Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

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Solemnity of Christ the King

1st Reading: 2 Samuel 5:1-3 
Resp. Psalm Psalm 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5 
2nd Reading: Colossians 1:12-20 
Gospel: Luke 23:35-43 

Long Live Christ the King! Viva Cristo Rey! What are the implications of Christ being our King? It means we are His royal subjects and that we must obey His commands if we choose to be part of His Kingdom and also enjoy the benefits. It is an open invitation. Obedience isn't easy especially since we all suffer from concupiscence due to Adam and Eve's Original Sin but it is possible. We always have access to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The things that God asks of us are always possible to do. Easy, not always but possible. But if we only try to rely on our own selves or only on each other we will eventually fail. We must allow God to do His Will in us. 

Sometimes God has to bring us to our knees as He did to St Dismas the good thief. Knowing his life was ending St Dismas stood up for the Lord. He could have derided him like the other thief did and give in to despair. Hope is always there if we ask for it. In Heaven only Love will remain from the three theological virtues. No more hope will be needed because we will be with God and no more faith will be necessary because we will see Him face to face. 

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
1st Reading: Maccabees 7:1-2,9-14 
Resp. Psalm Psalm 17:1, 5-6, 9, 15 
2nd Reading: 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5 
Gospel: Luke 20:27-38 

As we get closer to the end of the liturgical year, the Church reminds us of the end of our lives. This is why we have the Solemnity of All Saints Day and All Souls Day and also begin to hear about the next life and the end of the world. The Sadducees didn't believe in the Resurrection and Jesus knew this. What we have down here on earth will not be repeated in Heaven because it is not good enough. What God created for us down here was ruined by Adam and Eve's sin. Now, God has a better place for us not tainted by sin which is His abode, Heaven.

In Heaven, we will have glorified bodies, not these bodies that we have now. There are 4 qualities of the glorified body: Brilliance, Subtility, Agility and Impassability. Brilliance: we will shine like the stars; Subtility: we will be able to walk through hard substances like Jesus who passed through the wall when visiting the Apostles after the Resurrection; Agility: we will be able to move at lightning speed; Impassability: we will no longer be able to suffer anything. If we are admitted to Heaven, we will receive these bodies after the General Resurrection of the Dead when the whole world is judged. Why would we need these qualities? Only God knows.

As Jesus told the Sadducees, marriage will no longer be necessary since it is only for the earth. What will happen in Heaven is too great for us to understand now. The point of the readings is that there IS an afterlife and our places will be assigned depending on how we live our lives on earth. We have control over that: submit to God or submit to the devil. 

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD

Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

1st Reading: Wisdom 11:22-12:2 
Resp. Psalm Psalm 145:1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13, 14
2nd Reading: 2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:22
Gospel: Luke 19:1-10 

The first reading reminds us how insignificant we are compared to God. But since Jesus died for us we are precious. God wants to give us time to repent and He does. It says so in the Scriptures. We hear this during Advent. But He will not give us all the time we may want. This is why we need to be patient with ourselves and with each other. As long as we are working on ourselves and are trying to let God have His way more and more in our lives it will go well.

It is usually difficult to repent and to become a better person who tries to make amends. This is the lot of Zacchaeus. There are times when the people around us be it family, friends or coworkers that can make it harder. Whenever someone changes for the better not just the devil gets involved to railroad the good process, so do so-called well-meaning people. It upsets the flow of life as it is known and we all can have a hard time changing. 

We shouldn't be like the older brother in the prodigal son parable. People get used to their roles within their own communities even if they don't like them. But change must come in our lives because God is dynamic. All the changes He asks us to undergo are ordered towards eternal life.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Painting by Barent Fabritius: De Farizeeër en de tollenaar - 1661

1st Reading: Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18
Resp. Psalm Psalm 34:2-3, 17-18, 19, 23 
2nd Reading: 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18 
Gospel: Luke 18:9-14

Doing good works in and of themselves is not a guarantee that one is holy or will go to Heaven. This is what the Pharisee seems to think. What is more important is why we do what we do. We are told not to judge each other as if we know everything like God. We may make human judgments but not moral ones judging someone else's soul or motives. Therefore our attitudes should be like that of the tax collector. We should always ask for mercy and forgiveness. And anyway, anything good that we do ultimately comes from God and He deserves all the glory. We need to be thankful that He lets us help in the work of redemption. 

As St. Therese said, the only thing we can take credit for is our sins. And once we can take all this into account, we see how we fall short. 

By the way, the Church allows the tax collector's words to be used as an Act of Contrition: O God, be merciful to me a sinner. This should tell us something.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD

Twenty-eigth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Vyacheslav Argenberg from Seattle, WA, USA [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]
1st Reading: 2 Kings 5:14-17
Resp. Psalm Psalm 98:1, 2-3, 3-4
2nd Reading: 2 Timothy 2:8-13
Gospel: Luke 17:11-19 

It may seem strange that Naaman was asked to bathe in the River Jordan seven times. The quality of the water certainly didn't change so why do it? When we receive instruction from the Lord, obedience is what is most important despite how ridiculous the instructions may seem. Obedience is the antidote to pride - the I will not serve statement issued by Lucifer. Our Lady was completely obedient to God which is why she is so powerful in her intercessory role. Adam and Eve disobeyed the Lord and we all have been paying for it dearly ever since.

In today's Gospel, Jesus asked the lepers to go show themselves to the priest. At that time, leprosy kept one from being a member of the synagogue. Once the priest declared someone clean they were admitted back. Today it is sin that keeps us from participating fully in the Church. Once declared forgiven in Confession by a priest we are full members again. Nowadays Confession is easily available so we ourselves are the ones who stop ourselves from being in full Communion in the Church. 

As regards Confession, the Church teaches (Precepts of the Church) that we must go to Confession once a year if we are conscious of mortal sin and that we must receive Holy Communion once a year. This is the minimum. We should always strive to do the most we can for ourselves and each other.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD 
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