Monday, May 31, 2010
Talking about the mystery of today’s Solemnity we have to have in our mind the fundamental truth: „God is God and I am not. I will never be able to understand God, because if I understand God I will be God.”
Tertullian, the theologian from the third century gives us a very interesting image of the Holy Trinity. He says: “Imagine high in the mountains a source, inaccessible and hidden high in the mountains. Nobody ever had seen it but we know that it exists because we see the streams, and the river coming out of this source. Finally the river finishes in the ocean. All three have the same nature, the source is the water, the river is the water and the ocean is the water. In the source we have the image of God the Father, in the river –which is revealing the source- we have the image of God the Son, and finally in the ocean -which comes from the source and the river- we have the image of God the Holy Spirit, the Ocean of God’s Love.
As we progress through the liturgical year we take in turn the wonderful sayings and miracles of Christ, we contemplate the great events of salvation, the birth of Christ, the Last Supper, his passion and death, his resurrection and ascension into heaven, the birth of the Church at Pentecost, the Eucharist on Corpus Christi.
But today we contemplate the greatest mystery of all, the Blessed Trinity, the source of all that was, is and is to come. Today we contemplate the inner mystery of God himself. And I use my words advisedly; we contemplate the mystery of God.
We contemplate —what else can we do in the face of God but contemplate. To contemplate is to turn our gaze on him, to empty our hearts and minds of all other thoughts. In contemplation we become aware of his majesty, his glory, and wonder at his greatness and the extraordinary depth of his love.
"In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen." Simple, isn't it? We learned that prayer when we first began to come to Church. Perhaps our parents helped us put our fingers in the holy water font and bless ourselves as we said it. It's the prayer with which we begin and end all our prayers. It's the prayer with which we begin and end the Eucharist as well. What a great reminder it is!
God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have always been in existence ... will always be in existence. It's a mystery that we cannot fully understand. Even though it cannot be fully understood, it can be lived and appreciated.
God is Father, the one who made all things and keeps them in existence. God created the world we live in and all the wonderful things we can enjoy. He created us and gave us dominion over the world. God calls us to take good care of the world as well, and pass it on in good shape to the generations that come after us. We can help God in his continuing work as well. We can respect the gift of our sexuality and be faithful to our vows. We can cooperate with God as he creates new life within us and charges us with the responsibility of raising our children as children of God. What a wonderful privilege. What a hard job!
God is Son. God love us so much that he gave us his son to reveal God's love for us. Jesus was the word of God made flesh. He lived the love of God for us and taught us to do so. He helped to open our minds to higher things and to accept our higher calling. He died and rose again that we might have life, forgiveness and the courage to live as God's children every day. We can receive Jesus, body, soul and divinity every time we go to Mass. We become what we eat, the very body of Christ here on earth. What greater love could God have for us than to give us his Son?
God is Spirit. The love of the Son for the Father and the Father for the Son was expressed in the Holy Spirit. That Spirit of God calls us to live as sisters and brothers to one another. We become one body in Christ and become indeed the body of Christ in the world we live in. The gifts of the Holy Spirit give us the courage and strength to do each day what we need to do as we strive to live as children of God. Those gifts are awesome indeed. If we cooperate with the Holy Spirit others will be amazed at the lives we live.
God as Trinity is too complicated for us to fully understand. It is described as a "mystery." Our minds are just not large enough to grasp it. But we can live that mystery each day, as we are thankful and responsible for creation, as we follow the example and light of Christ, as we draw upon God's strength to do good things in God's name.
This week we can reflect upon these truths and live as thankful children of God. We can open ourselves to receive God's gifts that we can build up the body of Christ. We can reject the kind of gossip and negative talk that can tear down others and weaken Christ body here on earth. Have a good week!
Rublev's Holy Trinity icon reveals the deepest meaning of the mystery of the church as the communion of life with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit around the Eucharistic table of love. The tree of Mamre by which the Lord appeared to Abraham and Sarah is in the background of the icon. It calls to mind the tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden, and also the tree of the cross -- the ultimate revelation of divine self-giving love made present for us in the Eucharist. The icon reveals the highest ideal and challenge of human existence. We are called to reflect in the church, in our families, and in our world the communion of love, which is the true nature of God. This is the glory and the joy for which we are created.
A story has it that the fifth century Augustine of Hippo was taking his summer holiday along the North African seashore.
Walking along the water's edge on a delightful day, he was pondering the mystery of the Trinity. All this genius was getting for his efforts was a severe headache. Finally he thought he was coming close to breaking the code of the mystery. He was about to shout, "Eureka!"
