Nothing Is Not An Option

The Parable of the Ten Minas - Luke 19: 11-27 - Emmanuel Keighley
Daily Reflection – 11/18/2020

Sacred Scripture

While people were listening to Jesus speak, he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem and they thought that the Kingdom of God would appear there immediately. So he said, “A nobleman went off to a distant country to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return. He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins and told them, ‘Engage in trade with these until I return.’ His fellow citizens, however, despised him and sent a delegation after him to announce, ‘We do not want this man to be our king.’ But when he returned after obtaining the kingship, he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money, to learn what they had gained by trading. The first came forward and said, ‘Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.’ He replied, ‘Well done, good servant! You have been faithful in this very small matter; take charge of ten cities.’ Then the second came and reported, ‘Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.’ And to this servant too he said, ‘You, take charge of five cities.’ Then the other servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your gold coin; I kept it stored away in a handkerchief, for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man; you take up what you did not lay down and you harvest what you did not plant.’ He said to him, ‘With your own words I shall condemn you, you wicked servant. You knew I was a demanding man, taking up what I did not lay down and harvesting what I did not plant; why did you not put my money in a bank? Then on my return I would have collected it with interest.’ And to those standing by he said, ‘Take the gold coin from him and give it to the servant who has ten.’ But they said to him, ‘Sir, he has ten gold coins.’ He replied, ‘I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me.’” After he had said this, he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem. (Luke 19:11-28)

Reflection

Today’s Gospel passage presents a parable rich in implication for how we are living our life and what we are doing to prepare ourselves for eternity.

The nobleman in the parable is Jesus, who left this world but who will return as King one day. The servants the king charges with a task represent followers of Jesus. The King has given us gifts and we are to be faithful to serve Him until He returns. Upon His return, Jesus will ascertain the faithfulness of His own people in terms of what we have done with His commission,

The “commission” is the gift given us by the death of Christ on the cross which promises us the gift of eternal life. That commission also includes the talents and gifts that each of us has for doing good. Doing good by living the words of Christ and sharing them with others through the actions of our life.

 As the parable shows, God abhors indifference and honors those who use their talents and gifts for doing good. Those who are faithful with even a little are entrusted with more! But those who neglect or squander what God has entrusted to them will lose what they have.

No one can stand still for long in the Christian life. We either get more or we lose what we have. We either advance towards God or we slip back.

What is your present preoccupation right now? Are you very busy with the things of this world? Seeking how to increase your wealth to buy more and bigger “toys.”? Many of us are perhaps like this: very earthly and always very busy with earthly things. But if we are all busy with the affairs of this world where would we be after our journey in this world is already over and done with? Where would we end up if we do nothing for the kingdom of God in this world? 

The questions that beg to be asked are multiple. Do we look for Christ in the poor and most especially in the isolated and the forgotten people in the world around us? Do we seek, where we can and where it is possible, to bring Christ to those hurting in our communities? What have we done to share the Gospel today, or this week, with others, and how have we shared it? Have we been a reflection of Christ today? Most of all, have we made time for God today in prayer and reflection? We can’t do any of those other things in the way that Christ would have us do them if we do not truly know Jesus, and we can come to know him through our prayer life.

In our faith life doing nothing is never an option or faith in Jesus that is kept to oneself is never an alternative. We must share this faith that Jesus has entrusted to us in whatever manner possible so that it could grow and have life.

When we share your faith, our commission is amplified because we  enrich our spiritual life and become a productive servant of the Lord.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.  Come and be the ruler of my heart and thoughts and be the king of my home and family.  Help me to make good use of the gifts, talents, time, and resources you give me for your glory and your kingdom.”

Daily Note

By virtue of knowing Christ, we have all been given at least one “coin” and the responsibility to grow it in our hearts, and on our minds, and on our lips. If we hide that coin – keeping it buried or tucked away where it’s not even considered – we risk losing everything . . . literally, everything. We must do what we can to grow the wisdom and knowledge of the Kingdom here on Earth, to best prepare ourselves for entry into eternity with our Maker. Any other action is being foolish with the gifts we’ve been granted.

