Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Angel of God

You will see greater things than that.’ And then he added ‘I tell you most solemnly, you will see heaven laid open and, above the Son of Man, the angels of God ascending and descending.’

Feast of the Archangels

On this point Scripture, Holy Mother Church and Jesus all agree;  There are spiritual beings who either work for or work against the coming of the Kingdom of God.  Praise be to God that we have His angels working for Him and so by default for us.  Yes, a third of the angels fell with Satan; but that still leaves two thirds who stayed with the Lord's heavenly army.

I enter into this day knowing that I and my loved ones are watched over by a benevolent heavenly host. Praise be to God!

Angel of God, my gaurdian dear
To whom God's love commits me here
Ever this day be at my side
To light and guard, to rule and guide.

Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Proclaim and Heal

Jesus called the Twelve together and gave them power and authority over all devils and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.

In today's Gospel Jesus commissions the twelve disciples for their first evangelical mission. Their goal is simple; proclaim and heal.  Tell the Good News of the new way to God's Kingdom and to demonstrate the authority of Jesus' name in whom they preach, heal those sick in body, mind or spirit.
"So they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the Good News and healing everywhere." Lk.9:6

The mission hasn't changed.  My goal today is simple; proclaim and heal.

Lord Jesus, give me the fervor and zeal of your twelve disciples to proclaim your Good News in my world and to demonstrate Your authority by healing the sick.  Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mercy Received to be Given

Saint Matthew, apostle and evangelist - Feast

‘It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. Go and learn the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice. And indeed I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.’

Jesus has just called Matthew and is dining in his house with other tax collectors and people of ill-repute.  The Pharisees are offended by Jesus' association with such people and tell His disciples so. Jesus hears and rebukes the Pharisees for their empty "sacrifice" while judging those in need of mercy.

This event establishes Jesus' attitude to the broken, the sick and the sinful.  Mercy is all He has for them... for us ...for me.  This is the Good News I take into my day.  Yes, I am a sinful man, but Jesus does not condemn me. Mercy is the hallmark of Jesus and so is the hallmark of me.  Today I am a man who dispenses mercy.  Why?  Because I have received it.

Lord Jesus. Thank you that you came for the sick... came for me.  Help me dispense mercy to others who need it from me today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Beggar's Friend

They were unable to pay, so he pardoned them both. Which of them will love him more?’ ‘The one who was pardoned more, I suppose’ answered Simon. Jesus said, ‘You are right.’

In today's Gospel Jesus has encountered two responses to himself; the polite, distant indifference of Simon the Pharisee and the impassioned, intimate embrace of the "woman of bad name".   Simon was a man of some standing and proudly wore the title Pharisee.  The woman had nothing but her her stinking reputation.  And yet the woman is the one who had an authentic encounter with Jesus.

I think this is what Jesus was referring to in His Beatitudes when He said, 
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven".  It is the ones who have nothing to pretend, who have no pride left to try and hide their sinfulness, the beggars who have the deepest, life-changing encounters with Jesus.

What false pride in me is keeping me distant from Jesus.  Today I stand naked before Him.  He knows all, sees all... and yet still He loves me.  What can I do but weep in gratitude and love in return.

Lord Jesus. Your passionate love for me is my Gospel today.  You truly are the beggar's friend.  What can I do but bask in Your love and weep.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Triumph of the Cross

Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life.

Today is the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross and what a glorious feast of sacred scripture we have in today's readings. In the book of Numbers, the fiery serpent on the standard fashioned by Moses in the desert prefigures Christ on the Cross.  All who look to Him will live.  We then have Saint Paul's powerful proclamation in Philippians on the divinity of Jesus as displayed by His death on the cross. And then the creme da la creme is the most famous passage of the Bible from John's Gospel; God so loved the World...

I live in a world so loved by God that He gave us His most precious sacrifice to offer us life.  He gave ME His most precious sacrifice...   What a difference to everything this makes.  Today I live as a son loved by God.  How do I know this?  The Cross tells me.

Lord Jesus, thank you for dieing for me that I may live They didn't need to nail You to the cross, your love would have held You there.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Remove the Plank

Hypocrite! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take out the splinter that is in your brother’s eye.

In Saint Luke's account of the sermon on the mount, Jesus is warning against judging others. He likens it to the blind leading the blind, or focusing on my brother's speck in his eye when there is a plank in my own. Jesus returns to this warning often in the Gospels.  Why? Because He knows that how I judge defines how I will be judged at the end of time.

