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Friday, November 30, 2018

Heaven, Hell, and Our Bodies

Individual judgment and universal judgment that will occur in the end times. Being prepared for it means bothering to love our neighbors as ourselves and deepening our relationship with Christ.

The Resurrection of the Body

As we believe that Christ will come again, we also profess that the dead will be resurrected on that day when Christ draws all to himself. Associated with that resurrection is the resurrection of the body in which each person will be completely human, both body and soul, for all eternity. How will this happen? Who really knows, but St. Paul in his 1st letter to the Corinthians writes about our spiritual bodies being raised. Material creation will also be transformed and God will provide for us an environment in which our resurrected, glorified bodies will thrive for all eternity.

What is heaven?

We always think about heaven as a place high above the earth with pure white and fluffy clouds, but heaven is more of a state than a place. It is the state of eternal life in union with God and with those who share in his life. Heaven in the perfect fulfillment of our life – we will finally be completely what God intends us to be - and we shall come to know God directly. Our response undoubtedly will only be one of happiness.

In heaven, we will retain our individuality, but the transforming love of Christ will mold us into totally unselfish images of the Father. Those virtues and characteristics that we strive for on earth – peace, love, truth, wisdom, goodness, beauty, justice, companionship and understanding – will be fulfilled.

So, then what is purgatory?

Purgatory essentially means a state of purification or cleansing. We are to be free from all of our sins before we enter into heaven. That is why the church administers the viaticum – formerly the last rites – so that we can confess our sins before we meet our maker.

While we have scant references to purgatory in scripture, we read about our need to pray for the dead so that they may be released from their sin. The prayers of the living, especially at the Eucharist where we offer Masses for the repose of a person’s soul, help those who are in purgatory.

A person enters purgatory due to the nature of the sins committed, or for one’s hesitation in totally opening one’s heart to God, or for our unwillingness to love God perfectly. During the Beatific vision when we encounter God face to face, our sinful infidelities may burn within us as we recognize the ways we failed to bother to love God, but God’s gaze eventually penetrates and melts away our imperfections so that our hearts can totally accept the eternal union that God offers us.

And what about hell?

Hell is eternal separation from God. A person who has died and has turned away from God’s love is turned inward to one’s own self – eternally – cutting oneself off from other relationships. A person experiences a sense of loss and a suffering of the senses. All people exercise free choice to accept or turn away from God. It has to be this way for God to respect our free will.

Who is in hell? Who knows? God’s merciful judgment is essentially for us, but we know that it is possible for a person to definitively reject God, but I wonder if any person could actually do that.

Be assured. A person who fundamentally loves God will act out of one’s love so we don’t need to unnecessarily fear hell. Our actions shape our selves and our future destiny by each of our actions. We always have to remember that God loved us so much that he sent Jesus into the world to save us from ourselves so that we may have eternal life. That is indeed the best good news that I have ever heard.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Holiday Dinner Planning

This is a summary of this morning's meetings about how to prepare for the holidays.

At this morning's meetings, we discussed how the Thanksgiving meals went for everyone. While they were certainly happy occasions, there were moments of stress for the households. There is much to discuss about how to have polite and meaningful conversations, but today we focused on how we might need to prepare guests to our houses for timing and food gifts. Proper boundaries help others know your rules and expectations.

These are notes from our meeting today and they are inarticulately expressed.

When you are inviting people over to your homes, even if they are family, remind them that it is your house, your rules, and your schedule. You don't want to be very rigid in laying down the law, but you do want to communicate your expectations. After all, you are the ones who are preparing, cooking, planning, organizing, and you are not getting any rest. You will want to find a way to politely say that so they can honor your request.

In some ways, planning for a large meal is like being an event manager. Rather than leaving everything by chance and goodwill, organize and manage the outcomes directly. It will help your guests if they know the rules.


It is quite appropriate to ask people to come for appetizers by a certain time. If they are the ones to bring appetizers, make certain they can arrive before the other guests do. For instance, you do not want your brother, who always brings appetizers, to show up at 3:00 p.m. when the other guests are arriving at 1:00 p.m. The unintended consequence is that people will eat his appetizers and will then not have room for the served meal. This makes the cooks, who spent a lot of time preparing the meal, feel annoyed or "fill in the blanks."

It is helpful to set a schedule for the day and to communicate it. Find out when people can arrive and adjust what they can bring according to their visit times. For instance, you might want to tell people to come at 1:00 p.m. and that appetizers will be served at 1:30 p.m., there'll be time for watching a game, and then dinner will be served at 4:00 p.m.

Also, please note that desserts and coffee will be served at 5:00 p.m. with departures at 6:00 p.m. Of course, you want to keep this fluid, but if you give people a clue about what to expect, they know when it is time to leave. You can even pace the meal so that everyone's contributions will respected.

Meal Planning

Plan your meal a month in advance. Start planning your Thanksgiving meal by November 1st and the Christmas meal by December 1st. Assign people parts of the meal that can be helpful to you. Guide them into the ways that they can be helpful to you. After all, you are making the main portion of the dinner.

If you are cooking the turkey, let people know you will make stuffing and gravy.

