Monday, December 26, 2011

Boldly Proclaim

Into your hands I commend my spirit.  It is you who will redeem me, Lord.  As for me, I trust in the Lord: let me be glad and rejoice in your love.

Today is the Feast of Saint Stephen, the first martyr.  The first reading from Acts tells of how Stephen was betrayed and stoned to death.  In the Gospel Jesus warns His followers how they will be betrayed for His name, brother against brother, children against parents.  Boldly proclaiming the Good News of Jesus will create enemies, that is guaranteed.  But the other more powerful promise is that God will save us, even if we are killed.  "...but the man who stands firm to the end will be saved." Mt10:22.

The fear of upsetting people or making enemies by proclaiming Jesus can make me silent at times.  This happens when I focus too much on the here and now.  The eternal promises of God get obscured by the temporal.   Stephen proclaimed the Good News of Jesus right up to his death.  He could see the angels and Jesus waiting for him.  He had an eternal perspective that made his earthly suffering insignificant.  Today I pray for the boldness of Saint Stephen.

Lord Jesus, You promise to save me in Your love.  Fill me with Your Spirit that I may boldly proclaim You in the face of enemies.
Saint Stephen, please pray for me.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Speak Blessing

And you, little child, you shall be called Prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins;

The first thing Zechariah does with his newly regained voice is to sing praise to God and prophesy over his new-born son John.  Under the power of the Holy Spirit Zechariah foretells his son's role in preparing the way for the returning Messiah.

A father's spoken words can influence a child's life; for good or for evil.  The words I speak over my children are powerful and I need to pick them carefully.  "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Eph. 4:29

Lord Jesus, You know the struggle I have in controlling my mouth.  Help me speak only words that build up and bless my children.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Turn Your Heart

Know that I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before my day comes, that great and terrible day. He shall turn the hearts of fathers towards their children and the hearts of children towards their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a curse.

Malachi gives discourses that look forward to the "day of the Lord". The last verse in the old testament from Malachi is a warning and it has to do with fathers.  The heart connection of fathers to their children is an important, no, crucial objective of God's work among men. When the heart connection of fathers and children is right all is well, when the connection is wrong the land is under a curse.

If there is one possible summary that could be given about society in our land today it would be that the heart connection of fathers to their children is absent.  "Fatherlessness" is a modern social norm.  Our land is under a curse.

My role as father is to have a heart turned towards my children (and now, grandchildren).  I need  the prophesies of God to help me achieve this.  I cannot do it alone.

Father in Heaven, send Your prophets to speak into my life and help me become the father to my children that You mean me to be.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Mary said: ‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit exults in God my saviour; because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid. Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed, for the Almighty has done great things for me.  Holy is his name...

The first reading today has Hannah consecrating her son Samuel to God.  The response has Hannah glorifying God for what He has done and is yet to do through her son.  The Gospel echos this event with Mary exalting God for what He has done and yet to do through her son, Jesus.

The Church has a great and growing excitement leading to Christmas.  She leads the way for me to follow with joy and excitement.  I have a twelve year old daughter who is just fizzing at the cork about approaching Christmas.  Sure, her excitement may be focused on material things but that's how our faith is expressed.  The physical exterior represents the spiritual inner truth.  This is an exciting time.  I can do well by following the lead of my daughter.  I think the Church would approve...

Lord Jesus, Your birth is exciting.  Even more so is the promise of Your eventual return.  Come Lord Jesus come.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Arise my Love!

My Beloved lifts up his voice, he says to me, ‘Come then, my love, my lovely one, come. For see, winter is past, the rains are over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth. The season of glad songs has come...
Song of Songs 2:10-12

The Song of Songs is reputed to have been written by Solomon. It is a love poem expressing passionate yet tender love between lovers.  It is a love poem from God to me.

‘Come then, my love, my lovely one, come. For see, winter is past, the rains are over and gone...".  What a beautiful call from God to me.  It is a call out from my self-centeredness and into the wonderful land of love that God has prepared for me. The winter and rains of my fallen nature are swept away.  The season of glad songs has come.  O happy day!

Jesus my lover, thank you for calling me with such love in Your voice.  I arise and come...
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Good Man

...Matthan the father of Jacob; and Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary; of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.

Saint Matthew starts his gospel with the genealogy of Jesus on Joseph's side.   The lineage starts with Abraham and follows forty-two men, some famous, some infamous and some obscure, never heard of in the Bible again.

The last three men in Jesus' genealogy are Matthan, Jacob and Joseph, Jesus' great-grandfather, grandfather and father. All that is known of these men is summed up in Joseph, a good man, good enough to be chosen as the protector of the infant Jesus.  Good men don't come from nowhere.  They are raised by good men.  I look at Joseph's father, Jacob, and grandfather, Matthan, and wonder.

I have just become a grandfather for the first time.  My granddaughter Anna in some ways is already the product of who I am.  As she grows I hope to have a continuing influence on who she grows up to be.  Am I good enough, as good as Matthan the grandfather of Joseph?  I hope so...

Lord Jesus, you were raised by Joseph, a good man.  Help me be a good man so I may have the best influence on Anna, my beautiful granddaughter.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Plan

All the people who heard him, and the tax collectors too, acknowledged God’s plan by accepting baptism from John; but by refusing baptism from him the Pharisees and the lawyers had thwarted what God had in mind for them.

Jesus is talking to the people about John the Baptist's role in God's plan for mankind.  The plan is revealed in today's earlier readings from Isiah and the psalm; man is to turn back to God so He may then lavish His everlasting love on us.  "...with everlasting love I have taken pity on you says the Lord, your redeemer." Is.54:8.

God has a plan for everyone.  God has a plan for me.  It is a plan based on love, a love that He wants to lavish on me for ever.  That's a plan I can buy into.  It satisfies my deepest longing, the longing to be loved with an all-knowing and forgiving love.  I just need to turn to Him.

Father in Heaven, thank you for your wonderful plan of love for me.  I turn to You and worship You, my loving Father, in Jesus' name.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Humble Confession

‘I tell you solemnly, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you, a pattern of true righteousness, but you did not believe him, and yet the tax collectors and prostitutes did.'

Jesus is speaking to the chief priests and elders and has just told the parable of the two sons.  One says he will obey his father but doesn't.  The other says he won't do as his father asks but thinks better of it and does.  The obvious inference is that it is actions that count, not perceived status.  The primary action required in response to Jesus' call is to turn from sin and turn to God.  Anyone can do that.  All that is needed is humility.

This is such good news for me.  Jesus' championing of tax collectors and prostitutes means He is a champion for me.  My sins don't bar me from the Kingdom of God.  My pride and stubbornness could.  The humility of an authentic confession prepares the way.  Advent Confession is available this week.  I need to go and prepare the way...

Lord Jesus, You are my champion.  I turn from my pride and lust and turn to You, my love and my joy.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Rejoice Always!

Be happy at all times; pray constantly; and for all things give thanks to God, because this is what God expects you to do in Christ Jesus.

