Know Today That God Loves You

WeeklyMessageFr. Orlando, Sapuay, MS

Homily for Trinity Sunday,
June 19, 2011:.

I consider the gospel today one of the greatest text in the Bible. The greatest love of all. Not human love which is biased and often impure as to its motives. Human love is selfish and is usually given out on the basis of what it can hope to receive in return! God’s love is not like this at all! His love is always pure, always holy, always seeking what is best for the one He loves. His love is given freely without the hope of desire for anything in return. God loves, because He is love! His love is never ending – Jer. 31:3. His love is always given first, 1 John 4:19. His love is precious beyond words!

We are told that God “so loved the world”. The word “so” indicates the depth of His love. It describes the manner of His love for fallen men. It is a deep love that motivated Him to send His Son to die for the lost. This is uncommon love! This is God love! Notice the object of God’s great love: the world. By its very definition, this love is no ordinary love! It is a special love that seeks to give itself away on behalf of the objects loved. Of course, this should not surprise us, after all, to love is the very nature of God, 1 John 4:8, 16.
Friend, regardless of the curve balls life may have delivered to you, you need to know today that God loves you! No one is beyond the scope of His love! The greatest thought to grip the human mind is this: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so!”) The second greatest thought is this: There is nothing you can do to make God stop loving you – Rom. 8:38-39!)

The true value of love lies in what love is willing to give to the objects it loves. You see, God’s love is not static or self-centered! His love doesn’t just sit quietly by while men drop off into Hell! His love prompted Him to do something for the men He loves! (Many love like the man who called his girlfriend and said, “Darling, I love you! I would cross the burning sands for you! I would fight a jungle full of lions for you! I would brave anything just to be with you because I love you! And, if it doesn’t rain tonight, I’ll be over to see you!”)
God’s love is seen in the gracious gift of His Son Jesus on the cross. The death of Jesus Christ for sinners is the greatest, most visible and the absolute final word concerning God’s love for humanity, Rom. 5:8, John 15:13! (1 John 4:9-10; Isa. 53:6; 1 Pet. 3:18; 1 John 3:16). Look no farther than the bloody cross of Calvary to see the extent of God’s love for you!

“For God so loved the world.” – us. The truth of that statement is so simple and yet it boggles the mind. Its so easy to say and so hard to wrap our minds and hearts around. God loves us. Maybe God’s love is hard to understand because so many of us struggle with seeing ourselves as lovable. Why should God love me? I can’t even love myself. Maybe we hear about God’s kind of love. But in life we’ve been shown quite the opposite.
And yet the truth remains. God loves us. Each of us, no matter what we may think of ourselves. No matter what others may think of us. No matter what our sins or our attitude towards God. Whether we accept the truth of His love or not – He does love you. You can put your own name there – each of us is a part of that world that God loves. That Jesus came for.

I read a story of a young man who had quarreled with his father and left home. He continued to keep in touch with his mother, and wanted very badly to come home. But, he was afraid his father wouldn’t allow him to come home. His mother wrote to him and urged him to come home. But, he didn’t feel he could until he knew that his father had forgiven him. His mother wrote and said she would talk with the father. If he had forgiven him, she would tie a white rag on the tree which grew beside the railroad tracks near their home, which he could see before the train reached the station. If there was no rag, it would be better if he went didn’t come home.

So the young man started home. As the train drew near his home – he was so nervous he said to his friend – who was traveling with him, “I can’t bear to look. You look and tell me whether there is a rag on it or not.” So his friend looked out the window. After a while the friend said, “Yes, I see the tree.” The son asked, “Is there a white rag tied to it?” For a moment the friend didn’t say anything. Then he turned, and in a very gentle voice said, “There is a white rag tied to every limb of that tree!”
In Jesus, God has removed all the condemnation and made it possible for us to come freely home to him. Why and how – we really don’t understand. His love is too deep – too pure – too holy. But He has.

A Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
June 19, 2011

Trinity Sunday – Is the Trinity Relevant?
Many are ready to give a polite nod of some sort to Jesus of Nazareth. Most honor him as a great moral teacher. Many even confess him as Savior. But the Incarnation of the Eternal God? Second person of the Holy Trinity? God can’t be one and three at the same time. Such a notion is at worst illogical, at best meaningless. “This was all invented by the Roman Emperor Constantine in 313 AD,” scoff a motley crew ranging from the Jehovah’s Witnesses to the DaVinci Code.

