Is There Power? / ¿Hay Poder?

Have you ever done the classic God test? “I am going to pray for this specific thing, God, and if it doesn’t happen then you are not real.” We judge God by his power and if a specific thing doesn’t happen then we assume that somehow God has lost his power or doesn’t even exist.

We have to dive into this a little because I know many people who have fallen away from faith due to this mentality. A lot of it has to do with putting ourselves in the proper place. If God did, in fact, created us then he ultimately knows what is good for us. It might be impossible for our human minds to see how good could ever come from cancer or from terrorism, but if we try to put on divine glasses we can see that maybe someone with cancer drew closer to their family and God through the process or we might see how our country united as one through the events of 9/11.

God is always acting with his power, it’s just not always the answer we may expect, because God knows better than we do. In the Gospel today, Jesus explains this using the analogy of a friend. Have you ever had a friend who was a good enough friend to tell you that you were being an idiot or that they could see when you were making a mistake and they gave you some tough love?

I think we need to draw this part of the analogy in. When we ask for things from God we may not receive it because a greater good is possible and God wants our ultimate fulfillment. It is the ultimate act of love just like a friend would do for us.

But does this take away God’s power? We hear the classic praise and worship song where we sing, “There is power.” Do we still believe it? Do we believe that Jesus has power still to this day and that prayer and the sacraments are effective ways for God to communicate grace? Or are we among those who believe that grace exists on a timeline in history to the point where after so many years it runs out?

If there are three things I take from this Gospel today it’s that God has the ultimate power, I need to be smaller and trust that he will take care of me in the proper way, and that God truly wills my good.

If we start to believe that God doesn’t answer prayers, simply because it’s not the exact answer we expected, then we are essentially saying that the cross meant nothing. I want to proclaim that the cross has real power, Jesus’ sacrifice had real power and still does to this day, and God’s love is still present and active in the world. Let’s ask for the grace to put on those divine glasses and see.

From all of us here at Diocesan, God Bless!

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¿Alguna vez has hecho la clásica prueba de Dios? “Voy a orar por esta cosa específica, Dios, y si no sucede, entonces no eres real”. Juzgamos a Dios por su poder y si algo específico no sucede, decimos que de alguna manera Dios ha perdido su poder o nisiquiera existe.

Tenemos que profundizar un poco en esto porque conozco a muchas personas que se han alejado de la fe debido a esta mentalidad. Mucho de esto tiene que ver con ponernos en el lugar correcto. Si de hecho Dios nos creó, quiere decir que últimamente él sabe que es lo mejor para nosotros. Puede que sea imposible para nuestras mentes humanas ver lo bueno que puede venir del cáncer o del terrorismo, pero si tratamos de ponernos lentes divinos, podemos ver que tal vez alguien con cáncer se acercó más a su familia y a Dios a través del proceso o podemos ver cómo nuestro país se unió a través de los eventos del 11 de septiembre.

Dios siempre está actuando con su poder, solo que no siempre es la respuesta que podemos esperar, porque Dios sabe mejor que nosotros. En el Evangelio de hoy, Jesús explica esto usando la analogía de un amigo. ¿Alguna vez has tenido un amigo tan cercano que te djiera que te estabas portando como un idiota o que podía ver cuando estabas cometiendo un error y te dio un poco de amor duro?

Creo que debemos incorporar esta parte de la analogía. Cuando le pedimos cosas a Dios, capaz no las recibamos porque un bien mayor es posible y Dios quiere nuestra satisfacción máxima. Es el último acto de amor como lo haría un amigo por nosotros.

Pero, ¿quita esto el poder de Dios? ¿Creemos que Jesús todavía tiene poder hasta el día de hoy y que la oración y los sacramentos son formas efectivas para que Dios comunique la gracia? ¿O somos de los que creen que la gracia existe en una línea de tiempo en la historia hasta el punto en que después de tantos años se agota?

Si hay tres cosas que tomo de este Evangelio hoy es que Dios tiene el poder supremo, necesito ser más pequeño y confiar que me cuidará de la manera adecuada, y que Dios verdaderamente quiere mi bien.

Si empezamos a creer que Dios no contesta las oraciones simplemente porque la respuesta no exacta que esperábamos, entonces esencialmente estamos diciendo que la cruz no significó nada. Quiero proclamar que la cruz tiene un poder real, el sacrificio de Jesús tuvo un poder real y todavía lo tiene hasta el día de hoy, y el amor de Dios todavía está presente y activo en el mundo. Pidamos la gracia de ponernos esos anteojos divinos para ver.

De parte de todos nosotros aquí en Diocesan, ¡Dios los bendiga!

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This reflection was reposted from Diocesan Archives. Author: Tommy Shultz

Keeping Our Promises / Cumpliendo Nuestras Promesas

Have you ever broken a promise? Of course you have. I think if we all think about it and are honest with ourselves, we have all probably broken a promise we made at one point or another. You have probably seen the aftermath of what happened when that promise was broken; People got hurt, trust was shattered, relationships were affected. I know when I have broken a promise I immediately feel guilt. I think this guilt comes because we all know deep down in our bones that promises are not meant to be broken.

This brings us to our First Reading for today where we hear that the Galatians have been quick to forsake Paul and Christ for the sake of another gospel. They came to learn about Christ through Paul’s teachings and gave their hearts over to him, until another gospel popped up that seemed more alluring. Take a moment to think about this for a second. Jesus had recently died for their sins. There may have even been people present who were alive when it happened. They were there at the beginning of Christianity. They had been told about the promise of eternal life through this Jesus of Nazareth who died and actually rose from the dead. And then, a different gospel comes along and they are quick to dismiss what Jesus did for them.

It is probably easy to look at the Galatians and wonder how they could do all this, but this wasn’t a new phenomenon. Since the beginning of time God has been making promises with his people and we have been breaking those promises. But no matter what, God remains faithful. We call these promises covenants and there are many throughout the Old Testament, culminating in the New Covenant in Christ. Today in the Responsorial Psalm, we read that the Lord will remember his covenant forever and the Catechism tells us, “God chose Abraham and made a covenant with him and his descendants. By the covenant God formed his people and revealed his law to them through Moses. Through the prophets, he prepared them to accept the salvation destined for all humanity. God has revealed himself fully by sending his own Son, in whom he has established his covenant forever.” (CCC 72-73)

God remembers the covenant he made with Abraham. He remembers the covenant he made with Noah and with Moses. He remembers the covenant he made on the cross, the covenant he made for us. God is always faithful to his covenant. The question is, are we faithful to him? Let’s take some time today to thank God for what he did for us on the cross and ask for the grace to remain faithful to his covenant of love forever.

From all of us here at Diocesan, God bless!

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¿Alguna vez has roto una promesa? Seguro que sí. Creo que si todos lo pensamos y somos honestos con nosotros mismos, probablemente todos hayamos roto una promesa que hicimos en un momento u otro. Probablemente hayas visto las consecuencias de lo que sucedió cuando se rompió esa promesa; las personas resultaron heridas, la confianza se rompió, las relaciones se vieron afectadas. Sé que cuando he roto una promesa me siento culpable inmediatamente. Creo que esta culpa viene porque todos sabemos en el fondo de nuestros huesos que las promesas no están hechas para romperse.

