Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

Jesus is Asking you for a Date

February 1, 2018

Jesus is asking you for a date: it’s February 14th. This year, Ash Wednesday lands on St. Valentine’s Day. These two observances, seemingly opposite, are both in fact dedicated to love. Little is known with certainty about St. Valentine, the 3rd century martyr buried near Rome. According to The Catholic Encyclopedia, ‘the popular customs associated with Saint Valentine’s Day undoubtedly had their origin in a conventional belief generally received in England and France during the Middle Ages, that on February 14th (i.e., half way through the 2nd month of the year) the birds began to pair.’ Valentine’s Day is a celebration of eros, the romantic form of love that delights in loving the beloved. Ash Wednesday calls us to agape, the form of love that is willing to undergo sufferings for another’s good.

Jesus commands us to love: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. … You shall love your neighbor as yourself. … As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” We must give of ourselves to God and neighbor yet we can only give of what we possess; this means we must be able to say “no” to ourselves in order to give a fuller “yes” to others. Such self-mastery comes through asceticism. By disciplining our desires through mortification and penance we grow in our conversion and virtue. Internal and external acts of Christian self-denial are typically done privately, but Jesus Christ’s Church prescribes communal penances for the season of Lent.

All Catholics who are at least fourteen years old are to abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday, on Lent’s Fridays, and on Good Friday. Catholics at least eighteen years of age must also fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday until reaching their fifty-ninth birthday. What is “fasting?” Lenten fasting means eating just one full meal that day. Two additional smaller meals (less than one full meal when put together) are allowed if necessary, but snacking on solid foods between meals is not. Physically, mentally, or chronically ill persons, as well as pregnant or nursing mothers, are exempt from Lent’s fasting and meat abstinence rules. However, merely being in a dating relationship, engaged to someone, or married, does not.

There will be no fancy steak dinners for Catholics this Valentine’s Day. (Perhaps make romantic dinner reservations for February 13th or 15th instead – you’ll end up with an even better table.) Eros love and agape love can certainly complement each other. Jesus Christ delights in his Church as his beloved bride while also being prepared to greatly suffer and lay down his life for us. This Ash Wednesday, Valentine’s Day, let us perfect our love for our beloveds through ascetic self-denial and elated gifts of self.


The Holy Family and Yours

January 1, 2018

Every year, Holy Mother Church presents the Holy Family for our contemplation and imitation. Some imagine life in the home of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in the soft, pastel colors of a Christmas card; so holy, so flawless, so unobtainable. We wonder, “Can the Holy Family and my family really relate to one another?” At least two out of the three members of the Holy Family never sinned in their entire lives together. We, meanwhile, could jokingly refer to the Feast of the Holy Family as “Elbow-Nudge Sunday.” Throughout the world this day, wives and husbands, parents and children, take turns gently nudging one another as they listen to God’s words about marriage and family life. The Holy Family was holy, but that doesn’t mean their lives were easy or smooth.

I’ve previously written about the stresses and difficulties of the holy couple leading up to the first Christmas: about Mary’s crisis pregnancy, about Joseph grappling with his wife telling him the child within her is the Son of God and Joseph contemplating a divorce, about their giving birth to that holy child in an animal stable. And their trials together continued after Jesus’ birth.

Imagine being Mary and hearing Simeon prophesy, “Behold, this child is destined … to be a sign that will be contradicted — and you yourself a sword will pierce…” How would that make you feel about the future for you and your child? Picture being Mary as her husband awakes and says “our boy is being hunted, we need to leave tonight.” Consider Joseph, the servant-leader of his family, having to pack-up quickly and leave so much behind to take his family into hiding in Egypt. Later, an angel tells Joseph to bring his family back into Israel. So Joseph returns with Jesus and Mary, but he’s afraid to resettle in the south because the son of Herod the Great now rules Judea. With the help of another dream, Joseph decides to resettle in the north, in Nazareth of Galilee.

I mention all this because St. Joseph, the just and holy man, feared an earthly king even as he trusted God. St. Mary at the Annunciation did not know all the details of her future, but she trusted in God by saying, “Let it be done to me according to your word.” Our Lord Jesus, sweating blood from stress the night before he died, trusted God to say, “Not my will but yours be done.” Their holy lives were often difficult, but God always rewarded their trust, bringing about good for them in the end.

