Thursday, October 13, 2016

Fun in the Midwest

What a glorious weekend this past weekend in Dayton, Ohio.  The leaves were changing and the weather was just perfect! We held our annual Directors Meeting at Bergamo.  The Directors from the 37 local Marianist communities gathered for sharing best practices and challenges in exercising leadership in our local communities.  Other time was devoted to some of the mundane that is necessary in running a house, ie, emergency contact, medical information, living wills, budgets and other sources information that assists a director in exercising his leadership. The first night the Novitiate community hosted a great social and the other two nights were hosted in the Bergamo Retreat Center.  As always, it was good to see some Brothers and catch up with the "happenings" of their lives. 

On Saturday morning we all attended the Ordination of Sean Downing, S.M..  The service was held at the UD Chapel and the choir made the ordination an outstanding experience.  The ordaining bishop, Archbishop Gustavo Garcia from San Antonio was so pastoral and caring during the whole time he was with us.  I think he delivered the best ordination homily I've heard in recent years!  Close to 300 people attended the Ordination and the dinner that followed.  Lot's of good food, conversation, and plenty of wine was had by all! The next day, Fr. Sean celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving with close to 100 people attending.  He did an excellent job in presiding and preaching for the first time as Fr. Sean....there will be many more times and years ahead of him.  It certainly brought me back to my own ordination 17 years ago.  The memories are still priceless!
Ordination Day.  I was one of 40 concelebrants who was able to lay hands on Sean during the Ordination Ritual.  For the welcome to his new role among us as priest in the community, a line of close to 100 Brothers and Priests waited to embrace him and wish him peace during the Sign of was a beautiful moment!

Sean and I at the reception

The Founders of the Marianist Family: Fr. Chaminade, Mother Adele and Marie Terese de Lamorous
This is hanging in the new Chaminade Center on the property of Bergamo

The 3 Founders (puppets) reading their own Biographies!

After my time in Dayton, I flew to St. Louis to go to some doctors appointments and to celebrate Mass on the Feast of Our Lady of the Pillar (Oct 12) at one of our Marianist Sponsored Secondary Schools.  I was invited to preside by my good friend Mallory Green.  She is currently the Director of Campus Ministry at St. Mary's.  I arrived early (7:30am) to hear some Confessions before Mass and then celebrated a festive Eucharist with close to 400 high school boys!  It was great seeing Mallory whom I knew when I lived in Hawaii.  I helped her during her time at St. Louis School by presiding at Masses, hearing Confessions, and helping out on Retreats.  We were part of a Lay Community together.  She is committed to the Marianist Charism and is a breath of fresh was so good to see her again.
Mallory and guess who?

So, I returned back home to Mexico last night.  Today I will hear First Confessions and the weekend will be booked with special Masses for the Feast of Our Lady of the Pillar in one of the colonia (Friday 9pm and Saturday 2pm), and 3 Masses on Sunday.  So, this American will be busy preparing 3 homilies for the next 3 days....God give me strength!

Have a great one!!!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Feast of the Guardian Angels

Yesterday the Society of Mary celebrated the Feast of the Guardian Angels.  This feast is important to us because we consider it our Foundation Day.  Yesterday we celebrated 199 years of existence.  During this coming year we will have various celebrations throughout the year to mark our Bicentennial.  Watch for more posts about the Bicentennial throughout the year!

Meeting of CLAMAR

This past week was very busy for us here in Queretaro.  We had 8 visitors from Latin America here for the annual meeting of the Latin American Superiors (CLAMAR).  The Brothers arrived on Monday at different points during the day.  The following members are Superiors in their country and attended the meeting: Fr. Rodrigo Betancur, S.M. (Columbia), Fr. Andres Tocallini, S.M. (Argentina), Fr. Javier de Aguire, S.M. (new superior of Argentina), Br. Jose Pascual, S.M. (Chile), Br. Doug Roper, S.M. (Peru), Br. Domingo Fuentes, S.M. (Brazil), Br. Javier Anso, S.M. (Cuba), and myself (Mexico).

The days were long and action packed.  We discussed many issues including vocations, formation, educational projects, parishes, the realities of the Church in each of the countries, the Bicentennial, leadership and various other theme's.  The day's began at 7am with Morning Prayer/Mass and Breakfast, followed by meetings until 2pm, the Comida, break, followed by more meetings until Vespers followed by La Cena and a nightly social.  Each night we had a Mexican cultural treat.  Tuesday night members from the Church Choir came to share some songs with us, Wednesday a local Mariachi Band came and played and entertained us, and Thursday we were entertained with Mexican Folk Dance performed by a group of people from the Chapel.  Each participant brought with them some sweets and drinks to share with all of us.  It was a long week, but it was great and our local community all pitched in and helped out tremendously during this time together.  We really shared an international experience of community and fellowship.  On Friday, we took an early bus to make a pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  We spent a good 2 hours there exploring all the pilgrimage sites.  After our visit to the Basilica, we had a great meal and then dropped off all the Brothers at the airport in Mexico City so that they could return home to their communities....a bit heavier but content!

Fr. John, Fr. Andres, Br. Domingo, Br. Doug, Fr. Rodrigo, Br. Jose, Fr. Javier, and Br. Javier

Marianist Cross on our Property

An Evening with the Mariachi in our Dining Room

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Mary appears to Juan Diego

Original Basilica

On  Saturday evening, 11 members of the Chapel community made their consecration as Lay Marianists.  An additional 4 members renewed their commitment to grow in the spirituality of the Marianists.  It was a great evening and many of the members were touched and overwhelmed by making this commitment.  This community, Divino Nino, traveled together for the past six months with the assistance of Br. Regulo.  After the Mass we all shared in a great meal together.  On Sunday, I celebrated 2 more Masses....needless to say that I was tired by Sunday night.  Today I was able to get to the gym and work off some of the great food and drinks from our time together. 

Here's my homily from the Marianist Consecration Mass:

