Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Life and Light

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; 

John starts his Gospel placing Jesus, the Word, at the beginning of time working beside God the Father in the great act of creation. Jesus role then was to give life. His role today is unchnaged.

I love the picture this reading gives of Jesus and God the Father working side by side creating the world that I was destined to live in. I belive Jesus had me in mind at this time and interceded for me to the Father. "Dad, Dad! Create a beautiful lake just here, fed by streams from those those mountains over there. Mike will look at those and think of You as his spirit is being refreshed by the view.  Dad, Dad, make a sandy beach along this coastline with Pohutukawa trees leaning over it. Mike will swim in these waters and be grateful to you for creating it".

Today is a day to look again at the world God has created for me to enjoy and be thankful.

Thank you Jesus for the life you have given me and for this beautiful world in whch to enjoy it.
Saint John the Apostle, pray for me.

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Sign

Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." Lk.2:35

Simion gives his prophecy over the infant Jesus. God reveals through  Simion the role Jesus is to play in the affairs of men; the rise of some, the fall of others, a sign from God and the revealer of hidden thoughts. In short, Jesus was destined to someone no one could ignore.

We have just celebrated Christmas Day. Even our secular nation stopped to observe the Holy Day. Jesus cannot be ignored. As the bumper sticker says, wise men still seek him.

Jesus, I place you in the center of my day. May my life today prophesy as to who you are. 
Saint Joseph, pray for me.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Submit and be Saved

You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved. Mt.10:22

Jesus warns his disciples that being a follower is not to be chosen for a popularity vote. In fact it incurs the opposite; persecution.

Being a Christian automatically invites opposition. Why? Because the Good News we proclaim invites, no, demands change.  Not everyone wants to change.

Often, I don't want to change. Change means putting my agenda aside, acknowledging that my agenda is not the best agenda. Sometimes it means acknowledging that my agenda is down-right sinful. All this is very counter-cultural.  The world says my agenda has a right to claim its space under the sun.  My faith says my agenda can only exist if it is under the Son.

Jesus adds that my very salvation is dependant on this submission. Yikes!

Lord Jesus, you know my struggle with Me. Help me submit to you joyfully, trusting in my promised salvation.
Mary, Mother of the infant Jesus, Mother of mine, pray for me.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Righteous Man

Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. 

The miraculous virgin birth of Jesus is the focus of the Church today.  Center stage for his brief but crucial role is Joseph, a righteous man.

The dictionary lists the following synonyms for righteousness: good, virtuous, upright, upstanding, decent, worthy. Joseph is mentioned much in scripture but what is said of him paints a picture of true manhood. As the man who raised Jesus from boyhood, I suspect we see much of his chracter reflected in the man Jesus became.

All of Joseph's characteristics are very human and obtainable. They are within my grasp, should I choose them. That's the key. Today I choose righteousness.

Lord Jesus, you were born into the Holy and loving family of Mary and Joseph. Help me become a righteous man today.
Saint Joseph, please pray for me.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, 'Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.' He said in reply, 'I will not,' but afterwards he changed his mind and went. Mt.21:28,29

Jesus is telling a parable to the Pharisees of two sons, one whom says no to his father and then changes his mind, the other who says yes but does not do what he agreed to. Jesus tells the Pharisees they are like the second son who is unrepentant.

It seems every authentic response to Jesus involves repentance. We all have sined, so turning to God involves confessing that sin. This third week of Advent seems like a good time to go to confession.

Jesus, you know the sin that hides in my heart. Lord, I want to be a fervent follower. I place my stain before you and embrace the sacrament of reconciliation your Church gives to help me do that.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Voice in My Ear

No longer will your Teacher hide himself, but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher, While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears: "This is the way; walk in it," when you would turn to the right or to the left.
Isaiah 30:21,22

Isaiah prophesies on the life to come when the Messaiah returns. One of the blessings will be "a voice in your ear" guiding the way we should go. No longer will we ever be lost.

Being lost is a horrible place to be. I remember coming up out of Central Station, Sydney for the first time. The crowd was immense and I was feeling small and alone. It took me a while to even discern where north was and get my bearings. Once I found Pitt Street and figured out which direction would take me down to the harbour, I started to feel more at peace.

Being morally lost is like having no spiritual compass, no point of reference. Jesus is the rock to align myself with. He is there all the time, I just need to remember that and get back in line.

Jesus, you my teacher, my rock, the voice in my ear. Speak to me today so I know when to turn to the right or to the left.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

False Discipleship

Jesus said to his disciples: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 

Jesus is giving warning that it is possible to be a false disciple. He says his treatment of such people will be harsh; "Then I will tell them plainly, away from me you evil-doers. I never knew you."

Leading up to Christmas you be forgiven for thinking everyone is going to heaven and hell doesn't exist. Today's Gospel is a wakeup call from that falicy. So what is the antidote to false discipleship? According to Jesus, doing the will of my Father.

Knowing the Father's will and then doing it. Sounds simple but could prove radical. I need help from the Church, the Saints, the Holy Spirit of God no less for this assignment. Come Holy Spirit...

