Fourth Sunday of Lent — March 22, 2020

No homily posted this week because you can view the whole Mass on YouTube!

https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCuVm1qnnO9hJ2oBWzPosyKw

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Third Sunday of Lent — March 15, 2020

N.B.  We have all been bombarded so much with information about the coronavirus.  Let us all take a moment, listen to God’s Word, and reflect upon it.

Today’s readings may be found here.

You can hear me proclaim the readings and the Gospel here.

You can hear me deliver the homily here.

My brothers and sisters, this Gospel today really hit home for me.  I have heard this Gospel so many times, and yet never had it hit me like it did this way.  Tuesday morning, I woke up thinking about the meaning of this Gospel, and I think the Lord made a bit of sense of it for me, and I want to try to share it with you now.

This Samaritan woman who came to the well, well, she was there at that time for a reason.  The women of her time would have come early in the morning to draw water, not in the heat of the day, but here this woman comes at noon because she was likely ashamed.  Ashamed because of the sins Jesus would reveal later.  She had been ostracized by others, beaten down by the judgment of others, and left broken in her sinfulness.  My brothers and sisters – I know this feeling, maybe you do too.  I can totally identify with the woman at the well.  No, I didn’t have five husbands, but I know how broken I am in my sinfulness.  I don’t have it all together, I can be angry, I can lash out at others, I can pass judgment with the best of them, I do so many things that are sinful, and I know what it is like to be ashamed of my sins.  It was that way most of my life – a broken sinner without a way out, without an understanding of how to stop.  I can identify with this woman.

Somewhere along the way, the Lord has approached me and offered me help.  I resisted.  He called out to me and I refused.  He asked me to be His disciple and I said no way.  When I was in college, He put in my heart the desire to be a priest, I even investigated it, but during the process, I gave up.  The Lord couldn’t want me, I am a sinner.  So, I went off and tried to fix my life, make money, go on vacation, you know, live life.  Take care of all of my material needs.  I was much like the woman at the well today, who when offered the waters of eternal life, misunderstood them as mere water that would satisfy her material needs.  I was lost in that pursuit.

Again, somewhere else along the way, I finally was led, like the woman at the well to confront my sinfulness.  If only I had known the gift God was offering, maybe it wouldn’t have taken me so long.  But the Lord had me confront my sinfulness as He did with the woman in the Gospel.  Am I still a sinner?  You bet.  Do I still do many of the sinful things that I did before – yes, I am still broken, hurt, and confused.  But, in that confrontation with my sinfulness, I learned that it is okay to be a sinner because God loves me.  I hate my sins and fight against them, but the fact that I sin comes as no great surprise anymore.  When I fail, I try to rely on the Lord’s love to help me back up.  There is nothing special about me that deserves this – this gift is offered to each one of us.  We are sinners, but we are loved and the Lord’s love is greater than our sins.  

The woman reported to her townsfolk that Jesus had told her everything she had ever done.  It all made sense now – she was a sinner, but loved so deeply by Christ, that she could throw off her fears and go talk to all of the townspeople about Jesus.  Did you notice that?  The woman who had to hide from shame went out to convert a town?  My brothers and sisters, that was the thought that woke me on Tuesday morning – what the Lord had done for this woman, He has done for me as well.  And He will do it for each one of us.  It didn’t happen in a single conversation with the Lord, as it did with the woman at the well.  But, Christ took this sinful, broken man, and after 15 years of struggle and resistance, made him His priest.  And He has made sense of my life (at least to me) – I know Christ’s love, and it allows me to get up in front of you all without shame, even though I sin constantly.  I know that I am not the best priest in the world, but God is still trying – He has not given up on converting me yet.

So, how does this apply to all of us here?  We need to ask ourselves: do I know Christ’s love?  If not, I should ask for it, ask Him to give the gift of His love.  Do I know that Christ loves me in spite of my sins?  If not, I need to ask Him for it.  Do I know what gifts is He trying to give me right now?  Do I know what is He trying to make sense of in my life, if only I would stop resisting?  If I don’t know, I should ask. God will never let us down if we keep approaching Him.  Jesus took a sinful woman, and used her to convert a town — what does God have planned for each one of us?

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Second Sunday of Lent — March 8, 2020

Today’s reading’s may be found here.