Ask others to make the mashed potatoes, the squash, a cranberry plate, broccoli or brussel sprouts, green bean casserole. Their contribution does not have to be sexy; it just has to contribute to your having an easier day. Your guests want to make you happy. Ask them to contribute what you need from them. They can still add their culinary expertise to their dish. You do not have to do it all.

Your guests won't have to guess what you might want. They might not have to spend time thinking about what to get you if you simply tell them what to bring and at what time. You want to avoid have four people bring cakes when you have made three pies. You don't want two cheese platters when one will suffice. It takes some organization.

Remember that food is a gift, and gift-giving is tricky. There are always invisible strings attached.

It may feel awkward or corporate to assign parts of the meal to others, but it will become easier with practice. It helps them to know the boundaries, and good boundaries make for happy gatherings. Just think if your only cooking job was turkey, stuffing, and gravy. That means you too can spend time with family and friends or to watch the game.

Make sure you have food that is gluten-free, for diabetics, for people with allergies so that everyone can join in on the feast.

After-dinner activities

If there are particular traditions and customs you want to uphold, let your guests know about when they will be done. Gift-giving will be done at this time; caroling will precede it; eggnog and hot chocolate will be served at another time; games will be played at a particular time. We will attend mass at a particular time.


Let people know when they are expected to leave. You are tired, perhaps. Let them know you need rest. You also have to clean up, put food away, and say goodnight to the guests.

Depending upon what you want. Let people know a month in advance that they need to bring containers to take food home. It might seem generous to them that they leave their cake with you, but when you have four cakes and three pies in the house, you are going to throw much of it away. It is not your job to make sure the food gets to a food pantry. You can ask people to bring food home or not to bring as much as they do in the first place.

Enlist them in sweeping and mopping the floor, doing the dishes, tidying up the parlor and living rooms, and helping with the off-hand tasks. Ask someone to take and retrieve the coats from guests.

Let them know you need rest and you will get that rest when people leave by 6:00 p.m. Everyone will try to test boundaries because we are all exceptions, but you need to know what you want beforehand and then communicate it.

This might sound peculiar to you, but the more planning and preparation that you do, the happier you will be. The same goes for your guests. Although these are short-hand notes, remember that you are to deliver these messages in your unique style, which will make you be heard and honored.

Know what you want. Ask for it. Choose well.

God's Judgment

We are in the last days of our Christian year that ends with the Feast of Christ the King on November 25th so it is right that we think about the Last Things (eschatology.) We believe that this temporal world is transitory, but that there is the promise of eternal life with our Creator God. Therefore, as Christians, we live in a “now and not yet” reality. We are citizens of two worlds and must pay respects to both planes of existence. But if there is a next world, what makes us think that we will get there? We do not want to arrogantly presume we will be admitted into the eternal kingdom. First we have to pass the Judgment that is offered to us on our last day of personal existence.

In the Old Testament, judgment by God has always been metered out in a positive sense, such as Yahweh (God) judged (delivered) King David from his enemies. In the New Testament, God has already judged the world (he redeemed it and found it good) and yet God’s kingdom is not fully established so we await the judgment at the end time. One’s personal ‘day of judgment’ refers to a person’s fundamental, permanent decision to accept Jesus Christ or to reject him. Therefore, if we want to accept him at our moment of death, we ought to use our time now to get to know him and let him know us. Finally, there will be a final judgment when there is the ultimate victory over evil. We profess in our creed that Jesus shall come again to judge the living and the dead.

Our Individual Judgment

Scripture tells us that one part of the judgment happens now. If we fundamentally choose Jesus, we are to live immediately in response to God’s laws and will, which means we take care of our neighbor’s needs. Each choice we make is a decision for or against God.

We will appear immediately before God after death. Our earthly trial will be over. One of three things can happen:

a. We die in God’s friendship, have no need of further purification, and enter into heaven.
b. We die in God’s friendship, still need purification, and enter heaven when our purgatory is complete.
c. We die in the state of mortal sin – completely cut off from God’s grace. We enter hell.

We will see ourselves as we truly are. We will see our life as God sees it. Do I make a loving response to the God I have come to know during my earthly life or do I focus on my self and turn away from God’s love?

As Jesus has revealed to us, God is not vindictive.  God is fundamentally rendering his positive judgment for us, not against us.

The Judgment at the End of Time

A general judgment will be made when Christ, the Son of Man, comes in his glory to gather all the nations to himself and to separate the sheep from the goats. The heavenly community will be established at this time and everyone will be able to plainly see God’s entire saving plan.

Jesus, as we know, will serve as judge. And what do we know of Jesus? He was good, practiced restorative justice, was merciful and compassionate, and granted us his peace. The question that will be asked us comes from Matthew 25: “Did we love God with our whole heart and our neighbor as ourselves?

So what is the Second Coming of Christ?

When Christ ascended into the heaven, he entrusted the task of spreading the kingdom that he established on earth to us – the people of God. With his Spirit to help us, we are to continue his work of social justice, forgiving sins, bringing about peace, and establishing the dignity of every person so that we can stand together as one human community.

Though the kingdom is already present, we still have to work against the forces that oppose God’s kingdom. We have to be “with others” before we can be “for others.” The work of establishing the kingdom is ongoing and we look forward to the day when the work of Christ will be complete and he will return, gather all of creation together, and consecrate it in offering to the Creator Father.

