Are we counting the cost?

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In the Gospel today we recount two of the parables that we heard on Sunday.  We are reminded again that the kingdom of heaven is more valuable than anything, and when we find it, we will want to possess it, not sell it or trade it for anything else.  It is my hope that today, my life will be an example of these two parables.  I want to not only buy the pearl of great price, for whatever it costs, but I will gladly sell all I have to buy the field that the treasure is buried in.  I want to let everyone I meet see the pearl, and those that have never seen the treasure will most certainly be invited to the field to see where it is buried.

I think I like the treasure parable better, because it gives me a sense of security knowing that the treasure is buried and that would make it difficult for someone to come along to steal it away.  I imagine that if the merchant bought the pearl of great price, he would know where to keep it to safeguard it against robbers, as well.  I don’t believe this is the meaning of this parable, because I am meeting with the young adults from our parish tonight and I will remind them of the fact that Jesus is telling us that we must be willing to give everything to God, and be confident that he will give us stewardship over the things that he knows will benefit our lives as people of the kingdom.  However, I can’t help thinking about the way that we should safeguard the prize that is the kingdom of heaven.  For me, the idea that I believe I have been told to treasure these things in my heart, is just the safeguard that Jesus intends to insure the kingdom will not be stolen away, and it is Jesus’ heart that will daily make itself available to me, so that I will not uncover the treasure and let it be stolen away.

The title of my post today is a reference to all those people, including myself, who would worry about what I would have to get rid of, to afford the cost of the kingdom of heaven. I should not count the cost, but confidently give everything away in the knowledge that God will return to me what I need and the things I never see again, were not compatible with someone who possessed the kingdom of heaven in his heart.

Dancing in the minefield…Be with us Lord!

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As I was heading in to our Communion Service at Saint Alice Church this morning, this song moved me. It was initially the lyric at the beginning of the song that said that they had been married for 15 years, but then the idea of seeing our lives as dancing in the minefields, and ultimately,  the promise of God’s eternal presence to sustain us. Today, we remember Saint Martha as the friend of Jesus who was busy about the work of hospitality and wondered why Mary wasn’t being asked to be busy like her. She was told that Mary was about the work that sustains us for eternity, so she was to be left alone. However, she was also given a chance to completely redeem her ignorance by proclaiming the truth of who Jesus is and how he will be with us until the end, at the resurrection of her brother Lazarus.

She said to him, “Yes, Lord.

I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,

the one who is coming into the world.” John 11:27

The being with us until the end says to me, what the song says…We will be able to live out our lives confident in the promise that God will be with us…The presence of Jesus is our for the asking, and we should be asking, right?…In the Sacrament of the Eucharist and Confession, we need only believe and repent, and we will have him forever!

Saint Martha, pray for us!

The heart knows…

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As I prayed before heading to Mass yesterday, my daughter told me she wanted to draw some hearts with me on some paper. Of course, the fact that she asked me to draw hearts on the day we celebrated the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the day before we remember the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary was pretty cool.
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However, as I sit here waiting to take my son to confession at 3pm today, I can’t help thinking about how we know that the heart is not capable of controlling our emotions, we still see the heart as the center of our feelings. The truth is that feelings and emotions are controlled by the brain, but we attribute them to the heart because of the revelation that comes to us from God about the heart of Jesus and also the heart of Mary, the Mother of God.
There are a few stories about Eucharistic Miracles that have been shown to be the flesh from the heart muscle when examined by laboratories, and to me this is God’s way of revealing that it does not matter what we know the heart’s function in our physical body is, it’s spiritual function is to give and receive mercy and compassion.
My prayer during the Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, was to give me a heart, like Jesus’ Sacred Heart. I also asked for true repentance for my sins. Amen!

Who did he just excommunicate?

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Even though they had celebrated Corpus Christi last Thursday, the Holy Father took the opportunity of the Sunday Angelus to give some further instruction and teaching on the mystery and reality of the Eucharist. (This was probably meant for us!)

imageEverybody, Happy Happy Happy!

Vatican City, 23 June 2014 (VIS) – At midday Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study to pray the traditional Sunday Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square. The Holy Father commented that today Italy and many other countries celebrate the feast day of the Body and Blood of Christ, “Corpus Domini” or “Corpus Christi”, in which the ecclesial community gathers around the Eucharist to adore the most precious gift that Jesus left to her.

