Speak But The Word

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Daily Reflection – 1/17/2020

Sacred Scripture

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”–he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.” He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.” ( Mark 2:1-12)

Reflection

It is interesting that in the Gospel today (Mark 2:1-12) Jesus first forgives the man his sins and only then does he heal him of his paralysis. Jesus knew the paralytic needed interior healing before physical healing. He had to be healed from the inside out. And the most important healing is the interior healing, and the interior healing that man needed was forgiveness. There was something in his past that had not yet been fully resolved. Jesus took away all the rubbish the man had built up over the years and this prepared him for his external healing, being able to walk again.

The scribes regarded this as blasphemy because they understood that only God had authority to forgive sins and to unbind a man from his burden of guilt.  Jesus claimed an authority which only God could rightfully give.  Jesus not only proved that his authority came from God, he showed the great power of God’s redeeming love and mercy by healing the cripple of his physical ailment. This man had been crippled not only physically, but spiritually as well. Jesus freed him from his burden of guilt and restored his body as well. The Lord is every ready to bring us healing of soul, body, and mind.  Do you allow anything to keep you from Jesus?

While we often are so impressed with the miraculous and seek out miracles, Christ offers a deeper mystery – the forgiveness of sins so that we can be in union with God. Jesus is waiting to do a “new deed” in your life anytime you turn to him. So if you have a darkness in your life – even from the past — Jesus is waiting to take it from you. He will not take it from you by force; he will wait for you to go to him or open yourself to him.

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.

Daily Note

Jesus’ offer of forgiveness is the greatest gift he could have given this man or anyone else. To be made right with God is the ultimate gift we could give to someone else. And it’s such a simple message. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Put your trust in him. Live your life for him.

 

Pray for a Cure

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Daily Reflection – 1/16/2020

Sacred Scripture

A leper came to him [and kneeling down] begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere. (Mark 1:40-45)

Reflection

Jesus did not see a “leper,” but rather he saw a human being in great need. Jesus put people ahead of norms, public or religious pressures, stigmas and rumors. Jesus put God and people first, and did not succumb to the social pressures of his day. By so doing, not only did he acknowledge the man ‘s dignity and worth, but publicly restored it. Jesus took a great risk by touching this person, but this is in fact the sort of risks that love takes.

 It’s the risk that we must take, day in and day out. We live in a culture where labels abound. Political figures encourage us to use labels so we can sort out “the good from the bad”  How often do you succumb to that?  Or do you stop and consider the human being, try to understand his or her  perspective ? Worse yet, does your use of a label preclude you from even considering the humanity of another?

There is another perspective of Jesus that emerges so clearly He had been at the center of a renewal movement in Galilee, a kind of toast of the town But all this changed when he met the man with leprosy. As a result of his healing the man, Jesus is the one who has to stay in “deserted places” By touching this man, Jesus took the man’s uncleanness upon himself instead.

In a way, this switch is a foreshadowing of the cross. Jesus became an outsider, despised and rejected, so that we could become insiders in his heavenly kingdom. Can you imagine? First, the infinite and eternal God became a vulnerable, helpless baby. Then, throughout his life, he endured exclusion, misunderstanding, and ridicule. Only the purest, most sacrificial love could accept all of this for the sake of redeeming a people lost in sin.

Can you imagine yourself ever knowingly taking a role similar to that? Would you ever stand up for the marginalized, the outcast, those that stand outside of “normal behavior.” Would you stand with them? Would you stand up for them? Would you risk being called “one of them” because of your concern for them?

All who have been healed, restored, liberated, revived by Jesus Christ are called to have that same heart of compassion.

Prayer of The Day

Lord, inflame my heart with your love and make me clean. May I never cease to tell others of your love and mercy. Pray that I embody that in all I do.

Daily Note

What we sinners need is the faith and confidence of the leper in today’s gospel reading. He believed firmly in the power and the mercy of Jesus. “If you will, you can make me clean,” was his approach to Jesus. We too need to turn to Jesus and pray to be cured of those things that keep us from Him.

Can You Give A Few Moments?

