Third Sunday of Easter

Sometimes, telling only half the truth ends up as a lie. There’s a reason that witnesses in court are sworn to tell the whole truth. When I was a kid, our driveway had a steep hill, and my parents told my sister and I that we were never to ride our bikes down the hill. Which, of course, I did. And I fell. So when my parents asked me how I got hurt, I didn’t want to lie, but I didn’t want to tell them that I was doing something I wasn’t supposed to. So I simply told them, “I was riding my bike and I fell.” Which was true. But was also leaving out something essential.

We are all called to preach the Gospel. But if we leave out something essential, our proclamation of the Gospel can actually be false. Today’s readings show us two essential truths that must be part of proclaiming the Gospel. To leave out either of these two truths turns the Gospel into what would essentially be a lie. The first essential truth is the reality of sin. St. Peter tells the crowd in the first reading, “You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. The author of life you put to death.” In proclaiming the Gospel to the crowd, he tells them of their own sinfulness. If we are going to be Christians, we have to acknowledge the reality of sin. And not just sin in the general sense, but in the personal sense. All of us are sinners.

Unfortunately, very often we try to deny that. We tell ourselves that we’re not really sinners, that we’re basically good people, that our sins aren’t really that bad. Guess what, you’re a sinner. I’m a sinner. And none of our good deeds will ever make up for our sins. If it were possible for us to be good enough to save ourselves, if our good deeds could cancel out our sins, then we wouldn’t need a savior, and Jesus’s whole work would be in vain. But we can’t save ourselves. We are sinners in desperate need of a savior. That is the first essential truth of the Gospel. If we leave out the reality of sin, what we proclaim is not the Gospel, but a lie that says we can save ourselves.

Now, if we stop there, that’s pretty depressing. If the Gospel is only a proclamation of our sinfulness, then it would hardly qualify as good news. But thankfully there is more to the Gospel. Yes, we have to acknowledge the reality of sin. But we also have to acknowledge the reality of God’s abundant mercy. All three of our readings today speak of God’s mercy. In the Gospel, Christ tells the disciples “that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” In our first reading, St. Peter does just that when he tells the crowd “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.” And in the second reading, St. John writes, “if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.” The Gospel tells us that we are sinners and that we cannot save ourselves, but it also tells us that there is one who can save us: Jesus Christ. In Him is the forgiveness of all our sins. He is our peace and our reconciliation. In Him all of our sins are forgiven. There is no sin that is too great for God’s mercy.

It is critical that we always remember that both sin and mercy are essential parts of the Gospel message. As I said before, sometimes we can forget about sin being an essential part of the Gospel message. We deny our sinfulness or the sinfulness of others. When we do that, Jesus stops being our Savior. He becomes just a nice teacher, and we become our own saviors, which is contrary to the message of Christianity. But we can also forget about mercy. Unfortunately, too many Christians in their proclamation of the Gospel focus almost exclusively on the reality of sin and forget about mercy. As we see in the readings today, none of them talk about sin without also talking about mercy. It is important for us to do the same. We need to make sure as followers of Christ that we never tell people about sin without also telling people about the forgiveness of sins that comes from Christ. As disciples, we are not called to condemn people for their sinfulness but to bring them the good news of God’s mercy and forgiveness.

As followers of Christ, we are called to preach the Gospel but we must preach the fullness of the Gospel. We can neither neglect to tell people about the reality of sin, nor can we neglect to tell them about God’s mercy which covers all of our sins. As Christ appears to the disciples in the Gospel today, he greets them with “Peace be with you.” That peace comes from knowing the Gospel. Let us be instruments of that peace by proclaiming the fullness of the Gospel to all people.

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Segundo Domingo de Pascua

Me siento mal por San Tomás. La gente lo desprecia por ser el apóstol que dudó. ¡Por supuesto él dudó! Si alguien, aún tus mejores amigos, te dijo que una persona ha resucitado de entre los muertos, tu reacción natural y racional sería para dudarlo. Eso tiene sentido. La declaración de Tomás “Si no veo en sus manos la señal de los clavos y si no meto mi dedo en los agujeros de los clavos y no meto mi mano en su costado, no creeré” tiene sentido. Si tú esperas que yo creo en algo imposible, yo necesitará prueba.

