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.