You Tired Too ?

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Daily Reflection – 1/13/2021

Sacred Scripture

On leaving the synagogue Jesus 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

Sometimes the news of the world just seems overwhelming. Sometimes it seems as if we are presented with one dilemma or another. Sometimes it just tires me out. Sometimes I just need a break.

Sometimes I forget to practice that which I preach.

Then comes along today’s Gospel and hits me smack between the eyes.

Jesus, God made man, knew what his human side needed. After curing Simon’s mother-in-law, he continues through his day and cures multitudes. He does it almost as if his human side was indefatigable.

At night, he stops. BUT before plunging into the next day, he goes off to pray. Jesus, God made man, goes off to pray to God, his father. In the early dawn. No distractions. No news of the world. Not even one of his disciples with him. Alone.

Aha. Here comes the message.

Truth is too many of us don’t take the time to truly pray. Too many of us don’t take the time to do more than offer up a laundry list of things we need to happen in our lives.

We need to remember that while we can’t stop life from coming at us, we sure can attend to the life that is given us.

That means attending to our relationship with God so that it is He who moves through our lives and it is He who guides our next step.

Simple, huh? It is. We need to remember that.

We have to start with establishing the fact that prayer is a communication between living beings. Prayer is communication with a being who lives forever, knows more and better than we do, and is in love with us.

Like any communication with a living being, we make a statement and wait for a response. We often times can be accused of talking over God, especially when it is not what we want to hear.

So, prayer requires listening.

As we read in today’s Gospel, prayer is set apart. Prayer is a safe place. This is important because prayer can be a really great thing for everyone, but especially for those who are struggling.

Prayer is our own. It should be our own. It should not be what someone tells us to say unless we have asked for their recommendation. Because it is our own, we can be brutally honest. There is no need to tell God, “Yes, I love my neighbor,” when God knows our heart and knows we cannot stand our neighbor. I recommend to clients that they tell God the truth: “Lord, I cannot stand my neighbor. Please help me understand this.”

Prayer is a source of renewal. It renews us because we pray to the one who is pure love. Knowing that we are loved, loving that we are special, knowing that He worries over every hair in our head, is more than comforting. It renews and energizes us.

I am a great believer in all of this. Yet, I fail more often at doing it right. So, don’t learn from me. Instead learn from Him.

Set aside time each day to be with Him. Listen after you have finished talking. Treasure the silence with Him. Let His love wash over you. Let Jesus Christ renew you.

Maybe not “everyone is looking for you.” But He is.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, help me to recognize that you wait for me each day. You ask only to be the Lord of my life. Help me to recognize that in the silence, you will come to me.”

Daily Note

The human side of Jesus knew what it felt like to be worn out by crowds of people. And so, He needed some quiet time to re-orient himself. To re-connect with his spiritual source. To re-energize. As with everything He did, he taught us what to do. Each of us need to find time alone in prayer, in meditation, time alone with God. There is no substitute for this. Without it, our souls wither, and our strength fades.

This IS You. This IS Me.

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Daily Reflection – 1/12/20321

Sacred Scripture

Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers, 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

Authority. A word that summons different emotions. When used for the good – for example, teaching – no one has an issue with the word. But when abused – as in the exploitation of another – we all have an issue with it.

But the word itself is different than what most of us believe. The root of the word is author – to create something original from one’s own self. From the essence of who a person is.

That brings us to today’s Gospel when Jesus speaks with authority. He speaks and acts in a way that comes directly out of his essence.

And who questions that authority?  A person possessed. A person who stands for all that is troubled, confused, misunderstood. A demon hiding behind the mask of a person.

You and I know something about masks, right? We all wear then – often. We can find a myriad of reasons “why.” Often, we even develop a rationale that revolves around the mask wearing being “necessary” or “so as to not hurt somebody.”

The irony is that those masks we put up, those personas, keep us from having the very things we think they will gain us; things like intimacy, love, acceptance, healing, forgiveness, and authenticity.

You and I are called to something greater than wearing a mask. You and I are called to help build His kingdom on this earth. WOW!

You and I have been chosen to accomplish that task out of who you and I are. Not imagined. Not acted. But from the authenticity of our lives. Not what we think others wanted.