In Genesis, Abram (whose name later got changed to Abraham) was promised a son by the Lord. But the childless Abraham looks at the old age of his wife and himself and asks, ‘Will my steward, Eliezer, be my heir?‘ God answers, ‘No, not him; your own flesh and blood son shall be your heir.’ Then the Lord took Abraham outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can. Just so,” he added, “shall your descendants be.” And Abraham put his faith in the Lord.

When I first heard this story (and maybe when you heard it too) I assumed this event happened at night. But the message is even more powerful if God told him to “look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can,” during the daytime. Where do the stars go during the day? We know they’re still there, even though the Sun’s brightness the sky’s blueness prevent us from seeing them. Abraham trusted in the Lord’s unwavering goodwill towards him and beheld God’s word fulfilled in the birth of Isaac. Through that son, Abraham received glory and the whole world was blessed.

One of the things Jesus says in the Gospels more than anything else is, “Be not afraid.” Sacrifice your fears. Imagine taking those obsessive worrying thoughts from your mind, placing them upon the altar, and lighting them afire like a sacrifice of old to God. “Let the peace of Christ control your heart…” Trust that “God works all things for the good of those who love him” and then “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

God not only wants peace within us, but peace among us as well. In our homes there is always room for improvement. The household of the Holy Family may have been a sinless one, but mistakes and miscommunications surely happened. Joseph probably broke or misplaced tools. Mary probably burnt an occasional loaf of bread. From the Gospels we know they both thought they knew where their 12-year-old boy was as they left Jerusalem for home; several hours passed before they realized he was missing. Even when we deeply love one another, we must learn and practice how to love and serve each other better.

We love each other in many ways, and the best modes by which we experience love can vary from person to person. The book “The Five Love Languages” lays out five major ways that we give and receive love, namely:

Gift Giving
Acts of Service
Affectionate Touch
Words of Affirmation
Quality Time

What are your top-two love languages? Can you guess the preferred languages of your spouse and children? Sometimes we try to love others as ourselves by loving them exactly as ourselves and we unfortunately miss our mark. For example, imagine a spouse complaining, “Why don’t you let me know that you love me,” when they really mean “why don’t you get me surprises anymore” (gift giving) or “why don’t you tell me that I delight you and you’re pleased with me” (words of affirmation.) At this, their spouse might reply, “What do you mean? I’m loving you all the time,” when they’re really saying “I take care of the kids and do housework” (acts of service) and “We eat and sit in the living room together every evening” (quality time.) These two loving spouses are loving past each other.

Learn the preferred love languages of your family members, and don’t expect others read your mind, sabotaging our own happiness. Tell them how to delight you. They love you and they want to make you happy. Don’t attack and criticize (“You always this” or “You never that”) but invite them to bless you. And pray together, as a couple and a family. The Holy Family surely did and its one of the most valuable things I can recommend. Some married couples, who have shared a bed for years, have never revealed their personal prayer requests to each other. Pray together, and then even whenever frictions arise, you will remember that you are on the same team, together on the same side with God.

Your home will never be perfect – not even the Holy Family’s was perfect. Life’s circumstances will go awry, and there will be sins we have to apologize for and forgive one another. But with trust in God and a daily commitment to loving and serving each other better, you too can live in the peace and joy of the Holy Family.

Jesus Asks, “Do You Love Me?”

April 9, 2016

Christ Handing the Keys to St. Peter by Pietro Perugino (detail)In St. Peter along the shore of Galilee, Jesus is asking this question of us: “Do you love me?” We each have a choice to make in how we respond.

You can answer like Simon Peter in the high priest’s courtyard, with blasphemous denials and lingering regret. Or you can answer like St. Peter the Rock, who said, “Yes Lord, you know that I love you,” and then lived a life which proved that love.  How are you going to answer?

I do not know the particulars of Christ’s will and plan for you, but I know it consists at least in this: to pray every day, to attend Mass every week, and to strive to do His will for the rest of your days.

Jesus Washed Their Feet

March 10, 2016

Jesus Washing Peter's Feet by Ford Maddox Brown, 1852-6.[Jesus] loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end. … So, [during the Last Supper,] he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist. … So when he had washed their feet and put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do. Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.

