Jesus, exorcise our demons…Since I guess we don’t have an exorcist here :(

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the Stainned Gless of depicting the Holy Spirit.
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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:  At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. He laid his hands on each of them and cured them.  And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.” But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Messiah.  (Luke 4:40-41)

Observation:  It is clear to me today that the gospel is saying that the people cured from disease are separate from the people who were possessed by demons.  Therefore, the old explanation of  the people of God during the time of Jesus’ incarnation, would have assumed that people with certain diseases were possessed and when he cured them they would assume he exorcised their demon, is rendered a lie by this gospel.  The truth is, the gospel reveals that their were people who were possessed by evil spirits and these demons knew Jesus, and called him by name when he kicked them out of their host.

Personification:  Self-Control  It will be my focus today to continue to pray without ceasing to make sure that I am focus on God’s will today and not my own.  Today, displaying the fruit of self-control will consist of my keeping my thoughts to myself about our Mass this morning and allowing the holy Spirit to reveal the truth to those who need to hear it.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to be faithful to you at all times.  Please keep your praises ever on my lips and keep me from being selfish today.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Luke’s reminder again of the worthiness of the messenger…

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Gospel of Luke

Gospel of Luke

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:  and as John was completing his course, he would say, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.’  (Acts 13:25)

Observation:  It was in the 3rd chapter of Luke’s gospel where the Luke the Evangelist writes about John the Baptist saying that he is not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.  I believe that both of these accounts from Luke’s writings are great reminders of the worthiness of the messenger.  For me, no matter how much I feel called to bring the message of the gospel to as many people as possible, I must remember to focus the attention on the one who is worthy to get the attention, because I am truly not worthy to even look upon the feet of our Savior, much less actually touch his feet.

Personification: Kindness  I will try to focus on displaying the fruit of kindness today and everyday.  The kindness that comes from the grace that I will hopefully be able to recieve from the Eucharist today.  I will remember that the grace is a gift of the holy Spirit and not an award for anything that I have done.  The truth is, I would not receive an award for any of my actions without the inspiration and guidance of God, through the power of the holy Spirit and by the saving grace that comes to me as a result of the Son’s crucifixion.

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.

Who called you and what are they calling you to be?

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Arugot Stream, the Judean Desert, Israel.

Arugot Stream, the Judean Desert, Israel.

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:  1 “Now then, speak thus to my servant David, ‘The LORD of hosts has this to say: It was I who took you from the pasture and from the care of the flock to be commander of my people Israel.  (2 Samuel 7:8)

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And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord 21 to prepare his ways  (Luke 1:76)

Observation:  Two things jumped out at me from the readings today, and again my title may give you a hint of what those two things were.  In the first reading, it is God saying to David that he was the one who called him to be a commander of Israel.  I believe that we can see in this reading that it was not just David that he called but also us, maybe not to be a commander of Israel, but we can be sure that it is God who called us.  As for the Canticle of Zechariah, which makes up the gospel reading for today, I found that he is telling his baby, John the Baptist, who was just born that he is to be a prophet of the Most High, to be very important.  Maybe it is just me, but I see this also related to us and our calling to be a prophet of the Most High.  Since I know that I will never be without sin, it is the similarities to my preaching style to that of John the Baptist that I can see that this is what God has called me to.  I try to be gentle and easy in my delivery, but this world is so loud, I am left with a feeling that I am being drowned out by all the other noise.  I know that Jesus was not always gentle and easy either, but I see a loving John the Baptist, as the kind of preacher, God is calling me to be.

Personification:  Joy  Since I feel like I am being called to get in some people’s face about repentance and conversion, I will make sure that I do so with the fruit of joy plainly displayed before me.  We live in a world that wants and approves of instant gratification, and I live in it too and fall prey to it as well, but it is about time that every one of us takes a hard look at what actions we are taking to change it or we can not expect any different results than what we have seen in the past 2000 years.

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!

What if Mary and Hannah said, “He’s my son too, I don’t want him to be offered up to the Lord.”

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Sandro Botticelli, Magnificat, 1480-81, temper...

Sandro Botticelli, Magnificat, 1480-81

Gift:  Fortitude (Courage) – With the gift of courage, we overcome our fear and are willing to take risk as a follower of Jesus. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God, even if it means accepting rejection, verbal abuse, or even physical harm and death.

