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Is God God Or Are You God?

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2012/09/22 at 9:11 AM

One of the characteristics that distinguishes  humans from animals and all other creatures is that humans can and do wonder about things, about the purpose or the reason something is what it is or does what it does. Animals never wonder about the circumstances of their lives. They live by instinct which never changes; they would have no reason to wonder because they can’t change anything anyway.  Adam and Eve’s dog would be right at home with your dog, but they would be awestruck by human life today. That’s because we humans can ponder purpose and make changes if we so desire.

It is very important to know the purpose of whatever we are dealing with because, if we do not know the true purpose of something or someone, we may end up not using it, misusing it, damaging or even destroying the thing. Small children do this routinely. This also applies to people; think of the misuse and destruction of people by Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot in the modern era alone. They saw other people only as means to an end.

Throughout life  we deal with many intermediate purposes and goals such as education, marriage, family career etc. These differ from person to person and culture to culture. Some are successful in reaching their goals while others, not understanding the nature of goals, flounder through life. Half the marriages in the U.S. fail because at least  one spouse does not understand the nature and purpose of marriage.  Schools today are failing in a tragic way because they changed their purpose from the acquisition of knowledge to politically correct socialization.

I don’t think many would dispute that the country has many seemingly insoluble problems; drugs, crime, abuse at all levels, illegal immigration etc. I suggest that the reason is that  in the U.S. (and most of the Western world)  the most important purpose of all has been forgotten or ignored, i.e. the purpose of man himself . The purpose of anything is usually determined by the maker. Man was made by God in the beginning, and it is  God who assigned man his purpose which will never change regardless of how man deals with it. God does not adjust Himself to contemporary cultural whims. Anyone who does not know or does not care that he or she is made in the image and likeness of God is doomed to the ultimate failure which is not to be a saint.

Man has a divine goal or purpose which is his final union with God for eternity. This is what God has set up, and He has also set up definite ways to reach that goal which are not subject to human interpretations. On the other hand, man can reject his purpose and set up his own idea of purpose, but if we set up any purpose that does not  conform to divine purpose,  he will live a substandard human life.

Many are going through life today with no ultimate goal in mind. They are like a person who drives without a destination. When the gas runs out, he is nowhere and there’s no gas. Going through life without an eye on eternity  may cause one to lose the very purpose of life itself. No matter  what circumstances we find ourselves in, for good or bad, we all will arrive  at that six-foot hole. That’s the end of striving. You made it or you didn’t.  Hell is realizing that you “blew it…. badly”.

The real purpose of human life is to know, love, and serve God while on earth and spend eternity in His presence. Anything less is risky. One of the great saints of the Church used to have as his norm, “Quid ad aeternitatem?”.. How does this affect eternity? We live in a world which, at least in practice, does not believe in eternity at all. How many people have you seen die on TV with no thought whatsoever of an afterlife? Death is the end. Be that as it may,  it does not affect God’s purpose for people. We will knock on the door of eternity someday. If you have pursued your God-given goal, the door will not be opened by  a fellow in a red suit carrying a pitchfork.

The most important question is: “Is God God or are you  God?” If you decide that YOU are God by your lifestyle, then you are a fool, as the Psalm says. And there are no fools in heaven.

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Reconsider: Is God God or Are You God? by J. Reagan

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2011/06/19 at 7:00 AM

One of the characteristics that distinguishes  humans from animals and all other creatures is that humans can and do wonder about things, about the purpose or the reason something is what it is or does what it does. Animals never wonder about the circumstances of their lives. They live by instinct which never changes; they would have no reason to wonder because they can’t change anything anyway.  Adam and Eve’s dog would be right at home with your dog, but they would be awestruck by human life today. That’s because we humans can ponder purpose and make changes if we so desire.

It is very important to know the purpose of whatever we are dealing with because, if we do not know the true purpose of something or someone, we may end up not using it, misusing it, damaging or even destroying the thing. Small children do this routinely. This also applies to people; think of the misuse and destruction of people by Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot in the modern era alone. They saw other people only as means to an end.

