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Our Salvation is expressed and lived when we live in community.

God created us humans to live in community with each other.  This is because we are created in God’s image, and God is a community of Father Son and Holy Spirit.  We sign ourselves each time we pray as a reminder of this.

Therefore, to be truly human, to be truly happy, to be fulfilled as persons, we are to live in community with each other.


And Jesus calls us to this, and has provided to us the way to live as happy, fulfilled humans; and to be in communion with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We are created for each other.  And a healthy community exists when we  treat each other with respect, equality, compassion, concern, mercy.  When there is true love; when there is the true giving of self for the others.

Again, this is God’s own nature, so it must be ours too.

Ideally the community that signifies all of this is to be the family.  A community in which all help one another, in which all are loved and never rejected.  A community in which there is life.  A community in which there is true freedom, freedom to love.


And yet, this applies to more than just a family, this speaks to our friendships, our parish & church community, our civic community, indeed all of our relationships.


So we as Catholics, as Christians, and all humans, are to value respect, equality, compassion, concern, mercy, love.  Where these values truly exist, so does community, so does the family, and there is peace.

Sadly, we know these values do not exist in every relationship.  So our families, our church, our towns and cities, our world is diminished.   We encounter relationships that break down, break up, and sometimes violence.

Yet, Christ calls us to not let this happen, not to give in so easily into our sin of egotism, self-centeredness, selfishness.

He notes in the Gospel that Moses gave in to the people and gave them an easy out from their relationships.  This divorce decree was really easy for the men to do if they found some reason to get rid of their wives.  Seemingly there was no measures to work together to resolve the issues.

See, Jesus is acutely aware of our human condition, of our egos at work which divide us.  He saw this and worked to heal all the time.  He gave us the path to follow so that we could heal, and not divide.

He extended compassion and mercy to the so called “sinners”, and welcomed them back into the community.  He healed the sick so that they could be returned back to the people. He showed that God loved all people, no matter what.

He ultimately was killed by the human ego; and even this could not stop him.  He was resurrected, a sign of God’s powerful desire for us, and for us to be in communion. 


God sends to us the Holy Spirit, the power of Love that binds the Trinity as one, to us, so that we can be one with each other.


We so need to make use of this now.

Where there is conflict within a family, we need to open ourselves to the Spirit, and then work together and resolve the conflict, so that the family can rise above the conflict and be stronger.

Where there is conflict in our parish, in our church, we invoke the Holy Spirit for guidance; to be compassionate, humble.  So that together, we progress forward in being a living sign of God’s invisible presence here on earth.

In our friendships, workplaces, towns & cities…

we who are baptized in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,beauwe who are confirmed in the Holy Spirit,11164904_969263923113735_5838032094094981566_o

we who consume the very Body and Blood of the resurrected Christ, 10400763_810307405676055_1541579362175277912_n

it is our imperative, it is our nature, to work to build community.

To bring healing to those devastated by the violence of the world, like Roseburg Oregon and in all place in which people deliberately hurt one another.

To bring compassion to those wounded by poverty and greed, like those on 4th Street, or those living paycheck to paycheck for salaries that do not cover rent, food, education.


To bring mercy to those condemned in our prisons and jails.

To bring opportunity to our youth, as Pope Francis reminded all of us in the Congress.

This is not something we have to do, but is something part of our nature.

It is because we are human persons, created in the image of a communal, compassionate, merciful, loving God.

And when we live this way, then, and only then are we Free!

Are we free?

the Little Way

Angels speaking messages

BOY, do i need to listen these days….

The first step to get past our divisions is to ask ourselves, “Why are there divisions between me and you?”

Short answer = EGO

Mercy creates the opportunity for others, and myself, to grow, to change, to heal, to be transformed.  We read of God doing this all the time.

What takes away that space, what diminishes our mercy is our insecurity.  We are scared, so we seek to control the other; we want things to happen according to “my” plans, schedule, ideas.  That is just egotism.

Who here has perfect relationships…you never argue, never fight, never get angry with anyone?  If anybody says yes…then I suspect you live in the land of denial, or you live alone and have no contact with anyone.

Conflict happens.

The “trick” if you will, is what do we do with the conflict? Do we let it control us…or do we take control? Do we let it divide us or do we use it to build unity?

Christ offers to us the way of control, of unity…the way of salvation.

Salvation is freedom, and that freedom is about having more control in our lives.  Salvation is about making good choices that bring about unity and community.

This is what Christ brings to us.  This is his invitation to us.

Clearly there was a conflict to the community of St. James.  But apparently this went beyond small conflicts, it was becoming scandalous.  There were open divisions going on. And for a Christian community to be openly divided caused the whole Faith to look bad.  This is not good.

The writer must have understood the human condition well and why the conflicts are creating divisions. He does not use the word “ego”, but that is what he means.

See what happens, we humans have a tendency to place our identity, our egos, with our things.   This is the Original Sin that we repeat over and over and over.  Adam-nEve

We connect our egos to our things, and those things can also be our concepts, our ideas.  It can be our politics, our philosophy, it even be our sports teams, it is our patriotism, guns, bodies, our social status, our jobs, etc…

And if our identity is wrapped up in these things, then any possible “Threat” to them is a perceived threat to our identity.  A threat to our ego.  

So we react.  We react with anger and fear, we get verbally and physically violent.  We gossip, we cheat, we lie, we get all passive aggressive and we get actively aggressive.  

