What does the fox say?

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You knew it was just a matter of time before it had to be done, especially by me.  I spend a lot of time around young adults and youth, so there was bound to be a reference to foxes in scripture or somewhere in my prayer life that was going to lead me to share this video and take the opportunity to point out the good news in the lyrics.  So, without further ado, here is the video…

If we follow the gospel reading for today, we see that it is Jesus who calls out the fox.  Here he says…He replied, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I accomplish my purpose.  (Luke 13:32)  The fox that he is referring to is Herod, who the Pharisee was telling Jesus, wanted to kill him.  Here is a good question, “Did Herod really want to kill Jesus?”  After what had happened to John the Baptist and that whole terrible scene, you might think Herod wanted to steer clear of Jesus.  However, the point of this post is to ask the question…”What does the fox say?”

It has been over 2000 years since Jesus said, “Go and tell that fox”, and we are left to figure out what Herod’s response would have been to this telling statement of Jesus about casting out demons and performing healings, and the third day accomplishing his purpose.  In the song, we hear a reference to the red fur and an angel in disguise, but also a reference to a guardian angel in the woods.  Rather than try to discern the intentions of the artist in choosing these lyrics, I would rather point out that God can use whatever means necessary to bring people to know him and I will use this song as a reminder of the power of angels in our lives to overcome evil.

Here is a prayer that I will say and share with you now…

Angel of God, our guardian dear to whom God’s love commits me here.  Ever this day be at our side, to light and guard, to rule and guide…Amen!

Better late than never…Story of my life!

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English: Saint Luke the Evangelist. Russian Ea...

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Gift:  Wisdom- With the gift of wisdom, we see God at work in our lives and in the world. For the wise person, the wonders of nature, historical events, and the ups and downs of our lives take on deeper meaning. The matters of judgment about the truth, and being able to see the image of God.

Reading:  After this the Lord appointed seventy [-two]* others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.  (Luke 10: 1-3)

Observation:  On Thursday, when Father Jaspers chose to proclaim this Gospel reading over the one from Mark, I was confused because it was not listed on any of the websites that I normally go to for the daily readings.  However, it did appear in our Missal and obviously in our Lectionary.  I would usually have chosen to focus on the fact that the laborers are few and that we are like lambs among wolves, but his homily focused on  the chosen ones were sent to 36 towns, since there were 72 of them sent out in pairs.  I guess it would have been 35 towns if we read this as some of the texts have it as 70 others that the Lord appointed.  I actually like the 70 number, because it seems like a better representation of the fact that he chose the perfect number necessary to carry out the mission of delivering the Good News to the towns that he knew needed to be reached in the first phase of evangelization.  For me, I am just happy to be reminded by Jesus in this Gospel reading that there has to be more people than just the 12 Apostles to continue His mission of evangelization to the world.  Somehow, this makes what I do seem to make more sense, but I don’t think I could explain exactly why.

Personification:  Patience  I have learned over the last two days, and my whole life for that matter, that things don’t always go the way I expect them to go.  However, this time I believe that I realize that I must display the fruit of patience when this happens and know that God will eventually get me back to the work that He began in me, if it was Him who began the work in the first place.  I believe that God is transforming the work that I do with this blog and I hope that I am waiting patiently enough to get the guidance from the holy Spirit to act according to His will.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to be patient and only do the things that are aligned with your holy will for me.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Jesus says, “And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”

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English: Statue of St. John of the Cross at Ca...

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In honor of the fact that we remember the life of Saint John of the Cross today, I plan on buying his book called, “Dark Night of the Soul” from the Carmelite Monastery today, and putting it on my list of books to read.  I am throwing out my normal format for journaling for today.  The quote in my title was taking from today’s Gospel reading, which comes from chapter 7 of Luke’s Gospel, the 23rd verse.  I don’t think I have ever understood this quote the same way as I did this morning.  Normally, I look to the historical context and realize that Jesus was telling the people of his time in Israel that they would be blessed if they would forget about what they wanted the Savior to be, and follow him.  However, this morning, I hear him talking directly to me, I need to forget about what I expect Jesus to save me from, and follow him.  It is hard for me, because I am constantly trying to figure everything out, not that I am capable of ever actually figuring anything out, but I seem to be constantly trying.  So, the message for me today is to let go of trying to figure it out and look to Jesus for the way to live my life.  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

New format for today…Check it out!

