You Do. But How Much?

Daily Reflection – 5/29/2020

Sacred Scripture

After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them, he said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He then said to Simon Peter a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”( John 21:15-19)

Reflection

In today’s scripture, we are reminded that Simon Peter has something that we do not have . . . the opportunity to tell God, face to face, how much we love Him.

But is that true?

We may not have the luxury that Simon Peter had but there is another dynamic at work. Sometimes when Jesus is asking if we love Him, we don’t even hear the question. Instead, we focus on our lives, often times thinking that we are praising God with our lives. How infrequently we simply say, “I love you, Jesus!” Such a simple and honest phrase it is, and yet so strangely foreign. We just assume that Jesus ‘knows that we love him,’ even though we do not often say it out loud. And, in that, we are right; he knows that we love him.

But Jesus asks us more than three times. He asks us throughout our lives. Especially whenever we are on the verge of sinning. When the subtle gnawing of our conscience reminds us that we are on the verge of doing something wrong, perhaps it is actually Jesus asking me, “Do you love Me?”

How hard is it really to love Jesus?  He asks of us only two things: to love God, and to love our neighbors. Every sin contradicts one or both of those commandments. Each time an action, a spoken word, or a disrespectful thought, which damages a relationship with another person, it also damages our relationship with the Lord.

Yet, we say we love Him. Then what do we need to do to be able to follow His commands of love? We so do by yielding control of our lives to Him. . . by making the decision to walk with Jesus daily and to trust Him with all our hearts.

Do we love Him so much that we would be willing to sacrifice for Him? Do we love Him so much that we are willing to obey Him and follow His agenda rather than our own? Do we love Him enough to endure pain and hardship in this life? Do we recognize how great His love for us is, and are we willing to love Him back?

Jesus loves us and is with us every second of the day. Are we willing to place our hand in Jesus’ hand? Jesus loves us and will walk with us every step of the way. Jesus will guide us and strengthen us when we need help to deal with life.

Jesus’ final statement to Peter was: “Follow me.” Today Jesus speaks those same two words to us! Will we follow him? Jesus longs to walk with us each day! The question is: will we walk with him?

Prayer of The Day

“Lord we pray that with your grace we may say “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Help us to turn away from sin and turn to you in love. A love which is whole, complete, full and abiding. A love which always says Yes to you. Yes in words. Yes in our hearts. Yes in Action. Yes, Yes, a thousand times Yes. Lord, I Love YOU. Amen.”

Daily Note

The exchange between Peter and Jesus is one that not only gives Peter authority as the leader of the Church (“feed my lambs … tend my sheep … feed my sheep”), but it is also helps Peter realize that loving the Lord means following Him where ever He leads. The truth is that you cannot truly follow someone unless you have love for them. It takes a certain type of love, a love of a person that makes us loyal and trusting, that allows us to follow someone. Like Peter, we cannot follow God unless we realize how much we love Him and how much we are loved. God is calling out to each of us; “do you love me?” Once we say “yes Lord, I love you”, then we are ready to follow Him.

He Prayed for Me . . .

Daily Guidelines: May 17, 2018 - Verbum Dei Philippines
Daily Reflection – 5/28/2020

Sacred Scripture

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me. Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.” (John 17:20-26)

Reflection

As he entered his last hours on earth, facing a heinous death, Jesus Christ took time to pray to His Father. And in those moments, he took time to pray for me and for you. In the last part of the High Priestly Prayer, he prayed that the love that exists between His Father and Him would be replete within us.

I find it incredible that a man facing his own death would take the time to intercede on my behalf. He prayed for the strength and unity of his followers with him at the table, and all his followers to come.

Even before we were conceived or our name was ever spoken, Jesus had prepared our way with prayer — a prayer of God’s love (“and that you loved them even as you love me”), a prayer of desired union (“I wish that where I am they also may be with me”), a prayer of indwelling and abiding knowledge and love (“and the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them”).

