The most difficult times can produce the greatest spiritual blessings. God truly knows just what we need at every moment!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Palm Sunday – 2012

Jesus' life can be summarized in few very meaningful words:

First we have Gloria at His birth
Than we have "this is my beloved Son" at His baptism and transfiguration,

Next we have "Hosanna" in today's first Gospel

And "crucify Him" in today's second Gospel.

But we have not to forget that the last word summarizing His life the "ALLELUIA" on the Easter Sunday.

In our life we did have our Gloria, we did have our "this is my beloved child", we do certainly have our Hosanna and crucify him, but we cannot forget that the end of our life is Alleluia at the day of our resurrection.
When Jesus dies on the Cross, a pagan, a Roman centurion makes the announcement: "Surely this is the Son of God." To understand who Jesus is, we have to stand under the Cross.  To recognize how much God loves us, we have to realize the extent of his suffering for us.  To realize that we are his followers, we have to join Him on the Cross. Love gives joy, but this joy can result in pain. Love means giving, but this gift can result in suffering as we say no to our own desires for the sake of the one whom we love. Love gives life. The Lord loves us so much that we receive His life.  As we begin this Holy Week we pray that we might have the courage to follow Christ in embracing our own crosses.  May we make real the cross of Christ in the world by giving ourselves to others in love, not sentimental and emotional but in real "love in the truth", as Pope Benedict XVI writes in his encyclical letter "Cartatis in Veritate".

Sunday, March 25, 2012

V Sunday in Lent – B - 2012

He who loves his life will lose it

In today's Gospel Jesus has for us an amazing and even frightening truth about the human condition. He feels the approaching hour of His final battle with evil, death and Satan on the cross. He knows that only such an ultimate and complete sacrifice, the sacrifice of Himself may be effective in the fight against evil. God gives Himself to man and gives Himself to the end, irrevocably. It is the gift of total and absolute sacrifice for the salvation of humanity. The gift of self, the gift of His life. And Christ invites us to make such a gift of ourselves too. "If anyone serves Me, let him deny himself, and follow me, and where I am there shall my servant be."

Is it not true that in our lives, very often we lose precisely what we are so much attached to, what we love so much? Is it not true so that our economy and philosophy of life, is a philosophy of ownership, or philosophy of possession, "as much as you can, have, possess and use?" Our whole life is oriented toward possession, toward having. And Christ offers us a re-evaluation, a change of this optics. Nothing what I have, I really do have, but rather things have me. I am not the owner; I am rather possessed or controlled by the things. So, what I love so much, I will lose! I WILL LOSE EVERYTHING WHAT I HAVE. And it is hopeless, I cannot change this, this is a fate, this is our human life after the original sin. "If the seed thrown into the ground don't die, it remains alone and it does not produce anything any yield nothing." Therefore in order, to gain, to win I must be able to lose, in order to live I need to know how to die ... above all, to myself and to my whims, caprices and sins. This is the strange philosophy of God, who has not chosen another way to save man, than through the sacrifice of Himself, through the self-destruction ... like a seed thrown into the ground. In this way, He assured the eternal life to those who want to follow Him, those who are able to forget themselves, to lose their earthly life.

It is very painful, but is this involuntary loss of what we love so much not as painful? Only, this loss does not bring anything in return! And here, in exchange for the temporality of my earthly life and the pain God is providing me with eternal life. Can I afford it, Can I lose my life to win the eternal life?

Or maybe I'm so attached to these little things so strongly that I cannot get rid of them?

Alternative Homily

The radical logic of the Gospel ...

