His Plan For You

Daily Reflection – 12/9/2022

Sacred Scripture

When the messengers of John the Baptist had left, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John. “What did you go out to the desert to see—a reed swayed by the wind? Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine garments? Those who dress luxuriously and live sumptuously are found in royal palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom Scripture says: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, he will prepare your way before you. I tell you, among those born of women, no one is greater than John; yet the least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he.” (All the people who listened, including the tax collectors, who were baptized with the baptism of John, acknowledged the righteousness of God; but the Pharisees and scholars of the law, who were not baptized by him, rejected the plan of God for themselves. (Luke 7:24-30)

Reflection

What John announced – Jesus fulfilled.

John preached a baptism for repentance – turning away from sin and obeying God’s word. And he pointed his disciples to Jesus and proclaimed that he was “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Jesus came to fulfill God’s promise to set people free from slavery to sin, Satan, and death. Through his atoning death on the cross, Jesus won for all who would believe in him – full pardon, reconciliation, and adoption as the beloved sons and daughters of the living God.

Jesus speaks the words that fulfill the deepest longings of our hearts. We all want to be loved, to feel that our lives have meaning and purpose. We know that the “handsome garments” of this world, as lovely and enjoyable as they may be, will not fulfill this deep need in our hearts. Jesus reassures us that what we seek is available to us. In his Kingdom, each and every one of us is equally cherished and loved by the Father.

God has a plan for each of us. But we get in the way of the plan. Sometimes it’s because of a poor self-image. So, we hear the refrain: “I am not important enough to be used by God.”

Sometimes, it’s because we get in the way because we do not own up to a weakness that is separating our hearts from God. We keep that weakness hidden because we feel a shame. But it’s never hidden from God. It comes in a myriad of forms: self-righteousness. Pride that puts us and our achievements paramount. Addiction. Infidelity. Pornography. Deceit. And on and on.

It is precisely this time, this season that should be entering a period of introspection and conversion. The ultimate purpose of Advent is when we renew our first love for God as we ponder his love for us. It’s a time on which to ask whether we’re true to him and recommit ourselves. It’s a time in which we look to see if our relationship with him is passionate, faithful, indissoluble and fruitful. Most of all, true.

It’s the time for conversion of our hearts and ridding ourselves of those actions and word that separate us from Christ.

His plan for us shadows every part of our lives whether it’s becoming a better parent or being successful in fulfilling the gifts he gave us, or being a better friend who truly listens and responds with compassion, or being successful in our commercial ventures because the end product of those endeavors is to help others.

If God were simply a creation of our own minds, then we would be in charge. But God is real, powerful and active. That is why we need to keep reminding ourselves, “I am not the prophet. I am not Elijah. I am not the Christ. I am a voice crying out, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord’.

You and I are part of His plan. Now is the time for our ego to give way. Now is the time to turn ourselves over to Him. Now is the time when each of is called to greet him at the manger with our hearts filled with love and our minds purified with purpose. Oh Come, Oh Come Emanuel.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, set my heart on fire with burning love for You and for your kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy. May I always radiate you love and mercy and point others to the joy and truth of the Gospel.”

Daily Note

Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel– “among those born of women, no one is greater than John; yet the least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he”–imply and confirm his great and personal love for each of us. We are all equals in the love of our Father, who has a beautiful and perfect plan for every human being. It is up to us whether or not we invite him into the daily work, struggles, sufferings, and joys of our lives.

Christianity Is Not A Religion !

Daily Reflection – 12/9/2022

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to the crowds: “To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by her works.” (Matthew 11:16-19)

Reflection

They didn’t listen. They missed the point. They didn’t like the music that was played. So they turned away from John the Baptist and they ultimately conspired to murder Jesus Christ.

Sometimes we too are like those that rejected them. We want the gospel to fit our beliefs, desires, and agendas rather than shaping our beliefs, desires, and agendas to fit the gospel.

That is what happens with truth. Truth in all its forms is often less regarded than the lie told to meet the wishes of those who hear. We often prefer to be deceived rather than to face a difficult reality that requires us to change. We often prefer to deny or be blind to the character or morals of another if they help our agenda.

We take passages from the Bible and twist them to make a point. We take the word of God and use it as window dressing – disguising those thoughts and actions which are contra to His teaching. We use religion to dress up tortured thoughts and actions of others – to make them appear more pleasing.

The fact is that Christianity is not supposed to be a religion!