In a special way Jesus prays that as members of his body the church we would be united in one heart and mind as he and his Father are one. The unity of Jesus and his Father is a unity of mind and heart, mutual love and trust, honor and respect. Because Jesus loved us first and united us in baptism we are called to live in a unity of love.

“ A Unity of Love.” It’s hard to believe that Christians today are living in that unity – it certainly doesn’t appear that way in the social media or the public press. Instead, they highlight the significant division that is taking place in our society. Personal opinions and political commentary have become the source of much turmoil during these uncertain times.

There is an incredible divide in the United States on and it has permeated our Church. As disciples of Christ, we are called to work towards unity. It is our mission to strive for union with the Father and the Son that Jesus prayed for in John’s Gospel.

Unity does not mean conformity. That does not mean that we are mandated to have the same thoughts, opinions, or political perspectives, but we are called to be united “through Him, with Him, and in Him” as one body to spread the Gospel in our world. As agents of the Gospel, we must focus on showing the love of Christ to those around us. Even when we are faced with division, our hearts should be open so that we can “love God above all things and our neighbors as ourselves”.

As disciples of Jesus we are called to love and lay down our lives for all who believe in him. If we are willing to die for our brothers and sisters in Christ, how much more should we strive to live in harmony, love, and unity with one another.

Prayer of The Day

“Loving Father, your Son interceded for us on the eve of his passion and death so that we could become one with you. Help us to grow deeper in our understanding of what it means to live in your love, so that we may more completely be agents of the Gospel in our daily lives. Send down your spirit to heal the brokenness in our world and help us to open our hearts to your call of unity. We ask this through your son, Jesus Christ, in unity with the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

Daily Note

Bitterness, anger and resentment are choices, but so are happiness and joy.
A true follower of Jesus makes the choice for the latter and not the former.
He allows the grace and power of God to determine how he will see and regard things, his life, his relationships, the circumstances and events that come his way, and he will never allow the darker shades of life to ever overcome his trust in Jesus’
promised presence.

A Link In The Chain

The Will of the Father John 6:38-40 | The Giving
Daily Reflection – 5/27/2020

Sacred Scripture

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying: “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one. When I was with them, I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you. I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.” (John 17:11-19)

Reflection

We all go through periods of self-doubt. We all, from time to time, question our “value” or the purpose of our lives. Today’s scripture stops us dead in the track.s It reminds us that we are valued because of His love for us and for the purpose for which we were created.

On the eve of his sacrifice on the cross and in the presence of his disciples, Jesus made his high priestly prayer: “Holy Father, keep them in your name that they may be one as we are one”. Jesus prayed for the unity of his disciples and for all who would believe in him. Jesus’ prayer for his people is that we be united with God the Father in his Son and through his Holy Spirit and be joined together, in unity with all who are members of Christ’s body.

What motivated Jesus to lay down his life on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world? It was love – love for his Father in heaven and love for each and every one of us who are made in the image and likeness of God. Jesus was sent into the world by his Father for a purpose and that purpose was a mission of love to free us from slavery to sin, fear, death, and hopelessness. Jesus trusted in his Father to give him strength, courage, and perseverance in the face of opposition, trials, and temptation

We also must take up our cross and follow the Lord Jesus wherever he may call us. He will give us the strength and power of the Holy Spirit to live as his disciples. John Henry Newman (1801-1890) wrote: “God has created me to do him some definite service; he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission – I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for nothing. Therefore, I will trust him. Whatever, wherever I am. I cannot be thrown away.”

Just as Jesus was called by the Father to serve in holiness and truth, so we, too, are called and equipped for the task of serving God in the world as his ambassadors. God’s truth frees us from ignorance and the deception of sin. It reveals to us God’s goodness, love, and wisdom. And it gives us a thirst for God’s holiness. The Holy Spirit is the source and giver of all holiness. As we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, he transforms us by his purifying fire and changes us into the likeness of Christ. Is your life consecrated to God?