How difficult it is, we cannot even understand how to accept, and it is even harder to put into practice the words of the Gospel today? How difficult it is to believe in the depths of our hearts, that anyone who wants to gain his life must lose it, that the seed must die in order to give the fruits? This logic is a way absolutely incompatible with our common sense, for who of us wants to die, who will agree to lose their lives to get it back, who is able to learn obedience in suffering, and in self-denial? (Mt 16.24, Mk 8.34, Lk 9:23)

Unfortunately, this is the radical logic of the Gospel, which is shocking and teasing today's man. Inflexibilities and firmness of Good News discourages modern man and causes such a resistance among listeners that those who hear these words of Christ are revolting and rejecting Good News and finally Christ. In our daily life we try to soften this harsh and difficult logic of Christ and what we have? I heard somebody say: "If you are searching Christ without Cross you will find only cross without Christ. And this is the real disaster!

And God certainly does not want terrorize us, or to create martyrs. He does not propose the mortification and purification as ends in themselves, but as treatments for a real healing a measure to achieve the journey to the Father's House. He draws no pleasure from the suffering and death, because He did not create it (Wis 1:13-14). So why such a radical demands, why such "inhuman" recommendations? And why He speaks of this in the context of "glorification of the Son of Man"? What glorious can be in death on the cross? And why Christ exalted on the cross is to attract us to Him? We would prefer to do it on Mount Tabor, or on the top of the Mount of Ascension, but not on Calvary.

All this does not seem to be understandable and certainly is not acceptable without Resurrection. The whole logic of the Gospel is absurd and unacceptable if Christ has not risen (1 Cor 15:14). And only the Resurrection of Christ put all the "inhuman" requirements and recommendations in a different light. Because only Christ exalted on the cross and risen from the death contradicts logic of death and draws all to Himself, that is ... to eternal life. And it is precisely this exaltation, referred to in today's gospel which is the ultimate winning of LIFE. The cross is a turning point in human history, is the reverse process of destruction and reign of death, which began after sin. And that's why I need to lose my life to retrieve the true and full, eternal life in Christ.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

IV Sunday of Lent – 2012 - B

God sent his Son to the world to save the world

God certainly is rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:4) and there is no doubt that he shows it to all and without exception (Deuteronomy 5:10). His mercy and forgiveness have no limits ... except one - a stubborn, ill-will of man. God cannot show forgiveness for someone who does not need it, who does not recognize that being a sinner, man needs God forgiveness God cannot do anything for a person who believes that God has nothing to forgive him. Christ certainly did not come into the world to condemn the world but to save it (Jn 3:17). But he cannot do it by force and against the free will of man, because He respects too much the freedom once given to man. And here is the problem. It cannot be that I commit the sin, indulge myself in carelessness and I disregard God and his commandments, for anarchy and lawlessness, and yet persuade myself, "God will forgive me and save me because He loves me so much, because He is merciful", because God has imposed on Himself a "duty of forgiveness" - for every human being, because He is bound to fulfill "automatically" its redemptive function (Sir 5,3-7, John 12.47).

That is why Christ continually and so strongly emphasizes the need for standing in the light of truth, especially in the truth about myself. "Anyone who commits wickedness hates the light of truth and does not come to light, lest his deeds be condemned." That truth is a liberating and saving force (John 8:32), because He, Jesus Christ is this Truth which saves (John 14:6).Living in the Truth, it is fair from being judgemental, it means rather to see my strengths and positives, but also acknowledge my inadequacy and sinfulness, because only such an attitude teaches me humility and allows me to accept Christ as the Savior. This, in turn, is the only way to attain the Divine Mercy. It always comes back the saying of St. Augustine: "God created us without us, but save us without us He cannot." And who says I am without sin, is a liar (1 John 1:10) and there is no truth in him. If I don't accept my situation of sin, I cannot expect to be forgiven, because what God would forgive him, since I consider myself pure and innocent? Do I live in the light of truth? Or rather, I avoid the light of truth, because I have something to hide, and the light bothers me (Jn 3,19-21)?

Over the next two weeks we will follow together with St. John in his Gospel, Jesus' discussion with the Pharisees. But it is also-in a sense, Jesus' discussion with the modern world and with me about the truth which is revealed in Christ. Am I ready to accept this fact, with all its consequences? God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, and I cannot be able to accede to God in His Mercy otherwise than through the Son, who is Truth. Knowing the right, the truth about myself, is an indispensable condition of repentance and acceptance of God's Love.