You can listen to this homily delivered here.

Brothers and sisters, everyone is concerned about the Coronavirus outbreak to some extent, and of course, some are more concerned than others.  I announced last week at the Mass that the Archdiocese has suspended distribution of the Precious Blood and physical contact during the sign of peace.  I saw a meme on the internet this week that every diocese is instituting similar controls over the distribution of the Eucharist for reasons of physical health, but not one diocese has reacted as quickly or strongly to worry about the spiritual health of people who receive the Eucharist in the state of mortal sin.  One such grave sin is to disbelieve what we receive in the Eucharist is truly the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ.

In this morning’s Gospel, we heard the account of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus before three of His Apostles.  What exactly was the Transfiguration?  It was a grace given to Peter, James, and John to see Jesus for who He truly is — God made man.  They saw God in all His glory, not just a mere man.  This grace was given to them to strengthen them, so that when things got tough — Jesus being arrested, tortured, and killed — they would remember and believe that Jesus truly is God, not just a mere man.  Even though one of them would deny Jesus (Peter), even though another fled and abandoned Jesus (James), one did remain faithful (John), standing at the foot of the Cross, strengthened by the Transfiguration he saw.

What about us though?  When we come here to Mass, do we encounter Jesus?  The host that is consecrated and the wine that is consecrated truly become the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ.  If we do not believe that, we should not receive the Eucharist because, likely, we do not believe the words of Jesus when He said: “This is my Body, this is my Blood.”  If we think that the Eucharist is just a symbol and not truly the Body and Blood of Jesus, then we should not be receiving it, because what’s the point?

I am sure many of us have heard about the devastating tornados that hit Nashville this week.  One of the destroyed buildings was the Church of the Assumption.  In the face of the storm, the pastor of the Church was able to retrieve the Most Blessed Sacrament from the Tabernacle.  If the Eucharist is just a symbol, why bother?

The Catholic Church has the Eucharist, which by the grace of the Holy Spirit, through the words and actions of the consecration by the priest, transform bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus.  As with the Transfiguration, the Eucharist is filled with grace and given to us to strengthen us for the travails of earthly life and to bring us safely to Heaven.  But, we must believe in it, else not only do we profane the words of the Lord Jesus who explicitly said “This IS my body — this IS my blood,” but we also restrict the ability of His grace to penetrate our hearts and strengthen us.  The graces of the Eucharist are not magical — they must be received in faith for them to take hold in our lives.

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First Sunday of Lent — March 1, 2020

Today’s readings may be found here.

Listen to this homily being delivered here.

My brothers and sisters, we are with Jesus in the desert, being tempted along with Him.  We may be in the desert tempted to accumulate wealth.  We may be in the desert tempted to acquire the car, the pool, the mansion, or the second mansion.  We may be in the desert tempted to accumulate power, to be the boss of others, to be in control of what others do and say.  We may be in the desert tempted to despair because of the loss of a loved one, because of addiction to alcohol, drugs or sex.  We may be in the desert tempted to despair because of a serious illness to ourselves or others.  We may be in the desert tempted to despair because of the loss of a job and security, because of the loss of friends, because of the loss of prestige.  We may be in the desert tempted to despair because of depression, because of anxiety, because of fear, because of the oppression of others.

But, Jesus Christ came to proclaim the Gospel, the good news that we are not destined for this desert we find ourselves in, but that we are destined for the garden of Heaven.  We were designed for the Garden of Eden by God, not the desert.  We are called to reach the bounty of Heaven, not to endlessly languish in the desolation of the desert.  We are loved by God who wants us with Him, not in the desert!

It is through sin — our sins and the sins of others — and the Enemy who seeks to capitalize on those sins, that we find ourselves in the desert.  Jesus Christ was tempted by the Devil, as we are as well.  But, as St. Augustine said, let us not think of the temptations without thinking of the victory.  Jesus Christ came to be tempted in the desert as we are, in order that He could save us from all of those temptations.  Jesus Christ came to redeem us and has won the victory that has redeemed us, and He desperately wants us to turn to Him in our temptations and in our sin. 