Let’s Go Climb A Tree

Luke 1 :78-79 by PhoenixLumbre on DeviantArt | Luke 1, Luke, Jesus book
Daily Reflection – 11/17/2020

Sacred Scripture

At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy. When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:1-10)

Reflection

You have to give him an “A” for effort. Zacchaeus, that is. Here he is, a tax collector, despised by his own people, cut off from the ability to love and be loved. His very job puts him at odds with the people around him.

Why would Jesus single him out for the honor of staying at his home? You know the answer.  Zacchaeus needed God’s merciful love and in his encounter with Jesus he found more than he imagined possible.

Through the story we see a change in Zacchaeus, from a man who wanted to see what all the fuss was about – just like any other by-stander – to a man who was profoundly touched by the presence of Jesus in a way that drove him to make amends for his life of sin. We see a change in him from manifest greed to spiritual poverty; from unclean to purity.

Zacchaeus took the first step though. He climbed the tree to see this man called Jesus. His interest was sparked by what he heard. He could have stayed home but he went above and beyond. He left his comfort zone. He left te place that he was in and went to a far more uncomfortable place.

What about us? How often do we seek out Christ in our lives? Seek him out persistently?

Too frequently, we forget that faith is not a vicarious experience. While others can help to bring us to Jesus, He calls our name and we must personally respond. Not just once, but every day, every moment. Faith is a door into an ongoing, intimate dynamic relationship with a living, loving God who, in Jesus Christ, has come to seek and save the lost. Jesus reminds us “You did not choose me but I chose you.” (John 15:16)

He calls us most when we are feeling the most vulnerable. The loss of a loved one. A broken marriage. Perhaps marginalized because of our race or our looks. Destitute. Homeless. Feeling cut off from others and unloved. Those, and more, are the especially sensitive times when Jesus sees us in the tree and calls us down to be with Him.

The effect of Jesus on the life of Zacchaeus, his experience of grace and unconditional love melted him and put him into circulation. His change of heart resulted in a change of life, a change that the whole community could experience as genuine.

That change of heart, that change of life, that movement from “back there” to “out here” surrounded by His love and strength awaits each of us.

Look up and look out. Seek out Jesus in your daily life. He waits for you and me each day with love, acceptance and renewal. He waits to call us to a new place. A new relationship. Don’t turn away from that. Don’t turn away from the face of Jesus Christ.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, come and stay with me.  Fill my heart with your presence. Help me to see my life as one that is intimately connected with you. Let all that I do and say demonstrate that belief.”

Daily Note

Zacchaeus needed God’s merciful love and in his encounter with Jesus he found more than he imagined possible. He shows the depth of his repentance by deciding to give half of his goods to the poor and to use the other half for making restitution for fraud. Zacchaeus’ testimony included more than words. His change of heart resulted in a change of life, a change that the whole community could experience as genuine. The Lord is always ready to make his home with us.  Do you make room for him in your heart and in your home?

Ah, But Can You See

Jesus Heals a Blind Man II Painting by Melani Pyke

Daily Reflection – 11/16/2020

Sacred Scripture

As Jesus approached Jericho a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging, and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” The people walking in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent, but he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me!” Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He replied, “Lord, please let me see.” Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.” He immediately received his sight and followed him, giving glory to God. When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God. (Luke 18:35-43)

Reflection

Now this is a beautiful and powerful lesson in faith for each of us. But we need to see it in order to grasp it.

Here was Bartimaeus, a beggar by misfortune who once had vision but now is blind. Every day engaging in the same repetitive actions . . . feeling his way around the world that he could no longer see, destitute and dependent on whatever alms he could beg, locked in a world of total darkness. Most of us have experienced that in one form or another. There are life moments when we may be spiritually and emotionally blind – wondering whether anyone understands, cares and will even respond to our need. Some people pass by, some might offer a word of encouragement and pass by while others might lecture us without giving the caring and the love we need.

