Reflecting Him

A series of spiritual contemplations on the role of the Lord in our daily life

Salting The Earth

Image result for free photo of Matthew 5:13-16

Daily Reflection – 6/11/19

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” ( Matthew 5:13-16)

Reflection

As a follower of Jesus living the beatitudes, each of us matters. We have an important role to play because we are the salt of the earth. Salt preserves and Christians help preserve what is good in the culture. Salt to be effective, must be in contact with the substance it is to preserve. To be effective, we must be involved where we work and where we live. This puts us in a tension because the dominant culture doesn’t necessarily like us. And withdrawing from the world is no answer for Christians.

We can best be preservation for the world by living the Word of God and teaching it to others within the communities of the world. This is a call to mission, not just to self-improvement.

Jesus calls us to perseverance, warning about what happens when “salt loses its flavor” — it becomes without value at all, neither for flavor or for salvation, and then becomes if anything an impediment to the mission.

What is the mission that to which Jesus called His church, His people, the “salt of the earth”? Jesus explains in this same Gospel; we are called to be “the light of the world,” and most pointedly “a city set on a mountain.”

We do that, each in our own way, by spreading out across the earth on the mission of salvation, “salting” it with the light of salvation. “Your light must shine before others,” Jesus says, “that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”

How do we accomplish that ? The prophet Isaiah tells Israel that the Lord has commanded them to share what they have to the hungry, give refuge to the oppressed and homeless, clothe the naked, and take care of those in our own communities too. If we do that, Isaiah prophesies, “then light shall rise for us in the darkness.”

We are called to be the salt of the earth, a city on a mountain, and to spread the light of the Word to all people — not as ways to aggrandize ourselves, but to lead people to the glory of God. We are not the flavor, but the catalyst for the flavor to emerge.

We are not salvation, but the servants of salvation. And those who allow themselves to become instruments of the Lord’s will become treasures of His heart — the children of God.

Prayer of The Day

Lord, you have given me everything I need to be faithful. Grant me also the courage and the zeal to live what I believe and to testify to your faithful love in my thoughts, words and actions.

Daily Note

We are recognizable as true disciples of Him who is Light of the world, not in words, but by our works. In fact, it is above all our behavior that — in the good and in the bad – leaves a sign in others. So we have a task and a responsibility for the gift received: the light of faith, which is in us through Christ and the action of the Holy Spirit, we must not keep as if it were our property. Instead, we are called to make it shine in the world, to give it to others through good works.

 

 

At The Heart of The Church

Image result for free photo of John 19: 25-34

Daily Reflection – 6/10/19

Sacred Scripture

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I thirst.” There was a vessel filled with common wine. So, they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken, and they be taken down. So, the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately Blood and water flowed out. (John 19: 25-34)

Reflection

There is something quite profound about what Mary and the disciple John represent to us here. Because here are two people who are there with Jesus at the foot of the cross. Two people who believe in his mission. Two people who believe in his claim to be the Son of God, the Lord and Savior of the world.

So it seems that what is happening here, between Jesus the Savior and the two people at the foot of the Cross who believe in him, is that a new family is being created.

A new family is created in the shadow of the cross. Through the blood of Christ shed for us, a new home, a new community comes to life. A new family is born.

It is here, at the foot of the cross, as Jesus sheds his blood and a woman embraces a boy and a boy embraces a woman – it is here that the church is formed!

Cyril of Jerusalem said, ‘You cannot have God as your father if you are not prepared to have the church as your mother’.

It is the church, the people of God, through whom God brings us to life. It is the church, in the form of your neighbor or your parents or your colleague or your Sunday school teacher, who first preached the Good news about Jesus to you.

It is the church, the people of God, through whom God nurtures and grows us – whether that is through services, teaching, praying, receiving baptism and communion. It is the church, the people of God, who offer us love and care.

It all starts at the foot of the cross. That is where the Mother of Jesus and the disciple who Jesus loved are standing (John 19:25-26).

At the very heart of the church, of the people of God, is the cross. It is the place where God has put us right with God and right with other people.

