Posts tagged: Jerusalem

Sunday of the Resurrection…Do We Believe?

By , April 19, 2014 4:50 am

Everyone loves Easter! Spring has arrived, the flowers are blooming, the grass is green, the heat of summer has not fallen upon us yet, people put on their best clothes and greet each other with exuberance – “Happy Easter, happy Easter, happy Easter.” There is nothing wrong with any of that. In fact, it is all very delightful but it is not the reality of what Easter, the Feast of the Resurrection, is all about.

Spiritually, each one of us needs to transport ourselves back to that hillside outside Jerusalem, stand silently before that open tomb, a tomb now empty, and ask ourselves if we really do believe in the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth from the dead!

This is the heart of the Christian message. This is the ultimate test as to whether or not we are really followers of Jesus. In the following 2,000, countless numbers have died because they answered “yes” to that question. They believed in the Resurrection, were committed to Jesus and they would allow nothing to turn them away from that faith and commitment. Happily, most of us are not asked to die for our faith but it would be perfectly valid to ask ourselves would we be willing to do so?

Let us thank God for his infinite love for us. Let us walk into the future with confidence knowing that we are a redeemed people. Let us continue to celebrate the great feast of the Resurrection.

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Happy New Year!

By , November 30, 2013 4:11 am

I know that that sounds silly but I say it every year on this particular Sunday. It is accurate because we ARE starting a new year. Not a year marked by months with the names of Roman emperors, but a year that marks and memorializes all the events relating to Jesus of Nazareth and therefore relating in an awesomely important way to each and every one of us.
The first reading from Isaiah seems to me to really jump off the page. It is early in this important book of the Old Testament and the message is wonderfully hopeful and optimistic. Isaiah is writing from about the 6th century before Jesus. Everything has gone wrong. God’s people have been terribly oppressed. There have been many destructive wars but Isaiah looks into the future with confidence.
His words, which were written more than 2,500 years ago, have very helpful meaning for the Year of Our Lord 2013
Listen to Isaiah. He reminds us that we have instructions from God himself in the Sacred Scriptures. He urges us to listen as Yahweh….
“Instruct us in His ways that we may walk in His path.”
“For from Zion shall go forth instruction and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between nations and impose terms on many peoples. “
Regretfully, while that has already happened, the desired results are not yet at hand. Isaiah hopes and prays that,
“They shall beat their swords into plowshare and their spears into pruning hooks. One nation shall not raise the sword against the other nor shall they train for war again.”

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Just Keep On Walking

By , October 14, 2013 5:50 am

On Saturday, I got involved in geography and history. Now let’s go to the main point of Sunday’s Gospel which came from St. Luke. Luke describes Jesus, as he does so many times, continuing on his way to Jerusalem. All of St Luke’s Gospel is in many ways a journey to Jerusalem which really means a journey to Calvary, death, resurrection and redemption.
One of the events is the crowd of ten very sick men. They have leprosy, a disease that rots the skin. They have heard about the power that Jesus has manifested and as a group they pray for healing. Our Lord tells them to go and present themselves to the priests in the temple. In so doing, they are cured.

My guess is that most of the nine were thrilled at what had happened and went straight home to tell their wives but one man runs and catches up with Jesus. He falls flat on his face in adoration. Our Lord asks a question that could be directed to each one of us. Do we appreciate what God has done for us? Do we manifest that appreciation? Do we allow the goodness of God to pass through us into the lives of others? Are we like that Good Samaritan or the ungrateful nine? That sounds like the name of a bad musical band.

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Help the Rich Man?

By , September 28, 2013 5:25 am

Photo by Gustave Doré

September 29th, 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
At last the summer is coming to an end and we are still traveling. We are walking with Jesus on his journey to Jerusalem and death. The days may be cooler now but the message from God that comes to us through the Church is continuing the tough challenge of last week. We are to live just lives. It is the gifts that we receive and one that is fair, generous and loving. Good old Amos thunders, “Woe to the complacent in Zion lying upon beds of ivory, stretched comfortably on their couches. They eat lambs taken from the flock and calves from the stall but they are not faithful!” Amos warns them that these luxury loving idolaters will be the first to go into exile and their happy times will be over.

