Fr. Andrew was invited to lead the opening prayer at the 2012 Colorado Republican State Assembly and Convention in the Magness Arena at the University of Denver. The moral challenges facing our country are not caused by political affiliation, but rather by attacks on religious freedom. He invites all people of conscience to uphold religious freedom.
“The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modem times with ‘communism’ or ‘socialism’.” – Catechism of the Catholic Church 2425
This is healthcare for the soul. Mother Teresa did it without government, person to person and from the heart.
In the first book, Theophilus,
I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught
until the day he was taken up,
after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit
to the apostles whom he had chosen.
He presented himself alive to them
by many proofs after he had suffered,
appearing to them during forty days
and speaking about the kingdom of God.
While meeting with the them,
he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem,
but to wait for “the promise of the Father
about which you have heard me speak;
for John baptized with water,
but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
When they had gathered together they asked him,
“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons
that the Father has established by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
throughout Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”
When he had said this, as they were looking on,
he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.
While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going,
suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.
They said, “Men of Galilee,
why are you standing there looking at the sky?
This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven
will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”
Today’s Gospel: John 21: 1-14
Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias.
He revealed himself in this way.
Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus,
Nathanael from Cana in Galilee,
Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We also will come with you.”
So they went out and got into the boat,
but that night they caught nothing.
When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore;
but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”
They answered him, “No.”
So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat
and you will find something.”
So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in
because of the number of fish.
So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”
When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord,
he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad,
and jumped into the sea.
The other disciples came in the boat,
for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards,
dragging the net with the fish.
When they climbed out on shore,
they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”
So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore
full of one hundred fifty-three large fish.
Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.”
And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?”
because they realized it was the Lord.
Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them,
and in like manner the fish.
This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples
after being raised from the dead.
Gone fishin’! Peter needed a break. Getting back to the familiar seemed the thing to do. The other disciples followed the leader. It wasn’t really what they wanted. They wanted the Lord as evidenced by Peter being so besides himself at the realization that the man on shore was Jesus that He dressed for the occasion, putting clothes on to jump into the water.
I love this Gospel. Once more we see the humanity of Peter and the boys. This was the third time Jesus had to call on them to assure, reassure and otherwise comfort them. I can relate!
This from Catholic Fire
I’m thinking about Fr. Jeff’s homily. He was serious today, though he always is,so much so, it makes me laugh hearing his mental gymnastics. Today he got straight to the point, however. The point being: haven’t we all felt a part of something bigger than ourselves?
Some times changes in direction happen quickly, even with just one impulsive decision. I guess all the other choices in our lives leads us to make that decision, so impulsive or not, it’s more than happenstance, it’s who we are at the moment. With that said, Fr. Jeff spoke of God breaking into the world He had created and wanting, at this moment in Time, to renew it. He offers a Covenant, which if lived out in the lives of this people, peculiar to the Lord, His Chosen People, would cause all peoples to look on them and desire their God.
Fr.Jeff said, “God’s modus operandi has not changed. Human history is repeating this scenario day after day.” We are called to live exemplary lives. What a dreamer God must be! That’s the vision, though. When Jesus faced the pharisees and said “I Am” they had a choice to make. They could recognize Him as God, the new Moses, and follow Him…….. or stone him. You know how it goes from here, from bad to worse. “Stone him!” they say.” Later it becomes, “Crucify him!”
Jesus confronts us,when we least expect it, and confounds us, as he did the pharisees. We are unprepared at many junctures in our lives and being unprepared, caught of guard, or rebellious, with the pharisees and mob, we holler, “Stone him!” Thankfully, moments of reflection follow in our lives, changes in course, second chances. The Jews got it wrong, but St. Paul promises a day when their blindness will end. The Church is the New Israel, a second chance at Covenant. We, too, have a hard time getting it right, but we have the promise made to the Church, “The Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”Matthew 16:18
The Reading from Genesis 17:3-9 was:
When Abram prostrated himself, God spoke to him:
“My covenant with you is this:
you are to become the father of a host of nations.
No longer shall you be called Abram;
your name shall be Abraham,
for I am making you the father of a host of nations.
