Monday, April 30, 2018

April 30 - 5th Week of Easter - Monday

+ In our liturgy today, we continue to move now more closely to the feasts of the Ascension of the Lord and Pentecost, the birth day of the Church. Jesus is trying to make a few connections that will last with the Apostles who would be his representatives and vehicles of divine grace so that he, himself, could remain with us to the end of time as he promised.

The primary connection is that he and the Father in heaven are one! Simple enough to say, but o so difficult to get into the heads and hearts of the chosen band. But without this connection, there are no other connections at all.

It is the Father’s idea, our redemption; it is the Father’s idea, our sanctification; it is the Father’s idea, our protection until that last trumpet sounds – and yes, there will be trumpets – you can rest assured of that.

The second connection is that: the amazing works that the apostles will do, such as the healing of those in need of it, as a witness to the resurrection power of Jesus, is not the work of the gods, as in pagan deities, but rather it is the work of God, God the Creator, God the Father of All, God the Healer and Reconciler of All. So the reaction of the Greeks to the miracles of Paul and Barnabas are rather amusing while at the same time off-base, as they try to offer sacrifices to them, thinking them gods.

But the third connection is this: that, in sorting it all out, it will be one of the tasks of the sent Holy Spirit to “teach us everything, and to remind us of all that Jesus told us,” because all that Jesus told us needs to be pondered, prayed about, and acted upon – so that the Promise of Forgiveness of Sins, the Resurrection of the Dead and Life Everlasting will really happen for all who believe it can happen, and who want it with all their hearts.

The choice is ours, it is always ours: do we want to be among the crowd that believes, loves and serves Christ where he is to be found – daily – in the people we come into contact with! That’s all there really is to it!

Not to us, O Lord, but to you name give the glory, both now and forever.


Sunday, April 29, 2018

April 29 - 5th Sunday of Easter

5th Sunday of Easter – April 29, 2018

I –Barnabas reported to the Apostles how Saul had seen the Lord on the way.
R –I will praise you, Lord, in the assembly of your people.
II – This is his commandment: that we may believe and love.
A – Remain in me as I remain in you, says the Lord. Whoever remains in me will bear much fruit.
G –Whoever remains in me and I him will bear much fruit.

+ We have encouraging and wonderful readings today. The first reading tells of how the Church - through the working of the Holy Spirit - was being built up and walking in the fear of the Lord, with the consolation of the Holy Spirit, growing in numbers. This, including the story of how, when Saul first arrives, ready to preach boldly in the name of the Lord, everyone was afraid of him because he is the very one who was just recently out to persecute and imprison newly baptized Christians.

But it was Barnabas who took charge of the situation and introduced Saul / soon to be Paul / as one who is actually on their side now! And it was a marvel for all to see the change in this young upstart from Tarsus. Yes, when God has his way with someone, things change, and for the better!

St. John in the second reading today tells the community of believers that the genuineness of their Christian commitment must be expressed in deeds and in truth and not just word or speech. If we do not allow Jesus to live his life for others through us, then we can talk about it all we want, and it will mean nothing, and nothing meaningful will get done. We must practice what we preach.

Then the magnificent imagery of the gospel passage shows us the degree to which we can and must be united to Jesus in order to have a prosperous and abundant life, here and hereafter and something to share with others: our communion must be like that of a vine and branches. I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me: by daily acts of belief and service to others, then you will experience my presence in a powerful way, and you will be able to ask me for anything and I will do it for you – because you are pleasing my Father and bearing much fruit.

And so at this planting time of the year, when new vines and growth are easily visible let us be reminded how intimate our relationship with Jesus and his Father is meant to be, and in fact can be, through the working of the Holy Spirit in us! A powerful force indeed! – and it will affect not only our own lives, but the lives of those God places in our path each and every day – through us!


Saturday, April 28, 2018

April 28 - 4th Week of Easter - Saturday

+ As we move now more closely to the feast of the Ascension of the Lord, Jesus begins to hammer home the main point of his Incarnation, his coming to earth, his coming to dwell within a tent like our own human body: when you see me, you see the Father! I and the Father are one! The words you hear are not mine, they are from the Father! The FATHER LOVES YOU! and I together with him LOVE YOU! and it is our very Spirit of Life, Peace, Healing and Truth that is the LOVE with which you are loved!

We loved you so much as to work out your salvation and sanctification in the Mystical Expression of our Reality that will be soon called: The Church! and from it you will have everything you need spiritually to trudge your way through life on his planet, daily, in preparation for your entry, if you so want it, of eternal life in a heavenly dwelling place clearly beyond your wildest imaginings.

The is the life, this is the magnificent invitation that the Jews blatantly refuse to have anything to do with now – and who begin to persecute these upstarts. And so “the disciples left their towns and shook the dust from their feet in protest against them!” Such a powerful image this is: SHOOK THE DUST IN DISGUST AND PITY on them who would cut themselves off from eternal bliss because of their hardness of heart, because they were blinded by power, because they were afraid to welcome Truth and Joy into their lives.

May we today, who are baptized into this Mystical Body, this Church, this fellowship of saints, be willing to have dust and dirt thrown in our face by an unbelieving world that is so wrapped up in is own misery, and self-absorbed decadence that it cannot even imagine there is a “Light of Day” – but this should not stop us from radiating the presence of the Indwelling Trinity in our souls, in our words, in our actions! For if we bring the LIGHT and PEACE OF CHRIST to just one person today: it will have been worth getting out of bed for!

All the ends of the earth have seen the great works of the Father/Son duo – and will see even greater works – through us! Amen!