—The Gospel of John, chapter 13

In 1955, Pope Pius XII inserted an optional washing of the feet rite into the Mass of Holy Thursday, the liturgy which commemorates the events of the night before Jesus died. This foot-washing rite is called the Mandatum (from the Latin for “the Mandate”) for Jesus said, “as I have done for you, you should also do.

Though the rubrics (that is, the rules for the liturgy) required no specific number of persons to have their feet washed in this optional rite, they indicated that the participants were to be men. This year, this rite which recalls Christ’s humble gesture of service and charity has been revised by a decree promulgated by Pope Francis. Where this rite is celebrated, pastors are to “select a small group of the faithful to represent the variety and the unity of each part of the people of God. Such small groups can be made up of men and women, and it is appropriate that they consist of people young and old, healthy and sick, clerics, consecrated men and women and laity.”

In past years, it has often been difficult to find people to humbly “bear their soles” on Holy Thursday but perhaps it may be a little easier this year. If you would volunteer to take a seat in this year’s washing of the feet, please contact Father so that he may create a representative group of our faithful.

Our Lord as Love

January 27, 2016

Thomas answered and said to [Jesus], ‘My Lord and my God!’”

—Gospel of John 20:28

Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.”

—1st Letter of John 4:8

“Brothers and sisters: Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts. But I shall show you a still more excellent way.

If I speak in human and angelic tongues, but do not have [Jesus], I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have [Jesus], I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast, but do not have [Jesus], I gain nothing.

[Jesus] is patient, [Jesus] is kind. [He] is not jealous, [he] is not pompous, [he] is not inflated, [he] is not rude, [he] does not seek [his] own interests, [he] is not quick-tempered, [he] does not brood over injury, [he] does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. [He] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. [Jesus] never fails.”

—1st Letter of Paul to the Corinthians 12:31-13:8

The Meaning of Life

June 9, 2015

Homer Simpson once had this exchange with “God”:

HomerGod, I’ve gotta ask you something.
What’s the meaning of life?

God:      Homer, I can’t tell you that.
God:      You’ll find out when you die.
HomerI can’t wait that long!
God:      You can’t wait six months?
HomerNo, tell me now!
God:      Well, OK. The meaning of life is…

[The theme song and ending credits interrupt before we hear the answer.]

So what is the meaning of life? Why are we here, for what purpose do we exist?

Philosophers and TV writers may balk at the answer, but for Christians this is not an unanswerable riddle. Jesus Christ tells us what we are meant to do on earth (and likewise, in Heaven): first, to “love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,” and second, to “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-40, Mark 12:30-31, & Luke 10:27-28)

Nothing is more important than this. This is what the Law, the Gospels, the prophets, and the saints are all about. Loving relationship with God and each other is the meaning of our lives. Of what enduring value is anything else if separated from this?

Blessed with knowing this precious knowledge, how are you going to live?

Theological Gifts & Obligations — Tuesday, 15th Week of Ordinary Time

July 15, 2014

Gospel: Matthew 11:20-24

Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! … For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

In the visitation of Jesus Christ, Chorazin and Bethsaida had advantages that no people before them had ever enjoyed. The Word of God was before them, but they did not accept him. Incarnate love was among them, but they did not embrace him. The hope of the world was in their midst, but they did not change their ways.

Consider how much more understanding we have of Christ and his teachings than they, how much we have experienced the love of Christ and his people, how many prophesies of Christ we have seen fulfilled. How much more cause do we have to respond to him with faith, hope, and love; how much more of an obligation. As St. Bonaventure said:

“Three things are necessary to everyone regardless of status, sex, or age, i.e., truth of faith which brings understanding; love of Christ which brings compassion; endurance of hope which brings perseverance. No adult is in the state of salvation unless he has faithful understanding in his mind, loving compassion in his heart, and enduring perseverance in his actions.”

The Two Mountains — Wednesday, 3rd Week of Lent

March 26, 2014

Readings: Deuteronomy 4:5-9, Matthew 5:17-19

[W]hat great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him? Or what great nation has statutes and decrees that are as just as this whole law which I am setting before you today?

The greatness of Israel among the nations consisted not merely in their moral law but in their intimacy with God. As C.S. Lewis once observed, “The road to the promised land runs past Sinai.” The morality of Mount Sinai is essential to the journey, but our goal is to worship on Mount Zion.

