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Homily

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

July 15, 2018

Fr. Joseph A. Jacobi


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Amaziah, chaplain at the national cathedral in Bethel, has a lot to lose if the reforms of Amos are adopted. That is why Amaziah wants Amos out of there, and he wants him quiet.

Amaziah sees religion in “civil” terms, existing to promote loyalty to the status quo, the royal house, and to nationalism. As chaplain in the royal sanctuary, Amaziah’s job is to keep things smooth and nice so that the government will remain stable and in control.

Amaziah asks no questions, and he never rocks the boat. He apparently never reflects much on the fact that the worship in that place had deteriorated into people simply going through the motions in order to satisfy their religious obligations.

Enter Amos, vine dresser and shepherd, a no-body from no-where, disturbing things, and making it difficult to conduct business as usual. Business as usual in northern Israel means a prosperous economy built on taking advantage of the poor, and Amos rocks the boat by pointing out this injustice.

Enter Jesus, carpenter and itinerant preacher, a no-body from the no-where town of Nazareth, disturbing things and making it difficult to conduct business as usual.

Enter the disciples of Jesus, not just those twelve, but you and me, if we’re worthy of the company. Just ordinary folks from no place in particular, who because we might dare to take our Baptism seriously, are not going to conduct business as usual. For our baptism calls us to participate with Jesus in his prophetic role to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable

If we get the picture here, the status quo is in trouble, unless we’re part of the picture and find our future in business as usual like Amaziah.

The Gospel in which we are formed suggests that poverty, dependence on the hospitality of others, and a sense of urgency mark the Christian enterprise. But too often in the status quo, “poverty” is something we avoid, dependence on others is looked upon as a failure, and the only urgency we really feel is to protect ourselves and our stash of this world’s goods. What Jesus proposes for his disciples is total trust and dependence upon God, a radical departure from the attitude of successful competition, which tricks us into thinking that what we have we have earned, when in truth, everything we have is pure gift from God.

Paul reminds the Ephesians and us that in Christ Jesus, we have been given everything—every blessing, an abundance of graces — such is the generosity of our God. In Christ, we know that there is always enough to go around and thus no need to hoard.

Sent by Christ to preach repentance, we know there is always space to spare, always time to give, always bread to break, and always treasure to share. We walk lightly, unburdened by the insatiable need to acquire and accumulate.

Thus, we disciples are instructed to take nothing. All that we have to give is what we have received from Jesus Christ. These are qualities which cannot be contained in a sack or a money belt.

Remember, Jesus placed his confidence in that rag-tag group he had called away from fishing boats and tax tables, from everything familiar and comfortable. There was no evidence at all that they would be capable of doing what he asked, but he sends them and they go. It should be noted that he sent them all, not just some of them. He sent proud Peter and doubting Thomas, and even one who would later betray him.

We are left to decide whether we are outside this story looking in, or whether we too are being sent. If Jesus sends us out in his name, then he must know we have what it takes to do what he asks. It all begins with following his teaching and his example to place our total trust and complete dependence in God our Father.

We are challenged by these readings to look at our missionary endeavor seriously. To examine how much we might be like Amaziah, set in our way, secure with things the way they are, and satisfied with business as usual.

Repentance, a change of mind and heart, is serious business. In fact, it’s not an option for the disciples of Jesus.

If repentance is the focus of the mission, then business as usual, which continues to take advantage of the helpless and the poor, which incarcerates more women and minorities than we want to admit, is in trouble. If repentance is the focus of the mission, then business as usual, which tolerates racism and finds entertaining the ridicule of those who are different, is in trouble. If repentance is the focus of the mission, then business as usual which insists upon vengeance while calling it “justice”, which continues to kill the unborn and treat pet animals better than our greatest treasure, the elderly, is in serious trouble.

What Amos the prophet and Paul the apostle and Mark the evangelist propose to us is that remaining true to our identity and our mission in this life means rocking the boat, unsettling what is settled, and leaving nothing in us or around us untouched by the Gospel.

The biggest and most obvious of social, political, and economic issues cannot remain unquestioned and untouched by disciples sent in the name of Jesus.

The most personal, relational, and spiritual issues cannot remain unreformed and unmoved by those of us who carry the Gospel message.

Christ longs to take possession of us in and through this Eucharist.

