Thursday, December 31, 2015


Gospel Acclamation
 Alleluia, alleluia! 
The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us. 
He enabled those who accepted him to become the children of God. 

Today's Gospel Acclamation is drawn directly from the Gospel it acclaims, John 1:1-18. The last day of 2015 is acclaimed by a reminder of where the year and all it has held has come from...
In the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Jn.1:1
So what does this mean to us who accept this truth? We become children.

We have two granddaughters staying with us at the moment, Anna (4) and Rosie (2). If ever I needed personification of what it means to be children, they are it. When they are happy, you know it. When they are sad, you know it. When they are frightened, you know it and when they are joyful you know it. Their transparency is refreshing. There is no second guessing.

Their world is very "now". Yesterday, if you can remember it, is history. Tomorrow, if you can conceive it, is a mystery. Today is everything and takes all their attention and energy. As a consequence they get a lot out of their day and they sleep solid at night (most nights).

New Year's Eve is upon us. A time for resolutions. For me? May 2016 by the year a child-like me is born anew.

Jesus,  I accept you for who you truly are, the Word made flesh, God among us, Emmanuel. You have made me a child of God. Alleluia.

Saturday, December 26, 2015


His (the baby Jesus in the manger) heartbeat goes out to the youth (St. Stephen) whom he will one day await with a palm as the first to reach the Father's throne. His little hand points him out to us as an example, as if to say, "See the gold that I expect of you."

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross [Edith Stein] (1891-1942), Carmelite, martyr, co-patron of Europe. Commentary on St. Stephen depicted in the Nativity scene.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Come Radiant Dawn

Gospel Acclamation
 Alleluia, alleluia! 
Come, Radiant Dawn, splendour of eternal light, sun of justice: 
shine on those lost in the darkness of death! 

Today's Gospel is from the prophesy of John the Baptist's father, Zechariah, given while filled with the Holy Spirit. The Gospel Acclamation is taken from this prophesy, focusing on the just-approaching-the-horizon light of God about to be released into the world through the birth of his son Jesus.

This is a powerful analogy for Christmas Eve, the radiant dawn, the splendour of eternal light, about to burst forth over the darkened world. This is a light no darkness can extinguish. Darkness is dispelled forever. Oh glorious mystery! Come Lord Jesus come!

Christmas is coming! Oh come, fullness of light and shine so brightly on me that I may reflect your glory into my world.
Saint Joseph, pray for me.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Share the Joy

The time came for Elizabeth to have her child, and she gave birth to a son; and when her neighbours and relations heard that the Lord had shown her so great a kindness, they shared her joy.

Today's Gospel recounts the birth and naming of John the Baptist. Elizabeth and Zechariah's neighbours and family recognised that God's hand was over this baby's birth. They shared Elizabeth's Joy that the Lord had shown her so great a kindness.

Neighbour's sharing joy. There's more than a little Christmas flavor in this phrase. This time of year is unique in that it is a time I can share a salutation of joy to complete strangers. "Merry Christmas!"  I have yet to have the salutation rebuffed with a "Bah, humbug!" like Scrooge. It is usually responded to with a similar well-wishing.

Today my mission is to be a sharer of joy with those I meet. There is so much to be joyful about, no matter our circumstance.

Lord Jesus, you are the source and giver of joy. May I be your conduit of joy today.
Saint Elizabeth, please pray for me.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Flourishing Justice - Fulsome Peace

Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Psalm 71 Response

Psalm 71 prophesies what the kingdom is to be like under the eternal reign of Christ our King. Two of the hallmarks of that age are flourishing justice and a full, complete peace.

A flourishing justice means injustice is banished, a thing of the past. A fullness of peace means no matter where I turn I will find only peace and peace alone.

Justice and peace. These are the yearning of every human heart. It's promises like this that make me cry out, Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!

Jesus my King. Help me be an agent of justice and peace today, so your kingdom may come, your will be done.
Saint Joseph leading Mary on the donkey, pray for me.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Do it!

‘I tell you solemnly, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you, a pattern of true righteousness, but you did not believe him, and yet the tax collectors and prostitutes did.'

Jesus has just told the parable of the two sons. One said he would do the right thing but didn't. The other initially rebelled but then thought better of it and carried out his father's wishes. Jesus then equates the first son to the chief priests and elders and the second son to the repentant prostitutes and tax collectors. He highlights the importance of doing over just saying.

This is good news for me. Jesus is telling me my past sins are powerless over my future destination when I do the right thing. And what is the right thing? The role models Jesus holds up are the prostitutes and tax collectors who heard John the Baptist's message and repented. Advent is a good time to repent.  It's time I went to Confession...

Thank you Jesus that you set me free from my past mistakes and draw me further up and further in to my true home, the Kingdom of God with you.
Saint Joseph leading Mary on a donkey, please pray for me.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Give God the Glory

I will give you glory, O God my king, I will bless your name for ever. How good is the Lord to all, compassionate to all his creatures.

King David writes a song of praise and blessing, exulting how God is good and compassionate to all.

I'm mindful of my nephew, struggling with what looks to be a loosing battle with cancer. When I read scripture such as that above, praising God for his goodness and kindness to everyone, I have to remember that what appears a disaster to me must look very different to God. His view is eternal and I simply cannot imagine with any accuracy how that appears.

So, I reread the above psalm of praise and trust God again. Then that wonderful exchange happens. My anxieties are replaced with peace, a peace beyond understanding and I give God the glory.

Father in Heaven, you are so kind and compassionate. Let your mercy reign over Brooke's life. Give Mary and Chris your peace beyond understanding. In your son Jesus' name, Amen.
Mary, Mother of Jesus, Mother of us all, pray for us.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


Gospel Acclamation
Alleluia, alleluia! 
The Lord is coming to save his people: 
happy are those prepared to meet him. 

Today's Gospel Acclamation taken from the prophet Isaiah has a strong Advent ring to it. The Lord is coming to save. Be prepared. Cry out for joy!

For me, this is the time of year to focus on Mary, riding on a donkey with my Lord and Savior in her womb. She is the model of expectancy, preparedness, building joy.  She is led at walking pace by Joseph, the model of true manhood, protecting, cherishing and providing for his bride. This slow progression through the desert leads inexorably to Bethlehem, to the time and place where Jesus is to be born and God's salvation plan kicks into place.

This is great enough, but as I contemplate, my focus shifts back to today's Acclamation. He is coming again, to save me! Like Mary, inside me builds up an expectancy, preparedness and building joy. Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus come!

Lord Jesus, I so look forward to you coming again. Help me be prepared to meet you on that wonderful day.
Mary, Mother of God, my Mother, please pray for me.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

A Doer of the Word

‘Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock.

Jesus has just warned about true and false disciples. He then continues with the parable of wise and foolish builders. The true and wise disciple builds on the rock.

It seems everyone builds. We're all about doing something, attaining something, building something. And it also seems we all experience storms in life. No one is exempt from that. The difference is in the foundation. Is it sand or rock?

The foundation test Jesus sets before me is not do I listen to him but do I listen and act? It's in the action that wisdom lies, that the rock can be found. I need to be not just a listening Christian but a doing Christian.

Lord Jesus. It's so easy just to listen to you. To act involves effort and risk. Help me out of my lethargy and become a doer for you.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Integrity and Faithfulness

Integrity is the loincloth round his waist, faithfulness the belt about his hips.

Isaiah prophesies the coming of Jesus, the branch from Jesse. He is to be powerful and wise, defending the weak and passing judgement on the wicked. Integrity is his loin cloth, faithfulness his belt.

Integrity is defined as "the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles." I find it interesting that Jesus' loins and hips are covered in this way. The loins can be the area of the flesh that is most dishonest, immoral and unfaithful. If Jesus is the model of the perfect man, and he is, then he offers the antidote to this war of the flesh. Integrity and faithfulness, graces from him to those who follow him, graces for me today.

Lord Jesus, defend me in my weakness. I ask for the graces of integrity and faithfulness today that I may become more like you in every way.
Mary, riding on a donkey, pray for me.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Guard over my Mouth

Keep this carefully in mind: you are not to prepare your defense, because I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict.