La duda de Tomás no es inusual o sorprendente. Cualquiera de nosotros hubiera hecho lo mismo. Lo que es sorprendente es lo que dice el evangelio a continuación. “Ocho días después, estaban reunidos los discípulos a puerta cerrada y Tomás estaba con ellos.” Todavía Tomás no cree que Jesús ha resucito, pero él está aquí una semana después con los otros discípulos. Eso es sorprendente. Si mis amigos me dijeron que ellos habían visto alguien resucito de entre los muertos, yo pensaría ellos son locos. Y no es probable que yo pasaría la próxima semana con estos locos. Piénsalo. ¿Alguno de ustedes pasaría toda una semana con personas que insistieron en algo que era absolutamente imposible? Probablemente no. Pero una semana después de Pascua, Tomás esta con los otros discípulos.

Eso nos dice algo importante sobre los discípulos que habían visto Jesús resucito. Aún que Tomás no los cree, había algo tan atractivo de ellos que Tomás no los abandonó. La proclamación de la Resurrección pareció increíble, pero era también tan fuerza y conmovedora que Tomás quedó, incluso a pesar de su duda. Él no creía, pero tampoco se fue. Lo que los discípulos dijeron no tenía sentido, pero ellos lo dijeron con tanto convicción y alegría que Thomas no solo los catalogó como locos. Así que él pasó una semana con ellos, no creyendo pero queriendo oír más.

Los discípulos eran tan convincente, tan alegre en su testimonio de la Resurrección que aunque Tomás no creyó, él quedó. ¿Qué manera de testimonio es esto? Yo pienso que uno de los escándalos más grande en la Iglesia hoy es que tantos cristianos parecen y actúan idénticamente con los descreídos. No hay nada en nuestro testimonio a Cristo que es atractivo, nada que nos diferencie de los demás. ¿Es de extrañar que muchos no crean en el Evangelio? ¿Nos sorprende que las personas abandonen la fe cuando nuestro testimonio es tan frío y estancado?

Somos llamados para dar testimonio de Cristo con tanto fervor y alegría que todos los que nos ven dicen, “En este momento no creo lo que dices, pero me siento tan atraído por tu testimonio que quiero escuchar más.” Como el Papa Francisco dijo, “La alegría del Evangelio llena el corazón y la vida entera de los que se encuentran con Jesús.”  Debemos ser tan lleno con alegría por nuestro encuentro con Cristo Resucito que la alegria se desborda. Cualquiera nos encuentra, y todos que nos conocen, debería ver que hay algo sobre nosotros que es diferente. La primera lectura dice: “Con grandes muestras de poder, los apóstoles daban testimonio de la resurrección del Señor Jesús.” ¿Damos testimonio de la resurrección del Señor Jesús con gran poder? Hay tantas personas en el mundo que están como San Tomás en la primera Pascua. Ellos oyen la proclamación del Cristo Resucitado, y la encuentran increíble. Como los discípulos, somos llamados a traerles la verdad. Los discípulos no convencieron a Tomás con argumentos teológicos. Más bien, ellos le atrajeron con el magnetismo de su testigo. Su proclamación del Evangelio era tan profunda que aunque Tomás no creyó, él quería oír más.

Esa es la manera en que somos llamados a evangelizar también. No somos enviados entre el mundo para convencer a la gente con argumentos, pero para atraerla por la misma manera que vivimos y proclamamos la buena noticia. Cada descreído que nos encontramos, cada persona que ha dejado la fe, debería vernos y decir, “Yo quiero lo que ellos tienen.”

Eso es verdad no simplemente por nosotros como católicos individuos, pero también por nosotros como una comunidad de fe. El Papa Francisco dijo, “A los cristianos de todas las comunidades del mundo, quiero pediros especialmente un testimonio de comunión fraterna que se vuelva atractivo y resplandeciente. Que todos puedan admirar cómo os cuidáis unos a otros, cómo os dais aliento mutuamente y cómo os acompañáis.” Eso es el mismo de lo que escuchamos en la primera lectura, que la primara comunidad cristiana “tenía un solo corazón y una sola alma.” Cada persona que se encuentra con la parroquia de San Carlos Borromeo debería encontrar una comunidad unida de discípulos llenos de alegría y fervor. Ya sea que crucen las puertas de la iglesia, o que vengan a un evento parroquial como un Fish Fry, o que se sienten en nuestras gradas para un juego de basquetbol, deberían irse diciendo, “Hay algo diferente sobre la gente de San Carlos Borromeo. Yo quiero lo que ellos tienen.” ¿Piensas que eso es su experiencia? Si un extraño se sentara a tu lado en la Misa hoy, ¿se iría diciendo, “La testimonia de esa persona de Cristo era tan atractiva que yo quiero volver”?

