Tuesday, December 31, 2013

For the Sake of Reform

“Jesuit scholastic Ben Anderson and 75 clergy, faith leaders and immigrant families hit the streets and made a six-day Pilgrimage for Citizenship in the Twin Cities last month.” It was a “36-mile walk that included stops at six churches and ended at Congressman Erik Paulsen’s (R-Minn.) office.”
Wiki-image by Kerry Woo of Downtown Minneapolis CC BY-SA 2.0

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday word, 29 Dec 2013

“Wordless Voice”
Holy Family A (29 December 2013)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Today’s solemnity invites us to ponder with wonder the Holy Family so we may appreciate more deeply the love and peace the Incarnation made concrete in human history and human living. Visiting the manger reminded that Jesus entered humanity the way everyone has: he was born in need of care and grew caring to learn to be with others in need.
Out of love for us and every human being and to help us restore peace nonviolently the Word of God became human. God become flesh! As we let try to take that in it numbs our minds and arrests our hearts. It is less about understanding and more about savoring. Our Catholic heritage invites us to savor often subtle moments when our hearts skip beats because of God’s deep desires for us. So let’s savor the Holy Family as another moment of Incarnation.

The Book of Sirach presents a concrete consequence of the Incarnation, namely, patience. At every age patience marks children’s true devotion to their parents. Take care of your [parents] when [they are] old; grieve [them] not as long as [they] live[]. Even if [their] mind[s] fail, be considerate of [them]. As parents model patience with their children, they school them in true devotion at home. True devotion at home overflows all facets of life.

Patient living isn’t spectacular. Patient living is forgiving one another...as the Lord has forgiven us, to use St. Paul’s phrasing. Christian patience is divine gift not our lone effort. We choose to cooperate with it or we don’t. That is why we need to see others model it and to think of models often. Self-help patience does not look to Jesus and his forgiving way.

When we recall that we are in Jesus we can live lives of Christian patience. We are in Jesus by our baptism. St. Paul put his message to us today in the context of baptism: In baptism you have died [and live], and your life is hidden with Christ in God.1 By hidden St. Paul meant Jesus safeguards our lives he was born to ransom for himself, his Father and their Holy Spirit. They will reveal to us our lives completely when Messiah Jesus returns in glory.

Until then, however, another Paul, Pope Paul VI, helped us savor Jesus and his family. He contemplated the life of the Holy Family. He visited Nazareth in 1964 and noted three qualities he invited us to consider. First, Nazareth’s silence. The silence the gospels share about Mary and Joseph raising Jesus encourages us to grow ever more “open to the voice of God’s inner wisdom and the counsel of [God’s] true teachers.” Parents teach first; others teach us beyond family and our homes. Second, Nazareth teaches us that family is a “community of love and sharing, beautiful for the problems it poses and the rewards it brings.” I’m sure Pope Paul had in mind the shorthand of the Second Vatican Council. It reminds us of the family’s true status: the family is a “domestic church.”

Third, the home and family involve work, discipline and selfless love. Each of these is “not an end in itself”; together they school us in patient living, which is Christlike living. Patient living is quiet, often silent, but never empty. Nor is any family without its problems, as Pope Paul was aware. Yet God works through everything for our good,2 precisely why Pope Paul could remind us that each one’s imperfect family is “beautiful for the problems it poses and the rewards it brings.”3

As we close this calendar year we might pause in its final days to recall how God has worked for our good in all things, including our painful experiences. God does not cause our painful experiences. God does actively work through them for our good and continues to create us in the divine image and likeness. Pausing that way helps us be more “open to the [wordless] voice of God’s inner wisdom.” The pause may seem insignificant. Don’t be fooled! One spiritual guide said, “If we’re too intent on our questions, we can’t hear God’s answers, which are surprising, disconcerting, and never come to us the way we expect.”4

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Hide yourself in the heart of our triune God.
  • Ask the humble shepherds to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with him and his parents. Praise him for becoming human for you. Marvel that he grew up in a human family.
  • Ask him for the grace in our new year to live it more confident-ly and with Christian patience from its first day to its last.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. It reminds us daily that all we enjoy is gift of Jesus, his Father and their Holy Spirit.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

  1. Colossians 3.3. He sounded this note in chapter 2.
  2. See Romans 8.28.
  3. Quotations are from an address by Pope Paul VI, 5 January 1964, in the Liturgy of the Hours, vol. 1, pp. 426-428.
  4. I met Louis Evely through his then-recent books in the 70s. This quotation is from his That Man Is You (Paulist Press, Mahway, NJ, 1964).

