What does the fox say?

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You knew it was just a matter of time before it had to be done, especially by me.  I spend a lot of time around young adults and youth, so there was bound to be a reference to foxes in scripture or somewhere in my prayer life that was going to lead me to share this video and take the opportunity to point out the good news in the lyrics.  So, without further ado, here is the video…

If we follow the gospel reading for today, we see that it is Jesus who calls out the fox.  Here he says…He replied, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I accomplish my purpose.  (Luke 13:32)  The fox that he is referring to is Herod, who the Pharisee was telling Jesus, wanted to kill him.  Here is a good question, “Did Herod really want to kill Jesus?”  After what had happened to John the Baptist and that whole terrible scene, you might think Herod wanted to steer clear of Jesus.  However, the point of this post is to ask the question…”What does the fox say?”

It has been over 2000 years since Jesus said, “Go and tell that fox”, and we are left to figure out what Herod’s response would have been to this telling statement of Jesus about casting out demons and performing healings, and the third day accomplishing his purpose.  In the song, we hear a reference to the red fur and an angel in disguise, but also a reference to a guardian angel in the woods.  Rather than try to discern the intentions of the artist in choosing these lyrics, I would rather point out that God can use whatever means necessary to bring people to know him and I will use this song as a reminder of the power of angels in our lives to overcome evil.

Here is a prayer that I will say and share with you now…

Angel of God, our guardian dear to whom God’s love commits me here.  Ever this day be at our side, to light and guard, to rule and guide…Amen!

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If we accept forgiveness from God, why are we still waiting?

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English: The healing of the paralytic : wall p...

English: The healing of the paralytic : wall painting in the baptistry of the domus ecclesiae in Dura Europos. (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:  Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?  (Luke 5:23)

 

Observation:  If we are truly Christian, we should accept that we are forgiven for our sins by the power of God, who sent his Son to suffer and die in place of the punishment that we deserve for the life that we have lived to this point.   So, now are we waiting like the scribes and Pharisees, who Jesus had to perform the healing of the paralytic man for, to prove that He has the power to forgive sins.  Today, I am asking myself about all the things in my life, that are like the paralytic man, that I am waiting to be healed to prove that Jesus has the power to forgive my sin.  I need to accept my paralysis and redeem it with the power of forgiveness that comes from the grace of God.

 

Personification:  Faithfulness.  The fruit of faithfulness is a great fruit for me to display today to prove to God that I am no longer waiting to see miracles to believe.  How do I show faithfulness, but by being present for the work that God is doing in and through me today.

 

Prayer:  Lord, help me recognize your goodness in everyone I meet today and be a vehicle of your grace to all the ones that you would have me embrace with your love.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen!

 

 

 

You can’t love from a distance…

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Prophet Ezekiel, Russian icon from first quart...

The prophet Ezekiel...

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:  Do I find pleasure in the death of the wicked—oracle of the Lord GOD? Do I not rejoice when they turn from their evil way and live?  (Ezekiel 18:23)

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I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  (Matthew 5:20)

Observation:  Without going into the boring details of my many dreams that I have had lately, I am encouraged by the fact that God is helping me break some old habits and my sub-conscious is trying to tell me to stop standing on the sidelines, and start bringing the fight to the people who need it.  I am hearing that this is not a Catholic/Protestant thing, it is a God’s love thing.  Now, that God has shown me a way through to becoming a new creation in him, I am willing to take the next step.  For today, I hear Jesus saying that I must concentrate on displaying the righteousness that surpasses the scribes and Pharisees.

Personification:  Love  If I am going to listen to that little voice in my head that is telling me to be a man, and stop letting other people dictate how I am going to feel and how God is going to use me, I think I will be well on my way to displaying the fruit of love.  This is God’s love that I am hoping to display, so it is not necessarily the touchy, feely love that we see in the movies.  Rather, it is the love that encompasses the truth about who God created us to be and how we are really supposed to be taking care of each other.

Prayer:  Lord, make me an instrument of your love. Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.  Where there is despair, let me bring hope.  Let me not so much seek to be consoled, as to console.  Let me not so much seek to be understood, as to understand.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.  (Abridged version of the Saint Francis prayer)

How am I blind, just like the Pharisees?

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Jesus at the house of the Pharisean, by Jacopo...

Jesus at the house of the Pharisean

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:  “Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel! Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean.”  (Matthew 23:24-26)

Observation:  As I read the Gospel reading for today’s Mass readings this morning, I realized that I am like the blind Pharisee that Jesus is talking about.  I spend so much time focused on being faithful to my spiritual exercises, I often forget about what the exercises are supposed to be getting me ready for.  That is, living my life in a manner that is worthy of the Gospel.  I know that I will always come up short, but I am hearing this morning a call to work on deepening the relationships that I currently have and allow them to be the purity that displays my faith.

