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

Friday, December 28, 2012

Holy Family Sunday – December 31, 2012

“Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Fathers house?
But they did not understand what he said to them”.

Mary and Joseph didn’t understand much about what was going on in their life since the visit of the Archangel Gabriel. Since the moment of the Annunciation, followed by the nativity of Christ in a very strange and unusual environment, the threat from King Herod, their hasty escape into Egypt, their new life in a strange country, and then finally their move back to Nazareth, Mary and Joseph must have been very confused. All of these events must have been for them a kind of surprise and a big shock, as well as moments of constant questioning: “What the heck is going on with our life?”

Certainly, all those circumstances could have been a cause of mutual frustration and misunderstanding. All this could cause quarrels and mutual criticisms, grudges, resentments and bitterness. This Family was really going through very serious difficulties in their life. And yet they didn’t finish in a disaster, in a divorce, in any kind of bitterness and mutual accusations. It was rather the opposite - a strengthening and intensification of their mutual love, mutual understanding and closeness in their family life. Despite of all the difficulties and problems, despite the fact that they were a very poor family, without means and without a future (from the human point of view), despite the fact that they were living a very basic and austere life, they didn’t end up in resentment and mutual hostility. Why? It was certainly because of the fact that Mary and Joseph were people of constant prayer and deep faith, but also because of the fact that Jesus was constantly with them. They were living in the constant presence of Jesus. Can you imagine what could happen with and in our families if we allowed Jesus to be present in our daily life?

Today’s Feast of the Holy Family shows us that faith and prayer have to be the most important elements of our family life. Our families are in trouble; our contemporary families are in deep jeopardy just because we do not allow Jesus to be present in them. Our faith, prayer, and the presence of Jesus in our families is restricted or limited to the scarce moments of Sunday Mass, or perhaps even less.

Prayer is supposed to become our daily companion and the source of answers for our questions: how to solve the problems, how to be a good father and good mother, a good husband and a good wife.

If faith and prayer are present in our homes, if Christ is present in our families, we can face the most difficult moments and the most challenging situations in our life and be sure that we will stay united and victorious throughout all harsh and ruthless moments of contemporary life. Where Christ is, there will be mutual understanding, love, strength and building up of our family life. Our family then, following the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth, will truly become the Family of God.

And this is exactly what we, the pastors of this parish, wish sincerely to all FAMILIES today on the Feast of the Holy Family , the patron of our Parish: My OUR parish be composed of Holy Families, following the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve - 2012

As every year the Faith or the tradition guided us today to the church, to take part in this Mass.
As every year we are listening to the story of the Nativity of Christ among us.
As every year in our way through the year we are once again celebrating Christmas.
We are sending to our friends and relative the same Christmas wishes, sometimes singing the same Christmas Carols.
Apparently everything the same, repeated every year in the same or similar sequence …
But only at our tables there is somebody lacking, and instead of the person who should be there … there is an empty place …
And I? I am a little bit older, maybe a little bit more clever more modern, more eloquent and at the same time more tired, more busy, and –let us be frank- weaker and more fragile.

And what about God?
Throughout centuries the same, unchangeable, unalterable, eternal. With every Christmas He is becoming one among us, Emanuel - God with us. Is He closer to me, every year? Am I closer to Him every year?
For centuries the same Triune God: the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, trying constantly to offer me a deeper faith, more authentic love and stronger hope. He is striving to have a place in my life.

And what about the world?
Throughout centuries and millennia more beautiful, more attractive, more tempting and trying to overwhelm me, trying to take over on my faith, my love, my hope and finally my life. The world is constantly trying to separate me from God, to delay me in my journey to Bethlehem, to distract me so that I have no time, no possibility to meet the newborn Christ. The world is trying to distract me and to defend to listen and to see that He is weeping over the world, becoming more and more Godless.

But we are here today, we came to the crib, to kneel down and recognize Him as a Son of God. We are coming today to the church to worship and to meditate this mystery of God's love. We are coming here to the source of this love, to get something from this unutterable Mystery of God's Love. We are coming to ask Him to be a constantly present among us, so that the world through its sins does not fall away from His Love. We are coming to ask Him also for ourselves, so that we don’t fall away from His love. Let us pray for the intention that in our world we can see more God's presence in our brothers, so that God don’t weep over the inhuman world.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Fourth Sunday of Advent - Year C

Fourth Sunday of Advent - Year C

Christmas is almost at the gate.
In our homes virtually everything is ready. We have prepared what is needed for celebrating this feast in a lovely and beautiful way.
We are also most probably ready.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve.  We will be celebrating the most beautiful and appealing feast of the new life. God will become a member of our human family. This historical fact which took place in Bethlehem two thousand years ago, is even now, two millennia later, a special and extraordinary sign. A sign of God's love and unalterable decision to invite everybody to join Him in heaven.

Since our childhood days, we remember only the good and warm things which happened in our lives.
Beautiful Christmas trees, colorful and bright decorations, snow, crèche, visiting members of our family, relatives, specially prepared food, presents and carols … all this is somehow connected with Christmas.
But, we know that all these elements are secondary and nonessential, as long as we do believe that God coming to us in this Divine Baby is the most import_ant reason for the season. And let us be frank, it is difficult.
We aren't becoming sentimental and emotional in celebrating Christmas, but rather cold and dry in keeping Christ in Christmas.

It is difficult because we, the citizens of the twenty first century, have to prepare a place in our daily life for somebody whom essentially we don’t know. We are not able to touch him, to talk with him, to see him. Moreover, God is choosing us to be the witnesses to His Son. He would like to touch others, and be heard by others through us, through the intermediary of our lives. It is because He chose us as His disciples, as His witnesses. Is it possible?