When will this happen?

Who knows? Only God knows. Christians look forward to this day when we will joyously encounter the Lord again. This is one reason why it is prudent for us to spend time in our lives to come to know the Lord and develop a friendship with him. Everyone who has ever lived with recognize Jesus as Lord of all.

Next up: A brief word on the resurrection of the body, heaven, purgatory and hell.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The First Sunday of Advent

The First Sunday of Advent
December 2, 2018
Daniel 7:13-14; Psalm 93; Revelation 1:5-8; John 18:33-37

To begin Advent, the Gospel reassures us that we should hold our heads high because our salvation awaits us, even though we sit through dark times. This time is about waiting patiently knowing that God’s invisible work will eventually be seen in the world. Embedded in all these wishes is that God’s promise will be realized. In the meantime, it is good for us to recognize our blessings that might seem invisible to us.

         A good way for us to start is to take the advice given by Paul in the second reading. Paul asks us to strengthen our hearts, and to increase our capacity to love each other because our charity will ultimately solve our greatest problems. Like God’s invisible work, our acts of love are often invisible or even taken for granted, but they are important steps for creating a culture of caring.

         Small acts of kindness reshape our attitudes and determine whether we have a good day or not, but we have to balance our generosity of heart with setting healthy boundaries. Consider the gifts we can give each other with minimal ease: a wink or a reassuring smile, a deserved complement, a listening ear, a bit more patience, or even mercy that is undeserved. The good will that is generated from these simple gestures will have exponential consequences. We pay it forward and generate positivity that is easy to sustain. All we have is one another, and when we care for others, we make the burdens of life lighter for them and for us, and we begin to see the extraordinary generosity and care that sustains this world, and we come here to give thanks.

         Setting our personal boundaries can also be acts of charity to oneself and others. Consider the woman who silently dreads the holidays because has never spoken up to her husband or children to call them to better behavior. She toils, bakes, cleans, and smiles outwardly, but inside feels disconnected from her family and from herself. She feels fortunate for many reasons but is not able to be her whole self to the family because she has inadequately revealed how she feels to them. Learning to respect personal boundaries will give us freedom and courage to be very connected with our needs and wants. Then, we make choices that contribute to our happiness.

         We increase love when we put our feelings into words even if we fear others will reject our tender revelations. When we admit our vulnerabilities to loved ones, they will likely give you the reassurance you need while repaying your affection in kind. If it does not happen, then a straightforward conversation is long overdue. Mostly, though, each time we tell our loved ones how much they mean to us in no uncertain terms, we ensure that they will be there for us in our times of need and support as we strive to grow out of our vulnerabilities into confidence. A good partnership is born of dialogue, healing, affectionate touches, words of support, and constant kind gestures.

         Advent is about the small, simple moments. Let us acknowledge that life is hard and that moments of happiness can be fleeting. With that in mind, take advantage of Advent to appreciate the twinkling lights of candles and trees, sing old fashioned carols that bring up happy childhood memories, sample that gingerbread cookies that is not on your diet as you have a coffee with a friend, and take a walk to see the beauty of nature and the fine ways people have decorated their lawns. Liturgical purists might get upset that you are spoiling Advent with Christmas themes, but (1.) the Commercial Christmas is a disguised Advent. All the popular songs speak about that blessed day that is to come, and (2.) if it makes you a little happier, gives you a respite from your worries, or lifts your spirits a bit, then celebrate well. Bring a little light and good cheer into the world.

         Raise your heads. Hold them high. Look around at the amazing people who are making the world better through their hope and gestures of good will. Watch how this goodwill expands as Advent deepens. Be amazed at the insignificant, subtle gestures that teach the world how to love better. Be the one who gives hope to one who is just hanging on. I’m sure God is proud of you, and God’s heart is swelling with delight, and that your love is filling the heavens with happiness. Thank you, my friends, for committing to love so well.

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Isaiah 4) On that day, the branch of the Lord will be luster and glory, and the fruit of the earth will be honor and splendor for the survivors of Israel.

Tuesday: (Isaiah 11) On that day, a shoot shall sprout from Jesse’s stump, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him.

Wednesday: (Romans 9) If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Thursday: (Isaiah 26) On that day, they will sing this song: A strong city we have to protect us. Open up the gates to let in a nation that is just, one that keeps faith.   

Friday (Isaiah 29) Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard, and the orchard into a forest. Out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see. The deaf shall hear.  
Saturday (Isaiah 30) O people of Zion, who dwell in Jerusalem, no more will you weep.

Monday: (Matthew 8) When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and said, “My servant is lying at home, paralyzed, suffering dreadfully. Come and cure him.”

Tuesday: (Luke 10) I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you had hidden these things from the learned and the wise, you have revealed them to the childlike.

Wednesday (Matthew 4) Jesus saw two brothers, Peter and Andrew, casting a net into the Sea of Galilee. He said to them, “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.”

Thursday (Matthew 7) Jesus said to his disciples: Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father.

Friday (Luke 21) Consider the fig tree. When their buds burst open, you see summer is near. Learn to read the signs of the times. All these things will pass away, but my words remain.