Lord Jesus, I want to be an authentic disciple of yours. Help me to hear the will of the Father and then have courage to do it.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Still Waters

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. In verdant pastures he gives me repose; beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul. Psm23.1,3

The first reading today has the Prophet Isaiah singing of the victories associated with the Messiah's coming; rich food, choice wines, no more death, no more tears. The Psalm response is the well loved 23rd Psalm, this time singing of what Emmanuel, God with Us, does for us here and now.

The thought of being led by Jesus beside still waters is very calming and peaceful. I have walked beside restful waters while tramping . Water has that strange affect on my spirit. When it's angry and turbulent as in a storm at the beach, it can be frightening. When it is still and quiet as in a lake on a calm day, it is refreshing

This is a wonderful promise for me to take into my busy day. Peace and refreshment are mine from the Lord. He leads me beside still waters.

Thank you Lord Jesus that you are Emanuel, God with me today. I receive the peace and refreshment of still waters from you now. Let me be a man of peace and refreshment to others today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Focus on the Child

Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.

The first mission trip of the seventy-two disciples has returned, reporting to Jesus tremendous success. "even the demons submit to us in your name.” Jesus rejoices that the Kingdom of God is starting to establish itself on earth, not to the wise but to the childlike.

Repeatedly, Jesus points to children as examples of the type of person that is most receptive to the Good News.  It seems human wisdom, rather than being an aid, is an obstacle to the conversion of hearts.

The temptation for me to theologise faith to death is something to supress. A childlike heart is desirable for me to attain. Focussing on a pregant girl on a donkey, riding slowly towards Bethlehem seems a simple but profound enough place to start.

Hail Mary, full of grace. Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb...
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, November 29, 2014


The ban will be lifted. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in its place in the city; his servants will worship him, they will see him face to face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. It will never be night again and they will not need lamplight or sunlight, because the Lord God will be shining on them. They will reign for ever and ever.

Saint John's revelation has come to its climatic end. The saints and God are reunited  in the new Jerusalem where the glorious light from God illuminates everything forever. Maranatha!

On this New Year's eve of the Church, we are guided to gaze on the glorious splendor to come. This reminds me of the throat-catching final chapter in The Last Battle, the final book in the Narnian Chronicals. C.S. Lewis beautifully describes the indescribable, where the children can swim up thundering waterfalls, stare into the sun, have telescopic vision, can run so fast it's literally like flying and where the constant, joyful cry is "further up and further in!", until they meet Aslan (Jesus) face to face.

Oh happy longing within me for this day! Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus come!
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Stand up an Lift Your Head

And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand."

Jesus knows that his betrayal is about to happen and his time of ministry is nearing its end. He turns his focus to the eternal, prophesying the destruction of the temple and then the end of time. But in this catastrophic calamity he says to do a strange thing, stand up and lift your head. Why? Because our redemption draws near.

Troubles happen in this life. It comes with having a beating heart and drawing breath. I can't avoid it. How I react to troubles is something I do have control over. Jesus' advice in today's Gospel is directly related to the end of time, sure, but I can see an application to everyday trouble as well.

Having an eternal perspective helps put troubles in right perspective.  That puncture in my bike tyre making me late for work is actually not the end of the world. In two weeks time I'll hardly recall it. Dealing with these "dust of daily battle" situations in this way gives me a more positive outlook on life.

Meanwhile, when the end of time does come, and it will, I will be better prepared to stand up and lift my head.

Lord Jesus, help me develop an eternal perspective by keeping you firmly in my view today, no matter what may happen.
Little Flower please pray for me.

Friday, November 21, 2014

House of Prayer

Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.'" Lk.19:45,46

Jesus has just entered Jerusalem on a donkey and has been hailed as king by the people. As a king should, he has entered his throne room, the temple, only to find it crowded with money lenders and traders. These he drives out with the authority of a king and re-establishes the purpose of the temple. It is a house of prayer.

I love going to Mass at our Hamilton Cathedral. I've heard a priest say that as Catholics, we build what we believe. The very architecture of a church reinforces our faith. For me this happens at the Cathedral. It is set on a hill with a wide welcoming stairway leading up to it from the street. "Come, let us go up to the House of the Lord".  On passing through the foyer the very first sight that I cannot ignore is a huge Icon of Mary. This encourages me to thank Mary for her "yes" to God's plan for my redemption and then to ask her to interceed for me that I may meet her Son in the Mass I am about to attend. To enter the church proper I must pass a huge baptismal font. Here I ceremonially cleans myself before fully entering the House of Prayer. "Lord, wash away my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin." . As I kneel  in the pews I look over the alter of transformation where my life is transformed by the presence of Jesus. Behind the altar I see the price of God's love to achieve this transformation, the death of His Son. To the left of the sanctuary I see then tabernacle where His ressurected presence is contained in body, soul and spirit. 

Oh House of Prayer, you are my place of succour. May I always long to enter your gates.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, November 8, 2014


The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth?

Jesus is teaching again about how to treat money. He highlights how our attitude to even small amounts of wealth reveals how trustworthy we are.

I remember a New Zealand prime minister in the eighties who at the hight of his international fame was having an affair with a woman. I've often recalled this scripture when thinking about that tragedy. How could he be trusted with the affairs of a nation when he couldn't be trusted in his marriage?

Of course, this is a great lesson. I need to be trustworthy in the smallest things to develop a right attitude for all things, great or small.

