Monday, January 28, 2013


If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot last. And if a household is divided against itself, that household can never stand.
Mark 3:24,25

Jesus refutes the claim of the scribes that it is the devil who is working through Him and casting out demons.  Simple logic shows that when something is divided against itself it cannot stand.

I cannot help thinking of dear friends who have separated after thirty years of marriage.  There has been no infidelity, simply disunity on a subject that has grown so big that it has over shadowed their love.

Jesus prayed more for unity among His followers than anything else. Why?  Because a house divided will surely fall. Its like the law of gravity. We cannot escape this fact. And the opposite is also true. There is a strength  a power in "oneness" whenever there is unity.

I need to more an agent of unity, in my home, in my parish, in my work space, in my world.

Lord Jesus, You prayed that we may all be one as You and the Father are one.  Let the Power of One be a hallmark of my life.  
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mad, Bad or Messaiah

Jesus went home, and once more such a crowd collected that they could not even have a meal. When his relatives heard of this, they set out to take charge of him, convinced he was out of his mind.
Mark 3:20-21

Jesus reputation has grown like wild-fire.  He has become the latest "hot prophet" at a time when prophets came, flared brightly and then died away.  His family is concerned He is to become another casualty.  

There are three possibilities about who Jesus is.  He is either mad, bad or who He says He is.  His teachings have stood the test of the greatest minds over the past two thousand years, ruling out He was mad.  The enduring love that He has invoked over the same period of time rules out He was bad.  This leaves who He says He is.  

"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." Jn 20:31.  This makes all the difference for everyone, for me, today.  

Thank you Jesus that You are the Way, the Truth and the Life.  I place my trust in You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sit and Listen

You do not ask for sacrifice and offerings, but an open ear. You do not ask for holocaust and victim. Instead, here am I.

Psalm 39 is a song of praise.  The psalmist writes that the greatest act of praise is to be simply present to God.

This can be the hardest and the easiest thing to do. Hard in that making time to put aside everything and focus purely on God is difficult.  Easy in that anyone can simply sit and listen.  God makes praise easy for us.

I love entering into songs of praise and worship but this is not the purist form of praise, according to today's psalm.  I need to practice more sitting and listening.

Lord Jesus, here I am.  Speak to me Lord, Your servant is listening.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lord of All or Not at All

there appears a second Melchizedek, who is a priest not by virtue of a law about physical descent, but by the power of an indestructible life.

The writer of Hebrews is emphasising the perfect priesthood of Jesus by claiming it was of Him that scripture referred to when it was written, "You are a priest of the order of Melchizedek, and for ever".

Abraham, the spiritual father of us all, had a right relationship with Melchizedek.  He was blessed by him, he gave the first ten percent of his possessions to him.  This gives us a template to adopt when relating to Jesus.  To be blessed means to submit, it involves a physical bowing before the one conferring the blessing.

My receiving of blessing from Jesus is only limited by my willingness to submit to Him.  If I'm honest, I would have to say not every area of my life has been submitted to the will of Jesus.  Where I perceive a lack of blessing in my life most likely indicates an area I have not submitted.  It's time to start bending the knee...

Lord Jesus, You are either Lord of all or not at all.  Give me courage and trust in You to submit those areas of my life I anxiously hold on to.
Little Flower, supreme example of submission, please pray for me.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Pleasing Unto Him

May the spoken words of my mouth, the thoughts of my heart, win favour in your sight, O Lord, my rescuer, my rock!

Psalm 18 declares how the glory of creation is in perfect harmony with all of God's law, both declaring God's glory.  The psalm finishes by vowing that my words and thoughts may also be pleasing unto Him.

This is a great verse of dedication.  It is the perfect response to the verse in today's first reading; "everything is uncovered and open to the eyes of the one to whom we must give account of ourselves". Heb.4:13.  When I acknowledge that all my secret thoughts and actions are seen by God, my natural response is, "may they all be pleasing unto Him".  

This is not a response of fear but one of love.  The God who knows all about my darker side still loves me, so I want my words and actions to please Him, ...all of them ...starting today.

