Saturday, November 30, 2013

First Sunday of Advent "Jesus is Coming; Welcome Him"

Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left. Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of the night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you must also be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus allow me to spend this time in prayerful dialogue with you. Permit me to place all of my worries and cares aside to prepare myself for your coming during this Advent season.

Petition: My God, each day you make an unexpected showing in my life. Help me to be attentive so that I can welcome you upon your arrival.

1. Be Prepared. Often in the course of our busy lives events catch us off guard and unprepared. How many birthdays or anniversaries of loved ones have slipped our memories till the last moment or even after the fact? If however there is one event that needs to be placed in bold on our calendar it is Christ’s secondcoming. Jesus is truly coming, seeking hearts where he will be welcome. The danger of being caught off guard is greater than we first perceive. Like the people in today’s Gospel passage, routine can set in. The hustle and bustle of every day life can blind us to seeing and recognizing Christ’s continued presence and guidance. Are there aspects of my life that I wouldn’t want Jesus to know about? Are there people I have a hard time dealing with? What do I need to change in my life so that Jesus will be a welcome guest in every moment of my day?

2. Jesus is Coming. The Church offers us these forty days of Advent to prepare for the Savior’s birth. But Christ doesn’t come only once a year at Christmas. As our Holy Father Pope John Paul II constantly points out: “Christ yesterday, today and forever.” Christ came in his incarnation, and he is still present with us in scripture and in the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus also comes to us, hidden, in our neighbor in need; we should be attentive so as to recognize his coming and serve Christ by living charity towards those around us. Do I see the Incarnation as the greatest gift that God the Father could have given to humanity? Am I aware that the fulfillment of Jesus’ words, “and behold I am with you till the end of time” find fulfillment in the Eucharist as Pope John Paul points out so clearly in his recent apostolic letter, Mane Nobiscum Domine (Stay with Us, Lord)? Do I have a great love for Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament and a great longing to receive him worthily?

3. Am I Prepared to Welcome Him? Advent is upon us and the celebration of the birth of Christ is just around the corner. How much our hearts long for the joy and peace that the angels foretold the night of Jesus’ birth! Will Jesus find a place to be born this year? Like that first Christmas he will go from door-to-door, in the womb of Our Blessed Mother, seeking a place to stay. Maybe like that first Christmas years ago, there will be some houses where no room will be available for Jesus. Perhaps they will be too filled up with the concerns of the festive moment. Yet, while all the mansions and palaces may be booked up, there will be other humbler places for the little Lord Jesus to stay: simple hearts littered with straw and afire with burning love on a cold winter night. Offer Jesus your heart; just leave the door open a crack and he will find his way in.

Dialogue with Christ: My Lord Jesus, I know that I am not worthy of the great love you have for me. I get so caught up in the concerns of the moment that at times I forget about what is most important. When you knock on my door this Christmas I desire to be awake with my candle burning, prepared to receive you into my heart.

Resolution: I will arrive five minutes early to Mass and prepare my soul for Jesus’ coming in the Blessed Sacrament.



Friday, November 29, 2013

Feast of Saint Andrew, apostle "A Decisive Response"

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." At once they left their nets and followed him. He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.

Introductory Prayer: Dear Jesus, I believe that you have called me to follow you more closely today. I trust that in this prayer, you will help me see the concrete implications of following your will. I love you and want to respond to all that you ask of me, today and always. Thank you for watching over me and guiding me home to heaven.

Petition: Make me a fisher of men, here and now, Lord!

1. As Jesus Walked By: One summer afternoon a priest just happened to be in the area and visited my home. Within three years, two of my brothers and I were following Christ on the road to the priesthood. Jesus didn’t just happen to walk by these two pairs of brothers! He had every intention of inviting those brothers to become “fishers of men.” How much happens in my life, prepared and intended by God, to help me follow him more closely? And all I see is an accident, a coincidence? Ask him when was the last time he just happened by.

2. At Once They Followed Him: Jesus never calls someone when it’s perfectly convenient, when that person has nothing better to do. No, he calls precisely when we are in the middle of living our life, doing what we do best, what we do most, “casting or mending our nets.” “What a losing formula!” we are tempted to conclude. Yet what is it he really wants of us when he calls? He wants a response -- a reply of love. Love is all about preference and priority. If I love him more than myself, I can follow him “at once.” If I prefer him over my own activities and life, I can follow him “immediately.” What is the response of love I am giving or want to give Jesus today in my life?

3. They Left Something Behind: “Pro-choice:” That’s what God is! He wants us to choose. But he is not indifferent about what we choose. Every choice implies the rejection of other options. We cannot follow someone somewhere without leaving something and someone else behind. Peter and Andrew left their nets behind. James and John left their boat and their father behind. This was possible only with Jesus before them. Yet we, too, often try to follow Christ without leaving things and others behind: the world, comforts, my preferences... We think that we can have it all. We can’t. We are in danger of “taming our faith,” bending to the demands of our passions and the world’s insistence. Love requires a choice, a choice for the real, complete Jesus. It asks me to reject everything in me that is not him. How wholehearted is my following of Christ?

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, you have called me and continue to call me throughout this day. Help me to respond with love, a love that trumps all my other loves, likes and desires. I don’t want you to have to wait for me, Lord. Just show me what you want and give me the courage and generosity to give it to you, no matter the cost.

