“You will love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind, and You will love your neighbor as yourself. Using these two fundamental precepts, Jesus establishes two essential cornerstones for believers of all times. The first is that moral and religious life cannot be reduced to an anxious and forced obedience, but must have love as its principle. The second is that love must tend together and inseparably towards God and neighbor. This is one of Jesus’ primary innovations and it helps us understand that what is not expressed in love of neighbor is not true love of God; and, likewise, what is not drawn from one’s relationship with God is not true love of neighbor. Love for God is expressed above all in prayer, particularly in adoration. And love for neighbor, which is also called fraternal charity, consists in closeness, listening, sharing, caring for others. The verification of our journey of conversion and holiness is always in the love of our neighbor. As long as there is a brother or sister to whom we close our hearts, we will still be far from being disciples as Jesus asks of us.”  — Pope Francis

 

FROM YOUR PASTOR

 

How do YOU LIVE the Greatest Commandment?

The LIFE OF JESUS defines the answer to this question.

In asking Jesus to articulate the Greatest Commandment, the Pharisees are not asking Him to choose among ten… they are asking him to choose among the 613 Commandments  in the Torah and pick the most important.

 

Jesus does so with a simply complex answer…He exhorts them to  LOVE GOD and to LOVE THEIR NEIGHBOR.

 

Common to both these commandments…is LOVE.

 

Unlike the Pharisees who basically instructed the people to do as they say and not as they do, Jesus tells us to DO AS HE DOES…and that becomes an enormous command. Why? Because in His death on the Cross, he exhibited the greatest LOVE there is — to lay down one’s life for another…for you and for me…

 

Jesus knew well the words of Psalm 18, ‘I love you, O Lord’…directing our first act of LOVE to God.

 

Jesus knew well the words from Exodus as God spoke to the Ancient Israelites…’for I am compassionate’…directing our second act of LOVE to others.

 

And Paul learned from Jesus as he reminds the Thessalonians that they become Holy when they become Imitators of Jesus.

 

So what is LOVE? Saint Thomas Aquinas reminds us that LOVE IS TO WILL THE GOOD OF ANOTHER. But that is NOT YOUR GOOD for them, it is the GOOD THAT GOD HAS DESIGNED  for them.

 

Holy Scripture reminds us that LOVE is not easy… it is a CHALLENGE … it is not a sentiment or emotion… it is a DECISION. Why? Because we are called to LOVE BAD PEOPLE TOO — criminals, enemies, critics, those who drive us crazy, and those who are mean —  because we desire that they repent and follow God’s perfect plan for their life. That is TOUGH LOVE…not shown TO US…but required OF US.

 

And that is why the PORTRAIT  OF LOVE that Jesus PAINTS FROM THE CROSS becomes the example for us to follow…the ULTIMATE  PAIN for the ULTIMATE GOOD.

 

The LOVE that Jesus exudes from the Cross reminds us that WE ARE LOVABLE…that includes the stranger and the friend.

 

The LOVE that Jesus exudes from the Cross exhorts us TO LOVE AS HE LOVES… that includes those who harm us as well as those who revere us.

 

The LOVE that Jesus exudes from the Cross reminds us that LOVE INCLUDES SUFFERING…that includes a personal cost to us as we replace our pride with humility in the service of others.

 

So, how do WE LOVE  as JESUS LOVES in Service to God and in Service to Others?  WE LOVE BY DEED, BY WORD,  AND BY PRAYER.

 

>We stand up for Moral Principles in the Public Square – – at work, at school, in politics, or at home.

 

> We share our Religious Values with Others — not to shame them but to plant seeds of faith.

 

> We respond to the Moral Doubts found in the Moral and Ethical Decisions of Daily Life —  by sharing the Christian point of view as advice and counsel…not admonition.

 

> We minister to those who are in Sorrow or Distress – – by being with and listening to the person in need.

 

>  We bear Wrongs to Us and Others — by seeking basic human rights and dignity and justice while and praying for our transgressors.

