Posted by: frburke23 | March 22, 2017

Thought for Thursday, 3rd Week of Lent (March 23, 2017)

Thought for Thursday, 3rd Week of Lent (March 23, 2017)
 
LUKE 11:14-23
Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute,
and when the demon had gone out,
the mute man spoke and the crowds were amazed.
Some of them said, “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons.”
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself,
how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”
========================
The spiritual spring training fundamental today is unity. Matthew Kelly says that we can grow in holiness in very simple and small ways by making sure our current thoughts, words and actions are leading us closer to Jesus. The same can be true for unity. Today can be a day to reflect on whether my thoughts, words and actions lead to unity with others or if they cause division.
 
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste.” Be careful when you see division; look for the evil one. St. Ignatius says that the evil one is like a “wise army general”. He looks for the weakness in the enemy and attacks at the site of the weakness. He wants to divide, isolate and conquer. Once he isolates someone, it is easier to defeat them. We see this in teens who commit suicide after being bullied. We see it in others who feel so alone in this world, especially the elderly, the marginalized, the immigrant and the poor.
 
What is Jesus’ method – unite, strengthen and bring together in communion. These are signs of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Jesus also said, “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.” (John 17:20-21)
 
Have you ever tried to get the water flowing in one direction in a circular swimming pool? We loved to do this as kids. Then we would stop and try to go the opposite direction, against the current. It was difficult, but with time, perseverance and working together, we could turn the tide in the opposite direction.
 
This is a great analogy for the Catholics/Christians in this country and world. Our culture is a fast-moving current in the wrong direction. The evil one has us scattered so that we cannot work together in the same direction to turn the tide around. We are divided when it comes to politics and voting. We are divided when it comes to Church teaching on certain topics. Somehow, we need to work together and persevere to go against the tide of our culture. Unified, with the power of the Holy Spirit, we can accomplish anything. However, if we stay divided, everything will collapse.
 
Am I a person that gathers with Jesus or do I scatter?
Do I unite people or am I a cause for division?
Do my thoughts, words and actions bring healing and unity or division and pain?
 
Groups that are united in Christ will stand. Marriages and families that are united in Christ will prevail over any hardship. Friendships based in Jesus Christ will last forever. Come, Holy Spirit come. Be the center of our lives and every relationship that we have. Help us to turn this world back to you.
 
Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke
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Here is the Spanish translation (pensamiento del 2016)
 
LUCAS 11:14-23
En aquel tiempo, Jesús expulsó a un demonio, que era mudo. Apenas salió el demonio, habló el mudo y la multitud quedó maravillada. Pero algunos decían: “Éste expulsa a los demonios con el poder de Belzebú, el príncipe de los demonios”. Otros, para ponerlo a prueba, le pedían una señal milagrosa.
Pero Jesús, que conocía sus malas intenciones, les dijo: “Todo reino dividido por luchas internas va a la ruina y se derrumba casa por casa. Si Satanás también está dividido contra sí mismo, ¿cómo mantendrá su reino? Ustedes dicen que yo arrojo a los demonios con el poder de Satanás. Entonces, ¿con el poder de quién los arrojan los hijos de ustedes? Por eso, ellos mismos serán sus jueces. Pero si yo arrojo a los demonios con el dedo de Dios, eso significa que ha llegado a ustedes el Reino de Dios.
Cuando un hombre fuerte y bien armado guarda su palacio, sus bienes están seguros; pero si otro más fuerte lo asalta y lo vence, entonces le quita las armas en que confiaba y después dispone de sus bienes. El que no está conmigo, está contra mí; y el que no recoge conmigo, desparrama”.
=======================
El entrenamiento de primavera espiritual fundamental hoy día es la unidad. Matthew Kelly dice que podemos crecer en la santidad de formas muy simples y pequeñas, asegurándonos que nuestros actuales pensamientos, palabras y acciones estén llevándonos más cerca a Jesús. Lo mismo puede ser cierto para la unidad. Hoy puede ser un día para reflexionar sobre si sí o no mis pensamientos, palabras y acciones conducen a la unidad con los demás o si causan división.
 
“Todo reino dividido por luchas internas va a la ruina.” Tengan cuidado cuando vean división; busquen al maligno. San Ignacio dice que el maligno es como un “general sabio del ejército”. Él busca la debilidad del enemigo y ataca en el sitio de debilidad. Él quiere dividir, aislar y conquistar. Una vez que aísla a alguien, es más fácil derrotarlos. Vemos esto en los adolescentes que se suicidan después de ser intimidados. Lo vemos en otros que se sienten tan solos en este mundo y están aislados de todos. Lo vemos en la persona que es marginada en el lugar de trabajo.
 
Cuál es el método de Jesús – unir, fortalecer, comunión. Estos son signos de la presencia del Espíritu Santo. Jesús dice: “El que no está conmigo, está contra mí; y el que no recoge conmigo, desparrama.” Jesús dijo: “No ruego sólo por ellos, sino también por los que han de creer en mí por la palabra de ellos, para que todos ellos sean uno, como tú, Padre, estás en mí y yo en ti, que también ellos sean uno en nosotros, para que el mundo crea que tú me has enviado.” (Juan 17: 20-21).
 
¿Soy una persona que recoge con Jesús o me desparramo?
¿Uno a las personas o soy una causa de división?
¿Mis pensamientos, palabras y acciones traen sanación y unidad o división y dolor?
 
Hay momentos en los que tenemos que hablar la verdad del Señor y ocasiona división. A veces, cuando tratamos de vivir nuestras vidas de acuerdo a la forma del Señor, la gente se alejara de nosotros. Debemos hablar la verdad siempre en amor, pero habrá momentos en los que ser un seguidor de Jesús nos separará de los demás. Esto no es de lo que estoy hablando en este pasaje.
 
Este pasaje se refiere a nuestras propias acciones que no están de acuerdo a Jesús – Los tiempos en que nuestros pensamientos, palabras y acciones no están en línea con las enseñanzas de Jesús – chisme, lujuria, calumnia, envidia, etc.
 
Los grupos que están unidos en Cristo permanecerán. Los matrimonios y familias que están unidos en Cristo prevalecerán sobre cualquier dificultad. Las amistades basadas en Jesucristo durarán para siempre. Ven, Espíritu Santo ven. Se el centro de nuestras vidas y cada relación que tenemos.
 
¡Tengan un día bendecido!
Padre Burke
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Posted by: frburke23 | March 21, 2017

Thought for Wednesday, 3rd Week of Lent (March 22, 2017)

Thought for Wednesday, 3rd Week of Lent (March 22, 2017)
 
MATTHEW 5:17-19
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”
=====================
The fundamental we will focus on today in our spiritual spring training is obedience. This word can have a negative connotation in our culture today because everyone wants to be “free”. We interpret freedom as doing what I want to do. Actually, in the spiritual life, freedom comes when we are obedient to God’s will. Obedience comes from a Latin word which means “to listen”. When we listen to God’s voice and are obedient to Him, we find true freedom.
 
Sin can be defined as “I want what I want right now.” Holiness can be defined as “I want what God wants when He wants it.” We can see that obedience to God leads to holiness. And holiness leads to true happiness, which we all seek. However, if we seek happiness directly, we often make it a selfish pursuit. But if we seek holiness, which includes laying down our lives for others, we find true happiness in the generosity of spirit.
 
I love to talk about the importance of the Commandments. So often we dismiss them as outdated or we think God wants to take all the fun out of life. We might think that anything that comes from the Old Testament no longer has an impact on our lives. However, as Jesus says in today’s Gospel, “I have come not to abolish but to fulfill [the law and the prophets].” In other words, Jesus raises the Commandments to a new level in Himself.
 
The Commandments are God’s law of love. Just like parents who lay out rules for their children because they love them, God has given us the Commandments because He loves us. He can protect us as long as we follow His way. However, when we decide to follow our own path and not God’s way, there are always consequences.
 
The first three Commandments are about loving God, the last seven talk about loving our neighbor. Jesus summarized the Ten with two: love God and love neighbor. If we follow God’s law of love, we experience His grace and will be called “greatest in the Kingdom of heaven”. The same is true for children who abide by their parents’ rules. They stay in their parents’ graces and all is well with them. And just like parents know what is best for their children, God knows what is best for us, His beloved children.
 
