Do You Believe that Life is a Pilgrimage?

Daily Reflection – 5/13/2022

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way.” Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:1-6)

Reflection

The pandemic has turned our world upside down. There are few people who have not been touched by it. Most of us know someone who has died from it. All of us have seen its effect in our daily life.

In the midst of it, we see more turmoil as divisions grow around the world. Labels now define us. We are in or we are out depending on the label given us. Racial and gender labels, income labels, political labels, religious labels.

Is that what you accept? Will a label ever comfort you, fill you with peace, answer the longings of your heart? You and I know they won’t, all they do is segregate us more.

There is only one answer that will ever fulfill us, ever answer our fears, our loneliness or our sorrow. It is in today’s Gospel.

Jesus’ words are reassuring: “I will take you to myself”; “so that where I am you also may be.” They are words of someone who sees fear in the eyes of the one being left behind as Jesus did with his disciples. They are words that we need to hold.

Thomas eagerly asks Jesus to explain the way for them to reach this place. And Jesus pointed out, “I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life.” (John 14:16) By this self-offering, Jesus calls us to make our life here on this earth a pilgrimage so that we may reach where He is. In this declaration is also a precious revelation meant to mold our style of living. In this self-revelation, Jesus declares His identity and His relevance in our life. We need to make an honest soul searching. What does Jesus mean to me? Does He have a role in my daily living?

When Jesus becomes our way, He leads us to the Heavenly Father. His longing is for us to be with Him through eternity. Our life on earth is a pilgrimage. We are on the way – the way that leads to the Father. The sense of our existence consists in moving all the time towards the Father. What we achieve in this world find its meaning only in so far as they propel us to the Father.

This vision completely rules out every sort of materialistic and consumerist option of life. We are pilgrims on this earth; we can build no permanent security or dwelling here. We most definitely need to work to improve the quality of life on this earth. We must fulfill our responsibilities in the situations we are placed. But this is not enough and cannot be an end in itself. For the real quality of our life would depend on how oriented I am to God. My actions and decisions would stand the test of time and would bear real fruit when they are built on the sure foundation of pursuing God’s way.

This must be an everyday experience – God instructing us in every minute aspect of our life. When we are sure that we want only God’s way in our lives, He will reveal it for us. The Lord confirms His faithful guidance in our lives, “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’ ” (Isaiah 30:21)

Life is difficult. But Jesus has gone ahead of us to show the way and to be the way for us. With Him our lives acquire a very clear direction and a sure goal. It is then that all labels fall aside. It is then that we have truly become followers of Jesus Christ. 

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, you fill us with the joy of your saving presence and you give us the hope of everlasting life with the Father in Heaven. Show me the Father that I may grow in the knowledge of your great love and truth.”

Daily Note

If you are looking for a goal, hold fast to Christ, because he himself is the truth, where we desire to be. My mouth shall reflect on the truth. If you are looking for a resting place, hold fast to Christ, because he himself is the life. Whoever finds me finds life, and receives salvation from the Lord. Therefore, hold fast to Christ if you wish to be safe. You will not be able to go astray, because he is the way. He who remains with him does not wander in trackless places; he is on the right way. Moreover, he cannot be deceived, because he is the truth, and he teaches every truth. And he says: For this I was born and for this I have come, to bear witness to the truth. Nor can he be disturbed, because he is both life and the giver of life. For he says: I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.

(St. Thomas Aquinas)

Let’s Talk About Your Happiness

Daily Reflection – 5/12/2022

Sacred Scripture

When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he said to them: “Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it. I am not speaking of all of you. I know those whom I have chosen. But so that the Scripture might be fulfilled, the one who ate my food has raised his heel against me. From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” (John 13: 16-20)

Reflection

Are you happy? Do you feel the love of those who love you?

Or is there an emptiness inside of you? A feeling of never feeling fulfilled. A feeling that life marches on but you don’t hear the music.

An entire “get happy” industry has been created to make happy people happier and the not so happy feeling better. Millions have been made by the gurus of happiness.