In the Gospel of St. John we find the narrative on the “bread of life”, spoken by Jesus in the synagogue of Capernaum, in which He states: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world”. Pope Francis explained, “Jesus says that he has not come into this world to give something, but to give himself, his life, as nourishment for those who have faith in him. Our communion with the Lord commits us, his disciples, to imitate him, making of our lives, with our attitudes, a bread broken for others, just as the Master broke the bread that is truly His flesh”.

“Whenever we participate in Holy Mass and are nourished by the body of Christ, the presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit works within us; it shapes our hearts, it communicates inner attitudes that transform within us into modes of behaviour in accordance with the Gospel. Firstly, docility to the Word of God, then fraternity among Christians, the courage of Christian witness, the creativity of charity, the ability to give hope to the disheartened, and to welcome the excluded. In this way the Eucharist helps the Christian lifestyle to mature in us. Christ’s charity, received with an open heart … changes us, transforms us, makes us capable of loving not according to a human measure, which is always limited, but according to God’s measure, and God’s measure is without measure”.

“And then we become able to love even those who do not love us”, continued the Pontiff, “and it is not easy. If we know that a person does not love us we tend not to like that person. But no! We must love those who do not love us! We must oppose evil with good, we must forgive, share, welcome others. Thanks to Jesus and his Spirit, even our life becomes ‘bread broken’ for our brothers. And, living in this way, we discover true joy! The joy of making oneself a gift, to reciprocate the great gift that we have first received, without any merit on our part.

Francis concluded his brief reflection by urging the faithful to recall two things: first, that “the measure of God’s love is to love without measure”, and that our life, “with Jesus’ love, receiving the Eucharist, transforms our life into a gift”.

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This picture was from the story about his excommunication of the Italian mafia!

Thanks be to God for giving us Pope Francis and another day to enjoy our life here on earth and to participate in the joy of bringing more people to a greater relationship with Jesus!  (The look of concern on his face communicates his concern for those who have been led astray by hypocrites!)

This is the antichrist!

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The people who tell you that all you have to do is show up and say and say a few prayers, and don’t preach the hard reality of the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist are the antichrist!

The translation from yesterday’s Office of Readings from the Divine Office website, had this title from the 2nd letter of John.  When I looked it up on the USCCB website for the same reading, the same verse was shown as follows:  Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh; such is the deceitful one and the antichrist.  (2 John 1:7)  It  refers to the other verses that I have discussed in earlier posts in the footnotes for this mentioning of the antichrist.  As I read it yesterday morning, I realized that John was calling out the antichrist.  I understood that he was talking about what I found earlier when comparing his visions from the book of Revelation to his gospel, especially related to the number of the beast and what that refers to in John’s gospel.  It is clear to me that even back at the beginning of Christianity, the apostles were dealing with folks that not only wanted to convince people that their version of Christianity was better, but also that the idea of Jesus coming in the flesh and offering that flesh for the life of the world, was not important.  Since tomorrow is Pentecost and the end of Easter season in the church, this will probably be the last time I am asked to share this news with you this year.  Also, if we are believers than we must believe that we do not have forever to tell others this news and continue to warn others about the antichrist that has been present in the world since Jesus first told them about the offering of his flesh that would be present until the end of the age.

John tells us about the antichrists!

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Luca Signorelli - 1502

Luca Signorelli – 1502

1 John 2:18-23  Children, it is the last hour and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour.  They went out from us, but they were not really of our number, if they had been, they would have remained with us. Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number.  But you have the anointing that comes from the holy one, and you all have knowledge.  I write to you not because you do not know the truth but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth. Who is the liar? Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist.  No one who denies the Son has the Father, but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well

1 John 5:6,12 This is the one who came through water and blood, Jesus Christ, not by water alone, but by water and blood. The Spirit is the one that testifies, and the Spirit is truth.

Whoever possesses the Son has life; whoever does not possess the Son of God does not have life.

…is a continuation of John 6:66 (IMO) As a result of this, many [of] his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.

(see previous post here…)

John 16:12-15 Jesus said to his disciples: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears,
and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine;
for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine
and declare it to you.”

Could it be that the person who denies that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist is actually the antichrist?  I believe that the Word of God is actually revealing this truth to me and I could easily deny it by saying that I am reading into the scripture something that is not there.  However, John says that Jesus told them that there was more that he had to tell them, but they could not bear it now.  Is it possible that the first 45 or 50 times I read that scripture, it was the same for me?  However, God has chosen this time now to show the truth, so that we can tell the world.  I can’t believe that I am the only one to come to this conclusion and I hope that the Holy Spirit will continue to show me ways to share this with more people before it is too late!