Jesus knows his time of passion is near and is giving final instructions to his disciples. He instructs them not to concern themselves about preparing great arguments in their own defense. Eloquence and wisdom will be given to them from him.

I have a motor-mouth problem. I speak too much and listen too little. It gets me into trouble at times. An avalanche of words is not a sign of eloquence and wisdom. I need to trust that Jesus will give me the words to say and the prompt for when to say them. Until then, I listen...

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Stay Calm

‘Take care not to be deceived,’ he said ‘because many will come using my name and saying, “I am he” and, “The time is near at hand.” Refuse to join them. And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened, for this is something that must happen but the end is not so soon.’

Jesus has just prophesied the destruction of the temple. Understandably, the apostles want to know when is this to happen. Jesus' advice is to stay calm. Yes, the end of time will happen and it will be obvious but we're not to be spooked by it.

 As the end of the Church's year draws near she calls us to focus on that other inevitable end, the end of time.  There's a wisdom in this. When I acknowledge that all of creation is one day going to finish, my own earthly mortality is not such a scary thing. I am reminded that God has this all in hand. He is the Creator so all of creation is under his control, including me. What a relief.

Thank you Father, God of all creation, that you have a plan and that plan includes me. Give me faith Lord to trust in you when calamity seems to have the upper hand. Help me have your eternal vision and stay calm that I may pass on that calm to others.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Death, Where is your Victory?

Alleluia, alleluia! 
Our Saviour Jesus Christ has done away with death and brought us life through his gospel. Alleluia!

Today's Gospel Acclamation is taken from Saint Paul's second letter to Timothy. It describes the grace, the free gift, that is given to us by Jesus. And what is that? The defeat of death and in its place, eternal life.

Death has taken the headlines this past week. France is still in grief over the Paris slayings Friday week ago. Reports are just coming in of a similar attack at a hotel in Mali. Paul's words fly in the face of such news. This Gospel, this Good News, is what robs the terrorist attacks of any victory. We know that earthly death is not the end of our story. There is much more, oh so much more, so our hope and joy remain intact.

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

Today is a good day for me to be the bearer of this Good News. And with this Gospel quickly follows the fragrance of Joy and Hope. Alleluia!

Thank you Jesus for the the free gift of victory over death by your promise of eternal life. I claim that promise my myself and my family today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Give Thanks

‘Were not all ten made clean? The other nine, where are they? It seems that no one has come back to give praise to God, except this foreigner.’ And he said to the man, ‘Stand up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you.’

Jesus has just healed ten lepers of their affliction. One, finding himself cured, turns back praising God at the top of his voice and throws himself at Jesus' feet thanking him.

People who have an "attitude of gratitude" are good to hang around.  They have no false pride, they are joyful and they know God for who he really is.

I've just come off a Men Alive weekend retreat. At the end of the two days there was time for men to stand up and give a testimony on what has happened for them over the previous two days. This was a very moving time as man after man came up to the microphone and shared what the goodness of God had just done in their lives. Boy, were they thankful and boy, were they joyful!

I am so blessed by my wife, my children and now my grandchildren. I have health, a job, I live in the most beautiful land on the planet. I have experienced my God alive in my life and I'm free to worship him.  The list goes on and on...  Today I am a man who is thankful to God. Let that be my hallmark.

Lord Jesus, I have been no-less cured than the leper who returned to praise you. Thank you Lord for what have done and are doing in my life. I love you Lord.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, November 5, 2015


The life and death of each of us has its influence on others; if we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord, so that alive or dead we belong to the Lord.

Saint Paul is encouraging the Roman Church to live in harmony and peace with each other, accepting, not judging each others "funny ways". The source of their unity is Jesus. When they are strong on that, all other differences melt away.

I like to remind myself that the parish I belong to is full of odd-balls, which is why I feel so at home there. We are so very different in so many ways but Jesus is the one who calls us together week after week, month after month, year after year. Our unity, and we are a unified parish, is in Jesus.

My living or dieing has its influence on others in my parish, in my family, for better or for worse. When I live for Jesus it follows that I will die for Jesus and then, only then, will my influence be good. I can start living that way today.

Lord Jesus, you have placed me in this time, this place, among this people. Help me influence others for you.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Small Daily Deaths

If any man comes to me without hating his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, he cannot be my disciple. Anyone who does not carry his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

Jesus turns to the large crowd that is following him and stuns them with a challenge... drop everything that hinders you and then, only then, come follow me.

It seems as though Jesus waned to put and end to the populist movement that was growing about him. People were following the miracle man, wanting to be fed, wanting to be entertained, wanting to be wowed by the next trick.

These were no reasons for following him. Even following Jesus for relief of a a burden, a cross, is not reason enough. Following Jesus involves a far greater conversion, a surrendering of everything, no, a "dieing " to everything that hinders.

Sometimes being Catholic for me can be a cosy convention, replacing an intimate relationship with Jesus. I can forget there is a cost to following him. But oh, what great joy when I do surrender all to him. Even surrendering this time now to him is a small death. Perhaps that's the secret. Small daily deaths of me to gain great life in him.

Jesus, I again surrender myself and place my trust in you. I lay down the god of "me" and pick up my life in you.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Welcome to the Family

You are no longer aliens or foreign visitors: you are citizens like all the saints, and part of God’s household. You are part of a building that has the apostles and prophets for its foundations, and Christ Jesus himself for its main cornerstone.

Saint Paul describes how Jesus is central to the Christian's life, changing our very identity. We are no longer aliens but part of the family of God.

I heard in the news yesterday that a man "fell" from a local car park building and was killed. It's a site where suicides have happened before and this tragedy sounds similar. Loneliness is a terrible and most feared thing. Jesus extends an wonderful alternative; participation in the family of God.

I'm on the steering team for an up-coming men's event. One of the good signs that we are heading in the right direction is when we start seeing guys who are in the margins coming along. When those men who don't quite fit in the world feel welcomed and accepted, we know we're on track.

What a wonderful way to step out into my day, knowing I'm a citizen among saints, that I have family, that I'm not alone.

Jesus, thank you for the family you invite me into today. Help me welcome others into your household.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Monday, October 26, 2015

An Advocate

When he said this, all his adversaries were covered with confusion, and all the people were overjoyed at all the wonders he worked.

Jesus has just healed a woman made cripple by an evil spirit. The Jewish leader scolds the people for seeking healing on the Sabbath. Jesus exposes his hypocrisy, causing confusing in him and over-flowing joy in the people.

Jesus is for the common people. He is their advocate, as displayed in today's Gospel. He places people's needs at the top and religious laws at the bottom.  The power pyramid is turned upside down. The result? Confusion in those seeking power and control. Joy in the people.

I imitate Jesus whenever I bat for the least, the lost, the lowly.  That can be my children and grand children today. Then, maybe, I can bring them over flowing joy.

Lord Jesus. Thank you for being our advocate, for lifting is up when we feel down. Help me be an advocate like you today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Honest Prayer

Then Jesus spoke, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ ‘Rabbuni,’ the blind man said to him ‘Master, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has saved you.’ And immediately his sight returned and he followed him along the road.

Jesus is walking out of Jericho with a large crowd when Bartimaeus the blind beggar shouts out to him. Bartimaeus is admonished for making such a noise but he ignores this and shouts out all the louder. Jesus calls him forward and asks what it is that he wants.  The obvious answer, "let me see again". Jesus immediately heals him.

This is a powerful story on how to pray... persistently and honestly. Bartimaeus knew that Jesus was the key to his healing and he didn't allow others to discourage him. I often wondered why Jesus asked a blind man what he wanted. Wasn't it obvious. Bartimaeus' answer was clear and full of faith. "I want to see". His sight would give him new life. No longer would he need to be a beggar.

Am I as persistent and focused in my prayer to Jesus? Am I as clear and honest? Not always.

