Shepherds of Christ  
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August 1, 2009

August 2nd Holy Spirit Novena
Scripture selection is Day 5 Period II.

The Novena Rosary Mysteries  
for August 2nd are Glorious.

 

Florida Retreat

August 2nd - 5th

1:30pm & 6:20pm sessions

   

          

I will be in Florida August 2-5 for retreat‏

 

Retreat in China

August 10th-13th

Mass August 13th - 11:00am

 

 

 

Romans 14: 7-9

For none of us lives for himself and none of us dies for himself; while we are alive, we are living for the Lord, and when we die, we die for the Lord: and so, alive or dead, we belong to the Lord. It was for this purpose that Christ both died and came to life again: so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

 

  

John 14: 1-7

    Do not let your hearts be troubled. 
    You trust in God, trust also in me. 
    In my Father’s house 
        there are many places to live in; 
    otherwise I would have told you. 
    I am going now to prepare a place for you, 
    and after I have gone 
        and prepared you a place, 
    I shall return to take you to myself, 
    so that you may be with me 
    where I am. 
    You know the way 
        to the place where I am going. 

    Thomas said, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus said: 

        I am the Way; I am Truth and Life. 
    No one can come to the Father 
        except through me. 
    If you know me, 
        you will know my Father too. 
    From this moment you know him 
        and have seen him. 

    

                Jesus says:

                    I am going to get a place ready for
                        you

                    Do not let your hearts be troubled —

                    R. Jesus knew He would undergo
                        crucifixion and this is what
                        He told those closest to Him —

                    100 years before Christ —
                        the Jews were persecuting
                            the Jews that were faithful

 

Wisdom 3: 1-9

But the souls of the upright are in the hands of God, 
and no torment can touch them. 
To the unenlightened, they appeared to die, 
their departure was regarded as disaster, 
their leaving us like annihilation; 
but they are at peace. 
If, as it seemed to us, they suffered punishment, 
their hope was rich with immortality; 
slight was their correction, great will their blessings be. 
God was putting them to the test 
and has proved them worthy to be with him; 
he has tested them like gold in a furnace, 
and accepted them as a perfect burnt offering. 
At their time of visitation, they will shine out; 
as sparks run through the stubble, so will they. 
They will judge nations, rule over peoples, 
and the Lord will be their king for ever. 
Those who trust in him will understand the truth, 
those who are faithful will live with him in love; 
for grace and mercy await his holy ones, 
and he intervenes on behalf of his chosen.

  

                R. Paul reminds us we have to stand
                    in judgment before the
                    Lord — we have to make
                    an account of our lives —
                    an account before God —
                    we will have to stand before
                    God —

                We are blessed, God is going
                    to judge us

                An old Jesuit said —
                    When I die, I am glad
                    God will judge me
                    and not St. Ignatius —

                God is merciful

                We are to be faithful to Him —

                We offer the bread and wine
                    at Mass —

                This is changed to the Body and
                    Blood of Jesus at the
                    Consecration

                Can we see how God can
                    change our stony hearts
                    to love

                I love You, My God —
                    You who are so good to me —
                    I love You with all my heart —
                    I thank You for giving
                        Yourself to me in the
                        Eucharist —
                    I thank You for Your light
                        and Your love —

                Oh God, I give myself to You —
                    I want to be faithful to
                    You

                God help me in all the problems —
                This is God's Movement  —
                Oh God help us to be holy —
                Oh God help us to praise You —
                Oh God help us to be thankful to You —

                Oh God help the United States, the world
                    now —

                Help us to do everything with
                    much love —

                Help us to be more and more
                    like St. Therese doing the
                    little way with much love —

                Oh Mary - our Mother - help us to
                    love Jesus —
                    Mother us — so we are more
                        likened to Him.
                    Holy Spirit sanctify us —

                Oh God this life is so short —
                    how have we showed
                    Him our love —
                    How have we loved one another —

                    How have we used our
                        talents to serve God &
                        build His Kingdom —

                    How will God judge us on
                        the Day of Judgment —
                    We will be held accountable
                        for what we did —

                    Confession helps us now —
                        to empty our hearts of
                        debris and to serve God —

                  

Mysteries of Light

 

                Baptism of Jesus

                (1) Matthew 3: 13-17

Then Jesus appeared: he came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John. John tried to dissuade him, with the words, ‘It is I who need baptism from you, and yet you come to me!’ But Jesus replied, ‘Leave it like this for the time being; it is fitting that we should, in this way, do all that uprightness demands.’ Then John gave in to him. And when Jesus had been baptised he at once came up from the water, and suddenly the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him. And suddenly there was a voice from heaven, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on him.’ 

                (2) R. Water is used for cleaning
                        Water is a symbol of being cleaned —
                        We are given this gift of baptism —
                        When we are conceived we are
                            marked with original sin —
                        God gives us baptism

                (3)

Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - Easter Sunday p. 65

When Jesus told his friend Martha when her brother died: "I am the resurrection and the life," he added: "whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." Because of this St. Paul tells us today: "If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth." (Coloss. 3, 1-4)

Jesus overcame the power of evil and death in his resurrection. This does not mean evil and death no longer exist in the world. And because they do exist, many people discount Jesus’ resurrection. It is true, the resurrection has not removed evil and death from the face of the earth, but it tells us evil and death will not have the last word. They are not the final outcome; they cannot ultimately defeat us if we share Christ’s life. Today we celebrate Jesus’ victory and our own. "This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad." Amen.

                (4) Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - Pentecost pp. 84-85

Let me give you a little history of Pentecost. It was not invented by the Church. The Jews were celebrating Pentecost 3000 years ago. It was one of their three most important feasts. It was originally a harvest feast on which the first fruits were offered in gratitude to God. It later came to be celebrated as the anniversary of the giving of the Law to Moses on Mt. Sinai. The word itself means simply 50th, the 50th day after Jewish Passover. The Jews were celebrating that feast when the Spirit came on Jesus’ followers. And so Pentecost is still celebrated, but we who are Christians celebrate it as the day on which God sent his Holy Spirit upon the Church.

Pentecost isn’t just the celebration of a past event. It is important for us today, because the Holy Spirit is important for us today. The Spirit is hard to picture because the Spirit is within us when we are in God’s grace. The Spirit is like the air we breathe, the light that goes on when we have an idea, the fire that burns in our heart. And so the Scriptures use these symbols help us know the Spirit; in the first reading the Spirit is a strong driving wind whereas in John’s gospel the Spirit is the gentle breath of Jesus who breathes on his apostles and says “Receive the Holy Spirit.” In either case, whether as a powerful wind or a gentle breath, the Spirit is like the invisible air we cannot live without. The Spirit is like the light that goes on in our mind when we have an idea: Jesus tells us in the gospel “he will guide you to all truth.” Jesus couldn’t explain everything to the apostles that he wanted them to know, but the Spirit turned on the light in their minds to be able to understand all that he had been teaching them. The Spirit also appeared to the apostles as tongues of fire, a fire that started burning in them to proclaim Christ with courage and conviction.

                (5) Matthew 3: 16-17

...and suddenly the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him. And suddenly there was a voice from heaven, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on him.’ 

