The highest and best way to love others is to apply the SALT Principle:
See others as Jesus sees them.
Accept others as Jesus accepts them.
Love others as Jesus loves them.
Touch others as Jesus touches them.
Too often we get wrapped up in our own little world, and we’re consumed with our own needs without even noticing the needs of those around us. Or we’re so exhausted at the end of each day that we can’t imagine giving out to anyone else, especially to demanding kids or a spouse who is at least as tired as we are.
We have to break this cycle, back up, regroup, and bring some sanity to our lives so we’ll have the perspective, energy, and compassion for the people we see each day, and especially those who live under the same roof with us.
Then we can love them like we love ourselves. ….
God created us to function best when we are fully devoted to Him. When we do that, each part of our lives comes into alignment – or drops away because it’s no longer important. When we fail to put God first, everything seems equally important, and we spend all our energies trying to please people, proving ourselves, or hiding from risks. God’s first commandment demands complete devotion, and it makes perfect sense. It’s the way he created us to live.
A range of emotions stir inside us these days and admittedly it’s a challenge sorting through these feelings. We might ask ourselves – ‘what should be the response of Christians in times such as these?’
Thank you, each of you, for your efforts all along at bringing people together. It’s part of our job description as Christian leaders. We cannot rest assured that neighborly regard is structured effectively – even within the Christian community.
As if the health crisis wasn’t enough to stretch nerves to the breaking point; a series of policing incidents around the nation resulting in the deaths of several African Americans have ignited a powder-keg of frustration – exposing wounds festering for months, years and beyond with no clear solutions in sight.
We have so much in common as human beings but are shortchanged by our lack of contact, lack of mutual understanding, people with different experiences, different world views and even different assessments as to the foundations of today’s unrest. We are reminded that bigotry and indifference are woven in the fabric of America. Racial and economic inequality goes on. Systems and institutions and government have historically different approaches to white, black and brown thus erupting in situations out of control.
To make matters worse, COVID-19 alone has left untold numbers unemployed, under-employed, numbers ineligible for government stimulus, leaving people with no money yet with families to feed and mortgages and rents to pay. And when black and brown people push back hard mainstream America wonders why everyone’s upset. The surprise itself becomes an insult.
It is consoling to see the many people from around the country, white, brown, black, Asian, as peaceful protestors in wake of the Breona Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd killings. It is an encouraging sign that the concern is widespread and that there are many people out there wanting to be agents of good-will.
We are faced with the unfinished business of race in this country, the unsolved issues of poverty, opportunity vs lack of opportunity. We have hardly given second thought to the stratified society we live in thinking it to be normal –if you people would just pull yourself up by your bootstraps, it is often commented. But untold numbers of people have no boots with which to pull up straps.
Structures in a materially rich society have left large numbers disenfranchised from life such that they cannot, to use the words, “breathe” the air of a free and prosperous society like ours. While we are all the same, humans with sweat and tears, the differences allowed to fester among us are huge. And some insidious factions looking on are intent on keeping it that way.
We are believers. Instead of focusing on our anger, or attributing blame to whomever, feeling inconvenienced by the recent mayhem, maybe empathy is the right feeling for the moment – for the poor and the displaced and the mistreated and the forgotten are always just around the corner, down the street, and even the next door neighbor. How can law enforcement reorient themselves in face of individuals and communities in crisis so that the dignity of human life remains uppermost with methods of keeping order? How can we re-educate ourselves away from the visual and emotional dissonance provoked by skin color?
Our Church lives and works amidst these realities. Our gestures in all instances must be welcoming of everyone, corrective in face of injustice, formative in bringing people together across neighborhoods and natural boundaries and separate enclaves we have built for ourselves. We should be busy about the business of defying our comfort levels with single-racial churches, ministries and projects and going out of our way to schedule diversity in the things we are and do as church. It’s a daunting task in respects with its own level of fatigue. But we can’t give up. So much is at stake as evidenced by the messages issuing forth from the protests and demonstrations crying for something different. We Catholics can help lead the way.