Immediately following today’s Gospel about fulfilling the Law, Jesus declares, “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” The Pharisees and scribes kept the commandments pretty well but they were often far from God.

This Lent, let us not only focus on growing in our moral practices, but also on our love and intimacy with the Lord.

Increasing Intimacy in your Marriage & Home

February 13, 2014

Physical intimacy is an important aspect of marriage, but it is certainly not the only kind of intimacy. A marriage in which the intimacy shared is exclusively physical will not endure. The acronym “SPICE” contains five modes of sharing intimacy: Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Creative, and Emotional. Sharing your prayers, touches, ideas, projects, and feelings are all important elements to keeping your marriage strong.

Another issue in relationships between spouses and within households comes in how love is expressed and received. Gary Chapman’s 1995 book, “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate,” suggests that people prefer to receive love in different ways. Chapman describes five main ways, or languages, by which love is experienced: Gifts, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, and Physical Touch. Some people feel love most deeply when their spouses help around the house and with the kids (Acts of Service) but feel little thrill from receiving gifts, such as golf clubs or jewelry.

A problem arises when people understandably, but mistakenly, assume that the significant others in their lives receive love best through the same love language as themselves. They try to love their neighbor just like themselves without realizing that their love languages differ. For instance, people whose main love language is Quality Time may feel neglected or even abandoned, despite their spouses’ tender caresses and sincere compliments, if not enough time is shared together between them at home. Knowing another’s love language allows you to love them in the manner they most want to be loved.

  • What are your top-two favorite Love Languages?
  • Can you guess what your spouse and children’s top Love Languages are?
  • Share your answers with each other—you may discover something new.
  • How can you add more SPICE, more Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Creative, and Emotional Intimacy, into your marriage and your home?

Remade for Love — 5th Sunday of Easter—Year C

April 27, 2013

Today, Jesus gives us his new commandment: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” What a challenge this is! Consider how Jesus loved us: he lived and died for us! Loving people like Jesus does is not an easy commandment to keep, yet we must keep it. As Saint Paul preached, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.”

It is not easy to love as Christ loves, but the Lord assists those who seek to please and serve him. God matures us in love through our ordinary, daily lives. And God perfects us in love through our hard times. We have no lack of opportunities: daily life gives us countless chances to love as Jesus would. And wherever we are too weak to grow or change ourselves, the Lord permits us to experience difficulties in order to transform us. Like a doctor, he sometimes gives us bitter medicine to cure our illnesses.

I have seen this happen in my own life. When I was little, it was painful to be teased by my peers, but this led to my practice of treating everyone kindly. When I was older, it hurt to discover that the first woman I fell in love with did not share my feelings, but this experience cured me of my cynicism about the beauty of romantic love. When I was newly ordained, my first assignments were challenging, but this made me a better priest. All these things displeased me at the time, but now I am grateful for their results.

Can you see how God has used the difficulties of your life to make you become more like Jesus Christ? Then do not lose heart when new difficulties come to you. Through all these things, our love is being made into the perfect likeness of Jesus Christ. God refuses to leave us as we are. Instead, as the One who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”

Hoy, Jesús nos da su mandamiento nuevo: “Que os améis los unos a los otros. Que, como yo os he amado, así os améis también vosotros los unos a los otros.” ¡Qué desafío es esto! Considere como Jesús nos ha amado: él vivió y murió por nosotros! Amar a las personas como Jesús no es un mandamiento fácil de mantener, sin embargo, deben mantenerlo. Como San Pablo predicó: “Es necesario que pasemos por muchas tribulaciones para entrar en el Reino de Dios.”

No es fácil amar como Cristo ama, pero el Señor ayuda a aquellos que tratan de agradar y servir a él. Dios nos madura en el amor a través de nuestras vidas cotidianas. Y Dios nos perfecciona en el amor a través de nuestros tiempos difíciles. No tenemos ninguna falta de oportunidades: la vida cotidiana nos da innumerables posibilidades de amar como Jesús lo haría. Y donde estemos demasiado débiles para crecer o cambiar nosotros mismos, el Señor nos permite experimentar dificultades para transformarnos. Él es como un médico, que a veces nos da la amarga medicina para curar nuestras enfermedades.