Jesus my healer. You know my brokenness, my areas of blindness, my beggaredness. Son of David, Jesus, take pity on me.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

No Condemnation

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

Saint Paul writes his marvelous epistle to the Roman Church, including this wonderful chapter describing life through the Spirit of God. There is no condemnation. Why? Because the Spirit has set us free.

I'm currently reading Mere Christianity by C S Lewis. Lewis starts off by proving how all of mankind in every place and every age and every culture acknowledges a "natural law", that sense of knowing there is right and there is wrong. Directly coupled with this is the innate knowledge that we all fail to fulfill that law, that we fail to constantly meet its conditions. Here, Saint Paul describes the way out from under that condemnation.

Yes I fail, or the Christian sense, I sin. But when I turn and let the Holy Spirit of God back in, the condemnation evaporates. What a liberating reality to enjoy today.

Thank you Jesus for the gift of the Holy Spirit living in me. I again acknowledge this gift and embrace it. Spirit of the living God, Fall afresh on me.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

No Room for Boasting

So what becomes of our boasts? There is no room for them. What sort of law excludes them? The sort of law that tells us what to do? On the contrary, it is the law of faith, since, as we see it, a man is justified by faith and not by doing something the Law tells him to do.

The writer of Romans explains that no one is righteous, that is accepted as morally right and sinless,  in his own strength and can boast.  That righteousness is only obtainable to anyone who simply has faith in Jesus.

Boasting.  A funny word defined as "talk with excessive pride and self-satisfaction about one's achievements, possessions, or abilities".  We would all say we never engage in this tasteless act. But when I'm honest with myself, I see a boasting self-sufficiency that is never far below the surface.

What's the antidote to boasting?  A simple faith in who Jesus is and what he has done for me.  Every time I genuflect at church I acknowledge that Jesus is God, not me. Perhaps I need to genuflect today....

Lord Jesus, you alone are the Son of God. I place my faith in you today.
Saint Teresa of Avila, please pray for me.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Unseen

The crowds got even bigger and Jesus addressed them, ‘This is a wicked generation; it is asking for a sign. The only sign it will be given is the sign of Jonah.

Huge crowds are coming to see Jesus but they are attracted to to spectacle rather than the message. Jesus sees their hearts and condemns them as wicked.

The Bible records many "signs and wonders" that confirmed Jesus' authority and yet here we have Jesus condemning the crowds asking for signs. The signs are only a secondary result of his ministry, not the primary purpose.

It's tempting to want the reassurance of signs but the danger is to place too much importance on them. Reliance on signs is counter to my faith. The antidote? "blessed are those who have not seen yet believe".

Lord Jesus, sometimes I long for a sign of your presence. Lord, I renounce that desire as of the flesh and reconfirm my faith in the unseen God of the Universe. 
Little Flower, please pray for me. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Ask Seek Knock

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."

Jesus continues his teaching on prayer, having just given the Lord's Prayer as a template for how to pray.  Here he exhorts us to ask, seek, knock.  The initiative is always with us, the response is always from God.

Ask, Seek, Knock. Sometimes I feel guilty about placing prayer "shopping lists" before Jesus.  Jesus heal this, Jesus fix that, Jesus do that. Here Jesus encourages me to give him these petitions.

There's an inferred delight in him when he receives such requests.  He wants to give a "fish" or an "egg".  Better still, he wants to give me the Holy Spirit.  Oh yes!

Lord Jesus,, please give me today the Holy Spirit of God to lead me, guide me and inspire me today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Contagious Joy

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 missions trip filled with joy at the victories won in the name of Jesus. Their joy becomes the Holy Spirit's joy which in turn becomes Jesus' joy. Their joy was contagious.

The work of "mere children" fills God with joy. What did they do? They preached the Good News and confronted demons in Jesus' name. There is a power in performing what is essentially a very simple action; proclaiming Jesus.

How can I proclaim Jesus today? Being a person of love, peace and joy would be a good starting point.

Lord Jesus, I am sent into my missions trip today to confront demons and proclaim your love. Help me be a powerful witness that I may fill you with joy.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Champagne Effect

So who is this I hear such reports about?’ And he was anxious to see Jesus. 

King Herod has heard reports about Jesus, reports that the people, his people, are flocking to him.  This worries Herod and makes him anxious.

Jesus has many affects on people, from indifference to unbounded joy. Jesus is unchanging but people's reaction to him is wide and varied. Jesus' affect on Herod was anxiety, seeing Jesus as a threat to his power and control of the population.

What is Jesus' affect on me? I would have to say my reaction varies depending on how close my relationship is with him. I can be distracted with Jesus when the world has my real attention.  But when I spend time with him, such as now, joy creeps into my bones. Oh yes... it's like champagne bubbles fizzing and popping inside of me. What a wonderful way to start my day!

Thank you Jesus for your "champagne effect" on my life today. Help me take that joy to the people I meet.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Power and Authority

Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He said to them, "Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic.

Jesus sends out the twelve on their first mission trip. He strips them back to just the clothes they wear, leaving one thing for them to rely on for their preaching... his power and authority.

I have been involved in men's ministry over the years and I find it hard not to rely on my own efforts... web sites, promo videos, posters and pamphlets, money. This is a timely reminder that all that is really required is Jesus, his power and his authority is what amplifies the gospel message. Yes, the other stuff helps but it is not what is essential.

His power and authority is given to his friends. Maybe I should spend more effort in being friends with Jesus. The rest would naturally follow.

Jesus, you know my weakness in relying on my own strength. Lord I pare back to the essential, being a friend with you.
Little Flower please pray for me.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Forgiven Much Love Much

They were unable to pay, so he pardoned them both. Which of them will love him more?’ ‘The one who was pardoned more, I suppose’ answered Simon. Jesus said, ‘You are right.’

Jesus is a guest at a Pharisee's house when he is adored by the ministration of a woman of "bad name". Jesus confronts the indignation of the Pharisee with a parable about forgiveness where the one forgiven the greater debt shows greater love.

A friend and I were discussing how for many of our Cradle-Catholic friends the concept of a personal relationship with Jesus was foreign. These people are more confident speaking of "The Faith" than they are of Jesus as a friend. My friend and I are both converts to Catholicism. In a way we have the advantage of having a more acute understanding of what we have been forgiven. We can remember the stench of the mud from which we have been rescued.

There is a danger for me to forget the great debt I have been forgiven and my love for Jesus becoming lukewarm.

 Lord Jesus, you saw the gold when I was in the miry clay. You see a saint within  sinful me. Thank you Lord.
Saint Augustine, pray for me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sorrow to Joy

Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected – and a sword will pierce your own soul too – so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.’

Joseph and Mary have taken baby Jesus to the Temple to be presented as Jewish custom instructed.  While there Simeon prophesies the messianic role of Jesus. Almost as an aside he directs a prophesy to Mary. A sword was to pierce her soul.

Mary, the perfect Christian role model, was not spared pain and suffering, anguish and sorrow. If she, the perfect Christian, was to suffer, why should any other Christian life be different?

Christian suffering is different though.  We know from Mary's ultimate destination, in heaven with her son, that suffering never has the final say. Sorrow is always temporary. What a glorious hope our faith always gives.  This is the source of my joy today.

Thank you Jesus for showing us that suffering has no victory in the end. I place my trust in you.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us siners, now and at the our of our death. Amen.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Christ in All

Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all.

Saint Paul is writing to the Church in Colossia, outlining the new way of living for those alive in Christ. His message is radical to a community that has been divided for generations. Christ is in all.

The western world is in turmoil on how to respond to the refugee tsunami pouring out of Syria and New Zealand has not escaped the pressure. I have heard people speak out of fear, fear of having to change, fear of having to give, fear of terrorism, fear of the new, fear of difference.

Today's first reading gives direction on how to face this crisis. Christ is in all. A lesson for me, today.

Lord Jesus, help me see you in all, even in the stranger who can make me fearful.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Love not Law

And he said to them, ‘The Son of Man is master of the Sabbath.’

Jesus' disciples have just been chastised by the Pharisees for doing "work" on the Sabbath by pulling ears of corn and eating them.  Jesus defends his disciples action, pointing out what the Sabbath really is, not a man-made law but a day set aside to come under the love of God.

