Saturday, June 25, 2011

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Even though with the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost we have the beginning of public life for the Church; a decisive moment in that process was the institution of the Holy Eucharist in the Cenacle at the Last Supper.

The Eucharist, the Mystery of our Faith, is the Mystery of light because every time a priest celebrates the Mass, we have the chance to relive the experience of the disciples on the Road to Emmaus: “With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him” (Lk 14, 31).

The Eucharist is the saving presence of Jesus in the community of the faithful and it is spiritual food. It is the most precious thing the church possesses on the journey of history. When The Church celebrates this Sacrament, the memorial of the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, we make present THE SAME WORK OF OUR SALVATION. This sacrifice is so crucial for the salvation of human beings. 

Jesus Christ left us only after He left us THE MEAN above ALL MEANS, His Body so that we, participating in Him, may return to Him every time we celebrate the Mass. In This Sacrament He “will be shed (His Blood) on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins” (Mt 26: 28). “Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.” (Jn 6:57). The Unity that He asks of His Father at the last supper is now possible because of Him in the Eucharist. It is not possible to understand His words as a metaphor: “Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life within you” (Jn 6:53); “For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” (Jn 6: 55)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

I will like to share a beautiful meditation about the presence of the Trinitarian mystery in history. This revelation was perfect in the New Testament, but was also anticipated in the old. The characteristics of God as a gentle Father, caring for the righteous children that came to Him. He was called: “Father of the fatherless, defender of widows” (Psalm 68, 6). What is beautiful is that is also considered as father of the rebel and sinners.

There are two prophetic pages with extraordinary beauty and intensity that shows this fatherly care of God the Father with His lost children in (Deuteronomy 32, 5). In these beautiful pages God shows in a clear way His constant presence in all of human history  (also for the same topic: Jeremiah 31, 9. 20 and Hosea 11, 1-3-4. 8)

Now, there needs to be a clear thought, God is not indifferent to our needs. Another proof is that He sent His Only Son, to whom we call “the center of History”. Todays Gospel reaffirms that in the dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus in John 3, 16.

Something about The Holy Spirit, even though the Old Testament is not making a clear and explicit revelation of Him, we think we can attribute some saving initiatives: He helped the judges of Israel “The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel. When he went out to war, the LORD delivered Cushan-risha-thaim, king of Aram, into his power, so that he made him subject” (Judges 3, 10); The Kings “Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and from that day on, the spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.”(1 Samuel 16, 13); but more than that He, The Holy Spirit is the one that helps the prophets of Israel, the ones in charge to reveal the glory of God that was not clear in the history.

Everyone of us, as we try with our imperfect intelligence to approach the mystery of the Holy Trinity, working in the history, need to make what Saint Gregory when he sings: Glory to God The father and the Son, King of the Universe. “Glory to The Holy Spirit worthy of praises and worship. The Trinity is one God who created and filled everything… He gives life everything with His spirit so that everyone may pay homage to our creator, unique cause of life… The rational creature needed to celebrate God like a great king and good father”

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Pentecost Sunday

The beauty of the triumph of Christ in His Ascension may distract us from paying attention to what He commanded to His disciples: Pray Together and wait for the promise of The Father. When some parishes have a vigil of prayer (like us), we are fulfilling that commandment.

One name of the Holy Spirit is, “The Promise”. It was John the Baptist who asked Jesus: Are you the Messiah or do we need to wait for another one (Mt 11, 3), the one that was expected. Our Pope is doing a good job, making hope real and accessible to all of us. Repeating what Saint Paul said: “we are saved by hope” (Romans 8, 24). The expectation of The Holy Spirit is deep inside the expectation of a gift, the certainty of a huge deep change that for sure is going to happen… It is the happiness that is greeting us all from afar.

In Gethsemane Jesus commanded us to pray (Mt 26:41), then at the Ascension to stay together in the Holy City of Jerusalem so that we can be baptized with The Spirit (Acts 1: 4-8) The Holy City today is The Catholic Church, because Saint Paul says that we belong to the Jerusalem of heaven not to the earthly one. (Galatians 4:26). To stay in the Church is a very specific way to fulfill what we say in the Creed: I Believe in One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. There are times in life when we are tempted to look for The Holy Spirit outside of the Church, those groups that seem to have more lively preachings and more miracles. If we act like that we will disobey Jesus. It is so important to be obedient to Jesus’s Commandments…

To pray in Jerusalem, in The Church; together with the brothers: is a way to realize that we all have the same necessities. Our Catholic Faith is not based in personal preferences or fashions. It is not an escape from reality (like we said last Sunday talking about how hard it was also for the Apostles to believe in Jesus), nor an escape from heaven, like a Gospel that is only for social promotion, it is not even an escape to our interior, thinking that we can base our faith on internal and personal feelings or our own conscience… We pray together, because we believe that The Same One (Holy Spirit), that informs, renovates, makes anew will create in ALL of US the disposition to make everything NEW.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

As we celebrate and remember the Ascension of Our Lord into heaven, Saint Luke gives a summary of the teaching of The Risen lord: The kingdom of God. It is exactly what Jesus said in the beginning of His public life: "This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel" (Mk 1: 15). Jesus' project didn't change. The Resurrection is for us a new beginning. Not even the sufferings He endured or His death could change His obedience to and love of His Father. His goal: The Glory of The Name of God, that His will can be heard and obeyed. In other words, it is what we say in the Our Father: "Adveniat regnum tuus fiat voluntas tua sicut in coelo et in terra", which means: Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. It was hard for the disciples and the first Christians to witness their Leader suffer and then die...
It was hard for the apostles to trust in the Lord and to follow Him. It is still hard to believe, after the Resurrection, in our own lives, what was hard for them to believe is hard for us. They were as real as you or I. When they speak to us years later about holiness and the Kingdom of Heaven through the Gospels, we need not imagine them as people who did not have their feet on the ground. Their questions proved their sense of reality very well: Is it now when You are going to establish the kingdom of Israel? In other words: Is it now when real problems, when real injustices from this world, real hunger, real sufferings are going to stop?
The answer that Jesus gives is always the same: Give Me the freedom to decide for such things are not for you to know. I am King and I will always be King at the right hand of the Father.

The goal of Jesus was not only to create a socially safe environment with good laws but an environment where everyone would respect others, no matter where or how they come. He is the Head we are the Body... Where He is we hope to be one day... Every injustice and lack of order will come to an end when what we say in the Creed every Sunday becomes real: "He will come to judge the living and the dead and His Kingdom will have no end"...Our Goal is Heaven!