He visto que esto suceda en mi propia vida. Cuando era pequeña, era doloroso para ser objeto de burlas por mis compañeros, pero esto me llevó a la práctica de tratar a todos con amabilidad. Cuando fui mayor, me dolía al descubrir que la primera mujer que me enamoré no compartía los mismos sentimientos que yo tenia, pero esta experiencia me curó de mi cinismo acerca de la belleza del amor romántico. Después de mi ordenación, mis primeros trabajos fueron duros para mí, pero me hizo un mejor sacerdote. Todas estas cosas me disgustaron en su momento, pero ahora estoy agradecido por sus resultados.

¿Puedes de ver cómo Dios ha usado a las dificultades de tu vida para hacer más como Jesucristo? Entonces no perder el corazón cuando las nuevas dificultades vengan a ti. A través de todas estas cosas, nuestro amor se convirtió en la imagen perfecta del amor de Jesucristo. Dios se niega a dejarnos como somos. En cambio, como el que estaba sentado en el trono dijo: “Yo hago nuevas todas las cosas.”

All Because He Loves You — Easter Vigil

April 2, 2013

As human beings, our knowledge and motivations are limited.

Jesus Christ, however, is human and divine.

He is the eternal second person of the Trinity.

His knowledge is unlimited and his motivations are countless.

And so, truly and amazingly, Jesus Christ has known you and loved you since before time began.


In the beginning of creation, Jesus foreknew you and loved you.

He calls the Patriarchs in ancient times; in part, because he loves you.

He frees the Hebrews from slavery, because he loves you.

He settles them in the Promised Land, because he loves you.

He establishes David’s kingdom, because he loves you.

He commissions the prophets, because he loves you.


In the fullness of times, he becomes man, because he loves you.

He ministers and preaches on earth, because he loves you.

He is rejected, because he loves you.

He is whipped, because he loves you.

He is crucified, because he loves you.

He suffers and dies, because he loves you.

On third day, he resurrects and conquers death, because he loves you.


In more recent times, he gives you life in your mother’s womb, because he loves you.

He grants you countless blessings, because he loves you.

He encounters you in his Catholic Church, because he loves you.

He baptizes you as the Father’s child, because he loves you.

He confirms you as the Spirit’s coworker, because he loves you.

He incorporates you as a member of his body, because he loves you.


You are blessed in more ways than you can count because of him.

You are here today because of Jesus Christ.

You are here on Easter because you love Jesus Christ but, more importantly, because he loves you.



Como seres humanos, nuestros conocimientos y motivaciones son limitados.

Jesucristo, sin embargo, es humano y divino.

Él es la segunda persona de la Trinidad.

Su conocimiento y sus motivos son ilimitadas.

Verdaderamente, y sorprendentemente, Jesucristo te conoce y te ama desde antes de los siglos.


En el principio de la creación, Jesús te preconoce y te ama.

Él llama a los Patriarcas en la antigüedad, en parte, porque él te ama.

Él libera a los hebreos de la esclavitud, porque él te ama.

Él les instala en la tierra prometida, porque él te ama.

Él establece el reino de David, porque él te ama.

Él comisiona a los profetas, porque él te ama.


En la plenitud de los tiempos, se convierte en el hombre, porque él te ama.

Él ministra y predica en la tierra, porque Él te ama.

Él es rechazado, porque él te ama.

Él es azotado, porque él te ama.

Él es crucificado, porque él te ama.

Él sufre y muere, porque él te ama.

En el tercer día, él vence la muerte, porque él te ama.


En nuestro tiempo, él te da la vida en el vientre de tu madre, porque él te ama.

Él le concede innumerables bendiciones, porque él te ama.

Él le encuentra en su Iglesia Católica, porque él te ama.

Él le bautiza como un hijo del Padre, porque él te ama.

Él le confirme como compañero de trabajo del Espíritu, porque él te ama.

Él le incorpora como miembro de su cuerpo, porque él te ama.


Eres bendecido de muchas maneras que usted puede contar por su culpa.

Estas aquí hoy debido a Jesucristo.

Estas aquí en la Pascua porque amas a Jesús Cristo, sino, más importante aún, porque él te ama.

