Friday, December 31, 2010

In the Safety of the Manger

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Christmas Greeting and Blessing

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christ is Coming! Repent!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fellow Citizens with the Saints

Saturday, October 30, 2010

We Have No King But Christ

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pray the Rosary!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Quest for Happiness

Monday, September 20, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Enter by the Narrow Gate

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Summorum Pontificum

In this video, I offer a personal reflection on Summorum Pontificum and the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Assumption of the Virgin Mary

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Transfiguration of the Lord Jesus

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Right to Life

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The New Evangelization

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Trust in God

Monday, June 7, 2010

Feast of Corpus Christi - June 3, 2010

This is a slideshow of our Corpus Christi Procession. We celebrated the Mass for Corpus Christi on Thursday, June 3, using the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. This video begins with a few pictures from the Corpus Christi Procession of Pope Benedict XVI which was celebrated the same day in Rome. My homily is also in this video.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Video Homily: The Reality of Sin

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Christ and the Mystery of Suffering

"The cross of Christ throws salvific light, in a most penetrating way, on man's life and in particular on his suffering."

With these words of the Venerable Pope John Paul the Great, from his monumental letter Salvifici Doloris, I wish to dedicate this blog entry to the reality of human suffering.

Suffering is an integral part - perhaps we can say, a necessary part - of human life. Between our creation - at the first moment of conception - and the finish line of our lives, we shall each endure the hardship and distress of many trials. This hardship is greater and more intense for some than it is for others. But it remains an experience for every one of us. In very simple terms, when we face suffering we should say, "this is the way things go down here on earth." What are we to do when we suffer? What am I to do when I endure hardship and pain? Pope John Paul the Great points us to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christians who devoutly make the Stations of the Cross, or even those who watch the excellent film The Passion of the Christ, come away with the profound awareness that Christ suffered. He suffered intensely. Therefore, when we suffer, we are experiencing a reality that Christ Himself experiences willingly. In this regard, we can already perceive that our suffering is not meaningless. When I suffer, I am doing what the Son of God did. And since I live for Him, since the purpose of my life is to be one with Him, then suffering does not derail my life's plans; it does not frustrate the track of my life. Is it possible, then, to believe that when I suffer I am actually achieving something? I am actually gaining something? Here we can begin to see the light that the cross of Christ throws onto suffering.

Ever since we were baptized, we have not belonged to this world. We are in the world by the good plan of God, but we are not of the world by the plan of His love. Therefore, our response to the mystery of suffering must be different than those who live for this world only. This is difficult. Very difficult. On account of our fallen human nature, it is quite possible to adopt some of the ways of the world. But with the grace of God, we can work this through. What, then, is to be my response to suffering? It must be what we call "total abandonment to Divine Providence." It must be trust in the good God who loves me and who knows everything about me. In this way, suffering does not bring chaos into my life because I am one with Christ. Also, ever since my baptism I am no longer working with my own plans, I am working now with God's plans. Suffering, then, intense as it may be, does not make things spin out of control. If hardship and pain has foiled some of my plans, then I let them go to the wind. Better to trust in the plan of Eternal Wisdom than in the plans of my wisdom. His plans, which He works out in my life, are much better.

Because each one of us is unique and unrepeatable, our sufferings are unique to each one of us. Therefore, our response to suffering is likewise unique. In the lives of the Saints, the plan of Divine Goodness unfolded uniquely in each one of them, and the Cross was never far from their lives. It is the same for you, for me.

Dear brothers and sisters who suffer, I know that some of you have tremendous pain in your life right now. But you are not alone. Even though your suffering is unique to you, the Lord Jesus is with you and He is loving you. Trust in Him. Trust in His goodness and in His love for you. He will not allow you to suffer more than His grace will give you the strength to handle, and His plan for you is greater than your hardship. Therefore, do not be afraid.

God bless you.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sunday, April 4, 2010

In the Year for Priests, the Pope Must Suffer

In these days, when we are constantly inundated with a chorus of voices speaking unfair words against the Successor of Saint Peter, I feel that it might be good to look at these things from a different perspective.

Has it occurred to anyone that the Year for Priests has been very difficult, indeed painful, for the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI? The two high points in the liturgical year are Christmas and Holy Week. It is in this Year for Priests that these important moments have been marked by vicious and inhumane attacks on the Holy Father. Recall the Christmas Midnight Mass of this Year for Priests. The Pope was physically attacked by a deranged woman who pulled this great man to the marble floor of Saint Peter's Basilica. One might easily view this as simply a bizarre event, an event capable of happening at any large gathering. I believe there is more to it.