But Bartimaeus was different in one key trait. He had faith – a persistent faith. He already sees that Jesus can give him sight before Jesus does anything! The blind man knew that persistence was at the heart of receiving from Jesus. He calls out to Jesus but the crowds tell him to be quiet. But we persists.

 Jesus gives to the blind man what the blind man already believes.  Jesus doesn’t even claim to heal the man, he tells the blind man, “your faith has made you well.”  The fact that the man could see with the eyes of his heart enabled his eyes to be opened.  As St. Paul says, “for we walk by faith, not by sight”  (2 Corinthians 5:7).

What about us? Isn’t it true that we sometimes use faith as if it was a lottery ticket? We want to receive something from God, so we pray about it maybe once or twice and then, when we don’t receive it, we think, “Oh well, that’s that, then…”   

Encountering Jesus was no lottery for Bartimaeus: he was persistent until it happened. If we want to receive from God, we must develop persistence: not because he is unwilling to give to us and needs to be worn down but because, as we develop persistence, so we develop strong, spiritual character and we grow into spiritual maturity.

Bartimaeus knew something else that we sometimes forget because we do not really believe or because we don’t sense how important we are in God’s eyes. He knew specifically what he wanted. His request was tangible.  Jesus said, “What do you want me to do for you?” and he replied, “Lord, let me see again”. 

Tangible prayers, more specific prayers, are a great encouragement to us because we more easily recognize God’s acting in our lives.

As mortals, we will never comprehend all that God will do for us. None of us fully understand all the truth about God. We all have a weak understanding and we all have so much to learn: all of us are beginners in the faith.

But that doesn’t matter to Jesus: he does not ask for knowledge and learning. He asks only that we are persistent, that we respond to him when we hear him call and that we ask his involvement in our lives in a direct and tangible way.

If we join the blind man in approaching Christ like that then, like him, we will receive healing and peace and grace and our lives will be transformed.

Jesus said to the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?”  He asks us the same question each day. Do we have the eyes of faith to believe that?

Prayer of The Day

Lord Jesus, open the eyes of my heart and mind that I may see and understand the truth and goodness of your word. May I never fail to recognize your presence with me and to call upon your saving grace in my time of need and healing.

Daily Note

Jesus says two very beautiful things to Bartimaeus. The first is about the greater miracle than the healing of his physical sight. “Your faith has saved you!” The Lord not only gave him his wish to see but heard his initial cry to have mercy on him, and Jesus’ generosity far outdid Bartimaeus’ imagination to ask. Faith in response to God leads to salvation, and even though Bartimaeus didn’t dare ask for that, God gave it. And likewise, in response to our bold trust in him, in response to our leaving our stuff behind and hustling toward him, in response to our sincere telling him what we want, God responds by giving himself to us and granting us far more than we had implored.

So, How Are You Living ?

November 2018 - Daily Prayer
Daily Reflection – 11/13/2020

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man; they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage up to the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building; on the day when Lot left Sodom, fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all. So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, someone who is on the housetop and whose belongings are in the house must not go down to get them, and likewise one in the field must not return to what was left behind. Remember the wife of Lot. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it. I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed; one will be taken, the other left. And there will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken, the other left.” They said to him in reply, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will gather.” (Luke 17:26-37)

Reflection

Today’s Gospel directs us to the end times as well as the uncertainty of life. It is highlighted, not to frighten us, but to keep us focused and ready to meet our Creator.

It presents us with an invitation to serious reflect on how we are living our own lives. After all, we are all going to die.  The question is how are we living? Jesus has been revealed, is being revealed and will be fully revealed. What difference does that truth make in the way we are living our everyday lives, and in how we are using time?

Two thousand years ago the ancient Greek writer, Seneca, wrote: “It is not that we have so little time, but that we have wasted so much of it”

In that context, Jesus presents us with an apparent paradox. Trying to save your life will be the cause of you losing it, but losing your life will be the way you save it. What does this mean?

Basically, if we try to direct our lives and our future by our own effort, things will not work out. By calling us to “lose” our life, Jesus is telling us that we must abandon ourselves to Him. Now “abandoning” our life to another is a negative thought in the American culture. After all, isn’t this “the land of the free?” Doesn’t the American culture expect and reward us to be independent, self-sufficient and ever strong? When carried to the point where our ego is the ego-in-chief, it is all wrong and contra to everything that Jesus Christ taught.

