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!

Reject godless ways and worldly desires…

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Gifts of Fear of the Lord and Piety. Fresco No...

Gifts of Fear of the Lord and Piety. Fresco No. 21, Most Holy Trinity Church, Fulnek, Czechia, Europe. Esperanto: Donacoj de Timo antaŭ Dio kaj Pio. Fresko n-ro 21, kirko de la Plej Sankta Triunuo, Fulnek, Ĉeĥujo, Eŭropo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Gift:  Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe) – With the gift of wonder and awe (fear of the lord), we are aware of the glory and majesty of God. A person with wonder and awe knows that God is the perfection of all we desire: perfect knowledge, perfect goodness, perfect power, and perfect love.

 

Reading:  For the grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires
and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of the great God and of our savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good.  (Titus 2:11-14)

 

Observation:  As I read this reading this morning, I was already tormented by thoughts of my sinfulness that I could not shake.  My son came to my rescue on more than one occasion to remind me of the man who God was creating me to be, as a father to my children and a child of God myself.  The truth is, if we are not completely committed to following God in all parts of our life, we will continue to be tempted to fall into sin, when the opportunity to sin presents itself.  This reading reminds me that I must be strong to reject the godless ways that I was raised with, and stay strong against the worldly desires that would consume me, since I have previously accepted some false gods of lust and pride in my life.

 

Personification:  Self-Control.  It is only when I set up all parts of my life to be in union with the will of God, that I know that I will be given the grace to display self-control and overcome any temptation that may present itself.  Rather than linger in this moment of letting my mind wander into my past sinfulness, I choose to make a sincere resolution to convert all parts of my life to following the precepts of God as the church has revealed them to us.

 

Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner…Amen!

 

 

Are we looking for temporary joy or the joy that surpasses all understanding?

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Christ icon in Taizé

Christ icon in Taizé (Photo credit: lgambett)

 

Gift: Counsel (Right Judgment) – With the gift of right judgment, we know the difference between right and wrong, and we choose to do what is right. A person with right judgment avoids sin and lives out the values taught by Jesus.

 

Reading:  Brothers and sisters:
If there is any encouragement in Christ,
any solace in love,
any participation in the Spirit,
any compassion and mercy,
complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love,
united in heart, thinking one thing.
Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory;
rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves,
each looking out not for his own interests,
but also everyone for those of others.  (Phil 2:1-4)

 

Observation:. Yesterday, I talked to the middle school and high school youth groups about how the joy that we get from being with Jesus is so much greater than the temporary happiness from the enjoyment of the things of this world.  It is awesome that the first reading for today’s Mass tells us today that .we can expect our joy to be complete when we are of the same mind, not just with Christ but also with his other children that are in this world with us.

 

Personification:  Joy  I guess it makes sense that I would choose to focus on joy today.  I don’t believe that I am quite ready to be completely of the same mind as Christ, but I can be joyful in those times that I am of the same mind as his other children.

 

Prayer:. Lord, help me to share your truth with others today in the same loving way that you would, always mindful that other people are worthy of being heard as well, so that I can better understand their point of view and we can be of the same mind.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…Amen!

 

Go out to all the world and tell the Good News. (Mark 16:15)

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Polski: Witraż piety

Polski: Witraż piety (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gift: Piety (Reverence) – With the gift of reverence, sometimes called piety, we have a deep sense of respect for God and the Church. A person with reverence recognizes our total reliance on God and comes before God with humility, trust, and love.

Reading:  Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?  Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”  (John 20:29)

Observation:  My Dad and I were just discussing this verse from today’s Gospel In the midst of a heated discussion about sin and the need for repentance, but I think it relates better to my title today, that comes from the response in the Responsorial Psalm for today’s Mass.  The reason I say that is because after we realize that we have accepted the truth of Jesus as God, what do we do.  Do we spend all day patting ourselves on the back for accepting the truth, or do we, “Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.”

Personification:  Faithfulness  In order to display the fruit of faithfulness, I think it is only necessary to continue to do the work that God has laid out before me today.  Sounds easy, but when I think of the names of the people who will cross my path today, it may be a struggle to always be telling the “Good News”.  However, when I think of the struggle that other people are going to have with me, I remember that it only by His grace that we will be able to withstand anything the enemy may throw at us.

Prayer:  Lord, I know that I can be a stumbling block for others in their faith, help me to stay out of your way today and keep me only using words that build your kingdom.  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.

The big news about salvation, comes tomorrow!

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English: Jesus ascending to heaven

English: Jesus ascending to heaven (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gift:  Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe) – With the gift of wonder and awe (fear of the lord), we are aware of the glory and majesty of God. A person with wonder and awe knows that God is the perfection of all we desire: perfect knowledge, perfect goodness, perfect power, and perfect love.

Reading:  And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.  (John 17:11)

Observation:  Today, I hear Jesus saying that he has concern for us his disciples, even after he leaves this world to ascend to the Father.  I am hearing that it is the same concern that every disciple of Jesus should have at the end of their earthly life.  As we will see tomorrow, Jesus’ concern for us is not just about our ending up in Heaven, but protecting us while we are still here too.

Personification: Generosity  It is my hope that I live my life for Jesus, but not just partly for him.  I want to empty myself out completely for Him.  It is only because I know that Jesus did this for me, that I know that I can do this as well, and I know that God wants this from me.

Prayer:  Lord, empty me of all my own selfish concerns, so that I can be more fully yours.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit. Amen!

What does eternal vision look like?

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Fear The Lord The left hand of the two similar...

Fear The Lord The left hand of the two similarly carved stones either side of the west entrance to St Leonard’s Church. 32432 “Fear the Lord your God and serve Him. Hold fast to Him and take your oaths in His name.” Deuteronomy 10:20 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gift:Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe) – With the gift of wonder and awe (fear of the lord), we are aware of the glory and majesty of God. A person with wonder and awe knows that God is the perfection of all we desire: perfect knowledge, perfect goodness, perfect power, and perfect love.

Reading:  Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.  (John 16:20)

Observation:  Last night, in a discussion that I was having with some young adults at our church, I mentioned that if we are focused on the things that God wants for us, we may not necessarily be happy, by the world’s standard of happiness.  However, since we know that eternity is forever and this life is only but a minute of time, happiness in this world is only temporary.  Eternal joy last forever.  Jesus is saying that we will have grief while the world rejoices, but our grief will become joy in our everlasting home with God and all the saints that have gone before us.

Personification:  Joy  Someone could come back at me with a quote from a recent Gospel message that we heard from Jesus that he came that we could have joy, and that our joy would be complete.  I hope that with my reflection today, it is eternal joy that he is talking about and the moments of joy when we see God working in our lives and the lives of others around us, and I think this is the type of complete joy that Jesus is talking about.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to experience real joy in my life and make that joy completely focused on you and the work that you would have me do today.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen!