sheep, but one flock. We no longer go our own way, we walk the same dusty path as the Church. As venerate the cross on which hung the Savior of the world, may our hearts be humbled, but our determination renewed. The Way of Jesus is the Way of the Cross. The way of the Cross is the True path of life which opens up heaven for us poor sinners.

March 27 Holy Thursday Homily: Mass of the Lord’s Supper

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 10:35 pm on Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Holy Thursday 2013

On the beginning of this Holy Triduum, we recall the Institution of the Lord’s supper, the Gift of the Holy Eucharist and the gift of the priesthood. These propose great mysteries to the world even until today. The Apostle’s had witnessed Jesus multiply the loaves and fish, heal the sick, expel demons and preach the love and mercy of the Father. With all that knowledge and experience, they were still unable to appreciate realize the life changing and even world changing events they were chosen to share in. It will take a lifetime for them to realize all that God offers to his people.

 

St. John tells us that at Supper on the night before he died, Jesus took off his cloak, wrapped a towel around his waist and began to wash his disciples’ feet. As we heard on Palm Sunday, Jesus takes the form of a slave, born in human likeness to make beautiful in grace what we have made ugly by sin. None of the disciples try to stop that action, except for Simon Peter. He makes a bold pronouncement, “Lord, you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus then tells Peter, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance from me.” Peter then overreacts in his typical way and says, “Well then, wash me Lord from head to toe!”

 

This interchange between Jesus and Peter makes me question, “Which action is more humbling, to serve or to be served? The simple message of the Gospel is that Jesus tells us that if we are his followers, we must be servants to others. But in order to be servants, we must first let Jesus serve us. Jesus serves us first.

We can at times find it embarrassing to be served. When we were little, our moms were always tidying us up, wiping chocolate off our faces with their own saliva. When we reach old age, we don’t like being wheeled around or even helped at meals. Sometimes, it is hard to find people to participate in this ritual foot-washing because people find it embarrassing. It could be because they have ugly feet, or simply because something that they consider this so personal they want to do it for ourselves.

 

It is sad that even today we get uncomfortable from time to time, even in explaining the Sacrifice of the Mass to others. St. Paul tells us that when we eat the Bread which is His Body and drink from the cup which holds His Blood, we proclaim the death of the Lord.  Yet there are times when we tell people we took Bread and Wine at Mass. We take Peter’s place, “Lord you cannot be so close with me as to give me your Body and Blood, it is only just bread and wine.”

 

We can even go so far as to question the need for priests. “Lord, that man cannot forgive my sins. He cannot tell me how to live my life using Your words. I know the meaning as much as he does. He cannot give me your Body and Blood. I would sooner take it from his hand than let him lay it mine like I am unable to feed myself.” We want to be independent to the end, while Jesus shows us in this simple act that he desires that WE depend on him for our life, our family, and ultimately our salvation.

Faith means putting our lives firmly into the hands of God and letting him cleanse us, heal us, and love us. Today people are made fun of for practicing a life of faith. They are seen as odd people who believe odd things that run contrary to how most of the people in the world say things ought to be done. They say we see things that really do not exist. Actually, it would be more accurate that we are able to see things that they are afraid to admit, namely that there is a God who has seen our sorrow and pain and gives us a path to freedom through the gift of His Son, born of the Virgin Mary. Jesus his Son then completes the gift of the Father, by giving us his own Body and Blood and establishing in his Body the Church the means of sharing in His sacramental inheritance now through the Ordained Priesthood, as we await his return.

It is in this humble act of allowing God to wash our feet, to see us as we are, covered with the dirt and grime of sin and selfishness, that God can truly show us who He is. We cannot save ourselves and we cannot cleanse ourselves and we cannot feed ourselves. Only the One who can look into the depth of our souls is able to all of that, because he loves us to the end.

Tonight the Lord washes our feet. It is not done to embarrass us. It is done to show us that there is not one part of our lives that the Lord does not want to touch.  We too are now sharers in this great mystery through Baptism. It will take us a lifetime to search all the gifts we have received. May the Lord’s Body and Blood refresh our bodies and souls, and help us to make use of the priceless riches we celebrate and remember tonight.

 

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