                (6) Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - Pentecost pp. 85-86

God wants us to know him and love him and the Spirit helps us to do that. But because the Spirit works within us, we are not aware the Spirit is even there. I would like to share with you some thoughts from C.S. Lewis about how we grow in knowledge things, people and God. If we want to know something about rocks, for example, we go and we find rocks. They won’t come to us, they won’t run away from us. In no way do they cooperate with us in getting to know them. The initiative is all on our side if we are to know rocks. If we want to study wild animals, that’s a little different. We have to go find them and if we’re not really quiet they probably will run away from us (or eat us alive). The initiative is mostly on our part if we are to know about wild animals, but they could prevent us from knowing them. If we want to know another human being, and they are determined for us not to know them, we probably won’t. We have to win their confidence if they are going to open up to us. The initiative is equally divided: it takes two to make a friendship. When it comes to God, there is no way we could find him or know him if he didn’t show himself to us. And he has done so in Jesus Christ. But we cannot not know Jesus Christ without the help of the Spirit. As Paul tells us in today’s second reading: “No one can say Jesus is Lord except in the Holy Spirit.” Without the Spirit God is totally unknown to us. The Spirit makes the Scriptures alive for us and helps us to be aware of God's presence with us and God's love for us.

                (7) Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - Pentecost p. 86

When we have this kind of a relationship with God it spills over into everything else we do. So St. Paul tells us in Galatians: if we live by the Spirit, the Spirit will produce in us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control.” Most of us also are familiar with Paul’s description of the greatest gift of the Spirit: “I may be able to speak the languages of men and even angels, but if have not love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell…Love is patient and kind, love is not jealous, etc, etc.

One last point: it was on the Church, that God sent his Spirit. As the first reading tells us Christ followers were all together in one place. The Spirit gives different gifts to different members of the Church so we can help each other to know and experience God and God’s love. If we want to experience the fullness of the Spirit, we need each other, we need to come together, to worship together, to share our gifts with one another. Without the Spirit we are trying to breathe without air, think without light, love without fire.

                (8) Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - Trinity Sunday pp. 86-87

INTRODUCTION - It’s only in modern times that people started doubting the existence of God.  In the thousands of years human beings have lived on this planet, the tendency has been just the opposite, people have usually worshipped a multiplicity of gods, with only one exception that I know of.  There was a pharaoh in Egypt about 1375 years BC, Akhnaton, who decreed that only the sun god, Aton, could be publicly worshipped in Egypt. Ten years after he died, the famous King Tut reinstated all the gods the people previously venerated.  The Romans had gods whose names are still familiar to us: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto.  The people of Israel were unique among all the nations.  They had only one God, the God who revealed himself to Abraham over 1800 years before Christ.  But they were not always faithful to their God, and were often seduced by the decadent worship of their pagan neighbors. In today’s first reading we hear Moses declare that there is no other God than the Lord and that only by being faithful to their God will they prosper. It’s still good advice for today’s world where polytheism and paganism have been replaced by atheism, hedonism and materialism. 

                (9) Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - Trinity Sunday pp. 88-89

Jesus even more clearly revealed God to us as our father.  That’s the way he taught us to pray.  Many times when I pray, I just dwell on those two words.  God is our Father.  He belongs to us, he belongs to me.  I can call on him and know he is there and he is listening.  He doesn’t always do what I want him to do.  That wouldn’t be a good way for any father to raise a child, to do everything for his child or to give his child everything his child wanted.   

I think of the example of a father teaching his child how to build a bird house.  The father could do it much more easily himself, but he wants his child to learn and so he patiently holds back while the child hammers and saws and probably makes a few mistakes.  Life is much more complicated than building a bird house, but I am sure God could do lots of things much more easily than waiting for us to do them, but he tends to patiently hold back so we can learn, even as we make a few mistakes along the way.  So many times when I call on my Father in heaven, he says to me “I could do that for you, but I wouldn’t be helping you if I did.  There’s something here you need to learn.”   

As I talk about the Father today, I cannot ignore Jesus and the Holy Spirit, because today is Trinity Sunday.  This Sunday touches the basic mystery behind all the other mysteries of our faith.  The Father sent his Son to save us by his life, his teachings, his miracles, his death and resurrection.  And the Father and the Son sent us the Holy Spirit to fill us with divine life, to make us truly God's children.  Today at Mass as always we honor our Father, through Jesus his Son in unity with the Holy Spirit.  Does this puzzle us that there is a Father and a Son and a Holy Spirit, three distinct persons yet only one God?  Of course it does.  But it should not surprise us that we cannot fully understand God. Sometimes we think we’re so smart, but the things we know are like a pebble on the beach compared to all the things that are still a mystery to us, even in the material universe of which we are a part.  So we shouldn’t be surprised that the One who created of all these things is too much for us to fully understand.   

And if you think that the Trinity is a mystery, there is an even bigger one to try to fathom.  Why?  Why would God bother about us? Why would God invite us to share in his own life?  For the same reason a mother or father will sacrifice themselves for their child.  There’s only one answer to the question: Why?  Because God is a Father, a Father who is love. 

                (10) Excerpt from Response to God's Love, by Father Edward Carter, S.J. p. 1

   ...In reference to Christianity, God himself is the ultimate mystery. Radically, God is completely other and transcendent, hidden from man in his inner life, unless he chooses to reveal himself. Let us briefly look at this inner life of God.

    The Father, in a perfect act of self-expression, in a perfect act of knowing, generates his son. The Son, the Word, is, then, the immanent expression of God's fullness, the reflection of the Father. Likewise, from all eternity, the Father and the Son bring forth the Holy Spirit in a perfect act of loving.

    At the destined moment in human history, God's self-expression, the Word, immersed himself into man's world. God's inner self-expression now had also become God's outer self-expression. Consequently, the mystery of God becomes the mystery of Christ. In Christ, God tells us about himself, about his inner life, about his plan of creation and redemption. He tells us how Father, Son, and Holy Spirit desire to dwell within us in the most intimate fashion, how they wish to share with us their own life through grace. All this he has accomplished and does accomplish through Christ.

 

  

                Marriage at Cana

                (1) John 2: 1-10  

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited. And they ran out of wine, since the wine provided for the feast had all been used, and the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ Jesus said, ‘Woman, what do you want from me? My hour has not come yet.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’  There were six stone water jars standing there, meant for the ablutions that are customary among the Jews: each could hold twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water,’ and they filled them to the brim. Then he said to them, ‘Draw some out now and take it to the president of the feast.’ They did this; the president tasted the water, and it had turned into wine. Having no idea where it came from—though the servants who had drawn the water knew—the president of the feast called the bridegroom and said, ‘Everyone serves good wine first and the worse wine when the guests are well wined; but you have kept the best wine till now.’ 

                (2) R. We see Jesus changed water into wine —
                        What a miracle

                (3)

 

Matthew 26: 26-28

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to the disciples. ‘Take it and eat,’ he said, ‘this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he handed it to them saying, ‘Drink from this, all of you, for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

                (4) R. This is the marriage of our souls
                        to Jesus —
                        He is the bridegroom — we
                            are His —
                            He gives us Himself to eat —
                        He outpours His grace —
                        He fills us with His life

                (5) Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time pp. 29-31

I have prayed many times over people who felt the devil had some power over them. I’ve never had such a dramatic experience as St. Mark describes here (people convulsing, crying out, sometimes falling down). I have read about people who have. The movie The Exorcist, which many people may have seen, was based on a true story of an exorcism. It’s interesting how popular angels are right now and how unpopular it is to believe in the devil. It’s especially interesting that so many people have this attitude when there is so much evil in the world around us. Personally I believe in good angels, but I find it much easier to believe in the bad ones. I think there’s so much more evidence of their existence. Our ignoring the presence of the devil gives the devil greater freedom to do his or her thing. The smartest strategy a devil can use is to convince us that he or she is not around. St. Peter tells us “your enemy, the devil, roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Be firm in your faith and resist him.” (1 Peter 5, 8-9) Although some instances of what was considered demon possession at the time of Jesus may have been psychological or physical (such as epilepsy), the gospels do take the devil seriously and Jesus did too. When I am asked to pray over someone who thinks they are under demonic power, I always try to rule out psychological problems. If I think it is warranted, I do suggest a psychologist or psychiatrist for them to see, but at times I have felt there was an evil power at work in their lives that went beyond psychology.

