Friday, December 12, 2014

3rd Sunday of Advent (Gospel: John 1:6-8, 19-28) ‘Prepare a way for the Lord; make his paths straight.’



 Today we celebrate the third Sunday of advent and we light the rose coloured candle.  It is also called ‘Gaudete Sunday’ which means ‘rejoice.’  Advent was originally a penitential time like Lent, in order to prepare for Christmas.  This Sunday was meant to give everyone a break from the penitential focus in order to remind us that the Lord’s coming is near and it is something to rejoice in.

Advent is also meant to be a time of hope for us, because the one who is coming to help us is Lord of heaven and earth, the master of the whole universe and all things are subject to him.  John the Baptist painted a pretty frightening picture of him as the one who would come to judge all people and bring justice to the earth.  But what is also important to remember is that this extraordinary person of Jesus is coming among us to help us, not to condemn us.

I wonder if John the Baptist came here today what he would say to us.  One thing I am pretty sure of is that it would disturb us, because that is what he did.  He disturbed people by what he said.  He preached with passion and told people to change, to repent, to begin again.  What exactly did he ask people to do?  He asked them to repent of their sins, to change their way of life, to be open to God.  He challenged the religious leaders (the equivalent of bishops and priests) to beware of how they lived, as they would be accountable before God.  Their lives must bear fruit.  Wearing religious clothes (like the Roman collar I wear as a priest) is no guarantee that a person is pleasing to God.  What is important is how I live my life.  It’s interesting how King Herod had John arrested because John had denounced him for doing what was morally wrong, namely marrying his brother’s wife.  But Herod was troubled by John because he knew he was a holy man and he liked to listen to him.  He knew that John was right.

The message of the Gospels which we read and talk about each week is a wonderful message of hope, but it is also a message which never lets us get too comfortable, because if we get too comfortable in ourselves we stop growing.  This is something that Pope Francis is reminding us of in no uncertain terms.  We must live what we profess, especially looking out for those who are poor. 

If John the Baptist came here and preached today I think he would probably say things like, ‘Confess your sins to the priests, as God asks you to;  be faithful to your marriage; sacrifice yourselves for your children; learn to forgive each other and don’t be seeking revenge when things go wrong.  Stop suing each other.  Be just to your employees.’  To us priests he would probably say, ‘Make sure you are living what you preach and sacrificing yourselves for the people you have been sent to serve; don’t let yourselves get too comfortable and make sure God is at the heart of all that you do.  Be obedient to your bishops.’  We don’t usually want to be challenged in this way, but this is what the Lord presents us with.

Every year as we prepare for the celebration of Christmas, when God ‘pitched his tent among us’, the most important preparation we can make is the preparation of the heart.  We begin again.  We look honestly at ourselves and how we live.  Do we need to change? Probably; because it is easy to become lax and indifferent to the struggles of the people around us.

When the Lord challenges us to look at ourselves and begin again, it is not to make us feel guilty or inadequate; rather it is to help us to grow.  God pushes us, if you like, helping us to become the best version of ourselves that we can be.

Because John the Baptist spoke the truth and challenged people with strong words, it cost him his life.  Jesus was killed because he spoke the truth.  Almost all the Apostles and Prophets were killed too.  We don’t like to be told we need to change, but if we wish to continue to grow closer to God then we must remove everything that prevents us from coming closer to him.
Prepare a way for the Lord; make his paths straight.’


Saturday, December 6, 2014

2nd Sunday of Advent Year B (Gospel: Mark 1:1-8) Prepare the way of the Lord


One of the things we do a lot as priests is go to people who are dying to ‘anoint’ them, or give them the sacrament of the sick, which is the same thing. I always think that it is a lovely thing when people request this, because it is a sign that they want to prepare for their journey to meet the Lord when they die. It is not just for when people are dying, it is also for when people are sick, but I think it is usually a great consolation to those who receive it. Often when I am praying with someone who is dying I can see that they are praying with me. Sometimes I see them move their lips and try to say the prayers as well, or sometimes they try and make the sign of the cross. They want to be prepared to meet the Lord as I think probably all of us do.