Getting back to money, Jesus was right. My attitude to money reveals much about my trustworthiness. It's a great litmus test.  I'll watch how I handle money today and take note of what it says.  How should I treat money? With an open hand.

Lord Jesus, You know how tight-fisted I am. Help me be generous and trust worthy in small things so You may entrust me with greater.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Monday, November 3, 2014


Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but for the interests of others.

Saint Paul is writing to the church at Philippi encouraging them in the christian life. Here he addresses the fundamental sin that is the foundation for all sins... vainglory.

Vainglory. It is such an old fashioned sounding word. Yet it describes painfully well the fundamental flaw in human nature, pride. The dictionary defines vainglory as, 'excessive or ostentatious pride especially in one's achievements". Yep, I know exactly what they are talking about.

 I think I've just found something to take to the confessional, that great place which is the antidote to vainglory.

 Lord Jesus, here I am again with my pride painfully before me. Help me be less so I may see more of you in others. Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Rejoice and be Glad!

He began to teach them, saying: 
Blessed are the poor in spirit, 
Blessed are they who mourn,  
Blessed are the meek, 
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 
Blessed are the merciful, 
Blessed are the clean of heart, 
Blessed are the peacemakers, 
Blessed are they who are persecuted, 
Blessed are you when they insult you, 
...Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Jesus begins his great sermon on the mount listing nine conditions that the world considers hardships but what he redefines as causes for rejoicing.

When I am firmly in Christ nothing can take my joy away! What a great way to live out today!

LordJesus.You are my joy and hope today. Help me pass this on to all I meet today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Recline at Table

And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God. For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.

The disciples have asked Jesus who will be saved? Jesus replies that the entrance to heaven is narrow and difficult but the invitation is open to everyone. .

I am from the people of the south, so this is good news for me. I have an invitation, but the path is difficult and the gate narrow. But oh what a destination! To recline at table in the kingdom of God. This is a life- purpose worth fighting for... today.

Lord Jesus, some days I am weak and faint. Give me food for the journey that I may recline at table with you
Little Flower please pray for me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Love Joy Peace

In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness,
gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Saint Paul is exhorting the Glacian church on what the Christian life looks like. The life of self centered lust, gluttony and strife is contrasted starkly by the life full of fruits of the spirit.

Love, Joy, Peace. These have always been the desire of man's heart, even when pursuing a life of gluttony and violence. Nothing has changed in two thousand years. The key to obtaining these things is the Holy Spirit.
Days, weeks can pass for me without my conscious invitation of the Holy spirit into my life. Right now, this morning I invite Him to come.

Come Holy Spirit, fall afresh on me.
Fill me with your power, satisfy my need.
Only you can make me whole
Give me strength and make me grow
Come Holy Spirit, fall afresh on me.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Mere Children

It was then that, filled with joy by the Holy Spirit, he said, ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do. 

The seventy-two disciples have just returned from their first mission trip and it has been successful beyond their wildest dreams.  Their joy is shared by Jesus who rejoices that the wisdom of the ages has been given to the simple.

There is a program on Radio Rhema called "Let my people Think".  The preacher, Ravi Zacharias, gives well researched, solid Bible teaching and it's a great listen.  But today I'm reminded there is a danger of my thinking too much, a danger of thinking myself out of my faith.

My needing to understand everything withheld for years my acceptance of Jesus as Lord.  It wasn't until I took that step of faith in Him that I finally understood. Yes, there is a need to know what I know, but this knowledge is gained through a childlike simplicity, It's not meant o be hard, thank God.

Lord Jesus, mere children seem to always be close to You.  Help me be child-like in my faith in You.
Little Flower, you who modeled yourself on the child Jesus, pray for me.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Become Little

So he called a little child to him and set the child in front of them. Then he said, ‘I tell you solemnly, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. And so, the one who makes himself as little as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

The disciples still haven't got what Jesus means when he talks about the kingdom of heaven, as shown by their question on "greatness". To make it plainly clear, Jesus embraces a child and says this is who is great in my Father's kingdom.

I have recently got back into being a leader in Children's Liturgy in our parish. My own children are now adults, but today's gospel has resonated with me for some time, leading me back to this ministry that I haven't been involved in for many years. 

There is a call for me to be more child-like, not childish, but child-like and the children of the parish are the best examples. Their openness, uncomplicated faith, joy and spontaneous enthusiasm is a role model for me... today.

Jesus, I sometimes forget what true greatness really is in your eyes. Help me step over my own pride and make myself little like a little child.
Little Flower, who became expert in becoming small, pray for me.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Shortness of Life

Make us know the shortness of our life
  that we may gain wisdom of heart.

Psalm 89 is a sub-titled "The Prayer of Moses". Here Moses turns away from the clamour and seduction of the world and refocuses God, the creator of all things.

I imagine Moses out in the desert on a cold night all by himself, looking up at the stars and encountering God. I've experienced that and it's in those moments that I feel very small and God seems very big. It's all about perspective.

In the past week we've received worrying news of a nephew in London who has just been diagnosed with bowel cancer. He is a young man in his early thirties and the idea he is staring at his own mortality is shocking. Today's Psalm from Moses has something to say about this. It's seems that knowing our mortality is a source of wisdom. It put things in right perspective. God is God and I am the dust of His creation. 

Dust yes, but dust formed in love. When I accept this true state of things it gives me peace. All is well with my soul...

