Posted by: frburke23 | January 7, 2019

TUESDAY AFTER EPIPHANY (JANUARY 8, 2019)

TUESDAY AFTER EPIPHANY (JANUARY 8, 2019)
 
MARK 6:34-44
When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.
By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said,
“This is a deserted place and it is already very late.
Dismiss them so that they can go
to the surrounding farms and villages
and buy themselves something to eat.”
He said to them in reply,
“Give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him,
“Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food
and give it to them to eat?”
He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”
And when they had found out they said,
“Five loaves and two fish.”
So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass.
The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties.
Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples
to set before the people;
he also divided the two fish among them all.
They all ate and were satisfied.
And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments
and what was left of the fish.
Those who ate of the loaves were five thousand men.
=====================
Scripture Challenge – Romans, chapter 4.
 
We continue reading about epiphanies (revelations that Jesus is the Son of God) this week. Today we have the story of Jesus’s multiplication of the loaves and fish, not something that just any human being could do. I encourage you to re-read this story in light of this week of Epiphany.
 
The first thing that strikes me is that Jesus’s heart was “moved with pity” for the crowd. This gives us an insight into the heart of God Himself. God loves us and wants to fulfill our good desires. God cares about us intimately. He knows our deepest needs and knows how to fill them.
 
Jesus’s disciples wanted to send the people away to get something to eat because it was getting late. They were thinking on a purely human level. Jesus tells the disciples, “Give them some food yourselves.” There is a double meaning here. Jesus wants to satisfy their physical hunger, but on a deeper level, Jesus wanted to teach His disciples to trust in the Father to be able to feed the spiritual hunger of others, even when it seemed they didn’t have the resources to do so. Primarily, Jesus wasn’t focused on the food; He was teaching His disciples a lesson.
 
Jesus then took the small gifts of the people – five loaves and two fish – and multiplied them so that thousands of people could eat. Jesus was teaching the disciples and us that He takes whatever we offer Him, even if it seems small, and multiplies them in ways that are humanly impossible. In fact, God can perform miracles through us!
 
The disciples were not sure of their own ability to feed others physically or spiritually. Do you trust that God can use you to feed others?
Are you willing to offer your time, talents and treasure to the Lord to see what He can do with them?
Do you believe that God can perform miracles through you?
 
This feeding of 5000 is another miracle that reveals who Jesus is. He is not just a good teacher. He is not just a prophet. He is not just a good cook. He is the Son of God, who seeks to satisfy our deepest longings and hungers.
 
Lord Jesus, I trust that you always want to love me and heal me. Sometimes I look at situations around me and I get depressed because there seems to be no solution. Help me to trust in you, to believe that all things are possible in and through you. Help me to be more generous with my time, talent and treasure. Every good thing that I have comes from you and I offer it back to you for the service of your great plan.
God bless!
Fr. Burke
===========================
MARTES DESPUÉS DE LA EPIFANIA (8 DE ENERO DE 2019)
MARCOS 6:34-44
Cuando Jesús vio la gran multitud, su corazón se compadeció de ellos,
porque eran como ovejas sin pastor;
y comenzó a enseñarles muchas cosas.
Para entonces ya era tarde y sus discípulos se le acercaron y dijeron:
“Este es un lugar desierto y ya es muy tarde.
Despídelos para que puedan ir
a las granjas y pueblos de los alrededores
y se compren algo de comer”.
Él les respondió,
” Denles ustedes de comer. “
Pero ellos le dijeron:
” ¿Vamos a comprar 200 denarios de comida
y darles para comer?”
Él les preguntó: ” ¿Cuántos panes tienen? Vayan y vean.”
Y cuando se dieron cuenta dijeron,
“Cinco panes y dos peces. “
Así que ordeno de que se sienten en grupos sobre la hierba verde.
Las personas tomaron sus lugares en filas de cien y de cincuenta.
Luego, tomando los cinco panes y los dos peces, y mirando al cielo,
dijo la bendición, partió los panes y se los dio a sus discípulos
para ponerlos ante el pueblo;
También repartió los dos peces entre todos ellos.
Todos comieron y se saciaron.
Y recogieron doce canastas llenas de fragmentos
y lo que quedaba de los peces.
Los que comieron de los panes eran cinco mil hombres.
=======================
Desafío de las Escrituras – Romanos, capítulo 4.
Continuamos leyendo sobre epifanías (revelaciones de que Jesús es el Hijo de Dios) esta semana. Hoy tenemos la historia de Jesús sobre la multiplicación de los panes y los peces, no es algo que cualquier ser humano podría hacer. Te animo a que vuelvas a leer esta historia de esta semana de Epifanía.
Lo primero que me llama la atención es que el corazón de Jesús fue “movido con compasión” por la multitud. Esto nos da una idea del corazón de Dios mismo. Dios nos ama y quiere cumplir nuestros buenos deseos. Dios se preocupa por nosotros íntimamente. Él conoce nuestras necesidades más profundas y sabe cómo satisfacerlas.
Los discípulos de Jesús quieren enviar a la gente para conseguir algo de comer, porque se estaba haciendo tarde. Estaban pensando en un nivel puramente humano. Jesús les dice a los discípulos: “Denles algo de comer”. Aquí hay un doble significado. Jesús quiere satisfacer su hambre física, pero en un nivel más profundo, Jesús quería enseñar a sus discípulos a confiar en el Padre para poder alimentar el hambre espiritual de los demás, incluso cuando parecía que no tenían los recursos para hacerlo. . Principalmente, Jesús no estaba enfocado en la comida; Él estaba enseñando una lección a sus discípulos.
 
Jesús entonces tomó los pequeños regalos de la gente – cinco panes y dos peces – y los multiplicó para que miles de personas pudieran comer. Jesús les estaba enseñando a los discípulos y a nosotros que Él toma todo lo que le ofrecemos, aunque parezca pequeño, y los multiplica en formas que son humanamente imposibles. De hecho, ¡Dios puede hacer milagros a través de nosotros!
 
Los discípulos no estaban seguros de su propia habilidad de alimentar a otros física o espiritualmente. ¿Confías en que Dios te puede usar para alimentar a los demás?
¿Estás dispuesto a ofrecer tu tiempo, talentos y tesoro al Señor para ver lo que Él puede hacer con ellos?
¿Crees que Dios puede hacer milagros a través de ti?
Esta alimentación de 5000 es otro milagro que revela quién es Jesús. Él no es sólo un buen maestro. Él no es sólo un profeta. No es solo un buen cocinero. Él es el Hijo de Dios, que busca satisfacer nuestros anhelos y hambre más profundos.
Señor Jesús, confío en que siempre quieras amarme y sanarme. A veces miro las situaciones que me rodean y me deprimo porque parece que no hay solución. Ayúdame a confiar en ti, a creer que todas las cosas son posibles en ti y a través de ti. Ayúdame a ser más generoso con mi tiempo, talento y tesoro. Todo lo bueno que tengo viene de ti y te lo ofrezco para el servicio de tu gran plan.
 
