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Spirituality helps the journey on the brick road
February 28, 2018
cross-1149878_1280from Pixabay

God’s work that saves persons, can never be separated from educating people: it demands the repression of the oppressors and ruling in the fear of the Lord. Jesus’ message includes a preferential love of God for the poor and for those who share with them in their poverty. Death and resurrection are at work among us and all over the world. Only God is good; and good is the authority of Christ. Miracles are another way in which Jesus teaches. The word apostle means sent and Christ is the one who chooses his apostles and sends them in his name. One begins to be an apostle or at least to cooperate with Christ. When one looks for something more than performing good works for the benefit of the people, when one feels responsible for people: fisher of people. Leprosy was seen as God’s punishment and healing meant that God had forgiven the sinner who was to express his gratitude with a sacrifice. Jesus did not withdraw only to be still, but because on each occasion prayer was necessity for him.

Jesus comes to reveal the mystery of God, the mystery of the love of God-Father, Son and Spirit. God does not expect works on the path of human beings but calls them to faith. Be rid of all that hampers you, of all that prevents you from seeing and believe. Believe that it is he, and he alone who is able to save you. Physical possession is not the usual way of the devil’s activity in humans. That is why the devil operates in the moral life of people. Not that the devil is the cause of every sin and evil that people do. There is also the selfishness of our flesh and the lure of the false promise of the world but the devil, as enemy of God’s Kingdom, is never at rest. The devil continues to notice those of us who are capable of weakening or destroying his empire. But Jesus shows us how to deflect and deter the devil by showing us how to care for each other. The care and love of our Christian brothers and sisters attracts God’s favors upon us. That is why the good news of the Gospels is not meant to be still but it effects a change.

Once corruption has taken over and the vision of God’s alliance has faded away, those who recognize their part in the evil affecting the whole of society must make positive gestures regarding money and the enjoyment of it, which will be for all a sign and a call to conversion. This is the time to be reconciled with family members and neighbors, to let go of resentments. Since we are sinners, our salvation is worked out through suffering and through the cross. Our desires and our prayers are powerful because we have come to the center from which God directs the forces saving humankind: because we work for eternity; our names are already written in heaven. To evangelize does not mean to try to sell the gospel but rather to prove its power to heal people from their demons. We must stop being envious of famous people, kings and prophets of the past. We must pray instead. To pray is to take the time to listen, to meditate in silence on the work of God, it is to slow our desires, so as to pay attention only to God, secretly present and slip into his will. The Spirit is available to help us believe and inspire our prayers so that it may be heard.

The Spirit enables us to understand and interpret Jesus’ words throughout all time. Moreover, we need to receive from the source of all love the ability to love selflessly. As believers we are destined to be hated by the world. When our hope does not come from God trials discourage us; but when our hope is rooted in God, we are strengthened and remain steadfast. God’s plan will not fail and the universe reveals the glory and the beauty of God. Little by little faith opens for us a global vision of human reality.

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Don’t be a judge we are told over and over
February 28, 2018
The Shepherd by Frederick Forsyth

Yahweh is a jealous God, different from the gods of other people who allow rival divinities to set up shops side by side with them and answer petitions which they themselves cannot oblige. The Bible teaches that the earth belongs to God and whoever occupies it is only its administrator. It is not for the church to resolve the complex problems of our times, but it can establish general principles of life that conforms to the will of God and adapt it to the present society. There is no authentic love without faith and hope and love reaches its perfection when we are in God.

We experience temptations and struggle, our decisions both small and great lead us in one of two directions, either the old self hopelessly ruined and a slave of selfishness, or a person transfigured by love. God created man in his image, but the one who is truly this image is the risen Christ, conqueror of sin and of death. The white garment that adults put on at Baptism denotes the change of life that they are beginning.

