Thursday, June 25, 2015

"Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven"

"And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand." "The faithful should bear witness to the Lord's name by confessing the faith without giving way to fear. Preaching and catechizing should be permeated with adoration and respect for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." CCC 2145 Thursday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Birth of Saint John the Baptist: "The LORD called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name."

"It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant,
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth."

Is 49:1-6

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
“No. He will be called John.”

Lk 1:57-66, 80

St. John the Baptist is the Lord's immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way. "Prophet of the Most High", John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last. He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother's womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being "the friend of the bridegroom", whom he points out as "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world". Going before Jesus "in the spirit and power of Elijah", John bears witness to Christ in his preaching, by his Baptism of conversion, and through his martyrdom.

CCC 523

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ut Unum Sint: "that they may all be one"

“I pray not only for these,
but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
so that they may all be one"

"Christ bestowed unity on his Church from the beginning. This unity, we believe, subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time." Christ always gives his Church the gift of unity, but the Church must always pray and work to maintain, reinforce, and perfect the unity that Christ wills for her. This is why Jesus himself prayed at the hour of his Passion, and does not cease praying to his Father, for the unity of his disciples: "That they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be one in us, . . . so that the world may know that you have sent me." The desire to recover the unity of all Christians is a gift of Christ and a call of the Holy Spirit.

CCC 820

Monday, May 11, 2015

Monday, Sixth week of Easter: "the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me.

"I have told you this so that you may not fall away.
They will expel you from the synagogues;
in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you
will think he is offering worship to God.
They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me."

- John 15




"Before his Passover, Jesus announced the sending of "another Paraclete" (Advocate), the Holy Spirit. At work since creation, having previously "spoken through the prophets", the Spirit will now be with and in the disciples, to teach them and guide them "into all the truth". The Holy Spirit is thus revealed as another divine person with Jesus and the Father"
CCC 243

Friday, May 8, 2015

Friday, Fifth week of Easter: "I have called you friends"

"You are my friends if you do what I command you.I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends ,because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father."

Jn 15:12-17

"By his Revelation,'the invisible God, from the fullness of his love, addresses men as his friends, and moves among them, in order to invite and receive them into his own company.' The adequate response to this invitation is faith."

CCC 142

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Thursday in Fifth Week of Easter: Remain in my love "if you keep my commandments"

“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love."

"The Ten Commandments state what is required in the love of God and love of neighbor. The first three concern love of God, and the other seven love of neighbor.
"As charity comprises the two commandments to which the Lord related the whole Law and the prophets . . . so the Ten Commandments were themselves given on two tablets. Three were written on one tablet and seven on the other."
 
CCC 2067

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Fifth Sunday of Easter: "I am the vine."

Acts 9, 26-31; Psalm 22; 1 John 3, 18-24; John 15, 1-8


Alleluia! Christ is risen!

"Jesus says, 'I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." (Jn 15:5)

"The fruit referred to in this saying is the holiness of a life made fruitful by union with Christ. When we believe in Jesus Christ, partake of his mysteries, and keep his commandments, the Savior himself comes to love, in us, his Father and his brethren, our Father and our brethren. His person becomes, through the Spirit, the living and interior rule of our activity. 'This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.' (Jn 15:12)" (CCC 2074)

The branches exist to draw life from the vine so as to bear fruit. Failing to do so they are useless: cut down, thrown out, good only for fueling the flames of a fire. "If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned." (Jn 15: 6)

So that we may live as fruitful branches in intimate union with Christ, the true vine, he has given us the Church, his true body in the world. 

"The mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit is brought to completion in the Church, which is the Body of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit. This joint mission henceforth brings Christ's faithful to share in his communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit prepares men and goes out to them with his grace, in order to draw them to Christ. The Spirit manifests the risen Lord to them, recalls his word to them and opens their minds to the understanding of his Death and Resurrection. He makes present the mystery of Christ, supremely in the Eucharist, in order to reconcile them, to bring them into communion with God, that they may 'bear much fruit.' (Jn 15: 8,16)" (CCC 737)

The Church is not a way to Christ, as simply one choice among others, but the way to Christ. "Thus the Church's mission is not an addition to that of Christ and the Holy Spirit, but is its sacrament: in her whole being and in all her members, the Church is sent to announce, bear witness, make present, and spread the mystery of the communion of the Holy Trinity." (CCC 738)

St. Cyril, patriarch of Alexandria (d. 444), teaches why our communion with the Triune God happens in the fullest and most perfect way in this life in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church:

"All of us who have received one and the same Spirit, that is, the Holy Spirit, are in a sense blended together with one another and with God. For if Christ, together with the Father's and his own Spirit, comes to dwell in each of us, though we are many, still the Spirit is one and undivided. He binds together the spirits of each and every one of us,...and makes all appear as one in him. For just as the power of Christ's sacred flesh unites those in whom it dwells into one body, I think that in the same way the one and undivided Spirit of God, who dwells in all, leads all into spiritual unity." (CCC 738)

Seek the opportunity for daily participation in the liturgy; draw from the Eucharistic sacrifice the life-blood of Christ the vine that you may bear fruit that will last: heart, mind, soul and strength aflame with God's love unto life eternal!

Let us pray: God our Father, look upon us with love. You redeem us and make us your children in Christ. Give us true freedom and bring us to the inheritance you promised. (From opening prayer for today's liturgy.)

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy" -Father Cusick

Meeting Christ in the Liturgy (Publish with permission.)

(Photo: Vineyard, Toscana.)