Throughout life  we deal with many intermediate purposes and goals such as education, marriage, family career etc. These differ from person to person and culture to culture. Some are successful in reaching their goals while others, not understanding the nature of goals, flounder through life. Half the marriages in the U.S. fail because at least  one spouse does not understand the nature and purpose of marriage.  Schools today are failing in a tragic way because they changed their purpose from the acquisition of knowledge to politically correct socialization.

I don’t think many would dispute that the country has many seemingly insoluble problems; drugs, crime, abuse at all levels, illegal immigration etc. I suggest that the reason is that  in the U.S. (and most of the Western world)  the most important purpose of all has been forgotten or ignored, i.e. the purpose of man himself . The purpose of anything is usually determined by the maker. Man was made by God in the beginning, and it is  God who assigned man his purpose which will never change regardless of how man deals with it. God does not adjust Himself to contemporary cultural whims. Anyone who does not know or does not care that he or she is made in the image and likeness of God is doomed to the ultimate failure which is not to be a saint.

Man has a divine goal or purpose which is his final union with God for eternity. This is what God has set up, and He has also set up definite ways to reach that goal which are not subject to human interpretations. On the other hand, man can reject his purpose and set up his own idea of purpose, but if we set up any purpose that does not  conform to divine purpose,  he will live a substandard human life.

Many are going through life today with no ultimate goal in mind. They are like a person who drives without a destination. When the gas runs out, he is nowhere and there’s no gas. Going through life without an eye on eternity  may cause one to lose the very purpose of life itself. No matter  what circumstances we find ourselves in, for good or bad, we all will arrive  at that six-foot hole. That’s the end of striving. You made it or you didn’t.  Hell is realizing that you “blew it…. badly”.

The real purpose of human life is to know, love, and serve God while on earth and spend eternity in His presence. Anything less is risky. One of the great saints of the Church used to have as his norm, “Quid ad aeternitatem?”.. How does this affect eternity? We live in a world which, at least in practice, does not believe in eternity at all. How many people have you seen die on TV with no thought whatsoever of an afterlife? Death is the end. Be that as it may,  it does not affect God’s purpose for people. We will knock on the door of eternity someday. If you have pursued your God-given goal, the door will not be opened by  a fellow in a red suit carrying a pitchfork.

The most important question is: “Is God God or are you  God?” If you decide that YOU are God by your lifestyle, then you are a fool, as the Psalm says. And there are no fools in heaven.

Is God God or Are You God?

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2011/04/05 at 3:17 PM

One of the characteristics that distinguishes  humans from animals and all other creatures is that humans can and do wonder about things, about the purpose or the reason something is what it is or does what it does. Animals never wonder about the circumstances of their lives. They live by instinct which never changes; they would have no reason to wonder because they can’t change anything anyway.  Adam and Eve’s dog would be right at home with your dog, but they would be awestruck by human life today. That’s because we humans can ponder purpose and make changes if we so desire.

It is very important to know the purpose of whatever we are dealing with because, if we do not know the true purpose of something or someone, we may end up not using it, misusing it, damaging or even destroying the thing. Small children do this routinely. This also applies to people; think of the misuse and destruction of people by Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot in the modern era alone. They saw other people only as means to an end.

Throughout life  we deal with many intermediate purposes and goals such as education, marriage, family career etc. These differ from person to person and culture to culture. Some are successful in reaching their goals while others, not understanding the nature of goals, flounder through life. Half the marriages in the U.S. fail because at least  one spouse does not understand the nature and purpose of marriage.  Schools today are failing in a tragic way because they changed their purpose from the acquisition of knowledge to politically correct socialization.

