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.