Esto nos lleva a nuestra primera lectura de hoy, donde escuchamos que los gálatas facilmente abandonar a Pablo y Cristo por otro evangelio. Llegaron a aprender acerca de Cristo a través de las enseñanzas de Pablo y le entregaron su corazón, hasta que apareció otro evangelio que parecía más atractivo. Tómese un momento para pensar en esto por un segundo. Jesús había muerto recientemente por sus pecados. Incluso puede haber personas presentes que estaban vivas cuando sucedió. Estaban allí al comienzo del cristianismo. Se les había dicho acerca de la promesa de la vida eterna a través de este Jesús de Nazaret que murió y resucitó de entre los muertos. Y luego, aparece un evangelio diferente y rápidamente descartan lo que Jesús hizo por ellos.

Probablemente sea fácil mirar a los gálatas y preguntarse cómo pudieron hacer todo esto, pero este no era un fenómeno nuevo. Desde el principio de los tiempos, Dios ha estado haciendo promesas con su pueblo y nosotros hemos estado rompiendo esas promesas. Pero pase lo que pase, Dios permanece fiel. A estas promesas las llamamos pactos y hay muchas a lo largo del Antiguo Testamento, que culminan en la Nueva Alianza en Cristo. Hoy en el Salmo Responsorial leemos que el Señor recordará para siempre su alianza y el Catecismo nos dice: “Dios eligió a Abraham y selló una alianza con él y su descendencia. Dios eligió a Abraham y selló una alianza con él y su descendencia. De él formó a su pueblo, al que reveló su ley por medio de Moisés. Lo preparó por los profetas para acoger la salvación destinada a toda la humanidad. Dios se ha revelado plenamente enviando a su propio Hijo, en quien ha establecido su alianza para siempre.” (CIC 72-73)

Dios recuerda la alianza que hizo con Abraham. Recuerda la alianza que hizo con Noé y con Moisés. Recuerda la alianza que hizo en la cruz, la alianza que hizo por nosotros. Dios es siempre fiel a su alianza . La pregunta es, ¿le somos fieles? Tomemos un tiempo hoy para agradecer a Dios por lo que hizo por nosotros en la cruz y pidamos la gracia de permanecer fieles a la alianza de amor para siempre.

De parte de todos nosotros aquí en Diocesan, ¡Dios los bendiga!

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Tommy Shultz is a Business Development Representative for Diocesan. In this role he is committed to bringing the best software to dioceses and parishes while helping them evangelize on the digital continent. Tommy has worked in various diocese and parish roles since his graduation from Franciscan University with a Theology degree. He hopes to use his skills in evangelization, marketing, and communications, to serve the Church and bring the Good News to all. His favorite quote comes from St. John Paul II, who said, “A person is an entity of a sort to which the only proper and adequate way to relate is love.”

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Must We Evangelize? / ¿Tenemos que Evangelizar?

Today’s First Reading speaks of the importance that Paul places on evangelization, which leads to the question, what is Evangelization and does every Catholic have to participate? 

Jesus’ commission in Matthew 28:19, “to go and make disciples of all nations,” is not just one aspect of the Church, but her deepest identity and mission, for the Church exists to evangelize and is born from the missionary activity of Jesus himself. Jesus, as the first and quintessential evangelist, models the mission of the Church and then commissions the apostles to go and preach the Gospel to the whole world. Evangelization, therefore, is not possible without preaching Christ. The Church’s mission consists in bringing all people into relationship with the one who can save them and make them partakers in the divine life, thus fulfilling the very meaning of existence. As part of the Church, that is yours and my mission as well. 

Now, we know that the Church has endured through many different cultures, trials, persecutions, changes, and peoples, and that she understands a need for increased zeal, fresh perspectives, and a new evangelization, which does not just confine itself to a specific period but instead focuses on the action of the Holy Spirit. In our day and age, testimony is often a more effective way to spread the Gospel than by starting with difficult teachings or hard to understand doctrine. Someone can argue with the proofs of Aquinas, but they can’t argue with the personal experiences you have had with God. Don’t be afraid to share your story and, from there, lead people into the deeper truths of the faith. 

I hear people all the time say things like, “I couldn’t possibly evangelize, I don’t have a Theology degree.” But the Church has given a very easy framework to get you started. In its directory for Catechesis it lays out three basic stages of evangelization, namely, missionary action (our call as an initial witness to the Gospel), catechetical-intiatory action (help for those who feel a growing desire for the Lord), and pastoral action (helping the baptized with continual conversion). All of us know someone in one of these stages. It is our duty as Christians to meet them in their current situation with the love and truth of Christ. Paul makes that very clear in the First Reading today when he say’s that he is a slave to all in order to save as many as possible. 

Taking this process seriously and seeking to reach the heart of the individual  is paramount in imitating the Good Shepherd. The Church’s ultimate identity of evangelist stems from the very example of Christ, and it is for this reason that the call may not lay stagnant, but must be taken up as a new evangelization with an ever increasing zeal for intimacy and the salvation of souls. Let’s take up the call today and make disciples of all nations. 

From all of us here at Diocesan, God bless!

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La Primera Lectura de hoy habla de la importancia que Pablo le da a la evangelización, lo que lleva a la pregunta, ¿qué es la evangelización y todo católico debe participar ?

La comisión de Jesús en Mateo 28:19, “id y haced discípulos a todas las naciones”, no es sólo un aspecto de la Iglesia, sino su identidad y misión más profundas, ya que la Iglesia existe para evangelizar y nace de la actividad misionera de Jesús mismo. Jesús, como el primer evangelista y por excelencia, modela la misión de la Iglesia y luego comisiona a los apóstoles para que vayan y prediquen el Evangelio a todo el mundo. La evangelización, por tanto, no es posible sin la predicación de Cristo. La misión de la Iglesia consiste en poner en relación a todos los hombres con Aquel que puede salvarlos y hacerlos partícipes de la vida divina, cumpliendo así el sentido mismo de la existencia. Como parte de la Iglesia, esa es tu misión y también la mía.

Ahora bien, sabemos que la Iglesia ha soportado muchas culturas, pruebas, persecuciones, cambios y pueblos diferentes, y que comprende la necesidad de un mayor celo, nuevas perspectivas y una nueva evangelización, que no se limita a una época específica sino que se centra en la acción del Espíritu Santo. En nuestra época, el testimonio es a menudo una forma más eficaz de difundir el Evangelio que comenzar con enseñanzas difíciles o doctrinas difíciles de entender. Alguien puede discutir con las pruebas de Tomás de Aquino, pero no puede discutir con las experiencias personales que has tenido con Dios. No tengas miedo de compartir tu historia y, a partir de ahí, guiar a las personas hacia las verdades más profundas de la fe.