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Daily Reflection – 1/15/2020

Sacred Scripture

On leaving the synagogue he entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them. When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons.  The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him. Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose, have I come.” So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee. (Mark 1:29-39)

Reflection

Jesus could not have been busier in one day than the day presented in Mark’s Gospel . . . a service and a teaching in the synagogue, a conflict with devils, supper with Peter’s family and the cure of his mother in law, followed by more care for the sick and the tormented in the cool of the evening.

At dawn, he does not begin his day without taking the time to pray. Jesus knew that his authority came from God His Father and His willingness to submit himself in sacrificial love for us. What does that moment in today’s Gospel tell us?

The first is the most obvious. We need to build our days around prayer – not build prayer around our days !  If we wait to have time to pray, it won’t happen.  Punctuating the day with prayer – at rising, at lunch and at retiring – and any other time in between –helps us to stay at peace despite the world wind of activity.  It helps us to keep our “eyes on Jesus!”

The second lies in the fact that Jesus did not return to the village he left the night before. In so doing, he left many who wanted his teaching and his healing.

No doubt there are times in our lives when we have felt like the one who came to Jesus and left unhealed. Certainly, we have prayed for ourselves or another who was in pain, in danger or facing difficulties, and our prayers seemed to fall on deaf ears. Maybe we felt as if He chose to walk away.

Yet, we know that Jesus does not turn His back on us. We know that He, along with the father and the Holy Spirit, surround and encompass us with their divine love. With faith, we can trust that each time that we encounter Our Lord, whether we feel healed or not, we are changed. It may be that we are strengthened to face difficulties ahead. It may be that God has made Himself seem distant so we rely on our faith to find our hope in Him. Whatever the case may be, when we trust in God, we receive what is best for us in that moment, and we can only find peace when we believe this to be true.

Our intellect may be restless for Him but our hearts remind us that He is always there,

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus Christ, you have all power to heal and to deliver. Set me free to serve you joyfully and to love and serve others generously. May nothing hinder me from giving myself wholly to you and to your service.”

Daily Note

When we pray, may we meet the Lord with true faith, knowing He will take away our pain, our sickness and our brokenness if that is His holy will, always trusting that whatever He offers us, it is for our good in this life and the next. The evil one tempts us to believe that the Lord turns His back on us. Our peace and joy come from knowing that He surrounds us with His divine love, speaks His eternal word to our hearts, and always hears our prayers.

 

 

There Is Only One Authority

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Daily Reflection – 1/14/2020

Sacred Scripture

Then they came to Capernaum, and on the Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!” The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee. (Mark 1:21-28)

Reflection

The Gospel account is a familiar one about Jesus teaching in the synagogue. He taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. Jesus’ authority comes from an “inner power”–in this case, Jesus’ oneness with God.

That’s how Jesus speaks to our hearts as well. Not with the false authority of a bully trying to scare us into submission. Not the insecure authority of a man trying to convince us of something he doesn’t believe in himself. No, he speaks with the humble authority of a Messiah motivated by nothing but love for us. It’s the authority that a person displays when helping a close friend through a difficult time—talking gently whenever possible, but firmly if necessary, and always with respect and affection. When Jesus speaks to us this way, his words sink into our hearts, and we know he is speaking out of love.

If even the evil spirits of the world acknowledge that Jesus is the “Holy One of God,” we can too. The more we go to Christ through the reading of Scripture, through daily prayer, through listening to teachings, we grow in faith and become more open to God. The more we do these things, the more we realize that when we start living our lives, and live them for God, the context of being part of Jesus Christ changes our ability to make it in this world.

When Jesus Christ is the authority in our lives, our lives become stronger, bolder, livelier, and more joyful. If we pay attention, encountering Christ can be as striking as that white limestone synagogue in the midst of basalt buildings.

We begin to ask ourselves, “Why did I listen to those people instead of the Lord?” “Why did I doubt myself when he is the King of the Universe?” “Why did I think I was no good when I was made through him and for him “Why didn’t I walk as someone who has the authority of Christ at my back?”

