Father’s Messages

Reflection on Pope Francis Homily today

Pope Francis affirms the Resurrection is real and bodily. The Catechism tells us ‘That it so hard for modern man to believe that flesh and blood which is so clearly mortal will share in the resurrection.’ Jesus even eats a fish. The most used image of Heaven is a banquet.

Also when Jesus eats a fish he is showing that our bodies ability to transforms a fish into our flesh and blood is a miraculous event. The resurrection doesn’t take us away from the ordinary. The resurrection shows us that the ordinary is in fact miraculous. The Risen Jesus doesn’t take us away from our normal life. The Risen Jesus shows us that our ordinary life is in fact extra ordinary. Here is an example. When Jesus restores sight to a blind man. Doesn’t this miracle highlight the miracle that we can see every day? When Jesus restores the limbs of a paralyzed man is Jesus not highlighting the miracle that we can get out of bed in the morning and walk to the kitchen for our cup of coffee?

Pope Francis in his homily today said ‘The episode narrated by the evangelist Luke emphasizes a lot the realism of the Resurrection. Jesus isn’t a ghost. In fact, it’s not about an apparition of Jesus’ spirit, but of His real presence with a risen body.

Jesus realizes that the Apostles are disturbed on seeing Him, that they are disconcerted because the reality of the Resurrection is inconceivable to them. They think they see a ghost, but the Risen Jesus isn’t a ghost, He is a man with body and soul. Therefore, to convince them, He says to them: “See my hands and my feet — He makes them see the wounds — that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have” (v. 39). And because, the Gospel also says something interesting: The joy was so great that they has within that they couldn’t believe this joy: No, it can’t be! It can’t be so!

So much joy isn’t possible! And, to convince them Jesus says to them: “Have you anything here to eat?” (v. 41). They offer him broiled fish; Jesus takes it and eats it before them, to convince them.’

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Father Stefan working notes for 3rd Sunday of Easter

Jesus tells His Apostles ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was with you. That everything written about me in the law of Moses and the Prophets and Psalms must be fulfilled’ Jesus is alive. Jesus is alive when we read his word. On the road to emmaus. Jesus explain how everything in the law and prophets spoke about Him. They said ‘we’re not our heart burning when we opened the scripture to us.’ The same Holy Spirit that inspired the scripture is the same Holy Spirit that opens our hearts to the word of God. Scripture has to be read in the same Spirit in which it was written. Scripture is meant to breath forth the Holy Spirit. Jesus said to the rich man ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets neither will they believe even if one were to rise from the dead’ Meaning ‘if the message is not headed the Resurrection is hollow. Also we can’t divorce the Risen Jesus from his words in scripture. If Jesus saw the Risen Jesus an had no familiarity with His Word we would not understand the vision. Jesus is historical. His Resurrection is historical. This is why the Act tell us ‘Jesus appeared to us who ate and drank with Him’ This means that there is a continuity between Jesus who ate and drank with them and the Jesus who is Risen. Outside of that context of knowing Jesus and spending time with him they would not understand the Resurrection. This is why The Risen Lord always takes us back to scripture. Also one last point because the Risen Lord is the Flesh and Blood of Jesus. A culture that is digital like our own has an almost impossible task of understanding the bodily resurrection. Why because the digital is real. The resurrection of Jesus is nothing more than the Holograms of the Digital Word . But in truth when we read the Scripture it is Jesus who is Risen that is standing with us and in us. Scripture is His Word. All this happens in the Power and unity of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus has an open door policy

Yesterday while I was praying I hear and saw these words from scripture ‘I have opened in front of you a door that no body will be able to close’ Faith is a Door. Jesus is the Gate. Jesus has opened the door in front of you and no body can close it. This is also the image of the Divine Mercy. Jesus is standing in front of an open door. The door is open for you. And no body can close it. May Mary the new living stone give us honey from the rock. Allow Mary to take you through the Open Door and taste the Honey of Heaven.

Being Bold with our Witness Quote from Papa Francis

Pope Francis in lis latest letter to asking us to be bold. Bold with our prayers. Bold with our witness. ‘You did not receive a spirit of fear but a spirit of boldness that makes us cry out Abba Father.’