Today, take a good long look at yourself in the mirror. Tell yourself, “I am highly valued. Jesus Christ, the Lord of all creation, considered me worth dying for. He treasures me so deeply that he is now consecrated to me for all eternity. He will never abandon me. He will never leave me. He will never forget me.”

Prayer of The Day

“Jesus, I am humbled by your commitment to me. Come, Lord, and fill my heart. Help me to consecrate my life to you.”

Daily Note

Jesus is suggesting in the gospel reading that the essence of eternal life will consist in being in a loving relationship with God and with Jesus. Eternal life consists in a communion of love between us and God and God’s Son, a communion in which we will experience God’s love to the full and respond to that love in full. All of the New Testament strongly suggests that this experience of loving communion with God will not be a merely private experience. Rather, our communion with God in love will at the same time be a communion with others.

Read, Reflect, Embrace, Weep

Daily Guidelines: May 17, 2018 - Verbum Dei Philippines
Daily Reflection – 5/26/2020

Sacred Scripture

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all people, so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him. Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began. I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you gave me is from you, because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them. And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.”( John 17:1-11)

Reflection

Today’s Gospel reading is a privilege to read, as we enter into the mystical intimacy between Christ and His Father. ‘Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said’… that which follows is a personal prayer of Christ to His Father. While it may be hard to understand every sentence that is being prayed by Christ, it does however talk straight to the heart and invites us into that intimacy.

The prayer by Jesus to His Father has come to be known as the High Priestly Prayer. In the Hebrew culture, The High Priest was the priests among priests. Many priests, but only one High Priest. But the High Priest didn’t mediate for a man or woman and their family before God. The High Priest mediated for the whole nation of Israel collectively. The High Priest would carry out one, very special offering to the Lord. Every year, on the Day of Atonement, no one entered into the Temple except the High Priest.

So, it shouldn’t be too hard for us to see why Jesus is our Great High Priest. He is the great Mediator between man and God. He offers one sacrifice for the sins of the whole world to God, a sacrifice far more significant than any of the sacrifices that any of the High Priests of Israel ever made. Jesus offers Himself, for He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He is the ‘Paschal Lamb,’ the Passover Lamb.

In this moment of intimacy between Jesus and His Father, we learn of all that Jesus lived and died for. The prayer is simple, yet majestic.

Jesus prays that the hour has come. The hour of course refers to His crucifixion and death. The crucifixion completes Jesus’ work of glorifying God on earth, for by laying down his life he gives himself completely so that the world may know of Jesus’ love for God and God’s love for the world (John 3:16; 14:31).

By his resurrection and ascension Jesus returns to the heavenly glory that God prepared for him in love, and Jesus prays that his followers will one day join him in the Father’s presence to share in this glory and love (17:5, 24-26). To the eye of faith, however, the glory of the exalted Lord is already present in the crucified body of Jesus. If glory defines what the crucifixion is, the crucifixion defines what glory is. The crucifixion manifests the scope of divine power by disclosing the depth of divine love.

Jesus is glorified in His terrible suffering and death. This is what the Father sent the Son into the world to do. His perfect and willing obedience to do the Father’s will glorifies the Father. ‘I glorified you on earth havening accomplished the work that you gave me to do. Now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.’

And God raised Jesus from the dead, and in this, the Son is glorified.

There is one sentence in His prayer that moves me to tears because I am so  humbled. One sentence. So simple. So powerful. Jesus, two millennia ago, prayed for me. Prayed for you. Prayed for us, on our journeys. Together.

He prayed that we could transcend the world. He offered our difficulties to the Father. He brought our crosses to the Father before he brought his own on Calvary. He prayed that we might have the strength, through our faith, to continue in the world, living apart from it.

