How Saints Are Made

Perhaps you have read a blog or heard a homily in which you knew the voice of the Lord was calling you. That was a moment of conversion. It was a seed thrown into your life. Perhaps as a youth, you attended a conference, and that weekend God may have shown you his face in the Eucharist. A seed of conversion was planted. The thing is, if you were operating under the assumption that those moments of encounter were somehow going to "make you a saint”, then it is possible that, instead of moving you forward on the road of sanctification, they may have left you feeling disillusioned. You might not have known that every incredible moment of encounter is followed by an ordinary moment faith.

 

The Stronger Man

In a state of demonic possession, a person has come entirely under the influence of this evil. The strong man, the devil, has made the person his home. Jesus does not deny that the devil has this power. He does not deny the devil’s ability to dominate those who have come under his influence. Far from being all-powerful, Jesus then gives insight into how he deals with the demonic.  In short, he binds them. You cannot plunder a strong man’s house unless you first tie him up. So, while Jesus does refer to the devil as the strong man, it is clear that he is the much 

 

Why did the Holy Spirit Come On that Day?

Did you know the feast of Pentecost predates the coming of the Holy Spirit?  It’s true. The disciples were gathered to celebrate a Jewish feast. In the Old Covenant, God had established this celebration as a remembrance of the giving of the law to Moses, and it was celebrated every year, seventy days after the Passover. It is interesting that God chose this day to pour the Holy Spirit into humanity. Think about it. Out of the three hundred sixty-five days the Lord could have selected, God decided to come on this particular feast. Could it be a coincidence? I do not think so.

Pentecost is as big of a deal as Christmas and Easter

Just like Christmas celebrates the coming of Christ, Pentecost marks the coming of the Spirit. In Christmas, we celebrate that God has come for us. In Pentecost, we rejoice that God has come to dwell within us.  Christmas, Easter and Pentecost are the three great feasts of the Church. Without the last of these, we would still be distant from the Lord. Through the coming of the Spirit we are made members of Christ's family, and in the Spirit we are enabled to "cry out, "Abba! Father."" Don't miss it. Pentecost is important.

Do You Believe Jesus Words?

Do we believe Jesus words?  I think most practicing Catholics would say “yes, of course, we do.”  Then they may cite Jesus’ words to Peter in Matthew 16:18, “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.”  Or, they might cite Jesus’ words about the Eucharist in John chapter 6:53, “unless you eat the flesh of the son of man, and drink his blood you have no life within you.”  While we may struggle at times, for the most part, we get Jesus teachings about the Church and the sacraments. That is where most of our minds jump when asked, “Do you believe Jesus words?”  But what about the things Jesus said about you? What about Jesus words about the life we are called to in him? What about the things Jesus said about the Holy Spirit? Do you believe those words? I’ll give you and example. At the end of Mark’s Gospel Jesus says to the disciples, 

These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover (Mark 16:17-18)

Do you believe Jesus words there?

As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.

In John 15:9-17, Jesus tells the disciples that he loves them like the father loves him. What does that mean? It means Jesus loves us a lot. Shouldn’t we get that Jesus loves us? He lives for us, dies for us, and rises from the dead for us. He does all of that out of love. Hear that. Jesus really loves us. But, here is the thing, that doesn’t mean we always feel that love. In fact, there are many people, both inside the Church and out, who Jesus loves. The reality is that every human being ever created is loved by God. That is a truth. Jesus came to save all mankind. Also true and terrible, is that not every man will accept that salvation. Many of those whom Jesus loves choose to live outside of his love.

The Good Vines Get Pruned, and That's a Good Thing

If we are going to grow, and stay alive in our faith we need to allow God permission to prune us. Yes, I love the harvest seasons of life. I love when I can see God moving in and through me. And no, I do not look forward to, or seek out, times of trial or pruning. I do not seek them out, but I do know that I need them. When trial comes, rather then rebelling, we need to submit our lives more deeply to Christ. It is during those seasons that God is working, preparing for the next harvest. We need to be pruned. We need to have the sick, sinful parts of our lives cut back so that a new season of harvest can come.