The Messiah In You

Luke 12:35-38 | Joy of the lord, Luke 12, Lord is my strength
Daily Reflection – 10/19/2021

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to his disciples: “Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants.” (Luke 12:35-38)

Reflection

In today’s scripture. Jesus praises those who keep an awareness of his presence. He calls us to be “like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. … And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants.”

This is the attitude we call “presence of God,” an awareness that Jesus is with us in the world, an alertness of the various ways he comes to us.

If we are that aware, if we believe that then the actions of our lives change. So much that we are different from many. We are distinctive from the rest of the world. Not every day because our humanity gets in the way and we stumble, sometimes even fail.

It’s the very act of striving that is so meaningful. Because we are striving for God’s holiness, because acting in accord with it reveals a truth, and it is a truth that is both arresting and attractive. And meaningful to God.

God calls us to be faithful and ready to do whatever our heavenly Father commands us. How can we serve as Jesus served and be faithful to the end of our days? Only love – the love which God has poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:5) – can transform us and fill us with joy and courage in offering our lives in humble service to God and one another. The Lord Jesus sets us free from fear and pride so we can love and serve one another as he has loved and served each one of us (Ephesians 5:2).

To do that, we need to adopt a servant heart and a willing spirit that is ready to listen and always eager to obey.

“A servant heart.”  “A willing spirit.” “Ready to listen.” “Eager to obey.”

Those very phrases seem out of touch in today’s world. In fact, the very opposite of each of those phrases seem to be operative in our society.

And that is why we are different when we live with an awareness of the very presence of God.

God is real and is calling us. He wants us to know that our lives will unfold not as we dream them but as God dreams them. We are called to trust, to open our hearts and allow Christ to make his dream for us a reality.

We believe that Christ is coming at the end of time and that we want to welcome him. But we also believe that Christ is already present in each one of us.

 So, if we want to welcome him then, we start by welcoming him now. If we began to think in this way, our lives would change. We would treat people differently. If that attitude became contagious, we could change our world. Then more and more people would be acting with greater love, justice, and respect. This is what God calls us to do, to build God’s kingdom. We could fulfill our mission and serve our God simply by welcoming each other as the Messiah.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, you loved me first and you gave your life for me. Fill me with a joyful heart and a generous spirit that is ready to serve and to do whatever you command.”

Daily Note

Jesus is the Master who is coming back soon, at a time we are not sure about. We are his servants, entrusted with the care of our own lives in the meantime. Ultimately, even our lives are simply a gift from God; they belong to him. He entrusted us with them as with a precious gift. If we squander that gift by wasting our lives in self-absorption, self-gratification, and other genres of rebellious, sinful behavior, we will lose the original gift and never enjoy its fulfillment. But if we spend our lives in a manner worthy of the master who gave them to us–generously loving God and neighbor, developing our potential, and putting it at the service of all that is true, good, and beautiful–then we will be blessed when he returns. Indeed, upon that return, we will enter into his joy, and he will rejoice in us, and all our deepest desires will be satisfied far beyond our wildest imagination.

To Love Him Is To Live Him

Luke 12:8-9 | The son of man, Scripture verses faith, Luke 12
Daily Reflection – 10/18/2021

Sacred Scripture

After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and salute no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, `Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages; do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you, heal the sick in it and say to them, `The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ (Luke 10: 1-9)

Reflection

Those who know me also know that the personal motto of my ministry is: “To love Him is to live Him.”

While I fail every day, I keep persevering. I know that if I keep my life focused on living His word that I will, at least, have the right goal which should govern my thoughts, words and actions.

Today’s scripture speaks to that sentiment.

When Jesus commissioned seventy of his disciples to go on mission, he gave them a vision of a vast field that is ready to be harvested for the kingdom of God. Jesus frequently used the image of a harvest to convey the coming of God’s reign on earth. The harvest is the fruition of much labor and growth – beginning with the sowing of seeds, then growth to maturity, and finally the reaping of fruit for the harvest.

God’s word grows like a seed within us. In like manner, the word of God is sown in the hearts of receptive men and women who hear his word, accept it with trust and obedience, and then share the abundant fruit of God’s word in their lives with others.

When we “preach” the gospel, we do not show up with Jesus, as if we were delivering a pizza. Our purpose is to identify in the lives of others the ways in which Jesus is already present to them. If we wish to be proclaimers of God’s word, we must be people of humility, realizing that Jesus is already there before we arrive.

Many of us have members of our family who do not practice the Christian faith. Maybe at one time they did, but do so no longer. How do we preach the gospel to them? Not by lecturing them where they should be on Sunday mornings. But rather by humbly making ourselves a part of their lives, celebrating with them their blessings, standing with them in their struggles. They know how much our faith means to us and our presence to them gives that faith credibility. Our love and acceptance of them is a proclamation of the kingdom of God.

Whenever someone in our life suffers from loss or pain, we have an opportunity to proclaim the gospel. When someone must cope with the loss of a loved one in death, the breakup of a marriage, or a serious illness, our compassion and our presence are signs that God is near. We do not need to wear our faith on our sleeve. Simple words such as “I am praying for you,” are more powerful than deep theological arguments.  They witness that God is close and that God cares.

When we see something that is wrong, an injustice in our workplace, bullying in our school, we have the chance to proclaim the gospel. We do this not by offering scripture quotations, but by standing with the person who is demeaned and insisting, “This is not right. This needs to change.” They will see in our commitment and courage the faith that motivates us, and they will hear that the kingdom of God is at hand.

We are called to spread the gospel. This means we must be people of faith and commitment. But it is the humble person who is most likely to succeed. A friend is more effective than a philosopher. A companion progresses more easily than a teacher. A servant moves hearts more deeply than an orator. 

Our gift to Him is to bring Him alive to another. That’s our call and our mission.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, may the joy and truth of the Gospel transform my life that I may witness it to those around me. Grant that I may spread your truth and merciful love wherever I go”.

Daily Note

God gives us his life-giving word that we may have abundant life in him. He wills to work in and through each of us for his glory. God shares his word with us and he commissions us to speak it boldly and plainly to others. Do you witness the truth and joy of the Gospel by word and example to those around you?

Our Worthiness To Him

Sparrow Scripture Matthew 10 Mixed Media by Brian Tada
Daily Reflection – 10/15/2021

Sacred Scripture

At that time: So many people were crowding together that they were trampling one another underfoot. Jesus began to speak, first to his disciples, “Beware of the leaven–that is, the hypocrisy–of the Pharisees. There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops. I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more. I shall show you whom to fear. Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna; yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one. Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12: 1-7)

Reflection

As shallow as it may sound, many people live out their life on a stage. Regardless of what they really think, or what they may do in secret, they live their lives concerned about how they appear to others. If something goes awry, they change their “appearance” so they conform more to what they think the world wants.

Jesus has revealed that after we die, we face judgment. In this passage, he reminds us of this and encourages us to live with this perspective always in mind. We are not living for this earthly life alone. In fact, our journey here is directed towards a glorious destination beyond this earth. How foolish we are when we lose sight of this! How easily manipulated by false fears and false promises alike!

Jesus wants to save us from that life of unnecessary anxiety and uncertainty. And he does so by reminding us that God is our Father, that we matter to him as much as a little child matters to its loving, doting parents. The small little sparrows Jesus uses in his comparison owe every moment of their existence to God’s providential sustenance and care. And yet, we are worth more than many sparrows… Even the hairs of your head have all been counted…

 The challenges and sufferings of life in this fallen world, riddled with injustice and violence, are real. But Jesus doesn’t want us to live in fear of them. He invites us to trust that God can handle them, and that God’s plan for our eternal happiness far surpasses anything we could possibly imagine. 

At the heart of Christianity is the belief that we know that we are daughters and sons of God. We believe that we have a personal relationship with Christ. We trust that regardless of who we are or the mistakes we have made, God will remain faithful to us and protect us. We believe that Jesus knows the pitch of our voice and knowing everything about us, still freely chooses to love us and protect us.

 Outside of that relationship, faith is simply a matter of words and religion a system of ideas. Words and ideas are not going to save us. Only love can save us. This is why we must be grounded in a relationship of love with Christ.