There's a tendency in me to be a little Pharisee, to make laws and then judge others as to how they meet those laws. And I try to legitimise my laws by saying God must agree with them even if he didn't specifically make them. Jesus blows my petty rules out of the water.

The most important laws are to love God and love others. Sometimes the loving thing to do is to feed the hungry on the Sabbath. My reference point must always be the question, "How does this fulfill the command to love God and love others?"  If this question is being satisfied then I'm heading in the right direction... today.

Lord Jesus, forgive my Pharisaical zeal. Let love not law be my touch stone today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because he spoke with authority. 

Jesus has begun his ministry and word about him starting to spread.  The greatest impression he is making is that he speaks with authority, an authority that even demons obey.

The world is hungry for strong, authoritative leadership.  It's as if there is a space before people always waiting for a leader to occupy.  I've experienced this at times when leading worship or acting as MC at a wedding.  People are relieved when there is a strong pair of hands on the steering wheel guiding things to a safe destination.

Jesus still provides this authoritative leadership. When I acknowledge him as my Lord, then things fall into place. No matter what is happening, all is well.

Thank you Jesus for being my "strong pair of hands". I walk into today knowing you are before me. What peace, what joy, what confidence you give me.

Saint Thomas Moore please pray for me.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Unfailing Love

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Moses is praying to God, stating that all joy has its foundation in the knowledge of God's love.

The NIV Bible heads up Psalm 89 (90) as "A Prayer of Moses the Man of God". It's a prayer that reinstates God as God and man as his creation. There's a peace and a joy that comes from knowing this. No matter what happens today, God is God over all and he loves me.

I'm looking out over the school field across the road, watching the sun slowly rise into a pink-into-blue cloudless sky. God is God, and he loves me...

Abba, Father. Your abounding love is evident all around me.  Thank you for reminding me.
Saint Monica, please pray for me.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Clean the Inside

"Clean the inside of cup and dish first so that the outside may become clean as well."

Jesus is is weighing in to the hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees, leaders drawing others in the wrong direction like blind guides. Their focus is on appearances rather than on the heart.

The Kingdom of God is so different to the world. It is small, weak in appearance and interior. But when it works its way out, wow! It changes everything. And the only way it can work is from the inside out, not from the outside in. It cannot be enforced by external law. It comes from a change of heart, from cleaning the inside of the cup.

I find when my cup is clean on the inside from daily prayer, from receiving the sacraments, I sin less. When my prayer-life is weak, I sin more. Funny that. I need to recommit to morning prayer, to cleaning the inside of my cup. Then the outside will take care of itself.

Lord Jesus, you know my tendency to focus more on the outside. Help me clean the inside of my cup that I may become a more authentic witness for you.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, August 14, 2015

One Flesh

He answered, ‘Have you not read that the creator from the beginning made them male and female and that he said: This is why a man must leave father and mother, and cling to his wife, and the two become one body? They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. So then, what God has united, man must not divide.’

The Pharisees are trying to trick Jesus on the age-old question of divorce. Jesus' answer lays the foundation for marriage that is quoted in marriage ceremonies to this day, "what God has united, man must not divide".

There is confusion about marriage today only when God is taken out of the picture.  A marriage is a permanent commitment between a man and a woman, open to life, because God designed it so. Sex is God's idea, not the Devil's, and marriage is his plan to control it and employ it for its proper purpose.  Jesus even goes further to say celibacy is an accepted legitimate response to sexuality.

My marriage is a blessing from God. Today seems a good day to celebrate that.

Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of marriage in general and the gift of my marriage in particular. Bless Kate and I that we my let our sacrament shine. 
Saint Thomas Moore, pray for us.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

God is with Us

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

Jesus has just outlined how to deal with sin in the Church.  In presenting the antidote to this very human of problems he gives a wonderful promise to encourage us to pray. "Where two or more pray in my name, I will be in the midst of them".

I have the wonderful privilege of hosting a men's prayer group each Monday morning. The "group" lately has only consisted of two of us. This Monday my regular partner emailed he was sick and unable to come. I was expecting a loan vigil until an irregular attendee arrived to join me. I was very grateful as I sensed that a quorum was established and the Lord was present.

I am not meant to be a Lone Ranger Christian. Jesus wants me to pray and not only pray alone but pray in a group.  There is a mystery to the power of "Church" that can only be explained by Jesus' promise given in today's Gospel. I'm looking forward to family prayer time tonight.

Thank you Jesus that you are Emanuel, God with us. 
Little Flower, please pray for us.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Go Tell Jesus

John’s disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went off to tell Jesus.

John the Baptist is beheaded at the whim of King Herod who is manipulated by his adulterous mistress, Herodias. After burying John's body, all John's grief-stricken followers could think to do was "go tell Jesus".

Following scripture records how, on hearing the news of his cousin's death, Jesus tries to retreat to a solitary place but is mobbed by a crowd of over five thousand. What follows is the teaching then feeding of the five thousand, the rescuing of the bumbling disciples from a boat-wreck and then the healing of more sick and demon-possessed. Jesus is not given the time in that twenty-four hours to grieve the loss of his murdered cousin.

"Bad days" happen. Jesus shows me how to always keep my eye on the big picture. Bad things, no matter how painful at the time, are always the lesser things when placed in the big picture, the God's eye view of my life so to speak.

Lord, give me grace to look to you, to "go tell you", when bad things happen.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Resurrection and the Life

‘I am the resurrection and the life. If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ she said ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world.’

Jesus has come to the place where Lazarus is buried and is met by a grieving Martha. She remonstrates with Jesus over his late arrival but still places her hope in him. In so doing, she identifies who Jesus really is, Christ, the Son of God. As a son, Jesus then glorifies the Father through the resurrection of Lazarus.

I had a knock on the door yesterday from an old neighbour whose husband has just died. She wanted me to know his funeral is today. I shared with her my belief that her husband's death was not the end of his story. "Oh yes" she said. "I know we are going to meet up again".  She had such a smile on her face it was hard to accept she was a new widow.

Faith in the resurrection does that. I will rejoice for John at his funeral today.

Lord Jesus, let your great mercy triumph over justice for John. May he be speedily be welcomed into your arms.
Saint John the Apostle, pray for us.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Keep Still

Moses answered the people, ‘Have no fear! Stand firm, and you will see what the Lord will do to save you today: the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. The Lord will do the fighting for you: you have only to keep still.’

The Israelites have followed Moses and escaped Egypt. Pharaoh rallies his superior army and catches up with the Israelites in the wilderness. In their panic the Israelites turn on Moses and curse him. In the face of their unbelief Moses calls on them to have faith in God.

Great escapes can turn into great disasters.  The disaster can be the signpost to turn and get back on track or be the test to have faith and stay on course. The difference depends on the how the journey started. Was it from a prompt of God, as in Moses' case, or was the journey launched from my own fleshly ideas?

When God is the navigator, all I have to do is keep still, stand firm and God will do the fighting. What a relief!

Jesus, you know I am the Master Chef of half-baked ideas. Help me let you be the Master Chef of my life. Let me have the peace that comes from trusting in you... today.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

He Rescued Me

The night, when the Lord kept vigil to bring them out of the land of Egypt, must be kept as a vigil in honour of the Lord for all their generations.

A estimated three million Israelites have fled the slavery of Egypt. It is written into the very soul of the Hebrew people that God rescued them and they are never to forget it.

God is in the business of rescuing people. He did it dramatically for the sons of Israel. He did it dramatically for all mankind through Jesus.  He did it dramatically for me. What is my "vigil in honour of the Lord" for him rescuing me? This early Saturday morning prayer time is a start I guess.

There's something beautiful about a thankful heart.  People who count their blessings seem to be good people to hang around. They're positive and uplifting. They warm a room when they enter rather than being a "stepmother's breath".  Oh may I be a thankful heart today.

Lord Jesus. I thank you again for rescuing me from the self-centered, tiny world  of me. 