Wiki-images by Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing of Joseph’s dream to escape to Egypt and of Return to Nazareth CC BY-SA 3.0

Friday, December 27, 2013

Mercifully Shaking Up Christmas

Mr. John L. Allen Jr. admits in his All Things Catholic post, “I was briefly at a loss when asked how I expected Francis to ‘shake up’ Christmas.” He recovered to comment on servant leadership, social gospel and mercy. Mr. Allen also posted about an act of mercy at the “mother church of the pope’s Jesuit order.”
Wiki-image by Matthew Black of Church of the Gesú CC BY-SA 2.0

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas to All!

May its festival bring the “most vulnerable”to mind and move hearts to action. Read Pope Francis’ Christmas message to the world.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday word, 22 Dec 2013

Key to Action
Advent Sunday 4 A (22 December 2013)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Dreams. We use the word in various ways. We identify sleeping dreams and waking ones. Sleeping ones vary from pleasant to nightmares. Some waking dreams can fuel our lives. Others may be unrealistic; if we are not careful they can delude us. At times we use the word to describe someone who is unaware with the phrase, ‘walking around in dream.’

Dreams play large in scripture. Dreams are privileged moments in which God communicated to humans. As people grew more sophisticated many considered dreams quaint. Even now some feel that way and think those in the past naïve. Naïve means a lack of judgment, wisdom or experience. Would God choose such people to cooperate with God’s desires? It is a fair question because God has chosen us and graces us. All of us have our flaws, weaknesses and limitations. We may, to use Isaiah’s phrases, weary people and may even weary God. God, though, never wearies of us. The heart of our triune God eternally longs to save us from our flaws, weaknesses, limitations and more. We celebrate each year the Incarnation, God with our humanity, as the beginning of our salvation.1

Naïve has another, positive connotation: it describes a person who is innocent; one who is natural and unassuming. So our tradition remembers and venerates Joseph: the righteous or just man. Throughout the Scriptures the word named a primary quality of God. Those named righteous participated in God’s compassion.2 We meet Joseph as such a man, a man open to God. We also meet him after he heard news about Mary.

News of Mary’s pregnancy made action difficult. In Joseph’s world betrothal began the marriage bond. Compassionate and godly Joseph shamed no one let alone Mary. We can imagine an ocean of feelings unsettled him. In its depths God met Joseph. God reassured Joseph in his dream.

Where was Joseph when he had that dream of his? From my youth I placed Joseph in his home. He need not have been there. He could have been at his workshop repairing, designing and constructing out of wood and stone things people used in daily living.

What were his thoughts before he dreamed? Had he been pondering the house of David from which he traced his descent? He may have considered his roots as he gazed forward into his future with his betrothed Mary.

What sort of dream was it? Was it a waking dream? a sleeping one? Surely the news of Mary affected both his waking and sleeping. His openness to God, the reason he is revered as just, made it likely that even upset Joseph was alert to God. That leads us to ask how alert and attentive we are to the ways God desires to communicate to us. Are we puffed up, or are we natural and unassuming? Do we desire to be natural and unassuming? Or are we seduced to be other than who God creates us to be?