We pursue God with all of our heart and soul and mind and strength. We put the teachings of Jesus into action in our daily lives. And then we must be honest and real in sharing our experience with one another.

The more we know about Christ 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 the way we relate to the world.

When Jesus Christ is the authority in our lives, we don’t need a mask. Our lives become stronger, bolder, livelier, and more joyful. We have been given our own context. We are placed in our own story.

Within that story, Christ asked us to reflect him. To reflect Him through our lives and our experience. Not anyone’s else. Him through us!

You and me !!!

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 our Creator and Our Lord.”

Daily Note

Jesus is still teaching to us today. He teaches with authority because it is his own profound experience and it is his deepest desire to heal our distressed spirits, so we too can experience for ourselves and participate in the building of His kingdom.

How Did I Wind Up Here ??

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Daily Reflection – 1/11/2021

Sacred Scripture

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea – for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him. (Mark 1:14-20)

Reflection

You and I can’t be that much different. We’re human. Humans not only have the same traits but, more often than we realize, we have the same experiences. Of course, the situation surrounding the experience may be different but the essence of the experience is the same.

That’s also another reason why reading the Gospel touches us. It speaks to our common experience which leads us to the question of: “How did I wind up here?”

You and I are here because you and I have been given a mission. But to understand what is expected of us, today’s Gospel reminds us that Jesus said we have to repent and believe. Funny thing about those two words. They don’t mean as you might think.

Repent literally means to turn around. Jesus is telling us that to fulfill his purpose for our lives, we need to reorient the way we think. As humans, we tend to be tainted by selfishness, egocentricity, blind ambition and a host of other characteristics that prevent us from seeing the word of God come alive in our lives. We let go so that our life may be reoriented, so that we can now travel in a new direction, so that we may be open to receive the life of God anew. When we let go, everything is transformed – including our nets, boats, and fathers.

Ultimately, it’s about letting go of our own little life so that we can receive God’s life.

Then comes the second word – believe. 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 Him. 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.

We surrender our lives to him so that we can be more than ourself. He calls us to be something in the world. Not a “something” measured by mercenary standards but a “someone “ who has been given a powerful responsibility by Him. He calls us to be someone for others. To be some one for others.

The writer Frederick Beuchner wrote that our vocation in our life emerges in that place where the passion of our hearts meets the hunger of the world.

That’s the intersection where you and I are placed. The world today is very hungry – hungry for kindness, empathy, concern, sensitivity, truthfulness, fidelity and a million more needs.

Our mission is to participate with God in God’s own saving grace. If that sounds too grand for you, remember that Jesus Christ chose the most ordinary of men to follow him. When he said “follow me,” they responded immediately. They did not as” How Did I get here?”

They got it! They understood that their “new work” was to move to a larger vision, to orient their life in a new direction. They got the fact that their little story of life was connected to a much larger story of life – God’s life.

How and why did you and I get here? Because God wants you and I to help carry out His kingdom. Every day. In every way.  Now more than ever in this world, you and I are here because the world needs more of us who live out His word. . . to help feed the hunger of those who don’t hear it, those who are marginalized, and those who can see Him in us.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, you have called me personally by name, just as you called your first disciples, Simon, Andrew, James, and John. 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 many others.”

Daily Note

The call of Jesus to us is not some broad, general teaching, but always a personal, unique call. Jesus calls me. He is inviting me into something. And he is leading me somewhere according to the person that I am, in respect to the story of my life, and the nature of my personality. Often enough we might not think that something is being coaxed forth from within us, or that our journey of life has a special direction about it. However, one of the great insights we can be given, spiritually, is to be able to look back over our life and see how things have, in fact, unfolded in a particular direction. The path is always there. We need to find it and follow it home.

Just Love Me

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Daily Reflection – 1/8/2021

Sacred Scripture

Now there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where he 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

Today’s Gospel is at the core of the ministry of Jesus Christ. Tender. Compassionate. Loving. Unceasing. All Encompassing.

A love as no other.

A love that He asks to be shared. By us.

But to be able to share the love of Christ with others, we must learn how to love Him.  We need to seek Him out, sit at His feet and learn from Him, follow Him around the Gospels, watching what He does, listening to what He says. He wants to teach us to become fishers of men, and the first step in that is learning to love all people, learning to even touch the untouchable.

Although Jesus loves to meet people’s physical needs, He doesn’t want people to come to Him only to have those physical needs met. He wants people to come to Him so that He can meet their greatest need – that of eternal life. He wants people to seek him for spiritual healing, not just for physical healing.

We need to know that God loves us so much that He wants to lift our heavy burdens and heal our weaknesses simply because He loves us. He doesn’t do it first because it will benefit Him, rather, He does it out of love for us.

One lesson we can learn from this has to do with our own acts of love and mercy towards others. When we go out of our way to show love and compassion, are we OK with no one knowing? Too often we want to be noticed and praised.

But the nature of an act of love and compassion is such that it should be done simply out of love. In fact, doing something loving and compassionate that is not noticed by anyone helps us grow in love and compassion. It purifies our intentions and enables us to love for love’s sake.

Then we are ready to take the next step.

Christ wants us to love with a special predilection the many other types of lepers today, all those who are modern outcasts, all those on the existential peripheries.

Those whom the world considers ugly or unattractive, those whose illnesses are too long-lasting that few want to care for them; the psychological lepers, those with mental illness or mental disabilities, the spiritual or moral lepers, those who think that their sins cannot be forgiven; the economic lepers like the homeless and the emotional lepers, those who, because of their own psyche or others’ actions, feel completely alone and abandoned. These are among the ones Jesus wants us to reach out and heal through our very act of selfless love.

Henri Nouwen once wrote: “Sometimes I see humanity as a sea of people starving for affection, tenderness, care, love, acceptance, forgiveness and gentleness. Everyone seems to cry, “Please love me.”

That was the cry of this leper. That is the cry of many people we all come into contact with every day. Let us be like Jesus, and reach out and touch the untouchable. We all need to ask Jesus to help us learn to love those we would rather not love, and to love those who maybe don’t get much love.

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

How do you approach those who seem difficult to love, or who are shunned by others because they are deformed or have some physical or mental weakness? Do you show them kindness and offer them mercy and help as Jesus did? The Lord Jesus is always ready to show us his mercy and to free us from whatever makes us unclean, unapproachable, or unloving. As He loves us, so too are we to love,

Hey You ! Yes, You

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Daily Reflection – 1/7/2021

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. They also asked, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?” (Luke 4:14-22)

Reflection

The Gospel today presents both a dramatic scene and a serious exhortation.

Here is Jesus returning to his home town of Nazareth after being baptized by John The Baptist. Some in his town heard of his dynamic preaching so they come to the synagogue keenly interested in this carpenter’s son.

He is handed the scroll, opens it, reads the passage, and then announces that it is fulfilled in Him, and then sits down in the posture of serious preaching.

The message is few in words but powerful in effect. It marks the very nature of His ministry, His outreach to all including the marginalized and His expectations of you and me.

His itinerant career is a pattern for every Christian life, in a sense. He is the light of the world, and through his disciples – through their words, actions, and example – he brings that light to shine in all the sin-darkened corners of the globe. He wants to bring his truth (that which he taught) and his grace (that which heals both body and soul) to every human heart and to every nation. This is his mission; and its ours as well.

As Christians, as little Christs, little anointed ones, not only are we called to announce the Gospel, care for those imprisoned, blind, oppressed, and sing of the Lord’s mercy, but we are called to incarnate God’s word, to become living, breathing exegetes and walking commentaries

Each of us is called not to be an idle listener, but to be a doer of the Word.

Jesus Christ came to found a family, as he said, whose mother, brothers, and sisters are those who “hear the word of God and observe it.” Hebrew, as you know, uses the same word for “hear” and for “obey.” We are always called to hear the word of God as a word to be done, as a word to be fulfilled in us who hear it.

But are enough of us doing that? It’s not about wearing our kneeling pads. Nothing wrong about that but if that’s all that there is, we have missed the message.

It’s hearing, obeying and carrying out the very word of God. It’s using the word of God to measure our daily actions – to evaluate whether we have indeed reached out, lived out and opened ourselves to the Holy Spirit.

