We live amidst evil, until the end…

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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:  Jesus dismissed the crowds and went into the house.
His disciples approached him and said,
“Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man,
the field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom.
The weeds are the children of the Evil One,
and the enemy who sows them is the Devil.
The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire,
so will it be at the end of the age.
The Son of Man will send his angels,
and they will collect out of his Kingdom
all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.
They will throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Then the righteous will shine like the sun
in the Kingdom of their Father.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”  (Matthew 13:36-43)

Observation:  I don’t usually post the whole gospel reading from our Mass readings, but today’s is especially impactful on me and the young folks and chaperones that just returned from a youth conference in San Diego.  I would normally talk about how I hear that I need to stay strong and unafraid amidst all the evil that is allowed to be present in this world by a God that knows that his grace is sufficient to save us, even in an evil world.  However, I feel that this parable is saying to me today that my job is not to pluck the weeds, it is to live in their midst, with my attention on what God is doing in my life and not on the evil that the Devil is working in theirs.

Personification:  Joy  It is with great joy that I can say that God has saved me from myself today.  It is with joy that I will worship Him at Mass at 12:15pm today at Saint Mary Catholic Church.

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!

A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn. (Psalms 51:19b)

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"Son of man" appears 25 times in Luk...

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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:  When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.  (Jonah 3:10)

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Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love; in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions. Thoroughly wash away my guilt; and from my sin cleanse me.  (Psalms 51:3-4)

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While still more people gathered in the crowd, he said to them,“This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah.Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.”  (Luke 11:29-30)

Observation:  From the title for my journal today, you can see that I believe today’s message begins for me as a call to have a contrite heart.  I am hearing that I must be willing to be humble enough to recognize my tendency toward sinfulness, to see a call to repentance.  Jesus is saying that just as the Ninevites accepted Jonah’s call to repentance for the evil that was being done in their day, we must accept Jesus’ call to repentance for the evil that is being done in our day, if we are to expect any salvation at all.  I see this as not just pertaining to the punishment that may come to us in our world today, like was promised to Ninevah if they didn’t repent, but an eternal punishment for not listening to the Son of Man’s call to repentance.

Personification:   Self-Control  It is my belief that God would rather have me in complete control of my desires, but I realize that I am not there yet.  I hope that with more prayer and fasting, I will be able to let God orient my desires to those that are in line with his will and not the earthly desires that I would want.

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.

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 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.

 

Go ahead and argue…Its not easy to accept…Jesus knows your doubt…He has seen you before!

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Blessed Sacrament  at San Thome Basilica

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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: I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”  The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?”  Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”  (John 6:51-53)

Observation:  It is ok to have doubts about how I may fit in to the will of God and why he would be calling me.  On this point, Jesus was very clear…In order to have life within me, I must be willing to accept that I am eating his flesh and drinking his blood when I receive communion.  I am sure there will be some questions, but as we hear in the gospel reading for today’s Mass, there were doubts from the beginning of Jesus’ institution of the Eucharist.  It is not easy to accept that he would leave us his flesh to eat and give us his blood to drink.

Personification: Faithfulness  I will attempt to display the fruit of faithfulness today, by showing my belief in this gospel today by getting rid of any doubt that tries to creep in about this doctrine of our faith.  It is my unworthy joy to receive the body and blood of Christ, the sinless one, into my sinful body in order that I may have life within me.

Prayer:  Lord, change me into the person that you want me to be and allow me to take part in the transformation of others, by your grace and with your Word.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen. 

Come, Lord Jesus…My head is held high…I’m standing tall…Thanks be to God!

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Scripture:  There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the wavesPeople will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens 8 will be shakenAnd then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great gloryBut when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”  (Luke 21:25-28)

Observation:  It is my hope that I am not acting with pride that I am standing in anticipation of the return of the Lord.  Of course, if I am, I will expect to be humbled soon.  However, it is my intention to act out of the will of God that I am receiving from the Word of God today and everyday for the rest of my time here on earth.  I will rejoice and be glad in anticipation of his return because I hear him telling me to do so in this reading today and throughout the Word.