God created Joseph as another partner in the Incarnation. He was charged to name Jesus. That may have been key for him to take action. Joseph protected his expectant wife; found her a place to give birth and overcame its wretched conditions; guided Mary and Jesus to safety when a ruthless king sought the child’s life; when it was safe he established their home in Israel.3

Joseph’s silence and Scripture’s few words about him cause some to think he may have been joyless spouse of Mary and protector of Jesus. Joseph was joyful for he participated in God’s compassion. A non-scriptural note closes my reflection. Our word dream is rooted in an Old English word meaning music and joy.4 We can be joyful that Joseph dreamed and freely acted. God did not manipulate Joseph or Mary. They freely chose in their ways to join God in saving us. God desires us to join in giving birth to Jesus by our deeds and words.5 Each time we do we embody the grace of God-with-us. We attune ourselves to the music of God’s salvation. The more in tune with God we are, we affect more than ourselves: we bless our world with Holy Spirit’s power.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Place yourself in the presence of our saving, triune God.
  • Ask St. Joseph to present you to Jesus and to accompany your prayer. 
  • Compose yourself with them and ask Joseph what it’s like to be a partner in the Incarnation with the Trinity and with Mary. Let your spirit’s imagination wander freely.
  • Ask Joseph to intercede and help you welcome the grace to renew your partnership with the Incarnation and to renew your joyful trust that the Trinity invites you to give birth to Messiah Jesus where you live and work.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Smiling as you say it can help you welcome divine joy into your waking life.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise
  1. Catholic worship preserves this early church teaching. At the Vigil Mass of Christmas the Prayer Over the Offerings concludes, “[God] you make manifest the beginnings of our redemption.” Today’s Prayer after Communion anticipates “the feast day of our salvation.” The Prayer Over the Offerings on the Octave Day of Christmas affirms  “we glory in the beginnings of your grace” [Roman Missal].
  2. For example, in telling the story of Jesus Luke named Simeon as righteous. Both he and Joseph demonstrated that it registered as being open to God and God’s desires for them.
  3. Chapter 2 of Matthew enumerates these save for Jesus’ birth. That is based on what Luke recalled (2.4 and 2.16).
  4. The word is akin to an Old Saxon word that meant mirth and dream.
  5. The first pastors of the church expressed this. One example is St. Ambrose: “Christ has only one mother in the flesh, but we all bring forth Christ in faith.” His words are from his commentary on the Gospel of Luke. The Office of Readings on 21 December includes an excerpt with his words.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

On Money, an “Earthquake” and a Birthday

The world marches on and Pope Francis keeps pace. In the words of veteran Vatican watcher Mr. John L. Allen Jr., “there’s no ‘off’ switch, which makes me very glad I’ve been in Rome this week.” So Mr. Allen began his review of the week in his All Things Catholic post. In the financial sphere the Church is seeking help to work better.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Preparing for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

In the First Gospel Matthew gave Joseph pride of place in his narration of how Jesus would be born. Jesuit Nicholas King considers Joseph and invites readers “to pay attention to the context in which this passage is found in the gospel – our understanding of Joseph’s fatherhood of Jesus depends on it.”
Wiki-image by Ramon FVelasquez of St. Joseph statue CC BY-SA 3.0

Monday, December 16, 2013

Winning Definition

Winning may have as many definitions as people. Former New York Giant Chris Godfrey said winning is “about falling and getting back up.” He originated “Life Athletes,” and 300 U.S. athletes have teamed with him to promote its values.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday word, 15 Dec 2013

One Gift Jesus Offers
Advent Sunday 3 A (15 December 2013)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
During youthful years the time before Christmas exercised our patience. Any of us recalls that our patience was sharpened these days. I recall my boyhood patience was sharpened on excited, expectant waiting for December 25 to arrive and for all that day would hold.

That patience focused on an annual festival. Another patience, also excited and expectant, extended through successive years. As a boy I felt drawn to serve as a priest. One December 15 was the happiest day of my life. Though I was ordained, many enjoyed the fulfillment that being ordered to serve the church means to me. It began a daily anticipation to live my deep desire, my personal vocation.1 I am not unique. Spouses recall discovering your life partner was similar: your this-is-the-one moment was exciting and expectant. Young people, with your lives ahead of you, your living, learning and growing now help you discover your personal vocation.

Excitement, expectation and discovery: do those features fit the virtue of Christian patience? Did St. James have them in mind when he wrote, Be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains? Have the apostle’s words Advent meaning? I answer, Yes, to those questions. Heres why

In the language of the first Christians the word for patience that St. James used had both  enduring and persevering textures. Enduring involves not letting difficulties steer us from a goal. We know life is not smooth; some of its twists are more off-putting and painful than others. Christian patience takes the long view: because certain things interrupt or distract from living as disciples of Jesus, they do not define us or our discipleship. We anticipate more than struggles. We anticipate the coming of the Lord in numerous ways now as well as his promised future return. Christian patience does not make us droids who are ever unperturbed. It means our eager anticipation never dims. The flavor of enduring we can name “abiding.”