Friday, April 27, 2018

April 27 - 4th Week of Easter - Friday

+ We have a serious but at the same time joyful message in our readings today at mass. This time in a more gentle kind of way, St. Paul, in the first reading conveys the message that all of the prophecies concerning the Messiah, the Suffering Servant and his death and resurrection, were fulfilled in Jesus, the Nazorean who was killed by us, the children of Israel as it was foretold. The point of emphasis here being, even being killed by his own people was thus prophesied, so there was no need to be defensive about the reality that they were indeed the ones chosen from all time to carry out this execution.

But we also must not divorce the resurrection, the newness of life, the making things better than what they were before the Fall, is also part of the actions of the executioners. God can and does bring good out of everything that seems dark, oppressive and hopeless.

In the gospel passage Jesus congratulates the Israelites for having faith in God (the Father Creator with whom their ancestors dealt in their release from bondage in Israel), so he says please have faith also in me, because the Father and I are one, I am his Son, I am Son of Man, and Son of God! And in fact, it is when I will ascend from your sight, that I will go and prepare a special dwelling (literally a mansion, a house, a condo, an apartment) just for you, for you to call home when you enter the glorious and magnificent kingdom of my Father, to live as a brother / sister of mine and all the saints forever.

Then he tells them that they already know the way to get there – as he was the living example of it for the three years he taught about life in the Kingdom: but Thomas again is confused: how do we know where you are going, how can we know the way: And so Jesus, o so patiently and lovingly relates to Thomas – who represents all of us who need to have things explained very slowly and deliberately to us: Thomas I AM the way, I AM the truth about absolutely everything and every situation, and I AM the very life that has begun in you now, and will reach fulfillment at your own passing into eternity at your death! SO DO NOT LET YOUR HEARTS BE TROUBLED! not even for an instant! YOU ARE SAFE! YOU ARE FINE! YOU ARE MINE!

The Father has invited everyone to family life in his kingdom, but it is also true that you must pass through me to get there – there is no other way – no other way at all – how could there be – you have to pass through my life, my passion, my crucifixion, my resurrection and my ascension to glory in order to enjoy the fruits of what all of that merited for you!  BELIEVE THIS, TURN FULLY TO ME! and stay connected with me until death! Amen.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

April 26 - 4th Week of Easter - Thursday

+ Our readings at Mass today have to do with the acceptance and wonder that comes when we see conversion at work, for example, when Paul arrives in Antioch, a thriving and sophisticated Greek city – he marches into the local synagogue and then proceeds to outline the long-awaiting arrival on the scene of Jesus, the Messiah, Lord and Savior of not only the people of Israel, but everyone and everything else.

The listeners there may still be astonished that this is the very zealot Jew who was just a short while ago persecuting those who were disciple of this same Jesus, Messiah, Lord and Savior.

When a conversion occurs – that is obvious by the conviction, authenticity and tone of voice that speaks volumes about the fact that truth is being spoken here – and yes, not only I was wrong about Jesus, but so were a lot of you, and most of the rest of the world – up to and including to today!

Unless a person is saturated with Life in the Spirit – that comes with being baptized and confirmed and given the Blessed Eucharist – then later in life it is so easy to abandon any semblance of such a wondrous life – and then these become the prime new persecutors of those who have stayed with it since their inception at baptism.

And so today, humility is the word, Just as Paul ends his teaching today by referring to John telling of his unworthiness to even unfasten the sandals on Jesus’ feet – so too we are not worthy to do the same – and we must count ourselves in the company of those who know they are absolutely nothing in his sight – so that we can become everything in his sight by his own free gift – emanating from the incomprehensible and divine love pour forth from his Pierced and Wounded Sacred Heart.

In the gospel passage we see Jesus great act of humility and service in his washing of the apostle’s feet at the Last Supper – we too must do the same – and not become the betrayer – because those who love and serve like Jesus did will experience unity in Christ, unity with one another, unity based in the very heart of God! – and it will last forever!

The favors of the Lord we will sing forever!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

April 25 - St. Mark, Evangelist

+ St. Mark was converted to the faith by St. Peter, Mark being one of his disciples who afterwards accompanied him to Rome, acting there as his secretary and interpreter. When St. Peter was writing his first epistle to the churches of Asia, he affectionately joins with his own salutation that of his faithful companion, whom he calls “my son Mark.”

The Roman people asked St. Mark to put in writing for them the substance of St. Peter’s frequent discourses on Our Lord’s life. This the Evangelist did under the eye and with the express sanction of St. Peter, and every page of his brief but graphic gospel so bore the markings of St. Peter’s character, that the Fathers used to name it “Peter’s Gospel.”

St. Mark was then sent to Egypt to found the Church of Alexandria. Here his disciples became the wonder of the world for their piety and asceticism, so that St. Jerome speaks of St. Mark as the father of the anchorites, who at a later time thronged the Egyptian deserts. Here too, he set up the first Christian school, the fruitful mother of many illustrious doctors and bishops.

After many years of governing his see, St. Mark was one day seized by heathens, dragged by rope over stones, and thrown into prison. This was repeated the next day, but at that point Mark was consoled by a vision of angels and with the voice of Jesus accompanying him, he went to his reward.

It was from the sketch of St. Mark’s Gospel that the other 3 gospel writers took their cue, and in time a rounded, balanced and canonically accepted picture of Jesus, Son of God come to earth, emerged. And it was his message that was proclaimed to all the world, at his command, when he ascended into heaven to return again one day to judge men and women on their deeds of charity.

We thank God for the seed of the gospel that he related through St Mark, may we likewise in this spring time of the year, plant similar seeds of faith in the hearts and minds of all we meet this day- sometimes all it takes is a friendly glance, a kind word, a helpful gesture – and the recipient may be touched by the Spirit and turn to God in ways they least expect!

We proclaim Christ crucified; he is the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

April 24 - 4th Week of Easter - Tuesday

­­+ The first reading shows how the Good News began to emanate and spread from a small circle, to a great number – beginning with the Jewish people – as was logical – for them to come to know that Jesus indeed was the Messiah and redeemer that they had been waiting for – but then to the Gentile people who was visited by the same Spirit that fell on the Apostles and many others on the day of Pentecost. It simply visited them – for God can do his own “evangelization” if he wanted to – personally.

