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!!!

 

 

No excuses…

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St Matthew in Ely Place

St Matthew in Ely Place (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

 

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:  In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.  (Matthew 18:14)

 

Observation:  Some people say that we cannot control what path our children take in life, it is usually in defense of a child that has left the church for some reason or another.  This verse from today’s Gospel reading is saying to me that this is a dangerous attitude to have, because although we cannot control the path another human being chooses of their own free will, God is saying here that His will is that none of our children are ever lost, and we should adopt this attitude towards leading our children to the faith.  Never give up and never stop going in search of them and leading them back to the fold, if they should get lost.

 

Personification:  Generosity. If I understand this verse correctly, God will never give up on his lost children, regardless of their past decisions or indecision in their faith.  Therefore, I should be willing to give everything I have, in displaying the fruit of generosity, to win these children back for God.  If God was willing to send His Son to die to redeem me, I should be willing to give anything to help bring someone back to Him.

 

Prayer:  Lord, I know that I don’t have the ability to save anyone, but show me the way to give what I can of myself and my resources to align myself with Your will for them.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen

 

The spirit moves us in the Gospel, are you listening?

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Jesus and Saint Peter, Gospel of Matthew 4.18-...

Jesus and Saint Peter, Gospel of Matthew 4.18-20 Français : Jésus et Saint Pierre, Évangile selon Matthieu 4.18-20 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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: Wherever the spirit would go, they went. And they were raised up together with the living creatures, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. (Ezekiel 1:19)

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* When he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him, “Then the subjects are exempt. But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you.”  (Matthew 17:26-27)

Observation:  So, in the verse that I chose from the first reading today, I am reminded of the Gospel being what moves us in the Spirit, since the four animals are sometimes interpreted to symbolized the four evangelists that wrote the Gospels.  The wheels being a symbol of the way the Spirit is moving something connected to the Gospel message, and I think that something should be me.  I don’t know if that theologically coincides with the literal interpretation of Ezekiel’s vision, but that is what it is saying to me.  As for the actual message intended for me from today’s Gospel, I think it is that even though I may not be expected to give back to the church, more than I give already of my time and treasure that was given to me by a gracious God, I must remember to give God credit for what was given to me from the miracle of my having this job, working for His church.  Sure, it is not as amazing as Peter finding a coin in the mouth of a fish, but a miracle, just the same.

Personification:. FaithfulnessIt is only when I can display the fruit of faithfulness to God’s Word and the church that was instituted by Jesus, that I can be sure of making good use of the grace that He gives me in the Sacraments that I receive.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to be what you want me to be for my family and friends, so that I can Be sure that I am not standing in the way of your will for the people who I can most directly affect by my decisions.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen

You can tell the future…

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Corcovado jesus

Corcovado jesus (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

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: Amos answered Amaziah, “I am not a prophet,* nor do I belong to a company of prophets. I am a herdsman and a dresser of sycamores, but the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’  (Amos 7:14-15)

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When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe and glorified God who had given such authority to human beings.  (Matthew 9:8)

Observation:  As it says in the footnotes for the 8th verse of this Gospel reading from the Mass for 7/5/12, Matthew was saying this about man’s authority, because it was being challenged in his time in his church.  It is true that we are still having the authority challenged today in the church.  I submit, after reading the readings yesterday, especially these two verses listed above, and watching the reflection from the bishop’s website, I am the problem.  Not just me, but you as well.  If we are called to imitate Christ in our daily lives, why are we not telling the future like he did.  I am not talking about looking into a crystal ball or anything like that, but rather listening to the holy Spirit and telling people what God has revealed to us after discerning that the message came from him by making sure it aligns with what Jesus said in scripture.
Personification:  Patience  In order to focus on displaying the fruit of patience in my life today, I will remember to be patient with myself first, and patience for others will flow from the fact that I don’t lose it on myself.  The truth is, I am not perfect,  but Jesus is, and he makes up the difference for me when I can’t be perfect.
Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.  Thank you for the free gift of grace that allows me to see the world through your eyes, and help me to continue to see it only through your eyes.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.