By: Rick Hernandez
One of my many memories from childhood is when my family visited the bioluminescent bay called “La Parguera” in Lajas, Puerto Rico. For those of you that do not know, a bioluminescent bay’s waters light up at night. It is such a beautiful sight. There are many glass-bottom boats where you can see the greenish hue of bio light shining as the boat cuts through the water at slow speed. It shows our eyes that there is life, actively fighting the darkness of the deep water.
I was fascinated by the fact that the waters of the bay would light up. Water emitting light! From my limited life experiences, I could not grasp that concept at all. I had seen water all of my life, and none before did that; therefore, that water must have been extraordinary. I wanted some of that water…
But then, I remember my dad explaining that it was not the water itself lighting up but what was “in” the water, microscopic organisms generating light via biological processes. I could not see the microorganisms doing that, but I could see the end result of their effort… Light!
I want to be able to see Christ in us, His beloved people, for that is a big part of our call. We are created to be like Christ, to be His hands and feet in this world. When I see the good and the faithful acting His love for us, I see Christ’s light actively overcoming the world’s darkness. Like John, with our lives, we testify to God’s light. We witness to His good.
We must illuminate the way towards Him by shining with His light. Nowhere is there a better example of this than in our most precious Mother Mary, for Mary is to Christ as the moon is to the sun. The moon does not have its own light but perfectly reflects the sun’s light, so much that it brings light amongst the darkness of night. We are to be like Mary, actively shining with His light.
For those who do not know Jesus, the light of His love present in His faithful must be a mystery. Yet people are attracted to the light! Like my father did for me, we must be prepared to explain again and again that it is not our own light that shines through but that it comes from the One who loves us. Let us help them get closer to Christ. Point the way to Him.
Christ’s light shines whenever we share from His banquet, whenever we share of His love, His hope, and His faith. We are to do this “Just so, your light shines before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:16).
We must be aware of His gifts that we receive. At the end of every Mass, especially united to our Lord Eucharistic through Communion, we are sent to share His grace with the world. Apostles!
As we continue on our journey home to Heaven, do we testify to the light of Christ? Like Mother Mary, are we shining His light?
Let us pray:
Lord, your love for us is ever-present, and you know us perfectly well. Help us to be as your light in this world. Help us to let your love for us be readily apparent, that the ones seeking you may also come to know you through your actions in our lives. Let it be light! Amen.
By: Laura Catherine Worhacz
Dearest Eucharistic Family,
In my prayer this week, I envisioned being in the womb of our Church, sheltered in Our Lady's Immaculate Heart. The divine indwelling of God's life for us begins with our Lady holding us for Jesus.
I recently viewed the Roe V. Wade film, and the corruption that we know exists was made ever more visible to me through the film. The unborn held in the womb of mothers who do not understand what it means to hold life within is daunting. The choice to terminate life because of fear and many reasons is a vast reality in our society.
Our compassion and prayer in Christ will be the only presence of God others may come to know. Life is taken by the millions… There are so many unconscious wounds that direct our decisions in life.
In our Lady's womb, she keeps us in our Holy Mother Church. Are we as vulnerable as the unborn in a mother that lives in fear? Perhaps! So many in our day are frightened to live. Sprit and truth lead us to justice through mercy; we try to uphold moral values.
Grievous sin still exists; we are told not to judge. We have lost sense and life within our Church's womb; it is being taken by the millions, similarly to the unborn who are not safe. In our adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, we will find our own grievous sin. Our purification begins so we may take others with us on the pathway to salvation.
The hands of the priest bring us the Body of Christ, the bread and wine are transformed by the power of God, the sacrament of life is born for us. The heart of the Eucharist beats; Jesus lives.
In today's Gospel, Jesus walks on water,
Jesus abides in the Father and, in the oneness of their love, the Holy Spirit is offered to us so we may live in grace. Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament brings us to birth in the light, Mary reinstates the honor and nobility of motherhood. Our surest refuge is to be held by Jesus through the Heart of Mary.
Easter reminds us of our Baptism, death to life. Our eternal life begins here on earth in the heart of the Eucharist. We are being formed in the womb to be birthed into Pentecost. The Liturgy keeps us moving in grace. Jesus came to bring us life to take courage and to LIVE!
“Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.” (John 20:17)
Jesus was on His way to the Father when He suddenly felt a tug in His heart. It was Mary Magdalene looking for him, weeping.
“They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.” (v.13)
As her tears fell to the ground, her hemorrhaging heart pulled the tassel of his cloak and held him back. The sound of her cry pierced through eternity and compelled Him to stay for a moment in time.
