Three Little Words

No Greater Love Than This - John 15:12-15

Daily Reflection – 5/15/2020

Sacred Scripture

“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.” (John 15:12-17)

Reflection

“ Love one another.”

The beauty and the power of those words have reverberated throughout Christianity since they were first uttered.

On the face of it, the words are simple. But to most, the power of living those words seems almost herculean. After all, as humans, we are subject to human frailties . . . anger, self-pity, inadequacy, emotions, sadness, fatigue and more. How can we rise to the challenge of loving one another as He loved us?

We can IF we focus on a key phrase of this discourse by Jesus. “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain.” We live in a time when we have deep fear about our personal powerlessness. Institutions and problems seem to not only dwarf us but to consume us.  But we are not powerless. God created us for a purpose. Jesus reminds us that each of us is chosen. Yes, you and I have been chosen.  We need to internalize that before we can open ourselves to the task of loving.

But even more empowering is that Jesus promises that our love will not only bear fruit, but fruit which abides. In other words, lives motivated by love have meaning. They’re fertile.  They’re powerful. They live. Think for a moment of the child you were or a child that was part of you. Isn’t that love powerful? Isn’t that love a thing of beauty? Isn’t that love a treasure? You chose, either through parentage, or adoption, or family to foster that love. Having fostered that love, there is nothing that you would not do . . . including laying down your life for that love.

Again, reflect, understand and then embrace the fact that you are chosen by God. Chosen to be part of His plan of salvation. You and I are not mere mortals or pawns on a chessboard. You and I are individuals chosen to fulfill His gospel of love.

And once we grasp it, then we need to understand that we are fueled by a power far greater than we could imagine. Jesus tells us that he is our friend and he loves us totally and unconditionally. He wants us to love one another just as he loves us, whole-heartedly and without reserve. His love fills our hearts and transforms our minds and frees us to give ourselves in loving service to others. If we open our hearts to his love and obey his command to love our neighbor, then we will bear much fruit in our lives, fruit that will last for eternity.

Remember those words. You are chosen. You are appointed. Your witness of love will and does enable others to love, to believe and to hold on to His promise. May God grant each of us the unselfish love to hear His voice . . . and the courage to act on it by following His call.

Prayer of The Day

“Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Prayer of Ignatius Loyola)

Daily Note

No matter how “unqualified” we may feel at times to make a difference, we must remember that God does not see us that way. Rather, He sees the infinite potential within each of us and chooses to use that potential for the building up of His Kingdom. Reflect, this day, on those  two short phrases: “I have chosen you” and “Go and bear fruit.” Accepting your call from God will change your life and will also change the lives of those whom you are called to serve.

A Friendship Like No Other

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Daily Reflection – 5/14/2020

Sacred Scripture

As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another. (John 15:9-17)

Reflection

We live in a world of competing values as well as those calling for our allegiance. At tines, its possible to lose our focus as followers of Christ. Yet, Jesus Christ speaks to us again and again about our relationship with Him and, in that relationship, we learn about His love and its implications for our life.

It starts with, continues through, and ends with His love. We are reminded that we were created in love so that we could become bearers of that love. God created us to love, He created us so that we might all love each other with only one heart, one soul. God created us so that, one day, we might receive within us his Son Jesus, and, through Him, all the Love he is in person as God, the Son and Image of the Father. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.”

Our baptism is the first recalling of that love, promised to us in care and protection for this life and into eternity.  It joins us to the community of love received and love shared. But it is also a call to follow in that love . . . to take on the characteristics of care, love and compassion for others. That is what Jesus did over and over again. That is what we are called to do over and over again.

Why? Because you and I are called to bear fruit. You and I are called to take part in making the world a better place for all to live. Especially during this period of pandemic, the need for us to follow through on that call is paramount.

But there is still another  even more important dimension. It lies within the gift that Jesus offers. Jesus is inviting us into a relationship of love between the Father and Jesus himself. Jesus wants that for us. Jesus offers that love between the Father and himself to us, “Remain in my love.”

How do we remain in the love of Jesus? Just as we show love to another by spending quality time with that person, we can receive the love of Jesus by spending quality time with Jesus. If we don’t spend quality time with Jesus, how can Jesus spend quality time with us to give us his love? But through prayer and studying His word in scripture, something happens gradually. As we pour out our thoughts to God and think about the words of the Lord to us in the Bible, we gradually soak up the words of God to us and they become part of us. We discover that the words of the Bible are a love letter from God to us. As we spend quality time with Jesus to allow him spend quality time with us, we get new insights into life and into our lives and the world around us. We also become happier and that time in prayer with Jesus every day is the happiest part of the day.

