Monday, January 30, 2012

Jesus' Meekness Conquers

Listen to my homily for the day:

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Meekness is confidence in God's power and purpose in our lives, so that even amidst suffering and trial we hope that God's mighty goodness will be manifest.  This is what David exercised when he didn't retaliate against the man who cursed him in the Mount of Olives.  This is what Jesus did in the Mount of Olives later when faced with the huge mountain of our sins.  This is what anyone does who knows that it is the goodness of God that permits a present suffering that a greater good may come of it.  It is also what happens in the act of exorcism, which is primarily about confidence in the victory of Jesus Christ over the evil one.

We learn meekness from Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and from Our Lady.  May her prayers help us to be like our Eucharistic Jesus, meek and humble of Heart.

Jesus Teaches with Authority and Purifies Authority

Listen to my homily for today, the 4th Sunday of Ordinary Time:

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Mass Readings for the Day

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1899 The authority required by the moral order derives from God: "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment."

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Unforgivable Sin Against the Holy Spirit - Impenitence

Every sin is forgivable except the sin of not wanting forgiveness.  A person may commit this actively or passively, either through presumption or despair, but either way, they limit the eternal and infinite mercy of God.

Listen to my homily for today:

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Today's Mass Readings

Though God's mercy is infinite we pray frequently in the Our Father prayer, "Forgive us our trespasses AS we forgive those who trespass against us," or in other words, inasmuch as I forgive others do I permit your infinite mercy to forgive me.  This can be very terrifying.  Nobody likes to think about "eternal sins" or "unforgivable sings," and frequently people say certain sins are unforgivable when clearly by the Lord's standards they certainly are completely forgivable.  According to him, the only unforgivable sin is that you don't want to be forgiven.  Blessed Pope John Paul II clarified this in his Encyclical Dominum et Vivificantem when he quotes St Thomas Aquinas:

"unforgivable by its very nature, insofar as it excludes the elements through which the forgiveness of sin takes place."
This means that by its very nature it excludes the possibility for forgiveness.  Commenting on Aquinas the Holy Father says:
According to such an exegesis, "blasphemy" does not properly consist in offending against the Holy Spirit in words; it consists rather in the refusal to accept the salvation which God offers to man through the Holy Spirit, working through the power of the Cross. If man rejects the "convincing concerning sin" which comes from the Holy Spirit and which has the power to save, he also rejects the "coming" of the Counselor-that "coming" which was accomplished in the Paschal Mystery, in union with the redemptive power of Christ's Blood: the Blood which "purifies the conscience from dead works." 
We know that the result of such a purification is the forgiveness of sins. Therefore, whoever rejects the Spirit and the Blood remains in "dead works," in sin. And the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit consists precisely in the radical refusal to accept this forgiveness, of which he is the intimate giver and which presupposes the genuine conversion which he brings about in the conscience. If Jesus says that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven either in this life or in the next, it is because this "non-forgiveness" is linked, as to its cause, to "non-repentance," in other words to the radical refusal to be converted.
Or put plainly - nobody can be forgiven who does not want to be.

Mercy for us consists in God granting us the grace to desire final penitence for our sins. In the patrimony of Catholic prayers and devotions there are a few means we can acquire such mercy:
1. Praying frequently the Holy Rosary and the Hail Mary "pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death."  Our Lady made 15 promises to those who pray devoutly the Holy Rosary as entrusted to Blessed Alan de la Roche, "Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the Sacraments of the Church." 
2. First Friday devotion, by which Jesus makes the promise as entrusted to St Margaret Mary Alaquoque: The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments.  This is very powerful.  Last Thursday I anointed and gave the apostolic pardon to a woman who attended daily Mass and had made the 9 First Fridays.  She died minutes later. 
3.  Divine Mercy Chaplet, especially crucial for the dying: "Write that when they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the merciful Savior"
(Diary, 1541)."At the hour of their death, I defend every soul that will say this chaplet as I do My own glory (...). When this chaplet is said by the bedside of a dying person, God's anger is placated and his unfathomable mercy envelops the soul" (Diary, 811)."