Las lecturas hoy nos desafían para examinar a nuestro testimonio. El testimonio de los discípulos era tan atractivo que Tomás permaneció con ellos por una semana entera, a pesar de su dudo. En un mundo que es lleno de dudo, ¿nuestro testigo es lo suficientemente fuerte como para atraer a otros?

 

Second Sunday of Easter

I feel bad for St. Thomas. People look down on him for being the Apostle who doubted. But here’s the thing: of course he doubted! If someone, even your best friends, came to you and said that they had seen someone risen from the dead, your natural, rational response would be to doubt them. That just makes sense. No one in their right mind would automatically believe someone who said that a person who was dead is alive again. Thomas’s statement “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe,” just makes sense. If you expect me to believe something impossible, I am going to need proof.

Thomas’s doubt isn’t unusual or amazing. Any one of us in his position would do the same thing. What is amazing is what the Gospel says next. “Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them.” Thomas still doesn’t believe that Christ is risen from the dead, but here he is a week later and he’s still with the other disciples. That is amazing. If my friends told me that they had seen someone risen from the dead, I would think that they were crazy. And I probably wouldn’t spend the next week hanging out with these crazy people. Think about it. Would any of you spend a whole week with people who insisted on something that was absolutely impossible? Probably not. But here we are, a week after Easter, and Thomas is still with the other disciples.

This tells us something important about the disciples who had seen Jesus. Even though Thomas did not believe them, there was something about them that was so attractive that he didn’t abandon them. Their proclamation of the Resurrection seemed unbelievable, but it was also so powerful and enticing that Thomas stayed, even in spite of his doubt. He didn’t believe, but he didn’t leave either. What they said did not make sense, but they said it with such conviction and joy that Thomas didn’t just write them off as crazy. And so he spent a week with them, not believing but wanting to hear more.

Think about that. The disciples were so convicting, so joyful in their witness to the Resurrection that even though Thomas didn’t believe, he stayed. What does that sort of witness look like? I think one of the greatest scandals in the Church today is that so many Christians look and act just like nonbelievers. There is nothing in our witness to Christ that is attractive or appealing, nothing that sets us apart from everyone else. Is it any wonder that so many do not believe in the Gospel? Are we to be surprised that people leave the faith when our witness is so cold and stagnant?

We are called to witness to Christ with such fervor and joy that everyone who sees us says, “I may not believe what you are saying, but I am so attracted by your witness that I want to hear more.” As Pope Francis said, “The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus.” We are supposed to be so filled with joy at our encounter with the Risen Christ that it overflows. Everyone who meets us, everyone who knows us, should see that there is something different about us. The first reading says, “with great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.” Do we bear witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great power? There are so many in the world today who are like St. Thomas on that first Easter. They hear the proclamation of the Risen Christ, and they find it unbelievable. Like the disciples, we are called to bring the truth to them. The disciples didn’t convince Thomas with well-reasoned theological arguments. Rather, they attracted him by the magnetism of their witness. Their proclamation of the Gospel was so profound that even though Thomas didn’t believe, he wanted to hear more.

That is how we are called to evangelize as well. We are not sent out into the world to convince people with arguments, but to attract them by the very way that we live and proclaim the Good News. Every nonbeliever who we meet, everyone who has fallen away from the faith, should look at us and say, “I want what they have.”

This is true not just for us as individual Catholics, but also as a community of faith. Pope Francis said, “I especially ask Christians in communities throughout the world to offer a radiant and attractive witness of fraternal communion. Let everyone admire how you care for one another, and how you encourage and accompany one another.” This echoes what we hear in our first reading today, that the first Christian community was “of one heart and mind.” Everyone who comes into contact with St. Charles Borromeo should encounter a united community of disciples who are filled with joy and fervor for the Gospel. Whether they are walking through the doors of church, or coming to a parish event like a Fish Fry, or sitting in our bleachers for a CYA basketball game, they should walk away saying, “There’s something different about those people at St. Charles Borromeo. I want what they have.” Do you think that’s their experience? If a stranger sat next to you at Mass today, would they walk away saying, “That person’s witness to Christ was so appealing that I want to come back”?