Jesus has chosen you and me to be His bearers of the message. It is a good and joyful thing.  We can be that if we allow ourselves to be open to the power of His call.  God is calling you and me to do to make a positive change in the world around you?  We have to respond because the Lord says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you.”

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and make me fruitful in your love, mercy, kindness, and compassion. May there be nothing in my life which keeps me from your love and joy.”

Daily Note

While the grace of God given as a gift in Jesus is first, our reception of that gift is as important if the act of giving is to be completed. We show that we have received this gift when we, like Jesus, also dare to reach out in love. When we speak an enhancing word, perform a loving action, behave a little less selfishly, and a little more selflessly, then the gift is given and received, again and again.

 

An Invitation That Fills Our Life

 

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Daily Reflection – 5/13/2020

Sacred Scripture

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”(John 15:1-8)

Reflection

There is a profound beauty in today’s Gospel. It’s the invitation to keep our lives centered on Jesus Christ and in so doing, to have our lives blessed abundantly. Not so much in terms of materiality but rather that our lives are magnified by His presence in us. He is the true vine and each of us has the opportunity to be a fruitful branch. Our actions, our words, our very being can be used to bring Him glory. Our actions, our words, our very being can be used to bring others to Him. Our actions, our words, our very being can be used to magnify His love for us throughout the world. He wants our lives to be fruitful and He wants to use us as powerful instruments of His grace in the world.  That is both humbling and, at the same time, glorious!

In truth, isn’t that what we believe as followers of Christ? Christianity is not just a religion of “don’ts” but one of “do’s”. Christ is very definite about it, “You must bear fruit in plenty,” fruits of good works.  The only thing that matters is “faith working through love” (Gal. 5:6) or as St James beautifully put it: “What good is it to profess faith without practicing it? Such faith has no power to save one, has it?”

We bear fruit abundantly by being attached to and living in the Vine, Jesus Christ. We must be abiding in Jesus and He in us, and stay in communion with all the others who abide in Jesus. This life of union with Christ is necessarily something which goes far beyond one’s private life: it has to be focused on the good of others; and if this happens, a fruitful apostolate is the result.

But Jesus reminds us that there is a balancing that must take place continuously. It lies in a spiritual pruning that each of us is called to do. A life of good acts which is not accompanied by a spiritual life focused on Jesus Christ falls far short. So too does a life of prayer not accompanied by being Jesus to one another.

Spiritual pruning takes the form of letting God eliminate the vices in our lives so that the virtues can be properly nourished.  This is especially done by letting Him humble us and strip away our pride.  This can hurt, but the pain associated with being humbled by God is a key to spiritual growth.  By growing in humility, we grow ever more reliant upon the source of our nourishment rather than relying upon ourselves, our own ideas and our own plans.  God is infinitely wiser than us and if we can continually turn to Him as our source, we will be far stronger and better prepared to let Him do great things through us. 

Pray this day that you will let the Lord prune away all that is not of Him in your life.  Trust in Him and His divine plan and know that this is the only path to bearing the good fruit God wants to bear through you.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, may I be one with you in all that I say and do.  Draw me close that I may glorify you and bear fruit for your kingdom. Inflame my heart with your love and remove from it anything that would make me ineffective or unfruitful in loving and serving you as My All.”

Daily Note

There are many seductions and distractions in our world also inviting us to make our home in them but if we do our branch will wither and we will not bear fruit. There are many voices in the world telling us to eat the apple from the tree and then we will have life and all will be well. But after eating the apple we discover that we are worse and even more unhappy. So we make our home in Jesus. He alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life and when we make our home in Him, we bear fruit.

 

So Where is My Peace?

 

The Episcopal Church på Twitter: "Jesus said, “Peace I leave with ...

Daily Reflection – 5/12/2020

Sacred Scripture

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe. I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over me, but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”( John 14:27-31)

Reflection

Imagine how the apostles felt when Jesus gave them this final discourse. Anxiety, fear, disappointment, trepidation? All of these and more. Their Master, their Lord was leaving them. It was beyond their comprehension or at least beyond what they wanted to believe. Knowing this, Jesus tries to assuage their emotions. He tells them of His gift of peace.

At that moment, it’s highly possible that they did not understand because they needed to learn about this peace and they needed to adjust their lives to accommodate it. And so do we.

