Thursday, March 31, 2011


Every kingdom divided against itself is heading for ruin, and a household divided against itself collapses.

Jesus is answering the accusation that He is performing His healing miracles through the power of  Beelzebul.  He not only silences that opposition but highlights the importance of unity, a condition for the Church He prayed repeatedly for before His Passion and death.

If unity is so important in Jesus' eyes then it needs to be important for me.  The inference is that I'm not meant to be a "Lone Ranger" Christian, that I am meant meant be part of a greater body and that I'm meant to be unified with that body.  This is not easy.  My parish is full of people who I don't feel that unified with.

Saint Augustine showed a way to relate within the Church:

In essentials, unity
In non-essentials, tolerance
In all things, charity.

When I'm busy demanding that my view is the essential one, where is the charity?  I need more love in my relationships within the Church, starting with my parish.

Lord Jesus, I pray for a charitable heart that I may be a source of unity within Your Church.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them.

Jesus has started His great Sermon on the Mount.  He has just given the Beatitudes when He clarifies what He is about.  Jesus' coming is not a rehash of God's relationship with His Chosen People.  He is the fulfillment of it. He then goes on to clarify the spirit of the Law on topics like murder, adultery, divorce, revenge and love.

When I am confused about the Church and her teachings, about the "Law and the Prophets", I can turn to Jesus.  What He said, what He did was always perfect fulfillment of what the Church is saying.  He distills things and keeps them very simple... simple enough for even me to understand.

Lord Jesus, You are my Way, my Truth and my Life.  Thank you Lord that in the confusion of my day I only need turn to Your constant presence and all is well.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


“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?”

Jesus is telling the parable of the Wicked Servant in answer to Peter's question; "How often must I forgive my brother?". The Wicked Servant is forgiven a great debt but in turn refuses to forgive a much smaller debt owed him. The result is he is thrown to the torturers.

Jesus places huge emphasis on the need to forgive.  As He says in the parable, I am bound to be forgiving.  Why?  Because I have been forgiven a far greater debt.  My sins truly are scarlet and yet this has been taken off me by the death of Jesus.  When such love is received it is only natural to show great love in return.  The alternative is a bitterness that festers until it becomes torturous.

Lord Jesus, You know the un-forgiveness I hold in my heart towards others.  In Your name I now release that hardness of my heart.  Thank you Lord that I am counted among the forgiven.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Condition of the Heart

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

Jesus has just given the Beatitudes at the start of His great Sermon on the Mount.  He is laying down the radical foundations of Christian living.  A cornerstone of this new way of life is forgiveness.  The regenerate life is founded on reconciliation, nothing less.

As always, Jesus is talking about what goes on in my heart, not what is just surface virtue.  I need to do a "condition of the heart" check before I go to the altar at Mass.

Lord Jesus, You know my heart better than I do myself.  Help me be honest with myself, that I may be reconciled with my brother first and then bring You my offering.
Little Flower, please pray for me.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Create in Me a Clean Heart

A clean heart create for me, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit. Do not drive me from your presence, nor take from me your holy spirit. For you do not desire sacrifice; a burnt offering you would not accept. My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit; God, do not spurn a broken, humbled heart.

Every year the Church embraces Psalm 51 which becomes our Lenten mantra.  It is written by King David after he has been convicted of his adultery with with Bathsheba and murder of her husband. The Psalm shows the true quality of the man despite his great fall. God goes so far as to call David "a man after my own heart" Acts 13:22. The secret of David's great stature is his broken, humbled heart.

Here is the great lesson for me today.  Yes, I am a sinner and yes, I am redeemable.  The antidote? ...a broken humbled heart.

Lord Jesus.  I know a prayer for humility is a dangerous thing, but with the sure knowledge that You will never leave me, this is what I ask. Create in me a clean heart, renew a right spirit within me.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Heaven and Hell

Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world...
Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels...
And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life.

Jesus has just told the parable of the ten virgins and the parable of the talents, both focusing on what is to happen at the end of time. He now becomes more specific, shifting from parable to prophesy. "When the Son of Man comes in his glory..." Mt. 25:31. Jesus clearly states there are two possible destinations for us when He returns, a place of eternal punishment or a place of eternal reward; hell or heaven.

My daughter told me yesterday of a teacher at her school who said there is no hell.  She knew enough in her spirit to know this isn't true and a "teachable" moment followed in our discussion.  However, it raises the malady that has infiltrated even the Church.  It's danger lies in the logic that follows it; No hell?  Then I don't need saving from anything, so I don't need a Savior.  Jesus becomes minimised into a nice man who said nice things. His divine salvic mission is eradicated.