Persevering has the flavor of plugging away. If enduring stands one’s ground then, to expand St. James’ farmer image, persevering turns that ground, nourishes it and cultivates it. We are the ground in his imagery. The Trinity’s life causes growth of great variety in each of us and all of us together as Jesus’ body. We are also the farmer. As we exercise our true, real selves we grow more patient and in awe of the precious fruit of God’s life in us. Not only that: we are to expect its growth in us just as we expect results with physical exercise. We practice what helps us grow as children of God, friends of Jesus and steer clear of what does not.

Christian patience is unique in this way: it is God’s gift not our doing.2 That is its most im-portant feature. Yes, we have our roles to play in nurturing and exercising the gift of Christian patience. Yet, it is not all on us to be patient. Jesus is our model of patience. With Jesus as our model we need not fear being patient will make us boring or make us puppets. Jesus was neither. He modeled himself on the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Jesus knew hardship, but he did not let it define or limit him. Jesus joined our humanity so we can meet him with all our senses and human powers and model ourselves on him.

Jesus is always near us. He as at the doors of our hearts ever ready to respond to us when we welcome him.3 Jesus and his closeness to us; Jesus giving us his patience; Jesus empowers us to be patient as he was and is; Christian patience and its enduring and persevering textures: all those are reason to rejoice; to be strong and unafraid. They assure us we can count on him each moment. Jesus points the ways for us to serve his name. The patience he offers—Christian patience—helps each of us attract others to him and spread the good news of him beyond ourselves, our parish and our city.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Bask in the patient love by which our triune God embraces you.
  • Ask St. James to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with him: praise Jesus who became human for you so you could grow more like him; thank him for inviting you to join his mission.
  • Ask him for grace to grow as his friend and awaken each day expecting his friendship.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. He gave it to us to help us live like him: excited to exercise our faith and to make it known by how we live.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

  1. Jesuit Herbert Alphonso wrote Discovering Your Personal Vocation: The Search for Meaning Through the Spiritual Exercises. It is one of those little books offering huge rewards for all who give themselves to it. “The truest and deepest self, this God-given uniqueness, I call the ‘personal vocation.’ …personal experience and my ministry of the Spirit have taught me that the deepest transformation in any person’s life takes place in the living out this very personal vocation” (pp. 2-3).
  2. St. Paul included patience in his catalog of gifts of Jesus’ spirit.
  3. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. James 4.8.
Wiki-images of Jesus healing PD-US; Wiki-image in the third Advent week by Eugenio Hansen, OFS CC BY-SA 3.0

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Devotion, A Cover and More

The media probably will not report on Pope Francis and his strong devotion to the Virgin Mary. It probably did not earn him the honor of Time Person of the Year. Mr. John L. Allen Jr. reports about both of them as well as violence against Christians in India and their precarious situation in Ukraine.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Not About Answering Every Question

Think Christianity answers all questions? Think again. Jesuit Philip Endean “delves” into the mystery Catholics celebrate today, the Immaculate Conception of Mary. He begins with candles—of all things. Stay with him—it’s not quick reading but rewarding. When coming up for mental air is necessary, imagine the flickering candle.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Sunday word, 08 Dec 2013

Comfort We Receive We Give
Advent Sunday 2 A (08 December 2013)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
St. Paul’s words to the Romans crisply describe the season of Advent and our Advent outlook: we celebrate it so we might have hope. I add, to increase our hope. That is the reason the Scriptures were written. In addition to introducing us to Messiah Jesus, the writings his Spirit inspired instruct us in the Christian life. It was and is a life together. If we were asked to search the scriptures, our first reaction may well be to get a bible. For St. Paul no bible existed. The scriptures that existed for him and the first Christians we call the Old Testament. St. Paul had a hand in shaping and contributing to the bible as we think of it.