Thank you Father for giving me life and ensuring its fullness by sending Your Son. 
Little Flower, who stared at your own mortality at such a tender age, pray for us.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Prime Time

He said to them in reply, "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it."

Jesus is drawing in massive crowds and his family are getting concerned. Like everyone else, they're not sure what is happening. Like the great teacher that he is, Jesus uses their arrival to make point. Who is m my family? Why, everyone who hears the word of God and acts on it of course.

Daily reading of the Bible sounds like an easy thing but I find it so hard to do. Making that prime time regularly available is a discipline that I don't always succeed in keeping. Today Jesus is giving me motivation. Read the Bible, act on what I read and become part of His family, even on an equal footing with his mother!

Jesus, you know the struggles I have to make time for you. Help me set side time to hear your word, have courage to act on it and then enjoy your fellowship.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Infinitely Loved

So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little."

Jesus is dining at a Pharisee's house when a "sinful woman" worships him with ointment and tears. Jesus defends her by saying her greatly demonstrated love shows she has been greatly forgiven.

This is Good News indeed! The worlds opinion of my worth doesn't matter. Even my own opinion of myself, when I beat up on myself doesn't matter. Jesus' opinion does. And His opinion is that I am infinitely loveable and infinitely loved. I think I'll go to Mass today and bask in that love.

Thank you Jesus for loving me. Help me be an agent of Your. love today.
little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A More Excellent Way

Brothers and sisters: Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts. But I shall show you a still more excellent way.

1 Cor. 12:31

Saint Paul is writing to the fledgling church in Corinth. He sums up the ideal Christian life into one word... Love. The most excellent way.

We are approaching election day in New Zealand. The last five weeks of electioneering has been outstanding in its lack of charity. This reminds me that the enforcing of external law (politics) will never change a man's heart. But love will.

Today seems like a good day to start work on the more excellent way.

Lord Jesus, You are love. Help me be a greater lover today.
Saint Paul, please pray for me.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Fool for God

We are fools on Christ's account, but you are wise in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are held in honor, but we in disrepute.

Saint Paul is writing to the Corinthians, admonishing them for their self aggrandisement in their Christian life.  His role model for them to follow is being a fool for Christ.

Saint Francis is known to have called is band of brothers " Le Jongleur de Dieu", loosely translated as "Fools for God". This infers walking away from any pretense of self-proclaimed wisdom and proclaiming a simple, child-like faith.

Puffed up piety is always a temptation for me. Perhaps today is a day to work on relaxing a little, laughing more and being a fool for God.

Lord Jesus, help me to stop working so hard on being pious and relax more in your presence.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Spirit of the Lord has been given Me

The spirit of the Lord has been given to me,
for he has anointed me.
He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor,
to proclaim liberty to captives
and to the blind new sight,
to set the downtrodden free,
to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.

Jesus enters the synagogue of his boyhood town and is given the scroll from which to read scripture,  He chooses  Isaiah 61, "The spirit of the Lord has been given to me...". The elders are both astounded at his wisdom and then incredulous of his claims.

In today's Gospel Jesus sets the mission statement for his ministry, and for mine. The spirit of the Lord has been given to me. I have been anointed in baptism. Why?  To bring Good News, to set free, to give new (in)sight, to show mercy and to proclaim.

This will make some people amazed and others incredulous at my claims. Well, I'm in good company then aren't I?  Jesus suffered no less and he is my role model... today.

Lord Jesus, marching to your drum makes me out-of-sync with the march of the world. I get afraid that I may be thrown off a cliff. Assure me of your companionship, that you are marching right along beside me today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

 Come, share your master's joy

He said, 'Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.'
His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master's joy.'
Mt. 25:20,21

Jesus is telling the parable of the talents. Servants are reporting to their master on what returns from his possessions they have gained for him in his absence. Some have made gains and are exalted. One has made nothing and is condemned. 
This is one of those probing parables that always makes me stop and think. Like everyone, I have some abilities, some talents. It's not a question of what have I done with them. What am I doing with them, now?  Would I, if called to account today, share in Jesus my master's joy? 

Lord Jesus, I want to be called to share in your joy. Help me to be selfless in using the talents that I have been entrusted.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Less is More

The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted."

Jesus is instructing the crowds, warning against pride as shown by the Pharisees. The antidote to pride, says Jesus, is humility.
I've heard a priest say he suspects some of his parishioners who regularly sit at the back of the church do it out of false humility, thinking that this show of piety will some how earn the greatness that Jesus is talking about.
As someone who regularly sits at the front of the church, I'm pleased to hear that seating position doesn't automatically rank you in order of greatness. It's an interior attitude that has greater sway.
It seems the saints have this genuine humility. For many, if not all, humility only came after a great struggle with pride. I'm thinking of Saint Augustine for one. On this point the saints and I have something in common.
Today, let servant hood be my attitude.

Lord Jesus, you know my struggle with pride. Give me a servant heart that I may be great in your Kingdom.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, August 8, 2014


So I will bless you all my life,
in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul shall be filled as with a banquet,
my mouth shall praise you with joy.

Today is the Feast day of Saint Mary Macmillan. The Church has chosen Psalm 63 as the response, a Psalm focusing on joy.