Following Jesus is not about following guidelines or rules but living a new reality. We follow Christ not because he established a new religion, but because He is the end of religion. He transcends religion. He is above religion. Christ did not come to institute new laws, but to fulfill the law. We spread the call of Christ not for ourselves, but rather so that we can exist beyond ourselves. It all comes down to how we weave the threads of our being. Are we weaving them in His likeness or an image that we choose to project?

You don’t need to be wise and intelligent to find Jesus. We don’t need to be a theologian or scholar to know who He is. No amount of knowledge or intellect will ever compare to the rest that we can find through faith in Jesus. Following Christ is about humbling ourselves like a child, living into a new and blessed reality, looking upon the world in an unbiased manner, loving those around you, and experiencing God as you experience life.

If we are going to call ourselves Christians, we must fully yoke ourselves to Christ. He must be the primary and determining yoke. We cannot simply come to church, hear the gospel, say our prayers, and then go to lunch. The gospel of Christ demands a response. That’s why Jesus is so harsh with his words. The people have seen God among them, they have witnessed the signs. Jesus has cleansed their lepers, healed their sick, calmed the sea, cast out their demons, forgiven their sins, preached and taught in their cities. Still, they reject Jesus and, before him, John the Baptist.

So, today, we need to make a decision or re-confirm our decision. The decision is about the threads of our life. We can either dance, celebrating and giving thanks for the coming of God among us in Jesus, or we can mourn our sins, the brokenness of our lives, and the pain of the world.

But we must respond. We must choose one or the other. Either one is to wear the yoke of Christ. Both will reorient our lives and priorities and prove the truth that we follow only Him.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, open my ears to hear the good news of your kingdom and set my heart free to love and serve you joyfully. May nothing keep me from following you wholeheartedly.”

Daily Note

To what or whom are we yoked? To what or whom do we give ourselves? What or who takes priority in our lives, orienting how we live and relate to others, how we make decisions? We all harness our lives to something: another person, work, family, success, reputation, our country, our political party. Sometimes our yokes are more interior like fear, anxiety, anger, particular beliefs and opinions, the losses and tragedies of our lives. Regardless, they are the relationships and attachments that we depend on for meaning and, for better or worse, they give us our life’s direction. We’ve all got them and usually more than one.

What Will You Give Jesus This Christmas?

Daily Reflection – 12/8/2022

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to the crowds: “Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force. All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, the one who is to come. Whoever has ears ought to hear.” (Matthew 11:11-15)

Reflection

Today’s scripture can seem contradictory.

Jesus praises John the Baptist as the greatest man born of women but then says that the least in the kingdom of heaven is even greater than John! Jesus then goes on to talk about the kingdom of heaven being taken by violent people.

Violence sadly hs been part of the Christian journey.

It is fact that there are martyrs throughout history who have died by physical violence. We’ve seen it in the sufferings of the apostles, the slaughter of so many martyrs, the persecution of the Church throughout time right down to what our brothers and sisters are suffering today in some countries.

Most of us will never see that type of violence.

But there is a cost of entering the Kingdom. We need to seize the Kingdom by doing violence of a different sort. Violence to those earthly values and attitudes that prevent us from truly living the Christian life. We need to agonize our way through the “narrow gate.” We need to deny ourselves so that we can “pick up our cross” and follow Jesus. We need to “lose our life “to save it.

It certainly doesn’t sound like good news. It isn’t when the words are taken alone. But we don’t suffer alone. With words that would deeply console the Jews in Babylon during the exile, God tells them, “Fear not, I will help you. … I am the Lord, your God, who grasp your right hand.” He promises that he will answer the prayers of those who are parched in search of water, and not just give them a few drops, but open up rivers on mountain tops.

John the Baptist knew that, yet he acknowledged himself as not even worthy of tying the sandals of Jesus Christ. He understood true humility. The type of humility that accompanies him throughout his life right through his death.

Reflect for a moment on the meaning of all of this. If you do, then you can be led to a simple question. What does Jesus want for Christmas?

He wants you and me.

He wants to know that we live the joy of the Gospel in the midst of daily challenges, contradictions, temptations and adversities which come our way as we follow the Lord Jesus. He wants to know that we will deny those parts of life which contradict His teachings. He wants to know that we will learn to love our enemies, we will learn to be joyful in suffering, patient in adversity, pardon injuries, and always but always showing comfort and compassion to the hopeless and the helpless.