Our mission in life, in the Church, and in the world is one that we must carry out depending on God’s supernatural grace and following his supernatural lead. Much of the frustrations, conflicts, and discouragements that Christians experience come from forgetting this fact. We decide what we can do. We choose the agenda. Some even twist the words of Sacred Scripture to fit their own agendas. Too often, we don’t stop, reflect and let the Holy Spirit speak to us, open us, direct us.

Remember Mary’s words? “Let Thy will be done.” Are we willing to allow His words of Truth to penetrate our hearts and transform our life? Are we willing to let His will be done in our life . . . by living out His will?

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

Jesus came to bring “good news” to those who suffer, to free captives, and to cure the blind – he came because we needed him to come. We suffer the moral agony of incurable selfishness; we are shackled by our strong tendencies to sin; we are blinded by the sparkling allure of temptation, we put our ego above all. We too often forget that He came to be our Savior. And when we truly contemplate him, he attracts us with a force that leaves all other material realities far behind. If we want to experience life as God means it to be lived, all we need to do is call upon the name of Jesus and follow where he leads; he is all for us, the perfect friend, the one we can trust without limits.

The Issue Is Our Hard Heads

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Daily Reflection – 1/6/2021

Sacred Scripture

Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened. (Mark 6:45-52)

Reflection

The world suffers. The pandemic rages. Hospitals are running out of beds. Front line workers are emotionally and physically exhausted.

Where is God?

The waters of life in 2021 are unchartered. In our lifetimes, we have not seen anything like this. We are not only physically spent; we are emotionally exhausted.

Why isn’t God acting?

Enter today’s Gospel. Shortly after the disciples saw Jesus multiply the loaves and fishes and feed thousands, they put out into a boat. The winds roar. The water threatens to capsize. They are terrified. They forget the miracle they had just seen. They wondered where was their God.

He was there at the moment they needed Him. He reassured their unbelief when they thought He was a ghost.

He says : I AM. The same words uttered by God to Moses at the burning bush.

I AM.

Most of us are like the disciples. Our hearts may be filled with the love of God but our heads aren’t quite there because we keep asking: “Where is God.” C.S. Lewis referred to that as Putting God in the Dock … putting God on trial … demanding answers from Him … assuming that He must prove Himself to us! Why doesn’t He protect us better? Why doesn’t He help us sooner?

Where is God?

 He is here. With us. As He always is.

These times make many of us feel that we are at the end of our own resources. The picture of the disciples “straining at the oars” is a good one for us. Some may even feel that we are in the storm and that God may even have abandoned us. it’s in these very situations that we learn something about Jesus.

The disciples, in this moment, failed to grasp how God had worked in the past, and apply that knowledge to their current situation. We’re left with the same test. If we understand that God has visited us in the person of Jesus, we can be assured of his presence no matter what we go through. We can have confidence in any storm that we go through.

We were not created to be inundated by the toxic pool of hate, the toxic pool of sinfulness, the toxic pool of a virus that drains our life.

We were created by God to live by faith, to immerse ourselves in the depths of his mercy, to adore him on land and on sea, to be strengthened by him and know that we’ve got nothing to fear because he is with us, even if we’re in the midst of ferocious storms.

St, John reminds us of the love that God has for us and inspires us to love God in return. “God is love,” he says, “and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. In this is love brought to perfection among us, so that we may have confidence on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world.”

Following Christ does not mean an exemption from suffering. Following Christ will sometimes lead us directly into a position of suffering and hardship. We should not be surprised to encounter those times. But again, St. John reminds us: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.”

We are created to be brought to perfection, to completion, in the love of God, which will help us to be courageous because it drives out fear. When we know God loves us and has triumphed even over death, we’re unafraid of anything, including dying.

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

Jesus our Messiah is the One who truly sees their (and our) situation and willingly steps through the storm and on the surface of the sea to bring them peace and save their souls! He gives His word of authority. He gives His word of peace. “Take heart, I am He. It is me. I am in charge, just as you see! Now stop being afraid!” He doesn’t abandon disciples when they don’t get it! He never abandons those who just don’t seem to get it. Rather He graciously reveals Himself again and again!