So that we might be sent forth in his name as his glad and faithful people, allowing the Gospel to inform and influence all that we say and do.

Then kindness and truth will embrace, and justice and peace will kiss.


14th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

July 8, 2018

Fr. Joseph A. Jacobi


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The people of Jesus’ hometown think they know him, because they know a lot about him. They know he is a carpenter. They know his family. They know the house where he grew up.

But they don’t know him. They know things about Him, but they do not know who he is. There is a huge difference between actually knowing someone—their hopes, dreams, their life story—and knowing certain facts about them.

Because they have an image of who Jesus is in their minds, they cannot accept the real person standing before them. Jesus could only do a few healings there, which the local folks would surely point to as proof that this hometown boy is not what he’s cracked up to be. See how easily this judgment of another becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The people of Nazareth have, in their hard-heartedness, rejected Jesus.

They ask questions about Jesus, such as, “Where did he get all this?,” when they should instead be asking soul-searching questions about themselves. Such as: Why am I closed off to him? Why am I slamming the door in his face? Why am I so obstinate of heart?

What happens in Nazareth happens daily, over and over and over again. One person thinks they know who another person is because they know things about that person. Or one group believes they know what another group is like because they know things about that group. In this kind of pre-judging, hearts are hardened, minds are closed, and people rejected.

It happens to us as Catholics in a state where we are very much in the minority and members of other religious denominations think they know us because they’ve heard things about what we “believe”, although most of that information is false. Like, “You Catholics worship statues.” Or, “You don’t know anything about the Bible.” Or, “You Catholics can do whatever you want and then just go ‘confess’ it to a priest.”

But this kind of pre-judging also happens in today’s fear-driven climate about protecting our borders. It happens when people reject immigrants or refugees without ever getting to know them, without every coming to know their stories or why they would risk their lives just to come to our southern border.

It also happens daily in politics, when Republicans reject Democrats and Democrats reject Republicans without folks from either party listening to and coming to know those of the other party. This is the reason our nation is so polarized today.

After all, what does polarization require? Two poles. By that I do not mean two people or groups of people disagree with each other. That is actually what democracy requires. What polarization requires is two people or two groups of people who disagree, each of whom believes that the other is entirely at fault and is politically irredeemable, or even worse, thinking the other person or politically party is morally irredeemable.

Pope Francis sees all of this clearly for what it is. The phenomena involved in polarization reflect a deeper spiritual crisis today, within you and within me. That is why the most important thing Pope Francis has ever said about politics or other things that divide us is: “I am a sinner.”

The 1st question he was asked in his very first interview, was: “Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?” To which the pope replied: “I am a sinner, constantly in need of God’s mercy.”

I suggest this is where we should start the reform of our politics and of our nation, by recognizing our individual complicity in the sin of polarization, by what we have done and by what we have failed to do, and by asking for the grace to change. Today everyone seems to zoom in and focus only on the “difference” of the other person. We can begin the conversation by focusing on what we share in common, rather than on our differences.

Back in the early 1970’s a potluck dinner group was formed in Ardmore, Oklahoma called “Let’s Talk.” This group was a response to the race-riots of the late 1960’s. This group brought together African-Americans and Anglo-Americans of different religious denominations to share a monthly meal together, to share conversation, and to hear a speaker on an important topic of the day.

My mom and dad were part of this group of black and white people interested in getting to know each other, which meant by default, so were my brothers and sisters and I. I still remember the good food and playing together with other kids, who I had never known before.

My mom had me memorize Dr. Martin Luther Kings’ famous “I Have a Dream” speech for the 4-H speech contest, and then when Gloria, one of the African-American members of the Let’s Talk group found out I knew Dr. King’s speech, she had me give it in front of the group. I still remember as a 10-year giving that speech in front of that group of adults.

More than anything Jesus spoke about was a dream he had, and this Dream was called “The Kingdom of God” where all people could live in peace with each other and rejoice in God’s goodness and love.

Jesus was all about bringing people together, even people very different from each other. Why else would he call Simon the Zealot and Matthew to be his apostles? Simon belonged to a political party which advocated the violent overthrow of the Roman occupiers and Matthew, the tax collector, who collected taxes from his own people for the Romans.

Jesus ate with sinners and gave his life so that we human beings would finally see that there is only one race, and that is the human race, and that there is only one Father of us all.