Yet, the key to genuine happiness has always been there for you and me. It lies in the words of today’s scripture.

Jesus’ whole life was a picture of loving service. He fulfilled His Father’s will by dying on the cross for our salvation. The Love of God is our model. Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you”. To do that, we have to learn to reject hatred and betrayal and become a source of joy and compassion. The Lord promises that if we follow His will and learn how to sacrifice, we will find true happiness which no one can take away from us. This love binds us together and leads us to service to those who are in need.

Jesus invites us to be servers, people who wash the feet of others. This is meant to tell you that in life, you must help others live a better life. To be a server is just that, help others to solve their problems, help soften the road of others, help others keep walking in life.

There is a fine point that we need to remember. Jesus calls us to serve others but not be a servant. Because if you assume the servant attitude, you can lose your personality, you can become a photocopy of another person, or you abandon yourself.

The service you give others is a product of your freedom, you do it not because you are compelled, but because you want. You have a beautiful life to lead, you have plenty to give others, and there are a lot of people that are waiting for you to help. They know what you can give. You must be the one with a clear idea of what you can give, but you must not forget who you are.

Jesus reminds us that the greatest wish we can have is to be happy. Knowing who you are, giving yourself to others as you are, you can accomplish all. If you search for happiness, it will help you greatly in heaven. Do not stop giving, being generous with your time, lending your ears and being yourself. The clues to happiness you will find inside yourself and in others, serve and discover the best things in life.

Prayer of The Day

“I want to believe and follow you, Lord Jesus, but it is difficult for me at times to understand how I am to act and speak as your disciple in the circumstances of my day. I believe in you, Jesus; help my unbelief. Help me to understand that when I serve others, I serve you.”

Daily Note

A Christian who grasps the meaning of Easter, who lives a new life in communion with the Lord, is a Christian who’s singing with joy even in the midst of challenge and hardship, and that’s the type of hymn the Lord wants all of us to be singing each day in chorus. If we’re truly united in Christ, who came so that his joy may be in us and our joy be complete, how can we not bring his joy when we give that word of encouragement and sing the Lord’s goodness? To give this word of exhortation, to sing the goodness of the Lord, to proclaim his faithfulness, to continue Jesus’ mission as his personal ambassadors, this is meant to become the driving force of Christian life. We must make the effort that Christian missionary work requires.

Understanding Love

Daily Reflection – 5/11/2022

Sacred Scripture

Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So, what I say, I say as the Father told me.” (John 12:44-50)

Reflection

Much has been written about the last proclamation of Jesus in the Gospel of John. Theologians have taken each word and built book chapters on them.

To me, this scripture is about relationships. Note that I used the plural “relationships” but let me come back to that.

Let’s begin with our understanding of God’s relationship with us. God created and gave life to the world.  But that was not enough for God.  God wanted us to have more than just mortal life.  Rather God wanted us to have eternal life – a share in the divine life that last forever. 

Throughout the Old Testament, we read how God kept sending prophets to announce the divine plan, but people did not, or refused to, understand. 

The next step was for God to became incarnate in Jesus.  Jesus came as the One sent by the Father.  He came to save the world and to lift us to the higher life.  Yet, in His human, earthly body, Jesus did not remain on earth.  So, Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to continue the divine presence, the divine instruction, the divine empowerment.  The Holy Spirit has led, and continues to lead, the believers.

So that is the relationships portion. Through our belief in the Trinity, we have a relationship with God in each person of the Trinity.

Jesus offers us real abundant life – now and forever. Real life is a relationship with the living God, a relationship of trust, love, obedience, peace, and joy. This is what Jesus makes possible for us – a loving relationship with God who created us for love with him. Apart from Jesus no one can enter that kind of life and relationship.

And how is that love communicated. It’s no different than the love we have for family members or people who are very close to us. We use the words “I love you” repeatedly. Why?  Because it’s that important – to us, to them, and to our relationship.

