“Those who hear God’s word are constantly reminded that life is not about shielding ourselves from others, but about encountering them in name of God who is near…I cannot know myself apart from the broader network of relationships.”     — Pope Francis

 

FROM YOUR PASTOR

 

What is ‘The WORD OF GOD?’ How do we ENCOUNTER IT? How do we LIVE IT — especially in COVID Times?

 

The Old Testament, the Psalms, the New Testament – – HOLY SCRIPTURE… the DIVINELY INSPIRED WORD OF GOD. It is not only the Story of Salvation from the Beginning of Time to Their Time…it is the KEY to Our Salvation — YOURS AND MINE — from OUR TIME into ETERNITY.

 

The WORD OF GOD is not just a book of good ideas, it is the GUIDE BOOK TO ETERNAL LIFE with Our Heavenly Father…not the WANNA DOs but the GOTTA DOs for SALVATION.

 

The Holy Father understood this in September 2019 as he set aside the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time  as WORD OF GOD SUNDAY. His intent is to FOCUS OUR LIFE — in the Spiritual World and the Secular World — on the WORD OF GOD…TOTALLY — THOUGHT, WORD, AND DEED.

 

RADICAL…You Bet! CONSUMING…You Bet! ESSENTIAL…You Bet!

 

For Who? Ironically, FOR GOD AND FOR YOU!

 

WHY? Our Heavenly Father has KNOWN EACH OF US FROM THE BEGINNING OF TIME…before we were formed in our Mother’s womb. SO, NO LIFE IS AN ACCIDENT…every life has a PERFECT PLAN and a PERFECT TIME in GOD’S ETERNAL PLAN.

 

GUESS WHAT? THIS IS YOUR TIME to live HIS PLAN FOR YOU…a PLAN that is the SOLE PURPOSE OF YOUR EXISTENCE!

 

How are you using the WORD OF GOD to REVEAL THAT PLAN, to INFUSE you with the VIRTUES TO LIVE THAT PLAN, and to GRANT you the GRACE TO ENDURE THAT PLAN?

 

Well, YOU HAVE A PLAN PARTNER! In the beginning was the WORD…The WORD WAS GOD. JESUS is the WORD MADE FLESH. So, JESUS THE WORD must be the CENTER OF YOUR LIFE!

 

JESUS IS YOUR PLAN PARTNER! So, what is the WORD OF GOD calling you to do? How have you chosen to respond? Have you FLED FROM THE WORD or have you FOLLOWED THE WORD?

 

JESUS IS YOUR PLAN MODEL! He taught us to DETACH OURSELVES from the Mores of the Prevailing Culture.  He taught us to ABANDON OUR FREE WILL to the Will of Our Heavenly Father. Neither are easy,  nor will they increase our popularity.

 

But God said to the  Apostle Paul: ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Cor 12:9)…that is OUR WEAKNESS! Living the WORD OF GOD, HE can work WITH US AND THROUGH US to accomplish HIS MISSION ON EARTH.

 

So, how do we live OUR MISSION FOR GOD during CIVID Times?

 

First, we remember that Jesus went to people’s houses, and that he had meals with people. This reminds us that in EVERY DAY SETTINGS the WORD OF GOD can be put INTO ACTION… if we MAKE IT SO.

 

Second, when Jesus entered a house, he said,  ‘Peace be with you.’ This PEACE  is the PEACE FOUND in LIVING the WORD OF GOD in our daily lives. It is NOT a SENTIMENT OR EMOTION… it is a WAY OF LIFE.

 

Third, It is from the home, and from the family unit, that the MISSION OF EVANGELIZATION — spreading the WORD OF GOD — emanates through OUR CORPORAL AND SPIRITUAL  WORKS OF MERCY for those whom God has placed in our care.

 

Ask yourself…IF JESUS ENTERED MY HOUSE, WHAT WOULD HE FIND?…IS THE PRESENCE OF GOD LIVED IN MY HOUSE?…HAVE I EXPERIENCED THE JOY OF SERVING OTHERS?…WOULD HE FIND THE SPIRIT OF THE HOUSE OF MARY AND JOSEPH IN NAZARETH?