In one way we all know that we will never be prepared to meet the Lord as we would like to be, but that is not important because the Lord is not looking for perfection. What God is asking us for is the right disposition of heart. Think of the man dying on the cross beside Jesus. He was being punished for whatever crimes he had committed and given the dreadful death of crucifixion and in his own words he said, ‘We are getting what we deserve’ (Luke 23:42). But when he asked Jesus to remember him, Jesus replied, ‘In truth I tell you, this day you will be with me in paradise’ (Luke 23:43). This reminds us that what the Lord wants for us is only goodness, only the best, just as you want for your children, even if they mess up as we all do. It is also good to remember that even when we mess up seriously and we are written off by our society, or put in prison, God does not write us off. The Lord assures us that He is still with us. He asks us to repent in our heart and that is what is most important.

Advent is one of the seasons we have where we are asked to prepare for the wonderful feast of Christmas. But it is not just for Christmas, it is a time of reflection for us to prepare ourselves in our own hearts for whenever we will meet the Lord. None of us know when this will happen, but what is important is that we try to have the right disposition to be open to God for whenever He will bring us to heaven.

The best way we can do this is to go to confession. Although confession is not the most popular thing for most people, I think it is important to remember that this is God’s gift to us so that we can know that we are forgiven and to be encouraged and help us to start again. It is the greatest healing ministry of the Church. In his mercy and love for us, the Lord continually helps us to begin again as often as we need to. Who else could do this? What person on earth would continually allow us to start again no matter how many times we messed up? Not many, I suspect.



The most important thing about going to confession is the very fact that we do go, because each time we come before the Lord in confession it is a way of acknowledging that we are sinners. It is a way of saying, ‘Lord I know that I am a sinner. This is all l can recall right now, but I want to ask for your mercy,’ and that is what the Lord gives us. We confess whatever we can remember, but what is important is the very fact that we come before the Lord in this way. This is what He has asked us to do, even though we may not always feel attracted to it. Who wants to admit that they are a sinner and have done wrong? I certainly don’t! But I know that I need to.

Coming before the Lord in confession also helps us to keep the balance; to remember that
all things are in God’s hands; that God is the creator and we are the creature and without God we are nothing.

Let me just finish by repeating the words of absolution which the priest recites in the confession, because they are words of forgiveness and consolation.

God the Father of mercies,
Through the death and resurrection of his Son,
Has reconciled the world to himself
And sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins.
Through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace
And I absolve you from all your sins,
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

1st Sunday of Advent Yr A (Mark 13:33-37) Keeping the focus on Christ



Every Sunday when we come together to celebrate the holy mass we pray the Creed.  And one of the things we always say as part of that prayer is: ‘He (Jesus) will come again to judge the living and the dead.’  That is what we believe.  God came and walked among us in the person of Jesus and Jesus will come again to judge all people.  No one knows when this will happen, but Jesus has told us that this will happen.  Maybe it will be during our life-time, maybe we will already be dead.

Today we officially begin our preparation for Christmas; our spiritual preparation.  We are preparing for two things; we are remembering the first coming of Jesus at Christmas, and we are remembering that Jesus will come again at the end of time. 

With so much emphasis on buying gifts it is easy for us to lose focus on what it’s about.  In all the advertising that we hear there is almost no mention of what the feast is really about: the birth of Christ; the coming of the Son of God to set his people free from eternal death; to win the most wonderful thing imaginable for all of us: eternal happiness when we die.  This is what everyone wants, even if we have very different ideas as to what happiness might be, but we all want happiness, for ourselves and those we love.  This is what God has made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus. 

In the Gospel reading today, Jesus is telling us that while we get on with the ordinary things of everyday life—eating, drinking, marrying, working—we must not forget the bigger things.  It is a warning to us never to become so immersed in time and the things of the world, that we forget eternity.  Even though the worldly affairs are important, we must not let them distract us from the reality of God; the reality that we will die, that life and death are in his hands, and that whenever He does come for us, He must find us ready.

In one sense we can never be ready enough for God.  How do you prepare to meet God?  Is it a scary thought?  It shouldn’t be, because that is what God has created us for and it will be wonderful beyond our wildest dreams, if we have made any effort to be ready.