Jesus teaches us that anyone who breaks the Commandments or teaches others to do so will be “least in the Kingdom of heaven”. So not only are we responsible for growing in holiness ourselves, but we should lead others to Christ as well. As members of the Mystical Body of Christ, our actions affect everyone else – good or bad.
 
Do I follow the Commandments of God?
Have I lead someone astray by teaching them something that is not God’s way?
How do I live a life of obedience to the will of God?
 
Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke
 
Spanish translation:
 
MATEO 5:17-19
En aquel tiempo, Jesús dijo a sus discípulos: “No crean que he venido a abolir la ley o los profetas; no he venido a abolirlos, sino a darles plenitud. Yo les aseguro que antes se acabarán el cielo y la tierra, que deje de cumplirse hasta la más pequeña letra o coma de la ley.
 
Por lo tanto, el que quebrante uno de estos preceptos menores y enseñe eso a los hombres, será el menor en el Reino de los cielos; pero el que los cumpla y los enseñe, será grande en el Reino de los cielos”.
====================
El punto fundamental en el que vamos a enfocarnos hoy en nuestro entrenamiento espiritual de primavera es la obediencia. Esta palabra puede tener una connotación negativa en nuestra cultura de hoy porque todos quieren ser “libres”. Interpretamos la libertad como hacer lo que quiero hacer. En realidad, en la vida espiritual, la libertad viene cuando somos obedientes a la voluntad de Dios. La obediencia viene de una palabra en Latín que significa “escuchar”. Cuando escuchamos la voz de Dios y somos obedientes a Él, encontramos la verdadera libertad.
 
El pecado puede ser definido como “Quiero lo que quiero ahora mismo.” La santidad puede ser definida como “Quiero lo que Dios quiere, cuando Él quiere.” Podemos ver que la obediencia a Dios conduce a la santidad. Y la santidad conduce a la verdadera felicidad, lo cual todos buscamos. Sin embargo, si buscamos la felicidad directamente, a menudo lo hacemos una búsqueda egoísta. Pero si buscamos la santidad, que incluye entregar nuestras vidas por los demás, encontramos la verdadera felicidad en la generosidad del espíritu.
 
Me encanta hablar sobre la importancia de los Mandamientos. Muy a menudo los descartamos como anticuados o pensamos que Dios quiere quitar toda la diversión de la vida. Podríamos pensar que todo lo que viene del Antiguo Testamento ya no tiene un impacto en nuestras vidas. Sin embargo, como dice Jesús en el Evangelio de hoy: “No he venido a abolirlos, sino a darles plenitud [la ley y los profetas].” En otras palabras, Jesús eleva los Mandamientos a un nuevo nivel en Sí Mismo.
 
Los Mandamientos son la ley del amor de Dios. Al igual que los padres que establecen reglas para sus hijos porque los aman, Dios nos ha dado los Mandamientos porque nos ama. Él puede protegernos, siempre y cuando sigamos Su camino. Sin embargo, cuando decidimos seguir nuestro propio camino y no el camino de Dios, siempre hay consecuencias.
 
Los primeros tres Mandamientos son sobre amar a Dios, los últimos siete hablan sobre amar a nuestro prójimo. Jesús resumió los Diez con dos: amar a Dios y amar al prójimo. Si seguimos la ley de amor de Dios, experimentamos Su gracia, y seremos llamados “grandes en el Reino de los cielos”. Lo mismo ocurre con los niños que cumplen con las reglas de sus padres. Permanecen en la gracia de sus padres y todo está bien con ellos. Y al igual que los padres saben lo que es mejor para sus hijos, Dios sabe lo que es mejor para nosotros, Sus hijos amados.
 
Jesús nos enseña que cualquier persona que rompe los Mandamientos o enseña a otros a hacerlo será “menor en el Reino de los cielos”. Así que no sólo somos responsables de crecer nosotros mismos en santidad, sino que debemos llevar a otros a Cristo también. Como miembros del Cuerpo Místico de Cristo, nuestras acciones afectan a todos los demás – buenas o malas.
 
¿Sigo los Mandamientos de Dios?
¿He llevado a alguien por mal camino, enseñándole algo que no es el camino de Dios?
¿Cómo vivo una vida de obediencia a la voluntad de Dios?
 
¡Que tengas un día bendecido!
Padre Burke
Posted by: frburke23 | March 20, 2017

Thought for Tuesday, 3rd Week of Lent (March 21, 2017)

Thought for Tuesday, 3rd Week of Lent (March 21, 2017)
 
MATTHEW 18:21-35
Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount.
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
‘Pay back what you owe.’
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
But he refused.
Instead, he had him put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master
and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?’
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”
==========================
Many people have been asking how my Dad is doing. He finished his third chemo treatment last week and has nine more to go. He is doing well, thanks be to God. He has a few good days after chemo, and then 3-4 down days, and then he begins to recover again before the next treatment. He goes every two weeks for a treatment. He has an appetite and is in good spirits. Your prayers and support are carrying all of us through this challenging time. Thank you!
 
As we continue our spiritual spring training today, we are called to look at the fundamental of forgiveness. I’m sure we have all felt like Peter at the beginning of this passage. You can imagine that someone has wronged Peter again and he wants to know how many times that he must forgive. Each one of us has been hurt by people, often by people who are very close to us. People often will ask me, “How do I learn how to forgive?” Or “I don’t know if I can forgive him/her for what they did to me”.
 
I think the first place to start is to see how merciful our Lord is to us. One of my favorite Scripture stories is the woman caught in adultery. Everyone wants to stone her, but Jesus chases them away when He says, “Let he who is sinless cast the first stone”. Jesus is showing them and us that we are all sinners, so we shouldn’t be judging anyone else. And then Jesus looks at the woman and asks, “Who condemns you?” The men have all left, so she replies, “No one sir.” Jesus tells her, “Nor do I. Now go and sin no more.”
 
Jesus showed her mercy and she became one of His closest followers for life. She never forgot that moment of mercy from our Lord and it changed her life.
 
Often when we have a hard time forgiving someone, it means that we have not taken the time to reflect on our own sinfulness and our need for God’s mercy. Before I enter the confessional, I remind myself of my need for God’s mercy. As a priest, I am there to be an instrument of His infinite love and mercy and I actually experience God’s love and mercy moving through me to the person confessing his/her sins.
 
In today’s Gospel, the man who is forgiven a huge debt does not pass along the same mercy to his servant. We pray in the Our Father – “forgives us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We are going to be forgiven in the measure that we forgive others.
 
Another helpful hint is to spend time meditating on Jesus on the cross. After being beaten, spat upon, tortured and crucified, Jesus looked upon the soldiers and his persecutors with mercy, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” He wasn’t excusing their behavior as if it didn’t happen, but He was recognizing that they were blinded by sin and didn’t recognize Him as the Son of God.
 
If you need to forgive someone, go to the cross. Ask the Lord for His grace to forgive others. Often people hurt us without intending to do so. And even if they do, we need to pray for them.
 
I would also recommend that you go to prayer with this: “Lord, help me see this person like you see them. Help me to forgive this person like you forgive them. Help me to love this person like you love them.” In my experience, the Lord has helped me see the person who has hurt me with different eyes. I begin to see them as God’s beloved child and not my enemy. I have more compassion and my anger dissipates.
 
Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Mathew 5:43-44)
 
Do I need to forgive someone today?
Do I need to ask for forgiveness today?
 
Giving and receiving forgiveness sets us free from the bonds of hatred and revenge. Lord, teach me how to forgive.
 
Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke
 
Here is the Spanish translation:
MATEO 18:21-35
En aquel tiempo, Pedro se acercó a Jesús y le preguntó: “Si mi hermano me ofende, ¿cuántas veces tengo que perdonarlo? ¿Hasta siete veces?” Jesús le contestó: “No sólo hasta siete, sino hasta setenta veces siete”.
Entonces Jesús les dijo: “El Reino de los cielos es semejante a un rey que quiso ajustar cuentas con sus servidores. El primero que le presentaron le debía diez mil talentos. Como no tenía con qué pagar, el señor mandó que lo vendieran a él, a su mujer, a sus hijos y todas sus posesiones, para saldar la deuda. El servidor, arrojándose a sus pies, le suplicaba diciendo: ‘Ten paciencia conmigo y te lo pagaré todo’. El rey tuvo lástima de aquel servidor, lo soltó y hasta le perdonó la deuda.
Pero, apenas había salido aquel servidor, se encontró con uno de sus compañeros, que le debía poco dinero. Entonces lo agarró por el cuello y casi lo estrangulaba, mientras le decía: ‘Págame lo que me debes’. El compañero se le arrodilló y le rogaba: ‘Ten paciencia conmigo y te lo pagaré todo’. Pero el otro no quiso escucharlo, sino que fue y lo metió en la cárcel hasta que le pagara la deuda.
Al ver lo ocurrido, sus compañeros se llenaron de indignación y fueron a contar al rey lo sucedido. Entonces el señor lo llamó y le dijo: ‘Siervo malvado. Te perdoné toda aquella deuda porque me lo suplicaste. ¿No debías tú también haber tenido compasión de tu compañero, como yo tuve compasión de ti?’ Y el señor, encolerizado, lo entregó a los verdugos para que no lo soltaran hasta que pagara lo que debía.
Pues lo mismo hará mi Padre celestial con ustedes, si cada cual no perdona de corazón a su hermano”
======================
Muchas personas han estado preguntando cómo está mi papá. Terminó su tercer tratamiento de quimioterapia la semana pasada y tiene nueve más que hacer. Él está bien, gracias a Dios. Tiene unos cuantos días buenos después de la quimioterapia, y luego 3-4 días bajos, y luego comienza a recuperarse de nuevo antes del próximo tratamiento. Él va cada dos semanas para un tratamiento. Tiene apetito y está de buen humor. Sus oraciones y apoyo nos ayudan a todos a través de este tiempo difícil. ¡Gracias!
 
A medida que hoy continuamos nuestro entrenamiento espiritual de primavera, estamos llamados a ver el fundamento del perdón. Estoy seguro de que todos nos hemos sentido como Pedro al comienzo de este pasaje. Puedes imaginar que alguien ha ofendido de nuevo a Pedro y él quiere saber cuántas veces debe perdonar. Cada uno de nosotros ha sido lastimado por personas, a menudo por personas que están muy cerca de nosotros. La gente a menudo me pregunta, “¿Cómo puedo aprender a perdonar?”, O “Yo no sé si puedo perdonarlo/la por lo que me hicieron”.
 
Creo que el primer lugar para comenzar es ver cuán misericordioso es nuestro Señor con nosotros. Una de mis historias favoritas de la Escritura es la mujer que fue sorprendida en adulterio. Todos quieren apedrearla, pero Jesús les ahuyenta cuando dice: “El que esté libre de pecado lance la primera piedra”. Jesús les muestra a ellos y a nosotros que todos somos pecadores, así que no deberíamos juzgar a nadie más. Y luego Jesús ve a la mujer y le pregunta: “¿Quién te condena?” Todos los hombres se han ido, por lo que ella responde: “Nadie señor.” Jesús le dice: “Yo tampoco. Ahora ve y no peques más.”
 
Jesús le mostró misericordia y ella se convirtió en uno de Sus seguidores más cercanos de por vida. Ella nunca olvidó ese momento de misericordia de nuestro Señor y le cambió la vida.
 
A menudo, cuando tenemos dificultad para perdonar a alguien, significa que no hemos tomado el tiempo para reflexionar en nuestro propio pecado y nuestra necesidad de la misericordia de Dios. Antes de entrar al confesionario, me recuerdo a mí mismo de mi necesidad de la misericordia de Dios. Estoy ahí para ser un instrumento de Su infinito amor y misericordia. Y realmente experimento el amor y la misericordia de Dios moviéndose a través de mí hacia la persona confesando sus pecados.
 
En el Evangelio de hoy, el hombre al que se le perdona una enorme deuda no le pasa la misma misericordia a su siervo. Oramos en el Padre Nuestro – “perdona nuestras ofensas, como también nosotros perdonamos a los que nos ofenden.” Vamos a ser perdonados en la medida que nosotros perdonamos a los demás.
 
Otro consejo útil es pasar tiempo meditando en Jesús en la cruz. Después de haber sido golpeado, escupido, torturado y crucificado, Jesús vio a los soldados y sus perseguidores con misericordia, “Padre, perdónalos porque no saben lo que hacen.” Él no estaba excusando su comportamiento como si no ocurrió, pero Él estaba reconociendo que estaban cegados por el pecado y no Lo reconocieron como el Hijo de Dios.
 
Si necesitas perdonar a alguien, ve a la cruz. Pídele al Señor Su gracia para perdonar a los demás. A menudo las personas nos hacen daño sin intención de hacerlo. E incluso si la tienen, tenemos que orar por ellos.
 
También recomendaría que vayas a orar con esto: “Señor, ayúdame a ver a esta persona como tú los ves. Ayúdame a perdonar a esta persona como tú los perdonas. Ayúdame a amar a esta persona como tú los amas.” En mi experiencia, el Señor me ha ayudado a ver a la persona que me ha herido con otros ojos. Comienzo a verlos como el hijo amado de Dios y no como mi enemigo. Tengo más compasión y mi ira se disipa.
 
Jesús dice: “Han oído que se dijo: ‘Ama a tu prójimo y odia a tu enemigo” Pero yo les digo: Amen a sus enemigos y oren por quienes los persiguen.” (Mateo 5: 43-44)
 
¿Necesito perdonar a alguien hoy?
¿Necesito pedir perdón hoy?
 
Dar y recibir el perdón nos libera de las ataduras del odio y la venganza. Señor, enséñame a perdonar.
 
¡Que tengas un día bendecido!
Padre Burke
Thought for March 20th, Solemnity of St. Joseph (moved from Sunday, March 19)
 
MATTHEW 1:16, 18-21, 24A
Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.
 
Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.
===========================
Since March 19th fell on a Sunday this year, the feast of St. Joseph, husband of Mary and foster father to Jesus, was moved to Monday, March 20th. Joseph was a “righteous man”, who loved Mary and Jesus and showed his love through some bold actions. Joseph is the perfect example of what it means to be a husband and father. For our spiritual spring training today we are going to focus on holiness, marriage and fatherhood.
 
Joseph protected Mary when she could have been exposed to the law and stoned to death. The angel appeared to Joseph and told him to stand by Mary, even though she was pregnant and Joseph knew he was not the father. Joseph must have been a man of prayer and faith to believe the message from the angel.
 
Joseph also did all he could to guide and protect Jesus. Imagine the task he was given – to raise and protect the Son of God! Joseph taught Jesus about being a carpenter, about being a man of prayer, about being a man of faith. As Jesus grew in wisdom and knowledge, Joseph was with Him every step of the way.
 
Do you know what the goals of marriage are? The first goal is to help your spouse get to heaven. And secondly, if God blesses you with children, you are to help your children get to heaven. This is why we are placed on this earth – to get to heaven. The same is true for priests. My goal is to help my spouse (the Church) and children (all of you) get to heaven. And statistics say that there is a strong correlation between men practicing their faith and their children eventually practicing their faith as adults. So men, the challenge today is to take your faith seriously as well as your responsibility to help your spouse and children get to heaven!
 
What can we learn from St. Joseph?
1) Are we people of prayer, speaking to God and listening for His voice?
2) Do we pray for and with our spouses and children, discerning the will of God in our lives?
3) Do we take the initiative to take our families to Church, to learn about God, to pray together as a family?
4) Do we teach our children what it means to be sons and daughters of the living God?
5) Do we take our role seriously to develop our relationship with God and to pass it on to future generations?
6) Are we helping our spouse and children get to heaven?
 
Many Catholic countries (Spain, Italy, Portugal) have set the feast day of St. Joseph as Father’s Day in honor of one of the greatest fathers ever to walk the face of this earth. May we follow Joseph’s example of prayer, hard work and love of his family.
 
