Do You Stand With Him ?

Image result for free photo of Mark 6:14-29

 

 

Daily Reflection – 2/7/2020

Sacred Scripture

King Herod heard about it, for his fame had become widespread, and people were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him.” Others were saying, “He is Elijah”; still others, “He is a prophet like any of the prophets.” But when Herod learned of it, he said, “It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up.” Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married. John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so. Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him. She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee. Herodias’s own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.” He even swore [many things] to her, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.” The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request, “I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her. So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison. He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb. (Mark 6:14-29)

Reflection

Today’s Gospel presents the details surrounding the beheading of John The Baptist. Some would say “even more than necessary.” But is it? Too often, the stories of countless men and women who gave their life for their faith become just that . . . stories. They are interesting. They may even inspire. But they seem to exist outside of our immediate spheres.

What occurred in all of these reports is that men and women gave their lives in the battle for the Kingdom of God. What we prefer to forget is that the battle is still raging and it is one in which we are all involved! Some will remain conscious of it and speak out and act out their belief in Jesus Christ. Others will come up with one excuse or another as to why it is not their responsibility. Others will turn a deaf ear. But the work of God is like a stream, and when someone puts a rock in the stream, the water flows around the rock. This is what the first century disciples of Jesus had to discover, and this is the discovery that we continue to make today – that despite the setbacks, the hardships, and despite those we lose along the way, the work of God continues, joy comes in the morning, or, in the words of Martin Luther, “The City of God remaineth”.

Many have gone before us in this battle and others will follow, and no one of us is invulnerable. All of us, sooner or later, will fall, but the work of God continues. I will fall, but the work of God will continue. You will fall at some point but the work of God will continue!

We are called to keep the lights bright in the City of God. We are called to be one of those lights. Not to keep the light burning behind a closed door. Not to keep the light hidden in the secrecy of our minds and prayers. But to stand boldly and declare our belief in Jesus Christ. To help the marginalized, to loudly decry wickedness, to don the armor of a soldier for Christ. That is our obligation, that is our call.

If we truly consider ourselves followers of Jesus, then we do need to speak the truth we believe even if it is not the popular opinion. Today may we ask Jesus for the courage to speak and act on our beliefs—even if it may upset the other person. Today may we ask John the Baptist to share his courage, honesty and directness with us!

Prayer of The Day

Heavenly Father, form in me the likeness of your Son that I may imitate him in word and deed. Help me to live the Gospel faithfully and give me the strength and courage I need to not shrink back in the face of adversity and temptation.

Daily Note

John put his life on the line for what he believed. Do we speak what we believe, especially if our opinion or thoughts deviates from the norm? Or do we simply keep silent? Or if directly asked, do we equivocate on our response? Or do we simply avoid the question?

Your Call Is Now

Image result for free photo of Mark: 7-13"

Daily Reflection – 2/6/2020

Sacred Scripture

He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick–no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.  He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there. Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.” So they went off and preached repentance. They drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them. (Mark 6: 7-13)

Reflection

Today’s Gospel message echoes that we have all been called by the Lord, destined for adoption to become children of God.

Most people react to the word “calling” by referencing it to a call to religious life. Yes, those of us who have been called to the ministerial or religious life have answered a call. But while our callings differ greatly in the visible world, the spiritual calling that we must answer in the invisible world is identical to all of us. As St. Paul states at the beginning of the Letter to the Romans, it is through our human spirit that we serve God by announcing the gospel of His Son.

Our calling is to allow ourselves be transformed by the Word of God. We are called to be disposed in Christian love to share the Word of God with those who are open to Divine grace.

I think we could say that since the time of the flood there has never been a time when we have kicked against the word of God as much as we are doing now, there has never been a time with as much sin as now. Now, more than ever, it is time to proudly wear our faith. To allow our words, actions and lives to be a visible witness to the Gospel message we espouse.

Now is not the time to use the fact that we go to Church weekly or daily to be a sufficient example of our faith. Now is the time when living our faith is not only called for but it is absolutely vital. If you shirk from that belief, then ask yourself “why.” It is in asking the question that you confront yourself and your faith. Faith is not solely lived in your living room reading scripture. Faith is not solely lived by “being a nice person.”