 Prayer of The Day

Lord Jesus, you loved your own to the end.  Give me the courage to take up my cross each day in humble obedience to your will and in gratitude and love for your willing sacrifice for my sake. Let me live my days building your Church on this earth.

Daily Note

And yet, is that not what Christ asks of all of us? To stand, unbowed at the foot of his cross, and bear with him, the weight of caring, for all for whom he died. 

To Truly Follow Is To Truly Love

Image result for free photo of John 21:15-19

Daily Reflection – 6/7/19

Sacred Scripture

After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them, he said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He then said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.” (John 21:15-19)

Reflection

What if Jesus asked you three times in a row whether you loved Him or not? Most likely you would react like Peter did, getting frustrated at the repeated question. But regardless of how comfortable we are with the question; it is still a good one for us to ask ourselves. Do we love Him more than anything else? Do we love Him so much that we would be willing to sacrifice for Him? Do we love Him so much that we are willing to obey Him and follow His agenda rather than our own? Do we love Him enough to endure pain and hardship in this life? Do we recognize how great His love for us is, and are we willing to love Him back?

Jesus sees the potential in all of us too to do great things for Him and out of love for Him in the Church and in the world as His witnesses, but we all have to come to that point where we have to answer the question for ourselves – the leap, as it were, to an adult faith, by answering the question Jesus asks of Peter today and which is extended to all of us – you and me – ‘Do YOU love Me?’
Complete surrender to Christ is asked and demanded of each of us, but we fall and linger as Peter and the disciples did. They went back fishing, which shows a falling away from trust and complete confidence. Once more Jesus shows them (half of the 12 apostles) but particularly Peter who He addresses as Simon, his old name before becoming a disciple, how little they can accomplish without Him. All their work, effort, toil, and experience – even as a team – achieves nothing without Christ’s word and instruction.
The story makes clear that nothing can be accomplished by our own efforts in the darkness because we toil without Christ. But with Him, attentive to His voice, we can accomplish wonders. Christ is the light. We must cultivate our love for Him in prayer. He gives us a sense of purpose, a sense of meaning and especially CLARITY. But first we must answer the question that Christ puts to each one of us this morning – DO YOU LOVE ME? 

Prayer of The Day

Lord thank you for our lives, help us to glorify you through all that we do. Lord, you are our God, and you know what is best for us, help us to never veer from the path of which you have laid down for us. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Daily Note

Like Peter, we cannot follow God unless we realize how much we love Him and how much we are loved. God is calling out to each of us; “do you love me?” Once we say “yes Lord, I love you”, then we are ready to follow Him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are You A Sign of Holiness ?

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Daily Reflection – 6/6/19

Sacred Scripture

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me. Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”( John 17:20-26)

 Reflection

In today’s gospel we overhear a portion of Jesus’ prayer to his Father. He prays for us. Three times he asks our Father that we would all become one as he and the Father are one. He prays above all for unity among his disciples as the most effective sign of witness. 

It is said that, in the early Church, people marveled, “See those Christians, how they love each other.”  In a world divided along so many lines, people were amazed to see Jews and Greeks, men and women, slaves and freemen, rich and poor sharing a common community life in love and forgiveness and mutual support. 

Is that the witness that we are giving today? I am afraid not.  Instead, we live in a world full of divisions – male or female; rich or poor; gay or straight; Hispanic or Anglo; Christian or Muslim; conservative or liberal; educated or uneducated; young or old. I could go on and on listing the boundaries that we encounter. In truth, they have become oppositions.

For every boundary we establish there is a human being. Ultimately, boundaries and differences are not about issues. They are about real people, with names, lives, joys, sorrows, concerns, and needs just like us.

But God’s love knows no boundaries. God loves male and female, rich and poor, gay and straight, Hispanic and Anglo. God loves Christian and Muslim, conservative and liberal, educated and uneducated. God loves young and old, heaven and earth, divine and human. God loves sinner and saved, orthodox and heretic.  All are loved fully, completely, and uniquely.

God does not even draw boundaries between Jesus and us. God loves you the same as he loves Jesus. God loves your neighbor the same as he loves Jesus. If that is how God loves how can we do anything less and still call ourselves Christians?