¡Dios les bendiga!
Fr. Burke
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Posted by: frburke23 | January 6, 2019

MONDAY AFTER EPIPHANY (JANUARY 7, 2019)

MONDAY AFTER EPIPHANY (JANUARY 7, 2019)
 
MATTHEW 4:12-17, 23-25
When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:
 
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness
have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.
 
From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
“Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
 
He went around all of Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.
His fame spread to all of Syria,
and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases
and racked with pain,
those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics,
and he cured them.
And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea,
and from beyond the Jordan followed him.
========================
Scripture Challenge – Romans, chapter 3.
 
We celebrated the Epiphany yesterday. Epiphany means the manifestation of a divine being. In this case, Jesus is recognized as the Son of God by the magi. He is not a normal human infant but is fully divine and fully human. This whole week we will be hearing Gospel stories that show how Jesus is revealed as the Son of God through miracles and other revelations.
 
At the Epiphany, the star of Bethlehem led the magi to the manger scene. The magi presented their greatest gifts to God (gold), to the King of the universe (frankincense), and to the One who was going to die to save the world (myrrh). The shepherds went to give homage to the baby Jesus as well. Everything pointed to Jesus as the Son of God.
 
Today we read how Jesus cured the sick, possessed, paralytics and the lunatics. Everyone that was brought to him was healed. This is another epiphany that Jesus is not just a normal preacher but has the very power of God.
 
Do I truly believe that Jesus is the Son of God?
How do I worship Jesus?
 
Dear Lord, as we celebrate this week of the Epiphany, increase my faith in you. Help me to see your presence all around me. I know in my head that you are God. I know in my heart that you came into this world to die for me. You were born in a manger to die on the cross. “This is my body, given up for you.” Help me to lay down my life for you and for others, to give you my very best. I know that you will multiply my offering to you. Help me to make you the very center of my life so that this year I can receive your grace in abundance.
 
Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke
=========================
Lunes después de la Epifanía (7 de enero 2019)
 
Matthew 4, 12-17. 23-25
Al enterarse Jesús de que Juan había sido arrestado, se retiró a Galilea, y dejando el pueblo de Nazaret, se fue a vivir a Cafarnaúm, junto al lago, en territorio de Zabulón y Neftalí, para que así se cumpliera lo que había anunciado el profeta Isaías:
 
Tierra de Zabulón y Neftalí, camino del mar, al otro lado del Jordán, Galilea de los paganos; el pueblo que caminaba en tinieblas vio una gran luz. Sobre los que vivían en tierra de sombras una luz resplandeció.
 
Desde entonces comenzó Jesús a predicar, diciendo: “Conviértanse, porque ya está cerca el Reino de los cielos”. Y andaba por toda Galilea, enseñando en las sinagogas y proclamando la buena nueva del Reino de Dios y curando a la gente de toda enfermedad y dolencia.
 
Su fama se extendió por toda Siria y le llevaban a todos los aquejados por diversas enfermedades y dolencias, a los poseídos, epilépticos y paralíticos, y él los curaba. Lo seguían grandes muchedumbres venidas de Galilea, Decápolis, Jerusalén, Judea y Transjordania.
===============
Desafío de las Escrituras – Romanos, capítulo 3.
 
Celebramos la epifanía ayer. Epifanía significa la manifestación de un ser divino. En este caso, Jesús es reconocido como el Hijo de Dios por los magos. Él no es un infante humano normal, pero es completamente divino y completamente humano. Durante toda la semana escucharemos historias del Evangelio que muestran cómo Jesús se revela como el Hijo de Dios a través de milagros y otras revelaciones.
 
En la Epifanía, la estrella de Belén condujo a los magos a la escena del pesebre. Los magos presentaron sus mayores regalos a Dios (oro), al Rey del universo (incienso) y al que iba a morir para salvar al mundo (mirra). Los pastores también fueron a rendirle homenaje al niño Jesús. Todo apuntaba a Jesús como el Hijo de Dios.
 
Hoy leemos cómo Jesús curó a los enfermos, a los poseídos, a los paralíticos y a los lunáticos. Todos los que le fueron se presentaron con Jesus con sus enfermedades fueron sanados. Esta es otra epifanía de que Jesús no es solo un predicador normal, sino que tiene el poder mismo de Dios.
 
¿Realmente creo que Jesús es el Hijo de Dios?
¿Cómo adoro a Jesús?
 
Querido Señor, al celebrar esta semana de la Epifanía, aumenta mi fe en ti. Ayúdame a ver tu presencia a mi alrededor. Sé en mi cabeza que tú eres Dios. Sé en mi corazón que viniste a este mundo a morir por mí. Naciste en un pesebre para morir en la cruz. “Este es mi cuerpo, entregado por ti”. Ayúdame a dar mi vida por ti y por los demás, para darte lo mejor de mí. Sé que multiplicarás mi ofrecimiento a ti. Ayúdame a ponerte en el centro de mi vida para que este año pueda recibir tu gracia en abundancia.
 
¡Que tengas un buen día!
P. Burke
Posted by: frburke23 | January 5, 2019

Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (January 6, 2019)

Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (January 6, 2019)
 
MATTHEW 2:1-12
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.”
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled,
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people,
He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the magi secretly
and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
“Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word,
that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.
========================================
Scripture Challenge – Romans, chapter 2.
 
I was out of town for 10 days, but now I am back home. Thanks to all who were concerned about me when you didn’t receive the blog. I was trying to keep up with the daily thoughts, but there were a few days that didn’t allow me time to post the daily blog.
 
Today the Church celebrates the Epiphany. We have heard the story of the magi many times and we can lose the significance of their arrival in Bethlehem. They were pagans, but they came “to do him homage.” This was not a normal occurrence at all.
 
King Herod was not the only one that was “greatly troubled” by the birth of Jesus. Scripture says that “all Jerusalem” was concerned as well. Was this child a threat to everyone? There was good reason for everyone to take notice of this child, for He was the author of creation and would change human history forever.
 
Herod sent the magi to give homage to this newborn baby, but secretly he wanted to find the boy and kill him. This little baby posed a great threat to Herod’s power. If only Herod knew to worship the child rather than try to kill Him. The star led the magi to Jesus, Mary and Joseph. “They prostrated themselves and did him homage,” offering him their most precious treasures of gold (for a king), frankincense (for God) and myrrh (for one who was going to die). They did not return to Herod as he demanded, but were warned in a dream to return to their country another way.
 