Sound familiar?

I would be willing to bet the people we gossip about, judge harshly, insult, demean are people we at heart feel some threat.

We sin because our egos are in control.


And of course, the end product is division.  Homes, marriages, parishes, communities, even nations break apart.  People get so stubborn, so ego driven…there is no room for discussion, for finding better solutions.

If we are part of this division…then I think that we are not experiencing the salvation of Jesus Christ.

God’s will is that we be one.  web-refugees-5-reuters

Jesus says this clearly.  We are to be one, as God is one, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, ONE, but not Uniform,

Jesus rested his identity in knowing he was the beloved child of God.  This was his freedom.

This is our freedom.

When we truly understand that our core identity as a person is that I, You, We, are children of God, loved by God perfectly and eternally…there is nothing to defend, protect or fight against.


The ego is diminished.

We can create unity and community.  We can be free.

This what Jesus is trying to get his disciples to understand.  They too are in danger of division because they are all worried about power and status….ego at play here too!

Truly believing and acting on our identity as children of God gives us the freedom to resolve our conflicts, so that they do not lead to divisions.  It creates space to actually talk AND listen to one another.  If I truly do not feel threatened by someone, I can actually communicate with them.  Imagine if we sat down with a person we are angry with…and we believe that this person was incredibly and eternally loved by God, as much as us…

Arguing about parking spaces, placement of flowers, languages, taxes &  money, status…becomes less important.  3178meetingatva_00000002425

Some of it, downright silly.  Think about our family, our marriages…friendships…why are they being strained?

Pray on this.  Sit down and really look at our hearts.  forgiveness

I would be willing to be that our divisions come because of our egos.  Can we die to these egos of ours, or rather unite our egos to God’s love and not things.  Can we be people of the Eucharist, and use our conflicts to actually draw ourselves closer to one another?

The invitation to peace is there…Will we eat and drink of it?10400763_810307405676055_1541579362175277912_n

Clearly, or at least I hope it is, I love the Catholic Faith.

One, I love our understanding of Salvation.

Two, I love the whole premise of Sacraments; those visible signs of an invisible reality.

And I believe that when we as Catholics put energy into thinking more about Salvation and Sacraments, and then acting on what we believe…we can participate in reducing the amount of suffering.  

The amount of suffering in others, and the amount of suffering in our own lives.

We can make our families, our parishes, community and world, a better place.


Salvation, at its heart, is to know in a very real way that we are loved by God; and that there is nothing that can add to, nor take away from that love.

The suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus certainly made this clear.11133786_824382597637310_519420377583052394_n

Sounds so simple right.  Yet, that is the heart of it.  We are so loved by the Father, and the Father wants us to know of that love.  When we begin to experience this invisible reality, we begin to change inwardly.  Our own inner reality is transformed.

We begin to see that the Father is not punishing us through the bad things that happen to us; and is not doing it to others as well.

Bad things do and will happen, sometime through natural events, but let’s face it, a LOT of Bad happens because we humans refuse to truly experience and accept God’s love.

So we lie, cheat, hoard; we become greedy, become fearful, and therefore we become hateful.

This becomes our reality and we visibly make it real through in our greed which causes poverty; we make it visible in our wars, pornography, bigotry, hate and all the others forms of suffering inflicted upon humanity.

imgres-1    imgres

Look at the refugee crisis going on now in Europe.  

Look at the abortion, death penalty and euthanasia issues, and our own immigration issues here in the USA.  So much suffering caused by our own selfishness and self-centeredness.

Again, I think of Jesus.  He died through the sins of people.  Sierra Exif JPEG

People who could not accept God’s love, without conditions placed upon it.  They could not believe in the divine love.

But what did the letter of St. James tell us:  if our reality is truly God’s love, if our reality is as Saved Human persons, then that will be made visible in our works.

Salvation is made real and visible in our works of compassion, generosity, compassion, mercy.

We make real the love of God when we give of our time for others; when we listen to others and not judge them.

We make real the love of God for us and for all when we less concerned about our “Stuff” and “things” and how much we have to protect it; and are more willingly to use it to help others who have nothing.

We make real God’s love when we are less concerned about “me, myself and I”, and my rights, my taxes, my money, my guns, my body, doing what I want to do; and we are more concerned about others, and their needs.

It is in our works of forgiveness that promote peace and community.  3178meetingatva_00000002425

In our works of humility that create patience and understanding.

Jesus Christ again is the revelation of this.  He cured, he touched, he listened, he formed community.  He made real the love he knew. He is THE sacrament, by which all others come to be.

So that challenge for us, here and now, is to let the reality of God’s love take root in our hearts, and to make visible that reality in our words and actions.

This is what Pope Francis is reminding us of.  This is how Mother Theresa lived her life in the slums of Calcutta. images-1

I think also Fr. Greg Boyle working now with gangs in LA.imgres-1

Or martyred Archbishop Oscar Romero.  images

We have to get rid of this idea that we must earn/merit/buy God’s love through our actions; or by “getting” sacraments.  We especially have to let Eucharist transform us, not simply get it and get out.

We have to get rid of this idea that we lose God’s love through our mistakes, our sins.

God’s love is perfect and eternal.

And God’s love will perfect us, and we can perfect the world.

And if we truly better families, better communities; God’s love is the only way it will happen; Acting on God’s love will make it happen.

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