Dear Jesus, You know the temptations I wrestle with.  I hand them all over to You, my rescuer, my rock.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, January 18, 2013


The promise of reaching the place of rest that God had for the Israelites still holds good, and none of you must think that he has come too late for it.

The writer of Hebrews reminds us that the rest promised to the first people of God still holds true for us today.  This is a true rest, one worth making sure we attain.

Rest.  Next to happiness, this would one of the great common desires of man.  In an age full of technology that promises more free time and rest, we are an exhausted generation. Times of rest, true rest that leaves you refreshed and revitalised, are rare occurrences.

I recently had a camping holiday.  Physically it was a time of exertion; erecting tents, setting up equipment, tramping and swimming.  To cook and eat an evening meal took two hours.

Yet, it was a time of rest.  I came back feeling revitalised.  I was away from the regular demands of life and it was rest-giving. The beauty of the place showed the finger prints of God and I was very much aware that this was a God-given time and place of rest.

These oasis' of God-given rest are out there.  I just have to seek them and step into them.

Thank you Lord for Your promise of rest.  Help me recognise the places of rest Your have prepared for me.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Soften Up

The Holy Spirit says: If only you would listen to him today; do not harden your hearts, as happened in the Rebellion, on the Day of Temptation in the wilderness, when your ancestors challenged me and tested me.
Heb. 3:7-9

The writer of Hebrews warns against unbelief.  Unbelief is described as a condition of a hardened heart.  A hard heart comes from "sin's deceitfulness" and will deny us entry into the kingdom.

The antithesis of a hard heart is a soft heart.  A soft heart is vulnerable to being hurt by others.  My heart gets especially hardened when I get hurt.  I harden my heart to try and protect it.  Yet, here we are being told by the Holy Spirit to soften up, become vulnerable.  

Jesus is the ultimate example of a softened heart.  He is love and compassion incarnate.  It cost Him dearly but look where it got Him in the end... at the right hand of the Father.  If I want to "share in Christ", which I do, then it's time to soften up, become vulnerable and yes, maybe get hurt.  The end result is worth it.

Lord Jesus, it's scary allowing my heart to be soft, to be touched by others.  Help me soften up Lord that I may be with You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Big Picture

Simon and his companions set out in search of him, and when they found him they said, ‘Everybody is looking for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can preach there too, because that is why I came.’ 
Mark 1:36-38

After a busy day preaching, healing the sick and delivering the possessed, Jesus goes off to a lonely place to pray.  The disciples, keen to continue a successful mission, seek Jesus out to carry on where He had left off. Jesus however has other plans and sets off to neighbouring towns.

I'm always slightly scandalised when I read this passage.  Here were people who were sick, possessed and keen to hear the Gospel that Jesus walked away from.  Yet He knew it was time to move on to other towns.

Pressing needs can obscure the bigger objectives. How do I know when to move on?  It's noteworthy that Jesus made this call after a time of prayer.  Here's the answer to my need for clear vision.  Times of prayer.  I'm reminded of DC Talk's song Day by Day that has the lines:

I live a simple life, I take a day at a time.  
I spend my mornings with God before I hit the grind.  
The subtleties of darkness never cease to amaze, 
as the physical world creates a spiritual haze.

Mornings with God.  There's the answer...

Thank you Jesus for your faithfulness in meeting me each morning I pray.  Give me wisdom to see the big picture You have for me today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Teaching with Authority

As soon as the Sabbath came Jesus went to the synagogue and began to teach. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority.

Jesus has gathered His disciples and is beginning His public ministry.  He starts by teaching in the local established church, the Jewish synagogues.

Jesus used the then established church to give His radically new teaching, until the crowds got to number in the thousands and He had to teach outside.  The organised structure of church wasn't ignored by Jesus.  He used it as much as He could and then established the new church, giving His authority to Peter and the Apostles.

This teaching with authority is still available for me today in the church founded by Jesus.  It's a good place for me to hangout if I want to gain a deep impression from Jesus.

