Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Have yourself a ‘Mary’ Christmas!

    This may seem like just a nice play on words, but it is more than just that.  Mary is the one who cooperated in Christmas like no other person ever could.  She conceived God in her womb and gave birth to Jesus, fully God and fully man.  The birth of Jesus does not happen without a mother.  You cannot have a birthday without going through the birthing process.
    Mary was the Mother of God in two aspects.  She was the actual and physical Mother, but she was also the spiritual Mother.  Jesus once said, “whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.” – [Matthew 12:50]  So, by doing the will of His heavenly Father, she was part of His family.
    We, too, can be part of Jesus’ family.  For Christmas, we should desire to be like Mary and give birth to Jesus into our families.  May your Christmas be like Mary’s as you receive the gift of our Savior into your family!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Is unforgiveness holding you back?

    Many things hold us back from receiving God’s graces, but nothing more than unforgiveness.  It is often forgotten and disregarded as unnecessary.  But, Jesus did not die on the cross needlessly.  No, He died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins.  So, forgiveness is of the utmost importance.
    What does unforgiveness hold us back from, though?  First, anyone who has said the ‘Our Father’ has “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  We are asking God to forgive us as we forgive others.  So, if we want forgiveness for all of our sins against God, we should forgive others for all of their sins against us.  Not an easy thing, but then again, neither is dying on a cross.
    Forgiveness can be very difficult to for us to give.  It is not forgive and forget, though.  Forgiving is saying that you do not want payment for the transgression committed against you.  In a way, it is not seeking revenge.
    Unforgiveness also weakens our prayers, since it distances us from God.  God is all loving and His love poured out for us on the cross for the purpose of saving us through forgiveness.  Forgiveness is about loving the other.  We do not want vengeance; we want the best for the other.  After all, this is what Jesus did for us.  He took the payment needed for our transgressions and put it on His shoulders.
    The next time we have a hard time forgiving, we need to remember that Jesus has already paid for their sins.  Surely, this is payment enough.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What is more important, our actions or our intentions?

    Jesus once said, ”What is your opinion?  A man had two sons.  He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’  He said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards he changed his mind and went.  The man came to the other son and gave the same order.  He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did his father’s will?”  They answered, “The first.”  Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.” – [Matthew 21:28-31]
    So, our intentions may be the best, but unless we carry them out, they are meaningless.  If you try and are unable to carry them out, that is different.  Jesus’ parable shows two sons that are able to carry out their father’s will.  We need to ask ourselves what the Father’s will is.  Each one of us was created uniquely and thus we should all have a unique design in His will.  No person can fulfill what you were uniquely designed and positioned for.
    We have great intentions.  We also have many great opportunities to fulfill the Father’s will.  Many opportunities we allow to just go by us.  Have you ever thought to yourself that you would be willing to take a bullet for someone?  Many have had this intention, but many of us would not be willing to give up other things for the same person.  Whether it be your favorite TV show (football included), your favorite restaurant or meal, or even your comfortable place on the couch are you willing to give it up for the person that you would ‘supposedly’ take a bullet for?
    Not sure that my actions have caught up with my intentions, but trying is what we are asked to do.  Jesus, by Your obedience thru Your Passion, help us to complete our good intentions to do the Father’s will.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

“Like a shepherd He feeds His flock” – [Isaiah 40:11]

    We have all heard this before, but what does it mean?  How does a shepherd feed his flock?  A shepherd does not bring food to the sheep.  Imagine a shepherd bringing sod to sheep to eat.  A shepherd leads his sheep to food.  If the sheep want to eat, they follow their shepherd.  He leads them to food.
    Are we sheep to the Divine Shepherd?  Or do we think that we can take care of ourselves?  Sure, we must do our duty, but how can we sustain ourselves when we rely on God for our very existence?  To take care of ourselves, we need to follow the shepherd.  Any other way and we put ourselves in danger as does a wandering sheep.
    I took this from Fr. Simon on Relevant Radio [93.9 FM].  Happy Birthday Fr. Simon!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Advent has begun, but what are we supposed to do?

    Advent has begun this past weekend.  Advent precedes Christmas, but what is its purpose?  After all, we cannot know what we are supposed to do during Advent without knowing the purpose of Advent.  Advent is a season of preparing for the arrival of Jesus.
    Surely, Jesus has already arrived into this world with the first Christmas years ago, but we are called to prepare to receive Jesus into our lives and hearts as if it was the first Christmas.  God has no limits and can come to us as genuine as we are able to receive Him.  In that way, the only limitation to receiving Jesus is placed upon us.  And by doing this every year, we are able to expand upon our openness to Jesus more and more.
    Also, we need to prepare ourselves for Jesus’ second coming.  We do not know the day or the hour.  We cannot wait to get right with God until later.  We may die at any moment in any day and Jesus may come to end time at any moment of any day.  If we are not prepared, we may chose Hell for ourselves.  Jesus loves us and wants us to join Him in Heaven, but we must be prepared to do so.
    What are you doing to prepare for Jesus?  What do you do to prepare for a very special guest?