Friday, June 28, 2013
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Saturday, June 22, 2013
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
The word of God is something alive and active: it cuts more incisively than any two-edged sword: it can seek out the place where soul is divided from spirit, or joints from marrow; it can pass judgement on secret emotions and thoughts.
Monday, June 17, 2013
(Nn. 4-6: CSEL 3, 268-270)
Let your prayer come from a humble heart
When we pray, our words should be calm, modest and disciplined. Let us reflect that we are standing before God. We should please him both by our bodily posture and the manner of our speech. It is characteristic of the vulgar to shout and make a noise, not those who are modest. On the contrary, they should employ a quiet tone in their prayer.
Moreover, in the course of this teaching, the Lord instructed us to pray in secret. Hidden and secluded places, even our own rooms, give witness to our belief that God is present everywhere; that he sees and hears all; that in the fullness of his majesty, he penetrates hidden and secret places. This is the teaching of Jeremiah: Am I God when I am near, and not God when I am far away? Can anyone hide in a dark corner without my seeing him? Do I not fill heaven and earth? Another passage of Scripture says: The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, observing both good and wicked men.
The same modesty and discipline should characterize our liturgical prayer as well. When we gather to celebrate the divine mysteries with God’s priest, we should not express our prayer in unruly words; the petition that should be made to God with moderation is not to be shouted out noisily and verbosely. For God hears our heart not our voice. He sees our thoughts; he is not to be shouted at. The Lord showed us this when he asked: Why do you think evil in your hearts? The book of Revelation testifies to this also: And all the churches shall know that I am the one who searches the heart and the desires.
Anna maintained this rule; in her observance of it she is an image of the Church. In the First Book of Kings we are told that she prayed quietly and modestly to God in the recesses of her heart. Her prayer was secret but her faith was evident. She did not pray with her voice, but with her heart, for she knew that in this way the Lord would hear her. She prayed with faith and obtained what she sought. Scripture makes this clear in the words: She was speaking in her heart; her lips were moving but her voice could not be heard; and the Lord heard her prayer. The psalmist also reminds us: Commune within your own hearts, and in the privacy of your room express your remorse. This is the teaching of the Holy Spirit. Through Jeremiah he suggests this: Say in your hearts: Lord, it is you that we have to worship.
My friends, anyone who worships should remember the way in which the tax-collector prayed in the temple alongside the Pharisee. He did not raise his eyes immodestly to heaven or lift up his hands arrogantly. Instead he struck his breast and confessing the sins hidden within his heart he implored the assistance of God’s mercy. While the Pharisee was pleased with himself, the tax-collector deserved to be cleansed much more because of the manner in which he prayed. For he did not place his hope of salvation in the certainty of his own innocence; indeed, no one is innocent. Rather he prayed humbly, confessing his sins. And the Lord who forgives the lowly heard his prayer.
Saturday, June 15, 2013
In today's Gospel from Luke Chapter 7 we are told about the encounter between Jesus and a woman who was a sinner. This takes place in the house of a Pharisee. Jesus has been invited to come and eat with the Pharisee.
The woman of the city, this sinner, has heard that Jesus was eating in the Pharisee's house. So she enters the house and kneels at the feet of Jesus. Weeping, she begins to bathe His feet with her tears and drying His feet with her hair. Then kissing His feet she anoints them with an alabaster jar of ointment.
We can imagine the reaction of the self-righteous Pharisee. He is shocked! How can this woman, who is well known as a sinner dare to touch Jesus? Doesn't Jesus know who she is? If she touches Him then Jesus would be ritually unclean.
Jesus responds by telling a simple story of two debtors, of whom one was forgiven a very small debt and the other was forgiven a very large one. Jesus puts a question to the Pharisee as to which of these two debtors was more grateful, the one who was forgiven little or the one who was forgiven the greater debt?
The point of the parable is that forgiveness always brings the loving response that we call gratitude, and that obviously the more generous the forgiveness is the more intense the response is likely to be. Jesus now applies this lesson to the woman and the Pharisee. The Pharisee gave Jesus no water to wash His feet, whereas the woman bathed His feet in her tears and dried them with her hair. The Pharisee gave Jesus no kiss, but the woman from the time she came in, she has not stopped kissing Jesus' feet. The Pharisee did not anoint Jesus' head with oil, however, the woman anointed His feet.
Jesus said “Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; because she has shown great love.” “ Woman, your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you; go in peace”
What Jesus was saying to the Pharisee was that this woman, despite her sinful past, was much closer to God than the Pharisee was, because she was able to recognize her sinfulness and the necessity of God’s mercy.
Today's first reading tells us about God's prophet Nathan confronting David for adultery and murder.
