Lent 2015: The Meaning of Lent

 

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The sea­son of Lent lasts 40 days begin­ning tomor­row, Ash Wednes­day,  and ends on Holy Thurs­day (the Thurs­day of Holy Week).  In terms of Bib­li­cal sig­nif­i­cance, the sea­son of Lent is sim­i­lar to the forty days that Jesus was tempted in the wilderness.

The Sea­son of Lent has four components:

  • Repen­tance and Conversion
  • Prayer and Penance
  • Fast­ing
  • Alms­giv­ing

Repen­tance and Conversion:

 

“ ‘Even now,’ declares the LORD, ‘return to Me with all your heart, with fast­ing and weep­ing and mourn­ing.’ ” ~Joel 2:12

We are all called to repent and be con­verted every day of the year, but espe­cially dur­ing the Sea­son of Lent.

The ashes we receive on Ash Wednes­day are a sign of repen­tance. Ashes have been a sign of repen­tance since the Old Tes­ta­ment times. In the Old Tes­ta­ment, Jonah preached in Nin­eveh for the peo­ple to repent of their evil ways.

Then word came to the king of Nin­eveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, cov­ered him­self with sack­cloth and sat in ashesAnd he caused it to be pro­claimed and pub­lished through­out Nineveh …

Let nei­ther man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any­thing; do not let them eat, or drink water. But let man and beast be cov­ered with sack­cloth, and cry might­ily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the vio­lence that is in his hands.’ “~Jonah 3: 6–8

We must thor­oughly exam­ine our lives–our thoughts, our actions, and our words to see in what ways we have sinned. After rec­og­niz­ing our sins, we must be sorry for hav­ing com­mit­ted them, and then resolve not to sin. God our Father loves us and is wait­ing for us to turn to Him. He wants to for­give us of our sins and shed his love and mercy upon our souls.  

In the Sacra­ment of Con­fes­sion, God Him­self for­gives us all our sins.  That is why Con­fes­sion is known as the Sacra­ment of Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion (or the Sacra­ment of Penance).

Jesus told St. Faustina Kowalska:

“When you go to Con­fes­sion know this, that I Myself am wait­ing for you in the Con­fes­sional; I am only hid­den by the priest, but I myself act in the soul. Here the mis­ery of the soul meets the God of Mercy.Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the ves­sel of trust. If their trust is great there is no limit to my gen­eros­ity (VI, 6–7)”

Please, dur­ing this sea­son and dur­ing the whole year, go to Con­fes­sion as often as you can that you may be for­given your sins and grow closer to God. (Note: Accord­ing to the pre­cepts of the Church, all Catholics must go to Con­fes­sion at least one time per year. How­ever, going to Con­fes­sion once a month or once a week is bet­ter for the soul.)

For more on Con­fes­sion, see the our blog post: “The Great Sacra­ment of Confession”

 Repen­tance means that we have to resolve to amend our lives so that we can con­tinue to grow in holi­ness. Con­ver­sion is the daily process by which we grow in holi­ness and grow closer to God.  The obser­vances of Lent are meant to help our hearts and souls to be con­verted so that we can be trans­formed into holier peo­ple. Fur­ther­more, repen­tance and con­ver­sion are nec­es­sary so that we may be always spir­i­tu­ally pre­pared to meet Jesus when we die or at His Sec­ond Com­ing. The time will come when we will all have to stand before God and give and an account of our lives.

Prayer and Penance:

Resolve to pray more dur­ing this sea­son. For exam­ple, some peo­ple make the Way of the Cross, pray the Holy Rosary, and make time for Ado­ra­tion of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacra­ment (Eucharis­tic Adoration). 

In prayer, we com­mu­ni­cate with God our lov­ing Father. Con­se­quently, the more we pray, the closer we come to God. This sea­son is an oppor­tu­nity to develop a deep prayer life for the whole year.

As penance, peo­ple often give up some­thing or per­form more works of char­ity dur­ing Lent.

*For exam­ple, this Lent, try to reduce the amount of time you spend watch­ing TV or brows­ing the inter­net. Spend the extra time in prayer or read­ing Chris­t­ian books (i.e Holy Bible, Lives of the Saints, etc.)

Another aspect of Penance is to recall the suf­fer­ings that Jesus Christ endured for our sake in order to pay for the sins of mankind and rec­on­cile human­ity with God. For this is the rea­son that He allowed Him­self to suf­fer death on the Cross.  Fore­shad­ow­ing His death on the Cross, Jesus said,

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peo­ple to Myself.” (John 12:32)

It is impor­tant to rec­og­nize that Jesus Christ suf­fered death on the Cross to bring human­ity back to God–to make it pos­si­ble for us to come back to God.

Fast­ing:

On the Fri­days of Lent, Catholics ages 14 and older are not to eat meat (abstinence).

On Ash Wednes­day and Good Fri­day, Catholics ages 18 to 59 are sup­posed to fast and abstain from eat­ing meat. When fast­ing, a per­son can eat one full meal. Two smaller meals may also be taken, but not to equal a full meal. 

*Note: There may be some vari­a­tion in fast­ing and absti­nence require­ments in dif­fer­ent countries.

The pur­pose of fast­ing is firstly to imi­tate Christ, prac­tice self-denial and dis­ci­pline, as well as to focus on God.

Alms­giv­ing:

We are also called to help those in need in a spe­cial way dur­ing this sea­son. Con­se­quently, many churches often have giv­ing projects dur­ing Lent to help the needy. It is impor­tant to remem­ber that holi­ness leads to the per­fec­tion of love and charity.

Prayer, penance, fast­ing, and alms­giv­ing enable us to break free from attach­ments to earthly things. These attach­ments dis­tract us and pre­vent us from grow­ing closer to God.

Dur­ing the Lenten sea­son, let our hearts, souls, and minds be drawn back to God and may we renew our efforts to love our neighbor.  

‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. … ‘Love your neigh­bor as your­self. ’ “~Mark 12: 29–31

May we all have a blessed and holy Lent!

 

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Happy St. Valentine’s Day

Love for God and lov­ing others

 

29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the com­mand­ments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’[a] This is the first com­mand­ment.[b] 31 And the sec­ond, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neigh­bor as your­self.’ … ~ Mark 12: 29–31

A new com­mand­ment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My dis­ci­ples, if you have love for one another.”~ John 13: 34–35

Char­ac­ter­is­tics of true love

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dis­honor oth­ers, it is not self-seeking, it is not eas­ily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always pro­tects, always trusts, always hopes, always per­se­veres.”~ 1 Corinthi­ans 13: 4–6

God’s love for us

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It is impor­tant to remem­ber that God loves each one of us with an infi­nite, pure, and per­fect love.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Every­one who loves has been born of God and knows God. Who­ever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an aton­ing sac­ri­fice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”~1 John 4: 7–11

The Power of God’s Love

35 Who shall sep­a­rate us from the love of Christ? Shall trou­ble or hard­ship or per­se­cu­tion or famine or naked­ness or dan­ger or sword?… 37 No, in all these things we are more than con­querors through Him who loved us.   38 For I am con­vinced that nei­ther death nor life, nei­ther angels nor demons,[b] nei­ther the present nor the future, nor any pow­ers, 39 nei­ther height nor depth, nor any­thing else in all cre­ation, will be able to sep­a­rate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~ Romans 8: 35,37–39

May you grow in the love of God and oth­ers each day. For true holi­ness leads to the per­fec­tion of love and charity.

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Sovereignty of God

Our God is the liv­ing God, endur­ing for­ever; His king­dom shall not be destroyed, and His domin­ion shall be with­out end. He is a deliv­erer and sav­ior, work­ing signs and won­ders in heaven and earth.” ~ Daniel 6:27–28

Let them know that You, whose name is the Lord—
    that You alone are the Most High over all the earth.” ~Psalm 83:18

Yours, O LORD, is the great­ness and the power and the glory and the vic­tory and the majesty, indeed every­thing that is in the heav­ens and the earth; Yours is the domin­ion, O LORD, and You exalt Your­self as head over all.”~1 Chron­i­cles 29:11

Behold, I am com­ing soon! My reward is with Me, and I will give to each per­son accord­ing to what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Begin­ning and the End.” ~ Rev­e­la­tion 22: 12–13

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Holiness and Perseverance

Below is the first read­ing from today’s Mass readings:

Broth­ers and sis­ters:
Since we are sur­rounded by so great a cloud of wit­nesses,
let us rid our­selves of every bur­den and sin that clings to us and per­se­vere in run­ning the race that lies before us while keep­ing our eyes fixed on Jesus,
the leader and per­fecter of faith.
For the sake of the joy that lay before Him
Jesus endured the cross, despis­ing its shame,
and has taken His seat at the right of the throne of God.
Con­sider how He endured such oppo­si­tion from sin­ners,
in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart. …”

~Hebrews 12:1–4

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Bible Verse: Holiness in daily life

Your love must be sin­cere. Detest what is evil, cling to what is good. Love one another with the affec­tion of broth­ers. Antic­i­pate each other in show­ing respect. Do not grow slack but be fer­vent in spirit; he whom you serve is the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient under trial, per­se­vere in prayer. “~Romans 12:9–12

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The Feast of the Epiphany~Jan. 5 2015

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Today is the Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord. The word “epiphany” means man­i­fes­ta­tion. The Epiphany cel­e­brates the man­i­fes­ta­tion of the Sav­ior, Jesus Christ, to the gen­tiles (non-Jewish peo­ple) in the per­sons of the magi—the three wise men Mel­chior, Balthasar, and Gaspar.

After Jesus was born in Beth­le­hem in Judea, dur­ing the time of King Herod, Magi  from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw His star when it rose and have come to wor­ship Him.’ When King Herod heard this he was dis­turbed, and all Jerusalem with him. … After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were over­joyed. 11 On com­ing to the house, they saw the Child with His mother Mary, and they bowed down and wor­shiped Him. Then they opened their trea­sures and pre­sented Him with gifts of gold, frank­in­cense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2 :1–3,9–11)

God began His work of the redemp­tion of mankind with the Jew­ish peo­ple as seen in the Old Tes­ta­ment. For exam­ple, He gave the Jew­ish peo­ple the Ten Com­mand­ments through the prophet Moses. He also spoke of the Savior’s com­ing through the Old Tes­ta­ment prophets until finally Jesus came into the world. The man­i­fes­ta­tion of Jesus to the three kings sym­bol­izes that Jesus’ com­ing into the world has made rec­on­cil­i­a­tion with God now open to the gen­tiles as well.

All the nations you have made will come and wor­ship before You, Lord;  they will bring glory to Your name. 10 For You are great and do mar­velous deeds; You alone are God.” Psalms 86:9–10

All the ends of the earth will remem­ber and turn to the Lord, and all the fam­i­lies of the nations will bow down before Him … .” Psalms 22:27

The gifts of the three kings: gold, frank­in­cense, and myrrh also have spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance. The gift of gold sig­ni­fies that Jesus is a King. In the Book of Rev­e­la­tion, Jesus is referred to as “the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” The gift of frank­in­cense sig­ni­fies that Jesus is the High Priest and also God. In the Jew­ish tra­di­tion through­out the Old Tes­ta­ment, the high priest would offer incense to God in wor­ship. For the same rea­son, the priest incenses the altar dur­ing the Holy Mass to honor the pres­ence of God. The last gift, myrrh, seems at first, a strange gift for a new­born baby because myrrh was used as part of Jew­ish embalm­ing and bur­ial cus­toms. This last gift sig­ni­fies that Jesus has come into the world to die as the ulti­mate sac­ri­fice for the sins of mankind in order to rec­on­cile mankind with God.