We are to trust Jesus and ask him to guide us into doing those things that are consistent with His holy will. This is the only way to save our life. We save it by letting go of our own will and letting God take over.

This level of trust and surrender is very difficult at first. It’s difficult to come to the level of complete trust in God. But if we can do just that, we will be amazed at the fact that God’s ways and plan for our life is far better than we could ever come up with on our own. His wisdom is beyond compare and His solution to all our concerns and problems is perfect.

That is why the Lord prayed that “we are in the world, but do not belong to this world” (Jn 17: 15). The life of a follower of Christ is marked by detachment from much of worldly distractions and vain glory and separation from sinful ways and evil tendencies.

Listen to the everyday dialogue around you today – especially in the United States. How much of it deals with helping and loving one another? How much of it focuses on the act of self- giving to others? How much of it is positive and uplifting? Is any of it directed toward helping you grow in the ways and teachings of Jesus Christ? Toward helping you live your life as His follower?

The choices we make now – for or against Christ – will either lead us on the path of life or death – heaven or hell. Nothing could be clearer.

Prayer of The Day

Lord, I give You my life, my cares, my concerns and my future. I trust You in all things. I surrender all. Help me to trust You more each day and to turn to You in complete abandonment. Jesus, I trust in You

Daily Note

As we consider the timeline of God’s unfolding plan, the redemption of the whole cosmos, the God who gives and governs time, invites us to re-dedicate ourselves to living differently, in time.  We are to live as though time really does matter. We are invited by grace to give ourselves away for others; to imitate the One who gave Himself for the entire human race. We are invited to pour ourselves out as Jesus did. If we live life this way, when we face Him on that final day, we will do so with our arms full of gifts borne over time. These gifts will have paved the way for eternity.

Do You Need Directions?

God Colors | everyday encouragement
Daily Reflection – 11/12/2020

Sacred Scripture

Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus said in reply, “The coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the kingdom of God is among you.” Then he said to his disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. There will be those who will say to you, ‘Look, there he is,’ or ‘Look, here he is.’ Do not go off, do not run in pursuit. For just as lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.” (Luke 17:20-25)

Reflection

Travelers throughout the ages have always searched for the quickest way to reach their destination. Hold onto that thought.

In today’s Gospel the Pharisees ask Jesus, with a mixture of interest, curiosity, and fear when will the Kingdom of God come? When will it be the last day, the end of the world? Imagine how perplexed they were by Jesus’ answer!

Jesus tells them the kingdom of God is not to be identified with a point of time. He also refuses to locate the reign of God “here” or “there.” He simply says that the reign of God is already in your midst.

That should not surprise us. After all, Christ’s kingdom is concerned more about the state of the soul and the struggle between good and evil than external nations. His Kingdom is not a place but a condition where God reigns. Jesus taught what God wanted us to do. When we follow Jesus, God reigns in us.

Today, almost one in three people claim Jesus as Lord and King. That has happened because the kingdom of God continues and that kingdom of God is not tied to a particular political or cultural or societal or civic expression.

Because God’s Kingdom is not dependent on governments. Regardless of what political climate we are in, we must be living for God’s glory and to be light in a dark world.  We must be living as Kingdom citizens now.  We’re not waiting for Christ’s return to live like Christians but we’re doing so now in anticipation of His return.  We’re not waiting for a democrat or a republican to hold office to life for the King, we’re not waiting for conditions to be favorable or unfavorable, tolerant or intolerant of Christians. Instead  we live and submit to the reign of Christ here and now. THAT is what is important. Not a political slogan. Not succumbing to a way of living that is contra to the teachings of Christ. His Kingdom is the ONLY kingdom we should be pursuing.