I will render you exceedingly fertile;
I will make nations of you;
kings shall stem from you.
I will maintain my covenant with you
and your descendants after you
throughout the ages as an everlasting pact,
to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.
I will give to you
and to your descendants after you
the land in which you are now staying,
the whole land of Canaan, as a permanent possession;
and I will be their God.”
must keep my covenant throughout the ages.”
God also said to Abraham:
“On your part, you and your descendants after you
The Gospel was:
Jesus said to the Jews:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever keeps my word will never see death.”
So the Jews said to him,
“Now we are sure that you are possessed.
Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say,
‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’
Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died?
Or the prophets, who died?
Who do you make yourself out to be?”
Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing;
but it is my Father who glorifies me,
of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’
You do not know him, but I know him.
And if I should say that I do not know him,
I would be like you a liar.
But I do know him and I keep his word.
Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day;
he saw it and was glad.”
So the Jews said to him,
“You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
before Abraham came to be, I AM.”
So they picked up stones to throw at him;
but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area. John 8: 51-59
Purifying the Church is a work of the Spirit in all ages. The Church is the home of sinners working on being saints. Like the disciples that needed Jesus to wash their feet although they had already been cleansed by Christ, Christians in contact with the world do find that the dust and dirt does stick.
Here I want to repeat a message and spread an appeal made by Fr. Benedict Groeschel, of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. He says, some of the very liberal Catholic are calling for all kinds of changes that will leave the Catholic Church no longer the Catholic Church. Fr. Groeschel says, that the Church has be humiliated. It has been demoralized. We are asking what will happen. He says, “Pray! Pray! Pray!………Pray for the Church, pray for the victims and pray for our enemies?”
In an urgent appeal Fr. Groeschel joins EWTN in asking, “What can we do as Catholics and Christians to bring something good out to these most vicious attacks on the Church in the media and society?……Otherwise, we will have what Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen calls ‘wasted suffering’.”
Fr. Groeschel calls for reform; vigilance and reform to carry us forward from this point of humiliation, betrayal and defamation. Here are some areas which need reformation:
1. Liturgy and prayer
It should be reverent devout and worthy. Worship of God is a serious business. Prepare for it! Dress for it!
2. Eucharistic celebration and Reconciliation
Mass should be presented in a manner that supports prayer with appropriate music for all ages that lifts the heart and spirit. It should be prayerful.
3. Catholic education
Many Catholic schools of higher education should not be called Catholic. Many are simply trying to make money – greed!
4. Catholic Social Service and Hospitals
Many Catholic Hospital and Social Services are lacking in areas of Catholic sexual morality and catholic medical ethics. How do you make changes? Write letters!… Begin your letter to schools and hospitals the need change in these areas like this: “Before we do anything else, we thought it was only fair to contact you.”
5. Religious life
According to Fr. Benedict, Catholics can be very stupid. They don’t know how to deal with a theory. They let themselves be influenced by every passing fad. This is what has destroyed people; taking too much from psychology and not enough from the Gospel and from the Tradition of the Found. Give them a theory and they think they have to believe it. Something comes along, call it psychology, call it the ennegram and Catholics have to pick it up and play with it. For His part, Father Groeschel knows what he believes. He believes in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t need to believe in psychology or the creations of pop-culture. Psychology or things masquerading as modern thought have have far too much influence on Catholic thinking. Many Catholic communities are completely lacking in prayer life, in witness to the Gospel. They are openly open disloyalty to Catholic teaching and especially to the Holy Father.
Speak up! Cause trouble! Do not accept the false and mediocre. Resurrect the wonderful spirit of your community’s founder or foundress. Read the Gospel. Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Watch out for the influence of psychology. Some things are effective as tools but not as Creed.
6. Issues of Life
Finally, Fr. Groseschel says, “Speak out for Life.” We are not a loud voice. There are millions of Catholics and so far our voice is still a whisper. Get with it. Discover your Catholic heart and passion!
Don’t be surprised that the Church is being crucified. The Church is the Body of Christ. It is going to the Cross. As you call it on it’s sinfulness, don’t exempt yourself. Don’t be afraid of a Crucified Christ. Turn to Christ! Where Satan reigns; the Crucified Conquers! Christ conqueror! Christ captain! Christ command! The Church will come forth purified and one with its Lord.