Though Jesus is praying to the Father you and I will in large part be the ones to answer Jesus’ prayer. We answer his prayer every time we choose how to love, who to love, where to love. It is time we answer Jesus’ prayer and deal with one another in love. All of this leads me to two questions:  Am I a sign of holiness for others? Who are the boundaries that await our love?

 Prayer of The Day

Lord God, have mercy on your people and heal the divisions in the body of Christ. May all Christian people throughout the world attain the unity for which Jesus prayed on the eve of his sacrifice. Renew in us the power of the Spirit that we may be a sign of that unity and a means of its growth.

Daily Note

The unity of Jesus and his Father is a unity of mind and heart, mutual love and trust, honor and respect. Because Jesus loved us first and united us in baptism we are called to live in a unity of love. Jesus’ prayer on the eve of his sacrifice shows the great love and trust he has in his beloved disciples. The Lord entrust us with the same mission – to make him known and loved by all. 

 

 

Living Lives of Love

Image result for free photo of John 17:11-19

Daily Reflection – 6/5/19

Sacred Scripture

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying: “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are. When I was with them, I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you. I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.” (John 17:11-19)

 Reflection

Today Jesus continues his prayer for his disciples. He prays for their continued loyalty to the gospel message and for unity among them.  He has kept them true to his name. They have accepted the message of Jesus and, because of that, they will be hated by the world as Jesus himself was hated.  Because, like Jesus, they do not identify with the world and its values and priorities.

At the same time, Jesus makes it very clear that he is not asking that they be removed from the world’s environment, only that they be protected from its evil influences.  It is only by being in the world that they will be able to communicate the Gospel message.  Armed with truth, with the integrity of Jesus himself, he is sending them into the midst of the world. That is where they are to do their work. 

Jesus prays that they be consecrated in truth, the truth of God himself.  This truth does not consist of a set of dogmas.  Rather it consists in the living out lives of perfect integrity and wholeness, in perfect harmony with the will of the Father and the Way of Jesus and dedicated to bringing that truthfulness and integrity to the world.  They do this by living lives of love, a love expressed in service to the well-being of all.  

Let each of us then pray today

– for the unity among us which Jesus prayed for in his disciples

– that we may realize that, if we want to give witness to the Gospel, we must be fully inserted into the world by which we are surrounded.  To be ‘holy’ is not to escape and distance ourselves physically from that world, which is what many are tempted to do or even think is the right thing to do.

– that we may be people of complete integrity, that we may be filled with truth and sincerity so that what people see in us is what we truly are and wish to be: disciples of Jesus.

 Prayer of The Day

Lord, I believe in you and all that you have revealed for our salvation. I hope in you because of your overflowing mercy. Every single act of yours on this earth demonstrated your love for us. Your ascent into heaven before the eyes of the Apostles inspires my hope of one day joining you there. I love you and wish you to be the center of my life.

Daily Note

The Gospel of Jesus Christ marks us; we work for the glory of God, a task that translates in a better service for today’s men and women’s lives. This means working for true human communication, true happiness of the person, to increase the joy of the sad ones, to exert compassion on the needing… In short: to be open to making Life a better place.

 

 

He Doesn’t Need Us But Does Want Us

Image result for free photo of John 17:1-11

Daily Reflection – 6/4/19

Sacred Scripture

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all people, so that he may give eternal life to all you gave him. Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began. I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you gave me is from you, because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them. And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.” (John 17:1-11)

Reflection

In his Last Supper discourse, Jesus speaks of his glory and the glory of his Father.  What is this glory?  It is the cross which Jesus speaks of here. 