Resolution: I will give up something today that diminishes the attention that I give to my spouse, family or friends.



Friday of the Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time "The Kingdom Is Near"

Jesus told his disciples a parable. "Consider the fig tree and all the other trees. When their buds burst open, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near; in the same way, when you see these things happening, know that the Kingdom of God is near. Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away."

Introductory Prayer: Dear Jesus, I believe in you and in the Kingdom you are building in and through me. I believe in the value of my sacrifice and struggles united to yours. I hope to arrive to heaven when you say it is time. I wish to spend myself for those I should love the most.

Petition: Thy kingdom come, now and forever!

1. See for Yourselves: In today’s Gospel, Jesus is responding to the disciples’ anxious plea for a “when” and a “with what warning” the end will come (Luke 21:7). He tells them some signs that will precede the imminent fall of Jerusalem as well as the coming of the Son of Man “on the clouds.” But these will all be very apparent, like the coming of summer. So don’t be obsessed with figuring out the “when.” Focus on living and knowing the Kingdom of God now. How easily we are distracted with all that happens around us, yet how difficult it is to be aware of the Kingdom and its demands in my heart and my relations to others in my life! What efforts do I make to discover and know the present demands of his Kingdom in my life?

2. The Kingdom of God Will Come: Jesus has used many images to describe the Kingdom of God. Like the mustard seed, it is hard to recognize at first. It begins small and grows slowly. But it will come, and this must be our daily prayer of desire: “Thy Kingdom Come!” We must resist a very real temptation. Almost unconsciously we want it to be a worldly Kingdom that will come during our lifetime.

We work and pray as though we will soon arrive at our goals and rest from all our spiritual labors. This leads us to get easily discouraged at our lack of progress in prayer and virtue, no less than with the problems that surround us. No, we must live with hope, pushing forward with growing confidence that the Lord will bring his Kingdom to fulfillment, both in us and in the world – when the time is right. Whose kingdom am I seeking?

3. My Words Will Not Pass Away: Another temptation in awaiting the Kingdom is to despair of the times of trial through which we must pass. But in the words of St. Theresa of Jesus, “all things pass,” only God remains. Nothing we suffer will remain as the Kingdom approaches. And yet all these “trials” are the most valuable and powerful means to bring about the Kingdom in our own souls and in the lives of others, especially in those who wander. Use the tools of the Kingdom: Suffer trials with faith, and respond with a love that gives them an eternal value. May we never lose a moment in which to merit graces and build the Kingdom that comes. In the end, only what we have done for God and for our brothers and sisters remains.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, give me a greater faith and confidence that every cross and burden, no matter how trivial or small, is a means to love. I want to build your Kingdom with you. Keep me focused on the opportunities and demands of the present moment.

Resolution: I will make one small sacrifice at a meal today for someone I wish I could help more



Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thursday of the Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time "Scary Times"

Jesus said to his disciples: "When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, know that its desolation is at hand. Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. Let those within the city escape from it, and let those in the countryside not enter the city, for these days are the time of punishment when all the scriptures are fulfilled. Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days, for a terrible calamity will come upon the earth and a wrathful judgment upon this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken as captives to all the Gentiles; and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. "There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand."

Introductory Prayer: Jesus my Savior, thank you for another day and another chance to grow in holiness with your grace. I love you and wish to make you the true center of my thoughts, desires and actions.

Petition: Lord, give me a healthy, but realistic Christian optimism.

1. Desolation at Hand: What a grim Gospel passage! Lots of talk of armies and calamity and roaring seas. Jesus is speaking of the coming destruction of Jerusalem (in A.D. 70) as well as images of the End-Times. In our day we can think of wars, tsunamis, floods and wonder why the world is such a nasty place sometimes. Why can´t life be easier? Why do so many innocent people suffer? Alas, Our Lord asked the same questions. All the evil we see springs from original sin, from the fall of Adam. It wasn´t God´s plan to have all this suffering -- but he allows it. He allows it because he respects our freedom. He allows it too because he knows he can bring good out of it. How do I use my freedom? Do I have enough faith in Christ to be optimistic?

2. Trampled Underfoot: The fall of Jerusalem didn´t mean that God abandoned the world. True, the focus of religion would no longer be the Temple; rather, it would be a new focus: Christ, truly present in the Eucharist. The tabernacle would be the new center of attention. How few souls grasp that truth? After 2,000 years, Jesus is still humble, allowing himself to be kept in a tabernacle. Does that fact influence the way I act in a church? Does it affect the way I dress when going to church? Do I try to enter church with the proper state of heart and mind?

3. Redemption at Hand: Faithful following of Christ gives us the best assurance that our lives have meaning. Christ will make sense of everything at the end of our lives. All our struggles to live the Gospel will be worth it. On the last day we might regret many things, but we will never regret the things we did for Christ. Does that truth guide our lives each day? Do we live each day as if it were our last? What is there in my life that I would be ashamed of on the last day? Why not weed it out of my life now?

Conversation with Christ:Lord, help me to judge the things of my daily life against eternity. Let me see things with your eyes. Let me see what is really valuable and what is fleeting. And help me to act accordingly.