How does the Epiphany apply to us today?

First of all, we can be thank­ful for our knowl­edge of the One True God, the lov­ing Cre­ator of all mankind who loves us so much that He sent His Son to rec­on­cile us with Him­self. Fur­ther­more, because of this knowl­edge, we must make time and effort to wor­ship God each day by attend­ing the Holy Mass and receiv­ing Holy Com­mu­nion every Sun­day and as much as we can dur­ing the week, mak­ing time to adore Christ like the magi through Ado­ra­tion of the Most Blessed Sacra­ment, as well as daily prayers such as the Most Holy Rosary.

 Sec­ondly, we must resolve to man­i­fest Christ to others—to bring Christ to whomever we encounter by our words and actions.  The light and love of Christ must shine through us, so that all those with whom we come into con­tact may be drawn to Jesus for the sal­va­tion of their eter­nal souls.

 “A new com­mand I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this every­one will know that you are My dis­ci­ples, if you love one another.” John 13:34–35

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill can­not be hid­den. Nei­ther do peo­ple light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to every­one in the house. In the same way, let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14–16

 In Chap­ter 4 of the Gospel of John is the beau­ti­ful account of the Samar­i­tan woman who met Jesus and was so moved by the expe­ri­ence that she told every­one in her town.

Then, leav­ing her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the peo­ple, ‘Come, see a man who told me every­thing I ever did. Could this be the Christ?’ They came out of the town and made their way toward Him. … Many of the Samar­i­tans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s tes­ti­mony … and because of His words many more became believ­ers.” (John 4: 28, 29, 39–41)

 The vision of Saint John in the Book of Rev­e­la­tion gives us a hope­ful and tri­umphant image of a redeemed mankind.

After this I looked, and there before me was a great mul­ti­tude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, peo­ple and lan­guage, stand­ing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wear­ing white robes and were hold­ing palm branches in their hands.” Rev­e­la­tion 7:9

Like the three kings, may we earnestly seek Christ and His King­dom! Like the Blessed Vir­gin Mary, may we man­i­fest Him to others!

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Christmas Day 2014: The Savior is born!

The Birth of Jesus Christ
                 The Birth of Jesus Christ

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given … And His name will be called Won­der­ful, Coun­selor, Mighty God, Ever­last­ing Father, Prince of Peace.” ~Isa­iah 6:9

10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tid­ings of great joy which will be to all peo­ple. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Sav­ior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swad­dling cloths, lying in a manger.” ~Luke 2:10–12

It is impor­tant at this time to reflect upon God’s great love for us which made Him come down to earth to rec­on­cile mankind with Him­self and show us the way to ever­last­ing life.

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begot­ten Son, that who­ever believes in Him should not per­ish but have ever­last­ing life.” ~   John 3:16

May the cel­e­bra­tion of Christ’s birth today be for you a source of hope, peace, and joy!

Merry Christ­mas! Feliz Navi­dad! Feliz Natal! Joyeux Noel!

Links to Christ­mas Songs

 

 

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Advent 2014: A Season of Hope and Conversion

AdventToday begins the sec­ond of the four weeks of the sea­son of Advent, in which we pre­pare our­selves in a spe­cial way for the com­ing of Jesus.  The word Advent means ‘coming.’

Firstly, we pre­pare our­selves to cel­e­brate Christ­mas, the his­tor­i­cal birth of Jesus Christ, His first com­ing into the world. The angel Gabriel told the poor shep­herds who were nearby when Jesus was born, “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Sav­ior, who is Christ the Lord. “(Luke 2:11) The Mass read­ings dur­ing Advent remind us how the peo­ple of the Old Tes­ta­ment waited in hope­ful expec­ta­tion for the com­ing of the Messiah.

Sec­ondly, in addi­tion to cel­e­brat­ing the his­tor­i­cal event of Jesus’ birth, the most impor­tant event in all human his­tory, we pre­pare our­selves spir­i­tu­ally to receive Him and His grace in a spe­cial way at Christ­mas. This way, our hearts and souls can become spir­i­tual mangers ready to receive the Child Jesus.

How can we pre­pare our­selves dur­ing Advent?

We can pre­pare our­selves this Advent by amend­ing our lives and turn­ing away from sin. Let us resolve to make Christ the cen­ter of our lives through  daily prayer (i.e. the Holy Rosary, Chap­let of Divine Mercy), fre­quent par­tic­i­pa­tion at Holy Mass and Holy Com­mu­nion, and fre­quent Con­fes­sion. In order to grow in holi­ness, it is nec­es­sary to go to Con­fes­sion at least once a year, but once a month or once a week is better.

 Thirdly, we call to mind, with a joy­ful hope, the fact that Jesus will come again! Jesus will return! This will be His Sec­ond and Final com­ing. The Mass read­ings dur­ing Advent remind us of Jesus’ Sec­ond Com­ing and the need to be pre­pared at all times to receive Him at His Sec­ond Com­ing, when He comes in the clouds of heaven with great power and glory to sep­a­rate the wicked from the good.

“Behold I am com­ing soon! My reward is with me and I will give to every­one accord­ing to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Begin­ning and the End.”(Revelation 22:12–13)

Let the sea resound, and every­thing in it, the world, and all who live in it. 8Let the rivers clap their hands,let the moun­tains sing together for joy; let them sing before the Lord, for He comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in right­eous­ness and the peo­ples with equity.” (Psalm 98:7–9)

*It is impor­tant to note that although no one know that exact day or hour of Jesus’ return, Jesus did give us warn­ings through­out the Scrip­tures as to the signs that would pre­cede His final coming.

