Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Spiritual Man

...we teach spiritual things spiritually. An unspiritual person is one who does not accept anything of the Spirit of God: he sees it all as nonsense; it is beyond his understanding because it can only be understood by means of the Spirit. A spiritual man, on the other hand, is able to judge the value of everything, and his own value is not to be judged by other men.

Saint Paul continues his great letter of teaching and correction to the Church of Corinth. The "unspiritual" man he describes then is just as prevalent today.  It has become a modern religion, not to accept anything of the Spirit of God.
But what of the spiritual man?  According to Saint Paul, he can see the value of everything.  This is so true.  The spiritual men I know are men who have a peace and a joy about them.  They are optimistic, seeing the value of everything.
Today I chose to live as a spiritual man.

Lord Jesus, You are the ultimate spiritual man. I follow your footsteps today knowing my full value is in You.
Little Flower, Please pray for me.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Foolishness of the Cross

The language of the cross may be illogical to those who are not on the way to salvation, but those of us who are on the way see it as God’s power to save.... And so, while the Jews demand miracles and the Greeks look for wisdom, here are we preaching a crucified Christ;

Corinth in the ancient world was a great and populous port and so was a magnet for for every sort of philosophy and religion.  It was a notorious center of immorality. Paul's letter's to the Church of Corinth gave much-needed instruction and guidance. The lives of Christians flew in the face of the lives of those who surrounded them.  The foolishness of the Cross offended everyone and it was tempting for the Church to water down that part of their faith.  Paul put a stop to that!

Things haven't changed much in two thousand years.  Every philosophy, religion and immorality abound in the society I live in.  Even among Christians the cross is offensive;  "you Catholics are obsessed about the crucifix".  Well, yes I am.  It reminds me of the greatest act of love the world has ever known.  It reminds me of how much God loves me.  Today I will undertake a veneration of my crucified Lord.

Lord Jesus.  You lived, died and rose again!  Alleluia!  Thank you for your great act of love by climbing on that cross and handing out the nails.  Because of this I am saved.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Song of Ascent

Happy are all who fear the LORD, who walk in the ways of God. What your hands provide you will enjoy; you will be happy and prosper:
Just so will they be blessed who fear the LORD. 
Psalms 128,1-2.4-5.

Psalm 128 is a song of ascent, a song to sing as we are going to the House of the Lord.  It is a song of rejoicing from a man who fears the Lord.  It is my song, a song I will sing today...

 1 Blessed are all who fear the LORD,
       who walk in his ways.
 2 You will eat the fruit of your labor;
       blessings and prosperity will be yours.
 3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
       within your house;
       your sons will be like olive shoots
       around your table.
 4 Thus is the man blessed
       who fears the LORD.
 5 May the LORD bless you from Zion
       all the days of your life;
       may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem,
 6 and may you live to see your children's children.
       Peace be upon Israel.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Come and See

Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth. But Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come from Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."

Jesus has just started His public ministry and is calling His disciples as He appears to randomly meet them on the road.  There is a beautiful dynamic happening here. Jesus calls Andrew who then calls his brother Peter. Jesus calls Philip who then calls his friend Nathanael. Jesus attracts through established relationships.  The invitation from Jesus to Andrew was, "Come and see".  It was the same from Philip to Nathanael, "Come and see".

My most effective evangelism is to those with whom I'm already in relationship, starting with my own children.  I need an authentic Catholic lifestyle to show when I give my invitation; "Come and see".

Lord Jesus.  You are the Way, the Truth and the Life.  Help me reflect this in my life to show my loved ones when they "Come and see".
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


'The greatest among you must be your servant. Anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will exalted.’

Jesus has just silenced the Sadducees and Pharisees and then warns the people not to copy what they do as they do not practice what what they preach.  He then goes on to describe the life of humility that is a sign of a true believer. The lifestyle Jesus promotes is one of humility, smallness, other-focused, selfless; all things that  are the opposite to what the world promotes, the me-centered life.

The upside down world of last-shall-be-first and least-shall-be-greatest that Jesus calls me to is actually the right way up world.  Everything is in order when I live this way.  Let's see if I can live it... today.

Lord Jesus, You know my self centeredness. Give me the attitude of humility that I may be exalted in Your eyes.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Love God and Love Others

Jesus said, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself.
Matthew 22:37-39

To try and discredit Jesus the Sadducees had just given their "fish-hook" question about marriage which Jesus had deftly answered.  Not to be outdone, the Pharisees now have a go with the "What is the greatest commandment?" question.

The answer Jesus gives the Pharisees gives the most simple blueprint for the Christian lifestyle: Love God and love others.  On this every law and utterance of the prophets rests.  This means that everything I think, do and say must be measured against this... Has what I've just thought, done or said been an expression of loving God and loving others? What a challenge for me today!

