capa-blog copy
Jun 252017
 

Many times when people think of God, they think of sin and redemption. So they learn to avoid sin so that they may go into Heaven. Yes that is part of our Christian life.

 

There are a multitude of teachings on the need to avoid sin and seek to do good. All of which is true, but there is something else that Jesus warned was powerful at leading you away from God that almost no one teaches. I would ask you to find the strongest fire and brimstone preacher and ask him how many times he taught on what Jesus warned would lead us away from Him and I would bet he would rarely preach on it.

 

We find it in today’s Gospel. It is fear and its companion vice anxiety. These are not sins in themselves. No one needs to confess the sin of fear, it is a powerful emotion as is anxiety, but, they can so paralyze us that they can lead us to despair of God’s love for us, paralyze us in our inability to live the faith and so many other things. In fact, the Bible warns us 365 times not to fear.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus has just chosen the twelve disciples and now he is giving them instructions on how to live as his Apostles. Notice his first sentence. “Fear no one.”

 

One of the most powerful times Jesus scolds the apostles about being afraid is when he is sleeping in the boat, while the apostles are fishing and a great storm comes upon  them. They in panic wake Him and Jesus gets up and literally shuts off the storm. Immediately, his first words to them are “Why were you afraid?”

 

It is fear that leaves the Apostles to abandon Jesus completely and hide as He is being crucified. It is fear that leads Peter to deny Him and it is fear that leads the Jewish leaders to turn Him over to Pilate to be executed. They were afraid that the Romans would see Jesus as a troublemaker and come in and destroy the whole Jewish state.

 

In fact, the devil’s greatest tool is not temptation it is fear, because fear can paralyze is, leave us to abandon Christ or even just shut us right down.

 

 

What is it that you may fear? In a recent study by Chapman University published in October of 2016, the list of fears basically demonstrated that people fear what they cannot control. It is that factor that could change one’s life immediately that leads people to be in fear of  their government, world and personal lives.

 

The fears are legitimate, but what do we do about them.

 

Remember, Jesus can take the worst that happens to you and change it into a powerful miracle. Ask me about a friend who was diagnosed with cancer or about when my car was stolen, both are powerful stories that do not involve miracles per se, but take a disaster and turn it around.

 

 

If you cannot control it, there is no reason to worry about it happening.

 

It may happen, it may not, but there is nothing you can do to change it.

 

So what can you do about your fears. Go back to Jesus’ words. Trust in Him.

 

The Apostles are being sent by Jesus, they are actually going out as revolutionaries to change the society. They are non-violent revolutionaries who will change the whole world. They will challenge the status quo and they will suffer for it. Jesus does  not warn them against what may happen, but what will happen. He says, nevertheless. Do not be afraid.

 

The same can be said to you. We have a call to challenge our culture by doing nothing more than living our faith, will we challenge people? Yes. Will some reject us?  Perhaps. Our only response is to stay faithful to God and trust in his providence and mercy.

 

But that includes also the daily events of life of which we have no control. Job loss, disease, family problems, we have little control over these, but we do have God’s providence through them. Remember, Jesus teaches us that it is easy to live when nothing is going wrong, but only those who put their faith in Christ and trust in his providence will stand when all goes wrong.

 

St. Pio de Pietraclina, also known as Padre Pio taught: pray hope and never worry. This must always  be our role. No matter what happens we must trust in God  because it is fear that can drive us away from him. But if you trust in him even in the most difficult of circumstances your fears will lead you closer to Him for he will show you his presence in the most stark of circumstances.

 

Never, never fear, it is a command from Jesus. It is his first command once he has appointed his disciples, why? Because fear is the one thing that can stop them, but trust in his providence can help even overcome the most painful and difficult of realities until they enter the kingdom of God and all that it promises.

Fr. Carr is member of the Segundo Elo  of the Canção Nova Community. He is the parochial vicar of St. Michael’s Parish in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA and is the editor of this blog. He is the author of several books, blogs and hundreds of videos all of which you may find on Youtube You can follow him on twitter as @frbobcarr and on Google plus as+FrRobertCarr, his website is Carrbooks.com. Thoughts, comments on the homily? Let us know at Facebook

 Posted by at 13:34
Jun 202017
 

Oração da Manhã com Salete Ferreira

Suffering is a school of Holiness

“The blood of Christ, while it reveals the greatness of the love of the father, also expresses how man is precious in the eyes of God and how priceless is the value of your life.” (John Paul II)

Let us pause to reflect on how many were the moments of pain in our life, in which we thought: “I can’t stand it anymore”, “I do not deserve this suffering”, “why do I have to go through this?”, “what have I done wrong?”, “does this look like a punishment!”.