So too then with prayer and prayerful silence. The more we pray, the easier it becomes. The easier it becomes, the more meaningful it gets. Sitting in silence and allowing your mind and heart to be united with God’s love is one of the most beautiful earthly encounters we can have with God. It is peace, it is promise, it is pure love with God, Our Father. With God, His Son and with God, the Holy Spirit.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus Christ, your death brought life and hope where there was once only despair and defeat. Give me the unshakable hope of everlasting life, the inexpressible joy of knowing your unfailing love, and the unwavering faith and obedience in doing the will of our Father in heaven”.

Daily Note

Jesus makes God known in a way never known before. He is the unique revelation of the Father as Father since he is Son. His reason for coming into the world was not to hide but to reveal and hence, he came as light. All are invited to come to this light so as not to stay in darkness any longer.

Stop and Listen To The Words of Love

Daily Reflection – 5/10/2022

Keepers Of The Tabernacle

Faith Series

Sacred Scripture

The feast of the Dedication was then taking place in Jerusalem. It was winter. And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon. So, the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me. But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”( John 10:22-30)

Reflection

In today’s scripture Jesus talks about listening.  Those who belong to me listen to my voice, he says. Jesus Christ calls us by name with a deep and personal knowing. He calls us as individuals, but we are individuals are called by Christ to form loving community. Jesus is the Good Shepherd and we are the sheep.

As his sheep we are to actively listen for the sound of his voice. We are to listen for the sound of his voice as he calls to us amid the clamor and stampede of a world that fills our ears with messages that are often at odds with what God knows will give us true

 Life.

We live in a world of loudly competing voices that stridently speak to us in turn of doom and hopelessness, greed and domination, fear vs. hope— voices that call for violent retribution whenever we feel threatened — voices that pit us one against another — voices that use labels to differentiate and separate.

Whose voice are you listening to?

Do you hear the voice of generosity? That you have been given the wonderful gift of life. You are alive, you are gifted – just because you are. Even if you do not yet know the Creator – are you listening and following and being generous not only with money but with your time and your talent, with your joy and laughter and truth?

Do you hear the voice of justice and compassion? That it is good to “treat others as you would have them treat you?” Are you listening to make sure that children have food, and families have homes, and the sick can be cared for, and the uninsured don’t have be scared? That justice doesn’t mean punishment; the voice of justice means celebration and restoration.

If you are listening to the voice of love, hospitality, generosity, justice and compassion, creation and hope – NOTHING in this whole world will be able to snatch you away – nothing will be able to knock you down, tear you up, turn you around because nothing can separate you from the grace and love of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

His is the voice of the True Shepherd which is steady, constant and eternal. Jesus voice comes into our midst and it binds us in love to those around us. This voice calls us into the fold and tells us we do not stand-alone. Jesus’ voice penetrates our hearts with the knowledge and truth of God’s love.

“My sheep hear my voice,” Jesus tells us. ” I call them by name and they follow me, I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What could give us more powerful comfort and hope than that? “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand”. This is God’s promise to each and every one of us.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd who secures what is best for each one of us. In you alone I place all my trust and hope both now and forever. Open my ears to hear your voice today and to follow your commands.”

Daily Note

Today, as always, Jesus tells us we have a choice. Will we listen for his voice or will we surrender to the madness? The Good News is that Christ calls endlessly, every day, and will continue to call to us for an eternity. Oh, that today we would hearken to his voice.

Following His Voice

Daily Reflection – 5/9/2022

Sacred Scripture

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them. I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10: 1-10)

Reflection

 The Old Testament often speaks of God as shepherd of his people, Israel. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want (Psalm 23:1). Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! (Psalm 80:1) We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture (Psalm 100:3). The Messiah is also pictured as the shepherd of God’s people: He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms (Isaiah 40:11). Jesus says he is the Good Shepherd who will risk his life to seek out and save the stray sheep (Matthew 18:12, Luke 15:4). He is the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).

