Jun 12, 2021

Gardening Kingdom

 


We often hear this phrase, “The Kingdom of God ''.  We even pray, “Thy Kingdom Come”.  This “Kingdom” was the hallmark of Our Lord’s teaching and preaching.  He kept referring to a Kingdom - not a Kingdom in the sense of a government with laws that would regulate the lives of its citizens.  

Instead, this “Kingdom of God '' looked forward to a time, an event, to circumstances when God’s influence would completely shape people’s lives and their relationships with each other, without any form of resistance. For they would see God in their midst, as Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden before their fall. 

Christ the New Adam and Mary the New Eve provide for each one of us individually, and for the Church at large a model to restore that Garden Kingdom of Paradise - heaven on earth. 


Ever so gently, without fear or panic, planting seeds, little seeds here and there, deep in the soil of our hearts and souls, Christ provides us with his own example of patience, gentleness, never losing an opportunity to teach us by his words, by his own example of healing and through his own standard of divine justice and mercy. 


Christ himself is the embodiment of the Kingdom of God. But remember how He was treated when He did not meet our expectations or our standards of what a kingdom should be - He was crucified to death with a mocked title above his head - "King of the Jews". 


If Christ's Kingdom is not of this world's making, how do we participate in that Kingdom?  We do so, by embodying Christ Himself.  


Last week we celebrated the great solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ.  Through our participation in this great sacrament, we can allow Christ to embody us.  And by doing so, we must allow Him to influence every aspect of our lives and our relationships, how we relate to those around us, especially the weak and the vulnerable who need our protection.  The Kingdom of God, is the restoration of God’s garden, The sacred place of encounter between heaven and earth.


The small mustard seeds of faith planted and tested in the lives of the first Christians two thousand years ago have over time grown into a large tree that spreads her branches far and wide.  In our long history, we have experienced at times great growth, at other times famine. This great tree has at times been attacked and wounded. Other times, it has been dormant and looked dead and neglected.  But it’s roots, formed by the seed planted by Christ himself, the sacrifice of His body buried in the earth, continue to be fed by his life giving Body and Blood


So,  when we look around at the world, or even when we don’t see the flowers blooming from the Tree of Life, be assured, in every generation seeds have fallen to the ground.  And when the time is right, and only God knows when, the good seeds we have planted will grow and flourish into a great and bountiful harvest for future generations.  


So, in the meantime, be patient, be Christ-like, and look to the future with hope. God’s Kingdom will in time embrace the whole world and Christ’s Sacred Heart with reign over all creation, and the Church, will in time, like Mary’s Immaculate Heart, come to reflect the assurance of God’s loving presence on earth as it is in heaven.


11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Substance of Heaven



Today’s great feast day of Corpus Christi, reminds us that the bread that he gives us, is not the stuff that fills our stomach. He feeds us through his eternal priesthood – by the sacrifice of his body and blood he offers to his Father on our behalf. This is what priesthood is – like Melchizedek, offering sacrifice.    


The bread and wine that we place on this altar, counts for little – it is little.  But in the hands of Christ the eternal priest, it becomes his own life-giving body and blood – Christ becomes our food in the wilderness of the world. 


This is by no means allegorical, or a metaphor. Time and space as we experience it, blocks our vision of what angels and the saints of heaven perceive. From our perspective, we have only a temporal reference point to look towards - the visual of bread and wine. But when we do what the Lord commanded us to do at his Last Supper, the eternal God enters time and place at the coordinates of this altar. The bread and wine we place upon it are, by God's power and design, brought into complete and perfected union with the resurrected and eternal Christ. In such a unique encounter between heaven and earth, between time and eternity, our bread and wine have no choice but to “evolve” in to the first fruits of the new creation,  the resurrected Body and Blood of Jesus Christ who, in all his power and glory, intercedes for us before the throne of our heavenly Father. 


Even though from here, we can not see, nor taste this substance of heaven on earth, when we eat and drink of the Eucharistic elements, our frail and broken bodies are guided, locked into communion with Christ's body and blood in heaven. This can be as painful as it is beautiful. Painful, because Holy Communion alerts us to our unworthiness, our sinfulness - we are imperfect, unfinished. It is beautiful because the gift of Holy Communion gives us hope that we, and all of creation, will be brought to our finality in Christ himself.


In the meantime, as people of faith and hope, as children of Abraham we journey through this world with the expectation that it will blossom with new life, that all creation with eventually be changed into the substance of Christ himself. As we wait in joyful hope, let us be ever more conscious of our deepest hunger for the Bread that feeds and satisfies angels and heavenly saints - the Bread of Eternity, Christ himself and approach this altar with holy fear, gratitude and thanksgiving for the greatest gift heaven can give us on earth.

