The Gospels continue to challenge us to the core. This is especially true in the way our social relationships have developed. Feeling safe and secure in the world are not things that come easily these days. Actually, we may find ourselves feeling more reservation, caution, reluctance, and fear than ever before. In a moment’s notice, life can drastically change. When someone has been intentionally and violently hurt, especially someone we love, we can all too easily find ourselves very attracted to the Old Testament philosophy of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”
Intellectually, we know this is not what Jesus wants us to do. But on some level it just seems to make practical or even political sense. After all, why should we allow someone to get away with a heinously violent act? Yet, Jesus cannot be any clearer than he is with this! Offer no resistance to one who is evil. Turn the other cheek as well. When pressed into service, go two miles. Do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow. Love your enemies. Now, take a moment to reflect on all of this. Consider a horrible act of violence committed against someone you love. Listen. Think. Be honest. Can you do as Jesus directs?READ MORE
Here we continue our series on the different parts of the Mass. Last week we discussed the PENITENTIAL ACT and CONFITEOR.
The beautiful GLORIA captures our attention this week.
The GLORIA is an ancient hymn of praise to our God. It begins with the very same words the angels sang when they appeared to the shepherds to announce Christ’s birth.
Can you imagine a whole host or army of heavenly angels singing the GLORIA? That’s exactly what happened when they came to announce Jesus’ birth. It also happens at every Mass!READ MORE
People are not property. We cannot exchange them at will or simply use them for our own designs and purposes. What does the word “commitment” mean to you? We can begin to understand its meaning by looking at some synonyms: dedication, devotion, allegiance, loyalty, faithfulness, fidelity, and bond. Commitment is primarily about relationship, and Jesus is all about relationships. How our lives affect others, how we treat our brothers and sisters, how we resolve conflict, and how we view the vows of marriage. Jesus’ teachings on obeying the commandments, murder, reconciliation, marriage, divorce, and adultery all stem from the sacredness of commitment. All of this has a God connection.READ MORE
Here we continue our series on the different parts of the Mass. Last week we discussed the SIGN OF THE CROSS and the GREETING. Today we focus on the PENITENTIAL ACT and CONFITEOR.
In the silent pause, we examine our consciences. During this part of the Mass we beat our breast as a sign of humility and true repentance. All our venial sin is forgiven, making us ready to open our hearts to God’s Word and open our mouths to receive the Lord in Holy Communion.
What a perfect way for us sinners to approach the all HOLY GOD! It is only because of God’s love and mercy that we dare to approach him in worship.READ MORE
Here we continue our series on the different parts of the Mass. Last week we discussed our part in the Procession. Today we look at:
The SIGN OF THE CROSS is the most ancient and basic Christian gesture. It sums up the two most important parts of our faith, 1. The Holy Trinity and 2. Jesus’ death on the cross for our salvation. As we make the sign of the cross, we mark ourselves with the sign of Jesus’ love for us and remind ourselves that we belong to the greatest communion of love; the perfect love that flows between the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. The sign of the cross tells us our deepest identity, a deeper identity than even the names given us by our earthly parents. When we know what the sign of the cross means, tracing it on our bodies is sincere prayer.READ MORE
What does it mean to be salt and light? If we listen carefully to Jesus’ words, we gain some direction. To be salt means to bring taste, zest, and joy to life. We are asked to liven things up a bit by allowing the joy of our faith to spill over into the lives of others. Only a sincere and deep relationship with God can freshen up humanity and set it on proper course. To be light means that our faith must translate into action so that we can be Christ for others and extend the same arm of mercy and compassion that Christ did. Our acts of piety, then, cannot be directed solely at ourselves. Prayer is never about self-benefit but must always be directed toward union with God, deepening our relationships with one another and learning how to be effective stewards of the beautiful universe God has entrusted to our care.READ MORE
In a recent catechist meeting we reviewed the parts of the Mass and how we can pray each part. Our parish catechists’ positive responses encouraged me to offer in this weekly column a series on the different parts of the Mass.
Today we discuss arriving and The Procession. It’s best to arrive a few minutes early. As you leave your car and approach the church, breathe deeply and quiet yourself. Walking slowly helps to prepare our bodies for the silence waiting for us. In the atrium, before crossing the double doors, going towards the nave of the church, we dip one or two fingers in Holy Water and make the sign of the cross remembering to thank God silently for the gift of Baptism. Genuflect with reverence toward the tabernacle before being seated. Once we know where we are sitting, we kneel and thank God for the gift of another Sunday to worship him.READ MORE
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” Very often, having more light is not something we desire as it forces us to confront something we really do not want to see. There can be comfort found in darkness. It has an eerie sense of security to it. We do not have to challenge ourselves or be challenged and can simply exist in some fabricated state of self-fabricated blissfulness. Jesus came to bring light, and it is a light that is resisted by many and hated by some. It is a light that causes us to see things as they really are and not as we would want or need them to be.READ MORE