Is it just me, or is Jesus talking to us too?

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Offertoire en rite tridentin

Offertoire en rite tridentin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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:  Turning to the disciples in private he said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.  For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”  (Luke 10:23-24)

 

Observation:  It is possible that I came to this conclusion before when I heard this reading and I may have even journaled on it.  However, I feel like it is important for me to say that I feel blessed to be living in these days where we can know Jesus intimately through all the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Eucharist.  In both visible signs of God’s grace, we can see, feel and experience grace in a way that the prophets and kings of the old testament only dreamed about.

 

Personification:  Patience. I came to the conclusion after Mass on Sunday, that I need to show more patience with those that are leading our congregation in worship and in the different ministries in our church.  I was reminded of the fact that it took me 20 years of walking in the faith to come to the conclusions that I have about the importance and necessity of the church in all areas of your life.  That should not be a matter of pride for me that I got to this point in my faith in 20 years, rather I should be thankful that the grace of God has gotten me this far and his grace is enough to get us all to be able to enjoy eternal life with Him.

 

Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner…Amen!

 

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The spirit moves us in the Gospel, are you listening?

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Jesus and Saint Peter, Gospel of Matthew 4.18-...

Jesus and Saint Peter, Gospel of Matthew 4.18-20 Français : Jésus et Saint Pierre, Évangile selon Matthieu 4.18-20 (Photo credit: 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: Wherever the spirit would go, they went. And they were raised up together with the living creatures, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. (Ezekiel 1:19)

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* When he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him, “Then the subjects are exempt. But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you.”  (Matthew 17:26-27)

Observation:  So, in the verse that I chose from the first reading today, I am reminded of the Gospel being what moves us in the Spirit, since the four animals are sometimes interpreted to symbolized the four evangelists that wrote the Gospels.  The wheels being a symbol of the way the Spirit is moving something connected to the Gospel message, and I think that something should be me.  I don’t know if that theologically coincides with the literal interpretation of Ezekiel’s vision, but that is what it is saying to me.  As for the actual message intended for me from today’s Gospel, I think it is that even though I may not be expected to give back to the church, more than I give already of my time and treasure that was given to me by a gracious God, I must remember to give God credit for what was given to me from the miracle of my having this job, working for His church.  Sure, it is not as amazing as Peter finding a coin in the mouth of a fish, but a miracle, just the same.

Personification:. FaithfulnessIt is only when I can display the fruit of faithfulness to God’s Word and the church that was instituted by Jesus, that I can be sure of making good use of the grace that He gives me in the Sacraments that I receive.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to be what you want me to be for my family and friends, so that I can Be sure that I am not standing in the way of your will for the people who I can most directly affect by my decisions.  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.

What do I have left to sell?

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portrait of Matthew Evangelist and the first p...

Matthew Evangelist and his Gospel

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:  When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.  (Matthew 13:46)

Observation:  Immediately after I wrote the title for my journal this morning, the thought occurred to me that maybe it is not about selling anything anymore for those of us that work for the church.  We have already accepted the servant mentality, so now it is about the final words of this verse that I chose from the Gospel reading for today’s Mass.  I need to not look for ways to sell what I have left, I need to look for ways to completely buy in to the Good News that our holy Mother Church is selling.  I will never see what I have left to give up, until I am completely aware of the cost of what I am buying.

Personification: Patience  I will focus today on the fruit of patience that comes from the grace that I will receive in the Sacrament of the Eucharist today.  I will look for how the Lord is revealing the truth of my path to fully accepting my call to be a servant in the church.  God has shown me time and time again that my family will be taken care of, and now I have to be willing to show him that I will be faithful to his call.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to be the man who you have made me to be and keep me from sin.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

I want to be one of his sheep…

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The Flagellation of Our Lord Jesus Christ (1880)

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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:  My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, 13 and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.  (John 10:27-29)

Observation:  As I chose these three verses to journal on this morning, I thought about all the ways the world talks about being like sheep and the negative connotations that the world says about being a follower, especially a sheep-like follower.  However, the words that Jesus uses to show the protection that he is willing to afford his sheep, should make anyone willing to be called one of his sheep. 

Personification: Self-Control  I will choose to focus on displaying the fruit of self-control today, with the grace that comes to me freely from the Sacrament that I will receive this morning.  It is only by the grace of God that I am not following my own selfishness into sin right now, so I will try to show my gratitude for this grace by continuing to display this fruit of self-control for the rest of this day and for the rest of my life.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, I desire nothing more than to spend the rest of my life under the protection that you promised to your sheep.  Please help me to always hear your voice and to follow the will of the Father for my life, just like you did.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Encourage yourselves daily…

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A penitent confessing his sins in the former L...

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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:  Encourage yourselves daily while it is still “today,” so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin.  We have become partners of Christ if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end.  (Hebrews 3:13-14)

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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.”  (Mark 1:44)

Observation:  When I was selecting the verses to journal on this morning, I realized that I missed this admonition from the letter of Hebrews the first time I read through the readings.  Once I realized how impactful this admonition could be for others as well as me, I made the beginning of it the title for today’s post.  Also, the gospel reading was a reminder to me that the outward signs of the church, such as confession, are ways that the holy Spirit was leading the church to reach out to more people.  Even though, Jesus knew that this man would go and tell everyone about his healing, he mentions the ritual to make sure we know that we have a greater responsibility to our community as well as our own salvation.

Personification:  Love  It is a sign of our willingness to give up our selfish tendencies to go to the church to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation or our reception of any of the sacraments for that matter.  I hope that I can show the fruit of love for other people by being more faithful to the reception of the sacraments, whether I feel like I need to receive them or not.  (especially Confession

Prayer:  Lord, help me to stay faithful to your Word and bring more people to the church by more faithful reception of the sacraments.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.