What can shepherding teach us about God and our relationship with him? At the end of each day the shepherd brought his sheep into shelter. They knew the voice of their shepherd and came at his beckoning. So familiar was the shepherd and his sheep, that each was called by a distinct name. In the winter the sheep were usually brought to a communal village shelter which was locked and kept secure by a guardian. In the summer months the sheep were usually kept out in the fields and then gathered into a fold at night which was guarded by a shepherd throughout the night. He was literally the door through which the sheep had to pass.

Christ, our good shepherd, both leads us in and leads us out. He comforts us and challenges us. He gives us security, and he calls us to serve. These two dynamics are essential parts of being a disciple. They are also interrelated, because one suffers, if the other is absent. If we begin to think that our relationship with Christ is merely about our security and comfort, it can easily become selfish. We can begin to focus more and more on ourselves, on our wants, fears, and needs. When this tendency begins to take hold, then we must allow our shepherd to lead us out, out of preoccupation with ourselves, out into service of others. But on the other hand, if we begin to think that our relationship with Christ is merely about doing his work, we can easily become exhausted. We give and give to our family, to our friends, to our community until there is nothing left. When this begins to happen, we must allow our shepherd to lead us in, into the security of his presence, into the comfort of his love. We must take time to withdraw, to pray, to be thankful for what we have received so that we can find the energy to serve again.

Christ, our shepherd, both leads us in and leads us out. We should let him. We should go in, embrace his presence, and drink in his love. Then, we can go out and be his presence in the world.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, you always lead me in the way of true peace and safety. May I never doubt your care nor stray from your ways. Keep me safe in the shelter of your presence.”

Daily Note

Our relationship with Christ is not just about security and comfort. The shepherd also leads the sheep out: out of the sheepfold into the world, out to do his work. Christ asks us to serve others. He calls us to be the best mothers and fathers, sons and daughters that we can be. He leads us out to build his kingdom, to attack injustice, to oppose oppression, and to help those who are in need.

It’s Right There. Why Can’t We See It ?

Daily Reflection – 5/6/2022

Sacred Scripture

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my Flesh is true food, and my Blood is true drink. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.” These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. (John 6:52-59)

Reflection

Can you just imagine the scene in today’s scripture?

The Jews began to quarrel. Jesus knew this concept was very difficult, virtually impossible, for them to wrap their minds around because not only was it philosophically challenging to first-century Jews, it was also utterly disgusting. Their laws were clear. They were forbidden to eat blood, for the blood is life, and they shall not eat the life with the meat (Deuteronomy 12:23).

What is this bread that Jesus offers? Jesus said, ‘The bread which I give is my flesh, the drink which I give is my blood’. The bread which Jesus gives is himself, his own flesh and blood, his body which was broken on Golgotha for our salvation. ‘Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood’ means those who identify themselves with the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. By eating this bread they become participants in his dying and so in his risen life. Jesus went on to say, ‘He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him’. To eat his flesh and drink his blood is to abide in Christ. Jesus said: ‘I am the vine, and you are the branches. He who dwells in me, as I dwell in him, bears much fruit’.

For John, the fourth evangelist, to eat his flesh and drink his blood, is to believe in Jesus, to abide in him. It is to have an inter-personal relationship with Jesus. Just as the life of the vine gives life to the branches, those who abide in Jesus participate in the life of Christ.

This  is why this passage is so central to Christians. For John and evangelists throughout the history of Christianity, to eat his flesh and drink his blood, is to believe in Jesus, to abide in him. It is to have an inter-personal relationship with Jesus. Just as the life of the vine gives life to the branches, those who abide in Jesus participate in the life of Christ.

Jesus makes a claim only God can make: He is the true bread of heaven that can satisfy the deepest hunger we experience. The manna in the wilderness sustained the Israelites on their journey to the Promised Land. It could not produce eternal life for the Israelites. The bread which Jesus offers his disciples sustains us not only on our journey to the heavenly paradise, it gives us the abundant supernatural life of God which sustains us for all eternity.

The food that makes us live forever.

THERE is the promise and the centrality of our belief. It lies not in one act. It lies in our joining our spirit with the Lord’s.