Notice the devil recognized Jesus immediately as the Son of God: “the Holy One of God.” Devils may not be good but they are very smart. It’s not until the end of St. Mark’s gospel, as Jesus dies on the cross, that any human person recognizes who Jesus really is. And that person was a pagan, a Roman centurian, who after seeing Jesus die, said: “Truly, this man was the Son of God.” It took people a long time to find out who Jesus was, the devil recognized it immediately.

St. Mark tells us when Jesus taught the people and healed the possessed man his audience was spellbound and filled with awe.

The gospels not only tell us about Jesus, they tell us also about ourselves. What is the gospel telling us about ourselves today? It is asking us: how do we react to Jesus? Are we filled with wonder and awe when we hear him or think of him. Aesop told us over 2500 years ago: “Familiarity breeds contempt.” Maybe we don’t have contempt of our Lord, but after hearing about him for many years, our sense of awe and wonder can get dulled. How do we rekindle that excitement of hearing about him again? One way I know of is not to think we know all there is to know about him. We have to keep discovering more and more about him. Jesus is the infinite Son of God and whatever we know about him is just a tiny little bit compared to what we have yet to discover. We can only do that through prayer. Today we pray the greatest prayer there is, a prayer Jesus himself gave us at the Last Supper. But our prayer life has to include more than just one hour a week in church. It must continue through the week. If Mass is the only prayer we pray all week, the Mass itself will become boring and dry.

Another way to recapture that sense of awe in Jesus is to praise him. Too often our prayers are limited to asking God for things we need or want. And that’s good. But praise is also an important part of prayer and praise helps to lift our hearts to a sense of wonder as we come before our God. In Mass today we try to capture that sense of wonder and awe through the selection of hymns of praise. We praise God who has come to teach us and to help us with our everyday struggles with life and with the powers of evil around us.

                (6) R. What awe and wonder —
                        the miracles of Jesus —
                        the gift of the Eucharist —
                        that God loves us so much —
                        that Jesus took on flesh and came
                            into this world —
                       
                        Jesus, the Son of God, a Divine Person who took on
                            flesh — who loves us so much —
                            He died for our sins

                (7) John 15: 12-13

This is my commandment: 
love one another, 
as I have loved you. 
No one can have greater love 
than to lay down his life for his friends.

                (8) Sing: We Have Been Told

                (9)

 

Jeremiah 23: 1-6

‘Disaster for the shepherds who lose and scatter the sheep of my pasture, Yahweh declares. This, therefore, is what Yahweh, God of Israel, says about the shepherds who shepherd my people, “You have scattered my flock, you have driven them away and have not taken care of them. Right, I shall take care of you for your misdeeds, Yahweh declares! But the remnant of my flock I myself shall gather from all the countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; they will be fruitful and increase in numbers. For them I shall raise up shepherds to shepherd them and pasture them. No fear, no terror for them any more; not one shall be lost, Yahweh declares! 

    Look, the days are coming, 
        Yahweh declares, 
    when I shall raise an upright Branch 
        for David; 
    he will reign as king and be wise, 
    doing what is just and upright 
        in the country. 
    In his days Judah will triumph 
    and Israel live in safety. 
    And this is the name he will be called, 
    ‘Yahweh–is–our–Saving–Justice.’ ”

                (10) Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time p. 105

In the Scriptures, those who were leaders of God’s people: kings and priests, teachers and other spiritual leaders were often compared to shepherds.  Frequently these leaders were more interested in serving themselves than they were in providing good leadership for God’s people.  Jeremiah, today’s first reading, blames the kings of Judah for the destruction of the nation under the Babylonians.  In today’s gospel our Lord views the people of his day as sheep without a shepherd and has compassion on them.  He is a good shepherd.  He desires to lead his followers to glory and eternal happiness.  The way to follow him is through faith and love.  For the times we have failed, we ask his forgiveness and his help to do better.

 

                        R. Jesus is our lover —
                        Jesus wants this intimate love
                            with us
                        Jesus gives us Himself in the Eucharist.
                        Jesus gives us confession so we can
                            be pure and unite deeply in love
                            to Him — We can say no
                            to the marriage of our soul to
                            Jesus —
                            Jesus wants intimacy with us —
                            This is the message of the Blue Books

    

 

                Kingdom of God

                (1) 1 Kings 17: 10-16

So he went off to Sidon. And when he reached the city gate, there was a widow gathering sticks. Addressing her he said, 'Please bring a little water in a pitcher for me to drink.' She was on her way to fetch it when he called after her. 'Please', he said, 'bring me a scrap of bread in your hand.' 'As Yahweh your God lives,' she replied, 'I have no baked bread, but only a handful of meal in a jar and a little oil in a jug; I am just gathering a stick or two to go and prepare this for myself and my son to eat, and then we shall die.' But Elijah said to her, 'Do not be afraid, go and do as you have said; but first make a little scone of it for me and bring it to me, and then make some for yourself and for your son. For Yahweh, God of Israel, says this: Jar of meal shall not be spent, jug of oil shall not be emptied, before the day when Yahweh sends rain on the face of the earth.' The woman went and did as Elijah told her and they ate the food, she, himself and her son. The jar of meal was not spent nor the jug of oil emptied, just as Yahweh had foretold through Elijah.

                (2) Hebrews 9: 24-28

It is not as though Christ had entered a man–made sanctuary which was merely a model of the real one; he entered heaven itself, so that he now appears in the presence of God on our behalf. And he does not have to offer himself again and again, as the high priest goes into the sanctuary year after year with the blood that is not his own, or else he would have had to suffer over and over again since the world began. As it is, he has made his appearance once and for all, at the end of the last age, to do away with sin by sacrificing himself. Since human beings die only once, after which comes judgement, so Christ too, having offered himself only once to bear the sin of many, will manifest himself a second time, sin being no more, to those who are waiting for him, to bring them salvation.

                (3) Mark 12: 38-44

In his teaching he said, 'Beware of the scribes who like to walk about in long robes, to be greeted respectfully in the market squares, to take the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets; these are the men who devour the property of widows and for show offer long prayers. The more severe will be the sentence they receive.'

He sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the treasury, and many of the rich put in a great deal. A poor widow came and put in two small coins, the equivalent of a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, 'In truth I tell you, this poor widow has put more in than all who have contributed to the treasury; for they have all put in money they could spare, but she in her poverty has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on.'

                (4) Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time p. 166

INTRODUCTION – (1 Kings 17, 10-16; Hebrews 9, 24-28; Mark 12, 38-44) I want to begin by saying something about the second reading. The author of the Letter to the Hebrews was interested in showing the superiority of Jesus’ sacrifice to those of the Old Testament. He is presuming those who received this letter would be thinking of the once a year sacrifice on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) which was just celebrated a few weeks ago on October 2. In the days before the Temple was destroyed by the Romans, the High Priest would enter the Holy Place, where no one ever went except on this occasion and he would offer sacrifice for the sins of God’s people. The Letter to the Hebrews emphasizes that Christ’s sacrifice for sins took place only once and didn’t need to be offered again and again because his sacrifice was perfect.

