Are you still persecuting the church?

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I’m breaking from my normal format today, to make a comment about the readings for today’s Mass.  It seems to me that the gospel reading today makes it very clear that Jews that were with Jesus had a hard time accepting the fact that Jesus said that they would have to eat flesh and drink blood to have life within them.  How many non-denominational Christians are still struggling with this today?  It strikes me that if they would only see that Jesus has been present in the church

imagesince the Institution of the Eucharist, the people who had struggled with accepting that the Eucharist is truly His Body and Blood would have the scales fall off their eyes just like Paul.  Jesus wanted us to be One Church, not many denominations of Christian churches.  Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful that other Christians are still struggling, like us, to follow Christ in their own way, but with a Pope like Francis, and a God who humbled himself to come down to earth, not just as a baby but also making himself present to us in the form of bread and wine right now, I think we could easily be in Communion as brothers and sisters in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.  Maybe they are waiting for Jesus to return and really blind them, like Saul was on his way to persecute the first Christians, before they will let their eyes be opened to the truth that has been revealed for 2000 years of history in the church.

I pray that we all continue to follow God’s will for our lives and we are brought so low that everyone can see Jesus behind us…I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…Amen!

Jesus is a ninja…

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Reading the Gospel today, I couldn’t help but think that Jesus was showing his ninja skills when he evaded the stoning they aimed at him after His proclamation that “I AM”.  I led the communion service this morning and I have to say it was weird saying those words from Jesus this morning.  Not just because they are so important for us to hear that Jesus said them, but because when you read them in the Gospel of John, it is as if you are saying them.

Knowing my sinfulness, I expected that I would be stoned and run out of the service this morning, but thanks to His mercy, I was allowed to stay and offered a simple reflection based on th

e video reflection that I watched from the USCCB website.  I don’t understand the sig

nificance of the ninja theme that has been

the focus of my last few posts, but I have the pro

mise from  the Word of God, that God will work it together for good for those that love Him

and are called according to His purpose.  (Romans 8:28)

I am leaning on the Holy Spirit to lead my whole life and I hope that Jesus is taking the things that I struggle with in my life and preparing to reveal to me how I will be converted and continue to repent from my past sins and look to the future that is planned for me in heaven.

 I pray that my words on this post and this prayer can bring light to someone’s darkness and allow them to lean on the mercy that is promised to all those who strive to obey His Word…Amen!

Am I being the sower that Father Daniel told me to be?

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Jesus on the wall of the senior Home

Jesus on the wall of the senior Home (Photo credit: freestone)

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, “This is how it is with the kingdom of God;* it is as if a man were to scatter seed the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how.”  (Mark 4:26-27)

Observation:  Wednesday night, one of our young adults and I went down to the Newman Center at the University to attend the weekly student Mass at 9pm.  I had just finished my Catechist training class and he had just finished choir practice, but I was hoping to make it in time for confession.  I did make it for confession, and Father Daniel’s homily on that day’s gospel was rather unorthodox.  He actually had us discuss what we heard the gospel telling us about the seed that was sown on the path and the rocky ground, etc…After we discussed it in our small groups, we heard him say to all of us that we should be the sower, and stop seeing ourselves as seeds.  Today’s gospel reading is explaining further that we should no longer be looking at where our seed lands, just be sowing it.  Father Daniel specifically told me to be a sower before I left Wednesday night, and I resolved to do so.

Personification:  Love   It is the true nature of love to be spreading the seeds of faith to anyone that may hear it.  I know my little blog does not reach many, but I am thankful to God for the work that he is doing through me here and in our church.

Prayer:  Lord, don’t let me lose sight of the work that you are working through me and let me love you more and more by continuing to spread the good news to everyone who is reading or listening.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of  the holy Spirit…Amen!

How does Mom remember the story?

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Madonna by Raphael, an example of Marian art

Madonna by Raphael, an example of Marian art (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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:  And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. (Luke 4:22a)

Observation:  As I read the gospel reading from the Mass readings for today, I remembered that I had heard that Luke had gotten part of his gospel from listening to testimony of Mary, the Mother of God.  It should not surprise us then that in his gospel we hear of how people spoke highly of him and were amazed at his gracious words, before they got irritated at the fact that he was just the son of Joseph, the carpenter, and they could not accept what he had said of himself.  It is true for me, that my mother would usually tell a better version of my story than even I remember from growing up, and for that I am truly thankful to have her for a mother.

Personification:  Love  I hope that I can remember to focus on my mother version of the events that make up my life, and only see the bright spots of where God was trying to form me into a disciple.  As for Mary, I hope that I can see her as my spiritual Mother, so I can start to understand what pure love is and how to put the fruit of love on display to the people who I meet today.  I have to give my testimony again tonight at Saint Peter Catholic Church about how I suffered through my girlfriend’s abortion, without having any say in the decision, and as I finish this post I will call my mother to ask her to pray for me.

Prayer:  Hail Mary, full of grace.  The Lord is with you.  Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

 

Her response sounds strange, because we are conditioned to take the credit…She didn’t!

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Visitation by Mariotto Albertinelli (1503) Oil...

Visitation by Mariotto Albertinelli (1503) Oil on wood, 232 x 146 cm Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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:  And Mary said:* “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;w my spirit rejoices in God my savior. (Luke 1:46-47)

Observation:  In one of the selections for today’s Gospel reading that ends with the beginning of Mary’s response, called the Canticle of Mary, we hear about her relative, Elizabeth, greeting her by paying her a most amazing compliment about how she is most favored by God.  She could have said, “Oh well, you know, clean living and clean heart leads to Holy favors!”  She didn’t though, she said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”  How much more should this be my response when I am paid a compliment?  Not because of my greatness, but because of His grace that has done so much for me.

Personification:  Gentleness.  Since I am programmed, by the society I live in, to learn how to take a compliment, and do it by remembering that I should give thanks to the other people who helped me to be able to do these things, I think I often forget to give praise and glory to God, who is the one who deserves it.  I hope that I can display the fruit of gentleness, like Mary does in her Canticle and in her response to the Archangel Gabriel when he announces that she will be giving birth to our savior.

Prayer:  Lord, unlike Mary, I don’t know what you have planned for me, but I want to answer the way she did when presented with your will for me.  Be it done unto your servant according to your will.  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!

 

Is the master going to find me doing so…or?

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7am sharp - First light.

7am sharp – First light. (Photo credit: http://www.ruffrootcreative.com)

 

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:  But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards, the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.  (Matthew 24:48-51)

 

Observation:  So, as I read the gospel reading for today’s Mass, I was left with the feeling that if I really can’t leave my sinful ways behind, I will not like the reaction that Jesus will have when I see him.  It doesn’t matter what the rest of the world thinks is the right and proper way to act, if I know that God forbids something, I should forbid myself from doing it.

 

Personification:  Joy. I am going to focus on the fruit of joy again today, and I will try and find different ways to share that joy that comes from God’s grace.  If I can avoid falling into sin by following only the things of God and not of this world, I will be filled with joy that flows freely from the mercy of God.

 

Prayer:  O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you in the past, and I detest all my sins, because of your just punishments, but most of all because you are all good and deserving of all my love.  I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to repent of my past sinfulness, and avoid the near occasions of sin…I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen!!!