Life-in-Christ

Knowing Christ & His Message through Scripture, the Catechism, & the Catholic Church

Holy Week..Let your righteousness surpass that of the Scribes…

Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.”
“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.” Mt 5:20-26

What does it mean to be righteous? Righteousness quite simply is defined as acting in accord with divine or moral law : free from guilt or sin (Miriam- Webster dictionary).

Jesus tells us not only are we to be righteous – but, our righteousness must surpass that of the Scribes & Pharisees. As Jesus goes on to describe righteousness He ties it very tightly to forgiveness. Catherine Doherty tells the following story about our call to forgive & thus be free from guilt or sin, so that we can truly open our hearts to Christ & be one with our God and our brothers and sisters:

This Holy Week seek forgiveness from those you have hurt, & open your heart to forgive those who have hurt you.

I remember when I was a little girl in Russia during Holy Week every member of my family – father, mother, and all the servants lined up and, beginning with father, bowed low before one another and said to each, “Forgive me for any hurt that I might have inflicted on you.” And the answer from the other was, “May the Lord forgive you as I forgive you. Amen.” So everyone asked forgiveness from one another, because without forgiveness, which is the greatest sign of love, how can one receive the God of love?

We hurt people, unwillingly and even unwittingly, by the weakness of our nature, so we need forgiveness from our brothers and sisters, and we need to forgive them as well. We cannot enter Holy Week unless we forgive totally, uncompromisingly, and completely.

Image result for ask forgivenessFor before our eyes will soon be Jesus Christ himself, who will cry out from the height of the cross, “Father, forgive them.” Since we are baptized into the death and life of Jesus Christ, we should not allow the night to fall on our anger. We should beg forgiveness and forgive every day. Let us pray that we may forgive, because no one forgives these days, nationally and internationally speaking, and perhaps also personally. That is why we have the mess that we have.Image result for ask forgiveness - christian

Yes, Righteousness is a not only a good thing &- it is also a Christ thing, therefore it is important for us to pray: Heavenly Father, I come to You as Your child. Please send Your Holy Spirit into my heart to give me the grace to follow the example of Christ’s righteousness. May I be generous in forgiving others & in seeking forgiveness. United with Christ Jesus I pray. Amen.

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Holy Week… Easter preparation continues…

Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany,
where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served,
while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.
Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil
made from genuine aromatic nard
and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples,
and the one who would betray him, said,
“Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?”

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Will you let it change you?

He said this not because he cared about the poor
but because he was a thief and held the money bag
and used to steal the contributions.
So Jesus said, “Leave her alone.
Let her keep this for the day of my burial.
You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.
And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too,
because many of the Jews were turning away
and believing in Jesus because of him. jn 12:1-11

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What are we willing to do for Jesus? What can we give to Him? Can, or will we give our very selves to Him?  What does that mean?  Ask God…

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Holy Week…Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday, is the official entry into Holy Week, the last week of Lent. In Catholic tradition, the conclusion of the week is the Easter Triduum. The Easter Triduum begins Thursday evening of Holy Week and concludes with the Easter Vigil.

On Palm Sunday we observe the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The crowds who were in Jerusalem for the Passover welcomed the proclaimed King by waving palms as He entered the city.

The irony of His acceptance as the new King by the crowds – who would only five days later cry for His execution – should be a sobering reminder of the human tendency to want God on our own terms.

Let us take time this week to meditate on all the Christ has done for us – His road to Calvary – and the events and actions by those closest to Him & by those who claimed to know His Father. Click on image below for a short video meditation.

Almighty God, grant that we who are constantly betrayed by our own weakness may draw the breath of new life from the passion and death of Your Only-Begotten Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Click for video meditation

 

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Calling all Disciples: Holy Week is fast approaching…

“To us He is the censure of our thoughts; merely to see Him is a hardship for us. Because His life is not like other men’s, and different are His ways.”Wisdom 2:14-15

 Can I follow Christ as His disciple? Am I willing to accept all that being a disciple of Christ entails?

As we prepare for Holy Week, let us meditate on how willing we are to be disciples of Christ...no matter what others may say or think.

Since in Jesus, the Son of God, we have the supreme high priest who has gone through to the highest heaven, we must never let go of the faith that we have professed. For it is not as if we had a high priest who was incapable of feeling our weaknesses with us; but we have one who has been tempted in every way that we are, though he is without sin.  Heb 4:14

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Annunciation:..& the world waited…

The feast of the Annunciation is celebrated today. March 25.  Lk 1:26-38

The Whole World Awaits Mary’s Reply On the Annunciation & Mary’s “fiat”

Homily by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us.

The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. In the eternal Word of God we all came to be, and behold, we die. In your brief response we are to be remade in order to be recalled to life.

Tearful Adam with his sorrowing family begs this of you, O loving Virgin, in their exile from Paradise. Abraham begs it, David begs it. All the other holy patriarchs, your ancestors, ask it of you, as they dwell in the country of the shadow of death. This is what the whole earth waits for, prostrate at your feet. It is right in doing so, for on your word depends comfort for the wretched, ransom for the captive, freedom for the condemned, indeed, salvation for all the sons of Adam, the whole of your race.

A detail of the pulpit next to the papal altar in St Peter’s basilica, Vatican City, depicting the Annunciation.

Answer quickly, O Virgin. Reply in haste to the angel, or rather through the angel to the Lord. Answer with a word, receive the Word of God. Speak your own word, conceive the divine Word. Breathe a passing word, embrace the eternal Word.

Why do you delay, why are you afraid? Believe, give praise, and receive. Let humility be bold, let modesty be confident. This is no time for virginal simplicity to forget prudence. In this matter alone, O prudent Virgin, do not fear to be presumptuous. Though modest silence is pleasing, dutiful speech is now more necessary. Open your heart to faith, O blessed Virgin, your lips to praise, your womb to the Creator. See, the desired of all nations is at your door, knocking to enter. If he should pass by because of your delay, in sorrow you would begin to seek him afresh, the One whom your soul loves. Arise, hasten, open. Arise in faith, hasten in devotion, open in praise and thanksgiving. Behold the handmaid of the Lord, she says, be it done to me according to your word.

Be it done unto me according to your word. Luke, Chapter 1

 

 

The world waited for Mary’s response… Is God awaiting yours?

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Lent: Recipricol Love

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He did it for you!

 

 

the power of love…

 

 

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The love of Christ…

 

 

Something to think about...

 

 

 

 

our Response?

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Has your Lenten journey travelled through your home?

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”

The scribe said to Him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, He is One and there is no other than he. And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And no one dared to ask Him any more questions. Mark 12:28-34

Are you expressing your love for your family in a renewed way this Lent? It is never too late to start!

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Don’t be afraid to be a sheep…

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.  Psalm 23

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In Father Barron’s Lenten meditation, he points out that “Jesus Christ, as the Good Shepherd, says that He has come to gather the nations, and the nations, by implication, will recognize His voice when they hear it…”

“What is it that leads people to accept Jesus Christ? What is it that appeals to them when they read the Scripture or they approach the sacraments?”

“We could say that it is only custom or background or luck but I think that something much deeper is going on. There is a resonance when Christ’s voice is heard precisely because the whole world has been wired to hear it. The voice of Jesus is the voice of the gatherer. We lost sheep implicitly recognize it and respond.”

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He tends his flock like a Shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart... Is 40

“And more to it, we hear His voice and recognize it as the key to our flourishing. We have been wired for the Word of God, and Jesus is the Word of God made flesh. We instinctively know that He has the words of everlasting life.”

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I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. Jn 10:11

 

Being a sheep, a sheep of the Good Shepherd, is not a bad thing.  Being God’s sheep is the only kind of sheep worth being.  Are we listening to God’s voice & following His call to eternal life & love?  Or are we listening to the voice of the world, & nothingness, and thus, wandering aimlessly with no real destination?

 

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Come follow Me...Hear My Voice... I long to hold you close.

 

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Lent: A process of dying & coming alive…

Blessed are they who have kept the Word with a generous heart & yield a harvest through perseverance.  Lk. 8:15

 

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Are you willing to die, so that you can truly live? What needs to die in you this Lent?

 

There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every affair under the heavens.
A time to give birth, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal;

A time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
A time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.

A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
A time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.  Eccl 3

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Hope

Our life as Christians is different…

we have hope in a future that will fulfill all of our desires… life eternal with God!  do not be afraid to live differently.

 

The Book of Wisdom highlight some of these differences.  Remember, we are God’s children:

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Our hope is in Christ Jesus, who is always with us.

The wicked said among themselves,
thinking not aright:
“Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us;
he sets himself against our doings,
Reproaches us for transgressions of the law
and charges us with violations of our training.
He professes to have knowledge of God
and styles himself a child of the LORD.
To us he is the censure of our thoughts;
merely to see him is a hardship for us,
Because his life is not like that of others,
and different are his ways.

He judges us debased;he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure. He calls blest the destiny of the just
and boasts that God is his Father.
Image result for Jesus our hopeLet us see whether his words be true;
let us find out what will happen to him.
For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him
and deliver him from the hand of his foes.
With revilement and torture let us put him to the test
that we may have proof of his gentleness
and try his patience.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death;

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Do not be afraid to walk with Jesus.

for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”
These were their thoughts, but they erred;
for their wickedness blinded them,
and they knew not the hidden counsels of God;
neither did they count on a recompense of holiness
nor discern the innocent souls’ reward. (Wisdom 2…)

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M Crooks, Doctorate Pastoral Ministry: 2009-2012 http://xtnfamily.tumblr.com/