Today is officially, “Let your parents off the hook day!”

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English: The Prophet Ezekiel (Ez. 14:1-21) Рус...

English: The Prophet Ezekiel (Ez. 14:1-21) Русский: Пророк Иезекииль (Иез. 14:1-21) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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 all life is mine: the life of the parent is like the life of the child, both are mine. Only the one who sins shall die!  (Ezekiel 18:4)

 

Observation:  I don’t know about you, but my family has a lot of skeletons in our past, oh and in the present too…LOL…Anyway, I thought I would focus on the book of the prophet Ezekiel is saying today that we are judged by our own merits today.  So, whatever Sin we were holding on to, because we felt like we deserved to suffer with it, because it was passed down from our family, that’s over.  We should let go of our attachment to sin, because we feel some responsibility to pay for what has happened in our family.  If Ezekiel’s words are not enough, remember Jesus came to release us from the prison of sin.

 

Personification:  Joy. It is with great joy that I will share this reading with certain members of my family today.  They like to say that the punishment for sins of the father will pass down to many generations, and this reading today stands in opposition to that understanding of old testament laws.  I have always said that the punishment for sins that was passed down was meant for the old testament fathers to understand that the sin that they committed would have lasting effect on future generations.  This is still true today, but we will be judged on our own following of God’s will in our own lives, with the help of God’s grace.

 

Prayer:  Lord, reveal to me and my family those things that stand in the way of our own salvation, and help us to let go of any guilt we carry for sins of our families’ past.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen!

 

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Kobe says, “Why did he say scarlet will be white?”

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Living word of God

Living word of God (Photo credit: Daniel E Bruce AKA (Humble Light))

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:  Come now, let us set things right,* says the LORD: Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; Though they be red like crimson, they may become white as wool. If you are willing, and obey, you shall eat the good things of the land; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken!  (Isaiah 1:18-20)

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The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”  (Matthew 23:11-12)

Observation:  Early this morning, I read the readings and really did not have anything jumping out at me, as if to say I didn’t see that God really wanted me to hear a particular part of the readings.  Sure, I felt moved by the call to wash yourselves clean in the first reading, and the Gospel reading mentioned the chair of Moses, but nothing that was saying that I really needed to pay attention to a particular verse or verses.  However, I took my son, Kobe, to our Communion Service this morning, and he mentioned that he didn’t understand why the presider mentioned the scarlet turning to white.  I didn’t remember the presider saying that, so we went to him and asked him and he said that, and he didn’t remember it either.  I knew I heard it, but couldn’t remember just where, because Kobe said it was during the sermon.  So, both the presider and I explained that the scarlet color is bright and very visible, like our sinfulness and the white is meant to symbolize being made clean.  However, I knew that I would have a chance to go to Mass at Saint Mary Catholic Church for lunch and did not worry about the message that I was receiving at the Communion service, which was still nothing that I could have explained at the time.  I was encouraged that Kobe got something, but was at a loss for where it came from, or even what it means to me.  When I got to Mass at 12:15pm, I heard the first reading read again, and I heard the reference to the scarlet being made white, but it didn’t stop there.  Father Liam’s homily started out with the words, “We should hear in the first reading about the seeing the scarlet sins turned to white, a reminder of how we could see this season of Lent cleansing the sin from our lives.”  It was kind of awesome how my son had somehow picked up on Father Liam’s homily, when he was at Communion service three hours earlier.  I don’t understand, but I thought it was cool.

Personification:  Joy   I hope that throughout the experience of the Word this morning, and during the day, I was able to display the joy that comes from not just hearing the Word of God, but actually having an encounter with God through my interactions with the reading and hearing the Word of God being read today.  It is the simple fact that I can accept that God was trying to show me through my son that God really does want me to see my past sinfulness as washed clean, that brings about the fruit of joy in my life in a real way.

Prayer:  Father, help me to continue to experience the real joy that comes from having an encounterwith your Word on a daily basis, and keep my mind open to receiving your Word as you are revealing it

.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

What is holding back our perfection?

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Heart of Jesus

Heart of Jesus

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:  This day the LORD, your God, is commanding you to observe these statutes and ordinances. Be careful, then, to observe them with your whole heart and with your whole being.  (Deuteronomy 26:16)

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You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. So be perfect,* just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  (Matthew 5:43-45,48)

Observation:  It is not that I feel like I am going to be approaching perfection any time soon, but I am hearing the call to perfection very loud and clear today.  I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night, so it is very hard for me to focus on being good.  I said all of my prayers this morning, as usual, but I should have recognized my need for sleep and just went back to sleep after I said them.  Instead, I let myself be distracted by the things of this world and did not do what I knew my body needed.  From a TV show that my son was watching when I first woke up, to the random websites that I perused to keep my mind occupied, and not let it sleep  I learned that if I am going to be out late again, even for a good reason like a Christian music concert, I need to make sure that I make arrangements to get enough rest and trust that God is with me and wants me to be perfect and not distracted.

Personification:   Faithfulness  I hope that the fruit of faithfulness will show through as I complete this day and make reparations for any damage that I did to my relationships with my family and my God today.  I will lean on God’s mercy to carry me through to completion this day, and know that I am not close to perfect yet, but thankfully God is not finished with me yet.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to follow the path that you have laid out before me this evening and don’t allow my mind to get distracted from your will.  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.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner…

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The Lord is my Good Shepherd

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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:  Therefore every loyal person should pray to you in time of distress. Though flood waters* threaten, they will never reach him.d You are my shelter; you guard me from distress; with joyful shouts of deliverance you surround me.  (Psalms 32:6-7)

Observation:  After I woke up this morning already feeling tempted to sin, I read about David‘s sin and my mind started to justify that I am a sinner anyway, so the fact that I fall victim to my sin today would be understandable in the light of David’s sin.  However, as I read the Responsorial Psalm I realized that I should be praying to get rid of the temptation, not succumbing to it.  The fact that the Psalmist here says that the flood waters threaten, but they will never reach us, and the joyful shouts of deliverance surround us.

Personification:  Generosity  In the light of the fact that I am a sinner that has fallen short of the glory of God, I will count on God to show me the way to display the fruit of generosity.  It is clear to me from what others say about me, especially my wife, that I am usually quite generous with my possessions, but I am sure there are ways that God could reveal to me that I could be more giving of my time and talents, as well as my money and possessions.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Paul doesn’t say ask for forgiveness today, he says put your sin to death!

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c. 1632

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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;  Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly:c immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry.* Because of these the wrath of God* is coming [upon the disobedient].d By these you too once conducted yourselves, when you lived in that way. But now you must put them all away:* anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your mouths.eStop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practicesf *and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator.g  (Colossians 3:5-10)

Observation:  It was ironic how when I read this first reading this morning, I immediately knew it was about me but then thought about how many others should really hear this message.  It’s true that I would rather be fully convinced of the rest of the world’s need for a savior, while I am not hearing the message myself.  Paul does not say, we are forgiven for our sins here, because he already said it earlier in this letter.  However, he does say that we must put all of these sins to death.  I know it will take the grace of God to help me put away my sinfulness, even right in this present moment, but I know that Jesus already conquered my sin and paid for it on the cross, so I don’t want to add to his pain at the sight of my unrepentant heart. 

Personification:  Joy  The opposite of an unrepentant heart is joy.  That is probably not theologically or even by the dictionary definition correct.  I feel that if I continue to live with an unrepentant heart, it will lead to sadness. which is the opposite of joy.  Therefore, I will display the fruit of joy today for all to see, so that the grace of God will flow through me to keep me from relying on my own understanding.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

I set out to make it about me, but it is not about me…It’s about them!

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Infant Jesus and John the Baptist, Museo del Prado

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:  I have told you this so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you.  (John 16:4)

Observation:  As I read the gospel reading this morning, I was hearing the story as if it were being said about me.  However, the truth is that I post about my faith to the world and I am not harmed at all.  So, my hour has certainly not come, but the Christians that John was writing about, who were listening to the words of Jesus that day, their hour has come.  This revelation that I had about this scripture is leading me to realize that HIS mission is still not done, there is still work to be done.

Personification:  Love  This is a kind of softball for me to hit today.  I mean no disrespect to softball players, but the ball is bigger and a little easier to make contact with.  I am focusing on the fruit of love to display today, because Jesus told us yesterday in the gospel reading to love one another.  It is my intention to not just talk about it, but take some action that displays that love to others today.

Prayer:  (Saint Francis Prayer)

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.