He prayed that you and I receive eternal life. What is eternal life?  It is more than simply endless time.  Eternal life is qualitative more than quantitative.  To have eternal life is to have the life of God within us.  When we possess eternal life we experience here and now something of God’s majesty, his peace, joy and love and the holiness which characterizes the life of God.  Jesus also speaks of the knowledge of God. Jesus tells his disciples that they can know the only true God. Knowledge of God is not simply limited to knowing something about God, but we can know God personally.  The essence of Christianity, and what makes it distinct from Judaism and other religions, is the knowledge of God as our Father.  Jesus makes it possible for each of us to personally know God as our Father. To see Jesus is to see what God is like.  In Jesus we see the perfect love of God — a God who cares intensely and who yearns over men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the Cross.   Jesus is the revelation of God — a God who loves us completely, unconditionally and perfectly

Jesus also speaks of the knowledge of God. Jesus tells his disciples that they can know the only true God. Knowledge of God is not simply limited to knowing something about God, but we can know God personally.  The essence of Christianity, and what makes it distinct from Judaism and other religions, is the knowledge of God as our Father.  Jesus makes it possible for each of us to personally know God as our Father. To see Jesus is to see what God is like.  In Jesus we see the perfect love of God — a God who cares intensely and who yearns over men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the Cross.   Jesus is the revelation of God — a God who loves us completely, unconditionally and perfectly.

Whenever I read this passage, I see Jesus passionately in prayer. I can’t help but see a man with his heart on fire with love, truly communicating, truly one with his Father in heaven from whom he came and to whom he will return.  He understood he was physically leaving his friends, both the Apostles and us, soon. He knew how difficult this world was to live in; he knew the challenges, frustrations, and persecutions firsthand, and he didn’t want to leave us alone. So he prayed. In His prayer, our crosses of life are joined with His.

The beauty of the Gospel is that every suffering we endure, every cross we carry, is an opportunity to manifest the Cross of Christ.  We are called, by Him, to constantly give Him glory by living His suffering and death in our lives. Reflect, today, upon the hardships you endure.  And know that, in Christ, those hardships can share in His redeeming love if you let Him.

I read. I reflected. I embraced. I wept as I finished writing this.

Prayer of The Day

” Jesus, it is hard to keep fighting. Sometimes it seems I make little progress. I have the same struggles and difficulties every day. I’m overwhelmed by the evil I see in the world, and it can be hard to see your victory in many places, in many families and homes. Give me the hope that I need to keep seeking your will in all things.”

Daily Note

Jesus gave his Father the supreme honor and glory through his obedience and willingness to go to the cross.  The greatest honor, trust, and love any person can give one’s leader is through his obedience even to the point of sacrificing his own life.  In warfare the greatest honor belongs not to those who survive but to those who give the supreme sacrifice of their own lives for their fellow countrymen.  Jesus also speaks of the Father bringing glory to the Son through the great mystery of the Incarnation and Cross of Christ.  God the Father gave us his only begotten Son for our redemption and deliverance from slavery to sin and death.  There is no greater proof of God’s love for each and every person on the face of the earth than the Cross of Jesus Christ.  In the cross we see a new way of love — a love that is unconditional, sacrificial and generous beyond comprehension.

His Never Ending Gift

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Daily Reflection – 5/25/2020

Sacred Scripture

The disciples said to Jesus, “Now you are talking plainly, and not in any figure of speech. Now we realize that you know everything and that you do not need to have anyone question you. Because of this we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you believe now? Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone. But I am not alone, because the Father is with me. I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” (John 16:29-33)

Reflection

Jesus knew the hearts of his disciples better than they knew.  He knew they would desert him in his hour of trial.  Such knowledge could have easily led to bitterness and rejection.  Jesus met the injury of betrayal and disloyalty with supreme love and trust in his disciples.  He loved his disciples to the very end even when they left him alone to die on the cross.  He knew that the cross would not bring defeat but victory over sin and death. 

The last words of Jesus here are words of confidence and hope: “But take courage; I have conquered the world.” Even as he goes to his death, Jesus knows that victory will be his. He will overcome, through his cross, all the negative powers that try to prevent his love from reaching the ends of the earth.