St. Paul had experienced risen Jesus. The first Christians had their experiences of him. His phrases through endurance and through the comfort of the scriptures described their experience. Their experience encouraged their hope to  experience God in all things. They experienced God embodied in one another because God became human in Jesus. Jesus became weak for us! No wonder the event of Jesus crucified and risen was folly1 to the Gentile world of power, privilege and patronage. Let’s consider their experience to see if we can find ourselves in it.

In his letter St. Paul had just mentioned one of those scriptures written ahead of time.2 He was considering Christian life together. Life together includes enduring weaknesses of one another.3 That is equally part of our daily life now as it was then. Jesus patiently endured others’ weaknesses when he walked the earth. He continues to do it in and through each member of his body. St. Paul: Christ did not please himself; but as it is written, ‘The insults of those who insult you fall upon me.’ The you in that scripture is God. Those opposed to Jesus could not discern that God chose to be weak, and more, to be weak as humans are. Even the most fortunate and well-off cannot save themselves.

This exchange of divinity for humanity overflows St. Paul’s letters. We fix on its short-hand name, Incarnation. Too fixed and we embrace Incarnation as a sacred museum-piece—something to admire. Incarnation is not that. Incarnation is an active verb of our triune God’s language of love. God does not please God but reaches toward us in a mutual way. By human standards it mystifies: ‘We will exchange our divinity for humanity to save humans and help them find and delight in us.’ God in Jesus by their Spirit do that each moment in the marvelous exchange that marks and reshapes the fulness of time in which you and I live. St. Paul reminds us the God of the scriptures is God working for us: the God of endurance and comfort.

The holy exchange of divinity for humanity has made the crown of creation even more wonderful and revered above all creation. Some think that to be so wonderful and revered makes us the center of the universe. No. Jesus is the center of the universe. He welcomed all with divine mercy not human fairness. Because he welcomes us none of us is a Pollyanna. His spirit empowers us to welcome one another [and all]…as Christ welcomed us, for the glory of God

God’s gloryglory in highest heaven4 we will hear and sing—is a person, Mary’s son, Jesus. Jesus is that day of the Lord Isaiah sang often. Jesus embodied reason’s powers of wisdom and understanding. Jesus keenly and clearly guided. Jesus always pointed beyond himself to God and God’s rule. Jesus’ spirit continues his work in and through us his body, his church.

As the Baptizer prepared for his first coming, you and I live Christian lives hoping all we do, the least to the greatest thing we do points to Jesus who will come again. Take this with for your week ahead: God’s action in Jesus by their Spirit is a welcoming exchange. God is with us and for us in Jesus. Jesus invites us and empowers us by his spirit to welcome others. Doing that transforms lives by offering God’s comforting welcome.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Pause to feel our triune God welcoming you as you are with life-giving love.
  • Ask St. Paul to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with him: praise Jesus for becoming human to die and rise for you; thank him for never turning his back to you and always offering himself to you in baptism and sustaining your baptism with the eucharist and other sacraments.
  • Ask him for grace to rejoice at his welcome of you and to let it open your heart.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. He gave it to us to remind us that we are like him, beloved children of God with a mission to love as he has loved us.5

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

  1. 1Corinthians 1.23.
  2. Psalm 69.10 in Romans 15.3. As he began his letter Paul shared his conviction that God promised previously through his prophets in the holy scriptures the good news of Jesus (1.3).
  3. Romans 15.1. Weaknesses are included in St. Paul’s phrase bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6.2). Also see Colossians 3.12-13.
  4. Luke 2.14.
  5. Living the mission of expressing our faith in love is the focus of Pope Francis’ recent exhortation to each member of the church.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Two South Africans Reflect

One of them began recalling Nelson Mandela with these words: “I was 16 when the ANC was unbanned.” ThinkingFaith chose someone who works at the Jesuit Institute of South Africa and someone from the Southern African Bishops’ Conference. The reflections were released today.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

The Still Moment

When it comes to quiet amid a day’s surging pace, individuals need to secure it for themselves. Everyone’s life is busy. Add preparations for Christmas and one tumbles into overdrive. Making 15 minutes and setting them aside daily is more than an antidote. Jesuit Fr. Steve Curtin, Australian Provincial, entitled his encouraging message “Christmas and the Examen.” He included a link to one of its adaptations.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Bouncer When Younger

