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!

Has your life been threatened for following God’s will?

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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:  When Jeremiah finished speaking all that the LORD commanded him to speak to all the people, then the priests, the prophets, and all the people laid hold of him, crying, “You must die!”  (Jeremiah 26:8)

 

Observation:  In the explanation of Fortitude (Courage) above, it says that this gift affords us the ability to accept rejection, verbal abuse, or even physical harm and death.  I haven’t noticed that before as much as I did today after I read what the priests, prophets, and all the people said to Jeremiah.  I don’t know if my life has ever been threatened before, but I have certainly been rejected and had to put up with verbal abuse.  Anyway, I am thinking now about how many times the priests wanted to put Jesus to death.

 

Personification:  Gentleness  I hope that no matter what happens to me today, I will always stand up for what God has told us, and never compromise my integrity, just because I think it is what I think other people want to hear.  I will speak the truth in love with gentleness and courage.

 

Prayer:  Lord, help me and my brothers and sisters in Christ who will read this today to live out your call to us as priest, prophet and king, just like Jeremiah and Jesus did.  Saint Jeremiah, pray for us.  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.  Mary, Queen of Heaven, pray for us.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen!

 

Who is questioning our authority to preach?

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English: Resurrection of Christ

English: Resurrection of Christ (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:  They returned once more to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the temple area, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders approached him and said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things? Or who gave you this authority to do them?”  (Mark 11:27-28)

Observation:  As I began to ponder what verse or verse I would focus on today in my journal, I actually picked out a verse from the first reading first, but the link wasn’t working to open it to the page that could remind me of the context.  Anyway, I had thought about the fact that the scribes and temple authorities had questioned Jesus’ authority when I read the Gospel too.  When I thought about it, in relation to who questions my authority to do the things That I do to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, I realized that this is a more worthy reflection on today’s readings for my blog.  It is not any authority, per se, that I think about when I am deciding whether or not to post my reflection, it is the doubts that enter my head about whether I am really called to do this or if I am just putting myself out there, so someone will tell me how great I am.  Jesus said that he has defeated the powers that create those negative thoughts in my head, and thanks be to God the authorities of our faith are not telling me to stop, because I would really need God’s help and grace to continue preaching then.

Personification:  Love  As my daughter asked me to pick her up, I couldn’t help but want to focus on the fruit of love this morning.  As she squirms to get down on the floor and I have to put her back in her walker, I realize that self-control is the fruit that I should be focusing on.  It is a fruit that I was not asked to focus on much when I was growing up, and even at age 40, I struggle with displaying this fruit in my life.  Maybe, I will struggle with it my whole life, but I know that it is only by grace and through the power of the Holy Spirit that I will ever be able to e to conquer the desires of the flesh and things that lead me to despair in this life.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to rely more fully on the holy Spirit and allow the fruit of self-control to be displayed in my life.  Please keep me from displaying anger at things that are not evil, and only focus my attention on holy things.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen

Obey the truth and you will learn to love…

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English: Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Dove of the Ho...

English: Gian Lorenzo Bernini – Dove of the Holy Spirit (ca. 1660, stained glass, Throne of St. Peter, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican) (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:  Since you have purified yourselves by obedience to the truth for sincere mutual love, love one another intensely from a [pure] heart. You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and abiding word of God,* for:

“All flesh is like grass,

and all its glory like the flower of the field;

the grass withers,

and the flower wilts;

but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

This is the word that has been proclaimed to you.  (1 Peter 1:22-25)

Observation:  When the Holy Spirit is moving in your heart and compelling you to do certain things that seem out of character for you, that is an opportunity to be obedient to the truth and begin to learn how to react out of love to all situations.  This is what I heard from the first reading today, and I hope I can remember that the word of God is the thing that lasts and not my emotion.

Personification:  Love  It only makes sense to focus on the fruit of love, since obedience is teaching me how to love.  It is funny how our understanding of love in this world is so foreign to the next world’s love.  God’s love is not interested in reciprocation, if we could all learn to love each other this way, we would be on our way to understanding the kind of love that Saint Peter is talking about here.

Prayer:  Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit. Amen

Today’s Good News…He will keep us from evil!

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Courage

Courage (Photo credit: drp)

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:  I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one.  (John 17:15)

Observation:  It is my understanding that God will keep us from evil, but we have to comply with the way that we are being kept from evil.  No matter what issues I have with the things that I have to do to comply with God’s will, I must do them, if I am going to be kept from evil.

Personification: Generosity  It is my hope that I can follow the will of God in my life, so that I can display the fruit of observing the will of God in my life and give those fruits of that observance to others that are close enough to me to see the difference.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to follow your will for me in my life, so that I can be kept from evil by your grace.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.