07/30/2017 - "THE LOVE OF CHRIST IMPELS US SO THAT THOSE WHO LIVE MAY LIVE NO LONGER FOR THEMSELVES BUT FOR HIM WHO DIED FOR THEM AND WAS RAISED!" 2 COR 14:15

This past Sunday, the Bride of Jesus asked our Father to open the heavens and shower an abundance of His grace and blessings upon you! And that which is extraordinary is that the Bride of Jesus, Mother Church, no matter where you are at right now, cold, indifferent, lost, confused, hurting or free and on fire, she asked this gift to be given to each and every one of you! And because our Father loves the Church and loves us His children, He did answer her prayers and a downpour of His blessings did take place!

AN OUTPOURING OF THE GIFTS OF FAITH, HOPE AND CHARITY

In the opening prayer, the Collect, Mother Church asked the Father to “mercifully increase the gifts of His grace” so that we might be set afire with faith, hope, and charity. Let’s take a closer look at these three gifts.

THE GIFT OF FAITH answers a fundamental question that arises in our hearts “who am I?” In the words of St. John Paul II, the only person who can reveal to you who you are is not your spouse, your mom or dad, your best friend, your boyfriend, your boss or your neighbor but Jesus and Jesus alone. It is only when you stand in faith before the Cross of the Son of God and experience Him loving you and you responding by loving Him back do you discover who you are: you are loved! This experience and knowledge is foundational and life changing. You wake up and know that you are loved. As you go through your day and encounter difficulties or trials, your faith is not shaken because you know that your Father is good and loving and would never abandon you. At the end of your day, you rest well at night because you know that in His love for you, He never ceases to watch over you!

THE GIFT OF HOPE answers another fundamental question that stirs in our being “where am I going?” As you take the hand of Jesus and begin to journey through life, Jesus loves to speak to you of His Father. He loves to speak to you about His Father’s kingdom, this glorious place where there will be no more pain, no more suffering, no more anguish, and where at the end of your life’s journey, your Father will stoop down to wipe the tears from your eyes!

THE GIFT OF CHARITY answers the fundamental question of “how am I going to get there?” Love, following in the footsteps of Jesus, is the only way home. When I fall into a rut or routine and start doing things because “I have to” or “I need to” or “I am obliged to” life loses its flavor and zest. When we do things, when we do all things for love, life becomes beautiful and we rediscover a passion about being alive! Our Lord has shown us the greatest of loves by laying down His life for us on the Cross and He calls us to love one another in the very same way!

WHO ARE YOU LIVING YOUR LIFE FOR?

If you don’t know the answers to these three fundamental questions, then you will not know peace on this earth and you will live for yourself. When you live for yourself, you are a weed, and the end of your life’s journey will not finish in our Father’s loving embrace. There is an obstacle that prevents us from being bathed in our Father’s outpouring of the gifts of faith, hope, and charity: it is a SPIRITUAL UMBRELLA. This spiritual umbrella sounds like this: I can’t; It’s impossible; There’s no way!’ Not a chance. This outlook on life does not correspond to who we are and to all that our Lord has done, and desires to do, for us. This negative outlook on life is the spiritual umbrella that closes us off from the fullness of life in Christ. And herein lies the poison: this negative outlook on life, life in general, carries over to our life in Christ, to our worship on Sunday: we enter our Father’s house with this spiritual umbrella. This spiritual umbrella usually comes from our own experience of hurt or failure. We really tried to earn something and we failed and or we were really let down by someone else.

WHAT TO DO?

I’ve got some really Good News! When it comes to our Father, you don’t have to earn His love and blessing. You simply need to put down your umbrella and accept with open arms and heart His outpouring of love and blessings upon your life!

Whatever your plans are for this week, let’s remember to keep each other in prayer.

In Jesus and Mary,

Fr. Michael