 We need the strength that flows from that love because we live in world where there are all kinds of threats. We face the threat of terrorism, the threat of illness, the threat of rejection or prejudice from others, the threat of addiction, of violence, of injustice. How do we expect to cope with the fears that these threats can destroy us? How do we expect to gain the strength by which we can oppose the evil in our world and work towards God’s Kingdom? How do we expect to remain optimistic and positive, believing that life is worth living?

Words and ideas can only bring us so far. It is only when we ground ourselves in God’s personal love for us, that we can find peace. It is only when we believe God has chosen us and can recognize the very sound of our voice that we can live in freedom. Jesus’ words are clear. We belong to him. He knows our voice. He will always care and protect us. We need then, to stand in that personal relationship. We need to draw the strength that comes from Christ’s commitment to us. Jesus says, “I love you.” We need to believe that He is serious!

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, may the light of your word free my heart from the deception of sin and consume me with a burning love for your truth and righteousness.”

Daily Note

Hypocrisy thrives on making a good appearance and masking what they don’t want others to see. The good news is that God’s light exposes the darkness of evil and sin in our hearts, even the sin which is unknown to us. And God’s light transforms our hearts and minds and enables us to overcome hatred with love, pride with humility, and pretense with integrity and truthfulness. God gives grace to the humble and contrite of heart to enable us to overcome the leaven of insincerity and hypocrisy in our lives.

The Pharisee In Each of Us

Allacin's Free Illustrated Summaries of Christian Classics: May 2020
Daily Reflection – 10/14/2010

Sacred Scripture

The Lord said: “Woe to you who build the memorials of the prophets whom your fathers killed. Consequently, you bear witness and give consent to the deeds of your ancestors, for they killed them and you do the building. Therefore, the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and Apostles; some of them they will kill and persecute’ in order that this generation might be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who died between the altar and the temple building. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood! Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.” When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees began to act with hostility toward him and to interrogate him about many things, for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say. (Luke 11:47-54)

Reflection

Today Jesus finishes his very sharp words about those Pharisees who for all their external religious practices turn out to be murderers on the inside: in imitation of the way their ancestors killed the prophets, they would conspire to have Jesus himself killed.

Their essential defect in the understanding of their relationship with God was a focus on their own external actions in fulfillment of the law of the Covenant rather than on whether they were branches attached to God the Vine, whether they were in fact loving God with all they had and loving their neighbor to the extreme or whether they were opposing God and hating or slaying their neighbor.

When challenged, they grew more and more defensive to the point that they wanted this upstart from Nazareth out of their lives.

Defensiveness.

Defensiveness leading to violence.

Sound familiar?

The history of God’s chosen people, the Jews, and indeed, the history of the entire human family, is marked by the beneficiaries of God’s generosity repeatedly rebelling against God.

This rebellious spirit is within each one of us. As children of Adam and Eve, the initiators of mankind’s rebellion against God, we have a strong tendency to want to dictate how things should be in our lives and in the world, regardless of God’s providence or sovereignty.

When we interact with our loved ones, when we have challenging encounters at work, when a neighbor differs from our political views, we often find ourselves getting defensive. Anytime a difference of opinion seems to question our intelligence or integrity, our initial reaction is usually to assert our intelligence and integrity, even violently. If we can catch ourselves when we do that, if we can become aware of when we are acting defensively, we will capture a golden opportunity for spiritual growth.

Defensiveness exposes insecurities.

 Insecurities expose areas in need of God’s grace and light. Jesus pointed out in his Sermon on the Mount that the meek and the poor of spirit are blessed. The peacemakers are blessed. Whenever we find ourselves reacting to something violently, it’s an opportunity to pause, ask ourselves where that reaction is coming from, and adjust the reaction to be more Christlike, more in harmony with virtues like humility, patience and tolerance.

How in his name can we turn on another child of God? Why do we think we have the right to bad mouth, demean, use our sarcasm to belittle another child of God?

Who put us in the seat of a judge? Haven’t we learned “Judge not, lest you be judged.”?

The truth is that we all have weak points, blind spots, areas where we need to work hard to grow in wisdom, fortitude, faith, and temperance. When someone triggers emotional defensiveness, we can rest assured that nine times out of ten they have exposed one of those weak points, giving us a golden opportunity to exercise one of those virtues.