Jesus says that when the Son of Man comes, of two people doing the same thing, one will be taken the other left.  What does that mean?  It means that although both people were doing the same ordinary things that we all have to do, one of them had not forgotten about God, but the other had; the one who had forgotten got left behind.
If we get totally immersed in the world, or in our families, or in our work, then we can miss what it is about.  There is much more to our life than this. 

As you well know it is often when someone becomes seriously ill, or dies, that we suddenly start realizing how much we are immersed in the world.  Naturally we have to get on with the day to day things of working and living, but we are being told to make sure that we also make time for God. 

I think a good recipe for a ‘happy’ Christmas,  is to keep it simple and spend some time coming up to Christmas remembering what it is about.  Even go to mass once a week, or spend a few minutes in a church every few days.  That way we will remember what we are celebrating.

The Angel said to the shepherds:
Do not be afraid. 
I bring you news of great joy.
Today in the town of David
a Saviour has been born for you;
He is Christ the Lord.



Saturday, November 22, 2014

Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King (Matthew 25:31-46) Power in weakness


 In the book of the Apocalypse (also known as Revelations) Saint John at one stage has a vision of a being that terrifies him.  He describes what he saw like this:
…I saw one like a Son of man… His head and his hair were white with the whiteness of wool, like snow, his eyes like a burning flame, his feet like burnished bronze… out of his mouth came a sharp sword, double edged, and his face was like the sun shining with all its force (Rev 1:13-16).

John writes that he was so afraid when he saw this being that he fell down as if dead.  But then the being in the vision touched him and said: ‘Do not be afraid; it is I, the First and the Last; I am the Living One, I was dead and look—I am alive for ever and ever and I hold the keys of death and the underworld’ (Rev 1:17-18). 

Who was this being?  It was of course Jesus, the one with whom John had lived for three years.  Why would Jesus who was so close to John, appear to him in this frightening form?  Probably to remind John and us, who he is.  Not just the Jesus whose name we carelessly throw around as a swear word, but Jesus who is Son of God, who will come to judge the living and the dead.  This is the one we believe in.  When we die we will all come before him face to face and all people of every religion will understand who He is and what He has done for us.

At the moment we are seeing huge changes in the world around us.  So much earthly power which seemed to be untouchable has collapsed over night.  Even the great structures of the Church seem to be crumbling.  In many ways it is a very disturbing, even frightening time.  But I think that we need to remember who it is we believe in and who it is we put our trust in.  If we put our trust and hope in earthly power we will be disappointed, as we know only too well, because people will let us down.  If we rely too much on the human side of our Church we will be disappointed, as we have been.  But the one we trust in and believe in is Jesus Christ who is God.  All things are in his power and all things are completely subject to him. 

Sometimes you get the impression especially from Hollywood, that the battle between good and evil, between God and Satan, is an equal one.  It is not.  There is no question of evil being equal to God.  All things are subject to God and I think we need to be reminded of that.

As a priest—especially at the moment—I need to keep reminding myself that Jesus is the one I worship as God and try to serve.  If I stay focused on the world around me I find myself getting depressed or disillusioned.  Also if I spend too much time worrying about the state of the Church I also find it hard to keep going.  But the Lord keeps reminding me that He is the one I need to stay focused on, because He is the one in charge.  He is master of all things.  What we see happening in the Church at the moment is the work of his power purifying his Church, because He loves us and will not allow his people to continue with poison festering under the skin.  And so He allows his Church to be purified and renewed, which is what we see happening.  I have no doubt that what is happening in the world is also a kind of melt-down that God is allowing which will bring many people back to him.  There is nothing like a crisis to focus the mind!

When people have a certain amount of power they like to show it off and make it felt.  People who are really powerful don’t seem to feel the need to show it off as much.  But God who is all-powerful, goes one step further and shows his power in weakness.  This is an extraordinary thing and something we find very difficult to get our heads around.

The greatest demonstration of God’s power was shown to us in the death of Jesus on the cross.  God did the exact opposite of what we would do and showed his power by not doing anything; by appearing to be a failure.  So the people laughed at him and mocked him, not realising that what they looked at was a demonstration of the power of God.  This is why we use the symbol of the cross and why it is so powerful.  This is also why Satan hates the symbol of the cross, because it is a symbol of the extraordinary power of God and it is a reminder of the event that broke the power of sin and death. 