Our prayers will not be heard if love for the world takes the place of God in our hearts. God asks us to love all the things he created, viewing them as means of reaching him, and to reject what does not serve this purpose. Loving the world is wishing for and clinging to things, without working beyond them for God himself and the brothers and sisters that he gave us. We cannot divide our love between God and the world; neither can we ask God to help us satisfy egotistical ambitions. Criticizing others is the same as despising the law of love.

We must see, and at times say, what is wrong in an action, but we must not judge the responsibility of others, nor their intentions, which God alone knows. God is the only judge. We all make many plans: to earn more, to buy things, to have a good time. We may die without having done what mattered most.

Let our experience be that of the poor and the humble. God is near to those who have no other support but him. When there will be no assurance, God will be obliged to take charge of those whom he owes fidelity. May God grant us that we resist the seduction of the world around us but that also we listen to those who correct us.

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To everything there is a season
February 26, 2018

God made people to be free, holy, strong and in the image of Christ. Sacred history begins with Abraham and his faith and the promise God made to him. God created the world orderly, organizing it and giving meaning to all in existence. The creation of humanity completes God creation. By creating us in his image, God created us to respond to him.

Love has first place in God’s plan and the long evolution of sexuality has been its preparation. God is not subject to time. He lives in a permanent fullness which is known as eternity. This consist of no before or after, no duration and no fatigue nor boredom.

The covenant of God with humankind and with everything that came from the ark, means that God is interested in everything that people create, their culture, inventions, as well as their legitimate ambitions. God is not only the God of believers, he is the God of everyone. God does not want merely to save souls: through human creativity God enables people to grow in awareness and responsibility and he prepares them for divine union through the Holy Spirit.

God made himself known to human groups as he has done for Israel and later for Christians. The rainbow is a sign of reconciliation between him and us. Later came Jesus to reveal the mystery of God, the mystery of the love of God-Father, Son and Spirit.

God does not expect works on the part of human beings but calls them to faith. Be rid of all that hampers you, of all that prevents you from seeing and believe. Believe that it is he, and he alone who is able to save you. The devil does not usually operate in human lives through physical possession but more so in their moral lives.

Not that the devil is the cause of every sin and evil that people do. There is also the selfishness of our flesh and the lure of the false promises of the world but the devil, as enemy of God’s Kingdom, is never at rest. The devil notices at once those who are capable of weakening or destroying his empire.

But do not worry, Jesus has showed us how to resist the devil by his example in the wilderness and his ministry to the sick while he was alive.

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When we wait in joyful hope
February 26, 2018

Always, there are signs that the Lord is coming, but we see the signs so often and interpret them so differently that we miss them. God is always making moves to bring us closer to him. He does not just sit and wait for us to make a move. He is always making moves, hoping that we will grab on to one and come back to him. He offers us his gift of grace which enables us to respond to his offers and be overshadowed by his grace.

In the story of the centurion, we see an example of faith working in cooperation with God. God, through his son Jesus, offered the centurion the gift of faith and the centurion responded by getting himself out of the way so that God and his healing and miracles could move, direct and heal. If a pagan Roman centurion could do it, why not us?

God is the one who shows us compassion when we get hurt. He is the one who loves us when we think that we are unlovable. Throughout the gospel we see and read Jesus doing the unthinkable and reprehensible by touching lepers and healing the ill. We can imitate Jesus by finding and assisting an organization that shelters the homeless and finds work for the jobless, educates the uneducated, and counsels the depressed. By doing this we are demonstrating the gift of compassion. The solidity of love enables us to reach outward to the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned. Let us then ask Jesus to enable us to hear his word of love and act on it throughout our lives.

We are compelled to tell of the healing, prodding, tugging that God works within us. Once we become aware of God’s work in us, the desire to share our good news overwhelms us, and we tell all. God continues to speak in our history our time, today. The word of God is heard through the voice of a person who calls us to compassion. When we show care and concern for relatives when someone has died, we have heard the word of God. A fresh idea that seems to come from nowhere can be the voice of God that has been heard. Reading the Bible and listening for a message of application to our lives is another way that God speaks today. Those who have taken care of the needy-the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned-have, without even realizing it, cared for Jesus.