Today is Gaudete Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent, a day to rejoice!  Paul writes to the Thessalonians and instructs then to be happy always.

My Deliverer is coming so I have every reason to rejoice, I have every reason to give thanks.   What a great message not only for Advent but for every day in the life of a Believer.   This is the day that the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it!

Thank you Lord Jesus for being the source of my joy and hope today.  Thank you Mary for your yes to God's plan for redemption.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Missing God

"I tell you that Elijah has come already and they did not recognise him but treated him as they pleased; and the Son of Man will suffer similarly at their hands.’"The disciples understood then that he had been speaking of John the Baptist.

Jesus is answering the disciples question as to why Elijah must return before the end of time.  He affirms the role that John the Baptist has already fulfilled and prophesy's His own rejection by the Jewish leaders.

The Jewish elders were straining to be ready for the coming of the Messiah.  They missed not only Elijah in John the Baptist but also Jesus as Messiah. Why?  Because the New Testament was proclaimed in a new way.  Jesus was not the king of servants as expected but the Servant King.

Do I miss God?  Sometimes I suspect I do.  Jesus very clearly says he is with the poor, the oppressed, the down-trodden, the people at the bottom of the heap.  These are the very people that I find it difficult to relate to, the very people I sometimes avoid.  Today I will look for the hidden Jesus in others, especially the outcasts.

Lord Jesus, I long to see and serve You.  Help me recognise You in those I meet today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, December 9, 2011

River of Happiness

If only you had been alert to my commandments,
your happiness would have been like a river,
your integrity like the waves of the sea.

The prophet Isaiah laments Israel's stubbornness and then shows the way forward to freedom;  be alert to God's commandments.

A river of happiness!  I like that imagery.  I could do with a river of happiness and this is what God is offering me.  There is a joy from God that rides out the dust of daily battle.  No matter what the circumstances of the day, that river of happiness can still flow.  I suspect it's connected to the river of life which is unstoppable.

So, what are the requirement to get into this river?  Be alert to God's Commandments.  This is echoed in today's psalm... "Happy those who do not follow the counsel of the wicked,...Rather, the law of the LORD is their joy;" Psm.1:1   God's commandments don't oppress and weigh down.  They liberate and give happiness, give joy!  Today the river of happiness is mine to enter.  I choose to be alert to God's commandments.

Lord Jesus, You came bringing the supreme Commandment of Love.  Help me be alert to Your commandments that my happiness may be like a river.
Little Flower, please pray for me and Monique and Bun.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Light for Heavy

Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.

In preceding verses Jesus has just revealed His divine association and unity with God the Father.  Now He makes that wonderful invitation that has echoed down through the last two thousand years; "Come to me all who are weary...".  We follow a God who yearns to give us rest.

A day wouldn't go by when I haven't subconsciously rested on this promise of Jesus.  He's not a distant, uncaring God.  He's not a God who piles on burdens to weigh me down.  He is intimately concerned for me, offering to take my heavy yoke in exchange for His light one.  In the busyness of my day today I will take time out to hand my burdens to Jesus and embrace His rest.

Lord Jesus, You are the source of my peace and rest.  I readily take up Your offer of light for heavy.
Little Flower, please pray for me and those I love.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Welcome Footsteps

But they will not ask his (Jesus') help unless they believe in him, and they will not believe in him unless they have heard of him, and they will not hear of him unless they get a preacher, and they will never have a preacher unless one is sent, but as scripture says: The footsteps of those who bring good news are a welcome sound.

Today is the feast day of Saint Andrew the Apostle.  Paul writes to the Roman Church encouraging their evangelistic mission.  This continues to be the mission of the Church today.  How can the world believe and call on the name of Jesus unless it hears about Him first.

Are my footsteps a welcome sound? Will I bring Good News to those I meet today? It's so much easier to remain silent.  But that's not what I'm called to be.  A silent preacher is an oxymoron, and I'm not talking about how I preach.  I know preaching can be in words or action.  But the point is, I need to preach.  The Good News of Jesus must be proclaimed to my world that is literally dying to hear it.

Holy Spirit of God, encourage and empower me to be a bearer of the Good News of Jesus to those You send me to today.
Saint Andrew, please pray for me.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Stand with Confidence

...that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.

Jesus continues His warnings about end-times.  It will be inescapable.  It will require strength to survive and prayer to prepare for.  It will culminate in each person standing before Jesus Himself with either a cry of horror or a cry of joy.

Today is the last day of the Church's year.  The prophet Daniel and Jesus both give end-times warnings.  I again call on the love and mercy of God for the strength I will need to survive so I can stand with confidence before the Son of Man.  I may need to, today...

Lord Jesus, please give the strength to persevere so I may stand with confidence before You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Stand Up and Lift My Head

And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.

Jesus is teaching on the signs of the end-times.  Following the upheaval and calamity is the fulfillment of end-times, the coming of the Son of Man.  Because the ultimate purpose of end-times is to herald the return of Jesus, believers need not fear.  Indeed, we are instructed to stand up and lift our heads. 

There is a storm lashing our city as I write.  It gives a sense of uneasiness.  I wonder, "is it going to get worse?  Will there be damage to my home and property?"  In a small way it is what the end of time will be like.  But the promise of Jesus is that the storm is not all there is.  It only heralds a greater thing, His return to take me home. This is a beautiful thing my faith gives me.  No matter what the storm  I can stand up and lift my head for my liberation is near at hand.

Thank you Jesus for your promise of liberation.  Today I stand up and lift my head in search of You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Here and There

You will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.
As we approach the end of the Church's year we focus upon end-times.  Jesus foretells a time of persecution for all believers before His final coming.  The persecution will happen purely because we follow Jesus.  The antidote Jesus offers is not to try and avoid it but to steadfastly endure it.  He promises that endurance will win our lives... in the end.

There is a 'here" and "there" tension in my faith.  "Here" there are troubles and persecution.  "There" is over the horizon, just out of reach for a time, but unimaginable happiness.  My faith has me here but looking to there.  As good as here is, it is just shadow-lands compare to what is to come.  So, no matter what happens, I can always look up. 

Lord Jesus, because of You I am a person of joy and hope as I await Your coming.  Maranatha, come Lord Jesus.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Re-dedicate the Temple

Jesus went into the Temple and began driving out those who were selling. ‘According to scripture,’ he said ‘my house will be a house of prayer. But you have turned it into a robbers’ den.’

Today's first reading and the Gospel are both about reclaiming for God the Temple at Jerusalem. In the first reading it is the Maccabees, Judas and his brothers.  In the Gospel we see Jesus driving out the moneylenders and sellers.  On both occasions the problem and the solution are the same:  the temple had been usurped from its original purpose so the usurpers were expelled and the temple re-dedicated. 

When I think of my body as a temple of the Holy Spirit I recognise there are times when it has been usurped.  The demons of the flesh occupy my body as though they belong there.  The solution remains the same; expel the usurpers and rededicate the temple.