Application:  The true application of these verses from the gospel of Luke for me is that I will see the return of the Lord as the beginning of the purest form of his kingdom coming, and not the end of the world as we know it.  The more I act intentionally to make his kingdom present in our place and time, the less negative impact the coming of the Son of Man will have on those people around me.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to continue to see the coming of the Son of Man as a gift, by ending the pain from corruption and sin that exist in my human nature.  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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God’s promise to us never changes…

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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:  So when God wanted to give the heirs of his promise an even clearer demonstration of the immutability of his purpose, he intervened with an oath, so that by two immutable things, 8 in which it was impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to hold fast to the hope that lies before us.  This we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm, which reaches into the interior behind the veil, 9 where Jesus has entered on our behalf as forerunner, becoming high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.  (Hebrews 6:17-20)

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Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for man, 16 not man for the sabbath.  17 That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”  (Mark 2:27-28)

Observation:  As I was reading the first reading for the first time during our Mass at our small chapel this morning, I was confused by the use of the word immutable in the letter to the Hebrews.  I basically missed the rest of the reading, because of the fact that I could not get the word out of my head.  As I read the responsorial psalm, I was still stuck on the use of the word, so I wasn’t reading very well.  Anyway, after the Mass I came back to my office to look up the reading and figure out if I was right to be moved by the word immutable in the way that I was.  It turns out that I was right to be moved by it, as the title of my post for today says, the fact that God’s promise never changes is quite significant.  As for the verse from the Gospel, it continues the theme that the first reading ended with, which is the fact that Jesus is the lord of the sabbath and the one who completes the promise in his life, death and resurrection.

Personification:  Kindness  It is only when I recognize that there is a power greater than me, that I see that it is a worthwhile thing for me to act with the fruit of kindness toward everyone I meet.  The God that I give all glory to, is so faithful to his promise that I can look to him to see the love and kindness that I could be capable of, if only I would accept that his promise is addressed to me, as well as the rest of the world.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to act with kindness toward all of your people and realize the promise that will never change in my life and in our church.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.






 

So, what is the point of Luke’s Gospel anyway?

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Fire fountain / Font de foc

Image by . SantiMB . via Flickr

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:  3 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”  (Luke 19:10)

Observation:  I am sure this point could be debated, but I took the title of my post today from the footnotes in the New American Bible translation of the bible I was reading in this morning.  The first reading from the Mass readings was from Revelations and the Responsorial is from Psalm 15 about not lending your money with interest.  For me, the focus from the Word this morning is on what Luke’s Gospel is saying about the role of Jesus.  It says that he is the savior of the lost.  So, there is still hope for those of us that are still wandering around lost in the world…He will seek us out, even if we are short and sinful!

Application:  Self-Control  I am certainly glad that Jesus will seek me out and save me because I have spent some time being lost lately.  It seems the more I focus on getting control of my day and my actions, the more they slip out of my control.  The trick is staying focused on the Word and knowing that God will save me from destruction, even if I am still bent on some destructive habits.  I must remember to climb the sycamore tree every day to make sure I am clearly making an effort to see my Savior.

Prayer:  Lord, I know that I am not worthy of salvation.  Please help me receive your grace with a heart of repentance.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

Do not blaspheme the Spirit! If you know what is good for you…

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Mary and Jesus

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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:  5Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the holy Spirit will not be forgiven.  (Luke 12:10)

Observation:  This morning I was left with the impression from this verse, as well as the rest of the readings from the daily Mass readings for today, that we should take comfort in that the holy Spirit will be there to guide us when our faith is attacked.  The reason I focused on this verse was because there are plenty of people who would question the church and its motives for doing certain things and encouraging certain prayers.  This is my attempt, in my own small way, to warn them that if there question moves from sincere doubt to blasphemy against the Spirit, they are in danger of losing the forgiveness that was promised to them.  If they insist on continuing persecuting someone else’s faith with that knowledge, you may want to stand back away from them.

Personification:  Gentleness  It will be my focus today to continue to search for God’s purpose for my life.  It is my hope that I will be able to search for truth with the fruit of gentleness that comes from the holy Spirit.  It will be against my human nature to not attack when I am attacked, but it will be the fruit of gentleness that comes from the grace of God through the holy Spirit that calms my soul and allows me to react more simply and gently.

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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acts_of_Reparation