Reading:  Now I, in turn, give him to the LORD; as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the LORD.” She left him there  (1 Samuel 1:28)

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And Mary said: 16 “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord  (Luke 1:46)

Observation:  Once Samuel is born and has already shown himself ready to be offered to the Lord, Hannah takes him to Eli to begin his instruction.  It is then that you see in the following chapter to the one chosen for today’s first reading, that Hannah exults the Lord for his greatness.  Mary on the other hand is moved to exultation before the child Jesus is even born, and makes a similar exultation to what Hannah said.  Whether or not the author of Luke’s gospel added the Magnificat to this meeting or not, it is clear that Mary was going to offer this child to the Lord from the beginning.

Personification:  Faithfulness  It was a toss-up for me to either focus on the fruit of generosity or faithfulness today.  Since, it is my opinion that all of our children belong to the Lord in the first place, it would seem quite disingenuous to say that I would be acting out of generosity to offer my children to the Lord.  Therefore, I am going to try to display the fruit of faithfulness today by offering my children to the Lord.  It is by his grace that we have them, so it is by his grace that I would like to offer them to him, as I would like to continue to offer myself.

Prayer:  Lord, it will be my child’s decision whether to follow their calling to you or not, if you call them.  For my part, help me to stay faithful to you by supporting them in any way that I can.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

Rather than repeat last Thursday’s journal…Read the gospel reading for yourself…You decide…

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Angels in the Rain

Image by Jakes_World via Flickr

Last Thursday’s journal…Should I have journaled about the same topic?

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:  Fear not, you shall not be put to shame; you need not blush, for you shall not be disgraced. The shame of your youth you shall forget, the reproach of your widowhood no longer remember. 2 For he who has become your husband is your Maker; his name is the LORD of hosts; Your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, called God of all the earth.  This is for me like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah should never again deluge the earth; So I have sworn not to be angry with you, or to rebuke you. Though the mountains leave their place and the hills be shaken, My love shall never leave you nor my covenant of peace be shaken, says the LORD, who has mercy on you.  (Isaiah 54:4-5,9-10)

Observation:  The message of last Thursday’s journal would have been easy to repeat today, because the gospel reading today from Luke’s gospel is even more clear about the least in the Kingdom of God being greater than John the Baptist.  However, when I read the first reading today I was moved to pass along the message that I am hearing.  The message is that no matter you are going through today, know that God is going to bring you through it and even if it has seemed in the past that he has forgotten you, there is a reason that you had to endure your suffering.  We can be sure that his love will never leave us, no matter what pain or suffering we endure in this life.

Personification:  Generosity  I will attempt to display today the fruit of generosity that comes from the grace of God.  I know I have little to offer, but what little I have to offer I will try to give of it freely to those in need.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to display the fruit of generosity today.  Please show me the ways in which I can give of myself to others.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

Not because they are persecuted, but because they persevere…

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I would only add that Luke’s gospel is saying to me this morning that it is not only the persecution that makes us capable of seeing eternity with our heavenly Father, but that we persevere until his work is complete in us…

Prayer:  (comes from the first reading for Today’s Mass readings…the song of Moses)

“Great and wonderful are your works, Lord God almighty.

Just and true are your ways, O king of the nations. 

Who will not fear you, Lord, or glorify your name?

For you alone are holy.

All the nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”  (Revelation 15:3b-4)

AMEN

Why was I created?

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Matthew Evangelist. The text also says - Abrah...

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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:  3 At once I was caught up in spirit. A throne was there in heaven, and on the throne sat one whose appearance sparkled like jasper and carnelian. Around the throne was a halo as brilliant as an emerald.  The first creature resembled a lion, the second was like a calf, the third had a face like that of a human being, and the fourth looked like an eagle 7 in flight.  (Revelation 4:2-3,7)

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1 Hallelujah! 2 Praise God in his holy sanctuary; give praise in the mighty dome of heaven.  (Psalm 150:1)

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He replied, ‘Well done, good servant! You have been faithful in this very small matter; take charge of ten cities.’  (Luke 19:17)

Observation:  When taken together, these three readings from our daily Mass readings are telling me today that I should be focused on praising God in his sanctuary.  I hope that is my focus already, but I feel that the Lord is specifically telling me through the words of Revelation that I must stay focused on the gospel accounts of Jesus life in the Word of God, because the imagery of the lion, calf, human being and eagle represent for me the four gospels.  I want to hear those words from the Gospel reading today from Luke’s Gospel that I noted above, in reference to me, when I complete this life on earth.  I know the only way that is going to happen is if I stay true to the calling of praising God in his sanctuary.

Personification:  Faithfulness  Today, my focus is on the fruit of faithfulness because the Word is telling me to praise God in his sanctuary and that is what I plan to do.  I have been faithful to spend a good amount of time in the church, not just because I work there but because I find it important to be in the presence of Jesus as often as possible.  It just so happens that it is more possible for me to be in his presence in the Eucharist more often because of my job.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to stay focused on praising you in your sanctuary as often as possible.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

So, what is the point of Luke’s Gospel anyway?

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Fire fountain / Font de foc

Image by . SantiMB . via Flickr

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:  3 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”  (Luke 19:10)

Observation:  I am sure this point could be debated, but I took the title of my post today from the footnotes in the New American Bible translation of the bible I was reading in this morning.  The first reading from the Mass readings was from Revelations and the Responsorial is from Psalm 15 about not lending your money with interest.  For me, the focus from the Word this morning is on what Luke’s Gospel is saying about the role of Jesus.  It says that he is the savior of the lost.  So, there is still hope for those of us that are still wandering around lost in the world…He will seek us out, even if we are short and sinful!

Application:  Self-Control  I am certainly glad that Jesus will seek me out and save me because I have spent some time being lost lately.  It seems the more I focus on getting control of my day and my actions, the more they slip out of my control.  The trick is staying focused on the Word and knowing that God will save me from destruction, even if I am still bent on some destructive habits.  I must remember to climb the sycamore tree every day to make sure I am clearly making an effort to see my Savior.

Prayer:  Lord, I know that I am not worthy of salvation.  Please help me receive your grace with a heart of repentance.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

Eagerly desire the greatest gifts…

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St Martin de Porres

St Martin de Porres

Scripture:   Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.  And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.  Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues[d]? Do all interpret?  Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.  (1 Corinthians 12:27-31)  (NIV)

Observation:  This morning I was having a hard time with a verse from the Gospel of Luke that I read with the Mass readings for today.  So, when I got the assigned readings for my scripture journaling group today, I decided to see if there were some other verses that may be speaking to me today.  I found these because I am hearing today that I should be striving for greater gifts, as should all Christians, because if we are not striving for greater gifts than we are stagnant in our faith.  I think we all know what happens to a stagnant faith.

Application:  So today and from now on, I will work tirelessly to be able to display the greater gifts that are listed here.  I will work to be an apostle of Christ first, second a prophet, third a teacher.  I will work to have miracles performed in my life and the lives of those around me.  I will continue to work as a healer and give guidance to those that need it.  Lastly, and maybe most importantly, I will work to be able to speak other languages, so that I can meet a growing population in our church that speaks Spanish.

Prayer:  Lord, you know what I need before I ask, so it seems pointless to ask, but I will ask so others may know what I am striving to receive help from you for.  Please help me to stay vigilant always, to not only see you will for me but also to maximize every opportunity to learn from those around me the things that you would have me learn to meet the greatest gifts that you are giving me.   I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Saint Martin de Porres, pray for me…

Wisdom for Spiderman from Jesus…

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Spider-Man547.jpg

Great power, great responsibility...

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:  Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.  (Luke 12:48b)

Observation:  As our Pastor was reading the Gospel this morning at our morning Mass here at St. Alice Church, I was reminded of the fact that this is the verse that explains the parable that we get from Uncle Ben in the story of Spider-Man.  Uncle Ben tells Spider-Man, “With great power comes great responsibility.”  Personally, I think the translation of the Gospel of Luke says it better.  The reason I like the way it says it in the Gospel is because, as our Pastor said in his homily this morning, everyone has some gift that they have been given by God, so everyone has a requirement of responding to that gift.  However, there are certain people who are given stewardship over the church that have a greater requirement.  This requirement is so great, it is translated as a demand.

Personification:  Generosity  I am hearing this message as a reminder that no matter how busy my life may get, I have a demand from God to give of myself completely every day.  It will be my focus daily to not only provide for my family and my community, but I will finish every day with the knowledge that I have given all of myself away.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to give of myself at all times, so that I can know that I am doing your will for me in my life.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.