Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

“The LORD is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth.” Have you ever felt so alone even though there seemed to be so much going on around you – a world filled with noisy music, fast paced traffic, hurried moments and busied with tons of conversations and yet in the midst of so much activity, you remain invisible to a crowded world that remains silent to your call for assistance, or your cry for help, or remains distant to your soundless screams? Have you ever felt so hopeless that even God couldn’t reach you or so helpless that God couldn’t help you? Life at times can be overwhelming, family can at times be exhausting, relationships can become burdensome and work can simply become pointless and unsatisfying. What do you do when there seems to be no easy solution to your problem, no apparent relief or end in sight, all seems helpless, hopeless and useless and the situation just gets worse? Where do you go for help? Who do you turn to? Please don’t give up. God is always there for us. God is always there for you. We just need to run to him and ask for a loving embrace, a shoulder to cry on, or an ear to bend. In urgent moments, such as those when no  one seems to care or understand us or you encounter those desperate moments brought about by anxiety, trouble or loss or you suffer those difficult moments that lead to darkness, despair, depression, discouragement or desolation, we need to look for God especially in moments of great need. In a moment of crisis, I sought the Lord in great solitude. I asked the Lord to hold me as a mother holds her child; as a father holds his son. I ask God to set his gaze upon my heart and to set my gaze upon his. In profound silence I heard a voice say, “what do you know – what do you know?” I understood I was being asked to consider what knowledge I possessed that was absolute and unchanging. After a brief moment of reflection I said, “Lord, I know you love me and have forgiven me and that you have never abandoned me or given up on me and that you have and will always provide for me.” The Lord responded, “good.” I was asked to never forget what l know especially in moments of distress for God’s grace will get us through it for we are loved, cared for and never alone. This is a great source of consolation, comfort and peace so never forget what you know.

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Ask something of me and I will give it to you.” What a loving invitation our gracious Lord offers to Solomon and also extends to each of us. Surely we can ask God for anything we want to and we do. We ask for fame and fortune, for status and comfort, for ease and tranquility, for long life and posterity, for a big house and fancy car, to hit the jackpot and to win the lottery. We ask God for so many things – so many things that occupy our space, they consume our time, they keep us very busy. But will the things we asked for bring us peace? Not the temporary peace that we seek in difficult moments but the kind of peace that lasts through every moment. The kind of peace that lasts forever, the peace that will bring us into the Kingdom, the peace that will bring us eternal rest, the peace that only God can give. Do the things we ask for bring lasting joy, God’s grace, true happiness? We do ask for so many things. But the things that God is most pleased to give us are the things that would truly make us happy, make us free, bring us peace. God is most happy to provide the things that will draw us closer to him and keep us in his heart for all eternity. So what shall we ask for? I think how happy God was to receive Solomon’s response. How it must have been a sweet fragrance, an aroma of goodwill when Solomon’s response reached God’s ears. He didn’t ask for materialism or more time or even harm to his enemies or to those who made life difficult for him. Rather, he asked for a heart – a discerning heart, a heart that understood the difference in living a life in harmony with God’s will as opposed to those things that lead us in a wrong path – that lead us away from God’s grace, God’s will, God’s peace. At times we are weak and we allow the world to dissuade us from truly being happy.  We allow others to encourage us to fill our lives with so many things that fade and lead us astray. So what should we ask for? If you want to be truly happy and at peace ask for an understanding heart.  It will be sweet music to God’s ear. 

Décimo Séptimo Domingo del Tiempo Ordinario

“Pídeme lo que quieras, que yo te lo dare.” Qué amorosa invitación ofrece nuestro clemente Señor a Salomón y también la extiende a cada uno de nosotros.  Seguramente podemos pedir cualquier cosa que queramos a Dios y lo hacemos.  Le pedimos por fama y fortuna, por estatus y confort, por alivio y tranquilidad, por larga vida y posteridad, por una casa grande y un carro lujoso, sacar el premio y ganar la lotería. Pedimos a Dios tantas cosas – tantas cosas que ocupan nuestro espacio, consumen nuestro tiempo, nos mantienen bien ocupados. Pero, ¿podrán las cosas que pedimos traernos paz?  No la paz temporal que buscamos en momentos difíciles pero el tipo de paz que dura a través de cada momento.  El tipo de paz que dura para siempre, la paz que nos traerá dentro del Reino, la paz que nos traerá descanso eterno, la paz que sólo Dios puede dar.  ¿Las cosas que pedimos traen gozo duradero, la gracia de Dios, la verdadera felicidad?  Pedimos muchas cosas.  Pero las cosas que Dios está más complacido de darnos son las cosas que verdaderamente nos harían felices, que nos harían libres, que nos traerían la paz.  Dios está contentísimo de proveer las cosas que nos acercarán a él y nos mantendrán en su corazón por toda la eternidad.  Entonces,  ¿qué pediremos?  Pienso cuán feliz fue Dios al recibir la respuesta de Salomón.  Cómo debió ser una dulce fragancia, un aroma de buena voluntad cuando la respuesta de Salomón llegó a los oídos de Dios.  No pidió por materialismo o más tiempo o incluso daño a sus enemigos o a quienes le hicieron difícil su vida.  En cambio, el pidió por un corazón – un corazón  de discernimiento, un corazón que entendió la diferencia entre vivir una vida en armonía con la voluntad de Dios opuesta a esas cosas que nos dirigen a un camino equivocado – que nos alejan de la gracia de Dios, de la voluntad de Dios, de la paz de Dios. A veces somos débiles y permitimos que el mundo nos disuada de ser realmente felices. Permitimos que otros nos animen a llenar nuestras vidas con tantas cosas que se desvanecen y nos desvían. Entonces, ¿qué debemos pedir?  Si tu quieres ser realmente feliz y estar en paz pide por sabiduría de corazón. Será una dulce música para el oído de Dios.  Padre Iván