Today’s great feast day of Corpus Christi, reminds us that the bread that he gives us, is not the stuff that fills our stomach. He feeds us through his eternal priesthood – by the sacrifice of his body and blood he offers to his Father on our behalf. This is what priesthood is – like Melchizedek, offering sacrifice.    


The bread and wine that we place on this altar, counts for little – it is little.  But in the hands of Christ the eternal priest, it becomes his own life-giving body and blood – Christ becomes our food in the wilderness of the world. 


This is by no means allegorical, or a metaphor. Time and space as we experience it, blocks our vision of what angels and the saints of heaven perceive. From our perspective, we have only a temporal reference point to look towards - the visual of bread and wine. But when we do what the Lord commanded us to do at his Last Supper, the eternal God enters time and place at the coordinates of this altar. The bread and wine we place upon it are, by God's power and design, brought into complete and perfected union with the resurrected and eternal Christ. In such a unique encounter between heaven and earth, between time and eternity, our bread and wine have no choice but to “evolve” in to the first fruits of the new creation,  the resurrected Body and Blood of Jesus Christ who, in all his power and glory, intercedes for us before the throne of our heavenly Father. 


Even though from here, we can not see, nor taste this substance of heaven on earth, when we eat and drink of the Eucharistic elements, our frail and broken bodies are guided, locked into communion with Christ's body and blood in heaven. This can be as painful as it is beautiful. Painful, because Holy Communion alerts us to our unworthiness, our sinfulness - we are imperfect, unfinished. It is beautiful because the gift of Holy Communion gives us hope that we, and all of creation, will be brought to our finality in Christ himself.


In the meantime, as people of faith and hope, as children of Abraham we journey through this world with the expectation that it will blossom with new life, that all creation with eventually be changed into the substance of Christ himself. As we wait in joyful hope, let us be ever more conscious of our deepest hunger for the Bread that feeds and satisfies angels and heavenly saints - the Bread of Eternity, Christ himself and approach this altar with holy fear, gratitude and thanksgiving for the greatest gift heaven can give us on earth.

Jun 2, 2021

God


The Most Blessed Trinity
The Lover, Being Loved, In Love

Three Homilies in One

As soon as one hears or speaks the words, “In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”, there is the overwhelming temptation to either bless oneself or respond “Amen”. In many ways, it’s muscle memory, defined as “the ability to reproduce a particular movement without conscious thought, acquired as a result of frequent repetition”!

Of course, in our theological language, we automatically identify God as a Trinity. "What" is the Almighty? One God. "Who" is the one God? The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit.  We can draw diagrams, use symbols and offer allegories to help explain the three distinct divine persons united as one God. But that's as far as we can go. Human language and imagination will never understand or fathom this divine reality and mystery.  Such an intellectual response is hardly personal. But, how God responds to you and me, is always personal.

That’s why we must always begin with Jesus Christ, God’s self portrait. Jesus Christ is God being personal with you and me, inviting us even into His own experience of being God - the divine love between Father and Son.  Simply put, God is Love, pure and simple. God within Himself is the Lover, Being Loved, In Love - the Father Loving His Son, Both eternally held in the Holy Spirit Who is the Life of Love.

Of course, our experience of this type of relationship is limited to our own experience or only as great as our best imagination. But Christ continually invites you and me into His very own perfect relationship that He enjoys with the Father - a relationship of the most perfect love between two persons that can ever exist, not contained or constrained, not even by time itself.

Christ invites all of us, all humanity, through His Body and Blood, into the very "divine life" of the One He dares to call “Father”, “Abba”. And that Divine Love - is not a force or a feeling - it has It's own unique personality - in a manner of speaking, the Divine Love between Father and Son can “stand on its own two feet”, bring down mountains and build them up again, create life and evoke fear and wonder; yes - the divine person is the Holy Spirit. Therefore a Christian, filled with God the Holy Spirit, with the same breath of Christ can dare to call God, Father - "Abba".

But here is some practical advice. Don't try to get your head around this! Instead, get your heart around Christ and you will find and experience the greatest intimacy, His very life that God desires to share and draw us into.

What does this mean? The Trinity, that is one God perfectly united as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is not conceptual nor imaginative.  God is relational within His own being and with all creation, ourselves particularly and personally.


Gardening Kingdom

  We often hear this phrase, “The Kingdom of God ''.  We even pray, “Thy Kingdom Come”.  This “Kingdom” was the hallmark of Our Lord...