Sunday, April 24, 2011

ALLELUIA

CHRIST THE LORD IS RISEN TODAY! ALLELUIA!

He is indeed risen today, this wonderful Easter Day!

Beginning this Triduum was very difficult for me. I felt very sluggish and upset. Something was not sitting well with me. I found out that most of the Triduum celebrations were to take place in the gym and not the parish chruch because of the lack of space. This upset me because this is the only time in my life that I had not been to a Triduum Mass/Service outside of the Chruch.

Well my eyes were opened on Holy Thrusday at Mass. As I sat there wallowing in my own self pity because of my surroundings I failed to notice what was going on around me. When I noticed that I was so depressed about the fact that the Mass was not in Church I began to look around. I was amazed at what I saw.

When I looked into the faces of the people there, there was nothing but joy and devotion. The gym was decorated beautifully. The people were fully engaged in the Mass. More engaged than I have ever seen in any Church. When I saw the devotion of th people about the Mass and their level of engagement and participation in it I was heart broken. My stony heart was crumbled. I had a moment with God. In that instance I mentally pulled myself from where I was, I started a conversation with God:

"Father, why am I so sad right now?"

"Adam, you are sad because you want to be sad. You are not letting me enter into your heart. The exterior is not what matters right now. What matters is what you see around you."

I took this little conversation to mean that I was not allowing God to work in my life in that moment because I had a hangup. I was so upset that we were not in Church I was failing to see all of the good that God was doing there in that Mass, and in the rest of the Triduum. In that moment of prayer I felt God enter into me and give me that new heart. I was renewed.

The message that I got from this weekend is this: The building is not what makes the Church. It is the people that make the Church. So if Mass is celebrated in the Parish Church building or in a gym, Christ is still there and he is at work in all who are there for him.

Thank you Lord, for giving me that Easter gift of resurrecting my faith life. With out you it is not possible, nor would anything matter.

God is GREAT! ALLELUIA!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"...Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12

(Gospel from Tuesday 3/22/2011)

Heard this in today's homily, thought I would share it:

" A man who had not been to Church in some time came in very quietly and sat in the back most pew in the church. He did not want to be noticed so he was being very discreet. Not known to tuis man was that the Pastor was standing at the back wall and had seen him come in and sit down. The pastor walked over to him after a few minuets of thinking..."you're Joe! Right? I haven't seen you around here in sometime."

Joe said to the pastor, "Yes Father,  I know it has been a very long time since I have been here. But I just cannot stand being around hypocrites."

The pastor quickly quipped back, "We always have room for one more, Joe!"

Moral of the story is two fold because it fits into Monday's Gospel as well.

Re: Luke 6: 36-38

1) We should not judge. It is not our place to pass judgement on people; we are not God.

2) A sense of false humility is dangerous. It can lead us into thinking that we are better than the person sitting next to us. Everyone is judged according to their own deeds and misdeeds by our Heavenly Father. 

We should not judge our brothers and sisters but rather we should love them, as Christ loves us. Now I know this seems a heck of a lot easier said than done. How can we possible love as Christ loved?


I want to quote someone but I cannot find out who the original source is. So if you know, email me and let me know please! 

Anyway, the quote: "Love is a verb!"


What the heck does that mean? It means that WE as a SOCIETY must learn to love. Not only say that we love but we have to make an action. ACTION! God calls us to action daily; being instruments of God's Peace and love day in and day out. 



God is good! 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Oh humanity...

"After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, "Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."" ~ Matthew 17:1-4
______________________________________________________________________________________________

Immediately preceding the Transfiguration, Christ asks the disciples who he is, and when they tell Him that he is the Messiah.

"Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Messiah. From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, "God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you." He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do. ~Matthew 16: 21-24


So Peter, in his infinite humanity, could not understand the Mission of Christ yet. Peter looked at Jesus as his leader, and Messiah, but did not want to see the Messiah be put to death or suffer in any way. He seems to be very compassionate in this regard. But, as Jesus says to Peter, “You think as human beings do” and this is true.

Peter’s view is distorted when it comes to the mission of Jesus the Christ. God’s will is above the will of man, and although Peter wants to protect Christ because He is their beloved leader, he cannot. Peter fails to comprehend this. He is flawed in the most common area; Pride.