Not only that – God was also selecting certain pairs of personnel to be his witnesses and instruments in the “rounding up of the Lost Sheep of Israel, and then everyone else in the world who would be willing to be rounded up!” So, Barnabas, found himself going to Antioch, being sent there by the church of Jerusalem – shortly after Pentecost. He was a man filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith: and large numbers came to the Lord through his preaching and display of genuine care and concern for them.

Then the Lord sent him to Tarsus to look for Saul – a former great persecutor of newborn followers of The Way, followers of Christ. They were thus paired up and used as a “spiritual dynamic duo” in attracting new members to the Mystical Body of Christ. They lived together in Antioch for a year. And it was there that the disciples they were gathering were first called by the term “Christians!”

The Lord still can call his chosen instruments to pair up, to live together, and by their connection with Him, and the Father’s providential plan, to minister with great enthusiasm and joy to a specific group of persons daily who need to be gotten to for life, for love, for salvation: the Joyful Servants of the Cross are such a dynamic pairing. And so me, and my co-founder were brought together from the distance of many thousands of mile, we lived together a monastic lifestyle for 12 and a half years – gaining the experience needed to “spread joy, hope and peace wherever we went” for the purification and perfection of the Church on earth, and the spiritual transformation of the world into the glorious kingdom of God in heaven!” This we have faithfully done by doing what we do, living our own primary callings and states in life of priest and nurse.

And now that my cofounder has been called to the fullness of life – having “become eternal” – transitioning to the state of life without the body – since February 5th of this year – our congregation is beginning a new period of solidity, growth and helpfulness to the Good Shepherd would continues to round up those who would be rounded up for life in the kingdom.

New members are being added to the group – and a whole new dimension of spiritual rest and respite, education and refinement is now being offered at our Abbey/Hermitage, as we continue to do what Jesus did in the gospel passage today: tell anyone who would listen, HE IS THE CHRIST! HE IS THE SON OF MAN! HE IS THE SON OF GOD! turn from what you were doing – and turn to him – embrace him who outstretches his arms to embrace you in a deep and tender loving embrace – and never let go! until you are safe in the Kingdom prepared for you!

We are children of God! We are CHILDREN OF GOD! let us praise him and thank him both now and forever! Amen. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

April 23 - 4th Week of Easter - Monday

­­+ The readings today at Mass relate something that is mostly and entirely misunderstood by most Catholics in the world since Apostolic times; and that “something” is the fact that everyone is called upon to receive the essential and vitalizing “baptism of the Holy Spirit.”

The very term probably turns many of us off, because of the ill use of the term, and quite frankly some hysterical manifestations of mostly wannabe Spirit baptized people or over enthusiastic recipients.

There are actually three stages of baptism that are generously and lovingly provided by the Most Blessed Trinity: water baptism (in the name of the Trinity) for removal or Original Sin and transformation into a child of God, a member of Christ’s Mystical Body, and heir of Paradise. Next, is the sealing and first tooling of the water baptized in the Sacrament of Confirmation. But, when a child is full grown and wiling to be a true Instrument of Grace and Love of God to any and all they will encounter each day: the baptism of the Holy Spirit, with the same effect as fell upon the Apostles and the 120 on Pentecost Day, the birthday of the Church – with is specialized spiritual tools to make a difference in the world – is highly encouraged – making it the fullness of the sealing of the Spirit and water baptism.

Jesus himself many times in Scripture commanded us to be thus baptized saying: “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”  And so today the Scripture reminds us to do it: St Peter, today in the first reading recognized and celebrated the fact that the same Spirit baptism had indeed been bestowed on the Gentiles of Caesarea.  

A gospel correlation is this: the Gate of the Sheepfold is the three fold baptismal process that all are invited to request and accept. Those who encourage this process are the Good Shepherds, and those who manipulate this process for their own ends are the Bad Shepherds who are to be rejected and avoided.

You may ask how do I do this, be baptized in the Holy Spirit: it’s quite simple: JUST ASK FOR IT: say after choosing the time to do it and sitting quietly, prayerfully:
“You are the Breath of God, Holy Spirit of God, You are the Gift of the Redeemer, You are the Joy and life of Holy Church – the Mystical Body of Christ – and His Bride. You are the all-powerful, all healing, all peaceful Presence of the Most Blessed Trinity. Come, Holy Spirit, fill my heart to overflowing. Come, Lord Spirit, COME! I ask now to be Baptized by You with the full release and outpouring of Pentecost power, wind, flames and fire of LOVE, HEALING, CREATIVITY AND MERCY. Dear Spirit of God, fall on me fresh and mighty today, with courage, with vitality, with GUSTO – with the accompanying manifestation through me of all Your Gifts that you will me to have as I go out into the world today. AMEN!”

Be prepared for the adventure of your lifetime – and it will be yours!

God bless you!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

April 22 - 4th Sunday of Easter - Good Shepherd Sunday

4th Sunday of Easter – April 22, 2018

I –There is no salvation through anyone else.
R –The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
II – We shall see God as he really is.
A – I am the good shepherd, says the Lord; I know my sheep, and mine know me.
G –The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

+ Today is Good Shepherd Sunday. It is traditionally this fourth Sunday of Easter that we reflect upon the pastoral nature of Christ’s mission and mandate.

Jesus came into the world to change everything, to clarify everything, to transform everything into all that it could not be otherwise without him – due to the extremely debilitating and life draining Fall of our first parents: the damage done by them was catastrophic and irreparable by any other of their race – except one who was also God at the same time: and that is Jesus Christ the Nazarene – who finally came – but who was killed by his own people – because they rejected him like a decrepit stone; but actually he was the cornerstone who was placed in his rightful position by his Father in the glorious act of raising him from the dead to a newness of life.

