They left

November 30, 2015 6:00 am

“‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him. He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.” (MT 4: 19-22)

In both cases “they left” “immediately” and “at once,” which gives us an idea of the urgency, radicalism and desires of our hearts. When Our Lord comes to us with the daily readings, we are invited to answer in the same way as the apostles and leave our “nets”—our mistaken patterns of interpretations, where we are trapped or our “boats”—our preferred ways of communication and to “follow Him” with creativity in charity. In the end, when we follow Him, we will find our deeper identity.

“Come after me, says the Lord, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Gospel Acclamation)

Abound in love for one another

November 29, 2015 6:00 am

“May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.” (1 THES 3: 12-13)

To “abound in love for one another” is the shortest way “to be blameless in holiness” because there is no holiness in self perfection or in scrupulous observance of the commandments. Only “love for one another and for all” can “strengthen our hearts” and can bring us closer to God. Advent gives us a fantastic opportunity to grow and “abound in love for one another,” especially with our spouses and with our families—protecting our relationships, protecting time for us and increasing our respect for each other and creativity in being a gift of self.

“Show us, Lord, your love; and grant us your salvation.” (Gospel Acclamation)

Hearts drowsy from the anxieties of daily life

November 28, 2015 6:00 am

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.” (LK 21: 34-35)

Our hearts are a special place for our relationship with God and with our dearest relatives. So it is our responsibility to take care of our hearts and protect from “the anxieties of daily life.” One of many ways we do this is to remember our identity—who are we? to Whom do we belong? and pray often with short prayers.

“Be vigilant at all times and pray that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man.”

His kingship shall not be destroyed

November 27, 2015 6:00 am

“He received dominion, glory, and kingship; nations and peoples of every language serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.” (DN 7: 14)

Our Lord is the King of the Universe, and “He received dominion, glory and kingship.” It is not like any other kingdom; “His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away.” All of this is just for one reason: to assure us that we are loved and protected forever.

“Stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” (Gospel Acclamation) 

Raise your heads

November 26, 2015 6:00 am

“But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” (LK 21: 28)

The difference between believers and non-believers isin their reaction to “these signs.” The person who loves God and always looks at Him and follows His will can “stand erect” because “redemption is at hand.” When our main concern is to look at Him, naturally our attention will go to the Person who is coming and not to “what is coming upon the world.” We are person-oriented and not object-oriented. “And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”

“Stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” (Gospel Acclamation)

Giving testimony

November 25, 2015 6:00 am

“It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.” (LK 21: 13-15)

We are invited to be witnesses of God’s love. Our Lord, who came to proclaim God’s love, was rejected, and we can expect the same treatment, but even so we are still invited to be His witnesses. Our Lord himself will “give us a wisdom in speaking,” so instead of planning our testimony or defense, we should focus on Him. From Him we receive everything.

“Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Gospel Acclamation)

When will this happen

November 24, 2015 6:00 am

“Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” (Luke 21, 7)

The days from the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, to the next Sunday are very special. It is like an examination of our conscience when we are in the last days of the church’s year. Next Sunday we will start a new year in the Catholic Church, but right now we have to finish and summarize this year. Are we in a new place after this year? Are we closer to Our Lord; is He present more in our daily lives; do we love each other more with gentleness and respect? Is our gift of self joyful? free? creative?
We do not know when the real end of the world will come or when we will be invited to heaven—“when will this happen?” We don’t know when, but we know what we can do—“remain faithful until death.”

“Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Gospel Acclamation)

Three years’ training

November 23, 2015 6:00 am

“The king told Ashpenaz, his chief chamberlain, to bring in some of the children of Israel of royal blood and of the nobility, young men without any defect, handsome, intelligent and wise, quick to learn, and prudent in judgment, such as could take their place in the king’s palace; they were to be taught the language and literature of the Chaldeans; after three years’ training they were to enter the king’s service.” (DN 1: 3-5)

They were carefully selected, “some of the children of Israel of royal blood and of the nobility, young men without any defect, handsome, intelligent and wise, quick to learn, and prudent in judgment,” and still they needed a “three years’ training to enter the king’s service.” Priests need six years, any BA and MA needs a minimum of three or four years plus an additional two or three years just to be ready to start his/her profession. And marriages? Our Programs give them an opportunity for “three years’ training”—I+You=We, We+Family and We+Society “to enter the king’s service,” Our Lord, who is the King of the Universe and expects that every marriage will be a sign and example for others about how He loves His Church—with gentleness, respect, as a sincere gift of self, always free, creative and joyful–just as He unconditionally loves us.

“Stay awake! For you do not know when the Son of Man will come.” (Gospel Acclamation)

The firstborn of the dead

November 22, 2015 6:00 am

“Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, who has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father, to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.” (RV 1: 5-6)

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, who “loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood, who has made us into a kingdom, priests for his God and Father.” Every part of our lives is loved; every moment is protected by His power, and we are secure in His kingdom. Even our death does not separate us from His love but, on the contrary, brings us closer to Him because He became “the firstborn of the dead” to assure us that He is always with us. We pray for this every day: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Today we say “goodbye” to Fr. Darek, member of my Community and my superior, and first of all – a brother and a friend, “priest for his God and Father,” confident, he goes to the One, who is Love and “to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!” (Gospel Acclamation)

For to Him all are alive

November 21, 2015 6:00 am

“That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called ‘Lord’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” (LK 20: 37-38)

Our God “is not God of the dead, but of the living” says the Gospel today, which brings consolation to our hearts when we suffer the loss of somebody who was so close to us. It could be a spouse, parent, child, sibling or a friend, someone who was part of our lives and now their place is empty; they are physically missing. God’s word assures us—“for to Him all are alive,” and so for us they should be also. Our separation is temporary. In Him we “will rise.”

“Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel.” (Gospel Acclamation)

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