The truth is there is heaven, there is hell and I need Jesus to get me to the former and save from the latter.

Lord Jesus.   Thank you that you do offer me eternal reward and You do save me from eternal punishment.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

He Came for the Sick

‘It is not those who are well who need the doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the virtuous, but sinners to repentance.’

Jesus has just called Matthew to follow Him.  Matthew "leaves everything" and follows Jesus by first holding a great party, inviting all his friends to meet with Jesus.  The Pharisees are offended by Matthew and his companions.  Jesus is attracted to them.  Their naked need of Him makes them candidates for healing.

Matthew knew he was sick and so was irresistibly attracted to the doctor.  His lack masks and pretense meant Jesus could readily do what He had come to do; heal the sick and call to God.   When Jesus says He came to heal the sick not the well, He is saying He came for everyone.  We are all sick and in need of the doctor.  We are all sinners who need to repent.  He came for me...

Lord Jesus, I drop my pride and masks before You that You may do your work in my life.  Have mercy on me Lord for I am a sinful man.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pick Up My Cross

If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.

Peter has just declared who Jesus really is, “God’s Messiah”.  In a moment of intimacy with the disciples Jesus then reveals what He has come to do; His passion, death and resurrection. After this stark description of what is just around the corner, Jesus then invites all to follow Him. Ummm, can I just think about that first...

The passion and death part of following Jesus tends to over-shadow the resurrection.  Yes, I must deny myself and take up my cross, but never forget that this leads to a resurrection.  This is the real destination in following Jesus.  It can't be reached without a passion and a death, but oh the glory of the resurrection!  That is the final say on why I follow Jesus.  This invitation is for me, today...

Lord Jesus, You know my fears.  I want to follow You Lord but I get fixated on the pain of denial.  Help me focus on the true destination that following You leads to; a resurrected life in glory with You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Marching Orders

Ash Wednesday

When you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you:
When you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites:
When you fast do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do:
Mt. 6:1-6,16-18

Jesus is giving His great foundational teaching on Christian Life in His Sermon on the Mount.  He outlines the radical new way for all people to live.  He is giving the crowds their marching orders.  He is giving me my marching orders.

Today being Ash Wednesday is the day for me to start Lenten resolutions. Church tradition tells me it is a time of Prayer, Fasting and Alms giving and Jesus in today's Gospel tells me how to perform these disciplines; in secret.  Each of these disciplines is contrary to my fleshly nature.  I find it hard to make time for personal prayer, the ten dollar note looks huge on the collection plate and I like to eat.  In a way each of these things has become an idol.  It's time to put God back in His rightful place in my life, above all things; starting today...

Lord Jesus, You know my weakness and yet You call me to holiness.
A clean heart create for me, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit.  Do not drive me from your presence, nor take from me your holy spirit.  Restore my joy in your salvation; sustain in me a willing spirit.  Lord, open my lips; my mouth will proclaim your praise. 

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Toilet Brush Scripture

"...anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Jesus is on the road to Jerusalem with His disciples  for the last time.  The disciples are indignant that James and John have tried to gain superior positions for themselves.  Once again, Jesus has to explain that His kingdom is very different from kingdoms of this world.  In the Kingdom of God the least shall be the greatest and the first shall be a slave to all.  Jesus looming passion and death were about to provide the perfect example of this principle.

This is my "toilet brush scripture".  It is the scripture that compels me to be the toilet cleaner in our house.  I try to role model this great principle of the Kingdom of God.  Yes, I am the head of my household and yes, I do clean the toilet. I am first and I am the slave to all. 

Lord Jesus, You are the Servant King.  Help me follow Your great example that I may be worthy of God's Kingdom.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Last and First

‘Many who are first will be last, and the last first.’

Jesus has just challenged the rich man to give all he has to the poor and then follow Him.  The disciples are stunned at the high expectation Jesus placed on rich man and then question about their own worthiness.  Jesus then makes an amazing promise; 
‘I tell you solemnly, there is no one who has left house, brothers, sisters, father, children or land for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not be repaid a hundred times over...'.
There is a spiritual perspective that over rides the temporal view of things.  To make sure there is no confusion about this Jesus adds; 'the first shall be last and the last first'.

I can get fixated on natural justice when it is the supernatural justice of God that is supreme.  God's scales are biased towards "the last" of this world.  There needs to be less of me and more of Him in my day, starting today...

Lord Jesus, help me break from the seduction of the world and cling to You.  I want to be last here so I qualify to be first for You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.