The Sublime Logic of the Trinity
Taking a page from Frank Sheed’s brilliant classic, Theology for Beginners, “No book on doctrine will teach you as much as the Missal—provided you bring some knowledge with you. Books . . . exist to provide the knowledge which the Missal assumes we have!”

This Sunday is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. Starting with Sheed’s advice, let’s try to come to this Mass better prepared, by first attending to the Preface of the Holy Trinity from the Missal.

The Living Presence of the Holy Trinity
Bl. Elisabeth of the Trinity witnesses to the living presence of the Holy Trinity. In her theological vision, the Trinity is not an abstract puzzle which must be solved or the object of intellectual despair. This is because very early on in own her life she felt the overwhelming love of God. This love ravished her soul and she welcomed it and surrendered to it. Rather than an abstract dogma, we find her addressing the Trinity in personal terms of endearment “my Three,” “my All,” and “my Beatitude.” Rather than a static idea, the Holy Trinity is for her ever actively present in the soul, constantly at work,

Celebrate Father’s Day: ‘Kneel before the Father from Whom Every Family is Named’
Fathers are the foundation of families, they give them identity and meaning in both life and in death. On this weekend when we stop the frenetic pace of life to honor and remember fathers, we have an opportunity to reflect on what really matters most in our lives. They are a gift to be received and we should thank them, and the heavenly Father whom they reveal.

When Dad Speaks, Listen Up
When I first began to truly understand that prayer was a conversation between me and God, I was pretty excited. But I found that talking was easier than listening! “Listening” to God was difficult, and frankly, I didn’t know how.

My grandfather always taught me that God speaks to us in the same voice that we speak to ourselves. This is good advice, but I remember it being difficult to discern my voice from God’s (who am I kidding? Often it still is difficult for me). My grandpa gave me a few guidelines to help in the discernment process:

“I Can Only Imagine” – A father’s unbelievable love for his disabled son
I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay For their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots.

But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.

Eighty-five times he’s pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in Marathons. Eight times he’s not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a Wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and Pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars–all in the same day.

Pontiff Reflects on True Adoration of God
Benedict XVI today continued his series of teachings on prayer, drawing on the Prophet Elijah to speak about the commandment to adore God alone. “True adoration is love,” the Pope said.

The Holy Father turned to Chapter 18 of 1 Kings for a lesson on prayer drawn from the prophet. There, the story of Elijah’s face-off with the ministers of Baal is recounted.

The True Meaning of Marriage
By Archbishop Timothy Dolan –The stampede is on. Our elected senators who have stood courageous in their refusal to capitulate on the state’s presumption to redefine marriage are reporting unrelenting pressure to cave-in.

The media,mainly sympathetic to this rush to tamper with a definition as old as human reason and ordered good,reports annoyance on the part of some senators that those in defense of traditional marriage just don’t see the light,as we persist in opposing this enlightened,progressive,cause.

Human Tradition vs. Sacred Tradition
I mentioned in this space last time that I was surprised to discover that we evangelicals honored human tradition as much as Catholics do and that we even honored sacred tradition and treated it just like, well, sacred tradition. That’s how we knew that the books of the Bible belonged in the Bible and the “gospel of Thomas” did not. It’s how we knew that human life was sacred from the moment of conception. (Scripture alone is not too helpful on this point.) It’s how we knew that a man should have but one wife. (Martin Luther’s endorsement of polygamy inadvertently pointed out that Scripture alone was not very helpful here either.) It’s how we knew God was a Trinity (“Trinity,” like “Bible,” does

Living in the Spirit
This is the time of year when Bishops celebrate Confirmation. It is certainly a wonderful moment for the recipients of the sacrament, as they receive the same Holy Spirit bestowed upon the Church at Pentecost, which we celebrated yesterday. At the same time I like to encourage people who have been confirmed to reflect upon their ongoing relationship with the Holy Spirit. Witnessing the many who are now receiving the sacrament is a reminder that the Holy Spirit has been bestowed upon us. This is a permanent gift (the Bishop says to the confirmand “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit”). Therefore growth in our relationship with the Holy Spirit is an ongoing gift and responsibility.