Resolution: I will make a fresh effort to get rid of the biggest vice in my life


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

"Gratitude Among the Rarest of Virtues" Have a blessed Thanksgiving Day!

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests” As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”

Introductory Prayer:  Lord, I believe that you are present here as I turn to you in prayer. I trust and have confidence in your desire to give me every grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me. I give you my life and my love in return.

Petition: Lord, may I know what gratitude really is and live up to this call.

1. Jesus Shows Pity  It is easy to forget at times what it meant to be a leper in Jesus’ time. Such a person had to separate himself from the community, live outside the town, and declare himself “unclean” when anybody started to approach him. Since illness was also equated with sin. According to the mentality of the time, God punished the sinner with physical illness. Thus, to have to shout “unclean” meant that one had to publicly declare he was a sinner. So, as miserable a state as leprosy was, worse still was the shame of it. From here we understand better the sense of desperation and urgency in the lepers’ petition: “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” There is such thing as spiritual leprosy too, but Jesus can heal the sickness in our soul within confession. As Christians we should look for this as ardently as the ten lepers looked to be healed of their bodily leprosy.

 

2. The Lepers Were Cleansed  Jesus felt obliged to perform the miracle of curing these ten lepers; they truly believed he could do it. That is why Jesus so hastily tells them to go to the priest as prescribed by the law and have their return to health officially recognized; thus will end their banishment and disgrace. However, in their burst of joy nine of the cured ten forget to say “thank you.” At first it seems strange to us that they would omit this, after being transformed in one moment from utter misery to a clean bill of health. However, we often do the same; we forget to say thanks in the joy of a moment when someone has really helped us or resolved a major problem for us.

3. “Stand up and go”  It did occur to one leper, a foreigner, to come back and say “thank you”; it was the Samaritan leper. In Jesus’ time Samaritans and Jews normally despised each other, which probably makes his words of thanks to Jesus all the more remarkable. However, what really catches Jesus’ attention is the fact that only one person comes back to express his words of gratitude. Doesn’t this passage remind us of how rare is the virtue of gratitude in the human heart? The cured Samaritan’s faith has saved him, and it wouldn’t be rash of us to think that he used especially well the new gift of health the Lord had given him. Those who are really grateful for what they receive from God generally use more zealously and profitably the gifts they are given.

Conversation with Christ:  Lord Jesus, I realize now how many things I might take for granted in life. May this meditation really be a renewal in looking for spiritual healing in you and in using well all the talents and gifts you have given me.

Resolution:  I will make a special effort to thank anyone who has assisted or served me in any way today or just recently.




Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Wednesday of the Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time "Costly Catholicism"

Jesus said to his disciples: "Before all this happens, however, 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. It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

Introductory Prayer: Jesus my Savior, thank you for another day and another chance to grow in holiness with your grace. I love you and wish to make you the true center of my thoughts, desires and actions.

Petition: Lord, help me face the difficulties of practicing my faith day-to-day.

1. Persecution: Opposition from the world is the price we pay for following Christ. No pain, no gain. Why should that surprise us? If living the Gospel were easy, the entire world would be saints. But the Gospel is demanding. It rubs against our fallen human nature. It demands of us — and even makes us unpopular. Why? Because people who do good are a thorny reminder to those who don´t. It shouldn´t surprise us that the neighbors look down on us for having so many kids. Or that the guys in the dorm snicker at us for living chastely. Or that the boss overlooks us for a promotion because we wouldn´t donate to that pro-abortion group last Christmas during the company fund drive. Do I realize that to be a Christian is to be persecuted?

2. No Defense: When Christ tells us not to prepare our defense he´s not telling us to sit back and do nothing. Rather, he wants us to use our talents for the Kingdom. Christ is inviting us to trust that ultimately the victory of good over evil belongs to him. God has his time and place for everything. In the meantime we are called to build the Kingdom wherever we can — in our families, our offices, our schools, our communities. How am I building the Kingdom in the areas around me?

3. Wisdom from Above: "I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking…" When we stay close to Christ in prayer and deed, he takes over our lives little by little. And that´s good. Our selfishness fades. Our heart grows. We die to ourselves. "He must increase; I must decrease" (John 3:30). But we have to ask ourselves: Do we really believe in the Gospel? Do we believe in it enough to use Christ´s words when we have to respond to the nonbelievers around us? How often do we identify ourselves as Catholic in public?

Conversation with Christ:Lord, you know it´s not easy to be seen as your friend. People laugh at us — if they don´t feel sorry for us. They don´t understand where we are coming from. Help me understand some of the loneliness you must have felt when you went against the world´s standards. Help me be faithful to you regardless of the cost.

Resolution: In conversation or in an e-mail I will use a line of Christ’s wisdom from the Gospel.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Tuesday of the Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time "Tuesday of the Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time"

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." Then they asked him, "Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?" He answered, "See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ´I am he,´ and ´The time has come.´ Do not follow them! When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end." Then he said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for this special time I have with you. It´s one of the few calm moments of the day. Your presence reassures me that I don´t have to endure the trials of the day alone. You are my strength and my peace. I wish to abide in your love.

Petition: Jesus, help me to keep hoping despite the crises in my life.

