Friday, November 16, 2012

Let Us Love

Jesus said to the disciples:
  ‘As it was in Noah’s day, so will it also be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating and drinking, marrying wives and husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.
Luke 17:26,27

As we near the end of the Church's year we are given readings to help contemplate end times.  Today Jesus talks plainly about what is to happen when He returns.  Some will be taken to Him, some won't.

Jesus gives me the ultimate answer to my ultimate question. Where will I spend eternity once my time in this life has ended?  Answer: With Him.  What is the deciding factor?  Saint John answers that in today's first reading.  Let us love one another.

I want to be sure this is the hope my loved ones, my wife and children, also have.  I can best do this by role modelling an authentic follower of Jesus.  I can love...

Lord Jesus, help me love today, that I may draw more people into Your kingdom.
Saint John, pray for me.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Polite to All Kinds

Be ready to do good at every opportunity; not to go slandering other people or picking quarrels, but to be courteous and always polite to all kinds of people.

Saint Paul is instructing Titus on the character of a follower of Christ.  He writes from his own remembered imperfections, before he was saved by Jesus.

This exhortation to common decency is very timely for me.  I'm embroiled in a conflict with work colleagues who I find difficult to relate to.  I'm meeting with my manager today and in my mind I have been rehearsing descriptions of all their faults that I could lay before him. The antidote to this "stinking thinking" is given by Saint Paul: "be courteous and always polite to all kinds of people".

Lord Jesus, you have shown me charity when I deserved less.  Help me exercise restraint and be courteous and polite as befitting a follower of You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Get Found

The tax collectors and the sinners were all seeking the company of Jesus to hear what he had to say, and the Pharisees and the scribes complained. ‘This man’ they said ‘welcomes sinners and eats with them.’
Luke 15:1,2

The reputation of Jesus has been established.  The crowds know Him as one with a heart and a message for them and flock towards Him to receive this love.  The Pharisees know the same thing but are critical and are repelled.

The difference between the crowds and the Pharisees is not that one are sinners and the other virtuous.  No, both groups are sinners, but only one acknowledges the fact.  The parable of the lost sheep offended the Pharisees as they identified with the ninety-nine who were abandoned.  The people loved the parable as they identified with the lost sheep who was found.  In truth, both the Pharisees and the people, and I, are the lost sheep.  There is no one not in need of repentance and saving.

There's a joy that comes when I climb off my pharisaical high-horse and acknowledge my sinfulness.  It's only when I acknowledge my lostness that I can be found, carried on the shoulders of my Lord.  Perhaps it's time for confession...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Faith and Joy

I feel sure I shall survive and stay with you all, and help you to progress in the faith and even increase your joy in it.
Philippians 1:25

Saint Paul is in prison in Rome and writing a letter to the Church in Philippi, expressing his joy at their success as a Christian community.  Even though life or death are the same in Christ for Paul, his hope is to return to Philippi and further increase their faith and joy.

Faith and Joy.  To Saint Paul these were two sides of the same coin.  The two went with each other and could not be separated.  Even as a prisoner in Rome, Paul exemplified faith and joy.  It was his prayer for the Church.  Faith and joy originally attracted me to the Church.  I met people who had these qualities and it was something I also wanted.  Today I choose to let these virtues be my hallmark, that people may look and say, "I want whatever he's got".

Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of faith you have given me.  Let joy be the sign of my faith today, for your glory.
Saint Paul, please pray for me.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sinner to Saint

All  Saints Day

Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up the hill. There he sat down and was joined by his disciples. Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:
  ‘How happy are the poor in spirit;
  theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  Happy the gentle:
  they shall have the earth for their heritage.
  Happy those who mourn:
  they shall be comforted.
  Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right:
  they shall be satisfied.
  Happy the merciful:
  they shall have mercy shown them.
  Happy the pure in heart:
  they shall see God.
  Happy the peacemakers:
  they shall be called sons of God.
  Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right:
  theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you
  and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account.
  Rejoice and be glad,
  for your reward will be great in heaven.’
Matthew 5:1-12

Jesus sits down and gives His first great teaching, the Sermon on the Mount, a blue-print for an authentic Christian life. He starts His teaching by listing the attributes to happiness: - poverty, gentleness, mourning, righteousness, mercy, purity, peacefulness and being persecuted for Him.

Today is All Saints Day, instituted to honour all the saints, known and unknown.  The Church has selected the Beatitudes for today's Gospel, exemplifying saintly character.  These are characteristics I am called to live if I want an authentic Catholic life.  The bar is set.  Am I up to it?  With God's help all things are possible, even turning a sinner into a saint.

Lord Jesus, You know my sins, You know my virtues.  Help me Lord be a saintly witness for You today.
All Saints, please pray for me.