That’s why He sends them out on the boat, why He waits, and why He walks by – to reveal Himself to the disciples who still didn’t get it … even after the feeding of the 5000. That’s why He comes to us again and again and again. To reveal Himself as the Lord and God of our salvation.

It’s Your Turn . . . Again

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Daily Reflection – 1/5/2021

Sacred Scripture

As Jesus went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.” But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?” And he said to them, “How many loaves have you? Go and see.”’ When they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. And all ate and were filled; and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men. (Mark 6:34-44)

Reflection

Of all the miracles Jesus did, this is the only one which is repeated in all four gospels.

As such, there is a lesson which each of the Gospel writers believed was imperative to teach. Of course, there is the obvious message that when the Lord 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.

That lesson, as do all Gospel lessons, leads us back to ourselves. We always have to stop and ask what is it saying to ME? We must do that because it is His word that should be our moral compass in a world that seems to have lost direction.

Society is on edge; the mob explodes in panic at even a hint of a wild dog. Too many people face physical and spiritual hunger. Many wonder “Why am I here?” or “What should I do with my life?” “Does anyone love me?” “What will become of me?”

That’s where you and I come in . . . again.

“Again” because we have to. There can be no kingdom of heaven in our living if we do not know the right path. Teaching the kingdom of heaven is to teach freedom, and to heal people from slavery, and free them from powerlessness in the face of the wild dogs and the false shepherds.

Jesus says if we want to be His disciples, His followers, we’ve got to get involved, we’ve got to be willing to sacrifice for our sisters and brothers, to deny self so as to be able to help them. He makes it quite clear that it is the best way to live, the happiest way. Why? Just look at the reward! What a joy it must have been to be a part of that exciting incident, feeding the five thousand with just five loaves of bread and two fish. And to end up with more than at the start. 

In His words ” You go feed them.”

The joy that we receive springs from the fact that we are helping people “feed their soul.” If we miss the feeding of the soul that Jesus engaged in as he “taught them many things,” we short change ourselves and the hungry crowd in which we live.

Think of the times that you have stepped out in faith and gone beyond your comfort zone to help another. Think of the times that you have received.

Time and again, each of have stories to share of “blessings in disguise” where there were people, time, places, or instances that God used to bring this miracle into our daily struggles. We also have to recognize those apparent miracles that not only inspire people but also made their faith stronger and changed their lives or ours.

They become God’s face for us to encounter. Indeed, God created us in His image, and the manifestations of these sensations partly fulfill our purpose to be His instruments in spreading His infinite love and mercy.

Getting involved makes our Christian lives a joy. We become a part of God’s exciting work in the world. And without a doubt we will end with more than we began with, more joy, more meaning, more of God’s blessings both spiritual and temporal. 

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus Christ, you satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts and you feed us with the finest of wheat (Psalm 81:16). 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

Sharing loaves to the hungry may sound clichéd for others, but for the starved, it’s a miracle. Sharing loaves doesn’t limit to it literally. Part of our time to listen to a friend in despair and comfort him is sharing our loaves of bread to him. Calling a relative and asking him how he is and his family is also sharing our meals. Making children laugh and teach them to be grateful for daily miracles and blessings is also sharing our loaves. Being kind to the people we live in one roof (like our family) is also sharing our loaves. More so, forgiving ourselves from our past mistakes and sins is also sharing God’s living bread.

Turn This Way Please

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Daily Reflection – 1/4/2021

Sacred Scripture

Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth he went and dwelt in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles —  the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
 And he went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan. (Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25)

Reflection

The public ministry of Jesus Christ begins. A ministry that brought forth the light and truth of salvation. A ministry that called each of us to live the message He preached.

Why did that message resonate with so many over the last 2,000 plus years? Because it spoke to our nature and our longings. Because it was, and is, a message that speaks to our hearts. Because it was, and is, a message that speaks of peace, of hope and promise. As we enter 2021, it is a message that we need and should hold dear.

We need to hear the good news of peace – the Lord comes to reconcile and restore us to friendship with God.  We need to hear the good news of hope – the Lord comes to dwell with us and to give us a home with him in his heavenly kingdom. We need to hear the good news of promise – Jesus fulfills the promise of God to reward those who seek him with the treasure of heaven. We need to hear the good news of salvation – the Lord Jesus delivers us from every fear, every sin, and every obstacle that would keep us from entering his everlasting kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy.