 

>   We forgive Mental and Spiritual Offenses – – by allowing forgiveness to replace anger.

 

>  We pray for the Living and the Dead — by remembering them while fostering their and our healing.

 

>  We care for Those in Need – – by using our time, talent  and treasure as a doer of mercy.

 

>  We link the Material with the Spiritual – – by giving others the material goods they need for daily survival along with a prayer for their survival.

 

>  We assist those who must Leave Their Home or Find a Home — by providing shelter, companionship, and help.

 

>  We seek those who are alone or isolated or imprisoned – – by  visits, contacts, or assistance.

 

>  We visit those who are Confined by Choice or Necessity or Illness — by giving our most precious commodity…which is our time.

 

> We care for those who Mourn – – by our expression of sympathy, our presence, or the provision of necessities as they grieve.

 

So, what is the bottom line?…It is SIMPLY COMPLEX…

 

We love God by being Christ to others…through HIS LOVE…

 

+May God Bless You and Keep You+

“If we want to find Jesus, we have to overcome our fear of taking risks, our self-satisfaction and our indolent refusal to ask anything more of life…We need to take risks… in discovering his tenderness and love, we rediscover ourselves.”— Pope Francis

 

FROM YOUR PASTOR

Why do we FEAR taking RISKS in our SPIRITUAL LIFE?

Our FEAR can be based on EXPECTATIONS … those we have OF OURSELF or those others have OF US. Either way, these EXPECTATIONS shape our RESPONSE to Spiritual Risks…our ability to SAY YES TO THE UNKNOWN.

Our FEAR can be based on a LACK OF BALANCE in our life between what is OF GOD and what is OF THE WORLD.  The KNOWN OF THE PRESENT and What I Have can provide more comfort than the UNKNOWN OF THE FUTURE and What I Can Achieve.

Our FEAR can be based on the PRESENCE OF GOOD AND EVIL in our life. An Ill-formed Conscience or Lack of Spiritual Clarity can RESULT IN BAD CHOICES NOW instead of TOUGH CHOICES FOR THE FUTURE.

It is the TENDER LOVE OF JESUS active IN OUR HEART that  will determine the RISKS  and their OUTCOMES in our Spiritual Life…and determine our ability to ask for MORE OF LIFE!

But the BOTTOM LINE is STARK AND REAL —  the Kingdom of Heaven is WORTH EVERYTHING and DEMANDS EVERYTHING.

>What am I  willing to give up?

>What is holding me back?

>What is the basis of my fear?

For some it will be WHAT THE WORLD  WILL SAY about the path they choose. For some it will be THEIR PRIDE since what they have defines who they are.

But in most cases, the FEAR is driven by one simple issue…taking RISKS may induce a FEAR OF WHAT WE MAY BECOME!

In our Spiritual Life, TRUE WISDOM is TO LOVE GOD, to have an UNDERSTANDING HEART, and to EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED!

Our ABILITY TO CHANGE is based on the following questions:

>How do we LOVE?

>How do we FORGIVE?

>How do we HELP OTHERS?

>How do we ENCOURAGE THE OPPRESSED?

>How do we ENDURE OUR TRIALS?

Your answers will determine WHAT YOU WILL BECOME.

OUR FAITH lies in the WISDOM to take RISKS  in This Life for our Eternal Life. OUR HOPE lies in God’s GRACE to help us ENDURE THE PRICE of the Risks. OUR LOVE lies in the TENDER AND LOVING HEART OF JESUS where we find TRUTH AND FREEDOM…

+May God Bless You and Keep You+

“The cross is the badge that shows who we are: our speaking, thinking, looking, working is under the sign of the cross, that is under the sign of the love of Jesus to the end. …Receive the sign of the cross on your ears to hear the voice of the Lord”; “On the eyes to see the splendor of the face of God”; “On the mouth, to answer the word of God”; “On the chest, because Christ dwells through faith in your hearts”; “On the shoulders, to support the gentle yoke of Christ. – Pope Francis

 

FROM YOUR PASTOR

This Weekend we welcome our RCIA SISTERS AND BROTHERS into the full community of the CATHOLIC CHURCH…WELCOME HOME!

