Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Smiling Face

Add a smiling face to all your gifts, and be cheerful as you dedicate your tithes. Give to the Most High as he has given to you, generously as your means can afford; for the Lord is a good rewarder.

The writer of Ecclesiasticus emphasises the virtue of cheerful giving. The Church lifts up this virtue with its focus firmly on the approaching season of Lent.

I recently have benefited from an increase in my disposable income. One of the things I've enjoyed being able to now do is be more generous. I can now shout people a coffee and be more spontaneous in giving gifts. I haven't quite reached the "stuffing twenty dollar notes into letter boxes" level of my wife, but I'm getting there.

Alms giving in Lent has always been a struggle for me. Perhaps this Lent I can more generous "as my means can afford". More importantly, I can be cheerful in my giving.

Lord Jesus, you were generous to the point of giving everything, even your life. Help me be a cheerful giver this Lent and experience the true joy that such giving brings. 
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Cup of Cold Water

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone gives you a cup of water to drink just because you belong to Christ, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.

Jesus is teaching his disciples principals of the law of the harvest. Do good and you will receive your reward. Do evil and hell awaits.

I remember visiting a priest and giving him news of his old house keeper's death. His immediate response was, " If anyone gives a glass of cold water... She will not loose her reward". Apparently this unassuming old lady in our parish was a saint to the priests she served.

A cup of cold water can go a long way. Serving with humility doesn't get much press on earth, but in heaven it is noted and recorded. Who can I give a cup of water to today...

Lord Jesus, you are the Servant King. Help me recognise those in need today and show me best how to serve them.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Little is Big

He then took a little child, set him in front of them, put his arms round him, and said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’

Jesus is confronting the disciples who have been arguing among themselves about which of them is the greatest. He places a child in front of them to pull their attention away from what is great in the world's eyes to what is great in God's kingdom.

Small, vulnerable, powerless, innocent, guileless... these are words that could be used to describe children. It is such as these that Jesus says he is associated. Welcome children and you welcome God.

I am leading Children's Liturgy this Sunday. As I sit down on the floor with them I will be sitting down with God. What a joy. What a privilege.

Lord Jesus. Help me see you in the small and vulnerable today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Joy of Faith

Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope for, or prove the existence of the realities that at present remain unseen.

The writer of Hebrews starts his discourse on the essential nature of faith for the follower of Christ. Head knowledge and works are not enough to gain the promises.

I remember struggling in my conversion to try and understand what Catholics meant by "The Faith". It almost seemed like a cop out from establishing a personal relationship with Jesus. I came to realise it was a general term for all that comprised of being a practicing Catholic. It didn't relate to that person faith one has in Jesus.

Not having a personal faith held me back from entering "The Faith" for many years. It wasn't until I took a step in faith that I received the gift of a personal faith in Jesus. Only then could I receive the hope of "realities that at present remain unseen".

I treasure my gift of faith. It gives a tangible joy that I take into my day today.

Lord Jesus, again I thank you for my gift of faith. The joy of knowing you is mine today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Flesh and Bone

The Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helpmate.’ Gen.2:18

The Garden is created. Adam is placed in the most beautiful place the world has known, but he is alone and unhappy. God then created the antidote to loneliness... Eve.

Sex is God's idea. It's his solution to the first problem that creation experienced. Loneliness. And sex is designed by God to be physical. Adam's first response to Eve wasn't, "That looks good to play Chess with". No! He exclaimed, "At last, flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone". He liked what he saw.

The psalmist today echos this truth from Genesis. "Your wife will be like a fruitful vine in the heart of your house; your children like shoots of the olive, around your table. Indeed thus shall be blessed the man who fears the Lord." Ps.128:3,4

I am so blessed today. My wife is my fruitful vine, my five children and seven (last count) grandchildren are shoots around my table.

Thank you Father for blessing me so. Today I live with a thankful heart.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Gift

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

The very first verse of the very first book in the Bible lays the foundation for faith in God and the hope that brings to all of creation.

Either God created or he didn't.  Acceptance or rejection of this verse determines how the rest of the Bible is read. I accept it.

Yesterday, my family and I spent the day at one of the most beautiful places on the planet, Lake Taupo, New Zealand. Towering rock cliffs formed from an ancient volcano swept down to a narrow headland covered in native bush. This inturn led up to a beach of soft sand that gently succumbed to the crystal clear waters of the lake. The sky went from deepest blue directly above to a pale blue over the distant ranges on the far side of the lake.  It was beautiful. The day put "wind under my wings" and lifted my spirit.

I saw the fingerprints of God everywhere. I sensed the place had been created those thousands of years ago specifcally with me in mind to enjoy on Sunday 5th Frebruary, 2017. And I'm thankful.

Lord Jesus, co-creator of the universe, thank you for the gift of yesterday and the promise of today. I place my trust in you.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Sunday, February 5, 2017


No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine...

Jesus is just starting the great teaching of his Sermon on the Mount. He starts by giving the reason for his teachings, so that we may become the light of the world.

We often call Jesus "The Light of the World" but here he clearly says that we are the light of the world. The darkness is to be overcome by us. Yes, it's the light of Christ within us but we are the ones  encountering the darkness to be overcome, most often within our very selves.

As a man, this task is more clearly defined for me when Jesus instructs where my light is to shine, in my house. As the man of my household my "mission field" is clearly defined. It must start at home with my wife, my children, my grandchildren. This is both a joyful and a fearful thing. Joyful because I get to minister to those whome I love. Fearful because the consequences of failure are more painfully felt.

To fulfill this task I need the "power of the Spirit" that Saint Paul writes about in 1Cor.2:5.

Come Holy Spirit of God. Help my light shine in my world today, that the Father may be glorified.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Rest Awhile

Then he said to them, ‘You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while’

The twelve apostles have just returned from their first mission trip. It had been successful beyond their wildest dreams with demons driven out and and many sick people healed. They return to find Jesus at the center of a frenzied crowd. "Time for a rest" says Jesus...

Busyness happens. Things get stressful. It's part of the human condition. I am currently holidaying with my family in a very peaceful part of New Zealand. Last evening we walked along side a river watching trout fishermen cast their lines. All that was heard was the cry of native birds in the over-hanging trees and the rush of cool fresh water over rocks. It was refreshing, spirit lifting.

The next few days here are an oasis, a time to slow down and draw deep from the spring.

Thank you Jesus for being the co-creator of this place with me in mind. This is my quiet place to rest awhile, a gift from you.

Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Put greed out of your lives and be content with whatever you have; God himself has said: I will not fail you or desert you, and so we can say with confidence: With the Lord to help me, I fear nothing: what can man do to me?

The writer of Hebrews is concluding with exhortations for the Christian life. "Be content with what you have" is held up as the attitude of one who has complete confidence in God.

Contented people are good company. There's no stress or striving greed in them.

Be content, fear nothing. This is a sure recipe for peace and peace is the desire of every man's heart. What a wonderful way to live out today.

Lord Jesus. Give me a contented heart today. I place my trust in you.
Little Flower, please pray for me.