March 2013

Fatherly Advice

John 20:1-9 Get Rid Of That Boulder!

On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb.

Happy Easter!  Thank God the Lord has risen!
Yes, thank God that it is all true.  Thank God that everything that Christ said and did was worth every drop of blood, every tear shed and every piece of flesh torn from his body.
What would life be without love?  The same as that without a resurrection:  a colossal failure - a glitch in an otherwise incredible adventure.  But since God is love, then it is obvious that love conquers all things, including death itself.  Here lies the great lesson of Jesus Christ:  the more you love, the more you live.    God is LOVE, and boy does He LIVE!
Christ’s resurrection cannot be taken out of context; that is, stripped of Salvation History and/or His very own passion and death.  God forbid!  Never!  Otherwise, this event would be as meaningless as a leprechaun rising from the dead.  The Lord’s resurrection is meaningful because it is tied to sacrifice and love.
Yes, as Christians, we know the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth defies human reasoning, but, with all due respect, so does the entire Christian faith!  For to “Love your enemies” may actually be more shocking to our senses than God rising from the dead!  And to “do good to those who harm you” and “seek those who betray you”, jolts our senses as much as forgiving someone seven times seventy-seven times.
Thank God for Christ’s resurrection!  Thank God that God is love!  Thank God that love and life have meaning!  The Resurrection defies human reasoning just as much as life and love defy human reasoning!
Get Rid of That Boulder!  On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning and saw the stone removed from the tomb.

The time has come for us to remove all stones that are keeping us away from Christ’s Way, Truth and Life.  Even the Apostles had their “boulders” to remove.  They were still seeking “the living among the dead.” 

So many things need to be cleared away from our hearts and minds:  fear, doubt, anger, resentment, frustrations, and even our very own sins.  All these things can thwart our ability to “understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.”

Religion is not something that people lean on when tragedy strikes.  Rather, inspiration leans on tragedy just like it leans on observations.  The empty tomb inspires man to dive into the mysteries of God, Love and Life.  Let’s remove all obstacles from our path! 
Last night at St. Monica, nearly 100 people entered into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church.  After two years of preparation, these brave souls gradually chipped away at the boulders that were blocking their view of Christ, The Church, and the beauty of the Christian faith.  They did it.  They succeeded in discovering who they are and who God is.  They succeeded in penetrating into themselves and peering into the life of Jesus Christ.  They all took a look inside themselves and in the tomb and discovered both were empty.  One discovery led to the other, and the rest is Salvation History! 
The Lord has truly risen not only in His life, but in ours as well. 
Heavenly Father, you taught us through your Son that to live means to love; to die means to give; and to rise means to forgive.  May we, your servants, always trust in your Divine Will.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

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The Dawning

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The Dawning.

Awake sad heart, whom sorrow ever drowns;
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Pope on Easter: let Christ transform us into agents of mercy

Vatican City, Mar 31, 2013 / 08:45 am (CNA/EWTN News).- After celebrating his first Easter Sunday Mass as pontiff in a packed St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Pope Francis urged the faithful to let the power of Christ’s resurrection enable them to work for peace.

“Let us be renewed by God’s mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish,” he said March 31.

During his Urbi et Orbi –  “to the city and to the world” – message following the Easter liturgy, Pope Francis appealed for peace specifically in the Middle East, Africa and Asia – especially between North and South Korea.

He also prayed for peace for the “whole world,” which he said is “still divided by greed looking for easy gain, wounded by the selfishness which threatens human life and the family.”

“Christ is our peace,” Pope Francis emphasized, “and through him we implore peace for all the world.”

Below is the full text of the Pope’s address:

Dear brothers and sisters in Rome and throughout the world, Happy Easter!

What a joy it is for me to announce this message: Christ is risen! I would like it to go out to every house and every family, especially where the suffering is greatest, in hospitals, in prisons …

Most of all, I would like it to enter every heart, for it is there that God wants to sow this Good News: Jesus is risen, there is hope for you, you are no longer in the power of sin, of evil! Love has triumphed, mercy has been victorious!

We too, like the women who were Jesus’ disciples, who went to the tomb and found it empty, may wonder what this event means (cf. Lk 24:4). What does it mean that Jesus is risen? It means that the love of God is stronger than evil and death itself; it means that the love of God can transform our lives and let those desert places in our hearts bloom.

This same love for which the Son of God became man and followed the way of humility and self-giving to the very end, down to hell - to the abyss of separation from God - this same merciful love has flooded with light the dead body of Jesus and transfigured it, has made it pass into eternal life. Jesus did not return to his former life, to earthly life, but entered into the glorious life of God and he entered there with our humanity, opening us to a future of hope.

This is what Easter is: it is the exodus, the passage of human beings from slavery to sin and evil to the freedom of love and goodness. Because God is life, life alone, and his glory is the living man (cf. Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, 4,20,5-7).

Dear brothers and sisters, Christ died and rose once for all, and for everyone, but the power of the Resurrection, this passover from slavery to evil to the freedom of goodness, must be accomplished in every age, in our concrete existence, in our everyday lives. How many deserts, even today, do human beings need to cross! Above all, the desert within, when we have no love for God or neighbour, when we fail to realize that we are guardians of all that the Creator has given us and continues to give us. God’s mercy can make even the driest land become a garden, can restore life to dry bones (cf. Ez 37:1-14).

So this is the invitation which I address to everyone: Let us accept the grace of Christ’s Resurrection! Let us be renewed by God’s mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish.

And so we ask the risen Jesus, who turns death into life, to change hatred into love, vengeance into forgiveness, war into peace. Yes, Christ is our peace, and through him we implore peace for all the world.

Peace for the Middle East, and particularly between Israelis and Palestinians, who struggle to find the road of agreement, that they may willingly and courageously resume negotiations to end a conflict that has lasted all too long. Peace in Iraq, that every act of violence may end, and above all for dear Syria, for its people torn by conflict and for the many refugees who await help and comfort. How much blood has been shed! And how much suffering must there still be before a political solution to the crisis will be found?

Peace for Africa, still the scene of violent conflicts. In Mali, may unity and stability be restored; in Nigeria, where attacks sadly continue, gravely threatening the lives of many innocent people, and where great numbers of persons, including children, are held hostage by terrorist groups. Peace in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and in the Central African Republic, where many have been forced to leave their homes and continue to live in fear.

Peace in Asia, above all on the Korean peninsula: may disagreements be overcome and a renewed spirit of reconciliation grow.

Peace in the whole world, still divided by greed looking for easy gain, wounded by the selfishness which threatens human life and the family, selfishness that continues in human trafficking, the most extensive form of slavery in this twenty-first century. Peace to the whole world, torn apart by violence linked to drug trafficking and by the iniquitous exploitation of natural resources! Peace to this our Earth! Made the risen Jesus bring comfort to the victims of natural disasters and make us responsible guardians of creation.

Dear brothers and sisters, to all of you who are listening to me, from Rome and from all over of the world, I address the invitation of the Psalm: “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; for his steadfast love endures for ever. Let Israel say: ‘His steadfast love endures for ever’” (Ps 117:1-2).

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