Jesus speaks the same word to us today.  “My love for you is unconditional and I will never abandon you”. While we cannot avoid all pain and suffering in this life, Jesus, nonetheless assures us that he will guide us safely through any difficulty or trial we may have to undergo for his sake.

It takes courage to believe when we are faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles and difficulties of life. It is at times like these that our faith is tested and tried. It is at times like these when we have to ask ourselves whether we believe that God is still working for our good. To have courage in the face of adversity, to believe in the face of trials, and to trust and have faith when everything seems to be going wrong, is to have the confidence in the Father that Jesus had. This attitude can be ours if we open ourselves to God’s abundant grace and realize the impermanence of all that assails us. It is to know that, like Jesus, we too will overcome the “world”. The movement from present sorrow, pain and trial, to future joy, peace and hope, is possible and even guaranteed because Jesus has overcome.

The Lord Jesus gives us the gift of his Holy Spirit who fills us with expectant faith, persevering hope, and unfailing love to help us stay the course stay the course which he has set for us. The Holy Spirit fills us with a living hope in the power of Christ’s resurrection (1 Peter 1:3) and reassures our heart with a confident trust in God’s abiding presence.

While we may forget the Lord and fail him, he will never forget us nor fail to come to our aid. When you are put to the test do you seek the Lord Jesus and place your trust in his help and mercy?

Prayer of The Day

 “Lord, help me to trust in your saving power, especially when I meet adversities and trials.  Give me your peace when I am troubled and let me know the joy of your victory over sin and death.”

Daily Note

Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ and the victory he has won for us (Romans 8:35-39). The Holy Spirit gives us the strength and courage we need to overcome every adversity and to persevere with faith and hope in God. Do you believe in the power of Christ’s love for you and in the victory, he has won for you through his death and resurrection?

At What Cost, Joy?

John 16 20 Your Grief Will Turn To Joy Powerpoint Church Sermon ...
Daily Reflection – 5/22/2020

Sacred Scripture

“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.”(John 16:20-23)

Reflection

As Jesus approached his crucifixion, he tried to help his disciples through their confusion about his impending departure. He knew that they would be faced with a huge challenge when they saw him die on the cross. To prepare them, he explained that this was part of the great story that he had called them into. They would experience wrenching grief, and they would feel out of step with the rest of the world. But that wouldn’t be the final chapter. Their grief would be turned to joy, and the story would take on a whole new meaning.

While the disciples had to wrestle through the grief of Jesus’ death, you and I have come in later in the plot. We know about Jesus’ resurrection! If you can try to center our life in Jesus’ victory, you’ll know a joy, a stability, and a peace that nothing in this world can take away from you.

But at times we lose sight of God’s story. We forget that our joy comes from Jesus’ salvation, not from the story that the world offers us. Losing focus, we can begin to lose our trust that God is with us. That’s why we need to immerse ourselves every day in the story of the Scriptures. We need God’s word to sharpen our focus.

True joy – everlasting joy– comes only through a deep connection with our God, one built on and sustained by a deep reservoir of prayer. If we don’t remember who we are and who we belong to, we can be pulled off course by any flash in the pan, but that’s not what brings true joy; only true faith can provide that.

True faith requires work on our part. It is not simply prayer, nor is simply studying the word of God. It is both of those combined with living out and standing up for our faith. At times, in today’s world, that seems as if it’s a daunting task. But his disciples lived and taught their faith even to the point of martyrs’ deaths. Against that, can standing up for our faith, living out our beliefs, stepping away from our egos and occasional self-pity, is any of that harder than our Christian forefathers bore? Any harder than the Christians who died in the death camps of Nazi Germany for their faith and their attempt at saving their Jewish friends and neighbors? Any harder than today’s Christians in the Middle East who, as recently as yesterday, are martyred on the streets for their faith?

