Monthly Archives: March 2015

Fickle Sunday

Holy Week begins with “Hosannas” on Sunday and ends with “Crucify Hims” on Friday.

What fickleness!  What fecklessness!

We are all like this when it comes to following Jesus.  We try to avoid sin, ask forgiveness when we do sin, and accept grace.  However, we vacillate between wanting Him and rejecting Him.  We can’t make up our minds whether we hold Him in regard or if we are going to sin regardless of the consequences to our relationship to Him and the state of our immortal souls.

Then, there’s the whole focus on the Cross this week.  We hate to be reminded that Jesus tells us that we must pick up our cross and follow Him.  Jesus didn’t just pick up His cross though.  He embraced it.  He kissed it.

And what do we do when God sends us a little bit of suffering.  ( I truly believe that there is no comparison with our sufferings and the brutality of being crucified; not even mentioning the cruelty of the scourging and crowning with thorns.)  We whine and ask Him to take our suffering away as quickly as possible.   Holy Week should remind us that we all are going to have our crosses to bear.  How do we accept them?  Do we embrace our suffering with all the love for Christ that we can because we know that Easter Sunday always follows Good Friday?

I leave you with a wonderful quote from the Cure de Ars, St. John Vianney.  I plan on using this all week long to remind me of what the the Christian life is really all about.

“There is no doubt about it: a person who loves pleasure, who seeks comfort, who flies from anything that might spell suffering, who is over-anxious, who complains, who blames, and who becomes impatient at the least little thing which does not go his way–a person like that is a Christian only in name; he is only a dishonour to his religion, for Jesus Christ has said so: Anyone who wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross every day of his life, and follow me.” ~St. John Vianney

 

 

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Filed under Catholic, Christian, Holiness, Palm Sunday, suffering, The Cross

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

Imagine this.

Jesus is sitting on the grass on the side of the mountain.  He has His eyes closed.  He is hungry and tired.  Then, He opens His eyes and looks out at the multitude of people who have followed Him here.  He smiles.  He already knows what is coming.  These thousands of people are also hungry and tired.

His apostles are very worried.  They know that these people need food, however they don’t have the resources to supply them with it.  They come to Jesus and urge Him to send the crowds away so that they can find food in the villages.  Jesus smiles again.  “No, Philip,” He says.  “These people would faint from hunger before they could get very far.  Let’s feed them ourselves.”

Philip wonders how that is going to happen.  He shakes his head in disbelief as he looks at His Lord who is still sitting calmly and smiling.  Then, Andrew sees a young boy with a basket that has five loaves and two fishes.  He shrugs and brings the young boy with his basket to Jesus. “Lord, we have this little bit of food.  But look out there.  How can we feed so many with so little?”

Jesus rises and still smiling says, “Tell everyone to sit down in groups of 50 or so.  Then, give me those loaves and fishes.”

He blesses the food.  The Apostles serve it.  The people eat and are satisfied.  The leftovers are collected in 12 baskets.  And, one of the greatest miracles of the New Testament has just occurred.

This miracle was preparation for the more startling miracle of the Holy Eucharist.  Jesus would become our Bread to nourish our souls.  Jesus is the Bread of Life, the cause of our joy on this Laetare Sunday, our delight, always at our disposal to appease our hunger.  Jesus feeds us spiritually, of course, but He also doesn’t neglect our physical needs.  If we are tormented by hunger, we aren’t going to be able to apply ourselves to the things of the spirit.

Just as Jesus provided for the 5 thousand, we must be solicitous of the needs of others and provide as we can for those needs.  If a brother or sister is in want of daily food and we say, “”Go in Peace’. . .yet give them not those things that are necessary for the body, what shall it profit?” (Jas 2: 15-16)

Finally, there is no challenge we face, no difficulty that we must overcome, no complicated circumstance in our life for which God doesn’t have the solution.  Wherever we are today, He has seen it for all eternity.  We give him our small basket of practically nothing and He performs a miracle for us.  We have to give Him everything in our power, holding nothing back, and He sets a rich and abundant table for us

He will “give us this day our daily bread.”.

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Filed under Catholic, Charity, Eucharist and Mass, Holiness

The Transfiguration: A Vision of Hope

Jesus’ Transfiguration was all about sustainability for the Apostles.  He knew that they were going to witness some horrific things in Jerusalem shortly.  So, He showed them in a very dramatic way a vision of His glory; a vision of hope.  After the Resurrection and Pentecost, when they understood, they could hope that they would one day enjoy the glory of the full Beatific Vision once they had walked their own Via Dolorosa.

The Transfiguration neatly bridges the Old Covenant and the New: God’s love and justice to His love and mercy.  Along with Elijah and Moses, the “cloud of glory,” the Holy Spirit, which guided the Israelites in the desert, appears to the three apostles.  Jesus’ appearance shines bright and God the Father proclaims His Son to them.  Then, He says something else.  He says, “Listen to Him.”

I have read that Peter, James, and John glimpsed Jesus’ soul on Mt. Thabor.  They were given a small insight, as it were, into the Beatific vision.  They had been shaken by the announcement of His passion, so Jesus permitted some rays from His blessed soul to shine forth for a few minutes.  Jesus was allowing them to see the close connection between His suffering and death and His glory.  Our Divine Master was teaching them and us that it is impossible to reach the glory of the Transfiguration without passing through the suffering.  “Listen to Him.”

Look around you.  We are surrounded by sin and death: millions of pre-born humans murdered; the homosexual lifestyle promoted and celebrated; Christians persecuted and martyred; wars waged on many continents. Destruction is everywhere; sin abounds everywhere.  And, sin disfigures the soul.

Grace, however, transfigures the soul.  One lesson of the Transfiguration is that what has been disfigured by sin cannot regain its supernatural beauty (grace) except by purifying suffering.  Then, and only then, can we live the promise of Romans 8:18.  “For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us.”

On Thabor, after God the Father speaks, the vision disappears.  The apostles see no one but Jesus.  They come down the mountain with no one but Jesus.  This is another lesson of the Transfiguration.  God consoles us and gives us hope, yes; however, we must always see Him alone; Jesus alone.  He must suffice for us.  We must “Listen to Him.”

The time has come for us to repeat, “Jesus alone!” and to come down from Thabor with Him to follow Him, even to Calvary; especially to Calvary.  He is our All.  He alone suffices.

The colloquy from the Divine Intimacy for the second Sunday of Lent ends with this prayer that I share with you now as we continue our Lenten journey.  “The light and glory of Thabor encourage me.  Thank you, O Lord, for having allowed me, if only for a few moments, to contemplate Your splendor and to enjoy Your Divine Consolation.  Fortified and encouraged by this, I come down from this mountain to follow You, You alone to Calvary.”

I will listen to You.  You are enough!

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Filed under Catholic, Faith, Gospel, Holy Spirit, James, Jesus