Our first reading will make more sense if we know that the events that are described in the reading happened during a severe famine.  We have to marvel at the faith of this widow.

                (5) Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time p. 167

HOMILY – Humans have offered sacrifices to their gods since the dawn of history and before.  Human beings have sensed that someone higher and greater than we are put us here and that someone has a hand in our destiny.  Up until the era of the Jews, with one very brief exception, all peoples believed that someone was a multitude of powerful beings they called gods.  Sacrifice was a way to maintain communion with these gods, especially a way of acknowledging our dependence on them and seeking to win their favor.  Sacrifices were gifts to the deity that represented the giver and were usually something that symbolized the life of the person offering the sacrifice.  That’s why food, animals used for food, and blood were usually offered.  Some people even offered their own children as sacrifice. 

We read in the gospels that Jesus was a pious Jew.  He observed the Sabbath,  he went to Jerusalem for the feasts, he celebrated the Passover.  His life itself was a sacrifice in that he served his Father perfectly through prayer and by his ministry of teaching and healing.  His ministry got him into trouble with the powerful political and religious leaders of his day and, because he was faithful to it, in their eyes he had to be destroyed.  It was in perfect love he gave himself.  The Letters to the Hebrews tells us he only needed to die once, and we can tap into the power of his saving love through the Eucharist.  To communicate with our God, to acknowledge our dependence on him, to seek his favor, we no longer need to offer food and animals to represent ourselves.  We can offer our love through a perfect sacrifice, for through the Mass we unite ourselves with Christ’s sacrifice and we offer ourselves to the Father.

                (6) Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time pp. 167 & 168

That sacrifice will bring great blessings back to us.  The widow of Zarephath made a sacrifice of what she had to feed God’s prophet and God blessed her with a continuous supply of food.  Then there’s the woman in the gospel.  There were a number of receptacles in the Temple area where people dropped in their offerings.  Money was always in the form of precious metal, so when it was dropped into the receptacles it made enough noise that bystanders could guess whether it was a large sum or small.  Can’t you see this poor lady following a wealthy scribe whose donation made quite a loud noise (clang, clang, clang, clang) and hers just a couple of very tiny clinks.  An ordinary person would have been impressed with the large donations, but Jesus could look into hearts and he knew what her sacrifice cost her.  The widow in the gospel won Jesus’ overwhelming approval and most probably many blessings we do not know about.

                (7) Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time pp. 168 & 169

Several years ago I visited the Twin Towers in New York.  One particular exhibit struck me.  It was describing how people evolved from being hunters and gatherers to the development of agriculture.  The exhibit speculated that our early ancestors who were hunters and gatherers would offer their customary sacrifices of grain they had gathered in the woods and fields and sprinkle the grain around their sacred monuments or idols.  Someone discovered that grain grew more abundantly in their sacred areas and it suddenly dawned on them there was a connection between throwing the seed in that area and an abundance of grain in return.  I thought, of course, the more we give God the more God will bless us.  People discovered it with grain, but I believe it’s true of everything. Giving God time, money (to charity), our talents, our love will come back in abundant blessings.  The bible has always told us that: “He who sows sparingly will reap sparingly, he who sows bountifully will reap bountifully.” 

Today we are about to offer the perfect sacrifice to our Creator and Father. May our hearts overflow with love and gratitude and may God bless all of us. Amen.

 

                (8)

Daniel 12: 1-3

‘At that time Michael will arise–the great Prince, defender of your people. That will be a time of great distress, unparalleled since nations first came into existence. When that time comes, your own people will be spared–all those whose names are found written in the Book.

‘Of those who are sleeping in the Land of Dust, many will awaken, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting disgrace. Those who are wise will shine as brightly as the expanse of the heavens, and those who have instructed many in uprightness, as bright as stars for all eternity.

 

  Hebrews 10: 11-14

Every priest stands at his duties every day, offering over and over again the same sacrifices which are quite incapable of taking away sins. He, on the other hand, has offered one single sacrifice for sins, and then taken his seat for ever, at the right hand of God, where he is now waiting till his enemies are made his footstool. By virtue of that one single offering, he has achieved the eternal perfection of all who are sanctified.

 

Mark 13: 24-32

'But in those days, after that time of distress, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will come falling out of the sky and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.  And then they will see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send the angels to gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the world to the ends of the sky.

 'Take the fig tree as a parable: as soon as its twigs grow supple and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. So with you when you see these things happening: know that he is near, right at the gates. In truth I tell you, before this generation has passed away all these things will have taken place. Sky and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. 'But as for that day or hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son; no one but the Father.

 

                (9) Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time p. 169

INTRODUCTION – (Daniel 12, 1-3; Hebrews 10, 11-14. 18; Mark 13, 24-32) The Greek word “apocalypsis” means revealing something or making something fully known.  There are many passages in the Bible that are apocalyptic in nature.  Most were written during a time when God’s people were being persecuted. They gave hope to God’s people during those times that if they remained faithful to God they would be victorious in the end.  The last book of the Bible is called the Book of Revelation. It is also called the Apocalypse because that is the word with which the book begins.  Today we hear another example of apocalyptic writing in the Book of Daniel.    Today’s first reading was composed about 165 years before Christ during the time when the Syrians were trying to obliterate the Jewish religion.  During this painful historical time, any books from the Hebrew Scriptures that could be found were burned, the temple was turned into a temple to the Greek god, Zeus, and any Jews who refused to offer sacrifice to pagan gods were put to death.  This passage contains a clear belief in the resurrection of the body by the year 165 BC.

HOMILY – There was an old monk dying in a little country monastery.  The monks living with him knew he was dying and so they tried to make him as comfortable as possible.  One of the things they did for him was to give him a little warm milk each day with a little brandy mixed into it.  This seemed to calm him down.  When he was getting ready to breathe his last, they asked him if he had any last words for them.  He said: “brothers, whatever you do, don’t ever get rid of that cow.” 

There was a funeral director who regularly ended his letters with the words: “Eventually yours.” 

We’re all headed toward that day when we’re going to meet our maker.  It’s a time very few people, especially those who are younger, care to hear about or think about.  But as the year comes to an end, the Church takes this occasion to make us aware that our life in this world will come to an end someday too.  Or as one of my friends often says: “everything has a beginning, a middle and an end.”  In reminding us of these things, the Church is not trying to depress us. It is trying to keep us in touch with reality.  The reality is God has better plans for us than for us to spend a few short years in this life, and then for that to be the end for us.  “You are my inheritance, O Lord” is our psalm refrain.  In other words, God created us to be with him.  God showed us through his Son the way to get there. 

I explained earlier that our first reading was an example of apocalyptic writing giving the Jews hope as they suffered through a time of great persecution.  The passage today from St. Mark’s gospel is also an example of apocalyptic writing.  Mark’s gospel was written during the early Christian persecutions.  Like all apocalyptic writing it tells us the time of suffering will be short and those who are faithful to God will emerge victorious. 

We know time is relative.  Christmas will be here in a little more than a month.  Most of us are running around frantically thinking how can it come so quickly.  For a six year old child, it probably seems like it will never get here.  To say the time of suffering will be short is relative.  How short is short?  Sometimes when we’re suffering it seems to go on forever and we get discouraged.  Compared to eternity, though, it will be very short.  In the meantime, we have the sacraments and Jesus’ word to sustain us.  His words will never pass away.  It is our sure rock. 