What can we learn from this story?
 
1) The magi were actively looking for the star, and when they saw it, they traveled a long distance to see Jesus. Some people make great sacrifices to worship the Lord. To what extent am I willing to go to meet Jesus? Do I just make time for Jesus when it is convenient? Am I willing to wake up early to pray or go to church? Many of us are going to do the program Exodus 90 (Google it for more information) starting January 21 and finishing April 21, Easter Sunday. One of the goals will be to pray for an hour each day. If that is too much, start somewhere and begin to increase. Can you commit to making sacrifices to worship Jesus every day?
 
2) The kings offered Jesus their most precious gifts. Do I bring Him my finest gifts, especially the gift of myself with all my talents? Do I hold anything back from Jesus? Do I trust the Lord enough to offer everything to Him? St. Paul is a great example for us. He received freely from the Lord and freely he preached the Gospel, offering everything back to the Lord and His people. What good things do you have that cannot be traced back to the generosity of God to you?
 
3) The kings went back by a different route after meeting Jesus. Have I encountered Jesus personally in my life? Have I gone back to my own way of life after meeting Jesus? Has my life been changed? Have I allowed the Lord to completely transform my life?
 
Have a blessed weekend!
Fr. Burke
===============================
Solemnidad de la Epifanía del Señor (6 de enero 2019)
 
MATEO 2:1-12
Jesús nació en Belén de Judá, en tiempos del rey Herodes. Unos magos de oriente llegaron entonces a Jerusalén y preguntaron: “¿Dónde está el rey de los judíos que acaba de nacer? Porque vimos surgir su estrella y hemos venido a adorarlo”.
 
Al enterarse de esto, el rey Herodes se sobresaltó y toda Jerusalén con él. Convocó entonces a los sumos sacerdotes y a los escribas del pueblo y les preguntó dónde tenía que nacer el Mesías. Ellos le contestaron: “En Belén de Judá, porque así lo ha escrito el profeta: Y tú, Belén, tierra de Judá, no eres en manera alguna la menor entre las ciudades ilustres de Judá, pues de ti saldrá un jefe, que será el pastor de mi pueblo, Israel”.
 
Entonces Herodes llamó en secreto a los magos, para que le precisaran el tiempo en que se les había aparecido la estrella y los mandó a Belén, diciéndoles: “Vayan a averiguar cuidadosamente qué hay de ese niño y, cuando lo encuentren, avísenme para que yo también vaya a adorarlo”.
 
Después de oír al rey, los magos se pusieron en camino, y de pronto la estrella que habían visto surgir, comenzó a guiarlos, hasta que se detuvo encima de donde estaba el niño. Al ver de nuevo la estrella, se llenaron de inmensa alegría. Entraron en la casa y vieron al niño con María, su madre, y postrándose, lo adoraron. Después, abriendo sus cofres, le ofrecieron regalos: oro, incienso y mirra. Advertidos durante el sueño de que no volvieran a Herodes, regresaron a su tierra por otro camino.
=============
Desafío de las Escrituras – Romanos, capítulo 2.
 
Yo estaba viajando por 10 días, pero ahora estoy en mi casa otra vez. Gracias a todos quienes fueron preocupados cuando no recibieron el blog por unos días. Estoy bien. Yo estaba tratando de seguir con los pensamientos, pero había unos días que no me permitieron el tiempo para hacerlo.
 
La Iglesia celebra hoy la Epifanía del Señor. Hemos escuchado la historia de los magos (sabios venidos de Oriente) muchas veces y podemos perder el gran significado de su llegada a Belén. Eran paganos, pero vinieron “a rendirle homenaje”. Esto no fue algo normal que ocurriera.
El rey Herodes no fue el único que “se sobresaltó” (perdió su paz) por el nacimiento de Jesús. La Escritura dice que “toda Jerusalén” también se sobresaltó. ¿Era este niño una amenaza para todos? Había buena razón que todos se dieron cuenta del niño, pues Él es el autor de la creación y cambiaria la historia del ser humano para siempre.
Herodes envió a los magos para rendir homenaje a este bebé recién nacido, pero secretamente quería encontrar al niño y matarlo. Este niño era una amenaza al poder de Herodes. Si Herodes tuviera la sabiduría dar culto a Jesus, la historia terminaría diferente. La estrella llevó a los magos a Jesús, María y José. “Se postraron y le rindieron homenaje”, ofreciéndole sus tesoros más preciados de oro (para un rey), incienso (para Dios) y mirra (para ungir a alguien que iba a morirse). No regresaron a Herodes como él les exigió, pero en un sueño se les advirtió que regresaran a su país “por otro camino”.
¿Qué podemos aprender de esta historia?
 
1) Los magos estaban observando constantemente el cielo y cuando encontraron la estrella, y la vieron, viajaron una gran distancia para ver a Jesús. Algunas personas hacen grandes sacrificios para adorar al Señor todavía. ¿Hasta dónde estoy dispuesto a ir para encontrarme con Jesús? ¿Hago el tiempo conveniente para Jesús? ¿Estoy dispuesto a despertarme temprano para orar o ir a la iglesia? Muchos de nosotros van a hacer el programa Éxodo 90 (búscalo en Google para más información) empezando el 21 de enero y terminando el 21 de abril, Domingo de Pascua. Una de las metas por los 90 días es rezar por una hora cada día. Si una hora es demasiado, puedes comenzar con 10-15 minutos y aumentar el tiempo cada dia. ¿Puedes comprometerte a hacer sacrificios para alabar al Señor todos los días?
 
2) Los reyes le ofrecieron a Jesús sus más preciosos regalos. ¿Le traigo mis mejores regalos, especialmente el regalo de mí mismo con todos mis talentos? ¿Oculto algo de Jesús? ¿Confío en el Señor lo suficiente como para ofrecerle todo a Él? San Pablo es un gran ejemplo para nosotros. Gratuitamente Pablo recibió del Señor y gratuitamente predicó el Evangelio, ofreciendo todo al Señor y a su pueblo. ¿Cuáles son las cosas buenas en tu vida que no ha venido de la generosidad del Señor?
 
3) Los reyes volvieron por una ruta diferente después de conocer a Jesús. ¿He encontrado a Jesús personalmente en mi vida? ¿He regresado a vivir de la misma manera después de haberme encontrado con Jesús? ¿Ha cambiado mi vida? ¿Le he permitido al Señor que transforme completamente mi vida?
 