“3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the dis­ci­ples came to Him pri­vately, say­ing, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your com­ing, and of the end of the age?”

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, say­ing, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not trou­bled; for all[a]these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and king­dom against king­dom. And there will be famines, pesti­lences,[b] and earth­quakes in var­i­ous places. All these are the begin­ning of sorrows.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribu­la­tion and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because law­less­ness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the king­dom will be preached in all the world as a wit­ness to all the nations, and then the end will come. …

29 “Imme­di­ately after the tribu­la­tion of those days the sun will be dark­ened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the pow­ers of the heav­ens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man com­ing on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trum­pet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Now learn this para­ble from the fig tree: When its branch has already become ten­der and puts forth leaves, you know that sum­mer is near. 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it[d] is near—at the doors! ~Matthew 24:3–13,29–33

*One glance at the news head­lines is enough to real­ize that many of these signs are already being ful­filled. Thus, Jesus’ return must be near.

Excerpt from today’s Mass readings :

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief,
and then the heav­ens will pass away with a mighty roar
and the ele­ments will be dis­solved by fire,
and the earth and every­thing done on it will be found out.

Since every­thing is to be dis­solved in this way,
what sort of per­sons ought you to be,
con­duct­ing your­selves in holi­ness and devo­tion,
wait­ing for and has­ten­ing the com­ing of the day of God
… But accord­ing to His promise
we await new heav­ens and a new earth
in which right­eous­ness dwells.
There­fore, beloved, since you await these things,
be eager to be found with­out spot or blem­ish before Him, at peace.”

~2 Peter 3: 10–14

We must sanc­tify and purify our­selves every day so that we may be ready to receive Him at Christ­mas and when He comes again in glory upon the clouds of heaven.

Have A Blessed and Joy­ous Advent!

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November Solemnities: All Saints Day and All Soul’s Day

 

On Novem­ber 1st, the Church cel­e­brates All Saints Day.

 

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All Saints day is the day that the Church cel­e­brates all the saints. This Solem­nity hon­ors all the Saints that have been can­on­ized by the Church as well as all the saints which are known to God alone.

The Saints are the men, women, and even chil­dren who have glo­ri­fied God dur­ing their lives on earth and now enjoy His Pres­ence in Heaven.  Dur­ing their earthly lives, some Saints were reli­gious (priests, broth­ers, nuns/sisters) and some were laypeo­ple (sin­gle or mar­ried). There are Saints from every race, nation­al­ity, and language.

An excerpt from the first read­ing for the Mass of the Solem­nity of All Saints:

After this I had a vision of a great mul­ti­tude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, peo­ple, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wear­ing white robes and hold­ing palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice:

Sal­va­tion comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb.”

All the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four liv­ing crea­tures. They pros­trated them­selves before the throne, wor­shiped God, and exclaimed:

Amen. Bless­ing and glory, wis­dom and thanks­giv­ing, honor, power, and might be to our God for­ever and ever. Amen.”

Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me, “Who are these wear­ing white robes, and where did they come from?” I said to him, “My lord, you are the one who knows.” He said to me,“These are the ones who have sur­vived the time of great dis­tress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.”  ~Rev­e­la­tion 7:9–14

The saints pro­vide a won­der­ful exam­ple for us who are still on earth. They too had strug­gles and dif­fi­cul­ties, but they per­se­vered and by the grace and strength of God they com­pleted their mis­sions and now enjoy the per­fect hap­pi­ness and peace of Heaven.

On Novem­ber 2nd, the Church cel­e­brates All Soul’s Day.

All Soul’s Day is  the com­mem­o­ra­tion of all the faith­ful departed, all those who have died in God’s friend­ship. This was insti­tuted in the Bene­dic­tine Monastery of Cluny by Abbot Odilo in the year 998 and then spread to the whole Church.

Those who have died in God’s friend­ship are either now in Heaven or in Purgatory.

Those who have died in the grace of God and have no need of fur­ther purifi­ca­tion are gath­ered around Jesus and Mary, the angels and the saints. They thus form the Church of heaven where they see God ‘face to face’(1 Corinthi­ans 13:12). They live in a com­mu­nion of love with the Most Blessed Trin­ity and they inter­cede for us.” (Cat­e­chism of the Catholic Church)

Pur­ga­tory is the state of those who die in God’s friend­ship, assured of their eter­nal sal­va­tion, but who still have need of purifi­ca­tion to enter into the hap­pi­ness of heaven.” (Cat­e­chism of the Catholic Church) These souls are referred to as the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

It is impor­tant to note that accord­ing to var­i­ous Saints of the Church, the suf­fer­ings of Pur­ga­tory are like suf­fer­ings that souls suf­fer in hell. The only dif­fer­ence is that the suf­fer­ings a soul endures in Pur­ga­tory end when the soul has been puri­fied enough to enter Heaven. The suf­fer­ing of a soul in hell on the other hand is eter­nal and thus will never end.

We, “the faith­ful who are still pil­grims on earth are able to help the souls in pur­ga­tory by offer­ing prayers in suf­frage for them, espe­cially the Eucharis­tic sac­ri­fice. … by alms­giv­ing, indul­gences, and works of penance.” (Cat­e­chism of the Catholic Church)

It is there­fore a holy and whole­some thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from their sins” (2 Mac­cabees 12:46).

*The Eucharis­tic Sac­ri­fice is another name for the Holy Mass (also The Holy Sac­ri­fice of the Mass). We can have Masses offered for them or offer the Masses we attend for them. We can also offer to God our recep­tion of Holy Com­mu­nion for the relief of the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

*Prayers: We can offer any prayers for their release from Pur­ga­tory, espe­cially the Holy Rosary and St. Gertude’s prayer. Jesus promised St. Gertrude the Great to release 1000 souls in Pur­ga­tory each time this prayer is said:

“Eter­nal Father, I offer You the most pre­cious blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said through­out the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Pur­ga­tory, for sin­ners every­where, for sin­ners in the uni­ver­sal church, for those in my own home and in my fam­ily. Amen.”