Today’s readings challenge us to examine our witness to Christ. The disciples’ witness so was attractive that Thomas stayed with them for a whole week, in spite of his unbelief. In a world that is full of unbelief, is our witness strong enough to attract others?

Easter Vigil

If you pay attention to the Gospel tonight, you will notice that something, or, more precisely, someone is missing. On this holiest of nights, when we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, Jesus Himself does not appear in the Gospel. We have three women talking with an angel at the empty tomb, but no Christ. Why would the Church choose this Gospel reading for this Mass?

Si están atentos al evangelio esta noche, notarán que algo, o, más precisamente, alguien falta. En esta noche, la más santa de las noches, cuando celebramos la Resurrección de Jesús de entre los muertos, Jesús mismo no aparece en el Evangelio. Tenemos tres mujeres hablando con un ángel en la tumba vacía, pero no Cristo. ¿Por qué la Iglesia elegiría esta lectura por esta Misa?

Often, we think of the Resurrection as the end of the story. There’s the Incarnation, the Nativity, Jesus’s life and ministry, His suffering and death, and the story ends with His resurrection. Period. End of story. But in reality, the Resurrection is not the end of the story but the beginning. It is the beginning of the story of the Church, a story that is still being told. And today’s Gospel shows that. The Gospel today doesn’t conclude with, “The end.” It doesn’t conclude with, “They all lived happily ever after.” It concludes with a command. “Go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.’” We are all part of the story that began that first Easter Sunday when the women came to the tomb and found it empty.

Con frecuencia, pensamos de la Resurrección como el final de la historia. Hay la Encarnación, la Natividad, la vida y el ministerio de Jesús, Su sufrimiento y muerte, y la historia termina con Su Resurrección. Punto. Fin de la historia. Pero en realidad, la Resurrección no es el final de la historia sino el comienzo. Es el comienzo de la historia de la Iglesia, la historia que todavía se cuenta. Y el Evangelio hoy lo muestra. El Evangelio no concluye con, “El fin.” Concluye con un mando. “Vayan a decirles a sus discípulos y a Pedro: ‘Él irá delante de ustedes a Galilea. Allá lo verán, como él les dijo.’” Todos somos parte de la historia que comenzó ese primer domingo de Pascua cuando las mujeres llegaron a la tumba y la encontraron vacía.

In fact, many of our readings today may look like endings, but they are actually beginnings. At the end of our first reading, the account of creation, we are told that God’s work of creation was completed, and so God rested. It sounds like an ending. But, of course, creation is really just the beginning of the story. Likewise, when God led the Israelites through the Red Sea, it was the ending of their time in slavery, but it was just the beginning of their Exodus to the Promised Land. Similarly for our candidates and catechumens, tonight marks the end of their time of preparation as they receive the Sacraments. But the reception of the Sacraments is not the end but the beginning of their story.

En realidad, muchas de las lecturas hoy pueden parecerse como finales, pero en actualidad son comienzas. Al final de la primera lectura, la historia de creación, se dice que el trabajo de creación está completo y por lo tanto Dios descansó. Se oye como un final. Pero, por supuesto, creación es la comienza de la historia. De la misma manera, cuando Dios llevó las Israelitas por el Mar Rojo, era el final de su tiempo en la esclavitud, pero era sólo el principio de su éxodo a la Tierra Prometida. Igualmente por nuestros catecúmenos y candidatos, esta noche es el final de su tiempo de preparación cuando reciben los Sacramentos. Pero la recepción de los Sacramentos no es el final de sus historias sino la comienza.

Easter is not the end of the story but the beginning. It is the beginning of God’s new work of creation. It is the beginning of the Church. And likewise, tonight can be a new beginning for each of us. All of us need the grace of the Resurrection. We all have dark places that need light, dead places that need new life. We all need God to remove our stony hearts and give us new hearts. The grace of this night is not just for our candidates and catechumens; it is for all of us. God offers all of us in this Mass a chance to begin anew.

