What’s eating you?


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. Piety is the gift whereby, at the Holy Spirit’s instigation, we pay worship and duty to God as our Father, Aquinas writes.

Reading: Brothers and sisters:
No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God
who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit. (1 Cor 12:3b-7)

Observation: As I prayed after receiving Holy Communion, I heard the words in my heart that said he is not being eaten at this Mass, but he is consuming all of his people that just received him in the form of bread in the Eucharist. So, the title says, “What’s eating you?” says that if you are struggling with something that you can’t shake…Come to the table of Christ and he will consume it when you eat his body and drink his blood in the Eucharist.

Personification: Patience. It is my hope that I can display the fruit of patience with everyone that comes into my life today, especially my family. As God is patient with me through my struggles, I need to be patient with others, and I need to be patient with myself.

Prayer: Come Holy Spirit and lead my life and all of my actions today…Amen!

Your church is on fire…


Your job today is to attend your church services and fan the flames…http://bible.us/luk12.49.nabre “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! If your church were on fire physically, your job to help in the effort to extinguish the flames before it devastated your church building. If your church is on fire spiritually, your job is to get some fire and set the world on fire with the flame of the Holy Spirit…Just do it!


Ascension to Pentecost…


7_-_fra_angelico_-_triptique_du_jugement_dernierAs I read the end of the gospel reading this morning for the second time this morning, I realized that what Chris Stefanik had tweeted earlier was not right.  He had tweeted the last verse of the gospel as if Jesus was saying it now.

“In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” – Jesus

— Chris Stefanick (@ChrisStefanick) May 18, 2015

I thought if Jesus was saying it now, it would sound like this:

“In the world you will still be persecuted and ridiculed for being a Christian, but be courageous because I have already made the world new with my Ascension.”  – Jesus

Am I living in the new world or do I let others drag me down into the pit of the old world with them?  I will choose to live in the new world that is being created through the power of the Holy Spirit that we will remember at Mass this Sunday was given to us on Pentecost Sunday, almost 2000 years ago.

The Great High Priest…


Great High PriestThe Great High Priest – Hebrews 4:14

Jason Roebuck

Northwest Christian University

May 8, 2015


My objective of this essay is to explain that God would have made arrangements for us to continue to receive his grace after his Ascension into Heaven.  Also, the fact that Jesus was offered as a reparation for our sins once for all, does not mean that we would not choose to be disobedient on occasion, even after our conversion.  This is my attempt at explaining the systems that God has given us through his church to continue his mission of forgiving us for our sins, as well as our need to hear the words of forgiveness.

(This essay was an assignment for a Biblical Themes of the New Testament class, but it was also a response to a video that I will show at the end of the post.  My hope is that this is the start of a conversation, rather than this be the last word on the subject.)

In my understanding of Jesus, the compassionate high priest, we see the author of Hebrews explaining that Jesus is the leader of new breed of priest that no longer exists only in a designated place that only a few people are chosen to be able to visit.  “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession.”  (Hebrews 4:14  NABRE)  We need only hold fast to our confession, or remember to focus on him rather than our own selfishness, and we can have access to God through the intercession of his Son in our lives.

Earlier in the same chapter, we see the author of Hebrews saying that even though Jewish people had access to God through the person of the high priest in the Old Testament, they would not receive the good news because of their disobedience.  Jesus Christ died to make reparation for our sins, so he has given us access to his grace through his suffering and death on the cross.  I submit that sometimes, through our disobedience it is difficult to see clearly a path to reconciliation, so the church has given us an opportunity to go to a priest to hear words of reconciliation.  For those times that we have not been so disobedient that we are not separated from God, we are given the gift of grace through the communion that Jesus offered to us before his death.

James says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.”  (James 4:15  NABRE)  He not only knows our weaknesses through what he experienced, but also through his hand in creation, he knows our ability to be forgiven and act accordingly.  He has given us a vehicle to hear the words that bring about this forgiveness through the experience of the Eucharistic liturgy at Mass, as well as the words of absolution that we hear in the confessional.  The prayer that we say at the end of confession is a great prayer to sow the seeds of repentance in my life.  Here are the words that we say:  O my God I am heartily sorry for having offended you and I detest all of my sins, because of your just punishments but most of all because you, my God, are all good and deserving of all my love.  I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to sin no more and avoid the near occasion of sin.  Amen

Since I am a convert, I was not raised with an understanding of what a relationship with God is supposed to look like.  It is a great help to me to know that when I make a mistake and decide to follow my will instead of God’s will in my life, I can hear the words of the priest telling me that he wants my whole life.  Since the priest is a sinner, like me, I can believe that he is giving me what I need to grow in my faith life, and not just hear his words and go back to my sin.  There are many other parts of the confessional that help me spiritually, but I feel like this is enough for now.