In a recent post, I wrote about the vengeance of Jesus. He took Satan and Sin to task on the Cross with the shedding of His Blood, not the blood of others. The God-Man suffered the punishment due our sins. All sin leads to lies, betrayal, murder, and war. Sin percolates and then escalates. It is as though the force of our sins hides beneath the surface of our daily existence and when its ready to show its ugly face, it appears as a slum, a dysfunctional society, a dysfunctional family or a war. Sin with its pride, lust, sloth, greed,envy and the like, ultimately brings havoc in its wake. However, it can be stopped. We know and have the remedy. Like the discovery of a vaccine or cure, it only has to be made known and available, applied and administered. There’s the rub. We are an important part of the remedy. The Good News of Jesus is here and at hand! Where are the penitents?
Monsignor recently gave a sermon in which he spoke of a conversation between a repentant prostitute and St. Francis De Sales. The Saint heard the confession of the woman. It was heartfelt and thorough, leaving out nothing of her past life. Afterwards she asked the Saint, “Now that you have heard my confession, what do you call me? Without hesitation, St. Francis de Sales said, “I call you a saint.” He went on to say that no matter how others saw her or what they called her, God saw her as she now was; as if her past sins never happened. The woman told the story again and again throughout her life. The Saint’s response of the mercy, love and pardon of God came back to her again and again, and strengthened her whenever she was tempted to return to her past way of life.
I tell that story because Rwanda is a nation soaked in the blood of its own people. Finding a way into a future full of hope rests on the Good News of Jesus Christ. Mother Mary as Our Lady of Kibeho predicted the catastrophes that would befall their nation. She also showed them the way back to unity and wholeness. In her numerous apparitions, she showed them that the Mother of God lived with them, cared for them and prayed for them. Her healing presence among them was constant and intimate. Her message is always the same, “Jesus.”
Jesus have mercy on me a sinner.
In today’s reading, Jer 11:18-20, Jeremiah wants revenge. He sees himself as a trusting lamb led to slaughter; although he knew he was in danger, he did not realize that his enemies were hatching plots against him. Jeremiah wants vengeance and he wants to be there to witness it in spades.
“Let me witness the vengeance you take on them, for to you I have entrusted my cause!”
In today’s homily, Monsignor, asks, “How does Jesus take vengeance on His enemies?” Monsignor answers, “He dies for them!”
Christians imitate Jesus. Scripture directs us in dealing with our enemies:
- “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
- But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,” Matthew 5:43-44
- If your enemy be hungry, give him food to eat, if he be thirsty, give him to drink;
- For live coals you will heap on his head, and the LORD will vindicate you. Proverbs 25:22
We are all in the same boat, we are all sinners, enemies of God, so long as we persist in Sin. Jesus, for his part, dies for us. He has prayed for his enemies, “Father, forgive them!” He has fed them, “Take and eat!” He has satisfied their thirst, “Take and drink!”
Jesus appeals to the heart of men. We can turn away. We can experience, with Jesus, rejection. In all these circumstances Jesus says pray. That prayer is powerful, whether it is prayer of praise, worship, thanksgiving, adoration, or petition.
If we could only see it with Heaven’s eyes as John did as he records in the Book of Revelation:
“And when he had taken the book, the four living creatures and the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” Rev 5:8
“These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason they stand before God’s throne and worship him day and night in his temple.”Rev 7:14
What is this washing of their robes, if it is not the Sacrament of Reconciliation. If it were referring to Baptism, they would not be doing the washing, whereas in Reconciliation we have an active role.
Jesus wants what’s best for each of us. He wants enemies (sinners) to feel the hot coals of prayer heaped upon them. To see ourselves as Jesus sees us when we sin can be distressing. Such a moment, though wrenching, is a moment of grace. Jesus desires a response of the heart that sends the sick and sorrowful to show themselves to the priest for healing and forgiveness.
Our revenge is to be like our Christ. Our revenge is to die to ourselves with our Christ. Our revenge is to see the enemies of Christ come forth from the confessional with tears of joy and thanksgiving in all humility; no longer enemies but as brothers.
