Posted by: frburke23 | November 29, 2015

Thought for 1st Sunday in Advent

LUKE 21:25-28, 34-36

Jesus said to his disciples:
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Happy New Year! We begin the beautiful season of Advent today and the readings are quite surprising. You would think that they would talk about the child about to be born in Bethlehem. Jeremiah writes from prison during the Babylonian attacks on Jerusalem. Despite the calamities that have come upon Jerusalem, Jeremiah reminds them of the promises of God. A savior shall come from David’s line and safety and security will return to the land. This seemed like an impossibility when it was written.

Then in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus points us to some horrific signs that will cause people to “die of fright”. Like Jeremiah, Jesus tells the people to not be afraid. “Stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” In other words, Jesus promises to be with us until the end of time and no matter how difficult things appear, do not lose hope. It is in these most difficult times that our redemption is close at hand.

At the same time, Jesus calls us to be ready for His coming. “Beware…be vigilant at all times and pray….” God is going to come as He promised to redeem the faithful. We must “pray that you have the strength to …stand before the Son of Man.”

The readings this weekend give me great hope that even as ISIS seems to be gaining ground, we must keep our eyes focused on Jesus. We should not despair nor lose hope; Jesus has won the victory. At the same time, it is a call for us to grow in personal holiness and to come together as a people of God to take a stand. We should not allow ourselves to be carried away by our culture, but we should effect changes in our culture for Christ.

Do you lose hope when you read the newspaper or watch the news?
Where do you find your hope in the middle of trials and tribulations?
Am I vigilant in my spiritual life so that I am not surprised when the Lord comes for me?
How do I effect changes in my environment for Christ?
Or I am being carried away by the culture?

Make a fresh start this Advent. Make a change starting with yourself. Prepare your heart this Advent for Jesus. And join forces with other disciples to make a change in our culture. Do not lose hope! Do not be afraid! The Lord is at hand.

Have a blessed Sunday!
Fr. Burke

Posted by: frburke23 | November 28, 2015

Thought for Saturday, 34th Week in Ordinary Time

LUKE 21:34-36
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Today is new year’s eve in the Catholic Church. Tomorrow begins Advent and the new liturgical year. As we end the current liturgical year today, the Church wants us to focus one more time on being prepared for the coming of Jesus.

May we take these words to heart from Jesus: “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life… Be vigilant at all times….”

Do I allow the anxieties of life to distract me from what is most important? Do I focus on the material things and forget about heaven? Do I spend all day focused on the treasures of this earth while my spiritual life is relegated to maybe one hour on Sunday?

I am saddened by the frenzy and violence around Black Friday. I only wish we had the same intensity and focus on our spiritual life as we have on buying the perfect gift. Black Friday is just a symptom of a culture that is anxious about many things that distract us from the true meaning of life. Can you imagine a Sunday when people are flocking to church early so that they can get a seat?

One day each one of us will “stand before the Son of Man”. This is something that is going to happen for each one of us. It could be today. It could be tomorrow. It might be 50 years from now. But it will happen. When I stand before the Lord that day what account will I give for my life?

How much did I love?
How did I care for the least of my brothers and sisters?
How generous was I with the gifts God gave me?
What can I start to change today in my life?

Tomorrow begins a new year for the Church. It is a new beginning. Make some spiritual resolutions for this new year that will help you focus on God, heaven and the things that really matter.

Have a blessed day and happy new year!
Fr. Burke

Spanish translation:

LUCAS 21:34-36
En aquel tiempo, Jesús dijo a sus discípulos: “Estén alerta, para que los vicios, la embriaguez y las preocupaciones de esta vida no entorpezcan su mente y aquel día los sorprenda desprevenidos; porque caerá de repente como una trampa sobre todos los habitantes de la tierra.

Velen, pues, y hagan oración continuamente, para que puedan escapar de todo lo que ha de suceder y comparecer seguros ante el Hijo del hombre”.
Hoy es la víspera de año nuevo en la Iglesia Católica. Mañana comienza el Adviento y el nuevo año litúrgico. Al terminar el año litúrgico hoy, la Iglesia quiere que nos concentremos una vez más en estar preparados para la venida de Jesús.

Que podamos tomar estas palabras de Jesús al corazón: “Estén alerta, para que los vicios, la embriaguez y las preocupaciones de esta vida… Velen en todo momento…”.

¿Permito que las preocupaciones de la vida me distraigan de lo que es más importante? ¿Me concentro en las cosas materiales y me olvido del cielo? ¿Me paso todo el día concentrado en los tesoros de la tierra, mientras que mi vida espiritual es relegada a quizá una hora el domingo?

Me entristece el delirio y la violencia en el Viernes Negro. Ojalá tuviéramos la misma intensidad y enfoque en nuestra vida espiritual como la tenemos en comprar el regalo perfecto. Viernes Negro es sólo un síntoma de una cultura que está ansiosa por muchas cosas que nos distraen del verdadero significado de la vida. ¿Puedes imaginarte un domingo, cuando la gente está acudiendo en masa temprano a la iglesia para que puedan conseguir un asiento?