We don’t follow any teacher; we follow THE Teacher. We don’t have any friend; we have THE Friend. We aren’t in a relationship with any lover, we are in a relationship with THE Lover of our souls. We are not bowing down to any power-hungry lord, we bow down to the Lord who first lowered himself to become one of us. Exemplary, that is Jesus. Authoritative, that is Jesus.

Prayer of The Day

Lord, we often come to you as if you are an insignificant thought, a guiding principle that is nice and easy. Help us to be honest with you about who we are, what we have done and what we have failed to do. Give us the strength we need to live as your disciples, filled with the authority you bring as Master of the Universe. Amen.

Daily Note

Each of us needs to arrive at a point in our lives where we recognize that the primary authority in our lives is God alone. That awareness, that acknowledgement of His presence, that recognition will create transformation in our world where authority exhibits itself as power which can be abusive, if exercised apart from God. Are you ready to acknowledge that authority and conform your life to his word of truth, goodness and love? Are you willing to be a living bulwark against earthly teachings that demand authority to one other than Jesus Christ?

 

 

 

The Very Aroma of Christ

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Daily Reflection – 1/13/2020

Sacred Scripture

After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they abandoned their nets and followed him. He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets.  Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him. (Mark 1:14-20)

Reflection

The Gospel for today tells us of Jesus’ call to the first of his disciples. The very word “call” has taken on an institutional reference. Yes, it is true that those of us in the clerical state have answered His call to be in service both through the Word and through our lives. But God’s call is not limited to clergy. God calls every single one of us to build His kingdom on earth.

Jesus chose these individuals, not for what they were, but for what they would be capable of becoming under his direction and power. When the Lord calls us to serve, we must not think we have nothing to offer. The Lord takes what ordinary people can offer and uses it for greatness in his kingdom.

Jesus speaks the same message to us today as he did to those first four apostles: we will “catch people” for the kingdom of God if we allow the light of Jesus Christ to shine through us. God wants others to see the light of Christ in us in the way we live, speak, and witness the joy of the gospel.

When we submit to Christ’s rule in our lives and believe the gospel message the Lord Jesus gives us the grace and power to live a new way of life as citizens of his kingdom. He gives us grace to renounce the kingdom of darkness ruled by sin and Satan.

His grace also brings pardon and help for turning away from everything that would keep us from his love and truth. To believe is to take Jesus at his word and to recognize that God loved us so much that he sent his only begotten Son to free us from bondage to sin and harmful desires. God made the supreme sacrifice of his Son on the cross to bring us back to a relationship of peace and friendship with himself. He is our Father and he wants us to live as his sons and daughters.

God loved us first and he invites us in love to surrender our lives to him. Do you believe that the gospel – the good news of Jesus – has power to free you from bondage to sin and fear? Do you believe that God wants to work through and in you for his glory? Do you witness to those around you the joy of the gospel and do you pray for your neighbors, co-workers, and relatives that they may come to know the Lord Jesus Christ and grow in the knowledge of his love?

 Prayer of The Day

Lord Jesus, you have called me personally by name, just as you called your first disciples. Help me to believe your word and follow you faithfully. Fill me with the joy of the gospel that your light may shine through me to all that surround me.

Daily Note

Paul the Apostles says,” But thanks be to God, who in Christ Jesus always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing (2 Corinthians 2:15). “

 

He Loves Me, A Sinner !

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Daily Reflection – 1/10/2020

Sacred Scripture

It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where Jesus was; and when he saw Jesus, he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do will it. Be made clean.” And the leprosy left him immediately. Then he ordered him not to tell anyone, but “Go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The report about him spread all the more, and great crowds assembled to listen to him and to be cured of their ailments, but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray.( Luke 5:12-16)

 Reflection

When I reflected on today’s Gospel. I was reminded of a quote from Rich Warren: “God is love. He didn’t need us. But He wanted us. And that is the most amazing thing.”  