You rescued me, and picked me up
A living hope, of grace revealed
A life transformed, in righteousness
Oh Lord you have rescued me

Forgiving me, You healed my heart
And set me free, from sin and death
You brought me life, You've made me whole
Oh Lord You have rescued me

And You loved me, before I knew You
And You knew me for all time
I've been created in Your image, Oh Lord
And You bought me
And You sought me
Your blood poured out for me
A new creation in Your image, Oh Lord
You rescued me
You rescued me
You rescued me

Geof Bullock

Saint Augustine, pray for me.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Sound of a Man Forgiving

No one therefore was present with him while Joseph made himself known to his brothers, but he wept so loudly that all the Egyptians heard, and the news reached Pharaoh’s palace.

Joseph has had planted in the grain sack of his brothers a sliver cup. The brothers beg for mercy for the sake of their father Jacob. Joseph forgives the brothers everything, including their injustice to him, but not without loud tears.

Joseph wept so loudly, the Bible records, that the whole palace heard him. I imagine the remarks in the palace; "What is that sound?" "Oh, that is the sound of a man forgiving".

Authentic forgiveness is painful. It means giving up my rights for revenge. It means cancelling an unpayable debt. It means dieing to my flesh to be born alive in the spirit. Like all births, it involves pain and screaming and groaning.

Forgiveness gives new life. Joseph's forgiveness gave new life and blessing to the Hebrews who then came under Pharaoh's protection. It allowed God's plan for the redemption of creation through Jesus to regain traction and move forward.  Oh, forgiveness is painful but it is essential for God's life to flow in me.

Lord Jesus, you forgave your persecutors from the very cross. Help me always forgive that you may live in me.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

My Son

‘Take your son,’ God said ‘your only child Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him as a burnt offering.

God is putting Abraham to the test. How? By asking him to sacrifice what is dearest to his heart, his only son.

The parallel between Abraham sacrificing Isaac and God the Father sacrificing Jesus is clear here. God chose what is most precious to Abraham, signaling the depth of sacrifice he will make in offering up His only Son Jesus.

I am led to consider the preciousness of my own son, my only son among four daughters. I think it's time I told him again how much I love him.

Father in Heaven, the immensity of the sacrifice of your son Jesus has been revealed to me this morning. I look to my own son and thank you once again for the gift of him.
Saint Thomas Moore, please pray that I may be a worthy father.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Giver not Grabber

Do not forget: thin sowing means thin reaping; the more you sow, the more you reap. 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.

Saint Paul is writing to the Church of Corinth encouraging generous giving.  Why? Because loves a generous giver.

There something about the act of giving away that denies worldliness and promotes Godliness.  The world says grab, God says give.  Not only are we encouraged to give but we are to give not begrudgingly but cheerfully. I've heard it said the original word Saint Paul used in this letter was "hilariously".  We are to be hilarious givers.

Jesus reinforces this message in today's Gospel saying we are to give alms secretly, without trying to gain man's admiration, hoping instead on the admiration of God who sees all that is done in secret.

Today I am to look for an opportunity to give, secretly and hilariously.

Lord Jesus, you know my natural instinct is to grab.  Help me be a cheerful giver today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The High Bar of Love

But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven.

Jesus continues the Sermon on the Mount, his great teaching on how to live a Christian Life.  He has started with the encouraging "be-attitudes", followed with exhortations on being salt and light, don't commit murder, adulatory, divorce, don't make oaths... all relatively easy stuff. Then comes the toughies; be meek, give more than is asked.  Then the ultimate call... love your enemies.

I imagine at this point some of Jesus' listeners would be shaking their heads.  The beatitudes tickled their ears. But turn the other cheek, walk the extra unasked-for mile... love your enemies!  No, this is too much!

I have the same struggles.  This sets the bar so high that it seems futile to try and jump it. Loving my enemies falls into my "impossible for man" category. But that quote of Jesus' goes on to say, " possible for God".

Maybe this is why Jesus sets the high bar of love before me, to force me to turn to him and plead for his help. On my own, I can't do it.  There will be "unlovely" people I will meet today. Maybe, with Jesus' help, I will be able to love them.

Lord Jesus, you know my love limitations.  Help me jump the love high-bar today when I am called to.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Mirror

‘Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them. I tell you solemnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved.

Jesus continues his great Sermon on the Mount.  He states plainly his teaching is not eliminating the existing Law of Moses or prophetic revelation, it is fulfilling them.

There is a temptation to minimise the Old Testament simply because it is "old".  But Jesus doesn't recommend this. He says to look to the Law and the Prophets as pointing to him, as portraying him the perfect man.

I see the Old Testament as a mirror in which the image of God can be seen.  When I try to meet the law and become the image of God, I fail. The law is impossible for me to perfectly keep and so it shows that I am worthy only of death. But when I look into the mirror and see it pointing to Jesus who fulfills the law perfectly, then I see the image of God.

Give me that mirror. The more I see of Jesus, the more I know him.  The more I know him, the more I love him. The more I love him the more peace and joy are mine... today.

Thank you Jesus for revealing yourself in scripture as you did with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Reveal yourself to me today as I read sacred scripture.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Warm up a Room

Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father."
Mt. 5:16

Jesus has just started his public ministry by giving his great Sermon on the Mount, his blue-print for the christian life. He tells his followers they are to be salt and light, that they are to make a difference in the world they live in.

Salt and light. They are essential elements that are only really noticed when they are absent. Am I noticed by my absence or am I irrelevant whether I'm present or not?
I think the best way to be present is to love. Love warms up a room when it is present and is longed for in its absence. let me be a lover today.

Lord Jesus, you are the salt and light of my life. Let your love work through me today. 
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

What Could Be More Fun

O blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways! By the labour of your hands you shall eat. You will be happy and prosper.

Psalm 127 is a Song of Ascents.  It was sung as a pilgrim made his way up Zion's hill to worship at the Temple. It is a song of grateful heart.

I have a poster on the wall of my work office that states:  "To love what you do and feel that it matters... what could be more fun!"  It then quotes Psalm 127:1,2.

Most days at work I love what I do and feel that it matters, that it makes a difference.  A couple of days out of ten wish I was at the beach, but that's not a bad average.

The key to this "having fun" in life is fearing the Lord and walking in his ways. This morning's prayer time is going to have its fruit in me having fun today!

Thank you Jesus for being The Way for me today. 
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Give Back to God

‘Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God.’ 

The Pharisees have tried to trap Jesus with a question on taxes paid to the hated Romans. Jesus sees their obvious plot but answers them none the less. In his answer Jesus shows we have a duty in all things but over arching all is our duty to God.

We live in a fallen world.  Tax money we pay gets spent on things we don't always agree with (e.g. publicly funded abortions).  The Romans used their wealth to increase their power as cruel foreign occupiers of Palestine. Yet, Jesus said to pay them their due. However, this is always countered with our due to God.

What of mine belongs to God today?  Everything, even the very beat of my heart, my life.  There will be opportunities that come before me today where  I can give back to God what belongs to God.

Holy Spirit of God, help me see the times today where I can give back to you.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, May 29, 2015


And when you stand in prayer, forgive whatever you have against anybody, so that your Father in heaven may forgive your failings too.’ But if you do not forgive, your Father in heaven will not forgive your failings either.’

Jesus and his disciples are just leaving Jerusalem after having driven the money-changers out of the Temple. They pass by the withered fig tree that Jesus had earlier cursed and the disciples point this out to him. This prompts Jesus to teach on how to pray with faith. The first thing a faithful prayer does is forgive.

Jesus has just carried out what could be termed unforgiving acts. He drove the money-changers from the Temple and cursed an unproductive fig tree. This tells me there is a time for righteous anger. The trick is to make sure the anger is righteous and not selfish.

I think this is where forgiveness comes in. Jesus raised the necessity of forgiveness while the clamor of over-turned temple tables was still in their ears.  It seems an attitude of forgiveness to everyone and all tempers my anger, purifying it so that any anger that is left is not mine but God's. It is righteous.

Of course, the inverse is true. My non-forgiveness falls on my own head, denying myself forgiveness from God for my own failings. What a terrible thought.

