Tuesday, December 28, 2021

 

Hugs to all my dear friends recieving this blog.
I love you!
Happy New Year.




Friday, December 10, 2021

Thoughts about our Lady of Guadalupe

 


I feel so fortunate to have a devotion to Mary Jesus’ mother. We got our first look at Jesus' incredible powers came when Jesus performed a public miracle because his mother asked. He said it was not his time yet, but his mother asked for help. And he could not resist his mother’s request. That fact alone should encourage us to seek her assistance when we need to approach Jesus for help. 

Throughout history, Mary has visited humankind at sites around the world. At least 13 apparitions of Mary have been recorded. My favorite aspect of those visits is that her physical appearance always reflects the local culture. 

The two most dramatic examples of this are Our Lady of La Vang in Vietnam and Our Lady of Guadalupe. She appeared in Vietnam, when Catholics were being persecuted and killed, as a stunningly beautiful Vietnamese woman with the child Jesus. In the sixteenth century, Mary appeared in Mexico, and her face had the appearance of an indigenous maiden. The meaning of that is instantly evident; Mary is one of us – all of us!

Her appearance as an indigenous, dark-skinned woman is something all of us should embrace at this moment when race relations are so much on our minds. Millions of Mexicans, Latin Americans, and U.S. Hispanics can see themselves in her face. Her complexion is mestiza (i.e., mixed races), just like so many of them. Her face is their face. All people of color can realize how much she and Jesus value them through her appearance.
The work of artist Yolanda Lopez (seen above) is tantalizing as she portrays 
Our Lady of Guadalupe performing everyday activities such as sowing and running.

Mary is a sign of divine presence in history, and the beauty of what she tells us in her visits is that God loves all people. Prejudice in our society—and in the Church— is real. Cherishing the indigenous, dark-skinned face of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a good step in forming a welcoming heart for all people.





Monday, November 29, 2021

The Wise Men ...

The bible tells us that
the wise men after meeting Jesus
returned a different way.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen said,

"Of course they did!
No one ever comes to Christ
and goes back the same way they came.

The whole purpose of being Christian 
is transformation.

Friday, November 12, 2021

You cannot do a kindness too soon, 

for you never know how soon it will be too late.

Ralph Waldo Emerson 





Friday, November 5, 2021

The Parable of the Deceitful Steward.

The parable begins with a rich man calling his steward before him to inform him that he will be relieving him of his duties for mismanaging his Master's resources. The steward, realizing that he will soon be without a job, makes some deals behind his Master's back by reducing the debt owed by several of the Master's debtors in exchange for shelter when he is eventually put out. When the Master becomes aware of what the wicked servant had done, he commends him for his "shrewdness."

This parable about the shady steward is one of the most puzzling Jesus told. Not only does this steward get away with bribing the master’s debtors by reducing their debt, but his boss praises him for being shrewd! 

What’s the moral for us? … What’s the takeaway from this odd parable?

Maybe it’s right before our eyes. 

Jesus praises the steward for forgiving the debtors their debts. Isn’t forgiving our debts precisely what Jesus came to do? Isn’t the steward, in an odd way, doing what Jesus did?

Remember the Our Father. We Catholics say, "forgive us our trespasses," but many Christians say, "forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." Jesus taught us this prayer; it's how his heart works, it’s how he thinks. Maybe this story is about the shrewdness of forgiveness.

When our Master asks for an accounting of our life, what will we have to show Him? Maybe this bad steward got it right and Jesus wants to find us forgiving our debtors their debts. The shrewd thing he is calling us to do is - forgive others - like the steward forgave his Master's creditors. That's our calling.

Everything we own is a gift from God. God is the owner of everything, and we are His stewards. Our call is to use the Master’s resources to further the Master’s goals.  In this specific case, he is calling us to be generous with His gifts to benefit others. Our call is to make the debts of those around us lighter, to let them know we have a master who finds forgiveness praiseworthy. 




Thursday, October 21, 2021

Jesus told them this parable:

“There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard,  and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not, you can cut it down.'"  Luke 13:6-9

The parable Jesus told isn’t really about a Fig tree. It’s a story about the Jewish people, God’s chosen people … and … it's a story about us too, we who call ourselves followers of Jesus Christ.  All who call themselves Christians receive a call to bear fruit.

In John’s Gospel, Jesus says very clearly, “My Father's glory is shown by your bearing much fruit, and in this way, you become my disciples. John 15:8                                                                  

Like that Fig tree, our job is to bear fruit for the master … for God. 

Are we? 

Are we bearing fruit for God?

This thing we call religion isn’t a private thing; it’s a call to action. It’s a call to share the Kingdom of God with those around us. 

God's Kingdom is all about fruitfulness.

Bearing fruit requires action. Action that results from developing a close relationship with God and knowing what He desires. It comes from an intimate, sensitive connection to Jesus.  Jesus once said, "If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing." John 15:5

Apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ, it's impossible to bear fruit.

How is your relationship with Jesus?

Fruitfulness is Christlikeness. The definition of Christlikeness is a person who has qualities like Jesus Christ. Examples of Christlikeness are being kind, forgiving, sincere, and caring and being a person who produces healing. When we become more like Jesus, when He increases in our lives, we can deliver the fruit that honors God.  Jesus is the nourishment we need to produce fruit.

Being Christlike means giving a human face to the gifts we receive through the sacraments.  The gifts we speak of here are the “fruit of the Spirit” … love … joy … peace … patience … kindness … goodness … faithfulness … gentleness, and self-control.  When we see these traits in our lives, we will begin to see the fruit.

The fruit God wants us to share is our faith, a faith that brings people to Him, including new believers and fallen away believers.  That's the fruit Jesus wants.

Jesus is encouraging us all to till the soil of our faith and develop a Christ-like attitude full of … love … joy … kindness … attitudes we develop through studying the Bible and daily prayer time and being charitable, giving to those who need it.  

That’s how we till the soil; that's how we bear fruit.