Is God real for me? Am I attentive to God or am I living in denial like the Apostles were? - Wednesday, 2nd Week of Lent, March 3rd, 2021 - S + L Mass at MQW Cathedral downtown Montreal


  The Gospel and Homily MP3 file                    The Homily PDF file   

                       Sign of the +                            Greeting                        

Hello. I’m Father Gilles Surprenant, priest of Montreal and Madonna House Associate. Here we are already in the second week of Lent. How is your Lenten observance coming along? During this Live Daily Mass the Lord continues to encourage us to come closer to Him; so we can apply our Lenten disciplines towards this goal. (Intention) Thank you.

Penitential Rite         Brothers and sisters let us acknowledge our sins and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.  

HOMILY

How real is God for me? How real is God for you? God was obviously real for Jeremiah the prophet, because in his prayer Jeremiah was addressing his complaint to someone real and capable of granting his request. His enemies didn’t like Jeremiah’s declarations in the Name of the Lord; so they plotted to get rid of the prophet. For these people, it’s obvious that God was not real; they had no fear of repercussions from God, because they didn’t believe God is real.

With the Apostles, the situation is not quite the same. They all believe that God is real, and by this time, they believe – more or less – that Jesus is the Son of God. So why do they fail to feel anything as Jesus tells them about what is soon going to happen to Him in Jerusalem? Why do they fail to have any sympathy for Him? Why are they not supportive of Him? Well, it’s not too difficult to understand, I think. They are in denial. The coming passion and death of Jesus is so horrible that they can’t face it, they can’t admit it to themselves; they can’t deal with it.

We are probably all familiar with this kind of reaction in the face of terrible realities. This may be the greatest cause of trouble for married couples. When something awful happens or is about to happen, we may fail to show each other sympathy and instead retreat into denial, a mechanism that conveniently makes the intense emotion go away temporarily. Relationships can endure denial briefly, but it is necessary to recover soon and be there for the other.

It is beautiful to see how Jesus reacts to the denial of his Apostles. At first, they are silent, and then the mother of James and John tries to assure that her sons will have a future when Jesus is gone. Jesus does not reproach her in her maternal concerns, nor her sons in their denial. On the contrary, Jesus softens the harsh reality of the persecution to come by using a pleasant image: the sharing and drinking of a cup. He knows they really love Him and want to be with Him; so He puts it this way. Jesus knows that they are not quite ready now to face his passion and death, but later they will be ready to face their own persecution.

Then Jesus gives them Himself as their example to follow. They are to serve one another and not look for positions or honors. What about us? What about me? What about you? There are no doubt many life situations that we don’t want to face, that we don’t feel we are able to face, but we must sooner or later face them. Today the Lord Jesus assures us once again that we are not alone. With Him, in the Father’s love, and with the Holy Spirit, we can do all things.

It is hard for us to go to a priest and confess our sins. We don’t like to admit we messed up. Yet this is how Jesus wants us to reconcile with God, because Confession humbles us and makes us real. “Father in Heaven, help us put away our pride and humbly declare by confessing our sins that You are God: the Father, + the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Announcement 

This Live Daily Mass costs more for Salt + Light Media and Mary Queen of the World Cathedral than the amount set for you to air your Mass intentions. As we continue to develop this Live Daily Mass under Pandemic conditions; we count on your daily prayers and support. You may send your donations and Mass intentions for the Cathedral to Salt + Light Media. Thank you. To contact me simply send an email to fathergilles@gmail.com

Blessing and Dismissal

 

https://frgilleshomilies.blogspot.com

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© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC

Are we really "good enough Catholics"? Or does Jesus expect more from each and every one of us? Tuesday in the 2nd Week of Lent


  Sign of the +                            Greeting                        

 Penitential Rite         Brothers and sisters let us acknowledge our sins and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.  

HOMILY

Do you know that people generally tell me they are Good Catholics? They believe that they are “doing enough” to satisfy God’s expectations. “We go to Church often enough. We give enough to the poor and to the Church. With regards to sexuality and other moral questions, we are good enough. Although this attitude seems to be almost universal, there is a question that bothers me and just won’t go away. Is being “good enough” really pleasing God our Father?

Come to think of it, I find distasteful people who seem content to be “just long enough” with me in person, on the phone, or by email. By contrast, I believe we all much prefer the person who enjoys our company so much that they lose track of time and almost miss an appointment. Our human heart, mind, soul, and body are made for relationship, and only authentic personal relationships are deeply satisfying and meaningful to us. This is real life. This is really living.

Why should eternal life be different? We have been designed for relationships with other human beings and also with God the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. John the Beloved Disciple, Apostle, and Evangelist in his Gospel in chapter 17 verse 3 recalls Jesus saying: “And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” That means that by the gift of God, by his grace, we can already taste here and now on Earth how good it is to know and to love the Father and the Son Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit.

The sad reality is that we don’t do the good we want to do, and we don’t always avoid the evil that deep down we don’t want to do, but we do it anyway. God is not pleased because He knows this is not how we can give meaning and purpose to our lives; this is not the way to love God, others, and ourselves with our whole mind, heart, soul, and strength. Because He truly loves us and wants our lives to become truly meaningful, good, and beautiful, God is eager to forgive us if only we are willing to confess to Him our sinfulness and seek his forgiveness.

Jesus hated the scribes and Pharisees because they were hypocrites who preferred pleasure and comfort rather than make room for others in their hearts. Jesus taught people to do what the religious leaders taught, because they were teaching the Word of God, but Jesus warned people not to imitate what they did, because they did not live in accord with the Word of God. The religious leaders did not care about people or about God. God wants us to care for Him as well as for others, because only then will we live truly of love and taste the goodness of our life.