“Woman, why are you weeping?”(v.15)
Her eyes, blinded by grief, could not see Him, could not recognize. At the sound of his voice, the veil lifted, wiping away her tears. When she heard her name, recognition came.
“I found him whom my soul loves. I held him and would not let him go.” (Song of Songs 3:4)
But He still had other plans, which she did not need to understand.
“Stop holding on to me.” (John 20:17)
Let go. …but why? Why would Jesus ask her to let Him go?
“I have not yet ascended to the Father.” (v.17)
Mary is stuck in her grief. She is holding on, not to the hope of what is to come, but to the pain of what is gone. Yet, in her pain, Mary cries out.
“The righteous cry out, the LORD hears, and he rescues them from all their afflictions.” (Psalm 34:18)
Just like He delivered her before from seven demons, he now frees her from the claws of death.
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55)
Her love is transformed the moment she lets go.
“Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” (John 20:17)
It is when she is willing to let go and trust that she is free to live. And from that place of freedom, she can then accept her mission.
“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
How many times are we stuck in grief, holding on to the past? The rug gets pulled from under our feet, and we fall; we do not know which way to go. Our plans are no more. We close our eyes to the possibilities that God has something better in store for us.
We will suffer in this life, but we are not meant to stay stuck in grief. Every moment of life is transformed through the Cross of Our Lord. The Paschal Mystery is always in movement, from the Passion, through the Death, into the Resurrection and Ascension. It is in this continual offering of Jesus to the Father that we are meant to live. Through Him, with Him and in Him, caught in the embrace of love, we go from mourning to dancing, from grief to joy.
When we find ourselves in darkness, let us never tire of crying out to God, for He will leave the ninety-nine and come running back for us. Jesus will tell the Father in Heaven, “Give me a moment, for I hear my beloved looking for me, and my heart is moved with love.”
My friends, this is Divine Mercy; this is Divine Love. Trust in Him and seek Him; you will always find Him ready to embrace you and welcome you home.
By: Rick Hernandez
Holy Saturday, the long silence. As we wait patiently for the rising of Our Lord on Easter, let us take this time to ponder on the meaning of the Passion and Death of Christ. We look up to the Heavens through the eyes of faith, and in our hearts, we can inscribe the words:
“No one has a greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
Jesus laid down His most precious life because of LOVE. For us and for our salvation, He conquered death, and all of this happened because He accepted His Cross. What does that mean for us? What are we to learn from His lesson?
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
Here, our Lord is asking to be released from the Passion's suffering but accepts it out of His love for God the Father. He surrenders His will to accept the Father’s will.
We, as humans, often shy away from suffering; we avoid pain. Yet to suffer is unavoidable. It is the reality of this fallen life. We will encounter suffering, be it ourselves or via our loved ones.
So many of our hearts are deeply hurt these days. We can barely keep up with the battering from the world, so we close our hearts. Society tries to teach us to be selfish. Media bombards us with the message that it is all about us, that we are meant to have an easy life, that we should not have to suffer.
Because of this, love has lost its real meaning.
Jesus on the Cross is the ultimate form of intercessory prayer, the ultimate form of love. His physical life was a living prayer. His suffering and death, in love, are the offering to the Father to atone for our sins. Jesus was not afraid of pain and suffering; He knew that to love freely meant to be able to lay His life if necessary. Such is still our call today.
With His example, Jesus tells us that we do not have to like suffering or want it. Still, we have to be willing to accept it, especially when it is because of our love for others. God's love for us is free, as in freely given. It is unbound.
Free love is not painless love. Free love is not selfish love; it is neither conditional nor temporal. If we are going to be able to love freely, we have to be willing to suffer. Our hurt hearts can know real love, but we have to be willing to be vulnerable.
If you are not willing to suffer disappointment or pain, you cannot love freely.
To love is not without consequences on this Earth. Love can be, for us, a little Passion. We know from Christ’s example that when suffering comes, it is an opportunity to make an offering to our Lord. The surrendering of our will to His will, as an act of love, then becomes an intercessory prayer.
It is in this renouncing of self for the good of others that our experience becomes a little like Christ’s on the Cross. “No greater LOVE...”.
"Bear one another’s burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2)
Today, let us think not only about physical death. Today let us embrace self-denial, humility, and empathy. Let us be willing to suffer discomfort for the ones in need. We are meant to carry each other’s burdens. Would it not be love if we go out of our comfort zone to help turn around a life? What are we willing to give up for our love of others?
To love fully, we must be willing to suffer. Like Our Lord, are we willing?
Love one another as I have loved you.
May you have a Happy and Blessed Easter!
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We are Ivonne J. Hernandez, Rick Hernandez and Laura Worhacz, Lay Associates of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, and brothers and sisters in Christ.
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