Whatever our desert may be, no matter how much it may be, no matter how difficult it may be to live the lives that we have, Jesus Christ wants to walk that life with us.  If we desire Him walking next to us, helping to carry our burdens of temptation and sin, He will be right there with us.  So, let us turn to Jesus, return to Jesus when we fail, and return and return and return to Christ as many times as we need to, as long as it takes, knowing that when we call in faith, He will be right there beside us, as the Father was beside Jesus when He Himself was tempted.  Let us let Him lead us out of the desert into the Promised Land of Heaven.

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Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time — February 23, 2020

Today’s Readings can be found here.

Listen to this homily delivered here.

My brothers and sisters, today’s Gospel is a continuation of the great Sermon on the Mount.  Imagine the scene, hundreds of people, if not thousands of people, have heard about this man Jesus, the man who can heal people from their illnesses, can cast out demons and speaks as someone in authority.  Some of them were probably there to seek thrills, some of them were probably there to report back to the Pharisees and Scribes what bad things Jesus was doing, and some of them were probably there wondering if this man were the promised Messiah that would liberate Israel from oppression.  To all of the people there, Christ opened the possibility to them to become His disciples.  Most of the people there were likely not disciples of Christ, not yet – but they were coming to listen to what He might have to say.  Some would come and remain with Jesus, learning what it meant to be His disciple, what they needed to do, what they needed to become in order to bear the name of Christian.  Others would leave, not willing to pay the price of being a Christian.

This could be the same with us.  We are here, but we cannot ever take for granted that we are disciples of Jesus Christ.  We have to listen and do what He asks to be His disciple.  And so we come here to hear what the Lord requires of us if we are to be His disciple.

Today, in the first reading and in the Gospel, we are told that we cannot hate our brothers and sisters and that we are to love not just our friends, but our enemies as well.  This is simple to say, but difficult to do, isn’t it?  To be purified of hatred, to be free of anger even towards those who have wronged us?  In fact, it is difficult to do, but possible only with the grace of Christ in our hearts.

How are we to love that family member who always picks on us or criticizes us?  How are we going to love that coworker who actively undercuts us and tries to get us fired or worse?  How are we going to love that person at school or in our office who gossips about us?  How are we going to do what the Lord asks of us, and turn the other cheek, love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us?  It is difficult.

One answer may be in the nature of love that Christ had in mind.  The love Christ was talking about was not a warm fuzzy feeling that perhaps we see our sweetheart, in fact, it is not a feeling at all.  The best way I have heard it said is that the love that Christ wants us to have for our neighbors and our enemies is to desire their true good, pray for their true good, and work towards that true good, with whatever means are at our disposal.  We are to pray that the Lord heals the family member that picks on us or wounds us with criticism, not because we want to be rid of the persecution, but because they are hurting themselves and the Lord more by what they are saying than what they say to us.  This does not mean we have to be buddy-buddy with them and spend all of Thanksgiving dinner talking to them, but it does mean that our heart is moved to care for them.

We are to pray for that coworker’s true good, that they will refrain from aggression against us because it wounds them and the Lord more than it hurts us.  It does not mean that we have to trust them or work with them, but it does mean that our heart is moved to care for them and that we would never retaliate against them, wishing that they would get in trouble or be punished for their behavior.  We need to avoid thinking or saying things like: “I hope they get theirs someday.”

We are to pray for the person who gossips against us, knowing that they are hurting themselves and the Lord more than us.  We must refrain from seeking to get back at them, point out their gossip, or again, retaliate against them.  We must care for them in return.

All of these things are very, very hard to do.  And I would say that they are nearly impossible using only our human capabilities.  The fact is, we need the Lord and His grace in order to do these things.  We need to turn to the Lord in prayer, Eucharist, and especially Confession to receive the grace to overcome our lack of loving.

Lent begins this Wednesday.  It is a time to look at ourselves, repent, and believe in this Good News that Jesus is offering us.  During this Sermon on the Mount, we have heard what the Lord requires from His disciples.  Many people heard what Jesus said and walked away from him.  As always, we too, have a choice.  Will we become a disciple of Jesus Christ, or not? Will we walk the way with Jesus, or not?

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Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time — February 16, 2020

Today’s readings may be found here.

You can listen to this homily being delivered here.

