Thursday, December 31, 2015

Holy Family Sunday (2015-12-27)

Holy Family Sunday  27 December 2015

[__01__]  We read in the Gospel, this Gospel of Holy Family Sunday, that Jesus returned – that he traveled / journeyed / went –with Joseph and Mary to Nazareth.

He returned, he traveled with them

[__02__]  His obedience, his service to his parents, Mary his mother, and Joseph, his adoptive father, continued with this journey.

[__03__]  One of the ways in which we can say YES, in which we can SERVE, our parents, grandparents, our families, is in our journeys, our travels

That is, not only do we serve our parents and families at a particular destination or location, but also by being with them along the way, on the journey.

[__04__]   The journey – the pilgrimage was an important aspect of Jewish spiritual life as it is important in our own lives.

To receive Jesus, however, we can be enriched by a journey to Lourdes or to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark …or even a journey here for Sunday Mass.

Spiritual life means a journey. And, the Holy Eucharist – the reception of our Lord in Holy Communion – is part of this journey.  Pope John Paul II wrote that, in 2004 – the Year of the Eucharist – that we can regard our reception of Christ in the Eucharist as the “high-point of a journey in progress.”[1]

In this letter, John Paul II also reflected on the journey of the 2 travelers to Emmaus to whom Jesus appeared at first, unbeknownst.  His appearance to them was, both in the walking on the road ..and in the eating at the table … food for an ongoing journey.

This helped them to recognize Christ and to say YES.  (cf. Luke 24, Luke 24:29).

[* * * P A U S E * * *]

[__05__]  The journey is also important to our YES, to our discipleship.

 We see the example of the affirmative YES and the affirmative service and obedience in our young Messiah and Savior, Jesus of Nazareth.

He had come from Nazareth, he was supposed to be on the way back to Nazareth. Has anyone seen Jesus of Nazareth?

[__06__]  As parents and as grown-ups, we would know the importance of sight and proximity, and the nearness of children, in a downtown center, at a market or mall or train station.
As children – as youths – we also know it can be dreadfully boring to stay with the group following the agenda and itinerary of the grown-ups during such encounters.

We may want to get away, to escape. We don’t want to serve the group, we want to serve ourselves.

Our little subversive plots and rebellions and strategies may start early in life.

Can we not recall conversations we had in elementary school or high school in which friends would gather to discuss what the rules really meant, to whom they applied, and how far we could go before being “caught”?
I can recall – at least in general - certain conversations like this in which we discussed the optimal level of enjoyment we could have at maximum distance from the grown ups.

In one instance, this resulted in a missed bus defiance of the scheduled time for us to gather and return as a group. Some of us did not go on the next trip.

This was, however, only physical distance…

In a sense, even if we were to be physically distant from others – in a crowd – we could still be connected, in touch.

[__07__]  For example, we take breaks from our family to be at work or on holiday, from our jobs to be on vacation, from our spouses …. Only to return ..hours or days  later with greater  ….
[  • vigor  •  energy  •   attention to detail •  charity  • compassion]

This is true when we speak of our relationship with God …and our relationship with others through God …

In Psalm 139, we read,

O Lord you search me an you know me, you known when I sit and when I stand.   You understand my thoughts from afar.  My journeys and my rest you scrutinize.  
Where can I go from your spirit, from your presence, where can I flee?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there …

St. Paul in Romans, chapter 8, affirmed that neither height nor depth could separate us from the love of Christ.

[__08__]  The family bond is also sacred, God-given, created and nurtured by by God’s grace and also nurtured by our voluntary cooperation.

Do we say YES to the journey required?

[__09__]  And, are we not always, in a spiritual sense, present to our family responsibility, this commitment to our family?

This is true even if we were lost in the urban center, in downtown Jerusalem or Jersey City.

We would remain a son, a daughter, a spouse, a parent.

Jesus was son to Mary and Joseph, even outside their visual proximity and without a GPS electronic tracking device in his pocket.

In a way, we could say that Jesus was obedient to his parents even his departure from the group. Did they not know that he must be about this father’s business, in his father’s house?

Jesus goes to the Temple not in spite of what they taught him but because of what they taught him.

And, his obedience to Mary and Joseph reminds us that our commitments are achieved not only by the destination we reach but by the journeys we take.

In fact, reading the Gospel now – centuries later – we can have insights that even Joseph and Mary did not possess at the time.

We know why he went to the Temple, that this foreshadows his future visits to the Temple, his future debates and a future trial with Pontius Pilate.

He had to be about his father’s business.

However, Jesus also recognizes that he has to say YES to the journey to  Nazareth and to give us an example of this YES, this service and obedience to our own families, on the way.   [__fin__]

[1] John Paul II, Mane Nobiscum Domine (“Stay with Us, Lord”), 7 October 2004, n. 10

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Vendid, Adoremus, Cristo El Señor (Natividad, 2015-12-25)

Natividad, 2015

[__01__]   La humildad es igual a la grandeza. Un mensaje importante del Evangelio y la Navidad Evangelio es que la humildad es equivalente a la grandeza.

[__02__] Venir a Misa en Navidad, para la Natividad de nuestro Señor , que tradicionalmente comienza cantando  "Venid adoremos, a Cristo el Señor."

Sin embargo , ¿a quién adoramos ?
¿A quién tenemos que pagar como homenaje, tal reverencia y respeto?

Un niño , el niño Jesús . Como profetizó Isaías, ¨Multiplicaste el gozo, aumentaste la alegría … Porque un niño nos ha nacido, un hijo se nos ha dado. Sobre sus hombros está el imperio y lleva por nombre: Consejero maravilloso, Dios fuerte, Padre sempiterno, Príncipe de la paz. El imperio será engrandecido, y la paz no tendrá fin.¨ (Isaías 9:2, 5, 6)

[__03__]     Rendimos este gran reverencia y respeto para el niño dado a nosotros como nuestro Salvador . Más tarde, en el Evangelio, nuestro Señor confirmó y afirmó esto.

Leemos que .... “Llamó a un niño, Jesús lo puso en medio de ellos.” (Mateo 18:2)

Entonces , Jesús dijo ... ¨Pues todo el que se humille como este niño, ése es el mayor en Reino de los Cielos.¨ (Mateo 18:4)

Además, en el libro Evangelio de Juan , capítulo 3 , Jesús instruyó el fariseo y erudito, Nicodemo acerca de la vocación a la infancia espiritual y la vocación de ¨nacer siendo ya viejo.¨  (Juan 3:3)

Habiendo sido dijo que se suponía que debía nacer de nuevo, Nicodemo le pregunta varias veces las preguntas lógicas y científicas con escepticismo, ¨De qué modo se hará esto¨ (cf. Lucas 1:34)

Jesús le dice a Nicodemo que estamos nacemos de nuevo porque la Palabra de Dios se hizo carne y habitó entre nosotros.

¨Y el verbo se hizo carne, y habitó entre nosotros.¨ (Juan 1:14)

Jesús le djio a Nicodemo y a nosotros: ¨Tanto amó Dios al mundo que le entregó a su Hijo Unigénito, para que todo el cree en él no perezca, sino que tenga vida eterna.¨ (Juan 3:16).

[__04__]   Venimos a misa en Navidad y el domingo y en cualquier momento a la iglesia , reconociendo que la grandeza , la verdadera grandeza viene de nuestra sencillez, la humildad .

[__04.01__]   Esto viene de nuestra aceptación no sólo de Jesús como un maestro sabio y adulto. También le adoramos como un niño, que es igual de nuestro Salvador , incluso antes de que pueda hablar o caminar. Él es nuestro Salvador , incluso antes de que él naciera.

Nuestra vocación cristiana es, pues, no sólo para imitar su sabiduría como un adulto , sino también su sencillez y humildad como un niño. Jesús alabó esta simplicidad en el niño y en sus discípulos. Del apóstol Natanael, por ejemplo, Jesús observó , ¨Aquí tenéis a un verdadero israelita en quien no hay doblez.¨ (Juan 1:47)

(¨no hay doblez¨  =   “nada de insinceridad” = “nada insincera”)

Jesús señala que la sencillez - o candidez es una virtud difícil y raro.

John Henry Newman resume esto con los siguientes hábitos o acciones :

1. Significar lo que digamos
2. Amar sin disimulo o falsedad, como escribe St. Paul,   “[la caridad] se complace en la verdad.”(1 Corintios 13 : 6).   No existe una falsa apariencia en el amor.
3. Pensar ningún mal.
4. No guardan rencor
5. Ser inocente y sencillo

[__05__]    [omitir]

[__06__]   Ya sea que usted o yo estábamos un adulto o un niño , que podía sentir - a veces - rechazado o dejado de lado .