1. Temple of Doom: For the Jews, the Temple in Jerusalem was the center of religious and cultural life. It contained the Holy of Holies, the sanctuary that once housed the Ark of the Covenant. The people were proud of the Temple, but Jesus warns them that the day will arrive when it will be destroyed (as indeed it was, in A.D. 70). Yet the end of the Temple will not be the end of religion. Jesus himself will remain with us, as he does to this day, in the Eucharist. Likewise, no matter what else passes away — our house, our office, our school — Christ remains. Does that belief fill me with confidence?

2. Be Not Deceived: Jesus doesn´t directly answer the question about when the Temple will be destroyed. Rather, he tries to get his listeners to focus on what is really important: their faith. Our Lord warns them not to listen to the wrong people. Throughout the course of a normal day, to whom do we listen? Whose voices are on our radios, our TV sets? Who really has our ear day–by-day? Worldly talk-show hosts? The news media´s "instant experts"? MTV gurus? Jesus cautions us that the people we listen to might affect the quality of our lives — and the quality of our eternity. Do I judge carefully, then, the voices I listen to?

3. Do Not Be Terrified: Tsunamis, floods, terrorist attacks, wars, abortion, euthanasia -- is the world a nicer place today than in Jesus´ time? Our Lord was no stranger to bad news. He knew about the tower in Siloam that killed 18 people (see Luke 13:4) -- and he knew what awaited him on Good Friday. Yet he always remained hopeful and encouraged the best in people. As his followers, we too must be witnesses to hope. We need to brighten the lives of those around us. More importantly we need to remind others that God will win in the end. "Good, not evil, has the last word," Pope John Paul II told the general audience of Oct. 17, 2001, "God triumphs over the hostile powers, even when they seem great and invincible."

Conversation with Christ:Lord, I know in my mind that you will win in the end. If only my heart would believe that, too! Grant me this grace. Grant that my life will show that kind of optimism at every moment.

Resolution: I will make a small sacrifice or offer up a special prayer for someone suffering today.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe "Standing by the King"

And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!" The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" There was also an inscription over him, "This is the King of the Jews." One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, thank you for this moment in which I can be alone with you. I believe that you are truth itself, that you are the foundation of all moral judgments. I trust that you really care for me and give me the light to see the needs of others. I love you, Lord, and show it now with my desire to pray.

Petition: Lord, help me to be always faithful to Christ my King in the smallest duties of my state in life.

1. They Scoffed and Mocked Him Contemplate the scene of the Crucifixion, what we see and what we hear. We see three men being crucified. The one in the middle has a sign affixed to his cross which reads: “Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews.” Who is this king? We hear the leaders of the Jews ridicule him and the soldiers mock him. Even one of the dying criminals derides him. Jesus provoked strong reactions from these diverse individuals; he continues to provoke strong reactions today. Reflect on the frenetic energy with which individuals try to erase his name from public life today. Look at the time and resources spent to undo his teaching, his influence and his values in Western culture. He is ridiculed in books, movies and works of art. His Church is attacked, as is his vicar on earth and all those who remain loyal to him and his teachings.

2. The People Stood By We tend to overlook the crowd who stood by watching. They did nothing actively wrong; they were merely passive. As Jesus was mocked and ridiculed and scorned, they remained silent and did nothing. No one stood up for Jesus; no one came to his defense. How few stand up for him and his Church today! Why is it that other groups are so quick to defend their own while we remain silent, watching and standing by, but not standing up?

3. One Man Believes The good thief put his faith in Christ. A moment of grace came to him in the waning moments of his life. He was able to see Christ the King in all his humble glory and he reached out for salvation. “This day you will be with me in paradise.” This king was a political failure. He had no success, no power to save his own life. The power he did have he freely surrendered rather than use it for personal gain. He died with only a few followers standing at the cross. He had no wealth or army, but he loved his own in the world. He loved them to the end. Would I follow such a king?

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, I don’t want to be just part of the crowd who remained silent. Give me the strength to stand up for you and to defend you. Help me never to deny you in my life. Help me to be faithful to your teachings and your will.

Resolution:I will speak of Christ today in my conversations with others.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Saturday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time "Christ Is the Answer"

Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man´s brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; then the second and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her." Jesus said to them, "Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive." Then some of the scribes answered, "Teacher, you have spoken well." For they no longer dared to ask him another question.

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the Alpha and the Omega. You have given me life and offer me eternal life with you. You deserve my honor, gratitude and love, and yet you never impose yourself upon me. Thank you for respecting my freedom so that I can offer myself to you. All that I have is yours; I return it to you.

Petition: Lord Jesus, help me to be a child of God, a child of the resurrection.

1. Simple and Constant Conversation: Today we see some Sadducees asking Christ an important question about heaven. Christ teaches us that once we are in heaven, things will be considerably different than they are here on earth. This is a beautiful example how we can converse with Christ. We simply need to ask him questions: questions about our faith, about difficulties we may be having with certain relationships, about career changes, etc.
 
The answers we receive may not be what we were expecting or hoping for, but what is important is that we engage Christ in conversation every day and that we seek to please him in everything we do. This open, warm contact with Our Lord is already a little taste of heaven.

2. Union with Christ: Christ reminds us that he and the Father are the God of the living. He gave us our life; we lost it. He became man, suffered, died and rose on the third day that we might have a new life — a life in and with God, now and for all eternity. Our ultimate marriage will be in heaven, as we will be one with God as Jesus is.