His word, our prayer, our lives combined with one eternal and immoveable reality. Jesus is always with us. Today Jesus is certain to come to us.  Never forget that you are part of an epic story. You are one of the “great cloud of witnesses” whose lives have been changed by the Lord (Hebrews 12:1). You aren’t just a passive observer; you’re an active participant. You have a role to play today in moving this story forward.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, I surrender my anguish and burdens to You.  I unite them to Your Cross and trust that You will be there in all things walking with me through my life.  May I keep my eyes on the goal and rejoice in Your steadfast love.  Jesus, I trust in You.”

  Daily Note

Jesus wants his disciples to know and believe that after the difficult days of his crucifixion and death, new life will come forth for them.  Jesus also wants us to know and believe that after our difficult days, we also will experience new life.  Once again, we will see him and experience His presence with us.   We will be able to rejoice when Jesus gifts us with new life and hope.
 

To See Beyond The Horizon

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Daily Reflection – 5/21/2020

Sacred Scripture

“A little while and you will no longer see me, and again a little while later and you will see me.” So some of his disciples said to one another, “What does this mean that he is saying to us, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” So they said, “What is this ‘little while’ [of which he speaks]? We do not know what he means.” Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Are you discussing with one another what I said, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.” (John 16:16-20)

Reflection

I am sure you remember, as I do, driving in a car with a small child to a special destination. The child was filled with excitement and anticipation. In one way or another, the child asked: “How much longer before we get there?” Perhaps you were the child and you asked the question.

All the joy felt by the child was well and good. Their full attention was on the destination. For that moment in time, there was nothing else.

As adults, we tend, at times, to slip into the same mode. If it is a moment of celebratory joy, we focus with great anticipation on that moment. We focus on the “how long question.” If we have problems and distress, we pray for relief and/or strength to carry us through. We focus not only on the “how long” but we often add the “why” question.

In these days of a global pandemic, that is especially true.

Jesus had to prepare the disciples psychologically for the sufferings they would encounter. He was teaching them to look beyond the moment and even the event. This is what Jesus Christ is trying to tell us today. That while we are here on earth we will have to suffer, weep and mourn for the sake of the Kingdom of God especially because that which the world does is the opposite of what God wants the world to do.

But we need to remember that Jesus is always here and providing for us. There is no need to worry or to be afraid, for if we are striving to follow Him and to serve Him in our lives, then we will certainly see Him again. And like the moment that a mother sees her newborn baby, there will be nothing but joy at that moment when we see Jesus.

As we look beyond the horizon, we must always remember that the certainty of the Resurrection is the certainty of newness, of new life for us. A prisoner has joy in being set free from captivity. But that joy is complete and made full when he or she puts the walls of the prison far behind them and in righteousness and confidence, really enjoys a life of freedom.

The brilliant light that lies beyond the horizon is that after all these sufferings, paradise awaits us in heaven where we will join the communion of Angels and Saints to live happily and eternally in the presence of God.\

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, I do want to gaze upon You.  I want to see Your splendor and glory.  I want to see You risen from the dead and take great joy and delight in this reality.  Help me, dear Lord, to experience the incredible joy that comes from knowing You, our Resurrected Lord.  Jesus, I trust in You.”

Daily Note

Reflect, today, upon your own reaction to the reality of the Resurrection of our Lord.  Spend some time today gazing upon the Risen Lord.  Look at His victory.  Look at His glory.  Look at Him who calls you to a deep faith.  With your eyes fixed on Him, all else that tempts you to discouragement simply fades away.

Do You Really Know That Tune?

Ismael Cala on Twitter: "#LaColumnaDeCALA: “El verdadero poder ...

Daily Reflection – 5/20/2020

Sacred Scripture

“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you”( John 16:12-15)

Reflection

Stop for a moment and humor me. If we were to portray the Trinity in a song, every one of us would immediately say: “I know that tune.”

But do we?

The mystery and the absolute power contained in the Christian belief in the Holy Trinity is enormous. Yet in its enormity, there is also a simplicity that can guide us and help deepen our faith.

