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.