Pride can be a blinding, menacing, painful experience. Peter has this problem, as most all of us do.

In the Transfiguration account, Peter says “Lord it is good to be here..." Peter says this with the mindset of, it is better to be here than at Calvary. He is again thinking as we humans do, and not as God does. For the umpteenth time Peter is not acting in the way of God's will.

This is why Christ was so upset with him and said "Get behind me Satan!" Peter's words are a temptation to Jesus. And Jesus thinks as His Heavenly Father thinks, like God. He knew what it was that He needed to do.

But then something curious happens at the end of Chapter 16 in Matthew's Gospel; Peter is given the Keys. He man who unknowingly tempted our Lord is given the Keys. How fitting; the one among us who is so fully human, so completely weak, is chosen as head among the Apostles.

I think that this bodes well for humanity. We see Peter, who screwed up at every turn, chosen as head of the Apostles. So if Peter can be appointed by Jesus as head of the Apostles, and us who are as fully human as Peter, we too are chosen to be leaders. Even in our weakness are we strong. We are strong because our faith is firmly rooted in Christ.

With our faith firmly rooted in Christ, we can achieve many goals. The most important of which is heaven. If we do all the good works that we can thing of in our life and fail to get ourselves to heaven, it is in vain. We must do everything, every act, word, thought and anything else for the Glory of God and His Kingdom.

My brothers and sisters, we must attain for ourselves eternal life, with God in Heaven. We must take the first steps in doing this to better ourselves and our relationship with Christ so that we can lead those around us to follow our lead and to help them develop their own relationship with Christ. We are evangelists. Go out and make disciples of all the nations

God is so good!

P.S. Happy Feast of St. Joseph! 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Temptation


Yet again I am looking to relate more and more to Jesus. I keep telling myself that you can't compare yourself to Jesus, He's God, and I am not. And to some degree I know this is true, but then I turn to the Scriptures and I see myself in so much of what Christ does and goes through.

When reading and meditating through them I am filled with insight not only to the Divine of the Savior and also into his human Nature. St. Paul writes in Hebrews 4:15,  


"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin."

This strikes me in a way that it hasn't before.

Christ's humanity is made real in this passage. He experienced everything that I have and will go through. All of my temptations, all of my pain, all of my agony, all of everything good and bad, He knows and has experienced. He has emotions, fears, and other things. But He never sinned. Satan himself tempted Jesus in the desert (Matthew 4: 1-11) and Jesus just told Satan to get away from him. How easy and simple it seems to just be able to tell Satan to go away. How often do we? The faith of Jesus in His Father's will is tremendous.

Now this faith that Jesus possesses is in each of us, whether we know it or not. Because you are created in the Image and Likeness of God you have an intimate connection with Him. You are loved by God, so much so that He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to Earth to die for our sins. All we are required to do is to live our life modeled on Christ's teachings and be obedient to God in our daily lives.

There are times when we don't want to be obedient to God's will in our lives on a daily basis. Jesus was tempted in this regard also. In His Agony in the Garden Matthew 26:39,


"He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, 'My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.'"


 But Jesus stayed true to His Father's will and allowed Himself to submit to the will of the Heavenly Father. Jesus was tempted, but he again told Satan to go away. He followed His Father's plan. So to should we.

Let us make a prayer,
Father, thank you for the gift of your Son. I know that you sent your Son to this Earth to redeem mankind and to bring us back into your Divine Presence. He freed us from the bondage of sin through His blood. Grant us the same courage and strength to tell Satan to go away from us as your Son did; allowing us to do your Holy Will in all that we do.
Amen.

God is good!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

To Really Love...

1 Peter 4:8
Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins.


What is love? Love is defined as having a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal tie. But for us it is more than that. For us love is what we are called to by Christ; but how?

We are called to love by our actions, works and interactions with all whom we meet and those whom we know. Our love extends from our family to our brothers and sisters who are homeless beggars or the street.

Through this love, we are called to love y helping to meet their physical, emotional and spiritual needs. It also means that we give of our time to listen to the one who wishes to speak with us, or the one who seeks our forgiveness.

Christ showed us His love for the world by obeying His Father’s will. He stretched out His hands on the Cross and was crucified; dying so that our sins could be forgiven. If Christ could do that for us, what can we do for Him?