God bless,
Fr. Burke
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Here is the Spanish translation:
 
MATEO 1:16, 18-21, 24A
Jacob engendró a José, el esposo de María, de la cual nació Jesús, llamado Cristo.
 
Cristo vino al mundo de la siguiente manera: Estando María, su madre, desposada con José y antes de que vivieran juntos, sucedió que ella, por obra del Espíritu Santo, estaba esperando un hijo. José, su esposo, que era hombre justo, no queriendo ponerla en evidencia, pensó dejarla en secreto.
 
Mientras pensaba en estas cosas, un ángel del Señor le dijo en sueños: “José, hijo de David, no dudes en recibir en tu casa a María, tu esposa, porque ella ha concebido por obra del Espíritu Santo. Dará a luz un hijo y tú le pondrás el nombre de Jesús, porque él salvará a su pueblo de sus pecados”.
 
Cuando José despertó de aquel sueño, hizo lo que le había mandado el ángel del Señor.
=======================
Porque el 19 de marzo cayo en domingo, celebramos la fiesta de San José, esposo de María y padre adoptivo de Jesús, en el lunes 20 de marzo. José era un “hombre justo”, que amaba a María y a Jesús y mostró su amor a través de algunas acciones audaces. José es el ejemplo perfecto de lo que significa ser un esposo y padre hoy en día. Así que para nuestro entrenamiento espiritual de primavera vamos a enfocarnos en la santidad, el matrimonio y la paternidad.
 
José protegió a María cuando ella pudo haber estado expuesta a la ley y ser apedreada hasta la muerte. El ángel se le apareció a José y le dijo que se quedara al lado de María, a pesar de que ella estaba embarazada y José sabía que él no era el padre. José debió haber sido un hombre de oración y de fe para creer el mensaje del ángel.
 
José también hizo todo lo que él pudo para guiar y proteger a Jesús. Imagina la tarea que se le dio – ¡de criar y proteger al Hijo de Dios! José le enseñó a Jesús acerca de ser un carpintero, acerca de ser un hombre de oración, acerca de ser un hombre de fe. Mientras Jesús crecía en sabiduría y conocimiento, José estaba con él en cada paso del camino.
 
¿Sabes cuáles son los objetivos del matrimonio? El primer objetivo es ayudar a tu cónyuge para llegar al cielo. Y en segundo lugar, si Dios te bendice con niños, debes ayudar a tus hijos para llegar al cielo. Es por esto que estamos puestos en esta tierra – para llegar al cielo. Lo mismo es para los sacerdotes. Mi objetivo es ayudar a mi esposa (la Iglesia) e hijos (todos ustedes) para llegar al cielo. Y las estadísticas dicen que hay una fuerte correlación entre los hombres que practican su fe y sus hijos eventualmente practicando su fe de adultos. ¡Así que hombres, el reto hoy es que tomen su fe en serio, así como su responsabilidad de ayudar a su cónyuge e hijos para llegar al cielo!
 
¿Qué podemos aprender de San José?
1) ¿Somos personas de oración, hablando con Dios y escuchando Su voz?
2) ¿Oramos por y con nuestros cónyuges e hijos, discerniendo la voluntad de Dios en nuestras vidas?
3) ¿Tomamos la iniciativa de llevar a nuestras familias a la Iglesia, para aprender acerca de Dios, para orar juntos como una familia?
4) ¿Le enseñamos a nuestros hijos lo que significa ser hijos e hijas del Dios vivo?
5) ¿Tomamos en serio nuestro papel para desarrollar nuestra relación con Dios y para transmitirla a las generaciones futuras?
6) ¿Estamos ayudando a nuestro cónyuge e hijos para llegar al cielo?
 
Muchos países Católicos (España, Italia, Portugal) han fijado el día de San José como el Día del Padre en honor a uno de los más grandes padres que ha caminado sobre la faz de esta tierra. Que podamos seguir el ejemplo de José de la oración, el trabajo duro y el amor de su familia.
 
Dios los bendiga,
Padre Burke
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Posted by: frburke23 | March 18, 2017

Thought for 3rd Sunday of Lent (March 19, 2017)

Thought for 3rd Sunday of Lent (March 19, 2017)
 
JOHN 4:5-42
Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar,
near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there.
Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well.
It was about noon.
 
A woman of Samaria came to draw water.
Jesus said to her,
“Give me a drink.”
His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him,
“How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”
—For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.—
Jesus answered and said to her,
“If you knew the gift of God
and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink, ‘
you would have asked him
and he would have given you living water.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep;
where then can you get this living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob,
who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself
with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her,
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again;
but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst;
the water I shall give will become in him
a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty
or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
 
Jesus said to her,
“Go call your husband and come back.”
The woman answered and said to him,
“I do not have a husband.”
Jesus answered her,
“You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’
For you have had five husbands,
and the one you have now is not your husband.
What you have said is true.”
The woman said to him,
“Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain;
but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus said to her,
“Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You people worship what you do not understand;
we worship what we understand,
because salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here,
when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth;
and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.
God is Spirit, and those who worship him
must worship in Spirit and truth.”
The woman said to him,
“I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ;
when he comes, he will tell us everything.”
Jesus said to her,
“I am he, the one speaking with you.”
 
At that moment his disciples returned,
and were amazed that he was talking with a woman,
but still no one said, “What are you looking for?”
or “Why are you talking with her?”
The woman left her water jar
and went into the town and said to the people,
“Come see a man who told me everything I have done.
Could he possibly be the Christ?”
They went out of the town and came to him.
Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.”
But he said to them,
“I have food to eat of which you do not know.”
So the disciples said to one another,
“Could someone have brought him something to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“My food is to do the will of the one who sent me
and to finish his work.
Do you not say, ‘In four months the harvest will be here’?
I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest.
The reaper is already receiving payment
and gathering crops for eternal life,
so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together.
For here the saying is verified that ‘One sows and another reaps.’
I sent you to reap what you have not worked for;
others have done the work,
and you are sharing the fruits of their work.”
 
Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him
because of the word of the woman who testified,
“He told me everything I have done.”
When the Samaritans came to him,
they invited him to stay with them;
and he stayed there two days.
Many more began to believe in him because of his word,
and they said to the woman,
“We no longer believe because of your word;
for we have heard for ourselves,
and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”
============================
On this 3rd Sunday of Lent, we take time to read the story of the Samaritan woman who encounters Jesus at the well. What strikes me is the transformation of this woman from a notorious sinner into the first evangelist in the Gospel of John.
 
She came to the well at midday because of her sinful past. She did not want to encounter anyone, and Jesus was already waiting for her. This is symbolic that Jesus and His grace are always waiting for us. Everything begins with God’s gift of grace, His free gift.
 
Jesus invites her, “Give me something to drink.” He does not condemn her first for her sins. He invites her into a deeper relationship. He loves her first.
 
Once she gets comfortable and Jesus promises to give her living water, He then invites her to the place of her wounds. She had been married five times and was living with a sixth man. She had tried to fill the void in her heart with men. Jesus knew her checkered history, but He did not condemn her. He tells her that He is the Christ, the One she has been looking for her whole life.
 
She encountered the love and mercy of Christ and her life was never the same. She left her bucket at the well, signifying she was leaving all the things behind everything that was not God as she tried to fill her void. She found the Living Water and now was going to tell the whole world. She returned to Samaria and told everyone about Jesus. You can imagine the crazy looks she must have received. They knew her to the be a great sinner. Yes, once they encountered Jesus also, their lives were changed.
 
Jesus wants to move each one of us from our sinful state to on-fire evangelists like this Samaritan woman.
 
Do I realize that God’s grace is waiting for me wherever I go?
Have I allowed the Lord’s grace to heal my past wounds and forgive my sins?
Have I shared with others what the Lord has done in my life?
 
Happy St. Joseph’s Day!
Fr. Burke
Posted by: frburke23 | March 17, 2017

Thought for Saturday, 2nd Week of Lent (March 18, 2017)

Thought for Saturday, 2nd Week of Lent (March 18, 2017)
 
LUKE 15:1-3, 11-32
Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them Jesus addressed this parable.
“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought,
‘How many of my father’s hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”‘
So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
But his father ordered his servants,
‘Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.’
Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.’”
===================
We have all heard the story of the Prodigal Son many times. What can we learn from this story?
 