St. Bernard speaks of the three advents of Christ. The first advent is Christmas; the third advent is the one in which Christ will come to judge the living and the dead. The second, or middle, advent is the “time of visitation” by which Christ is present and active in each of our lives. It is there, where the first and the third advents appear on a personal and experienced level. Jesus’ verdict on Judgment’s day will reflect whether we have lived as citizens of His Kingdom.

That’s the shortest direction to His Kingdom. This Kingdom that unpredictably will start “outside” may commence right now “inside” us. The last day starts its configuration right now, inside us. If we want to be allowed into the Kingdom in that last day, we must let the Kingdom get inside us, right now.

The Lord is present now in the words and deeds of people that build up and heal and bring life. Not tear down and sow discord.  The Lord has assured us that we will never be without his presence. What we need are eyes to see and ears to hear, the eyes and ears of faith. Like the disciples earlier in Luke’s gospel we need to pray, “Increase our faith.”

Prayer of The Day

Lord Jesus Christ, may your kingdom come and may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Be the Ruler of my heart and the Master of my life that I may always live in the freedom of your love and truth.

Daily Note

God’s Kingdom is present every time grace is at work. It’s so easy for us to be overwhelmed by the evils of this world and to miss the presence of God. God is alive in countless ways all around us. We must always strive to see this presence, be inspired by it and love it.

Reflect, today, upon the presence of the Kingdom of God present among you. Do you see it in your heart? Do you daily invite Jesus to rule your life? Do you acknowledge Him as your Lord? And do you see the ways He comes to you through your daily circumstances or in others and in your daily situations? Seek Him out constantly and this will bring joy to your heart.

No Thanks !

Grateful for Grace: Luke 17:11-19
Daily Reflection – 11/11/2020

Sacred Scripture

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” (Luke 17:11-19)

Reflection

What a poignant Gospel passage! One to which we should respond as if we had a serious itch. But since we can’t reach the source of the itch, we try to forget it and move on but find that we really can’t.

The issue here is not simply one of non-gratitude. It is also an issue of moral leprosy. Moral leprosy in the sense of our mortal selfishness. A selfishness, at times, that blinds us to the source of our life and of our salvation. Truth is that too often in our lives – unless we are ” bargaining” with God – we don’t take the time to say thank you to Him for even the simple things in life.

You and I have been there many times. We allow our wants, needs, fears and desires to overshadow the true gifts from God. We enjoy a sunset over the ocean but before we give thanks, we see a large sailboat and wish it was ours. We have the basic necessities to live a decent life but before we give thanks, we remember what we don’t have. We have dear relationships with a friend or relative but before we give thanks, for their presence in our lives, we push them away because they don’t agree with our politics.

Who among us does not feel in some degree convicted by this warning? Who among us has failed to remember, or even notice, the goodness, mercy and love of God, and the blessings lavished upon us in Jesus Christ our Lord?

Ingratitude is an ugly thing and in stark contrast to the beauty of gratitude. Not to live with an attitude of gratitude towards God is more than being impolite – ingratitude is ugly because it’s positively unjust. Gratitude, on the other hand, is one of the most beautiful flowers in the whole garden of virtue. It directly contradicts self-centeredness, self-indulgence, and self-absorption. It builds bridges, unites communities, and softens hearts. It encourages and inspires. It cuts through discouragement and counteracts depression. It opens the soul to the truth and releases anxiety. It brings smiles and gladness wherever it blooms. What a pity that it is as rare as it is lovely!

Giving thank ls also a powerful attribute because of what it does to us. When we give thanks, we are no longer passive recipients; we become active givers, giving back to One who has given us what we do not deserve. When we become active givers, God places us on another level another level capable of receiving even more from him. By giving thanks for what he had received, the leper was capable of receiving more from God. Indeed, he did receive more he was saved. Saved by God’s mercy, he was now capable of receiving still more, of growing in intimacy with God. God invites us into a personal relationship today.

Prayer of The Day

Lord Jesus, Fill my heart with compassion and thanksgiving, and free me from ingratitude and discontentment. Help me to count my blessings with a grateful heart and to give thanks in all circumstances.

