Monday, May 30, 2011


And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.
- Matthew 28:20b
"I am with you always." These five words offer such comfort. When I am happy, He is with me. When I am sad, He is with me. When I am troubled, He is with me. Everything I do, Jesus is with me, guiding me, supporting me, loving me. When I make a mistake, He is there. When I accomplish something, He is there. He sees everything I do, and everything that is done to me. He knows when I have been mistreated, and He knows who did it. He sees when someone blesses me, and He sees who did it.

"I am always with you." So don't worry. Don't worry when things go wrong. He is there. Don't worry about justice. He knows. Don't worry about recognition. He sees. He is right there with you every step of the way. Sometimes cheering, sometimes comforting, sometimes carrying. But always loving. And always there.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Acts of Love

If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
- John 14:15
Short and to the point. Jesus sums up how our faith should shape us in these nine words. And it's true. If you love someone, you'll do what they ask you to do. On our wedding day, our spouse asks us to be faithful whatever life brings, and because we love that person, we promise to do what they ask. When we leave home, our parents ask us to keep in touch, and because we love them, we call, write and visit.

Jesus doesn't ask much of us. But if we love Him, we will do what He asks us to do. And although that might seem hard at times, He goes on to say in this passage that He will give us the Holy spirit to help us. So the next time you are struggling to do the right thing, remember what Jesus asks of you, draw on the strength of the Holy Spirit, and let your love for Jesus guide you.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Silent Evangelization

Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence.
- 1 Peter 3:15-16
What a beautiful and perfect description of evangelization. As Christians we are called to evangelize--to share and pass on our faith. However, the word 'evangelize' puts a lot of people off. We have images of people who stand on street corners with signs strapped to their bodies, bellowing out the Good News and imploring us to repent and accept Jesus and be saved. Or ministers on TV who enthusiastically tell us how much Jesus loves us. Or those smiling, friendly young people who knock on our doors and want to preach on our very doorsteps. Many of us try to avoid people like that. and avoid evangelizing because we don't want others to think of us like that either.

But evangelizing in big and flashy ways is not the only way to do it. Indeed, I believe the only people who really respond to those methods are people who have already accepted Jesus, who already believe in the message being preached. And it is far more important for us to reach those who have not yet accepted Jesus. To do that, we don't need to shout, we don't need to march through the streets singing. We don't need to start every conversation with, "Do you have Jesus in your life?" Instead, we should simply live our lives the way we are called to: honestly and joyfully. If we truly live out our faith, acting as Christ asks us to act, we are evangelizing through our every word and deed. We marry and build families. We raise our children to be caring. We earn an honest living. We attend church. We give to the poor. We give all our problems to God, and rest in His peace.

What do you think happens when others see us living our lives this way? When we are surrounded by a loving family. When we take pride in our work. When we continue to smile even though we are suffering hardships. Other people see all this, and they think, "What do these people have that I don't? And how can I get it?" Eventually your 'silent evangelization' will get through to them, and they will begin their search for the Truth. When they come to you for answers, be ready and willing to share your story and your faith. This is what Peter is telling us in this passage. "Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope." And when we evangelize through our actions rather than our words, we can't help but do it "with gentleness and reverence."

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Helper

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
- John 14:1
It's such a simple command from Jesus; don't worry, have faith. But it's so hard to follow. When we have a problem, we can't help worrying about it. And the bigger the problem, the more we worry. We find it hard to let someone else take responsibility for it too. And again, the bigger the problem, the more control we want over its resolution.

But another part of us longs for someone else to take care of everything, to make everything all right again. We want someone to wave a magic wand and make all our problems disappear. Jesus wants to help, but He doesn't work like a magician. He will help you with your problems, but He will do it His way.

First, we need to give the problem completely over to Him. We need to have faith that He will help us. Then, we need to let go of the problem and stop worrying about it. Trust in Jesus, and have faith that He is dealing with the situation. Once we have given the problem over to Jesus, we need to be prepared: prepared to wait, and prepared for His response. We want our problems solved right away, but Jesus doesn't work on our timescales. Don't worry. Have faith. There is a time for everything under the sun. Jesus will respond when the time is right. But He might not respond in the way we were expecting, or hoping, and we need to be prepared for that too. Jesus knows what's best for us, and His plan might be different to ours. We can't see the big picture, but He can, and He will steer us in the right direction, if we let Him.

Jesus wants to help you. Let Him. Give Him all your problems, and let Him take care of them. Don't worry. Have faith. And be prepared.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

To Worship or to Serve?

So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, "It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table."
- Acts 6:2
In an ideal world we could spend all our time reading the bible, praying and worshiping God, without worrying about money or responsibilities. But in the real world we have jobs, children and homes to take care of. Most of us have to make an effort to make time each day for quiet time with God. The Lord deserves more than that, as Peter says in Acts. But luckily we have people who have dedicated their lives to worshiping God. Our priests, nuns and monks spend most of their time studying the Word of God, praying and serving the Lord. They have set themselves apart for this special and holy task.

So what about the rest of us? Should we neglect the family dinner so we can spend more time praying? Should we study the bible instead of reading our children a story? Should we attend daily mass instead of daily meetings at work? Of course not. Our calling is not the same as those in religious life. Making time for the Lord is important, but serving at table is our first priority. Our families must come first. That means earning a living so we can buy food, clothing and shelter. That means doing the chores that keep the household running. That means spending time with our children, spouses, parents, friends.