“Pope Francis revealed he also used to work as a bouncer.” He shared that during a 4-hour Sunday visit to a parish. The sentence grabbed attention the world over. The Pope had more important present things to say on Sunday.
Wiki-image by Mattes of open door CC BY 2.0 DE.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Sunday word, 01 Dec 2013

Living the Kingdom
Advent Sunday 1 A (01 December 2013)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
As a liturgical year comes to a close it has us look at our final goal, the goal of history: time will end and the rule of God will come into its own. Salvation, that is life in God through Jesus by their Spirit will be complete. As Advent opens a new liturgical year its scriptures sound the same truth.

St. Paul’s urging to put on Christ suggests we live each day as if it were the final Advent. We live between two Advents: Jesus came in history to live, die and rise from death; Jesus will return in glory with salvation. Those who put on Christ our Messiah will gather to himself.

To put on Christ is an early church metaphor for baptism. The newly baptized went under the Easter water. When they came up they were anointed then clothed in a white linen garment. They were luminous in candlelight. They were charged to live in ways that kept themselves luminous, and we continue that today: Receive this baptismal garment and bring it unstained to the judgment seat of our Lord Jesus Christ, so that you may have ever-lasting life.1

To keep one’s baptismal life luminous means to live each day as saved, as united with Messiah Jesus and by the norm of the kingdom of God he announced. To live by the norm of the rule of God means not by the norm or standard of the world. The world’s standards are very enticing. Their allure is powerfully seductive and hypnotic. Not only are we charmed to live as though the world’s standard were normal, we are lulled into measuring by its standards.

Catastrophes and other tragedies jar us and we snap alert briefly. Systemic sufferings born of injustice and other insults to human dignity cause our heads to shake and to voice, perhaps only to ourselves, ‘That isn’t right. It should not be that way.’ And we are correct. Then, we turn away from the sufferings, injustices and other insults to human dignity. We return to living as if what is not right and just is! The world’s ways are enticing and hypnotic, indeed.

Not only are we correct in those moments; we begin to live our baptisms with clarity. To say that with other words: baptism allows us to live normally in an abnormal world. When we resist the world’s standards for those of our Messiah Jesus in whom we have been baptized, we are living alert. We are alert to what is normal. We allow God to instruct us in his ways [so] we may walk in his paths. We have our feet in Jerusalem. We awake to the the Son of Man with us.

The coming of the Son of Man: the words of St. Paul and the words of Jesus are not to be read as train schedules; nor are we to read them as if knowledge of them absolves us from working to secure great justice, peace and harmony for other and with others. We are to grow to feel the mercy of our triune God gives us the daily gift to live the risen life of Jesus through our bodies, hearts and actions and sufferings. Not only individually but corporately, as the body of Messiah Jesus, his church.

The one way we would prefer not to experience doing that is suffering. Yet Jesus suffered to death before he rose. As members of his body we ought not expect any different. Jesus even warned us we would suffer for being his. His warning was one of his blessings: Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.2 

To live our baptisms includes to accept the  Christian perspective: the world is abnormal; Christian living is normal. To admit that does not denigrate nor negate the goodness of created things. Instead, it admits that creation has been warped and needs to be saved. Saving is not our doing, it is God’s gracious doing. Baptism begins the process of God saving us in Jesus by their Spirit. To live as baptized means to live each day as if we were welcomed home. It means to welcome others in the ways Jesus has already welcomed us.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Pause to feel our triune God embracing you with life-giving love.
  • Ask Mary and the saints to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with him: praise Jesus for dying and rising for you; thank him for uniting himself to you in baptism and sustaining your baptism with the eucharist and the other sacraments.
  • Ask him for grace to live his life in you as normal and to live it for the sake of the world.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. His words, forgive as we forgive, challenge us when we say them. Yet they remind us daily what is normal, despite how the world tries to shape us. They give us courage to live as Jesus lived and died and rose for us.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

1. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults 320.
2. Matthew 5.11-12.