Obviously, if we pass this time of Christmas at the table or in front of the TV screen it will be impossible to be the witnesses to the newborn Christ. We will be celebrating a jolly feast, but we will not get anything deeper from Christmas.

Let us rather see the celebration of the nativity of Christ as a mystery of the new life, a birth of a new member of our family, as a birthday of our Best Friend. Let us find a little bit more time for our families, for God, for prayer, for adoration, just for being human. Let us learn how to see Him in our daily life, how to see His presence in those who are in need, in the normal, even the smallest events of our daily life.

We can give to ourselves the best present, the best gift. We can receive Christ into our life, into our families, into our homes and schools, and into our hearts.

And this is the Birth of God, the Birth of Christ in me.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Second Sunday of Advent – Year C

Let us just imagine a following situation. You got a possibility of organizing a huge marketing operation. You have unlimited financial means and possibilities, but you have to organize the promotion or marketing of faith or religion. You can go wherever you wish, to the schools, molls, public places, halls, shops and theaters just wherever you wish to say only one fundamental truth: "who was and constantly is Jesus Christ? The main object of the marketing is Jesus Christ.

But, an immediate question arises: Is it not too risky? It seems to be not a very good idea, not at all.

Firstly because, you will have none of the very attractive promotions and new products to offer, rather the old stuff, repeated for last 2 thousand years. Packaging is also rather not very attractive, since it is mainly composed by 10 commandments and some old fashioned moral teaching which seems to be not very popular.

Secondly it seems to be a difficult task to get your attention. Many will rather say: "I have too much to do and too much to care for, so I don’t have time for this kind of operation". Others will be rather too shy or intimidated to publicly speak about their faith. Even if we can find a group of volunteers who will be able to go and to perform this kind of marketing company, the effects could be somewhat mediocre, because who would like to listen to, who will be interested at all in this, Gospel message? The presence of the disciple of Christ preaching His Good News on the streets and in the public places will be intimidating or even offending and finally this idea will be classified as a fiasco and too idealistic to be performed in our laicised world.

We get used to the situation that God is tightly closed in the tabernacle and the most comfortable way of expressing our faith is on Sunday in the church and not in our daily life.

And in today's Gospel John the Baptist in a very simple but straightforward (direct) way is calling

"Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,"

Prepare the way of the Lord, but what for? Do these words have any sense and meaning 20 centuries later? What does it mean "Make straight the paths of your life"?

Is Jesus not present in my life? Don’t I come for the Mass every Sunday (o, maybe almost every Sunday)? Do I not convert twice a year during Advent and Lent penitential services, confessing sincerely my sins? Do I need more? What for do I have to convert or to change my life? If I seriously admit that I need a conversion is it not to admit that I am living a messy and disordered life.

What for do I have to convert or to change my life if I think it is good, comfortable and fitting me perfectly?

The answer for this question is only one: I have to convert from my style of live and accept the way of Christ because I cannot and will not save myself, because He is the Saviour and the Redeemer and without Him I am unable to reach Heaven. I have to "make the crocked way of my life make straight", because otherwise they will lead me nowhere. I have to fill our every valley of my greediness and to level every mountain of my pride, because otherwise my selfishness and my pride will devour and destroy me. I have to convert because only Christ is able to liberate me from the slavery of sins. Without Him I can do nothing.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

I Sunday of Advent

What is the meaning of Advent?

Can we say that today for many, Advent is limited only to the colorful streets, lampions and preparation of Christmas decorations, sumptuous displays in the shops and promotions in supermarkets and molls? For many contemporary, Advent means rather hours spend in hunting the Christmas gifts and presents. Will I be far away from the truth if I dare to say that although the season of Christmas is the season of light (what we can see on our streets and in our supermarkets) indeed internally for many among us it's the time of darkness or spiritual darkness, religious emptiness?

What is the deepest sense of all this?

Do you remember the Advent last year? Did it not look like this year in more or less the same way? Despite of the fact that since last Advent we became certainly wiser and more skilled, more involved in a different aspects of our daily life, can we say that also in our relationship with God we are better, deeper, more sincere and more honest? Or should we rather say that we did not progress, that for many years now we are living rather a kind of stagnation? And after Christmas with our faith will share the lot of the Christmas decorations, it will go to the storage room till next year?

At the beginning of this Advent we have to find a serious answer for a question: "what am I waiting for?" Because if this Advent will be for me once again (or once more) the time only for gifts and presents and external colorful lampions it is true that I will be afraid and frustrated when Jesus is talking about the inevitability of His final coming, I will be frustrated and scared, I will be afraid. And if I am afraid I will run away from Him, I will despise Him, I will run into the superficiality of colorful decorations. They are beautiful and cheering but if this is only the meaning of Advent and Christmas … let us be frank it is empty and superficial.

We have to know that the one of the most dangerous words for our spiritual life is the word "tomorrow". This word tries to convince me that I still have a time, plenty of time for confession, for prayer, for liberating my busy life for God. But in reality with "tomorrow" mentality I will never be able to say to God COME LORD JESUS. This is why today at the beginning of Advent we are receiving from God one more chance, one more opportunity to deepen our personal relationship with Emmanuel, with GOD WHO IS WITH US. It is the time when I suppose to prepare not only my house, to ornate and decorate not only the front doors of my apartment, to cleanse not only my flat but first at all to prepare my heart to accept God whenever He comes.

It will certainly cost me more than only external preparations but it will be certainly more successful and more rewarding if I have the courage to do it.

Advent is the time of preparation but first and foremost the internal preparation to meet God in so many different ways. He is coming in the manger; he is coming in His Word, Body and Blood during the Mass, He is coming also in my neighbour, in a poor, the needy, and starving. He is coming in so many ways. Am I ready to meet Him, do I wait for Him, or simply I DON’T HAVE TIME?