Are there people given in return for you?

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Isaiah 43 4From Isaiah 43:4, we hear God say, “Because you are precious in my eyes and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you and nations in exchange for your life.”  Verse 5 continues, “Fear not, for I am with you;  from the east I will bring back your offspring, from the west I will gather you.”  I heard the beginning of verse 4 read on the radio this morning, by a priest who was leading some type of retreat somewhere in the Tampa, Florida area today.  Anyway, as I heard it read, I was motivated to spend some time in the chapel reading the rest of it, after our normal morning prayer with a few fellow parishioners.  So, I read it and started to realize that God really loves me, which is awesome, but that God has given people in return for me sounded pretty amazing.  As I sat there and finished the Office of Readings that I wasn’t able to get to at home this morning, this was really all I got.  However, as I drove home I realized that there are people who have come before me that have been offered by God in exchange for my life.  I don’t think that my being here on earth has more value than those that were offered for me.  Rather that I am so precious to God that he would do this for me, made me stop the car for a moment and contemplate the awesome responsibility this puts on my shoulders to live out my faith more fully.

As I read the fifth verse of the 43rd chapter of Isaiah, before I copied it on to this post, I realized that God reminds me not to fear this awesome responsibility.  I should know that he feels the same way about all of his children and anyone who realizes the truth of God’s love for them.  He will be faithful to bring them back from wherever they may have wandered.  My hope, as always, is for everyone who reads this today will be brought to a greater understanding of God’s love for them and thereby want to join me in the daily battle against sin in our own lives and in the whole world.  We can partner with God in dispelling evil with the good works we do in spreading His good news and … Prayer-Fasting-Almsgiving, not just a Lenten observance…Keep the faith!

WE HEARD THE GOOD NEWS, BUT ARE WE LISTENING?

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So proud of Andy Schmelzer…From Coos Bay!  <  See video here!

Gift:  Fortitude (Courage) – With the gift of courage, we overcome our fear and are willing to take risk as a follower of Jesus. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God, even if it means accepting rejection, verbal abuse, or even physical harm and death.

Reading:  For in fact we have received the good news just as they did. But the word that they heard did not profit them, for they were not united in faith with those who listened.Therefore, let us strive to enter into that rest, so that no one may fall after the same example of disobedience.  (Hebrews 4:2,11)

Observation:  As you know, if you have read my journal before, I do not usually highlight the reading, unless it is the words of Jesus and I think I need to highlight in red.  However, today’s first reading for Mass, so reveals a truth about something that happened last night in our little town, I had to highlight it in bold letters.  After I post the video for last night’s rally outside of PP’s new facility, I think it will be abundantly clear why I think this first reading is speaking to us in this country now.

Personification:  Faithfulness. It is true that I am a little jealous of this guy that I met for the first time yesterday, because of his courage to stand up to the abomination that is PP.  I hope that I can stay faithful to the Word of God and our church, so that God will show me the way he is using me to do the same thing Andy was last night.

Prayer:  Lord, continue to build up in me courage and by your grace, keep me always faithful to the calling that you have laid on me and let us be united in your church with those who listened.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen!

In case our relationship with him is based on what he has done for us?

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English: Jesus of patience, the work of Pablo ...

English: Jesus of patience, the work of Pablo de Rojas (XVI) Español: Jesús de la Paciencia, obra de Pablo de Rojas (Siglo XVI) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Gift:  Fortitude (Courage) – With the gift of courage, we overcome our fear and are willing to take risk as a follower of Jesus. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God, even if it means accepting rejection, verbal abuse, or even physical harm and death.

 

Reading:  Now since the children share in blood and flesh, he likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,j and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life. Surely he did not help angels but rather the descendants of Abraham; therefore, he had to become like his brothers in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people.k Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested. (Hebrews 2:14-18)

 

Observation:  Death has no power, except if it eternally separates us from God.  The devil had that power to have people remain in their sin, and be lost forever, but we were made free from death by the power of Jesus.  If you read the gospel for today’s Mass, you will hear about his power while he still walked the earth.  His greater power is only fulfilled through his faithful followers, whom he called brothers, who can see in his willingness to suffer death, that he has transferred his power to them to carry out his mission of saving sinners from death.

 

Personification:  Patience. It is important that I remember to have patience with others, the way that God has had patience with me.  If I can display the fruit of patience today, by not blowing anyone up, especially my children, with my words, than I will be well on my way to being able to be patient with anyone.

 

Prayer:  Lord, please show me the way to display the fruit of patience with my children.  You know how they get under my skin and I know it is your power to make them listen the first time.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen!

 

 

 

If I am called to be one of the two witnesses, am I ready?