Saint Mary Mackillop often didn't live in very joyful circumstances, experiencing physical hardship as well as the pain of excommunication. Yet joy is her hallmark.

I like being around joyful people. I suspect I would have enjoyed Mary Mackillop's company. I find joyful people are the most effective witness to the Gospel. As our pope has said, if we have the joy of the Lord then we need to tell our faces about it.

Let joy be my hallmark today.

Lord Jesus fill me with the joy that comes from knowing you.
Saint Mary Mackillop, please pray for me.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him."
Mt. 17:5

Peter, James and John see Jesus transfigured into his true glory. The transfiguration is authenticated by God himself and the disciples fall in fear.

Familiarity with this story can blunt it's true meaning. When I place myself in the scene I get a thrill in my bones. It's like a glimpse of heaven, of what is to come. I suspect when I meet Jesus face to face I will fall on my face like Peter James and John.

To lessen the shock of that first time encounter perhaps I better start listening to him.

Jesus, I really don't have a clue about you glory and majesty. Have mercy on me, a Stumbling Follower.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Gift

Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house." 
And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith.
Mt. 13:57,58

Jesus has just taught in the synagogue of his home town. His neighbours scoff at him and dismiss his teaching. Their familiarity blinds them to who he truly is and they lack faith. Sadly, their lack of faith denies them from the very thing that would build their faith, that is, Jesus' miracles.

An essential part of our faith is, well, ... is faith. I remember trying to understand everything about the Christian Faith. If could I could nail it down and define everything to my satisfaction, then I would convert and believe. I didn't realise I was engaged in the futile exercise of trying to fit God into my puny understanding of who God should be. I was locked in that place for years until I reached the point where I gave up and let God be God.  What a relief and joy to be able to stop struggling and just believe.

My faith in Jesus is such a precious gift. Today I will live with gratitude for this gift, ... and look out for miracles.

Thank you Jesus for my gift of faith in you. Help me witness this faith in my day and be the Herald of your miracles.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. 
Whoever has ears ought to hear." 

Jesus is preaching to the crowds and he teaches using parables, that is, stories with a point. Here he is telling the famous parable of the sower and the seed. The point of the story? What's my soil like?

In this parable all the ground, irrespective of its condition, gets given seed. It's the condition of the soil that determines the size of the crop.

I'm reminded of a conversation I had yesterday with a friend who was concerned about his young son's fledgling faith. Would he grow up to be a strong man of faith or would the lure of the world choke that faith in him? The analogy to today's Gospel is clear. What's the condition of the "soil" of the family home? It's is the role of the Dad to make sure the home - soil is rich and clear of weeds.

This is a timely reminder for me to keep ensuring that our home remains a sanctuary for my family, a place where God's Word finds rich soil. I only have one go at this.

Jesus, help me be a good "tiller of the soil" of my home that your Word may yield a mighty harvest in my family.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


You do see, for you behold misery and sorrow, 
taking them in your hands. 
On you the unfortunate man depends; 
of the fatherless you are the helper.
Ps. 10:14

The Psalmist laments on the apparent victory of evil doers but finishes by a statement of faith; On God we depend.  He helps the fatherless.

Yesterday I attended the Requiem of a good man who died after a year long battle with cancer. He leaves a widow and seven children. I was helped to see this apparent tragedy in the right way by the beauty of the Requiem Mass.

The Church puts on Her most beautiful face at a Nuptial Mass and at Requiems. Yesterday She was radiant. Death lost its sting as we were led to lift or eyes from the casket to the horizon of heaven. I was given hope for my own immortality and left the service feeling so glad I am a Catholic.

Thank you Jesus for the gift of Your Church. I recommend the soul of Peter to Your mercy.
Little Flower, please pray for us.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Greater

I say to you, something greater than the temple is here. If you knew what this meant, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned these innocent men. For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath."
Mt. 12:6_8

The Pharisees have accused Jesus' disciples of breaking the law by them picking grain to assuage their hunger on the Sabbath. Jesus defends his followers by saying something bigger than the law makes their action innocent.

I'm so glad there is something bigger than the law. Last Sunday I received a work call out to resolve a problem on a marine distress radio channel in  the Bay of Plenty. A safety of life service was at risk while this problem remained unresolved.  Of course, I responded to the call.

Now, I'm a firm believer in Sunday being a day of rest. But there are times when a greater law comes into effect and last Sunday was such a time. Jesus says he desires mercy not sacrifice.

The law can be very seductive. I need to check my motivation. If mercy and love aren't the drivers then it's time for me to look for the higher law.

Thank you Jesus that you are the Lord over all the law. Help me always keep my eyes on you.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Rest for my Soul

Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.
Mt. 11:28

Jesus is addressing the crowds, giving a message for all to hear, not just his disciples.  He sees tired people, people exhausted and he offers them what they are all longing for,

This offer from Jesus is almost too good to be true. Rest. That freedom from striving, from having to be the source of all things is on offer. Jesus is telling me to stop, turn to him, put my hand in his and rest.

Thank you Jesus for your easy yoke. I accept your offer.
Little Flower please pray for me.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented.


Jesus is rebuking the towns where His authority has been displayed for all to see but no change of heart has taken place. How could He tell? There was no sign of repentance.

