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Posts Tagged ‘Incarnation’

Gospel of the Annunciation

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2016/03/04 at 12:00 AM

The Pope reflected on the Gospel of this solemnity, the Gospel of the Annunciation.

Benedict XVI began by explaining that the encounter between the angel and Mary, the decisive moment in which God became Man, “was enveloped in a great silence. … That which is truly great often goes unnoticed and calm silence is more fruitful than the frenzy that characterises our cities, and which, in due proportion, was also present in the important cities of those times, such as Jerusalem. All this action prevents us from pausing, allowing ourselves to be calm and listening to the silence in which the Lord makes his discreet voice heard.”

On the day of the Annunciation, Mary was “deep in thought and yet ready to listen to God. There was no obstacle within her, no barrier, nothing that would separate her from God. This is the meaning of her being without original sin. Her relationship with God is free from even the slightest rift; there is no separation, no shadow of selfishness, but rather perfect harmony. Her little human heart was perfectly ‘centred’ in the great heart of God. … Coming here, before this monument to Mary, in the centre of Rome, reminds us first that the voice of God is not recognised amid noise and turmoil; his plan for our life as individuals and as a society are not visible on the surface; we need to descend to a deeper level where the forces at work are not economic or political but moral and spiritual. It is at this deeper level that Mary invites us to enter into harmony with God’s action.”

Secondly, Mary Immaculate teaches us that “the salvation of the world is not the work of man – of science, technology or ideology – but of Grace. … Grace means love in its purity and beauty. It is God Himself as revealed in the salvific narrative of the Bible and fulfilled by Jesus Christ. Mary is called the ‘favoured one’ and this identity recalls to us God’s primacy in our life and in the history of the world. She reminds us that the power of God’s love is stronger than evil, and that it fills the void that selfishness creates in the history of people, families, nations and the world. Such emptiness can become a form of hell, where human life is dragged to its lowest depths and towards emptiness, losing meaning and light. The false remedies the world offers to fill the void … in fact widen the abyss. Only love can save us from falling, but not merely any love. It must have the purity of Grace, which God transforms and renews to fill intoxicated lungs with fresh, clean air and new vital energy. Mary tells us that, however far a man may fall, he never falls beyond the reach of God, who has descended even into hell. However far astray our heart may be led, God is always ‘greater than our heart’. The soft breath of Grace can disperse the darkest clouds, and make life beautiful and rich in meaning even in the most inhumane situations.”

Finally, Mary Immaculate speaks to us of joy, “the true joy that emanates from a heart freed from sin. Sin carries a negative sadness that induces us to close up. Grace brings true joy, which does not depend on possessing things, but is rooted in the innermost, deepest part of the self, and which nothing and no one can take away. Even though some believe that Christianity is an obstacle to joy because they see it as an ensemble of prohibitions and rules, it is essentially a ‘Gospel’, a ‘good tiding’. In fact, Christianity is the proclamation of the victory of Grace over sin, of life over death. Even if it entails sacrifice and a discipline of the mind, heart and behaviour, it is because in man we find the poisonous root of selfishness that causes harm to the self and to others. We must therefore learn to say ‘no’ to the voice of selfishness and ‘yes’ to that of real love. Mary’s joy is complete because in her heart sin casts no shadow. This joy coincides with the presence of Jesus in her life”.

“In this time of Advent”, the Pope concluded, “Mary Immaculate teaches us to listen to the voice of God that speaks to us in silence; to welcome His Grace that frees us from sin and selfishness, so that we may experience true joy”.

VIS 121120

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“The new commandment of love”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/04/17 at 12:00 AM
Jesus Our Lord loved men so much that he became incarnate, took to himself our nature, and lived in daily contact with the poor and the rich, with the just and with sinners, with young and old, with Gentiles and Jews. He spoke to everyone: to those who showed good will towards him, and to those who were only looking for a way to twist his words and condemn him. You should try to act as Our Lord did. (The Forge, 558)

It is easy to understand the impatience, anxiety and uneasiness of people whose naturally christian soul stimulates them to fight the personal and social injustice which the human heart can create. So many centuries of men living side by side and still so much hate, so much destruction, so much fanaticism stored up in eyes that do not want to see and in hearts that do not want to love!