Jesus offers us the abundant supernatural life of heaven itself – but we can miss it or even refuse it. To refuse Jesus is to refuse eternal life, unending life with the Heavenly Father. To accept Jesus as the bread of heaven is not only life and spiritual nourishment for this world but glory in the world to come.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, you are the living bread which sustains me in this life. May I always hunger for the bread which comes from heaven and find in it the nourishment and strength I need to love and serve you wholeheartedly. May I always live in the joy, peace, and unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, both now and in the age to come.”

Daily Note

At the last supper when Jesus blessed the cup of wine, he gave it to his disciples saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28). Jesus was pointing to the sacrifice he was about to make on the cross, when he would shed his blood for us – thus pouring himself out and giving himself to us – as an atoning sacrifice for our sins and the sins of the world.

The cross we must take up every day is not the misfortune that befalls us or the heaviness that weighs us down, but rather the cross of the Gospel, the Good News, the cross is the certainty of being loved for all time, the security of having been forgiven.

As Close As Your Heart, As Warm As Your Breath

Daily Reflection – 5/5/2022

Sacred Scripture

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day. It is written in the prophets: ‘They shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”( John 6:44-51)

Reflection

There is an invitation waiting for us. It’s one that is not to be missed. But it is one that we often do.

It’s the invitation to know God . . . to know God. Can you really overlook that statement?

It is written that God, the Father, will draw us to God’s Self! God always comes to us first, long before we even think of coming to God. God has been with us always, perhaps even before we were in the womb. And, it is God who continually searches for us and finds us when we have wandered off. God is constantly reaching out, constantly speaking and constantly drawing us to Himself.  But how well do hear that call? Or better yet, how do we hear that call?

It is found in interior silence.  We do not need to be in the desert to achieve this interior silence.  Rather, it’s achieved by faithful periods of prayer each day, and a formed habit of turning to God in all things.  It’s achieved when we respond to God’s calling, and then do it again, and again, and so forth.  This builds a habit of being drawn, hearing, responding and being drawn in even closer so as to respond again.

The theme of quiet listening is ever present but our insistence on speaking gets in the way of our listening, our impatience prevents the realization of true prayer, the headlines and the broadcasts fill our ears and leave our hearts dry. Sometimes our perceived need to be always doing – even doing for our Church – gets in the way. We get so busy; we don’t give ourselves the chance to listen . . . to listen to those gentle promptings of grace inviting us to turn more completely to Him and to surrender more fully each and every day. 

Prayer is a vital part of this wonderful adventure of coming to know God. It is a constant companion on our journey, with all the pitfalls and difficulties we come across. Jesus instructed us to always pray. If we do, we shall be invited to speak truth, to continue walking even when the road is difficult, and to give our lives completely in the service of this God who loves so much that He gave us His Son so that we may live eternally with Him.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, please draw me in, draw me close and help me to recognize Your voice.  As I hear You calling, help me to respond to You with much generosity.  My life is Yours, dear Lord.  Help me to desire You all the more.  Jesus, I trust in You.”

Daily Note

Reflect, today, upon how well you listen to God.  Try to find at least a few minutes (or more) of silence today.  Close your eyes and listen.  Listen to God speaking to you.  When He draws you, respond to Him with much generosity.  This is the best choice you can make each day!

A Gift Like No Other

Daily Reflection – 5/4/2022

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to the crowds, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst. But I told you that although you have seen me, you do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.” (John 6:35-40)

Reflection

With the world turning as it does, it’s easy to feel that it’s out of control. Being out of control can often lead to persona feelings of despair and being powerless. It often feels like we are wandering without a goal in sight. We can sometimes even feel abandoned, as if God was no longer shepherding us or accompanying His flock on a cloudy and misty day.

And so our lives become nothing more than waiting… waiting for something to change, waiting for something to surprise us. We hope that we will eventually find something but meanwhile, life passes without us ever finding an answer to our unspecified desires.

Then comes today’s scripture to remind us of who we are and the significance of our lives.

Jesus makes three promises to us.