St. Paul in the first letter to the Corinthians says,
We are preaching Christ crucified; to the Jews an obstacle that they cannot get over, to the pagans madness, but to those who have been called, whether they are Jew or Greeks, a Christ who is the power and the wisdom of God (1Cor 1:22).

What the power of Jesus on the cross also shows us is that in the bleakest and darkest situations of pain and suffering, loneliness and abandonment, Christ is there with us, in his strength.  We are never alone no matter what we are going through.  God is with us.

Jesus Christ is our king, the most powerful king on earth. If we accept him as our king, we also share in his power, but it is not a power as we normally understand it and this is why many people find it hard to accept.  We want something that we can see and touch.  We want to know that we are important and that our King is the greatest of all.  But God in his wisdom knows that this isn’t the most important kind of power.

If Jesus is Lord and God as we say we believe He is, then we have nothing to be afraid of.

Every being in heaven, on earth and under the earth,
shall bend the knee at the name of Jesus;
and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:10-11).




Saturday, November 15, 2014

33rd Sunday Year A (Gospel: Matthew 25:14-30) Parable of the talents


In 1998 in Rome, Pope John Paul II invited 54 different groups within the Church to come together in Rome to celebrate what God is doing for them and to share their experiences.  These were all groups that were started by lay people, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to really try and live the Gospel in daily life.  As a result these movements have now spread all over the world and are continually inspiring people to live as Christians and they are also acting as a powerful witness to many others to put God at the center.  To give you an example, some of these groups are the Focolare movement, Marriage Encounter, L’Arche community, Charismatic Renewal, Cenacolo.  They all have different focuses.  For example Cenacolo is a movement that was started to help people work through addictions, particularly drug addiction.  They have 27 fraternities.  They live quite a monastic lifestyle with no TV, newspapers, or magazines.  Their day to day life is based around prayer and hard work. Over 400,000 people came to Rome that day, representing these different groups.

All over the world this is and has been happening for some time.  God’s Spirit has been moving people to step out and live their faith.  In Ireland in the last 30 years there have been a huge number of prayer groups and all kinds of groups started by lay people.  This is God’s doing, and I think that it’s good for us to remember that it’s going on, because you never hear about it in the papers or on the TV, but it’s happening all around us.  Great things are happening.

The Lord doesn’t wait for the hierarchy of the Church to feel that the time is right, or for lay people to say that we’re ready now.  The Holy Spirit just moves people when the time is right. Of course it’s important that the priests and bishops work with these groups, because that is a sign that they are on the right track, but quite often they are not the ones to start them.

Many people today are saying that the laity should be more involved in the Church and that is very true; but I also think that many lay people frequently overlook one of the most important roles that they have, that you have and that is to bring Jesus to the world in a way that priests and religious can not: in the work place and in the home, when you go out shopping and socialising.  This is one of your most important tasks, which we priests can not do and it is absolutely essential that it is done, because there are so many people today who have lost sight of God and are crying out to him, but don’t know where to look.  If you, who believe in God, don’t bring your faith with you, then all the people you work and live with may not find out about God. People need to experience Christianity as lived out by ordinary people. This is where you come into your own as lay people.  You can bear witness to Christ by the way you live.  You don’t have to open your mouth, just live your faith.  I’m sure some of you have experienced this already, the more you live what you believe, the more it speaks to people and gets quite a lot of reaction, because we all constantly observe each other and notice each other.  And if you live your faith, you will be different and you will be attractive, because God is attractive, holiness is attractive.  That’s why all these lay groups have borne such fruit, because God is behind them, so they attract people.

Another reason I believe, why the Lord has inspired people to start all these different groups is to help each of us to realise that it is possible to live as God asks us to live.  Many people today don’t believe that any more, which is why so many have turned their back on the Church, because they think that it’s silly and unrealistic, just something to help you when you’re old or sick.  But God is showing us that this isn’t so, by inspiring people all over the world to really live the Gospel, to live by the teachings of Christ.  And of course it’s possible, and it’s not just for priests and religious either.  We have our part to play and it’s important, but so is your role and all that God has in mind for you to do. 