*Works of Penance: An exam­ple is mak­ing The Way of the Cross (Sta­tions of the Cross) specif­i­cally for the souls for the Holy Souls in Pur­ga­tory. We can even offer our suf­fer­ings for their relief.

***Indul­gences: “Indul­gences are the remis­sion before God of the tem­po­ral pun­ish­ment due to sins whose guilt has already been for­given. The faith­ful Chris­t­ian who is duly dis­posed gains the indul­gences under pre­scribed con­di­tions for either him­self or for the departed.”(Cat­e­chism of the Catholic Church)

**Con­di­tions for gain­ing indul­gences:

One can obtain either a ple­nary (full) or par­tial indul­gence by:

1)  Going to Confession

2) Receiv­ing Holy Communion 

3) Then, recit­ing prayers for the Pope’s Inten­tions (such as 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and 1 Glory Be)

and lastly,

4) Com­plet­ing a par­tic­u­lar work to which an indul­gence is attached. 

Here are some exam­ples: Ado­ra­tion before the Most Blessed Sacra­ment for at least 30 min­utes, pray­ing at least 5 decades of the Rosary in a Church, pray­ing at least 5 decades of the Rosary as a family/in a Pious Association/in a Reli­gious Con­gre­ga­tion, mak­ing the Way of the Cross, and espe­cially between Nov. 1 — Nov. 8 vis­it­ing a ceme­tery to pray for the Holy Souls in Pur­ga­tory, etc.).

More about Indulgences(from Hand­book on Indulgences)

*The four cri­te­ria men­tioned above for gain­ing an indul­gence should be com­pleted within days of each other if not all on the same day.

An indul­gence is Ple­nary if one has no attach­ment to sin, but oth­er­wise it is Partial.

Why Pur­ga­tory?

In God’s infi­nite wis­dom and mercy, He made a place for souls to be puri­fied if they die in His friend­ship, but are not yet pure enough to enter Heaven.

We must remem­ber that God is holy.  Only what is holy can enter into God’s Presence.

“Who can ascend the moun­tain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
One whose hands are sin­less, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.” ~ Psalm 24

When St. John recounts his vision of the heav­enly city, the new Jerusalem, he said, “But noth­ing unclean shall enter it.” (Rev­e­la­tion 21:27)

Also in the New tes­ta­ment,  Jesus Him­self said, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”(Matthew 5:8)

Both Solem­ni­ties remind us that we need to strive for holi­ness. We need to purify our­selves each day by daily prayer, true repen­tance for our sins, fre­quent Con­fes­sion, fre­quent atten­dance at the Holy Mass, fre­quent recep­tion of Holy Com­mu­nion, and penance. We must grow in holi­ness each day. As we grow in holi­ness, we must strive to do what­ever work God has given us in a way that will honor, glo­rify, and please Him

We must remem­ber that each of us will have to ren­der an account of our lives to Jesus either when we die or when Jesus returns in glory at the end of the world.

May we each grow in holi­ness each day, so that when we die or when Jesus returns in glory, we will be ready to meet Him!

More Resources on Purgatory:

  • Pur­ga­tory Explained: By the lives and leg­ends of the Saints”~Fr. F.X. Schouppe, S.J.

 

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Sunday Mass Reading Reflections: Love of God and Love of Neighbor

(Excerpt from the First Read­ing for Sun­day Oct. 19th)

This is what the Lord says to His anointed,
    to Cyrus …to open doors before him
    so that gates will not be shut:
I will go before you
    and will level the moun­tains;
I will break down gates of bronze
    and cut through bars of iron.
I will give you hid­den trea­sures,
    riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the Lord,
    the God of Israel, who sum­mons you by name. …
I am the Lord, and there is no other …
I will strengthen you …
so that from the ris­ing of the sun
    to the place of its set­ting
peo­ple may know there is none besides Me..” ~Isa­iah 45: 1–6

(Gospel Read­ing for Oct. 26th)

When the Phar­isees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sad­ducees,
they gath­ered together, and one of them,
a scholar of the law tested him by ask­ing,
“Teacher, which com­mand­ment in the law is the great­est?”
He said to him,
“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind.
This is the great­est and the first com­mand­ment.
The sec­ond is like it:
You shall love your neigh­bor as your­self.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

~Matthew: 22: 34–40

Both of these read­ings remind us that God is the Lord. The word Lord means ‘one with author­ity and power’, ‘a ruler.’ In other words, it is God who has supreme author­ity and is the sov­er­eign ruler over all the uni­verse. The Book of Rev­e­la­tion refers to Jesus as the “King of Kings” and “Lord of Lords.” In St. Paul’s Let­ter to the Philip­pi­ans, it says that “..at the Name of Jesus, every knee must bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue con­fess to glory of God the Father that Jesus Christ is Lord”(Philip­pi­ans 2:10–11).

We must put God first in our lives for God alone is the Lord. There is no other Lord. In other words, we should not put any­thing else before God in our lives. Once we rec­og­nize that God is the Lord, we must strive to know, love, serve, and honor Him in all that we do. For exam­ple, we must develop a daily prayer life, attend the Holy Mass at least every Sun­day, and offer Him all our work.When we put God first, He brings every­thing in our lives into proper order. He arranges every­thing for the good of our soul and the good of other souls around us. As a con­se­quence, He enables and strength­ens us to serve Him by lov­ing our neigh­bor. Who is my neigh­bor? My neigh­bor is every per­son other than me. My neigh­bor can live next door to me, but my neigh­bor can also be some­one in my fam­ily or my coworker or even some­one far away who I am pray­ing for. The love of God leads to love of neigh­bor. As Jesus said, all the com­mand­ments are summed up in love of God and love of neighbor.