Saturday (Matthew 9) Jesus taught in all the towns and villages proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom. The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few.

Saints of the Week

December 3: Francis Xavier, S.J., priest (1506-1552) was a founding member of the Jesuit Order who was sent to the East Indies and Japan as a missionary. His preaching converted hundreds of thousands of converts to the faith. He died before reaching China. Xavier was a classmate of Peter Faber and Ignatius of Loyola at the University of Paris.

December 6: Nicholas, bishop (d. 350), lived in southwest Turkey and was imprisoned during the Diocletian persecution. He attended the Council of Nicaea in 324. Since there are many stories of his good deeds, generous charity, and remarkable pastoral care, his character became the foundation for the image of Santa Claus.

December 7: Ambrose, bishop and doctor (339-397) was a Roman governor who fairly mediated an episcopal election in Milan. He was then acclaimed their bishop even though he was not baptized. He baptized Augustine in 386 and is doctor of the church because of his preaching, teaching and influential ways of being a pastor.

December 8: The Immaculate Conception of Mary is celebrated today, which is nine months before her birth in September. The Immaculate Conception prepares her to become the mother of the Lord. Scripture tells of the annunciation to Mary by the angel Gabriel. Mary's assent to be open to God's plan makes our salvation possible.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Nov 25, 1584: The Church of the Gesu, built in Rome for the Society by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, was solemnly consecrated.
·      Nov 26, 1678: In London the arrest and imprisonment of St Claude la Colombiere. He was released after five weeks and banished.
·      Nov 27, 1680: In Rome the death of Fr. Athanasius Kircher, considered a universal genius, but especially knowledgeable in science and archeology.
·      Nov 28, 1759: Twenty Fathers and 192 Scholastics set sail from the Tagus for exile. Two were to die on the voyage to Genoa and Civita Vecchia.
·      Nov 29, 1773: The Jesuits of White Russia requested the Empress Catherine to allow the Letter of Suppression to be published, as it had been all over Europe. "She bade them lay aside their scruples, promising to obtain the Papal sanction for their remaining in status quo.
·      Nov 30, 1642: The birth of Br Andrea Pozzo at Trent, who was called to Rome in 1681 to paint the flat ceiling of the church of San Ignacio so that it would look as though there were a dome above. There had been a plan for a dome but there was not money to build it. His work is still on view.
·      Dec. 1, 1581: At Tyburn in London, Edmund Campion and Alexander Briant were martyred.

El primer domingo de Adviento

El primer domingo de Adviento
2 de diciembre de 2018
Daniel 7: 13-14; Salmo 93; Apocalipsis 1: 5-8; Juan 18: 33-37

Para comenzar el Adviento, el Evangelio nos asegura que debemos mantener nuestras cabezas en alto porque nuestra salvación nos espera, aunque nos sentemos en tiempos oscuros. Esta vez se trata de esperar pacientemente sabiendo que la obra invisible de Dios eventualmente se verá en el mundo. Incrustado en todos estos deseos es que la promesa de Dios se hará realidad. Mientras tanto, es bueno para nosotros reconocer nuestras bendiciones que nos pueden parecer invisibles.

Una buena manera de comenzar es tomar los consejos dados por Paul en la segunda lectura. Pablo nos pide que fortalezcamos nuestros corazones y que aumentemos nuestra capacidad de amarnos unos a otros porque nuestra caridad finalmente resolverá nuestros mayores problemas. Al igual que la obra invisible de Dios, nuestros actos de amor a menudo son invisibles o incluso se dan por sentado, pero son pasos importantes para crear una cultura de cuidado.

Los pequeños actos de bondad reforman nuestras actitudes y determinan si tenemos un buen día o no, pero tenemos que equilibrar nuestra generosidad de corazón con el establecimiento de límites saludables. Considere los regalos que podemos darnos con una facilidad mínima: un guiño o una sonrisa tranquilizadora, un complemento merecido, un oído atento, un poco más de paciencia, o incluso misericordia que no merece. La buena voluntad que se genera a partir de estos simples gestos tendrá consecuencias exponenciales. Lo pagamos por adelantado y generamos positividad que es fácil de sostener. Todo lo que tenemos es el uno al otro, y cuando nos preocupamos por los demás, hacemos la carga de la vida más liviana para ellos y para nosotros, y comenzamos a ver la extraordinaria generosidad y el cuidado que sustenta este mundo, y venimos aquí para dar gracias.

Establecer nuestros límites personales también puede ser un acto de caridad para uno mismo y para los demás. Considere a la mujer que teme en silencio las fiestas porque nunca ha hablado con su esposo o sus hijos para llamarlos a un mejor comportamiento. Ella trabaja, hornea, limpia y sonríe hacia afuera, pero en el interior se siente desconectada de su familia y de sí misma. Se siente afortunada por muchas razones, pero no puede ser todo su ser para la familia porque no ha revelado adecuadamente cómo se siente con ellos. Aprender a respetar los límites personales nos dará libertad y valor para estar muy conectados con nuestras necesidades y deseos. Luego, hacemos elecciones que contribuyen a nuestra felicidad.