13th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

July 1, 2018

Fr. Joseph A. Jacobi


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Who is this woman who touches Jesus and calls forth from him healing power? She is a nameless woman. She is a bleeding woman, a bleeding nameless woman. She is also broke. She is a broke, bleeding, nameless woman. In the view of the culture of her time, she is also one of the untouchables because of her illness.

She is defined by those around her by her sickness, and by how it has not only drained her body but also drained all of her savings—she has nothing left to live on.

But Jesus, when he addresses her, reveals that he knows she is something much more than an impoverished woman with a chronic illness. She is a daughter of God. Jesus says as much: “Daughter, your faith has saved you.” She knows and he knows that she has never been an unclean woman with uncontrolled bleeding. Rather, she is a daughter of God who is suffering. She held onto this spiritual identity, and that deeper identity gives her courage to reach for God’s love manifested in Jesus. God’s love is for God’s children, and she knows she is one of God’s children, no matter how difficult her life might be . That is her faith.

Which is why her touch is different than the touch of others in the pressing crowd who are jostling against Jesus. There are many whose skin rubs against Jesus’ skin in that crows, but only one who touches him with faith. She does not even feel the need to ask him—she knows, in loving trust, all is needed is to be connected to him, even in the slightest way.

And the healing that comes from the love of God flowing into her through Christ Jesus is more than just physical. She can go in peace and enter back into community. Since she was spiritually touched by God, she can physically touch and be touched by others. These two stories of two women who touch and are touched by Jesus are about much more than physical healing. They are stories of salvation! Jesus is not a wonder-worker, he is not some kind of magical healer. He is the Savior of the World who comes to heal the broken relationship between humankind and God and the broken relationships among people. He comes to restore those relationships, to make whole what seemed to be irreparable broken.

The bleeding woman now healed after 12 years of chronic illness is restored to her family and to her community. She is no longer avoided as one “unclean”, as one who cannot be touched for fear of catching her disease, of being contaminated by her blood.

The 12 year old girl is restored to her family. Her father and mother, who thought they had lost her forever to the darkness of death, discover by the light of God’s love shining through Jesus, that her future and theirs is not destroyed. They have all—father and mother and 12 year old daughter—been given new life.

That is why these two stories are about faith, about people who trust in God’s love manifest in Jesus and open their lives to that love. These two stories reveal what happens in the lives of those who trust in God, in spite of every reason not to trust. The bleeding woman’s faith is very evident because she knows all she has to do is touch Jesus. But so is the father’s faith, for as he receives news of his daughter’s death, at that very moment Jesus calls him to trust in the power of Jesus’ love: “Do not be afraid, just have faith.” In the face of the death of his dear daughter, in the midst of the din of the wailing and weeping, he is invited to trust in the one whose love is more powerful than death.

In Biblical thought, God owns blood, because God is the author of life, and blood the source of life. So, God’s love working through Jesus, has stopped the 12-year flow of blood in the hemorrhaging woman and started the flow of blood in the 12 year old girl. The heart of God has been revealed in the actions of Jesus, who by his Sacred Heart reveals how much God loves suffering humankind.

For when the older woman touched him, at that moment he becomes unclean. He trades places with her. He brings her into relationship with God, and now he will be the one who is cast out and the one who bleeds. Then, he touches the 12-year old who is dead and trades places with her as well. Now he is the one who will die so that she can live.

You see the mystery of salvation revealed here. We will be saved when we have been touched by Jesus Christ: touched by his love, touched by his grace, and touched by his word.

St. Paul says it this way:
“Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.”

Can we trust in the love God has for us in Christ Jesus? Can we do so even in the face of illness or death, struggle or trial?

In just a short while, we will reach out in confident trust to touch and be touched by the Body of Christ. In doing so, the isolation we suffer from, the loneliness which drains joy of out of our life, will be healed. Because we will come into intimate communion with God and with one another.

And we will remember who we are: God’s beloved children.


Nativity of John the Baptist

June 24, 2018

Fr. Joseph A. Jacobi


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During my recent trip to Italy with my cousins, we spent several days in Florence, one of the art capitals of the world. We spent one afternoon in the Ufizzi Art Gallery in Florence, which displays many of the most beautiful Italian paintings in the entire world. Many of these works of art had originally been made for churches, and taken out of churches so more people could enjoy them. The next day my cousins decided to go shopping, while I chose to go church-hopping. I wanted to see beautiful religious art in its original setting.