3. Participation in the Life of God: When God reveals his mysteries to us, we participate in his life. God has made us so we would pursue him, so we would listen to him, so we would understand him, so we would crave the things of God. Is not that a mystery unto itself? We have a God who wants to speak with us constantly about the things of heaven! This reality, this inestimable gift, should move us to share with others the Good News.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, through your death and resurrection and my baptism, you have made me a child of God. Help me to appreciate more fully this day and what it means to be a child of God. Grant me the grace to live in accord with this gift of gifts.

Resolution: Today I will look on all things as if God were speaking to me in every moment


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Memorial of Saint Cecilia, virgin and martyr "God’s House Is Holy"

Then Jesus entered the Temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them, "It is written, ´My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.´" And every day he was teaching in the Temple area. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile, were seeking to put him to death, but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose because all the people were hanging on his words.

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the Alpha and the Omega. You have given me life and offer me eternal life with you. You deserve my honor, gratitude and love, and yet you never impose yourself upon me. Thank you for respecting my freedom so that I can offer myself to you. All that I have is yours; I return it to you.

Petition: Lord God, teach me greater reverence for your house.

1. Zeal for the Father’s House: Jesus was not an enemy of commerce. In fact, many times the Gospel makes references to buying and selling without any negative connotations at all. However, in today’s Gospel passage we find Our Lord irate for two principal reasons. First, business activity was taking place within the Temple area. This was, in a sense, a “profanation” of God’s house. The Temple of Jerusalem contained, veiled behind a massive curtain, the Holy of Holies, where God’s mysterious presence dwelled. Yet, paradoxically, Temple worshipers had first to cross what had the appearance of a marketplace to be able to worship before the Lord. Second, Jesus was indignant due to the fact that the temple merchants were dishonest. Am I always honest in my business dealings? Do I always respect God’s name and the things of God?

2. Return to Reverence: Jesus was on fire with zeal for the house of his Father and determined that it be respected as a house of prayer. Silence, worship and prayer are elements that should be an essential part of every visit to a church, especially for Sunday Mass. In the tabernacle of every Catholic Church, Our Lord is present in the Eucharist as a prisoner of love waiting to enter into dialogue with us. We are never closer to heaven than when we are before Our Eucharistic Lord. Yet we can forget this truth. Our postures, chatter, and dress might contribute to a general “profanation” of God’s house. Do I try to remember every time I enter a church that I am standing before my Lord who made heaven and earth? Can others see that I believe Jesus is really present in the Eucharist? Is he the center of my attention? Can I put aside all distractions?

3. Hanging on Jesus’ Words: The crowds are described as “hanging” on Jesus’ every word. Jesus showed a reverence for his Father’s house far greater than any external piety the Pharisees demonstrated. He spoke the truth and was never afraid to stand up for it, even when it was less than convenient to do so. He was unafraid of those who “were seeking to put him to death.” Jesus’ uprightness was the key to his effectiveness and the attractive power of his words. As Christians we are called by vocation to imitate the uprightness of Our Lord in our words and actions.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, many times I have entered Church distractedly and forgotten that you were present. I beg your forgiveness. I ask to be a zealous witness of your love, and I promise to show you greater reverence in the Blessed Sacrament.

Resolution: I will live the Mass this Sunday with a special reverence.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary "Build Your Life on the Rock That Is Christ"

As Jesus drew near Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, "If this day you only knew what makes for peace-- but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another within you because you did not recognize the time of your visitation."

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, many times I have overlooked your love in the circumstances of my life. I know you are always present, even if I don’t feel your love. This time of prayer is an opportunity to show you my love, and I truly desire to bring you consolation as you so often bring consolation to me.

Petition: Heavenly Father, help me to stand firm amidst the vicissitudes of life.

1. “As for Me and My Household, We Will Serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). 

The beauty of this life is that it offers us so many options. We have all been given the grace of free will, and we can choose to do many things. We can choose where we would like to work, where we want to vacation, who our friends are, what we are going to do this very moment. But the most important choice we make in life is to decide whether to love and serve God or to deny him. God’s greatest, natural gift to us is free will, and with it we direct our own destiny. What a truly beautiful soul who chooses to spend his life serving God! Clearly opting for God and his ways gives direction to a person’s life and provides clarity in moments of darkness and trial.

2. The Time to Prepare for a Storm Is Now: The worst time to clean out the gutters is in the middle of a thunder storm. And that roof would have worked a lot better had it been fixed before a week of rain. The concept of being prepared is so hard for us human beings. Christ told his disciples, “Watch and pray, that you may not undergo the test” (Matthew 26:41). He was saying, “Be prepared. You never know when temptations or tough times are going to strike.”

3. Holding the Fort: The spiritual life is a lot like a castle. A castle has its strong points and its not-so-strong points. It has a moat, high stone walls and turrets, but it also has a gate made only of wood. Each of us has one or two things that can be likened to that wooden gate. We all have our weaknesses, but do we know what those weaknesses are? One of the keys to being able to resist sin is self-knowledge. If we know ourselves, we can avoid putting ourselves in compromising situations. We can use our strong points to fight the enemy and fortify those areas that are the weakest. In the end, the strongest weapon we have both to resist and to fight is our dependence on the Lord – our prayer and fidelity to his will!