 

Why is parenting such a struggle for Christians?

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IMG_20140525_072219So, it struck me this morning as I was reading the Office of Readings after our normal morning prayer that we do in the chapel, that this parenting thing we are doing might just be more important than we originally thought.  Not just for our kids, but for us.  I don’t think it was a particular reading that came through to me to say this, but the message from God was loud and clear and I have already shared it with a few folks before writing this blog and the reaction is pretty good.  The few people I have told this to have agreed that it is pretty deep, but also true.  (They may have thought something else, but that was the impression they gave me.)

Anyway, the idea that came to me was that raising our kids is a struggle, because we want them to leave our homes prepared to face the world with the tools that will empower them to live out their faith.  When I write that part, it doesn’t seem very deep.  However, it struck me that God showed us how he is willing to struggle to raise his children, in order that they are prepared to leave the home he has built for them on earth.  How much was he willing to struggle for us?

His struggle ended with dying on the cross in order that we can see that he is willing to suffer the most pitiful disgrace of paying a penalty for a crime that he didn’t commit.  Also, so that we can see that at the end of our life, there is life eternal, he was resurrected and ascended to heaven to point us to our eternal destiny.  He sent us the Holy Spirit to unite our souls to his, while we are still on earth.

As parents of our children, we must try to live out our lives as redeemed members of the body of Christ to show our children what it looks like if they follow God’s will for their lives.  It is not easy, but the best medicine for a broken spirit of a child is parents whose hope is in the resurrection.  Parents who show that hope, in their true spirit of repentance for their own past sins and the mercy they freely give to others, including their children, are like gods.  The most pitiable people would be Christians, who don’t believe in the resurrection, as Saint Paul says in his letter to the Corinthians.  (1 Cor 15:19) The second most pitiable people would be children who have parents who are not being converted and who don’t need a savior.  I pray that all parents embrace a humble spirit and a contrite heart, which leads to the conversion of the world…Amen!

 

 

I am the great harlot…

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As I began to read the first reading from the Office of Readings this morning, I was trying to discern the identity of the place that was being revealed to John by one of the seven angels who were holding the seven bowls.  I realize now that the seven angels holding the seven bowls is symbolic for the whole world, and that is why I feel like I see myself as the great harlot.  Truth is, as much as I try to shelter myself from the big bad world, I still live in it.  Until the end comes, I will live in it.  By the grace of God, I will be protected from evil.  However, I am still here and for the times that I comply with the things proposed by this world as good, chasing after money, sex or power, I am the great harlot.  The prayer that I sometimes see as so simple, it is almost too easy to pray, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner”, is also the prayer that reminds me throughout my day that the mercy of God is what saves me.  It is not any good thing that I may do, because it will usually lead me back to money, sex or power, if I am relying on my strength, but it is the grace of God that saves me.

Now, I am sure there are plenty of scholars that could give you a better understanding of the second part of the first reading of today’s Office of Readings, but it is in reading the second reading from a letter to the Corinthians by Saint Clement, that we see that it is only through subordinating our will to that of the will of the Father, and by coming together with all the members of the body of Christ we will realize the last goal of victory over sin and death in our life and our world.  To me, it is this fact that gives me hope to join with other people of faith, and at times people of no faith, to bring all people to a greater understanding of God’s hope of salvation for everyone.  Now, I may not be experiencing the fruit of following God’s will at this present moment, but by staying connected to other people who are on the same mission of bringing the Good News to the world, I can see their consolation, even in my times of desolation.

I pray that more people today will follow Jesus, because of the truth that he has revealed through me and the conversations that I have with other people today, and by simply follow in His way…Amen!

To be continued…From last post!

