Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Blog posts : "Cecelia"

The Christ of God


Scripture readings for the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time can be found athttp://usccb.org/bible/readings/061916.cfm

Who do people say that the candidates for president are? The last primary was last Tuesday in Washington, D.C., but while we know who the candidates with the most delegates are, who are these people? Some say that one is a threat to the economy, world peace, and our lives as Ameicans. The other, for some, is the hope of the future, the leader with strength, and the one who will rescue the country from all that ails us. People say a lot of things. Only one thing is certain: no candidate is the Messiah.

During the time of Jesus, the Jewish people were under the control of Roman occupation. They longed for a political leader that will rescue them from these brutal oppressors. Many saw Jesus as one of the candidates for their eventual savior. Was he a John the Baptist (a popular outsider with a new and exciting message), Elijah, one of the "old faithful" (who was promised by the prophet Malachi to return) or was he an ancient prophet from the dead - because the only heroes are in the past, right?

God's vindication in the "Christ" would be the final defeat of and retribution of their enemies. Instead of fulfilling the people's dream that God's Anointed one would inflict great suffering on the Romans, this Messiah would suffer at the hands of their own leadership

This Messiah is not good at winning baseball games, picking the right lottery numbers, paying off mortgages, finding a cure for cancer, or getting our grandchildren to church. This Messiah does not guarantee that the best person for any country will win an election. The Jesus of the New Testement will always prove to be a disappointment to the expectations of victory and triumph.

Rather, Jesus leads us to places we've never dreamed of and, if we're honest, never really hoped for. The Messiah leads us to self-denial. Rather than a simple denial of certain things in our lives, the Messiah mandates a rejection of a life based on self-interest and self-fulfillment. The Messiah leads us to the cross. Struggling to love and serve our communities and our families can be a heavy burden to bear. Caring for an imperfect Church, a loved one in difficulty, or the sick and mentally challenged who have nothing to offer in return is a yeoman's task.

The Messiah asks us to follow Him. Our job is not to manipulate God into doing what we want. As Christians, we cannot believe that things happen by chance; each moment of conflict and of compassion is the place where Christ invites us to die and rise with Him for the cost of love. He goes before us.

Jesus is the Christ. He really does bring salvation to humanity, but He leads us to all that God hopes humanity to become. We have been created in grace to live and love beyond ourselves and to follow  Christ's lead. That path leads to the "other" who needs our death to self so that they might know the compassion and mercy of God. No candidate for election could ever win on that kind of platform - but then again, neither did Jesus.

What do people say the Eucharist is? Some say a symbol; some say a ritual meal. Others know that it is the Paschal Mystery - the dying and rising of Jesus again for us: the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Only in a love born if sacrifice  can we have communion with Him and with one another. Today, we say "Amen" to the Body of Christ and to anywhere He leads us when we walk out of the church doors.

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Mary’s Fiat

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”Luke 1:38
During the month of December we celebrate the birth of Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, into the world for the salvation of mankind. His birth into the world came about thanks to the “Fiat” or “Yes” of Mary. In chapter one of the gospel of St. Luke we hear of the angel Gabriel approaching Mary that she was chosen to be the mother of the Saviour, Mary’s response, at first, was that of surprise, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”*(Luke 1: 34). After Gabriel explains how it was to come about, Mary responds most generously, “May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)
Mary was always open to the Holy Will of God, and as a result she was able to bring forth from her womb the Saviour of the World. Mary is an example of how we are to live out our lives: being always open to the Holy Will of God. She did not hesitate to say yes to God, even though she knew of the difficulties she will face. She was engaged to Joseph, but not yet married. Being pregnant before the wedding opened Mary up to misunderstanding and problems. She could have faced being stoned for committing adultery since she was not yet married to Joseph. We read in Matthew 1:19: “Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.”
The angel intervened and told Joseph of the plan of God for Mary and Jesus. Joseph, being the righteous man that he was, and open to the Holy Will of God, married Mary and took Mary and Jesus into his care.
As we reflect on the gift of salvation that we have from Jesus Christ, let us reflect on how we live out our lives. Are we as open the Holy Will of God as Mary and Joseph was? Or do we complain when things don’t go our way?
Let us always be opened and obedient to the Will of God in our lives, even in difficult times. Merry Christmas!


Deacon Tom Tortorella is a guest blogger on FatherRosado.com.  He is a permanent Deacon for the Archdiocese of New York and is currently assigned  to St. Clare of Assisi Church in the Bronx, NY.  He was ordained by His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan on June 19th, 2010.

Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition© 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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Meeting Jesus

                             As soon as I walk through the tall, dark-stained wooden doors, and step into a ray of colored sunlight streaming in through a section of stained glass, I know I am home. The familiar smell of sweet incense fills my nose as I walk down the center aisle, and I am in paradise. Specks of color appear as the sun surpasses a cloud, and its warm rays are held captive by the colored glass. This is my haven. The white walls bear the sufferings of the Son of God, and I bow my head in reverent sorrow. Raising my head, my eyes are drawn to the magnificent painting of the Blessed Mother with the infant Jesus; Mother and Son amidst golden clouds with golden halos encircling their heads. As I look to my right, I see my favorite statue, the crucified Christ. Just like all of the statues and angelic figures around the church, who make the words we read in the Bible more tangible through sight, this one just brings tears to my eyes every time I see it. 

                           Walking into a Church is not like walking into an ordinary building. As soon as I cross the threshold, I feel relieved of the stresses, problems, and issues of my life. It is a freeing of the spirit for me. Now that my mind is clear of distractions, I sit in the pew closest to the tabernacle; the sanctuary of my Lord, and focus on my breathing. As I breathe, a deep inner peace fills my scarred soul, and begins to mend the burned edges. It is a peace that comes from trusting in God’s will, and when I am sitting in His house, trusting in His will seems a lot easier. Trusting God comes from knowing God, and while I am sitting there, I feel the closeness that a creature feels when he comes face-to-face with his Creator. I can feel God’s love turning the key in the lock on my heart, and I silently surrender my heart to Him.  My mind becomes less crowded, and I can feel myself starting to let go of the temporary, and focus on the permanent. Some say that love is fleeting, but God’s love bears strength, courage, inspiration, and spiritual peace. As I look at the painted canvases of the Stations of the Cross, I feel my weak human body standing up more straight, newly fueled with the strength of Christ’s Passion. He suffered, He died, and He was human just like I am. So through His sufferings, I find strength to keep holding on to life, which at times, seems impossible to get through. While I sit, I can feel God guiding me to a life of faith and love, and patching up my doubts with faith. Accepting His will seems easier when I know that He will be by my side through it all, and knowing that nothing is ever impossible.

                           Being close to God has always been very important to me, and it has a very significant meaning in my life. Church is more than a building to me, and it has always been a place where I can detach myself from the feverish world, and focus more on enriching my faith. Without a doubt, God is the most important part of my life, and being close to God helps me accept the bad things that happen. Faith has taken away the need to blame someone for a mistake, but has shown me to help the person learn from their mistake, and to avoid it in the future. This has a definitive meaning for me, as I have discovered that the Catholic faith is, “More like falling in love than something to believe in, more like losing my heart, than giving my allegiance…” (Jason Gray More Like Falling in Love verses 9-12).           


Cecelia is a guest blogger on this site.  She is a high school student in New York.  This post is placed with proper permission.  Her last name is intentionally omitted.  

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