¡Que tengas un fin de semana bendecido!
Padre Burke
Posted by: frburke23 | January 4, 2019

MEMORIAL OF ST. JOHN NEUMANN, BISHOP (JANUARY 5, 2019)

MEMORIAL OF ST. JOHN NEUMANN, BISHOP (JANUARY 5, 2019)
 
1 JOHN 3:11-21
Beloved:
This is the message you have heard from the beginning:
we should love one another,
unlike Cain who belonged to the Evil One
and slaughtered his brother.
Why did he slaughter him?
Because his own works were evil,
and those of his brother righteous.
Do not be amazed, then, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
We know that we have passed from death to life
because we love our brothers.
Whoever does not love remains in death.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer,
and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.
The way we came to know love
was that he laid down his life for us;
so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
If someone who has worldly means
sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion,
how can the love of God remain in him?
Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth.
 
Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth
and reassure our hearts before him
in whatever our hearts condemn,
for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything.
Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us,
we have confidence in God.
========================
Scripture Challenge – Romans, chapter 1.
 
What is the distinctive characteristic of a Christian? We are called to love everyone – our brothers and sisters, our enemies – EVERYONE. And what is love? Love is not a feeling, but it is a decision to lay down one’s life for others. The beauty of this kind of love is that God made us to love sacrificially. We become who God meant us to be when we love until it hurts. Selfishness and hatred have no place in the Kingdom of God.
 
St. John challenges us greatly in this reading. If we see a brother in need and we refuse to help him, can we say that the love of God is in us? We cannot say that we love God and do nothing when someone right in front of us is in need. We have all been in situations that we wish we would have acted differently, right? The Spirit of God convicts us of our actions.
 
I have been in parish situations where we all profess to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ. We seem like a loving family at Mass on Sunday mornings. But then we walk out of the church and the gossip begins, the backbiting starts, the hatred spews.
 
Am I someone who truly loves God?
Do my actions toward others show my love of God?
Do I act differently in church than I do outside of church?
Is my heart pure?
 
Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke
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====================================
MEMORIAL DE San JOHN NEUMANN, OBISPO (5 DE ENERO DE 2019)
 
1 John 3, 11-21
Hermanos: Éste es el mensaje que ustedes han oído desde el principio: que nos amemos los unos a los otros, no como Caín, que era del demonio, y por eso mató a su hermano. ¿Y por qué lo mató? Porque sus propias obras eran malas, mientras que las de su hermano eran buenas.
 
No se sorprendan, hermanos, de que el mundo los odie. Nosotros estamos seguros de haber pasado de la muerte a la vida, porque amamos a nuestros hermanos. El que no ama permanece en la muerte. El que odia a su hermano es un homicida y bien saben ustedes que ningún homicida tiene la vida eterna.
 
Conocemos lo que es el amor, en que Cristo dio su vida por nosotros. Así también debemos nosotros dar la vida por nuestros hermanos. Si alguno, teniendo con qué vivir, ve a su hermano pasar necesidad y, sin embargo, no lo ayuda, ¿cómo habitará el amor de Dios en él?
 
Hijos míos, no amemos solamente de palabra, amemos de verdad y con las obras. En esto conoceremos que somos de la verdad, y delante de Dios tranquilizaremos nuestra conciencia de cualquier cosa que ella nos reprochare, porque Dios es más grande que nuestra conciencia y todo lo conoce. Si nuestra conciencia no nos remuerde, entonces, hermanos míos, nuestra confianza en Dios es total.
========================
Desafío de las Escrituras – Romanos, capítulo 1.
 
¿Cuál es la característica que distingue a un cristiano? Estamos llamados a amar a todos, a nuestros hermanos y hermanas, a nuestros enemigos, –A TODOS. ¿Y qué es el amor? El amor no es un sentimiento, pero es una decisión de dar la vida por los demás. La belleza de este tipo de amor es que Dios nos hizo para amar sacrificialmente, entrega total. Nos convertimos en lo que Dios quiso que fuéramos cuando amamos hasta que nos duele. El egoísmo y el odio no tienen lugar en el Reino de Dios.
San Juan nos desafía enormemente en esta lectura. Si vemos a un hermano necesitado y nos negamos a ayudarlo, ¿podemos decir que el amor de Dios está en nosotros? No podemos decir que amamos a Dios y no hacemos nada cuando alguien justo en frente de nosotros está necesitado. Todos hemos estado en situaciones en las que desearíamos haber actuado de manera diferente, ¿verdad? El Espíritu de Dios nos dice cuando andamos mal.
He estado en situaciones parroquiales donde todos declaramos y profesamos ser fieles seguidores de Jesucristo. Parecemos una familia amorosa en la santa Misa los domingos por la mañana. Pero luego en cuanto salimos de la iglesia comienzan los chismes, empieza la murmuración, el odio se escupe.
 
¿Soy alguien que realmente ama a Dios?
¿Mis acciones hacia los demás muestran mi amor por Dios?
¿Actúo de manera diferente dentro de la iglesia que afuera de la misma?
¿Mi corazón es puro?
 
¡Qué tengas un bendecido día!
Fr. Burke
Posted by: frburke23 | January 1, 2019

SOLEMNITY OF MARY, MOTHER OF GOD (JANUARY 1, 2019)

LUKE 2:16-21
The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph,
and the infant lying in the manger.
When they saw this,
they made known the message
that had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed
by what had been told them by the shepherds.
And Mary kept all these things,
reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God
for all they had heard and seen,
just as it had been told to them.

When eight days were completed for his circumcision,
he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel
before he was conceived in the womb.
=========================
Scripture Challenge – Acts of the Apostles, chapters 27-28

The Church welcomes in the New Year in a wonderful way – by celebrating Mary, the Mother of God. This title “Mother of God” has created controversy over the centuries. The Greek term “Theotokos” means “Mother of God” or “One who gives birth to God”.

Of course, Mary did not exist before God. She is a human being that was chosen by God to bear Jesus, Emmanuel, God-with-us. She was preserved from sin from her conception (Immaculate Conception). Since Jesus is God, we say that Mary is the Mother of God. In no way does this title mean that Mary is a goddess or greater than God. It simply means that through her great act of faith (her FIAT), she conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and gave birth to Jesus, the Son of God.

In this Gospel reading today, we hear the story of the shepherds running in haste to visit the child Jesus. The shepherds saw the signs and heard the angels and went in haste. They were drawn to the manger and they went in haste, like Mary went in haste to visit Elizabeth when she conceived Jesus. Recently I heard someone say that shepherds were the first to hear about a new lamb that was born. These shepherds heard about the Lamb of God and went in haste to see Him.

