Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dance with Shouts of Joy

The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Zion, have no fear, do not let your hands fall limp.
The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior.
He will exult with joy over you, he will renew you by his love;
he will dance with shouts of joy for you as on a day of festival.

Zephaniah 3:16,17

Today is the joy-filled feast day of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Mother Church joyfully celebrates the visit of the pregnant Mary to her cousin Elizabeth, remembering what a joyous, Holy Spirit filled event that was. The first reading is chosen from Zephaniah where He prophesies the restoration of the remnant of Israel.

Two things stand out for me about Mary's visitation with Elizabeth.  Firstly that the Holy Spirit sanctified the event, baptising both Elizabeth and baby John in her womb.  Secondly that it was an event drenched with joy.  Zephaniah describes God "dancing with shouts of joy".  I'm sure He was doing this during Mary's visit with Elizabeth.  Why?  Because His glorious plan of salvation for all mankind was starting to be worked out through the humble obedience of a young Jewish girl.

Today I celebrate this glorious feast along with Mother Church, full of exuberant joy.  I join God in His glorious dance!

Thank you Father for your wonderful plan to save me.  Thank you Mary for your humble but resounding "Yes" that brought that plan into fruition.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Love Others

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you.'

Giving His final words at the Last supper, Jesus summarises all His teachings in this one verse.  It's the clarion call He leaves ringing in the ears of His disciples.  It's the call that will overcome the world where other religions have failed.  It's the call that works from the inside out, instead of the outside in and so its effect is more profound.

If I were to ask a non-believer what Christianity was about, the word love would be in their answer I think; "Oh Christians, they're meant to love their enemies aren't they?"  Love is meant to be the hallmark of our Church.  It's what the world starves for, ...it's what I starve for.  In this respect I'm like a little child; "tell me again how much you love me?", I can never hear it enough.  Others can't hear it enough from me.

Loving others is easy to say but hard to do.  It flys in the face of my natural selfishness.  Some people aren't very lovely.  Yet there it stands, a commandment from Jesus no less.  I need help to love as He has loved me, supernatural help.  Come Holy Spirit...

Lord Jesus, You know how fickle my love can be and yet You place the commandment of love before me today.  Spirit of God, help me be a great lover today that Jesus may be glorified.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

God is Love

‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love.'

At the Last Supper, Jesus is leaving His disciples the fragrance of who He essentially is... Love.  Jesus reiterates that to know His love is to know the love of the Father.

Jesus bridges the great divide between God the Father and me. God the Father is no longer a distant, imperious God.   I can now say I know the love of God the Father.  The Father's love embraces little children.  The Father's love heals the sick.  The Father's love weeps when I weep.  The Father's love raises people from the dead.  The Father's love forgives my sins.  The Father's love says He is with me always.

I walk into today knowing I am incredibly loved by God the Father.  What a difference that makes to today!

Father in Heaven, thank you for loving me so much that You sent Your one and only Son so that I may believe in Him and have eternal life. Send me Your spirit to help me keep the commandments of Your Son and so remain in Your love.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing.

Jesus continues His discourse at the Last Supper.  He uses the powerful analogy of the vine and branches, something that every man in that room would clearly understand.  Preparing His disciples for His imminent passion and death, He says a seemingly contradictory thing, that they must remain connected to Him. How? ..."you remain in me and my words remain in you".

This scripture speaks powerfully to me.  I have known times when I have not been connected to Jesus, times I have slowly but steadily drifted away.  I recognise when this has happened when I find myself suddenly struggling with temptations and sin that never bothered me before.  I had become disconnected from Jesus.  How?  In every case I had neglected His Word, stopped my daily prayer time. 

Conversely, I am most at peace, most filled with joy when I am regular in my daily prayer time, reading and meditating on His Word.  My daily prayer time is not just a nice thing to do, it is essential for a full and fruitful life.  This is a life-long commitment.  I recommit to my morning prayer, starting today...

Jesus my friend, You are my vine to whom I am connected to for life.  Send me Your Spirit to help me stay connected, for cut off from You I can do nothing.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

His Peace He Gives Me

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.'

