He Will Come Again in Glory to Judge the Living and the Dead

He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.

When we think about the return of Christ what do we imagine? Probably striking scenes of battles and strife. Maybe fire raining down from the sky while angels and demons engage in combat. In short we probably imagine the apocalypse. And there is good reason to have such images, the Revelation of John is vivid in end times imagery.

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One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church

It has been great being home and starting to catch up with everyone. Since returning, people have asked a normal series of questions: How have you been? (Good) You have been away for how long?! (Yes, it was two years) Do you speak Italian? (Sì, ma certo) How is it living in Italy? (Quite a bit different that home) and the list could go one. But, the most interesting question for me to answer is: what is something I have taken away, or someway I’ve grown. During my time abroad, the best experience, and most profound take away is experiencing the Church in her unity and universality (or as we say in the creed on Sundays as One, … , Catholic, … Church).

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Exodus – Moses, Israel, and an Inflamed Mt. Sinai

Throughout lent, the scripture reading in the Office of Reading have been from Exodus. This past Tuesday the reading was Ex 32:1-20, which is the Golden Calf incident. While I was mediating on this scripture passage, something struck me that I hadn’t noticed in the past. Normally when we recount this story we focus on Israel’s infidelity, or the drama of Moses casting down the tablets, or how Aaron allowed the people to act in a way and was himself complicity in the Israel’s act of infidelity. Instead it was verse 17 that caught my attention, “Now, when Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting, he said to Moses, “That sounds like a battle in the camp.”” What was Joshua doing there and not at the camp with everyone else? Well he was Moses’ attendant and was permitted to approach closer to the mountain than the rest. But he also wasn’t aware of what the Israelites were doing, because they had withdrawn to the camp. Continue reading “Exodus – Moses, Israel, and an Inflamed Mt. Sinai”

Reflection on Psalm 46:10-11 “Be Still and Know That I am God”

“10 Who stops wars to the ends of the earth,
breaks the bow, splinters the spear,
and burns the shields with fire;
11 Be still and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
exalted on the earth. Psalm 46: 10-11

Psalm 46 is one of my favorite psalms. In particular the imaginary  in the above verses, 10 and 11, are striking to me. And so, I would like to share a small reflection on these two verses. Continue reading “Reflection on Psalm 46:10-11 “Be Still and Know That I am God””

Reflection from My Retreat in Greccio Last Week

“A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. Ez 36:26-27

“I do not reprove you for your sacrifices;
your burnt offerings are continually before me.
I will accept no bull from your house,
nor he-goat from your folds.
If I were hungry, I would not tell you;
for the world and all that is in it is mine.
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and pay your vows to the Most High;
and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me. Ps 50:8-9,12,14-15

“If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor 13:3, 7-8, 13

This past week my class was on a silent retreat in Greccio, the place where St. Francis created the nativity scene. The retreat house is set on a beautiful mountain side with many hiking trails all along the mountain. I though, didn’t get to see many of them because, I was sick most of the retreat. This though turned out to be a grace. For spiritual reading on the retreat, I brought the Sayings of the Desert Fathers and the Rule of St. Benedict. Continue reading “Reflection from My Retreat in Greccio Last Week”

On the Great Gift of the Holy Spirit

In anticipation of Pentecost this Sunday I wanted to share a reflection on the Holy Spirit from my retreat last week. I spent most of my retreat reflecting on John 16:7:

But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.

For me this is one of those really challenging passages. Christ is saying that it is better for Him to return to the Father and for us to have the Advocate instead. So I questioned myself, do I believe that? Do I actually think that I would rather have the Holy Spirit as my guide instead of Christ standing before me?

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Ordinary and Extra-Ordinary Miracles

When I was a young kid, I remember asking my dad one day, “Why does it seem that there are no more miracles?” (Or something to that effect) At the time I was thinking about all the great miracles that I heard from the Bible. As a child they didn’t seem to happen anymore and I was a bit puzzled by that. Unfortunately for the story, I don’t remember what my dad answered in reply. But this question comes back to me every few years, especially when I think of the parable of faith the size of a mustard seed in Mt 17:20 or when we are told to, “ask and we will receive” earlier in Mt 7:7-11. So I wonder sometimes, where are all the miracles at?

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He is Risen, He is Truly Risen

Hosanna in excelsis! I have gone “to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb.” (Jn 20:1) The tomb is empty, our Lord has risen. In dying he destroyed death, and in rising restored life. Let us proclaim the glory of God as He secures the victory of our salvation. What began in the Upper Room on Thursday, journeyed to the Crucifixion on Friday, has now been finished this day. Hosanna in excelsis!

Dominus Meus et Deus Meus, my Lord and my God, pour out Your new life into me, that I may believe in you ever more fully. Fill me with your spirit, that this lenten journey might not haven been in vain, that I might not remain unaffected having stood at Your cross. Help me that I might be able to participate in Your resurrection now, that I might be found worthy to be raised up on the last day and participate in the eternal resurrection.

My God I praise you, My Lord I worship you. Stay with me this day, open my heart to see you as you did for the disciple on the way to Emmaus. Teach me how to share the joy of Your resurrection with my neighbor and enemy, that they too might share in the joy of Your resurrection. Hosanna in excelsis!

Father Forgive Us for We Know not What We Do

As Christ, hung upon the cross He cried out, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” (Lk 23:34) If they had known that this was the Messiah, the Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, surely they wouldn’t have crucified Him. But they didn’t, they didn’t know who He was, they didn’t recognize Him. Their hearts were stone, their eyes sealed, and ears stopped. Still, Christ called out for their forgiveness.

My Lord and God, how often do I sin against you? How often is my heart stone, eyes shut, ears stopped? If only I had a heart of flesh, or eyes that saw, or ears that heard, surely I wouldn’t sin against you. I know not what I do when I offend you, the pains it caused you, the wounds I commit against myself. In my lowliness I confuse that which is evil for good and good for evil. With every sin I pierce your side, I add to your lacerations. As I pierce your side, let the blood and water flow upon me that my heart may be softened, my eyes opened, and ears unstopped. Make me know what I have done unto you.

On the cross You called out for my forgiveness. My Lord, help me to call out to accept your forgiveness. Make me know what I have done, that your mercy might heal me. Having pierced Your side let me seek your forgiveness and so stand with the Centurion who, “glorified God and said, “This man was innocent beyond doubt.” (Lk 23:47) Heal me, cleanse me Lord, that on the day of Your glory, I might be found worthy to stand at your right, and not on your left (Mt 25:31-46). My sweet mother Mary, you who watched your Son die upon the cross, come to your child now, help me in my weakness.