BE the Sign of Jonah to Bring About Repentance and Faith

Repent!  This is the message of Jonah, St John the Baptist, of our Lord Jesus, and even what any human person with a conscience can know.  Cease doing evil and learn to do good.  It isn't anything fancy, profound, or eloquent, but when it comes from a man who spent three days in the belly of the whale or three days in the belly of the earth, then we'll sit up and listen.

Listen to my homily for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time:

If you have trouble listening click here.
Look at the Mass Readings for today.

Nowadays it is theologically fashionable to question the historicity of the story of Jonah.  Yeah, it is pretty weird.  Quite odd to think about a man spending three days in a whale and then getting spit out.  But c'mon, isn't that why they listened to him?  To me, the fact that the Ninevites repented after hearing Jonah is the first reason why I think we shouldn't question if it really happened.  The next thing people quesion is if the Red Sea really split, if the miracle of the loaves really happened, and even if Jesus actually historically rose from the dead!?  Nonsense.  Hogwash fiddle faddle!  The second reason is because Jesus himself called the Cross and Resurrection, "The Sign of Jonah" (Mt 12:39-40; Mk 8:11-12; Lk 11:29).

Jesus is the sign of Jonah.  He is "The Resurrection and the Life" (Jn 11:25) who suffered for our sins and on the third day rose again.  For this reason, that Jesus Christ knows us inside and out, and loves us unconditionally, it is very difficult NOT to listen to him.  For it is only the love of God that can really give us the true hope for change.  It is only the Love of one who wept tears of blood and already repented in his own flesh for our sins, which gives us the strength not only listen but to obey the one who says, "Repent and believe in the Gospel" (from today's Gospel Mk 1:15).

Jesus gives us two chief ways of repenting and believing.  These are the two chief Sacraments of the daily Christian life, the Sacrament of Repentance and the Sacrament of Faith, Penance and the Holy Eucharist.  In the Sacrament of Penance, Jesus applies his most precious blood to our sins, cleansing our inmost heart of sin, so that "Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow" (Is 1:18) giving us a new innocence like that of a newborn baby.  In the Most Holy Eucharist Jesus gives us the primary reason for believing in him, that he loves us here and now and says to us in the person of the priest, "This is my body, which will be given up for you" (Lk 22:19).  For not only can we say, "for God so loved the world that he gave his only Son" (Jn 3:16), but also as Jesus said, "the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world" (Jn 6:51).  He gives himself to me.  Here.  Now.  Not just 2000 years ago in a land far away, but at every Catholic Mass throughout the entire world.

HE IS that supersubstantial bread that we eat, that we consume with faith, "for as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:26).  The Most Holy Eucharist is "the source and summit of the Christian life" (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1324) of faith, hope, and charity, of acquiring and exercising the virtues, of service to God and man, and of discipleship.  When we receive the Holy Eucharist with dispositions of a lively faith, real humility, and also with the authentic hope that it will change us, it will bring about the very repentance and faith that Jesus speaks about.  In receiving him we hear him say, we hear the living God say, "Repent and believe!"  This is the same God, that, when he speaks, things happen.  Just as he said, "Fiat Lux!  Let there be light!" (Genesis 1:3) and light itself was created.  When we hear God speak to us the words, he gives us also the strength to follow them.

Our Lady lived these words of Jesus the best.  She is the first and best disciple, who "pondered all these things in her heart" (Lk 2:52).  She is the Mother who helps us to hear these life giving and transformative words of Christ.  May her prayers open our hearts to the One who loves us and helps us repent and believe in his great love for us.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

St Agnes Lifts up our Hearts and our Standards

Listen to my homily for the day:

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Here are the Mass Readings for the day.