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Breaking of the bread.
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Gospel:  ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’  (Luke 13:35c)

Observation:  During the liturgy of the Eucharist at Mass, we say these words as part of the Holy, Holy, Holy.

Application:  Even though I did not search out the exact meaning of the word “comes” in the verse that I chose from the gospel today.  I believe it means that you are blessed if you carry “Jesus” with you at all times and in all situations.  Regardless of how the world would have me look at a situation, I will try to look at it the way that Jesus would look at it.

Prayer:  Lord, please help me to carry you with me at all times and in all situations.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

When it comes to repentance of my sins, I consider this the end times…

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Fig Tree
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Gift:  Wisdom- With the gift of wisdom, we see God at work in our lives and in the world. For the wise person, the wonders of nature, historical events, and the ups and downs of our lives take on deeper meaning. The matters of judgment about the truth, and being able to see the image of God.

Reading:  He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’  (Luke 13:8-9)

Observation:  When I look at my life, I don’t see any fruit that would be worthy of being picked from my fig tree, because none of it is ripe and full-grown yet.  As I read the gospel today, I am reminded that my life and this world will not go on forever, and I consider the parable that Jesus tells of the fig tree being left for one more year, as my call to repentance and a call to preach the good news with a renewed sense of urgency.

Personification:  Generosity  Since it is the grace of God that is saving me from acting out my sinful nature, I must be willing to let that grace pass through me to others.  It is only when I act out of the generosity that comes as a fruit of the spirit that I can be sure of receiving continued grace to fight off the evil that resides in my flesh.

Prayer:  Lord, please help me to live in your spirit that you have given me and turn away from my flesh.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

The Kingdom of God is at hand for you! (Luke 10:9b)

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Fol. 104v and 105r of the Egmond Gospels. The ...

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Gift: Wisdom- With the gift of wisdom, we see God at work in our lives and in the world. For the wise person, the wonders of nature, historical events, and the ups and downs of our lives take on deeper meaning. The matters of judgment about the truth, and being able to see the image of God.

Reading:  Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.  (Luke 10:3)

Observation:  Since today we celebrate the feast of Saint Luke, the evangelist, who wrote the gospel that bears his name and the Acts of the Apostles that gives us a glimpse of the lives of the first disciples of Jesus; I thought I would journal about two verses from his version of the gospel, that makes up part of our gospel reading for today’s Mass readings.  This journal entry is in response to the feeling that I had when I left the City Council meeting last night, where we made our voice heard in opposition to the abortion clinic that is being built-in our city.  I left the meeting feeling like evil had won the day.  I wish I would have remembered this verse from Luke’s gospel, maybe I wouldn’t have let it bother me so much that evil had won the day, because I already knew that we were sent in like sheep among wolves.

Personification: Peace  If I am going to display the fruit of peace in my life, I must remember to live out the gospel in the world as it is and have faith that God will change what needs to be changed.  I will pray for the things that I think are wrong and wait patiently for God’s will to be done.

Prayer:  Lord, I pray that all those misguided by Satan into believing the lies about “abortion mills” like Planned Parenthood would have their eyes opened to the truth, especially those that would call themselves “Catholic”.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Recognize God as Father, call his name hallowed…

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Gift:  Understanding – With the gift of understanding, we comprehend how we need to live as a follower of Jesus Christ. A person with understanding is not confused by all the conflicting messages in our culture about the right way to live

Reading:  He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.  (Luke 11:2)

Observation:  So, I did some research on the word, “hallowed” this morning.  Besides listening to the video reflection from the USCCB website, which was very good, I also listened to an old Iron Maiden song called, “Hallowed be thy name“.  Father Rick from the video reflection said that Luke’s gospel reminds us that we are simply called to keep God’s name holy, by living out the gospel in our lives.  Contrast that to the British metal band, Iron Maiden, complete misinterpretation of scripture, to play on the natural angst that resides in all of us.  Take this verse from the song for example:  Someone calls from a cell God be with you.  If there’s a God then why has he let me die?  To me, it just shows that Saint Jerome was right when he said, “Ignorance of scripture, is ignorance of Christ.”  The song and their misinterpretation of the words comes from the lack of proper instruction in praying.  For Saint Paul said in his letter to the Philippians, in the 1st chapter, 21st verse, that for him to live is Christ and death is gain.  If we are going to say the words that Jesus gave us to pray, we should make an attempt to really understand what they mean in the light of the rest of the salvation story.  Don’t get me started on the “Your kingdom come” part of the prayer.  (I will save that for another day!)