(By the way, this was one of my first two classes in my degree completion program at NWCU, and I loved it…Thanks be to God for giving me a great professor that challenged me to think more critically about what I believe and why I believe it!)


The New American Bible, Revised Edition (March 9th, 2011)

Sacrifice: A Response to Violence


Sacrifice: A Response to Violence

Jason Roebuck

Northwest Christian University

May 7, 2015


In this journal, I will attempt to show that in Paul’s letter to the Romans, he starts off the 12th chapter with two verses that have the synopsis of the message of the New Testament to people who are coming to the church today.  I will show that it is our job, or the mission of the faithful to be examples of this living sacrifice.

Paul had witnessed the stoning of Stephen in the beginning of his persecution of the new movement, and this was a signal of the role that Paul would play up to and including his own martyrdom.  I read in article that I googled on the question of why the witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of Paul, and the author gave a few different possible reasons, leading up to the fact that in the Old Testament during a ritual sacrifice, the presiding priest would take off his cloak before killing the animal to be sacrificed. (http://www.academia.edu/1089412/The_Meaning_of_the_Phrase_And_the_Witnesses_Laid_Down_Their_Cloaks_in_Acts_7_58_ExpTim_) This may be a stretch, but as I was reading this article online, I got the impression that Luke was trying to draw a comparison to the ritual sacrifice of the Old Testament and the stoning of Stephen.  Even though, the presider, Saul or Paul, would not have been the one to kill the sacrifice, he was the one that was the recognized authority.  Paul admits that later when he retells the story of the stoning of Stephen to Jesus, who had appeared to him in a trance.  “And when the blood of your witness Stephen was being shed, I myself stood by giving my approval and keeping guard over the cloaks of his murderers.”  (Acts 22:20  NABRE)

I hopefully have laid the groundwork for my interpretation of the two verses that begin the 12th chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans.  In it he says that we are to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, and I believe that he is telling the Romans that no matter what happens, they must be willing to submit to the will of God.  The second verse says, “Do not be conformed to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”  (Romans 12:2  NABRE)  I think if Stephen was given a choice of whether he was the first martyr, after the Resurrection, or live to an old age like John the Apostle, he would have chosen to live to an old age.  “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  (John 15:13  NABRE)  He chose to give up his life and it was God’s will that Paul was there to be a witness to the first ritual sacrifice of many sacrifices to come, including Paul himself.  Stephen’s death would signal the beginning of the demonstration of his disciples willingness to give up their life in this world, because of the promise of the life to come, and the perfect example of Christ’s own sacrifice.

As we witness the murder of Christians today on live video feed from countries that have been friendly to his disciples for generations, I think we can draw strength from their courage in the face of martyrdom.  It is unlike the courage of Stephen, who most likely met Jesus and saw his resurrected body, they have a hope that is based on a living witness of a body of Christ that stands with them ready to die with them.  We are hopefully displaying courage by showing compassion to the perpetrators of these heinous acts.  It is my hope and prayer that the people who commit these acts will receive his mercy and forgiveness and come to the realization that we have this promise from Paul’s second letter to Timothy. “For God did not give us the spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.  So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.”  (2 Timothy 1:7-8  NABRE)

A Different Way of Looking at People…


When I read Paul’s words about the way the body of Christ is supposed to look, I don’t believe he is saying that we need to spend a bunch of time finding out who has what talent and how the church can use these talents to share the gospel with the world.  I see Paul saying to the church in Ephesus and to the church in Corinth that they should see everyone in terms of the value that God has given to their lives and not what their eyes have given them by observation.  I see the symbolism that Paul uses of the different parts of the body to help us understand something very profound.  It is through the parts of our body that seem to be insignificant during certain jobs, and can actually be really significant if we tried to do those jobs without them.  In the same way, all people are of value to the body of Christ, even though we may not see the value they have at the time that they come into our view.  We may see an addict, or a divorced mom of three children, or a single man who has lived in his car for the past 20 years, but God sees a beloved sons or daughters that have eternal value that may or may not ever be visible to us.