 

Your ANSWERS will determine the measure to which YOU ARE LIVING THE WORD OF GOD in your daily life. If you are, it will DEFINE YOU in this life as it PURIFIES YOU for the next…

 

+May God  Bless  You and Keep You+

“Among the vulnerable for whom the church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenseless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this…Precisely because this involves the internal consistency of our message about the value of the human person, the church cannot be expected to change her position on this question… It is not ‘progressive’ to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life…”

— Pope Francis

FROM YOUR PASTOR

Here I am Lord, I come to do your will…

Psalm 40 is not a 3000-year-old prayer…it is the essence of Our Being today as Children of God.

This is Respect Life Weekend in the Archdiocese of Denver. With the restrictions of COVID, there is no Rally — here or in Washington DC — but there are dozens of Respect Life Masses and Para- Liturgies throughout Northern Colorado.

Archbishop Aquila has led the Masses and Rallies since my Ordination in 2013. Archbishop Chaput punctuated my Conversion to Pro-Life during my Discernment in 2009.

That Conversion began as I sat as a Delegate to the County Convention in 2008 and listened to the Party Platform. My Spiritual Conversion had begun in Summer 2007. As Jesus does in those conversions, He broke through my Heart of Stone on this issue and opened my ears as I listened to the Platform that day…and I knew I had a problem.

Six months later, during a Discernment Retreat, Archbishop Chaput was asked about Abortion.  His response was immediate and direct…he said, ‘Give me the baby, and I will find a home for the baby.’

WOW! My Conversation was complete at that moment…my Atonement was yet to come!

Eleven months later, in Seminary, I participated in my first of four National Marches for Life in Washington DC. It challenged me then to EXAMINE MY CONSCIENCE about MY PASSIVITY FOR 37 YEARS.

It caused me to ask myself whether I was always an AUTHENTIC FRIEND when the concept of Abortion came up in discussions with friends or as part of a public policy discussion. Was I authentically vulnerable to the implications of such convictions if they affected my future career or perceived friendships with colleagues? Was I a Man of Courage, or a Man of Accommodation?

The answer came in WHAT I SAW and WHAT I EXPERIENCED.   The majority of those attending the two days were young people — over 13,000 at the Vigil Mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, over 17,000 at the Youth Rally and Mass, and many times the permitted 50,000 – estimated at several hundred thousand — who marched, sometimes in falling snow, to the steps of the Supreme Court.

 

Why did the March end there? Because on January 21, 1973, every American had a Right to Life. And every American born since January 22, 1973 — the next day – the day of the Roe v Wade decision by the Supreme Court, has been born without a Right to Life. Since then, there have been over 62 million abortions in the US. And, thanks to YOUR PRAYERS at Clinics and Liturgies around the Country, the rate is declining.

 

How did I REACT to what I saw? Ultimately, It was one the reasons that I made a GENERAL CONFESSION after the second March and before my Transitional Deaconate Ordination. I realized WHAT I WAS NOT as a Christian and as a member of the Church. I HAD NOT BEEN AN AUTHENTIC FRIEND in Conversations about Abortion. I WAS NOT AUTHENTICALLY VULNERABLE to what God was asking me to do in WITNESSING MY FAITH…and telling the truth in respecting life. I had not come to do God’s will…I was living my will…I was not holy. I did not let God’s GRACE guide my actions…give me COURAGE…give me PEACE.

 

So, HOW DO WE SUPPORT LIFE? We do it by RESPECTING GOD’S PLAN FOR EVERY HUMAN LIFE. We do it by NOT IMPOSING OUR WILL ON THAT LIFE. We do it by being an AUTHENTIC DISCIPLE AND WITNESS FOR THE DIGNITY OF ALL HUMAN LIFE – from conception to natural death.

 

REMEMBER, NO LIFE IS AN ACCIDENT. GOD HAS A PLAN FOR EVERY LIFE…EVEN THE 62 MILLION ABORTED LIVES.