The good things of the earth, monopolized by a handful of people; the culture of the world, confined to cliques. And, on the outside, hunger for bread and education. Human lives — holy, because they come from God — treated as mere things, as statistics. I understand and share this impatience. It stirs me to look at Christ, who is continually inviting us to put his new commandment of love into practice.

We must learn to recognize Christ when he comes out to meet us in our brothers, the people around us. No human life is ever isolated. It is bound up with other lives. No man or woman is a single verse; we all make up one divine poem which God writes with the cooperation of our freedom. (Christ is passing by, 111

Mother and Child

In 07 Observations on 2014/12/25 at 12:00 AM

Jesus’ mother, Mary, is an essential and integral par of God’s plan for our redemption.

You cannot separate this mother from her child: Jesus and Mary go together.

Christ is given to us through His mother.

God chose to request a woman’s consent for His plan; what a testimony to God’s view of womanhood!

“Where is he that is born king?”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/01/03 at 12:00 AM
Humility is another good way to arrive at interior peace. He has said so: ‘Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart: and you will find rest for your souls.’ (The Way, 607)

Where is he that is born king of the Jews?

Moved by this question, I too now contemplate Jesus “lying in a manger,” in a place fit only for animals. Lord, where is your kingship, your crown, your sword, your sceptre? They are his by right, but he does not want them. He reigns wrapped in swaddling clothes. Our king is unadorned. He comes to us as a defenseless little child. Can we help but recall the words of the Apostle: He emptied himself, taking the nature of a slave?

Our Lord became man to teach us the Father’s will. And this he is already doing as he lies there in the manger. Jesus Christ is seeking us — with a call which is a vocation to sanctity — so that we may carry out the redemption with him. Let us reflect on this first lesson of his. We are to co‑redeem, by striving to triumph not over our neighbour, but over ourselves. Like Christ we need to empty ourselves, to consider ourselves as the servants of others, and so to bring them to God.

Where is the king? Could it be that Jesus wants to reign above all in men’s hearts, in your heart? That is why he has become a child, for who can help loving a little baby? Where then is the king? Where is the Christ whom the Holy Spirit wants to fashion in our souls? He cannot be present in the pride that separates us from God, nor in the lack of charity which cuts us off from others. Christ cannot be there. In that loveless state man is left alone.

As you kneel at the feet of the child Jesus on the day of his Epiphany and see him a king bearing none of the outward signs of royalty, you can tell him: “Lord, take away my pride; crush my self‑love, my desire to affirm myself and impose myself on others. Make the foundation of my personality my identification with you.” (Christ is passing by, 31

“Christians should sanctify everything that is good in their human lives.”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2013/12/27 at 12:00 AM

As an apostle you have a great and beautiful task. You find yourself at the place where grace and the freedom of each soul meet. You are also present at that most solemn occasion in the life of some men: their encounter with Christ! (Furrow, 219)

At Christmas our thoughts turn to the different events and circumstances surrounding the birth of the Son of God. As we contemplate the stable in Bethlehem or the home of the holy family in Nazareth, Mary, Joseph and the child Jesus occupy a special place in our hearts. What does the simple, admirable life of the holy family tell us? What can we learn from it?

I would like particularly to comment on one of the many considerations that we might make on this theme. As we read in holy Scripture, the birth of Jesus means the beginning of the fullness of time. It was the moment God chose to show the extent of his love for men, by giving us his own Son. And God’s will is fulfilled in the simplest, most ordinary of circumstances: a woman who gives birth, a family, a home. The power of God and his splendour come to us through a human reality to which they are joined. Since that moment Christians have known that, with God’s grace, they can and should sanctify everything that is good in their human lives. There is no human situation, no matter how trivial and ordinary it may seem, which cannot be a meeting‑place with Christ and a step forward on our journey toward the kingdom of heaven.

It is only natural that the Church rejoices as it contemplates the modest home of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. (Christ is passing by, 22)

Re-oriented World

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2013/12/27 at 12:00 AM

From Pope Emeritus Benedict before retiring:  Christ’s birth, “something so radically new that it was capable of changing the course of history”.