La Pascua no es el final de la historia sino la comienza. Es la comienza del nuevo trabajo de Dios de creación. Es la comienza de la Iglesia. Y igualmente, esta noche puede ser una comienza nueva por cada uno de nosotros. Todos necesitamos la gracia de la Resurrección. Todos tenemos lugares oscuros que necesitan la luz, lugares muertos que necesitan vida nueva. Todos necesitamos que Dios arranca nuestros corazones de piedra y nos da corazones nuevos. La gracia de esta noche no es solo por nuestros catecúmenos y candidatos; es por todos nosotros. Dios ofrece a todos en esta Misa una oportunidad para comenzar de nuevo.

Sometimes, we can be tempted to give up hope that God can truly change us. We have tried for so long, seemingly to no avail. Still we struggle against the forces of sin and evil. We can begin to despair. We can feel trapped in the tomb, surrounded by death and darkness. We are like the woman who were walking to that tomb on the first Easter morning. Even as they walked, they were afraid that their task was impossible. “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” What good would their effort be if Christ was dead and the tomb was sealed? Why even bother?

A veces, somos tentados a perder la esperanza de que Dios pueda cambiarnos. Hemos intentado por tanto tiempo, aparentemente en vano. Todavía luchamos contra las fuerzas de pecado y mal. Podemos comenzar a desesperarnos. Podemos sentir atrapados en la tumba, sitiado por la muerte y oscuridad. Somos como las mujeres caminando a la tumba en el primer matutino de Pascua. Aún mientras caminaban, temían que su tarea fuera imposible. “¿Quién nos quitará la piedra de la entrada del sepulcro?” ¿Para qué bien sería su esfuerzo si Cristo ya muerto y la tumba fue sellado? ¿Por qué molestarse?

The women were near the point of despair, when, as the Gospel says, “they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back.” “They looked up.” They had been looking down. They were weighed down with their fears and sorrow, weighed down by the forces of death and their own feelings of helplessness. But when they looked up, they saw that God had already conquered. The stone was rolled away, the tomb was empty. God has already conquered death. Life is victorious. Likewise, if we feel weighed down by our sins, overcome by darkness and death, and trapped in our own tombs, all we have to do is look up and see that God has already conquered. The light of the Resurrection is already shining on us. As St. Paul tells us, we have been baptized into Christ’s death and already we live with Him. Whatever in your life feels burdened by death and darkness and sin, bring it to the Lord this night, and know that He has already conquered.

Las mujeres estaba cerca de la desesperación, cuando, como dice el Evangelio, “vieron que la piedra ya estaba quitad.” La griega no dice simplemente “vieron” pero “levantaron la vista.” Ellas estaban mirando hacia abajo. Estaban sobrecargados por sus miedos y dolor, abrumados por las fuerzas de la muerte y sus propios sentimientos. Pero cuando levantaron la vista, vieron que Dios ya había vencido. La piedra ya estaba quitad, la tumba era vacía. Dios ya ha vencido la muerte. La vida es victoriosa. Igualmente, si sentimos sobrecargados por nuestros pecados, abrumados por la oscuridad y la muerte, atrapados en nuestras propias tumbas, sólo necesitamos levantar la vista y ver que Dios ya ha vencido. La luz de la Resurrección ya está brillado sobre nosotros. Como San Pablo dice, hemos sido bautizado en la muerte de Cristo y ya vivimos con Él. Cualquier en tu vida que siente sobrecargado por la muerte y oscuridad y pecado, tráigalo a Dios esta noche, y sabe que Él ya ha vencido.

The Gospel tonight ends with the angel telling the women to go and search for the Risen Christ. The story is beginning, and they are sent to go continue it. They have received the first light of the Resurrection, and now they must go and find its fullness. The command is the same for all of us. Filled with the grace of the Resurrection, all of us are sent forth from this Liturgy to go and find the Risen Christ. Go and find the Risen Christ. Go and find the light of the Resurrection in your daily lives. Don’t let the story end here.

El Evangelio esta noche termina con el ángel contando a las mujeres para irse y buscar por el Cristo Resucito. La historia está comenzando, y ellas están enviados para continuarla. Ellas han recibida la primera luz de la Resurrección, y ahora necesitan ir y encontrarla en su plenitud. El mandamiento es lo mismo para nosotros. Llenos de la gracia de la Resurrección, todos nosotros somos enviados de esta liturgia para ir y encontrar al Cristo Resucito. Ve y encuentra a Cristo Resucito. Ve y encuentra la luz de la Resurrección en tu vida diaria. No permite que la historia concluye aquí.

