Sunday, December 30, 2012

Holy Objects on Display

   Many years ago I was wandering about the British Museum when I came across a most beautiful chalice on display. At the time I was a bit shocked and sadden to think that one of the most sacred objects in Catholic liturgy was on display in such a secular setting. I remember thinking that now I knew how Native Americans feel when they see objects from their sacred burial grounds displayed in museums in America.

  What escaped me that day was the thought that by displaying these objects in a museum, those who do not know the history of the Church might think these objects are remnants of a distant past, when in fact, Sacred Chalices are in use to worship God in the Holy Sacrifice of the mass every day, all over the world.

I just found an article at "A Reluctant Sinner" blog which reminded me of that day in London.

Yesterday was the Feast of St Thomas Becket, the heroic 12th century martyr and defender of the Church’s rights against the machinations of a tyrannical king. In the ordinary form of the Roman Rite, today is the Feast of the Holy Family. As such, the present day leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, has issued a Pastoral Letter calling on all Christians to defend marriage from the machinations of today’s political elites. (See previous blog post.)

One of the bizarre facts about the age we live in is that many of our secular institutions, especially museums, treat the Catholic Church as something that used to exist in the distant past, but which has now somehow disappeared from the face of the earth.

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"Viva Cristo Rey!!"

Saturday, December 22, 2012

4Th Sunday of Advent

   Wow. I can believe its been a year since my last post. I had to stop posting my homilies as one of my kids had some unexpected medical problems, and my time became very limited. Luckily all that is somewhat in the past so I'm going to try to slowly get the blog up to date, with my missing homilies from the last year, new homilies, as well as some other content. Here is this week's homily.
    From the time in which we can reason, we are told that God loves us. That He loves us so much, He sent His only begotten son to become one of us so that we can know the intensity of this love and we can learn how to be happy and how to spend eternity with him in heaven.

   On the other hand, another thing we learn, very early in our development is that life is not a fairy tale that we are born into a decaying and sinful world; a world in which evil is very real, and sometimes it make its presence known to the weakest and most innocent among us. We learn very early that cruelty, pain and suffering are parts of the human experience which can visit us at anytime. .

   These two facts have always presented a challenging dilemma, especially in the times in which tragedy strikes. Today is the 4th Sunday of advent. In a couple of days Christmas will be celebrated, the birth of the son of God, the one historical act that proves how much God loves us. However ten days ago we were confronted with the evil of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. .

  So in this 4th Sunday of Advent we find ourselves asking once again “ If God loves us so much as he has shown us, How could he allow Sandy Hook to happen?” The people who lost their lives 10 days ago were irreplaceable; their deaths have left a hole in our history no one will ever fill up. Why would God allow this tragedy to happen? Why does God allow war, poverty, hunger and abuse at all? .

   Although these might look like fair questions, they have a problem; They put all of the responsibility on God’s shoulders. And if we really think about it we realize they have no answer because to answer them would be to know the mind of God. .

   I think there is a better way of thinking about our dilemma. Perhaps the right way of asking these questions is like this: Why does God allow some us, some of our own brothers and sister to perform act of unspeakable evil? Why does God allow us the freedom to act in any way we want? Why are we given free will if it is clear some of us will make very poor use of this gift? .

   These questions have a definite answer: Why God gives us freedom? Such is the nature of love. We are all loved by God, not with a feeble human love but with a divine & infinite love which surpasses any understanding; a love so intense that has the power to bring life out of dead itself. .

   We are God’s creatures, we are privileged to be loved by him, a God who seeks us and is constantly trying to get our attention and like every true lover expects nothing more than us loving Him back. Because of this love God has made us completely free, so that we can choose to love him back in complete freedom. This freedom gives us a great power, the power to do right or wrong. We can be instruments of great good or great evil. The final choice about what to do with this freedom is ours. And when one of us takes this freedom and uses it in selfish ways, this act brings pain and suffering into the world. .

   Sometimes we might think of God as to detached, too far away from us to even care. We forget that he voluntarily was born not in a king’s palace, not even in any of the many “cute” nativity images we see in Hallmark Christmas card, but was born among us, surrounded by the same wickedness and suffering we all experience. Jesus was born in poverty, persecuted by Herod. His parents had to wisp him away to protect him from the Roman Soldier’s swords. .

   In the story of Jesus birth, in his life and his sacrifice on the cross the best we can get from God and the worst of the human experience meet. In Jesus we learn that although God allows evil to happen, He became man to let us know we do not suffer alone, that he suffers with us every time someone misuses the freedom he gives to all of us, that He mourns with us when we are left picking off the pieces of our lives, and that if we love him back, His love will sustain us to the end. .

   May you have a most blessed Christmas.