Escucho a la gente todo el tiempo decir cosas como: “No podría evangelizar, no tengo un título en Teología”. Pero la Iglesia ha dado un marco muy fácil para empezar. En su directorio para la catequesis establece tres etapas básicas de la evangelización, a saber, la acción misionera (nuestra llamada como primer testimonio del Evangelio), la acción catequístico-iniciatoria (ayudar a los que sienten un deseo creciente por el Señor) y la acción pastoral (ayudar a los bautizados a la conversión continua). Todos conocemos a alguien en alguna de estas etapas. Es nuestro deber como cristianos encontrarlos en su situación actual con el amor y la verdad de Cristo. Pablo lo deja muy claro en la Primera Lectura de hoy cuando dice que es esclavo de todos para salvar a tantos como sea posible.

Tomar en serio este proceso y buscar llegar al corazón de la persona es primordial para imitar al Buen Pastor. La identidad última de evangelista de la Iglesia brota del mismo ejemplo de Cristo, y por eso la llamada no puede quedarse estancada, sino que debe ser asumida como una nueva evangelización con un celo cada vez mayor por la intimidad y la salvación de las almas. Aceptemos el llamado hoy y hagamos discípulos de todas las naciones.

De parte de todos nosotros aquí en Diocesan, ¡Dios los bendiga!

Comunicarse con el autor

Tommy Shultz is a Business Development Representative for Diocesan. In this role he is committed to bringing the best software to dioceses and parishes while helping them evangelize on the digital continent. Tommy has worked in various diocese and parish roles since his graduation from Franciscan University with a Theology degree. He hopes to use his skills in evangelization, marketing, and communications, to serve the Church and bring the Good News to all. His favorite quote comes from St. John Paul II, who said, “A person is an entity of a sort to which the only proper and adequate way to relate is love.”

Feature Image Credit: Ben White, unsplash.com/photos/qM18dmqsTqk

Not All Are Equal / No Todos Somos Iguales

Not all people are equal. Pretty controversial way to start a blog post right? But it is true that not all people are equal. Or maybe a better way to say it is that not all people are the same. Now, please don’t misread this, we are all beloved children of God and all have equal dignity. Each and every one of us was formed by the hands of the Creator and because of that very fact we all deserve love. But that does not mean we are equal in everything. Think for just a second about some of the noticeable differences. You may be male or female, tall or short, book smart or street smart, artistic or mathematical. Not all people are equal.

We hear as much in today’s First Reading where the apostles see themselves as unequal to the rest of the disciples. We also see it in the Gospel today where Jesus makes it clear that he is the Lord of the Sabbath and that the Pharisees are not. There is biblical evidence that not all men are equal. I propose that many of the problems we have in our society today come from this idea that we all have to be the same. It’s as if we look at our differences as holding us back because we have made inequality the dirty word of the 21st century.

But not all people are equal. God did not make us equal. Now again, we are all equal in our dignity as being made in the image of God, but beyond that we have many differences. I like to think of this by looking at our very DNA. Typically a human being is going to have an XY or XX chromosomal structure which is going to determine your sex. What is similar about these two patterns? They both start with the same letter. I like to think of that as the very life of God written into our bodies. We are all equal under God and made in his image and likeness. But then you get to the second letter in the genetic code. This is where the difference comes in. This one little letter will determine many different factors that will set us apart from others. But instead of seeing difference as a negative thing, I propose we look at it as a positive.

Damon Owens once said that man and woman were not created different from each other, but rather for each other. In other words, the differences we have and the “inequality” that exists in humanity, just might be necessary differences that can help us all build each other up. Think about your parish for a second. It contains a mix of people from all different backgrounds, races, creeds, and families. Every single individual is part of the family of God, but they also have unique and individual talents that can build up that kingdom. It’s the same with you. So I think our question today should not be how to be more like everyone else, but instead, how can we use the unique talents we have been given to serve others and to love God.

If it is hard to tell what makes you unique, then ask God. He is the one who created you with immense dignity, but also with that individual spark that makes you unique. I say we thank God that we are not all the same, jump into the difference, and build the kingdom one gift and one talent at a time. I will leave you with Paul who drives this point home. “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” -1 Corinthians 12:4-7

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No todas las personas son iguales. Una forma bastante controversial de comenzar una publicación de blog, ¿verdad? Pero es cierto que no todas las personas son iguales. O tal vez una manera mejor de decirlo es que no todas las personas son iguales. Ahora, por favor, no malinterprete esto, todos somos hijos amados de Dios y todos tenemos la misma dignidad. Todos y cada uno de nosotros fuimos formados por las manos del Creador y por eso mismo todos merecemos amor. Pero eso no significa que seamos iguales en todo. Piense por un segundo en algunas de las diferencias notables. Ya que sea hombre o mujer, alto o bajo, que tenga inteligencia para los libros o la calle, que sea artístico o matemático… No todas las personas son iguales.

Lo escuchamos mucho en la Primera Lectura de hoy donde los apóstoles se ven a sí mismos como desiguales al resto de los discípulos. También lo vemos en el Evangelio de hoy donde Jesús deja claro que él es el Señor del sábado y que los fariseos no lo son. Hay evidencia bíblica de que no todos los hombres son iguales. Propongo que muchos de los problemas que tenemos hoy en nuestra sociedad vienen de esta idea de que todos tenemos que ser iguales. Es como si consideráramos nuestras diferencias como un freno porque hemos hecho de la desigualdad la mala palabra del siglo XXI.

Pero no todas las personas son iguales. Dios no nos hizo iguales. Ahora, todos somos iguales en nuestra dignidad ya que somos hechos a la imagen de Dios, pero más allá de eso tenemos muchas diferencias. Me gusta pensar en esto mirando nuestro propio ADN. Por lo general, un ser humano tendrá una estructura cromosómica XY o XX que determinará su sexo. ¿Qué tienen de similar estos dos patrones? Ambos comienzan con la misma letra. Me gusta pensar en eso como la misma vida que Dios escribió en nuestros cuerpos. Todos somos iguales ante Dios y hechos a su imagen y semejanza. Pero luego llegas a la segunda letra del código genético. Aquí es donde entra la diferencia. Esta pequeña letra determinará muchos factores diferentes que nos diferenciarán de los demás. Pero en lugar de ver la diferencia como algo negativo, propongo que la veamos como algo positivo.

Damon Owens dijo una vez que el hombre y la mujer no fueron creados diferentes el uno del otro, sino el uno para el otro. En otras palabras, las diferencias que tenemos y la “desigualdad” que existe en la humanidad, pueden ser diferencias necesarias que nos ayuden a construirnos entre todos. Piense en su parroquia por un segundo. Contiene una mezcla de personas de diferentes orígenes, razas, credos y familias. Cada individuo es parte de la familia de Dios, pero también tiene talentos únicos e individuales que pueden construir ese reino. Es lo mismo contigo. Así que creo que nuestra pregunta de hoy no debería ser cómo podemos ser más como los demás, sino cómo podemos usar los talentos únicos que se nos han dado para servir a los demás y amar a Dios.