Holy Spirit of God, I rededicate myself to You.  My Body is a temple for You and You alone.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Recognise Your Opportunity

As Jesus drew near Jerusalem and came in sight of the city he shed tears over it and said, ‘If you in your turn had only understood on this day the message of peace! But, alas, it is hidden from your eyes!

Jesus approaches the city where He knows He will soon die.  Yet, out of love for Jerusalem, He weeps over it.  There is something tragic and yet beautiful in this scene.  God wept over a city.  It says something of the mystery of Jesus who is both man and God.

I wonder if Jesus weeps over my city, over my people.  There are many good and lovely people in my home town just as there would have been in Jerusalem in Jesus' time. Yet, Jesus prophesied an impending violent death and destruction for those very people because they "did not recognise your opportunity when God offered it!" Lk.19:44.

Recognising my opportunity is something I need to focus on.  How?  Pressing into Jesus in prayer and in His Church has to be a good start.

Lord Jesus, wash me with Your tears of compassion.  Cleans me so I may be a witness to what You are offering.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Come on Down

‘Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I must stay at your house today.’ And he hurried down and welcomed him joyfully.

Zacchaeus has a burning desire to see Jesus as He passes by the crowd.  Sensing his own inadequacy (shortness) Zacchaeus finds his own solution (climb a tree).  Jesus short-circuits Zacchaeus'  feeble efforts and invites Himself into his home.  All Zacchaeus has to do is come down out of the tree.  This he does joyfully.  As a result salvation comes to his house.

I am one for finding my own solutions to my own inadequacies.  All these tend to do is distance myself from Jesus rather than drawing me nearer to Him.  I need to climb down out of my "tree solutions" and allow Jesus to provide the answers.  It invariably  involves Him coming into my home.  I need to allow Jesus to do that, today...

Lord Jesus, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Talent of Time

The man who had received the five talents came forward bringing five more. “Sir,” he said “you entrusted me with five talents; here are five more that I have made.”
‘His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness.”

Jesus is describing what the kingdom of heaven is like and tells the parable of the talents.  How we invest, or not invest, what has been given to us has an eternal consequence.

This is a topical reading for me.  Yesterday I was on a day retreat for discernment of a men's fellowship leadership team.  I led the praise and worship for the day.  I know this made me appear a leading contender for at least that role in the team, if not overall team leader. I felt the expectation.  However, as much as I support the objectives of the fellowship, I didn't feel called to put my name forward for discernment for the leadership team. 

Where I do feel called at the moment is into supporting and leading my family.  I have our first grandchild due in a week.  My wife is just launching a home-based business venture.  I have a son getting married in two months. I have a twelve year old daughter still at home.  The list goes on... 

These are all God-given roles that I have to fill at this time in my life.  The secret is to know the difference between good works and God's works.  My talent is my time.  How I spend my time has eternal consequences.  Today I invest my time into my family.

Father God.  You have given me so much in my family.  Help me be a good husband and father to the precious loved ones You have entrusted to me.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


But the souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God,
no torment shall ever touch them.
In the eyes of the unwise, they did appear to die,
their going looked like a disaster,
their leaving us, like annihilation;
but they are in peace.

As we approach the end of the Church's year we are encouraged to to look up and on to end times.  Not only end times but the end of our time, our eventual death.  Death is where the Church has supreme insight.  What to an unbeliever looks like a disaster, to a believer is the triumphant goal finally attained. 

There is a great peace offered to me today in knowing death is a victory not defeat.  It also sharpens my purpose, if one were needed, for being virtuous.  Death for me will be a time of simply changing uniform from the armies of Church Militant to Church Triumphant.

Thank you Jesus for the promise of eternal life with You.  Holy Spirit, help me be a virtuous man.
Lttle Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Invest in Friends

The master praised the dishonest steward for his astuteness. For the children of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind than are the children of light.

The parable of the shrewd manager is one of a string of parables as told by Jesus and recorded by Saint Luke.  Jesus finishes the parable by saying we should use worldly wealth to to gain eternal rewards (Lk.16:9).

It's good for me to recognise that worldly wealth has an eternal perspective.  Firstly, anything I have has only been given to me by God for stewardship.  It is not my own.  Secondly, how I use that wealth has an eternal consequence.  Jesus says use it to gain friends (Lk.16:9).  The sort of friends Jesus refers to would be true friends, relationships built on trust and love, not friends like those of the prodigal son who left once the money ran out.  Do I invest my wealth in those sorts of friendships?  Perhaps not as much as I could...

Thank you Lord for everything that You have given me.  I have stewardship over so much.  Holy Spirit of God, help me be wise with what I have and invest in true and eternal friendships.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Are Those

All Saints Day

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.

Jesus has just started His great Sermon on the Mount by listing the nine beatitudes.  Eight of the nine beatitudes carry a promise for the future; "they shall be...".  Jesus sees the full picture which includes life with Him after death.  Because of this He can say the poor, the mourning, the hungry and thirsty, the persecuted can all be happy.  Their present suffering is not the end of the story.  There is a future for the saints that is happiness beyond imagining.

I get too focused on the suffering of this life and miss the source of my joy as promised by Jesus in the beatitudes.  I need to lift my gaze and see what Jesus sees over the horizon of my life here on earth, a victorious life filled with the joy of being close to Him.  When I see this truth that joy in part is with me today.  I am destined to be one of the saints.

Thank you Jesus for Your wonderful promise of happiness.  Today I walk in the knowledge and joy of that promise.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Take the Lowest Place

'When you are a guest, make your way to the lowest place and sit there, so that, when your host comes, he may say, “My friend, move up higher.” In that way, everyone with you at the table will see you honoured. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.’

Jesus is a guest at a Pharisee's house and he observes the the behaviour of guests who are seeking places of honour around the table.  In response He gives a teaching on humility.

Jesus strikes at the very heart of every person's inner struggle.  It is summed up well I think in the old-fashioned word, "vainglory". There is a vanity in me that is always seeking subtle ways to be glorified, ways to be exalted.  The lesson Jesus gives is so very simple.  Seek the lowest place so that there is no lower place to go.  Then I can only be lifted up.  It's risky.  My fear is I would be left at the lowest place.  But when I think about, so what?  That would be far better than the humiliation of being made to take a lower place.

The main point is that Jesus makes a promise to those who humble themselves; they will be lifted up.  Today I tame my vainglory and work on humbling myself.

Lord Jesus, You are the ultimate example of what it means to humble ones self.  The humility it took for God to become man I cannot fathom.  Help me Lord overcome my desire for self exaltation and replace it with true humility, that You may then lift me up.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Jesus went out into the hills to pray; and he spent the whole night in prayer to God. When day came he summoned his disciples and picked out twelve of them; he called them ‘apostles’

Jesus is about to start His ministry with a hand-picked team of twelve.  Even He doesn't rely on His own abilities to do this but calls on His Father in a night of prayer.  Jesus did nothing without praying first.