David had committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of one of his soldiers, and then engineered the death of her husband so that he might continue his relationship with Bathsheba. David did what displeased the Lord. David, after being abundantly blessed by God, went from neglect of duty, to lust, to adultery, to deceit, to treachery, to conspiracy, and finally to murder.
Upon being confronted by God’s prophet Nathan, David, sincerely and humbly confesses his guilt. David is profoundly repentant, and having confessed his sin to Nathan with the result that the Lord forgives his sinfulness, and remits the worst, though not all of his punishment.
The entire story is both a severe warning to human pride and, at the same time, a gracious assurance of the availability of divine mercy to those repentant sinners who sincerely confess their sins.
This is the classic Old Testament statement of the pattern of self-examination in the light of God's law. Examination was followed by confession of the sin as an offense against God.
It concludes with the confessor's declaration that because of the person’s repentance and confession - God has put away the sin.
Nathan tells David that God has put away his sin – he is forgiven his sins. However, God tells David through Nathan that there is still a debt to pay even though his sins are forgiven – the Lord tells him that because of his sin – “the sword shall never depart from your house.” The damage must be repaired.
As it was in the Old Testament so it is today. We follow basically the same process when we celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Sacrament of Confession. The Sacrament of Reconciliation given to us by Jesus consists of examination of conscience beforehand, an act of repentance, confession of sins to Jesus through the priest, with the intention to make reparation. The priest then gives us absolution and our sins are taken away and we leave to do whatever penance we have been assigned.
Like David, God has forgiven our sins through the action of the priest and like David we are assigned a penance. Remember, even though David’s sins are forgiven, God told him there is still a price to pay and he is told “Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, for you have despised Me”. Even though God has forgiven David’s sin God still assigns him a punishment – a penance if you will. Why?
Because the reality of God’s Mercy is always connected to the reality of Justice. We really don’t have trueMercy without justice.
The forgiveness of sins is the sign of God’s Mercy but the penance assigned is the expression of God’s Justice. God is a merciful but just God.
God is not vengeful and unforgiving, but the damage caused by sin must be repaired, because the structure of God’s good creation was damaged.
This penance that we have been assigned by the priest of course is only symbolic in that it could never make reparation for our sins. Only Jesus Christ can do that. Jesus came to pay for our sins. We could never pay the price. Only Jesus can.
We are not able to repair the damages caused by our sins since we have sinned against Almighty God, so only the Son of God, the Omnipotent and creative Word of God can “make everything new”, only Christ can re-create the nature broken by our sins.
However, it is not possible to do this without our participation. And this is the sense of the penance we receive in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Sacrament of Confession.
This penance allows us to participate in the reparation made by Christ. That is mercy. That is justice.
And what is the reaction of the repentant person whose sins are forgiven? Today’s responsorial psalm tells us about the joy we should feel in our hearts after we have sincerely confessed our sins to the priest and been given absolution – the assurance that God has heard our plea and forgiven our sins.
Psalm 32 tells us about the joy of those whose sins are forgiven, who have confessed their transgressions to the Lord and were forgiven the guilt of their sins and now they find their refuge in the Lord.
“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven whose sin is covered. Blessed is the one to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity and in whose spirit there is no deceit. I acknowledged my sin to you and I did not hide my iniquity; I said “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Did David confess his sins directly to the Lord or did David confess his sins to God through God’s representative, Nathan. What does Scripture say? Scripture is very clear. David said to Nathan “I have sinned against the Lord” and then Nathan said to David “Now the Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die”.
In hearing the words of absolution with our own ears from God’s minister, the priest in the confessional - we have the wonderful assurance that God has heard our confession and taken away our sin. God’s knows human nature – He knows of our need to be assured of forgiveness, He knows what comfort it will be to hear those words of forgiveness.
That is why we confess our sins to God’s minister a priest, because according to Holy Scripture that’s the way God wants it to be. That is why the Lord instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation. So that we might mysteriously participate in Christ’s redemptive action, be forgiven our transgressions and know that we are forgiven when we hear the words of forgiveness and receive our assigned penance.
God does not want to condemn us but rather to give us the opportunity to receive His forgiveness.
In his book “Crossing the Threshold of Hope” the late Great Pope John Paul II wrote and I quote:
“…convincing the world of the existence of sin is not the same as condemning it for sinning.” God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him." Convincing the world of sin means creating the conditions for its salvation. Awareness of our own sinfulness, including that which is inherited, is the first condition for salvation; the next is the confession of this sin before God, who desires only to receive this confession so that He can save man. To save means to embrace and lift up with redemptive love, with love that is always greater than any sin.” Unquote.
We have a choice. We can be like the Pharisee who obviously felt he had no need for forgiveness maybe because he felt he had no sin. Or, we can be like the woman in the Gospel, humbly acknowledging our sinfulness.