This is the good news that must be proclaimed to the whole world: to everyone, everywhere: there is no salvation through anyone else – this is what our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles tells us today – Jesus is the only one who can do it for us!
          [All other great philosophers, teachers, religious start-ups and life-coaches cannot effect the redemption of the human race, because they are earthbound only, in their own natures, and in what they have to offer. They can make us feel good about ourselves and help us get in touch with what is actually the God of our natural spirit but the cannot be called true effectors of salvation.]

And how this plays out is marvelous: we have the opportunity to participate in our own salvation now, because he has already completed his end of the deal – and so we can now cooperate with grace and be born a second time by baptism to “higher things”, and then we must further cooperate in our own salvation by nourishing our spiritual lives by the daily program of spiritual life that the Church lays out for us, in prayer, in the sacraments – most especially the Eucharist: the Mass and in loving service to our brothers and sisters.

Jesus the shepherd can only shepherd us if we literally stay close to him, are in his pasture and follow his lead. To mix the metaphor we are his sheep but we are also sheep-as-children-of-God – adopted, but truly his family – brothers and sisters of Jesus – and one another. We must therefore treat one another like we are members of this very special family.

Yes, Jesus is the Good Shepherd, the Excellent Shepherd, the Loving Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. And he is so because he has suffered so terribly much. A shepherd who has not suffered is no shepherd at all; a shepherd who has not suffered has no idea what his sheep are really going through; a shepherd who has not died many deaths, has not experienced the reality of God the Father helping him and raising him to new life over and over again in his own life, and therefore has nothing to give anyone else.

And so, today we pray for all the shepherds that Christ himself appointed and sent to proclaim the good news and make his presence a reality on the face of the earth til the end of time – we pray that they accept the death and rising dynamic that must be a part of their lives, so they can help the sheep, the sheep children of God, his own true spiritual brothers and sisters do the same.

We also pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life – God is still calling - may men and women be generous in responding and giving the loving Shepherd their hands, hearts and feet to help him love his sheep-children until the end of time.

I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;                                                                    I know my sheep, and mine know me.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

April 21 - 3rd Week of Easter - Saturday

+ The readings for mass today take us to another point of decision.  In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles a simple formula of life emerges: “the churches throughout the region built themselves up, living in the fear of the Lord, and filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit.

“Living in fear of the Lord” is not a negative connotated sentiment at all for the truly baptized into the Life of Christ, the Life of the Spirit, Childhood in the Fatherhood of God” – One who is thus connected, realizes utter, complete and total dependence on the source of their entire temporal and eternal existence: therefore, as we fear losing battery charge in our smart phones, so we “fear” doing anything at all that would disconnect us from God’s Love and Power and Healing Peace. This is what “fear of the Lord means” – he is so awesome, and any shred of dignity at all that we possess comes from him! – and then we can be pretty awesome ourselves as his helpers!

“Filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit” – is the good part, the icing on the cake! Asking the Spirit in the morning to fill us and our agenda for the day, and to gently lead us and guide us through it – produces “icing” – produces peace and joy and healing and strength when needed: this is manifest and demonstrated in the two miracles also shown in the first reading: the Spirit of God can do anything to awaken or sustain faith and trust in God alone: even curing a bedridden patient, or raising a little girl from the dead! The Spirit can affect equally amazing demonstrations in us and our loved ones, or even perfect strangers through us: if we but believe He can do it!

In the gospel passage Jesus tells this disciple point blank – that “it is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer.” My words, my actions are spirit and life. And then when people started leaving Jesus because some of his way of putting things rubbed them the wrong way – and they did not try to activate the gift of faith in order to understand – he says to the Apostles – do you want to leave too – and Peter, says – Lord, where else can we go to get the truth, to get compassion, to get forgiveness but you! We know you are the Holy One of God! Please allow us to stay with you always!

May we say the same, now, here, at this mass – and enjoy the consolation and peace of the Holy Spirit all day long, as we proceed, joyfully, but always in the back of our minds “fearing” doing anything that would cause us to “lose our spiritual battery charge” for good!

Yes, Lord, your words are spirit and life, you have the message of eternal life!

Friday, April 20, 2018

April 20 - 3rd Week of Easter - Friday

+ We again have terrific readings at Mass today: the first reading is about the most exquisite conversion in all of Scripture, the great felling of a pillar of persecution in the history of the newborn Church: Saul of Tarsus becomes completely stock-still, when a quite literally “blinding Light” from heaven saturates him with authority and no doubt, Peace! and he falls from his horse while on the way to Damascus to round up Christians from imprisonment and most likely death in Jerusalem.

The power and force of the light, and the evidence thereof, most likely caused great cataracts to form instantly to cover and protect his eyes from the more than nuclear invasion of the light!

But his ears, both inner and outer were unaffected by this episode, in fact they were in effect increased and strengthened to acute levels: SAUL, SAUL WHY ARE YOU PERSECUTING ME! he heard the infallible voice boom at him: I AM JESUS, THE ONE YOU ARE PERSECUTING!

Saul, quickly assessed the situation and realized at the point – at least in seminal, seed form, that the Christians, who, filled with the Spirit, being the REAL PRESENCE OF CHRIST IN MYSTICAL FORM: his MYSTICAL BODY – that he was persecuting so vehemently was actually Jesus. He began to get the message!

And it was his fire, he even overly zealous, over emotional and yes, even dramatic ardor and intensity that made him the perfect person to now carry these same Christians now on his back to safety in the face of the horrific persecutions that would be ensuing as the Church faced the godlessness and paganism of idolatrous and profane barbarism of the Roman force against them.