 We will learn to be children . . . having total trust and dependence on God; using words to build up and bring joy; finding ways to bring happiness to the “children around us”; delighting in the simple things of life; and knowing always that when we are hurt, we can go to our Father to receive healing.

If we commit to living this, then we have given Jesus the best Christmas present ever!

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, by your cross you have redeemed the world. Fill me with joy and confidence and make me a bold witness of your saving truth that others may know the joy and freedom of the Gospel of your kingdom of peace and righteousness.”

Daily Note

The more we’re able to make our whole life a commentary on the words of Jesus Christ, the more he will strengthen us to go out to seize and proclaim his kingdom and live-in accordance with the greatness we have received from our gracious, merciful, patient and greatly kind God.

THIS Is Your Christmas Present

Daily Reflection – 12/7/2022

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to the crowds: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”( Matthew 11:28-30)

Reflection

We all love this passage of scripture. It is memorable. It conveys both hope and love.

Yet, many people don’t see the fruition of those words in their daily lives. Part of the that inability stems from not understanding the words.

It begins with the word “yoke.” The Jewish people used the imagery of the yoke to express their submission to God. They spoke of the yoke of the law, the yoke of the commandments and many more. Each expression conveyed a willingness to submit to to God. To allow God to be at the center of our lives and to direct our path.

Jesus said that his yoke was “easy”. The Greek word for “yoke” also means “well fitting.” Yokes were tailor made for to fit each oxen. We are invited to put on the “sweet yoke of Jesus” and to live a life of happiness and peace. We are asked to yoke our lives with Jesus, to unite our life with him.

Our humble Lord understands our burdens, our many needs, the difficulties of daily life, the needs of the poor and those who are suffering, especially now in this time of world-wide suffering. In this understanding, our Lord makes the profound promise to all who come to him: “you will find rest for your souls.” 

Jesus does not say that if we go to him that we will have no more troubles, no more pain, no more disappointments. There will be “yokes” to carry but he will carry them with us. What Jesus does is to help us go through the pain. A life without any pain, without any failure or disappointment, a life without difficulty or challenge is no life. The challenges of life sometimes help us to grow and mature. But they are easier to bear when he carries them with us, when we know that we are never alone in our difficulties and sorrows. And, because of our own pains, we are in a much better position to help others carry their yokes of sorrow or pain or sickness.

Jesus reaffirms what Isaiah says, that we have a caring and tireless God who takes looks after his own. “I am gentle and lowly of heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

So, if you are weary, for whatever reason, however complex, Jesus invites you to come. Come, take his light yoke of believing in him. And if it’s hard, don’t come alone. Come to Jesus with and through a believing friend. Believe, abide, and follow Jesus’s example. And you will find rest for your soul.

You will.

Prayer of The Day

“Blessed Lord, you lead me towards everlasting peace if I will simply follow but following does not always seem simple. Give me the very things you ask of me: faith, generosity, courage, trust, love. With these gifts and your grace, I will have the strength necessary for the journey.”

Daily Note

These words mean “rest,” not in the sense of cessation from work and struggle, but in the sense of peace of soul, joy and profound happiness. This is the rest that we all long for, the rest that will one day be uninterrupted in the bliss of heaven. We have each met individuals who experience this peace and joy despite their circumstances. Notice that Jesus does not promise to take away the burdens, the trials, the sufferings. But if we take his yoke upon ourselves, if we submit to his plan, his will, his love, he guarantees the joy. If you have never experienced it, then begin today; give him what you know in your heart he is asking of you. Although it may hurt at first, as does every yoke, this one brings the lightness of peace and the ease of joy.



Go Find That Sheep Today

Daily Reflection – 12/6/2022

Sacred Scripture

What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. (Matthew 18: 12-14)

Reflection

Today’s scripture is one that all of us have read, heard and been comforted by. The comfort, of course, comes from our belief that Jesus is the shepherd who leaves the 99 and goes after the one who is lost. He does not stop until he finds that one sheep.

Jesus is that Good Shepherd who will gather and carry the lambs next to his heart and tenderly lead the ewes, but that’s only the start. He’ll also go out in search of the lost sheep, leaving everyone else behind, all the way to laying down his life for every single one of his wandering flock. Jesus asks, “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray?   From it he draws a lesson, “In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.” This is an unforgettable lesson of God’s mercy, that he cares for us in such a way that he doesn’t want to lose any one of us, but that he wants to forgive us all.