It’s those virtues, when practiced daily, that serve to pave the way for our final union with him.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, may your word take root in my heart and transform all my thoughts and actions. Give me wisdom and understanding that I may know your will for my life and have the courage to live according to it.”

Daily Note

When we begin spiritually by putting the cart before the horse, by focusing too much on ourselves and our actions rather than God, when we “I will do” instead of “Let it be done to me,”), we begin the process of taking our eyes off of God and placing them on our actions and on ourselves. When that happens, we can start to drift away from God even in the midst of seemingly religious activity.

How Authentic Is Your Love of God?

2018 – Page 29 – Archdiocese of Malta
Daily Reflection – 10/13/2021

Sacred Scripture

The Lord said: “Woe to you Pharisees! You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God. These you should have done, without overlooking the others. Woe to you Pharisees! You love the seat of honor in synagogues and greetings in marketplaces. Woe to you! You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.” Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply, “Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.” And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law! You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.” (Luke 11:42-46)

Reflection

Why did Jesus adopt such a harsh tone with the Pharisees in today’s scripture?

They were very attentive to minute matters of little importance, but they neglected to care for the needy and the weak. Jesus admonished them because their hearts were not right. They put unnecessary burdens on others while neglecting to show charity, especially to the weak and the poor. They meticulously went through the correct motions of conventional religion while forgetting the realities.

What was the point of Jesus’ lesson? The essence of God’s commandments is love – love of the supreme good – God himself and love of our neighbor who is made in the image and likeness of God. God is love (1 John 4:8) and everything he does flows from his love for us. God’s love is unconditional and is wholly directed towards the good of others. True love both embraces and lifts the burdens of others

The two commandments He gave us are actually two components of one great commandment.  Neither of those two commandments can function independently.  Both are necessary.  Each is one side of the same coin, together forming the one great commandment that is most important of all.

Why is it impossible to love God without loving our neighbor?  Unless we are willing to love our neighbor, unless we’re willing to give ourselves in service to those in need, unless we’re willing to reach out in generosity and sacrifice, our love of God is hypocrisy. 

 If we are unable to love those around us, our prayer to God and our love of God is empty.  If we are unwilling to give of ourselves to others, then our love of God is merely a matter of words or pious practices.  It might make us feel good, but it has no substance.  It is not based in reality.  Love of God without love of neighbor is empty. It is hypocrisy.

How about the other way around?  Why is love of neighbor without love of God deficient?  Why do we need to love God if we are truly going to love our neighbor?  This is a more difficult question, isn’t it?  But the answer is this: love of God gives us the freedom to love others even when it is difficult, even when it is not all that practical.  It is easy to love those who love us in return, but how can we love those who hurt us?  How can we love our enemies?  We cannot love them for their sake, but we can love them for God’s sake.  We can love them because we love God

The love of God gives us the ability to love others and to love the earth, even when that love is not reciprocated, even when it produces few results.  Our Jewish brother and sisters call this kind of loving a “mitzvah.”  It means “it is commanded.”  We do it because God expects it of us, and we love the God who loves us.  This kind of loving is free.  It is free from the limitations of strategies, the limitations of success.  We love because God asks us to love, and that love is without any strings attached.

Jesus gives us a great commandment, but that great commandment has two essential parts: love of God and love of neighbor.  Both are required.  Love of God without love of neighbor is empty.  Love of neighbor without love of God is limited to only love which is convenient and practical.  But these two loves together form one great commandment.  They are the most important thing.  They are our entry into the kingdom of God.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, inflame my heart with your love that I may always pursue what matters most – love of you, my Lord and my God, and love of my fellow neighbor whom you have made in your own image and likeness. Free my heart from selfish desires that I may only have room for kindness, mercy, and goodness toward every person I know and meet.”

Daily Note

Jesus continually invites us to take responsibility for our lives by choosing freely how we will relate to ourselves, to others, and to God. His Gospel continues to shine like a beacon, illuminating a path of living in which we see ourselves as called into friendship with God and called to build up God’s Kingdom–not our own personal kingdoms–in the world around us. As we look at the climate in the United States with its deep divisions and polarizations, each of us must ask ourselves whether we are maintaining our friendship with God and building up his kingdom by loving and serving our neighbor regardless of who they are and what they think.

