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Isn’t it great when 631 laws of the Old Testament can be summarized in 2 commands: ‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind and love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ These 2 commands bring together other teachings of the Lord of the 2 paths in life, one wide path that leads to destruction or destroying a person and the other path, a narrow one, which leads to life. Moses when he presented the commandments to the people told them they had a choice between a path that led to death and the commandments which would lead the people to life and urged the people: CHOOSE LIFE! So Jesus, the New Moses, offers us the 2 Commands which sum up the life of a Christian. Both of these commands have their roots in the 1st reading from Exodus which focuses on 3 groups of unprotected people: the immigrant, the orphan/ widow and the needy who have to borrow money. The Lord says: ‘Do not molest or oppress an alien-immigrant, because you were immigrants too and don’t forget how you were treated in Egypt as slaves.’ But the widow or orphan are not to be wronged either or taken advantage of because when they cry out to God, God will respond as He did so many times in history. Another focus is the lending of money in which a lender extorts by demanding interest from the borrower. If a person gives a blanket as a pledge, the Lord commands that the lender give back the blanket for the night so the poor man will not freeze. I don’t think Banks, loaning institutions, Title Loans companies and Tio Rico want to hear that this is a command from God found in the Bible. These commands reveal a God of compassion, who calls us to be compassionate with the immigrant, the widow, the orphan and the person in need of money to live on. This is the God that we are to love with all our heart, mind, and soul because this is the nature of the God we find in the Bible. (Unfortunately, this is not the type of God that we invent or imagine.)
To love God with all our heart, mind, and spirit seems easy at first, but we have to find the God who reveals himself in the Word of God, the Word that became flesh and visible in Jesus. Jesus is the clearest revelation of God and so what we see and hear from Jesus is really the nature of the living and active God, a God of compassion for the most vulnerable. WHO then are the most vulnerable today in the US today? One clear example are the more than 50,000 immigrant children and mothers who have migrated this past year from central American countries such as El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Recently a friar from Honduras sent me the numbers of children who have come since 2009 which was 3,304, thru 2013 = 20,005 and 2014= 52,205. We cannot help but see this tremendous exodus of children and women over the past several years. Mothers with children are being detained in Artesia awaiting a hearing as to whether they can stay and seek refuge from violence and death of their children. Most do not understand English and cannot present a case to a Judge who is in Arlington, Virginia and sets a bond of $20,000 + to be released. Now the judges are in Denver and lowering the bonds for release. Some are be bonded out by family and several families in Artesia are helping to travel to their families as far away as Maryland. Groups of faith filled people here in Albuquerque are gathering needed supplies for these children and mothers and you can contribute or you can also help lawyers who are volunteering to help these mothers to present a due process case for refuge here in the US. Yet our government policy is to try to send them back as soon as possible, because it seems to MOLEST us and demand us to house them. DOESN”T THE 1st reading of the Word of God hit the nail on the head and call us to be compassionate to the immigrant and UNDERSTAND WHY they are fleeing their countries to come to the land of freedom and promise.
So the command to love God IS LINKED to our Love of Neighbor, because when we love the living God, we also recognize God in the person who is vulnerable and suffering. As Mother Teresa of Calcutta said: “I see God in every human being.” So we also have to see GOD in every living person, especially the poor ones who are more clearly the POOR CHRIST who was born in a stable, was an immigrant escaping from the threat of death from Herod, and today who is fleeing from countries where the threat of death is as real as in the time of Jesus in Bethlehem.
The challenge today is to ask ourselves: DO I LOVE GOD AND MY NEIGHBOR with all my heart, my mind and soul? If not, then I have to do some rethinking about WHO God is and In WHOM GOD is located today. When we discover where God is and what God has done for us, then we can Love God with all our heart and love our Neighbor as we Love Our self.
Ordinary Sunday:“Give to God what belongs to God.” ‘What is on the coin?’ This coin is a silver dollar with the image of President Dwight Eisenhower with the inscription: In God we trust. On every coin or paper bill, there is an image of someone important along with other symbols and words identifying what country has minted the coin or bill. The coin minted by Caesar, which Jesus pointed to was coined to pay a census tax, was worth a day’s wage. However, the Roman coin minted by Caesar also had an inscription of Caesar as Pontfex Maximus. This title held religious significance for the Romans for their religious practices. Caesar was the head of an Empire, but also head of their religion and worship of gods. So it seems that Jesus was addressing this inscription, giving permission for the Jews to pay a government tax to the Roman Empire, but not accepting their religious practices and gods which they worshipped. We respect our government, but not a government which takes on the role of divine powers. What belongs to God is what belongs to the Living God, the God that the Jewish people came to know in the Old Testament. The role of civil authority to charge a tax for services is not questioned, but no government is given a divine authority.
What belongs to GOD that we must give back? Let me use several examples: When you are going to a birthday party, a wedding or special occasion, you usually take a gift. But the value of the gift depends on the type of celebration or the person to whom you are giving thanks or celebrating. When you give a gift of appreciation, it depends on the amount of thanks that you want to give or show to the person. Even when you go to eat a meal at a restaurant, the person who pays the bill, usually calculates the tip for the server depending on the number of people served and the amount of the bill. A tip is determined by leaving 10% or more for the server. If the service is better than usual, the tip might be greater and the thanks warmer and a desire to come back again. When I receive a donation for the church from a person outside the parish, I try to send the person a thank you note, no matter what the amount is. But if the person gives a very large donation, I would consider a BIGGER OR BETTER gift of appreciation.
So when Jesus says: GIVE BACK TO GOD WHAT BELONGS TO GOD. We need to consider: What God has done for us,
How valuable is the gift that was given to us.
Psalm 8 says: “O Lord our God, your greatness is seen in all the world! Your praise reaches up to the heavens. When I look at the sky, which you have made, at the moon and the stars which you set in their places, what are human being that you think of them, mere mortals, that you care for them? Yet you made us only a little less than yourself. You have crowned us with glory and beauty, made us lord over everything you made, you place us over all creation: sheep and cattle and the wild animals too, birds and the fish and the creatures in the seas. Lord our God, your greatness is seen in all the world! I will praise you Lord with all my heart: I will sing with joy because of you. I will sing praise to you Almighty God. I will thank you Lord with my whole heart. I will recount all your wonders. I rejoice and delight in you, I will sing to your name, Most High God.”
This psalm reminds us of the greatness of a God who shares that goodness with us and all of God’s creation. St. Francis of Assisi called all of Creation his Brother or Sister: Brother Sun, Sister Moon, and Sister Water. This vision of Francis, speaks of a great reverence and respect for God our Creator and a great recognition of the Creation that God has shared with us, ‘creating us in God’s image and likeness’ Franciscan teaching tells us that when we see beauty, we are led to the Creator of Beauty because God is Beauty. One author says it is like seeing the connection between a Dance and the Dancer, between the Song and the Singer. He goes on to write then that we need to see God in every human being and be also led up the ladder to the Creator Father, our God. .Mother Teresa of Calcutta saw this insight saying: “I see God in every human being.”
So what can we give back to God? Giving even 10% of our income each week is only a drop in the bucket for what we have received! The Word of God suggests that we give our BODIES as a living sacrifice, rather than the custom of an animal sacrifice. Jesus gave His Body and Blood for our sake! We can give our Bodies each day, for our brothers and sisters, especially the children in our homes, but also the 50,000 children who have come to our country. WE CAN offer our Bodies for them, our service for them, and thus give back to God what belongs to God a LIVING SACRIFICE OF THANKS AND PRAISE.
9th Ordinary time:
28th Ordinary time
If you had received an invitation for the wedding of Prince Phillip and Diana, would you have gone, or just rejected the invitation? Can you imagine someone rejecting an invitation to a wedding feast of a King’s son? Yet we heard the story of people ignoring the invitation to a special wedding feast, some going away to attend to business, their farm. Some mistreated the messenger of the invitation and killed them. But the King continues to want to have his wedding feast filled with guests and so invites the GOOD AND THE BAD to come in and enjoy the banquet. However, even with this gracious invitation, one person does not put on the expected clothing for the occasion. This story was mainly directed to the Jewish religious leaders who were rejecting the message of Jesus. But we also who for one reason or another, reject the invitation to come here to the Banquet table of our King, the Lord Jesus. Recall your responses to the invitation to come here to the Sunday Eucharist, and remember the response that people present at times for not attending the banquet that is here. Why are over 60% of Catholics not here today and ask WHY????? DO YOU EVER INVITE SOMEONE TO COME HERE? Yes, life is busier than in times past, and many times both parents are working and need to catch up on work before Monday rolls around. Yes, there are places to go and things. Sound like the people who went off to do their business or take care of their responsibilities? It seems that we get so used to going to church that we underestimate or devalue the importance of what is here: the Banquet of the Lord God where are fed at 2 tables: the Word and the Eucharist. We are INVITED to come and listen to the Lord speak to us. The Word of God is God speaking, not just anyone speaking. Today, surely everyone needs to hear the hope offered in the 1st reading: ”On this mountain he will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, the web that is woven over all nations; he will destroy death forever. The Lord God will wipe away the tears from every fact; and we will rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!” The reading is presented in terms of a banquet of special importance. This quote along with the hope given by the words of the Prophet Isaiah needs to be shouted/proclaimed as the Word of God, since it is the Good News and Promise which so many of us need to hear.
Everyone needs to hear this message and in a sense we Catholics are OBLIGED to come, like the Parable where the people were brought in to the Wedding feast of the King’s son were obliged and brought in, even the Bad and the Good. All people come to this Banquet where there are 2 tables: The Table of the Word and the Table of the Eucharist. Both are meant to lay out before us a banquet fit for a king, a buffet of a variety of readings from the Bible which are selected like a special meal that will be appropriate and satisfy the desires and hungers of the people. Jesus said: “We do not live on bread alone, but all that comes out of the mouth of God or the Word of God. So we are fed the rich food that satisfies our deepest hunger for understanding and hope that death has not conquered us, even though at times it seems to do that. But we have a Promise that the last and greatest enemy will be conquered and our tears will be wiped away in the end.
One other point which might help us and our family members to not reject the Sunday invitation is what Saint John Paul II wrote about on the importance of the Sunday. “Every seven days, the Church celebrates the Easter mystery, which takes its origin from the actual day of Christ’s resurrection—a day appropriately designated ‘the Lord’s Day’. The resurrection of Jesus the fundamental event upon which Christian faith rests” or as St. Paul tells us: ‘If Jesus had not risen from the dead, then all our faith in him would be in vain.’ “This the day that the Lord has made: let us rejoice and be glad in it (Ps. 118) “Sunday is the day which is at the very heart of Christian life.” “DO NOT BE AFRAID TO GIVE YOUR TIME TO CHRIST! “ the Pope goes on to invite us to then come here every Sunday with a special invitation like Pope Francis wrote: “The Joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus” So once again, the gathering here each Sunday has a special tone to it so that we come to meet and celebrate with the Risen Lord Jesus who gives us hope and Promise of victory over death. We come as Thomas did to touch the wounds of the Lord and allow those wounds to heal our wounds which come from suffering and death. On the person who refused to dress appropriately for the wedding of the King, it probably is not about the clothing as much as the attitude of defiance and arrogance where the person comes to the Banquet, but does not have a desire to enter into the celebration. Sometimes we come and do not have an attitude of openness to the celebration, we are just here, for obligation, not to celebrate the day of Victory over sin and death and not open to LISTENING.