Do we respond quickly to the Lord’s call in our lives?
Are we attentive to the many ways God speaks to us each day (in silent prayer, in dreams, through others, through Scripture, through life experiences, through angels)?

Mary kept all that she had observed and heard and cherished it in her heart. Imagine being Mary… The angel Gabriel announced to her that she would conceive and bear a son – not just any son – but the Son of God. Then the shepherds arrived telling Mary and Joseph about what they had heard from the angels. Mary reflected on each of these experiences and cherished them in her heart. She teaches us what prayer is all about. So often we allow our days to pass by without reflecting on them. We don’t pay attention to how the Lord is speaking to us each day.

Do I take time at the end of the day to reflect on those important “God moments”?
Do I daily cherish God’s love in my heart?

When you think about New Year’s resolutions this year, focus on how you are going to grow in your relationship with Jesus. Losing pounds may be a good thing, but it will not help you get to heaven. Spending quiet time in prayer or reading the Bible will help you immensely.
Mary, Mother of God, pray for us. Help us to be better disciples of your Son in 2019.
Fr. Burke

Posted by: frburke23 | December 29, 2018

Feast of the Holy Family (December 30, 2018)

Feast of the Holy Family (December 30, 2018)
 
LUKE 2:41-52
Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast
of Passover,
and when he was twelve years old,
they went up according to festival custom.
After they had completed its days, as they were returning,
the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem,
but his parents did not know it.
Thinking that he was in the caravan,
they journeyed for a day
and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances,
but not finding him,
they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.
After three days they found him in the temple,
sitting in the midst of the teachers,
listening to them and asking them questions,
and all who heard him were astounded
at his understanding and his answers.
When his parents saw him,
they were astonished,
and his mother said to him,
“Son, why have you done this to us?
Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”
And he said to them,
“Why were you looking for me?
Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
But they did not understand what he said to them.
He went down with them and came to Nazareth,
and was obedient to them;
and his mother kept all these things in her heart.
And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor
before God and man.
=======================
Scripture Challenge – Acts of the Apostles, chapter 27.
 
In the Gospel today, we hear the story of Joseph and Mary finding the child Jesus in the temple. Joseph and Mary were faithful Jews and followed the laws faithfully.
 
As we celebrate Holy Family Sunday, we must ask ourselves, “What makes a family holy?” All the stories of Mary and Joseph teach us that holiness comes from always seeking the will of God above all things. In fact, the family should be the place in which each member of the family is encouraged to find their vocation, their purpose, God’s mission for them in this life. The best gift that parents can give their children is helping them discern God’s will for their lives and encouraging them to follow it faithfully.
 
In fact, the best marriages flourish when each person seeks God’s will above all else. The best friendships occur when the friends fall in love together with the same God. Do you want to make your family holy? Seek the will of God above all else and encourage your family members to do the same.
 
I remember telling my Dad that I felt called to the priesthood. He calmly asked me, “Do you think you can be happy being a priest?” I responded with a question, “How did you know Mom was the right one for you?” He said, “When I met your Mother in high school, I knew she was the one.” I smiled and said, “Dad, that is exactly how I feel. I can’t explain this, but I just feel in my heart that God created me to be a priest.” My Dad said, “I understand that feeling. You’ve got my support.”
 
My Dad and Mom were both helping me seek God’s will. And they weren’t even Catholic at the time! My Dad and step-mom became Catholic about six years ago and they said their lives had never been better.
 
Do I seek the will of God above all else in my life?
Do I encourage my family members to seek God’s will?
Are my friendships based in God’s will?
 
Have a blessed Sunday. May each of our families grow in holiness now and throughout 2019.
 
Peace,
Fr. Burke
Posted by: frburke23 | December 28, 2018

5th Day of the Octave of Christmas (December 29, 2018)

5th Day of the Octave of Christmas (December 29, 2018)
 
1 John 2:3-11
 
Beloved:
The way we may be sure that we know Jesus
is to keep his commandments.
Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments
is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.
This is the way we may know that we are in union with him:
whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked.
 
Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you
but an old commandment that you had from the beginning.
The old commandment is the word that you have heard.
And yet I do write a new commandment to you,
which holds true in him and among you,
for the darkness is passing away,
and the true light is already shining.
Whoever says he is in the light,
yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness.
Whoever loves his brother remains in the light,
and there is nothing in him to cause a fall.
Whoever hates his brother is in darkness;
he walks in darkness
and does not know where he is going
because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
==========================
Scripture Challenge – Acts of the Apostles, chapter 26.
 
“Actions speak louder than words.” This is what St. John was saying to the disciples in this letter.
 
‘Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments
is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.
This is the way we may know that we are in union with him:
whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked.’
To be a true disciple of Jesus means that my life imitates Jesus. St. Paul imitated Jesus with his words and actions, and he invited the new Christian converts to follow his example. Am I walking just as Jesus walked? Am I keeping His word? It is easy to say, “I know Jesus”, but it is much more difficult to follow His ways of love, mercy, forgiveness, compassion, and integrity. It is easier to go to church each week and be involved in church activities than to serve the people God places in our path. Yet the Lord is asking us to put into practice what we profess to believe.
I once heard a story from a friend who is a permanent deacon. He had just preached a Sunday homily on integrity and took the public transportation to Chicago that same afternoon. He got on the bus and gave the bus driver $1 for the fair that was 90 cents. He received two coins (presumably nickels) and sat down.
 
When he looked at the coins he realized that the driver had given him two dimes, 10 cents too much. He had an internal argument. “It is only 10 cents. No one will notice. It is no big deal. But the right thing to do is to give it back.” He argued with himself for the whole bus ride but decided what to do just before his stop.
 
As he was getting off the bus he gave the bus driver a dime back and said, “You gave me too much change.” The bus driver replied, “I know. I heard you preach this morning and I just wanted to see what you would do with it.” Wow! The right thing is always the right thing to do, no matter who is watching.
 
Now this deacon has a framed dime on his wall to remind him that God sees everything. God is not a wicked judge waiting for us to fall. He is a loving Father who desires that His children do the right thing. The same is true for parents, who want their children to do the right thing, whether the parents are present or not.
 
Am I a person of integrity?
Do I practice what I preach, even when it seems like no one is watching?
 