Thank you Lord Jesus for the gift of Your Church.  Help me avail myself to Your wisdom, that I may gain a deep impression from You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Less Space for Me

‘The bride is only for the bridegroom; and yet the bridegroom’s friend, who stands there and listens, is glad when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. This same joy I feel, and now it is complete. He must grow greater, I must grow smaller.’

John the Baptist is approached by his followers to query the authority of Jesus to baptise.  John emphatically promotes Jesus by saying Jesus must increase in His ministry while John's own ministry must decrease.

John has poured his whole life into his ministry and now he lets it all go.  He expresses joy while his own disciples leave to go and follow Jesus.  This is the man of whom Jesus Said, "No greater man has been born of a woman..." Mt.11:11, yet he shrinks his own stature.  The hallmark of John's greatness is his meekness and humility.

This is an area of struggle for me.  There is within me a trumpeting braggart who desires nothing but aggrandisement. The antidote?  More of Jesus, less of me...

Lord Jesus, Your measure of greatness is shown in John the Baptist, the greatest of all men who was the most humble.  Help me fill myself with You so there is less space for me.
Saint John the Baptist, please pray for me.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


My dear people, let us love one another since love comes from God and everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.

John's letter is to early churches under threat of disintegration due to heresies being advanced within their communities.  He summarises his own religious experience, always coming back to the great gospel message; love one another as we have been loved.

The great hallmark of Jesus is His demonstrative love.  It follows that as a follower of Jesus this is also to be my trademark.  Do people look at me and say, "There is a great lover"?

Love is great in theory but hard in practice.  As I heard recently, “Love in dreams is easy. Love in reality is a harsh and terrible thing”. Of my own strength I will never be a great lover.  As love comes from God I need His help to be motivated by it.  Meditating on the love Jesus has shown to me is great place to start...

Lord Jesus, You have shown Your love for me on the cross.  This frightens me.  Help me overcome my fear and become a great lover in a world hungry for love.
Saint John, please pray for me.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Under the Fig Tree

How do you know me?’ said Nathanael ‘Before Philip came to call you,’ said Jesus ‘I saw you under the fig tree.’ Nathanael answered, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel.’

Jesus is starting His public ministry and forming the core of His disciples.  These disciples come from family or friendship relationships.  Philip calls Nathanael to come and see Jesus.  Initially scornful of the idea of a messiah from Nazareth, Nathanael encounters Jesus and is instantly convinced He is the Son of God.

I have often puzzled over how Nathanael was so convinced about Jesus' divinity simply by Jesus saying He saw him under the fig tree.  I recently heard a teaching that has helped explain this.  Nathanael was a Zealot. Being opposite to  Pharisees,  Zealots would go into the wilderness to pray where no one would see them except God.  Nathanael knew no one would know he had been under the fig tree praying except God.  He recognised God in Jesus.

My "Fig Tree" time is early in the morning.  This time helps me recognise Jesus when I met Him in the sacraments, in Holy Scripture, in family prayer, even in other random people I meet in my day.  Maybe even someone from Nazareth...

Lord Jesus, thank you for meeting me under my olive tree.  Help me see you in the people I meet today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Less is More

So John said, ‘I am, as Isaiah prophesied: a voice that cries in the wilderness: Make a straight way for the Lord.’

Priests are sent to interrogate John the Baptist to try and identify his credentials.  They are more concerned about him being a threat than they are about what it is he is saying.  John allays their fears by denying he is the the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet.  He tells them he is simply a voice.

Here was a prime opportunity for John the Baptist to advance his career. The attention of the the powerful was on him.  But instead of promoting himself, John made himself smaller.  "I am not fit to undo his sandal-strap" Jn.1:27.  John, who Jesus named as the greatest of all men born of a woman, displayed his strength through his humility.

If I am honest, I would have to admit I most likely would not have responded as John did.  There is within me a desire to be held up before men.  To become lesser so that someone else can become greater is not a natural characteristic within me.  Perhaps it needs to be...

Jesus, You are the great role model of infinite power held in check through humbleness   Give me the strength of character to embrace Your virtue of humility.
Saint John the Baptist, please pray for me.