Si es difícil reconocer lo que te hace único, pregúntale a Dios. Él te creó con una dignidad inmensa, pero también con esa chispa individual que te hace único. Yo sugiero que agradezcamos a Dios que no todos somos iguales, entramos plenamente a esa diferencia y construyamos el Reino un don y un talento a la vez. Los dejo con San Pablo, quien resalta este punto. “Ahora bien, hay variedad de dones, pero un mismo Espíritu; y hay variedad de servicios, pero un mismo Señor; y hay variedad de actividades, pero es el mismo Dios quien las activa todas en todos. A cada uno le es dado la manifestación del Espíritu para el bien común”. -1 Corintios 12:4-7

Comunicarse con el autor

Tommy Shultz is a Business Development Representative for Diocesan. In this role he is committed to bringing the best software to dioceses and parishes while helping them evangelize on the digital continent. Tommy has worked in various diocese and parish roles since his graduation from Franciscan University with a Theology degree. He hopes to use his skills in evangelization, marketing, and communications, to serve the Church and bring the Good News to all. His favorite quote comes from St. John Paul II, who said, “A person is an entity of a sort to which the only proper and adequate way to relate is love.”

Feature Image Credit: Markus Winkler, unsplash.com/photos/97Ncs6x3NTg

Sowing Division / Sembrando la División

“I have come to set the world on fire… and divide a father against his son.” Sounds like something a villain would say in a Marvel movie more than a quote from the Son of God. But yet, in today’s Gospel, we hear these very words from Jesus. I think in our modern era we tend to see Jesus as this nice character who didn’t really care what people did and just preached a fluffy sentimental love wherever he went. I know I have fallen into this trap of projecting my own thoughts on Jesus instead of listening to who he actually was and what he actually said. 

“Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” Again, this doesn’t seem like the same guy who also said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

How can we reflect on these two seemingly different verses? Well, I think the key is taking off our human glasses for a second and trying to see with the eyes of God. In the first verse Jesus talks about bringing division, but it isn’t division just for division’s sake, that is what Satan does. He seems to be referring here to the fallen world in which we live and the reality that not all will want to follow. As disciples we can’t just take some of the Gospel and leave others, we are called to be all in for Christ. Whenever there is an all or nothing proposition it is going to cause division. I think this is what Jesus is speaking to in the Gospel today. He wants the world to be on fire for him so that he can give his love to all people, but he also knows that not all people will want to follow him. 

This can seem pretty depressing when thinking about how some people may not want to follow Jesus, but I am sure we can all think of times in our lives where that was us. It should give us hope that the point of the division spoken of here in the Gospel is not to condemn, but to show a clear line leading to the truth and love of Christ. This is why Jesus can then say that he brings peace that is different from the world. The world could define peace as something so simple as taking a nap. It can be great at the moment, but it is fleeting. It seems that Jesus wants to give us the peace that lasts and he wants all people to experience this peace by making it very clear how to follow him. This will cause division, because Jesus will hold us to a higher standard than the world, but our goal should be entering that division and helping all people see the truth and love of Christ.

So it is true that the Gospel will cause division amongst families. We may be seeing that more now than ever with our hyper politicized culture and that one uncle that always wants to bring up controversial topics at family gatherings. But I think our response as disciples should be to enter into the mess, the division, the hurt, the confusion, and bring the light of Christ. One person at a time finding conversion in Christ will eventually set the world ablaze. 

From all of us here at Diocesan, God bless!

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“He venido a traer fuego a la tierra… estará dividido el padre contra el hijo”. Suena como algo que diría un villano en una película de Marvel más que un dicho del Hijo de Dios. Sin embargo, en el Evangelio de hoy, escuchamos estas mismas palabras de Jesús. Creo que en nuestra época moderna tendemos a ver a Jesús como un personaje simpático al que realmente no le importaba lo que hiciera la gente y simplemente predicaba un amor sentimental dondequiera que iba. Sé que he caído en esta trampa de proyectar mis propios pensamientos sobre Jesús en lugar de escuchar quién era en realidad y qué dijo en realidad.

“¿¿Piensan acaso que he venido a traer paz a la tierra? De ningún modo. No he venido a traer la paz, sino la división.” Nuevamente, este no parece ser la mismo persona que también dijo: “La paz les dejo, mi paz les doy. Yo no se la doy como la da el mundo. No se turbe sus corazones y no tengan miedo.”

¿Cómo podemos reflexionar sobre estos dos versículos aparentemente diferentes? Bueno, yo creo que la clave es quitarnos los anteojos humanos por un segundo y tratar de ver con los ojos de Dios. En el primer versículo Jesús habla de traer la división, pero no es la división por dividir, eso es lo que hace Satanás. Parece estar refiriéndose aquí al mundo caído en el que vivimos y la realidad que no todos querrán seguir. Como discípulos, no podemos simplemente tomar algo del Evangelio y dejar otros, estamos llamados a estar completamente comprometidos con Cristo. Cada vez que hay una proposición de todo o nada va a causar división. Creo que esto es lo que Jesús está hablando en el Evangelio de hoy. Quiere que el mundo arda por él para poder dar su amor a todas las personas, pero también sabe que no todas las personas querrán seguirlo.

Esto puede parecer bastante deprimente al pensar en cómo algunas personas pueden no querer seguir a Jesús, pero estoy seguro de que todos podemos pensar en momentos de nuestras vidas en los que fuimos nosotros. Debería darnos esperanza de que el objetivo de la división de la que se habla aquí en el Evangelio no es condenar, sino mostrar una línea clara que conduce a la verdad y al amor de Cristo. Por eso Jesús puede entonces decir que trae la paz que es diferente del mundo. El mundo podría definir la paz como algo tan simple como tomar una siesta. Puede ser genial en este momento, pero es fugaz. Parece que Jesús quiere darnos la paz duradera y quiere que todas las personas experimenten esta paz dejando muy claro cómo seguirlo. Esto causará la división, porque Jesús nos mantendrá en un estándar más alto que el mundo, pero nuestra meta debe ser entrar en esa división y ayudar a todas las personas a ver la verdad y el amor de Cristo.

Entonces es cierto que el Evangelio causará la división entre las familias. Es posible que lo estemos viendo ahora más que nunca con nuestra cultura hiperpolitizada y ese tío que siempre quiere sacar a relucir temas controvertidos en las reuniones familiares. Pero creo que nuestra respuesta como discípulos debe ser entrar en el lío, la división, el dolor, la confusión y traer la luz de Cristo. Una persona a la vez que encuentre la conversión en Cristo eventualmente incenderá al mundo.

De parte de todos nosotros aquí en Diocesan, ¡Dios los bendiga!

Comunicarse con el autor

Tommy Shultz is a Business Development Representative for Diocesan. In this role he is committed to bringing the best software to dioceses and parishes while helping them evangelize on the digital continent. Tommy has worked in various diocese and parish roles since his graduation from Franciscan University with a Theology degree. He hopes to use his skills in evangelization, marketing, and communications, to serve the Church and bring the Good News to all. His favorite quote comes from St. John Paul II, who said, “A person is an entity of a sort to which the only proper and adequate way to relate is love.”