David confessed his sin to God’s representative, the prophet Nathan. That is how God wanted David to be forgiven – through the actions and words of His minister Nathan. God’s prophet Nathan spoke to David. David acknowledged his sin to Nathan.
If it was not for that encounter with Nathan, David would never have known for sure that God had forgiven him and that God required more from him namely “that the sword should never leave his house”?
In today’s Scripture readings Jesus places a challenge before us.
God did not speak directly to David but rather spoke to him through His minister Nathan.
God does not speak directly to us either but rather speaks to us through His minister the priest.
And that is the challenge the Lord gives us today.
Do we want to hear with our own ears the words of words of Jesus “Go in peace, your sins are forgiven.”
When was the last time we heard the words of forgiveness spoken to us in the confessional?
God bless you.
Deacon Bernie Ouellette
Friday, June 14, 2013
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Father Francis Mary of the Cross Jordan (The Founder of the Salvatorians), wrote in December 1894 in his work “Exhortations and Admonitions”, “As long as there is one person on earth who does not know God and does not love Him above all things, you dare not allow yourself a moment’s rest. As long as God is not everywhere glorified, you dare not allow yourself a moment’s rest.”
Salvatorians in Canada -
Sunday, June 09, 2013
Monday, June 03, 2013
The Annual Global Rosary Relay idea is a simple one: in that each of the 60 participating shrines prays a particular mystery of the Rosary at a particular half hour on the day in thanksgiving to God for our priests and to implore the protection and loving care of Our Lady, Mother of all priests, for all her priestly sons. With the coming of midnight on the 7th June 2013, the entire world, by then, will have been encircled in prayer for our priests on this The Annual Rosary Relay Day.
Blessed John Paul II has established that on the solemnity of the Sacred Heart the Church will observe the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests. We encourage each and every one of the faithful to pray for our priests today, this very moment, in preparation through prayer, celebration of the Mass and Eucharistic Adoration, so that the 7th June 2013 will be an even greater celebration of the priesthood of Jesus Christ worldwide.
see more here
Pontiff Warns of Risk of Succumbing 'To A Christianity Without a Cross'By Junno Arocho Esteves
Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel according to St. Mark, which speaks of Christ walking ahead of the disciples who were “dismayed” and “fearful”. The Holy Father noted Christ’s conduct, who chose to tell them the truth. “The Son of man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and kill him; but on the third day he will rise,” the Gospel reads.
According to the L’Osservatore Romano, the Holy Father told the faithful that the disciples went through the same temptations as Christ did in the desert, “when the devil challenged him to to work a miracle.”
“Today, we risk succumbing to the temptation of a Christianity without a cross. And there is another temptation: that of a Christianity with the cross but without Jesus,” Pope Francis said. This, he continued, was the “temptation of triumphalism. We want triumph now, without going to the cross, a worldly triumph, a reasonable triumph."
The Holy Father concluded his homily speaking on the danger of triumphalism in the Church and of Christians, saying that a “triumphalist Church is a halfway Church.”
“A Church content with being “well organized and with [...] everything lovely and efficient”, but which denied the martyrs would be a Church which thought only of triumphs and successes; which did not have Jesus’ rule of triumph through failure. Human failure, the failure of the cross. And this is a temptation to us all.”
Read it online
Sunday, June 02, 2013
The miracle of multiplying bread is symbolized at the Eucharist.
Jesus Christ gives man this meal but in today’s gospel Jesus not only feeds the crowds... but He wants to show us that everybody who calls out to Him will be heard.
It is not just about physical hunger, but also for every other kind of hunger. Daily bread gives us strength. The people fed in the desert have the strength to be with Jesus and hear His voice.
So, what is the power of Spirtual bread? Eucharistic bread?
It not only gives us physical strength but above all it strengthens our spiritual power.
This truth is very difficult to understand, only because, it is a "Great Truth".
Jesus Christ in Holy Communion is true God and true Man. This is the source of our spiritual strength.
So often we feel weak spiritually. We feel ill and lack the desire to live. We are afraid of the present and the future.
So we must reach out for this bread because every hour of worry and anxiety is due to the fact that we think that God does not participate in our life. That He is far away from our problems. However, He is with us, He WANTS to be with us. In a moment He will change bread into His body...for us to be one with Him. For He who loves wants to be close to the beloved.
I wonder, how much does He love us?
He wants very much to be present in our lives in our daily food the Holy Eucharist.
This is so amazing. God wants to be easily reachable and available as our daily bread.
Eucharist is not only Communion for us, but it guides us to unity, to sharing, and to love like God does for us.
We can see now that He needs us to build His church.
Let us go back to our homes today with the belief that Christ wants us to rebuild our spiritual strength, but, by our hands He wants to rebuild His Body which is His church.