Esto es doloroso . Pero , en el dolor , no puede haber ganancia. En ciertos momentos , incluso podemos aprovechar estos encuentros a través de la práctica de la humildad y de la sencillez .

Podemos reconocer , con humildad y objetividad, que un rechazo o el fracaso no significa que hemos fracasado en todo, o sido rechazada por todos.

Es decir, podemos reconocer que el mismo Dios nos ama, que nos encontramos siempre una parte de su familia.

Es cierto que no todo el mundo le va a gustar nosotros o volver nuestro afecto.

Esto fue cierto incluso para Jesús como el Mesías, el Salvador del Mundo.

Algunos lo rechazaron incluso antes de que pudiera hablar .
[__07__]   Mientras tanto , al verlo como un niño simple, hemos venido a adorarlo . Los pastores en su humildad , los tres reyes en su humildad, le pagaban el mismo respeto .

Jesús fue protegido y vigilado y nutre de esta adoración.  Fue protegido del peligro.

A través del ejemplo de José y María , a través de su valentía (y de su voluntad), espíritu de oración , a través de su estado de alerta cuando están despiertos , ya través de sus sueños cuando están inconscientes , aprendemos a adorarlo, nos enteramos de que,
¨Pues todo el que se humille como este niño, ése es el mayor en Reino de los Cielos.¨ (Mateo 18:4)

[*** P A U S E ***]
[__08__]   El Evangelio es una llamada a la simplicidad , una llamada a la infancia espiritual y para la acogida de Cristo como un niño.

Este vínculo (esta conexión) con Jesús como un niño y nuestra propia identidad como hijo de Dios nos ayuda a compartir la Buena Nueva.

También nos ayuda a proclamar el jubileo extraordinario – el año de la misericordia -- de la que Papa Francisco habla .

[__09__]   En este Año de la Misericordia (2015 ¨dos mil quince¨- 2016 (dos mil dieciséis)) , Francisco nos recuerda que podemos aliviar el dolor y la dificultad que provienen de pecaminosidad. Podemos hacerlo de 2 formas principales.
[__10__]     En primer lugar, estamos llamados a reconocer nuestras faltas a través de un examen de conciencia, a un examen de nuestras acciones y lo que les causó .

Un niño - no es a menudo más dispuestos a reconocer un mal, un error , un pecado , más fácilmente que algunos adultos?

¨Porque de los que son como ellos es el Reino de los Cielos.¨ (Matthew 19:14)

Así , se nos invita a la confesión , al sacramento de la penitencia y de la reconciliación , para confesar nuestros pecados, para recibir la misericordia de Dios , para recibir la absolución

[__11__]   Cada vez , recibimos su misericordia , que crezca en fuerza y ​​libertad.

El Santo Padre Francisco , tiene una segunda enseñanza para nosotros acerca de la misericordia . Estamos llamados , tanto para recibir y compartir la misericordia de Dios.

Estamos llamados a practicar las obras corporales y espirituales de misericordia , que incluyen - por ejemplo – dar de comer al hambriento , visitar a los enfermos y…. Consolar al triste …. Sufrir con paciencia los defectos del prójimo.

Para ello , la humildad y la sencillez son fundamentales.

Venid adoremos . Nuestra niñez espiritual espera (viene).

[__12__]  Un día, a principios de verano , alrededor de Memorial Day de 2006 , me acordé de este llamado a la niñez (o juventud) y este llamado a recibir y compartir la misericordia .

Acababa de pasar varios días con mi familia y mis padres . Y , como sucede a veces , en teoría , en algunas familias , hubo cierta división. Este fue , por así decirlo , un problema a largo división (LONG DIVISION) que (yo) pensé necesitaba ser resuelto.

Yo estaba ansioso por la salud de otro miembro de la familia . Estaba enojado y salí de la casa de repente.
Después me alejaba , unos 15 minutos más tarde , me di la vuelta y regresó a la casa. Le pedí disculpas , aunque me di cuenta de que también mi madre no estaba interesado en una larga explicación . Ella sólo estaba interesado que yo había regresado.

Era , por así decirlo , un momento Hijo Pródigo . Yo había arrepentido de un mal.