Lord Jesus, source of all mercy and forgiveness. Help me have a forgiving heart that I may be forgiven my many failings.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

To Be Like Jesus

'Anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’

James and John have just asked for positions of honor in what they perceive to be the coming Kingdom of God. The other disciples are indignant at James and John. To clarify things, Jesus explains what true greatness is.  To be a servant.

The term "servant-hood" in today's language infers something inferior, something demeaning.  In the christian world however, servant-hood denotes greatness.  When I serve others I am the closest to being like Jesus that I can ever be.  "For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve," Mk.10:45.

There will be people I meet today that I can be Jesus to.  How? By serving them with a cheerful heart.

Lord Jesus, you have served me to the point of giving your life. Help me have a servant's heart that I may be more like you.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A Landscape View

This disciple is the one who vouches for these things and has written them down, and we know that his testimony is true. There were many other things that Jesus did; if all were written down, the world itself, I suppose, would not hold all the books that would have to be written.

John completes the last verses of the last Gospel with a statement as to their authenticity and a comment that what has been written is just an ink-spot to what would need to be written to cover everything Jesus had done.

It seems the Bible gives us just an arrow-slit view of Jesus' life and ministry rather than a landscape window.  A warning I guess to those who would hold to the view of "sola scriptura".  So where can we gain a wider view? Saint Paul gives direction when he wrote, "I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you." 1Cor.11:2.

Taught tradition can be right, as from Saint Paul and the Apostles, or wrong as from the Pharisees. Mother Church is the safeguard of the traditions of the Apostles. From her I gain the "landscape view" of Jesus' life.  Praise God that he established the Church for my nurture today.

Lord Jesus, I want to know you more that I may love you more. Reveal yourself to me I pray.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Love for Hate

I passed your word on to them, and the world hated them, because they belong to the world no more than I belong to the world. I am not asking you to remove them from the world, but to protect them from the evil one. 

Jesus continues his last great parayer of intercession for his disciples, for his Church, for us. The landscape is clearly defined. We are in a world that hates us but Jesus wants us to stay in the world. Protected, yes, but still in the world that hates us. To do what? To love in return.

By Jesus' definition, we live in a tension. We love, the world hates. If I ever start feeling liked by the world then I should be concerened. It means I am no longer diferent, no longer a threat, no longer an enemy to the world's way of life.

Osmosis can work both ways. The world can seep in and take over before I have realised what has happened. The antidote? Well, Jesus says what makes the world hate us is his Word alive in us, alive in me.  Daily soaking in God's Word keeps my identity in sharp focus... and keeps the world hating me.  Alleluia!

Lord Jesus.  Help me exchange hate for love in my world today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Gold in the Clay

I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me, because they belong to you: all I have is yours and all you have is mine, and in them I am glorified. I am not in the world any longer, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you.

Jesus gives his last great intercessory prayer for his disciples before leaving for the Garden of Gethsemane and his Passion and death. Knowing they were about to desert him, Jesus still said that in his disciples he would be glorified.

Jesus could see beyond the present fearful and confused knot of men his disciples were to the martyrs for him that they would become. Jesus can see beyond the common sinner, the stumbling follower that I am. His eternal vision has a place for me that glorifies him.

This raises the bar of my own vision of myself. It prompts me to do my utmost for his highest... today.

Lord Jesus, thank you for seeing gold in my miry clay, a saint among my sinfulness.  Help me see myself rightly as you do.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Complete Joy

If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete.

Jesus continues his final discourse to his disciples at the Last Supper. He reinforces the style of life the disciples are to live once he is gone, a life that fulfills the commandment to love. Why live this life? So their joy may be complete.

Complete joy. O how my heart longs for this. A joyous life is a life lived to the full. The disappointments, hurt, pain and fear of daily life cannot rob complete joy.

How to obtain this joy? Hear God's commandments and keep them. This places me under the love of Jesus and then my joy is complete.

Lord Jesus, help me hear your word and do it, that my joy may be complete.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Gift of Peace

‘Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.

It is the Last Supper and Jesus is speaking his final words of comfort to his disciples. Knowing his excruciating passion was just a few hours away, Jesus gives a gift, a gift that quiets a troubled and afraid heart. That gift is Peace.

A couple of weeks ago my darling wife of thirty-six years had an operation to check on symptoms that could have pointed to something sinister or something benign. My heart was in fear and trouble, something I didn't realise was happening until I experienced a rush of relief when good news came from the hospital.  Yes, I had prayed and yes I firmly believed that Jesus' hand is over Kate, yet fear and trouble was in my heart.

It seems our human condition has this vulnerability of heart and it can overwhelm and crush us. But, Jesus gives a gift, a gift of peace.  It takes a conscious effort to pick up and receive a gift. I need to consciously receive the gift of peace from Jesus each day, no matter is happening. It's a gift that is out of this world.

Thank you Jesus for your gift of peace for me. I claim it and possess it now.
Little flower, please pray for me.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Way Truth Life

‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me.’ 

Jesus is comforting his disciples by giving the "Big Picture" i.e. ...big house ...many rooms ...a place prepared.  Thomas asks "How can we know the way"? Jesus replies decisively.  "The Way, the Truth, the Life... Me, Me, Me".

What is the Way?  What is Truth? What is Life?  These are big questions to which everyone has to come up with an answer, believer or non-believer. I remember as a young man seeking answers to these questions, looking into Eastern religion, humanism and straight-out hedonism. It was exhausting. It wasn't until I found that Jesus covers them all that found peace and with that peace, joy.

It's good for me to remember with gratitude what a gift faith in Jesus is to me.

Lord Jesus, you are my Way, my Truth and my Life.  Thank you for the peace and joy you give me.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Here Comes the Judge

If anyone hears my words and does not keep them faithfully, it is not I who shall condemn him, since I have come not to condemn the world, but to save the world. He who rejects me and refuses my words has his judge already: the word itself that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day.

Jesus is confronting the unbelief of the Jews. He emphasises that while he has come to save the world it is the word he has spoken that will judge the world.

It's sometimes tempting to take Jesus' words "I have come not to condemn the world, but to save" out of context. That would mean there is no judgement. However, Jesus is very clear there is to be judgement and the judge will be the word of God he has spoken.

It's good for me to be reminded that I will one day stand before the Judge as the book of my life is being read out and measured against God's Word.  God of Mercy, have mercy on me.

Jesus, help me hear your words and keep them faithfully. May your mercy triumph over judgement.
Little Flower, ,please pray for me.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Absence of Fear - Presence of Joy

They had the apostles called in, gave orders for them to be flogged, warned them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them. And so they left the presence of the Sanhedrin glad to have had the honour of suffering humiliation for the sake of the name. Acts 5:40,41 

The apostles persistent preaching of the Good News of Jesus' resurrection has them arrested and punished by the Sanhedrin. This does nothing to stop their joyous zeal in proclaiming the Word.

What a transformation! The apostles only a few days earlier had been hiding and even speaking denial of Jesus for fear of the Sanhedrin. Now they are joyously and courageously proclaiming the Good News of Jesus everywhere, including in front of the Sanhedrin itself.

What has happened? They had encountered the risen Lord Jesus and received the Holy Spirit from him. The first result was that fear left them and joy entered, a joy that couldn't be contained.

Absence of fear, presence of joy. This is something I desire for my life. This Eastertide leading up to Pentecost is a god time to seek this state of grace. How? Encounter the risen Lord Jesus and receive the Holy Spirit.

 Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed. Come Holy Spirit.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Weakness is Strength

The Lord is close to the broken-hearted; those whose spirit is crushed he will save. Many are the trials of the just man but from them all the Lord will rescue him.

King David writes this psalm after escaping from the clutches of King Abimelek.  He has been rescued by the Lord.

David is so vulnerable and weak at this time of his life that the only way he could escape from King Abimelek was to pretend to be insane. It was demeaning to pretend to be so mad that the king was repulsed by him and drove David away. This was no great victory on the battle field, yet David saw the Lord's hand in his escape.

