Friday, April 29, 2005

Parables for Our Time

In Matthew 13, we find some wisdom that critics of the Holy Father or the Church or those who cannot understand the enthusiasm of the youth in response to this election may find helpful.

"The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."

The Church is full of treasures. The papacy is a treasure. The Bible is a storehouse of treasures. Each and every papal encyclical from the past two centuries and beyond is a treasure. Each and every baptized Christian is a treasure. Our singular and divine vocations are a treasure. Do you have as much passion for the treasure of the Church as the person in the parable?

There are pearls of wisdom to be found if you seek them. In the encyclicals, in the Bible, in our hearts united with the Lord in prayer.

Ask yourself: am I fertile soil? am I open to hearing the Truth? Or am I rocky ground? stubborn and quick to judge?

Our Holy Father envisions that the Church will increasingly become a Mustard Seed. For this he has been vilified and condemned as narrow-minded. When he promulgated Dominus Iesus he was castigated. But what radical notion has he proposed? That we are to be leaven in the world. That we are not to shy away from our rebirth in Christ but rather we must embrace that gift and offer it boldly to the world!

The ascension of Ratzinger to the Petrine Office has many people worried. They fear he will reverse the course of Vatican II or that he will impose medieval barbarisms. But he was simply a theologian protecting the Doctrine of the Faith from error. And now he serves the Servants of God as Universal Pastor. "Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old." He is the new head of our household, and he will bring forth from the storeroom both the new and the old. His choice of the name Benedict is a prime example, and his commitment to ecumenism is another example.

Who is this Benedict XVI? Some think he is a wolf in Shepherd's clothing. Why such fear and trembling? Why such anger? People are incredulous that Ratzinger could have been elected. "A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house." The Jews are not dishonoring the Holy Father. Nor are Moslems and Patriarchs. But his very own flock turn against him.

Have you overlooked the treasure? Have you missed the pearls of wisdom he has written? Where is your faith? What mighty deeds can be worked in your heart if it is closed?
Be not afraid! I bring you glad tidings of great rejoicing:
Habemus Papam~

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Habemus papam!

Benedict XVI - The Servant of the Servants of God Posted by Hello

Let us pray for our brother Benedict, who has been charged with confirming us in the faith, and give thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ for this ministry of Peter in the Church!

Benedict XVI

Let us pray for our new Holy Father, Der Papst~

source of eternal life and truth,
give to your shepherd Benedict XVI
a Spirit of courage and right judgment,
a Spirit of knowledge and love.

By governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care,
may he, as successor to the Apostle Peter & Vicar of Christ,
build your church into a sacrament of unity, love, and peace
for all the world.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.


Saturday, April 02, 2005

Mori lucrum est!

Today, on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday, our beloved Pope John Paul II has passed from this life in the flesh. Because of our great faith and hope in the merits and mercy of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and because John Paul served the Lord Jesus with such great love, we can have a firm hope that his soul is resting in the bosom of the Triune God, and that he will be resurrected on the last day to live with God forever in a transfigured body in the Heavenly Jerusalem.
I think that we can also believe that he is already beseeching God on our behalf. Today many people from around the world prayed the ninth prayer of the Divine Mercy Novena. This last prayer of the novena pleads to God to immerse in the abyss of His mercy the souls of those who have become lukewarm in their Christian discipleship. For this to be the last prayer of the novena, prayed on the day of this Pope’s death, is quite interesting. It may be the last witness of this successor of Peter to the authentic movement of the Holy Spirit in the Church today. When he was among us in the flesh, as the chosen vicar of Christ on earth, John Paul prophesied that a new springtime of Christian evangelization was coming, where Catholics will be impelled to preach the Gospel in its purity and simplicity as the Love of God in Christ, and the call to salvation by repentance and a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. In the divine mercy prayer we speak to Jesus, and say: “In this fire of Your pure love let these tepid souls, who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.”
Is not this prayer beseeching the mercy of God for lukewarm souls (oh, how lukewarm I have been!) a fitting prayer to help usher in the fire and zeal of the Holy Spirit in the Church? Can we doubt that the man who inspired us and preached to us the necessity of recovering this zeal, saying “Do not be afraid! Open the doors wide to Christ!” is now interceding before God that we might receive it? And so, is not Christ now knocking at the doors of our hearts? Is not the new evangelization on the brink of realization? Does not Christ at this moment stand at the right hand of the Father, ready to pour the Holy Spirit upon the docile among his believers?
Let us open our hearts to Christ this day. Let us repent of our sins, especially the sin of lukewarmness. Let us be docile to the Spirit who enflames our hearts with living water and who calls us to preach the Gospel to every creature, not to the spirit that waters down the flame of the Gospel and replaces it with a political fervor to remake the Church according to the image of the “enlightened” of the world.

- Mark John