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, I don’t want to base my life just on feelings and on what makes me happy. I want to live for you, to take a risk for you.

Resolution: I will start a constant prayer life by praying the Rosary every day this week.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Wednesday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time "Kings and Gold Coins"

While they were listening to Jesus speak, he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem and they thought that the kingdom of God would appear there immediately. So he said, "A nobleman went off to a distant country to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return. He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins and told them, ´Engage in trade with these until I return His fellow citizens, however, despised him and sent a delegation after him to announce, ´We do not want this man to be our king.´ But when he returned after obtaining the kingship, he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money, to learn what they had gained by trading. The first came forward and said, ´Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones He replied, ´Well done, good servant! You have been faithful in this very small matter; take charge of ten cities Then the second came and reported, ´Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.´ And to this servant too he said, ´You, take charge of five cities.´ Then the other servant came and said, ´Sir, here is your gold coin; I kept it stored away in a handkerchief, for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding person; you take up what you did not lay down and you harvest what you did not plant.´ He said to him, ´With your own words I shall condemn you, you wicked servant. You knew I was a demanding person, taking up what I did not lay down and harvesting what I did not plant; why did you not put my money in a bank? Then on my return I would have collected it with interest And to those standing by he said, ´Take the gold coin from him and give it to the servant who has ten.´ But they said to him, ´Sir, he has ten gold coins.´ ´I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me" After he had said this, he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the Alpha and the Omega. You have  given me life and offer me eternal life with you. You deserve my honor, gratitude and love, and yet you never impose yourself upon me. Thank you for respecting my freedom so that I can offer myself to you. All that I have is yours; I return it to you.

Petition: Lord Jesus, teach me to be patient and persevering in using my talents to serve you and my neighbor.

1. Jesus, the King of Kings: Nowadays there is renewed interest in the imminence of the Lord’s return in glory. Every Sunday when we recite the Creed we attest to our faith that Christ “will come again to judge the living and the dead.” But we also know that we do not know when it will be, as Our Lord clearly states: “But about that day and hour no one knows” (Matthew 24:36). So what should we do in the meantime? The answer is very simple: Live faithful to the values of Christ’s Kingdom and show that he is our King right now. Are there any areas in my life where Christ is not ruler? Am I faithful to my Christian commitments? Do I use my time well?

2. Earning One Gold Coin at a Time: In today’s parable each servant receives only one gold coin, but some invest it better than others. There are some gifts that God has given all of us in equal measure and some that we each receive in varying degrees. At baptism we receive the gifts of faith, hope and love in seed form, so to speak, and it is up to us to make sure they are cultivated, irrigated and exposed to enough light so that they will grow and bear fruit. These gifts of faith, hope and love are not given to us just for rainy days or moments of trial, but rather to keep us focused on who we are as children of God and heirs to the kingdom of heaven. Exercising these virtues is like earning gold, one coin at a time. How often have I thanked God for his gifts of faith, hope and love? Do I strive to grow in these virtues by keeping my heart set on the things of heaven and through charity towards my neighbor?

3. God’s Generosity: St. John reminds us that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). God’s essence is self-giving. The man who hid his coin could not discover or fathom this reality, but the man who “spent” his gold coin found this out as he was able to earn many more. Jesus tells us that “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain” (John 12:24). Later however a metamorphosis occurs which brings many new grains of wheat into being. Jesus’ death on the cross is the perfect example of the transformation of sacrifice and self-giving into fruitfulness. We can’t have Jesus as our king unless we are willing to follow him on his journey to Jerusalem and impending death. We have much to give up, but we have so much more to gain by using our talents for the Kingdom.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I am sometimes afraid of what it means to die to myself. Help me to use all of my talents for your kingdom. Help me to realize that I have nothing to lose and everything to gain and to take steps courageously to love you.

Resolution: As a way of showing my love for Jesus, today I will practice patience with someone who annoys me.



All are invited to Procession with Blessed Sacrament next Sunday the 24 at after 11am mass "To have that ability to express our faith publically also encourages our faith internally. If we don’t express the things we believe, they tend to fade"



Closing Celebration for the Year of Faith - November 24
This has been a good year! Many exciting things have happened in our Parish and as our liturgical year closes so does our privilege to be a place of pilgrimage. We thank God for so many graces poured out upon us this year of faith.
 
Faith as St Paul says is “the conviction of things not seen” (Hb 11:1) and we are sure that many of efforts to grow in our desire for holiness might not been visible nonetheless these efforts are real.
 
As part of our celebration for the closing of the Year of Faith, the School Centennial and the 125th anniversary of our parish, we a preparing a Eucharistic procession after the 11am Mass, a prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours and a social time as a moment of celebration as a family. Why a procession? Faith, which we celebrated this year, moves us to express ourselves not only in the context of Mass or School, but in the ‘outer’ world too. Also, Faith ‘takes place’ that is another reason why a procession is meaningful. We are all in a journey to the house of the Father. We need the aid and impulse of faith go get there. It is a tough journey, yes but with a little faith we can move mountains.
 
As a way to prepare ourselves; confessions from Tuesday November 19th through Friday November 22nd will be offered from 7 to 8pm in the Church. Other small changes will take place as way to enhance the beauty of our Church.
 
