Saturday, April 23, 2016

4-24-2016 -- 5th Sunday of Easter, Year C

April 24, 2016 - 5th Sunday of Easter, Year C
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church



We are obsessed with wanting to be liked, wanted, desired and accepted. Some people will do almost anything to be liked, wanted, desired and accepted.

This obsession can lead us down a dark path that can wreak havoc in our lives.

We pretend to be something other than ourselves hoping to be more likable, more desirable, more acceptable.

We do this because we desperately want a sense of belonging. But this pretending leads us into a world of self-doubt, self-loathing or even self-hatred.

When these feelings begin to set in, we lose our sense of self-worth. The result: we fail to love ourselves.

And failing to love ourselves, we fail to see that God loves us. We fail to see that in God’s eyes we are liked, wanted, desired and accepted.

Let’s take this a step further. If we can’t love ourselves the way God loves us, how can we expect to love anyone else? This leaves us lifeless, loveless, stuck in a pretty bad way.

We have to learn to love ourselves the way that God loves us.
And so we pray for Jesus to teach us to love ourselves the way God loves us.

We pray for Jesus to teach us to love with abandon, without counting the cost, without expecting something in return.

Until we learn to love ourselves as God wants us to, our ability to love others will be limited, maybe even distorted.

Until we learn to love ourselves the way God loves us, our friendships are stunted. Loving ourselves first, we are then able to give and receive affection from those who are close to us.

Until we learn to love ourselves the way God loves us, the relationship we have with the love of our life will be damaged. Loving ourselves first, we are then able to give our whole selves to that special one we love.

Until we learn to love ourselves the way God loves us, we will be unable to give unconditional love to the people who are closest to us. Loving ourselves first, we are then able to be selfless, sacrificial, and generous in the way we love others.

Jesus poured himself out for us on the cross, but that was just the final expression of what he had been doing every day during his public ministry. He was constantly pouring himself out for others.

The second reading tells us that Jesus loves with a love that wipes away tears, a love that comforts those who wail in pain, a love that takes away the sting of death.

Jesus is our model. Our desire to be liked, wanted, desired and accepted is a desire to be like him. Our yearning to be loved is a yearning for God.

As we seek to love as Jesus loved, we begin to realize that we are likable, desirable, acceptable, lovable. And if we don’t, then we are motivated to change our ways.

The Gospel challenges us to love ourselves and to love one another the way God loves us.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

4-17-2016 -- 4th Sunday of Easter, Year C

April 17, 2016 - 4th Sunday of Easter, Year C
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church



Week after week we come here to listen to Jesus speak to us. We listen to him over and over, year after year after year, because his words are truth and life.

Proclaiming the gospel allows Jesus’ words to sink into our hearts, our minds and our very souls.

Jesus’ words have the power to change us. Jesus’ words have the power to heal us. Jesus’ words have the power to bring us new life.

Jesus calls out to us, beckoning us to follow him. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who has the best interest of his sheep at heart.
My sheep listen to my voice, says the Lord. I know them and they follow me.

Are we listening for the voice of Jesus? Are we listening for the voice of the Good Shepherd?

The voice of Jesus speaks truth. I am the way and the truth and the life says the Lord. No one comes to the Father except through me. Do we live in the truth that Jesus speaks?

The voice of Jesus speaks mercy. It is mercy that I desire, not sacrifice. During this Year of Mercy are we making a conscious effort to practice mercy on a daily basis?

The voice of Jesus speaks peace. Blessed are the peacemakers. They will be called the children of God. In what ways can we become better peacemakers in our families?

The voice of Jesus speaks forgiveness. Is there no one here to condemn you? No one sir. Nor will I condemn you. Go in peace and do not sin again. How have we experienced the forgiveness of Christ?

Jesus voice speaks of compassion. If someone who has worldly possessions sees another in need and refuses compassion, how can the love of God remain in him?

How can we be more compassionate and charitable in our everyday lives? Who needs what we have to give?

The voice of Jesus speaks love. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself. What challenges do we face when trying to love as Jesus loves?

Jesus is the Good Shepherd. We are the sheep. We need to listen to the voice of the Lord, a voice that calls us to change, to heal, to live and to love.

My sheep listen to my voice, says the Lord. I know them and they follow me.