Brothers, we can’t get swallowed by the new world mentality, which is based on the practical materialism, in pursuit of pleasure, and individualism.

The contradictions, the tribulations and the constraints by which we spent our life are assumed fully by Jesus: “Being rich, made himself poor for you, in order to enrich poverty” (2 Corinthians 8.9). In suffering, Jesus leads us to fully realize the meaning of our existence.

No one as He took over for you all our pains, saving us to eternal life. To find out the mystery of suffering, to open us to a greater good: the gift to go to the other, overcome our prejudices, we love and cherish life. Our suffering is a school of Holiness. Our pain makes us experience the mercy of God, the dignity and the saving force that are his own. Blessed be our evidence.

Jesus, I trust in you!

Luzia Santiago
Co-founder of the community Canção Nova

Portuguese version

 

 

Jun 182017
 

If we look at today’s gospel we see one of the most powerful promises to each of us. “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.”

 

That is a promise. This is the powerful truth of the Eucharist. We know that this is the day we celebrate the Eucharist which Christ gave us at the Last Supper. This is his Body and Blood, and the powerful sacrament is a powerful promise of our eternal life.

 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives us a unique teaching on the Eucharist that explains that this sacrament itself is a message to us from Christ.

 

The Catechism teaches that the hardest Catholic teaching for people to accept is the resurrection of the Body. It teaches that many people have an understanding of the eternal life of the spirit.

 

St. Paul teaches in 1 corinthians 15 that if Jesus did not resurrect from the dead body and spirit, then we are wasting our time. Those are powerful words because He went to his execution proclaiming Jesus’ bodily resurrection.

 

 

The Catechism explains that the promise Jesus gives us in John 6 is embodied in the Eucharist. This sacrament made of Earthly elements is transfigured into the Body and Blood of Christ and reminds us who receive it that our Earthly body will be transformed through the action of God into a resurrected glorified body. So the Eucharist on top of being a sacrament is a message to us, that we too will be transformed, we who eat his body and drink his blood.

 

This is a power reminder to us.

 

Now one of the issues today that affects our church is that there are rules in receiving the Eucharist and people get lost in the rules. Something that is important to know about the rules of the Catholic Church: if you follow the rules perfectly, you will live perfectly the minimum standard of Catholicism. So the rules are there to show us not so much what not to do, but to guide us to pray to the Lord to help us to conform ourselves to his desire so that we may be what he created us to be.

 

This is what is important: because there are people who believe that they cannot receive the Eucharist and there is no reason for them not to receive. For example: people who are divorced. Divorce by itself is not a reason for not receiving the Eucharist. Yet, there are plenty of people who feel they are unable to receive communion just because they are divorced. They may be seated among us and feel they cannot receive, that is incorrect.

 

There are reasons for not receiving the Eucharist, but these reasons are not to condemn people, Jesus himself said he did not come to condemn, but to help people to conform to reality of the gift. The power of the Eucharist that will transform these Earthly bodies to the glorified bodies of eternal life.

 

The reality is that The Father sent His Son to the world that we would be transformed and brought to eternal life. What is important then is that we receive this gift on His terms not ours. That is why we need to be prepared to receive the Eucharist. It is not the sinless or the saints for whom this Eucharist is our gift, remember the sacrament itself is a teaching, what is Earthly will be glorified and made divine. So, the perfect do not receive. But at the same time you cannot make the Eucharist out of Doritos and beer, I say that specifically because I have been asked to do so, obviously I said no. You make it out of the earthly elements of bread and wine. We too have to offer ourselves on God’s terms not ours. We cannot say I will receive the Eucharist on my terms, not God’s, that does not work. This is why we prepare ourselves to receive it.