Jesus’ statement that “This generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place” is a confusing one.  Earlier in this chapter from Mark, Jesus had been talking about the destruction of the Temple and some of his thoughts about that catastrophic event got mixed in with his prediction of his second coming.  I’m sure in the minds of the early Christians the end of the Temple and of Jerusalem would have been happening at the same time that the world was coming to an end, and then Jesus would come the second time in glory.  There is something else Jesus said that indicates the second coming would not happen in the near future.  He said that when he came the second time in glory he would gather his elect from the ends of the earth.  Jesus’ words would not spread to the ends of the earth for a number of centuries. 

Tribulation and suffering will not last forever and if we are faithful to the Lord, he will bring us into a springtime of new life that will never end.  We must not let anything discourage us, but keep watch and be ready for we do not know when the Lord will tell us he’s ready for us. 

(I skipped this in later Masses and added some of these thoughts in an adlibbed fashion to the second last paragraph: In St. Mark’s gospel, two events are confused with one another: the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, on the one hand, and on the other hand, the end of the world along with Jesus’ second coming.  Mark was writing to a people who expected it to happen all at the same time and that it would happen very soon.  Several times in the gospels, Jesus warned his followers they would risk suffering and death if they were loyal to him.  By the time Mark was writing, the early Church was experiencing first hand what Jesus prophesized.  Peter and Paul probably had been put to death by this time.  The apocalyptic message in today’s gospel sounds gloomy and foreboding, but if we look at it closer it proclaims good news:  The Son of Man will come to rescue his people.  He will gather them from the four corners of the earth to himself.  Jesus tells us just as the branches of the fig tree starting to grow green and tender is a sign that winter is over, so when trouble and suffering come upon us, know that it will soon be over and spring will come.  And it will be a springtime bringing new life that will go on forever.  In the verses just before and right after our gospel Jesus tells his followers to be on guard, be alert.  We never know when any of these things will happen.)

 

                (10)

 

Daniel 7: 13-14

I was gazing into the visions of the night, when I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven, as it were a son of man. He came to the One most venerable and was led into his presence. On him was conferred rule, honour and kingship, and all peoples, nations and languages became his servants. His rule is an everlasting rule which will never pass away, and his kingship will never come to an end.

 

Revelation 1: 5-8

and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the First–born from the dead, the highest of earthly kings. He loves us and has washed away our sins with his blood, and made us a Kingdom of Priests to serve his God and Father; to him, then, be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen. Look, he is coming on the clouds; everyone will see him, even those who pierced him, and all the races of the earth will mourn over him. Indeed this shall be so. Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.

 

John 18: 33-37

    So Pilate went back into the Praetorium and called Jesus to him and asked him, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ Jesus replied, ‘Do you ask this of your own accord, or have others said it to you about me?’ Pilate answered, ‘Am I a Jew? It is your own people and the chief priests who have handed you over to me: what have you done?’ Jesus replied, ‘Mine is not a kingdom of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my men would have fought to prevent my being surrendered to the Jews. As it is, my kingdom does not belong here.’ Pilate said, ‘So, then you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘It is you who say that I am a king. I was born for this, I came into the world for this, to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice.’

 

Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson pp. 174-176

Feast of Christ the King
November 26, 2006

INTRODUCTION – (Daniel 7, 13-14; Rev. 1, 5-8; John 18, 33b-37) Today again we hear from the book of Daniel, a book that was written during a time when the Jews were suffering a terrible persecution for their faith.  Today’s reading describes how God would triumph in the end.  God would establish a kingdom that would be everlasting.  God is here described as “the Ancient One.”  His kingdom would be ruled by one who is described as “like a son of man.”  God would give this “son of man” dominion, glory and kingship.  The term “son of man” simply means a human being, but today’s passage invests the term with new depth and mystery.  You might recall, “son of man” was the favorite term Jesus used to describe himself.

HOMILY – You may be surprised to know that today’s feast was not established during the Middle Ages when most of the world was ruled by kings or emperors.  Today’s feast is very recent. It was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925, a time when kings and emperors were becoming increasingly a remnant of the past.  Pius XI instituted this feast as an attempt to counteract the atheism and secularism of that time. 

Today’s feast reminds us that with God there is no democracy.  It pleased God to establish a kingdom with Jesus his divine Son as our king.  In many ways he is unlike most of the other kings we may have heard of or read about.  I would like to mention just four of the things that are unique about Jesus as a king: 

(1) First of all, belonging to his kingdom is intentional.  He doesn’t come around with soldiers and weapons to force us into submission.  He invites us to follow him.  Coercion is not his style, rather he leads us by faith and love. 

(2) As a king he does not live in a castle or go parading around in fancy garb or expensive jewels or need to be transported in big limousines or private jets.  He does not need to display his position for his dignity and greatness are beyond this world.  We see him in today’s gospel, looking like the bad guy, on trial for violation of Jewish and Roman law. Yet it seems Pilate is the one on trial, not knowing how to honestly deal with this man in front of him.  Hearing this passage we realize we are on trial too as to whether we belong to the truth for he said: “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” 

(3) Kings tend to be distant and aloof from their people.  They can’t be otherwise, because they have so many people to govern.  Jesus, as our king, is close to each of us; not only close to us but he is one with us.  “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.”  (Jn. 14,23)  He is the shepherd who seeks out the lost sheep, because each of us is important to him.

(4) Every king will enjoy his position of authority only for a time.  It may be many decades, such as Louis XIV who reigned for 72 years in France, or it may be a few days until death or a rival overthrows them.  Christ’s kingdom will last forever. 

As any king he gives us laws which he expects us to follow.  The obedience he demands is not for his own self-interest but for our well being.  He knows what will result in our happiness or unhappiness, so he commands us to do those things that will bring us happiness - not just momentary happiness (which sometimes sin brings us), but eternal happiness. 

Kings, indeed any ruling power, requires those that are governed to pay taxes.  How else can a government survive?  Even God has taxes.  In the Old Testament, God required 10% be given to the Lord and to the poor.  Jesus too asks us to help each other, especially those who are needy among us.  But there’s something equally important we must give to the Lord: our time.  People have to spend time together for any relationship to begin, be sustained or survive.  One minimum requirement he gave us is that we give God an hour on Sunday (or Saturday evening).  But that is a minimum.  If we want our relationship with God to grow, we need more than that. 

Our feast today reminds us there is a power in this universe that is greater than the power of physical strength, the power of hatred, the power of wealth and the power of bombs.  It is the power of truth and love.  This power is revealed to us in Jesus Christ.  The power of Jesus Christ will overcome all the powers of evil.  There may be challenging and difficult times.  We may wonder where our world is headed.  We may be worried about Iran, North Korea, terrorists, Iraq.  We may think, and rightly so, that morality is going down the sewer.  Yet, in the big picture, evil will not win out.  Returning to our first reading we heard that to the Son of Man was given dominion, glory, and kingship; all peoples, nations and languages would serve him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.  Amen.

 

    

 

                Transfiguration

                (1) Mark 9: 2-8

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain on their own by themselves. There in their presence he was transfigured: his clothes became brilliantly white, whiter than any earthly bleacher could make them. Elijah appeared to them with Moses; and they were talking to Jesus. Then Peter spoke to Jesus, ‘Rabbi,’ he said, ‘it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three shelters, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ He did not know what to say; they were so frightened. And a cloud came, covering them in shadow; and from the cloud there came a voice, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.’ Then suddenly, when they looked round, they saw no one with them any more but only Jesus.

