Friday, January 28, 2011

The Kingdom of God

Jesus said to the crowds, ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like...'

In today's Gospel Jesus teaches the crowds on what the kingdom of God is like.  He uses parables to help the people understand.  He talks of seed quietly and mysteriously growing night and day into full maturity.  He talks of the mustard seed miraculously growing into a large tree big enough to provide shelter.

The kingdom of God is something miraculous, starting tiny and ending up huge, something mysterious that fulfills its own destination.  The image is of something internal and secret growing irresistibly into something huge.  This is the kingdom of God in me.

Lord Jesus, I say yes to being a part of Your kingdom.  Let it grow within me.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Our Assembly

We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works.
We should not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some, but encourage one another, and this all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Today's reading from the letter to the Hebrews is an exhortation to community.  Our obligation is to "rouse one another to love and good works".  I'm not always doing this.  Often I go to the assembly just to see what I can get, rather than what I can give.

What holds me back is fear; fear of rejection, fear of being over-committed, fear of being committed at all.  What would I have to give up to be able to give?

Our local men's group is struggling for lack of leadership.  Lord, are you directing me here?

Lord Jesus, you know my fears and insecurities.  I place them all before You so I may be free to do Your will.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

He Came for the Sick

‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ When Jesus heard this he said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.’

Jesus has just called Matthew and is eating at his house with other Tax Collectors and undesirables. The guests at Matthew's house appear to include Pharisee Scribes and so, unwittingly (and correctly), they included themselves when complaining that Jesus openly associated with sinners. It follows that Jesus came for those very Pharisees when He replied He came for sinners.

This is such Good News.  The lie of the Devil is that my sin irrevocably separates me from God.  Not according to Jesus.  Every time I sin I associate myself more firmly with the very people Jesus came for.  In an ironic sense, my sin actually draws me closer to Him.  Does this mean I should let sin prevail?  "By no means!" Rms.6:15  says Saint Paul.  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rms. 6:19.  So, in my sin I turn to Jesus who is very close to me and draws me away from its power and into His love and life.  Alleluia!

Lord Jesus.  Thank you that you came to call the sick like me.  I place my trust in You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, January 14, 2011


But to prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ – he turned to the paralytic – ‘I order you: get up, pick up your stretcher, and go off home.’ And the man got up, picked up his stretcher at once and walked out in front of everyone,

Jesus has just proclaimed that the paralytic lowered by his friends on a stretcher before him has had his sins forgiven.  He knows the thoughts of the Pharisees who are offended by His actions.  Jesus then dramatically heals the paralytic to demonstrate His authority to forgive sins.  Proven authority makes things happen.

To Jesus, the greatest ailment the paralytic had was not his physical disability but his spiritual one.  This applies to me.  I look to be so healthy on the outside but where I limp, my true ailment, is on the inside in my emotions and in my spirit.  I need the healing power of Jesus.  Thank God for the Sacrament of Confession.  Jesus has the authority to forgive my sins.  Then, fullness of life is mine.  Alleluia!

Lord Jesus.  I acknowledge Your authority to forgive my sins.  You heal my paralysis of spirit and give me fullness of life and joy.  Thank you Lord!
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Of Course He Wants to!

A leper came to Jesus and pleaded on his knees: ‘If you want to’ he said ‘you can cure me.’ Feeling sorry for him, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. ‘Of course I want to!’ he said. ‘Be cured!’ And the leprosy left him at once and he was cured.
Mark 1:40-42

Jesus' healing ministry is taking off.  Huge crowds are starting to follow Him as his fame spreads.  The crowds are so huge that He can no longer go openly into the towns but has to "stay outside in places where nobody lived" Mk.1:45.  Despite this, the spontaneous compassion of Jesus has Him continue to heal and cast out demons.

I love this warm side of Jesus' personality. "Of course I want to" Mk.1:41  Whenever I ask for help or healing from Jesus, this is the response I know I can expect.  He loves me and wants the best for me, today...

Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your healing hand in my life.  You have taken me from the miry clay and set my feet upon a rock.  I love You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

God made Flesh

because he has himself been through temptation he is able to help others who are tempted.

The writer of Hebrews emphasises that Jesus didn't take on the form of an angel but deliberately took on our flesh and blood.  Today's verses from Hebrews show how this resulted in two things:
1. Jesus dieing in the flesh and raising again shows He has conquered death and we no longer need fear it.
2. Being of the flesh, Jesus was tempted by all the things I am tempted by, so He knows how to help me in my temptations.

This is one of the qualities of Jesus that I love; He knows what it means to struggle with temptations.  This is why I can go to Him so readily in the sacrament of confession.  He puts His arm around my shoulders and says, "my dear brother, I know what you are going through."   And He does...