Brothers and sisters, I am sure it is no great surprise to you, but I have many faults.  There is an ugly side to me which I detest.  I have an ego that can fill a room.  I do not listen to others well because I know everything.  I can be flippant and matter-of-fact in talking to others and condescending.  I am all too quick to anger and I can be vicious in arguments.  And, I do know the list goes on.  If I have hurt any of you through any of these actions, or in any other way through actions I have not named, I am truly sorry.  I know that my sins affect others and can really hurt other people.  And I always wonder why God has called me to be a priest with all of these failings.  St. Paul says in the letter to the Romans: “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”  St. Paul nailed it.

I read an article the other night about suggestions of what to give up for Lent.  But, the article also gave seven reasons WHY we should give up something.  The last reason hit me right between the eyes:  The reason for giving something up for Lent is that when we fail, we recognize that we are in need of redemption.  I think that is a lesson that goes beyond just fasting but to all of our sins and sinfulness — that when we fail, we recognize that we are not God, we are not always in control of ourselves, and we are not Our Savior, Jesus Christ is.  We do the things we normally hate when we think we are God.  And yet, we do it anyway.  We need to be reminded that we are not the Savior.  I think I need to be reminded of this most of all.

In the Gospel today, Jesus told us that our righteousness must surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees.  The scribes and Pharisees would check the boxes and follow the letter of the commandments, but would never see the inner reality and sinfulness leading underlying the sin — that for instance, underneath murder there was anger.  We owe it to ourselves to look at ourselves and to look at what we do.

I shared with you that earlier list of my faults because I know I need to make amends.  Sins hurt God, others, and ourselves.  My sins hurt God and others and therefore hurt myself as well because I end up doing things I hate and preach to others about.  And so, I need to make amends with God and with anyone whom I have hurt.  And I want to make those amends because I want to follow what Jesus has taught us.

People often say: “I don’t need to go to Confession — it’s not like I killed anybody.”  But, Jesus says anyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.  Brothers and sisters, we really need to think about this part of our faith lives.  Do we need to go to confession?  The answer is yes.

First, confession makes us state our sins out loud.  The very act of speaking them makes us hear them.  But, in another way, it puts them outside of ourselves to be dealt with.  Second, confession allows us to recognize that we are not the only ones who sin.  We can get very down on ourselves when we realize our faults and sins.  But when we go and speak with a Priest, we know he is there because we are NOT the only sinner.  Third, the Priest can give us encouragement and advice that will help us.  When I hear confessions, I truly don’t know where the words come from sometimes.  At those times, I know the power of Confession is real because I know it is not me, the Priest doing it, but indeed it is Jesus Christ speaking to the person in front of me.  Fourth, and most important, Jesus Christ absolves our sins and gives us the grace to try again not to sin.  When we approach someone whom we have hurt and ask forgiveness, and when they say that they forgive us, it brings us comfort, doesn’t it?  Well, every sin offends God as well, and we need to know we are forgiven, otherwise we become hardened in our sins.

This upcoming Lent, which begins in a week and a half on Ash Wednesday, February 26th, we will be offering here at Guardian Angel, more opportunities to seek the Sacrament of Confession.  Please consider what I have said and make time for Confession, especially if you have not been in a while.  And if you are worried about coming here to seek the Sacrament, go to one of the surrounding Churches.  In the meantime, know that my prayers are with all of you.  Please pray for me as well that I can battle my sins better and make amends to those I have hurt!

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Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time — February 9, 2020

Today’s Readings can be found here.

You can listen to this homily being delivered here.

Brothers and sisters we just heard the second installment from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.  Last week, if not for the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord, we would have heard Jesus begin that Sermon with the Beatitudes, those “blessed” statements about peacemakers, mourners, and the meek.  So, we lose out a little not getting to hear those words that are well-loved.  If you want to read them on your own, go to Chapter Five in the Gospel of Matthew and you will see them followed by the Gospel we heard today.  With today’s Gospel, Jesus is not speaking in generalities of people, but Jesus is speaking to each and everyone of us directly  and specifically.  He is saying that we are the salt of the earth.  We ARE the salt of the earth.  And that we are the light of the world.  We ARE the light of the world.  It can be so easy to dismiss those statements because we have heard them so many times before, but today, let us try to take them to heart.