‘BOLDNESS AND PASSION

129. Holiness is also parrhesía: it is boldness, an impulse to evangelize and to leave a mark in this world. To allow us to do this, Jesus himself comes and tells us once more, serenely yet firmly: “Do not be afraid” (Mk 6:50). “I am with you always, to the end of the world” (Mt 28:20). These words enable us to go forth and serve with the same courage that the Holy Spirit stirred up in the Apostles, impelling them to proclaim Jesus Christ. Boldness, enthusiasm, the freedom to speak out, apostolic fervour, all these are included in the word parrhesía. The Bible also uses this word to describe the freedom of a life open to God and to others (cf. Acts 4:29, 9:28, 28:31; 2 Cor 3:12; Eph 3:12; Heb 3:6, 10:19).

130. Blessed Paul VI, in referring to obstacles to evangelization, spoke of a lack of fervour (parrhesía) that is “all the more serious because it comes from within”.[103] How often we are tempted to keep close to the shore! Yet the Lord calls us to put out into the deep and let down our nets (cf. Lk 5:4). He bids us spend our lives in his service. Clinging to him, we are inspired to put all our charisms at the service of others. May we always feel compelled by his love (2 Cor 5:14) and say with Saint Paul: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel” (1 Cor 9:16).

131. Look at Jesus. His deep compassion reached out to others. It did not make him hesitant, timid or self-conscious, as often happens with us. Quite the opposite. His compassion made him go out actively to preach and to send others on a mission of healing and liberation. Let us acknowledge our weakness, but allow Jesus to lay hold of it and send us too on mission. We are weak, yet we hold a treasure that can enlarge us and make those who receive it better and happier. Boldness and apostolic courage are an essential part of mission.

132. Parrhesía is a seal of the Spirit; it testifies to the authenticity of our preaching. It is a joyful assurance that leads us to glory in the Gospel we proclaim. It is an unshakeable trust in the faithful Witness who gives us the certainty that nothing can “separate us from the love of God” (Rom 8:39).

133. We need the Spirit’s prompting, lest we be paralyzed by fear and excessive caution, lest we grow used to keeping within safe bounds. Let us remember that closed spaces grow musty and unhealthy. When the Apostles were tempted to let themselves be crippled by danger and threats, they joined in prayer to implore parrhesía: “And now, Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness” (Acts 4:29). As a result, “when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).

134. Like the prophet Jonah, we are constantly tempted to flee to a safe haven. It can have many names: individualism, spiritualism, living in a little world, addiction, intransigence, the rejection of new ideas and approaches, dogmatism, nostalgia, pessimism, hiding behind rules and regulations. We can resist leaving behind a familiar and easy way of doing things. Yet the challenges involved can be like the storm, the whale, the worm that dried the gourd plant, or the wind and sun that burned Jonah’s head. For us, as for him, they can serve to bring us back to the God of tenderness, who invites us to set out ever anew on our journey.

135. God is eternal newness. He impels us constantly to set out anew, to pass beyond what is familiar, to the fringes and beyond. He takes us to where humanity is most wounded, where men and women, beneath the appearance of a shallow conformity, continue to seek an answer to the question of life’s meaning. God is not afraid! He is fearless! He is always greater than our plans and schemes. Unafraid of the fringes, he himself became a fringe (cf. Phil 2:6-8; Jn 1:14). So if we dare to go to the fringes, we will find him there; indeed, he is already there. Jesus is already there, in the hearts of our brothers and sisters, in their wounded flesh, in their troubles and in their profound desolation. He is already there.’

Pope Francis in his Letter on Holiness tells that Holiness is about being JoyFull

Pope Francis in his recent letter on Holiness teaches us that Holiness is about being Joyful. St Paul writes ‘The fruit of the Spirit is Love Joy Peace.’ One author said the surest sign of the presence of God is Joy. CS Lewis wrote a book ‘Surprise by Joy.’ Joy is born of a humble heart. Joy is a fruit of charity. Joy is a fruit of trusting in Jesus. Only the humble can be joyful because the proud take themselves way to seriously.

May Mary cause of our joy fill our hearts with the Joy of the Lord.