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?” Scripture reminds us that, “the good seed are the children of the kingdom” and “the weeds are the children of the evil one.”  Which are you?  Are you a grain of wheat or are you a weed? Can you be trusted to make a good judgement without pride, prejudice, emotion or opinion?  I think how often I have misjudged a person, a situation, or something I thought I understood only to find out I was wrong – how often I misspoke, missed the mark, misjudged.  How do we respond in such moments and circumstances when we didn’t have the correct answer or the solution to the problem?  When we got in the way of letting the truth be revealed or we led someone in the wrong direction?  Did we say oops? Did we have the courage to say I am sorry or the strength to admit we were wrong?  We need humility to realize we can at times be blind, that we misjudge appearances, that at times we are unable to see the real truth. We really aren’t good judges of character, of people, of situations, of ourselves.  How many times have we misjudged distances, outcomes, conversations, time? Did you ever take an umbrella with you when it looked like rain only to experience sunshine throughout the day or decided not to take the umbrella only to experience a torrential down pour?  We are right some of the times, but not always.  If we could so simply misjudge a book by its cover, a gift by its wrapping, a person by their appearance – how easy would it be to misjudge ourselves, our abilities, our limitations, our senses, our perceptions, our judgments?  How easy would it be to misjudge if you are a grain of wheat or a bad seed? We might think that we are stronger than we really are, smarter than all the rest, better at what we do, faster than everyone else – only to find out we’re not.  We may conversely have a negative view of ourselves, be hard on ourselves, have a low self-image of ourselves and negate the true worth of our gifts, abilities, our life – only to find out that we are so wrong.  Only to find out that God really loves us very much. So don’t be a judge. Rather, be a saint and pray for the rest of us. “Whoever has ears ought to hear.”  Fr. Ivan

Décimo Sexto Domingo del Tiempo Ordinario

“Señor, ¿qué no sembraste buena semilla en tu campo? ¿De dónde, pues, salió esta cizaña?” Las escrituras nos recuerdan que, “la buena semilla son los ciudadanos del reino” y que “la cizaña son los partidarios del maligno.”  ¿Cual eres tú?  ¿Eres tú un grano de trigo o eres una cizaña?  ¿Se puede confiar en ti para hacer buen juicio sin soberbia, perjuicio, emoción u opinión?  Pienso en qué tan frecuente yo he juzgado mal a una persona, una situación o algo que pensé que entendía sólo para descubrir que estaba equivocado – qué tan frecuente he hablado mal, he errado, he juzgado mal. ¿Cómo respondemos en tales momentos y circunstancias en que no teníamos la respuesta correcta o la solución al problema?  ¿Cuándo nos interpusimos en permitir que la verdad se revelara o dirigimos a alguien en la dirección equivocada?  ¿Dijimos ¡uy!?  ¿Tuvimos el valor de decir lo siento o la fortaleza de admitir que nos equivocamos?  Necesitamos humildad para darnos cuenta que en ciertos momentos podemos estar ciegos, que juzgamos mal las apariencias, que a veces somos incapaces de ver la verdad real.  Realmente no somos buenos jueces de personajes, de personas, de situaciones, de nosotros.  ¿Cuántas veces hemos juzgado mal las distancias, los resultados, las conversaciones, el tiempo?  ¿Alguna vez tomaste un paraguas cuando parecía que iba a llover sólo para experimentar todo un día soleado o decidido no llevarte un paraguas contigo sólo para experimentar una lluvia torrencial?  A veces estamos en lo correcto, pero no siempre.  Si pudiéramos tan simplemente juzgar mal un libro por su portada, un regalo por su envoltura, una persona por su apariencia – ¿qué fácil podría ser juzgarnos mal, nuestras habilidades, nuestras limitaciones, nuestros sentidos, nuestras percepciones, nuestros juicios?  ¿Qué fácil sería juzgar mal si tu eres un grano de trigo o una mala semilla?  Podemos pensar que somos más fuertes de lo que realmente somos, más inteligentes que el resto, mejores en lo que hacemos, más rápidos que todos los demás – sólo para descubrir que no lo somos.  Podemos, por el contrario, tener una imagen negativa de nosotros, ser duros con nosotros, tener una baja autoimagen y negar el verdadero valor de nuestros dones, de nuestras habilidades, de nuestra vida – sólo para descubrir que estamos tan equivocados.  Sólo para descubrir que Dios realmente nos ama mucho.  Así que no seas un juez.  Más bien, se un santo y reza por el resto de nosotros.  “El que tenga oídos, que oiga.”  Padre Iván