Sunday, November 29, 2015

Universal Call to Holiness

Universal Call to Holiness

1st Sunday of Advent

1 Thessalonians 3:12–4:2

The universal call to holiness for each and every person is notable in many writings of the church.  This call has been prevalent in particular in the writings of Vatican II and is found often in writings pertaining to stewardship today.  Using one’s spiritual gifts is one way to live one’s faith in Jesus Christ as a disciple and may fulfill in one’s life a call to holiness.

St. Paul’s prays for holiness with the Thessalonians.  “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all…so as to strengthen your hearts to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of the Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.”  But he does not end with just a prayer asking God for love for then, he asks God to work through each of them through the teachings and by the example he has left for them, to allow them to show their love for one another.  “We earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that, as you received from us how you should conduct yourselves to please God and as you are conducting yourselves you do so even more.  For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.”  This prayer of love received by God and given to one another is St. Paul’s prayer for holiness for the Thessalonians.

As was true for the Thessalonians, in the Eucharistic prayer we use today, we continue to pray for God’s grace and love to be poured down upon us so we may continue to live this life of holiness as well.  The definition of a charism is a spiritual gift from God to be used to serve another.  Whenever we are serving God, and sharing our spiritual gifts, we are in fact sharing in the universal call to holiness as disciples who are living their faith in Jesus Christ and hopeful for his coming this first Sunday of Advent.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Time for Testimony

The Solemnity Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

John 18:33-37

As Jesus is on trial at the end of his life, he is asked a profound question by Pilate.  Pilate is asking for his testimony, “Are you the king of the Jews?”  Jesus wonders how Pilate ascertained this information, on his own or by what others said.  What if someone were to ask you to testify?  What would your witness, your testimony be?  Who would other people say you are?

Our spiritual practices and the use of our spiritual gifts throughout our lifetime for love of God and love of one another may point to this answer.  Would others who have witnessed your life answer the same as you?

Our spiritual gifts are used to build the kingdom of God.   Indeed, Jesus tells Pilate “My kingdom does not belong to this world” and “he has come to testify to the truth.” What kingdom would your witness point to?  Would your faith, hope and charity point to this kingdom or the next? 

As we end this liturgical year, on this Feast of Christ the King, what will your testimony be?  Perhaps this may be a moment to discern the answer to this question in light of the use of our spiritual gifts in our lives.  Now is the time to create a witness, a testimony to God and to share with others of who you say you are and to what kingdom your life is pointing to.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dn 12:1-3
Heb 10:11-14, 18
Mk 13:24-32

In today’s readings we hear about some of our ancestors of the past, Michael, the priests in the time of St. Paul, and the disciples of Jesus.  All were chosen by God for a particular purpose in the time they lived.  They each were consecrated.

One definition of the word consecrated is “to make, or declare sacred; dedicated to a religious or divine purpose.”  At Baptism we are called to be priest, prophet and king.  We are claimed for Christ; we are consecrated.

St. Paul explains to the Hebrews “for by one offering he has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated.”  We are each consecrated, for a special purpose, with unique spiritual gifts to be used for God.  As we use our spiritual gifts, we recognize the sacred.  As one uses their spiritual gifts both ordinary and extraordinary results can occur for both the giver and the receiver. 

The readings today remind us, as disciples of today, as baptized members of the Catholic Church, we are consecrated.  Because of God’s love and the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we are all consecrated; we are called to use our spiritual gifts in this world.