Incrementamos el amor cuando expresamos nuestros sentimientos en palabras, incluso si tememos que otros rechacen nuestras tiernas revelaciones. Cuando admitamos nuestras vulnerabilidades a nuestros seres queridos, es probable que le brinden la tranquilidad que necesita mientras le devuelven su afecto en especie. Si esto no sucede, entonces una conversación sencilla está atrasada. Sin embargo, la mayoría de las veces, cada vez que les decimos a nuestros seres queridos lo mucho que significan para nosotros en términos inequívocos, nos aseguramos de que estarán allí para nosotros en nuestros momentos de necesidad y apoyo a medida que nos esforzamos por convertir nuestra vulnerabilidad en confianza. Una buena asociación nace del diálogo, la curación, los toques afectuosos, las palabras de apoyo y los gestos amables constantes.

El Adviento es sobre los pequeños y simples momentos. Reconozcamos que la vida es dura y que los momentos de felicidad pueden ser fugaces. Con eso en mente, aproveche el Adviento para apreciar las luces centelleantes de las velas y los árboles, cante villancicos antiguos que traen recuerdos de la infancia feliz, pruebe las galletas de jengibre que no están en su dieta mientras toma un café con un amigo, y Salga a caminar para ver la belleza de la naturaleza y las formas elegantes en que la gente ha decorado su césped. Los puristas litúrgicos pueden enojarse porque está arruinando los temas de Adviento con la Navidad, pero (1) la Navidad comercial es un Adviento disfrazado. Todas las canciones populares hablan sobre el bendito día que se avecina, y (2) si te hace un poco más feliz, te da un respiro de tus preocupaciones, o levanta un poco el ánimo, entonces celebra bien. Trae un poco de luz y buen humor al mundo.

Levanta la cabeza. Mantenlos en alto. Mire a su alrededor a las increíbles personas que están mejorando el mundo a través de su esperanza y gestos de buena voluntad. Observa cómo esta buena voluntad se expande a medida que el Adviento se profundiza. Sorpréndete con los insignificantes y sutiles gestos que le enseñan al mundo a amar mejor. Sé el que da esperanza a uno que solo está esperando. Estoy seguro de que Dios está orgulloso de ti, y el corazón de Dios se está llenando de deleite, y que tu amor está llenando de felicidad los cielos. Gracias, mis amigos, por comprometerse a amar tan bien.

Escritura para la misa diaria

Primera lectura:
Lunes: (Isaías 4) En ese día, la rama del Señor será brillo y gloria, y el fruto de la tierra será honor y esplendor para los sobrevivientes de Israel.

Martes: (Isaías 11) En ese día, brotará un brote del tocón de Jesse, y de sus raíces florecerá un capullo. El Espíritu del Señor reposará sobre él.

Miércoles: (Romanos 9) Si confiesas con tu boca que Jesús es el Señor y crees en tu corazón que Dios lo resucitó de entre los muertos, serás salvo.

Jueves: (Isaías 26) En ese día, cantarán esta canción: Una ciudad fuerte que tenemos para protegernos. Abre las puertas para dejar entrar a una nación que es justa, una que mantiene la fe.

Viernes (Isaías 29) El Líbano se convertirá en un huerto, y el huerto en un bosque. Desde la penumbra y la oscuridad, los ojos de los ciegos verán. Los sordos oirán.
Sábado (Isaías 30) Oh pueblo de Sión, que moras en Jerusalén, ya no llorarás más.

Lunes: (Mateo 8) Cuando Jesús entró en Capernaum, un centurión se le acercó y le dijo: "Mi sirviente está acostado en su casa, paralizado, sufriendo terriblemente. Ven y cúrale.

Martes: (Lucas 10) Te alabo, Padre, Señor del cielo y de la tierra, porque aunque has ocultado estas cosas a los sabios y sabios, se las has revelado a los niños.

Miércoles (Mateo 4) Jesús vio a dos hermanos, Pedro y Andrés, lanzando una red al Mar de Galilea. Él les dijo: "Vengan conmigo y los haré pescadores de hombres".

Jueves (Mateo 7) Jesús dijo a sus discípulos: No todos los que me dicen: Señor, Señor, entrarán en el Reino de los cielos, sino solo el que hace la voluntad de mi Padre.

Viernes (Lucas 21) Considera la higuera. Cuando sus brotes se abren, ves que el verano está cerca. Aprende a leer los signos de los tiempos. Todas estas cosas pasarán, pero mis palabras permanecen.

Sábado (Mateo 9) Jesús enseñó en todos los pueblos y aldeas proclamando el Evangelio del Reino. La cosecha es abundante, pero los trabajadores son pocos.

Santos de la semana

3 de diciembre: Francis Xavier, S.J., sacerdote (1506-1552) fue un miembro fundador de la Orden de los Jesuitas que fue enviado a las Indias Orientales y a Japón como misionero. Su predicación convirtió a cientos de miles de conversos a la fe. Murió antes de llegar a China. Xavier fue compañero de clase de Peter Faber e Ignatius of Loyola en la Universidad de París.

6 de diciembre: Nicolás, obispo (m. 350), vivía en el suroeste de Turquía y fue encarcelado durante la persecución de Diocleciano. Asistió al Concilio de Nicea en 324. Ya que hay muchas historias de sus buenas obras, caridad generosa y notable cuidado pastoral, su personaje se convirtió en la base de la imagen de Papá Noel.