At this time it is good to remember the conditions and steps to earn a plenary indulgence here at our own Church. The universal prescriptions for the plenary indulgence are:

Each time they visit, in the course of a pilgrimage, a papal basilica, a Christian catacomb, a cathedral church or a holy site designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith (like St. Mark’s), and there participate in a sacred celebration, or at least remain for a congruous period of time in prayer and pious meditation, concluding with the recitation of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, and invocations to the Blessed Virgin Mary and, depending on the circumstances, to the Holy Apostles and patron saints (from the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis Website). These indulgences can be earned once a day for you or for deceased brothers and sisters.
 
As you can see the Lord gives us plenty of opportunities to grow in faith, hope and love for Him. Let us make of celebration an opportunity for a deeper relationship with the Lord!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Tuesday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time "Jesus Is My Guest"

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today." So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, "He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner." Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much." Then Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost."

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the Alpha and the Omega. You have given me life and offer me eternal life with you. You deserve my honor, gratitude and love, and yet you never impose yourself upon me. Thank you for respecting my freedom so that I can offer myself to you. All that I have is yours; I return it to you.

Petition: Lord, increase my faith.

1. Zacchaeus up a Tree: Yesterday and today’s Gospel passages speak eloquently of the need to encounter Christ at all costs. The blind man we read about yesterday would not stop shouting until he was brought to the Lord. Today a short and very unpopular man named Zacchaeus runs back and forth among the crowd until finally, in his determination to encounter Christ, he breaks all protocol and scrambles up a tree. Jesus wastes no time in entering decisively this tax collector’s life and transforming it. This resembles our own encounter with Christ. At times different obstacles stand in our way and prevent us from seeing Our Lord and his action in our lives. Above all we lack determination. How easy it is to craft excuses: “I am just too short,” “Maybe Jesus is too busy,” “I am just a sinner.” If we really want Our Lord to stay at our house, he will, but there may be trees that we need to climb first.

2. Welcoming Jesus: Few people ever welcomed Jesus with the joy and exuberance as did this little man. He came down from the tree, gave half of his wealth to the poor, and promised to restore any fraudulent transactions four times over. Zacchaeus has truly been like that merchant in search of fine pearls (see Matthew 13:45-46). He is willing to sell all he has to buy the pearl of great price: friendship and intimacy with the Lord. How many times has Jesus looked up at us and asked us to remain with him? How many times have we had the immense grace of receiving the King of kings into our hearts in the Blessed Eucharist? Do we offer merely a corner of our hearts for him or do we reserve the presidential suite? How pure do we maintain our souls for our Guest?

3. Of Sinners and Saints: What makes someone a saint and someone else a sinner? Certainly it is not the grumbling of the jealous crowd who are unwilling to climb up the tree to see Jesus yet are quick to criticize anyone who does. In fact, everyone is a sinner. St. Paul writes, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15). Yet St. Paul, Zacchaeus, you and I all go from being sinners to saints when we encounter Christ and are faithful to his friendship. Salvation came to Zacchaeus’ house when Jesus entered it, and salvation comes to us through the graces received at baptism, renewed in the Sacrament of Penance, and nurtured in the Eucharist.

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, help me to be willing to do whatever it takes to grow in a deeper friendship with you. Don’t allow me to worry about the murmurings of the crowd, but only to listen to your voice and respond to it with generosity.

Resolution: I will make a point to go to confession at the next possible opportunity asking Jesus to forgive me my sins and to help me to turn from being a sinner into being a saint. I will make it a real encounter with Jesus.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Monday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time "Seeing with Faith"

Now as Jesus approached Jericho a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging, and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening. They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by." He shouted, "Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!" The people walking in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent, but he kept calling out all the more, "Son of David, have pity on me!" Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?" He replied, "Lord, please let me see." Jesus told him, "Have sight; your faith has saved you." He immediately received his sight and followed him, giving glory to God. When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the Alpha and the Omega. You have given me life and offer me eternal life with you. You deserve my honor, gratitude and love, and yet you never impose yourself upon me. Thank you for respecting my freedom so that I can offer myself to you. All that I have is yours; I return it to you.

Petition: Lord, grant me greater faith in your constant and continual presence in my life.

1. Begging by the Roadside: How many times in life have we felt like this blind beggar sitting by the roadside, down-and-out and hard on luck – physically, spiritually or emotionally? Witnessing our distress, some people simply walked by without a care. Maybe they tossed us a coin, though they didn’t really help us out of our discouragement or difficulty. Others might have jeered at us or not dared to look at us. Some may even have scolded us, like the people in the Gospel telling the beggar “to be silent.” Just as the blind beggar of today’s Gospel could not give himself what he most desired – sight, we are unable to give ourselves what we most need – faith. Do I regularly ask for an increase of faith? Am I aware of how much I need a strong faith?

2. Jesus Is Passing By: The book of Job tells us that “human beings have a hard service on earth” (Job 7:1). It shouldn’t be surprising, then, when in our lives as Christians we take some real blows and even some falls. God doesn’t want us to become discouraged. He wants us to see these as opportunities to turn to him, the source of the strength and help we need. Other voices will tell us to be quiet and not bother the Master: “After all, you just need to work things out”, “With so much going on, how can you find time to pray?” Jesus constantly passes by. He is the only one who can bring me the peace my heart desires and longs for. “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!”