1) The younger son expected his father’s inheritance. The father willingly gives his inheritance to his son. In the same way, God the Father gives us many gifts, even when we do not deserve them.
 
2) The prodigal son thought he would find happiness in the things of this world. Do we seek happiness in the things of this world? In material things? In relationships? Only God can fulfill the deepest desires of our hearts.
 
3) After he realized his mistake, the prodigal son was afraid to go back to the Father. He thought his father would judge him and be very angry. We too are afraid to return to God the Father because we think He is going to judge us. How can God forgive me for the sins I have committed?
 
4) In great fear, the prodigal son returned to the Father. What is beautiful is that the Father was waiting for the son daily, hoping he would return. In the same way, God the Father is awaiting our return daily from our sinful ways. He cannot wait for us to come back to Him.
 
5) The Father does not judge his son, but he throws a party because his son was lost and now was found. In the same way, there is a party in heaven when we repent from our sins. Scripture says, “There is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than for 99 who have no need of God’s mercy.” (Luke 15:7)
 
6) The older son became jealous of the attention that his father was giving his brother. And yet, the Father said to him, “My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours.” We too may be jealous of God’s generosity to others. But God loves us more than we can possibly imagine. He offers us His grace and love in abundance every moment of every day. Do I allow myself to rejoice in God’s love for me right now? Or am I jealous of how generous God is with others, even when they do not deserve it?
 
Do expect things from God that do not really belong to you?
 
Have you ever felt sinned so strongly that you felt that God could not forgive you?
 
Have you experienced the infinite mercy of God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
 
Have you felt like the older brother, jealous that God is so generous with those who seemingly do not deserve His love and mercy?
 
Let us take time this weekend in silent prayer to thank God for His mercy and love that is beyond our understanding.
 
God bless,
Fr. Burke
Posted by: frburke23 | March 16, 2017

Thought for Friday, 2nd Week of Lent (March 17, 2017)

Thought for Friday, 2nd Week of Lent (March 17, 2017)
 
GENESIS 37:3-4, 12-13A, 17B-28A
Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons,
for he was the child of his old age;
and he had made him a long tunic.
When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons,
they hated him so much that they would not even greet him.
 
One day, when his brothers had gone
to pasture their father’s flocks at Shechem,
Israel said to Joseph,
“Your brothers, you know, are tending our flocks at Shechem.
Get ready; I will send you to them.”
 
So Joseph went after his brothers and caught up with them in Dothan.
They noticed him from a distance,
and before he came up to them, they plotted to kill him.
They said to one another: “Here comes that master dreamer!
Come on, let us kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns here;
we could say that a wild beast devoured him.
We shall then see what comes of his dreams.”
 
When Reuben heard this,
he tried to save him from their hands, saying,
“We must not take his life.
Instead of shedding blood,” he continued,
“just throw him into that cistern there in the desert;
but do not kill him outright.”
His purpose was to rescue him from their hands
and return him to his father.
So when Joseph came up to them,
they stripped him of the long tunic he had on;
then they took him and threw him into the cistern,
which was empty and dry.
 
They then sat down to their meal.
Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead,
their camels laden with gum, balm and resin
to be taken down to Egypt.
Judah said to his brothers:
“What is to be gained by killing our brother and concealing his blood?
Rather, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites,
instead of doing away with him ourselves.
After all, he is our brother, our own flesh.”
His brothers agreed.
They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.
============================
The Diocese of Joliet is looking for college-age women who are interested in teaching for our Totus Tuus program this summer. This is a great opportunity to fall deeper in love with Jesus, to share your faith with the young people of our diocese, and to make some money. The women do not need to be from the Diocese of Joliet. For more information, please go to http://www.dioceseofjoliet.org/ttjoliet/.
 
Today we have the famous story of Joseph and his brothers. You may have seen the popular Broadway play “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” based on this story. There are many twists and turns to the story – jealousy, betrayal, forgiveness, love and mercy.
 
Israel (also known as Jacob) had twelve sons who formed the twelve tribes of Israel. He loved Joseph, the baby brother, more than the others because “he was the child of his old age”. His brothers were jealous of Joseph for the special treatment he received from their father. So one day they plotted to kill Joseph. However, Reuben stepped in and saved Joseph’s life. Instead of killing him, they sold him into slavery to the Ishmaelites, who in turn took Joseph to Egypt.
 
Joseph’s brothers were not grounded in their identity as beloved sons of Israel, so they sought to kill their brother. They thought that if they could kill their brother, they would feel better. The same is true for us. When we are not grounded in our identity as beloved children of God the Father, we try to hurt others so that we can feel better about ourselves.
 
Eventually, Joseph worked his way up to be second in command to the pharaoh in Egypt because of his ability to interpret dreams. A drought hit Israel and ironically Joseph’s brothers went to Egypt to get some food because they were starving. Little did they realize that they would have to ask their brother for the food, the same brother they sold into slavery.
 
Joseph had the power to take revenge on his brothers, but he forgave them and showed them mercy. Joseph gave them the food that they needed to survive. What would I do in this situation? Joseph is an Old Testament figure of Jesus. Jesus also was betrayed and killed because of jealousy. However, He forgave those who had Him crucified and He saved the world through His passion, death and resurrection. Jesus feeds all of us with His Body and Blood in the Eucharist. Also, Judas was sold for 20 pieces of silver; Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
 
Have I ever felt betrayed by those who were jealous of me?
Do I hold a grudge or do I offer them mercy and forgiveness?
Do I seek vengeance or do I leave justice in the hands of God?
Can I forgive those who have wronged me?
 
Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke
 
Here is the Spanish translation:
 
GENESIS 37:3-4, 12-13, 17-28
Jacob amaba a José más que a todos sus demás hijos, porque lo había engendrado en la ancianidad. A él le había hecho una túnica de amplias mangas. Sus hermanos, viendo que lo amaba más que a todos ellos, llegaron a odiarlo, al grado de negarle la palabra.
 
Un día en que los hermanos de José llevaron a Siquem los rebaños de su padre, Jacob le dijo a José: “Tus hermanos apacientan mis rebaños en Siquem. Te voy a enviar allá”. José fue entonces en busca de sus hermanos y los encontró en Dotán. Ellos lo vieron de lejos, y antes de que se les acercara, conspiraron contra él para matarlo y se decían unos a otros: “Ahí viene ese soñador. Démosle muerte; lo arrojaremos en un pozo y diremos que una fiera lo devoró. Vamos a ver de qué le sirven sus sueños”.
 
Rubén oyó esto y trató de liberarlo de manos de sus hermanos, diciendo: “No le quiten la vida, ni derramen su sangre. Mejor arrójenlo en ese pozo que está en el desierto y no se manchen las manos”. Eso lo decía para salvar a José y devolverlo a su padre.
 
Cuando llegó José a donde estaban sus hermanos, éstos lo despojaron de su túnica y lo arrojaron a un pozo sin agua. Luego se sentaron a comer, y levantando los ojos, vieron a lo lejos una caravana de ismaelitas, que venían de Galaad, con los camellos cargados de especias, resinas, bálsamo y láudano, y se dirigían a Egipto. Judá dijo entonces a sus hermanos: “¿Qué ganamos con matar a nuestro hermano y ocultar su muerte? Vendámoslo a los ismaelitas y no mancharemos nuestras manos. Después de todo, es nuestro hermano y de nuestra misma sangre”. Y sus hermanos le hicieron caso. Sacaron a José del pozo y se lo vendieron a los mercaderes por veinticinco monedas de plata. Los mercaderes se llevaron a José a Egipto.
========================
La Diócesis de Joliet está buscando a mujeres de edad universitaria que estén interesadas en enseñar para nuestro programa Totus Tuus este verano. Esta es una gran oportunidad para enamorarse más profundamente con Jesús, para compartir tu fe con los jóvenes de nuestra diócesis y ganar algo de dinero. Las mujeres no tienen que ser de la Diócesis de Joliet. Para más información, por favor vaya a http://www.dioceseofjoliet.org/ttjoliet/.
 