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As I read the articles (2) written by an old friend, Christopher West, who is a well-known author and teacher of the Theology of the Body that was proposed by God and put forth by Saint John Paul II in his many talks on the Theology of the Body and his setting up the Institute on the Marriage and Family Studies, I realized that not only is it connected, it is essential to defeating the lies and misrepresentation of truths in our culture today about sex and marriage.  I read, “The Good News About Sex and Marriage” almost 20 years ago, but the truth that Christopher West wrote about then is still true now.  The truth that I believe he was talking about, and the truth that was being put forth by Saint John Paul II, as I read it, is that the family and marriage are consequences of fruitful reality of how we are created as human beings, made in the image and likeness of God.  These realities can be lived out through a vocation that calls us to be single as well as married, because the ultimate goal is for union with God.  If we are ever going to have hope of living out this truth about sex and marriage, we must first die to the truth that this world was made for us to consume, and not respect it as the creation of God, who put all things in an order that is necessary to enjoy them fully.

This is taken from the first reading of the Office of Readings yesterday, which was taken from the 14th chapter of the book of Revelation, verse 8.  It says…

“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, which made all the nations drink the poisoned wine of her lewdness!”

Is it a coincidence that this reading is shared with us by the church on the anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima appearance to the children in Portugal in 1917, or the anniversary of the shooting of Saint John Paul II in 1981? The NABRE of the Bible says, “the wine of her licentious passion.”  Either way, I see that the angel in John’s vision could be talking about the fact that this misrepresentation of the truth about gender sameness that stems from Marxism, that is the poison that the world has drunk that does not require us to respect the differences that exist between the way a man and a woman are created.  There are many reasons that Saint John Paul II is attributed with the fall of Communism, but the bad fruit of that attitude of gender sameness will have to be defeated by the soldiers that Saint John Paul II left behind.

The “Good News” that we see in the world today is that the Theology of the Body is revealing that we can respect the way we are created within the traditional understanding of marriage, but it will require a greater understanding of chastity and purity within our relationships.

The third angel has another message about the mark of the beast that I discussed in my last post.  It is truly frightening, so I will include just the beginning of that message, and you can read the rest if you want to…(Revelation 14:9)

A third angel followed the others and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast or its image, or accepts its mark on his forehead or hand.”

I think we know what the mark of the beast looks like now, so we should do well to stay away from it.  Today’s message from the gospel reading from Mass is that we should love our friends.  My pastor and I just finished discussing that love does not accept that our friends are being misled by our culture to accept things about themselves that are not true.  No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)

For all my friends, please know that Jesus loves you in ways that I never could, because I am a sinner and I have fallen short of the glory of God.  However, I hope and pray that all my friends will be made worthy of the glory of God, by coming to an understanding not only in some ambiguous understanding of who Jesus is in their life, but by actually receiving him in the Eucharist.  (Read last post for more clarity on this issue or John 6...)

God says, “His number is six hundred and sixty-six.”

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Sorry, I started to write this post on Saturday, and for some reason it was a struggle to get it done.  When I got back to it late Saturday evening, I couldn’t even find it on my phone or my tablet to finish writing it.  In addition, when I got home I tried to finish it and the post disappeared off the edit page.

The title says it all, but God revealed to me again this morning that the gist of what God is saying through his prophet, John, is that the person who is marked with the number of the beast may not be so clear as we originally thought.  The first reading today from the Office of Readings is a reading from the 13th chapter of the book of Revelations, and that translation says, “The man’s number is six hundred sixty-six.”  To me, the revelation is telling us that anyone who denies the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist is leading people to follow the beast that is explained in this chapter of revelation.

I don’t pretend to know how to interpret all the revelations that we are given in this book written by John the Apostle, but this one is so clear to me, it keeps coming back.  Remember the gospel I wrote about on Friday was describing the real nature of what Jesus is doing in the sacrifice of the Eucharist until the end of the world.  In the 66th verse of the 6th chapter of John’s gospel, I believe he is revealing the true nature of what the devil is doing in the world until Jesus returns to bring the last judgement.  This was in the gospel reading from Saturday’s Mass.  The devil is saying, like the first disciples who left Jesus said, that the fact that Jesus is truly present, body, soul spirit and divinity in the Eucharist, and he wants us to consume him, is just to difficult to accept.

So, I will say it again, like I have said so many times before.  If we believe Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist, shouldn’t we be screaming from the rooftops for everyone to come to the altar and receive his body and blood with us, so that we can be converted and be made whole and have eternal life.  If you are Catholic, how could you ever miss Mass, for any reason?  If you are not Catholic, how could you not put the rest of your life on hold until you could start receiving him.

Psalm 43:3-4

Then will I go in to the altar of God,
the God of my gladness and joy;
Then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
O God, my God!

Gather with us or scatter…Your choice!