Saturday, May 29, 2010

Be Kind with Great Caution

When there are some who have doubts reassure them; when there are some to be saved from the fire, pull them out; but there are others to whom you must be kind with great caution, keeping your distance even from outside clothing which is contaminated by vice.

Jude is writing to early Jewish Christians, encouraging them in their faith.  He is specifically reminding believers to remember what the Apostles of Jesus taught.

I find it interesting that Jude encourages cautious outreach to those struggling in faith.  “Be kind with caution” almost seems a contradiction of terms.  Yet, there is wisdom here.  Sometimes when stepping into the mud to help a brother, the mud can stick.

My greatest act of caution is to keep my wife in the loop.  She has a wisdom that can warn me of dangers I don’t always see.

Lord Jesus, guide me when I am pulling some out from the fire that I don’t get burnt myself.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sing for Joy all the Earth

11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
       let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
 12 let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.
       Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;
 13 they will sing before the LORD, for he comes,
       he comes to judge the earth. 

Psalm 95 starts with, ” Sing to the LORD a new song;  sing to the LORD, all the earth.” We live in a creation that exalts God in every fibre of its existence. 

I have memories of my younger days witnessing a beautiful sunrise while sitting on a hut porch on the side of Mount Ruapehu.  A man sitting with me was sharing this early morning glory and he was about to roll himself a marijuana joint to smoke.  I heard him say, “I don’t need this (marijuana). I’m getting a high from just looking”, and he put his joint away.  I remember thinking there is something bigger than both of us here. 

At the time I didn’t know His name, but I was certainly starting to recognise God’s finger prints in creation.  Today I recognise the “new song” that creation is crying out for those who will hear… and I will join creation in praising Him.

Father in heaven, I join all of your creation in singing for joy for you come, you come to judge the earth.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Beggar's Friend

Then Jesus spoke, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ ‘Rabbuni,’ the blind man said to him ‘Master, let me see again.’


Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, are leaving the city of Jericho when they encounter Bartmaeus the blind beggar.  His persistent shouting out to Jesus stops them and Jesus calls him over. The rest is history…

I love this story for numerous reasons: 
  • It establishes Jesus’ relationship to beggars;
    …one of spontaneous compassion.
  • It highlights what to do with persistent prayer;
    …never give up.
  • It demonstrates what a simple desperate prayer of faith can do;
    …release the healing power of Jesus.
  • It outlines how to approach Jesus;
    …know what you want, even when it may seem obvious.
      ‘Master, let me see again.’

I relate very easily to beggars, for that in essence is what I am and is how I approach Jesus.  Why? Because it releases His healing compassion into my life. He is the beggar’s friend.

Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me.’
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Law of Upsidedown

‘…anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’
Mk. 10:45

Jesus and the disciples are approaching Jerusalem when He calls His disciples aside to explain very bluntly about His passion and death that are imminent.  The disciples still do not grasp what is about to happen, to the point where James and John ask to have a share in the “glory” the Jesus is about to receive.

Jesus takes this moment of confusion to present again the true order that applies in the Kingdom of God…. The greatest are the least, the first shall be last.

Even today I struggle with the law of upside-down that rules in the Kingdom of God.  The allure of the world is about power and prestige.  It makes itself very attractive.  And yet as Peter writes in the first reading today, “all flesh is grass and its glory like the wild flower’s”.  Yes, it is beautiful for a time but it eventually withers and dies.

Eventually I am going to wither and die.  Praise be to God that is not the end of my story.  When I focus on the” law of upside-down” I have peace in my withering as this is not the measure of my worth.  I just need to be a servant and then I will be great… for today, for eternity.

Lord Jesus, You are my servant king.  I align myself with You.  Give me a servant’s heart that you may be glorified in me.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Before/After Time

Do not behave in the way that you liked to before you learnt the truth; make a habit of obedience: be holy in all you do, since it is the Holy One who has called you, and scripture says: Be holy, for I am holy.

The apostle Peter is writing to early churches made of converts from paganism.  The churches are suffering times of trial and Peter is encouraging them to have fortitude under persecution.

I am a convert and I still recognise a before/after divide in my life.  My children identify it as Dad BC (before Christ) and Dad AD.  This divide identifies the time of grace in my life, the time when Jesus tackled me to the ground as I was trying to run away from Him and then poured His undeserved favour into me.

It’s good to remember the before/after time in my story when I start drifting back into my BC behaviour.  It reminds me to be thankful and then to move on, being Holy as the Lord my God is holy.

Thank you Jesus for your underserved favour with which you continue to drench me.  I recommit myself to You.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My Story is My Story

Peter turned and saw the disciple Jesus loved (John) following them… Seeing him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘What about him, Lord?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to stay behind till I come, what does it matter to you? You are to follow me.’

The resurrected Jesus is walking with His disciples by the Sea of Tiberias when this conversation takes place.  It is almost a casual setting.  They have just finished the breakfast Jesus had prepared for them and are now strolling along the lake shore. 