It seems holiness and prayer go hand-in-hand.  When I think about holy people I know like Bishop Fulton Sheen, Mother Theresa, Sister Briege McKenna and Pope John Paul II, they all spent hours each day in front of the blessed sacrament.  The busier they became, the more time in adoration they spent. 

I've never spent a night in prayer.  If I'm serious about my desire for holiness, perhaps I need to pray more...

Lord Jesus, in Your name I call on the Holy Spirit.  Come Holy Spirit and teach me how to pray.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Love made Visible

For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, or height or depth, nor any created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Saint Paul writes to the church of Rome to correct their over-emphasis of the Greek influence of human reason.  Here he distills what the love of God is; Christ Jesus our Lord.

I remember very clearly what it was that finally caught my attention to Jesus.  It came from a humble priest on a team leading a Marriage Encounter weekend that Kate and I attended.  He made a passing remark on the Sunday of the weekend, saying the love we had rediscovered for each other was just a fraction of the love Jesus has for each one of us.  I remember thinking this was just a lie or...could it possibly be true?  And if it was possibly true then I need to find out more about this person Jesus.  That led to asking good questions about Jesus to which I was given good answers.  Four years later I was hammering on the door of the Church crying "Let me in!"

That love that was made visible to me twenty-five years ago is just as fresh and real and exciting today.  Today I feel the love of Jesus.

Lord Jesus, You are my greatest love.  Thank you for loving me, no matter what.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Leavened all through

‘What shall I compare the kingdom of God with? It is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.’

Jesus is quoted by Saint Luke as describing what the Kingdom of God is like.  Jesus uses common physical things to describe something extraordinarily spiritual.   The common feature is that the Kingdom of God seems small and insignificant but, as it works from the inside out,  in time it influences everything.

The Kingdom of God is within me.  It is so insignificant that at times I forget it is there.   I need to mix it in with the dough of my life and let it work from the inside out.  In time it will influence everything.

Holy Spirit, help me mix the yeast of my faith into every corner of my life that it may leaven everything I am for the glory of God's Kingdom.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Spiritual Things

The unspiritual are interested only in what is unspiritual, but the spiritual are interested in spiritual things. It is death to limit oneself to what is unspiritual; life and peace can only come with concern for the spiritual.

Saint Paul is writing to the Roman church correcting the unbalance from Greek thought that relies too heavily on human reason.  He goes so far as to say that peace and fullness of life can only come from things of the spirit as that is where God is found.

I've just fare-welled my son and some of his friends who are going for a two day tramp into the Uruwera National Park.  It's a ruggedly beautiful part of the North Island that I recall tramping around their age.  It was a time in my life prior to my knowing Jesus, a time when I was very much focused on unspiritual things.  Yet I remember in the midst of tramping in the great out-doors there were times I sensed spiritual things within the physical beauty I was in.  I now know it was the fingerprints of God I was seeing in His created beauty. 

The Spirit of God is everywhere and can be seen when I look with the spiritual eyes. Today I put on spiritual eyes of faith to see "God-with-me", here, now...

Thank you Lord God that You are in all things.  I long for the life and peace that comes with Your spirit.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Do Good

Pain and suffering will come to every human being who employs himself in evil – Jews first, but Greeks as well; renown, honour and peace will come to everyone who does good – Jews first, but Greeks as well. God has no favourites.

Saint Paul is writing about what each type of life can expect on judgement day.  There is a universal law that even God will not interfere with, the law of the harvest.  Put simply, we reap what we sow.

Whenever I choose to sin I am aware of a certain mind-game I play.  The devil in me says, "No one will know and no one will care".  Of course, the exact opposite is true.  Everyone will know when the book of my life is opened and God cares.  When I keep this big picture in mind the perceived gain of the sin is eclipsed by its huge cost... my eternal destiny.  Today I choose to do good even if no one notices... because God does.

Lord Jesus.  You have no favourites.  You love me no less than the greatest saint.  Help me choose what is right today that I may have renown, honour and peace with You in heaven.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Eyes to See

Ever since God created the world his everlasting power and deity – however invisible – have been there for the mind to see in the things he has made.

Saint Paul is describing how the glory, majesty and divinity of God can be seen in what He has created.  However, when man wants to deny the existence of God, he quickly starts worhiping creation instead of the creator.

Kate and I had a "date day" last Wednesday.  It was great.  We did a leisurely road-trip to places of interest around the Waikato.  It was a stunningly beautiful spring day, the sort of day where the simplest of things can make you smile... like lambs gamboling over the verdant green Waikato pasture.  I had a sense that God had us in mind when He created that time and place for Kate and I to enjoy.  It elevated the whole experience to another plane.

I never want to loose the eyes to see God in His creation. It makes God very real and very present to me in my day to day living.  It makes God present to me now...

Father God, thank you for the beauty of Your creation and the life You have given me to enjoy it.  May I always have eyes to see Your fingerprints in Your creation.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hear and Do

As Jesus was speaking, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said, ‘Happy the womb that bore you and the breasts you sucked!’ But he replied, ‘Still happier those who hear the word of God and keep it!’

A spontaneous cry of adoration has been called out from a woman in the crowd.  Even though the cry was a compliment to Mary His mother, Jesus uses the moment to make a greater point about true happiness... hearing and doing the Word of God.

Hear and do.  It's a simple formula but like all simple formulas, it takes discipline to achieve.  I have to stop taking and listen.  Even before that, I have to make time to listen.  Then comes the doing.  Sometimes the doing goes against what I want to do.  It means being close enough to God to hear Him and trusting Him enough to obey Him.  This affects every moment of my day, ...every moment of this day.

Lord Jesus, You are my way to true happiness.  Speak that I may hear and give me courage that I may do.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Ask for More

 ‘So I say to you: Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him.'.

Jesus continues His instruction on how to pray.  He tells the parable of the persistent friend hammering at his neighbor's door for a loaf of bread.  Active persistence is the way to pray.

There's a bigger picture here.  If prayer is all about relationship with God then the dynamic prayer-method Jesus advocates actually prescribes a dynamic active relationship with God.  I'm not to be a passive bystander in my faith life.  It is a lively, vibrant thing that involves constant effort and activity from me.  Drifting along is not an option.  Have I hammered on the doors of heaven lately?  When did I last ask, seek, knock with persistent fervor?

Lord Jesus, thank you for waiting patiently for me to engage with You.  Holy Spirit, let my heart burn within me for more of God.  Help me ask for more, seek for more, knock for more.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Teach us to Pray

Once Jesus was in a certain place praying, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray...'

Jesus is asked by a disciple how to pray.  In reply He gives us The Lord's prayer which is said at every Mass every day around the world.  It is the perpetual prayer of the Church that is always being prayed. Every time I pray it I am joining other brothers and sisters somewhere in the world

Prayer is the very life-blood of faith and yet it is often the first thing to be dropped in a stumbling faith-life.  Jesus prayed constantly to His Father.  The disciples soon picked up that prayer was part and parcel of being a follower of Jesus.  The same is true today.  Prayer is not an option, it is essential for a vibrant relationship with my God.