The Lord’s nativity, the Holy Father commented, “once again illuminates the darkness that often surrounds our world and our hearts with its light, and brings hope and joy. Where does this light come from? From the grotto in Bethlehem where the shepherds found ‘Mary and Joseph and the Child lying in the manger’. Before this Holy Family another, deeper question arises: How can this small and weak Child bring a newness so radical into the world that it is capable of changing the course of history? Isn’t there something mysterious in his origin that goes beyond that cavern?”

“In the four Gospels, the answer to the question ‘where does Jesus come from?’ emerges clearly: his true origin is the Father, God. He comes entirely from Him, but in a different way than any other prophet or messenger of God who preceded Him. This origin of the mystery of God, ‘whom nobody knows’, is already contained in the stories of His childhood in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, which we are reading during Christmastime. The angel Gabriel announces: ‘The Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God’. We repeat these words every time that we recite the Creed, the profession of faith: ‘et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine’, ‘and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary’. At this phrase we kneel because the veil that hid God is, so to say, opened and His unfathomable and inaccessible mystery touches us. God becomes Emmanuel, ‘God with us’. When we listen to the Masses composed by the great masters of sacred music?I’m thinking, for example, of Mozart’s Coronation Mass? we immediately notice how they linger over this phrase in a particular way, almost wanting to try to express with the universal language of music that which words cannot make manifest: the great mystery of God made flesh, of God made man”.

“This affirmation of the Creed does not concern God’s eternal being but rather speaks to us of an action that the three divine Persons take part in and that is realized ‘ex Maria Virgine’. Without her, God’s entrance into human history would not have been achieved and that which is central to our Profession of Faith would not have taken place: God is God with us. Mary thus undeniably pertains to our faith in the God who acts, who enters into history. She puts her entire being at His disposition, she ‘accepts’ becoming the place of God’s indwelling.”

“Some times, even along the path and in the life of faith, we can sense our poverty, our inadequacy in front of the witness to be given to the world. But God chose precisely a humble woman, in an unknown village, in one of the furthest provinces of the great Roman Empire. Always, even amidst the most arduous difficulties to be faced, we must have faith in God, renewing our faith in His presence and in His action in our story as in that of Mary. Nothing is impossible to God! With Him our existence always walks upon a safe path and is open to a future of steadfast hope.”…

“What happens in Mary, through the action of the Holy Spirit himself, is a new creation. God, who has called being from nothingness with the Incarnation, gives life to a new beginning of humanity. The Fathers of the Church repeatedly speak of Christ as the new Adam in order to emphasize the beginning of the new creation with the birth of the Son of God in the womb of the Virgin Mary. This brings us to reflect upon how faith also supposes in us a newness so strong as to produce a second birth. In fact, at the beginning of being Christians is the Baptism that makes us reborn as children of God, that makes us to participate in the filial relationship that Jesus has with the Father. And I would like to note that Baptism is received, “we are baptised”?it is a passive verb?because nobody is capable of converting themselves into a child of God by themselves. It is a gift that is freely conferred… Only if we are open to God’s action, as Mary was, only if we entrust our life to the Lord as to a friend in who we trust completely, does everything change. Our lives acquire new meaning and a new face: that of the children of a Father who loves us and never abandons us”. …

“There is another element in the words of the Annunciation. The angel says to Mary: ‘the power of the Most High will overshadow you’. This is a reminder of the holy cloud that, during the Exodus, covered the tent of meeting over the ark of the Covenant, which the people of Israel carried with them, indicating the presence of God. Mary, therefore, is the new holy tent, the new ark of the Covenant. With her ‘yes’ to the archangel’s words, God receive a dwelling place in this world. What the universe cannot contain dwells in the womb of a virgin”.

“Let us return to the question with which we began, that of Jesus’ origin, summed up in Pilate’s question: ‘Where are you from?’. From our reflection it appears clear, from the beginning of the Gospels, what Jesus’ true origin is: He is the only begotten Son of the Father. He comes from God. We are facing the great and disconcerting mystery that we celebrate in this time of Christmas: the Son of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, became man in the womb of the Virgin Mary. This is an announcement that resounds ever new and which carries with it hope and joy to our hearts because each time it gives us the certainty that, even if we often feel weak, poor, incapable of facing the difficulties and the evil of the world, the power of God is always acting and works wonders precisely in our weakness. His grace is our strength”.