Is the peace of Christ real? Ask the hundreds of thousands who have embraced it, some accepted the death of martyrs and were filled with it. Others used it as an inner inspiration that motivated their lives to not only follow His way but to bring His way to others. The fact is that they all had to learn it. His peace does not happen in a moment and well it shouldn’t because His peace is for eternity.

So, what is this learning? St. Augustine has a beautiful description of peace. According to him, peace means the following: The first is “serenity of the mind,” that is, allowing Jesus to take control of our thoughts, our fears and our worries. The second is “simplicity of the heart” that is, being contented with what we have and what we have received as gifts from God, and finally, the third is tranquility of the soul” that is, being fully reconciled with God and others.

Serenity of the mind, simplicity of the heart and tranquility of the soul. If that sounds as if it is a life-long learning, for some it is. For others, it is an easy process. But it is a process.

Peace resides in the hearts of those who are not disturbed by any conflict outside. Peace is not just about balance but also it is the outcome of justice. And the most important element of justice is to give God what is due to Him, that is, there can be no true peace unless we are reconciled with our Creator. People who pray for peace are not automatically peaceful people but people who are those who have reconciled with God and with one another.

It begins with giving ourselves over to God. Allowing him to be our Master. It moves to recognizing that our heart is at its most joyful when it is filled with the simple joys of life – a warm breeze, the kiss of a child, the embrace from a loved one, the eyes of love from someone close to us. It includes, by definition, asking Him for forgiveness and forgiving those who have caused us harm.

Is that real? Yes. In ministry, I have often sat with those that are passing over. In every case, I saw and felt their peace in these last moments. They remembered those parts of life that brought them smiles, they understood that the portal which they were entering gave no credence to things of this world and they glimpsed that His love meant His forgiveness and that necessitated their forgiveness.

THAT is His peace. Pray God that we grasp that in this moment.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, may your peace be always with me.  May no circumstance, trouble, or vexation rob me of the peace which passes all understanding.  You, alone, O Lord, are my Peace.  May I always reside in that peace by believing your word and by doing your will.”

 Daily Note

Jesus is the way.  When we focus on Him, He draws us to Himself.  He draws us away from the distractions, away from the noise.  The One who loved us to death, now loves us to life.  He loves us so much that He draws us to His Life if only we let Him into our lives.

 

 

 

 

At Our Weakest, We Are Strongest

Daily Reflection – 5/11/2020

Sacred Scripture

“Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him, “Master, [then] what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you.”( John 14:21-26)

 

Reflection

Did you ever think that when God gave his Son to the world, He He did not ask whether the world was worthy of his Son ? Even when the world crucified God’s Son, He continued to give his Son to the world, raising him from the dead and sending him back into the world through the Holy Spirit.

That is a love that surpasses all understanding, there is no earthly love that matches it. God’s love for each of us is as real and tangible as the love of a mother for her child and the love of a lover who gives all for his beloved. God made us for love — to know him personally and to grow in the knowledge of his great love for us.  And the Holy Spirit enables us to experience the love of God and to be assured of the Lord’s abiding presence with us.

Even though this wonderful light has come into the world and wants to shine upon us all, we can be reluctant to step into that light, and allow it to shine upon us. This is the mysterious capacity of human freedom to reject the light, to turn away from a faultless love and a boundless mercy. Yet, our coming to the light is often a gradual process; it can happen slowly, at our own pace. The Lord is always prepared to wait on us; he waits for our free response. We are not used to a love that is as generous, as merciful, as rich in grace and goodness as God’s love; it takes us time to receive it, to believe in it, to embrace it. Receiving God’s love and then living out of that gift is the calling and task of a life time.

We all long for that kind of light, a light that is strong and enduring, a light that can be found at the heart of darkness and that is more resilient than darkness. We have all experienced darkness in one shape or form. It may be the darkness of sickness, or of the death of a loved one or the darkness of failure. Life is too difficult to handle alone.  We need help.  All of us.  He doesn’t want us to be in grief. He wants to heal us with His Love.  We have Him.  We need to trust in Him.  Through it all God will take control.

 When we are convinced that we can’t handle things by ourselves and call upon God for help, we are at our strongest.  Now we appreciate our need for Him in our lives.  When we put all in His hands and act according to our consciences, even though this may be difficult and painful, then in our weakness we are strong.