Homily for Marianist Consecration

October 1, 2016
Good evening Church!  If you are happy to be here tonight, say Amen! Yes, tonight is a special and important night not only for the men and women who are making their consecration, but also, for those of us who gathered here tonight to witness their consecration.  Their desire to grow deeper in their faith and their vocation as a committed lay person in the Church is an incredible testimony to the importance of faith and the Marianist charism in their lives, Amen?  The Word of God this day offers them, and us, something important to consider in our lives. Three words come to mind when hearing the Word of God this evening: Vision, Passion and Faith.  Repeat after me, Vision, Passion and Faith.  Very good Church, you are learning!
The prophet Habakkuk calls upon the Lord in a time of distress and God tells the prophet, “Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. For this vision has its time, presses on to fulfillment and will not disappoint, if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.” So, do you believe that God has a vision for your life? We all know, that God’s timing is not our timing.  Our community members have been preparing for this night for a long time.  Many have been part of this Chapel community for many years, and yet tonight they are making their consecration.  Sometimes the vision needs more time for us to see it clearly, Amen? And the vision will not disappoint.  As you make your consecration tonight, the only way you will be disappointed is if you do not live up to your commitment that you make tonight.  God called you, Mary confirmed this call, now you must live it.  The call will not disappoint if you live this call with joy and freedom.  Tonight you are joining thousands of other men and women throughout the world who for the past two hundred years embraced the vision of Fr. Chaminade and committed themselves to the Blessed Mother in bringing her Son into the world.  The vision is grand and inspiring.  Tonight you are being called to live this vision in a particular way as members of the Divine Child community.  There are many others gathered in this Church who have embraced this similar vision of Fr. Chaminade either as a lay person or as a vowed religious, and the vision did not disappoint, Amen? So, it is important to write down the vision, to remember what captured your heart in the words of Fr. Chaminade and the virtues of the Blessed Mother.  These will guide you on our journey.  And so VISION is crucial to staying on the path.
Saint Paul wrote to Timothy, “I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.  For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather of power and love and self-control.” In other words, Paul is telling Timothy, be Passionate, set a fire in your heart so that you can have PASSION in sharing your faith.  Passion helps us to not be afraid.  If we are passionate about our lives and our faith, it will be contagious to others.  Often, Fr. Chaminade wanted his first followers to be a contagion in the world.  Fr. Chaminade wanted the early brothers and lay men and women to infect others with a deep and abiding faith.  Fr. Chaminade knew that the only way for others to come to a deeper faith was to witness other people who were passionate about their own faith.  It wasn’t only a matter of the intellect, but a deep and profound faith that resided in an individual and who incorporated both the head and the heart into their faith lives.  You all have learned some things about the Marianist charism, the sayings of Fr. Chaminade, the ways of the Mother of God and that is very important.  But, the way you incorporate these intellectual ideas with a passionate heart is what will attract others to want to make this same commitment that you will make tonight.  All believers must have a fire in their heart.  The fire in your heart will make you passionate about your faith and your commitment.  The fire in your heart will attract others to want to make a similar commitment.  God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but a spirit of power and love and of self-control, Amen?  So PASSION will keep your commitment strong!
And finally, the Gospel reminds us of the importance of FAITH.  The disciples made a very simple request of Jesus, “Increase our faith”.  I am sure everyone in this Chapel has asked the same thing of Jesus at one time or another in our lives, Amen?  And Jesus gives his disciples such an assuring response, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed you can do great things”.  Now I hope that everyone in this chapel knows how small a mustard seed is.  If you were to put a seed on your finger, it would be so small that you might not be able to see it.  But the thing about mustard seeds is that they may start out small, but one seed could grow into a tree very tall.  So, a mustard seed can be deceiving.  When one looks at the seed, one might think, well what good is that seed, it is so small.  We might think about our own faith in the same way.  We may think about our faith lives and think, well what can I do with my faith, it is so small and I have so many doubts.  What can God do with me?  Well that one small seed can grow to eventually become a sturdy tree.  God can do the same for you and for me.  All we need is a little faith and God will do the rest.  As Mother Teresa once said, “God does not expect us to do big things, God expects us to do small things with great love.” Lord increase our faith.  Well, making a commitment tonight does not mean that you have the greatest and best faith in the Colonia…sorry.  It means that you are taking your mustard seed and allowing God to help you grow into a sturdy and steady man and woman of faith.  With the faith that you have today, God can use you to do more than you ever could have imagined.  When you say yes to God, there are many more possibilities open for your life than you every thought possible.  When I entered the Marianists twenty six years ago, I never thought that I would one day be in a Chapel in Mexico witnessing the consecration of lay men and woman.  With God, all things are possible, Amen? So FAITH will deepen your commitment over the years.

So tonight is about VISION, PASSION, and FAITH.  Does your commitment tonight require you to be perfect from now on?  I doubt it.  But, I do think that your commitment tonight will now give you a specific vision for your life that will help you live a passionate faith that will  honor God and provide a good reason to help your sisters and brothers in need.  Yes my friends, tonight is about you and the consecration that you will make, but it is also about each of us and how we deepen our baptismal call to follow Jesus Christ, Son of God, become Son of Mary, for the salvation of all.  And so, it is good for us to be here, Amen?
                             Homilía para Marianista Consagración
                                    1 de octubre de, el año 2016

Buenas Tardes Iglesia! Si está contento de estar aquí esta noche, decir amén! Sí, esta noche es una noche especial e importante no sólo para los hombres y mujeres que están haciendo su consagración, sino también, para aquellos de nosotros que se reunieron aquí esta noche para presenciar su consagración. Su deseo de crecer más profundamente en su fe y su vocación de laico comprometido en la Iglesia es un testimonio increíble de la importancia de la fe y el carisma marianista en sus vidas, Amén? La Palabra de Dios el día de hoy les ofrece, y nosotros, algo importante a tener en cuenta en nuestras vidas. Tres palabras vienen a la mente al oír la Palabra de Dios esta noche: visión, pasión y fe. Repita después de mí, visión, pasión y fe. Muy buena Iglesia, que están aprendiendo!
El profeta Habacuc pide al Señor en un momento de angustia y Dios le dice al profeta: «Escribe la visión que te he manifestado ponla clara en tabillas para que se pueda leer de corrido. Es todavía una visión de algo lejano, pero que viene corriendo y no fallara.  Si se tarda, espéralo, pues llegara sin falta. "Por lo tanto, es lo que creo que Dios tiene una visión para su vida? Todos sabemos, que el tiempo de Dios no es nuestro tiempo. Nuestros miembros de la comunidad se han estado preparando para esta noche durante mucho tiempo. Muchos han sido parte de esta comunidad de la capilla durante muchos años, y sin embargo, esta noche están haciendo su consagración. A veces, la visión necesita más tiempo para que podamos ver con claridad, Amén? Y la visión no va a defraudar. Como ustedes hacen su consagración esta noche, la única forma en que será decepcionado es que si ustedes no viven hasta su compromiso de que ustedes hagan esta noche. Dios se llama, María confirmó esta llamada, ahora Uds. tienen que comportarse. La llamada no va a defraudar si vive esta llamada con alegría y libertad. Esta noche se están uniendo a miles de hombres y mujeres en todo el mundo que durante los últimos doscientos años abrazó la visión del P. Chaminade y se comprometieron a la María en traer a su Hijo al mundo. La visión es grande e inspirador. Esta noche están siendo llamados a vivir esta visión de una manera particular, como miembros de la comunidad Divino Niño. Hay muchos otros se reunieron en esta Iglesia que han abrazado esta visión similar de P. Chaminade ya sea como laico o como religiosos con votos, y la visión no defraudó, Amén? Por lo tanto, es importante anotar la visión, para recordar lo que capturó su corazón en las palabras del P. Chaminade y las virtudes de María, Madre de Dios. Estos le guíen en el camino. Y así que la visión es crucial para mantenerse en el camino.

San Pablo escribió a Timoteo: "Te recuerdo para agitar el fuego del don de Dios que tiene a través de la imposición de mis manos. Porque no nos ha dado un espíritu de temor, sino de fortaleza, de amor y de moderación." En otras palabras, Pablo está diciendo a Timoteo, ser apasionado, encender un fuego en tu corazón para que pueda tener pasión en compartir su fe. La pasión nos ayuda a no tener miedo. Si nos apasiona nuestra vida y nuestra fe, va a ser contagiosa a otros. A menudo, el P. Chaminade quería que sus primeros seguidores a ser un contagio en el mundo. P. Chaminade quería que los primeros hermanos y laicos, hombres y mujeres para infectar a otras personas con una fe profunda y duradera. P. Chaminade sabía que la única manera para que otros vengan a una fe más profunda fue testigo de otras personas que estaban apasionados de su propia fe. No era sólo una cuestión de la inteligencia, sino una fe intensa y profunda que residía en un individuo y que incorpora tanto la cabeza como el corazón en su vida de fe. Todos ustedes han aprendido algunas cosas sobre el carisma marianista, los dichos de P. Chaminade, las formas de la Madre de Dios y esos son muy importante. Sin embargo, la forma de incorporar estas ideas intelectuales con un corazón apasionado es lo que va a atraer a otros a querer hacer el mismo compromiso que va a hacer esta noche. Todos los creyentes deben tener un fuego en su corazón. El fuego en su corazón le hará un apasionado de su fe y su compromiso. El fuego en su corazón va a atraer a otros a querer hacer un compromiso similar. Dios no nos ha dado un espíritu de temor, sino un espíritu de fortaleza, amor y moderación,  Amén? Así PASIÓN mantendrá su fuerte compromiso!
Y por último, el Evangelio nos recuerda la importancia de la fe. Los discípulos hicieron una petición muy simple de Jesús, "Auméntanos la fe". Estoy seguro de que todos en esta capilla han hecho la misma cosa de Jesús en un momento de nuestras vidas, Amén? Y Jesús da a sus discípulos una respuesta tan tranquilizadora, "Si tuvieron fe, aunque fuera tan pequeña como una semilla de mostaza, podrían hacer grandes cosas.” Ahora espero que todo el mundo en esta capilla saben qué tan pequeña es una semilla de mostaza. Si tuvieran que poner una semilla en su dedo, sería tan pequeña que pueden que no sea capaz de verlo. Pero lo que pasa con las semillas de mostaza es que pueden empezar desde abajo, pero una semilla podría crecer en un árbol muy alto. Por lo tanto, una semilla de mostaza puede ser engañosa. Cuando uno mira a la semilla, se podría pensar, así lo buena que es la semilla, que es tan pequeña. Podríamos pensar en nuestra propia fe de la misma manera. Podemos pensar en nuestra vida de fe y pensar, bueno lo que puedo hacer con mi fe, es tan pequeña y tengo tantas dudas. ¿Qué puede hacer Dios conmigo? Así que una pequeña semilla puede crecer hasta eventualmente convertirse en un árbol robusto. Dios puede hacer lo mismo para ustedes y para mí. Todo lo que necesitamos es un poco de fe y Dios hará el resto. Como dijo una vez que la Madre Teresa, "Dios no espera que hagamos grandes cosas, Dios espera que hagamos cosas pequeñas con gran amor." Señor aumenta nuestra fe. Así, hacer un compromiso de esta noche no significa que ustedes tienen la mayor y mejor fe en la Colonia... lo siento. Esto significa que ustedes están tomando su semilla de mostaza y permitir a Dios que les ayudará a convertirse en un hombre y una mujer de fe robusta y estable. Con la fe que tenemos hoy en día, Dios puede usar para hacer más de lo que jamás podría haber imaginado. Cuando nosotros dicimos sí a Dios, hay muchas más posibilidades abiertas para nuestra vida de lo que cada pensamiento sea posible. Cuando yo entré en los Marianistas hace veintiséis años, nunca pensé que iba a ser un día en una capilla en México testigo de la consagración de hombres y mujeres laicos. Con Dios, todo es posible, Amén? Así que la fe va a profundizar sus compromisos a lo largo de los años.

Así que esta noche se trata de visión, pasión y fe. ¿Sus compromisos esta noche requieran un buen estado perfecto de ahora en adelante? Lo dudo. Pero, yo creo que sus compromisos esta noche ahora les darán una visión específica para sus vidas que le ayudarán a vivir una fe apasionada que honrarán a Dios y dar una buena razón para ayudar a sus hermanos y hermanas en necesidad. Sí mis amigos, esta noche es sobre de ustedes y la consagración que van a hacer, pero también se trata de cada uno de nosotros y cómo profundizar nuestro llamado bautismal de seguir a Jesucristo, Hijo de Dios, convertido en Hijo de María, para la salvación de todos . Y así, es bueno para nosotros que estemos  aquí, Amén?

Monday, September 26, 2016

Perpetual Vows

What a weekend! I really enjoyed myself during my stay in St. Louis for the Perpetual Vows of our Brothers, Brandon Paluch, S.M., and Michael Chiuri, S.M. 

I arrived on Thursday afternoon and my good friend Br. Jesse was waiting for me in the airport.  We went to the car rental center to pick up the car and made our way to Maryland Ave.  There were a good 10 of us staying at this community for the weekend festivities so the house was full!  We had Mass and Dinner on Thursday evening and shared in many laughs and stories throughout the dinner.  After dinner, Jesse and I walked to a local bar known for its vodka drinks.  It was called Sub Zero because on the bar itself was a sheet of ice to keep your drinks cold! Well, lets just say that the martini's were great....and cold!

The next day, we did some site seeing and had lunch out.  In the early evening there was a get together at the community where I lived two years ago.  There were probably close to 75 people there.  It was great to catch up with some, and meet others for the first time.  It was a great testimony to Brandon and Michael about how many people care enough about them to travel to St. Louis to witness their Final Profession. 

Saturday morning, I woke up early, went to a WW meeting and weighed in.  I'm on track!! Now the WW scale is different from my home scale, so I had to make some mental adjustments to the number in front of me, but it will all work out in the end.  When I returned, I ran for 3 miles in Forest Park, showered and headed to the Perpetual Vow Ceremony at Our Lady of the Pillar Church.  I was fortunate enough to be with some great friends during the ceremony and after.  There were probably a good 250 people in Church and 68 of those people were members of the community.  The ritual was beautiful, and there were many tears shed by many in the congregation.  I was so happy to be part of this day and so happy to be a Marianist.  After the Mass, we had a reception at Chaminade Prep and we were treated to some great food and drinks!  After the festivities, we all went home, took a nap to get ready for round 2 in the community later that evening.  So much food and drink...I was glad I weighed in on Saturday morning!
Fr. Dave, Fr. John, Br. Jesse
Vow Class 92

Br. Michael, Fr. John, Br. Brandon

I made it back safely yesterday afternoon and presided at the 6pm Mass in the Colonia.  Today we are gearing up for a big meeting that we are hosting here in Queretaro.  It is the meeting of the superiors of the Latin American Marianists (CLAMAR).  In attendance will be Brothers from Argentina, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba and Mexico. You might remember that I attended this same meeting last year in Bogota around the same time.  I will definitely fill you in at the end of the week about our time together.   It will be a fun, but busy week!

