Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Call on the Name

...all belong to the same Lord who is rich enough, however many ask his help, for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Paul writes to the Church in Rome of the justification and salvation of Jew and Greek alike by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He underscores the power that comes with a simple but unshakable faith and trust in Jesus.

Last weekend eight men drowned in a boating tragedy when their boat flipped while attempting a bar crossing in mountainous seas. I'm sure that at least one of them would have called on the name of the Lord while he was drowning. Yet, he drowned. To the world he appears unsaved. But there's something bigger that is called apon when someone calls to the Lord for help. Something eternal that tells us this isn't all there is.

Jesus came from that eternal place, entering the world as a tiny baby. He will return again to take us back there.  There is a home that my death on earth is going to release me into. This is what the expectancy of Advent is all about. This is the source of my Advent joy today.

Lord Jesus, Thank you for the promise of saving me for heaven. With your help, I will get there.
Saint James, pray for me.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Advent Joy

“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

The seventy-two have returned from their very first mission trip reporting, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” Jesus is filled with joy and proclaims a blessing over the disciples.

What did the disciples see? What did they hear that exulted them so highly? They saw and heard Jesus. This is my longing  this Advent, to see and hear Jesus. This is the source of my expectancy, the source of my growing joy. This is for what I'm preparing the way. Today, this Advent joy is mine.

Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus come!
Saint Joseph pray for me.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Stay Awake!

...that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times...

Jesus is in Jerusalem nearing his passion and death. His teaching becomes more focused on the end of time, warning his disciples and giving them hope.

On that final day when Jesus returns and all are judged, everyone will see Jesus, both believers and non-believers alike. All will cry out, some with horror and some with joy. My response to this is the call of Advent. Stay awake, be ready, prepare the way for the King is coming soon.

Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus come!
Little Flower, pray for me.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Stand Up

"When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” LK.21:28

Jesus is drawing near to his passion and death at Jerusalem. He instructs his disciples not about the coming end of his time on earth but about the coming end of all time. For believers, it will be a time to stand up and welcome.

The Temple at Jerusalem was an awe-inspiring structure. To think of its destruction would have been abhorrent for any Jew. Yet Jesus clearly prophesies that very thing to emphasis the catastrophic signs that will accompany the end of time; "On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity". But for believers this will be a time of great joy. Why? Because our redemption draw near.

Hell may clamor for our attention but we always have our eye focused on heaven. That is our destination. Everything else is just reconstituted dust. Today my eye is refocused on the glory Jesus promises me as I stumble along following him.

Lord Jesus, I know not the hour or the day. It may be today that you come. So, I stand up and lift my head, for you, my redemption, draw near.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Faithful in the Small

“Sir, your one pound has brought in ten.” “Well done, my good servant!” he replied “Since you have proved yourself faithful in a very small thing, you shall have the government of ten cities.”

Jesus is approaching Jerusalem with a large crowd following. He tells the parable of the talents. The parable demonstrates accountability at the end of time.

Faithfulness is a virtue that affects all areas of life, large and small. I remember the photo of president Richard Nixon, just after his impeachment, with the caption underneath, "Would you buy a used car off this man?".  Small thing, large thing.

How am I with the small things? The small things done out of general view often give a clearer indication of my state of faithfulness. Practicing faithfulness in small things establishes habits that will naturally flow over into the large things. Today I choose to be faithful in the small things.

Lord Jesus, your faithfulness is all-pervasive. Help me become a "good servant" by my faithfulness in all things.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Welcome Joyfully

When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke to him: ‘Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I must stay at your house today.’ And he hurried down and welcomed him joyfully.

The wealthy and corrupt tax collector Zacchaeus has climbed a tree to see Jesus. Surprising everyone, including Zacchaeus, Jesus stops beneath the very spot where he is hiding and invites himself into Zacchaeus' home.  Zacchaeus immediately and joyfully welcomes Jesus into his home.

This is one of my favorite Gospel stories. The high drama of the scene is compelling. The dramatic conversion of Zacchaeus and the apparent joy of Jesus in receiving this "son of Abraham" draws me into the story. I am Zacchaeus, I am the lost one being sought out and saved by Jesus.

This is a story of conversion, repentance, restitution and joy. It is my story.

Lord Jesus, thank you for seeking out and saving what was lost. I welcome you joyfully into my home today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Left Behind

I tell you, on that night two will be in one bed: one will be taken, the other left;

Jesus is telling his disciples what to expect at the end of time. Some will be called, some will be left behind.

In today's climate of forced inclusivity its counter-cultural to suggest that not everyone is going to get to heaven. The more acceptable view is that there will be no final judgement, that everyone is going to be bathed in God's all-inclusive love as they receive baskets of fluffy kittens while strolling blissfully through the Pearly Gates.

What a shame Jesus doesn't agree.

In Luke's Gospel Jesus starkly describes the suddenness of the last day where, as in Noah and Lot's day, many will be destroyed.

Saint John the Apostle presents the same truth; "only those who keep to what he taught can have the Father and the Son with them" 2 Jn.1:9. Some will. Some won't. There will be, dare I say it, discrimination in the best sense of the word.

Where do I fit? I remember hearing a wise old man say, "Good people don't necessarily get to heaven, only forgiven people do". I need to keep a short account with God. It's time for confession.

Jesus, thank you for showing the way back home. Lord I again confess my brokenness and need of your saving, healing power. That I won't be left behind...

Saint John Vianney, please pray for me.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

That They May Be One

I am appealing to you for a child of mine, whose father I became while wearing these chains: I mean Onesimus. 
Philemon 10

Paul, near the end of his ministry and a prisoner in chains, sends an escaped slave Onesimus, now a convert, back to his former master, also a believer. 

This is high drama that throws together three of the most unlikely men; a prisoner, a slave and rich man. What is it they each have in common? Jesus. It's Jesus who unifies these most disparate of men for the good of each of them. Onesimus is freed from being a runaway slave for the rest of his life. Philemon grows in grace through the opportunity to show mercy. Paul has the untold joy of seeing the love of Christ restore former enemies. 

Jesus prayed his most heartfelt prayer for unity during his passion. " that they may be one as we are one" Jn.17:22I. Unity among believers is of the utmost importance to Jesus. Is it for me?  Today I can be more merciful, more grace-filled, working for unity and not division.

Lord Jesus, you are the source of completeness for us all. Help me today be a unifier and not a polariser with those I meet. That we may be one.
Saint Paul, please pray for me.