At the same time, on Straight Street, a simple disciple of Jesus, Ananias, also had a vision and heard a voice: being a good disciple he jumped at the chance to interact with Jesus appearing, who said to him, a man named Saul will present himself to you soon, and you are to lay your hands on him, and then be prepared: you will see the reformation of a man who was just spiritual left as a pile of ashes on the road, and the phoenix-like all new and improved Saul will begin to unfold right before your very eyes. The Phoenix will rise reborn and ready for a 108 degree opposite mission in life: to convert the entire known Gentile world.


In the gospel passage, Jesus, again continues his Bread of Life discourse: explaining that all the strength, all the nourishment, all the energy, all the arms of peace, hope and joy, that his disciples would need to carry forth in the world of persecution they would soon face, and indeed down to our day, even worse persecution as the entire planet is now seeped in an entirely self-defeating, self-consuming, self-destructive to the point of obliteration view on life, goals, end-game reality: that includes us as we go to work today, go shopping, go to the gym, go to the movies, to restaurants, to the spa:

having the Eucharistic Life of Jesus radiate through us: if we simply believe it can – we can be a force like Saul/Paul of Tarsus, having Jesus himself in his Mystical Form transform in even some small way, these people we will interact with today!

Jesus commands us to: GO OUT TO THE WHOLE WORLD and PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS of unimagined Life and Bliss awaiting those who BELIEVE IT TO BE TRUE, AND WHO LIVE THEIR LIVES LIKE THEY BELIEVE IT!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

April 19 - 3rd Week of Easter - Thursday

­­+ We have terrific readings at Mass today: a key-set phrase comes from the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles: Philip asks the Ethiopian eunuch if he understands the Scriptures that he is reading (from the Prophet Isaiah), and then the classic and imitable reply: “How can I unless someone instructs me?” Then, prompted and filled with the Holy Spirit, Philip, beginning with that Passage from Isaiah (“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter…”), he proclaimed JESUS to him, and the need for water baptism first – to be baptized and to become irrevocably linked and connected to him into eternity.

The eunuch then notice some water by the side of the road, and asked Philip if that could be used to baptized him, and Philip said: “Sure!” so he and the eunuch went down into the water and a new Christian emerged, and then Philip just abruptly went on his way, mission accomplished, as he, and the other apostles, were moved at the will of the Holy Spirit to meet up with people and announce Jesus and then see if there was receptivity in the person encountered.

We are called today to very much be led by the Spirit into the will of the Father, gathering still the lost sheep of the world, before time runs out – and either seeing to their water baptism, or leading them to an equally important Spirit baptism – as Jesus also commanded – the same baptism the apostles and 120 men received on Pentecost Day – to renew the face of the earth.

The gospel passage is about Jesus saying that the Father selects those who would be led to him, like the Ethiopian eunuch, but that they must approach through Jesus – through his Word, preached and explained by his Apostles and their helpers, the priests and all in Christian Formation, these days – because “all must be taught authoritatively by God, and his duly appointed, not self-appointed, representatives and spokespersons.

And he concludes the passage by saying that the most excellent teaching is that Jesus becomes enfleshed in bread and wine transsubstantiated by a priest in the apostolic line of succession, so that we can eat and drink, and become him, who has left heaven to become us, so to transform us, in this wondrous exchange.

And, of course, this Eucharistic Banquet, so linked to the brutal Crucifixion of the God of Life, Love and Peace, is in reality the preeminent sign of the forthcoming beginning of the Marriage Feast and Subsequent Family Life of Christ the Bridegroom and his Bride, the Church, when the veil will be lifted and we will see each other face to face!

Yes, no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

April 18 - 3rd Week of Easter - Wednesday

­­+ We have two very exciting readings at mass today: the murder by stoning of Stephen, the Deacon, is what sparked the first great persecution of the newborn Church. It is interesting to note that “everyone except the apostles fled Jerusalem, and that is because most of them were not baptized yet with water as Jesus instructed, and that were not baptized in the Holy Spirit, which Jesus also instructed them to do. Being untooled and unequipped for spiritual warfare – they naturally fled.

But the apostles stayed because they were twice baptized and being filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit – they became LOVE, they became the LOVE WHICH IS CHRIST, they became LOVE which will conquer the world – beginning with this persecution.

Saul was one who concurred with the stoning of Stephen, Saul was one who, in his overzealous defense of the Jewish religion, was among the chief persecutors: the went into their homes and dragged out professed Christians and imprisoned them. Yet, it is this same Saul that will be later chosen by Christ because of his very overpowering zealousness to announce the Good News of Salvation through the Risen Christ – to everyone who was not a Jew. This is pretty astounding when you stop to think about it, because the scope of that conversion is still felt to this day – to this mass – to you who are listening to this homily.

It is the vocation of all the world, led by Christian proclamation and witness and service to “CRY OUT WITH JOY TO GOD!” to SING TO THE GLORY OF HIS NAME, to RENDER HIM GLORIOUS PRAISE, to say to God; “HOW TREMENDOUS YOUR DEEDS! Thank you! THANK you! THANK YOU! dear tender, loving, immense and magnificent God of our Salvation and Architect of the new heavens and the new earth that are fast approaching their GRAND OPENING DATE!

The exciting part about the Gospel passage is that when Jesus makes himself and proclaims himself and gives himself as the Bread of His Own Life and Destiny for us to eat – in a Sacramental but very real way – we ingest into our own cells, neurons and blood, his very Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity – his very LIFE, LOVE, AND SELF-SACRIFICIAL NATURE.

In the silence after communion, then, we are meant to ponder, revel and rejoice in the fact that at this very moment: JESUS THE LORD, THE KING, THE SAVIOR, MY FRIEND, MY LOVER is literally becoming me, so that I can allow him to work through me for the good, healing and salvation of others he places in my path today!