 

Those who are not able to repent of a sinful life or are in a situation that is contrary to teaching of the Church and choose not to change are not ready to receive the Eucharist, but the Eucharist itself is a call for that person to repent and then to receive and be transformed by receiving. The call is there. It is an invitation to begin the slightest prayer asking for the grace of conversion, a grace, the church teaches we all need. The response to the call is the key factor in the preparation to receive.

 

One of the most powerful examples of this is Dorothy Day, cited by Pope Francis when he addressed congress. The San Francisco Native and baptized episcopalian grew up in Chicago and then worked as a journalist in New York living a bohemian lifestyle as she fought for socialist and communist ideals. She was the inspiration for the character Josie in her atheist playwright friend Eugene O’Neill’s Moon for the Misbegotten The New Yorker’s Erin Overbey reported that she had a reputation for drinking the local mobsters under the table.

 

She was encouraged into an abortion by a fellow bohemian boyfriend Lionel Moise who disappeared after the abortion and then she lived in two marriages, the latter common law.

 

She, through God’s grace, was transformed and came to convert to her Catholic faith. She became deeply devout a powerful voice for the poor throughout the 20th century. One of the most powerful elements of her story is that she actually prayed on the steps of the Vatican during the Vatican II council and as each bishop and cardinal walked by she said to them “You better  do the right thing.” Her favorite spiritual reading was Thomas A. Kempis’ the Imitation of Christ.

 

She exemplifies the reality of the Eucharist, it is a call to conform our sinful lives to the powerful gift and message of the Sacrament. The sacrament is not a prize for the holy but a call to the sinner to open him or herself to God’s grace. It calls us to be open to the transforming power of God’s grace through the sacraments of reconciliation and the Eucharist. It touches us changes us and like the bread and wine into the Body of Blood of Christ transforms us into saints to which we are called to be.

 

Fr. Carr is member of the Segundo Elo  of the Canção Nova Community. He is the parochial vicar of St. Michael’s Parish in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA and is the editor of this blog. He is the author of several books, blogs and hundreds of videos all of which you may find on Youtube You can follow him on twitter as @frbobcarr and on Google plus as+FrRobertCarr, his website is Carrbooks.com. Thoughts, comments on the homily? Let us know at Facebook

 

 Posted by at 01:01
Jun 112017
 

A cosmological measuring tape.jpg
By ESA/Hubble, CC BY 4.0, Link

Today we celebrate what I consider the most important Solemnity for our time. Obviously, the most important solemnity for the history of our faith is Easter, the Resurrection of Christ. St. Paul reminds us that if there was no resurrection then we would be wasting our time.

 

So that is the most important solemnity, but for our present day the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity is key. The reason is simple: We proclaim our belief in one God and three persons. What does that mean? Well, it is a doctrine that we cannot fully understand. Why is that important? Because it reveals a key principle of human existence: there are realities in our universe that we are incapable of fully understanding. That principle is the beginning of faith.

 

As Catholics our faith does not begin with believing in something that does not exist, that makes no sense. It begins with realizing that reality is bigger than our ability to perceive it. This is the difference between the Catholic and the atheist. The atheist believes that since he cannot see God, then God does not exist. That implies that only what humans can perceive is all that exists. However, that idea which has been part of human existence for its full history has been disproven over and over again. God and His universe are so much greater than our ability to understand them. Our faith is based on this truth.

 

We as a race discovered that the world is not flat although that is the way one perceives it, to the reality that the sun does not revolve around the Earth even though that is the way one perceives it, to fact that there is more to the universe than strictly the matter—constructions of atoms and molecules—than you and I can perceive on our own. Jesus teaches that God is Spirit, which is beyond the reality of matter.

 

It is within this truth that we learn that God is one God, but comprised of three persons who share a love for each other and then share that infinite love with us. We witness to that truth and we have the vocation to experience that love in Christ and pass it on to others. So we have the vocation to live out of a deeper truth than those who reject what we believe. Remember: God and His universe are so much greater than our ability to understand them.

 

This is why this day is so important, it is one that proclaims the powerful truth that God is real and he is one God in three persons. St. Paul reminds us of the truth that God is love.

 

Today’s Gospel reflects this truth. We learn that this love of God for all of us is reflected in Jesus coming to be one of us, living, then dying and rising in order that all may know this powerful love and become saved by it. St. John in this most famous gospel passage reminds us to live the truth that God loves the world and sends his Son that all who might believe in him may have eternal life.  The obvious question is how do we live this truth in which we believe in Christ and act upon this belief.