Hoy tenemos la famosa historia de José y sus hermanos. Probablemente has visto la obra popular de Broadway “José el Soñador / Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat “, basada en esta historia. Hay muchos giros y vueltas en la historia – celos, traición, perdón, amor y misericordia.
 
Israel (también conocido como Jacob) tenía doce hijos que formaron las doce tribus de Israel. Él amaba a José, el hermano menor, más que a los demás porque “lo había engendrado en la ancianidad”. Sus hermanos estaban celosos de José por el trato especial que recibió de su padre. Así que un día conspiraron para matar a José. Sin embargo, Rubén intervino y salvó la vida de José. En lugar de matarlo, lo vendieron como esclavo a los ismaelitas, quienes a su vez llevaron a José a Egipto.
 
Los hermanos de José no estaban fundamentados en su identidad como hijos amados de Israel, por lo que trataron de matar a su hermano. Pensaban que, si podían matar a su hermano, se sentirían mejor. Lo mismo ocurre con nosotros. Cuando no estamos fundamentados en nuestra identidad como hijos amados de Dios Padre, tratamos de lastimar a otros para que podamos sentirnos mejor con nosotros mismos.
 
Eventualmente, José trabajó hasta ser el segundo al mando del faraón en Egipto debido a su habilidad para interpretar sueños. Una sequía golpeó a Israel e irónicamente los hermanos de José fueron a Egipto para obtener algo de comida porque se estaban muriendo de hambre. Poco se dieron cuenta de que tendrían que pedirle a su hermano comida, el mismo hermano al que ellos vendieron a la esclavitud.
 
José tenía el poder para vengarse de sus hermanos, Pero él los perdonó y les mostró misericordia. José les dio la comida que necesitaban para sobrevivir. ¿Qué haría yo en esta situación? José es una figura de Jesús del Antiguo Testamento. Jesús también fue traicionado y matado por celos. Sin embargo, perdonó a aquellos que lo habían crucificado y salvó al mundo a través de Su pasión, muerte y resurrección. Jesús nos alimenta a todos con Su Cuerpo y Sangre en la Eucaristía. Vendieron a José por veinticinco monedas de plata y a Jesús por treinta monedas de plata.
 
¿Alguna vez me he sentido traicionado por aquellos que estaban celosos de mí?
¿Guardo rencor o les ofrezco la misericordia y el perdón?
¿Busco venganza o dejo la justicia en manos de Dios?
¿Puedo perdonar a aquellos que me han ofendido?
 
¡Que tengas un día bendecido!
Padre Burke
Posted by: frburke23 | March 15, 2017

Thought for Thursday, 2nd Week of Lent (March 16, 2017)

Thought for Thursday, 2nd Week of Lent (March 16, 2017)
 
Jeremiah 17:5-10
 
Thus says the LORD:
Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings,
who seeks his strength in flesh,
whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He is like a barren bush in the desert
that enjoys no change of season,
But stands in a lava waste,
a salt and empty earth.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose hope is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted beside the waters
that stretches out its roots to the stream:
It fears not the heat when it comes,
its leaves stay green;
In the year of drought it shows no distress,
but still bears fruit.
More tortuous than all else is the human heart,
beyond remedy; who can understand it?
I, the LORD, alone probe the mind
and test the heart,
To reward everyone according to his ways,
according to the merit of his deeds.
==============================
Today, during our spiritual spring training, we focus on trusting God. In whom do I put my trust? Our coins say, “In God we trust.” However, it is obvious that as a country we do not trust God with everything. We trust in ourselves, in the strength of our human minds and our human flesh. Jeremiah says, “Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the Lord.”
 
When we trust in human beings, we are like a “bush in the desert” as we stand in “lava waste”. I don’t know about you, neither of those images sounds inviting to me.
 
On the other hand, the one who places his hope and trust in the Lord is like “a tree planted beside the waters…. It fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green.” When we stay close to the Lord in prayer, study, and the Sacraments, we are connected to the vine. “I am the vine and you are the branches. Without me you can do nothing,” Jesus tells us. (John 15:5)
 
Think about our physical bodies. If we ate junk food all day what would happen to our bodies? It would begin to fall apart and die. The same is true for our souls. If we feed our soul with junk food (distasteful TV and internet, less-than-helpful books, pornography, gossip, grudges, etc.), our soul withers away and dies.
 
As I said recently, “Loneliness is God’s invitation to intimacy with Him.” It is our soul crying out for God. What or whom do I turn to when I’m lonely? God awaits us patiently. He doesn’t force Himself upon us. But He is the answer to all our questions, all our ills, and all our longings. He just wants us to turn to Him in faith, hope and trust.
 
Am I a bush in the desert?
Am I standing in lava waste?
Or am I a tree planted beside the flowing waters of God’s grace?
Do I stay connected to the Vine to receive His grace?
Peace,
Fr. Burke
 
Here is the Spanish translation:
 
Jeremias 17:5-10
Así dice el SEÑOR:
Maldito el hombre que confía en el ser humano,
que busca su fuerza en la carne,
cuyo corazón se aparta del SEÑOR.
Él es como un arbusto estéril en el desierto
que goza de ningún cambio de estación,
Pero se encuentra en residuos de lava,
sal y tierra vacía.
Bendito el hombre que confía en el SEÑOR,
cuya confianza es el SEÑOR.
Él es como un árbol plantado junto a las aguas
que extiende sus raíces a la corriente:
No teme el calor cuando viene,
sus hojas permanecen verdes;
En el año de sequía no se angustia,
pero aún así da fruto.
Más tortuoso que todo lo demás es el corazón humano,
sin remedio, ¿quién puede entenderlo?
Yo, el SEÑOR, sondeo solo la mente
y pongo a prueba el corazón,
Para recompensar a cada uno según sus caminos,
de acuerdo con el mérito de sus obras.
===========================
Hoy, en nuestro entrenamiento de la primavera, nos enfocamos en confiar en Dios. ¿En quién pongo mi confianza? Nuestras monedas dicen: “En Dios confiamos”. Sin embargo, es obvio que como país no confiamos en Dios con todo. Confiamos en nosotros mismos, en la fuerza de nuestras mentes humanas y nuestra carne humana. Jeremías dice: “Maldito el hombre que confía en el ser humano, que busca su fuerza en la carne, cuyo corazón se aparta del Señor.”
 
Cuando confiamos en los seres humanos, somos como un “arbusto en el desierto”, mientras estamos en “residuos de lava”. Yo no sé ustedes, ninguna de esas imágenes suenan incitantes para mí.
 
Por otro lado, el que pone su esperanza y confianza en el Señor es como “un árbol plantado junto a las aguas…. No teme el calor cuando viene, sus hojas permanecen verdes.” Cuando nos mantenemos cerca del Señor en la oración, el estudio, los sacramentos, estamos conectados a la vid. “Yo soy la vid y ustedes son las ramas. Sin mí no pueden hacer nada “, nos dice Jesús.
 
Piensen en nuestros cuerpos físicos. Si comimos comida chatarra todo el día, ¿Que le pasaría a nuestros cuerpos? Comenzarían a deshacerse y mueren. Lo mismo es cierto para nuestras almas. Si alimentamos nuestra alma con comida chatarra (Televisión desagradable e Internet, libros menos que útiles, pornografía, chismes, rencores, etc.), nuestra alma se marchita y muere.
 
Como dije recientemente, “La soledad es la invitación de Dios a la intimidad con él.” Es nuestra alma clamando por Dios. ¿A qué o a quién recurro cuando estoy solo? Dios nos espera pacientemente. Él no se obliga a sí mismo sobre nosotros. Pero Él es la respuesta a todas nuestras preguntas, todos nuestros males, todos nuestros anhelos. Él sólo quiere que volvamos a Él en la fe, esperanza y confianza.
 
¿Soy un arbusto en el desierto?
¿Estoy parado en residuos de lava?
¿O soy un árbol plantado junto a las aguas que fluyen de la gracia de Dios?
¿Me mantengo conectado a la vid con el fin de recibir Su gracia?
 
