Am I being the sower that Father Daniel told me to be?

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Jesus on the wall of the senior Home

Jesus on the wall of the senior Home (Photo credit: freestone)

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:  He said, “This is how it is with the kingdom of God;* it is as if a man were to scatter seed the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how.”  (Mark 4:26-27)

Observation:  Wednesday night, one of our young adults and I went down to the Newman Center at the University to attend the weekly student Mass at 9pm.  I had just finished my Catechist training class and he had just finished choir practice, but I was hoping to make it in time for confession.  I did make it for confession, and Father Daniel’s homily on that day’s gospel was rather unorthodox.  He actually had us discuss what we heard the gospel telling us about the seed that was sown on the path and the rocky ground, etc…After we discussed it in our small groups, we heard him say to all of us that we should be the sower, and stop seeing ourselves as seeds.  Today’s gospel reading is explaining further that we should no longer be looking at where our seed lands, just be sowing it.  Father Daniel specifically told me to be a sower before I left Wednesday night, and I resolved to do so.

Personification:  Love   It is the true nature of love to be spreading the seeds of faith to anyone that may hear it.  I know my little blog does not reach many, but I am thankful to God for the work that he is doing through me here and in our church.

Prayer:  Lord, don’t let me lose sight of the work that you are working through me and let me love you more and more by continuing to spread the good news to everyone who is reading or listening.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of  the holy Spirit…Amen!

Nothing happens without God’s knowledge of it…

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English: Jesus Christ - detail from Deesis mos...

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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:  However, be on your guard and be very careful not to forget the things your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your heart as long as you live, but make them known to your childreng and to your children’s children.  (Deuteronomy 4:9)

Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.*  (Mark 5:19)

Observation:  It is not for the glory of being called the greatest in the kingdom that I remind my children of their obligation to follow the will of God and not their own will, it is for their own good.  It sounds like a saying we hear all the time, “It is for your own good.”  However, it truly is for their own good, because we know that nothing good comes from evil and everything that is good comes from God.   If Jesus says this about the least of the Commandments, how much more would he say about the greatest commandment to love Him alone?  I could have tried to ignore the issue that was right in front of my face, but God would see that I ignored it.

Personification:  Love  I hope that in the discipline that I am giving my children to see that it is not worth selling their soul to gain the world, they see that the love of God and his commandments is what I am trying to model for them.  I hope that they will see my heart that loves them enough to not let them make the same mistakes I did.  Maybe they still will make some of the same mistakes I have, because I am not a very good model of obeying God myself, but at least God will know that I tried, and I hope, by the grace of God, they will learn the lesson before it can really hurt them.

Prayer:  Lord, it is only by experience that I have gained the wisdom necessary to accept the grace of God as enough to keep my sinfulness at bay, but I hope that you will grant this wisdom to my children and family through the Sacraments and your church, so they will not have to wait to turn 40 to give themselves fully to God.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Chad, my son, says, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”

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This is Chad...

This is Chad…This is his journal, he wrote today!

Scripture: “This is the time fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)

Observation: I think that in my life I need to be reminded that the kingdom of God is at hand. And that I should not hold steadfast in the ways of the world but to learn the ways of God and offer my suffering up to him.

Application: I think that I also need to be reminded that the kingdom of God is at hand and that I need to repent and carry out God’s orders, by doing things like reading the Bible.

Prayer: Lord, help me become more of your servant and let me fulfill the calling that you have given to me. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit. Amen

What is our excuse for not following Jesus today?

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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:  “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him,”Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.” And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” Jesus answered him, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”  (Luke 9:58-62)

Observation:  For those of us who have said those words to Jesus before, “I will follow you”; this gospel today is pointing out the reasons we have all given for not really following him completely.  Nehemiah, in the first reading, stood up to the king because of his calling and asked him to be able to restore the temple in Jerusalem.  Most of us will never have to stand up to a king and ask him to support us in restoring the kingdom of God, but there is something that God is calling us to that may require us to leave our family behind and forget about those that died, and just follow Jesus.  I don’t believe this means that we have to forget about our obligations to our families or not honor those that have died, but only as it relates to following Jesus and spreading the good news of his salvation to the whole world.

Personification: Kindness  Today, I am feeling called to display the fruit of kindness to everyone I meet.  I am usually kind enough to the people I meet, but I am going to make an extra effort today to ask about and look after the needs of others today.

Prayer:  Lord, lead me to do the things that you would have me do to prepare this world for your return.  Come, Lord Jesus.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

The church says, “The kingdom of heaven is here.”

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"Marianismo" comes from beliefs abou...

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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:  1 Then he summoned his twelve disciples 2 and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive
them out and to cure every disease and every illness.  (Matthew 10:1)

Observation:  I get the feeling that this gospel reading today gives us a glimpse of what God expected to see from the church once Jesus was resurrected and before he comes again.  Jesus tells his apostles to proclaim the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  To me, it was a teaser for the coming kingdom that has arrived now that Jesus was resurrected on the third day, and is now present for us every day in the Eucharist.  The church says today that we should either get busy with the proclamation of his kingdom or we are not living out our calling as disciples.

Personification:   Gentleness  It is my hope that I can display the fruit of gentleness today as I go about the work that God has laid out before me.  The kingdom of heaven is indeed here, but no one wants to be hit over the head with it.  I hope that I can allow the holy Spirit to be my guide in delivering the good news today.

Prayer:  Lord, give me a gentle heart like the Virgin Mary, so that more people will be called into your kingdom today by me and by your church.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

I hope God makes me like a child in total dependence upon and obedience to the gospel…

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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:  When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child 2 will not enter it.”  (Mark 10:14-15)

Observation:  I found part of my title in the footnote for the verses that I chose from Mark’s gospel to journal on today.  It provided for me and my wife a different perspective on the idea of a childlike faith.  To my wife and I, we looked at the childlike faith, as if it were innocent, and not dependent.  These verses and the footnotes helped us to see today that a childlike faith is more about depending on God and being obedient than about being innocent.  Of course, as my wife would more than likely point out after reading this, the innocence of childhood is only true for those children who are obedient and dependent on their parents.

Personification:  Gentleness  I will focus today on displaying the fruit of gentleness in my life.  This is especially difficult when I am trying to discipline my children, but I will rely on the holy Spirit to guide me in this and allow me to discipline them with the gentleness that he disciplines me. 

Prayer:  Lord, allow me to be more like a child in my dependence on you for everything and my complete obedience to your Word.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

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.

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

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Angels in the Rain

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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.

 

The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in love. (Psalm 145:8)

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Sower - Rooted

Sower - Rooted

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:   Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 8 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, 9 and the violent are taking it by force.  (Matthew 11:11-12)

Observation:  The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, because we are allowing it.  If I would have only heard these words of Jesus speaking to me from the beginning, I could have acted differently sooner.  Is it our sinfulness that allows us to dismiss these words as talking about those that will be found worthy of spending eternity in heaven.  Our own negative self-image does not allow us to see that Jesus is not talking about some future place of residence in heaven, rather he is speaking of now.  Therefore, let us take note of the fact that we are called to be greater than John the Baptist in our proclaiming the good news, if it is good news that we are hearing.  (Sarcasm) 

Personification:  Kindness  I thank God today and everyday that he is slow to anger.  I am hoping that I can start to display this same patience to others and this will allow me to act with the fruit of kindness toward everyone that I come in contact with today.

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.

 

Whose generation is Luke talking to?

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Kingdom of God.

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Gift: 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: Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. (Luke 21:32-33)

Observation: It was quite strange reading the gospel this morning after the first reading because I was confused for a second about whether it was John’s vision that Luke was talking about here or his own memory of Jesus’ prophecy that he just told earlier in the chapter. Once I got it all sorted out in my head, I was still left with the question of whose generation is Luke talking about in this 32nd verse of the 21st chapter of his gospel. I am sure I could look up the etymology of the word generation or realize that in the root word he meant all generations, but I would rather look at this gospel reading this morning as I believe God intended for me, he is talking to me and my generation. As he has done for every generation that has passed for about 2000 years since Luke wrote his gospel, he is talking directly to my generation. We see the signs of the end coming, as they have since the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth. I am left with the question of if he is talking to my generation, what is our response going to be?

Personification: Kindness It is my focus today to display the fruit of kindness to everyone that I come in contact with, both at the Gravy Bowl and the parking fundraiser for the Knights of Columbus later. I will try to battle hard to follow the will of God in my life, but I will do so with the kindness that flows from the grace that I receive as a free gift from our savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Lord, help me to keep your word in my mind and on my lips and in my heart today. Please help those people without food and shelter to find food and shelter for their families, and show me new ways that I can fulfill your mission by helping them myself. I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit. Amen.