The conversation establishes for Peter who is; one forgiven and the one authorised to lead the fledgling church.  But Peter starts straying outside what he needs to know.  John’s story is John’s story.  Peter’s story is his story and the only one he need concern himself about.  “…what does it matter to you?  You are to follow me” says Jesus.

How often do I stray outside what I need to know?  It’s always tempting to second-guess the Lord’s plans for other people.  This quickly degenerates into judgement.  Their story is their story.  My story is my story and the one I need to concern myself with… and my story is one about following Jesus.  How am I going to do that today?

Lord Jesus, forgive me for the times I concern myself about other people’s story when it’s not my business.  Lord, today I focus my eyes on You.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Him in Me

With me in them and you in me, may they be so completely one that the world will realise that it was you who sent me…


Jesus continues His Priestly Prayer for the whole church, present and future. His prayer is for unity… “May they all be one”.

This is Jesus’ final prayer with His disciples before His passion and death, it covers the essentials of what He desires for the church after He has ascended and unity is a biggie.  “You in me… me in You… I in them…” is prayed over and over.  It’s important.

Unified is not only a joyful way to live but, according to Jesus, it is the greatest witness for God the Father.  Conversely, disunity is the greatest denial of God the Father.

The church is not good at witnessing unity.  I am not good at witnessing unity.  I need to stop judging and criticising and start loving my brothers and sisters.

Come Holy Spirit of God.  Give me a loving heart to overlook the imperfections of my brothers and sisters that I may become perfect.  Lord, give us unity that the world will realise it is You that sent us.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

In the World but not of it

I am not asking you to remove them from the world, but to protect them from the evil one.

Jesus continues His Priestly Prayer for His disciples at the Last Supper.  He is praying not only for those in the room with Him but for all the Church.  He’s praying for me.  I am in the world, which is where Jesus wants me, but I am not of it.  How? …because I am protected from the evil one.

This “other worldliness” of believers creates a tension.  I don’t want to be so heavenly minded that I am no earthly good.  Jesus wants me in the world to be His witness.  That means I have to live amongst brokenness, sin and yes, temptations.  But I don’t have to go with the worldly flow; in fact I have to go against it.  As Jesus says, this results in the world hating me. 

But I have the antidote to the world’s hate… God’s love.   This is what protects me from the snares of the evil one.  God’s love defines who I am, not the world.  I am a beloved son, a son of the King and that makes me a prince.

Thank you Lord for protecting me with your love.  Let my witness as a beloved son draw others to You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Eternal Life from Knowing

And eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.  

Jesus is praying His Priestly Prayer for His disciples at the Last Supper, knowing His passion and death are imminent.  This is His last moment of intimacy with the Father before He is glorified with Him in heaven.

Jesus defines here what eternal life truly is and it is something quite simple… to know the Father and to know the Son.  How do I get to know them?  Well, the same way I get to know anyone I guess, by spending time with them. 

Here is the difficulty… spending time.  My life is so “busy” with things to do, places to go, people to see.  And yet this busyness is not life-giving.  In fact it is often life taking.  Spending time with God is the antidote.  It slows me down and connects me with my life source.

It’s time for a recommitment to daily time with my God.

Lord Jesus, my life is in You Lord.  Thank you for the promise of eternal life that comes with knowing You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Joy of Love

If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete.  …what I command you is to love one another.

Jesus at the Last Supper is summarising why He came and what He is leaving for the Church to do.  He came to love…  He commissioned us to love.  And the promise?  Our joy will be complete.

When I think of great saints of I have read about and even faith-filled people I have met, a common denominator is a joy that they radiate.  Even though they may have troubles, they seem right with the world.  They have a joy about them.  I find this incredibly attractive.   

The key for my joy then is to be a great lover… starting with the people I met today.

Lord Jesus, help me today keep your commandment to love.  Some people aren’t lovely Lord, but everyone is loveable.  Help me love, that my joy may be complete.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Irrational Joy

‘I tell you most solemnly, you will be weeping and wailing while the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy.’

Jesus at the Last Supper is telling His disciples He is about to be taken from them but that He will return.  He is promising that His resurrection will happen and it will be a source of great joy for all believers.

Catholics and all Christians are resurrection people.  It is the great non-sensible event that makes sense of everything.  It flies in the face of the world’s understanding of death which is destruction, decay and final ending.  For Jesus His resurrection meant new life and a new and greater beginning.  He has led the way for us to follow into the same glorious resurrected state.  No wonder we have every reason to be joyful!

Today I remind myself of the reason for my irrational joy…  the promise I have for my resurrection.

Lord Jesus, you are the first born into the new and eternal life promised to us.  Thank you Lord for the source of great joy your promise gives me, today.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Come Holy Spirit

Sixth Week of Easter

…it is for your own good that I am going because unless I go, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I do go, I will send him to you.