Lord, give me the grace and courage to imitate you wherever I go. I want to be your faithful disciple, a witness to everyone I meet today. Help me not to just go through the motions of being a good Christian. I want to be true to you always, so that people will know that your followers are always willing to do the right thing.
God bless you!
Fr. Burke
============================
Dia V Octava de Navidad (29 de diciembre 2018)
 
1 Juan 2, 3-11
Queridos hermanos: En esto tenemos una prueba de que conocemos a Dios, en que cumplimos sus mandamientos. El que dice: “Yo lo conozco”, pero no cumple sus mandamientos, es un mentiroso y la verdad no está en él. Pero en aquel que cumple su palabra, el amor de Dios ha llegado a su plenitud, y precisamente en esto conocemos que estamos unidos a él. El que afirma que permanece en Cristo debe de vivir como él vivió.
 
Hermanos míos, no les escribo un mandamiento nuevo, sino un mandamiento antiguo, que ustedes tenían desde el principio. Este mandamiento antiguo, es la palabra que han escuchado, y sin embargo, es un mandamiento nuevo éste que les escribo; nuevo en él y en ustedes, porque las tinieblas pasan y la luz verdadera alumbra ya.
 
Quien afirma que está en la luz y odia a su hermano, está todavía en las tinieblas. Quien ama a su hermano permanece en la luz y no tropieza. Pero quien odia a su hermano está en las tinieblas, camina en las tinieblas y no sabe a dónde va, porque las tinieblas han cegado sus ojos.
============================
Desafío de las Escrituras – Hechos de los apóstoles, capítulo 26.
 
“Las acciones hablan más que las palabras.” Esto es lo que San Juan les estaba diciendo a los discípulos en esta carta.
 
“El que dice: ‘Yo lo conozco’, pero no cumple sus mandamientos, es un mentiroso y la verdad no está en él. Pero en aquel que cumple su palabra, el amor de Dios ha llegado a su plenitud, y precisamente en esto conocemos que estamos unidos a él. El que afirma que permanece en Cristo debe de vivir como él vivió.”
 
Ser un verdadero discípulo de Jesús significa que mi vida imita a Jesús. San Pablo imitó a Jesús con sus palabras y acciones, e invitó a los nuevos cristianos convertidos a seguir su ejemplo. ¿Estoy caminando como Jesús caminó? ¿Estoy guardando su palabra? Es fácil decir “yo conozco a Jesús”, pero es mucho más difícil seguir sus caminos de amor, misericordia, perdón, compasión e integridad. Es más fácil ir a la iglesia cada semana e involucrarse en actividades de la iglesia que servir a las personas que Dios pone en nuestro camino. Sin embargo, el Señor nos está pidiendo que pongamos en práctica lo que profesamos creer.
Una vez escuché una historia de un amigo que es diácono permanente. Acababa de predicar una homilía dominical sobre la integridad y tomó el transporte público a Chicago esa misma tarde. Se subió al autobús y le dio al conductor del autobús $1 para la feria que era de 90 centavos. Recibió dos monedas (probablemente de cinco centavos cada una) y se sentó.
 
Cuando miró las monedas, se dio cuenta de que el conductor le había dado dos monedas de 10 centavos, 10 centavos más que le debía en cambio. Tenía un argumento interno. “Es sólo 10 centavos. Nadie se dará cuenta. No es gran cosa. Pero lo correcto es devolverlo”. Discutió consigo mismo por todo el viaje en autobús, pero decidió qué hacer justo antes de su parada.
 
Cuando salía del autobús, le devolvió 10 centavos al conductor del autobús y le dijo: “Me diste demasiado cambio”. El conductor del autobús respondió: “Lo sé. Escuché que predicabas esta mañana y solo quería ver qué harías con eso”. ¡Wow! Lo correcto es siempre lo correcto, sin importar quién esté mirando.
 
Ahora este diácono tiene la moneda enmarcada en su pared para recordarle que Dios lo ve todo. Dios no es un juez malvado que espera que caigamos. Él es un Padre amoroso que desea que sus hijos hagan lo correcto. Lo mismo es cierto para los padres, que quieren que sus hijos hagan lo correcto, ya sea que los padres estén presentes o no.
 
¿Soy una persona de integridad? ¿Practico lo que predico, incluso cuando parece que nadie está mirando?
 
Señor, dame la gracia y el coraje para imitarte dondequiera que vaya. Quiero ser tu fiel discípulo, un testimonio para todos los que conozco hoy. Ayúdame a hacer lo correcto con buena intención. Quiero ser sincero contigo siempre, para que la gente sepa que tus seguidores siempre están dispuestos a hacer lo correcto.
 
¡Dios te bendiga!
P. Burke
Posted by: frburke23 | December 27, 2018

FEAST OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS (DECEMBER 28, 2018)

FEAST OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS (DECEMBER 28, 2018)
 
MATTHEW 2:13-18
When the magi had departed, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,
“Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt,
and stay there until I tell you.
Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night
and departed for Egypt.
He stayed there until the death of Herod,
that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled,
Out of Egypt I called my son.
 
When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi,
he became furious.
He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity
two years old and under,
in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.
Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:
 
A voice was heard in Ramah,
sobbing and loud lamentation;
Rachel weeping for her children,
and she would not be consoled,
since they were no more.
===================
Scripture Challenge – Acts of the Apostles, chapter 25.
 
Today the Church remembers the Holy Innocents, the children who were slaughtered by King Herod because he was trying to kill the child Jesus, whom Herod perceived to be a threat to his throne. We see how pride, envy and jealousy can lead to horrible results in life.
 
We also see in this Gospel how God sent an angel to Joseph to lead his family to Egypt to avoid Herod’s evil plan. Do you see how quickly Joseph responded to the angel? They left in the middle of the night. This speaks to Joseph’s contemplative heart. He listened attentively for the Lord and quickly responded. This is a great example for all of us to spend time each day in quiet prayer, listening for the voice of God. When we get to know God personally, we know and trust His voice speaking to us in many and varied ways – in dreams, in our heart, through other people, etc.
 
Am I cultivating a contemplative heart by praying each day, listening for the voice of God?
Am I ready to respond quickly to the Lord’s voice?
Is there pride, jealousy or envy in my life that is causing me to act unkindly or to use harsh words with others?
Do I trust the Lord’s plan for me?
 
May we also pray for the innocent children that are killed every day through abortion, starvation, abuse and neglect. The Lord has a special place in His heart for children. May we do all that we can to protect them, guide them and teach them about God.
 
Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke
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Posted by: frburke23 | December 26, 2018

Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist (December 27, 2018)

Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist (December 27, 2018)
 
John 20:1a and 2-8
 
On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we do not know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
==================
Scripture Challenge – Acts of the Apostles, chapter 24.
 
Today the Church remembers St. John, the Beloved disciple of Jesus. One of my favorite passages about John is when he rested his head at the breast of Jesus during the Last Supper. He is also the one apostle that does not abandon Jesus during the Passion.
I believe there is a connection between John’s closeness to Jesus and his ability to walk with Jesus during the most difficult journey to the cross. The same is true for Mary and Mary Magdalene as well. I believe John heard Jesus’s teaching about His impending death and resurrection. He stayed close to the Lord in prayer, so that when the hour of death arrived, John was prepared. When John saw the empty tomb, “he saw and believed.”
 
The other apostles fled when the passion began. They too had heard Jesus teach and preach. They had seen the miracles. But for some reason their faith was not strong enough to allow them to stay close to Jesus during His deepest suffering.
We, like John, are called to stay close to Jesus in prayer. We are called to lay our head upon His chest in prayer, hearing the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus beat with compassion and love. When we stay close to the Lord, we will not panic nor run away during our own suffering. We will know that Jesus is carrying the cross with us. We know that Jesus told us that to follow Him will mean suffering and the cross, but He will not leave us alone. We are celebrating Emmanuel, God-is-with-us, during this Christmas season. Jesus has been with us, is with us, and promises to be with us until the end of time. Those who persevere to the end with faith will be saved.
 
Have you taken time to imagine resting your head on Jesus’s chest in prayer?
Have you abandoned God in the difficult times?
Do you cling to Jesus as your rock, even though you may not understand everything that is happening?
 
Take time today to rest in the presence of Jesus in prayer. When suffering comes your way, do not lose faith and hope. Jesus is with you.
St. John, pray for us!
Fr. Burke
Http://frburke23.wordpress.com
===============================
Fiesta de San Juan, apóstol y evangelista (27 de diciembre de 2018)
 
Juan 20:1a y 2-8
En el primer día de la semana,
María Magdalena corrió y fue a Simón Pedro:
y al otro discípulo a quien Jesús amaba, y les dijo:
“Se han llevado al Señor del sepulcro,
y no sabemos dónde lo han puesto”.
Así que Pedro y el otro discípulo salieron y fueron al sepulcro.
Los dos corrían, pero el otro discípulo corría más que Pedro
y llegó al sepulcro primero;
se inclino y vio los lienzos en el suelo, pero no entró
cuando Simón Pedro llego después de él,
él entró en el sepulcro y vio los lienzos allí,
y el sudario que le había cubierto la cabeza,
no con los lienzos, sino enrollado en un lugar aparte.
Luego el otro discípulo también entró,
el que había llegado primero al sepulcro,
El vio, y creyó.
=================
Desafío de las Escrituras – Hechos de los apóstoles, capítulo 24.
 
Hoy la Iglesia recuerda a San Juan, el discípulo amado de Jesús. Uno de mis pasajes favoritos de San Juan es cuando pone su cabeza
en el pecho de Jesús durante la Última Cena. Él también es el apóstol que no abandona a Jesús durante la Pasión.
 
Creo que hay una conexión entre la cercanía de Juan a Jesús y su habilidad de caminar con Jesús durante el viaje más difícil a la cruz. Lo mismo también es cierto para María y María Magdalena. Creo que Juan escuchó la enseñanza de Jesús acerca de su inminente muerte y resurrección. Él se quedó cerca del Señor en oración, para que cuando llegara la hora de la muerte, Juan estuviera preparado. Cuando Juan vio la tumba vacía, “El vio y creyó”.
 
Los otros apóstoles huyeron cuando comenzó la pasión. Ellos también habían escuchado a Jesús enseñar y predicar. Ellos habían visto los milagros. Pero por alguna razón, su fe no era lo suficientemente fuerte como para permitir que se quedaran cerca de Jesús durante Su sufrimiento más profundo.
 
Nosotros, como Juan, estamos llamados a permanecer cerca de Jesús en la oración. Estamos llamados a poner nuestra cabeza sobre su pecho en oración, escuchar el Sacratísimo Corazón de Jesús latir con compasión y amor. Cuando nos mantenemos cerca del Señor, no vamos a entrar en pánico ni huir durante nuestro propio sufrimiento. Vamos a saber que Jesús está cargando la cruz con nosotros. Sabemos que Jesús nos dijo que seguirlo significará sufrimiento y la cruz, pero Él no nos dejará solos. Estamos celebrando a Emmanuel, Dios-está-con-nosotros, durante esta temporada navideña. Jesús ha estado con nosotros, está con nosotros y promete estar con nosotros hasta el fin de los tiempos. Aquellos que perseveren hasta el final con fe serán salvados.
 
 
¿Te has tomado tiempo para imaginarte descansando tu cabeza en el pecho de Jesús en oración?
¿Has abandonado a Dios en los tiempos difíciles?
¿Te aferras a Jesús como tu roca, aunque no entiendas todo lo que está sucediendo?
 
Toma tiempo hoy para descansar en la presencia de Jesús en oración. Cuando el sufrimiento se te presente, no pierdas la fe y la esperanza. Jesús está contigo.
 
San Juan, ¡ruega por nosotros!
Fr.Burke
Http://frburke23.wordpress.com
Posted by: frburke23 | December 25, 2018

FEAST OF ST. STEPHEN, FIRST MARTYR (DECEMBER 26, 2018)

FEAST OF ST. STEPHEN, FIRST MARTYR (DECEMBER 26, 2018)
 
ACTS 6:8-10; 7:54-59
Stephen, filled with grace and power,
was working great wonders and signs among the people.
Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen,
Cyrenians, and Alexandrians,
and people from Cilicia and Asia,
came forward and debated with Stephen,
but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke.
 
When they heard this, they were infuriated,
and they ground their teeth at him.
But he, filled with the Holy Spirit,
looked up intently to heaven
and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
and he said,
“Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man
standing at the right hand of God.”
But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears,
and rushed upon him together.
They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.
The witnesses laid down their cloaks
at the feet of a young man named Saul.
As they were stoning Stephen, he called out
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
======================
Scripture Challenge – Acts of the Apostles, chapter 23.
 
Merry Christmas to you and your families. May your hearts be opened wide to receive the grace and peace of Jesus Christ during this special time of year.
 
Today the Church celebrates St. Stephen, the first martyr. Why would we celebrate the first martyr the day after Christmas? First of all, martyr means witness. Stephen was a deacon of the Church, ordained to serve the community. He was convinced of the truth that Jesus Christ was the Son of God born in Bethlehem, who died on the cross for the salvation of the world. It is possible that the Church wants to point out from the very beginning people were so convinced of this truth of Christmas that they gave their very lives.
 
Let’s look at this reading from the Acts of the Apostles. Stephen was “filled with grace and power” and worked powerful signs among the people. The Lord gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit because He wanted to continue His work in the world. Read the Acts of the Apostles to see how powerfully the Holy Spirit worked through the disciples. The Lord wants to use you and me to do powerful things in this world as well!
 