7 de diciembre: Ambrosio, obispo y médico (339-397) fue un gobernador romano que medió una elección episcopal en Milán. Entonces fue aclamado su obispo a pesar de que no fue bautizado. Bautizó a Agustín en 386 y es médico de la iglesia debido a su predicación, enseñanza y formas influyentes de ser un pastor.

8 de diciembre: hoy se celebra la Inmaculada Concepción de María, nueve meses antes de su nacimiento en septiembre. La Inmaculada Concepción la prepara para convertirse en la madre del Señor. La Escritura habla de la anunciación a María por el ángel Gabriel. El consentimiento de María para estar abierto al plan de Dios hace posible nuestra salvación.

Esta semana en la historia jesuita

• 25 de noviembre de 1584: la Iglesia del Gesu, construida en Roma para la Sociedad por el cardenal Alessandro Farnese, fue consagrada solemnemente.
• 26 de noviembre de 1678: en Londres, el arresto y encarcelamiento de St Claude la Colombiere. Fue liberado después de cinco semanas y desterrado.
• 27 de noviembre de 1680: en Roma la muerte del p. Athanasius Kircher, considerado un genio universal, pero especialmente con conocimientos en ciencia y arqueología.
• 28 de noviembre de 1759: Veinte padres y 192 escolásticos zarpan del Tajo para el exilio. Dos murieron en el viaje a Génova y Civita Vecchia.
• 29 de noviembre de 1773: los jesuitas de la Rusia blanca solicitaron a la emperatriz Catalina que permitiera que se publicara la Carta de Supresión, como había ocurrido en toda Europa. "Ella les pidió que dejaran de lado sus escrúpulos, prometiendo obtener la sanción papal por permanecer en el status quo.
• 30 de noviembre de 1642: El nacimiento del hermano Andrea Pozzo en Trento, quien fue llamado a Roma en 1681 para pintar el techo plano de la iglesia de San Ignacio para que pareciera que hubiera una cúpula arriba. Había un plan para una cúpula pero no había dinero para construirlo. Su obra aún está a la vista.
• 1 de diciembre de 1581: en Tyburn en Londres, Edmund Campion y Alexander Briant fueron martirizados.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Last Things (2 of 4)

We are in the last days of the liturgical year that follows the life cycle of the events of Jesus’ life. For Christians, the last day of this year is Saturday, December 1st. The feast of Christ the King is celebrated on Sunday, November 25th as he stands victorious over all creation. Christ is victorious over our old foes – Sin and Death.

Death looks directly into the face of every person in the world and we are powerless to turn away from death’s stare. In many ways, death seems to win out because our physical death is inevitable. It prompts us to raise such questions as: What is the meaning of life? Is there really a God? What is the meaning of death and how are we to enter into it? Where, how and when will the world end? Is there life after death, and what does it look like? Familiar questions? I thought so.

For a believer in the Lord Jesus, death does not have the last word. Our physical death becomes the gate to a new plane of existence.

It is natural for us to die, and we naturally fear it. Scripture also tells us that death and sin are related. Death is a penalty for sin. If sin had not infected the human race, we would be immune from bodily sin.

Therefore, to find meaning in death, we must look to Jesus of Nazareth, who was not immune from fear about his own violent death. He certainly was anxious as we can tell from his experience in the Garden at Gethsemane. Jesus certainly wrestled with the will of God like we all do. At Gethsemane, however, Jesus was able to make his final act of self-giving to the Father. He followed the will of his Abba Father, even though he had his moments of doubt, hesitation and fear. Fear is NOT faith. Fear may be natural, but ultimately, we learn to move beyond our fears into trust in Jesus.

Jesus actively entered into his death. He assented to the will of his Father and made his choice. It is the faith of Jesus that saves us – not our faith in Jesus. It is because Jesus obediently complied with the will of God that he was able to win salvation for us. We, as Christians, are called to imitate Jesus, and like him, we are to recite with him, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” when it is our time to leave this earth.

As humans, we will struggle with death and its implications, but in our faith we know the Jesus has conquered death. Jesus of Nazareth, the historical person, has been vindicated by God and has become our Christ of faith. Jesus still lives and death has no claim over him. And that is why these words from John’s Gospel are so important:

“I am the resurrection. Anyone who believes in me, even though that person dies, will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”

As Jesus lives, he wants to always draw us into a closer relationship with himself. He wants to be our friend in this life so that we can live joyfully with him in eternity. This is the good news that he brings to us to share with us.

Next up: The Judgment in the End Times

Monday, November 26, 2018

The Communion of Saints (1 of 4)

The Communion of Saints (1 of 4)

The church began this month with the Feast of All Saints on November 1st each year followed by All Souls on November 2nd. We hear about the “communion of saints,” especially made popular through the song "For All the Saints" that we hear at the end of funerals. We profess our belief in the communion of Saints each Sunday and whenever we say our creed.

The church is a community that is formed in Jesus Christ. The Lord sends the Spirit of love to us to endow us with the necessary gifts to continue Christ’s work for the kingdom. Jesus calls all Christians to holiness.