Our Father who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name;
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil. 

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Greater Things

'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.’

Jesus has just prophesied over Phillip, who is amazed.  Jesus then goes on to tell Phillip there are far greater things to look forward to, things to come that are not of this world, things that are supernatural and eternal.

I need to be reminded of the supernatural and eternal goal of my religion.  I get so absorbed by the here and now.  There is going to be an end to time as I understand it.  There will be an opening of the book of my life.  I will see heaven laid open and angels ascending and descending.  There are greater things...

Lord Jesus, You show me the way to the greater things than this life has to offer.  I keep my focus on You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tell Your Face

Now I had never been downcast before. So the king said, ‘Why is your face so sad? You are not sick, surely? This must be a sadness of the heart.’

Nehemiah is a captive in a strange land and servant to the king of that land.  Word has reached him of the dilapidated state of Jerusalem and it causes him a deep sadness.  The king quickly perceives that Nehemiah's sadness is not physical but spiritual.  It is a sadness of the heart.

The book of Nehemiah is a great story of courageous leadership that eventually ends with the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.  It is interesting that such a great event starts with one man perceiving from another man's face a "sadness of the heart". The baring of a person says much about the state of his spirit.   I remember a saying that goes, "If you have the joy of the Lord, please tell your face about it". A gloomy Christian is an oxymoron.  Today I remind myself that I do have the joy of the Lord which is my strength.  The next step is to tell my face about it.

Dear Jesus, You are the source of great joy for me, no matter what else is happening in my life.  Fill me with Your spirit of Joy that I may let it shine in a world hungry for the joy You bring.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Strength in Weakness

At a time when everyone was full of admiration for all he did, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘For your part, you must have these words constantly in your mind: The Son of Man is going to be handed over into the power of men.’

To the disciples consternation Jesus, while at the height of His popularity, starts talking about being handed over to those seeking to destroy Him.  His disciples are expecting Jesus to fulfill the role of a Jewish Messiah, one who will restore power back to the Jewish people as King David did.   The power of Jesus works in a very different way, through meekness, humility and weakness.

I'm still tempted by the world's version of power.  The way of Jesus is far more difficult. Meekness and humility do not come naturally to me. Yet, that is the way Jesus calls me to live.  Why?  I suspect because that is the way to the fullness of life Jesus promises.  It is a narrow path and few take it.  My challenge is to take the path,  today...

Lord Jesus, You know my struggles with power and control.  Help me trust in the way of meekness and surrender that you have shown.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Raised Up

‘The Son of Man’ he said ‘is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day.’

Jesus has been praying privately with His disciples.  Peter, under divine inspiration, has just revealed who Jesus is; "The Christ of God".  Jesus takes it a step further.  He reveals the whole game plan.  It involves suffering, death and finally, resurrection.

I sometimes lose sight of the fact that behind the cross is the resurrection.  Actually, it is the resurrection that makes sense of the cross.   It is the resurrection that makes sense of the crosses I have to bare in my day to day living.  It is the resurrection makes sense of my eventual dieing.

Today I remind myself that I am an Easter person.   Behind every crucifix I see I will also notice the empty tomb with the stone rolled away.  Alleluia, He is risen indeed!

Thank you Lord Jesus that You suffered, died and rose again. to show me the way home.  My suffering and death will lead to my resurrection to be with You.  Alleluia.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Who is This?

But Herod said, ‘John? I beheaded him. So who is this I hear such reports about?’ And he was anxious to see Jesus.

Jesus' popularity has gained enough noise to be heard in the palace of Herod the tetrarch.  Many theories are are put forward as to who Jesus is; from a returned ancient prophet to a resurrected John the Baptist.  However, Herod knows none of these are true.  He knows that Jesus is someone exceptional.

It took a corrupt despot to recognise the uniqueness of who Jesus is.  Sometimes revelation can come from the strangest of places. Jesus said "There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known." Mt.10:6.  Everything about who Jesus is and what He has come to do is made known within the Church and sometimes even proclaimed outside the Church.  I just need to hear it.

Holy Spirit, please give me eyes to see and ears to hear and recognise Jesus in my day today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hear and Do

He was told, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside and want to see you’ But he said in answer, ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and put it into practice.’

A great crowd is following Jesus, so great that Mary His mother and his family can't get near Him. Jesus uses the opportunity to explain what it takes to be a close follower.  It takes more than just standing close to Him.

Here Jesus outlines how to be part of the family of God.  I must not only hear the world of God but do the word of God.   Hearing takes practice.  Doing takes conviction. 

Lord Jesus, help me have the discipline to be still enough to hear You. Convict my heart for me to then put Your words into practice.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Noble and Generous Heart

And some seed fell into rich soil and grew and produced its crop a hundredfold.

Jesus is telling the parable of the sower of seeds.  He explains the meaning of the parable to His disciples.  The seed is the Word of God.  The rich soil is "people with a noble and generous heart" Lk.8:15.

On reading this familiar verse I am reminded of my responsibility as a father to make sure my children are "rich soil".  First, I have to make sure my children hear the Word of God in the first place.  The seed needs to be sown.  Bible reading needs to be a natural part of my family's life.  Secondly, I need to form my children to be people with a "noble and generous heart" so the they will take the Word to themselves and yield a harvest. 

What a high and difficult calling, to have a noble and generous heart.  It speaks of a mature character and can take a life-time to form.  It's a calling not only for my children but for myself.  Perhaps that is the best place to start...

Lord Jesus.  Thank you for the seed You sow into my life.  Help me develop a noble and generous heart that I may yield a worthy harvest.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Be Real

She waited behind him at his feet, weeping, and her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them away with her hair; then she covered his feet with kisses and anointed them with the ointment.

Jesus is a guest at a Pharisee's house.  A woman of bad name follows Jesus there and lavishly ministers to Him in unashamed repentance. The Pharisee judges both Jesus and the woman secretly in his thoughts while maintaining a facade of hospitality.

It seems the nakedly broken are the ones who always get close to Jesus. Two sinners where in the room with Jesus.  Only one left with sins forgiven and salvation assured.  The woman had no pretension about her sins.  She acknowledged them publicly with her tears on Jesus' feet.  The Pharisee's pride distanced himself from Jesus.  Jesus would have had just as much compassion for the Pharisee but the Pharisee didn't let himself be touched by it.

There is a lesson for me here.  Be real with Jesus.  Acknowledge my sinfulness.  Remove false pride which only distances me from the very one with whom my heart desires to be close.

Lord Jesus.  You know my brokenness, yet You wait for me to come to You with tears of repentance.  Help me remove my pride which stops me getting close to You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross  
The Son of Man must be lifted up as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.

Jesus is talking to Nicodemus who has come secretly in the night to ask Jesus questions.  Jesus must have recognised a genuine soul seeking honest answers because He gives Nicodemus the full game-plan, a revelation of God's plan of salvation for man through Jesus.