Yet, there is another blessing in this scripture. To do it, I ask that you think of yourself as a shepherd.

Haven’t we all been shepherds with a hundred sheep? Many of us must juggle many responsibilities. There are too many demands at work, too many needs in our children, too many ways we must grow and communicate with our spouse, too many soccer games we must drive our children to, too many friendships we must maintain. Since we are shepherds with a hundred sheep, it is likely that, sooner or later, we will lose one of them. When we recognize that someone or something valuable in our lives has been lost, today’s gospel prompts us to think about whether we are willing to go out to find it again.

What is something valuable that you may have lost in your life: a relationship, because of a misunderstanding or hurt, someone who simply left your life without you noticing it, someone that you always presumed would be there but when you looked you found that he or she was gone? Could you have lost a sense of happiness or enthusiasm? Did you once have a sense of joy that somehow slipped away when you were busy attending other things? The question that springs up next is what are we willing to do to get back whomever or whatever we have lost. Perhaps today is the time that we need to pick up the phone and call a friend that we have not spoken to in way too long. Today could be the opportunity to test the waters and see if it’s possible to forgive a family member. Today could be the day that we challenge ourselves to be a model of love and compassion and let those virtues bring us to a healing.

Now, of course, there’s no guarantee that if we go out looking for what we have lost, we will find it. But today’s gospel asks us to try. And it assures us that if we find what we have lost, there will be great joy—joy enough to call together our family and friends and say “I thought she was gone for good. I thought I would never laugh again. But rejoice with me, for I have found my lost sheep.”

Prayer of The Day

Lord, help me to know and love Your gentle voice throughout my daily life.  May that voice overwhelm all others that compete for my attention.  I choose You, dear Lord, as my one Shepherd and guide.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Daily Note

We should be thankful for what God has given to us. Our shepherd has provided for us. We have food. We have safety. And, yes, we have one another. Moreover, if we are successful in being people of integrity, generosity, and service, then those are gifts from God as well. To live as he taught us means that we learn to use those gifts so that we can  forgive and learn to love.

Our Chance To Be As Jesus Is

Daily Reflection – 12/5/2022

Circle

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Keepers Of The Tabernacle

Faith Series

Sacred Scripture

One day as Jesus was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem, and the power of the Lord was with him for healing. And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed; they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence. But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles into the middle in front of Jesus. When he saw their faith, he said, “As for you, your sins are forgiven.” Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply, “What are you thinking in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” He stood up immediately before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God. Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God, and, struck with awe, they said, “We have seen incredible things today.” ( Luke 5:17-26)

Reflection

Did you notice in this Gospel passage that we never really hear about the paralyzed man’s faith? What we hear about is the faith of his friends. It is the friends who carry him to Jesus’ house. It is the friends who take him up onto the roof. It is the friends who take off the tiles and dig through the ceiling. It is the friends who lower him into the middle of Jesus circle. It is when Jesus saw the faith of the friends that he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”

While all of us would say that this man’s ultimate forgiveness, healing, and transformation comes from Jesus—what gets him to Jesus is that faith of his friends. Have your friends ever carried you? When you weren’t sure if you believed in God’s power? When you didn’t think you had strength to go on? When you were so lost you just needed a word of guidance? When you were so wounded you were thirsty for even a morsel of kindness?

When you help someone in need you are opening yourself to enormous blessings from God. This is what happened to the men who brought the paralytic to Jesus. They were blessed by Jesus and was forgiven of their many sins (Luke 5:20). As you continue your journey in this world you will continue to encounter those who are in need. Never let go of the opportunity to help be it material or spiritual help. If it would require you to momentarily forget your own self so that you could extend a helping hand, then help by all means.

Jesus came into the world to transform and change us, but sometimes to receive what he wants to give, we need to allow others to help us. Jesus has the power to make deserts, parched lands and steppes bloom with abundant flowers, and shine like the splendor of the forests of Lebanon. He has the power and desires to strengthen feeble hands, make firm weak knees, embolden frightened hearts, open blind eyes, clear deaf ears, make the lame leap and the mute sing. No matter how injured we or others are, he wants to touch us and make it possible for us to journey with the redeemed along the highway of holiness, the way of the saints.

