Monday, April 29, 2013

Love One Another: Help Feed and Educate Christ's Poor

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

-- John 13: 34-35 (RSV)


      Christ commissions us to ". . . love one another; even as I have loved you," yet I find myself buying something I really do not need or spending idle time using the many "things" that are so easily at my fingertips.  The device that I use to write this message, for instance, is something that I take for granted and consider part of my expected state in life.  But not all of God's children think or exist in this world of expectation and comfort.  Many children go days without eating and live in the reality of starvation and disease.  The liberating power of education and the safety of school are a scarce commodity among such children.  Recently, I viewed the April 21, 2013 episode of Sunday Night Prime on EWTN that featured the loving mission of Mary's Meals. Moved by the Holy Spirit, I decided to take a stand and make a difference even if it is only a few dollars. Out of every dollar raised for this noble charity, 93 cents go into the stomachs of starving children.  Not only do these kids get a healthy meal, but they are offered that meal in an educational setting. Mary’s Meals provides the life-giving filling of the stomach and the liberating filling of the mind.  Magnus's Mary's Meals story is moving, and I hope you can help make a difference in the lives of children in need.  Every dollar counts, but if you can afford it, $16.80 feeds one student for an entire school year.  If you can’t afford to donate a dollar, just pray for Mary’s Meals.

Please give directly to Mary's Meals if you can.

May God bless you.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Luke 18:9-14: Christ's Mercy and the Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
-- Luke 18:9-14 (RSV)

          Reading Luke 18:9-14 is a humbling and emotionally-wrought experience.  The parable relates to all sinners and reflects Christ’s personal invitation to conversion.  We can absorb this lesson and witness the power of pride and ego at work.  When the Pharisee says a prayer of thanksgiving for not being "like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector,” he represents humanity's ego and self-righteousness.  How many times do we unknowingly look at others with disdain and condemnation?  Although I regularly pray that I see Christ in all people, there are moments when, through my own fault, I forget or stubbornly give in to my own concupiscence.  Frustration, pride, and temptation pervade during these moments, but we must call on God for His merciful grace.  That is exactly what this sinful tax collector does; he calls on God for mercy by saying, “‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’”  Let us never forget that we are all hopeless sinners in need of God’s infinite mercy through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Let us always humble ourselves before Christ and ask for forgiveness, and through charity, He generously gives us the necessary grace to amend our sinful ways.  Christ calls us from our figurative tax booths, just like Levi and Zaccheus.  I pray that we follow Him, too.