Saturday, February 11, 2017

WHy the 10 Commandments really matter...

"He has set before you fire and water to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand. Before man are life and death, good and evil, whichever he chooses shall be given him." (Sirach 15:16-17)

It’s funny how the world seems to teach that God doesn’t really care about the 10 Commandments so much as long as we love each other and do what is good for another person.  We end up following a pillow talk kind of love…  one that is soft and cuddly but has no real substance. 

For example, abortionists say that abortion really is about the choice of the woman… for the good of her body and reproductive rights but says nothing about the life growing in her womb and that life which was created by God and has a beating heart.  The most fundamental right of a human being is the right to life but they want to deny that part of it.  Let me have my rights even if it is at the expense of someone else’s life… even my own childs.  And then we have to face the reality of the precious gift of life that God has entrusted to us with this commandment: “Thou shalt not kill.”

The 10 Commandments that have been established by God for us as His children aren’t there as a simple do and don’t list of “Thou shalt not” but rather God is setting out for us what is truly for our good and for the good of others… to do away with the 10 Commandments is to say we really do not care about whether or not we hurt others or hurt ourselves as long as our feelings or others’ feelings are affirmed.  He sets out for us water or fire…. to help ourselves and others in truth…or cause our own downfall. 

Our Lord makes it quite clear in today’s Gospel that the 10 Commandments are not “conditional”.  Rather, Jesus tells us quite clearly, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets.  I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.  Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.  But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

We all have choices to make in life and we have to live and die by those same choices and be accountable for them.  Hence, we have to face what is traditionally called “the 4 last things” which are death… then our particular judgement before God and then either Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory (for those still needing to be purified)

1022 Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven-through a purification or immediately, -- or immediate and everlasting damnation.
At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love.

Let us realize the great gift of the law which is truly established for one thing and one thing only… authentic love… to seek the good of ourselves and others in light of eternity. Let us put on authentic love which helps one another to get to Heaven so that we all may have eternal life.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Sharing our bread with others...

Share your bread with the hungry and shelter the homeless poor… clothe the man you see to be naked and do not turn from your own kin. Then will your light shine like the dawn and your wound be quickly healed over. Cry and the Lord will answer; call and He will say, “I am here.” If you give your bread to the hungry and relief to the oppressed, your light will rise in the darkness and your shadow become like the noonday sun.
To be a light for others… then you will see the Light of God ourselves.. “Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God”
It is seeing that others are not strangers… not just some other person… or worse… like in the hospital where many are treated as if they were just another number to tick off the list… Each of us are made in the image of God and are His children… that is my brother… my sister and another child of God. 
When we begin to honestly and generously humble ourselves as servants for others… to really serve them, we begin to see the face of God in them. If we were to look back in our lives… to when we were truly the most happy… when we looked back and saw light… the lightest moments would be when we truly gave of ourselves to someone else in need. 
It is in those moments that God shines in and through us and we experience His Light. It is true. But there is something more… those who are truly experiencing darkness from gloom and misery will also see the Light of God in and through you….
The Light She Lit in My Life is Still Burning…
Mother Theresa went around Australia during one of her mission visits and found an old man in a most terrible condition. His house was all run-down and neglected as if no one had ever lived in it. She went into his home and tried to talk to him and then she said to him, “Kindly allow me to clean your place and clean your bed…” and so on. He snapped back, “I’m all right! I have no need of your help.” So Mother Theresa quickly replied back, “You will be more all right if I clean your place.” In the end, he allowed her to do it. When she was in his room (although it really wasn’t quite a room at all because of all the mess in it), she noticed that he had a lamp… a very beautiful lamp but covered with dust and dirt.
So she said to him, “Do you not light your lamp?” He replied back, “For whom? Nobody ever comes here. I never see anybody. Nobody comes to see me. I have no need to light that lamp.”
She then asked him, “If my sisters come to you, will you light the lamp for them?” He reluctantly answered, “Yes, I will. I will do that for you.” So the sisters started going to see him in the evening and he used to light his lamp for them. Afterwards (he lived for more than two years after her first visit), he sent word to Mother Theresa through the sisters and said, “Tell my friend that the light she lit in my life is still burning!”
That was such a small thing, but it was there in that darkness of loneliness of the abandonment of human life, the neglect of a person! A light was lit and that light kept on burning. The greatest poverty in the whole world is the poverty of LOVE… the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for, deserted by everyone. May we carry our torches of LIGHT of Christ’s love which we have gained through the Resurrection we celebrate this Easter night when Christ rose from the dead… that we may carry this light to everyone God has placed along our path in life. To our neighbors who are just down the street and has no one to turn to, to the sinner who is in great darkness and needs the light of God’s Mercy and compassion through us, to the sick and dying who are in need of meals and a companion in their suffering. Let us let our lamps burn brightly in this world of darkness and despair. Let us fulfill Christ’s burning desire… “Oh how I wish the world were on fire, on fire with My Love.”
To be the salt of the earth means to be different than everyone else around us… to bring about change for the better… to season everything… like salt. Salt enhances what it touches and everything it comes in contact with. 
God has given each one us His Light… the Light of our Faith in Baptism and we aren’t meant to keep it to ourselves. This Light is meant to shine out for everyone to see and to give witness to what we have received and to draw others to it. 
This is what Mother Theresa did and what each of us are called to do as God’s children… to share His Light with everyone around us.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

How to truly be HAPPY....