First, he offers himself as spiritual food which produces the very life of God within us. Second, he promises unbroken friendship and freedom from the fear of being forsaken or cut off from God. Third, he offers us the hope of sharing in his resurrection. Jesus rose physically never to die again.

How does that play out in our lives?

Initially, we begin by coming to Jesus through prayer, scripture and the sacraments. We come into his presence. “I will not reject anyone who comes to me,” Jesus says.

We then need to see Jesus.  We see him with our eyes, hear him with our ears, we come into contact with him through our senses. Look around. Look within. We need to keep our eyes fixed on him.

Then we need to take the next step . . . to believe in him, to find him trustworthy and begin to trust in him and in what he says. Jesus says, “Everyone who sees the Son and believes in him…”

Without a deep trust and total commitment to Christ and all he stands for; we may find that we do not have full access to that Bread of Life which we need so much.

But if we hold fast to that commitment, we experience the fullness of what life can be. Real life is a relationship with the living God, a relationship of trust, love, obedience, peace, and joy. This is what Jesus makes possible for us – a loving relationship with God who created us for love with him.

No one of us ever as to search for meaning in our lives. God is generous with everyone. He never gives a life without also giving it a meaning.

Jesus begins today’s scripture by saying: “Whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” Jesus totally changes our desires, our aspirations, our hungers, our thirsts. He begins to give us a down payment on that total fulfillment when he raises us on the last day, because through the progression of faith all the way toward the faithful communion with him, he’s raising us up on this very day.

You and I are worthy of that great love. Think about that. Now choose to live it.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus Christ, your death brought life and hope where there was once only despair and defeat. Give me the unshakable hope of everlasting life, the inexpressible joy of knowing your unfailing love, and the unwavering faith and obedience in doing the will of our Father in heaven.”

Daily Note

Jesus has a mission. “I came down from heaven [a phrase repeated six times in this chapter] not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.” And what is the will of the Father? “It is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me but that I should raise it [on] the last day.

This is a summary of what this whole chapter is about. God wants everyone to be with him “on the last day”. On our part, we have to learn how to “see the Son” and “believe in him”, so that one day we can say with St Paul: “I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). When that happens, we know that we have truly been filled with the Bread that is Christ.

Would You Please Get Out of the Way?

Daily Reflection – 5/3/2022

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” (John 14: 6-14)

Reflection

Today’s Gospel begins with a proclamation from Jesus about his identity: “I am the way and the truth and the life.” His earliest followers were energized, particularly with this notion that Jesus was “the way” in which they could encounter what had previously been considered a distant Father. The God of their ancestors had not been approached since Moses met him on Mount Sinai, and, even then, the Father remained hidden. It must have been exhilarating to hear their friend and teacher speak of “the way!”

 Of course, persecution and even martyrdom awaited those who chose to follow close to Our Lord on “the way.” How courageous this fledgling band of men and women were, aptly labeled people of “The Way.” Lord, let me never shy away from joyfully witnessing to you and your Way, encouraging others to follow you.

These early Christians understood that THE way was modeling their life after Christ’s/ To begin with, they had to put aside their perspective on the life they led before encountering Jesus Christ. They understood that that they had to get out of the way for Christ to step into their lives.

The most fundamental step we need to take as believers, is to get out of the way.

You see, God is acting in our lives and in our world, but we cannot be a part of that action if we become stuck on ourselves. And believe me there are a lot of ways to become stuck on ourselves. We can become stuck because we think we are so important. We can become stuck because we believe that we are worthless. We can become stuck because we think we are so holy. We can become stuck because we believe we are such sinners. We can become stuck because everyone admires us. We can become stuck because everyone ignores us.

How do you become a good parent? By being present, by being loving, by being wise. But also, by believing that God loves your children even more than you do and that God is already leading them to growth. How do we become successful in business? We do our research and act with integrity. But also believe that whatever we do is somehow being used by God as a part of a greater plan. How do we decide which college we should attend?  We visit the schools and talk to family and friends. But the we trust that God will lead us to the right place.