Wow! who would not want to participate in this astounding meal, who would not want to “commun-icate” thusly with the Lord of the Universe, who would not want to make the burden of their daily life, easy and light?

“Yes, my friends, come and see the goodness and great works of the Lord.” Alleluia! Amen!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

April 17 - 3rd Week of Easter - Tuesday

­­+ Our readings today are poignant and ought not be anything less than a stern admonition to repentance, a full repentance, and a turning to the Life of Christ, Life in the Holy Sprit, that is available to us now in astounding ways. While it is true that we have heard the gospels, some of us for decades now, to gloss over the Truth that is buried deep in them because they have become wrote at this time in history is not a good idea.

As the deacon Stephen is impelled and inspired by the Holy Spirit, as he lived in the Spirit, to call the people, their elders and their scribes: Stiff-necked and Stubborn! (Reminiscent of how St. Paul called the Galatians “stupid” for so quickly abandoning the heart of their gift of faith), for acting just like their own juridical ancestors who did not believe what the Prophets were telling them either – about the fulfillment of the Law in a coming Messiah, in fact, Jesus Himself. And now you have become betrayers and murders: murders of God’s own Son, who is your Lord, Savior and True King.

And infuriated they rushed him, attacked him, and stoned him to death: but, and this is KEY, while they were doing that: Stephen – filled and protected by the Holy Spirit – gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at God’s right hand” – this is absolute confirmation for us believers in Jesus, that this is exactly what he saw as a reality, the risen ascended Jesus in glory – and then as Jesus forgave his executioners, so did Stephen as he said: ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’

And then Stephen prayed that immortal prayer: “Lord Jesus receive my spirit.” and then he “fell asleep” – This is great imagery! Because that is what the moment of death is for the Christian – a falling asleep in the body, but an amazing awakening for the soul as it becomes eternal and enters the dimension that it was always intended to inhabit: God’s own Life, God’s own Being, God’s own Love!

And of course in the gospel passage, Jesus is discussing the sign of manna from heaven that “Moses gave” the people to nourish their bodies, and Jesus corrects them and says: No, Moses did not give that bread, but my Father did, and I did, - because that bread was a forthcoming sign of me – because I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE, I AM THE BREAD OF LOVE, I AM THE BREAD OF PEACE – and if you come to me and EAT MY BREAD – the VERY EUCHARISTIC BREAD OF THIS MASS – then you will life, love and have profound peace eternally – and this is dead serious: if you don’t, YOU WON’T!

The choice is mine, the choice is yours! So, will you be stiff-necked, stubborn and stupid and run away today – or will you EMBRACE YOUR GOD and LIVE? and will you do anything He asks you to help others to do so.

You are our rock of refuge Lord, in the storm-tossed sea of life in the world, you are our stronghold and our fortress – we believe that you will lead us and guide us, safely to you!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

April 14 - 2nd Week of Easter - Saturday

­­+ In our day and age, if we saw someone, in middle of the night, come walking toward us on a wind-swept sea, we would probably be as terrified as the disciples were in the boat that was out on the lake.

But I would offer here maybe an educated guess as to what actually happened here – seeing how “they wanted to take him into the boat, but the boat immediately arrived at the shore to which they were heading” makes me think that perhaps it was only “the appearance of Jesus walking on the water” that they saw – maybe there were rocks on which he could walk, on some kind of a jetty-like object, or even a sturdy sand bar.

Whatever happened, the key to understanding the scene is that the disciples were terrified at something they could not compute or understand, even it being the Presence of Jesus, but when they became afraid and cried out: then Jesus says “It is I. Do not be afraid.” And their fears ceased, and they wanted to take him into their boat – but then the scene ends.

When we are situations – that feels like a wind-swept sea is rocking the boat of our lives in ways small and great – we must not look inward to our own fears and inadequacies – but we must look up and out, for Jesus will be passing by, in some person, maybe the one we would not likely suspect, but we must cry out to him, we must use our voice, if only in a whisper – and say: Lord, is it you? Lord, it IS you! and then, in the situation, he will communicate to us somehow that it is indeed he, and that we no longer need be afraid – because, we have already made an act of faith, in our addressing him – and he will calm the situation.

Now he won’t get into our boat, settle in for a cup of tea – and a chat – though he can if he wants – but he just wants to assure us that when we activate our power as a child of God, as a brother or sister of his, as a redeemed precious lamb, then he will always be there when we call, but we  must call out!

May we today call out, as often as necessary, “Jesus, is that you?” and he will immediately be present and answer back, if we have the “eyes of faith to see, and the ears of faith to hear!”

See, the eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear him, upon those who hope for his kindness, to deliver them from death and preserve them in spite of famine.

Friday, April 13, 2018

April 13 - 2nd Week of Easter - Friday

­­+ Our readings today can reorient us to the realities involved in everyday life, but not, to everyday life in “the world,” with its machinations and manifestations of greed, selfishness, self-centeredness, bigotry, lies and uncharity; but what I speak of is the supernatural above-this-world realities of the mysteries of Christ, in fact life in the Mystical Body of Christ, a life that the world does not know, does not care to know, and will be as sorry as can be, someday, for not budging an inch in its ignorant, arrogant stance.

The Apostles, in the first reading, who were meeting the challenges of the day on a supernatural, rather than natural plane, knew they could not stop preaching about Jesus – sharing the good news of the glory that was even now being revealed about him, and about us who are invited to share in his victories.

And so, Gamaliel, a very wise teacher of the law, persuaded the rest of the Sanhedrin, the governing body of the Jews, to simply “give it time,” – men, just give it time, for if what these men on fire are earthbound, their movement will die out, and die out quickly, but if it is of God, then nothing we can do can withstand it, and we would not want to tangle with God, not at all.

And so, the Apostles were let go – and their message, and the reality of the Risen Jesus of whom they preached did not die out, but in fact only got stronger and stronger as more and more came to believe and act as though they did believe.