Love Against Indifference — 5th Sunday of Lent—Year C

March 22, 2013

The scribes and Pharisees do not care about the woman caught in adultery. They do not care about her sin. If they actually cared about the adultery, the man she sinned with would be there too. They do not really care whether this woman gets punished or forgiven. They only want to trap Jesus. They want Jesus to say something against the Law of Moses that they can use to attack him. When it becomes clear that their scheme will not work, they leave Jesus and the woman. She has merely been their tool for a failed task.  Now she is left alone with Jesus.  Jesus neither denies the woman’s sin nor withholds his mercy. He says, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on sin no more.”

Jesus does not deny the truth. What the woman has done is wrong and it needs to end. But Jesus encounters her with love. We need to be the same way with the persons in our lives. Sharing the truth without love is repulsive. Who can embrace the truth when served with a sour taste? On the other hand, loving someone without sharing important truths is an imperfect love. We each have the duty to share the truth seasoned with love.

Like many of you, I am very happy concerning our new Holy Father. Pope Francis is a pleasant gift. He is an interesting and refreshing character who seems very holy. He comes to us from Argentina and is the first pope from Latin America, where more than forty-one percent of world’s Catholics live. One of my hopes is that Pope Francis will renew the Catholic faith there and here. Sometimes Catholicism can be widely present but not deeply held. Many claim our Faith but neglect to live lives moved by it.

I am honored to come here to celebrate Mass for few or for many and I am happy to do it. But how many people do you know that are absent from Mass? Invite them lovingly to come to the Mass here in the special weeks ahead. Next Sunday is Palm Sunday, which includes the reading of the Passion. And in two weeks is Easter Sunday, the most important of all Christian celebrations.

The scribes and Pharisees did not care about the sinning woman. Let’s be unlike them. Let us help the people in our lives with love, truth, and the invitation of Jesus Christ to the sacraments in his Church.

Tempting Christ — 1st Sunday of Lent—Year C

March 3, 2013

Today’s Gospel from Luke is preceded by Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan. There, Jesus is revealed to be the Anointed One awaited by God’s people. The Anointed One is called the Messiah in Hebrew and the Christ in Greek. It was foretold that the “Anointed One” would have God as his Father in a unique and intimate way. This “Anointed One” was prophesied to come and be the savior, the champion, and the liberator of God’s people.

“Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days…” Here, before the start of the public ministry of Jesus, in the silence and solitude of this desert retreat, the thoughts and prayers of Jesus were probably about his mission ahead. At this time the devil comes to tempt him. The devil wants to influence the kind of Christ that Jesus will be in hopes of derailing his mission from the start.

The devil says, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answers, “One does not live on bread alone.” What would be the evil in Jesus making this food? If he uses his power to meet his own needs, then the devil will ask “How can you refuse the needs of other people?” The devil wants Jesus to become an economic savior, a materialistic Messiah.

Jesus has compassion for our human condition–he knows it from his own first-hand experience. Jesus commands us to show his love to others by caring for their bodily needs. And when we do this it is Jesus acting through us. But if Jesus’ first mission had become to satisfy all material human needs, then Jesus would have been a Christ of bread alone, and we cannot live forever on bread alone. Making all of us wealthy wouldn’t be enough to make us holy, and so Jesus refuses the first temptation.

Then the devil shows Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and says, “I shall give to you all the power and glory…. All this will be yours, if you worship me.” And Jesus answers, “You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.” The devil offers Jesus an alternative to a life of obedience to his Father and in service to all. Jesus can become the world’s dictator whose own will must be done, if he would simply worship the devil.

This is the devil’s promise, but the devil is a liar. Making a deal with him gains nothing but loss, yet even if Jesus knew the devil would keep his word Jesus would have none of this. Jesus does not come to control us, but to invite us. He does not want to dominate us, but to persuade us to love. God seeks our loving response, and a response in love cannot be forced, so Jesus rejects the second temptation.

Then the devil takes Jesus to a high place and says, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for God will command his angels to guard you, and with their hands they will support you….” And Jesus answers, “You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”

Here the devil argues that Jesus should expect to be protected from suffering and be preserved from death. But Jesus was sent and came to die and rise for us. Without these things how would we have been saved? Jesus trusted the Father’s will, even in suffering and death, and so Jesus refuses the third temptation.

God often works in ways that we wouldn’t imagine or choose for ourselves. We would wish that everything in life would be easy and painless. We wish our temptations and sorrows did not afflict us. But a doctor’s cure is given according to the disease he finds. After the Fall of mankind, God intends to save us through the difficulties and struggles of this life.

