Tag Archives: Jesus

Jesus, we desire nothing more

detail of Christ iconWherever we turn in the Church of God, there is Jesus. He is the beginning, middle, and end of everything to us… There is nothing good, nothing holy, nothing beautiful, nothing joyous, which He is not to His servants. No one need be poor, because if he chooses, he can have Jesus for his own property and possession. No one need be downcast, for Jesus is the joy of heave, and it is His joy to enter into sorrowful hearts. We can exaggerate about many things; but we can never exaggerate our obligation to Jesus, or the compassionate abundance of the love of Jesus to us. All our lives long we might talk of Jesus, and yet should never come to an end of the sweet things that might be said of Him. Eternity will not be long enough to learn all He is, or to praise Him for all He has done –but then, that matters not; for we shall be aways with Him, and we desire nothing more.

Frederick W. Faber (1814-63)
All for Jesus
London: Richardson & Son, 1854, pp. 1-2

Jesus is not an isolated missionary, nor are we

missionary 101.jpg

“Go and make Christ known to all nations.” The missionary spirit is once again coming to the table. As Christians, we are baptized to come into communion with God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to live as adopted children of God faithful to the life of the Church. The sacrament of Baptism makes us disciples of the Lord. We can’t forget, nor can we neglect, to make the Lord known to all people by the witness of our lives. Our call is the same as the Prophet Isaiah’s, “Here am I; send me” (Is 6:8). The preaching of the Lord’s Kingdom is not reserved to few; no, the mission to proclaim the presence of the Kingdom is given to all the baptized in all places. Hence, we work doing the new evangelization. Catholics as missionaries in this country needs renewal. We Catholics can’t leave the missionary work to the Mormons, the Jehovah Witnesses, the Evangelicals or the Muslims. If we truly believe that the Lord has given us Himself as the way, the truth and the life, then we ought to share this experience. Moreover, in living the Gospel, following the teaching of the Church, the reception of the sacraments, we care for those live on the margins (think of the corporal works of mercy).

I see in Pope Francis calling us to be attentive to the missionary impulse again as fundamental to our faith and life in the Church. The Pope comes as this missionary notion from his own spiritual formation received as a member of the Society of Jesus. No doubt he thinks of the early founders of the Jesuits, and he likely recalls the Jesuit saint Francis Borgia, the third Jesuit Superior General who spent much energy on missionary vocation of the Jesuits, of translating the faith and the Exercises of Loyola into a more concrete expression. We can say that Pope, like Borgia, knows that the missionary work we are called to perform is a ministry that takes on a variety of aspects: preaching, teaching, sanctifying, interceding, healing, guiding others in the spiritual life, administering and governance.

Pope Francis’ Sunday Angelus address needs to be studied and prayed about. Think about the points highlighted.

This Sunday’s Gospel (Lk 10:1-12.17-20) speaks to us precisely of this: of the fact that Jesus is not an isolated missionary, does not want to fulfill his mission alone, but involves his disciples. Today we see that, in addition to the Twelve Apostles, He calls seventy-two others, and sends them into the villages, two by two, to announce that the Kingdom of God is near. This is very beautiful! Jesus does not want to act alone, He has come to bring to the world the love of God and wants to spread that love with a style of communion and fraternity. For this reason, he forms immediately a community of disciples, which is a missionary community. Iright from the start, He trains them for the mission, to go [on the mission].

Beware, however: the purpose is not to socialize, to spend time together – no, the purpose is to proclaim the Kingdom of God, and this is urgent! There is no time to waste in small talk, no need to wait for the consent of all – there is need only of going out and proclaiming. The peace of Christ is to be brought to everyone, and if some do not receive it, then you go on. To the sick is to be brought healing, because God wants to heal man from all evil. How many missionaries do this! They sow life, health, comfort to the peripheries of the world.

These seventy-two disciples, whom Jesus sent ahead of him, who are they? Whom do they represent? If the Twelve are the Apostles, and therefore also represent the Bishops, their successors, these may represent seventy-two other ordained ministers – priests and deacons – but in a wider sense we can think of other ministries in the Church, catechists and lay faithful who engage in parish missions, those who work with the sick, with the various forms of discomfort and alienation, but always as missionaries of the Gospel, with the urgency of the Kingdom that is at hand.

The Gospel says that those seventy-two returned from their mission full of joy, because they had experienced the power of the Name of Christ against evil. Jesus confirms this: to these disciples He gives the strength to defeat the evil one. He adds, though: “Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. (Luke 10:20)” We should not boast as if we were the protagonists: the protagonist is the Lord [and] His grace. Our joy is only this: [in] being His disciples, His friends. 

May Our Lady help us to be good servants of the Gospel.

Pope Francis

Sunday Angelus Address

8 July 20013

Holy Name of Jesus


At the name of Jesus, every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

(Phil 2:10-11, entr. ant.)

We honor the Holy Name of Jesus today. In the middle of Christmastide, we take time to recall the saving power of the holy name of Jesus: He who saves, He who is the eternal Word of the Father.

The Church prays,

O God, who founded the salvation of the human race on the Incarnation of your Word, give your peoples the mercy they implore, so that all may know there is no other name to be invoked but the Name of your Only Begotten Son.