 

This belief must have as much an impact on our life as other earth shattering realities that exist today. It reflects spiritual truths that are as powerful as physical truths we deal with today.

 

Let me give you an example: Copernicus’ discovery that the Earth revolved around the sun was so earth shattering that it took two hundred years for people to fully comprehend it. Yet, that truth is nothing compared to the Earth shattering reality that God exists, that He is three persons in one God. That God defines love, shares this love with us and calls us to share this love with others. We must understand that to understand this love is a task that takes a lifetime to learn and to share this love with those around us. We mourn for those who choose to reject God’s loving action and we encourage those who no matter how weakly choose to seek God’s truth more deeply.

 

Paul Paul VI in Humanae Vitae illustrated it well, when he acknowledged the difficulty of the church’s teaching states well how to display this love for others in our time when he teaches:

 

Now it is an outstanding manifestation of charity toward souls to omit nothing from the saving doctrine of Christ; but this must always be joined with tolerance and charity, as Christ Himself showed in His conversations and dealings with men. For when He came, not to judge, but to save the world,41 was He not bitterly severe toward sin, but patient and abounding in mercy toward sinners?

 

As Christ lived this way of love towards others, so we have a mission to do the same. To live the truth and to guide others to this truth so they might understand it and embrace it and live it as powerfully as we live the scientific truths that guide our lives everyday.

 

This is why this solemnity is so important, it is to teach the powerful spiritual truths of our faith that are just as real as the physical truths. We celebrate it to proclaim that the Trinity is not only real, but this God who is love is to be embraced so that we can become fully human and fully alive not only understanding the truths of science but those deeper truths of faith that lead us to understand more deeply whom we are. This enables us to love others more deeply and proclaim God’s love to all and to teach them that: God and His universe are so much greater than our ability to understand them.

 

This make us more like the ancient mariners who dared to challenge the belief that the world was flat. So we must live our life in a way that demonstrates the truth of one God in three persons.

 

Fr. Carr is member of the Segundo Elo  of the Canção Nova Community. He is the parochial vicar of St. Michael’s Parish in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA and is the editor of this blog. He is the author of several books, blogs and hundreds of videos all of which you may find on Youtube You can follow him on twitter as @frbobcarr and on Google plus as+FrRobertCarr, his website is Carrbooks.com. Thoughts, comments on the homily? Let us know at Facebook

 Posted by at 01:01
Jun 082017
 


Acampamento Jovens Sarados 2017 - Adoração ao SantíssimoJesus invites to be worshippers and fills us with many graces.
He wants to convince us that the transformation of our lives happens also through worship. He has for us a project of hope and happiness. It seems impossible, but it is through worship we will be transformed and healed.

Jesus wants through worship to transform  your temperament, your weaknesses, your troubled behavior generated by trauma. Jesus calls us not when we are ready for he’s going to doing the work in the process.Remember, he called sinners like Mary Magdalene and the Samaritan woman.

There are a lot of people with a difficult temperament or an explosive temper. People easily get irritated and lose control over little things. Regardless of how you are or how may be, today the Lord is calling you to be a worshiper. When we begin to love, healing begins to happen. I say myself, the transformation of your temper is through worship.

Perhaps you may not be the way I mentioned above, you might be on the contrary, a squeamish, person, resentful, hurt, disappointed. You may even be even proud, vain, haughty pretentious and rude. There are also those who cannot tell the truth, a false person with yourself and others. Falsehoods and lies in which you can no longer distinguish between what is true and what is a lie. Many struggle to be different. Today Jesus is showing us that the secret is in the worship.

You may have tried various means to change your temperament, may have sought psychological help. May not have found the results you’d like. You aware that worship accomplishes this work because we give the Lord the rights he has in our lives, our person and our history.

In worship, I no longer take care of myself, of my inner conflicts, my wounds, my sorrows and my problems; but, on the contrary, seek to be with fixed eyes only for my God. I don’t remember myself because God took me completely, because only he is important to me, he is my Lord, my Savior. Interestingly, forgetting myself, makes me become present to myself, become real, totally myself with everything that’s inside. Before the Lord you don’t need masks. The problems and no longer interest me because God fills me completely. In worship I find the deep desire to finally liberate me from myself, to free me from the occupations listed in with myself and the eagerness to do everything differently, even fto orget the struggle to want to change.

