“After he had fed the people, Jesus made the disciples get into a boat and precede him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone.” (MT 14: 23)
For so many of us it is so difficult to be alone; always music in the background, always headphones, TV almost non-stop on. Remedy for bad days: shopping or alcohol—I deserve it. New objects, new people, new places—everything is better than being alone. But the only way to meet our true self, to meet Our Lord Who knows us perfectly (and loves unconditionally) is to be alone. In the beginning, it could be scary and hard, but with every moment and with every day we will more and more easy. And we will soon happy with every moment of solitude.
“I wait for the Lord; my soul waits for his word.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb.” (JN 20: 1)
You know that I like very much the moment: “early in the morning, while it was still dark.” This is the best moment to recognize who we are, what is our purpose to live, what is our identity, and plan the whole day to be a concern about our vocation and to actions that need to be planned. When the first moment is also based on recognition where is Our Lord (“Mary Magdalene came to the tomb”), we can open the Bible and look for Him in His words, or go to the Church to meet Him in the Holy Mass, we will have the best morning and the whole day: “Tell us, Mary, what did you see on the way? I saw the glory of the risen Christ, I saw his empty tomb.”
“Tell us Mary, what did you see on the way? I saw the glory of the risen Christ, I saw his empty tomb.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.” (MT 11: 25)
I like children and I like childlike. I like their world—their enthusiasm, simplicity, trust, and joy. I like how fast they forgive, how fast they came back from tears to smiles, how much they love, and express their love. How amazing our world could be when we will be more childlike and less serious to each other.
“Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.” (MT 5: 1)
Our Lord is always in mission, always protecting, always serving, and always responsive to our needs. The same is true of every kind of love: spouses and parents, friends and siblings, teachers and doctors, priests and consecrated people: this is life for all who are in love.
“Rejoice and be glad; for your reward will be great in heaven.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, ‘Are you discussing with one another what I said, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.’” (JN 16: 19-20)
For the Apostles “a little while” was to wait until Resurrection; for us “a little while” will be on our death or we will await his visible return in glory. So “a little while” in years could be long or short depends on many other factors. The good news is that we will see Him: “our grief will become joy.” And He wants to be with us, He wants to see us and He will come again.
“I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord; I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.’” (LK 2: 48)
One of my favorite feasts: The Solemnity of St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. St. Joseph is never alone, he is recognized by His vocation to be husband and father. This is real identity—coming from vocation, coming from God, by His call. St. Joseph is a husband and father. And he helps us to be good spouses and good parents.
“Blessed are those who dwell in your house, O Lord; they never cease to praise you.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“For they had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, ‘If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.’” (MT 9: 34-35)
Our civilization is very competitive; we have marks and evaluations at every moment in our lives. We are rating and we make ratings, and it is normal that people want to be “the greatest.” If we want to be the greatest in loving, in being helpful or being a gift of self, we are going in the right direction—we want to be “the servants of all.” But when we think about domination, taking the first place or having the rights to give orders—we are going in the wrong direction.
“May I never boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.” (LK 2: 39-40)
These two sentences covered 30 years of Our Lord’s life with Mary and Joseph in their house. And from this point, every house could be a place for children “to grow and become strong, filled with wisdom.” It could be — because it comes not from the house but from the parents, and the quality of their love will guarantee a good environment for their children.
“A light of revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Take care what you hear. The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you. To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” (MK 4: 24-25)
“Take care what you hear,” because words are powerful—we can “kill” and destroy people or we can heal and strengthen them just by words. “Take care what you hear” could mean: eliminate destruction from your environment (media, messages, movies, naysayers) and invite good, inspiring people, books, programs, and friends, who will lead you to be the best gift of self, the best communicator, the best spouse, parent, and friend. “Take care what you hear.”
“A lamp to my feet is your word, a light to my path.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it
and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” (MK 4: 20)
The strategy is simple: “hear, accept and bear fruit.” Every day God speaks to us. Daily readings are like a daily portion of manna which was given daily for Israel in the desert. Every day we have a small portion of the Bible in the Mass which speaks about God’s love to us and gives us strength. Our role is to “hear the word”—read it, and read it again, trying to understand and accept the message, then implement this word into your daily routine, daily activities, “and bear fruit.” Recently we spoke about being “one in mind and purpose,” and doing ”the will of God” which means to be a free, creative, and joyful gift of self—we can hear it, accept it, and bear fruit practicing it.
“The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower; all who come to him will live for ever.” (Gospel Acclamation)