                (2) Daniel 7: 7-10, 13-14

Next, in the visions of the night, I saw another vision: there before me was a fourth beast, fearful, terrifying, very strong; it had great iron teeth, and it ate its victims, crushed them, and trampled their remains underfoot. It was different from the previous beasts and had ten horns.

    'While I was looking at these horns, I saw another horn sprouting among them, a little one; three of the original horns were pulled out by the roots to make way for it; and in this horn I saw eyes like human eyes, and a mouth full of boasting.

While I was watching,
thrones were set in place
and one most venerable took his seat.
His robe was white as snow,
the hair of his head as pure as wool.
His throne was a blaze of flames,
its wheels were a burning fire.
A stream of fire poured out,
issuing from his presence.
A thousand thousand waited on him,
ten thousand times ten thousand
   stood before him.
The court was in session
and the books lay open.

I was gazing into the visions of the night,
when I saw,
   coming on the clouds of heaven,
as it were a son of man. 
He came to the One most venerable
and was led into his presence.
On him was conferred rule,
honour and kingship,
and all peoples, nations and languages
    became his servants.
His rule is an everlasting rule
which will never pass away,
and his kingship will never  

 

                        Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - Transfiguration p. 111

INTRODUCTION – Our first reading is from the book of Daniel (Dn. 7, 7-10.13-14).  The author of this book lived during the time the Greeks dominated most of the known world.  The Greeks were trying to get everyone to follow their religion (paganism) and any Jew who remained faithful to his or her Jewish faith was put to death.  This was the first time in the history of the world that people were persecuted for their beliefs.  The book of Daniel tried to offer the Jewish people hope: hope of a savior. This salvation comes from one like a “son of man” whom God endows with kingship and power.  Our reading is one of Daniel’s visions and it first describes God who is called the Ancient One - indicating God’s eternity.  The term “son of man” means simply a human being, but this “son of man” would be unique and would be the savior of God’s people.  This was the favorite title Jesus used in referring to himself.  The glory of God is described in today’s first reading. It is shown through Christ in his Transfiguration, which is described in today’s gospel (Mk. 9, 2-10), and in today’s second reading from the Second Letter of St. Peter (1, 16-19).

                (3) Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - Transfiguration pp. 111-112

HOMILY – Last Sunday I said that for the next four weeks we would be hearing from the sixth chapter of St. John on the Eucharist.  I hadn’t looked ahead to see that this Sunday fell on August 6th which is the feast of the Transfiguration.  Although we hear about the Transfiguration every year on the second Sunday of Lent, the actual feast of the Transfiguration is on August 6.  It is an important enough feast that it replaces the normal Sunday liturgy. 

Tradition identifies Mt. Tabor as the mountain of the Transfiguration.  It’s quite a climb to get to the top.  There is a chapel on top of the mountain commemorating the occasion of the Transfiguration.  I said Mass there sixteen years ago when I went with a study group to the Holy Land.  They had cars and buses to take us up the mountain.  I’m not surprised that Peter, James and John fell asleep, as St. Luke tells us in his gospel, when they went there with Jesus.  They didn’t have cars and buses and they would have been very tired when they got to the top.  But when they woke up their efforts to make it up to the top of that mountain with Jesus were well rewarded.  “It is good that we are here,” Peter said.  “Let us make three tents here: one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”  It sounds to me as if they were ready to stay there for several weeks, it was such an awesome experience.  As wonderful as it was, Jesus’ work wasn’t finished and neither was theirs.  They had to come back down to earth.

                (4) Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - Transfiguration p. 112

Most of us, I’m sure, have had moments when we’ve felt God’s presence and closeness and special love, or when we knew God was helping us with some problem.  But I’m sure there are few, if any of us, who have experienced anything like the Transfiguration.  We may be a mystic and have ecstatic experiences in prayer or we may be a saint who receives visions of Jesus or Mary. Other than that, we’ve probably not experienced anything like the Transfiguration and may find it difficult to relate to. But we can learn from it.

                (5) Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - Transfiguration p. 113

(1) We can learn that God has great glory reserved for us until, as the second reading tells us, “day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”

                (6) Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - Transfiguration p. 113

(2) We can learn from what God spoke on the holy mountain about Jesus: “this is my beloved Son, listen to him.”  This is not something new, of course, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded once again that we must listen to him.

                (7) Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - Transfiguration p. 113

(3) We can learn that we cannot expect mountaintop experiences every day when we pray, when we receive the sacraments, when we keep the Commandments.  There are those moments when we get a lot of consolation and good feelings from our faith and our prayers.  Then there are those moments when prayer is dry, when our faith is exactly what that word means, believing only on the word of another and not feeling anything except that we’re in a desert.  The apostles were with Jesus three years and there was only one experience like the Transfiguration, and only three of them experienced it.  Our religion can’t be based on feelings.  It’s based on faith in God and love for God and for one another.  Sometimes we feel it and sometimes we don’t.  It’s not how we feel it that counts, but how we live it.

                (8) Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - Transfiguration p. 113

(4) Another thing we can learn from the Transfiguration is that we can’t always trust appearances.  In appearance Jesus looked pretty much like the rest of us.  Artists have pictured him with a halo, but I’m sure there was no halo when people saw him every day.  The gospels would have remarked about it if there were.  For a brief moment on Mt. Tabor, the apostles saw and heard things that indicated there was a lot more to Jesus than they ever imagined.

                (9) Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - Transfiguration pp. 113-114

Today, as we come to Mass, our faith calls us to look beyond appearances.  When we receive Communion, we receive what appears to be a wafer of bread and a sip of wine, but faith in the power and the words of Jesus tells us this host and cup offers us so much more.  It is food for eternal life.  We pray as always that the Lord will help us to know his presence with us today, and if we do not experience that presence, we pray for the faith to be able to see beyond appearances and still be able to say as Peter did on the mountain: “it is good that we are here.”

                (10) Matthew 17: 5

... ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him.’

 

  

                The Institution of the Eucharist

                (1) Matthew 26: 26-29

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to the disciples. ‘Take it and eat,’ he said, ‘this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he handed it to them saying, ‘Drink from this, all of you, for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. From now on, I tell you, I shall never again drink wine until the day I drink the new wine with you in the kingdom of my Father.’

                (2)

A Prayer before the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

    Let me be a holy sacrifice and unite with God in the sacrament of His greatest love.

    I want to be one in Him in this act of love, where He gives Himself to me and I give myself as a sacrifice to Him. Let me be a holy sacrifice as I become one with Him in this my act of greatest love to Him.

    Let me unite with Him more, that I may more deeply love Him. May I help make reparation to His adorable Heart and the heart of His Mother, Mary. With greatest love, I offer myself to You and pray that You will accept my sacrifice of greatest love. I give myself to You and unite in Your gift of Yourself to me. Come and possess my soul.

    Cleanse me, strengthen me, heal me. Dear Holy Spirit act in the heart of Mary to make me more and more like Jesus.

    Father, I offer this my sacrifice, myself united to Jesus in the Holy Spirit to You. Help me to love God more deeply in this act of my greatest love.

    Give me the grace to grow in my knowledge, love and service of You and for this to be my greatest participation in the Mass. Give me the greatest graces to love You so deeply in this Mass, You who are so worthy of my love.

-God's Blue Book, December 27, 1995

 

                (3) From the Mass Book

January 2, 1997

"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen."

"The grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all."

God pours out His grace in this Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is the greatest gift when God gives Himself to us.

