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.