Jesus tells us that He did not come to abolish the old law but to fulfill it. We are Judeo-Christians. This fact makes our religion over 10,000 years in the making. It comes to us today after the Jews believed in one God and stayed with their strange belief (at the time), after Christ walked the earth, after the Early Church Fathers, after the early martyrs, after Constantine, after the Doctors of the Church, after numerous saints and changes (for the good and for the not so good) right up into the 21st century. What Catholics face today (the secularized world, the relativism of most of the people we come in contact with, or the out and out hatred of our faith as manipulated by the media, the abortion acceptance to the point where it is viewed as a woman’s freedom without regard to the baby’s demise) may make it seem impossible to be a happy Catholic. Today is just more of the same. I don’t know how great our nation can be if it approves the murders of our innocent. They have injected themselves into a women’s womb and call those opposed to it – the far right, as if a direction can describe you or me.
What is asked of us today? We are asked to defend our faith by being the salt of the earth, the light of the world (last week’s message) by walking away from gossip quietly, by not “picking and choosing” what we believe as if our little minds know all of truth, by wearing a crucifix without shame, by being the lady or gentleman God would approve of. We can help the lost by our willingness to listen, feed the hungry offering something to one poorer than we are, and by donating our clothing to a thrift store. We have so much…even the poorer among us…but we know the fulfillment of the law. We know we will be answerable to Him for what we did with our “talents”. Just being a nice man or woman is not enough. Jesus is our example and still is, even as we enjoy satellite radio and surfing the Internet.
We are here to stand up for a better world. We don’t need our fists in the air to do so. We need to turn our will and lives over to God…to have a God conscience in the minutes we have left of our life.
Today’s gospel message from Our Lord tells us that our responsibility in the world is to be the salt of the earth, the light of the world. Because salt adds flavor to food and preserves its freshness, it is very important in our daily lives. To be the salt of the earth to me means to be a good person with virtuous character. We have to become God conscious. If we turn our will and our life over to God and stay conscious of His guidance, it won’t be hard to be a good example. We don’t need to be conscious of ourselves. We must forget ourselves! We need to be conscious of others. If we forget about our needs, our wants, our desires, we can better focus on others. After a while, it will be easy. If we pray to do God’s will, we will naturally forget our will. The end result is that people will notice your kindness, your concern for your fellow man, and your happiness with the simple things in life.
Many people live in darkness today. They may have a great job, much money, many toys; but their world can still be shaded in lonliness, anger, addictions, etc. To be the light of the world would mean (to me) being a ray of sunshine in a dull day’s sky. In order to get to the light, I guess you have to get out of the darknesses you call your life and try something different. Change in attitude and behavior is paramount to heading toward the light. If we aim for the light we will become a light and not even know it.
The materialism and the hedonism flowing in our society scares me. The beautitudes are the opposite of success in this world. The news, even the weather, is manufactured to makes us bite our nails and/or not talk to our neighbors. Jesus said to love our neighbors as ourselves, but heck, we don’t even converse with them. The shows on television put down men, women and children. If television portrayed the only view of life, I wouldn’t go outside. The headlines are reserved for the next psychotic to perform a horrendous act.
Well, I’m rambling. Just wanted to comment on being the salt of the earth and the light of the world. We don’t have to be anything out of the ordinary to be thus. We just have to continue trying to be the best person we can be. And, we don’t have to be bored doing it. We will be busy until we lay down and die because the battle with self is just as bazaare as the crazy world we live in.
I wrote a book entitled “Lost in the Crowd: Memoir of the First Baby Boomer” which is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Authorhouse. It’s my story of being raised in the innocent 50’s when most people didn’t ask questions or deviate from the norm, and then my plunge into the 60’s and 70’s and then life after all that.
I was raised in a small town/big borough of Norristown, Pennsylvania and set about growing up and giving up. Today I am a happy Catholic and feel very close to God as I understand Him.
Thanks for checking it out!
Kate Haberland, The Happy Catholic
Christmas means a lot of things to a lot of people. For me, December 25th is a holy, miraculous day. It is a time, a season to prepare ourselves. To truly believe that God became man makes the commemoration of this most important day and most important moment in history imperative. Of all the moments, of all the days, this one is most important. The God man is born. What a loving God we have who humbled Himself to become one of us. Imagine the love! Imagine the humility! Of all the kindnesses, all the wonderment, all the beautious moments in life! May my heart and all hearts welcome Him!
I read somewhere that in order to keep life simple, we have to get into the habit of making decisions so that no matter what happens in life we make up our minds to either change or accept. It isn’t the losses, the hurts or the fears that cause trouble in life. It is the refusal to make up our minds whether to accept it or change it. Staying in the middle leads to emotional turmoil. Making a decision will simplify anyone’s life. Today’s first reading was about Job. His usual reaction to problems or successes is “The Lord giveth; and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” He kept life simple.
Another contribution to making life unmanageable is the danger of resentments. Almost all problems can be tied to resentments. We hang on to our hurts. We re-feel and re-feel the hurt, which complicates every action. It is amazing to what lengths resentful people will go just to get even. To simplify our life, we need to practice letting things go.
There is a new commercial where a meeting takes place to find the answer to a problem. One of the attendees suggests “blamestorming”. Are we blamestorming others for the problems in our life? If we are, expect to feel miserable for a while. Until you see your part in your own misery, you will continue to flounder around in a problematic life.
I don’t say I have all the answers. Perhaps I can say I have one. In order to make my life simpler, I need to make a decision about changing something or accepting something.
I’ve learned to rely on the Holy Spirit’s gift of wisdom before I read or write something of a spiritual nature. I’ve learned to rely on the same gift whenever my husband and I don’t see eye to eye on an issue. I leave the room and pray for the Holy Spirit to give me a new perspective on the issue. I ask that he clarify my thoughts or change my mind depending on what is rushing through my head at the time. It always works.
Today is the feast of Pentecost…the birthday of the Church. It marks the end of the Easter season and the beginning of what is called ordinary time. On ordinary days in ordinary time I can strive to be ordinary myself – not better or worse than others. Ordinary time seems like a lackluster name for this time of year. However, it reminds me that I am just another Bozo on the bus, but that us Bozos can make a difference in the world. In my contacts during these ordinary days, I can pray for insight and understanding in my daily life. Funny ordinary time is marked with bright flowers and green trees and lawns and a variety of birds. Maybe that is the Father’s gift to us as we try to live each day as if it were the most important day of our lives. It is anyhow. Whether we are aware of it or not, the present moment is the most important time. Like the Hail Mary which tells us the most important times in our lives “now and at the hour of our death”, let us stay conscious of the presence of the Holy Spirit. His gifts are a tremendous boost to me. Jesus wanted to send us the Paraclete. We must surely need Him.
Let us, like the early Christians, invoke the Holy Spirit to come into our hearts, minds and souls at this moment so that we may live a life full of wisdom, awareness and love.
Peace be with you!
The Cross of Christ reveals God’s love for us because that is where he redeemed us fully and finally for his purposes. At this most poetic time of the year, let us embrace His cross and the love He showed for us and for all people. Let us begin to love God with all our hearts, minds and souls. Let us begin again to love others, to see the Christ in each one of them.
The world is busy whirling and bringing new and different events into our existence, wanted or not. The world contains more and more deviation from our calling to love that it takes the strength of many just to stay focused on our mission. Let us remember, as the forsythia and hyacynths blossom, that their beauty is nothing in comparison to God’s world. They are a foretaste of heaven. The best information available to us is the knowledge of God as He revealed Himself through the prophets of the Old Testament and through His Son in the new.
While the world twirls around, let us get still and live in the Word of God. Let us meditate on love and supernatural beauty. Let us be open to the new people who come into our lives and the new life that comes into ourselves and others. This is a time of renewal. When Christ resides within us, we die to our life and awaken into His glorious resurrection.
May God bless us all! Happy Easter
If we are to believe all the commercials on television, we will have friends, prosperity and a great life if we just buy their products…their cars, their lipstick, or their steamed vegetables. They continually guarantee a better life by flying to a resort for a wild vacation, or getting the right hair color. Life seems like a series of spending sprees and wild relationships. If one never went outside of the house, they might believe it.
However, those of us in the real world have to get out of a perfectly comfortable bed to go to a job where we are unappreciated and underpaid. Perhaps the car won’t start or our children continue to fight and make a mess of the house. Maybe we are afraid that we are going to lose our jobs and will fall victim to a life of total fear with no money in sight. Whatever our dilemma, we know better than to believe what we are sold about life. But, if that is all you see, it can seem like you are out of step with the rest of the parade.
If we go through life the hard way, like most of us do, we learn that we have to depend on a power greater than ourselves. On our own, we will not make it. God is the power I seek because without God I am just another blade of grass with no purpose. When I connect with God and, more, when I give my life over to God and ask Him to guide my thoughts, my words and my actions. I must die to myself (realize that of myself I am nothing…the opposite of all the commercials) and live in Jesus. I must take on the armor of God and face the world with hope, love and the gift of faith. I must add to the world. I must not take advantage of people or try to outsmart the Creator. Each day this is an important decision…to humbly ask God to take our lives and bless them and make them holy by His grace.
When I am conscious of this in the early morning before the world actually wakes up, I get the right start. This right start is more than a nutrious breakfast cereal that gives us important vitamins. It is the right start on yet another journey – one I hope to live in peace following the love of my life.
If we do not believe in God little in life makes sense. Life becomes situations where the only response could be to ask why. I found the more I tried to find out the why of things, the more questions popped up. I existed in the circle of questions. Without acceptance of God, there are no answers.
Some say that man invented God. It would make some sense if man invented life or miracles in life like the iris, the squirrel or the ocean. We didn’t. We are the highest level of intelligence in the world and yet we can’t explain love or a rainbow or a duck. We think ourselves intelligent, but what do we know of anything. We can attest to our own experiences in life, but we cannot explain our own existence.
It is springtime. The bright sun, the bright flowers and the bright blue sky demonstrate a power greater than ourselves. We did not design this beautiful planet, yet we give little testament to its Creator. We are responsible for a lot wrong in our world, but we seldom take the blame. In fact, we pass it on to the Creator. We blame easily. We thank seldom.
Who do we think we are? Our ego is a phenonmenon that challenges description. How can a lowly being claim to be all he thinks about? How can we think we are above others when the similarities are striking. We are capable of great acts and just as capable of barbarous acts. We can love with abandon and hate with a vengence.
The only life that makes sense to me (after a lot of years chasing false gods) is one of following the One Who Is All. The only happiness I garnered is in helping others and forgetting myself. There is a God and I’m not He. Let me give thanks and praise to the one true God who gives us the spring and winter and loves us enough to teach us the hard way. I can relax now and listen to the still small voice. Ahhh, it is so much easier to live a life that makes sense.
St. Paul said “Let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven…but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” We are joyous in knowledge of the truth. There are many happy moments in life, but the Paschal joy is solidly grounded on the knowledge that we are in the truth, the truth which Jesus the Christ brought to the world and which is confirmed by His resurrection. The Resurrection assures us that our faith is NOT in vain. The Resurrection assures us that we do not hope in a dead man, but on a living One, whose life is so strong that it enlivens us. He said He was the Resurrection and the Life and he that believes in Him, although they die, will live.
When we see ourselves as we truly are…sinners with many faults and deficiencies…we long to be converted into the new life offered firstly by the Cross and finally by the Resurrection. We cannot do this ourselves…for we are limited. But, with God, all things are possible. With a sincere resolve to purify our lives and be renewed completely, we can come into union with all that is holy. Believing in truth and living out its instructions will bring us joy. Not simply happiness (which is fleeting), but joy which is everlasting. Joy in truth, that is the promise for us.