So, you say you know it all…Really?

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Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us!

I am sorry for not posting this yesterday.  I felt an overwhelming urge to post this, as we celebrated the life of this great Saint yesterday.  I am posting it today, but first, I am feeling called to share the first reading from the Mass readings yesterday.

Brothers and sisters:
I am not ashamed of the Gospel.
It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes:
for Jew first, and then Greek.
For in it is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith;
as it is written, “The one who is righteous by faith will live.”

The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven
against every impiety and wickedness
of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness.
For what can be known about God is evident to them,
because God made it evident to them.
Ever since the creation of the world,
his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity
have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made.
As a result, they have no excuse;
for although they knew God
they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks.
Instead, they became vain in their reasoning,
and their senseless minds were darkened.
While claiming to be wise, they became fools
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God
for the likeness of an image of mortal man
or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes.

Therefore, God handed them over to impurity
through the lusts of their hearts
for the mutual degradation of their bodies.
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie
and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator,
who is blessed forever. Amen.   (Romans 1:16-25)

Now, with the added perspective of today’s first reading from the Mass readings, I am left with an even more powerful urge to share this reflection that I received, as I read this reading yesterday.  It was the sincere act of loving God with our whole heart that will allow us to be filled with exactly what we need to understand in order to live our lives in accordance with His will.  It is not the amount of book knowledge we have learned or are learning that allows us to understand God, it is His grace that has allowed us to open up to the knowledge and we should receive it as a gift and not a kind of exclusive right that only comes to the intelligent or one who is able to comprehend complex thoughts or ideas.  Here is the reading from today that God provided for my perspective…

You, O man, are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment.
For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself,
since you, the judge, do the very same things.
We know that the judgment of God on those who do such things is true.
Do you suppose, then, you who judge those who engage in such things
and yet do them yourself,
that you will escape the judgment of God?
Or do you hold his priceless kindness, forbearance, and patience
in low esteem, unaware that the kindness of God
would lead you to repentance?
By your stubbornness and impenitent heart,
you are storing up wrath for yourself
for the day of wrath and revelation
of the just judgment of God,
who will repay everyone according to his works,
eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality
through perseverance in good works,
but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth
and obey wickedness.
Yes, affliction and distress will come upon everyone
who does evil, Jew first and then Greek.
But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone
who does good, Jew first and then Greek.
There is no partiality with God.  (Romans 2:1-11)

It is important for me to hear that I cannot be proud of the things that God has revealed to me through scripture or through a spiritual book I read, I should look for ways to impart the knowledge I have been given to the child of God that is sitting in front of me right now.  The ability to be a messenger of God comes from grace as well, so it is important for me to not take that for granted either.  OK, what is the point of this post…Please go back and read the quote from Saint Teresa of Avila on the picture above…Enough said, for now…God bless you!

Of these I am foremost…

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Cover of "Wisdom"

Cover of Wisdom

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 whole image of God.

Reading:  This saying is trustworthy 7 and deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost.  But for that reason I was mercifully treated, so that in me, as the foremost, Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life.  (1 Timothy 1:15-16)

Observation:  Paul writes in his letter to Timothy that he is the foremost of sinners…What?  How can Paul who Jesus blinded to make his conversion stick, be the foremost among sinners?  I think he says this, whether he actually said it exactly this way or not, to point out that we should not make ourselves out to be better than others to help other sinners see the light.  It is much easier and better, Paul is saying, to explain that we all come from the same dark place, some of us darker places than others, but that only serves to make the light look even brighter when we find it.

Personification:  Humility (Gentleness) – An inner strength that permits us to be aware of our own abilities without having to make a show of them.  In pointing out that he looks at himself as the foremost sinner, Paul is showing me how to make sure that I am displaying the fruit of humility at all times, especially when I am trying to pass on the Word of God to my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Prayer:  Lord, create in me a clean heart to be able to preach your Word this morning with the assurance that it is exactly what I need to be saying and more importantly what my brothers and sisters need to be hearing.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Replace Israel and Judah with your name…

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Googled, "Warning of the prophets"

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 whole image of God.

Reading: And though the LORD warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and seer, “Give up your evil ways and keep my commandments and statutes, in accordance with the entire law which I enjoined on your fathers and which I sent you by my servants the prophets,”  (2 Kings 17:13)

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You hypocrite, 3 remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.  (Matthew 7:5)

Observation: I have heard it said before that the old testament speaks to a generation or generations of people that were not graced with the holy Spirit like we are so they could never follow the law the way that we can.  However, I am hearing this morning that if we don’t give up our evil ways than we will be subject to the judgment.  To me, this judgment will be much more harsh because of the access that we have to the holy Spirit, unless we embrace a spirit of repentance that will bring us back to the righteous path that Jesus set before us.

Personification: Chastity – Able to form loving and caring friendships, which help us to act appropriately with our gift of sexuality.  It is my focus today and should be the focus of our whole community of faith to focus on right relationships with each other so that we can ensure that we will be acting appropriately with our gift of sexuality right now.