Lord Jesus.  You are love personified. Be ever before me today that all I do is love You and love others.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Outrageous Grace

“The men who came last” they said “have done only one hour, and you have treated them the same as us, though we have done a heavy day’s work in all the heat.” He answered one of them and said, “My friend, I am not being unjust to you;..."

Jesus is describing to His disciples what the kingdom of heaven is like, using a parable of a landowner hiring at the eleventh hour.  Jesus is highlighting the scandal of God's mercy; all are treated the same.  There is nothing we can do to earn more mercy from God.
This is good news for me.  I entered the Church at age 35.  I had a good number of years "standing idle in the market place" before I accepted the Lord's covenant.  I am so grateful that those wasted years are not held against me.
But the pharisee within me asks, "Then why work at all if effort accounts for nothing?"  That question misses the whole point.  The blessing comes not from length of service but from simply being IN service. The wonder of this  scandalous generosity of God is that it is NEVER too late.  Any time is a good time to enter into the service of God.  And if this be so, why delay it?

Lord Jesus, thank you for your scandalous mercy given to me.  Thank you for your generosity towards me.  Thank you for treating us all the same with your outrageous grace and love.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Let the Little Children Come

Jesus said, ‘Let the little children alone, and do not stop them coming to me; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.'

The disciples see children as the world sees them; insignificant, unimportant and a nuisance.  So they attempt to shoo them away.  Jesus sees children differently.  To Him they are significant, important and their characteristics He identifies as essential to entering the Kingdom of God.

If the Kingdom of God belongs to those with child-like character then I need to cultivate child-like characteristics.  What are they?  I look at my eleven-year-old daughter and get some idea.  She is:
  • Spontaneous
  • Now-focused
  • Laughs out load, often
  • Holds no grudge
  • Compassionate
  • Transperant
Wow!  These are enough to start with.  I have a way to go...

Lord Jesus, You welcomed and blessed the little children.  Help me cultivate a child-like character that I may belong to Your Kingdom.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sex is God's Idea

Have you not read that the creator from the beginning made them male and female and that he said: This is why a man must leave father and mother, and cling to his wife, and the two become one body?

Jesus is answering a question given to Him by some Pharisees to trap Him.  Knowing full well their true motive in asking, Jesus still takes the question at its face value and answers them.  He knows His answer won't be accepted by the Pharisees but He gives it anyway saying, "Let anyone accept this who can".

If I were to summarise Jesus' answer it would be; "Sex is God's idea".  God made the sexes for His good purpose and instituted marriage to create the best environment to exercise sexuality. Sex is good because it is of God.  It is the devil who perverts and twists it to try and claim it as his domain.  But no!  Sex is God's idea and it is something beautiful and something to cherish.

Thank you Lord for my sexuality, for making me a man who desires his wife.  Lord I pray that I may cherish and protect this gift you have given me. Help me to be a true lover to my wife.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Forgive and Live

And in his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt. And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.

Jesus is not always the soft cuddly-toy we would like Him to be. Sometimes He delivers a hard message such as in today's Gospel when He talks to Peter about forgiveness.  Peter thought he was being magnanimous when suggesting he should forgive seven times.  Jesus raises the bar and infers forgiveness is never an option.  It is a command.

I have seen the cancer of unforgiveness at work.  The sufferers have literally been "handed over to the torturers".  Jesus' apparent harsh words about this are actually the way to liberation.  I am freed from the torturers whenever I forgive.  The world says get your revenge, it is your right.  Jesus says give up your rights and live.  Who do I need to forgive today?

Lord Jesus, you know how hard it is for me to forgive.  Empower me to forgive from my heart that I may be set free.
Blessed Mother Mary McKillop, please pray for me.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

When Two or Three Gather

For where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them.

Jesus is teaching His disciples on protocol for handling disputes between brothers.  He then highlights what brotherhood means and why it is something so precious, something worth working hard at restoring when it has been damaged.  The sacredness of  Christian brotherhood comes from the reality that Jesus is part of it.  God himself is present when brothers meet in the name of Christ.

I have the incredible privilege of hosting a men's prayer group each Monday morning in my home. Quite often it is just two or three of us, but look who else turns up!  There is a deep mystery to this promise of Jesus, that the co-creator of the universe should be with praying believers, no matter how humble their circumstance.  We don't follow a distant, cold and uncaring God.  He can't wait to be intimate with us... with me.  This happens each time I gather with brothers in His name.

What a blessing my brothers in Christ are to me. I must acknowledge that today.

