Monday, September 17, 2012

A Man under Authority

 "I am not worthy to have you under my roof; and for this same reason I did not presume to come to you myself; but give the word and let my servant be cured. For I am under authority myself,"

A Roman Centurion calls on Jesus to heal a favourite dying servant.  Jesus recognises great faith in this man because he recognises the authority Jesus operates under. As a result the servant is healed without Jesus even seeing the sick man or his master.

The Centurion is an enigma.  He is a leader in the hated Roman army but a friend to the local Jews.  He has the respect of the people over whom he rules.  He is a pagan yet exhibits to Jesus the greatest faith in all of Israel.  There is something great in the character of this man.  His great faith that impressed Jesus so much was based on his understanding of authority.  As a man under authority and who had authority over others, he recognises the authentic, divine authority of Jesus.

Faith based on authority.  There's an interesting concept.  You would think authority would lead to slavish duty.  But no.  Jesus says authority leads to great faith, a faith that allows Him to perform miracles.  Recognising the authority of Jesus means letting there be less of me and more of Him in my life.  Then perhaps I will see more miracles....

Lord Jesus, I am not worthy to receive you under my roof.  But only say the word and my soul shall be healed.
Centurion of Faith, pray for me.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Passing Away

Those who have to deal with the world should not become engrossed in it. I say this because the world as we know it is passing away.

Saint Paul is encouraging the Corinthian Church to reduce the effect of the world on their spiritual lives.  Marriage, mourning, even joy can be a distraction of the temporal from the spiritual.  The world as we know it is passing away to be replaced by the real world, the kingdom of God.

Nothing has changed in two thousand years.  There is still a tension between the flesh and the spirit.  The advantage we Christians have is that we know there is a tension and so we can resist it.  I can't fight this battle alone.  I need the support of the Church.  Maybe Mass today would be a good idea...

Lord Jesus, You know the battles that rage within me.  Give me strength I pray to let go of the world's seductions and be given over to You.
Saint Paul, please pray for me.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

God with Me

Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary

She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfil 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 the Church celebrates the birthday of Mary, the mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Rather than focussing on the holiness and purity of Mary, today's Gospel first chronicles the full genealogy of Jesus.  This includes adultery, incest and murder; all the darker side of human nature.  There are names that are great, names that are infamous and names that are mentioned nowhere else.  The genealogy of Jesus includes the good, the bad and the ugly.  Truly He is Emanuel, God with Us.

The "God with us" nature of Jesus is what makes him unique among religions.  He is both truly God and truly man.  In my brokenness I can still call Him "Brother",  for that is who He is. Jesus is more than a friend to me, He is my brother.  I take this intimate relationship with Jesus into my day today.

Jesus, my Lord, my King, my brother.  Thank you for overlooking my brokenness to stay with me, to be my Emmanuel.
Mary, Mother of God, pray for me.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Foolishness of God

Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on it is men you will catch.’ Then, bringing their boats back to land, they left everything and followed him.

Jesus has just used Simon's boat to speak from and then rewards him with a catch of fish so huge it almost sinks two boats.  Simon, who is never recorded catching a fish without Jesus' help, is overwhelmed and recognises something Holy within Jesus.  Jesus then calls Simon, James and Andrew to something way bigger that catching two boat loads of fish.

The transformation of Peter from a course fisherman to a holy saint starts here.  It's a story that has always fascinated me.  I see so much of myself in the former Peter and desire so much to become the latter. Jesus' choosing of such rough, uneducated men I believe was deliberate.  It is the "foolishness of God" at work, demonstrating that earthly wisdom is not what is required to be a follower of Jesus.  What is required is the honesty to fall at Jesus' knees and say,  "Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man." Lk.5:8. 

Lord Jesus, You know my thoughts and how useless they are.  Give the desire for the foolishness of God that I may gain clean hands and pure heart and then climb God's mountain.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Power of God

In my speeches and the sermons that I gave, there were none of the arguments that belong to philosophy; only a demonstration of the power of the Spirit. And I did this so that your faith should not depend on human philosophy but on the power of God.

Saint Paul writes to the church in Corinth by first clearly stating where his teaching came from; not from the fleshly thinking of man but from the power of God.

That our faith shuns human philosophy is a constant aggravation to non-believers.  They have no ground on which to engage an argument.  Even though Jesus is a historical figure recorded in annals and the early Church is well recorded in its activities, our faith rests on things unrecorded, on things unseen... on the power of God.

It is such a relief for me to know Jesus offers me a relationship not a theological degree.  This doesn't exempt me from daily study of His Word and of the teachings of His Church, but I do these things out of love not out of performance. My faith rests on God, not on my performance.  There is a peace beyond understanding in this truth, for me today...

Thank you Lord for Your gift of faith to me.  I place my trust in You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.