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His Voice 

"And he asked them, 'But who do you say that I am?' Peter said in reply, 'You are the Christ.'" (Mark 8:29)
Today's reading is the turning point in Mark's Gospel. Now that the disciples have acknowledged Jesus as the Christ, Jesus confides in them the outcome of his ministry: he will be rejected, must suffer and die, and will rise after three days. Jesus then teaches the crowd and the disciples about the path of discipleship: To be Christ's disciple is to follow in the way of the cross. The path that Jesus was inviting his disciples to share meant tremendous suffering and death. This is the kind of radical commitment and sacrifice that Jesus calls us to adopt for the sake of the Gospel.
In times of trouble and suffering do you embrace the cross in the name of Jesus who is the Christ?

Love Your Enemies

Just What Does That Really Mean

“But I say, ‘Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” (Matthew 5:44)

In studying this passage, I was confident I knew what Jesus was telling me. How many of us have heard His words, “Love your enemy, pray for those who persecute you”?

And I do, I thought smugly. I pray for the people out there who hurt others, who cause pain with their words, and so many more.

Then I stumbled on a homily from a priest who challenged his listeners to think of someone they didn’t like, personally. Then he asked them to commit to praying for that person every night—for their own attitude towards that person and their good qualities.

My pen froze on my little, neatly-lined writing pad. Instantly names flashed into my mind, and the thought of them made me cringe. Then the thought of interrupting my prayer time with memories of them— No, that wasn’t the way prayer should be. It would ruin it.

I want to tell you my heart was so pulled by those words and my own obvious discomfort that I went to bed and prayed for those people. In all honesty, I just skipped talking to God that night instead.

Now I sit here today at my kitchen table, praying over these words in my Bible as I prepare to explain, in my own humanity, what this Scripture means to me, and that homily pops into my head again.

Personal enemies.

“Why didn’t you pray for them?” a little voice asks. (Nothing like a good, old fashioned Holy Spirit nudge!)

I’ve thought it over. For an hour now. And here is what I’ve come up with:

  • Because it hurts.
  • Because I don’t want to think about them.
  • Because I’m afraid I might have to think about what I did in that situation.
  • Because I don’t want to let them back into my life.

Here’s the beautiful thing about prayer, though—it’s for us. It’s not for guilting ourselves into returning to a dysfunctional relationship and being a doormat for Jesus. It’s not for beating ourselves up over what we did wrong. Prayer and repentance help guide us to healing. Maybe the healing happens on both ends—ours and our enemy’s. Maybe it’s just in our own heart. The passage says to love and pray for our enemies “that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” He is our Father who forgives and heals us and reconciles us to Him!

Loving your enemies isn’t simply about praying from afar— it is also for those who have or have had an intensely personal role in our lives. That’s part of Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:44. Through love and prayer comes healing from resentment, bitterness, anger. We’re able to come closer to Christ’s command to “be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (v. 48) as we confess the hardness in our own hearts to the One who understands perfect love.

Do you have your person yet? Is it hard to think about praying for them? Then maybe this is exactly the place where God wants you to bring it to Him.

written by Diana Stone, She Reads Truth

Shortcut to Sainthood: Never Speaking Ill of Another, says Pope Francis

Someone who has never ever spoken ill of another could be declared a saint right away, Pope Francis said.

The Catholic Church's sainthood process is long, complicated and usually requires the recognition of a miracle attributed to the candidate's intercession, Pope Francis said Sept. 11 at his early morning Mass. "But if you find a person who never, never, never spoke ill of another, you could canonize him or her immediately."

The pope's homily focused on Jesus saying, "Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?" In other passages of the Bible, he said, Jesus tells his disciples, "judge not and you will not be judged; do not condemn and you will not be condemned."

The pope told the small congregation in the chapel of his residence that he could imagine them saying, "Father, that's beautiful, but how do you do it, where do you start?"

The first step, he said, is to learn how to "accuse yourself," to look honestly at your own faults, ask the Lord's forgiveness and praise him for his mercy. "The Lord teaches us this with this image of the splinter in the eye of your brother and the beam in your own eye," the pope said. "The first step is to accuse yourself" and not presume to be "the judge" pointing out the faults of others.

In the day's Gospel reading from St. Luke, Jesus describes as "hypocrites" those who notice only the faults of others. "The man and woman who don't learn to acknowledge their own failings become hypocrites. Everyone, eh? Everyone starting from the pope on down," he said.

Recognizing one's own faults and weaknesses, the pope said, is the first task in "this beautiful work of reconciliation, peace, tenderness, goodness, forgiveness, magnanimity and mercy that Jesus Christ brought." Everyone, he said, needs to ask God for the grace and the strength to not speak ill of others, to stop when tempted to point out another's faults.

Cuban Mass
Saturday, September 19
5:30pm Mass in the Church
Elements of this Mass will be in Spanish
Parish Consecration Day
December 12 & 13, 2015
only 89 days until this special day
Mary, mother of God, pray for us!
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