“Whoever receives this child in my name receives me.” (Luke 9:48) It is striking that God identifies himself with the little ones. When God sent his Son Jesus Christ to us, we saw in a state of unbelief how he was born and died, not in magnificent manner but in the most humble way. The moral is that God reveals his holiness in the most ordinary way.
Every moment of life is sacred. God’s presence is like a hidden treasure. It requires alertness to recognize his presence. We lift up our minds and hearts to be ready for the sacred.
God is knocking at the door. We must respond in faith. Faith is the ability to see God. In faith we cannot sail along our everyday events as if nothing spiritual ever has any impact on us. When we eat, get dressed and go to work, we must grab every moment to see that God is at work, revealing His truth, goodness and beauty in us. Certainly the divine has not finished molding and shaping the world.
When Jesus called Matthew, a tax collector, to follow him, he did not choose somebody with exceptional qualities. He knew Matthew was a sinner, a stranger to God. This call reveals that God is rich in his goodness and mercy.
In the same way Jesus calls us not because we are good, but because He is good. He always invites us to something good.
Although people may not see anything special in this call, we believers quickly realize that each one of us has a divine vocation far greater than what we can imagine. We are called together not just to a good fellowship, but to a divine communion. Great things happen when God is mixing with us.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. Here is truly the image of heaven: God and his people together in goodness.
Mass is the place where we meet God. At Mass we not only gather together as a group of local people, we also have the awesome presence of God and all the angels and saints. We join together with the host of heavenly angels and the communion of saints to give praise and glory to God.
Our God is worthy of glory since he is the Creator and all of us are his creatures. There is an infinite distance between God and us. Yet God freely bridges that distance to share his divine life with us.
Through the celebration of Mass, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, makes heavenly grace available to us so that we may humanly experience his divine gift. God sanctifies us through Sacred Scriptures, prayers, songs, symbols, bodily movements and above all, the Eucharist: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. All these gifts facilitate our meeting with God.
God has graciously reached us in real ways corresponding to our human condition. The next time we are at church, make sure we meet God, or more accurately, God meets us.
When we work we are co-creators with God to make creation more beautiful. Keeping our home beautiful and spiritual is co-creative.
On Labor Day, let us join with God’s beautiful creation to give thanks to God. With that gratitude we also thank those who have made our lives so rich and beautiful by their labor.
The happiness of our home owes much to many people. The pictures, the sofa, the lamps, the sense of love and warmth, everything is the work of many dedicated workers. The richness of our lives is the fruits gathered from much hard work.
To criticize without due respect and appreciation is short sighted. Labor Day weekend gives us an opportunity to express our appreciation for God’s creation and for the fruits of our human labor. We do not forget those who have gone before us. Certainly we can never say thanks enough.
Pope Paul VI once said, “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.”
We Christians might believe that we are witnesses to Christ, yet in reality we simply put on an external religious form without truly knowing Christ. To know Christ, we cannot be an outsider, standing and observing on the margin. To know Christ, we have to take part in his passion and death, to engage in his sacrifice.
We carry in our own body the sufferings of Christ. We must be the embodiment of Christ. We cannot be transformed into Christ and keep on living our old ways of life. An act of kindness to a neighbor reflects Christ’s self giving spirit and manifests the wounds on Christ’s body. To be Christ means that our pain and suffering are part of transformation of ourselves into Christ.
What comes first in our life? Jesus teaches us to seek the Kingdom of God first. But instead we love to look for wealth and comfort in life. Unless we understand the importance of God’s kingdom, we are still the prisoners of our endeavors.
To be honest, we often do not find much gratification in searching for God’s kingdom. Scriptures makes it even more challenging, “It is necessary to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14: 22) The demands of our body and the allurements of the world create a distance between ourselves and God. And so to put God first calls for a real intention and determination.
We must firmly believe in the truth that God alone can give us eternal life. Through Jesus Christ God gives us the Holy Eucharist – His own body and blood so that he can be close to us. If we do not seek, we will not find. Seek God first. We are not far from God, just a prayer away.