Now, Holy Week in the Year for Priests: The Vicar of Christ is subjected to attacks of a different kind. Not physical attacks, but verbal ones. Constantly. Every day. The media mocks him. Money-loving lawyers threaten him and his allies. Dissident "catholics" make irreverent sport of him. Reporters use false information, mindless contradiction, inaccuracies, and partial truths to malign this great priest of the Church.

Yes. Pope Benedict is a priest of the Catholic Church, and this is why he is suffering in the Year for Priests. He is suffering because he is a priest. Think about it. Why are all the attacks against the Holy Father so prominent now? Why this year? Why not last year? Or the year before? Or next year? No one can fail to notice a remarkable coordination of the efforts of all these people to bring down the Pope. Bring down the Pope. Isn't that precisely what the deranged woman did at the Midnight Mass for Christmas? Is it possible that the attack against Pope Benedict on Christmas is related to the attacks against him in Holy Week? Immediately, one is inclined to say they are not related. I, however, am inclined to say they are.

The Pope is being attacked now because it is the Year for Priests. What is really being attacked is the Priesthood itself. The remarkable coordination of these attacks is not a coincidence. Someone is behind it all; someone who despises the Priesthood, someone who is threatened by the mission of Christ's priests; someone who is - to borrow a Biblical phrase - a "world ruler of this present darkness." In this regard, people should think twice about joining the chorus of voices against Pope Benedict.

Dear brothers and sisters, pray for the Holy Father, pray for the Priests, and pray for the conversion of sinners. God bless you.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

Oremus pro Pontifice

Please join me in saying this prayer every day. God bless you.
Let us pray for our Sovereign Pontiff Benedict XVI.
The Lord preserve him and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not to the will of his enemies. Amen

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Christ, our True Friend

Praised be Jesus Christ!

People may not admit it, but their exists a strong desire in their hearts for friendship. Today, this desire for friendship is especially evident in the rapid growth of the social-networking tools on the internet. To a certain degree, these technological tools are used to satisfy one's desire for friendship. One tries to gather to himself as many online friends as he can. Old friends have been able to re-connect after many years of no contact. Even new friends can be made, or at least one can initiate contact with a new acquaintance. All of us - if we are thinking clearly - want to have friends. In this regard, the technological means of the internet are quite useful. We are thankful to have many friends, we look forward to seeing them or just hearing from them, we are concerned when a friend does not communicate with us for a long time, and we are sorrowful when we lose a friend.

Friendship, however, is not to be experienced in a vacuum. That is to say, it is not enough to simply have people in my life that I call "friends." They must be true friends to me, and I must be a true friend to them. Let us admit that among our list of friends, some may turn out to be false friends. It would be wise to be on guard against false friendships. Perhaps one might disagree with this sort of vigilance, but isn't it a terribly frustrating experience to invest much of your life in a friendship that is not real, not authentic? Someone may argue that this is not so bad because at least you can learn something from this unfortunate experience. However, beneath this is lurking the feeling - indeed, the conviction - that so much has been wasted (time, money, etc.). This becomes all the more pressing when one perceives the brevity and fragility of life.

One of the most important theologians of the Catholic Church is Saint Thomas Aquinas. He is a Doctor of the Church and is one of the wisest guides that anyone could have in the great adventure of life. This great saint declares: "Christ is our wisest and greatest friend." This saying is based simply upon who Jesus Christ is and what He does. Jesus Christ is Lord, the true Son of the Father, true God and true man. He is our Savior and is, as it were, our Friend from Heaven. His teaching and His grace bring us to live as children of God. And since that is what we really are, when we live for God we experience a fulfillment, a serenity, a happiness that is impossible to experience when we do not live for God.

If Christ is our wisest and greatest Friend, then a real friend has to be a friend to us in a manner like that of Christ. True, everyone of us may fall short in this regard, but it does remain a good barometer for making a rational judgment of who is a real friend and who is not. A real friendship is open to God. A real friend encourages you to worship God alone. A false friend does not. Instead, he/she, without saying so, seeks to keep the relationship closed off to God. A real friend strives to ensure that the Commandments and counsels of the LORD serve as the blueprint for the relationship. A false friend has a blind and instinctive obedience to the passing trends of popular culture and seeks to bring you to this close-minded way of thinking and acting.