Holy Thursday

Imagine for a minute Christ washing the feet of the Apostles. In the time of Christ, it was considered good hospitality for a host to provide a basin of water for guests to wash their own feet. The host would not do it himself. But Christ gets up from dinner, lays aside His outer garment, ties a towel around His waist, and begins to wash their feet. The Messiah, the Son of God, the Word Made Flesh, performs the task of the lowliest slave. At the Incarnation, God the Son laid aside His Divine Glory and took on our human nature; now He lays aside His outer garment and ties on a towel, taking the position of a slave. The God who at creation gathered the waters of the sea in a basin so that the dry land could appear now pours water in a basin so that He can humbly serve. The God who formed man out of the dust of the earth now washes the dust off of the feet of His disciples.

 

Imaginen por un minuto a Cristo lavando los pies de los apóstoles. En la época de Cristo, se consideraba una buena hospitalidad que un anfitrión proporcionar agua para los invitados se lavaran sus propias pies. El anfitrión no lo haría sí mismo. Pero Cristo se levantó de la mesa, se quitó el manto y ciño una toalla; luego echó agua en una jofaina y se puso a lavarles los pies a los discípulos. El Mesías, el Hijo de Dios, el Verbo Hecho Carne, hace la tarea del esclavo. En la Encarnación, Dios Hijo se quitó su gloria divina y tomó nuestra naturaleza humana; ahora, Él se quita su manto y toma una toalla, tomando una posición de un esclavo. El Dios que en la creación reunió a las aguas del mar en una jofaina para crear el suelo seco, ahora echa agua en una jofaina para servir humildemente. El Dios que creó al hombre del polvo de la tierra ahora lava el polvo de los pies de sus discípulos.

 

Imagine as He comes to Judas. At this point, Judas has already arranged to betray Jesus to the chief priests. The thirty pieces of silver that they paid him are in his money bag as he reclines at table. Before supper is over, Judas will leave to meet the guards whom he will lead to Gethsemane, where he will betray Our Lord with a kiss. Jesus knows all that is to come. And yet, as He comes to Judas, He kneels down in front of him, and with His own hands washes the feet of His betrayer. What amazing love! What profound humility! Our Lord shows His love not just to His friends, not just to those who deserve it or who earn it, not just to the good people, but even to the one sold Him to His executioners. As Christ kneels before his betrayer to wash his feet, what is in His eyes as He looks up at Judas?

 

Imaginen ahora cuando Cristo viene a Judas. En esto momento, Judas ya ha arreglado para traicionar a Jesús a los sumos sacerdotes. Las treinta piezas de plata que ellos le pagaron ya están en su bolsa. Antes el fin de la Cena, Judas se irá para reunirse con las guardias a quienes él guiará a Getsemaní, donde él traicionará a Nuestro Señor con un beso. Jesús sabe todo lo que está por venir. Y sin embargo, como Cristo viene a Judas, Cristo se arrodilla frente a él, y con sus propias manos lava los pies de su traidor. ¡Qué increíble amor! ¡Qué humildad profunda! Nuestro Señor muestra su amor no solo a Sus amigos, no solo a ellos que lo merecen o que lo ganan, no solo a la gente buena, sino incluso a él que lo vendió a sus verdugosCuando Cristo se arrodilla ante su traidor para lavarle sus pies, ¿qué es en Sus ojos mientras Él mira a Judas?

 

Often, we can think that God only loves us when we are good. We can think that we have to earn His love. We think that our sins push God away from us, that He loves us less when we sin. But as we contemplate Christ washing the feet of Judas, we see that isn’t true. God’s loving care for us isn’t diminished by our sinfulness. No matter what we do, no matter how we betray God by our sinfulness, His love for us isn’t lessened. He still seeks to reach us with His love and His compassion.