Today, YOU become a Disciple of Jesus Christ!

And I want to thank Lauren Scheller, our Faith Formation Coordinator, your Sponsors, your Family, and your Friends whose lives bear witness to their faith, and why they are Catholics.

Saint Paul teaches that to be a Christian means to live in a radically different way than the way offered by the secular society that surrounds us. Being a Christian means acquiring a new mind and heart—the mind and heart of Jesus Christ —as we journey toward God’s Kingdom.

Over the last nine months, through a very difficult time in our World, together we have  encountered Jesus through Sacred Scripture, immersion into the Tradition of the Catholic Christian community, and the  discovery of the Risen Jesus in the Seven Sacraments. This beautiful ancient Rite that we experience today…in its original order – BAPTISM CONFIRMATION EUCHARIST… is a true conversion, a transformation…from being of the world to being of God…the culmination of your study, exploration, faith-sharing, and faith formation.

And it began with YOU… through the movement of the Holy Spirit. YOU came here seeking more in your Spiritual Journey. Then YOU were accepted into the Worshiping Community. Then YOU spent time learning and being formed in the Traditions and Doctrine of the Catholic Church. Then YOU were chosen to receive the Sacraments of Initiation.

And now YOU, with YOUR NEW CHURCH FAMILY, will continue to explore the deep mystery of our Faith and help build the reign of God on Earth as INTENTIONAL DISCIPLES!

PRAISE GOD!

Today is NOT THE END of your Journey, but the BEGINNING OF A LIFETIME JOURNEY. The same SPIRIT that brought YOU here nine months ago is now alive in you…bring YOU to the next level — a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST…BODY, BLOOD, SOUL, AND DIVINITY…a relationship with the One who knew YOU from the Beginning of Time…the One who wants YOU to spend eternity with HIS HEAVENLY FATHER.

TODAY, THE HOLY TRINITY IS ALIVE IN YOU!

But this Journey continues to unfold…through the Holy Spirit…

That is why ALL we do begins with the Sign of the Cross.

In BAPTISM, YOU and I are marked with the Cross — the one Jesus carried and the personal Cross he asks each of us to carry — as the outward sign of the Christian way of facing life.

But this Journey continues to unfold…through the Holy Spirit…

It is the Sacrament of Reconciliation that determines the efficacy of all the other Sacraments in your life. The State of Grace in your Soul greets each Sacrament. If your Soul is clouded with sin, we diminish the Spiritual Nourishment God wants to give us. GRACE BUILDS UPON GRACE.

But this Journey continues to unfold…through the Holy Spirit…

In CONFIRMATION, it is the Holy Spirit who brings to fulfillment in YOU the FRUITS AND GIFTS necessary for the JOURNEY OF YOUR LIFE. In this Sacrament, YOU are anointed with the Holy Spirit who keeps YOU connected to Jesus and makes YOU want to be like him as you accept the MISSION GOD PLANNED FOR YOUR LIFE FROM THE BEGINNING OF TIME…allowing Him to work WITH YOU and THROUGH YOU…for yourself and others.

But this Journey continues to unfold…through the Holy Spirit…

In the EUCHARIST, we experience the SOURCE AND SUMMIT of Our Faith. The REAL PRESENCE OF JESUS in the Eucharist satisfies the deepest desires of our hearts for the One who loves us, for the One who saved us, for the One who intercedes for us, and for the One who knows us better than we know ourselves.

But this Journey continues to unfold…through the Holy Spirit…

This is YOU – our RCIA Sisters and Brothers, and the Church Families of The Cathedral Basilica and St Elizabeth, who are beloved Children of God, chosen for Christ, living in God’s Mercy, reflected in his Love — the Body and Blood of his Son in the Eucharist, to give YOU the Spiritual Nourishment to be his DISCIPLE in your everyday life…

As we accompany each other on the path that leads to God’s Glory…

LIVE IT!

+May God Bless You and Keep You+