The Kingdom of God is here…Right now…I must have faith to see it…

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Thanks for the pic, Rigo!

Gift:  Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe) – With the gift of wonder and awe (fear of the lord), we are aware of the glory and majesty of God. A person with wonder and awe knows that God is the perfection of all we desire: perfect knowledge, perfect goodness, perfect power, and perfect love.

 

Reading:  For, after just a brief moment, 17 he who is to come shall come; he shall not delay.  (Hebrews 10:37)

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He said,”This is how it is with the kingdom of God; 6 it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not howOf its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the earAnd when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.”  He said, “To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for itIt is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth7 But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” (Mark 4:26-32)

Observation:   The parables had an effect on me this morning.  After reading the first reading and realizing that the one that was to come, that was foretold by the prophets, would not delay, I was looking for the evidence of his coming in my life.  Moreover, I was initially looking for the suffering that was discussed in the beginning of the reading, only to see that it was not the suffering that Jesus wants us to focus on, rather the glory of the Kingdom of God.

Personification:  Generosity  If I could accept  the Kingdom of God has already come in my life, I would give more freely of myself.  This would include my time and my possessions.  It is not that we have a lot of things or that I have a lot of spare time, but I certainly have enough to give some away when the opportunity arises.

Prayer:  Lord, give me the spirit of generosity, so that I can always be looking for opportunities to give more of myself freely to doing your will and bringing more people to an understanding of the good news of Jesus Christ.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Go to Mass…Help out your friends…Know that the day is drawing near…

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He's coming back!

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:  We should not stay away from our assembly, 13 as is the custom of some, but encourage one another, and this all the more as you see the day drawing near.  (Hebrews 10:25) 

Observation:  The first reading for Mass this morning is written to a group of Hebrew people that celebrated some form of a Eucharistic celebration.  If I understand the reading correctly, the admonition is to not only continue to go to Mass but also encourage each other and know that the day of Christ’s return is near.  I know this is a reoccurring theme in my blog, but I really feel like it is important that we hear that the early Christians expected Christ’s return in their time, and that is the reason that they acted with a sense of urgency to spread the good news.  I am not saying that we shouldn’t be genuine, but we should hear the words of scripture that tell us to know that the day is near, and act accordingly.

Personification:  Love  Encouragement that comes from the Lord could only be defined as love.  I hope that God will grace me with the ability to share that love with others.  The good news is not meant to be placed under a bushel basket and I hope that by my posting my experience with scripture I am acting out of love for other people who may read it and be encouraged by the Word.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to be an encouragement to my family as well as those others that may come in my path today.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

He's coming back!

God’s promise to us never changes…

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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:  So when God wanted to give the heirs of his promise an even clearer demonstration of the immutability of his purpose, he intervened with an oath, so that by two immutable things, 8 in which it was impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to hold fast to the hope that lies before us.  This we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm, which reaches into the interior behind the veil, 9 where Jesus has entered on our behalf as forerunner, becoming high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.  (Hebrews 6:17-20)

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Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for man, 16 not man for the sabbath.  17 That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”  (Mark 2:27-28)

Observation:  As I was reading the first reading for the first time during our Mass at our small chapel this morning, I was confused by the use of the word immutable in the letter to the Hebrews.  I basically missed the rest of the reading, because of the fact that I could not get the word out of my head.  As I read the responsorial psalm, I was still stuck on the use of the word, so I wasn’t reading very well.  Anyway, after the Mass I came back to my office to look up the reading and figure out if I was right to be moved by the word immutable in the way that I was.  It turns out that I was right to be moved by it, as the title of my post for today says, the fact that God’s promise never changes is quite significant.  As for the verse from the Gospel, it continues the theme that the first reading ended with, which is the fact that Jesus is the lord of the sabbath and the one who completes the promise in his life, death and resurrection.

Personification:  Kindness  It is only when I recognize that there is a power greater than me, that I see that it is a worthwhile thing for me to act with the fruit of kindness toward everyone I meet.  The God that I give all glory to, is so faithful to his promise that I can look to him to see the love and kindness that I could be capable of, if only I would accept that his promise is addressed to me, as well as the rest of the world.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to act with kindness toward all of your people and realize the promise that will never change in my life and in our church.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.