I think that at the very least we can die to our pride.  It is our pride that gets in the way of our ability to show love. When we are able to let of of our pride and are able to be humble we are able to accomplish so much more for the Kingdom of Heaven.

God is so good! 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Faith...

In recent conversations with others, I have been moved more and more to reflect on faith. Faith is an essential part of who we are.  Without faith we have nothing.  We put our faith in God every day- or at least we should strive to.  We are made in the Image and Likeness of God; we are his sons and daughters.

Take for example the relationship between a child and their parent. The child takes, as an act of faith, albeit known or unknown at that time, that the parent will love them, nurture them and do anything to care for them. The parent likewise takes it as an act of faith, that the child loves them, cares for them, and nurtures them. So to as the relationship between God and man, there should be an act of faith.

God created us in His image and likeness. Why would he do such a thing? He does this because He loves us.  He cares for us, for our eternal immortal soul.  He loves us and we should love Him too. But there are times when we don’t. There is this thing called sin.  Brought into this world by Lucifer, God’s favored one, to disrupt our relationship with God. It eats away at our soul because it enacts us to turn away from God and thus, destroys our faith in what Is.

When our faith becomes diminished or non-existent we become uneasy, we are depressed or find ourselves in a state of despair. We will be stuck in this despair, depression…whatever you want to call it, until we are able to break the bonds of sin. When we turn to God and ask of His mercy in the Sacraments we open up the pathway to God’s overflowing abundances of Grace. The Grace of Faith, the Grace of relationship, the bonds and unity with God. We have the ability to believe, to have faith, in the unknown, the mysterious everlasting God. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

To whom much is given...

Lk. 12:48b
"Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more."


These words echo eerily similar to the scene in Spike Lee's " Spiderman". Uncle Ben is talking to Peter Parker about Peter's bew found abilities, "with great power comes great responsibility." it is my belief that we as Christians have a great power, with which comes a great responsibility! In our baptism we are freed from the bonds of Original Sin. Most of us being babies when we are baptized have God parents who act as a proxy for us in making promises. What promises you ask?:

V. Do you reject Satan?
R. I do.
V. And all his works?
R. I do.
V. And all his empty promises?
R. I do.
V. Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth?
R. I do.
V. Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?
R. I do.

Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?
R. I do.

V. God, the all-powerful Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and forgiven all our sins. May he also keep us faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ for ever and ever.

R. Amen.

Those are some pretty heavy promises that we must keep! But with those promises we have a plan, a plan to follow Christ and to get to heaven. Now I think it would be very unfair to the world for us not to share this wonderful gift, we must share it; in fact we have been ordered to do so!:

Matthew 28: 18-20
"then Jesus approached them and said to them, 'All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirt, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.'"


If we take this command seriously and go out and make true disciples of all nations think of the consequences of these actions! Peace, love, hope! All wonderful things. If we just sit around and are lukewarm in our faith and do nothing with it, we squander not only the likelihood of ourself not being  with our Father in heaven, but we potentially risk others salvation too. Others who would have seen a great witness in us, had we been faithful disciples of the Lord.

Do you reject Satan and all his empty promises? I do.
Go out then and make disciples of all nations!

God is Good!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

God's Silent Grace

He said, "This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come." ~Mark 4: 26-29


The other day at Mass when the Gospel was proclaimed I was struck by the simplicity of this passage. I had heard it many times before, but this time I got something new out of it.

When we look at the seed that is scattered on the land we can look at the metaphor behind it all. The land is us. The seeds are God’s grace.  All throughout our lives we have times when we experience doubt; doubt as to God’s existence, God’s love, that anything really could go right for us. Because when we are down we feel that nothing matters. But that seed that is scattered on the land begins to grow without us doing anything.

How can this be?

God’s grace is able to work through our hardness of heart. Even when it seems that there is no point to hold a belief in God because it doesn’t make sense to us, God is still there even after we have shut him out. Just because we have shut ourselves to Him doesn’t mean that he has shut Himself from us. God is always there. It can also be correlated quite well in the Footprints in the Sand poem/prayer. Even when we think God has abandoned us, he is the one who is carrying us.

It is when we are our weakest that he makes us strong. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 St. Paul writes “but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.”  Even when we think it is all lost, we can always take solace in the fact that God remains with us, is with us, and will always be with us. It is when we are weak, that God makes us strong.

God is good. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Making the Gospel come Alive


Don't ask what the world needs.
Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.
 Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
-Howard Thurman

So I'm sitting at my desk listening to my crazy pop/dance music (you can probably tell that this isn't Nov. Adam) before heading over to Corpus Christi Church for their Don Bosco Fun Night, and one song in particular comes on that makes me think. For those of you playing the home edition, the song is called Raise Your Glass and it's by P!nk. It's been on a playlist that I use for my alarm, but listening to it this evening just brought me a surge of joy- I remembered that as Salesians we use whatever we have at our disposal to bring the Gospel message alive for the young people we serve (bet you thought I was going to say bring the Gospel to young people... truth is they tend to bring it to us in ways we couldn't possibly imagine).


So I'm listening to this song, and I'm insanely grateful that there is music out there that I can use as a Salesian to reinforce how young people are really created with the fingerprints of God all over them- they (and we) are unique, individual, one of a kind, priceless creations. I'm grateful that in a world that makes our young people feel like they have to be whatever image of "perfect" is shoved down their throats, there are artists out there who reinforce that they are special, unique, one of a kind creations. It's my job as a Salesian to make the connection between what the artist creates and what God has created, and it's so much fun doing it!


There are so many means for helping young people bring the Gospel alive, and (at the risk of sounding blunt) it's our own fault if we don't make use of them. So blog, sing, paint, draw, act, do whatever it is that gets you going, and if it really makes you alive and connected to the wider community, I'd be willing to bet that it's inspired


In case you haven't heard the song before- here's Raise Your Glass by P!nk



Thursday, January 27, 2011

Education is the key


In my opinion there is one way for us to be pro-life; and I am not speaking on just abortion. This would mean us taking a step off of the soap box, shut our mouths and listening with our ears, hearts and minds. The way to stop abortion is to think outside of abortion. There has to be an educative method to stopping it. There cannot be a 'war' on abortion. No one has ever won the hearts of people through combative techniques. That is only going to turn people away from any sort of pro-life cause (I think that it goes against the pro-life agenda personally) or people who may associate themselves with being pro-life.  The thought process I think has to go a little something like this:

Education--> We need to educate all, young and old, as to what life is. Life is the fetus in the womb, life is the man or woman or child on the street, life is Grandma or Grandpa in the nursing home, life is the person in prison. All stages of life in any situation or economic situation are important to safeguard. They are precious lives given to us from above.  The education has to be there so that everyone can receive knowledge to better themselves and their families and step out of the veil of poverty. With this education they would be able to have so many more doors open to them. They would be able to do anything and not be limited because their government or whomever failed them in that regard.

Self--> When we look into our self and examine why we are here, why we live where we live, we realize that we have no control over it. Someone decided to carry us to term and give birth to us, someone fed and clothed us, someone obtained for us an education; and someone made sure that we had a roof over our head. We should be overjoyed that we were afforded such a luxury. We must take that knowledge, that because of someone other than myself I am able to live the way I do and I should do all that is in my power to go out and help my neighbor. We need Social Justice. We need people not to be preyed on or cast aside because of their ethnic background or social/economic background.

Society--> When we are all educated enough to know that pro life doesn't just mean babies, but encompasses all, we will be able to see that as a society we can look out for our neighbors and their well being. When we are educated enough to know that the man in prison's life is the same in the eyes of God as my or your life is, we can change as a society. We can change in the outlook that is meant to be the pro-life agenda. That all life is Sacred and that we must be willing to help the man and woman in the street looking for their next meal and not attacking women who are going into a Planned Parenthood. Attacking someone for making an ill informed choice does nothing but hurt the woman or man who are in some way feel pressured into making the decision to abort their pregnancy.  When we are educated to know that love conquers all we can and will make a difference.

Through hard work and education I think that society can be changed. It will come down to "war" and 'civility.' St. Francis de Sales once said "You will catch more flies with honey than with vinegar"

It is through education and love that we can save life. It is through  petty bickering and finger pointing that we will lose life.

God is good.