David saw that in his brokenness he was actually close to God. A crushed spirit is an honest spirit.  It has nowhere else to hide. The Gospels are full of instances where the naked and ashamed are healed by Jesus and the arrogant and prideful are left with their wound. Jesus himself says,
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" Mt.5:3

When my pride is stripped away and I am naked in my weakness before God, then and only then can he reach out and heal me.

Lord Jesus, help me stand naked before you, be real with you, that you may reach out and heal my brokenness.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Hearts Aflame

Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’

Two disciples are walking dejectedly to Emmaus, their dreams of a liberated Israel killed with the crucifixion of Jesus. The risen Lord joins and engages with them on the road, unrecgnised until he breaks bread with them. The realisation of Jesus' resurrection has them running back with the news to their fellow disciples, transformed from crushed defeat to joyful victory.

This wonderful story is one I associate with so readily. Normal life seems to have so many disappointments, great and small. Even the process of growing old is a defeat of sorts.  But Oh what a wonderful antidote is given me. This time in the morning is my "on the road with Jesus" time, a time when my "heart burns within me" as the scriptures are revealed. I am transformed from disappointment to hope and joy.

Thank you Jesus for your faithfulness and patience with me as we walk together in the morning. This is the day that you have made and I rejoice and are glad.
Saint Cleopas, please pray for me.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

He is risen indeed. Alleluia, Alleluia!

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

The first verse of the Bible lays the foundation for the rest of Holy Scripture. In the beginning was God....

Tonight in the Easter Vigil we hear the history of mankind as recorded in the Bible. It's a story of love and betrayal, faithfulness and infidelity. It's my story and it starts with God the beginning.

The beauty of acknowledging that God started it all is that it then places the "end of it all" back in His tender, loving hands. No need to fear. Death has been absolutely, completely and finally defeated. Resurrection and eternal life await.

Alleluia, Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Oh my Lord, you conquered death and rose again. I place my trust in You!
Mary Magdala, the first to spread the Good News of resurrection, please pray for me.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Missing Jesus

Several people who had been listening to Jesus said, ‘Surely he must be the prophet’, and some said, ‘He is the Christ’, but others said, ‘Would the Christ be from Galilee? ...So the people could not agree about him. Some would have liked to arrest him, but no one actually laid hands on him.

Jesus is preaching openly in the temple. He had such an impact that he could not be ignored but the people are divided over who is.

Missing Jesus has always been a problem, both two thousand years ago and today. You would think that having the Son of God stand patently in front of you and speak, his true nature would be obvious. But no, apparently not. Something else is required before he is recognised. I think that something is a true vision of self. I need to be honest about myself before a true vision of Jesus is received.

It was the people who openly acknowledged their brokenness, their sinfulness, who recognised Jesus and found healing. The woman caught in adultery, the woman at the well, all of the disciples. Those who saw only their own perceived righteousness in their pride, ...the Pharisees, the Scribes, the Sanhedrin... missed who Jesus was and so missed being set free.

Pride gets in the way of me seeing Jesus.

Lord Jesus, you are always before me but I do not always see you. Help me be lesser that you may be more in my life.
Little Flower please pray for me.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cherish Protect Provide


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.’ When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do. 

Joseph has just found Mary, his betrothed, is pregnant and he knows the child is not his. A quiet divorce is the response he chooses until God's plan is revealed in a dream. He then unquestioningly changes course and gets instep with God's plan. Man's salvation is a result of his obedience.

The more I learn of Saint Joseph, the more I like him. He is for me a great model of authentic manhood.  I have four daughters, so I have given manhood and husband-ship much thought when faced with their chosen or future partners. I have distilled the role of a husband down to three things; He must cherish, protect and provide for his wife. Joseph did all three superbly for Mary.

I am a husband. There is a message here for me to cherish, protect and provide for my wife. I know that when I do this I am fulfilling my God-given role of authentic manhood. I am instep with God's plan.

Lord Jesus, you were raised by a righteous man, Joseph. You know what authentic manhood is like. Help me become such a man as I cherish, protect and provide for my wife.
Saint Joseph, please pray for me.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Never Forgotten

For Zion was saying, ‘The Lord has abandoned me, the Lord has forgotten me.’ Does a woman forget her baby at the breast, or fail to cherish the son of her womb? Yet even if these forget, I will never forget you.

Isaiah is prophesying the restoration of the people of Israel. Even when things look their bleakest, God says his people are never forgotten.

This is one of the verses that attracted me home to faith in God. I remember my first-time reading of the book of Isaiah, discovering this and the following verse; "See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands" Is.49:16. I was reduced to tears, realising that I wasn't just a random accident but a beloved son of God with my name engraved on his very hands. I began to perceive that I was loved by God and my whole world expanded. I began to see myself rightly.

This is good for me to revisit. Nothing has changed. I am still no less a beloved son of God my Father. When I accept this truth, peace and joy are mine... today.

Father in Heaven, thank you for loving me so much that you sent your one and only son to draw me back to you and your love. I place my trust in you.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Forgiving Heart

Then the master sent for him. “You wicked servant,” he said “I cancelled all that debt of yours when you appealed to me. Were you not bound, then, to have pity on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you?” And in his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt. And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.’

Jesus is asked by Peter how many times he should forgive.  In reply, Jesus tells the parable of the unforgiving servant. The simple answer is we forgive as much as we have been forgiven and we have been forgiven much.

I'm always incredulous at the hardheartedness of the unforgiving servant in the parable. How could he not forgive a brother's debt of a few dollars when he had just had a debt of hundreds of thousands cancelled? Yet this is Jesus' point. I have been forgiven the incalculable debt of my many sins, yet I'm very quick to hold others to account for the speck in their eye.

But wait... there's more!  Jesus gives a very sobering warning after the parable to Peter and to me.  The fate of the unforgiving servant is my fate unless I develop a forgiving heart.

Lord Jesus, help forgiveness become my natural response to injustice. Help me develop a forgiving heart like yours.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Heart and Loins

‘The heart is more devious than any other thing, perverse too: who can pierce its secrets? I, the Lord, search to the heart, I probe the loins, to give each man what his conduct and his actions deserve.’

Jeremiah is prophesying about the day of judgement. The Lord will see all things that a man has done and then pass his judgement.

Heart and loins. What are more hidden then these? Yet even these will not escape the searching of God's judgement. The heart and the loins are the source of great evil or wonderful purity and righteousness. A sobering thought.

I turn to God's promises such as that found in Psalm 130.3,4:

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
    Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
    so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

Lent is a time to acknowledge my sinfulness and fall on God's mercy. Praise God for the Mercy Seat found in the confessional.

Lord Jesus, look not on my sins but on my faithfulness. Let your mercy triumph over judgement. I place my hope in you.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Less Becomes More

Anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Jesus has just been approached by the mother of James and John who requested her sons be given places of honor in the new kingdom. Salome presents a typical misconception of the Kingdom of God being structured in a human way, powerful at the top, weak at the bottom. Jesus turns the pyramid upside down with the great at the bottom serving the weak at the top.

The social structure of God's kingdom is counter-cultural to the world's way of thinking. If I am genuine when I pray "Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven", then I am praying for this upside down pyramid to be evident today, starting with me. Only then can I be great in God's eyes.

Lord Jesus, I find it hard putting others needs before my own, hard being a servant. Help me become less so that others will become more, starting with my own family.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ask Seek Knock

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him.

Jesus is continuing his great sermon on the mount, the blueprint for christian life. Here he emphasises that we have a God who is just waiting for us to reach out to him. Ask, seek, knock. These are all initiatives that must come from us. We only have to do them in faith.

Today's first reading from Esther shows a gutsy young woman who asks, seeks and knocks on behalf of the Jewish nation. We know the story. God answers her petitions spectacularly. What a great encouragement for me today, whatever my need.

Lord Jesus. I ask for courage today to do what is right before your eyes, to be the man you can be proud of today in all that I say and do. Most of all, give me the humility to ask, seek and knock a t your door.
Little Flower please pray for me.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Choose Life

I set before you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants may live, in the love of the Lord your God, obeying his voice, clinging to him; for in this your life consists,

Moses is giving his last prophetic instruction to the Hebrews before they cross the Jordan into the Promised Land. Choosing life meant choosing God, for this their life consists.

