May 27, 2017
To Know God
(Today, most dioceses celebrate the Ascension of the Lord. In a few places, however, today is the 7th Sunday of Easter.
I have chosen the Gospel for the 6th Sunday of Easter for this reflection.)
In the Gospel passage, Jesus continues his Last Supper with the disciples. Now he prays to the Father for his disciples, “This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.”
“The word for "know" is ginosko, which means intimate, even mystical, knowledge.”  Think of how intimately Jesus knows the Father.
To know God and to make God know – that is one way of expressing the purpose of the Christian life.
As we ponder Jesus’ prayer for us, it’s time for us to evaluate our prayer life, which is a way we can deepen our knowledge of God.
While we can never know God fully, without some knowledge of God, we cannot carry out Jesus’ commission, “Go and make disciples of all nations.”
Image source: www.agnusday.org
 John Petty. www.progressiveinvolvement.org
May 20, 2017
“Reason for Your Hope”
The author of the First Letter of St. Peter urges Christians, “Always be ready to give an explanation … for a reason for your hope.” (2nd Reading)
That reason should be what Jesus tells the disciples in today’s Gospel, “Because I live and you will live.” That life is the life Jesus shared with the Father, “I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.” That life is the presence of the Holy Spirit, “who remains with you, and will be in you.” Thus, our life is the life of the Blessed Trinity who lives in us.
There, the reason for our hope.
May 13, 2017
My Father’s House
The celebration of our mothers on this Mother’s Day can help us connect or better appreciate three of the sentences that Jesus speaks to us today.
First, “In my Father’s house, there are many dwelling places,”
A mother’s love and presence create a home and a family. A mother’s care and sacrifices tell their children the that they are loved.
God’s love brings us into God’s family. We are children of God. We are loved.
Second, “I am going to prepare a place for you.”
Enduring the pains, and with love and selfless sacrifices, mothers give birth to their children.
Christ, through his death and resurrection, gives us the life of the children of God.
Third, to Philip requests, “Show us the Father,” Jesus responds, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”
Mothers and fathers share in Jesus’ mission of leading their children to God – the greatest gift of all.
Image source: http://catholicmom.com
May 6, 2017
“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
The Gospel of last Sunday gives us some insights into the ways the Good Shepherd still gives us life abundantly – through his words, his Eucharist, and his presence in our daily life.
And as we receive the gift of abundant life, each follower of the Good Shepherd is also empowered to share this life with others.
When we speak, we can allow the Good Shepherd to speak through our voices. When we give ourselves to others, the Good Shepherd gives himself. When we love, it is with the love of the Good Shepherd. When our presence transforms the lives of others, then we know that it is the Good Shepherd who is present in us.
April 29, 2017
We Were Hoping
“Are you the only visitor…?,” asked Cleopas.
Cleopas forgets that he himself is a visitor.
In fact, we are all visitors.
Nothing, nobody in this earthly life of ours is permanent.
Yet, don’t we all build so much of our hopes, dreams, and even our dependence, on the things and people of this passing world? Like Cleopas and his friend, “we were hoping...”
Before recognizing Jesus, the two disciples felt hopeless. But they had put their hope in the Redeemer of Israel. And the Redeemer does not fail their hope.
The Redeemer is still and always with us. He walks with us in our companions. He speaks to us. And he gives himself to us in the breaking of the bread.
Our hope is in Him who has conquered death.
Image source: http://www.agnusday.org
April 22, 2017
How Merciful is God’s Mercy?
We might sometimes, or even often, limit God’s mercy to the forgiveness of our sins. We think of it as a kind of pardon – similar to what given to a criminal after the person has served the deserved punishment.
It is true that we are all sinners who are repeatedly in need of God’s mercy and pardon.
But God’s mercy is not the same as our juridical system, in which the records of one’s crimes are kept – sometimes seemingly forever.
God, in His great mercy, forgives our sins. Moreover, God, in the death and resurrection of God’s only Son, has made us free children of God. Thus, the profession of the First Letter of Peter (today’s 2nd Reading),
“The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy, gave us a new birth to a living hope …, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”
That is the extent of God’s mercy.
April 15, 2017
In today’s first reading, Peter testifies, “They put [Jesus] to death by hanging him on a tree.” (Acts 10: 39b)
The Romans reserved the capital punishment of crucifixion to slaves.
The Jewish people, following the Law of Moses, consider one who die on a tree a curse. In the Book of Deuteronomy, “anyone who is hanged is a curse of God” (21: 23).
The one who died the death of a punished slave is now the Victorious King.
The man who was a curse became a blessing for all, as Paul wrote, “Christ ransomed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13).
The power of God’s contradiction can already be seen in the courage newly discovered by the two disciples. They, who three days ago ran for their lives, now run toward the tomb – the place of death. There, they witnessed the victory of God.
What are the contradictions of God in my life? May I see the power of the Risen Christ in my life, particularly when I experience those contradictions.