We share with God His life, given to us abundantly in the Mass.

He gives Himself to us, and we give ourselves to Him. The great love affair between God and man: His Holy Mass.

The priest is another Christ to us. It is Christ present, through the priest, celebrating the Mass. We must see Christ in the priest, see Him celebrate the Mass, see His beautiful brown hair, His gentle face, see Him, Our Savior. This Jesus Christ that came was born an infant and gave Himself to His death on the cross that we would share His life. See Him now in the Mass, giving Himself in the greatest gift of all. He gives us His divine love and His divine life.

Oh, we thank You for Your life. We know He died and rose and gave us a sharing in His holy life. His life is now abundantly poured, as a fountain to us, especially in the Mass.

Then we hear His Word. Let the Word of God penetrate our being. Let us feel this Living Word of God. As a two-edged sword, it comes forth with such conviction and love and it penetrates the souls of the faithful with such love. It is food indeed, food for our soul.

He is the Good Shepherd. He speaks to us. He gives us all we want. "There is nothing I shall want." (The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need. Ps. 23:1).

He gives us green pastures, and His water pours out and refreshes us. He outpours His grace as a fountain to feed us with His life.

He is a just God, good and kind, all loving, for He is love. We want for nothing for He outpours His love and His life to us in the Mass. We feast on His Body and Blood and are fed with His Word. We become one in Him and He shares Himself with us.

It is through the Mass celebrated by the hands of a holy pries that we will experience the Mass the way Christ intends. These writings are insights which hopefully will help lead you to the spring of life-giving water, the fountain of love and life He outpours in the Mass.

There will be a new earth when men will see with the light of seven suns. They will know God. A people walking in darkness will see a great light. They will no longer be blind, they will be enlightened, they will love God with the greatest love in the Mass. They will feast on His Body and Blood and will be united as one body in His holy Church through His life given to us in the Eucharist.

We will drink copiously from the fountain of grace which He pours out in the Mass. We will be filled with His love, absorbed with the love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and feasting on His divine life.

We see with the vision of God. We partake in such a union with God. We see with the light the Spirit gives to us. The priest celebrates the Mass and we know God with such an intense knowing in this union. We are saturated with His life flowing from the hands of His consecrated priest.

And I look at Him, the priest, and I see Jesus there. I see Him giving Himself to me. I see the new and Holy City. I see with such clarity the great gift that God gives to us in the Mass!

We learn how to love in the Mass, for we unite to God. He gives us such an intimate sharing in His divine love that we carry His love out to the world. In this union we know His loving to an intense degree and we carry this love out to others. We share in an intense way in His divine act of loving. He, Who is Love, gives Himself to us and we are absorbed in His love and we know intensely how God loves. We are filled with love for God and for each other, for, in the oneness He is loving through us. He gives us lights into His loving capacity and we know His loving power in an intensity we did not know before.

We then pray. We offer up our intentions for this Mass. It is now we who intercede to Him to outpour His grace on us and help us with these intentions.

We pray for this reign of peace when the Sacred Heart of Jesus will reign and the Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph and men will fervently love and adore God with burning love. We pray for all souls and the Church and we beg for His help, His love, His grace.

We offer ourselves as a sacrifice. We offer the bread that will become the Bread of Life.

The priest mixes the water and the wine and we realize how His Divinity mixes with our humanity.

We offer the wine that will become our spiritual drink--His Blood.

I give myself to Him and I beg to be cleansed of my sins with the washing of the hands.

"May the Lord accept the sacrifice of your hands for the praise and glory of His name, for our good and the good of all His Church."

We ask Him to accept the gifts we want to give Him, we give Him thanks, we lift up our hearts in thanks and praise and we sing out:

"Holy, Holy God, of power and might..." we sing Him praise and thank Him, "Oh, God we love thee so much."

My heart is so filled with such awe. I cry because I love Him so much.

Every word in the Mass, I love. The priest consecrates the Host and changes it into the Body and Blood of Christ. Hear Christ say to us: "This is My Body", "This is My Blood".

Oh, it makes me cry for I am so struck with awe at what happens at the Consecration. I unite in the oneness with the priest, with Christ and with all present, with heaven and earth. I am one in that moment, united in the sacrifice of Christ giving Himself to the Father.

This is the moment when I unite in such oneness with Christ in the purity of Mary's heart. I give myself as a sacrifice. I offer myself to the Father.

The Father looks down and He sees us united to His Son's Sacrifice. It is in this oneness that His grace is outpoured on us, that we die to that which is not like Him and that the Holy Spirit works in the heart of Mary and fills us with His life.

I am in ecstasy as I realize more and more the great gift of love that God gives us in His holy Mass. I am taken to such heights, being wrapped in the presence of God. It is rapture, this Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

It is a great gift, experiencing this intense presence of the Almighty God: Through Him, With Him, and In Him.

We pray to the Father the prayer as Jesus taught us and beg, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

We pray: "For the Kingdom, the power and the glory are Yours, now and forever."

We beg for peace in our hearts. We share this peace with one another. Then we beg of the Lamb of God. I want to get down to the ground and beg for His grace, mercy, and forgiveness for our sins.

Please, God, I see us as a sinful people. I want the grace and mercy to flow abundantly.

He raises the Host and says: "This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, happy are those who are called to His supper."

We respond: "Lord, I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word and I shall be healed."

I receive the Almighty God in Communion. All I want is Him. Oh, God, I want You, I adore You, I worship You, I love You.

Oh, for this moment when God gives Himself to me. Oh, God, words do not express this time--this intense presence of You within my being. Oh, sweet Savior, I love You!

You share Yourself so intimately with me. You imprint on my soul a knowing of Your Divine Being that is so intimate in this Communion when You give Yourself to me.

Oh, let our hearts be open to His grace that we may know this great gift more, that we will partake more fully in this greatest act of love with Divinity.

He shares Himself with us, the Almighty God, in such oneness. This is the greatest way to bind us with each other, to unite with each other in the Mass and Communion.

And so I sing the love of God, the love of His Mass. I beg you to pray for the grace that He can teach you in these writings about His most intimate love affair with man, the gift of Himself--the gift He gives us in the Mass.

The Holy Sacrifice, the sacrifice of Calvary, sacramentally-made-present in the Mass when He gives Himself to us with the greatest love!

And what does He ask in return? He asks that we love one another, that we give Him the glory, the thanksgiving, the adoration that is His due as the Almighty God.

He sends us forth with His blessing to share His most intimate love with all. We go forth as other Christs in the world. For He is alive this day and He lives in us and He gives His love to others through us. We act as channels of His life to one another.

The Mass is the richest source of His life. His life flows through the body, the Church, especially through the sacraments and the Mass.

Oh Jesus, from the fountain of life that pours forth from your pierced Heart, give us holy priests whose hearts are consecrated to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary to celebrate the Mass--that there is such oneness between the priest and Christ that His grace will flow copiously.

We thirst for the fountain of life pouring forth from the pierced Heart of Christ. It is His life we seek and find in the Church. It is His love we want and we experience the greatest love affair with God in the Mass.

These books on the Mass are accounts of my intimate love affair with our Almighty God. Many experiences were enlightenments I received in the Mass.

I strongly advise all to pray, to say the Holy Spirit Prayer, the consecration prayers, and the Prayer before the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, before Mass.

This book is the journey into the red room, the inner chamber of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, through the gateway, the pure and Immaculate Heart of His Mother.

