Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Who do I say He Is?

"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"

 Today is the feast day of saint's Peter and Paul, the two pillars of the church.  In today's gospel Jesus asks the question that every human being must answer; who do I say Jesus is?  The answer Peter gives is,  "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Peter's answer doesn't just define Jesus, his answer defines himself; "Blessed are you... you are Peter ... the rock on whom I will build my church"

So, the question hangs there for everyone, for me.  I say with my lips that Jesus is Lord, but what does my lifestyle say?  And in what it says, how am I defined?  Today I choose to live as one who knows Jesus as Son of the Living God.

Lord Jesus, fill me with your Spirit that my life may clearly say to the world who You are.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

But Only Say the Word

Sir, I am not worthy to have you under my roof; just give the word and my servant will be cured. 
Mt. 8:8

Jesus has just come down of the mountainside where He has given His great Sermon on the Mount.  Large crowds are following Him, amazed at the authority by which He has just taught them.  They are about to be amazed further as Jesus underscores His authority by performing great miracles of healing.

Among the first public healings Jesus performs is the Centurion's Servant.  This event is highlighted by Jesus' proclamation about the greatness of the Centurion's faith: ‘I tell you solemnly, nowhere in Israel have I found faith like this".  Jesus then goes on to say that many from outside the chosen people will inherit the promised Kingdom while many sons of Abraham will be denied entry.  The keys to the kingdom seem to be associated with faith, the type of faith displayed by the Centurion.

This is good news for all people, good news for me.  The more I rely on the authority of Jesus over every area of my life, the more I am assured of being present at the "Feast of Heaven".

Lord Jesus, I place my trust in You.  I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word and I shall be healed.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

More of Him, Less of Me

“I am not the one you imagine me to be; that one is coming after me and I am not fit to undo his sandal.”

Today is the solemnity of the birthday of John the Baptist. It is a day to ponder on the character of the man of whom Jesus himself said, "Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist". 

John was great in his holiness, great in his courage and sense of divine purpose, but his greatest attribute was his humility.  As popular as he became he never lost sight of who he was in relation to Jesus. " I am not fit to undo his sandal.”

John the Baptist role models a simple and uncomplicated humility that seems to be a characteristic of all saints. It is the opposite to the vice of pride.  It is a characteristic I would do well to emulate ...today.

Holy Spirit, give me a spirit of humility, that I may be lesser so Jesus may become greater in me.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Good Fruit Bad Fruit

‘Beware of false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep but underneath are ravenous wolves. You will be able to tell them by their fruits.Mt.7:15

Jesus continues His great teaching to the crowds in His Sermon on the Mount.  Here He clearly gives a warning about people who will appear to be for the church, appear to even be speaking on behalf of God.  In reality they are only serving their own ravenous appetites.  And how do we discern such people? "By their fruits you shall know them".

This serves as a warning for me expect to meet such false prophets even today.  But more importantly, this makes me ask,what are my fruits?  How am I known?  The Pharisee within me is quick to point out my few paltry "Good Works", but that is not the one I should be listening to.  My wife, my children, those close around me;  what fruits would they say they see produced by me.  Are they predominantly good, or rotten?

Lord Jesus, You know the vacillating whims of my heart; sometimes good, sometimes rotten.  Lord, I beg your forgiveness and ask for a pure heart hungry for You, that I may bare only good fruit, fruit that will last.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Hard Road

‘Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to perdition is wide and spacious, and many take it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.’

Jesus is sitting on the hillside continuing His great Sermon on the Mount.  He is encouraging the crowds on how to live the full life of a follower.  Here He depicts what faces every human being; the two ways.  The easy path is wide and well traveled, promising much but in the end, leading to hell.  The more difficult path is narrow, less traveled, requiring effort to traverse, but in the end leads to eternal life in heaven.

Every day I face these two paths.   The wide gate, the easy path is so seductive.  Less effort is required to go with the flow.  The difficult path is just that; difficult!  Being a follower of Jesus means going against the flow.  It can be hard and lonely work.  But Jesus is exhorting me to take it.  Traverse the difficult path and do you know what?  In doing it I will receive fullness of life, the very thing that Jesus came to bring me.

Today I choose the Hard Road.

Lord Jesus.  I choose you, despite the loneliness at times, despite the difficulties, because You are the Way the Truth and the LIFE!

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

You Should Pray like This

"...your Father knows what you need before you ask him. So you should pray like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, may your name be held holy..."

Jesus is seated on a hill side giving His great Sermon on the Mount to the crowds.  His foundational teaching covers every aspect of Christian living.  Here He focuses om prayer.
Even though our Father in Heaven knows what we need before we ask, Jesus says pray is essential.  And the prayer, to be authentic, must be said in humility in that secret place where God alone is the audience.

Today I am to be a man of prayer.

Lord Jesus, You are the great role model for prayer.  May I be a witness to You as I pray.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Secret Place

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be careful not to parade your good deeds before men to attract their notice... your Father who sees all that is done in secret... will reward you.’

Jesus continues His great Sermon on the Mount.  Here He is addressing how we are to carry out the three great pillars of Christian living; prayer, fasting and alms-giving.  These are not "ifs" but "whens" according to Jesus.  

The way for all three NOT to be done is pridefully and  publicly.  They become authentic Christian acts when they are done with humility and in secret.  Only then can I be sure my motive is pure.  Only then will my reward be due.

Jesus, you know how I struggle with pride.  Help me gain satisfaction from impressing my Father alone.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Love my Enemies

But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven.

