Listen to this…

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Gospel       MK 1:40-45

A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said,
“If you wish, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched the leper, and said to him,
“I do will it. Be made clean.”
The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.
Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once.
Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything,
but go, show yourself to the priest
and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them.”
The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter.
He spread the report abroad
so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
He remained outside in deserted places,
and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

Great reflection on today’s Gospel…Glad to share!

Thankful to God for the healing in my life…Hopeful for healing for my immediate and extended family…Hoping to stay focused on God’s intention for my life today…Amen!

 

I can’t wait to seek Him, what if I am unwilling to seek Him tomorrow…

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Photo of the Book of Isaiah page of the Bible

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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:  Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near.  (Isaiah 55:6)

Observation:  After reading the gospel for today, I am certainly not concerned about the abounding mercy of our Lord to accept me when I am willing to turn to him.  However, the first reading and specifically the verse that I chose to journal on above, is a reminder that we may not always be close to the Lord.  So, we must seek him while he is near, so that in the times that we wander from him, we will know the way to get back.

Personification: Generosity  In order to display the fruit of generosity, I must not be selfish today.  I must think of others before myself.  As much as I know that my prayer life must be the central focus of all of my daily activities to stay focused on God, but I must remember that someone who needs my help with something in their world, should always take precedence over my needs.  The truth is, other people don’t make many demands on my time very often, so I should be ready to provide for them out of the store of goodness that flows from God’s grace.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to show your goodness to everyone today, by being willing to help everyone who needs me.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.

The Cross has power…Look to it for guidance…Be the Cross for those who haven’t seen it…

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Fountain of Eternal Life

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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:  And just as Moses lifted up* the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,* so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”  (John 3:14-15)

Observation:  When I first read this gospel reading this morning, I saw it as justifying my argument that I gave to one of the young adults about eternal life that is a quality of life, and not a certain period of time.  However, after going to communion service this morning, I was reminded that today is the Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross, and the idea of what Jesus’ crucifixion means to our daily lives, as well as our eternal salvation, really hit home for me.  I feel like I should see the cross as a reminder to conform myself to Him, as well as see the power that comes from the cross to keep me from evil.

Personification:  Love  There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for his friends.  I will display the fruit of love that pours out from the grace of God because of the sacrifice of His Son.  This love will manifest itself in different ways for different people, but they will hopefully be able to see Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross through my sacrifices for them.

Prayer:  Lord, guide me in your ways everlasting, and keep me from leaning on my understanding.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

Manna from heaven, has become Man from heaven…

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An icon depicting the Sower. In Sts. Konstanti...

An icon depicting the Sower

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: In the evening quail came up and covered the camp. In the morning a dew lay all about the camp, and when the dew evaporated, there on the surface of the desert were fine flakes like hoarfrost on the ground. 3 On seeing it, the Israelites asked one another, “What is this?” for they did not know what it was. But Moses told them, “This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.  (Exodus 16:13-15)

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But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.  (Matthew 13:8)

Observation:  God gave his chosen people in the desert the food that they needed to survive on earth.  In other words, he heard their grumbling mouths and knew their hungry stomachs and fed them with food from heaven.  They were so thankful that they reserved some of the manna to remind them of this amazing miracle that God performed for them.  For us today, God has provided his son’s flesh for us to eat in the form of bread and his blood to drink in the form of wine.  How much more should we be thankful for the chance to unite ourselves with God in this way?  For me, I hear Jesus saying, in the parable of the sower in today’s Gospel reading for Mass, that the bread that we eat and wine that we drink is not intended to feed our bodies, but rather to be the seed by which the holy Spirit will be planted in our soul and be shown to be fruitful by the ways in which we share that grace with others.

Personification: Joy  It will be my intention today to display the fruit of the holy Spirit that is planted in me by the Eucharistic meal that I plan to eat at our 8:30am Mass.  It is not because I feel that I am worthy to eat it.  Rather, Jesus is worthy of having at least some of the seed sown to be bearing fruit.  Unlike the Israelites in the desert, I hope that God has prepared my soil to receive the seed of truth and I will be given the grace necessary to display real joy that comes from my being united to Jesus in the Eucharist.

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.

The Word is alive…not just words on a page!

