Be a good disciple and know no fear!

 

Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Jerimiah 20:10-13

Romans 5:12-15

Matthew 10:26-33

 

We are all called to be disciples of Jesus Christ? A disciple is someone deeply in touch with reality and has the courage to make sure the will of God is done in that reality. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ will take some creative work, but the job of a disciple is always to do the will of God. The challenge I see today from our readings is, “How are we good disciples of Jesus Christ and know no fear.”

 

Jeremiah in our first reading was a prophet for God, he knew persecution, suffering, and terror, but I do not see him knowing fear. When he complained to God about his troubles, God would remind him that he was chosen to be a prophet before he was born. The first part of the reading Jeremiah is lamenting, but then there is a switch, as Jeremiah says, “God you are my champion, I shall know no fear.”

 

In our second reading, Paul says something interesting about being a good disciple of Jesus Christ and knowing no fear when he says, “Do not give into the fear of sin, whatever sin we have do not give in to sin, but only fear the Lord.”  

 

In our Gospel, Jesus is getting ready to send his twelve disciples out into the world on their mission trip. The disciples are to do what Jesus has been doing. They are afraid, so he says to them, “Fear no one!” Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not fearing humans and only fearing God, out of great respect for God.

 

Being a disciple of Jesus Christ and knowing no fear means standing up for what we believe in as Catholics. We stand to protect all life from conception until natural death. We stand for religious liberty and being able to worship and profess our faith in the freedoms we enjoy. As Catholic we stand for truth, shall we know no fear?

 

Grandparents as disciples of Jesus Christ you are to know no fear by being people of great prayer. If you are retired, you have the gift of time, be people of great prayer.

Husbands and wives as disciples of Jesus Christ, you are to know no fear by loving each other better than on the day of your wedding. The two of you have weathered the storms, have no fear in loving each other.

Parents as disciples of Jesus Christ you are to know no fear by handing on your gift of faith to your children. Do not know fear in loving them and giving them your faith. Children as disciples of Jesus Christ do not give into fear by using your devices inappropriately. Treat people with respect, love, and integrity as children of God? Single people, as disciples of Jesus Christ, know no fear by living lives that are pure and chaste.  

As a disciple of Jesus Christ and as your pastor, I pledge to love you and honor you all the days of my life. I pledge to serve you in birth and death, and in all the days in between. I promise to do my best in prayer so others may see the presence of Christ. I struggle with fear each Sunday when I wake up; the evil one plays on my heart trying to make me afraid of bringing God’s Good News. I pray not to give into fear and be a good disciple of Jesus Christ.

 

My friends in Christ, being a disciple of Jesus Christ is hard but life-giving work. May this Eucharist brings us closer to working even harder as a disciple of Jesus Christ and to know no fear.

 

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Let God’s love wash over us!

 

Friday 11th Week of Ordinary Time

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Deuteronomy 7:6-11

I John 4:7-16

Matthew 11:25-30

 

 

We celebrate a wonderful Feast Day today in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We are to meditate on the love of Jesus Christ for us. This feast day began because of the heresy of Jansenism, which held that for some people sin was greater than God’s love and grace. Unfortunately, this heresy is still alive and well today. So many times in confession I hear people say, “I have committed a sin that God cannot forgive.” How sad! God loves us, when we are good and when we are not so good. God’s unconditional love is not a green card to go and sin more; it is a card of love which says, “I love you this much can you love me more in return?” It is a good day to meditate on God’s love for us because God loves more than we can imagine. We hear this in our readings today.

 

In our first reading from Deuteronomy Moses says, “You are a people sacred to the Lord; because he has chosen you to set his heart on you.” How beautiful of an image is that to meditate on?

 

In our second reading, we hear what is important to know is not that we love God, but that he loved us first and continued to love us. With this love of God, since it overwhelms us, we are commanded to love others.