What will it take? Prayer. All are called, moment by moment, while we live, “Repent and believe the Good News!” Mk 1:15
The Lenten readings are growing darker as Jesus approaches His hour
In Wisdom 2, we read:
The wicked said among themselves,
thinking not aright…
“Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us;
he sets himself against our doings,
Reproaches us for transgressions of the law
and charges us with violations of our training.
He professes to have knowledge of God
and styles himself a child of the LORD.
The Gospel of John, too, sounds an ominous note:
“Jesus moved about within Galilee; he did not wish to travel in Judea, because the Jews were trying to kill him. But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near…But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret.” John 7:1,10
Why did things have to go this way. Why the rejection? Why the Cross? And while we’re questioning; why do they sour for us?
Today, Fr. Michael, faced with these questions, asked one of his own (I’m paraphrasing.) Who made us judge and jury? Who confirmed us in our righteousness; which is, if honest, our self-righteousness?”
The Gospel of Light treads a path through every darkness and Darkness, itself. Without the stuff of darkness, weakness, war, tragedy and desperate dilemma, we go unchallenged, self-satisfied. We pursue our dreams and go willy-nilly, perhaps, even, to our own dissolution, seeing only the darkness around us, and none within. What we don’t like of Gospel or Church, we ignore or eliminate from our daily lives. “Let us condemn him to a shameful death.”
Until the unthinkable forces itself upon us and our decisions, we are content not to think but to ride the fence. The problems remain out there with “them.” If we do take a stand and speak the Gospel truth, we find what Jesus found: rejection and betrayal, even from within our families, the cruelest blow. It might not be explicit. It may be that no one has time to visit. Perhaps, the grand-kids are withheld and holidays less joyful. How doesn’t matter so much as that it happens. We are left on our Cross.
What to do? Look first to yourself. Question your ways and your motives. Repent, is the Gospel word for it. Then pray and wait. Wait upon God; first of all with praise and adoration, thanksgiving, and finally with petition. Place all the rest, loves ones and world, in the Tabernacle with the Lamb who was Slain and still lives. Then go on; “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.” This is the Way until the end of the world and the coming of the Day.
From the Office of Readings – for Friday of fourth week of Lent from Easter Letter of Athanasias:
How fine a thing it is to move from festival to festival, from prayer to prayer, from holy day to holy day. The time is now at hand when we enter on a new beginning: the proclamation of the blessed Passover, in which the Lord was sacrificed.
From The Story of a Soul, The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux:
“Dear Mother, I have still to tell you what I understand by the “sweet odour of the Beloved.” As Our Lord is now in Heaven, I can only follow Him by the footprints He has left–footprints full of life, full of fragrance. I have only to open the Holy Gospels and at once I breathe the perfume of Jesus, and then I know which way to run; and it is not to the first place, but to the last, that I hasten. I leave the Pharisee to go up, and full of confidence I repeat the humble prayer of the Publican. Above all I follow Magdalen, for the amazing, rather I should say, the loving audacity, that delights the Heart of Jesus, has cast its spell upon mine. It is not because I have been preserved from mortal sin that I lift up my heart to God in trust and love. I feel that even had I on my conscience every crime one could commit, I should lose nothing of my confidence: my heart broken with sorrow, I would throw myself into the Arms of my Saviour. I know that He loves the Prodigal Son, I have heard His words to St. Mary Magdalen, to the woman taken in adultery, and to the woman of Samaria. No one could frighten me, for I know what to believe concerning His Mercy and His Love. And I know that all that multitude of sins would disappear in an instant, even as a drop of water cast into a flaming furnace.
It is told in the Lives of the Fathers of the Desert how one of them converted a public sinner, whose evil deeds were the scandal of the whole country. This wicked woman, touched by grace, followed the Saint into the desert, there to perform rigorous penance. But on the first night of the journey, before even reaching the place of her retirement, the bonds that bound her to earth were broken by the vehemence of her loving sorrow. The holy man, at the same instant, saw her soul borne by Angels to the Bosom of God.”
Obama silencing the voice of conscience? Not!
