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!

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Am I still jealous of the rich man? Yes, but not why you may think!

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The Promulgation of the Law at Mount Sinai, by...

The Promulgation of the Law at Mount Sinai, by the illustrators of the Figures de la Bible, 1728 (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:  As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?* No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother.’” He replied and said to him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”  (Mark 10:17-20)

Observation:  In reading the Gospel this morning, I initially focused on the fact that Jesus said that only God should be called good.  This is great because He is God, but was showing us that to be equal to God is not something to be boasted about, which Jesus most certainly could have done.  Anyway, I was reminded in the next two verses that I am still jealous of the fact that the rich man says that he has observed all the commandments from his youth.  Since I was not raised in the church and my childhood home was not a Christian home, I am still jealous of those people who can say that they have followed the commandments from their youth.  It is not to say that I would have followed them, had I been raised in a home that was focused on Christian values, but I guess I am jealous of those that were given that chance.

Personification:  Self-Control  Regardless of whether I was raised in home that was conducive to following the commandments of God, I am still hopeful that after over 20 years of focusing on the will of God in my life, I can begin to show the fruit of self-control in my life.  It is also my hope that I can pass on these fruits to my own children and give them the opportunity to live out the commandments of God in a way that I never could have at their age.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to display the fruits of the Holy Spirit in my life, so more people who see my life will follow the will of God in their own life.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen

Jesus tempted by Satan…to show us victory over evil is possible for his disciples!

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The Temptation of Christ, 1854

Image via Wikipedia

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:   At once the Spirit drove him out into the desert,and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.  (Mark 1:12-13)

Observation:  I believe it was Saint Augustine that wrote the letter that comprised the second reading from the Office of Readings that I read when I first woke up this morning.  He was talking about this Gospel reading when he said that Jesus did not only get tempted, he was victorious over the temptation of Satan.  He went on to say that we should see in the victory of Jesus over Satan’s temptation, a renewed sense of urgency to call on Jesus in our own temptations.  I may have taken a little liberty with his explanation and not gotten it correct, but in the interest of not making my journal a cut and paste effort, I thought I would put his letter into my own words.  The last thing that I noticed about the Gospel of Mark‘s account of the temptation is that, unlike Matthew’s, he does not go into much detail about the temptation, and I think that allows us to relate better to the temptation of Jesus more in the terms of our own temptation.

Personification:   Self-Control  Although I have said this many times before, I am feeling like the fruit of self-control is only going to be displayed if I let go of self and give God the control of my life.  I may not have said it exactly that way before, but I hope that I am finally getting the point of letting God be in control of my life, and not being so concerned with the decisions that I will have to make today or any day for that matter.  I know that if God is control, I will be able to overcome any temptation to selfishness and any decision that I make will be for His glory.

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.

We do not want Jesus to be ashamed of us, right?

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Jesus, ashamed of me?

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: Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”  (Mark 8:38)

Observation:  Jesus could very well be talking to us in our world when he is talking to his disciples about the conditions of discipleship.   I was moved by the fact that I could not even imagine the depression that would come over me if I had to see Jesus look at me as if he was ashamed.  He doesn’t say that our worst sin would cause him to feel ashamed of us, but that if we are ashamed of him and his words, he would be ashamed of us when we come in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.  Personally, I don’t think I want to be around when he shows that ashamed look at someone, and I hope and pray he won’t need to look at me that way.

Personification:  Faithfulness  Thanks to Lecrae, I remember this verse by heart.  I am not ashamed of the gospel.  (Romans 1:16)  I don’t know if Paul was responding to Mark, the evangelist, when he wrote this, but it is my hope that I can display the fruit of faithfulness by stating, without a shadow of a doubt in my mind, that I am not ashamed of the gospel.

Prayer:  Lord, continue to work on me to create me to be the faithful witness to your gospel message by the words that I choose to spread your message and more importantly the actions that I take to make my life a living witness to the Good News.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Jesus, come in to my heart and suppress the evil that would defile me…

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No Evils-01061

No Evils-01061 (Photo credit: subsetsum)

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:  But what comes out of a person, that is what defiles. From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.”  (Mark 7:20-23)

Observation:  In the first reading, we hear how King Solomon was envied for his great riches and his incredible wisdom by Queen Sheba.  As I think about all the amazing riches and honor that he paid to God in the temple that was built in Jerusalem, I can’t help thinking about even with all of his wisdom and praise he gave to God, he could not get away from the evil that was within him.  We hear about all of his wives later, and the some of the same evils that overcame his father, King David, that would fall upon him too.  However, Jesus is listing for us those evils that can well up inside of us, to remind us that it is our heart that we must ask him to guard for us.  In my opinion, if we waste time asking God to guard our wealth or even our physical being from harm, we could very well be open to allowing one of these evils to well up inside of us and rear its ugly head.  Of all the evils listed, I had to look up licentiousness, because it didn’t immediately come to mind when I read it.

Personification:  Peace  It is my hope that after reading the list of things that could well up in my heart, I won’t forget to ask Jesus to guard it for me and if I lack the fortitude necessary to make it to the sacrifice of the Mass and receive him into the temple that is my body, as a means of agreeing that I need Jesus to save me from myself, this list could come back to haunt me.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to always keep in mind my need for you to be my Savior, especially from my evil thoughts.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

If we are believers, we can drive out demons in His name and speak new languages? (see Mark 16:17)

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Corcovado jesus

Image by @Doug88888 via Flickr

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:  These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages.  (Mark 16:17)

Observation:  It has been a whole day since I first read the readings this morning.  I let the world get in and distract me from what God was telling me this morning, and for that I am sorry.  However, without the distraction, I don’t believe I would have ever come to the conclusion that I have about my faith today.  There is no circumstance that can take Jesus out of my heart, and I must act in a way that is respectful of that gift and not let any sin or even any sinful attitude control my mind.

Personification:  Self-Control  Once again, I realize that self-control is not about my self, it is about Jesus.  How can Jesus be a part of me, if I am involved in sin?  I realize that I will not always be perfect, but if Jesus is in us, nothing can stop us from walking away from whatever evil stands before us.  If that evil persists in attacking me even after I have gone to Confession for that sin, I will cast it away by simply saying that I belong to Jesus.

Prayer:  Lord, I know that it is not about playing mind games with myself to stay away from sin, it is about realizing that you are with me and you are more powerful than any evil.  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.

How could they have understood this message? We should though…Right!

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Kasaundra looks disinterested...

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:  He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.”   (Mark 16:15)

Observation:  I am humbled this morning on hearing the call that Jesus gave to his disciples and realize that there is no way that they would have been able to accomplish it.  Therefore, it is up to us to continue the mission that he gave to his original apostles and make sure that the gospel message gets to every creature.

Personification: Faithfulness  It is only by faithfully following the calling that comes to all of his disciples, that I can be sure that I am living it out in my life.  Today, I will follow the command of Jesus that the good news goes out to every creature, and do my part to make sure that message gets out.

Prayer:  Lord, I know that it is only by the grace of God that I am not stuck in my sinful past, and it is my hope that your grace will bring me closer to you today.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen. 

I think she was at peace with the Word...