Jesus is in the upper room of the Last Supper giving His final words of encouragement to His disciples.  He recognises their grief in hearing that He is leaving them but puts it into perspective by revealing God’s plan in it all… He must go so the Holy Spirit may come!

This is an amazing fact.  I am better off, according to Jesus, with Him not here with me in the flesh.  Why?  …because it has allowed the Holy Spirit to come into my life.  Jesus places huge emphasis on the importance of the Holy Spirit and His role in the Church, on His role in my life.  Do I place the same importance on the third person of the Blessed Trinity?

Come Holy Spirit and renew the face of the earth… renew me!
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Command to Love

Fifth Week of Easter

What I command you is to love one another.

Jesus is giving His final exhortation to His disciples, knowing that His passion and death are imminent. When a man knows he is about to die and his loved ones are around him, the words he gives them are well thought out and important.  Jesus chooses to talk to His followers about love.

A command is not a request.  When a command is issued in the army, soldiers obey that command even if it means placing themselves in extreme danger.  To ignore a command means the soldier is no longer part of the fighting force, he is on the outside. 

Jesus commands me to love.  If I ignore this command I can no longer call myself a follower of the Way, call myself Christian. By making love a command, Jesus is telling me this is essential to being part of God’s Kingdom.  To love is not just a nice thing to do, it’s essential for my own salvation. 

Today, I choose to be a lover.

Lord Jesus, You showed the greatest love by laying you life down for me, your friend.  Fill me with Your love that I may pass it on to others.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Gift of the Holy Spirit

Fifth Week of Easter

In fact God, who can read everyone’s heart, showed his approval of them by giving the Holy Spirit to them just as he had to us.

Paul and Barnabus have returned to Jerusalem to discuss with the elders and Apostles what should their approach be to pagans who convert.  Peter supports accepting them without burdening them with Jewish laws.  He argues from his own experience where converts were immediately given the Holy Spirit on accepting the Good News of Jesus.

The Holy Spirit was recognised by the early church as a stamp of approval, an imprimatur from God Himself.   The Holy Spirit was a desirable friend, helper and advocate.  Do I hunger as much for the Holy Spirit?

Come Holy Spirit of God.  Empower me that I my be a greater witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pruned by the Word

Fifth Week of Easter

Every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more. You are pruned already, by means of the word that I have spoken to you.

Jesus continues His final exhortation to the disciples at the Last Supper.  Here He  uses the analogy of vine and branches.  He is the vine, we are the branches.
At first reading the phrase Jesus says, “You are pruned already, by means of the word that I have spoken to you”, seems strange.  How can His words prune me?  But when I think about what a difference His words through inspired sacred scripture have made in my life, I can start to understand what He means.  His words have pruned me.  The old man is slowly being cut away each time I read scripture and let it touch my heart.  It happens to me each time I spend this morning time Scripture Journaling.

And the opposite happens as well.  Whenever I have periods of not listening to His words, not having my morning devotional time, the old weeds sprout up again within me.
What a wonderful gift scared scripture is.  It keeps the weeds at bay and enables good fruit to be borne.

Lord Jesus, You are my vine, I am Your branch.  Thank you for your word that keeps me pruned and rooted in You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My Peace I Give You

Fifth Week of Easter

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you,
a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you.  Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.

Jesus has just washed the disciple’s feet at the Last Supper and is now giving His final words to them, words of comfort.

I remember sitting in Mass as a non-Catholic, listening to these words being said by the priest at the start of the consecration.  Even though I was observing the Mass through sceptical eyes, that prayer resonated within me.  I wasn’t a peace-filled person and something within me wanted that peace that was being offered.  It was the first attractive face of Jesus I started to recognise.

The appeal of this gift from Jesus is still there.  I need the peace beyond understanding that He continues to offer me.  Saint Paul said ‘We all have to experience many hardships before we enter the kingdom of God and he’d just been stoned and left for dead.  Jesus’ gift means that no matter what my circumstance is, I can be a peace-filled person.  And having that peace, I can pass the gift on to others… today.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Who and What

Fourth Week of Easter

 ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip,’ said Jesus to him, ‘and you still do not know me?

Jesus is giving His final teaching to His disciples at the Last Supper.  He is explaining His divine nature, how He and the Father are one.  Philip still doesn't quite get it and blurts, ‘Lord, let us see the Father and then we shall be satisfied.’ 'You must believe' is Jesus' reply.  He then promises the Holy Spirit who will teach all who believe.

I have been with Jesus for over 25 years and yet there is still much I do not know about Him. Philip kept asking questions and eventually got know Jesus so well that he died a martyr's death for Him.  The mystery of who and what Jesus is doesn't go away but it is worthy of my best efforts to solve it.
So, I keep asking...

Jesus my Lord and my friend, you are the greatest mystery ever presented to me.  I place my hope and trust in You.  Holy Spirit, teach me about Jesus that I may love Him more.
Little Flower, please pray for me.