In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he says “If a foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body,’ it does not for this reason belong to the body.”  (1 Corinthians 12:15  NABRE)  He is reminding us that people who find themselves outside of the body of Christ cannot be justified when they say they don’t belong, because they have yet to find their value inside the body.  For this reason, the church should see every person with the value that they have as a child of God and not with the value that they have been given by the world that we live in.  As we know, it is very difficult to discern your value as a child of God while acting outside of the body of Christ.  Paul says that should honor the parts that have not been shown honor, so there is no division in the body.  At least that is way that I read the second part of the 24th verse of the 12th chapter of his letter to the Corinthians, and I think when we are doing church correctly, that you see the people who the world would consider weak, being honored.

At the end of the 12th chapter of Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians, he says that he will show them a still more excellent way.  This still more excellent way, is the Crux that our professor talked about in his first video, and it is about loving others in the way that the Father loves us.  I heard it said once that the way that we should read the explanation of God’s love in the 13th chapter of the first letter to the Corinthians is by inserting our name every time he says, “Love”.  It is a challenge, but it is a challenge that is worth taking to see the world and everyone in it through the loving eyes of the Father, instead of our judgmental human eyes.

From Jason to John…


(This is a journal that I wrote for my Biblical Themes of the New Testament class)

A Conversion Story from Paul to Jason

Jason Roebuck

Northwest Christian University

May 2, 2015


The question that I chose to write my answer to, is the first question.  I spent a lot of time thinking about the things that I could say in response to the question of Paul’s strong conversion story that is told in the 9th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.  The question asks me to discuss the pros and cons of a strong conversion story, and then consider how it relates to my story.  Since my conversion started over 20 years ago and is still an ongoing experience, it was difficult to consider how his conversion relates to mine.  This paper is my attempt at explaining why Paul’s strong conversion was necessary, and my conversion is still an ongoing process.

The idea of a person who adamantly opposes a movement and then becomes one of its strongest supporters, is a pretty benign concept to someone who understands a little about psychology.  As children of God, we all struggle against the one thing that will save us, thereby creating a cause for us to act upon until we receive the grace to stop struggling.  Paul says in his letter to the Romans, and he was speaking to Christians in Rome after his conversion.  However, I believe the same contradiction existed in him from the beginning, as it does in all of us.  “For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want.”  (Romans 7:19 NABRE)  The cause that most of us act upon is selfishness, but if we stopped to think about what really brings us happiness and joy, it is selflessness.  If we did the things that bring joy to others, and not to ourselves, we would be truly full of joy, but too often we choose the things that would make us temporarily happy.

Paul, when he was known as Saul, went on a mission to attack the one thing that could save him, the Christian movement.  The movement that was created by God to disciple the world with people who were uniquely his own through their relationship with his son, Jesus.  In his case, as we saw in the retelling of the murder of Stephen, he was not always out front in the attack against the Christian movement, but he chose to be out front to stand up for the cause that he believed was just.  “They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him. The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul.”  (Acts 7:58)  In his case, he had formed his life’s mission around the destruction of a people who were in opposition to his faith.  God knew the fortitude that was won in Paul through years of training in the Jewish faith, and dramatically changed his path to bring him to a new understanding and leave the path of wickedness behind, because God knew that movement needed his unique gifts.

For me, God knew the weakness and lack of obedience that had been won through years of neglect and lack of discipline over the first 18 years.  So, it was a slow and deliberate conversion over the past 25 years.  I think this is the case for most Christians today, God chooses to make our conversions much more deliberate and gives us the opportunity to choose to follow at every step.  However, as I spoke with a college age convert recently, I realized that the blinding conversion of Paul may be becoming more necessary to keep new disciples from getting lost in this self-obsessed culture that is so pervasive in all aspects of life.  My conversion was not like Paul’s or Saul’s, but I can definitely see that God has used the events in my life to make me aware that there is another mission for me that is beyond what the world would offer.  A mission that calls me by name to do a work that I would not choose for myself, but I follow because I know it is God’s will.


The New American Bible, Revised Edition (March 9th, 2011)

God is still calling me “John” and telling me to “Go”, and I hope that I am still following his will…At least most of the time…Glory to God in the highest…Peace to all the people on earth!