Faith is meant to be shared. If you are living your faith, you are standing out. If you are standing out, you have answered the active version of being called. You and I are called. You and I have been called . . .  for a lot longer than we are willing to recognize.  You and I have been called to fulfill, “I live now not my own life but the life of Christ who lives in me.”

How fantastic is that !!

Prayer of The Day

Lord, make me a channel of your grace and healing love that others may find life and freedom in you.  Free me from all other attachments that I may joyfully pursue the things of heaven.  May I witness the joy of the gospel both in word and deed.

Daily Note

The Lord wills to work through and in each of us for his glory.  Are you ready to handle the power and authority which God wishes you to exercise on his behalf?  The Lord entrusts us with his gifts and talents.  Are you eager to place yourself at his service, to do whatever he bids you, and to witness his truth and saving power to whomever he sends you?

 

 

Which Road Do You Travel?

Daily Reflection – 2/5/2020

Sacred Scripture

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith. (Mark 6:1-6)

 Reflection

What happened in Nazareth was a foretaste of the later reaction of the scribes and Pharisees to Christ’s claim to be the promised Messiah. His community, turned against him in bitter hatred and there and then decided to put an end to his career. Why? Because the demon of envy, a daughter of pride, laid hold of their hearts and minds. Why should a neighbor’s son, and one of a lower status than many of them—a mere carpenter, be given this privilege while their sons were passed over? This could not be, their envy told them, and so they shut their minds against any proof to the contrary. It was the same later in the case of the Pharisees.

Those vices of envy and pride have corrupted so many over the course of humankind.

Envy, like pride, is dark. Think of what it does. It dulls a person’s appreciation of others and of events. It leads people into a more inward life.  It leads to a life that knows no joy but lives on critique, dislike and criticism.

To resist their intrusion into our lives, we need to hold on to our root cause. Jesus humbled himself so that we might be raised to the standing of sons and daughters of God. He shared our human nature with us so that we could share his divine nature. He died a cruel death on Calvary so that we could have an eternal life in heaven. How can we hold on to the sin of pride when all that we are and all that we should be came from another so much greater than we?

Let us renew our loyalty to Christ today. We pray for light for those whose foolish pride has left them groping in darkness. Let us also ask the good God to keep us ever on the road of truth, the road of Christian humility which leads to our eternal home which Christ has won for us by his incarnation.

Christ will continue to reign and lead all men and women whose minds are free from sinful pride and open to the truth to eternal life.

Prayer of The Day

Lord Jesus, you are the fulfillment of all our hopes and desires. Your Spirit brings us grace, truth, life, and freedom. Fill me with the joy of the gospel and inflame my heart with love and zeal for you and for your will.

Daily Note

Jesus came to set people free from the worst tyranny possible — the tyranny of slavery to sin and the fear of death, and the destruction of both body and soul. God’s power alone can save us from emptiness and poverty of spirit, from confusion and error, and from the fear of death and hopelessness. The gospel of salvation is “good news” for us today. Do you know the joy and freedom of the gospel?

Will You Embrace The Change?

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Daily Reflection – 2/4/2020

Sacred Scripture

When Jesus had crossed again [in the boat] to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea. One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” He went off with him, and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him. There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak.  She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?” But his disciples said to him, “You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.” While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. So he went in and said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out. He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was. He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. [At that] they were utterly astounded. He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat.( Mark 5:21-43)

Reflection

The readings for today can be viewed as a spiritual wake-up call.  They ask us to refocus and assure we are living a life of faith. They remind us that we must continually place faith in God and trust his guidance in our daily lives

Too often, we want to play the part of the disciple, but we end up becoming a Pharisee. We look and act the part, but our heart is far from Christ.

It is a sinister thing, and it happens without us realizing it. We take in the rhetoric of a world that tells us miracles don’t exist; that prayer is empty, and what we do amounts to foolishness. We pretend like it doesn’t affect us, but slowly we lose faith. We start to see Jesus as a moral philosopher rather than a Messiah and healer. We view him as a life enhancer, rather than a life changer.