 

In our Gospel, Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble of heart.” I struggled with this Gospel chosen today, but after praying about it what I think God is telling us is we put the yoke of sin on our shoulders all the time and it ways us down, it is a burden. When we put the joke of God’s love on our shoulders, it is gentle and light.

 

So take the invitation today. Fix your eyes on the heart of Jesus and let his love flow over us.

Let us pray!

 

Thursday Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time

II Corinthians 11:1-11

Matthew 6:7-15

 

Our Gospel today speaks about prayer. How is our prayer life? Most of the time I say about prayer that it is important that we show up. Jesus says, “Do not babble on. I heard you the first time.” Jesus teaches his disciples to pray and the Our Father and the first thing to notice about the Our Father is the personal pronoun is plural and will remain plural throughout the prayer. We can pray this prayer in private, but it is meant to be prayed in the community. This is why we pray it at Mass.

 

The second thing to notice is there is a prayer of petition, where we seek from God what we need most in life.  We seek our daily bread, we seek complete dependence on God. We have nothing to worry about nothing to be anxious about; God will provide for us.

 

Thirdly there is our need to be forgiven for our transgressions against God and each other.  We petition God’s forgiveness for ourselves knowing full well that our forgiveness carries with it an essential condition.  We must forgive each other as God forgives us. Forgiveness is a very powerful request mostly because it is so very difficult for us when we are hurt, betrayed, or even overlooked. There are no loopholes in this prayer; it is our reminder that we cannot do this alone.

 

We end the prayer with a request to be free of temptations and all evil.  We want to live be filled with God’s grace and live in that grace.

 

Today we have been given another reminder of why we are to pray. May this perfect prayer of the Eucharist guide us through this day?

 

 

We live in God’s abundance!

Wednesday Eleventh Week of Ordinary Time

II Corinthians 9:6-11

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

St. Aloysius Gonzaga

 

 

Today is my second favorite day of the year as we will have fifteen hours and thirty-two minutes of daylight. It is a day of great abundance! Do we take for granted our abundance in our lives? Do we know the abundance of living in paradise here in Parnell, the place that has the best sunrises and sunsets? Do we know the abundance of being able to worship God in this beautiful church? Our readings speak to us about living life in abundance.

 

In our first reading, St. Paul says, “We need to sow bountifully, because God is making every grace abundant for us, so that in all things, always having all we need, we may have an abundance for every good work.” Have we asked to know an abundance in our lives today?

 

In our Gospel Jesus is cautioning us not to live as a “hypocrite” who just play acts, but living in truth and abundance of God’s love. Jesus speaks about prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, the three pillars of a disciple’s life. Do these well, and we will know a life of abundance. Jesus cautions us not to do these things wondering how we will feel after we are done. We do not do prayer, fasting, and almsgiving by how we feel; we do them well out of reverence for God.

 

We seek a life of abundance, and we do this by seeking God in all we do. It begins today, by knowing the abundance that God gives us in this Eucharist.

 

 

We need one good reason!

 

The Body and Blood of Christ

Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14-16

I Corinthians 10:16-17

John 6:51-58

 

I do not want to go to Mass! “This is my Body; this is my Blood. Take and eat of it, and drink of it for this has been given up for you.” My spouse is dying; please come so they can receive food for the journey.Take this all of you, for this is my Body, this is my Blood. Take and eat of it, and drink of it for this has been given up for you.” We hear all different reasons why to come to the Eucharist or why not to come. We need to find one good reason!

 

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, and how I long to say something to convince all of us of the importance of this Solemnity. What we celebrate is so powerful and life changing. We celebrate that when Jesus took simple bread and wine, raised it up, blessed it and said, “This is my Body, this is my Blood” he meant it that way. What we celebrate today is what defines us as Roman Catholic. What we celebrate in the gift of the Eucharist is our ‘source and summit,’ a perfect form of worship.  