God doesn't expect you to worship Him 24/7. But He does expect you to honor Him. God put you where you are now, and you honor Him by doing the best you can in the role He has given you. If you're a mother, be a good mother. If you're a husband, be a faithful husband. If you're a child, be a supportive child. If you're a friend, be the best friend.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Why Suffer in Silence?

If you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good, this is a grace before God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.
- 1 Peter 2:20-21
It's not easy to suffer in silence, especially if we think we don't deserve it. Our natural reaction is to complain, to try and get everyone on our side to support our position. If we're trying to do the right thing, and end up suffering for it instead, we might feel that it is a waste of time. Why bother standing up for Christ if He isn't standing up for us?

But of course we forget, that is exactly what Christ went through. He stood up for the truth of His message, even when all His friends and supporters abandoned Him. He suffered terrible ridicule, torture and death, even when it seemed as if His own Father wasn't supporting Him. He knew that what He was doing was right and necessary, and He suffered everything in silence and dignity.

We are called to do the same, and when we do, we receive God's grace. You might lend a friend some money, and he doesn't pay you back. You might offer to watch your friend's children, but she doesn't show up. Don't complain, and you will receive grace. It might be something bigger. Maybe you took in a homeless person for Thanksgiving dinner, and they stole something from your house. Don't think that you shouldn't have bothered trying to do good. God sees everything you do, and is always with you. Don't complain, and don't lash out angrily at Him. It's okay to ask your friends to pray for you as you deal with the situation, but keep the details and the resentment to yourself.

St Paul said that God will never give you more suffering than you can handle. And Jesus Himself said that God, who sees what you do in secret, will reward you. His grace is your reward for accepting the situation and suffering with a patient heart.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Circle of Blessings

Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
- Psalm 23:6
Whenever I give to God, I get so much in return. I volunteered to become a lector, a reader at mass, and I have gained a much deeper understanding of the Word that I proclaim. I joined the RCIA team, and every week I strengthened my faith, and I have gained a whole new circle of friends. I waited for the right man to be my husband, and I have gained a soul mate for life, and have been blessed with two precious children. The more I give, the more I receive, which makes me want to give even more. It's a circle of blessings.

We don't have to give in big ways to receive these blessings. Take five minutes to talk to one of the quieter moms at school, and you could make a new friend. Take on a couple of extra tasks at work, and a colleague may offer to help when that big project deadline comes up. Offer to give an elderly neighbor a ride to church, and you will have someone to pray for you when you need it.

Offer goodness and kindness at every opportunity, and they will follow you all the days of your life. Then you will know you are truly dwelling in the house of the Lord.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day.
- Acts 2:41
This Easter, 27 new Catholics joined my church. 17 were baptized, and 10 more were received into full communion with the church. This might be a record number for us, and the vigil lasted almost four hours. Can you imagine 3000 baptisms in one day? 3000 people listened to Peter preach, accepted his message about Jesus, and followed his command to repent and be baptized.

I wonder how many others rejected the message? How many others heard the exact same sermon from Peter, but just couldn't accept it as the truth? How many did accept it, but still refused to repent and give their lives to Jesus?

Every time we hear God's Word, we have the same choice. Will we accept the truth and do whatever we are called to do? Or will we take the easy route and reject the message? The 27 in our church, just like Peter's 3000, chose the narrow road.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Getting to know Him

He was known before the foundation of the world but revealed in the final time for you.
- 1 Peter 1:20
Jesus, God the Son, the Word of God, has always existed. He existed before our world did. Indeed, it was He who created the world. He didn't have to become flesh and come into the world, but He chose to. Because He wanted to make Himself known to us. Before that, He was known, but not fully understood. The prophets knew Him. The great patriarchs such as Abraham and Moses knew Him. But the ordinary people didn't know Him. The Old Testament is full of stories of how God tried to connect with His people, but they never really got it, and constantly fell back into old ways and habits.

So Jesus became the Word made flesh. He revealed Himself to us, so that we could really get to know and understand Him. In doing so, He also revealed the Father and the Holy Spirit to us.

Jesus is still revealing Himself to us today. He reveals Himself in the readings at mass. He reveals Himself in the love of a spouse or a child. He reveals Himself in a beautiful spring day, or a dark starry night. Everywhere you look, Jesus is revealing Himself. In people, places, nature, even food and drink. Take notice of your surroundings today. Look, listen, feel, and see how Jesus is making Himself better known to you.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Can I Get a Witness?

God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses.
- Acts 2:32
The Apostles were physical witnesses of Jesus' resurrection. They were there; they saw His dead body, the empty tomb, and the Risen Lord. We are faithful witnesses. We didn't actually see any of what happened, but we believe, we know that it did.

Is there any difference? I don't think so. Whether you were there or not, we are all called to do the same thing: spread the Good News about the truth of what happened. God raised Jesus. Because of this we are saved. Alleluia!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Key

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you."
- John 20:19
Jesus has the power to pass through locked doors and bring peace. He can pass through the locked doors of our hearts and bring peace to our souls, if we let Him.

Happy Divine Mercy Sunday