In our reading today from II Corinthians, Saint Paul says,“For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus”. I heard a great talk from Fr. Dustin Boehm, VF, a couple days ago on this very topic, so I give him credit for inspiring parts of this. When we make any decision, big or small, according to Christ, we have to die. We have to die to ourselves and our earthly wants. Such as, if you chose to bring life into this earth or donate to your parish, you sacrifice earthly money. This is no more true than in James, whose feast is today, and the other apostles. They all gave up their entire lives in a matter of minutes to follow the Son of God. Just as Christ had to die on the cross before the joy of the resurrection, we must die to ourselves to receive joy in Christ. So, don’t be sad that we may have to give up some earthly pleasures, the joy and satisfaction of doing God’s will is much more than the earth could ever give us.
The Prophet Micah tells us in our first reading,“You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do the right and to love”. Father Tran, OFM, really helped to show me how important love is. Now, obviously love is important, but it is amazing how interconnected it is with everything. Love of God gives us love of His people, His creation, and His Church. If we love God’s people, we serve the poor and help the needy. If we love God’s creation, we respect it. If we love God’s Church, we go to mass, make ourselves available to the sacraments, and serve through liturgical ministries. An atheist may love God’s people and nature, but they are an atheist because they do not love God’s Church. A Catholic may love God’s Church and nature, but if they do not help show others how to love God they do not truly love God’s people. Loving God is not just loving some of what he gives us. It is loving ALL He gives us. You may completely love one or two parts of God, but that is not good enough. That is only liking God. Liking God will not get us to Heaven, loving Him will.
Pope John Paul II, in his last Holy Thursday homily, wrote this.
Every time we celebrate the Eucharist, the remembrance of Christ in his Paschal Mystery leads to the desire for a full and definitive encounter with Him. We live in expectation of his coming! In priestly spirituality, this expectation must be lived out through pastoral charity, which impels us to live in the midst of God’s People, so as to direct their path and to nourish their hope. This task requires from the priest an interior attitude similar to that of the Apostle Paul: “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal” (Phil 3:13-14). The priest is someone who, despite the passing of years, continues to radiate youthfulness, spreading it almost “contagiously” among those he meets along the way. His secret lies in his “passion” for Christ. As Saint Paul said: “For me, to live is Christ” (Phil 1:21).
Particularly in the context of the new evangelization, the people have a right to turn to priests in the hope of “seeing” Christ in them (cf. Jn 12:21). The young feel the need for this especially; Christ continues to call them, to make them his friends and to challenge some to give themselves completely for the sake of the Kingdom. Vocations will certainly not be lacking if our manner of life is truly priestly, if we become more holy, more joyful, more impassioned in the exercise of our ministry. A priest “won” by Christ (cf. Phil 3:12) more easily “wins” others, so that they too decide to set out on the same adventure.
Read the rest here.
This past Divine Mercy weekend goes down in the books. So many mercies.
First, it started Friday night. Tons of folks were here for the ordinations–former seminarians, college seminarians, friends, priests, lay students, overseers, and family and friends of the ordinands. It was a joyous evening, with a holy hour and plenty of Unstable time. Plus, the archbishop took us Indy sems out to the Schnitzelbank in Japser….yum!
On Saturday morning, seven friends from Indianapolis were ordained to the diaconate. Talk about a glorious liturgy! It has been such a grace to go through seminary with these guys.
On Saturday evening, I went to dinner with a good friend. After a great dinner, the waitress came over and said that our bill had been taken care of by another customer who wished to remain anonymous. Looking around, we had no idea who it could have been. We thought better of the idea to go around thanking everyone. I thought about this in holy hour, about how mercy is often anonymous and unexpected. And, much as we wish to give proper thanks for the mercies that come our way, we never can. Ultimately, all mercies have God as their source, and we can never pay God proper thanks for all that he does for us.