Posts

A King’s Inheritance

Christ the King – 

Inheritance 

“Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom”

    Promise of paradise

Christ the King 

    2nd reading 

Eucharist 

     Down payment on inheritance 

Wear God Down

Shawshank

Widow
Faith / confidence
Persistent
Not weary
Spent, burned out, not feeling it with prayer, discouraged

Be persistent
Remain faithful
Wear God down

Faith on earth?
Superior

Eucharist – increases our faith

Faith is a Gift

Last week, I had a fascinating conversation with a Jewish man who married a Catholic woman with whom I’m friends. They have two kids who are in their early teens and have been raised Catholic. It was very intriguing to hear him speak about the Catholic faith because he has read and discussed much about it. I said to him a few times that he knows more than most Catholics! He knows the teachings and seems open to believing, but is more skeptical and doubtful about it all right now.

During our brief chat, he raised questions about the Mass – why do we confess sin in the beginning of Mass, why do we bring money up to the altar in the middle of Mass, and how can transubstantiation actually occur. I didn’t give too many answers because we were at a party and it was more of a casual setting. And, I was simply marveling at his questions!

A question with a question

You could say that I attempted to answer his last question with a question. I asked him about his kids, and if they believe in transubstantiation (i.e., the bread and wine change substances into the Body and Blood of Christ at the Consecration during Holy Mass) because they are both so learned about the Catholic faith and discuss it regularly. He said that his son believes wholeheartedly, probably because of his devout Catholic grandparents. His daughter, however, is more skeptical, probably taking after her father. I thought to myself that that is fine – if the teaching on the Eucharist has reached the ears of these teens (and their Jewish father), then the seed has been planted and it will ultimately bear fruit. The problem usually is that people don’t hear the teaching. “Whoever hears the truth, hears my voice” (Jn 18:37).

I walked away from the conversation realizing, yet again, that faith is a gift. In today’s Gospel, the Apostles say to the Lord, “Increase our faith” (Lk 17:5). They recognize that He is the source of faith in each of them. He is the source of faith in each of us. Just like He is the giver of life, He is the giver of faith. We did nothing to earn the gift of life; so, too, we did nothing to earn the gift of faith at Baptism. And, I truly believe that just as God offers life to every human being, He offers the gift of faith to every human being. The question is, will each person use the gift? Will each of us ask the Lord in our own way – whether in word like the Apostles or in deed like receiving the Eucharist at Mass – to increase our faith.

Our faith at Baptism is like the size of the mustard seed which is mentioned by the Lord in this Gospel as well. God’s Grace helps the tiny faith of the baptized person to grow mainly through the sacraments, much like the Lord mentions in Mark 4: “it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches” (v.32).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that faith is a gift and a human act:

When St. Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus declared to him that this revelation did not come “from flesh and blood,’ but from “my Father who is in heaven.”

Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him.

…believing is an authentically human act…In faith, the human intellect and will cooperate with divine grace: “Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace.”  (Paragraphs 153-155).

I will pray that God will infuse the gift of Christian faith in my Jewish friend, and that he will cooperate with grace by assenting to the truth. I will keep praying that this continues to happen with all of us, and that the Lord will increase our faith.

May you know the peace of Christ,

Fr Greg

Heaven, it’s all good

26th Sunday (Children’s Mass)

Heaven
     What’s your pic of heaven
     It’s all good!
     How do we get there?
Righteousness
     Doing what is right / good
     Living for others and not yourself
Devotion
     Sunday Mass / Eucharist

 

Our True Wealth is in Heaven

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Bible study

Cycle / readings / themes

Gospel
Similarities / prodigal son

Use of money / small matters
Belongs to another
Heaven / Great matters
Belongs to us

Eucharist

Store Up Treasure in Heaven

8th Sunday

How do we spend our free time?
Prayer?  Service?

Heavenly things or earthly?
Building up or going around?
True leisure = renewal
Too much = idolatry
Mass / Eucharist – greatest way to become rich in what matters to God

Too Legit to Quit

Christian prayer is…
    Legit
    Personal
    Bold
Our daily bread is
     Eucharist

You are a child of God

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

There is evil in the world

Mourning –  Orlando, Florida
1st – For our Nation
2nd – For all Americans — all brothers and sisters

What is our Identity
Children of God
Children of our earthly father
Found in Christ
Who do you say I am?
Answer about him —> Answer about you
Eucharist

Spend your ordinary life with Him

Liturgically, we have returned to Ordinary Time. Most of the liturgical year is spent in ordinary time which means that most of our time spent with the Lord in life is in ordinary, daily life. The Church gives us back-to-back solemnities on these Sundays in Ordinary Time: Most Holy Trinity (today) and Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (next Sunday). With especially today’s feast of the Holy Trinity, I thought it would be good to offer insights from someone more theologically skilled than I am.

The following reflection, “A Share in the Life of the Trinity” (September 28, 1997) comes from the late Msgr. Thomas Wells, a former priest of Washington. As you’ll notice, he actually combines our feasts by merging the Eucharist with the Trinity. Great stuff!

May you know the peace of Christ,

Fr Greg

“Humanity reflects the life of the Trinity. This, I think, is one of the things meant by Scripture’s saying that we are made in the image and likeness of God. The better we know God, the better we know ourselves. Think about this, for example. From all eternity, it is the nature and role of the eternally begotten Son to love the Father. From all eternity, the Son responds to the Father whose love begot Him. The Holy Spirit, of course, is the love that eternally is exchanged between the Father and the Son.

It is the nature, then, of the Son to respond to the love of the Father. The Incarnation – the word we give to describe that God became man in the womb of Mary – is so extraordinary because it means that our brother in humanity, Jesus, not only continues to be in a relationship and intimate union with the Father, but He also enables us to participate in that same relationship. Now, St. Paul makes the crucial distinction that what belongs to Jesus by nature (His Sonship) is ours only by adoption. In other words, because of the death and Resurrection of Christ, we are the adopted sons and daughters of God. In the Spirit of Jesus, we can cry out, ‘Abba, Father,’ and know that we are heard as dearly beloved children.

Our challenge is to unite ourselves with Jesus. Again, St. Paul uses images like, ‘Clothe yourselves in Christ,’ or, ‘Put on the armor of God,’ to illustrate our potential to be remade in Christ. The reality, of course, is that because our potential is to live the life of Christ, like Him we have freedom: we are not forced to live the life we are given in Baptism. Inevitably, we fall short.

This is why the Eucharist is so central to God’s Plan for us. The great human act of love for the Father is the sacrifice of Jesus. Until time is no more, Jesus, our brother, continues to give Himself in love to the Father for us, and the Father continues to say, ‘Yes,’ to the prayer of His Son and our brother. The incredible miracle of the Mass is that, through the sacramentality of the priesthood, we can join with Jesus in that most perfect and pleasing act of praise. Insofar as we unite ourselves with Jesus, we are caught up in the very life of the Trinity.”

Triumph Over Temptation

1st Sunday of Lent
Family story
“Filled with the Holy Spirit”
Fasting of Christ
    Spiritual strength
5 Ways to triumph over temptation
Fasting
Scripture
Prayer
Reason
Sacraments
Eucharist —> Freedom