The Beatitudes…

If we were going to define what will make us happy… many would think… “If only I had more wealth or riches… then I would be happy.”   For others it would be about being satisfied or successful.  Perhaps if I weren't sick or suffering we could be happy... But Our Lord turns this all around in the Beatitudes.  

Our Lord is seeking for each of us to be truly happy… blessed.  This is the fruit of the Beatitudes for those who can accept it.  The beatitudes bring us into the blessings of God and the desire for Him to bless us in our life with His peace and joy which only comes from living a life based in Him and the way of life He proposes for us as His children.  

Our Lady and St. Joseph, if we were to look at the their life, what was it based upon?  Was it riches or power?  Being successful or having riches?  Turning away from sufferings when it came? No… their hearts were set on the Kingdom of God.  Letting go or riches and seeking the blessings of serving God and others.   

There is riches… true treasure to be found when we dig deeper.  The same is true in the spiritual life.  We need to dig deeper than the here and now of pleasure and seek the deeper peace that comes from this new way of life Christ lays out for us as His disciples…

Blessed are the poor in spirit… for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn… over sin and the loss of God and Heaven… that is true mourning… to look at the Cross and realize what we have done by preferring darkness over the Light of God.  The Blessed Virgin Mary truly mourned and teaches us how to mourn as well… to seek to be blessed and truly happy by turning away from the things which offend God and wound our relationships with one another.

To hunger and thirst not for the next meal or sumptuous desert… but hunger and thirst for a deeper life with God and to desire to lead others to Him.

To be merciful as God is to us… to share this blessedness even with our enemies and to pray for them.

To realize we are blessed when we are persecuted and insulted for living a life with God… for this happened to God’s only Son because He acknowledged God as His Father and that He belonged to God.  This is the happiness of those who are not afraid to stand with God and to be acknowledged before others that we follow Him.  

Yes, Our Lord turns the world's understanding of happiness upside down.  And He desires for each of us to embrace this new way of life so that we can truly be happy… to be blessed by having a life with Him.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The people who have walked in darkness have seen a great Light...

· Isaiah: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow of death a light has shone…” 
· You have made their gladness greater; you have made their joy increase… they rejoice in your presence
It sure sounds like the world we are living in today... “A people that have walked in darkness... a land of gloom” We need the Light of God... to seek His Face.
Resp…“The Lord is my light and my help”
· There is one thing I ask of the Lord, for this I long, to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life… to behold His Temple
· It Seems like this world doesn’t want to hear about sin anymore like it doesn’t exist. Many of those who used to frequent the Sacrament of Confession have stopped or just come occasionally. I just heard this past week of a parish where there was no confessions for several years… not one person came. Jesus does desire for us to have increased joy and greater gladness but it comes with His message… “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”
· There is no light if we are not willing to look at the darkness that we have allowed into our lives and expose to His Light. This is the only way to get rid of sin and darkness is by shining on it with the Light of Christ.
· Our Lord wants us to recognize that we are His Temple… His dwelling place and, just like we were preparing for Him at Advent and Christmas, we must prepare a fit place for Him within our souls…
If Our Lord was going to come to your home… how would we prepare? I would like to clean every room… even the bathrooms… to make it fit for Him.
· I remember being with the Sisters of Charity in Toronto, Canada and they were speaking about when Mother Theresa would come for visits… there was one time where she came for a visit and they were preparing for her to come. Cleaning everything and making it proper for her… The first place she went to see wasn’t the chapel… she went to look at the bathroom… And her reply was this, 
“Someone loves Jesus very much”… She wanted to see how they prepared not for her coming… but for His. He comes to us through the stranger, the people we meet… He comes to us in the Eucharist… But how do we prepare for His coming to visit us?
· But how do I do this in my soul when He comes to me with His True Presence in the Eucharist? The same must be true. This is why the Sacrament of Reconciliation /Confession is a preparation and integral to receiving the Holy Eucharist… to repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.
As we move forward in ordinary time, let us set our hearts on the Kingdom of God that lies within…. And remember to repent… to behold the dwelling place of the Lord that lies within you…“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow of death a light has shone…”