VIS 130102

Nativity of the Lord

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2013/12/19 at 12:00 AM

The Nativity of the Lord  

After much waiting and anticipation, our “great cloud of witnesses” has finally arrived here at St. Ann’s….. I think you’ll find their presence in our church to be very consoling. Already in the short time that they’ve been here, I’ve taken great solace in the feeling that these saints are looking down upon us, praying for us.

Indeed, we are blessed to have them, and not simply because they add a great deal of beauty to our church. While it is true that statues and other works of art should provide a pleasing aesthetic to a church, they have a much more important role than just giving us delight.

Statues like this make visible in a symbolic way an invisible reality. In this particular case, our statues make visible the mystery of the Communion of Saints.

These statues remind us that the saints in Heaven are present to us, even though that great veil that separates Heaven and earth stands between us. They remind us that death does not fully sever our relations with those who have died in God’s friendship.

While we cannot see them, we know by faith that the saints are with us, interceding for us. The saints spur us on to victory, showing us the way to holiness by the example of their lives on earth. They remind us of the authenticity of our Catholic faith.

Throughout her history the Church has been the greatest patron of the arts, for she knows that man cannot exist as simply a utilitarian being. The human soul can never be satisfied with simply having its physical needs met. Mere functionality never fulfills us; we need beauty.

In fact our souls crave beauty, because beauty transports us beyond the confines of our material reality, and instinctively we know that there’s more to life than what meets the eye. Instinctively, we know that there is an invisible world around us.

Thus, good art and architecture are necessary components for churches, for it is here – in church – that we come by faith to meet and worship our invisible God. Good art and architecture work to strengthen our faith by making invisible realities symbolically visible.

Christmas is a fitting time to discuss this and understand this, for this is the very holiday, the very holy day, in which we celebrate the fact that our invisible God became visible – and not simply in a symbolic way, but really, truly visible.

As good St. John wrote in the prologue to his Gospel, the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. But God did not just become visible. He became one of us, which is a mystery we call the Incarnation, literally the “enfleshment.”

Because God became man, because by the Holy Spirit Jesus Christ was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man, as we now say in the new translation of the Creed, salvation is now a possibility for us.

Out of His unfathomable love, God created man in His own image and likeness from the dust of the earth, and He destined man to share in His own divine life as sons and daughters.

But despite the immense charity and love shown to them, our first parents turned against God. Seduced by the serpent, Adam and Eve introduced sin and death into our world, forfeiting our rights to an eternal inheritance.

And every person born since then, save our Lady and our blessed Lord, has been marked by that original sin of our first parents. Concupiscence and brokenness are now our inheritance.Unpleasant as it is, this is a reality that we must come to understand about ourselves if we wish to move beyond it. For our sinfulness is not something that we can ever conquer alone. All attempts to do so will eventually fall short.

No, my brothers and sisters, if we wish to move beyond our sinfulness, we must humbly recognize that we need a savior. We need someone to save us.

On Christmas we celebrate the fact that the love of God is so great that He would not leave man to suffer forever in this terrible state created by man’s own sinfulness. Fully aware of our weakness, our dear Lord became one of us in order to make satisfaction for our sins.

You see, my dear friends, Christmas is not simply the happy anniversary of our Lord’s birth. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of our salvation! We celebrate not simply the fact that God became man. We celebrate the fact that He became man to save us from our sins!

In an even greater act of love than our creation, God wills to redeem mankind through the mystery of His Incarnation. And so Christmas is the celebration of this supreme act of love by God toward sinful man.

Christmas is the celebration of the invisible becoming visible! In the mystery of our Lord’s incarnation we find the satisfaction of our souls’ deepest desires.

Intuitively, man knows that he was created for more than this poor world can ever give us. At our deepest core, we all long and hope for Heaven. And at Christmas, we see this hope fulfilled in that tiny babe born on a cold night in Bethlehem some 2000 years ago.

While wrapped in the flesh of a tiny child, our Lord is the antidote for our sinfulness and the sadness our sins bring us. He is the cure for all the ailments of our souls.

