The Truth

Truth (with a capital T) is built into creation by the Creator Himself. It can’t be changed. It doesn’t depend on where you live or what you believe. It just is, but society has blurred these lines. According to our current culture, what is true for me may not be true for you. For example, Jesus is God, and the teachings of the Trinitarian God should reign supreme. Or marriage is between one man and one woman for life. Or life begins at conception and ends with a natural death. Society says that those things may be true for me but it may not be true for everyone.

Sure, not everyone may BELIEVE those things are true, but that doesn’t change their truthfulness. I may not believe that 2+2=4, but that doesn’t change the truthfulness of the statement. Truth is interesting because it is unchanged by our belief in it.

As Catholics, we don’t submit to moral relativism (flexible truth; truth that is relative to culture and belief). Truths cannot conflict. To refer to the previous example, either Jesus is God… or He isn’t. God is either the Creator, or He isn’t. He can’t be for me but not for someone else. So are you living by Truth or truth?

The Good News

When I moved to Texas, I discovered something called “Dublin Dr. Pepper,” and it changed my life. As a lifelong connoisseur of Dr. Pepper, enjoying it in its original form with real sugar was a game-changer. If you haven’t tried it, DO IT! As soon as I discovered it, I started telling everyone about it. I had this incredible good news that I felt the world needed to know.

When we discover God or truly enter into a relationship with Him for the first time, it’s kind of like my first sip of Dublin Dr. Pepper… except it’s obviously infinitely better. It’s life-changing. When we know something super awesome that will make other people’s lives better, we have to tell them. It’s not something you want to keep secret. Yet, so often with God, that’s exactly what we do.

We have all been called to the priesthood… no, not all of us are called to be a part of the ministerial priesthood (the guys we typically think of as priests), but we’re ALL called to the common priesthood. We’re called to share our faith with those around us. We’ve heard the Good News, and now we have to let everyone know… so stop keeping it a secret.

The Wolves

In case you didn’t know, sheep are really dumb animals—like REALLY dumb—and it’s the shepherd’s job to keep them safe by keeping them together and fending off animals that might try to eat them (i.e. wolves). When sheep wander off, that’s when they risk getting eaten. The smartest sheep know the shepherd’s voice and stay close.

Sometimes, we are like those dumb sheep that wander off. We know the Shepherd’s voice, yet we listen to everything and everyone else around us. We stop listening to the Creator in favor of the created. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, oversees and protects His flock, but we become susceptible to temptation and sin when we don’t seek out His voice. The wolves are beckoning just beyond the fences.

The “wolves” are anything or anyone that don’t have our best in mind. They are “friends” who try to pressure you into doing things you shouldn’t be doing. They are boyfriends or girlfriends pushing you to go further than you know you should. They are apps and websites that lead us to sinful behaviors. The closer you are to the Shepherd, the more protection you have… both from Him and the likeminded sheep around you. Stay close. Stay safe.

The Encounter

There’s a big difference between knowing about someone and knowing someone. I know a lot about Pope Francis, but I don’t know him. To know him, we would have had to have met—had an encounter. I do know my wife though. I know a lot of stuff about her, but I also KNOW her. To truly know someone, you need to have a relationship with them. So do you know ABOUT God? Or do you KNOW Him?

In yesterday’s Gospel, two disciples encountered Christ. As a result, they said that their hearts were burning inside of them while they spoke with Him. How is your relationship with Jesus? Do you know some stuff about Him? Or is your relationship at the stage where, when you are with Him (at Mass or in prayer) your heart burns inside of you?

A heart burning inside of you sounds a lot like love. Jesus is love, and He loves YOU. Do you love Him too? How often do you spend time with Him? Are you going to Mass weekly? Do you sit with Him in prayer? Do you sit in His presence in adoration? Seek out those moments of encounter, fall in love, and get to know your God.

The Revelation

Ever feel like it’s hard to see Jesus in the world around us? I’m not talking about in bad situations because that’s obvious. I am just talking about in ever day life. We go to school and work, and it’s just not always east to see Him in our homework assignments or business. Like, where is Jesus in our chores like doing laundry or washing the dishes?

Even though your faith may be strong, it may still be difficult to see Jesus working in the world around you. This doesn’t mean He isn’t, it typically means we’re just too distracted to notice. We can’t see Him because we’re focused on doing. The more we do, the harder it is to see Him. Next thing you know, you start doubting that He is even present in these things. Before you know it, you’re relationship with Him has been damaged.