How does the cross reveal his glory?  In the cross God reveals the breadth of his great love for sinners and the power of redemption which cancels the debt of sin and reverses the curse of our condemnation.  Jesus gave his Father the supreme honor and glory through his obedience and willingness to go to the cross.  The greatest honor, trust, and love any person can give one’s leader is through his obedience even to the point of sacrificing his own life.  In warfare the greatest honor belongs not to those who survive but to those who give the supreme sacrifice of their own lives for their fellow countrymen.  Jesus also speaks of the Father bringing glory to the Son through the great mystery of the Incarnation and Cross of Christ.  God the Father gave us his only begotten Son for our redemption and deliverance from slavery to sin and death.  There is no greater proof of God’s love for each and every person on the face of the earth than the Cross of Jesus Christ.  In the cross we see a new way of love — a love that is unconditional, sacrificial and generous beyond comprehension.

Jesus also speaks of eternal life.  What is eternal life?  It is more than simply endless time.  To have eternal life is to have the life of God within us.  When we possess eternal life, we experience here and now something of God’s majesty, his peace, joy and love and the holiness which characterizes the life of God.  Jesus also speaks of the knowledge of God which is not simply limited to knowing something about God, but to know God personally.  The essence of Christianity, and what makes it distinct from other religions, is the knowledge of God as our Father.  Jesus makes it possible for each of us to personally know God as our Father. In Jesus we see the perfect love of God — a God who cares intensely and who yearns over men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the Cross.   Jesus is the revelation of God — a God who loves us completely, unconditionally and perfectly.

 Prayer of The Day

Thank you, Lord, for loving me to the extreme of dying in unspeakable agony upon the cross. Thank you for your gift of the Holy Spirit so that I can follow your path of self-giving love.

Daily Note

God doesn’t need us, but He does want us.  The Father loved the world so much that he sent his only Son into the world, not to condemn the world but to save the world. The Father loves His Son.  The Father sends the Son.  The Son loves a sinful world. The Son loves his own in the world.  The Apostles make disciples.  The disciples love the Church.  The Church loves its own and reaches out in love to the unchurched. 

 

 

 

To Be Courageous

Daily Reflection – 6/3/19

Sacred Scripture

The disciples said to Jesus: “Now you are talking plainly, and not in any figure of speech. Now we realize that you know everything and that you do not need to have anyone question you. Because of this we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you believe now? Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone. But I am not alone, because the Father is with me. I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” (John 16:29-33)

Reflection

In this Last Supper discourse, Jesus explains his Divine origin and his relationship to God his Father in clear terms without using any metaphors. The apostles acknowledge that they understand the Divinity of Jesus. But Jesus prophesied that they would soon desert him and seek their own safety, while he would be arrested, brought to trial and crucified. Jesus knew the hearts of his disciples better than they knew.  He knew they would desert him in his hour of trial.  Such knowledge could have easily led to bitterness and rejection.  Jesus met the injury of betrayal and disloyalty with supreme love and trust in his disciples. 

He loved his disciples to the very end even when they left him alone to die on the cross.  He knew that the cross would not bring defeat but victory over sin and death.  Jesus speaks the same word to us  today.  “My love for you is unconditional and I will never abandon you”. While we cannot avoid all pain and suffering in this life, Jesus, nonetheless assures us that he will guide us safely through any difficulty or trial we may have to undergo for his sake.  Jesus calls each of us to take courage, because he has overcome the world.

Our Faith is tested every day when we live in a world filled with agnostics, atheists and pleasure-seekers who see true believers as superstitious people and hate them. That is why Jesus gave his apostles and all his future disciples the assurance of the anointing of the Holy Spirit Who would strengthen them and guide them.   The Holy Spirit gives us a living hope in the power of the resurrection and a confident trust in God ‘s abiding presence.  Nothing can overcome this faith and hope in Christ’s victory — no trial, suffering, temptation, or testing.  The Holy Spirit gives us the strength and courage we need to overcome adversity and to persevere in faith. Do you believe that nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus?

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, help me to trust in your saving power, especially when I meet adversities and trials.  Give me your peace when I am troubled and let me know the joy of your victory over sin and death.” 