You’re Expected to Stand Out, So Do It

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Daily Reflection – 10/12/2021

Sacred Scripture

After Jesus had spoken, a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home. He entered and reclined at table to eat. The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal. The Lord said to him, “Oh you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil. You fools! Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside? But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you.”( Luke 11:37-41)

Reflection

Modesty is extolled as a virtue in most parts of the world. It is an admirable quality except . . .

Except when it comes to living our faith.

In today’s scripture, we read of the Pharisee who wanted to hear more from this extraordinary man who spoke the word of God as no one else had done before. It was not unusual for a rabbi to give a teaching over dinner. Jesus, however, did something which offended his host. He did not perform the ceremonial washing of hands before beginning the meal. Jesus turned the table on his host by chiding him for uncleanliness of heart.

Which is more important to God – clean hands or a clean mind and heart? Jesus chided the Pharisees for harboring evil thoughts that make us unclean spiritually – such as greed, pride, bitterness, envy, arrogance, and the like.

He reminds us that love is the foundation of our faith. Love is a relational virtue, not a ritualistic virtue.

If we truly believe that Christianity is founded on the two great commands then Christ expects us to live those commands abundantly. So abundantly that we stand out.

After all, if we appear the same as everyone else in our day-to-day activities, if our faith does not somehow set us apart, it is questionable how much we really are living out our faith. So, wherever we work, whether it is in an office, whether our work now is going to school, whether our work is caring for a home or driving a truck or working on an assembly line or using our retirement years to help others, whatever job we have, we need to work in such a way that it manifests that we are followers of Jesus.

We do that with three qualities . . .  integrity, compassion and witness.

Those that follow Christ work with integrity. They do not bend the rules of the office to their own advantage. They do not put others down to make themselves look good or to prime themselves for a promotion. People know that their word can be trusted, that they will make decisions based on the common good rather than their selfish ambition.

Those who follow Christ also work with compassion. They are aware of the people around them, whether the people in their home or around them. They are willing to take time to listen to a child or to a spouse after a difficult day. They pick up clues from their co-workers of some problem or stress and let them know they are available for support.

Those who follow Christ are also willing to give witness to their faith. They are willing to let others know that they are Christians, that they believe in Christ. They are willing to find ways to let others know that they believe in God and that they value that belief. By acting in this way they witness that they are believers and testify that Christ makes a difference in their lives.

Jesus is the way the truth and the life. But faith is not sufficient in itself. It must be lived out in a way that it reflects God’s love in our lives. Those who are willing to live their lives with integrity, with compassion, and a willingness to witness identify themselves as true followers of Jesus.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, fill me with your love and increase my thirst for holiness. Cleanse my heart of every evil thought and desire and help me to act kindly and justly and to speak charitably with my neighbor.”

Daily Note

God wants to bring us to a living faith that is operative in love. St. James will tell us in his epistle that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). True Christian faith is shown by the way it leads us to try to love like God loves, to the way it makes us patient and kind and all the other attributes St. Paul describes in his Canticle of Love (1 Cor 13), to the way it helps us to sacrifice for God and our brothers and sisters, even to the point of laying down our lives for them. We clean our insides not by rituals of egg-shells of water but by self-giving love, which when done from the heart rather is a great spiritual detergent. Today is a day on which the Lord is calling us to ponder whether our faith bears fruit in generous giving of ourselves and what we have to others.

Where Are You Truly Focused?

My Reflections...: Reflection for Wednesday, March 13; First Week of Lent;  Luke 11:29-32

Daily Reflection – 10/11/2021

Sacred Scripture

While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here. At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.” (Luke 11:29-32)

Reflection

Many of the Jews who had been influenced by the Scribes and the Pharisees were seeking signs from Jesus, despite the fact that Jesus had been working many signs.

Likewise, these same critics weren’t accepting any of Jesus’ other signs, his many miracles of healing and feeding. They were essentially only looking for signs that corresponded to their preconceived prejudices, that if Jesus were the Messiah, then he would work signs that pointed to his liberating them from the Romans and establishing a political renewal of the Davidic Kingdom.

Looking for signs that they wanted.

