Father’s Messages

thouhts for homily this Sunday 18

We will read on Sunday, “Jesus took Peter, James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.” (Mk 9:2-3)

Raniero Cantalamessa writes in his book, ‘The Mystery of the Transfiguration.’ ” However, the Transfiguration of Christ concerns his mystical body not only in the next life but in this life as well. Saint Paul twice uses the verb meaning ‘to be transformed’ (in Greek ‘to be transfigured’ and ‘to be transformed’ are the same word) in reference to Christians, and in both texts they indicate something that happens here and now: ‘Be transformed by the renewal of your minds.’ (Rom 12:2) In the second text Paul also explains how that will happen: ‘And all of you, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.’” (2 Cor 3;18)

The Transfiguration of Jesus is am image of what our body will look like when it shines in glory in Heaven. However, the Transfiguration of our body and soul starts here and now. We are meant to experience the first fruits of the resurrection now. St Paul says, ‘We are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.”

There are so many examples of saints who experienced this glory that one example will suffice. In his biography of St Catherine of Sienna; Bl Raymond of Capua writes that he was one morning offering mass and turned to give the blessing when he, ” saw that her face had become like an angel’s and was sending out bright rays of light.”

Cantalanessa writes, “What transfiguration do I mean? Above all, the eschatological transfiguration that will happen at the end of time, when the Lord Jesus, as the apostle says, ‘will transform the body of our humiliation so that it may be conformed to the body of his glory.’ (Phil 3:21) According to Proclus of Constantinople, ‘Christ was transfigured to show us the future transfiguration of the our nature and his second coming.’ This concept is also present in the West. The transfiguration, writes Saint Leo the Great, occurred ‘so that the Church might know what sort of exchange the whole body of Christ was to be given, and that the members might promise to themselves a sharing in the honor of the one who had shone as their head.’ Even in antiquity there were some who saw not only our final transformation, but also of the whole cosmos prefigured in the Transfiguration. On Tabor, says Anastasius of Sinai, Christ ‘transfigured all of creation into his image and recreated it in an even more sublime way.’”

May we look at Jesus. As we look at Jesus. He is transforming our body from one degree of glory to the next, for this come from the Holy Spirit. May we experience the first fruits of the Transfiguration here and now. When does Heaven begin? Heaven begins today.

Father Stefan working on Homily for Next Sunday July 30 ‘Gift of Understanding’

We read in the first reading ‘The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at night. God said. ‘Ask something of me and I will give it to you.’ Give your servant, therefore, an Understanding Heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong.’

Jesus says ‘Seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be give to you.’

Saint Thomas shows how each of the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit are linked to a particular virtue or virtues, and how this leads to one of the Beatitudes. St Thomas is showing us how to grow in virtue. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us, “The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord. They belong on their fullness to Christ, Son of David. They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations.”

Father Bransfield writes in his book, ‘The Human Person’ about the Holy Spirit gift of understanding, ” Inspired by hope, we approach life with an inbred simplicity. We navigate relationships under the influence of piety so that we abide by unaffected justice, which results in greater openness to the other. All this leads us to an authentic knowledge that prompts the virtue of faith. Then we spontaneously exude a genuine sense of balanced urgency that the things of God guide the world more and more. We are developing courage to make known our pressing concern in places and situations that are less than welcoming to the word of God. Under the impulse of prudence to daily life situations. Doing so, we are always aware that mercy embraces all-no situation can have too much mercy. As such, our faith is deepened even further by the gift of understanding…We listen spontaneously for the voice of God that leads to salvation, discerning it carefully. Mediation in the mysteries of Christ in the Scripture helps us to sense God’s ways in daily life.” Antonio Royo Marin OP in his book, ‘The Great Unknown The Holy Spirit and His Gifts’ writes, ” The gift of understanding-like that of knowledge…perfect the theological virtue of faith. The gift of understanding is a supernatural habit…by which the human intellect, under the illuminating action of the Holy Spirit, is made apt for a penetrating intuition of revealed truths, and even of natural truths, so far as they are related to the supernatural end.”