His love is not only amazing but it also has the power to jar us out of the traps we set for ourselves: judging others, smug superiority, outwardly living a perfect Church life but inwardly betraying His words; demeaning another person; believing somehow that we are privileged and different than others; playing the victim of our lives to constantly seek the sympathy of others; believing that we or our race/class/group are better than another; wrapping our outward spirituality around us and using pious acts to justify those beliefs that we know are wrong.

That is SIN. Sin which infects us, in one degree or another. Sin that eats away our soul as leprosy eats away the physical being. Each of us has spiritual leprosy to one degree or another.

But here is the amazing and outrageously wonderful side of all of that. HE LOVES US! He loves us regardless of what darkness surrounds us. In fact, He came to dispel that darkness. Doesn’t that send a shiver up your spine. It does mine!

Jesus, who is completely clean and pure, reached out and cleansed the leper. Jesus can do the same to us: He can forgive our sins and cleanse us if we ask for His forgiveness. Luke also says that the leper fell on his face when he saw Jesus. This is showing that we must all come down from our pride and self-righteousness all the way to the feet of Christ to be forgiven and cleansed. I am a sinner. I continuously fall, but God never ceases to forgive me and lift me back up. God shows His immense love by giving me mercy every time I come down from my pride and my sins to fall at His feet. And this is one of the most beautiful things – God never stops forgiving and He never stops loving. As St. Augustine said, “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” Jesus reached out and cleansed the leper even though there were hundreds of others. We are the leper. We can all ask for forgiveness and be cleaned. We must not forget the love and mercy that He shows.

Prayer of The Day

Lord Jesus, inflame my heart with your love and make me clean and whole in body, mind, and spirit. May I never doubt your love nor cease to tell others of your mercy and compassion.

Daily Note

It is Christ who gives us the opportunity to make a radical and deep change in our life. With His testimony of life and of New Life, Christ proposes to us a totally true and possible alternative against whatever impediment for loving is encrusted in our hearts and lives. We must be able to offer all those approaching our lives what we have received from our Lord. But, first, we must have met with Him to renew our engagement to live His Gospel in the small things of our daily lives.

 

 

 

The One Command That Should Mark Our Lives

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Daily Reflection – 01/09/2020

Sacred Scripture

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all. He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. (Luke 4:14-22)

Reflection

“The spirit of the Lord is upon me.”

The spirit of the Lord is upon us – each and every one of us. Regardless of religious denomination, regardless of ethnicity, regardless of stature in life or lack thereof, regardless of skin color, or accent. How is that? It is contained in His command to love.

Love is first man’s calling. The Lord calls us to give ourselves to bring true happiness to others. As Saint John of the Cross says, “at the evening of our day we shall be judged by our loving””. At the evening of each day, it is appropriate that we pause to examine ourselves to determine how we expressed our love, focusing on those aspects that we need to improve to make our loving an even greater blessing to others.

He again tells us to love much and he reminds us that if we do not love the one we see then we cannot love the One who is always present though unseen. He tells us that we must love our brother but in this John is not simply referring to our blood relations but to all peoples because we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. There is a strong reminder of the connection between love and faith. In today’s gospel text from St Luke we see Jesus reading in the synagogue. He reads from the Prophet Isaiah and tells the people that he is the fulfilment of the passage. We too are called on to “bring the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives

If we allow it, the Holy Spirit will transform us just as He changed the Apostles, so that we can act under His influence, even as He grants us His blessings, bringing them to all our hearts, as Saint Paul wrote: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal 5:22-23).

In spite of that mandate, in spite of the ultimate example of love manifest in the birth and death of Jesus Christ for each of us, it is difficult to see that prevalent in some of the countries of this world that claim to be “developed” or “first world.” Polemics, divisiveness, politics that appeal to the basest qualities of humankind, make us wonder where His command of love has gone.

In spite of that, the eternity of our lives demand that we embody and live that command of love. If we do not then the darkness will roll in. Let His light commander our lives, let His light flood our souls, let His light and His love be the markers of our lives.

 Prayer of The Day

Lord Jesus, you are the fulfillment of all our hopes and dreams. Through the gift of your Holy Spirit you bring us truth, freedom, and abundant life. Fill me with the joy of the Gospel and inflame my heart with love and zeal for you and for your kingdom of peace and righteousness.