 

Frecuentemente, podemos pensar que Dios solo nos ama cuando estamos buenos. Podemos pensar que necesitamos merecer a Su Amor. Pensamos que nuestros pecados alejan a Dios de nosotros, que Él nos ama menor cuando pecamos. Pero cuando contemplamos a Cristo lavando los pies de Judas, vemos que eso no es la verdad. El amor de Dios no está disminuido por nuestro pecado. No importa lo que hacemos, no importa cómo traicionamos a Dios, su amor por nosotros es tanto fuerzo. Él todavía quiere acercarse a nosotros con Su amor y Su compasión.

 

Of course, washing the disciples’ feet was not the end of the evening. The Lord went on to do something even greater. As we hear in our second reading, that same evening He “took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’” Christ not only washed His disciples’ feet, but He then gave them His very Body and Blood in the Eucharist. And this is how Our Lord comes to us, not as a servant to wash our feet, but in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. In the Eucharist, Christ pours Himself out in love for us, giving us His very self to sustain us and strengthen us.

 

Por supuesto, lavando los pies de los apóstoles no era el fin de la noche. El Señor hizo algo mejor. Como oímos en la segunda lectura, la misma noche, tomó pan en sus manos, y pronunciando la acción de gracias, lo partió y dijo: “Esto es mi cuerpo, que se entrega por ustedes. Hagan esto en memoria mía.” Lo mismo hizo con el cáliz después de cenar, diciendo: “Este cáliz es la nueva alianza que se sella con mi sangre. Hagan esto en memoria mía siempre que beban de él.” Cristo no solo lavó los pies de sus discípulos, pero también Él los dio Su propio Cuerpo y Sangre en la Eucaristía. Y eso es como Nuestro Señor viene a nosotros, no como un siervo para lavar nuestros pies, pero en el Sacramento de la Eucaristía. En la Eucaristía, Cristo se derrama en amor por nosotros, dándonos su ser para sostenernos y fortalecernos.

 

When Jesus washed the feet of Judas, Judas remained unmoved. When we receive the Lord in the Eucharist, are we like Judas? Do we remain unmoved and hard of heart? After receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, do we try even harder to avoid sin, or are we unaffected? Do we follow the Lord’s command to the disciples in the Last Supper that as He has done for us, we should do to others?

 

Cuando Jesús lavó los pies de Judas, Judas permaneció impasible. Cuando recibimos el Señor en la Eucaristía, ¿estamos como Judas? ¿Permanecemos impasibles y duro de corazón? Después de recibimos Jesús, ¿tratamos aún más para evitar el pecado, o no nos afecta? ¿Seguimos al mandamiento de Jesús en la Ultima cena que lo que Él ha hecho con nosotros, también nosotros lo hagamos?

 

Tonight, in this Mass, when the Lord comes to you in the Eucharist, don’t remain unmoved. Allow the Lord to touch your heart. See the profound humility of the King of Kings lowering Himself to come to you and to me under the appearance of simple bread and wine. Allow this Eucharist to change you. May Christ’s service of us here at this Mass inspire us to serve others as He did.

 

Esta noche, en esta Misa, cuando el Señor viene a usted, no permanezca impasible. Permita al Señor tocar su corazón. Mire la humildad profunda del Rey de Reyes se bajando para venir a usted bajo la apariencia de pan y vino. Permita que esta Eucaristía se cambie usted. Que el servicio de Cristo aquí en esta Misa nos inspire para servir como Él hizo.

Palm Sunday

How do you measure your value?

In how much money you make? In how nice your car or your clothes or your house is? In how smart your kids are, how happy your marriage is, what kind of job you have?

What are you worth?

God knew that answer.

God thinks that you’re worth dying for.

And if that is God’s judgment then it must be the truth. Anything or anyone that tells you differently is a lie. There are many forces in the world that want to assign your value on how productive you are, or how attractive you are, or by what you have. Those voices in the world, those voices in your own head, that say that you are worth less, they are lies. This is not your value.

 You are worth dying for.

And should you ever forget that fact, then you only have to look at a crucifix. As we continue with this Mass, and as we once again participate in the sacrifice of Christ, remember what you are worth.

Fifth Sunday of Lent

At my first parish, there was a little metal bar on the pulpit. It was there to serve a practical purpose; it kept the book from sliding off. On it, was inscribed the words from the Gospel today, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” The first time I saw it, it struck me as curious. Of all the verses in the whole Bible, that was the one they chose. I would have expected a verse about proclaiming the good news or the Word became flesh. But what it said was, “Sire, we want to see Jesus.” And the more I reflected on it, the more poignant it became. It was there to remind the priest of what his role is as he stands in the pulpit, and why there are all these people listening to him. They are not here to listen to his grand ideas about the world or to be marveled by his rhetorical flourishes or to be entranced by his stories. They are here to encounter Christ. And the priest is there to answer that call. “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.”