The bronze standard holding a serpent as fashioned by Moses has become a symbol of life and is used by the medical profession to represent its purpose.  It seems strange that something that caused so much death among the Israelites in the desert became a source of life when they looked at it.  The same can be said of Jesus crucified on the cross.  A more horrible way to die is difficult to imagine and yet there it is, a crucifix on my lounge wall in my home giving so much hope for eternal life when I look at it.

The blood Jesus shed on the cross has won a mighty victory over sin and death.  This victory is even greater than that offered by the bronze serpent of Moses.  Jesus' death is for all people of all times.  I claim that victory again today for myself and my loved ones.  Such is the power of the Cross.

Lord Jesus, thank you that you died so that I might live.  I place my trust in the victory of Your Cross.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


The president must have an impeccable character... He must be a man who manages his own family well and brings his children up to obey him and be well-behaved: how can any man who does not understand how to manage his own family have responsibility for the church of God?

Saint Paul is instructing Timothy on what moral qualities leaders should have in the fledgling church.  For both presidents and deacons, how a man managed of his family said a lot about his character.

It appears that for God, a man's management of his family is an important and exacting role.  I am reminded of Eli, one of the last Judges of Israel.  He exercised no control over his two wicked sons and as a result brought a curse down on his family (1 Samuel 2:12).  Four of my five children are now adult and yet I still exert an influence in their lives and have responsibilities.

I need wisdom to be a Godly father.  My wife is a huge aid to me in this role and I need to listen to her more attentively.

Father in heaven.  Thank you for the children you have given me to father.  Send me the spirit of wisdom to help me fulfill this role.  Help me listen to my wife and be humble enough to take her advice.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

God is With Us

The Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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 is the feast day of the birthday of Our Lady.  The Gospel of Saint Matthew outlines the genealogy of Jesus through Mary, proving that Jesus is one of us.  His background includes saints and sinners, the famous and infamous, even nobodies of whom nothing more is known.  Jesus is very much one of us. And yet, He is God!

Saint Paul writes "...His Son might be the eldest of many brothers" Rms. 8:29.  I like the idea that Jesus is my older brother.  My God is not a cold and distant God, He is as close as family.  He is Emmanuel, "God with Us".  Today I relish the knowledge that Jesus is walking beside me as my elder brother.  That sort of knowledge puts a spring in my step.

Jesus, You are my brother.  Thank you for being close to me today.  Help me recognise You in my walk today that I may fellowship with You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Kill It

That is why you must kill everything in you that belongs only to earthly life: fornication, impurity, guilty passion, evil desires and especially greed, which is the same thing as worshiping a false god; all this is the sort of behaviour that makes God angry.

Saint Paul continues his teaching to the church of the Colossians.  He outlines the change that happens from the old life ruled by the flesh to the new life ruled by Christ.

This teaching is ageless.  Nothing has changed in two thousand years. Fornication, impurity, guilty passion, evil desires and especially greed continue to be the major battle grounds for the modern believer, the major battle grounds for me.  The antidote?  " you must kill everything in you that belongs only to earthly life" Col.3:5

This seems an extreme measure but it is a desperate problem that can only be delt with by crucifixion. It's the part of me that I nail on the cross to die so the new life in Christ can flourish. The way of killing can be as varied as the fleshly behaviour is varied.  Get rid of the television if it is a source of idle curiosity and lust. Get rid of the computer if it is used as a channel for pornography.  Desperate measures, yes.  But this is a fight for my very life.

Holy Spirit.  Help me in my battle to renew my mind and keep my thoughts on heavenly things.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Free Indeed

He has overridden the Law, and cancelled every record of the debt that we had to pay; he has done away with it by nailing it to the cross; and so he got rid of the Sovereignties and the Powers, and paraded them in public, behind him in his triumphal procession.

Saint Paul writes to the Colossians while imprisoned in Rome.  He writes to counter the Colossian's growing belief in celestial and cosmic powers.  Saint Paul reminds them, and me, that Jesus is above every sovereignty and power and that He alone has won the victory for me by His death on the Cross.

Saint Paul has a great way of cutting through the fuzz.  It's all about Jesus and what He has done for me.  Being reminded that I am freed from the debt of my sins is such a glorious way to start his day.  I truly am a free man and that can never be taken away from me.  Thank you Lord Jesus!

Jesus, You are Lord of all.  I can never stop praising You for the freedom You have won for me.  Jesus I trust in You.
Saint Paul, please pray for me.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Law of Love

And he said to them, ‘The Son of Man is master of the sabbath.’

Jesus has just answered the pharisee's complaint that His disciples are doing "work" on the sabbath by eating corn while walking through a cornfield.  He reminds them of the precedent set by King David when he and his followers ate consecrated bread.  Jesus doesn't dismiss the law, He shows a higher law that over-arches all others and which they must meet.

For many years it has been an understanding in our family that we don't work on Sundays.  My children have stuck to this, even loosing jobs because of it.  My wife turns away work because of it.  However, when I get a Sunday call out to locate an emergency distress beacon (part of my work responsibilities), I go.  There is a higher law at play here.  Lives could be in danger if I don't respond.  There is an order to this that in noway contradicts our family "law" of no work on Sundays.  It is a higher law of love.

Jesus shows the "right order" in His answer to the Pharisees.  His law of love supports and transcends all other laws.  If His love is not in sympathy with a law then it is a bad law.  May I always recognise His love in the laws I follow.

Lord Jesus, Your law of love is supreme.  Help me always follow Your love rather than the laws of power, manipulation and control that I tend towards.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A New Start

When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus saying, ‘Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.’ For he and all his companions were completely overcome by the catch they had made;

Jesus has just caused a sensation by directing Peter, James and John to a bumper haul of fish after they had spent all night catching nothing.  Peter, overwhelmed by what has happened, falls to his knees before Jesus and makes his confession of sinfulness.

To a degree, Jesus set this scene up.  What's the best way to get the attention of fishermen?  Give them a haul so big it almost sinks their boats.  There must have been something in Peter that Jesus recognised as the making of a saint.  Underneath all the rough, loudmouthed fisherman's exterior Jesus saw a man who would fall to his knees and acknowledge his brokenness.  What a great  way to start a new relationship with God! 

Actually it's the only way to start a new relationship with God.  This can start today.  As saint Paul writes, "now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation." 2Cor.6:2.  When was the last time I went to confession...?

Lord Jesus, I am a sinful man.  Heal me Lord so I may draw closer to You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Happy Pills

I am sure I shall see the Lord's goodness in the land of the living.  Hope in Him, hold firm and take heart.  Hope in the Lord!
Psalm 27:13,14

Psalm 27 is such a great declaration of bold and firm faith.  It starts, "The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom should I fear!".  It finishes with the above verses proclaiming the source of every believer's hope and joy.