Un día, cada uno de nosotros “compareceremos ante el Hijo del Hombre”. Esto es algo que le sucederá a cada uno de nosotros. Podría ser hoy. Podría ser mañana. Podría ser dentro de 50 años. Pero sucederá. Cuando ese día me presente ante el Señor que cuentas daré por mi vida?

¿Cuánto ame?
¿Cómo cuido del menor de mis hermanos y hermanas?
¿Qué tan generoso fui con los dones que Dios me dio?
¿Qué puedo empezar a cambiar hoy en mi vida?

Mañana comienza un nuevo año para la Iglesia. Es un nuevo comienzo. Haz algunas resoluciones espirituales para este nuevo año que te ayudará a enfocarte en Dios, el cielo y las cosas que realmente importan.

¡Tengan un día bendecido y feliz año nuevo!
Padre Burke

Posted by: frburke23 | November 26, 2015

Thought for Friday, 34th Week in Ordinary Time

LUKE 21:29-33
Jesus told his disciples a parable.
“Consider the fig tree and all the other trees.
When their buds burst open,
you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near;
in the same way, when you see these things happening,
know that the Kingdom of God is near.
Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away
until all these things have taken place.
Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not pass away.”

Please keep in prayer today our “WHO WILL FILL THESE SHOES?” event at our cathedral on Friday. It runs from 9am – 3pm. We have invited young men and their parents to come and learn more about the priesthood and see if the Lord is calling them to fill the shoes of our past and current priests. I would appreciate you surrounding us in prayer during this time. The day will include Mass, a SKYPE call with Bishop Conlon, Holy Hour, lunch and talks from priests, seminarians and parents of seminarians.

In the Gospel today Jesus is encouraging us to pay attention to the signs around us. We know that spring is in the air when the trees start to bloom. We know that winter is around the corner when the leaves and snow begin to fall. The Kingdom of God is among us also. Do we notice the signs around us?

As we come to the end of this liturgical year (Advent starts this weekend), we are called to reflect on the end times and our own mortality. The Lord invites us to trust in Him completely. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” God always fulfills His promises. He promised He would rise from the dead and He did it. He also promises us that if we stay close to Him and love as He loves (feeding the hungry, visiting the imprisoned, etc.), we too will rise with Him.

Do I trust Jesus completely?
Am I prepared if the Lord were to come for me today?
How am I preparing for the beginning of Advent?

Have a blessed day,
Fr. Burke

Posted by: frburke23 | November 26, 2015

Thought for Thanksgiving Day

LUKE 17:11-19
As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten persons with leprosy met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying,
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
And when he saw them, he said,
“Go show yourselves to the priests.”
As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
“Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you.”
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families and friends. May we truly make this a day in which we stop and reflect on all the blessings the Lord has showered down upon us. We may be carrying some heavy crosses as well, but we also give thanks to God for helping us carry the crosses with us.

Today in this passage, Jesus heals 10 lepers and only one returns to give thanks. Doesn’t that happen often in our lives? God blesses us, heals us, inspires us – and we just go on about our lives without stopping to give thanks.

I have heard people ask the question, “Why do I have to go to Church? I don’t get anything out of it.” This is our consumerist culture speaking loudly. We approach everything, even relationships, with the thought that we have to get something out of it. We think it is all about us.

But my question in return is always, “What do you bring to Mass? Do you have nothing to give thanks for today?” The Eucharist means “thanksgiving”. Every time we gather together we are called to GIVE thanks. We are not called just to sit back and receive like we are watching a movie. Mass is not meant for entertainment, but for to worship God, to adore Him, to give Him thanks and to ask for blessings as well. But our culture has taught us to sit back passively and receive. And we judge like we are critics of a movie. Obviously there is a time in our spiritual lives where we are called to sit in silence and receive grace from the Lord. Mass is meant for both – to GIVE thanks and to RECEIVE grace.

In all of our relationships we are called to seek the best for the other person. We are not just called to receive from a relationship. Love is not selfish. We need to learn how to die to ourselves and live for others. And the irony is that when we truly give of ourselves completely to another, we receive so much more in return.

How do we learn to do give of ourselves?
1) Go to Mass regularly. When we celebrate how Jesus gave His body and blood for us on a regular basis, we begin to learn how to do the same for others.
2) Read the Scriptures. Study how Jesus lives His life. Learn how the Apostles encountered Jesus and also gave their life blood for Him and the Good News.
3) Be intentional. Examine your motivation. Is this act selfish or am I seeking the good of another person.
4) Reflect on your day. At the end of the day reflect on your interactions. Where did I act selfishly? Where did I encounter Christ today?

Have a blessed Thanksgiving. Don’t be one of the 9 lepers who just went about their lives without giving thanks to God. Life is not about us. Return to the ONE who loves you to give thanks every day.