Death enters the world, and we now have a choice. We can choose to stay in the company of the devil and experience that death, or we can place our faith in Christ and receive eternal life.

This faith isn’t for the moments when we are “winning.” It isn’t for the days gone by of cultural Christianity. It is for the times when all seems lost; when we suffer affliction without reprieve. When we are persecuted, and the world seems to turn against us. It is for the moments when everything seems hopeless, and all seems lost. Faith reminds us that love conquers all. If we just could reach out to touch Christ’s garment, if we could just bring him to the place where we feel death is most real, like Jairus, then perhaps we will find healing. It is a faith that does whatever it takes to get to Christ for healing.

Prayer of The Day

Lord, you love each of us individually with a unique and personal love.  Touch my life with your saving power, heal and restore me to fullness of life.  Help me to give wholly of myself in loving service to others.

Daily Note

Do you have the faith to fight the crowds to get close to him? Do you believe that all one needs to do is reach out in faith and simply catch a thread of his garment, a strand from the vestment of the King, and that person will be healed? That is a faith that radically changes the world. That is the faith that can radically change us!

 

 

 

 

No Darkness Is Too Great For Him

Related imageDaily Reflection – 2/3/2020

Sacred Scripture

They came to the other side of the sea, to the territory of the Gerasenes. When he got out of the boat, at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him. The man had been dwelling among the tombs, and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain. In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains, but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the hillsides he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones. Catching sight of Jesus from a distance, he ran up and prostrated himself before him, crying out in a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me!” (He had been saying to him, “Unclean spirit, come out of the man!”) He asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “Legion is my name. There are many of us.” And he pleaded earnestly with him not to drive them away from that territory. Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside. And they pleaded with him, “Send us into the swine. Let us enter them.” And he let them, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine. The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank into the sea, where they were drowned. The swineherds ran away and reported the incident in the town and throughout the countryside. And people came out to see what had happened. As they approached Jesus, they caught sight of the man who had been possessed by Legion, sitting there clothed and in his right mind. And they were seized with fear. Those who witnessed the incident explained to them what had happened to the possessed man and to the swine. Then they began to beg him to leave their district. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him.  But he would not permit him but told him instead, “Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.” Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed. (Mark 5:1-20)

Reflection

The Gospel tells a disturbing story about a man possessed by demons. This character is quite out of control, completely alienated from himself and from others. He was the total outsider. Yet, Jesus engaged with him and as a result of his encounter the man was restored to the community from which he came.

Hopefully we’ll never be as disturbed as the demoniac was, but we can sometimes find ourselves out of sorts with ourselves and with others, feeling only half alive, tossed and troubled. It is then that we need to come before the Lord as the man in the gospel did. Our Lord is never put off by our disturbance within. If we let him, he will pour his peace into our hearts; he will calm us as he calmed the storm, and having done so he will send us out to share his peace and mercy with others, just as he sent out the man in the gospel.

That is the news that brings peace to us as well perhaps a tear to our eye. We are so loved by God our Father that he wants always to show us that mercy and that love. He wants always to let the light of His mercy and love to illumine the darkest reaches of or soul and say “ Come Out to  Me.  Dwell in Me. Allow My peace to be yours.”

His word reminds us that no destructive force can keep anyone from the peace and safety which He offers to those who seek his help. “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand; but it will not come near you.Because you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your habitation (Psalm 91:7,9)”.

Prayer of The Day

Lord Jesus, unbind me that I may love you wholly and walk in the freedom of your way of life and holiness. May there be nothing which keeps me from the joy of living in your presence.

Daily Note

Jesus is ready and willing to free us from anything that binds us and that keeps us from the love of God. Are you willing to part with anything that might keep you from his love and healing power?

 

 

 

We Each Have A Role

Image result for free photo of Mark 4: 26-34

Daily Reflection – 1/31/2020

Sacred Scripture

He said, “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.” He said, “To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” With many such parables he spoke the Word to them as they were able to understand it. Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private. ( Mark 4:26-34)

Reflection

I wonder if you ever thought of yourself as a farmer? Certainly, some of our international readers do and are. But the fact is that each of us is called to be a farmer. Whether we live in the largest of cities or the smallest of villages, each of us is called to plant seeds.

