Hearken to His voice

February 28, 2015 7:00 am

Today you are making this agreement with the LORD: he is to be your God and you are to walk in his ways and observe his statutes, commandments and decrees, and to hearken to his voice.” (Dt 26: 17)

“Hearken to His voice” means not only to “listen” but also to “obey.”  When we listen to the Lord’s “statutes, commandments and decrees,” it doesn’t mean, unfortunately, that we automatically will obey. Our God reminds us how important it is not only to listen but also “to walk in his ways and observe” His commands and how important it is for Him to be obeyed. All His “ways, statutes, commandments and decrees” are directed to the same goal—to be where He is and to love like He loves.

“Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (Gospel Acclamation)

Be reconciled with your brother

February 27, 2015 8:00 am

“Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Mt 5: 23-24)

We can see in today’s Gospel what is more important for our Lord: our “gift to the altar” or “reconciliation with our brothers” There is no true prayer or true gifts we can bring to the altar where there is no true relationship with our brothers and sisters. It is like being a perfect father/mother for a child but having no relationship with a spouse. Agere sequitur esse—action follows being. When we are reconciled with our brothers, we are closer to God because we are created in His image and likeness, and His mission on earth was to reconcile us with God and each other.

“Cast away from you all the creatures you have committed, says the LORD, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.” (Gospel Acclamation)

How much more

February 26, 2015 6:54 am

“If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him. ‘Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.’” (Mt 7: 11-12)

One of my favorite phrases in the Bible: “how much more.” Our God is beyond all kind of competition; if we love–He loves more, if we respect–He respects more, if we give ourselves to Him–He gives more. It is so joyful just to think about this: “how much more…”  And one of the possibilities for us is to do the same with our friends and “others.” Make others more happy and joyful.

“A clean heart create for me, O God; give me back the joy of your salvation.” (Gospel Acclamation)

God saw by their action 

February 25, 2015 7:09 am

“When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, 
he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them; 
he did not carry it out.” (Jon 3: 10) 

We are not saved because of our actions; we are saved by Jesus’ love, death and resurrection. Our action is not to deserve God’s redemption but to show how much we love Him and how we “turned from our evil way.” Action is to express love and respect not to “buy” anything.

“Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart for I am gracious and merciful.” (Gospel acclamation)

it shall not return to me void

February 24, 2015 8:00 am

“Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.” (Is 55: 10-11)

A powerful word “that goes forth from Our God’s mouth” comes to us with a message, comes to do His will. His will is: “giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats”; generally speaking—He takes care of us in every aspect of our lives. His word brings joy, peace, respect and love. And He makes it “fertile and fruitful.”

“One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” (Gospel Acclamation)

Did for me

February 23, 2015 7:56 am

“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Mt 25, 40)

Unbelievable union—“one of these least brothers” and Jesus are connected: whatever you did for any other person you did for Jesus. This is always fundamental for any kind of relationship but how unique for married couples, where all these situations are experienced on a daily basis: hungry and thirsty for love and acceptance, alienated with our different habits and behaviors, absolutely transparent (naked) with our motivations, and weak and trapped with weaknesses. A spouse could be an answer for all these needs.

“Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (Gospel Acclamation)

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert

February 22, 2015 8:00 am

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.” (Mk 1: 12-13)

It was the beginning of Our Lord’s mission—before He started “proclaiming the gospel of God.” As we see, the desert is not empty: “He was among wild beasts and the angels” and tempted by Satan. The desert is more about relationship than about space, and we experience a physical lack so that we can have a closer relationship in the future.

“One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” (Gospel Acclamation)

Leaving everything behind

February 21, 2015 8:00 am

“Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.” (Lk 5: 27-28)

A tax collector, a fisherman and a shepherd–ordinary people were invited to “follow Him.” His invitation is not because He needs perfect tools to execute His orders but because He wants to be with us in union and in relationship. And the more we are damaged or alone, the more He is interested in being with us: “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”

“I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord, but rather in his conversion, that he may live.” (Gospel Acclamation)

Fasting that I wish…

February 20, 2015 8:00 am

“This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own.” (Is 58: 6-7)

Fasting is not for losing weight, but for losing ourselves. It is a very special time to open our hearts, our wallets and our imagination for people in need: the hungry, oppressed and homeless. Every day we can share something with somebody.

“Seek good and not evil so that you may live, and the Lord will be with you.” (Gospel Acclamation)

Whoever loses his life for my sake will save it

February 19, 2015 12:00 am

“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?” (Lk 9: 23-25)

Giver or demander? To protect our lives or the lives of our friends? Our goal is “to come after” Him, so we “must deny ourselves, take up our crosses daily and follow Him.” When we think of our friends and our families and when we are concerned about what we can do for them, not about what they should do for us, we have better lives. And this will save our lives.

“Repent, says the Lord; the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Gospel Acclamation)