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the Stainned Gless of depicting the Holy Spirit.

the Holy Spirit

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 Moses answered the people, “Fear not! Stand your ground, and you will see the victory the LORD will win for you today. These Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again. The LORD himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still.”  (Exodus 14:13-14)

Observation:  While I was deciding on which of the readings to journal on this morning, I read a tweet from Father Mabura in Africa.  It said, “The LORD himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still.”  Exodus 14:14)  Now, this had been the one verse that had stuck out to me in the first reading already, and I was in the process of re-reading the scripture to decide if I was going to add any other verses to it, when I received the tweet.  The reason this is important is, because as we are across the world from each other, the Word of God is speaking to us and through us at the same time.  God is speaking through the Word of God and his power transcends all space and time to come alive for us.  This may have been a story that was passed down through oral tradition by our ancestors in faith, but the words are still living today as a reminder that the Lord is more powerful than anything that opposes his faithful people.  A special note of thanks to Father Jaspers for his homily last week, where he reminded me that the stories were originally passed down by oral tradition for many centuries before they were ever in written form.

Personification:  Gentleness  I will try to display the fruit of gentleness today.  It is important to be gentle when relating the message that I received this morning, in order that it doesn’t sound like boasting about my being plugged into the holy Spirit.  My hope is that if I get a chance to relay this story today, it will come across with all humility and gentleness, to highlight the power of God and not any importance that there may or may not be in my being a part of this story.

Prayer:  LORD, thank you for putting people in my life, like Father Mabura and Father Jaspers, our new Pastor, to shepherd me into being the man who you have created me to be.  I hope that I can live up to the witness that they are giving me, by being faithful to the Word of God and the sacred tradition of our Holy Mother Church.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

I love it when you call Him, “Big Poppa” or “Grandes Poppa”…

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Moses and the Burning Bush

Moses and the Burning Bush

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:  2 There an angel of the LORD appeared to him in fire flaming out of a bush. As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush, though on fire, was not consumed. God said, “Come no nearer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground3 I am the God of your father,” he continued, “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.” Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.  (Exodus 3:2,5-6)

Observation:  Yesterday at our Camp Saint Alice, our technical director and video production man played a video that he created that showed the name of God, who is called by many names.  In this particular video, he thought it would be funny to show a picture of a burning bush, as he played the part of the song by the late Notorious B.I.G. that said, “I love it when they call me Big Poppa”.  Of course, the song was about the original artist, but I quite enjoyed the idea of switching it up and making it about another name that we could call Our Father in heaven.  At the time, I didn’t know why David chose to put a picture of the burning bush in the video, because there are so many other visual representations of God.  However, looking back on it now, it was the best visual representation to catch the attention of the kids.  Although, I think most of them missed it.

Personification: Kindness  I know that I referenced kindness in my journal yesterday because it is so easy to put gentleness and kindness in to the same prayer.  To me, the fruit of kindness comes from gentleness and the fruit of gentleness comes from kindness.  I hope that I can receive the necessary grace to display both fruits of the holy Spirit in my life today.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to display the fruit of kindness and allow me to share this fruit with everyone I meet with all the gentleness that you have shown me.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

It’s the end of the world…At least, it was in my dream last night!

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Veni, Dator Munerum

Image by Lawrence OP via Flickr

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:  Then he said, “If I find favor with you, O Lord, do come along in our company. This is indeed a stiff-necked people; yet pardon our wickedness and sins, and receive us as your own.”  (Exodus 34:8)

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Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever; And blessed is your holy and glorious name, praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages.  (Daniel 3:52)

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For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn 8 the world, but that the world might be saved through him.  (John 3:17)

Observation:  In the first reading, I heard Moses speak to the Lord in a way that only someone who had a real relationship with him would talk.  I hear him today talking about us, a stiff-necked people.  I, too, am asking for pardon and forgiveness for our sins and am asking the Lord to continue to receive us as his own.  In my dream last night, I saw the end of the world coming.  I remember feeling stressed that no one would listen, but this is probably due more to my stress in waking life, than any prophetic vision.  As for the verse from the responsorial Psalm that I posted, it reminded me of Eucharistic Adoration and when I read the words out loud, it reminds me of how great it will be to be praising God forever.  Finally, the gospel verse is the reassurance we need to hear about when Jesus returns, he is not planning on condemn us, rather saving us from evil…Amen!

Personification:  Joy  If I can focus on displaying the fruit of joy in my life, than I will be well on my way to living in His kingdom on earth, until he brings about the end of this world and the beginning of the next.

Prayer:  Come, Lord Jesus…Please continue to send down the holy Spirit on your people who you are calling to ministry in the body of Christ and help our families share in the joy that comes from living a faith filled life…I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen!