Jesus is a ninja…

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Reading the Gospel today, I couldn’t help but think that Jesus was showing his ninja skills when he evaded the stoning they aimed at him after His proclamation that “I AM”.  I led the communion service this morning and I have to say it was weird saying those words from Jesus this morning.  Not just because they are so important for us to hear that Jesus said them, but because when you read them in the Gospel of John, it is as if you are saying them.

Knowing my sinfulness, I expected that I would be stoned and run out of the service this morning, but thanks to His mercy, I was allowed to stay and offered a simple reflection based on th

e video reflection that I watched from the USCCB website.  I don’t understand the sig

nificance of the ninja theme that has been

the focus of my last few posts, but I have the pro

mise from  the Word of God, that God will work it together for good for those that love Him

and are called according to His purpose.  (Romans 8:28)

I am leaning on the Holy Spirit to lead my whole life and I hope that Jesus is taking the things that I struggle with in my life and preparing to reveal to me how I will be converted and continue to repent from my past sins and look to the future that is planned for me in heaven.

 I pray that my words on this post and this prayer can bring light to someone’s darkness and allow them to lean on the mercy that is promised to all those who strive to obey His Word…Amen!

Today, we get a glimpse of God’s coming glory…

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Fear of the Lord

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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: * Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings,d each holding twenty to thirty gallons.  (John 2:6)

Observation:  All this week, it seems that the readings from the first letter of Saint John were speaking louder than the gospel.  I don’t know if it is because I was not able to get myself up and moving early enough to make it to Mass this morning, or some other reason, the first reading just went over my head.  I remember it was about sin and pray for other people who are caught in sin, but I couldn’t help but think about my sin and how I should remove the wooden beam from my eye, before I go praying for other people’s sinfulness.  Anyway, the gospel reading for today is helping me with the way that the evangelist is telling the story of Jesus turning the water into wine.  It is the first time that God revealed to me through this scripture that it was Jewish ceremonial washing jars that Jesus used for the wine, and that the quantity of wine was no small amount.  These two things took on new meaning for me after I read the footnotes for this verse.  (Which are hyperlinked at the beginning of the re-post of the 6th verse from John’s Gospel above.  The fact that Jesus used ceremonial washing jars means that the Messiah was going to give us a new means of cleansing, and the old ways are no longer necessary.  As for the amount or volume of wine that was miraculously produced, it is a glimpse of the coming of his glory in the wine that becomes his blood in the Eucharist, and how that it will be made available to all people’s.  This blood is the new ceremonial washing of our souls that we must do to prepare for his return and make ourselves ready to be caught up in his glory.

Personification:   Love  Even though I did not post the first reading, I feel like I am still being called to show the love that John talked about in his letter.  It is, by all means, the only real thing that I can do to really love my brother in a way that does not involve him having to look at my sinful face, while I am loving him.  I must pray for him, and thereby show him real love and hopefully bring me the grace necessary to love my brother more capably in the physical sense, without him having to see past my sin.

Prayer:  Lord, help my brother to see that his life is worth so much more than the sin that he is involved in, and show me the way to stay out of my brother’s way, so that he can come to your well of forgiveness and love.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Receiving the blood of Christ…

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Michelangelo's Pietà in St. Peter's Basilica i...

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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: 

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:
“I pray not only for these,
but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
so that they may all be one,
as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
that they also may be in us,
that the world may believe that you sent me.
And I have given them the glory you gave me,
so that they may be one, as we are one,
I in them and you in me,
that they may be brought to perfection as one,
that the world may know that you sent me,
and that you loved them even as you loved me.
Father, they are your gift to me.
I wish that where I am they also may be with me,
that they may see my glory that you gave me,
because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Righteous Father, the world also does not know you,
but I know you, and they know that you sent me.
I made known to them your name and I will make it known,
that the love with which you loved me
may be in them and I in them.”  (John 17:20-26)

Observation/Personification/Prayer:  I give the credit to this reflection to Father Bryce from Saint Mary Catholic Church in Eugene, OR that offered the beginning of this prayer converted in the following fashion as part of his homily yesterday after explaining that it is part of the high priestly prayer and explained that it is part of the 5 chapters in the gospel of John that make up the farewell discourses.  He did this, so that we could better see that although Jesus was praying to God about his disciples and us, it helps to hear them as if we were saying them:

Jesus prays not only for these disciples,
but also for us who believe in him through their word,
so that we may all be one,
as you, Father, are in Jesus and He in you,
that we also may be in you,
that the world may believe that you sent Jesus.
And Jesus has given us the glory you gave Jesus,
so that we may be one, as you and Jesus are one,
Jesus in us and you in Jesus,
that we may be brought to perfection as one,
that the world may know that you sent Jesus,
and that you loved us even as you loved Jesus.
Father, we are your gift to Jesus.
I wish that where Jesus is we also may be with him,
that we may see his glory that you gave him,
because you loved Jesus before the foundation of the world.
Righteous Father, the world also does not know you,
but Jesus knows you, and we know that you sent him.
Jesus made known to us your name and he will make it known,
that the love with which you loved Jesus
may be in us and Jesus in us.

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

A reoccurring theme in John’s gospel this week…

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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:  I am the bread of life.  Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die.  (John 6:48-50)

Observation:  The author of John’s gospel really wanted to drive home the point that Jesus is the bread of life.  Also, that if we eat this bread, we will have eternal life.  I am in the process of reading C.S. Lewis‘, “The Great Divorce“, and in the beginning he talks about if we are to spend eternity in hell than our lives on earth are just that, “Hell”.  However, if we are to spend eternity in heaven, if we even believe in the concept of heaven, than our lives can begin to live that out on earth right now.  I point his point out to say that Jesus gave us himself in the bread of the Eucharist to nourish us and help us to start living that eternal life out right now.

Personification: Faithfulness  I will make it a point to display the fruit of faithfulness in the gospel message today and in the real presence of the body of Christ in the bread that I will receive at our Communion Service this morning.  If I have faith that Jesus is truly present in the bread, than I can know that he will be delivering me over to living a life that is more eternal every day.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to know that you want to make me complete in you and help me to receive Communion as one who is waiting to be made whole by your presence.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Am I prepared for when he comes for me? Is he coming for me? Better be prepared anyway?

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Ary Scheffer: The Temptation of Christ, 1854

Ary Scheffer: The Temptation of Christ, 1854

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:  The devil had already induced 4Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over. So, during supper, fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God,  (John 13:2-3)

Observation:  John’s gospel is similar to Matthew’s gospel from yesterday, in that Judas is already seen as going to betray Jesus.  Even though, he had not yet committed the act of betrayal.  In John’s gospel, however, the devil is seen as inducing Judas’ betrayal.  I submit that, much like yesterday’s reflection, today I should ask myself if I am ready to withstand the devil if he wanted to induce me to do something.  Jesus was ready…The act that he chooses to do when he comes to the realization that he is full of power, is to humble himself by washing his disciples feet.

Personification: Faithfulness  If I am going to be prepared for whatever the devil could throw at me, I must take the example of Jesus and not look for ways to act on my own as Judas did.  Rather, I should look for ways to get others involved in ministry and wash their feet in whatever way that I can to show them that they are an important part of God’s plan.  When I can truly display the fruit of faithfulness in God, I can be sure of my ability to withstand whatever the devil may throw at me.

Prayer:  Saint Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle.  Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil.  May God rebuke him, I humbly pray.  And do you, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

What a promise…

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The Eucharist - Read and Understand the Gospel...

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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:  For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him (on) the last day.”  (John 6:40)

Observation:  In my journaling group, we have a running joke that if you journal on the last verse in the readings for that day, you are just trying to show that you read all the reading.  I did read all the readings, but of all the verses, this one from the Gospel of John spoke to me the most.  I think that a belief in Jesus is enough to be given eternal life is pretty awesome.  I could go on about how I think that eternal life should start now, but I think I have said that enough in previous journal entries.

Personification:  Love   I will hopefully be able to display the fruit of love today.  It is clear to me that if the Father has given me eternal life, the only proper response would be to love  others with the love that he has shown me.

Prayer:  God, my Father, may I love You in all things and above all things.
May I reach the joy which You have prepared for me inHeaven.
Nothing is good that is against Your Will,and all that is good comes from Your Hand.  Place in my heart a desire to please You and fill my mind with thoughts of Your Love, so that I may grow in Your Wisdom and enjoy Your Peace.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.