There is a little lawyer within me that surfaces way to often to judge others around me. If I don't want his acid tongue accusing me at the end of time, I need to silence him.  The only judge is the Lord.  I have been commanded to love my neighbor, not judge him.  Today I choose to be a lover not a lawyer.

Lord Jesus, you know my thoughts.  I confess my judging heart.  Replace it with a heart of love I pray.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Love My Enemies

But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.

Today's Gospel is Saint Luke's version of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus lays out for all to see the radically new way of living that He has brought to the world.  If there is one piece of Christian theology that non-believers know, "Love your enemies" would be it.  And if there is one piece of Christian theology that non-believers accuse the Church of hypocrisy on, again, 
"Love your enemies" would be it.

The greatest cause of atheism today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and then walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle.  THAT is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable (DC Talk, Jesus Freak).

Today I will try and love my enemies as Jesus commands.

Lord Jesus, help me.  You know how badly I always want to win, to gain revenge.  Help me love as a child of God.   
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

God is With Us

Now all this took place to fulfill the words spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and they will call him Emmanuel," a name which means ‘God-is-with-us.’

Today we join the Church in celebrating the birth of Mary, the Mother of God.  Today's Gospel from Saint Matthew records the genealogy of Jesus.  There is something comforting in reading the list of Jesus' family which includes saints, sinners and nobodies.  I am reminded that our God is fully human as well as fully divine.  From this mishmash background our Savior was born from Mary, full of grace, and raised by Joseph, a man of honor.  The real miracle is the Holiness of Mary and Joseph.
Again, I say I draw much comfort from this truth preserved in scripture and celebrated by Holy Mother Church.  My genealogy would read much like Jesus', full of saints, sinners and nobodies. Yet I am still called to sainthood and my background really is of no help or hindrance.  My story is my story and how I live it is entirely my choice.  Today I choose to live the life of a saint, knowing that Emmanuel walks with me.

Hail Mary, full of grace.  The Lord is with thee.  Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Give up My Rights

It is bad enough for you to have lawsuits at all against one another: oughtn’t you to let yourselves be wronged, and let yourselves be cheated? But you are doing the wronging and the cheating, and to your own brothers.

Saint Paul is chastising the Corinthian Church for not only taking its law suits to unbelieving judges, but for also having lawsuits against each other at all.  It seems that not only will the world know we are Christians by our love, they will know we are are not by our squabbles.

This is a common problem in the church since its earliest days, as attested by Saint Paul's letter.  It is a problem for me.  What is the antidote?  Giving up my rights.  Why? Because Christ gave up His and I purport to be a follower of Him. This is authentic religion; less of me, more of the other.  And the result?  Animosity replaced by love.

Lord Jesus, You know how vigorously I defend my rights.  Forgive me Lord and help me to give up my rights that I may be an authentic witness for You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, September 3, 2010

New Wine

And nobody puts new wine into old skins; if he does, the new wine will burst the skins and then run out, and the skins will be lost. No; new wine must be put into fresh skins.

Jesus is just starting Hi s public ministry, calling His disciples to Him.  Jesus has just called Matthew who promptly held a great banquet for Jesus in his house. The large crowd of tax collectors and other undesirables shocks the sensibilities of the Scribes and Pharisees.  Jesus explains He is offering something new, hope for those who were formerly hopeless.

Jesus is constantly new for me.  His ways, His promises are so counter to my old way of thinking and living.  He is new wine.  To contain Him I need to become a new wine skin.  The old man has died.  The new man is here.  I am ready for the new wine... today.

Jesus, You are the new wine, the fresh hope given to me.  Change my "skin" that I may contain You.  
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Lonely-Place Times

 When daylight came he left the house and made his way to a lonely place. 

Jesus has just had a busy day at the office.  He has been teaching at the synagogue, healing the sick and casting out demons; all in a day!  What is recorded here in Luke is the first of many times that it is recorded; Jesus went to a lonely place to pray.  Jesus in His humanity needed to recharge His batteries. How?  By going to a place of no distraction and communing with His Father.

There is a great lesson here for all believers... for me. The lonely place times times with God are not just a nice idea, they are essential.  By definition the world will overwhelm me if I don't regularly turn my back on it and turn to my God.  Jesus knew this and so was constantly seeking that lonely place.  He would then come back, roll His sleeves up and go on fighting for God's Kingdom on earth.  My lonely place is precious and I choose to inculcate it into my daily living.

Lord Jesus.  Your lonely-place times kept you going.  Help me remember to give you that time in my business.
Little Flower, please pray for me.