The opposite of repentance is pride. I've heard a wise priest say that behind every sin, every sin, is pride. It was pride that led to Lucifer's fall. It was to Eve's pride that Satan appealed (you shall be like God).

Pride, believing my needs are greater, is behind my every sin of lust, greed and judgementalism. What's the antidote to this fatal disease in me? Repentance. It's time I went to confession.

Lord Jesus, have mercy on me a sinner.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

New Wine

People do not put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved." 

Mt. 9:17

John's disciples ask Jesus what appears to be a fair question. We fast. Your followers don't. Why? Jesus knows they have no malice, just a genuine quest for understanding. So He gives a straightforward reply. New wine, new wineskins.

The wine of the Old Testament wasn't being replaced with something different, just with something new. It was still wine, but a fresh wine.

I want to be open to new ways of living the same Gospel lifestyle. New ways of being good news to people. As my darling wife says, not being boring.

Jesus, you are expert at turning common water into the best of new wine. Make my life a new wine for others today.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Dirtbag full of Gold

While he was at table in his (Matthew's) house,
many tax collectors and sinners came
and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,

“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

Jesus has just called Matthew the tax collector to be a disciple. A spontaneous party seems to erupt with all of Matthew's no-good friends turning up. The affront of sinners mingling with saints is too much for the Pharisees, but not for Jesus.

This is one of those great stories that displays the focus of Jesus' mission. He came for dirtbags like me. When I'm tempted to judge someone, this is a good thing to remember.

Jesus, thankyou for seeing gold in amongst my mirey day. Help me see others as you do.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Things of the Heart

Away with your noisy songs! I will not listen to the melodies of your harps. But if you would offer me holocausts, 
then let justice surge like water, and goodness like an unfailing stream. 
Amos 5: 23,24

Hypocrisy: The practice of claiming to have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case.
The prophet Amos is highlighting the hypocrisy of loud, showy worship. Things of the heart such as justice and goodness are what pleases God.

It's always tempting to end up pleasing the crowd rather than pleasing God. The call of the flesh is powerful. But, in my experience, there's no peace or joy in it. But good things done in private, where the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing, are true worship to God. And consequently, that is where joy and peace are found.

Lord Jesus, help me grow in things of the heart, that I may always please you.
Little flower, perfecter of things of the heart, please pray for me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Memorial of Saint Barnabas, Apostle

They sent Barnabas to go to Antioch.
When he arrived and saw the grace of God,
he rejoiced and encouraged them all
to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart,
for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith.
Acts 11:22-24

News of something big happening in Antioch reaches the Church in Jerusalem. They send Barnabas to check it out. He immediately recognises a genuine move of God and encourages the local church. Scripture seems to say this is a natural response from a man who is good and filled with the Holy Spirit and faith.

Earlier, scripture records that the Apostles had named Barnabas "Son of Encouragement" (Acts 4:36) and today's reading proves this was for good reason. Barnabas would have been one of those guys that every team needs, a cheerful Charlie who is the first to see good and encourage it. Would people call me a Son of Encouragement?. I am very quick to criticise, not so quick to encourage. This is a virtue I can work on, today.

Lord Jesus, You are always the first to overlook fault and seek out virtue in a person. Help me do the same.
Saint Barnabas please pray for me.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Grief becomes Joy

“Are you discussing with one another what I said,
‘A little while and you will not see me,
and again a little while and you will see me’?
Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices;
you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”

The disciples are still wrestling with what Jesus is telling them about His imminent death and what it will mean. Jesus spells it out; "You will weep, but your grief will become joy".

Grief becoming joy. This sums up the human condition.  We live in a fallen world that, by definition, involves grief. There is sickness, pain and evil that we have to live with. But Alleluia! That is not the end of our story! After the crucifixion comes the resurrection. After Lent comes Easter.

On my down-days, when my world's fallen-ness overwhelms me, I need to lift up my head and focus on the resurrection.  When I do this my grief becomes joy. Jesus promised it so I believe and claim it.

Thank you Jesus that your dieing and rising means joy can be mine today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Do it Anyway

I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’
What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you.
Acts 17:23

Paul stands up and preaches to the Areopagus, the Greek Council. He gains their attention by starting with an acknowledgement of what the Greeks already had, a shrine to an unknown God. This foothold lets him get to his main point, Jesus.

Saint Paul was a brilliant public speaker. This event in the Areopagus is a great example of his genius. But even here most people rejected his message. Some just laughed at the idea of resurrection. Some wanted their ears tickled (entertained) further, "at some other time". But some heard what he was saying and believed.

Things have not changed in two thousand years. However, Saint Paul is a wonderful role model even for today. He kept on preaching the Good News just for those few who listened and believed.

Some will laugh at my faith in Jesus . Some will find my faith entertaining. But some will listen and believe.

Lord Jesus, give me the courage to keep witnessing for You.
Saint Paul, please pray for me.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Friend of God

The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, "Get up and head south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route." So he got up and set out.
Acts.8: 26.27

Persecution has broken out in Jerusalem and the believers have scattered, Philip amongst them. But instead of scattering in silent terror they burst out of Jerusalem in fervent joy. Philip is so full of God that he hears angels and instantly obeys them.

This incident of Philip's reminds me of Joseph, another man so close to God that he hears angels and unquestioningly obeys.

