Wednesday, August 24, 2016

One Year in Mexico

Well Good Afternoon Good People!  I know I have been very remiss over the Summer with my postings but I've been traveling and very busy during the months of July and August.  I am finally back in Mexico and ready to get back into a normal routine.  I now mark my one year anniversary in Mexico.  So many things have happened during this year that it is hard to recount all of the graces received.  What I can tell you is that one year later my Spanish is better than when I arrived (I still struggle here), I feel part of the local community, I traveled a great deal in this past year, and I lost some weight.  All good things!

So here's a recap of my time away during the Summer:

- Visited LA for a few days
- Spent some time in San Francisco, Pacifica, Sacramento, and Menlo Park, California
It was great to see and visit with so many people.  I had lunch with my advisor for my doctoral studies, and also had lunch with my former personal trainer in San Francisco.  I spent a few days with my aunts, Marge and Gayle and as always we had a great time together.  I also spent the weekend with my friends Marisa and Gene in Pacifica where we had a great dinner party one night and then Mass on their patio the next morning with parishioner's from St. Peter Church where I ministered while I was in doctoral studies.  After all that fun, I went down to Menlo Park to attend a conference with the Brothers.  It was a great experience for all of us!
Guess who I am?

- I spent some time in NY before going to Cape May.  I caught up with a good buddy of mine, Stephen, one day and walked in Central Park the other days trying to work off all the good food and adult beverages!  I also visited St. Patrick's Cathedral to view the renovations.  It was beautiful and a peaceful refuge in the midst of the "City that Never Sleeps"
 Central Park
 St. Patrick's Cathedral
Columbus Circle

- My friends Ann and Chris picked me up in New York and drove me down to Cape May and we all worked on the Family Retreat Program.  I've been working with them off and on for the past 17 years...needless to say, we know each other very well!  We had a great time and as always I felt connected to so many great people.  I was able to walk the beach in the morning to prepare for the day and just relax, pray, and have some fun with a great group of people.
Me, Annie, Chris, Sue, Billy

Mary's House
View of the Lighthouse from the Bay

After my time in Cape May, I spent another day in Manhattan.  It was so hot in the city! My uncle Mike picked me up and we headed to Brooklyn where I stayed at Mike and Cathy's house for 2 days.  I did the same thing last year, so now I guess it's part of my Tradition with my trip to Cape May.  It was very easy being with them and we enjoyed a few drinks and I even learned how to play Kings in the Corner...I learned, I wasn't very good at it..YET!

After all this fun I found myself in St. Louis for our Provincial Council meetings.  We had our meetings out at our Retreat Center in Eureka, MO.  The meetings were good but at times pretty stressful with some decisions we needed to make.  I was able to walk 5 miles each morning and spent that time thinking, praying and reflecting upon my life and my responsibilities.  I was glad to have the time. 

I returned to Mexico on Sunday night.  This week has been filled with meetings and more meetings! We are planning for our year together and there are many things we need to discuss and change for the coming year.  I'm glad to be back so that I can be faithful to my weight loss.  I actually  do better when I am in Mexico...go figure! I'm back at the gym and back to running again on the treadmill.  I am hoping to make some headway with my weight loss. I'm down 42 lbs and need to lose another 20.  I will get there in due time.  I have not given myself a goal date because that usually sabotages my efforts! So, here's to seeing LESS of me! 
Working hard this morning

So, now you are all caught up...there are always more details to share, but I just wanted to get something up for all of you to know that I am alive and well and ready for a new ministerial year! Only a few more days until Labor Day and the "official" end of the Summer...Make the most of it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

On Retreat

Hey folks, greeting from Puebla!

We began our retreat yesterday in Puebla.  I will be here all week.  Please keep me and the mission in Mexico in your prayers.  There will be some changes happening here in the next few weeks so we can use all the prayers we can get...I'll fill you in when I can.

As I mentioned in my last post, this past weekend we had our last class in our Education course.  It was a great course, but I am glad it is over!  Sitting through class through all that time really challenged my Spanish! Below is a pic of all of us in the class, including our teacher Doctora Rita Ferrini, and our Provincial, Fr. Marty. 

I guess you can tell who is not Mexican by this foto!

Enjoy the week and here is my homily from last Sunday.  I finished it just in time Saturday evening.  We had a torrential rain storm and the transformer was hit again!!! We were without power again for 24 hours... O the joy of living in a foreign country!!!!