7th Ordinary time
If someone offers you several bunches of grapes, YOU EXPECT the grapes to be sweet and delicious, but if you taste them and they are bitter, you are very disappointed and disillusioned. You didn’t get what you expected.
The 1st reading says “He looks for the crop of grapes, but what it yielded was wild grapes, he expected fair judgment, but there was bloodshed, looked for justice but found cries of distress.” The owner of the vineyard in the Gospel story expected his part of the harvest of the grapes, but the renters killed the son of the owner. In the end Jesus tells us that the kingdom will be taken away from those who are greedy and produce bitterness and give it to people who will produce its fruit, the sweet grapes that are expected.
We need to ask ourselves what are the fruits that God expects of us who have received His Spirit in Baptism? What are the fruits of a person who calls himself a Christian, a Catholic?
St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians Chapter 5: 15-26 gives a list of the fruits of the Holy Spirit which we should be producing as a manifestation of a transformed life as a disciple of Jesus: Love, Joy, Peace, Forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control, generosity, modesty and chastity.
This can be a check list for us to see if we are producing the fruits that the Lord expects of his followers. He writes: “You were called to be free; do not use your freedom as an opening for self-indulgence, but be servants to one another in love, since the whole Law is summarized in the one commandment: You must love your neighbor as yourself. If you go snapping at one another and tearing one another to pieces, take care: you will be eaten up by one another. When self-indulgence is at work the results are obvious: sexual vice, impurity and sensuality, the worship of false gods, and sorcery, antagonisms and rivalry, jealousy, bad temper and quarrels, disagreements, factions and malice, drunkenness, orgies and all such things. On the other hand, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control.
We see the contrast between the fruits that God expects and the ones which disappoint the Lord. This reminds me of what Pope Francis has said: Christians should not be ‘sourpusses’. In his letter he writes: ‘Consequently, an evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral!’. dejected, discouraged, impatient or anxious, but ministers of the Gospel whose lives glow with fervor, who have first received the joy of Christ: The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus, marked by this joy. We surely see this joy expressed in the life and joy of Pope Francis!
This weekend we celebrate the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. One of the outstanding marks of Francis is JOY which he found when he left the culture of consumerism, wanting more and more things which promise happiness. He found joy in trusting God as a Father who provides each day, all that is needed.
I recently travelled to Bogota Columbia for a week-long meeting of Franciscans on Justice, Peace, and the respect for Creation. What impressed me most were the Franciscans working for justice and peace among the poorest of central and South American. During the meeting we had opportunity to visit a section of Bogota where 1million people live in small block rooms. One woman told us that she collected plastic bottles, newspapers, and cardboard in order to provide for her family. She lived with another family and together there are 14 living in a small room. Yet she and the children I saw had a glow of joy. They seemed to be living the spirit of St. Francis better than I am living.
So the question we need to ask is: Am I producing the fruits that Jesus wants me to produce from his Holy Spirit which I have within me? Or am I a sour puss Catholic or a sad Christian? How do I approach my family and the community? Do I leave here today filled with JOY or do I leave grumpy? Do I talk to my children with a joy or am I a person of SOUR GRAPES, BITTER, and SAD? Joy comes from the spirit of the Blessed Virgin and saints like Francis of Assisi who recognized what God was doing and then went on to become instruments of Peace and forgiveness who recognize that all creation is related with me to the same Creator Father and so we are brother and sister and we live on Mother Earth. What we are doing to the earth, we are doing to a Mother who gives our food. Or on a scale of 1-10 how would you rate the joy in your life:
1 a sad/grumpy Catholic ------------ 10 a Francis joy filled Christian?
Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross:
Perhaps you have noticed that when the Dallas Cowboys score a touchdown, there is a person who holds up a sign with the words: JOHN 3:16. When we find that verse in the Bible it is what we have heard in the words of the Lord today: “God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” This person is very motivated to get everyone around the world to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Some Christians insist that everyone, even a dying Catholic, or me as a Priest say the words: I accept Jesus Christ in my heart, as my Lord and Savior.” It is their belief that many of us have not spoken that formula of words and so WILL NOT BE SAVED FROM ETERNAL PUNISHMENT!
What I want to focus on today is not the speaking of a formula of words, spoken that will save me or that we can somehow MERIT by our words Eternal Life.
What is most important is that GOD LOVED THE WORLD and continues to LOVE US and sent His Son Jesus, to show that God’s LOVE will SAVE the world and us.
This is the insight of St. John when in his 1st letter Chapter 4 writes: “This is the revelation of God’s love for us that God sent his only Son into the world that we might have life through him. Love consists in this: it is not we who love God, but God loved us and sent his Son to expiate our sin. And so if God loved us so much, we too should love each other. Let us love each other since love is from God and everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God……. because God is love.”
