Jesus Raises the Law to a Higher Standard but Gives us the Power to Follow It. The law given by Moses (taught by the Scribes and Pharisees) only deals with external behavior. But the Heart is the source of our sin and wrong actions. Jesus wants to purify our Heart to become like His Heart. He remakes us into what God originally intended, Christ Likeness. Let us use the law not only to guide our behavior, but to allow God to transform our hearts! When we recognize we fall short, know that God is not yet finished with us! We need to open our heart to His Power, His Love, the Holy Spirit.
We can either be for Christ, against Christ, or far to many are in between, lukewarm. The Kingdom of God needs Saints and witnesses to Christ! This homily includes a testimony of Jim Caviezel the actor who played Jesus in the Passion of Christ. When we recognize better what Christ has done for us, it is more likely we'll live our faith in the world more fervently. Listen to his testimony, and the miracles that happened during the filming of that film.
The other part of Mary's yes to the Angel Gabriel was not only the joy of the birth of a child, but the pain and suffering of his death. In this second Annunciation, we see that Mary received a harsh message today. The prophet Malachi brings a harsh message, sometimes live brings harsh messages. How will we respond, if by drawing closer to Christ, these difficult times can help make us Holy, by purifying us. Our salvation in Christ frees us to live authentically, and fully, not slaves to death, but children of the Resurrection.
This is a homily by Fr. Paul on the importance of the Word of God in our Catholic Life, and what it means to be a Disciple of Jesus and a fisher or people. The homily is followed by a presentation of a member of our parish council to unveil our new 3 year pastoral plan and parish vision.
John the Baptist, although Jesus's older cousin, says Jesus existed before him, and that he did not know Him. Although John knew Jesus in a human way, or knew of Him, he did not know Him in the Biblical way, that is intimately, until an encounter with Jesus that allowed him to know Jesus was God. We are similar, we know of Jesus before we know Him as Lord, and Encounter Him and come to Know Him. Then we are called to be like John, that is to testify to what Jesus has done for us and point others to Jesus. This homily includes testimonies about when and how members of the congregation came to Know Jesus as Lord.
How are we saved in Christ? It is not simply that he forgives us of our sins, but in Christ we encounter God, we are touched by God, and God's touch heals us and gives us diving life. God shared in our humanity so we humans can share in His divinity. In Baptism, we are born again, and receive the Holy Spirit. But Sacraments, like Baptism, are not magic, we must surrender to the Holy Spirit, die to self so as to live in Christ. This homily explains salvation, sacraments, baptism, original sin, purgatory, life in the Spirit, sanctification and the spiritual life! Wow that is a lot for 12 minutes! Hopefully these explanations, and images, will help you more easily to surrender to God.
The journey of the Magi represents our life journey. Drawn by our internal "GPS" (God Positioning System) creation and scripture point us to find Christ as the destination of our life journey; to adore Him as Lord, to offer Him our gifts, and to return "By a different" path. The importance of this question; "Does God Exist" compels us to search, and not like King Herod, refuse to seek the answer; lest the answer may require us to change. After this journey, we are called to be a light, a guide, for others. Happy Feast of the Epiphany!
This is the first title of Mary by the Church, it was to emphasize the divinity of Jesus. Understanding Mary better helps us understand Jesus better and all God has done in Salvation History. Mary is the New Eve, and Jesus the New Adam. Mary is the New Ark of the Covenant, and Jesus the Bread of Life enacts the New and Everlasting Covenant. Mary is Queen and Intercessor, Jesus is King who establishes an everlasting Kingdom. Jesus gave Mary to John as his mother at the cross, in so doing he is offering her to us as our mother, Mother of the Church, and the one who prays that we will grow closer to her Son.
The early Church did not celebrate Christmas, like we do now. St. Francis honored Christmas, creating one of the first manger scenes, and leading the way for today's feast. The Eucharist is the perpetuation of the Incarnation, Emanuel God with Us. This is a teaching homily on the history of Christmas, and the sacrament of the Eucharist.
One Christmas a few years back I work up to a song by David Bowie and Bing Crosby; The Little Drummer Boy. In their version, there was a haunting refrain; "Peace on Earth, Can it Be?" I the Gospel, we hear that the Angels from Heaven declare Peace on Earth at the Birth of Jesus Christ and Lord. This child is to bring Peace. Can it Be? Have we experienced World Peace yet? There was a time during WWI when opposing sides made peace on Christmas Day, and at least for awhile, peace on earth seemed possible? If we are to have peace for the many, it is first required that it be lived boldly by a few. We may not bring about world peace in our day, but we can with God's help bring peace to our world. It is God's plan. It is our deepest desire. It is a choice. Let us pray that I may bring the light of Christ and Peace of Christ to those in my world. Merry Christmas - Old English for "Christ's Mass".