Suddenly at his feet was a boy of five The bishop asked him what he was doing. The youngster replied, "I am pouring the whole ocean into this small hole." Augustine said, "That's nonsense. No one can do that." Unintimidated by the towering giant above him, the child replied, "Well, neither can you, Bishop Augustine, unravel the mystery of the Trinity." Then he disappeared.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Ascension - 2010
Acts of the Apostles 1:1–11; Hebrews 9:24-28; 10:1923; Luke 24:46–53
No back-up plan
Jesus gave to his followers the task of completing his work by sharing the Good News with the rest of the world.
There’s an ancient legend about the ascension of Jesus into heaven. According to the legend, when Jesus reached heaven, his body still showed the wounds of his crucifixion. His hands and feet still bore the prints from the nails. His side bore the mark from the spear. His back bore the stripes from the whip, and his head bore the wounds from the thorns. When the people in heaven saw these marks, they fell on their knees before Jesus.
They were astounded to see how much he had suffered. Then the angel Gabriel rose up and said to Jesus:
“Lord, how greatly you suffered on earth! Do all the people on earth know and appreciate how much you went through for them and how much you love them?’’
Jesus replied: “Oh, no! Only a handful of people in Palestine know that. The rest haven’t even heard of me. They don’t know who I am. They don’t know how much I suffered, and how much I love them.’’
Gabriel was shocked to hear this. Then he said to Jesus: “How will all the rest of the people on earth ever learn about your suffering and your love?’’
Jesus said: “Just before I left, I told Peter, James, and John, and a few of their friends, to tell the rest of the world for me. “They’ll tell as many people as they can. Those people, in turn, will tell other people. In that way the whole world will eventually learn about my love for them.’’
Gabriel looked even more confused now. He knew how fickle people are. He knew how forgetful they are. He knew how prone to doubt they are. So he turned to Jesus and said: “But, Lord, what if Peter, James, and John grow tired or frustrated? What if they forget about you? What if they begin to have doubts about you? “And even if none of these things happen, what if the people they tell become frustrated? What if they forget? What if they begin to have doubts about you? “Didn’t you take these things into account? Don’t you have a back-up plan—just in case?’’
Jesus answered: “I did take all these things into account, but I decided against a back-up plan. This is the only plan I have. “I’m counting on Peter, James, and John not to let me down. I’m counting on the people they tell not to let me down.’’
Twenty centuries later, Jesus still has no other plan. He counted on Peter, James, and John, and they didn’t let him down. He counted on the people they told, and they didn’t let him down. And now Jesus counts on us.
The Feast of the Ascension is the commemoration of the elevation of Christ into heaven by His own power in presence of His disciples the fortieth day after His Resurrection. It is narrated in Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51, and in the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.
Although the place of the Ascension is not distinctly stated, it would appear from the Acts that it was Mount Olivet. Since after the Ascension the disciples are described as returning to Jerusalem from the mount that is called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, within a Sabbath day's journey. Tradition has consecrated this site as the Mount of Ascension and Christian piety has memorialized the event by erecting over the site a basilica. St. Helena built the first memorial, which was destroyed by the Persians in 614, rebuilt in the eighth century, to be destroyed again, but rebuilt a second time by the crusaders. This the Moslems also destroyed, leaving only the octagonal structure which encloses the stone said to bear the imprint of the feet of Christ, that is now used as an oratory.
Not only is the fact of the Ascension related in the passages of Scripture cited above, but it is also elsewhere predicted and spoken of as an established fact. Thus, in John 6:63, Christ asks the Jews: "If then you shall see the son of Man ascend up where He was before?" and 20:17, He says to Mary Magdalene: "Do not touch Me, for I am not yet ascended to My Father, but go to My brethren, and say to them: I ascend to My Father and to your Father, to My God and to your God." Again, in Ephesians 4:8-10, and in Timothy 3:16, the Ascension of Christ is spoken of as an accepted fact.
The language used by the Evangelists to describe the Ascension must be interpreted according to usage. To say that He was taken up or that He ascended, does not necessarily imply that they locate heaven directly above the earth; no more than the words "sitteth on the right hand of God" mean that this is His actual posture. In disappearing from their view "He was raised up and a cloud received Him out of their sight" (Acts 1:9), and entering into glory He dwells with the Father in the honour and power denoted by the scripture phrase.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Father Thomas Fernandes Remedios, 37, associate pastor of the Church of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, died of a heart attack after saving three young parishioners from drowning, the Fides agency reported.
The parish, in the seaside state of Goa, was having a day of fellowship and entertainment on the beach with a group of about 60 people, mostly youth.
In the afternoon, three adolescents between the ages of 17 and 19 -- two girls and a boy -- ventured into the sea despite being counseled otherwise.
When the waters became too much for them and they called for help, Father Fernandes swam after them and managed to save two immediately. After he had rescued the third, he suffered a fatal heart attack.
The local Church has pointed to the priest in this Year for Priests as an example and testimony. A statement affirmed that "he is a shepherd who gave his life for his flock."