The first church I entered had a beautiful frescoe of the birth of Mary, and I was struck bythe important role of the grandparents of Jesus, Joachim and Ann, in the story of salvation. Then I went to the baptistery of the Cathedral of Florence, which is a separate building from the cathedral. It is as big as this church of ours. The baptistery has incredible art work on its large cylindrical ceiling. I got a bit of a crick in my neck looking at the upper band—the story of Creation and the Fall of Adam and Eve; then the next circular band told the story of major events in the life of John the Baptist, and the lowest band the story of major events in the life of Christ.

Next I walked over to the church next to the train station, the Church of Santa Maria Novella. The original church dated back to the 10th century, but when the Dominicans came to Florence in the 13th century, they found that the church was too small, so they started building the new church toward the end of the 13th Century. Two centuries later several famous Italian artists were commissioned to do some beautiful frescoes.

One of them was Ghirlandaio, who did a magnificent frescoe behind the altar of the Birth of John the Baptist. I could not recall seeing John’s birth depicted in art before. I was fascinated to see how the artist showed Elizabeth resting in bed, most likely worn out, at her advanced age, in giving birth. At her feet sat a young lady, most likely the Virgin Mary (since Scriptures reveal she stayed with Elizabeth and helped with the birthing process) holding the newborn John in her arms. She holding the child who would spend his life preparing the way for her child.

The events surrounding the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist and his actual birth show how God was at work in very mysterious yet powerful ways. These events also unveiled what John’s mission would be.

The archangel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah while he was serving in the temple to tell him that his barren wife, Elizabeth, would bear a son and that they were to name him John. Zechariah and Elizabeth were way beyond the age of having children, so Zechariah expressed his doubts about the angel’s message, and was struck mute—unable to speak. Gabriel told him he would have his tongue loosed when John was born. The archangel also told Zechariah that this child, John, would be granted the spirit and power of Elijah to turn people back to God, to prepare a people fit for the Lord. (Luke 1:17 )

There was an expectation among the people of Israel that the prophet Elijah would return to earth to prepare God’s chosen people for the coming of the Messiah. Reflecting upon the prophetic witness of John, Jesus declared that John was that Elijah that the people were expecting.

Like the first Elijah, John was a truth teller. He spoke the truth to power, which is a sure way to get into trouble when power is a living lie. He disturbed the comfortable and comforted the disturbed.

The message of John, whose birth we commemorate today, is as challenging now as it was when his voice cried out in the desert. Not everything the powerful do is morally right. Not everything enshrined in the law of the land is right even though it has become the law of the land. Then and now, there are things enshrined in the law by the powerful that are not just or morally right. Abortion, capital punishment, and euthanasia are obvious examples, but there are more, especially whenever a law degrades in any way the God-given dignity of the human person, no matter what their race, color of skin, or country of origin.

Besides speaking the truth to power, and thus preparing the way for the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, John also pointed out Jesus to others when he came. In fact, this is the way that John is most commonly depicted in religious art— pointing to Jesus.

I pointed this fact out to my cousin Anthony as we looked at the art in the Ufizzi Gallery, and pretty soon he was able to notice John “pointing”. Even as a child, the artists painted John pointing to Jesus. Even when people wanted to point at John and say, “You are the Messiah,” he would point beyond himself to the One to Come by saying he was not the Messiah. John, in completely humility, spent his life pointing beyond himself to the Lord.

John challenges us, because instead of pointing to the Lord Jesus, we often point fingers at one another, blaming the other. We say, “It’s his fault” or “It’s her fault.” This kind of “pointing” is the result of original sin.

So, John is a gift to us to remind us what we are called to be— we are called to point beyond ourselves to the Lord Jesus.

Some people wonder: “Is there a divine purpose for our lives?” This solemnity of the birth of John the Baptist says YES!

As the Psalmist reminds us, God knit us in our mother’s womb. God made us for a purpose. Perhaps our purpose is to speak the truth to power with courage, so that the justice of God’s kingdom might flower in our world.

John the Baptist not only had a mission, his very life was mission from God. As Pope Francis says in Rejoice and Be Glad :

“Each saint is a mission planned by the Father to reflect and embody, at a specific moment in history, a certain aspect of the Gospel.”

