Living in the Spirit!

 

Wednesday Tenth Week of Ordinary Time

II Corinthians 3:4-11

Matthew 5:17-19

 

Our Grand Rapids Griffins hockey team are the American League Calder Cup Champions for the second time in five years. Those players had to play above their potential, to play as a team and through injuries to win the cup. Congratulations to the GR Griffins! Our readings speak to us about living above what we think we can do for Jesus Christ.

 

St. Paul in our first reading, knows that his whole life has changed. He has gone from killing Christians to being a Christian and speaking for Christ, instead of against Christ. Paul can take no credit of his own for this change and gives all the credit to the grace of God. Paul encourages the people to look to Christ who is the new covenant, and he will change their lives. This new covenant is written not on stone but in their hearts.

 

In our Gospel, Jesus says, “I have not come to abolish the law but to fulfill the law.”  Jesus is letting them know that the Ten Commandments and the Torah are all good and need to be followed. Jesus is pushing for the Spirit of the Law to now be followed, and that is fulfilled in him. Living in the Spirit of the Law means living by a higher standard. God’s law is true and righteous, and it flows from his love, goodness, and holiness. It is a law of grace, love, and freedom for us.

 

What is this “Spirit of the Law?” We all know we are called to love, but what if someone of different color or race walked in, what would we think? We all know we are to forgive, but we can all think of someone who we have not forgiven? We know that we are not to gossip, but how do we tear others down and talk bad about them? We all know we are not to lie, but even little white lies are still lying.

 

May this Eucharist we share, help us to live in Christ being led by his spirit.

 

Let our yes mean yes, and our no mean no!

 

Tuesday of the Tenth Week of Ordinary Time

II Corinthians 1:18-22

Matthew 5:13-16

St. Anthony of Padua

 

 

My foolish pride is the most dangerous weapon that the evil one uses against me. I have realized how many times I say yes to the Lord when I am mean no. Pride is a major contributor of not living the way that God wants me to live. Our readings are going to challenge us to get say yes and mean it! 

 

In our first reading, St. Paul admits telling the people of Corinth that he would visit them on his way to Macedonia, but for some reason, he did not. The people are accusing him of being two-faced by saying yes and then going back on his word and saying no. Paul invokes the will of Jesus who completely said “yes” to the will of God in all that he did.     

 

In our Gospel, Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt should lose its taste.” Salt was used for many things, but it was also used as a symbol of wisdom. Jesus is saying, “Do not lose your wisdom.”

 

Jesus continues, “You are the light of the world.” Well, how brightly is our light shining today? Our light shines brightly when our yes means yes and our no means no. Has pride dimensioned our light?

 

Let us pray that pride does not diminish our light and let our yes mean yes, and our no mean no. The Eucharist is offered to us today to strengthen us to do God’s will.

 

 

 

The Divine Dance

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Exodus 34:4-6, 8-9

II Corinthians 13:11-13

John 3:16-18

 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who, by the will of the Father and the work of the Holy Spirit, through your Death gave life to the world, free me by this, your most holy Body and Blood, from all my sins and from every evil; keep me always faithful to your commandments, and never let me be parted from you.

 

I recite this prayer silently after we all say the Lamb of God. It is one of the several times during the Mass that I recite prayers silently during the Mass. I love saying this prayer, and I wish each time that you could hear it because it speaks of the Holy Trinity and I asks that I ‘never be parted from the Holy Trinity.’

 

We are here today to come to celebrate a mystery, a mystery that we will never fully understand but we hopefully we will know of its effects and come to a little better understanding of this wonderful mystery. The image that I liked the best to express the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is the one that is the most ancient. Our Church Fathers understood the Holy Trinity to be a dance between ‘One Being, made of three persons. Richard Rohrs wrote a book about the Holy Trinity titled “The Divine Dance.” Watching two people who know how to dance is wonderful, as they move as one. I would love to learn how to dance, but all I can do at best is the free flow. Turn me loose on a dance floor and let me bust my move, and I can bust a rug. The Holy Trinity invites us to participate in this Divine Dance. God wants to take us all back to heaven when we die, but God also wants his kingdom to be revealed here on earth, and this is where we are to be included in this dance.

 

In our first reading, Moses is invited to the Divine Dance as God appears to Moses in a cloud. As God passes before Moses, God says, “I am a God of mercy, and I am a gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.” Moses asks to enter the divine dance by saying, “If I find favor with you, please be in my company.”

 

St. Paul in our second is invited to the Divine Dance, and Paul says “When we are invited to this Holy Dance we are given a certain grace to know how to live. Greet each other with a holy kiss.” How have we used this grace that has been given to us by this Divine Dance? What if every embrace, ever sign of affection we make in the coming days was a ‘Holy Embrace’ that Paul speaks about, how different our lives would be?

 

In our Gospel, we are told that this Divine Dance is going on for our benefit “As God so loved the world that he gave his only Son to we will be saved in His love.” God gives us his Son we will know love. Do we know it, feel it, and live it?