When we practice Jesus’ humility, we know that we are last, like a child, refraining from thinking that something is owed us. Jesus in the Hebrew scriptures, came to help and saves us.  We follow in Jesus’ footsteps when we offer a helping hand to an elderly neighbor, saving a child from hunger, or tutoring the illiterate. Doing these things and more, bestow upon us the name Jesus and represent God’s ongoing activity in time.

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God is evident in our everyday lives
February 21, 2018

Faith is a way of seeing things. When we choose faith, to believe, we are also choosing to denounce evil and sinful ways. To have faith and embrace faith, we have to believe in love and also to practice love, for love is the binding of our faith. To make a permanent commitment in love, in particular, is to grow up in a very important way. When we are grounded in faith, we are strong and have inner peace. When we do not reach inner stillness we are forever restless.

Living a life a faith means living a life of blessing. Being faithful means giving and receiving blessings. “To be blessed is to be oneself a blessing,” says Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Being faithful and living in faith also means to be joyful. If not, when joy breaks down, eventually everything breaks down. When we bless someone we speak well of him or of her. If we are unblessed we suffer very deeply. Blessings deconstricts the heart and blessing begets blessing.

To live a life without faith is to live in loneliness. We may have human contact but our inner selves and beings still yearns for more. There are five basic kinds of human loneliness. They are alienation, restlessness, rootlessness, psychological depression and moral loneliness. Our deepest aloness is moral. When we listen to our own loneliness we connect with ourselves. Our hearts, minds, and bodies are restless until they rest in God. It is important that we surround ourselves with people who will not drain our inner spirits. We should not travel with people who expects us to be exciting all the time.

Living in faith helps us to identify situations which can affect and break our lives. One popular aspect of our lives that needs to be policed is our sexual life. Sex if not done under the right circumstances does more harm than good to our lives. There are three kinds of sex, each with three effects. Abusive sex destroys our soul. Casual sex trivializes our soul, and sacramental sex, the one we should participate in, builds up the soul.

Nothing that is truly great is achieved easily, and that goes for faith as well. To have great faith take dedication and perseverance, and so does love. Great love, like great art, takes great effort, sustained commitment, and lots of time.

“Our doing brings success, but our being bears fruit,” says the great Henri Nouwen.

Life is nature and nature is life. They are there to inspire us for us to use our imagination. A healthy imagination is the opposite of resignation, abdication, naive optimism, or despair.

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Walking by faith: Celebrating our Jewish roots
February 20, 2018

We believe that Jesus was the Messiah that God promised to the people of Israel. Coming to us in the flesh, Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promises. Jesus and Christians alike observe the commandments in a covenant with God that is based on love. The word of God in the Old Testament forms part of public worship for both Jews and Christians.

The story of creation in Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament, tells us that the Spirit of God passed over the waters, and they stirred with life. In Exodus, the second book, God passed over the houses of a group of slaves and spared them from the angel of death. Then God led these people, the Israelites, out of Egypt, and they passed over into freedom. To mark the event of their passing over, God commanded the Israelite community to celebrate a sacred meal. The Jews are the descendants of the Israelites, whom God led out of Egypt. The story of the Exodus recalls what God did and continues to do for the Jewish people and all who believe, then and now. With the Jews we turn to the one and only God, who was first revealed to them. With them we love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our strength.

Throughout our lives the Church encourages us to prepare for the time of our death, when we will be led to new life in the Kingdom of God. The last rites are part of our preparation as we draw near to death and are about to make the final journey home to God. The Scripture readings during the Liturgy of the Word focus on God’s constant mercy and forgiveness. In the final farewell before the body is buried, the Church commends, or gives, the person who has died to God.

We are all beginners when it comes to working for the Kingdom of God now and waiting for its final coming in glory. Grace pulls us towards God’s reign, or Kingdom.