“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” Matt 22L 21, Mark 12: 17, Luke 20: 25
When something is repeated in the Gospel as this is by three Evangelists, it means this is supremely important. Of course, when you don’t like what the Gospel says, you simply leave the Church or come up with a version of church that makes you the Magisterium. In other words, you become the Voice of the Holy Spirit. Convenience, but not conscience!
Repealing this rule is, of course, one more issue of conscience vs. having none.
Here’s the NY Times report:
The rule prohibits recipients of federal money from discriminating against doctors, nurses and other health care workers who refuse to perform or assist in abortions or sterilization procedures because of their “religious beliefs or moral convictions.” Its supporters included the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic Health Association, which represents Catholic hospitals.
Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the Republican minority leader in the House, said, “This is the third action taken by Washington Democrats in the past 38 days to weaken American rules that are meant to safeguard the sanctity of human life.”
“The “separation of Church and state” does not mean – and it can never mean – separating our Catholic faith from our public witness, our political choices and our political actions. That kind of separation would require Christians to deny who we are; to repudiate Jesus when he commands us to be “leaven in the world” and to “make disciples of all nations.” That kind of radical separation steals the moral content of a society. It’s the equivalent of telling a married man that he can’t act married in public. Of course, he can certainly do that, but he won’t stay married for long.”
I’m beginning today with a question: How did the first Christians do it?
In a world of propaganda and hype, of relativism and materialism, I ask myself what do I have that can change darkness into Light? In truth, I have what Christians have had from the beginning. I have the Savior of the world. Jesus words after His Resurrection from the dead were:
“Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” Mark16: 15
In effect, go tell My story!
It is more than a story. It is power. It is the single most important act in all of human history with eternal consequences. The world has run after other gods. I have run after other gods. That’s not the end of the story though.
Tomorrow begins Lent. For myself, I’m resolved to tell the story everyday of Lent. Lent will change me and then the world. Like the first Christians, we must begin by telling the story of Jesus’ death on the Cross and His Resurrection from the dead. Proclaim it!
- “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” John3:16–18
Paul told us we don’t need to be polished and eloquent. To the Corinthian Greeks, Paul writes, “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2
That is my story. I’m resolved to tell it today.
The Leper, who comes to Jesus in today’s Gospel (Mark 1:40-45,) is often seen as an embodiment of those who are the “untouchables” of our society (the poor, the weak, the unwed mother, the addict.) The Leper, in another view, is one who is “outside the camp”. The leper is the one cut off from worship and cut off from community.
In the United States today, the Leper is 75% of those who call themselves Catholic, yet no longer celebrate Mass or practice their Faith. No matter the reason that they left the Church (disbelief, anger, lifestyle, boredom), they are now “outside the camp.”
The tragedy is that our worship, while directed to God, has an effect on us. Worship orders the one who worships. Worship grounds the worshiper once again in the Truth of Who it is he worships. It prepares a man for battle, so to speak. “Happy the people that know the joyful shout!” (Psalm 89:16) Without worship, the World becomes the voice that lies to him, tempts him and in the end may even conquer him.
The poor and the weak are in the Lord’s camp. The true outsider is one Jesus calls home. “I do will it. Be made clean.” (Mark 1:41)
In a world of soundbites and video-clips with the mainstream media supplying morsels of immoral madness and pathetic pop-psychology for quick, thoughtless, consumption, is it any wonder that so many are lost? I ask how culpable am I? Do “the many” even know when they’re off track or even lost? I don’t know about you, but I have little clue where even those close to me have wandered. As far as I can tell, they are all well meaning. Is “well meaning” enough to inherit eternity? It’s the old thing of , if you aren’t growing, you are dying. Misled means spiritually unfed. Anyway, that’s the way it seems to me. My hope is, “He knows how we are formed; He remembers that we are dust.’ Psalm 103:14.
From the Gospel for the day:
When Jesus disembarked and saw the vast crowd, His heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd;and He began to teach them many things. Mark 6:34
Is it any wonder that we, along with our children, move the heart of God to pity? Hope, though, is all around us. The Church is at prayer. When I go off to Mass each day, I can look forward to hearing soundbites of true substance, sanity and solace.