Father Marin writes about the virtue of faith, “When one has reached pure faith that is repeatedly recommended by St John of the Cross as the only means proportionate for the union of our intellect with God. St John of the Cross says, ‘By pure faith is meant the adherence of the intellect to revealed truth, as adherence that is based solely on the authority of God revealing it. It exclude all discurus from the moment that reason enter into play, pure faith disappears, because it is mixed with an element that is alien to it nature. Reasoning can precede or follow faith, but it cannot accompany it with denaturalizing it. The more there is of discurus, the less there is of adherence to the truth by the authority of God and, consequently, the less there is of pure faith’…One can see that , perfected by this gift of understanding, the virtue of faith reaches an astounding intensity. The veils of mystery are never parted in this life ‘we can now through a glass in a dark manner.’ (1 Cor 13:12) But it unfathomable depths are penetrated by the soul with an experience that is so clear and deep that it approaches the intuitive vision. St Thomas, a model of serenity and reserve in all his statement writes, ‘In this very life, when the eye of the spirit is purified by the gift of understanding, one can in a certain sense see God.’…These souls seem to lose human instinct and to be guided entirely by the divine instinct…As Roman says, ‘The just man lives by faith.'(Rom 1:17)”

Luis Martinez in his book, ‘True Devotion To The Holy Spirit’ writes, ” Let us turn to St Thomas, who assures us that, in the natural order, there are movements of God similar to the movements of the Holy Spirit in the supernatural; the truly inspired artist, in the moment of his inspiration, is moved by God and receives some wonderful intuitions. Even more do the gifts of the Holy Spirit makes these profound intuitions possible in the supernatural order. The soul that is under the power of the gifts does not analyze or reason but sees. In a flash, in one single vision, it beholds marvelous things. What reason and the reading of erudite works cannot teach.” An example of this is when St Thomas had a profound experience of God. He threw all his writing into the fire and said, ‘Compare to God all that I have written is mere straw.”

Raniero Cantalamessa in his book, ‘Beatitudes Eight Steps To Happiness’ tells us about the beatitude ‘Blessed are the pure.’ He writes, ” The deciding factor here about purity or impurity of heart is intention. Augustine says, ‘All our works are pure and well pleasing in the sight of God, when they are done…with a heavenly intent, having that end of love in view…It is not therefore, what one does, but the intent with which he does it, that is to be considered.’…The mystical interpretation, promoted by Gregory of Nyssa, interprets the beatitude in terms of contemplation. Everyone must purify his or her heart from every tie with the world and with evil. In so doing a person’s heart will become pure and clear image of God that it was at the beginning, and within his or her soul, as in a mirror, human being will be able to ‘see God’” ‘If…you wash off by a good life the filth that has been stuck on your heart like plaster. The Divine Beauty will again shine forth in you…Hence,if a man who is pure in heart see himself, he sees in himself what he desires; and thus becomes blessed.” The author Jacques Philippe tells us we will become holy twice as fast by purifying our hearts than by fighting sin.

let us listen to what a person looks like who is moved by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. St Bonaventure described St Francis this way, “The Spirit of the Lord who had anointed and sent him and also Christ, the power and the wisdom of God, were with their servant Francis wherever he went so that he might abound with words of sound teaching and shine with miracles of great power. For his word was like a burning fire penetrating the innermost depths of the heart; and it filled the minds of all with admiration, since it made no pretense at the elegance of human composition but exuded the perfume of divine revelation.”

thoughts for this Sunday Mass the Mustard Seed

“Mustard Seed”

Jesus says in today Gospel, “The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all seed, yet when fully-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches…The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measure of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.” (Mat 13:31-33)

