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!

Should we walk like him or live like him?

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English: Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus

English: Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

Reading:  This is the way we may know that we are in union with him:e whoever claims to abide in him ought to live [just] as he lived. (1 John 2:5b-6)

Observation:  What would Jesus do?  As I am sure I have said before, I think the question should be, what would I do, in light of all the Jesus has done for me?  The first translation that I read in the readings today, said that if we claim to abide in him, we should walk as he walked.  It reminded me of all the times that I wore my sandals and felt like somehow I was walking like Jesus.  I think John is speaking more about walking in the light of truth and not letting sin lead your life.  If I am going to follow a life, I feel like I might have more chance of following Mary, since she was not begotten by God.  I am called by my Sacrament of Confirmation to be led by the Holy Spirit, and that same Holy Spirit makes a dwelling for the Lord in my heart, it is still a whole lot different than what Mary was called to do.  I go back to what I said earlier, I think it is less about me following their example literally and more about living my life in a way that pours out for others, like Jesus and Mary did.

Personification:  Generosity. If I am going to display the fruit of generosity in my life, I must continue to ask for others to help in our ministry to the youth in our parish, and be willing to do whatever is necessary to help them feel comfortable with leading the next generation to a better understanding of our faith.  This generosity is not allowed to hold back because of embarrassment from past sins or even present sins for that matter, if we are going to take part in mentoring young people to be the next leaders in our church.

Prayer:  Lord, let me be an example that leads people to an authentic relationship with you that is based on truth and not the illusion of faith that too often exist in our church today.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen!

 

Called to live an out of this world life, holy!!!

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Jesus christ(coptic)

Jesus christ(coptic) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

Reading:  For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God* that you have through the imposition of my hands.For God did not give us a 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.* He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began,but now made manifest through the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus, who destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,for which I was appointed preacher and apostle and teacher.* On this account I am suffering these things; but I am not ashamed, for I know him in whom I have believed and am confident that he is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day.  (2 Timothy 1:6-12)

Observation:  I wrote out an entry for my journal this morning, it disappeared as I tried to post it.  The title was saved, but the body of the entry was erased, as if I never wrote anything.  I must have said something that was either going to get me in to trouble or was not written for building up the kingdom of God.  As I write this journal entry this evening, I do not know if what I am writing will be worthy to be posted, but I can be sure that God is working on me, so that I will understand more fully what his Word is revealing to me.

Personification:  Self-Control  It is only through the grace of God that I can display the fruit of self-control.  When I rely on my understanding and knowledge, along with my will and selfish desires, I can never hope to display the fruit of self-control.  However, once I realize that God has created me for so much more  than my own desires, I start to see the power and love that controls my will and directs me to follow His will for my life.

Prayer:  Lord, I want to make myself into the man who you created me to be, by complying with your will in my life.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

How does “qorban” relate to me? I hope my sacrifice is acceptable…

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The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove, surrounded...
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Gift:  Counsel (Right Judgment) – With the gift of right judgment, we know the difference between right and wrong, and we choose to do what is right. A person with right judgment avoids sin and lives out the values taught by Jesus.

Reading:  For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ andWhoever curses father or mother shall die.’ Yet you say, If a person says to father or mother, Any support you might have had from me is qorban* (meaning, dedicated to God), you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother. You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things.”  (Mark 7:11-12)

Observation:  Jesus is teaching me here that I should not look to society to decide what is the proper perspective on any issue, regardless of how long it has been accepted in this or any other country.  I should look to the Word of God to decide the proper perspective on any issue and rely on the understanding of the church, with the guidance and inspiration of the holy Spirit.  I should not try to rationalize and justify any behavior that does not align itself with the truth as it is revealed through Jesus Christ and His church.

Personification:  Self-Control  Today is another day that I feel I was left in the arms of our almighty Savior and guided by the holy Spirit, to live out the will of God in my life.  Days like this are truly a blessing and although I know it probably won’t last forever starting with whether it will even continue through tonight.  I am thankful that God has revealed to me new ways today to surrender to Him and allow peace that came to me and my family.

Prayer:  Lord, through the Sacrament of the Eucharist and the grace that flows freely from it, I am thankful for the peace that comes to those who wait on you and I hope that I am waiting on you again tonight.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Called to be holy…

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Brooklyn Museum - The Birth of Our Lord Jesus ...
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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.

Reading:  Through him we have received the grace of apostleship, to bring about the obedience of faith, for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles, among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ; to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy.* Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  (Romans 1:5-7)

Observation:  The question for me is, how am I called to be holy?  Saint Paul is not just talking to the people of Rome, but I think we should see that he is talking to all the people of the world who would consider themselves Christians.  I should not shrink from the challenge to act like a saint would act, because I am a sinner.  Rather, because I am a sinner, I am called to repent of my sin and replace that sin with more holy action.

Personification:  Faithfulness  No matter what it is that God calls me to today, I want to be ready to answer that call.  I don’t care if others see it as holy, I only hope that others can see my obedience to the will of the Father.

Prayer:  Lord, not as I would want, rather your will be done in me and through me today and every day for the rest of my life.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Dios está contigo…

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fresco at the Karlskirche in vienna (by Johann...

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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.

Reading:   On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.  (Luke 9:52b-53)

Observation:  The title for my post came from the responsorial psalm and the first reading.  Actually, the response came from the first reading…God is with you!  In the gospel, I hear in the story of Jesus’ final trip to Jerusalem, that it should not matter to me whether I am a part of his plan of salvation or not, I should remember to praise God for sending his son to stay with us until he comes again.

Personification: Generosity  It is my hope that I can display the fruit of generosity in my life today and share the gift of the risen Jesus with everyone that I meet.  I will rely on the holy Spirit to reveal to me the ways that I can show him to different people, but I will take courage in the fact that I know that God wants to have a relationship with all of his children through the redemption of his Son.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to see everyone as a child of God and not judge anyone’s past but only recognize the great future that you have planned for them.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

We can still leave everything and follow him…

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Jesus and Saint Peter, Gospel of Matthew 4.18-20

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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.

Reading:  From the day we heard about you, we do not cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, so as to be fully pleasing, in every good work bearing fruit and growing in the knowledge of God,
strengthened with every power, in accord with his glorious might,for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.  He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  (Colossians 1:9-14)

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When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything* and followed him.  (Luke 5:8,11)

Observation:  I wasn’t able to focus very well on the readings this morning, until I got the end of the 11th verse of the 5th chapter of Luke sent to me with the reminder of the readings from the USCCB on Twitter.  It wasn’t until I remember that God is calling me to leave my attachment to the things of this world behind, that I could read the first reading again and realize that the premise of my journaling activity is based on the general idea of this reading.  I mean, I didn’t have a problem realizing my need for forgiveness for sins, which was what I was about to journal on this morning, because the idea that Jesus has already delivered us into his kingdom out of the power of darkness is really amazing.  However, I couldn’t come to that realization if God hadn’t led me to this understanding that I must leave the things of this world behind.

Personification:  Joy  I haven’t chosen joy to focus on a lot in my journaling activity.  In the first reading, I was reminded that joy is the fruit that gives thanks to the Father for all that has been done in my life.  God will know that I am thankful for the gifts that are a part of my life, by the joy that I display throughout my day.

Prayer:  Lord, let me be joyful today and everyday and praise you with voice and my actions this day.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.