We have responsibilities. School, work, chores, etc. are all important and need to get done; however, we can’t let them distract us from our relationship with God. We need to take time to stop doing and just be with Him. Jesus is always revealing Himself to us; we’re usually just too busy to notice.

The Believers

It’s hard to argue that Jesus never existed. There are many historical accounts of Him. Most of the world’s monotheistic (belief in one god) religions believe (at the very least) that there was a man named Jesus who lived about 2,000 years ago. There are historical records of Him and His parents’. As Catholic Christians, we don’t simply believe that there was a man named Jesus. We believe that He was and is God. We believe that not only was He crucified, but He rose from the dead on the third day just as He and the prophets predicted.

Believing that there was a man named Jesus is easy. Believing that He is God, rose from the dead, and conquered death takes faith. We weren’t there. We didn’t get to see His miracles. We didn’t get to see His crucifixion. And we didn’t get to see His resurrection, yet we MUST believe.

Faith is our belief in God. To believe in Him, we must believe in what He has done. Easter requires faith. We show up at Mass on Easter (and every Sunday) because our God has conquered the grave. Did we get to see it with our own eyes? No, but we believe it! Alleluia!

The Shouts

On Palm Sunday, we’re the ones that shout, “Let Him be crucified!” and we're the ones who chose Barabbas. It’s such a powerful Gospel, and it’s made even more powerful by our participation. We don’t only say this on Palm Sunday though. Whenever we sin, we shout, “Let Him be crucified.” And whenever we don’t make God and our relationship with Him our top priority, we choose Barabbas.

The punishment for sin is death, but Jesus died to save us from this punishment. His death opened up eternal life (in Heaven) for us. So without our sinfulness, His crucifixion wouldn’t have been necessary. The result of our sin is His death, which is why we shout, “Let Him be crucified.”

Despite His sacrifice, we don’t always make Mass a priority. We make Mass work around our schedule or eliminate it when “we don’t have time.” “Barabbas” translates to “Son of God,” and we have a choice: the Son of God or the “Son of God.” How often do we choose poorly?

This Holy Week, as we reflect on Christ’s crucifixion, let’s remember why He died and for whom. Because despite constantly shouting “Barabbas” and “Let Him be crucified,” He would do it all over again just for you.

The Wait

I hate waiting for things. I used to work at Disneyland, and I got used to not even having to wait in lines there (if you play your cards right, you learn how to avoid them). Now, I really hate waiting. This makes things like driving during rush hour and regular delivery (as opposed to Prime) very tedious to me.

Since my wife and I got married, we’ve been excited to have kids together. In 2016, we got pregnant twice and lost both babies at 20 weeks. Beyond the obvious pain of losing a child, pregnancy in general is struggle for me because it’s 9-month wait. It’s even more difficult when you’ve waited a combined nine months and have left the hospital empty-handed twice with the expectation of what is to come going unrealized.

However, I’ve learned that sometimes, we have to wait. God doesn’t operate on our time. In fact, He exists outside of space and time. 2016 was a struggle, and I am (im)patiently hoping and waiting for a baby in 2017. Sometimes, just like Lazarus in yesterday’s Gospel, we need to wait for God’s perfect plan to come to fruition. When we do though, it’s definitely worth the wait.

The Blindness

Whenever I go grocery shopping, I always end up buying stuff I already have at home because I didn’t see it in the pantry or the refrigerator… even though my wife told me exactly where it was. I completely missed it, even though it was right in front of me. I am going to assume you’re not blind, but I bet you know the feeling of looking for something and not finding it despite it being right in front of you.

We can be blind when it comes to the amazing things God is doing. His miracles are happening all around us, and we miss them. We get upset when He doesn’t answer our prayers the way we want and doubt His ability to perform miracles in our lives, yet that’s exactly what He’s doing. Like the blind man in the Sunday’s Gospel, sometimes we need to have our sight restored to truly see Christ working in front of us.

The Thirst

Have you ever butt-dialed someone? When you see on your phone that there’s an active conversation, you probably asked, “Hey, did you call me?” That’s kind of like prayer. We’re a little confused on who made the call (even if you don't know it). It can feel like we are the ones who wanted to speak with God and picked up that good ol’ God phone, but that’s not actually how it works.

Prayer is ALWAYS a response to God. We desire to pray because He desires to speak with us; much like in this Sunday’s Gospel. The Samaritan woman thought she was thirsty. Jesus offered her water that would make it so that she would never thirst again, and she was totally interested in that. However, it was Jesus who was thirsting. He was thirsting for her—for her salvation—just like He is thirsting for us and our salvation. You think YOU’RE thirsty? He’s way thirstier.