The Greatest Mystery

The Catholic Faith is one of mystery. There is so much we find difficult to explain or understand, at least we lay people. How often have you heard homilies struggling to explain the Trinity or the Eucharist? Yet there is still a greater mystery, the greatest in all of Christianity in my opinion; how could Jesus love us.

How could He love me so much that He was willing to die for me, the screw-up with all my sins? How could He know all the sins I would commit, all the times I would reject Him or put things before Him yet love me enough to go to Cavalry? It is believed in the Garden He saw all the sins ever committed including yours and mine yet He willingly laid down His life so that we may have eternal life.

Yet even that was not enough for Him. He loved us so much at the Last Supper He created the Eucharist so that we could receive Him and draw close to Him. He sits now in our Tabernacles waiting for us to come visit Him. He passionately yearns for a relationship with us.

What is also amazing is that His love for us is not just limited to our salvation but all- encompassing. He cares deeply about every aspect of our lives and ardently yearns to pour His love upon us. “By His stripes we are healed”. He cares about our health, careers, relationships, our hopes and dreams, our passions and fears; every aspect of our lives, everything we can think of. Nothing is too big or too small for Him to care about. If it is important to us it is important to Him. Our job is to open ourselves to His awesome love.

Why He loves us so is the mystery we have difficulty wrapping our brains around. We are so unlovable so selfish it is difficult to comprehend such a selfless love. Yet that is the nature of Jesus, of God. He is Love Incarnate. It is impossible for Him to go against His nature and not love us even with all our faults. Who can understand all this?

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Going Back In Time

How many of us when struck by a serious disease have wished we could go back to the time of the Apostles when miracles and healings were everyday events. In the book of Acts we read how people were healed by the shadow of Peter passing over them. Cloths touched by Paul were used to heal people who were unable to go to Paul. Oh, we wish it were that simple, now.

Why isn’t it that simple now? Why aren’t we turning to Jesus for healing instead of running off to Mexico or elsewhere for an alternate cure? Why don’t we go to God? Do we really believe that God has the power to heal us? Do we believe that He loves us?

Don’t we receive the same Holy Spirit in Confirmation and Baptism? Do we believe that somehow over the course of 2000 years the power of the Holy Spirit has been diluted? Isn’t God the same God with all the power that created the Universe?

Isn’t the Jesus present in every consecrated host the same Jesus who raised the dead and healed all who came to Him in faith? Isn’t He the same Jesus who suffered so horribly for us out of love during the Passion? Didn’t Paul tell us in Hebrews 13:8 that Jesus is “the same, yesterday, today and forever”?

Don’t we really believe that God loves us? Do we feel that we’re so great a sinner that He couldn’t possibly love us? Are we so great a sinner that God wouldn’t use us to heal someone else?

What about Peter? Didn’t he deny Jesus three times? Wasn’t he hot-tempered and brash? What about Paul? Didn’t he persecute Christians? Wasn’t he involved in the death of St. Stephen? What about the people who they healed? Wasn’t this the same generation that crucified Our Lord? Isn’t it likely that some of those healed were in the crowd on Good Friday?

I’ve read that healings and miracles were necessary to bring people into the Church but once the Church was established they disappeared? However, miracles have always been part of the Church’s history. And except for technology is this generation really that different from Pagan Rome?

I know people say we don’t need miracles or healings because of how advanced medicine is. The question that arises today is the cost. Can we afford Modern Medicine? Will it be available to all of us? Does God want us to run to Him or to the hottest doctor?

Could the fault for the lack of healings in the Church today lie with us and not God’s love or desire to heal us? Could it be that we don’t ask in the faith required or aren’t really open to His healing love? Are we seeking healing on our terms or His?

Most of us have seen the movie, The Passion of the Christ. There is a scene in the movie after the scourging and crowning with thorns where Pilate presents Jesus covered with bloodied wounds to the crowd. Would any of us in His place be satisfied with two aspirin?