I don’t think many would dispute that the country has many seemingly insoluble problems; drugs, crime, abuse at all levels, illegal immigration etc. I suggest that the reason is that  in the U.S. (and most of the Western world)  the most important purpose of all has been forgotten or ignored, i.e. the purpose of man himself . The purpose of anything is usually determined by the maker. Man was made by God in the beginning, and it is  God who assigned man his purpose which will never change regardless of how man deals with it. God does not adjust Himself to contemporary cultural whims. Anyone who does not know or does not care that he or she is made in the image and likeness of God is doomed to the ultimate failure which is not to be a saint.

Man has a divine goal or purpose which is his final union with God for eternity. This is what God has set up, and He has also set up definite ways to reach that goal which are not subject to human interpretations. On the other hand, man can reject his purpose and set up his own idea of purpose, but if we set up any purpose that does not  conform to divine purpose,  he will live a substandard human life.

Many are going through life today with no ultimate goal in mind. They are like a person who drives without a destination. When the gas runs out, he is nowhere and there’s no gas. Going through life without an eye on eternity  may cause one to lose the very purpose of life itself. No matter  what circumstances we find ourselves in, for good or bad, we all will arrive  at that six-foot hole. That’s the end of striving. You made it or you didn’t.  Hell is realizing that you “blew it…. badly”.

The real purpose of human life is to know, love, and serve God while on earth and spend eternity in His presence. Anything less is risky. One of the great saints of the Church used to have as his norm, “Quid ad aeternitatem?”.. How does this affect eternity? We live in a world which, at least in practice, does not believe in eternity at all. How many people have you seen die on TV with no thought whatsoever of an afterlife? Death is the end. Be that as it may,  it does not affect God’s purpose for people. We will knock on the door of eternity someday. If you have pursued your God-given goal, the door will not be opened by  a fellow in a red suit carrying a pitchfork.

The most important question is: “Is God God or are you  God?” If you decide that YOU are God by your lifestyle, then you are a fool, as the Psalm says. And there are no fools in heaven.

In God We Trust?

In 16 Deacon Ruben Tamayo on 2016/09/02 at 12:00 AM

God gives us every reason to trust Him. We read throughout both the Old and New Testaments that God is trustworthy not just a few times but many times. One such example is Psalm 145: “The LORD is trustworthy in every word, and faithful in every work.”
The Bible is also littered with plenty of examples of humanity deciding that God and His ways should not be trusted, doing things their way, and then suffering the painful consequences of their petulance and obstinacy. Here are just a few examples:
Adam and Eve disobey God, not because their lives aren’t all good and full of blessings, but because the serpent plants a seed of doubt in them about God’s love for them.
After growing impatient waiting to conceive Abraham’s child as God had promised, Sarah takes matters into her own hands and has Abraham lie with her maidservant Hagar so that Abraham may have the child God promised Him.
The Israelites create a golden calf and worship it despite the great miracles God performed for them simply because Moses took “too long” to return from his meeting with God at Mt. Sinai.
In Luke chapter 11, the Pharisees accuse Jesus of driving out demons with the help of Satan himself even after witnessing Jesus feed thousands with just five loaves of bread and two fish, bringing back to life the widow’s son, and healing many others.
So, why does this pattern, i.e. our continually turning our backs on God despite His proven faithfulness to us, keep repeating over and over throughout all of history and in our lives today? The short answer is because we provide Satan with an opening to drive a wedge, pride, between us and God. God is always trustworthy. How about us humans? Sadly not so much. St. Teresa of Avila says this well: “Consider seriously how quickly people change, and how little trust is to be had in them; and hold fast to God, who does not change.”
Satan, whom Jesus calls the “Father of Lies” (John 8:44) appeals to our pride and attachment to earthly vices to convince us that he is the one who is trustworthy, not God. After all, God doesn’t give us what we want when we snap our fingers so God must be lying when He tells us that He loves us. God even lets us suffer – what kind of love is that?! We are foolish to fall for these lies!!!
This is reminiscent of the scene from the Disney animated film, the Jungle Book, where Kaa, the serpent, hypnotizes the young boy Mowgli while singing: “Trust in me, just in me, shut your eyes, trust in me.” Kaa obviously doesn’t care about the well-being of the boy – he just wants to gain control of him to eat him. “Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” from 1 Peter 5:8 comes to mind as well.
The good news is that God gives us free will and Satan has no power over us. But we must grow in humility and recognize that we always need God’s help – God who is always trustworthy. St. Vincent de Paul provides great advice on this point: “The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it.”
Reflection based on the Mass readings for the 3rd Thursday of Lent 2015: Jeremiah 7:23-28, Psalm 95, and Luke 11:14-23)

“Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.”

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2016/08/12 at 12:00 AM

Like the Greeks who approached Philip, we too say that we would like to see Jesus. God Himself and His creation can only been seen by those whose intentions and attitudes are good.

To be clean of heart means to be selfless, looking at everything from God’s point of view rather than our own. By putting God first we can keep our hearts pure. It is in the heart that the soul can defile itself. This occurs when envy, spite, evil desires or evil intentions sprout in our hearts. Once conceived, they are brought to life in actions. You cannot “see Jesus” in your neighbor if your imagination has cluttered your hear with a tapestry of false images. So, it is in the heart that we can offend God instead of loving Him. Consequently, anything that comes between us and God must be avoided, corrected, given up; we must remove all obstacles and ask forgiveness of God for what we have done.

In order to really have a pure heart, we must have right intentions which mean that Christ alone is the reason for and object of our actions. We begin this by making our daily Morning Offering Prayer we learned as children. As the day goes on, we must ask ourselves: What am I doing? Why? and For Whom? Do everything for His glory and when you encounter difficulties, do not allow yourself to be discouraged. Simply ask yourself: Is this God’s work or mine? Is God leading or am I? Correct intention brings interior freedom and peace of soul.

Our exterior appearance is not of any importance compared with our inner life. We must ask God’s help in keeping our hearts pure and must be on guard duty 24/7 in order for it not to be defiled by jealousy, envy, spite or any disordered desires. We must be careful to have proper intentions in our actions because our egotism can make an obstacle out of any good thing. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to guide our hearts and follow His guidance with docility as He transforms us.

To maintain a pure heart involves controlling our intellect, our memory and above all, our imagination, and above all the interior dialogue those produce, easily derailing the heart. A wise man once referred to the imagination as the lunatic in the house. Useless imaginings can lead to loss of proper perspective and become a spiritually destructive force. Often the imagination can create false scenarios which can lead to unjust judgments which cool the heart.

The prompt dismissal of useless thought is the initial means of purifying the imagination. Then, comes the replacement of wild imaginings, suppositions, and projections by focusing on some aspect of the life of Christ, thus displacing the unreal with the real and true. Essential to keeping one’s heart pure are: guarding the senses, avoiding sinful situations, controlling ones entertainment, being temperate but above all, having recourse prayer and to the Sacrament of Confession.

If your heart searches for God, your heart will find Him simply because he is looking for you like the father of the prodigal looked for his son. We can always count on Our Father’s help to put us on the right track again. He understands us and is there to encourage us in our struggles. He never ceases to love us even when our hearts have turned from Him. He will never abandon us.

“In God’s name, do not despair”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2016/07/29 at 12:00 AM
The saints are those who struggle right to the end of their lives, who always get up each time they stumble, each time they fall, and courageously embark on their way once more with humility, love and hope. (The Forge, 186)

To make sure that cowardice does not make you betray the confidence God has placed in you, you must avoid the presumption of naively underestimating the difficulties that you will meet in your Christian life.

These difficulties shouldn’t surprise us. As a consequence of our fallen nature, we carry within us a principle of opposition, of resistance to grace. It comes from the wounds inflicted by original sin, and is aggravated by our own personal sins. Therefore we have to strive ever upwards, by means of our everyday tasks, which are both divine and human and always lead to the love of God. In this we must be humble and contrite of heart and we must trust in God’s help, while at the same time devoting our best efforts to those tasks as if everything depended on us.