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The Transfiguration Lodovico Carracci 1594

The Transfiguration Lodovico Carracci 1594 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gift:  Fortitude (Courage) – With the gift of courage, we overcome our fear and are willing to take risk as a follower of Jesus. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God, even if it means accepting rejection, verbal abuse, or even physical harm and death.

Reading:  If anyone wants to harm them, fire comes out of their mouths and devours their enemies. In this way, anyone wanting to harm them is sure to be slain. They have the power to close up the sky so that no rain can fall during the time of their prophesying. They also have power to turn water into blood and to afflict the earth with any plague as often as they wish.  (Revelation 11:5-6)

Observation:  I left out the part of the reading that talks about what happens to the witnesses once the beast appears, but you can read that for yourself.  If we choose to be one of these witnesses, we must be willing to be killed for our faith, just like all the martyrs of the 2000 years of history in the church.  The powers we have as one of the witnesses, and the glory that comes after we are called to share eternity in heaven will be worth whatever suffering we must undergo at the hand of the beast.

Personification:   Generosity. To display the fruit of generosity, by giving our lives to God, we must keep in mind the generosity of God in giving His Son’s life.  He did this to call us while we were still sinners and to call us to conversion and show us in His resurrection that death is not the end.

Prayer:  Lord, grant me the power to be called one of your witnesses and give me the strength to persevere in your church to the end.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…Amen!

What are we waiting for?

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Courage

Courage (Photo credit: NJ..)

 

Gift:  Fortitude (Courage) – With the gift of courage, we overcome our fear and are willing to take risk as a follower of Jesus. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God, even if it means accepting rejection, verbal abuse, or even physical harm and death.

 

Reading:  On that day, a person who is on the housetop and whose belongings are in the house must not go down to get them, and likewise a person in the field must not return to what was left behind.  (Luke 17:31)

 

Observation:  Have we not seen enough tribulation and strife, world wars and evil to be converted away from what this world has to offer?  I am hearing this morning in the Gospel reading, not a call to repentance to save ourselves from future pains, but a call to leave our possessions of this world behind in favor of redemption that has already come to us through the resurrection and ascension of the one who died on a cross for us, Jesus.

 

Personification:  Peace.  It is only when I realize that God has made me for so much more than this present darkness that we live in, that I can be at peace with the fact that we have to suffer through this world in order to get to the next.  I don’t know what God has planned for me next, but I know it is a future full of hope and love.

 

Prayer:  Lord, make me an instrument of your peace right now and for as long as you give us the time to take part in the redemption of the souls that have not yet accepted your grace.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…Amen!

 

Invitation given, are we making Excuses? or planning to attend the feast!

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Witnessing with Fortitude

Witnessing with Fortitude (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

 

Gift: Fortitude (Courage) – With the gift of courage, we overcome our fear and are willing to take risk as a follower of Jesus. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God, even if it means accepting rejection, verbal abuse, or even physical harm and death.

 

Reading: For, I tell you, none of those men who were invited will taste my dinner. (Luke 14:24)

 

Observation:  Since I chose the whole reading to focus on yesterday, I thought I would be a little more specific about the verse that jumped out at me today from the readings.  In the Gospel reading leading up to this statement from Jesus, the many who were invited made excuses to not attend.  I thought about all the ways that I cling to the things of this world, and not abandon them in favor of accepting the invitation to the feast, without anything holding me back.

 

Personification:. Love. It is only by completely abandoning my vision of worldly love, that I will ever come to know God’s love fully.

 

Prayer:  Lord, help me to follow your will for me more closely, as it is coming clearer day by day by your grace.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…Amen!

 

Leave me, Lord, for I, too, am a sinful man…

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Saint Peter's Basilica

Saint Peter’s Basilica (Photo credit: Søren Hugger Møller)

Gift:  Fortitude (Courage) – With the gift of courage, we overcome our fear and are willing to take risk as a follower of Jesus. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God, even if it means accepting rejection, verbal abuse, or even physical harm and death.

Reading:  When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”  Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”  (Luke 5:8,10b)

Observation:  The miracles that God has done in my life are no less miraculous than the catching of the fish that was done in Peter’s life, so my reaction should be just as humble and contrite.  The truth is, that I am not worthy to be shown such great kindness and love that God has shown me by allowing me to continue in the ministry for as long as he has. I hope that I can truly hear his words to Peter repeated to me today, when he tells him that he should not be afraid, because from now on, he will be catching men.

Personification:  Self-ControlIn displaying the fruit of self-control, I hope to give up my will and only do the will of God in my life.  I think I have said this many times before, but it bears repeating, I can only control myself by surrendering to the God who has something greater planned for me.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to be the man who you want me to be and not the sinner you know I am capable of being on my own.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…Amen!