Prayer: Lord, help me to bring those people closer to me that will allow me to more fully realize your love by being able to share myself completely with them without fear of being used for their own selfish interests.   Keep me focused on your will, so that I can draw like minded disciples in to relationship with me and with the church.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

After three days they found him…WHAT!!!

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Googled, "finding Jesus in the temple" Images

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 whole image of God.

Reading:  After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers.  (Luke 2:46-47)

Observation:  How is it possible for a parent to survive not knowing where their son is for three days?  When I read these verses in the Gospel reading this morning I was left with how helpless Joseph and Mary must have felt, not knowing exactly where he was.  Now, I can understand the fact that they probably knew that Jesus was not going to get into trouble at this point, but as a Mother, Mary, must have been throwing all kinds of ideas out to Joseph about all the bad things that could have happened to him.  How do I set me boys up, so that if I left them at the temple, they would be about doing Our Father’s work?

Personification:  Humility (Gentleness) – An inner strength that permits us to be aware of our own abilities without having to make a show of them.  I must remember to display the fruit of humility today and for the rest of my life, especially around my boys.  If they see that nothing I do is possible without the prompting, acceptance and following the will of God for my life, maybe they will be willing to do the same.  This world will tell them that can do anything, and it must be my goal to show them that they can do anything through Christ who strengthens them.

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

We are called to have mercy…

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 Gift:  Wisdom

Reading:  On those who waver, have mercy; 13 save others by snatching them out of the fire; on others have mercy with fear, 14 abhorring even the outer garment stained by the flesh.  (Jude 22-23)

Observation:  The reading from the book of Jude that I chose to journal on this morning is full of imagery that the notes in the online version of the New American Bible, that I get the readings from,  says that Jude got the imagery from the book of Zachariah in the old testament.  I love this vision of snatching someone from the fire.  It just sounds like such an awesome thing to do, and I definitely see myself having to ask for mercy for not being a good disciple to everyone that I meet.  However, I would love to be made aware of the times that I am called to snatch someone from the fire and would be honored to get the opportunity to serve God in this worthy endeavor to save others.

Personification:  Love (Charity) – Quick to sense the needs of the people with whom we work and live and respond as Jesus would.  I am hearing that the only way to really snatch someone from the fire is to love them where they are at and let God bring them out of the fire by the power of the holy Spirit and with the redeeming power of Jesus Christ.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to stay true to your Word and let me be everything that you are calling me to be in this world.  Please help me to realize the life that is everlasting today and for the eternity to come.  I ask this as always, in the name of the Father and of  the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

He makes all things new…

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Gift:  Wisdom

Reading:  They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.”  (Acts 14:22)

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The one who sat on the throne 5 said, “Behold, I make all things new.”  (Revelations 21:5a)

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This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  (John 13:35)

Observation:  We started out today readings with Paul explaining that we will undergo tough times before we enter the kingdom of God.  I cannot tell and the notes do not say whether he is speaking about the kingdom to come or the one that Jesus proclaimed here on earth already.  Anyway, I believe the point is to not worry about the troubles that come your way during your conversion, because it is a part of the process.  In the second reading, John’s vision from the book of Revelation shows that God is going to create a new creation after the old heaven and earth have passed away.  I guess when you look at it from the point of the original creation, it doesn’t seem as hard to believe that he would just recreate a new thing.  As for the Gospel today, I think we get a glimpse of what it should be like for the disciples of Jesus on earth, and even more what it will be like once we enter into the kingdom of God.  We should find a way to love everyone, because Jesus did and we are called to follow in his footsteps.

Personification:   Self-Control – Learning to discipline my time, energy and desires to reflect my spiritual values and priorities.  If it is my goal to love everyone that I meet as Jesus exhorts us to in today’s Gospel reading, I must display the fruit of self-control in my life to make sure that the things that are important to building up the kingdom are given priority and the order that comes from that will bring me peace.  This peace will allow me to shine the light of love onto everyone that I meet.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, I pray for my joyful wife.  Her Mother and Father, Alice and Lee’s spiritual well being, a start for

Lee and a renewal for Alice.  Please continue to open my Dad’s eyes to the truth and watching over him.  Help me to do your will.  Father Roy’s preaching to continue to reach out to more people.  My sister Sarah’s continued receipt of wisdom.  I pray for the KLOVE radio ministry.  Derek Burge to continue to be strengthened in the Lord to live with purpose.  Jason Bandy to get in touch with his faith.  Joshua and Sheldon to be strengthened in their faith.  Little Lee to be open to understanding his faith more completely.  Grandma Maria and Grandpa Ray to be made stronger in health by your grace.  I continue to pray for the enrichment of faith after confirmation of all of our youth in our Parish

community.  I ask all these things, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Behold, one is coming…Receives the one…Tell Jesus, I will be the one…

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Gift:  Wisdom

Reading:  John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel; and as John was completing his course, he would say, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.’  (Acts 13:24-25)

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Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”  (John 13:20)

Observation:  In a letter to her sisters, Mother Teresa wrote:

Tell Jesus, “I will be the one.”  I will comfort, encourage and love Him….Be with Jesus.  He prayed and prayed, and then He went to look for consolation, but there was none….I always write that sentence, “I looked for one to comfort me, but I found no one.”  Then I write, “Be the one.”  So now you be that one.  Try to be the one to share with Him, to console Him.  So let us ask Our Lady to help us understand.