 

The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ is what we need to instill in our children and grandchildren. I give thanks that my parents with five little ones went to Mass, we never missed. When we were at Mass, I could tell, even as a boy of three or four years of age that something special was happening to mom and dad, they became peaceful, more patient, and more loving. Mass was nothing ever to take for granted or dismiss its power, it was real, and mom and dad did their best to hand that on to us.  

 

In our first reading, Moses gives us a reason to come to the Eucharist by saying, “Never forget what God has done for you!” We come never to forget what God has done for us. Moses goes on to say, “Now live on every word God has to say to us.” We also come to the Eucharist to live on every word God has to say to us.

 

In our second reading, St. Paul expresses another reason to come to the Eucharist, and that is because when we celebrate the Eucharis, we celebrate one cup of blessing. We can go anywhere in the world, no matter what language and go to mass and we can follow along. When we come to the Eucharist, it is our opportunity to bless and thank God for his many blessings. We should never miss this opportunity.

 

In our Gospel, Jesus gives us another reason to come to the Eucharist because we need to become what we eat. At the end of Mass and I say, “Go, in peace, to glorify the Lord by your life.” Wow! How do we glorify the Lord, by all we do? Only by receiving the Eucharist more and more.

 

How can I convince you that the Eucharist is our greatest gift? I know of its power in my life, and I have given my life so others may know what I know. With all that life brings us how we can be anywhere else than at the Eucharist that sustains us?  The Eucharist is where we need to be when we want to give thanks and praise to God. The Eucharist is where we need to be when life is a struggle, and things are out of control. The Eucharist is where we simply need to be, why be anywhere else?

 

Our physiacl and spiritual pains!

 

Friday Tenth Week of Ordinary Time

II Corinthians 4:7-15

Matthew 5:27-32

 

Who woke up this morning with some ache or pain? Who of us woke up thinking “I am not sure if I can make this day?” We all have aches and pains, especially us 60 and older. Age never bother me but turning 60 this year is really troubling me! Our readings are about our physical pains and our spiritual pains.

 

In our first readings St. Paul says, “We are a treasure of an earthen vessel, a clay pot, we all suffer from affliction, constrained in some ways and perplexed in others.” However, with God’s help we are not destroyed, not stuck down, because we find the strength to carry on in Christ. Paul had lots of afflictions but with his heart always turned to Christ he was never struck down.

 

In our Gospel, Jesus is saying now do not bring extra pain and suffering onto yourself that you do not need too. Keep your hearts, your eyes and your minds clear and you will not have to suffer needlessly. Keep yourselves pure, and God will bless you. Sin begins with the intention of sin, not the act itself.

 

We all have physical pain but what we want to avoid is spiritual pain. We do that by turning to God for all we need this day. We are to look no further than this Eucharist because God has come to save us.

 

Our Soul cries out to be healed!

 

Thursday Tenth Week of Ordinary Time

II Corinthians 3:15-4:1, 3-6

Matthew 5:20-26

 

My sense of what is going on in our readings is what happens to us each day. We suppress the brokenness of our lives. We tuck it away, we push it down but our soul cries out to be healed from all of it. We are most happy and at peace when our desire and the desire of God become one. When we allow the brokeness of our lives to come and become the desire of God, great things can happen. I think this is what is going on in our readings today.   

 

In our first reading St. Paul’s soul is crying out as he knows that there is a thin veil that covers his eyes from seeing the truth of where God wants him to be. He speaks words of truth when he proclaims, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” The Spirit job is to set us free, and we need to be attentive to the Spirit and remove the thin veil.

 

In our Gospel, Jesus is stating the obvious to what our soul is calling us to do, and that is to be healed and to seek the grace of God. We do this when we seek forgiveness or when we need to ask for forgiveness. Our holiness needs to surpass that of the scribes and the Pharisees, and they were seen as the holiest people of this time.

 

To discover these times in our lives when our soul cries out and meets the desire of God, pause and reflect on our lives and think of the times when we were most happy, and be grateful to God and live in gratitude. In this Eucharist may we seek what our soul’s desire and make it the desire of God!