‘JOY AND A SENSE OF HUMOUR

122. Far from being timid, morose, acerbic or melancholy, or putting on a dreary face, the saints are joyful and full of good humour. Though completely realistic, they radiate a positive and hopeful spirit. The Christian life is “joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17), for “the necessary result of the love of charity is joy; since every lover rejoices at being united to the beloved… the effect of charity is joy”.[99] Having received the beautiful gift of God’s word, we embrace it “in much affliction, with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit” (1 Thess 1:6). If we allow the Lord to draw us out of our shell and change our lives, then we can do as Saint Paul tells us: “Rejoice in the Lord always; I say it again, rejoice!” (Phil 4:4).

123. The prophets proclaimed the times of Jesus, in which we now live, as a revelation of joy. “Shout and sing for joy!” (Is 12:6). “Get you up to a high mountain, O herald of good tidings to Zion; lift up your voice with strength, O herald of good tidings to Jerusalem!” (Is 40:9). “Break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people, and he will have compassion on his afflicted” (Is 49:13). “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he” (Zech 9:9). Nor should we forget Nehemiah’s exhortation: “Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” (8:10).

124. Mary, recognizing the newness that Jesus brought, sang: “My spirit rejoices” (Lk 1:47), and Jesus himself “rejoiced in the Holy Spirit” (Lk 10:21). As he passed by, “all the people rejoiced” (Lk 13:17). After his resurrection, wherever the disciples went, there was “much joy” (Acts 8:8). Jesus assures us: “You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy… I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you” (Jn 16:20.22). “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (Jn 15:11).

125. Hard times may come, when the cross casts its shadow, yet nothing can destroy the supernatural joy that “adapts and changes, but always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved”.[100] That joy brings deep security, serene hope and a spiritual fulfilment that the world cannot understand or appreciate.

126. Christian joy is usually accompanied by a sense of humour. We see this clearly, for example, in Saint Thomas More, Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint Philip Neri. Ill humour is no sign of holiness. “Remove vexation from your mind” (Eccl 11:10). We receive so much from the Lord “for our enjoyment” (1 Tim 6:17), that sadness can be a sign of ingratitude. We can get so caught up in ourselves that we are unable to recognize God’s gifts.[101]

127. With the love of a father, God tells us: “My son, treat yourself well… Do not deprive yourself of a happy day” (Sir 14:11.14). He wants us to be positive, grateful and uncomplicated: “In the day of prosperity, be joyful… God created human beings straightforward, but they have devised many schemes” (Eccl 7:14.29). Whatever the case, we should remain resilient and imitate Saint Paul: “I have learned to be content with what I have” (Phil 4:11). Saint Francis of Assisi lived by this; he could be overwhelmed with gratitude before a piece of hard bread, or joyfully praise God simply for the breeze that caressed his face.

128. This is not the joy held out by today’s individualistic and consumerist culture. Consumerism only bloats the heart. It can offer occasional and passing pleasures, but not joy. Here I am speaking of a joy lived in communion, which shares and is shared, since “there is more happiness in giving than in receiving” (Acts 20:35) and “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7). Fraternal love increases our capacity for joy, since it makes us capable of rejoicing in the good of others: “Rejoice with those who rejoice” (Rom 12:15). “We rejoice when we are weak and you are strong” (2 Cor 13:9). On the other hand, when we “focus primarily on our own needs, we condemn ourselves to a joyless existence”.[102]’

May Mary Pour the New Wine of the Holy Spirit into our hearts.

Thoughts that came to me today about Mercy and The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Mercy. John Paul II said ‘That Mercy is Love second name.’ This echo what Jesus said to Saint Faustina ‘That Love is the flower Mercy is the Bloom.’ The Holy Spirit is God going out of himself. The Holy Spirit is the action of God. Well Mercy is Love in action.

So the Holy Spirit is identified with Mercy. The Holy Spirit is the Mercy coming out of God.
So On Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday. So let us ask Mary to baptized us in the Mercy of God. On Divine Mercy Sunday Jesus said ‘The entire floodgates of Heaven are open.’

May the floodwaters of Mercy/Holy Spirit come upon us like a mighty river.