Daily Note

Our answer must always be “Lord, you know all things, you know that I love you despite my weaknesses; but let me prove it to you, help me discover my brothers’ needs, to truly give myself to the needy and neglected, to accept them as they are, to value them.”

 

Nothing Should Ever Be Feared

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Daily Reflection – 1/8/2020

Sacred Scripture

After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And when he had taken leave of them, he went off to the mountain to pray. When it was evening, the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore. Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing, for the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them.  But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out. They had all seen him and were terrified. But at once he spoke with them, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” He got into the boat with them and the wind died down. They were completely astounded. They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened. (Mark 6:45-52)

Reflection

All of us have experienced emotional “storms” that overwhelm us.  It may have been an illness, the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, or a financial crisis. Violent storms are not easy to weather.  And even once the storm has blown over, these storms typically leave us with a residue of pain, loss, confusion, and anxiety.

What storm in your life do you remember?  Take a moment and reflect on that experience. Who supported you during this difficult time?  Who journeyed with you?  Was Jesus with you in this experience?  Did you sense His presence and care?  Or did you feel alone and perhaps abandoned? 

The Lord keeps watch over us at all times, and especially in our moments of temptation and difficulty.  Do you rely on the Lord for his strength and help?  Jesus assures us that we have no need of fear if we trust in Him and in his great love for us.  

He wishes to teach us that even when we are in very pressurized and difficult situations, he is nearby, ready to help us; but he expects us to make an effort, to strengthen our hope and temper our resolve. As an early Greek commentator puts it: “The Lord allowed his disciples to enter danger to make them suffer, and he did not immediately come to their aid; he left them in peril for the whole night, to teach them to be patient and not to be accustomed to receiving immediate succor in tribulation.”

We do know and believe that Jesus is with us!  However, we may not experience a tangible sense of His presence.  However, Jesus often comes to us in various guises.  It might be a friend who calls or a song that plays on the radio that speak to us.  Perhaps we experience Jesus in looking at the bare trees of winter or watching the snow quietly fall from the heavens. 

When God comes to us in the storms of our life – the busyness, the pain, the anxiety, the trouble, the brokenness, the insecurities – do we listen for Him beckoning to us to come to Him? And if we hear Him calling, do we have the courage to step out of the boat and walk on water? Do you have courage to do whatever Jesus asks of you, even if it means stepping out into the unknown??

Our part is to look deeply for Jesus.  He is with us!  However, we need to be awake and alert.  Today open your eyes and hearts.   Jesus will come today.  Will we see Him and recognize Him? 

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, may I never doubt your saving help and your ever-watchful presence, especially in times of adversity. Fortify my faith with courage and my hope with perseverance that I may never waver in my trust in you”.

Daily Note

God made you to walk on water. God wants to pass by us (reveal Himself to us). Even during the storms. Even during the time we struggle to move against the wind. Even in the middle of the night – God comes. Will you walk on water? Will you let Him into your boat?

 

 

But In Receiving How Much Will We Give

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Daily Reflection – 1/7/20

Sacred Scripture

When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already very late. Dismiss them so that they can go to the surrounding farms and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” He said to them in reply, “Give them some food yourselves.” But they said to him, “Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food and give it to them to eat?” He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out they said, “Five loaves and two fish.” So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass. The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties. Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied. And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments and what was left of the fish. Those who ate of the loaves were five thousand men.( Mark 6:34-44)

Reflection

Today’s Gospel is one of the most familiar. Of all the miracles Jesus performed, this is the only one that appears in all four gospels. There are two dimensions that I think are worth exploring for their application in our lives.

We know that the miraculous feeding of such a great multitude pointed to God’s provision of manna in the wilderness for the people of Israel. This food foreshadowed the true heavenly bread which Jesus would offer his followers. Jesus makes a claim only God can make: He is the true bread of heaven that can satisfy the deepest hunger we experience. The feeding of the five thousand shows the remarkable generosity of God and his great kindness towards us. In the multiplication of the loaves and fishes we see a sign and a symbol of what God always does. When God gives, he gives abundantly. He gives more than we need for ourselves that we may have something to share with others, especially those who lack what they need. God takes the little we have and multiplies it for the good of others.  Reflecting on that thought, each of us needs to ask ourselves: Do we truly trust in God’s provision for us and do we share freely with others, especially those who lack?