Fr. Burke

Spanish translation

LUCAS 17:11-19
En aquel tiempo, cuando Jesús iba de camino a Jerusalén, pasó entre Samaria y Galilea. Estaba cerca de un pueblo, cuando le salieron al encuentro diez leprosos, los cuales se detuvieron a lo lejos y a gritos le decían: “Jesús, maestro, ten compasión de nosotros”.

Al verlos, Jesús les dijo: “Vayan a presentarse a los sacerdotes”. Mientras iban de camino, quedaron limpios de la lepra.

Uno de ellos, al ver que estaba curado, regresó, alabando a Dios en voz alta, se postró a los pies de Jesús y le dio las gracias. Ése era un samaritano. Entonces dijo Jesús: “¿No eran diez los que quedaron limpios? ¿Dónde están los otros nueve? ¿No ha habido nadie, fuera de este extranjero, que volviera para dar gloria a Dios?” Después le dijo al samaritano: “Levántate y vete. Tu fe te ha salvado”.
Feliz Día de Acción de Gracias a ustedes y sus familias y amigos. Que podamos realmente hacer de este un día en el que nos detengamos a reflexionar sobre todas las bendiciones que el Señor ha derramado sobre nosotros. Puede que también estemos llevando cruces pesadas, pero también damos gracias a Dios por ayudarnos a cargar las cruces con nosotros.

Hoy en este pasaje, Jesús sana a 10 leprosos y sólo uno regresa para dar gracias. ¿Acaso eso no sucede a menudo en nuestras vidas? Dios nos bendice, nos sana, nos inspira – y simplemente seguimos adelante con nuestras vidas sin detenernos para dar gracias.

He escuchado a gente hacer la pregunta: “¿Por qué tengo que ir a la iglesia? No consigo nada.” Esta es nuestra cultura consumista hablando en voz alta. Nos acercamos a todo, incluso a las relaciones, con la idea de que tenemos que conseguir algo. Creemos que todo es acerca de nosotros.

Pero mi pregunta a cambio siempre es, “¿Qué traes a misa? ¿No tienes nada para dar gracias hoy?” La Eucaristía significa “acción de gracias”. Cada vez que nos reunimos estamos llamados a DAR gracias. No estamos llamados para simplemente sentarnos y recibir como si estuviéramos viendo una película. La Misa no es para el entretenimiento, sino para alabar a Dios, adorarlo, darle gracias y pedir bendiciones también. Pero nuestra cultura nos ha enseñado a sentarnos pasivamente y recibir. Y juzgamos como si fuéramos críticos de una película. Obviamente hay un tiempo en nuestra vida espiritual en la que estamos llamados a sentarnos en silencio y recibir la gracia del Señor. La Misa es para ambas – para DAR gracias y para RECIBIR la gracia.

En todas nuestras relaciones, estamos llamados a buscar lo mejor para la otra persona. No sólo estamos llamados a recibir de una relación. El amor no es egoísta. Necesitamos aprender a como morir para nosotros mismos y vivir para los demás. Y la ironía es que cuando verdaderamente damos de nosotros mismos por completo a otro, recibimos mucho más a cambio.

¿Cómo aprendemos a dar de nosotros mismos?
1) Ve a misa regularmente. Cuando regularmente celebramos cómo Jesús dio Su cuerpo y sangre por nosotros, comenzamos a aprender cómo hacer lo mismo para los demás.
2) Leé las Escrituras. Estudia cómo Jesús vive Su vida. Aprende cómo los Apóstoles se encontraron con Jesús y también dieron su alma por Él y por la Buena Nueva.
3) Se intencional. Examina tu motivación. Es este acto egoísta o estoy buscando el bien de otra persona.
4) Reflexiona sobre tu día. Al final del día, reflexiona sobre tus interacciones. ¿Dónde actúe egoístamente? ¿Dónde encontré a Cristo hoy?

Que tengas un Día de Acción de Gracias bendecido. No seas uno de los 9 leprosos que siguieron adelante con sus vidas sin dar gracias a Dios. La vida no se trata de nosotros. Vuelve a AQUEL que te ama para darle gracias todos los días.

Padre Burke

Posted by: frburke23 | November 24, 2015

Thought for Wednesday, 34th Week in Ordinary Time

LUKE 21:12-19
Jesus said to the crowd:
“They will seize and persecute you,
they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons,
and they will have you led before kings and governors
because of my name.
It will lead to your giving testimony.
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents,
brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”
Jesus tells us in the Gospel today that His followers will suffer and be persecuted on account of His name. Some people have joked that Jesus was a terrible marketing director: “Follow me and you will be persecuted and brought to trial.” Who would sign up for this?

But Jesus also says, “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

We have become so politically correct in this country that we are afraid to even mention the name of Jesus in any public arena. It has become so ridiculous in some instances. We are called to be tolerant of others’ beliefs, yet when it comes to tolerance of Christians, often there is none.