Often that is how we approach God for healing. Over the course of our lifetime we have been wounded spiritually and emotionally. God looks at us and sees these wounds. He sees us infested with spiritual and emotional cancers and longs to heal us. He longs to pour His love upon us. He longs for us to open ourselves to His love. We however, only want the physical healing. We refuse to open ourselves up to the spiritual and emotional healing.

In a sense we refuse to let God be God and control our life. We insist on being our own God and controlling our life. We don’t want to surrender. We know what we need. We know everything we need to know. We want to hang on to the anger, resentments and grudges. We don’t want to change. We don’t want to open ourselves up to God’s healing love. We might have to let go of feelings that we want to hang onto. We might have to admit we were wrong that we made mistakes and committed sins. We might have to forgive people we don’t want to forgive.

We don’t want to do this. We don’t really want to surrender our lives to God, to give Him control. He wants to heal us totally, to give us a new better life but we don’t want it. Instead we ask for aspirin and band aids

Reading Jeremiah, A Warning For America

One of the most frightening books in the Bible is the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah was the prophet who warned about and witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 586 BC. Not only was Jerusalem and the Temple destroyed but the people of Judah was dragged off into exile. Only a few poor were left behind.

What is frightening is that many of the things God said about the Judeans could be applied to us today. Jeremiah 2:17 asks the question”Have you not brought this upon yourself by forsaking the Lord your God when he led you in the way”. We are going through a lot of turmoil, both political and economic. Could this have been brought on by the fact that many Americans have ignored God? Those who attend church regularly are a minority now. Europe is even worse than we are. Can we really expect God to take care of us if we ignore or deny His existence?

Jeremiah 6: 10 said “behold the word of the Lord is to them an object of scorn they take no pleasure in it”. Can these words not apply to those who condemn and ridicule the Church for standing up for life and marriage? Is not the gospel message attacked today in our country?

In Jeremiah 7:26 God called the Israelites a stiff neck people, too stubborn to listen to the prophets. Can the same not be said of the Pro Choice Movement? Every reasonable compromise has been opposed. Nothing but an unlimited right to abortion at any time is good enough for some of them. Their attacks on pro-lifers are filled with vehemence. We are basically told to stick our heads in the sand and ignore everything. They don’t need our religion or the word of God.

Yet they aren’t the only ones who God might consider stiff-necked. What about some of the members of the Gay Community who seem intent on ramming their agenda down our throats? What about their attempts to disrupt masses? How might God feel?

Might the words of Jeremiah 8: “…They hold fast to deceit, they refuse to return” also apply to us today? What about Jeremiah 8:6 “…no man repents of his wickedness, saying, What have I done?” Does not Jeremiah 8:9”…lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord and what wisdom is there in them?” Do these words not apply to America?

Jeremiah 9:5 reads” Every one deceives his neighbor and no one speaks the truth; they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they commit iniquity and are too weary to repent.” Could these words be applied to the mess on Wall Street? Could they be applied to our politics with all of the vicious attacks on character? Could they be applied to the political candidates on both sides who refuse to tell the truth about the economy, Social Security and Medicare?

What about Jeremiah 12:2 “…thou art near in their mouth and far from their heart”? Do these words apply to the politicians who claim to be Christian and go after the Christian vote but contradict Christian morality on marriage and abortion?

How can we answer the question of Jeremiah 9:9 “Shall I not punish them for these things? Says the Lord; and shall I not avenge myself on a nation such as this? How can we answer this question? If this isn’t frightening then I don’t know what is?

Yet all is not hopeless. For in Jeremiah 3: 12-13 God has a promise for the America of today. “Return, faithless Israel, says the Lord: I will not look upon you in anger, for I am merciful, says the Lord; I will not be angry for ever. Only acknowledge your guilt, that you have rebelled against the Lord your God…”He goes on to promise to bless them if they return in many ways applicable to the people of that time. Would He not do the same for America?