Daily Note

A true measure of our faith is our ability to acknowledge and to celebrate the source of our well-being when life is good and we have no felt need for healing. A more telling measure is our capacity to say a simple word of thanks to all those who mediate to us the goodness of a compassionate and merciful God, whatever our circumstances. Our faith is our life and God comes to us, in many ways, throughout our life. Don’t miss Him because you allow your universe to cloud His.

Say What ?

Pin on Leadership Quotes
Daily Reflection – 11/10/2020

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to the Apostles: “Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’? Would he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished’? Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’” (Luke 17:7-10)

Reflection

Whoa! There is much going on in this parable and much that can be misconstrued. Yet, its truth can be a guide for how we approach our life and our relationship with God.

So, let’s quickly dispense with what it is not. This is not condoning servitude or, even worse, slavery. This is not a treatise on how we can earn our way to salvation. This is not about self-deprecation.

Jesus was training his Apostles in today’s gospel to serve him, in preparation for their mission ahead. There would be no rewards for what they would do, and he wanted them to know upfront, what they were facing. He used the example of a servant because it reflects the life and patterns of behavior in the Middle East during Jesus’ days on earth.

Jesus is teaching us something about discipleship. The focus of the parable is on how to follow and serve the Lord Jesus Christ. Service of God and of neighbor is both a voluntary or free act and a sacred duty. One can volunteer for service or be compelled to do service for one’s country or one’s family when special needs arise. Similarly, God expects us to give him the worship and praise which is His due. What makes our offering pleasing to God is the love we express in the act of self-giving. True love is sacrificial, generous, and selfless.

How can we love others selflessly and unconditionally? Scripture tells us that God himself is love (1 John 4:16) – he is the author of life and the source of all true relationships of love and friendship. He created us in love for love, and he fills our hearts with the boundless love that gives whatever is good for the sake of another (Romans 5:5). 
God honors the faithful servant who loves and serves others generously. He is ever ready to work in and through us for His glory. We must remember, however, that God can never be indebted to us. We have no claim on him. His love compels us to give him our best! We can never outmatch God in doing good and showing love. God loves us without measure. Our relationship with God is not one where we earn, deserve, or bargain for reward.

A disciple is a servant who serves the Lord out of love, duty, and loyalty to Him. Yes, you and I are to adopt the status of a servant. We are to serve one another with daily acts of love and selflessness. We are to serve one another to bring out the best in each other. We are asked to serve one another by building up, not tearing done. And we do so with a humility that comes from the fact that we are eternally grateful to our God for his salvation. We are eternally grateful that He gives us the opportunity to be a servant, We are eternally grateful for His ever abiding love of us. A love that says that each of us is His child and each of us is given the opportunity to be with Him eternally.

Yes, I am a servant to you because I serve Him. I serve Him in gratitude because there is no other love that is so encompassing. I serve Him because I seek to return His love in the manner in which I treat His other creations.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, fill my heart with love, gratitude and generosity. Make me a faithful and zealous servant for you. May I generously pour out my life in loving service for you and for others, just as you have so generously poured yourself out in love for me.”

Daily Note

We must ever remember that we are simply stewards, for a time, of the abilities and opportunities which the Lord gives to us, whose duty and privilege it is to work ceaselessly for our Master. And ‘privilege’ it most certainly is. There is no higher service. 

You’re Looking Great Today!

1 John 2:17 | KCIS 630
Daily Reflection – 11/09/2020

Sacred Scripture

Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money-changers seated there. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, Zeal for your house will consume me. At this the Jews answered and said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his Body. Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they came to believe the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken. (John 2:13-22)

Reflection

In today’s Gospel, we encounter a Jesus with whom many of us are unfamiliar. The same Jesus who called himself “meek and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29) started to overturn tables, tossing money on the floor, and making a whip of cords to drive the sheep and the cattle out of the temple, Jesus referred to the temple as his Father’s house which was being made into “house of trade” (John 2:16) or “den of robbers” (Mark 11:17). That is why he used physical force to expel the money-chargers. 