También me llamó para practicar un trabajo espiritual de la misericordia a ser más paciente.

Misericordia nos invita a entrar en una relación y también para encontrar la alegría en la relación. Como San Juan de la Cruz nos enseña , ¨ Y adonde no hay amor, pongas amor, y sacarás amor.¨

Había un poco de amor en este momento no sólo de "poner ", sino también para sacar .

Recuerdo que me sentí un poco incómodo acerca de ... en este momento ... simplemente salir de la casa de nuevo ... Yo tenía una visita programada con 2 amigos más tarde.  Pero, tal vez había algo que pudiéramos disfrutar ahora juntos. Podría poner mi viaje en espera   (¨on hold¨)

En ese momento del día, por lo que recuerdo , no había comida para mi mamá y yo tener ... no recado para completar, ningún proyecto en el que colaborar.

Fue una bendición que se trataba de junio de 2006 y que la Copa Mundial de fútbol se jugaba en Alemania (Germany). Los juegos eran en una zona horaria lejos, muy lejos . Muchos juegos estaban siendo transmitidos en la mañana o al mediodía.

Así que nos sentamos a ver Portugal jugar contra Francia ... o alguien. No estoy seguro de los competidores.

Mi madre había observado a todos nosotros, a lo largo de los años, desde la barrera jugar al fútbol ( y otros deportes) . Era algo que compartimos como familia. En esto, viendo la Copa Mundial era una manera concreta para volver a la niñez, para completar una reconciliación, reconocer la presencia de Dios , para dar gracias a nuestro vínculo familiar y - en ese momento ... para venir a adorarlo .   "Venid adoremos, a Cristo el Señor."

[__13__]    [__fin__]

Come Let us Adore Him. Christmas (2015_12-25)

[__01__]     Humility equals greatness.  An important message of the Gospel and Christmas Gospel is that humility is equivalent to greatness.

[__02__]     Coming to Mass at Christmas, for the Nativity of our Lord, we traditionally begin by singing, “Come Let Us Adore Him, Christ the Lord.”

However, whom do we adore?  To whom do we pay such homage, such reverence and respect?

A child, the infant Jesus. As Isaiah prophesied, “You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing … For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. His dominion is vast and forever peaceful.(Isaiah 9:2, 5, 6)
[*** P A U S E ***]

[__03__]    We pay this great reverence and respect to the child given to us as our Savior.  Later, in the Gospel,  our Lord confirmed and affirmed this. We read that ¨Jesus, calling unto him a little child, set him in the midst of [the disciples]” (Matthew 18:2).

Then, Jesus said,  “Whoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven.”  (Matthew 18:4)
[*** P A U S E ***]
Also, in the Gospel Book of John, Chapter 3, Jesus instructed the Pharisee and scholar,  Nicodemus about the calling to spiritual childhood and the calling to be born again.

[elaborate …exemplify what is this childlike simplicity… wise as a serpent and  gentle as a dove? More?]

Having been told that he was supposed to be born again, Nicodemus repeatedly asks the logical and scientific questions with skepticism. “How can this be?”

Jesus tells Nicodemus that we are are born again because God’s Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The Word of God pitched his tent among us. (John 1:14)

As Jesus said to Nicodemus and to us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

[__04__]    We come to Mass at Christmas and on Sunday and at any time to church, recognizing that greatness, true greatness comes from our simplicity, our humility.

[__04.01__]    This comes from our acceptance not only of Jesus as a wise teacher and grown-up. We also adore him as a child, one  who is equally our Savior even before he can speak or walk. He is our Savior even before he was born.

Our Christian calling, then, is not only to imitate his wisdom as an adult  but also his simplicity and humility as a child. Jesus  praised this simplicity in the child and in his disciples.  Of  the apostle Nathaniel, for example, Jesus observed, “Behold an Israelite in whom there is no guile.” (John 1:47)

Jesus points out that simplicity – or guilelessness is a difficult and rare virtue. John Henry Newman summarizes this with the following  habits or actions:

1.     “Mean what we say”[& say what we mean]
2.     Love without dissimulation [or without falsehood … as St. Paul writes, “love always rejoices with the truth.”  (1 Corinthians 13:6) There is no false appearance in love.] 
3.     “Think no evil”
4.     “Bear no grudge”
5.     “Be free from selfishness”(i.e., don’t ask …”what’s  in it for me?”
6.     “Be innocent and straightforward.”