Our growth in holiness can be slow and our sufferings may be difficult. However, we should never despair. Our struggle has rewards and our suffering has purpose. We know this because of Jesus, who endured temptations just like us and for us.

El evangelio de hoy es precedido por el bautismo de Jesús en el Jordán. Allí, Jesús se revela como el Ungido esperado por el pueblo de Dios. El ungido es llamado el Mesías en hebreo y Cristo en griego. Fue predicho que “el ungido” sería tener a Dios como su Padre de una manera única e íntima. Este “Ungido” fue profetizado ser el salvador, el campeón, y el libertador del pueblo de Dios.

“Llenos del Espíritu Santo, Jesús volvió del Jordán y fue llevado por el Espíritu al desierto por cuarenta días…” Aquí antes del inicio del ministerio público de Jesús, en el silencio y la soledad de este retiro desierto, los pensamientos y las oraciones de Jesús fueron probablemente sobre su misión por delante. Entonces, el diablo viene a tentarle. El diablo quiere influir en el tipo de Cristo que Jesús va a ser, con la esperanza de desbaratar su misión desde el principio.

El diablo dice: “Si eres Hijo de Dios, di a esta piedra que se convierta en pan”. Y Jesús responde: “El hombre no vive solamente de pan”. ¿Cuál sería el mal en la fabricación de este alimento? Si Jesús usa su poder para satisfacer sus propias necesidades, entonces el diablo le preguntará “¿Cómo puedes negar las necesidades de otras personas?” El diablo quiere Jesús para convertirse en un salvador económico, un Mesías materialista.

Jesús tiene compasión por la condición humana y él lo sabe por su propia experiencia. Jesús nos manda a mostrar su amor a los demás por el cuidado de sus necesidades corporales. Y cuando hacemos esto, Jesús está actuando a través de nosotros. Pero si la primera misión de Jesús había sido la de satisfacer todas las necesidades materiales humanas, entonces Jesús habría sido un Cristo de pan solamente, y no podemos vivir para siempre en el pan solo. Haciendo todos nosotros ricos no sería suficiente para hacernos santos, y así Jesús rechaza la primera tentación.

Entonces el diablo muestra a Jesús todos los reinos del mundo y le dice: “Yo te daré todo el poder y la gloria …. Todo esto será tuyo, si me adoras. “Y Jesús responde:” Adorarás al Señor, tu Dios, ya él solo servirás “. El diablo ofrece a Jesús una alternativa a una vida de obediencia a su Padre y servicio de todos. Jesús puede convertirse en dictador del mundo, cuya propia voluntad se debe hacer.

Esta es la promesa del diablo, pero el diablo es un mentiroso. Haciendo un trato con él no gana nada sino pérdida, sin embargo, incluso si Jesús sabía que el diablo cumpliría su palabra de Jesús no quiso saber nada de esto. Jesús no viene a controlarnos, sino para invitarnos. Él no quiere que nos dominen, sino para persuadir al amor. Dios busca nuestra respuesta de amor y una respuesta en el amor no puede ser forzado, y así Jesús rechaza la tentación segundo.

Entonces el diablo lleva a Jesús a un lugar alto y le dice: “Si eres Hijo de Dios, arrójate desde aquí, porque Dios mandará a sus ángeles para que te guarden, y con sus manos te apoyan….” Y Jesús responde, “No tentarás al Señor, tu Dios.”

Aquí el diablo argumenta que Jesús debe esperar a ser protegido de el sufrimiento y ser preservado de la muerte. Pero Jesús fue enviado y vino a morir y resucitar por nosotros. Sin estas cosas, ¿cómo hemos sido salvados? Jesús confió la voluntad del Padre, incluso en el sufrimiento y la muerte, y así Jesús se niega la tercera tentación.

A menudo Dios obra de maneras que no nos imaginamos o elegir por nosotros mismos. Nos gustaría que todo en la vida iba a ser fácil y sin dolor. Queremos nuestras tentaciones y sufrimientos no nos afligen. Pero la curación de un médico se administra de acuerdo a la enfermedad que encuentra. Después de la caída del hombre, Dios quiere salvarnos a través de las dificultades y las luchas de esta vida.