Feature Image Credit: Derek Liang, unsplash.com/photos/G9gaKlXeVrw

Faith as Realized Hope / La Fe Como la Esperanza Realizada

How many people when they hear the word faith immediately think of that iconic scene in Indiana Jones where he takes the step out into the apparent void only to be caught by an unseen trail of rock? I know this is where my mind often goes, and though I think this scene actually depicts faith really well, we tend to misunderstand faith as blind obedience to something we can’t understand. 

Think about the scene in Indiana Jones for a second. If you haven’t seen the film, Indiana Jones has to make a leap of faith across what looks like a large black hole. His father, who is near death, has full faith that if he takes the step he will survive. Indiana has to put his faith in his father and the knowledge he has in order to get across. Of course, when he jumps, the camera angle turns and reveals a stone pathway that was invisible to the naked eye. Not only was this brilliant from a filmmaking perspective, I think it drives home a point. 

Indiana Jones was not trusting dumb luck. He was not jumping out in blind obedience to things he didn’t know. Quite the opposite in fact, he was trusting his father. His father is the one who told him he should jump, his father was the one who fully believed that he would be alright once he took the leap, and then Indiana had to decide. The decision he had to make was whether or not he trusted his father. 

It’s really the same with us in the spiritual life isn’t it? If we think of faith as just blind trust to someone we don’t know, then of course we wouldn’t want to have faith. But if we start to learn about who God is, read his story through the scriptures, hear of his love for us, talk with him on a daily basis, then we will start to know him and we can be given the gift of faith. 

God wants us to know him and he wants us to trust him. He wants us to know that faith in him gives us power. Like it says in today’s Second Reading, “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” Indiana hoped he wouldn’t fall to his death and trusted his father. His hope was realized, or made true, through the invisible bridge. And once his hope was realized, there was evidence for what he couldn’t see. It is the same with us. When we have faith, our hope becomes realized. Do we believe that? Do we trust God enough that we know he wants what is best for us? Do we have faith in him and how he will care for our needs? 

Let’s all pray that we can have faith like Abraham did in the Old Testament. Faith which is the realization of our hope and the evidence of things not seen. 

From all of us here at Diocesan, God bless!

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¿Cuántas personas cuando escuchan la palabra fe inmediatamente piensan en esa escena icónica de la película Indiana Jones donde da el paso hacia el vacío aparente solo para ser sostenido por un camino de roca invisible? Sé que esto es lo que yo pienso con frecuencia, y aunque creo que esta escena realmente representa la fe muy bien, tendemos a malinterpretar la fe como una obediencia ciega a algo que no entendemos.

Piensa en la escena de Indiana Jones por un segundo. Si no has visto la película, Indiana Jones tiene que dar un salto de fe a través de lo que parece ser un gran vacio. Su padre, que está a punto de morir, tiene plena fe en que si da el paso sobrevivirá. Indiana tiene que poner su fe en su padre y el conocimiento que tiene para poder cruzar. Por supuesto, cuando salta, el ángulo de la cámara gira y revela un camino de piedra que era invisible a simple vista. Esto no solo fue brillante desde una perspectiva cinematográfica, creo que también ilustra el punto.

Indiana Jones no confiaba en la mala suerte. No estaba saltando en obediencia ciega a cosas que no sabía. De hecho, todo lo contrario, confiaba en su padre. Su padre es quien le dijo que debería saltar, su padre fue quien creyó plenamente que estaría bien una vez que diera el salto, y luego Indiana tuvo que decidir. La decisión que tenía que tomar era si confiaba o no en su padre.

Realmente es lo mismo con nosotros en la vida espiritual, ¿no? Si pensamos en la fe como una simple confianza ciega en alguien que no conocemos, entonces, por supuesto, no querríamos tener fe. Pero si comenzamos a aprender acerca de quién es Dios, leemos su historia a través de las Escrituras, escuchamos de su amor por nosotros, hablamos con él a diario, entonces comenzaremos a conocerlo y se nos puede dar el don de la fe.

Dios quiere que lo conozcamos y quiere que confiemos en él. Él quiere que sepamos que la fe en él nos da poder. Como dice la Segunda Lectura de hoy, “La fe es la forma de poseer, ya desde ahora, lo que se espera y de conocer las realidades que no se ven”. Indiana esperaba no murir al caer y confiaba en su padre. Su esperanza se realizó, o se hizo realidad, a través del puente invisible. Y una vez que su esperanza se hizo realidad, hubo evidencia de lo que no podía ver. Es lo mismo con nosotros. Cuando tenemos fe, nuestra esperanza se hace realidad. ¿Creemos eso? ¿Confiamos en Dios lo suficiente como para saber que Él quiere lo mejor para nosotros? ¿Tenemos fe en él y en cómo cuidará de nuestras necesidades?

Oremos todos para que podamos tener fe como la tuvo Abraham en el Antiguo Testamento. Fe que es la forma de poseer, ya desde ahora, lo que se espera y de conocer las realidades que no se ven.

De parte de todos nosotros aquí en Diocesan, ¡Dios los bendiga!

Comunicarse con el autor

Tommy Shultz is a Business Development Representative for Diocesan. In this role he is committed to bringing the best software to dioceses and parishes while helping them evangelize on the digital continent. Tommy has worked in various diocese and parish roles since his graduation from Franciscan University with a Theology degree. He hopes to use his skills in evangelization, marketing, and communications, to serve the Church and bring the Good News to all. His favorite quote comes from St. John Paul II, who said, “A person is an entity of a sort to which the only proper and adequate way to relate is love.”

Feature Image Credit: Dayne Topkin, unsplash.com/photos/xTmqoidRoKQ

My Yoke Is Easy / Mi Yugo es Suave

When I was a kid I always thought this verse was talking about egg yolks and it made no sense to me. Maybe Jesus could make a mean omelet? I wasn’t sure. I have seen lots of different ways people interpret this verse, but the most helpful I have heard is looking at the words quite literally. 

The picture I chose today is of a yoke. This was an instrument that would attach two bulls together so they have double the strength to pull something like a cart. This was a really effective way of plowing that saved a lot of time and effort, until one of the bulls didn’t want to play well with the other. 

Think about it, if one of those bulls decided to move differently or get angry or just do a cold hard stop, it would throw off the entire method. Whoever is being the shepherd, so to speak, would have to stop everything and get them both back in step so that they could accomplish the task at hand. The ease and efficiency is entirely dependent on who you are attached to and whether or not they have the same mindset of the task at hand. 

So how does this apply to our spiritual lives? Well, we are all attached to something. We have allowed something into our lives that pushes or pulls us, makes us stop in our tracks or makes us run faster. Whether it’s a job, a vice, an addiction, or just the struggle of everyday life, these things make us exhausted if we let them take the lead. Our yoke becomes heavy. I can look back on areas of my life where I struggled with certain sins and how they affected every part of my life and made me feel burdened. Bottom line, when we attach ourselves to these things and let them lead, we get into trouble. 