If God were simply a creation of our own minds, then we would be in charge. But God is real, powerful and active. That is why we need to keep reminding ourselves, “I am not the prophet. I am not Elijah. I am not the Christ. I am a voice crying out, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord’”.

Make ready, then. Set yourself aside, and let Christ come through you.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, you are the way, and the truth, and the life. Following you is not always easy and is often not popular. However, strengthened by your sacraments, I am determined to discern and do your will. Grant me the grace to live in your truth, for your glory, and not be deterred by difficulties that arise in this relativistic world.”

Daily Note

When we contemplate life, we are prone to think of what sustains us here on Earth: breathing, eating, exercising, being in communion with others. But this life is “like a puff of smoke, which appears for a moment and then disappears” (James 4:14). Peter responded that he could not leave since Christ had “the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). Jesus Christ, indeed, not only gave his earliest followers a way to follow and a truth to savor, but also a life to live in fullness here and to take into eternity.

Faith Is A Verb . . . It Requires both Assent and Commitment

Daily Reflection – 5/2/2022

Sacred Scripture

The next day, the crowd that remained across the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in the boat, but only his disciples had left. Other boats came from Tiberias near the place where they had eaten the bread when the Lord gave thanks. When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. And when they found him across the sea they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered them and said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.” So they said to him, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.” (John 6:22-29)

Reflection

We have all been here . . . either as parents giving counsel or as a young adult receiving counsel or as a patient listening to a therapist.

What do you really want or what are you searching for?

The crowds in today’s Gospel missed the point of what Jesus was doing. They saw the things that Jesus has been doing but they missed the ‘sign’, the deeper meaning behind them. The food they are looking for is not the food that counts. The real food brings a life that never ends and that is the food that Jesus is offering.

Jesus gently rebukes them, taking this as an opportunity to point out the real reason they should be seeking Him.  The real reason is that He wants to provide the spiritual food of eternal life.  What is the food Jesus wants you to seek?  That’s a question you must let our Lord answer in your heart.

There are two key questions we should ponder here so as to let Him answer us.  First, “What do I want in life?”  Spend time with that.  Spend time all by yourself and try to be honest with this question.  What do you want?  What is your heart’s desire?  If you are honest and if you let yourself face your desires you will most likely find that you have some desires, or even many, that are not put in your heart by Christ.  Recognizing what these desires are is the first step to discovering what the true food is that Jesus wants to give you.

At the end of this Gospel story, Jesus invites us not to just believe, but believe in To me, “believing in” means more than just a head or intellectual believing.  It takes committing our whole selves, not just believing in our head, or not justbelieving when it’s clear or easy. That’s the second of the key questions: Do you believe in Jesus so much that you will commit your life to living out His word?

I was once rebuked by a parishioner at the end of one of my sermons. After the usual pleasantries at the back of the church, he said that he did not understand why so many of my sermons were about living His word. I told him that was because living out the Gospel in today’s world was difficult and that we need each other for confirmation and for support. But that was the command to each of ours. Its not just an intellectual assent but a total response by us to Him. “Yes, Lord, I believe and love you enough that I commit my life to you.”

Jesus offers a new relationship with God which issues in a new kind of life: A life of love and service, and the forgiveness of others which corresponds to God’s mercy and kindness; a life of holiness and purity which corresponds to God’s holiness; and a life of submission and trust which corresponds to the wisdom of God. This is the work which Jesus directs us to and enables us to perform in the power of the Holy Spirit.

The question is whether we nod our head in assent to that life or look away for a message that is less challenging?

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, you alone can satisfy the deepest longing and hunger in our hearts. May we always hunger for the imperishable bread, that we may be satisfied in you alone as the True Bread of Heaven. Nourish and strengthen us that we may serve you with great joy, generosity, and zeal all the days of our life”.

Daily Note

Reflect, today, upon your desire to seek Jesus, or lack thereof.  When you can begin to seek out Jesus simply because you love Him and want to love Him more, you are on the right road.  And as you walk down that road, you find it is a road of the utmost delight and fulfillment.