The choice is just as stark today. Choose God or reject God. Choose life or choose death. The seduction of the world is such that it can seem rejecting God is gaining a fuller life. I remember my worldview before I met Jesus. I thought the world was mine for the taking and that I was in the center of it. After my conversation I saw how puny and miniscule my view on life had been. My world had a population of one; me. Suddenly other people's happiness was more important than my own and my world expended dramatically. It was like coming out of a dark canyon into a wide open prairie.

Life is like that. It makes me outward focussed rather than inward absorbed. What a great way to walk into today.

Lord Jesus, you are the giver of life. Help me choose life by choosing to love others today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

In Secret

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be careful not to parade your good deeds before men to attract their notice; by doing this you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven.

Jesus is instructing the disciples on Christian life.  It's a given that followers of him will pray, fast and give alms. What Jesus gives specific warning against is the attitude by which these good deeds are exercised. Pride will rob the good deed of its grace.

Lent is the season for prayer, fasting and alms giving. Yet, there was no lenten season in Jesus' day. These virtues were expected as a normal part of everyday christian life. That in itself is a challenge for me.

Repentance, prayer, alms giving and fasting. I never find these easy. This is where the rubber hits the road for the christian life, where the rubber hits the road for my life.

Lord Jesus, help me have a generous spirit this Lent and let it be for your glory alone
Little Flower, please pray for me. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Solution to the Problem

‘This at last is bone from my bones, and flesh from my flesh! This is to be called woman, for this was taken from man.’

God gives Adam the task of naming all the creatures in the Garden of Eden. In the process Adam realises how unique he is and how alone he is. God comes up with the most beautiful solution to Adam's loneliness; sex.

The gift of Eve was the most creative solution to Adam's loneliness. Adam immediately recognised Eve as the gift she was. He liked what he saw: "Bone of my bones, flesh from my flesh". It was from the first a very physical attraction.

I keep being reminded that sex is God's idea, not the Devils. As such, sex is blessed, is a good thing but only when engaged in the way God intended. How was this? The husband and the wife becoming one flesh. Every other use of sex is a perversion from the devil who is very good at perverting things of God.

So today I kick the devil off his pulpit where he preaches perversion of the gift of sex and I turn instead to listen to God's beautiful plan of sexuality which has no shame.

Thank you Father for the gift of sex, for the gift of marriage. I turn from perversion of this gift and receive my wife with no shame.
Little Flower, please pray for me

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Good Fruit Bad Fruit

The LORD God gave man this order: "You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and bad. From that tree you shall not eat; the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die."

Man is created from clay and given life by God. Then God gives man a task to take care of the garden. All of the garden is given for man to enjoy, except for the Tree of Knowledge. This is forbidden on pain of death.

What was so different about the Tree of Knowledge that to eat its' fruits was fatal? Adam already had knowledge. He had knowledge on how to tend the garden. He had knowledge of all the creatures, knowledge enough to name them all. He even had knowledge of God. But the fruit from the tree of knowledge was fatal. Why? Because the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge for the first time introduced pride. "You shall be like God" promised Satan and for the first time in creation's history, man placed himself above his creator.

Pride was the sin that opened the Pandora's' Box of all sins. Jesus lists these sins in today's Gospel:

"For it is from within, from men’s hearts, that evil intentions emerge: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within and make a man unclean." Mk.7:22,23

 Pride is the sin I wrestle with the most. It's antidote? Humility. A great act of humility is confession. I need this grace today.

Lord Jesus, help me conquer the pride within me.  Thank you for the source of grace offered in Confession. May I meet you there today. 
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Do Nothing Day

On the seventh day God completed the work he had been doing. He rested on the seventh day after all the work he had been doing. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on that day he had rested after all his work of creating. Gn.2:2,3 

 Today's first reading from Genesis tells of the completion of God's creative work at the beginning of time. Days five and six were spent filling the world with life, crowned by the creation of man and woman. Then God did a strange thing. He allowed a day to pass where he deliberately did nothing and then blessed that day as a sacred "do nothing day".

God rested but he didn't need the rest. He was setting in place a rhythm of life for us to follow. Work and then rest. The resting aspect of life is so important that God sanctified it, made it holy. Why? It's the day I reconnect with him, reconnect with my family. It's the day that life is given its full meaning.

This coming weekend I will be working on Sunday. It's the first game of the Cricket World Cup in Hamilton and I'm called to be there to help make it happen. This is an aberration to my normal Sunday rest. I need to make sure that holy day is the norm in my life so my life is kept in correct perspective.

 Jesus, you observed the Sabbath and kept it holy. Help me spend this day with you and those I love that I may enjoy life in its fullness. Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Better than Besties

And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother."

Jesus is addressing crowds so huge that his family hear of it and are concerned for him, thinking him deranged. Word reaches Jesus that his family have arrived for him and, typically, he takes what could be a scandalous situation and uses it to teach a great truth. We, the Church, are all part of the family of God.

In a scale of intimacy, brother, sister and mother would have to be at the top. You can have no closer relationship with another than these. And these are the levels of relationship that Jesus uses to describe my relationship with him. We are more than just "besties" as my fifteen year old daughter would say, we are family!

I have a family of five children, four with spouses, and five grand children. Families are a complex mix of imperfect individuals. Yet we love each other despite our faults, overlooking imperfections to see the good. This is the type of relationship Jesus has with me, today.

Jesus, my Lord, my friend, my brother. Thank you for your offer of intimacy with me today. Your love is new every morning.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

See the Saint in the Sinner

When his relatives heard of this, they set out to take charge of him, convinced he was out of his mind.

 Jesus' ministry has truely taken off. The word is out, the crowds are pouring in. And the relatives? They're freaking out, convinced that this "new Jesus", a Jesus even they had never seen before, was deranged.

This is such an obscure detail to have in the Gospels that it convinces me of their authenticity. Why record such a detail unless to simply reflect what actually happened. The human messiness of the story would have been left out of any fabricated story of a saviour.

In a way, this detail sanctifies the human messiness of my story. I'm not perfect, I do things that even make me think I'm deranged! The good news is this doesn't distance me from God. It's part of the human condition that he is very familiar with. Jesus meets me in my messiness, today.

Thank you Jesus that you that never classify me as deranged, that my human weakness is not abhorrent to you. Your steadfast love raises me up as you see a saint in the sinner, as you see gold in the clay.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

An Open Ear

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

 The response verse to today's psalm echos this opening verse; "Here I am Lord, I come to do your will". God's request of me this morning is very simple; an open ear.

An open ear is an attentive ear, an undistracted ear. I think this is why I find morning prayer so rewarding.  I deliberatly do nothing beforehand. I am silent, I think of nothing else, my first action of the day is to settle into God's presence.  My first brain engagement is to read the Church's daily readings. I then take my lead from there.

God just wants me to be with him this morning, totally present to him. He wants to be in relationship with me; to be my Emanuel, God with me. I love this intimacey he offers. Morning by morning new mercies I see.

Thank you God that you desire friendship with me. Here I am Lord, I come to do your will.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, January 10, 2015


Let the faithful exult in glory; 
let them sing for joy upon their couches; 
Let the high praises of God be in their throats. 
This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia! 

The final psalms are ringing with praise to God in an ecstasy of exaltant jubilation. Why do we the Church join in this noisy throng? Because it is our glory!

Pope Francis has called us, the Church, to avoid wearing perpetually Lenten faces. We are attractive when we blaze in the joy of the Gospel. Yes, scripture says Jesus wept, but the whole of the Gospels scream that he also laughed with joy. That's why people enjoyed his company.

Jesus partied at weddings, feasted at banquettes, drank wine with his friends. In short, he was fully and joyfully alive. Oh what a fullness of life he calls me to today!

Lord Jesus, my source of joy and hope. Fill me with your life-giving joy today that I may be a source of joy to others today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.