Do you believe that the Lord can use you to continue His mission on earth?
How open are you to the Holy Spirit working in and through you?
 
Stephen not only worked wonders, but his knowledge and wisdom baffled all the religious leaders who came to debate with him. Why were they so angry with Stephen? Maybe he was calling them to change their lives? Maybe their pride would not allow them to admit they were wrong and it was easier to kill Stephen?
 
The same thing happens in our world today. When we preach and teach the truth about Jesus Christ and His Church, people are going to become angry. We are going to face opposition and hatred. In fact, in the Gospel for today Jesus says, “You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:22)
 
Am I prepared to face opposition and hatred on the account of Jesus?
 
What did Stephen do in the face of the opposition? He kept his eyes focused on his heavenly Father and the victory that Jesus had already won. He didn’t fight back. He preached the truth with love and accepted their response, much like Jesus Himself did. The key during difficult times is always keeping our eyes on the Father.
 
Do I believe that Jesus has already won the victory?
Am I able to focus on God the Father in heaven when I am being attacked?
 
Finally, I was struck by what the men did who stoned Stephen. They “covered their ears”. They were not open to the message of Jesus. We cannot control how people react to the Gospel. However, I recommend that we pray that the hearts of all will be converted to Jesus before we speak the truth to them. Speak to God about man before speaking to man about God. Many people have their ears and hearts closed to Jesus, but prayer and God’s grace can move mountains.
 
May we, like St. Stephen, be witnesses to the truth of Jesus Christ for those we meet today.
 
Merry Christmas!
Fr. Burke
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Fiesta de san Esteban, protomártir (26 de diciembre 2018)
 
Hechos de los Apóstoles 6, 8-10; 7, 54-60
En aquellos días, Esteban, lleno de gracia y de poder, realizaba grandes prodigios y señales entre la gente. Algunos judíos de la sinagoga llamada “de los Libertos”, procedentes de Cirene, Alejandría, Cilicia y Asia, se pusieron a discutir con Esteban; pero no podían refutar la sabiduría inspirada con que hablaba. Al oír estas cosas, los miembros del sanedrín se enfurecieron y rechinaban los dientes de rabia contra él.
 
Pero Esteban, lleno del Espíritu Santo, miró al cielo, vio la gloria de Dios y a Jesús, que estaba de pie a la derecha de Dios, y dijo: “Estoy viendo los cielos abiertos y al Hijo del hombre de pie a la derecha de Dios”.
 
Entonces los miembros del sanedrín gritaron con fuerza, se taparon los oídos y todos a una se precipitaron sobre él. Lo sacaron fuera de la ciudad y empezaron a apedrearlo. Los falsos testigos depositaron sus mantos a los pies de un joven, llamado Saulo.
 
Mientras lo apedreaban, Esteban repetía esta oración: “Señor Jesús, recibe mi espíritu”. Después se puso de rodillas y dijo con fuerte voz: “Señor, no les tomes en cuenta este pecado”. Diciendo esto, se durmió en el Señor.
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Desafío de las Escrituras – Hechos de los apóstoles, capítulo 23.
 
Feliz Navidad para ti y tus familias. Que sus corazones se abran de par en par para recibir la gracia y la paz de Jesucristo durante este tiempo especial del año.
 
Hoy la Iglesia celebra a San Esteban, el primer mártir. ¿Por qué celebraríamos el primer mártir el día después de Navidad? En primer lugar, mártir significa testigo. Esteban fue un diácono de la Iglesia, ordenado para servir a la comunidad. Estaba convencido de la verdad de que Jesucristo era el Hijo de Dios nacido en Belén, que murió en la cruz por la salvación del mundo. Es posible que la Iglesia quiera señalar desde el principio que las personas estaban tan convencidas de esta verdad de la Navidad que dieron sus propias vidas.
 
Veamos esta lectura de los Hechos de los Apóstoles. Esteban estaba “lleno de gracia y poder” y obró señales poderosas entre la gente. El Señor nos dio el don del Espíritu Santo porque quería continuar su obra en el mundo. Lee los Hechos de los Apóstoles para ver cómo el Espíritu Santo obró poderosamente a través de los discípulos. ¡El Señor quiere usarte a ti y a mí para hacer cosas poderosas en este mundo también!
 
¿Crees que el Señor puede usarte para continuar su misión en la tierra?
¿Qué tan abierto estás para que el Espíritu Santo trabaje en y a través de usted?
 
Esteban no solo hizo maravillas, sino que su conocimiento y sabiduría desconcertaron a todos los líderes religiosos que vinieron a debatir con él. ¿Por qué estaban tan enojados con Esteban? ¿Tal vez los estaba llamando para cambiar sus vidas? ¿Tal vez su orgullo no les permitiría admitir que estaban equivocados y era más fácil matar a Esteban?
 
Lo mismo sucede en nuestro mundo de hoy. Cuando predicamos y enseñamos la verdad sobre Jesucristo y su Iglesia, la gente se va a enojar. Vamos a enfrentar la oposición y el odio. De hecho, en el Evangelio de hoy, Jesús dice: “…todos los odiarán a ustedes por mi causa, pero el que persevere hasta el fin, se salvará.” (Mateo 10:22)
 
¿Estoy preparado para enfrentar la oposición y el odio a causa de Jesús?
 
¿Qué hizo Esteban ante la oposición? Mantuvo sus ojos enfocados en su Padre celestial y la victoria que Jesús ya había ganado. Él no se defendió. Él predicó la verdad con amor y aceptó su respuesta, como lo hizo Jesús mismo. La clave en tiempos difíciles es mantener nuestros ojos fijos en el Padre.
 
¿Creo que Jesús ya ha ganado la victoria?
¿Puedo enfocarme en Dios Padre en el cielo cuando me atacan?
 
Finalmente, me sorprendió lo que hicieron los hombres que apedrearon a Stephen. Ellos “se taparon los oidos”. No estaban abiertos al mensaje de Jesús. No podemos controlar cómo reacciona la gente al Evangelio. Sin embargo, recomiendo que oremos para que los corazones de todos se conviertan a Jesús antes de decirles la verdad. Hable con Dios acerca del hombre antes de hablarle al hombre acerca de Dios. Muchas personas tienen sus oídos y corazones cerrados a Jesús, pero la oración y la gracia de Dios pueden mover montañas.
 
Que nosotros, como San Esteban, seamos testigos de la verdad de Jesucristo para aquellos con quienes nos encontramos hoy.
 
¡Feliz Navidad!
P. Burke

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