It is a good thing that the Apostles were not afraid to say the name of Jesus publicly. Despite being beaten, publicly humiliated, they continued to spread the Gospel, even to their last drop of blood. All but St. John (who died of old age) died a martyr’s death. St. Paul was beaten, jailed and left for dead a few times. Yet nothing slowed him down.

I am not saying that we should hit the street corners tomorrow, nor should we convert by the sword. What I am saying is that we should not be ashamed to be Christians. Pray grace before meals at home and in restaurants. My good friend Mike Sweeney asked us to pray a decade of the rosary at our table in the middle of a public restaurant. Many people took notice that we were praying publicly. What is our biggest fear – to be labeled a “Jesus freak”? Embarrassment?

It is time for us to take a stand fellow Christians. Please do not go shopping on Thanksgiving Day. Allow families to stay together on this holiday. If we go shopping, other people have to work. It is a shame. We are not going to find fulfillment in a shopping cart. We can only find fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Spend time with your families. Thank God for the gifts He has blessed you with this year.

Following Jesus is not easy. He tells us that up front. We are going to be hated for our beliefs and persecution is happening around the world. But we should not lose hope. “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

How am I living my faith privately and publicly?
What are my fears to claim Jesus publicly?
What can we do as a family to strengthen our faith?

Happy Thanksgiving! Do not be afraid!

Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke

Here is the Spanish translation:

LUCAS 21:12-19
Jesús dijo a la multitud:
“Se van a aprovechar y los perseguirán,
los entregarán a las sinagogas y a las cárceles,
y ellos los llevarán ante reyes y gobernadores
a causa de mi nombre.
Esto llevará a dar su testimonio.
Recuerda, no están para preparar su defensa de antemano,
porque yo mismo les daré la sabiduría para hablar
que todos sus adversarios serán impotentes para resistir o refutar.
Incluso serán entregados por los padres,
hermanos, parientes y amigos,
y matarán a algunos de ustedes.
Y serán odiados por todos por causa de mi nombre,
pero ni un cabello de su cabeza será destruido.
Con su perseverancia salvarán sus vidas”.
Jesús nos dice en el Evangelio de hoy que Sus seguidores van a sufrir y serán perseguidos a causa de Su nombre. Algunas personas han bromeado que Jesús fue un director de mercadeo terrible: “Sígueme y serás perseguido y llevado a juicio.” ¿Quién se inscribiría para esto?

Pero Jesús también dice, “Por su perseverancia salvarán sus vidas.”

Nos hemos vuelto tan políticamente correctos en este país que tenemos miedo de incluso mencionar el nombre de Jesús en cualquier arena pública. Se ha vuelto tan ridículo en algunos casos. Estamos llamados a ser tolerantes con las creencias de los demás, sin embargo, cuando se trata de la tolerancia de los cristianos, a menudo no hay ninguna.

Es una cosa buena que los Apóstoles no tenían miedo de decir el nombre de Jesús públicamente. A pesar de haber sido golpeados, humillados públicamente, continuaron difundiendo el Evangelio, hasta su última gota de sangre. Todos, excepto San Juan (que murió de vejez) murió como un mártir. San Pablo fue golpeado, encarcelado y dejado por muerto un par de veces. Sin embargo, nada lo detuvo.

No estoy diciendo que deberíamos ir a las esquinas de las calles mañana, ni debemos convertirnos a espada. Lo que estoy diciendo es que no debemos avergonzarnos de ser cristianos. Oren gracia antes de las comidas en el hogar y en los restaurantes. Mi buen amigo Mike Sweeney nos pidió rezar un misterio del rosario en nuestra mesa en medio de un restaurante público. Muchas personas se dieron cuenta de que estábamos rezando públicamente. ¿Cuál es nuestro mayor temor – a ser etiquetado como un “anormal de Jesús”? ¿Vergüenza?

Es hora de que tomemos una postura de compañeros cristianos. Por favor, no vayan de compras el Día de Acción de Gracias. Permitan que las familias permanezcan juntas en este día festivo. Si vamos a las tiendas, otras personas tienen que trabajar. Es una pena. No vamos a encontrar plenitud en un carrito de compras. Sólo podemos encontrar la plenitud en Jesucristo. Pasen el día con sus familias. Dale gracias a Dios por las bendiciones que hemos recibido este año.

Seguir a Jesús no es fácil. Él no lo dice de frente. Vamos a ser odiados por nuestras creencias y la persecución está sucediendo alrededor del mundo. Pero no debemos perder la esperanza. “Por su perseverancia salvaran sus vidas.”

¿Cómo estoy viviendo mi fe privadamente y públicamente?
¿Cuáles son mis miedos para aclamar públicamente a Jesús?
¿Qué podemos hacer como familia para fortalecer nuestra fe?

¡Feliz Día de Acción Gracias! ¡No tengas miedo!
¡Tengan un día bendecido!
Fr. Burke

Posted by: frburke23 | November 24, 2015

Thought for Tuesday, 34th Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 21:5-11

While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here–
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
He answered,
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”
Isn’t this reading appropriate for the times that we are experiencing? In the last several years, we have seen wars, powerful earthquakes, tsunamis, plagues, famines, terrorist attacks and terrible human suffering. There have been people saying, “It is the end times.” Or…”The time has come.”