But to internalize that good news, we need to inculcate and act on the word. Can we do that in today’s world? Yes but. But first we have to turn toward Him. Where? In His words as they occur in our life. It doesn’t happen once but over and over. We need to empty ourselves of anger, divisiveness and despair. It can happen and it will. We have been there before.

Our entire life is a conversion. We are always being converted, shaped and formed, into the likeness of Jesus. Over and over again Jesus comes to us saying, “Follow me.”

Following Jesus does not happen in the abstract but in the context, circumstances, and relationships of our lives. Our relationship with Jesus is grounded and experienced in the people and events of our lives and world. Just as it was for Peter, Andrew, James, and John.

Every one of those moments echo with Jesus’ words, “Follow me.” Every one of those is as much a turning point in the lives of Peter, Andrew, James, and John as was the day Jesus first saw them by the Sea of Galilee. Turning points always resound with the invitation to follow Jesus. They are the intersection of our lives and His life.

The turning points of our lives bring us face to face with Jesus and they come in lots of ways. Sometimes they come as we planned, worked, and hoped for. Other times they are completely unexpected and take us by surprise. Sometimes they bring us joy and gladness. Other times we are filled with sorrow and loss. Sometimes they affirm everything we thought and believed. Other times they leave us confused and not knowing what we believe.

The turning points bring us to another point in our lives. They convert what was into a new something that is.

With each turning point we see ourselves, others, and the world differently, we think differently, we focus on different concerns, we ask different questions, and we move in different direction. What they all have in common, however, is Jesus’ invitation, his command, to follow him. An opportunity for and the promise of Christ to refashion our lives. To refashion our lives by following Him with a sincere heart and a truthful life.

That refashioning occurs every time allow His Word to penetrate our minds and hearts. Jesus’ words must fill us with Himself for He is the Great Light of Truth.  

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, 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

Reflect, today, upon this exhortation from our Lord to repent. Repent with your whole heart. Examining your actions every day is essential. See the ways that your actions keep you from God and reject those actions. And look for the ways that God is active in your life and embrace those acts of mercy.

Do not only think about Him saying this many years ago; rather, hear it said to you, today, tomorrow and every day of your life. There will never be a time in your life when you do not need to repent with all your heart. We will never reach perfection in this life, so repentance must be our daily mission. 

You Are Incredible !!

Treasuring and Pondering Moments in Motherhood — sarah jean knox

Daily Reflection – 1/1/2121

Sacred Scripture

The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them. When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. (Luke 2:16-21)

Reflection

God became one with us so that we might all become one with Him. This belief is at the heart of our Christian faith.

 It is vital for our truest well-being that we remember who and what we are, from whom we come and to whom we go. We are children of our earthly parents certainly, we share in their nature, but we are more than that: we are also, as St John keeps reminding us, children of God and we share in His nature.

How easily we forget that! When we do, we diminish our dignity as human beings, we deprive ourselves of something of our humanity, we live less than fully human lives. It is so important for us to keep in mind who and what we are: we are children of God. It is Christ Jesus who has revealed this to us, and He did so, precisely by espousing our humanity when He was born of Mary of Nazareth.

If we hold on to that belief. If we internalize that belief. If we allow it to become the focal point of our lives then we can change our lives and the manner in which we live our lives.

We allow so many things – past experiences and future concerns – to intrude upon and disrupt the present. Some days these disturbing thoughts can totally destabilize us; they can make us feel febrile emotionally; they can lead us to be spiritually enfeebled. Our thoughts can depress us, our memories can torture us, our rumination over past hurts can sap away our energy, they can make us rot within (people talk of feeling rotten sometimes). Our thoughts matter! Our memories of past experiences and our projections into future fears can paralyze and poison our lives.

We must break free from the darker issues.