The generation he was preaching to, and in a sense every generation of fallen humanity, is evil. We have a strong tendency to be self-centered, self-absorbed, greedy, lustful, insensitive to God’s voice and to the needs of those around us. Only a few members of that growing crowd would faithfully follow Jesus until the end. They were seeking quick fixes for their worldly problems; they weren’t seeking the best way to glorify God and advance Christ’s Kingdom.

If more than a few made Jesus Christ the center of their lives, there would be no more evil generation.

What wonders he could do in our lives if only we wouldn’t relegate him to the sidelines. Instead of focusing on him, we elect secular Gods to occupy our minds.

Too many spend their time, energy and life on everything but Jesus. Endlessly, too many debate and hate what is around them. Voices that could rise in pray instead are raised in anger against other people, people who do not match their preconception of what life should be.

Instead of carrying the cross of Christ, too many carry placards of hatred. Read the signs they carry.  Look at their posts on social media. Are the words you read the words of a follower of Christ?

Do we really think that Jesus Christ came to encourage a society where every person’s will could be imposed on another so that one is elevated against another?

Jesus came to build a kingdom where brother helped brother where EVERONE counted. Where EVERYONE was loved equally. Where EVERYONE was respected. Where EVERYONE’s dignity was affirmed.

God searches our hearts, not to condemn us, but to show us where we need his saving grace and help. He calls us to seek him with true repentance, humility, and the honesty to see our sins for what they really are – a rejection of his love and will for our lives.
Listen to God’s word of wisdom and you will find true life and everlasting joy
God will transform us if we listen to his word and allow his Holy Spirit to work in our lives.

A double-minded person cannot receive this kind of wisdom. The single of heart desire one thing alone – God’s pleasure. God wants us to delight in him and to know the freedom of his truth and love.

Living our daily lives against the true horizon of eternal life can only bring us greater wisdom, peace, and joy even now, let alone beyond the grave.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, give me a heart that loves what is good and in accord with your will and fill me with your wisdom that I may understand your ways. Give me the grace and the courage to reject whatever is evil and contrary to your will.”

Daily Note

Today it’s important for us to become a “good and holy generation” in contrast to the receptivity of those whom Jesus was calling out in today’s Gospel. We’re called not only to accept the signs of Jesus’ call to conversion, his wisdom and his death and resurrection, but to become so united to him that we become signs of Jesus’ death and resurrection, signs of his wisdom, signs of his summons to conversion in the midst of the world.

The Continuing Battle For Our Souls

Daily Reflection – 10/8/2021

Sacred Scripture

When Jesus had driven out a demon, some of the crowd said: “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.” Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven. But he knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house. And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons. If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people drive them out? Therefore, they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man fully armed guards his palace, his possessions are safe. But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him, he takes away the armor on which he relied and distributes the spoils. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. When an unclean spirit goes out of someone, it roams through arid regions searching for rest but, finding none, it says, ‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’ But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there, and the last condition of that man is worse than the first.” (Luke 11:15-26)

Reflection

When we understand today’s gospel correctly, we understand what is at the heart of Jesus’ mission.

Jesus was performing dramatic miracles and driving out demons, right before the very eyes of immense crowds, and yet so many of those eyes didn’t seem to see what was really happening. Some of the crowd accused him of being on Satan’s side, and others asked for more signs.

Jesus came into this world to defeat evil, to oppose all that is against God’s will. The devil in this scene represents the evil of the world, which Jesus intends to destroy.

The work of the devil is to divide and the main focus of Jesus’ work is to save us and sanctify us by bringing us into communion with God and in Him with others. 

 We remember from St. Mark’s Gospel the two essential aspects involved in life with Jesus: he calls us to be with him and to send us out. The devil wants to divide us from Jesus and prevent our going out as effective, ardent apostles. And he normally seeks to achieve both objectives by division, dividing us from genuine love of neighbor and thereby separating us from God.

Look at the world that surrounds us right now.

A world that has grown increasing polarized as a result of two world wars and never-ending wars between nation, various genocides and the cold war. As a result of a growing separation between north and south, between rich and poor, developed and developing, countries have become playgrounds for the evil which seeks to draw us away from living the words of Jesus Christ.