May we acknowl­edge God as the Lord, grow in love for Him, and serve Him by lov­ing our neighbor!

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Living a holy life: Reflections on Today’s Sunday Mass Readings

Today’s Sun­day Mass read­ings have sev­eral themes. We will talk about two of those key themes in depth.

1. Reject­ing a life of sin and turn­ing to God

Excerpt from the first reading:

Seek the LORD while He may be found, call Him while He is near.
Let the scoundrel for­sake his way, and the wicked his thoughts; let him turn to the LORD for mercy;
to our God, who is gen­er­ous in for­giv­ing. …” ~ Isa­iah 55: 6–8

It is impor­tant to turn away from sin now. “… Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of sal­va­tion.” (2 Corinthi­ans 6:2) One should not per­sist in sin or assume that he or she will have time to turn away from sin later. First of all, sin is an offense against God. Sec­ondly, it dam­ages our soul and dis­tances us from God. What if a per­son dies before finally choos­ing to turn away from sin? By per­sist­ing in sin, a per­son risks spend­ing eter­nity in hell or at the very least, the per­son might have to spend time in Pur­ga­tory before enter­ing the glory of Heaven.

Fur­ther­more, the Holy Scrip­tures say that Christ’s Final Return, His Sec­ond Com­ing, will come “like a thief in the night” (1 Thes­sa­lo­ni­ans 5:2). Some­one who is per­sist­ing in a life of sin will not be pre­pared when Jesus returns.

 As soon as we real­ize that we have sinned, we should be sorry for offend­ing God by sin­ning and then seek His for­give­ness. One can imme­di­ately say the Act of Con­tri­tion prayer and then go to Con­fes­sion as soon as pos­si­ble.  Then we should begin or con­tinue a life of prayer start­ing with the daily Rosary in order to stay free from sin, grow in holi­ness, and live in a state of grace.

2. Work­ing for the sal­va­tion of souls (Evangelization)

Excerpt from the Gospel reading:

Jesus told His dis­ci­ples this para­ble: ‘The king­dom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire his labor­ers for the vineyard. …

And he went out again around noon,
and around three o’clock, and did like­wise.
Going out about five o’clock,
the landowner found oth­ers stand­ing around, and said to them,
‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’
He said to them, ‘You too go into My vine­yard.’
When it was evening the owner of the vine­yard said to his fore­man, ‘Sum­mon the labor­ers and give them their pay …’ ” ~Matthew 20 (1, 5–8)

 

Jesus is the landowner who gives each per­son a task to com­plete dur­ing life. This task is meant to be our means of per­sonal sanc­ti­fi­ca­tion and the sal­va­tion of oth­ers around us. All our work should be ori­ented towards the glory of God and the sal­va­tion of souls. We are all work­ers in Jesus’ vine­yard. Some peo­ple are priests or reli­gious (nuns, sis­ters, broth­ers) and oth­ers are lay peo­ple (mar­ried or sin­gle). We all have a unique role to play in the evan­ge­liza­tion of the world. We must be ambas­sadors of Christ who by our actions and words bring oth­ers to Jesus Christ so that they might have eter­nal life.

Prayer must be the source of strength for all our work. Prayer is also in itself a form of work. We must pray each day for guid­ance in our work and specif­i­cally for the con­ver­sion of sin­ners and the sal­va­tion of souls.

On an indi­vid­ual level, the ‘evening’ as men­tioned in the para­ble can refer to the end of one’s earthly life. At the same time, on a larger scale, the ‘evening’ as men­tioned in the para­ble, refers to the end of the world and the final Judg­ment when Jesus returns and rewards each per­son accord­ing to how they spent their time on earth.

 “Look, I am com­ing soon! My reward is with Me, and I will give to each per­son accord­ing to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Begin­ning and the End.”~ Rev­e­la­tion 22: 12–13

 

Let us all strive to turn away from sin, lead lives of holi­ness, and to work for the sal­va­tion of souls!

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The Word of God

 

God spoke and the world and the uni­verse existed. By His pow­er­ful Word, He brought forth all things. He has spo­ken to human­ity in many ways through­out time. He speaks silently and unceas­ingly through His Creation.

He has also spo­ken to human­ity through the Holy Bible for it is truly His Word. God’s Word is a pow­er­ful source of instruc­tion, wis­dom, strength, peace, joy, encour­age­ment, hope, and guidance.

12 For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pen­e­trates even to divid­ing soul and spirit, joints and mar­row; it judges the thoughts and atti­tudes of the heart.~Hebrews 4:12

But He answered and said, “It is writ­ten, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that pro­ceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” ~Matthew 4:4

I have restrained my feet from every evil way, That I may keep Your Word. … 103 How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104 Through Your pre­cepts I get under­stand­ing; There­fore I hate every false way.105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.~ Psalm 119: 100–105

Fur­ther­more, it is impor­tant to be recep­tive and well-disposed to hear the Word of God so that His Word will bear fruit in our lives. The Para­ble of the Sower from last Sunday’s Gospel read­ing empha­sizes this point.

Excerpt from the Para­ble of the Sower:
” ‘A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky ground, where it had lit­tle soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,
and when the sun rose it was scorched,
and it with­ered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.
But some seed fell on rich soil, and pro­duced fruit,
a hun­dred or sixty or thir­ty­fold.
Who­ever has ears ought to hear.’ 

… ‘Hear then the para­ble of the sower.
The seed sown on the path is the one
who hears the word of the king­dom with­out under­stand­ing it,
and the evil one comes and steals away
what was sown in his heart.
The seed sown on rocky ground
is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy.
But he has no root and lasts only for a time.
When some tribu­la­tion or per­se­cu­tion comes because of the word, he imme­di­ately falls away.
The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word,
but then worldly anx­i­ety and the lure of riches choke the word
and it bears no fruit.
But the seed sown on rich soil
is the one who hears the word and under­stands it,
who indeed bears fruit and yields a hun­dred or sixty or thir­ty­fold.” ~Matthew 13

The Word of God in our daily lives

Make time in your day to read the Bible to be nour­ished spir­i­tu­ally, and grow in faith, knowl­edge, and love of God.

Prayer

One can even incor­po­rate the word of God into daily prayer such as pray­ing the Scrip­tural Rosary. The Scrip­tural Rosary pro­vides a Bible verse to think about as you pray each Hail Mary accord­ing to the par­tic­u­lar mys­tery. For exam­ple, one of the scrip­tures pro­vided for the Third Joy­ful mys­tery (The Birth of Jesus) is: “Today in the town of David, a Sav­ior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

The Liturgy of the Hours is another form of prayer which is based on the Holy Scrip­tures– espe­cially the Psalms.

Apply­ing the Word of God to our lives

Once we know the word of God, we must then obey His word and put the word of God into prac­tice in our lives. In fact, it is through obe­di­ence to God that He fills us with His grace, strength and wis­dom to enable us to live holy lives in the midst of var­i­ous sit­u­a­tions and cir­cum­stances. Obe­di­ence to God’s Word comes from love of God.

22 But be doers of the word, and not hear­ers only …~James 1: 22

The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoic­ing the heart;
The com­mand­ment of the Lord is pure, enlight­en­ing the eyes;
The fear of the Lord is clean, endur­ing for­ever;
The judg­ments of the Lord are true and right­eous alto­gether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the hon­ey­comb.
11 More­over by them Your ser­vant is warned,
And in keep­ing them there is great reward.”~Psalm 19: 8–11

23 Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” ~ John 14:23

The Holy Mass

Dur­ing the Holy Mass, we receive Christ, who is God,  in Word and Sacra­ment. Dur­ing the Liturgy of the Word, we hear pas­sages of the Bible. It is God Him­self who always speaks to our hearts through the Bible pas­sages. Let us give due respect and honor to the Word of God dur­ing the Holy Mass. For exam­ple, it is nec­es­sary to arrive early or on time to Mass in order to hear God’s Word. Fur­ther­more, we must lis­ten atten­tively in order to under­stand His Word and apply what we learn to our daily lives. We should lis­ten atten­tively to the priest’s homily because Jesus works through the priest to help us under­stand His Word and apply it to our daily lives. (Note: Using elec­tronic devices or even read­ing the Church bul­letin dur­ing Mass are dis­trac­tions which pre­vent a per­son from hon­or­ing and under­stand­ing His Word.)

Dur­ing the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we truly receive Jesus in Holy Com­mu­nion. We receive Jesus’ Body, Blood, Soul, and Divin­ity in Holy Communion.

Jesus is the Word who became flesh through the Incarnation.

In the begin­ning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the begin­ning with God. All things were made through Him, and with­out Him noth­ing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the dark­ness, and the dark­ness did not com­pre­hend[a] it. . … 14 The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. ~ John 1: 1–5,14

Thus, we receive the “Word become flesh” in Holy Communion.

May the Word of God bring you peace, con­so­la­tion, joy, hope, guid­ance, and knowl­edge of God. May His Word enrich and trans­form your lives so that you grow in holi­ness every day!

 

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Trust in God

 

Trust in God is an essen­tial virtue that comes from faith in God. Trust in God frees us from fear, worry, and anx­i­ety. Thus, trust­ing God is essen­tial for true and endur­ing peace of heart, hope, and perseverance.

Since our lives are full of joys as well as strug­gles, we must strive to per­se­vere in trust­ing God espe­cially when it is the most difficult.

It helps to fre­quently recall that God is the Cre­ator of the Uni­verse who also cre­ated each one of us. By His pow­er­ful Word, He brought all life into exis­tence and con­tin­ues to sus­tain all liv­ing things. He is all-mighty, all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good. The dis­ci­ples learned a les­son about trust­ing God when their boat was caught in a storm.

23 Then He got into the boat and His dis­ci­ples fol­lowed Him. 24 Sud­denly a furi­ous storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleep­ing. 25 The dis­ci­ples went and woke Him, say­ing, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of lit­tle faith, why are you so afraid?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was com­pletely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!”

God is infi­nitely pow­er­ful. Since Jesus is God, He has power over all things includ­ing nature. It is God who con­stantly helps us in all of our needs. “Behold God is my helper, the Lord is the one who sus­tains me.” (Psalm 54:4) We should bring to God all of our trou­bles, cares, prob­lems, and needs, and He will help us. 

We can also trust Him because He loves us. Since He loves us, He knows and does what is best for each one of us in light of eter­nity. In other words, He takes into account what will bring us closer to Him and thus be for our eter­nal sal­va­tion and that of others.

Here are some Bible pas­sage about trust­ing God:

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
    whose con­fi­dence is in Him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
    that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
    its leaves are always green.
It has no wor­ries in a year of drought
    and never fails to bear fruit.”~ Jere­miah 17: 7–8

Why, my soul, are you down­cast? Why so dis­turbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Sav­ior and my God.” ~Psalm 42:11

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may over­flow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” ~ Romans 15:13

You will keep in per­fect peace
    those whose minds are stead­fast,
    because they trust in You.” ~Isa­iah 26:3

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from Him.
6 Truly He is my rock and my sal­va­tion;
 He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My sal­va­tion and my honor depend on God;
 He is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in Him at all times, you peo­ple;
pour out your hearts to Him,
for God is our refuge.”~ Psalm 62: 5–8

… The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts. I was helped, my heart rejoices. …”~Psalm 28: 6–7

 May you grow in holi­ness as you trust in God each day!