I'm quite often accused of taking "happy pills".  I am an optimistic person.  The glass is always half full to me. This morning's psalm has clarified where this comes from.  Jesus in my life has given me my firm hope and this in turn is a source of great joy for me.  This transcends the dust of daily battle where rubbish can still be found.  It even transcends the best of days when everything seems bright and sunny..  The very best of days still pales into insignificance when compared to the promised "land of the living".

Today I carry that firm hope and joy with me and let it shine in a world that needs the light that can only come from Jesus.

Lord Jesus, You are my light and my salvation. You are the source of my joy, I place my trust in You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Be Ready

'Those who were ready went in with him to the wedding hall and the door was closed. The other bridesmaids arrived later. “Lord, Lord,” they said “open the door for us.” But he replied, “I tell you solemnly, I do not know you.” So stay awake, because you do not know either the day or the hour.’

Jesus is telling another parable to describe what the kingdom of God will be like. In the parable of the ten bridesmaids there is a clear warning that entry to the kingdom will require being prepared and ready.  Turning up unprepared or late denies entry into the kingdom of God.

Jesus tells a number of times what the kingdom of God will be like.  It was a hot topic then and is a hot topic today.  We all want to know what God's kingdom is like and how we can get there.  All of Jesus' teaching on the kingdom of God tell of a place I am yearning to be but it requires discipline to get there.  Many outside and even within the Church believe the road to heaven is wide and easy and many/most/all will get there.  This is entirely opposite to what Jesus repeatedly warns us.  The road is narrow and few find it (Mt.7:14).

So, I am to stay awake and be ready for I do not know the hour that the Lord is coming.  How?  Well, I think going to Mass today will be a step in the right direction...

Lord Jesus, thank you for calling me further up and further in to the kingdom of God.  Holy Spirit, help me stay awake and be ready for the day Jesus returns to call me into the wedding feast of heaven.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Live 'till I Die

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming... Happy that servant if his master’s arrival finds him at this employment. I tell you solemnly, he will place him over everything he owns.'

Today's readings all refer to being ready for the unknown but assured return of Jesus for the day of Judgement. Saint Paul writes about being blameless in the sight of God on the day Jesus returns.  The psalmist writes about being aware of the shortness of life so we might gain wisdom.  Jesus in the Gospel warns us to stay awake and be ready for the return of the master.

We don't know when Jesus will return, we just know that He will.  This is good for me.  If I knew the timing of my last day on earth I would procrastinate and polish myself up just prior to the event.  What a wasted life that would be!  According to Jesus, the aim is to be a servant busy about my alloted work right up to the last hour.  As Saint Francis famously said, if the last hour of life were known, I'd just keep hoeing.

It's great not having to worry about when my last hour on this earth will be.  I just keep on at what I know God has called me to do to bring His kingdom here on earth, waiting in joy and hope.  What a great way to live each day to the fullest!

Lord Jesus, I recommit myself to Your service.  Help me know what that is each day... to know what that is today so on Your return  You may find me at my employment.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Come and See

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, the one about whom the prophets wrote: he is Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.’ ‘From Nazareth?’ said Nathanael ‘Can anything good come from that place?’ ‘Come and see’ replied Philip.

The opening chapter of the Gospel of Saint John shows the formation of the first disciples of Jesus.  The call of Jesus spreads like wild fire following relational paths of either families or friendships.  The evangelising call in each case is very simple... "come and see".

Two things strike me about the calling of Jesus' disciples.  It was relational and invitational.  The invitation from a family member or friend to "come and see" is non-threatening.  I am reminded that the most effective way I can evangelise is to be in authentic relationship with those I invite to meet Jesus.  This may not haul in the crowds but it is focused and effective.  It is also the invitation offered to me today.  Come and see...

Lord Jesus, You invite me to "come and see" what You are offering me.  Let me be effected by what I see so the desire to invite others burns within me.
Saint Philip and Saint Bartholomew, please pray for me.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Life of the Church

We do not need to tell other people about it: other people tell us how we started the work among you, how you broke with idolatry when you were converted to God and became servants of the real, living God; and how you are now waiting for Jesus, his Son.

Paul is writing to the church in Thessalonika after Timothy has returned with his report of the activities there.  What a glowing response from Paul!  His joy at what the church he established has become is rippling through the opening verses of this epistle.  What would Paul write to my local parish?  Or to bring it closer to home, what would he write to my "little church", my family over which I am priest? 

Paul identifies the path of success that the Thessalonians have followed.  They broke with idolatry, became servants and waited for Jesus.  The first two actions are practical and for me involve a daily decision. The last action is an attitude of faith that can't be forced.  It is a natural result that comes from the first two.  When I have broken off from my idolatrous addictions and replaced them with loving servant-hood, looking forward to Jesus' triumphant return makes perfect and joyful sense.

Today I recommit myself to the breaking of idolatry in my life and replace it with loving service to others.  Then I look forward to Jesus' return with joy and hope.

Lord Jesus, help me break from the idols in my life and become a servant of God.  Maranatha, come Lord Jesus come.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Love God 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. On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets also.’

Jesus is replying to a question from a pharisee who didn't really want the answer.  He was trying to confound Jesus. Instead, in reply Jesus succinctly summarises the entire Old and New Testaments in two sentences; love God and love others.

Whenever I get "over theologised" I return to this basic truth of my faith;  Love God and love others.  If what I am doing meets these two commandments, then I'm on track. Saint Augustine distilled this even further by saying "Love God then do as you please".

Of course, these five words are easy to say but hard to do and there lies my dilemma. By myself I cannot fulfill these two commandments.  I tend to love myself before loving God.  And to be honest, some of the others are not very lovely people.  My natural selfishness gets in love's way.  The antidote?  ...confess my selfishness and call on the help of the Holy Spirit.  Love is a supernatural calling and I can only practice it with supernatural help.

Come Holy Spirit.  Heal me of my selfish wound and let my love for God become the love of God for others.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Wedding Dresser

“How did you get in here, my friend, without a wedding garment?” And the man was silent. Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.’

Jesus continues with His teaching on what the kingdom of God is like.  His description is not of a wide and easy path where anyone can drift in as some would say.  The call is given to all but criteria must be met, a wedding garment and not dirty old rags must be worn.
I still find this description of heaven shocking.  Surely just turning up is enough?  Not according to Jesus.  Certain attire must be worn, preparation must be made.  This is where the Church steps in. 

My wife is great at making sure I’m presentable before I go out the door.  “There’s toothpaste on your chin… your collar is crooked… those pants are grubby!”   In a certain sense the Church is my “wedding dresser”.  She makes sure I am correctly dressed, adequately prepared by the sacraments.  She checks me out before I go through the door.  I need to press in a little more closely to her if I want to be chosen.

Lord Jesus, I hear your invitation to the great wedding banquette.  Help me be humble enough to accept the teaching of your Holy Church so I may be correctly dressed on arrival.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Getting There

'I choose to pay the last comer as much as I pay you. Have I no right to do what I like with my own? Why be envious because I am generous?” Thus the last will be first, and the first, last.’