In the gospel passage today we see Jesus feeding the five thousand with a very limited resource of loaves and fishes – which is the manifestation of the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus that would be available as “daily bread” so that the Movement of Christian witness and the power of Love to change the course of history would increases day by day, until the end of the age.

Brothers and sisters, we are a part of that forward movement of the building up of the Body of Christ to Full Stature – so that it may be assimilated at the end of the age – into the Heart of Christ, who is always assimilated in the Heart of His Divine Father. And being fed by this Eucharistic Food at this Mass – we arm ourselves for the challenges, and joys of the day, knowing that what we share, with only strengthen and build up those with whom we come into contact, the more freely and confidently we simply are ourselves: redeemed children of God!

The Lord is our light and our salvation! Help us, Lord, to share you with others today! Amen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

April 11 - St. Stanislaus of Poland

+ Born to the Polish nobility in 1030, Stanislaus was educated both in Poland and most likely also Paris, France. When his parents died, he distributed his inheritance to the poor and became a parish priest, later becoming a canon and preacher and later vicar-general at the Cracow Cathedral. He was a noted spiritual director. Reluctantly he became bishop of Cracow in 1072. He was known, as bishop, for his preaching against sinful living, regardless of the sinner’s class. He was killed by King Boleslaus after he excommunicated him due to his war crimes and attempted theft of land from the Church. Reaction against Boleslaus was so great that he fled the country, never to return; his guilt led him to become a monk.

Stanislaus became a symbol of Polish patriotism and nationalism and is sometimes considered a martyr. He was murdered in the chapel of St Michael in a suburb of Cracow and then buried there, but later reinterred in the cathedral in 1088. He was canonized by Pope Innocent IV at Assisi in 1253.

In this Easter Season we reflect on the strength and spiritual protection that comes from the Blood of the Lamb of God who died and rose again from the dead to be our sure refuge and hope in times of trouble; Stanislaus enjoyed such protection due to his saintly lifestyle and evidence of putting into practice what he prayed about!

In the gospel passage Jesus asks the Father to protect his future bishops as they go out to proclaim the truth – even to kings who would not listen. They were consecrated in that truth and given the courage and perseverance to give their very all in the proclamation of it!
We thank St. Stanislaus of Cracow today for not only meditating on the truth, Christ Whose Person is the Truth, endlessly, but also, proclaiming him, and dying like him and for him: may we ask his intercession to do the same to whatever degree we are called to respond in kind!

The Lord delivers us from all our fears – in his way and in his time!


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

April 10 - 2nd Week of Easter - Tuesday

­­+ Today we have very important, even I may add “critical” readings for mass – especially the gospel passage. The whole incarnation of the Word of God, which really happened, the enfleshment of God-Speech, as Jesus! God only spoke one Creative Word – by the working of the Holy Spirit – and that word is WORD! And this WORD became flesh – so as to save us from sure and certain eternal doom and damnation – the result of the sin of our first parents!

And so, we have just recalled and celebrated the great high holy days of our religious observance: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil!

Now there is likewise only one way to get totally connected and hooked up to these eternal life saving events: and that is the method that Jesus himself prescribes: saying to Nicodemus in the gospel passage: “YOU MUST BE BORN FROM ABOVE!” you MUST be BORN FROM ABOVE – you must access God in the way in which will be salvific for your life here and hereafter!

YOU MUST BE “BORN AGAIN”! – of the SPIRIT! but Nicodemus is tripped up by the phrase: “BORN AGAIN” How can this happen?? Can a fully grown man crawl back inside his mother’s womb, for a second birth, a second launching into the world. Well, no and yes!

Jesus begins to assure Nicodemus that it is a supernatural, spiritual reality that he is talking about, not the natural event that Nicodemus is thinking about!

Being born again and truly living the life we were meant to live consists in this: Jesus further extrapolates: you must be baptized, first for the forgiveness of sin, in my Name; then later you must affirm and confirm this “sacrament” by another deepening sacrament: Confirmation; and then if you want the fullness of the life of the Spirit, you must be baptized in the Holy Spirit – so the same experience that happened on Pentecost Day can happen to you – then you will be fully armed, charged and launched as a spiritual force into the world to help combat the opposing force that wants to deter people on earth from their rightful eternal inheritance of peace, and joy and love!

More on all this later as this Season and the Season of Pentecost unfolds in a few weeks.

Let it suffice to say: that subsequent actions, which speak louder than words, testify to the fact that this Spirit life in the Mystical Body of Christ is real, palpable and accessible to anyone at all who wants it: and the action involved are actions of self-sacrifice, love, sharing, caring, compassion, empathy and Service after the Heart of the Lord Jesus who washed his disciples feet at the Last Supper he ate with them in the pre-resurrected human life form that he possessed.

In whatever degree we now possess the Spirit – always knowing we can proceed to the next and more deep level – let us live our faith joyfully, recklessly, peacefully and happily this day as we help in some way every single person God puts in our path!

Belief in the Son of Man who was lifted up from the earth is essential for eternal life! I BELIEVE LORD JESUS, LORD CHRIST, LORD SAVIOR! how can I help you today!

Monday, April 9, 2018

April 9 - 2nd Week of Easter - Monday

­­+ Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord -  a feast ordinarily preceding Christmas Day by nine months – March 25th which is the day that the Angel of the Lord “declared that God had chosen Mary, a humble maiden of Nazareth,  to be the Mother of his Only Begotten Son” – and she saying: “Let it be done unto me, according to his will!” – and the Word of God – his Son – broke into space and time, broke into the fabric of our universe, broke into the depths of our broken and beaten human condition – after the tragic fall of our First Parents: Adam and Eve – and He became Flesh by the working of the Holy Spirit.