It is hard for us to go to a priest and confess our sins. We don’t like to admit we messed up. Yet this is how Jesus wants us to reconcile with God, because Confession humbles us and makes us real. “Father in Heaven, help us put away our pride and humbly declare by confessing our sins that You are God: the Father, + the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Blessing and Dismissal

https://frgilleshomilies.blogspot.com

 

© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC

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God offers us friendship and calls us to accept that we need to believe and trust in Him - 2nd Sunday of Lent, Feb. 28, 2021 - MQP - JLW Parish


 The Gospel and Homily MP3 file                    The Homily PDF file   

Today, the Lord’s Day, Almighty God speaks to us, the divine Eternal Word of our Father in Heaven and Eternal Son speaks to us about human sacrifice, trials and tribulations, the scary reality that God lets us be tempted and tested, and the transfiguration of Jesus in the presence of his chosen Apostles Peter, James, and John.

When we hear or read about human sacrifices, we spontaneously think of primitive societies and of people practicing primitive religions in which idols – strange gods who are not the true God but in fact are probably demons – demand human sacrifice. It seems shocking to us that God, who called Abram to leave ancestral religion behind, to leave his country for an unknown land He promised to give him; that God now demanded that Abram sacrifice his only son.

When Abram left his homeland, he also put behind him the local religion with its common practice of making human sacrifices. Abram followed God’s voice for 25 years and God blessed Abram and lengthened his name to Abraham as a pledge of his promise that he would have so many descendants that he would expand and become a people, God’s Chosen People.

As it happened, God gave Abraham and Sarah in their old age only one son, Isaac. So, it is all the more difficult to understand why God would demand that Abraham make of Isaac, his only son, a human sacrifice: killing him and burning him up as a holocaust. At the last moment God stopped Abraham and provided a substitute victim, a ram caught in a bush; saving Isaac from death. Then God revealed to Abraham that he had passed the test.

This is very disturbing, because it confirms our experience that God does at times put us to the test. We don’t like being tested, but God is sovereign, and He alone knows his holy will for us, for our eternal destiny, for the good of our families, and for the salvation of humanity. It is also true that our human potential for good does not become activated until we face adversity and are obliged by troubles to make an effort to put into practice our ideals and values. If we never had any trouble in life; then we would remain weak and undeveloped.

God also needed to prepare a people who would one day be ready to welcome his divine and only-begotten Son when in his incarnation He would take flesh of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the action of the Holy Spirit. We just finished celebrating Jesus’ Nativity at Christmas.

Today we see Jesus transfigured in radiant light and talking with Moses and Elijah about his suffering and death about to take place in Jerusalem. When Isaac, the true son of Abraham and Sarah was substituted for sacrifice by a ram, God taught humanity that his divine Son was substituted for sacrifice by Jesus’ humanity. The Divine Son of God could not die, but Jesus in his humanity could die. Death is the just punishment for all of humanity’s crimes and violent exploitation of others, and for all our sins against God’s love. Jesus died so we might live.

Illness, trials and tribulations, suffering and death – we find all of these revolting – and we often pray to God, asking Him to deliver us from all of them. We know from experience that at times God does deliver and protect us; while at other times, He allows us to suffer instead. We find it almost impossible to understand the ways of the Lord; still, we need to be more grateful.

Part of God’s plan for our life and eternal salvation, is that we learn to put our faith in God, to trust in Him. God has revealed to humanity through his Son Jesus that our Creator loves the human beings He has created. We cannot give our Creator a genuine return of love; not unless we choose and decide to believe in Him, to put our trust in Him. We cannot love what we fear, but we can love what we hold in awe and amazement with respect.

This is the meaning and purpose of the Season of Lent, and of our whole life on Earth: to learn to freely choose and decide to hold God in awe and amazement with respect and to give our Creator a genuine return of authentic love. This is why Jesus gave his apostles the “Last Supper” and commanded them to “do this in memory of Me”. This is the primary purpose of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: Jesus invites us to share in his own attitude of obedience to the Father’s will, even when we don’t fully understand his will, and especially when we find his will revolting, scary, and completely undesirable. This is how Jesus himself felt on Holy Thursday.

This is also why Jesus declared that we cannot be his disciples unless we accept to carry our cross and follow Him. No doubt the heaviest part of our cross is the daily burden of not knowing or not understanding why God allows us to suffer trials and tribulations, to be sick, suffer, and die, and why God gives humanity such extreme freedom that we actually do terrible things to one another. At no time in human history have there been as many human sacrifices as in our own day. Each year 40 million innocents are ripped from their mothers’ wombs and killed. They are slaughtered primarily because we men don’t support our women, and because both men and women have lost any sense of the sacredness of life and of our fertility. We have made pleasure our idol and have made it more important than life itself. We need to be saved.

If you haven’t been to confession in a long time, maybe now would be a good time to do it while we are still alive on this Earth. Jesus is there through the priest to give us his mercy.

So let us continue to fast, do penance, give alms to the poor, and pray for one another that we might accept this Lent to allow God to purify the intentions of our heart, our mind, our spirit and even our body, and renew our ability and willingness to trust in God our Creator with our lives, and to love God: the Father, + the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Let us take a few moments in silence to reflect on this Good News given to us by the Lord.

https://frgilleshomilies.blogspot.com

© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC

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