 

My friends in Christ, it is awesome to think that we are invited to this Divine Dance. In this Divine Dance are we dancing in sync with our loved ones as one, knowing what they smell like, and knowing their every move and celebrating what can be done together? May we come to know we are loved and never be parted from God.

We are happy!

 

Friday Ninth Week

All School Mass

Tobit 11: 5-17

Mark 12:35-37

 

Is anyone happy today? Why are you filled with happiness?

 

We hear about people who are filled with great delight in our readings today.

 

In our first reading, Tobit is happy as he is healed from his blindness. Tobiah, his son, returns home very happy to have his mom and dad meet his new bride Sarah. This story ends that all the Jewish people in Nineveh filled with great joy.

 

In our Gospel, the people are “filled with great delight!” after listening to Jesus. They are filled with great delight as Jesus explains that he is the “messiah” was is to come from the direct line of the Son of David.

 

All of you came to school back in September with great hope to learn and to grow in your faith. You leave now for summer vacation happy because you have done what you had hoped to do. You have been given an excellent education are formed in the way of faith.

 

May we experience Jesus Christ in this Eucharist and know he is the reason for our joy!    

 

Giving God our best!

 

Thursday Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

Tobit 6:10; 7:1, 9-17; 8:4-9

Mark 12:28-34

 

Did we do our best yesterday? Are we willing to take today to a whole new level? In our spiritual lives, God always wants us to take our spiritual lives to a whole new level.

 

In our first reading, Tobiah and Sarah are to be married, and they take marriage to a whole new level in God. Sarah has been married seven times before, and each time her husband has died on their wedding night. Tobiah has taken his trust in God in a whole new way as this news has not discouraged him. Sarah has been told by her Father that ‘this marriage has been decided in heaven’ so she too it taking this as a new sign and taking her faith in God in a whole new way. Before the two of them go to sleep they give God thanks and praise for all the good that will be done in their marriage. How would marriage be different if all married couples prayed together before going to bed each night? 

 

In our Gospel, Jesus takes love to a whole new level as a scribe asks, “Master what is the greatest of the commandments?” Jesus responds with, “To love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Jesus continued by saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Love is an emotion that we share with others, but Jesus takes the emotion of love and now makes it a command that everyone needs to love as he loves.

 

May we in this Eucharist give God our best as he is giving us his best.

 

Who do we want to see in heaven?

 

Wednesday Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

Tobit 3:1-11a, 16-17

Mark 12:18-27

 

Who do we hope to see in heaven when we die? A spouse, parent, or a friend? How can we guarantee that they are they are that we will be there one day? I tell couples getting married; they are to will heaven into their partner and loved ones.

 

In our first reading, Tobit’s heart is breaking as he regrets the way he treated his wife in accusing her of stealing a goat that was given to her as a bonus. His only hope now is to die to end his misery. Tobit would restore his relationship with his wife.  

 

Sarah a relative of Tobit is also in remorse as she has been married seven times. She is in sorrow as each husband has died on her wedding day. She longs to have a lasting and filling relationship, and now she too looks forward to death. Sarah will find a lasting relationship in Tobiah.

 

In our Gospel, Jesus is confronted about the resurrection and given a situation that once again is meant to trick him. What the Sadducees fail to understand is that God is a God of the living not the dead. When we have a relationship with God we are alive in him, because God is always about protecting and defending us which means saving us from death and eternal separation from him.

 

We all long to have relationships that are life-giving and we long to have these people even in eternal life. These relationships are sustained by a life giving relationship with Jesus Christ. The Eucharist we share builds and sustains this relationship to the end of time.  

 

 

How is our moral character today?

 

Tuesday of the Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

Tobit 2:9-14

Mark 12:13-17

 

What does our moral character look like today? Our readings speak to us about our moral character and how true we are to what people can see on the outside of us, to what is on the inside of us. Do the two match up, or are the two out of balance? 

 

In our first reading, we hear about Tobit he was a very holy guy, he feeds the poor, clothed the naked, and buried the dead. When he becomes unable to see for four years, his wife has to work to support him, and he is humiliated. One day, when she comes home with her pay, she also has a goat that she was given as a bonus, Tobit believes she has stolen it. The two of them get into an argument and Tobit’s wife screams, “Where are your virtuous acts now? Your true character is finally showing itself.”  Tobit has become a victim of all of his high ideals. There is an old saying, “We can be an angel in the street and a devil at home.”

 

In our Gospel, the chief priests and scribes asked Jesus, “Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not? If Jesus says, yes, then he has betrayed the Jewish people, if Jesus says, no, then he has offended the Roman government. Jesus asks, “Whose image is on the coin?” He tells him to “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God, what belongs to God.”

 

There was a common understanding that whomever image is on the coin, the coin belongs to him. So Jesus is saying give Caesar his coin. However, Jesus is also saying something very profound, because he is also saying, give to God what is God’s because his image is on all of us. Everyone including Caesar is to give their heart, soul, and mind to God.

 

Our moral character needs to be shaped by God. God’s character needs to sink deep within us, so we will glorify Him and all that we do. Are our eyes pure? Are our heart on fire for God? Are we willing to live only for God? The Eucharist is our guide to building our moral character.