Jesus is speaking to His disciples at the Last Supper, His passion and death are imminent. Knowing what is about to happen, there is every reason for Jesus' own heart to be troubled and afraid.  Yet His concern is for His disciples, what they are going to face after He has left them. Jesus offers them, and us, the very opposite to what they will experience; peace in the place of fear.

This quote from Jesus is said at every Mass at the Sign of Peace, just before Eucharist. I remember as a non-believer hearing those words and thinking, "I need that peace". It was the very first thing about Jesus that attracted me, the very first thing He offered me that I wanted; a peace that I had already found the world could not give.

Jesus never promised I would be free from troubles.  I live in a fallen world.  By definition that means troubles will come.  But Jesus does promise to never leave me, that His gift of peace, despite what is happening, is always there for me. What a gift for me to carry into my day today!

Lord Jesus, You are the Prince of Peace.  I embrace Your gift of peace you offer me today, that my heart will not be troubled or afraid.  Jesus, I place my trust in You, my peace.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Come Holy Spirit

I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name--he will teach you everything and remind you of all that (I) told you.

Jesus continues His final discourse to the disciples following the Last Supper.  He is asked if His revelation is just for His disciples only.  Jesus' reply confirms that His message is for any and everyone who loves Him.  This is confirmed for all time, including our present day.  How?  By the Holy Spirit sent by God.

This is such good news for me!  The fullness of Jesus is available to me today; His power, His Love, His fellowship; His healing... everything!  How?  By inviting the Holy Spirit into my life in the name of Jesus.  I cannot be an authentic follower of Jesus without the Holy Spirit active in my life.  He is the X-factor that makes Christ alive in me.  O come Holy Spirit...

Holy Spirit of God, come into my life today I pray, in the precious name of Jesus. Teach me and remind me of all that Jesus tells me, that I may glorify Him.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I will Do It

Whatever you ask for in my name I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask for anything in my name, I will do it.

It's during Jesus' discourse at the Last Supper and the disciples are starting to feel alarmed at what Jesus is alluding to.  The questions start flowing.  Philip asks to see the Father.  Jesus responds that to see Him is to see the Father. Jesus then goes on to say the remarkable thing that not only do His works testify to this but that also the works of any believer will testify to it. We only need to ask in His name!

I've asked for many things in the name of Jesus.  Some have been given as requested, some have not.  This is always a test of faith, to ask expectantly but accepting whatever the answer is.  Sometimes it's "Yes", sometimes "No" and sometimes "Not yet".  Yet Jesus very clearly says "I will do it". 

The key for me is what Jesus says earlier in verse 14:12 "whoever believes in me...". It's where belief is strong that Jesus works.  Faith tells me that Jesus is true to His word, that He hears every genuine prayer in His name and He will act. Now, whether I see the results of that answered prayer becomes not "If" but "When".  I may have to wait, but my prayer will be answered.

This is a great attitude to approach prayer with, right now...

Thank you Jesus that You are faithful to Your Word, that You do answer prayer in Your name.  Lord, give me the faith to always pray expectantly and with trust in you.
Little Flower please pray for me.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Way

Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Jesus knows He is about to suffer and die.  He speaks plainly to His disciples in the upper room. After washing the disciple's feet He then says the only way to the Father is by following His (Jesus') example.

This is another view of the "Great Divide".  What Jesus says here flys in the face of the thinking that says "being good is good enough".  Jesus is emphatic; "No one comes to the Father except through me".  This is why good people don't get to heaven, only forgiven people do.

This is the stumbling block for the non-believing members of my extended family.  In their minds they don't need to be forgiven, so they have nothing to be saved from, so they don't need a saviour, so they don't need Jesus and so ultimately they don't need God.  It is Satan's great deception, second only to his lie that he, Satan, doesn't exist.

So what is my response to this statement of Jesus?  Firstly to acknowledge that Jesus is my way. Secondly to bare authentic witness to this truth, especially to my extended family, which is the hardest mission field of all.

Lord Jesus, You are my Way, You are my Truth, You are my Life.  Help me bring my non-believing family members to a place where they bend the knee and acknowledge You as their Lord.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I tell you most solemnly, whoever welcomes the one I send welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.