 

The word of God is living and effective…

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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:  Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.  (Hebrews 4:12)

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Jesus heard this and said to them (that), “Those who are well do not need a physician, 11 but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”  (Mark 2:17)

Observation:  I see today that it is only by the recognition that I am nothing more than a sinner, that I can be sure of the fact that Jesus will hang out with me.  If I walk around as some righteous person who is not in need of a Savior, Jesus would not see a need to be around me and I could be in danger of falling into the hands of the enemy.  However, if I am able to constantly remind myself of my need of a Savior, in my recognition of my being a sinner, I can be sure that Jesus will always be with me to protect me from all evil.

Personification:  Peace  I would hope that the simple fact of recognizing that I am a sinner would be enough to allow me to display the fruit of peace in my life.  It is only in the knowledge that comes from the Word of God that allows me to be aware of the grace that flows from true repentance for my past sins.  Of course, I don’t only mean that sins that I committed a long time ago, but rather the ones that I have committed today.

Prayer:  Lord, allow me to always remember my own sinfulness, so you can keep me away from real evil in this world.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

Encourage yourselves daily…

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A penitent confessing his sins in the former L...

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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:  Encourage yourselves daily while it is still “today,” so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin.  We have become partners of Christ if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end.  (Hebrews 3:13-14)

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Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.”  (Mark 1:44)

Observation:  When I was selecting the verses to journal on this morning, I realized that I missed this admonition from the letter of Hebrews the first time I read through the readings.  Once I realized how impactful this admonition could be for others as well as me, I made the beginning of it the title for today’s post.  Also, the gospel reading was a reminder to me that the outward signs of the church, such as confession, are ways that the holy Spirit was leading the church to reach out to more people.  Even though, Jesus knew that this man would go and tell everyone about his healing, he mentions the ritual to make sure we know that we have a greater responsibility to our community as well as our own salvation.

Personification:  Love  It is a sign of our willingness to give up our selfish tendencies to go to the church to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation or our reception of any of the sacraments for that matter.  I hope that I can show the fruit of love for other people by being more faithful to the reception of the sacraments, whether I feel like I need to receive them or not.  (especially Confession

Prayer:  Lord, help me to stay faithful to your Word and bring more people to the church by more faithful reception of the sacraments.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

Let all his angels worship him. (Psalm 97:7b)

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Children at a Gospel presentation in Eau Clair...

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Gift:  Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe) – With the gift of wonder and awe (fear of the lord), we are aware of the glory and majesty of God. A person with wonder and awe knows that God is the perfection of all we desire: perfect knowledge, perfect goodness, perfect power, and perfect love.

 

Reading: 

And again, when he leads 3 the first-born into the world, he says: “Let all the angels of God worship him.”  (Hebrews 1:6)

Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  (Mark 1:17)

Observation:  It was my intent to journal about how God was saying that worship of his Son was something of an honor, because he said of his angels that they would worship him.  However, after reading the context and the footnotes for first reading, I realized that in the book of Hebrews, the author was retelling this verse from the Psalms to a greater purpose.  This purpose was to show us that he intended the angels to be the cheerleaders and his ministers to be the ones who carry the flame.  As in the next verse, “Of the angels he says: ‘He makes his angels winds and his ministers a fiery flame'”  (Hebrews 1:7)  Therefore, when I went back to read the gospel again, I was left with a completely different understanding of Jesus calling Peter and Andrew.  He was not just calling them, but he was calling all of his disciples to be “fishers of men”.

Personification:  Patience  I know that it is only by the grace of God that I have been able to display the fruit of patience in the past with my immediate family and with my extended family, as well.  However, it will take an even greater amount of grace to be able to display the fruit of patience in ministry as I make some pretty tough decisions for the direction our program will go in the future.  I have been faithful to focus on the day’s evil in the past, because it has been sufficient of an evil to take much of my concentration, but I feel that the youth ministry needs a focus and direction for the future.  We don’t have forever to make a lasting impact of the hope that can be found in the Word of God and in our church, on our young people.

Prayer:  Lord, please give me the grace necessary to be patient with your ministry and allow your work to be done through me and keep me from imposing my will on your work.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.