As we fight this battle, which will last until the day we die, we cannot exclude the possibility that enemies both within and without may attack with violent force. And, as if this burden were not enough, you may at times be assailed by the memory of your own past errors, which may have been very many. I tell you now, in God’s name: don’t despair. Should this happen (it need not happen; nor will it usually happen) then turn it into another motive for uniting yourself more closely to Our Lord, for he has chosen you as his child and he will not abandon you. He has allowed that trial to befall you so that you may love him the more and may discover even more clearly his constant protection and Love.

Take heart, I insist, because Christ, who pardoned us on the Cross, is still offering us his pardon through the Sacrament of Penance. We always ‘have an advocate to plead our cause before the Father: the Just One, Jesus Christ. He, in his own person, is the atonement made for our sins, and not only for ours, but for the sins of the whole world’ [1], so that we may win the Victory. (Friends of God, 214)

[1] 1 John 2:1‑2

“God is good and He loves you”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2016/05/01 at 12:00 AM
Woes? Setbacks deriving from one thing or another? Can’t you see that this is the will of your Father God, who is good and who loves you – loves you personally – more than all the mothers in the world can possibly love their children? (The Forge, 929)

But do not forget that being with Jesus means we shall most certainly come upon his Cross. When we abandon ourselves into God’s hands, he frequently permits us to taste sorrow, loneliness, opposition, slander, defamation, ridicule, coming both from within and from outside. This is because he wants to mould us into his own image and likeness. He even tolerates that we be called lunatics and be taken for fools.

This is the time to love passive mortification which comes, hidden perhaps or barefaced and insolent, when we least expect it. They can even go so far as to strike the sheep with the very stones that should have been thrown at the wolves: the follower of Christ experiences in his own flesh that those who have a duty to love him, treat him instead in ways that range from mistrust to hostility, from suspicion to hatred. They look upon him with misgiving, as if he were a liar, because they do not believe it is possible to have personal dealings with God, an interior life; and all the while, with atheists and those who are indifferent to God (people who are usually impertinent and rude), they behave in a most amicable and understanding manner.

Our Lord may even allow his followers to be attacked with a weapon that never does honour to its user, the weapon of personal insult; or to be subjected to a smear campaign, the tendentious and indictable result of a massive campaign of lies: for not everyone is endowed with a sense of fairness and good taste.

This is the way Jesus fashions the souls of those he loves, while at the same time never failing to give them inner calm and joy, because they are fully aware that, even with a hundred lies, the devils are incapable of making a single truth; and he impresses on them a living conviction that they will only find comfort when they make up their minds to do without it. (Friends of God, 301)

God Is With Us

In 07 Observations on 2016/05/01 at 12:00 AM

Do you realize that there is someone who loves you so much that He was willing to die for you? Jesus Christ is God Incarnate, who by taking on a human nature, He, the only-begotten Son of God, entered our human condition in order to redeem it. Jesus was not pretending to be God; He is God. To rectify our fallen nature, He endured Gethsemane and Golgotha so that we could understand His love for us, and, that as He rose from the dead, so we can rise with Him.In His Incarnation, Life, Passion and Resurrection, Jesus Christ was love giving Himself to us for us and accepting us for Himself because He first loved us. Commit yourself to Him in gratitude. Seek to imitate Him. He models every virtue for you. Turn your mind, heart, will, and soul over to Him, asking Him to lead you with His promised grace.

In joy as in sorrow, God is always there for us. As we focus on Our Lord, His Incarnation, Life, Passion, Death and Resurrection, we identify with Him upon whom we gaze. Christ gave Himself to man completely. He began to do so not only with His Incarnation and life, but specifically with His passion and death.Whenever you believe you are being sorely tried, look at the face of the suffering Christ and He will give you the grace to cope, the courage to hang on and to endure your ordeal.Look at the Crucified for mercy, salvation, understanding and hope. Christ Crucified loves you and you are looking at the proof. The sufferings Christ endured on the Cross for us provide us with an understanding that by uniting our sufferings to His, we can grow spiritually. Look to Him who is calling you to follow Him.