We may be limited in what we can do, but the thing is that we do have a part to play.  God invites us to be part of his work, helping others along the road to heaven, perhaps by prayer, by example and for a few of us by preaching.  But all of us are invited to play a part.

Jesus uses the parable of the mustard seed.  It is a tiny seed, but it can grow into something many thousands of times its size.  In other words, although we are small, we can have a lasting influence on the world around us, even though we may not realize it in our own lifetime.

God’s kingdom starts from the smallest beginnings in the hearts of men and women who are receptive to God’s word. And it works unseen and causes a transformation from within. Just as a seed has no power to change itself until it is planted in the ground, so we cannot change our lives to be like God until God gives us the power of his Holy Spirit.

And where do we most clearly see the reign of God? We will find it unfolding in our homes whenever we are patient with or forgiving toward those with whom we live. We will recognize it in the helping hand extended to us at school or at work, in the gentle and healing touch of health caretakers, in the strong arm of those on whom we depend. We will appreciate it in the honesty with which financial or business transactions are conducted, in the willingness of others to provide for us in our need, in the courage of women and men who place themselves in harm’s way for the sake of others.

Do you allow the seed of God’s word to take deep root in your life and transform you into a fruit-bearing disciple of Jesus Christ?

Prayer of The Day

Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and transform me into the Christ-like holiness you desire. Increase my zeal for your kingdom and instill in me a holy desire to live for your greater glory.

Daily Note

The best way for us to witness is to go and do and be the kingdom of God in the world. And the best way for us to grow as a disciple is not to  wait to be spoon-fed interesting bits of theology that make you go, ‘Hmm, I never knew that.’ The best way to grow as a disciple is to go and stare hunger in the eye and do something about it, it is to go and find out what brokenness is, and then show people what it means to be whole, it is to go and find death and darkness and speak words of life and light. It is to find people and bring them to Jesus’ table so they can taste and see that God is good.

 

 

How Do YOU Turn On The Light ?

Image result for free photo of Mark 4:21-25

Daily Reflection – 1/30/2020

Sacred Scripture

He said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light. Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.” He also told them, “Take care what you hear. The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you. To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”( Mark 4:21-25)

Reflection

Today’s Gospel message is one that most always remember. It is also a scripture passage that has been frequently preached. In most cases, the message preached is that we all have a “light” within, a gift given to us by God. That is agreed upon by all.

I ask you to think about that light within you from three perspectives. Let’s begin with your light, your gift.

Jesus also calls each of us to be light in our world.  Now take a moment and ask yourself, “How do I shed light in the world?”  Most likely many of the ways we strive to do this may seem insignificant to us.  However, small rays of sunshine still light up the world.  We should let these gifts that God gave us shine so brightly that all those we come in contact with feel the worth of our love and the love of God. Our world is in need of sunshine and hope. Today I invite you to share some sunshine with the people you encounter and to notice the ways in which others share sunshine with you.

I also think that Jesus was referring to the light as the Word of God: just by hearing God’s Word we have a light within us. We have all heard that we are loved and saved by Jesus and we are called to spread this message to everyone we meet, especially those who are stuck in a dark time. We need to be the light in their lives giving them the courage and strength to let their own lights shine bright. Even though we are all faced with dark times and obstacles we need to make sure that our lights are still shining brightly. Jesus’ words turn the darkness to light and fill our lives and the world with light and hope. We cannot just take God’s love and mercy for granted; we need to make sure that we are spreading his love to everyone. Today, let us be challenged to let our lights shine and help all those we encounter find their light.

Finally, let’s remember that God’s grace not only illumines the darkness in our lives, but it also fills us with spiritual light, joy, and peace. Jesus used the image of a lamp to describe how his disciples are to live in the light of his truth and love. Just as natural light illumines the darkness and enables one to see visually, so the light of Christ shines in the hearts of believers and enables us to see the heavenly reality of God’s kingdom. In fact, our mission is to be light-bearers of Christ so that others may see the truth of the gospel and be freed from the blindness of sin and deception.