Have you ever broken down into an ugly cry and screamed out for rest? I am pretty sure that has happened a few times since I became a dad. All I need is just another twenty minutes of sleep. We all want to rest even though we have convinced ourselves that if we ever stop then we lose our worth or waste time. But deep down we want to be unburdened. Jesus reminds us in the Gospel today that he is the one who comes to unburden us, to let us rest, to set us free. Who doesn’t want that? 

Imagine Jesus taking whatever it is you are attached to, and detaching it so that he can take its place and start to guide and direct your life. I think this is the purpose of him telling us that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. This is not to say that problems and struggles won’t ever come up, but we will have the divine navigator who will help us through them and give us peace. Let’s all pray for the grace to let go of the things we let lead us, and allow Jesus to take the wheel. 

From all of us here at Diocesan, God bless!

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Cuando era niño, siempre pensaba que este versículo hablaba de las yemas de huevo y no tenía sentido para mí. Tal vez Jesús podría hacer un omelet increíble. No estaba seguro. He oído muchas formas diferentes de interpretar este versículo, pero la más útil que he escuchado es interpretar las palabras literalmente.

La imagen que escogí es un yugo. Era un instrumento que unía a dos toros para que tuvieran doble fuerza para jalar algo como una carretilla. Era una forma efectiva de arar que ahorraba mucho tiempo y esfuerzo, hasta que uno de los toros no quería trabajar bien con el otro.

Piénselo, si uno de los toros decidiera moverse de manera diferente o enojarse o simplemente pararse en seco, arruinaría todo el método. El pastor or el granjero tendría que detener todo y volver a ponerlos al paso para que pudieran cumplir la tarea en cuestión. La facilidad y la eficiencia dependen completamente de a quién esté vinculado y si tienen o no la misma mentalidad sobre la tarea en cuestión.

Entonces, ¿cómo se aplica esto a nuestra vida espiritual? Bueno, todos estamos vinculados a algo. Hemos permitido que algo entre en nuestras vidas que nos empuja o nos jala, nos hace parar en seco o nos hace correr más rápido. Ya que sea un trabajo, un vicio, una adicción o simplemente la lucha de la vida cotidiana, estas cosas nos agotan si dejamos que tomen la iniciativa. Nuestro yugo se vuelve pesado. Recuerdo ciertas áreas en mi vida donde luchaba con ciertos pecados y cómo afectaron cada parte de mi vida y me hicieron sentir agobiado. En pocas palabras, cuando nos apegamos a estas cosas y dejamos que nos dirijan, nos metemos en problemas.

¿Alguna vez has llorado sin parar  pidiendo a gritos el descanso? Estoy seguro de que me ha sucedido algunas veces ahora que soy padre de familia. Solo necesito dormir veinte minutos más. Todos queremos descansar aunque nos hayamos convencido de que si nos detenemos vamos a perder nuestro valor o perder el tiempo. Pero en el fondo no queremos estar cargados. Jesús nos recuerda en el Evangelio de hoy que él viene a descargarnos, a dejarnos descansar, a liberarnos. ¿Quién no quiere eso?

Imagina a Jesús tomando esa cosa a la cual te apegas y apartándola para que él pueda venir y tomar su lugar y comenzar a guiar y dirigir tu vida. Creo que es por eso que nos dice que su yugo es suave y su carga es ligera. Esto no quiere decir que no vayan a surgir problemas y batallas, pero tendremos al navegante divino que nos ayuda a superarlos y nos da la paz. Oremos todos por la gracia de dejar esas cosas que permitimos guiarnos, para permitir que Jesús tome el volante.

De parte de todos nosotros aquí en Diocesan, ¡Dios los bendiga!

Comunicarse con el autor

Tommy Shultz is a Business Development Representative for Diocesan. In this role he is committed to bringing the best software to dioceses and parishes while helping them evangelize on the digital continent. Tommy has worked in various diocese and parish roles since his graduation from Franciscan University with a Theology degree. He hopes to use his skills in evangelization, marketing, and communications, to serve the Church and bring the Good News to all. His favorite quote comes from St. John Paul II, who said, “A person is an entity of a sort to which the only proper and adequate way to relate is love.”

Feature Image Credit: Paul Jai, unsplash.com/photos/Pt9JWmvHbGw

The Father / Dios Padre

Throughout scripture, God’s relationship with his people is described as like a bridegroom to a bride. You have probably heard the analogy that just as a husband and wife give up everything for the other, so too, Jesus gives up everything, even his very body, so that we might experience his love. 

We also have the analogy of the Trinity being like the relationship of a family. Now, of course, it is hard to talk about the Trinity without accidentally slipping into heresy and no analogy is perfect, but I think the image of a family is a good way to begin to describe the relationship of the Trinity. The husband loves the wife and the wife loves the husband and their love is so real that ordinarily in nine months you would give it a name. Similarly, God the Father loves God the Son and the Son loves the Father and from their loves proceeds the Holy Spirit.

I love all of the signs and symbols we use to describe God and his relationship with us, but perhaps my most favorite is the example we see in today’s First Reading. This one has hit home even harder for me since I became a dad. A father has to protect, guide, care for, and love his child but he also eventually has to let them make their own mistakes, grow, and learn. This is gut wrenching to even think about because all we want as father’s is for our kids to be ok. 

Now take that gut wrenching feeling that us imperfect humans have and multiply it by a million. We are seeing a fraction of what God feels for his people, knowing full well he is the way, the truth, and the life, but yet they still don’t believe, trust, or hope. The line that really strikes me is, “The more I called them, the farther they went from me, sacrificing to the Baals and burning incense to idols.” God is calling each of us. Rather, he is chasing after us. Sometimes the more he calls the further away we run. Just like the Israelites who were freed from slavery turned to idols, we take up idols in our own lives to replace the relationship we should have with God. 

I think the question that is provoked from the First Reading is, what are your idols? What are mine? When God calls, what is it that allows us to easily turn and run? My encouragement to you today, as well as myself, is to pick one idol in your life that distracts you and for the next week try to break its power over you. One day, one minute, one second at a time. 

From all of us here at Diocesan, God bless!

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Por todas las Escrituras, la relación de Dios con su pueblo muchas veces se describe como la de un novio con su novia. Capaz hayan escuchado la analogía de como un esposo y una esposa dan todo el uno por el otro, Jesús también da todo, incluso su propio cuerpo, para que podamos experimentar su amor.

También tenemos la analogía de la Trinidad como la relación de una familia. Por supuesto es difícil hablar de la Trinidad sin hablar herejías sin querer y ninguna analogía es perfecta, pero creo que la imagen de una familia es una buena manera de comenzar a describir la relación de la Trinidad. Un esposo ama a su esposa y una esposa ama su esposo y su amor es tan real que normalmente en nueve meses le darías nombre. Del mismo modo, Dios Padre ama a Dios Hijo y el Hijo ama al Padre y de sus amores procede el Espíritu Santo.