First, we are the salt of the earth, but if salt loses its taste it is no longer good for anything.  Brothers and sisters, what does salt do but enliven the rest of the food it is mixed with?  We are to mix with others and enliven them!  We are to give flavor to the world with our unique skills and talents, through our time and treasure, through each of our interactions with others to make certain that they are enlivened by the Holy Spirit too!

Second, we are the light of the world, and we need to be set upon a lampstand so that our light shines before others.  How does that happen?  Well, let us consult the first reading which tells us that when we share our bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless, clothe the naked, when we see them, and do not turn our backs on our own, then our light will break forth like the dawn.  Essentially when we perform the corporal and spiritual works of mercy for others, our light shines before others.

Every time we feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, bury the dead and give alms to the poor, our light shines before others.  Every time we instruct, advise, console, comfort, forgive, and bear wrongs patiently and with compassion, our light shines before others.

Brothers and sisters, these things I have just listed are why we are here on this Earth, and what we are supposed to do as Christians.  Let us today redouble our efforts to do them and be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  Amen.

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February 2, 2020 — Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord

Listen to this homily here.

Brothers and sisters, I was confronted by two deaths this week, one all of us surely have heard about, the death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter and several others in a helicopter crash, and the second one was the death of my best-friend’s stepmother, Irene.  My best friend Chris happens to be a priest of the Archdiocese but I have been best friends with him since high school.  When we were in college, his mother died, after a long illness.  His father remarried and for the last 28 years his stepmother was another mother to him, and all she met.

Irene was a faithful Catholic, she went to Church, she volunteered at the Center for Hope Hospice, she founded and ran a Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel at Our Lady of Lourdes in Mountainside.  Prayer was important to her.  The Eucharist was important to her.  Jesus was important to her and she organized her life around service to Him.  She loved her family and friends, and treated everyone with love.  As I saw her at her wake, I thanked her not only for all the love, but for the witness she gave to Christ to all her family and friends.  Irene was not a slave to evil, the Devil, or the world — she was freed by Christ’s redemptive suffering, death, and resurrection to live in the light of Christ whom she adored.  I leave it up to God to determine whether or not Irene is in heaven, as He is the only judge, but if she is not, I feel that I have no chance.  But, I pray that God has her in Heaven.

Unless one were under a rock this week, one has surely heard of the tragic helicopter accident which claimed the life of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven other victims.  Kobe Bryant was an NBA Superstar, winning five NBA championships in his twenty-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.  He had a wife named Vanessa and had four daughters with her.  His family and the families of the other victims are grieving right now, and we should say a prayer for them.  All of these facts we know.

What we may not have heard, and the stories have come out this week, that before Kobe and Gigi boarded that helicopter on Sunday afternoon, they were at Mass on Sunday morning.  They celebrated the Eucharist at Our Lady Queen of Angels in Newport Beach, California.  Kobe was raised Catholic, and was married in the Catholic Church.  He has been reported to have been seen not just at Sunday Mass but frequently at daily Masses.  The Archbishop of Los Angeles said he knew him to be a man of faith.

However, Kobe had had his problems.  He committed adultery.  His wife divorced him.  A priest helped turn his life around with good advice, and Kobe sought to live his life better.  Eventually he and his wife reconciled and together they started a Foundation to help young kids develop physical and social skills through sports and charity work.  I repeat these facts, not to impugn the dead but to demonstrate great hope.

Great hope in what?  Great hope in God.  Great hope in the Church.  Great hope in the Sacraments, particularly the Most Blessed Sacrament, the Eucharist.  As with Irene, I leave it up to God whether or not Kobe, or Gianna, or any of the other victims are in Heaven or not, for He is the only judge.  I pray for his salvation and that of all the other victims.  But, I believe that faith, demonstrated by the reception of the Sacraments strengthens us and allows us to grow closer to Him, avoid sin, and to do good in our lives.  I think Kobe’s story justifies my belief.

No matter our past, we have a future.  And our destiny, because of our Baptism is to be with God in Heaven.  Whether we actually achieve that is, of course, up to us and the choices we make to do good and to avoid sin.  But, the Sacraments help us to become holy and to be rewarded with eternal life.

