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Mountain Top Experiences

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Have you ever had a "mountain top" experience? One of those experiences or moments in life that you just don't want to end? Moments of seeing god to clearly and feeling his presence to powerfully that you want the moment to last forever?

The Transfiguration was a mountain top experience for Peter, James, and John. Jesus was revealed to them in all his glory at the top of Mount Tabor. They were so happy, so amazed, so in awe that they didn't want to leave. With any mountain top experience, we always have to come down from the mountain. The experience is meant to spur us into action. Jesus and the disciples still had a mission to fulfill, they couldn't just sit on the mountain. Yes that experience of grace transformed their hearts.

My prayer is that we too travel to the top of the mountain to be transformed and spurred into action to share God's love with others.

The Chair of St. Peter

When my family and I vacationed in Italy, it was one of the best experiences of our lives. The highlight of our trip was visiting Rome and attending Sunday Mass at St. Peter's Basilica. In the basilica there is a huge altar honoring the Chair of St. Peter. Breathtaking!

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter in February. It brings to my mind the lineage of the popes through the ages who have led the people of God, focusing on the mission of Christ who came not to abolish the law of the prophets, but to fulfill them. It makes me think of how popes have struggled through conflict, indeed--sin, some not so successfully, to Christ's vision of a more sincere, more perfect fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.

In His continuation of the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord's message to us is ultimately that of love - to be reconciled to your neighbor - to respect your brothers and sisters. 

Let's be mindful of the legacy that the popes have left us - to fulfill the Law and the Prophets more perfectly through Christ's command to love one another. St. Peter, pray for us!

To Be Salt of the Earth

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“You are the salt of the earth.”

In today’s gospel Jesus tells us this very catchy and familiar phrase. It is also the motto of St. Francis de Sales Seminary, except they use the Latin, “vos estis sal terrae”. Sounds very inspirational. I must tell you, though, I don’t quite know what it means to be “the salt of the earth”. 

To be the salt, does it mean to be one of the people? For us priests, maybe it is a warning to maintain humility and not forget we are sinners like everyone else. My wife had that assignment  when I was a physician. When she noticed I was thinking too highly of myself she would remind me, we all put our pants on one leg at a time. I was never quite sure what that meant, but I listened. 

Maybe to be salt means that we, through our lives, are to be the flavor of humanity? We are to lead joy filled lives of service and thereby flavor the lives of those we meet. Through our relationship with Jesus, through our understanding of salvation in the midst of suffering, we can offer others a means of savoring life. 

I also cannot help but think of a common modern use of salt, especially at this time of year…to melt ice. Being the salt of the earth, we could melt the ice of anger and hate. As the salt, we can give traction to those whose ways are slippery and prone towards falling. As the salt, we can provide a safe path to God and home.

Now that I think about it, maybe I do know what it means to be the salt of the earth.

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