Paul's letters mention the saints as those who have come to know the Risen Christ. His point is that these Christians were not perfect, but were striving for holiness. Saint literally means “holy one.” We likewise are called to become holy in imitation of Jesus Christ.

Who Belongs to the Communion?

The communion of saints includes those who are now living on earth (a pilgrim people), those who are being purified in purgatory (the church that suffers), and those who are blessed in heaven (the church in glory.)

We understand that we are a Eucharistic community. The church is a real communion gathered around the Table of the Lord and unified by the Holy Spirit. We encounter the Lord in the words proclaimed in Scripture and in the elements of bread and wine that we offer for consecration. We receive the gift of the risen Lord, the source of all that is holy, to redeem and sustain us. The Spirit of love that surrounds this celebration unifies us.

Why do we pray to the saints?

We, who still live, depend upon the prayers and good works of our brothers and sisters to help us through our journey of life. We know the value of prayer for our departed brothers and sisters who are being purified in purgatory. We believe that our loved ones in heaven are vitally interested in those of us who are still living or in purgatory. At each Eucharist, we come together as one – gathered by the Lord – to help one another on the journey.

We honor our saints in heaven when we petition them to intercede for us to God, our Creator Father. They already possess a deep, personal, loving relationship with God. They have proven their friendship to God and to us by the goodness of their lives while on earth.

We pray to our canonized saints too because they inspire us by the example of their lives. While they undoubtedly had flaws in life, they were real people who rose to the challenge of the Christian life and discipleship. We admire (to look towards) and are inspired by a virtue they possess and we want to attain. We imitate their particular virtues because it speaks of our inner desires.

The whole month of November is dedicated to All Souls. Let us continue to remember one another, living and deceased, in our prayers and at Eucharist. We can all benefit from each other’s prayers. We are all pilgrims moving closer to the heart of the Lord.

What’s next?

As we move closer towards the end of the liturgical year, we reflect on “The Last Things,” that is, judgment, death, the Resurrection of the Body, and the life of the world that is to come when Christ comes again.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Spirituality: Ezra Taft Benson

The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ would take the slums out of people, and then they would take themselves out of the slums.

The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Spirituality: “Thanksgiving” November 1936 By Dorothy Day

Now there is a warm feeling of contentment about the farm these days – the first summer is over, many people have been cared for here, already. From day to day we did not know where the next money to pay bills was coming from, but trusting to our cooperators, our readers throughout the country, we went on with the work. Now all our bills are paid and there is a renewed feeling of courage on the part of all those who are doing the work, a sense of confidence that the work is progressing.

This month of thanksgiving will indeed be one of gratitude to God. For health, for work to do, for the opportunities He has given us of service; we are deeply grateful, and it is a feeling that makes the heart swell with joy.

During the summer when things were going especially hard in more ways than one, I grimly modified grace before meals: “We give Thee thanks, O Lord, for these Thy gifts, and for all our tribulations, which we have received from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.” One could know of certain knowledge that tribulations were matters of thanksgiving; that we were indeed privileged to share in the sufferings of Our Lord. So in this month of thanksgiving, we can be thankful for the trials of the past, the blessings of the present, and be heartily ready at the same time to embrace with joy any troubles the future may bring us.

Source: Dorothy Day: Selected Writings, page 76.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Spirituality: William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647

May not and ought not the children of these fathers rightly say: "Our fathers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this wilderness but they cried unto the Lord, and He heard their voice, and looked on their adversity, &c. Let them therefore praise the Lord, because He is good, and His mercies endure forever. Yea, let them which have been redeemed of the Lord, shew how He hath delivered them from the hand of the oppressor. When they wandered in the; desert wilderness out of the way, and found no city to dwell in, both hungry, and thirsty, their soul was overwhelmed in them. Let them confess before the Lord His loving kindness, and His wonderful works before the sons of men.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Feast of Christ the King

The Feast of Christ the King
November 25, 2018
Daniel 7:13-14; Psalm 93; Revelation 1:5-8; John 18:33-37

Nearly a century ago, the feast of Christ the King was instituted as a way of portraying the church as a formidable moral and worldly force that stood in opposition to the secular nations that held military and political power. At this time, the Pope thought the church needed to be seen as triumphant, so the People of God could find hope in an institution that endured over two centuries. Real power rested in Christ, the King of the Universe, who had authority to judge in this world and the next. No other nation or leader could claim such strength. It is an image that worked a century ago.

Times change, and it may mean we need to relate to different images based our communal experiences. In light of the recent failures of priests and bishops, what is an image of the church and of Christ that speaks to you? How is Christ relating to his church? A century ago, the strong invincible Christ looked out at the world and beckoned people to have faith in the mighty fortress called the church. Today, Christ is looking, not outward, but inward to his church that is wounded, and, like a parent, he is trying to ease the pain.

Our Pope chose to be called Francis because the man from Assisi was called to “rebuild the church.” Pope Francis knows that his work is similar to the first Francis and that it will be done by teaching by example how to be merciful and compassionate. The church in its modern form was defined by crisis over 450 years ago at the Council of Trent in response to the Protestant Reformation. Much has changed since that time and the church needs a new model of existing in the world, to be a place where Jesus is more visibly seen, and a place where we get a fuller essence of who the risen Jesus is for us.