So, we must ask ourselves, do we take Church seriously enough?  Do we come every week to Mass, repent of grave sin in the confessional, and receive the Eucharist worthily?  Do we pray enough?  Or, do we allow other things get in the way of these duties: sports, theatre, dance, parties, laziness, work?  At the end of each of our lives, we will meet Jesus and have to answer for our conduct.  Would that we were at Mass and receive the Eucharist worthily on the day of our death!

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Third Sunday in Ordinary Time — January 26, 2020

Today’s readings may be found here.

Listen to this homily here.

This world is divided.  We know this.  We see it every day in the news.  Look at the political situation right now in Washington.  There is also war, persecution, inhuman atrocities that go on in this world every day.  This world is divided.

But, St. Paul urges us today to have no divisions among us, that we be united in the same mind and the same purpose.  That may seem impossible, but it is the desire of St. Paul and Jesus Christ for us.  Maybe we can’t heal the world of division, but can we heal our families, our friends, our neighbors of it?  Do we need to stand idly by and say that’s just the way it is?

The key to overcoming division is to remember that we are baptized.  And as we are baptized, we are made one with the Body of Christ.  No matter what, we are one Church and one organism.    We need to care for others the way we care for our very own selves. 

What leads us away from thinking this way is simply our pride.  We want to believe what we want to believe, and nobody is going to tell us different.  We put up walls that divide.  We surround ourselves only with the like-minded.  The only remedy to that pride is to become meek and humble, to become obedient to the Father in heaven in all ways.

So let us today pray for the following: first, humility in our own hearts; second, healing in our families; third, an end to division in our country; and fourth, an end to hatred and violence in this world.  Amen.

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Feast of the Baptism of the Lord — January 12, 2020

Today’s Readings can be found here.

       This Gospel that we just heard, brothers and sisters, is a game changer.  Centuries and centuries ago, God created us, and we fell from grace through the original sin, but He promised us that there would be a redemption.  God the Father called a people to be chosen through Abraham, He liberated them from physical slavery through Moses, and gave them a land to live in.  Some stayed faithful throughout, others sinned and went their own way. 

       Yet, through it all, God the Father constantly culled a remnant of people who were faithful to Him, so that they could receive the greatest gift of salvation that was to come through God Himself becoming one of us.  God’s Son, the Eternal Word, our God, became man through the incarnation and became Emmanuel, God with us.  God came to us through one of our own, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the epitome of an obedient servant.  The almighty God became a servant of the Father through His Mother, another obedient servant.  But, that was not the end.  And that is the game change today.  Jesus Christ, the servant that Isaiah prophesied in the first reading today, was baptized in the Jordan, by another one of God’s servants, John the Baptist.  The heavens opened to Christ, the Spirit came down in the form of a dove and a voice rang out from heaven: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.” 

       Through God’s will and the Baptism of Jesus Christ, human nature now had the ability to be raised to a higher level.  As St. Paul put it, we have the ability to become no longer servants, but God’s very own children.  The Baptism of Jesus Christ allows us to be Baptized into Him, and therefore become God’s Children, rather than little pawns in some game.  This is a game changer, if you know anything about mythology — the various gods used human beings for their playthings, demanded tribute, exacted revenge upon them, punished them not to correct them, but to destroy them.  The idea that we can be beloved sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven, through Baptism into His Son changed everything.  We can now go to Heaven, we can now live in freedom during our lives on Earth.  That is now the possibility for each of us.  Because we have been told this truth all our lives, we might take it for granted — because most of us were probably baptized as infants, we might take it for granted — and that is why I am belaboring this point so much — this is not just trivia, this is great news for each of us that we need to reflect upon daily in our lives.

       For, often enough, we don’t feel free.  We still suffer from the sins of the world and the sins of our own — we still suffer illnesses and death — we suffer anxiety, depression, and fear — we suffer from lack of security and uncertainty.  We can name what we suffer and we don’t feel freedom there.  And that is why we need to recall this good news, this great news that we are beloved children of our loving Father in heaven.  We need to bring those troubles to Him, we need to bring our lack of freedom to Him, we need to find freedom in Him when we do not feel freedom in this world.  We are no longer servants who are playthings or pawns, we are beloved sons and daughters of a loving God who created us, became one of us, was baptized for us, and suffered and died on the Cross for us.  The game has indeed changed, let us live in that knowledge.

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