Jesus continues to lay down the foundations of christian living in His Sermon on the Mount.  He now gets into the real meaty stuff; stuff like "love your enemies".  If there is one thing that non-believers know about Christian theology it's this quote from Jesus; "Love your enemies", which is strange as it is probably the thing that we are the worst at doing.

This is where the Christian faith is demonstrated at its most radical.  The world shouts that we must hate our enemies, that we must conquer them, get revenge from them. Jesus simply says love them.  There is a freedom in this that the world cannot give and it involves me giving up my rights.  It's not until I let go of my deserved claims of retribution and actually forgive and even love that I am truly free of the injustice done to me.

Easy to say... hard to do.

Lord Jesus, You know my difficulties to love.  Help me be so drenched in Your love that it my spill out over all those about me.  The rain falls on both the  just and the wicked .

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Economy of words

But I tell you, Do not swear at all…  Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
Mt. 5.34,37

Jesus continues to unfold His great plan for Christian living in His Sermon on the Mount.  Here He is looking at the question of oaths, especially the promises we make to God. 

This instruction is liberating on two counts.  Firstly, Jesus is telling me to keep it simple.  A yes or a no will suffice. Long and wordy discourses cloud the issue rather than clear it.  Secondly, Jesus is telling me that a “no” response is OK.  I don’t always have to be a “yes man”.  This means I can save my yeses for when I really know it is the right thing to say and mean.  A simple Yes or No is all that is required.  In fact anything more has cloudy motives invariably fueled by the devil.

Lord Jesus, You know how I can babble, even to You.  Give me economy of words and freedom of heart that my Yes means Yes and my No means No.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Matters of the Heart

So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering. 

Jesus continues to lay down the foundations of Christian living in His Sermon on the Mount.  He emphasises that pious living is more than external appearances; it is a matter of the heart. 

Among the first “matters of the heart” that Jesus identifies to be dealt with is unforgiveness.  Jesus knows how unforgiveness can distort even the most holy of intentions, like going to the altar of God to worship… like going to Mass.

How often do I go to Mass carrying unforgiveness in my heart?  More often than I care to admit.  These are manifest in all the petty little judgements I make on the way and when arriving at Mass.  In reality I am not in a state of grace to receive Jesus in Holy Communion.  The antidote?  Be reconciled.  Especially be reconciled with others in my parish.  Their brokenness is just a reflection of my own and is probably why I feel so at home there.

Today I forgive my brothers and sisters from the heart and I will go to Mass… in a state of grace.

Lord Jesus.  Forgive me for being so judgemental of my brothers and sisters.  Heal the wound in me that I may be free to receive you with a pure heart.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


“No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.’

Jesus is sitting before the crowds giving His great Sermon on the Mount, the teaching that lays the foundation for Christian living.  Immediately following the beatitudes He exhorts His followers to be light salt and light.  These are both physical things whose properties affect those around them for the better.  Salt brings out added richness of flavour; light expels darkness and shows the safe way forward.

There is an imperative element to Jesus’ words here; “your light MUST shine”.  I am not to live my day as a recluse.  I have an obligation to affect those about me for good, not for my own glory but that my Father in Heaven is glorified.

Lord Jesus.  Let the glow of your love shine through me today, that my Father in Heaven may be praised.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Be Inspired

All scripture is inspired by God and can profitably be used for teaching, for refuting error, for guiding people’s lives and teaching them to be holy. This is how the man who is dedicated to God becomes fully equipped and ready for any good work.

Paul is writing encouragement to Timothy, giving examples of how to live a holy life.  He gives strong endorsement of inspired scripture as a source of wisdom that leads to salvation.

This verse from 2Timothy is my motivator for daily Scripture Journaling.  I need to feed daily from the “Living Bread” of the Bible.  In this way I can:

  • Refute error
  • Be guided
  • Be taught holiness
  • Reaffirm my dedication to God
  • Be equipped for good works

My daily devotional time is always a struggle but always, always, always worth it.

Thank you Lord Jesus for Your inspired Word.  Holy Spirit, inspirer of sacred scripture, inspire me as I read it.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Four Words

‘Which is the first of all the commandments?’ Jesus replied, ‘This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.’
Mk. 12:28-31

A teacher of the Law overhears Jesus debating with the Sadducees and Pharisees.  His is impressed with the wisdom of Jesus’ answers and so asks Him the first authentic question of the day… “What commandment is greatest?”  Jesus in turn is impressed with the teacher’s genuineness and gives him a promise we all long to hear… "You are not far from the kingdom of God."

So, what was the answer Jesus gave and that the teacher agreed with to gain such approval from Jesus?  Very simply, love God … love others.  These four words give the whole plan of salvation for the world, the plan of salvation for me.  When I live out these four words, I am not far from the kingdom of God.

Jesus my friend, these four words are easy to say but so hard to do. Please help me live them out today.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Grace to Know the Difference

‘Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God.’ 

Some Pharisees and Herodians are sent to Jesus to deliberately catch Him out in what He said.  The trap is set in the question, "Should we pay taxes?"  Jesus sees their hypocrisy and exposes it.  But He goes further and gives the only true answer to the question.  Give to each what is its due.

Jesus' answer reflects the human condition.  We are in the world but not of it.  We are here, with all its responsibilities, but we aren't going to stay here.  Our goal is there, with Him.  This creates a tension in my life but tension isn't always bad.  It's what makes the Christian life exciting.  Yes, I have a mortgage to pay, a job to attend, family to provide for and taxes to pay.  But (and it's a big BUT), heaven is my home, Jesus shows my way there and I look forward to Him coming for me with joy and hope.  What a way to live!

Lord Jesus, help me to give back to Caesar what is his and give back to You what is yours and have the grace to know the difference.
Little Flower, please pray for me.