Your brother,
Monsignor Jonas

Portuguese version

 Posted by at 01:01
Jun 042017
 

Pentecost mosaic.jpg
By Pete unsethOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

We are at the end of the Easter Season. This is the last day, but it also celebrates the first day of the next period of the God’s work of salvation. The work of the Holy Spirit is the period that we are in right now as we look forward to the final stage, our redemption and presence in the Kingdom of God.

 

If we look at today’s readings casually, we see the account of the Apostles receiving the tongues of fire and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We see Peter speaking and preaching, the Apostles speaking languages unknown to them and we see the 3000 converted that day. We see what also is the birthday of the Church. If you listened carefully to my words, however, you will notice I said if you listen to the readings casually.

 

But if we look closely at them, we may see something beyond the account. We may have a deeper understanding of the meaning of Pentecost for the people then and for you now.

 

Let us look at the elements. The Holy Spirit comes upon the Apostles and empowers them to speak boldly in different languages and to go out into the whole world to preach the gospel. They are preaching to people of whom they were afraid at one time. They are preaching in ways that startle the people and change their hearts radically. People, whom Peter describes as being enemies of Christ, change their hearts and become converted to the new way forming in the Jewish community of Jerusalem. They become converted to that enemy of the people executed just over fifty days earlier. Their lives are changed.

 

Step back a moment and imagine that same scene reported on network news. How would the correspondent report the incident? What spin would he or she put on it. Whom would the reporter interview as eyewitnesses and then as commentators to indicate what this means for the people of Jerusalem and indeed possibly the whole empire?

 

This incident changed the world radically. Not overnight, per se, but clearly our whole lives would be different, our culture, our civilization would be radically different if this incident did not happen. Therefore, we can say, it was a revolutionary moment, and revolutionary moments introduce revolutions. That moment is the beginning of a revolution that still exists and of which you are part.

 

Revolutions bring radical change. We often think of revolutions as overthrowing governments, but that is not the case of this one. Jesus and the Apostles called for only obedience to civil authority. So, what is it that this revolution overthrows? We see it in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, where Paul talks about how we are in battle against principalities and powers the evil forces that seek the destruction of all things human. What does that look like? It is not rocket science, it is any force that seeks to destroy a human, dehumanize him or her. Cut him or her from the rest of the world. It is the force that sells drugs to the addict. . .That breaks up families, that discourages life, that shows no mercy or forgiveness and demands vengeance, that enslaves youth in gangs and so much more and so much more. That promotes evil as good and good as evil. We call that force sin, the effects of which we can see all around us.

 

It is that force we seek to overthrow, as St. Paul teaches. That is our revolution. That is why the Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles and began the Church, that is why the Church exists and it is that for that mission that God called you. You were missioned at your Baptism into that revolution through the Holy Spirit. If you do not believe me go back and read the end of the Baptismal Rite. You were missioned further at your Confirmation were you were fully initiated into that revolution called the Church.  

 

Currently, you are engaged in one of the most powerful acts of this revolution. You are here in Church worshipping God: The Father, Son and Holy Spirit and pledging your lives to Christ. Many of you will soon come to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, never take that act for granted! When you walk out of this Church you will have made a sign to the whole world: “we stand with Christ and His revolution against those forces that seek to destroy the souls of those around us.: We embrace His revolution promoting the Love God has for every person around us and we seek His will in our lives. So that we can teach it to you.”

 

Each and everyone of you were called into that revolution at your baptism. You embraced that revolution at your Confirmation. Never forget that the Holy Spirit came upon you at those times, so that he can work through you. Be His channels of revolutionary grace.

 

It is the same Holy Spirit that came upon the apostles for this first time millennia ago, this day we call Pentecost.

Fr. Carr is member of the Segundo Elo  of the Canção Nova Community. He is the parochial vicar of St. Michael’s Parish in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA and is the editor of this blog. He is the author of several books, blogs and hundreds of videos all of which you may find on Youtube You can follow him on twitter as @frbobcarr and on Google plus as+FrRobertCarr, his website is Carrbooks.com. Thoughts, comments on the homily? Let us know at Facebook

 Posted by at 01:01
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