 God is in control.  We have to tell ourselves that over and over.  If only we would allow him to be our strength, then nothing can defeat us.  Not even the worst cross we could imagine can destroy his love in our lives.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, in love you created me and you drew me to yourself. May I never lose sight of you nor forget your steadfast love and faithfulness. And may I daily dwell upon your word and give you praise in the sanctuary of my heart, You who are my All.”

Daily Note

Are we walking in the Light of God? Are we walking in the darkness? Are we walking half and half, one foot in the Light and one foot in the darkness? Our eternal life and salvation depends entirely on our living faith that calls us to look up to Jesus on the Holy Cross. Our salvation and eternal happiness require that we give ourselves entirely to Christ, having both feet in the Light.

 

 

Scripture That Speaks To Our Times

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Daily Reflection – 5/8/2020

Sacred Scripture

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where [I] am going you know the way.” Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:1-6)

Reflection

Today’s scripture is one that speaks volumes to each of us. It’s  true in every season but particularly in the current state of the world where so much of what we have known seems turned on its head. So many of the ‘things” of life that brought us comfort are no longer within our reach. So many people we know – or knew – seem personally affected by the pandemic and its effects. So much that we took as certain no longer seems to be.

Shining through all of this are these words spoken by our Savior. They are words of comfort. They are words of promise. They are words of healing. They are words of reassurance. They are words of certainty/

Facing his apostles and seeing their fear of the future, Jesus did not promise them their troubles were going away. But He did tell them, as He tells us, that He would be with them in the midst of their troubles. He would be a constant force and source of strength. He was with them, as He is with us, as He reminds us “Do not let your hearts be troubled, you have faith in God, have faith in me.”

And Jesus gives us even more certainty when he reminds us that in His father’s house, there are many dwelling places. There is a place for me and for you! But how can we mortals be assured of that? The answer lies in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ utters a single sentence that clears our path to heaven. “I am the Way, I am the truth, and I am the Life. No man comes to the Father, but through Me.” He is our Mediator who has provided the way by His incarnation, life, atoning death, resurrection and ascension.

Jesus is not only the way to God; He is the absolute truth of God. There is no one else to turn to.  Jesus is “the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20).

Jesus Christ takes us by the hand and leads us; He strengthens us and guides us personally every day. He does not tell us about the way; He is the Way. Jesus says to you and me, “Come, go with me and I will take you to heaven. I will lead the way. Come, I will take you there Myself.”

The most important thing for us is not merely to know that Jesus is the Way but to follow Him on the way he indicates. His way is not easy. It’s certainly not popular. In a life full of going through unchartered territory, roadblocks and detours, He helps us to keep our eyes firmly fixed on Him so that he can lead us to the eternal destination of the Father’s house.

Today may each of take any troubles, concerns or fears that we have to Jesus. Jesus will walk with us, strengthen us, heal us and gladden our hearts. Jesus truly is our “Way, Truth and Life.” The question for us is: will we choose to walk daily with Him? He is waiting for us! Will we choose to walk daily to Him?

Prayer of The Day

“Lord, I do long to be with You eternally in Heaven.  I long to be comforted, consoled and filled with joy in Your home.  Help me to always keep this as my goal in life and to grow, daily in a desire for this final resting place.  Jesus, I trust in You.”

Daily Note

Do we seek to see everything through His light, the light of faith, or do we see even the things of faith through the suspicious eyes of a secularized world? Are we grounding ourselves on the Truth he has taught us or on some other foundation? Are we humble enough to know that we don’t have all the answers and to go to him for the answers to the most important questions?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Supreme Example of Love

Thursday of 4th Week of Easter, 11 May – John 13:16-20 ~ welcome ...

Daily Reflection – 5/7/2020

Sacred Scripture

“Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it. I am not speaking of all of you. I know those whom I have chosen. But so that the scripture might be fulfilled, ‘The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me.’ From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”( John 13:16-20)

 

Reflection

Can you imagine the shock of the apostles when Jesus knelt to wash their feet? Here was the Master doing the work of a slave. In those days, it was customary for a slave to wash the feet of visitors. To not provide this kindness would be considered uncivilized and inhospitable.

As incredible as this scene is, Jesus was also washing the feet of the very man who would, later that same evening, betray Him to His enemies. What on earth was going on?

Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that it was not of this earth. Jesus met the injury of betrayal and disloyalty by Judas with the greatest humility and with supreme love. Jesus loved his disciples to the very end, even when they failed him and forsook him. So too, the Lord loves each of us unconditionally.  His love has power to set us free to serve others with Christ-like compassion and humility.