Daily Note

Our faith is firmly rooted in the Divinity of Jesus demonstrated by his Messianic miracles, most of which were foretold by the prophets. The Resurrection of Jesus is the miracle of miracles proving Jesus’ Divinity beyond doubt. We need to get our daily quota of spiritual strength by recognizing the presence of God – the Father, the Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit — living within us wherever we are and by communicating with our indwelling God in prayer

 

Salvation Through Her Eyes

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Daily Reflection – 5/31/19

Sacred Scripture

Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home. ( Luke 1:39-56)

 Reflection

Through the lives of two pregnant women this text offers powerful imagery of our approaching salvation Elizabeth is old; too old to be pregnant. She should be barren but, by the grace of God, she is pregnant. Mary is young and a virgin; too young to be pregnant but, by the grace of God, she is. One is married, the other unmarried. One’s child is the son of a man named Zechariah; the other’s child is the Son of God. One will give birth to the Voice who will cry out in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord.” The other will give birth to the Word made flesh. Yes, the time of our salvation is drawing near.

Today

Today’ s gospel is referred to as the Visitation. Mary spends three months with Elizabeth (Luke 1:56). Luke, however, never tells us about their visit. He offers no information about what they did, where they went, what they spoke about, or how they spent their time. Instead, Luke’s sole focus is on the greetings that take place. Sacred iconography portrays this greeting as one of embrace. But it is more than a simple hug and a “hello.”

At the sound of Mary’s greeting Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit. She recognizes and greets more than her younger cousin. She embraces the divinity carried inside Mary. She recognizes Mary as the Mother of her Lord. On this day Elizabeth greets salvation. At the sound of Mary’s greeting John, the forerunner, leaps for joy in Elizabeth’s womb – the unborn prophet greeting the unborn Messiah. Together Elizabeth and John, by their greeting, proclaim that the time of our salvation is approaching.

In many ways our own lives are a series of greetings, one after another. Every day we greet one another – family, friends, colleagues, strangers, enemies, and those in need. Every day we greet the circumstances of our lives – joys, sorrows, successes, disappointments, losses, struggles, the mundane and the exciting. Every one of those greetings is pregnant with new life and the possibilities for love, compassion, forgiveness, reconciliation, healing, joy, beauty, wholeness and holiness. In other words, the greetings of our lives are pregnant with salvation. Every day, we are given the chance to move closer to our salvation.

Do we think of greetings that way? Do we understand the power that is inherent in a word, a look, a gesture? Do we reflect on the fact that our lives are interwoven? That each of us, in our own way, can make or break another’s day, another’s mood, another’s need to be recognized, another’s need to feel a word of comfort or warmth? Two women of faith did. They confirmed to each other the reality of their salvation. 

So, I wonder, how will we greet the next person we see? How will we receive the most recent news and circumstances of our lives? Will we recognize, greet, and embrace our coming salvation?

Prayer of The Day

Lord, I believe in your supreme goodness and love. I entrust my entire self to you with all of my hopes, fears, and joys. Thank you for giving us the gift of yourself. Thank you, too, for giving us your mother to be our mother during our exile on this earth and journey home to you in heaven. Here I am, like her, to do your will.

Daily Note

Today’s Gospel highlights Mary’s faith. Mary’s faith enabled her to recognize the work of God in her people’s history and in her own life. Her openness to God allowed God to work through her so that salvation might come to all. Mary is a model and symbol of faith, love and humility. May we be like Mary, open and cooperative in God’s plan of salvation.

 

His Starting Point Is Our Humanity

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Daily Reflection – 5/30/19

Sacred Scripture

And Jesus said to them, “Thus it is written that the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Then he led them out as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven. They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the Temple praising God.( Luke 24:46-53)

Reflection

This Gospel speaks of our human dynamic. Jesus’ words, his stories, are always born from the situation of those he has before him. Jesus always responds to what those around him are living. His starting point is inevitably: humanity.

Our human dynamic becomes spiritual the moment we become the place we find God. In this sense, our humanity has always been spiritual. God has been in contact with our humanity from the moment he created it in Adam, right up to the moment that Jesus assumed this flesh, rendering the union between flesh and spirit – between God and humanity – forever unbreakable.

If we look within ourselves without the aid of the loving gaze of another person we risk being crushed under the weight of our failures. If we stare into our own hearts, completely alone, we risk becoming trapped in the space between what we are and the judgment of ourselves.