This morning, I am once again hearing a special call from the readings and from the book that I am currently reading.  The book is, “Mother Teresa – Come be my light”.  I found this morning, a website that uses this phrase of, “Be the one” to promote saving yourself for marriage.  After watching the videos on the site, I think we should all be promoters of saving ourselves for marriage, even us married folks.

Personification:  Chastity – Able to form loving and caring friendships, which help us to act appropriately with our gift of sexuality.  It is no surprise that I would choose the fruit of chastity to focus on today after finding the website that I found this morning.  I started out looking for a video from the Matrix to relate the story of being the one.  However, I found the movie to be a little too focused on the sexual nature, rather than the call to follow Jesus.  As I was being led to focus on the negative both in the movie and as I followed a song that was playing behind a video on youtube, I felt the compulsion to let my thoughts wander into a place of near temptation.  I decided to google the words, “be the one” once again, and this is what I found…

http://www.betheone.org/

Prayer:  Lord, please continue to focus my attention on your will for me and allow me to be your comfort and not your suffering.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Can you imagine being acknowledged in heaven?

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Gift:  Wisdom

Reading:  Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.  (Matthew 10:32)

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

Observation:  I love it when I get an affirmation that what I am doing in the name of Jesus Christ is what he wants me to be doing.  Don’t get me wrong, I am constantly being reminded of the fact that I am on the right track, but this morning I am being told in scripture to preach the Good News to all the world, and if I do so, I will be acknowledged in heaven.  Now, that last part is quite exciting and, as interesting as life is down here on earth, I can’t wait to see what that acknowledgement looks like.  Maybe that is a little selfish, but I am being honest about my anticipation of what that would look like and how incredible it would feel to have Jesus acknowledge you for the work you did in sharing the Gospel.

Personification:  Joy – The ability to celebrate life even in the midst of pain and confusion.  These verses that I journaled on today, gives me a glimpse of why it could be easy to display the fruit of joy amidst whatever pain and confusion that I may be experiencing.  I am saying that if I know that the work that I am doing right now will be acknowledged in heaven, how big should the perma-smile be on my face regardless of the current situation that I may find myself in here on earth.

Prayer:  Lord, help me remember at all times that I am about the work that you gave me to do of spreading the Gospel throughout the world and keep the joy of your acknowledgment in my heart at all times.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

8 Readings, 8 Responsorial Psalms, 1 Gospel for tonight’s Vigil Mass…

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Gift:  Wisdom

Reading:  Epistle:  Brothers and sisters:  Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.  For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection.  We know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin.  For a dead person has been absolved from sin.  If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.  We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him.  As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God.  Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as being dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.  (Romans 6:3-11)

Observation:  Out of the 8 readings, 8 Responsorial Psalms and 1 Gospel reading from Luke, I have decided to focus on the Epistle, or letter, from Saint Paul to the Romans.  I actually chose the whole reading to journal on today in honor of the Easter Vigil where we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, because  I believe if I have truly died to my old self in our Lord’s crucifixion that we heard about at our Good Friday service last night, I must also believe that I am no longer a slave to sin and am made a new creation along with our Lord’s resurrection and will now live for God in Christ Jesus.

Personification:  Goodness  Today and for the rest of my life, I hope to be able to display the fruit of goodness to everyone that I meet.  It will take an amazing amount of grace for me, a worthless sinner, to be able to display this fruit by conducting myself at all times in a manner that is worthy of the good news.  I do believe that God has supplied a sufficient amount of grace, so that I will be able to display this goodness if I continue to plug into the fountain of grace that comes through the sacraments.

Prayer:  Lord, please help me display the fruit of goodness by giving me the grace necessary to continue to conduct myself in a manner that is worthy of your Gospel.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

He who is without sin…

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Gift: Wisdom

Reading:  4 But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  (John 8:7)

Observation: After reading the Mass readings from Year C  to the young people in youth ministry yesterday, I asked the group if anyone felt that any particular verse jumped out at them.  One of the young adult leaders said that the verse that had Jesus saying that if you are without sin, you could throw a stone.  It wasn’t an exact match to this verse, but it was close enough for me.  We talked about how if we are judgmental of others, knowing that we are capable of the same sinful nature, we are acting like the men that were going to stone this woman.

Application:  Goodness It is by acting in the way of forgiveness and love that Jesus is showing us here, that we can truly display the goodness that comes from God.  This fruit of the Holy Spirit is one that obviously only comes from God…God is good…All the time…

Prayer:  Here is the prayer that we prayed together at Youth Ministry last night…