This is also the 2nd reading of St. Paul: Christ Jesus, though he was God,….emptied himself (of that divinity) and took on the form of a slave coming in human likeness, humbled himself becoming obedient to death on a cross. And because of this (LOVE) every knee should bend and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord for the glory of God the Father (who sent His only Son to save us).So while we need to say that Jesus is the Christ and Lord and Savior, it is more important to not focus on what I am saying or doing, but rather on what God has done for us in sending out of love, Jesus to reveal the extent of God’s love for us. Jesus said: “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
So I invite you to focus on the LOVE of God for us and for our world because many times we have fashioned a god who is always ready to judge, condemn and PUNISH us and the World. One time I saw a bumper sticker that said: God is coming soon and He is really upset with us! It reminded me of how we so often think that God thinks the way we do. But let us remember what Jesus spoke to Peter: “You are an obstacle in my path because you are thinking not as God does, but as human being do.” Matthew 16 Those who want to force people to say a formula seem to be thinking that God has desires to condemn us, unless we say some words, unless WE DO THE SALVATION! Salvation comes from the Love of God which we see on the Cross and which we say in the profession of our faith: “FOR OUR SAKE, He suffered and died.”
This is the insight that Francis of Assisi came to see and embrace. He was overwhelmed that God would be born as a powerless little child in the care of Joseph and Mary. He made it visible to himself and to the people of Greccio outside the town by gathering outside a cave on a Christmas night and thus began the Christmas crib custom. He preached about the love of God with an image of a the Christ Child and it is said that when he spoke so enthusiastically, the child came alive! He was also bowled over by the love that He saw on the Cross and prayed that he might feel in his body some of the sufferings of the wounds of Jesus so that he would know more deeply the LOVE that God has for him a sinner. He received the nail marks and wounded side of Jesus SO THAT HE WOULD KNOW MOST DIRECTLY THE LOVE OF GOD FOR US!So I ask you to take from the WORD of God that we have heard, a NEW image of God: a God who LOVES the WORLD and LOVE each of us! Put aside your images of a God who wants to condemn you. That is an image that we often think is GOD, but as Peter found out, the wounds and sufferings of Jesus are the manifestation of the LOVE OF GOD for us. And any suffering that we carry can also become a SACRIFICE OF LOVE also, that we can offer to God here with the perfect Sacrifice that Jesus made for us, to save us from thinking God is a god who condemns. This is the Sacrifice where we intimately find a God who LOVED us enough to have His Son suffer the punishment that we deserve for our sins, so much did God love us. OPEN your eyes and your ears to THIS Word of God, a God of Love for the world, for each of us!
3rd Ordinary time:
Accident up ahead! Be careful! Watch out! Slow down! Many times we are warned of danger ahead. There are many warnings that we receive each day and even when taking a medicine there are warnings of side effects. But do we heed the warnings or ignore them? Have you tried to warn someone and they don’t listen and maybe retaliate back at you????
Jesus instructs the disciples who form his group of followers, how to warn someone who has sinned against them. We are to do it in private, one to one. ‘If the person listens to you, you have won over the person’ to see what their actions have done and then change the bad behavior. But if the person does not listen, Jesus tells us to make further measures. Hopefully, the person listens to your warning, and the hoped- for change takes place or an apology is offered.
But many times it seems that we struggle with another person’s bad behavior and when we attempt to change the person, they react negatively or even retaliate with strong words such as: “Who are you to tell me what to do? You should look at your own behavior”. Or: “ I do not see any need to change or apologize.”
These rejections are rather common in family life and in other areas where we work with other people and even in our Church life experiences.
Nevertheless, the point of the teaching of Jesus is that we go to the person and attempt to have them listen to what they have done. However, sometimes we are afraid to go to the person and confront them. We might gossip and talk about what the person did, which we find is easier than going to talk to the person in private. Let me suggest what someone wrote for better ways of confronting a person. They suggested a formula like this: You are a very good person of many good qualities, BUT when you did this_________ or said this_________________,
It made me feel__________________. In this way of confronting the person, the overall and broader picture of the person is recognized. Then the most immediate incident or words are pointed out and followed with how that made the person feel. Perhaps you would like to try this as a softer way to confront a person or a family member.
Jesus also tells the community that if this private way of talking with the person fails to bring a listening heart, then the matter needs to be addressed by 2 or 3 witnesses who can give first hand testimony. While this seems to center on a matter in the Christian Community, it reminds me of when there needs to be an intervention by several people when a person does not accept the degree of their alcohol use. Many times the wife has talked to the husband, for example, but the person does not listen. When the alcoholic behavior becomes worse and offends more people in the family, then several members of the family get together and sort of ‘corner’ the person who is abusing alcohol. When 2 o 3 people give first hand testimony to the person, that is much stronger than just one person who the alcoholic can avoid, dodge, or refuse to listen. These people can give the best overall facts about the behavior and then move to have the person seek a program of recovery which leads to a change of behavior. This is a very difficult step to take and needs to be well planned out so that the person does not slip away by retaliating and striking back at the family members in anger.
There is a 3rd step of taking the person to the Church members or a priest or counselor. Sometimes the person is embarrassed to do that, but it can also be a very effective way when people of solid faith and long time respect are brought to the person to call the person to a change of behavior.
All of these warning methods are ways in which we can improve our ways of addressing the situation of bad behavior that is offensive to someone. Try to think this wisdom over and try to make appropriate attempts in the times when you need to confront someone.
But before any intervention or confrontation, pray about it; ask the Lord how He would talk with the person. It also helps to write down what you really want to say to the person. By writing and rewriting what you want to say, you are focused with clarity, do not come with a condemning spirit or humiliating tone. Jesus did not condemn, but rather spoke directly to the woman at the well and the woman caught in adultery. Very likely the person will listen to you because we have the spirit of Jesus. Try it this week in your home. Try to warn as Jesus does.