Today's Gospel reading refers to this too.  God is saying to us that we all have potential to develop what He has given us.  No one is exempt.  But just be careful that you are not the one who is quite happy just to hand back what you got having done nothing with it.  That is the person who says ‘I’m alright thanks very much, I’m not going to bother anyone else, and let no one bother me.’  If that’s our attitude, if we are happy with the absolute minimum, we must be careful, because then we are the ones that Jesus is pointing the finger at.

When we die and meet the Lord Jesus we will only be accountable for ourselves and our own actions, so let us make the most of what God has given us.  The best thing any of us can do, is to bring our faith with us to work and wherever we are. 

 


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Dedication of the Lateran Basilica (Gospel: John 2:13-22) On the priesthood


Today we celebrate the feast of the dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome. It is the official church of the Pope, even though the Pope lives in the Vatican at St. Peters basilica. Celebrating the dedication of the Lateran Basilica is a recognition of the unity of all churches throughout the world with our mother church in Rome.

Perhaps one of the strangest things that Jesus did before he ascended to heaven at the end of his earthly life, was to entrust his Church to priests; ordinary, sinful, weak human beings.  This is something that we do not understand, but we believe.  Through the gift of the priesthood He gave us the most extraordinary gift of all, the gift of the Eucharist, which is the gift of Jesus himself really and truly present in the form of bread and wine.  There is no gift greater than this.  But the fact that he made it depend on priests is what is so strange.

I am sure that one reason in particular why he did this was to make it obvious that it is God who is at work and that the Church is in no way dependent on the gifts or skills of human beings alone, especially not us priests.

There is a great story in the Old Testament which explains this; it is the story of Gideon.  Gideon and his people were being wiped out by the Amorites and it was a time of great suffering for them.  Then one day the angel of the Lord appears to this man Gideon and says, ‘Hail valiant warrior.  The Lord is with you.’  In reply Gideon says, ‘If God is with us how come we are being wiped out?’  A fair question!  The angel goes on to tell Gideon that God has specially chosen him to lead his people to freedom from their enemies.  But Gideon asks an interesting question.  He says, ‘Why would God pick me since I am the weakest member of my family and my family is the weakest family in my tribe?’  In other words, why would God pick the weakest of the weak to lead his people to freedom?  It doesn’t make any sense by our way of thinking.  But then the angel convinces him that God has chosen him and he will be alright.  Gideon is then told to raise an army and so he gets together 30,000 men.  But then to his astonishment God tells him to reduce the number of men to only 300 and he tells him why, and this is the crucial bit: lest the people think that it is by their own strength that they have won victory over their enemies.  God chooses the weakest man around with only a handful of men to conquer the enemy so that it will be obvious that it was the power of God that made this happen. If Gideon had been a great warrior and he conquered his enemies with a huge army, then no one would be surprised.  But when the most unexpected person leads a handful of men and conquers a huge army, then everyone says ‘Look what God did!  It’s a miracle.’

I believe that God chooses various men to be priests for the same reason, so that it would be obvious that it is God who is at work.  So He picks weak men to make it all the more obvious that the Church is still there because of him and not because of us priests.

It is said that when Napoleon Bonaparte was taking over Europe he met the cardinal of Paris and he said to him, ‘I am going to destroy the Vatican.’  The cardinal assured him that he wouldn’t be able.  But Napoleon insisted: ‘You will see; I will wipe it out completely.’  But the cardinal said: ‘We priests have been trying to destroy it for the last 1800 years and we haven’t been able! So you wont be able either.’

Perhaps one of the most extraordinary things of all about the priesthood is that the Holy Spirit of God obeys the words of the priest.  When the priest says the words of consecration at each mass the Holy Spirit immediately and humbly obeys the words of the priest and changes the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus.  I don’t understand this but I believe it.  And when the priest says I absolve you from all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit immediately wipes away those sins.  God is so humble that He will obey the words of a human being.
Jesus said to Peter:
You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church and the gates of the underworld will never hold out against it. Whatever you bind on earth will be considered bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth will be considered loosed in heaven.


What if the priest is not a very good man or is in fact quite a sinner?  Is God any less present in the mass if the priest is not a holy man?  Of course not.  God would never allow his power to depend on the goodness of a human being because none of us could ever be good enough or holy enough.  Even if the priest is a terrible sinner, God is just as powerfully present in the mass, in confession, and wherever He calls the priest to work.  Of course it is a great help for our faith if the priest is a holy man, but either way God is just as much present, because God gives himself completely to all of us in this extraordinary way through the priesthood and it doesn’t depend on the priest being good enough.  Thank God!