It is in the Mass we give ourselves in such love to our Holy God. He gives Himself to us and we give ourselves to Him.

 

                (4)

                        Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time pp. 153-154

Today’s first reading tells us about a person who sought wisdom before anything else.  In attaining wisdom, the author of this piece from the Book of Wisdom said he acquired all things besides.  St. Paul tells us Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.  (1 Cor. 1, 24)  As Jesus answered Peter in the gospel, no one who has given up everything to follow Christ will lose their reward.  Indeed, they will be rewarded 100 times over.  That is a fantastic return and it has been guaranteed by one who will not fail us.  But he warns us that when we follow him, when we give ourselves over to him to the extent that he asks us to, life will not always go easy.  One part of this process that is not always easy is simply trusting and waiting.  We like immediate results but God doesn’t always give them.  We have to trust in God's wisdom and rely on God's timetable, but if we do, we will surely find out God will not fail us and he is not going to let us outdo him in generosity.

                (5) Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - 3rd Sunday of Easter pp. 69-70

(Acts 3, 13-15. 17-19; 1 John 2, 1-5a; Luke 24, 35-48) A mother proudly told her pastor: “My teenage son has finally learned one bible verse. It’s Luke 24, verse 41 where Jesus asks his disciples (as we just heard in today’s reading) ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’”

The apostles must have been in great confusion by Easter Sunday night. Jesus’ tomb was empty. Peter and John had seen the empty tomb in the morning, but they had seen nothing else. Some women, who were Jesus’ followers, had talked with an angel who assured them Jesus had risen. Mary Magdalene herself had seen our Lord. Later in the day Jesus appeared to two other disciples, walked and talked with them, broke bread with them and then disappeared. Those same disciples had just arrived at where the apostles were staying and were telling their story when Jesus suddenly appeared to all of them. Surprised, shocked, disbelief, St. Luke says “terrified,” probably embarrassed, too, realizing they had all abandoned him after his arrest. What a mixed bag of emotions they must have been experiencing. No wonder he greets them by saying to them: “Peace be with you.” Jesus dispels their doubts about whether they could believe what they were seeing and assures them they are not seeing a ghost by inviting them to feel him, to know that he is flesh and bone. He even ate a piece of fish, food they themselves had prepared, to prove to them that he was real and that he had really risen. And yet he appeared to be different than before. The wounds of the nails and the spear were still in his hands and feet and side. But when he appeared to Mary Magdalene she didn’t recognize him until he spoke her name. The two disciples didn’t recognize him until he sat down and broke bread with them. There was no doubt it was Jesus, but he was different.

                (6) Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - 3rd Sunday of Easter p. 70

He not only looked different, but he was different in other ways too. He didn’t come knocking on their door in order to get in. He just suddenly stood in their midst. The same thing happened with the others who saw him. When his visit to Mary or the two disciples or the apostles had come to an end, he simply vanished. It was as if he was always with them, and sometimes he allowed them to see him but most of the time they couldn’t.

Human beings have invented all kinds of marvelous things. There are great discoveries in medicine that can add years to people’s lives. There are wonderful inventions that can make life much more comfortable and enjoyable. We can walk on the moon and we can explore the atom. We have powerful weapons that can cause untold destruction. But who has ever discovered how to overcome the power of death which every living thing must eventually succumb to? The resurrection of Jesus is the most fantastic event that this world could ever know. Since the days when human beings lived in caves, all our inventions, all our discoveries, all our power added together cannot begin to equal the glory of Christ’s resurrection that introduced into our world and our history new and eternal life.

                (7) Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - 3rd Sunday of Easter pp. 70-71

The resurrection celebrated not just Jesus’ glory but our own future glory if we will open our minds and hearts to him. Jesus’ resurrection is a preview of God's plans for those who are his children in Christ. Is this one of those “something for nothing” offers? Have you ever received a phone call where someone said to you: “Mrs. Jones, I have good news for you, or I have this free gift for you!” I usually say, thank you, I’m not interested! We always know when someone we don’t know wants to give us something for free, he wants something. Is religion giving us something for free? The answer is “yes” and “no.” The answer is “yes” in the sense that God’s life offered to us in Jesus is not something we have earned or merited. It is a free gift. That’s why it’s called “grace,” the Latin word for gift. At the same time God does want something from us. Eternal life is not automatic. We are not saved without our participation and our cooperation. What does God want? It’s simple. He wants us to give up our sins. He tells us this in all three of today’s readings. In the first reading, St. Peter tells us: “repent, therefore, and be converted.” St. John tells us in the second reading we have to keep God’s commandments. Jesus, when the was talking with the apostles, told them to preach “repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” God is not really asking too much of a sacrifice from us because it’s our sins that keep us from the peace and happiness and joy God wants us to have. Remember it was sin that created problems for the human race in the beginning. God created Adam and Eve to be happy as was symbolized by the Garden of Eden. It was because of their sin that they lost that happiness.

                (8) Guiding Light - Cycle B by Fr. Joe Robinson - 3rd Sunday of Easter p. 71

A special help God gives us to keep us close to him, in his grace and in his peace, is the Eucharist. The fact that Christ gives himself to us as food tells us something. It tells us we always need him. A person can’t eat just every now and then. We have to constantly feed this body of ours if we are going to stay healthy and have the energy we need to get through each day. Jesus is telling us we can’t just come to him every now and then. We need his help all the time. So today we come to him again to be taught, to be fed, to be touched by his loving presence. We ask him to keep us filled with the life he has given us and which we hope to share in for all eternity.

                (9) Sing: I Am the Bread of Life

                (10) Sing: I Love You Jesus

 

                    Sing: Prayer for Union with Jesus

Prayer for Union with Jesus

Come to me, Lord, and possess my soul. Come into my heart and permeate my soul. Help me to sit in silence with You and let You work in my heart.

    I am Yours to possess. I am Yours to use. I want to be selfless and only exist in You. Help me to spoon out all that is me and be an empty vessel ready to be filled by You. Help me to die to myself and live only for You. Use me as You will. Let me never draw my attention back to myself. I only want to operate as You do, dwelling within me.

    I am Yours, Lord. I want to have my life in You. I want to do the will of the Father. Give me the strength to put aside the world and let You operate my very being. Help me to act as You desire. Strengthen me against the distractions of the devil to take me from Your work.

    When I worry, I have taken my focus off of You and placed it on myself. Help me not to give in to the promptings of others to change what in my heart You are making very clear to me. I worship You, I adore You and I love You. Come and dwell in me now.

-God's Blue Book, January 17, 1994

 


               

 

      

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      Betty is a handmaid who has prayed in the

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        We wanted a little place she could rest

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July 31, 1994

Words of Jesus to Members of
Shepherds of Christ Associates:

"My beloved priest-companion, I intend to use the priestly newsletter, Shepherds of Christ, and the movement, Shepherds of Christ Associates, in a powerful way for the renewal of My Church and the world.

"I will use the newsletter and the chapters of Shepherds of Christ Associates as a powerful instrument for spreading devotion to My Heart and My Mother's Heart.

"I am calling many to become members of Shepherds of Christ Associates. To all of them I will give great blessings. I will use them as instruments to help bring about the triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the reign of My Sacred Heart. I will give great graces to the members of Shepherds of Christ Associates. I will call them to be deeply united to My Heart and to Mary's Heart as I lead them ever closer to My Father in the Holy Spirit."

- Message from Jesus to Father Edward J. Carter, S.J., Founder, as given on July 31, 1994,
feast of Saint Ignatius Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits)

 

  

 

  


 

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