As we continue our journey in this world, we too will continue to encounter those who are in need. Never let go of the opportunity to help be it material or spiritual help. If it would require you to momentarily forget your own self so that you could extend a helping hand, help by all means. Because every effort that we do for others is remembered in the kingdom of God.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, through your merciful love and forgiveness you bring healing and restoration to body, soul, and mind. May your healing power and love touch every area of my life — my innermost thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and memories. Pardon my offences and transform me in the power of your Holy Spirit that I may walk confidently in your truth and righteousness.”

Daily Note

How far are you willing to go to help a person in need? We have in our scripture a paralytic who was brought to Jesus by selfless men. Men who did not think of their own safety so that they could help. Men who did everything so that they could bring somebody to Jesus.

What if there were no selfless men who dared to help the paralytic? The paralytic would have remained paralytic for the rest of his life. But he was blessed that he encountered these men who help him go near Jesus.

Friendship is more than words. True friendship is going out of one’s way to help and to care. It is not measured by a check written. Nor is it measured by the referral to another person or group to help. True friendship is giving up a part of self to help make another person whole. Then we will have acted in the spirit of Christ.

Finding Your Guide and Your Light

Daily Reflection – 12/2/2022

Sacred Scripture

And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed [him], crying out, “Son of David, have pity on us!” When he entered the house, the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I can do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they said to him. Then he touched their eyes and said, “Let it be done for you according to your faith.” And their eyes were opened. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.” But they went out and spread word of him through all that land. (Matthew 9:27-31)

Reflection

“Do you believe that I can do this?”  “Yes, Lord.”

There it is. That’s all we really need to know. That’s the key to determining whether we can ever truly have faith.

Faith is a gift freely given by God to help us know God personally, to understand his truth, and to live in the power of His love.  For faith to be effective it must be linked with trust and belief — an active submission to God and a willingness to do whatever he commands.  When two blind men approached Jesus, he questioned their earnestness in order to test and strengthen them in faith and trust in his power.  Their faith grew as they responded to his word with confident hope. He restored their sight — both physically and spiritually to the reality of his kingdom.

We have to step out in faith to know faith. The preceding sentence is not a mind twister. The issue is that many are blind. Some want to see the proof before they commit. Some are too self-sufficient and don’t know how to be dependent. Some want to have faith but are not willing to take the steps to have faith. Are there any blind-spots in your life that keep you from recognizing God’s power and mercy?

Jesus demonstrates that by trusting in Him we will, as a result, be guided to the light. In this case Jesus guides the two men to being healed from blindness, but the same concept can be applied to the bigger picture. Jesus’ goal during his life was to heal the blind; not necessarily the literal blind, but those who have yet to encounter God’s love. Many of us out of ignorance may think that we can do everything on our own, but if we allow God to guide us, our lives will be elevated to new meaning, escaping the blindness, just like the two men in this passage did.

God wants to change and transform our lives to set us free to live as his sons and daughters and citizens of his kingdom.

The Lord Jesus wants us to live in the confident expectation that he will fulfill his promises to us and bring us into the fullness of his kingdom – a kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

 Do you know the peace and joy of God’s kingdom?

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, help me to draw near to you with confidence and trust in your saving power and mercy. Free me from doubt and unbelief that I may approach you confidently and pray boldly with expectant faith. Let your kingdom come and may your will be done in me.”

Daily Note

Reaching out to Jesus and following him is not about physical sight alone. It is also about hope and faith. The two blind men hoped in divine healing and knew it would come from the Messiah. It is no coincidence that they identified Jesus as Son of David. That was his messianic title.

Advent is about hope and faith in the Messiah’s coming and action among us. We must not lose hope in Jesus entering into our world and into our lives. Like the two blind men we have to trust that we are not waiting in vain.

Here Is The Best Way To Test Your Personal House of Faith

Daily Reflection – 12/1/2022

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to his disciples: “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. Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”( Matthew 7:21, 24-27)

Reflection

Words have a powerful effect. They can build up, they can destroy. They can be truth; they can be false.

We all know it and we all have experienced it. Words dripping with honey but when we taste them, they are bitter. Words spoken in praise of God but there is nothing behind them. Words preaching equality for all while hiding the sour taste of actions that are anything but. Words spoken in Church which mask a life that denies the very meaning of Christianity.

Words that are not matched by action.