May the God of mercy and forgiveness bring us all to experience our best selves this week!
Homily 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Good Morning Church! As we continue celebrating the Year of Mercy, our readings today invite us to live a life of mercy and forgiveness, always seeking healing and mercy from God, and reflecting upon our lives and seeing where we need to change in order to live as sons and daughters of God.  Today we hear in the Gospel, “Your faith has saved you.”  Can you say the same thing about your own life?  Has your faith saved you?  And what kind of faith is it?  Is it the kind of faith that forgives and receives forgiveness? Is it this kind of faith that honestly evaluates your life and reminds you when you are not following the ways of the Lord?  The faith that will save you is a faith of forgiveness.  The readings today all reflect how forgiveness leads us to holiness.  If you want to feel the mercy of God in your life, say Amen!  If you want to live your life closer to Jesus, say Amen! If you want to love like God, say Amen!  Great Church, we are ready to be disciples, Amen?
In the Old Testament, the character of David is an important figure in the Jewish Tradition.  David was chosen by God.  He was courageous, wise and strong.  He loved God and he was a great sinner!!! David gives me hope.  David was a great sinner and yet continued to forgive him because David admitted his sin.  He did not deny his sin, he did not run away from his sin, he did not blame others for his sin.  He reflected upon his life, he held himself accountable for his actions and he begged God for mercy and forgiveness.  In our world today, most of us do not take responsibility for our actions.  It’s always someone else’s fault, or it did not happen in the way that people described it, or we outright deny that we had any blame in the situation.  David was honest.  Even though his sin was great, he was honest.  David is a great example of what God wants.  God does not want perfection, God wants an honest heart.  David had faith in a loving and forgiving God.  In reality, David’s faith saved him.  When we are honest, when we don’t blame others for our own mistakes or actions, when we admit our sins, we are like David, Yes, our faith will save us! Turn to the person next to you and say, my faith is going to save me!
One of my favorite lines from Scripture is found in today’s reading from Paul to the Galatians.  Paul continues telling the people about his conversion of being a person who lived by the Law to a person who lived in Christ Jesus.  He said to the people, “no longer I, but Christ who lives within me.”  Paul no longer belonged to the Law, but he belonged to Christ.  We do not belong to ourselves we belong to Christ through our baptism. If Christ lives within us, then we too must be Christ in the world.  We must say and do what Jesus said and did.  He loved, he cared, he listened, he forgave.  We must do the same.  When we do not love, when we do not care, when we do not listen to others, when we do not forgive, we are not living as if Jesus lives within us.  And when we do not live as if Jesus is living within us then we are living a lie.  Then, like David, we need to go to God and seek forgiveness.  No longer I, but Christ who lives within me.  Turn to the person next to you and say, Christ lives within me!  Yes, your faith will save you!
And finally, in the Gospel of Luke we hear the familiar story of the sinful woman who, out of love and out of deep regret for her sinful life, lavished Jesus with kindness and attention.  The woman knew she was a sinner and yet she came to Jesus.  That is the first important part of the story.  She came to Jesus.  She did not hide in shame, but came to him with a contrite heart seeking his attention and love.  Do we do that?  Do we come before Jesus in our own shame or do we hide from him?  We have the opportunity to receive the sacrament of reconciliation where we can come before God and ask for His forgiveness rather than living our life in the shadows and living in shame.  God wants us to trade in our sorrows and our shame for the joy of the Lord, Amen? Because of her actions and her great need for forgiveness, Jesus tells her, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”  The faith of a penitent sinner was stronger than the faith of a righteous Pharisee.  A self-righteous faith will not save us, but a penitent faith will save us.  That is good news, Amen?
So, today is about forgiveness, admitting our own sins, living a life with Christ in us, and having a penitent faith.  These are great words and images to ponder as we continue living in this Year of Mercy, Amen?  As you live your life this week and you find yourself in need of forgiveness or in need of forgiving others, maybe it will be easier to do if you too hear the words that Jesus said to the sinful woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”  Amen?