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The Solemnity of the Ascension of Jesus

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The Solem­nity of the Ascen­sion of Jesus is cel­e­brated on the for­ti­eth day after Easter Sun­day, the Thurs­day after the Sixth Sun­day of Easter. How­ever, some Catholic provinces observe the Solem­nity of the Ascen­sion on the Sun­day after the Sixth Sun­day of Easter. Some dio­ce­ses observed this Solem­nity on May 29th and oth­ers cel­e­brated this Solem­nity yes­ter­day (June 1st).
 
 This Solem­nity hon­ors the day of Jesus’  bod­ily ascen­sion into Heaven forty days after  His Resurrection.
 
From the Mass Read­ings for the Ascen­sion of Jesus:
 
Excerpt from the First Reading:
“In the first book, Theophilus,
I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught
until the day He was taken up,
after giv­ing instruc­tions through the Holy Spirit
to the apos­tles whom He had cho­sen.
He pre­sented him­self alive to them
by many proofs after He had suf­fered,
appear­ing to them dur­ing forty days
and speak­ing about the king­dom of God. …

When they had gath­ered together they asked Him,
‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the king­dom to Israel?’ He answered them, ‘It is not for you to know the times or sea­sons that the Father has estab­lished by His own author­ity.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be My wit­nesses in Jerusalem,
through­out Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.’

When He had said this, as they were look­ing on,
He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him from their sight.
While they were look­ing intently at the sky as He was going,
sud­denly two men dressed in white gar­ments stood beside them.
They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why are you stand­ing there look­ing at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen Him going into heaven.’ ”~Acts 1:1–11
Gospel Read­ing:
” The eleven dis­ci­ples went to Galilee,
to the moun­tain to which Jesus had ordered them.
When they saw Him, they wor­shiped, but they doubted.
Then Jesus approached and said to them,
‘All power in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.
Go, there­fore, and make dis­ci­ples of all nations,
bap­tiz­ing them in the Name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
teach­ing them to observe all that I have com­manded you.
And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the world.’ “~ Matthew 28:16–20
 
 This cel­e­bra­tion of this Solem­nity rekin­dles in us the zeal to: evan­ge­lize the world, pre­pare for the Sec­ond Com­ing of Jesus, and have a lively hope of eter­nal life with God.
 
We are reminded that every Chris­t­ian is called to evan­ge­lize– to bring the news of sal­va­tion to the ends of the earth. Wher­ever you are on earth, you are called to evan­ge­lize, to spread the word that Jesus Christ is the Sav­ior of the world and that through Him, there is the for­give­ness of sins and the hope of ever­last­ing life! It is impor­tant to remem­ber that evan­ge­liza­tion begins right where you are– in your home, with your friends, fam­ily, and peo­ple in your com­mu­nity. God strate­gi­cally places peo­ple through­out the world in dif­fer­ent coun­tries, states of life (priests, reli­gious, laypeo­ple), and pro­fes­sions in order to work through them to bring about the con­ver­sion of sin­ners and the ulti­mate sal­va­tion of souls.
 
We are reminded that we must pre­pare for the Sec­ond Com­ing of Jesus.  Jesus will return. Only God the Father knows the day and the hour, but we must live lives of holi­ness so that when He returns, He will find us ready to meet Him. To grow in holi­ness, we must turn away from sin and seek God more than ever by daily prayer, fre­quent Con­fes­sion (once a week or once a month), attend­ing Mass daily or fre­quently or at least every Sun­day includ­ing receiv­ing Holy Com­mu­nion. We must also pre­pare for Jesus’ Sec­ond Com­ing by doing works of char­ity and mercy. It is impor­tant to note that the great­est work of char­ity is bring­ing oth­ers to Jesus that they too may be saved and have eter­nal life. Fur­ther­more, we must resolve to serve God in all we do.
 
“For in just a lit­tle while,
  He who is com­ing will come
    and will not delay.”
 ~Hebrews 10:37
 
We are reminded that we have the hope of eter­nal life. God Him­self offers us eter­nal life!
 
When Jesus  ascended into Heaven, He returned to God His Father. By the mer­its of Jesus’ death on the cross and glo­ri­ous res­ur­rec­tion, we too can spend eter­nity with God in Heaven at the end of our earthly lives. God wants us to spend eter­nity with Him in Heaven after our earthly lives. It is we who can choose eter­nal life with Him by the way we live our earthly lives.
 
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that who­ever believes in Him should not per­ish but have eter­nal life.”~John 3:16
 
“See, I set before you today life and pros­per­ity, death and destruc­tion. 16 For I com­mand you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obe­di­ence to Him, and to keep His com­mands, decrees and laws; then you will live …” ~Deuteron­omy 30: 15–16
 
*It is not enough to know about Jesus, but we must also have faith in Him, love Him, and serve Him.  The way that we show our love for Jesus, who is God, is by being obe­di­ent to Him and putting what He said into prac­tice in our lives.
 
 Obey­ing God means that we strive to serve God in accord with His will for our lives. Obey­ing God also means that we must turn away from sin. It is impor­tant to recall that sin is an offense against God. We must ask for God’s grace to turn away from sin because we do not want to offend God whom we love and because com­mit­ting sin can put the soul in dan­ger of spend­ing eter­nity in Hell. When we real­ize the we have sinned, we must first remem­ber that God is mer­ci­ful! He will for­give us through the Sacra­ment of Con­fes­sion (Penance or Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion) if we are truly sorry for our sins and desire to amend our lives.
 
 
May the Ascen­sion of Jesus renew your zeal to bring oth­ers to Christ, to pre­pare for Jesus’ Sec­ond Com­ing, and to hope for eter­nal life!
 
 
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Matthew 5:14,16

 Holiday Candle

 

14 “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill can­not be hid. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before oth­ers, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.                                                                                                                                                                               Matthew 5:14,16                                                                                                                                                                                 

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