St Ignatius wrote that love is found in deeds rather than in words. Our action speaks far more volumes than our words. No matter how many times we go to our churches to worship God if it  is superficial it has no meaning. We can fall on our knees every day in prayer but as soon as we rise, our language and criticism of others and their actions bespeak the rage in our hearts. Jesus tells us that is the type of “house” which will be washed away. A true working faith is something that bears witness to Jesus long after we get up off our knees.

There is only one way in which a person’s sincerity can be proved, and that is by one’s practice. Fine words can never replace good deeds. Our character is revealed in the choices we make, especially when we are tested. Do you cheat on an exam or on your income taxes, especially when it will cost you?  Do you lie, or cover-up, when disclosing the truth will cause you injury or embarrassment? A true person is honest and reliable before God, one’s neighbor and oneself. 

Look around us today. Our society is deeply polarized. Words of faith are bandied about. Yet, vile characterizations are thrown out so easily that even the word “vitriol” pales. We can’t live there. We can’t retreat to our homes, falsely claiming that we can ignore it because it doesn’t affect us. It does affect and infect us. For ourselves and for our eternal lives, we MUST match our words with actions that speak of Christ.

Christian words spoken without Christ, without a relationship with Christ, without love for Jesus Christ are meaningless. Here is something we need to hold onto: It’s not what we do in the name of the Lord that matters; it’s what the Lord does in our life. When we step aside from our pride, our vanity, our pettiness and let His love open our hearts and build a foundation, then and only then will we know the peace of Christ. Then and only then have we built the foundations of our hearts on solid rock. Then and only then will be become truly Christian. Then and only then will our words and actions be in concert with His love.

Is your house of faith solidly anchored on the rock that is Jesus or is it still shakily planted in the sand?

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, give me the wisdom, foresight, and strength of character I need to do what is right and good and to reject whatever is false and contrary to your will. May I be a doer of your word and not a hearer only”.

Daily Note

To be a follower of Jesus means that behaviors and actions–the manner in which we live out our daily lives–are the artifacts of the inner life of faith. More to the point, mere words, performance of deeds, even miraculous ones done in the name of Jesus, or random deeds of mercy will not affect one’s eternal destiny. Religiosity will not help either. It’s only when our deeds driven by a Christ filled heart are matched by our hearts.

How Often Are You Meeting Him On The Path of Love?

Daily Reflection – 11/30/2022

Sacred Scripture

Moving on from there Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, went up on the mountain, and sat down there. Great crowds came to him, having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others. They placed them at his feet, and he cured them. The crowds were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the deformed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind able to see, and they glorified the God of Israel. Jesus summoned his disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, for they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, for fear they may collapse on the way.” The disciples said to him, “Where could we ever get enough bread in this deserted place to satisfy such a crowd?” Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” “Seven,” they replied, “and a few fish.” He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, gave thanks, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over—seven baskets full. (Matthew 15:29-37)

Reflection

Today’s scripture is one of the most memorable for all of us. We have all heard and read it countless times. As I reflected on this scripture, time and again, I was drawn back to one word: “love.” Because love drove every element of this beautiful narrative and its message should teach us about the love that we are expected to use every day.

Let’s look at the crowd. They were a mix of the mute, the deaf and the ill; the lost and insane and ordinary citizens. They were carried and lifted up a steep hillside by so many people. People cared enough about them to make the effort to see this wonderous rabbi: Jesus Christ. The love of others helped to get them there.

Today, we see the same crowds. People feeling abandoned, depressed, physically and emotionally maimed. And not enough of us reach out in the type of love that Jesus expects of us. It’s not enough to give a few dollars, it’s not enough to visit an orphanage a couple of times a year, it’s not enough to help foster a helpful program. Are those good and necessary. Absolutely! But how soiled are our hands? How much are we really vested? How much do we feel the pain of those cut off?

Jesus did. Jesus knew each of their needs and, through his love, not only were they physically fed but they encountered, head on, the enormous love that the Son of God had for them.

And for you and me.

For you and me. The Lord of Life and Love knows our needs. He knows the deeper recesses of our mind. He waits for us to reach out but many of us don’t see the need. Many of us are content in whatever corner of the world we have carved out. Maybe we feel content about who and what we are. We pride ourselves on our self-sufficiency. But He knows what healing we need. Each of us is in need of healing. It may be physical or emotional. He is there. He awaits. We need to be open to Him and let and let his love surround us so that, refreshed, we can love Him by living Him.