In my recent prayer, I find Jesus broken and suspended on the cross, weeping for his church, and knowing he cannot come down yet to heal the wounds of pain and division, but somehow, he reaches down, and with his gentle hands, he wipes away the tears of those who are most hurt and troubled. Being on the cross does not limit his authority but punctuates it because in suffering Christ is most able to show his most radical love. Compassion is born out of suffering.

I do not yet think the church as a whole understands the source and nature of its suffering, though it is not a mystery either. Once we collectively comprehend the roots of our suffering, we begin to act with compassion and love, and we see the suffering in other people, and because we see it, we care for them more deeply. This is the church that I want. This is where Christ is most alive and active. This is the priestly ministry I want to give you – to listen so that I understand, to let my heart be moved by your stories of faith, to be your brother in the faith where we can care for each other authentically as a community that knows with assurance that Christ is among us. From my prayer, that is my vision of the church. What type of church do you need now?

This is the last Sunday of the church year and Christ is gathering up all his faithful ones to himself to present them to God. No doubt, you are among them. If there is something I want you to know during these last days, it is that you are quite a gift to Christ, and you are a gift to others, and to yourselves. As we spend time around the holidays sharing our stories, go a little deeper and share more of your hopes and especially your sufferings. You will find Christ present in these moments because love is born of suffering. The church that is being rebuilt today can only be built on our expressions of love and compassion for each other. In the beginning, at the end, it is only about our love.

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Revelation 14) I, John, looked and there was the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads.

Tuesday: (Revelation 14) I, John, looked and there was a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud one who looked like a son of man, with a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.

Wednesday: (Revelation 15) I, John, saw in heaven another sign, great and awe-inspiring: seven angels with the seven last plagues, for through them God's fury is accomplished.

Thursday: (Revelation 18) I, John, saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth became illumined by his splendor.

Friday (Romans 10) If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.

Saturday (Revelation 22) John said: An angel showed me the river of life-giving water, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the street, On either side of the river grew the tree of life that produces fruit twelve times a year, once each month; the leaves of the trees serve as medicine for the nations.

Monday: (Luke 21) When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.

Tuesday: (Luke 21) While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, "All that you see here– the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down."

Wednesday (Luke 21) Jesus said to the crowd: "They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name.

Thursday (Luke 21) "When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, know that its desolation is at hand. Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.

Friday (Matthew 4) As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men."

Saturday (Luke 21) Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth.

Saints of the Week

November 25: Catherine of Alexandria, martyr, (d. 310) is said to have been born in Egypt to a noble family. She was educated and converted to Christianity because of a vision. She refused to marry a man arranged to be her husband by the emperor, and she denounced him for persecuting Christians. She was arrested, tortured, and killed.

November 26: John Berchmans, S.J., religious (1599-1621), was a Jesuit scholastic who is the patron saint of altar servers. He was known for his pious adherence to the rules and for his obedience. He did well in studies but was seized with a fever during his third year of philosophy and died at the age of 22.

November 29: Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos, S.J., religious (1711-1735) was the first and main apostle to the devotion of the Sacred Heart. He entered the novitiate in Spain at age 14 and took vows at 17. He had mystical visions of the Sacred Heart. He was ordained in January 1735 with a special dispensation because he was not old enough. A few weeks after celebrating his first mass, he contracted typhus and died on November 29th.

November 30: Andrew, apostle (first century) was a disciple of John the Baptist and the brother of Simon Peter. Both were fishermen from Bethsaida. He became one of the first disciples of Jesus. Little is known of Andrew's preaching after the resurrection. Tradition places him in Greece while Scotland has incredible devotion to the apostle.  

December 1: Edmund Campion, S.J., (1540- 1581), Robert Southwell, S.J., (1561-1595) martyrs, were English natives and Jesuit priests at a time when Catholics were persecuted in the country. Both men acknowledged Queen Elizabeth as monarch, but they refused to renounce their Catholic faith. They are among the 40 martyrs of England and Wales. Campion was killed in 1581 and Southwell’s death was 1595.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Nov 25, 1584: The Church of the Gesu, built in Rome for the Society by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, was solemnly consecrated.
·      Nov 26, 1678: In London the arrest and imprisonment of St Claude la Colombiere. He was released after five weeks and banished.
·      Nov 27, 1680: In Rome the death of Fr. Athanasius Kircher, considered a universal genius, but especially knowledgeable in science and archeology.
·      Nov 28, 1759: Twenty Fathers and 192 Scholastics set sail from the Tagus for exile. Two were to die on the voyage to Genoa and Civita Vecchia.
·      Nov 29, 1773: The Jesuits of White Russia requested the Empress Catherine to allow the Letter of Suppression to be published, as it had been all over Europe. "She bade them lay aside their scruples, promising to obtain the Papal sanction for their remaining in status quo.
·      Nov 30, 1642: The birth of Br Andrea Pozzo at Trent, who was called to Rome in 1681 to paint the flat ceiling of the church of San Ignacio so that it would look as though there were a dome above. There had been a plan for a dome but there was not money to build it. His work is still on view.
·      Dec. 1, 1581: At Tyburn in London, Edmund Campion and Alexander Briant were martyred.