God is love and his love is best expressed by His Word: Jesus Christ! God’s tolerance towards man is best described by one act: His crucifixion. Instead of condemning the world, he died for it! Instead of blasting and cursing to smithereens sinners the Lord embraced them, welcomed them and healed them. 

Jesus’ act of  love, manifested symbolically in the washing of the feet and sharing of bread, presents everyone who sits at his table with a choice: One can embrace Jesus’ gift to us and embody one’s embrace of that gift through one’s own acts of love or, one can turn one’s back on Jesus’ gift of love. This means that merely sitting at Jesus’ table, and even eating the bread that he gives, is not the full story. It has to be continued in the giving of self to others and is only completed when this is done. We then enter into community with Jesus and with one another.

Even his example of serving Judas as a slave would his master. His love never failed! What a lesson for every person reading this, always remember  that His love for you will never end! You may reject every attempt of Jesus to call you unto Himself, but rest assured that no matter how many times you rebuff His efforts, you will never be able to turn off His love for you and for your soul. In fact, He has already humbled Himself on your behalf, when He went to the cross and died for you!

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, your love conquers all and never fails. Help me to love others freely, with heart-felt compassion, kindness and goodness. Where there is injury, may I sow peace rather than strife.”

Daily Note

We profess Christianity much more profoundly in our deeds than with our words.  Do we listen to the Word of God “Sabbath after Sabbath,” then leave its lessons in the pew when we leave the church?  Do our words encourage or dispirit?  Have we “washed the feet” of the poor, the hungry, the sick, the imprisoned in our service to them?  Do we blindly ignore our own faults while criticizing others’ foibles? Do we crucify others on the cross of our expectations?

If we truly want to keep the love  of Jesus ever in our hearts, we need to pick up that basin and towel!

 

 

 

 

It’s About Relationships and Love

 

Daily Reflection – 5/6/2020

Sacred Scripture

Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So, what I say, I say as the Father told me.” (John 12:44-50)

Reflection

Much has been written about this last proclamation of Jesus in the Gospel of John. Theologians have taken each word and built book chapters on them.

To me, this scripture is about relationships. Note that I used the plural “relationships” but let me come back to that.

Let’s begin with our understanding of God’s relationship with us. God created and gave life to the world.  But that was not enough for God.  God wanted us to have more than just mortal life.  Rather God wanted us to have eternal life – a share in the divine life that lasts forever. 

Throughout the Old Testament, we read how God kept sending prophets to announce the divine plan, but people did not, or refused to, understand. 

The next step was for God to became incarnate in Jesus.  Jesus came as the One sent by the Father.  He came to save the world and to lift us to the higher life.  Yet, in His human, earthly body, Jesus did not remain on earth.  So, Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to continue the divine presence, the divine instruction, the divine empowerment.  The Holy Spirit has led, and continues to lead, the believers.

So that is the relationships portion. Through our belief in the Trinity, we have a relationship with God in each person of the Trinity.

Jesus offers us real abundant life – now and forever. Real life is a relationship with the living God, a relationship of trust, love, obedience, peace, and joy. This is what Jesus makes possible for us – a loving relationship with God who created us for love with Him. Apart from Jesus no one can enter that kind of life and relationship.

And how is that love communicated.? t’s not different than the love we have for family members or people who are very close to us. We use the words “I love you” repeatedly. Why?  Because it’s that important – to me, to them, and to our relationship.

So too then with prayer and prayerful silence. The more we pray, the easier it becomes. The easier it becomes, the more meaningful it gets. Sitting in silence and allowing your mind and heart to be united with God’s love is one of the most beautiful earthly encounters we can have with God. It is peace, It is promise, it is pure love with God, Our Father. With God, His Son and with God, the Holy Spirit.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus Christ, your death brought life and hope where there was once only despair and defeat. Give me the unshakable hope of everlasting life, the inexpressible joy of knowing your unfailing love, and the unwavering faith and obedience in doing the will of our Father in heaven”.

Daily Note

Jesus makes God known in a way never known before. He is the unique revelation of the Father as Father since he is Son. His reason for coming into the world was not to hide but to reveal and hence, he came as light. All are invited to come to this light so as not to stay in darkness any longer.

Ah, but whose voice ???

John 10:28 And I give to them eternal life; and they shall never ...