But it was even more than a physical edifice. The Jewish mentality had become so distorted over the centuries that they began to look at their relationship with God as something contractual or even magical. “As long as I sacrifice this animal to God,” they began to think to themselves, “everything will be all right. God will be happy.” Too many people had started to look at the temple as the place to go “bribe” God with their animal sacrifices.

He wanted the temple to be a place of prayer, to be His Father’s House once again, and wanted the people to recover a real notion of what their relationship with the Father should be based on — a contrite, merciful and loving heart.

Therein lies the message for us. Our very bodies, minds and hearts were created by Him. The words and actions that emanate from us speak of whether our hearts are pure and our actions true. Jesus wants to drive out of our bodies and souls anything unfit for God. He does this out of love for God and love for us — and out of hatred and anger toward the sin that kills us and separates us from God. Our temples may not have money changers, but our hearts may value money more than we value God.  He wants to drive out our materialism and unite us to his spiritual poverty so that we may treasure his kingdom.

He wants to drive out our hedonism. He wants us to remember that self-centeredness is a block to living out His command of love and care for each other. He wants to expel our individualism and idolatry of autonomy and bind us together with him in a common will do all things that honor His father and bring us closer to Him.

Following the will of His father, Jesus offered the destruction of the temple of His body so that the way would be open for us to know the presence of God within us. Jesus not only reconciles us with God, but he fills us with his Holy Spirit and make us temples of the living God (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

Think about that this day. You are a temple of God. Truly. If you can grasp that, hold on to that, and live that, then the words and actions that are hurtful, sinful and mean spirited will fall away. How can you knowingly lash out at another? How can you cheat another? How can you judge another? How can you malign, distort, be hateful?

You can’t because you have God within. Let His love for you be reflected today in all things.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus Christ, you open wide the door of your Father’s house to me.  Help me today to show the love of your Father in all that I do. Draw me even closer to you so that the priorities of my life are centered around your commands.”

Daily Note

The same Jesus whose hands were tied a cord to drive out the money changers and were later nailed to a Cross to free us from our sins now extends those scarred risen hands to us and invites us to trust in him, to take his hands, to yoke ourselves to him, and to become with him a consecrated abode of God, a holy Temple, a house of prayer, a place where his words of eternal life resonate and are put into action.

That’s Mine, Isn’t It?

Sermon / Sept 18, 2016 / Luke 16:1-15 / The Shrewd Manager / Pastor Terry  Defoe
Daily Reflection – 11/6/2020

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property. He summoned him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.’ The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do so that, when I am removed from the stewardship, they may welcome me into their homes.’ He called in his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note. Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’ Then to another he said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘One hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.’ And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently. For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than the children of light.”(Luke 16:1-8)

Reflection

Well, that’s a curious parable. The story of the crooked steward or dishonest manager has puzzled even the early Church fathers. So, what’s happening here ?

The key to understanding lies in this verse: “For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than the children of light”.

The “children of this world’ are the children of darkness who see and value only the things of this world.  They live for this world, concentrate their attention on it, invest everything in it, give the energies of mind and body fully to it, and find in it their entire purpose for living.  Christian believers, however, are ‘the children of light’ who see real, eternal, spiritual values as primary and regard temporal values as secondary. The children of this world regard themselves as owners, while true Christians regard themselves as mere stewards of God who view their resources as merely loaned to them by God.

If we understand the principle that everything we own is a gift from God, then we realize that God is the owner of everything and that we are His stewards. We are to use the Master’s resources to further the Master’s goals.

And that extends far beyond the materiality of things. How are we living our own lives? Are we allowing the light of truth to shine into every area of those lives? Do we believe that the Christian faith is to penetrate every aspect of how we live, or have we set apart certain areas which are outside of the reach of the saving truth of the Gospel?

We belong to Him either totally or not at all. As Christians, we are called to serve God first.  We must not use money and possessions exclusively to serve our own purposes. It helps to remember the proverb, “Money can buy everything but true happiness, and it can purchase a ticket to every place except to Heaven.”

We need to hear these words from Jesus with humility and honesty – and allow them to root themselves deep within us, so that they lead each one of us to a change in lifestyle.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, all that I have is a gift from you. May I love you freely and generously with all that I possess. Help me to be a wise and faithful steward of the resources you put at my disposal, including the use of my time, money, and possessions.”