Jesus has just finished washing the disciple's feet at the Last Supper. He starts talking to the disciples about the importance of  "ones who are sent".

When a man knows He is about to die he talks about things dear to his heart. He chooses his final words carefully. In His final discourse Jesus talks about the importance of welcoming ones that He sends.

When I think about ones sent by Jesus into my life over the years, I am very grateful. I think of Margaret, Kate's mum who first talked to me about things of God when I was a confused teenager.  I think about Kate and my children who unwittingly evangelized me by the faithful practicing of their faith.  I think of the dear friends I met through marriage encounter and Joshua Catholic Men's fellowship who talked and witnessed to me things of God.  The list goes on...

The writer to the Hebrews says, "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it" Heb. 13:2. God has and does send messengers into my life.  I need to be on the look out to welcome them, today...

Thank you Lord Jesus that You send "angels" into my life to give encouragement and direction.  Quicken my spirit to recognise and welcome them as they come.  Maybe Lord, You could also send me...
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


They sent Barnabas to Antioch... for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith.

Barnabas is sent by the Jerusalem elders to Antioch to check out the rumors that Greeks had been preached to and had received the Good News about Jesus.  Barnabas confirms this is true and that it is a genuine move of God, encouraging the Antioch Church to continue.

Barnabas is one of my favorite characters from the early church. He is first introduced in Acts 4:36 as the "Son of Encouragement ". In today's first reading he is described as  "a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith ".  He is a role model that inspires me in my Christian walk. I desire to be an encourager, a good man, someone filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith.  I can start, today...

Holy Spirit, You poured your power out over the early church.  Pour Your power out over me I pray that I may be a good man, someone filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fullness of Life

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I have come  so that they may have life and have it to the full.

Jesus is giving His discourse on being the Good Shepherd. Again this revelation divides the people who hear it.  Some say He is possessed while others say He is from God.

In this scripture Jesus speaks plainly.  There is a murderous thief; there is the giver of life.  It's a very simple choice in my mind as to who to follow.  I am constantly meeting people who have had their fullness of life stolen by Satan. It happens to people no matter their social standing; rich or poor, young or old, educated or simple.  Conversely, I am also meeting people who I just know have a fullness of life received from God.  Again, they are people from across the spectrum. 

There is a common law that applies to all people; follow the thief and die, follow Jesus and live.  Today I choose Jesus...

Thank you Lord Jesus, my shepherd, for the fullness of life you give me today.  I know Your voice and follow You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete. This is my commandment:  love one another, as I have loved you.

Jesus and the disciples have just finished the Last Supper and Jesus is giving His last words of encouragement before He is arrested.  In summary of all He has said and done, He gives the Great Commandment; Love one another.

This is the God  I follow, the God of love.  The God who calls me friend and who laid down His life for me. The God who makes my joy complete.  O what a blessed man I am, today, this very minute. My faith-life is very simple; Love God and Love others.  What a wonderful way to live out today.!

Thank you Jesus for loving me, for showing me how to love.  Holy Spirit, fill me with the love of God so the overflow pours out of me onto others around me today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Philips Transport

Philip was taken away by the Spirit of the Lord, and the eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. Philip found that he had reached Azotus and continued his journey proclaiming the Good News in every town as far as Caesarea.

Following the martyrdom of Stephen the early church believers scattered from Jerusalem, including  Philip. Rather than forgetting their new-found faith they preach with increased zeal as they go.

I love this story of Philip meeting and converting the eunuch. Philip is so on-fire that he simply listens to the Holy Spirit and then acts.  An angel says go to Gaza, so he goes.  The Holy Spirit says meet that chariot, so he runs up to it. Finally Philip is trans-located to a completely new location to continue preaching the Good News of Jesus.  The source of this miraculous activity is the power of the Holy Spirit. Come O Spirit of God...

Holy Spirit, fuel a fire within me that I may fearlessly be an authentic witness to the power and love of God in my world.
Saint Philip, please pray for me.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Raised Up!

'Yes, it is my Father’s will that whoever sees the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and that I shall raise him up on the last day.’