 

So, how do we live this RESPECT LIFE MISSION?

 

First, through AUTHENTIC FRIENDSHIP. If you know someone who is pregnant and has doubts, talk with them and pray for and with them. Support the Father of the baby who may just want a quick resolution to the inconvenient reality. And among the Married Couples you know, if they are unable to have children of their own, talk to them about Adoption…just as Archbishop Chaput advocated.

 

Second, through AUTHENTIC COMMUNITY. As the Mystical Body of Christ, Church, and Community, WE ASSIST — NOT JUDGE. We ensure that the needs of the Mother, especially if she is single, are provided…through St Vincent DePaul Societies, the Pantries, or other forms of Community Assistance such as Catholic Charities. And, if in pregnancy the child is anticipated to be a Special Needs Child, we work as a Parish Community to assist the parent/parents…food, errands, house chores, date nights…or just a loving ear to hear or shoulder to cry on…Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy become powerful tools to touch and shape lives. Authentic Live Endures — through your support of their Pregnancy and their Parenthood.

 

Third, THROUGH COMPASSION. Abortions are never FORGOTTEN. If a baby has been aborted, encourage the Mother or Father to name the baby…and Pray TO the Baby every day. There is NO HATE in the purity of THAT BABY’S HEART. There is NO HATE IN HEAVEN. That baby is now your intercessor with God…looking at the Face of God…the same Face you hope to see someday.

 

These actions require YOUR VIRTUES OF COURAGE, HUMILITY, AND OBEDIENCE…Courage to assist, defend, and not judge…Humility to respond to the situation with a Servant’s Heart…and Obedience to follow the Promptings of the Holy Spirit in guiding the Mother or Couple to accept the Gift of Life and assisting as a Community to raise the child.

 

Here I am Lord, I come to do your will ..for OTHERS, for MYSELF, and FOR LIFE…

 

+May God Bless You and Keep You+

 

“But Jesus is God; why does Jesus get baptized? Because he wants to be with the sinners…He saves us by coming to meet us and taking our sins upon himself. This is how God conquers worldly evil: by humbling himself, taking charge of it. It is also the way that we can lift up others: not by judging, not by suggesting what to do, but by becoming neighbours, empathizing, sharing God’s love…in each act of service, in every work of mercy we perform, God manifests himself…He draws near, allow me to say, he caresses us with his mercy.”    — Pope Francis

 

FROM YOUR PASTOR 

At the moment of JESUS’ BAPTISM, through the TRINITARIAN LOVE OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, Jesus transitioned from his FAMILY LIFE to a LIFE FOR OTHERS.  Both Fully Human and Fully Divine, he had NO SINS TO BE FOREGIVEN… but he had His LIFE TO GIVE.

To whom did He give His life? To Sinners…to you and to me.

He Walked, Talked, and Dined with Sinners during His Life…and He calls Sinners Today to experience the Love, Mercy, Compassion, and Forgiveness of His Heavenly Father in Our Life.

From THE CROSS, Jesus says, ‘I Thirst.’ Not for water…but for our joys and sorrows, successes and failures, hopes and dashed dreams,  sins and selfless deeds …ALL OF THEM…so He can CARRY THEM WITH US…and FOR US.

But there is more…

At the moment of His Baptism, Jesus assumed HIS MISSION — OUR REDEMPTION. A journey that leads from the River Jordan to Jerusalem.. and the Cross.

His DETRACTORS murdered Him.

He ATTRACTED those who were the object of His Teaching, Preaching, Healing, and Raising from the Dead…THOSE WHO WANTED MORE…THOSE HE LOVED!

So, OUR LIFE BECOMES HIS LIFE…

If we REJECT HIM, we reject the GREATEST GIFT one can give — to LAY DOWN ONE’S LIFE FOR ONE’S FRIEND. You would never do that with a friend in your life…NEVER DO IT TO THE ONE WHO SAVED YOUR ETERNAL LIFE!