Paz,
Fr. Burke
Posted by: frburke23 | March 14, 2017

Thought for Wednesday, 2nd Week of Lent (March 15, 2017)

Thought for Wednesday, 2nd Week of Lent (March 15, 2017)
 
MATTHEW 20:17-28
As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem,
he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves,
and said to them on the way,
“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem,
and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests
and the scribes,
and they will condemn him to death,
and hand him over to the Gentiles
to be mocked and scourged and crucified,
and he will be raised on the third day.”
 
Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons
and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.
He said to her, “What do you wish?”
She answered him,
“Command that these two sons of mine sit,
one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.”
Jesus said in reply,
“You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”
They said to him, “We can.”
He replied,
“My chalice you will indeed drink,
but to sit at my right and at my left,
this is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
When the ten heard this,
they became indignant at the two brothers.
But Jesus summoned them and said,
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,
and the great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.
Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.
========================
I will be offering a parish mission starting this Sunday at St. Raphael Parish in Naperville, IL. The theme of the mission is “Becoming a Joyful Disciple of Jesus.” If you are in the area, please stop by for one or more of the evenings:
Sunday, March 19, 2017 – 5pm
Monday, March 20, 2017 – 7pm
Tuesday, March 21, 2017 – 7pm
 
Today’s fundamental in our spiritual spring training is self-sacrificial love. This is one of the hardest fundamentals to achieve, but it is the most rewarding, in my opinion. When we learn how to give of ourselves completely to follow the will of our Father, as Jesus did, we find our true vocation, we find our true identity, and we have a sense of fulfillment, peace and joy that nothing in this world can give us.
 
Jesus pulled the apostles aside to tell them what was going to happen in Jerusalem. He was trying to prepare them for His passion and death so that they could remain faithful until the resurrection. But they didn’t really understand what He was trying to tell them. They didn’t realize what Jesus meant by being “raised on the third day” until they saw Jesus alive after the resurrection.
 
We see how oblivious some were to Jesus’s message as the mother of James and John spoke to Jesus. She was only thinking about power. She wanted her two sons to have the most powerful seats in the kingdom on the right and left of Jesus. We see this today, do we not? Some of us seek power, honor, pleasure and wealth, thinking these things will make us happy. We miss Jesus’ message of sacrificial love, servant leadership, the cross and humility. You can just imagine Jesus thinking, “Wow, you still don’t understand.”
 
Jesus tells them that He does not have the power to place anyone at His right or left, but they must drink from the chalice that Jesus offered. What is this chalice? It is the chalice of His blood – one of self-offering, self-surrender, obedience to the Father, suffering and unconditional love. If you want to be great in the Kingdom, you must serve one another, not lord it over them. We find our life when we give it away as Jesus did.
 
Questions for reflection:
1) Am I willing to drink from the chalice Jesus offers me? Am I willing to give everything, even my last drop of blood, for Him? Do I embrace my crosses as a way to unite myself with Jesus?
 
2) Am I seeking power, honor, pleasure or wealth, allowing my pride and ego to control me? Or do I seek opportunities to serve in humility, without expecting anything in return? Do I serve my neighbor hoping to go unnoticed?
 
3) When I drink from the chalice at Mass, do I understand what this means? Do I meditate on Jesus’s love for me? Am I willing to lay down my life for others?
 
Take time today to practice this fundamental in the Christian life. Serve others. Seek no attention. Check your ego at the door and love with humility. Give your life away for the sake of Jesus and you will find it.
 
Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke
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Here is the Spanish translation:
 
MATEO 20:17-28
 
En aquel tiempo, mientras iba de camino a Jerusalén, Jesús llamó aparte a los Doce y les dijo: “Ya vamos camino de Jerusalén y el Hijo del hombre va a ser entregado a los sumos sacerdotes y a los escribas, que lo condenarán a muerte y lo entregarán a los paganos para que se burlen de él, lo azoten y lo crucifiquen; pero al tercer día, resucitará”.
Entonces se acercó a Jesús la madre de los hijos de Zebedeo, junto con ellos, y se postró para hacerle una petición. Él le preguntó: “¿Qué deseas?” Ella respondió: “Concédeme que estos dos hijos míos se sienten, uno a tu derecha y el otro a tu izquierda, en tu Reino”. Pero Jesús replicó: “No saben ustedes lo que piden. ¿Podrán beber el cáliz que yo he de beber?” Ellos contestaron: “Sí podemos”. Y él les dijo: “Beberán mi cáliz; pero eso de sentarse a mi derecha o a mi izquierda no me toca a mí concederlo; es para quien mi Padre lo tiene reservado”.
Al oír aquello, los otros diez discípulos se indignaron contra los dos hermanos. Pero Jesús los llamó y les dijo: “Ya saben que los jefes de los pueblos los tiranizan y que los grandes los oprimen. Que no sea así entre ustedes. El que quiera ser grande entre ustedes, que sea el que los sirva, y el que quiera ser primero, que sea su esclavo; así como el Hijo del hombre no ha venido a ser servido, sino a servir y a dar la vida por la redención de todos”.
=============================
Estaré ofreciendo una misión parroquial a partir de este domingo en la parroquia St. Raphael en Naperville, IL. El tema de la misión es “Convertirse en un Discípulo Gozoso de Jesús”. Si estás en el área, por favor pasa para una o más de las tardes:
Domingo, 19 de marzo del 2017 – 5pm
Lunes, 20 de marzo del 2017 – 7pm
Martes, 21 de marzo del 2017 – 7pm
 
Lo fundamental hoy día en nuestro entrenamiento espiritual de primavera es el amor auto-sacrificial. Este es uno de los fundamentos más difícil de lograr, pero es el más gratificante, en mi opinión. Cuando aprendemos cómo dar de nosotros completamente para seguir la voluntad de nuestro Padre, como lo hizo Jesús, encontramos nuestra verdadera vocación, encontramos nuestra verdadera identidad, y tenemos una sensación de plenitud, paz y alegría que nada en este mundo puede darnos.
 
Jesús apartó a los apóstoles para decirles lo que iba a suceder en Jerusalén. Él estaba tratando de prepararlos para Su pasión y muerte para que ellos pudieran permanecer fieles hasta la resurrección. Pero ellos no entendían realmente lo que estaba tratando de decirles. No se dieron cuenta de lo que Jesús quiso decir con ser “resucitado al tercer día” hasta que vieron a Jesús vivo después de la resurrección.
 
Vemos lo inconscientes que algunos fueron al mensaje de Jesús como la madre de Santiago y Juan le habló a Jesús. Ella solo estaba pensando en el poder. Ella quería que sus dos hijos tuvieran los asientos más poderosos en el Reino a la derecha e izquierda de Jesús. Vemos esto hoy en día, ¿o no? Algunos de nosotros buscamos poder, honor, placer y riqueza, pensando que estas cosas nos harán felices. Echamos de menos el mensaje de Jesús de amor sacrificial, liderazgo de servicio, la cruz y la humildad. Solo puedes imaginar a Jesús pensando, “Wow, todavía no entienden.”
 
Jesús les dice que Él no tiene el poder para poner a nadie a Su derecha o izquierda, pero deben beber del cáliz que Jesús ofreció. ¿Qué es este cáliz? Es el cáliz de Su sangre – uno de auto-entrega, obediencia al Padre, sufrimiento y amor incondicional. Si quieren ser grandes en el Reino, deben servirse unos a otros, no dominarse. Encontramos nuestra vida cuando la entregamos como lo hizo Jesús.
 
Preguntas para reflexión:
1) ¿Estoy dispuesto a beber del cáliz que Jesús me ofrece? ¿Estoy dispuesto a darlo todo, incluso hasta mi última gota de sangre, por Él? ¿Abrazo mis cruces como una forma de unirme con Jesús?
 
2) ¿Estoy buscando poder, honor, placer o riqueza, permitiendo que mi orgullo y ego me controlen? ¿O busco oportunidades para servir con humildad, sin esperar nada a cambio? ¿Sirvo a mi prójimo esperando pasar desapercibido?
 