But there is still another side to this Gospel. Today, each of us must make it our constant desire to live life to the full! To receive grace upon grace!  This is what the Lord seeks from us. To take us, break us and distribute us to others. What he did with the meager scraps he gathered together; he wishes to do with each of us.! 

We know that if we give our lives to the Lord, he can divide and multiply it. We know that the Lord can do amazing things through us. We all know that the Lord is waiting with great anticipation for that day when each of us decides to give him the gift of our lives and give it to him so that he can give it to others. We know what it takes: faith, hope and love. The Lord provides his grace; we only need to respond to it. “The Lord has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor and to proclaim liberty to captives.” Today, he demands even more. To influence the lives of all the people we meet, to be able to say: I wish, I desire, I hunger to be a gift to others. With Him, all things are possible; nothing is ever wasted.

 Prayer of The Day

Lord Jesus Christ, you satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts and you feed us with the finest of wheat. Fill me with gratitude for your blessings and give me a generous heart that I may freely share with others what you have given to me.

Daily Note

The willingness to do something, no matter how little, the readiness to give something, no matter how small, can bear rich fruit. The Lord can take our giving, no matter how small, and work powerfully through it. Imagine the effect we would have on the world if we each gave ourselves willingly to God to be used for His purpose rather than ours.

To Be A Follower of the Light . . .

Image result for free photo of Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25

Daily Reflection – 1/6/20

Sacred Scripture

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled: Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen. From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people. His fame spread to all of Syria, and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases and racked with pain, those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics, and he cured them. And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan followed him. (Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25)

Reflection

Jesus takes up John’s message of repentance and calls disciples to believe in the good news he has come to deliver.  What is the good news which Jesus delivers? It is the good news of peace (restoration of relationship with God), of hope (the hope of resurrection and heaven), of truth (God’s word is true and reliable), of promise (he rewards those who seek him), of immortality (God gives everlasting life), and the good news of salvation (liberty from sin and freedom to live as sons and daughters of God).

But notice that it is repentance which comes first. Why? Repentance requires a life-change and a transformation of heart and mind. The Holy Spirit gives us a repentant heart, a true sorrow and hatred for sin and its consequences, and a firm resolution to avoid it in the future.  The Holy Spirit gives us grace to see our sin for what it is — rebellion and a rejection of the love of God.  God’s grace helps us to turn away from all that would keep us from his love. 

The Holy Spirit opens the eyes of the mind and makes it easy for us to accept and believe the truth. To believe is to take Jesus at his word, to believe that God loved us so much that he sent his only begotten Son to redeem us from the slavery of sin and death. God made the supreme sacrifice of his Son on the cross to bring us back to himself.

If we are to become fully Christian, it needs to become who we are in every aspect of our livesbecause we have fully abandoned sin and antipathy to follow Christ. We may stumble and transgress, but even then, we must still discern the call in order to know that we have done so, rather than rationalize our sinfulness in an attempt try to eat our cake and have it too.

Today we also can gather at Jesus’ feet. We can simply listen to what He may have to say for us. Or we might wish to tell Him what we need and hope for. Do we trust that Jesus will listen to us? Do we believe that Jesus will heal us in some fashion? Today, may we pray to place our hope and our trust in Jesus. He will not fail us!

Prayer of The Day

Lord, your ways are life and light!  Let your word penetrate my heart and transform my mind that I may see your power and glory. Help me to choose your ways and to do what is pleasing to you.

Daily Note

The person of Jesus and the message he proclaims are as powerful today as when he began his ministry. He is as much God’s gift to us today as he was two thousand years ago for the people who flocked to him. He is just as much a light in our darkness now as he was then. It is good to remind ourselves of this basic truth about our faith as we face into the year that lies ahead.