August 15 is the feast of the Assumption. The Assumption of Mary means Mary is taken up (assumed) into heaven.
Heaven is our true home. The desire for heaven and the fear of hell must be present in our hearts. For us who are lovers of heaven, we go beyond desires and reproduce in our everyday life the virtues that adorned Mary as the most beautiful creature from the hands of God.
One “must have” quality that Mary had was prayer life. Mary treasured all things in her heart. In our own lives we count God’s blessings prayerfully and reflect on them in our hearts. The prayers that we learn at home are often the same prayers which enrich us in life.
As people who long for heaven, we meditate on everyday events which can trigger in us the most sincere prayers. Our journey to heaven must have aspiration from God who continues to give us hopeful outlook on every event in life.
“One thing I ask of the Lord, to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.” (Psalm 27)
Since our secular life is constantly pushing and pulling us in different directions, it is hard for us to focus on that one important reality: to dwell in the house of the Lord. The goal of our Christian living is to be one with God. That union helps purify our hearts from all unnecessary desires.
Jesus specifically gives us the Eucharist for no other purpose than to allow us to be united with him. The Eucharist is made for us. God lives in us and we remain in Him. In that union we pray unceasingly. Our desire for God is the living expression of our prayer.
Just as the body cannot live without air, our soul cannot live without constantly drawing strength from God.
St. John Vianney said, “All the good works together are not equal to the sacrifice of the Mass, because they are the works of men whereas the holy Mass is the work of God.” At Mass we do not rely on our own power as if we are showing God our good work. In fact we are open to the power of God active in the Sacrament.
As we make an offering of ourselves to God, we let our sacrifice be united to the perfect sacrifice of Christ. Our sacrifice then acquires a new dimension of value and meaning. Through the offering of our self sacrifice, Christ transforms us in His Love.
Mass is not a celebration of our own work or even of the work of a local church. Mass is a celebration of the power of God transforming us and the whole church. As we say “yes” to God, we are open to the transforming power of God right in our hearts.
We are not a powerless victim of the past and of our former life. With God’s grace we can always transcend the impact of the past through the ideals which we hope to realize in the future.
In the world of deception, although it is difficult to trust others because of bad experiences in the past, the ideal of growing toward a more healthy relationship will have a positive impact on the way we relate to others.
Certainly it will not happen over night. Over a period of time the perception of others will gradually change. The main thing about change is that we must decide to grow toward a more trusting presence to God, supported by prayer. This decision is essential and it is the beginning of our new life.
Some of us think that getting to heaven is easy. As we cruise along the highways of life, we convince ourselves that we can easily get to heaven because we are good people. We have forgotten that it is all about God’s grace (help). We act as if we were good enough and it is just a matter of time that we would get to heaven.
We not only act as if we can save ourselves, we also think we can save the world. It is like saying that the merit of redemption is accomplished, now it is time to enjoy it without further conversion and growth. We refuse to engage in transformation into Christ. We make up the idea that being a Christian means that already we got the ticket to heaven.
But the real truth is that we must go through death and resurrection of Christ to become a new person and it all depends on God’s help at every single step of life. Nobody can get to heaven without God’s help. We must pray earnestly for that gift: Thy Kingdom come!
Archbishop Oscar Romero reminds us, “We are workers, not master builders, ministers not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.”
The clock ticks away. Half of the year is gone. Not only time goes by fast, we are also moving closer to the certainty of life: death.
Instead of saying, “Life is short, let us have some fun” we must say to ourselves, “Life is short, let us get ready for God.” One essential way is to establish a solid relationship with God in prayer. We pray when we have a serious sickness or when we are faced with a difficult task. We also pray in thanksgiving for the blessings of health, family and friendship as good as they are. We place our life in the hands of God.
Our connection with God gives us the assurance of joy and peace for our temporal life now has its anchor in eternal life with God. For sure one day we shall meet God. And that day we find the fulfillment of every desire in God.