And this truth is sometimes very unpleasant, very irritating, annoying, and even frustrating. I wondered many times over the problem "Against what is really fighting our modern civilization?" And I think that the best candidate for the most attacked value by contemporary people is the value of TRUTH. Ultimately, Christ was crucified, not because they talked about the love of God and the neighbor. He was crucified precisely because he preached the TRUTH, He was crucified for He was calling people to live in the TRUTH. And this is what man very often rejects and cannot stand. This is what we try to kill, to shout down, and to silence. Because we don't like it. This is precisely what is happening in the world today, when the Church of Christ speaks of unbridled immorality of pornography, the wickedness of abortion, the crime of euthanasia, the immorality of homosexual acts. Civilization is trying to shout it down, get rid of it, kill the voice of conscience, which reveals in the end is the voice of Truth itself. That is what Jesus says in today's Gospel: "the light has come into the world, but men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light neither comes to the light, lest his deeds be condemned. "

Sunday, March 11, 2012

III Sunday of Lent – B – 2012

In the first reading we have the Ten Commandments, the law of God, about what one of the philosophers said, that there is no possibility of denying the ultimate value of this law.

1.  You shall not have other gods besides me.
2.  You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain.
3.  Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.
4.  Honour your father and your mother,
5.  You shall not kill.
6.  You shall not commit adultery.
7.  You shall not steal.
8.  You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
9.  You shall not covet your neighbour’s house.
10.  You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or anything else that belongs to him.

And yet if I verify these instructions with our contemporary life...?

·       How many people live their lives worshipping money, comfort, extravagance, pleasure, success, satisfaction, wealth? Where in all this is God the Father?

·       How often even among Catholics especially politicians the name of the Lord is taken only for the political and unfair ways and purposes?

·       How many people keep the day of rest holy?

·       “Honour your father and your mother” and I thought about the persistent agenda on euthanasia?

·       “You shall not kill” and I thought about the pro-choice lows and abortion ...

·       “You shall not commit adultery” – and immediately click out the pornographic industry ...

And we can endlessly continue with this list. All commandments are constantly neglected, denied, rejected and contradicted in the name of human rights, in the name of human dignity, human freedom, in the name of civil liberties ...

And then I read the Gospel, where I see Jesus Christ in rage and how the “zeal for the house of God is consuming Him” and I realised that most probably He will react in the same way seeing what is going on with His Church, the Temple of God today. How often this Temple of God became only the marketplace of the personal opinions, private convictions, individualistic statements, the place of business and commerce where o more God and his worship is present but ME and MY personality?

And then I read the short passage from the letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, our second reading today:

Brothers and sisters:

when Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom
we proclaim Christ crucified,
a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
but to those who are called, the power of God and the wisdom of God.

For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,
and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

“Jesus Christ crucified the power of God and the wisdom of God” will certainly take care of His Temple, and will cleanse His Church.

As long as we believe Jesus Christ crucified we don’t need to be afraid, hopeless and depressive.

But in todays' Gospel there is one more think which attracted my attention. This is the end of the dialog between Christ and Sadducees:

At this the Jews answered and said to him,
"What sign can you show us for doing this?"
Jesus answered and said to them,
"Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up."
The Jews said,
"This temple has been under construction for forty-six years,
and you will raise it up in three days?"
But he was speaking about the temple of his body.

1.  Jesus is defending and protecting the temple of His Mystical Body, the Church,
2.  He is enraged against those who destroy it, who "are making out of His Father's house a marketplace." He is infuriated with those who are changing His Holy Church into "robber's den".
3.  But He is also very positive and encouraging when saying "even if you destroy this temple, I will raise it up in three days." Nothing and nobody can destroy the temple of God, the Mystical Body of Christ, nothing and nobody can destroy the Church of Christ. About this He also assured us when giving to Peter the responsibility for the church: "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and even the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it."