Today’s Readings

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life

1) Belief in Jesus / having faith is a gift
•   There is nothing that you can do that grants you this gift!

2) First, you receive grace to believe the testimony of those to whom He appeared:
And, because Faith comes by hearing, God gave you grace to believe what His witnesses spoke about Him:
•   He came from heaven and (He) is above all;
•   He testified to what he had seen and heard from God, the Father;
•   Speaking to the Jewish leaders Peter said:
You had him killed by hanging Him on a tree.
But, on the third day, the God of our ancestors raised Him from the dead;
•   God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior
and granted Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins.

3) At the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:
•    Jesus Himself proclaims to you the Scriptures;
•    and gives you His Flesh to eat and His blood to drink.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life!

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God so loved the world
The world doesn’t deserve such love
Why?
1) Because the whole world is under the power of the evil one. 1Jn 5:19
2) And all that is in the world, is the lust of the flesh
and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life
, and,
3) the world hated me before it hated you.
4) and the world persecuted me, and they will persecute you.

But God didn’t just love the world,
God SO loved the world and so should you!

How should you love the world?
The same way God loved it!
1) God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world
And neither do you condemn the world!
2) Because you are in the world and NOT of it,
You can love those people who are in the world:
3) You serve them with love, you give yourself
so that none of your family, friends or neighbors perish.
4) You live in the light so that your works may be clearly seen as done in God.

 

Today there are two Gospels, the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem and the Lord’s Passion. We’ll look at the interesting contrasts contained in these Gospels.

  • At first, people took off their cloaks to spread them on the road;
    But later, they stripped Him naked.
  • They cut tree branches to carry;
    He carried not the branch but the tree!
  • They proclaimed: Blessed is the king who comes . . .
    Then they clothed Him in purple and crowned Him with thorns.
  • First, they were cheering Hosanna!
    Later they were jeering Crucify Him!
  • Coming into Jerusalem they waved branches,
    But in the garden, they waved swords and clubs.
  • The Apostles promised fidelity,
    But before the cock crowed Peter denied Jesus three times.
  • It’s not just the crowds that were double-minded;
    we also are double-minded and oh so fickle.
  • Not only Peter and Apostles betrayed and abandoned Jesus;
    But with every sin, every refusal to forgive or ask forgiveness,
    all of us betray and abandon the LORD.

Let us spend Holy Week begging the Lord for the grace to open our eyes to the contradictions that live side by side in us,  along with our desire to follow Christ!

Today’s Readings

I will heal their defection, says the LORD, I will love them freely (Hos 14:5);
All of us have defected: humanity is guilty, shamed, broken, lost, and without hope.
But the LORD loves you freely! In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.
How can you love the LORD with all your heart, with all your soul,
with all your mind, and with all your strength?

How can you love your neighbor (your spouse, your children, your enemy ) as yourself?  
The answer is simple: you cannot . . . 
St. John the Evangelist says we love because he first loved us (1 Jn 4:19).
The only hope you have of fulfilling the Great Commandment is to love God and neighbor with the love by which He first loved you!
Grace, according to para # 1997 of the Catechism, is the participation in the life of God. God is Love. Participate in that Love and you’ll be given the grace to love . . .


Today’s Readings

Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
Jesus leaves you no middle ground: you are with Him or against Him;
you gather with Him or you scatter.

With Christ there is no Swiss Option – you cannot claim spiritual neutrality.
Jeremiah tells you:
Faithfulness has disappeared; the word itself is banished from their speech.
If today you hear his voice, have faith, believe, harden not your hearts.

Today’s Gospel portrays Jesus cleansing the Temple in Jerusalem.
This is a sign of His mission to cleanse the whole world. The Jews challenge HIM:  What sign can You show us for doing this? Jesus answered and said to them, Destroy this temple and in 3 days I’ll raise it up. He was referring, of course, to the temple of His Body!
(During this homily, please ocassionally look at our crucifix)

St. Paul was speaking of this in the 2nd Reading when he said:
                            •   but we proclaim Christ crucified   •   
Dear friends, this is The Message of Paul, the Apostles; the 2000 year old message of the Church; and God willing and by HIS grace, my message to you is this alone:
                                              •   Christ crucified   •

This is the central message of our Faith! That Author of Life should be beaten, broken, humiliated, shamed, despised, rejected by HIS own people and put to death! How can this be? This is the foolishness of GOD: That GOD made Him to be sin who did not know sin 2 Cor 5:21. St. Peter says it this way: He Himself bore our sins in His own body upon the cross 1 Pt 2:24
When the temple of Christ’s body was destroyed in the crucifixion, your rebellion, your sin, the evil you did to others and others did to you – all of it was destroyed with the destruction of Christ’s body: your sin, your guilt your shame, your humiliation, all was put to death in the Body of Christ. That’s the foolishness of God. That’s the weakness of God. That, once and for all, your sin and the sin of the world, might be forgiven!

When Israel rebelled in the desert, God sent serpents among them and all who were bitten died. Moses interceded for his people and GOD told him to raise up a wooden pole with a bronze serpent affixed to it, and, all who looked upon it were saved and healed. Tonight the Church holds up before you Christ crucified. That’s the only proclamation.  Jesus Himself said: Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
Brothers and sisters, tonight ask GOD for the grace to believe in HIS foolishness, and in HIS weakness
~ so that you might have eternal life!

Today’s Readings

You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,
and the great ones make their authority over them felt.
It’s not only rulers and great ones that make their authority felt:
•   it’s also the wealthy, the intelligent, the beautiful, the witty, the talented, the celebrity, the athlete, and on and on.

But it shall not be so among you.
Jesus gives us the antidote to this pagan behavior:

The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve
Dear friends, (you) have the mind of Christ.
1 Cor 2:16
   •  Personally serve those who have felt the weight of the supposed superiority of others.
Encourage them:

Relate to them with the dignity and worth they possess in the eyes of the LORD!