However, Jesus says that we don’t know the day or the hour. “Don’t be terrified.” Jesus’ message – “Do not be afraid” is very common. In fact, this appears in the Scriptures so often that it must be one of the most important messages from God to us!

Jesus is not saying, “Ah, don’t worry about it. Just keep living in sin.” NO! Jesus’ message was always, “Repent! Change your ways. Turn to the Lord.” We are not to be afraid of death or the end times if we are living with Jesus as the center of our lives. If we are living in His grace there is nothing to fear because “perfect love drives out all fear” (1 John 4:18)

The abundant life that Jesus calls us to is heaven, but we can begin living that life here on earth. Living in God’s grace is heaven on earth. I am a big fan of the Cursillo movement. Cursillo, which means a short course in Christianity, is a three-day retreat for adults. It actually is a big reason why I am a priest today. But a focus for Cursillo is learning how to live in God’s grace – a life of prayer, studying God’s word, living a life of virtue, frequenting the Sacraments, and putting God’s love into action. When we confess our sins regularly and live according God’s ways, life can be great joy here on earth. I have experience it and I have seen so many people’s hearts set on fire in this way.

My friends, if we repent from our sins and make the Lord the center of our lives, there is no reason to be afraid. At the same time, we should do all in our power to put an end to the violence and terrible human suffering due to AIDS, famine, world hunger and other plagues.

If the Lord were to come for you today, would you be ready? If not, today is the time to repent and change. If you are ready, then do not be afraid. Even if the world were to end tomorrow, we have nothing to fear if we are right with the Lord. Live life abundantly and share God’s love with all you meet.

Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke

Here is the Spanish translation:

LUCAS 21:5-11
Mientras que algunas personas hablaban de
como el templo estaba adornado de hermosas piedras preciosas y ofrendas votivas,
Jesús dijo: “Todo lo que ven aquí-
Los días vendrán en que no quedará
piedra sobre piedra que no sea derribada”.

Entonces le preguntaron:
“Maestro, ¿cuándo sucederá esto?
¿Y qué señal habrá cuando todas estas cosas estén a punto de suceder? ”
El respondió:
“Miren que no sean engañados,
porque muchos vendrán en mi nombre, diciendo:
Yo soy El”, y” ha llegado el momento. ”
¡No los sigan!
Cuando oigan hablar de guerras y revoluciones,
no estén aterrorizados, porque estas cosas deben suceder primero,
pero no será inmediatamente el final”.
Entonces él les dijo:
“Se levantará nación contra nación, y reino contra reino.
Habrá terremotos poderosos, hambrunas y plagas
de lugar en lugar;
y vistas impresionantes y señales poderosas vendrán del cielo”.
¿No es esta lectura apropiada para los tiempos que estamos viviendo? En los últimos años, hemos visto guerras, terremotos poderosos, tsunamis, plagas, hambrunas, ataques de terroristas y terrible sufrimiento humano. Ha habido gente que dice: “Es el fin de los tiempos.” O… “Ha llegado el momento.”

Sin embargo, Jesús dice que no sabremos el día ni la hora. “No se aterroricen.” El mensaje de Jesús – “No tengas miedo” es muy común. ¡De hecho, esto aparece en las Escrituras tan a menudo que debe ser uno de los mensajes más importantes de Dios para nosotros!

Jesús no está diciendo: “Ah, no te preocupes por eso. Solo sigue viviendo en pecado.” ¡NO! El mensaje de Jesús siempre fue: “¡Arrepiéntete! Cambia tus modos. Vuelve al Señor.” No hemos de tener miedo de la muerte o el fin de los tiempos si estamos viviendo con Jesús como el centro de nuestras vidas. Si estamos viviendo en Su gracia no hay nada que temer porque “el amor perfecto echa fuera todo temor” (1 Juan 4:18)

La vida abundante a la que Jesús nos llama es el cielo, pero podemos comenzar a vivir esa vida aquí en la tierra. Vivir en la gracia de Dios es el cielo en la tierra. Yo soy un gran aficionado del movimiento de Cursillos. Cursillo, que significa un curso corto en el Cristianismo, es un retiro de tres días para adultos. En realidad, es una gran razón por la que soy un sacerdote hoy día . Pero el enfoque de Cursillo es aprender cómo vivir en la gracia de Dios – una vida de oración, estudiando la Palabra de Dios, viviendo una vida de virtud, frecuentando los Sacramentos, y poniendo el amor de Dios en acción. Cuando confesamos nuestros pecados regularmente y vivir según los caminos de Dios, la vida puede ser una gran alegría aquí en la tierra. Yo lo he experimentado y he visto los corazones de tantas personas prendidos en fuego de esta manera.