God sent a series of visions to a man named John. One was a vision of the new creation, God’s reign fulfilled. The Lord God Almighty and Jesus, the Lamb of God, had become the perfect temple. The entire city was lit by the brightness of God’s glory. Peoples from every nation would pass through the gates, bringing gifts and treasures to place before the throne of God.

What we do for the least of God’s people is important now in this life.

Our invitation to feast in God’s Kingdom began with the signs and wonders of creation. Out of love God created man and woman and gave them a garden filled with every kind of tree delightful to look at and good for food. But the first humans turned away from God, and sin and evil entered the world. God did not turn away from us, however God kept sending us signs of hope and promise, especially through the people of Israel. If they remained faithful, God promised, they would enter a land flowing with milk and honey.

We celebrate the sacraments as constant reminders that God’s reign is among us. Our hop is in God’s promise of salvation and the life of the world to come. In this world right now, while we wait, we must serve God by loving one another.

Through signs God gives us grace, shows us love, and tells us about wonders we cannot see. At the Easter vigil we give thanks and praise to God for Christ’s victory over death in the resurrection. In Christ’s dying and rising, we experience God’s love. In the Kingdom of God, present and to come, we will live in God’s love forever.

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Walking by faith: Called to God’s kingdom

We can lean on God without any fear of becoming too dependent. As we grow in God’s life of grace, God is there to lead and support us each step of the way.


God prepared the way for Jesus by sending John the Baptist. John was a prophet, someone called to speak God’s message to humans.


We meet God and share in God’s grace through the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. Through the waters of Baptism, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, we become children of God. Sacraments are our celebrations of God’s presence in our lives. God choses each one of us without any merit on our part. God’s gift of grace cannot be earned. God gives grace to us freely out of love of us. The gift of the Holy Spirit helps us trust completely in God’s plan for us and cooperate with it.


We are not always ready to cooperate with God’s plan. When we put ourselves at the centre of our lives, the Spirit of God is squeezed into a small corner. God’s Spirit leads us to pray even when it seems that words will not come. The Spirit shows us God’s love even when we have turned away from it. God’s Spirit helps us become s holy people.


We cannot see God’s Holy Spirit, though we can see the results of the Spirit’s work.


God’s grace is available throughout our journey of faith.


The people Jesus blesses are living signs of God’s kingdom. True happiness can be found only by seeking righteousness, the attitude of being in the right relationship in God’s kingdom.


We see ourselves and others as made in God’s image. We are children of God, and we have the love of God as well as many other blessings. The beatitudes help remind us of our attitude, our way of thinking, and our way of living in relationship in the kingdom of God.


When we become the best we can be, we become who God calls us to be. We want to be best selves because that is part of God’s plan for us. God calls us to do good, and virtue helps us respond to God’s call.


God will give us the gift of wisdom, from which all other virtues flow.

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Walking in faith: A sign to the world

People will learn about us and about God’s kingdom by watching how we behave.


The Church is not God’s reign. But as the Church we point people toward God’s reign. We are signs of God’s kingdom. The whole world should be able to see God’s love and power in action when they see the way we live as Church.


By giving Peter the authority symbolized by keys, Jesus also showed that the Church and the kingdom of God are connected. Jesus sent the apostles out to spread the good news of God’s kingdom.


Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the members of the Church become holy, more closely resembling the image of God.


When it comes to what the Church teaches, we turn to those who are best able to keep the Church faithful to the word of God. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the magisterium protects and explains the word of God.


When you use your talent for sports or your gift for music, you are answering God’s call. When you see a need in the word and do something to meet it, you are answering God’s call. As an adult you may choose to answer God’s call as a single person, a priest, a married person, or a member of a religious community. Every one of us has a vocation. A call from God to serve. Priests and deacons, mothers and fathers, men and women religious, single people-all are needed to do God’s work. Each of us is called to serve God by sharing signs of love.