                                Homilía Domingo 11 del tiempo ordinario

Buenas días Iglesia! A medida que continuamos celebrando el Año de la Misericordia, nuestras lecturas de hoy nos invitan a vivir una vida de piedad y perdón, siempre en busca de la curación y de la misericordia de Dios, y reflexionar sobre nuestras vidas y ver dónde tenemos que cambiar para poder vivir como hijos y hijas de Dios. Hoy escuchamos en el Evangelio: "Tu fe te ha salvado." ¿Se puede decir lo mismo de su propia vida? Tu fe te ha salvado? ¿Y qué clase de fe es? ¿Es el tipo de fe que perdona y recibe el perdón? ¿Es este tipo de fe que evalúa honestamente su vida y le recuerda cuando usted no está siguiendo los caminos del Señor? La fe que va a salvar es una fe de perdón. Las lecturas de hoy, reflejan cómo el perdón nos lleva a la santidad. Si quieres sentir la misericordia de Dios en su vida, decir Amén! Si usted quiere vivir su vida más cerca de Jesús, decir Amén.  Si quieres amar como Dios, decir amén! Buena Iglesia, estamos listos para ser discípulos, Amén?
En el Antiguo Testamento, el personaje de David es una figura importante en la tradición judía. David fue escogido por Dios. Era valiente, sabio y fuerte. Él amaba a Dios y que era un gran pecador!!! David me da esperanza. David era un gran pecador y sin embargo continuó a perdonarlo porque David reconoció su pecado. No negó su pecado, no corrió lejos de su pecado, él no culpa a los demás por su pecado. Reflexionó sobre su vida, él llevó a cabo el propio responsable de sus acciones y le rogó a Dios por misericordia y perdón. En el mundo de hoy, la mayoría de nosotros no asumir la responsabilidad de nuestras acciones. Siempre es culpa de otra persona, o que no sucedió de la manera que la gente lo describieron, o que de plano negar que hemos tenido ningún tipo de culpa en la situación. David fue honesto. A pesar de que su pecado era grande, era honesto. David es un gran ejemplo de lo que Dios quiere. Dios no quiere la perfección, Dios quiere un corazón honesto. David tenía fe en un Dios que ama y perdona. En realidad, la fe de David le salvó. Cuando somos honestos, cuando no culpar a otros por nuestros propios errores o acciones, cuando admitimos nuestros pecados, somos como David, Sí, nuestra fe nos salvará! Gira a la persona a tu lado y decir, mi fe me va a salvar!
Una de mis frases favoritas de la Escritura se encuentra en la lectura de hoy de Pablo a los Gálatas. Pablo continúa diciendo a la gente acerca de su conversión de ser una persona que vivía en la Ley a una persona que vivió en Cristo Jesús. Dijo a la gente, "Vivo, pero ya no soy yo el que vive, es Cristo quien vive en mí.” Pablo ya no pertenecía a la ley, sino que es de Cristo. No pertenecemos a nosotros mismos pertenecemos a Cristo por el bautismo. Si Cristo vive en nosotros, entonces nosotros también debemos ser Cristo en el mundo. Hay que decir y hacer lo que Jesús dijo e hizo. Él amaba, se preocupaba de otros, escuchó, perdonó. Debemos hacer lo mismo. Cuando no amamos, cuando no nos importa, cuando no escuchamos a los demás, cuando no perdonamos, no estamos viviendo como si Jesús vive dentro de nosotros. Y cuando no se vive como si Jesús está viviendo dentro de nosotros entonces estamos viviendo una mentira. Entonces, al igual que David, tenemos que ir a Dios y buscar el perdón. Vivo, pero ya no soy yo el que vive, es Cristo quien vive en mí. Gira a la persona a tu lado y decir, Cristo vive en mí! Sí, tu fe te salvará!
Y, por último, en el Evangelio de Lucas que oímos la historia familiar de la mujer pecadora que, de amor y de profundo pesar por su vida de pecado, Jesús prodigó con amabilidad y atención. La mujer sabía que era un pecador y sin embargo, ella se acercó a Jesús. Esa es la primera parte importante de la historia. Ella se acercó a Jesús. Ella no ocultó en la vergüenza, pero vino a él con un corazón contrito busca su atención y amor. Cómo hacemos eso? Venimos delante de Jesús en nuestra propia vergüenza o nos escondemos de él? Tenemos la oportunidad de recibir el sacramento de la reconciliación en el que podemos venir ante Dios y pedir su perdón en lugar de vivir nuestra vida en las sombras y vivir en la vergüenza. Dios quiere que el comercio de nuestras penas y nuestra vergüenza para la alegría del Señor, Amén? Debido a sus acciones y su gran necesidad de perdón, Jesús le dice: "Tu fe te ha salvado; vete en paz.” La fe de un pecador penitente era más fuerte que la fe de un fariseo justo. Una fe farisaica no nos salvará, sino una fe penitente nos salvará. Esa es una buena noticia, Amén?
Por lo tanto, hoy es sobre el perdón, admitir nuestros propios pecados, vivir una vida con Cristo en nosotros, y que tiene una fe penitente. Estas son las grandes palabras e imágenes para reflexionar a medida que continuamos viviendo en este Año de la Misericordia, Amén? A medida que vive su vida esta semana y que se encuentra en necesidad de perdón o en necesidad de perdonar a los demás, tal vez va a ser más fácil de hacer si usted también escuche las palabras que Jesús dijo a la mujer pecadora: "Tu fe te ha salvado; vete en paz. "Amén?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Nine Months in Mexico

Well folks, sorry for the delay in the posts.  Part of it was busyness , part no internet access for a week, and part just plain laziness!  So much has happened since my last post, so I will try and remember the highlights of my time.

Life in the community is good, we are busy and transient...many comings and goings so its hard to keep up with everyone's schedule!  After being in Mexico for a few weeks, I traveled to Dayton, Ohio for  Provincial Council meetings and to witness the First Vows of our newest Brother, Justin Quiros.
The meetings were long but good.  Again, being with this group of men is always challenging and inspiring at the same time.  I am often inspired and edified at just how much my fellow Council members really want the best for the community and try to look at issues from different perspectives so that we can make the best decisions possible.  It's tricky at times, but always good!  During that same weekend we had many activities at the Novitiate for the Vow Weekend festivities.  I saw many people that I've known over the years and had a good time to catch up with them.  My two very good friends in the community, Br. Jesse and Fr. George were in attendance, so there was much talking and laughing going on between the three of us.  The social at the Novitiate Friday night was outstanding! All the guys really pitched in and the night could not have been better.  The next day, we celebrated the First Vows of Justin.  Fr. Chris gave an excellent homily!  I told him, he definitely hit a homerun on this one!  We moved from the Mass on the Mount Saint John property to a dinner reception at the University of Dayton.  Again... all was done well and with finesse!

Br. Justin and Fr. Martin (Provincial)

I returned to Mexico tired but inspired from the festivities of the weekend!

This weekend marks our last weekend of the Educational Course that we have been taking together since February.  I am happy to be finished! It will free up my Friday's and Saturday's a bit more.  This past Monday, we all went to San Miguel Allende to have dinner at our professors house.  The food was outstanding and the company was great too.  This teacher is a marvel.  She is 70 years old and physically and emotionally you would never know it.  She is a "respectful firecracker".  After our meal, we went touring the city for a bit and wound up the top of a ritzy hotel to get a panoramic view of the city.  Let's just say, I wish I had more money....I would love to stay there!