Yesterday I met a whole bunch of twelve year olds.  They had just finished a kind of parish mission at their secondary school.  They were surprisingly astute and aware of the grace of God working in their lives.  I interviewed a few of them before Mass.  One said that she knew she needed more encounters with Jesus in the Sacrament in order to live her vocation.  Another said she needed more faith, another said that she needed more repentance, and many others said that they knew they were not living close enough to God or their parents in order to be the persons that God was calling them to be.

St Agnes was only twelve years old when she witnessed to Christ with the gift of her very life!  How many twelve year olds do we expect to become saints, not when they graduate from secondary school or university, or when they find faith on their own, but today, now?  I don't think we have very high standards for them.  It seems like they are treated like a nuisance, like something to discipline, like something to tolerate.  I am always reminded of martyrology of Lyons, France, when in the Diocletian persecution, the same one that took the life of St Agnes, it is recorded that a twelve year old girl would not burn incense to the gods and the prison guards tortured her.  Every time it seemed she felt the effects of the ill treatment she would cry out, "EGO SUM CHRISTIANUS!" (I am a Christian), and she would then receive a mysterious kind of strength.  The torturers were worn out after 36 hours of knives and fire, but the little girl remained resolute and full of a supernatural joy until the very end.

We need to learn from these 12 year old saints.  Firstly, that twelve year olds are called to be saints, not tomorrow, but right now.  Secondly, that the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Penance, which are present in this realm of the senses to bring us to the realm of the mystery and imperceptible glory of Christ's hidden divinity, should never become routine or familiar in a way that keeps us from going beyond ourselves.

May the prayers of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, queen of martyrs, St Agnes, and all the Saints, inspire in us to respond generously to God's call.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Call of God is a Free and Gratuitous Gift

Saul and David were both chosen by God.  The result was that Saul exalted himself and David humbled himself.  In the scriptures when we look at those who were chosen by God, the prophets, seers, and sages, the result was that they prostrated themselves before God at his free choice and election.  This was the spirit of Our Lady.  She knew she didn't deserve the singular grace to be created by God as Immaculately conceived and every grace afterward she felt was unmerited.

Listen to my homily for the day:

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Here are the readings for the mass of today.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Be faithful. God Will Do the Rest.

Listen to my homily for the day:

Mass Readings for the day.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Jesus Baptized the Waters and Revealed the Love of the Father

Listen to my homily for the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

IF you have trouble listening, click here.
Readings for the Mass of today.

Offering Christ the Gold of Charity, the Frankincense of Prayer, and the Myrrh of our Sufferings

Listen to my homily for the Solemnity of the Epiphany:

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Mass readings for the day.

Epi phanein is a greek word that means to marvelously reveal, to wondrously manifest, and it is the name of the solemnity which we celebrate today.  Christ revealed himself as the light to the nations when the three magi came and prostrated themselves before him in worship.

We must allow God the Father to make present, to manifest in us the eternal Love he has revealed to us in Jesus Christ.  Only in this way will we be freed to manifest this love to others.

The Most Holy Eucharist is the perfect manifestation of God's love for us on earth.  This eucharistic, epiphany, manifested love must train and form us to manifest this love in our thoughts, words, and actions, that our relationships, our families, our nations be manifestations of God's goodness.

The Blessed Virgin Mary, on whose lap the king of kings sat as the wise men worshiped, gives and manifests Christ to us.  May her prayers helps us to reveal Christ in all that we do.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Holy Name of Jesus Christ is a Manifestation of God's Power

Listen to my Homily for the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, January 3, 2012:

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Mass Readings for the day

Mary Mothers us into Communion with the Eternal One

Listen to my homily for the feast of the Theotokos, the Mother of God, January 1, 2012:

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Mass Readings for the day

St Thomas Becket and the Holy Love of Jesus Christ

Listen to my homily for the Mass of St Thomas Becket, December 29, 2011:

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Mass Readings for the day

St John, Friend of Mary and Jesus

Listen to my homily for the Feast of St John the Evangelist:

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Mass Readings for the day

Christ is Born into a Dark and Cold Cave- the Human Heart

Listen to my Christmas Homily:

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