Personification:  Love  This morning and today, I am going to make a special attempt at displaying the fruit of love in my life, and this time I don’t mean by showing how disciplined that I can be.  I hope to be able to love the people that are closest to me in a way that effect the people around us.  I don’t know if it will work, but I know that God wants me to try it.

Prayer:  Lord, show me the way to love everyone that I come in contact with today, and in a real way let me love those closest to me, so that more disciples will come to you as a result of your grace.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit. Amen.

No longer subject to judgment…at least it is possible!

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the Stainned Gless of depicting the Holy Spirit.

Image via 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:  For the Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.  (1 Corinthians 2:10b)

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13Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17)

Observation:  During the time of Jesus, who could have accepted that Jesus was the fulfillment of all the promises that were passed down from the prophets for centuries.  It is easy for me to Monday morning quarterback the story and say that if I were there in Jesus time, I would have just watch him perform the miracles in Jerusalem and all over Israel and believed he was the Messiah.  However, I read the last verse from the second reading or Mass today and I was concerned that the Word was revealing something to me that I did not know that I had the wisdom to understand, even today as I see over 2000 years of history created out of the resurrection of our Lord.  The good news is that the Spirit is good, just like God, because the Spirit is God.  If you read on further in the 2nd chapter of the 1st letter to the Corinthians, like I did, Paul tells us that it is the spiritual person whom the truth is revealed to, not the natural person.  It is that spiritual person who is no longer subject to judgment, but gains the capacity to judge from the Spirit.

Personification:  Kindness  I will try to discern what is the way to continue to reveal the truth of the spirit to others around me in a kind and gentle way, that could only come from the Spirit of God.  I do not need to be concerned about accepting the fact that Jesus was the Messiah, because the truth is being revealed to me whether I accept it or not at this point.  I hope that my life shows that I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and more truth will continue to be revealed to me today.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to continue to see that it is your will that is being done in my life, and help me to resist my inclinations to return to my will.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

The scriptures give us hope…At least some of us!

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Jean-François Millet's depiction of winnowing

Jean-François Millet's depiction of winnowing

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:  For whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, that by endurance and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.  (Romans 15:4)

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9 His winnowing fan is in his hand. He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”  (Matthew 3:12)

Observation:  In the second reading for today’s Mass, I see Paul saying that it is the scripture that should give us hope to understand the salvation story.  In the gospel reading, John the Baptist is saying that the Pharisees and the Sadducees should not be coming to him, because they don’t deserve a warning of their impending doom.  The same can be said of us, we do not deserve a warning of our impending doom.  I feel like I should have hope that when Jesus sifts the wheat and the chaff, there will be something that gives me substance to fall to the ground.  I fear, however, that without the grace of our Lord, I will be the chaff that gets burned in the unquenchable fire.

Personification:  Faithfulness  For once, this morning I am seeing that the fruit of faithfulness does not come from my understanding.  It comes as a result of years of grace that I have received from the Lord.  It is my hope that by staying close to the Word always, this grace will continue to cover me with the faithfulness that I am choosing to display today.

Prayer:  Lord, it is my hope today to display the fruit of faithfulness.  You know my heart and mind better than I do, so help me with all the grace necessary to be able to be faithful.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

Are we leaving a fatal condition untreated?

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The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things...

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Hieronymus Bosch’s The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things

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:  1 On a sabbath he went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully.  In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy. 2 Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law and Pharisees in reply, asking, “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?” But they kept silent; so he took the man and, after he had healed him, dismissed him.  (Luke 14:1-4)

Observation:  In reading the Gospel this morning, I realized that the message was not meant just for the Pharisee or the Jewish people of Jesus’ time, it was definitely meant for us.  I see that we have people hurting all around us from all forms of sin as well as all types of fatal medical conditions.  However, instead of dealing with them, we act as if that is not our job.  I am not just talking about what we do or don’t do on Sunday, but everyday.  We are killing ourselves in all different types of sin; gluttony, avarice, lust and sloth to name a few that I relate to personally.  It is not just the sin that is killing us, it is our inability to see it in our own lives and in the people we love that is killing us.  I believe Jesus is pointing out in this Gospel reading today that we need to see the condition of the man who is standing before us and cure that condition in whatever way possible, no matter what day of the week it might be.

Personification:   Gentleness   I would normally have chosen to focus on self-control after what I chose to journal on today, but I have focused on self-control a lot lately.  It is important for me today to display the fruit of gentleness today, as I go through my day trying to dispel the evil  in my life and call out evil when I see it in the world.

Prayer:  Lord, give me a gentle heart to correct the things that are wrong in my life with compassion and understanding that comes from your grace.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.