Personally I am doing well here.  As I indicated earlier, I joined a gym and I have been going 3x a week.  Last week I began my running program by using the app, C25K (Couch to 5k).  So far all is going well and I am really enjoying progressing each time I hop on the treadmill.  I should be running a 5k in less than 6 weeks if I continue at this pace.  I'm down 38lbs since January.  It's going slow because each time I go to the US I enjoy myself a bit too much! But, slow and steady is also good for the long haul.  I am hoping to be at goal or close to my goal by my Birthday in October.  As I say, this is a marathon and not a sprint!

So that's a quick update.  I know I'm forgetting things and that is the reason why it is good to post weekly... I'll try and do better! 

The whole Sector will be going on retreat next week.  We will all go to the community in Puebla.  I'm looking forward to it!  I leave you with some homilies from the past that I did not post.  Happy June! This marks 9 months for me here in Mexico.  Still struggling with the language but getting better.  I have to keep reminding myself that it will just take more time and I am doing the best I can right now!

Feast of Pentecost
Good Afternoon Church! Today is a magnificent day! Today we mark and celebrate the birth of the Church…turn to the person next to you and say…Happy Birthday!  Yes, it is our birthday.  It is the day when we celebrate that the Spirit descended upon the disciples and gave them the gifts of wisdom, courage, counsel, understanding, awe, knowledge, and piety so that they could go out and preach the Good News of the Gospel.  On most birthday’s, we all receive some gifts.  Maybe it’s money, clothes, a new electronic gadget, a special dinner.  These gifts are all great, but in the end, they do not last.  We spend the money.  We may not fit into the same clothes in a year.  The rate of technology will make the latest gadget obsolete in six months.  We will be hungry again for another dinner in a day.  When we celebrate the Church’s birthday, OUR BIRTHDAY AS A PEOPLE, we remember the gifts that have lasted for over two thousand years!  We celebrate what can happen when we take our faith seriously and live our lives boldly.  When we take our faith seriously and live our lives boldly, the Church grows, Amen?
So, the two words I would like to focus on today as we celebrate our birthday are BOLD and MISSION.  They are important independently of one another and important in relationship to one another.   So what are the two words?  BOLD and MISSION.

As we read in the Acts of the Apostles, the disciples were gathered together.  They were still in shock at the death of Jesus.  They had been living in fear for fifty days.  They were sheep without a shepherd.  On the feast of Pentecost, the Spirit descends upon them, just as Jesus promised.  Jesus promised that they would not be alone, that he would send his Spirit to them to act as an advocate on their behalf.  Tongues of fire appear over the heads of the disciples.  Fire?  Yes, a sign of energy, a sign of passion, a sign of purification, a sign light in the darkness.  The Spirit descended upon the disciples and resulted in a new energy for them to preach the Gospel, to preach and live the Gospel with passion, to purify their motives for following the message of Jesus, and to be a path of light in the darkness of the death of Jesus.  Yes, fire can do all that.  I think the Church needs a little more fire, Amen? As a result of this glorious event, the disciples had a renewed energy.  They went from living in fear to living their life with passion.  They became BOLD in the proclamation of the Gospel.  I love that word BOLD.  When we are BOLD, we take risks.  We don’t let obstacles get in our way.  When we are BOLD we do not take no for an answer.  When we are BOLD we try new things.  We are creative. We are fearless.  Today, we celebrate the power of BOLD in the life of the Church.  So, are you BOLD in your life?  Are you BOLD in your faith?  Do you take risks?  Do you let obstacles hold you back? Do you speak about your faith with passion? Do you tell others of the mighty acts of God in your life?  Being a person who is BOLD means that we are active and not passive in this life or in our faith.  When we are BOLD we cannot play the victim.  When we live our lives each day knowing that we received the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we cannot help but be BOLD.  We are not alone.  We live in the life of the Holy Spirit.  When we are BOLD we can speak about God and other important things in new ways so that others will understand and come to believe because of our words.  Today, on our birthday, we are encouraged and reminded to be BOLD!

The second word that comes to us on our birthday is MISSION.  As Saint Paul reminds us, “as a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.”  As part of the Body of Christ, as part of the Church, we have a mission.  Again, this is a word that is not passive, but active.  The mission of the Church is to bring Good News to those who need it- the poor, the marginalized, the abandoned, the homeless, the hungry, the prisoner, the lonely, the sick.  All of us are called to play a role in the mission of the Church.  Do we have to do everything? NO!  But, we have to do something!  The disciples knew that they had to continue telling the story of Jesus.  They knew their mission was to bring others to a deeper relationship with the Father through the Son, and they were able to do that through the power of the Holy Spirit. The word mission is a word that implies outside, it implies others.  We all have a mission and a responsibility to our family, but we have a mission in the Church too.  We have a responsibility to build up the Church through our words and actions.  The Spirit gives us the power to do this in our lives.  Just think about this…what would have happened if the disciples decided that it was all over.  That they remained hiding and in fear.  That they did not venture outside of their own little group of people.  Well, the Church would not be here today.  We would not be in this Chapel today.  The disciples changed and embraced their mission.  The Spirit helped them.  As believers in Christ Jesus, we too must embrace our mission.  A mission of word and action.  Once again, I think we need some more fire in the Church when it comes to mission, Amen?  Why is it that in a Church that was founded on mission that only ten percent of the Church ever does anything for the Church?  As Catholics, we have become too passive in our faith.  For many of us being Catholic is more cultural than it is religious.  We go through the motions of baptism, presentation, First Communion, Confirmation, and Quincenera, but do these rituals make us more on fire with our faith or are they great excuses to have a party and wear nice clothes?  If we have been through all the rituals of the Church and only show up on Sunday for Mass, then we have not really learned the lessons of the Gospel.  Living the mission of the Church is living the words of the Gospel, and we do not do this passively, but we do this BOLDLY!

