Tuesday, April 25, 2006

"Every Person is Christ for Me" - Mother Teresa

When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. (John 21: 4)

Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. (Luke 24: 13-16)

If Jesus were to appear to you today, would you recognize Him? What would you say to Him? How would you act?

I don't think He'll have a name tag that says, "Hello, my name is Jesus Christ." (Although that would make things very easy for us.)

No, I would hazard to guess that we would not recognize Him if we saw Him. We only know that He is God. And that's all that's important.

Since we don't know what Christ looks like, how do we resolve the dillemma of recognizing Christ if we ran into Him?

The answer is really quite simple.

We treat every person as if they were Christ.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Alleluia, Alleluia, He is Risen!

On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. (John 20: 1)

Today we celebrate the feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It marks the beginning of the Easter Season which will last for the next forty days.

Side Note: Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the first full moon past the Vernal Equinox (in the Northern Hemisphere).

On this day, we celebrate the day when our Lord God rose from the dead and kicked open the doors of Hell.

In His resurrection, He defeats Satan once and for all. There is no war between God and Satan. God won.

On this day, we celebrate the moment when God offers His creatures a shot at redemption. The chance at eternal life that was lost to us by Adam's sin.

Thank you, my Lord and my God.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Where Are You?

The Lord God then called to the man and asked him, "Where are you?" (Genesis 3: 9)

Every day, God asks us that question.

Where are you?

Where are you in your relationship with God?

Where are you in your relationship with your loved ones?

Where are you on your journey to the cross?

During Lent, I've been reflecting about the Passion of our Lord, Jesus Christ. In the image of Jesus Christ hanging on the cross, I have a mental picture of those who are around Him. I think about the scene and how it reflects the world today.

All of us are on a journey to the Lord's Cross. All of us are present in the Lord's Passion and as He hangs on the cross dying, the question that we have to ask ourselves is, "Where am I?" What group of people am I associated with right now at this very moment.

Where are you?

1. The Pharisees

Their hearts are hardened to the Lord. They know about God but don't love Him.

2. The Romans

They mock what they don't understand. They don't know God and would rather berate Him than love Him.

3. Peter and the Apostles (except Judas and John)

Less than a day beforehand, they had dinner with Him. He washed their feet. And yet, when Jesus was on the cross, they were nowhere to be found. When their faith was shaken, they ran. They denied God out of fear.

4. Mary, John and Mary Magdalene

At the foot of the cross. With Jesus. Risking their lives to be with Him and comfort Him in his most trying time.

God wants us to risk our lives to be with Him. He wants us to live our lives as though we are the ones at the foot of the cross. Gazing at His presence with so much love for Him that we will be there for Him as He's destroying death.

The mission in preaching the Gospel is to bring others to the foot of the cross. To deliver the Good News of our Lord so that others have the love of Mary, John, and Mary Magdalene. To bring people to the Tree of Life which is the cross and to know that Jesus died for our sins so that we may have eternal life.

In my life, I feel as if I've been in at least three of the above groups. I am on a journey. There is a path that leads to the foot of the cross. If I follow God's plan for my life, my journey will end there. It's my choice to stay on the path. If I stray, I must get back on the path. If I deviate from His will, God will ask me the same question He asked Adam when Adam deviated from His will:

"Where are you?"

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hardly Human

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why so far from my call for help, from my cries of anguish? My God, I call by day, but you do not answer; by night, but I have no relief.
Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the glory of Israel.
In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted and you rescued them. To you they cried out and they escaped; in you they trusted and were not disappointed. But I am a worm, hardly human, scorned by everyone, despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they curl their lips and jeer; they shake their heads at me: (Psalm 22: 2-8)

Is it possible to recognize Christ in everyone? If all men (and women) are created in the image and likeness of God, then why can't we see it sometimes. For some people are truly evil. Some people are truly wicked. Some people don't deserve to be loved. Murderers. Rapists. Prostitutes.

Some people truly despise and hate God.

Do they still bear His image?


And they are still worthy of loving even if they don't deserve it. (Even if they will not turn from their wicked lifestyle to a life of God...Even if they lose their chance at salvation.)

When we are born, we are born with a certain innocence. Unstained by the world (with the exception of original sin.) At that point...at birth, we probably resemble our Lord and Saviour more than any other time in our life.

Unfortunately, as we grow older, the world lashes out at us and scars us. It beats us and wants to destroy us.

Eventually for some, the beating by the world (perhaps it's an abusive husband or neglectful parent or callous friends) disfigures them and they become of the world. Hateful. Prideful. Angry.

And then they become like a worm. Hardly human. Christ's image in them is so scarred and bruised that we don't recognize it.

And we scorn them some more.

And they become more bitter...and angry.

All of us are scarred. All of us have had the image of Christ in us mangled to the point that it may not be recognizable to others.

What are we to do when this happens?

Christ commands us to turn the other cheek.

Christ commands us to love our enemies.

Christ commands us to pick up our cross.

Christ commands us to follow Him.

Preach the Gospel. And if necessary...use words. (St. Francis of Assisi)

At the pillar, Jesus was whipped and beaten. Ridiculed and mocked. He was despised--for no reason. He became hardly recognizable.

But He was still God.

He was not angry.

He was not bitter.

He was not prideful.

He just silently preached the Gospel.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Remembering Karol

"When you wonder about the mystery of yourself, look to Christ, who gives you the meaning of life. When you wonder what it means to be a mature person, look to Christ, who is the fulfillness of humanity. And when you wonder about your role in the future of the world look to Christ."

As the source of love, God desires to make himself known; and the knowledge which the human being has of God perfects all that the human mind can know of the meaning of life."

"Man is called to a fullness of life which far exceeds the dimensions of his earthly existence, because it consists in sharing the very life of God. The loftiness of this supernatural vocation reveals the greatness and the inestimable value of human life..."

"People today need to turn to Christ once again in order to receive from him the answer to their questions about what is good and what is evil. Christ is the Teacher, the Risen One who has life in himself and who is always present in his Church and in the world. It is he who opens up to the faithful the book of the Scriptures and, by fully revealing the Father's will, teaches the truth about moral action."

Today, April 2, 2006, is the one year anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II. When I think about him, I recall the time that he was shot by a Turkish gunman at near point blank range back in May 1981. I remember--as a kid--hearing reports that when he arrived to the hospital that he had already forgiven the man who had shot him.

A few months later, he walked into the prison cell of the man who shot him. He sat down with this man who had pointed a gun, aimed, and pulled the trigger with the intention of killing.

And the Pope loved him.

And the Pope recognized Christ in him.

And the Pope forgave him.

What a great model of Christian love.