Personification:  Gentleness  I hope that I was able to display the fruit of gentleness in my leading of the communion service this morning.  I did explain further that Jesus used the words; “Your kingdom come” immediately after the words that tell us that we should remember that God’s name is hallowed.  I see it as a reminder that we should look forward to his kingdom coming, as much as we remember that his name has already been made holy.

Prayer:  Lord, help me remember the meaning of each of these words, as I pray:

Our Father, who is in heaven.  Hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.  Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 

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

What is our excuse for not following Jesus today?

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Gift: Understanding – With the gift of understanding, we comprehend how we need to live as a follower of Jesus Christ. A person with understanding is not confused by all the conflicting messages in our culture about the right way to live.

Reading:  “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him,”Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.” And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” Jesus answered him, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”  (Luke 9:58-62)

Observation:  For those of us who have said those words to Jesus before, “I will follow you”; this gospel today is pointing out the reasons we have all given for not really following him completely.  Nehemiah, in the first reading, stood up to the king because of his calling and asked him to be able to restore the temple in Jerusalem.  Most of us will never have to stand up to a king and ask him to support us in restoring the kingdom of God, but there is something that God is calling us to that may require us to leave our family behind and forget about those that died, and just follow Jesus.  I don’t believe this means that we have to forget about our obligations to our families or not honor those that have died, but only as it relates to following Jesus and spreading the good news of his salvation to the whole world.

Personification: Kindness  Today, I am feeling called to display the fruit of kindness to everyone I meet.  I am usually kind enough to the people I meet, but I am going to make an extra effort today to ask about and look after the needs of others today.

Prayer:  Lord, lead me to do the things that you would have me do to prepare this world for your return.  Come, Lord Jesus.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

If they are not against us, they are for us…

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La vierge aux raisins

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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:   Then John said in reply, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow in our company.” Jesus said to him, “Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”  (Luke 9:49-50)

Observation:  My immediate reaction to this gospel this morning was that the preachers from other Christian denominations are not exactly in line with the fullness of the truth, but most of them are not directly against us.  Instead of letting my mind focus on those that are directly against us, I am hearing the gospel story from Luke’s gospel say that we should not deny their simple preaching, and even when they are evoking the name of Jesus to exorcise demons, we should consider them as part of the same team.

Personification: Peace  It is my hope that I can display the fruit of peace today.  I hope that I can show that peace when dealing with everyone, including my family.  This includes my in-laws, because I know that they won’t be reading this today, I will say that no matter how far they have wandered from the faith, I will accept them for the beautiful creation of God that they are.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to see the beauty in all of your creation, and allow me to live in your peace for the rest of my days.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

To be related to God, I need only to hear his Word and act on it…

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Jesus in the Gospels

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Gift:  Knowledge – With the gift of knowledge, we understand the meaning of God’s Revelation, especially as expressed in the life and words of Jesus Christ. A person with knowledge is always learning more about the scriptures and Tradition.

Reading:  He said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.”*   (Luke 8:21)

Observation:  It appears to me that I am hitting kind of a softball pitch today, in choosing to journal on this verse because I know I have journaled on this concept of being in the same family of God by following the Word of God before.  However, it is a different reading this time that has more to do with what it means to be a brother to the Lord, than in Mark’s gospel where it has to do with our status as it relates to the Mother of God.  Before, I think I took a more conceited view of this position, instead of a humble view that Luke gospel is calling me to today.

Personification: Gentleness  My middle son, who is 9, is very sensitive to any form of discipline.  I could give you the many reasons I believe this happens, but I would rather see his emotional reaction as a barometer for me to see if I have crossed the line from discipline to anger.  I will display gentleness today and will see the fruit of that gentleness that manifests itself in my children.

Prayer:  Lord, continue to build in me a spirit of forgiveness and thankfulness for everything that you have done and will do in my life.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.