So, on this our birthday, just as we place candles on a cake, we need a fire to help us live our mission boldly, Amen? The Spirit is with us and provides us with the gifts we need to live our lives devoutly and passionately.  The Spirit gives us gifts that will last, they will not get old or out of fashion.  When we are on fire with our faith, others will be attracted to us and to the Church.  When we are on fire, we will be the Church that Jesus wanted.  A Church that lives boldly and embraces the mission of bringing Good News to the places and persons who need it the most.  So, Church, Happy Birthday.  Live the mission boldly, Amen?
                                               Fiesta de Pentecostés

 Buenas tardes Iglesia! Hoy es un día magnífico! Hoy marcamos y celebramos el nacimiento de la Iglesia... gira a la persona a tu lado y diga... feliz cumpleaños! Sí, es nuestro cumpleaños. Es el día en que se celebra que el Espíritu descendió sobre los discípulos y les dio los dones de la sabiduría, el valor, el consejo, la comprensión, el temor, el conocimiento y la piedad para que pudieran salir a predicar la Buena Nueva del Evangelio. En la mayoría de cumpleaños, todos recibimos algunos regalos. Tal vez sea dinero, ropa, un nuevo artilugio electrónico, una cena especial. Estos regalos son todos grandes, pero al final, no duran. Pasamos el dinero. Es posible que no caben en la misma ropa en un año. El ritmo de la tecnología hará que el último artilugio obsoleto en seis meses. Vamos a tener hambre de nuevo para otra cena en un día. Cuando celebramos el cumpleaños de la Iglesia, nuestro cumpleaños como pueblo, recordamos a los dones que han durado más de dos mil años! Celebramos lo que puede suceder cuando tomamos en serio nuestra fe y vivimos nuestras vidas confiadamente. Cuando tomamos en serio nuestra fe y vivimos nuestras vidas confiadamente, la Iglesia crece, Amén?
Por lo tanto, las dos palabras que me gustaría centrarme hoy al celebrar nuestro cumpleaños están en AUDAZ y Misión. Son importantes independientemente uno de otro e importante en relación el uno al otro. ¿Cuáles son las dos palabras? AUDAZ y Misión.
Como leemos en los Hechos de los Apóstoles, los discípulos estaban reunidos. Todavía estaban en estado de shock por la muerte de Jesús. Ellos habían estado viviendo en el miedo durante cincuenta días. Eran ovejas que no tienen pastor. En la fiesta de Pentecostés, el Espíritu desciende sobre ellos, al igual que Jesús prometió. Jesús prometió que no iban a estar solo, que enviaría a su Espíritu a ellos para actuar como defensor en su nombre. Lenguas de fuego aparecen sobre las cabezas de los discípulos. ¿Fuego? Sí, un signo de la energía, un signo de la pasión, un signo de purificación, una señal de luz en la oscuridad. El Espíritu descendió sobre los discípulos y dio lugar a una nueva energía para ellos predican el Evangelio, que predican y viven el Evangelio con pasión, para purificar sus motivos para seguir el mensaje de Jesús, y para ser un camino de luz en la oscuridad de la muerte de Jesús. Sí, el fuego puede hacer todo eso. Creo que la Iglesia necesita un poco más de fuego, Amén? Como resultado de este glorioso evento, los discípulos tenían una energía renovada. Pasaron de vivir en el miedo a vivir su vida con pasión. Se convirtieron en audaz en el anuncio del Evangelio. Me encanta que las palabras en audaz. Cuando están en audaz, tomamos riesgos. No dejamos que los obstáculos en nuestro camino. Cuando estamos AUDAZ no tomamos un “no” por respuesta. Cuando estamos AUDAZ intentamos cosas nuevas. Somos creativos. Estamos sin miedo. Hoy celebramos el poder de AUDAZ en la vida de la Iglesia. Entonces, ¿estás AUDAZ en su vida? ¿Estás AUDAZ en su fe? ¿Usted toma riesgos? ¿Deja que los obstáculos que frenan? ¿Usted habla acerca de su fe con pasión? Se le dice a los demás de las maravillas de Dios en su vida? Siendo una persona que es AUDAZ significa que estamos activos y no pasivos en esta vida o en nuestra fe. Cuando estamos AUDAZ no podemos jugar a la víctima. Cuando vivimos nuestras vidas cada día sabiendo que recibimos los dones del Espíritu Santo, no podemos dejar de ser audaz. No estamos solos. Vivimos en la vida del Espíritu Santo. Cuando estamos AUDAZ podemos hablar de Dios y otras cosas importantes en nuevas formas para que otros puedan entender y llegar a creer, debido a nuestras palabras. Hoy en día, en nuestro cumpleaños, nos alienta y recordó a ser audaz!
La segunda palabra que viene a nosotros en nuestro cumpleaños es misión. Como San Pablo nos recuerda, "como un cuerpo es uno y tiene muchos miembros, y todos los partes del cuerpo, siendo muchos, son un solo cuerpo, así también Cristo." Como parte del Cuerpo de Cristo, como parte de la Iglesia, tenemos una misión. Una vez más, esta es una palabra que no es pasivo, sino activo. La misión de la Iglesia es la de llevar la Buena Nueva a los que necesitan - los pobres, los marginados, los abandonados, los sin techo, los hambrientos, los prisioneros, los que están solos, los enfermos. Todos nosotros estamos llamados a desempeñar un papel en la misión de la Iglesia. Qué tenemos que hacer todo? ¡NO! Sin embargo, tenemos que hacer algo! Los discípulos sabían que tenían que seguir contando la historia de Jesús. Sabían que su misión era la de traer a otros a una relación más profunda con el Padre por medio del Hijo, y fueron capaces de hacerlo a través del poder del Espíritu Santo. La misión de la palabra es una palabra que implica el exterior, implica otros. Todos tenemos una misión y una responsabilidad de nuestra familia, pero tenemos una misión en la Iglesia también. Tenemos la responsabilidad de edificar la Iglesia a través de nuestras palabras y acciones. El Espíritu nos da el poder para hacer esto en nuestras vidas. Basta con pensar en esto... lo que habría ocurrido si los discípulos decidieron que todo había terminado. Que se mantuvo oculta y en el miedo. Que no se aventuraron fuera de su propio pequeño grupo de personas. Pues bien, la Iglesia no estaría aquí hoy. No estaríamos en esta capilla en la actualidad. Los discípulos cambiaron y se abrazaron su misión. El Espíritu les ayudó. Como creyentes en Cristo Jesús, nosotros también debemos abrazar nuestra misión. Una misión de la palabra y la acción. Una vez más, creo que necesitamos un poco más de fuego en la Iglesia cuando se trata de la misión, Amén? ¿Por qué es que en una iglesia que fue fundada en la misión que sólo el diez por ciento de la Iglesia nunca hace nada por la Iglesia? Como católicos, nos hemos vuelto demasiado pasiva en nuestra fe. Para muchos de nosotros ser católico es más cultural que es religiosa. Vamos a través de los movimientos de bautizo, presentación, primera comunión, confirmación, y Quinceañera, pero no estos rituales nos hace más arde con nuestra fe o son grandes excusas para tener una fiesta y vestir ropa elegante? Si hemos sido a través de todos los rituales de la Iglesia y solo llegan el domingo para la misa, a continuación, en realidad no hemos aprendido las lecciones del Evangelio. Vivir la misión de la Iglesia está viviendo las palabras del Evangelio, y que no hacen esto de forma pasiva, pero hacer esto AUDAZMENTE!
Por lo tanto, en este nuestro cumpleaños, del mismo modo que coloque las velas en un pastel, necesitamos un fuego para ayudarnos a vivir nuestra misión con audaz Amén? El Espíritu está con nosotros y nos proporciona los dones que necesitamos para vivir nuestras vidas con devoción y pasión. El Espíritu nos da regalos que va a durar, no van a conseguir viejo o pasado de moda. Cuando estamos en el fuego con nuestra fe, otros serán atraídos por nosotros y para la Iglesia. Cuando estamos en el fuego, vamos a ser la Iglesia que Jesús quería. Una Iglesia que vive confiadamente y abraza la misión de llevar la Buena Nueva a los lugares y las personas que más lo necesitan. Así, Iglesia, feliz cumpleaños. Vivir la misión con audaz,  Amén?

Homily 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Morning Church! It is good to be here!
The power of God is incredible!
Repeat after me, the power of God is incredible
Turn to the person next to you and tell them, the power of God is incredible!
Yes, today in our readings we hear how the power of God is incredible.  It is good for us to hear that, but all of us must experience this fact in our own lives.  Today, that power includes healing, great faith, and bringing back to life that which once was dead.  So, think about your own life.  Have you or your family experienced healing, physical, spiritual or emotional healing through the power of God?  Have you grown in your faith and have said and done things because of your faith that you would not have said or done years ago?  Have you or your family had moments in your life when you felt like you were dead, lifeless, empty, and then because of God was restored to life?  This is what we celebrate today.  That God has the power to do great things in our life if we are only open to His ways, Amen?
In the first reading, Elijah is given hospitality by a widow whose son was very sick.  He was so sick that he stopped breathing.  The widow asks Elijah to do something, if he is really a man of God.  Elijah prayed, stretched his body over the body of the child, and the child was restored to life.  The story today shows us the importance of prayer in our life.  First we must ask and believe that something is possible.  Then we must do something to accompany the prayer.  The widow asked and believed that Elijah could do something.  Elijah prayed and let his life breath enter the body of the child.  That day a miracle happened because of the cooperation between man and God.  Saint Augustine was credited with saying, “Pray as if everything depends upon God, and act as if everything depends upon you.”  I like that saying, because it shows a partnership between God and humanity.  That child in our story today experienced the incredible power of God.  When God and humanity work together, incredible things can happen, Amen?
Saint Paul writes to the Galatians today and shares his story of conversion.  Paul was a zealous Pharisee who devoted himself to the Law of Moses.  He was so zealous that he persecuted Christians and wanted them dead.  The power of God is incredible! This man who once persecuted Christians, now because of faith in Christ Jesus, brought thousands of people to the faith!  God changed the heart of Paul.  God can change our hearts too, Amen?  There are no hopeless causes when we have faith in God.  Maybe there is someone, or a situation in your family right now that you think is hopeless.  Faith, prayer, and perseverance will bring a resolution to your situation.  God will not abandon you.  God will see you through this! God helped Paul to change.  Have the faith to know that God will help you!  The power of God is incredible!  Come on Church, let’s say it together… The power of God is incredible!
In our Gospel today, Jesus is moved with compassion for a widow whose only son died.  This fact is important because in ancient times the son needed to provide for his family.  The woman was already a widow.  Her husband was not there to provide for her, so if her son died, the woman would have no one to care for her.  Jesus, moved with pity, steps forth and touches the coffin and says, “Young man, I tell you, arise” The young man sat up and was restored to life.  A great miracle happened that day, and many began to believe in Jesus because they saw the power of God working through him.  The young man was restored to life so that the widow would have someone to care for her.  Jesus brought their lives back into balance.  Sometimes we may feel like our lives are out of balance and may even feel dead at times.  Jesus has the power to bring our lives into balance, and to make us feel fully alive.  All of us today need to hear the words of Jesus in our life, “I tell you, arise”.  When we are restored into balance, we do arise, we do get up and get on with life.  The power of God has the ability to make us whole again, to restore us into a healthy balance in our lives.  Are there parts of your own life that may feel “dead”.  Ask Jesus to restore you and bring you back into balance.
And so the Word of God today is about healing, restoration, faith, change and balance.  These words can help us throughout this week to be visible witnesses to the power of God, Amen? So, as you go through this week and trouble comes knocking on your door…and we all know that it will, then Pray as if everything depended upon God and act as if everything depended on you.  This week, let us be partners with God in restoring health and balance into our lives, Amen?

              Homilía 10º Domingo del Tiempo Ordinario

Buenas días Iglesia! Es bueno estar aquí!

El poder de Dios es increíble!

Repita después de mí, el poder de Dios es increíble

Gira a la persona a tu lado y dices, el poder de Dios es increíble!
Sí, hoy en nuestras lecturas nos oye cómo el poder de Dios es increíble. Es bueno para nosotros escuchar eso, pero todos nosotros debemos experimentar este hecho en nuestra propia vida. Hoy en día, ese poder incluye la sanidad, una gran fe, y traer de vuelta a la vida aquello que una vez que estaba muerto. Por lo tanto, pensar en su propia vida. ¿Usted o su familia experimentada la curación, la curación física, espiritual o emocional a través del poder de Dios? ¿Ha crecido en su fe y ha dicho y hecho cosas a causa de su fe en que usted no habría dicho o hecho hace años? Tiene usted o su familia hayan tenido momentos en su vida en que se sintió como si estuviera muerto, sin vida, vacío, y luego a causa de Dios fue restaurado a la vida? Esto es lo que celebramos hoy. Que Dios tiene el poder para hacer grandes cosas en nuestra vida si sólo estamos abiertos a sus caminos, Amén?
En la primera lectura, Elías se da hospitalidad por una viuda cuyo hijo estaba muy enfermo. Estaba tan enfermo que dejó de respirar. La viuda pide a Elías para hacer algo, si él es realmente un hombre de Dios. Elías oró, estiró su cuerpo sobre el cuerpo del niño, y el niño fue devuelto a la vida. La historia de hoy nos muestra la importancia de la oración en nuestra vida. En primer lugar hay que pedir y creer que algo es posible. Entonces tenemos que hacer algo para acompañar la oración. La viuda pidió y creía que Elías podía hacer algo. Elías oró y dejó que su aliento vital entrar en el cuerpo del niño. Ese día ocurrió un milagro debido a la cooperación entre el hombre y Dios. San Agustín  fue acreditado con decir: "Reza como si todo dependiera de Dios, y actuar como si todo depende de ti." Me gusta esta palabra, ya que muestra una asociación entre Dios y la humanidad. Ese niño en nuestra historia de hoy experimenta el increíble poder de Dios. Cuando Dios y la humanidad trabajan juntos, las cosas increíbles pueden suceder, Amén?
San Pablo escribe a los Gálatas hoy y comparte su historia de la conversión. Pablo era un fariseo celoso que se dedicó a la Ley de Moisés. Era tan celoso que persiguió a los cristianos y los quería muertos. El poder de Dios es increíble! Este hombre que una vez persiguió a los cristianos, ahora a causa de la fe en Cristo Jesús, llevó a miles de personas a la fe! Dios cambió el corazón de Pablo. Dios puede cambiar nuestros corazones también, Amén? No hay causas perdidas cuando tenemos fe en Dios. Tal vez hay alguien, o una situación en su familia en este momento que usted piensa que no tiene remedio. La fe, la oración y la perseverancia traerán una solución a su situación. Dios no te abandonará. Dios se encargará de que a través de este! Dios ayudó a Pablo a cambiar. Tener la fe para saber que Dios le ayudará! El poder de Dios es increíble! Vamos Iglesia, digamos juntos... El poder de Dios es increíble!