Living Him means that we are expected to show up each day with charity – to bring others to His healing and transformation. We do that by looking around and beyond ourselves. Have we checked on the recent widow to see how she is doing three weeks after the funeral? Have we called the friend recently discharged from the hospital but back to work to see if we can help in any way? Have you stopped to assess the hurt you caused by breaking a friendship? More importantly, have you reassessed the anger and hurt and recognized that you might have been just as culpable? Have you checked a person off your list of acquaintances or friends because they don’t share your beliefs or your lifestyle? Do you end your day by examining your actions or words to see if they were in keeping with his command of living his love?

You see we  are asked to carry that stretcher up a hillside, to guide the blind who do not see Jesus Christ in their life, to touch the maimed with our love and let them know they matter. When his compassion and caring are freely and openly given in love of Him, we are opened to a new horizon and a glimpse of what lies ahead in our eternal life. That love exhibited in our life is what the path that leads to the eternal wedding banquet looks like.

We need to meet Jesus on that path of love for others. If we don’t, we may miss Him as he passes by.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, you alone can satisfy the longing and hunger in our hearts.  May I thirst for your kingdom and find joy in your presence. Give me the true bread of heaven and nourish me with your life-giving word.”

Daily Note

Love is not always very practical or convenient. Jesus’ heart is moved with compassion for all those who have sought him out. He knows the sacrifices that they have made in searching him out, and he is not going to leave them disappointed. The disciples saw only the practical problem, but in his charity towards his neighbor, Jesus all but ignores it. What can I learn from Christ’s attitude? Will I ever be let down or not be satisfied if I seek Christ with a sincere heart?

Think Small To Know Big

Daily Reflection – 11/29/2022

Sacred Scripture

At that very moment he rejoiced [in] the Holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.” Turning to the disciples in private he said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.” (Luke 10:21-24)

Reflection

How sweet! How Joyful! How Tender!

In today’s scripture we read of the joy of Jesus as He thanks His father in heaven for revealing to his disciples the wisdom and knowledge of God. In His prayer, we also learn how we can both know and experience God in our daily life.

It all begins with building blocks.

Did you ever watch a small boy play with blocks? He sees endless possibilities as the blocks are arranged and built into whatever his mind conceives. He plays with an

endless determination and a quiet joy. During these moments there are no filters on his imagination. No one is telling him what to build. No one is even reminding him of what can and cannot be used. His mind is innocent and unfiltered. He plays with a quiet joy. He sees without pretense.

Why was Jesus so joyful because the Father “had hidden these things from the wise and the learned (and) revealed them to the childlike.” It was the those who had simplicity of heart who were able to see the kingdom of God among them. They are the ones Jesus felt close to. They are like babes in the sense that they see purely without pretense and acknowledge their dependence and trust in the one who is greater, wiser, and more trustworthy. They seek one thing – the “greatest good” which is God himself.

That simplicity of heart is coupled with humility because humility turns the heart towards grace and truth. Just as pride is the root or every sin and evil, so humility is the only soil in which the grace of God can take root.  It allows God to do all. A humble, meek heart opens itself to the need for prayer and opens itself to knowing God.

We need to imitate the resourceful little child who falls on the ground and then runs to his mother to be scooped up in a loving embrace. If we can remember our littleness on one hand and God’s pure, loving benevolence on the other, we’ll permit—even delight in—his wiping away from our faces the blood and tears caused by our sins. Only when we surrender ourselves into God’s forgiving, tender hands can we say that we know him.

To know him we have the perfect model in Jesus Christ. In Jesus we see the perfect lover of God – a God who cares intensely and who yearns over men ad women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them on the cross.

A strong, independent, all resourceful attitude may feed the ideal person in most cultures but it’s the small, dependent, open and trusting spirit that leads us to knowing God and receiving His love.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, give me the child-like simplicity and purity of faith to gaze upon your face with joy and confidence in your all-merciful love. Remove every doubt, fear, and proud thought which would hinder me from receiving your word with trust and humble submission.”

Daily Note

Children have a deeper sense of wonder, openness and trust. When the Father reveals Himself to children, I think He is saying that the truth, the Good News and mission is simple, uncomplicated and accessible to all of us.

Further, children are able to take in information and process it without changing its meaning, or checking their reaction to it. It seems the younger we are, the more comfortable we are being our natural selves. As we mature, we put up mental walls to protect ourselves. We change our behavior to please others in the hope that it saves us from strife.

If we could all try to be as natural as a child more often, perhaps we could clear the barriers and receive more of God’s grace.