These reflections are a result of more than 40 years of ministry as a Roman Catholic priest. Most of these years I spent in the Diocese of Charlotte which covers Western North Carolina. Now I am retired, and live in Medellín, Colombia where I continue to serve as a priest in the Archdiocese of Medellín.
The love of Christ impels us,
once we have come to the conviction that one died for all;
therefore, all have died.
He indeed died for all,
so that those who live might no longer live for themselves
but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
(2 Cor 5:15-21)
The feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is followed by the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. As Saint Paul reminds us, “the love of Christ impels us.” Mary always leads us to follow the love of her Son who gave himself for our salvation.
May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith;
that you, rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge,
so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
(Eph 3:8-12, 14-19)
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus invites us into the mystery of the Incarnation—that our God has a human heart.
For we do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord,
and ourselves as your slaves for the sake of Jesus.
For God who said, Let light shine out of darkness,
has shone in our hearts to bring to light
the knowledge of the glory of God
on the face of Jesus Christ.
(2 Cor 3:15-4:1,3-6)
"The glory of God on the face of Jesus Christ" . . . that glory shines all around us . . . in the faces of all our brothers and sisters, especially the most vulnerable and hurting.
God has indeed qualified us as ministers of a new covenant,
not of letter but of spirit;
for the letter brings death, but the Spirit gives life.
(2 Cor 3:4-11)
It always saddens me when good church folks want to follow the letter of the law instead of paying attention to the Spirit that “gives life.”
For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was proclaimed to you by us,
was not “yes” and “no,” but “yes” has been in him.
For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him.
(2 Cor 1:18-22)
All the promises of God are fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus is always YES.
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Today we begin the continuous reading of the public ministry of Jesus from Matthew’s gospel. The Sermon on the Mount invites us to live the values of the Kingdom now. In fact, that’s the secret of the saints—they heard the gospel being addressed not to others, but to them.
When Christ came as high priest
of the good things that have come to be,
passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle
not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation,
he entered once for all into the sanctuary,
not with the blood of goats and calves
but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.
The Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ proclaims God’s wondrous love revealed beneath the forms of bread and wine. As Saint Paul tells us, “When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”