Dear brothers and sisters, in our society there are many pitfalls in the realm of friendship. We want to avoid these pitfalls because some of them are extremely dangerous. What is our remedy? What is our shelter? Devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. As the Bible says, "A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter: he that has found one has found a treasure" (Sirach 6:14). Christ is this faithful friend, this sturdy shelter, this treasure of great price! "Friendship is forever," people like to say. This is only true of real friendships. In Christ, friendship is eternal.

In the coming weeks, we will explore this mysterious gift of friendship with Christ. For now, suffice it to say that all the friends of Christ are also real friends with each other. This beautiful and living experience of friendship begins at baptism.

God bless you.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Cardinal Sean O'Malley Visits Haiti

My archbishop, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, has just returned from a visit to Haiti. As you know, that country suffered a devastating earthquake recently. Please take the time to read Cardinal Sean's Blog, where he gives a moving account of his visit. Also, please pray for the people of Haiti. Finally, if you can offer any financial assistance to help those people who are being sorely tired in these days, I encourage you to do so. Pope Benedict XVI has asked us to be generous in helping them. I suggest you make your donation through Catholic Relief Services. They are doing tremendous work right now in Haiti.

God bless you.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Christ, our Source of Truth

To one degree or another, every one of us is a teacher. Mostly, by our example, but also by our words. With the relatively recent expansion of the various forms of media, this fact is becoming more and more evident. The world is filled with teachers. Therefore, it is also filled with students. In a certain sense, one is both teacher and student in the midst of other students and teachers.

Before anyone can become a teacher, he must first be a student. For example, a little child is a student and everyone around him is his teacher, whether they know it or not. We even continue to be students as we get older, following the example and teachings of those around us. We are, as it were, students in the school of life. This school is precious, fragile, and brief. And because of this, we want to have the best of teachers for all the courses taught in this life.

Who is the best teacher in this school? Let us cut to the chase: It is the one who will teach us the truth in its fullness. The school of life is too important to waste time with a teacher who does not teach the truth. What, precisely, do we want to learn? First and foremost, the truth about God. Then, we want to know the truth about life - it's meaning and purpose. We also want to learn the truth about morality (i.e. "What is the good that I should do? What is the evil that I should avoid?").

A long time ago, someone proposed the idea that there is no such thing as truth. According to this individual, nothing is certain; everything is relative, that is, things change from person to person. God existed only if you believed he existed; the purpose of life is what you decided it to be; certain attitudes and behaviors were good only if you believed they were good; they were evil only if you believed they were evil. In short, each person could become like a god of his own universe. Many men and women, even to this day, embraced this idea. It seemed quite attractive, even quite liberating. However, it has brought nothing good in its wake.

Take, for example, morality. If you do not believe that certain actions should always be avoided, or that certain actions should always be done, then you do not have a defined moral goal for your day. You might decide that you will do anything as long as you do not get into too much trouble. In this way, you become an easy student of those teachers who do not teach the truth. They will have a profound effect - perhaps even control - over your moral decisions. Among the young, the clearest example of this is what we call "peer-pressure." We must be aware, though, that this continues well into adulthood. There are many examples of this, but it is especially evident in the realm of business and politics.

Dear brothers and sisters, the Lord Jesus Christ is the Best Teacher. He teaches truth. Some find His doctrines- which He gives to us in the Scriptures and in the teachings of the Catholic Church - to be too difficult. But what is better? To live by truth, or to live by falsehood? Isn't it a frustrating thing to go in the attractive direction of the false teachers for years, only to find out that it was the wrong way? That is far more painful than making the heroic effort to follow the way of truth. Fortunately, in this regard, God is merciful.

If you do not already have one, get a good Bible. Let me suggest that you read one of the Gospels straight through in one sitting. You will begin to hear the words of the Good Teacher Jesus Christ. And you will come to understand that the truth is real and that it is good for you.

God bless you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Christ, our Life and our Light

Today, the Catholic Church celebrates Ash Wednesday, the day when people have ashes placed on their heads in the form of a cross. This day is the beginning of a more intense period in the life of Catholics; they are to pray more, to be more charitable, to make more sacrifices, and to be ever more firm in their duty to avoid sin. When the priest places the ashes on the people, one of the things he may say is: "Remember, man, you are dust and to dust you shall return."

These words are rather stark. They remind us of our mortality, of our death. One may wonder why the Church has us think of this sad reality. After all, death is the greatest frustration of our desire to live. We wish that suffering and death were done away with, that they could be eliminated from human experience. Even when we accept the reality of death, we still try to ignore it. And yet, Ash Wednesday forbids us to ignore death. On the contrary, we are to face it. "Remember, man, you are dust and to dust you shall return."