You may want to seek out your Bible to discover, or re-discover some passages. Look at the first three Commandments, plus Psalm 99:3, Mark 16:17-18, Luke 1:31, Acts 3:6; 9:34; 9:40, John 16:23, and Philippians 2:9-11.

It seems to me that with all this good teaching as an invitation to my own conversion, I need to watch what I say with regard to the Lord’s Name. Instead of using the name of Jesus in a vulgar manner, I ought to have the habit of making the aspiration, “Jesus” slowly and deliberately.

Pray the Litany of the Holy Name today.

In the Pope’s teaching on January 2 where he picks up Pilate’s question of the origin of Jesus. A question that all of us ought to ask. It is more than an intellectual exercise, it is a matter of truth, it is a matter of our following the One sent by our Creator. If you can’t answer this question immediately, keep on reading. Pope Benedict says,

We can answer that “…from the beginning of the Gospels, what Jesus’ true origin is: He is the only begotten Son of the Father. He comes from God. We are facing the great and disconcerting  mystery that we celebrate in this time of Christmas: the Son of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, became man in the womb of the Virgin Mary. This is an announcement that resounds every new and which carries with it hope and joy to our hearts because each time it gives us the certainty that, even if we often feel weak, poor, incapable of facing the difficulties and the evil of the world, the power of God is always acting and works wonders precisely in our weakness. His Grace is our strength.”

Saints such as Bernard, Bernardine of Siena, Ignatius of Loyola among others have promoted the devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. The image of IHS comes from the first 3 letter of Jesus’ name written IHESUS.

AND, His name is our glory.

Christ is present in His Church today

The beautiful sections of Pope Paul VI’s encylical Mysterium Fidei (1965), are the ones dealing with the manner in which Our Lord is present in the Church today. Christmastide is nothing if not about the Presence of Someone who makes a difference in our lives, who redeems us from sin, who gives Himself completely, par excellence, to us in the Eucharist. The Presence is not about the doing of nice things, but offering us concretely eternal life. As Saint Ignatius of Antioch famously said of the Eucharist, the Presence of the Lord in the Eucharist is given to us as the “medicine of immortality.”

The full text of Mysterium Fidei is obligatory reading for those who want to be well-educated in the Faith. Emphasis added.

Detail - Glory of the New Born Christ in prese...

Glory of the New Born Christ Child in presence of God Father and the Holy Spirit (Annakirche, Vienna) Adam and Eve are represented bellow Jesus Christ Ceiling painted by Daniel Gran (1694-1757).

35. All of us realize that there is more than one way
in which Christ is present in His Church. We want to go into this very joyful
subject, which the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy presented briefly, at
somewhat greater length. Christ is present in His Church when she prays, since
He is the one who “prays for us and prays in us and to whom we pray: He
prays for us as our priest, He prays in us as our head, He is prayed to by us
as our God”; and He is the one who has promised, “Where two or three
are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them.” He is
present in the Church as she performs her works of mercy, not just because
whatever good we do to one of His least brethren we do to Christ Himself, but
also because Christ is the one who performs these works through the Church and
who continually helps men with His divine love. He is present in the Church as
she moves along on her pilgrimage with a longing to reach the portals of
eternal life
, for He is the one who dwells in our hearts through faith, and who
instills charity in them through the Holy Spirit whom He gives to us.

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When Fig Leaves Sprout

Fig Tree by mumacas.jpgMy neighbor has several fig trees. His children are now in the process of wrapping them up for the winter –New England is not an agreeable place to raise fig trees all year.

The opening prayer for Mass today speaks of “the constant gladness of being devoted to you [that is, God]” because God is “the author of all that is good.” This gladness, this happiness, and good is always lived in posture of hope. Symbolically, in many ways the fig is a tangible sign of happiness and goodness. In the Bible the fig tree is posited as figure of these virtues. Variously the fig is interpreted as symbolic of the good, of peace, personal and national prosperity, safety, concern for the other, personal and national fulfillment, and probably the most important, the Promised Land.

Likely to be the most spoken of tree is the fig. Our first parents cover themselves with fig leaves (Genesis 3:7), as a sweet and satisfying fruit is the fig (1 Kings 4:25) and if you need shade when you study the Word of God outside you would sit under a fig tree (John 1:48) or if you need a spring fruit for the table you would have figs (Hosea 9:10). So, it’s no surprise that the Lord uses the fig to illustrate a point in the synoptic gospels about being a disciple and of the Church.

Based on today’s Scripture readings, the poem “When Fig Leaves Sprout” by Minnesota composer William Beckstrand captures the sense of what we are about in the Christian life.

When fig leaves sprout, the summer’s near;
Just so, when sun and moon grow dim,
This earth and heav’n will pass and Christ
Will come and raise the dead with him.

This coming Christ, who
once for all
A sacrifice for sin’s dark stain
Has offered, will bring back to
All those who sleep, for doom or gain.

Secure with Jesus, Advocate
pleads for us at God’s right hand,
We daily work to do God’s will,
And wait His
coming stern and grand.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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