Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Trust in God prompts us to action

By Auxiliary Bishop Rutilio del Riego

The following comments are taken from Bishop del Riego's homily on the Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, June 21.

Sometimes when we forget God, we think we can handle things on our own and still prosper. It’s a mistake. We cannot prosper outside of the plan of God. It seems to me that this message for us is to be taken to heart. We want to be thankful to God for life.

“If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?”

If God is so provident with nature, how is he not going to be provident, generous with his children?

This Gospel message is sometimes misunderstood or manipulated. Yes, we place our trust in God. This trust in God, however, cannot be an excuse for inaction or for a false sense of security. It is an invitation to collaborate. Our trust in God makes it possible for us to act, to work, to collaborate. With trust we commit ourselves not to lost causes but to things that promise results. Because we trust in God, we work. We do our best not only for ourselves, but for others.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

This summer, be open to God’s grace

By Deacon John De Gano
St. Catherine of Alexandria, Riverside

The story of the two disciples encountering Jesus on the Road to Emmaus should serve as a reminder to each of us during our summer vacation to keep a sharp eye out for God and his “breaking in” to our hectic lives.

Vacation planning can be the cause of tremendous anxiety, scheduling camp sites at the beach or a log cabin in one of the national or state parks or even a room at the inn of your choice (remember the Holy Family had trouble booking a room in Bethlehem) in some distant locale.

Then there’s cancelling the newspaper, halting the mail and arranging for the neighbors to set out and take in our empty trash cans from the curb while we are gone. All before we set foot out of our door.

We pack our suitcases, load up the car, set the alarm and as we lock the front door we are filled with trepidation and a flurry of thoughts – Did I turn off the stove? Unplug the iron? Put food out for the cat?

After rechecking, we are at last in the car and on our way…

Are we having fun yet? Or are we too distracted to notice?

The two disciples from Emmaus were not having fun. They were fleeing Jerusalem when they encountered the stranger on the road. Distracted and arguing with each other, they paid him no notice. Only when he interrupted their conversation did they realize he was walking beside them.

Surprised and agitated by his questions, they tried to quickly brush him off, but he responded with great knowledge and understanding. They soon forgot their problems and desired to spend more time listening to the stranger.

Only later when he was gone did they recognize their encounter with Jesus, noting that their hearts burned within them.

How about us? If we encountered God today would we be too distracted to recognize Him? Would we stop and listen or would we brush past Him and keep on walking? Or worse, would we pull out our canister of pepper spray and let Him have it for interrupting our conversation?

As Catholic Christians, we should always expect to have encounters with Christ. Wherever we are. Wherever we go. Whether we are in the mood for it or not. In the beauty of nature or the eyes of the poor, the hungry and the forgotten.

We must not allow ourselves to become distracted but to remain alert for the signs of an encounter with Jesus Christ. Nor should we “check out” of our faith simply because we are on vacation or we will miss too many opportunities.

Jesus made time in his schedule for the crowds who followed him from place to place. And he asks us to do the same for him. If we do we will receive God’s grace and have vacation stories that friends and family will be eager to hear us tell… over and over again.

Like the ones on the road to Emmaus, we will be blessed and proclaim: God has truly risen and has appeared (to his disciples)!

Let our Easter joy continue to unfold before us as we go forth secure in our faith and ready to meet and greet the Lord when he appears.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Love really can conquer all

By Father Ben Alforque, MSC

Children, are you afraid that your childhood dreams will not come true? Young people, are you confused which way and which truth to follow? Young adults, do your feel threatened by an uncertain difficult future? Old people, the sick, and the dying, are you afraid of death?

Love and forgiveness here on earth can set us free from our fears. When we love fully, with all the risks and vulnerabilities at stake, for the good of the other we share in the audacity and bravery of Jesus. When we forgive ourselves and others, because we truly love, we share in the loving forgiveness of Jesus. Then we are liberated to embrace all kinds of people and all kinds of situations, because we desire only the good, even if it hurts!

In a profound sense, our love and forgiveness make us share in the resurrected life of Jesus: we are made new. We have been hurt, our bodies and emotions wounded, our souls in agony. But the Spirit of Jesus is in us, empowering us to be free to love and to forgive. The Spirit makes us radically different from those imprisoned by fear due to selfishness, greed and victimization of injustice. No, we rise up. Let us rise up and proclaim the Resurrection of Jesus and be free, in our woundedness, to love and do good, to truly care for one another and all of creation, to live in common as brothers and sisters, one family of God!