Today’s gospel provides us with an insight that can help us greatly. We read in Luke’s gospel: “As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.” What were the things Mary treasured? They were all the positive things the shepherds repeated of what they had been told about the child Jesus. They were the angel’s message to them, the chorus the whole host of heaven sang around them. The shepherds remembered and repeated (they clearly made their own) God’s word relayed to them about who the child Jesus was and what His mission would be. They had been told that they should not be afraid. They were assured that the One who was born was to be for them and for the whole world a source of great joy, that His message would be gospel (Good News) for everyone!

Mary’s mind and heart were filled with good thoughts, blessed feelings.

Mary shows us how thoughts about positive things, how looking to the light, welcoming it into our lives, paying heed to the word of God which comes to us in so many ways – including through those messengers God sends our way – can lift our spirits and give us the courage we need to take the steps forward that are required of us as we journey through life.

When we do as Mary did – when we hold all things concerning Christ in our hearts – then we take steps toward wholeness and well-being. Pondering the joy with the sorrow, the awesome with the awful, the gain with the pain, leads us to emotional and spiritual health. It contributes to that ongoing healing process we need to be experiencing in our lives. It is good for us to be reminded of this on this first day of the New Year

You and I . . . He is our light and salvation. May His light illume each day of the New Year!

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus Christ, I exalt your name above every other name. For in you I have pardon, mercy, grace and victory over sin and death. You humbled yourself for my sake and for the sake of all sinners by sharing in our humanity and by dying on the cross. Help me to live for your greater glory”.

You Get That, Right ?

john 1
Daily Reflection – 12/31/2020

Sacred Scripture

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only-begotten Son, full of grace and truth. John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’ “From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.  (John 1:1-18)

Reflection

On the last day of a very trying year, we read the “Christmas Gospel.” It is the foundational message for all who profess that they are followers of Christ.

It’s the incredible and awesome mystery of God becoming man. It’s the gift of God pitching his tent among us and remaining in our lives forever.

You get that, right?

Sometimes I wonder why every Christian isn’t jumping for joy every day. Then I remind myself that too often the realities of a strife laden world eat away at our very soul. When it does, we stumble backward into believing that Christianity is a religion. That’s our second mistake after letting the anxieties of our world sap our strength. It was never intended to be a religion. Jesus Christ came to invite us into a partnership with Him and with God, Our Father.

God became human so that humans could become divine. Think about that!

You would think that when God himself decided to dwell among us to give us the answer and show us the way, we would welcome him eagerly and gladly. Sadly, such is not the case.

The negativity, the violence, the anger, the discord, the polemic of hate are all signs of humans turning their back on God. But that is not who we are. That is not why God took on human nature.

In every way he could, he became man for us. Born from a human mother, in a damp cave, raised as a child by an earthly mother and father, grown as a man who led the simplest life, knew hatred, scorned by many and ultimately beaten, scourged and hung on a cross to die.  To die so that we could live with Him. He came to a place and people broken, and in the end was broken himself.

But you get that, right?

What we don’t get enough to internalize is that human beings are the tangible, outward, and visible signs and carriers of God’s inward and spiritual presence. If we did, the implications are profound. It changes how we see ourselves and one another, the way we live, our actions, and our words.

As long as humans have existed, we have sensed that we were not something that we ought to be. As long as we have been wounded by family, friends or strangers, we have doubted our worth. The cure for all the fractured suffering of the human heart, all the terror we visit upon one another, all the guilt we bear with bent spines our whole lives, all the horrible, condemning voices, lies in His gift of Himself to you and me.

God became human so that humans could become divine.

Jesus shouts down the negative voices in our ears with His message: “You are worth everything to me! I’ll make you good! You don’t need to die. I came to do it for you. Then you’ll really live!”

Prayer of The Day

“Almighty God and Father of light, your eternal Word leaped down from heaven in the silent watches of the night.  Open our hearts to receive his life and increase our vision with the rising of dawn, that our lives may be filled with his glory and his peace.”

Daily Note

Jesus is not like some distant relative that you see every couple of years. He wants to take up residence in your life. He wants to be the “go-to” person of your life. He wants to be engaged and involved. Most often we think of God as being up there, far removed from the cares and concerns of this created world. But because Jesus became a man God came down here, living in our midst. We could never reach him up there, but in love he came down here to us. He became touchable, approachable, and reachable.