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!

What are your people expecting of you?

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Saint Peter and Saint Paul

Saint Peter and Saint Paul (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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:. Then Peter recovered his senses and said, “Now I know for certain that [the] Lord sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people had been expecting.”  (Acts 12:11)

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But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.  The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me safe to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.  (2 Timothy 4:17-18)

Observation:  So, on the day when we remember that Saint Peter and Saint Paul died for their faith, I am hearing in the first and second reading, a reminder that what God has planned for my life should not be what my people are expecting.  He will certainly send down his angels to protect me and rescue me from evil, but the goal is not the rescue, it is to finish the race well.

Personification:  Faithfulness  In order to finish the race well,  I am hopeful that I can display the fruit of faithfulness to my God and His church.  I should remember the rest of the readings as well.  For in the gospel, Peter is given the keys to the kingdom, the authority to loose and bind the things of this world.  My hope is that I can get back to confession today and remember to go back to this fountain of God’s grace more often, regardless of whether I would consider my conduct good or bad.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to be faithful to you and your church in my life.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Ain’t no party like a Catholic Party!

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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:  Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him.  (John 11:45)

Observation:  In the beginning of the Gospel reading today, I was left with the impression that the Jews were being led to Jesus through Mary.  Maybe that is the point of this Gospel reading today starting with this verse, and not the previous verses that discuss what Jesus had just done.  He had just raised Lazarus from the dead, but it was the point of this Gospel reading to me today that the Jews that believed in Jesus, were there because of Mary.  This was not that “Mary”, but for me and what God is revealing to me today, is that Mary’s faith will lead me to Jesus.

Personification:  Gentleness  It is my hope that by focusing on Mary today, I will be able to display the fruit of gentleness.  It is not only because of the gentleness of a Mother that she embodied while on earth, but also the gentleness that comes to us from her intercession for us from heaven.

Prayer:  Lord, let me remember the faithfulness of the Mary of this Gospel reading when she dried Jesus’ feet with her hair, and let me be willing to do whatever I am asked to do to dry your feet as well as offer you the perfumed oil that you deserve.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Is there anyone trying to stone you?

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Jesus with a royal purple robe mocked and beat...

Jesus with a royal purple robe mocked and beaten as the King of the Jews, John 19:2-3. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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:  Yes, I hear the whisperings of many: “Terror on every side! Denounce! let us denounce him!” All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine. “Perhaps he can be tricked; then we will prevail, and take our revenge on him.”  (Jeremiah 20:10)

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The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus.   (John 10:31)

Observation:  As I read these readings early this morning in preparation for Mass, I felt the urge to consider that this reading was about me.  I guess I often relate to the prophet Jeremiah, but I must be careful in relating the words of prophecy directly to my own situation currently, because God is speaking to all of us believers, and not just me.  However, yesterday, we were asked at Mass the reason for the Jews wanting to stone Jesus.  The answer I blurted out was, “Because he was blaspheming God, in their eyes,  in saying that He was God.”  Although, the reason I said it that way was not clear at the time, especially if you look at yesterday’s Gospel reading for Mass.  However, today’s Gospel reading explains clearly where I got my answer, although I had not read that reading specifically yesterday.

Personification:  Patience  I am feeling like the fruit of patience is what I should display today.  Patience with myself and others, I must remember that conversion is a life-long process.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to be patient with my family and with myself, while you convert us to follow your will more closely.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

If our hope was in the Lord, there would be no war…

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Photo of the Book of Isaiah page of the Bible

Image via Wikipedia

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:  One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.  (Isaiah 2:4c)

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I say to you,* many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven.  (Matthew 8:11)

Observation:  In the words of the book of Isaiah, we see that God’s eternal plan for the world is that we have a place to decide our differences, and that place is Jerusalem.  If the world could only see what the prophets predicted even before God came down from heaven in the form of Jesus Christ and showed us the way to love each other.  In the gospel reading for today’s Mass, Jesus says that many will come from the east and the west to share in the kingdom with the ancient fathers of the Jewish people, not for anything that they have done but for the  fact that they believe in the fact that Jesus Christ came down from heaven to save them.  Since the gospel reading ends there today, I won’t comment on what happens to those who don’t believe.

Personification:  Faithfulness  It is my hope that in light of today’s readings and the grace that comes from the past few years of faith in our Redeemer, I can be faithful to the will of the Father by following the example of the Son, and thereby be counted as one of the many who will share in the inheritance of the kingdom with our ancient fathers.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to stay faithful to you and ignore the world when it calls me to stray from the path that you have laid before me.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.