There's a Song by Kevin Prosche with the phrase, "Oh to be the friend of God". Philip and Joseph were friends of God and God used them powerfully. I want to have that intimacy with God. This morning's prayer time has been absent for a while. Perhaps it's a good place for friendship to start.

Jesus, thank you for being loyal while I have lazy. IR each out to be Your friend again.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Gold Beneath the Clay

Observing the boldness of Peter and John
and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men,
the leaders, elders, and scribes were amazed,
Acts 4:13

Peter and John have just performed a very public miracle in the name of Jesus, earning praise and wonder from the people and anger and consternation from the Jewish leaders. The very ordinariness of the disciples was the greatest mystery for them.

Outward appearance can have the greatest impact on how I perceive people. I know this is wrong yet it is my first natural reaction. Jesus saw past Peter and John's common roughness, seeing gold beneath the miry clay. There is a skill in not judging on appearances. I need to hone up on it.

Lord Jesus, I know that the part of me you love is my inner self. Help me see others in the same light.
Little Flower please pray for me.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Small is Great

for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.
Luke 18:14

Jesus has just told the parable of the proud Pharisee and the humble tax collector to a group described as "convinced of their own righteousness".  The boast of the Pharisee is ignored while the heart wrenching confession of the tax collector is heard by God.

I've recently heard a priest say that all sin, all sin, can be traced back to pride. Going by my own experience, I would agree. It seems pride distances me from God while humility draws me nearer to Him.  The same priest commented that it must be hard for gifted people as the greater the gift, the greater the temptation to think its all my doing. 

Humility is a wonderful virtue for me to focus on today.  In truth I am the least.

Jesus, you know how easily pride takes hold of me. Help me be humble to all men that I may appear great to you.
Little Flower, please pray for me.


This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
Ps. 118:24.

Today's psalm gives thanks. Why? Because the rejected stone, Jesus, has become the cornerstone. This day, Friday in the Octave of Easter, ANZAC Day, and every other day is a day for rejoicing.

The joy of the great Paschal Mystery is the fragrance that stays with me today. Alleluia!

Thank you Jesus that You are the source of my joy, today and every other day.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Power in the Name

And by faith in his name, this man, whom you see and know, his name has made strong, and the faith that comes through it has given him this perfect health, in the presence of all of you.

Peter and John have just prayed for and obtained the healing of a crippled man at the entrance to the temple. People mob them but Peter is quick to give credit where it is due, to the name of Jesus.

Last night we had just finished family prayer time when we received the sort of phone call that you never want to receive. Our baby grandson had suddenly become ill and our daughter and son-in-law were frantic. We immediately went back to prayer, calling on the name of Jesus.

My wife went to meet them at the hospital. It's now morning and she hasn't yet returned. It's tempting to let anxiety take over and spin out. But I keep coming back to the resurrected Jesus and calling on His healing and peace. To whom else can we turn?

Be healed, our precious baby, in the mighty name of Jesus.
Little Flower, please pray for us.

Friday, April 18, 2014

This Death that Kills Death.

An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true;
he knows that he is speaking the truth,
so that you also may come to believe.
Jn. 19:35

John is narrating every painful detail of Jesus' torturous death. why? So We may come to believe.

People who figure these things out have calculated that, on average, 40% of the gospels focus on the last week of Jesus' life. In John the percentage is even higher. Why is so much attention and detail given to the betrayal, the humiliation, the torture, essentially what appears to be a catastrophic failure of Jesus' ministry?

Firstly, it convinces me of  the authenticity of the gospels. No human religion Would place SO much emphasis on so great a failure.

Secondly, it tells me Jesus' passion and death is important. It's what it's all about. Without Jesus' death my sins are left with me. Without the resurrection I have no hope of heaven being my home.

As Saint Augustine said, "What is this death that kills death?"
A question for me to ponder today.

Thank you Jesus for dieing that I may live.
Saint John the witness please pray for me.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The children

Thus says the Lord GOD:
I will take the children of Israel from among the nations
to which they have come,
and gather them from all sides to bring them back to their land.
ez 37:21

In today's first reading the prophet Ezekiel foretells of a wonderful time when the children of Israel will return home to a place of peace and blessing.

My fourteen year old daughter is on a weekend Catholic youth camp this weekend. As I read Ezekiel's prophesy I can't help but think of her and her friends and claim that prophesy for them.

Lord Jesus, You know the battle there is for the minds and hearts of our young people. Touch them I pray so they come to know and love You.
Little Flower, please pray for us.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Love Triumphs over Judgement

Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel...
So the LORD relented in the punishment he had threatened to inflict on his people. 

In the absence of Moses, the Hebrews have lost faith in God and made themselves a golden calf to worship.  God's anger blazes up, threatening to exterminate the rebellious people. However, Moses interceeds for his people, God listens and relents.

If ever there was an example of the power of intercession in the Bible, this is it. With God there is love and there is judgement.  They are sides of the same coin.  The judgement of God was about to fall on the rebellious Hebrew people.  But Moses appealed to the other side of God's nature, to His love, and love won out.

I belong to a weekly men's prayer group that meets each Monday morning before work.  If there is one thing that we do it is to intercede in prayer for our brothers in faith, our families and for the Church.  We ask that Gods mercy will triumph over judgement.  This scripture for Exodus is a great encouragement for intercession.  It can move God's hand.

