The bucket list and the narrow gate

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21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C: Aug. 25, 2013
Isa 66:18-21; Ps 117; Heb 12:5-7, 11-13; Luke 13:22-30

Do you have a bucket list? You know: one of those lists of things that you want to before you die, before you “kick the bucket.” I’ve heard that phrase fairly often since the movie of that same title came out several years ago. And usually the actions on those lists are things that are fun and exciting.

But let me ask you another question: Do you believe in heaven? Do you intend to go to heaven? And if you do, then why have a bucket list?

Is it because you think that heaven is boring, and this earthly life is so much more exciting? (more…)

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Immaculate Conception: All beautiful!

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The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary:
Dec. 8, 2012
Gen 3:9-15, 20; Ps 98; Eph 1:3-6, 11-12; Luke 1:26-38

“Where are you?” we hear the Lord God call to Adam in the first reading. “Where are you?” For we read in the previous verse that the Lord is walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and Eve have hidden themselves. On previous days, surely, they had run out to meet their beloved Creator with joy as soon as they perceived his presence near them. But now they have sinned for the first time. They have allowed fear and greed and lies to drive a wedge between them and God, and to reshape them in that twisted image; to place that stain upon their hearts, and upon human nature itself which they would pass on to their descendents forever after. Suspecting, accusing, hiding, lying, taking, killing: all of this and more in the stain of original sin. (more…)

Un Adviento hermoso y transformativo

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I Domingo de Adviento, Año C: 2 Diciembre 2012
Jr 33, 14-16; Sal 24; 1 Tes 3, 12—4, 2; Lc 21, 25-28.34-36

Cuando leemos los libros de los profetas en el Antiguo Testamento, antes de la venida de Cristo, vemos muchas referencias al “Día del Señor.” Y, por la referencia primera, en el libro del profeta Amós, podemos discernir que ya hubo una esperanza popular de que, cuando llegara ese día, sería un día de bendiciones para ellos, un día de luz, un día de recompensas. Y respondió Amós: “¡Ay de los que desean el día del Señor! ¿Para qué quieren este día del Señor? Será de tinieblas y no de luz.” (Am 5, 18)

Y, por los profetas, fue revelado que el Día del Señor tendrá dos aspectos: castigo para los pecadores, y salvación para los justos. Y oímos esto también de nuestro Señor Jesús, en la lectura del Evangelio de hoy, cuando habla de su Segunda Venida. (more…)

Advent: Be vigilant, be prepared, live in expectation!

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1st Sunday of Advent, Year C: Dec. 2, 2012
Jer 33:14-16; Ps 25; 1 Thess 3:12–4:2; Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

When we read in the books of the prophets in the Old Testament, before the coming of Christ, we find many references to the “Day of the Lord.” Indeed, from the very first reference, in the book of the prophet Amos, we can tell that there was already a popular expectation among the people that, when this day came, it would be a positive day of blessing for them, a day of light, a day when the Lord would make everything good for his People. And Amos responded: “Woe to those who yearn for the day of the Lord! What will this day of the Lord mean for you? Darkness and not light!” (Amos 5:18ff)

And what we then see unfolded more clearly by the prophets is the understanding that the Day of Lord will have two sides to it: punishment for sinners, and salvation for the righteous. And this is what we also hear in the words of our Lord Jesus in today’s Gospel reading, about his Second Coming. (more…)

Ash Wednesday: The battle is joined!

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Ash Wednesday: March 9, 2011
Joel 2:12-18; Ps 51; 2 Cor 5:20–6:2; Matt 6:1-6, 16-18

In this Gospel reading from the Sermon on the Mount, our Lord warns us not to do religious acts in order that people may see them. These are not for them; not for their eyes; not for their praise. They are for our Father in heaven who sees what is hidden.

And yet our Lord so much wants us to do these acts that he doesn’t even explicitly command them here but just takes them for granted: “when you give alms,” “when you pray,” “when you fast.”

And the fact is that these actions are for others. Not for their praise; but for their good, their benefit, their healing, their salvation.

In the movie “The Passion of the Christ,” there is a point when Jesus is carrying the cross, and he falls; (more…)