Our All Saints Blog

Believing and Agreeing

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Believing and Agreeing

Many of us tend to listen to those who agree with us or believe those who agree with us, and we are satisfied with this because we can survive with this. But it would be worth our effort to learn how to agree with those who listen to us or agree with those who believe in us.

The Lord believes in us much more than we believe in him. Why? Because it means much more to the Lord that He believes in us than that He agrees with us. The Lord loves people. And love does not flow from agreement; it precedes it. Love does not look for compromise; it looks out for another's good. Christ did not compromise with others. Rather, He called for their conversion. He did not call sinners to follow Him. He called sinners to imitate Him. He invited twelve sinners to become Twelve Saints. The Lord invites us to turn from our former way of life and "be renewed in the spirit and put on the new self, created in God's way in righteousness and holiness of truth" (Eph 4:24). Christ did not give up on the sinner and call it a draw. He drew the sinner towards him and called it love.

For this reason, the Lord loved the sinner; for this reason, the Lord died for the sinner: so that they could believe in Hirn before they agreed with Him.

"One does not live on bread alone." We need food. Let's not fool ourselves. But we need food just as much as we need love. The Lord was not naïve. We need our bread, we need sustenance. And we should never forget that man needs to eat in order to survive. But what we tend to forget is what the Lord reminds us of: One does not live on bread alone. Like so many of Christ's teachings, this saying means much more than just the obvious. It means one does not live on money alone, sex alone, pleasure alone, happiness alone, material things alone or acceptance alone. To live we need more than just to survive; we need to thrive. To live life to the full, we need God; his divine life and his divine words. In order to live we need to be able to forgive.

I remember an incident some time ago where an individual that verbally abused a Chic-fil-A employee was summarily fired from his job. I really consider this a shame. That should never have happened. Why? Because our society taught this man the art of hate rather than the art of debate. He was so proud of himself, he videotaped himself. How many of us on the road have been caught in a moment of anger, of a raging fit??? Thank God we did not videotape ourselves; thank God we were not videotaped!

Unfortunately, I don't think anyone came to his rescue ... too risky. This is precisely were a Christian need to come in. This is precisely where the person who was verbally abused could help by telling the world that she did not want this to happen; that this man deserves a chance to redeem himself. But redemption requires someone dying; someone coming to the rescue; someone taking him by the hand and helping him back up. The human reaction was obvious: make him suffer as much as he made her suffer. This is the human reaction. The Christian position is not so obvious: love him before he can understand us.

Posted by Fr. Alfonse Nazzaro with

Five Loaves of Bread

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Five loaves of bread. Bread comes from wheat. We take wheat, add water to it and a bit of yeast and violà…bread! The Lord takes bread and “adds” himself to it and violà…The Eucharist. What we do with wheat is almost as surprising as what He does with bread. Both bread and Eucharist give life, though differently. Both nourish. Both are taken and eaten. Both are taken for granted. Both are pretty much understandable (and nonetheless surprising). The only difference between our Bread and His Eucharist is that the first is made by human hands; the other by heavenly hands.

How can we ignore the obvious? Why do we ignore the miraculous? Why do we turn our heads and ignore the obvious and miraculous fact that the Lord wishes to add himself to us? Is he not constantly taking who we are and adding himself to it? He is.  He is constantly taking what we do (or have) and multiplying it. He seeks and wishes to reveal His Divine presence in so many ways. Here are just a few examples that I have come up with thus far. Does the Lord not add himself to our instinct to survive? Does He not take this raw product and refine it? You know, similar to what we do with the coco bean and the soy bean. Do we not take our “mammal-ity” and turn it into humanity?   Does the Lord not take our humanity and turn it into Christianity? Does he not make us more valuable, useful and exciting in giving than in receiving; in dying for one’s friend rather than surviving at any cost? Does he not take our instinct-to-survive and turn it into an instinct-to-forgive?

Information comes from what we see, taste, smell, hear and feel. Our brains enable us to gather intelligence, collect information, and finally make right judgments. But where do ideas come from? Where did the idea of God come from? If God cannot be seen, touched or felt (although He was in the person of Jesus Christ), then how on earth did “God” come to be? Where did this idea, found in all cultures and at all times, come from? An atheist once told me, “In the beginning man created God.” How? How in the world could Jews create a loving, forgiving, caring and peaceful God from their unloving, unforgiving, uncaring and violent surroundings? Maybe it was more like, “In the beginning man acknowledged God.” Violà! How did he do it? Maybe the same way all ideas come from. Maybe the same way the idea of a car or radio came to be. Take for example a horse. We can all see a horse. But only Henry Ford saw horsepower. And he was right. We can all talk. But only Guglielmo Marconi saw the radio. And he was right. We can all see Jesus. But only Christians saw the Lord. And they were right! Maybe God saw man…and he was good.

From His revelation and our reflection we find God and our true selves: who we are and who we were meant to be. We can get the right ideas of who He is when we make ourselves more like Him.

Let’s take what we have and multiply it. Let’s take who we are and add Him to it. Let’s take our hormones and add His morals to them. Let’s take our hormones and add His love to them. Let’s take our strange addictions and, instead of publicizing them (or supporting them), have Him remove them.   Let’s take our mistakes and add His blessing upon blessing to them. Let’s take earth and add Our Father to it. Let’s take our touches and add His touch to them. Let’s take our hands, designed to grasp and handle, and offer His beautiful sacrifice through them. Let’s take our simple meal and turn it into His banquet for five thousand! Let’s take our five loaves and two fish and let the Lord take it from there.

Posted by Fr. Alfonse Nazzaro with

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