One of the reasons death is so difficult is that we do not know exactly what it is. We may understand it from a biological perspective, but we do not understand it as a human experience. Death remains unknown to us because we are among the living. It is precisely in this regard that we must turn to the Lord Jesus Christ. Ash Wednesday leads us rapidly to a profound consideration of the most important reality in the entire universe - the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When He died, He entered into the realm of death. He entered into the darkness of death - He who once said, "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)

Here, then, is the call of Ash Wednesday: We must be followers of Christ. Since He is perfect, and we are imperfect, there is always room for us to improve in following Him. We can grow, we can start over. Whatever the case, we can have a living friendship with the Lord Jesus, who Himself passed through the realm of death and emerged victorious in His resurrection. This friendship with Christ is our hope. Not only does this friendship help us to see death differently, but it is also the cause of our own victory over death. This friendship, which must grow and mature, begins at baptism.

Dear brothers and sisters, if a living friendship with the Lord Jesus can help us face the reality of death with hope and with courage, then it can also help us in every other aspect of our lives. Perhaps now would be a good time to turn again to Him who alone is the Savior of the world.

God bless you.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Christ, the Source of our Freedom

Praised be Jesus Christ!

One of the most prominent characteristics of the lives of men and women today is the fast pace of life. People are very busy - at least, they often say they are busy. Too busy for things which have no tangible benefit. If something does not bring in money, move us toward the completion of a task, or have an immediate and pleasant sensible effect on any given situation, it is deemed to be a waste of time. This seems to be a good disposition to have; after all, money is good to have, accomplishing tasks is also good, and it is good to feel well. However, lurking beneath the surface of this disposition is an insidious and oppressive form of idol worship.

How is it possible to say this? Simply by pointing out this fact: Most people - if not all - who have this disposition do not worship God. In fact, they give little or no time at all to the question of God (does He exist? and what does that mean for me?). They see prayer as useless and they sometimes even mock it. They claim that they simply do not have enough time to worship God and they make no effort to know Him. In this way, they place the practical things of this world above God - and this constitutes the worship of false gods, false idols. In living only for this world, they create false gods out of all the things of this world. And they serve these gods every chance they get.

Because the worship and knowledge of God is discarded by those trapped in this sad situation, their lives become plagued and oppressed by two other things. The first thing is this: All of their relationships are seriously wounded. For them, their relationships must be useful. Their family members and friends are treated not according to who they are, but according to what they can do. If someone can bring in more money, accomplish many tasks, or bring pleasure, then they are accepted. But if they can't bring these things, they are rejected. This rejection is not always spoken, but it exists nonetheless in the human heart. It is always bad.

The second thing that befalls those who live only for this world is that they have a distorted view of themselves. Either they define themselves by their successes or by their failures. If they define themselves by their successes, they become both arrogant and insecure. If they define themselves by their failures, they become despondent, that is, they despair.

Here we must return to the question of God. Faith in God will liberate us from this sad way of living. When we say "faith in God," we are not talking about a belief in some ambiguous higher power, or a belief in a kind of spirit-world. Rather, we are talking about faith in the one God; the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob; the God of Moses and of the true prophets; the God who became man in Jesus Christ. This faith in God liberates us. It sets us free by making it possible for us to live, to act, to think, and even to feel according to the truth. When I have this faith in God, first, I worship Him alone and I seek to live my life in a manner that is pleasing to Him. This is what governs my days. Second, I recognize that all those around me are created by God's wisdom and love. Therefore, I have to love them. I have to accept them because of the dignity they have from God. Third, I no longer have to define myself according to my external circumstances, according to my successes or my failures. Neither must I define myself according to the sufferings or injustices that I may have endured. Instead - and this is what liberates me - I define myself according to what God has declared. I become aware that God created me in His wisdom and love, that He loves me, and that He has a good plan for my life, even when I face hardships.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us not be deceived. Living only for this world oppresses the human spirit. It prevents us from loving others and it even prevents us from loving ourselves. But living for the God of Abraham, the God who took to Himself a human nature in the womb of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, this is what sets us free.