Mis amigos, si nos arrepentimos de nuestros pecados y hacemos al Señor el centro de nuestras vidas, no hay razón para tener miedo. Al mismo tiempo, debemos hacer todo en nuestro poder para poner fin a la violencia y el terrible sufrimiento humano a causa del SIDA, la escasez, el hambre en el mundo y otras plagas.

Si el Señor viniera por ti hoy, ¿estarías listo? Si no es así, hoy es el tiempo para arrepentirse y cambiar. Si estás listo, entonces no tengas miedo. Incluso si el mundo fuera a terminar mañana, no tenemos nada que temer si estamos bien con el Señor. Vive la vida en abundancia y comparte el amor de Dios con todos los que encuentres.

¡Tengan un día bendecido!
Fr. Burke

Posted by: frburke23 | November 23, 2015

Thought for Monday, 34th Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 21:1-4

When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people
putting their offerings into the treasury
and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.
He said, “I tell you truly,
this poor widow put in more than all the rest;
for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”

This Gospel reading always makes me so grateful for the generosity of so many. Much of what we do in the Church depends on the generosity of others. For example, our vocation office will spend about $1.5 million this year educating our future priests. This would not be possible if it weren’t for the generosity of many people. There are people who give large sums and there are some like this poor widow who give small amounts, but a large percentage of their personal assets.

Rather than looking at how much we give, the Lord wants us to look at our spirit of generosity. Am I giving to the point where it is sacrificial? Matthew Kelly, in his book Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, says that one thing all dynamic Catholics have in common is generosity. He encourages us to take inventory of our financial giving. What percentage of my income do I give to the Church? The Bible encourages us to tithe (10% of our income). He says that we should increase our giving by 1% every year until we can give no more. Some people give away much more than 10% of their income. We must have a plan.

So many of us give from our excess like the wealthy people in the Gospel. They are proud of their donations, but it is a small fraction of what they earn.

The widow, however, gives everything she has – her whole livelihood. Jesus says, “…this poor widow put in more than all the rest…” The widow trusted in the Lord with everything that she had. Do we trust that God will care for us, His beloved children? He will never abandon us. He will not leave us wanting.

Let us take time today to reflect on this question. Do I trust in the Lord for my very sustenance? Or do I trust in myself? Could I be giving more of my time, talent and treasure to help those that are less fortunate? If everyone shared their wealth with those who were less fortunate, we would live in a different world. We would not have children dying of hunger around the world. We could help provide clean drinking water for millions of people. This is something that we take for granted in this country.

May we trust in God in every aspect of our lives. We cannot outdo God in generosity. The more we give ourselves away the more He blesses us. I have learned that the more generous I am, God gives me more to give away. Take time to look at your personal finances today. Make a plan of giving. Am I giving like the poor widow in this Gospel?

Fr. Burke

Spanish translation:

San Lucas 21,1-4.
Después, levantando los ojos, Jesús vio a unos ricos
que ponían sus ofrendas en el tesoro del Templo.
Vio también a una viuda de condición muy humilde,
que ponía dos pequeñas monedas de cobre,
y dijo: “Les aseguro que esta pobre viuda ha dado más que nadie.
Porque todos los demás dieron como ofrenda algo de lo que les sobraba, pero ella, de su indigencia, dio todo lo que tenía para vivir”.
Esta lectura del Evangelio siempre me deja muy agradecido de la generosidad de tantas personas. Gran parte de lo que hacemos en la Iglesia depende de la generosidad de otros. Por ejemplo, nuestra oficina de vocación gastará cerca de $1.5 millones este año educando a nuestros futuros sacerdotes. Esto no sería posible si no fuera por la generosidad de tanta gente. Hay personas que dan grandes sumas y hay algunos, como esta viuda pobre que dan pequeñas cantidades, pero un gran porcentaje de sus bienes personales.

En lugar de ver lo mucho que damos, el Señor quiere que veamos nuestro espíritu de generosidad. ¿Estoy dando hasta el punto en que es sacrificio? Matthew Kelly, en su libro Los Cuatro Signos de un Católico Dinámico, dice que una cosa que todos los católicos dinámicos tienen en común es la generosidad. Él nos anima a hacer un inventario de nuestras donaciones financieras. ¿Qué porcentaje de mis ingresos le doy a la Iglesia? La Biblia nos anima a dar el diezmo (10% de nuestros ingresos). Él dice que debemos aumentar nuestras donaciones en un 1% cada año hasta que ya no podamos dar más. Algunas personas dan mucho más que el 10% de sus ingresos. Debemos tener un plan.

Muchos de nosotros damos de nuestro exceso, como los ricos en el Evangelio. Están orgullosos de sus donaciones, pero es una pequeña fracción de lo que ganan.

La viuda, sin embargo, da todo lo que tiene – todo su sustento. Jesús dice: “…esta pobre viuda ha dado más que nadie…” La viuda confió en el Señor con todo lo que tenía. ¿Confiamos en que Dios cuidará de nosotros, Sus hijos amados? Él nunca nos abandonará. Él no nos dejará con ganas.