People live their answer to God’s call in different ways, or states, of life.


At Baptism all of us promise to follow Jesus and to serve God and others.


God calls each person in a unique way, and each person brings his or her own gifts to a life or service.


We are never far from God’s mercy. We can come home to God. Reconciliation heals our wounded relationships with God, others, and the Church. The power of God’s mercy and forgiveness transforms us.


Whatever we do as gathered person of God is holy. In the Eucharist we testify to God’s holiness and strengthened one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

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Walking by faith: Stories and signs

Some of Jesus’ stories are like windows that allow us to see God. Let yourself be surprised by God’s word.


Everywhere he went, Jesus invited people to enter the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is not an earthly place or government. It is God’s reign of peace and justice. Jesus used signs-actions and examples-and stories to teach about God’s reign. Jesus showed people that there are reminders of God’s kingdom in creation. The signs in creation say that God is near and God is great. Jesus worked mighty deeds called miracles as physical signs of God’s power. When we believe and trust in God, we recognize that anything is possible.


To teach people about the kingdom of God, Jesus used simple but memorable stories that had special meaning for his listeners. With each parable he told, Jesus invited his listeners to use their own experiences to imagine what the kingdom of God was like. To a poor woman down to her last small coin, Jesus said the kingdom of God was like a lost coin found again. Jesus insisted that people listen with their hearts as well as their ears to what God was asking of them in the stories he told. The parables show that to enter the kingdom of God, a person might have to give up many things the world considers important. Wealth, power, and fashion don’t count in God’s kingdom. The treasures of God’s kingdom are love, justice, and peace. Through his stories and signs, Jesus showed us that God’s kingdom is not a faraway fairy-tale. When we love, when we act justly, when we make peace, we are living in the reign of God.


We are invited to keep turning to God with heart, mind, and soul. Even more importantly, God gives us the great gift of eternal life. We become citizens of God’s kingdom. Repentance means turning away from sin and turning toward God. Repentance helps us see the kingdom of God more clearly. When we take care to choose the just and loving way, we are living in the kingdom of God.


Day and night, sun and moon are all God’s creation.


The prophets reminded God’s people to prepare for the coming of the Messiah, God’s chosen one, by living as people of light.

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Walking by Faith: The image of God

It’s not easy to imagine God. We see traces of God everywhere in the universe. God does love and care for us. But God’s parental love is much greater than that of the best parent we can imagine. God is far beyond the limits of our language and vision. No image or word we choose can capture who God is.


We do not know what God looks like, but in Jesus we can see and hear God’s love. To call Jesus God’s word is to say that all the power and greatness of God has come to life in our midst. In the mystery of the incarnation, the Son of God became human. In Jesus, God became human to save us from sin. The Son of God came to show us the way to know, love, and serve God. Through faith we can say that Jesus is both God and human. Jesus is the perfect image and sacrament of God. When we meet Jesus, we meet God.


Gradually, in what he said and did, Jesus let people come to know God through him. Many people saw and heard, and felt God’s love in Jesus. Many others had difficulty accepting Jesus as the image of God. Some could accept Jesus as human but not as divine, that is, God. Jesus would never be limited to easy categories because God’s love is unlimited. But the people Jesus touched and healed had no problem believing that he was both human and the Son of God. We look at Jesus and we see God.


We are created in God’s image. In Baptism we are given the grace to be living images of God every day. Of course we are not perfect images of God’s love as Jesus is. But the image of God’s love in us becomes clearer the more we try to live as Jesus did. The more we cooperate with God’s grace, and the more we care for others, the more we reflect God’s image. People can see God at work even in our limited human selves. What we do and say reflects God’s presence in the world around us. In Christ we are adopted Sons and Daughters of God.


The Son of God accepted his suffering as God’s will, and so he is our redeemer.


When Jesus walked the path of suffering and death to the new life of God’s kingdom, he did so as the first of many. God’s power and love break through into our lives.

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