Like the good shepherd who leaves everything behind to go into the dark valley to find His lost sheep, Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word of the Father, comes to us now, so great is His love for us. He comes to suffer and die for our sins, so that we might be made whole.

No doubt most of us will receive many gifts this Christmas, and this is good. But let us not lose sight of the most important gift we are receiving: the gift of our salvation!

May we receive our invisible God made visible with humble and contrite hearts. May we show true sorrow for our sins, confess them, and make reparation for them.

And may we show the depth of our gratitude by following the saints in the path of holiness, so that we, in turn, might truly become like our Lord who became one of us.

A blessed Christmas to you all.

Copyright 2011 Rev. Timothy Reid, Pastor of St. Ann Church, Charlotte, NC

Merry Christmas

In 07 Observations on 2012/12/14 at 2:00 AM
What are we celebrating when we say Merry Christmas to each other?
Who is the this child, the Savior, who is born to us?The Incarnation is fundamentally about the Eternal Word of God who lies at the center of the Trinity.Last among God’s work of creation was man.  In Adam humanity fell; but then God took on a human nature.
In order to become perceptible to our human senses, the Word put on the form of flesh…the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us… The Word of God took on our humanity.God has come to us in a loving and personal way, making Himself visible and audible so that humanity could once again be united to God and contemplate Him.
As Eternal Word, Christ is the center of the Trinity;
As Incarnate Word, Christ is the center of creation;
As Inspired Word Christ is the center of the human heart.
The primary cause of the Incarnation is the love and mercy of God.  So, rejoice and be glad because unto us is born our Savior.
MERRY CHRISTMAS
Note: photo of Nativity scene at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.  00000013

God’s Benevolent Plan for Humanity

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/12/14 at 12:00 AM

 Vatican City, 5 December 2012 (VIS) – God’s “benevolent plan” for mankind, which begins St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, was the theme of the Holy Father’s catechesis at today’s general audience. The great hymn that the apostle Paul raised to God “introduces us to living in the time of Advent, in the context of the Year of Faith. The theme of this hymn of praise is God’s plan for mankind, defined in terms of joy, stupefaction and thankfulness, … of mercy and love”, said the Pope.

The Apostle elevated this blessing to God because he “looked upon his actions throughout the history of salvation, culminating in the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus, and contemplated how the celestial Father chose us, even before the foundation of the world, to become His adoptive children, in his only Son, Jesus Christ. … God’s ‘benevolent plan’, which the Apostle also describes as a ‘plan of love’, is defined as ‘the mystery’ of divine will, hidden and then disclosed in the Person and work of Christ. The initiative precedes any human response; it is the freely given gift of his love, which envelops and transforms us.

“What is the ultimate aim of this mysterious plan? It is to recapitulate all things in Christ; “this means that in the great design of creation and history, Christ is placed at the centre of the world’s entire path, as the axis upon which everything turns, drawing all of reality to Him, in order to overcome dispersion and limits, and to lead all to fullness in God”.

However, “this benevolent plan”, explained Benedict XVI, “did not remain concealed in God’s silence, in the heights of His Heaven; instead, He brought it to our knowledge by entering into a relationship with man, to whom He revealed His very being. He did not simply communicate a series of truths, but instead He communicated Himself to us, He showed Himself as one of us, to the extent of taking on human flesh. … This communion in Christ, through the work of the Holy Spirit, offered by God to all mankind in the light of His self- revelation, does not merely correspond to our humanity, but is instead the fulfilment of its deepest aspirations, and introduces it to a joy which is neither temporal nor limited, but eternal”.

“In view of this, what is, then, the act of faith? It is man’s response to God’s self-revelation, by which He shows His ‘benevolent plan’ for humanity. … it is allowing oneself to be seized by God’s Truth, a Truth that is Love. … All this leads to a … true ‘conversion’, a ‘change of mentality’, because the God Who has revealed Himself to us in Christ and has shown us His plan captures us and draws us to Him, becoming the meaning that sustains our life and the rock on which it finds stability”.

