Bishops Archive for Orlando

Thanksgiving stems from a love of God

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:The season of autumn was officially declared on September 23. I personally am incredulous at how quickly the year seems to be moving. Autumn sparks in us a season of gratitude. This is naturally earthen-bound as the season of autumn is associated with harvesting of crops which symbolize the bounty of God’s feast upon the earth. It culminates with the celebration of Thanksgiving. The Scriptures often speak of a theme of thanksgiving. This thanksgiving stems from a love of God and for His goodness bestowed upon us. On the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Naaman thanks God for His cleanliness after he had been afflicted with leprosy. In Luke’s Gospel, a Samaritan, one of ten cured, also returns to thank Jesus for God’s goodness.

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Pray. Study. Give alms.

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:St. Paul reminds Timothy of his duty to restrain false and useless teaching as Timothy teaches others about God. The Scripture is poignant for our daily living because we can be led astray by false teachings. We can be challenged to remain faithful in good times; yet, in difficulty, we readily turn to God. We are filled with the noise of news and other information from all sorts of sources, even from each other, and we may not be able to determine what is a false teaching.

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God meets us and walks beside us

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,I don’t like the month of August. Lately, it is the bearer of bad news or serious concerns suddenly arise. During this month of August, we witnessed the death and injury of so many during fires in China, Bangladesh, and the Amazon Rainforest, flooding in India, and mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas. In the beginning of August, I was notified of a small fire in an apartment of a subsidized housing complex, Monsignor Bishop Manor Apartments of Catholic Charities of Central Florida, which displaced some families. During the month, five deacons died. At the end of August, we began preparing for Hurricane Dorian and are feeling her effects in numerous ways.

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Everyone has a story to tell — What is your story?

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Everyone likes to hear a good story. I have found that when I am surrounded by people, I simply listen and enjoy their stories about family, friends, love of God, faith. Everyone has a story to tell. What is your story?

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All paths will lead us to the heavenly liturgy

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

Who are you following? Which path is the true path? The arrows point to GPS, God’s Program of Salvation. His kingdom is the beginning and end for which we live. We desire to be inhabitants of heaven. The liturgy is a prayer leading us on the true path, offering us our daily bread. In prayer God comes into the garden of our soul and plants divine love.

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God’s Kingdom renews the face of the earth

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:Jesus offers us such a simple prayer to pray, rich with meaning and breadth of instruction. It is a prayer of relationship. It does not carry the word, “I.” Rather, Jesus teaches us to pray with “You” because we are in relationship with God and our prayer is a dialogue. We first thank God for all His goodness to us, by telling Him our greeting, hallowed be Your name. Jesus teaches us to pray with ‘You on our lips, because our prayer is always a dialogue: ‘blessed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done.’ We are invited to know God, not as a parent hovering over his helpless children, but from our own ability to give life to others. God is more caring than any of our earthly abilities. We turn to him in loving confidence.

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What is your spiritual temperature?

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

How are you doing? We are half-way through our calendar year, and it is time for us to take our spiritual temperature. It is easy to walk outside and feel the heat and humidity of our Florida summer. We don’t need a meteorologist or the weather channel to inform us of the temperature. It’s hot. What is your spiritual temperature? When you encounter people, are they able to identify you as a Christian, as one who serves through God’s love? Is your faith energized by God’s love?

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Do not take a vacation from your own vocation

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
It is June. The media announces the start of the hurricane season and Catholic Charities of Central Florida has begun to prepare organizationally with its care providers throughout the state. Our ordination ceremony is concluded, and we have a new priest — Father Derek Saldanha. We have celebrated this year’s Sacrament of First Communion and Baccalaureate Masses. School is out.

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Peace that Jesus offers is a gift of salvation

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

Peace be with you. Jesus’ peace is not the type of peace by which we have come to understand in the secular world. It is not merely extending an olive branch to someone with whom we are disgruntled or even to establish peace with another country. The peace that Jesus offers is a gift of salvation, connoting the bounty of messianic blessing. His peace is the breath of the Holy Spirit, it is his last breath upon the cross, it is total forgiveness, acceptance and complete love. It is what we are fed within the Sacrament of the Eucharist. This peace dwells within the true sanctuary of Jesus and we are members of this household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets.

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Are you called to missionary discipleship?

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
How are we an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth? Are we a light to the people of God? Do we bring forth God’s light upon his earth?

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Signs and wonders are a form of divine communication

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

After the crucifixion, think about the struggle encountered by the disciples and their response — locked doors and fearful. They did not have the benefit of hundreds of years of reflection, debate, and arriving at clarity. Their first thought and image were the awful crucifixion and death of a dear friend and the loss of hope which had filled their hearts.

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Pray for a deepening respect for life

Grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. We journey now through Holy Week as we have accepted our Lenten invitation for prayer, reflection and grace-filled action. I pray that you have taken this time to reconcile and deepen your relationship with God and with your brothers and sisters. Our Holy Father reminds us in his Lenten reflection, “When we live as children of God, redeemed and led by the Holy Spirit and capable of acknowledging and obeying God’s law, beginning with the law written on our hearts, we participate in the transformation and redemption of our world…Yet in this world, the harmony generated by redemption is constantly threatened by the negative power of sin and death” (Pope Francis, 2019).

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How are we ambassadors of Christ?

St. Paul calls us ambassadors for Christ. Think of God appealing through us. As we are in the season of Lent, it is a good time to reflect upon how our thoughts, words, and deeds may or may not truly expose the goodness of God for all people. God brings us together as one people, a people who acknowledge him in truth and serve him in holiness.

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Abandon tomb of insecurity, we are children of God

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. We are within the season of Lent. During the second Sunday of Lent, we hear the wondrous proclamation, as Jesus and some of the apostles were praying, that Jesus is God’s chosen Son. We are to listen to him. There are many words which might strike you significantly when hearing this proclamation. The one that is most striking to me is the word, chosen.

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The gift of the Eucharist

In the Gospel of St. Luke proclaimed on the seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jesus explains what his true love is; what he means when he says, “love one another as I have loved you.” But his words are not easy to hear; certainly, they were life changing for those who first heard them. They are life changing for us, and their simplicity is perhaps, complex, because of our own human weaknesses.

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