The keeping of time, and the expanses of space have never been the same, and neither have our bodies, our minds, our spirits – as they are now shared with us by God himself – in a mortal / yet immortal body, as we would see demonstrated later on, and which he have just seen demonstrated by the events of Holy Week and Easter!

I love the first reading from the Prophet Isaiah! If you will recall in a future gospel passage, Jesus in a sense yells at people who are looking for a sign! Signs! Signs! Signs for heaven! All you people want is a SIGN! can’t you see that I AM THE SIGN! But today, the Lord himself, in almost a comical, fun, play like kind of way {he is just so excited about what is to happen) says: “Go ahead! Ask for a sign! I’m ready for you! Ask away!” And Ahaz say, “I will not! I will not make my Lord angry! I will not tempt his goodness and his truth!”

So God, says: “Oh, OK, alright then, stop wearying me when I tell you to do something: here, I will give you a sign! THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD – and she will BEAR A SON – and you shall NAME HIM EMMANUEL which mean’s GOD IS WITH US! Do you get it! He will be GOD WITH HIS PEOPLE RIGHT ON THIS EARTH!     

The second reading tells about the conversation that God the Father had with his Word – his Son – from all ages – even if he never came to earth! “You know, Son, sacrifices and oblations – all those things that the people on earth are making – just do not satisfy the offense that at this point is permanent – would you please assume the body – the physical body – that I am preparing for you in the womb of a virgin of Nazareth, in the Middle East – and live a life like theirs, but without sin, to demonstrate to them that it can be done – but also, you will have to die a real human death – because this is the only holocaust, the only offering, the only act of covenant in your own blood – that will satisfy the situation.

“I will weep and wail over your death, my beloved Son, but it has to be this way for them and for their salvation!”

“Of course, I will do it, Father, of course, with all my heart I will do it, all my understanding, all my strength – I will do it for them, for the lost sheep, and for all the sheep on the planet – in fact for the whole universe – and it will be a spectacular result: and you, Father, will DANCE!”

What an amazing feast this is: no! astounding, more than mind boggling!
but it really happened! and it happened for you, and for me! and it happened for all those you will encounter today who will find out just a little bit about it, to meet their needs today, their needs of survival, their needs for HOPE, their needs of a kind word, a helping hand, a silent ear!

The Word of God became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his GLORY, and now we are filled with his GLORY, and now we SHARE THIS GLORY! Amen.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

April 8 - Second Sunday of Easter - Divine Mercy

2nd Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy) – April8, 2018

I –They were of one heart and mind.
R –Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.
II – Whoever is begotten by God conquers the world.
A – You believe in me, Thomas, because you have seen me, says the Lord; blessed are those who have not seen me, but still believe.
G –Eight days later Jesus came and stood in their midst.

+ Today the Church continues rejoicing in the celebration of Easter Day! We have reached the Octave (Eighth) Day and the Solemn Celebration is now complete! But, could we really stop celebrating Easter? for seven weeks more we will celebrate the season of Easter, and then of course, we know that every Day of the Sun for the remainder of the Church calendar year is a continuation of the celebration of this one Easter Day! 

On this octave day then, we still bask in the radiance of Jesus come back to life – but this time to a newness of life, a fullness, a richness that we are all invited to share in and participate in. Jesus demonstrated it again in the gospel passage today: “on the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus (just suddenly appeared) and stood in their midst!” We too – will be able to use preternatural gifts of appearing suddenly here and there, in heaven.

Then Jesus said to them: Peace be with you! and then he showed them his hands and his sides! Why would he do that? Why did Jesus choose to keep his scars and wounds visible? it is because they were his trophies! they were his proof positive that he loves each and every one of us that much – to be able to suffer the horrible death of crucifixion for us – so that our sins could be forgiven, and that we would live forever after what is now just a mere formality of physical death!

Then to inaugurate the concrete and very real sacramental distribution of his forgiveness, Jesus breathes on the Eleven and says: receive the Holy Spirit – whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained. He did three things at this point: he sent the Holy Spirit into their beings in an unprecedented sort of way: he empowered them to forgive sins in his name and person, and he made them true and authentic judges of each situation: only those who show contrition and sorrow for true sin and have a purpose of amendment will be forgiven: and he gives these, his first priests, the faculties to make the call!

The Divine Mercy of God is now available to be poured out on mankind in a most powerful way, like the blood and water that poured forth from his pierced heart! This is the mercy that forgave Adam and Eve, it is the mercy that reestablished friendship between God and mankind, this is the mercy that even the most hardened sinner can rely on and call upon – and this day’s secondary title: Divine Mercy Sunday – ties it all together!

It only makes sense that the mirror image, end celebration of the Easter Octave be spelled out as a Mercy Sunday, just as Easter Sunday spells out irrevocably that everything now is completely different than it was before the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth! Now, it is Jesus who is undisputed Lord, King and Savior of the world; and sooner or later everyone will come to understand that and have the opportunity to believe it and thus access all the benefits of it – and its chief benefit is MERCY!

Thomas of course, needed proof that it was really Jesus who was alive; and he got his proof a week after Easter as we read in the gospel passage: and what he ought to be more remembered for than his doubt, is the magnificent act of faith that he made in all of its stark simplicity: and then Thomas answered: My Lord and my God! Jesus then said: Thomas there will be some who believe because I will reveal myself to them in special ways, but the greater majority will not really see me, but they will believe in me, and your words just spoken here, will help them! Once they believe that I am their Lord, and I am their God! I am their Savior, then their lives will never be the same! Thank you Thomas for being the first of a long line of people who will love me enough to adore me and serve me with all their hearts!

Yes, the stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. By the Lord has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes!

Alleluia! Amen! Alleluia!

Sep 13 - St John Chrysostom

+ St John Chrysostom was born in 347 in Antioch, Asia Minor. His father died when he was young and he was raised by a very pious mother. ...