22nd ordinary time: `TRY TO THINK MORE LIKE GOD THINKS,
RATHER THAN THE WAY YOU THINK NOW.`
“God forbid that you suffer rejection by religious leaders, be killed, powerless on a cross”---Peter argued with Jesus. We often feel the same: God forbid that I end up like that, in a nursing home, with a stroke, unable to talk or move---God forbid that happens to me or you!
Jesus speaks some of the strongest words to our way of thinking, to Peter who had just identified Jesus as the Savior, but who did not understand how that salvation would come about. Jesus called Peter an OBSTACLE, like Satan tempting him to not go forward on this path of suffering. “You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do,” Jesus tells Peter. This human reaction, this way of thinking is the obstacle that tries to trip up Jesus as he continues up the path to the Cross, death and resurrection. When we go down a road or street, many times we come to the famous orange barrels that block our path. They are obstacles that slow us down, cause us frustration and can trip us up and have us turn back on anther road. Our way of thinking about suffering is like an obstacle.
Jesus tells us that our way of thinking can be an obstacle, a strong temptation to turn away from suffering, rejection and death. Try to think as God Does and that is pretty hard to do and change. Peter’s expresses his fears as we often do: GOD FORBID THAT THAT HAPPEN TO YOU! The Obstacle was Peter’s way of thinking about suffering and death: it is not the path I want to go on. Let’s turn back!
Here are a few examples of obstacles that OUR thinking that can trip us up:
1) Suffering has no value and we need to avoid it at all cost. We take the palliative way to drug out the pain since it seems to have no value.
2) ME first and let ME do what I want. No one tells me what to do.
3) Try to gain the whole world, all the wealth that we can accumulate in life, and teach your children to study hard to reach this goal.
4) Turn away from anything that is hard and demands self sacrifice, even in religious matters.
5) There can not be a resurrection after death. Death is the end and final.
On the contrary, God thinks quite differently
Suffering has a value: Listen again to the 2nd reading to the Romans: I urge you, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.” This gives us the meaning for what Jesus commands us all to do: carry a cross of suffering. We can offer it along with the living sacrifice of Jesus as our spiritual worship each time we bring our offerings to the altar. We not only can offer a financial offering, but more importantly, a LIVING OFFERING, OUR SACRIFICE of our suffering for the needs of our world today. Jesus, ‘FOR OUR SAKE’ as we say, suffered and died for us, for the forgiveness of sins and to destroy the power of death. WE CAN JOIN HIM for the SAKE OF MANY PEOPLE who are in need TODAY of our offering of our powerlessness, our weakness, our sickness, our suffering. THEN suffering takes on a great value, when offered to God for the sake of the many needs of people throughout the world! (Suffering has no value in itself. But it can take on a value, and not be an obstacle, but an opportunity to offer a LIVING SACRIFICE to God.)
Further on, The Letter to the Romans, Paul tells us: Bless your persecutors, never curse them, bless them.
1) Never pay back evil with evil, let God take care of that person .
2) If your enemy is hungry, give them something to eat, if thirsty, something to drink.
3) Do not be mastered by evil, but master evil with good. (Romans 12)
Do we think this way???? Does our government foreign policy or even in our own country or in our homes follow this way of thinking? These are just a few examples of the ways that the thinking of God is very different from our way of thinking. Our human way as a government policy is not to feed our enemies, but to boycott them of food so they will submit to our desires and ‘interests”.
It takes a lot of wisdom to understand why we should bless someone who is persecuting us. We want to run away from rejection like the prophet Jeremiah or Peter did when he ran from Jesus or we want to strike back with revengeful words or actions. Perhaps you can recall some of the ways that you think as a human being and not as God thinks. When someone hits you, we humanly think that we are ENTITLED to hit back and even HIT HARDER to teach them a lesson. We cannot escape from how we were taught to react. But today, Jesus challenges us to think as God does and to think and react as Jesus did. He sets the example of a human being who did not strike back, he did not spit back, he did not come off of the cross in his powerlessness. He trusted in the justice of God the Father and prayed: “Into your hands I commend my spirit and my destiny”.
If we bless our persecutor, we pray for them and they might even challenge us to grow and look at our defects of character. Jesus prayed: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they are doing.”
Look at your ways of thinking this week and compare them to how Jesus thinks. Are you willing to follow Jesus or do you turn back to your old ways of thinking??? `Try more to think like God thinks and your life will become like Jesus.`
21st Sunday Ordinary time:
KEYS---open and close and if you don’t have the KEY, you can’t get in! Jesus gives “the keys” to the kingdom of heaven to Peter who gives a better INSIDE view of Jesus’ identity. Others see Jesus from outside. They have not the key to seeing who Jesus is from inside. Peter gets inside with the help of the Spirit of the Father who identifies him as the CHRIST, the Son of the living God. The title: the CHRIST is the Messiah, the Savior that the Jewish people were waiting for from the time of the sin of Adam and Eve which had brought on death, to our humanity, as a consequence. NOW Peter identifies who Jesus is and Peter is given “KEYS” which will open up more of who Jesus really is. On this insight from God, a community of faith, a church, will be able to be built. This is the base, the foundation for the structure: Jesus is the Son of the Living God. On this solid, rock foundation, we are built as a church! But remember that Jesus commands the disciples to tell no one yet that he is the Christ. WHY?