An old rabbi once asked one of his students, “How can you tell when night is over and day has begun?” The student thought a moment and said, “Could it be when you see an animal in the distance and can tell if it is a sheep or a dog?” “No,” answered the rabbi, “think again!” The student did, but to no avail. The rabbi then said, ‘It’s when you can look into the face of another and see that it’s your brother or sister. If you can’t see this, it’s still night.”
So, what tends to keep me from seeing a brother or sister in the face of another? We are frightened when the image from close-up or from afar is black! Martin Luther King once said: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
Thank you, each of you, for your efforts all along at bringing people together.
May your gift of the Spirit O God continue to enflame our hearts, that we might bring your peace and justice to a troubled world. Instill in people of every language, race and culture, a commitment to live justly and a desire to be one with you and with your Son, Jesus Christ. We acknowledge You to be Lord, forever and ever. AMEN
If we remain in Him, we can bear fruit from Him to give to others with a servant heart.
Our first job as a Catholic man is to get ourselves to Heaven. Then, if married, to get our families to Heaven. This provides the foundation for God working through us towards making a positive difference in the world. Here are some things to reflect on how Jesus shows us to live as a Catholic man:
Matthew 20:26-28 – Serving is greater than being served. 26But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; 27e whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. 28 Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus was on mission with God’s vision for having and sharing a servants heart. His leadership / lifestyle comes from the actions that supplemented His words.
Proverbs 31:8-9 – Use our gifts and authority for others. 8Open your mouth in behalf of the mute, and for the rights of the destitute; 9Open your mouth, judge justly, defend the needy and the poor!
Look for your neighbors in need, and try to connect with helping them develop. Imagine the investment you would be making using the advantage you have to lift another person up.
Matthew 7:7 – Offer our acceptance. 7Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
Many times in Jesus’ life He was know to accept people who approached Him, and the way they should go. Like Jesus, we should not be selective and never force someone to change, but encourage and pray for them to keep seeking God’s transformation in their life.
John 8:7, 10-11 – Provide others grace. 7But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her. 10Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, [and] from now on do not sin any more.”
The one thing about offering someone grace is it opens for them to reflect on their own heart instead of to defend an accusation. The result from this brings freedom from bondage with a fruitful repentant heart.
Luke 23:34 – Be compassionate towards people. 34[Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”] They divided his garments by casting lots.
Compassion was the foundation for Jesus’ ability to forgive. This requires for us a connection to the Father, as Jesus did nothing without the will of the Father. Think of the relationships and broken places in your life, and pray to find compassion and for Jesus to meet you there.
1 Corinthians 13:3 – Serve as Jesus did. 3If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Jesus made our giving possible because He became our vine. If we remain in Him, we can bear fruit from Him to give to others with a servant heart. Because we have been served, we can now serve as Jesus did, and live the goodness of a Catholic man.
It is the job of the husband and father, as the priest of his family, to make sure his family goes to church, goes to religious ed, follows the sacraments, and prays together.
I often say, that when a Man leads his family to the pew and lives The Virtues of a Catholic Man it will transform the Church and the Community like no other movement. Studies tell us that Dad’s determine the church habits of their children and thus to a signiﬁcant degree their eternal destiny. According to one study, if a father doesnʼt go to church no matter how faithful the mother is, only one child in ﬁfty will become regular church goers.
If only we knew how God regards this Sacrifice, we would risk our lives to be present at a single Mass.
A few short years ago had to give up coffee as a sacrifice to provide more important needs for my family. I know coffee seems to be simply an everyday commodity but, when you separate your needs from wants, and when you need to put gas in your car (among other things), you look at what is really important.
This sacrifice has helped me to realize one thing I put before my relationship with Jesus Christ – we all have a hole in our hearts, and we choose to either fill that hole with Jesus and the Eucharist, or something else – coffee is a want that provides me a temporary fix, and the Eucharist is a need that provides me lasting benefits out of this world!