That is true not just for the people assembled at Mass, but for every human heart. In every human person, whether they are conscious of it or not, this plea comes forth, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” Every person alive, and every person who has ever lived, has a deep desire for Jesus. The may not be aware of it, but it is there. Every human person desires love, true, deep intimate love. Every human person desires absolute truth. Every human person desires perfect happiness and fulfillment. These desires are built into us; they are part of our make-up as human beings. The atheist desires truth and love and happiness just as much as the Christian. It doesn’t matter who they are, where they are from, or what the believe; every person desires these things. As Christians, we know that these desires for love and truth and happiness are ultimately a desire for God, who is perfect love, absolute truth, and the source of happiness and fulfillment. Every human person desires God.

And yet, in these desires for love and happiness and truth, we desire them not simply in the abstract and universal but inthe concrete and specific. We want them, but we want them in a way that we can see and touch and hear. We want them in a way that is accessible to us as human beings. It is through our body and our bodily senses that we come to know and interact with the world; and so even in our desires for the absolute and universal, we want it in a way that we can encounter the way that we encounter everything else; through our bodies. And God knows this. He made us this way. And so God, who is the fulfillment of all our desires, became incarnate in Jesus Christ so that that which is absolute and infinite can be encountered through our humanity.

And so every human person ultimately desires Jesus. Every human being can say with the Greeks in the Gospel today, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” Now, not everyone is aware of the fact that they are looking for Jesus. They may only vaguely be aware of these deep desires in their hearts. They may be trying to fill these desires in a thousand other ways: in power or wealth or pleasure or relationships or knowledge. But what every person ultimately seeks, and the only thing that can actually satisfy their desires, is Christ.

By God’s gracious gift, we have experienced Christ. By the grace of God we have already found the one thing that every person is looking for. But this is not a secret treasure that we are supposed to hide for ourselves. We are like the Apostle Philip in the Gospel, and every person we meet is like the Greeks who came to him. Every person we meet is saying to us, “We would like to see Jesus.” Again, whether they know it or not, every person we meet is coming to us and is asking us to help them have that same encounter with Christ who alone fulfills every human desire.

But that means that we have a responsibility. If you were standing there holding a loaf of bread and someone came up to you and said, “I am starving, please give me a piece of bread,” I would hope that everyone here would feel a responsibility to help that person. But there is a deeper hunger that exists in every human heart, a hunger that is filled not by earthly bread but by Christ who said, “I am the Bread of Life.” We have that bread. And everyone we meet is saying, “I am starving, please give me the Bread of Life.” We have a responsibility to help them, just as we would have a responsibility to help the person who was starving for material bread. As people who know Christ and follow Him, we have a responsibility to make Him known, so that others may also encounter Him who fulfills every desire.

But we should ask ourselves, “Do I do that?” Do my words and actions help people to see Christ? Am I sharing this Bread of Life with a hungry world? At the start of Lent, I challenged every parishioner to invite one person to come to Mass with them sometime during Lent. Have you done that? Every person you know, your family, your friends, your coworkers and acquaintances, every single person you meet is saying to you “I would like to see Jesus.” They may not be aware of it. They may have turned away from Jesus, unaware that He is the one that their heart truly seeks. But that is the true cry of their heart. “We would like to see Jesus.” The world wants to see Jesus. Every person wants the one who satisfies completely their desire for love and truth and happiness. Every human being wants the one who is both absolute and also accessible to human sense and human modes of understanding.

Do I show Christ to them? Does every person who comes to me saying, “I would like to see Jesus” encounter Him in what I say and do? Or do my words and actions point them in another direction or push them away from Christ? So many people have turned their backs on Christ, not realizing that He is the one that they truly desire. They have often done so because Christians like you and me, by our words and actions, have failed to show Christ to them. We have shown them something else, and sometimes called it Christ, and so they have walked away, deciding they will try to find their fulfillment in something else.

The world is coming to us and pleading with us, “We would like to see Jesus.” Will we answer their cry?