Keys are very important. If you have the keys for a car you can drive and move. If you have keys for a home or building you can enter. But if you do not, then you are locked out. When I came here as Pastor 5 years ago, Fr. Gino gave me a large amount of keys and told me that these would open everything in the Parish that I needed to get into. From that large key ring, I selected only the most important keys that I would need each day and if there was a room I couldn’t get in, I could find the key or call Juan our maintenance man who has even more keys than I do.
There are however, several keys on my ring which are called MASTER keys and they open special closets which most people are not able to open such as the closet where the safe for our Sunday collections are kept. Many people have the common key and can come in to the church. BUT the MASTER key is only given to 3-5 people who have need to enter these more special places and who are trusted to carry out these duties of opening and closing the places of great value.
This example of keys can help us to understand that ALL OF US who are baptized have the common key to open an understanding that Jesus is our Lord and Savior! From the moment of Baptism we have the KEY TO SALVATION, because we know that Jesus is the one who can save us from sin and death. He is the one who we listen to and who gives us the key to the LIVING GOD and to the kingdom of heaven. For that reason we baptize children, but guarantee that they will know how to open their minds and hearts to the one who can save them and reveal to them a LIVING GOD. Just like little children are unable to drive a car and are not given the keys, but ride with a good driver, and later learn from good drivers and a driver’s education course, are given the keys when the parents are sure that the child is responsible for the keys to the car.
In the same way, some people are given a more special key and that opens us to a more intimate relationship with Jesus. This key is the BIBLE, the WORD OF GOD and it leads to being given another key which opens up an even better relationship with God. That key is for those who are considered ready to receive the Holy Communion of the Body and Blood of Jesus. This key is given to those who understand what Holy Communion opens up for us. Today 2 children are being given this key because they have been home schooled to understand the importance of this key that many of us have received. This is the common key that Disciples of the Lord receive. There is a special key that others receive such as Deacons and Priests. This is the key to administer Sacraments. When I came here I also received a letter from Archbishop Sheehan giving me the authority to open to you the Forgiveness of Jesus, to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and other Sacraments of great importance and to be your Pastor.
So I want to conclude by saying that you have a great privilege to have 2 keys as followers of Jesus. One is Baptism, then the BIBLE which is the great key that opens up our understanding of who God and Jesus are. (Unfortunately some Catholics do not want that Bible key or even if they have it on their key ring, they do not use it to open the understanding of who Jesus really is.) On the other hand, most of us here today have the key to Holy Communion with the Lord which opens up the most important places to the kingdom of heaven. (However, sometimes Christians don’t use another key, the key to the Sacrament of Marriage, which closes out the key to full Communion with Jesus. The final GREAT key is the Sunday KEY, which opens up the Resurrection of Jesus. The Resurrection of Jesus is the in final key that was not given to Peter at that time and only after the Risen Lord gave the power to forgive and promise LIFE after death. That key opens the fullness of the kingdom of heaven. SO, I ask you: how are YOU USING THE KEYS you have been given???
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Introduction to the Liturgy of the Day
Today we will hear in the Gospel about the greatest commandment the law of love. In preparation for that, our first reading presents what might be called laws of compassion. Imagine a world in which alien people are welcomed and all businesses are generous, especially to those with few resources. As we pray together today, let us ask for the grace to make our own contributions to such a world.
Introduction to the Liturgy of the Word
Once again Jesus finds himself being tested by the Pharisees. This time he is asked to name the greatest law. He does so, but immediately invokes its complement, placing love of God and love of neighbor on equal footing. Indeed, his point is that you cannot have one without the other. So let us listen for the challenge today: how is our love of God reflected in our love the neighbor?
Trigésimo Domingo del Tiempo Ordinario
26 de octubre 2014
Introducción de la Liturgia del Día
Hoy oiremos que el Evangelio nos habla acera del mayor de todos los mandamientos: la ley del amor. A fin de prepararos para eso nuestra primera lectura presenta lo que bien pudiera llamarse leyes de compasión. Imagínense un mundo donde los extranjeros son acogidos y todas las compañias empresariales son generosas, especialmente para con los que tienen pocos recursos. Oremos juntos y pidamos la gracia de poder hacer nuestra propia contribución a esa clase de mundo.
Introducción a la Liturgia de la Palabra
Una vez más Jesús es tentado por los fariseos. Esta vez le preguntan cuál es el mandamiento más grande de la ley. Él contesta, pero inmediatamente añade un complemento, esto es, poniendo el amor de Dios y el amor al prójimo en un mismo plano de igualdad. En efecto, él quiere indicar que uno no se puede dar sin el otro. Así es que escuchemos el reto de hoy: ¿cómo se refleja nuestro amor a Dios en nuestro amor al prójimo?
Monday, 10/27, 7:00am
VEmma & Vidal Padilla by Julian & Rita Lueras
Blessed Virgin Mary for Peace in the World by the Blue Army
Sunday, 11/2, 8:00am
Anniversary VAndy Contreras by Josie & Family
VJames Perea & VFabian Ortega by Vivian Ortega
Anniversary VPerminio Lopez by Dolores Lopez & Family
VJose Fierro by Charlie & Irene Blea
Sunday, 11/2, 10:00am
For the People of the Parish
Sunday, 11/2, 12:00pm
VBob & VAnna Kirchgasner by Trossman Family
VHerman Santistevan by Family
VAntonio & VSinforia Vigil by Esther & Tony Moraga
Pray for the Deceased of the Parish
John W. Armijo – October 3, 2014
Ashley Montoya – October 14, 2014
Pray for the Sick of the Parish
Sixta Gloria, Noah Chavez, Renee Gomez, Gilbert Angelo & Mario Serrano, Julia Lucero, Gene Sena, Mellie Garcia, Rosemary Marquez, Becky Kronis, Diane Rath Geber, Baby Benjamin, Angie Pino, Steve Lopez, Dan Gurule and Leo Aragon.