We need the eyes of another to free us from this cave, to heal us with the tenderness of their gaze. This is the experience of faith that allows our simple human sight to open to hope. The experience of faith is the encounter with the Other that loves, and continues to love, my humanity.

But there is one other aspect that needs to be expressed. This passage from the Gospel of Luke also describes the experience of faith as a great liturgy that accompanies and transforms our lives. It’s no surprise that some texts end with an “amen.”

Life is indeed a liturgy that begins with the proclamation of a word that is revealed to us: thus it is written. No matter how superficial and distracted we may be in the frenetic confusion of our lives, we are the recipients of a message. Someone never ceases to tell us that he has given, and will continue to give, his life for us.

I will never deserve it, but Christ dies so that I may live, so that my live may be without end, eternal. This is mercy: to have the experience of being forgiven while still in my sin. This is the good news for mankind and the heart of our faith: my sin will not carry me to eternal death.

This liturgy of life ends and does not end, it finishes but remains open: the Lord blesses this action and, in the Gospel of Luke, the disciples respond and welcome this blessing by prostrating themselves before Jesus. But at the same time they return to Jerusalem and are always in the Temple, that is, they enter into a permanent praise of the Lord. For he who has experienced forgiveness in his own life, life must become a everlasting praise. And it is precisely this praise, this life as praise, that becomes a testimony. Amen, therefore. Let our lives be such.

Prayer of The Day

Lord Jesus, through the gift of your Holy Spirit, you fill us with an indomitable spirit of praise and joy which no earthly trial can subdue. Fill me with your resurrection joy and help me to live a life of praise and thanksgiving for your glory. May I witness to those around me the joy of the gospel and the reality of your resurrection.” 

Daily Note

God’s love and gift of salvation is not reserved for a few or for one nation alone, but it is for the whole world – for all who will accept it. The gospel is the power of God, the power to release people from their burden of guilt, sin, and oppression, and the power to heal, restore, and make us whole. Do you believe in the power of the gospel? If so, then bring the gospel alive in your life!

 

 

 

Bringing Faith To Our Hearts

Image result for free photo of John 16:5-11

Daily Reflection – 5/29/19

Sacred Scripture

Jesus said to his disciples: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”(John 16:12-15)

Reflection

There are perfect pairs in life that belong together: peanut butter and jelly, Romeo and Juliet, salt and pepper, Tom and Jerry. The Word of God and the Holy Spirit are a perfect pair as well. We know, believe, and proclaim God’s Truth in his Word only because the Spirit is at work in the Scriptures and within us.

While it would’ve been simpler to have Jesus forever teach us directly, it was always his plan to send us his Spirit to guide us. This isn’t a new idea for God has been revealing his truth by the Spirit since the beginning. From creation, where the Spirit hovered over the waters as God spoke earth into existence, to the prophets who received a word of the Lord by the Spirit, God’s Spirit has always worked hand in hand with God’s Word. You simply cannot separate the two.

Knowing God’s truth however is different from believing it. It is here where the Spirit works again in bringing about faith in our hearts. Only the Spirit makes the Scriptures real to us. There is no need to look beyond the Bible for God’s truth because the Spirit is at work in it. It is the Spirit that also transforms how we live out our faith. The Spirit puts flesh on the bones of God’s Word, convicting us and placing desires in our hearts rooted in the foundation of God’s truth.

Finally, the Spirit was given to us for the purpose of proclaiming God’s truth to the world. A revival of the Spirit in our hearts and our cities only happens when we plant ourselves in God’s Word, trusting him in prayer.

Prayer of The Day

Lord Jesus, you are still with us through the action of your Holy Spirit. Help me to find strength and consolation as I strive to follow his guidance. Open my entire being to you, aware that you know everything already. I’m certain of your mercy and the purifying power of your penetrating, loving gaze.

Daily Note

Jesus spoke these words at the Last Supper, as he gathered with his disciples, sharing life with them. He realized that there was much he wanted to express but could not say, so he washed their feet, broke bread and shared wine. His words and actions comforted and strengthened them in ways that only the Holy Spirit might help them to understand.