If we ACCEPT HIS GIFT, the journey will be rough. The same force — SATAN — will tantalize us with the attractions of our human nature — wealth, power, prestige,  stuff, and admirers — to TURN OUR FOCUS ON OURSELVES and our self-satisfaction…NOT THE LIFE JESUS ASSUMED FOR OTHERS AT THE MOMENT OF HIS BAPTISM.

Will we fail periodically? Probably. But that is where the GRACE OF JESUS’ GIFT TO US KICKS IN.

When we fail with a HEART FOCUSED ON SERVICE TO OTHERS,  we are ONE WITH GOD…the One who is PURE LOVE…and with each ACT OF SERVICE, even if we fail, we will receive HIS LOVE, MERCY, COMPASSION,  AND FORGIVENESS.

So, how do we LIVE OUR BAPTISM…LIVE A LIFE FOR OTHERS?

We LIVE OUR MISSION — the SAME MISSION AS JESUS — in three ways:

> First, be a PERSON OF PRAYER for others. Do you pray regularly for those who have asked for your prayers? Do you pray for those who have no one to pray for them?

> Second, SPEAK THE WORDS OF GOD. Are the words of God — in Prayer and Scripture — on your lips regularly in your daily life? Do you not only share them, do you believe them? Do you live them?

> Third, EVANGELIZE OTHERS FOR THEIR SALVATION. Do you understand that God places others– friend, foe, or stranger — in your life for a reason? Do you realize that His Plan is that you not only save yourself, but that you save others?  Do you lead others to God through your words and actions so they may live God’s will for their life?

Why is this important?

Because on YOUR LAST DAY, I hope you want to hear the WORDS OF YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER that JESUS HEARD AT HIS BAPTISM – – ‘You are my beloved child; with you I am well pleased.’

+May God Bless You and Keep You+

“The fact that Jesus was, from the very beginning, the Word, means that from the beginning God wants to communicate with us, He wants to talk to us. The Son of the Father wants to tell us about the beauty of being children of God. He is ‘the life’ who knows our lives and wants to tell us that He has always loved them. Jesus is the eternal Word of God, who has always thought of us and wanted to communicate with us. What, then, does He desire from us? A great intimacy!”

FROM YOUR PASTOR

Is your RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS…Distant, Lukewarm, or Intimate?

The answers lie in What You Believe and How You Act.

Is the CREED just a PRAYER or YOUR PROFESSION OF FAITH?

DO YOU BELIEVE that HOLY SCRIPTURE is the Inspired Word Of God? DO YOU BELIEVE in the POWER OF PRAYER? DO YOU BELIEVE in the REAL PRESENCE OFJESUS IN THE HOLY EUCHARIST? DO YOU BELIEVE that there is POWER IN THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS?

DO YOU SEEK the SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION frequently? DO YOU RECEIVE the SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION regularly? DO YOU ATTEND the HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS weekly even in COVID Times? DO YOU PRAY your MORNING AND EVENING PRAYERS daily? DO YOU MAKE an EXAMEN at the END OF EVERY DAY?

If most of your ANSWERS ARE NO…your Relationship is DISTANT.

If what you BELIEVE IS TURNED INTO ACTION ONLY SELECTIVELY…your Relationship is LUKEWARM.

If you abandon your will and detach your life in TOTAL BELIEF AND ACTION THROUGH FAITH…your Relationship INTIMATE.

During Christmastide, we are called to be Active Participants…NOT SPECTATORS…at the Manger.

From the MANGER TO THE CROSS, Jesus says, ‘I THIRST’…not for water, but FOR YOU AND ME. He wants us to GIVE EVERYTHING to Him — what we BELIEVE and what we DO…OUR TOTAL LIFE EXPERIENCE — Good and Bad.

Jesus wants us to OPEN OUR HEARTS to Him and to TELL HIM EVERYTHING. He knows, He just wants to hear it from us!

JESUS WANTS TO KEEP US IN HIS HEART just as MARY TREASURED EVERYTHING IN HER HEART!

And when this happens, YOUR LIFE IS NEVER AGAIN THE SAME…

TRY IT!

What do you have to loose?

+May God Bless You and Keep You+