Cremated Remains Committal Service
The Catholic Cemetery Association is offering a no-cost program that gives families the opportunity to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding proper and reverent disposition of the cremated remains of loved ones currently being kept at home. The Cremains Committal Service will be held on November 3, in Albuquerque. Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan will be the celebrant which will take place in the Mt. Calvary Cemetery Chapel at 10:00am. If you would like to make arrangements or need more information, please call Mount Calvary Cemetery 243-0218.
Family Grief and Addiction Recovery Ministries
Healing Hearts Parish Support Groups: Peer support for widowed, separated and divorced persons, led by trained facilitators. Join us on the 2nd & 4th Monday at St. Joseph on the Rio Grande, 5901 St. Joseph Drive NW, at 6:30pm. For more information call 505-839-7952. Also on the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month at Risen Savior, 7701 Wyoming Blvd NE, at 7pm. For more information please call 505-821-1715.
Spanish TV Mass
In an effort to reach out to our brothers and sisters whose primary language is Spanish and who are not able to attend Sunday Mass at their local parishes due to illness, age, or other is-sues, the Archdiocese offers the transmission of the Sunday Mass in Spanish. This is an archdiocesan ministry offered in collaboration with the Offices of Hispanic Ministry and Worship and Christian Initiation. The Spanish TV Mass airs every Sunday at 6:30am, on Univision Channel 41, on regular TV, and Channel 15, on Cable (check your individual TV signal provider for other channels). The Sunday Mass in Spanish can also be seen online any day and at any time by accessing www.noticiasnuevomexico.com and searching for La Misa Católica under the heading Comunidad.
Native American Ministry
Save the Date: Native American CLI, Friday, November 7 -Saturday November 8, at the Catholic Center, 4000 St. Joseph Pl. NW, in Albuquerque. This event is sponsored by the Youth and Young Adult Ministry. For additional information or for any questions contact Della from the Youth Office at 505-831-8142.
Oración de la Sagrada Familia
Jesús, María y José, en ustedes contemplamos el esplendor de verdadero amor, a ustedes, confiados, nos dirigimos. Santa Familia de Nazaret, haz también de nuestras familias lugar de comunión y cenáculo de oración, auténticas escuelas del Evangelio y pequeñas Iglesias domésticas. Santa Familia de Nazaret, que nunca más haya en las familias episodios de violencia de cerrazón y división; que quien haya sido herido o escandalizado sea pronto consolado y curado. Santa Familia de Nazaret, que el próximo Sínodo de los Obispos haga tomar conciencia a todos del carácter sagrado e inviolable de la familia, de su belleza en el proyecto de Dios. Jesús, María y José, escuchen, reciban nuestra súplica. Amén
El uso de los sobres es la herramienta más eficaz para probar su actividad y participación en la parroquia). Los padres y padrinos que no sean miembros registrados de la Iglesia Sagrada Familia deben tener una carta de autorización firmada por el pastor de la parroquia a la cual pertenecen.
Reglas para Padres y Padrinos
Se requiere que asistas a las clases de bautismo si no lo ha hecho en los dos últimos años. Ambos Padres y padrinos deben asistir a las clases. Estas clases son impartidas el segundo sábado de cada mes de 9:00 am a 3:00 pm. Usted debe ser un miembro activo de la Iglesia Católica por lo menos por tres meses para recibir el permiso para ser padrino/a . Esto también aplica si usted quiere bautizar a su hijo en otra iglesia. Usted debe tener todos los sacramentos y si está casado/a debe estarlo por la Iglesia. La próxima clase de bautismo se llevará a cabo el sábado 8 de noviembre del 2014. Se requiere una colaboración de $10.00 por persona. Se debe registrar en la oficina parroquial antes del mediodía del jueves previo a la clase. No se aceptan personas sin la debida registración. Por favor no traer niños.
Introducción a la Escritura
Sabado, Noviembre 8 y Noviembre 22. 9am - 12pm. Ascension Church, 2150 Raymac Rd SW. Connie Smith, Instructor. $10 course fee. Register call Rosalie se habla espanol 505-831-8179 o email@example.com
My good deed of the Week
Cleaned my Closet. by Madilyn Munoz
Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed
All Souls Day
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Introduction to the Liturgy of the Day
Our loving God calls us here today to remember those whom we have known and loved and indeed all the souls who have gone before us. For some of us the pain of grief is still fresh, but for all of us the memories give us strength to carry on in our faith, as we pray for those who have died. Today is to proclaim our hope in the Resurrection and in the promises of Christ for all whom we have known in this world and whom we hope to see again in the next.
Introduction to the Liturgy of the Word
Today let us take comfort from these scriptures that can bring hope healing to sorrowing hearts. For we know that God’s love is stronger even than death, and we have Jesus Christ’s resurrection as proof of that. So let us renew our faith that all who believe in Jesus Christ will have eternal life.