Lord Jesus, I thank you for the faithfulness of my brothers who gather in Your name with me so faithfully.  Thank you for your faithfulness in joining us each time we do so.
Little Flower, please pray for us.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Cheerful Giver

Each one should give what he has decided in his own mind, not grudgingly or because he is made to, for God loves a cheerful giver.

The ancient city of Corinth was a major port that attracted every type of person and philosophy.  Consequently the Church there struggled with every type of worldly vice.  In today's first reading Paul instructs on how to counter selfish greed by generous alms giving.

It's funny how a $20 note looks so small handing it over at McDonalds and yet looks so huge when placing on the collection plate.  I find alms giving hard.  My wife doesn't.  She's forever stuffing $20 notes into people's letter boxes or sending money off to our starving-student children.  She truly is a cheerful giver.

My tight fist needs to be replaced by an open hand.and then my "good deeds will never be forgotten" 

Lord Jesus, help me become a cheerful giver that I may be more loved by You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Be Upright and Live

‘See how he flags, he whose soul is not at rights, but the upright man will live by his faithfulness.

The prophet Habakkuk highlights how God uses savage pagans as instruments to correct His chosen people.  And yet in the midst of this apparent injustice comes the promise; the unjust will flag and the upright will live.

There is something liberating in accepting that an upright life pleases God.  A simple, faith-filled life is all He is calling me to.  This lifestyle is within the reach of all of us.  It's very simplicity is the source of its power to give life.  There's a line in a DC Talk song on Jesus Freak which goes;
I lead a simple life, I take a day at a time.  I spend my mornings with God before I hit the grind.
The simplicity of this line has always resonates with me.  It's a lifestyle I can achieve.

So, the promise for me today is, be upright and LIVE.

Lord Jesus, You know my tendency to complicate and burden myself.  I give that all to You in exchange for the simple, faith-filled life You offer me.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Jesus took with him Peter and John and James and went up the mountain to pray. As he prayed, the aspect of his face was changed...

Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.  The Gospel takes us to the time and place of this glorious event that Peter, a witness, later says is not a cleverly invented myth.  It happened!

Something special happens when we take the time to "go up the mountain and pray".  It's at times like this that change can happen.  I know for me, my faith journey milestones are usually at "mountain top" places, camps and retreats I have attended. It's at these places that I have gained a glimpse of heavenly glory, that I have spoken with the prophets and had them speak to me.

Jesus, James, John and Peter didn't stay on the mountain.  They had to descend back into the valley to continue their lives.  But they never forgot what had occurred.  It had changed them as Peter attests in his epistle.

Today on the Feast of the Transfiguration I remember my mountain-top times with gratitude at the change they brought about in me.  Another retreat is coming up in October.  Have I registered yet....?

Lord Jesus, thank you for those mountain-top glimpses of glory you have given me.  Help me carry those times into my dust of daily battle, that I never loose sight of you.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Shout Follow Beg Persist

Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.’ And from that moment her daughter was well again.

Today's Gospel is a remarkable story.  Jesus, Love personified, initially appears to act with disdain towards the Canaanite woman who is pleading for her possessed daughter.  Surely here is a prime example for Jesus to exercise His authority and love. But He doesn't.  Instead He highlights a pin-pricking law.  She is a Canaanite woman, outside of the chosen people.
My suspicion is that Jesus, knowing the depth of the woman's faith, makes her dig deeper into that faith to make a glorious example that has been recorded for all time in Sacred Scripture.

The woman shouts:    - Not enough.
The woman follows:  - Not enough
The woman begs:      - Not enough
The woman persists:  - Love and healing flow.

The Canaanite woman is a great example of how to exercise faith... today.

Lord Jesus.  You can't resist shouting, following, begging, persistent prayer. Thank you Lord for your spontaneous love.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

You are Mine and I am Yours

And you shall be my people and I will be your God.

Jeremiah is the prophet of the hard-word.  His unwelcome message gets him nothing but death threats yet he is compelled to continue proclaiming the words of doom the Lord gives him.  And yet in today's reading we see a sudden switch, almost in mid flight, from doom to love.  The final verse is the beautiful promise, "...you shall be my people and I shall be your God".

This reminds me of a time I was giving one of my children a severe reprimand. While I was in full angry-father flight my child started weeping.  It took the wind completely out of my sails and I ended up hugging her.  I couldn't help myself. I think in today's reading God is a bit like that.  Our tears of sorrow move Him from righteous anger to spontaneous love.  It's from His love that His beautiful promise comes, ...not matter what you do, no matter how far you turn away from me,  always remember you are mine and I am yours.  It's on this promise that I live my life today.

Father in Heaven, You know my waywardness. Thank you that no matter how far I stray our relationship is always there. You are mine and I am yours.
Little Flower, please pray for me.