 [__05__omit section 05.

 [__06__]   Whether you or I were a grown-up or a child, we could feel – at times – rejected or pushed aside.
This is painful. But, in pain, there can be gain. At certain times, we can even take advantage of these encounters through the practice of humility and of simplicity.

We can recognize, with humility and objectivity, that  one rejection or failure does not mean we have failed in everything or been rejected by everyone.

That is, we can recognize that God Himself loves us, that we are always a part  of his family.

It is true that not everyone is going to like us or return our affection.

This was true even for Jesus as the Messiah, the Savior of the World.

Some rejected him even before he could speak.
[__07__]   Meanwhile, seeing him as a simple child, we have come to adore him.  The shepherds in their humility, the three kings in their humility, paid him the same respect.

Jesus was protected and guarded and nurtured by this adoration. He was protected from danger.

Through the example of Joseph and Mary, through their courage, prayerfulness, through their alertness when they are awake, and through their dreams when they are unconscious, we learn to adore him, we learn that  “Whoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  (Matthew 18:4) 

[*** P A U S E ***]
[__08__]  The Gospel is a call to simplicity, a call to spiritual childhood and to the welcome of Christ as a child.

This connection with Jesus as a  child and our own identity as child of God helps us to share the Good News.

It also helps us to proclaim the  Year of Mercy of which Pope Francis speaks.

[__09__]  In this Year of Mercy (2015 – 2016), Pope Francis reminds us that we can ease the pain and difficulty that come from sinfulness.  We can do this in 2 principal ways.

[__10__]     First, we are called to acknowledge our faults through an examination of conscience, to an examination of our actions and what  caused them.

A child – is he not … is she not – often more ready to acknowledge a wrong, a fault, a sin, more readily than some adults, some grown-ups?

¨ For to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.¨ (Matthew 19:14)

So, we are invited to confession, to the sacrament of penance and  reconciliation, to confess our sins, to receive God’s mercy,  to receive  absolution.

[__11__]    Each time, we receive  his mercy, we grow in strength and  freedom. 

The Holy Father, Pope Francis, has a second teaching for us about mercy.  We are called both to receive and to share God’s mercy.

We are called to practice the  corporal and spiritual works of mercy which include – for example – feed  the hungry, visit the  sick, to forgive offenses willingly, to bear wrongs patiently.

To do this, humility and simplicity are fundamental.

Come let us adore him. Our  spiritual childhood awaits.

[*** P A U S E ***]

[__12__]  One early summer day, around Memorial Day of  2006, I was reminded  of  this call to childhood and this call to receive and share mercy.

I had just spent several days with my family and my parents. And,  as sometimes  happens, theoretically, in some families, there was some division.  This was, shall  we say, a long-division  problem that I thought needed to be solved.  I was anxious about the health of another family member.  I was angry and left the  house  suddenly.

After I drove away, about 15 minutes later, I turned around and went back to the house. I apologized, though I also realized  that my mother was not  interested in a  long explanation.  She was only interested that I had  returned.

It was, shall we say,  a Prodigal Son moment.  I had repented of a wrong.

I was also called to practice a  spiritual work of mercy  to be more patient.

Mercy invites us into a relationship and also to find joy in the relationship. As St. John of the Cross teaches, where there is no love, put love and you will draw out love.

There was some love in this moment not only to “put” but also to draw out.

I remember feeling a bit awkward about … at this point… just leaving the house again… I did have somewhere to go, I had a visit with 2 friends schedule for later the same day.   But, maybe there was something we could enjoy together. I could put my journey on hold

At that time of day, as I recall, there was no meal for my mom and I to have…no errand  to complete, no project to collaborate on. 

It was truly fortuitous that this was June of  2006 and that the World Cup Soccer tournament was being played in Germany. The games were in a time zone far, far away. Many games were being broadcast in the late morning or at midday.

So we sat down to watch Portugal play France…or someone. I’m not sure of the competitors.   My mother had watched all of us, over the years, from the sidelines play soccer (and other sports). It was something we shared as a family. In this, watching the World Cup was a concrete way to return to childhood, to complete a reconciliation, to acknowledge God’s presence,  to give thanks for  our family bond and – at that moment  … to come and  adore him. [__fin__]