Jesus is giving a teaching to the chief priests and the elders.  He is addressing the greatest minds in the land and yet He uses parables just as He did with the simple.  His teaching is on a topic the chief priests and elders would consider themselves experts; the kingdom of heaven.  Rather than presenting a kingdom of power and justice according to the Law, Jesus paints a picture of a kingdom where the weak are exulted, where the last shall be first.

My joy is in the Kingdom of Jesus.  If the kingdom of the chief priests were truly the kingdom of heaven then I would have no hope.  I have stood idly waiting.  I have been a late entry.  Yet there is also some of the early worker in me, grumbling at the 'unfairness' of grace dispensed to some even later than me. The concept of "last being first" goes against the norms of the world.  Yet, that is the law of the kingdom of heaven and Jesus is saying that I will benefit from it.

So, do I wait idly, relying on the "unfair" grace of God to get me to heaven?  God forbid.  Jesus clearly indicates that waiting idly is not a good place to be.  Working in the vineyard is where I am meant to be.  Then I will get paid.  How much I get paid is not the point, being deserving of my wages is.  First or last is not the point.  Getting there is.

Lord Jesus, thank you for your "unfair" dispensation of grace into my life.  I deserve nothing yet you offer me everything.  You are my joy.  I place my trust in You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Then the master sent for him. “You wicked servant,” he said “I cancelled all that debt of yours when you appealed to me. Were you not bound, then, to have pity on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you?”

Peter has just asked Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother and feeling generous offers the suggested number of seven.   Jesus blows Peter's concept of magnanimity away by multiplying  the number by seventy-seven, a seemingly impossible number of times.  To underscore the importance of His new way of looking at forgiveness, Jesus then tells the parable of the unforgiving servant.

Over the years I have forgiven people of small and great offenses against me. Despite knowing that this only what is expected from a follower of Jesus, I still feel a little self righteous when I do it.  Satan still tries to rob forgiveness of its power to deliver.  True forgiveness involves a conscious giving up of any rights I may think I have, recognising that my indebtedness overshadows anything I may have forgiven another.  Today I recall with gratitude the forgiveness I have received from God.  It will change the way I view the supposed indebtedness of others to me.

Lord Jesus, thank you that despite my sins contributing to the nails that held you to the cross, You have forgiven me.  Give me a spirit of gratitude today that will change my view of my brothers.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

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.

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr. Living in Pagan Rome, Lawrence was in charge of giving to the poor.  When commanded to bring the riches of the Church to the prefect of Rome he gathered all the sick and poor he had been serving saying, "Here are the treasures of the Church". He embraced his tortuous death with joy, truly a joyful giver.

My wife is way better at giving than me.  Giving strikes at the very heart of my worldliness and my insecurities. The world tells me to gather more and more for myself, that it is in possessions that there is happiness. Today's scripture from Saint Paul tells me that giving away is not a choice but an expectation for a believer. The only choice I have is how I do it, begrudgingly or cheerfully.  I suspect this attitude towards possessions is in fact the key to a joy-filled life.  I am blessed to be a blessing... today.

Dear Jesus, You know how much I struggle with possessions.  Help me see them rightly so I do not become a slave to them.  Help me be a cheerful giver.
Little Flower, please pray for me. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Little Child

‘I tell you solemnly, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. And so, the one who makes himself as little as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'

 The disciples have asked Jesus who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.  They are thinking as men again, measuring greatness in terms of power and control.  Jesus turns their concept of greatness on its head.  The weakest and most powerless among them were children and these, says Jesus, are the greatest in God's Kingdom.

This teaching of Jesus always challenges my concept of greatness as well.  Without knowing it, I have absorbed the world's standard of greatness. You have to be powerful, rich, brainy and beautiful.  This is counter to the Christian world-view, as we have just read. God places value on meekness, humility, powerlessness, smallness.  These are all things I naturally tend to avoid.  Today I need to turn my concept of greatness on its head and become like a little child.

Lord Jesus, I know my feeble attempts at greatness actually distance me from You.  Help me become like a little child so I may be closer to You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Son of God

The Transfiguration of the Lord

...a bright cloud covered them with shadow, and from the cloud there came a voice which said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him.’

Today is the feast day of the Transfiguration.  The Gospel from Matthew tells of Jesus taking Peter, James and John up a mountain and then Jesus being transfigured in glory.  Peter, James and John were given the extraordinary privilege of seeing Jesus for who He really is, the Beloved Son of God.

Our Christian faith is based on this truth, that Jesus is the only Beloved Son of God.  What He had to do on the cross then makes sense.  His resurrection then gives hope.  It is also the most common truth that Christians are disputed about.  Jesus is recognised as a good man with wise sayings, a prophet even, but the Son of God? 

This is the wonderful truth that gives me joy today.  I am loved so much by God that He has sacrificed His own Son for me.  I am that precious in His sight.

Thank you Father for the great gift of Your Son.  I receive Him as the ultimate sign of Your love for me.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Think Like God

Peter started to remonstrate with him. ‘Heaven preserve you, Lord;’ he said ‘this must not happen to you.’ But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my path, because the way you think is not God’s way but man’s.’

Peter has just been proclaimed by Jesus to the rock on which the Church will be built.  His first recorded pronouncement as head of the Church is then condemned by Jesus to be the voice of Satan.  Within a few verses Peter swings from divine revelation to human foolishness, from the mind of God to the mind of man.

We all love Peter because he is so like us... well, so like me at least.  Like Peter, I have brief moments of divine revelation and long stretches of human foolishness. The good news is that Peter was still able to be eventually transformed by Jesus into a saint. The turning point for him is recorded in the Book of Acts when the Holy Spirit finally takes Peter over and he starts having more of the mind of God.  The Holy Spirit is the key for me also. Veni, Sancte Spiritus.

Lord Jesus, You know how I can swing from saint to sinner within a few moments.  Give me more of the Holy Spirit's power that I may think God's way more often.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Healthy Heart

He called the people to him and said, ‘Listen, and understand. What goes into the mouth does not make a man unclean; it is what comes out of the mouth that makes him unclean.’

Jesus has just met the Pharisees' complaint with a rebuke, accusing them of hypocrisy and describing them as “People who honor me with their lips, but whose hearts are far from me". Mt.15:8. Jesus then makes a teaching point out of the incident, highlighting that it is the state of a man's heart, as shown by his speech, that determines his righteousness.

This passage uncomfortably reminds me of an incident just yesterday.  I was attending a staff meeting at work and I made a crude comment about something.  The conversation moved on but that outburst of mine stayed with me, making me unsettled for the rest of the meeting.  I've wondered where that crudity came from and why did I say it.  I think part of it is my attempt to be "one of the boys", to be accepted.  But it says something about my heart, that I am not as rooted in the acceptance of Christ as I thought I was, that I still crave the acceptance of men. 

I need to listen to what comes out of my mouth more carefully as it says much about the health of my heart.

Lord Jesus, I recommit my heart to you. 
Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.
Little Flower, please pray for me.