Nuestro crecimiento en la santidad puede ser lento y nuestro sufrimiento puede ser difícil. Sin embargo, nunca debe desesperarse. Nuestra lucha tiene recompensas y nuestro sufrimiento tiene un propósito. Lo sabemos gracias a Jesús, que sufrió tentaciones como nosotros y por nosotros.

What Jesus is Like — 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time—Year C

March 3, 2013

You may recognize today’s second reading from many weddings. This beautiful discourse on love from Saint Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is often chosen by couples to be read at their ceremony. Ironically, Saint Paul wrote these words to the Christians at Corinth because they were not living together in love. However, these words gave to them, and give to us, a pattern to follow. This pattern for love is Jesus.

As Saint John has told us, “God is love.” Also, Jesus Christ is truly God. Therefore, whatever is true for love, is true about Jesus Christ. And likewise, knowing Christ gives us understanding into love.

Jesus is patient, Jesus is helpful and does not envy; Jesus is not boastful nor conceited, not rude nor selfish, not irritable nor resentful; he does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. Jesus bears all things, hopes all things, preserves all things. Jesus endures forever.

Meditating on these words help us to know Jesus better. They can also serve as a list for ourselves. In which area do you need and want to improve the most? Choose one virtue and pray at this Mass for the help of God.

Never be afraid because your growth in holiness is slow. In today’s Gospel, the people of Nazareth, neighbors and acquaintances of Jesus, “were filled with wrath, and rose up, drove him out of the city and took him to a ledge of the mountain … to thrust him down. But passing through the midst of them, went away from there. You or I, in the situation of Jesus, could begin to hate these people. But Jesus’ love lasts forever.

Jesus can be patient and merciful towards people who hate him. Imagine the intense joy he has for people who want to serve and please him.

Usted podría reconocer la segunda lectura de hoy de muchas bodas.  Este discurso hermoso en el amor, de la primera carta de San Pablo a los Corintios, se elige a menudo por las parejas para ser leído en su ceremonia. Irónicamente, San Pablo escribió estas palabras a los cristianos de Corinto porque no estaban viviendo juntos en el amor. Sin embargo, estas palabras dio a ellos, y daran a nosotros, un modelo a seguir. Esto modelo del amor es Jesús.

Comosan Juan nos ha dicho: “Dios es amor”. Además, Jesucristo es verdaderamente Dios. Por lo tanto, todo lo que es verdadero para el amor, es verdad acerca de Jesucristo. Y de igual manera, sabiendo que Cristo nos da la comprensión en el amor.

Jesús es comprensivo, Jesús es servicial y no tiene envidia; Jesús no es presumido ni se envanece; no es grosero ni egoísta; no se irrita ni guarda rencor; no se alegra con la injusticia, sino que se goza con la verdad. Jesús disculpa sin límites, confía sin límites, espera sin límites, soporta sin límites. Jesús durara por siempre.

Meditando sobre estas palabras nos ayudan a conocer mejor a Jesús. También pueden servir como una lista para nosotros. ¿En qué área te necesito y quiero mejorar más? Elija una virtud y rezar en esta Misa por la ayuda de Dios.

Nunca tengas miedo porque su crecimiento en la santidad es lento. En el evangelio de hoy, la gente de Nazaret, los vecinos y los conocidos de Jesús, “se llenaron de ira, y levantándose, lo sacaron de la ciudad y lo llevaron hasta una saliente del monte…  para despeñarlo. Pero Él, pasando por en medio de ellos, se alejó de ahí”.  Usted o yo, en la situación de Jesús, podría comenzar a odiar a esta gente. Pero el amor de Jesús durara por siempre.

Jesús puede ser paciente y misericordioso hacia las personas que lo odian. Imaginen se la legría intensa que él tiene para las personas que quieren servirte y agradarte él.

Infinite Power at Work

August 27, 2012

“What if God visited to you today and said, “Here.  It’s all yours.  Everything.  I put it all under your feet.  Anything you want done.  The universe will be your servant.  Just speak and it will respond.”

…I bet you wouldn’t do what Jesus did… ”Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power.”  So he cured all disease, ended all suffering, erased all evil, wiped away every tear.  He answered all our prayers.  He stopped the nonsense and rebellion and asserted his lordship.

No.  Not this God.

“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power… so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.  After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”

Love is what God is after and power has no power to prompt love.  So behold the Master of the Universe, the Ancient of Days, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: Jesus Christ the Foot Washer.”

-Chris Travis