Here is my homily from this past Sunday

Homily September 25, 2016

Good evening Church! So here we are on another Sunday, and the Word of God continues to challenge us to care for the needs of others, Amen? As a people of faith we are all called to be mindful of the needs of others, especially the poor. And yet, sometimes we can forget that caring for the poor is not just an option for people of faith, but it is a demand an imperative from Jesus.  When we think about the needs of others, it helps us to not focus on all of our own problems and helps us to realize that although each of us may have problems, that there are always people who have more problems than we do.  Sometimes the poor can almost become invisible to us if we do not go out of our way to look at the poor in the same way Jesus looks at them.  We must be vigilant in caring for the poor and not be complacent.  Complacency is probably the worst sin for Christians, because complacency allows us to sit back and let things happen.  We may know that what is happening is wrong, but when we are complacent it is difficult to move into action, and as disciples of Jesus we are supposed to be men and women of action, Amen?

The prophet Amos warned the rich of his time to get off the couch, to stop focusing on wealth and acquiring more material goods, to stop making a show of having the best while there are people who suffer and who do with far less. The prophet warns us that when we are caught up in acquiring more riches, we forget the poor in our presence and forget how to act as a community.  Wealth is not bad, but wealth can prevent us from opening up our eyes to the reality of other people.  When we no longer see the reality of those around us, we have forgotten that we are a community called to help one another, especially those in most dire need.  The prophet warns the people, and he warns us today, not to be complacent in our care for one another.

Saint Paul implores Timothy to purse righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Not once does Paul mention money or material things.  Money cannot buy devotion, faith, love, and patience.  These things are priceless in the eyes of Paul.  How often do we ask our children what they want to be when they grow up? Or, what they may want to study at the university so that they may have a good career? Yes, these are important things, but not the most important.  For those of you who are parents, have you asked your children to pursue devotion, faith, love, patience as the most important thing in life, or do you want to know how much money they will make in the future?  As I have said in the past, money will come and go, but a strong relationship with Jesus Christ is eternal.  And that strong relationship helps inform our future decisions in life.  A Christian does not ask the question do I do this?  A Christian asks the question, Should I do this? Our faith should inform our decision, Amen?

The Gospel of Luke is often referred to the Gospel of the Poor.  Over and over again, Luke writes about the importance of the community caring for the needs of the poor.  Today, the parable of Lazarus and the rich man reinforces the importance of caring for the needs of the poor.  This parable reinforces the idea that sometimes we can be blind to the reality around us.  Lazarus was at the doorstep of the rich man each day.  The rich man did not see Lazarus as a person, only as a beggar.  God sees each of us for who we are.  The rich man did not see Lazarus with the eyes of God, he only saw him as a nuisance. The rich man was more interested in the finest of food, clothes and appearances.  Each time he held a banquet, the rich man ignored the cries of Lazarus.  The rich man did not notice Lazarus in the same way that God noticed Lazarus.  Not only did God notice Lazarus, but he cared for him in the next world.  The rich man could not enjoy eternity because he did not do the things he was supposed to do for the poor in this life.  These words are very challenging! Each of us must ask ourselves the question, How have I treated the poor? How have I treated those in need?  Do I ignore people who need my help? Am I complacent in my discipleship? Am I blind to the reality of those around me? If God were to take me today, would I be enjoying the joys of eternity, or would I be suffering like the rich man in our story?  See, we did have someone who came back from the dead to tell us how we should act. Do we act in the way that Jesus would want us to act? 

So, today is about action.  From moving from complacency to action.  Today is about caring for the needs of the poor and focusing less on money and fame and more on doing things for those around us.  It is easy to sometimes be so caught up in our own lives and problems that we forget that we are responsible to care for those who are less fortunate than us.  Today we are reminded that we must do both.  We must care for ourselves and the needs of our family, but we must also care for the needs of the poor.  This is not optional.  This is not extra.  This is what it means to be a Christian.  As Scripture states, How can you say that you love God whom you cannot see and yet do not love your sister and brother whom you can see.  Today we are reminded to open our eyes and see those around us who need our help.  The Word of God today is a call to action.  Are you ready to be the hands of Christ in our world? Jesus needs you.  Will you work for him this day? Turn to the person next to you and say, I will work for Jesus today…Amen?

                                        Homilía 25  de septiembre

Buenas Tardes Iglesia! Así que aquí estamos en otro domingo, y la Palabra de Dios continúa desafiándonos para el cuidado de las necesidades de los demás, Amén? Como un pueblo de fe que todos estamos llamados a ser conscientes de las necesidades de los demás, especialmente a los pobres. Y, sin embargo, a veces nos podemos olvidar que el cuidado de los pobres no es sólo una opción para las personas de fe, pero es una demanda de un imperativo de Jesús. Cuando pensamos en las necesidades de los demás, nos ayuda a no centrarse en todos nuestros propios problemas y nos hace entender que, aunque cada uno de nosotros puede tener problemas, que siempre hay personas que tienen más problemas que nosotros. A veces los pobres pueden llegar a ser casi invisible para nosotros si no nos salimos de nuestra manera de mirar a los pobres de la misma manera en que Jesús los mira. Debemos ser vigilantes en el cuidado de los pobres y no ser complaciente. La complacencia es probablemente el peor pecado para los cristianos, porque la complacencia nos permite sentarse y dejar que las cosas sucedan. Podemos saber que lo que está sucediendo es malo, pero cuando estamos satisfechos es difícil pasar a la acción, y como discípulos de Jesús se supone que debemos ser hombres y mujeres de acción, Amén?

El profeta Amós advirtió a los ricos de su tiempo a levantarse del sofá, dejar de centrarse en la riqueza y la adquisición de bienes materiales, que dejar de hacer un espectáculo de tener el mejor mientras que hay personas que sufren y que lo hacen con mucho menos. El profeta nos advierte que cuando estamos atrapados en la adquisición de más riquezas, nos olvidamos de los pobres en nuestra presencia y olvidar cómo actuar como una comunidad. La riqueza no es mala, pero la riqueza puede evitar que la apertura de los ojos a la realidad de otras personas. Cuando ya no vemos la realidad de los que nos rodean, nos hemos olvidado que somos una comunidad llamada a ayudarse unos a otros, especialmente a las más extremas necesidades. El profeta advierte al pueblo, y él nos advierte hoy, no ser complacientes en la consideración de los otros.

San Pablo a Timoteo que implora monedero justicia, la piedad, la fe, el amor, la paciencia y la dulzura. Ni una sola vez menciona Pablo dinero o cosas materiales. El dinero no puede comprar la devoción, la fe, el amor y la paciencia. Estas cosas no tienen precio a los ojos de Pablo ¿Cuántas veces nos preguntamos a nuestros hijos lo que quieren ser cuando crezcan? O, lo que es posible que quieran estudiar en la universidad para que puedan tener una buena carrera? Sí, estas son las cosas importantes, pero no el más importante. Para aquellos de ustedes que son padres, ¿ha pedido a sus hijos a seguir la devoción, la fe, el amor, la paciencia como la cosa más importante en la vida, o quieres saber cuánto dinero van a hacer en el futuro? Como ya he dicho en el pasado, el dinero va a ir y venir, pero una fuerte relación con Jesucristo es eterno. Y que la fuerte relación a las decisiones de futuro en la vida. Un cristiano no pide la pregunta qué hago esto? Un cristiano hace la pregunta: ¿Debo hacer esto? Nuestra fe debe informar a nuestra decisión, Amén?

El Evangelio de Lucas se refiere a menudo el Evangelio de los pobres. Una y otra vez, Lucas escribe sobre la importancia del cuidado de la comunidad para las necesidades de los pobres. Hoy en día, la parábola de Lázaro y el hombre rico refuerza la importancia del cuidado de las necesidades de los pobres. Esta parábola refuerza la idea de que a veces podemos ser ciegos a la realidad que nos rodea. Lázaro estaba en la puerta del hombre rico cada día. El rico no vio a Lázaro como persona, sólo como un mendigo. Dios ve cada uno de nosotros por lo que somos. El rico no vio a Lázaro con los ojos de Dios, él sólo lo veía como una molestia. El hombre rico estaba más interesado en el mejor de los alimentos, la ropa y las apariencias. Cada vez que él llevó a cabo un banquete, el rico se hizo caso omiso de los gritos de Lázaro. El rico no se dio cuenta a Lázaro de la misma manera que Dios se dio cuenta de Lázaro. No solo Dios cuenta Lázaro, pero él se preocupaba por él en el otro mundo. El hombre rico no podría disfrutar de la eternidad porque no hacer las cosas que se supone que debe hacer por los pobres en esta vida. Estas palabras son muy difíciles! Cada uno de nosotros debe preguntarse la pregunta, ¿Cómo he tratado a los pobres? ¿Cómo he tratado a los necesitados? Hago caso de las personas que necesitan mi ayuda? ¿Estoy complaciente en mi discipulado? ¿Estoy ciego a la realidad de los que me rodean? Si Dios me llevará hoy, ¿estaría disfrutando de los placeres de la eternidad, o iba a estar sufriendo como el rico de nuestra historia? Véase, tuvimos que alguien que regresó de entre los muertos para decirnos cómo debemos actuar. Por qué actuamos de la manera que Jesús querría que actuar?

Por lo tanto, hoy en día se trata de una acción. De pasar de la complacencia a la acción. Hoy se trata de atender a las necesidades de los pobres y centrarse menos en el dinero y la fama, y ​​más en hacer las cosas para los que nos rodean. Es fácil ser atrapado por lo que a veces hasta en nuestra propia vida y los problemas que nos olvidamos de que somos responsables de cuidar a aquellos que son menos afortunados que nosotros. Hoy se nos recuerda que tenemos que hacer las dos cosas. Hay que cuidar de nosotros mismos y de las necesidades de nuestra familia, pero también hay que cuidar de las necesidades de los pobres. Esto no es opcional. Esto no es extra. Esto es lo que significa ser un cristiano. Como dice la Escritura, ¿Cómo puedes decir que amas a Dios a quien no puede ver y sin embargo no ama a su hermana y hermano, a quien se puede ver. Hoy se nos recuerda que abrir los ojos y ver los que nos rodean que necesitan nuestra ayuda. La Palabra de Dios hoy es una llamada a la acción. ¿Estás listo para ser las manos de Cristo en nuestro mundo? Jesús te necesita. Va a trabajar para él el día de hoy? Vuelvo a la persona a tu lado y decir, voy a trabajar para Jesús hoy ... Amén?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Viva Mexico!

Well this past week we celebrated Mexican Independence Day on Thursday! We had a great meal with wine and tequila and pozole, a Mexican delicacy.  There were many firecrackers and other sounds of parties in the neighborhood.  The following day was quiet as I think everyone was sleeping off the day before! After Mass I walked to the gym only to find it was closed for the holiday, I guess you win some and lose some!

Starting on Friday afternoon we hosted a Vocation Retreat (jornada) for 5 men ranging in ages from 23-47.  Br. Nereo arranged for all of the guys to come from different parts of Mexico to have an opportunity to get to know the community better.  Some of the men I had met before, but others were new for me.  Each of the Brothers in the community played a role in the retreat, either giving presentations, or helping in the kitchen and tending to the needs of the young men.  They all went into the Center of Queretaro on Friday night to experience the festivities of the holiday, the next day was filled with prayer, presentations, recreation, quiet time, and a trip to a Lay community in Apaseo Grande where the American Brothers first worked back in the 1980s.  Sunday they all came to the 8:30am Mass and then continued the day with presentations and reflection.  I had 3 Masses on Sunday, so I was not able to join them for some of the other activities on Sunday morning. 

On my way to one of the Chapels, I was thinking about our early Brothers and the sacrifices they made to go to distant lands, taking boats, riding horses, taking trains all a great distance.  I was thinking about this because I had to walk up a big hill and then walk on roads that were not paved so well.  I felt a bit in solidarity with my ancestors in the Society of Mary because I was heading to Mass and I wasn't in a car, but instead I had to walk....and lo and behold this is what I stumbled upon on my way to the Chapel.  I knew I wasn't in St. Louis on my way to celebrate Mass at Our Lady of the Pillar Church!!!

As you can see the area is not well off, and the people are simple and very nice.  It was okay sharing the road with 2 cows on the way to Church! After Church I walked back down the hill and had a little time to myself before we gathered for the afternoon meal.

We all ate dinner together on Sunday and then they were off to the bus station to go to the many places from where they came.  It was a good weekend, and I was happy with the way the Brothers all pitched in and made the weekend a success.
The 5 Candidates

The Candidates with the Community
We are all wearing Bicentennial Shirts....the Logo was misplaced on the back!

I will be heading to St. Louis on Thursday to attend the Perpetual Vows of two of our Brothers, Br. Brandon and Br. Michael.  I am looking forward to seeing many people there, we all come out of the woodwork for professions and ordinations...its a great family reunion!

Enjoy the rest of the week and keep me in your prayers! 
Here is my homily from this past weekend,

Homily 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Good morning Church! Turn to the person next to you and say, I’m glad you are here! If you are glad to be here, say Amen! You don’t sound convinced! Are you glad to be here?  Yes, we should always be glad to hear God’s Word and to receive the Body of Christ each week, Amen? And the Word of God this week reminds us to be good stewards of what God has entrusted to us.  In the book of Genesis, God tells Adam that he would have dominion over all of the earth that he needed to be a caretaker, a good steward of the Garden of Eden.  Adam was not the owner, but the caretaker of the Garden.  God is the owner, Amen?  In the end, nothing really belongs to us, we are only stewards or caretakers of the things that we have.  In the same way, we are stewards of our life, but God is the owner.  God entrusts our life to us and we are to do the best we can to honor, protect, and preserve our lives. We only have one life on this earth, are you doing everything you can to be a good steward of your life? Are you concerned about your mind, heart, body and soul, or are you only concerned with material things and money? The Word of God continues to challenge us to think about higher things for our life.
The Prophet Amos warned the people to be concerned about more things than making money and finding not so moral ways to make money.  Is money more important than your reputation? Is money more important than honor? Is money more important than your family name? Yes, we all need money to live, but if making and having money consumes every waking thought, then we have not learned the ways of God correctly.  If money becomes more important than honoring God and the Sabbath, then we have forgotten who the owner is of our life, Amen? As the Gospel states very clearly today, “one cannot serve two masters”.
Saint Paul reminds Timothy that all people must pray for leaders in nations and that in every day and age, we should lift up our holy hands and give praise to our God.  Again, it is difficult to raise your hands in prayer when you have one hand looking through your wallet looking for more money! As Christians we are called to live a quiet life with dignity and devotion.  When we serve God and not money, this type of life is possible.  But if we serve money, then our lives are fast, never satisfied, always looking for more.  We will never have enough when we are always looking for more.  Is this the life that God wants for us?  I don’t think so! Being a good administrator of our lives, we need to keep our lives in balance and not live on the extremes of too much and too few.
The Gospel today from Saint Luke once again challenges us to live our lives fully and to honor all that has been given to us.  The administrator in the story squandered the property of the master.  He did not realize the importance of the gift that was in front of him.  When the master was going to fire him, the administrator used his intelligence to make things right with both the debtors and the master by reducing the amount owed to the master.  This was probably an interest placed on top of the debt so that the administrator could earn some money.  The administrator came to his senses and realized that money was not the most important thing in the world, but rather, a roof over his head, food on his table, a good reference so that he could get a job after the master would fire him.  These were the things that were going to sustain in for the rest of his life, not a percentage of the money owed to the master.  Sometimes we need to come to our senses about what is truly important in our lives, Amen?
I read this recently on social media which I think fits into being good administrators of the goods and the life that God gave each us.
10 Signs You Are Doing Well in Life
1.     You have a roof over your head
2.     You ate or will eat today
3.     You have a good heart
4.     You wish good for others
5.     You have clean water
6.     Someone cares about you
7.     You forgive others
8.     You have clean clothes
9.     You have faith
10.  You are breathing
Many people in our world cannot say yes to as many of the preceding statements that we can.  Sometimes it is the little things in life that matter most.  I can say yes to all of those signs in life.  This is the life that God entrusts to us.  It is not about cars, money, big houses, expensive clothes.  It is about the simple things, because the simple things make us appreciate all that we have and help us to work for others who have far less, Amen?
So, are you glad you are here?  Are you glad to be alive? Are you happy for the things you have in your life? Will you honor the life that God gave you? It is difficult to serve God and money.  Money will pass, but God is eternal.  As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord, Amen?
                                Homilía Domingo 25 del tiempo ordinario

Buenos días Iglesia! Gira a la persona a tu lado y decir, estoy feliz de que estés aquí! Si Uds. están contento de estar aquí, decir Amén! No parece convencido! ¿Están contento de estar aquí? Sí, debemos estar siempre contento de escuchar la Palabra de Dios y para recibir el Cuerpo de Cristo cada semana, Amén? Y la Palabra de Dios esta semana nos recuerda que debemos ser buenos administradores de lo que Dios nos ha confiado. En el libro de Génesis, Dios le dice a Adán que iba a tener dominio sobre toda la tierra que tenía que ser un cuidador, un buen administrador del Jardín del Edén. Adán no era el dueño , pero el cuidador del jardín. Dios es el dueño, Amén? Al final, nada realmente nos pertenece, somos sólo administradores o encargados de las cosas que tenemos. De la misma manera, somos corresponsables de nuestra vida, pero Dios es el dueño. Dios confía a nuestra vida para nosotros y tenemos que hacer lo mejor que pueda para honrar, proteger y preservar nuestras vidas. Sólo tenemos una vida en esta tierra, Uds. están haciendo todo lo posible para ser un buen administrador de su vida? ¿Uds. Están preocupado por su mente, corazón, cuerpo y alma, o están sólo se ocupan de las cosas materiales y el dinero? La Palabra de Dios continúa desafiándonos a pensar en cosas más elevadas para nuestra vida.
El profeta Amós advirtió a la gente a preocuparse por cosas más que hacer dinero y no encontrar maneras de modo morales de hacer dinero. ¿Es el dinero más importante que su reputación? ¿Es el dinero más importante que el honor? ¿Es el dinero más importante que su apellido? Sí, todos necesitamos dinero para vivir, pero si hacer y tener dinero consume cada pensamiento de vigilia, entonces no hemos aprendido correctamente los caminos de Dios. Si el dinero es más importante que honrar a Dios y el domingo, a continuación, nos hemos olvidado de quién es el dueño de nuestra vida, Amén? A medida que el Evangelio dice muy claramente hoy en día, "no se puede servir a dos señores".
San Pablo recuerda a Timoteo que todas las personas deben orar por los líderes de las naciones y que en cada día y edad, que deben levantar nuestras manos santas y alabar a nuestro Dios. Una vez más, es difícil levantar las manos en la oración cuando se tiene un lado que mira a través de su cartera en busca de más dinero! Como cristianos, estamos llamados a vivir una vida tranquila con dignidad y devoción. Cuando servimos a Dios y no el dinero, este tipo de vida es posible. Pero si servimos dinero, entonces nuestras vidas son rápidos, nunca satisfecho, siempre en busca de más. Nunca tendremos suficiente cuando estamos siempre en busca de más. Es esta la vida que Dios quiere para nosotros? ¡No lo creo! Al ser un buen administrador de nuestras vidas, tenemos que mantener nuestra vida en equilibrio y no vive en los extremos de demasiado y demasiado pocos.
El Evangelio de hoy de San Lucas, una vez más nos desafía a vivir nuestras vidas plenamente y en honor a todo lo que ha sido dado. El administrador de la historia desperdició la propiedad del amo. No se dio cuenta de la importancia de la donación que estaba frente a él. Cuando el maestro le iba a disparar, el administrador utiliza su inteligencia para hacer las cosas bien tanto con los deudores y el maestro mediante la reducción de la cantidad adeudada al maestro. Esto fue probablemente un interés colocado en la parte superior de la deuda para que el administrador podría ganar algo de dinero. El administrador volvió en sí y se dio cuenta que el dinero no era lo más importante en el mundo, sino más bien, un techo sobre su cabeza, comida en su mesa, una buena referencia para que pudiera conseguir un trabajo después de que el maestro le dispararía . Estas eran las cosas que iban a sostener en el resto de su vida, no un porcentaje del dinero adeudado al maestro. A veces tenemos que volver a nuestros sentidos acerca de lo que es verdaderamente importante en nuestras vidas, Amén?
He leído esto recientemente en los medios sociales, que creo que encaja en ser buenos administradores de los bienes y la vida que Dios le dio a cada uno de nosotros.
10 señales de que está haciendo bien en la vida
1. Usted tiene un techo sobre su cabeza
2. Usted comió o va a comer hoy
3. Tiene un buen corazón
4. Usted desea bien a los demás
5. Usted tiene el agua limpia
6. Alguien se preocupa por ti
7. Perdonar a los hombres
8. Usted tiene ropa limpia
9. Usted tiene fe
10. Usted está respirando

Muchas personas en el mundo no pueden decir que sí a que muchas de las afirmaciones anteriores que podemos. A veces son las pequeñas cosas de la vida que son más importantes. Puedo decir que sí a todas esas señales en la vida. Esta es la vida que Dios nos confía. No se trata de coches, dinero, casas grandes, ropa cara. Se trata de las cosas simples, porque las cosas simples hacen a apreciar todo lo que tenemos y nos ayudan a trabajar para otros que tienen mucho menos, Amén?

Entonces, ¿Uds están contenta de que está aquí? ¿Están contento de estar vivo? ¿Están feliz por las cosas que tienen en su vida? Van a honrar la vida que Dios les dio? Es difícil para servir a Dios y al dinero. El dinero va a pasar, pero Dios es eterno. En cuanto a mí y mi casa serviremos al Señor, Amén?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Two Cities: Two Different Experiences

Well, my time in Orlando was very good.  It was great to see my dad and catch up with him.  I was able to do a few "business" things for him and we went out to lunch both days.  He is doing very well and really likes where he is living right now...Thank God! I also had a chance to visit with my brother Jim and his family.  We shared some laughs and ate some very good Chinese food.  I filled them in on my experience in Mexico...for some reason they did not want to speak Spanish to me?  I also had the opportunity to visit with a former co-worker of mine, Erin.  We met for an early dinner and spent almost 3 hours together sharing and catching up.  It was great to see her too...she lives pretty close to my dad so it made it easy to visit with her after I spent time with my dad.  My almost 3 days in Orlando was short, but great!

Then, I was off to San Antonio for Provincial Council meetings.  I arrived Friday evening.  One of our Brothers passed away and Friday afternoon was the funeral, so I literally got off the plane and then went into the social after the funeral Mass.  I was able to see many people and catch up with them too.  Our meetings started the next day at the University. Each day I woke up early to get my 5 miles of walking in before the meeting! Our meetings lasted only 2 days but they were action packed and we covered a lot of ground in those two days.  We went out to the River Walk for dinner on Saturday night to a place called Boudrous.  It was excellent and the River Walk was packed with people!

Here's a look at the campus
Front entrance to St. Mary's

Statue of St. Joseph

Marianist Cemetery on grounds of the University

Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary, it is considered the patronal feast of the Society of Mary.  We had Mass in the community in the morning and one of the Brothers in San Antonio gave a very good reflection about commitment to the Society of Mary.  The day was filled with many activities, walking, and grading for my on-line class which finished this past Sunday. 

This weekend we will have a Vocation Discernment Retreat in Mexico.  We expect between 3-5 young men to attend.  Please keep this in your prayers!  I hope all is well in your neck of the woods...until we meet again, let us remember to pray for one another!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Happy Labor Day

Well folks, Happy Labor Day! I hope everyone is enjoying themselves on the unofficial last day of summer! No picnic's, BBQs, or pool parties for me! We do not celebrate Labor Day here in I don't have to worry about going over my allotted points on WW!!! Speaking of WW, it was a rough summer with lot's of gains and losses with each of my trips, but the net result from Memorial Day until Labor Day was -10.3lbs.  I'm 16lbs from my goal weight!!! I've been laser focused for the past 10 days and hope that it will carry me into my next trip to the US tomorrow.

Life here in Mexico has been good and busy.  Br. Nero and I went to Puebla on Thursday afternoon to have a meeting with our accountant and then to meet with Br. Chui for a Sector Council meeting.  It's a 4 hour trip between Queretaro and Puebla with good traffic.  We did pretty well, but when we arrived there was lots of traffic and lots of rain, so it took us almost 45 minutes to make it to the community.  The next morning, after Morning Prayer, Mass, and Meditation, I went to the park for a 5 mile walk/run.  That helped me be prepared for the 2 hour meeting with the accountant.  I was grateful that Fr. Quentin (an American) was available during our meeting because he was able to provide me with some translation when the discussion was getting confusing....yes, numbers in Spanish! It was a productive meeting.  After eating our main meal at 2pm, the Sector Council met again to discuss some issues within the Sector.  It was a very good meeting where we were able to air some differences and try to problem solve some areas that currently need some leadership attention.  Nereo and I left early on Saturday morning.  We arrived in Queretaro at 12:30pm, took a taxi to the community and joined the community for La Comida at 2pm.  After dinner, I worked on my homily and then took a 5 mile walk.  For the past week, I've been binging on Downton Abbey on Netflix, so my wild Saturday night comprised of several episodes of Downton Abbey !

Sunday I woke up early, reviewed my homily a few times and reviewed the prayers and Gospel for the day.  I had 3 Masses on Sunday and by the end of the last one at 7pm I was pretty tired.  I had to wait around a bit because we were waiting for "pilgrims" to arrive at our Church.  Apparently, bike riding pilgrims are all the rage in Mexico!  They were making their way to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  They arrived and then the holy water flew everywhere! The Mexican people love blessings!  I had to bless the riders, their bikes, the image of La Virgen, the food they were about to eat...and then it started raining and my sprinkling holy water on them seemed superfluous!

All in all, it was a good weekend, filled with many activities.  I head to Orlando tomorrow to visit my dad for a few days before my Provincial Council meetings in San Antonio on Saturday morning.  I'm looking forward to seeing my dad, I have not seen him since April and I am very frustrated with his phone right now.  My older brother keeps saying that the issue is not the phone, its Operator Error...I think he may be right, but what do you expect at 88 years old! I guess you just gotta love him!

Enjoy the week! Keep me in your prayers....
Here's my homily from this past Sunday


Good Morning Church! Are you ready to be a disciple? Turn to the person next to you and say, “I want to follow Jesus.” Yes, if we showed up to Church today, we all want to follow Jesus, but it is one thing to say I want to follow him, it is another thing to understand all that it means to follow him.  If we want to follow Jesus, then we need to be aware of a few things.  The Word of God today gives us three important things to think about if we want to follow Jesus.  In the Book of Wisdom, the author challenges us to seek the wisdom of God in our lives.  In the letter of Paul to Philemon, Paul invites Philemon to have a change of heart and see Onesimus not as a slave, but as a brother in the Lord, and in the Gospel, Jesus invites the crowd to understand that there is a cost to being a disciple, and that cost demands preparation and sacrifice.

Who can know the mind of God? That is a great question? We seek the wisdom of God in our daily lives in order to live our lives in a loving and understanding way, Amen? Now, I do not know the mind of God, but I do know what Scripture tells us about God, and that is, that God’s ways are not our ways.  God does not think the same way we think.  God is much more open than we are! God is more forgiving, compassionate, understanding, and loving than I am! So, when I think about the wisdom of God, I often think about what my response would be and then I magnify it one hundred percent, because my vision is limited and God’s vision is not, Amen? So, when you have a situation in your life and you are trying to make a decision, think about if that decision is limiting yourself or others, and then think about magnifying and opening up your decision, and that is probably where the wisdom of God will be.  The wisdom of God opens us up and does not close us in on ourselves.  Who can know the mind of God?  No one really, but we have some hints from the Word of God as to what we need to do in our lives.

When we are baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, there is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, woman or man.  All are equal in the name of the Lord.  Paul wrote to Philemon to remind him of the new reality that comes to us who are united in the Lord.  Onesimus was a runaway slave.  Philemon, by the law at the time, had the right to punish his runaway slave.  Paul reminds Philemon that in Christ Jesus, believers are called to a higher standard than the civil law demands.  As a newly baptized person, Onesimus was equal to his former master and deserved to be treated with dignity and respect.  Paul begged Philemon to have a change of heart with regards to Onisimus.  This is the same change of heart that all of us must have when we encounter a brother or sister in the Lord.  All are equal through the waters of baptism.  Our relationship changes with one another because of baptism.  Maybe there is someone in your life that the Lord is asking you to have a change of heart? Another way of saying this same thing is, is there someone in your life that if you saw them through the eyes of faith, you would see them differently? A husband, a wife, a son or daughter, a friend, a coworker, a person in Church.  If you want to be a disciple of Jesus, then you must have a change of heart in those relationships were you do not see the other person as an equal.  Baptism demands equality!