Tomemos tiempo hoy para reflexionar sobre esta pregunta. ¿Confío en el Señor para mi sustento? ¿O confío en mí mismo? ¿Podría estar dando más de mi tiempo, talento y tesoro para ayudar a aquellos que son menos afortunados? Si todos compartieran su riqueza con los que son menos afortunados, viviríamos en un mundo diferente. No tendríamos niños muriéndose de hambre en el mundo. Ayudaríamos a proveer agua potable para millones de personas. Esto es algo que damos por hecho en este país.

Que podamos confiar en Dios en cada aspecto de nuestras vidas. No podemos superar a Dios en generosidad. Cuanto más nos entregamos cuanto más Él nos bendice. He aprendido que cuanto más generoso soy, Dios me da más para dar. Toma tiempo hoy para ver tus finanzas personales. Haz un plan para dar. ¿Estoy dando como la viuda pobre en este Evangelio?

Padre Burke

Posted by: frburke23 | November 22, 2015

Thought for Sunday – Feast of Christ the King

JOHN 18:33B-37

Pilate said to Jesus,
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own
or have others told you about me?”
Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?”
Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world,
my attendants would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”
So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?”
Jesus answered, “You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
This weekend we celebrate Christ the King. It is the last week of the liturgical year before we begin Advent next Sunday. It is one of the most important feast days of the year after Christmas and Easter because it summarizes Christ’s mission.

King David was promised that one of his descendants would reign forever, so Israel was on the lookout for this Messiah, the anointed one. They expected a king that would come as a powerful ruler to dominate their foes.

When Jesus came He fulfilled all of the prophecies of the Messiah. One of titles given to Jesus was “Son of David”. However, Jesus came not as a powerful ruler but as a sinless lamb. People looked up to Him on His throne, but they didn’t realize it would be a cross. His crown was made of thorns. He came to suffer. They put a sign above His head that read in three languages “King of the Jews”. Little did they realize they were killing the “King of the Universe”.

He may not have come as a powerful ruler, but His power overcame the fiercest enemy, that of death itself. By taking on our flesh, Jesus took our sins with Him to the cross and opened the Kingdom of Heaven for all who believed in Him. He did not come to lord His power over us. He came as a humble, suffering servant.

And yet, when we pledge to Him our obedience we find true freedom. We are not slaves or servants, but He calls us “friends”. When we follow this King faithfully, He invites us into His Kingdom and gives us a peace and joy beyond understanding. And oh, by the way, we will have to suffer with Him on this journey. He told us to pick up our crosses and follow Him, but we are never alone on this journey.

Have I pledged my obedience to his King?
Do I allow Jesus to be king of my mind, my heart, my eyes, my mouth – my whole being?
Am I willing to suffer with my King?

He will give you the crown of eternal glory if you are willing to follow Him faithfully.

Have a blessed weekend!
Fr. Burke

Posted by: frburke23 | November 21, 2015

Thought for Saturday, 33rd Week in Ordinary Time

LUKE 20:27-40

Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection,
came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying,
“Teacher, Moses wrote for us,
If someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child,
his brother must take the wife
and raise up descendants for his brother.
Now there were seven brothers;
the first married a woman but died childless.
Then the second and the third married her,
and likewise all the seven died childless.
Finally the woman also died.
Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?
For all seven had been married to her.”
Jesus said to them,
“The children of this age marry and remarry;
but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age
and to the resurrection of the dead
neither marry nor are given in marriage.
They can no longer die,
for they are like angels;
and they are the children of God
because they are the ones who will rise.
That the dead will rise
even Moses made known in the passage about the bush,
when he called ‘Lord’
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;
and he is not God of the dead, but of the living,
for to him all are alive.”
Some of the scribes said in reply,
“Teacher, you have answered well.”
And they no longer dared to ask him anything.
This is a topic that is often debated and causes great concern: “Is there marriage in heaven?” Jesus says in this passage that we marry and remarry on earth, but in heaven we “are like angels”. In other words, there is no marriage as we know it in heaven. For those who have a beautiful marriage this may seem awful. How can a God of love punish me by not allowing me to remain with my wife (or husband) into eternity?

As we say in our marriage vows, “’Til death do us part.” Death breaks the marriage bond on earth and allows the remaining spouse to marry again. For example, my mother died in 1998 after almost 39 years of marriage to my dad. Two years later my dad remarried. Who will be his spouse in heaven?

We believe that once we get to heaven we will experience the incredible joy of the Beatific Vision, being in the presence of God for all eternity. We cannot even imagine how fulfilling that will be! And there will be no need for procreation at that point.

However, to give spouses hope, Pope Pius XII gave married couples these consoling words, “While marriage itself may not endure in heaven, married love will continue.” What did he mean by this? Part of the joy of heaven will be the intimacy that we share with those we shared love with while here on earth. The people that we loved and the people who loved us have shaped us into the people we are. Our ability to love has been molded by our loved ones on earth. And we would be very different people if it were not for our spouses and loved ones.