Are we listening?

Saturday, April 9, 2016

4-10-2016 -- 3rd Sunday of Easter, Year C

April 10, 2016 - 3rd Sunday of Easter, Year C
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church




Did you ever wonder why there are three bears, three little pigs, three blind mice and three musketeers? Three is the perfect number for a good story. Two is not enough and four is too many.


Three allows the writer to build suspense for maximum effect without losing the audience. It is not an accident then, that our divinity is a trinity: Father, Son and Spirit.


And the number three figures into the Easter story of Jesus’ Passion, Death and Resurrection.


There are three days in the tomb, three types of post resurrection appearances, the three-fold denial of Peter, with the subsequent three questions from Jesus addressed to Peter. There are three hours on the cross, and death comes at three o’clock.


Maybe Sunday homilies might have a greater impact in our lives if pastors could just limit themselves to three minutes.


In today’s gospel, we find the disciples so discouraged that they have returned to their former lives. They are back to fishing. And it's no surprise that they are fishing in the dark of night and coming up empty handed.


Jesus appears on the shore at the break of dawn. Jesus is the light. Jesus is the dawn. And notice that when Jesus is present in their lives they are suddenly productive again. There is a great catch of fish which overwhelms them.


Of course, Peter is there. And his threefold denial is eating away at him. He is all tangled up inside, lost in the darkness of his sin.

So Jesus asks Peter three questions to blot out those three denials. To make up for his sins, Peter must give a three-fold profession of love. Not once, not twice, but three times, “I love you.”


What does this mean for us? We deny. We betry. We turn away. We get lost in our own sinfulness. We go astray.


But we are given a three-fold opportunity. Life is not too hot. Life is not too cold. Life is not too hard. Life is not too soft. When we have a relationship with Jesus, life is just right.


Why? Because three times the Lord asks us, “Do you love me?”

And three times we answer, “Lord, you know that I love you.”

Saturday, April 2, 2016

4-3-2016 -- 2nd Sunday of Easter, Year C

April 3, 2016 - 2nd Sunday of Easter, Year C
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church




Why would Jesus say, “Peace be with you.”? It seems like an odd greeting, doesn’t it. “Peace be with you.”

Remember where the disciples are? They have locked themselves in a room and are hiding because they are afraid the Jewish authorities will come and arrest them just like Jesus.

They are afraid. And Jesus comes bringing peace. But not just peace. Jesus comes bringing the gifts of the Holy Spirit which he breathes on them. He also brings the power to forgive sins.

This is echoed in the reading from the Book of Revelation. Remember the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation are written by the same person, the Beloved Apostle John. In the Book of Revelation, John is told to write what he sees.

In his vision he sees one like the son of man wearing an ankle-length robe, with a gold sash, who touches him and says, “Do not be afraid.”

We are told that the one who touches him is the one who lives, the Risen Jesus, the first and the last.

The one who lives does not want us to be afraid. Jesus, the Risen One, does not want us to live in fear.

What are we afraid of? What paralyzes us in fear? What stops us in our tracks? Getting sick and dying. Being alone. Being cheated on, laughed at or made fun of.

We are afraid of not being good enough, of losing our jobs. Terrorism. Crime. Natural disasters.

Sometimes we are also afraid that Jesus will not forgive us for our sins. But on this Divine Mercy Sunday we are reminded never to tire of asking for God’s mercy because it is always available. We are also reminded that no sin is too great that it can’t be forgiven.

All of these things that make us afraid are overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the same Spirit we receive in the Sacrament of Confirmation.

The Holy Spirit and the Risen Jesus desire healing in our lives. The Holy Spirit and the Risen Jesus desire peace in our lives.

But most importantly the Holy Spirit and the Risen Jesus desire faith. Believe in me and you will have eternal life. Believe in me and I will raise you on the Last Day to be with me forever.

The Apostle John tell us in today’s gospel that he writes with a single purpose, “So that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that, through believing, you may have life in his name.”

Remember that when the disciples were huddled in fear, Jesus came to them bringing peace. Jesus comes to us today and brings that same peace.

When we choose to believe, when we choose to come here week after week, we are comforted. We are nourished. We are cared for. We are strengthened. We are loved. We are saved, so that we no longer have to live in fear.