3. Lord, Please Let Me See: Jesus promises us that he will listen to our request, just as he did to the blind man. But what should our request be?To have a more comfortable stool so as to sit by the road and beg with ease? To have a beautiful silver cup to collect coins in? Or to see? Often what we really need is not what we ask for in prayer. We need the vision that only the supernatural virtue of faith can give. We need the ability to see everything from God’s vantage point and to see how the difficulties and trials we experience are part of a bigger picture. We need to have the firm assurance of the final victory of the Lamb, Jesus, and the strength to persevere in fidelity. Lord, please let me see… Please increase my faith.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, allow me to praise and glorify you for your constant companionship and for never leaving me alone in my struggles and trials. Increase my faith so that I will be able to experience your love even amidst difficulty and trials.

Resolution: I will pray three “Our Fathers” for an increase of faith among my family members.



Saturday, November 16, 2013

Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time "Things Change, God Does Not"

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." Then they asked him, "Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?" He answered, "See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ´I am he,’ and ´The time has come.’ Do not follow them! 

When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end." Then he said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky. Before all this happens, however, 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. It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives."

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I turn to you today with faith, knowing that you are the Lord of life and history. Aware of my weaknesses and failures, I set my hopes in you, for you always fulfill your promises. As I contemplate your love that becomes fidelity, I, too, desire to repay you with my fidelity. I am here before you to listen and, in listening, discover your will for me today.

Petition: Lord, grant me the grace to set my heart on what is eternal and everlasting.

1. Things Change: Like the people gazing at the physical beauty of the Temple, we, too, can be mesmerized by the fleeting glitter of the treasures of this world. Time, experience and our faith teach us that things change, including relationships. Our relationships with one another are never static; they are either being weaved more intimately, or they are fraying or coming apart at the seams. This also holds true for our relationship with Christ. All we do moves us deeper into his Sacred Heart or moves us away from him.

2. Christ Is Always the Same: Christ is the most sacred of temples; he is the Temple. Yet he changed. His body suffered the wounds that man inflicted upon his body. Christ changed interiorly, too. He suffered loneliness of the worst kind, when he experienced the effects of sin in the depths of his soul – separation from the Father and separation from his closest friends, his apostles. Yet in essence, Christ always remained the same, for he is love itself, and love is everlasting. Christ suffered physical and interior changes in his human nature so that we might partake of his divine nature, which is the same yesterday, today and forever.

3. The Gift of Perseverance: In order for us to enjoy eternal life, we must persevere. St. Paul talks about running the race, and moreover, about winning the race. Christ teaches us about the final victory and that to achieve this we must never deny him. Yet we are weak, and there are many ways that we deny our Lord. How can we who are so weak run the race and win the gift that lasts forever? Christ gives us the answer: Trust in him, not in ourselves or in the things or ways of this world. We will persevere through the grace he won for us on Calvary.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, your beauty transcends all creation, even my holiest of thoughts. Please bless me with the gift to appreciate more perfectly the limited beauty of created things and the infinite and everlasting beauty of you, my Lord and my God.

Resolution: Today I will reflect on the beauty of God’s creation and on the reality that all creation changes. As well, I will see and respect the everlasting beauty that resides, or should reside, in the hearts of all men, so that I will treat all people with the highest degree of respect.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Saturday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time "Christ Is the Answer"

Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man´s brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; then the second and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her." Jesus said to them, "Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive." Then some of the scribes answered, "Teacher, you have spoken well." For they no longer dared to ask him another question.

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the Alpha and the Omega. You have given me life and offer me eternal life with you. You deserve my honor, gratitude and love, and yet you never impose yourself upon me. Thank you for respecting my freedom so that I can offer myself to you. All that I have is yours; I return it to you.

Petition: Lord Jesus, help me to be a child of God, a child of the resurrection.

1. Simple and Constant Conversation: Today we see some Sadducees asking Christ an important question about heaven. Christ teaches us that once we are in heaven, things will be considerably different than they are here on earth. This is a beautiful example how we can converse with Christ. We simply need to ask him questions: questions about our faith, about difficulties we may be having with certain relationships, about career changes, etc. The answers we receive may not be what we were expecting or hoping for, but what is important is that we engage Christ in conversation every day and that we seek to please him in everything we do. This open, warm contact with Our Lord is already a little taste of heaven.

2. Union with Christ: Christ reminds us that he and the Father are the God of the living. He gave us our life; we lost it. He became man, suffered, died and rose on the third day that we might have a new life — a life in and with God, now and for all eternity. Our ultimate marriage will be in heaven, as we will be one with God as Jesus is.

3. Participation in the Life of God: When God reveals his mysteries to us, we participate in his life. God has made us so we would pursue him, so we would listen to him, so we would understand him, so we would crave the things of God. Is not that a mystery unto itself? We have a God who wants to speak with us constantly about the things of heaven! This reality, this inestimable gift, should move us to share with others the Good News.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, through your death and resurrection and my baptism, you have made me a child of God. Help me to appreciate more fully this day and what it means to be a child of God. Grant me the grace to live in accord with this gift of gifts.

Resolution: Today I will look on all things as if God were speaking to me in every moment.