Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

The Seraphim cried out, “Holy holy holy is the Lord of Hosts!  All the earth is filled with His glory!”  God created the cosmos in an explosion of generosity, giving rise to myriad plants, animals, planets, stars, angels and us – human beings, man and woman.  All designed to reflect some aspect of His own splendor and glory.  At the summit of all of God’s physical creation stands us, the human being man and woman, loved into existence as all things are, but we are invited to participate even more fully in God’s perfection by loving Him in return.

God in his infinite love and design has endowed each and every one of us with a body and a soul.  And made in His image and likeness we also have both an intellect and a will.  With our intellect we can know the Truth; we can know Jesus and His way.   And with our will we can love Him with all our being.  St Ireneaus once said that the Glory of God is man fully alive.  How do we live like this?  With body, soul, intellect and will; how do we live fully alive so as to give God glory?   I’m glad you asked, there are a few things we can do:

  1. Recognize your incredible dignity. As soon as we receive the Sacrament of Baptism, God literally floods us with sublime and ineffable gifts.  First and foremost, Baptism transforms us into living Tabernacles of the Blessed Trinity.  We become a son/daughter of God the Father, brother/sister of Jesus Christ, and intimate friend of the Holy Spirit.  A great dignity.


  1. Recognize your destiny. We are destined to eternal glory in heaven.  We were made for Heaven.   If we glorify God in our bodies/souls, intellect/will during this brief and transitory pilgrimage on Earth, Heaven is ours.


  1. Develop a deep relationship with our Heavenly Mother. She not only brings us closer to Jesus but she is also an expert in purity.  With this relationship we can ask for her help in growing more pure.  With her help we can be made more and more pure in mind, voice, body, and spirit.  As St. Matthew once wrote, “Blessed are the pure of Heart for they will see God.”


  1. Purify your whole being by the Blood of the Lamb of God. If and when we fall into sin, never give into discouragement or despair.  Instead place your trust in God’s infinite mercy!  In other words, go to confession.  Like the Prodigal Son run to the Father and launch yourself into His loving and merciful arms.  Jesus longs to be your Savior.  In her diary St. Faustina writes of this promise that Jesus made:  “The greatest sinners can become the greatest saints if they simply trust in my infinite mercy.”


  1. Receive the Holy Eucharist. The greatest action that a human person can carry out on earth is to attend Mass and receive the Eucharist.  Your body, upon receiving the Eucharist, becomes a living tabernacle, a living sanctuary, a living castle or palace of Jesus the Eternal Son of the Eternal Father.   If received properly your whole being is transformed.  Your memory is purified; your understanding is enlightened; your will is strengthened; your heart is set on fire with divine love.


To live fully giving great glory to God, know your great dignity, know your destiny, develop a deeper relationship with Mary, go to our Lord in the sacrament of confession, and receive our Lord in the Holy Eucharist.

This Thursday February 10th is the Feast day of St. Jose del Rio.  He was one who was fully alive.  Our school chapel is named after him.  St. Jose was a 14 year old Mexican martyr of the Cristero War of the 1920s. The Cristeros resisted the government’s attempts to eradicate the Catholic Church.  Even though only 14 St. Jose was very persistent in wanting to join the rebel movement.  When his mother said “No” for the 100th time, in a fit of determination he said to her, “Mama don’t let me lose the opportunity to gain Heaven so easily and so soon.”  Eventually she relented and the general allowed him to be the flag bearer.

In late January 1928, José was captured by Mexican government officers. He had given his horse to the general after the general’s horse had died.  He then sought shelter to hide from the enemy, but he was found and captured.

The young prisoner of war was taken to a makeshift jail cell in the sacristy of a nearby church. According to the witness of childhood friends, while there, he prayed the Rosary throughout the day and prepared for his impending death. They allowed his Aunt to bring him the Eucharist.   He was ready to do God’s will.

José never had a trial but was offered the chance to live if he would renounce his faith. He refused. Hoping to weaken him in his determination, his persecutors brought him to witness the hanging of a fellow prisoner of war.   But instead of scaring him into recanting his faith in Christ, José encouraged the condemned man telling him, they’d soon see each other in heaven.

On the night of Feb. 10, 1928, José was forced to walk through town making his way to the local cemetery. Before he set out, they cut the bottoms of his feet, and as he walked, they inflicted several wounds upon him with a large blade. It was torture. He shouted in pain. He left a trail of bloody foot prints.  Again they tried to cause him to renounce his faith, “If you shout ‘Death to Christ the King,’ we will spare your life.” José had nothing of it. “I will never give in. He said, Viva Cristo Rey!”

Finally, they reached the cemetery — the place of his death — and, with bayonets, his persecutors stabbed him repeatedly. Their commander, however, shot him, frustrated with the slow, agonizing death his soldiers had inflicted upon the boy. He was not dying fast enough.  Just before dying, José traced a cross into the dirt, to which he kissed.

St. Jose was fully alive giving glory to God.  He knew his incredible dignity as a son of God.  He knew Heaven was his goal.  He had a deep relationship with Jesus and Mary.  And he was a regular receiver of the Eucharist and Reconciliation.

I give some homework this week.  Spend some time with our 1st reading.  In it we see elements of the Mass.  First, Like Isaiah and the Angels we stand before an altar crying out “Holy holy holy Lord God of Hosts.”

Second, Isaiah’s sin was purged by a burning ember taken from the altar.  Our venial sin is purged by the burning love of our Lord in the Eucharist, also taken from the altar.  And finally, at the end of the 1st reading the Lord says, “Who shall I send?”  And Isaiah answers, “Here I am, send me.”  We too are sent.  At the end of Mass we hear the words, “Go in peace glorifying the Lord by your life.”

Christian; know your great dignity

Christian; know your destiny.

Christian; develop an ever deepening relationship with Jesus and Mary.

Christian; receive our Lord’s mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation; receive his burning love in the Eucharist.

And then go; glorify the Lord by your life.


Let us be great Saints,

Fr. Christopher J. Ankley