Prayer of The Day

Lord, you guide me by the light of your saving truth.  Fill my heart and mind with your light and truth and free me from the blindness of sin and deception that I may see your ways clearly and understand your will for my life.  May I radiate your light and truth to others in word and deed.

Daily Note

Reflect, today, upon the mission you have been given by Christ to spread His Word.  Say “Yes” to that mission and then look for ways, each and every day, to sow His Word.  Expect much of the effort you give to unfortunately bear little fruit in a manifest way.  However, have deep hope and confidence in the fact that some of that seed will reach the soil that our Lord desires it to reach.  Commit yourself to the sowing; God will worry about the rest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Are Eternal Springs

Image result for free photo of Mark 4:1-20

Daily Reflection – 1/29/2020

Sacred Scripture

On another occasion he began to teach by the sea. A very large crowd gathered around him so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down. And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land. And he taught them at length in parables, and in the course of his instruction he said to them, “Hear this! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep. And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it and it produced no grain. And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit. It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.” And when he was alone, those present along with the Twelve questioned him about the parables. He answered them, “The mystery of the kingdom of God has been granted to you. But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that ‘they may look and see but not perceive, and hear and listen but not understand, in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.’” Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand any of the parables? The sower sows the Word. These are the ones on the path where the Word is sown. As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once and takes away the Word sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who, when they hear the Word, receive it at once with joy. But they have no root; they last only for a time. Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the Word, they quickly fall away. Those sown among thorns are another sort. They are the people who hear the Word, but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, and the craving for other things intrude and choke the Word, and it bears no fruit. But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the Word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”( Mark 4:1-20)

Reflection

Jesus’ parable of the sower is aimed at the hearers of his word. There are different ways of accepting God’s word and they produce different kinds of fruit accordingly.

The parable of the Sower likens the mysterious working of grace to the inner life-force of the seed (the Word of God) and also to the potential of the soil — whether rocky and shallow or fruitful and arable. But human freedom also comes into play in the process of our fulfilment. Since God has breathed into us his own Spirit, we are not clods of inanimate earth, but malleable clay for the divine potter to form. Our free response to God’s grace makes us both arable and pliable.

We are not meant to wait passively and do nothing, simply waiting for God to make us grow. While many things are outside our control and eventually, we must leave all to God, we still need to seek to do his will. Salvation is the interplay of God’s grace and our response.

Indeed, much of the soil is rocky and dry, with the result that many seeds never take root, or never properly ripen. Yet, in spite of all kinds of obstacles, there can be a good harvest. The underlying message remains: Look beyond the obstacles, the set-backs, the disappointments; God is at work in Jesus, and the harvest will be great in the end. Any of us can focus too much on what is not going well, by the failures, the diminishment of the church as we knew it. He encourages us to keep hopeful in the midst of loss and failure, because He is always at work in generating life, even when drought seems to kill the landscape.

Prayer of The Day

Lord, faith in your word is the way to wisdom, and to ponder your divine plan is to grow in the truth.  Open my eyes to your deeds, and my ears to the sound of your call, that I may understand your will for my life and live according to it.

Daily Note

None of us should think that because we see hardness or difficulties in our lives now, that we are beyond hope of change, or that it’s too late for us. God can “plow” us up at any time, making us more receptive to the work he has sown in us and more able to bear the abundant fruit that his seed is capable of producing. We should always keep our eyes and ears open, looking for ways that God may be trying to work a greater softening in our hearts, a greater receptivity to his word.

 

 

 

Where Does It Begin For You ?

Image result for free photo of Mark 3: 31-35

Daily Reflection – 1/28/2020

Sacred Scripture

His mother and his brothers arrived. Standing outside they sent word to him and called him. A crowd seated around him told him, “Your mother and your brothers [and your sisters] are outside asking for you.” But he said to them in reply, “Who are my mother and [my] brothers?” And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. [For] whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:31-35)

Reflection

Where does it begin for you . . . your definition of faith, your statement of belief? May I suggest an answer? It is found in today’s Gospel.

Jesus defines both the family of God and that which it means to be part of God’s family. He creates a new family. He looks about at the faces that are sitting before Him in this house, and He says, “Here are My mother and My brothers.” He’s doing the unthinkable. He’s starting a new family, a new holy people without regard for family bonds.