As the Pope goes on to point out in this document, this is true for every disciple of Christ, for we are all called to holiness, we are not simply on a mission from God, but we are a mission from God, sent to make the world holy.

Our purpose, in our own unique way, is to point others to the Lord Jesus by the words we speak and the lives of charity we live.


10th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

June 10, 2018

Deacon Bill Hough


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In the last month or so we have been reflecting on this person called Jesus. Four weeks ago, at the Ascension we saw Him return to heaven to be our intercessor with the Father.

The next week at Pentecost, He fulfilled His promise to the Apostles to send His Spirit who filled them with the courage to spread the Good News to the entire world.

Then, on Trinity Sunday, we acknowledged Jesus as one of three persons in one God – a God of pure love.

Finally, last week, at the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, we affirmed our belief that He is truly present to us today in the Eucharist.

We have seen the big picture.

We have come to know Jesus as our Lord and Redeemer. We come to Mass each week to strengthen us in our belief. Week after week, our liturgy is meant to replenish our spirit so that we can carry out our missionary duty to spread this Good News.

So. At first glance, our readings today are almost comical. In the first reading from Genesis Adam and Eve disobey God and they find out they are naked.

In our Gospel reading, we have Jesus’ family on one side who think He is crazy and, on the other side, we have the scribes who say Christ is possessed by Satan. What is happening here? Why does everyone seen to be turning against Jesus?

Of course, it’s not funny.

Like Adam and Eve and the scribes, we can face a lot of battles in our life, and some of the hardest ones are our spiritual battles – our struggles against the temptation to sin. And we don’t always win these battles.

Of course, we know that God will always forgive us if we are truly sorry. God did punish Adam and Eve but did not abandon His creation. The book of Genesis teaches us that evil will not ultimately win the battle. As Christians we know that God has always had a plan for our salvation.

God fulfilled that plan in Jesus Christ.

Jesus is neither crazy or possessed – just the opposite. Jesus is the one promised by God from the beginning. And, He was promised to everyone, not just His family and the religious leaders of the day.

His message of love and forgiveness for everyone was something new and they somehow thought that this message threatened them and their way of life. Therefore, they retaliated with their accusations. If Jesus is not sane, then their way of life is OK, and they do not have to change.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives two warnings.

First, by His parable, Jesus explains to the scribes how their thinking is flawed. If He were in league with Satan, why would He fight against him? Satan is the strong man in the parable but Jesus is stronger yet and Christ has come to defeat the evil one.

To blaspheme against the Holy Spirit is to reject Jesus and His teaching. By their accusations and rejection, the scribes commit the unforgiveable sin.

Secondly, Jesus explains how to be part of His family. The Gospel writer Mark is not condemning Mary and the rest of His family. He uses them as an example. It is not only words but also actions that make one a Christian. We also read this in the Gospel of Matthew (7:21). “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”

What does all this mean for us?

First, we come here today to strengthen us for the spiritual battles in each of our lives. As Paul says in the second reading, “Since we have the same spirit of faith…we too believe and therefore we speak.” We come together each weekend to show our acceptance of Jesus and His teaching.

Secondly, we must go out and do the “will of the Father”. This means something different for each of us, but God does have a purpose for all of us. It may be just to act as an example of faith to our family and friends. It could be a ministry in the Church or our community. Who knows where God will lead us?

Let us pray that God will strengthen us in our faith and lead us to do His will.


5th Sunday of Easter

April 29, 2018

Fr. Joseph A. Jacobi


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Last Sunday in John’s Gospel we reflected on the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. I pointed out to you that 5 times in that short Gospel Jesus spoke about laying down his life, referring to how in love he gave away his life for us. Joined to Him, we are invited to lay down our lives in love for others.

This Sunday we are given another image of how the Risen Lord Jesus gives his life for us and to us, how he shares his risen life with us. He says: “I am the Vine and you are the branches.”

In connection with this beautiful image on intimate and constant communion, Jesus commands us to “remain in me”. He makes the command 5 different times in these 8 verses. “Remain in me.”

We are called to remain in him because when we are cut off from Him we wither up and die before we die and then when we physically die we die forever. Just as branches that are cut off from the vine wither up and die, so we do when we are cut off from the Lord Jesus.

As the vine, he is rooted in the One who is necessary for life and life in abundance, the source of all life, connected to the Father himself. In the Son of God, we are connected to the Father who is the Source of life. Cut off from Jesus, our lives shrivel up and lose their ultimate meaning.