We need to look at ourselves and repent of any ways we have sinned. We need to avail ourselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. There should be long lines, not two or four people. We need to pray for those who have turned their backs on God. We should be praying for the conversion of politicians, those who fight for abortion and those pushing Gay rights. Just voting isn’t enough. We need to spend a lot of time praying. Over and over Mary has asked people to say the rosary. That would be a good place to start.

Will You Trust Me?

If the Lord was to ask us one question, what do you think it would be? Why did you do that? Why didn’t you do such and such? Why don’t you love me? Why are you running from me? These are all good possibilities but my guess is for many mature Christians His question would be: will you trust Me, really trust Me.

Will you trust Me, will you put your trust in Me and My love and not that novena that you have to copy eighty-one times? Will you trust Me and not the rituals you created to ask Me for help? Will you really trust in Me and not some man-made formula? Will you trust in Me and not your IRA or 401 K? Will you trust in Me and not your government? Will you put your trust in Me and not your politicians?

Will you trust and believe that I am in control, that I know and desire what is best for You? Will you believe in my love for you regardless of the circumstances? Will you trust me in all circumstances?

Will you believe and trust that My plans for you are for good and not for woe? Will you trust that in all things I work for the good of those who love me? Will you believe that no matter what is happening to you I will use it for your good?

We worry so much. Every time we turn on the news or read a newspaper we have another worry. Wildfires, Flu, the auto industry pulling the economy down, the threats of bank failures, unemployment, and the decline in the price of housing, gangs, drugs, the deficits, abortion are just the tip of the iceberg. It gets so you don’t even want to read a newspaper. Ironically, even newspapers are in trouble today. The future is rather frightening if you pay attention to the news.

But the news isn’t in charge of the future and thankfully neither is the politicians of either party. The future lies in God’s hands. Only He knows how long we have. We can worry about terrorism, cancer, heart attacks, the Flu, a nuclear accident, natural disasters, economic collapse, the stock market and a million other things and die of something totally unrelated like a car accident. What good would all that worrying do?

We can worry or we can trust in God. Over and over in scripture God has told us that He loves us. He loves us with an everlasting love. He promised never to leave or forsake us. In Matthew 6: 25 He literally tells us”do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink: or about your body, what you will wear”. Read the Twenty Third Psalm! Why do we fret and worry?

God is in control! Do we really believe that? The way to unleash the power of God is by praying in faith that God can and will act for our good. Are we really praying with faith or are our prayers infected by doubt? Are there areas of our prayer life where we limit the power of God by our lack of trust and worrying? Are there times that we pray just in case but don’t really believe that God will answer positively? Do we pray for healing over and over again or do we pray once for healing then ask God to continue to heal and thank Him for answering our prayer?

We live in terrible times. Everything seems to be going wrong yet God is more powerful than our circumstances. We serve a mighty God, creator of universes, capable of creating galaxies in seconds yet we doubt His power. Or do we doubt His love?

Why do we doubt His love? The Bible is a testament of God’s love for us. The Passion and Crucifixion testify to God’s love for us. He sacrificed His own Son for our salvation. Jesus died on the Cross for us. Does it make sense that He would go through all that suffering for us and deny us something that was for our good?

There is so much we don’t understand. We don’t know a lot of the whys about what is happening. We don’t know where we’re going or what is going to happen in the future. Only in hindsight do we sometimes get a glimpse of what God is doing for us.

We aren’t supposed to understand. We’re not capable of understanding. Too often when we try to figure things out on our own we screw up. We are called to trust in God, trust Him to provide day by day not twenty years in the future. We need to learn from the way God provided for the Israelites in the desert. They were only supposed to gather enough manna for the day. If they tried to gather extra and save it for the next day it spoiled. Yet on Fridays they gathered two days worth because manna would not fall on the Sabbath. It didn’t spoil.

We are called to trust our future to God. We do our work, save wisely but put our trust in God not man-made institutions. We are called to hand our worries to God and trust Him to take care of them and live day by day trusting Him.