Jesus my brother, thank you for your compassion for me in my brokenness that comes from Your own experience of what I struggle with.  I trust in Your saving help to conquer sin in my life.  Jesus, I place my trust in You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Calls Us His Brothers

For the one who sanctifies, and the ones who are sanctified, are of the same stock; that is why he openly calls them brothers in the text: I shall announce your name to my brothers, praise you in full assembly.

Our leader, Jesus, is one of us.  He is "of our stock", not a distant, remote and unfeeling God.  He deliberately became like us, like me, and suffered the consequences.  This is the point of difference of our Faith.  We know a God who calls us His brothers.

What a difference this makes to how I face today.  I have a God who is greater than a friend, He is my brother.  What can man do against me when I have a God like this beside me.

What a friend I've found, closer than a brother. 
It would break my heart if we should loose each other.

Jesus.  Jesus. Jesus, friend for ever.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Praise Him!

Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp. For the LORD takes delight in his people;

The final Psalms have always struck a chord with me.  They are so unabashed about praising God exuberantly. The body is called on to praise Him with dancing, playing of instruments and singing. Today's psalm gives a hint as to why we a called to do this; because He delights in us doing it.

The Lord delights in the praises of His people.  I enter into today as a man of praise knowing I delight my God in doing so.

May Your People praise You, O God may all Your people praise You!
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Choose Life

This is the testimony: God has given us eternal life and this life is in his Son; anyone who has the Son has life, anyone who does not have the Son does not have life.

In today's first reading Saint John writes about who Jesus is, The Son of God who gives eternal life. There is human testimony to this and there is also the testimony of God Himself, the Holy Spirit within us.
God has placed before me life and death;  I choose the life that is given by His Son Jesus.  What Good News this is! I claim it for me and I claim it for my family.

Lord Jesus, It's a beautiful day and the world is bright
'Cos you took me away from the longest night
What can I do but give all I have to you.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Come Holy Spirit

Jesus, with the power of the Spirit in him, returned to Galilee; and his reputation spread throughout the countryside. He taught in their synagogues and everyone praised him.

Jesus has been baptised by John the Baptist and just returned from forty days wrestling with Satan in the desert.  He was led into the desert "full of the Holy Spirit" Lk.4:1 and came out of the desert "with the power of the Spirit in him" Lk.4:14. From the time of His baptism the point of difference for Jesus was the Holy Spirit actively and powerfully working in Him.

The same Holy Spirit has been given to me in my baptism.  The same Holy Spirit is in me today.  He is my point of difference... today.

Come Holy Spirit, fall afresh on me.  Fill me with Your power, satisfy my need.  Only You can make me whole.  Give me strength and make me grow.  Come Holy Spirit, fall afresh on me.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Courage! It is I!

‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.’

Jesus has just fed the five thousand.  He is off in the hills to pray.  Seeing His disciples struggling against a heavy sea on the lake, He walks out to them.  In their fear and ignorance they cry out, terrified. Jesus allays their terror with His beautiful call; ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.’

This Gospel reading reminds me of a scene from CS Lewis's book, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The Dawn Treader is sailing into the terrors of Shadow Island where everyone's worst nightmare appears to be true.  Lucy is alone in the Crows Nest and is succumbing to her her darkest fears when Aslan, in the form of a seagull, cries out, "Take courage dear heart!". Nothing immediately changes in the Dawn Treader's circumstances but everything changes for Lucy.  She knows she is not alone, that her greatest help is there right beside her.

There are times in my ignorance and fear, in my lack of faith I am terrified. Things over whelm me and I am afraid of being swamped.  Ghosts from the past and imaginings of the future haunt me. At these times I need to hear the cry of love from Jesus; ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.’  The circumstances may not immediately change but everything changes for me.  My greatest help is there, right beside me.

Lord Jesus, You are the source of my courage.  You are my rock and anchor when the storm gets rough, when I feel small, inadequate, vulnerable. Your perfect love for me casts out all fear.  Alleluia!

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Believe and Love

Whatever we ask God, we shall receive, because we keep his commandments and live the kind of life that he wants. His commandments are these: that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and that we love one another as he told us to.

Saint John's first letter is to Christian communities in Asia who are under threat of disintegration because of early heresies. He emphasises his earlier Gospel message; believe in Jesus Christ and love one another.

John's antidote to false teaching then is just as relevant today; Believe and Love.  This call results in me living the kind of life God wants of me.  When I am that in-step with God's plan for my life, whatever I ask of Him He will give to me.  What a promise! Today I choose to believe and choose to love.

Lord Jesus, I do believe that you are the Son of God come in the fleshRelease Your healing power in my life that I may love as You have loved.
Little Flower, please pray for me.