Me encantan todos los signos y símbolos que utilizamos para describir a Dios y su relación con nosotros, pero quizá mi favorito es el ejemplo que vemos en la Primera Lectura de hoy. Me ha afectado aún más desde ahora que soy papá. Un padre tiene que proteger, guiar, cuidar y amar a su hijo, pero también tiene que dejar que cometa sus propios errores, crezca y aprenda. Es desgarrador incluso pensar en esto porque todo lo que queremos como padre es que nuestros hijos estén bien.

Ahora, toma ese sentimiento desgarrador que tenemos los seres humanos imperfectos y multiplícalo por un millón. Estamos viendo una fracción de lo que Dios siente por su pueblo, sabiendo muy bien que él es el camino, la verdad y la vida, pero todavía no creen, confían ni esperan en él. La línea que realmente me llama la atención es: “Mientras más los llamaba, más se alejaban de mí, ofreciendo sacrificios a los Baales y quemando incienso a los ídolos”. Dios nos está llamando a cada uno de nosotros. Más bien, nos está persiguiendo. A veces, mientras más llama, más lejos corremos. Así como los israelitas que fueron liberados de la esclavitud se convirtieron en ídolos, nosotros tomamos ídolos en nuestras propias vidas para reemplazar la relación que debemos tener con Dios.

Creo que la pregunta que surge de la Primera Lectura es ¿cuáles son tus ídolos? ¿Cuáles son los míos? Cuando Dios llama, ¿qué es lo que nos permite dar la vuelta y correr fácilmente? Les motivo hoy, y a mí mismo también, elegir un ídolo que tienes en tu vida que te distraiga, y durante la próxima semana intenta romper su poder sobre ti. Un día, un minuto, un segundo a la vez.

De parte de todos nosotros aquí en Diocesan, ¡Dios los bendiga!

Comunicarse con el autor

Tommy Shultz is a Business Development Representative for Diocesan. In this role he is committed to bringing the best software to dioceses and parishes while helping them evangelize on the digital continent. Tommy has worked in various diocese and parish roles since his graduation from Franciscan University with a Theology degree. He hopes to use his skills in evangelization, marketing, and communications, to serve the Church and bring the Good News to all. His favorite quote comes from St. John Paul II, who said, “A person is an entity of a sort to which the only proper and adequate way to relate is love.”

Feature Image Credit: Derek Thomson, unsplash.com/photos/M1jCmRxO7cY

Humble Silence

When I was at Franciscan there was a common phrase amongst the Theology and Catechetics majors. Whenever asked what they wanted to do with their degree, a majority of the time you would hear, “I want to be a Catholic speaker.” This was back in the golden age of speaking when it seemed much more glamorous than getting stuck at an airport or having to be away from your family for long stints at a time. 

While I think the intention of all of these folks was good, I do wonder how often we all make the spiritual life about ourselves. I know I have fallen into this trap many times where I think to myself if I just say the right thing or have the right argument then people will come back to Christ. It almost becomes this weird quasi-evangelization where we want people to come to know Christ, as long as we know we are the ones who made it happen. 

I don’t know if this has been an experience that resonates with you, but this is what immediately came to mind when I read the First Reading about Elijah. Of course, Elijah is one of the most important prophets that we have in the Old Testament. From his miracles, to the way he was able to communicate with God, his holiness, and everything in between, Elijah was a prophet like no other. And yet, here he is in the First Reading needing a dose of humility. 

“I have been most zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. But the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to the sword. I alone am left, and they seek to take my life.” Is this sometimes our prayer? “I have done all that you ask God, but the world is so far gone, I can’t help them.”  “We are being persecuted because of secularism, not because I have failed to bring Christ to those I meet.” It’s the same prayer, different century. 

God’s response? “Go, take the road back to the desert near Damascus. When you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king of Aram. Then you shall anoint Jehu, son of Nimshi, as king of Israel, and Elisha, son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah, as prophet to succeed you.” Essentially God is saying, “stop throwing a pity party for yourself.” He lets Elijah know that a prophet will continue his work, that it will not be him, and that he will have to anoint this person. Talk about a dose of humble pie. But I think it’s very important to reflect on it. God didn’t do this to intimidate or humiliate his prophet, but rather to show him that God can use anyone to accomplish his will. Even those weak children of Israel are part of God’s family and can be used for building God’s kingdom. 

All of this to say, it’s not about us. Whether we want to go around and speak at conferences, serve at soup kitchens, lead youth ministry, work at a parish, or just have friends over to talk about Jesus, let’s make sure to keep the focus on him. If we rely on ourselves we will surely fall to despair as Elijah did. If we trust in the Lord, all things will be possible. 

From all of us here at Diocesan, God bless!

Contact the author

Tommy Shultz is a Business Development Representative for Diocesan. In this role he is committed to bringing the best software to dioceses and parishes while helping them evangelize on the digital continent. Tommy has worked in various diocese and parish roles since his graduation from Franciscan University with a Theology degree. He hopes to use his skills in evangelization, marketing, and communications, to serve the Church and bring the Good News to all. His favorite quote comes from St. John Paul II, who said, “A person is an entity of a sort to which the only proper and adequate way to relate is love.”

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Food and Community

I love how Jesus was always eating. Many of the Gospel stories revolve around Jesus and his disciples sharing a meal together. He ate with tax collectors and sinners. Today’s Gospel starts with the words, “After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them.” So even after the resurrection, when food presumably would not be necessary anymore in his resurrected body, he eats breakfast with his friends. 

Why all this emphasis on food? Well, the Old Testament speaks of manna that helped nourish the Israelites in the desert, the Bible ends with the banquet feast of the bride and bridegroom, and right at the center of the Gospel is the living food that comes from heaven. It would seem that food is a huge part of God’s plan for humanity. 

Food brings people together. It strikes the perfect balance between something we enjoy and something we actually require for life. We literally can’t live without food. I think Jesus probably had this in mind when he gave us the Eucharist. He gave us his very life and love through the appearance of bread and wine. He not only comes to us as food, but just like with the tax collectors and sinners, he meets us where we need him and are comfortable to approach. 

Jesus could have left us his body in raw form, bones and blood and all, but he didn’t. Just like how in today’s Gospel he gives Peter three chances to affirm his love, after denying him three times, he meets us where we are at and allows us to consume him through the food we are comfortable with. This is essentially true of all the sacraments; they are visible familiar signs that communicate a real grace in our lives. 

So how can we take some of this and apply it to our lives this week? Well, we are officially in barbecue season. The smell of burning charcoal and a plethora of sauces is in the air. I was thinking the other day how I want to make some barbecue for our neighbors. We have lots of families around us with lots of kids and I think it would be fun to pull the grill up to the street and make some food for everyone. Maybe you could have some friends from Church over or even invite one of your pastors to enjoy a meal. Whatever the case, I am going to try to use food to bring people together in community and bring them closer to Christ. Let’s all think about a way this summer we can use food to evangelize and hopefully bring people closer to the true food that has come from heaven. The worst that can happen is that you enjoy a great meal with new people. Happy Eating!