Our faith stands on the conviction that the cross and resurrection of Jesus has broken the back of the devil and has inaugurated the ultimate defeat of evil. But that defeat is not complete. Even though the devil’s back is broken, he continues to crawl along and spread evil in our world.

His final defeat will not occur until Jesus returns and destroys every evil forever. Until that day, our job is to take up Jesus’ mission, to fight with him against the evil that surrounds us, to undermine the power of evil in our world.

Augustine of Hippo said that our lives have a God-shaped void which only God can fill. If we attempt to leave it vacant or to fill it with something else which is not of God, we will end up being in a worse state in the end.
What do you fill the void in your life with? The Lord Jesus wants to fill our minds and hearts with the power of his life-giving word and healing love. Jesus makes it very clear that there are no neutral parties in this world. We are either for the Lord Jesus or against him, for the kingdom of God or against it. We cannot serve two kingdoms opposed to each another. There are ultimately only two universal kingdoms which stand in opposition to one another – the kingdom of God – his kingdom of light and truth – and the kingdom of darkness – which is opposed to God’s truth and justice and which is dominated by Satan’s lies and deception. If we disobey God’s word, we open to door to the power of sin and the deception of Satan in our personal lives.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, be the ruler of my heart and the master of my home. May there be nothing in my life that is not under your lordship.”

Daily Note

Sometimes we imagine that being a Christian is merely about knowing the prayers, singing the songs, coming to church, avoiding sin. These are all good things. But at the heart of discipleship is the commitment to join in Jesus’ mission, to take up arms against evil – wherever we find it.

Being a disciple of Jesus is taking up the battle against evil. It is more than avoiding sin. It is helping to create a new world. Following Christ is more than keeping ourselves pure. It is standing with Christ, facing the devil in the eye and saying, “Your power stops with me.”

Remembering The Times He Did Not Answer?

Pin on Prayer quotes
Daily Reflection – 10/7/2021

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to his disciples: “Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,’ and he says in reply from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.’ I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence. And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” (Luke 11:5-13)

Reflection

We have all prayed to God for so many things. We have asked him for so many graces and favors; we have sought and knocked so often, but it seems that more often than not our petitions are ignored.

 Doesn’t it? Be honest.

So many problems, so much suffering, so many difficulties and failures, sins and sorrows—if God really is the Good Father who wants to give us more than we even know how to ask for, why is life such an unending flow of tears and tribulations?

If only we remember one thing, we will never get stuck in cynicism and discouragement. If only we remember what Jesus told Pilate just hours before he sacrificed his own life to redeem us from sin. Jesus told Pilate, “My Kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).

 The fulfillment he yearns to give us is much deeper than we realize, although he sometimes allows us to glimpse it even in earthly terms. Those are the times we believe our prayers are answered.

But it’s the act of prayer which is the true reward.

Prayer is more than a request. It is primarily a relationship.  We should ask for what we need.  But the clearest reason why we ask is because we understand that we are in a relationship with the God who loves us.  Just as in every other loving relationship, we are called to share our wants, our needs, and our hopes with the person who loves us.  So, the clearest truth about prayer is that it reminds us that we are related to a God who cares for us and leads us.

Even if our requests are not answered, two things always happen when we pray. 

The first is this: we remember who we are.  When we pray, we remember that we are not the center of the universe. That can be very helpful for many of us.  When we pray, we realize that God is the center of the universe, and that for all of our efforts and projects we need to trust God’s plan. We need to believe that God will bless us and direct our lives. 

The second thing that always happens when we pray is we grow more sensitive to God’s action in our life.  Because prayer reminds us that God is active, the person who prays sees life in a new way and is more attentive to the blessings and the graces that occur in our lives and in the lives of others.  So, every time we pray, we remember who we are and we grow more sensitive to God’s grace.

The sacred scriptures today remind us of the importance of prayer and ask us to pray more, to speak in our own words to God about our lives. God is more than a fact. There is no action more fundamental to faith than prayer.  So, we should not be afraid to ask.  Prayer is never wasted. Every time we pray, we remember who we are, that we are beloved daughters and sons of God.  And every time we pray, we grow more sensitive and attentive to the beauty and power of God’s action among us.