3) Cuando bebo del cáliz en Misa, ¿entiendo lo que esto significa? ¿Medito sobre el amor de Jesús por mí? ¿Estoy dispuesto a dar mi vida por los demás?
 
Toma tiempo hoy para practicar este fundamento en la vida cristiana. Sirve a los demás. No busques atención. Revisa tu ego en la puerta y ama con humildad. Da tu vida por el bien de Jesús y la encontrarás.
 
¡Que tengas un día bendecido!
Padre Burke
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Posted by: frburke23 | March 13, 2017

Thought for Tuesday, 2nd Week of Lent (March 14, 2017)

Thought for Tuesday, 2nd Week of Lent (March 14, 2017)
 
MATTHEW 23:1-12
Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,
“The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice.
They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry
and lay them on people’s shoulders,
but they will not lift a finger to move them.
All their works are performed to be seen.
They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,
greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’
As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called ‘Master’;
you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
=======================
The Church invites us to practice integrity today as our fundamental for our spiritual spring. There are many definitions of integrity, but I would define it as a quality of practicing what you preach. A person of integrity is honest, has strong moral principles and keeps his/her word. Another definition is “a state of being whole and undivided”. Do I say one thing and do another or do my actions and words match? Does my public image and life match with what I do privately?
 
Jesus respects the position of the scribes and Pharisees. He encouraged the people to observe their teachings because they held places of religious authority. But Jesus also taught His disciples not to follow the poor example of the religious leaders because they didn’t practice what they preached. They did everything to be seen, but their hearts were empty. These leaders were not people of integrity.
 
It was interesting on our pilgrimage to the Holy Land, we saw faithful Jews praying with phylacteries (little boxes with Scripture quotes in them) and tassels (reminder of their religious obligations and the Exodus from Egypt). Jesus warned the religious leaders not to widen their phylacteries or lengthen the tassels to be seen. It is not about external observance. We must be careful about this as well. Do I go through the external practices of my faith while my heart is far from the Lord?
 
There is much that we can learn from this reading. As a religious leader in the Church, this reading calls me to deeper holiness, humility and integrity. I pray to God that I am not a leader who teaches one thing and practices another. Certainly, I am a sinner, but this reading calls me to fall to my knees and beg for God’s grace and mercy to be a faithful follower before I can be an effective leader. The best leaders have first learned how to be faithful followers. In the same way, the best fathers/mothers have learned how to be faithful sons/daughters.
 
I find it funny that Jesus tells them not to call anyone “father” or “Master”. My name is Father Masters. My dear grandmother, who was not Catholic, pointed this Scripture out to me when I was feeling the call to priesthood. I think what Jesus is saying is that all leaders are called to be humble servants. If we allow our position of authority and our titles to lord our power over others, we are mistaken. Our authority must come from the cross, the greatest sign of humility, and our complete trust in Christ. We are called to serve and not to be served.
 
Am I living a life of integrity?
Do I lead a double life – one in the public eye and another in my private life?
Do I ask others to do things that I am unwilling to do?
 
Jesus calls us to humble service and to lay down our lives for others. He showed us the way. The King of the Universe washed the feet of His followers. The Creator of the World willingly laid down His life on the cross for you and for me. God will exalt all who humble themselves before His majesty.
 
Lord, help us to be people of integrity. If I am leading a double life or if my heart is divided, help me to change. Transform my life so completely that all my words and actions give you alone honor and glory.
 
God bless,
Fr. Burke
 
Here is the Spanish translation:
 
MATEO 23:1-12
En aquel tiempo, Jesús dijo a las multitudes y a sus discípulos:
“En la cátedra de Moisés se han sentado los escribas y fariseos. Hagan, pues, todo lo que les digan, pero no imiten sus obras, porque dicen una cosa y hacen otra. Hacen fardos muy pesados y difíciles de llevar y los echan sobre las espaldas de los hombres, pero ellos ni con el dedo los quieren mover. Todo lo hacen para que los vea la gente. Ensanchan las filacterias y las franjas del manto; les agrada ocupar los primeros lugares en los banquetes y los asientos de honor en las sinagogas; les gusta que los saluden en las plazas y que la gente los llame ‘maestros’.
Ustedes, en cambio, no dejen que los llamen ‘maestros’, porque no tienen más que un Maestro y todos ustedes son hermanos. A ningún hombre sobre la tierra lo llamen ‘padre’, porque el Padre de ustedes es sólo el Padre celestial. No se dejen llamar ‘guías’, porque el guía de ustedes es solamente Cristo. Que el mayor de entre ustedes sea su servidor, porque el que se enaltece será humillado y el que se humilla será enaltecido”.
======================
La Iglesia hoy nos invita a practicar la integridad como nuestro fundamento para nuestra primavera espiritual. Hay muchas definiciones de integridad, pero yo lo definiría como una cualidad de practicar lo que predicas. Una persona íntegra es honesta, tiene fuertes principios morales y mantiene su palabra. Otra definición es “un estado de ser completo e íntegro”. ¿Digo una cosa y hago otra, o mis palabras y acciones coinciden? ¿Mi vida y mi imagen pública coinciden con lo que hago en privado?
 
Jesús respeta la posición de los escribas y fariseos. Él animó a la gente a observar sus enseñanzas porque tenían lugares de autoridad religiosa. Pero Jesús también les enseñó a Sus discípulos a no seguir el mal ejemplo de los líderes religiosos porque ellos no practicaban lo que predicaban. Ellos hacían todo para ser vistos, pero sus corazones estaban vacíos. Estos líderes no eran personas de integridad.
 
Fue interesante en nuestro peregrinaje a la Tierra Santa, vimos a fieles judíos orando con filacterias (pequeñas cajas con citas bíblicas en ellas) y borlas (recordatorio de sus obligaciones religiosas y el Éxodo de Egipto). Jesús advirtió a los líderes religiosos que no ensancharan sus filacterias ni alargaran las borlas para ser vistas. No se trata de observancia externa. Debemos tener cuidado con esto también. ¿Paso por las prácticas externas de mi fe mientras mi corazón está lejos del Señor?
 
Hay mucho que podemos aprender de esta lectura. Como un líder religioso en la Iglesia, esta lectura me llama a una santidad, humildad e integridad más profunda. Ruego a Dios para que yo no sea un líder que enseña una cosa y practica otra. Ciertamente soy un pecador, pero esta lectura me llama a que caiga de rodillas y ruegue por la gracia y la misericordia de Dios para ser un seguidor fiel antes de ser un líder eficaz. Los mejores líderes primero han aprendido a ser seguidores fieles. De la misma manera, los mejores padres / madres han aprendido a ser hijos / hijas fieles.
 
Me parece gracioso que Jesús les diga que no llamen a nadie “padre” o “Maestro”. Mi nombre es Padre Masters (Padre Maestro). Mi querida abuela, que no era católica, me señaló esta Escritura cuando estaba sintiendo el llamado al sacerdocio. Creo que lo que Jesús está diciendo es que todos los líderes son llamados a ser siervos humildes. Si permitimos que nuestra posición de autoridad y nuestros títulos dominen nuestro poder sobre los demás, estamos equivocados. Nuestra autoridad debe venir de la cruz, el mayor signo de humildad, y nuestra plena confianza en Cristo. Estamos llamados a servir y no a ser servidos.
 
¿Estoy viviendo una vida íntegra?
¿Dirijo una doble vida – una al ojo público y otra en mi vida privada?
¿Le pido a otros a hacer cosas que yo no estoy dispuesto a hacer?
 
Jesús nos llama al servicio humilde y a dar la vida por los demás. Él nos mostró el camino. El Rey del Universo lavó los pies de Sus seguidores. El Creador del Mundo voluntariamente dio Su vida en la cruz por mí y por ti. Dios exaltará a todos los que se humillen ante Su majestad.
 
Señor, ayúdanos a ser personas íntegras. Si estoy dirigiendo una doble vida o si mi corazón está dividido, ayúdame a cambiar. Transforma mi vida tan completamente que todas mis palabras y acciones te den solo a ti honor y gloria.
 
Dios te bendiga,
Padre Burke

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