The gift of the Eucharist clearly gives evidence that Jesus incorporated such ritual into his interaction with his disciples. Jesus made powerful use of parables, metaphors and similes to communicate his message and he obviously used words with untold skill and charisma to comfort, to chastise, to challenge and to command, to teach and to guide his own. It is clear, though, that the gift of his body and blood is a ritual, a physical embrace, a kiss that holds us to his heart.
We are blessed so far to live in a country that we’re not forced to give up the Eucharist for some government regulation or more transient pleasure of this world! If you’re not going to Mass on Sunday or bringing your family with you – your legacy – what has stopped that from happening?
As a husband and Father we’re to get our family to Heaven.
The striking thing about the Holy Eucharist is the bond it establishes between love and suffering in the Lord’s own life and in our experience.
R. Alleluia, alleluia. I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord; no one comes to the Father except through me. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
[14:6] The truth: in John, the divinely revealed reality of the Father manifested in the person and works of Jesus. The possession of truth confers knowledge and liberation from sin (Jn 8:32).
“Truth be told, however, Jesus doesn’t want our admiration of him. He wants our discipleship. There’s a difference. Simply, admiring Jesus Christ will not get you saved. Being a disciple of Jesus demands a conscientious, calculated, intentional and determined commitment made to Him and his counsel.”
When I saw this moment in time, of a plow in a garden with a chair, it reminded me of my favorite verse from the Bible. Luke 9:62 – “Jesus Said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God”.
What this means to me is like when a farmer plows a field they must be committed to the task to reap the fruit of their labor. Likewise, Jesus in this scripture speaks of the seriousness, and the unconditional nature, of Christian Discipleship. That we must be committed to, and not distracted from, the proclaiming of the Kingdom of God, no matter how briefly.
So then looking at this picture, and the illumination from the morning sun, it’s as if the Holy Spirit is shining on this field with the plow. That there is no time to rest when it’s time to plow.
A picture with a good reminder that God is with us through our work in this world.
Thanks for Reading.
Make it a great week. See you back here again next Monday.
Click here to learn about the annual Bishop Perry’s Catholic Chicago Men’s Forum held on the Saturday after Easter each year. All men from around the Archdiocese of Chicago and around Chicagoland are invited to attend.
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Stay awake! For you do not know when the Son of Man will come. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The widow is another example of the poor ones in the Gospel today whose detachment from material possessions and dependence on God leads to their blessedness (Lk 6:20). Her simple offering provides a striking contrast to the pride and pretentiousness of the scribes denounced in the preceding section (Lk 20:45–47).
Likewise, in the scripture verse above, the theme of
vigilance and readiness is continued with the bold comparison of the Son of Man
to a thief who comes to break into a house.
Do you remember not too long ago when the average person
would work for the same company for two or more decades? It still happens, but not that often. More
like eighteen months to three years.
Our paycheck, and identity, and thus possessions, can be taken from us like a thief unless we stay awake with readiness. It is best to be detached from these, and work to truly make Jesus the center of our lives. And this is the meaning behind the CMCS logo, with the four letters surrounding the crucifix – Christ as Center.
Dependence on God leads to blessedness. It’s not about our
good intentions to love God, but how much we offer to Christ to fill our
hearts, and He possesses our thoughts and actions, every minute of the day and
R. Alleluia, alleluia. I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked
the blind man in today’s Gospel reading.
Has anyone ever said this to you? If so, how did that make you feel?
Have you ever said this to another person? If so, how did that make them feel?
When we reach out to others, as a Catholic man, we do and
become the man God calls us to be, and a light to the world through Our Lord.
“I used to pray that God would feed the hungry, or do this or that, but now I pray that he will guide me to do whatever I’m supposed to do, what I can do. I used to pray for answers, but now I’m praying for strength. I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us and we change things.”