Daily Note

All of is will be asked  to give an account of our life. We are all stewards of what God has entrusted to us, so some day we will have to give Him an account of our stewardship.  We prepare ourselves for all kinds of things, most of which never happen.  But do we care enough for our souls to insure ourselves against the one thing that most certainly will happen? We must meet God and give an accounting. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil” (II Corinthians 5:10). 

Now That’s Pretty Foolish!

Luke 19:10 | God loves me, The son of man, Gospel of luke
Daily Reflection – 11/5/2020

Sacred Scripture

The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So Jesus addressed this parable to them. “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance. Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it? And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’ In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:1-10)

Reflection

Our Gospel passage for today is full of emotion and implications for our lives.

On its face, these two parables seem out of place in today’s world – perhaps even foolish. After all, if you lose 1% of your holdings, you don’t risk losing the 99% of your holdings to get it back. By leaving the 99, you risk them roaming off, being stolen, or being killed and eaten by a wolf. You don’t sweep the floor all night looking for a penny if your savings are ample.

But these parables teach us more about the heart of God than a library full of theological treatises. They  begin by reminding us that God cares about each one of us. He cares deeply enough to go out of his way to save us when we are lost. And who amongst us has not been lost at some point in his/her life?

We can be good, hard working, and successful in our career and still feel lost, without a true sense of direction or meaning. We can be holding it all together and still be lost in the depths of grief or despair. We can be a good spouse, doing all the right things, giving all the right appearances, and still be lost in a loveless marriage. We can have a good reputation and be lost in questions of our own identity and purpose.

Each of us, each one of us, is that little lost lamb, the coin that was mislaid; each one of us is that son who has squandered his freedom on false idols, illusions of happiness, and has lost everything. But God does not forget us, the Father never abandons us. That is the GOOD NEWS!

But we also need to remember the audience to whom Jesus was telling these parables. The Pharisees. Filled with self-importance, hardened in their self-righteousness and swelled in their self-image. So, the other message here is about us. How often are we the Pharisees of life?

Similar to the older brother in the Prodigal Son story, who absolutely refuses to come into the party because “that son of yours” doesn’t deserve a party; because those other partygoers are sinners, they are lost and should remain lost.  Those others are of a different race, or believe different than we do, or don’t believe at all, or live a sinful lifestyle, or … and you can fill in the blanks.  We are way too inclined to put people into categories and then label them.  

Christianity isn’t for the self-proclaimed self-righteous. The ones who can’t help but tell us how faithful, prayerful and saintly they are. Those whose Instagram, Pinterest  and Facebook posts drip with verse after verse of scripture and bumper-sticker quips of how God is for this and against that. Distorting the faith to fill their image,

No, the followers of Jesus are the ones who follow Jesus. And not just to the cross. But to the field and the valley and the mountains, looking through the scrub for a well-loved and well-lost sheep. We’re the ones who are to be pulling the world’s refrigerator out from the wall to find the long-lost treasures underneath that are so to precious to God.

If in our heart there is no mercy, no joy of forgiveness, we are not in communion with God, even if we observe all of his precepts, for it is love that saves, not the practice of precepts alone. It is love of God and neighbor that brings fulfilment to all the Commandments.

 And this is the love of God, his joy: forgiveness. He waits for us always!

Prayer of The Day

Lord Jesus, May I never doubt your love nor take for granted the mercy you have shown to me. Fill me with your transforming love that I may be merciful as you are merciful.

Daily Note

We are called to be vulnerable to those outside the boundaries of our private lives and our community of faith: to give with no expectation of reward, to love without demand for return, to reach out to those in need with unrelenting care, to release preoccupation with the cares and concerns of our own lives (or perhaps through these cares) to reach out in love to those who are not easy to love. We are called to do all this in delight and with joy and in so doing we mirror the foolishness of the LOVE we call God. St Paul tells us that God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. By God’s grace we are the weak and the foolish.