Our relationship is now more meaningful, more substantial than the genetic bonds of physical family relationships. The Holy Spirit comes into the hearts and lives of men and women as the spirit of sonship, the spirit of adoption witnessing “with our spirits that we are the children of God; and if children then heirs, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ.”

There’s one more point and that is that Jesus defines the meaning of true family. Did you notice this verse “For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother?” It’s not who believes in me is my mother and brother and sister.’ No, He says. “Whoever does the will of God.”

What does that involve? Have we come to Christ? Let’s start there. Have we come to Christ? Have we come to Jesus “just as I am without one plea but that They blood was shed for me?” Have we come to Jesus as He bids us come to Him, with empty hands–not the doings of the law, not the trappings or our self-righteousness but taking Him and Him alone as our Lord and Savior?

And one more question: Is there an obedience in you because of what God has done for you in Jesus Christ that you want to give yourself entirely to Him? Every day we say, ‘Not my will, not my will, but Thy will be done.’ These are the marks of those who belong to Jesus family.

Do you belong to the family of Jesus? Are these your brothers and sisters more precious to you than any other relationship in all the world? If so, then there cannot be division amongst us. If so, we must continually seek to love our brother and sister instead of finding fault with our brother and sister. If so. we forgive. Forgive it all. Every hurt, every petty word, every insult to our sense of being. If so, we turn away from those who seek to stand us apart.

Prayer of The Day

May the Lord, through His love, seek my heart, mind and will so as to be more endeared to Him, emboldened by Him and entitled by Him. Entitled so that I can see my brother and sister around me.

Daily Note

The Lord reminds us why his family is heavenly and so unique. It is not based on race, patriotism or blood. It is based on faith, hope and love. The Lord’s family is comprised of those who seek God’s will in their lives and follow it faithfully. This is what defines, binds and holds together the Lord’s family.

 

A House Divided Lies In Darkness

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Daily Reflection = 1/27/2020

Sacred Scripture

The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “By the prince of demons he drives out demons.” Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables, “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand; that is the end of him. But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder his house. Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.” For they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.” ( Mark 3:22-30)

Reflection

Some of the Jewish leaders reacted vehemently to Jesus’ healings and exorcisms and they opposed him with malicious slander. How could Jesus get the power and authority to release individuals from Satan’s influence and control? They assumed that he had to be in league with Satan. They attributed his power to Satan rather than to God. Jesus asserts that no kingdom divided against itself can survive for long.

Think for a moment of all the great things we would be able to accomplish if all Christians were united in heart, mind and soul. I do not mean that we all have to lose our identity. No. But if we were all united in truth and love imagine what wonders the world would see!

The Lord came to unite, not divide. He unites his flock. He gathers the wheat! God unites, the devil divides. He uses the sins of pride, vanity and sensuality to create division within us and among ourselves and reinforces it with animosity! I deserve this award more than they do! If I don’t get what he (she) has. Sin entrenches us in our position. 

This reading is very applicable to our world today. Division grows, people are pitted against one another/ Jesus’s questions speak directly to communities: how can a community divided against itself stand? Too often we tear each other down in order to build ourselves up rather than build others up to better our communities as a whole. Too often we allow secular issues to divide us. Look at the populist countries around the world. There is always a “they,” there is always “the other.”  Can anyone say that this follows the teachings of Jesus Christ? How can one enter the Church of his/her choice if animosity – no matter how subtle – no matter how cloaked – dwells in their heart? Jesus’ teaching challenges us all to come together as humans. If we are separated, if we are divided from one another, then Satan will rule.

Prayer of The Day

Lord Jesus, you are my hope and salvation. Be the ruler of my heart and the master of my home. Free me from any division. Let me walk in the light and not the darkness.

Daily Note

If we disobey God’s word, we open the door to the power of sin and Satan’s influence in our lives. If we want to live in true freedom from the power of sin and Satan, then our “house” – our mind and heart and whatever we allow to control our appetites and desires – must be occupied and ruled by Jesus Christ where he is enthroned as Lord and Savior. Do you know the peace and security of a life submitted to God and to his word?