Pope Francis writes, ” What is the kingdom of heaven? Jesus doesn’t bother to explain it. He states from the beginning of his Gospel: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand”. And also today He is near and among us … He is near. However, he never makes one see it straight away, but always as a consequence, narrating the actions of a master, of a king, of ten virgins … He prefers to let us understand, in parables and similes, and above all by revealing their effects: the kingdom of heaven is capable of changing the world, like yeast hidden in the dough. It is small and humble, like a mustard seed, but becomes as large as a tree. The two parables on which we want to reflect make us understand that the kingdom of God makes itself present in the very person of Jesus. He is the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price. It encompasses the joy of the peasant and the merchant: they found it! It is the joy of all of us when we discover the closeness and the presence of Jesus in our lives – a presence that transforms our lives and makes us sensitive to the needs of our brothers; a presence that invites us to accept each other’s presence, including those who are foreigners and immigrants. He is a welcoming presence, a joyful presence, a fruitful presence, and so it becomes in us. ”

Jesus says, “If you have faith the size of a mustard see you could say to that mountain move to the sea and it would obey you.” Jesus is not saying that we have to have great faith. He is saying, do you have the faith the size of a mustard seed?

The Holy Spirit plants the seed of faith in our heart. When you bake a loaf of bread you need some water in the middle of loaf when it bakes, otherwise it falls apart. Jesus says, “The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a women took and mixed with three measure of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.” In the same way the bread needs the moisture of the water. The Kingdom of heaven will not grow unless at the center there is the dew of the Holy Spirit in our heart.

father stefan working on Homily for mass today ‘Seed is God Word’

Jesus tells us, “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not now.” (Mk 4: 26-28)

About 12 years ago I was in a hotel right across the street from the Church were Jesus revealed his Sacred Heart to Saint Margaret Mary. I had a lot on my mind. I was filled with anxiety and worry. When I woke up I heard these words spoken to me, “The farmer plants the seed it grows he knows not now.” For me that was so comforting. Only years later did I realize that these comforting words were spoken by Jesus himself in today Gospel.

The seed of the Kingdom of God grows in ways that defy human expectations and calculations. If Jesus calls something into being He simply ask us to do what we can and trust in Him.

Pope Francis in Joy of the Gospel writes “Faith also means believing in God, believing that he truly loves us, that he is alive, that he is mysteriously capable of intervening, that he does not abandon us and that he brings good out of evil by his power and his infinite creativity. It means believing that he marches triumphantly in history with those who, ‘are called and chosen and faithful. (Rev 17:14) Let us believe the Gospel when it tells us that the kingdom of God is already present in this world and is growing, here and there, and in different ways: like the SEED which grows into a great tree, (Mt 13:31-32)like the measure of leaven that makes the dough rise (Mt 13;33) and like the good SEED that grows amid the weeds (Mt 13: 24-30) and can always pleasantly surprise us.”

“The Kingdom is here, it returns, it struggles to flourish anew. Christ’s resurrection everywhere calls forth SEEDS of that new world; even if they are cut back, they grow again, for the resurrection is already secretly woven into the fabric of this history, for Jesus did not rise in vain. May we never remain on the sidelines of this march of living hope!.Because we do not always see these seeds growing. we need an interior certainty, a conviction that God is able to act in every situation, even amid apparent setbacks: ‘We have this treasure on earthen vessels.’ (2 Cor 4:7) This certainty is often called ‘a sense of mystery.’ It involves knowing with certitude that all those who entrust themselves to God in love will bear good fruit. (Jn 15:5)”

“The Holy Spirit works as he wills, when he wills and where he wills; we entrust ourselves without pretending to see striking results. We know only that our commitment is necessary…Keeping our missionary fervor alive calls for firm trust in the Holy Spirit, for it is he who ‘helps us in our weakness.’ (Rom 8:26) But this generous trust has to be nourished, and so we need to invoke the Spirit constantly. He can heal whatever causes us to flag in the missionary endeavor.”

“It is true that this trust in the unseen can cause us to feel disoriented; it is like being plunged into the deep and not knowing what we will find. I myself have frequently experienced this. Yet there is no greater freedom than that of allowing oneself to be guided by the Holy Spirit, renouncing the attempt to plan and control everything to the last detail, and instead letting him enlighten, guide and direct us, leading us wherever he wills. The Holy Spirit knows well what is needed in every time and place. This it what it means to be mysteriously fruitful.”