Jesus is giving His great discourse recorded in John chapter 6 on His eternal purpose (Life everlasting for all believers) and how He is to help His followers get there (His Body and Blood).  Jesus foretells His victory over the great enemy, death, and promises this victory for all who believe in Him.

For me this is the "G" in the Good News of Jesus.  According to Jesus, my inevitable death is not the end of my story. Oh no, it's just the beginning and it's the beginning of a story filled with unimaginable joy.  This is the reason for my eternal optimism, why even the worst of days is a day of joy based on this hope. 

I walk into today with that bubbling joy inside of me.  Why?  Because I shall have eternal life and be raised up on the last day.  Alleluia!

Thank you Lord Jesus for this never-ending wellspring of joy that Your Good News gives me.  I place my trust in You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Never Hunger, Never Thirst

‘Sir,’ they said ‘give us that bread always.’ Jesus answered:  ‘I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me will never be hungry; he who believes in me will never thirst.’

Jesus has just fed the five thousand and is now being followed by a large mob clamoring for more to eat. He picks this time to reveal what it is He is truly offering; His body and His blood.

As a potential convert, this was the stumbling block to my entry into the Church for a number of years. Like many of the listeners to Jesus, I said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” Jn.6:60.  As a result I sat in the pews for years watching my wife and children go up for Holy Communion while thinking, "well, I'm a 95% Catholic just by being here.  This isn't that important". 

It wasn't until I believed in the true presence, believed in what Jesus actually says time and time and time again in John Chapter 6 that His actual body and actual blood is the Bread of Life He was refering to, that I realised that being there is only 5% of being Catholic. The 95% is saying "Amen!" to His Body and His Blood offered at Holy Communion.  The result? I am never hungry, I am never thirsty and I have every hope of eternal life with Him. 

I need to go to Mass, today...

Lord Jesus, thank you for the amazing gift of yourself offered totally at every Mass.  You are my Bread of Life.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother Church

 ...you, brothers, must select from among yourselves seven men of good reputation, filled with the Spirit and with wisdom; we will hand over this duty to them...

"The Twelve" have become overworked in the rapidly growing early church.  To alleviate this problem they appoint seven others to help them with allocated duties.  The ordained structure of the the Church is established.

I'm presently staying at Holy Cross Seminary in Auckland.  Today, two courageous young men are being ordained into priesthood at Saint Patrick's Cathedral, so this reading from Acts takes on special significance. The  structure of the Catholic Church has survived for two thousand years, baring testimony that it is inspired and supported by God.  Accordingly, there is a unique blessing that comes with moving under that authority, for laity as well as ordained.  Being a convert, I am very conscious of the blessing that comes with saying yes to the teachings, traditions and authority of Holy Mother Church.

Lord Jesus, You are Head of the Church You founded, of the Church I readily say yes to.  Thank you for the gift Your Church is for me.
Little Flower, please pray for me (and Rebekah).

Friday, May 6, 2011

Come Holy Spirit

And so they left the presence of the Sanhedrin glad to have had the honour of suffering humiliation for the sake of the name.  They preached every day both in the Temple and in private houses, and their proclamation of the Good News of Christ Jesus was never interrupted.

The disciples are before the Sanhedrin, accused of insurrection by preaching in the the name of Jesus.  The Sanhedrin release them, guessing the movement will self-destruct.  The disciples rejoice in their punishment and promptly continue their preaching "uninterrupted".

There was an unstoppable force released within the early church, the power of the Holy Spirit.  What stops my preaching the of the Good News about Jesus?  Absence of the Holy Spirit.

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.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Way, The Truth, The Life

Jesus said to Thomas: ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you know me, you know my Father too.

The risen Jesus is identifying who He is to Thomas and the other disciples.  Jesus uses plain language to explain that He and the Father are one, that He, Jesus, is God.

This is the great stumbling block for people throughout the last two thousand years; Jesus' claim to be God.  Nothing has changed and my faith-life is counter to that unbelief.  My witness for Him is as strong as my relationship with Him.  If He is truly my Way, my Truth and my Life then my life must reflect that... today.

Lord Jesus, I truly believe You are God.  Fill me with Your Spirit today that I may be an authentic witness to You being The Way, The Truth and The Life.
Little Flower, please pray for me.