Jesus told the crowd that if they wanted to be a disciple, then they might even face not being accepted by family members.  That was difficult to hear in a culture that was very family oriented.  I am sure that is difficult to hear in this culture too! Jesus invited the crowd to a different relationship with one another.  In making changes in their lives, sometimes those changes might be against the ways of a family or the wishes of a mother or father.  The call to follow Jesus must be stronger than the wishes of the family.  Jesus did not want to paint an easy picture for those who wanted to follow him.  It was not going to be easy.  Following Jesus demanded sacrifices, even sacrifices to the family. Jesus also reminded the crowd that if they were going to follow him, they needed to be prepared to follow him.  They needed to be certain of the cost and so he used the image of building a tower without the full amount of money, or going into battle before weighing the options.  If we are going to follow Jesus, it is not just because everyone else is following him.  It takes a personal sacrifice and an informed decision to want to follow him, knowing that there are consequences for taking up our cross and following him.  I am sure that all of us in this Chapel made sacrifices in our lives to follow Jesus.  The road has not always been fun, but the road has been worth it, Amen?

So, do you still want to be a disciple of Jesus? Say, Amen! The Word of God challenges us to seek wisdom, change our hearts and count the cost of following Jesus.  Being a disciple is a demanding life, but the rewards are eternal, Amen?

Buenos días Iglesia! ¿Estás listo para ser un discípulo? Gira a la persona a tu lado y decir: "Quiero seguir a Jesús." Sí, si llegamos a la Iglesia de hoy, todos queremos seguir a Jesús, pero es una cosa que decir que quiero seguirlo, es otra cosa a entender todo lo que significa para seguirlo. Si queremos seguir a Jesús, entonces tenemos que tener en cuenta algunas cosas. La Palabra de Dios hoy nos da tres cosas importantes en que pensar si queremos seguir a Jesús. En el libro de la Sabiduría, el autor nos desafía a buscar la sabiduría de Dios en nuestras vidas. En la carta de Pablo a Filemón, Pablo invita a Filemón a tener un cambio de corazón y ver Onésimo no como esclavo, sino como un hermano en el Señor, y en el Evangelio, Jesús invita a la gente a entender que hay un costo de ser un discípulo, y que el costo exige preparación y sacrificio.

Quién puede conocer la mente de Dios? ¿Esa es una buena pregunta? Buscamos la sabiduría de Dios en nuestra vida diaria con el fin de vivir nuestras vidas de una manera amorosa y comprensión, Amén? Ahora, no sé la mente de Dios, pero sí sé lo que la Escritura nos dice acerca de Dios, y eso es, que los caminos de Dios no son nuestros caminos. Dios no piensa de la misma manera en que pensamos. Dios es mucho más abierta de lo que somos! Dios es más tolerante, compasivo, la comprensión, y amante de lo que soy! Por lo tanto, cuando pienso en la sabiduría de Dios, a menudo pienso en lo que sería mi respuesta y luego magnifico que el cien por cien, porque mi visión es limitada y la visión de Dios no es, Amén? Por lo tanto, cuando se tiene una situación en su vida y que está tratando de tomar una decisión, pensar si esa decisión está limitando a sí mismo a los demás, y luego pensar en aumento y la apertura de su decisión, y eso es probablemente donde la sabiduría de Dios estarán. La sabiduría de Dios nos abre y no nos encerrarnos en nosotros mismos. ¿Quién puede conocer la mente de Dios? En realidad, nadie, pero tenemos algunas pistas de la Palabra de Dios en cuanto a lo que tenemos que hacer en nuestras vidas.

Cuando somos bautizados en el nombre del Señor Jesucristo, no hay Judío ni griego, esclavo o libre, hombre o mujer. Todos son iguales en el nombre del Señor. Pablo escribió a Filemón para recordarle la nueva realidad que viene a nosotros que están unidos en el Señor. Onésimo era un esclavo fugitivo. Filemón, por la ley en el momento, tenía el derecho de castigar a su esclavo fugitivo. Pablo recuerda a Filemón que en Cristo Jesús, los creyentes están llamados a un nivel más alto que las exigencias de la ley civil. Como recién bautizado, Onésimo era igual a su antiguo maestro y merecía ser tratado con dignidad y respeto. Pablo rogó a Filemón a tener un cambio de corazón con respecto a Onésimo. Este es el mismo cambio de corazón que todos debemos tener cuando nos encontramos con un hermano o hermana en el Señor. Todos son iguales a través de las aguas del bautismo. Nuestra relación cambia entre sí a causa de bautismo. Tal vez hay alguien en su vida que el Señor le está pidiendo que tener un cambio de corazón? Otra forma de decir esto es lo mismo, ¿hay alguien en su vida que si usted los vio a través de los ojos de la fe, que se vería de forma diferente? Un marido, una esposa, un hijo o una hija, un amigo, un compañero de trabajo, una persona en la Iglesia. Si quieres ser un discípulo de Jesús, entonces usted debe tener un cambio de corazón en esas relaciones eran no ve al otro como a un igual. El bautismo exige igualdad!

Jesús dijo a la multitud que si querían ser discípulo, entonces puede ser que incluso se enfrentan a no ser aceptado por los miembros de la familia. Eso fue difícil de escuchar en una cultura que fue muy adecuado para familias. Estoy seguro de que es difícil de apreciar en esta cultura también! Jesús invitó a la multitud a una relación diferente entre sí. Al hacer cambios en sus vidas, a veces esos cambios podrían estar en contra de las formas de una familia o los deseos de una madre o padre. La llamada a seguir a Jesús debe ser más fuerte que los deseos de la familia. Jesús no quería pintar un cuadro fácil para los que querían seguirlo. No iba a ser fácil. El seguimiento de Jesús exigía sacrificios, incluso sacrificios a la familia. Jesús también recordó a la multitud que si iban a seguirlo, tenían que estar preparados para seguirlo. Tenían que estar seguro del costo y por lo que utilizó la imagen de la construcción de una torre sin la cantidad total de dinero, o ir a la batalla antes de pesar las opciones. Si vamos a seguir a Jesús, no es sólo porque todo el mundo lo está siguiendo. Se necesita un sacrificio personal y una decisión informada para querer seguirlo, sabiendo que hay consecuencias por tomar nuestra cruz y seguirlo. Estoy seguro de que todos nosotros en esta capilla hacían sacrificios en nuestras vidas para seguir a Jesús. El camino no siempre ha sido muy divertido, pero el camino ha valido la pena, Amén?

Así que, ¿todavía quiere ser un discípulo de Jesús? Decir, Amén! La Palabra de Dios nos desafía a buscar la sabiduría, cambiar nuestro corazón y contar el costo de seguir a Jesús. Ser discípulo es una vida exigente, pero la recompensa eterna, Amén?