Prayer for the day

Holy Spirit give me an interior certainty that you will work in every circumstance.
Holy Spirit water the seed of grace in me.
Holy Spirit I give you permission to bear fruit in me.
Holy Spirit I know that you call me to have courage.
Holy Spirit fill me with courage
Holy Spirit give me a firm trust that you help me in my weakness.
I give you control over my life.
I will not longer plan everything to that last detail
But I allow you Holy Spirit to give me what is needed in every time and place and to make me fruitful

The Rock is the Magnet Poem by father Stefan Poem written in 2 minutes

The Rock is the Magnet
Deep in the Human Heart there is a Rock
It is felt in the center of my soul
I can put my finger on it
Prayers, Novena are unable to dissolve this rock
The question ask
How come the rock in my soul never leaves
One night in sleep the young man wakes up in the middle of His Dream
In the dream he see Jesus
When he opens His Eyes he sees Himself 5 feet over his bed
The Rock in His soul is really the Magnet that is lifting him up to true Love Jesus
The Rock in the soul is a Magnet that lifts him up to touch Jesus
It feels like a Rock but it is what St Thomas says ‘A sadness as the desire for an absent good.’ ‘When I feel sadness it is because I desire a good that is still absent’
In truth if I didn’t have the rock in my soul I would never be able to come to God
The Rock is taken from another land, another planet, Heaven itself
The rock will only be at rest when it returns to the universe from which it was taken Cut Hewed
The reason the rock in the soul never left is because it the rocket that brings one to Jesus
In Nature a Rock falls to the ground
in Grace By Grace the Rock is the fuel the power that takes us up to Heaven

Some more reflection on Rest ‘Jesus came to give us Rest’

Jesus says ‘Come to me all you who are burdened and I will give you Rest.’

Jesus gives us Rest.
Reflection and thoughts take mostly from ‘John Paul II’

Sunday is a day of rest. Sunday is a day of ‘Renewal and Detachment’ The interruption of the often oppressive rhythm of work. It recall us to realize that the universe and history belong to God.

‘Rest therefore acquires a great value. The faithful are called to rest, as even God rested on the 7th day’

‘Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors to Christ. In the same way. I want to strongly urge everyone to rediscover Sunday as a day of rest.’

Sunday rest reminds us ‘That time remains open to eternity.’ ‘Sunday rest prevents time from being closed in upon itself.’

St Augustine says that Eternity is a quality of God. Hell is more like being stuck at the train station for forever. In hell we will notice every second. In hell time will be closed in upon itself.Time will be all there is.

‘Do not be afraid to give your time to Christ’

Sunday is ‘Day of Light’
Day of the Sun
Christ is the Light of the World

Zechariah ‘As he looked upon Christ seeing in Him the dawn which gives ‘Light’ to those who sit in darkness’

Simon on seeing Jesus ‘Light to enlighten the Gentiles’

Sunday is Day of the Spirit

‘Pentecost is not only the founding event of the Church but is also the mystery which forever gives light to the Church’

‘Sunday is the day of Joy and the day of Rest precisely because it is ‘The Lord Day’ The day of the Risen Lord’ ‘Understood and lived in this fashion. Sunday in a way becomes the soul of the other days, and in a sense we call recall the insights of Origen that the perfect Christian ‘Is always in the Lord Day, and is always celebrating Sunday’

Pope Benedict in his book ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ writes ‘ For Neuser, the key word rest, understood as an integral element of the Sabbath, is the connecting link to Jesus’ exclamation immediately prior to the story of the disciples plucking the ears of wheat in Matthew’s Gospel. It is the ‘Joyful Shout’ ‘I thank thee, Father Lord of heaven and earth, that thou has hidden these things from the wise and the learned and revealed them to babes’

‘The verses immediately preceding the Sabbath narrative reads as follows ‘Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

‘Jesus was not just another rabbi, out to make life easier for people. No the issue is not that the burden is light. Jesus’ claim to authority is at issue. Christ now stands on the mountain. He now takes the place of the Torah.’

When Jesus says ‘The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.’ Jesus is saying that He is the Sabbath Rest. When we are told to rest. That means we are to find our rest in the Heart of Jesus.
Jesus is our Sabbath Rest. It is in Jesus that we find Rest.