We sometimes wonder why God sent His Son to die. Jesus took on our human nature so that we could regain the lost divine image. Jesus gave us so much out of love, yet He asks only that we return His love by doing the will of His/our Father. This we can do by bearing our trials and tribulations as well as by loving our neighbor for His sake. In taking upon Himself our human nature, Jesus Christ experienced every possible trial man undergoes. The sinless one, having endured our trials, sympathizes with our struggles, knowing our weaknesses. After having paid our debt, and while no longer on earth, He is in heaven where He mercifully intercede for us.

The irrevocable act of love is the Cross of Christ. Sinless, He willingly died for sinners. He died for us, and we are in His debt.It was on the Cross that Christ sacrificed Himself that you might live in Him.The life you live as a Christian must be a life of faith in the Son of God who loves you as no one else can. Be grateful for His gift of perfect love and demonstrate it by seeking Him with all you heart and living as He wishes you to live.

One of the greatest gifts you can offer God is self-donation. Whatever sacrifices self-donation requires will be compensated by the reality of knowing that what is most important to you is serving God.Self-d0nation to God can be done by anyone, anytime, anywhere in every walk of life. The essence of self-donation is trust in God. We self-donate when we decide to act in a Christlike way by changing our life to conform to His values and teachings.

We long to see God’s face. Look at the Crucified for He and the Father are one.Look at Him with the eyes of your heart and see yourself in them as the apple of His eye. Recognize His love for you and how He has created you in His image and endowed you with the dignity of a human person whom He has adopted as His own at cost of His only begotten Son.Uniting our sufferings with His redemptive ordeal, gives meaning and purpose to our trials. It is God who permits such events in our lives for the sole purpose that we might seek Him with love and become the persons we should be.