I think one of the greatest proofs that the Church is from God is simply the fact that it is still here in spite of the fact that there have been centuries of bad example, bad preaching, scandal, etc, and yet it is still here.  How can this be? Because it is the power of God at work in his Church. There is so much we don't understand about how God works among us, but we believe that God continually gives us everything we need and one of the greatest gifts He has given us is the priesthood, because without the priesthood we would not have the Eucharist.





Thursday, October 30, 2014

Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed (All Souls) The souls of the just are in the hands of God



  Today we remember all those who have gone before us in death. For most if not all of us, death is probably the hardest thing that we have to face. It is cruel because it brings up so many questions and gives us so few answers and worst of all, the person we love is snatched from us and we can no longer communicate with them. We don’t know where they are, or how they are, although we believe that they are with God, but we don't know exactly what this means.

We are never ready for someone to die, even if they have been sick for a long time.  However I think it’s good to remember that although a person’s death comes as a shock to us, it is not a surprise to God.  The Lord had been expecting them. From all eternity God has known the exact moment when they would die. To me that thought always puts things in perspective. It reminds me that there is something bigger going which we often lose sight of.  All things are in the Lord’s hands.

When someone dies we try to remember the good things about them.  We generally don’t talk about their faults, but we remember all the goodness that was in them and it is good that we do that.  All of us hope to be remembered for the good we do rather than the mistakes we make.  Having happy memories of someone is really a great compliment to them, because it tells us that there was great goodness in them, as there is in most people. 

The purpose of our life on earth is to learn how to love and to serve and then hopefully to chose to love and serve. God has given us the freedom to do either. All of us, no matter what our life situation, have the same opportunities to love and serve. Even if we are living on the street in miserable circumstances or the president of a big company, we still have the possibility to love and serve. It starts with the people around us, who can often be the most difficult to love.

In the western world because of better conditions and standards of living, which is a wonderful thing, it is very easy to lose sight of death and the purpose of our life. We are continually given the impression that this world is all about trying to make ourselves as comfortable as possible and to acquire as much as possible for ourselves and our children. There is nothing wrong with trying to have a good standard of living, but it is so important that we realize that this is not the primary purpose of our life. In the more developed countries even death is quite removed from us and often dressed up in ‘sweetness’ where we hardly get to see the person who has died and the ugliness of death. In poorer countries people are often more in tune with the reality of death because they are being faced with it in a very real way all the time. While this might seem cruel, it is probably a lot healthier from a spiritual point of view, as it keeps us in tune with the shortness of our life and reminds us that our life here on earth is by no means the whole picture.

There is a lovely line in St. Paul’s first letter to the Christians in Corinth which reads: ‘If our hope in Christ has been for this life only, we are of all people the most to be pitied’ (1 Cor 15:19).  The whole point of what we believe in is that not only is there a life after this one, but that this is what God has created us for and offers to us.  It is up to us if we choose it or not.  The death and resurrection of Jesus has made eternal life possible for us. We believe that we will see our loved ones again if they have chosen for God in this life and most people do. We choose for God by the way we live and not just by the practice of a particular religion. This also reminds us that those who have never heard of Jesus or Christianity have the same chance of eternal life as the rest of us. It primarily depends on the choices we make throughout our life for good or evil, for God or against God.  Our belief in the world to come is what gives us hope, the hope that something wonderful awaits us and that the struggles we go through here on earth, which are part of what helps us grow into better people, are worth while.

The difficult part for us is that we are left behind with so many questions and so few answers.  Why do people get sick?  Why do good people suffer?  What happens after death? and so on.  But Jesus’ words in the Gospels remind us to trust him and to believe that God will make sense of it eventually.  It doesn’t make sense to us now, but it doesn’t have to.  That is part of the struggle of faith, that so much doesn’t make sense.  It would be so much easier if we could see where our loved ones are now, but for now that is hidden from us.  We trust and hope in what Jesus has taught us and this is what helps us to keep going. For now we do our best to love and serve and believe.

The souls of the just are in the hands of God