Conmemoración de Todos los Fieles Difuntos
“Día de los Muertos”
2 de noviembre 2014
Introducción de la Liturgia del Día
Nuestro Dios bondadoso nos llama aquí hoy para recordar a aquellas personas que hemos conocido y amado; es más, recordamos a todas las almas que nos han precedido en la fe. Para algunos de nosotros el dolor de la pena aún está fresco, pero para todos nosotros los recuerdos nos dan fortaleza para seguir en el camino de la fe mientras oramos por nuestros difuntos. Hoy es un día para proclamar nuestra esperanza en la resurrección y en las promesas de Cristo para todos los que hemos conocido durante su vida en este mundo y a quienes esperamos ver de Nuevo en la vida eterna.
Introducción a la Liturgia de la Palabra
Dejemos que esta lecturas de hoy nos den ese consuelo que trae esperanza y sanación a nuestro corazón, pues sabemos que el amor de Dios es más fuerte que la muerte, y la resurrección de Jesucristo es prueba de ello. Por tanto, renovemos nuestra fe en que todos los que creen en Jesucristo tendrán la vida eternal.
Monday, 11/3, 7:00am
VBenny & VBeatrice Lopez by Family
St. Joseph by Leo Flores
St. Jude by Betty Montoya
In Thanksgiving Marquez & Windham
Family by Mollie Marquez
Sunday, 11/9, 8:00am
VBob & VAnna Joe Kirchgasner by Trossman Family
VJulian & VMaria Lueras & All VDeceased by Julian & Rita
Santo Cayetano, VSimon & VCora Jojola by Rosalie Montoya
Sunday, 11/9, 10:00am
BD VJosécito Rodriguez by Family
Sunday, 11/9, 12:00pm
For the People of the Parish
Pray for the Deceased of the Parrish
Daniel Blake Sr. – October 18, 2014
Christopher S. Garza – October 20, 2014
Ashly Nicole Rangel – October 20, 2014
Ramona Jaramillo – October 22, 2014
Pray for the Sick of the Parish
Benita Barela, Elena Capistran, Ralph Gonzales, Jim Pappas, Shaun Fernandez, Sixta Gloria, Noah Chavez, Renee Gomez, Gilbert Angelo & Mario Serrano, Julia Lucero and Gene Sena
Holy Family Baptismal Policy
Parent and godparents are to be registered and active members of Holy Family or any other Catholic Church for a period of 3 months prior to baptism. (To be registered, and active means that they be present at Mass, and use their envelopes regularly whether a monetary offering is given or not). The use of the envelopes is the most effective tool for proof of participation and activity. Parents and godparents who are not registered members of Holy Family Catholic Church are required to have a letter of permission signed by the pastor of their home parish. Baptisms at Holy Family are never denied, but can be delayed due to registration status, permissions from home parish and found hope that the infant would not be brought up in the Catholic religion. To be a sponsor the following prescriptions must be met: Only one male, and one female sponsor. The law does not allow for two males or two females to be sponsors at baptism. Be at least 16 years of age, be a Baptized Catholic who has been Confirmed, received the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist and leads a life in harmony with the faith and the role to be undertaken. Godparents if married must be married in the Catholic Church. Godparents may not be married by civil law only or a couple living in the same household as boyfriend and girlfriend. Parents and godparents are required to attend and instructional session once they are eligible and approved in the meaning of the sacrament and the obligations attached to it. The next Baptism class will be held on Saturday, November 8, 2014. There is a $10.00 fee per person. Register at the parish office no later than noon the Thursday before the class. Walk in’s are no longer accepted. No Children please!
Sacred Heart League Members Retreat
The Sacred Heart League Retreat will be held on Saturday, November 15, at the Norbertine
Community from 8:30am – 3:00pm. The Community is located at 5825 Coors Blvd SW.
We will conclude our spiritual filled day with the Saturday evening mass at 4:30pm, at Holy Family.
Please let your promoter know if you will be able to attend.
A Ministry Workshop has been scheduled for Saturday, November 22, from 9:00am to 12:00 noon. Is the Lord Calling You? Holy Family is inviting you to participate in the liturgy, as a Minister of Communion, during Mass or to take to the homebound. Can you give some of your time to this ministry? Are you Baptized, made your First Communion, Confirmed and married in the Church? If you have all your sacraments, you are able to serve in this Ministry. Think about it. Pray about it. No matter how unworthy we may feel to be a worker in the vineyard of the Lord, Jesus is the one who forgives us, justifies us, and call us to be fishers of men. Our response should be to leave all to follow him with all our heart, finding all our delight in him. If you are part of the Youth Group, Eucharistic Minister, Lector, Usher, Catechist or Altar Server. Please mark your calendar and plan to attend Saturday, November 22, starting at 9:00am. If you have any questions please call Linda Padilla, Eucharistic Minister Coordinator 842-5426 or 280-8332 for more information.
Knights of Columbus Turkey Bingo
Mark your calendar and join the Holy Family Knights of Columbus at their Annual Turkey Bingo, on Sunday, November 16, 2014, from 2:00pm to 6:00pm in the Parish Hall.
Campaign for Human Development
CCHD brings Catholic social teaching to life. It funds community and economic development programs across the United States that help poor and marginalized people join together to make decisions, seek solutions to local problems and find ways to improve their lives and neighborhoods. The second collection next weekend will be for Campaign for Human Development. Please give generously.
Taller de Ministerios
Jeff Rhoades el Director de Música, estará presentando un taller para todos los Ministros. El Sabado 22 de Noviembre de 9:00 am a 12:00 del mediodía, tomará lugar en el Salón Parroquial. Este Taller es para todos los Lectores, Ministros de la Eucaristia, Ushers Catequistas y Acólitos. Por favor marque su calendario.
My good deed of the Week
I won student of the month at my school.
by Maria Perea
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