Accepting God’s Grace

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2016/05/01 at 12:00 AM

• In the 25th Chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus gives us this grand vision of how, at the Final Judgment, He will judge each of us just as a good shepherd separates the sheep from the goats (cf. Mt 25:31-46).
• Jesus tells us that He will place the sheep on His right and the goats on His left. To the sheep He will say, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” And they will inherit eternal life (Mt 25:34).
• And to the goats Jesus will say, “Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels,” and these will go off to eternal punishment (Mt. 25:41).
• Our Lord explains in this very important passage that each of us will be grouped with either the sheep or the goats based on our love for Him shown in our service to others in need. Specifically, Jesus speaks about fulfilling the corporal works of mercy.
• Does this mean that we can earn our way to Heaven simply by serving the poor? Of course not. We are saved by God’s grace, not by our works.
• However, although God’s saving grace is freely extended to all people, we must choose to accept or refuse His grace. Our willingness to serve Christ by serving the poor is a sign that we’ve accepted His grace. It’s a sign of our willingness to fulfill the great command to love.
• As our Gospel for today explains, we must listen for the voice of the Good Shepherd and follow it. Christ calls each of us by name and leads us, and we who recognize His voice willingly follow the path He marks out for us.
• If we wished to be saved, we must choose to be one of His sheep by being obedient to His commandments, most especially the command to love Him above all else and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
• Yet, our Gospel makes clear that Christ is also the gate through which we enter into salvation. The sheepfold – the pasture – within which we find salvation is His Body, the Church. Christ is both priest and victim; He is both shepherd and sheepgate.
• To believe that we can find salvation through anyone other than Christ, or to allow ourselves to be shepherded by those who are not faithful to His teachings is like placing ourselves into the hands of thieves and robbers, who come “only to steal and slaughter and destroy.”
• Christ alone is the way, the truth, and the life. No one can go to the Father except through Him! (John 14:6)
• Through our baptism, we enter into the Church – into our Lord’s sheepfold, and once in the Church we are shepherded by Christ’s teachings, which are safeguarded by His Church and communicated by His faithful shepherds, each of whom is an alter Christus.
• But remember my brothers and sisters: we must choose for Christ! This is a choice we must continue to make daily, even once we are inside His sheepfold!
• Even though our choice for Christ is made in a fundamental way at our baptism, we must renew our choice for Him constantly, for in our brokenness, we are often prone to wander far from Him.
• As we consider His great love and mercy that we celebrated 2 weeks ago on Divine Mercy Sunday, why wouldn’t we choose Him? Jesus offers to us His unfathomable mercy, which is unlimited as long as we live on this earth.
• Not only are the worst of sinners welcome to partake of our Lord’s mercy, but Jesus said to St. Faustina that the worst sinners have the greatest right to His mercy!
• Jesus is the Good Shepherd who willingly lays down His life for His sheep. Our Savior allowed His Sacred Heart to be ripped wide open by a cruel centurion’s lance so that all mankind could find a home there!
• That wound caused by Longinus’ lance not only opened up the sacramental life of the Church; it opened up the floodgates of God’s mercy!
• In our first reading we see St. Peter proclaiming to the house of Israel that Jesus, whom they crucified, is indeed the Christ! He sets the choice before them: they can either accept Jesus as their Lord or deny Him – but they have to choose.
• St. Peter tells the crowd that choosing for Christ requires that we repent of our sins. It requires that we turn away from the corruption of our generation.
• Once inside our Lord’s sheepfold, we must follow Christ by imitating Him in every aspect of our lives. In all things we must seek the Father’s will rather than our own will.
• Yet as the second reading today makes clear, following Christ and doing the Father’s will sometimes means that we are going to suffer – just like He did.
• But, my dear friends, this should not be a cause for anxiety or worry for us. For when we look with the eyes of faith, we can see that suffering is often the sweetest gift God gives us to us because suffering borne with patience really helps to shape us into an image of Christ.
• As St. Peter tells us today in our second reading, “if [we] are patient when [we] suffer for doing what is good, this is a grace before God.”
• Just as the rough grit of sandpaper is used to smooth and shape wood into something beautiful, so too does suffering smooth the rough patches of our soul caused by sin so that we may be shaped into something more beautiful.
• So just as God the Father allowed His only begotten Son to suffer so that we might be redeemed, our Lord allows us to suffer so that we may imitate His Son, make reparation for our sins, and be strengthened in virtue.
• When we willingly accept our sufferings and unite them to Christ’s suffering on the cross, we console our Lord!
• Truly, if Jesus, who is the Good Shepherd, leads us by way of the path of suffering, we can be certain that it is probably because we need it for our own growth in holiness.
• Allowing us to suffer then, is a way that our Lord shows us His mercy, and we can be certain that as the Good Shepherd He will lead us through the path of suffering into greener pastures.
• My dear friends, as our Lord’s precious sheep, we must train ourselves to know the voice of the Shepherd. And as we learn to hear the voice of the Lord, let us strengthen our wills so that we may follow Him unreservedly, even when He leads us by the path of suffering.
• For by faithfully following Him who loves us more than we can ever imagine, and by imitating Him in all things – even in suffering – we will be covered in His mercy and inherit eternal life.

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio.
To enable the audio, lease go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

Link to Homilies:
http://stanncharlotte.org/content/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=8&Itemid=61