Prayer of The Day

“Heavenly Father, you are merciful, gracious and kind. May I never doubt your mercy and love nor hesitate to seek you with confident trust in order to obtain the gifts, graces, and daily provision I need to live as your beloved child and constant friend.”

Daily Note

God invites us to pray insistently not because he is unaware of our needs or because he is not listening to us. On the contrary, he is always listening and he knows everything about us lovingly.” But because we pray as we live and live as we pray, he wants to develop in us through prayer the type of perseverance we need to remain faithful in life.

The Words That Bind Us

Teach Us To Pray – God In All Things
Daily Reflection – 10/06/2021

Sacred Scripture

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name,

your Kingdom come.

Give us each day our daily bread

and forgive us our sins

for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us

and do not subject us to the final test.” (Luke 11:1-4)

Reflection

The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. They had been watching him. They had been traveling with him, seeing how he passed his time. Clearly, prayer was an anchor for the Lord. Clearly, the disciples recognized that their own life of prayer was not at the same level as Christ’s prayer. But they wanted to grow, to improve. They wanted their prayer life to be what it should be.

So, they asked the master to teach them.

He did in a simple prayer that encapsulated all that he was teaching. All that he wanted his disciples to be. if we take these words to our heart, we are led to a relationship. A relationship that marks our common bond as sons and daughters of God. And a relationship that binds us to the love of our father.

He began by putting an adjective on the word Father: “Our.” We don’t pray just for ourselves or alone. We pray for and with all of the others who are sons and daughters of that same Father, those who are our brothers and sisters.  We begin to look at each as the other really is, as a spiritual sibling, as a beloved fellow son or daughter of the same Father to whom with Jesus and Mary we turn. 

You and I. His children. All of us.

If we believe that and treasure that then the person who annoys me, the person whose politics are vastly different than mine, the person who has harmed us, all of them have one thing in common – they are our brothers and sisters. Worthy of his love and that means worthy of my love.

Jesus’ prayers were all to the Father, to whom he turned with great trust and love. In teaching us how to pray, Jesus was trying to form us to enter into his own divine filiation and to pray with loving confidence.

He told us in the Sermon on the Plain that if earthly parents aren’t sadists but know how to give good things to their children, so God the Father won’t give us a stone when we ask for bread, or a poisonous eel when we ask for fish, but will give himself — the Holy Spirit — no matter what we ask for.

Think about that. When we are going through a hard time, when we are facing the most severe testing of our life, when we are sitting by the side of a loved one and praying for recovery, our Father does and will answer us.

While we pray for a specific outcome, our Father answers us by giving of himself in the Holy Spirit. . . to give us strength to move through adversity, to give us peace in a time of turmoil, to comfort us in our tears. While humanity created the evil that surrounds us at these moments, our Father holds us close and whispers his love in our ears.

So many things strike us about this prayer, which is itself a revelation about what being a Christian really means. It shows that Christianity is eminently relational. Relational between us and Father and relational in our bond to one another.

The power of the Incarnation is a vibrant, ongoing restoration of relationships that sin has broken. Even our moral duties are presented by Our Lord in this prayer as relational: “for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us.”

Christianity is not a moral code. Christianity is not a one-time acceptance of a creed. Christianity is a friendship journey, with all the vibrancy and drama that come with a commitment to any meaningful relationship. If it ever starts to feel dry, boring, or predictable, we can be sure that we have strayed from its true path.

We just have to keep nourishing our desire to live more like Jesus, to learn from him, to discover in all the ups and downs of our daily life all the lessons he wants to teach us and all the graces he wants to give us. Then, when we are ready for the everlasting adventure of heaven, he will take us home.

Home to our Father.

Prayer of The Day

“Father in heaven, you have given me a mind to know you, a will to serve you, and a heart to love you. Give me today the grace and strength to embrace your holy will and fill my heart with your love that all my intentions and actions may be pleasing to you. Help me to be kind and forgiving towards my neighbor as you have been towards me.”

Daily Note

The prayer that comes to us from Jesus is truly unique; it is ‘of the Lord.’ On the one hand, in the words of this prayer the only Son gives us the words the Father gave him. He is the master of our prayer. On the other, as Word incarnate, he knows in his human heart the needs of his human brothers and sisters and reveals them to us.”