En nuestro Evangelio de hoy, Jesús se compadece de una viuda cuyo único hijo muerto. Este hecho es importante porque en la antigüedad el hijo necesita para mantener a su familia. La mujer ya era viuda. Su marido no estaba allí para proveer para ella, por lo que si la muerte de su hijo, la mujer no tendría a nadie para cuidar de ella. Jesús, teniendo compasión, los pasos adelante y toca el ataúd y dice: "Joven, a ti te digo, levántate" El joven se incorporó y volvió a la vida. Un gran milagro ocurrió ese día, y muchos empezaron a creer en Jesús porque ellos vieron el poder de Dios obrando a través de él. El joven fue devuelto a la vida por lo que la viuda tendría a alguien para cuidar de ella. Jesús trajo sus vidas de nuevo en equilibrio. A veces podemos sentir que nuestras vidas están fuera de equilibrio e incluso pueden sentirse muertos a veces. Jesús tiene el poder de poner nuestra vida en equilibrio, y para hacernos sentir completamente vivo. Todos nosotros hoy necesitan escuchar las palabras de Jesús en nuestra vida, "Yo te digo, levántate". Cuando somos restaurados en equilibrio, que surgen, nosotros levantamos y seguir con su vida. El poder de Dios tiene la capacidad de hacernos de nuevo todo, para restaurarnos en un equilibrio saludable en nuestras vidas. ¿Hay partes de su propia vida que pueden sentirse "muerto". Pide a Jesús para restaurar ti y te llevará de vuelta al equilibrio.
Y por lo que la Palabra de Dios en la actualidad se trata de la curación, la restauración, la fe, el cambio y el equilibrio. Estas palabras nos pueden ayudar a lo largo de esta semana para ser testigos visibles en el poder de Dios, Amén? Así, a medida que avanza a través de esta semana y problemas llega a llamar a su puerta... y todos sabemos que será, entonces reza como si todo dependiera de Dios y actuar como si todo dependiera de ti. Esta semana, vamos a ser socios de Dios en la restauración de la salud y el equilibrio en nuestras vidas, Amén?

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Congreso in Lima, Peru

Good morning all! A very Happy Mother's Day to all my good friends!

Well, it was a busy week at the meeting.  A total of close to one hundred Marianist educators gathered at the Retreat Center in Lima, Peru for the Conference.  The group included vowed male and women religious, and lay collaborators from schools in Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico.  Each day there was time for prayer, presentations, small group and large group work.  We began each day at 8am with Breakfast and most days concluded around 11-12pm with socials hosted by different countries.  I was definitely tired at the end of each day.  Listening and speaking in Spanish all that time really took its toll, and especially because each country speaks Spanish differently...just try understanding the Argentinians!  The socials were a lot of fun, lot's of goodies from each country, favorite drinks and dance music.  Some countries were very creative and well prepared in their presentations.  It was a great way to end each day.  Each morning I walked between 5-6 miles so that I could get my steps in for the day and because the diet was not very Weight Watcher friendly....lot's of rice, very little salad ,very little vegetables, and small portions of protein.  I did the best I could, but I had to eat!

As part of our time together we also visited some area schools, took a tour of a Fountain Park, ate in El Centro, and attended an evening of Folk Dance presented by the students and faculty of Maria Reina School.  It was a great time!

I return to Mexico tomorrow.  I have been away for a long time and really wish I was returning tonight but there was an error in the communication of the original dates, so here I am for an additional day. 
The Mexican Delegation: Me, Br. Juan Pablo, Br. Jose Luis
The Vowed Religious
Retreat Center

All the participants at the Cultural Event at Maria Reina

Country Displays







Rosary for the Countries

The Fountains

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Bienvenidos a Peru! Welcome to Peru

Buenos tardes!  Good afternoon all.  Well, I arrived safely in Peru late Thursday night.  Br. Juan Pablo and I were picked up at the airport and then taken to our community in Miraflores, Lima, Peru.  We are staying at the parish that the Marianists operate, Santa Maria Reina.  The campus includes a huge Church and a huge colegio that educates students from grades Pre-K to 12.  The place is enormous. There are something like 10 weekend Masses at the Church and each one is packed! 

The Church (I concelebrated on Sunday)
Front Entrance of the School
Students playing

Students learning a Folkdance

The Gym with the Marianist Symbols

Since we are about 8 blocks from the beach, I take time either in the morning or late afternoon to get my "steps" in and have a chance to see beautiful scenery and burn some calories too!
View from the mountain

I walked down and up that mountain: "And I did not die!"
View of the Ocean from the Top of the Mountain

Yesterday, Juan Pablo and I took a taxi to the Historico Centro to visit some of the important sites for Peru.  Besides seeing some ornate government and cultural buildings, we visited several important  Churches in the area.  We went to the Dominican Church were the remains of two Dominican Peruvian saints lie: Saint Rose of Lima and St. Martin de Porres.  These two saints are honored and revered by the people of Peru.  St. Martin holds a special place in the hearts of all because he is the patron saint of social justice.  He is the saint also for racial equality since he was born of a Spanish conquistador and a black slave.  We climbed the bell tower to get a great view of the city.
Church of St. Dominic

French influenced architecture
Hall of (IN)Justice

Presidential Palace

We will head to the retreat center on Tuesday after visiting some other schools in the area.  Once we are at the retreat center we will begin the Conference on Wednesday night.  I think close to 75 people will be attending this conference from Argentina, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil and Mexico.  It should be interesting and fun.  Each night, one or two countries will present something cultural from their country including foods and drinks!  I have to save my points to partake in some of these delicacies. 

I am enjoying my time here in Peru.  The Brothers could not be more hospitable and they all speak English too! For the most part I am speaking Spanish, but it is good to know that when I get stuck, I can fall back into English.