Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ring Out Your Joy

Let the sea and all within it, thunder; the world, and all its peoples. Let the rivers clap their hands and the hills ring out their joy at the presence of the Lord:

Today's Psalm is throbbing with praise.Why? Because its Maker is present.

I'm writing this while sitting outside on our front lawn.  A crisp morning breeze is moving gently over the table while the new sun is warming me from a cloudless blue sky.  A Tui is singing in the tree above and it draws me into its song.

I am part of creation throbbing its praise.  Why?  Because my Maker is present...

Thank you Father for this day, this hour, this moment.  I join all creation and sing Your praise.
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Just, Loving and Close

The Lord is just in all his ways and loving in all his deeds.  He is close to all who call him, who call on him from their hearts.

Today's Psalm is subtitled , "A psalm of praise. Of David".  It is one of the last five of the Psalms, all of which thunder praise of God. Verses 17 and 18 of Psalm 144 (145) list three praiseworthy characteristics of God.  He is Just, Loving and Close.

When I read in Matthew 5:48 the call of Jesus to "Be Holy as the Lord your God is Holy", these three virtues come to mind.  Be Just, Be Loving and be Close (intimate).  Each of these virtues do not come naturally to me.  I tend more towards being unjust, selfish and distant.  Maybe today, with my natural self being subjugated to my spiritual self, ...maybe today, just for one day, with those I meet I can be Just, Loving and Close.

Lord Jesus, help me today be Holy as You are Holy.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Like a Child

The disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ So he called a little child to him and set the child in front of them...

The disciples are still grappling with what the Kingdom of God is like.  It is a concept so new, so radical that they cannot comprehend it.  To help them, Jesus places before them a child and says, "This is greatness in the Kingdom of God".

I had the beautiful privilege of being at a granddaughter's baptism last Sunday. One of the prayers said for her referred to her as a "woman of God".  It struck me how that is the way God views my three week old granddaughter.  He sees her whole life in one glance and her sees her not as a mewling, floppy little new-born.  He sees her as the woman of God that she is, with full value and dignity.

It follows that this is how God sees me, my entire life from new-born to old-man in one glance.  The state and stage of my life does not determine my value.  Once I fully comprehend this I stop striving to achieve, relax and just "be"... like a little child.  What a peaceful and joyful way to live out my day today!

Lord Jesus, You know how I strive to be worthy.  Help me relax in your arms like a child and just be.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Beggar who Gives Alms

Each one should give what he has decided in his own mind, not grudgingly or because he is made to, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7

Saint Paul instructs the Church in Corinth on Christian life, here focusing on the virtue of selflessness.  What the world regards grudgingly, Paul describes as a great joy, the joy of giving.

Today's Psalm has the verse describing a good man as, "Open handed, he gives to the poor". Ps.112:9.  This reminds me of the central character of Les MisérablesJean Valjean.  Following his conversion from a bitter, self-seeking convict, Jean Valjean's circumstance goes from rags to riches back to rags.  However, his second period of rags can't hold back the new man of compassion and grace, to the point where the poor of Paris come to know him as "the beggar who gives alms".

The call to be a cheerful giver goes to the core of who I really am.  If I am a man truly converted, a spontaneous virtue would be cheerful giving.  Some Bible scholars say that should read "hilarious giving".  I should be howling with laughter, tears streaming down my face as I stuff twenty dollar notes onto the collection plate at church.  Does this happen?  No.  I still look at the ten dollar note on the collection plate and think how generous I am.  Further conversion is still required...

Lord Jesus, You gave everything you had to pay for my freedom.  Help me let go of my selfishness and become a cheerful giver.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Press Harder

Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.’ And from that moment her daughter was well again.

A Canaanite woman has pleaded with Jesus for the healing of her daughter.  Initially Jesus appears to rebuff her but the woman persists.  Even the scraps from Jesus' table would be enough, she remonstrates. Her great faith results in Jesus granting her wish and her daughter is healed.

I have a sick daughter.  The woman of today's Gospel has something to say to my circumstance.  Press harder into Jesus.  Even when nothing happens, press harder into Jesus.  Never give up on Him.  All healing eventually comes from Him.  Have faith in Jesus even when I have my doubts.  Keep pressing into Jesus.

Lord Jesus, Son of David, take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil.
Little Flower, please pray for us.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Go to Jesus

The head was brought in on a dish and given to the girl who took it to her mother. John’s disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went off to tell Jesus.

King Herod has John the Baptist beheaded as a birthday treat to his stepdaughter.  John's disciples take care of the body's remains and then go to Jesus with the terrible news about His cousin.

Matthew chapter fourteen covers what must have been the busiest and emotionally draining twenty-four hours of Jesus' life so far.  His cousin is beheaded, He is mobbed by crowds bringing Him their sick, He feeds the five thousand and rescues the disciples out on the lake by walking on water.

The day starts with Jesus hearing the news of John's beheading  from John's distraught disciples.  The first thing they do after burying John's body is go to Jesus.

This reminds me of a tragedy that happened in our parish some years ago,  A teenage boy from one of our catholic families had committed suicide.  On learning the news we gathered at the family's home and wept with them.  Then, out of the grief a man said "lets pray".  A peace settled on us and helped us cope with next few days.

Jesus is never too busy for me.  Just as He was moved with compassion for the crowds who followed Him while He was trying to be alone after learning of John's death, He has compassion for me.  He has time for me.  He has love for me...

Thank you Jesus for always being there for me.  You are my anchor in the storm.
Little Flower please pray for me.