Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Bronx Shout Out!!

Their has been a recent discussion on whether an openly homosexual couple's child should be allowed to attend a Catholic school outside of Boston. You can read Jimmy Akin's article here. I would like to share my thoughts by recognizing the tremendous job a group of evangelist do at the school where I teach math, Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx.

These dedicated people on any given day follow the gospel that was taught by Jesus and literally teach it to all the corners of the earth in this very diverse setting. More than half of their students are non-Catholic with many, (including Catholics) having no religious formation at all in their lives. Many come from broken homes or what can be called non-traditional family settings. They do not see why abortion, homosexual marriage, pre-marital sex, divorce, etc. are wrong either from a natural law or a gospel point of view. In general they swim in the deep end of relativism. In addition these dedicated professionals pass on Christ's message of salvation among peers who think religion class is not a true academic discipline, and that students who go on spiritual retreats are missing their class therefore these retreats are a waste of time. In general one could say these are close but different to the times that the Incarnation came to earth to teach of the Father's love for us.

The religion department is very close to my heart as they share in many of my personal beliefs. As Jesus instructed they bring all the children to Him. They teach the truth, which is difficult, as described in John chapter 6. They don't judge their students, and remain hopeful that they have planted a seed that God will nourish and bring all to the Kingdom. They realize that it is not their will but God's will in them. They are humble with a faith that can move mountains. They are strengthened by the Eucharist. The most remarkable thing, in an almost impossible situation, is  their most enduring virtue; charity. Probably without knowing it I enjoy talking to one of the members of their department daily because despite all the negative things in a day the love of Christ shines through.

At the end of this academic year I offer this prayer to a group of evangelist that I admire:

May God the Father renew and strengthen your resolve.
May the light of God the Son continue to bring you and your students to friendship with the Father.
May God the Holy Spirit move you and strengthen your love so that you know that your efforts are not in vain but show a love for the Father. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Trinitarian Time

I can only imagine the ups and downs of Jesus' disciples during the first Easter season. They were up during Jesus' public ministry and down when he was crucified. They were elated at His Resurrection and those precious times when He spoke, ate, and traveled with them. This led to the events we remember today His ascension. I can't help but think that as they watched Jesus disappear into the clouds a "here we go again" thought must have passed their minds, but this time is different, they were strengthened because Jesus had delivered on His Resurrection promise. They needed to believe, as they gathered in prayer, that the Holy Spirit would come to them and they could begin to bring the gospel message to all the nations.

As we wait with the disciples for Pentecost Sunday and reflect on these Easter events we can truly see a trinitarian connection. Jesus' resurrection is God's triumph over sin and death. His ascension to be the Father is where Jesus remains now until He comes again in His glory. He intercedes to the Father on our behalf. The third part of this trinitarian time is going to happen at Pentecost when the Father and Son will pour out their Spirit, a Spirit of love, a Spirit of strength that allows us in our most imperfect way to follow the Son in doing the Father's will.

This mystery of the Trinity is reflected in the mission of the Church as the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church states:

4. When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that He might continually sanctify the Church, and thus, all those who believe would have access through Christ in one Spirit to the Father. He is the Spirit of Life, a fountain of water springing up to life eternal. To men, dead in sin, the Father gives life through Him, until, in Christ, He brings to life their mortal bodies. The Spirit dwells in the Church and in the hearts of the faithful, as in a temple. In them He prays on their behalf and bears witness to the fact that they are adopted sons. The Church, which the Spirit guides in way of all truth and which He unified in communion and in works of ministry, He both equips and directs with hierarchical and charismatic gifts and adorns with His fruits. By the power of the Gospel He makes the Church keep the freshness of youth. Uninterruptedly He renews it and leads it to perfect union with its Spouse. The Spirit and the Bride both say to Jesus, the Lord, "Come!"
Thus, the Church has been seen as "a people made one with the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." Lumen Gentium

We must remember some of the names of the faithful that make us part of the mystery of the Trinity. We are a people of God, The Body of Christ, and Temples of the Holy Spirit; as Richard P. McBrien points out in "The Church, The Evolution of Catholicism"