The love between spouses and other intimate friends has an eternal impact on our soul. I find this thought comforting. So even though marriage as we know it does not endure, love lasts forever.

And I have to say a word about celibacy here. The world needs celibacy to point people toward heaven. We celibate men and women are a sign to the world that God is our all in all. We point people to a deeper reality. It drives people crazy in our culture to see celibate men and women because our culture teaches that if one is not having sexual relations there must be something wrong with them. But I always say that every human being is seeking intimacy. And intimacy is meeting another person at the deepest level of the heart. Priesthood can be full of intimacy with God and others all day long.

Celibate living is no better than marriage. In fact, they are parallel paths to God. Both require full, faithful, fruitful and free love. “Full” means that they give of themselves totally to one another. “Faithful” requires a lifetime commitment of fidelity to one another. “Fruitful” means that they both give life (physically or spiritually). And “free” means that neither party is being forced in any way.

Each vocation is a call to love sacrificially. And all vocations are meant to help others get to heaven. In fact, the goal of marriage is to help your spouse and children get to heaven. The goal of priesthood is to help my spouse (the Church) and my children (all in the Church) get to heaven.

How has the love of my spouse and friends shaped my life?
Do I yearn for union with God in heaven?
Or do I focus completely on human relationships without developing my relationship with God?
Can I imagine a life where the Lord will fill my every desire?

Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke

Posted by: frburke23 | November 20, 2015

Thought for Friday, 33rd Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 19:45-48

Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out
those who were selling things, saying to them,
“It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer,
but you have made it a den of thieves
And every day he was teaching in the temple area.
The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile,
were seeking to put him to death,
but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose
because all the people were hanging on his words.


Today we hear how Jesus drove out the money changers from the temple.  He drove out everyone and everything that did not promote prayer and a relationship with His Father.  The religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus, but they were afraid because “all the people were hanging on his words.”

 Because the Holy Spirit lives in each one of us through our baptism, we are temples of the Holy Spirit.  In a similar way, Jesus wants to drive out everything from our hearts, our temple, which does not promote prayer and a relationship with His Father.

 Remember the story of Zaccheus.  When Jesus saw him in the tree He said to Zaccheus, “Today I must stay at your house.”  (Luke 19:5)  In other words, Jesus wanted to enter his heart and cleanse it.  Jesus showed him mercy and immediately Zaccheus was convicted and converted.  He immediately began to pay back all the money that he extorted as a tax collector.  This encounter with Christ changed his life completely.

 Today Jesus wants to enter our hearts, our temple.  What will He find there?  What does He need to drive out of our hearts?  Take time to reflect at each moment, “Does this thought, word or action draw me or others closer to God?”  If the answer is “no” then we shouldn’t think, say or do it.

 Lord, we ask you to enter our temple today.  Dine in our house every moment of every day.  Purify our house and abide there forever.

Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke

Spanish translation:

 LUCAS 19:45-48

Aquel día, Jesús entró en el templo y comenzó a echar fuera a los que vendían y compraban allí, diciéndoles: “Está escrito: Mi casa es casa de oración; pero ustedes la han convertido en cueva de ladrones”.

Jesús enseñaba todos los días en el templo. Por su parte, los sumos sacerdotes, los escribas y los jefes del pueblo, intentaban matarlo, pero no encontraban cómo hacerlo,
porque todo el pueblo estaba pendiente de sus palabras.


Hoy escuchamos cómo Jesús expulsó a los cambistas del templo. Expulsó a todos y todo lo que no promovía la oración y una relación con su Padre. Los líderes religiosos querían matar a Jesús, pero tenían miedo porque “todo el pueblo estaba pendiente de sus palabras.”

Debido a que el Espíritu Santo vive en cada uno de nosotros a través de nuestro bautismo, somos templos del Espíritu Santo. De manera similar, Jesús quiere expulsar todo de nuestros corazones, nuestro templo, que no promueve la oración y una relación con su Padre.

Recuerda la historia de Zaqueo. Cuando Jesús lo vio en el árbol le dijo a Zaqueo: “Hoy debo quedarme en tu casa.” (Lucas 19: 5) En otras palabras, Jesús quería entrar en su corazón y limpiarlo. Jesús le mostró misericordia y de inmediato Zaqueo fue declarado culpable y fue convertido. De inmediato comenzó a devolver todo el dinero que extorsionó como recaudador de impuestos. Este encuentro con Cristo cambió su vida completamente.

Hoy Jesús quiere entrar en nuestros corazones, nuestro templo. ¿Qué encontrará allí? ¿Qué necesita expulsar de nuestros corazones? Toma tiempo para reflexionar en cada momento, “¿Este pensamiento, palabra o acción me acercó a mí o a los demás a Dios?” Si la respuesta es “no”, entonces no debemos pensarlo, decirlo o hacerlo.

Señor, te pedimos que entres hoy en nuestro templo. Cena en nuestra casa cada momento de cada día. Purifica nuestra casa y permanece allí para siempre.

¡Tengan un día bendecido!

Padre Burke

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