God bless you.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Christ, the Center of Our Lives

There is a specifically Catholic way of understanding human history. First, history is not a circular reality. It does not repeat itself over and over again. Neither will it reset itself at some given time. History is a linear reality. It has a definitive beginning and a definitive end. As a linear reality, it has a central point. Think of a large wooden beam resting on a fulcrum. It has a beginning at one side of the beam, and an ending at the other side. In order for it to balance, the fulcrum must be at the central point of the beam. For human history, its beginning is when God created all that exists. And it does have an end, a moment known to God alone.

What, then, is the central point of human history? It is the holy life, teachings, sufferings, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the divine fulcrum upon which human history must rest, must find its reference point.

"The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." (John 1:17)

The great drama of human history needs truth, it hungers for truth, it must find its balance on truth. Without truth, this drama is chaotic, dark, and fearful - it loses its balance. One of the worst ideas that pervaded the minds of men and women in the twentieth century was the false notion that there is no such thing as truth; that everything is relative, that nothing is absolute. Really, this was simply a masked rejection of truth altogether. According to this illusion, each individual can create his own religion, his own morality. Something is wrong only if someone - or a majority - believes it is wrong. Many people believed that this was the highest expression of freedom and progress. But what did it accomplish? We only have to look at the twentieth century: From the godless ideologies of Nazism and Communism, to weapons that eliminate and cripple entire populations; from the perverted belief that terrorism can bring justice, to the anti-human philosophy which declares that human life can be defined and treated as inconvenient and unwanted, to the ever increasing drama of gang violence and school shootings which, it must be said, is born of the deadly mentality which suggests that human life is not a gift to be cherished, and that human beings do not possess a God-given sanctity and right to exist. All of these evils, which can trace their origin to previous times, enjoyed tremendous and unfettered success in the twentieth century and are already seeking to dominate the twenty-first century. It is clear that the century of human progress was, in fact, the century of the greatest threats to the human family. And all this because many people refused to love truth. It was as if the wooden beam of human history decided to ignore the fulcrum of truth. Any attempt to balance the beam became futile.

Our lives also are linear realities. Their definitive beginning was when God created us at the first moment of conception. Their definitive end in this world is death - the time and manner of which is already known to God. We, too, must have a central point and it must be the Lord Jesus Christ. Let this be clearly understood: we must love God's truth. That is, we must order everything in our lives around His truth. If we do not, our lives will lose their balance. They will become chaotic and this chaos will have a profound effect on us. One of its most profound effects will be on the relationships we have with others - relationships such as marriage, family, and friends. Without truth, including moral truth, these relationships are wounded and can even be ruined.

Dear brothers and sisters, since Christ must be the center of our lives, it becomes necessary for us to first know Him. By the plan of His eternal wisdom, He has entrusted the Catholic Church with the mission of teaching the fullness of truth. Learn the teachings of the Catholic Church. A very good book to have is the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Here you will find a concise presentation of the Catholic Faith which comes to us from the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God bless you.

Friday, January 29, 2010

First Blog

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Our Sovereign Pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI, has recently encouraged the priests of the Catholic Church to make use of the modern means of social communication to teach the Holy Gospel. In his Message for World Communications Day, the Pope states: "Using new communication technologies, priests can introduce people to the life of the Church and help our contemporaries to discover the face of Christ." The Pope reminds us that "all priests have as their primary duty the proclamation of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God, and the communication of his saving grace in the sacraments."

This blog, then, is my attempt at fulfilling that part of my primary duty as a priest which is the proclamation of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God.

Let us be quite honest: Without a living friendship with God, life loses its joy, its direction, and its meaning. If we do not live in obedience to His commandments, then we are left enslaved to human passions, our sins take over our lives, and we impose a man-made limit upon the horizon of our hope (cf Spe Salvi, 25).

The purpose of this blog is to help all of you to discover - or perhaps, rediscover - the face of Christ. He alone is our Hope and our Best Friend. As Saint Peter, the first Bishop of Rome, learned when He listened attentively to the preaching of the Lord Jesus, He "alone has the words of eternal life." (John 6:68)

Dear brothers and sisters, very soon the Liturgy of the Church will bring us into a profound consideration of the suffering, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Understand well that this Jesus of Nazareth is the true Son of the Father, the Son of the Virgin Mary. He is true God and true man. In His divinity He is one with God, in His humanity He is one with us. I assure you that if you turn to Him with all your heart, obeying His commandments and receiving His grace which He gives to us in the sacraments of the Catholic Church, you will not be dissapointed. In fact, you will discover that living as His disciple is the wisest way to live. Indeed, we can say, it is the only way to truly live.

God bless you.