Daily Reflection – 5/5/2020

Sacred Scripture

The feast of the Dedication was then taking place in Jerusalem. It was winter. And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon. So, the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me. But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”( John 10:22-30)

Reflection

In today’s scripture Jesus talks about listening.  Those who belong to me listen to my voice, he says. Jesus Christ calls us by name with a deep and personal knowing. He calls us as individuals, but we  are individuals are called by Christ to form loving community. Jesus is the Good Shepherd and we are the sheep.

As his sheep we are to actively listen for the sound of his voice. We are to listen for the sound of his voice as he calls to us amid the clamor and stampede of a world that fills our ears with messages that are often at odds with what God knows will give us true Life.

We live in a world of loudly competing voices that stridently speak to us in turn of doom and hopelessness, greed and domination, fear vs. hope— voices that call for violent retribution whenever we feel threatened — voices that pit us one against another — voices that use labels to differentiate and separate.

Whose voice are you listening to?

Do you hear the voice of generosity? That you have been given the wonderful gift of life. You are alive, you are gifted – just because you are. Even if you do not yet know the Creator – are you listening and following and being generous not only with money but with your time and your talent, with your joy and laughter and truth?

Do you hear the voice of justice and compassion? That it is good to “treat others as you would have them treat you?” Are you listening to make sure that children have food, and families have homes, and the sick can be cared for, and the uninsured don’t have be scared? That justice doesn’t mean punishment; the voice of justice means celebration and restoration.

If you are listening to the voice of love, hospitality, generosity, justice and compassion, creation and hope – NOTHING in this whole world will be able to snatch you away – nothing will be able to knock you down, tear you up, turn you around because nothing can separate you from the grace and love of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

His is the voice of the True Shepherd which is steady, constant and eternal. Jesus voice comes into our midst and it binds us in love to those around us. This voice calls us into the fold and tells us we do not stand-alone. Jesus’ voice penetrates our hearts with the knowledge and truth of God’s love.

“My sheep hear my voice,” Jesus tells us. ” I call them by name and they follow me, I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What could give us more powerful comfort and hope than that? “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand”. This is God’s promise to each and every one of us.

Prayer of The Day

“Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd who secures what is best for each one of us. In you alone I place all my trust and hope both now and forever. Open my ears to hear your voice today and to follow your commands.”

Daily Note

Today, as always, Jesus tells us we have a choice. Will we listen for his voice or will we surrender to the madness? The Good News is that Christ calls endlessly, every day, and will continue to call to us for an eternity. Oh that today we would hearken to his voice.

Simply Because You Are

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Daily Reflection – 5/4/2020

Sacred Scripture

“I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd. This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.”(John 10:11-18)

Reflection

Sometimes things we know well are taken for granted. Today’s scripture is one that just about every Christian knows well. In that familiarity, we may overlook the messages contained in Jesus’ pronouncement of being the good shepherd.

Sayings of Jesus beginning with ‘I AM’ abound in this gospel of John. Being a Good Shepherd takes us deep into the mystery of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. Yes, like a shepherd, he leads us, feeds us, protects us, and saves us from death. But there’s one mystery that this statement—or any of the others—doesn’t answer: why does God have such unending and boundless love for us?

The answer to this question is both simple and profound. God is love. It’s who He is. He can’t stop loving us. We are his children, and he will always care for us. He loves us so much, in fact, that he asked his Son to take on a human body, and lay down his life for us.

Even now, risen in glory, Jesus still cares more about us than he cares about himself. He is the “shepherd and guardian” of our souls, He is the “great shepherd” who gives his all to his sheep (Hebrews 13:20).

Jesus knows that Satan, wants to steal, kill, and destroy us. He wants us to know it as well, so that we will cling to him and follow him like faithful, innocent sheep.

Being a child of God is not just a matter of doctrine or intellectual faith but of relationship—a relation­ship founded on love: “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God” (1 John 3:1).

Being his daughter, being his son, is a reality that God wants each of us to know intellectually and experi­ence emotionally. Even during those times when we don’t feel particularly loved—as happens with any child at one point or another—we can still hold our heads up high and smile. Why?

Because we have a Father who loves us not because of how good we are or what we do but sim­ply because we are His. We have a Father who walks with us through every storm, always reminding us of his prom­ises and his provision.

 Because our God is the “Father of compassion and God of all encour­agement”

Prayer of The Day

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

Daily Note

All things serve God, even in their refusal and obstinacy, such as Pilate. We must choose on a daily basis whether we serve God or the power of earthly illusion. We can hearken to the voice of the Good Shepherd, or get lost among the wolves. The choice is ours, but the world will not lay its life down for us; only Jesus does that for our salvation. Isn’t the choice clear?