The scene in the Gospel contains the same theme but more directly Jesus describes a rich man who has fantastic wealth and ignores the needs of the poor. While the rich man is nameless, the poor man is given that dignity by our Lord himself. His name is Lazarus. He is very sick. He has leprosy but he is destitute and from afar he sees the inordinate luxury of the rich man.

Oops! Suddenly the scene changes. Lazarus is dead and the rich man is gone as well but he is in a difficult place and suffering for his selfishness, for his greed, for his indifference to the needs of the poor. The rich man cries out for help from father Abraham. When the wealthy man finds out that there is no crossing over into the better world of Lazarus he shows his good side and begs that Abraham would send a message to his father’s house and warn his five brothers so that they wouldn’t make the same mistakes that the rich man made. Then he is turned down and Abraham reminds the rich man and all of us that while we are struggling here on earth it is very important that we live good lives because evil and sinfulness cannot be undone in the next life. It has to be done here.

Let’s all listen to the voice of Abraham.

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September 19th, 25th Sunday of the Church Year

By , September 18, 2010 3:02 am

We are still striding along with Luke as he advises us to listen carefully what Jesus is saying as he continues his walk to Jerusalem and Calvert.  For the last several Sundays these Gospel excerpts are sharp, urging us to be forgiving, as in the prodigal son – to plan our lives so as to do good and avoid evil, and warns us not to let wealth dominate our hearts or become the reason for our existence.

Actually, there is a theme through all of this as the liturgical year is trying to condition us for the final scene of Judgment Day, which will be celebrated on November 21st, the great feast of Christ the King.  We accompany Jesus in his walk towards Jerusalem.  Listen to him with open minds and hearts.  His grace will form us into being the kind of followers that will be faithful to him right to the end.

Viva Christ the King!

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The 22nd Sunday of the Church Year: Our Walk of Faith

By , August 28, 2010 3:28 am

Well, we are still walking with our Lord as He continues on his way to Jerusalem.  The Church uses the text from the 14th chapter of Luke about the subject of social humility.  Prior to the Gospel, the book of Sirach introduces the subject of humility urging us to conduct our affairs with that virtue, as well as being prepared to “humble yourselves the more, the greater you are.”  That leads us into that brief excerpt from Hebrews where the sacred author tells us that in making this journey we are being drawn to Mount Zion in the city of the living God.  There we will experience extraordinary glory and be awed by God’s power manifested before us.

Humility and awe in relationship to God provides us with good first steps towards the Gospel itself.  It tells us not to be seeking the spotlight, not to being on the top of the list or in the best places, but simply to move forward with a clear awareness that in relationship to the infinite power and glory of God we are humble indeed.  If we see that relationship between ourselves and God, it should make it easier for us to see those with whom we are sharing life.

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The Most Important Journey in History

By , June 26, 2010 11:13 am

Tomorrow is the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time and for this day the Church has chosen as the Gospel an excerpt the ninth chapter of St. Luke, verses 51 to 62.

The scene has Jesus journeying towards Jerusalem.  In this short excerpt, several men came up to him and expressed a strong desire to join his followers.  In each case, they had other things they needed to take of first, namely settling things out with their families.  Jesus challenged them that he required a solid commitment and that they should not be looking back.  While the main point of this brief scene is that Jesus does expect solid and true commitment to his cause, a more important concept is to be found in the overall Gospel of St. Luke.  The whole Gospel is about the fact that Jesus set his face to Jerusalem.  Time after time throughout the Gospel, the expression will be seen, “And Jesus continues on to Jerusalem.”  In other words, the whole Gospel can be summarized by the fact that Jesus’ public life was a journey that was to culminate in Jerusalem with his triumphal entry and then suffering death and resurrection.

All of us are challenged in our own lives to clearly let our ultimate goal and let nothing deviate us from that journey to that goal.  For Jesus it was to achieve the redemption of the human condition.  For us it is to make sure that we benefit from what Jesus has done for us.  Jerusalem is a symbol of our eternal destiny.  Let us not be confused by other goals.

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