Father in Heaven, thank you for your love as shown in your Son Jesus Christ.  Lord, in His precious name I rely, that your love for me and my household may always triumph over judgement. 

Little Flower, please pray for us.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Great Friend

 ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’ Jesus said to them in reply, ‘It is not those who are well who need the doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the virtuous, but sinners to repentance.’

Matthew has just responded to Jesus' call to follow Him.  To honour Jesus Matthew holds a banquet, inviting all his friends who happen to be at the bottom end of the scale of piety.  Jesus defends Matthew's choice of guests, even adding that they are the very ones He wants to eat with.

When I imagine this scene I see myself as one of Matthew's friends.  A friend yes, but a friend with a limp, a friend in need of a doctor. I think I would like Matthew and be intrigued by his new-found joy.  Matthew doesn't care that his friends aren't perfect.  Having witnessed the holy virtue of Jesus, Matthew would be very aware of his friends imperfections, but he doesn't care.  He invites them anyway.  Why?  Because he recognises in Jesus the antidote to imperfection, to sin, and he wants his friends to have that antidote.  What a great friend!

Do I have that joyful zeal to share what I have found in Jesus with my friends?

Lord Jesus, thank you that You came for the sick, that You came for me.  Help me invite others how are also limping through life to come and meet You.  Even better, to come and eat with You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Power of Your Love

As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him.
They scurried about the surrounding country 
and began to bring in the sick on mats
to wherever they heard he was.

Jesus is at the height of His public ministry.  He has just fed the five thousand and walked on water.  People are seeing Him as the miracle man of God and flock to Him for healing.

I often wonder why there isn't the "scurrying about" to bring the sick into the Church today.  Perhaps there is not the same level of faith and expectation that there was in Palestine two thousand years ago. There is certainly still the same need. Our hospitals are full of sick and dieing. Maybe the point of Jesus' healing ministry is being missed. He healed out of love and compassion but that was not his ultimate point. Or maybe it was.  To show the love and compassion of God.

In my own way I can bring healing.  Maybe not physical, but would still pray for that.  Maybe I can bring the healing of spirit that can come with love and compassion. 

Lord Jesus, help me give love and compassion to those I meet today, that You may be glorified.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

More Faith, Less Fear

And he woke up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Quiet now! Be calm!’ And the wind dropped, and all was calm again. Then he said to them, ‘Why are you so frightened? How is it that you have no faith?’

Jesus and His disciples have taken to a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee when a storm rises up.  While the storm threatens to overwhelm them, the disciples in fear awake Jesus who is sleeping in the stern of the boat. Jesus rebukes the storm, which immediately subsides to the awe of the disciples.  Jesus then reproaches the disciples for their lack of faith.

There is an inference from Jesus here that the disciples could have rebuked and calmed the storm themselves, if they had enough faith in Him, the creator of the wind and waves.  I need to remember, whenever fear starts to choke me, that there is nothing that Jesus does not have supreme power over. I can trust in Him, no matter what the circumstance may be.  Jesus is the antidote to fear.

Lord Jesus, You are co-creator of all.  Help me to always place my trust in You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Courage! It Is I

They had all seen him and were terrified. But he at once spoke to them, and said, ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.’ Then he got into the boat with them, and the wind dropped.

Jesus has walked out onto the lake where the disciples are struggling with a head wind.  Their terror at seeing  Him walking on water is replaced with awe and wonder as He gets into their boat and the storm drops away.

In today's first reading John states, "fear is driven out by perfect love: because to fear is to expect punishment," 1Jn.4:18.  This incident of Jesus walking on water and calming the storm shows perfect love driving out the fear of the disciples.  There are storms in my life that cause me to fear, fear of what others may think, fear of failure, fear of not measuring up.  The antidote?  To invite Perfect Love, that is Jesus, into my life to drive the fear out.

Thank you Jesus that You know me inside out and still love me.  I claim Your perfect love today and say goodbye to fear.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Keep on Looking at Jesus

From that moment Jesus began his preaching with the message, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’

Jesus has just left the desert where He wrestled with Satan and is now starting His public ministry.  Even before He has called His twelve disciples His ministry is drawing huge crowds.  His message is very simple, turn from sin and welcome God's Kingdom.

I recently watched with my daughter the movie version of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.  It struck me again how C S Lewis brilliantly wove the story of Christ into the Narnian Chronicles.  There is a moving scene where Edmund faces Aslan for the first time and confesses his betrayal of his brother and sisters to the White Witch.  Edmund becomes a changed boy.  Aslan says to the others they are not mention Edmund's past, that it has been dealt with.

Oh the power of repentance!   Even the accusations of the Witch have no further effect on Edmund:

“You have a traitor there, Aslan," said the Witch. Of course everyone present knew that she meant Edmund. But Edmund had got past thinking about himself after all he'd been through and after the talk he'd had that morning. He just went on looking at Aslan. It didn't seem to matter what the Witch said.” 

After Confession, whenever Satan tries to re-accuse me, like Edmund I just need to keep my eyes fixed on the one who has taken my guilt away and reinstated my son-ship.

Jesus, thank you that You have taken the stain of my sins on yourself, that You have set me free.  I place my trust in You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.