Christianity has to do with building up your faith in Jesus. There are many things you can learn from the Catechism class, from your parents and from your peers. But it all depends on your personal disposition to translate this information into your spiritual life. It is said that “you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink,” this applies to our lives as human beings in the sense that we have all the tools necessary for our spiritual growth, yet we take many things for granted.
I remember the story of man who was travelling in his car. All the tire bolts on one of his tires fell off. The three other tires were intact. He stopped by the side of the road and was lamenting that one of his tires had no nuts due to rough terrain. It was a lonely road. He saw a man sitting by the road and engaged him in a conversation. He lamented his situation and cursed his vehicle. The man sitting by the side of the road advised him to loosen a nut on each of the three good tires and tighten them on the one without nuts. It worked and he continued his journey until he reached the city.READ MORE
It is over forty years now since Avery Cardinal Dulles, S. J. published his wonderful treatise on the Church. He considered six models that help us better understand the workings of the Church. His publication Models of the Church (Doubleday, 1974) became an instant bestseller for many reasons. For me, the first reason is the significance and importance of the Second Vatican Council.
From 1963 to 1965 Church leaders discussed the position of the Catholic Church in the modern world. After the beautiful discussions, many theologians began compiling the resolutions into simpler forms for Catholics to comprehend. Cardinal Dulles is among the first group of theologians to capture the proceedings of the Council in simpler forms using his theological expertise. My second reason is that his book appealed to Catholics as well as non-Catholics eager to learn the position of the Church on many topics such as ecumenism, interreligious dialogue, the universality of the Church, etc. Cardinal Dulles used his experience and gave us these models to assist us in our spiritual growth.READ MORE
Today is the birthday of the Church. It is a birthday because the Church was established on this day in 33 AD. As Peter, the leader of the apostles, preached on this day, over three thousand people were baptized and added to the number of believers. On this day also, the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles and gave them power and authority to preach in the name of Jesus.
There are many other reasons to count this day as the birthday of the Church. On this day, the fire of the Holy Spirit renewed the hearts of the apostles, believing strongly in the promises of Jesus. He did not make vain promises to them. Rather, he made candid promises that he fulfilled. Apart from the descent of the Holy Spirit, he promised to be with the Church until "the end of days."READ MORE
Forty days after his resurrection, Jesus ascends to the Father as a conclusion to his earthly ministry. During his public ministry, he appointed 12 men whom he called apostles. These men are to continue his great works of healing and evangelization. However, the duty of evangelization is not solely the responsibility of the apostles. Every baptized Christian is duty bound to proclaim Jesus to the world.
Today's celebration of the Ascension of Jesus is a reminder to Christians that everything that has a beginning must come to an end. Within three years, Jesus revolutionized the entire Palestine with his teachings on compassion, hope and healing. He did not allow anyone who had contact with him to go empty handed. After his ascension, the apostles felt empty and became fearful of the authorities.READ MORE
Holy Virgin of Guadalupe, Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas,
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son, as you did at the wedding in Cana.
Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.
For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.
In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.
We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate Mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.
Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
I met a woman whose baby was learning to speak. I could hear the babbles of the baby but could not comprehend one word. I asked the mother what the baby was saying, and she explained. I listened a second time and I felt the same. I was far from understanding his mutterings. Each time he muttered something, I looked at the mother to decode for me. This was how I was able to listen to this baby and the mother. I began to wonder what was happening. Then I realized that what was happening was a special connection between mother and child communicating in a language that is divine, heavenly, and exclusive.READ MORE
There is the story of a couple in an African village that was attacked in the middle of the night by bandits. They knocked on the door of their single room apartment and woke them. Both realized that there was a problem that needed an immediate solution. In the confusion, the man embraced his wife and said to her in a lovely voice, "I know you have always loved me. Even now I know you do. Please, go to the door and answer whoever is knocking." From outside they could hear the bandits yelling for the door to be opened. The wife responded, "But you are the man, you said you love me. Why not go to the door and see who is there?" After a few arguments between them, the frightened wife took a small number of steps toward the door while the man dove under the bed. The remaining story is better imagined than talked about. The man was caught off guard by this event.READ MORE
Parents must contend with questions from their children. The questions they ask are as innocent as the children appear. They want to know where the sun comes from, who made the earth, or where do babies come from. Parents do not set out to blame their children for asking such questions. Rather, they try to satisfy their curiosity at their level. The parents' explanations help them understand their world. As they gain more knowledge of the world, they add up what parents have told them and compare it to what is real to them. If these do not match, they argue about what you told them. From the earliest stages of growth, it is good to teach our children truths. This enables them to learn what is right from what is wrong.READ MORE
We begin a new journey to the core of the zenith in our Lenten period: The entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. It was indeed a triumphant entry. The people sang his praises, women laid their clothes on the ground while he rode on a donkey and palm branches were waved at him with some singing. Although we call it Palm Sunday, the proper name should be Passion Sunday, the beginning of the Lord's passion to his death on the hill of Golgotha.
In the first reading, Isaiah says, "The Lord is my help; therefore, I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame." Jesus is about to suffer what the prophets predicted about the messiah, the holy one of Israel. The close friends of Jesus, who ate with him and enjoyed countless miracles from him, are about to betray him. But God did not forsake him.READ MORE
We begin a new journey to the core of the zenith in our Lenten period: The entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. It was indeed a triumphant entry. The people sang his praises, women laid their clothes on the ground while he rode on a donkey and palm branches were waved at him with some singing. Although we call it Palm Sunday, the proper name should be Passion Sunday, the beginning of the Lord’s passion to his death on the hill of Golgotha.
In the first reading, Isaiah says, “The Lord is my help; therefore, I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame.” Jesus is about to suffer what the prophets predicted about the messiah, the holy one of Israel. The close friends of Jesus, who ate with him and enjoyed countless miracles from him, are about to betray him. But God did not forsake him.READ MORE