From all of us here at Diocesan, God bless!

Contact the author

Tommy Shultz is a Business Development Representative for Diocesan. In this role he is committed to bringing the best software to dioceses and parishes while helping them evangelize on the digital continent. Tommy has worked in various diocese and parish roles since his graduation from Franciscan University with a Theology degree. He hopes to use his skills in evangelization, marketing, and communications, to serve the Church and bring the Good News to all. His favorite quote comes from St. John Paul II, who said, “A person is an entity of a sort to which the only proper and adequate way to relate is love.”

Feature Image Credit: Alexandru-Bogdan Ghita, unsplash.com/photos/UeYkqQh4PoI

Our Supra-Reasonable Faith

Today’s Gospel seems to unfold in a beautiful two-part symphony with the doctrine of the Trinity being the prologue and relationship with the Trinity being the crescendo.

Beginning with the doctrine of the Trinity, one could explicate at length about this great mystery, and many have. The Trinity is the central mystery of the faith, as he is revealed through the Old and New Testament. God the Father is revealed as the first origin of everything and as a loving God to all his children. The New Testament then reveals Jesus, the Son of God, who is consubstantial or one and the same God. The Holy Spirit is then introduced by Jesus as a third person of the Trinity who is to be an advocate for all mankind. These teachings lead to the unveiling of God’s innermost secret, “God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange.” -CCC #221

The Trinity can be explained even further through divine revelation as being one God in three persons. These persons are actually distinct from one another and at the same time each of them is God, whole and entire. The distinction of persons in the Trinity rests in their reciprocal relationship to one another, the Father to the Son, the Son to the Father, and the Holy Spirit to both.

All of this is great if you are writing a dissertation on The Trinity, but as I have struggled with my entire life, at some point we need to move from knowledge to relationship. This is what we call faith, and the link between faith and reason is such that we can come to know God through our intellect, but we love him through faith. This is why the notion that faith is blind acceptance to something we cannot know is just silly. Faith is not only reasonable but it is supra-reasonable. That is to say, it goes beyond what we can possibly know by ourselves.

Think about going on a blind date with someone. You may look up all sorts of things about them before the date. You are gathering knowledge which can be very helpful as a beginning step. But at some point, that person will sit down and reveal themselves to you and it’s at this point you will decide whether or not to put your faith and trust in them or not. It’s the same with God. Through the Catholic Tradition we are not afraid of the intellectual process, just take one peak at Aquinas, but at some point we must go beyond reason and allow God to reveal himself to us. Even Aquinas after seeing the vision of God said all his works were straw in comparison.

I write all this today because I need the constant reminder and I hope it can be a reminder to you. I hope it reminds us all that we should learn as much as we can about God but at the same time we should listen as he reveals who he truly is in the depths of our hearts. Let’s all pray for the grace to go from information to transformation in our walk with the Lord.

“The ultimate end of the whole divine economy is the entry of God’s creatures into the perfect unity of the Blessed Trinity. But even now we are called to be a dwelling for the Most Holy Trinity: ‘If a man loves me’, says the Lord, ‘he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him.'” -CCC 260

“O my God, Trinity whom I adore, help me forget myself entirely so to establish myself in you, unmovable and peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity. May nothing be able to trouble my peace or make me leave you, O my unchanging God, but may each minute bring me more deeply into your mystery! Grant my soul peace. Make it your heaven, your beloved dwelling and the place of your rest. May I never abandon you there, but may I be there, whole and entire, completely vigilant in my faith, entirely adoring, and wholly given over to your creative action.” -CCC 260

 From all of us here at Diocesan, God bless!

Tommy Shultz is a Business Development Representative for Diocesan. In this role he is committed to bringing the best software to dioceses and parishes while helping them evangelize on the digital continent. Tommy has worked in various diocese and parish roles since his graduation from Franciscan University with a Theology degree. He hopes to use his skills in evangelization, marketing, and communications, to serve the Church and bring the Good News to all. His favorite quote comes from St. John Paul II, who said, “A person is an entity of a sort to which the only proper and adequate way to relate is love.”

Feature Image Credit: Patrick Tomasso, https://unsplash.com/photos/Oaqk7qqNh_c

Child of God

My wife, Nathalie, and I welcomed our first child, Gabriel Michael Shultz, into the world on April 4th. As I write this we are in the throes of Gabe finding his personality, watching him grow every day, sleep deprivation, and all the highs and lows that come with this absolutely beautiful blessing of new life. 

Of course, as Catholics, one of the milestones in the Christian life is the sacrament of baptism, which we were able to celebrate last weekend. Father Adams, who also was the witness to our wedding, gave a wonderful reflection about what it means to be a child of God. He asked a few simple questions to the congregation that I want to ask you to reflect on today. When you are a child of a dog, what are you? You’re a dog. When you are a child of a giraffe, what are you? You’re a giraffe. When you are a child of a mongoose, what are you? You’re a mongoose. When you are a child of God, what are you?

It’s an interesting question to reflect on isn’t it? Naturally we want to say God but then we feel weird that we might be heretical in speaking about a human person as God. The Catechism, however, doesn’t have a problem with this strong language, in fact, it’s kind of the basis of our faith. What I am talking about is the idea of divinization, where we participate in the divine nature of God. If this all seems strange or foreign to you, the Catechism affirms it in saying, “The Word became flesh to make us ‘partakers of the divine nature’: ‘For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.’ ‘For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.’ ‘The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.'” -CCC 460

This process of divinization starts here on this earth, specifically through the sacraments, and continues on until we receive the full participation of the divine life in heaven. We got to witness our son on Sunday beginning this process. His smile immediately after the water was poured said it all, that he is a child of God and that his destiny, same as yours and mine, is to participate fully and completely in the divinity of God himself. 

So, of course, we all know that baptism makes us children of God, but what is next? How do we continue in this process of divinization here on this earth? We see the answer in today’s Gospel. Jesus tells us that, “Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.”

The sacraments are the physical signs of God’s love that are so real they literally infuse us with God himself. This should be the teaching we are shouting from the rooftops. If we want more people in the Church, let’s bring them in by sharing the truth that all of this exists in order that we might become partakers in the divine life. We saw it with our own eyes this past weekend. I encourage you to look up the date of your baptism and celebrate this date every year with your family and friends as a sign of what God is doing in your life and how he became man so that you might become God. 

From all of us here at Diocesan, God bless!

Tommy Shultz is a Business Development Representative for Diocesan. In this role he is committed to bringing the best software to dioceses and parishes while helping them evangelize on the digital continent. Tommy has worked in various diocese and parish roles since his graduation from Franciscan University with a Theology degree. He hopes to use his skills in evangelization, marketing, and communications, to serve the Church and bring the Good News to all. His favorite quote comes from St. John Paul II, who said, “A person is an entity of a sort to which the only proper and adequate way to relate is love.”

Feature Image Credit: Christian Bowen, https://unsplash.com/photos/I0ItPtIsVEE