John, in his 1st letter points out how we know that we remain in Jesus and he remains in us — by the gift of the Spirit given to us. It is by the Spirit poured into our life at baptism and given to us anew at every celebration of the Eucharist that we remain in the Risen Jesus and he remains in us.

When we remain in Jesus, when we remain connected to him, then we bear fruit. That is our mission as branches attached to the living vine—to produce fruit. 5 times Jesus states in this Gospel passage that our mission as the branches, as we stay connected to Jesus, is to bear fruit. Over and over again Jesus stresses this point—we are to bear fruit. For fruit is not for the vine nor for the branches, but for the nourishment of others. Fruit is for others—for others to eat.

Bearing fruit means we lay down our lives in service of others, we give away the gifts given us to nourish other’s lives, to feed them by our life-giving love. Bearing fruit happens when we love one another as Christ loves us. In fact, when we remain in Jesus and he remains in us, when we have this intimate communion of life with him as branches connected to the living vine, then we have the energy to love as he loves.

Another way to understand what bearing fruit looks like is to return to what John states in his first letter about how we know that we remain in him and he in us is by the Spirit he gave us. For there are 12 fruits of the Spirit, signs of the Spirit of the Risen Lord at work in the lives of believers. The 12 fruits of the Spirit are: Charity, joy, and peace Goodness, generosity, and gentleness Patience and kindness and faithfulness Self-control, modesty, and chastity.

When we see someone who generously shares of themselves and their gifts, we know the Spirit of the Risen Lord is at work in that person and we see the fruits of such generosity. When we see someone who is patient and kind in the face of hatred and violence, we know that the Spirit is at work. When we are around people whose joy lifts us up, whose peaceful spirits bring peace to our troubled souls, we are in the presence of the Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead.

When we are connected to the Son of God as branches to a vine, and the sap of the Spirit flows from the vine grower (the Father) and the vine into our lives, then we can produce the fruits of self-control, modesty and chastity. In a secular society which has turned people into objects to be used for one’s pleasure and then thrown away when done with or simply erased by the click of a computer mouse, the invitation of the Spirit of the Risen Lord is to produce the fruits of chastity, modesty, and self-control in order to bring the God-given dignity of the other to light. One of the 7 deadly sins is Lust, which causes the lustful one to feel cut off from others and from God. When lust “flares up” in the human heart, most people think they only have 2 choices: to indulge lust or to repress lust. Indulging leads to separation from others and from God and from our truest, best self and can lead to a heart to wither, like a branch cut off from the life-giving vine of love.

But repressing lust is not a good option either, because whenever we don’t deal with something as powerful as lust but simply try to put a “lid on it”— then it forces it’s way to the surface in more powerful and destructive ways.

The 3rd option, one that is life-giving and transformational, is the one suggested by Pope St. John Paul II in his “Theology of the Body.” Rather than trying to repress lust or trying to ignore it, we surrender our lust to the paschal mystery.

What does this look like? When a lustful thought arises in our mind or a lustful desire arises in our heart, we immediately turn toward the Lord Jesus and give it to Him. We make the experience into a prayer by crying out, “Lord, help me.”

In other words, as we allow lust to be crucified with Christ, we also come to experience the “resurrection” of God’s original plan for sexual desire as a life-giving force, as the power to love in God’s image. As we do this, Pope St. John Paul II states that “the Spirit of the Lord gives new form to our desires.”

We can do this with any deadly sin, such as Anger or Pride, for when angry or prideful thoughts come to mind or arise in our heart, we immediately turn to the Lord Jesus and give them to Him. He is called the Savior of the World for a reason, for he wants to set us free from what enslaves us.

The Holy Spirit, the bond of love between Father and Son, strengthens us to love as we have been made to love.

The beauty and power of God’s love for us is that we do not have to do anything on our own power. We are made to be connected to Christ Jesus, the Life-giving vine. Without him, we can do nothing of value at all; but with Him, we can do all things for the Glory of God. We do not have to do anything on our own. With Him and In Him and Through Him we can produce the fruits of the Spirit.

The Lord Jesus invites us to remain in him in a very intimate way as we share in this Holy Eucharist. He remains with us by the gift of His Body and Blood and by the gift we are to one another.