It is important for us to know and understand that God is not just the transcendent Father in Heaven far away from us.  We need to know that God the Son was willing to suffer and die for us.  We need to know that God is always near to us in the Holy Spirit. Think about it. Our God is in the heavens. Yet, he found a way to reach us in our everyday lives.  The Father in the heavens, the Son bridging the gap between being God and being human, and the Holy Spirit drawing us to trust that God has bridged the gap and is near.

The Holy Spirit transcends time and space so that we can be with Jesus and the Father at all times. How?   Simply because the Holy Spirit is the same substance and existence as the Father and the Son.

Being the Trinity means that God cares.  Being the Trinity means that God wants to be active in your life and be near.  He will never leave you orphaned.  He will never leave you alone.   How we access God is through prayer, which is talking and listening to God in the Holy Spirit.  We access the active God through receiving the sacraments.  We access the Holy Trinity by reading the Holy Word of God and by worshiping, and doing things in his name for his Glory.

But professing our faith in the Triune God is not enough. We must live as if we truly believe what we proclaim. We have been saved by our Triune God and we are continually brought by this same God to a deeper appreciation of the truths of a life of faith. That life is one to be lived in union with God and with each other. The unity within the Trinity is the model placed before us today. That unity is central to our faith and to our life. Living a life of divisiveness and separation one from another is not living in the model of the Triune God . The three divine persons work together for the salvation of all. So too must we work together for the good of all, over and over and over.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and guide me into your way of truth.  Free me from erroneous and false ways and lead me in the knowledge of your ways and your will for my life.  May there be nothing in my life that is not under your lordship.”

Daily Note

Since God is the source of all truth, then the closer we draw to him and listen to his word, the more we grow in the knowledge of him and of his great love and wisdom for us.  Jesus told his disciples that he would send them the Spirit of truth who will announce to you the things to come.  Through the Holy Spirit, we proclaim our ancient faith in the saving death and resurrection of Christ until he comes again. The Lord gives us his Holy Spirit as our divine Teacher and Helper that we may grow in the knowledge and wisdom of God.  Do you seek the wisdom that comes from above and do you willingly obey God’s word?

A Lifetime of Good-Byes

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Daily Reflection – 5/19/2020

Sacred Scripture

But now I am going to the one who sent me, and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts. But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes he will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation: sin, because they do not believe in me; righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.( John 16:5-11)

Reflection

Have you ever thought about how our life is filled with good-byes?

It begins in our earliest years as we pass from one threshold of age to another. In each threshold, there is a good-bye to someone or something. As we grow older the good-byes multiply to persons, places, milestones, things. Admittedly, it is true that most good-byes are followed by a “hello” to another person, place or event. But saying good-bye is always difficult.

The Apostles knew about saying good-bye. They had already said good-bye to their former lives to follow Jesus. So their hearts are filled with the sadness each of us has known when we say good-bye permanently. But our good Lord knows their hearts and in this Gospel passage, he not only reassures them of not being alone but also lets them know why they are receiving this gift.

I sometimes think we don’t truly appreciate and recognize what it is that Jesus is saying here.  It was necessary that Jesus would leave, because He wanted to send us something very special.  Now just think about that for a second.  Why couldn’t Jesus have simply remained with us, and sent the Holy Spirit?  Why was it necessary for Him to leave for the Holy Spirit to come?  How on earth is this a better outcome?  The answer is Pentecost.

The Holy Spirit is sent to complete God’s work in us.  While Jesus takes on human flesh and becomes one of us, the Holy Spirit enters into humanity to become one in us.  I think it is worthy of silent reflection to bask in the awe that God has united Himself to us in this way.  We have the Holy Spirit in us, and He shares with us His gifts, His power, His life!  That is most definitely to our advantage!  No longer are we children of darkness and sin, but the Holy Spirit has transformed us into children of God. 

When Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to come and burn the hearts of His early disciples so that they may all remain united to Him and the Father, so that they may be one with Him in both spirit and in truth, He had in His heart the intentions of every person  of all generations. He had all of us in His heart so that we may be filled by His presence, so that we may have Him always despite all that may come to separate us from Him.

Jesus’ love for us is constant and His kindness endures forever. His right hand has saved us!

Prayer of The Day

“Come Holy Spirit, and let the fire of your love burn in my heart. Let me desire only what is pure, lovely, holy and good and in accord with the will of God and give me the courage to put away all that is not pleasing in your sight.”

Daily Note

Saying goodbye permanently to a love one or a friend is always a heart wrenching experience. We may even wish that there would be no more goodbyes anymore. But the reality of life is that we shall say goodbye permanently someday whether we like it or not we shall say goodbye on a time that God has willed for us. But let us not let our goodbye be a forgetful experience by not doing something indelible in the lives of our fellowmen. As we live in this world let us do something good that will remain forever in the minds of those who know us. So that when our time to say goodbye come our beautiful deeds would forever be imprinted in the hearts of those who know us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But Never To Be Alone

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Daily Reflection – 5/18/2020

Sacred Scripture

“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning. I have told you this so that you may not fall away. They will expel you from the synagogues; in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God. They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me. I have told you this so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you.( John 15:26-16:4)

Reflection

Jesus, speaking in the setting of the last supper, tells his disciples that he is speaking to them in the way he is so that ‘your faith may not be shaken’. Jesus was aware that beyond the time of his death and resurrection, his disciples’ faith in him would be shaken and put to the test.

He knows that suffering will come their way, in the form of persecution and hostility, and suffering might be undermining of their faith in him. The words of Jesus to his disciples can speak to our experience. Our own faith can be shaken by various experiences. Sometimes it is  personal suffering through the illness or death of a loved one, some times it is through  the efforts of others to undermine our faith, or the failures of  people of faith whom we trusted – all of these experiences and many others can contribute to our faith being shaken.

Jesus makes a promise to his disciples, and to all of us. He promises to send the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, and he tells us that this Spirit will enable us to witness to him, even in the dark experiences of life. He wants them, and us, to know that we will never be alone. His presence is always with us. The paraclete (translated as one who is close by us) is there. The power of our Lord is beyond words and comprehension. Even in those times when our prayers seem not to be answered, the Holy Spirit is there to guide us, to hold our hand, to show us a way out of the darkness, to remind us that our faith is a gift from God. The giver will always be there to. It is truly the gift that never ends.

The need for reassurance in our faith is even greater, for most of us live in a distraction-filled world. Most modern Christians have the vocation of living the Gospel and being wives, husbands, religious, ministers and priests as well. Then there are the vocations imposed on them by their various professions. Sometimes ir is not very easy to be able to experience the effect of the resurrection in our lives. Each of us needs all the help we can get. That is accomplished in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. We need him for the progress of that ongoing conversion that must characterize our lives as Christians. We need the Spirit that Jesus speaks.

When our faith feels fragile, there can be no better prayer to pray than, ‘Come Holy Spirit, fill my heart’ or in that lovely prayer to the Holy Spirit, ‘Heal our wounds, our strength renew; On our dryness pour thy dew’.

Prayer of The Day

“O merciful God, fill our hearts, we pray, with the graces of your Holy Spirit; with love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control.  Teach us to love those who hate us; to pray for those who despitefully use us; that we may be the children of your love, our Father, who makes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  In adversity grant us grace to be patient; in prosperity keep us humble; may we guard the door of our lips; may we lightly esteem the pleasures of this world, and thirst after heavenly things; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Prayer of Anselm, 1033-1109)

Daily Note

We have been given the Holy Spirit to help us live as disciples of Jesus Christ. The Spirit gives us courage and perseverance when we meet adversities and challenges. Do you pray for the Holy Spirit to strengthen you in faith, hope and love and to give you courage and perseverance when you meet adversities and challenges?