On the Mercy of God

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2016/04/03 at 12:00 AM

• Today is an extraordinary day in the life of the Church, for today is Divine Mercy Sunday, and it is the day that two of our more recent popes: Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, are being canonized!
• The canonization of Pope John Paul II today is especially important, for it was John Paul II who gave us this remarkable feast of Divine Mercy Sunday in 2000.
• More remarkable even still, John Paul II died on the vigil of this feast in 2005, and he was beatified on this same feast day in 2011.
• Many of you are familiar with St. Faustina, the Polish nun who received apparitions of our Lord Jesus in the 1930s. In these visions our Lord asked St. Faustina to spread a message around the world.
• The message from our Lord was simple: that God’s mercy is deeper and richer and greater than any of us can ever imagine – and that it is available to all mankind, most especially the worst of sinners.
• Jesus first appeared to St. Faustina in 1931, dressed in white and holding His left hand to His chest while holding His right hand as if giving a blessing – as can be seen in the Divine Mercy image.
• From our Lord’s wounded chest flowed two rays: one of red, denoting blood; the other of a lighter shade, denoting water – just as flowed from His side pierced by the centurion’s lance. The pale ray stands for the water that makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood that is the life of souls.
• Upon appearing to St. Faustina in this way, Jesus said to her: “These two rays issued forth from the very depths of My tender mercy when My agonized heart was opened by a lance on the Cross. These rays shield souls from the wrath of My Father. Happy is the one who dwells in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him.”
• Jesus appeared to St. Faustina because He wants us to receive His mercy now while we are alive on earth, for after we die we must face His justice. And without His mercy, we will perish. Please understand: none of us will make it to Heaven on our own merits. His mercy is our only hope for Heaven.
• Thus, Our Lord desired that this Sunday after Easter be consecrated to His Divine Mercy, and of this feast Jesus said to St. Faustina:
I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. (Divine Mercy in My Soul, n. 699.)
• If you’ve never taken the time to read St. Faustina’s Diary, which is called Divine Mercy in My Soul, I cannot recommend it highly enough to you. For in reading this diary, one is given a clear understanding of the great love our Lord has for all sinners – and how much He desires to give us sinners His mercy.
• Truly, it’s one of the Church’s greatest spiritual treasures from the 20th century. Not only does it tell us of God’s incredible and inexhaustible mercy, but it also tells us how to live a life of mercy, to be merciful to others by treating them with true Christian charity.
• In short, our Lord wants us to know that His love and mercy are greater than any sins we can ever commit. He wants us to know that He loves us no matter how great our sins may be.

• Truly, Jesus is offering us more than just forgiveness for sins. He desires to give us incredible graces to heal and strengthen our souls from whatever spiritual maladies we may suffer from.
• So today is a day of mercy for us. Thus, it is a day for miracles. I encourage all of you to take the time to consider the areas of your lives that are most in need of God’s mercy and healing and to ask for a miracle of mercy!
• Furthermore, Jesus was emphatic with St. Faustina that this devotion to His Divine Mercy is important, because as He said to her: “You will prepare the world for My final coming. (DMIMS, n. 429).
• That’s why today’s feast is so important. According to Saint Faustina’s diary, Jesus said of this feast day:
I am giving them the last hope of salvation; that is, the Feast of My Mercy. If they will not adore My mercy, they will perish for all eternity… tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near. (DMIMS, n. 965)
• And so there is very definitely an urgency in Christ’s words to St. Faustina, an urgency that perhaps our Lord’s 2nd coming isn’t that far in the offing. So today is also a day to think about our sins and truly repent of them.
• But even if the end of the world is still a long way away, we certainly never know when we will die. Any of us can be called to judgment at any time. So we must take advantage of the great graces being held out to us today!
• In fact, any Catholic who attends Mass and receives Holy Communion today, goes to confession within 20 days, and offers prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father, may receive a plenary indulgence for the remission of sin.
• As always, we should do these things “in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin.” (Apostolic Penitentiary Decree)
• So that we might all take part in these graces, I ask all of you to please kneel and to reflect for a moment on your sins. Think as well on any areas of your life in which you need a miracle of mercy.
• Together we will first recite An Act of Contrition, followed by an Our Father and the Creed, and the phrase “Jesus, I trust in You” three times. As we do, make a firm act of the will to reject all of your sins and repent of them. Confidently ask as well for any miracle of mercy you may need.

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio.
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Link to Homilies:
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