Venezuela

Please pray for the suffering people of Venezuela.  The conditions for the people is horrifying.  Imagine if you lived in a country where there is literally no food to be found.

 

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I Desire Mercy

It is natural to lash out at someone who has hurt us.  In a way, getting revenge makes us feel that we have evened the score.  But does it?  Does causing pain to a friend, family member or a co-worker really make us feel better about ourselves?

Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath.
His disciples were hungry
and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them.
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him,
“See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.”
He said to the them, “Have you not read what David did
when he and his companions were hungry,
how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering,
which neither he nor his companions
but only the priests could lawfully eat?
Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath
the priests serving in the temple violate the sabbath
and are innocent?
I say to you, something greater than the temple is here.
If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
you would not have condemned these innocent men.
For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.”

We should always seek to the will of God.  His will for us is that we love each other, especially when we don’t want to be loving.  Jesus reminds us that love is unconditional.

The Lord desires mercy.  Be merciful.

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Hearing the Voice

The most important event for ancient Israel was the deliverance of the Jewish people from bondage in Egypt.  Yet, had it not been for the willingness and courage of Moses to climb the mountain and stand before God in humility, it would not have happened.

Moses heard the voice of the Lord.  Even so, he was afraid of the challenges ahead and doubted his ability to succeed.

We also hear the voice of God in the scriptures, in our prayers and in the lives of the holy ones living among us.  Are we ready to follow him, or are we too comfortable in our lives?

Moses, hearing the voice of the LORD from the burning bush, said to him,
“When I go to the children of Israel and say to them,
‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’
if they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what am I to tell them?”
God replied, “I am who am.”
Then he added, “This is what you shall tell the children of Israel:
I AM sent me to you.”

God spoke further to Moses, “Thus shall you say to the children of Israel:
The LORD, the God of your fathers,
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob,
has sent me to you.

“This is my name forever;
this my title for all generations.

“Go and assemble the elders of Israel, and tell them: 
The LORD, the God of your fathers,
the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
has appeared to me and said:
I am concerned about you
and about the way you are being treated in Egypt;
so I have decided to lead you up out of the misery of Egypt
into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, 
Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites,
a land flowing with milk and honey.

“Thus they will heed your message. 
Then you and the elders of Israel
shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him:
“The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent us word.
Permit us, then, to go a three-days’ journey in the desert,
that we may offer sacrifice to the LORD, our God.

“Yet I know that the king of Egypt will not allow you to go
unless he is forced.
I will stretch out my hand, therefore,
and smite Egypt by doing all kinds of wondrous deeds there.
After that he will send you away.”

Pray that you listen carefully so that you can truly hear the voice of God, and that you can summon the courage to act upon his Word.

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Peter and Paul

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.  These two great saints have much in common.  Both had times when they failed Jesus.  Paul was a great persecutor of the church. Peter, of course, denied Jesus three times.  Yet, the Lord used both of these very human men to glorify Jesus in amazing ways.

Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples
and, when they had finished breakfast, said to Simon Peter,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
He said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time,
“Do you love me?” and he said to him,
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go.”
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

Saint Paul was chosen by the Lord to be his evangelist.  Saint Peter was chosen to be the leader of the apostles and the first Pope of his Church.  Neither was perfect, but in the end both loved Jesus and gave their lives for him.

Saint Peter and Saint Paul, pray for us.

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False Prophets

In today’s gospel Jesus warns us against false prophets.  But how can we learn enough to know that someone is a false prophet without exposing ourselves to spiritual danger?  It sounds easy enough, but are we able to discern and recognize the difference between the sheep and the wolves?  To do so we must first understand what a true prophet is.

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing,
but underneath are ravenous wolves.
By their fruits you will know them.
Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Just so, every good tree bears good fruit,
and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit,
nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down
and thrown into the fire.
So by their fruits you will know them.”

A true prophet is one who leads the people of God to get ever closer to Jesus Christ.  A true prophet always seeks the good of others, and does not seek to be considered wise and holy. A true prophet is wise and holy because of the grace bestowed by the Lord.

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The Narrow Gate

The Christian life can be hard at times, especially when we see others “getting ahead” at our expense.  It is natural to be a little bit jealous when we see them harvesting the fruits of naked self interest.  However, we know that the Lord desires that we not take advantage of our sisters and brothers, but rather be extravagantly generous and merciful.

Jesus does not want us to greedily walk through life, he instead desires that we walk the road less travelled that leads to eternal life.

Enter through the narrow gate;
for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction,
and those who enter through it are many.
How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.
And those who find it are few.

Let us pray for one another, that we have the faith and the love to enter through the narrow gate and be counted as one of the chosen.

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Most Holy Trinity

Click below to hear my homily for Trinity Sunday, June 11, 2017

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