The Holy Father concluded by recalling that Advent “places us before the luminous mystery of the coming of the Son of God and the great ‘benevolent plan’ by which He sought to draw us to Him, to allow us to live in full communion of joy and peace with Him. Advent invites us, in spite of the many difficulties we encounter, to renew our certainty of the presence of God: He came into the world, in human flesh like ours, to fully realise his plan of love. And God asks that we too become signs of His action in the world. Through our faith, hope and charity, He wishes us to make His light shine anew in our night”.

Vatican Information Service #121205

 

Christ by Fr. Reid

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2012/06/02 at 9:11 AM

• Our readings today are so very important because they give us some wonderful insight into the nature of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

• Today’s readings provide us not so much with a portrait of His personality, but rather they teach us about why Jesus became man.

• In our first reading from Isaiah we hear of the prophecy that tells of how Jesus will give His life as an offering for sin.

• Isaiah tells us that the coming Messiah is willing to suffer for us, even though our sins are the cause of His suffering. Moreover, Isaiah tells us that because Jesus suffers for us and bears our guilt, we can be saved.

• In the second reading from the Book of Hebrews, we hear Jesus spoken of as a “great high priest.” He is a priest who knows and understands our weaknesses, and He knows our temptations. Therefore, we should have absolutely no fear in asking Him for mercy.

• The author of Hebrews tells us that we should “confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.”

• Lastly, the Gospel today tells us that Jesus “did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.”

• It’s all very consoling, isn’t it? And that’s how it should be. But even more than consoling us and giving us confidence in our Lord’s goodness, hopefully this insight that these readings provide will help us love Jesus more!

• Hopefully this knowledge of our Lord will help us deepen our relationship with Jesus and help us to trust Him more and seek His mercy more. But most importantly, this knowledge of Jesus should help us who call ourselves Christians to be more Christ-like.

• As Christians, as people who have taken on His name, we are called not simply to love Jesus, but to be like Jesus! We’re called to follow His example in every way, especially in the way we treat others.

• So like Jesus, we must be willing to suffer for others, even those who hurt us . . . most especially for those who hurt us and cause us pain.

• Whenever we are hurt by someone, the normal human responses arising out of our brokenness are to strike back and then to nurse our wounds and protect ourselves from future harm from that person.

• While these are normal human responses, they are not Christian responses. The truly Christlike response begins with forgiveness, but even goes beyond mere forgiveness to a willingness to suffer and to offer up one’s suffering for the good of the one who hurt us.

• This is what Christ taught us from the cross. Jesus didn’t just die for us to save us from our sins. He died because of us. We caused His death by our sinfulness! And yet still He chose to die for us and to offer His suffering and  death as a means to save us!

• You see, there’s a particular magnanimity that Christians are called to possess: a greatness and nobility of soul that enables one to bear suffering calmly and to rise above human faults and failings in order to generously and genuinely care for the needs of others.

• And this magnanimity that we are all called to possess must be rooted in a simple humility that recognizes that we are all flawed and sinful human beings, and therefore we must be willing to sympathize with the weaknesses of others, even when we become the victims of the weaknesses and faults of others.

• The great poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once wrote: “If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should see sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”

• His point is that if we can just get past our own negative emotions that naturally arise when we are hurt by others and actually try to understand why people act the way they do, we will soon be less inclined to exact recompense from those who have hurt us and more inclined to overlook their faults and failings.

• While it is sometimes just, necessary, and eminently charitable to correct or admonish a sinner, we must remember that correction must always be done with a charitable spirit and a genuine desire to help the person overcome their faults so that they may grow in holiness.

• Ultimately, my friends, if we wish to be like Christ, we must be willing to serve other rather than be served by others. We must be willing to set aside our own needs and wants, our own emotions and sense of justice, in order to help others achieve their salvation.

• Think for a moment what a better world this would be if we all set out to serve one another and to worry about the needs of others rather than always looking to take care of ourselves.

• Think about what a better world this would be if we were all quick to extend mercy and forgive one another, rather than holding grudges.

• Think about what a better world this would be if we were all willing to sympathize and understand the weaknesses of others and willing to suffer for the sake of others.

• Think about what a better world this would be if all of us who called ourselves “Christian”were indeed Christ-like.

Copyright by Reverend Timothy S. Reid

Reverend Reid is pastor of St. Ann’s Catholic  Church in Charlotte, NC