Seminarian Saints
Dear Sister Mary Martha:

I was just accepted to Seminary for next year, and I was wondering if you could recommend some saints for me. I already know about St. John Vianney, since the seminary I will be attending is named after him. I was hoping for some more obscure saints.

This story was shared by my daughter-in-law
We don’t know who replied, but there is a beautiful soul working in the dead letter office of the US postal service.

Our 14-year-old dog Abbey died last month. The day after she passed away my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so, and she dictated these words:

Andrew Jackson and the Nuns
When one thinks of Andrew Jackson, Our Lady of Prompt Succor and the Ursuline nuns do not spring to mind, but they should.

In 1814 the War of 1812 was going badly for the United States. With the abdication of Napoleon, hordes of British veteran troops were sent across the Atlantic to teach the Yankees a lesson. The burning of Washington in August 1814 was part of the lesson, and the American government had intelligence that a mighty British fleet and army were on their way to seize New Orleans. In August 1814 a British fleet established a base, with the consent of the Spanish government, at Pensacola, Florida, and used it to supply

Wearing the Rosary as a Necklace
Q: I have seen people wear the rosary as a necklace and, in fact, I had a fifth-grader ask me during CCD if that was a sin. I told her that I didn’t believe it was a sin per se, but that as it is a wonderful prayer and most favored by the Blessed Mother, that I thought it disrespectful, not very reverent (regardless if the rosary is blessed or not). The student promptly asked about my decade rosary bracelet, “What about wearing it like a bracelet?” It’s a good question, in light of the cross and rosary “look-alikes” that seem to be ubiquitous these days in fashion jewelry. What do we tell young girls? — J.M., Leavenworth, Kansas

Is it sinful to go to Saturday evening Mass if you can go on Sunday?
Is it wrong or even sinful to attend a Saturday evening vigil Mass IF you could otherwise attend a Sunday Mass?

I ask this because at my parish there is one particular priest who has solid homilies and celebrates the Mass reverently. The other priests, while good men, can sometimes give questionable sermons and are not as mindful of the rubrics. So, if I wanted to attend the first priest’s Mass on a particular weekend, and he was assigned a vigil Mass… is that OK?

Another great convert and a 100 year old prophecy
Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson converted to the faith on 11th September 1903. His was a somewhat spectacular conversion (in the eyes of the media) as his father had held the post of Archbishop of Canterbury and Benson, himself, had been ordained as an Anglican vicar in 1895. In 1904 he received the sacrament of Holy Orders and, by 1911 he was made Monsignor.

He wrote many great books, many of them with a prophetic element. The following is an extract from ‘Christ in the Church’. It has certain resonances today but was written in 1911.

Why Tongues of Fire?
While we are still close to Pentecost I thought I’d just cover a little bit of ground I’ve covered before here.

Of course, we all know the story from the book of Acts which relates how the Spirit came and descended upon the apostles in the form of those “tongues of fire”. But I’ve always wondered―why tongues of fire?

How Mary Gave the Rosary to St Dominic
In the year 1214 Saint Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers, was in anguish because he was failing in his attempt to convert the Albigensian Cathar heretics. St. Dominic attributed this to the deepness and gravity of sinfulness of the heretics and the poor example of Catholics. He went alone in to the forest and wept and prayed continuously for three days to appease the anger of Almighty God. He flogged his body and scourged his flesh. From the fasting, pain, and exhaustion, he passed in to a coma.

Fighting modernity’s greatest sin
The new issue of the Catholic Courier of Rochester reports on a workshop designed to counter modernity’s greatest sin: judgmentalism. Here’s a snippet:

The moral stakes become much higher when it comes to judging other people. Skidmore cautioned that “judgment-making is connected to Scripture — we’re admonished to be careful about the judgments we make.”

Indeed, Jesus states in Matthew 7: “Stop judging, that you may not be judged.” In John 8, he adds: “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone.” Skidmore also suggested considering how it would feel knowing that we or our loved ones were being judged as harshly as we judge other people.

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